tv Washington Journal Gerald Seib CSPAN May 9, 2022 11:32am-12:33pm EDT
senator and mike galligan -- a conference hosted by the national institute. you can see both these events live on c-span or watch live on c-span.org or watch on our free video apps, c-span now. >> there are a lot of places to get political information. but only at c-span do you get it straight from the source. no matter where you're from or where you stand on the issues, c-span is america's network. unfiltered, unbiased, word for word. if it happens here, or here, or here, or anywhere that matters, america is watching on c-span. power cable. host: welcome back to washington
journal. executive editor jerry stein who is retiring at the end of this week after a 45 year career. guest: you think 45 years is long enough? host: in any business, especially journalism, 45 years is a pretty doggone good run. what has kept you there and coming back to your desk each day? guest: i am kind of a unicorn. people don't stick around that long these days. what kept me coming back was a couple of reasons. i love the wall street journal. i have gotten to do everything i wanted to do in journalism. i worked domestically in balance, i worked overseas, i got to run a column. the washington journal institute has been great to me. it is a place where people can be nice and civil to each other and still do good journalism and succeed. that has been the culture of the
journal that has kept me around. host: you are from kansas. where did the interest in journalism start? guest: i spent a lot of time at a newspaper office. i was a newspaper boy. it came in the blood. more than that, i was interested in current affairs, interested in politics, the world. journalism seemed to be a route to move into that space. it was. it worked out. i just always wanted to come to washington. i spent my last can -- my last semester in college, i interned in the office of representative -- of louisiana. i got the fever by spending a few months here. i had always wanted to come to washington. it is the mecca of journalism in
a lot of ways. host: what has changed in your career in terms of the business and the journalism? the most significant changes you have seen. what has changed in reporting in this city in your career? guest: the time i got here in 1980 was when i arrived in washington. it was the era of legacy media. big news organizations and newspapers being flushed with cash. it was relatively easy in business sense. the business strengths created by the internet have changed that landscape. news organizations have struggled to some extent. happily the wall street journal, the new york times and some others have come out on the other end. there has been a proliferation of long line news papers.
it is a different landscape. i don't think reporting in washington has changed much. the basics are the same. reporting objectively is what we all should seek to do. the sores is pretty much the same. you spend a lot of time getting to know people, working sources. the longer you do that, the easier it becomes. the basics haven't changed really. what we do hasn't changed much. host: last month felt like a throwback when the politico story of the leak of the draft opinion. what were your thoughts when that story broke last week? guest: the first thought was amazement. this doesn't happen. supreme court documents not
leak. the second thing i thought was, the way your mind works if you are a washington journalist for a long time, who did it. somebody has a motivation to leak. the guessing game began right away. a cool leak to this and what was their goal? i don't know the answer to those questions. i have theories. my theories have changed over the past few days. initially i thought someone on the pro-choice side was angry and leaked the decision to create a firestorm. the effect of this leak was to lock into place the five justices who support justice alito in this point. i started to think, maybe it is more likely this came from someone on the pro-life side who wanted to create a public
spectacle so as to lock and the five justices who are on their side so they can move and proliferation. host: how long do you think it took the supreme court justice to respond to this? guest: that is a fairly standard washington reaction. host: -- the wade justice roberts has tried to make the courts less politicized. he has succeeded in doing that. from some of the political sources floating around, it is succeeding but that is not his fault. host: some of the major stories we have found out about our because of a leak. the pentagon papers, this and many others. as a former editor for the wall street journal, how do you
approach stories it came to you from leaks from other sources? guest: leaks are legitimate way of informing the public. a leak can mean a lot of different things. mostly what it means is somebody on the inside wanting the world to know what is going on on the inside. that is what journalism is about. by and large, you welcome leaks. in some cases, what people think our leaks, reporters find out. not because someone has handed it to them, but because they have worked to get the information. the only leaks that happened in my time as a news executive that caused me heartburn were leaks in the national security space. you do have to ask yourself questions sometimes about whether lives might be in danger, military lives might be at risk if you publish something. that is a very rare occurrence. host: in those occasions, do the
sources come to you and say, please don't publicize this because of the potential security risk? guest: that does happen, and we listen. more often they will say, write the story but keep these details out because it might risk the lives of servicemen or intelligence operations. sources could be put in danger. often it is less what you write but the detail of what you put into a story that is debated with national security officials. that is not a common occurrence. host: executive director for the washington journal. we welcome your calls. democrats, (202) 748-8000. republicans, (202) 748-8001. independents, (202) 748-8002.
and all others, (202) 748-8003. guest: there has been a parlor game in washington going on for a while. trying to figure out which side would be more energized by whatever it is the supreme court did this summer on abortion. this ruling was coming, obviously. my conclusion would be the way this came out, they have the ability to motivate the left. the stark nature of the opinion, if the draft becomes the real opinion, doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room. it basically says we are going to take down roe v. wade. that is a rallying cry for the left. that means their motivation to
get grassroots mobilized is higher. they have a very black and white issue with which to do it. on the pro-life side, or the republican side, those are pretty locked into their position right now. i think, essentially they have succeeded. the motivation or energizing potential is a little bit more on the democratic side than the republicans. host: they have to keep that energy up through election day. that is five months away, six months away. guest: that is a good point to keep in mind. five months in the political cycle we are and is a lifetime. how many more things could change from now today and not to move this particular issue? today, i think it is going to enter. -- energized people in most cases. i have to caution, this is not a real thing yet. this is still a draft opinion.
the court has not ruled. that won't happen probably until june. let's see what it feels like, what it sounds like and what it actually looks like when it comes. host: you have been on this network one way or another, here on washington journal and other programs. moderating the debate as well. probably 100 or so. let me take you back to your first appearance. [laughter] our founder brian lamb and 93 talking about an early day of your capital journal column. >> this is the editorial page. first of all, before i get into details, how can you be in two places at one time? >> people may wonder from time to time. in those papers, you have to
distinguish between the broader long-term feature stories. what frequently happens is when you go to a place like nicaragua, you produce two or three broad feature stories. some of which sit in the can for a few days. that is what happened in this case. >> when did you leave? >> left last friday. his your favorite news story or a commentary? >> it is not an editorial but it is not a new story either. it is an analysis of the news and presenting a point of view. this is not my point of view, i am relating what people in
nicaragua told me. it is not news about nicaragua but an analysis of about what some people in nicaragua would say. host: to the way back there. you're talking about the genesis of your news analysis column. you were at the forefront of that for many journalists. guest: i think so. in those days, the capital journal column that i started didn't exist. analysis pieces written by reporters that rant on the editorial page of the journal, that doesn't happen so much anymore. what i was describing was essentially what i try to do. to present an analysis, reflect where things are going without being partisan or opinionated. it was to reflect a point of view. that is the tricky part of writing in a column for the
newspapers of the journal. host: do you think other publications have gone in the direction of the opinion? guest: to some extent. i worry to some extent. it is a fine line and being analytical and opinionated, they are close cousins. every time i write, i tried to keep in mind the thin line between those things. stay on the side of analyzing events. a way of doing what we are doing here. it means talking to you and telling you what i think the events mean. opposed to me sitting here and telling you what i needs to happen. that is not the role of a columnist, that is the role of an editorial. staying on what i consider to be the right side of the line is what i try to do every time. host: you sourced from a range of people. think tanks, officials and government, in and out of government. at some point you must have to
weigh their opinion has some biases tilt in as well. guest: what i have often tried to do, i tried to talk to people across the spectrum. one of the advantages of being around for a long time, you know a lot of people across the spectrum. you have to keep in mind they do have an opinion or a bias. trying to balance what i write by reflecting multiple -- multiplicity of views. i wrote a column this morning about the nuclear risks coming from new crane -- ukraine. i talked to some people who are republicans and democrats. to synthesize those views and reflect some of the meaningful views in that spectrum, that is what you can do in column. host: i want to hear more about your views on ukraine. we have callers waiting.
tom is in rockville, maryland on the republican line, go ahead. caller: what surprised me about the conversation so far is neither you nor the guy from c-span has raised the issue of what is happening with the russian collusion starting. i have never seen anything like this. the justice department can sue mr. trump. i don't understand why it didn't register. reflecting on your career, why hasn't this come up in the conversation? and the gentleman who is interviewing you, why didn't you
guys address this already? host: tom, that is why we opened up for calls. thanks for bringing it up. guest: the russian collusion narrative didn't materialize at a point. people in the justice department were pursuing the believe there was some kind of collusion between the trump campaign and russian intelligence or russian forces of some kind. the people in my business took that story because it was a general federal investigation underway. in the end, it didn't really materialize. it is not our job to decide at the beginning of the story whether it is going to pan out or whether an investigation is going to --. you could make the case the collapse of the collusion fear maybe should have gotten more attention.
there is not any doubt that reporting that collusion, investigation was an obvious thing to do. host: do you think there are issues coming up with whatever the donald report comes out? guest: i think so. i think they are going to be some changes in the way these kinds of things are handled in the federal machinery as a result of that. one of the things that happens in democracy, you have a vigorous debate. people step back. in congress and put to -- particular. and make adjustments. we have seen flaws in the sit -- in the system as a result of this. host: your paper reporting this morning attack pro -- january 6 attack probe enters new phase.
a formal investigation is expected in the fall. guest: it is clear the timetable is been driven by the midterm election. the committee would probably like a few months to do this but they realize whatever gets done has to get done was for the midterm elections. the future of that committee would be in serious doubt. they are working on a timetable. the second thing, i think what the report will chronicle is some of the public statements, and some of the leaks have told you. there is a more concerted effort on the part of various people around the president to change the result of the 2020 election. that effort led directly to the challenge counting of the electoral votes on january 6. they will try to draw a straight line from the election disputes
to what happened january 6. the key question is the responsibility that the report will -- donald trump himself. host: what are your most prominent recollections of that day, january 6? guest: covert lockdown, i was like everybody else, watching from home. listening to the speech that trump made and some of the others made at the other pennsylvania avenue, and i thought this would unfold in a predictable fashion. there will be protesters gathered around the capital. but then the process was going to proceed according to plan. my first feeling was one of disbelief. the idea that would actually happen in brought a light and
full view the fight believe. it took a while to absorb what that really meant. you couldn't say to yourself, this is like what happened x. i remember when something happened like this, y. there was no parallel to this. host: bonnie from iowa, good morning. caller: congratulations on your long tenure. i have read for a number of years. i appreciate the accuracy and timeliness and what your paper does its reporting. i have been a professional journalist of the age of 14 and i believe that you can do something that neither the ncaa nor the recent supreme court could do, and that is this. please define, what is a woman. host: [laughter]
tough question for you. guest: that is beyond my level of expertise. a question from stephen and gladstone, michigan. would you ask your guest if he thinks bringing back the fairness doctrine help eliminate the political divide in the country? guest: that is an interesting question. i have my doubts. forcing regulations to the political divide is probably a fools aaron. guest: the political divide in -- ends when you can bring the many sides together. when they decide they are going to reward -- behavior instead. ending the divide has to be --
the fairness doctrine in the media we are in right now would be difficult to enforce to begin with. the impulse is right that the solution has to be more from the ground up. host: your book in august 2020, we should've seen it coming, which traces the path of the republican party through president trump and ends there before the election. if you are to write an addendum of the book, what should we see in there? guest: i had to do that when i wrote a foreword for the paperback. the story that i tried to tell was the story of my reporting which began the year that ronald reagan was elected and ran all the way through the 2020 election.
the question was how that this -- how did republican party make the transition from reagan to the trump --? a lot of people were surprised and 2016. what the 2020 election showed was the country has not settled on the populist, nationalist theme because donald trump lost. the republican party cannot snap back into place and become what it was before donald trump. that is my main conclusion from the election. 70% of people voted for donald trump. she was then and is now in control of the republican party. whether one donald trump exited the white house whether the republican cart -- the republican party could snap back, 2020 taught me that is not happening. host: jd vance won the
republican -- there. trump ally in nebraska opens feud in gop. the president's record pretty good with ohio. how do you think he will do with candidates? guest: donald trump has an immense influence at the republican base. you have to believe there was a cause and effect relationship. whether you like that or not, you cannot deny that was the case and what happened in ohio. you have to keep in mind the real test is not nearly donald trump has influenced the republican party.
that is going to be tested in ohio. jim ryan, democrat from youngstown can win the general election, that is a different donald trump scenario than if his opponent, jd vance wins -- wins the general election. the main test still comes in the fall. we go to manwell in denver, colorado. , crestline. -- democrats line. caller: is it your media outlets
responsibility to see that that is cleared up so we can move on? guest: a reasonable question. i cannot imagine -- that is not what happened. on our internal page, which i do not speak for, there is no evidence this election was stolen. not only have they reported that repeatedly on the news pages, conservative by outlook has said joe biden one. the fact that people choose to believe that is that they haven't heard evidence to the contrary. they have chosen to believe that. i don't think that is the fault of anybody in the media. it is simply what people have chosen to believe because they believed donald trump. host: you continue to why it --
will you continue to write for the wall street journal vittorio pieces? guest: i am particularly interested in writing for a saturday review session. a longer form caller: there are americans at the end of 80 million votes, 70 million more for trump. americans whose votes where someone attempted to negate. a bunch of someone's. there are members of congress right now, still to this day, they will say, biden is president, but. there is a but in there. that is what is troubling. that is where people are coming to believe, will continue to believe what they want to
believe. they do not believe we are americans. they do not know how angry we are. we are really angry. my group of people do not get angry easily. we go and protest, but we do not get this kind of angry. we are furious. this has to be dealt with. the members of congress who are out there spouting stuff, they have to be -- not stripped bare, like in jail, that is up to courts and swords. the media has to show who they are. host: we will get a response from our guest. guest: there is a lot of anger. the caller makes a great point. nobody disputes that joe biden on the popular vote by a fair margin. 80 million votes, there was a
time none of us thought anybody could get 80 million votes. this dispute is about the electoral college vote, and a handful of states within that electoral college. i think the number of people, even the republicans in congress who continue to assert that the election was incorrectly cited is a small minority of republicans. most republicans have acknowledged that joe biden wan the election, the electoral count was fair, we ought to move on. most have moved on. one thing the republicans have said, this is an issue to be dealt with, the way voting processes and procedures were changed during the covid crisis was improper. it was not done in an orderly action -- ashen -- fashion.
some people say that, not many. a lot of republicans say the former, i think that is an issue i would like to think the parties can come together, these are the rules of the road for conducting federal elections. let's agree on that, move the issue of election legitimacy off the table and go on to the debate of what we do. host: let's hear from bill in manchester. caller: i would like to know how the lie of 2016 about trump not winning for four years was put along. also, why it had to be put out that trump's dossier was being investigated, but they had to show the hunter laptops. how is that fair? how come it is murder, the wife earned of the woman makes her lose the baby. that is murder. if she kills the baby, that is
not murder. that does not make sense. i do not know why brain dead, beijing biden keeps doing what he is doing, but he is messing everything up. host: several things there. guest: the reality of 2016, you can go online. hillary clinton conceded the day of the election. there was an attempt to contest electoral congress vote's in the electoral count, gaveled it away, said it was over. i don't think there were questions about the legitimacy of donald trump's victory. it was acknowledged by republicans and the two leading democrats in the country. should the democrats should have tried to impeach donald trump twice, that is a different question. it is different from singh the 2016 election wasn't legitimate.
the trump dossier, we spent time at the wall street journal investigating the dossier. we have spent time at the wall street journal investigating the trump dossier, we didn't report it because we couldn't substantiate a lot of things in there at the time. it became public, and the debate about it began. i think a lot of those issues, questions, assertions in the dossier have been adjudicated in the court of public discourse, and have been discredited. i am not sure it lives on anymore. i think it has had its day in court. on the third point, the caller articulates the central debate about abortion in this country. what i find interesting about that is, i have been doing this for 40 plus years. a lot of views of social issues have changed. views on gay marriage, or contraception have evolved to a point there is a consensus.
on abortion, it doesn't happen. this is a question today as much as when roe v. wade was decided in 1973. i think it is unique in that sense. host: in the saratoga springs, margaret on the independent line. caller: hello. congratulations on your career. i would like to hear more about cairo, egypt. when you were there, what you were doing. i was a postgraduate student at the american university in cairo at the end of the 1970's. i was there during the signing of the peace treaty, so i would like to hear that. i'm going to hang up now. thank you. guest: thank you for the kind words. when we spent, barb, my wife and i, she has been on this program. she was a reporter at the time, the two of us had an apartment
in a part of town, spent a lot of time near the american university in cairo. we covered all that ground. what barb and i did we covered , the entire middle east. we covered everything from north africa through oman at the end of the persian gulf, including israel and jordan, egypt. it was fascinating. it was a great life experience. i think what was happening, the two big things that were happening in the region at the time, and cairo was a good listening post for these things. the iran-iraq war was underway. it was a vicious war, probably forgotten more than it should have been. that was a big story. the second big story was the very beginnings of the palestinian divide, the uprising. it was getting started in those days. there was that tension, as well.
thirdly, in terms of egypt itself, egypt was a much different country then it is now. it was relatively calm, there was an islamic fundamentalist undercurrent underway in society, but it didn't reach the point in which the islamic brotherhood became the elected government in egypt. it was more stable and tranquil, friendlier than now. host: had the wall street journal had a bureau before? guest: the bureau had been located in lebanon. by the time barb and i went to the middle east lebanon was not , safe enough to operate from. we had to find a different base of operations. we considered various places, but cairo made the most sense. i'm glad we picked it, egypt was and is a great story, not just a good place from which to move around the region. host: this headline. general seib was once held
prisoner in iran, i know you talked about this. tell our audience about the time you were taken prisoner in iran. guest: one of the biggest stories, if not the biggest story, was the iran-iraq war. the iran-iraq war was still raging. i got visas to visit iran. those were prized possessions. they didn't let journalists in often. they were making progress in the war against iraq, and wanted western journalists there to document progress. we went down to the warfront, saw where the iranians had advanced into iraq. the iranians took my passport, would not return it to me, would not tell me why. i spent a few days with the swiss diplomat trying to figure out why i was being barred from
leaving the country. at the end of one of those days, i was arrested in the parking lot of the hotel where i was staying, taken to prison, blindfolded, taken inside, and accused of being a spy. that went on for four days, interrogations and accusations. i was a spy, not a journalist, an israeli spy, and americans by -- an american spy working for the israelis. host: did you think you might be in there for a while? guest: i didn't think i would die in prison, i did think i would be there for a while. that was the street, jason from the washington post was in there for four days. i was in there for four days. i was lucky i was at the wall street journal making clear to , the world, i was what i said i was, which was a journalist. host: you must have a pang any time journalist or anyone is taken prisoner over there.
guest: it happens. it can happen. you are helpless in those situations. i was helpless except for the fact that i worked for a very big and relatively powerful news organization that can move the conversation and make the point, and rallied to my side. it worked in my case. it happens a lot, more than it should. it still happens in iraq. host: let's hear from michael on the democrats line in miami. i am sorry about that, there you are. go ahead. caller: congrats on your retirement. a prisoner in iran can speak to its power. we in florida are facing a decision, we are forced to choose between martin luther king or desantis. you probably heard of the don't say gay bill, a few days ago we , had a don't say mlk bill.
he has literally said as part of an anti-woke effort, let me quote. my question is, what is your opinion? i'm going to read a quote from mlk. it is clear that no teacher in florida can say that they are inspired by these words. if they say they are inspired, they could be sued. that is exactly what the bill says. this is an opinion, this is law of today. here is a quote, if it helps you at all. hold on a second. he literally says, capitalism is on the bags of protestant arms and crimes against black people in the court. that applies overseas. those words can be said by our teachers, what is your opinion of banning of mlk in our
classrooms and inability to read the words? it seems like we are going backwards. guest: it is an example of what is a really fascinating and difficult phenomenon, which is the extent to which political debates have devolved into debates about education in schools. i think that is a post-covid development, we haven't seen it run its course yet. i have to say, as a journalist, anything that attempts to restrict freedom of speech has got to be troubling. i think that applies to journalists, citizens, to teachers. i am woe to freedom of speech restricted in anyway. in this case, the question of what schools can and cannot include in their curriculum has become an issue that is explosive.
it is happening all over the country. i think there are going to be excesses and some debates before people settle in to an acknowledgment of what has always been true, there is a lot of local control over schools. that is probably the way it should be. there are going to be heated debates in this country over the next couple of years. what happened in covid, the question of schools should reopen or not, it was parents that realized they have the ability to insert themselves into the operation of their schools in a bigger way than they thought they did, and they are going to exercise that power. host: california, republican line. kim. go ahead. caller: good morning. i was wondering if you had an opinion on the documentary, 2000 mules, which has evidence of voter fraud, there is another
documentary written in 2020, just wanted to know what your opinion of those. is that fake, or is there validity to any of that? guest: i have not seen the documentary. i have to acknowledge that upfront. i have had a look, there is a lot of documentary material that has been assembled in pursuit of the 2020 election fraud argument. i have to say, most of it does not hold up under close investigation, close inspection. a lot of the examples and anecdotes used in those cases have been disproven. in some cases, things that happened that were part of the normal course of events have been given an evil cast. there were things that happened in 2020, i referred to this earlier, specifically because there was an election held
during a covid crisis and national lockdown. steps were taken that were not normal. the question of whether those steps were decided upon in the proper fashion or not is reasonable grounds for debate. that is different from saying the election was stolen. i think the associated press did a marvelous service months ago, it went through the whole list of most prominent assertions of election fraud and election theft, that dispassionately took them apart and didn't find much of it. host: a picture of the french president on the 77th anniversary of the end of world war ii. today, in red square, in russia, the parade and the russian president, vladimir putin harkening back to the soviet win over the nazis in 1945.
what is your thought on what the ultimate outcome in ukraine is? what happens to the geopolitical war in europe and the u.s. influence in that area? guest: i got up early this morning to see what putin said on the occasion of victory day. he had a speech. it was closely watched because people were afraid he might declare new escalation in ukraine, might try to justify a turn towards weapons of mass destruction. my challenge in the u.s. in a more direct way, none of that happened. he gave a speech in which he blamed the u.s. and nato for being responsible for the conflict in ukraine by giving the ukrainians too much help, providing military equipment, military advisers. that alone constituted a threat to russia. it is a stretch, it is not a plausible argument.
in the short-term, that is a relief, that nothing worse happened today in moscow at the big parade. i think what happens in ukraine now, nobody knows. the great fear is that, if the russian military, it does appear to be losing, or it is hopelessly bogged down, they will turn to weapons of mass destruction. chemical weapons or nuclear weapons. i have to say, the u.s. officials do not see any sign of that now. it is a relief that specter is out there. i think the more likely outcome is, this will evolve into a long, bloody fight over the eastern third of ukraine and the southern tier along the black sea coast. what i suspect, if you shot truth serum into putin today, what he would tell you, his aims
have been reduced to taking control of that eastern part of ukraine and coastal line so that ukrainian state that is left is smaller and does not have access to the black sea, which would -- to the black seaports, which would hurt its economy. if putin would achieve that, he would stop there. whether that will happen or not, i do not know. the ukrainians are not in a mood to concede an inch of territory as far as i can tell. the bottom line, this looks right now to be the formula for a long-term, protracted struggle that will be ugly and not over soon. host: next up is mississippi, james on the independent line. go ahead. caller: how you guys doing? host: fine, thanks. caller: i appreciate the -- hello? host: we hear you. go ahead. caller: your previous when you , were younger, you looked
pretty good on there. i wanted to let you know, i appreciate you being a journalist, or whatever you are. your character, your attitude is not biased. going back to the voting, whatever you want call it. when president biden was called to win the presidency, it came across fox news first on sean hannity's show. ok. let's get this straight. it came on sean hannity's show. he was the first one that announced that president biden had won this presidency, and immediately after that, sean hannity called this person, they said they had that on there. sean hannity did everything he could to get him to denounce that. that man would not do it.
here you are now, sean hannity and fox news is still trying to say that it was stolen. i do not blame the people that voted for president trump, i voted for president trump over hillary, regardless of people think about me as an african-american, i did it because i thought he was going to change and tone it down. because he listen to people around him, and his attitude, the thing about it. this 2022 election coming up, i do not care about 2024. i care about this election the , house and the senate. what you did a few minutes ago, the congressman, those people that are lying and protecting's -- protecting this president that is not on him and the , people voting for him. that is on them. it is a shame, senator cheney, a woman, stood up for all these
men, here we are talking about abortion, a woman's right. they disrespected ms. cheney because she stood up for the american people, not just republicans, but democrats, anybody. we are not holding these politicians accountable. host: thank you. talking about congresswoman liz cheney. she has been amazing. she is a conservative republican from one of the most prominent families in the republican and decided she would be the republican who was foremost in saying, the 2020 election was not stolen, it was not decided illegally. it was won by joe biden. what happened on january 6 at the capital was wrong and dangerous for democracy, and needs to be investigated. those responsible need to be held to account. that is a republican saying that.
that is noteworthy. there is an important undercurrent to what the caller was talking about, which is, this is the silver lining in this dark cloud of the contested 2020 election and january 6 violence. the american institution held, let's remember that. the courts have adjudicated the old claims about the 2020 election over and over again, and have made decisions that up -- that have upheld the outcome. in the end, despite what happened on january 6, the house and senate did validate and confirm the results of the 2020 election. the courts are, the justice department and courts are going through what they should be going through, which is deciding who should be held to account for the riot on january 6 at the capital. amidst the debate, it is important to remember the institutions of democracy held up against enormous amounts of pressure and an enormous amount of buffeting. they have done their job.
well that always be true? as we speak, that is the case. host: let me ask you about the commission of presidential debates. you have moderated several presidential debates, the republican party recently saying they are not going to participate in those debates hosted by the commission of presidential debates. guest: i think that is sad. the debate commission is one of the institutions that serve the -- that has served the country well. it took the business the process of general election debates between the democrat, republican and occasionally independent, took them out of a partisan realm and put them in a nonpartisan realm. i think it has served the country very well. it is important to remember the fact republican party says, they will not participate in presidential election commission debates. it is interesting, but it is not the final word. the candidates decide.
presidential candidates are in charge of their campaigns and their fate, they make decisions based on what they think is right and proper for them and their campaign, and what the party thinks two years ahead of time is not really relevant. we will see, when there is a republican nominee in 2024, what that were in -- republican nominee says. it may not be the same thing the party is saying now. host: let's hear from charles and charlotte, north carolina. caller: you have watched administration for years. i had high hopes that president biden would bring everybody together. i think one of the things that raised my eyebrows was when merrick garland said he was going to investigate parents at school boards. if you watch how the fbi, the justice department, what their priorities are, it seems to me like, when you bring a swat team in to arrest roger stone but
ignore the hunter biden laptop and do not make a comment about it. that recent comment that president biden made about mega -- about maga people, some maga people, for who they are, they believe in closed borders, good economy, certain things. to say they are the most extreme political organization in the history of america, have you ever heard of a president be so divisive? i think this president has not fallen through with trying to unite the country. i want to hear your thoughts. guest: i think a lot of people did have a hope that joe biden could be a unifying figure. you have to admit, that has not been the case. a lot of reasons for that. maybe nobody can be a unifying figure right now. it hasn't worked out that way. i think it is a problem, one of the reasons the president's approval rating is low now, there were things baked into the idea of joe biden as president. one, he could be a unifying
figure, bring republicans and democrats together in congress. people are disappointed by that. the other problem he has, he basically said, i know how the world works. i will make the u.s. role in the world substantial and regularized again. i think the withdrawal from afghanistan, as messy as it was, undercut that message. i think those are the two core problems president biden has. it is worth bearing in mind, there is an active investigation into hunter biden underway. it doesn't get as much attention. it is not being shoved under the rug. it is being looked at. host: cedar city, utah is next. we hear from robert on the independent line. go ahead. caller: joe, you are the best host c-span has. i'm going to try not to attack,
but you seem cavalier about what is going on from the 2016 elections. people dropped trump from day one, our intelligent community was in the democratic party, with what is going on with the durham probe, that is what i mean about being cavalier. that man brought up on charges was within the democratic parties pocket with hillary clinton paying for it. you have the intelligent community of jim comey, all of them gotten fired from the guy. there is names from the cia i cannot remember. i know it is old news, i think that is why the american people are so upset with so-called maga. i agree with the previous guest.
host: do you want to add anything further? guest: nobody's cavalier about this. this is serious business. my point is that, what happened in 2016, like what happened in 2020, it has been investigated and adjudicated. the parts of the 2016 dossier that didn't hold up and were tossed out, we didn't report on it because we couldn't substantiate it. that is what you do as a journalist. i think the role of the intelligence community and the role of the fbi have been examined and are going to continue to be examined. i think the durham probe will let us see what happens when it is finished. host: one more question before you go. i have heard you talk a number of times about kansas comey start of the program mentioning
you are from hays, kansas. you went to high school there, university of kansas graduate. what has been being from kansas meant for you as a journalist? guest: it is useful to have perspective that comes from that background, particularly in this town. my roots are not on the east coast, they are in flyover country. it is real america. i am hokey enough to come to washington in all of this place. first time i walked in the white house, i was amazed i was there. i'm still amazed every time i walk in the white house. if you're not in all of the institutions we all cover as journalists or we as americans watch, you have missed the point. the same thing is true in the capital. a background in middle america gives you a grounding that is useful when you move into a place like this. as long as you do not forget where you are from. host: we wish you the best in
retirement. gerald seib. thanks for being here. >> this afternoon, president biden will outline efforts to lower the cost of high speed internet. he will be joined by kamala harris in the rose garden. you can watch live coverage at 1:30 eastern on c-span. at 2:30 eastern, the ongoing russian invasion of ukraine and u.s. foreign policy during a conference hosted by the national review institute. you can see both of these events live on c-span, and online at c-span.org or our app, c-span now. >> now available in the c-span shop, c-span's 2022 congressional directory. go there today to order a copy of the congressional directory.
this spiral-bound book as your guide to the federal government, with contact information for every member of congress, including bios and committee assignments, contact information for state governors and the cabinet. order your copy today at c-spanshop.org. every c-span shop purchase helps support c-span's nonprofit operation. >> hillary clinton and others talk about women in leadership at the opening of the new vital leases headquarters in washington, d.c. ♪ >> good morning. i am kate james. chair of the vital voices board. [applause] it's a great audience.
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