"Shields and Brooks on the Mueller report" PBS NewsHour 4/19/2019
SUMMARY: Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to analyze the week’s news, including what the Mueller report's details mean for the Trump Presidency and American politics, whether House Democrats should pursue impeachment, and how Attorney General William Barr’s handling of the report reflects on him.
Judy Woodruff (NewsHour): And now to help us understand the broader implications of the Mueller report, we turn to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That's syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks, who joins us tonight from Vancouver.
And hello to both of you.
So, the Mueller report is out, still generating a lot of controversy, as we heard a few minutes ago on the show.
But, Mark, I want to ask the two of you, what do you — what is your main takeaway from this? What is most important here?
Mark Shields, syndicated columnist: I guess sadness, more than anything else, Judy, sadness about the state of the leadership of the country.
I mean, every White House is inevitably a mirror reflection of the President at the top of it, whether it's in terms of optimism of a Reagan or sort of the paranoia of a Nixon.
But this White House, it may be good at some level to have worked in Donald Trump's White House for somebody, but it's terrible for one's self-respect. I mean, at no point in the entire narrative does any sense of the President's unselfishness or patriotism or larger national interest ever emerge in any way.
And I'm grateful that people who are there who didn't come with a heroic reputation did heroic things by resisting his orders to do corrupting acts.
Judy Woodruff: David, your main reaction?
David Brooks, New York Times: That we have a lot of threats to the infrastructure of our society.
Donald Trump is a threat to the systems of government we have, and a threat to the basic honesty of our system. There are all the — every time he appears in the Mueller report, he's running roughshod over what he's supposed to be doing. He's interfering with an investigation. He's ordering somebody to fire somebody else.
He just takes all the procedures and all the systems we have in place in our government and he just runs right through them.
And then the second character in the report are the Russians, and they're undermining the informational infrastructure of our society, the fact that we can have a debate based on solid facts and solid information, and they are systematically, as the report says, aggressively trying to undermine that.
And then the third player in the report is Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. And they're trying to undermine the idea that we can have privacy in our society, the idea that organizations can deliberate with each other.
So what I see are three players who in either a tight alliance or a loose alliance that are all engaged in the same project which is disrupting the basic infrastructures of our society.