Democratic Indecision on Impeachment
The next is for Radha where we take just ten minutes to get you smarter on the collision of tech business and politics, brought to you by Facebook. I'm defer mackerel on today's show Amazon shirks responsibility on facial recognition and growing oil demand that has nothing to do with gas, but first impeachment okay, so this is a topic. I have worked pretty hard to avoid on the podcast, mainly because it's often seem little more than a partisan fever dream that gets more attention on cable news than in the actual halls of congress. But that is beginning to change. Particularly the White House keeps thumbing its nose at congressional subpoenas. Plus President Trump's comments last week that seemed to invite foreign interference in US elections, simply put the prospect of impeachment, or at least impeachment hearings is real today than at any other time in the Trump presidency. And no one quite knows how it would all play out. In fact, the only certainty is that it would create a lot more uncertainty not only for politicians, but for US and global businesses. Which are already trying to navigate trade tweets and other geopolitical disputes, that seemingly come out of thin air, and that uncertainty is being created not even so much by Trump's actions, but really, because the Democrats themselves can't decide what to do. They're only around sixty Democrats in the house who are publicly on board with impeachment proceedings, including only around one third of the freshman, it does keep growing number. It gets larger almost by the week. But so far hasn't been nearly enough for speaker. Pelosi to flip the switch, which either is political realism, or political cowardice, depending on your point of view. The bottom line a modern congress has never tried to impeach sitting president who is running for reelection. So we really don't know the consequences here, and that in itself is enough to have people on edge in ten seconds. We'll go deeper with axios, political reporter, Elena, Trine. The first this we've all seen online ads that seem perfectly tailored to us. And now we have better ways to learn how this works. Visit Facebook dot com slash about slash EDS. We're joined now by political reporter, Atlanta Trine. You did two things over the weekend. You had an HBO piece, which kind of talked to a bunch of different Democrats in congress. But on the website, you also dove in specifically on the freshman Democrats, and how they're feeling about impeachment. Why are the freshman so important that freshman story we had analyze them in a report in January. So when the new freshmen Democrats were sworn in a lot of people thought that they were going to be super progressive, especially after the midterm elections, and big voices like Alexandria, Cossio Cortez, and where she ta- Labe. So in January did that survey found that only six of the freshman class Democrats in the house supported impeachment. And so I wanted to see what happened after the Miller report whereas most people said they wanted to wait and see what the investigation had found on. It turned out most of the results were actually largely unchanged about forty of the sixty four freshmen Democrats said that. That they still want to see in vestiges continue in the house before, making a determination and the number of those supporting impeachment ticked up to thirteen or the waiting for some sort of smoking gun or hoping that there could be smoking gun. Other words, they don't want to put their credibility on the line until they've got something absolutely solid. Is that kind of where there that's a part of it from a lot of the conversations I've had with them? I think it's more. So the timing of it, so yes, they are waiting to see if there's any real, tangible evidence, a lot of members point back to Nixon, and how they had the tapes, and that's why the public was able to kind of come along and accept that Nixon had to be impeached here. There really isn't that evidence yet or at least in there is not like you said, some sort of smoking gun. But I also think it's the timing of it a lot of people are worried. You know, the election is just a year and a half issue away. Now, some people think is it better to just let the voters decide? And so it's really interesting to see where they all fall speaking the elections year and a half way these folks have to, you know, being elected every two years. So this should be early in there. But you point out that kind of third of the New Democrats third, the freshman one in districts that Trump at one and two thousand sixteen how much of it, do you get a sense is fear of blowback a realization that I won my district, but it's on a razor's edge. There is definitely a sense of, and you get that when you speak to the members some of the rhetoric districts or like you said, the ones that the president one in two thousand sixteen and for that HBO segment, we talked to members outside of the freshman classes, while we talked to some of the key members on the different committees investigating the president, and there was a really interesting divide there. What a lot of members almost every member that we spoke with said was that the party is early. The caucus is United in the sense that we think this president is unfit for office, we want to remove him, but they're not an agreement on the tactics. And so where lot of members fell, we have a moral obligation to impeach president. It doesn't matter what the politics are of it, if he needs to be removed. That is our duty and voters elected us to make those decisions. And to represe. Sent them. Then there's another part of the party. That is really worried about the political implications. They're not ready to risk. What may happen in twenty twenty and they recognize that bringing up impeachment when the public isn't ready for it could be detrimental to them. Officers you can feel pressure from caucus, but is this to just Nancy, Pelosi's, call at the moment? Yes. But I don't think ultimate think it really does depend if enough rank and file members rise up. And it does seem in the conversations that we've had with these members the numbers only going up for those calling for impeachment. I the number does rise up enough where she's really pressured to address it, that could really tip the scale for her conventional wisdom, here is that if Democrats launched impeachment hearings, and if they actually got the votes voted to impeach in the house that the thing would still be delay in the Senate. It's a Republican Mitch McConnell controlled Senate. Yes. For those who are supporting impeachment hearings. Are there any who believe, you know what this could be like the Nixon tapes, and the Nixon hearings, and that something will come out, which is so overwhelming, which is so indisputable that even the GOP Senate would actually vote to impeach? The president or is the belief this is purely playing for the voters in two thousand and twenty a lot of members do think that if there is something that could be found there will be more people like congressman just mash. She's the one Republican who's been very vocal about impeaching and quasi excommunicated from his party, correct? I mean, that's part of, yes, I mean, and he's a founding member of the ultra conservative house freedom caucus. And so, yes, he's been chastised by a lot of people in his party especially members in that caucus. But there is a belief that a lot of Republicans in the Senate may join on, if they can find concrete evidence that really proves whether it's the president obstructed Justice, or whether it's something really damaging that hasn't come to light yet. But a lot of people also very skeptical of that. So it's a mix, I think more, so the people who are pro impeachment now, kind of recognized that it will be on arrival in the Senate. But they feel like they have that moral obligation to move forward with impeachment proceedings. Whereas. Others even very liberal members of the Democratic Party. We talked with the delegate from DC, Eleanor Holmes more, and she said, I'm very liberal recognized that some of the members and people I represent aren't in line with my position on this, but she really thinks that it's ridiculous to even think about impeachment because it would be that on arrival in the Senate. And so there is that tension, I think, in the party with these different driving factors. Is there a drop dead? If not a specific date of general timeline. In other words that for whether it be Pelosi or others leadership because you do have the elections next year, you don't want ongoing, at thank you don't want ongoing impeachment investigation going to the conventions next year. Is there a sense, we either have to start it by X date or, and just not doing it? There's also disagreement on that. So a lot of members think that if you're gonna do this, we spoke with congressman row Kana, and Jamie Raskin. They said it, this is going to happen. It has to happen in two thousand nineteen we can't push it off till twenty twenty and the election year that just wrecks too much political. Localize -ation, and they were, you know, really disenchanting voters ahead of twenty twenty but then there's people who say, you know, you have to put aside the politics of, and if you're really operating as a member of congress, you swore an oath into office than the calendar shouldn't matter. And so, again, I think that the politics of it versus that, that moral obligation that numbers are feeling is really where the real divide is. Them and ask skill ten ten being. Yup. They start impeachment hearings. What's the likelihood that there will be impeachment hearings before this, congress is over the likelihood? I mean, I the HBO second was with my colleague nNcholas Johnson. He's full on believes that they are going to launch at the minimum an enquiry. I'm a little bit more skeptical on the timing, but I think that there's I'd say I'd say, maybe a four point five out of ten chance Elena train. Thanks so much for joining us. My two right after this. So about those online ads one way it works is advertisers. Look for categories of people with similar characteristics, like millennials, who, like hiking gear. To learn more, visit Facebook dot com slash about slash EDS. Now it's time for my final two, and I m Zahn chief technology officer Werner Vogels who tells the BBC that it's not his company's responsibility to determine what it's facial recognition technology should and shouldn't be used for instead he puts the onus on regulators in, quote unquote, society. Now we've discussed before here, how fish, recognition tech is viewed by many as a pen, Dora's box for civil liberties, particularly with how it's been used in China, but Vogel seems unconcerned comparing such software to steal which sometimes used to make baby incubators and sometimes used to make guns. And finally, most of the political and environmental discourse around oil, involve gasoline, or other types of vehicle fuels, but the fastest growing use petrochemicals, which is what's used in plastics. In fact, petrochemicals accounted for half the growth in global oil demand last year according to be with expectations that it could rise seventy percent by twenty forty so just last week Exxon Mobil and Saudi Arabian company got. Final approvals to build a massive factory in Texas for the production of ethics AIn, which is the most common North American feedstock for plastics, and that's on top of seven other new petrochemical plants that have come online in the US since early two thousand seventeen with a couple of others expected this year. Why matters is the plastics create their own environmental and health catastrophes just go to YouTube and type in plastics into ocean. Or check out this past weekend's axios deep dive called planet, plastic the question now is how countries, particularly the US will bounce the desire for petrochemical jobs with the desire for clean water, or if they will the key may be better plastic recycling technologies by the oil companies themselves likely driven by regulatory pressure. In the meantime, our collective addiction to plastics is only expected to intensify. And we're done. Big thanks for listening to my producer, Tim show, vers have a great national garbage man's day in will back tomorrow with another pro rata podcast.