Skip to main content

tv   Bob Bauer and Jack Goldsmith After Trump Virtual  CSPAN  September 9, 2021 6:02am-7:05am EDT

6:02 am
appear in the near future on book tv. >> good evening everybody and
6:03 am
welcome, braddock graham the co-owner along with my wife and we have a very relevant and thought-provoking program for you this evening featuring two accomplished attorneys with high-level government experience. bob bauer and jack smith their here to talk about the book, after trump, reconstructing presidency. and jack is a veteran of the republican administration, walmart in a democratic one and together they have present the consort of god to the damage to donald trump's presidency did to our company institution and suggested how to go about repairing and better protecting our system. a couple of house keeping notes, to post a question and any point, just click on the q&a icon at the bottom of the screen. the function will also be active for comments not questions i was questions in the q&a column.
6:04 am
in the column, you'll find a list of purchasing copies after trump. and jack served under president george w. bush first as a special counsel to the department of defense from 2002 - 2003 and then as head of the office of legal counsel the justice department in 2003 - 2004. now professor at harvard law school, is also cofounder l'affaire in written previous books one a firsthand account of legal battling in the bush and ministration over territory imposing actions in there about the disappearance of jimmy hoffa and jack's relationship with his own stepfather was a prime suspect in the disappearance. involve service white house counsel to president obama, 2010 - 2011 and was a senior advisor to joe biden's campaign. he's professor at nyu law school and the codirector there of the
6:05 am
legislative and regulatory process clinic. and jack and bob's book came out last fall before it was known whether or not trump would win a second term. another these out of office, the book is especially relevant to today's national discussion over how to repair the better institution trump left behind. books basic premise is that the reform effort will require more than just a different and more appropriate attitude by biden and his team and presidency jack involve argue it's gaps and ambiguities and laws and norms and broader weaknesses of presidential accountability. and it will require serious restructuring and guarding against. [inaudible]. excuse me, have something here. well it will guard against similar exploitations by
6:06 am
potential future president with authoritarian tenancy. the authors put forward in the book as many as 60 changes to laws regulations and forms as measures. i'm sure were in pretty lively discussion. so mom and jacket, the screen is yours. >> thank you so so much and i'm going to speak first. i'm jack goldsmith i'm very grateful as always for having us discuss this book and everybody for listening get. in the book is called after trump reconstructing the presidency and i'm going to talk about why bob and i wrote this book and then briefly summarize with one project that we propose the book that mr. graham said the book was published in september of 2020 and we didn't know if after trump would be 2021 or 2025. that we now know that after trump is with us, and so i try to be slain in general terms of
6:07 am
the book is about bob is going to talk about where the reform project is now in the urgency of reforming the presidency now and the priorities to the reform. and what we are doing to help achieve reform. all started by to talk about how bob and i came to write this book be served in the obama administration i served in the george w. bush administration. we will serve as senior executive lawyers positions about was in the white house and i was in the justice department. i different political outlooks on things, became friends after bob left the obama administration. about was teaching a class at nyu law school which i went to and we started discussing our views about the proper role of lawyers and the executive branch. and actually agreed initially to write a book about the white house counsel read which is the office the top lawyer in the
6:08 am
white house with fighting as the present on the personal basis representing the government been a very close basis. there's never been a great book about white house counsel bob had strong views about it is a nice predict from different perspectives and make met one day to talk about that book. an outline the book and this is about a year and half ago and in the course this was in january of 2020, and in the course of trying to sketch of that book which kept coming back to the truck presidency. we kept talking about all of the things a trump done to violate the norms and exposed limits and accountability. and we are both students of the presidential reform in 1970, the ones that were famously implemented after watergate in vietnam after the church commissions. reforms that really regulated
6:09 am
every aspect of the presidency after the debacle of the imperial presidency in the early 70s. reform is a work markedly well interview for 40 or 50 years but the reforms would seem to have on the course by the type trump came to office. so by the end of the day, bob and i decided that when trump left office and will be a similar conversation in a similar need comprehensive reform of the presidency. and like would have in 1970 so we set out to basically write a book that would be something of a roadmap of how to think about those reforms. so before i get to what we proposed i just want to expire because i don't think this is very clearly understood. the unique challenges to the presidency. that donald trump posed. obviously trump was on first president to be accused of
6:10 am
excessive use of the president's power. some of trump's predecessors characteristic excesses released alleged excesses such as unilateral uses of force and aggressive ways or unilateral extensions of the administrative power, these were not the kind of where is my boss is bush did, disregarding laws in the name of article to power presidential power, these are not trump's characteristic views. truce abuses i had to summarize them, were the following. he basically merged the institutional presidency, the office of the presidency the public office, with his personal interests in a way that had never been done by the president and in a way to basically cover the landscape in every form of corruption. just to give you some examples, these are examples remembering
6:11 am
from the truck presidency, nondisclosing's taxes nondisclosing his finances, these are all things the presence had done going back to the 70s. in a really great his wife mixing his business interests with his public office and using his public office for profiting off of his business interests and separating itself from its businesses the weight of the presence had and the justice department cases in ways we have not seen since watergate to protect himself and to protect others. in his political friends and also to try to urge the justice department to uses very powerful tool to help him read trump used his control over the diplomacy and law enforcement technology or powers to help him win the election, john bolton's book, the very conservative john bolton who saw trump up close and personal said that in the context of his kind of law
6:12 am
enforcement and in his kind of abuse diplomatic our, he basically said the trump seem to commit of obstruction of justice as a way of life. another example of the lustful use is the parking power work trump use this power promiscuously and not in obvious ways illegally but certainly abusively, there's not been present has come close to using the pardon power and self-serving ways to help them to pursue political agenda and help himself. in the way the truck didn't some presidents presidents had done some of that in the past but that was exceptional and trump made it the rule. so these were all that i would call serious abuses of power and amazingly, not necessarily illegal. some might've been illegal in software the most of these abuses of power, were for
6:13 am
various reasons not law, there were certain. norms of the expectations of behavior that we have for presidents that aren't necessary are enforceable by law they don't have a penalty illegal diligently and you can enforce them in court. there is no potential prosecution. these are rules and expected behavior presidents who act like presidents are expected to do. and these norms are the most they grew up naturally enough in the 70s they grew up self-consciously. president had complied with conflict of interest rules and independent rules of the justice department and the like and trump blew through all of these norms and exposed all of these norms as basically useless and concerning the president. he was indifferent to these norms which are vitally important to our confidence in
6:14 am
executive power into ensuring the president acts in the public interest in accordance with the law even if the sanction is norms is not law. pretty clear that trump also attempted to violate the laws many times he may have, we can talk about the different instances if you want read the most extraordinary episode of this is the ten episodes were counted in them mueller investigation about trump trying interfere with law enforcement, the connection with the investigation. now come back to that in a moment. another element of trump's abuses were that this is typical of popular dialogues, he made it commonplace to attack the most important institutions of the american presidency, every afforded institution the start of trump's attack is including congress, the courts, his own officials, members of his own party. judges, i'm sorry, brady said that, state officials,
6:15 am
institutions within the executive rash like the fbi the cia he sought to denigrate and deny and to destroy trust of all of these institutions. what you do about the president hike this. the book of bob and i wrote are premised on the idea that we may have another trump and indeed we may have much more clever trump, one of the most extraordinary things to understand about him was that he was actually in many instances thankfully incompetent read over the executive power he was a very good. and i mentioned in the mueller report the trump 20 get somebody to stop it into fire mueller an amazing thing was that he had the power in the formal power to accomplish that, he couldn't get anyone to do it. he was not good at using the executive power to achieve his head. in the worry is that these gaps and accountabilities these week
6:16 am
norms, these gaps in law, are going to still be there when we have another president who is a populist demagogue and it could be a republican/right wing for democrats/left-wing populist demagogue pretty but the worry is that you can have a more competent president who can take an even greater advantage of these groups. so we basically think the contrast is now and will talk more about that. so if i were to describe, let me just say, for thanks, four assumptions are working assumptions and proposing a reform that we do for between the presidency so to speak. neither bob nor i would say this in the book explicitly, our project is not to significantly reduce presidential power. don't think that the office of the presidency needs to be
6:17 am
significant to trump, there's a conversation to be had about that. it's on our project. we think that the is and see is vital to the station the operation of the economy into national security and we have a powerful presidency on the presidency needs republicans have confidence in the presence actually enforcing the law the president is acting the public interest. so the president needs to be constrained to be accountable to the people. that is a project were also very attentive, lots of reforms that end up in the past that have ended up making things worse rather than better pretty famous example of this is an evident counsel statute after watergate was created a super independent counsel to examine allegations of executive branch. i was in the 1970s by the end of the 1990s, have the experience with the clinton impeachment and the like, those bipartisan consensus that had gone too far and made confidence
6:18 am
in government worse not better and this happens a lot in president reforms predict we are very attentive to help the reform can be weapon eyes and abused and proposing it the reforms we do. and bob i actually acted on by what we called the golden rule and that is that we tried to or we don't agree on everything, especially about political matters but we tried to use that as a strength going into this project thinking that if we could agree on things, maybe there was a way to achieve a broader consensus about these things. ended up agreeing on everything in the book except one thing we can talk about it again if you want. but the idea was that any constraint that we are proposing for president, we decided was a constraint i would be the extent of us both of us if our preferred present was in office and power and discretion we were given the president is one that we would be comfortable being
6:19 am
exercised by a president that somebody we didn't want to be an officer we did above for. and political detachment for ourselves but we tried to step back as much as we could from the politics and addressing these issues in the final general point that i will make is that we really were attentive to the lessons of history which is important for many reasons here every chapter of the book and there are 14 tactics of the 13, every chapter in the book sketches the history of the particular presidential power or discretion issue tenant talks about how these powers have worked with prior presidents and for a lot of these trump laws, most abusive the present, and all the most, a lot had prehistory some of the presidents doing thing similar we thought it was important to both prior reforms and prior presidential actions in each chapter to put trump in context
6:20 am
and to learn from those prior presidential actions and attempts to reform is not to commit mistakes. with that, rather lengthy background, i am just going to briefly summarize the reforms of the book without getting into the details and bob will discuss some of these in more detail. so the book has three parts, part one focuses on how to achieve better protections against abuses of presidential power for personal and political gain. in most of these reforms are reforms that need to be implemented by congress and most of these reforms are basically have the following qualities. divide norms in the past tax disclosures, conflict interest limits on the part of power and they were governed pretty successfully bite norms in the past we think trump shows those norms are just inadequate we need real enforceable hard legal constraint to ensure that the
6:21 am
presidents for example, to encounter the growing state presidential campaigns and mueller report revealed gaps in the way that foreign influence new selections are regulated. we thank you so gaps need to be close by statute. and we think that the norms work pretty well in preventing conflict of interest, need to be made into very strictly enforceable laws and and the president needs to be separated by law and obtain a criminal penalty and for the businesses there needs to be completely open. it is for estate investments especially need to be open and reported to congress in all of this needs to be legal machinery behind it. the tax disclosure requirement which worked quite well as a matter of norms is been made a matter of law and finally this chapter we think that it is hard to reform the pardon power because the bargaining power is one of the core powers of the
6:22 am
president in article to read we believe there are ways that congress can bacardi rails on extreme abuses of presidential power especially use them to pardon for the use of a pardon to obstruct justice. and we think the law can and should be clarified even if he does these things and were pretty confident that these are constitutional and permissible for the congress to do and make very clear that the presidential self pardon which trump threatened but did not follow through on, is not constitutional in the congress has the final word in that we can certainly have a safe and with the final view is from the supreme court. as part one of the book in part to the book focuses on very complicated and delicate relationship between the white house and the justice department when it comes to enforcement the rule of law in this country. this is a really tough issue,
6:23 am
the reason and there is no single reform to fix this and we have lots of proposals and one of the problems is in this area, it is hard for congress to regulate because this is again a hard presidential power, law enforcement and supervision of the justice department is at the core of the presidency executive power. and this is why so many elements starting at watergate and managing this relationship has been done by norms rather than statutory reform. and bob and i have a series of reforms to basically a lot of this came up with the norm for cleared when they were not clear, the work disregarded or circumvented. a lot of instances, the norms were just missing. in a lot of instances the norms learned, they didn't have an enforcement. so there a lot of people are skeptical that reforms can be
6:24 am
done, the norms that will be binding on a future president is left to hold into and that is certainly legitimate concern. but norms work even in the trump presidency. there's a lot that he has people wanted him to do but he didn't. now perfectly that they worked remarkably well we think are a lot of steps that can be taken special counsel regulations to make it clear of the prosecutions are not allowed and throughout all of the guidance and to how the fbi investigations of presidential campaigns and presidents should be conducted read into rethinking the relationship between the lawyers the white house and the lawyers in the justice department actually taking power away from the white house where politics are even higher on the list and they are the justice department in determining what the law is in most of these reforms as i say
6:25 am
are internal to the executive branch and some of them need to be or have congressional support. it's wildly important that congress enact make clear the president can commit it destruction of justice, this is not clear. and it needs to be clear for a whole variety of reasons. very briefly that i will stop, part three is about more traditional separation of power issues between the president and congress. we can written a book about this we focused upon primarily the work hours on the war on terrorism and what should be done they are in on the war powers resolution of the 70s and how that can be reformed. and to curb some of the most extreme abuses of presidential power and also we have reforms of virtue for some constraints the presidents heart extraordinary unilateral power to use weapons whenever the
6:26 am
president decides we also have suggestions complicated suggestions i'm afraid about making these reforms about the president's ability to basically fill in positions in government is supposed to be filled by senate confirmed persons. and trump like other presidents circumvented those rules and trump more than his predecessors, this is a process is not good for the functioning of government to think the senate has to do congress the present pathway by reducing the number of senate appointments. in proposing reforms for that and this is more traditional long-term separation of powers problem. we also talked about emergency powers and have a need to be fixed and also ways to buck up and get congress more power and enforcing it. so that whole lot of 70 didn't go into detail on any of them. to very high level overview of the book and i'm going to turn it over to bob to talk about
6:27 am
where we are now read. bob: thank you jack, over the course of the truck presidency and the concern about his conduct. and as jeff pointed out, we also try to put what he did in a historical context to show how the goes on some of the more tennessee's of is predecessors. he was more blazing the trail but also following the path to the presidents in certain respects laid before him. nobody imagine the present would take it and he was very proud about it in as i said in the offset, in is very tense and more questions will be on the book and issues that jack and i did not have an opportunity to write about but would if we were to turn around and write in addition to this and that would include only learned about what happens under our system is the
6:28 am
president refuses the laws of election he goes about doing what he can to obstruct the transition of power and then whole set of issues no compact them in a minute to do with the ongoing effort that he made and also questions of doubt rated continuing through the events of january 6 and beyond so the question is having this concern, where do we stand now. i want to make a general statement and jack and i will subscribe to, and then talk about what problem it presents and how we might address it. that is that we need to capture some of the momentum towards reform i think over time in some respects has channeled into of their efforts. an understandable, a country that is faced pandemic and
6:29 am
social economics associated with pandemic that once trump left office, there would be an attention of the administration on the part of congress to address the large national problems and process reform is never simple. and it doesn't have disputes about the intended meaning or purpose is of particular approaches to free-form one way or the other, this is like the watergate. and after watergate there was a really effort for a number of years to absorb the lessons enact reforms that appear to take full account of those lessons in the form of the executive branch and a number of ways. check touch upon them briefly in a medical fact that a turnabout how we deal with the differences between what i would call the fostering attention to this reform that i think it is urgent and this time. and how it is very different on
6:30 am
the experience after watergate and i want to try to capture the moment before it is too late to say before we find that it has dissipated altogether or it is dissipated as jack suggests takes office in the future with the same tendencies might be even craftier and more effective in this and accentuating the legal themes more so than donald trump was predict salome say something about watergate. in the thick of the watergate episodes, i was in law school and all of this took place predict everything came to a head and my look back recently and what was quite striking is even during this time there were significant differences from the two political parties and there was an appreciation of the
6:31 am
urgency of reforms in some respect even if there were significant disagreements between the parties about the details. and also a robust society response in the watergate. which was to say, law and religious, there were leaders in those communities who join with elected officials and members of the bar, and with that the top. talking about the significance of an episode for understanding flaws in our constitutional government and reform. so for example, during watergate and particularly the national shock, the massacre when president nixon dismissed a special prosecutor cox and he was unable to do so followed by the attorney general the deputy attorney general essentially had to effective fire him.
6:32 am
but the response there was not only congressional political response lives also a strong institutional society response. and justin smith president of the bar association and republican issued a statement not just in his own but the bar itself and it changed that no questions about the law. no man is above the law. but he pointed out that no american is above the law and the president is certainly not above the law. in other leaders of the institutions of importance, to the associations that made a difference in the lives of americans also spoke out. the leaders of the national council of churches in the u.s. catholic conference and the american union of american congregations, all to the leadership issued stern ammunitions to the public to something extraordinary was happening in the constitutional governments and they had to be addressed. in our coaches briefly from a letter issued by the president
6:33 am
of the national council of churches in the general secretary on the occasion of the saturday night massacre in eye of hoarding. the dismissal of special prosecutor archibald cox, will present to the nation with a moral crisis of highest magnitude and one which demands a response. and this is one of the number of plays we can look in the watergate. and see the country come together slowly but surely and recognizing that a moment to reckon with the conflicts in a country has occurred is critical to have a significant program. so what occurred the reform program was the series of years from 1974 - 1978 or 1979 reform program session number of areas of concern about the institutional presidency did take place in some of these
6:34 am
reforms tapped into a reform movement that had been expanded for some time for and there is some debate if they really related to watergate an example would be regulation of exams pretty campaign act of 1974 in the amendment to plenty 74 to the core statute that had been passed in 1971. and it is true of course that over the period of time, the democrats in very large majorities in the congress. the 95th congress from 1974 - 1978 and also 1979 and the democrats had the majority is really actually didn't shift in the other direction until the reckon election in the congressional successes of 1980. having said that, you can even have strong democratic presence in the congress as this will reason why these reforms were passed. they were by partisan and something had to be done even if there were disagreements in the details.
6:35 am
the me give you examples by contemporary standards might seem workable. the ethics in government in the wake of watergate was provided among other things for the independent counsel let down that torturous road to the special tax regulations that we have today in the personal finances requirements. in the measures that were enacted by the president and vice president and members of congress, past the house in about a conference bill by a margin of 37623 and passes in the senate by a margin of 74 - five. in the federal excuse me, the surveillance act designed to address the question of the government in the name of national security to conduct electronic surveillance on the american soil for the u.s. citizens. located in the united states, that reform though wasn't without controversy for a number
6:36 am
of reasons and omission pass a science entrance senate 95 - one in the house of representatives passed it ultimately to 66 - 176 and there was a little here tatian in the house over amendments to the process that the senators rejected all the way through so there was institutional noise there and also how far to bind the president to evolve upon a special court rated and is established of that statute would nonetheless you see this really remarkable margin of support for it no mention one more having to do with president nixon's attempt to refuse to send money to congress that the money enacted into law created the act of 1974 of the past in the senate by 75 - zero margin and that was after the senate passed the amended measure by margin of 80 - zero in the past the house 401 - six. so where are we today, nowhere near that. we have significant stalling of
6:37 am
this argument over reform that ought to be taking place, coming together around reform not to be taken place because this issue in a polarized policies the like so many they were dealing with has become polarized so gradually that even when having on january 6, has been subject to new competing narratives about what really happened, when it really was an insurrection or simply a collection of people who out of curiosity seekers who got out of control read and we see of course this debate taking place in a number of contacts and paralyzing when a partisan basis and i think realizes were having this conversation today in the day that the senate is attempting to vote under presidential, a political reform statute. in the house and who does have elements of executive branch reforms but is also concerning
6:38 am
many things like campaign finance reforms. voting rights act reform, and that of course, been complete partisan deadlock. a huge amount of talk about whether or not the democrats as a result of going to be compelled to challenge a filibuster if it attempted to condemn. or overall or for limited purposes and yet we can take and this is what jack and i tried to do in the book, we can think of ways of designing reform and even if they do not have each political party what it means is absolutely required, would provide some pieces for momentum in this battle in just in the voting reform for a minute and this is not a topic that we address in our book, we know now president of the united states, the vice president of the united states once ought to be capacity, disregard the electoral act in an attempt to send a vote back.
6:39 am
when the state legislatures would simply disregard that tally. and enacted in 1887, that is in desperate need of revision so that this kind of things cannot be made in the future and one income the golden rule is articulated to be truthfully followed and even the rules of government on impeachment process. we've had a good number and the biden excuse me, in the trump years and then of course the trump and trent nixon impeachment, it's clear enter institutional reforms in the senate that could make them be much more effective body to consider articles of impeachment, actually the house more effective body and bringing them to the senate and the senate more effective in considering them. we think however the court areas and we mentioned this in the book and jack touch on the much of this, there are ways that the reforms can be designed that
6:40 am
address requirement that neither party can keep the other one of writing a in his own narrow partisan self-interest. and there are some priorities, some have developed since we wrote our book like transition reform and others as jack mentioned by making clear that the president is subject to obstruction of justice in a popular design statutory reform are making it clear what the boundaries are the political abuse of the pardon power and we think these are the forms that can be addressed and there are others congress actually have a bipartisan interest in the area of war powers and steps have been taken to begin to for example, consider revealing authorization of the use of military force. passed by the congress to address the situation in iraq many years ago in many believe the basis for presidential will be on the congress never
6:41 am
intended in enacting that predict so the question is are we able to do that and i think the time is now if we don't allow this form to pass by when a democratic president who's indicated they feel strongly about institutional capacities and institutional norms and then he will institutional reforms already express support on the more power reform for measures to restore the independence of the department of justice having the present at the end of the day to pass sign rather than veto is and we should not allow this moment to pass. i also think at some point that even if we discount some of the extreme crimes made in the former president trumps of the political party come there are republicans who do recognize that this can go both ways and this is the fundamental issue of constitutional governance and putting the president beyond a constitutionally accountable basis.
6:42 am
that's critically important and one that ought to command the support of both political parties. if it is to be had, again it goes to the question of how these reforms are designed and that's why the opening chapters and commas the book about the approach we took, is so important in understanding what we're trying to accomplish and let me close by saying that we think that there's huge in danger that we could face this problem again and that fears that materialize in the interest of the trump administration could materialize again in the future presidents with good attempt to maybe more effectively even more than trump to test the norms and boundaries and constitutional boundaries in a way that trump professed he wanted to do it many times attempted to deal. therefore we should not be and we have been encouraged to continue following the writing of this book to do more with the
6:43 am
advocacy reforms in a more formal structured way in this what we are going to do and we just need support from a number of different directions and talking about it publicly soon. we think this is something that does require systematic attention during the period of time that will passes by four not careful. >> let me encourage everybody who has yet to post their questions in the q&a, we have a few. i'll go ahead and ask the question now. there is room for more questions. a couple of these questions speak to bob at the point you were just making about how to get around the existing - and i will read them and you can talk further about that.
6:44 am
mike says, how can we make these reforms when one party is intent on accepting most if not all of donald trump's bad actions and susan, knows their is an assault by elected officials to attack democracy with republicans doing everything they can to stop americans who don't vote their way of voting with minimal interference from the democrats, how can change happen. now it is a huge segment of america become more hopeful again. >> thank you. i'm a democrat and i probably would judge it from the questions, share a lot of the views that the individual is asking about. i was a senior advisor in my portfolio included voting rights in 2022 the biden campaign has been a huge amount of my time
6:45 am
and in litigation and other measures how to protect the right to vote in 2029 strong views on this topic and i've held them for many years and so i'm confident that even my calling to mind could disagree about who is responsible for supporting which argument in this debate and i certainly am clearly on the side to those who think that we need more access and more protected access for the voters. and that they are really seriously legally flawed morally flawed in many ways that i've addressed. and what i think in the project i'm also working on this with voting rights but the project to project working on north and reform again that method lee, you don't pursue them, they may not get you everything you are looking for in areas with a party or most divided but you
6:46 am
can find some ground of agreement. and agree some examples of the voting rights, jack and i found writing the book together. there are pathways to some reforms. if you get some of it done, if you are able to do one statute for example this thoughtfully designed way, you are able to curb the pardon power in a way that is consistent with the constitutional requirements. and really reviving more more aggressively challenged by trump in the legal boundaries and the abuses, they may not be everything you are looking for in democracy but it's a very important start i give you one last example the voting rights area, i'm working with republican sale and a sense of election officials. and they need to be provided the support is not getting it from the state legislature is more of a principal of victimize and assailants. in a finding republicans for flat and working with those
6:47 am
republicans. and i just think we have to be very thoughtful about how to find this pathos and accomplish something in the nature of reform to again achieve momentum in that direction. >> jeff, i think your commute. it. >> there are many problems and issues in our constitutional democracy in many channels might be appropriate including the presidency and what is electoral reform, we discussed that in this book, that is a huge topic. and another is a form of congress. you might think that a lot of the problems with the two powerful non- norm compliant president is that congress has not been exercising his constitutional responsibilities. we focus on our proposals that a road most of which became clear
6:48 am
during the trump years. with focus on the backend and a populist demagogue and the president elected. [inaudible]. and we haven't seen it yet but there are reasons to think that our republicans do support some of these proposals they made some of these proposals in congress and a lot of the proposals especially the ones that we prioritize, are ones for which there was a bipartisan consensus for 50 years. the hope is that you put these reforms forward with a democrat is in office, that's an unusual situation that they have a democrat he might be president, might be willing to accept these constraints, that you are able to grab off some of that earlier consensus among enough republicans to make this a reality. i'll acknowledge that if these reforms are anti- trump reforms, and the closer we get to the next president's election, and the closer we get to trump,
6:49 am
maybe declaring that he will run, gets harder and harder. but that's why reform is urgent that this be done quickly. these are issues that have been bipartisan for decades. it is reason to think that it may be possible again on some of these issues. let me tell sally question, it seems to me in order to avoid another trump and taking office we need to fix the process that allowed him to win the nomination. haley fix that problem, trump should've never made it to the mansion. you want to take a whack at that. >> i've done a lot of work on and through the nominating process through this country to say is flawed, is an
6:50 am
understatement. we could have ten of these programs to discuss and and barely scratch the surface. in which we choose nothing the party she was even, that the voters register with the parties and participating the primaries choose to be choosing these nominees for president. many mature how to get a handle on this because there are so many aspects of it that are problematic and as you know, the parties have lost control nominating process name outsourced responsibility in many respects. and also the responsibility for the presidential debates and to the news media. they had an opportunity for example in july in cleveland, to try to block the trump who would never been in republican and imposed a real threat.
6:51 am
and had an opportunity to put the nomination into question. i didn't take it. the parties did not believe that it could institutionally to have the capacity to make that decision. this is a tough topic and i sympathize with the questioners complexity because it's a reason why frankly, there's no reason in the world to doubt that a politician like donald trump as we said before, maybe 70 clever and more effective in pursuing could not make it through the nominating process again. >> mic has just posted another question. how can we reform the pardon power without a constitutional amendment. >> so as i alluded to, it's hard and you can't have the pardon
6:52 am
powers are very broad the supreme court has described it in very expansive terms. and most of trump's self-serving politically self-serving pardons, you can't reform by statue because the constitution allowed the president to make political self-serving pardons however, we are confident in the study of executive branch in looking at the legal precedents that while you cannot stop a president from pardoning whoever you want, congress can criminalize the pardon while not in any way affecting the presence we departed, you can make it a crime for the president to pardon in exchange for a bribe. or in exchange for an obstruction of justice. in article two hardliners like for example bill barr has suggested that this can be done, week's player detail in the book
6:53 am
that wife we thank you so not a burden and allows the pardon to go through but it's a regulation of the consequences of the motivation behind it. it can provide a challenge reason to think so in the executive. nothing in the supreme court that rules out. i saw some duck argument. but more importantly missing one more thing for almost certainly never be tested in court and is the kind of thinking this is important to understand, laws like this can inform the behavior the executive branch officials even if they think it is never going to be enforced. this one's trump subordinates didn't go after meal muller, they were worried about obstruction of justice themselves in the statute looks like this, can dissuade president from committing abuses pardons and certainly what would be illegal under the statutory scheme even if it is never
6:54 am
enforced. >> another question asked whether you discussed the department of justice brought policy prevents president from being indicted. to participate or it could be modified. >> , and i have a little bit of a disagreement on this. i'll let bob speak for himself i think that opinion was probably correct and i think that bob has some problems with the opinion. in the book we assume the validity of the opinion but is quite confirmed by the department. maybe for administration in the 1970s and then again at the end of the clinton administration and our proposals assume the continuing validity of that executive in a let bob speak to this but it is something that could be overturned, is just all it takes is that justice department to decide is no longer going to be
6:55 am
part of the lawn the justice department a strong role. and this is an issue on which we look at twice but it's conceivable that they would change it. i don't know what the administration plans are on it. bob do you have thousand that. bob: i don't know, i do have an opinion. the prison if these facing impeachment in criminal investigation, and that in and of itself they were wrong but i am concerned about the way they were obstructed and i think that we now have a problem, jack and i discussed this in the book, we have a difference of opinion on this on the one hand people assume that the president is in office and he or she cannot be prosecuted can be investigated but not prosecuted. when they leave office, there's
6:56 am
this general sense and a little bit of sort of a wave or aftermath of the pardon that is divisive for one administration to prosecute more so than another administration prayed that perhaps a better reason is just not to do it. and jack points out in the book that he's not arguing that conduct prior to becoming president for prosecution, not arguing that any prosecutions are thought to be suspended. the concern that i think we debated the book is the concern some have with an administration prior administration and making a concerted effort to determine whether laws were broken and on this basis on the former president. we create the diversions they might in some cases be
6:57 am
particularly divisive and dangerous for example the prosecutions were more successful. and maybe they have been vindicated and i tend to be more willing to take that risk and jack would be. i think that we have to start rethinking the what we mean and what is he mean. ... ... in writing this a book, and to the extent that you did, were the differences moreover say the analysis of the problem and identifying there is a problem, or were the differences over or do they tend to be over solutions? >> i guess it's in the first instance. let me say i've written five or
6:58 am
six books and have had several co-authors and it was a joy to write this book. it was a learning process for both of us. we didn't know each other that well when we started to write it or have a full sentence of each other's views and we both went into it with open mindedness to the others argument. we went back and forth on a whole bunch of issues and it's fair to say we were open to the other's arguments. we ended up agreeing almost 99% on everything really and firmly, really agreeing with each other on the right way forward. the issue we had a disagreement was more of a fundamental theoretical or philosophical difference with which one bob was mentioning not the availability of one administration prosecuting a prior president for his actions in office, but as bob said, i took a much darker view about whether that would be the thing
6:59 am
for the country and the current department investigating the acts and office of the prior president to see if the prior president committed crimes. that's an issue on which we had a degree of emphasis and that was it. on everything else, we were able to reach consensus, bob. is that right? >> i just want to reciprocate and say i haven't had experiences as i can remember than i had writing this book with jack and both of us did come into it with an open mind and spend long days when we were able to get together and stretches on the phone and by e-mail talking things through with an openness to the argument on the other side and i think at the end of the day i never looked back and thought any of
7:00 am
the compromises or agreements to be reached represented any sort of a surrender of a basic principle to reach an agreement. we found ourselves in agreement in the position we were about to adopt was the correct position so it was very rewarding in that respect. a. >> one more thing very briefly and one thing we did disagree on one of our friends that read the book said we flushed out that disagreement in the book one thing is this and one is that. somebody suggested we take that out but we believed it was important to keep that in in the spirit with which we approached these issues so there are four or five pages we respectfully disagree with one another. a. >> we have time for one more question from the audience and one from sandra who asks about
7:01 am
what proposals for reform do you make for the subpoena that is being honored? bob, do you want to take that or do you want me to do it? >> could go for it. we would pick up on a proposal and have some modifications. the basic idea is the way the power works, let me back up and say the legal issues surrounding the ability to subpoena these are not subtle issues or clear in the law. trump's resistance is not unlike prior president's resistance. it's a perennial separation of power. some may have been more aggressive but the president has a huge advantage because the president can resist a subpoena,
7:02 am
litigate for years and run out the clock which is more or less what trump did. so the proposal, and it isn't unique to us, the fast tracked judicial separation of powers that doesn't let years go by for it to get to the supreme court to resolve these issues but in a very short period of time, months not years so we can have if the president won't have the advantage of inertia, not turning over the information. there's a danger to this that we mentioned it isn't at all clear in these clashes that the congress is going to prevail. and so, speeding up the clock might lead to a quicker resolution that leads to the outcome we like but we still think it's important to kind of take this running of the clock tower out of the presidency to diminish that and that's what we proposed with a few bells and
7:03 am
whistles. that brings us to the end. so much to do and not only have you done a service describing the damage done but your own teamwork has set a useful example in bipartisanship that remains rare in the national politics these days. it's encouraging to hear that you will be working on a follow-on project together. a. >> thank you for having me. it's a pleasure. thank you very much. >> to everyone watching, a reminder you can find a link in the chat column for purchasing copies after trump from all of us here at politics and prose, stay well and well
7:04 am
♪♪ c-span: 20 years ago on september 11, 2001, two large commercial airliners flew into the world trade buildings in new york city. 2,763 people lost their lives. a few minutes later, american airlines flight 77 crashed into the pentagon, killing a total of 189 people. a fourth plane, united 93,

14 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on