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Bill Kristol Says Networks ‘Might as Well’ Carry Oval Office Address: ‘This Is Trump’s Last Card’

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On The Lead with Jake Tapper on Monday, the panel discussed President Donald Trump‘s just-announced Tuesday night address to the nation and whether he’ll declare an emergency to bypass Congress. Director of Defending Democracy Together Bill Kristol argued that the prime time Oval Office speech is Trump’s “last card” to play before even the GOP in congress say enough is enough.

In the clip above, Tapper first played video of new House Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who remarked that his expectation for the President’s address was that he’ll “lie to the American people.”

“Now you don’t agree with Jerry Nadler on much,” said Tapper to Kristol, “but I expect you agree with that assessment.”

“I do. I mean I think the network might as well show the President of the United States, they’ll show a response. There’s very little history of these addresses making any difference in terms of public opinion,” he said. Kristol cited as an example of an exception Ronald Reagan’s address on taxes after coming back from an assassination attempt.

“So I– let him give it,” said Kristol. “I think actually, honestly, if he gives it, and it goes nowhere, which is what I would expect, I think by Wednesday, Thursday then you see serious erosion of Republican support on the hill. This is Trump’s last card. What else is he going to do?”

“Well the other thing to do is declare a national emergency,” said Tapper, addressing the option that Trump said he has the authority to take and which has come up several times in the last few days. “That could potentially happen.”

Tapper referenced and showed on screen a Twitter exchange with Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) in which the congressman said that “if forced to vote I don’t think [Republicans would] affirmatively vote to give Trump the power to use the military to defy the Congress.”

CNN’s Amanda Carpenter said that resistance would require “pain.”

“I think for the Senate to rebuke Trump in this manner, there would have to be pain,” she said. “I don’t think any party has felt political pain for this.” She suggested that it would take a serious consequence of a shut-down piece of government, such as TSA being understaffed, in order to spur that resistance.

“I think, if you’re the Congress,” began Kristol in reply. “What is their fundamental power? The power of the purse. If you let the president just take $5 billion by declaring a national emergency, when the Congress has explicitly not appropriated it– you might as well give up.”

“I do think Republican senators would balk at this,” he said.

Watch the clip above, courtesy of CNN.

[Featured image via screengrab]

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