The show starts off with Mike and Jay discussing the list of questions Special Counsel Robert Mueller has for President Trump, and whether or not the president will end up answering them. They both agree that it would be extremely unwise for Trump to sit down for an extended interview, even if that means ‘taking the 5th’, which President Trump has previously (and erroneously) suggested only guilty people need to do. As a legal matter, even if Mueller concludes that President Trump obstructed justice, the only remedy is impeachment and removal by Congress, something that would require extremely compelling evidence.
Then it’s a look at the latest in the Stormy Daniels payoff, in light of new Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s statement that the president reimbursed his attorney Michael Cohen for Cohen’s hush money payment to Daniels. Mike thinks that Trump may have known about the payment, but proving it will be extremely difficult. Jay wonders if the media referring to Daniels as a ‘former porn star’ is a way of making her seem more legitimate, though Mike questions whether ‘former porn star’ is really that much better sounding than ‘porn star’.
After that, the Guys talk about trade – specifically the tariff extensions President Trump recently extended to Canada, Mexico, and the EU, as well as a high-level U.S. trade delegation that was in China this week. Jay argues that this is of a piece with Trump’s typical business strategy of staking out a bold position, never letting go of leverage, and walking away from deals if they aren’t favorably enough. Mike points out that this may work in the private sector, but doesn’t always transfer over to global politics all that well.
Then it’s a look at the proposed T-Mobile / Sprint merger. Mike and Jay are in agreement that it’s likely to enhance competition and be a better deal for consumers. Jay thinks that the Trump administration will ultimately not try to block the merger and while Mike hope’s that’s the case, he’s not as optimistic as Jay is about that outcome.
Finally, the Guys discuss the lawsuit filed by 18 states against the EPA’s move to lower fuel economy standards as well as revoke a longstanding waiver that allows California to set more stringent standards. Mike supports the higher standards and the continuation of the waiver, while Jay feels the standards are worth reevaluating and that California shouldn’t be allowed to set its own, tougher standards.
What Jay’s Reading
Why the Justice Department is Defiant. Kimberly Strassel (WSJ – paywall)
What Mike’s Reading
The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything. James Martin, S.J.
Pope Francis Isn’t Catholicism’s Trump. Andrew Sullivan.
Listener support helps make The Politics Guys possible. If you’re interested in supporting the show, go to politicsguys.com/support.