tv Washington Week With Gwen Ifill PBS June 17, 2016 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT
gwen: violence, hatred, terrorism, guns. a return to the same conversation we had this time last year. but this time, it's orlando instead of charleston. tonight on "washington week." grieving and hugged family members and parents and they asked, why does this keep happening? gwen: it took no time at tragedy topeakable morph into a familiar, protracted political debate. this body toe of do anything, anything at all in continuedf that slaughter, it isn't just painful. unconscionable. >> this is not a gun control issue. issue. a terrorism gwen: and, of course, trump versus clinton.
mr. trump: aside from abolishing the second amendment, hillary your taxes. raise secretary clinton: trump, as obsessed with name calling. from my perspective, it matters wet we do, not just what say. gwen: we examine the options as well as more republican worry the durability of their candidate. joining me to sort through week, robertex costa, national political reporter for "the washington parsons, white house correspondent for tribune newspapers, pete williams, justice correspondent for nbc news and jeff zeleny, senior washington correspondent for cnn. >> award-winning reporting and analysis, covering history as it happens. nation's capitol, this is "washington week" with ifill. corporate funding for byshington week" is provided
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23andme.com is a personalized service that provides information about traits and ancestry. additional corporate funding for "washington week" is genentech. boeing, additional funding is provided by newman's own foundation, donating all profits from newman's own food products to and nourishing the common good. ethicsd foundation, the and excellence in journalism foundation, the corporation for bylic broadcasting and contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, live from moderator gwen ifill. gwen: schools, dance clubs, church bible studies, office buildings, military bases -- we come to you on many friday nights to talk about mass shootings and the political
always follows. here's a taste of this week's from congress where democrats senate floor to talk gun control, which republicans mostly rejected. just wait. we have to make something happen. change does not come from washington. it comes to washington by people it happens. >> it's hard to think of a clearer contrast between serious for solutions on one hand and endless partisan campaigning on the other. gwen: the president weighed in, as well. president obama: if we don't we will keep seeing more this becausee we'll be choosing to lieu them happen.allow them to we will have said we don't care enough to do something about it. gwen: we'll talk in a moment definitionsffering of "doing something about it," but first, pete, let's start
with what we know about the investigation. pete: we know a lot more about omar mateen, the man who say did the shooting, but we still don't know the big question of why. we know that his parents were from afghanistan. he was born in new york, moved to florida when he was 5 and from the beginning of his time in school, he was trouble. his teacher said he was trouble classroom, he picked fights with other students. actually was charged with a crime at one point that was expunged. he had trouble holding jobs. hotco-worker said he was a head, that he insulted women and jews. at one point he was in trouble with the f.b.i. because he told co-workers that he was in had relatives in al qaeda and had people who know boston marathon bombers. opened an recommendation investigation and they decided he was making it up. gwen: does the f.b.i. feel he slipped through their hands?
point they don't. and here's why. they said that -- really, it question of the what the f.b.i. can do is look at what you did. what they can't do is try to figure out what you're going to do even though that's what they're trying to do with any investigation. but during that 10-month period from the middle of 2013 through they monitored his calls, they talked to his co-workers and family members. they put in undercover people to have conversations with him. they looked at all the databases and record and concluded he did it up and that's what he told them. two months later, there were histions about whether in mosque he had been having contact with a man from fort who eventually went to syria, came back again, tried to anduit people to join him finally went back to syria and became a suicide bomber but they contact washeir casual so that was the total contact of the f.b.i. and the f.b.i. director said this week
he's looked back at that, he doesn't think they could have done anything different. gwen: christi, one of the things the president said was that this was an act of terror and act of hate. the response to that is, but there's nothing that this man did that would have been able to be stopped. christi: right. and i think that that's -- the president, over time, has gotten good at noticing that those important and he wants to use them early on and he did manage to do that but he's also has learned it's a good idea to wait and not leap about whatons happened and i think that was on display on that first day. it turned out to be a very week for him but he and his speech writing staff learned to hit those marks. gwen: they go right to guns all the time and that doesn't change. and it'sthat's true very much the president driving that. i think we saw him turn a corner this week. often goes back to guns. he doesn't go so quickly to buttics as he did this week
i think we're looking at a president who's now done this so many times, he doesn't see any point in pulling that punch and he's also reached the conclusion that other people will make political statements. donald trump, in particular, and he wants to answer them quickly. gwen: before we talk about the i want to hear from the voices of two people. one, the son of -- i believe it's the son of a san bernardino victim, a daughter of the san bernardino victim. the daughter of a charleston victim. >> i wish i could say i'm surprised that we're here again but sadly, i'm not. becomes deadly when we thoset far too easy for intent on causing harm to get on a gun.s gwen: now, this turned to guns. on thewhat happened house floor -- the senate floor this week and we've seen it happen before, this discussion. it's -- evenlike
donald trump talking about he's going to talk to the n.r.a. everything felt marginal by the end of the week, the movement. because did and i think it's become so familiar. every victim, every victim's their storyr has but how similar is that to the victims inhe newtown 2013. i remember being on capitol hill watching these parents and from office to office lobbying senators and thought something would happen. democrats controlled the senate then and nothing happened. why theperhaps that's skepticism is out there about what's going to happen now. senatere four bills the will vote on monday, basically noneecycled proposals and of them are going to pass. there's a 60-vote margin, of course, threshold to get through this. expanding background checks, of course. washg sure that people on
wash -- watch listing would be to buy guns but the reality is there's nothing that's going to happen to this.vely it felt like such a familiar exercise on the hill, where we know the end of this. politics, though, are different on guns than they used atbe in the democratic party least. it is no longer the third rail it was certainly eight years ago and certainly when bill clinton running for president so when i think we hear hillary clinton out there this week in goes directly to that, as well, and the politics of that, she's secure with that are -- we see people like the retired general the "newn op-ed in york times," saying weapons of war do not belong on the streets like this. think it's incrementally changing. one thing that's not mentioned, manufacturers of these things. it's always the n.r.a., never the manufacturers. for that in the future in terms of where the money is, the
donations, et cetera. gwen: it's not a party line issue anymore, it doesn't seem to me. am i right about that? >> i think there has been a on gunbit of movement control. i think jeff's right. on monday, there will be four measures that come up as amendments and they're doomed to fail. talking tohill allies of republican leadership, you get the sense they'll this no-flywork on terror watch list. whereeems to be an area republicans have more wiggle room than they may have in 2013. you have donald trump tweeting wants to talk to the n.r.a. about looking at the no-fly list even after monday, collins and others are trying to pursue this. you look at a lot of these republicans -- mark kirk of illinois, toomey in pennsylvania, ayotte in new they're facing difficult re-election races and -- toomey inoomby
2013, one of the reasons he's competitive in pennsylvania is the background checks. democrats want to see that and we've seen legislation come up. that's unlikely but i wonder if the no-fly list could be an area of compromise. to ask you another thing about the investigation, pete. definitional issues for us. lone wolf, how do you stop a lone wolf. hate crime, what defines a hate crime? terrorism, when to use that word in a legal sense? pete: terrorism, the legal definition is when you commit an act of violence in order to policy of the government. but i think the view is whenever someone commits mass murder, act of definition an terrorism. as a legal matter, it puts the f.b.i. in charge of the investigation. a lone wolf to be attack, from everything the f.b.i.'s told us so far. be anyone acting in concert with him. he was not certainly, as far as byy can tell, directed outside forces. this is not an al qaeda operation or isis operation in do.h he was told what to
but this is, again -- this is complicated because there's this witch's brew of terror groups he's talked about in the past, mutuallyhich are contradictory in terms of ideologies. but he at one time or another seemed to have embraced them all. gwen: would it have been a hate not been a gay club? pete: possibly not but he does to have targeted that but there's nothing they've found so far in exploiting his electronic communications, his cell phones, that tells him why. why did he target that? as you know, there have been that he was struggling with his own sexual identity. people from his past said there were times he asked men out on dates. people in orlando say they remember seeing him in that club before. gwen:we have so much to cover tonight. impossible to separate the weekend tragedy from the choice voters have to make in november.
republican donald trump managed to square off against both democrats and members of his own party. mr. trump: one after another we have tragedy after tragedy and tough -- it's a tough situation but to a blaming gunshe's and -- and i'm going to save your second amendment. our leaders have to get a lot of tougher. and be quiet, please be quiet. talk. please, be quiet. republicansave our either stick together or are lee it by myself. gwen: house speaker paul ryan to respond. speaker ryan: you can't make this up sometimes. separatewe represent a but equal branch of government. gwen: hillary clinton remained focused on trump including his renewed call for a ban on muslims entering the country. secretary clinton: the terrorist orlando was not born in afghanistan, as trump claims. york, born in queens, new
only miles away from where born. trump himself was a ban on muslims would not have this attack. neither would a wall. i don't know how one builds a the internet out. gwen: is doubling down on each other like this the new strategy for both of them, robert? robert: trump certainly shows no sign of changing and he is getting advice from party toicials and party leaders calm his tone and to be a little more appealing. working.an see that's robert: it's not working at all. i've spoken to senators and congressmen who have reached out trump and they say he'll often nod and say he's listening but when it comes to going on and making statements, he goes his own way. this is the problem republicans are facing. nominee who is not listening to the speaker of the house or the leader of the believes ine really his core, based on his
advisers,ons with he's going to run on this new kind of populism and that can overcome any attack. gwen: here's what puzzles me about that. they think what happened in the primary can happen in the general election. things keep happening we didn't but it doesefore make me wonder if that's .ealistic jeff: a, the electorate is different in the general election. seems he's playing to the republican primary electorate. this is a new day and the made up of more than republicans here. what i was struck by this week, we saw, i think, for the first really, a crystallizing of the job interview that a is, thetial campaign commander-in-chief test in real time of how you a, respond to a crisis like this. yes, we have social media now, campaigns are different but a lot of republicans were so by what donald trump, their nominee, did initially, i a tweet,day morning in
basically thanking people for of saying ilations was right about isis and they thought it was the wrong tone here but i really thought -- i in cleveland with hillary clinton on monday. she was intending to launch her election campaign with music and signs and banners and it was a somber speech but i aink we're seeing commander-in-chief test here. that's why republican leaders they don'tied that think he's passing or up to the task. gwen: here's what's curious to me. democrats,hat the who were once called a famously disorganized party, seem to have -- intact, n marching lock step. you hear president obama using the same words hillary clinton has. christi: they were planning to launch the president's clintonent of hillary this week with an appearance in wisconsin. they canceled that after orlando
still turned out to be a very campaign-focused week in my mind. the incident went straight to the question that you raise, the one the president most wants to real time, which is, is your nominee up to serving as you sawt and this week an opportunity to point out, no, he's not. a complicatednts figure because his hard-line aetoric on the muslim ban is turnoff to a lot of mainstream voters and independents and many you heards but also overtures to the lgbt community about gay rights and gay people in a way some republicans and conservative the samens don't speak language so trump presents this figure who has a manhattan some socialon issues but a queens tough guy demeanor that rallies the base. on the muslim issue, though, you can't help but wonder why are anxiouscans about this. it is so different than on after the11, six days
attack when president bush went to the islamic center in washington and said the face of terror is not the face of muslim. it doesn't seem like the same party in terms of how he was talking about muslims. aen: aren't we hearing george w. bush comeback on the campaign trail? >> not for donald trump to try salvage the senate majority. he will be out campaigning with republican senators -- john things.of all but he has said he's not going to support donald trump. int's extraordinary enough and of itself. gwen: commander-in-chief test, robert, i know you work for "the washington post" and you've been covering donald trump. but here's the thing, are they in any real way about a commander-in-chief test? or are they going to barrel on through? concern or a lot of backing down, at least from him? the muslim ban,
there's not a concern within his inner circle. the most telling episode was thereudge ceerier and were people telling him to pull back. the people around trump don't often say no to trump and they're encouraging of him and they -- they're not the kind of pull back.ing him to pete: the f.b.i. director was asked this week about the muslim howissue and he said damaging it is because one of the most important things the discoveringound in potential terrorists is when people in the muslim community speak up and if they fear the are afraidor if they of that kind of rhetoric, that makes it much harder for them to do their jobs. gwen: someone like the f.b.i. director, do they believe this anything more than political rhetoric? pete: it's not anything he would ever say. lot in the lawa enforcement community about whether to call it radical islam or not. gwen: let's talk about that. the president came out this week this ideapunching on
of why would i have to use this phrase. doesn'tean terrorism exist if i don't use this phrase? christi: he's been listening to long time. gwen: this is the argument that republicans have been making, heluding ted cruz, that if doesn't say "radical islam," he's not taking the threat seriously. christi: exactly. he did something different this took care tolary say i'll say that phrase if you want me to say it but the president did something he done in the past which is to say i don't use that phrase and here is why. play into theo hands of terrorist groups that there's -- to feel alienate potential allies. pete: saying this has nothing to do with islam but this is a offshoot of it. christi: the other thing that fired up the president is when trump said why has the president not been able to stop attacks?
he said something's going on here. >> he doubled down on that. he said it on fox and friends and then did a radio interview suggesting that the president is almost complice in it this. questioningsame guy his heritage and citizenship for years but when you saw the treasury in the department on tuesday saying that, boy, this is personal to him. not just because this is his legacy but this is the guy who's been questioning him. seen barack i've obama looking exactly like that in that moment. i thought it was a fascinating speech. >> because trump is so raw in what he's saying. there's no nuance. not even a lot of nodding. when he talks about islam, it's in just the radical version his mind. he speaks broadly about the religion in fearful, suspicious people he has associated with publicly -- edward cline, roger stone, alex jones -- these are people who traffic in conspiracy theory and he is surrounding himself at
with these people so the idea that we're surprised by thep and his questioning of president, where he openly says, i'm not sure what's going on, no that means.at gwen: that phrase "i'm not sure --" "some people say" is what he says, his cover for saying, i didn't say it. it's remarkable. christi: i think that might not have been planned out in a meeting but it was definitely a strategic move on trump's part this week. gwen: to get under the skin.ent's christi: to get under the president's skin and for the next few months you'll hear him reminding people over and over again, who will keep you safe, her? talking guy or gwen: that's true. the who will keep you safe is a big issue in a campaign. you all very much. this has been a very interesting, very stressful week for all of us and all of you and all of you. we appreciate you coming out tonight. that's it for right here, right now. stick around for the "washington week" webcast extra where we'll talk more about politics and
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