tv The Washington Center Discussion on Trump Administration and New Congress... CSPAN January 21, 2019 5:03am-6:00am EST
tom davis, the former member of congress. congress, a member of as well. -- a democrat from virginia. we have eleanor clift. she is an msnbc contributor, the reporter for the daily beat and i used to watch her and she was group back inlin the day. we are moderated by bob cusack. he is editor and chief of the hill. [applause] bob: thank you very much. thank you for coming out. i think this will be a very fascinating discussion. you have veterans of washington politics. i was to start with what is going on right now. this is the longest shutdown ever. numbere entering week
four. house is going to end? moran: i wish i knew. it has to end pretty soon. the people are suffering. i think that as soon as wall street reflects a certain amount of loss to the national economy, that might get the white house's attention more than the pleadings on behalf of federal employees. we could easily go into february before we have a resolution. that is clearly to pass all of the other appropriation bills that have already past the house and the senate.
we are ready for president obama's signature. he reversed himself overnight. the resolution is to sign those bills wall funding in a continuing resolution and kick that can down the road until we can figure out how to resolve it. >> congressman davis, do you think president trump might use a national emergency? he seems to be shying away from that. end?t, how does this >> i think it would be bad precedent. i think he would get a lot of blowback. it would just be more usurpation of executive power. represented i districts with over 50,000 federal employees in over 100,000 contractors.
we could have come to a deal in about 20 seconds on several of these issues. we don't think the wall is such a moral issue that it should not be funded. the other issues have not gone on where you could not work something out and get something for dr. or something else. you have the two sides, a democratic congress and republican administration testing each other and seeing who blinks. for president trump, you don't really pay a political price at this point. i have been doing many shutdowns through this with jim. adon't know that there is price to pay in november of 2020 for what happens. >> because it is so far away. >> so many other things are going to happen. i think for president trump, there is a price to pay. it looks like he is backing off or getting pushed around. i think he feels he has to get something out of this to move
ahead. on the democratic side, they are testing him as well as in the old days, we would have cut some kind of deal. somebody gets something. we make it a win-win. we don't know how to do win-win anymore. now i have to win, you have to lose. i think we will be in this for a while. last week, mick mulvaney suggested not finding a number between the 5.7 billion the president wants and what the democrats had offered that has been in the bill. the president screamed at him in front of all of the house and senate members that were involved in the negotiations, screening at him that you have just roamed all the negotiations. i think the people that would have found a middle ground are going to be hesitant to do that.
i think it is all on the president, entirely up to the president at this point. i don't see his staff trying to make a deal. >> you could say it is up to the president. why wouldn't they have given him this $5 billion and get something in return like daca. this shutdown is going to cost more than that. i think both sides have really gone -- you can give more credit to one side or the other for causing this, but there are two sides. on the political side, the president is going to need that base on theright -- right, whether you like him or don't like him at this point. once impeachment comes in, and i think there is a strong possibility that we will see at least an impeachment inquiry, he is going to need to hold the space in the senate.
if that collapses, the presidency is over. there is a lot of politics going back and forth. there are bigger things at stake. you have federal employees out of work. you have food that is not being inspected. you have tsa workers working overtime that are not getting paid. why can't we come to some sort of compromise? >> i want to get your thoughts on the shutdown, but how has the media or reporting changed since president trump was inaugurated? >> the deal you just referred to about getting the wall in exchange for daca was on the table in winter, and the president blew it up because the talk radio hosts called it amnesty. a are not dealing with president who plays by the rules of politics that people are accustomed to. and is how this might end isa model -- might
simply a matter of attrition. you are seeing small numbers of republicans in the senate breaking off. where is mitch mcconnell? he is staying silent. 20 republicans are up for reelection in 2020. they are afraid of their base. they are afraid to break with this president. tipping pointis a , and we may be looking at the mullah report dropping fairly soon. -- mueller report dropping fairly soon. the white house is apparently preparing for the state of the consider the government shutdown to still be there. you have the president tweeting that his campaign slogan is border security 2020. i actually heard a government
professor from george washington yesterday saying this could continue, and the president could run on vote for republicans, and build the wall. is --s how conjuring this enduring thishow is in his mind. you could argue this is a distraction from the legal issues he is facing, and he would much rather talk about this. how the media has changed, we don't have walter cronkite or dan rather, some of the figures that basically commanded large audiences. there was an accepted quality of information and facts that people broadly accepted. this president has introduced the phrase fake news. anything he doesn't like is fake news. you have a very splintered and
partisan media. we are all operating in our own little echo chamber. it is difficult for either side of the political agenda to move away from their base because they are going to get blasted by the media. i think that is more true on the republican side than the democratic side that that exists. people are dealing with headlines. the substance off the gets lost -- often gets lost. i write for the daily beast. i proposed i wanted to do an article on what is a presidential emergency shutdown? where did that come from? it was one of the post-watergate reforms to restrain presidential power. how has it been used? jimmy carter used it to freeze
iranian assets in this country. for thet obama used it plant water crisis. >> used it for 9/11. >> absolutely. these are demonstrable crises. is it a crisis when you muse about whether it is a crisis? i wish he would do it. it would open the government. a lot of people are needlessly suffering. i think it would be challenged in the courts. i trust our institutions. if it goes to the supreme court, i think chief justice roberts would not defer to presidential power to that extent. presidents to future would be you don't declare a national emergency unless people can agree that there is a national emergency. the president seems to be backing off.
other than what i started out saying come attrition, the wearing down of his republican support, and that is going to take a while. >> on the agenda, now the election is over. elections would end, and both parties would say it is time to get to work. after the midterms, both parties said they had won. -- theate's expanded republicans expanded their senate majority, but they lost the house. do you think the parties could actually agree on something? what would that be? possibly transportation, prescription drug prices? >> absolutely. not to delay this last issue, but i think it is relevant to make the transition.
i don't want to confuse folks with the fact, except that these are students generally looking for the facts. $25ress has appropriated billion for border security. it could have been used for the wall. the bill that was just signed for fiscal year 18, there was $1.3 billion in there, and only 6% of that has been spent. so much of this is really politics. that is what i am afraid of, that neither party is going to make much effort to inform the public, but simply stick with their position. the areas where there could be a meeting of the minds, the first one is infrastructure. there is a desperate need for infrastructure, and a lot of corporate entities know that and have been pushing for it on the republican side. that would generally have influence with the president.
the problem is the tax bill took up virtually all the discretionary spending that might have been available. you have a deficit this year of $988 billion, calling $1 trillion. you don't really have the money. is throughy to do it tax incentivized financing. instead of the normal authorizing committee of transportation, it will probably have to go through ways and means. that is one area. another is some kind of government reform, some of it incorporated in the first hr one that passed the house. i think you will see a meeting of the minds on prescription drugs. everybody cares about that. the president has spoken out. the oversight committee, by the end of the month is going to have some incendiary hearings.
i think you are good to see some bipartisan support for this. that may be the first opportunity for some real compromise and get some presidential signature. >> we say that, but they cannot even keep the lights on right now. we have to take a look at where they are. infrastructure would be a win-win. if you pass a bill now, you could have those shovels out at election time as the economy might be sagging. that makes all the difference in the world. we have evolved into what i call parliamentary behavior, both on the part of the voters who vote party over person. when members come to washington, they asked by could is a parliamentary system. instead of being in the minority party. jim and i served together. in the old days, if you were a minority party, you had a
minority shareholder in government. you could offer perfecting amendments. now you are the opposition party. you are no to everything. we have seen this in the amount of filibusters that has gone up in the senate. we see this in the number of court cases from state attorney generals. this is keeping the lights on, putting the government together. the wall, i don't know when it became immoral. everybody voted for hundreds of miles of wall when president obama was in office. this is almost insulting to those of us that know it. this is hard line political battle. ,ntil voters get upset about it the problem is this, liberals and conservatives have passion, and moderates have lives. as much time in the intricacies of government and get involved. the end result for most of these
members, the only race that counts is the primary. primary voters are a thin slice of the pie. not numbers in swing districts, many members. keeping the lights on, keeping government moving, getting an infrastructure plan, working on the drug issues. we also have sequestration that has to be addressed. that comes back in. you are going to have a debt ceiling. we have some pretty tough decisions that could get worse in a government shutdown. herancy pelosi, you saw when she was speaker the first time, worked with a republican president, got some deals done. the dynamic is different. i think she did a pretty good job of getting the votes to become speaker. unlike the first time, certainly
not unanimous. what are her challenges in striking deals with president trump? roughly, you're going to have 24 to 32 candidates for president on the democratic side. a lot of them are not going to want deals made with president trump. what are her challenges? >> first, i wanted to respond to what tom said. republicans voted more than 30 times against obamacare, repealing obamacare, which would have repealed the requirement that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions. during the campaign, republicans ran on protecting pre-existing conditions. one of the bills that nancy pelosi will bring to the floor is protected pre-existing conditions. let's see if republicans meant what they said? has a number of areas where she can begin to construct a governing agenda for democrats
as they emerged on the campaign trail. she believes that is a much higher priority than going after trump or investigating. they are going to do a lot of oversight, which needs to be done, not just on trump, but the rest of the cap where you have net where you have .gencies working to undermine democratshow what will do. >> do you mean just laws? >> passing bills and sending them to the senate. mitch mcconnell could never bring them to a vote. let's see. i think some of those republicans that are up for reelection, susan collins, tom tillis, they might want to vote
for some of this. protecting pre-existing conditions should be a no-brainer in this country. i think nancy pelosi is very savvy about what she can get done, where the votes are, and she will be pushed by her left, who want faster change. cortez,ia because it known as -- alexandria ocasio-cortez, known as aoc, she has captured the imaginations of younger people. it was a year of the woman, certainly. women did spectacularly well. there is one republican woman who was elected in november, a new republican in the freshman class. they divide between the parties -- big divide between the
parties. i think republicans will portray democrats as wild tax-and-spend. if you look at how the democrats won the majority, it was democrats flipping seats red to blue. they flipped at least 33 seats. the caucus has moved slightly right. there are slightly more than progressives were self identified socialists. they have captured the imagination. people are interested in big, bold ideas. they want to talk about medicare for all. they want to talk about progressive action -- more aggressive action on climate change. those are the issues that are going to emerge as democrats
contend for the nomination. >> more than 300 bills in the last congress passed by the house that died in the senate anyway. you could have tom tillis and susan collins flip, but you need 60 votes to pass anything. that is the stumbling block. even if you have 60 votes, one number objects, and it takes three days to work through the system. a lot of finger-pointing from two dysfunctional parties who have their own agendas that are focused on the 2020 election. it looks to me like they are saying we're just going to argue this out for two years and send it to the voters, which is a loss to the voters. impeachment is going to be a big decision of 2019.
mulleellereport, -- report, think it is going to come out soon. there are a lot of allegations, but a lot of it we don't know. do you think the democratic party in the house move to impeach trump? haveave 70 democrats who gone on record saying impeachment should move forward. >> i hope not. standpoint,ratic president trump is the gift that keeps on giving. >> the media, too. on he has been a tremendous bo to those he castigates everyday. changedity is he has
what the republican party stands for. i don't know what it stands for now because it used to be the party of fiscal responsibility and free trade. a lot of pro-business things were important for the economy. i served for 24 years. we looked to the republicans for a check and balance so that we might satisfy our base, but at least it would be republican leadership who would remind us of what the deficit was getting gettingood remind us -- us we areuld remind in a global economy, and we need trade deals. there were a number of areas the republican party played a central role. no longer.
i don't think the president could care less about the deficit and the debt. he has obviously promoted isolationist foreign part -- policy. he has broken up the trade deals, many of which were important to our economic security and national security. it is great. survives, the country you don't want him impeached. you don't want might hence becoming-- mike pence the face of the republican party. i could not agree more with eleanor and tom. you are going to find that we agree more often than we disagree. there is an intangible. speaker andas
george bush, the 43rd president, he was a decent guy. there was disagreement and policy, but there was no intense dislike. i have to tell you, nancy hates misogynistic men. she cannot stand them. she particularly cannot stand bullies, people who disrespect women, people who use foul language, people who are so coarse that she has so little respect for any aspect of orsident trump's tenor personality. i think that is a factor. she is not going to cut him any slack. she is going to show that a
smart woman can best a male bully any day of the week, and i think she is going to do it consistently. i think that is a factor we have not seen before. you cannot compare when w was president and she was speaker. i think this is a very different situation. it is real, and it is important. >> here are my thoughts on impeachment. if you look at the exit polls on election day, almost 70% of voters on the democratic side think president trump should have been already removed. dangerink he is a to the republic. that is before the molar report comes out. mueller is the report is not going to be econometric. that is gas on the fire. voted for the you
inquiry on clinton, and you cut the devil from your base. >> he did not like the opportunity. >> how do you go back to your districts with a rabid liberal base, who do not think of this as strategic. this is emotional. this is a gut check for them. i don't know what is in it. bob mueller is a very competent guy. he knows what he has been doing. it has been a very professional investigation. getdrop just the hands we and the information we have on top of the base that already thinks he should be removed, and you say you are not going to impeach him and keep him around and beat him up, that does not fly. i think this moves to impeachment. all bets are off legislatively.
>> you have a panel and witnesses that come forward and the country paying attention and understanding who these characters are. we will get a glimpse with michael cohen, who is going to be testifying later this month before congress. that is a lengthy procedure. you do not refer it to the senate unless you've got 67 votes in the senate to convict. >> i disagree. you don't count the senate votes before you send it. >> yes. bill clinton, when it went to the senate, it was a republican senate. they could not get two thirds against him. it was a majority -- they cannot even get a majority. clinton's approval rating after the house voted for impeachment was 74%. ken's stars was 16%. bill clinton felt vindicated by the senate. the democrats have got to
educate the country. if there is something there, if this president has confiscated the notes of an interpreter that sat in on a meeting with putin, there are serious issues. republicans are still in the stands where they are going to defend him. you slow walk that process. you educate the country. if there is really something there, he will be impeached, and he will be convicted. regulargo back to partisan fighting. i don't see the democrats willingly walking into a situation where they see the himblican party vindicating , not supporting impeachment. we don't have all the facts right now. ler'sn't know what muel report has said.
there is damaging stuff that has come out in the last couple days about the russia relationship. we are speculating about how serious it is and how serious republicans will take it. democrats, they support impeachment, but they only support-- they don't impeachment without knowing the facts. slow down, hold hearings, educate the country. this is serious business. you don't want to put the country through that unless there is serious reason to do so. >> i agree. i don't know what is in the mueller report. they should do everything they can to make sure there are grounds. to say we are going to wait until there is 67 votes. that doesn't happen. you don't know until you have a trial. you want to lay the groundwork. you don't want to be acting unilaterally.
day, there hashe got to be some standards that have been set. i don't think you wait and see if there have been two thirds vote in the senate. a lot of members have been silent. >> i think eleanor is right that the smart strategy, and i think it is good to be nancy's strategy is death by a thousand cuts, to slow walk this. everyday there is going to be negative story. let me say one thing about the report. i think we have gotten much of the mueller report. what he has done, very cleverly, is to let out important pieces of it in a very gradual but deliberate way so that he has put points on the board. he has let the media, particularly the new york times and the washington post, who pay for the best reporters, the best
background, and they have the resources. they use those resources. you flesh it out so that if go back, and you keep the newspapers, which i have a habit of doing, you will see on a weekly basis a new point has been put on the board. it has been fleshed out by the media. all we have to do is connect those points. we are going to see the mueller report is in front of us. there is probably a few more things that can be even more damaging, such as concerned by the fbi that he actually was a foreign agent. is what russian intelligence agencies basically considered to be a doofus, that is unintentionally helping them, but not getting instructions, but playing right into their
agenda. we will see. is deliberate collusion or not, i think there is going to be a type of public indictment, and much of it is already there for us to see. >> i want to open it up in a few minutes for the students for questions. think of your questions to ask. i like newspapers. my teenage daughter says newspapers are for old people. she gets embarrassed when i bring them to sporting events. >> mine says the same. i am old. what can i tell you? >> i want to ask you about the republican party. tom davis was committee chairman, headed the campaign committee. trump supporters say the republican party of old is dead. trump has taken it over. we have seen the president in
primaries, almost a flawless record when he endorses a candidate. sometimes he has taken on the underdog. he endorsed the challenger to mark sanford from south carolina. everyone thought sanford was going to win. trump endorsed the challenger. sanford lost. what is the state of the republican party now? >> right now, it is very much a personality cult. remember, people enter parties and leave parties all the time. you try to make up those coalitions feed you take a look at the republican coalition over the last 20 years. i have a chart of hundreds of counties that migrated from bill clinton in 1996 to donald trump this last time. the republican party has migrated from the country club to the country. suburbs are now the fault lines in american politics. further out, more conservative. the closer to his city, the closer to democrats.
donald trump saw this and put an exclamation point on that. when he added the trade element, he brought a number of rural counties in the upper midwest to the republican party. i'm not sure the marriage is complete. there is still heavy dating is i think what we call it at this point. if donald trump goes, what happens to the party? let's look at the democratic party. the democratic party has not state center. republicans went through the tea party face. the democrats are going through what i call herbal tea party. you are seeing some radicalism on the democratic left becoming more mainstream. i'm not sure how this focus is out. politics over the course of time, coalitions are constantly moving and changing.
they are not static. as long as donald trump is there, this is going to be the party of donald trump. they might have considered it a hostile takeover, but that is the fact. post trump is a different story. a lot of that is on the democrats, can they center themselves, or can they control the forces they have unleashed with identity politics. >> do you think trump will be primary to in 2020? is that a suicide mission? >> it may be a suicide mission, but i think he gets primaried. names? >> only time will tell. i believe the political pressures, and i think democrats are smart to be slow and let impeachment mary. -- marinate. that is the way you do it. as someone who ran the campaign
committee twice, i don't know how they don't initiate impeachment after the mueller report. i just say this. if he survives that, could he win? sure. at the end of the day, you get choices. the midterm elections were basically a referendum on donald trump. democrats outperformed republicans by nine points generically. republicans gained seats in the senate. republicans lost 40 seats in the house. that is typical. look at what happened to biggestt obama, the democratic loss since 1938. he came back to get reelected. 2020 is a long way away. there are a lot of things in play at this point. you can watch fox or msnbc. you will get a different answer.
this is all very fluid and very much in the air. information hir ere, what we call the crack to internetatio over the is exceptionally high. we have a long way to go. we don't know where the economy will be in two years. if the economy is still roaring, or if it is down, that will be a real problem for donald trump and republicans. >> democrats underestimate donald trump's strength at their peril. in 2016.restimated it i don't mean to suggest that i think he is good to be a pushover. >> i agree. kasich, all, i think alley, flake, sass are potential primary opponents for trump in 2020.
funeral of george requiem of the republican party. that was the old party, the party that this country needed, that this country doesn't need and should not want the party of donald trump in my opinion. in inher factor to figure terms of the sustainability of donald trump's party is his base. it is less educated. it is older. whiter. it comes from parts of the country that are not growing economically or population wise. the democratic party represents millennials overwhelmingly, the highest educated parts of the country, the areas where technology is strongest, in
other words, the most innovative and fastest-growing industries. it is the most diverse. if you are picking a stock to pick one, would you that is older, whiter, and poorer? or would you choose one that is younger, diverse, and economically more powerful? i think that the democratic party is the growth stock for a number of reasons, and i think that is a factor that is going theeigh in in terms of future fortunes of this republican party. >> the democrats might be a growth stock right now. they had a pretty good midterm, although they lost seats in the senate.
out party. out -- an 2010,ot before, 2006, each time the voters have balanced government. there is a group of voters that don't trust either party. democrats and republicans are both great out parties. new one has been great at governing. that is a problem. voters get that itch for a change. it goes back to the parliamentary behavior on the part of voters. democrats might be a growth stock not, but should they win in 2020, these things reversed quickly. >> the freshman democratic class is the most educated and the experiencedcally freshman class to come to congress. military people with backgrounds, social activists.
the first somali-american in congress. it is extraordinary diversity. we should be proud of it. they come with a lot of idealism and energy. they think they can make things happen overnight. i tell my friends who think that, nancy pelosi was elected in 1987. in 2001, she became part of the democratic leadership. here we are in 2019, all those years to get where she is. the congress moves at a snail's pace. social media and life today move kind of recklessly fast. i think some of the more social media active members of congress are going to make a bigger impact than they actually have in the caucus because they tend to come from districts that were safely democratic. they did not shift the district.
i think their energy and idealism is very attractive, especially to young people. i am glad they are out there. the frustrations with a congress that moves at a creaky pace, where all the gridlock comes in. it is not just since donald trump was elected. the number of filibusters in the whene escalated barack obama was in the white house. mitch mcconnell said his primary goal was to defeat barack obama. they made it difficult for the obama administration to even get their people in place, which is how they reduced the number from executiveor 60ointments and put it to for supreme court appointments.
these are creaky institutions we have. maybe it does need some overhaul to operate in the 21st century. >> we are running out of time. i want to open it up to the ground for questions. -- the crowd for questions. one right up front here. [inaudible] >> our class is a huge change class. wefound out very quickly ran into the senate. that stops progress.
member of congress. 1986 whented in cte fcc did away with the a time.equired equal to whatdid give birth we're dealing with today. that extreme partisanship, he inercut the 41st president such a way that he enabled clinto to -- clinton to win. if you were to find one person that started this extreme partisanship, it was
newt. government.wn the there was another long shut down. he shut it down because the president did not let him leave from the front entrance of air force one when they went to israel. newt had to go out the backdoor. the american people suffered because of that. the kind of pettiness, that insecurity is more prevalent in men than women. derive somegh to of these lessons of life.
around simplicity versus complexity. the construction of a possible erase personal interests, such as native american interests. there is a tribe that has mexico.y in america and this raises sovereignty issues. low do you think trump wil address this issue? will he use a complex approach or simple approach by waiving those sovereignty issues?
it does not give me a lot of hope. >> this president does not do complexity because he does not erad -- read even. if you do not read, you have very little to reflect upon. he does not know the real issues that are involved, the economies, ross porter economies, the eminent domain issues. he has not brought up someone like will heard who has like 600 miles of the 2000 mile border. ,he only representative republican representative that represents a quarter district does not support the wall. the president does not want complexity on this issue. i wish the democrats would do a better job of informing the
public on with the substantive aspects are on the border wall. >> we don't know where the $5 billion for the wall would be built. it would not be across the whole border. there are a lot of issues you have to go through in terms of land acquisition. i think that would be negotiated. i have no evidence that the wall would be built over these tribal lands. at the end of the day, the president would not make that decision. that would go to other people. i think those rights would probably be respected. we don't know. the wall is a symbol. even though democrats have supported walls in the past, they say it is an evil symbol. for president trump, this is all good and the answer. we would not be going through this nonsense for a shutdown. both sides are testing each other.
the rhetoric is very high. symbolism is very high. you have talk radio and the internet. getting into the complexities or the truth are very quickly. trump's wall will never be built, at least the one he has described that will be paid for by mexico. it will be locked up in the courts for years to come after he leaves office. the way the wall emerged in the campaign was his aids wrote it down as a reminder for him to talk about immigration. they just wrote wall. he found it elicited this emotional response. that is how it took on a life of its own. one reader of the daily beast sent me an emailed and said why
doesn't the president just name a commission to go over every inch of the border and suggest what is needed everywhere. it would be like the base closing commission, in which you have experts, and whatever they came up with, the congress would rubberstamp because that was the only way you could close military bases that were not needed anymore in various districts. there is a way out of this. i don't think the president wants a way out. he wants the issue. up hiss the issue revs face. the democrats feel you don't give into a bully. you give into a bully, and you are writing your epitaph. i think both sides are dug in. >> thank you to our expert panel for joining us this morning. [applause] day 31 of the
government shutdown, the longest in u.s. history. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell says he plans to bring a bill to the floor this week that is the president's proposal to end the shutdown. so far no democrat has announced support for. republican senator lisa murkowski of alaska says she will study it. house leader nancy pelosi said it is a nonstarter and plans to vote on separate bills to fund the government. both the house and senate are in session on tuesday. the house gavels in at noon. the senate begins at 1:00 p.m. on c-span two. >> today, martin luther king jr. day. at 8:00 a.m. eastern, race relations in the u.s. with american university professor leonard steinhardt live on
washington journal. at 4:00 p.m. on book tv on c-span 2, discussion on race in america. >> voter suppression is real. let's just name a couple of states, florida, georgia, texas, north dakota. today in 2019 still dealing with this issue on dr. king's birthday. >> on american history tv on c-span3 on railamerica, the 1957 film a time for freedom documents the civil rights rally at the lincoln memorial. longer pre-to the -- pray to the federal government for passage of an anti-lynching law. we will write the law in the statute books of the