‘God Only Knows’: Todd Dreads Trump’s Reaction to Possible Acquittal

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Taking a breather from blaming the country’s division solely on right-leaning Americans and railing against moderate female Republican senators who had issues with the Democratic impeachment managers, NBC political director Chuck Todd took time during Sunday’s Meet the Press to share his dread for what President Trump would say if the Senate acquitted him.

So, what's acquittal going to look like,” he fearfully asked Hoover Institute research fellow Lanhee Chen. “Mike Braun, Lanhee, wants to have people believe or maybe he wants to believe that somehow the President is going to have learned something here. That feels like, okay, fool me once, fool me twice, fool me three, at what point do you start counting?

Chen argued that “There are no teachable moments in this process. No one is learning anything. The President is not learning anything. Democrats are not learning anything.” He then took the Band-Aid approach with Todd and told him: “President is going to get acquitted. That's going to be it.

But Todd could not get over it and repeated the question to NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker. “What's he going to do with acquittal,” he asked. Before Welker could begin to answer him, he shared his fear. “He already has—He’s at the Super Bowl ad. I'm sure he's going to -- God only knows what he's going to say in that if he gets acquitted.”

What Todd meant to say was that the President had his traditional Super Bowl interview coming up.

 

 

When Welker was finally able to answer her fearful host, she nothing to quell his anxiety. She instead noted how the President’s reelection campaign was “already gearing up” and “blanketing the airways.” “He is going to use this moment to essentially try to energize his base and the campaign is gearing up to do that. A full-court press, I am told,” she added.

Prior to that portion of the program, Todd decried three female Republican senators (Joni Ernst (IA), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Susan Collins (ME)) for voicing their displeasure with the Democratic impeachment managers. “Here are some folks going out of their way to indicate -- finding ways to not be for witnesses or not be happy about the House impeachment manager[s],” he whined to Welker.

Todd had kicked off the show by blaming America’s division on Trump and Republicans. “Even without impeachment, it was not hard last week to find examples of how divided as a country we have become. There was last Saturday's fourth annual Women's March here in Washington inspired by opposition to President Trump.”

He then tried to smear the Monday gun-rights rally in Richmond, Virginia as racist by noting it was “the former capital of the confederacy on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.” Of course, there was no mention that it was Lobby Day, there were black people and other minority groups in the crowd supporting the Second Amendment, including LGBT people.

“Then, for pure absurd, there was the red-blue shoving match with Oklahoma banning state-funded travel to California,” he added. It was only after Todd had bashed Oklahoma that he admitted California was the instigator. He also huffed about Trump attending the March for Life. It was the first time NBC had acknowledged on-air that Trump was there. Of course, he refused to call it a pro-life event.

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

NBC’s Meet the Press
January 26, 2020
10:32:09 a.m. Eastern

CHUCK TODD: Good Sunday morning. Even without impeachment, it was not hard last week to find examples of how divided as a country we have become. There was last Saturday's fourth annual Women's March here in Washington inspired by opposition to President Trump. Then there was Monday's pro-gun rally in Richmond, Virginia that’s in the former capital of the confederacy on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Then there was the annual anti-abortion March for Life on Friday, with Donald Trump making the first-ever appearance for a sitting president. Then, for pure absurd, there was the red-blue shoving match with Oklahoma banning state-funded travel to California, after California did the same to Oklahoma.

All of this, of course, was the undercard to the main event: the first full week of President Trump's impeachment trial.

Over three days, Democratic impeachment managers methodically laid out their case that President Trump abused power and obstructed Congress. But Democrats made that case needing at least 20 votes from Republican senators who seem as indifferent to their arguments as Democrats were passionate in making them.

As the events around the country last week suggest, the Democratic-Republican stalemate on Capitol Hill was less a cause than a reflection of our national divide. And that divide may grow even wider as it appears Republicans may bring a quicker end to the impeachment trial than Democrats want.

(…)

11:07:10 a.m. Eastern

TODD: Kristen Welker, this is what Republican Senators that many of us have identified as potential voters for witnesses and more evidence; responded to some issues with the House impeachment manager[s]. Joni Ernst, “it's hard to keep an open mind when there's so much baloney being thrown at you.” Susan Collins, “I was stunned by Congressman Nadler’s approach.” Lisa Murkowski, “Schiff was moving right along with a good oratory. Then he got to a couple of places and that was unnecessary.”

Maybe we're all going to over-read these things, but it is interesting that they went—that here are some folks going out of their way to indicate -- finding ways to not be for witnesses or not be happy about the House impeachment manager[s].

KRISTEN WELKER: That's right! They were almost given a way out, Chuck. And what was notable talking to Democrats and Republicans, they said we just don't have four votes right now. Romney might be a yes, Collins might be a yes, but Murkowski indicating she's not going to be a yes. So, where do you find those other votes? They're looking potentially at Lamar Alexander.

One Democrat said to me last night, “we're looking for our John McCain.” I thought that was interesting that you heard Senator Klobuchar invoke his name as well. And they said, “Look, we're basically going to wrap ourselves in the American flag until this vote to try to hammer home that point that Chairman Schiff is making, which is essentially that we need to have all of the facts here before we have a fair trial.

(…)

11:10:30 a.m. Eastern

TODD: So, what's acquittal going to look like? It was really -- Mike Braun, Lanhee, wants to have people believe or maybe he wants to believe that somehow the President is going to have learned something here. That feels like, okay, fool me once, fool me twice, fool me three, at what point do you start counting?

LANHEE CHEN: There are no teachable moments in this process. No one is learning anything. The President is not learning anything. Democrats are not learning anything. The notion that somehow we can arise from this and there can be some opportunity, so, no, I don't think -- there's no alternative here. Right? What's going to happen is that the President is going to get acquitted. That's going to be it. So, the notion that somehow we're going to have this process and everyone is going to come out of it somehow having learned some lesson, I don't buy that necessarily. But, you know, yeah.

TODD: What's he going to do with acquittal?

WELKER: I thought it was so notable --

TODD: He already has—He’s at the Super Bowl ad. I'm sure he's going to -- God only knows what he's going to say in that if he gets acquitted.

WELKER: And the President and his campaign are already gearing up. They’re already blanketing the airways, trying to energize his base. He's going to be in Cape May on Tuesday, in Iowa on Thursday. He is going to use this moment to essentially try to energize his base and the campaign is gearing up to do that. A full-court press, I am told.

TODD: Is there risk for these Republican senators that are in tough races if and when more -- I say if, likely more information comes out and stuff looks -- and this looks worse and worse?

(…)

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