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tv   Susan Hennessey and Benjamin Wittes Unmaking the Presidency  CSPAN  February 15, 2020 11:00pm-12:02am EST

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and to become totally bifurcated in their consumption. . . . . before we get started, i will invite you to and sign up for weekly newsletter. it would happen in and around harvard square all year long. it's off to a great start, visit from paul and dan, we would love
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to see you there. we are pleased to have c-span spoke to be here today we ask that anyone participating, please step up too this microphone so your question can be recorded. afterward, he will be signing books appear at the front. we have copies for sale in the back. i would like to thank you all for buying books from harvard bookstore. award-winning authors possible and we truly appreciate your support. finally, how is your cell phones before the talk begins. i'm delighted to introduce the speaker, the executive editor, devoted to this discussion of hard national security and general counsel of the institute.
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prior to this, the office of general counsel of the national security agency. benjamin is a senior fellow in the brookings institutions. he cofounded it. he's the author of law and long work and future of silence as well as a good dripping writer at the atlantic. jack goldsmith is a professor at harvard law school. assistant attorney general, office of legal counsel from 2003 -- 274 in the department of defense from 2002 -- 2003. he's the author of the presidency, inside the bush administration, international law and the internet, illusions of a borderless world. tonight, discussing on making the presidency. the crowded literary market
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trump coverage. this historical context and understand how it is altered, accepted conventions perhaps permanently. tom's fundamental address, his conscious effort for personal interest for the institutional norms along the executive action to observe the national interest. devastating, this may prove to be the most important part of the trump residency. please join me in welcoming susan. [applause] >> thank you all for coming. got this great and important book.
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lemme get organized here. i want to start off by making an argument that there's nothing to seek there with the trump administration, there's not a big problem here. this is what the argument would look like. this is an argument i've heard trump supporters make. the argument is that trump really hasn't been the kind of serial law breaking president that he's made out to be and many people think he has. he doesn't have a characteristic of his predecessors. for example, he doesn't like george w. bush, an important context just as the commander-in-chief to disregard laws and unlike barack obama, he hasn't engaged in aggressive exercises of interpretations of delegated lawmaking congress to physically do aggressive executive lawmaking. despite soleimani killing, he hasn't been aggressive in using
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willpower and the argument goes yes, he's rude, yes, he screwed, he's rush. yes, he shameless and cruel but that's just fluff, thus not substance. to accept that premise, what is the problem? [laughter] this will surprise some people but yes, i accept a lot of that premise. not all of it. i do think the history of the trump administration does involve a certain amount of serial law breaking. although it seems to be lawbreaking of a personal source rather than lawbreaking of the executive power source but look, the basic claim that donald trump is not systematically way pushing presidential power is right.
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that's what makes him so interesting. the abuses that constitute the core of the trump presidency are not the abuses at the margins of presidential power. it's not abraham lincoln's suspending corpus or harry truman seizing the steel knows, it's not these big sweeping actions that you say oh my god, the presidency actually capable of doing that? donald trump abuses at the very core of presidential power for the power of a president is actually uncontested so nobody doubts already of the president to fire the fbi director, including the fbi director who responded to being fired by saying the president can fire me for any reason or no reason at all. nobody accounts the authority of donald trump to dismiss jeff sessions. as a attorney general including jeff sessions because jeff
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sessions recused himself. yet, these are profoundly abusive things that donald trump has done. nobody doubts the authority of the president to tweet and speak his mind. 95% of the abuses of donald trump or rudeness. it is speech, it is the president using speech in a fashion that's radically different from what any president has done before. there's no doubt he has the authority to do it. yet, if you put all of these normative differences in the way the court power is abused together and this is the basic part of the book, you have a proposition for very different presidency. when i say that, i don't mean that you have donald trump woodrow wilson who's kind of
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imagined a different presidency but he is in a systematic way, person posing to use uncontested powers in a fashion that's sufficiently different that he's putting the different vision of the presidency on the table the goal that we have was to take that vision seriously, to try to imagine, try to describe what the presidency he's imagined and proposing looks like and practice how it plays out in a range of areas of presidential authority and then to ask the question how much of this is desirable and how much of it is a crumble. that is sort of the project but yeah, i do accept a lot of the premise. >> i largely agree with that. at the core of the argument is
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not that donald trump is abusing the edges of executive power but that he's abusing the court. that makes the conversation about him particularly difficu difficult. legal academic slight for all of us to talk about because i think the most profound abuse we've seen in the presidency is the president misusing the authorities that he indisputably holds. >> primarily abuse of power rather than excessive power. >> i think primarily and when you talk about abuse or misuse, it's the notion that the core of terms vision of the presidency is emerging as the occupant with the office. an inability to a distinction between the interest of the individual president in the interest of the presidency and the office. there are a lot of areas in which donald trump is a continuation of a trend or culmination or particularly sort of start manifestation but this inability to separate himself from office or even recognized a concoction of the national
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interest but is not the same as his own personal political or financial interest. that really is novel and something we are not seeing at least not openly seeing in the history of presidency. >> one way you get that, your first apps in the chapter of the s introduction is called, i do solemnly swear. it is about the constitution that people don't talk about, the other clause. why you start with that, i think it's the framing of the book that gets to the essence of the problem. >> 's are really we started with the chapter because the beginning of this project, it begins with this oath and what he wrote in the institutional mistrust in response so the idea here is that the only place the united states constitution whether it's something the founders really care about, it's
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the time they discuss it and they care about getting it right. we become ceremony formatted. it is only have content and substance and focuses on the care cost and other functions and elements of article two but the argument is that the oath actually matters. it does something. >> what is the us? what is he swearing to? >> to the office to the best of his ability and swearing to preserve, protect and defend the united states constitution. we are arguing substance, a promised to uphold a system that is larger than oneself. it's sort of the covenant between the government and the people so there's no way to make
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a president action the public interest. let's take part in for example and the news headlines or unusual use of pardons. the numbers talk about why they want it to be a pardon power, it talks about how the ability to temper justice with mercy and that's important sacred solemn obligation in hamilton talks about well, he just need a case of rebellion to boost the country forward. they don't say it's a political party favor, the handout to drop because he like him and he says nice things about you on fox news but the oath is actually the only place in the constitution that embeds that requirement of civic virtue. embeds the obligation of the president actually acting in the national interest so the argument is the core of the fundamental flaw, i think it would describe as the core of
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the presidency, this absence of civic virtue which you don't really notice until it's gone but the rest of the system doesn't quite work without it. >> you have an interesting account of why it is died designed to ensure the preside president, that we didn't elect a demagogue and we elected somee with civic virtue. at the end of the book, why that's broken down, can you tell us about that part? >> aligned electoral college where if you read hamilton on the electoral college, he's super proud and the reason is, the electoral college is what he's going to stand between the people and the demagogue. which hamilton, the founding era would have been called democracy. what standing in between is the electoral college and they choose the president and if the
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people who really want the demagogue, the electoral college is going to say no. now we have inverted that entirely because the people did not elect a demagogue. they rejected a demagogue by 3 million growth in the electoral college are having kind of lost faith in the original vision of it which would exercise independent judgment. we installed the demagogue in the face of the popular rejection of it so it's actually quite a -- i don't know whether the conclusion of it is that he got it wrong since he was imagining the electoral college behaving in a different fashion that it did whether it's actually these intermediary institutions often don't work as well, notably the other to media airy institution that we have used long after the electoral college became something of a formality that played something
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of the same role with the political party system. couldn't nominate, he couldn't elect a demagogue because the parties would let you vote for them and eventually they would choose a reasonable human being, that system broke down as well. two great intermediary institutions, growth don't function the way they are supposed to. that's quite important to have a candidate who never got more than 40% of the vote in the republican primary becomes president of the united states. >> terms are many and you have many chapters about going through in great detail, you talk about his use of twitter and speech and what that does, you talk about how dysfunctional it is in the executive branch
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and insubordination and he's a normal executive branch, you talk about is truth, his ethics, a couple of chapters on relations that his attempt to undermine the law, foreign affairs. that is the chapter on the presidency and trumps unusual use of speech and why we should worry about it. >> so this chapter, because i come to this from a background in studying law, i never really thought of speech as a presidential authority.
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presidents have a right to speak just like we all have the right to speak. turns out there's a very large political science that actually thinks about presidential speech as a discrete presidential pow power, which is kind of a revolutionary idea to me and when we started inking about the way trump speaks in that conte context, he realized actually he's using a presidential authority in a fashion that no prior president has done. this is not the first time residential speech has changed dramatically, all through the 19th century. presidents basically didn't give policy speeches and what they did, they communicated about policy in writing to congress. to speak in public, to the public about policy matter was considered demagogue. this changes with teddy
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roosevelt and woodrow wilson. that's what gives lies to the chat a number of years later. the kind of presidential press conferences so presidential speech is a kind of fluid and dynamic thing. in some ways, i think that's where to understand trump on this, he is the accelerant, acceleration to an absurd direction that present were going anyway. speaking much more, speaking a lot of words. the use of twitter as a constant barrage of presidential words, no prior president has done that. the integration of presidential speech with an ecosystem of
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affiliated news environment that is amplifying it constantly, these are really things that were already happening but also different. the best way to understand what trump is doing is a chat that never begins and never ends. [laughter] it's like a talk radio show that turns on in the morning and keeps going. i think the reason it is dangerous is because, to be perfectly blunt, disinformation. it's basically a state run disinformation operation and the reason is dangerous is that it works. the question is, what future presidents will learn from that. peter presidents learned that it probably will be a trump but the
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idea that you should be hearing from the president all the time. that a network should be amplified everything the president says all the time. this is a revolutionary idea. michael bennet, note that he did not get 1% of the vote in iowa. promised in a recent statement that if you work elected president, you wouldn't have to think about him for two weeks at a time. [laughter] that is a remarkable statement and a statement about the way trump speaks. >> i agree the particularly dangerous manifestation, it's also most probable to be incorporated into an ordinary expectation of the presidency. we already seeing playing in the campaign. patrolling one another on twitter, this would have been
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insuperable in prior elections. we seek candidates on that because they understand that there's something about this munication that works so i do think this is an area in which we have to acknowledge that in part, trump is changing presidency in a way that works and others are ready following suit. another manifestation of trump for careless use of speech in fact constant flow. thus presidential speech from executive branch statements. again and again, the justice department is going into court and arguing in front of federal judges, ignoring the president. he doesn't know what he's talking about. he didn't mean it. we don't know what he meant by that. so he mentioned the executive, it is really, really undermined a core text and being
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accountable for his speech in the speech having content and operative effect and that something, if it becomes an ordinary part of future presidency, that's going to have more significant long-term consequences. >> mike pompeo was testifying on the hill in front of the foreign relations committee and he sprinted with the presence statement and he blurts out, zero that's not policy. this is the secretary of staying the president's words are not policy and a senator calls him on it and says how can you sit here and tell us the words of the president not constitute policy? he has to backtrack because when he's asked that question, he can't say what is in fact the policy of the entire federal
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government, which is the president saying whatever he wants and we do our thing. that is the policy of the federal government and it's the policy anytime, except when you are asked how can it be policy? [laughter] >> i think the reason he wrote the book, is a new proposal for the nature of the presidency on the table, trump has a number of mentions dramatically in his predecessors. with regard to the institutional norms and expectations, this is what's at stake in the 2020 election. some of these matters, as you just said, trumps normal breaking on twitter are changing.
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that's part of a larger cultural political phenomenon proceeded in, he certainly accelerated it, it's now spread, it's hard to imagine the next president not using twitter very aggressively. that norm has gone over and other things i think you think the election matters. >> i continue to think the election is hugely important, probably even more so in the impending but inevitable in the senate. the presidency is a changeable institution, it has been chang changed, every president has changed dramatically over the course of american history. the way we decide whether or not normal breaking presidents or the particular norms they break
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are just blips. weird things that happen for four years or are instead of recess of the new expectation of presidential behavior. whether or not they are reelected. whether or not the public ratifies and reports that. you mentioned woodrow wilson, it's incredibl radical, a demagogue directly to the population, attempting to persuade the people. it works for him. he's elected, he selected again and again. it becomes, all of a sudden the presidency itself is transformed over time. people have to consider a 2020 election to be a question of ratification of trump's use of presidential power. now if trump is reelected, thus the american public saying we think this is tolerable in a democracy, eventually the people get the president they want in
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the present they care to protect. if trump is voted out, is a more complicated question on the table, which is which norms do we choose to restore? let's assume they coming in 2021, that person be able to pick, they might say wealthy fbi director seems like a nice person but i want my own fbi director. it would be hard for congress to come back and say how could you possibly pretend the term was important. the president will have to decide the or not that is worth protecting. presidential press conferences, trump voluntarily goes and speaks to the press every day. you can imagine the president coming in and saying that any inconvenience. let's do once a week, or every other week. it will be a double favor. instead, if you want to reestablish expectations, the
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next president is going to have to constrain in areas in which it is inconvenient or not politically advantageous. even if is president trump is rejected, there's still a lot of open questions on the table so in terms of selecting a democratic nominee that behavior moving forward. >> two more questions. a lot of people think that trump is more effective, that he was elected because norms in the country-breaking down because the institution lost confidence in at least half the country. the norms within and between the parties have been breaking down and i want to suggest that is possible that trump loses but i
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wonder if you will elaborate it. have a democratic president and that president might be under pressure and not trump paved the way, using twitter in this way, a general tit-for-tat and base control on the party and they don't care about norms and democratic candidates that's normal breaking. i guess the question is, are you bracing too much focus on trump as opposed to the general positions in the country? to what extent the conditions are going to outlast any and if he loses in the fall and changes any of it. >> trump could not have happened if there were a series of conditions in the country that caused people to be electrified
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by the active contempt for the traditional presidency. it is active contempt, he does not like he does this without knowing that he's doing it. he stands up in front of crowds and knows what it means to be residential. he makes fun of it. the features of traditional presidency that people, i'm just guessing, held in pretty high regard. things like respect, decency, truth telling, things we would have regarded as a background condition that we expected of politicians, of all strengths are held research disregard that
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somebody like trump is effective. attractive. i don't know how to go about solving that problem to be honest. there's also problems that the background, that the response to accelerates and we also live in a more course society because of donald trump. the presidency is not merely degraded by the conditions that led to donald trump. he has put that into overdrive and stepped on the accelerator. i think both conditions are real. i don't know if the problem of the underlying problem is addressable if donald trump is not in office. i know if you reelect him, you don't have a hope of addressing him. >> presidents take office in the conditions the previous occupant and there is an incident where
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norms evolve because presidents pass the baton to one another. they don't understand how it might be used in the future. the most interesting phenomenon for normal breaking is the judicial nomination to the constitution, the president nominates judges and they get consent on it. early on, sort of the inverse establishes the inverse. really what ends up happening is the senator from the home state gives a list of names, people from iowa who should be federal judges in the white house is a flip-flop. there's reasons why people defended this, it's a good thing even though it was anti- constitutional in a sense. their closer connections, he makes it a platform.
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my own federal circuit judges because i want to see minorities and women on the bench who care about diversity. this is just about diversity. to maintain that confidence. he does all the work of fighting with the senate in this process. ronald reagan comes in and says i like this, this is a good idea. i will nominate my own judges, too. i care about his judicial philosophy. then you have george h.w. bush who comes in and says this is a good idea, i like it for district judges as well. jimmy carter sets in motion transforming the nature of the judicial nominating process.
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>> you are also saying in the book, it will snap back and we've seen them react to the prior president, it's up for grabs so the impact of impeachment but i hope somebody in the audience will have questions from the audience and you need to wait for the microphone to come around. ask your questions in the microphone right here please. wait till you get to the microphone. keep your questions relatively brief so we can have many of them.
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>> we've had these norms of making the presidency right now, they give you about 54% that donald trump will be elected. another term or not, this process of making from how serious a threat is it to the public? >> i'll start. i think it depends on what happens next. for me, i'm less concerned about this specific that peter presidents might break and i'm more concerned about the oath and virtue. we can see the presidency is a flexible institutions that can accommodate quite a bit and we
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can police the margins quite well. it's very difficult to do that, whatever the president doesn't believe his oath is and doesn't fundamentally agree and believe the purpose of the presidency is to serve the public instead of the president. that is sort of one thing, i think it's still an open question. i do think if donald trump is reelected in his vision of the office is ratified, i think every person should be deeply concerned about a second term in office. this tendency to up the ante and accelerate things but then we also would need to be concerned about newer smarter drums and more right wing drums and sort of setting down a path that could and would be profoundly destructive. >> i'll add to that briefly that a world in which the president
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and the people serving under them are not presumed by the majority of people to be serving in good faith in accordance with their oath is a world in which those people, whether it's a substantial majority or a majority have no reason for a presumption of regularity to government action and that is a very hard world to imagine democratic government functioning again. >> it seems like when trump came into office, every week, if not almost every day, there are reports about executive action, not just by him throughout the administration that really was imprisoning children or violations or things about environmental regulations, he could go on and on. there are reports constantly,
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there's no enforcement is seems like if the president can politicize the department of justice, there's no way to enforce all these massive numbers of laws that are supposed to regulate how the executive operates. >> first of all, there was enforcement. so if you think about the travel ban that's probably the most prominent example, that was litigated and withdrawn as a result, it was replaced so document with which it was replaced was litigated and withdrawn. on trying over, a significantly scaled-back version was allowed to go into effect.
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one of the remarkable things about the chaotic way that trump governs is how ineffective it is. the environmental regulation is an interesting example, he loses in court an enormous amount. he's actually the enforcement agency getting its butt kicked in court. there are a lot of lawyers who have had a field day with challenging fees regulations, regulatory withdrawals. has he gotten a lot done? yes. he got a lot less done than he would've forgotten done if he was disciplined and careful and deliberative about it, yet. on the lawbreaking side with respect to individual action, his national security advisor had to resign within a month and was invited within figure.
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so it's not correct to say that there has been total impunity. have i gotten away with norma's amount? absolutely. >> i think there's that there's not an enforcement mechanisms. it's a fragile thing. if you have a president who doesn't care about corruption, about good governance, caring about good governance by holding people who violate them accountable, it's hard to know what to do with that. if you don't have that fundamental commitment at the top, is incredibly difficult for a culture of evidence below that. whatever we think about presidents leading by example, it's hard to think about upholding on a president who hasn't divested from businesses. the noncriminal federal civil
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regulation that fires federal employees, not to engage a particular political speech or personal interest while in their official capacity, kellyanne conway has been accused by the office of special counsel. numerous violations of us, to achieve replied openly, i think the court was what are you going to do, put me in jail? or something similar like that. the ordinary answer is whatever the executive branch employees want to violate, they would be fired for that. if not enforced by the president or by congress, it's very hard to know how exactly you expect people to carry that out and what ends up happening, it becomes law and people don't have the expectation of moving forward. >> you spoke about the future
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presidency and some of his policies, a sitting president cannot be indicted and i wondered if you thought that should change and if there are any constitutional amendments that might be brought about and that would be restraining power of the presidency. >> 's the question of whether or not present can be indicted as a constitutional argument. this is a position of the office and it is impossible to get challenged in the court bodies that interpret federal law and legal counsel for the executive branch essentially. these opinions are binding so if
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they say the president can't be indicted, then d.o.j. will not invite the president so we can can't, there's no way for that proposition, i don't know how exactly you would create the circumstance in which the president, the supreme court could weigh in on the subject. that said, with the end of the mueller investigation, we saw a real failure of congressional oversight for a long time. this is the idea that for many years, congress is essentially oversight of investigating the president. the executive branch treated it in a post era as a criminal matter and allowed prosecutors to do their job for them and deliver the stock report and they decide what to do with that. that works pretty well until president decides to interfere with the investigations because it turns out all the prosecutors
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work for the president himself so a little bit of what we are seeing right now at the end of the mueller report where mueller fines wrongdoing and get declines the accusations and they are criminal misconduct because the president can be indicted. congress doesn't even know how to respond. answer is because the executive branch doing their own job for so long that it is woefully out of practice. that's one area in which we might see how the responses to the trump era. ukraine scandal, one of the d.o.j. said they would investigate, congress has to work itself and call their own witnesses and that is a healthy function in a way we should expect congress to be acting. the optimism moving forward that may be congress will start doing its own job again. >> one thing about the position,
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it's an opinion from the clinton administration written by randy moss so it might not be wrong and the lens of donald trump but the constitutional amendment ahead of the office of legal counsel to reverse the opinion. there are several candidates who have at least one or two who will put some on the council and reverse that. it runs up against the norm of presidents directing the justice department about how to govern itself. it's all very public at it. >> it's worse than that. [laughter] >> i was trying to make it simple. >> there was one prominent democratic candidate and i'll be impolite and name, kamala harris, who asked the question,
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would you prosecute, would you, as president, direct the prosecution of donald trump? yes. it did not make a huge amount of news but that should have been an unthinkable thing to say. to announce that you are going to announce a specific named individual without an investigation having been done, without attorney general having been appointed, you are going to prosecute. before donald trump, it would have been unbeatable for somebody to say that. but donald trump rallies for people say lock her up, plucker up. all of a sudden, the idea that the president decides who should go to jail and doesn't without investigation, he sufficiently normalized that you have democratic candidates willing to do that and it doesn't even raise that much of a fuss. little bit of a fuss which i
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think i may have started and in response to it, somebody asked in his response was really interesting. strength one of the debates and he said you know, you're not supposed to say what the attorney general is going to do and if i were the president, i would name the attorney general and name him but yes. [laughter] that was that version and say look, there really is a potential of erosion of this idea that the president doesn't direct who gets it. >> at the beginning, we were pushing the answers of presidential power versus in thought, the split, stonewalling
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impeachment inquiries, the subpoenas for documents and witnesses and long-term implications of that. >> that's an interesting question. first of all, let me answer the second part first because i think that is the question, i think congress is only real remedy against that was exactly what congress did and how the senate should handle that is different but if you are in the house of representatives and you think you have a lawful inquiry in the president's position is under no circumstances will be provided a shredded paper or a single witness and the only witnesses you get are people who defy fact and you do not defend your prerogative, use your prerogative. the answer to the second question is pretty easy.
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the answer to the first question is really hard, i think and i haven't thought about it enough to give you a considered answer but there's a element of both. there was a settled set of understanding between the executive and legislative branch about the executive claim authority to withhold information, the legislature claimed this authority to demand information using venn diagrams over its own conflict and there was an understanding in the conflict he used kind of political pressure and accommodation and you kind of work things out but outside that zone of conflict, the executive complied when documents were demanded and outside of a certain area, the legislation demand.
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they core executive privilege kind of stuff or backed off the president. trump has equally disrupted that. so i think that may be closer to the pushing the boundaries of the executive power with the caveat that it's in relation to another branch of government relation to the citizenry and the other branch of government is not without tools to respond. that's a tentative answer but i would have to think about it more, it really develops after we were at the manuscript so we didn't treat that specifically in the context of the book. >> comments about the executive the post the president takes, i'm interested in your thoughts on the ethics of the administration serving as an
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attorney and this is something discussed at the beginning of the administration in particular, trump if were reelected, keeping their heads down and looking at another four years, what would you think about that particular situation? >> that's a difficult question. i continue to believe that the american public is better served by good and decent and nonpartisan people who are doing their jobs and the tip of the iceberg is highly visible to all of us, a huge amount of work the executive branch does and bureaucracy does every day that has nothing to do with the president. it has continued to function even in this unusual act ministration and often it done by people who are openly attacked by the president for having their work aligned. it's something that we should be grateful and i am personally grateful for the continuation of
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sieving in the public interest. they have to police themselves and think carefully about what it means to serve in this administration so an attorney in the office of legal counsel had a really sort of powerful area and she talked about reading this article i was about the editors of comp reality show the apprentice and how they had a plan for how that was going to go and trump would just go off script and fire somebody totally different so the editors have to go back to the footage and trying to assemble a storyline i sort of made sense so it wasn't this random thing that happened at the end. she said she realized her job was the same thing. the president would say something and then she would have to reverse engineer the motivation in order to justify it, in order to come up with a legally sufficient possible
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motivation and that was sort of the moment in which she reached her breaking. >> in which she was no longer ethically serving. i continue to encourage young people that are getting careers and the federal government and it was one of those privileges of my professional life and i hope the nation is not deprived of their future service. that said, with the privilege of service also comes the obligation to ensure yourself that you are upholding your oath each and every day and if you tell yourself a story about what you are making small compromises because it's better to have you in the room for the compromise that's going to come down the road, that's a really easy way to lose your past so my hope is that people who've been putting their heads down and serving this administration will continue to do so. that said, it's enormously
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occult question. >> one very brief thing to add to that, describe the discussion at the beginning of the administration which a lot of that discussion took place and we kind of posted it. at the same time this conversation was going on and i have mixed feelings about it, time, fiona hill went into government and fiona was not a trump person by any means and she went in the most trump area of all, she was going to run russia policy, russia and east european policy for the nfc and i'll be frank with you, i like fiona a great deal, and there was a lot of people with what is
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she doing? how could she do that? where were we wrong? we spend time scratching my head about it but look, i was really glad she was there when everything happened last summer and i was so proud of her on the way she was able to talk and describe what happened by the way, i was glad john bolton was there, too. because what everyone thinks of john bolton isn't the moment where this happened, he did the right thing. having people who in the moment, where somebody really bad happened and did the right thing, s. >> all after the election maybe
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in the election, he decides with the impeachment, he felt he wanted to do something, he could just do it. >> i have good news on this. [laughter] there is a great deal more automaticity in this process than people think. donald trump can rail against the legitimacy of an outcome but at the end of the day, the date of the election as specified in the constitution, it will happen. the syndication of the results
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of the election are not subject to federal jurisdiction, they are done by 50 think, 50 state secretaries of state and when the secretaries of state give the results of the state, which the elections of which are managed by local officials and state officials, those are electors to the electoral college. no presidential involvement, and interacts with the president. that person is the sitting president is entitled the oval office january 20. when that person takes the oath of office, secret service answers that person and all that happens with a certain degree of optimism city and respective what the president wants. wants, commands, he has about so don't diminish the incumbent president to cascade on the
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process to yell about it, to raise public about it but at the end of the day, the ability to not have an election is not something i'm worried about trump doing. i am worried about his ability to call electoral results into couch in the public mind but i do think the structure is very well designed to present, prevent somebody from keeping power that he is not entitled to keep. >> we need to stop? rate. >> we talked earlier about how essentially one of his abuse of powers using it speech in the pulpit to fully, that actually also goes to the election is coming up, we are hoping for
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kind of show what the american people think, i was wondering if you could talk about the abuse of his own speech may influence the election and also the fact that he asked other countries to augment that speech of the election. >> i think the most significant way this might occur as of the president is in charge of the intelligence community. the intelligent community enters the president and the president has near absolute control over the classified information, over what information is classified or unclassified. therefore, you have pretty close control over what information reaches the public, at least information that releases the public through legitimate channels and other things we've seen. so this is an area that we would go back and think about the 2016
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elections in the moment at which the barack obama administration chose to weigh in. once months of speculation, we started to see some recording regarding potential efforts to target the dnc. the moment in which the obama fenestration chose to speak whenever there is a political article that set the number of states, the voting infrastructure had been targeted and penetrated, that was the moment in which the obama administration said we have to say something. they said okay, yes something happened but don't worry, it was standing, there's no reason to have any question or concern about the underlying literacy. as what they were concerned about. this landscape in which we are likely to see appearance in the upcoming election they are likely to be significant questions about either valid or
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not about the legitimacy of particular outcomes and political actors on both sides that might have incentives to inflame those questions rather than calm them down. the inability to trust the word of the president because people don't believe it, it doesn't hold the truth a lot. his own erosion of institutional competence and intelligence community and his own sense of self interest in which he is not particularly inclined to think about the public interest in his own political and personal interest. ... >> and to see other institutional actors performing their own functions
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to recognize they have obligations to the constitution. >> thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> with us today rob is the author of the explorer king and the editor of the american schola


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