tv Washington Week PBS February 8, 2020 1:30am-2:00am PST
robert: the impeachment trialen ds. and political war begins. >> donald john trump is hereby acquitte of the charges in said arties. >> it was all bull [beep]. >> i tore up a manifesto of mistruths. robert: battle lines are drawn after theresident is acquitted r the senate. republicansly. but a foreman nominee breaks ranks. what the president did was wrong, agree vousely wrong. a the democrats friel chaos in iowa. >> this is not a good night for democracy. >> i am not going to sugarcoat it. we took a gut punch in iowa.xt robert: ne. announcer: this is "washington week." funding is provided b- -
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patricn. and byio contrib to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again from washington, moderator, robert costa. robert: good evening. the end of president trump's impeachment trial marked the beginning of bitter political combat by the preside's fury. the president's state of the union address reflected a divided nation with the president ignoring the speaker's outstretched hands and the speaker tearing a copy of his remashes. >> nancy pelosi is a horrible person. and she wand to impeach long time ago when she said, i pray for the president. i pray -- she doesn't pray -- shy may p but she prays for the opposite. >> pray hard for him b'sause he so off the track of our
constitution. he really needs our prayers. so he can say whatever he wants. robert: joining us tonight esha rascoe, white house reporter for national public radio. philip rucker white house bureau co-author of the number one "new york times" best seller "a very stable genius." zanny minton beddoes, editor and chief of the great magazine, "the economist" the newspaper they actually call it in britain. d sheryl gay stolberg, congressional correspondent for the "new york times." the president talk to actio that underscored his diance. alexander vinman who testified during the house impeachment wao ed off of white house grounds and removed from the n.s.c.st and efore we sat down at 8:00 p.m. eastern on friday, president trump recalled gor doan sondland the u.s. ambassador to the european
union. odesh from the white house and the beat, is this a president unbound? is he purging the ranks? >> it is. it is angry. he has grievances that he's been nursing for months through this impeachmt inquiry. and he's determined to retaliate against everyone who he believes onge t him. ant's not limited to the democratic congressionaleader. it includes the congressional leaders who testified against him and people witn the govement that he suspects of betraying him. robert: was this a long-time coming? was this in the works? >> it did seem for a while that the vinman twins because alexander's twin also worked in the white house that there was strust for them. this idea the concern that they might have been leaking and thia and and so there has been concern there. and i mean, i think generally,oi don't hat people thought unat sondland or vinman would
stick aon a very long time. but to do it on the frid after you were acquitted is toay you're going to do what you're to be stopped.d you're not and you're going to get vengeance and you're not letting it go. it's not necessarily celebration. it's i'm going to do what i want to do and io going t get rid them. robert: sheryl, you profi vi incomesman brothers. what's the significance of their departure? they're ukrainian immigrants. they fled the soviet unionf ukraine when they were 3 years old. they both grew up be lieutenant colonels in the army. they bece citizens. they worked for the white house. so i think tre's a symbolism about it. democrats are held the vinns great patriots. you mightemember during his closing remarks, adam siff, the lead house manager talked about colonel vinman and he
said, colonel vinman said that in this country right. matte and schiff went on to say, right matters. the truth matters if right doesn't matter then we are lost. and now, you have the spectacle of president trump getting rid of that symbol, aymbol for democrats of truth and -- and righteousness and patriotism. robert: zanny, beyond the testimony, is this also a president who feels bullied by the economic, republican support during the impeachment. you saw his state of the union address and his remarks on thursday. >> i keep thinking beginning with v. it's a president who feein -- the democrats have a fiasco. he's acquitted. he's stated victory.
to add another v to you. he's been able to get away with breaking norms a feeling vindicated. just a few weeks ago, we had the killing of soleimani. the econo is totally testament to that. he now really feels tha his -- he's made the economy great again. it'she great comeback. you kp hearing him say that. he're going to hear him say that in coming months along. what he thinks it's beegreat because of the american economys it's l beof him. he's been vindicated. robert: there's a quote that stood out to fleill golfsten. he says he appears to be daring the rest f the politic system to sp him. when you look at the news tonight and you talk to yo t sources insi west wing, what now? >> well, the political system tried to stop him.
the democrats in the house impeached him which will be with books.rever and in the history and yet, the system isn't stopping him becse republicans in the senate are so fearful of him, so fearful of his political pow we were and his hold onhe republican voting base that they're trying to let him get away with actions tft many o them acknowledge publicly they view as improper and wrong speaking of miscouct in ukraine. and sohat we've seen is a president with eporaordinary r now coming away fro this episode just like he a camey from the russia investigation by robert mueller feeling thang hes not go be held accountable. and theret are reper chion first him. robert: i know they just acquitted him. bu will they push back on this decision on lieutenant vinmand --ond land. >> whether they pushback remains to be seen. i feel confident that senators
like susan collins of maine and lindsey graham a strong ally of the presidenthout was very much opposed to the president firing bob mueller andthers ll be very, very uneasy with the actions that thi president has taken t will they say it in public? >> it's going to erhard for senator collins. she said -- just this week she said that president trump had learned a great lesson from impeachment. she walked it back. she's going to have to walk it back a lot furtherer in the face of this. i find it very hard to see how -- with the notable exception of senator romney, the other senators canhb really pk too much in the face where they have vindicated his behav.r this we robert: let's talk about senator romney because he was in the republican caucus, the lone republican to break from president trump. he broke fro his partyhen he voted to remove the president from office from abuse of power. and he gave a deeply personal before the vote.nate floor
>> the great question the constitution tasks senators to answer isde whether the pre committed an act so extreme and egrious that it rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor. yes, he d. we are all footnotes at bt in a nals of histo. but in the mostl power nation on earth, the nation conceive and liberty and justice that distinction is enough for any cizen. robert: we just heard from sheryl how few republican senators and other republicans generall want to speak out against president trump because he has immense olitical capital, a strong economy at his back. but senator romney, speaking about history and the choices facing the rublicans, what drove him to make this decision, the former standard-bearer of the g.o.p.? >> it seemed like he was looking at not the short-term here but
really looking at what he would be thought about long-term. he's also someone who you said, he was -- he ranor the nomination for president. he got the he did not win. so essentially he's been througs this pro he's been -- he's had the biggest loss maybe of his life. hand soe has and he also is so he doesn't -- he can take these risks because he's not dependg on politics for the rest of his life. and he also said he was a man of faith. and he said, he wanted to be - abled he has always been known to be a man of faith. and he was someone who said, i couldn't -- i took this oath and i want to stand before god and feel good about what i did. robert: a man whose mormon faith is serious to him and related the mitchomy. >> when he says he's a man of faith, that really is driving him. you might remember, we saw
anothermo m senator, senator jeff flake who spokeut against the president ultimately coluded that he couldn't run again for arizona. he couldn't win again. mittomney doesn't really have that concentrate. he's been the presidential nominee. he been a governor. now, he's a senator. he may not run again. he doesn't have to worry about his electoral future. robert: you wrote about lamar alexander retiring from tennessee. but why did alexander stick with the president? >> you know, i a thinkxander is a guy who is not one to shake things up. now, you could argue that n the hing for him to lose. he's not running again. he's at the - also at the end of his long career. he was an aide to howard bnger. as a y man, howard baker turned against nixon during impeachment of that president or the t impeachment oft inquiry. but at the end of the day, lamar alexander is somebody who is not going to be theuy at the front
edge leading the revolution. he was willing to push f witnesses, but he wasnly willing to go so far. robert: so you spent years covering then governor romney, his 2012 presidential campaign as a long time rorter on t romneyeat. your impression of this week? >> younk know, t finally in what his second year in the u.s. senate we've seen mitt romney become the romney he was getting elected in utah. he had spoken out against president trump way back when he was a candidate in 2016 and spoke very stronglybout trump as by amoral and a wrong fit for the republican partyn he tan for the senate seat. and people assumed he would and up to trump. dment. he took his time. but in this impeachment trial, he took careful notes. took the process very seriously. and you can see him arriving that decision i agree with sheryl,t's entirely based on his faith and his moral center.
>> and he also said that he knows this is not going to be easy for him. like, he said, you wouldever do this if you wanted to take the easy way out. he knows he'll face retribution from the partynd the president. >> donald trump jr., the president' son calling f romney to be expeled from the party. >> absolutely. he was a striking composite of two things. it was a verymotional moment for him, buts th a devastating indictment of the president's case. i mean, it was a really forensic indictment. he stood outty his abi -- what strikes me in watching this from a bit more distance is how -- i am sure that a large number of publican senators agreed with ever word of what he said. th question the historyve will s why are they untrying to do that? and one explanation is clearly kind of coward es if you will an unwillingnes a desire to keep their seat t stay in the senate. but i think there's also
somethin deeper going on, which is that the president has been able toreate an environment where he has sort of vilified the whole process, and it is a question of the libal media, th liberals in the house, the whole -- them. the them and us-ification has managed to do, hasen g the republican feert stick with him robert: you re just with the president of switzerland. when you're talking to world leaders, business leaders, what do they make of this moment? >> it'slly interesting. you know, i was at the world economic forum that theas presidentpeaking at. and literally nobody mentioned peachment to me. it was in the middle of and tend of the trial,y nobody rea focused on it because outside the u.s. everybody has assumed that what happened this week was going to happen. we all knew the president was going t get acquitted. from outside people see one
president who is in charge of the economy whose economy is growing very strongly at least relative tother parts of the world. they see a president who has kind of survived impeasment, who looking pretty good for re-election, certainly, you know, as oosed to a democratic field that is prey chaotic and divid. so i can -- outside the u.s. i'm afraid is we're stuck with this president and we're hea. to s robert: well, we'll see because we're keeping an eye on the democraticresidential race. and monday's caucus was supposed to bring new clarity. instead, they brought chaos. that was dueoomplications with a smartphone app. and the state party had awn melt by friday evening the a.p. had noteclared a winner. but pete buttigieg and bernie sanders botheclared victories. sanders with a narrow lead in the popular vote. >> we don't know all the results. [laughter] but by the time it's all said
and done, iowa, you have shocked the nation. [cheers and plause] >> some 6,000 more iowans came out on caucus night to support our candidacy than the candidacy of anyone else. and when 6,000 more people come out for you in an election, then your nearest opponent, weere in northern new england call that a victory. robert: the cover story of this week's economist capture "the left argues that america needs a fundamental structures, moderates say we needrs rep which is left, the radicals or the repairers? "? when you cover them, where's that race inside the democratic party stand as we head to te new hampshire primary? there's a debate tonight in new hampshire. >> t main distinction between
senator war randy senator i sander that senator sanders is a socialist. and senator warren says she's a capitalist. >> could she come back in new hampshire? >> she's facing a run for her money not only from senator sanders but from pete buttigieg. maybe he's the barack obama of 2020. i don't know. he's sort of come up through the middle of this party that has been fighting about whether or not we should go for boldan ch, revolutionary change or should we go an incremental change. problem with peelt buttigieg because new englanders are going toward buttigieg instead of warren. >> it's hard for a woman to run for the presidency. i thith elizaarren feels that acutely that it is going to
be hard for a womano g elected. and you remember that spa sha -- that she had with bernie sanders because of that very issue. >> joe biden shaking up his campaign looking to come back a little bit in new hampshire. is it all on south carolinys primt this point for him? >> it appears to be. biden is the other big story out of iowa and not in a goo way. he finished at a pretty distance fourth. his performance was less energetic, less enthusiastic reception than some of these ther candidates. he needs to count on south carolina. he's been polling very well there with african-american voters. he'll be the first to tell you that tha that's his fire wall. if he continues t be hobbling behind sanders and buttigieg and even warren, that spells trouble down theoad. you're looking at super tuesday, a lot of big states where he's going to need to do well. robert: is in the end of the iowa caucus'she chaos in
count. it's 90% white. they can't get it right. tom perez is calling if a recanvas which is not necessarily a recount but they're trying to retabulate some of the math. but a disaster in the eyes of many democrats. do they come back? >> i wouldn't be against iowa coming back. this idea of caucuses though in geneal is getting a lot more pushbackor a lot of reasons, accessibility. like, i y you are -- for people with disability, for people withids, like for people w work a night. this idea of standing in a room for hours, to, you know, to issupport your candidate something that i think that a lot of people are rethinking that poihy and sayingn 2020 are we doing that? not to mention thera demic issues that they have. but i wouldn't bet because people, traditions have a way of holding on. robert: mayor bloomberg still out there in the supertuesday statespending millions of dollars in advertising.
could the democrats wind their way toward him? >> that's the question i've been asking myself. it still seems like a long shot. it's becoming less of a long shot. rort:hy? >>s phil said, ve president biden is slipping andin f and he -- even if he limps -- he has to do really well innaouth caro but even with that not clear, well in thean-american o very vote. so they all have -- and i'm not sure he is an obama in any way. who do the c moderateslesce around? you very kindly quoted or articles it's the repairer es and the radicals. who a the repairers? and mike bloomberg, it seems crazy, right a new yor billionaire, but he has unlimited funds. he's got a very professional campaign. he's poring money in. and he's got thistrategy of not coming in until super tuesday. if we endowupds a contested
convention, he might be right there. he wouldn't count him out. he's someone who gs under the president's skin, really, really gets under the psident's skin. robert: you c't cut out he's doingin new hampshire polls. very, very high on bernie sanders. and the energy with the party is with the progressive left. i know that -- i know -- >> i'm agreeing with ou. but i'm sort of sighing -- >> because it could be very dangerous forts doc to nomite someone like bernie sanders. i think it could be hard fornt this c to accept a president who is opey a socialist. >> his argument that middle east nersable to rally new vote the way president trump was populace, he's arguing that he was populace. >> a number of voters say i like trump ae i l sanders.
>> the white house feels they'rt goinbe able to say about sanders, he's a socialist. but i mean, what sanders' supporters will say they're going to say that about every democrat. but i think this h whise is very ready to say, we're going to -- we're going paint ts guy as a socialist. we'll be able to do it. but they also acknowledge that a bernie sanders could shake up the map. candidate. vement and we shouldn't discount the advantage that he has. he's t only one whoun has through whole nomination process before. he nearly beat hillary clinton d he ranll the way through all those states. he's known in these states. he's looking good in california. >> how do top democrats feel about this juncture? a lot o uneasy and uncertainty? >> a lot of democrats feel thi the best week trump has had. we talked and his approval ting being so high. the good feelings about the economy.
the state ofhe union speech he had on the economy. there's a real concern in the democratic party that the don't quite have the formula to beat him. robert: is their message healthcare, healthcare, healthcan'? >> they wa to talk about the kitchen table issues that landed them the majority in 18. and i think that -- you often say in pitics, you can'tust be againstething. you have to be for something. completely run against trump st although there is so many energy in the party justet to rid of trump. they have to be for something. >> isn't the lesson that you want to run a moderate? that theuccess in the house in 2018 was that speaker pelosi absolutely won the republic -- this is with a moderate message. president trump must be absolutely hoping if a sanders candidacy. he's already teeing up in the state of the union with
socialism - he used that word again and again. and has a gene win socialist who is to the left of jeremy corbin o is fartest left -- he didn't propose a wealth tax of up to 8%. bernie sanders wants to national lies the whole ofhe u.s. health service which we have in the u.k. already, but it's a huge change. he wants to take 20% of big firms and give them to workers. you know, this is not goingo play in this country. robert: we c gld keepng all night. but we have to leif it there. make sure to check out our "washington week" extra. we'll talk about new hampshire's upcoming primary. lots to discuss there. you can find it in our social media accounts and on our website. i'm robert costa. good night. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is respoible for its an caption conten accuracy.visit ncicap.org] ♪
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