What Comes Next In Trump’s Impeachment?

The FiveThirtyEight podcast crew previews what’s to come in Trump’s trial in the Senate.
28:34 | 12/19/19

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Transcript for What Comes Next In Trump’s Impeachment?
Hello and welcome to the 530 politics podcast I'm Gayle injury and the House of Representatives has just impeach the president of the United States. Donald Trump on two articles. The vote on abuse of power came down mostly along party lines with two Democrats breaking ranks one voting present an independent voting for impeachment. Three Democrats broke rank on the obstruction of congress article. That makes president from the third president in American history to be impeached. Earlier this year and this did not seem. Very likely but after a whistleblower report he transcript of Trump's phone call with Ukrainian president Vladimir as a Lansky and subsequent testimony. This impeachment became much more likely and this is where we are now in all the house presented evidence that president trump withheld a White House meeting. And military aid to Ukraine while pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rivals the Biden's and the Democratic Party. So here is me to discuss. What got us here of a vote played out and what comes next are managing editor Mike McConnell and Harry are buried thanks for having me on this historic day. We are all dates and I. And also here thus is senior writer Perry bacon junior Harry I'm great things at me. And also joining us from early is senior politics writer Claire Malone aria. I'm glad they take you for being available on the road it's a crazy dates that I it is were altogether. And let me start with you Perry because I know you've been covering this all day and you have an article up on our site now. There was some question over how many defections there would be what were the politics of the final tally. So it looks like oh or no Republican votes for impeachment which it is not surprising. We never really any indication he would. In terms of the Democrats use share Goldman mean who voted for the use of power. But it against the extraction charge he's when he's Adam. Democrats in the a district to trump one so I assume their peace summit that is there. These second defection was Collin Peterson of Minnesota. He voted against both articles of impeachment he's and a very heavily trump. District use Democrat as well and in the third was yet been through. I mean he's an democratic vote against impeachment technically he's from New Jersey. But we know that he's changed parties who looks like he is going to change parties in his boat you can count like. Do you trump in the Republican speeding by being it you know adding to the democratic. Anti impeachment number but he's now Republicans really like to democracy but he impeachment and then finally. Policy Gabbert. Always unpredictable voted present instead of voting for yes or no on the articles. And all's are of course the independent Joss and a monstrous voted for impeachment. So. Not to like over hype the historic nature of the day. But you know it's been almost four years since this podcast the gay and were quickly approaching our official anniversary. In the scope of these surprising things that have happened over the past four years. Claire Micah Perry. How does this rank and I don't mean how surprising is this compare to where we were two months ago I mean kind of when we set out on. Does journey of covering politics for the past four years Clark. It is so funny that you you bring up the podcast anniversary as I was literally just sitting here in my hotel room. Thinking about like the dates you know the Bill Clinton was impeached on December 19. It's December 18 today. We started covering trump. I start covering trump. Like four years ago to this month for 538. And I think just the arc of Donald Trump you know being. He lost. Eat eat lost dial and everyone thought OK well may be knocked actually be president and then just. The memory of that you know that spring of the GOP primary in his just astronomical rise. Republican voters sort of accepting trump. Then GOP and it's sort of the nature of the party really changing in a lot of ways over the past four years to become a very. Trump centric personality centric party. And now today to see. And to sort of the incredible. Partisanship on display during that impeachment proceedings has been really interesting I mean it's been a full a full day of kind of watching members of congress get up there in. Talk about the state of America. So I think just as far as like a temperature check for years leader from when trump really became a and national news I don't that is that is stunning toward a four year arc arm and that's certainly something I'm thinking about today. Yeah it's funny I this these are sort of the terms of its I was thinking about it then I think if you told Maine. OK if we go back to mind trump came down the escalator. And you told me hey he's gonna win reelection. I'm sorry he's gonna win election. And he will be impeached and its first term. I don't think I would be that surprised just in the sense like. Trump seems like a very. Chaotic. Person and candidate and and not some had a ton of respect for. Four through of how things are done normalize our laws and so in that sense it wasn't surprised. Am in like that full arc that that I think Clarence is getting at least me. Oh like a year in two years then I had thought impeachment was basically off the cable Adam. In particular after similar report came out. It seemed impeachment was impossible. And so for four. This to happen and in particular for like the Ukraine called attacked the center of a lot of this. I happen odd day after Mueller testified. Penguins won their two days later. Is a stunning turnaround I think from that looked at it in that time period ten cents Perry get as your perspective on how. How we arrived here after a past four years. I mean I'm still surprised election night it cultural won the election I think we've got election. Fifteen times Hillary rents to twelve or thirteen times so I'm still surprised about that. In terms impeachment think we'd historians cite in December news like or January to December 2 when he 17 January 2018. I am I mean. I'm surprised we're here considering the mullah report didn't result in this since another event happened. But I'm not surprised that trump was impeached because I hate the heat commits a lot of varieties and or. Ethical legal violations and have continuously. So I pick accident expected at some point you would come to this tonight and I think in some ways. The Democrats sort of was unavoidable so low that they his behavior. It was going I appreciate knew his behavior would at some point go over some outlined. You know it's it's funny I was just looking up in in April 2017. I read an article called Maxine Waters isn't afraid to talk about impeachment. And and it's funny liked it's it has impeachment talk has been going on for basically trumped entire. Term of office Adam just so you know just thinking about like mental. Sign posts about about this whole process is so that the Republicans. Line of attack that you know the Democrats have been wanting to do this for ages either wrong rate that that's the. Well liked to sing a battle that's. Let me push back and I don't know that Claire. Their certainly not wrong that some Democrats. Many Democrats wanted this from the beginning. Police segment. You know the sound yeah. Exactly so might might push back on that is exactly that is that. Made me majority of Democrats including the democratic leadership. They've been saying this talking point but but. In net in the way of saying that GOP talking point has some truth to it this democratic talking point has some 222. Dad. They sort of were forced into this. And I think have a lot of ways this kind of establishment Democrats the moderate Democrat war. Oh very hot file and I think you saw Pelosi really. Trying to telegraph that today yet is she is in the person who has obviously been the face of we don't want it be too hasty in our efforts to remove the president from office it's a solemn duty. And just heard you know up that are symbolism today right her clothing how did she dress. She wore a very dark kind of few new aerial suits with a high collar. And eight very large pan of the mace the house mace which is essentially like the symbol of her power. Win she announced the votes. And that he first article. She and she said the article passed there where there is a smattering of applause starting to come up from the democratic side of the caucus. And she just gave hand gesture and a look that cut the applause off and I mean. See a lot of comparisons. On Twitter to like Nancy Pelosi is like. Your mom telling you not to deeds do something in. I dissect it loud enough that sexist but it it is kind of that visceral like don't do that right it's like this Golding. This week have been telling people for weeks for months for years that this is a solemn thing. Don't clap at the creek that the key moment as it to meet Pelosi was such an interesting figure today. Yeah and and just emphasize that point. And the idea. The kind of democratic leadership being dragged into this you know by Trump's actions and then also to some extent by the politics net com. Him part of the reason they were severed lock them is look there is some political risk here I'm I'm actually pretty amazed that. There is as little or political risk to Democrats asked areas. Which is to say the country is pretty evenly divided on impeachment after being against that for so long. But there's some risk and you saw Republicans. You know beginning pet outlaw beginning to place impeachment in 822 when he. Give us back to house message. Cell in a. Yeah I wanted to mention. If you look at our trackers today you'll see that president Tribe's approval has ticked up two points to 43%. And that's actually the highest it's been in our tracker since march of 2017. And then you'll also receive that support for impeachment and removal has is now evenly split 47447. Against. Where is there used to be slight support in favor of removal. I mean what should we meet of that kind of shift in Republicans and trumps fever right at the ends kind of of the impeachment process. I. Thing to predict linked trumps approval rating by a think we have to wait a little bit to be sure that change is real I mean it's like it's Vieri new. And he's still very much within. The range. That he's kind of always end. But if in a week you know it persists then I think. I don't know you know I think Derrick and their few different ways to to read you know me be kind of a coalescing. Trump space behind him am we also in recent weeks gotten some real the bullish economic indicators may be asked to do with that. In the end though he stuff 43%. Right so it's not like. You gotta remembered during Clinton's impeachment. You know the overwhelming majority of the country was against impeachment. And Clinton's approval rating shot up to light. I don't it was like six something like seven via de ever impeached exactly it's okay that was a less partisan time com where kind of more movement was. You could have warm with the movement in a president's approval rating. But focus still on popular so like that's that's sort of the point right if trump shoots up to 43%. Okay that's a worrying sign for Democrats he hasn't shown up to 55%. Are quick to be clear we put a lot of and that's how stable the president's approval rating has been an if you just Garland look at the tracker today you'll see that there's a pretty sharp tech up Portsmouth Perry what do you think about us. You can buy it. Atlanta theory about this might guess would be. We like impeachment if you voted for trump impeachment count raises this question basically the Democrats are saying your vote was can you shouldn't vote for him here boot. It's a my kids who we're seeing is like you know about. 40% of Americans voted for Trump's having to be that number so. Keating's and I assume Republicans reluctantly 45% if not higher in 2020. So I think. My suspicions you're seeing and I think they're there impeachment number among Republicans with twelve Tampa last month or so isn't dale. So I think you're seeing some in my guess is this a that it did this sort of reinforces partisan lines in there for Republicans pushed our depending trump more strongly. And they would have a month ago but again these numbers of small analysts say too much that us might yet but I can Republicans aligned themselves trump. On the removal question also on the April question. Is there any sense. That today's vote because we saw a lot of Democrats and trump districts vote in favor of impeaching the president. Is there any sense that today's vote will help determine who controls the house in 20/20. Or is are we just too far away. Or will these votes come back to hot these democratic one acres. It's so hard to say I mean my instinct and it's only that is that. This will not be a big factor and how most voters decide who they're gonna vote for and point one. Already you know when the like even in the moment the political fallout seems murky and heart the park's right you have this kind of uptick in Trump's approval rating. Is it gonna is a cannon blasts. Is it going to be as you can improve real well have to wait and see a ship at the same time the generic ballot has actually. Moved in down. Cuts favor a little bit which. You know I don't know what that means. But him if it's hard parts in the moment. Who how to how the hell we supposed to know what. What effect that'll have. In however many months but but my guess right would be guys like it it doesn't playmaker role. And put this right and you raise are led. All life is like who knows I don't. Probably doesn't have a lot to I don't I don't know. I think that there's some interesting chalk has kind of been out on a little bit of a kick the past two days. Where he's he's really going. A little wild with the anti impeachment winds he had the six page letter to Pelosi last night. He did a rally in Michigan tonight where he said that. Bill Clinton. It's said he should do whatever he he's had some pretty sunsets at some crazy things so you can say you could think like Ari will that just means. That could mean that he's gonna get paint in this crazy lights that impeachment is going to be look really good in the rearview mere. Or herb you know by the end of next year a year from now. People kind of have have faded a little bit I don't I think that that impeachment though is gonna be a centerpiece of 220. Impart because trump sort of seems like he'll be insistent on making it one soap on that have some impact on house Reese's potential it. Plays into a little bit of the framing it as trumped even though he's the ultimate insider as the president of the United States is an outsider and is the victim in the dynamic of American politics right he's being victimized by these Democrats. Who brought this impeachment case against him is that we're getting out Clara Lullabot. Happening now or complain the other way which which is people you're really catches on in the popular culture and people saintly she's the skies kind of taking it pretty far. Made impeachment vote was a good thing right and so it kind of shakes out in the Democrats favor. The one. Analysts say is if purer in me if your went of these Democrats natural history. Even if even if this and yet political loss for you. I think he's still has crippled for impeachment because you're even if you're to trump district the most people who voted for you are Democrats they. Are going to be man had they're going to you know you can eat your core base you need your volunteers donors I don't think. If you're at Democrat. In like impeachment is pulling in the eighties across the country is still polling in the seventies in in a truck history among Democrats and he still has the vote this week even if it's. Public not good for you in the same way for Susan Powell and cori Gartner. I think it a perfect world they would vote against impeachment that it's it's a net and if they would vote for impeachment. It's and that not lose me in Colorado war or civil left of center places. But I think. Date they have to get the Republican vote first its like pink Gartner and columns in the same spot where they have to vote. Against removal even if it might be better for the general electorate overall they have just you know you have to have your base first since I think he's worked hard both of these numbers and that. Reason. It is it is just a minute sort of orient us at this point but it is amazing the extent to which. Part the loyalty partisanship. Held firm. In this I mean we always knew it would am I've been on this podcast sort of like saying. A small chance that there could that people could break ranks and I don't think that's right even though events have have proved me wrong at every turn. But isn't that the definition of insanity. Like I think I think there's always been a chance cyclic. Yeah I mean. I I laughter mica said that because. We've been saying the same things for four years you know when. And the duck the hard core nature of partisanship right and that that people. Wrap themselves. Into the into the emotional or political view that there party kind of dictate search or smoke signals that they shouldn't. Take and and you know it goes back to. The trump. You know grabbing women comments like all that stops it's just so. It's so amazing that it's been four years of comments saying this but the same thing over and over. Right witches. Your world view falls into likely that your political party to certain extent and and today sort of seems like you know. The Terry Allen Moore I'm. Totally and and the like the fact that there were. Like a small handful of Democrats who broke ranks Andover public and is essentially. I think am simply an artifact of the fact that Democrats are in the majority right now so they have a lot more members and red districts rate. In other words this is all about partisanship the other thing is just alike. It's about. Party but not about party as I what was trump but this I was watching history. Com. The votes and man as they went to vote. I'm data to split screen with Trump's rally what was trump talking about while he was being impeached newstalk Mal a lot of things that Claire. Claire smartly avoided trying to summarize. The talk about how real fighter Pollack. Pilots have better bodies than Pampers. He talked about Hillary Clinton. But a one line that's a that's me was. He was taught math at a complaint is used the phrase. Mankind and then he added. A woman kind and he sort of like. Pausing was like you know right now in a minute as I I had it woman kind Jess the fate take knees media nine points of them. Com. Did you know doesn't it should essentially. And it gets a big laugh and he's like you know and that's what this is that now right it's it's about where you gotta say mark. About whether we should save mankind emblem cut now it's about it's about. Like COLT cheaper and like he ECU run amok and what the word GU we're getting at like this sense of victimization. How can how can the parties see all this it differently because of that because it's not really about Ukraine and its about. Do you feel Heidi feel about your place in the world do you deal. Your respective a lot of there at the Republican speeches were getting at that there were getting hat. This is you know Democrats are trying to deny you your voice bought nullifying. 639 million votes three earned and again and again and again. I want to ask Perry. As we look ahead to the trial in the senate. Do it there's been some debate there about whether they're going to call witnesses and whether things are going to turn into something. Of a circus of people like Hunter Biden being Calder maybe the Democrats will try to call. Make my Albania's something like that or are they just gonna skip the witnesses and have a short trial what does it seem like it that's. It looks and neither space on only what McConnell isn't saying. That he is not eager to have a lot of witnesses who might might and might end up having basically. The house impeachment managers present their case some Republicans defend depend the president and that's it I'm guessing we're not going. That kind of testimony we had that was pretty riveting. In them in the House Intelligence Committee a few weeks ago helping corporate happened precedent it's going to be. Probably pretty fast as my impression is a look like McConnell wants to. At a whole month of January this night but again I don't know it beat you strategy. Is evolving there's also discussion about. Exactly. This of the pain I don't know how it among some of the more Liberal Democrats and house about with a basic what do quotes him yet these articles over in the first place. A summit of some precipitous a procedure which they lived in he's strong but not have to articles go to the senate because sells it. And it took a trip because they want to push for a real trial in the pals are insignificant due I think peace process questions are a little bit ambiguous at this point. When keeping being at this point we. Don't have a lot of evidence there are really ED Republicans Merom with the president. And if maybe Mitt Romney's Bert I think we're still at least twenty shore so I think that the results are clear that the process maybe is an area. I don't know Perry we will be simply saying it's out there at Erica classic Micah. It's. Obviously coming a joke at this point. But of course will get back to back at the start of the new year when this all adds to this senate but wrapping up here on more reflective no I'm curious. How does this history in moment. Get written and who decides how future generations understand. What happened today especially given the split screen nature of how. Different parts of the country different people in the country are viewing things. It'll be 20/20. Right Toby whoever wins and 120 rights. Not only gets an outsized voice in writing the history of this but that law also for for. The media certainly. Whether it's true or not play you know. Determine whether this was a quote unquote good move by Democrats right if if trump wins reelection and twenty twining a I think the media will Albright that. Impeaching him was a bad political movement. Although that didn't necessarily hold up in 2000 right because Republicans impeached President Clinton and then. A Republican went on to win the twentieth the 2000 election even though. People generally think of that impeachment is not having been on them with sour and so right. I think that was at a different case because the polling. Because the polling the American public swung so clearly against impeachment in Clinton's case in the moment in the moment Adam. That that the the history Connor wrote itself. In this case. All the numbers are sort of balance on edge in other kind. They could Peter that's where that site acting parry at cares what you think I think twenty Honeywell kind of tip that on the other. Yeah I think so I was I was struck a CNN was saying I was watching CNN there was a lot of focus on. You know impeachment is a permanent stain on your record a matter who you are. And in the play in the world I'll listen Bill Clinton was impeached and his wife was almost president you know Justine years later so. I found it a little bit annual I don't think it he heard his impeachment came up really dollar campaign that was and it with a lot of repeat its problems and opinions and sixteenth I don't know about there. I think the core question those I think that if you look back. The traditional views like George W. Bush is one of the worst presidents. You know the last thirty or forty years. And even though he won reelection he left office of the very little glory. My guess is if trump loses reelection. He'll leave office tenant in the thirties high thirties probably and I and he'll be impeached. And let's be honest the media hates them historians hate him. You have the hates him the Republicans are on TV gave him even though the Republicans you know voters like him. So I think if Hughes impeach him doesn't win reelection he will be considered one of the worst presidents this must speak as Mike yes you're that is they even now. It's impeachment panel validation that would a lot of people in the media in historians argue leaked that about him tight weaknesses. A big event but I think Mike is right if he wins reelection I'm I don't know what this looks like almost like it becomes like a symbol. We had these great camp where local culture wars in this era we had a black president be a backlash. Controversial things that happen. The country was great to fight is. And I think it becomes the part of that broader narrative. That is asked debt on to me if if trump wins reelection and I think because many of the people writing the history don't might drop. I think ours absolutely right that it gets written as. Emblematic. Of of those. You know crazy divisions in the country if he does when if he does when real. Bulldoze a really interesting points to to and things on so. Thank you so much Micah thanks for the inherent my pleasure thank you Perry thank you thank you so much Claire. Thanks Galen. And before we go all mentioned that we have a live show in DC on January 16 go to 538 dot com slash live for details and tickets. If everything goes according to plan we have a couple pre recorded holiday episodes for you during the next two weeks will be a British actually I'm literally headed. Out of this podcast studio street to the airport where you don't. I'm going to Singapore. Well that's very well conflicts he. I'm gone home. Anyway we will have a couple through holiday episodes for you during the next couple weeks and then it will be back live review in the new year. My name is gallantry to reach out is in the control room you can get in touch my emailing us at podcast at 530 dot com you can also of course treated us with questions or comments. If you're a fan of the show beavis or rating or review in the apple podcast store. Or tell someone about us Nicholas and is more. I.

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