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tv   Washington Week  PBS  January 18, 2020 1:30am-2:00am PST

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robert: new lawyers, new developments and new questions. the senate trial begins with an oath to be impartial. i do. robert: but partisan battles rage. >> house democrats may deended into pure t factualism b united states must not. >> what is at stake here is the constitution of the united states. this is what an impeachment is about. the president violated his oath of office. robert: as the president builds his legal team, senators clash over possible witnesses, from john bolton to perhaps even hunter biden, all as the 2020 election looms,ext. ♪ onnouncer: this is "washin week." funding is provided b--
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>> before we tk about your investments, what's new? >> well, audrey's expecting. >> twins. >> grandparents. >> we want to put money aside for them. chan in plans. >> all right. let's see what we can adjust. >> we'll be closer to the twins. >> change in plans. >> mom, are you painting again? you could sew these. >> let me guess, change in plans? >> at fidelity a change in plans is always a part of a plan. >> additional funding is provide by ku and patricia yuen committed to bridging cultural differences in our community. the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again from washington, moderator robert costa. robert: good evening. this week democratic house managerolemnly proceeded
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toward the senate chamber carrying the articles of impeachment against president trump. those articles,ev h, are just part of the churning debate about theresident's conduct. new developments, new twists, and new dynamics now sm to emerge by the hour. dan balz wrote in the washington -- "washington post." hours after fronts was the accountability office issued a report state tag the white house broke the law by with hoing $391 million in military aid to ukraine. and documents given by parnas. he gave interviews where he highlights giuliani'sole in ukraine and tied the president y re direc the aivity. >>resident trump knew exactly what was goin on. he was aware of all of my movements. he- i wouldn't do anything
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without the csent of rudy giuliani or the president. >> parnas was indicte on white house hasrply rges and the questioned his credibility. but this split screen moment captures ton rest facing senator who is took an oatho render impartial justice.on joining usht in the newsroom, dan balz, chief correspondent for "the washington post." vivian salama, reporter for the washington journal. julie davis congressional editor and burgess everett ." congressional reporter for politico. julie, when you look what lev parnas has revealed, what have you >> what stood south that some of the documents as a result of this new release add more specifics and details to story lines that are familiar to all of us who have been covering the
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impeachment inquiry. there are more details about how osely he was tied and rudy giuliani including an associate of mr. parnas who tracked maria ivanovichrind documentation that he was passing himself off as working with trump's c knowledge andsent to get a meeting with the ukrainian president and to get these investigations and that was all part of a much bigger scheme. the substance of it was important. but the fact of it was importanting, like you said the timing of it was important because it underscored the fact that there are a lot of detaile that don't. the president was successful in blocking any document coming out. and many witnesses including mr. giuliani and lev parnas and white house officials from testifying. it underscores what don't know in the way of detail about how this pressu campaig
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unfolded. robert: you're not only a white house correspondent but is there concern about the spotlight mr. parnas has put on vice president pence and secretary mike pompeo in the way ivanovic was surveyed? >> you this man ha -- who has been indicted. that they're using to their advantage to discredit anything out there ts to g and say. and essentially they're trying to distance president same time and say, well, and the president himself has said, i don't know this guy. yes, there are pictures and videos. but i take picres and videos with thousands of people. i don't know this individual. that he knows anything specific about my policies. he's a lone wolf. but at the same time thereis h king very specific allegations, you know, pointing
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to the vice president's knowledge of certain activities especially thisort to discredit ambassador ivanovic and government effort where everybody knew it wasoing on. he asserts it. regardless of whether or not the e able to distance president from this, at the end of the day he is an associate of the president's personal attorney. and so one way or another there are two degrees of separation between he and the president. already that's making them very uncomfortable. robert: dan, i love the way you captured it in your story because it's not just about the articles going over to the senate. there's a g.a.o. report. there's mr. parnas speaking out. what's the consequence tito allf >> it only adds to the pressure when the senate reaches that point about whe to call witnesses. what we have is unfoldingfo ation. this is not a static situation. when you think about it, this is still a relatively young investigation.
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it started in sepmber. ere's much, much more that probably could be learned and the pressure to learn that will ramp up as we go through this process. i think, you know, they only need four republican senators to call witnesses. and when they get to that point based on what we've seen so far and what may come out, who knows? over the next couple of weeks, th're going to bere under pressure otherwise that democrats are going to be able to say, they did not want a rear l. >> burgess no one works harder. so glad you're at the table after a long week. when youe talking to senators on both sides of the aisle about le parnas and this new interview and new information, how are they grappling with it all? >> i think they're treating lev parnas very carefully. they stuck to the message. here are the four witnesses we want. the two top line one are mick
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mulvaney and john bolton. we want more documents about the decision-making on the with holding of the ukraine aid. at did not change in t wake of the parnas interview. but you talkedhr to van hollen who asked for the g.a.o. report. d you talk to him and he says parnas. 'll decide to call lev they'll have an up or down vote if this moment comessund eeds and you have 51 senator who is say yeah, we should have ate about witnesses. robert: it's going to have to count hear what the white house is doing and what president trump is doing. president trump added som high profile lawyers tois legal team including alan dershowitz, ken starr among oths in. an interview with "the post," the two charges of the house
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brought against trump do not amount to high crimes and misdemeanors. he wants to to prevent the creation of a dangeroon constitu precedent. we're seeing faces from decades past reemerge this trump legal team. dershowitz has walked a bit away from saying he's a full fledged memb the legal team. do they want a tv trial? senato mcconnell wanted to have a more low key affair? >> it's fascinating that this is back to the future with the last impeachment. you have ken starr, robert ray. you have all these sort of peonalities from the 1990's and that investigation which brings a lot of baggage that a lo republicans on capitol hill do not want to relive. that didn't work out ver t well fom. but i think there is a divide. and this just sort of amplifies it between what they wt in this trial which i think is low key pretty quick affair that looks fair but in the end
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steangly moves a to an acquital in short order. what the president has t wanted fr very beginning which is a therical trial where people come and vigorously defend him from whate dors be an illegitimate inquiry. he watch a lot of fox news. he has seen ken starr talking about the impeachment. he's seen alan dershitz for years defending him making legal arguments about why these actions do not rise to the lel of impeachment defenses. he really wants to see that. in the end he gets toe decide who his team. is it will be interesting how p thys out on the backdrop of what mitch mccon snell planning. w robert: doe know about the argument that's going to be made on the president's behalf? or is it being develed? >> they're expecting that their going to try to submit som sort of case on monday. we're going to get hopefully morenformation. e team is coming together.
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and those developments only in the last couple of hours. we expect by monday that we will have more clarity as to what direction the white house wants ake this. robert: the managers are going agains alan dershowitz and ken starr. what do you think nance yes pelosi is going to make of this? >> we're going to see what we saw in the hse in terms of the information of the caseful -- case. they're going to try to put into information that has come out. basically saying no new re information. you to bring what was in the investigation in the house. so there's going to be some clashes early on as the esentation is made. and we'll see about that. but think they -- they see this one more opportunity to drive home what isn't known, who
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hasn't been able to be heard from yet and to keep pushingnd pressuring on that front to put the republicans in a difcult position. but they're in their own difficult position because we know the country is so badly split that there's a fine line they have to wal w far do they want to push it? robert: perhaps it's not just about the case bei i maden the senate chamber but about the court of public opinion. >>h well, very muc so. you can see from what the president is doing by adding the people he's added to this that he does see this as you know, not simply something that's playing out in the chaer but this is something of a national discussion and debate. robert: let's get into the whole standoff. lev pnas is far from the only witness. senate majorit leader mcconnell quietly invited republicans senators many conservatives to his office to discuss strategy.
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and during that 30-minute session, ted cruz pitched mcconnell on witness reciprocity. democrats want to hear from john bolton, the former national security advisor. then republicans get to hearun fromr biden. could democrats call theic repus bluff and say we'll take that deal? what do you see playing out, burgess? >> i feel like right now there are not the votes to bring hunter biden in fnt of the senate. that's not just from the democratic side who really want to hav this circus-like atmosphere and the witness plow up in t hheir face i that would be seen. there are some republicans, you know, that are not nessarily eager to to do eering. -- eager. susan collins was talking to reporters and asked what sort of witnses will you hear from? he said i'm a juror. but she did say, something. and said i want to hear f
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relevant witnesses. that's throwing cold water from people heem like hunter biden. it's hard to saye'sirectly implicated. robert: is it the moderate wing or conservatives like cruz along with the white house are taking a hard le, where is the power center? >> the power center is mcconnell for sure. but how does he convince the three to fours senathat he him to get the witness votes. robert: you have senator schumer trying to create pressure points about difficult autitnesses. publicly that he't have aid all the ball control i this situation that he normally does on the senate floor. and that is because some of the -- all of these questions are going to the procedural questions are going to be decided on a 51 a simple
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majority vote margin. lisa murkowski, lamarnder, mitt romney are very important. if they're not going to go along with a hunter bide bye den for instance, then that's not going happen if they're not going toh go along w for instance, a quick dismiss sal which a loft coervatives want to s right off the bat -- robert: what about schumer? >> schumer is trying to create pressure on republicans on susan collins on the other republicans who are up for re-election in 2020. he believes that this debate is they're going to be hard pressed to hear a votegainst hearing from new wes and people have been blocked from testifying. >>f lot o it is saving face. perhaps don't tnk hunter biden is a reasonablebuolution. he wants to see hunter buy done comb in. at least they're showing they're making some sort of effort to do that and appease him asell. and so there's a little bit of that too as sort of peturing to white house's demands, the president spe afically.
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>>nd what's not going to happen, chuck schumer is not r witnesses his f and the docsments only. that is just not going to happen. tha of witness reciprocity, senator collins does not hate that idea. she says no, we're not just going to bng the democtic witnesses. you can see what schumer has done is he's driven a wedge when all the republicans vote no, he's going to see some political benefit to that. robert: what does this mean for the outlook in 2020 for a lot of these senator who are up for an election? >> i think they're in a difficult position. the public will be watching to see if thiis fair. if it lks as though people are in a hurry to get this out of the way, in other words to sweep it under the rug, i think some of the senators, in these esdifficult r could pay a price for that. but if you're susan collins, for example, almost whichever way
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you go on this is going to have consequences -- robert: like kavanaugh. >> for those senators there are going to be some agony -- robert: i kept hearing fcom ervative senators there's going to be a lot of pressure from the white house to dismiss this as soon as possible. even as witnesson negotiaare ongoing, you could hav president trump tweet tweeting saying end this trial. >> everody wants this to be quick at the white house and also a number ofs lawmakers well, the senator who are on there, the democrats who want to t back othe campaign trail, a number of them. and republicans mitch mcconnell s said he wants a quick trial as well. the white house definitely wants a quick trial. but also the president wants to quickly be ae to go out there and feel vindicated and say, you ow what, this was a hoax, this was a witch hunt ando t his constituents and use it as a tool -- robert: does he actual lip want
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hunter biden on thedo stands? he want that spectacle or would he rather wants this to be dismissed? >> he defitely enjoy aspect can. a lot of his advisors at the white house do know thatat ther there's a risk. >> vivian brought up how many want to get back on the twain -- campaign trail. they will be stuck in their chares just weeks before the iowa caucuses. there was sparks at the cnn debate. and two of the leading contenders, senator bernie sanders and elsearren. at issue a 2018 privateish -- private issue. warren has said that sanders said that he believes a woman cannotun. warren did not shake his hand. here's that back and forth.
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>> i think you called me a lawyer on national of the. >> wha >> i think you call med a lawyer on national tv? >> let's not do it right now. you want to have that discussion we'll have that discussion. >> what does this divided left flank divided mean for the 2020 contest? >> it brings it out into the or depending on how you want to look at it, very chilly reception. they are competing for a slice of the primary electorate. and we' t getting noward the voting contest where the primary is getting underway in earnest. i do think the way that they behave and the way that thi exchange played out is going to affect people's voters' views of them. it is fascinating that tey're goin be in the senate chamber for hours on end just feet away from each other and having to -- not only miss their
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campaign facetime but also deal with each other in very close proximity and that will play out also probably in the halls of the capitol in the next few weeks. >> i wasefinitely looking yestery. what's the body language going on there? as robert: what the body language? >> i couldn't see any body lang sge. they werff. they weren't looking at each other. robert: they're impartial jurors. >> senator sanders was asked i think today have you spoken with senator warren and he said nope. >> better than what i got the day before which is i don't want to talk about it. elizabeth warren said this is the last i've aid of this. you can see how -- i think they realize this moment didn'took great for either of them. robert: dan, what's your thoughe on sanders-warren interaction? this debate 202 seems for month has been about medicare for all, health care.
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>> this was a collisiond desti to happy. they're fishing in the same pond for a lot of vot ms. they shay of the same views of what's wrong with the system. they have some different prescriptions on how to fix it. but they have a similar world view about a rigged o syster the influence of money. it's not likely that the finalists forhe democratic nomination, i won't say that definitely, but are going to be the two most liberal candidates in the race. both in iowa and new hampshire they're competing very much robert: is vice president biden, buttigieg and bloomberg are they all watching? >>s think thaght because iowa is so fluid right now. any one o four candidates seems to be in a position to either win iowa or finish fourth. and the consequence is siv for
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-- significant for both of them. i think if t let the story forle w be sanders vs. warren he's happy witht that. they've got two and a half weeks to make the final sale and some of the h are stue and some of them will be out in iowa. robert: how will that affec president biden's campaign? >> he's taking questions but struggled to get t message back on track to his, you know, platform essentially. this is hovering aro he has a bit of a legacy that he comes to the table with in terms of his, you know,eing vice president to president obama who remains very popular in a democratic party. he's hoping to, you know, use h that t advantage. hard to sayt's going on with his son and the whole controversy with impeefment or if it's otherng t robert: president trump took a lot of action on trade.
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the usmca was passed by the senate. he sign phase 1 trade deal with china. they're trying to build a story outside of the impeachnt narrative. ? >> oh, of course. this is something they esperately want to turn on because they consider it for the 2020 campaign. this is something he's been trying to g across f ages. it was a veryus contentssue with congress in terms of trying to get the usmca passed in particular. and so you had that in the last couple of days plus, he managed to sign phase 1 which it's going to benefit farmers especially in critical districts that could or trump. and so it's going to be interesting to see. but certainly that is where they would love all the attention to be right now. your hear president trump and see himbo tweeting how can you impeach a president when the economy is so good? i thihis fed the narrative for him. he's hoping to continue coming back to that.he of course,ne is not
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related to the other. i think he thinks th it's possibleo kind of shift the focus to something else and is trying to compartmentalize in some ways. we don't see him doing that in the same way bill clinton did. he is quite happy whenever he can point to anything that is a concrete accplishment. the timing of the trade vote was interesting in the senate. >> why? >> the fact thatigt came before the impeachment inquiry seems notable to me. and it's because speaker pelosi's idea to hold on to the es a little bit longe than folks had hoped. you can see a world where usmca has to wait until impeachment is over that gives theepublicans a decent talking point to say we need to finish this up and get on tohe people's business. usmca is waiting fors. that backstop isn't there anymore. itas taken away the talking a poinut democrats are so obsessed with impeachment we
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can't do anything. you could argue in the past couple of months at least in thi l washington has been working better than it has been for the past couple of years. >>hi usmca trade deal, is this part of dee pre's strategy? >> well, it certainly part of his re-electionthtrategy. problem is the president gets in the way of his own strategy t an i thit's the danger. robert: that's all we have tonight. we'll talk abou this more. be sure to watch pbs's cerage of the impeachment trial starting next tuesday at 12:30 p.m. eastern. we will continue to discuss the politics of trade in 2020 and the outlook in iowa. it's available as a free podcast or you can watch it on our weite. i'mobert costa. good night. ♪
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>> corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- additional funding is provide by -- k and patricia yuen through the yuen foundation, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. the corporation for public broadcasting,nd by contributions to your pbs station from viersike you. thank you. >> you're watching
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