tv Washington Week With Gwen Ifill PBS May 27, 2016 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT
gwen: hello there. i'm back just in time to watch donald trump clinch the nomination and hillary clinton fighting both bernie sanders and her own past. so what did i miss? tonight on "washington week." >> what i'm most concerned about is making sure we actually have real party unity not pretend party unity. gwen: an elusive goal this year for both parties as the presumptive gop nominee takes shots at republicans. >> the governor has got to do it better. she is not doing the job. hey, maybe i'll run for governor of new mexico! gwen: and democrats. >> she is a woman that's been very ineffective other than she's got a big mouth. gwen: hillary clinton continues to fend off an energetic primary opponent. >> we are feeling increasingly optimistic about winning here in california. gwen: while taking on donald
trump. >> the unqualified loose cannon is within reach of the most powerful job in the world. gwen: and once again defending how she handled her state department e-mail. >> it's not an issue that is going to affect either the campaign or my presidency. gwen: meanwhile, president obama extends his legacy, becoming the first president to visit hiroshima. history and hysteria. another week in politics and policy. covering the week, the national political correspondent for the atlantic, senior white house correspondent for politico, klummist for the los angeles times, and washington bureau chief for "time" magazine. >> award-winning reporting and analysis. covering history as it happens. from our nation's capital. this is "washington week" with gwen ifill.
it is so, so good to be back around the table. i have felt every single one of your good wishes while i've been away. just know that i've missed you more than you've missed me. so tonight the question for me is this. what changed while i was gone? molly, josh, mike, and doyle you're here to fill me in. we'll start of course, how can we not, with donald trump? this weeks he clinched the number of delegates needed for the republican nomination. he accepted this news with his customary modesty. >> look, if i didn't win by massive majorities, i wouldn't be standing here talking to you today. gwen: trump also offered to debate bernie sanders for $10 million maybe $15 million for charity and called senator elizabeth warren pocohontas. okay. explain the state of the race really slowly and clearly to someone who maybe has been away. >> well, you know, trump clinching the nomination is a bit of a formality at this point. he became the presumptive
nominee at the beginning of this month when his remaining rivals dropped out. you could have gone to sleep a month ago and woken up and not seen anything change. gwen: i can attest to that. >> because there has been this idea that we will see a different donald trump for the general election. i think it is wishful thinking on the part of a lot of republicans who would have liked a more traditional nominee. instead we see the exact same trump, possibly even trumpier doing the sort of insult comedy routine on the stump and continuing to insult a lot of his fellow republicans not just going after the democrats although he's attacked hillary clinton in very harsh terms. also in the attacks on joe bind and attacking elizabeth warren who has become a special sort of antagonist for him but then attacking, you know, he can't let go of jeb bush. he can't let go of mitt romney. he can't let go of the governor of new mexico who is thought to be sort of a rising star in the party, nikki haley in south
carolina. what is interesting is he has unified the party in spite of all that. he's got between 85% and 90% of republican voters according to most national polls now are on board with donald trump. nd it -- my theory is a lot of republicans don't like republicans either. >> didn't we just see paul ryan talk about party unity but we're kind of waiting on him still? >> right. the leaders aren't quite where the voters are in the republican party. if i talk to senior democrats inside and outside the campaign now they look at this race not to be the sort of blowout we thought it might be a month or two ago when we didn't know if trump was going to bring together republicans but a race that probably won't look too far from the 2012 race where you have 90% of democrats voting for hillary clinton no matter what, 90% of republicans voting for donald trump no matter what and a fight over a very slim amount
of swing voters and probably a new fight over the group of voters who don't vote and whether you can get them to come out in certain states. and that means it's going to be a long one. this isn't, you know, trump despite all his unconventionalityy is going to be gifted a campaign landscape that looks actually very predictable. the problem is that the story we in washington and the senior ranks of the republican party has been telling themselves and the senior democrat party for years now is that if you have a race like that the thing that will matter is demographics and demographic change is on the side of democrats and if you run, re-run 2012 again in 2016 it's actually going to be even more favorable to democrats. trump either doesn't see, doesn't believe, is not interested in doing what he needs to do to deal with some of that change. >> the watch word both of you used seems to be fight. the fight isn't over. you may have the nomination. as a result we have three candidates. each with the potentially debilitating problem. donald trump and hillary clinton are deeply disliked by the
electorate at large and bernie sanders does not have a mathematical path to the party nomination. now trump's response is to keep on firing. here is a bit of what we were talking about this week's elizabeth warren-donald trump side show. >> let's face it. donald trump is about exactly one thing. donald trump. it is time for some accountability because these statements disqualify donald trump to ever be president of the united states. >> she gets less done than anybody in the united states senate. she gets nothing done. nothing passed. she's got a big mouth. and that's about it. gwen: big mouth. okay. so, josh, what are we talking about here? what is his goal? do the democrats have a plan? if they all now turn their fire on donald trump, elizabeth warren who had been quiet up until now, hillary clinton who was very happy to talk about
donald trump and even bernie sanders they weren't talking about each other but about trump. >> they're ready to move into the fall election it seems but the real question here i think is, you please, who is the best messenger for that message? i think one of the problems for the democrats is hillary clinton who seems most likely to be their nominee doesn't always seem the most effective messenger. when warren took the stage it seemed she maybe did a more effective job and was able to deliver some blows and she is not damaged the way clinton is. a lot of people don't know who she is. she is a fresh face and comes to the table without the negatives that hillary clinton has built up over 20 years in public life. >> is california still a turning point? >> it is amazingly enough. it has happened in history but not for a while. and californians in fact had glumly been looking at these results saying it's already been decided once again we've gotten aced out. it is bernie sanders' last stand and he is building a case,
saying, if i win california -- if i win california at all. remember, it is still proportional. he will still probably almost certainly come out of california with something but hillary clinton will almost certainly come out of california with the 1237. have i got the right number? no. that's the republican number. democrats is a bigger number. i forgot. i had the republican number in my head for so long. the point is bernie sanders will try and build a moral case to go to the convention a know then make his case to the super delegates whom he has been denouncing. gwen: let's talk about the sanders factor or as this week's cover of "time" asks how far will bernie go? what is the answer, michael? >> farther than you probably thought is the answer. the reason is bernie even though he is going to lose, almost certain he is going to lose, the idea super delegates will come to him after he has been denouncing them for so long is not realistic. he is playing a longer game. he is playing for leverage within the party and he's
playing to remake the party not just in this election cycle but in election cycles going forward and that involves some sort of a fight at the convention. we don't yet know how rough it's going to be but he is certainly threatening it will be a rough, messy fight. and it'll also involve, if he wins california, being able to say to hillary clinton and the rest of the party establishment you've got your candidate at this time but you've lost control of the voters of the democratic party. much like republican leaders lost control of their voters with donald trump. >> is his revolution over or just beginning? bernie's? >> i think it depends how he goes forward. i mean, on the one hand, the sanders movement is clearly the manifestation of an upswelling of liberal sentiment within the democratic party that i think has been perculating for several years. and that a lot of progressives welcome even if it unsettles the democratic establishment and make the old centrist core
uneasy. on the other hand sanders' credibility as a leader of that movement has, and how he decides to carry it forwards depends on the outcome this of campaign. >> let me ask you about something in your story this week which is howard dean dealt with this moment and when he was a big deal among the liberal left in 2004 but the options ran out. how does that compare to how bernie sanders is handling this? >> howard dean obviously knows bernie sanders well. they are both from vermont. dean also endorsed hillary clinton early on this time. but he was the liberal insurgent candidate in 2004 and he was, for a time, the front-runner. when he had lostself primaries and the writing was on the wall and he made his last stand in wisconsin he told me he was so mad, he was ranting and raving and al gore who had endorsed him called him on the phone around midnight in milwaukee and dean just went off about how unfair everything had been and how he had been treated so badly and why didn't he just leave the
party and gore said to him, you know, this is about the country. it's not about you. and howard dean told me that was the moment that he decided to drop out. he dropped out the next day. and what he said was, he is not sure who there is who can say that to bernie sanders. >> the other difference is, howard dean is a democrat. he identifies with the democrats. bernie sanders has never identified as a democrat. he's called himself one for 10 months but still doesn't identify as a democrat. he identifies as a progressive. that is a big shift. what bernie is promising, the threat he has against hillary is this large group of voters who you've met at rallies. we've all met at rallies. who like bernie sanders but also don't see themselves as democrats but liberals sometimes. sometimes they're not even very ideological. they just want somebody to shake up the system and they like what he is saying. >> that's the big difference from what happened with hillary clinton in 2008 as well. let's talk more about these democrats. hillary clinton's e-mail server problem came back to haunt her again as multiple investigations
continued to roll out. how much damage are they doing to her campaign if they never seem to go away? >> it seems to be a zombie problem for her. she keep the thinking she put it down and it rears its head again. i don't know how much it does in terms of moving voters into her camp or back and forth between trum am or between her and sanders but i think it does play into what some voters' main concerns are about clinton and her trustworthiness. there were a few points that came out at the state department that were particularly damaging and undercut her main defense which is this was allowed under state department policies. the inspector general said that was not the case. there was questions about whether people inside the department were trying to bottle up complaints about what she was doing with her e-mails. it's not clear that came from her people. you know, the effort to bottle it up but somebody in the department. and the biggest question, she didn't cooperate in her -- and her top aides didn't cooperate with this investigation which when you're saying you're being
totally transparent and more forthcoming than anyone it seems a little odd to rebuff the investigators completely. >> there is still an f.b.i. investigation hanging fire. >> we don't think there will be criminal charges out of that but if there were it would be far more serious than anything that would have come out of this i.g. report. still to come this summer or fall the benghazi report from the house committee. gwen: there is another one? >> from the testimony she gave a year ago is still forthcoming and a bunch of lawsuits and depositions for her top aides as well as possibly her. so there's sort of numerous opportunities for this to rear its head on her once again or maybe three or four times again. >> up know, gwen, what struck me about the e-mail controversy and some of the others, this week particularly, is how secretary clinton's personal style has gotten in the way of moving on. she has said two, maybe three times during the course of the year, yes, it was a mistake. to use the personal e-mail server.
but only when that is dragged out of her by an interviewer. this time the initial statement out of her campaign never bothered to say, oh, this was a mistake. >> it did make a distinction between the server and the private e-mail -- it didn't make a distinction. >> if you read it without knowing the circumstances you would have thought they were claiming victory and vindication and they actually later issued a revised set of tweets that said oh, yeah she has admitted that was a mistake. >> there is a real defensiviveness out of the clinton camp because she felt for so long there was this vast right wing conspiracy against her and it feels very much like the 1990's all over are so many different scandals you almost can't keep them straight. there is no way for her to be exonerated, not saying she deserves to be, but even if she did there is no way because if they declare the investigations over tomorrow everyone would assume it was political or had something to do with the administration. so there is no way to put this to rest.
you have trump reviving a loft the 1990's baggage. just for the heck of it. what he says is it is always a mess with hillary. so she gets surrounded by this cloud of scandal and tainted by that regardless of the particulars. >> the reason it hurts hillary is because people don't believe she is telling the truth when she talks. and i agree it is a self-inflicted wound. we know her motivation why she set up the e-mail. she actually says i don't want personal mixed with the business. i don't want my personal e-mails coming out publicly. we know she has been burned by this from her days in the white house. it is a reasonable thing to want. as a government official you don't want your private business, no one else's business to come out through a process. >> how she did it. >> and she has yet to say that. she refuses to admit the obvious thing. the reason she did this is she didn't want her personal business to ever be made public. she says it was about convenience. it wasn't about convenience. it was about something else. and that kind of carefulness
that makes it that she loses credibility and i think that hurts her in other areas. >> that is an e-mail that she neglected to turn over to the state department and they found from one of her other aides so almost every fact that comes out has the layers to it that go to, well, are there other, more, is there more evidence? it really makes you feel like the cloud is something that you simply can't dissipate. not before the election anyway. >> we'll be back on it again then. even president obama who is traveling way across the pacific in vietnam and japan was asked what world leaders think of trump. >> and for good reason. he does a lot of the proposals that he's made display either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude. >> he says they are rattled. the president was in japan to make history. that's what he did when he became the first u.s. president today to visit hiroshima since the atomic bomb was dropped that ended world war ii. he said it doesn't have to happen again.
>> we're not bound by genetic codes to repeat the mistakes of the past. we can learn. we can choose. we can tell our children a different story. one that describes a common humanity. one that makes war less likely and cruelty less easily accessible. >> this is the latest and among the first the president has done in his travels around the world, places no other american president has been, but was this the asia pivot we were waiting on? why wasn't there an apology which some people expected? >> well, let's take the apology first. no, there wasn't an apology because an apology would have been politically an absolute
flash point. it's not clear whether the president really believes or not that the united states owes an apology. he did deliver condolences to the survivors and there was some very graceful, exquisitely balanced careful language in the speech where he expressed his condolences to all the innocent who died in all of world war ii. in other words all of the victims. so he tried to universalize this. and then the other thing he did with this speech was in a sense it was a book end to the nuclear disarmament crusade he's been on since his very first year. and so he talked about a shared responsibility, a world responsibility to keep moving on nuclear. as for the asia pivot, that's been a long, slow agonizing, the first years of it didn't really show very much. in a sense, yes. in that sense in a way the president's visit to vietnam earlier in the week was maybe
the bigger deal. >> yeah. >> then hiroshima. the relationship with vietnam has been growing very slowly. it's not barack obama who normalized relations. that was actually bill clinton. but it's accelerated enormously in the last couple of years for two reasons. economics and china. china is throwing its weight around in the south china sea. vietnam needs an ally. vietnam, other asian countries want the united states there and are pulling very hard. this was a way for president obama to respond that. the problem is, the big deal there isn't lifting the arms embargo that he announced. that is going to be fairly minor. the vietnamese don't need a lot of american weapons. the big deal would be the trans pacific partnership. the big trade deal that president obama and his people spent years negotiating and that all of the remaining three presidential candidates have said they don't like. >> having gone on a loft the initial trips obama did in 2009 when he first took office and
there was this optimism around the world and these rather beautiful speeches he was giving and real high ambitions about nuclear disarmament and he is still giving great speeches and yet at the end of his term we're looking back on it and you see the limits. he went to vietnam and wowed the vietnamese people. cheering in the streets. the whole thing. will he get the t.p.p. vote? the lame duck? we don't know. will china back down the nuclear disarmament goals he set out for himself? there have been some victories but hasn't been a transformation. we're not in a radically different place than we were when he took office eight years ago. >> that's right. nuclear disarmament the big accomplishment would have been another agreement with russia which still has with us the biggest arsenal and vladimir putin basically put an end to that. >> i'm struck you have to look at this asia issue within the broader legacy of his foreign policy overall. you look at syria which remains a complete mess. you look at the campaign against isil which remains very chaotic,
spreading into different parts of the world. even as michael was saying even in asia he has begun to try to put pressure on chinese but i think we have yet to see it moderate or change their behavior. it seems very hard to understand how by the end of the president's term in seven months or so he is going to leave anything except for a very muddled and uneven legacy in the whole area of foreign policy. >> i call this kind of the open wound tour where along the way he is remarkably next to the japanese president who scolded him for a local case involving an american soldier and the president basically apologized for that. he went to vietnam and that was an unspoken apology, not apology but spoken healing moment. i wonder if that is what a president does in the end when there are lame duck issues at home and you have to at least show up at the places you say are important. perhaps we are witnessing this this week. thank you all for joining me for
my big return. keep in mind that also next week i'll be sitting down with president obama. it's going to be a primetime pbs newshour special. from elkhart, indiana. check your local listings at the time. >> we are going to chat a little more on the washington week webcast extra. find that at pbs.organize/washington week. on this memorial day weekend enjoy your beach trips and your back yard barbecues but also remember to take a moment to honor the memory of our fallen hero. we'll see you next week on washington week. good night.
tonight we ask is the united states moving too quickly or too slowly on gender rights. i'm carlos watson and this is point taken. i'm carlos watson. people make up less than 1% of the population but when the north carolina legislature passed a law limiting which bathroom they could use it seemed the whole country went into spin. the house bill passed in march. if you want to use a bathroom in government building in fort care including schools you have to us