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tv   Fareed Zakaria GPS  CNN  October 18, 2020 7:00am-8:00am PDT

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public square. welcome to all of you in the united states and around the world. i'm fareed zakaria coming to you live from new york. on today's show the american election is just 16 days away. and one of the biggest dwooids between biden and trump is on foreign policy. and yet it has hardly been mentioned on the campaign trail. >> i'll ask tony blinken, long-time advisor to joe biden what their respective candidates would do in the next four years. >> if biden wins, china wins, all these other countries win. we get ripped off by everybody.
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>> also, millions of americans have fallen below the poverty line in a matter of months and there is no new stimulus in sight. meanwhile, many big companies are booming. if you thought american inequality was bad before, you ain't seen nothing yet. e i'll talk to the former treasury secretary larry summers about the problem and the solution. finally, what, if anything, did we really learn from the amy coney barrett hearings? noah feldman and emily baz lon are back with me to share their views. first, here's my take. pandemics should be the great equalizer. they affect everyone, rich and poor, black and white, urban and rural, even the president of the united states contracted the virus, but covid-19 has actually
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had the opposite effect. early indications suggest the virus is ushering in the greatest rise in economic inequality in decades, both globally and within the united states. despite all the concern about inequality within america, it's worth noting that global inequality, the gap between the richest and poorest around the world, had declined the last few decades. the share of people living in abject poverty, under $2 a day, is less than a quarter of what it was in 1990. but an astonishing set of statistics compiled by the economist shows how years of progress are being undone in months. the world bank estimates about 100 million people are fallen back into extreme poverty this year. sub-saharan africa, which enjoyed positive economic growth every year for the last 25
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years, will enter negative territory in 2020. the world food program, recipient of this year's nobel peace prize, estimates the numbers facing acute hunger will double this year two 265 million people. the gates foundation warns that vaccination rates for children are as low as two decades ago. behind all of these statistics are individual human beings who are starving or sick. their children wasting away, desperate and deprived of hope. the divide between rich and poor is stark even in the united states. two new studies estimate that between 6 and 8 million people have been pushed into poverty over the last few months as federal relief has dried up. millions of americans cannot pay their electric bills or are skipping meals to save cash. a recent survey found that almost 40% of those who have
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lost work due to covid don't have even a month's worth of savings. i put up some graphs a few weeks ago that i want to put up again because they really capture the economic hardship and divide. job losses in the previous three recessions were pretty even between the top 25% of income earners in green and the bottom 25% in pink. but in the current recession the top 25% have bounced back completely while the bottom 25% have cratered. look that line. we can see how this has happened. for those whose jobs can be done remotely, bankers, consultants, lawyers, executives, academics, life goes on with a few hiccups. for many of those who worked in restaurants, hotels, cruise ships, theme parks, shopping malls, work has simply disappeared. the tragedy is that we know what needs to be done. in march, congress and the
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administration acted swiftly and boldly to pass a massive relief and stimulus package which was so successful that it seems to have made many in washington complacent. it has now largely expired and the two parties are back to their partisan warfare. the democrats are ripe to want a much larger relief package than the administration is offering. cities and states should not be punished for the collapse in tax revenues that resulted from the pandemic. but surely the best path for the country is for the democrats to accept the concessions they have extracted from republicans and then push for more after election day. this week wolf blitzer pressed speaker pelosi on why she would not take the administration's offer on $1.8 billion in spending. she unfairly accused wolf of being an apologist for the republican party and she said the fundamental problem is -- >> they do not share our values. >> of course they don't.
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that's why there are two parties and you have to make compromises. none of this added up to a coherent position in a time of natural emergency. senate republicans, by the way, might well block what the trump administration itself has offered. they have signaled great displeasure with the size of the package. but then why not pass the bill and put the pressure on mitch mcconnell and the republicans? i cannot help but wonder if the relative normalcy of life for elites has prevented us from understanding the true severity of the problem. look for those of us using zoom, things have been a bit disruptive and strange, but for tens of millions of people in america and hundreds of millions around the world this is the great depression. can we please help them? >> go to eid fo link to my column this week and my book "ten lessons for a
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post-pandemic world" which i have drawn on for this commentary. let's get started. ♪ we start with what the next four years of america's foreign affairs would look like under a second term of president trump or the first term of president biden. let me bring in tony blinken, he has been a foreign policy advisor to joe biden for almost two decades. he is on the biden campaign team. tony served in the obama administration as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security advisor. welcome. let me ask you first, tony, we know what animates donald trump. he thinks that the world has screwed america, that it has gotten the short end of the stick from all these alliances and trade deals. what animates joe biden? what is at the heart of his foreign policy world view? >> fareed, vice president biden starts from this proposition.
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whether we like it or not, the world simply doesn't organize itself. and until the trump administration the united states had played a lead role in doing a lot of that organizationing and writing the rules and shaping the norms that governed the ways nations interact. we made mistakes along the way for sure, but we are better for it. now president trump has abdicated that responsibility, put us in full retreat from our allies and partners, from international organizations, from hard won agreements. here is the problem. when we are not engaged, when we are not leading, one of two things. either some other country tries to take our place, probably not in a way that advances our interests and values, or no one does and then you have a vacuum that's filled by chaos or bad things before it's filled by good things. either way, that's bad for us. joe biden starts with the proposition that we need to reassert american engagement and leadership. we would show up again leading
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with diplomacy. not to address the world as it was in 2009 or 2017 when we left office, but as it is and as we anticipate it will become with all sorts of rising powers and new actors. many of them super empowered by technology and information that we have to bring along if we are going to make progress. two quick things. they are flip sides of the same coin. on the one hand, a dose of humility. most of the problems are not about us, even they effect us. we can't flip a switch and solve them. also confidence because he believes that america acting at its best still has a greater ability than any other country on earth to move others in positive collective action. >> there is one area where it seems as though president biden might be like president trump, and that is china. i know trump keeps accusing biden of being to pro chinese. vice president biden has made tough statements about china. it sounds like he wants to follow a similar policy, just with allies and pointing out if
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you use allies, you would be more successful. is that fundamental divide you just described also true with what is likely to be the most important foreign policy issue which is u.s. policy for china? >> there is a profound difference on their approach to china. china does pose a growing challenge. arguably, the biggest challenge. economically, technologically, militarily, even dim matically. the relationship has adversarial aspects, competitive aspects, cooperative ones, too. the question is how to put ourselves in a position of strength to engage china so the relationship moves forward more on our terms than theirs. here's the problem. right now by every key met trick china's strategic position is stronger and ours is weaker as a result of president trump's leadership. chinese leaders believe that four years of the trump administration has basically accelerated what they call our
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inevitable decline. they are dead wrong about inevitability but they are right about president trump. he helped them weaken american alliances, pulling back from the world and leaving a vacuum for china to fill, abdicating our values and maybe debasing our own democracy by attacking institutions, people, values every day and reducing its appeal to the world. as joe biden sees this and the big difference is this, the china challenge is less about their strength and more about our self-inflicted weakness. he would do is invest in ourselves, in our workers, renew our own democracy, work with allies and partners and actually assert our values. th that's how you engage china from a position of strength. america and liberal democracy remain the system of choice for people who can choose and i think if anything what the last
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four years have shown is not their failure but how important they are to the strength of our democracy and the vitality of our leadership is to our own country and to the world. that's what we have to recapture and it starts with how we deal with china. >> vice president biden, you were probably his advisor at the time, opposed the surge of troops in afghanistan. if he was right then, isn't trump right now to say let's withdraw american troops and get out? what is wrong with trump's argument that we have been there for 20 years. at some point afghanistan has to find a way to defend itself. >> well, you're right that vice president biden opposed the surge during our own administration and he supports the diplomatic evidenffort to b this con friflikt to an end. he would pursue a draw counsdow that context. he has been clear that he would try to keep a small force in afghanistan to make sure we have
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a place from which we can operate if al qaeda or sigh sis the capacity to strike us again. there is a big difference to ending forever wars what he wants to do responsibly. what seems to be president trump's rather iffy twitter finger typed out which christmas to give himself a political boost before the election. the chairman of the joint chiefs refused to endorse it. the taliban said they hope president trump wins election and wind up the u.s. military presence in afghanistan. so that's the difference. we have to do this responsibly. we have to do it effectively. >> tony blinken, always a blesh you' pleasure to have you on. >> thank you. >> when we come back, a former trump official on what happens if donald trump is re-elected. ♪ ♪
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the trump administration has affirmed that a second term of foreign policy under trump would like his term be ruled by two words. america first. we invited president trump's national security advisor, robert o'brien, to appear on "gps" today, but the white house declined our offer. joining me is k.t. mcfarland. she served as deputy advisor at the start of donald trump's term in office. welcome. let me ask you a question about, you know, what to me is the kind of the biggest argument trump has made for his foreign policy, which is the world has been
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ripping off the united states and the symbol of that failure trump always argued during the campaign in 2016 was the trade deficit. well, the trade deficit in 2016 when donald trump took office was $735 billion. it has gone up, not down, every quarter of the trump administration's term in office. it is now $854 billion. so, i guess my question is, either by his own key metric donald trump has failed in his foreign policy, or he doesn't understand how the international economy and how the world works. which is it? >> neither. look, i think it's important right now to correct a number of misconceptions. donald trump and the people who work for him view the world in a very different way. it's really a tectonic change. from what you and other people have said, there is the impression that there is no rationale to it, it's all
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impulsive. no, i think that's actually wrong. there are three motivating points that drive donald trump's foreign policy and the first one is you call it america first, but it's the notion that in the last, since the post-war period and the post-cold war period that the united states has underwritten the global order because of our superior economy, our superior military, and we should keep doing it. it's the understanding that that's no longer feasible with a $1 trillion deficit a year and with allies who no longer need americans' support. these agreements, whether nato, japan, korea, the security agreements or even the trade agreements, they were never meant to be permanent. they were never meant that the united states would pay for everybody forever. now that these countries have succeeded beyond anyone's amazing beliefs they might do, it's time for them to do their fair share. that was the impression that president trump took and his nato alliance negotiations and
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with the asian countries as well, that we would no longer subsidize or underwrite the security or trade agreements with our allies. >> why is our trade deficit keep growing then? if he is -- >> well, the trade -- >> i don't understand. he said the trade deficit was a symbol of these bad deals. it keeps going up under him. >> i don't think the trade deficit is the only metric by which you judge these things. we already have new trade agreements with japan, with korea, with canada, with mexico. we are negotiating -- >> right. and under those agreements the deficit keeps going up. >> well, i think you're -- you know, you've got a scab that you are picking, and that's the deficit. i am trying to make a bigger point, which is that there are three motivating points to the trump foreign policy and the first one is economic and the first one is the idea that other countries would contribute.
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for example, in nato, our nato allies are going to contribute half a trillion dollars for common defense. the second point is the middle east, that we have been for 20 years, and even since the 1970s, we have been in the middle of middle east ethnic conflicts because we needed access to oil, we wanted to protect the right of israel to exist. >> tell me the third one. i want to get to two other things. >> china. >> hawaiian china. let's talk about china. what is donald trump's view on china because he's sometimes sounds very tough on it, but 2 a times in the early part of this year he lavished praise on china, president xi in particular for his handling of the coronavirus, in particular for his transparency. he said, i thank you on behalf of the american people. what is going on? what is donald trump's view of china? >> i think the important thing about donald trump is don't always listen to what he says.
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he tweets a lot of stuff. he says a lot of stuff. always watch what he does. and what he has done with regard to china is he has been the first american president to stand up to china in decades. when joe biden was president -- chairman of the senate foreign relations committee we could have stood up to china, demanded a better trade relationship, investment opportunities, but we never did. and that would have been easy to do then. now it's hard to do. and president trump has stood up to them. he stood up and called them out for unfair trade practices, for intellectual property threat. he negotiated hard for a first trade agreement, a phase one followed by phase two after the election and through a pandemic. i think the other thing is that president trump has increased american defense spending. look what the chinese have done in the south chinese sea. they are open about it. they plan to replace the united states by mid-century as the dominant world power, dom ninan in trade, they plan to replace
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the united states as the dominant communications power with a 5g -- >> can i -- can i -- >> as the dominant -- your turn. >> can i get a quick response from you on russia? in 2016 during the transition you wrote an email that said, it's going to be tough to have a coherent russia policy because russia threw the election to donald trump. do you still believe that? >> i think you're quoting that a little bit out of context. i don't know what your sources are. but the email that i wrote was that it would be very difficult to improve relations with the russians if the country perceived that we had -- that they had thrown the election to donald trump. and i think that's been borne out. look, i don't know where you have gotten your quotes from. i have got the original email, the fbi has. so, you know, that is taken out of context. and it's not -- you're making it sound like the opposite of what i intended it for, and it was
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the opposite of how it was perceived by the trump transition officials. >> people can look it up and draw their own conclusions. thank you for coming on. it's been a fascinating conversation. >> thank you. >> next on "gps," the former treasury secretary larry summers says covid could end up costing the united states $16 trillion when we come back.
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2020 has been a tough year economically. but not for amazon, which has seen its market capitalization
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increase by $750 billion to around $1.7 trillion. that has taken jeff bezos' net worth to around $200 billion. meanwhile, vast swaths of the american economic landscape have been devastated by the pandemic. how to make sense of it all and what to do about it. joining she is larry summers, he was treasury secretary under president clinton, later served as president of harvard university where he is still a professor. welcome, larry. let me ask you first about this new study you have put out in the "journal of the american medical association" where you estimate that the cost of this pandemic will be four times larger for america than the global financial crisis in '09 and the number you put is $16 trillion. that is staggering. >> it is, and it's because the fatalities are a part of it.
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the disturbed almost destroyed in some sectors economy is part of it. the fact is that for a lot of people who get covid, they are going to be serious follow-on consequences and there is a tremendous amount of anxiety and depression. put a dollar figure on that, as best economists do, you get to a quite extraordinary sum, and it points up the insane folly whether this is costing us dozens of billions of dollars a week that we are investing so little in having a supply of ppe, in having a competent testing regimen. the cost of incompetence here dwarves the human cost of the vietnam war in terms of fatalities that could have been avoided, in terms of financial costs. if we had run this as well as
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the average country has run it, heck, if we ran it as well as pakistan ran the response, we would have saved in the neighborhood of $10 trillion. >> and do you think at this point it is still important to try to get that testing and tracing system in place even if it involves spending a lot of money? it feels like there is still this follow-on cost that we are facing as these waves of covid continue to go through the country. >> the sums of money in testing, fareed, are trivial compared to the sums, compared to the cost of premature fatalities by the tens of thousands. it should be a matter of the utmost urgency. you should, in america, be able to walk in, get a test, and get an answer the next day that's
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reliable no matter who you are, no matter where you are. the cost of that is not 1% of the $16 trillion that this whole thing cost us. not close to 1%. our failure is almost unimaginable as a country. >> now, describe what we should do in terms of the relief. it feels like what you are describing is something that will need the expenditure not just right now, but over the next year or two of trillions and trillions of dollars more. are you comfortable with that kind of expenditure? >> look, fareed, to be an economist for a second, the fact that we've got an interest rate that's essentially zero is telling us that the funds are
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available and they're not going to crowd out anything important. instead, they are going to push the economy forward. all of the dangers are on the side of spending too little right now rather than spending too much. what we should do right now is beyond any question. we should be starting a process of renewing our infrastructure with maintenance projects that can operate quickly. we should be supporting state and local governments so they can do things like health and education and protecting security on the streets. and, yes, we should be helping the unemployed and we should be helping lower income families. it cannot be that the highest priority in the united states today is lending money to credit-worthy corporations. >> explain why you think that we have this leeway, because of low interest rates, because people
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say, yeah, still the interest rates change and we will end up with a huge debt-to-gdp ratio. there are lots of people who worry about, you know, can we really add $5 trillion to our debt. >> fareed, it's always right to worry. but think about the situation of a person buying a house. you can buy a much bigger house on your income when the mortgage rate is 3% than you can when the mortgage rate is 13% as it was when i bought my first house. and the same logic applies to the government. the government can afford to borrow more when the debt service is going to be so much cheaper. >> do you worry that this will cause the dollar to collapse? giving you all the arguments against big spending that people are making. this will plummet the dollar. >> fareed, you worry about
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everything if you're an economic policymaker. but for dollar to collapse, it has to collapse against something, and i heard a wise guy say that europe was a museum, japan was a nursing home, china was a jail, and big coin was an experiment. that may not be exactly fair, but it captures a real truth, which is for all our problems and all its problems, the dollar is the world's safe haven. it's the place that money moves into when people get nervous about the state of the world, and as long as we don't screw up our political system even worse, and there has certainly been people trying in the last, including the president of the united states in the last few months, as long as we don't screw it up worse, the dollar is going to be okay. >> larry summers, always a pleasure. coming up in a moment on "gps," the nomination of amy coney barrett to be the next associate
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to finance their retirements. it meant so much to nellie, maybe it could mean as much to you... call now and get your free infokit the nomination of amy coney barrett to the supreme court. what did we learn from them? back with us are noah feldman and emily bazelon. noah is a professor of the harvard law school, teechls constitutional law. emily is a staff writer at "the new york times." noah, my question to you, is what is the point of these hearings where the judge or to be justice never answers any questions? essentially, says i can't opine on anything that might potentially come up before the court, tries to be as bland as
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possible what is the point of it all? >> not much. it's a kind of kabuki theater. and it evolved slowly with the key points when judge robert bork in 1987 answered the questions honestlily and directly and so conservatively that he was rejected by the senate overwhelmingly. the confirmation of justice ruth bader ginsburg where she would not only answer questions, but wouldn't give hints in her answers or previews of what she might do. that enabled her not to answer even general questions about how she thought about certain kinds of cases. since then there is no upside for the nominee in answer the questions, and the senate hasn't had the guts to say, well, if you don't answer these questions we won't confirm you. we are in a standoff and nobody learns very much. >> emily, in listening to these vague non-answers, i mean, were there tea leaves that you were able to read or that you drew from those 30 hours of hearings?
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>> well, i think noah is right. we are at the point where i felt like i learned more from what judge barrett refused to answer than from what she did answer. so, for example, she was asked whether there is a federal law that bars voter intimidation and she said she couldn't answer that. there is clearly a statute. she was asked whether the president has the power to unilaterally delay the election. again she refused to say the answer is clearly he does not have that power based on the constitution and on acts of congress. and the second answer in particular troubled me in terms of just making me wonder if she is truly independent from president trump because, obviously, before this election this particular question about the president's power to delay the election just would have been completely uncontroversial. >> noah, have we gone down the right path? i am trying to think about ruth bader ginsburg and scalia were
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both confirmed by the senate roughly 95-2 or 3. the old model, if you are a distinguished jurist and the president nominates you, whenever your views, you get on the court. that's not always been true, but over the last decades. that changed roughly around bork and the ten years after. what's the better system to have the senate vote on the basis of partisanship as it is now, or to simply have, you know, the distinguished scholars of all kinds on the court. >> >> we are better serve inside a circumstance where a party can't block the nomination by something other than a gotcha game. i think that's reflected in the points that emily was making. the reason that judge barrett didn't answer those questions is that she is genuinely concerned a case will come to the court about whether voters have been
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intimidated in this election or whether donald trump can delay the election and she doesn't want anyone saying you must recuse yourself. so the excess of caution that she was engaged in is not a product of her not knowing the answers to the question or somehow having radically conservative view on those. it's a product of the fact that in this game she can't answer any questions at all. we are definitely not served by that. so to my mind the bork precedent, though it kept very, very conservative justice off the court and got us justice anthony kennedy who turned out to be pretty liberal on some questions, it served the interest of liberalism and the interest of the republic and the people benefiting by his liberal judgment, it didn't serve the system well, didn't give us a situation in which we get the justices confirmed who are going to do the best job. >> emily, talk about the new court because it does appear, we know from her writings where she stands, and we know from some of
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gorsuch's writings, these are pretty conservative people. for example, who have questioned the very idea that the president has the power to administer something like the epa, the environmental protection agency, arguing, you know, very originalist argument that says this is -- you are stealing powers from congress. how radical is this new court going to be? >> we are going to find out. i think you're right about the strikingly conservative strength of the composition of this new majority. in the past in american history when the supreme court goes completely out of step with the american public, there is a lot of trouble. it really strains our constitutional system. so in the 1860s you saw congress strip jurisdiction from the supreme court to hear cases about reconstruction and change the number of justices on the supreme court. and then, of course, when fdr
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was president and the court was refusing to affirm parts of the new deal, you saw fdr threaten to change the number of justices. and the court itself, the conservative majority pulled back from the brink. so the question will be does this conservative court really take free rein to radically change american law or do she see if they are really out of step where with where the country is going, because the country looks like it's becoming more liberal. does the court pull back? if it doesn't the elected branches will step in and we will see a real change to the way the court functions and its role potentially in our democracy. >> noah, i have 30 seconds left. i want to quickly ask you, you know that famous line, the supreme court follows the election returns. it was a cartoon. do you believe that? do you believe emily's point, they might rein themselves in because of the political climate they see? >> i think if they were faced, for example, with a democratic president, a democratic senate
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and house, they would think long and hard before issuing a decision that, for example, flatly overturned roe v. wade because they would know that would be enough to put huge pressure on the system to pack the court. that would not only flip the ruling they made. it would rob the court of any power and legitimacy. to that extent, yes, they will be clearly away of the way the election comes out and i think you will see that framing their judgment in the caution with which they reach them rather than the content of their decision. >> terrific conversation. as you point out, noah feldman has a great podcast, talks about the federalist society and all these judges. please listen to that. emily bazelon, noah feldman, thank you so much. when we come back, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu finds himself in a new political pickle since the signing of those abraham accords. we'll explain. g happened. (driver) nothing happened? (burke) nothing happened. (driver) sure looks like something happened. (burke) well, you've been with farmers for three years with zero
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this week is parliament approved a peace deal with the europeuni emirates signed by the israel, the u.a.e. and bahrain. it was called a coup for israel. prime minister benjamin netanyahu can taught his expansion of israel's diplomatic revelations while revving in a strategic nightmare for iran. the deal is expected to create economic opportunities and technology and tourism, fossil fuels and fighter jets. but the deal has created complications for netanyahu. after all, over the past eight months he halted the promise to annexation of the west bank, an appeasing gesture to two arab nations who long demanded a path to palestinian sovereignty before establishing relations with israel. but netanyahu had promised his supporters that very same west
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bank annexation. so as israel's talks with the gulf states drew to a close, leaders of israel's west bank settler community began to call the prime minister a liar, saying he betrayed them to reach a peace deal. suddenly, he was stuck between promises made abroad and promises made at home. netanyahu chose to appease his conservative base in israel. he needed to keep them on his side. after all, he already faces three separate corruption cases. though netanyahu has insisted he is innocent and called the investigations an attempted coup by the left and the media. weekly street protests called for his resignation over these cases, his mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic, and high unemployment in israel. so while the u.a.e. treaty was moving through parliament israel moved forward with plans for nearly 5,000 new units in the west bank according to the settlement watch group peace now. the palestinian leadership had
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always opposed the deal, worried arab con silllation would take pressure off israel to work with them. the vote for the abraham accords came from israel's coalition of arab parties, the so-called joint list. that group's leader declared that the peace deal amounts to merely a historic arms deal and one that accepts the palestinian status quo. only time will tell whether israel's new partners the gulf will have sway on this issue, but those new settlements do suggest the path that benjamin netanyahu instends to take. before you go, i want to remind you about my new book, "ten lessons for a post-pandemic world." you can find a link to order it at thanks to all of you for being a part of my program this week and i will see you next week.
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new york and this is "reliable source." our weekly look at the story behind the story. a tale of two moderators. steve skuli suspended by c-span and savannah guthrie at nbc is praised for her performance. plus, new reporting about the debate coming up this thursday. plus, the origins of right wing media's latest obsession with hunter biden. yeah, we are going there. later, a rare interview with andrew sullivan on the role of the media in 2020. let me start with this. this is the media critique that i hear most often from all of you watching at home. it's that president trump gets
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