Week Ahead: Gov. Ralph Northam, State Of The Union, Cohen's Testimony

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

This message comes from on points sponsor, indeed, if you're hiring with indeed you can post a job in minutes, set up screener questions then zero in on your shortlist of qualified candidates using an online dashboard get started at indeed dot com slash NPR podcast. From WB. You are Boston and NPR I'm magnetized party. And this is on point. Demonstrations outside the Virginia governor's mansion in Richmond over the weekend calls for governor Ralph northbound's resignation have been rising following revelations of a racist. Photograph in north nineteen Eighty-four medical school yearbook will up the road in Washington all eyes on President Trump in advance of tomorrow's state of the union address. The president was on message about the wall on CVS yesterday. We're gonna have a strong border, and the only way you have a strong broader is you need a physical barrier. You need a wall and anybody that says you don't just playing games. Meanwhile, Michael Cohen is set to testify, but not in public to the house intelligence committee this week. So this hour on point we'll take a look ahead to a big week in Washington. And you can join us what do you make of governor northbound's response to the photo in his mid school yearbook. What are you watching for in President Trump state of the union address tomorrow night? Join us anytime on point radio dot org or on Twitter and Facebook at on point radio. Oh, we'll joining us today from Washington is Paula Reid. She's a correspondent for CBS news who covers the White House, the department of Justice, and Legal Affairs. Paula reed. It's always great to have you. Welcome back. It's great to be back. Also with us from Washington is Seth Mandell conservative writer and executive editor of the Washington Examiner magazine, Seth Mandell, welcome to on point. Thank you. And with us from NPR west in Culver City, California today is J Connor editor at the root contributing writer at huffpost and founder and co host of the extraordinary negroes podcast J, Connor welcome to on point. Thank you, forever me. And Jay, let me just start with you because we're going to start with, you know, the feet of governor north I'm here this hour, you know, at this at this point in time, where do you stand on this? Do you are you joining the calls for the governor to resign? I definitely am. And if anything I'm curious to find out if he's still able to do this moonwalk because I feel like that's the perfect way to ease on down the road in welcome in Justin. Fairfax dissect and black governor of the state so tell tell me more I mean, just gives you've written about this in the in the root over the weekend. But, but what is your take on you know, sort of the significance of the current controversy around governor north and then how he's handled is thus far. I think he's done an abysmal job of handling. This does far I think he's acting out of pride and selfishness. And I think he's looking out for his own best interest as opposed to the interests of his constituents. I feel like it's impossible for him to lead, you know, his his state as governor in an acting in this capacity in light of these revelations. So I I definitely feel like he needs to resign. And I'm you know, repulsed that he hasn't done so already Mandel. What's your take? As of this moment. I agree. I don't really see how he thinks. It's possible to hang on. I guess he he thought that he could sort of ride out the storm, but it doesn't really make much sense. And I guess he wasn't. He doesn't seem to have been expecting everybody from twenty twenty national democratic candidates to Hillary Clinton to from to weigh in and say, he should go. But now that they have I think he has to. Stand that the message is he has to go. There's no there's the the party is unified. And and he's losing support. And I'm not really sure how long he thinks this can really go on or what exactly he thinks? He's holding onto at this point. Interesting. Paula Paula Reid. Does this seem like sort of an unstoppable wave now against governor with him? Yes. He's gotta go. I mean over the past several days he's been accused of supporting and fantasy and racism with documents to back up the ladder allegations. So yes the parties unified behind him. This is absolutely not what they need ahead of twenty twenty. And I think they're trying to differentiate themselves trickily from Republicans who have sometimes not come out. Maybe a quick accounted in the face of similar problems with racial insensitivity or outright racism by the president. If not always come out and push back the way they should have. I think you're Democrats are trying to distinguish themselves. Okay. So Paula since you mentioned a quote infanticide. Let's clarify that a little bit right? Because. No because I think the big I mean, look we're living in a day and age where there's this like very strong surge of reaction over certain things. And I think it's incumbent upon all of us to sort of pull the camera back here and get a bigger picture. Right. So that reference that you're making is to the fact that there's a very controversial Bill in the Virginia legislature right now regarding late term abortions, and from the organization that I published the this picture from Ralph northbound's medical school yearbook that organization is big league politics. Right. Founded by a former a group of former Breitbart news staffers who thought that Breitbart had gone to mainstream right? And they put this picture up. They published the picture not I'm not necessarily a quibbling with its authenticity, but not necessarily because you know, there's their group of social Justice warriors. But in response to north comments about this abortion Bill, I in the Virginia legislature, isn't that? Right paula. That's right. And he he did a series of interviews and in one there were comments that he may. Made about infants who are either severely disabled or would be unlikely to survive in how that should be handled. Now, this is always going to be a controversial issue. But again the way he handled it he sort of stumbled into this larger controversy, which led people to do some digging or they were already sitting on these pictures, but one thing led to another. And so so J Connor limited back to you there because I'm still thinking also about, you know, big league politics, the group that I put this picture up founded by North Carolina political consultant Riley O'Neill who worked for ROY Moore during his Alabama Senate run and Corey Stewart a Republican Virginia whose vocal in his support for confederate monuments. So you know, how does that sort of bigger picture factor into your tape about what north shooter shouldn't do right now? I don't feel like factors that at all. I mean, right is right wrong is wrong. It is what it is. And the fact that he kind of it seemingly tried to minimize it by like, no, this was in this picture. But yes, I did. Can you know participate in some level of black face, you know, with his quote, unquote, Dan, contests it now. I mean these in the wrong, it is what it is. So let's actually play a little bit of tape here from governor Saturday news conference where he said he at that time he said that none neither individual in that medical school yearbook photograph, featuring one person in black face and another person wearing a Klan hood, he claimed at that time that neither an individual was him buddy did say that he did some pretty distasteful things though in the nineteen eighties that same year, I did participate in a dance contest in San Antonio in which darkened my face as part of a Michael Jackson costume. I look back now and regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action. Like that. That's genius governor Ralph north on Saturday, j O'Connor, you know, when I heard him when I heard him say that one of the things that I thought about was this is an entree into discussing. Honestly, how common and Benami may not be the right word. But how common these casual, and I don't mean to say casual to to sort of downplay it, but casual acts of racism were in one thousand nine hundred and some people might even say now, and that like that needs to be discussed that it was sort of a just a factor of life in the eighties to the point where we have a sitting governor in Virginia saying, well, it may not have been in that photo as as he claims, but I put black shoe polish on my face to pretend like I was Michael Jackson. Yeah. And I mean, we publish the piece this weekend on the rue about the dangers of how these public personas, they're cultivated or, you know, created by politicians in that they're they have the ability to disassociate themselves from their, you know, heinous passed, and it kind of puts us in a precarious situation as a nation because what happens is these individuals create these platforms in which they purport themselves to be progressives. But at the same time, they don't take accountability for how they've contributed to what it is it exists today. And Seth Nando lets you. What's your take on that? Yeah. I think that I think that it's one of the things that that north is in trouble over is the timing of this, which is that not not to say that it wouldn't be bad at any other time. But that we're going through a period in American politics right now where we you see it with racial bias in policing. You see it with the rise of Trump and the all right and all these. Russian's and debates that were having were you know, the Super Bowl was the discussion around Super Bowl was Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem. So you're seeing a lot of discussion of race and how to deal with it. And how to move past the the as you said, the casual racism that used to be accepted a lot more and working those habits out of the American system out of the American body politic. I think and so when you when Democrats look at Ralph Northam, they say is this a person who can be governing an important state during this moment in American history is this person we can look to to to help guide this discussion. And is this somebody who has shown the honesty and the wisdom to to help talk us through this moment, where we're all trying to be to shake, you know, our own past demons. Et cetera et cetera. I think that the answer is no, well, Paula Reid. I mean, but but how sort of consistent is this grappling with with race across the parties. Right. Because a lot of people may maybe looking at this moment saying yes, you know, that photograph of in in north medical school yearbook is terrible. But in in the White House now, we the the president United States for years and years championed birther conspiracy against the nation's first black president and didn't seem to suffer the consequences of that certainly didn't suffer doesn't seem any consequences to that. But it's also remember this is happening in Virginia and one of the most stark examples of of racism in the rise of white supremacy that we've seen or at least a public more public acceptance of the white supremacist movement happened in Charlottesville, not that long ago in Virginia. And I think I covered that I was there. I was there for the rallies that led up tonight not as well. And I. Think a lot of people are very surprised that this is happening at Charlottesville of this is happening in Virginia. But anyone who's been paying attention to what's been going on in Virginia of or, you know, over the past several years decade, even shouldn't be that surprised, which is why it makes it all the more important. I think for the state of Virginia for the Democratic Party to come out to oppose it to make sure it doesn't matter. If this happened thirty years ago, this is inappropriate and we oppose it while Paula Reid. J Connor and Seth Mandell hang on here for just a second. We gotta take a quick break. We're talking about a big week ahead in the news and got lots of comments coming in here. John Robert bland said if governor Northam did not do it leave him be go after the medical school and let the governor lied, whereas someone calling themselves Gumbi said head been nineteen thirty four or even nine hundred sixty four I could get it. But nineteen Eighty-four come on racism is so ingrained that most can't even see it unless it's blatant. We'll be right back. This is on point. This message comes from an points sponsor, indeed when it comes to hiring. You don't have time to waste you need help getting to your shortlist of qualified candidates fast with indeed post a job in minutes. Set up screener questions then zero in on qualified candidates. And when you need to hire fast, accelerate your results with sponsor jobs. New users can try for free when you sign up at indeed dot com slash NPR, podcast, terms, conditions, and quality standards apply. When's the last time you had a really good workout? None of you vice apps, but if you'll brain I'm Sean Covey dot com, host of hidden brain listen every week. And flex your mind. This is on point Meghna chocolate party. We're talking about a big week coming up in the news, including questions over what's going to happen with Virginia. Governor democrat Ralph Northam the president's state of the union address coming up tomorrow night and Michael Cohen set to testify behind closed doors before the house intelligence committee. I'm joined today by Paula Reid. He's Washington correspondent for CBS news. She covers the Justice department and the White House, and Legal Affairs. J Connor joins us today. He's editor at the root and contributing writer at huff post and founder and co host of the extraordinary negroes podcast and Seth Mandell joins us as well as executive editor at the Washington Examiner magazine. And let's hear a little bit more of the reaction. That's that. We've heard over the weekend to the controversy surrounding Virginia. Governor Ralph Northam, here's Virginia democratic congressman Donald MacKay each in the Congressional Black caucus whip. He told NBC's meet the press yesterday that he believes north of should resign. The question now is can you lead? Can you help us heal and given the actions that he's demonstrated in the past forty eight hours? They answer is clearly no you can't it can't be in the photograph one day. And it's not the next day. You can't excuse at all say, oh, I know the didn't do black face in this yearbook because I did it in a Michael Jackson dance contest that's Virginia democratic congressman Donald Mckee in their former Virginia congressman also a democrat. Jim Moran told ABC's this week with George Stephanopoulos, though, that he doesn't think north should resign. Even if the worst case scenario is true, George, I think there is an issue of redemption retention is a very powerful factor in what people are able to accomplish, you know, Ralph understands the endemic racism that. Has been part of Virginia society for so long. Well, let's go to the calls. Let's go to Bruce who's calling from Iowa City Iowa, Bruce, you're on the air. Okay. Thank you. Hi. I guess I heard the last couple of comments I thought back to the history of of these kind of caricatures in American history. I think that the governor should actually have if he's going to re redeem himself as a last speaker mentioned he needs to have a lesson in the governor's office on how these racist caricatures that have been in circulation the United States since before the civil war on trade cards. Lynching lynchings were on postcards and circulated through the United States mail watermelon. Eating lazy, layabout negro oversexed black woman, these are common in jokes and throughout the white supremacist culture. And I'm always supplanted that people do not understand how what kind of psychological damage that kind of. A constant cultural circulation of those kinds of images does. And I just wish the governor would just come out and say, yes, that's that's what's going on here. I need I need to speak up. And and do something about this by the having a lesson on how these images works, and I was in the wrong, and I d- myself by explaining how I was wrong. Bruce. You think if he had done that that redemption for north them north of would be possible because some people I mean, as you've already heard in the context of this program say that that that resignation is really his only viable option. Don't I actually think that he if he showed that level of consciousness and seek to use this as an educational opportunity in ways that I guess I've suggested I think he would be able to have have a a legitimate. He should be given consideration for remaining. I think that would be amazing and wonderful. Well, Bruce boosted said, let me take limited from thank you for your call J Connor, what do you think about BRUCE'S path to redemption for them? I'm just I'm just baffled that you know. I'm speechless because it's just so frustrating that you know, we always we live in a country in which white men are continued to always have these kind of out in these excuses to to, you know, rectify their behavior, and we see so many different marginalized groups, whether it's my own, whether it's, you know, black Brown, you know, whatever else in which we're punished for the smallest thing and suffer indiscriminately for for decades in you know, to hear this guy's just frustrating. Honestly, it just makes me angry. And it's just disgusting that we're sitting there trying to find ways that he can stay as opposed to saying like, no he needs to get out of here and hold them accountable for his actions. Even as Bruce was saying that he Bruce was acknowledging the very harmful history of all these racist, tropes and imagery throughout throughout the United States throughout US history that he was saying that like the could this be an opportunity to shine a deeper light on? That and further the conversation about the damage they have done. Yeah. I mean, I definitely think that that conversation can be head, but it can be had out of office. You know, what I mean like he can do all this this work that he clearly needs to do. But he can do that after he stepped down and allows just in Fairfax to take the seat. Okay, governorship. All right. Well, let's go to another call here. Let's go to Joe's calling for magnolia, Massachusetts. Joe you're on the air. Thank you. I think this is a well, I consciousness apology redemption yet, it's all possible. Obviously what he's done in his past in his past is very very awful. Now, all your guests all the people listening have we ever ever made mistakes in our past. Have we tried to make good that we tried to make better of ourselves. I don't know this governor. But I know this so much craziness going on. I don't believe he should resign. I think he should stand strong as he should apologize. I think you should use it as a teaching moment. Also, Al Franken never should've resigned. He should have come clean. He should have admitted his mistakes. He should have stayed off all this political correctness especially from the hypocritical. Democratic Party is disgusting. We'll be here for. Because you just heard Jay Connor. You just heard him point out that redemption seems to be the province political redemption seems to be the providence province of white males in America. That's what Jay was saying that like that if you're if you're black or or a person of color, they that you do not get those second chances. So why should Ralph Northam who's has a yearbook picture and his medical school yearbook of Klan outfit and black face? Be afforded a chance for redemption. If if he apologizes, I think everyone everyone Meghna has chances for Dempsey white black yellow Brown. We all human beings. We all have a chance for redemption to make better. Okay. And he he's up for election. Eventually, let the voters decide and I'll ask you guess have they ever made mistakes, whatever type mistakes they are. So they're gonna lose their job. Okay. They have to lose a job. Everyone's gotta lose a job if everyone's gonna lose a job in elected office. We'll have no one serving. No one is perfect. Yeah. But I also have to ask you about the specificity of this particular image. I mean, we're not just talking about like making an off color joke. We're talking about a photograph. That captures someone in person in black face, which has a very harmful and intentionally racist history and standing next to someone in Clinton outfit. I mean, it's not it's not like a high does something a couple of beers kind of joke. It's Moore's much more serious than that. Don't you think that should he stay in office? Should he stay in office? Okay. We've all made bad decisions Magna. Have you ever me? No. We've never done this probably most of us. Thank god. But have you ever made a mistake in your life? Absolutely. But I can bike indefinitely. Tell you not to this not to this degree. I mean, I think this is I take your point. Jo I mean, I want to turn back to our to our to our guest to respond. But but Joe thank you for your call. Jalen return back to you. I I mean, that's the second. Call we've head here. Who says, hey, look, you know mistake. Or made. I love when people say that everybody gets a second chance with America tells people of color, otherwise every day of their lives. You know? I Don I don't even know what to say this stuff because it's just frustrating and embarrassing and exhausting. Yeah. I honestly, I'm just I'm just speaking this at you know, the fact that he feels this way, and he feels and also the fact that he's saying that everybody deserves second chances. I definitely agree that, but at the same time your health to a different standard when you're the governor of a state, you know, what I'm saying. There's a difference between me being a writer or contributor somewhere versus me being responsible for the, you know, the the wellbeing of my constituents, and I definitely feel like if you're in a position to lead, and you need to lead in, you know, take yourself somewhere else. Paula Reid was that you heard it was I mean, I want to jump in. And we have to remember this isn't about really redemption or when and how he can redeem himself this is about twenty twenty. And that's why you saw all of these extremely high profile Democrats jump in almost a contest who could be the first one to come out and condemn him and push him out. I mean. This is about politics. This is not about redemption anyone who supports his redemption seems to just want him to do it once he leaves. I mean, they are in a huge fight for twenty twenty four the White House for other seats across the country. And they want to try to draw a sharp contrast between the current occupant of the White House. Furthermore, I definitely think of it me and many other people if we did something similar, we would absolutely be fired. Because again, it's not about you. It's about how this reflects on the larger organization of which you are part. And you hear the Democrats saying pretty loud and clear, we don't want you. And we don't want this do your option on your own time. All right. Well, you know, what we could spend the rest of the hour talking about this. But there are other events coming up this week that we should spend some time considering so so let's do that. Let's turn and talk about the president's upcoming state of the union address set for tomorrow night and Seth MandA lemme turn to you. I I mean, obviously the. The threat of another government shutdown the issue of border security the wall, they're all going to be front and center tomorrow night as the president delivers his speech. What do you anticipate hearing from from President Trump? I I an -ticipant hearing. So is funny because I generally do not like the spectacle of the state of the union, it's monarchical and kind of strange, but. But you know, anytime you say you want somebody to shake things up. And then you the the answers be careful what you wish for because I think President Trump is probably going to give in unusual state of the union and indeed shake things up and do things a bit out of the ordinary. But I'm not sure that we're going to to love that that deviation. I I think that he's I think that the speech that he gave the statement he gave at the White House after the temporary deal was reached to keep the government open for another three weeks is going to be the model for the speech at the outset. He talked about wanting security and wanting a deal and wanting to work with Democrats, and and he talked about how heroic the how heroic the federal employees who went without pay were. And how everybody was part of it was it was a team game and everybody played their part in he really oppress. She hated it. And then he sort of went into this really tough sort of scare mongering about why we need the wall in the first place and the border and security, and it turned very dark very quickly. And so I think that that's that's basically the balance that you get with Donald Trump is that you do get the on the one hand the attempt to sort of meet the office and talk about things in grand terms and inclusive terms, but he always reverts also back to his point and what he's trying to say. And how he's trying to say and saying in his way. And so I imagine that that though unusual for a state of the union. I think is probably what we're going to see. Right. So let's hear a little bit of what the president said to Margaret Brennan on CBS has face the nation yesterday. And you know, you heard some of that darkness Seth as you were saying from the president in this interview. Here's a moment where he strongly criticized. House speaker Nancy Pelosi, she doesn't want the costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars because what's happening is when you have a porous border, and when you have drugs pouring in and when you have people dying all over the country because of people like Nancy Pelosi who don't wanna give proper border security for political reasons. She's doing a terrible disservice to our country. That's President Donald Trump on CBS face the nation yesterday. And just as as a point of fact, most virtually every study about crime rates from immigrants versus US citizens. Finds it immigrants commit crimes lower rates than American citizens. But J Connor what's your response to what you heard in that cut and what we might hear from the president tomorrow night. I think we're going to hear a lot more embellishing. As far as, you know, the the extent of of what happens whenever, you know, immigration, you know, these immigrants come into our country, and I feel like we're gonna hear probably about an hour's worth of fearmongering. That's you know, it seems to be his superhuman power. And I feel like that's what he's going to really tap into as far as trying to, you know, a bolster support for this wall and Paula Reid. I mean, the state of the union you heard seth's distaste for the state. But it's also a moment of a of capturing the public's attention, and it's political theater as well. But is it effective political theater because not just the president? But also Democrats are planning to invite guests that would support their views on what they see is border security or immigration reform. That's right. We expect them to bring refugees bring up prominent imigrants while all Republicans will likely bring customs border patrol officials, and and other people who work along the border. There is a lot of political theater. But I have a slightly different take based on talking to some sources inside the White House on what to expect what I am told. And again, you you never know what you'll get with this president. But the teleprompter, at least is expected to just sort of see see a little bit of a reset and McCall's for reaching across the aisle trying to break the stalemate. Now, of course, the irony won't be lost on anyone the both sides. The I'll shut down the government because they could not come to a resolution over border security. But I also think you're going to see the president focus a little bit less on immigration and a little bit more on domestic policy specifically infrastructure, drug prices because those are areas that have broad support. Of course infrastructure. I was a big theme for him on the campaign, a drug prices that is something he has spoken publicly about a thinking Macy him focus more on that as opposed to some of the other talking points that he's been pushing. But you really don't know. That's just White House sources or telling me. I did a pause here for Sega because e he might focus on those things. But even as he he's almost certainly going to pause his speech as has now become customary since the nineteen eighty s and point out to the person, the people that he's invited to the house chamber. And I think I've been reading that he may be inviting people whose who've had family members killed by. Yeah. Undocumented immigrants. Yes. And again is what's on the teleprompter? And then there's what gets tweeted afterwards. But I know there is a concerted effort to go in a different direction, focus on domestic policy achievements. Small a capital depending on what he wants to talk about as opposed to continuing this conversation this very unproductive conversation between Republicans Democrats over the wall. All right. We'll have just about thirty seconds before we have to take a break. Here. Think the messages on these other things on on infrastructure, for example, we'll get through all the attention on the on the border while I don't know if they're going to get past the they are going to overplay the the attention on the border, but they're definitely infrastructure is definitely something where there is. There are opportunities to reach across the aisle. Democrats love this. There are New York leaders of the party like Chuck Schumer who understand that the Hudson tunnels and the the northeast the whole northeast corridor is is in desperate. Need of infrastructure, fixes and reforms and improvements in so if he wants to reach across the aisle, the infrastructure is probably a good way to do. So well, we have a quick break. But when we come back, we'll talk a little bit more about what's ahead in the weeks news, including the president's state of the union address as you've just heard us discuss. What do you want to hear from the president tomorrow night? This is on point. Angie? Thomas went from church secretary to bestselling author with her book, the hate you. Give dang just can't come out the house. Now, look any kinda way. Somebody's gonna be like Thomas was in Kroger in her robe. What? She tells me what's in book number two this week on it's been a minute from NPR. This is on point magneto birdie. We are looking ahead to a big week of news of this hour, and helping us sort through it as Paula Reid, Washington. Correspondent for CBS news. She covers the Justice department, the White House, and Legal Affairs. J Connor joins us. He's editor at the root and a contributing writer at huff post and founder and co host of the extrordinary negroes podcast and Seth Mandell is also with us. He's executive editor at the Washington Examiner magazine. And before the break, we were talking about the president's state of the union address, which is scheduled for tomorrow evening, of course, looming over a lot of what's happening in Washington is the possibility of another government shutdown. So here's Alabama Republican Senator Richard Shelby who chairs the Senate appropriations committee. He told CNN state of the union yesterday that he's not optimistic about a border security deal that may. Come in time to keep the government open as that February fifteenth shutdown deadline looms, I've believed that we've got a chance this week to move things will we we don't know the president could be right. We could be wasting our time on the other hand we could come up to solution. But is long Jake as long as the speaker and the president are way at odds, the chances of us reaching agreement or are slim, but it could happen that's album, Republican Senator Richard Shelby on the other hand, Texas democratic congressman Henry que- are whose district is adjacent or runs along the US Mexico border told Fox News on Sunday that he thinks that bipartisan committee that's negotiating border security funding will be able to reach an agreement. We can work out a deal. I know we can sit down and work at if we just don't get any outside pressure. Do what we need to do. And I feel that the the process as as appropriate houses Senate, Democrats Republicans weaken. Work something out. I feel confident that's Texas democratic congressman Henry quasar Seth Mandell. Are you feeling optimistic pessimistic realistic? What is realism in his case? If that's what you feel. I'm not sure that there's much distance between realist, realism and pessimism. But I think that look I think that the president probably learned his lesson over the thirty five day shutdown. I think that if he had gotten anything worth remotely worth making that play. We it would be different. But I think that if ball is right. And you're going to hear more conciliatory notes from the president in his state of the union the reason for that is that it was a very lopsided victory for Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats over President Trump, and hopefully he has he has learned his lesson from that. So the brinkmanship is it's possible. You will see them turn down the volume on that. But on the other hand, the Democrats now also know that. That it it's that that Trump is likely to be blamed for another shutdown in that he is already mishandled this. And that they might the leverage might be on their side this time to you know, to keep to shut down the government again, and and make President Trump really come forward. And instead of meeting them halfway make President Trump come about three quarters of the way to them. Right. So Paula Reid. Let me turn back to you. There does have a point in terms of perhaps other members of the Republican party not wanting to whether the blowback that might happen. If there's an another government shutdown. Nobody seems to want a shutdown. I do think the president realizes on some level of he took a political hit for that. But he had such interesting characterization of the shutdown in multiple interviews on Friday. He talked about how the shutdown quote, set the table and lot of people are like what are you talking about who's coming to dinner what what is going on here? And what he meant by that is that it was a political tool that was used you. Focus attention on the border. So it does appear that he is opened to potentially using it. Again, I am not optimistic that they are going to be able to make a deal that the president will sign. It's one thing if this committee can come up with with something. But the president said if it doesn't include funding for his wall certain amount of funding. He's not even going to read it. So I'm not optimistic. They're gonna find that deal. I am personally brushing up on my national emergency powers because they do think that is a possibility the president might try even though everyone knows including the president that that would almost instantly get tied up in the court. So that the Paula from what you're saying? It sounds like we haven't moved an iota of Micron is very closely, and I have not seen one one centimeter of movement or progress. I mean, both sides sees seem as entrenched as they've ever been. I mean, I have seen no progress, quite frankly, except that the government the government did reopen. But since then nothing and there's only eleven days though, before the next possible shutdown. That's true. Well, j O'Connor what do you make of that? Jay. Honnor excuse me. Sorry for say O'Connor J Connor I'm going to get by j. No sorry. No. I I think that I I would hope that they'd be able to, you know, make a deal as far as increasing security at the border as far as with drones and other, you know, implementing other security measures. But if he tries to, you know, take it, you know, a call it an emergency. He's gonna take the Ellen court. So I mean, I think it's just a matter of he's gonna necessarily need to humble myself on this matter and really just try to step down from, you know, making the wall such a stickling point. Steph Mandela me turn to you. Because I do want to spend a little bit of time talking about the fact that Michael Cohen, the president's former personal lawyer is also set to testify this week behind closed doors to the house intelligence committee. We won't know what he's going to say because it's not going to be public. But, but how significant do you think is testimony might be? What will really matter is what gets leaked that has been the the story line all along is that the some things will get leaked from behind closed doors, and then we will debate them. And it's never really clear, whether we have a full picture, usually it's likely we don't and and it's often missing some important context. So, you know, this is not to put it on reporters who were reporting news. But just that that there are people behind the scenes who are going to be fighting a strategic leak war. I think is the way to put it. And and I think that if the the excerpts or the leaks that come out early are especially damning, then that's what we'll be talking about. But we also have a situation where we had with the BuzzFeed report where the report was that Cohen said that he had been directed specifically to lie under oath by president by Donald Trump, and that was. You know, something that was everybody said, whoa. If true. And in fact, if true sort of an article of impeachment in its in its own, right? So that just sort of rights itself. So if something like that comes out, then that's what we'll be discussing. But then you know, we saw the Muller team push back on the BuzzFeed report we saw reporters from other newspapers. I think it was in New York time say that they were unable to verify this reporters following up with similar sources and just sort of hung out there without any confirmation for weeks at a time. So I that's probably that sort of chaos and confusion rather than clarity. And light is probably what we're heading for. Okay. Well, so let's listen to a little bit of what a high Republican congressman Jim Jordan had to say about this because just to remind folks as background Michael Cohen Cohen, the president's former personal attorney he's going to be speaking again to the house intelligence committee this week behind. Closed-doors? He was originally supposed to speak in open public testimony before the house oversight committee. But as as mentioned he backed out last week citing threats from the president. Now, we don't know if the public oversight committee testimony will still happen. But here's congressman Jim Jordan on Fox News yesterday. Michael we are staff met with his lawyer Lanny Davis. Mr. Davis told our attorneys on the committee that Mr. Colin couldn't talk about any of the investigations couldn't. I mean the thing about that. If you can't tell any investigations, what are we going to ask him? So I think it was all designed and still is all designed to come in and have Mr. Cohen say bad things about the president. That's why Republican congressman Jim Jordan, the ranking member of the house oversight committee. So Paula Reid. Let me turn back to you. This is definitely in your wheelhouse. What do you think about about co and finally testifying to the intelligence committee? Well, the big thing here that they may be able to drill down on it goes back to the BuzzFeed article. And as I understand it parching this. Oh council statement their issue with that article was that it stated that the president directed Michael Cohen to lie to congress and the D word is the issue there. We're sources has adjusted to me that he was not specifically directed with the president was aware perhaps orchestrated it the head nods. You know, saying something without saying something that may be a fruitful area for Democrats to try to dig into saying, look this isn't part of the investigation necessarily, I mean possibly obstruction of Justice. He may just look can't talk about this. The president is currently under investigation for obstruction of Justice. But that would help give some clarity that would be some news. But if you're a Republican on this committee, you just keep reminding people the Michael Cohen has admitted that the last time you talked to congress. He lied. He wasn't truthful. So anything he says here, I think you just undercut it. Try to impeach him saying, why should we believe you this time? So J Connor does is that a weakness if Democrats want to push forward in their investigations of the of the president. Yeah. Is definitely a problematic. Cohen is proven himself to be called. What's a what's it called a, quote, unquote, unreliable narrator? So so, yeah, I'm very curious as far as how this is all going to play out. I'm watching like everybody else. And so let's hear a little bit of more of what the president had to say about the MO the progress of the special counsel's report overall in an interview with CBS's Margaret Brennan, just yesterday, the president said that making special counsel Muller's report on the Russian vestich in public that he's going to leave that up to the attorney general it's up to the attorney general. I don't know it depends. I have no idea what it's going to say so far. This thing's been a total witch hunt. And it doesn't implicate me in any way. There was no collusion. That was no obstruction was no nothing doesn't implicate me in any way. But I think it's a disgrace. That's the president yesterday on CBS Seth Mando. I mean, this is what the the president's been saying all along. No change in his his take on the Muller investigation there. No. I look what what matters is what Cohen says two molar and not. Necessarily what Cohen says to congress. And and so I think on on that note. That's what the president is thinking and he's not wrong necessarily in that. But I do think he also has to understand that. Impeachment is the cloud. That's hanging over all right in terms of action that can be taken before an election impeachment is the action that can be taken before an election and so- impeachment is a political act. It's a political tool. It is not a legal term of art. It is a you know, it is fairly vague. And it is impeach article grounds. For impeachment are what congress decides they are an aren't what congress decides they aren't. And so on the one hand he's right that in a certain way as far as we're concerned legally, though Cohen says Domoni to congress behind closed doors is really something of a side show and Muller is clearly the main event legally at the same time, he has to be aware that that the the political debate around it is actually what is more harmful to him than the possibility that he will that that Moehler will recommend say in. Dieting sitting president which he probably won't do. Yeah. So Paulo let me get your take on that. And then also give us some more insight. Paula into the president saying he's gonna leave it up to the attorney general on whether or not to make public special counsel's report, a rare a rare comment of restraint I related to special counsel's investigation. But any good lawyer? That's what you tell your client to say in ultima. I think something that a lot of people don't realize is how much of this is at the discretion of the attorney general special counsel Muller. He hands report off to the attorney general. You're acting general Whitaker or Bill bar, and it's up to him to decide how much is made public Whitaker hasn't really said how much he would he would share bar has committed issuing a summary report. That's either a redacted version of the report or his own his own summary. But House Democrats have said anything short of the full report for its there is no legal obligation for that to be made public. But anything short of that they are going to subpoena special counsel, Robert Muller and or his report. So ultimately after the Muller investigation wraps up. Then we will be in. Litigation over over the findings. And in terms of what happens to any evidence of criminal wrongdoing on that behalf of the president. That is also up to bar whether or not to pass that off to congress for possible impeachment. So the discretion of the attorney general looms large here his interpretation of obstruction of Justice because right now based on my reporting, there does not appear to be any suggestion that there will be evidence of conspiracy on the part of the president obstruction of Justice. However is a possibility it's up to Bill bar. What what he wants to do in his discretion? Here is enormous house. Democrats have vowed to fight anything short of the full report unredacted. Okay. So so Paula just just to be clear though. I mean, I don't want. I don't want to ask you to speculate. But is there anything the bar has said either recently in you know, in his congressional hearings or in the past that my vote a home memo. Back in July on the thing with his memo, though is as memo was talking about the firing of James Comey. And he said the president can obstruct Justice by firing Dave's Komi because he's at the pleasure of the president. Okay. But that's one tiny aspirin wants to -nificant aspect of a much broader investigation. The obstruction of Justice investigation is looking into things that the president tweeted at Jeff Sessions things he said to deputy FBI director, Andrew McCabe, a statements. He's made about possible pardons. It's much more broad, and ultimately that question of whether or not Michael Cohen was directed to lie or if the president was merely aware that he was going to lie. Those are the kinds of things that would have to be decided by Bill bar. Bill bar has William bar has suggested that if someone was for example, directed to lie that would be obstruction of Justice. And that's why that D word and that BuzzFeed report and clarifying that is so important because it appears that would be something that William bar has said in his testimony would be obstruction of Justice. But at this point, we do not. Have certainly I do not have confirmation that. That is what occurred. Okay. Well, you know, what we're going to leave it with that. Paula Reid, Washington. Correspondent for CBS news. It's always great to have you Paul. Thank you so much. Thank you and J Connor editor at the root and contributing writer at huffpost and founder and co host of the extrordinary negroes podcast J, Connor. It was great to have you. Thank you so much. Thank you. And Seth Mandell executive editor at the Washington Examiner magazine, Seth great to have us. Well, thank you. Thanks so much now at the behest of our producers here on point we have decided that this last Super Bowl was a yawning even though we're based here in New England. So the best thing of Super Bowl fifty three the empress of soul. Gladys Knight's soaring rendition of the national anthem, and we're going to close with that. I'm Meghna Chakrabarti. This is on point.

Coming up next