tv Donald Trump and the Presidency CSPAN September 28, 2017 4:15am-5:17am EDT
politics and diplomacy. on sunday, author lynn olson will be her guest. her books include "freedom's daughters," and her most recent, "last hope island." during our live conversation, we will take your calls, tweets, and facebook questions. olson"in-depth with lynn sunday on book tv on c-span 2. next, a look at president trump's first year in the white house with historian h.w. brands andr correspondent --, douglas brinkley. the hour-long event was part of the annual texas tribute festival at the university of texas in austin.
>> as we were saying, i am happy to welcome you to the texas tribune festival, and to trump and the presidency. a very rich panel. there is a whole bunch of trump and resistance, trump and congress. we hope you will make this the first of a huge day in the festival. there will be a reception at the at&t center. this panel is supported by pearson and the sponsors and donors underwrite but play no role in my line of questioning. this event will be 60 minutes. the end will be left open to
questions from the audience. then pearson will be hosting all of us for a brief meet and greet next door where we will drain the swamp together. so please join us for that. if you are going to tweet during hashtag is your\ -- let me introduce our panelists. douglas brinkley is a professor at rice and cnn's historian and the author of several books about the presidency. next to him is the national political correspondent for npr. she ha covered every presidential election since 1992. you can hear her on shows like morning edition. she is a contributor to fox news. then brand who shows a senior chair in history here at ut. he is an author of several books
about the presidency. most recently, "the general versus the president." some of you have seen the written materials. we were supposed to be joined by dan rather but he was unable to come. we carry on in his absence. let's start with an innocent time in history. december. [laughter] president-elect trump had you as a guest at mar-a-lago where he talked about the presidency and the office he was about to inhabit. what did he talk about at the lunch? >> he was president elect and i am a historian for cnn.
he was just starting to have his war with cnn. when i first met him, he did not have nice things to say about my network. then i got to talk to him about the presidency. i asked him about presidents he has met in his life. he told me about how jimmy carter, he had given money to anybody to beat carter in 1980 and he thought carter was a terrible president. to his surprise, carter came to see him and wanted money from trump for his new carter center. he said he admires carter now. >> did he say if he gave the money? >> he would give him any money. he said with richard nixon he became friendly with nixon because he was on the phil
donahue show and pat nixon saw trump and said, he is on the donahue show. then he got a letter from nixon that he shows people. saying, my wife said she never saw somebody as smart and great as you on tv, let's go out for a meal. they started dining regularly together. his reputation was in tatters. he was living in northern new jersey. donald trump in the 1980's was on covers of magazines. nixon was trying to a reach out, he was trying to get back in the game. they talked about reagan. it wasn't anything deeply illuminating. but we talked about inaugural speeches he had not prepared
yet. he just kept saying i want to be short. i told him about william henry harrison going long and dying after one month. we talked about kennedy. it was an innocuous meeting. my take away is he had almost zero understanding of american history. he is a child of television and operates on that instinct. he's very visual. we now know how much he watches cable. that is his intellectual force. he may have a short attention span. the idea that he would read brands book, not going to happen. >> did he seem surprised that he had won? >> yes. he kept spinning this idea that there was voter fraud. that hillary did not really when
by 3 million illegal people. i was a little startled that he was clinging to that false narrative. you might as well be magnanimous. it was a weird moment in history, i don't know if you knew whether he knew he was going to repeal and replace obamacare or do infrastructure. i think the betting money was he was going to repeal and replace obamacare. when general flynn got busted, and really started recognizing he was going to be under investigation, his instinct was to double down with his base. the pipedream that he was going to do bipartisan things evaporated quickly. he just did red meat for the trump base.
>> doubling down all the way through last night in alabama, talking about the nfl. we are eight months into the trump administration. do you have a sense of how trump regards the institution of the presidency? >> that's a good question. i think he views the presidency as not a coequal branch of government. i think he sees it as a super equal branch. he is frustrated he did not get the kind of respect, he is not venerated in the way he likes to. he loved that military parade so much in france and wants to have
one here. he wants the authoritarian leaders he respects and bonds with around the world tells you a little bit about how he views his role. as a journalist, when he came into office i kept a couple questions a my mind. one was, is donald trump different in degree or kind from previous presidents? is he just a rude conservative republican? or is he something new and different? i am now thinking he is different in kind. his views of other democratic institutions like the press, the things he feels, the norms he feels comfortable breaking, i do not think he sees them as norms. he is different. i do see donald trump as a stress test for democratic institutions. that is the big story of his presidency.
will the independent judiciary survive intact? the press is under tremendous pressure, not just from donald trump. those are the things i'm watching for. i think he sees the presidency in a different way than any other modern president. he described his inauguration as i took an oath to the american people, not the constitution. i don't think he thinks about the constitution or has any restraints on him. the things he has talked about with such glee is how when he is president, he can't do anything illegal. phrase, i forget how he put it. something like the president cannot have a conflict. i think he sees it as so many of the things in his life have been, a big get out of jail free card.
i don't mean that literally. >> as someone who has studied how different men regard the institution, how does he compare? >> he looks at it as a businessman. there is a reason he is the only person to be elected president who, top line on the resume was businessman. the only other successful business person to become president was herbert hoover, who is not a great advertisement for being a good president. this impatience with institutions, this goes very much in line with impatience that a ceo would have. the difference between business and politics is, in business, you can fire people who are causing your trouble. the president can't fire the supreme court or the senate majority leader. trump is running against it.
as someone who is brand-new to politics, he has not accepted this. i'm not sure at the age of 71 he is going to change. he still hopes he can change the institutions. >> we have been processing the flurry of news over the last eight months. since you guys are paid to imagine the unimaginable, what has gone as you have expected and what is different over the last eight months? >> getting neil gorsuch into the supreme court was expected. he was going to pick a conservative and that is going to have a lasting impact. i see it as his biggest success. i thought the twitter use would get toned down.
i had a fantasy that his daughter would be the twitter czar. she would have to read it first. she would let 90% of them go out, but once in a while say, not that one. that obviously hasn't happened. the determination to keep inflaming and dividing the country, all presidents try to unite. john kennedy's first 100 days was a failure. bay of pigs, cosmonauts going into space with russia. it kennedy went and said, screwed up the bay of pigs and cuba. he had a 77% approval rating after his first 100 days.
after his first year in office, kennedy had 80% approval rating. that is not going to happen with trump. alabama,ntioned in wherever he goes, he is polarizing. he thinks he is winning in a divide and conquer way. reagan used to say you have to have 50% to get something done. trump is constantly operating at 35% to 40%. nothing is getting done. but he steals the headline news every day because of twitter. and by playing cultural war games like we saw in charlottesville, like you are seeing with football -- i find it reprehensible. it is pitting american against american in order to be in charge. it all began with this birther
movement and the building of the wall and making latinos feel like lesser people by not having a meeting with somebody like john lewis to talk about civil rights. this is a serious moment where we have a president who has gone rogue on us. he is trying anything he can to circumvent the law. he knows he's got a nokia laois and as long as he can keep 40% of the population backing anything he does. reports come out tomorrow, in short of being something so egregious that he does, 35% to 40% will stay with him. they have signed on to the colts -- cult and persona of donald
trump. people that i talk to that are most frustrated are conservatives. they feel they have been working the conservative movement for decades and this is the result. this is what has been produced? the political currents are vicious and confused. it all goes back to the 1960's and early 1970's. reagan used to say he was trying to roll back a great society. trump would like to roll back the great society and the new deal if he could. >> what surprises you? >> that donald trump is exactly the way he was during the campaign. there was weird magical thinking that this was an act, that he would revert to being back a
democrat. the alternative universe of donald trump. that he was so unique, he could bust partisan boundaries. he would do a big infrastructure deal with democrats and he wasn't a conservative republican -- that totally went by the wayside. he chose a strict base strategy and subcontracted out his agenda to the republican leadership, much to his dismay over time. they have not delivered. they came in and said they would repeal and replace obamacare. and have tax reform by august. that is why he is so angry. number one, he may have a 35% approval rating. but national approval rating does not mean that much. national poll numbers don't mean that much. but what is his approval rating in the 10 battleground states? the white house believes his
approval rating is still where it was when he was elected. they think he is in the 40's. he could be a legislatively completely unsuccessful president and get nothing through except neil gorsuch and deregulations, but he could win reelection and be politically successful. all you have to do is win elections in america is when by one vote in the battleground states. he could get a smaller percentage of the popular vote and still pull out in electoral college victory. that is why he pays such meticulous attention to the base. in terms of conservatives looking on with dismay, what happened in alabama yesterday was interesting. not just the 90 minute screed. we should go back and watch that for all of its various detours that he took. he was campaigning for a
candidate, luther strange, that his base does not like. what that trip to alabama was a test for whether the trump base's loyalty to trump and his base has been described as a cult of personality. but many republicans say the cult is not as big strong as people think. there will come to the rally with trump, applaud, and go out and vote for roy moore, the guy he was ostensibly campaigning against. >> here's a quote from the rally. it happens to be about colin kaepernick. it could be about any number of things with the president. this is him talking about an nfl owner and a player kneeling for the national anthem.
bitch yet that son of a off the field now. he is fired. going there with that language and that venue? the wonder to what extent actions he takes are calculated and to what extent they are impulsive. the more i watch, the more i think it is impulsive. i'm not even sure he knew what he was going to say when he stepped up to the mic. he started in and wandered off. i think this is one of the reasons that people arou him are unable to rein him and because they don't know what he will do and when he will do it. one of the remarkable things to me about president trump is that he is exactly like he was during
the campaign. for everybody else, there is a candidate discount you take into account when they change from candidate to be president. they realized these are two different roles. with trump, there doesn't seem to be any differentiation. the first signal is when you win, and then, you get the inaugural address. and everybody else before trump has followed the thomas jefferson model after the very divisive election. referring to the major parties, he said we are all republicans. we are all federalists. gesture in that direction. one of the questions i would post tomorrow is if donald trump has to choose between getting something done, let's say, tax reforms, where he has to cut deals with the democrat, he has to choose between that and hanging onto his base. would you rather get reelected with essentially no legislative accomplishments or get the
accomplishments and perhaps jeopardize his position with his base? >> reelected, no doubt in my mind. >> one of the questions that occurs to me is what does he want out of the presidency? nearly everybody else who gets elected president realizes first of all this is the biggest thing they have ever done because they have all been in public service before, and they at least had some idea of what they wanted to accomplish or how they wanted to be seen when they are out of office. with president trump, i cannot figure that out. for all i know, his major goal is to make his net worth greater at the end of his time in office than it is now. [applause] >> he wants to get good headlines. he was to get good poll numbers, and he wants to be the greatest president america has ever seen, but i don't think he think that is dependent on something he accomplishes in office. he can just tell people that and they will believe him. [laughter]
>> can i say one thing that has -- one thing maybe that we have been surprised that a little bit. the real concern of many people during the campaign was that he meant what he said when he said nato was obsolete and maybe we should pull back from our role in nato, the more kind of isolationist, pro-putin. that was a surprise. he was stopped from having the kind of relationship with russia that i think he wanted. and even though he was dragged kicking and screaming, he did finally a firm article five of nato, that an attack on one is an attack on all. what is jokingly called the committee to save america, tillerson, matus, mcmaster, and kelly, they have constrained him. in other words, at least in foreign policy, his bark is a lot worse than his bite.
he says we will destroy north korea and the next day, more sanctions. >> one day being thursday. mara: literally the next day. sanctions. he is going to pull out of the iran deal, the most embarrassing thing ever. the next day, we are going to try to negotiate some addendum's to it. i think that has been reassuring to a lot of republicans who were on the ledge around donald trump. as long as you have got the national security team, the committee to save america in touch, and secretary mattis calls and says it is a joke. i am the secretary of reassurance. [laughter] >> i don't want to make it like donald trump is just a lone
ranger. he is not. he is representing america. he has taken the low hanging fruit to win. in 1992, 19% of the public voted for ross perot. 19%, anti-nafta. that has always been a swing vote crowd. george wallace, after lyndon johnson did the civil rights got powerful. in alabama, he won the south when he ran for presidency and picked up states on an overtly racist platform. he had the dixie crowd. goldwater, nuke them back to the stone age. nixon with his silent majority. some people who just wrote cannot stand democrats and liberals, so he traded a coalition. but with all these, his whole presidency is trying to keep that together for what they suggested.
reelection. he plays to win. for him, it is about winning. he never left the campaign. keep running. he also gets the narcissist rick the from the crowd. when you read about people with malignant self-love and narcissistic disorder, they cannot handle too much negativity. he is going to watch cable and get a boatload of negativity. he gets his high by going to alabama and saying just the thing that will bring the house down and basically brought racial politics in alabama in attacking the nfl players. that is donald trump. he is nativist, xenophobic, and dog whistles.
he is a businessman that doesn't like a lot of federal regulations. they stopped him from building projects and he has the typical thing about developers where they could have put it up two years sooner if it were not for the government red tape. >> after charlottesville, you went on npr and said he does not see his job as president as providing moral leadership to the country. this is very different from every other modern president when faced with a racial episode like this. so can you be president of the united states and be amoral on a topic like charlottesville? mara: he is not providing moral leadership, so i guess the answer to that question is yes, but that was an amazing moment because the easiest thing for presidents -- it is almost like default on your keyboard what you say after a moment of racial tension. it is in the memory banks.
you stand up and say words of inclusion and healing and even if you do not say them eloquently, every other president has said that. there is a standard thing for presidents to say after an incident of racial tension, and he chose not to do that. it turned out, it was about him. what happened was they had not written a statement like that for him. -- they had written a statement like that for him. he was mad and either did not like the way it was received or people accused him of waiting too long, so he let it rip, you know, when he was in trump tower. you saw the incredible images of john kelly looking like he wanted to sink through the marble floor. that is how -- he does not see the president as providing moral leadership. he does see the president as a cheerleader for america, and he said that during the campaign. you can see when he goes down to the hurricane area, for which he got good remarks, good marks, and that is why his poll numbers went up a little bit.
he goes and talks about how great everything is and the relief effort is that we only lost 33 people. so he does see it as the cheerleader and salesman. he is always talking about how many fighter planes for leaders decided to buy, so he sees his role that way as a booster. but the question i have for these two guys is do you think, after donald trump leaves office in four or seven years, there will be a move to constrain the presidency? one of the effects of donald trump will be a diminishment of the powers of the executive to make it a law that you have to release your tax returns, to actually enshrined in law that you cannot have conflicts of interest, things like that, because that is what happened after watergate. not everything is written into law. all these norms we hear about, i almost feel like there is a guy named norm who is being
obliterated every day by trump. there is things presidents just did, and now donald trump does not want to do any of them, so i am wondering if the upshot of this is that, you know -- >> after franklin roosevelt won 1944, there was a constitutional amendment only have two terms. there will be a trump reflection, and we will have to see how that plays out, but we do not know at this point whether he is a one termer or two termer -- >> or a four termer. [laughter] >> he has been a great disrupter of american history. he is turning it topsy-turvy. we cannot talk about anything else because everything is donald trump 24/7. you have to unplug and take a
walk because he can drive you insane because he is flipping this and that and keeping everybody off kilter. that not only plays into his hands, but very likely he could win reelection. the idea that democrats are going to find a relative unknown who is going to -- trump is a big brand and if you do not get something like the joe biden or somebody with the big brand to take him on, it is a hard season to build somebody else from a grassroots to go knock him out, so the democrats have to be careful. they are probably going to have about 15 candidates seeking the presidency. you might have bernie sanders and elizabeth warren. and mitch landrieu, cory booker, tim ryan. i mean, the list goes on. on and on.
not one right now. maybe you will come out of the woodwork and knocked trump off. i would be careful. i think he is a stronger political force than that. mara: one alternative theory to the idea that donald trump is so overwhelming, so outrageous that we have to react to everything 24 hours a day to trump. that is true, but there is a completely opposite reaction happening around the world, which is that they do not listen to him because whatever he says does not matter because he does not follow through. he does not do it. foreign leaders hear him say this and they go he is not going to pull out of nato, he is not going to pull out of the run nuclear deal. and in congress, i think that is happening a little bit. when he signed -- congress did something amazing. they passed the russia sanctions bill, 98-2. he did not want it.
he issued a signing statement. he did not want more sanctions on russia. he wanted the opposite. he issued a statement about all the ways he disagreed with this bill. somebody asked "what do you think of the president signing statement?" he said "whatever." for the chairman to say whatever about the president of the united states and the way that mitch mcconnell reacted to his making a tentative deal on daca, he just said we look forward to seeing the president's legislative proposals. as much as we are obsessed with him, people are starting to tune him out also. that is the point i am making. >> great point. we had to go through all the nixon tapes. the media always picks on his curse language, inflammatory language. but the thing that stuck out for me was how people with disregard him. kissinger -- he was starting to unravel nixon of 1973 through
the nixon tapes in 1973, kissinger was like [indiscernible] they would all just go "yes sir, right away." [laughter] and nobody would follow the order of the president. if you are having worries about trump having his finger on the nuclear button, so to speak, and the north korea crisis, andy, the chief of staff that george w. bush told at the time of 9/11, he went down in florida, and andy got to come on stage. bush was reading "my pet goat." and andy had to whisper in his ear. as soon as they got backstage, a cluster of government officials were there and bush said "we are going right now to d.c." they said we are not letting you go to washington. bush threw a tantrum. he said "i am the president. let's go." "we are not allowing you."
the government is not allowing you. you cannot going to washington. you're going to go to louisiana and then -- >> the deep state. [laughter] >> there are mechanisms. the idea that trump is going to cash people thought he is going to tell kelly in an irrational moment "tell them we're going. i want the regular plan on north korea." it is not going to happen that way. there are going to be brakes before something largely irrational like that is done. >> something that mara said and i take issue with is i think it is important to keep in mind what president trump has accomplished. there are two things historians will write about 20 years from now regarding the trump presidency. we have the suspend judgment. the presidency is not completed. two things have happened already that are historic.
one is, he filled the ninth seat in the supreme court with a 49-year-old conservative who might be rendering opinions 40 years from now. that is a big deal. i will take issue with what mara said, but also confirming what she said. the president has single-handedly undermined american leadership in the world, and this is something that goes back to franklin roosevelt. from world war ii until the obama presidency, every president of the united states realized it is important for the united states to take world leadership. the president of the united states was the most important single figure in world affairs. that is not the case now. president trump has basically abdicated that role. even if he grudgingly affirms article five of nato, the fact he has to do it grudgingly, angela merkel is the leader of nato now. if there is a leader. the world environment, the president of china is more
progressive than the president of the united states. when president trump says one day he is going to pull out of the iran deal and the next day he is not. for the last 75 years, the word of the president of the united states was something pretty much everybody else around the world would take to the bank. the word of this president basically means nothing. you lose that, you lose the confidence of the world, and it is really hard to get that back. mara: i think a lot about this. the damage he is doing to america's standing in the world, or the disruption, is that permanent? it matters whether it is four or eight years. america is the world's greatest democratic superpower. none of that goes away.
we still have these democratic institutions he has not succeeded in totally undermining it. in a post-trump world, and i do believe the next president, his whole message will be "i am not donald trump." whoever it is, whether it is mike pence or anybody, how much of that can be repaired? because america is more than just one president. >> i think it can be repaired. i am confident in the united states that that could be repaired. our country -- all of our allies will come back to us. we are having a weird aberration going on right now. they have their own problems. some of these countries have their own similar problems with great britain was the brexit debate and all. it is a confusing period of time, but i think we can right the ship and four years. in eight years, it may do permanent damage, but right now, we have earned enough credibility in the world to be given the offer with him that it just got out of control, particularly with the russia
scandal, the internet. hillary clinton won by 3 million votes more. you know, all of this was the perfect storm of confusion, and this happens from time to time in world history. america will get a pass in a couple of years. mara: very optimistic. american leaders are always saying, we separate the russian people from the russian leaders. the iranian people, we have no grief with them. now, the world has to do that with us, that america equals donald trump. >> we were up in vancouver. nobody was angry at the united states. they were more laughing. "you guys now are not laughing at our politicians. america is the butt of the world's humor." with our key allies, it is good-natured right now and they are hoping we fix our own house pretty soon. >> do we think donald trump has fundamentally changed the
institution of the presidency in eight months already? >> he has cheapened it. i think it used to be -- he made the white house seem tacky, like things are up for sale. the lack of transparency on taxes, constantly being in mar-a-lago and new jersey, eating up taxpayers money. he has diminished the role of what the presidency means, and that is not a partisan thing. i think ronald reagan did a wonderful job as a republican and george herbert walker bush, keeping a kind of institutional lore, the tradition of america. we are a country of traditions. has not taken basic lessons of civility and civics and how good government works. he is trying to monkeywrench
things, operating on paranoia, calling the press the enemy of the people. you know, writing every day weird, crazy emails about everything under the sun. >> tweets. >> tweets. he is making the presidency as an institution, he is giving it a black eye. >> because he has so personalized the presidency, when he leaves, that personal aspect goes away. the institution remains. i agree with mara that the next president will be the anti-trump. so, the president will have every incentive to restore dignity to the office and do everything. mara: and release his tax returns. that will be a fundamental threshold thing. >> i want to ask you guys one more thing. the "new york times" did a very
short list feature called "say something nice about donald trump," which i believe was immediately abandoned due to lack of material. [laughter] >> let me ask you, the three of you. and i will give you an out. here is the fire escape i will build. something that has gone less badly perhaps then you feared? [laughter] >> i will start with you. take your time. >> i have too many to choose from. no. what donald trump demonstrated is that you can become president of the united states without being beholden to either party. and that has its upsides and downsides. the downside is that the party has no incentive to make sure you are a success. we are seeing that, trump's relationship with congress. it looked as though for a time that the parties had had sort of a headlock on who could win. and trump demonstrated you can basically parachute in from outside and if you are
sufficiently charismatic -- in his case, i would say his charisma is mostly negative. but one could imagine a positive charisma. if you are sufficiently charismatic and know how to manipulate the media, then you can get elected. i think that is a positive thing. mara: i would say that if you are a conservative republican or just a republican, he would say neil gorsuch and all the obama era regulations that have been eliminated are a good thing, but that is a partisan criteria. i would say, you know, i had something in mind. his choice of his national security team is positive. i do not think he chose them to be the committee to save america, but he picked them. they were generals. he liked them. but that was definitely a positive thing. just imagine, imagine a world where we had a kind of general flynn in every one of those
positions. >> that was really my point that i will add two. the last few weeks on the the dreamers and daca, our brothers and sisters, to stay here and not be disrupted, he punted that to congress, but the willingness to work with schumer and pelosi and try to get some safety net guarantee that they are americans is a bright sign that maybe he is not so rigid in his thinking in a hard right perspective. >> apparently, he is going to go in a conservative or action that, but we do not know yet. >> at this moment in time, that is a good thing.
>> do you think his harvey relief -- when he got beat up that it was not good enough, when he came back into houston and hugged people and showed a human side to him. think that hea, i id brent long at fema has done a solid job because after michael brown at fema was the disaster, fema reconstructed themselves. we have gotten a degree of activity out of fema that is a lot better than during katrina, and now, puerto rico and what is happening there, the amount of funding you'll need with the trump administration continues to reach out to florida, puerto
ideology that i do not see as warranted? you're giving him an intent to dismantle the new deal, but yet he says all the time you cannot touch entitlements, medicaid is mean. i was very confused by that statement. >> say the last part of it. trump dismantling the new deal -- >> why do you think -- >> he is not going to dismantle social security. that was kind of a joke. in reagan's diaries, he writes "people say i do not like fdr, that i do not like the federal government. i voted for time to fdr -- four times for fdr. why would i want to all about the great society era?" with donald trump, he would like to do away with the civil rights acts of the 60's and go back to a more states rights-oriented future. he wants to stop the role of progressivism which culminated with obamacare and the affordable care act, which is when the great -- and roll back the clock. >> do you think he has that much ideology? >> i think you're making a great point. that kind of says he has an ideology. you're making a good point. jeff sessions wants to roll back the new deal. in other words, it is not donald trump. donald trump does want to obliterate obama. just anything obama did. but the conservative far right conservative wing of the party that he hasn't howard and brought into his administration, they would like to roll back the new deal. so it is not so much him. he has not thought this through. he has allied himself with that part of party. he thought this out very carefully and the my little, the department of justice, neil gorsuch on the supreme court, those things might egypt away at. -- might be chipped away at. he likes big government in many ways. he wants big structure programs. and then, that way, he is at
odds with his party. the obamacare bill he has been for, every single one of them are completely the opposite of what he campaigned on. >> in florida, he would love big government to help with the hurricane, because it helps him get reelected. >> democrats do not root for impeachment. [ laughter] >> mike darda question for all of you. speaking of presidential traditions and norms in the white house, think giving is coming up, and the turkey, do you think he will -- [ laughter] >> do you think he will fire it or top that off or will the staff forget he has to do that? >> the question is, will donald trump treat the turkey like an "apprentice" candidate? >> i think everybody gets a pardon from donald trump. >> we do not know yet how the investigation will turn out. there is an inherent conflict of interest between the personal counsel to the president as it a private citizen as opposed to the council of the white house. and on the one side, we have mueller's team, which i learned a lot about these lawyers when it went to law school, and the dream team, essentially. on the other side, we have the show of attorneys talking about private privileged matters. in your new york times. there is going to be a lot of conflict between these two. i get the sense from trump that he does not mind picking his own personal interests over and against the lasting impacts that might have on the executive branch. what do you think in terms of what are the risks here and how do you think that will play out depending on what happens with the mueller investigation? >> i just think at the beginning of his presidency, he has had the kind of heat of the law on him. he has never been able to relax
because of the russia probe, and it is a big part of the narrative of 2017. just when it seems like a design down, it seems like there is another leak. the history of 2017, the amount of leaking going on of government is astounding. and trump has been having to fire people, figure it out, stop leaks. they just keep coming out, which means he has a lot of enemies from within, as much as he is picking on the press all the time. it is useful politically. he has great internal problems. i do not know if he has the ability to know who to trust right now. he does not have an alter ego like kennedy or woodrow wilson. maybe general kelly can become that person. maybe he is. so he is a president besieged. every day, he is worried about lawsuits. one of the best comments made recently is that he is happy in he white house because the second he leaves, he has so many lawsuits coming on from so many hings.
it is beyond repair. i do not know how he lives his life like that. every minute, you have got people that are about to sue you, are suing you. he seems to have lived his whole life and that kind of world, and not been busted. he has not gone to jail. trump university -- he gets penalized. he pays fees and keeps on going. there may be a bridge too far going on here. we will find out when the mother report gets released. mara: any kind of investigation like this is a grinding process. you have people in the white house having to spend tremendous amounts of money that they do not have on lawyers. you have people in the white house worried of one of their colleagues is wearing a wire. it already was a paranoid that writing place. that kind of investigation just makes it even more. in terms of the conflict versus
-- hose who are supposed to represent donald trump as an individual, there is a conflict. if you are a law student, don does not have attorney-client privilege. the other personal lawyers do. that is why bob mueller want to talk to don and get all the documents he might have about what donald trump was thinking when he fired comey, but i do not think donald trump himself thinks about the conflict between his personal legal exposure and the damage to the institution of the presidency at all. >> i do not think he trusts his own lawyers, donald trump. i do not think he tells his own lawyers the truth. bill ld see that with
conclusions are. these are by enemies, what do you expect? >> a republican congress will not impeach a republican president. [ laughter] >> let us squeeze in a couple more. >> you furthered the answer of that. what would be the stomach turner? a few parallels of the ignorance of the german aristocracy and they thought they could control heather with the conservative republicans, and they thought they could have controlled trump. my question was what would be the stomach turner that would reate -- >> what would separate the presidency? [ crosstalk] >> they believed he was the cause or in the run-up to 2018, they believed he was a huge drag on them. and we do not know when the mother report is coming out, before or after november 2018, but when republicans in congress see him as a liability, the problem right now is the base of the republican party is with donald trump.
they are not with the republican leadership. i did a piece this week where a republican operative in north carolina said there was three parties in america. the trump party, the republican congressional party, and the democrats. and you saw that playing out in alabama. the enemy, the republican voters who are for -- c mitch mcconnell and paul ryan as the enemy. they even excused donald trump for making a deal with nancy pelosi and chuck schumer, who used to be the archvillain, because they feel that mcconnell and ryan -- everything is so tribal and american politics, not just between democrats and republicans, but even inside the republican party is so tribal that if you are against mcconnell and ryan, then he must be a great guy. we have really gone down. >> is there anything that can shake the support of the trump base? >> i think immigration is so fundamental for the trump base -- look. he was the original birther when he started with birtherism. that is such a threshold issue for his base that many conservatives i talked to say that if he does give something that he sees as amnesty to the dreamers, even though they are ok with letting me down people say, but if they do not at the wall in exchange, some really big thing in exchange, there will be -- not that the base will totally leave him, but they will be just unenthusiastic that enough will stay home in 2018. >> the day that trump met with schumer and pelosi, on the campaign trail.
he tweeted out "now, i want him impeached." sending a louder message that the hard right will not allow what you are suggesting, daca. on the impeachment of from, it was a republicans that took down nixon. it is conceivable you could get a gang of 10 u.s. senators if the mother report is really egregious, and it looks like donald trump somehow colluded with russia that you could get a movement for impeachment with some republicans leading the charge, but in the end, i do not know if it will be more than just a sensor that comes out of t. they will try to do something punitive. i do not know. it depends on what is in that eport. >> one were really quick
question. >> i don't know how quick it is pure one of the things trump has accomplished is he has proven an independent campaign or shoot in. if they can control the media, then it is the media not inoculated to some extent now? think that is relevant to 2020. is it inoculated to some extent against trump and will it still be the same if it goes forward? 2020. is it inoculated to some extent against trump and will it still be the same if it goes forward? mara: i could not -- it was really hard to hear the question. is he inoculated? >> one of the things that 2020. president trump has done is proven that an independent candidate or shoot him and break either party parts can draw on the presidency. and so, is the press -- press control is one of the things the doctor suggested was critical to that success. is the press not now inoculated to being manipulated for that purpose? >> bill?
>> donald trump was master of the media and the 2016 campaign. that was essential. i guess the question is, could somebody else do the same thing? >> could he do it again? >> could he do it again or has the media wised up? mara: i see what you are saying. that is a really good question. there is no doubt that during the campaign, he was such an object of fascination that the media aided and abetted him. he controlled the headlines. cnn was criticized for having 45 minutes of an empty podium. hillary clinton is holding a rally and they do not even cut to it. i think things will be different next time. i think they have already changed. you saw it. they started fact checking him in real time. instead of waiting for him to say something, you have some separate fact checking
piece. "donald trump says blah, blah, blah." not true. i think things have changed. the other thing you see is the soul-searching among the big giant social companies, google, facebook, and the wall that they played and how they can be different. more gatekeepers and sort out fake news from other things. i think that it is always kind of a game of catch-up. i think that donald trump's control of the media and his ability to manipulate it and play it like a fiddle probably will not be exactly the same next time. however, what hwc, which is really true, is he did disrupt the two-party system. and that he has this group of voters who are beholden only to him, not necessarily to republicans in congress, but only to him. and one of the reasons that the republicans brought up yet another obamacare repeal effort is that when they went home over
break is all they heard was "why aren't you doing more to help donald trump? why are you doing more to fulfill your promises?" that base of voters is still really, really strong. >> we will take this group to the community hub. thank you so much for joining us today. applause] >> this morning the senate banking committee holds a hearing on sanctions and diplomacy on north korea. live starting at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span 3. online at c-span.org and streaming on our c-span radio app.
next week formerequifax chair will testify about the hacking that exposed the personal information of 143 million customers. mr. smith will testify before the house energy and commerce committee live tuesday starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 3. next house and senate republicans unveil their plans for overhauling the federal tax code. this will be the first major change to the tax code since change was instituted by president reagan in 1986. this is 20 minutes.