tv Washington Week PBS October 26, 2019 1:30am-2:01am PDT
robert: explosive testimony upends the impeachment debate. president trump: this was the worst hoax in the history of our country. robert: president trump launches out at democrats. as they lauh an investigate and republicans storm an impeachment hearing. >> the attempted impeament of president trump is inconsistent with due process as we know it. robert: after bombshellte imony from a top diplomat. >>e gave a devastating opening statement. >> they're freaked out. they're trying to stop this investigation. robert: next. announcer: this is "washington week." funding isvi proded by -- >> there's a moment, a m ment
at fidelity, wealth planning is about clarityty knowing who you are, where to go. been and where you want announcer: additional funding is provided by -- koo and patricia yuen through the yuen foundation, committed to bridging cull cultural differences in our community. and from contributions to your cbs station from viewers like you. thank you. moderator robert costaful robert: good evening, the house impeachment inkawhiy was voted -- jolted this weeky two major devepments. they could affect the debate for weeks to come. first, america top diplomat in ukraine, ambassadorilliam ing testimony
behind closed doors, testifying that the white house did threaten towithdraw military aid unless thank you crane started probes that would implemen -- helpde pre trump. late thursday, came reports that attorney general william barr has opened a crinal instigation of the f.b.i.'s conducts durg the 2016 campaign. even as the d.o.j. inspector investigation of related issues. those proceedings have been cheered by thede pre and by repuicans who see them as a counter weighgh to th house impeachment probe. adam ship andul jerry that learn released a statement in response -- if the department of justice may beuste used as a tool for political retributionp or h the psident for the ne election, the rule of law will suffer irreparable damage.
joining me, catherine lucey, white house reporter for the "wall street journal." karoun demirjian, amna nawaz for swan, national political han reporter for 25 axios. karoun, you've been following in peachment inquiry all week but now for the d.o.j. to be opening a criminal invesgation, what's the significance of that development? >> theo timing has pleasinas the president because it presents a counter narrative for what's been going on. tough impeachment investigation, which we know going onight nono looking atne thank you c connections and tough of russia probe, which er jenks russia and ukraineai are not th separable, giving thehe on, something he can now double down on as the focus is heating up on impeachment.
durham has been a criminal prosecutor who's been in charge of this investigation for a ile. in a way he's always had, to imp iel a grand juryy or isse indiets against individuals. we don't k kw that he's actually taken those steps yet. so the actually significance -- does this actually ends up pulling in career investigators from the.i for somewhere for some sort of malfeasance or just end b upng a political gift for the president a time when feels people around for him. robe: does this raise itions about theependence of the d.o.j.? >> think president trump has always been pretty clear about the role he thinks the department of jusce should play, which is that he should be able to direct the work they're doing and by extension, the work
the attorney general is doing. we know attorney general barr is involved in this investigation. so what is the motivation for opening this investigation i the first place but barr he said before congress, i do believe spying occurred on the trump campaign. i would be willing to explore the orins of the russian information. he's purked back on subpoena efforts to try to get at the present's attacks -- tax returns as well. be ing it to a criminal p ups the antti. turbocharges it, kicks it up normal. as karoun mentioned, gives them all of those powers now.. we don't know khat evidence led to that some piece o of evidenc had to lead to that. we don't know what that is. robert: here's what i i n't undestand. therhe d.o.j. probe
investigating the or jinls of the russia probend then you it have inspector general also withinoid.o.j. his own report. how do they align, if at all? jonathan: we don't know and i think we should be very cautious about saying that this is counter programming in terms of when we're learning about this iminal investigation being elevated to a criminal investigation. number one, weon't kno when they made that decision. when he saidk, it'sas the ththshold where i believe crimes could have been committed. durham is a serious for with a serious reputation. he's not seen as a partisan hack. he has a storied career. counte programming would mean that adam goldman and katie bennett of "the new york times" were used in sort this way and they're two of the best department of justice reporters. we don't nope when this was openede it could hen opened weeks
ago and it could be as simple as a leak investigation. there was so much classified information leaked in the early period of the russianat investn. there's so much we don't know and people are going to want to sp this in ways they want to do. they're going to be hysterical about it but i think it could be simple as barr doing what ump wants to do and durha keeping the facts and an open mind. robert: down from the d.o.j. to the capitol and you happenedd ambassador taylor behind closed doors give damagingesmony about a quilled pro quo in the trump administration. do they see this as a major churning -- turning points? >> this is some of the most detailed testimonye've seen so far. it was a 15-major openingea
statement laying out in sort of cinematic turns.it as beautifulif written,he way taylor takes usnto taking eob. it reminded me of movies where someone is brought into a different world like goodfellas or " somebody taken into a different world and they're trying to figure it out and h comes to realize there are two different foreign policies going on and then this leads into h h explanation of what he you think sos be happening with the president's engagement on ukraine. the white house is continuing with a messaging that is a loto focused on process. they're attacking the process on the hthl. they are -- and they aree alsoo trying discredit a lot of the witnesses. you heard the president today criticizing taylor and we'll see if thatticks. this is aes decong career diplomat who came forward, who was hired by this administration.
robert: and you're standing outside, notebook in hand of the secure area inside of the house while all these peopleti t but ambassador taylor in particular. take me inside the room. what were you hearing from members about how it went and why it mat >> ambassador taylor's testimony has had the most impact of anyone who has come in thus far in this impeachment probe. it's because of t details of his testimony and also the way he connectdots. even when he wasn't in them, r he was in the their active of the people who were in the room. and he talked abo how the giuliani limb srted to diverge from the traditional roots. you had the mulvaney camp saying maybe we shouldn'tehere.
he paints a timeline on the when he was told specifically by people in the administration that yes, the money is being leveraged in order to secure a promise from the ukrainian president to conduct investigations into the energy company that joe binden's son waon the board of and this conspiracy theory around the g.n.c. server that was hacked i 2016.. the theory says it was somehow edged up in ukraine and if found it would prove that ukraine interfered in the 2016 eelection, not russia. that's bee wildly debunked already. the fact that tayloras so powerful is i think theean you saw a political eruption the next day. robert: let's t about that. you're there covering it and you see the testimony itself is a game changer for the house democrats as they build their se against the president but house republicans decided to take matters into their own hands. trump royalists forced their way
into a secure interview room on capitol hill, blocking witness testimony for hoursou >> we're going to g gin and demand wur get rights as members of congress. they actually stopped the hen testimony from happening? >> they delayed theestiny fo five, five and a half hours from starting. that was the deputy assistant secretary of defense, laura cooper who eventually talke about the nuts and bolts of how thank you crane military aid works. there were a lot of interesting parts to this. it was certainly a display. there's nothing thatth prevents e lawmakers from walking into the ski. members have enough security clearance to go in. also about a dozen already had the right to be there because ey were membersrs of these thr panels and a lot of the arguments has been about process, as catherine was referring to, the republicans are a part of this process. they have the right to askqu
tions in these interviews. they are getting equal time. they don'tike the fact this is happening but they're not being iced out. > is also reported that that tire spectacleac took place the day after president trump is callin r onublicans to take off the gloves and show up and fight for him. he wants to know that members of his own party are showing up and on his side of that fig. this is one way necked display. republican trey gowdy was leading closed door invtigate gi sessions into the attacks on benghazi, heued they should be closed door on on for a reason. because there's national security in p py and it gives chances for witnesses orr hones about their testimony. robert: let's talk about there blicans making process the issue. is that becau b theyon't feel likere theble to engage on the substance of the tesmony?
jonathan: there are some house republicans, probably a small group, that wot d be happy to fight on the substance and where there's no appetite to fight on the substance in the senate. none. so the back story to thisti reso that lindsay graham unfolded that was vy tame. robert: what was it? jonathan: it was a process argument. a tape argument against the proces lindsay graham wanted to write a letter to pelos that was going to be fairly bombastic. this is a sham, etc., etc. he pitch it luldters to the republicans at their lunch last week and their response was not good and the reason they didn't want to do, number one,, you write a letter like that anyone who doesn't sign on, you've created an enemies list for trump immediately. numb t, you don't get in signaturesurit's e earrassing, he looks week.
so graham shifts to a resolution. he writes it. it's still a little too hot. mitch mcconnell tones its down and you gets there vy milquetoast document that everyone can agree on. republican senators do not wants to defend donald trump on the substance and the most they're willing to go is thisort of finicky process argument to say they should change the way they'r doing it.t. >> koda number three, a lot of them don't feelik like they kno where this is going and they don't feel liketi they're g clear guidance from the white house. >> those are both true. >> so we have four r rsons and that's the only -- other thi we've been seeing playing out zphtsht outside the white house. they've been agitating far more. are they going to set all so-called war room? have more formalized process?
bring people in? robert: and you have to they were make this argument about closed testimony and a closed process but there's growing support among democrats to hold opening --pen hearing. democrats believe they have two smoking guns. the p pne calll with the president of ukraine and the other, a quid pro quo. former national security advisor and just a few weeks testified publicly. . what's the white house strategy then? how soon will we seeeople actually their hands in the airplane testifying in plic? i don't think it will be before mid m november because o the interview they've alreadyan announce the subpoenas they've sent out. but if we could see potentially before thanksgiving somef these individuals start to come up. that's the points at which the white house is going to start is ol on what the message
becausehe democrats are very focus is on who's the west person to deliver that message. they think taylor, extremely compelling. former ambassador to the ukraine, extremely compelling. progra b johnton given that he's one of the president's guys. will be interesng tsee how the counter narrative from the republicans changes. there was a decisionoday in theourts to release the mueller grand jury information, and while that's not directly related it's kind of a little bit of an acknowledgement from theourts that you are running what we consider a litimate impeachment inquirey. the g.o.p. has been arguing that this is not legitimate because it hasn't beenab eshed. m that may require some pivoting now fe g.m. heading into next week. robebe: how frale is the confront the fafas and they
everything coming ahead? >> you haveo imaginehere's going to be a moment of reckoning at somee point. robert: what prompts that? >> o a lotf republicans are weighing their re-election bids. if you are aulnerable republican in 2020, you have to carefully weighseow c to align yourself with the president or whether to stand up wi other mentif your party and vociferouslyefd him ririt now. i think a lot of people arewe hing that decision very carefully and i don't think there are enough facts that have been revealed to inform that decision. >> certataly we've seen from the effort to get more of a process in place. we've confirmed they're doing momo regular meetings, considering bringing in anothst fer. but it's important to remember that with this white house, there's a core g gup of people who feel like they've survived a lot of things before and that through mueller, cavanaugh, een
access hollywood. they do believe that if they keep their heads down that there's a pat forward robert: what about that original points of the discussion about the d.o.j.riminal probe? dodoe in tin sflarments gray hop to follow up with whatever comt f the department of justice that -- in their investigations? jonathan: people like donald trump jr. are very, very frustrated with lindsay gray lala and have started so publicly. they've started a hashtag whers lindsay? robert: so he's under pressure if his own allie >> huge presssse. he's getting lilt up. tucker carlson did a segment that lilt him up. they're not satisfied by in ited a source close to the president's eldest son yesterday saying he's got to use his powers as judiciary cha.
we're sick o hearing him talk it up o fox. they want toee him use that roll to -- role to use that power to push back against the hous democrats. i don't know specifically what they want him to do. lindsay graham said he doe't't want to turnt i into a circus but he might feel a bit of >> the problems are twofold. one, there's ahole constitutional thing about the housing with able to start the impeachment proceedings and the nate having to ookt like a jury. they can'tatoison thths too much. alsoalthealculation for lindsay graham. it was a o weekso ago that he said he was going to giveudy giuliani a platform to speak and we're not n hearing him sayhat right now. really, who is the white house going to trot out that's goin to save them at this point? rudy giuliani is a bit of a loose can thanublic and if he's going to do it behind
closed door, that'hagoing to create way too much spinning to what'soing onn in the house. robert: as all this happens on th impeachment front, turkish troops movemented into a slice of northeastern syria last week afte the president dec ded to lease forces and onednesday, he and turkey agreed on e a permanent cease-fire. president trump: let someone else fight over this long, blood-stained sand. robert: he also announced the creation of a safe zone between now president erdogan o of turk and russian president ladimir putinigned a power-sharing changing the dynamic in the middle east. amna, what does this deal mean fo russia? >> it means russia has much more
ofse a pe and influence in that space. t end?: to w >> one, part of a larger geopoliticalphere. they're more aligned to turkeyk now. we saw this previously with tensions between turkey and the u.s. in a deal for the air missile defense system that they bought from the russians. the u.s. dn't like it. there have been tensions for a while between the u.s. and rkey, which is aato ally. turkish had with forces on the ground. that was always a tenuousec alliancese the stronger alliance was always with turkey. it w w never a questionf when the u.s. was going to leave. we flew the u.s. would have to leave at some point. the big questionas how they'd and by all accounts, the day after that call by president trump and president erdogan, it was total chaosas to -- as toto how that decision was reached.
robert: why did many advisors pull back on the support of turkey? >> anytimeouhink about the foreign policy, you have to think about it in the america firstme fnd the thing he keeps coming back to is getting troops out of these regions, reducing our presence abroad and i think this fed into that idea still. he was able to try and -- robert: part of his 2020 pitch? >> certainin, i was at r hisly in texas last week and he talks a lot aboutg try reduce engagement in foreign wars or or long-standiningn conflflts and that's very popular with his base. >> the problem is that he's still potentially sendingngore troops to protect abby: fields with no allies now and nose tops aren't potentially coming he. jonathan: cnats 1,8 troops to
saudi. >> and they're more in danger now becauseau they're notncned to stick their next out to help protects theroops on the ground. robert: what does this new deal mean for ts kurds in t region? >> it's not a great deal. the kurds are kindf sitting ducks nowecause nobody likes them in the region. theurks think they'rein supporha what they consider to be a terrorist organization ir country. the syrians don't't like them tt much. they're left now having to take the deal that the russians brokeered. russia is very good at manilating instability in countries alongsheir border to maintain contr. that's a dangerous ge and we've lost an important foothood in o of the most dangerous areas and the results could ber catae risk going tpwhar.
>> you have to give donald trump points for accuracy. it's clear they've wanted this senior a long time. the they is turke they've wanted to clear out the kurds. i interviewed the president, one of the most curledors -- kurdish people in the world. about the fear of ethnic d cleansinnsand just imagine salah's ears when her a a -- hears the president of the united states say it needed to be cleaned up. to salah'ss eith that history, that is a chilling phrase. robert: the iraqi president. what does the worlds make of what happened this week? ls there's the very sudden long-standing u.s. policy in the region that happened over a phonee call betweenwo individuals. all the gains that were made to counter isis in the region, that done on the backs andes l
of those kurdish-led forors, those could be undone. we've also got those n force being fced back into the arms of bashir al-assad. that's not good for the u.s. robert: do we expect republicans toight back against the administration position? >>ni've seen bipartisan opposition against this. it comes at a momen where the perspective really needs republicans with -- him. wead thi we had the efforts to have g-7 at doral. you've seen a number or points where the parties has been prepared to put some stance betweenbehemselves ands president. robert: thank you all for joining onight o "washington week." you for s your evening thank with us. check out our latest "washington week" extra. ve or on social media. i'm robert costa. go,ationals.
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