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tv   Washington Week  PBS  February 2, 2018 7:30pm-8:01pm PST

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captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org robert: what happens when a o president goesr against the government he leads? president trump approves the release of a dputed republican memo, alleging the f.b.i. and juste partment abused their surveillance we discuss the fallout civil and political tonight on "washington week." presidt trump: i think it's a disgraro. rt: he ignores warnings from the f.b.i. and signs off the release of a republican memo he says shows bias against him in the russian probe. president trump: people should be ashamed of themselves. robert: democrats accuse the president of tryinto discredit robert mueller. >> this is not about the facts. this is about a narrative that
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the chairman wants to put out to undermine the u.b.i.,ermine the department and ultimately undermine bob mueller. robert: it is republicans ainst republicans. the speaker: this is not indictment of the f.b.i., the department of justice. it does not impugn the mueer investigation or the deputy attorney general. robert: b senator mccain strongly disagrees. he released a statement that read in part, if we continue to undermine ouown rule of law, we are doing putin's job for him. at the heart of the document, a controversial dossier, paid for by democrats during the general election. and by a republican client in the early primary season. we discu all with molly ball of "time" magazine.ae mi scherer of the washington post. rachel bade of politico and carl
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hulse of the "new york times. >> celebrating 50 years, this is "washington week." funding is provided by -- is eir leadership instinctive. they understand the challenges of today and research the technologies otomorrow. some call them veterans. we call them part of our team. >> on a cruise with american cruise lines, you can experience historic destinations along the mississippi river, the columbia river, across the united states. american cruise lines fleet of small ships explore amecan
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landmarks, local cultures and calmam waterways. ican cruise lines, proud sponsor of "washington week." additional funding is provided by new man's own foundation, donating allrofits om new man's food products to charity and nourishing the common good. thethics in excellence through journalism foundation, and committed to bridging cul ral differences in our communities. the corporation for publicng broadcasnd by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, from washington, moderator robert costa. robert: goodth evening. white house approved release of a house intelligence like tee memo that landed a hand grenade in washington
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broilingimmering tensions over the russia probe. it was a day of unrest and the u.s. stock market plunging as the nation's justice system was challenged by president trump and t republican party which controls both chambers in congress. there are many names involved in this story, lots of parts and competing perspective. the memo drafted by the republican staff, averts that the f.b.i. and the justice department lacked integrity in a political biased and explosive claim about a political institutions. it accuses law enforcement leaders of overstepping their authority to obtain a warrant. democrats railed against the release, so did a number of republicans including senator mccain who said mueller's investigation must proceed
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unimpeded. rmer f.b.i. director, he tweeted, that's it? dishonest and misleading memo wrecked the house intelligence committee and damaged relationships with fisa cour and inexcuse apply exposed classifiednvestigation of an american citizen, for what? for what? that is the question that seemingly sparked 1,000 answers in washington on friday. and our reporters tonight have been at the white house and on capitol hill hearing them all, looking for the facts as both parties clashed. let's start with the president who put this in motion and proved theelease of the memo without redactions. what drove him to do so, michael? >> for president trump, the investigation has never been about russia but about him. he sees it as an attk on him. he has been doing everything he can to fight back. and this is the latest gambit in that.
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i think it's fair to say that the thrus of tha memo is political. it's a political argument, not a legal argunt. it's not saying that a court would not have accepted this warrant or that the warrant was wrongly gotten, it's saying there is a political motivation at the f.b.i. and that's the ory that the president wants out. and we know today in a spray at the oval office, the ptssident question about it and he says it's a shame and we will see more fweets. h it gives a talking point so the daily n fsht, he is able to feel like he is taking the upper hand. >> there have been some republicans arguing for the member's -- memo's release and saying it was the need for certain institutions and there are a lot of holes in that
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rationale, but the president hasn't tried to do that. the president has told his own friends, this is just about he discrediting mueller probe and undercutting in the public's view because he t knows wheres is going eventually if mueller that comes up with something that touches him, it's going to hinge on public opinion.o, and the important thing to me about this whole episode is that far from being pushed by some crisis into having to decide whether to defend the president agast the mueller probe, republicans in congress took it upon themselves, nunes and the intelligence committee staff, they came up with thisnd memo gave it to trump in order to help him, and help him discredit the russia investigation. robert: democrats say there are omissions. >> i would say it landed like a thud. i talked to both republicans and democrats today who agree with
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comey. there were some elements of the memo that pointed that then investigat started with the story that the "times"" had broken with a trump associate t talkingo an australian diplomat. i think that the memo in some ways accomplished its main goal. there were two weeks of discussion about this and people, t there is a lot of smoke about it and they wereng tr to undermine the investigation. republicans were saying let's move on and this did not touch the mueller investigation in any way. and senate republicans have been distancing themselves from this and lindsay graham said let's move forward. i don't think it did what the staff of the house republican of thenc intelli committee. robert: you covered nunes so
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closely. how did he get here and how did he lead this? >> so, there are different actions of republicans and all over the map of how they see this memo. nunes and trump's allies, matt gates, afr republica florida, they have tried to underminthe investigation. and matt greaths said mueller is leading a coupe against the president. this is a very small fraction of republicans. most republicans aren't saying this. but there are republicans who are saying thi and trey gowdy saw these documents and hne had a issue with them. or thought that perhaps there should have been information presented to the court to justify these warrants. he worked with nunes and didn't want him to get out over his skis but wanted to raise this as
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an oversight issue. and so he proceeded to work with him. the issue here is that senate republicans do not agree with. this at a a lot of them said, why didn't we see this memo firstnd could have crafted it more delicately andt looks like a political document. andpeer ryan wants to support nunes as the chairman of the house intelligence committee and he thinks there is an oversight issue to look into, but he said i'm notin t to discredit the f.b.i. or undercut e d.o.j. and has nothing to do with mueller. robert: he is the only person in town that thinks this. i mean that's a general agreement. one thing about the democrats. democrats have this rebuttal, i presume we willee it at some time, in that rebuttal, that there -- that they did tell the
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court that thisas a politically motivated dossier and didn't say it waseing paid for by the clinton campaign. and that is going toatisfy a lot of people. >> it's very common in thesetu ions that sources get warrants that are politically motivated. informants oft have aagenda asand there is nothing wrong with that. the question isheer the court was deceived and we don't know the answer to that. robert: let's get back to the charges and come back to you, molly. they are asserting that law enforcement leaders abused their power to obtain wiretap warrants. the warrant was issued for carter page because of that dossier, put together by former intelligence officer christopher steele. republicans say the use of that dossier in the process was inappropriate since the research
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was funded by democrats and hillary clinton's campaign, buta that waser initially being funded by conservative donors. republicans seized on this saying the way the page warrant was haned raises broader questions of how they handled the russi investigation from the start and that's a perspective shared by the president. but that conclusion has been contested by repub acans democrats and the f.b.i. the memo isn't jusabout carte page. the memo also indicates that actions taken by former trump campaign foreign policy adviser george papadopoulos triggered the probe. he is now cooperating. in the middle of this political stor leaders of the justice department, because named in the memo is rod rosenstein aointed by the president and oversees mueller's
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investigation. his approval of that page warrant has made himge a t of the president's political allies who calle on rosenstein to step down. hisuprters say the president is looking to discredit the ssian investigation and using the memo as a weapon to discredit the man and protect hi >> rosenstein is a target for a couple of reasons. it's because of this warrant and is the man standing between trump and mueller. lrtrumpdy tried to fire mueller once and was prevented t from doing so year. so that's the real reason i think rosenstein is in trump's crosshairs. but there are aouple of issues to tease out about what is so objectionable about the evidence presented in the memo. number one is the assertion that the whole investigation sprang
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from the taint dossier. as you mentioned, trump opponents, original funders or the d.n.c. who picked up the funding and led to the creation of the actual dossier, an anti-trump fax and f.b.i. takes it and goes straight to the court with it without doing their homework, that's the lege, that they were carrying water. the charge is not that they overstepped their authority but they had political motivations and staging thised bn flimsy evidence because they wanted to take dn the president. there are a couple of things wrong with that. in the memo itself, it wasn't -- that the stuff that was in thei dowas checked out before it was brought to the court and court.ed the and then evidence that it wasn't
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just the dossier. as you said there was an investigation into the pop pop matter. and the f.b.i. -- papadopoulos and the f.b.i. was already on this case. those are the two arguments. >> carter page had been a target of russian intelligence years earlier before the trump campaign. we know this from other court documents. he had given power-point presentations so the ia that going after carter page was an arbitrary thing, this is a guy who had been targeted before and was traveling toga russia during the campaign. >> the trump campaign administration sought to push themmlves away f carter page and interesting that he would become this person. one t molly's point, this warrant was extended. they had to go back and getle
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mult renewals, so it wasn't just this one time to cevince th judges. judges tend to go along, but you still have to justify this. >> it is a surveillance request. you have to justify. robert: rosenstein is under fire from the right today. are there efforts to protect mueller inside congress, protect rosenstein and protect the russian process? >> democrats and some republicans have been talking about legislation that would protect mueller and make sure that rosenstein couldn't be fired and the leadership in the house and the senate, ryan a mcconnell have said they do not think it is necessarynd do not think the president is going to come after mueller. but obviously there a questions on this, right. today his answer, what about roo
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nstein, he said you figure that one out. he was ticked off about the memo and rosenstein was re-upin the application. robert: you figure that one out. so what happens i rod rosenstein decides to step down or fired by the president? >> he said he isn't going to step down and not -- unless he is fired. if he steps down, then his deputy, the next person in line would take over. eff session has recused himself. and keep going down. in theory, you could have the president continue t take people out. and eventually he would have to nominate someone else but congress would have a say. the issue here is whatever muelle finishes doing, he is going to deliver that report
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rod rosenstein or whoever is in that positionnd if that person who has the authority and responsibility to do witht, mueller doesn't go to the judge and prosecute the president. mueller delivers a document to the justice department and thaes person dec whether to release it publicly, give it to congress orom take other action. that's the moment -- at this tiint, the invtion is so far along, i don't think you could get rid it. robert: the process is supposed to bea political. >> these are republicans and for the house republicans and the president to be attacking the f.b.i. is a big role reversal. one thing i would say about rosen tine iun thought that this report was going to come out and buildup a big push to fire mueller or rosenstein, i
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think that that did not work. >> i think there are two other pieces of news we should conct this to. number one, the disputed resignation of deputy f.b.i. director mccabe. that was sden and apparently he was forced out. this is what the i. is looking into. and the other tng is that the report in the "new york times" that the president's former legal spokespersontoeciding how respond in theng meeith the russians that his son had, and that is an indication ay be he investigation getting closer to the president. robert: as molly isaying, the mueller team is turning its attention to a meeting that took place on o air force last july
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and that meeting, the white house aidesescribed a trump tower meeting, donald trumpni had and focused on p russian adoptiicy. mueller wanted to know how this came together. hopeix is under scrutiny for her role. and in another piece of news, the attorneys for rick gates, an associate and paul manafort have asked to withdraw. all these moving parts in the ruia probe a as molly is sake. hope hicks under scrutiny. >> i can barel keep up. look, i think some republicans are realizing they may have overstepped this week. paul ryan specifically called for the democratic rebuttal o this memo to be released and be released as sosn asble. yesterday at a press conference,
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he tried to say over and over again, this is what ts government is, congressional oversight of the f.b.i. and not allege of the f.b.i. and d.o.j. are corrupt and not anythigainst mueller, but he has lost control of that narrative. and -- robert: can you critique the leadership of law enforcement institutions and say youre not critiquing? >> that is their big problem. the republicans have always portrayed themselves, big defenders of law enforcement. the president has tak some steps or rank and file. but you are still attacking the institution and that has been one of the dangerous aspects of this and one of the long term repercussions a going to come in. intelligence oversight by the congress is difficult. the intelligence agencies,
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they're not sure, they don't trust members. and don't like to share that much information. this is going to make them even less apt to do it. >> it should be bipartisan, right? that's been one of the biggest criticismsod. is that democrats were not included and f excluded a long time and the senate republicans on the intelligence cmittee are saying specifically, it doesn't have to be like this. >> as i said earlier today, it's almost unimaginable to think of some of these past intellince depupes and have this kind of thing happen. this does not happen. robert: this is whattr presiden p doesn't care about. we know he cares a great deal and believes -- he is aalesman -- he can create a reality force field. that's what he is doing. he has 38% base d trying to
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create an alternative set of facts that willn play o "fox and friends" and twitter feed andal w him to keep the base. and if most in congress eventually don't go along with and hurts republicans in the mid-term electns, the president is convinced if he holds to it, it will protect >> this was the week of the state of the uniik. it seems le a century ago. he has an iigration deale is trying to cut. trying to get a spendingbill done before the february 8 deadli c. does thike all of these efforts? >> yes and know. we are seeing a rebound for trump. since tax reform and hisgr sive pitch, we have seen his approval rating has ticked up and the approval rating for the tax bill has ticke up and
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the congressional ballot hasrr ed. so in the big picture, voters are giving trump another chance since the new year. and his state of the union was very well received. his poll records, most of the people who watched it had a positive impression. the question is does the russia investigation, background noise, can he convinc it is background noise. >> there was no real rule they had to have this big fight after the state of the union. robert: we are going to have to leave it there. molly and michael and rachel and thanks for joining us. we will be streaming the "washington week" extra starting at 8:35 eastern time and
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discussing the president's first e of the union address and look ahead to next week's looming deadline to fund tgo rnment to avoid a shutdown. if you missed the show or "the extra," go to onweek. washin i'm robert costa. thanks for watching. d go eagles. >> funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> their leadership is instinctive. they understand thell cenges of today and research the technologies of tomorrow. some call them veterans.
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we call them par of our team. >> american cruisein l, proud sponsor of "washington week." additional funding i provided by new man's own foundation,do ting all profits from new man's food products to charity andourishing the common good. the ethics in excellence in journalism. the foundation committed bridging cultural differences in our communities. the corporationub forc broadcasting and by contributions to yourbs station from viewers like you. station from viewers like you. thank you.
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narrator: on the evening of april 2, 1917, president woodrow wilson and his wife edith left the capitol and headed to the white house. only moments earlier, wilson had asked congress for a declaration of war against germany. a. scott berg: it was the greatest applause wilson had heard in his years in office. r afe speech, he and his wife go back to the white house. wilson goes into his office. and he puts his heade own on the table andeps. he and one ofen on his staff said, "but mr. president, what-what are you...

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