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tv   Firing Line With Margaret Hoover  PBS  June 28, 2019 11:30pm-12:00am PDT

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>>kis one of the highest-ranng house democrats,veryone wants to know what he thinks about impeachment, this week on "firing line." >> america's greatness is not because we are more enlightened than any oth country but because we've always been able to repair our ults. >> serving his 14th term in congress, jim clyburn is a leader in the people's house and a poteial kingmaker in the key state of south carolina. >> tonight, 22 democratic presidential candidates are in stthe crucial early primare of south carolina for congressman jim clyburn's rld-famous fish fry. >> as clyburn welcomes the democratic candidates to his home state, he is vowing not to endors but some say he's already made his preference clear. >> he has ght years of experience as vice president. he was in the senate for such a long time. i think it would be a mistake r us to go to this primary and not having the benefit of his
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wisdom. clyburn is also not shy to express his feelings about the president. >> this man d his family are the greatest threats to democracy of my lifetime. >> but after saying impeachment proceengs were inevitable, he backtracked and got in line with nancy pelosi. what does jim clyburn say now? >> "firing line withargaret hoover" is made possible by... additional funding is provided by... corporate funding is provided by... ...and by... >> representative jim clyburn, welcome back to "firing line." >> thank you so much for having me back. >> you're the majority house whip, the number 3 in there house of rntatives.
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more than 25 years representing south carolina's 6th dtrict. >> right. >> there is a rift, it seems to me, in t democratic party between the old guard and the progressive activists in the tybase of the democratic p it is the old guard that's in leadership... >> yeah. >> ...that is taking a more tempered approach to impeachment. and even though impeachment is the galvanizing, energizing sort of policy choice of the thrust of your caucus... so, how are you gonna deliver for the democratic electorate that swept you back into power in last november? >> the vast majority of democratic electorate right nowi is nfavor of impeachment. so, nancy pelosi is exactly where the majority of the democratic vote now, there significant number of people in our caucus who are pro-impeachment. i understand that.
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you don't have to be unanimous, but you need to be unified. and we'll never be unanimous on this question, rig? we have not gotten to the point yet where we are unifiedn the question of impeachment, and that's what nancy pelosi's rking on, and i'm pleased to help her try to get there. >> earlier this moh, you actually made a bit of news saying that you believed that president trump ll eventually be impeached. >> what nancy pelosi is trying to do and the rest of usn the house of representatives is to develop a process by which we can efficiently move on this issue so that when we get to a vote, it wld be something that she calls "iron-clad," i call "effective." and that is why we're trying to take our times and do this right. >> but it sounds like you think that the president will be impeached at least proceedings will begin in the house at some point but just not right now. >> yes, exactly what i feel. oh, i remember it very well.
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and he asked me "or," and it may be my fault that i did not call him on that. he didn't say "and." hekaid, "looks as if you th he will be impeached or significant investigation will take place to get there," and i said, "exactly what i think." >> you believe that anen impeacinquiry is likely to happen. >> absolutely. >> nancy pelosi had also said, "look, i don't --" i'm gonna paraphrase, that she'l not necessin favor of impeachment, but she wants to see him in prison. >> laughs ] >> now, do you agree with that? >> yeah, i think nancy was sort of getting the caucus off herba a little bit. you know, i'm not too sure that that's something i would say. i won't express what my real feelings are. ss>> you don't want to exp what your feelings are? >> i don't want to express what my real feelings are. >> so, is that a no, you don't think he should be in prison? >> no, that's not what that is.
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that's just, uh... it's something i don't want to talk about. >> you did say that you thought that he should be indicted for obstruction ofustice. >> well, he would've been. i think that is very clear from mueller's report. he seems to have laid out 10, 11, maybe even 12 instances where obstruction of justice could be considered. he made it very clear in his press conference that they could not get to a point of saying that president trump was not guilty of committing the crime. and he says, "if he cove absolved him, we would have." and the mere fact that he couldn't have means that they uld not get to where the wanted to be. >> if you believe that, then why not pursue impeachment?e >> when me comes, maybe that's what we'll do. but all i'm saying is, maybe we'll get there. we're not there yet. and i've been saying "not there
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yet" for a long, long time. >> does this move the needle on te? impeachment de let's take a look. " if somebody called from a country -- norway have information on your opponent." "oh." i think i'd want to hear it.nt >> do you hat kind of interference in our elections? >> it's not an interference. they have i think i'd t. >> what's new about that? there's nothing new about that. we know he would. because he has. you always tell what a person will do by what he has done. >> do you think that impeachment is the best process to hold the president accountable?ab >> i don't knot the best, but i think it is a process if it determined that the president will not respond to results of investigations, seem to stonewall everything, then that might be where you need toe go, bue not there yet. >> but what about accountability at the ballot box? >> well, that's always the best way -- for the people to do it.
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but that's not the only way for congress to do it. >> do you worry that the political circus that could be created by impeachment hearings, not dissimilarly from the 1998sp tacle that the house republicans created, which ultimately helped president bill clinton and didn't result in his conviction in the senate -- is that on your mi as you think through ho impeachment could play out politically, in tes of president trump's re-election? >> believe it or not, that's not what is on my mind. the nixon process is on my mind. we never got to impeachment with nixon. nixon denied everything right up to the day. the public was not for impehment. it was not until alexander butterfield revealed the existence of the tapes did the country come arounthe
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congress came around, so much so, too, the president came around, and we didn't have to go to impeachment. that's what we're doing. we're doing investigations, you're gonna have nobody khat will come out of these hearings. and if we can have a process that will save the country the divisiveness of impet, we ought to pursue it, and that's what we are tryi to do. >> getting to some of the issues n at you deal with in your caucus, especiallye context of the 2017 charlottesville marches, one of the things the country witnessed is the intersection of a resurgenwhite nationalism and racism and neo-nazism and its confluence of anti-semitism. and i wonder if you have any reflections on the rise of both of those forces in an politics. >> yes, i do. i've studied history. i keep two books at my bedside.
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one is a bible, which i read for historical references, and the otr is mccullough's book on truman.ud i d those two books a lot. d i could see that this country was reaching a point where we could find ourselves where we are today. i said before the elections, the last elections, i could see divisions developing in this country, the so-called turning the clock back, people reacting to the obama presidency, the same way they reacted to the emancipation proclamation, the sameay people reacted to brown v. board of education. t, i just felt strongly t this country was gonna react to barack obama's presincy the way it has. >> and then, another one of the forces that bued in
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charlottesville was anti-semitism. >> absolutely. >> it was marriewith this neo-nazism and this racism towards african-americans. what are your reflections, and what do you think about the rise of anti-semitism, especially as it's come up in the normal course of business in the congress? >> i feel about it the same way y feel about the white supremacists on evvel. >> why is it resurgent? >> well, bause this country is moving back into a position that it was back in the late 1920s. remember, this whole stuff, the ku klux klan and all of that, this is late in the '20s with that resurgence. woodrow wilson's presidency laid a foundation for that. and so while that was going on in this country, the same thing was goinon over in europe. and you had the things going on at's going on in europe now.
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these things don't happen in isolatio and so, i've told people mussolini in italy and hitler in germany, these things -- i canin see them c and so it was no surprise to me that we are where we are. if we fail to learn the lessons of our history, we're bound to repeat them. and it looks like weave not learned those lessons. ged so we are now repeating it. that's what is stro me. we're too intelligent for that.d >> hyou advocate that members of the caucus talk about the israeli-palestinn relationship? >> i think we ought to talk e about it in the way thatlk about any other aspect of our religion. we are the products of a judeo-christian society, and then we ought to live and we have to reconcile some oh e things if we are going to function, going forward. hid so, i know that even w my caucus, most of us are for a
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two-state resolution.d ere are people in the caucus... >> who are not. >> ...are not necessarily for... >> they're >> ...a two--- >> but that's new. >> that's new. >> that is new. why? >> well, we all are the product of our experiences. that's why my book, "blessed experiences," i named it that because i say that allen of my expes have not been pleasant, but i've considered all them to be blessers.>> remember that's also what you said about ilhan omar's experience. >> yes. >> you said that she is th product of her experiences. >> all of us are. you can't be any more hat your experiences allow you to be. >> right. but you still also c't support anti-semitic tropes and sort of racist statements or -- >> no, you can't, and i don't. >> along with being 25 yea now serving in the house of representatives, you have become a -- almost a kingmaker every four years when democratic politicians come to south carolina for your state's
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primary. what happened when bill inton called you a bastard? >>othing happened. >> what was that about? >> well, uh, it was because he thought i had put my tn the scales a little bit when his wife lost the south carolina primary to barack oba. but i told everybody back then, and i'll repeat it- barack obama won the south carolina primary the night that he won the iowa caucus. that is something that foretold what was gonna happen in south carolina. >> is it because he became viable in that moment? >> yes, absolutely. absolutely. he was running a great campaign. there was something about him that was very attractive to people. and this is long before iowa. so i could tell the way peoplera ined with him that if he were to do well in iowa, he was gonna do well in south carolina. but he won iowa.
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>> so, what did you say back to bill clinton? >> well, i told him i thought -- i hated that he felt that way. but yelled at each other to such an extent -- it was 2:30 in the morning --t woke my wife up. >> it was a truly heated exchange. >> yes, yeah., absolute was. yeah. he called me back two weeks later and apologed. and i accepted. >> meanwhile, jim clybn's famous -- world-famous fish fry is a moment where all thecr deic candidates in the 2020 race make their case to south carolina primary voters. there is word on the street that you're not going to endorse a 2020 candidate but that your sympathies are with joe biden. is that true? >> well, joe and i are friends. tiryan and i are friends. i'm also friends with cory booker.
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i'm co-sponsoring gislation with bernie sanders. i'm workg on legislation with elizabeth warren. so, i have relationships -- >> elizabeth warren, legislation on forgiving student debt. >> absolutely. and so, i have these relationships with a lotf people. but joe biden -- i've known joe a long, long time. i don't walk away from that relationship because i bring somebody else into my space. >> why do you think that joe biden is sfar and ahead above everybody else in the polls, even in south carina? >> i think people forget that joe biden had a long relationship with james strom thurmond, the long-serving united statesna r from south carolina and a republican. he had the same kind of relationship with fritz hollings. fritz hollings is the guy that went up to delaware, talked him, and got him to stay in the
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united states senate when his wife -- his first wife and daughter were killed in the automobile accident. b noh of those people hadli joe biden ring the eulogy at their funerals. at their requests. that's the kind of relationship he's had wh south carolinians for a long, long time. and so that explains it.s >> but de biden's support from strom thurmond help him roth democratic african-american voters in south na? >> no, but it's so with fritz hollings and maybe m clyburn. >> of course, when you've been in politics as long as joe bidea has, cly there are going to be, as we've discussed, issues that come and go and that seemed maybe progressive at the time or acceptable at the time and are less acceptable as time goes by. another one ofhese is his support in the mid '70s... he was against sending white children to majority-black schools in delaware.
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and he callethe desegregation plan racist. doesis position on busing std the test of time? >> well, this may surprise you, but busing was a very contentious issue. my wife and i had the first serious disagreement over theti qu of busing. urthought that busing, that plan, put too muchn on the students. atand i spoke out against my wife, that evening, took me to the wood shed, and she reminded me of the fac when she was a student in berkeley county, south carolina, she walked 2 1/2 miles to school in the mornings and 2 1/2 miles back home every afternoon when the white kids had buses andid theyt. and she told me on that occasion, "they were not against busing then, and you best not be
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against busing now." well, i realized that my experiences were different from hers. those experiences dictated how i felt. now, joe biden, you'll have to ask him what his experiences were and why he felt the way he d. i don't know what joe's experiences were or what was going on in delaware, but i know what was going on in south carolina. and what was going on in south carolina i thought was unfair, but my wife set me straight. >> from that moment in americano history, how dthink about reparations? >> i say to people that the big mistake all of us make with reparations is monetizing it. the ment you say "reparations," people startng thinoney. reparations, the root word of which is "repair" -- it means te ir what may be a fault.
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you can repair it by funding -- targeting resources into these communities. you can repair it by funding b historicallack colleges and universities that bring these young people off the sea islands and set them straight for suess. we could make a very comprehensive reparations apprch and not spend all our time arguing about the money, 'cause youould never be able to monetize this in any fair way. so, my thing is, let's make the repairs at are necessary, and r t's put forth programs that are going to repe fault that had developed out of slavery. >> do you think that's gonna have to be the starting pitch of every 20 candidate on the democratic side when it comes to reparations, at least demonstrating and stanor an exploration of how to commit a repair to the african-american community? >> i think ty should. i think they should. i don't know if they are doing
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it.i member two candidates, the y.ment it came up, they started talking about mo and that is where you -- you just reach of point of no return. you devolve into a discussion that you can't dig out of. >> in 1992, you were first on this program with william f. buckley jr. and debated him about whether african-americans should be aligned with the republican party or the democratic party. let's take a look.
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>> you know, what strikes me about the argument is that it's not that different from the argument donald trump is making to african-americans, as well. he's saying, "this economys growing, people's wages are growing. this is an argument for african-americans to support republicans." y are they wrong? >> well, he's dead wrong. why is the gap getting wider?h why is the weap getting wider every day? why is the education gap getting wider every day? while he is talking about the economy that works for wall street, they are devastated for main street. he just passed a $1.5 trillion tax cut that 85% of the benefit, which goes to the upper 1%.
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and i just found myself paying four times as much taxes as i paid last year under this new tax bill. and i've run across schoolteachers who are telling me, for the first time, they had to pay taxes. come on.t the presid way off base on these policies. he doesn't tell the truth about anything else,wouldn't expect him to tell the truth about these policies. >> how about his argument that the first step act, which was a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill which he signed, donald trump argues that that is gonna help african-american communities and hispanicco unities, as well. do you think the first step act is a good piece of policy? >> a good first step. but if you stop with the first st and don't take the seco step, third step, you ain't walking.ou >> so, areiving the president credit? >> i'll give him credit for first step. absolute. i would love to give him credit for a second step and third step. >> yeah. >> absolutely.e >> do you see lue in
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infusing competition into education in order to families the ability to choose where to send their children to school if their children are stuck in a failing school? >> you fix the failing school. you don't gut the school, take resources out of the district and say you're fixing the school. now, you're talking to a formerc public-school r who taught in a lower-income school. and i know of the dreams andon aspiraof these young people who come out of homes where they don't get breakfast in the morning, who come to school two hours after mom and dad have gone off to work. >> but why haven't we be able to fix the failing schools sufficiently? >> you can fix that if you would be honest about what the problem is. >> which is what? >> the problem is, we do not undergird this stem, the communities that give rise to the schools. >> you have been a community. lead
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you participate in a bowling league. you participate in a lot of organizations that are not governmental organizations, they're community ganizations. >> sure. >> and i wonder, you know, how much of the soluon for fixing communities is direct government assistance to communitrsus the building up of these mediating institutions in our communities, like the bowling leagues, like the boys and girls clubs, like the girl scouts? >> a whole lot of it. you do a much more effective job teaching the children if you teach from their experiences. and so that is where get this thg all wrong. if we spend more time dealing with these communities, we will get a much better product out of the schools. >> you've talked about striving for equity rather than equality. >> yes. >> what do you mean by that? >> i have the daughters. they think differently.
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i deal with them differently. >> so, how does that apply to public policy? >> because public policy means to be able to treat communitiesr according to teeds. treat people according to their needs, not equally. i i give you the same thi gave this underachieving child whis pour and don't have t background, giving y'all the same thing. that's equal. but your needs are not the same> wonder if, at what point, you will choose to endorse a ?ndidate into the 2020 ra will it be better the dnc convention? >>veh, by that time, you'll a nominee. i won't have to. >> will it be before the south carolina race? >> if i do, it'll be before the primary. >> all right, representative clyburn, thankry you uch for coming to "firing line." >> thank you very much. very good. " ring line with margaret hoover" is made possible by...
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additional funding is provided by... corporate funding is provided by... ...and by... >> you're watching pbs.
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hello, everyone. welcome to amanpour and company. here's what's coming up. the intellectual extraordinare whose books have ld in the millions, public thinker malcolm gladwell on his e need to challenge our own. then -- ♪ i'm so american ♪ >> it's one of leonard cohen's mostconic songs but who was mary ann? award winning film maker nick broomfield explores the troubled relationship between the musician and his muse. plus the midwestern pioneers who helped shape the ideals of the nation. david mccullough talks to walter ivanson.


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