tv Washington Week PBS December 13, 2019 7:30pm-8:00pm PST
robert: articles of impeaoment head the floor. >> the third time in a little overnd a century a half, the house judiciary committee has voted articles of impeachment against the president for abuse power and obstruction of congress. >> aye. robert: battleines are drawn. >> the evidence is overwhelming and uncontested. >> this is a travesty. >>o use the power of impeachment on this nonsense is an embarrassment to this country. robert: and republics turn the spotght to the justice department inspector general report. ♪ t. "washington s is week." funding is provided by -- investments, new?about your
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by the ku and patricia yuen. commted to bridging cultural differences in ourommunities. the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once agarom washington. moderator, robert costa. robert: good evening. history unfolded at the capital this week. dartisan rancor it narrated our times republicans and democrats sparring over articles of impeachment. and the inspector general's report about the justice department's conduct during the russia investigation. yet amid this bare-knuckle politics and marathon hearing the week was punctuated by a partisan deal on trade. and president trump announced progress on a trade agreement but the road to this friday night was paved with fury.
>> you're going to try to uloverturn the r of an election with unelected people -- >> the gentleman will suspend. >> gentleman has been warned before. he cannot simply yell o disrupt the committee. >> this is the problem. this is why people don't like us.is is why people are having such a terrible opinion of congress. >> the presidentommitted the highest crime against the constitution by abusiis office. eating in an election, inviting foreign interference. robert: fights continue on the campaign trail. and i traveled to hersheyan pennsy as he rallied state.nds in that battleground >> now that the russia narrati is dead, a big disgusting fraud. the cgressional democrats are pushing the impeachment witch hunt having to do with>> ukrain [crowd boos]
president trump:ou saw their so-called articles of impeachment today? people are saying, they're not even a crime. >> foror rrs and the nation itas often head-spinning. it was also important and the seriousness of thi moment cannot be overstated. joining us tonight. peter bakeer, cheesm white house correspondent for the "new york times" a co-author o "impeachment." and karoun demirjian from "the washington post." jake sherman, senior editor of polico. co-author of "the hill to die on." and darleneer slle, the white house reporter for the "associated press." the house passed two articles impeachment on a 23-17 vote along party lines. a floor vote in the house is now expected next week. jake, what does that flo vote ok like when you look ahead to next week's speaker pelosi, is
she whipping her members? do we eect defections? >> we're certain no rep glicans arng vote to impeach the president. we believe a o handful democrats will vote with repuicans against impeachment. nancy pelosi says she's not whipping. this is a matter of conscious. she's aware who's voting where, what problem she has. and republicans are whipping. they're trying to keep their troops in line against these charges. and it's goinge to b very charged. it's going to be everything that the president, as everybody here can attest to, watch ver closely. at the end of the day, politics are what they are. but the president's goi to be impeached by a house of representatives. and that's a certainty. that begin a whole new phase which is the senate trial. robert: why did the democrats decide to do abuse of power and obstruction of congr what happened to bribery?
what happened to looking a the mueller probe? articles, seems like they were the best legal charge. abuse of power covering what happened in ukraine and the obstruction of congress being his refusal to let anybody come tofy or provide any documentary evident. everyby that came to testify did so brushing off those orders. they feel they have a pattern start to get into bribery, which nancy pelosi used the word, adam scff used the word, it gets squishy becse you could get meyered in the argument about ctionary definitions. and to do obstruction of justicc whicgress did investigate: the president has declared exoneration which is not the woulde been a more difficulthich
trial try. they decide to stick with obstruction of congress, not gog to bribery, but talk about the acts that they use in their rhett rect and call it abuse of -- rhetoric and cailt abuse of power. as you heard, you played a clip of the chargeses that aren't imes. you could have anything fall under abuse of power. obstruction of congress. republicans disagree over what hand that's leading them. bert: the vote is pretty much set? so at the white house when you're talking to your sources there, are they already looking ahead t a senate trial? and what do they want to see from the majorityeader mitch mcconnell? >> they're definitely looking ahead to a senate trail because the senatesore friendly terrain. it's controlled by republicans. the hse where the whole process started is controlled by
the democrats and we know how they feel about trump pretty much. they're looking ahead to the trial. the president says he wan a trial. he's going to get onehen lawmakers get back. we don't know what that is going to look le. but there seems be a consens building around something that's quick, maybe two weeks, three weeks. the president wants to call witnesses. it's unclear whether he'll be unable to call thehileblower for example or joe biden or huer biden iteems unlikely. >> jake says that the house sdemocrats are letting t be a conscious vote. what about the white house? are they whipping republicans senators? are they worried about cracks? >> i don't think so because republans have been pretty much moving in locksp with t president on -- on this issue. they've been, you know, repeatingis line that he's done nothing wrong. the call was good. and it seems unlikely that anybody would break frothe g.o.p. and vote against him. you never really know until the
vote happens. robert: peter, the headline "for trump impeachment be a political plus, but also a humiliation." take me inside theff ovale. they have a strategy as they that look the senate. but what about this preside who cares so much about his brand and his image. what has it been at the whi w house thk? >> the president has come to the recognition that he's going to lose this vote in the house. it's going to to the senate. but it doesn't mean that it's not humiliating. it doesn't mean it was a stinging moment. it one for president clinton. he could say, it's partisan. it's illegitimate. e president doesn't want to have in his history page in the book, theas terisk. he's toggled back and forth between self pity and we've seen
even in rallies in hershey and thisor combative energized version of himself. his mood is described by aides being a little bit better the last couple of weeks because he does see republicans coming to his defense and they're being aggressive in the way he wants them to be. they're not trying to say well, he did wrong but it's not what you guys are being bad actors. robert: thas the case he's making. we covered these hearings. did democrats break through in the house judiciary committen he? when you talk to members, do they feel like theountry heard them in theheame way whole country watched the watergate hearings or are there still gaps? >> ihink they feel there are still gaps. to is a lot more difficult explain than bill clinton's impeachment. this dea with complex foreign aid and different people. why are we even giving noun
ukraine? i think it becomes -- there's a loof moving piece where is the clinton impeachment was relatively cut and dry. you've seen this in public opinion polls that has not moved significantly throu four or five weeks. that's frustrating for democratsments that's part ohe the reaso want to handle this before the christmas holiday because aot of them want to move on and move to more comfortable ground. >> there's a momentum issue here too which is the most exciting exhilating parts ofhis whole process that played out in public, are when youed t hearings where the witnesses. there was the shock potential factor when you heard bill taylor laying out af cronology o all the things that trump is accused of doing -- h. yoe to do all of those things, right? but the public has been watching so much of this. and it was so much morepp gg before that it almost feels like
it's slowing to a close at ts point. the judiciary -- the democrats and judiciary had a t hardere breaking through that wall of grabbing ame acans'ention than the intelligence committee did. but that wasn't close to of the line wn they did that. robert: how will the hse democrats make their case when they're the managers? >> you'll see variety of different democrats making that case they're going to choose they're most persuasive argueers.l robert: we see adam schiff there? >> i don't think we would bed surpri as they consider themselves to be the stars since they do know this case the best. butohat has yet te finalized. at that point, though, they will not be makine the c in the vacuum. they've had the whole stage for last several weeks othis proces and they're not telling the story right now. they're arguing over the constitutionality and the legalistics of it. and that's fundamentality less
exhilarating for eyeballs and ears for hours on end. robert they're competing with a torrent of news. you had the um -- usmca come to an agreement. president trump andde house cratic aides. was that a concession by the white house or democrats? what explains the -- this deal emerging amid peach zment that -- impeachment? >> that' a very good question. nancy pelosi announced the impeachment and then an hour later, they said hey, we have a deal on usmca which is e president's biggest legislative priority this year and it's something that he's wanted for a long, longit time. a product of a lot of negotiation between speaker pelosi and democrats and the tradeirtor litehizer.
it's cues you. [laughter]s. robert: you see the president turng to the stock market saying he's moving board to on a phase one deal. when you couple usmca and this news on china, what do you see from this white house? >> china deal may or may as significant as he would like us to think it is. it's a firstte phase, q quote, the chinese have not been as specific publicly. but it doesen a signal. his bt argument for re-election is the economy is doing well. if he can solvef some o these trade disputes, the concern that peopleave that things might turn sou h that works in favor. the thing that got bill clinton through it partly wastr ag economy. the thing that has been president trump's biggest selling car has been don't rock the boat. you might not lik me. i might be a jerk. but your 401k's a gat.
you have to vote for me you might lose your job or your cous or your wife might lose their job. >> but i would addo that if the economy is doing well, plus, he doesn't get into these ancillary issues that he tends to dive into all the time, these distractions. mill college john harris wrote a presidentsh this economic most climate would be a favorite to win re-election. so there's some element and people in the white house realize this of self-sabotage ns and republi wish, pray for him to just talk about the economy and leave the other es to the side. >> and one of the things the president can do, he'sot a rally. and he can go into that rally and said, look,'veot usmca and this china deal. and his base will just eat that up. those are things they've beeut talk a for a long -- talking
about for a long time.ok what i've done while all the democrats want to do is impeachment. robert: or house democrats can make the case and say, we're not just focused on impeachment, we also didca u with president trump. was that part of speaker posi moving through thi deal? >> her three things his instigate, and -- >> litigate? >> there's an element of that th they are doing business p with thesident while holding his feet to the fire. the democrats were largely responsible foretting this in shape. nancy pelosi negotiated with bob lite heiser. she's been talking about
walking and chewing gum at the same time. he's not doing that trade deal, which means she's got january to make the case, we're not doing anything. here's the president's trade deal, pass i. robert: but this republican party they mite not like a usmca, but ty're stillith this president politically. >> they really are. there are science of any cracks. even among replicans would assume that another republican would be president. it's striking. nixon did. clinton didn't. them is you lose your own pear. the other party will always be against you. the danger is -- trump is not losing his. robert: on that point about history, when you look at this, you've co-authors the latest book on impeachment, republicans keep sayin this is different this time that it's -- it's too fast. n's toorow.
what makes this different if at all? this entire experience? >> it's funny watching the hearings this week, meetings this week where h tse judiciary committee had their defee bait --e. deb if you close your eyes i literally hear everything i heard 20 years ago. youac have no witnesses. you're in a rush to judgment. it's a railroad. you're out to get him because you hate him no, it's about rule of law. it about very serious constitutional -- everything was said 21 years ago. but there are things that are different. one thing that is different, the pees are mor in lockstep than they were back then. on the dayheouse judiciary voted in 1998, lindsey graham tried to broker a deal for censure. e president came out and made a televised apology in the middle of theirth meeting. stopped the meeting. he didn't go far enough as far as the republicans were concerned.the republicans said, it. he didn't do it. and six, to seven minutes later,
they impeached him. robert: lindsey graham probing that long-awaited report the justice department inspector general. as karoun report, i.g. michael horowitz the a.g. was justified in opening an investigation. but he said he could not vindicate the bureau's former leaders because of other major errors. here's part of his testimony. comey said that your reports s vindicates him. is that aairssessment of your report? >> i think the activities we found here, don't vindicate anybody who touch this. >> when you look at what the i.g. found, no polital bias but many major errors. do you expect fisa reforms in the sur surveillance of this country? >> we've been talking about the
reform forever. they're not necessarily the ones cheeringhat report right now. there's been a little bit of ad y dough. and they're calling for fisa reform because this ended upbe g, you know, the -- because of the carter page element and how connected he is to trump. i they democrats are trying to say they're vindicated here because there was no proof olif cal bias and the president has been beating the drumn they were just out t get me the wholtime because they didn't like m and they're biased against me. but it is pretty damning when confirmation bias.estion of and basically the f.b. tossing aside exculpatory evident when they were going to apply for the warrant conducting the warrant on carter page. any vacuum, if we weren't not in this politicalnvironment, that is frankly, an argument for people being concerned about what the deep state is doing. bute are in a world where
trump has made it all about politics where he's accus the d.o.j. and the f.b.i. having thisitig deep pal bias. but the core issue is how is tha f.b.i. throu secretive pro-stheas we don't know going about and, you know, looking at and surveilling potentially civilians. robert: and the i.g. report isn't the only report you have. attorney general bill bar he's conducting his own alongside prosecutor john durham. and he sat down with pete n williams of ns. >> the greatest dange o to free system is thatcu the ent government use the apparatus of the state,th principall law enforcement and the intelligence agencies both to spy on political opponents but also to use them in aay that could affect the outcome of the election. as far as i'm aware, this is the first time in history that this has been done to a presidential campaign. >> so the i.g. had a conclusion,
jake. but you have house minority leader kevin mccarthy who you cover every day calling what he all? this report a coup. is that the lguage you're hearing from your republican sources dpite what the i.g. has concluded? that they like, republicans said it showed broadalfeasance in the f.b.i. in a way that's so stunning and so unfair to a american democrats say, listen, the f.b.i. did not the star investigating trump under false pretenses. so there's something for everybody in thi report. lindsey graham had horowitz upt e after real fresh the trump align to do more toind of conduct these investigations. and the durham report which we assume will be comin out at some point in this torrent of news over the next couple of months is being eagerly awaited to the people like mark meadows and jim jordan who believe this man john durham of connecticut is the person who is going to
finally put people in handcuffs. that's what a lot of trump aligned republicans say that this is the person who is going to charge people. robert: so that's what some republicans want. but the bigger pictu is where stees truth? there's the durham report, the i.g. report? where is the truth? >> there is no single truth anymore. i mean, there is. but everybody oas their and karoun said as jake said. there are different ways of looking thateport. and everybody's going to pull it out if you listen to fox or msnbc. even this week, you heard very starkly different versions of reality. listen to the president talk. what he says at times has veryng little bea on, you know, the facts set that you would flare the democrats.he and getting on the same spage really, really -- the hiobably imnoble day and age. we're so atomized, we're so polarized. not justn our politics but our social interactions that we live
in these separate universes and they don't meet. president trump w hosting rudy giuliani. what does that tell you? are they going to have their own report on untaine to c what's happening in the house of representatives? >> it's quite possible. the president has said that help wants to hear from g rudyliani and what really rudy discovered on this recent trip to ukraine. whole still very much clothed into the idea that raine had something to do with the 2016 election. it doesn't appear they're going let it go. testified that f.b.i. director chris rice says there's n evidence to back tha up. >> he pretty much said don't listen to the president. >> that's what's getting lost. lindsey graham nodded to it. he made the ninety russia interfered and n ukraine.
heoiade the that it was legitimate to be concerned at the time they started this. buthat's not being echoed by everybody across the party. robert: that's all the time we have. thank you for joining us. make sure watch our "washington week" extra. we will discuss a the trade news. you can find it on our social media accounts and on our website tonight and all weekend long. i'm robert costa. good night . ♪ announcer: corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> all right, richard, this might be the only way to clear >> there's a bomb in centennial park. es. have 30 min >> my son is not the bomber. he saved people's lives.
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