tv Washington Week PBS January 17, 2020 7:30pm-8:00pm PST
robert: newaw lyers, new developments andew questions. the senate trial begins with an th to be impartial. i do. robert: but partisan battles rage. >> house democrats may deended into pureal facm but the united states must not. >> what i at stake here is the constitution of the united states. this is whatchn impnt is about. the president violated his oath of office. robert: as the president builds his legal team, senators clash over possible witnesses, fro john bolton to perhaps even hunter biden, all as e 2020 election looms, next. ♪ announcer: this is "washington week." funding is proded by --
>> before we talk about your investments, what's new? >> well, audrey's expecting. >> twins. >> grandparents. >> we want to put moneysi for them. change in plans. >> all right.t' see what we can adjust. >> we'll be closer to the twins. >> change in plans. >> mom, are you painting again? you could sew these. >> let me guess, change in plans? >> at fidelity ahange in plans is always a part of a plan. >> additional funding is provide by ku and patricia yuen committed to bridging cultural differences in our community. the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station fromrs viewe like you. once again, from washington, moderator robert costa.ro rt: good evening. this week democratic house
manar solemnly proceeded toward the senate chamber impeachment against president trump. those articles, however, are just part of the churning debate about the president's conduct. new developments, new twists, aewnd dynamics now sm to emerge by the hou as dan balz wrote in the washington - "washington post." hours after fronts was srn in the accountability office issued a report stateteag the w house broke the law by with holding $391 million in military aid to ukraine. and documents given by he gave interviews where he highlights giuliani'sole in ukraine and tied the preside moreirectly to the activity. >>resident trump knew exactly at was going on. he was are of all of my movemes.
he -- i wouldn't do anything giuliani or the president. >> parnas was indicte o campaign finance charges and the white house has sharply questionedis credibility. but this split screen moment captures ton rest facing senator who is took anath to render impartial justice. joining us tonight in the newsroom, dan balz, chief correspondent for "the washington post." vivian salama, reporter for the washington journal. julie davis congressional editor at the "new rk times." and burgess everett congressional reporter for politico. julie, whenha you look lev parnas has revealed, what have you learned? >> what stood south s the of the documents as a result of this new release add more specifics and details to sto lines that are familiar to all of us who have beenovering the
impeachment inquiry. there are more details about how closely he wasan tierudy giuliani including an associate of mr. parnasho tracked maria ivanovich and crin documentation that he was passing himself off as working withrump's owledge and consent to get a meeting with the ukrainian president and t to getse investigations and that was all part of aucbigger scheme. the substance of it was important. but the fact of itas importanting, like you said the timing of it was important because it underscored the fact that there are a lot of detail that we don't. the president was successful in blocking any document coming out. and many witnesses including mr. uliani and lev parnas and white house oicials fromte ifying. it underscores what we still don't know in the way of detail about how this pressure campaign
unfolded. robert: you're not only a whi house correspondent but ithere concern about the spotlight mr. parnas has put on vice presidene pe and secretary mike pompeo in the wayno ic was surveyed? >> you this man ha -- who has been indicted. obviously, that is something that they're using to theire advanto discredit anything that he wants to go out there and say. and essentially they're trying to dtance president at the same time and say, well, and the president himself has said, i k don'w this guy. yes, there are pictures and videos. but i take pictures a videos with thousands of people. i don't know this individual. and there's no reason toatay e knows anything specific about my policies. but at the same time there he is king very specific
allegations, you know, pointing to there vicedent's knowledge of certain activities especially this effort to discredit ambassador ivanovic and government effort where everyby knew it was going on. he asserts it. regardless of whether or not they're able t distance the president from this, at the end of the day he is an associate of the president's personal attorney. are two degrees of separation e between he and the president. already that'she making t very uncomfortable. roert: dan, i lov the way you captured it in your story because it's not just about the ticles going over to t senate. there's a g.a.o. report. there's mr. parnas speaking out. what's the consequenceof to al it? >> it only adds to the pressure when the senate reaches ttt pobout whether to call witnesses. what we have is unfolding information. this is not a static situation. when y think about it, this is still a relatively you investigation.
it started in september. there's much, much more that probably could be learned and the pressure to learn that will process.as we go through this think, you know, they onl need four republican senators call witnesses. and when they get to that point based on what wve seen far and what may come out, who knows? over the next couple of weeks, th're going to b uer great pressure otherwise that democrats are going to be able to, they did not want a real trial. >> burgess no one works harder. so glad you're at the table when you're tal to senators on both sides of the aisle about lev parnas and this new interview and new information, w are they grappling with it all? >> i think they're treating lev parnas very carefully. they stuck tohe message. here are the four witnesses we want. the two top line one are mick
mulvaney and john bolton. we want more documents about t decision-making on the with holding of the ukraine aid.ot that didhange in the wake of the parnas interview. but you talke to chris van hollen who asked for the g.a.o. report. and you talk to him and he says maybe we'll decide to call lev parnas. they'll have an up or down vote if this moment comes and succeeds and you have 51 senator who is say yeah, we should have a debate about witnesses. robert: it's going to have to count hear what the white house is doing and what ppsident trs doing. president trump added some high profile lawyers tois legal team including alan dershowitz, kestarr among others in. an interview with "the post," the two charges of the house
brought against tmp do not amount to high crimes and misdemeanors. creation of a dangerous he constitutional precedent. we're seeing faces from decadese pastrge on this trump legal team. dershowitz has walke a bit away rom sayinhe's a full fledged member of the legal team. do they want a tv trial? senator mcconnell wanted to have a more low key affair?as >> it'snating that this is back to the future with the last impeachment. ray. ve ken starr, robert you have all these sort of personalities from the 1990's and that investigation which brings a lot of baggage that lot of republicans on capitol hill do not want to relive. that didn't work o very well for them. but i think there is a divide. and this just sort of amplifies it between what they wt in this trial which i i thinks a low key pretty quick affair that looks fairut in the end
acquital in short order.an what the president has wanted from the very beginning which is a thericalrial where people come and vigorously defend him from what he dors be an illegitimate inquiry. he watches a lot of fox news. he has seen ken starr talking about the impeachment. he's seen alan dershowitz for ears defending him making legal arguments about why these actions do not rise to the level of impeachment defenses. he really wants to see that.in the end he gets toe decide who his team. is it will benteresting how that plays out on the backdrop of what mitch mccon snell planni. bert: do we know about the argument that's going to be made on thealresident's b or is it being developed? >> they're expting that their going to try to submit some sort of case on monday. we're going to get hopefully on more informa the team is coming together.
and those developments only in the last couple of hours. we expect by monday that we will have more clarity as to whatre ction the white house wan to take this. robert: the managers are going against alan dershowitz a ken starr. what do you think nance yes pelosi i going to make o this? >> we're going to see what we saw in the hse in terms of the information of the caseful -- case. they're going to try to put into the record some of theew information that has come out. the senate republicans are basically saying no new information. you to bring what was in the investigation in the house. so there's going to be some clashes early on as the presentation is made. and we'll see about that. but thi they -- they see this as one more opportunity to drive home what isn't known, who
hasn't been able to be heard from yet and to keep pushing and pressuring on that front to put the republicansn a difficult position. but they're in their own difficult position because we badly country is so split that there's a fine line they have to walk. how far do theyant to push it? robert: perhaps it's not just ab mt the case beinge in the senate chamber but about the elurt of public opinion. >> very much so. you can see from what the president is doing by adding the pee's added to this that not simplyething that's know, playing out in the chamber but this is something of a national discussion and debate. bert: let's get into the whole standoff. lev parnass far from the only witness. senate majority leader mcconnell quietly invited republicans senators manyonservatives to his office to discuss strategy.
and during that 30-minute session, ted cruz pitched mcconnell on witness reciprocity. democrats want to hear from joho on, the former national security advisor. en republicans get to hea from hunter biden. republicans bluff and say we'll take that deal? what do you see playing out, burgess? >> feel like right now there are not the votes to bring hunter biden in front of the senate. that'sot just from the democratic side who really want to have this circus-like atmosphere and the witness plow up in thee is how that would be seen. there are some republicans, you know, that are not necessarily eager to to do eering. -- eager. susan collins was talki to reporters and asked what sort of witnesses will you hear from? he said i'm a juror. but sheid say, something. and said i want to hear from
relevant witnesses. that's throwing cold water from people heem like hunter biden. it'sard to say he's directly implicated. robert: is it the moderate wing or conservatives le cruz along with the white house are taking a hard line, where is the power cent? >> the power center is mcconll fo sure. but how does he convince the ree to four senators that he needs to get to go alongith him to get the witness votes. robert: you haveenor schumer trying to create pressure points about difficult about witnesses. >> i do think and he's saibl ly that he doesn't have all the ball control i this situation that he normally does on the senate floor. and that is because some of the -- all of these questions are going to t procedural questions are going to be decided on a 51 a simple
majority vote margin. li murkowski, lamar axander, mitt romney are very important. if they're not going to go along with a hunter bide bye den for instance, then that's not going go along with for instance, a quick dismiss sal which a lofts conservati want to see right off the bat -- robert: what about schumer? >> schumer is trying to create pressure on republicans on susan collins on the other republicans who are up for re-election in 2020. believes that this debate is going to do that. they're going to be hard pressed to hear a votegainst hearing from new witnesses and people have been blocked from testifying. >> l a of it is saving face. a lot ofhese republica perhaps don't tnk hunter biden is a reasonable solutio but he wants to see hunter buy done comb in. at least they're showing theomre making sort of effort to do that and appease him as well. and so there's at little that too as sort of posturing to the white house's demands, the
president specificall >> and what's not going to happen, chuck schumer i not going to get his four witnesses and the docsments only.t that is jot going to happen. the idea of witness reciprocity, hate r collins does n that idea. she says no, we're not just going to bng the democratic witnesses. you can see what schumer has done is he's driven a wedge between the two parties.en all the republicans vote no, he's going to see some political benefit to that. robert: what does this mean for the outlook in 2020 for a lot of these senator who are up for an election? >> i think ty're in a difficult position. see if this is fair.atching to if it lks as though people are in a hurry to get this out of the way, in other words to sweep it under the rug, i think some of the senators, in these difficult races, could pay a price for that. but if you're susan collins, for example, almost whichever way
you go on this is going to have consequences -- robert k likeanaugh. >> for those senators there are going to be some agony -- robert: i kept hearing from conservative senators there's going to be a lot of pressure from the white house to dismiss th as soon as possible. even as witness negotiations are ongoing, you could have president trump tweet tweeting saying end this trial. >>severybody wa this to be quick at the white house and also a number of lawmakers as well, the senator who are on there, the democrats who want t get bac on the campaign trail, a number of them. and republicans mitch mcconne h has saie wants a quick trial as well. the white house definitely wants a qui trial. but also the president wants to quickly be able to go out there and feel vindicated and say, you know what, this was a hoax, this was a witch hu gnt ao to his constituents and use it as a tool -- robert does he actual lip want
hunter biden on the stand does he want that spectacle or would he rather wants this to be dismissed? >> he definitely enjoy aspect can. a lot of his advisors at the white house do k w that the that there's a risk. >> vivian brought up how many want to get back on the twain -- campaign trail. they will be stuck in their chares just weeks before the iowa caucuse there was sparks at the cnn debate. and two of the leading contenders, senator bernie sanders and ee warren. at issue a 2018 privateish -- private issue. warren has said that sanders save that he bel a woman cannot run. warren did not shake his hand. here's that back and
>> i think you called me a >> what?n national >> i think you call med a lawyer on national tv? >> let's not do it right now. discussion, we'll have that discussion. >> what does this divided left flank divided mean for the 2020 contest? open what has been a simmering or depending on how you want to look at t, very chilly they are competing for a slice of the primary electorate. anng we're get now toward the voting contest where the primary is gettingy undern earnest. and they're grappling. i do think the way that they behave and the way that this exchange played out is going to affect pople's voters' views of them. ascinating that they're going to be in the senate chamber for hours on end just feet away from eh other and having to -- not only miss their
campaign facetime but alsowi de each other in very close proximity and that will play o also probably in the halls of the capitol in the next few weeks. >> i was definitely looking yestery. what's the body language going on there? bert: what was the body language? >> i couldn't see any body they were stiff. they weren't looking at each other. robert: they're impartial jurors. >> senator sanders was asked i think today have you spoken with senator warren and he said nop >> better than what i got the day before which is i don't want to talk about it. elizabeth warren said this is the last i've said o this. you can see how -- i think they realize this momentidt look great for either of them. robert: dan what's your thought on the sanders-warre interaction? this debate 2020 seems for month has been about medicare for all, debates overlt hcare.
>> this was a collision destined to happy. they're fishing in the same pond for a lot of they share many of the same views of what's wrong with the system. they have some differen prescriptions on how to fix it. but they haor a similar view about a rigged system or the influence of mey. it's not likely that the finalists for d theocratic nomination, i won't say that definitely, but are going to be the two most liberal candidates in the race. both in iowa and new hampshire th're competi very much against each other. robert: is vice presidentiden, buttigieg and bloomberg are they all watching? i think that's right because iowa is so fluid right now. any one of four candidates seems to be in a position to either win iowa or finish fourth. and the consequence is siv for
-- significant for both ofhem. i think if the let the story r a while be sander vs. warren he's happy with that. but they've got two and a half weeks to make the final sale and some of them stuck here and some of them will be out in iowa robert: how willha affect president biden's campaign? >> he's taking questions butgg std to get the message back on track to his, you know, platform essentially. this is hovering around him. he has a bit of a legacy that ht comeo the table with in terms of his, you know, being vice president to president obama who remains veryopular in a democratic party. that to his advantage.ow, given the way they look rdit's o say what's going on with his son and the whole controversy wfmh impt or if it's other things. robert: predent trump took lot of action on trade.
the usmca was passed by the senate. he p signse 1 trade deal with china. they're trying to build a story outside of the impeachment narrative. ? >> oh, of course. this is something they desperately want to turn on because they consider it for the 2020 campaign. this is something hs been trying to g across for ages. it was aery contentious issue with congress in terms of trying to get thesmca passed in particular. and so you had that in the last couple of days plus, he managed to sign phase 1 which it's going to benefit farmers especially in critical districts that could vote forrump. and so it's going to be interesting to see. but certainly that is where thee would ll the attention to be right now. see him tweeting about how can you impeach a president when the economy is so good? i think this fed the narrative r him. he's hoping to continue coming back to that. of course, the one is not
related to the other. othink he thinks th it's possible to kinf shift the focus to something else and is trying to compartmentalize in some ways. we don't see him doing that in the same way bill clinton did. he is quite happy whenever he can point to anything that is a concrete accomplishment. >> the timing of the trade vote was interesting in t senate. >> why? >> the fact that it came right before the impeachment inquiry seems notable to me. and it's because speaker pelosi's idea to hold on to t articles a little bit longe than folks had hoped. you can see a world where usmca over that giv the republicans is a decent talking point to say we need to finish this up and get on to the people's business. usmca is waiting for us. that backstop isn't there anymore. talking n away the point about democrats are so obsessed with impeachment w de
can' anything. you could argue in the past couple of months at least in the capitol washington has been working better than it has been for the past couple o.f yea >> usmca china trade deal, is this part of the president's strategy? >> well, it certainly part of his re-eltion strateg the problem is the president gets in the way of his own and i think that's the danger. robert: that's all we have tonight. we'll talk about this more. be sure to watch pbs's coverage of the impeachment trial starting next tuesday at 12: p.m. eastern. we will continue to discuss the politics of trade in a 2020 the outlook in iowa. it's available as a free podcast or you can watch it on our i'm robert costa. good night. ♪
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