Tim Russert of “Meet the Press” was on the "NBC Nightly News” this evening talking about Harriet Miers. He stated that the announcement of her resignation this morning is part of a new strategy by President Bush to “get control of his second term that is spiraling out of control.” In addition, according to Russert, Republicans are calling this "The week from hell.”
In Russert’s view, Republicans weren’t interested in seeing what would happen on November 7 when the confirmation hearings were scheduled to begin, and instead advised the president to “lance it now.”
Finally, Russert said that if indictments do indeed come tomorrow from Patrick Fitzgerald, "[Republicans] hope there are plea bargains and this issue is quickly resolved and settled to spare the president’s second term."
What follows is a full transcript of this report, and a video link.
Brian Williams: Now for the politics of all of this we are joined by our NBC News Washington bureau chief and moderator of "Meet the Press." Tim Russert. Tim, a lot of people woke up to this news surprised by the timing. Why today during this week of all weeks?
Tim Russert: Brian, Republicans are advising the president that he has to get control of his second term that is spiraling out of control. They are calling this “The week from hell.” Rather than wait until November 7 when the hearings were going to begin with Harriet Miers and risk a less than spectacular performance, they said lance it now. You'll take a big political hit on Thursday. And on Friday, no matter what Patrick Fitzgerald decides, it will be another dark news day for the White House. But get those events behind you, and next week, try to in effect restart, and jump-start your second term.
Williams: And Tim, you mentioned those widely expected indictments perhaps from the grand jury. The press criticism may be withering. Broadcasts like this one, the morning shows, “Meet the Press" over the weekend and the other political shows. How does the administration counteract that?
Russert: Brian, they're looking at the second term of Ronald Reagan, how he tried to recover after Iran Contra. And yes, the old political revival Bill Clinton, how who tried to recover after his impeachment. They realize that it is very uphill but it is necessary if you're going to show any success in history over the final three years of your term. Brian, there's a lot of concern that if there are indictments tomorrow, that a long trial could, in fact, be putting the Iraq war on trial and that would play out day after day, week after week in the living rooms across America. Many Republicans I talked to said today that if there are indictments, they hope there are plea bargains and this issue is quickly resolved and settled to spare the president’s second term.