AMY WALTER: Hello.
I'm Amy Walter, and this is the Washington Week Extra.
The Washington Post reported this week that the Trump Foundation admitted it broke some
IRS rules when it used the charity's money to pay some personal expenses of family and
So, Matea, what can you tell us about the latest twists and turns
in the Trump Foundation story?
MATEA GOLD: So, yes, this has been a story that my colleague David Farenthold has been
dogging over the course of the last year.
And what happened this week was that the Trump Foundation filed their latest tax return,
and it showed that they had actually checked off a box saying that they had engaged in
self-dealing, which means that there was basically foundation resources that went to
benefit someone - a private party related to the foundation, both in the last tax year
and previous tax years.
We don't know what instances they were referring to.
They might have been referring to instances that David uncovered, which included the
purchase of a Donald Trump portrait with foundation money and a settlement of lawsuits
with foundation money.
They did not specify that.
But these are the kind of
violations that could trigger fines and a request for a repayment of those funds.
AMY WALTER: Can the IRS follow up on this?
He's now the president-elect, soon will be the president.
Are there rules about what the IRS can do to a sitting president if it's about tax law?
MATEA GOLD: He's still subject to tax law as the president, and it looks like from the
form that they are basically acknowledging this and preparing either to pay a fine or
saying that they already have paid one.
There's another form that would indicate
whether they actually had paid that money that wasn't uploaded yet.
So it remains to
But there will be some - it looks like some resolution to that.
And it really comes, I think, as a vindication of the reporting David was doing, which
the Trump campaign for the most part declined to comment on or said that they were
operating within the bounds of the law.
AMY WALTER: Right.
Well, we're also going to move to the fact that, while the
election feels over - it is over - there's one place in America where it's still not
over, and that's in North Carolina.
There's a governor's race there where the race
still remains undecided.
This is Republican Governor Pat McCrory, who's currently
trailing the attorney general, Roy Cooper, the Democrat there.
And, Josh, this has gotten a little bit contentious.
JOSHUA GREEN: Nothing ever ends this election cycle.
AMY WALTER: No, it's a constant cycle.
JOSHUA GREEN: This goes on and on and on.
Well, so Cooper is ahead by just under
10,000 votes, which in itself is a disappointment for Democrats, frankly, because
McCrory had signed a very controversial transgendered bathroom bill and seemed to be
ahead - quite a ways ahead going into the fall.
A lot of Democrats thought that this
would really be a victory for LGBT, Americans would ratify the idea that you can't
push these things.
And instead of being a resounding victory, we are now, it looks
like, headed to a recount.
But the interesting thing about the situation as it
stands now is that McCrory, the possibly outgoing governor, is crying voter fraud and
contesting the validity of what in any case is a very close election.
AMY WALTER: And does this suggest, given what McCrory's doing, what we heard during the
course of the campaign - now we're even hearing from liberals, saying that the election
might have been stolen or rigged in some of these very close states against - who voted
for Trump - that this is going to be the new normal, that anytime you lose you're going
to say voter fraud or rigged?
JOSHUA GREEN: You know, it feels like it is.
I mean, we're a couple weeks into the new Trump administration and American political
norms are being knocked down left and right, and not just by Donald Trump.
I think the fact that McCrory's kind of coming out and saying this preemptively and
scrambling things and upsetting people, while also rallying, you know, Republicans behind
him, means that, you know, the idea of kind of honorably conceding that you've been
defeated may be a figment of the past.
AMY WALTER: Well, speaking about the past, Kristina, I'm going to talk to you - want to
talk to you a little bit about the - after the 2012 election, Republicans had the
so-called autopsy of their defeat.
Are we going to see a Democratic autopsy?
I mean, we now have Democrats who've lost seats since Obama's been president.
In the legislature, I think they've lost something like 900 seats at the state
legislative - state legislative level.
They've lost like 11 Senate seats.
They're at their lowest numbers in the House since the 1920s.
So are Democrats going to have to come back and do that same sort of take a really deep
look at ourselves, go through everything to figure out what to do next?
KRISTINA PETERSON: I think they are going through that reckoning, and these questions
over identity politics and how important a part that should be is a factor of that.
They did gain some seats in both the House and Senate this election, so they are creeping
up a little bit.
And there is optimism that they can perform well in the 2018 midterms
because Republicans have full control of Congress and the White House, and the
expectations are going to be sky high.
So Democrats are hoping to take advantage of
that and any missteps that President Trump might take.
But they are facing these structural disadvantages in the way House districts are drawn.
And their losses at the statehouse level, as you mentioned, are so significant that's
going to take a really long time to come back.
AMY WALTER: Yeah, and this has happened over the course of Obama's -
KRISTINA PETERSON: Right.
AMY WALTER: He's done very well, but everybody else in his party has failed.
So what does that say about the Democratic Party going forward?
KRISTINA PETERSON: I think what's tricky right now is that they haven't had control of
Congress, so they haven't been able to advance their own agenda.
It's a little bit tougher for them to say which policies have and haven't been working.
AMY WALTER: Right.
And finally, we want to talk about sort of the big existential
question for you all.
Candidate Donald Trump changed the way presidential elections
were covered, and it looks like he may have the same effect on the way media covers the
And, Ashley, you spent a lot of time on the campaign trail trying to cover
a very different kind of candidate than you did in the previous election.
ASHLEY PARKER: Correct.
AMY WALTER: What is it going to look like to cover a President Donald Trump, especially
if he still uses this to send out tweets, and he has on-the-record meetings with The New
York Times but has yet to hold a press conference?
ASHLEY PARKER: I think that's a question that the truth is we're all trying to figure
out, and we have been trying to figure that out for some time.
I remember when I was
covering Donald Trump on the campaign trail and he first banned The Washington Post.
I sort of had this thought of, what happens if he becomes president and how would we
And my first thought was, oh, well, of course the White House Correspondents
Association would write a letter and tell Donald Trump it's not acceptable.
And we are now at the point in the transition where there have been one or
two strongly worded letters, and what you sort of realize is a lot of these things exist,
you know, based on, basically, their core nicety, a societal -
AMY WALTER: Right, or the past - right, past norms.
ASHLEY PARKER: Yeah, societal niceties.
And so nothing says that he - the
president has to have a protective pool.
AMY WALTER: Has to do it, yeah.
ASHLEY PARKER: Nothing says he has to allow reporters into the Briefing Room or even
And I think we are all hopeful that he will respect past precedent,
but we really don't have any sense.
JOSHUA GREEN: Well, in talking to people around Trump, too, they say - and this will not
come as a news flash - he is enamored by the power of social media, his ability to reach
a gigantic audience and essentially go over the heads of the mainstream media, as it were
You saw that with his YouTube announcing his policy priorities.
And I was talking to a Trump advisor the other day.
He said, you know, we're up to,
what is it, like 25 million, 15 million Twitter followers he has.
But once he becomes president, he inherits the president's Twitter followers, and so
there will be this sort of combining of Twitter accounts.
AMY WALTER: You mean the current president's?
JOSHUA GREEN: Yes.
AMY WALTER: So he gets Obama's -
ASHLEY PARKER: He gets @POTUS, yeah.
AMY WALTER: @POTUS.
JOSHUA GREEN: The POTUS Twitter handle gets passed along to the next president.
AMY WALTER: Oh, that should be interesting.
JOSHUA GREEN: So Trump will soon be doubly powerful on social media.
So everybody prepare yourselves for that.
AMY WALTER: That should be an interesting group of people.
You thought Thanksgiving
Imagine the Twitter awkwardness going there.
And does it matter, though, if he has a protective pool or not?
To a lot of Americans,
the idea about following the president out to dinner seems sort of anachronistic.
ASHLEY PARKER: Sure.
Well, what's interesting is if you look at it at its core, it
feels a little navel-gazy, right?
Why does the press need to know if he ordered a steak medium rare at the 21 Club, which
is where he went when he ditched the press, right, his protective pool?
But there is a reason for that precedent, which is, you know, A, the press needs to know
where the president is if - you know, if his life is in danger.
I mean, we think about what happened with 9/11.
The reason there were reporters on that plane and able to provide that historical record
was because they were there with him for what seemed like a very mundane day of, you
know, a tiny policy rollout in a Florida school.
And you know, you don't want a
president who is sneaking off and meeting with people.
I mean, in theory the press
actually does fulfill a very important responsibility of the Fourth Estate.
And you know, would Donald Trump meet with, you know, Putin without the press?
There's just an accountability mechanism that is more than simply we want to be at the
restaurant when he is ordering chicken or steak.
AMY WALTER: Right.
Well, thank you guys for sticking around and talking
And thanks, everybody, for watching.
I'm Amy Walter.
Check back soon for the next edition of the Washington Week Extra.