The last COMMENTARY podcast of the week is all about Mueller: His lackluster testimony on the Hill, its impact, and his investigation’s legacy.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Welcome to the commentary magazine. Podcast today is Thursday July twenty fifth, twenty nineteen a notable day in in american history, as it is the date of the birth of my mother, managed to act upon hordes who
is ninety two today and I was writing letters to my kids at camp trying to go through what it means to have been born in one thousand nine hundred and twenty seven like that was the year that the first trip plane trip across the Atlantic took place. It was twenty four years after the first air flight, thirty five years after the first car, you know, seven years after the introduction of radio, you think of all the things that haven't happened. Yet you know having with the great depression
and in world war. Two, there hadn't been the Holocaust, her hand in the creation of Israel. There hadn't been the you know: the Cold war and transistors ation and television, and you know the sort of the the transformation of the world that she and people of her age have lived through, is just a staggering and how close they were to to aid the age before electricity, and you know before the before the ability of people to travel more than like forty miles from their home. All without making a major expedition of it anyway. Yes, I'm John Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary and with me is always Christine Rosen in Washington, senior writer, hi, Christine how Hey John and happy birthday to your mom. She a great role model to a lot of us. Thank you
and here in studio, know Rothman Associated or high Noah Hi John and eight Greenwald Senior wait senior editor at junk executive. Editor, editor of Editors- I, like it titles titles, are, My mother is ninety two, as I've said, which, which also helps under explain how I am fifty eight and I'm losing my marbles. Just so. Uh right, so also thought, perhaps have been losing his marbles was Robert Muller, who testified yesterday for before two house. Committees and uh lol virtually raised, questions, I'm sure he did not want to raise about his The
freshness of his cognitive processes. Let's say and raised interesting questions about the the singular determination with which, after he read that statement um in April or what It was the letter this this Brad said he would not speak Further I mean maybe he did not want to speak any further, because speaking further is a great difficulty for him, which I think is something that cannot be taken a lightly and is certainly something that might have been tried transmitted to people. But I think the logic of what that what had gone on the past two years and the congressional
fights within the democratic caucus over the possibility, the necessity the ideological force of impeachment made disappearance these appearances. They could not not fight for it and make it happen after all, this time they had to have. There, and I guess, I think, also maybe the whole country had to have in there so that this two year more than two years. Really since the day that Trump came into office, this two one slash two year fantasy that he his presidency- could simply be extirpated without the need for a vote that he would be driven from office he will be forced to resign or be forced to flee, or he would be in which didn't removed, or something like that that this was a. This has been a theme from the day that he was inaugurated and and
so I'm very much mistaken and the Democrat Party goes completely insane. That theme came to a close yesterday afternoon when the second hearing before the House Intelligence Committee ended I don't see how a single person who was not in favor of an Richmond, changed his mind and decided that impeachment was necessary in the in the House caucus I imagine, that watching Muller and seeing the weakness actually not only of his own performance but in some sense of the case that he was making, particularly in the obstruction part two obstruction section of the of the of the report. The if he couldn't defend it or go beyond it or say anything What about it? That some?
people who have moved inexorably in this direction, may want to pull back and be saved from it by Tupelo see the house leadership willing to take the bullet of saying. We just can't do this. This is insane. We don't have the goods. That's the Republican, controlled Senate will not vote Therefore, this is uh fool's errand. It's an empty exercise and we will look shot in partisan and maybe a little nuts is I We have any objections to this analysis. I mean, I think, as a practical matter impeachment is. Is off the table, I think spirit. Is it lives on main still be seeing how that have that manifest? Anything one of the interesting things here is that, as we've seen since Trump's become president there's, this constant reversal of roles on the left and right and
I wonder now we haven't gotten into it. Yet the response on the left to to Mahler's performance, but because they seem so disappointed in it on the left. I wonder what kind of doubt they will be in casting on the report while now, the Republicans seem more or less satisfied with it. Maybe you have abroad theory about how this could manifest. That, I think, is worth going into because, if Johns Wrong and the there really is an impulse towards sort of probably so. Feeding craziness within the democratic caucus, then it'll probably manifest, as you see it, unfolding well? I mean I I I think, there's a chance that at Democrats or the left more broadly will start looking at Miller's performance and determine there for that.
He sort of was in up to the job. I'm trying to you know put it politely. He what he didn't sort of you know wasn't as on top of the of the task, as they had thought had hoped and therefore there needs to be in. Station and a servant, a new probe. Yeah, so the new probe would take the form of an impeachment inquiry. The craziest members of Marcus will not acquit themselves as Lee as you have, they will say that the gentleman's mental faculties are impaired. This wasn't a Miller probe at all. It was directed by his subordinates, none of whom we can trust the Doj, compromised, there needs to be Korean. The only inquiry that can be done is in Peachman Inquiry in the house. Now. Impeachment is never really been on the table. There's members of the democratic caucus. No impeachment inquiry period, there's not enough members of the democratic caucus who would support it.
The inquiry. That doesn't mean that if it were put to a vote, they wouldn't feel it necessary to support. We have we have another pre. The question is put up to a vote that there should be an impeachment inquiry, would would a majority of can does it require to a ten yeah, yet that I can't, I don't think it actually, Sir okay for all right, so some parts of an impeachment where you can be conducted without a full vote of the house and meanings. Done by the Judiciary Committee and and therefore could be done simply as a project of the Judiciary committee. But I think this is all this is. This is all, as we say in Kite Skype, because what happened yesterday was for two years. The idea was that Robert Muller was the person in America who knew what was
going on, or, you could say, Muller and his probe. However, you want to put it like they. Everybody else was just speculating. They knew they were. They were creating a massive map of ' Lusion, conspiracy and obstruction, and we were old constantly along the way more was coming? More was coming, indictments were coming, things were coming, important hits were coming. Trump was scared. Try you know. People around him were terrified all that, by the way, I think it's likely to Trump was scared and people around him were terrified. What happened was there were thirty seven people and entities indicted by Mahler and he secured various convictions most prominently of Paul Manafort, and none of it had to do with connections between the
campaign and Russia, not a single charge, was levied about connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. There were charges about people making false statements to or in the course of the inquiry in which such questions were asked, but There was no so this Chris, the major question about part two of the report, which is the were credible. The report lays credibly out, ten possible instances of obstruction. But with under, but with no underlying crime and fairness. You can of course, stretch things to indict somebody for conspiring without an underlying crime that is among the most controversial things that a jury ever has to deal with happens on Wall,
all the time that people walk because they're indicted on the grounds of conspiracies. Which they should have known, that something was a crime or or that they had said things to each other. That rose the level of conspiracy, but that they couldn't prove the underlying offense right. So. That's a terrible way to attend. Indict someone Obviously, a impeachment is a particular kind of indictment right. It's not it's a political act, it's not it's a you! Have you have to define what a high crime or dinner is and lay it out, and so he didn't have the goods on conspiracy and obstruction or obstruction. And we were told over and over again that he did he would it was coming. It was coming. There were bizarre leaks or whatever to various reports, is demonstrating that and if you think about the Manafort case, so if there was
this conspiracy, obviously manifold would have been at the center of it metaphor, is going to jail for the rest of his life. So He has no incentive not to have co op we need to give them what it was that they needed to go after Trump, I mean I doesn't seem like a particularly self sacrificing person who was going to die. In prison because he wants to the one with the legacy of Donald Trump's presidency. So this is one ticket out. What's that pardon pardon? Well, yeah but I mean that's it. That's a terrible bet. So what you could? What it's not hard for me to imagine
I'm in south hard for me to imagine that he might fantasize about a pardon, but that doesn't mean that once the judge says to him you're going to jail for thirty three years in your sixty nine years old that you don't go uh, I better do something anyway. Just so I'm just saying, like we had two here's this an it's over and yeah. Ok! So can I just say one thing to the idea that it's over I do I don't think it's over. It's certainly not over in the minds of the you know self identified resistance. I mean the tweet that struck me is the most telling reaction to what was going on was Laurence Tribe, that Harvard LAW for his kind of gone off the deep end when it comes to his hatred of Trump, and he talked about so you know I hate to say this, but Muller has sucked the lifeout of impeachment now and but he talked about how
the our effort to save democracy and the rule of law from the lawless president is now you know really set back and that, I think, is the pivot. It happened right. This is no longer about Muller who they they unfairly built up, superhero who then disappointed them it's about the rule of law. So never we're going to see a pivot in terms of the language with that the one thing in in deep defensive Miller, who basically signal to everyone on the right and the left that he had no interest in even sitting there and talking to them, was that he, the one thing he said. That is not been getting a lot of attention that should is here very strong warning that russian Interference in american elections will continue and that the bigger point the bigger threat to democracy is that that's an ongoing thread, it should be considered a non threat and and obviously The Trump administration has no interest in dealing with that, but the Democrats don't seem all that keen to do it either. So I was really glad to hear him make that statement, but I don't
we're going to see, we might see a new strategy from the Democrats with regard to impeachment, but this idea that Trump is is undermining democracy that that's going to continue. This is going to be petted and and they're going to find new outlets for exploring that idea. Hi. I am a demo. We're going to use the mother report as they should in twenty twenty, because it is extraordinary damning to the trump Ministration in the present. Let's be pretty clear about that. There was no collusion with Russia, but it wasn't for lack of trying if there was an effort have made on the part of Moscow to provide the Trump campaign with the evidence it sought actively from Kremlin cut outs, it would have been there and that would have been the link mother reporters
a clear they tried and failed to work with russian entities and the president on multiple occasions, such as shut down or impede. This investigation was thwarted by his cooler heads I'm around him in the subordinates that wasn't again for lack of trying. Okay, I'm just not entirely sure it's the best idea for Democrats to keep shoving it down the the Americans throats, though, because there's a such fatigue about on the collusion issue that I think that might over ride. So what what so many Americans already know about the ability, the attempts to obstruct okay so
or two strands right, and there were two sides of the report. There's the Russian there's the question of russian Interference in twenty sixteen, and then there is the question of Trump's obstruction. Those are the two parts of the report, so the confusion of the two is why the Trump administration is uninterested in pursuing the danger Of russian interference, this is not to praise them for doing so or to defend them from doing so. Trump made the decision, and I think in Granada respect the vulgar decision and it's a fall decision and it's a sophistic decision, but
decision and the less to say the entire investigation is horse. Pucky right. The entire thing is a witch hunt and every aspect of it is nonsense and they're just trying to get me and and not budging right in early two thousand and seventeen before Muller before Muller was appointed before all this happened with Comi. Republican. Richard Burr and Democrat Mark Warner. You know on the guess, was at the Senate Intelligence Committee convened they did a very serious report. There have been reports, all over the place, officials of the Trump administration, including the CI
a director, the director of national intelligence, all that have said that the danger, the russian Interference elections is a cardinal danger to the country. The president, for political reasons, has argued that made it the political decision that he was going to try to discredit the entire report now Again, moral, you, we can go on and say: oh, he should have done better and all this, but I don't think looking back that you can say that he made a political error by doing what he did. He was knighted his party and the right behind him on the grounds that there was something fishy going on here and that they were. This was just a fishing expedition. Looking for anything that could be gotten to get him out of there. Had he been a more we,
sponsor President heavy that a more sober Pratt, even a more reasonable person and tried to separate these lines to say I think it's really important that we find out what the Russians did. So we can stop them from doing it any further. But looking at me and my people, never that for what we did that's fit legitimate. That would have been too complicated a plot line for him to handle and for him to sell again, I'm not making a defense, I'm trying to explain what happened, and Course Democrats and liberals in the laughter the media played right into his hands because they also mix the two up into a gigantic jumble to the extent that the idea that somebody who work for Trump had had conversation at anytime in the last fifteen years somebody who had Russell russian citizenship was bad
If you actually look at what Michael Flynn was in dot, you know basically was indicted, for I have to, I mean basically have to resign from the administration, because he lied to MIKE Pence right that that's what the line was, but what did you? He made five phone calls to the russian ambassador, attempting as the incoming national security advisor to prevent Russia from putting sanctions on the United States, because Russia, because we had we had thrown out thirty five diplomats as a response to the russian babbling so Flynn called the guy, apparently on his birthday, where I can't remember: five calls something like that, and what we now know is that he was and don't do this. We're coming in things will be different there it's nothing to about him. Having done that, when asked about it?
you know under oath he lied about it now why he lied about. It is a whole other issue, and you know- and that was stupid and all of that, but if you think about it, is that really? Where there Kratz. Liberals liberals want to go that that that a political official it's representing, an incoming administration are going to be held legally liable for policy conversations that they were authorized to have by the head of the on the on the There are grounds that you shouldn't be doing politics in the transition period. That's balderdash, yeah they're, all. Oversimplifying it, and this is sort of getting Al Capone on tax evasion thing he was on the payroll of the turkish government.
With nationals yeah. Well, he wasn't accused of being on the payroll. You know what that's like. I look, ins are going to say one word about. I am not talking about Republicans. I know that he was on the payroll of the Turks that had nothing to do with why he had actually is also on master. It was a blatant violation of just about every norm that we have and no one is going to litigate it because it was a bad actor, but I'm not talking about all I'm saying. Is I'm not stalking at defending MIKE Flynn or what you know MIKE Flynn pled guilty, because they when after a son- and you know whatever- and this stuff is marble and the you know politics, ain't beanbag, and he is a this person and did foolish things all I'm saying is that that, from the very outset there was an f to criminalize norm. Electively normal behavior success. Criminalize relatively normal behavior and then mix that up with the really serious question that Christine raised about? What are we going to
about russian interference, and we are now hampered from doing stuff about russian interference. Because of that right, because Trump has basically said it's all a hoax now, but to be fair he's saying. The molar investigation was a hoax. I don't think he's ever said that the idea that the Russians may have been playing footsie with you know or trying when it when he said the Trump yet Trump said Helsinki Fair enough, but he said, were he said: Putin says he He didn't do it and I believe, yeah yeah, but you know it could also be. You know this whole issue could be another one of those things. I think it is one of those things, where Trump says one thing and then his administration acts in a different way. But I mean, for example, there's
piece of legislation to secure Iraq and don't even know, what's called slick, securing the vote act or something that that has not been brought up for a vote in the Senate. Mcconnell has has not put it up for a vote in the Senate. This will be an interest like, maybe he maybe he can now in if words off the table he doesn't have to give in and that the ideas of this somehow gives you somehow wait to the case for each event or is some kind of a substitute for impeachment. Then he won't do it, but maybe he'll do it. Otherwise, I don't even know if it's effective, you know and by the way, the other problem. I agree with you Christine. And I don't want it now like go into becoming a total. You know, and just like Freakonomics, I'm just objecting to everything. Everybody says
but you know some of the cases about how the Russians attempted to interfere arc for our our ludicrous. You know the the face with the impressions on Facebook. You know the you know the the the Robotics Twitter feeds that you know attack people, including me. I mean really cheap enough votes to make the slightest. Difference anywhere, I mean yeah, and we we have. We actually have some data already about how many people opened, for example, some of the fake news stories which would which predominate headlines for awhile as an example of russian interference. It was an extremely small percentage of Americans who actually open that stuff and read it so it there as the media has done a great job of kind of creating a a like mine mindset around it
it said. I also think it was an interesting moment for republican defenders of trump when and MR of Democrats mad yesterday, that when some of the conspiracy theorists were being spouted by republican members of Congress and Miller, didn't engage or try to defend their. He just kind of didn't, engage at all, and I know that there were definitely some Democrats. You saw them all over social media is saying: why doesn't he strike that down with me? Tell them that they're wrong, and I really I I really want to offer a kind of mild defensive of, because I think he did exactly what he said he was going to do and he has both lights off, so I kind of admire him for that and yeah he's older, but he I mean I didn't find him to be. Lacking in the ability to discuss what he's doing. I wonder if a lot of the reaction to his demeanor is the result of a public. That's become habituated to reacting on twitch.
Timing, cable, news time right. You want immediate, loud anger, angry responses to every question, and that's just not that's that's not a champ. I don't know. I have to disagree with you on this. I thought that he was extraordinarily disrespectful as a witness he's brought in. He is sworn in. He is sworn to answer these questions. He made decisions where he said, I'm not going to get into that. I'm not going to get into this and I'm not going to get into the other thing and his excuse, for it was their on going investigations or thing like that, that's that's crap. He was making unilateral choices about what it was. He was going to answer or not answer witnesses before Congress sworn in before the judiciary in the intelligence committee, do not have the right to decide what questions they will and will not answer they were. He was pro he was given a massive difference by Lee, I think, by the chairman of the two committees, because, 'cause. They were still hung up on the idea that he was a national hero who is somehow going to save the country from Trump when it began
After about seven minutes of the hearing that that was not true, there was no reason for them to continue to provide him with that difference in actually in some ways the republican hostility toward him? Whether or not you think it's legitimate because of the arguments they were making or not. There was probably was more proper in terms of the way he was behaving in front of a duly constituted investigating these two Dooley concert, investigative committees like what right does he have to say, I'm not going to answer that and he said it one hundred and forty seven times, I'm going to get into that, I'm not going to get into that now. I think the reason is that he didn't know what he was talking about and he didn't know it was in the report. He doesn't know he didn't write the report he doesn't know. What's in the report, there may be something cognitively wrong with him or he made checked out of the process after he was named in the didn't, have anything to do with it, and so he needed that guy Aaron Zebley next to him, because Aaron Zebley actually ran the investigation according to the New York Times and now what's in the report. I'm like Mahler. It's weird.
Don't want to answer questions. Why? Wouldn't he want to answer questions? What what? What? What garbage is this he did. This report is a public servant he's before Congress Why? Wouldn't he want to answer questions about the report? If he's proud of the report, he said I'm gonna go beyond the bounds of report in a press conference. That's fine, but he's not the boss of Jerrold Nadler or the house. That's pretty close. I mean that. Would that that's my that's! You know That's that's the thing. The only excuse for that conduct is mental impairment. They you know- and there were a couple moments when you have to. When he when he refused to read the excerpts that were on the screen when he said you know, I want you to read it the car sort of put it up. Why couldn't he read the excerpts on the screen? They were like not giving democratic ad maker sound bites
ask please. Why is why not? Why not, because he's not a political actor yeah I think I with no, I think, he's just kind of disgusted by the circus that had all but come I mean I, I see your point John about him, not He behaving the way when they should, but I mean you sit lucky you mark Zuckerberg was tried before Congress and he didn't do it quite so politely, but every time is that something you did one answer he kind of hand in HOLLAND said I'll get back to. It really does help in all the time yeah. I know, but don't but it's not as blatantly as this, and not somebody who was not somebody who was testifying about the about his report about whether or not the president should be impeached I mean Mark is a just because of the gravity of the circumstance of a congressional hearing is different, doesn't make the circumstance any less of circus. Rational hearings are circuses, they're off the other okay, good thing with somebody treated it like what this thing goes to the deeper question about Mahler. So, let's go to the deeper question Mark Muller for a second ok.
He well these two sides of the report right and he says the second part of the report, We decided that we couldn't indict the present based on the Office of legal counsel, guidance written in the late 70s or whatever, and then updated in the 90s Ann. Attorney. General Barr said that the first part where he announced the refining said I never said that he couldn't indict the president. I never insisted on well see no one. As far as I know, no one ever insisted that they follow the Olc guidance that was Muller's own unilateral decision at some point in this process. That Trump was not going to be indicted. Will it doesn't have to answer questions about that. What what right? Does he have not to answer questions about that? That was a judgment. Call that the pro Trump pro unitary executive attorney?
General said he didn't agree with heat she's, not sure that that guidance is proper appropriate, I mean so something is off here, you don't just get to do whatever the hell you want and then not and be? You know Just because like Jeff sessions, recuse himself and everybody who was his boss, got fired, mother then says: I'm writing this report here it is. It speaks for itself, I'm not going to answer any questions about it but there, but it raises questions that that are going to haunt the country for the rest of its existence. Where, these cases of obstruction that encases outlined in part two if their abstr, Shin? Why wasn't he if he told arm again to fire Muller if Trump told dominant Farm Olaran, Muller and Miller, didn't fire Don Mccann is that struction or not,
Why is he laying out this narrative in this report about how this, happened with Don Mcgahn if he was not using it as supporting evidence for a charge of obstruction, when do you layout a you know a narrative in a charging in a document that is supposed to explain? Why are why you did not charge, or so it sought charges, or something without saying whether the case met the standard, Conspiracy or obstruction like that's bizarre, the report is, is it is it is in in, is a sort of legal in intellectuals shambles in that respect, and just because the house didn't know what the hell to
because they had decided on this ludicrous narrative that they're gonna sit there praising mauler for three hours and how wonderfully was in every possible way didn't mean they don't have the right to ask the questions, and so, yes, so has so they're naked political performances, but I mean if he personally believed that he shouldn't indict the president, because it will not be it would be on his return. His man they were suggested that he do so. He could have said that without saying. Well, I will I you have no opinion about this, but the office of legal counsel wrote a memo want. So I that's what we have to do, who the hell The office of legal counsel is not binding league. Documents. We obviously will counsel exist inside the Justice Department to provide guidance and
guidance is not holy writ. It's not an executive order. It doesn't have any standing except out. You know as a thing that you use as guidance and you don't have to take guidance by the way. That's one of the definitions of guidance is that it's a way of going that you don't necessarily have to follow, and now I need to talk to you guys about our latest advertiser and I'm trying to find because I supposedly had all this done and okay here we go everybody. It's expressly Bien very important in the Russia in the air of the Russia Investigation, because when you're preparing to travel abroad this summer there. A lot of things on your checklist to pack but was probably missing, is the one app that's going to keep you safe and secure online, while you're away expressive, Bpm expressly pm doesn't just encrypt your data. While you surf the internet on public airport and hotel,
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visit, expressvpn dot com, slash commentary to learn more so We were talking earlier about how the molar report follows this dud of a day follow many previous Doug's of days in which the left had held out, hope against hope or the resistance that this was the moment, it was going to get Trump every time. There's this momentous news event that is supposed to delay. A death blow to or to say something substantive, finally about certain conspiracy, the the Democrats in the left lose big time. This happened with the bar letter, then with Muller's comments on the bar letter. Uhm let
back yet yeah, even before that yeah we could, we can go to commies testimony. That's right! We can go to Michael Collins, testimony! That's right, we can go to. I mean there were other I'm trying to think of other moments. There been like six seven moments, it's like something's going to happen in six weeks that is going to blow this presidency wide open. For some of that, like you know, there's going to be a hearing in six weeks or book is going to come out in five weeks or something like that and there's a huge I've not right the stuff. The stormy legal stuff, then does, and then the dust clears everything is static? Right because the battle lines have been drawn. And there are these moments when Trump has hurt himself, but they never come in relation to the resistance right, the most the most.
Notable one being Charlottesville right when his basically polls went down ten points across the board practically in the immediate wake of the Charlottesville comments, and he did that to himself and had nothing to do with two thousand and sixteen at nothing do with the Russians had nothing to do with with any you know I've got to say I think in this wish, for the to deal the suspect had one of these spectacular blows to Trump to something that will unfold on television screens all at once and and and decisively read the left of their nightmare. There's a laziness in this right 'cause. They want to sit back and wait for this thing to just happen as opposed to doing the hard work of. Getting of ensuring that he doesn't get reelected. Well, Exactly right, I think that's a really important point, because it also allows them to avoid the internal tensions that exist in their own party right now, but not just with regard to how to deal with truck.
But how to even make reasonable policies. You know coming out of a democratic, controlled, Congress. I think that's super important. It is it's strangely for all of the agitation. You see it's a strangely passive distance right. Well, so. I was noticing that in social media over the last couple of weeks, there's been a kind of weird thing that people keep putting up, which is why aren't we marching? We should be. Marching. We should be saying we can't put up with this anymore. I guess re ignited by the centre. Back comments right. We should be marching and marching and marching course now you shouldn't be marching. Should be organizing. You should be figuring out You should be giving money, the candidate you want. You should be figuring out how to get more Democrats to the polls and in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin. Well, that is happened. Florida not happening on social media right, but
No, but I'm saying you can't have enough of that, but you know there's you know, the last thing you need to be doing is having is playing emotive politics that doesn't help and in fact, may well set you back because the motive politics creates a counter a of politics and that's where you get standoff. So if you do you know so? If you had marches, then you would have trump marches and then everything would be back to zero yeah. I got to say this is a function of the venue in which you're searching on here I mean the story of twenty eighteen was or have organizational outmatches, actually donations that outmatched Republicans ten three to one exactly the transit two thousand and seventeen marching transitioned into organization- and we have no indication that stopped in time. Ok, I'm not saying that it stopped or didn't stop I'm talking about where emotional energies directed an here's, the thing so Imagine that it's November, two thousand and eighteen Democrats have one four thousand and forty districts away from Republicans right
has two interesting aspects to it, one of which is that it indicates that in fact, Trump has hurt. The Republican Party in the suburbs really terribly and the people went out to vote to get him out of office. So too, you know basically to get the Republicans out of office to punish him for his bad behavior. That's that's number. One and now I forgot number two 'cause, I'm like What number two is even more, I mean we look back on my list. There's. Definitely a failure and Democrats part to manage expectations, particularly around the Miller investigation from beginning to end, notably, even and and when these hearings occurred, but there is a temptation. I think, to look at this from the lens of right now and in retrospect and twenty twenty one. If we are inaugurating a new president and Democrats have a better than even chance of winning the
two. They have a much better map that now you're. Looking at that you're. Looking at that Alan Abramowitz piece on the Crystal Ball and Alan Abramowitz is not to be taken seriously as a definitely I've read the three the analysis. I read it as an basically it says seventeen different things are true in November twenty twenty, as they are right now have at that address better than anything and everything. So everybody is gonna, looking at a poo, poo it and then we'll look back on not only in for a good cause and will look back on those elements and say: well, obviously, you can't have a president who is all who is surrounded himself with incompetence who inflames passions. Who is no legislative? It's at victories to his name, except for one reform effort and one tax reform effort. Of course you can't have this happening next to win reelection and it'll be obvious in retrospect, well yeah everything is obvious. In retrospect it's obvious that Hillary Clinton should have gone to Wisconsin and she didn't go to Wisconsin, but that's not the way. Politics works. Number one two that I think: here's what I was going to say it was the number two things about what
in twenty twenty. Is it twenty, Eighteen is that Democrats, one swing districts and then the default text since the end of twenty eighteen, the entire The party has been between left and left. Are I mean that's. The interesting fallout is that is that when at this ginger moments, when Nancy Poulos, he says I don't know why you're paying attention to the squad. Wow There are forty people who won seats away from Republicans who are in the house who are way more politically meaningful than three leftists who come from leftist districts where they replaced Liberal and leftist Congress, members and then, the everybody yells at her and shouts are down and says she's. Terrible, that's crazy, like the the question is: are that it we're going getting back to the Democrats being crazy and the presumption of the shock
tree of twenty. Sixteen, One of the reasons that the molar probe was so important to people emotionally was that the investigation into russian interference without then meant but the Russians handed the elections to trump and that Trump and the Obama people clearly believe this 'cause. This is what they were doing during the transition, desperately trying to investigate whether Trump was a russian puppet and had been installed. But do you know to be poop in Putin's catspaw right, is that this explained this inexplicable this there simple explanation for the exploit, the Russians turned one hundred thousand people to you know the dark side and there, for Trump's election was illegitimate, it wasn't legitimate. It wasn't just generac? Is he lossed by three million votes nationwide? It was illegitimate because he was installed illegally,
and no evidently goes so go ahead. Sorry, I was going to say in Hillary Clinton has contributed to that narrative that in the years since her defeat, I mean it's not just. There is on twitter on the left. I mean that that major democratic party figures have continued to note the entire way it works. Well. Well, let's set at the people's have said people with Jim The elected people series would have said with a straight face. That Trump is president because Russia made it happen, that's why they quit Facebook right every this whole mass quitting a facebook because Facebook the means by which evilly you know, Putin got people to vote for Trump again that's extraordinarily lazy right for all their outrage and anger. Instead looking up at their own party. Looking at the country, they just rely on this fantasy, this explanatory fantasy, and then sort of wait for it to be avenged right, so
How are those moderate Democrats who who took those formerly republican districts and and swung them to the Democrats? How are they gonna sell the Miller report to their constituents when they're up for reelection twenty twenty? I mean, I don't think they they have to it's, not clear, We don't know what the ideological makeup of their there. To its are in this sense, which is that they are in districts that Republicans won, and now you know they won and what I think they can say. We don't like Trump. We don't like his policies and everything like that, and so we're going to beat him fair and square that's we did it in two thousand and eighteen. We can do it in twenty twenty everybody. It's that thing everybody voted for me- comes out in two thousand and twenty the way in twenty eighteen, we go a good shot at winning this present see you know, I mean that is a that is, that is the real thing shouldn't
Eve Mall report on on some level be very damning for the Democrats in the Biden in that extensive, russian meddling happened entirely on him watch on Obama's watch. Well, that's what Also Trump said that before he decided that he was going to say that matter right, he said. Why are you blaming me and that we wouldn't have left something right yeah they put the relying they're relying on the the very tried and true consistent at brief historical memory of most american voters. I mean bite and just the other day on the campaign trail is promising never to put children in cages like trumped up on the border in making oops. You know we actually know that's been a problem when you were vice president, so I think they're, just relying on people not having the historical memory to question that yeah. But that's Emily. Why? No one is going to talk about Muller at all in twenty twenty minutes? Being that a dud. Well, it's going to cling to a dud
of course, it will going again this new cycles, but when we began the podcast I thought you said the people Democrats are going to be it's going to be a talking point, but it's not going to be a central theme of the campaign. There's no campaign that they're going to wage on it because there's no campaign to be waged on it. They're going to talk about is Donald, Trump's, general demeanor, because they can't talk about foreign wars that can talk about the economy that can't even about corruption within the administration is all about. The president and that's one facet of the arguments are going against president which to me It goes back to this counter factual, which is what, if they hadn't gotten themselves insanely way waylaid by this delusional theory that Russia has the election one if they had focused on emoluments. What, if the leave if what, if there's not a song, and it's even no, but if they had focused on the Trump hotel on you, know, Morrow the government paying MAR a Lago to host you know trumps. Will a western White House
options of all of his administration and staff. I mean there's so many exactly alike with that is there's too many examples, Brian exile here in argument. No, you that's the point you could say there were two hundred and seventy five cases of, but that's it. I can't go into Tom price. Ok, but you also don't know if you had spent your entire emotional energy, on focusing on something like that. As a those two on Russia and you wouldn't focused your investigative money in your investigative dollars in the media on that there's no telling what you could have dug up that hasn't been dug up. I'm not, I'm not I'm not on Is that this was a monumental miscalculation and it was an emotional miscalculation and It may be, therefore, it's a good thing that came out the way it did so. The report, as even bar, said today that he said the report does not exonerate the president right there.
The first thing he said then Trump said total exoneration. Well enough. He's right because by not indicting him on the basis of what the democratic theory of the ACE was he's exonerated I mean the report says that he this that we cannot exonerate the isn't that was of course, the other interesting moment of disputation that Muller by simply didn't engage in, which was when the Sky Representative Armstrong from uh can't remember which Dakota who is variable. Freshman was extremely impressive. Sad. Under what legal standard is is exoneration a thing that happens in a in an investigation of a potentially criminal act. You are you
created a standard according to what you could theoretically have exonerated the president. There is no such thing as exoneration in the law and then Mueller did that look that had that you don't deer in the headlights, look and like he wasn't really listening and didn't really get anywhere. The other question, though, is what about our friends on our side? Are we are? going to spend another. Sixteen months, yelling Constantine Kilimnick, whose name came up two hundred times yesterday or you know Joseph Mifsud? Are we going to is this? Are they going to drop this now, because the investigation was after how are they now so committed to the narrative that an unprecedented effort was made to destroy, to destroy Presidential campaign by creating a document by the way, the steel dossier that was not leaked before the election. So Therefore, don't really understand how if the document was created in order to destroy Trump
and then it wasn't leaked so that it could destroy Trump, how the document was created to destroy trial. Justice Democrats can't talk about foreign wars or the economy or legislative efforts on their part. You know all the hr one and what have you 'cause, no ones interested Trump, isn't interested in talking about any of that stuff either. All he wants to talk about is himself and his personal slights and, to the extent that he has transformed the Republican Party into an image of himself, then yes, they will continue to talk about that, because that is what energizes him with. The same energizes the republican base, but you know again he's not dumb and animal cunning about politics like he was so cutting about politics that he made the closing argument in two thousand and eighteen about caravans and let the election, but animal cunning here would be to drop the whole subject of Russia altogether. If you know, say
what do you, where you are? You even supervisors told him in twenty eighteen to make the election about himself, because Republicans were not energized to go out and vote, and also because he was talking about a red waiver for that nonsense, but they were just weren't. Energized and so in two thousand and twenty, when he's actually on the ballot he's going to spend the entire time talking about himself, nobody. He talks about a rallies when he's off script. He doesn't talk about legislative achievements of the state of the economy or even immigration. For the most part, he talks about what wants to do, but it is generally about himself and how he is perceived and how we perceive his enemies and he likes to talk about that's what gets him up in the morning and that's what he's going to talk about and so folks at the Federalist and what have you aren't going to be talking about the legislative Pennsylvania, one hundred and fifteen Congress? Okay? So what we have after Muller after two one slash two years of this stuff after the resistance, after all, the delusions after his own bad behavior, and everything like that
polling. That shows that he would get about the same number of votes in twenty as he got in twenty? Sixteen that you know, or maybe a little less so in some sense, you can say all of this did its work. It forced the reasons the Democrats hate him. It has convinced independence. They are suspicious of him and then maybe, counterweight it is hardened republican support for him that might have been softer that they voted for him because they were going to vote for Hillary and there was no other choice, but now they have a more affirmatively or more positive view of him than they had in general public, in twenty sixteen, so you can say that all of this did its work by by cementing the parties are. They are and making sure that the fight for victory in twenty twenty is with whoever is left.
Who just hasn't made up his mind: I used to be twenty to twenty five percent of the electorate. Many election, that's how you could get Reagan going from fifty to sixty percent know in the fifty fifty eight percent. But- in eighteen, eighty four and forty to forty nine states from eight thousand and eighty four, but it Now it's much smaller it's not so small that they won't decide the clearly decide the election Unless Democrats hate him so much that they can continue to turn out to have that in scene, twenty eighteen turn out, I mean you were- were or knows, reading time over his book, american carnage reviewed for commentary, and what is it that congressman will heard from Texas says I sent that actually pull it up. 'cause. I took a screen grab of this one of the soul pack, a lip tickle. So basically yeah we gotta, we gotta, really
for his own sake. Democrats got sixty two million votes in twenty eighteen and remember. Hillary Clinton got sixty six million, Votes in two thousand and sixteen there has never been a there's, never been a mid term election, in which I mean that is, they only got eight percent fewer votes than they. Then the Democrat Party got nationwide in a presidential election, that this is extraordinary fact that Republicans were saying around going as they do all the time like. Oh, I think he's just going to walk into the presidency when who can vote for these crazy people anyway, go yeah, so this is will heard, represents a district on the mexican border in Texas. Pretty Trump Guy one of the few anti Trump very Russia. A lot about the Intoxalock, say agents. Will his big thing is the russian interference like he was the Republican at the hearings, a serious guy and is also a pretty in the trunk? I one of the few who survived the the twenty eighteen didn't retire, wasn't put it out quote
is near presidential turn out in twenty eighteen republican base showed up, but it's shrinking as a percentage of the voting population voting talking about his district in Southern Texas in twenty sixteen, only one, sixteen only Republican got less than fifty five percent of the vote. That was me was me in twenty eighteen, twelve got less than fifty five percent of the vote, two of 'em lossed, the average difference in our margins from twenty. Sixteen to twenty eighteen was fifteen points. This is a trend that has to be stopped. Please stop. It is by appealing to a broader base of people that are so forth, so that was the race in which Bin O'Rourke was running. Who is a sort of a rock star raised more than any? U S. Senate candidate has raised by ten million dollars and had the support of a whole lot of media attention that is going to be much less focused on Texas, for example, in twenty twenty, because it's just nature of the national environment. But
also have Arizona and Georgia and Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Florida in all of those states are on the bubble, Republican North Carolina in North Carolina, which was a hardware, I'm sure not for Eleanor New Hampshire. We don't North Carolina was a hard win for Donald Trump. People didn't expect it to see what I I continue to wonder or really to be skeptical about the idea that the Republicans, who came out for Trump in twenty sixteen and then didn't come out for candidates for Republican Canada. Twenty eighteen, I'm skeptical of the idea that that that the therefore not what will hurt SAM he did. He say that will turn out. They did. He said they turned out and that the democratic turned a democratic that I didn't show up one sixteen yeah that up in eighteen yeah and there's no. Reason to expect they won't show up in twenty well yeah. Well, we don't know that because we don't know what we'll press them, in other words, so Hillary depressed them. You know
if it's Bernie Sanders who, by the way, tweeted this Our thing that then someone eventually explained to me, they didn't understand about how, when he's press then every eighteen year old citizen will get the right will be able to vote no like uh. What's the 26th amendment guarantees eighteen year olds the right to vote, then someone said no, no it's if there if they were felons you get the right to vote now, how many eighteen year, felons who have been! Eastern Jail or org. Are they gonna vote from jail, or something like that? I I I still don't it when I read that I thought you know he is there at the by the way. This is something we should talk about it, maybe on the next podcast, not that it's something that is really in our expertise, wheelhouse but every poll is showing that Bernie is melting down to Warren. We noticed this war top warns now in the CBS poll warns at twenty and by the twenty five and Bernie's at sick of burnt up for
he's down five or six, something like that. Something happened that has turned the electro Tord Warrenton against sanders and I'm not sure I know what. But when I looked at this tweet, I thought well, that's his pen ring to something that I'm not entirely sure cat or who what what people want. But but that's how you could you know if he ends up as the nominee? You think that will depress that that would depress votes and I don't know where enough votes in places where people don't like communists to be president. Even democrats- yes, I don't know anyhow. So I guess we should, we should say, say goodbye for the weekend. Apparently it's not,
to be two hundred degrees here on the EAST coast, the way it was last weekend. So for those of you with these coast, please have a wonderful pleasant weekend. If you're, somewhere, it's under degrees, stay inside. Don't go outside brave, Christina now, I'm John Podhoretz keep the candle burning.
Transcript generated on 2019-11-07.