tv Washington Week PBS March 16, 2019 1:30am-2:00am PDT
♪[music] >> can president trump and speaker pelosi hold theiret parties tr? i'm robert costa. welcome to "washingn week." >> congress has the freedom to pass this resolution. an i have the dutyet to it. >> president trump vetoes legislation to end the national emergency. 12 senate republicans break, joining democrats in delivering a bipartisan rebuke in declaring a national emergency to access funds sets a dangerous new >> this is not about the president. but thi law, mr. president, is wrong. >> i a rebellion brewing among republicans? plus -- >> i don't think we should impeach a president for political reasons and i don't think w should not impeach a president for political but you have to ben ironclad i
terms of your facts. >> what's behind the speaker's strategy? answers and analysis, next. ♪[music] >>"his is "washington wee funding is provided by... ♪[music] >> babble.e a langu program that teaches real life conversations in a new language, such as spanish, french, german and italian and more. babble's 10- to 15-minute lessons are available as an app or online. more information on babble.com. >> additional funding is provided by yuen foundation. committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you!
>> once again from washington, moderator robert costa. >> good evening. we begin with a tragic story that has the world's attention. 49 people, killed. and at least0 wounded inside a mosque in new zealand. the attacks unfolded in the city of christchurch. police have charged an australian man with murder. the gunman published a manifesto with racist and anti-immigrant creeds. yoing me, bob woodward. and margaret brennan, moderator of "face the nation," and senior foreign affairs corbett for cbs news's "face the nation," and jake sherman, senior writer for politico andoeditor of playbook. president trump expressed his condolences on friday and when asked by a reporter if he believed white nationalism was a rising threat, he said, no.al and hed it, quote, a small
group of people with very, very serious problems. end quote. margaret, asorou r on foreign affairs, is the president correct in assessment of the threat of white nationalism glolly? >> i is not a problem to be minimized, even in this country law enforcement, f.b.i. has about 900 or so domestic terror investigations of that. they a linked to white nationalist groups. but there is a concern that thek receipt k and the actions of some of these groups have only increased, in terms of becoming more hard-core. around the world, though, this is som we have seen -- people often blame a lot of this on the president, because he has used to his political advantage, playing on anti-immigrant amptoms. but i wouldue, he's a symptom, not a cause of some of this. even out of the europ crisis, the rise of right-wing groups in greecend other countries in europe, really
playing off of this wave of migration that is only increasingmi eco disparities. there's anger, dislocation there. you heard hillary clinton in 2018 even talk about s it and that chancellor sgela merkel ealing with weakening democracy in that country because of the migration crisis. i don't want to give too much credit to the theory of thisol 28-yea killer by in i means but in -- by any means, but it is becoming even more mastream. and i would argue, particularly in the case of anti-muslim rhetoric, it is accepted in a wa thatou wouldn't accept hate speech about other groups. if you even lookt esident trump campaigning on banning an entire religion groups from entering this country, muslims and the muslim ban, it's hard to accept that, if you filled in the blank with another religious group, that that would be in any rhetoric.ted as receip the president did not use the
term terrorism. >> what about inside of new zealand? what has been the response inside of that country? >> it was interesting to seee te prinister, a very strong woman, say, look, we are going to change our gun-control laws. so it's going to be interesting -to see it's going to be important to see if that becomes a mod or a precedent, not only in new zealand but elsewhere, t break this deaeaock -- i the insanity, theileness of this kind of attack. you know, it just -- as they say, it suscks the consc >> we'll keep an eye on that and keepn reportingl of that. our hearts are with everyone in new zealand tonight.et but turn to the white house and the roiling debates here over immigration and executive power. president trump signed his first veto today,ejecting a
resolution that would have ended his national emergency. 12 republican senators broke ranks, supporting the measure that would have diverted federal money to aorder barrier. >> this for me is a matter of c defending tstitution and the balance of powerss that i core to our constitution. >> democrats said the number g.o.p. defections should have been higher.>> e has been vindictive, contemptuous calling out people who oppose him. so it's not an easy vote. >> bob, in your latest book, you quote something that candidate trump told us in 2016. real power is fear. l when wk at this vote in the senate, the republicans, some of them broke ranks. but many of them stayed with the president. is it because of fear of a primaryhallenge, fear of his wrath? >> lots of politics in this. i think in the end, it's afo lor
trump and that anyone can read the constitution. it's very conar,ess controls spending. he is trying to divert from that. and on a small scale, but it's just not going to -- it's not gonna work. and we know it. and quite frankly, i think trump knows that.he >> sue, you look at senator tom tillis of north carolina, a republican, heriginally was opposed to the president's move. >> on principle. on principle opposed. >> but he flipped. why? >> not only did he flip, but hei flippe the moments leading up to this vote. it is one of the more spectacularve flip-flops w seen in the senate in recent years. i think it speaks to the politics of this. yes, i think republicans a afraid of a primary, afraid as seen aes having dista from the president on his signature issue. the wall is thena sre issue of this presidency. a republican like tillis in a
state like north carolina, where you have a lot of ambitious conservatives, who would look a a vote like that and suddenly see a path to come at him. so his turning in the end, i just think speaks more to the fact that republicans are so reluctant to go against the president, and it's even more remarkable when you know how many of them privately think sthat this ish a bad move. not the national emergency itself but trying to do this constitutional challenge. most of them privately are really worried about the long-term precedent this sets and they still s hck with. >> jake, senator tillis is up for re-election in 2020. we talked about his op ed. that word principle that he had at first. a lot of senate republicans, they do say it'sgrhe cs's role to appropriate money. was it the vote here, more about congress asserting itself than trying to defend or break with president trump? >> i think it was. i think it was congress trying to set somf sort o guidelines. i got the impression, after talking to members, and think sue would say the same, that the
white house said, come on, do this for us, do this for the president. and senators were like, we've been doing stuffor you for the last two years, and this is a bridge too far. think in the case of tillis, yes, north carolina is bluing. what conservatives always tell me is you still need republicans to come out for you. and they're afraid that thosemis combination. i agree with bob. this is a loss for thet. presid it shows that people are going to split from him. i don't think we're entering a p newse. i think it will be interesting to see whether the president strikes back. i don't believe he will. and tillis kind of sold his soul -- not his soul but sold his vote for a promise to work with trump going a forward. know that the president often times says he's going to work on this legislatively and then never follows up. so it will be interesting to see
how those politics play for tillis. >> when theresident looked at this, he was told by majority leader mcconnell and this was a loser. yet he plowed forward. is that because he's making a case for his voters to stick with him in 202s >> interesting, because as sue was just referring to, when you speak privately to republicans, even some of them who voted with the presideo, will say you, i don't really know why we're having this fight. we didn't needo vit. so if there was a point the president and the white house was trying to make, it's not clear to his own party exactly what that was. now, we'ree -- you talking about -- and this is what i find fascinating, this debate within the republican party, are we constitutional conservatives or are we by any means necessary trumpian republicans? which is the sort ofh voting w the president. those who choose to go that direction make the case simply on, well, i do believe there's an emergency. they justify it that way. the conversation about whether this is actually, you know,
fully legal or correct interpretation of h supposed to be implemented makes a lot of republicans uncomfortable. b , we're two and a half months into a divided government. you've studied t presidency for decades. for a president to have this kind of defst at t moment, in a divided government, what does it tels? >> i don't know. but this is one of those issues the's not going down in history books, i don't think, simply because people in congress covet few things. but t thing they covet the most is the power to decide how money is spent. they all know that conservatives, liberals, republicans, democrats, even independents kw that. so this is going to wash away. what's interesting is for trump to draw that line here and actually it's the first veto, which is quite astonishing, after t years, and it's a kindo
of veto i the blue, because, you know, what does it mean? and the other side of this, which -- which has interested me very much is, wna didn'y pelosi make a deal with trump on this? it's a small amount of money in terms of the federal budge she could have -- i know she is getting lots of praise for bng ugh and kind of shoving it to him, but she could have gonen a practical sense and talked to him and said, loo we'll give you this. it's a small -- it's small, but i want a, b, c, d and e. >> you're writing a whole book about president trump and congress coming out next month.a what's your on this moment, divided government? >> i think on that note with pelosi, i don't think she had much incentive to do that. i think sue would probably agre i just think she had the president against the ropes. and, you know, there's an dnteresting moment. i probably sho say this, but there's an interesting moment in our book where one of
the characters says, a lotf peop said, during the shutdown fight, this is really a proxy fight for who i more powerful, nancnancy pelosido old trump. nancy pelosi won that fight. and i think she kind of from there bked off. >> but why shouldn't you say that? soon you're going to be outmarketting -- [laughter] >> well, you've written ath few, 's right. >> so what about speaker pelosi? do house democrats override this veto or try to? >> they don't have the votes. it's simple math. yo-t need trds in both houses and they're not even close. i do think this isr also a big story, the story of executive power. this was a story in the obaman presidency, the bush presidente. part of the reason why presidents have been able to make these power grabs is that congress has been a weakened and weakened branch. and the executive overreach is, in some ways, a product of legislative underreach, right? thathey have not been legislating on immigration, all these questions that have gotten to this point. so the fundamental problem, the
brokenness of congress and a presidency that's going to use that power vacuum to suc it up is going to continue to exist. >> speaking of vacuum, domestic policy doesn't operate in a vacuum. what does it mean for the administration to haven develoon the foreign poifer as they face all of these challenges here at home? >> well,he president shocked many people by not going for the deal he was presented with in north korea. john bolton really won that fight, one of his more hard-core advisors there. at this point, though, secretary of state mike pompeo left the door open again today, despite north korean officials saying we might resume testing, which is real the bare minimum agreement that president trump was able to get out of kim jong-un. it's hard to effect firing o a
nuclear missile unless you test. if they stop that,ou've got to believe that diplomacy is gone here, but they are desperate to continue to keep that door open at this point even wit the knife fight you saw within the diplomats trying to sit down at the table in hanoi.e >> bob, see these tensions among republicans about executive power. we also saw it last weekend, vice president cheney talking to vice presidentt pence, a a pirat -- ata private security m, taking on the national and instincts on foreign policy. is the republican party now cracking across the board? >> if i may saythat was a great scoop, because you had the transcript of the interchange between cheney and pence. and here itas just so clear. cheney is pushing, pushi. he finally says your foreign policy is like barack obama's. i mean,ut talk a a kick to the
privates. [laughter] >> that is it. and so this is a b issue, foreign policy, the theory of it. more impor the practice. i think the sittion in north korea is dangerous. kim jong-un stiffed president bush -- president trump. i mean, he just said, no, we're not gonna d this. and trump pulled ay, somewhat gracefully, but he's not -- he doeseit like stiffed. and so you got a situation that i would keep on the frontyo of mind. >> but cheney, what's interesting there is he said shat so many have whispered, which is that been the dirty little secret of that of president trump's policies, i'r th the same as the obama policies, particularly the isis campaign bng one of them. it was interesting to have him
sort o be confrontational on that. we haven't yet heard,m even f those on the 20/20 field yet. america's role in the world? what do you think we're trying to do, and how do we do it? we really haven't had that conversation as a country. >> and we're talking about republican debates on foreign policy. but the democrats a dealing with their own debates, and on the issue of impeachment. this week, house speaker nancy pelosi declared she is not interestedn impeaching president trump for now. other democrats, like congressman schiff of californ t, chairman of house intelligence committee, and senator chuck schumer said they support theem speaker's stt but that impeachment is not completely off the table. speaker pelosi's strategy, is it to signal to those suburban voters who helped tiftm to the majority in 2018, we're not going over the line? >> i think is multifaceted and complex. i think what she was trying toas
do as we all know, reporters are roaming through the hallways every day in the capitol, sticking microphones in lawmakers' faces, saying, are you ready to impeach the president? pelosi is saying, there's no impeachment now. she's also setting a guide, so when the mueller report does come out, if it's bad enough that they have to s impeach, can say, listen, i didn't want to do this, but this stuff is bad,nd this is illegalnd we need to do something about it. and i think that was her general and just one more thing. she said a lot of this stuff befo. thenly new part was she said, this is news. >> a progressive -- are progressive democrats unhappy with her statement? >> i mean, progressive democrats have wanted to impeach trump in the last congress too. i do think, though, if pelosi i agree with everything that jake said, that she was trying to take it off the table. but when she said, in order to go down that pass, it would have to be overwhelming and
bipartisan. she may have sete an impossi bar, if you consider, i don't know even know what it would take to get any kindti of cl mass to break with the president on that level. >> bipartisan could be o level. >> but overwhelming is the other. >> yeah. and impeachment is a big step. and pelosi realizes that. and it always, in the end,urns on the quality of evidence. and if you look at the evidence that is out there, i quite frankly have not seen the kind of car evidence that there was something that trump did. there are all kinds of questions d mueller may come up with something. there's -- that's certainly possible. but it's not out there. and i think that is thece v of speaker pelosi saying, this is the real world we live in right now. we haven't seen it. >> we've seen some evidence, through the mueller probeome t this week -- we saw a
sentencing, another sentencing for paulanafort, the former trump campaign chairman. sentenced in d.c. federal court topf what happened the previous week in virginia. he's now going to prison for quite se time,bout seven years. we saw in paul manafort's sentencing a lot of crimes about lobbying, tax fraud, bank fraud. when the white house looks at that case, are they looking at ul manafort is someone they want to pardon, or is it politicallyricky at this point, despite the president voicing support for manafort? >> it's certainlyal polit tricky. you even have lindsay gram -- ally of the president, cautioning against that. what i als i think iseresting is what happened in manhattan, almost the moment that we heard that sentencing. heren d.c., which was -- you saw the southern district of new yo move forward with unveiling or the 16 counts that they are bringg against paul manafort, an array of financial crimes in yet another court.
that's significant because that could necessarily be wiped away with a presidential pardon, because it happening at that state level. i think there's a lot to explore there with the o sequencin some of this. but the president continues to, you know, play down the idea of a pardon but leave the door open to it at the federal level. >> bob brought up the mueller report. on capitol hill, there was a vote this week to make the public.report overwhelming support for that among democrats and many republicans. when you think about thatr muelport on the horizon, senator lindsay graham, mostly ally of president trump, already calling for a second special counsel to investigahe department of justice. what kind of political war is coming on the hill? >> oh, man. a huge one. i thinkng two t a, there's mixed expectations for mueller. we were talking about this ali le bit before the show. a lot of people think tgt -- are try to keep their expectations tempered in the case that itoesn't come up with anything huge.
we don't know. we're not prosecutors f or.i. agents. i think the political war over how to interprethe mueller report, no matter what it says, is going to be epic, given what we all know about congress. re gonnaow hard the wanna see all the evidence that robert mueller saw. >> all the evidence, all the interviews, everything. there have been republicans who have said, put it all out there. >> yes. but the issue here is, again, the quality of evidence. and it's going to turn on that. and you can look at everything that's put out, and if there is thesomething that moves needle in terms of defining the trum presidency or improving the trump presidente, which it could, ifhere's nothing explosive. so that is going to be a giant deal. >> a giant deal. bob, we'll let you have the last evrd tonight. thanksybody, for jockey us. our conversation -- for joining us.
our conversation continues one ashington week" extra. i'm robert costa. have a great weekend! ♪[music] >> corporate funding is provided by... ♪[music] >> babble. a language program that teaches real life conversations in a new nguage. such as spanish, french, german, italian and more. babble's 10- to 15-minute lessons are available as an app or online. more information on babble.m. >> additional funding is provided by yuen foundation,
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