FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast: Yovanovitch Testifies, Trump Attacks

FiveThirtyEight reacts to Friday's impeachment hearings of Marie Yovanovitch.
31:17 | 11/16/19

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Transcript for FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast: Yovanovitch Testifies, Trump Attacks
Hello and welcome to defy identity politics podcast I'm Gayle injury the second day of public impeachment hearings is behind us. Former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Ivanovic testified about the events that led to president trump removing her from her post as ambassador to Ukraine. She talked about the importance of the foreign service and Rudy Giuliani's smear campaign to proceed at her removal. Republicans questioned why she was giving testimony at all since she was now the ambassador during the time that trump asked Ukraine to investigate the Biden's. And that's when he sixteen election and the trump for his part tweeted about Ivanovic demeaning her during the tests are so let's decides what all went down. And what the two arguments line of arguments were from Democrats and Republicans cured me to do that our senior politics writer Pamela. Another big day of hearings. Yeah by the TV. Of watching TV all day has a very different Phelan as an adult political reporter. That's spare. And also with us is senior writer Perry bacon junior hasn't compared. And in greatness are so let's get right to declare what was your top line take away from the day of tests. Well I think for starters Marie Ivanovic. Like did the two diplomats that the testified earlier this week is eight was AE. A pretty good witness for the Democrats I think she had to I think what is it as is at the baseline a pretty relatable story witches. She was removed from you know her job and a long career that had led to it. Out of Washington she Tsotsi apartment but choose to live from the job she felt and justly. On false premises which the State Department knew about but still went ahead with. Her removal acts trumps at the behest end. I think she was. You know she she didn't necessary I was take the bait on partisan questions sometimes I think answers were were kind of clipped but I think she presented through a sympathetic. Face to the idea that Rudy Giuliani was behind. An effort to remove her from her post her for sort of out there are reasons having to do with C. I'm conspiracy. And a Perrier what was your take away from the united some ways she was. Second eyewitness the first state witnessed the chronologically. With some of you should listen to because somebody's youth anti human me cents. Not dramatically honestly that in some ways probably have to person. Who was removed in this kind of weird way he testified first in the end because she's a lady out. This you know in great detail the ambassador I was pretty good in it experienced. Let's credentials. There was we're costs which I was removed and that of course mr. Taylor replaced her and then he kind of weak knees the quid pro quo and then when the more a nefarious things election watcher in this. She's not Wheaton is too much and actually. What is going to be the fundamental impeachment acting. But I do you think she goes the fact that they had a period and usual Ukraine policy involves removing someone as an investor who. Collecting testified pretty well to having been very credentialed for this job if the job was representing the US in Ukraine nationally. Yeah but a mean. The Republican responsible in there was hearings and then. In the Twitter verse kind of the rapid response team was something like you can't be impeached for hurting somebody's feelings right and the president has. Full range to appoint or remove an ambassador as they wish. As kind of like RA so why are you here and also by the way at Marie Roderick sorry that your being used as a pawn in these Democrats. Impeachment push. Me was that an effective. Was that ought to be honest truth flick was not just the situation Mr. President I think you gonna ditch. Will would be. Effective as if all ghosts according to Democrats plan of the palace is received in painting sort of this. It's in setting the scene in in in letting people in on the atmosphere that existed. In Ukraine and in the Ukraine foreign policy making channel the trap administration which was to say it was weird right and that it was being. Basically. Led by the president's personal lawyer write this she's kind of a prelude to Giuliani and indeed Giuliani adjacent people right so. You know. It goes to. Foreign interference in in US affairs that goes too was Giuliani improperly. Am leaning on certain Ukrainian channels in order to. Get this much talked about political dirt I mean she she is more kind of setting up the picture she sort of ineptitude to Perry's point earlier. Taylor. Kind of started us in medias race right it with that with the testimony on. On Wednesday he kind of said this is this is the central fact of what was happening and now we go back in time to Marie Ivanovic. And we get a little more context for the stories about faults. Right because she was not the ambassador during this period of time that we're talking about so why. Arguments. Kind of general argument cliff notes for the day. Word Democrats. Making it through their questions entered our staff attorney's questions. I think the broader argument was. This. This. Taking a semester removing her from her post was part of me. Broader series of acts by the top administration. This suggests the Ukraine policy was not about. It was not a bell like you know keeping with Ukraine itself. And improving Ukraine really to do to help trumped with his reelection. By race invites. You remove her and then getting yen and then having some. Other people involved policy who would be more willing to implement this. Need for investigations trades and essentially I think. In other words she was here mainly she was here to demonstrate that he had to he had this great investors we had to remove her to get this team go that was kind of a core. Yet and it's it's interesting it mean I think a lot of what came across both in the uber counting of what happened to Maria Ivanovic but also her talking about. Basically the State Department under trump. Was sort of this revelation of the the transaction airy wave that trump thinks about foreign policy so Ukraine owes him something. Therefore they must do political favors to him. It kind of is is in line with how he thinks of something like NATO right he was says. The US pays more than any other country in NATO and Mike those NATO members are less than mean they owed back pay right. We'll look the point of the NATO alliances at its foundation right to kind of promote this. Originally this kind of pro western anti Communist. We need to reduce the spheres of influence. It's it's an organization it's not about just dues paying right it has a greater. A fact and I think you see a microcosm in this heat create this whole Ukraine affair of the transactional nature that the trap administration has approached foreign policy left I think that obviously comes from the top and so when Mitt mall beanie. Stood in front of the the it's adapt though of the White House podium and said yes deal with it politics or eight domestic politics again. Have on if have an effect in foreign policy making. While that might have been a but Nall statement for him as someone to. Works in the trump White House. For many people who who are involved in foreign policy making for State Department employees that was alarming because I think the hallmark of American foreign policy has typically been you want to try to make sure that. Countries generally have a sense that what the United States is saying from administration to administration whether or not be democratic or Republican. Is that there is a ultimate shared goal and policy making that those groups half that the country might be yes different parties but. When it faces the rest of the world has some kind of united vision and that seems to be breaking down here and you see quite a public display here. And it's also been fundamentally true or right for decades from Republican to democratic administration. The foreign policy goals have been relatively bipartisan. And it. It's in someone is as a result of that. We haven't necessarily realized how much authority the president has to due as he wishes when it comes to foreign policy because you know. The president doesn't have to rely on congress for a lot of things he wants to do with regard to other nations it's just more obvious when it's a a goal that is not shared across parties prior. And I think I mean that's not to go too far down the garden path with with foreign policy but I think. You know the Iran deal and the parents can't climate accord to big oil palm. Administration. Foreign policy things Republicans reversing them right like there's a there's a sort of flip flopping I think that makes that has made the rest of the world. Nervous about the commitment of the united states army certain things right and and you know the the ability for air for a press one present and then another to renege on on a a deal is actually kind of damaging to the credibility of the country's. You know ability to broker does deals in the future. And humans are not going too far down the path of you know the foreign service and foreign policy but. You wanted to DA to spend a lot of time in her opening remarks talking about the significance of the foreign service and is it sneaking an argument for why we have the foreign service. And you know I made a joke I think on Wednesday like if somebody. Fell asleep. Thirty years ago when the Berlin Wall foul and kind of woke up today it will be very shocked to find that it almost seemed partisan for a foreign service member to be like making the foreign policy arguments of reaganism and George WB HW Bush's presidency. Kind of while giving testimony against the current Republican president. Any right side note on foreign policy but so Perry. We laid out what the Democrats argument was how did Republicans try to respond to all. You know I wasn't left thinking EP enemies have a clear cut response because. Her credentials were such typing in. The narrative she told was somewhat heartened disputes like in the specs that she get recalled from Ukraine is an odd way so they didn't really disputes. Her core X her merited. Immediately went in these that you indicated which is removing the ambassador is not an impeachable offense that's not a repeat. Argument because the Democrats are not gonna have an article of impeachment says she was moved to be a much broader case for the main argument was. You're a great ambassador you're fine. This is not really. They are supplements and other things I mean they the ultimate whistle blower and Harry valuable test you're she's not testifying. I didn't think the Republicans a lot of time trying to room but. I'm the ambassador was more saying she wasn't involved in the court decisions one. And the removal of her itself was not impeachable team. They also got into Hunter Biden right when Republicans. Particularly. Represented a police to phonics through. Editors arguably the most effective questioner on the Republican side. Was asking questions right even when you were preparing to be sworn in as ambassador you were prepared to be asked questions about hunter Biden's role. I thought those are very. Effective line of questioning on Stephane next part and and and frankly the most effective. Republican line in general I think as far as far as the battle goes to win public opinion to their side right the idea of the legal form of corruption which is nepotism is pretty what is pretty much what's natively on display with Hunter Biden having a board seat for priests which he is now. I'm resigned from over the past month. So yes her pointing out that the Obama administration was aware that Hunter Biden had this had the seat in you know. Both the Biden say that that Hunter Biden his father never discussed Ukraine fine but obviously the administration was aware of the the appearance of impropriety George Kent spoke to that on Wednesday. An and I think at least a product I mean. I got to push back on the through traitor but like I think she she was pretty effective as far as you know I think that Republicans are. Are are on their heels a little bit as part is fax gopher for most of of the missed this hearing stuff because a lot of what their. Let Rudy Giuliani was pushing was a conspiracy theory but just a sonic is is raising her profile in a way that I think is pretty savvy down the line. Up until ANC she was the youngest. Member of Concord woman in congress. And she's you know it reminds me a little bit of the way that Pamela Harris raised her profile with. Trent confirmation hearings just you know the idea that when all eyes are on the television. It's good to be but I understand from time to time to she certainly got them. Another big theme that is going to be discussed after the hearings from today is trumps tweet in the middle of at all. In the middle of in particular the staff attorney for the Democrats. Asking Marie Yvonne rich questions trump greeted this. Everywhere Maria moderates went turn to bat she started off in Somalia how did doctor. Then fast or too Ukraine where the new Ukrainian president spoke on favorably about her in my second phone call with hand. It is a is it it is a US president's absolute right to appoint ambassadors and as was credit he goes on to say more but we'll leave it at that. Watts. Was the results of this tweets Perry. Democrat so who. Adam cedar river between east in the hearing. Indian ambassador. Talked about it and can use that as Parker broader narrative that. She did. And hating American president attacked her sort of personally has been particularly damaging to her internally to psyche. Stevenson there. And the Republicans on the hill you know when reporters asked them at S consulate in between the different parts of the hearing. Republicans on the hill sort of nervous about blitz which row did. Liz Cheney is usually pretty strong opinions defending the party said it was an agreed to tweet tweet. I'm ship used to freeze witness intimidation and said they'll be part of potentially part of impeachment charges. I was a little overblown obviously you. Donald Trump criticize somebody on Twitter recruit who is critical Leon news it's like what was like nothing. Pricing and at this point. Nothing was about the economy but it was mind both sides. Act like something that was entirely predictable. Was interesting tonight I want to be sort of of course he did. It's interesting though like the the go live. Reading of the tweet and then giving her. Response because I was ejection seem to treat because she was. Doing congressional testimony there was some thing novel about that and then he he elicited from her. Life yes I think the intent of that was to threaten me and and it's interesting because I think in some ways Ivanovic was quite AE. With quite reluctant to talk in depth about. How she felt you know at one point she's at a lot of really want on the private personal wanna talk about the effect of the so my family. You know but but being present like it was the most is it was it was a good moment it was almost like. A gift an own goal. You know from trump to having treated that and then to the Democrats sort of being well Etsy what you say about that. And I think it's it was almost eight a public off guard moment in which I thought was interesting. Ia who knows with the witness tampering but it certainly wasn't like. A great moment because that's a good that's a good little clip I felt intimidated in north that's a threat I felt threatened. The one. All of our new thing that happened today it was trump released the right out of his. 1 phone call with president as a Lansky we art you have the right up to second from call which is the one that came out back in September. And he released that timed win at the beginning of this hearing. What was the point of all that Perrier choir what do we learn from that. Not it's not a transcript it's as on the bottom of the page and of this is not a verbatim transcript. What was the point of releasing it now and what did we learn from. So McConnell seemed like he was earlier in the U carrying president you'd cream presidencies president's term. Those early years and they Casanova. In trajectories hall that was not particularly interest staying. I guess if you want to showed Donald Trump is not always shaking down Ukrainian president in history yet. So any it was a much more an all call early this cell based. Our relationship is based on more. Yes so. An instance. It was not a particularly. I DNN news in this the from the cult like it was a huge operation at some point I was listening. He's just read something it has no impact will no one came back to I think it couldn T. Even the other Republicans didn't think Paul was exonerating. My guess is the White House yet because they released the calls right reported hearing. Newness is close to them he rented and sort of dramatic action but that was not particularly useful evidence them. Let me and just aria I screened shouted the headline earlier today from the the Rupert Murdoch owned. Dealing mail. And there headline about this transcript was quote. White House releases transcript of first call between trump and Ukrainian leader that shows president offered him White House visit with no strings attached. And with no mention of Biden probe so that's what. Apparently we were supposed to take from. Although when did this initial call happened. The readout of the call or a summary of the call that was made public you know there's an oath president trump spoke with president the Lansky this morning its owner. It said that he pushed the president of Ukraine trumped it. On the issue of corruption. Obviously it doesn't say corruption anywhere in that. Transcript or write out what were they talking about. Well. When they released Israel saying he parts the once the on corruption. I'm a little confused by this for two reasons first. If and it's. I'm going to be brew your median C I think a more strategic White House would have navy needs sure. It'd been re they put out seated corruption. That the call late put out said corruption so wasn't easy decision has been so low lying one of those two times I was one part. And the second part was eight don't think that Cole was that was incriminating at all and I just think it goes to the point but I think ultimately is actually. Prove the opposite point which is that. This the Republicans are trying to argue trump is singularly obsessed with corruption and in Ukraine who drove his actions but the caucus seems like it's our get a call the president and any other country on so well with some things he said it was like these that the president. Welcome and congratulations. You do agree job if you were really focused on corruption Ukraine is the most corrupt country I can think it depressed them. Det call was not evidence that. Ari while. Most of what happens today but as we wrap up here we did notice while we were all watching it and live blogging about the hearings that NBC truck decided to youth cut away from them. You know before they were over well before they were over. Does it seem like. The networks that are all tuned in and canceled their regularly scheduled programming this week. Will continue to do so through next week I mean I know we're not supposed to talk about that has vows level. Of these hearings in the media got criticized particularly an NBC story got criticized for saying that there wasn't enough pizzazz on Wednesday referring to. But how old do we see the network's continuing to cover. Good question and you know it goes to weirdly it reminded me there with me on this competitors and Apollo thirteen. The classic I'm I'm Whittier I'm ready to take me the classic ninth in both both be famous infamous. Field. Trip to the noon and losses the ninety's movie starring Tom Hanks touch which which. Talks about how there was originally supposed to be a broadcast from the space shuttle on national television all the networks refers to carry it. And there's this momentum in the somewhere they say to break into the astronaut Stanley like. Well people are kind of bored by walking in them in we've party dammit so what the networks can run. And that works. And networks are supposed to have this this duty and some senses that. They you know originally that those those three main networks were kind of given the airwaves right and they did. They were there is an understanding that they did have a civic responsibility to say prop broadcast things like presidential debates or numbers results of an election. And so I think what you're you're seeing here with NBC being kind of boring. What do you do with a high ease kind of that tension between. We'll have you back conflict what's the specific duty with like. Two people care about this any more like we're here for that we're here for the ratings. It's also clear that most Americans are gonna consume this through the clips or this podcast or whatever it is like I don't think anybody actually expects that. Americans are watching five and a half hours of tests are running on a daily basis during the well I hope most of you. And just production public business capacity and production just went laid out an America that's threatening. He Barry what's your read on how the networks are covering answered just how the media in general is reacting to these impeachment hearings are far. Two predicts it's the first is that I do Heatley to different when a witness and that you know Gordon's son particularly. A witness who we think he's very close to what happened. And talked to Donald truck and you think I'm not predict every network covers it Apple's deal. I do think that is it different magnitude and importance. And potentially more interesting candidly and I think that'll be covered difference I don't know we should. Get the coverage let's go down from here alumnus or maybe it will but I think that's a difference here. The second part it is. I am. That shoe were aided nets only matters if thirteen 1000009. Million or seven million or three million people. Watch these hearings you know either way 300 million are not watching. Is what is something like this so I think about viral peak moment happens in the hearings. That we didn't expect any becomes a big thing. I don't think it matters who was watching alive or not it'll become a big thing. I just don't know that we're gonna happen moment in part because. You know with the release we have so far have prima city tapes and the private hearing and not much particularly. Different from that and it was like that would as the Democrats from callers are so these people who were diplomats were very diplomatic not your exciting. And I have likely read top Brett Cavanaugh us out into the microphone. Style moment the next few weeks I think that limit the hearings. Using this as well isn't these hearings might beetle and will. Change things now in terms listed in the media now strossen. You cover the hearings and Sudanese be very actual or should they care it was performance. I have a hard time this question beacon is. I would argue that these hearings are important facts matter we shouldn't diminish the we shouldn't play theater critic at the same time. Hearings are performance of sorts a you know to pick up with that little that would open your mind as well. It's interesting it almost Carol you're talking it struck me that. Kind of what the Democrat the congressional Democrats are facing is the same problem that like. Late night hosts face since Saturday live faces witches known watches the full thing they watch the clips on YouTube. And you're only you know watch if there's something at someone says oh that's really funny or if you know you read Billick the vulture recap of the funniest moments. And I thinks are Odland is. He is not career diplomat he is eighty you know hotel yet he's tell EA and I keys. He's perhaps declined to give a good quote I was listening to the WNYC podcast about trump trunk trumpeting and I think this is right heard him. Adam. He was talking about the hotel business and he said coming to the effect of well I love it it's everything combine its restaurants it's entertainment it's tax and I was rankles some. Does some added at a Catholic industry conference describes the hotel business like that Mike good quote thick and got that tonight I'd and a I like ever on tune in for Gordon's on land. And that's going to be it's Wednesday morning the to the point about just watching the clips it also means that like bolts. Partisan outlets are Guinea debt. The content that they want and then they can Arabic clips that will kind of fire up bearer viewers according. We've been doing which you can see like watching these hearings all day long you kind of know when you see it like. What's gonna lead Hannity tonight or like what's gonna lead matter out tonight at Saturn. Although it's troubling I think from mad at disinformation. Point of view I mean there was a moment on Wednesday Nguyen. Jim Jordan addressing Adam Schiff said. Well we all know that you're the only member of congress you know mister chairman ship that knows the identity of the whistle blower. And directly after that Adam Schiff says money collect cracked the record I do not know the whistle blew it. But the clip that I saw. Tweet out by a Jordan's office and then I believe the president and Sobel make the rounds is. Jordan saying we'll shift you're the only one who knows who the whistle blower is in no announced. In you know essentially not true. But that's the kind of things can come out of this switches. You don't get the full story and that is that is. Troubling. Just from a just from a person who. Deals fax rightly that you think it that the problematic although. Obviously etching out here like everyone's been stuff it's just it's that was particularly plea products sick. So hectic about a decade it was worsening news. I actually think the Rodgers stone. Conviction. Is probably a more important story. Did and the ambassadors testimony. Who has aside Padilla hot take we come to this podcast for. The but where he's been speaking at an ice. Any data that not enough to not. Event. It since it. I know we ER I known that Democrats and Pelosi. Can't emphasize this impeachment is about this one phone call this one quid pro quo and work from being yet. In reality I would argue the impeachment. Ukraine was the nineteen events in the first eighteen were really let us at this point. And and I think Roger Stone in the whole Mahler investigation. Kennedy created them credit for this in the Ukraine was the final step and electric added each and we move forward on this. And I certainly think that we look back upon his administration. Defected his campaign chairman when his beacon advisors like how many people on the trump team. In 2016. Where and I hated. And then went to jail or wind or Leno or fine or have you. Danny is ultimately a huge story ends on whose sticks with people in a way that I'm not sure. You know that trump was mean to an ambassador ultimately will. Yeah I mean it kind of goes to show that in the middle of the new cycle as it's been in recent years it's easy to lose track of everything that's going on and yes the fact that Roger Stone. Was found guilty today is like not even gonna lead the news because it's gonna be the impeachment hearings that we partners. By the way cut this or keep this that this is came across my Twitter transom it's too good not to share excellent excellent is treated that's. In 2002. People named Donald Rumsfeld one of the sexiest man alive. CNN's pentagon reporter called him quote a big Flaherty pussycat. Yes it's time earlier Nasr worked. With is that real news can we fact checked out before I commuted on the topic patents. It's it's is looking at a screen shot wit says People Magazine at the top. CNN call them a virtual rock rock star fox dug them up outweighed Dave magnate and the Wall Street and. No demands the new hunk of homefront airtime I mean I don't know politics is to be more front and more unfurl like six more blunt if he doesn't suit your producers to fit the moment of need liberty policy cat. I just. A little levity and. Our it's Friday nobody email us complaining Iraq top back. Anyway where that Iran have a great weekend we will see you back on Monday and then for the rest of the week when it these hearings and then the debate Wednesday night. Also let me remind people that. If you want 530s rat which obviously you do go to 538 dot com slash store we've got some equal new designs on there. The you to check out. And anyway and that's it for now thank you Claire thanks Galen think U pairing. My name is due and drink Tony chow is in the control room are in turn is Jake are a lot of you can get in touch by emailing us at podcasts at 530 dot com you can also of course greeted us with questions or comments. If you're out of the show beavers are reading or review in the apple podcast store. I know I say that every time but actually do it had a pretty apple podcast store it was a Braden would during podcast for you anyway or tell someone about this show. Thanks for listening and we'll seize. Yeah. And.

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