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THE VAN JONES SHOW
President Trump Invites Two Foreign Powers To Investigate His Political Rival; More Americans In Favor Of Impeaching Trump?; Interview With Rep. Jahana Hayes, (D-CT); Interview With Gov. Phil Bryant (R-MS). Aired 7-8p ET
Aired October 5, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VAN JONES, CNN HOST: Hey Good evening. Welcome to THE VAN JONES SHOW. Tonight, we're in the midst of a historic political crisis. It feels like America is more divided than ever and that chasm just gets bigger every day.
Now look in all the chaos, I know some Democrats are feeling some relief saying you know finally Trump might get impeached for all his bad behavior. They're real happy about it but I'm actually sad and sick about the whole thing and worried about the whole mess. Honestly America, we are now in a lose-lose scenario. Look Democrats obviously can't do nothing.
I mean, Trump can't just keep dragging in foreign powers into our next election with no consequences at all. For instance, just this week Trump stood on the White House lawn in front of God and everybody and said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China just started an investigation into the Bidens so I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: That's not a whistleblower. That's not a transcript. That's not a text message. That's Trump himself inviting two foreign powers to investigate his political rival. That is so bad. I mean what? Democrats now have to run against Trump and a bunch of foreign government at the same time.
Look, if Obama had tried that stunt, he'd be locked up in Guantanamo right now. So someone's got a gift but on the other hand, listen to me now. Impeachment in the House is not going to solve the real problem. It's not going to keep us safe from foreign interference in our election because the Republicans still control the Senate and chances are they're never going to kick Trump out. So impeachment or no impeachment Trump will still likely be President
until at least 2021 and before, during and after any impeachment, Trump apparently can just keep on trying to get help from overseas. This is a mess and impeachment's not going to solve it. Now look I know people are tired of hearing me talk about common ground.
They don't want to hear about it. Thank you Twitter, I get it, I know. But look, somebody has got to point out that the vast majority of Americans in both parties still want us to have a fair election without foreign intervention. That is still common ground. So our strongest patriots in both parties to come together to build a wall around our elections, OK?
Let's get creative. Put up a bipartisan bill, making it mandatory for campaigns to report overtures from foreign agents. Make it a crime to solicit or accept foreign assistance in a U.S. election. Include an independent prosecutor to enforce these new rules and then tell Trump, look, sign this bill and we won't impeach you.
But going forward anybody who breaks these rules is going to jail. See, problem solved. We get a fair election and let the best candidate win. Now that might sound like a daydream. I know but the alternatives sound like a nightmare to me and I'm just getting desperate.
So that's why tonight's show is focused on hearing from people who I respect on all sides of the issue but first I want to hear from you. So let's hear from people from two very different Democratic districts on impeachment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: It's a tale of two congressional districts. One of them is New York's 14th district. It's represented by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's time to move forward than impeachment inquiry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do, I personally do.
JONES: Less than 50 miles away. We go from bright blue to purple. In New York's 11th district President Trump won that one by 15 points in 2016 but in 2018, they've booted out the Republican Congressman in favor of a newcomer, a Democrat named Max Rose who only this week came out in favor of an impeachment inquiry.
REP. MAX ROSE (D): I will support the United States Constitution and it is for that reason that I intend to fully support this impeachment inquiry and follow the facts.
JONES: So what about voters in these two districts? How far apart are their opinions on impeachment? Well, first we went to the Georgia Diner in Elmhurst Queens. That's AOC's district and the answers were mixed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a clear and present danger to American democracy. You know, he should be impeached. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's just a repeat of what happened with
the Mueller report. It's really just a fraud.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I certainly support it. I think it's long overdue but I think that Donald Trump and his presidency is a gross insult to everything that this country America stands for.
JONES: Even this table of friends could not agree.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm for impeachment all the way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel it's a waste of time. He's for it because he just doesn't like the President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he did try to influence foreign government to dig dirt on other politician. That's not - that's not what we do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe he's disrupting the nation and he should continue at this pace to expose everybody.
JONES: In Max Roses' district, we went to Al's Head Park in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and opinions there were just as varied.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't feel like impeachment is the answer. It's going to be more arguing, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think yes, he definitely needs to be impeached. I think it's cut and dried and the implication on the call was really clear. You play ball with me and you get your money. You don't play ball with me you don't get your money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know till everything's put on the table, all the evidence, you know people shouldn't rush to judgment.
JONES: Whether for or against, most folks admit ousting Trump is going to be a long shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not going to go anywhere. And they're not going to remove him from power.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, if he doesn't peach, I don't think he'll be convicted in the Senate because I don't think the Republicans have the guts to do what's right and put country ahead of party.
JONES: And some worry that the Democrats open investigation can divide the country even further.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He hasn't committed any kind of a crime. Ultimately it all - ultimately go away after a long process of baloney that hurts the American people. Look how long the first investigation. It took two years and let the voters determine who they really believe.
JONES: But others say it is Trump who is being truly divisive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't call him Shifty Shift for nothing. He's a shifty, dishonest guy.
JONES: And impeachment is a long time coming.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your President's too divisive. He's talking about civil war you know, I mean that's divisive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Something needs to be done. I mean, I care about it deeply. I know lots of people who do. I hope something - I hope this is a turning point but I'm - there's a part of me that's cynical. I mean, we've watched people turn the other cheek now. He's been doing this since the day he was elected.
You know they use the cliche of you can walk and chew gum at the same time. I think they need to proceed judiciously and temperately around the impeachment inquiry and procedures while simultaneously not foregoing addressing the needs that people have on a daily basis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congress has a right to oversight and to ensure accountability. At this point, it's a matter of Congress doing its duty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: All right, joining us to talk about impeachment and how it can affect the country is Democratic Congresswoman Jahana Hayes from Connecticut. Now she's a supporter of impeachment but she says she struggled to reach that decision. Why did you struggle? And when you didn't run on impeachment. You ran saying, listen, that's a big word to throw around. Why were you struggling with that?
REP. JAHANA HAYES (D-CT): Well, thanks for having me Van and you're right. I struggled. I was one of the last ones to come around and in full support of impeachment and for me because I'm a history teacher, because I know what the word means, because I know the implications of it.
And people are talking about this in a Republican and Democratic way. No matter what happens our country is going to hurt.
HAYES: And even in the piece that we just heard, the thing that is concerning for me, people are talking about the length of time it's going to take or you know, the divisiveness and what we're really getting away from is we are fundamentally changing the idea of what our democracy looks like by allowing this to continue.
HAYES: So there's no celebration for me at all.
JONES: You know, there are other Democrats in the House, a few who still are - they're holding out, they haven't gotten there yet. Why do you think it's so hard for them?
HAYES: Well, I think one of the things that we really have to be careful about. We're talking about this in terms of what it means towards the next election. I know that coming out for impeachment makes me incredibly fragile. You know, in my district it's 50.1. I could very well lose this seat because of the decision that I made but it's worth it.
At some point you have to stand for something. You know and I think that I have colleagues who came out a lot sooner than me because they had hit their breaking point for me. You know, the events of last week was my breaking point and I think for some of my other colleagues, they're thinking well, let's just continue to play it out and collect all the evidence because what I accepted and what I realized the day after I was elected.
I became the representative even for the people who didn't vote for me. You know, so I have an obligation to hear their voices to you know give validity to their concerns and hear that.
JONES: What more would you need to see or what more do you think Democrats would need to see, who are who are still hesitant to say what, we need a full impeachment?
HAYES: Well, you know, I don't even know in the events of the last 24 hours, I don't even know where my colleagues are at this point. You know, we've been in indirect communication. We've had several caucus calls since we left but we're at a point where things are just so self-evident and I don't want to rush to judgment.
You know I'm still listening and learning but my lying eyes are looking right at it. You know when people were talking about what does the transcript say or have you seen the whistleblower complaint and I say no, but I've heard the President. You know, I've heard the President say I made the call and this is what I said.
And if I can't believe the President, if I can't take him at his word, then the funny thing is I called for the inquiry but I pray we're wrong. I hope we're wrong because at the end of the day, Donald Trump represents me. He represents this country.
So if our President is operating in a way that we are you know - and I stepped back and I thought about it and insert any President.
HAYES: But the idea that a sitting United States President would withhold congressionally appropriated funds from a strategic partner in order to get dirt on his political opponent is just wrong.
JONES: Yes. Have you talked to your Republican colleagues and since this all started happening and what are your Republican colleagues saying to you publicly and privately?
HAYES: I have talked to some of my Republican colleagues and they're just as concerned as I am. The thing that I struggle with is it really doesn't matter what you say to me privately if when we go on the floor, you vote differently or when you speak publicly.
You know, there is nothing I promise you, there is nothing that Speaker Pelosi could say to me, that leader Hoyer could say to me that would make me compromise my moral center and vote for something that I don't believe in.
To say that I'm going to turn a blind eye and this is OK. I think as elected officials we have to hold anyone who holds office accountable or fight or at least get to the bottom of it. Find the truth so the fact that people are just turning their head and saying you know--
JONES: That must be frustrating you have people like whispering in your ear like whoa, this is terrible.
HAYES: Yes, all the time walking in, oh my God, did you see this? And at first I thought you know I'm listening and I'm talking but I'm like at the end of the day, people sent us here to represent them, to do something you know so if you truly - if they were saying I believe that the President did nothing wrong and that's why I'm supporting this or saying this, that would be one thing.
But if you're saying to me privately that you agree that something happened that should not have happened or that there is a need for investigation, then publicly you say something different, that's completely different.
JONES: Yes, the White House is saying that you know, Pelosi is wrong though for declaring an impeachment inquiry without having any vote. The White House wants all you guys take a vote right now, not just say you want the impeachment inquiry but to vote on it. Do you think the White House is right on that?
HAYES: Well, the White House doesn't get to decide that. You know, the way our government was set up we have separate but co-equal branches. The Speaker of the House can initiate a process. That process is not determined by the White House. That's just the way our government works.
So the President can't say to the Speaker this is what I want you to do before we do this. There's a process. Impeachment starts in the House.
JONES: it's up to the Speaker.
HAYES: Right, it up to the Speaker of the House to decide what that looks like.
JONES: What is your message. I mean, you have a lot of Americans, some super pro-impeachment, some against impeachment, some love the President, some don't. You're somebody who's been very, very thoughtful. What is your message to America as we move further down this the line with this process?
HAYES: This is not about President Trump. This is not about whether or not you like or don't like President Trump. You know, I was someone who did not support President Trump did not vote for him but the day after the election he became my President. We don't have a process. Once he was certified, he becomes the President.
So now for people to kind of put a flag down based on their feelings about President Trump, I think is wrong. If we truly believe that our national security was compromised then we have a responsibility to act so I would say to people just be civil, be cautious.
You know there are some people who from day one decided that this is what they feel but I think that there are a lot of other people who are still deeply concerned, you know very somber, very - just hesitant to proceed and we have to respect that as well you know.
Because at the end of the day, we all have to heal together so my message would just be to proceed with caution. You know to be civil, to not celebrate this because there's nothing to be celebrated here.
JONES: Look, I think you're speaking for a lot of people and speaking to a lot of people. I really appreciate you for being here. Now listen, coming up, I want to find out how the impeachment talks are actually playing in the red states and why these so many Republicans seem to rally behind Trump, pretty much no matter what. We're going to get insight from a close ally of the President who's also a friend of mine, Republican governor of Mississippi Phil Bryant is going to be here when we get back.
JONES: All right now, new polls show that impeachment's actually becoming more and more popular and more Americans are actually a in favor of impeaching Trump than they were in favor of impeaching Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon at similar points in the journey.
But on the flip side among Republicans, Trump remains extremely popular. So why is the party still so supportive of Trump. To help us figure this out I want you to welcome to THE VAN JONES SHOW, the governor of the great state of Mississippi. My good friend Phil Bryant. Welcome to THE VAN JONES SHOW.
GOV. PHIL BRYANT (R-MS): Good to see you.
JONES: Hey listen one of the reason I wanted to have you here is because you know, you are a governor. You're strong conservative, ruby-red Mississippi but you're somebody, you've reached out to the poor. You've worked on criminal justice, you've reached out to Democrats.
You've been a bridge builder. You're also a very close friend of President Trump so you are a very I think important person in helping us understand what's going on. More than in fact even just the feelings of it from my point of view, I look at you you're a law-and- order guy. How do you as a law-and-order guy - how do you weigh some of this stuff that you know, Trump is even admitting to talking about publicly?
How do you look at it from your point of view? BRYANT: Well and I thought about this man. I can only tell you my
point of view as a former law enforcement officer, as a governor is but what I was wanting to do was how do people feel.
BRYANT: People in Mississippi love Donald Trump because what he's done it. We have tornados. We've had over 75 tornados. Destroyed communities. The President is so quick to respond with individual assistance to help those that have been in trouble. We had an opportunity zone just last week Tuesday, Dr. Ben Carson came.
And so we were reaching out to those really depressed communities through our opportunity zone that the President helped create and supported. I look at our prison system that's down about 16%. So people who were in prison for some drug crimes and nonviolent offenses as you and I worked on are now back in communities and they're serving. So we see the good things, low unemployment, lower than it's been in 50 years--
JONES: So you see him through the - through the prism of he's been there for you--
BRYANT: Of what happened.
JONES: And what's happened.
BRYANT: Yes, what's really going on.
JONES: When we look though and we see well you know he's asking foreign powers to come in. You know as a patriot, that's got to rub you the wrong way.
BRYANT: Here's what we think about though when President Obama went over to President Medvedev from Russia and said tell Vladimir, this is my last election and I'll be more flexible in the future and everybody said that's fine, that's just a little conversation going on between Presidents.
JONES: That's different than saying come in here and investigate, come in here and be a part of our democracy. In other words but look, I think it's important for us--
BRYANT: It's different from sending a plane load of cash and go to around and now they're such good partners with us, that worked out so well.
JONES: I got.
BRYANT: I'm just telling you how conservative--
JONES: I think it's important though for people who are CNN viewers to kind of hear it because I think on our side it's pretty cut-and-dried and it's pretty clear but my thing is, I mean you're a dad, you're a granddad.
JONES: When I said here's something bad that Trump did, you told me five bad things that Obama did. Now as a dad, you can't say - when one kid says well, you did this, well, you can't blame Johnny. What about the things that he has done?
BRYANT: The problem is a lot of people in America, particularly conservatives have lost confidence in some of our institutions. So who's investigating this? Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi. So are we supposed to believe what we hear that Adam Schiff is saying when he made up the words.
He read made-up words before a congressional hearing as Chairman and then said oh, that's just a parody. Are y'all shocked by that? He made up words.
JONES: You don't like what Schiff said but Trump came out himself. We could take Schiff off the thing. Trump came out himself and said what he said. Do you agree with him that it's OK to bring in the foreign powers?
BRYANT: Here what I would like to - no, I don't think it's good bringing a foreign power. I think, I'm not going to speak for the President but I believe the President has seen what he believes to be corruption, time and time again and we trust Attorney General Barr.
We trust him and his Justice Department. If Barr and if we could get confidence in that administrator in that group. Now I mean if they came out and said we looked at it, we looked at the rights that the President had, we followed the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard as we would in a court of law.
We wouldn't allow hearsay in a court of law. Now that's what we're waiting on is a credible prosecutor or credible voice to come.
JONES: Look I - you know part of the reason I want to have this conversation is that I think that we are almost living in different worlds. The media system that you're in and the kinds of things that are concerning to you and the kinds of things that are concerning - are almost separate and apart and I think it's very scary because you know, look, as you know I've been critical of Democrats as well as Republicans.
I think - so but when - as we're sitting here and talking, my concern is just this. Right is right and wrong is wrong.
JONES: We've almost got to the point now where it feels like if my side does it, I'm going to excuse it. If your side does it, I'm going to give you hell. That to me is very, very concerning. Do you feel a similar kind of tribalism? BRYANT: I do but not so much in Mississippi and I just saw
Congresswoman Hayes a little bit of her talking. What a wonderful spirit. We've got to come together as reasonable people and talk through this and see what - what does the evidence lead us?
When it finally came out that Richard Nixon had said it's OK to pay burglars, to break into the Democratic headquarters, we said that's it, that's a crime.
JONES: Right. Well I mean, the thing is I mean, this is the heartbreak for me, is that we do now have the President saying things. I mean we don't have to rely on Schiff, we don't have to rely on Barr. I mean I like Schiff a lot better than you like Schiff. You like Barr a lot better than I like Barr.
BRYANT: And look, I'm not mad at Schiff at personal level.
JONES: I get it. I'm just saying, you like Barr, I like Schiff but we got one President and he's Trump and Trump came out and he said on the lawn and he said you know, China come in, Ukraine come in and my thing is I don't see Trump as a great champion against corruption.
Would you accept Obama, if Obama had come out there on the White House lawn and said I want Kenya and China to investigate Romney. Would you - would you felt good about it or bad about it?
BRYANT: We keep hearing that that took place. If you want I can show our own Fox News now as Fox news. And people on my side don't trust anything you said on CNN. That's the other problem.
JONES: It's a problem.
BRYANT: Is when we used to watch Walter Cronkite and he said that's the way it is, that's the way it was. That's the way it was. So then nobody came in for eight hours after that and said let me tell you how corrupt this guy is and look, I'm troubled by that. Even my friends on Fox News you know, watch your language. You know, I don't think I would call people cowards and shifty and terms like that.
JONES: You know, I think you and I could probably fire back and forths to each other and probably depress everybody. That's the--
BRYANT: The question is does it appear the President's broke the law?
BRYANT: I think there are legal standards and I've seen some very good attorneys on television, some very good attorneys. I'm not one nice. My daughter's one good.
JONES: She's a great one.
BRYANT: She's a great lawyer but I've seen very good attorneys on television say, we don't think this rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. If I could and others have a very thorough investigation of this, outside of what we see on opinion TV, I think we could come to a rational conclusion.
But I'd have to look at what the federal law says, what's the burden of that federal law. Did the governor a President's actions meet the burden of that law and listen, that's beyond a reasonable doubt that's pretty heavy for anybody and should be too when you're trying to impeach and evict the President of the United States.
JONES: Why is there that level of devotion to a President Trump? How does a billionaire have such a strong connection with working folks? I think that's something that people--
BRYANT: I think his attitude, his demeanor, the way he approaches people. I've seen him in crowds. He can connect with working-class folks, the great forgotten Americans. But we look at him and say you know, he understood that there was a whole vast part of this nation that was being overlooked.
That when we said we really care about our religious freedoms and they would say we don't really care what you think. We say, we care about our Second Amendment. We don't care what you think. We care what our children would be exposed to in the median on the internet. We really worry about that.
They said don't worry about that, it'll be OK.
JONES: So those again are the positive things and I do think that people need to - and look, I grew up in Tennessee so I understand a lot of those things even though I'm passionate on my side, you're passionate on your side, we've been able to work hard to help people who don't have anything.
People who have been locked up, people who have been thrown away, people who have been left out and you were also able to get President Trump to support the effort to help people behind bars, etc.
Just talk a little bit about why you care so much as I think a lot of people's on CNN audience might be shocked. You got a hard core conservative Trump supporting Mississippi Governor.
BRYANT: Former law enforcement.
JONES: Former law enforcement who is passionate about Justice Reform and who actually got Trump to be supportive of helping people behind the bars come home.
BRYANT: Because I was in law enforcement. I have seen young men when I was a narcotics officer, we would routinely put 19-20 year-olds in jail for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia and as I got older and looking at my children, my grandchildren and I said those kids and they were kids, those college kids went to the penitentiary for possessing marijuana which is now legal in a lot of states and in times of change.
But it just bothered me that I had been a part of that and looking at our population in Mississippi, we were at the top. We had more people in jail than anybody else. That's not where I want to be. So I started working across the lines.
Some of my Democratic friends came in and they're truly friends. We met at the governor's mansion and we talked about where we could meet, how we could find some common ground on that. In 2014 we passed a sweeping criminal justice reform as I said, we've lowered our prison population about 16 percent.
We saved $40 million so I can put that in education and health care and transportation and so when Jared called me and said you guys did this in 14. Can you come talk to the President? And I said well, he's your father-in-law.
He said he'll listen to you, you come talk to him and we met at Bedminster Golf Club and we had a meeting that day and just as we were off in the corner talking, I just said Mr. President, you're the only President that can do this.
BRYANT: Because in reality if President Obama had asked for this, many conservatives would have jumped up and said Oh, he wants to let everybody out of jail. So when I knew when the President did it, we had a shot and so you and I worked together.
We had a lot of folks in the faith-based communities and in law enforcement that came forward and I'd go back to the White House and talk to the Prosecutors' Association and talk to the Police Chiefs Association and we got that and that's what I see about President Reagan when they said oh he's just a white supremacist.
JONES: You mean President Trump.
BRYANT: President Trump, I'm sorry. When they say he's a white supremacist, you saw those men and women standing on that stage that day and if you did the lady was in the balcony during the State of the Union address, that's not the actions of a white supremacist.
That says I want to let and let's just face it, many of these inmates that are now coming out that have newfound freedom are African- Americans. White supremacists, that made me appreciate the definition, would not want to let African-Americans out of jail.
JONES: We got to get to the point in America we can vote against each other and disagree without disrespecting and where we can go from the battleground to the common ground and back again and still hold each other's hands and hold each other accountable.
So I appreciate what you've done. We've got to figure out some way to take that spirit of cooperation to bigger and better places and I think we need one standard for Presidents and the patriotism I feel is that you know, we need to protect our elections.
BRYANT: That's right, every day locally and nationally.
JONES: Absolutely. Well listen, glad to have you on the show. Governor Bryant, big round of applause.
BRYANT: Thank you all. Thanks so much.
JONES: Next up, we got some progressive who have been pushing to impeach Trump for months and months and maybe years. How has social movements led by women of color and people of color and women overall helped to bring us to the moment we're in right now. We'll discuss that when we get back
JONES: All right, this impeachment fight feels long overdue for some liberals who have been simmering with anger with Trump for a very long time. There's been outrage going back to the Muslim travel ban, the Mueller report, children in cages at the border. The list goes on.
How did all of that contribute to where we are today? My next guests have a lot of insight. Please welcome to THE VAN JONES SHOW, Rebecca Traister. She is a writer at New York Magazine. She's the author of a book called Good and Bad. Also Alexandra Flores Quilty. She's the executive director of By the People. Welcome to Van Jones show.
Now you've got a - there's a big rally coming up around the impeachment. Do you feel like we're at a tipping point now? Some people - they were calling for impeachment you know, they won. Do you feel like there's something that's changed? Do you feel like there's a different kind of urgency at this point?
ALEXANDRA FLORES-QUILTY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BY THE PEOPLE: I mean first and foremost Donald Trump has committed impeachable offenses countless times since he sat with in the Oval Office and over time I think that many people that I've talked with all across the country have felt very disillusioned by the fact that we've seen a lack of leadership from those within the U.S. Congress who are our elected representatives.
They're not doing their job in upholding the Constitution to hold him accountable and there's a mounting pressure I think that you know, we saw that in the 2018 cycle when many, many new voters rushed to the polls to vote in new leadership and the last year we've had more and more members of Congress come out in support of impeachment.
And they've done that because the mounted pressure they've received from their constituents.
JONES: Let's talk about that.
JONES: Yes, so you know you you've got this book 'Good and Bad.' You really focus on the rising anger - righteous anger of women in the U.S. political system. How does that play into this whole dynamic?
REBECCA TRAISTER, WRITER, NYMAG: Well, it's an incredibly rich national history. When you look back at almost every transformative political or social movement that has changed the power structures in this country, most of the things we're proud of around women's rights, civil rights, abolition, suffrage, the gay rights movement.
You can find angry women at the start of those movements and if you look back in this moment even in this present moment, it extends before the Trump administration. Look at Black Lives Matter, the Dakota Pipeline protests, Occupy Wall Street. Look at metoo which Tarana Burke started in 2006, right?
So there are routes of fury at power imbalance coming from those who start with less power but of course we know and you mentioned from the moment that Donald Trump is elected you see an explosion of a kind of new wave of fury and so that's the women's March. It's the protest against the Muslim ban. It's the pressure applied to Congress just to not appeal repeal Obamacare in 2017.
But one of the other forms it took was electoral energy, civic engagement so that meant a historic number of women, a historic number of women of color, first time candidates running for office and then huge numbers of active and engaged women and men but many of the women who were out registering voters, knocking doors, canvassing it and all of that was to an end, right?
It was to gain some of that power that has been so unequally distributed and it worked. It got a Democratic majority in the House and then that power is the ability to perform oversight which is in its moment in this moment taking the form of impeachment. So you actually see the anger of many people men and women but a hell of a lot of angry women turning into a coalition to change how power works.
JONES: So you described a really great history of this kind of this building - building force of angry. You know anger goes both directions. Are you concerned about the backlash? Are you concerned about the pushback?
FLORES-QUILTY: You know Trump has a base of people, they're going to be angry one way or the other but actually what this comes down to right now you know, my group was with Rashida Tlaib back in March when she announced her resolution to begin an impeachment inquiry and I agree 100% with what she said on that day, which is that I would be doing the same exact thing if a Democrat had done what Donald Trump is doing.
And this for me I think that for millions of Americans, should not be a Democrat or Republican issue and the very fact that the mainstream conversation right now is mostly weighing about what this is, how it's going to play in the 2020 election, I think honestly makes me not only scared but also angry.
This should be about our Constitution and the highest ideals of our country. Are we going to come together as a country and enforce the rules on to everybody or is Donald Trump going to continue to get away with breaking the law and trampling the rights of millions of Americans?
TRAISTER: Your question about backlash. Donald Trump is the backlash. He's not the only backlash. The rise of the Republican Party of the past four decades is a backlash to the successes of some of those social movements in the mid twentieth century to civil rights, the expansion of voting rights.
Look, the Republican Party appointed judges that gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013. The expansion of reproductive rights. There's a case that has just been accepted by the Supreme Court that may well overturn a good part of over Roe versus Wade.
JONES: You're not worried that in 2020, you're going to have President Trump impeached, acquitted in the Senate and now a martyr running--
TRAISTER: I am worried about so much. Yes, because terrible things are happening. Children are separated from their family, from their parents. People are killed by police. Women are dying. Black maternal mortality rates are through the roof.
There is a yawning economic gap between the rich and everybody else. I'm worried about so much. The only thing I can't be worried about right is that we don't do the correct thing, the patriotic thing because we are so scared of a backlash that already got us here.
JONES: Well, I - Tell me about this the article that you just wrote about the metoo movement, another major transformative movement in our country that faces a backlash.
TRAISTER: In New York Magazine we just published actually incredibly wrenching package, looking at what has happened to the women and men who came forward to ask what their lives have been like since they came forward with charges of harassment and assault against powerful people and corporations.
Because there's so much emphasis placed on what's happened to the very often powerful men who've been accused you know, can they go out in public? Where do they eat dinner? Will they ever get their jobs back? And this great moral question can we grow and forgive them can they evolve?
And yet we very rarely ask those questions about what happened to the people who brought the stories forward and the stories themselves are really hard because almost everyone who's come forward has paid a price, has had their professional life altered, friendships and familial relationships changed, have faced retaliation, paid high legal costs and yet in the spirit of this fight for a better future, for a more just future, many of them also say that they would do it again, that it was worth it.
JONES: Well listen, I want to thank both of you. Nothing good happens by accident in any society. Nothing good happens for women, for poor people, for people of color. Nothing that happens for justice or for peace without people taking real risk and doing real hard work. Both of you guys are in that category. I appreciate you so much. Give them round of applause. Thank you so much for being here. It means a lot to have you here.
But this week President Trump openly asked China and Ukraine to investigate a potential political rival. Now there's a reason that America has been concerned about foreign influence in our elections for centuries and that problem still going on to this day. I'm going to explain why we've been concerned for centuries when we get back.
JONES: This week President Vladimir Putin made light of the political crisis we're having right here in the United States. He actually joked in front of an audience that Russia might interfere in our 2020 election and mockingly whispered just don't tell anyone. That's not funny, all right?
As I said I'm very concerned about Trump and his allies openly talking about this kind of stuff. Listen to Mike Pence actually defending Trump asking Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.
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MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I think the American people have a right to know if the Vice President of the United States or his family profited from his position as Vice President during the last administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: OK, it feels like we need a refresher course about why foreign interference is a big problem so take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): If a foreign government comes to you as a public official and offers to help your campaign, the right answer is no.
JONES: Foreign interference in U.S. elections is something that everybody should be worried about. Up until recently seemed like everybody was.
PENCE: Foreign donors and certainly foreign governments cannot participate in the American political process.
JONES: In fact it's been a concern since our country's birth. Our nation's founders were initially worried about secret influence from Great Britain after the Revolution. The framers were so concerned about foreign intervention, it's one of the reasons they added the impeachment provision in the first place.
Working with a foreign government would be considered a high crime or misdemeanor. James Madison argued it was indispensable that some provision be made for defending the country against an official who might betray his trust to foreign powers but despite the founder's his best efforts, foreign governments have repeatedly tried to influence U.S. elections.
Ahead of the 1796 election, the U.S. was worried about interference from France. French officials were actively working to oust Federalists like Alexander Hamilton in favor of Republicans like Thomas Jefferson because Republicans were more supportive of France's war with Britain.
At the time George Washington said in his farewell address "Foreign influence is one of the most painful foes of Republican government." In 1940 both Britain and Nazi Germany tried to influence U.S. elections.
British intelligence flooded U.S. newspapers with fake stories. Their goal was to defeat politicians who didn't want the U.S. to get pulled into World War II. Meanwhile Nazi officials also funneled propaganda to American newspapers in hopes of stopping FDR's re-election.
Obviously they failed. Ahead of the 1968 election Richard Nixon was running against then Vice President Hubert Humphrey. At the time the Johnson administration was trying to make a deal with Vietnam to end the war. Nixon's campaign secretly tried to convince the Vietnam government to walk away from peace talks in an effort to make Johnson and Humphrey look incompetent.
Nixon would win the presidency by less than a percentage point and of course, there's a big winner of our 2016 election, Vladimir Putin. Russia was wildly successful in achieving its goal of exacerbating division and discord around our election and we're still dealing with the fallout and seeing new attempts at interference from Russia.
As the current fight over team Trump's interaction with Ukraine plays out.
TRUMP: I made a call. The call was perfect.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): To have another country manufacture dirt on his opponent, it is hard to imagine more fundamental abuse of that office.
JONES: Remember what George Washington said in his farewell address against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, the jealousy of a free people are to be constantly awake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Up next an extraordinary moment for goodness. This hug is making some people hopeful and some people uncomfortable. I'm going to give you my take away when we get back.
JONES: This week a black man forgave and even hugged the white cop who murdered his brother. Look at this.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if this is possible but can I give her a hug, please?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Now, this extraordinary gesture created a tidal wave of mixed emotions. After all, the crime was almost unforgiveable. The officer went to the wrong home and then rather than ducking for cover and calling for backup like she is supposed to, she shot a guy sitting there eating ice cream in his own apartment.
And the sentence totally unfair, ten years? She'll probably serve five?
I worked with people who are serving 40 years for drug offenses where nobody got hurt. It's like you know, kill a black guy, get at most ten years in jail and a hug.
All right now do you actually think that a black guy could shoot an innocent white woman in her own home and then get ten years and a hug from her family and a white judge? You know, it just doesn't feel right.
And yet, I don't want to lose the beauty here. If this man can forgive this woman under these circumstances, the rest of us really need to look in the mirror. Politics has become a blood sport. Social media is infested with call out culture and cancel culture. Nobody gives anybody a break anymore.
But we do see in the black community an almost super human capacity for grace and forgiveness. During our enslavement and racial terrorism under Jim Crow, rather than fall into a black hole of bitterness, the black church created a spiritual home that emphasizes love and hope and forgiveness.
Now that kind of grace should not be taken for granted. Instead it is time for it to be reciprocated. Let's see a lot more white judges hugging black defendants. Let's see more white jurors giving black people a break. Don't just applaud this young man's example, America. If you like it, follow his example. All right? Thank you. I'm Van Jones. This is THE VAN JONES SHOW. Peace and love for one another.