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tv   Washington Week  PBS  February 8, 2019 7:30pm-8:00pm PST

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>> in this divided government, is compromise possible? i'm robert costa. welcome to "washington week." >> flynn, manafort, gates, pap drop loss and dozens of indictments including 13 ssian nationals, three russian s compand roger stone. are you overseeing a witch-hunt? robert: acting attorney general matthew w the latest showdown between the trump administration and congress. >> at no time has the white house asked for nor have i provided any promises or commitments concerning any investigation. robert: democrats are launching new investigations of the president's finances. president trump: it's called presidential harassment. robert: meanwhile, anoth
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shutdown looms unless the president and congress cut a deal and remembering john dingle, the longest serving member of congress, ne. >> this is "washington week." funding isrovided by -- 1 >> ias able to turn the aircraft around and the mission around and was able to save two men's lives that night. >> my first job helped me to grow up quickly. >> in 2001 i signed up for the air force. two days later, 9/11 happened. >> babel, a language program that teaches real life conversations in a new language such as spanish, french, german,
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italian and more. the 15-minute lessons are available as an app or online. >> fding is provided by -- koo and patricia yuen through the yuen foundation, committed to bridging cultural differences in ourommunities. yhe corporation for public broadcasting and contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, from washington, moder robert: good evening. the consequences of elections andived government were on full display this week. presiden trump delivered his with of the union address a sharp message for democrats. president trump: if there is b going peace and legislation, there cannote r and investigation. it just doesn't work that way. robert: house democratsgned that warning and announced new investigations of the
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president's finances >> we will not surrender our constitutional responsibility for oversigh that would make us delinquent in our duties. robert: acting attorney general matthew wit the the -- whittaker defended his handling of the mueller probe. >> have not interfered in any way with the special counsel's investigation. robert: joining me tonight, nawaz from the pbs newshour. dan balz chief correspondent for the "washington post. katty kay, washington anchor for bbc world news america and susan davis, congressional correspondent for npr. dan, we stepped backroms whittaker showdown today with house democrats and weee the beginning of divided government. what did we learn?n: think we learned that this is going to be a very long and difcult year for president trump. that house democrats are geared up to go after him in all kinds
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of ways. i think one of the things we learned from the state of the unn from the clip you just showed is the degree to which he is nervous about thathere's a certain amount of, i don't know if is insecurity, fear or whatever but he has a sense of what is coming and very unhappy about that. by te his calls for partisan in the state of the union, i think we're in for a very, very partisan year. robert: susan, you've been on capitol hill covering this for a npr. hew whitaker, a loyalist fort presidrump refused to engage in the witch hufpblets question. susan: he dd and he's a very short-term a.d. as dan said, this is not going to be a congress where sliltyavep accomplishments is what it's going to be known for. it's going to make issues of accountability and oversight as pape top priorities. so the president's points name
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doesn't work that way. this is pretty much how it works. the oversight of the administration. i al t think point of him attacking the investigations, there's a plaerook similar to the mueller investigation. you start early, you attack the investigators and it will help, i think, in the president's mind, weaking the standing of whatever democrats may or may not find in the course of these investigations. robert: whitaker was pretty come bative, saying at one point to the chair, your fiveinutes are up. is this what we should expect fr other officials interest year on capitol hill? >> they're taking thomr signals whitaker. combative moments from him. at one point, a schneid report back to sheila jackson lee and she said your humor is n
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appreciated here. there's a tone and we'll probably see it again, the family administration issue is come up again and again. democrats are making a points here, we're not here to play, we're setong ane and i think we're going to continue to see this in all the hearings tifled. robert: and whitakeon family separations said the administration does n have that as policy. >> we've heard that again and again. the administration said we never know olicy but we all that the zero tolerance policy they put in place is what resulted in family separation. and they have a real mess. they're standing down where people have said you couch separated thousands more children than you reported. robert: it's not just the judiciary hearing and matthew whitaker and the chairman. that was just the latest
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face-off. intelligence committee director adam ship is looking into the president's ties to foreign companies and he said the panelo would handr four dozens transcripts of his interview to special counsel robert mueller. the presidentle cthese moves presidential harassment. what do you make of schiff and his moves? e the democrats being strategic or doing too much? katty: when the president tweets in all caps and calls adam schiff a political hack, you get the sense it's getting under his skin. two things thisee the extent of the democrats' probe into the finances and then robust way they came out of the whitaker hearing, we're not holding back at all and i think t tho elements together have unnerved the white house. whatever there are concerns
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about whether the democrats are at olds over impeachment, make no mistake, nancy pelosi wants to old the white house account. impeachment and the mueller probe being something slightly stralt. -- separate 6. robertye tom s the liberal billionaire is pushing democrats to push. and can speaker pelosi keep off the leftnd keep this chairman focused right now in terms of the investigations? dan: i think she said she can until we see what the mueller like. looks at this point i'd say all bets are off depending on what's in the report. i think the points raise is an important one. what is the overall strategy? is it, there a sense, to flood the zone with investigations? that can get difficult. in other words each of these
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chairmen has some latitude on what to do and they're going to be aggressive. speaker pelosi has to think about, ok, what are we really trying to accomplish with this who are we really trying to go after? what questions do we really want to answer? those are strategic questions that i think the democrats have to answernd that i suspect the speaker is quite mind of of but nonetheless it's not going to be an easy job of management. katty: one of the things i've heard from pelosi repeatedly is this notion of accountability in is somethi they take very seriously and that nancy pelosi takes verouy sey. the idea that this is a white house that is corrupt, misused government, it's power and position as the presidency t in orde enrich the president himself. robert: you mentioned earlier r. bill b he was voted out of the senate
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week ony committee this a bipartisan vote, expected to be confirmed in the coming days but he hasn't given clear answer about whether he would release the mueller report to the public or not >> in is the million dollar question. at is mueller goiged to send to him, what is he going to do with it? if he doesn't release the full report to congress, this isof o he things they're going to fight the justice department on. they want that report. and once mueller wraps up, remember, congress can call him to testify too. th an is when we'll see you think theay whitaker t had a lot of headlines? wait untibob mueller comes to testify in front of clip. robert: what do you make of the republican handling of this? are they rallying to trump or being cagey themselves looking ahead to their election campaigns? >> i think ey're waking all f e possibilities right now.
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first oute gate, the democrats are taking up a lot of the territoryoind on the offense. in the long run, i agree, a lot is riding on the mueller report in a lot of ways you're see some hedging going on because no one really noles what that wi hold. in the meantime, that line in president treasure's state of the union address, when he set up his opposites, peace and war and then legislation and t investigations some degree he's right. this congress and democrats in particular have to fd a way to move forward beyond something that's not just being aned a versarpe to president trump and to past policies ofhis administration because that is ultimately what people want to see and why this new class got elected, w to get things done. robert: many feel the preside doesn't have the appetite for doing a bill on prescription drugs or infrastructure and that ems to be part of the reason they're moving forward with
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their zradge it is. >> that might be but we saw the president's state of the union float some things there's been common ground on before. prescription drug prices. seetary azar has already made a lot of progress there. the question is whether or not democrats and republicans come together after this big piece of border security they have to get passed first. i robertis all about the contention today and this week on capitol hil but lawmakers are still discussing details about a border funding agreement. they say theye making progress. richard shelby said he's hopeful an agreement could be reached by monday. e expect an agreement to be reached by monday to be signed byhe president? dan: i think everything we've seen over the course of these negotiations would suggest they're probably not going to
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bt there by monday. we mig completely surprised by that but i think that the difficulty of this is still what it's always been, which is how much are democrats prepared to move in the direction of trump? they've givenot much indication publicly of much willingness and what would the president beo willing t sign off on? robert: there's a lot of talk -- what are the dails of what we know so far about what could be in this? down from 5.7 billion to $ billion for a barrier, not necessarily a wall. what are we looking at? katty: a few rose burks. [laughter] >> the wild card i not congress. the 17 appropriateors trying to cut this deal all say left to their own question vices, they could do this on the back of a napkin theelves in an how were. the unknown factor here is i think these congressional
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negotiators can reach a deep. will he support and it will it be good enough for him to declare a victory and will the media reception be one he feels is a victory? the first time was the president taking it fr conservatives, conservative media that he was baing down on the wall. it's a political knife fight and i think the president is looking for a way to save face and democrats are trying to give h something -- katty: in trump's find, this is his presidency, his ability to negotiability, be tough, stand up to democrats, his ability to oive the base what he wanted, deliver on the promises he made in the campaign. it's all of those things wrapped up in the sim political of the -- sim blimp of the wall. how low is he prepared to go and still say toh rush limba and
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others saying here's what i promised. robert: what about republicans on capitol hill? they don't don't want another shutdown. katty: please done shut down and please don't declare a national emergency. people realize the shutdown is killing him. katty: katty brought up the national emergency. d he's beeneting about a so-called human wall, sending more troops to the border. maybe declari aational security emergency. what do you talk about on the border? >> they want a solution, not necessarily the form of a wall. walls work in some places. it doesn't work everywhere. the president himself has been shown that evidence in some of these briefings. where the common ground existed and i've talked to some members on this bipartisan commission,
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there is common ground. they could hammer it out in a moment if they wanted to. they need to be able to give the presidentovhe to be able to go back to his base and say i sered the border. even if it's not a concrete sea to shining see wall. we saw republican mention of that commission coming out and saying we think we're going to get there very soon and then you saw the president yesterday hedging his language just a bit. a week ago the talks were a waste. todaye said let's see what happens. dan: one thing to keep in min is theay the end of the shutdown was covered and the degree to which it was interpreted across the board as a defeat for the president. he certainly doesn't want another round of that. >> and republicans really don't want a national emergency. dan: why not? >> senate majorit leader mitch mcconnell both. privately and publicl has warned him about this path.
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this is a good emple of executive overreach. and if the president goes down this path, what is to prevent a former democraticde pre to also invoking a national emergency when they have a fight with congr it is setting a precedence. robert: speaking of enormous and possess dents, the speech was importan what it laid out on border talks but what about people as u.s. allies around the world watching this speech. do they see the president change at all? katty: we' had two years in europe getting used to the president's language and there't a certain amf sobriety that you don't always take at face value. there was no mention of nato. it was noticeable there was actually no mention of europe at all. only of russia and that in not enrticularly critical terms.
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robert: you've traveling around europe, dan, what's your take? dan: there's a lot of nervousness. katty: not like we don't have problems of our own,[l right? ghter] dan: every country has internal proble and they're absorbed in it, certainly britain is with brexit. there's a feeling that the president doesot share the feelings in terms ovepl transatlantic orl multilate rhythms former presidents have had. there'leah that maybe they can riled it out. they are nervous about what might happen if the president is der pressure either from the mueller report or because of the re-elect, that he might lash and they could been the -- on the receiving end of that. also the possibilities that some of the questions he's raised are legitimate questions. whether it's nato funding or things like that.
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there are worries and also concern about if he were to get a sonterm what the real damage might be. scott g.: robert: stacy from georgia gave democratic response. speaker pelosi is facing a rising left in her conference. represent active ocasio-cortez proposes the new green deal. what c we make of these and the speaker pelosi kane contain them? >> go back stacey abrams making history as the first blackoman to deliver the democratic response. you see where the democratic party is, where they'reeaded and that's what we saw reflected in the state of the union all of all the women, all the diversity. that's where the democratic s party i going. moving toward, when you talk about how speaker pelosi handles
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that part of her party, so far it seems she's been handling them pretty well. she allows them t o say the things they need to say. protest the things they need to protest. you saw this brand-n deal come out. does it have any teeth? probably not but she's able to open it upo that part of the elect rat. it hasn't creroated aem for her yet. >> i think people look at the new progressives i congress as the mirror image of the tea party movement that came in. that's a false way to look at it. they're fundamentally different things. i've talked to them and they say we see our dlvesferently because the tea party by design came d vote no and tear it down and the progressives on the left want government t and wan say yes. house let's stay in the
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and don't with a per well-to the dean of the house, ngressman john dingell. he passed away thursday at 92. he was the longest serving representative from u.s. 4i6789s, serving nearly 60 years. he served in the seat previously held by his father. he is survived by h wife debbie, who holds the house seat he once head. dan, you've covered dingell for a long time, the late congressman now. what's h legacy? dan: his legacy is as long as you can make it. he's beenhere through every significant fight, through eve y fighough advancement of progress, medicare and micaid, civil rights. he's been somebody who's held people in power accountable. he's run anyumber of investigations. he's just been there throughout
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theod wholen history of the united states and when you look at that, there'sic bly almost no one who's had that combination of longevity and impact that john dingell has had. robert: he often would talk about being with his father am pearl harbor, being there in washington as f.d.r. made his nation. he lived through so much history. katty: not just that he served under, i think it was 11 presidents, he was there for the second world war. we're losing that memory of what the country can be like, what the we.est can be l the liberal democratic values that were built after the second world war and i think for people concerned about those values, john dingell represents a file when they were drive -- and when countries worked together towards those. t this is me of much more
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divisiveness as he said in his : i know you were riding that. >> the one lining that stuck with me was something h wanted to leave for other people to carry for. he talked about elected officials not having power but holding power and that powerth coming fro trust that people place in them. one of the last lines wasbout how he praised to god that all of us as americans,ot just politicians burks all of us find the wisdom to recognize the responsibility we hold. robert: susan, he was a man of powerful words and also a lot of fun t cover. >> he was some fun to cover. robert: we used to stake him out. he had a scooter with a license plate that said the dean on it. pretty cool and he was a man who enjoyed the house. >> he was an mesh original. when i first came to the hill after the002 election,
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republicans were trying to pass a bill and dingell said you need to invite me. and they said you're not going to vote for it. he said right, i not but to quote l.b.j., he said you'd rather have in inside the tents looking out. he didn't help them but it was proof of a time where you could be boast -- both an unabashed partisan and a good legislator. robert: and he became a twitter star in retirement. >> you can still be relevant into your0's in social media and in politics. dan: and wickedly funny on twitter. he had a great sse of humor and it came -- the world could see in it a way that people who covered him were able to see him -- it or hiss colleagut on twitter the who he would -- who whole world could see it.
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robert: he appreciated the institution of the house and even if you were a young porter, he took your questions. we wish everybody in the dingell family all thek best. thu for joining us tonight. our conversation will continue on the "washington week" podcast. we'll discuss all of that political chaos in virginia. watch it on our website after 10:00 p.m.y every fri or listen on your favorite app. i'm robert costa, have aat g weekend. announcer: corporate funding is provided by -- >> i was able to turn the aircraft around and the mission around and a we to save two men's lives that night. >> my first job helped m to grow up pretty quickly. that will happen wh you're ked to respond to a coup. >> in 2001 i signed up for the air force. two days later, 91 happened.
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>> bab a language program that teaches real-life convertions in a new language, as much as spanish, french,rm , italian and more. babele's 10 to5-minute lessons are available as an app or on line. >> funding is provided by -- koo and patricia yuen through the yuen foundation, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributis to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> you're watching pbs. ♪
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