David Remnick: Talk of Impeaching President 'Pathetic'

Rep. Joaquin Castro, Bill Kristol, David Remnick, and Greta Van Susteren debate border reform and the GOP lawsuit against President Obama.
7:36 | 08/03/14

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Transcript for David Remnick: Talk of Impeaching President 'Pathetic'
president choose what laws to execute and what laws to change? It is a shame and a disgrace that we are here debating the suing of the president. This country is founded upon the rule of law. It is a waste of time. Our constitution does not say the president gets to write his own laws. Stop this hating all the time. Come on. The house clears the way to sue the president. One of the topics for our "Roundtable." Joined by the editor of "The weekly standard," bill kristol. Democratic congressman Joaquin Castro from Texas, Greta van susteren, and editor of "The new Yorker" David remnick. I'm not sure there is anything in the world. They'll file a lawsuit. The courts will adjudicate it. I don't think it will be a big deal. Even after, Joaquin Castro, we just talked to Dan Pfeiffer, the president seems to be looking to go forward on the executive orders to expand the number of undocumented imgranlts W -- immigrants who will not be deported. You and others are pushing the president to expand this as far as possible. Absolutely. I mean, the fact is, George, somebody has to be working in Washington. The president is ready to act on immigration reform. The congress has now had several years, but especially the last two to do something. Republicans have failed to move on it. He will do everything within his power and within the law. To fix immigration. But that's the question. Is it really within his power to expand this by 4 million or 5 million immigrants? Absolutely. The way he introduced it was deferred action on the students and others by not prosecuting them. He can do the same thing for other folks as well. Look, I don't know. I mean, he's probably going to do this. The real problem is we have an absence of leadership. Harry Reid should be back in Washington. The president should call him back. And the house should be back in Washington. They should resolve this. They all go running to the cameras and say this is a humanitarian crisis. Yet what do they do? They all get out of town. That's a big problem. I do my job when there's a humanitarian crisis. Where are they? There was a bit of an irony at the end of the week. Many of the house leaders said, well, the president should act on his own even though they were slamming him for doing the same thing. The fact of the matter is, the Obama administration has been light on executive orders. It doesn't rank very high in the history of the United States in executive orders. This administration. The business about a lawsuit and talking impeachment is pathetic. Yes, it's been taken advantage of in a political way by the democratic party. They are pushing it now. But it was initiated by the republican party. It is a very, very sad spectacle. And history will look back on this congress with a very, very critical eye. But David -- David -- The house republicans passed legislation Friday night that is in my view very good legislation. It deals with the border crisis. It increases the National Guard. Makes it easier to deport people. The senate would say we did it a year ago. No, no. I'm sorry. The senate bill does not deal with the actual border crisis. No, you know what? The house passed legislation. The problem, bill -- the president -- The president issued an executive order two years ago. It's backfired. It's been dezast disastrous. There's no -- With those undocumented -- would they be coming here without the executive order? There is a huge problem here. And the people in charge of solving it are the president, the house, and the senate. They ought to all get back to Washington and do their job. And the house passed legislation. Terrific. Terrific. The senate should be back in session. They should vote on it. Send it to conference. The president should be showing leadership. This is like a classroom where the teacher leaves the room and all of a sudden, there's upheaval in the classroom. The president is not showing leadership. He's saying I'll go on my own. That's not how a democracy is supposed to work. Congressman? I agree. Both the senate and the house should be working to get this done. But the fact is, they're not. And the president. He should be leading them. He's been trying to work with congress for the last two years. To pass comprehensive immigration reform. If the house would have taken up the senate bill, which would have passed. There are enough votes. If you put that on the floor, it will pass. That bill will pass. We would have been able to avoid some of the problems we're seeing now with this border situation. You would have more border patrol, more judges to speed up the process. A lot of the crisis wouldn't be happening. You would have more of a magnet for people to come north. Amnesty is magnet. These folks don't qualify for that. Under the executive order they don't qualify. They think they'll be amnestied. Amnesty is a magnet, I think. The cartel and coyotes are trying to encourage them to make $6,000 to get them here. But, look. We're not going to set policy based on cartels and coyotes. We're going to go to central America and dispel those myths. That's what the president has been working on. David, Greta says the president should show leadership here. You look at the range of legislation in the last four years. No hope anything is going to get done. He's stifled. It's frustrating to see his projection of frustration. You want him to suck it up and keep going at it and leading and leading. But I think history is going to show that this presidency is stifled at every angle. If I could get in one word. The immigration issue, first of all, I think a lot of people at this table are here because of America's openness to immigration. Fair to say. Probably all five of us. Yeah, it was legal. Legal immigration and illegal. I understand that. There were not these rules back then, bill. Fine, if you want to make a case for open boarders as we had then, I'm open to that. There are laws that should be enforced. We talk about the immigration issue, we have to talk about it historically and in context. A lot of time, in the debate, the context is willfully lost or not known. This is a discussion that the president should be having with speaker Boehner and senate majority leader harry Reid. It's not happening. They're all on vacation. I mean, this is their job. I agree. I don't get it. This happens to be their job. I don't think another phone call or three weeks will make a difference. I don't see any effort. You know, all I see is a lot of finger-pointing. People going microphones and talking. I don't see them sitting down. We have a political situation where the majority of the republican base is for the impeachment of the president. Again, do I think the democrats have plald thyed this up to their political advantage? Yes. This is just a stifled gridlock political situation and one more phone call, as George said, one more dinner invitation that will be the talk of all Washington, is not going to -- So you give up on democracy? Nobody is giving up on anything. Leadership is tough. Being president is tough. But you have at least got to keep trying. You can't just say I'll go alone. Quickly. House republicans have passed a lot of legislation. People may not agree with it. Senator Reid has refused to bring it up. Quite a lot of it has had some

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