PBS NEWSHOUR: Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s political news, including the impact of released impeachment inquiry transcripts, what we might learn from the upcoming public hearings, the possible entry of Michael Bloomberg into the 2020 presidential race and results from state elections in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
"I mean, we're learning the same story over and over again, but we're learning it with more evidence, strength and more underlining, that the quid pro quo really was a quid pro quo," Brooks said. "It was not just a phone call. It was not just a few meetings. It was a concerted campaign."
"I think we have learned nothing dramatically new. It just reinforced what we already knew," he added.
"People are locked in about this guy," Brooks said of Trump. "Nothing has changed their minds in three years. I would be surprised if anything changed their minds next week."
JUDY WOODRUFF, PBSNEWSHOUR: As the impeachment inquiry continues to ramp up ahead of next week's public testimonies, the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination continues, and a former New York City mayor may throw his hat into the ring.
To help us make sense of it all are Shields and Brooks. That's syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
Hello to both of you...
DAVID BROOKS, NEW YORK TIMES: Even more guilty than last week. New and improved guilt.
I mean, we're learning the same story over and over again, but we're learning it with more evidence, strength and more underlining, that the quid pro quo really was a quid pro quo. It was not just a phone call. It was not just a few meetings. It was a concerted campaign.
The questions remaining to me are, where did it all start? Did Donald Trump think of this conspiracy theory in his head? Did somebody else direct it to him? And so how did it get in his head?
Second, how clear a role did Giuliani play? Will the Republicans try to throw Giuliani under the bridge — or under the bus, whatever you throw people under, and say, it wasn't Trump, it was Giuliani, and it was Giuliani serving his clients?
And so those are still remaining. I think we have learned nothing dramatically new. It just reinforced what we already knew...
And it's also become much more clear that there's tensions within the White House over how to handle this whole situation between Barr and Trump, between Mulvaney and Trump.
So people with different attitudes, should we have released the transcripts? Should we have a press conference clearing the president? And Barr doesn't want to do that.
And so you're beginning to see some tensions within the White House, as people to begin to look over their shoulder and see who's really going to take the fall here...
WOODRUFF: And we will see more next week about who is willing and who isn't to come forward.
But, David, we are going to have open public hearings starting next Wednesday.
How does that change the dynamic? We have already seen, as you said, a lot of material. How is that going to change things, do you think?
BROOKS: Yes. Well, this is more a public education campaign. I would be very surprised if we learn much new.
The reason you have private hearings is so you can understand the case in front of you. And then the public hearings are to educate the voters.
And is — have any of us talked to a Trump voter who seems inclined to change their mind about Donald Trump because of what's come out so far? I certainly have not.
And so I do not expect this to change many minds. People are locked in about this guy. Nothing has changed their minds in three years. I would be surprised if anything changed their minds next week...
The only thing I would say, is, when Watergate happened, if you asked Americans, do you trust the government to the right thing most of the time, 60 or 70 percent said yes. And now it's 19 percent.
So, people don't have high views of what goes on in Washington and they are not likely to grant it legitimacy. Secondly, when — Watergate, the Democrats and Republicans differed, but they did not seem to be in different universes.
Now they're in different universes. And the cost of admitting your own party is wrong and potentially handing power to the other party seems ruinous. And so people don't want to make that call. That's why they stick to their party, because they think the cost of their party losing is the end of their own lives. And that's a result of politicization...
I think there's anxiety about Biden. The question will be, will Michael Bloomberg take on Biden directly? I think he more or less has to.
If there's — there's no lane there as long as Biden is strong. And so if there — I think there is going to be a direct challenge from Bloomberg to Biden. We will see how that turns out.
I do think there's room for people who just seems like the calm voice who could take Trump without many questions asked. I think there's room for a candidate to say, hey, I'm not an ideologue. I just know how to run things.
And I think there's some market for that. So, as long as the moderate lane is not held by a strong incumbent, then I think there's room for either Buttigieg or Bloomberg.
Having said that, I think the happiest person tonight has to be Elizabeth Warren. And the entrant of another moderate into the race has to dilute the moderate vote. It has to make it more likely that Warren and Sanders will be the nominee...
WOODRUFF: State and local elections across the country, a lot of places across the country this week, Mark.
People especially looking at Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi. Do we see anything there that tells us something about next year?...
BROOKS: Yes, I think the Bevin thing is more Bevin. The Republicans didn't quite well in all the other statewide races in Kentucky...
And so — but, that said, what everyone's noticing about this is what we have been noticing all along.
The suburbs are not Republican territory anymore. The classic case was in Pennsylvania, where — since I was born, the swing area of Pennsylvania was the Philadelphia suburbs, the Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks and Chester counties.
And they seem pretty Democratic right now. Trump isn't — Republicans are doing a little better out in west, out in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. But if you want to know where all the people are, they're in the Philadelphia suburbs.
And that looks very Democratic. And if that trend is repeated nationally, then that's just very good for Democrats.