tv Washington Week PBS December 20, 2019 7:30pm-8:01pm PST
robert: president trump confronts impchment and history. >> our founders' vision of a republic is under threat. that is why today as speaker of the house i solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the united states. robert: president trumps impeached.ol triggeringical war in the house. >> i will fight this on process which has been deplorable. robert: on the campaign trail. >> nancy pelosi's house democrats he planted themselves with an eternal mark of shas. and it' a disgrace. robert: and in the senate -- >>his particularouse of representatives has let i new precehat will echo oxic
well into the future. leader mcconnell is plotting the most rushed and most unfair impeachment trial in modern history. robert: next. announcer: this is "washington week." funding is provided by -- >> before we talk about your investments, whas new? >> well, audrey is expecti. >> twins. >> grandparents. zpwhrfrttle we want to put money asideor them so change in plans. >> all right. t let's see w we can adjust. w would be closer to the twins. >> change in plans. >> ok. >> mom, are you painting again? >> you can sell these. >> let me guess. change in plans? >> at fidelity, a change in plans is always part of the plan. announcer: degsal funding is provided by -- additional funding is provided by -- koo and phrricia yuengh the yuen foundation. committed to bridging cultural
differences in our communities. the corporation for publicti broadc and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, from washington, robert: good evening. the house of representatives peached president trump on wednesday, december 18, on arges of abuse of power and obstruction of congress. party leaders held their caucuses together just a few democrats broke ranks and no republicans voted to impeach the president. the republican-controlled senate is now poised to hold al trat will determine whether the stays in office. but speaker nancyi pel so has delayed sendingth e articles over as senate leaders negotiate the terms. the key sticking point is this, whether senate majority leader n mitch mcl will allow testimony from trump administration officials who
defied subpoenas during the house inquiry. >> the preside of the united states should be tried and the question inow whether senator mcconnell will allow a fair trial in the senate. whether the majority leader will allow a trial that involves witnesses and testimony and documents. >> we cannot name managers until we see what the process isn the senate side. and i would hope that thatill be soon. robert: for the moment, leader mcconnell isn't making any promises.es and con is on recess until early january. this week, mcconnell cast the pending trial as a political exercise. >> i'm not an impartial juror. this is a political process. there isn't anything judicialt abt. impeachment is a political decision. the house made a partisan litical decision to impeach. i would anticipate we will have a largely partisan outcome in the senate. i'm not impartial about this at all.
to t: joining me tonight, look ahead to that trial and back at this historic week are four top reporters. molly ball, national political correspondent for "time" magazine. ayesse rascoe, white h reporter for n.p.r. jerry seib,xecutive washington editor for "the wall street journal."ke and philip r white house bureau chief for "the washington post." molly, your book on the speaker, pelosi by molly ball, i can't wait to read it and doesn't come out for a few months but you've been stud egg her and reporting on her -- studying her and reporting on her. why is she holding up thees artif impeachment? >> what she has said is what she said in the clip. she needs tsee what the senate process is before she can decide w from the house to manage this. but this really was not something that a lot of peoe saw coming. and having studied her, i know she often has a trick up her slee but she never telegraphs it in advance. so this was kind of a surprise move. it was something some partisans
had been speculating about. but hadn't got an whole lot of s traction unt did it. and you know, now that both the house and senate are out for a coup ofheeeks, going to see what the president's reaction tohis is a what the public's reaction to this is. i think-the-conveniently timed -- i think it's conveniently timed to create space for both sidesbio stew a littl and see where the home i because you know, she belves -- you know, the most important word in the speaker vocabulary is leverage. and she believes she has leverage in this situbeion. use the president wants a trial to in his -- in his view exonerate him. and mcconnell has actually you a know laughthis idea. he said you don't have any leverage in this situation. because we don't want to do this anyway. so, you know, you make us not do something we don't want to do, that's fine. but we know that the white house, the preside a trial.nt and so -- so she does have a little bit of leverage and s'll see whether gets any response.
robert: phil, what kind of trial does president trump want at this point and molly said the white house could be ewing. is president trump stewing and in that situation, thi pause, could he actually end up saying to democrats, i'll provide some more documents and more witnesses? president trump's been stewing for three years. so he's -- he's always etewing. buecially about this because as molly said he wants the trial. he wants to be exonerated but not just to be exonerated and acquitted. technically inat the s but he wants defenders to come forward and put on a show and defend him for his conduct. he also wants republicans in the senateag to orward democrs and give of them a taste of what he feels like he experienced on the house side. so he wan chairman adam schiff from the house to be dragged before the senate andon ques by republican senators. wants hunter biden, the former vice president's son forward into the senate. there's back and forth negotiatio going on rit now between the white house and leader america connell and his offi about these witnesses
because mcconnell has been opposed to having vnses and thinks it's too risky and trumpe has long w some and we'll see over the holidays whether they can find some equilibrium. rort: well, i think the revvingy thing for thepeaker hereth i she as in many of these cases had aas bit of a divide in her own caucus. liberal democrats would like to stretch this out hoping that maybe they will force some testimony by white h officials which would be a new page in this whole drama. or that at aimum they create this impression that the senate trial wi be a sham, whatepublicans said the house impeachment process was. but there are moderates in the democratic caucus, 30 of tm, who come from districts that president trump won in 2016 who woulst as soon get this over with. go to the senate, see it to the end, havethe outcome t we all know is coming, which would of president trump and then let them move on to their 2020 elections talking about other so i think the speaker has competing interests she's trying to balance and that's not easy inhis case. robert: and there seem to be
competing interrets on the publican side as we've been talking about. leader mcconnell has dismissed witnesses so far. the white house is thinking about callingma cha schiff and hunter biden. where does this end up, ayea, sed on your reporting? >> well, you know, what was interesting this week is eo talking toe in the white house when these articles were held up, the idea was like oh, this makes nancy pelosi look so bad. this gives into the idea that this was all political, why if this is such an urgent threat were not send them over? but then you have the president send that tweet that says h wants a trial immediately. and so you can see why she probably d hs want tod up a bit. i think what you're going to see and what i'mure what senator mcconnell will be trying to do is trying to convince president trump, that it is not in his interests to have these witnesses come forward. and that when --f you try to call hunter biden, all these other people, that this could goad for the white house and that they will try tond
deim and they are making the case and i think that's probably why you have mcconnell coming out saying he's not impartial and lindsey graham and all these people being very defensive of t president because they know he needs to hear that. and that's what he wants. but i don't think they want to given inis having witnesses. robert t it mae be upo some of these senators, the moderates, senator murkowski, senator collins, senator romney and others on the fence on the democratic side like sator jones of alabama who are you for this senate trial?he r they need a 51 vote threshold to setny kind of ru when it comes to witnesses. >> yeah. i mean all of the ones that you just named i think are going to be -- if there are swing ves. but what you see senator mcconnell really telegraphing is he doesn't think there is a such a thinga swing vot he thinks everybody's mind is made up and i tnk by saying that so frequently and so definitively, he's trying in a way toha make the reality, right? if he can convince his own caucuss that t is where they are going, that this is
essentially a ft accompli, then i think he feels he'sng minimihe waffling that some of those moderates might feel. but asou said,here are some moderates in the caucus who may at some pointave cold feet about this. th but we saw i white house, though, was even the moderate house republicans,he even house republicans who have had questions about president trump's conct, in the end, fell in line and were convinced by the president's defens. bert: and we're talking about the party staying in line. president trump has certainly reveled in the continued support for him on several fronts. and mostly backed a $1.4 trillion spding deal which hisevised north american s and trade agreement in a house vote and of cose they helved on impeachment which he note noted at a rally in michigan. president trump: we got every single republican voted fors so we had 198, 229, 198, we didn't lose one republican vote. the republican partyev has
been so affronted. but they've never been so ited as theare right now. ever. robert: as the president wielde his power, speaker pelosi was able to hold her conference together even moderate democrats in battlegrou states such as elysa slotkin of michigan. >> the president did something different than what president nixon did and president clinton did and president johnson, many, many years agodi and he gave the word to his administration to not produce any documents, to not respond to any subpoenas and to not appear. robert: what kept people, house members like alyssa slopein, wither pelosi on this critical vote? well, i think the impeachment process is kind of completed the process of tribalization ofs polit the u.s. where everybody in each party puts on the home jersey, thelueersey the red jersey and goes out on the fold and plays for the team and regardless of what their misgivings might b this is true in both parties.
it's interesting to remember that when president trump began his presidential campaign in 2015, he almt ran as an independent. he had to -- disdain for thet represarty and no regard for the republican establishment and was hated by the republicanis establent. and now here we are 3 1/2 years later that entire party is behind him. that's what happens in american politics right now. you get behind your team and you stay there or you get punished fro within your own party. that's true in the democratic party and true in the republican party and i thi that's the process we're seeing play out right now. obert: talking about the g.o.p., what explains them going along with the protectionist t tiltingde deal, the newsmca and new version of navetta going with the trillion dollar spending deal and sticking with the prident on impeachment? >> just as jerry said, this is a tribal moment in politics. and all those republicansn the house know that if they turn on trump especially onen impeac they're going to get a primary challenger the next day. they're going to have a hard they're going to have the
president tweeting attacks at them. they're -- they cou tentially have the president going after them in rallies in their home districts. they in fear of the president turning his political chine againsthem. because he has done that before. it's the reason -- one of the reasons why bob corker resigned from theenate two years ago, one of the reasons why jeff flake didn't run for re-electionn arizona last year. president trump has such extra sord control over the republican party -- reb party.ary control over the >> moderate senators still time to be challenged in a primary in the ublican party in their home states before this vote happens. >> exactly. >> they kw that. rort: they're all still pretty quiet at the capitol and keep saying they're going to be jurors. talk about president trump this week, he that -- he wrote that letter to speaker pelosi. >> yeah. robert:le you c it phil a window into his soul. i saw it as a politic rally on paper. and you also had this rally in michigan as he's being peached in the house. what was this week politically
and persontlly for presi trump? >> well, this week for president trump w probably in many ways kind of his nightma for the presidency. he didn't want to be impeached, right? like thi -is -- this robert: against his brand? >> against his brand. he can't really sell impeachment but they' trying a bit. buomlike this washing that he -- he wants to be an exceptionalresident. wants to be the best president there hasen ever and now this week he is an impeached president. and so i think that that -- what you saw was him reacting to that. and lashing out about that really.an i he had that two-hour rally in -- in michigan. thatas one of his longest rallies -- robert: was it also a snapshot of what we're going to seen20 , grievance politics? >> oh, i think that was going to happen without a doubt. but i think you'll see it on steroids. d he was already very worked up. even before impeachment came down down the pike you saw him tweeting more and just gettius
more vic the way he was tweeting about the squad over the summer or the way he tweeted about elijah cummings. this was something that had been -- he had been going in a more personal direction and a more grievance direction like for a very long time. b robert speaker pelosi doesn't appear to be running on iment as her 2020 message for democrats. she's working with president trump on the usmca and the spending deal and prescription drug prices. what does that tell you about the democratic approach to next year's campaign season? >> she is obsessed with sending the message that the democrats are about governing. and remember, she resisted time. hment for a very lon the better part of a year, she members of her caucus who felt that the president deserved to be impeached, that it was constitutional imperative for the democratic party. and she held them off and held them off and held them off until the ukraine situation was so compelling that it moved a t caucost unanimously and she went along with it. but she really -- her belief is
that democrats won the house because they ran on issues and and so even though i think you would have to say that the backlash tond trump the counter mobilation against trump was a huge part of the political dynamic in 2018, you had all of the democratic candidates were on the same playbook. they were talking about health care. they were talking about jobs and wages. and so obviously it will be a trump ise ballot and 0 when there is a democratic candidate leading the message. t she believes very strongly that those issues are still going to be whatrives the electorate in 2020. and the polling data that she and the other democrats in the house are looking at is backing this up. it's saying that this is prett much wash the impeachment thing. it has prey much leveled out in terms of public opinion. and about where trump's apoval rating is. and by the time the election rolls around, this won't be what we're talking about. robert:u jerry, wrote recently about prime minister johnson in england. we've seen a new mod for right wing politics.
populism and bigger government spending. the republicans pop lifts supporting the trillion dollar spending deal.aw you boris johnson support the n.h.s. and other spending over in the u.k. >> yeah. no. populism and nationalism have won the day and that's really what conservative politics has become. and in that o versionf conservative politics, you simply don't quore about fiscal erity. that's not the formula. the formula is don't worry about the deficit your base is more working class. they depend on governmentog ms. so fund those programs. boris johnson is promising to do that in britain right now. donald trump promised that from 2015 on. i'm not going to cut social security and not going to cut medicare and n aer talksut the budget dicit which is a trillion dollars a year now. because that's not what populist politics is about. robert: and phil, the president wh h looks at h own party, he sees his own power and popularity wit the g.o.p.'s core voters. but he's giving them what they want on judges. you see some grumbling on the christianity today and n
influential evangelical magazine founded b the late billy graham saying president trump is out of line and should be removed from o sice. yo generally on the spending bill, judges, and the range of other issues, they're they don't totallyve of ven if his conduct. >> exactly. and it's one of the reasons that the president has been so deliberate and the vice president, too. pence, about checking theses bo with the base about pushing the judges and making that a priority for three yrs now. and all sorts of other issues becaus they're trying to ho them tight heading into the next campaign. robert: on thursday neat our colleagues at the p.b.s. "newshour" and politico hosted south bend mayor pete buttigieg faced scrutiny from his rivals such as senator elizabeth warren of massachusetts. >> theor must recently had a fundraiser that was held in a wine cave full of crystals and served $900 a bottle wine.
think about who comes to that.di >> acc to forbes magazine i'm the only person on this stage who's not a millionaire or a billionaire. so if -pp- use] this is important. issuing purity tests. th you cannot yourself pass. rort: ayesha a. nig of fire -- ayesha, a night of fear works out inalornia. what exchange did that tell us about the democratic race and in particular may buttigieg and his place in this contest? >> well it showed that buttigiegs the one who out in front and that's why the are goer him, right? elizabeth warren is going after him beaause he is a t to her. and so -- but it also showed that the d.gers of th she went after him. but he also pointed out that even though she is ting to take this high ground of saying that she's not getting these -- she' courting these big dollar donors like he is, he pointed out that she brought over money from her senate
campaign and that she is tually -- she has more money an he has. and all of these things that she is trying to set this and that he is actually the one that is just -- he's not focused on just meeting these demands. he's focused on doing what he has to do to win this election. and so that w that'st he did. i don't know whether that -- i feel like it cameut as wash for really the both of them. i don't know if either one of them really distiuished themselves. i do think amy klobuchar wn she was going after buttigieg i think she did stand out and was able to kind of point out some very key things th one of the key shings that s is that he can win in the midwest and she's pointing out you -- you're a mayor. robert: phil, when you talk to your white house sources behind the scenes and you're trying to get a read on vice president biden's performance do they see them as fading or steady? >> they see him as fading. they we very worried about biden at the onset. and frankly that's one of the reasons why president trump is in this impeachment mess and trump has remained fixated on
biden because he continues to see biden as hreat. but the people working for trump, his political are increasingly of the belief that biden may not be the om democraticee. they've been thinking a lot about warren lately. they're keeping an e on buttigieg who they ha not totally fegged out how to run -- figured out how to run against. bloomberg remains a threat and biden c bld be nominee not the singular focus he was at the outset of the democratic primary race. robert: i think amylochar is the candidate who had the besgh nit at the debate and the potential to sneak in the back do in iowa. and she's a probl in tms of profile for the president. a moderate woman from the upper industrial midwest, the precise part of the country that the president needs to win again to win a second term. win iowa or the nomination but i'm saying it's a very fluid field right now. and there are three people trying to walk through the same amy klobuchar, elizabeth warren and pete buttigieg. that's why they were going after each other at the debate
this week. robert: and senator warren for months has often stayed in her lane focused on her message. yet took on mayor buttigieg. why did she do tret and w is she in this race? >> well, i think -- you know, she we through we saw her poll numbers really nosedive when she was caught up on the health carane issu really got down a rabbit hole and had a hard time getting out of. but what she realized and you see it where she's been on the stump atcking mike bloomberg very aggressely, she has realized that she can go back to that populist message, that is about basically class warfare and that is something that -- that's a message that she's goodt. that's a message she is comftable with and a bstantive message and t backbone of her agenda which is very much about getting money ou of politics and very much about giving access to people who don't always have access to politicians. she talks about this selfie line and not selfies. robert: what do u an not real selfies? >> because she's not taking them. if youake it
the -- zpwhrt picture line. >> the point is trying to run a left populist campaign as is bernie sanders and let's not s forget that hill pretty high up there in the polls, too. so -- robert: that is so te. nator sanders you look at almost every poll, he's u ere. not necessarily leading. but it's -- is he a serious contenderor this nomination, came close to being a serious -- he was a serious contender >> he is certainly contender. and certainly his supporters will let you know that they feel like he's nothe getting attention that he deserves. i think we will have s to what happens in iowa and whether he can coovend -- ether he can pick up some momentum. he has momentum. but whether he translates that into support where it matters in these caucuses a in -- robert: when you look at th stage, and senator sanrs talked about the issue of race, the democratic partacg a challenge when people of color not making it on stage for the debate. how are they grapplingth with in terms of the field?
>> i think it's a serious issue. and really when they were asked about questions on race yesterday, i mean, you can tell with the questions that when sanders was asked about race, a lot of that he just kind of went back to, you know, health care, and he's going to just work for everybody and make sure everybody gets a fair shake, i think -- and he even said at one point, yes, i'm white male. be difficult if y trying ng can to reach out to your base and get your base energized and a lot of your base is not white. and so i don't know that e democrats have really figured out how to address that. robert: you mentioned mayor bloomberg. he wasn't on stage. but he is spending a boatload advertising.television and he's inching up in national polling. where is his campaign moving? >> you know, bob, he's focused on the second round of voting. so you start in iowa and new hampshire. south carolina and n those first four early states. and bloomberg is bankingra
liy that he can spend money in the states to come after that. california, texas, big states where it costs tens of million of dollars to run a credible advertising campaign. and clobber the field there and rack up delegates and become a force by the time the convention rolls around and one of the things he's bankingn the field is still fluid coming out of those four early states. so you might have a klobuchar n iowa and might have a bernie sanders win new hampshire. and you might have a biden win south carolina. and then who's the leader, bloomberg comes in with this money. a january, a february, a senate trial, potentially. we'll see if those articles goo . and then a presidential race. stick with us. but thanks now for sharing your evening with u we have to leave it there. and make sure to check out our "washington week" extra. discussion on the debate. it airs live on our social media and is later posted on r website. i'm robert costa. enjoy the holidays.
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[birds chirping] narrator: it was the week before christmas, us and all through the not a creature was stirring, except in the kitchen. gosh, it looks rich. it does, doesn't it? look at e color of that. narrator: in this christmas masterclass, mary and paul will guideou through some of their favorite festive dishes... 1, 2, 3. that's cracking, that. narrator: with practical tips to feed family and friends over the holidays. that smells lovely. mary: christmas is all about baking with family-- and i can see children putting all sorts of sweets round here, and the main thing is not to get too stressed.