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tv   Washington Week  PBS  February 16, 2018 7:30pm-8:00pm PST

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robert: indictments in thero russia and par alsills in washingt over gun control. i'm robert costa. 17 americans gunned dnn florida. another week where leaders face the question, what now?gh tonit on "washington week." esident trump: today i speak to a nation in gri. robert: in the wake of another mass shooting, an emotionally charged debate. >> can you tel us when the house may muster the courage to take up the issue of gun violence? robert democrats demand action. some republicans sayto her laws would not have prevented the massacre. >> the struggle up to this point has been that most of the proflingse enthusiastic offered would notave prevented not just's yesterday tragedy but any
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of those in recent history. robert from columbine to sandy hook, to parkland, florida. >> president trump, please do something! robert: is washington any closer to addressing gun violence? plus, breaking news. the justiceen departm charges 13 russians with interfering in the u.s. election, and turmoil oncegain in th west bing -- wing. >> mr. bannon, do you plan to answer questions today? robert: as steve bannon is questioned in the russian probe andob r under itsations of domestic all vi with dan balz of the "washington post." kimberly atkins have boston harold. jeanne cummings of the "wall street journal" and carl hulse of the "new york times." >> this is "washington week." nding is provided by -- >> their leadership is
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rstand the challenges ay.eythnd u and research the technologies of tomorrow. some call them veterans. we call them part of our team. >> on a cruise with american crse lines, travelers experience the maritime herite and culture of new england. our athlete- -ll cruise ships explores american land scasmse, seaside villages and hisric harbors. where you can experience loam customs and american cruise lines, proud sponsor of "washington week." >> additional fundin is provided by -- newman's own
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foundation, donating all profits from newman's own food products to charity andg nourishhe common good. the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation.pa koo anicia yuen through the yuen foundation, committed to bridging cultural in our communities. the corp race for public broadcasting and b contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you.th k you. once again, from washington, moderator robert costa. robert: good evening. once again, another sool shooting. another heart wrenching tgedy. a massacre that has rattled the country. it has reignited the paurnl debate over the second amendment. big questions keep lingersach time these nights mayors flash. should dong c --gress and president trump take action and what is the government's role
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in protecting citizens in gun violence? nikolas cruz is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. one for each of the people he is accused of gung down inside his former florida high school. in hisemarks to the nation, president trump stressed the need to adenessl health issues but steered clear of any discussion of gun policy. president trump: our administration is working closely with local authorities g and estigate the shoot learn everything we can. we are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secu schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health. robert: investigators say cruz fired nearly 150 shots fm his assault style ar-15 rifle, a weaponas he pur legal little. gun policy sharply divideses this country, as you know. when it comes to gun control. 18% of republicans support the
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idea.78 of democrats do. according to a pew research pew from a gun poll last june. where we stand, carl, is we have in issue of gun control that comes up aer every mass shooting. ho's going to drive what comes next will it be president trump or will will it be republicans in congress? carl: question is will anything comes next? after every one of these events, i ask is this going to be one that changes the issue? i just don't see it. theepublicans have t majority and the votes. the n.r.a. has a strangleholdn some respects on that party. they don't want to move awaha from they have a tough election cycle coming up. think they'll be some plans that come up but it didn't get through afterewwn. i do think there are a couple of differences. democrats for years were staying ay from this issue entirely.
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they didn't even bring it up and tw they see this as something they do wa talk about. i think it's going to be an election issue. eons ago, i was a reporter in brow ward county where this occurred and t broward county enacted one of the toughest gun control in the count background checks. it was later overturned by some state policy buthat's an area that has embraced gun carom and gun i think that's one of the reasons you're hearing this outcry from there for people that want something done. robert: the powerful statements from the pares, the people is week. the people in brourmed county certaiy asking president trump for gun control. there was breaking news that nator feinstein, of california, wants to approaches legislation to rae the age of purchasing a firearm to 21. nikolas cruz, of course,9.as could the midterms and concernsr on a sn voters prompt some
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action on something like that? >> no, it won't. the n.r.a. is just too good. we have a very familiar cycle through. going we have initial outrage, sadness d demands for action. then we have a few things proped and then they put the brakes on it. and then two weeks from now or two days from now, some other big story is going to break, people are going t forget about it and the fever will go down and the bl will never come up. i mean, if they couldn't d b thosep stocks after vegas, that has nothing to do with whether you can own a gun or not. but to say an 18-ye-old or 19-year-old can't buy a gun is going to be - that's a much bigger step for them to take than to banff bo stocks and they couldn't even do that. >> i generallyh agree w everything that you said.
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but this time, unlike newtown and some other instances you had young people, high school-a students describing and videotaping a massacre taking place in aheir schoo then speaking afterwards about it and the need for change in a ver eloquent way that i think is at least registering on a local level, at the very least. maybe on a state level. you see them calling out peopl like senator marco rubio to act, all the way up to the president. soat i think if approach, really a systemic community saying look, we want a change eere, starting at the local level, going to tate and then to washington, that could be the beginning of something that's going to change but i terms of washington, i think you're right. robert:dehat about pre trump's response? you've observed presidents for decades. he was confronted with another crisis, another tragedy. >> yes, he struggles at moments like this. the statement that he reeled off the teleprompter had certain
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notes that were necessary and things that people expect from e pre but his unwillingness to talk evene a litt about guns and the gun violence that exists in this country, even rhetorically says that he's not prepared to take up this hallenge on that side. he talked about mental health. there are legitimate and important issues on the mental health side that need to be dealt with as this is nonan either/or situation but he? a senseas cast his lot on one atf de athnd reflects, in a sense, the great cultural divide on this issue. this issue has severely divided this country and as long as we're as divided as we are politically and culturally, it's difficult to w see a forward to try to get any action on it. >> one lt note in florida in particular, the one person who's in a bad spot -- difficult spot
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-- is governor scott. because those are his constituents whoer demanding for and he wants to run the senate and he was going to make the decision about running for the senate at the end of the fegislative session, so a lot important things are all coming together at the same time for goe governor. and that's ing to make his every decision he makes havemu bigger meaning. robert: sceyt a player but what about president trump again? he is in se quays so i would lolling cal on some issuesin an ther ways not. >> in the past, he had support an assaults weapons ban. this is sort of the new york trump history that comes out where he has said that there could be sometop compromise there but i don't see it happening now. he's thrown his lot in with the n.r.a. they became a really important group to him.
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>> they were one of the earliest endorsors of hisca idacy. he is aware of who was with him early and loyal they were the only outside group that advertised on his behalf and they spent $31 milln. twice as much as they spent on any other presidential campaign. robe: does he look at that knost that urged him to take action or doe he listen to the n.r.a.? we're going to have to turn to some breaking news that dominated friday. breaking news in the russi probe probe. the justice department announced todayhat he -- it has indicted 13 russian nationals for alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. >> the defendantsonducted what they called information warfare against the united states sith theted goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates e political system in general. robert: president trump responded to thewindictments a tweet. he wrote, russia started their
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anti-u.s. campaign in 2014, long before i announced that i would run for president. the results of the election wer not impacted. the trump campaign did nothing wron no collusion. joining me now with more on the indiets is michael crowley, who covers national securement for politico and a friend of "washington week." michael, the indictmentcces the defendants of using social media platforms and fake american personas to meddle in the election. specifically to support president trump'sca aign and damage other candidates. what's the instance of these indiets and of -- significance of these indictments? no >> we have for a while that there was this widespread russian-government directed effort to influence the election and had heavily used social media twitter bots and tro fake news on facebook as a way
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of trying to change voter attitudes, mainly to work against hillary clinton and in favor of donald trump. we've seen prior revelations to this effect over many months. what theueer indictment shows us is a new level of detail that. number one, gives us a sharper focus into how these operations worked. er two, presents the u.s. government as saying we are so confident about this, that we can bring criminal charges against specific individual previously it had been kind ofa y internet operators whose names we didt necessarily know. now there are 13 named defendants and t also,nk most startingly and something that should wake midwesterners up to the seriousness of this. the fact that russians actually came into the united states t according to the indictment to. collect intelligence and sentially recruit what the
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indictment calls unwitting u.s. citizens to participate in this scheme to divide americans during the election, to support trump and damage hillary clinton. so these russians wereto helpin rrange campaign rallies in favor of donald trump and in some cases paying these wwitting americans. one exampl a woman was paid to dress up in a priso costume like she was hillary clinton behind bars and the russi pd someone to build a cage to impron this hillary clinton impersonator. robert: wild. the russians were here on the ground. but was this a protectn effort for the whole russian probe, to protect mueller as he moves forward? because president trump and othein the administration have call this would whole enterprise at some level a hoax. >> it's hard to know what's onl
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mus mind but this would be consistent with this. you heard democrats come out saying this owsow serious this is. russian interference is not fake news or a hoax. it's a dire threat to our mocracy and security. you have to take it enormously seriouy. you can't dismiss it as prosecute president trump has. and democrats are saying it's more important than ever that ob mueller be allowed to continue to do his job and donald trump back off and not try to disparage his work as some kind of a women hunt. robert: dan, significance for president trump as he confronts the seriousness of these indictments? >> two things. one, heo longer can describe this investigation as a hoax the allegations of russian meddling at a hoax. he can continue to say there was no colluison on part. we'll wait to see where special
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counsel comes down on that. but on the question of general interference, that has been wiped away by theth detail i indictment. ssure on lso puts p him to act to do something to prevent this in the newly. one of the oth criticisms is this administration under this president has done nothing in anymore sious way to head this off for 2018 or 2020. it will welcome more difficult for the administration t avoid that. robert: will there be pressure from capitol hill to address russian inexperience? -- ineerience? >> i think the senate report will come outor to that action. the republicans have been very involved. the administration hasn't been think on it because they it undermines the president's cents and i think people are seriously worried that ther sians will do this again. i do think your point on -- i think this have good job
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security for bob mueller to get this out and show -- it would make it really hard now to push him out. robert: and mueller keeps movine this we saw that rick gates, the former advisor topa manafort, the foreman campaign chairman, looks like he's obliging to mueller. >> absolutely.th 've done a fabulous job of keeping everything under wps. largely because they know they'd be the first dead body if they said something and mueller found out. weave. we'v gone from ukraine to lobbying to lying and now we're getting to the heart of the rush -- arb -- russia probe itself. it is an spansive investigation. back to carl's point.we had every head of an intelligence agency on the hill this week saying russia is
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trying to influence our election. they're doing the same things again. now this rort does add substance to it. the senate report will add more momentum to it. there is a tension between state and federal election officialsc e these are state events, not federal eventsreut there all kinds of things congress could do.d they coive them grants so they could upgrade their machines. give thems to they could hi cybersecurity people. robert: steve bannon also talking to robert mueller's team this week, the former white house strategist and went to capitol hillut had a little bit of an altercation with the intelligence committee. >> yes, he's still exerting some form of execute privilege, which no lawyeral i'ved to believes that actually exists. but he's talking to robert mueller and i think thas t
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most important thing. and we've seen from everything that robert mueller has done, how meticulousnd careful they're being. to have him before those investigators has to be something that is unnerving for the frump who you. they don't know what he's going to say and probably aren't ready until mueller is. i alsok these 1 charges against thin 13, russian in ordo get -- you have to convince them this is a problem. >> it also puts a lot of pressure on facebook and twitter. >> yes. robert: are they publishers? where's their responsibility? >> e txactly. y've been slow walking waver -- whatever they were going to fix so after the
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complapets from the intelligence committee, this should light a fire under them to domething. robert: more intrigue in the white house. they're scramble over rob porter the former statue secretary who faced accusationse of a general john kell illinois said they're trying to chae up the whole security process. it's still prett hazy on that issue. >> it is. there were rumor flying that john kelly might be gone by tend of the week. now well the release of this memo, which youli obtain e today outlining the changes that they're going to make to the security clearance process, which has clearly been a problem. i took that as a sign that they knew they had to get out ahead of some of theis things. a t if that salt there for week or two, they would be under tremendous pressure t guy
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-- try to do something. robert: let's tur to the stalemate over immigration because that was another big story this week. this week, the senate failed to advance four immigration bills, includin backed by president and a bipartisan approach. the trump-endorsedsp biln sponsored bill republican senator chuck grassle of iowa checked the boxes of the president's four pillar. building the wall, an end to both the visa and lottery program and extended mass migration. mr. trump had threatened to veto any legislation that didot include those four components but last month republicans ensured democrats that there would be a good faith debate on immigration to avoid another government shutdown. carl, ump up on capitol hill,
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what happened? gridlock. this was supposed to be this big, old-fashioned debate and i. neimmigratio is sort of like gun control in some represents. they just can't corner it. i think for the program now is what happened in the court? knock as -- congress has pretty much thrown up it hands. kimberly: so -- robert: so what happen to the dreamers? >> i think they're in the supreme court. what happens in the court could eventual little decide it. >> there could be some kind of daca fix that trump could do by myself. by do have the courts kays that are moving through. the dreerms can't be deported medi -- immediately or by march 5 is when tmp had said he wanted them to get action on
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this trump has said hige move march 5 and he can do that. so we could jus see that deep dates keep moving deeper and deepernto the chearnled world. >> i'm not sure that's going to happen. i think when reports say he's not interested in moveling that march 35 day. i'm incally ined to believe him because trump is intent to harp of foremanssues. i don't think he'd back a clean daca bill. >> just moved the date -- >> i understand that. i also don't think he'd sign a bill that have daca or wall funding. without a move on legal immigration, i think tt's going to be dead the in the ware at the white house. >> talking with both side today, both sides believe that if and
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when the supre court does something that opunish reopens ths, the removes the curre protection from the teamers tha. the question is how narrow is that movemt extent? noenthing wtot?rt ha dreamers command something will, ritynue i'm not sure they wi lljeanne.: even then, it could months before is ever gets to the supreme court. the administration haskipped over appellate courts and take taken it straight to the supreme court. robert: we'lleep eye on immigration. corps issue for a lot of people. thanks, everybody, for being here. our conversation will continue online on the "washington week" we'll talk about two more trumpn
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y ne over their l.a.ish -- lavish. also, a pay out from president trump' lawyer to a pornography star. i'm robert costa. thanks for watching. >> funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> their leadership is instinctive. they understand the challenges of today.d research the technologies of tomorrow. some call them veterans.
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we call them part of our team. >> american cruise lines, proud ponsor of "washington week." >> additional funding is provided by -- newman's own foundation, donating all profits from newman's own food products to charity and nourishing the common good. the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation. koo and patricia yuen through the you -- yuen foundation, comm told bridging cultural differences in our communities. the f corporati public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs rsation from vie like you. thank you. thank you. >> you're watching pbs.r four affirmations.
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and so, i'd like the guys, y'all know what to do. number one. number two. number three. and number four. alright. the time has come for us to stop looking for other outside our community to rebuild those communities. we must rais supermen and women to take back our communities and provide them with direction and vision. no one's gonna do it for we've got to do it. ock music) (police sirens) - three homicides in one weend are keeping kansas city, missouri police busy tonight.

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