Sunday Politics We look at what comes next as the impeachment process moves into its next phase.
NPR logo

Sunday Politics

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/782403490/782403495" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Sunday Politics

Sunday Politics

Sunday Politics

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/782403490/782403495" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

We look at what comes next as the impeachment process moves into its next phase.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Impeachment is moving into a new phase now that the public hearings appear to have ended. But after a big week of testimony, the political divide remains, and Republicans are still defending the president. NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson joins us now, as she often does on a Sunday morning. Good morning.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. How well did the Democrats state their case?

LIASSON: Well, for the Democrats, there's good news and bad news. Democrats feel they did as good a job as they could. They had a series of witnesses that corroborated the whistleblower account even without all the people they wanted to hear from and didn't get. The bad news for Democrats is that they couldn't get a single House Republican to say they would vote to impeach in the House. In other words, they couldn't convince a single House Republican to come to their side.

Now, for Republicans, there's also good news and bad news. The good news is there hasn't been a groundswell for impeachment. But there also hasn't been a big backlash to impeachment among the public like what we saw with the Bill Clinton impeachment.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Right. So, Mara, we're going to hear from voters in Michigan in just a moment. But quickly, what do the polls say about how people are feeling right now?

LIASSON: Most polls tell us that big majorities say it was wrong for the president to ask a foreign country to investigate his political rivals. Somewhere - some of the polls show 70%. But voters are very split on whether or not to impeach and remove the president because of that.

Now, voters are smart. They seem to be separating into two buckets - one, whether what Trump did was wrong and, two, if he should be removed from office because of it. Now, why do they think that? We don't know. It could be because they think everyone does this, no big deal - kind of what Mick Mulvaney said in that famous White House briefing. Or maybe they feel like, hey, removal's up to us. We're a year from Election Day. Let us decide if he should remain in office or not. I think the timing is a factor you can't ignore here because the two other modern impeachments were after a president had been reelected. You have to go back a very long way to find an impeachment in an election year.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Timing is everything. Mara, when you were watching the impeachment hearings, what other things did we learn along the way?

LIASSON: Well, we've learned a lot of things along the way, and some of them we might hear when we have a trial in the Senate. Maybe we'll hear more witnesses, people we didn't hear from this time, like Mike Pompeo or Rudy Giuliani or John Bolton. But we also are now hearing that Devin Nunes, the ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, might face another ethics investigation, this one over allegations that he met with a former Ukrainian prosecutor in Vienna to get information and dirt on the Bidens. Now, this allegation comes from the attorney for Lev Parnas, that Giuliani associate who's been indicted.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Right.

LIASSON: Parnas wants to testify in Congress, but he wants immunity to do so. And of course, Congress has been reluctant to give him that. Viktor Shokin, the prosecutor that Nunes is alleged to have met with, denies it, so - but that we'll hear more about in the future.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Speaking of people that we haven't heard from the testimony that we were expecting - John Bolton. But he has returned in another way - to Twitter this weekend. He reappeared with tantalizing teases about having a lot to say. What's that all about?

LIASSON: Well, for someone who's been asking for an on-the-record interview with John Bolton almost every day for months, I think so far what we can see by all this teasing in Twitter, saying, you know, I'm back - I have a lot to say, is really - he's reactivating his superPAC. He's getting ready to talk about the national security issues that have been near and dear to his heart for a long time. But he is unlikely to voluntarily talk about his role in the Ukraine saga.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Do we think Bolton will ever testify?

LIASSON: John Bolton has been very clear. He won't testify unless the House issues a subpoena and a court upholds it. But the House of Representatives has not issued John Bolton a subpoena. One theory about why is that they're afraid of losing in court. But until a subpoena to John Bolton is issued and upheld, he's not going to testify.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. That's NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Thank you.

LIASSON: Thank you.

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.