On ABC’s ‘This Week’, Axios’s Jonathan Swan Pops Liberal Bubbles

Axios national political reporter Jonathan Swan has the reputation of being the objective person in the room when he’s on panels often dominated by open partisans and media folks pushing left-wing narratives. In an appearance during ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Swan popped a few liberal bubbles when it came to suggestions that President Trump’s tweets about former VP Joe Biden meant he was afraid. He also mocked the bluster of Congressional Democrats and their arbitrary deadlines.

During the Powerhouse Roundtable discussion late in the show, Swan was asked by moderator Jonathan Karl to comment on Trump’s many tweets and retweets slamming Biden.

After recalling speaking to at least one Trump aide who has urged the President to stop “elevating Biden”, Swan explained that Trump viewed things “through the lens of branding”. “But Trump likes to define people early on. I mean, that's his whole game. It’s like, ‘I need to brand him.’ It's all through the lens of branding. So, that's what he's doing right now,” he said.

He then dashed any suggestion that the President was fearful of Biden’s frontrunner status among the large Democratic field:

Trump just looks the polls. It’s not that complicated. He sees the polls, Biden's at the top, “I'm going to spend a lot of time beating this guy up.” I genuinely – from any conversation I’ve had with people around Trump, I don't think he's expressing, you know, wringing his hands; “Oh what do I do about Biden?” That’s just not how he is.

 

 

Fellow panelist and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie argued that if the economy was still doing great come Election Day 2020, it would very difficult for Democrats to break through. Swan agreed, noting that Trump “sees his greatest threat as Jerome Powell. He thinks the Federal Reserve is the greatest threat to his reelection. And he has said that.

When the conversation inevitably moved to the Russia investigation and the Mueller Report, Swan on was top of things as he mocked Congressional Democrats for their weak and ineffective efforts against the Executive Branch (click “expand”):

SWAN: Let’s be honest. It’s farcical. How many deadlines has Jerry Nadler given? High-noon deadlines? “April 2, you must release the Mueller Report.” And then the Justice Department said, “Oh that’s really cute. We’re not going to do that.”

KARL: And the deadlines on his taxes.

SWAN: “Oh, Matt Whitaker, you must comply. No, actually we'll back off.” “Bill Barr, you must testify!”

And guess what. On Monday morning 9:00 a.m., the latest deadline, ‘pound sand’ will be Bill Barr's response to that,” Swan exclaimed. “And they just keep doing it. Because here’s what the dirty secret is, they can hold him in contempt. It's been done before. It matters nothing. It goes through the courts, it’s going to get dragged out. Bill Barr knows he has the power and he is telling them to go shove it.

Christie recalled when a Republican-controlled Congress held Obama Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt and it went nowhere because “that gets referred to the Justice Department for prosecution. And Eric Holder went, ‘Meh, I don’t think I'll prosecute myself.’ Well, if you think Bill Barr’s going to have any different answer, you can forget it. That's what's going to happen.”

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

ABC’s This Week
May 5, 2019
9:45:06 a.m. Eastern

(…)

JON KARL: What is the answer to the question that Judge Jeanine was asking Mick there, Jonathan, why is the President so enthralled with tweeting about Joe Biden? Is that who he worries about?

JONATHAN SWAN: Trump – There’s been a couple people who have told him, or there’s at least one person I know of who has told him to stop elevating Biden, because it's only helping him. But Trump likes to define people early on. I mean, that's his whole game. It’s like, “I need to brand him.” It's all through the lens of branding. So, that's what he's doing right now.

Trump just looks the polls. It’s not that complicated. He sees the polls, Biden's at the top, o“I'm going t spend a lot of time beating this guy up.” I genuinely – from any conversation I’ve had with people around Trump, I don't think he's expressing, you know, wringing his hands; “Oh what do I do about Biden?” That’s just not how he is.

But there are people around him who see Biden as the biggest threat and for very simple reasons. The rust belt is where they need to win this election and Biden can take a lot of these voters.

(…)

SWAN: Biden says he's going to be very tough on Margaret Thatcher.

(…)

KARL: So, Trump goes from the guy who couldn’t win to the guy that can’t lose?

SWAN: I don’t know about can’t lose, but I don't disagree with the Governor on that. And that’s why –Look, that's why Trump doesn't see his greatest threat is Joe Biden. He sees his greatest threat as Jerome Powell. He thinks the Federal Reserve is the greatest threat to his reelection. And he has said that.

(…)

SWAN: Let’s be honest. It’s farcical. How many deadlines has Jerry Nadler given? High-noon deadlines? “April 2, you must release the Mueller Report.” And then the Justice Department said, “Oh that’s really cute. We’re not going to do that.”

KARL: And the deadlines on his taxes.

SWAN: “Oh, Matt Whitaker, you must comply. No, actually we'll back off.” “Bill Barr, you must testify!” And guess what. On Monday morning 9:00 a.m. the latest deadline—

KARL: Another deadline.

SWAN: “Pound sand” will be Bill Barr's response to that. And they just keep doing it. Because here’s what the dirty secret is, they can hold him in contempt. It's been done before. It matters nothing. It goes through the courts, it’s going to get dragged out. Bill Barr knows he has the power and he is telling them to go shove it.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Jon, listen, when Mary turned the phrase of people being frustrated and furious, that reminded me of the last time we held an attorney general in contempt.

[Crosstalk]

The Republican Congress, held Eric Holder in contempt over Fast and Furious, and what happened? Nothing, because you know what happens? That gets referred to the Justice Department for prosecution. And Eric Holder went, “Meh, I don’t think I'll prosecute myself.” Well, if you think Bill Barr’s going to have any different answer, you can forget it. That's what's going to happen.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Events Mueller Report Conspiracy Theories Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals Trump-Russia probe Broadcast Television ABC This Week Video Robert Mueller Jonathan Karl Chris Christie Donald Trump Joe Biden Bill Barr

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