tv Washington Week PBS October 9, 2021 1:30am-2:01am PDT
♪ >> battles on capitol hill and presidential showdown. >> republicans played a dangerous and risky partisan game and i'm glad their brinkmanship did not work. >> an economic meltdown averted temporarily after a deal is reached to raise the debt limit until december. >> the majority did not have a plan to avoid default so we stepped forward. >> but can republicans and democrats come to an agreement? well, the committee investigating the january 6 attack issues subpoenas. >> if you pursue -- refused subpoena so there should be consequent is there should be consequent as for the president and his enablers. >> former president trump
noncooperating as it is revealed the lengths he took. >> they are paying their profits in our safety. >> a whistleblower claims facebook contributed to the capital insurrection. next. >> misses "washington week" -- t his is "washington week". corporate funding is provided by consumer cellular. additional funding is provided by the estate of arnold adams, the human foundation committed to bridging cultural differences in our community, rose herschel and andy shreve's, the corporation for public broadcasting and contributions from viewers like you.
once again, from washington, our moderator. >> good evening and welcome to washingtonweek. economic disaster was narrowly avoided as lawmakers made a last-minute bipartisan deal to raise the u.s. debt ceiling. it is a fix that will only last until december 3 and it came after president biden and business leaders warned about the dangers. pres. biden: the united states pays its bills, it is who we are, who we have been and who we will continue to be, god willing. >> are playing with fire and our country has suffered greatly over the last two years. >> senate minority leader mitch mcconnell caught his own party by surprise when he announced republicans were willing to vote to raise the debt ceiling. thursday the senate passed the short-term solution but neither was content. >> we promised we would not help
the democrat party raise the debt ceiling so they could spend 3.5 to $5 trillion for reconciliation and at the end of the day, we blinked. >> we will be back in two months needing another vote like tonight's in order to raise or suspend the debt ceiling. >> next week the house will take up the bill while president biden is trying to unite democrats to pass two and for structure bills. joining to discuss this, nancy cordes, cbs news chief white house correspond, eamon javers a correspondent, marianna sotomayor for congress. marianna, you covered all of this. tell me about how republicans and democrats are feeling and why did mitch mcconnell blank?
he also sent a letter to president biden that he's not sending a letter -- he is not going to raise the debt ceiling. marianna: everything is on a deadline and the closer you get to it there is action. as much as mcconnell and republicans have been saying the summer we are not going to participate in raising the debt ceiling, there really was not much time procedurally to make sure the government was not going to default. it really got to the point where democrats started to talk about maybe we have to get rid of the filibuster to be able to raise the debt ceiling. and mcconnell came to the table because he knew two key senators and potential negotiations, especially joe mansion and -- manchin and sinema, they don't want to come to the table. he tried to talk to democrats and said we will try to provide those dust -- 10 crucial voices.
it was many hours of trying to get those votes. we did see it happen but there was anger. >> there was. will mitch mcconnell face any consequences? these are people like to chris, lindsey graham angry that republicans -- like ted cruz, lindsey graham angry. marianna: republicans will not be there to raise the debt limit next time so democrats will have to go it alone even though they are saying they don't want to do that. they do think republicans are going to blink again. >> eamon, you are on this show because as soon as i heard about the debt limit i said where is he? what do you make of mitch mcconnell's decision, how much business leaders warning about the dangers play into that and how does this relate to people trying to survive in this economy? eamon: business aders were
enormously influential, it is stupid and dangerous to go down this path because it could have enormous applications for the american economy. separating the politics of the debt ceiling in which both sides are trying to -- they want to put the onus on weather. congress votes to spend the money and then the treasury has to go and get that money, either from taxes or they have to borrow it. the way they borrow that money is by issuing treasury builds. investors around the world by treasuries and that is a fungal -- fundamental building block for the global economy. if the united states defaults and says we are not going to pay the interest on that debt, that has enormous imprecations for the global economy. the business community understands that and are waving a red flag saying you are
playing a dangerous political gain, we want you to come together and get a deal, and that is why you saw a deal come together. but we are going to be right back here again in december. the politics have not changed, the deadline has been kicked out, they still have a difficult time coming together for a deal in december. you wonder whether we will be playing with fire. yamiche: playing with fire and a difficult deal, you could be talking about the debt ceiling or infrastructure. nancy, where do things stand on for structure? the president was in michigan trying to unite the party but democrats are trying to whittle down this bill to somewhere around $2 trillion. what are you hearing and what is the president hearing for moderates and progressives? nancy: the problem with whittling it down if they don't know how much they need to do it. they know it has to come down from $3.5 trillion to somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 trillion, while we hear a lot of
progressives and members of the democratic party in the mainstream saying they are willing to come down, what you are not hearing publicly from joe manchion and sinema is they are not willing to come up. joe is still on that $1.5 trillion mark. he has not shown any willingness to move and that is one of the reasons these talks are moving so slowly. they can't start to figure out what they are going to cut from this bill, which of these programs you will have to let go until they know what the top line spending number is and it has been difficult for the white house to get any traction with the two of them on what that number should be. yamiche: marianna, you're nodding. what are you hearing on capitol hill? marianna: they don't know where to cut yet because they don't have those exact demands from manchion and sinema. the progressive caucus held
strong to make sure the infrastructure vote did not happen until this was completed. they are saying we don't have to talk about cut yet. want to make sure every priority is still part of this bill and the only way to bring it down is likely by sunsetting these programs earlier. that has tensions with the moderates who say if you fund something for two to three years, the house be under republican control so there is no guarantee they will reauthorize these programs and maybe it is better to go ahead and make permanent things that already exist, like the affordable care act subsidies and potentially close the medicaid gap. those are things moderates want to make sure they can get soon and make sure the american people feel that immediately. yamiche: as all of this is being juggled, we've got a september jobs report that is disappointing. what did it tell us about the covid economy and how people are struggling, the unemployed and
women? eamon: you got the unemployed, women, and economy overall where employers are desperate to hire and they are finding shortages of workers. you have this weird sense that people want to get back to work but employers can't find the right people for this job. part of it is training, a lot of it is childcare and when you talk about women who the burden of childcare polls disproportionately on, people are saying with covid, kids not fully back in school, i don't feel like i can get back into the workforce. and you are seeing employers struggling. one thing they are doing is raising wages, increasing benefits, doing all kinds of things. the reality is it is in a lot of professions, restaurants and others, it is a great time to look for work. but it is a tough economy for a lot of people. you have a bifurcated picture on the jobs front. yamiche: president biden needed this win. what do you make of the narrative that might be in some
voters minds when you have mitch mcconnell having issues with republicans and the deal he made, the president's approval numbers and democrats fighting. what does this say to voters when you think about the narrative people think about washington and the ability to govern both sides? nancy: it makes it harder r the president to go into negotiations even with his own party when he is not coming from a position of strength. he's not saying look, the american people are on my side, you need to meet me in the middle. his approval ratings are low right now. they wanted a win with these jobs numbers today and instead they found themselves cherry picking through the report defined figures that suited them -- to try to find figures that suited them. eamon: it is bad when you're to turn to page three to find something. nancy: the best the president could do it so look, covid was so bad in september, those numbers were bound to be bad, they will be better next month. yamiche: meanwhile, the biden
white house blocked an attempt by former president trump to withhold documents requested by congress elated to the january 6 attack, setting up a legal showdown between the current and former presidents over executive privilege. this comes as reports say president trump is urging top aides not to comply with subpoenas for the committee investigating the attack. a senate report, so much going on, revealed that on nine occasions, president trump demanded justice department officials take actions they believed would undermine the 2020 election. if that was not enough, a facebook whistleblower, frances haugan testified before congress and told lawmakers facebook knowingly spread misinformation and hate that contributed to the capital insurrection. >> the choices being made inside of facebook are disastrous. our children, our public safety,
for our privacy and our democracy. and that is why we must demand facebook make changes. yamiche: facebook ceo mark centerburg pushback on allegations mark zuckerberg pushed -- mark zuckerberg pushed back on allegations and said at the heart is the idea that we prioritize profit over safety, which is not true. joining us are a justice reporter for the new york times, katie benner and cecelia kong, -- cecilia kang, co-author of a paper. i feel like i'm at the new york times d.c. euro. -- bureau. there was a formal blocking of these initial documents by the biden white house, what is the thinking behind this? nancy: we know they are thinking because the white house counsel said point-blank the president leaves that president trump tried to exert executive privilege here is not in the
best interest of the united states. they called it unique and extraordinary circumstances. they say president trump does not have any basis to hide visitor logs, call logs from january 6. there are a lot of people in his orbit, republicans on capitol hill who do not want those cold logs to be made public at this is the biden white house doing what it has been signposted for weeks, saying we would love nothing more than for that information to get to the public because we think have -- but what happened generally six was terrible and needed to be prevented. yamiche: they have been saying it is a stain on american democracy. katie, the select committee threatened to criminally charge steve bannon, former president trump's chief strategist. he is not wanting to comply with a subpoena by the committee. talk about the options lawmakers have when it comes to pursuing
top aides of trump. president trump has been saying he will try to sue and block these documents from being released, was the issue? katie: on bannon, it is difficult to know what protections he has because he was not a member of the amortization when it's conversation's happened about how to overturn the election results. congress said they would sue him or hold him in contempt and it seems he has more legal exposure than some people in the administration. but mark meadows and cash patel are in communications with the select committee and they may feel they need to cooperate and head over documents in part because it is going to be difficult to make a legal lock -- argument that these people should not participate in the select committees questioning and that documents should not show to them when former president trump did not try to stop former justice apartment
officials from testifying. as we see from the testimony released by the judiciary committee, it is a full account of many of the matters that people like mark meadows would be questioned. how can the president allow the former attorney general to have this discussion on the committee about the same matters they want to speak to mark meadows about but say he cannot share the same information. yamiche: you also wrote about the senate report that detailed what president trump was trying to do with the department of justice to overturn the 2020 election. there are reports that he or his allies were calling the doj, sometimes multiple times a day. what did this reveal about how far he went? katie: it confirmed reporting that started coming out in january for various publications said president was trying to use the justice department to do two things, to actually overturn the results of the election and to create statements, public documents, file briefs that
would cast enough doubt on the intimacy of the election -- legitimacy of the election that the president could take it from there. and it would delegitimize the election. report verifies that but the judiciary committee is in detail, it's like they received every correspondence, and transcripts of three witnesses who gave testimony. it underscores the intensity of the former presidents campaign and the intensity of his allies campaign to have the justice department legitimize activity that that point was ruining in the white house. yamiche: cecelia, you are a top facebook reporter and a on other subjects, facebook is where you shine. you wrote this book. talk about facebook's role in the threats to democracy given that the facebook whistleblower said the company was allegedly contributing to the hate and misinformation that led to
january 6. cecilia: frances haugan, the whistleblower, her team in facebook in 2020 was disbanded, the civic integrity team. that team was charged with trying to fight election elated misinformation. this was at the time that the trump supporters were organizing on facebook's various platforms, facebook, spoke groups, facebook messages, instagram and whatsapp . they were organizing and riling each other up on what they believed was a stolen election. so what she said in the testimony this week in the senate consumer protection subcommittee was that his book turned a blind eye in the sense that it it's security forces down by disbanding her group that was the straw that broke the camels back for her and she decided to quit. it's important to note that what she was saying internally, this
is a pattern she describes in all of her testimony, is a company that betrays itself differently in public fro what the company was really dealing with internally and what it nailed. on january 11, after the january 6 capitol riots, the chief operating officer of facebook spoke to reuters in a video interview and when asked about facebook's role in the january 6 rights, she said we definitely have problems with enforcement, we have definitely had problems with misinformation, but the vast majority of communication and organizing for capital rioters did not occur on our platforms. it occurred on other platforms like parler and gab. when the indictment came out, facebook was one of the main beds of communication for the capital rioters. yamiche: fascinating. cecilia, can you talk about the money?
what are the profit decisions facebook is making and what steps can congress take in regulating facebook when it is thinking about the decisions it is making with these? cecilia: one thing haugan said in her testimony is that facebook chooses profits over the safety of people. what we found at the new york times and in the reporting for our book is that what facebook does, and this is confirmed by her testimony, it absolutely prioritizes engagement. it prioritizes traffic, people wanting to come back more and more. what that means is it has decided when it designs bit systems through software choices to rank very highly the most emotive content, the most agitating can't --content, whether it is positive or negative. the side effect is a lot of the content that makes you want to
press the like or share button, make comments on a facebook post is very toxic or harmful like election related misinformation. that was her message. by choosing to -- choosing engagement and growth and in her words profits over the safety of people, as a first priority, the safety of people and the integrity of its network and its platform. those are the costs of that focus. yamiche: marianna, what do you hear from lawmakers and can they juggle regular in facebook when they have these other things? marianna: that is probably the biggest part about when would you be able to figure out any time on the calendar to be able to even debate or pass this kind of legislation? the good news is he sought republicans and democrats both express worry and wanting to know more about facebook and
general social media tendencies and how they influence people to act in a certain way. but you really did not hear any policy prescriptions of any time -- kind. you don't have time between the debt ceiling they will have to deal with, funding the government which is also a deadline in early december and also passing the bill back better infrastructure and social safety net agenda. that will be top priority and adding anything else is difficult. yamiche: talking about the threats to democracy, saw vice president pence down generally six this week. he had to run for his life, they were chanting about hanging him. what does it tell you amid these conversations that the former vice president is downplaying this? nancy: he may have future political aspirations and in order to realize those he currently believes he needs to try to stay on the good side of not just president trump but his
supporters. and to do that, he needs to downplay a day in which there were people standing outside the capital saying hang mike pence. now to say it was just any other day, it was not a big deal is surprising coming from him. eamon: i think you are right and i wonder if a political figure it really does have national possibilities in the future, if a large portion of hiswn party's political base was on capitol hill chanting that they wanted to hang him. right? can you come back from that? nancy: why would you want to ? eamon: he clearly wants to and we've never seen him face that kind of rancorrom his own base and his boss and overcome that to win a nomination. the idea that he could come back from that and when the nomination is far-fetched but a lot of what we have seen has been far-fetched so not outside the realm of possibility.
yamiche: katie, about 30 seconds, what is the national security risk around the things we are talking about? what do you hr from the doj about facebook, the republican party, the direction they are taking talking about the capital attack as a tourist visit? katie: we see parallels to the intelligence community with social media communities, the conversation they had about terrorism a decade ago. you are sharing propaganda, allowing extremist movements to grow and for people to connect on your platforms. we are seeing a parallel with that today. even though mark zuckerberg is saying we had nothing to do with this, he is pointing to fox news, this book is a lab for ideas in many ways. cecilia pointed out ideas that get the most emotion and traction will move from facebook into the real world. facebook's decision, its own
began to separate itself from real consequences does not make sense when social media companies were quietly in private meetings agreeing with the intelligence committee -- community a decade ago that they contributed to extremism overseas. yamiche: this is so important, millions of people use facebook, we'll talk about it more in extra but i appreciate all of you bringing your reporting on this busy week. that is it for tonight, thank you to our reporters for joining us and think you are home for watching. on monday, watch the pbs newshour. the show will examine the monument till battle over heritage and land on indigenous people stay. we will continue to converse on facebook, i am yamiche alcindor, good night from washington. ♪
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announcer: major funding for "tell me more with kelly corrigan" is provided by the penner family foundation along with support from the gordon and llura gund foundation. so you grew up in dallas, you're 1 of 4 kids. you had a dad who worked on the apollo? yes, on the early space missions, yeah. my dad talked about those apollo missions so much at home, but then my parents would put us in our jammies when there was an apollo launch, and we'd go over to another engineer's house, and we'd all sit there and watch that rocket take off, and i think what it really told me was that, you know, we can do anything we set our minds to. it was like "wow! the possibilities are just endless ♪