tv Washington Week PBS May 25, 2019 1:30am-2:01am PDT
i'm robert costa, welcome to "washington week." a rough and tumble week in politics as the president and speaker of the house clash. president trump: crazy nancy. i tell you wha i have been watching her for a long period of time. she's not the same person. she's lost it. the president of the united states. i wish his family or administration or staff would have an intervention for the gof the country. robert: as mr. tmp heads to tokyo where issues on trade and north korea hover. next announcer: this is "washington week." funding is provided by --
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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:president trump issued an ultimatum tots demochis week and congressional o investigatio forget about any deals between now and the 2020 election. the president delivered that blunt t messageo speaker pelosi during a brief white house meetin on wednesday. earlier, the speaker accused the president of being related to a cover-up. she did not appreciate the president's walkout which stalled talks over infrastructure. >> the white house has a bag of tricks they save for certain occasions. they don't necessarily apply to the occasion but they're a distraction, which is his m
of distraction. we will all agree on that. robert: the rinationship cod to fray as both the speaker and the president made cutting remarks, like this one, about the speaker's knowledge of the latest trade agreement. president trump: she's a ms. look, let's face it. she doesn't understand it and they sort of feel she's disintegrating before their eyes. she does not understand that. they want to the have her understand i before it's finished. robert: joining me tonight, nancy cordes, chief congressional correspondent for cbs news. molly ball, national political correspondent for "time" magazine and toluse olorunnipa, white house reporter for "the washington post." nancy, you've beenn capitol hill this week, what prompted this escalation. ncy: the president says what prompted it was that word, cover-up. it's a loaded term in washington with connotaons of watergate and nancy pelosi uttering that just before she met with thet, preside said, when he made
that impromptu appearance in the se garden, that really made him angry and he wouldn't deal with her ifha she used language. according to pelosi and many democrats, the real reason he walkedut is because he doesn't have the goods on infrastructure and they believe he's looking for a way out because theyere supposed to sit down and talk about ways to pay for this $2 trillion infrastructure package and they know that the white house is going to have a very difficult time selling aac spendingge of that magnitude to the president's own party. robert: sohas the power dynamic, molly, between the speaker and the president? lly: well, it appears the speaker has the upper hand and that frustrating to the president. i don't know that that's a new dynamic. i tnk she's demonstrated her ability to confront the president at least since she uaevailed in the shutdown fight back in j. but it certainly marks anca tion, an escalation of rhetoric, particularly on the president's park. he's handled her a little more delicately in the past, which s
has surprise people who are accustomed to his confrontational style. bu as nancy said, he felt he'd had enough, whether it was because he hadn't done his homework or because he heard a word heik didn't and flew off the handle and the democrats describe it as temper tantrum but also a pre-planned stunt. he already had a sign printed out with statistics about the costf o mueller investigation and how long it had gone on and other numbers so he was clearly planning to make a statement that wasn't about infrastructure, but his displeasure about the democrats' oversight of him.to se: it's clear that speaker pelosi is living rent-free in president trump's head. you look at her comments, talking about praying for the esident, her concern for his well-being and earlier she said president trump is not worth impeaching.
the consending comments seem to get under the's preside skin, and the fact that she's a woman in power, something he's not had to deal with before. robert: the word from the white house seems to be calm. toluse: lashed out, rhetorically, he was not angry or yelling but he was supposed to be talking about infrastructure on wednesday and the next day, supposed to be talking about a farm aid package and he spent half an hour talking about how speaker pelosi was a mess so he' rattled and knocked off his message, even if he doesn't raise his voice, it's clear she'sn his head and he's having trouble dealing with a therful woman who h leverage of power in the house and is using it to pursue all of these investigatis against him, which is another thing getting under his skin. robert: the speaker is calling for anvention. what led her there, to couch these things in those terms? nancy: i think it serves her
purposes to make the case, owly, that he's unbalanced, that he doesn't actually respe the osof-- office of theid prcy. in an earlier interview she said she respects the office of the presidency more than he does. democrats have been making this case for some time,th they don't k he really gets it, and gets the presidency and so that's in her interests. but beyond that, the president -- he acted as if this was some great power play that ge made by walking out of that meeting and say he wasn't going to work with democrats. but the next day, thewo sides finally signed off on a disaster aid packageorth $19 billion. we saw this a few months ago when healked out on another meeting with nancy pelosi and chuck schumer saying he wouldn't meet with them and then criminal justice reform got done on both
sides so t idea that he will walk away and there won't be bipartisan conversation anymore hasn't played out and even within 24 hours of him saying he wasn't going to work with the democrats, he did. robert: the speaker is throwing punches rhetorically at the president. she still trying to hold or caucus together on thet impeachm question. where does that stand inside democratic ranks?o molly:ar she's been successful at least at suppressing outright rebellion. there are certainlywi divisions in the caucus between more moderate members who don't belie they should ever go down the impeachment route and more liberal membe who think impeachment ought to start now. what they haven't been doing is publicly criticizing the speaker's strategy. they've been voicing opinions but they haven't said they thi she's wrong a haven't tried to start something on their own so they're pursuing the process of
going through theous, trying every possible avenue to get witnesses and documents and information from the white house before they, then, potentially go to that next step. robert: on thatoi, is she able to keep them in line, in part because the democrats kee winning in federal court to get documents from places like deutsche bank and capital one about the president's finances? molly: absolutely. if itoi reaches a where all the other avenues have been frustrated and they're not getting that information, that's when you would have a more vocal potential majority of the caucus saying now impeachment is the only way to hold the president accountable but so far anyone who's covered nancy pelosi knows she's very good at keeping her caucus togher. but at this point she's able to do it because they mtly agree with her argument that there are still avenues to pursue. nancy: those court victories, a pair of them in federal courts this week, made huge difference for democrats, as molly mentioned. democrats were coming out, one
after the other this week, saying we may need to pursue an impeachment inquiry after all, we're frustrated. they saidhite house is completely stonewalling, theyt cat the documents or witnesses they want and this is the only way to do it. but once they start winning in federal court and judges were saying b that deutschek and capital one need to turn over the president's financial records, they sai wait a minute, a, that didn't take that long. they were worried it would take years to get a judge to rule. and b, he ruled in their favor. so that made democrats more confident that they actually have the legal standing to do this and that they wil win victories like this in the future without resorting to anen impeac inquiry which opens up a can of worms politically that nancy pelosi w rather not open now if she doesn't have to. bert: all thi debate over impeachment on the democratic side but back to the infrastructure point. the talks fell apart thiisweek. that because, toluse, republicans, at tth end o day in congress, don't want to
raise taxes and taxes would have to be part of any deal? toluse: infrastructure has always been a diffilt issue in congress because no one wants to raise the gas tax, no one wants to raise taxes to pay for the billions of dollars that need to be funded. president trump came out and said i'm for $2 trillion in infrastructure but he didn't say anything about how to pay forant once the rubber hits the road on figuring out whether or not he'll raise taxes, that's where the idea of a deal fell apart. as seemed president trump not in favor of raising taxes but wants a big infrastructure package he canut his namen and not having a way out, he decided to walk away. robert: back to the disaster relief bill, $19 billion for disaster relief. what gased the skids for that? ncy: democrats have bee pushing for money for puerto rico for some time. this bill was fivs mon overdue. there was something for everyone -- western wildfires, southeast hurricane relief. so this was something that
everyone acknowledged was necessay but there wer couple of things holding it up. number one, democratic demand foor more moneyuerto rico than the president wanted. and the president's insistence thatt also include humanitarian aid at the border and a way to deal with overcrowding. at the end,f the d he backed off on that requirement. he said he would put it ihen an package and that sort of opened the door to bipartisan agreementnd it was almost over the finish line. the senate passed it almost universally but the house it left town which meant that the house, every member of thewo hoe d have had to agree in order for it to go through. oneepublican from texas had a problem with it, he said it was too much money, it wasn't offset by anything. robert: but it's expected to pass. nancy: it is going to pass. if not nex week during congressional recess, then when they return in 10 days. robert: molly, was going back through some of your older articles for-time and you wrote earlier in the yeart t
america's new political reality is a nonfunctioning government each insisting stakes are too high, have retreated to their corners. so the escalation in week, the fighting between the white house and congress, but has this moment changedhat much since back in the days of the shutdown earlier this year?t' molly: improved because the federal government is up and running again but what we have to look forward to, as we have many times in the past several years, are a series of high-stakes congressionals deadlihat require bipartisan agreement in order to meet and not cause disaste and that's going to be a real challenge. it's a challenge for saker pelosi, a challenge for the president and the senate and the congress. but they'veot appropriations bills to pass or at least some kind of continuing resolution that will have to b done as a stop gap. they've got to raise the debt ceiling, raise the spending caps. so there's a lot that has to be done and given the state of
s going toarfare, i be very difficult for them to get there. robert: and bob mueller hasn't even testified yet. house judiciary committee chairmanaderryr announced this week that bob mueller would prefer tova testify in pte and allow the transcript to be released. a new cbs news pollha shows 58% of americans say they have heard enough about the mueller probe, while 37% want to hear more. we're hearing from the whi house that now the president's complaining on friday, en route to japan, he may w nott bob mueller to testify. is the white house going to try to block that? toluse: they haven't taken the steps privately to do that but publicly the president i making e case that democrats are just trying to do a do-over of the onng mueller investiga which took two years and $30 million and 4-00 page report. the president is trying to block efforts to revisit information that damaging to his
administration and the idea of bob mueller who would be a television spectacle if he were to appea bore cameras, the president does not want to see that happen again. robert: who decides whether me we is or not? bob mueller or cgress? nancy: witnesses don't usually get to dictate the which they testify but he has leverage. as tntuse was pg out, democrats absolutely want him testifying in public, talking as much as possible about how difficult it was for him t decide whether to recommend charges of obstruction of justice against the president, going throuvi all thence he laid out. democrats want the public to see that. they think that' very powerful, especially coming from someone seen as tnts indepen arbiter, someone like robert mueller, one of the few genuine non-partisan actors in this town. robert: isn'that powerful if the cbs news poll shows some
americans are moving on? molly: americans areoving on but they also do not believe the president's argument that he's been exonerated. in the politics of this, the president falsely states that no collusion, no obstruction, that that was the conclusion of t report when no such conclusion was drawn. he insists he was exonerated by the reporthich the report pointed out he was not exonerated and the public, robust majority of the public, have seen that and do not believe that the report cleared the president. so it is true that this has never been the public's most important issue and the democrats are anxious about the appearance that they are disregarding bread and butter kitchen table concerns in favor of what the president considers a persecution. however, when it comes to the substance of the charg against the president, of the argument against the president the public does not support the president's view and the
democrats are on safe political ground. robert: the president is launching a counter offensive to the possible mueller ttimony, granting bill barr new powers to declassify documents related to the sta of the russia investigation. what started this movement to give the attorney generalhese powers? was it congressional republicans g thesee been scrutiniz events for months? trumpt -- toluse: the president said people have been calling on him to declassify documents related to the mueller investigation. he has an attorney general who has shown himse willing to pull out all the stops to defend the president and back up the president's assertions that there were improper spying on his campaign in 2016 and this attorney general willow have to about through the intelligence community and declassify documents. robert: is that intelligence community worried about methods being exposed? nancy: they are, the director,
dan coates, voiced thatce c, saying some of the material is very sensitive. it's unusual to see one leader in the intelligence community plling another to on the brakes. but that's the message he's sending because there is a worry abt where thi goes. molly: it's pretty incredible. hole argument is that the president is disregarding the conksitutional chnd balances and undermining the rule of law and in order to prevent the democrats from investigating ose same allegations, he's simply doing more of that. he's doing more and more to undermine those checks and balances and to potentially extend executive power in ways that many experts findur ding. robert: what's the institutional cost to the department of justice when all of these methods and sources about the counter intelligence side get exposed? olly: it's potentially huge. and that is the worry, is that he could throw thealance of power how the -- out of whack
permanently and that could have lasting consequences for the presidency, for theess. what holds a president in check if the oveight responsibilities of the congress are vitiated, if the independence o the department of justice no longer exists. toluse: and the broader argument that we should not have a president using the full power of the federal government to investigate h political perceived enemies is an argument that's sometimes lost in the discussion i but its a powerful argument that the president shouldn't necessarily be organizing and ordering these investigations. robert: turnin our ees abroad, the president is traveling to japan, the first foreign leader to meet japan's new emperor. mr. trump will meet with prime minister abe. joining me now is david sanr, our friend and "new york times" national secntity correspon and author of "the perfect
weapon, war, sabotage and fear in the cyber age." dan:., thanks for joining us. david: great to be with you.: robeat's the importance of the u.s.-japanese relationship as president trump cfronts china on trade? david: it's pretty vital right now. and the reason is, that the pres rent'sationships with almost all of his other major allies are so strained. obviously, we're in the midst of a big trade war with china and much longer issues over technology. iran and north korea are both ramping up as confrontations, particularly i iran, the europeans feeled alien and even south korea has got a lot of differences with the a presidenut how he's been dealing with the north. so he's going to one of t safest territories he can. he's nurtured a really great
relationship with prime ministe abe. and he is going to be the figst fo leader to meet the new emperor and empress, a change in generation. in the case of the empress, masiko, american and british educated. likely a feel-good meeting. bebert: is prime minister encouraging a hard line on north korea? john bolton, the natiotyl secu adviser, was over there today meeting withim. david: yes, and the reason he is, politically, at home in japan, the big issue, apart from the nuclear question, question of abductees, when the north koreans took a number of japanese, they would come over in boats, kidnap people, bring them over. they've neverul accounted for them. the japanese are demanding their return. many o these are people who have lived in north korea, now, for 10, 20, 30 years. that is an issue on which prime
minister abe has had to hold extraordinarily tough. ande has been urging the president to be much tougher on the earth k, as well. and i'm sure you'll hear a bit of that, although, as you know, president trump blows hot and cold about whether or not kim jong-un is a great dictator or his great friend. robert: the u.s. recently delayed the auto trafs -- tariffs on japan. should we expect a trade deal between the u.s. and japan? david: certainly the president wants one and i think the japanese would like to get there, as well. it's not as high stakes as it was 25 years a when i lived in japan and you'd see american presidents show up every six months with a different kind of trade deal onutos or access of americans to the market. obviousl china has eclipsed japan as the second l economy.
nonetheless, i think it's highly likely that you will see one. the question is whether you'll only see it after a deal is reached with china. robert: but, david, is a deal with china going to be reached any time soon? we saw this week, chinese telecommunications companies being black listed by psident trump. has that rattled beijing? david: it certainly has.ou the action saw was against huawei, the state champion for telecommunications equipment. the united states has banned huawei from building the new 5g networks here, designed not onl to speed up your cell phone but also to allow machine-to-machine communication over cell. but the other thinghey did was cut them off from american technology. and i think there's very good chance that this may, not only poison the well b some, force the chinese to speed up their
own plans to go produce their own chips, their own material, theirwn software independent of the united states. it certainly raises theio que of whether the president is helping push the world, as the chinese have been, into annt authoritariannet run by china and free internet run by the west. robert: what has this black-listing meant for the chinese question,g hav huawei affected in this manner? david: it hasn't met much yet. there's a 90-day stay on this to allo companies to sortf sort their way through. but the main thing to remember is that huawei is the world's second largest producer of cell phones. they've eclipsed apple. and this week they learned they won't be able to load google maps and google search and all that on huawei phones that are sold around the world because it would be a violation of the o president'sers. so google has begun to pull back from them, as have the question is, is that just a
temporary blip for them or a permanent and truly hurtfulne? robert: we know this is all a preview of that g-20 meeting next month. this is quite an exchange between abe and presidentghrump now to give us a presue of what's going to happenhen. david sanger, thanks so much for joining us tonight. aireciate it. david: great to be with you. robert: before we go, let's pause to remember a long-time "washington week" panelist. georgian guyer. sh authored 10 books and was a regular guest on this program for many years. she died earlier this month at her home in washington at 84. thanks, everybody, for being here tonight. much appreciated. the "washington week extra" is coming up next. watch it on o website, facebook or youtube. i'm robert costa. good night
>> babbel, a language program that teaches real li conversations in a new language such as spanish, french, german, italian and more. babbel's 10 to 15-minute lessons are available as an app or online.mo information on babbel.com. announcer: home adviser. kaiser permanente. financial services firm, raymond james. additional funding is provided by --tr koo and ia yuen through the yuen foundation, committed to bridging cultural difrences in our communities. the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station om viewers like you. thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org.] >> you're watching pbs.
last week, we did cake. who knows what paul and mary have got up their little sleeves this time? i'm not sure i'd like to eat anything that has been up paul's sleeve. no way. no. anyway, inside that tent, we have 11 bakers raring to go d fantastic challenges ahead of them. last week, 12 new bakers entered the tent for the first time. man: we know how to bake, do we? woman: we do. only thing we know. while there was success for some... that tastes fantastic. there was misery for others. oh, it's split. uh! nancy executed exemplary miniature cakes. what perfection-- a sheer joy to look at. and was crowned this year's first star baker. [applause] di but claire had one ster too many... absolutely no idea. and she was the first to leave the tent. you'll be very missed, love. you're a real cracker, y are. this week, it's biscuit week.