Politics with Amy Walter Every Friday, Amy Walter brings you the trends in politics long before the national media picks up on them. Known as one of the smartest and most trusted journalists in Washington, D.C., Amy Walter is respected by politicians and pundits on all sides of the aisle. You may know Amy her from her work with Cook Political Report and the PBS NewsHour where she looks beyond the breaking news headlines for a deeper understanding of how Washington works, who's pulling the levers of power, and how it all impacts you.Politics with Amy Walter is a co-production of PRI and WNYC Radio in collaboration WGBH.
Politics with Amy Walter

Politics with Amy Walter

From WNYC Radio

Every Friday, Amy Walter brings you the trends in politics long before the national media picks up on them. Known as one of the smartest and most trusted journalists in Washington, D.C., Amy Walter is respected by politicians and pundits on all sides of the aisle. You may know Amy her from her work with Cook Political Report and the PBS NewsHour where she looks beyond the breaking news headlines for a deeper understanding of how Washington works, who's pulling the levers of power, and how it all impacts you.Politics with Amy Walter is a co-production of PRI and WNYC Radio in collaboration WGBH.

Most Recent Episodes

Immigration Impasse: Is Comprehensive Immigration Reform Impossible?

The longest government shutdown in U.S. history was triggered by an impasse over border security. In this hour, Politics host Amy Walter asks, is comprehensive immigration reform impossible? From the summer of 2001 when a bipartisan agreement looked hopeful through today, a look at why compromise remains out of reach. Shari Robertson is a documentary filmmaker. Back in the early 2000s, she and her filmmaking partner Michael Camerini embedded themselves within this reform effort, driven by President George W. Bush. But how did we end up here, where we are now, where an immigration bill with bipartisan support seems almost unimaginable? To make sense of this Amy checked in with Chuck Hagel. He's a former Republican senator from Nebraska and was one of the co-sponsors of the 2006 immigration bill. Cecilia Muñoz was considered President Obama's conscience on immigration. She was deeply involved in the reform effort that took place during his administration and gives us the insider view on why that failed. In 2011, Jose Antonio Vargas officially came out of the closet as an undocumented immigrant. This was years before millions of others would join him. And he did it in the most public way a person could - he wrote a cover story in The New York Times Magazine called, "My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant." He is now the founder of Define American, and is the author of "Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen." He joins the program to share his analysis of the current impasse over immigration. Amy's Final Take: We had an ambitious idea this week. Try to explain - in an hour - why Congress has failed in its last two attempts to pass comprehensive immigration reform. The goal was not to leave you with the answer - but for you to appreciate all the cross-currents and challenges that face policymakers. But, I was struck by two things over the course of putting this show together. First, it is actually not that hard to pass an immigration reform bill. The biggest impediment to success is the lack of political will and the lack of willingness to sacrifice and compromise. That includes lots of people - activists, organizations, people on the frontlines of the issue - not just the politicians. The second is that whenever we talk about immigration reform we hear a lot from the political figures involved, but not as much from real people. I want to leave with the voices from the people we heard at the top of the show. And a special thanks to our friends at The Marshall Project for sharing the testimonial tape in this episode. It was all collected as part of a project called We Are Witnesses, in partnership with Newsy. Click on the 'Listen' button above to hear this segment. Don't have time to listen right now? Subscribe to our podcast via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts to take this segment with you on the go. Want to comment on this story? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page or Twitter.

Impeachable Offense?

A BuzzFeed report claims that President Donald Trump instructed his lawyer at the time, Michael Cohen to lie to Congress in 2017 about talks to build a trump tower in Moscow. If true, this may be the strongest indication yet that President Trump criminally tried to obstruct justice in connection with the Russia investigation. The report cites "two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter." Politics host Amy Walter talked to Anthony Cormier, a Buzzfeed investigative reporter who co-authored that report. And for the congressional reaction, she spoke with Joaquin Castro, a Democratic congressman from Texas. Congressman Castro took to Twitter after the story published to say: If the @BuzzFeed story is true, President Trump must resign or be impeached. — Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) January 18, 2019 Amy Walter asked Congressman Castro, how he will know if the Buzzfeed story is true? Amy's Final Take: This story has set D.C. on fire. But, it's not the first time that Washington thought that this was the story to end all stories. We've still got a long way to go. First, as Buzzfeed's Anthony Cormier told us, Michael Cohen's Feb. 7th hearing in front of the House Oversight Committee may not provide the kind of bombshells or corroboration that many are expecting. In other words, there may be more questions than answers. Democrats in Congress aren't quite ready yet to pull the trigger on impeachment. Yet, at least one Democratic Rep. thinks it may not be necessary to wait until the Mueller report comes out. House investigations - and investigative reporting - can fill in the blanks. And provide enough evidence for impeachment proceedings to begin. Thanks for hitting up our extra podcast today on Politics with Amy Walter....we'll keep watching this story and we know you will also.

Playing Dirty or Just Plain Playing — The Game of Political Hardball

Since the midterm elections, we've seen a number of examples of hardball tactics. In Wisconsin, Republicans stripped power from the newly elected Governor Democrat Tony Evers. Republicans in Michigan tried a similar maneuver, but the bills were vetoed by the outgoing governor, also a Republican. But it's not just Republicans using aggressive political tactics. Democrats in New Jersey proposed a constitutional amendment for redistricting that would essentially solidify their party's control of the state legislature for the next decade. The idea prompted a mass backlash, notably from folks from within the same party, like the state's Democratic Governor Phil Murphy. In Alabama, a group of Democratic tech experts used deceptive social media tactics similar to the Russians in the 2016 presidential elections to influence the Special Senate race last year on behalf of now Senator Doug Jones, according to a report from The New York Times. So, is all this wheeling and dealing just politics as usual or has something fundamentally changed? This hour on Politics with Amy Walter from The Takeaway, we take a look at constitutional hardball, who's playing clean, who's playing dirty, and whether or not they out to be playing at all. Guests: David Pozen is a professor of Law at Columbia Law School. Clare Malone is a senior political writer at FiveThirtyEight. Doug Heye has held communications positions in the House, Senate, RNC, as well as serving in the George W. Bush administration. Karine Jean-Pierre is a senior adviser at Move On. Jonathan Rauch is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Myrna Pérez is the Deputy Director of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program and leader of the Center's Voting Rights and Elections project. Amy's Final Take: Over the last few years, I've been thinking a lot about institutions and why and how they fail. And, I grapple with the question of whether the dismantling and disruption of our political norms and structures are just a normal, healthy but painful process of democracy. Kind of like a forest fire is good because of the way it clears dead brush and encourages new growth. Or, is what is happening today the beginning of a descent into a dark and dangerous place where rules and guardrails no longer guide us. In talking with the guests for this show - and others who are thinking a lot about these things - I am cautiously optimistic. The most dangerous threat to our political system is that people disengage from it; that it becomes so discredited that no one believes their voice or vote matters. The 2018 election showed us that voters aren't walking away. Turnout was higher than any previous midterm election in over 100 years. And, as the Brennan Center's Myrna Pérez noted, the path to progress isn't always linear. And, in an era of Instagram, insta-pots and insta-news, it's hard to remain patient when we see things moving in the wrong direction. Most fundamentally, our system is built on faith. If we lose it, we will lose everything.

House Majority Leader on Border Wall Funding, and Freshman Rep.'s Call to 'Impeach the Motherf---er'

Congressman Steny Hoyer from Maryland takes over as Majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives in the midst of a government shutdown. Congressman Hoyer spoke with Amy Walter to discuss the new Congress, President's Trump's demand for border wall funding and the comments of Freshman Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib who said she wanted to "impeach the motherf----r," referring to the president at an event Thursday night. You can connect with The Takeaway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or on our show page at TheTakeaway.org.

House Majority Leader on Border Wall Funding, and Freshman Rep.'s Call to 'Impeach the Motherf---er'

The People, Politics and Priorities of the 116th Congress

The 116th Congress was sworn in this week and Democrats regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time in eight years. It also marks the first time that President Trump will face a divided Congress and the intense scrutiny, oversight, and push-back that comes with it. This new Congress is the most diverse in U.S. history, and on Thursday the first former refugee, the first Native-American women, and the first Muslim women were all sworn into the House of Representatives. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi reclaimed the speakership, and as The New York Times said became "the highest-ranking and most powerful elected woman in American political history." This hour on Politics with Amy Walter, we'll hear from incoming freshman members of Congress as well as more senior members with decades of experience on how they're thinking about this next legislative session. We'll hear from reporters and experts who study Congress on what we should expect this session and some big ideas on how to make it work better. Guests: Freshman members of Congress: Rep. Max Rose, (D-NY), Rep. Denver Riggleman, (R-VA), Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN), Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX) and Rep. Bryan Steil, (R-WI). Senior Members: Rep. Steny Hoyer, (D-MD) Majority Leader, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) Chairman of House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) Chairman of House Rules Committee, Rep. Richard Neal, (D-MA) Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and Rep. John Yarmuth, (D-KY) is the chairman of the House Budget Committee. Lee Drutman is a senior fellow in the Political Reform Program at New America. Lisa Desjardins covers the U.S. capital as a Correspondent for PBS NewsHour. Molly Reynolds is Senior Fellow of Governance at The Brookings Institution. You can connect with The Takeaway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or on our show page at TheTakeaway.org.

Politics with Amy Walter: Escaping D.C.'s Real Life Political Drama With a Fictional One

There are countless political dramas and comedies to choose from, but with Washington D.C. feeling a bit like a reality show is there still room for political fiction or are Americans feeling the fatigue? This week on Politics with Amy Walter from The Takeaway we talk to showrunners and screenwriters to see why they think there's still a role for political fiction. Guests: Paul Redford is the writer for The West Wing, Designated Survivor, Alpha House, and Madam Secretary. Barbara Hall is the showrunner for Madam Secretary. Garry Trudeau is the showrunner for Alpha House. You can connect with The Takeaway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or on our show page at TheTakeaway.org.

Politics with Amy Walter: Escaping D.C.'s Real Life Political Drama With a Fictional One

Politics with Amy Walter: Does the GOP Have a Woman Problem?

Democrats won with women by 19 points in the 2018 midterm elections. Efforts to recruit new women candidates to the Republican Party have faltered and while a record number of women will be serving in the next Congress come January, most of them are Democrats. There will actually be fewer Republican women on the Hill in 2019 than there were this year. So does the GOP have a gender problem and what might that mean leading up to the 2020 presidential election? This week on Politics with Amy Walter from The Takeaway, we'll examine the growing divide among Republican leadership and the electorate and we visit Kansas, where a handful of Republican women in the statehouse have defected from the GOP. Guests: Kansas State Senator Barbara Bollier and Representative Stephanie Clayton represent suburban districts where a majority of voters went for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Kim Alfano is a Republican strategist and CEO of Alfano Communications. Robert P. Jones is the CEO of the public religion research institute and the author the End of White Christian America. You can connect with The Takeaway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or on our show page at TheTakeaway.org.

Politics with Amy Walter: Putting Together the Pieces of Mueller's Investigation Puzzle

It's been a rapid fire few days in special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian collusion during the run-up to the 2016 presidential, with sentencing memos for Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen last week, followed by Cohen's sentencing this week. Also this week, we learned from federal prosecutors that the National Enquirer's parent company, American Media Inc. has admitted to paying hush money to silence a woman who alleged an affair with Donald Trump in "concert with" the Trump Campaign, corroborating Cohen's account. And in a separate investigation, Maria Butina pleaded guilty to conspiracy, admitting that she tried to influence high profile Republicans and National Rifle Association members on behalf of Russia. All the while, President Donald Trump has doubled down, again referring to the investigation as a "witch hunt." But how do these latest developments fit into the larger picture of Mueller's investigation, and are we anywhere near the end? This week on Politics with Amy Walter from The Takeaway, we attempt to break it all down and examine what we know from all different angles, hearing from a reporter, a former FBI agent, a historian, a Democratic Congressman, and a conservative publisher during the course of the hour. Guests: Mark Mazzetti is the New York Times' Washington Investigative Correspondent. Asha Rangappa is a discussing Senior lecturer at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and a former FBI special agent. Julian Zelizer is a professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University. Congressman Adam Schiff is on track to become the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Chris Buskirk is the publisher and editor of the conservative publication American Greatness. Opening music composed by Tina Guo. Check out her music here. All other music composed by Jay Cowit. You can connect with The Takeaway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or on our show page at TheTakeaway.org.

Politics with Amy Walter: Putting Together the Pieces of Mueller's Investigation Puzzle

Politics with Amy Walter: Pentagon's First-Ever Audit Exposes Massive Accounting Fraud

The military budget is at its highest level since World War II, but where exactly does all that money go and what wars are we even fighting these days? In this episode, Amy Walter finds out how much is being spent and how the money aligns with the military's strategic goals for the future of warfare. Plus, a look at how active duty service members feel about their commander-in-chief. And one retired colonel raises concerns about the way President Trump is politicizing the military. Guests: Staff Sergeant Patricia King Ambassador Eric Edelman Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter and a contributor to The Nation Meghann Myers, a Senior Reporter for Army Times Neta C. Crawford, Professor of Political Science, Boston University and co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University Dr. Isaiah Wilson III, a retired Army colonel, and a senior lecturer with Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs Note: Mark Skidmore reached out directly to us to clarify his position: "My opinion is that the reports from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) are too vague to draw any conclusions and we need access to the underlying data. I am unable to determine whether these massive adjustments are "plugs" or potentially large amounts of money flowing in and out of the DOD financial system. I do not dismiss the possibility that these unverified transactions could represent more than made up numbers or plugs." You can connect with The Takeaway on Twitter, Facebook, or on our show page at TheTakeaway.org.

Politics with Amy Walter: Pentagon's First-Ever Audit Exposes Massive Accounting Fraud

Politics with Amy Walter: Has Trump Kept His Campaign Promises?

We are less than a month away from the Midterm Elections. And that also means we are two years out from the 2016 campaign, when then-candidate Donald Trump ran on a series of promises to the American people: creating millions of new jobs, revitalizing manufacturing, renegotiating NAFTA, and of course, building the wall. For this hour of Politics with Amy Walter, we analyze President Trump's top promises that he made in his campaign, and whether or not he's followed through on them. We break these promises into six distinct sections: foreign policy, trade, jobs, the Supreme Court, Obamacare, and the southern border wall. Here are ten of them, with the results so far: 1. Respect for America on the World Stage Susan Glasser, a staff writer for The New Yorker, says President Trump has failed on this: "This is probably his biggest failure. By the numbers, by any objective standard, the United States has plummeted in world opinion." 2. Withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Deal In May, President Trump finalized plans to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. "If you didn't think he was going to withdraw from the Iran deal, which is what some serious foreign policy people thought or convinced themselves of, you were wrong," says Susan Glasser. 3. Make NATO Allies Pay More "It's not fair to say that as Trump has claimed, that he's gotten European allies to pay millions more," says Susan Glasser. "However, if you want to grade on a curve, you definitely could say that the threats or the bullying, or the blustering, or however you want to characterize it, have produced a new awareness in Europe that they ought to ante up more for their common defense in NATO than they felt pressured to do in the past." 4. Withdraw from The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Renegotiate NAFTA President Trump followed through on withdrawing from TPP with an Executive Order on January 23rd. But he revived parts of the TPP to renegotiate NAFTA, which the administration finished just this month. According to Alex Lawson, Law360's senior reporter on international trade, "[The new NAFTA] is an improvement," but the guidelines for the renegotiation were already drawn up by the Obama administration. "It's a little disingenuous for Trump to say that none of this happens without me...That's just not the case." 5. GDP Growth of Over 3.5 Percent Over 10 Years GDP growth was over 4 percent in the second quarter of 2018, but Jim Tankersley, tax and economics reporter for The New York Times, says, "It's not what President Trump promised. It's not the supercharged sustained 3.5, 4 percent, which is really hard to do at this point in an economic cycle, but it's better than it was, and I do think he gets some credit for that." 6. Create 25 Million Jobs Over 10 Years "We're right around 4 million jobs from the start of his presidency," says Jim Tankersley. "I will say that is a straight line continuation of the job creation pace we were on for the average of the last several years before his presidency." As for the question of creating 25 million jobs in 10 years? "You are unlikely to see that level of job creation." 7. Appoint Conservative Justices to the Supreme Court Who Support the Second Amendment and Oppose Abortion Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch are certainly considered conservative justices. It remains to be seen how they will vote on Second Amendment issues, as well as on a potential Roe v. Wade debate. "The jury is still out," says Amy Howe, co-founder of SCOTUS Blog. 8. Fully Repeal and Replace Obamacare Julie Rovner, Chief Washington Correspondent for Kaiser Health News, says that while the Trump administration has done quite a bit to dismantle Obamacare, they failed to fully repeal and replace it. 9. Build the Southern Border Wall The Trump administration claims that new fencing along the Southern Border is the Trump Wall. But according to Michel Marizco, senior editor for KJZZ, that is far from the truth. "What's going up now does not fit the definition" of the type of wall that Trump called for in his campaign and in an Executive Order that he signed early in his presidency. 10. Make Mexico Pay for the Southern Border Wall As for Mexico paying for the wall? "No ma'am," says Michel Marizco. You can connect with The Takeaway on Twitter, Facebook, or on our show page at TheTakeaway.org.

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