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tv   Washington Journal Brian Bennett Mike De Bonis  CSPAN  December 16, 2019 11:47am-12:09pm EST

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>>. [inaudible] >> the hudson institute in washington dc hold a discussion with the justice department officials on us antitrust policy live today at noon eastern on cspan2.
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online at or listen live on the freec-span radio app . >> back with two reporters to take her questions about this week in washington. how will impeachment work as well as congress facing a deadline for government spending. mike mullis is congressional reporter with the washington post, ryan bennett responded with "time magazine" thank you for being here. let's begin with the white house and what are they saying about how they would like impeachment to look. >> president trump believes impeachment is breaking his way, he believes that given his supporters momentum and enthusiasm, and he initially was of the mind he one of the senate to once the house takes their boat which looks like it's going to happen, it'sinevitable and it moves tothe senate he wanted to take the senate to take their time with the trial because he felt it would be politically advantageous . at this point it looks like he's been talked out of that
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. mcconnell, the senate majority leader felt like he wanted a quick trial. didn't want to bring in new witnesses and was able to prevail upon the white house that was the best way ento go. those negotiations are still ongoing and they're happening not only between the white house and republicans senate but also between the republicans in the senate and democrats but at this point it looks like they're coming in on time to have a relatively meaty senate trial that doesn't bring a lot of new witnesses but president trump felt like maybe they could have brought in witnesses like hunter biden and others to try to expand the scope of it and try to push it for political advantage. at this point itlooks like they're going in a different direction . diand also what's happening this last week is that president trump is trying to push through as many deals as he can to try to look like he's being productive as the house moves forward on impeachment. >> will represent the president, who will be witnesses for the president, what is the white house part
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of this? >> the white house is talking with mcconnell's office right now on exactly how that's going to go through. one of the most recent ideas has been to have white house counsel past and represents the republican side in the senate. that's still hasn't been completely nailed down. it would be unusual to have the white house counsel run the republican side in elthe senate. it would show a sort of collapse of the separation of powers between the senate and the white house but mcconnell has said clearly that he doesn't want daylight between him and the white house as the proceedings moveforward . >> when will or will they to leaders in the senate actually talk and will they negotiate or will mitch mcconnell go to susan collins
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and lisa murkowski and say can youlive with this for these other republicans might defect ? >> we assume thisk la and they were written in 1998, 1999 and they're not necessarily the best rules for this particular situation for both sides but unfortunately in the senate you really can't do anything unless everyone agrees and that's going to be a tough order in something as divisive asthis . back in 1999 everybody got it, it literally got into a room and hashed out an agreement on the rules . and it ended up passing on 100 zero nobody sees that happening this time but what ud did see was chuck schumer as the announcer of a public marker of where he wants to sort of send this conversation, talked about the timeline trying to get this started week of january 6 . talks about witnesses that democrats would like to hear from and kind of sketched out the process as the beginning of this negotiation is
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probably going to continue eethrough the week and perhaps almost certainly beyond. >> he asked for new witnesses, nick mulvaney, that put pressure on moderate republicans? to say we agree, we should hear from nick mulvaney and john bolton . >> several of them have said that. at least earlier in this process that they'd like to hear from these people read it's unclear whether how influential they will be in forcing the issue. we sort of have this standoff where both sides have guns pointed to each other on these witnesses. the white house wants hunter biden and the whistleblower and these lists of people connected to what they would characterize as democratic wrongdoing, democrats obviously want bolton, mulvaney, a couple other white house officials who
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have firsthand knowledge of what happened and had cooperated in the house and unfortunately the default here is not that everybody gets to talk, the default is that nobody additional gets to talk so if you're betting in vegas how this goes, it looks like the most likely resolution to this is that there's not going to be any additional witnesses and this will just be a trial where the house present its case from its managers, the white re house rebuts and that maybe the end of the area. >> over the weekend washington post broke the story about congressman van drew . iowhy did he make thisdecision , what was behind? t >> we haven't heard from congressman van drew, he hasn't returned any reporter stalls including several of my own. what we do know from democrats who have spoken to him, or are familiar with his sort of thinking is that his decision to oppose
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impeachment not only opposes but vocally oppose it, talk to reporters about it, go on fox news to talk about it really alienated the democratic voters in his district who support impeaching the president. we got a copy of a whole that his campaign had iscommissioned earlier thismonth . it showed only a quarter of the voters, likely democratic primary voters wanted to renominate him. more than half, well over half wanted a new nominee. with a second congressional district in new jersey and i think that this was simply an existential threat to his political career and the same time, i think republicans are eager to findhoany way to show that this is , this impeachment process is backfiring on democrats and i think the president saw an opportunity here. we know the two of them in the white house on friday. it was a lengthy meeting that the president made the case for a party switch and
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uphill, he took it very seriously and now we are waiting for him to actually make clearwhat his intentions are . >> and the white house likes this. >> they want to show defections from thedemocratic side to the republican side, especially in the house . they want to be able to say that impeachment was not supported in a bipartisan way. they're hoping that for the white house's perspective but it's onlydemocrats who vote for impeachment in the house . and that if the previous vote on the rules of how, we see that as a roadmap for how the impeachment vote goes, we see a few democrats defect over to vote against impeachment and the white house likes the optics of that and how that looks to their voters and their narrativethat this is a partisan effort .
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i will say the downside to this whole impeachment thing, it's not all roses for the trump white house . the fact is trump doesn't want to be impeached which it looks like he's going to be. he does want to have an honest resume andpolitically , it's better to run for reelection as an on impeached president, the president hasn't faced impeachment than one that's been impeached by the house and so it's not all positive for the white house and for the trump campaign and the other thing is the impeachment trial as it goes forward means more headlines, more emphasis on trump's actions, what he did on the call with the ukraine leader for a favor that couldbe politically advantageous. all of that attention, there is concern that could eventually change the tide of public opinion . >> what's the likelihood that michigan representative justin amash becomes a house manager, that the speaker was
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assigned him to become ahouse manager ? >> there's a group of democrats that want justin amash as part of the house prosecution team as it were but it's a risky move . this is someone who hasn't really been steeped in the case. he is not on any ofthe committees that have been investigating . he tweeted a lot about it but he's not been president in a lot of the meetings. internally where they've talked about the evidence, how they're going to present d this case. i've been led to believe this is unlikely that he would be named here but this group of freshmen has been very influential throughout this impeachment process in directing how nancy pelosi and the democratic leadership have handled things so it's not out of the realm of possibility and it would be a very visible way to that for democrats to rebut this partisan narrative . >> where is the count with
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democrats, how many are saying they will not vote or are leaning towardsnot voting for impeachment ? >> only two so far have said definitive knows, they are both expected after they evoted against the resolution sort of formalizing the investigation. >> let's get to eric in virginia, republican color. we're talking about impeachment this week, the house set to vote on wednesday. >> it's interesting, i think this whole impeachment process, the only people losing are the american people the cause it's what's going to end up happening is the democrats have been after donald trump since he got into office. they tried to discredit him, tried to bring him down and they brought out stormy daniels,that failed. they brought up michael cohen, that failed .
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they basically run the whole russia thing for over a year, year and a half, that failed and now outcomes the ukraine issue that's going to fail because he going to remain in office thanks to the senate and what's going to happen oe though, they're going to set w a precedent . anytime at political party doesn't like the president who's in office, they're going to come up with some ridiculous sham, personal issue to try to bring them down and the only thing that's happening is our country is not moving forward. that's the only thing not happening. >> are they setting a precedent here and could this for democrats backfire? >> this is an argument that republicans have made that all these steps by the democrats have been because they didn't like the results of the election and they wanted a way to get trump out. the democrats especially have said this is ngactually about protecting theinstitution of our democracy . reining in the power of the
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executive branch. this is our duty as members of congress to make sure the president doesn't overstep and they look at the actions of the president for example on ukraine. they looked at the record of the phone call with president trump and president zelensky. >> .. they believe this is an important discussion. i think overall this whole process has given more information to the public about how president trump operates and how we does his business, and it's up to the members of congress to decide if that's what you want in a president.
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>> what do you make of the house judiciary committee report that was released overnight, 600 pages, where they argue constitutionally they believe he has done something wrong here but not only that, it added the word crime to this report in saying he violated anti-bribery and wire fraud statutes. why would they add this, why would they be saying he not only violate the constitution but also committed crimes? >> there's a number of republicans, lawmakers have said there is no crime here. that's been a talking point. they wanted to rebut this notion there was no actual crime. they would then talk early on their data campaign finance violation, of discussion about a constitutional standard for bribery and whether it was the same as current federal legal standard for bribery. they just wanted to waffle that the way and say listen, this
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guy, if you think there would not crimes here, , there were nt crimes here. clearly the president is going to disagree with that it he were ever charged for this conduct which there is no indication he will be but i think he will be putting on an robust defense against any prosecution but it does help to rebut this particular talking point. >> rory in california, republican go ahead. >> caller: yes. the time for impeachment i think is irrelevant. trump makes jobs. people want to keep their money. democrats want to take their money away and pay for poor and make everybody who is productive into a poor person. if they do that then nobody, i mean nobody is going to work and make any money whatsoever. if you get rid of trump you will have mike pence and he is a very
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hard republican. if you get rid of him, then you have pelosi's and she is gone the way of biden. she can't think or talk or act and you don't have alzheimer's president in that case. no, you need to keep trump. a lot of people don't like him. but at least he's productive, and the democrats they are only socialist or communist. >> let's talk about the impact of this on 2020. both of you take the question of polls and what is it showing? does is help or hurt the president? >> in toto in the trump campaign we believe it is helping the president take her in key battleground states needs to win the electoral college. when you look at the larger poll, the number of people in the united states and support impeachment has stayed relatively static over the last month. it's really just entrenched the current interests and so i think we're going to see over the next
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three months really a result of this and how it plays out. >> i think the national polls have been pretty static. there's been sort of a writer and 50% support for impeaching or removing the president but i know a lot of democrats saw i think last week there was marquette university law school poll in wisconsin that showed some pretty sobering opinions in every key battleground state where voters seem not to be completely on board with this process. the voters democrats need to get back if the critic wisconsin back next year and there are a lot of eyes on that poll, put it that way. >> the president won it by 70,000 votes. >> right. that's the sort of stuff to give strategist chills in the night but i think it also is why we're seeing this week out of impeachment on the floor but
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usmca, the president's trade agreement which is supported by a lot of the democrats who are up for reelection this year. nancy pelosi wants to send a signal win not just impeaching, working with them and getting things done. >> that vote is taken place on thursday after the book on wednesday for impeachment. how is the president going to respond to the house voting on likely approving issues putting on the floor one of his major initiative? >> it's a conflict of interest. yet impeachment crating him him with the democrats want to look like they're being productive on other things on the peoples work and pushing to important bills. the president also wants to show he's trying to get things done. ultimately he believes it to his event to look like he's also being productive and getting to the initiative. the usmca replacement for trade agreement is one of those issues that he's wanted turkey wants to show he's delivering and it seems like nancy pelosi is in a position where she and the democrats also want this.
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it will be down to the details and, which group feels like that more leverage in the end but that seems like a moment where both sides have, interest to get distant. >> does that the usmca passed e senate? >> yes. we believe so. there was some grumbling last week from some republican senators who basically said you negotiated this with pelosi and didn't talk to us. the president supports it. the republican members of the senate are going to support it. got pretty white democratic support picu saw sherrod brown and ron wyden come out for both been very progressive on trade. sherrod brown had never voted for a trade agreement and it's very long congressional career. saying they support it. there seems to be a pretty all approved bipartisan, a cordon in favor of this. there is one pickup i should mention. over the weekend we heard that
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was grumblings in mexico from the mexican government that they didn't like some particular provisions that were written into this that i guess the agreement have not been fully vetted or the language hadn't been fully vetted. that's something we're looking to see whether that gets resolved or turned into a sticking point that could put a cloud over everything later this week. >> joseph, santa barbara, california, independent. >> caller: good morning. i've been with you guys since 1978. anyway, i'd like to make two points and both have to do with the constitution. the first thing is, the problem we're having here is, it depends on what's in the president's of mind. what was his intention. and nobody knows that. so the people who support the president are going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he was doing it for the right
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purposes, for the country. and people who don't agree with him are going to take the other side. the second point constitutionally, everybody seems to think were going to lose our republic if this thing doesn't happen. what they don't realize is, let's assume that he -- first of all, they should've gone to court like they did with nixon and, of course, nixon had to turn in his papers. so if trump defied that, what would happen? what would happen is exactly what the constitution says. the military takes an oath to support the constitution and the people, not the president and they would run them off to guantánamo bay and mike pence would be put in office. so that is just malarkey.
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this is, the problem we have here is it definitely is a partisan impeachment and that's not what the constitution wanted. >> understood. brian, have you jump in to talk about what he just said. are the republicans arguments


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