PBS NEWSHOUR: Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s political news, including President Trump’s comments about willingness to accept foreign opposition research, the status of election security legislation, candidate lineups for the upcoming Democratic presidential debates and the politics of Democratic socialism.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in the U.S., the stages are set for the first Democratic primary debates, and President Trump weighs in on accepting information from foreign governments about political opponents, which brings us to the analysis of Shields and Brooks.
That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
Hello to both of you.
So let's start with the story that has pretty much dominated the week, David, and that is President Trump saying in that interview with ABC that if he were offered information from a foreign government about a political opponent, he wouldn't have any trouble taking it, and he — why would he report it to the FBI? Now, he's walked it back a little. But how serious is this?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, it's a great moment in moral philosophy when you're asked if you're going to cheat, and you say, of course, everyone cheats.
I salute him for not pretending to be better than he really is. He's pretty candid about it.
But I do think that's a bit of his mind-set, that the rules — everybody breaks the rules. And maybe he conducted his business life that way, and he certainly wants to do that. It's just his natural reaction is, of course. Everybody breaks the rules.
What's disturbing to me is not so much him. We sort of know him already — is how many Republicans are now walking themselves up to the position, well, we're in a death match, and so we need a leader like that.
And I think, in order to justify their support for President Trump, they have talked themselves — or many people have — into the position that this is a life-or-death struggle, the left is out to destroy us, and so breaking the rules is what you got to do.
And so that, to me, is almost a scarier prospect than the heart and soul of Donald Trump.
WOODRUFF: So, some of them, some Republicans have said that he made a mistake.
WOODRUFF: But you're right.
BROOKS: Mitt Romney and others.
But some of the others, the people who are supporting him, it's the ends justify the means argument.