tv Washington Week PBS February 9, 2019 1:30am-2:01am PST
>> in this divided government, is compromisee? possi i'm robert costa. welcome to "washington week." >> flynn, manafort, gates, pap drop loss and dozens ofs indictment including 13 russian nationals, three russian companies and roger stone. are you overseeing a wch-hunt? robert: acting attorney general matthew whittaker testifi. 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, another
shutdown looms unless the president andongress cut a deal and remembering john dingle, the longest serving member of congress, next. this is "washington week." funding is provided by -- 1 >> i was 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 e 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, italian and more.
the 15-minute lessons are available as an app or online. >> funding i 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 contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, from washington, moderator robert costa. robert: good evening. the consequencesf elections and divided government were on full display this week. president trump divered his state of the union address wit aharp message for democrats. president trump: if there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. it just doesn't work that way. robert: house democrats ignored that warning and announced new inf stigationse president's finances.
>> we will noturrender our constitutional responsibility for ersight. that would make us delinquent in our duties. robert: actg attorney general matthew wit the the -- whittaker defended his handling of the mueller probe. n>> i have interfered in any way with the special counsel's investigation. robert: joining me tonight, amna nawaz from the pbs nshour. n 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 back from this whittaker showdown today with house democrats and we see the beginning of divided government. what did we learn? ean: i think we learned that this is going to very long and difficult year for president trump. that house democrats are geared up to go after him in all kinds
of ways. i think one of the things we learned from the state of the union from the y clipou just showed is the degree to which he is nervous about that there's a certain amount of, i don't know if it's insecurity, fear or whatever butse he has a s of what is coming and is very unhappy about that. despite his calls for by partisan in the state of the union, i think we're i for a very, very partisan year. robert: susan,n you've been capitol hill covering this for npr. matthew whitaker, a loyalist for president trump refused to engage in the witch hufpblets question. susan: he did and he's very shor-term a.d. as dan said, this is not going to be a congress where sliltyavs accomplishments i what it's going to be known for. it's going to oake issuesf accountability and oversight as pape toppriorities. so the president's points name
doesn't work that way. this is pretty much how it works. the oversight of the administration. i also think to the point of him attacking thenvestigations, there's a playbook here. similar to the mueller investigatn. 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 atne point to the chair, your five minutes are hi. iswhat we should expect from other officials interest year on capitol hill? >> they're taking their signals from whitaker. combative moments from him. at one point, a schneid report back to sheila jacks lee and she said your humor is not
appreciated here. there's a tone and we'll probably see it again, the family administration issue is come up again and again.mo ats are making a points here, we' not here to play, we're setting a tone and i think we're going to continue to see this in all the hearings tifled. robert: and whitaker on family separations said the administration does not have that as policy. >> we've heard that again and again. the administration said we never had a policy but we all know that the zero tolerance polic they put in place is what resulted in family separation. and they have a real mess. they're staing down where people have said you couch separated thousands more children than you reportro. rt: it's not just the judiciary hearing and matthew whitaker and the chairman. j that wasust the latest
face-off. intelligence committee director adam ship is looking into the president's ties to foreign companies and he said the panel woul hand over four dozens transcripts of his intviewo special counsel robert mueller. the president called these moves presidential harassment. what do you make of schiff and his moves? re the democrats being strategic or doing too much? katty: when the president tweets in all caps and calls adam schiff a political hack, you the sense it's getting under his skin. two things this week, the extent of the democrats' probe into the finances and then the robust way they came out of the whitaker hearing, we're not holding back at all and i think those two elements together have unnerve the white house. whatever the are concerns about whether the democrats are
at olds over impeachment, make no mistake, ncy pelosi wants to hold the white house to account. impeachment and thell m probe being something slightly stralt. -- separate 6. robert: tom steyer, the liberal billionaire is pushing democrats toush. and can speaker pelosi keep off thleft and keep this chairman focused right now in terms of the investigations? dan: i think she said she can until we see what the mueller report looks like. at this point i'd say allar bet off depending on what's in the report. i think the points raise is an important one. what is the o rall strateg is it, there a sense, to flood the zone withs? investigati that can get difficult. in other words, each of these
chairmen has somud lat on what to do and they're going to be aggressive. s speaker pelosi ha 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 e strategic questions that i think the democrats have tonswer and that 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 something they ta very seriously and that nancy pelosi takes very seriously. the idea that this is a white house that is corrupt, misused government, it's power and position as the presidency in order to enrich the president himself.rt ro you mentioned earlier bill barr. he was voted out of the senate
judiciary committee this week on a bipartisan vote, expected to c befirmed in the coming days but he hasn't given a clear answer about whether he would release the mueller report to the public or not. >> in is the million dollar question. what is mueller goiged to send to him, what he going to do with it? if he doesn't release the full report to congress, this is one of the things they're going to fight the justice departme on. they want that report. and once mueller wraps up, remember, congress can call him to testify too. and that is when we'll see you think the whiker today had a lot of headlines? fait until bob mueller comes to testify in front clip. robert: what do you make of the republican handling of this? are they rallying to trump orag being themselves looking ahead to their election campaigns? >> i think they'reak wg all the possibilities right now.
first outhe of the gate, democrats are taking up a lot of the territory and going on the offense. in the long run, i agree, a lot is riding on the mueller report in of ways you're see some hedging going on because no oe really noles what that will hold. in the meantime, that line in preside't treas state of the union address, when he set up his opposites, peace and war and then legislation and investegations, to somee he's right. this congress and democrats in particular have to find a t w move forward beyond something that's not just being aned a versarpe to preside trump an to past policies of this administration because that is ultimately what people want to see and why this new class got eletted, was to things done. robert: many feel theoeresident 't have the appetite for doing a bill on prescription drugs or infrastructure and that seems to be part of the reason they're moving forward with
their zradge it is. >> that might be but we saw the president's state of the union float some things there's mmbee ground on before. prescription drug prices. secretary azar has already made a lot of progress there. the questio ois whethnot democrats and republicans come together after this big piece border security they have to get passed first. robert: it is all about the contention today and this week on capitol hill. but lawmakers are still scussing details about a border funding agreement. they say they're making progress. richard shelby said he' hopeful an agreement could be reached by xpnday. do wet an agreement to be reached by monday to be signed by the president? think everything we've seen over the course of these negotiations wld suggest they're probably not going to
get there by monday. weet might be comy surprised by that but i think that the difficulty ofhis is still what it's always been, which is how much are democrats prepared to move in the direction of trump? they've given not much indication publicly of much willingness and what would the president be willing to sign off on? robert: there's a lot of talk -- what are the details of what we know so far about whatould be in this? down from 5.7 billion to $2 billion for a barri, not necessarily a wall. what are we looking at? katty: a few rose burks. [laughter] >> the wildotard is congress. the 17 appropriateors trying to cut this deal all say lefto t their own question vices, they could do this on the back of a napkin themselves in an how were. the unknown factor here is i think these congressional
negotiators can reach a deep. will he support andit w 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 from conservativesve conserva media that he was backing down on the wall. olit's aical knife fight and i think the president is looking for a way to save face and democrats are trying to give him something -- katty: in trump's find, this is hisredency, his ability to negotiability, be tough, stand up to democrats, his ability to asve the what he wanted, to deliver on the promises he made in the campaign. it's all of those things wrapped up in the sim pitical of the -- sim blimp of the wall.ho low is he prepared to go and still say to rush limbaugh and
others saying here's what i rtpromised. ro what about republicans on capitol hill? they don't don't want another shutdown. katty: please done shut wn and ease don't declare a national emergency. people realize the shutdown is killing him. katty: katty brought uphe national emergency. he's been dweeting about a so-called huma wall, sending more troops to the border. national ring security emergency. what do you talk about on the border? >> they want a solution, not t necessaril form of a wall. walls work in some places. it doesn't work everywhere.e resident himself has been shown that evidence in some of these befings. wher the common ground existed and i've talked to some members on this bipartisan commissio
ere is common ground. they could hammer it out in a y moment if t wanted to. they need to be able to give the president the cover to be able to go back to his base and say i secured the border. even if it's not a concrete sea to shining see wall. nt saw republican mn of that commission coming out and saying we think we're going to t there very soon and then you saw the president yesterday hedgingtis language j a bit. a week ago the talks were a waste. today he said lt's see what happens. dan: one thing to keep in mind he the way end of the shutdown was covered and the gree 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 nationalmergency. dan: why not? >> senate majority lder mitch mcconnell both. privately andublicly has warned him about this path.
this is a good example of executive overreach. andf the president goes down this path, what is to prevent a former democratic president to also invoking a natnal emergency when they have a fight with congress? it is setting a precedence. robert: speaking of enormous and possess dents, the speech was importantha or it laid out on border talks but what about allies around the world watching this speech. do they see c the presidenge at all? katty: we've had two years in europe getting used to the president's language and there's a ceain amount of sobriety that you don't always take them at face value. there was no mention of no. it was noticeable there was actually no mention of europe at all. only of russia and that in not particularly crical terms.
robert: you've been traveling around europe,an, what's your take? dan: there's a lot of nervousness.e katty: not le don't have problems of our own, right? [laughter] dan: every country has internal problems and they're absorbed in it, certainly britain is with brexit. there's a feeling that the president does not share the te feelings is ovepl transatlantic or mtilateral rhythms former presidents have had. there's a bleach tha maybe they can riled it out. they are nervous about whatmi t happen if the president is under pressure either from the mueller report or because of the re-elect, that he might lash out and they could been the -- on theeceiving end of that. also the possibilities that some ofhe questions he' raised are legitimate questions. whether it's nato funding or things like that.
there are worries and also concern about if he were to get a second term what the real damage might be. scott g.: robert: stacy from georgia gave the democratic response. speaker pelosi is facing a rising left in her conference. represent active ocasio-cortez proposes the new green deal. what can we make of these and the speaker pelosi kane contain them? >> go back to stacey abrams maki history as the first black woman to deliver the mocratic response. you see where the democratic party is, where they'r headed and that's what we saw reflected in the state of the union all of a sudden t. all the women, all the diversity. that's where the democratic part is going. moving toward, when you talk about how speaker pelosi handles
that part ofer party, so far it seems she's been handling them pretty well. she allows them to say the things they need to say. protest the things they need to protest. you saw this brand-new green deal com out. does it have any teeth? probably not but she's able to opent up to that part of the elect rat. it hasn't created a problem for her yet. >> i think people lk at the new progressives in 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 ourselves differently because the tea party by design came down to vote no and tear it down and the progressives left want government and want to say yes. robert: let's stay in the houon
and with a per well-to the congressman ouse, john dingell. he passed away thursday at 92. he was the longest serving representative from u.s. 6789s, serving nearly 60 years. he served in the seat previously held by his fatr. he i survived by his 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 his legacy? dan: his legacy is as long as you n make it. he's been there through every significant fight, through every fight through advancement of progress, medicare and medicaid, civil rights. he's be somebody who's held people in power accountable. he's runf any number o investigations. he's just been there throughout
the whole modern history of the united states and when you look at that, there's basically almost no one who's had that combination of longevity and impact that john dingell has had. robert: he often would talk w about beinh his father am pearl harbor, being there inin waon as f.d.r. made his case to the nation.t liveough so much history. katty: not just that he served under, i think it was 11 presidents, he was there for the cond worldar. we're losing that memory of what the country can be le, wha the west can be like. l the libemocratic values that were built after the second world wahi and i for people concerned about those values, ll john din represents a file when they were drive -- thrivin and when countries worked together towards those. this is a time of much more
divisiveness as he said in his article. bert: i know you were riding that. >> the one lining that stuck with me was som whing heted to leave for other people to carry for. he talked abo elected officials not having power but holding power and that power corung from thet that people place in them. one of the last lines was about how he praised to god that all of us as americans, not just politicians burks all ofs find the wisdom to recognize the responsibility we hold. robert: susan, he was a man of powerful words and also a lot of fun to cover. >> he was some fun to cover. robert: w used to stake him out. he had a scooter with a license plate thatsaid 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 the 2002 election,
republicans were trying to pass a bill and dingell said you need to invit me. and they said why? you're not going to vote for it. he said right, i'm not but to quote l.b.j., he said you'der raave in inside the tents looking out. help didn't hem but it was proof of a time where you could be boast -- both an unabashed partisan and a good legislator. robert: a he became a twitter star in retirement. >> you can still be relevant into your 90's in social media and in politic dan: and wickedly funny on twitter. he had a great sensef humor and it came -- the world could see in it a way that people who covered him were able to see him -- it or hisolleagues but on twitter the who he would -- who whole world cou see it.
robert: he appreciated the institution of the house and en if you were a young reporter, he took youron ques we wish everybody in the dingell family all the best. thank you for joining us tonight. our conversation will continue on the ng"wasn week" podcast. we'll discuss all of that political chaos in virginia. watch it on our website after 10:00 p.m. every friday or listen on your favorite app. great rt costa, have a weekend. announcer: corporate funding is ovided by -- >> was 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 pretty quickly. that will happen when you're asked to respond to a coup. >> in 2001 i signed up for the air force. oays later, 9/11 happened.
>> babel, a language program that teaes real-life conversations in a new language, as much as spanish, french, german, italian and more. babele's 10 to 15-minute lessons are available as an app or on line. >> funding is provided by -- koo and patricia yuen through thend yuen fion, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> you're watching pbs. ♪
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