President Trump, Russia, NPR discussed on Weekend Edition Sunday

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

I'm Lou Garcia Navarro this past week one of the last remaining secrets from the Watergate scandal was finally revealed. Its report the prosecutors sent to congress forty four years ago. Experts say the document could offer a precedent for how the Russia investigation moves forward today. NPR national Justice correspondent Carrie Johnson reports by early nineteen seventy four Watergate special prosecutor Leon j war ski concluded. He would not pursue an indictment against president Richard Nixon for good reasons and reasons proper did not think that he should be indited same time that the others were instead he shared the grand jury's findings with the House Judiciary committee gave them the sum. Total of the evidence. We had assembled up to that point. We called it a roadmap in our office because it was just that those findings arrived in a sealed report dated March first nineteen seventy four for forty four. Four years. The roadmap lived only in the public imagination and today at lives in the public record. That's Dina el-mallwani. She's a lawyer at the nonprofit group, protect democracy. Protect democracy helped convince the chief judge of the district court in Washington to finally lift the seal on the roadmap and shed light on an episode demonstrates how the system worked. It's been really exciting to learn about this example in history where you actually do have the three branches of government working together to ensure that no one's above the law. Not even the president and the facts become public. But it's not just a matter for history. One of the arguments for releasing the Watergate roadmap bears on the current investigation of president. Trump's campaign Benjamin Wynn is is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He's one of the people who was pushing to release the old documents and a president lawyers are telling everyone who will listen. That Bob Muller is writing a report, and that raises the question of what kind of reports that could be what it could look like who the audience for it is there aren't many precedents for how that report might look one is from independent counsel, Ken Starr who investigated President Bill Clinton twenty years ago. The star report contained lurid descriptions of Clinton's affair with White House. Intern Monica Lewinsky, and it became the focus of a lot of criticism by contrast. The Watergate roadmap is a series of bare bone statements backed up by grand jury testimony or documents to support its points again, Ben witness. It contains no judgments, no argumentation, very spare. Restitution of facts widow says that sounds familiar the current special counsel. Robert Muller hasn't made any public statement since he was named to investigate possible links between Russia. And the Trump campaign. He's letting his work speak for him. And if Muller decides to write a report one that would go to the deputy, attorney general and eventually to congress, the Watergate model is one he might follow Deena el-mallwani of protect democracy. The roadmap sets a precedent for the facts of special counsel Muller's investigation becoming public through congress and serving as the basis for whatever accountability is necessary. It's not clear where the Russia's special council is headed next. But that's a secret that won't take forty four years to reveal Carrie Johnson NPR news Washington, and now back to our mid-term election coverage two years ago, Russia interfered in the US election on social media. There were deliberate campaigns of misinformation, and even after the President Trump suggested with no evidence that there had been widespread voter fraud. Democrats complained about widespread voter suppression. NPR polling. Earlier. This fall suggested that people have major concerns about how fair this election will be joining us now is miles park ski covers voting for NPR and has been very busy, he miles. Hi there. So where are we in terms of voter confidence heading into this year's midterms? So in general, people seem to have faith in that the system is going to work. Our polling suggests about fifty three percent of the American population think the US is prepared and ready to keep the two thousand eighteen midterms safe. But there are a lot of red flags in that polling as well about forty seven percent of people think it's likely at some votes just won't be counted. And then almost a third of the American population thinks a foreign country is going to actually affect vote tallies in effect results that seems really high it is really high, especially when you consider the fact that that's something that has never there's no evidence of that is something that has ever happened in the history of American democracy. We know that in two thousand sixteen there was this effort by Russia to influence voters. They were able to break into. Registration of voter registration system in at least one St. Illinois. But there's no evidence that votes were actually changed as part of that. The problem is even though there's been these hundreds of millions of dollars spent over the last two years to improve the election system. There's still a handful of states that are going to use voting that doesn't provide a paperback record, which is really important because it makes it impossible. Cyber experts say it makes it impossible for us to be able to say with complete certainty that a foreign country doesn't actually affect the vote tallies. Even though there's no evidence it's ever happened. Right. Because if you have a paper ballot, then you can go back and look and see exactly what exactly you without without that. There's a way theoretically away, technically speaking that votes could be changed. All right. What about voter suppression? How concerned voters about efforts to decrease turnout people are really concerned about that as well about a quarter of respondents in our poll said it's it's the thing that is the biggest threat to safe elections this year, I think election officials are really worried. Though about the volume that we're talking about it this election season that it doesn't necessarily reflect the reality of most voters in our poll. Ninety percent of respondents said they weighed in line on average less than half an hour to vote. Eighty nine percent said they traveled less than how a half an hour to get to their polling place. So when we're talking at this loud volume about how hard voting is for some people. It doesn't necessarily reflect the reality for most voters. And I think election officials are concerned that talking about the issues for the small amount of people is going to affect the grander scale of people who aren't going to usually have problems and the perceptions of how good our voting system is how Republicans and Democrats different when it comes to their thoughts about elections security in general we've seen is that Republicans are more confident than Democrats are this season. Which doesn't surprise anybody. Polling suggests that whoever had the most success in the most recent election is going to be less skeptical of the election system in general. I think what we're gonna wanna watch for is how the pendulum swings because as you mentioned, President Trump has made an effort to raise doubts in the election system. And so if Democrats are successful in the midterms are in twenty twenty you could see a pendulum swinging back the other way NPR's, malls parks. Thank you so much. Thank you. Republicans are fighting an uphill battle to retain control of the house. But in Minnesota's eighth congressional district. They could be poised to pick up a seat while President Trump narrowly lost Minnesota in two thousand sixteen he won handily in this area of northern Minnesota. Mark the deck lick of Minnesota public radio takes us their Grand Rapids, Minnesota is closer to the Canadian border than it is to Minneapolis Saint Paul. It's in the heart of Minnesota's eighth district logging trucks, frequently rumbled down the main road through town..

Coming up next