DiscoverVox's The WeedsConflicts of Interest, Trump and the Media, and Rethinking Teen Pregnancy

Conflicts of Interest, Trump and the Media, and Rethinking Teen Pregnancy

Update: 2016-11-23


Sarah, Ezra, and Matt consider the extraordinary possibility of corruption during the Trump administration, the president-elect's unusual relationship with the media, and a new study debunking the old study about 16 and Pregnant.

Following script is auto-generated by Speech to Text Technology:

the following podcast contains explicit language supposedly the third co hosts of the what's going on here but I think we have to start soon if I can call Matt his he just says oh Jesus right downstairs is good because feel very judged by my limelight for the nation like Remember the Time future in the I don't want another boxes policy podcast and apparently now we're back to Grace yes I'm here with that with Ezra Klein as usual and Sarah cliff is going to see a yes I'm in Seattle surprised to note is gray and rainy yes we I knew my great hometown public radio station K T Vogt of sound thank you Kate yes yes thank you so you know we we are here beginning to sort of process what Donald Trump a means for America one thing that has been I think a very prominent storyline over the past couple weeks and since Election Day that reporters have started to pay attention to is the fact that Donald Trump is not just the president elect he's also the owner of a large network of businesses you know that's funny I don't know Trump owned businesses yeah and well during the campaign he sort of frequently mentioned that he's a wealthy businessman the fact that this would pose some significant conflicts of interest was not a major focus at the time but we've seen that he has not resolved this conflict in any meaningful way we've had reports that he is talking to British politicians about wind farms that are obstructing his golf course that we have am possibly talking to the president of Argentina about permits for a skyscraper seems like that didn't happen I slightly disagree I think there was this There are some competing storylines around this time so at the victory party for for the trumps Eric Trump his photos of Eric Trump with a couple of Argentine developers who are their partners on this project is very limited isn't entirely clear what's happening shortcomings lot of business interests around the world his eight companies in Saudi Arabia for example and eight incorporated entities and if you any kind of business in Saudi Arabia doing business with the Saudi government in effect that's just how Saudi Arabia works he's also president of United States in addition to these things that we've had about the direct phone conversations and questions of he has outstanding loans from the Bank of China from Deutsche Bank Deutsche Bank has a regulatory matter pending before the United States government the Bank of China is controlled by the Chinese government so there's this like endless to overstate this point because it's not exactly the same thing but he also settled a fraud case for twenty five million for Trump University yeah I mean he said of Trump University fraud case he his charitable foundation he came out today admitted in his most recent IRS finding that they were mis used about three hundred thousand dollars worth of money this guy just wanted to get elected like two weeks ago I began weeks ago this has not been a long time and a lot of the stuff is stacking up by this is a framing when I just want to take a deep breath and say what a fucking terrible failure it was on the PA heard of of the media in general I think which did a overly good job of anything a working its way through what potential conflicts of interest could be posed by the Clinton Foundation which in general does charitable work and was pretty well constructed needed to be careful around the stuff and was always perfect but they had thought about this and just not only not enough stuff but I think people did not get a very good understanding of what the issues where I think there's a lot of focus on ways in which trumps businesses might have screwed people over and some focus from David Ferrer hold on ways chums foundation that might have misused money but one thing that really I think people did not force Trump to deal with the answer for Sonic part of the debates or anything else was how would he deal with this in office like how we deal with the obvious conflicts of interest read in through his work although in Trump's defense he was asked about this and a handful of occasions and he never said that he was going to handle it no any kind of satisfactory way he said he was going to do was turn management of his companies over to his children he was not shy about the fact that his children were an important part of his political operation and this has been one of the continuing issues here is that his daughter Yvonne guests sat in with him with the prime minister of Japan and she supposedly can be managing his business as I would say on on some level this is a case of where journalists covering this campaign should have taken what he was saying a little bit more seriously I think and literally literally yes both literally seriously in the So it's it's the kind of thing where you know what politicians say and do makes a difference right I mean there when Donald Trump needed to consolidate the Republican Party behind him and there were some things he had to do to make that happen right he clarified what his tax program was and brought into closer alignment with like what Paul Ryan's tax plan said and I think the clear reason for that was that like he wanted to be able to say to House Republicans alike were on the same team that my plane your plane or a little bit different but they're like broadly similar broadly compatible I never saw an account that suggested that this was something that Republican members of Congress weren't comfortable with him he had some problems when that tape came out he had some problems for Judge Terry L but they never suggested publicly that they had a problem with us and since Election Day when the story's been coming out of this kind of a drumbeat of Democrats saying like Hey we should do something about this in Congress you know could do something about this I'm not sure that they could totally satisfactory early handle it but they could say right the president is exempt from the conflict of interest law that applies to other members of the executive branch Congress could change that Congress could Elijah Cummings has simply suggested that the House oversight Committee should hold some hearings in which they bring in Trump's representatives try to talk this through on the record under oath what's going on Jason Chaffetz who chairs the committee he was not a particularly fervent supporter of Donald Trump during the campaign he said he would vote for him because the alternative was Hillary Clinton at the moment the alternative is not Hillary Clinton Jason Chaffetz could just do his job as the chairman of the Government oversight Committee may be well I want to pre judge it but he's had two weeks to comment on that see he hasn't done so there's also United States Senate Mitch McConnell could say we need to ask Bush's appointees about this he has only support runs appointees at trumps the only Senate Senate confirm a person who has put out yet happens to be a candidate for attorney general of the United States which is actually the person who might be the locus of some of the staff it could be the case that senators of both parties question Jeff sessions rigorously about how he plans have the Justice Department handle this but I've seen no indication that they're going to do it and it is important because the all systems of government have this sort of weakness is that fail points there's no way you can just kind of lie down on paper comprehensive outlook for every situation might possibly arise the American system accounts on checks and balances right I mean there were a lot of different ways even structure government but the American system there's some considerable costs in terms of inter branch conflict but the benefit is supposed to be that in precisely this kind of situation even entirely separate group of people with their own names on the ballot elected separately with their own jobs in their own mandates and like they are supposed to do oversight on the executive branch so I think of what happened in the media failure one of bizarre things is that with Clinton like if there's one organization there's the Clinton Foundation and it got this laser like focus from the press there's a ton of time of writing devoted to you what they were doing whether it's corruption with some bits like very dispersed network ranging from like these companies in Saudi Arabia to things that are selling like Trump states like his giant giant network of businesses and a weird way even though that's much larger it seems to me like im a dead there's no clear point of all let's look at that company and would have been quite large undertaking the kind of look at the whole network of Trump businesses and try and figure out what's that look like for president with a conflict of interest might be it doesn't excuse the process all you guys after Lee right that this was a place where there is a blind eye turned to some important things are now dealing with that's how I think about why anything cause us to do with having congressional Republicans in power and being in a position where they could be kind of pushing the focus on the Clinton Foundation and not really seeing the same thing happening on the other side because of what the balance of power looked like in Congress you could have these investigations going going on kind of focusing on repeated drumbeat of the e mails feeding into all of that I wasn't as interested in the piece Matt wrote for Vox climbed it last week was also looking at a different kind of corruption than worry about an American government where before or b you might worry about people rewarding favors giving someone a good day giving a certain company about a Fed now are talking about something quite different and that I don't was little more about this he's been writing about it that feels a bit more for and about actually the president himself benefiting from from what is happening that this isn't about rewarding people you like hippie friends was warning of political allies is actually potentially about your own own business interests and that feels a little bit different than the type of corruption we have worried about and thought about in years past I think that something that got discuss the lot during the election is the idea of Trump as a candidate who had authoritarian impulses sometimes get framed I think usually incorrectly but some of this fascism people have a conceptual framework for the idea that the shrub maybe is not to be committed to some of the niceties of the democratic process something I think is a more clear and present danger actually been that way I do think they're more institutional checks is not just city of like Trump as authoritarianism but some that often happens in more strongman led governments which is sort of cupped aka see something in a situation where the economy has spent much more to the political systems will and I think this important in your PC like a puffer yeah so So I mean I kind of frame is around an article that an economist in John Joseph Wallace was called the concept of systemic corruption in American history and history mentions that in linguistic and historical terms when people in the eighteenth century talked about corruption they didn't mean that Okay of rich businessman might bribe a member of parliament and get him to you know help you out with that with a regulatory matter what they meant was that the cane might use his considerable personal wealth and influence to subvert the political system and that that in turn would dry eyes the entire way of life and an economy that the universe and you know this of app to an old tiny thing how eighteenth century governments were structured but it's something that you see in more modern kinds of states where you have authoritarian regimes that are not ideological in nature that don't have any particular set of principles or values that they espouse criticism Wei sian in which if you want to do business in a modern economy you have to comply with certain kinds of regulations and if the regulators don't care about their work if they don't have some kind of principled view of what the agencies are for it turns out that what the agencies are for is to make sure that supporters of the regime get what they need to do business and that opponents of the regime don't have what they need to do business I am to be clear Trump has not been in office at all so he hasn't yet been in a position to do anything that is like that he just had a lot of shady meetings at things like that the federal government just has this enormous amount of power Donald Trump has an enormous of weird business interests businesses that we can see and we can see that he's not particularly trying to hide potential conflicts of interest rate so you don't what's existing sort of beneath the surface of the iceberg and one the risk that if he is stocks the government with the sort of regulatory equivalence of a Michael Flynn right like people who just know Donald Trump and like em and are dependent on Him that you could have a whole governing regime in which you say your bank right and you don't want to run afoul of regulators and you decide which you need to do to stay in the good side of the government is give generous loans to Donald Trump or cut off credit to wealthy businessman who speak out against Donald Trump and you create a society which people need to make a really hard choice and they say do I want to be like a dissident whose whole life and activities is dedicated to some sort of activism against Donald Trump why wanna just go along get along and what it means to go along get along is make sure you don't donate money to opposition political candidates right make sure that you don't own brands that say hostile things just kind of lay low right and that's the only way to kind of get by and that doesn't it doesn't require you to do anything fascists stickler like quote unquote dictatorial just requires you to me policy and regulatory decisions in a corrupt sort of way and is why it should make I know that some sort of liberal minded people take some solace in the idea that Donald Trump seems like he isn't a real conservative in the log in the way that Mitt Romney or Mike Pence or Paul Ryan were home but I think we should actually regard that as a fairly dangerous quality in a president that is huge by just wanna say listen to this point it's good I think it's good to not be extreme in your ideological viewpoint but it's important for high ranking political officials to have real ideas and values that they believe and because that itself is a kind of constraint right I would be my mind would be belong if President Mitt Romney use the regulatory state to try to coerce businesses into doing personal favors for Mitt Romney because I think Mitt Romney believes in free markets and I think that he would want to staff and administration with other true believing free market people who they might make decisions that I think terrible but they would be like decisions to let people pollute too much because they don't care about pollution Donald Trump and Jared Kushner and Steve ban and that they don't seem like a group of people who has a real commitment to any kind of ideas or principles other than themselves and their kind of aggrandizement of hybrid eyes a little bit with the sort of establishment Republican Party elected officials but they sort of colonize the whole government with just like random people who Donald Trump knows and who he feels personally loyal to him that is far more dangerous than some kind of government of true believers even true believers in really bad causes ask your question yes isn't even thinking about this lot what is the best case scenario so let's say you know it is that Donald Trump doesn't have like super strong ideological believes that he just wants to work to benefit the various business is the only one toward people who are as busy as allies what are the levers to stop that who controls them like how do you think about like the likely success or failure of those levers getting pulled over the next two years I think are actually very strong I mean the American political system as it is written down and say post operate has a very robust checks against this and it's that almost all of these things require you to appoint people who are confirmed by the United States at right and this is controlled by Republicans so it means that Donald Trump should be able to sort of do the equivalent of running downhill with his appointments but it's important for Republicans to insist that Trump appoint qualified Republican Party type people and so one concrete example is that the rumor mill has really like two candidates for Treasury secretary out there but in the MS is Jeb hand sewing was a congressman from Texas who has ideas about financial regulation that I think are kind of terrible but who you know has been in elective office for a long time who endorsed Ted Cruz in the primary because he's a Texas guy who is the lead author of a bill to dismantle Dodd Frank which is what Donald Trump says he wants to do but who also has led some sort of weirdo fight set against the export import Bank he's a very uncompromising view about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which is just to say that my eye I don't like Jeb has feeling particularly I wouldn't mind to see people criticize him but he would be like a real treasury secretary you know with Mike's Farm stated opinions a track record in politics you know and and a guy who is not just like the creature of Donald Trump then the other guy you hear about is Steven Newton who is a rich guy he came up that at Goldman Sachs he worked for George Soros he had his own hedge fund he doesn't really talk much about politics he was at the top fundraiser for Donald Trump's campaign there was an interesting BusinessWeek profile of him in which the reporters asked him why he was supporting Donald Trump and he said you know people asking that all the time and they're not going to be asking that when I get a job in the administration it's going to be obvious oh really Yeah it's like he didn't bolt explained when asked why he was supporting the presidential candidate he was supporting he did not offer any reasons right right right that's the kind of person and I know I know that if Donald Trump hands down a former banker a Wall Street veteran a guy who as far as I knit was completely untainted by scandal there's no like four alarm fire oh my guide's Stephen you can kind of thing but I really think it will be important for the country for people to say Wait a minute we can have a treasury secretary who has no known views about American politics and whose stated reason for supporting for raising tens of millions of dollars for non fans campaign is just that he would increase my personal political power like that's really it's like it's kind of crazy it would be totally unheard of for someone like that to get a Cabinet job I'm usually more like commerce secretary the treasury commerce is for you yet you get beat that's where any D's on Senate Republicans much more so than Senate Democrats because they have the majority but to say that to be like you need people who you could imagine in a different Republican presidents appointed to these jobs I think Jeff sessions is like on the line in that regard but some of the people who you hear buzzing out there are like really not I wanna talk about the incentives of Senate Republicans I think it's important I think is one of those things where people need to pull there like Vision up a little bit so as you mentioned Center publishes have the power here more recently the power here is in twenty thirteen Democrats under under Reid they cut the power to filibuster so one difference between this in two thousand and eight to review this and permed two thousand and eight is in no way even Democrats came in depending on the month with fifty to fifty nine seats in the set they eventually got sixty but it took awhile for the Franken recount to work itself out so the Democrats came in but Republicans have the filibuster a filibuster that when applied to the Senate confirm Abel nominees so one reason folks like Tom Daschle told us about rejected was that it actually did the Republicans to lease let things go for Republicans don't need that anymore Democrats cut the filibuster on non Supreme Court nominees which actually is a move I support but it means that with fifty two votes which is what we expect Republican staff because we think they're going to win that Louisiana Senate runoff with fifty two votes they can just pass Dummies and office one I think the thing that happens here is that people sort of assume that well of course Republicans won't exercise real oversight power over Trump because why would today and that comes out of role I think both wear in general presidents and their parties are pretty well lined but also where we think of parties incentives is just making their president successful and usually I think that is a pretty good way to think about things this is a shorthand and I don't think it is here I don't think it is here for Republicans my argument about make is not an argument or public entity to go against their incentives and stand up for country it's actually their incentives aligned with standing up for Country Inn in two ways one is that it is very bad for your political party to be associated with a president who collapses and scandal the most searing example this obvious is Nixon who just led to a total wrecking of the Republican Party after the impeachment they can come up with other examples to scandal is bad the President is your party's figurehead and to the extent that his brand is bad your brand is bad and Republicans are now the imp our party a bit tense be the minority party that not in the White House party that wins in mid term so they want to keep their jobs one thing we should not do is look Donald Trump destroy their brand for no reason another thing that they should too is actually one Trump to run the country reasonably well because one thing that also effects whether or not you get re elected is whether the economy's whether you've launched wars you shouldn't have launched their two having a competent Treasury Secretary who could head off hopefully a financial crisis if they were getting good information from staff on that that is much better than that have an incompetent one but the third thing here is that Republicans and this gets to how much you believe that people believe what they say they believe you mentioned Mitt Romney and has a faith in free markets during twenty twelve and the subsequent twenty call something a lot of Republicans have talked alot about is crony capitalism I am old enough remember talking to people in twenty fifteen where Republicans would explain that the big problem with Hillary Clinton and the core thing about the rising Republican Party was that Republicans are really against crony capitalism that not once in a state do you know creating these kinds of connections between businesses and government in part because it makes the government more powerful it is something you can talk about inner peace but to the extent that being a successful businessman mean supporting the government in power that means the government in power gets more support from successful businessman and it becomes more powerful becomes protected by its powerful clients and so if you are a Republican who believes in the things you've been saying you believe for a long time one Having a Party become the party of crony capitalism is bad but too it's just it's just that it's just you know he gets the reason you said you're in public life I think people support about that side two reasons to be less optimistic I'm optimistic I am making the argument that is what I do not think this guy out of oak one BC the reserve ok so I the Republicans should think about it though okay got it so I think two things that will push back against this is a day that this is in Republican dangerous one as are kind of talking short term versus long term like in the long term you could see a scandal involving the EU could see these problems coming out with business with remarks on Trump has made the short term I mean a lot of politics is pretty personal McGahee a think a lot of Republican senators want to be the ones who have the president's ear and were invited over the White House in a part of whatever high level discussions are happening so I think there's it's Rick's music a long term versus short term decision that legislators will make about do they want to be in favor with the White House today think is a pretty strong pull to it you know you're someone who runs for office like your whole job is about getting people to like you you a kind of getting into his inner circles than working your way through those have more clout in Washington and on this last point G you're making about crony capitalism I'm curious how much that that flips into Uranus are a lot about and looking on the name of the body of research for the body of research about how so much of our views on politics are really kind of views and policy are motivated by politics that people are much more malleable me in what they think is the right role of government depending on what their party says is the right role of government and feels valuable to me that those views on crony capitalism and how to regulate it that it made what has happened in the past years I was a good healthcare example the individual mandate or that just because of his supporting it flips from a foreign policy Republicans like to policy Democrats like atoms of those are two reasons why I am skeptical that it sings of things planned while fifty one to name a few because these are the people who I think reasonably could like play the wall that I think both parties really neat place right so what one person in this camp would be my clique right he quite vocally oppose Donald Trump and he represents you top which is a state that is very Republican but where Donald Trump was freakishly unpopular for a Republican I mean come one you time the end but he is a senator who i think n feel confident that he is more popular with his constituents than Donald Trump is and who like spoke specifically about this fight and again really doesn't need to like Buck the Republican Party and the Geological issues but to incest that like a well qualified people with a real track record in conservative politics are confirmed I think is Can hundred percent on brand for him and like aligns with his local political interests and while he may officially take some shit for it from other people in his party like he can say them for for the kind of reasons that both of you mentioned that like what Mitch McConnell is for someone else despite the bad Trump nominees Wright and Like Mike Lee can tell Mitch McConnell like he can be that guy Orrin Hatch who has a less of a profile as a Trump antagonists but is also from Utah is a bajillion years old and I think probably done running for re election and might be interested in having like a positive reputation history has already said he's already begun actually create some Republican Party friction by saying that he's not as critical of Paul Ryan's tax reform and what to do something bipartisan so he does seem to want to play a bridge builder John McCain also a million years old I just re elected I really think not going to run again did not know why you keep thinking these guys are going to have you seen the U S Senate then I can barely live anyway I have but McCain also very viciously and senseless Lee personally attacked by Donald Trump during the campaign and I think you know said Some say mean things about McCain about Trump already did speak out on the torture question specifically since the election is definitely the guy who cares a lot about his personal leg
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Conflicts of Interest, Trump and the Media, and Rethinking Teen Pregnancy