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tv   Washington Week  PBS  July 9, 2022 1:30am-2:01am PDT

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>> bidens presidency tested and trumped inner circle question. >> mass shootings have become our weekly american tradition. >> it was horrible. i went back, there were people shot on the ground, a little boy in somebody's -- one of the police officers was armed. >> another mass shooting. this time in a chicago suburb. and with roe v. wade struck down. >> for god sake, there is an election november. vote. consider the challenge accepted. in the meantime, i'm signing this important executive order. >> the president takes action to try and protect abortion rights.
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some democrats are demanding more fight from him in these turbulent political times. president trump's white house counsel speaks to the january 6 committee. what he saw, what he knew, and what this means for the former president, next. >> this is washington week. corporate funding provided by. >> additional funding provided by kuhl and patricia u.n. for the u.n. foundation. bridging cultural differences in our communities. sandra and carl magnuson. rose herschel and andy's reeves. robert and susan rosenbaum.
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the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again from washington, moderator yamiche alcindor. >> good evening and welcome to washington week. this week started with another high-profile mass shooting. in highland park, a man shot seven people to death at a july 4 parade. according to the gun violence archive over the holiday weekend, there were at least 11 mass shootings. that comes as the challenges facing the nation continue to mount. a debate over gun laws, abortion politics, and historic inflation. this week, president biden faced a rash of bad headlines, with democrats questioning whether he's meeting the moment. as an example, critics pointed to the president's response of the parade shooting as not forceful enough in contrast to
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jb pritzker's open frustration. >> we got a lot more wk to do, we've got to get this under control. >> if you are angry today, i'm here to tell you be angry. i'm furious yet more innocent lives were taken by gun violence. >> republicans continue to focus on mental health issues rather than access to guns. joining me to discuss this. >> i think yesterday's shooting is an example of what the problem is. the problem is mental health, and these young men who seem to be inspired to commit these atrocities. >> joining me to discuss this and more, michael scheer, white house correspondent for the new york times. the chief national affairs correspondent for cnn. and joining me in studio, lauren for the pbs newshour.
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and the political enterprise and investigations reporter for the washington post. thank you for being here. this was a serial start to the week. i can't even imagine people went to a july 4 parade and ended up running for their lives. the politics on this continue to be challenging. what do you hear from the white house and lawmakers about the shooting at other shootings that have happened recently that might lead to a renewed effort for gun legislation? >> it is difficult to see anything the president is calling for in addition to what was passed, which was more expanded background checks, red flag laws. but what the president has called for ar an assault weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity magazines. those things don't really have any republican of congress. that is why a lot of activists and democrats and their own party are pushing them to do
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more executive actions. the white house is very focused on getting there nominee to alcohol, tobacco, and firearms agency confirmed. it is their top priority. that is where they are putting their focus. i don't see the white house doing any more executive actions anytime soon. >> that is a stark reality given what is going on. michael, you did a deep dive into democrats wanting to see more fight out of president biden. can you talk about the main concerns when you talked to democrats and allies of the president about what they want to see from president biden and how the white house is navigating this? >> thank you for having me on. when you talk to democrats, complaints divide into two bro categories. one is actual policy, more policy engagement. they want the president to do more to confront inflation.
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guns, the overturning of roe v. wade. and they have a lot of suggestions. none of which -- and this is the source of the frustration, that the administration is taking them up on. for roe v. wade, there are suggestions for them to allow abortions to be done on federal land. the administration said it is not practical. the other broad category is a performative piece. part of the presidency is seeming engaged and being in the moment that the rest of the country is in. i think this week was an example of how the preside to a lot of democrats seemed really out of touch. you have all of these big issues hitting the country at once. and the president was in cleveland talking about pension plans and he spent much of the time this week conferring the metal of honor and medal of
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freedom on deserving people. to a lot of democrats, i think it felt like his heart is not in confronting some of these big issues. >> there are so many big issues. i want to stick with you. you wrote in this piece. other democratic politicians are jumping into what they see as a void of leadership. i wonder who is really jumping in to fill the void they see, and why they are standing out in the way president biden isn't? >> the examples i think that i gave, the governor of illinois who caught a lot of attention among the run-of-the-mill democrats and activists for his passion and his rising to the moment, in terms of his angle after the shooting in highland park. the other is gavin newsom in california, who raised some
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eyebrows by not necessarily campaigning and running ads in california, but rather florida, directly challenging ron desantis. there are a lot of democrats who say why isn't our president doing that, why isn't he taking the fight to the governors of florida, texas, some of these republican states. why isn't president biden more aggressive in that way? the fact he's not is an opening for other folks. >> another story that caught my eye is they say biden is not running out of ideas, democrats fear he's running out of time. what is your sense talkinto the different sources you are talking to about the pressure president biden is facing when the midterms are performance away. how does it connect with what other presidents have had to deal with? >> the summer before a midterm
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election is always an uncomfortable position in the white house. president biden joins the ranks of many presidents who are likely to lose seats in their own party in midterm elections. president biden has been there to see this firsthand. the summer before president obama's midterm election drubbing in 2010 was a difficult time. the difference i think for president biden is one of himself. he's not traveling nearly as much as other presidents, he's not front and center as much as some other presidents. part of it is his age, part of it is the sheer fact of who he is as a politician. he was not elected to go after the governor of florida. he was not elected to be the loudest voice in the room. so now, some democrats, the frustration is boiling over. as he said the other week, i'm
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the president who you have. he's the president in the moment here. there is nothing he can perhaps do to satisfy all of the anxieties and frustrations. but there's more he likely could do. he's frustrated -- he has said many times, he told me at the beginning of the year in a press conference he planned to leave washington more, to be in the country. that has not happened much. he traveled to cleveland, but it was his first domestic trip in quite some time. presidents are busy, his schedule is busy with foreign trips, etc. the reality of what he can do, he's never likely to meet the moment of some other progressives. not sure we want our president to be going after individual governors. and of course, governor pritzker was fired up because it happened in his own state. we have seen passion from president biden. what i think some other leaders are really looking for is more
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of a direction, more than just this optimistic speech he gives. really taking things by the reins. that is what he really has not done. the challenge is getting through the summer and into the midterm elections. he is in a tough spot. we will see if he digs himself out of it. definitely a tough spot. talking about the frustration boiling over. i read something i think if you asked the biden campaign whether it would be true, they would say no. but joe's approval rating is lower than the former president, donald trump. a stark thing given we covered trump together. what is the significance of that, given president biden is trying to put up a fight? i was in cleveland hearing him talk to union workers. but president trump still has his grip on the republican party. >> he does, and he would be the nominee if it was an electn
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for the 2024 nomination. by a lot of accounts, he's thinking about announcing soon to try and be the nominee. former president -- for president biden, a lot of factors are challenging. as long as inflation is high, gas prices are five dollars a gallon, as long as there is this type of concern, and it is hard to put a finger on it. i talked to democratic strategists and others. people will feel unsettled, whether covid, the economy, a sense things are not heading in the right direction. the barometer in politics is do people think things are heading in the right direction or the wrong direction. and there's a lot of the country thinking things happening in the wrong direction. if you have his numbers, you have a republican party chomping at the bit to defeat him. there's a good chance to do it. >> talking about things being
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unsettled, president biden put an order aimed at protecting access to abortion and medication at emergency contraceptn. the reality is there's no action the president can take to restore the nationwide right to an abortion in the wake of the supreme court's ruling. you have done a lot of great reporting. how much is this executive order, what does the impact the white house think it will have? >> this is a kid of action is steps president biden directed his agencies to do after the decision came down. ultimately, i spo to a lawyer who said it is an enforcement of laws to direct agencies to protect people who may try to travel, doctors and patients who may try to travel to get an abortion, enforce privacy for health data. but it is a lot of using the current laws on the books.
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democrats want to see the president go bigger and be more creative. a lot of executive actions they want are clearly not part of what happened. they are looking for him to use medicaid to fund travel for abortions, not the actual procedure, because under law the government can fund the procedure. and also to expand through the fda more access to medication abortion. taking away final restrictions on pharmacies. the president may be cautious about that, simply because of the legal challenges likely to come. >> what is your sense of how democrats see what president biden is talking about the bright spots? it is about what he's trying to do with limitations. there was president biden going to cleveland, wanting to talk about the economy and really good things happening. a jobs report they wanted to take a victory lap on.
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but knowledge that americans are feeling unsettled and not great about where things are. >> exactly right. today was a good example. the jobs report was strong enough that under normal circumstances, the white house would be yelling it from the rooftops. but they are very afraid if the president was overlyptimistic, if they are ignoring people's pain, and he would come across as detached from the way people are experiencing. ultimately, the way people vote is not based on some statistic or a percentage the president can point to on a chart, but it is how they feel on how their lives are going and how they feel about their pocketbooks and the resources to do the thing
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for themselves and their families that they want to do. polls suggest people are not feeling great about those kinds of things. the president risks a lot if he doesn't seem to acknowledge that. the flipside is by acknowledgment all of the pain it can sound like a deby downer. it's a problem for this administration. president biden and the white house challenging that, there were new developments for the investigation into the capitol attack. former white house counsel pat cipollone testified behind closed doors before the january 6 committee. tuesday, a grand jury in georgia issued subpoenas to top trump allies, including his former attorney rudy giuliani and
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senator lindsey graham. officials want to know more about their roles in return -- overturning the presidential election results. what do we know about the significance of pat cipollone coming in? there is information about what he said and how long he was there. >> former president trump's counsel was there for about eight hours. lawmakers came out and said they learned significant new information, they were pleased with the testimony. we knew that pat cipollone was one of chaney's bigger fish. she wanted him to come in. wanted to see testimony from other folks of what former president trump was doing leading up to the election, pressing these false claims. and you heard a lot about pat cipollone. he had been unwilling to talk to the committee directly. he had done one informal interview, and when the committee took a risky step, and
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it was unclear what he would do, what you saw from getting him today is a number of figures in the former president's inner circle who have given the community -- committee videotaped testimony, knowledge of what happened that day. pat cipollone is interesting, because he was involved in discussions about seizing voting machines. some of the more serious claims, he was in the white house on election night. around the days before and after january 6. he allegedly warned a lot of aids about the crimes people would face if they went to the capitol and if they went through with some of these more grandiose plans the former president had. so he doesn't have a close relationship with the former president anymore. they had a tense relationship at times. i don't think they are
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necessarily simpatico in every way. but he had been very strident about trying to respect privilege in his mind and not wanting to discuss the conversations he directly had with the former president. the fact he went in today, we don't know what he said. i think we will be trying to learn that in the next few days. it is significant development for the community. >> it certainly is. you told our producers it is not a stretch to say pat cipollone might be the most impressive witness that came before the committee. what is your thinking given the fact he might change the direction of this investigation, or add significant information? >> as josh was saying, there was no one who was really involved with the white house. with that level of position, that level of experience and knowledge of the law more than pat cipollone. we don't know he will be the most important witness at this point, we don't know what he said. but there was no one who had the window in everything that was
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going on. he tried to stop it potentially from going on. he sounded the alarm about the involvement in the president going to the capitol on january 6. he knew a lot of the things, the outside legal teams, rudy giuliani and others were trying to cook up. it seems he was trying to throw his body in front of all of that. sitting down for eight hours is a very long ti. they have a lot to talk about. the days leading up to january 6, never mind from election day forward. it is certainly an indication he did not spend time pleading the fifth. we know he answered questions. and the congresswoman from california said he did not contradict the testimony of cassidy hutchinson. the top advisor to the white house chief of staff mark meadows. i think we are going to see since the video, since the
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deposition was videotaped, we have seen how the committee works, they like playing those videotapes. in the coming week, we will see some of his testimony. but certainly he has more knowledge than anyone else in a deep level. mixing that with the experience in washington and the legal knowledge, he has a lot to say. >> you talk about the hearings coming up. how much based on your reporting are the hearings making an impact with the american public tuning in at some time by the millions, but also among republicans who are rethinking their thoughts on former president trump? >> there is no doubt not everyone is watching for every moment. the independence or even republican voters are not. it is impossible to not have some of this information. what it has learned is a huge
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breath of information. more interestingly, it certainly has shattered this myth that there was widespread election fraud. shattered it in the eyes of many republicans and others that there was some big fraud going on. more interestingly, the biggest outcome in terms of the 2024 presidential race. it has given other potential republican rivals for ron desantis and others a window into the thinking of the former president. he still is controlling the party. and with the iron grip it has seen several months ago. >> it is a great point you make with the grip he has. georgia also had these development. the da saying she might subpoena more people. what is the significance of what is going on? >> in some ways, it is adding to the narrative that the committee
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is laying out for the public doing what he said, seeping into the american consciousness. and the investigation -- i thought it was interesting. the people that the investigators in georgia were seeking to talk to some of the obvious ones, rudy giuliani and the like, but i thought it was interesting they wanted to talk to senator lindsey graham, who had been one of the people who made phone calls to georgia officials. and the big question is how much is this really going to matter. how much at the end of the day are americans going to shrug off all of this as a story that they already knew, that they already felt somewhere deep down that they understood it had happened? or on the others, how much do they suddenly wake up and say we thought we knew what had happened here on january sixth
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and the days leading up to it, but this is worse, this is different, and we will make different decisions. >> a critical question to ask, how much will it matter? what are you looking for next week as we think about these hearings and what lawmakers are saying? >> one of the first hearings is going to be a lot about the violence and what occurred that day, what the president and his innecircle new, how concerned were they with these groups like the proud boys, oath keepers? >> that is exactly right. also the committee is expected to delve into what the former president was doing in that time period as the capitol was under attack in the future, as soon as thursday. my colleague said they had got more witnesses coming forward, they could expand it into august. it may not be the last of the hearing. i don't think the story is over. >> definitely not a story that
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is over. thank you for joining us and sharing your reporting. we will continue the conversation on the washington week extra. startling headlines from a broad, including the latest on brittney griner, who remains in a prison in russia. find it on the website, facebook, and youtube. look at how inaccurate and misleading information about abortion is affecting policy and public opinion. thank you for joining us, good night from washington. >> consumer cellular. additional funding provided by -- for the ewin foundation, committed to bridging cultural differences in cultural communities. sandra and carl delay magnuson. robert and susan rosenbaum. the corporation for public
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broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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