Weekly Roundup: Thursday, August 1 The Senate on Thursday approved a two-year budget deal that set new spending levels and boosted the nation's borrowing authority. Plus, the Senate confirmed thirteen new federal judges, meaning Trump has shaped a quarter of the federal bench nationwide. This episode: White House correspondent Tamara Keith, political reporter Danielle Kurtzleben, Congressional correspondent Susan Davis and national justice correspondent Carrie Johnson. Email the show at nprpolitics@npr.org. Find and support your local public radio station at npr.org/stations.
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Weekly Roundup: Thursday, August 1

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Weekly Roundup: Thursday, August 1

Weekly Roundup: Thursday, August 1

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JOSH: Hey, everyone. This is Josh (ph). I'm in medical school here in Detroit. And I'm getting ready to head downtown to the incredible Fox Theatre to attend night two of the second Democratic presidential debate. This podcast was recorded at...

TAMARA KEITH, HOST:

2:06 p.m. on Thursday, the 1 of August.

JOSH: Things may have changed for the time you hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE BIG TOP ORCHESTRA'S "TEETER BOARD: FOLIES BERGERE (MARCH AND TWO-STEP)")

KEITH: Like, yes, spoiler alert - those debates happened.

DANIELLE KURTZLEBEN, BYLINE: Wait. What?

KEITH: (Laughter). And in your podcast feed, we have two podcasts all about those debates. Please go listen to them.

KURTZLEBEN: Go listen, please. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll think.

KEITH: You'll hear us all bleary-eyed and loopy.

KURTZLEBEN: Also true.

KEITH: Hey there. It's the NPR POLITICS PODCAST. I'm Tamara Keith. I cover the White House.

SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: I'm Susan Davis. I cover Congress.

KURTZLEBEN: And I'm Danielle Kurtzleben. I cover politics.

KEITH: And the GOP-controlled Senate just passed a budget deal that sets defense and domestic spending at $1.3 trillion over the next two years. It also resolves a fight over the debt ceiling. It had already passed the House. And it is now headed to the president's desk. President Trump had been pushing for it to pass and tweeted this morning, budget deal is phenomenal for our great military, our vets and jobs, jobs, jobs. Two-year deal gets us past the election. Go for it, Republicans. There is always plenty of time to cut - exclamation point.

DAVIS: Just to be technical, Tam, it's 1.37 trillion, but what's 700 million among friends?

KEITH: (Laughter).

KURTZLEBEN: In the grand context of government spending, 700 million, you know, it's chump change.

DAVIS: You can find that in the couch cushions of the Pentagon.

KURTZLEBEN: Exactly.

KEITH: Well, but so the - I feel like the last line there, there is always plenty of time to cut - Sue, that sort of alludes to the underlying conflict in this whole situation.

DAVIS: Yeah. Budget cuts are always right around the corner.

KEITH: (Laughter) You mean, like, never coming.

DAVIS: Yeah (laughter). In two weeks. You know, President Trump is not unique in that regard in that presidents talk about deficits and deficit spending, especially Republican presidents. But under Republican presidents, deficits generally tend to rise. And under Democrats, they tend to fall. That has at least been the story of the last four or five administrations. This two-year budget deal does accomplish two big things. The first thing it does is it raises the debt ceiling, which is the nation's ability to borrow money to pay for stuff it's already agreed to spend money on. And it'll do that through the end of July 2021, which, for the purposes of all of our sanity, means we're not going to be facing the threat of a default crisis during a presidential election year. It's going to be the next president's problem, whoever it may be.

The other thing it does, as you said, Tam, is it sets those spending levels for two years. And essentially, what that's trying to do is head off any more threats of government shutdowns. So it should bring some stability to Washington for the remaining two years in President Trump's first term. Of course, we should note they still have to pass all of those annual spending bills to make sure they don't shut down the government. But this should bring some stability to Washington.

KEITH: Sue, you said something that I want to draw out, which is that under Republican presidents, the deficit tends to rise. And under Democratic presidents, there has been more of an emphasis on spending cuts or deficit reduction. And part of that - I mean, I remember during the Obama years one fight after another after another after another about spending.

DAVIS: Yeah. And, you know, Senator Rand Paul, who was one of the early leaders of the Tea Party movement - if you all recall, sprang out of the 2010 elections when Republicans came into Washington, promising to reduce the size and scope of the government. And he voted against this budget deal today. And he spoke on the Senate floor of what the bigger impact of this deal was politically.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RAND PAUL: It's the death of a movement, a once-proud movement with hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall. It's the death. It's the last gasp of a movement in America that was concerned with our national debt. Today is the final nail in the coffin. The Tea Party is no more.

DAVIS: You know, the senator has a point here. A couple things, I would say - Republicans have agreed to more spend increases under President Trump than they ever did under President Obama. Let me say that again. The Republicans have agreed to more spending under President Trump than they ever did under President Obama. I mean, that does speak to a couple of things - President Trump's ability to sort of redefine what the Republican Party is about and what Republicans are willing to vote for when it's their own party in the office. And it does make you look at, what did that Tea Party movement, over the last decade, accomplish? And as we sit here today, the budget law they enacted when they came in didn't ultimately do much to either reduce spending or reduce the deficit.

KEITH: It's, like, totally counterintuitive the idea that, under Republicans, the deficit would rise more than under Democrats. But they also tend to cut taxes more...

DAVIS: Exactly.

KURTZLEBEN: Right.

KEITH: ...And spend more, want to spend more on the military, at least under Reagan or, certainly, under President Trump.

KURTZLEBEN: Well, and let's talk about one other sort of counterintuitive thing that's going on here, which is - to get away from the political discussion, which is, of course, important, there's a general rule of thumb which is that when the economy is growing, deficits tend to go down. Well, we have an economy growing right now, and deficits have been going up. This will make the deficits go up even more.

Now, that's important not only because it's a black is white, up is down sort of thing that's happening but also because you have a few indicators right now - the yield curve, some manufacturing indicators - that seem to be flashing not red, but you could say maybe yellow - that a recession is coming. We've also had a very long expansion. It's just a question of when it's coming again. So when you are increasing deficits, increasing debt, it's funny hearing Trump say, well, you can always cut. I mean, the question is, how much cushion do you have? Because if you keep spending during an expansion, are you decreasing your fiscal cushion to deal with the next recession? I mean, there's a great argument that you definitely are.

KEITH: Well, because, like, let's go back to 2008 and this big, huge recession that happened.

KURTZLEBEN: Right.

KEITH: The way that Congress and President Bush and then President Obama tried to deal with it was by spending lots of money. And then also, the Fed cut interest rates. But those were the two tools - was spending lots of government money to try to goose the economy.

KURTZLEBEN: Right. Yes. And there's great evidence that it worked. And, yeah - let's stick to fiscal policy. Or monetary we could go on about. But...

KEITH: That's a different podcast for somebody else.

KURTZLEBEN: Right. But yes, that stimulus package that Congress passed under Obama was quite large. You even had some - you had some Democrats arguing it should've been larger. But the idea was to sort of juice the economy at a time when everything had frozen up. So let's say recession happens next year, hypothetically. There would be heavy political implications 'cause it would be a presidential election year. But you - the big question that I'm wondering is, what would this Congress do about that? And how much room would they have?

DAVIS: And just one final point on the national debt - as we sit here today, it's about 22 1/2 trillion dollars. They estimate that by the time we come up on that debt ceiling again in the summer of 2021, it'll add another 1 1/2 to 2 trillion dollars to the national debt in that time frame. So we could be seeing $25 trillion in debt by the summer of 2021.

KEITH: Can we just do some terminology quickly? We talk about deficit. We talk about debt. Those are two different things.

DAVIS: Yes. The easiest way to think about it is the deficit is the annual difference between how much we spend and how much we take in. So we are quickly approaching trillion-dollar annual deficits for the government. The debt is the sum total of those deficits. So right now the overall debt is about 22 1/2 trillion dollars.

KEITH: Whoa.

DAVIS: The annual deficits contribute to the debt.

KEITH: They kind of add up.

DAVIS: There you go. And that is all the math we will be doing in the NPR POLITICS PODCAST today.

KEITH: So, Sue, this was sort of the last big piece of business. Congress is headed home for recess.

DAVIS: Ain't mad about that, Tam.

(LAUGHTER)

KEITH: So what - this is - it's not just vacation. It's a time for them to touch base with their constituents.

DAVIS: It's called a work period around here.

KEITH: Yeah, uh-huh. What are they likely to see? What are they likely to hear when they go back home?

DAVIS: Well, one of the big questions about this summer is, what are members - and what kind of pressure are they going to be feeling over the question of impeachment, right? There are a lot of progressive groups organizing to use the summer recess to try to keep pressure, mainly on Democrats but on some Republicans, to come out in favor of impeachment. As we sit here today in the podcast, we - NPR's impeachment tracker has 117 lawmakers in favor of moving forward with impeachment proceedings. That's 116 Democrats and Justin Amash, who's now an independent from Michigan. That is two shy - if they get to 118 Democrats, it'll be a majority of the majority, which is just sort of a somewhat meaningless but important metric in that it shows that, you know, the movement inside the party is slowly inching forward on the question of impeachment.

Does August change any minds? And if minds are going to be changed, these long stretches at home tend to be where members come back really hearing from their constituents and feeling that they have to make a decision one way or another. So that's certainly one thing that we are going to be watching for and one question to have about, does it move the needle on impeachment? One note of caution here - most of the Democrats coming forward and saying they support impeachment proceedings come from the most liberal Democratic - big D - districts in the country. So there's virtually no political risk to saying you want to impeach Donald Trump.

The way to - the places to look for any wiggle room that would really matter is in those swing districts where, you know, the freshman Democrats who won Republican-leaning and swing districts in 2018 - the so-called majority makers - those are the kind of seismic shifts you would have to see to think that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is going to change her mind and start to embrace impeachment as a political tactic.

KEITH: All right. Well, we will be watching that over the recess. For now, we are going to take a quick break. And when we get back, how President Trump has reshaped the federal judiciary.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

KEITH: And we are back. And we have NPR's Carrie Johnson here with us. Hey, Carrie.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Hi, Tam.

KEITH: And you are here because there is news on the judiciary side of things. The Senate has confirmed this week 13 more judges to the federal bench. Is that right?

JOHNSON: Thirteen district court judges. That's a lot of judges in one week.

KEITH: So you have been working on a story about the pretty remarkable success that President Trump and Republicans in the Senate have had at confirming judges.

JOHNSON: Absolutely. The numbers are incredibly stark. Something like 142 federal judges have been confirmed. That's not including the two Supreme Court justices. In fact, 1 in 4 judges on a federal court of appeals has been appointed by Donald Trump. And, Tam, that is a major, major, major acceleration. During the same period, President Obama confirmed something like 95 judges. So President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have really put their pedal to the metal here, and it's not over yet.

KURTZLEBEN: Why this kind of turnover? Is this normal? Why are there all of these openings?

JOHNSON: Well, in part because McConnell refused to act in the last year or two of President Obama's administration...

KURTZLEBEN: Right.

JOHNSON: ...To fill judgeships, so there were a lot of openings. And, in fact, McConnell and the Trump White House, former White House counsel Don McGahn - a frequent character on this podcast - banded together, and they pushed through about 43 appeals court judgeships - 43 confirmations for federal appeals courts - which is remarkable in 2 1/2 years, really remarkable.

DAVIS: What's the difference between a circuit court judge and a district court judge, and why do they matter?

JOHNSON: Yeah. Circuit court judges appear on panels, typically panels of three judges. Sometimes, the whole court hears a case. But those are considered to be stepping stones for the Supreme Court in some ways - especially the D.C. Circuit Appeals Court is. And in the lower courts, the district courts, those may not be stepping stones in the same way, but they're really important. Those judges hear major cases on civil rights, federal crimes, environment issues, Trump's deregulation push and a whole bunch of other things that matter to people's lives every single day.

KEITH: And when we hear about the 9th Circuit or the 5th Circuit or these various - that's what we're hearing about - are the circuit judges.

JOHNSON: Yeah, exactly. And, you know, I talked to Russell Wheeler of the Brookings Institution. He says Trump's success in this area is remarkable. But in a lot of cases, President Trump has been appointing his judges to fill openings that were created by people retiring who were appointed by Republicans. So these are, in some ways, Republican-for-Republican seats. But Wheeler says there's a big difference between a 70-year-old judge who was appointed by President George W. Bush and a 45-year-old or younger judge appointed by Donald Trump. In part, these are lifetime judges. These people could be on the bench 30 or 40 years or more.

KURTZLEBEN: So the judges that he's appointed already - let's talk about the impact. Have we seen decisions already that are having ripple effects or that are - that already are having really important repercussions?

JOHNSON: There have been decisions in the areas of abortion rights and gun rights and some other issues, including on the ACA, Obamacare. But those disputes tend to make their way all the way up to the highest court in the country, the Supreme Court. One thing I'm hearing from civil rights advocates is that they're very troubled by the lack of diversity among Trump's judge picks. If you look at this, about 70% of his appointees have been white men. And if you look at the slate of the entire pool of nominees, men and women, about 85% of them have been white. To the circuit courts we've been talking about, those higher courts, President Trump has not named a single African American or a single Latino. And civil rights groups say it doesn't make any sense that that just happens. They perceive it to be a deliberate choice.

KEITH: Well, and Democrats, too - they're letting these votes happen. I guess there's not much they can actually do about it.

DAVIS: Well, no. And I think, you know, this will be President Trump's legacy. It may be his most lasting legacy because, as Carrie noted, some of these judges will serve for 10, 20, 30 years. I mean, it's a generational shift. None of this happens without Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, right? This is just as much Mitch McConnell's legacy. He has been squarely focused on approving and passing judicial nominations this entire year in the Senate. The Senate has taken up virtually very few pieces of legislation. It's been all nominations.

Remember, Mitch McConnell not only changed the rules of the Senate to make it easier to approve Supreme Court judges, to get Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court. Earlier in the spring, he also changed the Senate rules to expedite the confirmation process for these district and circuit court judges. It reduced the time that they could sort of wait in between votes from 30 hours down to two, which is what lets them do things like pass 13 judges through in the Senate just this week.

Mitch McConnell's doing something very clearly calculated. He's got a very clear political goal here - to use this Congress to leave as few vacancies as possible on the judicial branch. In the event there's a Democratic president in 2021, they will have very few options to appoint judges if Mitch McConnell can fill as many of them as possible before the election.

KEITH: Can we talk about why this matters? You know, does having a bunch of young, conservative judges in various courts around the country - does that change things for - you know, for our listeners?

JOHNSON: Well, as Brian Fallon of the group Demand Justice pointed out to me, we just went through two days of hearing Democratic candidates talking about their agenda, some of which includes massive projects on climate change, health care expansions and other things. You've got to believe that all those things are going to be challenged in the courts in some fashion if a Democrat wins and gets those bills through the Congress. And so judges - federal judges - are going to be ruling on those things.

KEITH: Well, I guess kind of like President Trump has done a bunch of things through executive action, and a bunch of those things have been tied up in court. And frequently, we hear it's a judge that was appointed by President Obama or President Clinton.

JOHNSON: Absolutely. But, Tam, you know, having covered the Trump campaign, that one of the ways that he was able to bring evangelical voters to his side was to make judges a big issue in that last campaign.

DAVIS: I do think politically, too - and I don't know the answer to this, but it's something I think about long-term - is that we've seen people's - Americans' faith in institutions dwindle in almost every regard. They don't hold the Congress in high regard. They don't hold various institutions in high regard. And I think the politicization of the judicial process also runs the political risk of having more and more Americans feel like the judicial system is completely polarized and partisan, as well. And that is a really dangerous thing for a country - to not believe that their courts are fair and above politics. And I think the injection of politics into the judicial wars, especially in the last five to 10 years - obviously, it goes back a lot further than that - but the escalation of this in recent years seems to just feed into this sense that everything is political, and everything is polarized.

KEITH: All right. We are going to take a quick break, and when we get back, it's time for Can't Let It Go.

And we are back. And it's time to end the show like we do every week - with Can't Let It Go, the part of the podcast where we talk about the things we cannot stop thinking about, politics or otherwise.

Danielle, what can't you let go of?

KURTZLEBEN: OK. I thought I would bring some debate coverage in here anyway, so you guys haven't escaped it. I wanted to bring in Joe Biden's closing statement last night. I want to talk about no real substance but instead him directing people to support his campaign. And when he did it, he kind of - he slowed down. He kind of stumbled around a bit, and here's what he said.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOE BIDEN: If you agree with me, go to Joe 30330 and help me in this fight. Thank you very much.

KURTZLEBEN: So what he meant to say, it turns out, is he wanted people to text the word Joe to the number 30330. But instead, like you heard, he said go to Joe 30330...

KEITH: (Laughter).

KURTZLEBEN: ...Like a jumble of numbers. And so, as it turns out, people on the Internet pounced on this, including Pete Buttigieg's team. It turns out that if - I checked this just before I came in - if you go to joe30330 - no, if you go to joe3030.com, you land on Pete Buttigieg's campaign website.

KEITH: What?

JOHNSON: Oh, tricky.

KURTZLEBEN: Now, if you go to joe30330, which is what Biden said, you land on a page for Josh for America - some guy named Josh. It may be a college student has put up a fake, jokey campaign website saying that he's the first Gen Z-er to run for president. His - the reason that I say may be a college student - his platform, apparently, is no homework for college students.

(LAUGHTER)

KURTZLEBEN: There is a video that looks like it could have been taken on a MacBook camera in a dorm room of him just talking to the camera. Also, there - although the Biden campaign did pounce on joe33030, which goes straight to his site. So...

JOHNSON: (Laughter).

DAVIS: My brain hurts.

KURTZLEBEN: There's someone web-savvy over at the Biden campaign.

DAVIS: And at the Buttigieg campaign.

KURTZLEBEN: Yes, I know.

DAVIS: I mean, they must have had that up last night.

KURTZLEBEN: They did, yeah. It was it was up real quick after the debates, so...

KEITH: But, Danielle, the best part is then Joe Biden was asked about it today, and he did some post-debate cleanup.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Going back to last night...

BIDEN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: ...Is there anything you would do differently about last night's debate?

BIDEN: You know, instead of saying Joe, I would've said text, you know?

(LAUGHTER)

BIDEN: You know, I was so focused on making the case for Joe, I said Joe, and I gave the number. It was text. So, you know, I would have changed that. But you guys have printed it 15 times, and it's getting great results...

(LAUGHTER)

KEITH: That's exactly what I've been thinking. He's crazy like a fox. Like, that mistake got him way more coverage of this run of 30330 than anything else he could've said. And look. I'm amplifying it right now.

DAVIS: Sometimes, it doesn't matter how you stumble. It's about how you recover.

KURTZLEBEN: Right, yeah.

KEITH: Sue, what can't you let go of?

DAVIS: So the thing I can't let go of this week is an exclusive interview given to Roll Call newspaper on Capitol Hill with Taylor Swift...

KEITH: Whoa.

DAVIS: ...But not that one.

KEITH: Oh.

JOHNSON: (Laughter).

DAVIS: Apparently, there is a 25-year-old aide to the House Democratic Caucus, and his name is Taylor Swift.

KURTZLEBEN: Oh, man.

DAVIS: And they did a staffer profile of him in which they talked about being - the life of a Taylor Swift. And he was in the seventh grade when her first album came out in 2006. And there's a funny line in the story that says, that album would go on to see (ph) almost 6 million copies, and neither Taylor's life would ever be the same. And he talks about how this was, like, torture for him through middle school and early high school. Obviously, also, he's a man. And Taylor Swift, the famous one, is a woman - lot of teasing that went along with it. But then he says in college, things started to turn around, and the name Taylor Swift he, like, used to his advantage to go and win student government elections.

KURTZLEBEN: Oh, my God.

DAVIS: His first election, he crushed a six-person field. He eventually graduated as student body president in his senior year. And he says he hasn't ruled out for running for office one day. And all I could think is if we keep doing this podcast long enough, we might be covering Taylor Swift 2040.

KURTZLEBEN: This guy's fate is tied to Taylor Swift. If there was ever some sort of a massive Taylor Swift scandal where she has done something real wrong, it ruins everything for him, right?

DAVIS: It probably ruins his Twitter mentions every once in a while, too.

KEITH: Carrie, what can't you let go of?

JOHNSON: Well, as many of you know, I'm about to leave NPR for an academic sabbatical.

KURTZLEBEN: No.

JOHNSON: Yes.

KEITH: We can't let go of you.

JOHNSON: There are so many things I'm going to miss. I'm going to miss you all. I'm going to miss the free bookshelf here.

DAVIS: The new kombucha fountain in the cafeteria.

JOHNSON: That I ain't going to miss.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNSON: Don't touch it. Can't touch this.

KURTZLEBEN: Oh, my God.

JOHNSON: But one of the other things I'm going to miss is the upcoming trial of presidential adviser Roger Stone. And that was underscored in the last week or two because the government has filed a motion to introduce a clip of "The Godfather Part II" in the trial of Roger Stone. That is because Roger Stone allegedly was communicating with a potential witness in the case and trying to tamper with that witness by using a scene from "The Godfather II."

KEITH: (Laughter).

JOHNSON: And the government says to drive home Roger Stone's intent and state of mind, they need to actually show the jury in Washington, D.C., this scene to underscore that Stone was trying to get this witness to say he didn't remember something or maybe that they were even just in the olive oil business, as this witness said in "The Godfather Part II."

KURTZLEBEN: Wait. What's the scene? Or is...

JOHNSON: The scene involves a guy named Frank Pentangeli, who also is known in the movie as Frankie Five Angels. And Frankie is about to testify on Capitol Hill when, in the back of the room, he sees mobster Michael Corleone show up with his brother. And as soon as he sees Michael Corleone with his brother, Frankie knows he can't tell the truth to the Congress.

KURTZLEBEN: Oh, man.

JOHNSON: And he pretends like he doesn't know anything. And the government says that's exactly what Roger Stone was doing with Randy Credico, a shock jock radio host in New York City. And they're going to introduce that if the judge gives permission in his trial.

KEITH: I've heard of jury field trips, but this is something else.

JOHNSON: You know, long and the short of it, Tam, the government says in support of its motion that juries have seen images from movies before. They talk about "The Town," that Ben Affleck movie about the Boston caper. They talk about the mob movie "Casino." And they talk about the movie "The Boiler Room" (ph), which is, of course, about a financial malfeasance.

KURTZLEBEN: Also a Ben Affleck movie.

KEITH: Also a Ben Affleck movie.

JOHNSON: There we go - there's something about Ben Affleck. What can I say? So we're going to have to wait and find out whether jurors in this trial, which is supposed to start this fall.

KEITH: All right. I guess I will go last. I am the last person on Earth to watch this video, but now that I have watched it, I have so much joy. Like, a month ago, there was this Tiny Desk Concert, and I am the worst. Like, I hear there's a Tiny Desk Concert coming, and then I'm, like, on deadline, and I can't go. And when this Tiny Desk Concert happened, there was so much noise coming from the Tiny Desk Concert that it made it all the way over to my desk, and it sounded like it was really cool, and I was really sad that I missed it. It turns out I should be even sadder because the Lizzo Tiny Desk Concert is just about the most glorious thing ever. And no wonder it is breaking the Internet. And the best part about it is that she does not call it a Tiny Desk Concert. She calls it something else.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LIZZO: I'm going to just dab some sweat real quick.

(CHEERING)

LIZZO: Is there toilet paper on my face?

(LAUGHTER)

LIZZO: I don't want to ruin this shot. You know what I'm saying? So here we are - got the final song for your ass at this tiny, tiny little-ass desk.

(LAUGHTER)

LIZZO: This desk is so damn small.

(LAUGHTER)

LIZZO: My thigh barely fit underneath it.

(LAUGHTER)

LIZZO: But we're so happy to be here.

(SOUNDBITE OF BABY CRYING)

LIZZO: I made a baby cry.

(LAUGHTER)

LIZZO: You want to hop on the mic, baby?

(LAUGHTER)

LIZZO: He goes, like, (imitating baby crying).

(LAUGHTER)

LIZZO: Even the baby has a testimony. Amen.

(CHEERING)

KEITH: Amen. Amen.

KURTZLEBEN: God, she's just so charismatic. Like, I'm not even there, and I feel like I'm eating out of the palm of her hand. It's incredible.

DAVIS: Also, I went to that Tiny Desk, and just to go, like, full Lizzo stalker, I was in the lobby when she was leaving, and she breezed right by me. And she smelled like glitter and hairspray and, like, a Bath and Body Works factory on fire. And I would say...

KURTZLEBEN: And happiness.

DAVIS: ...She smelled great. Yes.

KEITH: You weren't being a total weirdo stalker or anything.

DAVIS: Yeah. Not at all. Not at all.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LIZZO: (Singing) Blame it on my juice, blame it, blame it on my juice, OK? Somebody come get this man. I think he got lost in my DMs. What? My DMs. What? You'd better come get your man. I think he wanna be way more than friends. What? More than friends. Hey.

KEITH: Although this music sounds very happy, Carrie, we are very sad because, as you said, this is your last podcast for a long time. You're going to do a fellowship.

JOHNSON: Yeah. I'll be listening to all of you, and I'll be here in spirit. I promise.

DAVIS: And if you want to come back and cover the Roger Stone trial, we will be waiting with open arms.

KURTZLEBEN: We're more than fine with that.

JOHNSON: Tempting, but I don't think so.

(LAUGHTER)

DAVIS: We're going to miss you, Carrie.

JOHNSON: Thanks, guys.

KURTZLEBEN: Very much.

JOHNSON: Me too.

KEITH: And that is a wrap for today. We'll be back as soon as there is political news that you need to know about. Until then, a reminder that we're hitting the road. We will be in Boulder, Colo., on September 20 for a live show. And then we have another one in Washington, D.C., on November 8. Tickets are available for both of them at nprpresents.org.

I'm Tamara Keith. I cover the White House.

DAVIS: I'm Susan Davis. I cover Congress.

JOHNSON: I'm Carrie Johnson, national justice correspondent.

KURTZLEBEN: And I'm Danielle Kurtzleben. I cover politics.

KEITH: And thank you for listening to the NPR POLITICS PODCAST.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LIZZO: Can I get a ya-ya-ee (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE: Ya-ya-ee.

LIZZO: Woo. My name is Lizzo. Thank you.

(CHEERING)

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