Shields and Brooks on public impeachment hearings, Kentucky election results


JUDY WOODRUFF: As the impeachment inquiry
continues to ramp up ahead of next week’s public testimonies, the race for the 2020
Democratic nomination continues, and a former New York City mayor may throw his hat into
the ring. To help us make sense of it all are Shields
and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and
New York Times columnist David Brooks. Hello to both of you. MARK SHIELDS: Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, we had a quiet week. You know better than that. There’s a lot going on. Mark, I think Lisa Desjardins added it up,
almost 2,700 pages released this week of transcripts, testimony of former — current and former
administration officials in the impeachment inquiry. MARK SHIELDS: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: The president says it’s a witch-hunt,
it’s corrupt, doesn’t mean anything. Others have different views. What does it add up to for you? MARK SHIELDS: It adds up to that the hoax
charge that was leveled against the inquiry, I think, has been totally rebutted and refuted. And I think that Republicans, quite frankly,
on the committee didn’t lay a glove on any of the witnesses. And it shows, more than anything else, to
me, what one person standing up, the whistle-blower, did. It emboldened, inspired, energized people,
and to his credit. And the whistle-blower’s initial statement
has been fortified and ratified and certified by subsequent witnesses. JUDY WOODRUFF: What does it add up to for
you? DAVID BROOKS: Even more guilty than last week. New and improved guilt. I mean, we’re learning the same story over
and over again, but we’re learning it with more evidence, strength and more underlining,
that the quid pro quo really was a quid pro quo. It was not just a phone call. It was not just a few meetings. It was a concerted campaign. The questions remaining to me are, where did
it all start? Did Donald Trump think of this conspiracy
theory in his head? Did somebody else direct it to him? And so how did it get in his head? Second, how clear a role did Giuliani play? Will the Republicans try to throw Giuliani
under the bridge — or under the bus, whatever you throw people under, and say, it wasn’t
Trump, it was Giuliani, and it was Giuliani serving his clients? And so those are still remaining. I think we have learned nothing dramatically
new. It just reinforced what we already knew. JUDY WOODRUFF: And… MARK SHIELDS: Yes, I would just add that we
went from no quid pro quo to quid pro quo, but no felony. And… JUDY WOODRUFF: Because the White House is
acknowledging now that there was a discussion. MARK SHIELDS: Now that there was. So, the Lindsey Grahams and others of the
world who said there was no quid pro quo to begin with are now saying, well, I’m not going
to pay any attention to anything involved. There’s no coherent or consistent Republican
defense that has been mounted in any way, and in part because I don’t think there is
one. DAVID BROOKS: Yes. And it’s also become much more clear that
there’s tensions within the White House over how to handle this whole situation between
Barr and Trump, between… JUDY WOODRUFF: Attorney general. DAVID BROOKS: … Mulvaney and Trump. So people with different attitudes, should
we have released the transcripts? Should we have a press conference clearing
the president? And Barr doesn’t want to do that. And so you’re beginning to see some tensions
within the White House, as people to begin to look over their shoulder and see who’s
really going to take the fall here. JUDY WOODRUFF: We… MARK SHIELDS: Just — one thing I would just
add, Judy. And that is, the people who have stood up,
who have testified put their career at risk. Let’s be very frank about it. And there have to be dozens of other people
who are just as aware, just as informed, and just as alarmed who have remained silent. And I think it’s fascinating the people who
have stood up, doing so at their own risk. And it’s a reminder that those who are not
speaking, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those in a time of moral
crisis who remain neutral. And they have to be terribly, terribly uncomfortable
tonight. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we will see more next week
about who is willing and who isn’t to come forward. But, David, we are going to have open public
hearings starting next Wednesday. How does that change the dynamic? We have already seen, as you said, a lot of
material. How is that going to change things, do you
think? DAVID BROOKS: Yes. Well, this is more a public education campaign. I would be very surprised if we learn much
new. The reason you have private hearings is so
you can understand the case in front of you. And then the public hearings are to educate
the voters. And is — have any of us talked to a Trump
voter who seems inclined to change their mind about Donald Trump because of what’s come
out so far? I certainly have not. And so I do not expect this to change many
minds. People are locked in about this guy. Nothing has changed their minds in three years. I would be surprised if anything changed their
minds next week. JUDY WOODRUFF: If that’s the case, Mark — I
mean, do you agree with David? MARK SHIELDS: No, I don’t. I like to agree with David, but I don’t on
this one. (LAUGHTER) MARK SHIELDS: I don’t think you can understand
the impact until you see the face and hear the voice of the people making this case and,
as I say, putting their own careers, their own professional lives at risk to do so. And these are people with very impressive
credentials, resumes of long public service. And I think I recall — David was too young. I recall Watergate, which was 45 years ago,
when, all of a sudden, there was a voice that said, yes, there is — Alexander Butterfield
— there is a taping system in the White House, and the impact that had on people. And when John Dean said, yes, the president
— I told the president there’s a cancer on the presidency. And I just — I don’t think you can overstate… (CROSSTALK) DAVID BROOKS: Yes. Yes. The only thing I would say, is, when Watergate
happened, if you asked Americans, do you trust the government to the right thing most of
the time, 60 or 70 percent said yes. And now it’s 19 percent. So, people don’t have high views of what goes
on in Washington and they are not likely to grant it legitimacy. Secondly, when — Watergate, the Democrats
and Republicans differed, but they did not seem to be in different universes. Now they’re in different universes. And the cost of admitting your own party is
wrong and potentially handing power to the other party seems ruinous. And so people don’t want to make that call. That’s why they stick to their party, because
they think the cost of their party losing is the end of their own lives. And that’s a result of politicization. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Mark, all this happening,
of course, as we begin an election — or we’re in the middle of, but truly begin an election
year. We’re getting closer to the primaries in January. If this — if the House does vote to impeach
and continues on, that would happen by the end of this year, Senate trial in early 2020. But there is a presidential campaign under
way. And, today, or this week, the news is that,
lo and behold, the former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg is looking seriously
at it, filing today, apparently, in Alabama to run. What does this say about the race, that he’s
decided to get in at this late — or to seriously think about getting in at this late date? MARK SHIELDS: Michael Bloomberg thinks he
should be president. That’s what it says about the race. And Mike Bloomberg has always thought he should
be president. There’s now, in his judgment, or those around
him, an opening. I don’t think there’s a craving in the country
for a fiscally responsible, culturally liberal candidate. I don’t recall any that won contested primaries
in battleground states recently. He’s got a great story to tell personally
of great personal achievement. He’s done great work on gun control and on
climate. But I just — I look at the record of New
York mayors in national politics. I remember the excitement that accompanied
John Lindsay and the fifth-place finish in Florida. I remember Rudy Giuliani dying in Florida,
never going to Iowa or New Hampshire, and Bill de Blasio most recently. There isn’t a national craving for New York
mayors. But maybe Mike Bloomberg will enjoy corn roast
in Iowa and clam bakes in New Hampshire. I just haven’t seen that side of him before. JUDY WOODRUFF: But he does have another identity
as well, doesn’t he, as a multibillionaire? DAVID BROOKS: And $65 billion, yes. No, I put — I give him much higher chances
than I think maybe Mark does. I think there’s anxiety about Biden. The question will be, will Michael Bloomberg
take on Biden directly? I think he more or less has to. If there’s — there’s no lane there as long
as Biden is strong. And so if there — I think there is going
to be a direct challenge from Bloomberg to Biden. We will see how that turns out. I do think there’s room for people who just
seems like the calm voice who could take Trump without many questions asked. I think there’s room for a candidate to say,
hey, I’m not an ideologue. I just know how to run things. And I think there’s some market for that. So, as long as the moderate lane is not held
by a strong incumbent, then I think there’s room for either Buttigieg or Bloomberg. Having said that, I think the happiest person
tonight has to be Elizabeth Warren. And the entrant of another moderate into the
race has to dilute the moderate vote. It has to make it more likely that Warren
and Sanders will be the nominee. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, should Joe Biden be… MARK SHIELDS: I agree with David on the Elizabeth
Warren part and that has the… JUDY WOODRUFF: That’s she the happy… (CROSSTALK) MARK SHIELDS: Well, that he’s suggested that
her wealth tax, which basically is popular with voters, is unconstitutional. So the one thing to look forward to from — you
know, because we who cover politics are really fight promoters — is this, that the old maxim
that all politics is local or all politics is national — all politics is personal. If there’s anything more personal than the
feud and dislike between Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg, I don’t know what it would
be. I mean, he said in the speech at that 2016
convention, the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy. I mean, he just really skewered Trump and
gave us a preview of what to expect. JUDY WOODRUFF: Called him a con man. But should — but, Mark, should Joe Biden
or the other moderates be worried about Michael Bloomberg? MARK SHIELDS: Sure. Sure. Judy, he’s got $51 billion. Joe Biden has money problems. Yes. You know, after South Carolina and Nevada,
we go to basically a national primary. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, money matters. MARK SHIELDS: And the Super Tuesday, and California,
he can buy his way in, make no mistake about it. But, you know, is there going to be a connection
point between Mike Bloomberg and Democratic voters? You know, John Lindsay was a Republican, became
a Democrat. Rudy was a Democrat, became a Republican. New York mayors don’t seem to really come
down on one side or the other. And I think it hurts them. DAVID BROOKS: He has to show he understands
Iowa. I mean, I think Mark is right about that. And he hasn’t always done that in the past. I think the way he ran the gun control campaign
was foolhardy, to have a New York mayor telling people in rural America, don’t own guns. I think that was a message bound to fail. And so — but who knows? He’s not a dumb guy. And he wouldn’t run unless he thought he had
a real path, because he had this exact choice four years ago, and he turned it down because
he saw no path. JUDY WOODRUFF: State and local elections across
the country, a lot of places across the country this week, Mark. People especially looking at Virginia, Kentucky,
Mississippi. Do we see anything there that tells us something
about next year? MARK SHIELDS: Yes. (LAUGHTER) MARK SHIELDS: Virginia is now more Democratic
than the country. It’s amazing. It’s now — forget it. It’s a blue state. Hillary Clinton’s margin was twice as large
in Virginia as it was nationally. And that was reinforced when the Democrats
took over out both houses of the legislature and now hold the governorship as well. Kentucky, Matt Bevin, the governor, abrasive,
had gratuitous fights, accused people of all sorts of things with vicious attacks — with
anybody. And he lost in a state that he — no Republican
should lose in. And to Andy Beshear’s credit, he ran
a very good campaign. JUDY WOODRUFF: This is the Democrat. (CROSSTALK) MARK SHIELDS: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you see? DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I think the Bevin thing
is more Bevin. The Republicans didn’t quite well in all the
other statewide races in Kentucky. JUDY WOODRUFF: Kentucky, right, right. DAVID BROOKS: And so — but, that said, what
everyone’s noticing about this is what we have been noticing all along. The suburbs are not Republican territory anymore. The classic case was in Pennsylvania, where
— since I was born, the swing area of Pennsylvania was the Philadelphia suburbs, the Delaware,
Montgomery, Bucks and Chester counties. And they seem pretty Democratic right now. Trump isn’t — Republicans are doing a little
better out in west, out in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. But if you want to know where all the people
are, they’re in the Philadelphia suburbs. And that looks very Democratic. And if that trend is repeated nationally,
then that’s just very good for Democrats. MARK SHIELDS: Just — and the other thing
was health care. Andy Beshear… JUDY WOODRUFF: Beshear, Kentucky. MARK SHIELDS: … guaranteeing — and the
Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid, think about that, Medicare for all Democrats. I mean, what really wins? JUDY WOODRUFF: The message was that… MARK SHIELDS: They won in 2018 on preserving
the Affordable Care Act, preexisting condition, and extending Medicaid coverage. And… JUDY WOODRUFF: And this is in a red state. MARK SHIELDS: In a red state as well, yes,
no question. JUDY WOODRUFF: Mark Shields, David Brooks,
thank you. MARK SHIELDS: Thank you.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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