War in Ukraine: airstrikes, drones and a looming counteroffensive
This week saw heightened tensions in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. A wave of drone strikes hit the Russian capital Tuesday morning, bringing the war to Moscow for the first…
Guest Host: Susan Page
U.S. investors are bracing for what’s likely to be a volatile day in markets around the world after the stunning British vote to leave the European Union. Donald Trump, opening a new golf course in Scotland, says he sees parallels with America’s presidential election. The Supreme Court delivers a major disappointment to President Obama with a 4-4 decision that blocks his attempts to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, and congressional Democrats, led by civil-rights icon Representative John Lewis, stage a 24-hour sit-in in a failed effort to force a vote on new gun control measures. Join us to discuss these and other top national news stories of the week.
There will be no video of today’s news roundup. It will be back next week.
MS. SUSAN PAGEThanks for joining us. I'm Susan Page of USA Today sitting in for Diane Rehm. House Democrats stage an unprecedented sit-in to push for a vote on new gun laws. FEC reports showed Donald Trump's campaign with much less money and staff than Hillary Clinton. And U.S. policy makers weigh the impact of an historic Brexit vote.
MS. SUSAN PAGEJoining me for the domestic hour of our Friday News Roundup, Susan Glasser of Politico, Neil King, Jr. of The Wall Street Journal, and joining the news roundup for the first time, Julie Pace of the Associated Press. Welcome, Julie.
MS. JULIE PACEThanks for having me.
PAGEWe invite out listeners to join our conversation later in this hour. Our toll free number 1-800-433-8850. You can send us an email at email@example.com or find us on Facebook or Twitter. Well, what a week this has been in the news in politics, in Congress, in the Supreme Court. But let's start first with that Brexit vote last night. We're going to talk about the international implications during the second hour, the international hour of our Friday News Roundup.
PAGEBut Neil, you are the global economics editor of The Wall Street Journal so the perfect person to ask what does this vote, this decision by Great Britain mean to Americans and our economy?
MR. NEIL KING JR.This is big. It was unexpected. It was a shock. I think it shows what a year we're living in where truly unexpected things can happen. The market itself is down 2 percent or so. That's not huge. I don't think it's going to be cataclysmic in some sense. We're going to go off any kind of cliff. I think it is going to create real, long term uncertainty and weakness in Europe and in the UK, both of which are important to us. I think it has long lasting strategic implications for, you know, the U.S. relationship with our most trusted ally there.
MR. NEIL KING JR.In terms of the normal person, I think it's the dollar has skyrocketed. That's not necessarily a good thing for the economy. It's great if you're going to Europe this summer. It's going to make things more expensive. It's going to hurt U.S. manufacturing. This kind of uncertainty overall is not what the U.S. economy needs and I know there's already a lot of concern in the Federal Reserve about what this could mean not just for monetary policy, but for the strength of the U.S.
MR. NEIL KING JR.I think just the other thing domestically that is fascinating, I'm sure we'll talk about, Donald Trump was there. He was immediately saying, look, they want their country back, too. Just the implications of what this vote meant and to what extent it mirrors any of the sentiment here, I think, is an interesting question, what will be much discussed in coming days.
PAGESo Susan Glasser, you are the editor of Politico and therefore, the perfect person to ask this question. Does this signal something about our own election. We saw Donald Trump say from off a golf course in Scotland this morning in one of the more surreal moments in our campaign that he does see parallels with his campaign here in the United States. Do you see them?
MS. SUSAN GLASSERWell, look, Donald Trump has been probably the most prominent American advocate of the leave vote in the UK, President Obama being probably the most prominent American opponent of the leave vote. And I think Trump is explicitly trying to encourage that parallel. He tweeted something like, they took back their country and now Americans are going to do the same. I would beware. Obviously, the UK is a very politically different animal than the United States, but this is clearly a year in which some of the same macro trends are driving politics not only, by the way, in Britain, but also in Europe in some of the rise of the some of the sort of far right populous movements.
MS. SUSAN GLASSERHere in the United States, you know, you look at the polarization in the voting that clearly has emerged both in the Republican primaries and now in polls looking at the general election and you see the same groups that drove the Brexit in the UK, the same kinds of groups, basically a sort of disaffected white working class, really putting their hands up and saying, no. We were marveling at some these exit poll results that are showing extreme examples of polarization.
PAGE75 percent of young voters, it turns out, in the United Kingdom between the ages of 18 and 24 were voting to remain. That means it was the older people, the people who felt that they had lost out by this process of integration with more economies that were really driving this change. Now, who is the group that is among the most determined against Trump in the United States and its younger voters. So I think we're going to see similar dynamics, although I would caution against it. One of the factors that I'm paying attention to, and I think we all should, is how much did the fact that people didn't expect the leave vote to actually win, influenced the votes of a number of people who voted almost as a protest vote.
GLASSERYou hear that increasingly from Trump supporters in the United States. They don’t really take seriously that their vote might actually count. And already on the BBC this morning, there are a lot of voters in Britain sort of saying, like, oh, my god, I voted for the leave, but now, I'm scared.
PAGEYou know, it wasn't even that close, 52-48 in this day and age, that's a pretty good victory. Well, Julie Pace, you are the senior White House correspondent for the Associated Press and therefore the perfect person to ask this question, which is, President Obama went out and did something kind of unusual. He want and campaigned in a foreign country for their referendum vote. He was on the side that lost. Any second thoughts about doing that?
PACEI don't think that there are any second thoughts in having come out for this position. You actually saw an evolution in Obama's position over the last year or so since Cameron made clear that he was going to have this referendum, first trying to hold off in taking a position. But then, I think that the thinking in the White House was this was a vote that was going to have implications across Europe in the United States and it was someplace where the American president needed to have a voice in this.
PACEI think if you're Obama and you are Hillary Clinton that one of the lessons that you have to take away from this is that leaders, right now, experts in politics and in economics, are not necessarily carrying that much weight with a lot of voters. Voters are not looking to their political leaders, economic leaders, educators for a direction to go. And if you're Hillary Clinton, I think you need to look at how that factors into this message that you're trying to send to voters. She's said in her statement this morning that this is a sign that we need to have someone in the White House who is calm, measured, who is not going to essentially be a hot-head like Donald Trump.
PACEI think a lot of people, frankly, don't necessary think that that is the case.
PAGEIs -- do you think this has any impact on the very special U.S./British relationship?
PACEWell, you're seeing in all of these statements today that everyone says, no, of course, it's not going to have any impact on that relationship, but over the course of the coming years, I think that we will have to see if Britain's position in the world does change. Is Britain going to be able to be a power player without the backing of the EU? And if they aren't, then certainly, I think the relationship will shift.
PAGEWe're going to talk more about the Brexit vote in our second hour. We hope you'll join us then. Neil, you know, one of the big debates, one of the factors that we think affected the vote in Great Britain was concern about immigration and we had a very significant Supreme Court, almost a Supreme Court non-decision on immigration, big implications for, perhaps, 5 million illegal immigrants who are here.
PAGEJust a nine-word statement from the court. It said "the judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court." Tell us, what was the judgment.
It was basically to keep in place a sort of stay that had been issued by a judge in Texas against the moves that Obama had made to try to get in the way, essentially, of the deportation policies that are set by Congress and to allow a group of people, millions of them, who have various roots in the U.S., dreamers, other type people to kind of get on with their lives and begin -- move towards normalizing themselves and kind of come out of the shadows.
And this decision in Texas had put that on hold. There were a bunch of states that had come out, mainly Republican states. So, in part, because of the divided or the equally divided nature, 4-4 nature of the court at the moment, this has now been put on hold. It means that it's -- it doesn't mean that a whole number of people are going to be, you know, deported in reality, but it is -- a number of examples that we've seen in the last few months of judges of various kinds, either Supreme Court or in other states, stepping forward and sort of getting in the way of things that the Obama administration had done perhaps a little bit outside of its proper lane of authority and this was a good example.
PAGEDefinitely pushing the envelope when it came to executive action. Susan Glasser, what do you think?
GLASSERWell, look, there's a couple things that immediately leap out. First of all, of course, this wouldn't have happened had Congress moved, had the Senate moved to approve President Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court Merrick Garland and we've had a very unusual situation, which is a vacancy lasting, basically, it will end up being almost the entire last year of the presidency.
GLASSERAnd the Senate, controlled by Republicans, has refused to move forward on this nomination, although President Obama chose someone in Judge Garland, who is very, you know, a very credentialed, not considered a very liberal choice for the court. I think what's interesting, right, is how little we've talked about that. I mean, basically, more or less politically, the Republicans succeeded at least in kind of taking this off the table. Obviously, Democrats have some hopes now that they can resurrect this.
GLASSERAnd the question of the Supreme Court as a campaigning issue for their Senate candidates in the fall, but it really leaps out, right, that the consequences of having an evenly split, a 4-4 court, for a whole year are gridlock in yet another institution of our government at a time when we've been suffering, arguably, from the consequences of gridlock between an Republican Congress and a Democratic president. This basically has taken -- in some lightning rod issues, has taken a third branch of government out of the governing issues.
PAGEAnd President Obama, who promised when he campaigned in 2008 and again in 2012 to do something big about immigration, once again, it's clear now, Julie, he won't be able to deliver on that promise.
PACEHe won't. His presidency will end without being able to take the kind of steps on immigration that he had hoped to and I think for the president, this has always been an issue that has really been complicated for him. He had an opportunity when he started his presidency, with Democrats in control of Congress, to do something through the legislative branch. He did not. He waited until he had Republicans in control and executive action was really all he had as an option.
PACEHe waited on that for quite a long time and now he is dealing with the consequences of perhaps having been too aggressive once he did his executive actions. But to Susan's point on the court, both sides now can use this as an election argument because their justice on the court could've really shaped this argument.
PAGEThe stakes, again, really right in so many ways this November. Well, we're going to take a short break. And when we come back, we'll talk about that extraordinary sit-in on the floor of the House. We've never seen that before. We'll take your calls and questions. Our phone lines are now open, 1-800-433-8850. Give us a call.
PAGEWelcome back. I'm Susan Page of USA Today sitting in for Diane Rehm. With me in the studio for the domestic hour of our "Friday News Roundup," Julie Pace, White House correspondent for the Associated Press, Neil King, Jr., global economics editor and deputy Washington bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, and Susan Glasser, the editor of Politico.
PAGELet's talk, you know, this was a week of things that we can call unprecedented, Susan. And one of them was what we saw happen was what we saw happen on the House floor this week. Tell us how that happened.
GLASSERWell, you know, it's really -- it was an amazing moment, right, in Congress. Basically a group of House Democrats, led by the legendary civil-rights icon John Lewis, decided to take their protest over their inability to force a vote on gun control on the House floor. The Senate has -- the filibuster about the House doesn't have anything like that. And so basically they did something that, as far as we can all tell, has never happened before. They staged an actual sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives. And not only that, but they basically kind of went rogue using social media in a way that we also haven't seen before to transmit live-streamed video that members of Congress are holding up on their cell phones, which then was picked up by C-SPAN.
GLASSERAnd really, it just -- it had this feeling both of being a very interesting moment in terms of the rising kind of anger and frustration of gun control advocates and the question around the politics of that. But to me, as a long-time, you know, sort of observer of Congress and thinking of C-SPAN, as we all do, as this sort of wonderful and very staid Washington institution...
GLASSER...the idea that people were going rogue, in effect, and breaking outside of the very, very rules-constrained House of Representatives. I think it's a significant moment potentially in our politics. And by the way, Democrats should beware of this on some level. You reap what you sow in politics. And unless they're permanently going to be in the minority on Capitol Hill, which they certainly aspire to be, they may find these very techniques that they're now pioneering used against them someday.
PAGEYou know, a couple things made this remarkable, I think. One was John Lewis being in the lead. A lot of -- he made parallels to the civil rights struggle, the need to sometimes break the rules -- I think he calls it making noise -- when you have a cause that requires that. The other thing was the social media thing. You know, just two or three years ago this would not have been possible.
Yeah. It was such a magical moment, for one. It had all the retro aspects of the sit in and, you know, and the kind of connotations to the Civil Rights era. And a lot of old-timers came out to really launch it, like John Lewis. But then it had this whole element of bringing in the social media stuff and the live-streaming off people's iPhones. But that, itself, also had this retro feel, because when you watch it on C-SPAN, which many of us were doing, it was one of the most magical C-SPAN moments for 26 hours that I can remember.
PAGEAnd there are so many magical C-SPAN moments.
Yes. Exactly. Let's talk about it. That it was the very grainy, very jittery, hand-held kind of look. It had this, you know, the kind of auteur sort of film technique about it. And one of the rules for C-SPAN is that it can only air the staid, stock, stationary stream that is fed to them from the House or the Senate. So it's not -- they're not -- they don't pan or anything. And then all of a sudden you have guys sitting on the floor of the House and basically saying, let's look at the people in the gallery. Let's look at this, here. And it was like, wow, we're watching everything.
You know, it was -- like Susan pointed out -- it was a breakdown in the order in a place that values those things. And, you know, Paul Ryan went out and said it was nothing but a stunt and it was all about fundraising. And in some ways, it was an empty gesture to the extent that it didn't lead to anything. But it was a pretty extraordinary moment and it really showed politically that the Democrats are just willing to go all in on the gun issue in ways that would not have been the case 10 years ago or so. They must see an upside on this.
PAGEWell, it failed in the goal of forcing a vote on gun-control measures. They weren't demanding passage. They were just demanding the opportunity to vote. But I wonder if it succeeded on other measures, Julie. And also, this put Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, in a spot. How did he handle it? What did he do?
PACEPaul Ryan really -- I wonder if he is regretting becoming speaker in some of these moments. Because Ryan is someone who believes in the institution of Congress. He believes in the House. He has talked about trying to have regular order, trying to focus on issues and not have these games be played on either side. And the image of Paul Ryan standing up there at, I think it was 2:00 in the morning, with all of these Democrats chanting in front of him and holding signs, was just something I imagine that he did not expect when he signed up to be speaker. But, you know, for Democrats, to Neil's point here, it's not even 10 years ago, it's four years ago...
PACE...you would not have seen Democrats do this. This gun issue has changed dramatically. And I think a lot of it is public opinion. Polls coming out, certainly after New Town and all of the shootings that we've seen since then, show that an overwhelming majority of the public is in favor of things like expanded background checks, keeping people on the no-fly list from being able to purchase weapons. Obviously, the details are a lot more complicated than what you can ask in a poll question. But Democrats do feel like this is an issue where they have the public and -- on their side and they see very little risk in having a moment like this and really pushing this forward in an election year.
PAGEYou know, you're usually safe in predicting no action when it comes to gun laws, whatever happens in terms of mass shootings, even the one in Orlando that is still so fresh in our memories. But, Susan Glasser, there was a bipartisan proposal that at least is still alive in the Senate. Tell us about that.
GLASSERWell, that's right. And again, you know, the Senate really has been where there's been the sense that there could be more possible progress, again, because of the very constraining rules in the House that give the Republican majority so much control. Interestingly enough, we've forgotten that there was a filibuster just the week before in the Senate that was designed by Chris Murphy and Cory Booker and other Democratic senators, designed to do a similar thing, except that that protest is basically allowed within the rules and this one captured our attention, although it has less chance of success, because it's not allowed in the rules, right? Like, they had already tried to do something like that.
GLASSERSusan Collins from Maine is a Republican senator. And she has been very active in the talks around having a compromise bill. But the Senate, again, has had not one, but two votes this week, on Monday and then on Thursday, testing various iterations of this. Let's just say that if there's modestly more hope for some gun-control measures, they will be very, very modest. There's nobody who's contemplating a major shift in the politics, at least before there would be some massive electoral shift in the United States.
The thing I wonder about -- it was a big question yesterday, at least among us was, in our bureau was -- is this a sign of the House membership on the Democratic side just being whittled down primarily to anti-gun districts...
...and then reflecting that anti-gun sentiment. Or are they looking at this -- like Julie points out -- as a win issue -- an issue that they can expand on and that they can try to go back into the districts that they used to have and try to regain the House on a gun -- sort of, at least partly, on a gun platform. And I'm skeptical about that. I think it's very good as a presidential issue. I do think, you know, where the votes are in the suburbs of the cities, et cetera, this is a winner for Hillary Clinton. I'm a little skeptical about whether it really is a way to expand the Democratic leadership in the -- or Democratic hold over the House or lack of hold.
PAGEBut it, you know, it might have some impact on Democratic hopes of taking over the Senate...
PAGE...because you've got six senators, Republican senators in swing states that, on the issue of Donald Trump and on the issue of guns, may find themselves at odds with the electorate they need to appeal to, Julie.
PACEAnd that's what's so fascinating about this. Those same senators from those same states, four, eight years ago, may have felt very differently. Suddenly being for something like a background check or the no-fly list votes or a bill that Collins is pushing is maybe not as politically risky as it once was. I think that it is true though that in the House in particular, as Democrats have lost more seats, the Democrats that remain have become more liberal, have become more to the left of their party. And I don't think that they are going to be looking for opportunities to try to take some of these swing districts back on an issue like guns.
PAGELet's go to the phones and let our listeners join our conversation. We're going to go first to Janie, who's calling us from Mount Olive, Ala. Janie, welcome to "The Diane Rehm Show."
PAGEDid you have a question or a comment?
JANIEYes, I did. I want to know why Congress is not discussing the FBI failure on 9/11, Boston, San Bernardino and Orlando? And I also know -- want to know why Congress is not discussing what the Orlando shooter did in Saudi Arabia?
PAGEAll right, Janie. Thanks so much for your call. FBI failure, Neil?
I mean, there is actually a lot of discussion about that. And even in the case of the guns thing -- well, that was the main thing the Republicans were saying was, wait, why are we talking about guns? We should be talking about terrorism. Even in terms of the Orlando case, I do think there's a lot of truly interesting issues. I mean, if ever there was a time when you would think we might be able to catch somebody before they did something, the case of Omar Mateen, the shooter there, might have been one of those cases. And the FBI had told us what they knew and that they had actually contacted him twice and he had come up on their list. And this is one of the things that's driving the whole gun, no-fly list discussion.
And, you know, there's even a lot of discussion about whether the police acted properly that night and whether more people should have actually been saved. When it comes to the Saudi Arabia question, it was -- that's an interesting one. And it doesn't seem from -- we looked into this a lot -- that he went there twice on two different pilgrimages. Both the times, as far as we understand it, with NYU -- at least the most recent one he did, they organized a big thing through a kind of Islamic center they have.
There was no appearances that anything improper was going on. And he went with his mother, you know, it was a part -- maybe it was a part of making him all that much more fervent. But it's not clear that there was anything more afoot there.
PAGEThe legislation that's being proposed, including the compromise legislation that Senator Collins is working on, would that have affected the Orlando shooting? Would it have prevented him from getting a gun?
GLASSERWell, that's an interesting question. I mean, it would depend on how it was worded actually. Because this question of the terrorist fly list is -- no-fly list is something that Democrats have finally -- by the way, pretty belatedly -- seized on. It would seem to be a very smart, politically, way of getting at Republicans. How, on the one hand, can they be supportive of this terrorist no-fly list and say the people on this list are too dangerous to be flying on airplanes and yet are able to buy guns in the United States? It's a smart political wedge. Democrats have coalesced behind this even before the shooting. This is not a new proposal, it's important to point out.
GLASSERThe wording is important and I -- I'm not aware of it, perhaps it's been reported but perhaps it hasn't, whether Mateen actually did end up on the no-fly list or not. So I'm not really sure how directly it would have affected it.
PAGEWell, I think, Susan, Senator Collins has said that, if her law had been in effect, if her proposal had been in effect, federal authorities would have been notified of the purchases and had at least an opportunity to respond or to reinvigorate their investigation of him, although it might not have prevented him from actually buying those guns. So we have a question from -- email from a listener who says, please comment on this. Polling about Brexit was wrong. Well it was -- at least it showed it very close. The polling toward the end did seem to show that the remain folks were gaining. But anyway, Bob asks us, the polling in the California primary was way off the mark, too. Is public opinion polling an unreliable tool? Julie, what do you think?
PACEI am fascinated by this exact question. I think that what a lot of people miss in the discussion about public polling is you poll the electorate that you think is going to show up. But you don't exactly know what electorate will show up. And if you look at the 2012 election, one of the great successes of the Obama campaign is that they modeled the electorate correctly. The Romney campaign had a very different sense of who was going to show up. So as we look at these public polls, I always encourage people to look at the breakdown in the polls of who -- how the demographics are broken down, what they expect the age breakdown to be. And I think that as we look through the results from Brexit, we may see that that was one of the factors.
PACEAnd overall turnout, just the pure, turnout number, is also really important as well. They had, I think, over 70 percent turnout in the Brexit vote, which is just enormous, especially compared to a U.S. election.
GLASSERWell, that's right. A 72 percent turnout would definitely affect the reliability of our polls here in the United States. And I mean it was a really high number. Also, remember, that the polls were, famously, got the last British parliamentary election wrong. And there was a huge amount of soul searching around that. So, you know, Britain is definitely sort of like almost a (laugh) no-go zone, if you want to come out of it with your reputation intact.
PAGEBob, thanks very much for that question. I'm Susan Page and you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." We're taking your calls, 1-800-433-8850. Well, I can't believe we've gotten half past the half-hour mark and only now we're turning to the U.S. presidential election. It's just been that kind of week on news on other fronts. A week where Donald Trump faces some big challenges, including in money, in message, in organization, and we saw him try a kind of reboot this week. Did it work, Neil?
I don't -- I think the jury is still out on that. (laugh) The week started with him unceremoniously and rather suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly firing his main campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, which then set off an entire day of discussion about what it meant and how had it happened and what this person had meant to his campaign and how he has so few people outside of his family actually directing his campaign, that it put a lot of emphasis on that. And then he immediately went on to CNN to not only defend himself but to defend the campaign.
And then that was followed almost immediately by the numbers coming out for what we know of the fundraising at the moment. And they're just, like jaw dropping. I mean, it may be the case -- and there's already some sign that Trump is starting to gain traction now and that the online contributions are starting to go up -- but he starts this campaign with extraordinarily little money in the bank, like totally, between him and his PAC, of like a little over $2 million. I mean, there are Senate candidates -- Rob Portman being one of them in Ohio -- who have several times more money than that to run a campaign.
So he starts his campaign with a broken-down, internal advisory structure, no infrastructure across the country to speak of. He has, I think, a total of 60 advisors. Hillary Clinton has like 600. Not advisors but people working for the campaign. And he has no money. And the thing -- and the reality is that he ran his campaign as a -- the primary campaign as a self-funder, which also hobbles him, because it means he has no relations -- not many anyway -- with donors that can -- he can go back to. And especially small donors, when they give you $20, they'll give you $20 two weeks later and two weeks later after that. And you can build on that. And he has very little ability to swell, you know.
PAGEAnd he said, this morning at the news conference he did from Scotland, that he really doesn't like asking people for money. Actually most politicians don't much like asking people for money. But, Julie, here's the thing that surprises me. He's had a terrible seven weeks. He's been really off-message. He's failed to expand his kind of outreach to voters he doesn't already have. And yet, polls in such swing states as Pennsylvania and Ohio show him essentially still tied with Hillary Clinton.
PACEAnd I think that says as much about Clinton as it says about Trump, frankly. I think that -- Democrats that I've been talking to this week have really said that, yes, this has been a terrible couple of weeks for Donald Trump. But they still expect that this is going to be a close election because we are a divided country. Whoever the Republican nominee is and whoever the Democratic nominee is, is all but guaranteed of getting I'd say roughly 40, maybe upwards of 45 percent of the vote. It's that group in between that is going to be the test here.
PACEI think that Clinton just has so many inherent weaknesses. She really is unliked. She really represents the status quo for so many people, that I think that Trump's weaknesses will sometimes be counteracted by her own weaknesses.
PAGESusan, does -- Neil had mentioned that CNN immediately signed up Corey Lewandowski and paying him -- is paying him money to be on their air. Does that give you any qualms?
GLASSERLook, you know, the TV networks graduated in some ways from the journalism business a long time ago. And, you know, they do some good reporting. But they also hire, regularly, political pundits from across the political spectrum. And they are already doing that with people like David Axelrod who worked for Obama. It's rare that you see such a breathtaking, quick turn of the revolving door, number one. Number two, he's reportedly being paid a really eye-popping sum.
PAGEWhat's an eye-popping sum?
GLASSERWell, you know, I think, the Daily Beast said he was getting $500,000.
PAGEThat is an eye-popping sum. It seems to me that's a lot. We're going to take a short break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation. We'll go to your questions. We'll discuss the affirmative-action case in the Supreme Court. Stay with us.
PAGEWelcome back. I'm Susan Page of USA Today sitting in for Diane Rehm and it's our Friday News Roundup. Lots of news this week. We're discussing it with Susan Glasser from Politico, Neil King Jr. from the Wall Street Journal. Julie Pace from the Associated Press. We've been taking your calls and comments, but you know, we have a call from Richard from Prince Frederick, Maryland, who says, I was so proud to be a Democrat watching the sit-in, that would be the House sit-in. Never been prouder.
PAGEAnd yet, we have Garrison from Annapolis, Maryland, same state, saying the Democratic sit-in on gun control was political posturing. I called Ben Cardin's office to discuss. Lots of emails about this as well. You know, Neil King, you said, maybe it was an empty gesture. Do you think it was?
No, I didn't really mean to say empty in that regard. I mean, I think it was very challenging for them to try to actually turn it into something, and in the end, they wrapped it up after 26 hours. They obviously worked in a -- forced some action. The rest of the House had already been in recess. I actually think the gesture itself is extremely potent and it was an amazing moment and obviously it resonated a lot, particularly with partisans on the Democratic side.
The only reason I said empty was what will it result in and that still is unclear.
PAGEWell, we're getting a lot of comments, some of whom agree with the empty gesture characterization and some of whom really disagree. And we've gotten a lot of people weighing in on the question of campaign cash and the great disparity between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Here's an emailer who says, money didn't do Jeb Bush much good. That's certainly true. But another one. Eugene writes us, the media made a big deal about the difference in fund raising between the two campaigns and a lot of talk has been devoted to it.
PAGEBut does it really matter? Trump's campaign is not driven by fundraising, but by his own personality and statements, via social media and events that he manages rather than traditional polling, TV ads, data analysis. The difference in amounts raises is not reflected in the polls. He seems to be doing just fine without needing to spend anything near what Clinton is doing. What do you think, Susan?
GLASSERWell, I'll give you a couple of other numbers, because I think that email is very interesting. This question of does it matter or not? And certainly, the Trump campaign, quickly and aggressively, said who cares if he only has only 1.3 million dollars in the bank? Because he's self-funding, he can write himself a check and replenish that campaign war chest at any moment. Here's two numbers, though, that suggest there are ways in which it counts. 4,116, I believe is the number I wanted to give you. That's the number of ads that Hillary Clinton has already run in key battleground states around the country.
GLASSERThe number of equivalent Trump ads is zero. And now, clearly, Trump has gotten this enormous sort of free media advantage. He's been running a guerilla campaign, he's been speaking to the public very effectively using zero cost platforms, like talking on CNN and on Twitter directly to his followers. But, the bottom line is she's launched a pretty unprecedented barrage that will continue now that she's running ads in those key states that will really probably determine the outcome of the election.
GLASSERThat are both meant to be positive ads about her and also already beginning the attacks on Trump that she will continue throughout the campaign. And there's some evidence from the Obama campaign, she's hired some veterans of the Obama campaign to suggest that this period in the early summer, this period before the Presidential campaign conventions, is really when many voters are really making up their minds. And it will be very, very hard to change the narrative about Trump that she puts into place now. This is when they were effective in showing Mitt Romney to be sort of the callous businessman.
GLASSERBig guy who threw people out of work. Hillary Clinton gave almost a carbon copy of that speech, by the way, earlier this week. We've forgotten about that, because of all this other news that has happened. So, I think that's one example of how the money can matter.
PAGELet's about the speech that Hillary Clinton gave. It was supposed to be a speech about her campaign. It was really an A to Z list of reasons to be against Donald Trump.
PACEYeah, and you've seen Hillary Clinton essentially frame the opening of her general message -- her general election campaign around that message. Basically Donald Trump, no matter whether you're talking about foreign policy, the economy, whatever issue you want to discuss, is reckless and ill-prepared to be President. I think that Clinton sees this as a moment similar to what she's doing with ads, to really define Trump in a way that wasn't defined in the Republican primary.
PACEYes, he had some ads that were run against him. Yes, there were phases of the campaign where his primary opponents tried to go after him in a more aggressive way. But it was never sustained, it was never built around one core message, and she believes that that core message is that if you look at his track record in business, if you look at everything that has gotten him to this point. He has been reckless, he has been only out for himself, and I think that she has been making some ground on that.
PACEI think that it is a more effective case than what Republicans were saying in the primary.
It's -- oh, sorry.
PAGEBut -- go ahead. Go ahead, Neil.
No, it just -- she is somewhat drab, in many ways, as a candidate, including in her policy prescriptions that she has, and she talked about them. And we've kind of heard them before. And what she does, effectively, I think, is to seek vividness in her campaign by vividly going after Donald Trump. Because his policy prescriptions are pretty out there. Right? So, she can highlight those and say, do you really want those things to happen? And that's primarily what these ads are about and he has left such an amazing trail. You don't even need opposition research in the classic way.
Because everything he said over the last 10 months or 12 months is so useable by the campaign on the things that he said about the economy. The building of the wall, the deporting 11 million people, the going after companies that export jobs in a very aggressive way. And she's been pretty effective about that. But it also discusses the fact that the things that she's putting forward are kind of bland.
PAGEYeah, can your core message, when you're running for President, be the other guy is really scary?
GLASSERWell, I think that's what we're going to see in November is basically campaigns are usually either a referendum on the incumbent or they're a referendum on the party. And what's very interesting here is that we're actually turning it into a referendum on a guy who is not the incumbent, who's just an outsider, first time candidate. If it is a referendum on Trump, it's very likely that Hillary Clinton will win.
PAGELet's go to Andrew. He's calling us from Roanoke, Virginia. Andrew, thanks for holding on.
ANDREWThank you. I wanted to comment on the sit-in in the House this past week. While I agree, you know, that there needs to be movement on gun control in the House and the Senate. I mean, the sit-in obviously was, to some, obviously was very inspirational. You know, I worry about the precedent it sets in the future for, you know, let's say the Republicans are in the minority and they want to move on something regarding reproductive rights. And they hold a sit-in in the House of Representatives.
ANDREWI just feel like there could be a snowball effect here and these sorts of things can get out of control. And I'll take your comments off the air.
PAGEAndrew, thanks so much for your call. So, could this be a kind of Pandora's Box Julie, that Democrats have opened and will regret?
PACEWell, it's a great point. When you're in the minority, and you're trying to take action like this to get attention, you always have to think about what it would be like if you're in the majority. Same way when if you're in the majority and you're using rules to bolster your power, you have to think about when you're in the minority. We've seen that on a lot of issues, actually, during Obama's Presidency. Supreme Court being one of them. So, I think it's a very fair point.
PAGEYou know, there's another candidate still running for the Democratic nomination. That would be Bernie Sanders. He acknowledged in one interview this week that he won't be the Democratic nominee, I think he said that on C-SPAN. But -- and he said on CNN that he would vote for Hillary Clinton, but then his campaign manager said, he's still running. That doesn't mean he's endorsing her. This is kind of a torturous process, isn't it Susan? Why the -- why the slow walk toward an endorsement?
GLASSERYou know, it's very interesting. We were just discussing, you know, what do you tell your kids, you know, when you lose the game fair and square, you're supposed to, you know, say good job to the other guy. Just this morning, again, on TV, Bernie Sanders reiterated that he will vote for Hillary Clinton. He says he will dedicate himself to working against Trump without much elaborating on how he plans to do that. It's a very unusual end of the campaign that we've seen from Sanders up until, you know, sort of, March/April, it was a more traditional insurgency.
GLASSERAnd he did very well. He outperformed expectations. Since then, he's really defied our expectations for how somebody who loses pretty clearly. It's not like it's, you know, 51 votes to 49 votes here. You know, it's more definitive than that. And it seems like this is being driven by the candidate himself. That he himself has sort of taken charge of this end stage of the campaign, but I've noticed that the air has really gone out of it. You know, people, it's like an afterthought. We're mentioning it 50 minutes in to our hour here. You know, the consequences and the stakes of the general election have what -- have captured peoples' attention at this point.
It's been an amazing ride. Nobody saw that coming, the strength that he had. I think he's really reluctant to give it up. I do think he's still holding out for a leverage that he wants to have over the platform and the convention and makes sure that he gets as much as he can extract before he kind of throws it in. And then, we're just going to see, at that point, whether -- is he going to be kind of a sore loser and recede from the stage? Or is he going to really aggressively not only go after Trump, but really back her in some public way?
PAGEHow much difference could he make in the general election, Julie? Does it really matter to Hillary Clinton exactly how enthusiastic he seems to be?
PACEI don't think it matters how enthusiastic he seems to be, but I think it does matter very much what his voters are doing, how enthusiastic and how willing they are to show up. Now, she does have Elizabeth Warren, who, before there was Bernie Sanders, there was Elizabeth Warren as the favorite of progressives, of liberals. She is all in for Clinton. That could be one of the solutions if Sanders isn't quite as enthusiastic. But I do think that Democrats would like this to wrap up in a neater way than what we're seeing right now where it's just sort of hanging out there, somewhat unresolved.
PAGELet's talk about the -- another big Supreme Court decision that came down this week on affirmative action. Who wants to tell us what happened in this case? Let's have a show of hands. Julie, you're smiling. I'll turn to you.
PACESure. So, this didn't get quite as much attention as the immigration case on Thursday, but essentially, the court ruled that the University of Texas could include race in their decision making. The majority opinion basically said that colleges making admissions decisions take a variety of factors into play. And this could be one of them. I think that the Alito descent was actually really interesting. It was quite lengthy and one of the points that he raised in there was that by continuing to allow affirmative action, you may be continuing to allow negative perceptions of minorities who are admitted to persist.
PAGEDoes this have implications beyond the Texas system? Neil?
I mean, it does give a kind of meek affirmation of affirmative action, even despite the, you know, where, how it actually came out. I mean, one of the ironies of this is that had Justice Scalia had not died, the thing would actually have, in the end, ended up as a tie. Justice Kagan had to stay out. He was known...
PAGEShe had to stay out because...
...sit out because of having the Justice Department, having been involved in the case...
PAGE...she had been involved with when she was Solicitor General.
Right. Yeah, exactly. So, in the end, that was the -- what would have otherwise been a tie if he hadn't died, which is odd, because that's what we're now looking at, because of his death, would have gone in a different direction.
PAGEIn the second hour of the Diane Rehm Show on Monday, there'll be a discussion about the Supreme Court term. We're going to have the final decisions including a big one on abortion expected on Monday. So, you'll want to tune in for that. I'm Susan Page and you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Let's talk about a fracking case in Wyoming, and Neil, I was interested in this because of a front page story that your paper, the Wall Street Journal, ran yesterday, that pointed out this is one of a series of cases including on immigration.
PAGEOne of the first topics we talked about, where President Obama's effort to expand executive authority has been slapped down by the courts. And in this case, by a judge he appointed to the bench.
You know, in so many instances, this administration, since the true deadlock that it faces on the Hill and the inability to push forward there has really come into the fore, has tried to push forward in any kind of way it can on the regulatory edges. Really in hundreds of different ways to exert its will. And in this case, it wanted to impose, kind of, more restrictive rules on how companies can go about fracking. And these -- this, you know, aggressive push forward on that front was challenged in Wyoming, and a judge that actually as you noted, Obama had appointed, said, all right, no.
In this case, they have gone too far. The Interior Department has gone farther than it really has the right to under rules established by Congress. So, it basically stepped in the way of that, and this is something that has happened a number of times in the last -- even in the last six months.
PAGEI also want to take a minute to talk about the Freddie Gray trial. We've talked about it so much since that -- those terrible days in Baltimore. One more court case, another verdict comes down. Susan, what did the jury decide?
GLASSERWell, once again, they decided that the driver of the van in which ultimately he, Freddie Gray died, was not guilty and was not responsible for his death. This is the third time, extraordinarily enough, that there has been proceedings in this case. And I think it really, you know, for those looking for evidence that there's a system that doesn't work. The people in Baltimore who have been out on the streets, who have been protesting, who saw this at one point as a galvanizing moment, are certainly not going to come out of this -- not once, not twice, but three times feeling that their system worked to get justice in this case.
PAGEJulie, what do you think?
PACEWell, I agree with that. I think that if you put the Freddie Gray case in line with several of the other cases that we've seen over the last year or so involving young black men and the police, the outcomes have looked very similar. And again, I think that for people who believe that there is a system that does not work for them and in some cases actively works against them, this will be another point of evidence for that.
PAGEIt may show that it's hard to get a jury to convict police officers. And of course, we know that police officers have a tough job and put themselves in harm's way. So maybe that's appropriate. You know, the Attorney General in this case, who brought these charges, was been kind of a rising star. I wonder if this raises questions, Neil, about her future.
I think it does, in some ways. She came out, as we all remember, extremely aggressively, pushing murder charges, essentially, against the police involved and a whole number of them. And it was a big moment when she did that last year. And it, in some ways, helped quell a lot of the unrest there. Fortunately, I guess, we haven't seen a lot of unrest as these verdicts have come forward as we've seen in the past when verdicts clearing police officers have.
The -- and, she has to have known that, going into this, it's just extremely hard, as you point out, to find the police officer -- to actually prove that a police officer did something that was criminally negligent or that, you know, in this case, did something as aggressive as actual murder. And the judge said several times, in his decision that he just -- there was no clear proof of criminal conduct in this case with -- by the driver.
PAGEWhat about the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been very prominent in some of these cases. Susan, do you think they're going to play a role in this campaign?
GLASSERYou know, it's good that you mention it. They, as you remember, early on in the primary season, they were very active in confronting Bernie Sanders and, you know, other candidates. There was, you know, Hillary Clinton sort of tried to thread the needle. Then what happened is that you saw, actually very racially polarized voting, even in the Democratic primaries. And of course, now we're looking towards a general election, in which Hillary Clinton was favored, very heavily favored by African American voters who, of course, had gone for Barack Obama over her in 2008.
GLASSERBut then have very much switched their loyalty to her over Bernie Sanders. And he did well in the Democratic primaries in states that didn't have large percentages of black voters. Now, we're looking ahead to a general election, which is going to be one of the most racially polarized and polarizing in recent memory. So, I think about this Freddie Gray case that we're talking about, these other incidents -- the Black Lives Matter -- real, you know, new moment of activism among young people. And I think that it's just going to underscore that both parties end up playing to strong voices within them.
GLASSERI think we're going to see rhetoric that is increasingly not intersecting. We're not competing for some mythic middle anymore. We're really looking towards the core groups that make up each of these two parties.
PAGEAnd we have an emailer, Sean, who says it was the judge that made the decision in the Freddie Gray case. Not a jury. Well, I want to thank our panel for being with us this hour. Susan Glasser from Politico, Neil King Jr. from the Wall Street Journal, Julie Pace from the Associated Press. Thanks so much.
PAGEI'm Susan Page of USA Today, sitting in for Diane Rehm. She'll be back on Monday. Thanks for listening.
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