tv Washington Week PBS September 3, 2022 1:30am-2:01am PDT
yamiche: stark warnings and secret documents. >> donald trump and the mag republicans represent an extremism that threatens the foundation of our nation. yamiche:resident biden sharpness his attack on former president trump and republican election deniers. >> america is big enough for all of us to success where no one is left behind. yamiche: and hits the campaign trail to rally voters. >> it's record gas prices. so they're fund mentally destroying this country. yamiche: plus, the justice department reveals new details about the investigation into classified documents seized from trump's home and a federal judge
considers his request for a third party to review the files, next. ♪ announcer: this is "washington week". corporate funding is provided by -- >> for 25 years consumer cellular's gold is to provide wireless service for people to connect. we offer a variety of no contract plans and our team can help you find a plan that fits you. to learn more visit consumer cellular.tv. >> additional funding is provided by ku and patricia yuen. sarah and carl delay magnusson. robert and susan rosenbaum. the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you.
thank you. once again from washington, moderator yamiche alcindor. yamiche: good evening and welcome to "washington week." with just two months to go until the mid terms, president biden is stepping up his attacks on the g.o.p. in a fiery speech thursday, he blasted republicans who are allied with former president trump and embraceing election -- embracing the election lie. biden called those republicans an extreme threat to the foundations of our nation and he vowed to fight back. >> democracy cannot survive when one side believes there are only two outcomes to an election. either they win or they were cheated. and that's where the maga republicans are today. yamiche: the speech marked his second visit to the state in this week and in the critical state of pennsylvania, of course. on tuesday, in a speech in the northeast part of pennsylvania, biden said democrats are
committed to preventing police brutality. >> you have to know and you have to be able to trust the police. the police have to be able to trust the community. we slipped away from that we have a hell of a lot fewer cops today than i did when i wrote that initial crime bill. but now, we've got to get back to it. yamiche: meanwhile, this weekend, former president trump will als be heading to the keystone state to rally voters again. and just outside biden's hometown of scranton, pennsylvania. kevin mccarthy pointedly criticized the president. >> washington and the white house aren't listening. they just don't get it. his policies have severely wounded america's soul, diminish ed america's spirit and betrayed america's trust. yamiche: is a lot going on in pennsylvania this week. joining me me to discuss this and more jonathan martin senior political correspondent for the "new york times" and co-author
of "this will not pass: trump, biden and the battle for america's future." evan perez. and yasmeen abutaleb and laura barron-lopez. yasmeen congratulations to the promotion of white house reporter. of course, we saw this primetime speech from president biden where he called out in a rare way president trump by name and republicans. what's behind behind the strategy there? and does the white house think this speech is going to make a big difference yasmeen: i think the white house thoughts it was a launch of the campaign than will start with labor day weekend and begin in earnest after that. i do think this is an effective strategy that biden is trying to draw the distinction between the maga loyalist and they said they
-- that the election was rigged and those those mainstream republicans who don't adhere to that ideology. democrats have been clamoring for this for a while for the president to be much more forceful and direct and calling out the threats to the american way of governess. i think democrats are energized by this much more forceful president biden yamiche: democrats were really, really wanting to see a poignant attack from president biden. he said in his speech there is no place for political violence in america. what does it reveal about the sort of impact this could have? laura: this goes back to when he launchedis campaign. he responded to the violence that he saw in charlottesville when the neo nazis were rching. he said he was launching his campaign because he needed to respond to that. and that's where his soul of the nation slogan came from.
but since then, he has given a few speeches about the threats to democracy. but this was really a shift this week. we saw that he started using the term that's once calling the forces that he seen rise within the republican partysemi fascist. he did that at a maryland fundraiser and then again at the speech on gun violence. he talked about how you can't be pro-cop but also saying that the f.b.i. should be defunded. and then again just later on this week talking about the fact that what the political violence that he sees some republicans encouraging is somethinghat he felt the need to draw a line in the sand on. he very forcefully focused on former president trump and a number of other republicans trying to say that he doesn't thk all republicans are this way. but that they are dominating the party and ultimately he felt as though he needed to address it. and he's talked to historians about this in recent weeks as
well. yamiche: when you talk about a line in the sand and what laura is talking about, something that struck out to me was president biden saying "republicans spread fear and lies told for pro visit or power." basically saying there's a motivation why we're seeing this election lines. what are you hearing about the sources about the strategy here? evan: president biden, yamiche, had wanted to tee up the mid terms with political speech like this for a while that they thought about doing it earlier in the summer. and then i think as we've gotten close to the fall, they realized that they had to go harder on this democracy angle in part because that's what really an mites biden and in part because the facts on the grown, the nature of the people who are getting the nomination and the republican party are, you know, pretty extreme. there are plenty of election deniers out there. but they also made a choice here, which is to conflate, you
know, a more traditional midterm political speech a more high-minded speech on the importance of protecting america's democracy institutions and doing so from independence hall with sort of marines standing behind him. and i think because he did both of the those things in the same speech, it drew some criticism from obviously folks on the right. but also some less predictable folks like "the washington post" editorial page for example were touting biden for mix high minded appeals and and more traditional campaign seasons attacks on the g.o.p. i'm not totally sure why biden had to insert himself into the conversation. there's an old saying don't get in your opponent's way when he's losing. a lot of democrats had liked the way things were going because the attention has been entirely on trump rather than on biden.
when the focus is on trump, that tends to be good for democrats. i think there's some uncertainty as to why biden wanted to bring it back to himself instead of letting trump keep doing his thing. laura: in the meetings that biden had, he asked them if there was any similar moment in history that they could think of that -- and they said to him, 1940's. 1941 when president f.d.r. then addressed fascism and potential rising force of fascism within the u.s. so i think he's been thinking about that. they said that's been on his mind and they also agree, a lot of these historians posed to him without giving direct advice on how to write the speech that at a moment like this a number of presidents in the past have weighed in to decide that this moment calls for that because of the force that is work in the country. yamiche: you're reporting on the actual things that are going on
in terms of keeping people safe in this country. i want to point out that this week we saw the longest sentence handed out in a case stemming from the january 6 capitol attack. we saw a man named thomas web center, a former nypd officer. i bring him up because i wonder what you think about that? how do tse themes square with the violence and the threats are real around this country? evan: i think with the conversation you guys have been having, it is really fascinating especially within the context of what you see prosecutors and what the f.b.i. are doing. and you know, they're try trying -- they're trying their best to stay out of the political sphere. but it's hard when you talk about people committing violence in the name of the former president and who he has in the last -- just in the last few days said that if he were to become president again he's
going to give pardons and that he is financially supporting some of them. although, that is not exactly quite clear because if you talk to some people involved the defendants they're quite angry because they believe they've been hung out to dry while the former president has been raising millions of dollars and hasn't shared for the defense of some of these people. but the d.o.j. wanted to make sure they made examples of some of the worst violent offenders and that one, gentlemen, is one of the people, he was attacking police with weapons, and you you have it on video. so they wanted to make an example of that. but there is nervousness about having others in the democratic party try to conflate some of the things that are happening. they want to see people who
committed crimes go to jail and not conflate that with the political fight over what's going on with democracies small d'or big d because those are two things that can't be mixed. yamiche: it's an interesting and an important point. yasmeen, when we think about sort of con frustration ins and sort of the midterm and the language being used, i also want to point out that president biden talked about crime and policing. and he talked about the crime bill wanting to make sure that there are more police officers and hiring more police officers. on t flip side there are civil rights leaders that he met with today who are worried about being tough on crime whoa what are you hearing both from the white house but people worried about what that could mean for people and mass incarceration? yasmeen: this is a difficult area for biden and especially those who are in these difficult swing states. he did deliver that speech on crime in pennsylvania where the democratic senate candidate john fetterman this is a top issue with his record on crime and whether he's going to be tough
on crime or not. i thought that speech was interesting because you saw the president taking this pretty marketedly pro-law enforcement stance wanting to draw a sharp dippings between him and democrat who is were talk about defunding the police and some of the problems with police force in the u.s. but i think there is the risk that he alienates some of the people in his party particularly those on the left and those who have expressed concerns about criminal justice and the inequities and who's incarcerated. if he swings too far in either direction -- so i think this is a very difficult balancing act for him and many democratsn these races. yamiche: we call him jonathan martin. everyone who knows you calls you j-mart. president biden will have been there three times. former president trump is also heading there why are they heading to pennsylvania? make this make sense to us? why is this so significant for
them? jonathan: they're not trying to get a taste of yingling, a few of those can be consumed. probably the most important battleground state this year because you've got these marquis race first the senate and governor. it's the best opportunities they have to flip a seat. pat toomey is retiring. it's a state that has gone to the democrats, you know, with the exemption in 2016 when trump carryied it for the last few cycles for democrats. i think it's an opportunity to get get a rare pickup in the senate. if dems hold their majority in the senate it will be in part because they flip that seat. i think as important, yamiche,
it's because this governor's race is so central not just in 2022 but 2024. pennsylvania invests extraordinary nair power in the governor. a governor in pennsylvania is the chief elections officer that is so important because the governor in there will have enormous authority when it comes to certifying the results of the election. i don't have to tell the viewers of this show why certification of that election is so important. yamiche: our friends at the cook political report they shifted their forecast from five competitive races in favor of democrats, meaning democratses are in a better place. what are you hearing about how democrats and republicans are feeling about their chances? given the fact that the house when i talk to republicans, they still feel good but not as good as the did two months ago.
laura: a few months ago republicans thought they would have a big wave in the house. and now they may pick up a few seats. but democrats are feeling bullish especially about feeling -- keeping the senate. and they're feeling bullish because of special election races, primary races. the way that they've gone, democrats see it as favorable to them because of the fact that abortion is starting to play big in a lot of these races, abortion rights. what we saw in alaska this week, yes, they that had to do with rank choice voting with the democrat winning there beating out sarah palin the republican. but a lot of democratic data firm has been saying actually that registration changed. after the roe decision, after roe was overturned, a number of women started registering at greater numbers. it went up about seven points. and that's happened in other states across the country in
wisconsin and michigan where women register in greater numbers as well as younger women. yamiche: it's going to be a big, big topic. another topic that will be in people's minds is that we learned more about former president trump's legal challenges the justice department's investigation. the d.o.j. showed this photo of classified documents found during the f.b.i. search. it showed folders labeled top secret. the d.o.j. said it believes top secret documents have "likely been con seem zealed and remove ed from the storage room to obstruct the government's investigation." on friday, the d.o.j. release add detailed list of what was ceased from trump's home. and trump requested a special master. there are so many developments.
tell us what's most important and what's most significant for this week? evan: you guys have been talking about the troubles for republicans. and this is kind of thing where donald trump is not helping republicans because, you know, former president decided to make these legal -- this legal move to -- you know, after nearly three weeks to ask for a special master. so what that did is that prompted the justice department to release a lot of information that otherwise they would never have because merritt garland doesn't believe in telling us very much unless he speaks through court documents. some of the things you just listed -- there was a deluge of information. for example just today, we saw co-mingling with magazines and other personal -- like clothing, you know, there were dozens -- i'm sorry, there was 11,000 -- more than 11,000 government document that is were found as part of the search.
there were four dozen empty folders that were labeled as classified. what was in them? we don't know. we know there are about seven box of document that is were taken from the former president's office. keep in mind, back in june, the f.b.i. and the justice department told the trump team that they were to secure everything that was classified information in in a storage room. and yet, when they showed up in august, they found all of these documents including classified top secret stuff in his office, which really means that, you know, brings it closer to him. look, the bomb line here is that there's real legal jeopardy for the former president. there's real legal jeopardy for people around him who were handling some of this stuff who swore they turned over everything. and the worst part for republicans is all of this is coming out, and it's going to keep coming out because of the former president's legal maneuvers in this florida court
which means we're going to keep getting remind about this between now and the mid terms most likely. yamiche: legal special lists say two lawyer first former president trump they might become targetses or witnesses of this investigation. what's your reporting on that? evan: that's right. exact will. we saw one of those lawyers show up in court. a lot of us were astonished because at some point you become a fact witness and potentially someone who could get hauled before the grand jury. most lawyers know, once you get to that stage, then you need to pull away from the -- from the legal case of your client. we'll see whether that happens. the former president has brought in some real legal help, you know, chris kizse now representing the former president. and now, you know, we now believe that, you know, certainly the president who -- one of the lawyer who is signed the declaration, christina bod,
these are people who are potential witnesses in this criminal investigation that the justice department says it's really just at the beginning. yamiche: and we have attorney general bill barr today saying that it was unprecedented for the president to take these classified documents and put them in a country club. you have that -- juxtapose that with lindsey graham saying there's going to be riots in the street if he's prosecuted. tell us what's going on here. jonathan: i think there was an additional circling of the wagons. this is unprecedented. this is a really extreme step. we need more facts. well, i think in the weeks since then, we have gotten more facts. and we've gotten it mostly through these court filings. so it precipitated by the trump legal team which has effectively inviteed these filings that have
shed more light on the legation that is the former president did, in fact, bring top secret material including some human intelligence, you know, spy craft with him to his residence in south florida, which is pretty easily accessible if you're a member or a guest there. and i think you've seen the republicans, that's the most prudent ones grow more quiet, that's about the facts because they don't want to get too far out there not knowing what trump had in those documents. so i think you've seen a shift. look, i think some of those who are close to trump are never going to abandon him. but there's a broader faction of the party that is not going going -- to want to be linked to him if he's found guilty of violating the espionage act or
other allegations. yamiche: i want to try to get to to these questions. what's the significance of this special master and the judge considering it? evan: well, the judge, her name is eileen connor, she's a trump appointee in west palm beach. and you know, it's quite surprising that just based on the filing from the former president, she decided to rule last saturday that she was inclined to appoint a special master, like a third party lawyer, typically a foreman judge that would basically come in and look at all of the documents and decide whether there was any attorney general-client their needed to be put aside. now, the issue for the trump team and for all of ts, is that the f.b.i. has been doing this for like nearly three weeks, as something bill barr pointed out. so the significance here is that this could delay this investigation, which we know is part of the strategy from donald trump, you know, that goes back
years. we'll see whether she grants it. we're waiting at this hour to see if she grants it. yamiche: we'll be watching. that laura, you've been covering former president trump. what do you make of this story? the p.r. of this and the argument that he's making against it? laura: one thing i'm struck with is we don't know the full breach, right? we don't know that the director is conducting damage assessment. how many people went through there? the fact that classified information was co-mingling with unclassified. you talk to an intelligence official and they know that's a no-no. because someone then at matically touches something that's classified and that's now compromised. yamiche: 10 seconds. yasmeen, you know very deeply how president trump function. what you do make about how he's handling this? yas seen: i think it's all kind
of predictable. but his reaction does seem like he is seriously concerned about what kind of trouble he might end up. jim: this is all stuff that we're going to have to continue watch with president trump saying that is smash and grab and the justice department said they went about this in a fair and just way. thank you for sharing your reporting on this holiday weekend. before we go, don't forget to watch pbs news weekend for the latest on the d.o.j.'s investigation of former president trump and the reaction president biden's speech denouncing trump and other g.o.p. election deniers. enjoy your holiday weekend. i'm yamiche alcindor. good night from washington. >> corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> consumer cellular. additional funding is provided by ku and patricia yuen with the yuen foundation, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities.
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