tv [untitled] February 29, 2016 7:01pm-8:00pm EST
at washingtonpost.com, this is the headline. the improegs of donald trump's candidacy has arrived. joining us is robert costa. thank you for being with us. >> great to join you. >> any time you have the first sentence of the story including the word implosion and questions of the republican leadership, whether they come together this republican year, spells trouble for the gop. can you explain? >> it's a significant as historic moment within the republican party. unlike anything i have seen in the post-george w. bush era. total chaos and division between the grassroots conservatives who are backing donald trump, who unhappy about illegal immigration and the more elite side of the party, the establishment elected officials and donors who are horrified at the trump asen den sy and now at
odds with each other deep into the presidential prostecess and we're watching in realtime as a major american political party imploeds on itself. >> we covered senator marco rubio joined by governor nikki haley saying that the candidacy of donald trump is scary and yet over the weekend the endorsement by alabama senator jeff sessions in madison, alabama, supporting donald trump. are some admitting that he is the presumptionive nominee? >> the endorsement is significant because he is the heart and soul of the populous and very much in line with trump's own position, more strike i was the recent endorsement of new jersey governor chris christie of trump and he is one of several mayor establishment figures, more centrist part of the party that's gravitating towards trump.
the key question for many -- top republicans right now is how to handle the trump phenomenon. some say it's the future of the party and might as well get behind it. understand it. and maybe even support trump. others say it will totally tear the party apart if trump wins the nomination and like senator rubio who i covered here today, he vowed to fight until the end of the nomination process to try to stop trump and also seen a sitting u.s. senator, senator of nebraska, saying he won't back trump if he win it is nomination. it is just a brawl that's unlike anything i have seen. >> and the rubio superpac out with a new ad late today using the words of donald trump, the interview yesterday on cnn's "state of the union" with jake tapper and donald trump would not refute the endorsement of david duke and talk about him as a former grand wizard of the kkk. trump said he disavow his
association. is donald trump the teflon candidate and nothing seems to stick? >> he's been the teflon candidate for nearly a year. i mean, ever since he started flirting with the presidential bid last spring he said so many things to usually doom a national candidate and not only survived but thrived and trump insisted he disavowed duke last week at a news conference and since then but because he waivered on sunday some establishment foes of trump sense an opportunity, an opportunity to attack trump as someone far too close to racist elements and former kkk leaders like david duke but it just doesn't seem to be sticking to the uncon veengsal candidate. >> let's talk not only about tomorrow but march 15th, if the polls are accurate, senator cruz wins his home state of texas but early polling showing senator marco rubio behind donald trump.
if senator rubio does not win his home state in two weeks, does this mean he's out of this race? >> it likely means he's in a very difficult position. rubio people believe that he can accumulate enough delegates to fight on to a convention in the summer in cleveland. but rubio eventually likely has to win some states and the problem for rubio and cruz is that they're both countering each other. there's a thought in the cruz camp if cruz wins texas he will stay in the race and fight on. and rubio winning florida will do the same and they both haven't really been able to storm forward and assert themselves as the chief trump foe. but i think more pressure on super tuesday is on cruz. he has to win texas and more than just a couple points to assert himself in the race. >> where does that put ohio governor john kasich? hoping to pick off wins in massachusetts and vermont
tomorrow. >> the kasich candidacy got a jolt out of new hampshire by coming in second but ever since then it's kind of floated away. kasich is putting all of the chips on the home state of ohio and the pathway for kasich according to people close to him is if rubio for some reason unable to win florida march 15th, kasich finds a way to win ohio the same day, he can make the case to the party center, the establishment, he is more viable, able to win a state and rubio has not been able to do so. if that's the way it unfolds. it's a three tiered, three dimensional chess match going on. each candidate contingent on the other. >> the senate ploin leader mcconnell to look at this with an alarm and such a narrow majority in the u.s. senate right now and a number of key states, ohio, pennsylvania, new
hampshire, minnesota where republican senators are on tough re-election battles. >> the map is a looking more gloomy for the day for senate republicans and especially considering that many of the current incumbents elected in 2010 and that was a tea party way for the gop and in states like pennsylvania, with pat too many too many my they're almost blue if not purple and went for republicans by narrow margins in a very republican year and now in a presidential election year and democratic turnout is traditionally higher, the fact that toomey and kirk would survive and weather a trump nomination created a lot of depression in capitol hill and some of the offices i stopped by earlier this week. there's a thought if trump moves forward, the gop has to disavow him or the candidates try to adopt some of the trump policies
to copy the populism. >> finally, the implosion over donald trump's candidacy, how did that come about? >> implosion means a collapse inward, a collapse upon itself. and when you look at the republican party, it is not exploding. it is not going everywhere and collateral damage across the country and parties. you are seeing a civil war, a political civil war and implosion and all of these structures that have been built since george w. bush was president and during the obama era, this kind of keeping the base at bay and also stoking the republican base to get turnout in 2010 and 2015 and solid relationship between the grassroots and the conservative establishment, that is all kind of breaking apart, imploding. that's what we're watching right now as trump moves forward and
everyone else is reacting some in horror. >> more details at washingtonpost.com. robert costa, thank you for being with us. we appreciate it. >> thank you. ♪ today's supreme court justice clarence thomas broke a ten-year silence, the court heard oral argument of gun rights. justice thomas has been known not to ask questions in oral arguments, unlike the rest of his colleagues. he served as an associate justice since 1991. the supreme court was the topic on this morning's "washington journalment" our guest talked about the implications of recent death of justice antonin scalia. >> joining us to discuss the
senate and its role in choosing the next member of the supreme court is mike debonis of "washington post," a congressional reporter. good morning. >> good morning. thank you, pedro. >> what's the senate's general mood standing today of the selection of a supreme court nominee? >> i mean, really we haven't seen much change since last week where we have the republican leadership and virtually every senate republican say, mr. president, it's a hopeless cause. don't bother nominating a nominee. we are not going to take that person up. some people went so far to say we won't have a courtesy meeting. so since then, you know, not a lot has changed, although there have been, you know, sort of maneuverings in the background and everyone's sort of gaming out the various scenarios and whether, you know, mitch mcconnell and the rest of the republicans in the senate will have the resolve to blockade whoever president obama ends up
nominating. >> play out the scenarios then. what might happen in this process? >> well, you know, i think that, you know, the democrats sort of have a nose under the camel's tent sort of attitude towards this if we can just get a hearing, if we can get -- you know, if we can just take that first step and then we'll go from there. and i think for instance right now you saw last week on wednesday harry reid the minority leader taking a pretty hard run at charles grassley, the chairman of the judiciary committee i would say walking up to the line of impugning his integrity and his legacy as a senator having spent more than 30 years in congress and i think that there's some sense that if you can sort of shame chuck grassley into holding a hearing that might work. the other issue is, you know, they see this as becoming a huge
political liability for republicans. you know, the incumbent republican senators up for re-election this year and there is some sense that if they can sort of chip away at -- in those races and make it clear that, you know, they're threatening the majority by pursuing the strategy that mitch mcconnell might relent somewhere down the road. >> is that a real pressure point at this point? >> that's what they're working with right now. you know? they have to, you know, they have to apply pressure somehow. they have to test the resolve and, you know, those are ways, obvious ways to do that. >> the senate and the supreme court, that's the topic of discussion. if you want to ask questions, 202-748-8001 for republicans. democrats 8000. independents 202-748-8002. joined by mike debonis "the washington post."
let's hear from senator grassley in response to senator reid and listen to what he had to say and get your thoughts on it. >> sure. >> now, the biden rules are very clear. my friend from delaware did a wonderful job of laying out the history and providing many of the very sound reasons for these biden rules. and they boil down simply to two fundamental points. first, the president should exercise restraint and, quote, not name a nominee until after the november election is completed. end of quote. and as i said on monday, president lincoln, a pretty good role model for this practice. or stated differently, the president should let the people decide. but if the president chooses not to follow president lincoln's
model, but instead, as chairman biden said, quote, goes a way of ph philmore and johnson, and presses, then the senate shouldn't consider the nomination and shouldn't hold hearings. it doesn't matter, quote, how good a person is nominated by the president. end of quote. or stated plainly, it's the princip principle. not the person that matters. >> so there's the response. talk about the response and the influence of joe biden on this? >> senator republicans best friend on this issue, ironically. when senator grassley refers to the biden rules, what he's referring to is a speech that joe biden gave when he was chairman of the senate judiciary committee in 1992. he was addressing an issue then,
of course, in an election year, but there was a hypothetical. there was a thought that perhaps harry blackman would retire that year and there could be a vacancy in an election year. that didn't end up happening but joe biden addressed the possibility and he made a very unequivocal statement which was, you know, i as chairman of the judiciary committee do not believe that president george h.w. bush should in this election year make a nomination and if he does i am -- i believe he said we should seriously consider were his words that the committee should not hold hearings on that nominee. so, obviously, that's republicans today see it as a perfectly amalagous situation and quote the words back to anybody that suggest they owe president obama's nominee consideration. and the democrats have in turn said, well, you know, that was a hypothetical.
we're talking about an actual vacancy and this is not a planned vacancy or a justice engaging in a political maneuver. this is somebody who died in office. this is an unexpected vacancy and this really is not the same. >> calling it a rule, it's not technically a rule. >> a rule in the sense that, you know, somebody said it, somebody said it a little more than 20 years ago and thus we must, you know -- there's just been such a back and forth of precedents and everyone's pointing -- everyone has someone in the record to point to, you know, going back in many cases to the civil war so it's really been a battle of which piece out of the history book do you want to pick and choose and wrap your case around? in this case, this is one of the most recent cases. >> we are talking about the senate and its role in choosing a supreme court nominee. first call is john from virginia beach, virginia.
democrats' line. you're on with our guest. go ahead. >> reporte . >> caller: good morning. my question is whether the -- believe that the republicans will stick with this given it appear that is donald trump is going to win the republican nomination and that mitch mcconnell said if that happens, the party would drop him like a hot rock and then deal with hilary and the nomination. i don't understand why mitch mcconnell would rather deal with the -- face the risk of dealing with hilary and liberal justice than obama now and perhaps more moderate justice. >> right. and that's an excellent question. you know, that's something you can game out a number of different ways. i think there's been a lot of speculation if hillary clinton is elected president that there would certainly be some thought that the obama nominee might get consideration in a lame duck session after the election.
mitch mcconnell and the republicans might make the calculation if president obama does nominate someone who's, you know, fairly moderate or doesn't have a particularly political record that may be the best they're going to do. of course, there's the added complication that if, you know, mitch mcconnell loses the senate majority in the election and i think that there's -- if donald trump ends up being the nominee, the general feeling is that if that happens, the likelihood of republicans losing the senate majority goes up. and in that case, then, you know, then democrats have to make a decision. do they allow a confirmation vote on obama's nominee or think they can do better under president clinton? i think that's unlikely. i think that they would probably jump at the chance to nominate
president obama's -- excuse me, confirm president obama's justice whenever they get the chance. but there's a lot of different ways this could go. >> bob lives in oxford, pennsylvania, independent line. hi. >> caller: good morning. and thank you for c-span. i watch you regular and i think it's one of the best shows on television. my thing is, it's the law. it's in the constitution. that the president that's in office at that time has every right to nominate a judge in a vacancy. i've called my senator toomey and told him that he put his hand on the bible and swore to uphold the constitution and that constitution says that the president has the right. and if -- and my thinking is the democrats should actually go to the supreme court with this case if they don't give obama the right to at least nominate his
man. the bible says to say something that's right is wrong and something that is wrong is right is right on the nail. and god bless america and thank you so much. >> it's a great comment. you know, the republicans would say in response to that, yes, the constitution says the president has the right to nominate but it also gives us the right to provide advice and consent and can withhold that consent. when's interesting about your comment, bob, you are an independent and in pennsylvania which is a -- not only a swing state in the presidential race but senator toomey as you mentioned is up for re-election this year and i think that he is definitely one of those senators who is possibly going to be feeling a lot of heat if he maintains this posture and i think that democrats will do everything they can to heighten
that pressure and they certainly want independents like you to be calling their senators and i think that the way the republicans handle this is going to depend a lot on how independents and even republicans react to this continued blockade. >> 8001, for republicans. if you want to call on this topic. 202-748-8000 democrats. from arkansas, ken up next on the democrats line. good morning. >> caller: yes. good morning, c-span. how are you all? >> fine, thanks. go ahead. >> caller: yes. my name's ken and i live over here in district 6 in jackson county and we have been trying for 16 years straight to get something done about the, you know, water we have and the chemicals in here. there's been several people tried to get something done. they have been blocked just like
us. we've actually lost two children in the process of these chemicals. we tried senators, representatives, they've tried their back. >> you may be calling in regard to the last topic. we have moved on to the supreme court. >> caller: yeah. that's what i'm saying. people tried could never get through and we have blocked to get there and what they're saying is that they're basically blocking them from getting even any further and just, you know, ignoring the whole process. >> gotcha. thanks. talk about the role of public opinion. >> sure. that is one of the wild cards that's going to depend whether -- really going to influence whether republicans can stick with the position they have staked out. if they -- if it gets to be april, may, june and, you know, we're, you know, the presidential race is settled and attention is turning toward the
senate races and this is -- you know, this has the potential to be the number one issue that these incumbents get asked about on a daily basis by reporters in the hometown and by us up on capitol hill and if they, you know, if they get sick of answering the question, you know, they may be, you know, nudging mitch mcconnell to say have a hearing, at least let us take a vote. like we know we're probably not -- we're not going to confirm the person but we have to show we're doing our jobs and, you know, or, you know, or else, you know, we're -- you're hanging us out to fly dry here in an election year. >> larry, chicago, illinois, independent line. >> caller: good morning. how are you? >> terrific. >> caller: one of my thoughts is that we should look to what judge scalia would have thought about this. if he thought the constitution was so prevailing then the president has a duty to
nominate. the senate has a duty to advise and consent. if the senate fails to do their job, then the president should wait 67 days and normal amount of time it takes for a party to have a hearing and get a vote, and then he should appoint, using the power that he has under the constitution. and let the courts then reach a decision. two years from now whether or not his decision to make the appointment when the congress froze and they did nothing. >> it's certainly an interesting comment. the way you framed it, what would justice scalia do, is an interesting way to think about it. i don't know that justice scalia ever contemplated this particular scenario. but, you know, the plain reading of the clause in question says that the presidential -- the
preside president shall advise with the justices. it's not clear if a president nominates in t s and the senates to act. of course, there's the -- if you admit that's a constitutional question that could be settled by the judiciary, you know, you have basically the supreme court -- you are saying that the supreme court would basically be engaged in this question of who would be -- who would become one of their members. and i think that -- i think the court would be reluctant to do that. you know, and i think that -- i'm not a lawyer, but i know that there are very significant questions of standing and sort of judicial -- whether this could be litigated. i don't see it heading in that direction. it doesn't mean that, you know,
if we get far enough down this road and neither party has moved much and that turns out to be something people look at, but it's certainly an interesting thought experiment at this point. >> from time to time the senate goes into recess, could the president appoint someone during that recess to the court? >> if they formally went into recess, they could. but i think the general understanding in fact -- the senate majority whip indicated to us that it's almost -- they are almost certain to stay in sessions to avoid going into the sort of recess where president obama could make a recess appointment. i think -- you can pretty much bet your paycheck on that, that the senate is not going to go into recess in such a way that would allow the president to take action like that. >> from arizona, democrat line, ernie is up next. good morning.
you are on with our guest. >> caller: good morning. my question is more to the senate itself. it seems not do anything. they don't show up for work most of the time. what i'm trying to find out is if this is the wrong way to do it, does it -- does doing it wrong every time make it wrong or right? come on with -- let's do our job. let's read our job description and get done what we need to get done here. don't you agree? or do you disagree? thank you. >> i agree that this is really already in an election -- any election year, it's tough to get big things done because of the political stakes and the way that everything is viewed through the election year lens. i think that justice scalia's death has sort of heightened that to a degree no one really anticipated. and it made it that much more unlikely that any of the things
that were even possibly in the cue to get done are going to get done. we were talking about things like criminal justice reform, an faa reauthorization, doing prepatiprep ati appropriations bills. the moment we learned of justice scalia's passing, the chances of any or all of those things happening declined that much more just given the stakes of the supreme court nomination fight, confirmation fight, and the way that influences just the attitudes and the way the body is going to function this year. >> senator grassley mentioned joe biden. they talk about president obama when he was a senator talking about the issue, referencing a 2007 speech. baker writes that he argued the senate had ever right to block it by filibuster. it behooves a president and
benefits our democracy to find moderate nominees. he goes on to talk about that influence. >> that's just another example of all the little bits and pieces that people have said over the year that are now being re-visited. in some cases thrown back into the face by members of the other party. you know, i think that the republicans would certainly be right to point to that and say, listen, you said it yourself that we need to tread carefully on these sorts of issues. i think democrat would say, well, there's some key differences. he wasn't saying what's let's not confirm anybody in an election year. he said let's couldn't firm moderates. let's not put forward any -- anyone who can be considered extreme.
and i think he was referencing in that particular quote a lower court judgeship, district and circuit court judgeships rather than the supreme court. i think the democrats have since -- in the past couple weeks have really tried to make the argument that the supreme court is different, that it is such an important part of our democracy that we cannot abide having a vacancy in that slot for a year or more, possibly a year and a half, and that the senate should be obligated to take action on the president's nominee. >> covers congress for "t wahe washington post." also worked at the washington city paper.
let's hear from ed in ohio, republican line. ed, you are on the air. go ahead. >> caller: i belong to the republican party. don't necessarily support them. i'm a 1787 republican. my two questions are, people who don't know our history are doomed to repeat the same problems. a 10-year-old would have known this 100 years ago. in five words or less, why is the liberty bell called the liberty bell? number two is, in our constitution, what is the only form of government guaranteed, and why do you keep calling us a democracy since it's never mentioned? i would like to see if he knows the answers? >> why don't you reference a specific question to the supreme court before we get him to answer? >> caller: if he doesn't know the basic history of our country, his bias will be in how he reports what congress can do. if he doesn't know how our founders founded this country,
he doesn't know how to ask the questions. if he doesn't know what a 10-year-old would have known 100 years ago, why should i believe anything he says? >> sure. i mean, i'm certainly aware of the distinction between direct democracy and republican democracy. i'm interested to hear from ed, you know, what he thinks of -- he again is in one much those states, ohio, that is -- has an incumbent republican senator who is facing re-election this year, rob portman. has staked out -- he is now in lockstep with the leadership of the senate. and he is someone who is facing intense pressure if the status quo persists for much longer. >> he was one of those people. mark kirk of illinois wrote this when he talked about the idea. he said i recognize the right of the president to place before a senate nominee for the supreme court. i fully expect to look forward to president obama advancing a
nominee for the senate to consider. he had a tough race. we talk about how long this coalition can hold together to keep this from happening. you see fracturing going on because of the races and because of what else might happen. >> that's the big question. mark kirk is one of the only two who has said we need to at least have hearings. susan collins of maine the other senator who said that. i think a lot of us have been surprised that senator aiot in particular was very forthright and very unequivocal early on in saying, i'm with mitch mcconnell. we cannot act on this president's nominee. we have to let the people decide through this presidential election what sort of supreme court justice they want to see. rob portman i think wasn't quite as out front and unequivocal.
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