Texas abortion provider Amy Hagstrom-Miller and Nancy Northup, President of The Center for Reproductive Rights wave to supporters as they descend the steps of the United States Supreme Court on June 27 in Washington, DC.

Texas abortion provider Amy Hagstrom-Miller and Nancy Northup, President of The Center for Reproductive Rights wave to supporters as they descend the steps of the United States Supreme Court on June 27 in Washington, DC.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch says she will accept FBI recommendations on the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s email server. Republicans say a meeting between Lynch and former President Bill Clinton this week compromised the independence of the investigation. The Pentagon lifts its ban on transgender people serving openly in the military. Donald Trump calls for economic independence in speeches on trade. And the Supreme Court strikes down Texas abortion restrictions. A panel of journalists joins Diane for analysis of the week’s top national news stories.


  • Michael Scherer Washington bureau chief, TIME
  • Karen Tumulty National political reporter, The Washington Post
  • Lisa Desjardins Political director, PBS NewsHour

Live Video


  • 10:06:53

    MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. Attorney General Loretta Lynch says she'll accept whatever the FBI recommends on charges related to Hillary Clinton's email server. Many questions remain over the GOP convention, now just two weeks away. And the military will now allow transgender people to serve openly. Here for the week's top stories on the Friday News Roundup, Lisa Desjardins of the PBS NewsHour, Michael Scherer of TIME, Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post.

  • 10:07:34

    MS. DIANE REHMAnd since it's Friday, you can watch a live video stream of the program on our website, drshow.org. You can also call us, 800-433-8850. You can send an email to drshow@wamu.org. Follow us on Facebook or send us a tweet. And happy holiday weekend to all of you.

  • 10:08:03

    MS. KAREN TUMULTYHappy 4th to you.

  • 10:08:05

    REHMThank you.

  • 10:08:05

    MR. MICHAEL SCHERERGood morning.

  • 10:08:05


  • 10:08:07

    REHMLisa, tell me what we know about how this meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton happened.

  • 10:08:22

    DESJARDINSWhat has been reported, and this started as a local story in Arizona, is that Bill Clinton was departing Phoenix after playing golf there. Got word that the Attorney General was arriving and waited for her. This was on a private tarmac. This was not in a commercial setting that we're used to. He waited and then, we're told, went up the steps into her airplane and said hello and they had a 30-minute meeting. Now, those who -- from Lynch's point of view say that she didn't know she was going to be there.

  • 10:08:56

    DESJARDINSNow, there's questions of perhaps he should've been announced. Was there -- how did security react to this? It's a former president. He has his own secret service detail. But all of that aside, this is a problem for both of them and even Democrats, including David Axelrod, said this is terrible. Optics and Republicans are seizing on this. It's almost a problem no matter what the conclusion of the FBI's investigation is. Lynch and the department of justice will say today that she is going to accept the recommendations of the FBI and of the investigators here.

  • 10:09:28

    DESJARDINSBut nonetheless, this adds a layer of question about the whole thing, that certainly she didn't need.

  • 10:09:35


  • 10:09:36

    SCHERERSo it's important to understand the process here. What happens is the FBI has an investigation. They'll make a recommendation to the FBI director, James Comey, and then Comey will make a recommendation to the Attorney General. He could say either there's no cause for an indictment here. He could say I think we should pursue a felony charge or a misdemeanor charge.

  • 10:09:54

    REHMAll about the emails.

  • 10:09:55

    SCHERERAll about the emails. Probably concerning the fact that there was classified material on the email. The legal trigger there is intent. Did Hillary Clinton have a role in putting classified material in an unclassified place knowing she was doing it and does the FBI think they can prove that. What this does, I think, is that it basically takes the attorney general out of that equation because of this apparent possibility of a conflict, she is saying I'm not going to weigh in here. And there's precedent for the attorney weighing in.

  • 10:10:31

    SCHERERWhen David Petraeus was prosecuted a few years ago for giving classified information to his mistress, he -- the original recommendation from the FBI was for a felony charge and Attorney General Eric Holder, said no, I think it should be a misdemeanor charge. And the attorney general had an effect on how that prosecution went forward. And it appears that, at least, at this point, Attorney General Lynch will not play a role.

  • 10:10:59

    REHMKaren, were there any other people on the plane at the time Bill Clinton boarded, that we know of?

  • 10:11:08

    TUMULTYYou know, I don't -- I would assume there would've been at least a small staff. It's hard to imagine that the attorney general is sitting on an airplane all by herself. But just misjudgment on both sides is extraordinary. I mean, I think you could say this is probably Bill Clinton's greatest misjudgment on a tarmac since he tied up two runways at LAX getting a haircut once. But also, that Bill Clinton, of all people, who lived under the independent counsel law, should have made this kind of misjudgment is just extraordinary.

  • 10:11:41

    REHMSo the question becomes how soon do we expect this report from the FBI?

  • 10:11:51

    SCHERERWe don't know. We know that the FBI's had a very large investigation going for some time, but there's not time deadline here. The FBI director can continue the investigation till he feels the investigation is complete. It becomes problematic, though, given that Hillary Clinton is about to take the nomination for the Democratic party. And it would be awkward and difficult if, a week later, he indicts her. It would also be awkward if a week before, he indicts her.

  • 10:12:21

    SCHERERI think most people think that the chances of an indictment, at this point, still remain very low. But this is something that's always been a gray area. Prosecutors tend to pay attention to the political process, but they're not bound by it. He can move forward with this at any point.

  • 10:12:37


  • 10:12:37

    TUMULTYWell, the other thing we know is that the FBI takes national security issues very, very seriously. So Michael is right. I think there's, you know, if you talk to legal experts outside the sort of hot house, overheated, political environment that we are living in, they think there's really not that great of a chance that Hillary Clinton herself violated the law because the legal responsibility on handling information in a situation like this is with the person who sends the email, not the person who receives it.

  • 10:13:09

    TUMULTYBut there is a real possibility that somebody around her may have tripped a tripwire here. And, again, that could also be just a very difficult thing to navigate as we're moving into a general election season.

  • 10:13:22

    REHMWhy would Bill Clinton take such a risk?

  • 10:13:29

    DESJARDINSI think because he's Bill Clinton. He is a man who runs on his instincts. And by and large, those have been instincts in their own universe in that his political abilities in the Democratic party for years were sort of second to none. He's able to connect with people. He is a man who believes in networking. But sometimes, as we've seen with the Clintons, those same instincts, they follow their guts, get them into trouble. And I think this is one reason -- up until now, the Clinton campaign has been very happy with Bill Clinton not going off the reservation.

  • 10:14:00

    DESJARDINSBut he want off the tarmac and now I think this is an indication of why some of the Clinton campaign have been nervous about Bill Clinton, who goes with his instincts, usually to the benefit of the Democratic party, but very often, when they're to the detriment of the party, it's in big ways.

  • 10:14:15

    REHMI would think that no matter what the FBI does, the Republican party's presumptive nominee is going to use this information, rather forcefully.

  • 10:14:31

    TUMULTYHe already has. He was already talking about it yesterday.

  • 10:14:35

    SCHERERAnd he also has already indicted Hillary Clinton. I mean, if you listen to his speeches, he's came to the...

  • 10:14:41

    REHMLiar, liar.

  • 10:14:41

    SCHERERHe's came to the conclusion months ago that she should be convicted. She shouldn't be allowed to be running for president. I mean, he says that often. That's a political claim, not a legal claim. And I don't think, at least with the evidence that we now have in the public record, there are very few people who agree with him. But yeah, he's not one for subtlety.

  • 10:14:59

    REHMBut you know, here we are just a, well, two weeks, two and a half weeks out of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, which begins on the 18th and we're hearing that there are two finalists for the vice presidential candidacy, Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie. What do you think?

  • 10:15:30

    TUMULTYWell, that was actually a story that my colleague, Bob Costa, and I broke last night. There are at least a half dozen names that are under consideration, but everyone who is close to the process is telling us that of those names, that Newt Gingrich, right now, and, again, we're talking about Donald Trump here, things could change day to day. But right now, it looks like Newt Gingrich is sort of the leading candidate with Chris Christie close behind.

  • 10:15:58

    REHMNow, considering everything in Newt Gingrich's background, including the contract with or on or for America, however you choose...

  • 10:16:13

    TUMULTYThat is, in Trump world, a virtue because Newt Gingrich is both somebody with very deep, deep government experience, but also someone who has always run as an outsider, as an anti-establishment candidate. So he bring -- he would bring, as the Trump people are looking at it, that government experience. He has national security experience. He has proven fundraising ability and they believe that he is a very good debater and a very good attack dog.

  • 10:16:46

    REHMHow do you see it, Michael?

  • 10:16:47

    SCHERERYou know, it's interesting to look at those two names because Chris Christie has for months now been a very close advisor of Trump, calling him regularly. Trump is listening to him. Newt Gingrich has been very much on the outside. There's not a lot of evidence that they have much of an interpersonal relationship. They talk to each other. I think they admire each other from a distance. Gingrich has definitely been very supportive of Trump in his public statements.

  • 10:17:12

    SCHERERBut it's a choice for Trump between someone he knows and I think he's getting long quite well with in Chris Christie and someone he admires from a distance and it'll be interesting to see how he does. It'll also be interesting to see how he rolls it out. This is a, you know, reality television host who has expressed interest in the past in making the convention better TV than, you know, most conventions.

  • 10:17:35


  • 10:17:35

    DESJARDINSThat brings us to this wild, completely impossible to predict convention now because there still is no plan or no program. What's fascinating, Diane, is this particular Republican Convention had one of the shortest timelines in history. Starting early, they had the unfortunate -- Cleveland go day six into the NBA Finals so they're really up against the deadline here.

  • 10:17:56

    REHMLisa Desjardins, she's political director at the PBS NewsHour. Short break here, we'll be right back.

  • 10:20:02

    REHMWelcome back. This week Donald Trump gave a speech on trade. How effective was it, Michael? What did he say?

  • 10:20:12

    SCHERERWell, it got Trump back on message after a month of being off message in a way that has clearly hurt him in the polls, not just among independent voters but Republican voters as well. His campaign staff and the Republican Party in general wants him to run as a economic populist on trade, especially for these Rust Belt states, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

  • 10:20:34

    SCHERERAnd what he did is he came out incredibly strongly. It was sort of shocking to hear a Republican nominee for president, or presumptive nominee for president saying what he was saying. He promised to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership if it was passed. He promised to threaten to withdraw from NAFTA and renegotiate NAFTA. He promised to bring currency manipulation cases against China and to file WTO suits against China, basically, you know, threatening a trade war with China. And he threatened putting taxes on imports from China and other countries. And it's a huge departure from what the bipartisan consensus has been on free trade for a few decades and especially for a Republican.

  • 10:21:20

    SCHERERYou had the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while he was giving the speech, tweeting attacks at Donald Trump and then Donald Trump responding, attacking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Now the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is, you know, probably one of the most reliable Republican allies in Washington, D.C. And he has broken with them completely on this issue.

  • 10:21:39

    REHMAnd here you've got Dean Baker very much on the left, yet supporting the same things that Donald Trump is saying.

  • 10:21:50

    TUMULTYAnd it's going to be interesting to see the kind of pressure this puts on Hillary Clinton, who, you know, was very supportive of TPP when it was being negotiated, whose husband really reoriented the Democratic Party on trade, got NAFTA through primarily working with Republicans in Congress, even though the entire Democratic leadership was against him. Hillary Clinton both has pressure from the left and she's going to have a lot of pressure from her union supporters with Donald Trump, you know, being in this sort of protectionist corner.

  • 10:22:24


  • 10:22:25

    DESJARDINSAnd let's take a bigger view at what Donald Trump and his campaign is doing here. There are many faces of Donald Trump, but this is general election Trump. This is where they are starting him out. And it is not just the issue itself, which is going to be a critical part of this campaign for voters and for him, but what he did here. This was a 21-page speech that he did -- read on teleprompters. And even yesterday he was reading a paper copy of it, something the sort of off-the-cuff Trump had never done much before. And if you looked at this speech, Diane, it was full of footnotes. It was almost like something you would read in a law journal -- footnotes from the Federal Reserve, The Washington Post, many, my colleagues here.

  • 10:23:02

    DESJARDINSAnd just to say that what the Trump campaign is doing here is answering the charge that he is not substantive. And specifically, Hillary Clinton's charge, which she was saying daily, that he does not have a plan. He's saying, I have a very specific plan. Here it is. And it's detailed.

  • 10:23:17

    REHMWho is advising him on trade issues?

  • 10:23:21

    SCHERERI think if you asked him, he would say, I don't need many advisors. I mean, he was asked about who -- whether he would talk to his foreign policy advisors after the Brexit vote when he was in Scotland. He said, why would I have to? I think in practice, though, Chris Christie, Sessions -- Senator Sessions. And he is beginning to build a policy staff within his campaign. But compared to what Clinton has, it's still, you know, almost an afterthought.

  • 10:23:52

    SCHERERI think this trade rhetoric is -- goes decades back with Trump. In 1987, when he was first teasing running for the presidency, he took out a full-page ad in The New York Times attacking Japan for abusing U.S. workers and saying, America had to stand up for itself. He was criticizing the Reagan administration there, basically, on trade. So he doesn't need advisors to come up with the master thesis. He's had this one for a while.

  • 10:24:22


  • 10:24:22

    TUMULTYIt's going to be -- another interesting thing to watch is going to be the degree to which the Democrats point out that he hasn't lived as he preached. And, you know, he himself has a lot of business interests overseas that employ a lot of people overseas. So, you know, it'll be the Democrats saying, look how he has acted.

  • 10:24:44

    SCHERERAnd it's also interesting, you know, there -- someone uncovered a blog post from about five years ago or a little more in which Trump had written an essay on the Trump University website arguing that outsourcing was actually good for the economy, making the opposite argument of the argument he's making now. So it's also true that Trump has not been entirely consistent through the years and not just because his Trump ties were made overseas.

  • 10:25:11

    REHMWell, on the other hand, Hillary has now backed away from the TPP saying to some degree she would not support it. Lisa.

  • 10:25:24

    DESJARDINSThat was one of the biggest moments in the early primary. I think we -- she actually talked -- told that to our Judy Woodruff. And we were waiting, I remember we were watching in real time. She was sitting with Judy and the producer on the set was sending notes to us at "News Hour." And that moment when she said that she could not support the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- and her words were important -- in its current form.

  • 10:25:45


  • 10:25:46

    DESJARDINSWe were -- all said, oh, this is huge news. But that's what Donald Trump is making hay of. He's saying, oh, she's going to find a loophole, make a small change and ultimately support it. This is where Bernie Sanders comes in, in a way, at the Democratic Convention, because he and his 1,900 delegates that he has at that convention want to put in the platform complete opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He is making it part of the Democratic Convention debate. To what degree that actually is a conversation there, we'll have to see. But that pressure is building right and left still on Hillary Clinton.

  • 10:26:17

    REHMWhich leads me to the question of a vice presidential -- pardon me -- candidate for Hillary Clinton. There's been lots of talk about Elizabeth Warren since she appeared with Hillary. There is some talk about Tim Kaine and the question of gifts that apparently he received.

  • 10:26:45

    TUMULTYThat, you know, it's -- all of these things are the kind of things that you would really prefer to have come out while you are still in consideration. The vetting process is, you know, it is over 100 questions these potential nominees have to turn in, basically everything. So they, you know, really do have to have their, you know, assume that everything right down to their MasterCard bills is going to be under scrutiny.

  • 10:27:13

    REHMHow realistic would it be for Hillary Clinton to select Elizabeth Warren?

  • 10:27:22

    SCHERERI think it remains very unlikely and there are a few reasons. One, Elizabeth Warren was very late to come to Hillary during the primary. She very purposely laid back, even though it was clear she wasn't against Hillary's candidacy, she didn't endorse her early, at a time when it would have been enormously helpful for Hillary facing down Bernie Sanders.

  • 10:27:44

    SCHERERSecond, Elizabeth Warren has made very clear in her time at the Senate that she has no loyalty to sticking with the party or the Obama administration when she disagrees. She's started a number of fights against President Obama's nominees for financial regulation posts. She's been incredibly critical of rules that the Obama administration has pushed. And I don't think the Clinton inner circle or Hillary Clinton entirely trusts that, if Warren came into the administration, she would be on message.

  • 10:28:15


  • 10:28:17

    SCHERERAnd a third reason is, you know, Hillary has said from the beginning that the most important thing for a vice presidential candidate, which is a cliché but it's also true, is that she'd be ready to take the job if she had to become president. And Warren is an incredibly capable person. But in her own view of herself, she doesn't see herself as a foreign policy expert. She doesn't see herself as a generalist. She sees herself very much as someone who's focused on these financial issues and fighting for the middle class and that's what she's done in the Senate. She hasn't tried to broaden her portfolio. And I think that also is a strike against her.

  • 10:28:49

    TUMULTYWhat we did see this week though, in her appearance in Ohio with Hillary Clinton, is the fact that she is an amazingly effective attacker on Donald Trump. And that's part of the job of being the running mate. She seems to have an ability to get under his skin like nobody else. Is that enough to get her on the ticket? Probably not.

  • 10:29:10

    TUMULTYAnd the fact is, if she's not on the ticket -- I mean, one of the reasons everybody hangs on her every word right now, it started with the intrigue around the fact that she was the only Democratic woman in the Senate who hadn't endorsed Hillary Clinton, now it's that the campaign has made it public that she's on a short list of three -- but if she is not named to the ticket, it's hard to imagine that that level of interest is going to continue.

  • 10:29:33

    REHMWho is the third, beyond Tim Kaine?

  • 10:29:37

    DESJARDINSJulian Castro is under consideration. And, you know, I think one of Clinton's -- one of the dilemmas in camp Clinton is they want some excitement. They know that Clinton is almost too -- is too well-known of a candidate. That she, while people are excited about her who believe in her, they need to expand that. So they like the idea of a young, Hispanic candidate her. However, is he too young? Is he too inexperienced is a question there. So I think they have -- they do not have a perfect choice right now.

  • 10:30:07

    DESJARDINSAnd I think, as much as Elizabeth Warren may seem unlikely to some on the panel here, I know there are some in the Clinton campaign who are really trying to mount a long-shot campaign for her, who believe that -- I heard this from one source -- that Hillary Clinton -- we see this in polls too -- it's no longer considered historic as much as it was for Barack Obama to be the first African-American president, for her to be the first female president. That's -- people sort of assume that that will happen. And she's not getting as much of a bump from that idea as Barack Obama did. But some say, two women on a ticket. Some in the Clinton campaign, two women on a ticket, now that's going to be historic.

  • 10:30:42

    REHMIs the country ready for two women in the White House and the vice presidency?

  • 10:30:49

    SCHERERI haven't seen focus groups on this or polls. But I don't think -- I mean, people tend to vote ultimately for the person at the top of the ticket. You know, vice presidential picks matter in a lot of ways, but not usually too much at the voting booth. And I don't think, you know, if you're against two women on the ticket, you're probably against one woman on the ticket, so.

  • 10:31:11

    TUMULTYAlthough, an up against Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton's problem is not going to be attracting female support, it's going to be attracting white guys.

  • 10:31:18

    REHMWhite guys.

  • 10:31:19

    TUMULTYYeah, so.

  • 10:31:20

    REHMSo, tell...

  • 10:31:22

    DESJARDINSOr, yeah, go ahead.

  • 10:31:23

    REHMGo ahead.

  • 10:31:23

    DESJARDINSOr they -- some make the argument, no, let's focus on getting out our minority and women vote, that we can win by doing that, which is also a debate.

  • 10:31:33

    REHMTell me about these gifts that apparently Tim Kaine received while he was governor. It's been reported this morning that they were all legally given, legally accepted. But now the Trump campaign is bringing these up.

  • 10:31:53

    TUMULTYWell, one thing we certainly learned during the Bob McDonnell scandal was that, you know, the laws in Virginia that govern what a governor can take from people really are pretty, pretty loose, as they are, by the way, in a lot of states. So, but, again, we've also had the McDonnell conviction overturned by the Supreme Court.

  • 10:32:16

    REHMPrecisely. What about Bernie Sanders? He has yet to endorse Hillary Clinton.

  • 10:32:24

    SCHERERAnd he says he's going to vote for her now but he is not read to endorse. And really what's happening, at least in the short term for the next three weeks, is a continued negotiation over what Bernie Sanders can get inside the Democratic Party platform. And there's a very active negotiation going on. Already he's had some success in getting language into the platform about expanding Social Security and infrastructure spending and allowing states to legalize marijuana. But there are a number of sticking points, including whether the platform will call for a total ban on fracking, which is something that Bernie Sanders wants.

  • 10:32:57


  • 10:32:57

    SCHERERWhether it will explicitly endorse a $15 minimum wage. Right now the language in the platform says we should all have high living wages and $15 is a nice thing to go for, is a nice wage, but doesn't explicitly endorse it. And then finally, going back to trade, Sanders is pushing for the platform to very clearly oppose the TPP, which is something that I think the Clinton camp definitely doesn't want to do, which the Obama White House is still hoping they can get passed later this year.

  • 10:33:25

    REHMAnd you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." An historic statement from the Pentagon, which announced yesterday it's ending its ban on transgender people serving openly in the military, Lisa.

  • 10:33:47

    DESJARDINSIt's amazing. I am a proud Navy daughter myself, so I have -- I'm very familiar with the military and how big of a decision something like this is in our military. In speaking about this yesterday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said, essentially, they're looking at this as a medical condition. So if you are a transgender member of the military right now, what you have to do is show that you have no medical disabilities from that. Now, if you had surgery connected with that, then you just have to show that you have recovered from that, just like you would have recovered from knee surgery or any other surgery.

  • 10:34:22

    DESJARDINSAsh Carter said, if we as a military, if we as a country are fighting for values that allow people to be themselves, to express their own identities, we should also incorporate that identity into our service. It was a strong statement.

  • 10:34:36

    SCHERERIt's amazing to think how quick all this is moving...

  • 10:34:38


  • 10:34:39

    SCHERER...given that, don't ask, don't tell was repealed just a few years ago. And when it happened, it was a great celebration, the White House was basically silent on the transgender issue. It was clearly something that the White House was not willing to go near at the time when they made it okay for gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. And now, just a few years later, we've gotten to that point.

  • 10:34:59

    REHMIsn't the...

  • 10:34:59

    TUMULTYAnd women in combat too. I mean, the military...

  • 10:35:00


  • 10:35:01

    TUMULTY...has moved quite a bit on a number of these social fronts in recent years. And Republicans are charging that this, you know, putting politics over readiness. But I think society has moved faster.

  • 10:35:17

    REHMIsn't the edict from the military also inclusive of paying for gender transformation?

  • 10:35:30

    DESJARDINSI do not know the specifics of that but broadly, yes. And this is also part of moves the military has been making that I think put them sort of leading society in a way, that include infertility also. The military is now also paying for infertility treatment for its members. That's something that most American companies don't do.

  • 10:35:50

    REHMSo lots of criticism from conservatives on this, Michael.

  • 10:35:55

    SCHERERThere is. But we have a separate battle going on in states around the country over transgender access to bathrooms. And broadly speaking, conservatives are on the defense now. And that's largely because, in states like North Carolina and even Texas, the corporate community is standing together against conservatives and really threatening states like North Carolina. The Obama administration has litigation that is very likely to end at the Supreme Court now against North Carolina's law of prohibiting allowances for transgender people in bathrooms in the state.

  • 10:36:35

    SCHERERSo while it is a conservative issue, I think it's more in the category of gay marriage which remains a hot-button issue for a lot of people. But it's not really a deciding issue like it was even in 2004.

  • 10:36:47

    REHMBut, you know, couldn't the military's action sort of move the discussion that far forward.

  • 10:36:54

    DESJARDINSAnd we've seen that in American society for 100 years and more, that the military has led the way, especially on issues of diversity, including desegregation -- racial desegregation, we saw back in World War II and going forward.

  • 10:37:08

    REHMAll right. We're going to take a short break here. When we come back, we'll talk about some of the major Supreme Court rulings that came down this past Monday. Stay with us.

  • 10:40:01

    REHMAnd welcome back to the Domestic Hour of our Friday News Roundup. This week, with Lisa Desjardins. She's with the PBS News Hour. Michael Scherer. He's Washington Bureau Chief at Time. And Karen Tumulty, National Political Reporter at the Washington Post. Remember, we are video streaming this hour of the News Roundup so you can see all of our panelists. Talk about some of the implications of Supreme Court decision to strike down the Texas abortion case this week.

  • 10:40:49

    TUMULTYWell, what we have seen since it became clear in the early 1990s that the Supreme Court was not going to overturn Roe v. Wade has been a lot of -- the anti-abortion movement has sort of gone after chipping it away. You know, essentially bank shots. And largely done on the state level. And a lot of these restrictions have passed muster, including parental notification, waiting periods. But, as they get more and more aggressive, they are sort, they are -- the Court in, again, this is a supposedly a divided 4-4 Court, but it's seeing the states as going too far.

  • 10:41:30

    TUMULTYAnd in Texas's case, what they did was they put such restrictions, essentially on abortion clinics, that they would have to operate practically up to the same standards as hospitals. Which is something that is not the case, for instance, when you go in and get a colonoscopy, which is a medical procedure that has a far higher complication and fatality rate than abortion. So, finally, the Court said, look, you guys have gone too far in Texas. Most of the abortion clinics in Texas have already had to shut down over this.

  • 10:42:01

    TUMULTYIt's unclear what is going to happen in the future, but I think it is going to embolden a lot of people who support abortion rights to take on a lot of these other state restrictions that are -- have been put into place in recent years.

  • 10:42:15

    REHMAnd what if Scalia had been sitting on the bench?

  • 10:42:20

    SCHERERHe probably would written a rather colorful dissent, but he wouldn't have changed the outcome of this case because the swing Justice in this case was Anthony Kennedy. He didn't write the opinion, but he sided with the liberal Justices. So, in this decision, Scalia's absence wasn't decisive.

  • 10:42:39

    REHMAnd many people are still wondering whether we will see a new Justice confirmed before the end of the year, Lisa.

  • 10:42:50

    DESJARDINSI generally don't like to give definitive answers, especially in the current climate, but I feel pretty safe in saying no. Pretty, pretty safe.

  • 10:43:00

    REHMDo all of you agree?

  • 10:43:02

    TUMULTYI could actually see a scenario where if Hillary Clinton is elected, the Senate takes a look at Merrick Garland and says, this guy's a lot closer to what Republicans can tolerate than anybody whose likely to be nominated by Hillary Clinton.

  • 10:43:15

    REHMWhat do you think, Michael?

  • 10:43:16

    SCHERERYeah, that's the only scenario it would happen, but even in that scenario, it's very possible then that the liberals in the Senate bolt and say, this isn't right. We should leave the decision to the next President. And I wouldn't be surprised if, at that point, President Obama doesn't come out and say, you know, they've got a point. So, there's a lot of ifs there.

  • 10:43:32

    DESJARDINSRight. And another if is if the Senate stays or changes hands between parties, that will also impact that a lot.

  • 10:43:40

    REHMAll right. I do want to open the phones. We've got lots of callers waiting. Let's go first to Lee in Tampa, Florida. You're on the air.

  • 10:43:54

    LEEHi Diane. Good morning. I am a lifelong Democrat and a retired Naval officer. And I am totally disgusted with the Democratic primary process. I think we threw out the notion that people in public office need to be held to higher standards. So, and one of your guests said that Bill Clinton acts on instinct, and I think their instinct is that they are above the law. So my question is, I wanted to get your comments on the announcement that happened right after their meeting the Bill Clinton meeting with the Attorney General.

  • 10:44:29

    LEEAnd then there was an announcement that (unintelligible) of 2018 to release the emails of the staff of...

  • 10:44:38


  • 10:44:38

    SCHERERSo, that came in a legal filing in an ongoing case, trying to get Freedom of Information documents out of the State Department. The filing came from the State Department, didn't come from the Justice Department. And it was, by all accounts, unrelated. That's a filing that would have come in around the same time anyway. The judges who've been hearing these Freedom of Information Act requests have actually been pretty good for the cause of transparency over the last year.

  • 10:45:06

    SCHERERI mean, right now, aides to Hillary Clinton are being deposed in a separate lawsuit over the question of whether there was an intent by Hillary or any of her aides to delay the Freedom of Information Act process. And in a number of these cases, judges have been very critical of the State Department's speed at responding to these requests. Which is ironic, given that when Barack Obama came into office in 2009, he made a big deal about how he was going to be more transparent than any President in history and would embrace the Freedom of Information Act more than anyone else.

  • 10:45:39

    SCHERERI think in this case, there's a likelihood that the judge comes back to the State Department and says your timeline's not good enough and we get those documents before then.

  • 10:45:46

    REHMLisa, I gather you have read the full Benghazi report.

  • 10:45:52

    DESJARDINSThat's right.

  • 10:45:53

    REHMTell us about it.

  • 10:45:54

    DESJARDINSYou know, and this, this of course is one of a half dozen investigations, but I have to say, this investigation by a select committee, set together just for this purpose by the House and led by Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. This is by far the most comprehensive look that we've had at Benghazi. The report itself is about 800 pages. It's divided up. I do recommend it for anyone who wants to find out what exactly happened that night, September 11, 2012. What led to the deaths of four Americans?

  • 10:46:21

    DESJARDINSCould they have been prevented? There's -- the timeline in there, I think, is very instructive. And also about how the administration reacted. Now, that's -- that's the fact finding part of this, so of course, this also had a lot of political bearing.

  • 10:46:35

    REHMOf course.

  • 10:46:35

    DESJARDINSAnd so when you look at this document, what stands out and what many probably saw in the reporting is that there is no indictment of Hillary Clinton. One of the large questions over Benghazi was could she have prevented it?

  • 10:46:47


  • 10:46:47

    DESJARDINSAnd what did she know? Did she purposely hide information that she had? We know that at one point she was saying things in private about this being a terrorist attack while in public, she and other members of the Obama administration were still pointing to protests. What this report says very clearly is, and other reports have also stated, is that the CIA initially put forward that theory, that there were protests. And that that is how that theory entered the Obama life blood.

  • 10:47:14

    DESJARDINSNow, there were many problems later on with not deposing that theory. People sticking with it when there was evidence not to, but to be honest, what I got most from this report that stood out to me was the problems within the Defense Department. And for example, one that was glaring to me, Defense Secretary at the time, Leon Panetta, ordered three different groups to deploy to Benghazi. That order was not even put forth to the rest of the command for an hour and a half. And when it was, it was said that it was just a prepare for deployment.

  • 10:47:49

    DESJARDINSNow, in any chain of command, in any country, that's very dangerous when your Secretary -- your Chief Civilian Officer makes an order, it's not conveyed for an hour and a half and then it's conveyed incorrectly. There were real problems in the chain of command in the Defense Department, and this report does point to them.

  • 10:48:06

    REHMHow in the world does DOD explain that hour and a half?

  • 10:48:13

    DESJARDINSThey go through Leon Panetta's testimony in this report, and he says very clearly that it was a problem. And they actually just say, this was a major mistake.

  • 10:48:23

    REHMWhoa. Interesting. All right, to Glendale, Arizona. Monroe, you're on the air.

  • 10:48:31

    MONROEHello, Diane. It's been about 20 years since I've been able to get through, so I'm happy to get through today.

  • 10:48:37

    REHMOkay. Go right ahead.

  • 10:48:40

    MONROEMy comments are about Hillary Clinton and this Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton. And I want to depart from the conventional thinking that says, they think the rules don't apply to them. And the way I would like to describe it is this analogy of a football team that only knows how to run the ball. They don't have a passing quarterback, they have no passing strategy. They only know how to run, no matter what everybody else thinks they should do. And I think this is the Clintons.

  • 10:49:10

    MONROEThey are messy people. They don't know how to do it any other way. I don't think they are thinking the rules don't apply, at least not in this case, because that is to suggest that there is a rule that says they should operate differently.

  • 10:49:26

    REHMAll right. What do you think, Michael?

  • 10:49:28

    SCHERERI think the caller should get a syndicated column. It's a good metaphor. I mean, I would put it a slightly different way. I think the Clintons, especially in the last decade, but throughout their career, have very little concern for appearances of impropriety. They don't tend to avoid them. And what they do tend to avoid are actually, you know, legally prohibited things. You know, there was nothing legally stopping President Obama from boarding that plane.

  • 10:49:55

    DESJARDINSPresident Clinton.

  • 10:49:56

    SCHERERYeah, President Clinton from boarding that plane. But when it comes to the appearance of impropriety, whether it's this, whether it's giving 500,000 dollar speeches before bank groups, whether it's, you know, taking donations at the Clinton Foundation for things that Hillary Clinton was working on at the same time, I mean, all these, all these appearances have a corrosive impact. And I think they either have a blind spot for preventing these, or they just don't think they matter that much.

  • 10:50:19

    TUMULTYI think their view of the world, and the view of the world of those around them is also shaped by this idea that everybody's out to get them. And so, rather than, I mean, Hillary Clinton going back to her vast right wing conspiracy thing. So, when people do bring up concerns like this, and again, I think most people would say there's legitimate concerns of the appearances of this, the Clinton world tends to write this off as oh, just another attack by our enemies.

  • 10:50:47

    DESJARDINSAnd I think what's significant here that the Clintons haven't seemed to learn from, or change from, speaking to Michael's point that they kind of stick with their game plan, is that all of these things, in the end, have come back to hurt them. Here we are, during this hour, in a huge news week. We have two Presidential candidates, each of them with serious approval ratings issues, but callers have been asking about Hillary Clinton. We have been talking about Hillary Clinton and so I think this kind of blind spot, as Michael put it, puts her in the spotlight in a way that she doesn't need at a time when people are not talking about Donald Trump in the same way.

  • 10:51:25

    REHMAll right, let's take a caller from Rochester, New York. Mike is on the air. Go right ahead.

  • 10:51:34

    MIKEGood morning. I love this show. It's the highlight of the day.

  • 10:51:38

    REHMI'm so glad.

  • 10:51:43

    MIKEA little different tack, I don't think the Republicans care who wins the Presidency. They're using this as a distraction while they gobble up Governorships and State Houses. And they know that if they get enough of the State Houses, enough of the Governorships, enough Senators, they will rule the country because they can tie it up. They have gotten an incredible volume of free air time in the news. Everybody's talking about.

  • 10:52:22

    REHMAll right. Lisa.

  • 10:52:23

    DESJARDINSI love this theory and I love it because there are a few, I don't think a lot, there are a few Republicans who are thinking like that this year. Those who are concerned about Trump, and we know many Republicans are not going to this convention at all because they're concerned about Donald Trump. But I do -- but I think this is something Republicans have been doing for decades, is focusing on State Houses and trying to work on redistricting. And that's why we have such a huge majority in the -- in Congress. One thing I think we should watch for -- I'm told there's going to be an effort at a rules change this convention to try and work on next Presidencies.

  • 10:52:57

    DESJARDINSWhere they want to move toward more closed primaries. They want fewer Democrats, fewer independents voting in Republican primaries, because they're thinking about the out years past this election.

  • 10:53:07

    REHMAnd you're listening to The Diane Rehm Show. Our caller mentioned those who are not even going to the convention, Michael.

  • 10:53:19

    SCHERERYeah, we don't know how Donald Trump is going to fill all these hours he has at the convention. You have, you know, Jeb Bush, former President Bush, Mitt Romney, who was the nominee last time, John McCain who was the nominee the time before. You have a number of Senate candidates who are in tough re-election fights like Roy Blunt or Kelly Ayotte, or John McCain. All saying they're not going to go. And so, Trump is going to have to really re-invent the face of the Republican Party, which I think, in a way, he's very happy to do.

  • 10:53:50

    SCHERERI mean, he wants the Republican Party to look like something different, to look like something that can appeal to Bernie Sanders voters. And so, he's going to do it with a lot of new faces. We're just not entirely clear on which of those faces will be.

  • 10:54:01


  • 10:54:02

    TUMULTYWell, it's also unclear whether his last, his rivals for the nomination, are going to be at the convention in any meaningful way. They do not expect to be given speaking spots, but for instance, there's a real question as whether John Kasich, the Governor of the State in which the convention is being held is even going to set foot in the convention hall. So...

  • 10:54:23

    REHMHas he not said anything?

  • 10:54:25

    TUMULTYHe has, he has thus far basically refused to endorse Donald Trump. I have talked to people around him, and they said he will be in the city because, as Governor, he has to be there, you know, because of, you know, handling security and things like that. But it is far from clear whether he is going to have any presence at all within the hall.

  • 10:54:45

    REHMLet's, for the last couple of minutes of this Friday News Roundup, talk about a legendary basketball coach. Pat Summitt. She died last week from complications of Alzheimer's Disease. In a sense, I mean, she put women's basketball on the map. She won more games than anybody.

  • 10:55:13


  • 10:55:13

    REHMIncluding any male coach.

  • 10:55:15

    DESJARDINSIncredible. Eight, eight national titles, 41 consecutive appearances in, basically, the, in the tournament for her team. She is a legend and I think in thinking about Pat Summitt, I really do hope that we think not just in women's sports, because she's someone who I think represents a particular American sports ideal. She was all about outworking your opponent. There might be a lesson there for politicians there, as well. But, and she did it well, and she built some unbelievable teams.

  • 10:55:46

    TUMULTYMy colleague, Sally Jenkins, wrote about a letter that she had written to a young player before her first game in 1982. And there was one line in it that struck me as so different from most coaches. She wrote to this player, winning is not the point. Wanting to win is the point. And it should also be pointed out that 100 percent of her players graduated.

  • 10:56:11

    SCHERERShe, she's also someone who changed the way we thought of coaches. She invited cameras into the locker room, she gave lots of interviews, she made herself a character in the basketball drama in a way that coaches hadn't been before. And the effect was to elevate women's basketball, which is now a huge sport. Women's college basketball, but wasn't when she started. As something that was really, clearly, a very competitive, very exciting game to watch.

  • 10:56:35

    REHMAnd for my part, I simply want to talk about the courage she showed in acknowledging that she had early onset Alzheimer's. Which is why she left the game. What extraordinary courage, what a woman, and I know we are all going to miss her. Thank you all so much for being here. Michael Scherer of Time, Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post, Lisa Desjardins of the PBS News Hour. Have a great Fourth of July everybody. Enjoy yourselves. Thanks for listening. I'm Diane Rehm.

Topics + Tags

Most Recent Shows