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tv   Washington Week  PBS  December 6, 2019 7:30pm-8:00pm PST

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robert:the speaker pushes ahead on impchment. >> this is about the constitution of the united states and the facts that leads to the president's violation of his oath of office. >> preside is a continuing threat to that constitution and our democracy. robert: and republicans fight back. >> impeachment hearings today reached a new low. president trump: it's a hoax. it's a big fat hoax. robert: what does it meanen for presid trump and the nation? announcer: this is "washinweek.n >> before we talk about your investments, what's new? >> wl,udrey's expecting. >> twins. >> grandparents. >> we want t put money aside for them so change in plans. >> change in plans.e can adjust.
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>> ok. >> mnt, are you pg again? you could sew these. >> let m guess. change in plans? >> at felity, a change in plans is always part of the plan. >> got a few questions. >> i wasust doing my job. >> you have no idea who might have put that pamg there? >> no, sir. >> didou plant a bomb in centennial park? >> t iss a capital crime here. >> my son is innocent. st do you have any case a me? >> i report the facts. >>ne you've rui this man's life. >> i didn't do this. >> ric jrdell, a clint eastwood film, rated r. >> additional funding is provided by -- koo and patricia yuen, through the yuen foundation, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communitie the corporation for public broadcasting.
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and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, from wasn, moderator robert costa. robert: goodvening. it's official, speer pelosi has directed the house judiciary committee to draft articles of impeachment against the 45th president, donald trump, moving this process closer to a floor vote. the speaker made the announcement on thursday following weeks of testimony about how the president and h allies pressured ukraine to investigate former vicet preside biden and biden's son. >> the facts are uncontested. the president abused his power for his own persoollical benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and crucial oval office meeting in exchange for an announcementf an investigation into his politic rival. robe: president trump immediately responded on twitter
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claiming his conduct has been totally appropriate. most congressional republicans who at times have been uneasy firmlyt his side, with few evident cracks. >> today with the speaker's announcement, she has weakened this natio it was not new news. they always had this prewritten time line from the day theyot swornn. robert: joining us tonight, kimberly atkins, sior news correspondent for wbur, josh dawsey, white reporter for "the washington post," susan davis, congressional correspondent for npr, andolarl with the the washington "ti>>s". madam speaker. i don't hate anybody.
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i don't hate anybody not anybody in the world. i was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president and i still pray for the president. i pray for theresident all the me. so don't mess with me when it comes to words like that. robert: carl, that qte, on't mess wit me," this is a speaker who reluctantly cam to this partly impeachment inqui now she's out in front. what does that exchange tell you political moment?osi and this carl: she's tough, that's for sure. this was a question meant to provoke a response and it got one. "don't mess with me" will be the catch phrase in washington for quite a while and i think she wasn't feeling that well that daynd it provoked a sharper response but i think it was beneficial to her because it was
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unscripted and it allowed her to lay out the case that this isn't r her -- and i think credibly -- that this is not about her feelings but about the constitution. you're right she has come around to this reluctantly but once she makes up her mind, she is going to move forward and that's what they're doing here. robert: are house democrats comfortable with the decision to move forward, sue? susan: they really are. if youook at the vote they had to officially authorize the investigation and formalizehe process in the committees, that told you where the caucus was. every vote on impeachnt is a test vote. one thing pelosi did tell mmembers this week is not going to whip this vote. they're looking at the vote on articles impeachment similar to the way they look at votes on war, it's a matr of conscience. that said, pelosi wouldn't move forward unless she was fairly nfident they would have the
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votes they nd. robert: i was at the capitol and ran into ce president pence and you don't see many cracks in the g.o.p. whatxplains that unity when you're reporting? kimberly: it's unity on both sides. the g.o.p. has galvanized around this issue that this is an impermissible inquiry, casting aspersions on the legitimacy of it and they're moved away from it becauset's harder to argue process so they're settling in it's thee message that president trump is giving, the same message that presidentam trump'sign is spending millions of dollars on, that this is just a democratic effort -- robert: how are they doing in terms of funding? kimberly: there's been 10's of millions in facebook ads ane, and the message is that the democrats a trying to be unamerican and it's a solid, simple message that republicans can g behind and that's what
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you'll see, both sides are lock. so robert: josh? josh: if you talk to folks on the campaign, they say record fund-raising nbers, f trump supporters, they feel he's been victimized and this is an unfair process and they're promoting, every day they're sending solicitations and raising quite a bit of money. if you talk to pple around the president, in the beginning of this process, the was a deeper fear than there is now. if you talk to some of his closest advisers they say it's fait accompli, he'll be impeached. they think thisil end in a place that will not be fatalistic to him. i'm not sure that's true. i think we have a wait to see how it plays out. robert: when you think about thn jobsbers friday, the president got positive jobs number. is that what gives the white house that optimism?
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josh: what gives the white house the optimism is theth fact that republicans have not broken. when the transcript came out, folks were reticent to praise the president.ev lindsey graham said we have to wait and see. there weren't a lot of people on television for a couple of weeks fasts emerged and now the the president inome ways more unified than inhe past. carl: if you go back to the clinton impeachment, they were orried about democrats and even when it got to the senate, they were wored about how they would react. you're right about the white house, the republicans aredl so behind there. i think nancy pelosi in some way also motivateshem. ey want to the push back against her and push back from the pple who testified this week which they thought was a waste of time. robert: let's talk abouthe testimony this week. house democrats continue to say this isn't about politics. you see it in speaker pelosi when she talks about prayer and she's praying for the president,
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trying to take politics out ofpa it. of that process is having theseonstitutional experts testify and on wednesd the house judiciary committee estioned several constitutional law experts on whether president trump's actis are impeachable offecres. des called three of them and republicans called one. >> on the basis of the testimony and the evidence before the use, president trump has committed impeachable high crimes and crimes and misdemeanors. >> not problem is not that abuse of power can never be impeachable but you have to prove it and you haven't. i believe this impeachment not only fails to satisfy the standard of pas impeachments but would create a dangerous precedent. robert: turley's criticism that this is moving too fast, how are democrats countering that? susan: the timing is one of the
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things that i thinkolically democrats are the most nervous aboutnd they don't want to be seen asar rushing t impeachment. i think they feel the facts are there and when you talk about the polling and the impression in the white house, democrats are also looking at polling a raising money and they still see y country that a majority of which not o says the president should be impeached but removed from office. th see independents breaking their way on tough questions and even the campaign this week that tweeted out polling about kendra horn, democrat in oklahoma, meant to dunk on her but also showed in a rubyed district, 45% of the people supported impeachment. if you extrapolate that to competitive swing districts and states, i'm not sure the politics of this play well fode the pre in the long term and especially for the republicans down the ballot who ves noiven thems daylight with this president on this question. robert: as democrats calculate, theye moving forward, taking steps. the speaker's requested articles of impeachme to be drafted. what doe know about what those
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articles will be? what's in them?wi they include obstruction of justice when it comes to thega mueller inveson? or will it just be about ukraine? kimberly: there's definitely democratsmong som that they want something from the mueller report, obstruction of justice would probably b the easiest. there were 10 points that robert mueller laid out as pottial obstruction of justice articlesr but on the oand there are some conservative democrats that are really nervous and they don't think the mueller report landed well. they want this to be as narrow as possible and that's one area where all democrats are united, they haven't worked that out yet. i wouldn't be surprised to see an b obstruction artic it's not clear yet. >> the cynical view, to have an article he can vote against. so he can say i gave this serious thought. robert: when this comeshe to floor, what will the speaker
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bring to the floor? carl: abusef power, obstruction of justice, probably obstruction of congress and 'll see how broad they make it. i do think we'll get hints from the hearing onony where the attorneys for the various committees will testify and i think throuio the queng and their testimony we'll see what they're up to. robert: josh, you've been reporting on the white house all week. we got news just before the show went to air on friday that the white house will n participate in the house judiciary committee hearings upcoming. what do you know abo the white house's position? josh: the fundamental calculatiois that there's nothing in it for them, that the house is going tompeach him and the house has laid out the facts and they're not going to be able to do it the way ty want to.nk they t they can participate in the senate in a way more advantageous to them so they've written off this pcess. white house counsel office said i think wha you'll see is the
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white house continuing to hammer away at the house democrats as secretly behind the scenes they prepare for the sen,e tri prepare for the strategy, prepare for the lawyers, prepare to have somedministration officials testify in the senate potentially but they're going to write off this house process and call i illegitimate and not participate at all and part of that, bob, is because the president knows he's going to lose in the house and the president ds not want to participate in something where the outcome is a loser. it's easier to say we didn't lose, you played without us. that's a more effective message the president see than doing it the other way. kimberly: i think that's absolutely right. we know this is a president that doesn't like to go forward and has the advantage in the senate. susan: does he? i know republicans contrse the te but the idea that he'll see the same level of loyalty from senate republicans that he's enjoyed in the house is a
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risky play. not that they vote against him but the iat the white house can write the rest of the game. kimberly: that's not what i mean. i think there would have to be a dramatichift in the axis in washington for them to get a majority theyould need for this. as long as he comes out at the end winning and he can use that as a campaign message, i think he'll see that as a win and that's precily why they're using this strategy josh laid out. >> i think the nonparticipation speeds up the democrats. if the white house said they have to do some things, the democrats would slow down. now i looks like they're on a course to do this by christmas. robert: i wonder when you think about the g.o.p. senators, are they different iowterms of they see this than house republicans? republicans have launched a counter offensive with the house this week, much of the party citing debunked claims about ukraine as they defend president
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trump from possible impeachment, going against testimony we've heardrom many u.s. officials who say ukraine did not inrfere in the u.s. election in the way house republicans are describing. democrat, said this week heut, a thought mbe four to five republicans would be considering voting against president trump. susan: there was this moment in time where theepublican defense, they were trying to land on a place where they could say what the president did was wrong but notmpchable and the white house hasn't given them that wiggleoom and republicans have settled on the president has done nothing ong, the line settled on by doug collins and honorableearint more in the senate. i think the ukraine strategy is one we've seen be'ore and see continue. they're trying to create a counter whaow went dn and why it was justified.rt rorudy giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, back in ukraine this week. white house up to?ndha
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josh: rudy giuliani is over in ukraine with one american news network, a right wing conservave network, meeting witho prosecutors, seen by the u.s. government to be ethically deficient, meeting with some of his allies he's d t with before. he's essentially doing what he did the first timeve all again, looking for more evidence to tout the narrative that ukraine interfered with the election and was out to get president trump. that has been debunked lots of ways but wt rudy is trying to do is to show there is something here, even if it's just a kernel, it gives people a chance to talk about what he's finding there and he's not giving up. there were lots of white house officialsnd g.o.p. allies who are stunned he would return baco what one person called the scene of the crime ton essentially m dance on stage of the scene of the crime.
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that was a quote wead in a piece, it's a remarkable move. mberly: when you're talking about t timing for the democrats, one thing that has united democrats about the timing is this idea that it is an urgent matter that is ongoing and you can't wait for an election to try tout president trump, that we need to act right now and rudyiuani is giving them the ammunition to push that. sbert: as rudy giulianin ukraine, you have house democrats releasing hundreds of pagehe house intelligence committee this week, a serious report, in their view.y how do tk about the giuliani counter to their own report? carl: i do think the democrats look at sdy giuliani a someone who hps them throughout this robert: even though he's muddying the waters? carl: they point -- look the who he's talking to. for the democrats, i think this race has questions in people's minds, like, wow, rudy giuliani waseally doing something
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nefarious. so i think when you look ahis reporting from over in ukraine, people go, oh, wow, this is still happening and to yourhi point, i it does add to the democratic argument. i do agree it muddies the waters but the whole ukraine thing, you have a few republicans in the senate, john kennedy who sort of embraced but if one thing senators like to do, they want to look more thoughtful than house members so they're going to look at this an go, we're not going to g cght up in this, we don'tnt want biden here. i had john cornyn tell me that this will be a three-ring circus if we get these witnesses. robe: if theenate republicans don't want to call hunter biden and joe biden and chairman schiff, who do republicans call if anyone? is it white house offials or administration officials? ssan: the senate trail i trickier than people are thinking. maybekhey bring m mulvaney to the floor but you need to
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know what mick mulvaney is going to say because he's someone thea de have wanted to question. atrtros ith te courts are holding up dn mcgahn from testifying. could ambassador bolton testify? susan: if he's subpoenaed to appear in aenate trial, bolton said he wouldn't do it unless a cour told him to. a senate trial is a different matter. if people are subpoenaed to appear before the senate, do they show up? i'm not sure white house -- this idea of having secretary of state mike pompeo and cef of staff come up, will help their case. these are fact witnesses to any lsnumber of det we already know and the people that the white house are saying they want to call, the simply don't have the votes to bring these people to the floor. it couldy ultimat be that we don't get any number of witnesses. josh: i think i houseeachment managers would like to quest in john bolto the senate. robert: who what do you make of the democrats and how they're
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handling the delay on the court side. lot of time the democrats,e a for a number of reasons, including the factor -- fact they wan to strike while public sentiment is with them, don't see tacking on articles of impeachment for obstruction is a better move toove forward now. they don't want to get into the primies. robert: there's a tension about before congress, is it obstruction of justice or not? kimberly: it i certainly can make the case it is obstruction of congress because we've seen so far in the court rulings that hav come have been for house democrats saying this is a viable, this is a real process, it is viable, you have to answer to these requests and y if don't, that's a problem. carl: i think the president may be a little more ructant to let people testify because the mueller probe, they got a lot of top officials testify -- don s
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mcgant 30 hours with them. reince priebus, rob porter, they revealed a lot of damaging facts about t president. the minutia of the way he wase running val office and dishonesty and pervasive conduct that damaged him and that was frustrating when it came out so i think the questiowill be for e white house do they see these witnesses a entirely on their side or not and i d't think the cal clation has been made yet. robert: could this impeachment governmentfect the spending talks. government funding expected to expire on december 20. carl: i'm hearing signs of progress in these talks. i think house members and the senate really want t get to a deal. i talked to richard shelby about wrap this u said i'd like to does anyone really want to shut down the government right now? who's cup -- culpable for that?
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i don't thi it looks good. susan: if it's up to capitol hill, i don't think there's a shutdown. you ask nancy pelosi and mitch mcconnell, they can get a deal, even a c.r. where will the president be? that's always the question. carl: every time wad a showdown, the president has elayed ae- rdope moment until h tweets, i hate this bill. he usese t moments for leverage. robert:check outurwashington week extra" where we'll continue this conversation anden discuss pres trump's visit to the united kingdom for the nato summit. i'm robert costa, good night.
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announcer: corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> ricrd, this might be the only w to clear your name. say there's a bb in centennial park. you have 30 minutes >> m son is not the bomber. he saved people's lives. >> i want to help y'all. there is a bb in centennial park, you have 30 minutes. >> the f.b.i. is looking at richard jewe. >> this kid's getting railroaded. >> your client is guilty at hell. >> richard jewell, a clint eastwood film. rated r. additional funding is provided by -- koo and patricia yuen through the yuen foundation,ommitted to bridging cultural differences our communities. the corporation for public
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broadcasting, and by station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible fts caption content and accuracy. visit] >> you're watching pbs.
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