Monday, January 08, 2018

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 1/5/2018

"Shields and Brooks on Russia revelations, Trump-Bannon rift" PBS NewsHour 1/5/2018


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, including new revelations in the Russia investigation, the war of words between President Donald Trump and former White House adviser Steve Bannon, and what former Vice President Joe Biden told Woodruff earlier this week about the future of the Democratic Party.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  Next to the analysis of Shields and Brooks.  That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Welcome, gentlemen.

So, David, the lead of the program tonight is what I guess a lot of people in Washington are reading and talking about right now, are these Russia revelations, what the President did or didn’t do in trying to pressure the Attorney General to stay involved or not in this investigation.

Then other stories keep coming out.  We talked about it a few minutes ago in the program, but are we really learning more about what President Trump did?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Well, we knew that he really wanted to squash this investigation, but I think what we’re learning is a lot of the details, a lot of the efforts that he made, the letter he wanted to write, his attitude toward government.

To me, the most astonishing quote of the whole deal is he saying, “Where is my Roy Cohn?”  And Roy Cohn was Joe McCarthy’s henchman, more or less.  And so he’s basically — and a mentor to Donald Trump, it should be said, later in life.

And so he thinks government is sort of a family mafia business, and he can shut it down, and loyalty to the Don is the primary value here.

To me, that was just a mind-boggling quote, because most people consider Roy Cohn and Roy Cohn's role with Joe McCarthy as a shameful moment in American history, not something you want to emulate.

Judy Woodruff:  So, Mark, are we learning more here?  I mean, the stories are coming almost by the bushel full, and every one of them has a little bit more information about what happened.

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  Yes.

Well, we’re certainly learning — and I’m trying to separate the stories right now, but we’re learning the President was deeply involved in trying to divert attention on that return flight from his European trip in July, you know, that he was — that this is a matter of personal urgency to him, and which just sets off alarms.

I mean, why?  What is it?  I don’t think there is — we’re anywhere near a smoking pistol or anything of the sort on him and Russia, but there’s no question of his hypersensitivity, concern, involvement and unseemly involvement in trying to divert attention and to send the attorney general out as his personal attorney.

I mean, he really views the Attorney General of the United States not at the Department of Justice, but as a personal attorney, and is somewhat upset that he doesn’t have the same relationship with Jeff Sessions that he perceives that John Kennedy had with Robert Kennedy, who was his brother and his campaign manager.

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