What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

Amy Walter and Tamara Keith on March for Our Lives impact, Trump’s legal challenges

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Washington and around the country this weekend to push for tougher gun laws. Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR join Judy Woodruff to discuss the chance that Congress will act on pressure over gun control, President Trump’s threat on Friday to veto the omnibus spending bill and lawsuits by women against the president.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Washington and around the country this weekend to push for tougher gun laws. Will the student-led March For Our Lives motivate Congress to take action?

    Our politics Monday team is here to weigh in. That's Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR.

    And welcome to both of you, Politics Monday.

    So, I know you, as I did, watched at least some of this extraordinary outpouring on Saturday, Amy. We have talked about guns time and again in this country. Is this going to make any difference with the people who make the decisions in Congress and elsewhere?

  • Amy Walter:

    So, I think it's pretty clear that, if we're talking about this Congress at this time, we're almost — we're almost definitely not going to see anything. That was hard for me to get out.

    We're not going to see anything happening in this Congress at this time. Is this going to be an issue going to forward for the midterm elections as a more powerful motivator for voters? Potentially, especially when we think about where the battleground for House control is in 2018.

    It's in the suburbs. And I think this issue has always played to the benefit of Democrats or to people who want to see more controls on guns, more restrictions on guns, but maybe even more of a forefront.

    I think the real issue, though, Judy, is it comes to the issue of enthusiasm. And this is what we saw at the march, whether it was in Washington or in towns and cities across America, this intensity and enthusiasm from younger voters to get out, make their voices heard, and also say that they're interested in voting in this election.

    Even before this march, when the Pew Research organization, they asked young voters how like they were, how interested they were to vote, 62 percent said they were very interested to vote or at least they were interested in the midterm elections.

    Compare that to 2010, when it was 39 percent. So that level of enthusiasm and intensity is a big problem for Republicans, because younger voters are also the people who dislike the president more than almost any other demographic group.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    You're nodding your head.

  • Tamara Keith:

    Right.

    Those marches were about guns, but they were also sort of an embodiment of the energy that exists on the left and the energy that exists among young people.

    And the other thing to point out is that there were a whole lot of people out at those events all over the country registering people to vote. And so, as Amy says, there's not really a legislative path right now in Congress for gun control legislation of the likes that these folks at these rallies were calling for.

    There were some small items that were put into that big omnibus spending bill that Congress just passed and the president signed. And the White House was today basically saying, we have done this, mission accomplished.

    And that big spending bill was likely the last major train out of the station for legislation in Congress this year.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Some tightening of the background check process.

  • Amy Walter:

    Right. But it doesn't expand background checks.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But it doesn't expand it, and the bump stocks.

    (CROSSTALK)

  • Amy Walter:

    Right. And it certainly doesn't address the kinds of guns that people can buy, which was really a major piece of the rally and the speakers at those rallies.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The other thing we had going on, separate from this, but you did — we are talking about the spending bill, Amy, is a lot of drama around whether the president was going to sign that huge mega-piece of legislation, $1.3 trillion.

    We can barely conceive of it. What was all that about?

  • Amy Walter:

    I think it was about the fact that the president saw a negative reaction coming from conservative commentators, specifically conservative commentators on television, who were saying, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute, I thought we elected the great negotiator. I thought we were getting somebody who was going to reduce the size of government and was going to get the wall built and was going to make sure that he got the best deals in this bill.

    Instead, it looks like he got rolled. He got rolled by Democrats and by his own party. And that is the real danger for Republicans going into this midterm election, that what the president does when he's confronted is, he says, oh, no, no, no, this isn't about me, this isn't my fault, this is congressional leaders.

    And even his own leadership, he's willing to throw under the bus to protect his own brand, at the expense of his party. They're the ones up for reelection in 2018. He's not.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    How do you see it?

  • Tamara Keith:

    Yes. Right.

    And so, 4.5 hours after all of the suspense began, the president admitted that he had signed the bill and then expressed frustration with basically the separation of powers and the way Congress works, and the whole concept of negotiation, that they had to give things up to get what they wanted.

    And he called for an end to the line-item veto, which that would be — or he wants a line-item veto. That would be unconstitutional and is not going to happen, and other changes that are simply not going to happen.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, Tam, Amy mentioned dangers to the president.

    The other thing that we have just been talking about, of course, is these three lawsuits by women who allege they have had some sort of either affair with the president or, in the case of this woman on "The Apprentice," that the president defamed her by saying she lied about his groping her.

    How much political jeopardy is there, does this represent for the president?

  • Tamara Keith:

    It's a good question. And it's not clear in terms of polling that these cases are really registering with his base in any significant way.

    There was some Pew polling that looked at white evangelical voters, who supported him overwhelmingly in the election, and they knew what they were getting. The "Access Hollywood" video had already come out in. In January, when this story first broke, there was a little dip in his support. But he's back up in mid-March to 78 percent support among white evangelicals.

    So it's not clear that it's registering with the people who support the president.

  • Amy Walter:

    I would also argue that his bigger legal challenge right now is the fact that his legal team around him continues to be in disarray, either people coming or going or he's firing, or whatever, while he's going into a critical moment in this Mueller investigation.

    He's saying out loud, sure, I will get interviewed, sure, I will sit down with Mueller, when you know his team is not particularly excited about this idea. And the sort of winging it on something as critical as sitting down with the special counsel seems to be, to me, the most problematic piece for his legal standing right now, the jeopardy.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Because the law — as we just heard our guest who's a former federal prosecutor say, Tam, the concern may come with discovery with the Summer Zervos…

    (CROSSTALK)

  • Tamara Keith:

    Exactly, with her case, that they could ultimately get a deposition with the president of the United States, among many things,.

    And President Trump, I have been reading a lot of his depositions today for some work I'm doing at NPR.

  • Amy Walter:

    Really?

  • Tamara Keith:

    I have, going back a number of years. And…

  • Judy Woodruff:

    You mean he was involved in other legal cases?

  • Tamara Keith:

    Well, of course.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    A lot of them.

  • Tamara Keith:

    Thousands of them, in fact.

    And in some of the cases where he's been deposed, there are some themes that come out, including sort of a lack of preparation and a lack of really paying attention to detail.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We will look for that report.

    Tamara Keith, Amy Walter, Politics Monday. Thank you both.

  • Tamara Keith:

    You're welcome.

  • Amy Walter:

    Thank you, Judy.

Listen to this Segment

The Latest