NPR’s Tamara Keith and Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report join Judy Woodruff to discuss the latest political news, including former President Donald Trump’s rewriting of the January 6 attacks, President Joe Biden’s stance on police reform and what it says about the Democratic party.
More than six months since the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, former President Donald Trump continues to try to rewrite what happened.
Here he is speaking to FOX News yesterday about the events.
There was such love at that rally.
You had over a million people there. They were there for one reason, the rigged election. They felt the election was rigged. That's why they were there. And they were peaceful people. These were great people.
The crowd was unbelievable. And I mentioned the word love. The love — the love in the air, I have never seen anything like it.
But, as everyone saw, the events were anything but peaceful. Rioters broke into and ransacked the Capitol Building, resulting in millions of dollars in damages, as well as physical and emotional trauma for the officers, staff, and members of Congress there that day.
It had a devastating impact on law enforcement. Three officers died in the immediate aftermath. At least 140 suffered physical injuries, ranging from concussions to cracked ribs and, in one case, a minor heart attack. And more than 70 rank-and-file Capitol Police officers have since retired or resigned.
Our Politics Monday team is here to analyze all this and more, Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR.
And we thank both of you for being here. It is so good to see you both in person at the desk.
Amy Walter, The Cook Political Report:
Tam, I do want to come back to what President — former President Trump said.
Love is in the air. He said it was all about love and it was peaceful.
Can he rewrite history?
He has been rewriting history since January 6 — well, actually since before.
But, on January 6. He tweeted, these are the things that you get, essentially, with regards to the election. And then he ends this tweet: "Go home, with love and in peace. Remember this day forever!"
He was rewriting the story of what happened that day on that day. And this is a continued evolution. It's obviously not just him. There are Republican members of Congress who have said, oh, it was just a tourist visit.
There is a very concerted effort under way to say that what we all saw with our eyes wasn't what we saw.
And, Amy, you and I have both been covering this city and American politics for a long time, me even longer than you.
Have you seen any — an instance where someone in the former president's position could actually just sort of rearrange what happened?
Make — make things up, again, asking us to not believe our own eyes, and arrest records.
Something like 500 people have been arrested…
… for what happened there. We know a commission is going to begin lacking into this. We know the FBI is looking into this.
More stuff is going to come out. People videotaped themselves doing the damage, being proud of the damage that they — that they did.
But what is really worrisome, Judy, is not just, you didn't see this, this wasn't really what happened, but they continued attacks on this rigged election, and this idea that, ultimately, this election this president, that President Biden, is illegitimate.
And once you undermine faith in democracy, once losers believe that they only lost because it was unfair, you have lost everything. Our system works as well as it does because losers know at some time they are going to be winners, and winners know at some point they are going to be losers, and that balances this out.
It cannot be sustained, this level of attack, on the very foundation of our democracy, when 75 percent of Republicans believe that Joe Biden is an illegitimate president, when more and more people believe that this election truly was rigged, when people who stood up against the president, now he's personally attacking them for not doing something illegal.
That is a really big problem that is going to go beyond whatever Donald Trump says on FOX.
And you have, Tam, right now, the — we're waiting to see whether Republicans in the House of Representatives are going to appoint their members to this select committee investigating January the 6th.
Do we expect there is ever going to be a fact-finding that everyone, that most Americans can expect?
Do we expect a shared set of facts?
It seems pretty unlikely, given everything that the former president said, given that he was at the CPAC conference, and there were any number of people who were talking about Joe Biden leaving office and Donald Trump coming back in this year, which is just not technically possible. It cannot happen.
So the likelihood of there being a universally accepted 9/11 Commission-style reports seems pretty unlikely at this point, given that Republicans in Congress ultimately didn't go along with the bipartisan deal to create a bipartisan commission. And, instead, you are going to have a committee that will easily be portrayed as partisan.
So, it just hangs over the next election, Amy, and beyond, as you just said, unresolved.
I mean, the real question is, what kind of people will Kevin McCarthy appoint to this? Is he going to put on the sort of firebrands, the ones who are the sort of Trump acolytes, who are going to not just push back against the commission findings, saying, well, this is partisan, but really go full-throated into many of these same conspiracy theories?
Or will he put people on there who will look at this, maybe make some good recommendations, but ultimately say this wasn't President Trump's fault, whatever happened here, he was not the fault of the president? Which is really a lot of what the debate about the impeachment was too.
We acknowledge these violent things happened. We can't make the connection between Trump asking them to do these things and creating that.
I also want to ask you both about something President Biden dealing with again, and that, Tam, is the rise in violence, violent crime, gun violence.
How much pressure is on this president to do something about this? We're waiting to see whether there is police reform legislation. What do we — what do you see?
Certainly, the Biden White House for the second time in about a month drawing attention to concerns about crime, talking about sending strike forces into cities to help assist with violent crime, in a memo pointing out to local leaders that, yes, you can use COVID relief funds to fund the police.
The Biden White House is doing everything they can to say, yes, there has been talk about defunding the police, but President Biden never supported it and, in fact, he wants to fund the police more.
Why are they pushing so hard on this? One, crime is up, and that is a political liability. And so that is the main reason why they are pushing forward with this, making it an agenda item, because it is an issue. It's a real issue.
And it was telling that he invited as one of the people to the White House today Eric Adams, who won the Democratic primary as New York City mayor, former police officer, who ran as a more conservative, though still liberal Democrat, more conservative on this issue, pushed back hard on the issue — on this idea of defunding the police.
And sort of using that as an example, both of them sort of using each other as examples of you can be a progressive Democrat. You can be for police reform. But that does not mean you have to be for defunding police and it does mean that you believe in public safety.
But Democrats are, Tam, sorting their way through this issue.
On the one hands, calls for spending a lot less money on police, defunding, even, or cutting back, and, on the other hand, saying, wait a minute, crime is up.
And President Biden has been trying to strike this balance, but it is not clear that is he actually where the center of his party is. It is not clear what the center of gravity is among Democrats for how to deal with crime or how to deal with police reform, how much money should go to community policing, whether community policing is actually the solution that President Biden says it is.
There is a lot of debate under the surface there. And the fact that they have not been able to come up with a bipartisan agreement on police reform indicates that there isn't a breakthrough just yet.
In just a few seconds, it's a tough one.
Well, it absolutely is. It is also very tough for the federal government to have much impact on what is happening in individual cities.
And this is also the challenge, right? Democrats overwhelmingly represent cities, urban cores and inner suburbs. And so it's easier then for Republicans to point and say, well, it's a Democrat — Democrats' problem. They're the mayors. They're the city council people.
It's a bigger challenge then for Democrats to get out their message on it.
Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, Politics Monday.
Thank you both…
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