tv Washington Week PBS November 12, 2021 7:30pm-8:00pm PST
>> a friday night flood of news. >> infrastructure week has finally arrived. >> president biden celebrates congress passing a one point $2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. >> we need to remember what god us to the white house in the first place. we won in 2020 as a unified party. >> he's still fighting to unify his party to pass his larger social policy plan. >> one price one day, and tomorrow, it is like $.30. >> as inflation and prices soar to historic highs. >> the house select committee investigating the january 6 insurrection issues a slew of new subpoenas. >> millions of americans have been tragically misled by former president trump. >> and the battle over executive
privilege heats up. next. >> this is washingtonweek. corporate funding is provided by. >> for 25 years, consumer cellular's goal has been to provide wireless service that helps communicate and connect. we offer a variety of no contract plans and customer service team can help find one that fits you. for more, visit consumer sailor that heavey -- consumer cellular.tv. >> brought to you by the estate of arnold adams. koo and patricia union for the u.n. foundation, committed to bridging differences in our communities sandra and carl dilley magnuson, rose, herschel, and andy streams. the corporation for public broadcasting and contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again from washington, moderator jan michelle's indoor.
>> good evening and welcome to washingtonweek. the capital insurrection happened 310 days ago. friday, there was so much news related to that violent day. the justice department announced steve bannon, a former top adviser to president trump, was indicted by a feral grand jury for contempt of congress. the charges come after he refused to comply with the subpoena from the house committee investigating the capitol attack. former trump white house chief of staff mark meadows failed to show up for a deposition with the committee. lawmakers have threatened to hold him in contempt, as well. the committee also issued at least 16 new subpoenas. the top trying campaign aides and former white house officials. also on friday, if there wasn't enough news, abc news chief washington correspondent jonathan carl released new audio from an interview he did th former president trump for his upcoming book. they talked about the attack.
>> because it is common sense that you are supposed to protect -- if you know a voter is fraudulent, how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to congress? >> joining me tonight to break down all of this news on this friday night katie benner, justice department reporter for the new york times, kayla toussie, senior white house correspondent, and anchor for cnbc, and brian bennett, senior white house correspondent for time magazine, and rachel scott, congressional correspondent for abc news. i want to start with you and steve bannon. in some ways, it was important and interesting news he was indicted. he's facing two counts of contempt of congress. talk about what is next receive bannon, the legal procs. >> steve bannon is expected to turn himself in on monday. after that, he will go to the district house in washington, d.c. for his first appearance.
we will see what happens, hearing his side, the justice department able to argue why they believe he should be charged with two counts of contempt. people have been waiting to see whether or not the justice department was going to make some sort of statement about the committee's work, the work to get to the bottom of january 6. when steve bannon refud to comply, there were eyes on the justice department. if they would back the committee, enforce subpoenas, or get caught in the legality around executive privilege that happened so many times before during the previous administration. >> steve bannon is expected to turn himself in on monday and appear in court. what message does it send to others who were subpoenaed, including mark meadows, who looks like he will defy a subpoena, as well? >> mark meadows case is different. keep in mind, steve bannon with a private citizen at the time he would've -- was advising trump, talking to him about the election.
his case is weaker. meadows was the chief of staff. if he claims executive privilege, was speaking to the president about legitimate white house executive actions, he will have a better time arguing the executive privilege claim. executive privilege covers the actions of annetta ministration. running for president is not an executive act, nothing part of your presidential duties. to the extent some of these conversations were about the election, some have already been testified to by other executive branch officials, including justice department officials, it weakens the case. it is not a cut and dry thing, nothing we can say -- it is harder to predict the outcome. >> it is a smart thing you said about it between executive action and running for president. we know president biden has been pretty clear that at least with the documents requested, he will
not be waiving any executive privilege. i wonder what you think of lawmakers possibly sending a warning to others working to defy the house committee. they stepped up their work. >> i think it was welcome news for lawmakers on the community. -- committee. we heard from representative thompson and congresswoman liz cheney saying it is a warning signal to anyone who chooses to defy o congressional subpoenas, requests to testify behind closed doors. if you don't comply, you have to face the consequences. in a lot of ways, the justice department was saying we are going to have your back. we believe it should go forward. we support this effort. but it will take time. we don't know how long the trial can play out. it will ao be a test of loyalty for these former trump campaign officials who were close to the former president. it is going to be an ultimate test of loyalty to whether or not they are willing to face the consequences. >> do we get the sense some are
cooperating, especially looking at these subpoenas going to former vice president mike pence, whose office has been more loose lift? >> they have. the committee says they have received dozens who have cooperated behind closed doors, are collecting interviews, have documents so far. when we look at the inner circle of the former president, the focus is also on the days leading up to january 6. the meeting at the willard hotel where they we properly -- probably strategizing ways to overturn the election. the circle around the president. what they were saying at the time and to whom, who they were communicating back to. those details remain unknown. >> there is a lot in there. they are looking at documents, as well as wanting communication. i was reading the judges order. looking at april 1, 2020 to january 20, 2021. a big time. they are looking to. look at the fight over the
documents, where things are landing now that it seems a federal appeals court has blocked these documents. >> this stuff really matters. they are trying to get to the bottom of the events. it is really going to be a test of how much executive privilege can protect documents from being handed over to congress. president trump is a former president, used executive privilege to protect these documents out of office. and also, whether or not when he is taking actions in office to get reelected and undermine democracy at the same time, whether or not executive privilege provides the umbrella it was. >> when you think about these historic times you are living through, this is the first time federal judges had to deal with competing claims of executive privilege. i wonder what you are hearing at the white house correspondent om the biden administration about your sources of how they are seeing this?
>> certainly the biden administration is leading this effort from the extension of the justice department, which a lot of demrats were hoping would make moves today and prosecutors would ramp up these efforts, which they did. now they are in a no win situation. the mudslinging has only got worse. this is a loyalty test as president trump thinks about whether and how to launch a potential 2024 campaign. those who are seen as defying the requests of the select committee will be lionized by a lot of this. there is no hard. there is some legal protection. if you show up to the committee and you say in those conversations you can talk about it because of executive privilege, but at least you show up, which is what the committee is subpoenaing you to do. but because they are publicly taking a stand against it, they are getting celebrity status or martyr status that could elevate
them in trump world as you thing about how it evolves in the coming years. >> kayla was talking about mudslinging. how much of it might end up in the supreme court? >> that is hard to tell. the former trump administration officials who are adamant about approaching the supreme court before january 6, a lot of people believe those legal arguments, which former trump officials said to not hold water at all, believe if there is a chance presented before the supreme court, some arguments can hold water. we know it is not the case, but there is hope. when people do go before the committee, one of the risks the committee is taking by issuing so many subpoenas and going so broad is we found there are people who have been subpoenaed who plan on going before the committee to cooperate and also tell what they say is there side of the story. i don't like to use the word mudslinging, but to say in fact
we were correct, there was election fraud. these rings did happen. we were only trying to protect the country. enough people go in as witnesses and tell that account, it will certainly blur the ultimate report this committee is creating. >> the other thing that happened this week that we showed was former president trump defending these -- this chance of -- hang mike pence. what do you think he told john karl, and how much do you think and to the state of the gop? >> trump has no qualms about what happened on january 6. he has defended his actions all the way through, including his speech before the riot that directed people to go to the capital building. we heard on the tape released that he defended the fact there were people calling for the hanging of mike pence. he says this is what happens, and repeated the lie about the
election being stolen. so trump is non-repentant, and has no remorse about the actions of that day. he will continue digging in and demanding the people around him and in the republican party to hold up that lie as we move toward the midterm elections and other presidential election in 2024. >> describing president trump as non-repentant is an eloquent way to describe what we have seen. rachel, the other thing that happened that was shocking was representative paul goes are of arizona tweeted out this doctored animated video showing him literally killing democratic representative alexandria across io cortez. what is going on in the capitol? so much violence, and we are still here where lawmakers are tweeting out videos depicting killing other lawmakers. >> let's just take a step back
from what we are talking. you referenced the forme president defending how he saw attempts to hang his own ce president. in congress right now, there are threats against one another. this is a very tense and hostile move on capitol hill. it has significantly affected how people work together. this idea of if you have a friend and colleague across the aisle. many on capitol hill are questioning whetr or not it even exists at this point. it is really stark and very troublesome. when you talk to a lot of members on capitol hill, a lot will say in a lot of ways, they have feared for their safety, have had questions about their safety, and legitimate concerns about their colleagues who they felt were supporting attempts that threatened their safety. >> these are dangerous times. i wonder what you are hearing from your sources about the
atmosphere we are living in, especially after, or maybe during representative tweeted out this video of him killing another lawmaker. >> one of the things observed during the trump administration was whenever the president would criticize another politician, a lawmaker, the number of threats against that person would really spike. i don't think that has changed. now that more people are willing to make those threats, you see a lot of chatter, whether on the internet, whether in messaging groups, that really replicates the phenomenon of a visual image or a comment, an overly harsh criticism, or even a threat being uttered. and seeing in the world of domestic extremism, a lot of chatter and movement. where that will become extremely difficult is heading into the midterms. we saw in the last election, election workers being harassed, being threatened, secretaries of state, including brad reference berger, being threatened and harassed, his family threatened
and harassed. as you add more politicians engaging in that behavior, it has become difficult for law enforcement, the fbi, dhs to evaluate those threats and figure out which ones are online chatter and which one could lead to the next violent action. >> it is hard work and dangerous times. we will talk to you through the midterms. thank you for joining us. meanwhile, last friday, congress took a huge step and passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill. democrats are still trying to figure out the details of the build back better act. the second largest info structure bill expected to be back only by democrats. president biden went to baltimore to push the plan. >> this bill is going to reduce the cost of goods to consumers, businesses, and get people back to work. helping us build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out that everybody is better off. >> this comes as the white house faces tough questions about the economy and what they are doing
to stop surging inflation. friday, a record 4.4 million americans quit their jobs in september. experts say they are leaving in search of better pay or better jobs. the labor department also announced inflation is at a 31 year high. supply chain issues and consumer demand are causing the cost of cars, gas, groceries, and thanksgiving dinner to spike. all of this is making americans anxious. who can afford to fill up 15, 20 gallons of gasoline? i know people are struggling. that is a heck of a lot of money. >> we started seeing everything goingp. grocery prices went up, a gallon of milk was $1.99, now it is $2.79. >> we are not getting anything healthy, because prices have gone up. i feel we can't afford the really good ink that would be healthier, also. >> these are really tough times. talk a bit about inflation and
when americans will see some relief. >> there are a few things contributing to inflation. first, the pandemic. last year, companies to get people to go out and do things, they had to lower prices because the economy was at such a fragile point. now the recovery has boomed in that time. the change over last year has been stark. also input costs for companies has risen substantially. labor costs to hire people and keep them in the jobs have risen. also reducing and shipping things to the u.s. from overseas and getting them driven or transported by freight through the country and to shelves has also risen. a and industries asked the white house for a few different things. one of these clothing and shoe companies hit with tariffs when they bring things from overseas have asked the administration to reimburse them for some of those so they cannot pass all of those costs onto customers.
so far, no dice. gasoline is up about 60%. they are looking at some specific actions. they will not have an overnight effective they tap the emergency reserves of gas -- of oriole -- it will take about two weeks to hit the market. i spoke to a senior administration official who said thanksgiving travel with a date circled on the calendar. because the white house did not move this week, it will not hit the market or relieve any pressure at the pump by the time a lot of americans hit the road. >> a quick follow-up. we talked about people quitting their jobs. i wonder how it might impact this economy struggling through covid? i wonder a little bit about what people are weighing as they quit? >> i think a lot of things. the pandemic significantly changed workers priorities. a lot of workers, especially older millennials and younger millennial workers are demanding
some sort of hybrid lifestyle. a lot of officers are trying to convince employees to go back to the office, and they don't want to do that. some workers who have always worked in person are now figuring may be risk is not worth it. maybe they are not feeling full field. maybe at that point, -- fulfilled. maybe at that point they have enough to make a change in their life. cost for company are going up. i spoke to jared bernstein from the white house last week. he acknowledged companies will have to keep paying workers more and more to be able to get them to take these jobs and stay in those jobs. they have a few other statistics the white house looks at where the cost may not go up that much, but acknowledged to hire people will be really expensive. the fear is it will also possibly trickle down to the consumers. the consumer the administration has said anyone making under $400,000 will not see taxes raised, you are seeing a
political message from the other side of the aisle that this is an indirect tax in the form of inflation and the administration is not doing enough without it. >> at that point, thinking about the administration. i questioned the director of the national economic council. the white house has approached the economy. >> what do you say to some critics who say the white house is too focused on long-term investments and not enough on short-term, right now relief for americans? >> he's focused like a laser on those issues. part of the problem is we have not invested in building our infrastructure so we have more resilient ports, roads, and bridges around america. >> what could be the impact of passing the build back better act? with the white house, and only brain these, but with the president says needs to happen. >> i spoke to white house officials about thisoday and what their concerns are alike. they believe based on their economic analysis that the
inflationary concerns are temporary, a temporary result of the pandemic and supply chain issues, and they will be resolved in a few months. they want to build back better act to get past so a long-term investment can lower the cost of things like childcare and health care, and other things to offset any continued inflation or any continued expenses americans are still having to pay because of that. they are hoping these long-term investments -- and also looking at the infrastructure bill implementation, hoping it would -- in pumping more jobs and more structural conductivity into the company, would reduce inflation in the longer-term. >> the president is supposed to be signing the bipartisan infrastructure billn monday. of course, democrats are scrambling on the second larger bill. does this inflation give democratic moderates leverage to get what they want, even push it back? senator joe mansion now saying
we will wait until 2022. >> a strategic pause i think is what senator mansion has called it. he looked at it and said why are we rushing to spend more money if inflation is hitting a 30 year high? why don't we slow things down? congress has already spent trillions of dollars. why don't we take a moment to look at how this is rolling out and see the effects of it before we move forward. my guess is we will hear a lot more about that from moderates, not only senator joe mansion, but others in the house. the house will try and push forward by november 15th on the much larger build back better act. the moderates still have concerns. they want to hear more, estimates. house speaker pelosi noting six estimates have come out. pushing moderates to get a vote. it will be in the senate. uphill challenge. >> i want to come to you really quickly. talk a bit about former president trump attacking
republicans who voted for this bipaisan infrastructure bill. i wonder what it says about where things are going. >> certainly, he can use the bully pulpit from afar and see if it wields any leverage over the party. ultimately, i think president biden knows well that when money is spent in individual districts, it goes a long way at home. i don't think any conservative lawmakers wanted to face constituents face to face to say we could have gotten money for this bridge, or road, and we opted not to. certainly a lot of republicans had to make that choice. >> in the last couple of seconds we have, it is interesting to me that when you look at these republicans being targeted, you have someone like michigan representative fred upton who is getting voicemails of people telling him they hope he and his family die. we are talking about security issues, but i wonder what you make of this being tied to a vote on infrastructure?
>> president biden campaigned on bringing bipartisanship back to washington and doing more of this with congress. he was hoping it would be an example of republicans coming together with democrats to get something done for the country. we saw the blowback these republicans had voted for the bill are experiencing. biden is hoping it can be a time when he shows unity. but it will be a challenge because of the reaction. >> it will be a challenge, and weill have to watch closely. a salute to american veterans. thursday, president biden marked the 100th anniversary of the tomb of the unknown soldier and paid homage to those who served. >> our veterans represent the best of america. you are the very spine of america. not just the backbone. the spine of this country. and all of us owe you. >> this week was also the first time in nearly a century remember's of the public were allowed to lay flowers at the tune.
to all of our veterans and military families, thank you for your service and sacrifice. that is it for tonight. thank you to kayla, brian, and rachel, and thank you for joining us. don't forget to watch the pbs newshour next week for searching for justice. one man's transition to life outside of prison after two decades behind bars. we continue our conversation on the washingtonweek extra. a look at the kyle rittenhouse homicide trial and murder trial for the killing of ahmad are brief. find it on our website, facebook, and youtube. good night from washington.
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