Donald Trump, Democrats, Nancy Pelosi discussed on Rubicon: The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Michelle Goldberg welcomed Rubicon. Hey thank you for having me. So we're recording. This perhaps a few hours before Democrats on the Judiciary Committee finalize the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump and send them to the full House so on the one hand that's obviously a very mentors thing But as I kind of alluded to in the introduction. These aren't exactly the circumstances. A lot of impeachment supporters orders had in mind when the inquiry began. So I guess I wanted to start by just asking you where where your head is at as we approach the end of the house side of the impeachment process. Are these two articles of impeachment enough. I would say I'm in as dark places I've been anytime in the last three years You know I'm glad that the House is finally impeaching. I've been calling for impeachment for a long time. I think that two articles of impeachment that can pass. The full House are better than you know a broader impeachment that would be at risk of failing if some moderate members get cold feet. But but it just seems like a big big mistake to at least to me to have rush this through and then turn it over to Mitch McConnell who you can both set the rules and try to shut it down as quickly as possible You know all the days. When Colonel Vin men and Fiona if you own a hill and the various other diplomats and national security officials who are testifying about precisely what trump did in Ukraine? Those were good days for the Democratic Party. I think any day any day that you have a hearing with factual evidence in fact witnesses testifying to the depth of this administration's corruption on all of the major TV networks. That's a good day for the country and sort of why. The Democratic Party wanted to limit. That is something that you know even after talking to kind of savvy people who understand the politics of this and are worried about these front-line districts. I still don't quite understand it. Yeah I I feel very much the same way you know. We talked to my last I episode with Matt Miller about this idea that you know Nancy Pelosi. Donald Trump can't both be right about what's in Donald Trump's best interest but they both both agree that the impeachment inquiry should be drawn to a close and I just eat there. There was nothing that happened from the beginning. Beginning of the inquiry to the end of those hearings that should have spooked anybody in the Democratic Party that this was going to hurt their individual political standing and then just to as as a matter of what somebody like Donald Trump deserves is. Is that kind of colonoscopy you know just put everyone everyone who can attest to How how low of a person he is behind the scenes on a witness stand and just make them talk and I still have a hard time understanding? Why why? There's any urgency at all among any of the members the Democratic Caucus About letting a process like that play out for another several weeks You tweeted something. And just a couple of days ago that resonated with me on number of levels and I and I understand you have a piece coming about it coming out in a couple of days you wrote. I've read about climate grief. The despair felt by climate. Scientists watching helplessly as something. Precious and irreplaceable is destroyed. Lately I'm experiencing democracy grief I'm wondering to what extent you were lamenting the rise of anti democracy forces here and around the world into what extent That was a comment about the way pro democracy institutions leaders etc.. Have responded to that. Well I mean I think that they're interrelated you know part of what's what's sometimes they feel like we're living in a time where you have the rise of the Axis powers and no allies right. You don't really have any strong defenders of democracy anywhere as you know as much as I might admire Uncle Merckel and Justin Trudeau. And I you know I was also I was thinking about the fact that you see over and over again Democrats Including me at the beginning being sort of baffled that Republicans have been so quick to align themselves with Russia to repeat Russian propaganda about Ukraine to accept Russian intervention in the election. And it occurred occurred to me that you know for most of you know certainly for most of our lifetime before a lifetime. The United States and Russia were engaged in an ideological vehicle conflict right I it was liberal. Democracy versus communism than it was liberal democracy verses authoritarian kleptocracy and in both cases each side was very interested in kind of showing that its model worked and the other one didn't write this one of the reasons that all of them so many any of the Democratic accomplishments of the twentieth century or possible because it was still possible to shame. The United States for the distance between its democratic aspirations are democratic ideals and what the society itself look like an often it was. Because we'll you know we're in this contest. We have to show that we are better than that. So that people aren't attracted to this other sort of model and make sense that Republicans would not feel any conflict conflict with Russia anymore because there there really isn't any ideological distance right. They're both on the side of authoritarian kleptocracy of using you know kind of reactionary populist social politics you know about kind of women and gay rights and you know kind. Ah Reinstating Patriarchy right. They are basically on the same side against the Liberal Democrats. And so there's no reason to expect any sort of I don't know there's no reason to expect anymore them to show any sort of national solidarity with with the rest of us and I think we saw that during these hearings during the Judiciary Committee hearings on impeachment. We saw it with bill bars. Recent Jason Interview. There is no. It's no longer possible to have any sort of communication with people who are not interested in convincing. They're not interested in making an argument. They're only interested in obstacle obfuscating and in kind of demoralizing their opponents. It's and in kind of undermining any shared conception of of reality and it just strikes me that Democrats yeah. I know. It's I'm torn a little bit because I feel like liberals who are frustrated and scared and it's always tempting to take it out on Democrats Democrats say that. They're they're not doing enough when it's not always clear what exactly they should be doing. But I do think that we don't have that that our side continually under reacts to what we're facing see that's what you just just said his exactly where my mind went when I when I saw what you wrote it to me. It was a it was a tweet about a lot of things or appoint about a lot of things but it was also point about impeachment. You know you have this. President who has tried to sort of forged. This international alliance of ethnic corrupt nationalist governments and the Republican Party has trip basically assented to it and then And then separately you have The the matter. That's that's under investigation in the impeachment inquiry which is You know this abuse of power art extort Ukraine to help Donald Trump in the election. But you know Nancy Pelosi frequently tries to link these two things right she this all goes back to to Russia with with you And and you know. She's she's obviously right as illustrated by the fact that you know yesterday. A while trump is a democrat drawing articles of impeachment pertaining to trump denying the Ukraine president An Oval Office visit. He's he's he's bringing the Russian Foreign Minister into the Oval Office which is weird on so many levels Because you know. The president doesn't normally fete top diplomat meet with foreign leaders at the Oval Office and last time he brought Sergey Lavrov the Foreign Minister into the Oval Office. Is he absolved him of of meddling in the two thousand sixteen election. There's just there's all this rich corroborating reading it's almost like trump is like dangling in front of our faces I would say it feels like he's rubbing our faces in it right exactly like an and the in my mind the obvious response that is like okay. We're we're going to keep going then you know if if if what you're saying is that you're completely on chastened the your rubbing it in our faces that a not only you're gonNA get away with this be you missed the bigger story and the bigger story continues in the White House today. Then then why why not Make that the centerpiece of a new round of investigation And not only because it's what he deserves but it's because what fighting to win this fight between the the international consortium of of corrupt ethnic nationalist and liberal democracy needs. It's it's like the two things are inextricably linked and I felt the same sort of democracy grief that you alluded to when all of that played out on on Tuesday. And can I say something quickly you know. I was in Ukraine Ukraine a couple of months ago and one of the kind of heartbreaking things about what's going on in Kiev right now is that you. I can't think of a country that is kind of more idealistic about Western style. Liberal democracy then key right because you know unlike say some of the countries of the eastern bloc they thrown off thrown off Russian domination relatively recently right so they're still in this stage where they're really excited needed about Europe's who really excited about you know they have this parliament full of really young people. They're excited about the fact that they eliminated nationalities finalities on people's Passports you know that they have this kind of American conception almost of Ukrainian them and it's almost like they're are you know they're they're ten years too late because there's just the the forces that used to be there to bolster that kind of nascent. Democratic idealism have just have just collapsed and again I still am finding this really hard to process because the the analogy to climate grief. Is You know it's more. The analogy isn't just the grief. It's you know liberal. Democracy has been the climate that we've lived fin for almost our entire lives right. It's sort of was the air we breathe and it had never really occurred to me that I could see it. You know deteriorate to the appointive disappearing in my lifetime or that. My children wouldn't be able to grow up in the kind of country that I'd always taken for granted I mean and it's just the scale of the loss to me is so disproportionate to the scale of the political cool response and I think that's where so much of the frustration comes in. Yeah I I strongly agree with with the sentiment that you're expressing right now And there's all these corrupt things happening that ought to be. I think Part of the impeachment inquiry but the sort of international realignment nine mint like if if if the United States is going to become part of an axis of authoritarian countries. Then that could happen an in a In a process that is in and of itself sort of above board in a way where. It's like really something that we should fight out in an election if we can have a free and unfair election but it's something that ought to be fought just as hard even if you can't really do it in an impeachment Which is why I wanted to talk to you? About where the The United States Mexico Canada agreement that the Democrats announced they were going to pass fits into. So you're thinking about everything that we're talking about. Well you know it's interesting because I think like you. I was initially kind of gobsmacked like what on Earth are Democrats doing giving in trump a victory on the same day that a are announcing articles of impeachment. Right I mean it's just this desire to appear her by partisan for which as far as I can see. I don't see where they are getting any sort of credit for that But it's you know again. I don't doubt that there are districts whose politics Nancy Pelosi understands far far better than I do and so you know I think she certainly understands better than I do how to maintain a democratic majority in the house but I have had conversations with with democratic aides. That have made me think that they are just not seeing the broader national politics. You know one democratic aide was saying came to me. What what they've later you know? It's been reported that Nancy Pelosi said we'll look we're able to eat their lunch and we were able to extract all these concessions and there was a piece recently in the Washington Post. That had a lot of Republican. Senators can have grumbling about what they were being forced to suck up. Because this is probably not a deal they would've would've accepted From anybody except for Donald Trump so in that sense I understand why this is a deal that Pelosi would take but then the politics of it is to say trump got rolled. Because he's weak right. It's not to say look at. All of these policy wins that we got an expect people all to be able to put those into context. I would feel much better about about the politics of this and obviously you know the deals. If if she really wants to deal to be done I guess that kind of rubbing it in trump's face has to wait until it's the deal is consummated right or else or else kind of falls falls apart. If if I had the sense that that's how Democrats were going a message that they were gonNA message it aggressively. I'd feel better about things because in the in the in the current climate where it's just you know we need to prove that these frontline members can quote unquote walk and Chew Gum at the same time. Is You have this terrible rebel forest for the trees policy which is like to save these district..