tv Washington Journal Brian Bennett Mike De Bonis CSPAN December 16, 2019 2:27pm-3:01pm EST
u.s. senate returned to session today. lawmakers will work on the house approved version of the 2020 defense programs and policy bills. you can watch live coverage of the senate when they gavel in at 3:00 p.m. eastern right here on c-span2. >> we are back with two reporters to take your questions about this week in washington and how will impeachment work as well as congress facing a deadline for government spending. mike is a congressional reporter with "the washington post". junior correspondent with time magazine is here. let's begin with the white house but what are they saying about how they would like impeachment to look? >> president trump believes impeachment is breaking his way and that he believes giving his supporters momentum and enthusiasm and he initially was of the mind he wanted the senate to wants the house takes a vote
which looks like it will happen and it's inevitable he wanted the senate to take the time because he thought it would be politically advantageous but at this point it looks like he's been talked out of that. mcconnell, the senate majority leader, felt like he wanted a quick trial and do not want to bringo in new witnesses and was able to prevail upon the white house if that was the best way toin go in those negotiations ae still ongoing and they are happening not only between the white house and the republicans n but also between the republics in the senate and democrats but at this time it looks like they are coming in on trying to have a relatively speedy senate trial that does not bring a lot of new witnesses but president trump felt like maybe they could have brought in witnesses like hunter biden and others to expand the scope of it and try to push it for political advantage but at this point it looks like they will go in a different direction
and also what is happening this alast week is that president trump iss trying to push through as many deals as he can to look like he's been productive if the house moves forward on impeachment. >> who will represent the president? will there be witnesses for the the whiteand what is house part of this? >> white house is talking with i mcconnell's office on exactly how that will go through. one of thehe most recent ideas s been to have the white house counsel represent the republican side in the senate and that is still or has not been completely nailed down. it would be unusual to have the white house counsel run the republik inside in the senate and show a collapse of the separation of powers between the senate in the white house but mcconnell has said very clearly that he does not want daylight between him and the white house
as the impeachment proceedings move forward. >> mike, when will or it would if itth will lay the two leaders in the senate actually talk and will they negotiate or will mitch mcconnell go to susan collins or lisa murkowski and say can you live at this or these were publicans who make the fact? >> we assume this week we will start to have a conversation and i think that will have began in earnest as soon as the houseboat on wednesday perhaps before that but both mcconnell and schumer know the situation here which is there's these rules in place and they were written in 1998, 1999 and they are not necessarily the best tools for this particular situation for both sides but fortunately in the senate you really can't do anything unless everyone agrees and that will be a tough order and something as divisive as this.
back in 1999 everyone got it and it literally got into a room and hashed out an agreement on the rules and it ended up passing on 100-zero vote but no one sees it happening but what you did see happening was chuck schumer sent out a public marker of where he wants to send this conversation and talks about the timeline tryingof to get this started ant could be generate six and talks about witnesses and democrats would like to hear from and sketched out the process in the beginning of this negotiation which will continue through the week and perhaps and beyond that. >> he asked for a new witnesses. mick mulvaney, john bolton, could that put pressure on moderate republicansou to say we should hear from mick mulvaney and john bolton? >> yes, several of them had said that. earlier in this process they like to hear from these people
you know it's unclear whether just how influential they will be and in forcing the issue. hau have a standoff here where both sides have guns pointed to each other on these witnesses and 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 have firsthand knowledge of what happened and have them cooperate in the house. unfortunately, the volunteer is not that everybody gets to talk but the default will be that nobody additional gets to talk. you know, if you are betting in vegas on how this goes right now it looks like the default that most likely resolution to this is there will be no additional witnesses and this will be a trial where the house presents its case from its managers and
the white house rebuffs and tha. may be the end of it. >> over the weekend they broke the story about congress and banned drew. why did he make this decision and what was behind it? >> we have not heard from congressman van drew. he's not returned any calls so far, including several of my own. what he or what we do know from democrats who spoken to him or are familiar with his sort of thinking is that his decision to oppose impeachment not only impose it but vocally impose it goes on cable news including fox news and talks about it is alienated the democratic voters in his district who support impeaching the president. we got a copy at the poll that is campaign and commission earlier this month it showed that a quarter of the voters, democratic primaries wanted to renominate him, more than half wanted a new nominee.
the second congressional district in new jersey and i think this was simplyy an x essential threat to the political career and at the same time republicans are eager to find any way to show this is this impeachment process has back firing on democrats and i think the president saw an opportunity here and we note the two of them met in the white house on fridayay and it was a lengthy meeting that the president made the case for a party switch and apparently he took it very seriously and now we are waiting for him to make clear what his intentions are. >> the white house like this, right? >> they want to show affections from the democratic side to the republic decided specially in the house they're looking at the house and want to be able to say that impeachment was not supported in a bipartisan way and they are hoping that for the
white house perspective that it is only democrats who vote for impeachment in the house and that its or if the previous vote nt the rules of how impeachment proceed as a roadmap to how the final vote goes we will see a few democrats to fact over and vote against impeachment in the white house likes the optics of that and how that looks to their voters and narrative that this is a partisan effort. i will say the downside of the whole impeachment thing is not all roses for the term campaign and trouble white house white house. the fact isan the trump does not want to be an impeached president and look like he will be does not want to have that on his resume and politically it's better to run for reelection as an un- impeached president then one who has been voted and impeached by the house. it is not all positive for the white house from the campaign and the other thing is the
impeachment trial as it goes forward in the senate means more headlines and emphasis on trump actions and what he did on the call with the ukraine leader asking for a favor that can be politicallyti advantageous. all of that attention there is concern among consultants that it could eventually tide of public opinion. >> speaking of defections, what's the likelihood of the michigan representativean who ws a republican turned independent becomes a house manager that the speaker assigns him along with other democrats to become a house manager? >> there are a group of democrats who want that to happen and want him as part of the house execution team, as it were. it's a risky move and you know this is someone who has not really been steeped in the case and is not on any of the committees that had been investigating this. he's treated a lot about it but has not been president and a lo of the medians internally where
ntthey talk about the evidence d how they present this case. i've been led to believe this is unlikely that he would be named here but this group of freshmen has been influential throughout this impeachment process and interacting hell nancy pelosi and the democratic leadership have handled things. it's not out of the realm of possibility by any means and it would be a very visible way for democrats to rebut this part of that narrative is correct before we get to calls, real quick, where is the what, democrats and how many are saying he will not vote or leaning towards not voting for impeachment? >> only to so far has said the definitive nose and that is jeff van drew and collin peterson were both expected after they voted against the resolutions for formalizing the investigation back in october. >> let's get to eric in virginia. rebel begin a collar, air, talking about impeachment this week with house with the vote on
wednesday. go aheady.. >> caller: yes, i think this whole impeachment process are the only people who are losing are the american people because what will end up happening is that the democrats have been after trump since he got into office and they tried to discredit him and tried to bring him down but every failed and they brought out stormy daniels and that failed and michael cohen and that failed and brought out his taxes and that failed and basically they ran the whole russian thing for over one year year and half and that failed and now comes the ukraine issue but that will fail because he will remain in office due to the senate issue. what will happen is they will set a precedent, any time of an opposing political party doesn't like theg president in office they will come up with some ridiculous sham, personal issue to try to bring him down and the only thing that is happening is our country is not moving
forward. that's the only thing not having. >> host: brian bennett, to gabbard are they setting a precedent here and could this for democrats backfire. >> this is an argument rubbing his homemade that all the steps of the democrats have been because they did not like the results of election. they wanted a way to get trump out. i think the democrats especially have said look, this is about protecting the institutions of our democracy and raining and the power of the executive branch and 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 on ukraine and look at the record of the phone call with resident trump and president zelinski of ukraine and see a moment where they bring out the javelin missiles in the military aid and in the next moment president trump says i want to ask you for a favor so how about these investigations into the bidens and dnc servers and so the democrats are sayingg
do we want a president who is willing to push our national security interest into the market political arena and this is they believe this is an important discussion that we have. i think overall this whole process given more information to the public about how the president operates and how he does his business and it's up to the members of congress to decide if that is what they want in a president and if we have voters who remain in office if that's what they want.po >> host: remake of the house judiciary committee reports that was released overnight, 600 pages, where they argue constitutionally they believe he has got something wrong here but not only that but they added the word crime to this report in saying he violated antibribery and wire fraud statutes. why would they add this and why would they be saying that not only he violated the
constitution but committed crimes? >> and other lawmakers who are said there's no crime here and that's been a talking point that they wanted to rebut this notion that there is no actual crime but there had been talk early on there was a campaign-finance violation and a discussion about the constitutional standard for bribery and whether it was the same current federal legal standard for bribery and they wanted to wash all that away and say listen, this guy if you think there weren't crimes here, there were crimes here. clearly the president will disagree with that and if you are ever charged for this conduct which i have no indication he will be but i think that heat will be putting out a robust defense against any prosecution but it does help to rebut this particular talking point. >> host: rory in rancho
margarito, california, republican, go ahead. >> caller: yes, the time for impeachment is irrelevant. trump makes jobs, people want to keep their money, democrats want to take their money away and pay and make everyone productive into a poor person. if they do that then nobody, i mean nobody, will work or make any money whatsoever. if you get rid of trump you will have pence and pence is a hard republican. if you get rid of pens then you have pelosi and he is going the way of biden. she can't think or talk or act. you will 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 is productive and the democrats are only socialists or communists. >> host: rory, let's talk about the impact of 2020.
both of you take the question of poles and what it's showing so does is help or hurt the president? >> internally in the trunk and paint they believe that helping the president particularly in key battleground states he needs to win the electoral college. when you look at the larger pols the number of people in the united s states to support impeachment has stayed relatively ecstatic over the last month so it's entrenched the current interests and i think we will see over the next three months a result of this and how it plays out. >> i think the national pollsre sove been pretty static and there's been right around 50% supports for impeaching and moving the president but i know democrats saw that last week there was university law school poll in wisconsin that showed pretty sobering opinions in that very key battleground states atwhere they seem not to be
completely on board with this process and the voters, democrats need to get back and take wisconsin back next year and i feel there were a lot of eyes on the poll and so -- >> host: the president wanted by 70000 votes. >> right. the serious stuff that gives or sends chills in the night and i think it also is why we are seeing this week not only impeachment on the floor but usmca and the presidents trade agreement which is supported by a lot of the democrats up for reelection this year and nancy closely wants to send the signal were not just impeaching but working with him and getting things done. >> host: that vote to take place on thursday after they vote on wednesday for impeachment. how is the president going to respond to the house voting on it and likely approving and putting it on the floor with one of his major initiatives.
>> it's a confluence of interest rate yet impeachment creating a moment where the demo rats want to look like they're being productive on other things onid the people's work pushing through important bills and the president also wants to show he's trying to get things done. ultimately he believes it's too is a managed look like he's also been productive and getting the initiatives and the usmca had a replacement for the nafta trade agreement is one of those issues that he's wanted and wants to show he's delivering and seems like nancy pelosi is in a position where she and the democrats also want that. it's down to the details and thwhich group feels like they he more leverage in the end but that seems like a moment or both sides have a common interest to get this done.. >> does the usmca pass the senate? >> yeah, we said were grumblings last week from summer vulcan senators who basically said you negotiated this with closely but at the end of the day the president supports it in the
republican members of the senate will support it. that's pretty wide demagogic support and you saw gerard brown and ron wyden will both come out but been progressive on trade and sharon brown never voted for a trade agreement and very long congressional career saying they supported. there's been a pretty bulletproof bipartisan cord in favor of this but there is one hiccup i should mention over the weekend we heard there was grumblings to mexico from the mexican government that they do not like particular provisions that were written into this that the agreement had not been fully vetted or language not been fully vetted. that iss something we are lookig at to see whether that gets resolved or turned into a sticking point that could put a cloud over everything later this week. we see how that plays out. >> joseph, santa barbara, california, independent.
>> caller: good morning. i've been with you guys since b1978. anyway i like to make two points. both have to do with the constitution. the first thing is the problem that we are having here is it depends on what is in the presidents mind and what was his intention and nobody knows that. the people who support the president will get give him the benefit of the doubt and say he was doing it for the right purposes for the country and people who don't agree with him will take the other sides. the second point constitutionally everybody sent teams and think we will lose a republic if this thing does not happen. what they don't realize is let's asassume that first of all, they
should have gone to court like they did with nixon and of course nixon had to turn in his papers so if trump defined that what would happen? what would happen is exactly what the constitution says for the military takes an oath to support the constitution and the people, not the president. they would run him off to guantánamo bay and mike pence would be put in office. that is just malarkey. the problem with we have here is it definitely is a partisan impeachment and that is not what the constitution because there are both sides and one is they did not want a dictator or someone who was bad for the i country but the other side is they do not want the president
sets policy and he is not just you know, like a governor or something like that. >> host: joseph, understood. brian, let's have you jump in here to talk about what he just said. are the republicans arguments against process working in order to cast democrats is not being fair to the president? >> i think republicans certainly believe criticizing the process is a way they can say this is unfair and a partisan effort and does not get to the substance of what the president has done and while ultimately when republicans in the house and republicans in the senate vote toto protect the president they will be voting to say this is okay and that it's okay for the president to make a phone call like this to a foreign leader and that will be something that willng be on the record and they will have to defend in the years
to come. i don't see that having an impact right now but it certainly is something that could have a political impact for some of these republicans olater on. >> yeah, throughout the whole republican strategy here has been to delegitimize the investigation and cast it as partisan and unfair and attack democrats for not going to court and not exhausting their options with the third branch of government and allll of that has on hold based on where we are at today been pretty successful on the republicans part. it's kept republicans together and given all sorts of her publicans for the most moderate to the most conservatives a reason to not like this impeachment inquiry and the only person who seemed to be interested in supporting this
was francis and the house and he said he was open to this and more recently he's been indicating he really wanted to hear from these witnesses the democrats will go to court and hear from but democrats at the same time a clear they were interested in getting caught in a court process that would most likely stretch beyond the 2020 election and they felt the time was of the essence and they plowed forward. >> carl and hands well, republican. >> good morning. i'm 81 years old. i watched all of the nixon hearings and i watched all the clinton hearings and they were bipartisan in nature. this is us against them. greta, really, you have two of the most liberal publications in
the united states on your program this morning. i would think that you could find a conservative and maybe "the wall street journal"" or some publication like that so we could have a really unbiased point of view here and i would think that both of you guys would be looking into this in the fbi spied on the trump campaigns and that is more important than this impeachment as far as i am concerned because that is something unprecedented in the history of this country. when you can use the fbi and the cia to spy on one campaign to benefit another campaign. it is ridiculous. i watch that hearing the aig
report and i was really upset at the way they played this down and you know "the washington post" has been impeaching the president since day one. as a matter of fact, you ran a headline that it's time to start impeaching donald trump. that is my comment. i wish you could be more vbipartisan on this thing. and get both points of view. >> host: i'm not sure what brian and mike want said that you view as biased but let's talk about the ig report and how that plays out in the that impacts impeachment. >> i will point out the reference and i know what he's referring to that we didn't news story about democratic activists trying to impeach the president early on and i will say that i talked to a lot of republic ends recently and they were pleased to look at because it's become a
popular talking point but also what democrats were thinking a report on both parties and what their activities are but carl makes a good point about the fbi and id reports coming out and it is really been sort of a counter narrative here that republicans have been pleased to talk about and i think that it did raise questions about the democrats and how they have sort of put forward all along that this russia investigation was done for all the right reasons. nyam schiff has debunked all of the claims that there were any problems with the warrants or the decisions made within the fbi and the ig michael horwitz made clear there were and they weren't necessarily fatal issues
that would have made the entire investigation improper but there were warrants that were raised on faulty information and expanded in the preparation and i can say that my organization has been covering that pretty aggressively and i know brian has as well. >> i will just say it was good disconcerting in the report to see how manyny mistakes the fbi had made when he came to filing in the fisa court for more surveillance on carter page. this is one of -- the surveillance that happened in the pfizer court is one of the tightest andth close is kept secret processes in the federal government and it comes down to the government's power over surveilling american citizens, which is a very important thing to have oversight over and it showed that there were
weaknesses in that process but ultimately horwitz looking at it said this invitation wasn't clinically motivated and that they did meet the standards they needed to make to open the investigation and there was enough there to have the invitation butut the number of errors that went into that the process of renewing those surveillance was disconcerting and lead should lead to major reforms.ll >> host: harry and new jersey, democratic color. >> caller: good morning. it's funny i'm just hearing you skirt the issue here. you are neglecting to talk about how hillary clinton and the democrat party made the dossier and that bought and paid for the dossier and worked with ukraine and italy, i think and australia and in order to get donald trump out of office. you are skirting the whole issue. i see how you are trying to get away from it. if that eight biased, i don't know what it is.
i can't figure out how you don't think this is not impeachable on the other side. adam schiff lied. he lied to the american people and he lied when he quoted what trump said. he should be impeached. this is ridiculous and i'm a democrats. you haven't lost me. you just lost me with all this corruption. i'mrr embarrassed of the democratic party. i'm embarrassed to say i'm a democrat. i will be voting republican. thank you. >> host: brian bennett. >> after this whole process of the molar investigation in the horwitz investigation and the fbi we have learned a lot about some of the mistakes made inside the fbi but also the 400 page molar report showed there was a concerted effort by the russian government to run at the trump ccampaign and there were multie points of contact and ultimately
the molar came to the decision he could not move forward with the prosecution because there wasn't enough evidence on that but we, as a public, learned quite a bit about russian efforts to interfere with the election. president trump supporters are moving forward and want to lookt towards 2020 and the election and move fast these past scandals and investigations and try to talk about what is president trump doingha for the country and what will he do in the second term. >> host: atlanta, georgia, michael, democratic color. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. i did not pay an attention to politics until trump got elected. and then it was like what is going on? i started watching everything and sat up on the tv 24 hours a day and is still fascinating and the one you had on right before me how -- i don't understand, the dossier was started as a
republican product and that seems to get lost every time someone mentions it. i don't know what is going on but it seems like we got the truth on one side and we got this magic fairy land on the other and we've got the congress and the senate and the republican senate fading in and out ofha consciousness like goig along with whatever talking point happens to come along and all of a sudden ted cruz is falling into oh no, trump was an anticorruptionmp teamster and im just looking to fix corruption. right? everybody forgets he asked for an announcement of the investigation. not the investigation. it is so frustrating. where is the truth? i don't know. i'm just frustrated. it's confusing for me because when i finally decide to pay attention to politics and absorb everything i even watch box
sometimes. judge jeanine. >> we leave washington journal as the u.s. senate is about to gavel and prayed we bring you the live committed coverage here of the u.s. senate. today lawmakers will work on the house version of the 2020 phone defense programs and policy bill. now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2. the president pro tempore: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. mighty god, judge the nations with your righteousness and justice and keep our lawmakers on the path of truth. may they strive to maintaia