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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Appears Live on The Brian Lehrer Show

April 19, 2019

Brian Lehrer: It’s the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC. Good morning everyone, we begin as usual on Fridays with our weekly ask the Mayor segment, my questions and yours for Mayor Bill de Blasio. Our lines are open at 2-1-2-4-3-3-WNYC for your Ask the Mayor questions, 2-1-2-4-3-3-9-6-9-2, or tweet a question, just use the hashtag, #AskTheMayor. Good morning, Mr. Mayor, welcome back to WNYC.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning Brian, I miss the Greene Space.

Lehrer: Oh, that was so much fun last week and thanks so much for coming down in person are – in person audience really appreciated it and I know our listeners appreciated it too. So how much of the Mueller report did you read?

Mayor: I cannot tell a lie, I’ve just seen summaries, have not read it, but looking forward to.

Lehrer: Is there anything relevant to New York City in there, in addition to all the things of general interest about Trump and his associates’ behavior?

Mayor: Well I would say that the big picture reality is what’s of interest in New York City. We as a city, although we’re making, you know, progress in many ways, there are so many things that require the federal government and right now we have a president who is not focused on addressing global warming or infrastructure or resiliency or any of the things that we deal with, that we need help on and so I think this question obviously in the Mueller report is what’s going to be the future of the presidency. And what I am telling people is, even though I think there’s a huge amount here that will be followed up on aggressively by the congress, we should stop putting as much energy into hoping for sort of a magic bullet in the Mueller report and put much more energy into forcing the hand of this administration to act on things like global warming and recognize that the real resolution of these issues has to come through a national debate which will be the 2020 election, which I think is by far the best way to fix the issues of this country rather than I think hoping for an easy impeachment proceeding that’s not coming.

Lehrer: Russian hacking efforts are ongoing and are expected to focus even more on voting technology. How different is our election security in New York City today than it was in 2016?

Mayor: Well it’s definitely different. I think there’s been progress. I think we have to do more. In terms of the city government, you know, our cyber command is very, very strong. We’ve brought in folks who have background in the intelligence community, in business, who have really brought the cutting edge approaches to cyber security to New York City. But the Board of Elections, as you know, even though we work with them, they are their own entity. We have to be careful. I’m worried about the 2020 election everywhere in this country, we certainly saw leading up to 2018 how many efforts were being made from Russia and elsewhere to try and find a way to disrupt. So I would say better than we were but more to do for sure.

Lehrer: You just came out against impeachment and for trying to oust in the 2020 election process, we’re going to have Congressman Nadler on later in the program, and he just subpoenaed the un-redacted version of the Mueller Report and all the underlying materials. If they are not heading toward impeachment in the House Judiciary Committee – or shouldn’t be – should they not continue to dig into this because it would politically backfire?

Mayor: No, no, listen. I want to be very clear, I think – because I think coming out against impeachment is not the way to summarize what I said. What I am saying is, I think it’s wrong for people to fixate on a process that’s far from certain and pretty far in the future, when right now we have the federal government doing things that are hurting New York City, hurting the country, we should be addressing it. Look at the amount of energy that’s going into the Mueller Report versus global warming as an issue. You know, we’ve got to get our attention back onto the substantive issues and try to force change right now because global warming is an immediate threat.

The other point I’m saying is impeachment is not easy, especially with a Republican Senate. So I very much believe that Jerry Nadler and others will look into every detail of the Mueller Report and they may find something there or other sources that changes the picture in favor of impeachment. But at this moment, I just am worried about people putting a lot of energy into something – you know, meaning everyday people – hoping for an impeachment proceeding that is not on the horizon when we should be thinking about the issues facing us right now and the one thing that’s guaranteed to us, which is the chance to change this country in the 2020 election. And that election is going to be intensely, toughly contested and we better get ready for that. We better get ready to take on Trump in every part of this country. It’s not going to be easy. That’s where I think our intense time and energy needs to go.

Lehrer: You mentioned global warming twice already. Earth Day is on Monday and I see City Council will consider a bill to close gas fired power plants in the city, is that something you’d support?

Mayor: Oh, 100 percent. We have to get away from the coal to create our power, there’s no question about that, and look, I – there’s very minimal, minimal use of coal at this point in New York City but the fact is that the package of legislation that we worked on with the Council – and I want to give the City Council a lot of credit. We’re going into this annual celebration of Mother Earth very powerfully because the Building Mandate Law will change the future of New York City profoundly. The number one challenge we have when it comes to emissions that cause global warming is our buildings. It’s not cars in New York City, it’s buildings, and this law is very tough about the changes that need to be made. Holds the private sector to a high standard but an achievable standard, and there’s real teeth. There’s real, substantial financial penalties if these goals aren’t met, and this I think is something that will become a model for the country because we can’t get around on global warming anymore, we got to be really clear.

Government has to do it’s share, so we’re retrofitting all public buildings in New York City. We announced that years ago. We’re going to meet the 80 by 50 standard, 80 percent reduction emissions by 2050, we’re going to meet the standards of the Paris Agreement, but the private sector needs to step up. You know, New York City has divested – in the process of divesting $5 billion from fossil fuel industries. We’re going to put a lot of that money into renewables but, you know, you don’t see enough of this around the country and you don’t see the private sector going as far as it needs to. So this is a moment for a much more, strong, aggressive approach.

Lehrer: But on gas fired plants in the city, from what I read in the news organization City and State, there is not a specific plan to replace the gas fired plans plus the energy that would lost with the closing of Indian Points with renewables. So how quickly do you think one could be developed?

Mayor: We’re going to have a lot more to say about that next week when we release our OneNYC plan, which is the blueprint for New York City’s future and I think we can do something very aggressive on renewables. It won’t happen overnight, that’s a true statement, but I think we can very, very substantially convert to renewables if we are ready to take some very aggressive actions. We’re going to need the help of the State of New York for sure. But stay tuned for next week when we’re going to lay that out.

Lehrer: You know a month or two ago, we took a call for  - maybe you remember – from somebody at Rikers Island, a caller named Winston, and I see he’s calling again, and I’m going to take his call again. Let’s see what he’s got this time. Winston on Rikers Island, you’re on WNYC with the Mayor, hello.

Question: Good morning. Good morning Brian, good morning Mr. Mayor.

Mayor: Good morning.

Question: Good to be with you guys again. I could to do a quick update, I wanted to thank you Mayor de Blasio, you’re administration was really quick in following up with me after I called in with concerns about Rikers not meeting our minimum standards. [Inaudible] I think from the First Deputy Mayor’s Office called back and she’s been very responsive and thorough in addressing my concerns. It led to Commissioner Brann taking out ten of the extra beds in each of the housing units so that overcrowding won’t be a concern anymore.

Still waiting to see some meaningful action I think on some of the male issues, but I just wanted to say thank you for your quick response. I actually wanted to ask today, I know First Lady McCray over at Rosie’s at the Women’s Prison that takes moms –

Unknown: You have one minute left.

Question: Oh, sorry. That takes moms in the city to spend times with their kids. And I was just wondering if we can look forward to a program like that for the dads who are incarcerated at Rikers sometime soon?

Lehrer: And by the way, I assume that recording was an indication of that you have a limited time to make a phone call in incarceration?

Question: Exactly, yes.

Lehrer: Mr. Mayor go –

Question: Well I will probably take the answer of this off the air –

Lehrer: I guess so, and I assume you’re one of those dads?

Question: I’m not, my friends surrounding me here are.

Lehrer: Thank you, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor: It’s a great point that Winston is raising, and I’m glad he raised the earlier points and our team did follow up very aggressively to address those issues. This is a fair point. Look – we, we – what my wife, Chirlane McCray, did was to focus on the needs of mothers who were disconnected from their kids and try to create a very different approach where mothers had some time with their kids, particularly in a more conducive setting.

Unknown: Thank you [inaudible].

Mayor: And that has made a huge difference for those families to, you know, keep closer as they go through incarceration and hopefully, you know, a good pathway out of incarceration and into the family being strong again. I think Winston makes a good point. Certainly dads deserve that opportunity as well. So we – we were focused on the moms because there is a particular need there but I think it’s a great idea to take it farther and find a way to do that.

Lehrer: Now we know what it sounds like, now what more people know what it sounds like when you get cut off at the end of your time limit for a phone call from Rikers Island. As we just heard, as you were giving that answer, I don’t know if you could hear it Mr. Mayor –

Mayor: Yes.

Lehrer: But that same friendly sounding female voice got on and said, “thank you”, and then I guess Winston was disconnected. I have another question involving disconnected mothers from their children, WNYC’s Yasmin Khan has been reporting on the Administration for Children’s Services using its emergency powers to remove kids from parents and black and Latino mothers are greatly overrepresented in these removal cases without the required court oversight, nearly half the time it’s removing kids, according to her reporting. And in some cases we found that these were not emergencies, actually in a surprising percentage of the cases. Are you aware of this and is it something you will change?

Mayor: Well look I appreciate Yasmin’s report because this is an issue I care about a lot. I worked on these issues for many years on the City Council in a very focused manner, but I want to speak as a parent. I think every parent wants to be there for their kids and I can only imagine how difficult it is if a family separated and so I don’t take this lightly at all. If there is a concern that we need to look at this process more carefully, I take that to heart. But I will say, Brian, that I also, because I’ve worked on these issues for so long, the reality is I first and foremost care about the safety of children. I’ve seen – and you’ve seen – cases where we lost kids and sometimes, I’m talking about over the last 20, 30 years in this city, there have been some absolutely painful horrible cases starting with Elisa Izquierdo and many others. And we learned from all those – sometimes you have to be assertive and not take the chance. And in these cases you’re talking about – these removals – it’s fewer than two percent of cases end in an emergency removal and that’s out of 60,000 cases that ACS looks at in a year.

The removals – the emergency removals happen for two years. One – family court is closed so there’s not the option. And this is – and I’m sure there might be exceptions but the broad reality is the family court was closed, you know, off hours, weekends. And there’s a sense that the child is in imminent danger. And if our investigators believe a child is in immediate danger, they are not going to hesitate and they’re not going to come back the following Monday or something like that and God forbid we’ve lost a kid. So, I think there is an aggressive approach.

But some of the other things that your report raised were important that we clarified. First of all, we need to make sure there’s not disparity. So, we’re providing implicit bias training for all the frontline employees at ACS and I think that will make a real difference. We are very careful to look at multiple factors. I think there was a concern about whether some factors were being overweighed. So, for example, the question of marijuana – marijuana alone, using marijuana alone is not grounds for removal. So, there’s some real issues that were raised in the report and we’re going to look at it very carefully and we always want to do better. But the underlying reality, I would say, is one that is necessary. We have to err on the side of safety.

Lehrer: Just a follow up on the marijuana question briefly – Health and Human Services has said it’s not its policy to report child neglect based on drug use alone but Yas’ reporting seemed to raise the issue of not following its own policies when it comes to how marijuana factors into child neglect cases. I think you just said you were aware of that and you’re agreeing that that’s a problem – and if so, what will you do to change that?

Mayor: No, I’m saying – let me, again, I want to be – be careful on your summary there. I said we agree as a matter of policy that the use of marijuana alone is not grounds for removal. That’s the policy and the policy should be followed by our HHS employees. Now, I don’t have an indication that it’s not being followed. I’ll certainly ask that question. We’ll look into that before. We’re going to take this report by WNYC very seriously but I want everyone to understand so there’s no confusion, the policy is clear. That alone is not grounds for removal.

Lehrer: Rakaya in the Bronx, you’re on WNYC with the Mayor – hello, Rakaya.

Question: Good morning – good morning, Mayor de Blasio. My name is Rakaya [inaudible], I am a youth leader with Sistas and Brothas United in Urban Youth Collaborative. Black girls are 13 [inaudible] times more likely to be arrested and 9.3 times more likely to be given a summons than their white peers. Seeing a student get arrested and handcuffed, or getting a summons, is a traumatic experience for everyone in the school community. Students get arrested or received a summons for things like being disorderly, resisting arrest, obstructing administration, or fighting. But only black and brown students get arrested or summons for these things. Can you take immediate action and direct the NYPD to end the arrests and summons in schools for violations in low offenses?

Mayor: Rakaya, I appreciate the question very much and I appreciate your activism and we, over these last five years, have been addressing the issues you’ve raised in a number of ways. You’re not the first student to say to me, “Can we do a blanket policy?” And I’ve been very honest with folks whether it’s live on the radio or at town hall meetings – we’re not doing an across the board end of arrests or summons but we are greatly reducing the use of arrest and even the use of summons and we’ve put in restorative justice practices in a number of schools. We’re going to keep expanding that because that’s had a huge positive impact and has reduced the need for a lot of the more punitive approaches.

I agree with you that a student being arrested or handcuffed can be a really painful experience for folks in the school. We want to minimize that. We have been reducing that a lot and we’ve been – we tightened and restricted the use of handcuffs compared to what it was in the past. So, the fact is there’s clear, constant movement in the right direction. We want school communities where we can use arrests to the least possible degree, summons to the least possible degree. We’re doing a lot more warnings and other approaches.

But the overall important thing is we have to keep crime down in schools, violence down in schools. We have to make sure schools are safe. That has been the trend in a really good way over the last five years but we have to make sure it stays that way.

Question: Well, respectfully, racial disparities in school discipline have gone down – black and latinx students still make up more than 90 percent of all arrests, summons, and juvenile reports and [inaudible] make up 67 percent of the student population. So, if only black and latinx students are being arrested or getting summons for these low level things, would you say that’s racial justice?

Mayor: Rakaya, I would say we have more work to do for sure. You know, I believe that that kind of disparity has to be addressed and that’s why we are training our school safety officers and our NYPD officers in implicit bias, in de-escalation. We’re making sure that the school leadership has a much stronger role in this kind of process than was true in the past. And again we’re going to use restorative justice, which I think is going to address the problem at the root and actually lead to fewer conflicts that can lead to any kind of summons or other activity.

So, the answer to your question is we still have a disparity we have to address, no doubt. And I appreciate you noting that things are being – that the use of the more punitive measures is being reduced because that’s an important part of the equation. Every time we reduce that, people benefit, and that’s what we want to keep doing. But I also want to be real straight forward with you. We have to ensure safety, so it’s a constant balance we’re trying to strike. I think we can do both and I think the more we experiment with different approaches – and also with building a closer communication between students and parents with school safety so there’s more of a human dynamic, more of a kind of mutual understanding and respect. I think we’ll be able to go a lot farther.

Lehrer: Rakaya, thank you so much for your call. Keep it up and call us again. The news organization, The City, published a story yesterday – headline, “Mayor de Blasio violated ethics rules in seeking donations despite warning, probe finds.” And it says – the report reveals that the New York City Department of Investigation substantiated the allegation that you sought checks for the now-defunct Campaign for One New York fund from individuals “who had or whose organization had a matter pending or about to be pending before any executive branch of the city.” Why did you do that?

Mayor: Brian, this is a matter that – first of all, the report is talking about something happened years ago and was addressed years ago and the case was closed. And I’ve said many, many times and I’ll say it again. We followed the guidance – the legal guidance. Everything we did was legal and appropriate, and all decisions we make, we make on the merits, and that’s just the way it is.  But these issues – you know, you’re referring to things that happened, I think, in 2014 or 2015, were investigated to a fare-thee-well, and every matter was covered and addressed and there’s just nothing more to say on it.

Lehrer: Well, The City reports today – besides the fact that though you say it ended years ago, this investigation only ended in October. Their conclusions about you violating the ethics guidelines were only published yesterday. And this morning The City reports that a State investigation is still ongoing. So, can you really say this is all behind you?

Mayor: I believe it is because again all these matters were looked at exhaustively by different entities and everything came back with no follow up action, period. So, I’m just not going into any further – this has really been covered and covered again.

Lehrer: Just one thing, though, on the content. Reportedly, according to the Department of Investigation – and this is new to the public as of yesterday – you said you weren’t aware of being repeatedly warned about those conflict of interest rules by the city’s Conflict of Interest Board and your own counsel. And when asked by the Department of Investigation about specific conversations, you couldn’t remember any details of them. You know how bad that sounds – ‘I don’t recall’ as a defense?

Mayor: I’m just not going to comment on that. I don’t agree with you. It’s – if someone can’t remember something, they can’t remember it. So, I just don’t accept that.

Lehrer: Well, the article says that happened repeatedly.

Mayor: Again, we’ve covered it. I’m sorry, I feel this has really been exhaustively looked at and it’s been covered and there was no further action taken, and I have nothing else to say.

Lehrer: Jeff in Brooklyn, you’re on WNYC with the Mayor – hi, Jeff.

Question: Good morning, Brian. Good morning, Mr. Mayor. I’m calling about a much more optimistic subject than investigations. The New York City OneNYC program is probably the most progressive program on climate action anywhere in the United States and I applaud your administration and you, personally, for the action you’re taking and the efforts [inaudible] mentioned earlier in the show. There is one area though where the City is not acting and it’s not a difficult one to act on. That is idling vehicles.

In New York City we have a huge number of vehicles – generally speaking I would say utility vehicles and City vehicles that are left idling for extended periods of time. As you know we have a law that prohibits that. I actually was overseeing that program many years ago when I worked for DEP, and I see it now being actively enforced – and this is a tremendous amount of pollution. It doesn’t bring any economic value and I would love to see your office act on putting regulations on utility companies as well as City agencies to stop this practice.

Mayor: Jeff, I agree with you. And this is a pet peeve of mine. We did an announce last week about ending the use of plastic products by the City and at that press conference, some of the reporters asked about sort of – what I personally did in terms of environmental matters. And I said I’m an obsessive recyclers and obsessively turn off lights around City Hall and Gracie Mansion that aren’t – when rooms aren’t being used. And I put the idling issue in the same bucket.

I go crazy when I see anyone idling. I think it’s – you know, sometimes there’s a legitimate reason. A lot times there just isn’t and it’s become sort of a reality of American car culture that people idle for extended periods of time without even thinking about what it means for the environment. So, I agree with you and I have instructed my team to come back with an aggressive plan. It’s going to be a challenge for such a big city to figure out how to create a plan that really will work but it has to be done. There’s just too much idling happening.

And I think like with many things – and Jeff, I assume you might agree from your previous experience – simply announcing the enforcement and showing we mean business will change behavior for a lot of people right there. So, you know, we really want to follow through on this. And in fact, if you would provide your information to WNYC, I would welcome your involvement in helping us figure out how we can aggressively address this.

Lehrer: Jeff, we’ll take your information off the air. Thank you for your call. Mr. Mayor, I see the measles are still spreading in New York City and you’ve ordered four more yeshivas closed but this comes just as they’re closing anyway for Passover break for the next week. What will happen a week from Monday?

Mayor: Well, unless they have proven to the Health Department that all the kids who are attending have been vaccinated, they will remain closed. We’re – look, this is a serious situation. We’ve got, as of yesterday, 359 cases. The, as you I think know Brian – some of the anti-vaxer movement folks tried to challenge our emergency actions in court and lost outright yesterday and the judge threw it out, and the emergency order stands. We’re starting to issue violations to individuals in Williamsburg who are not vaccinated. So this is really serious stuff and I want to just remind everyone, measles can be fatal, measles can lead to brain disease, measles is dangerous not only for kids, but also for pregnant women, for folks going through chemo and other treatments, for folks who are older and have, you know, less – and have more vulnerability. This is a really, really dangerous situation. Now on the good news side, since we made very clear that we’re going to take these aggressive measures, we’ve had I think it’s close to 1,000 kids in Williamsburg who’ve gotten vaccinated, so the message is getting through and the outreach work by the Department of Health and City Hall and the community organizations is starting to work, but we’re not letting up here and I want everyone who can hear me in Williamsburg to understand that – like, this is really serious stuff and we’re going to do more and more, and be more and more aggressive until this crisis is over.

Lehrer: What happens to the kids, including the vaccinated kids, in the closed yeshivas?

Mayor: Look, I wish they could be in school but we – again nothing is more important than health and safety and this is a potentially fatal disease so we’re not taking a chance on this. We don’t want those kids in a setting where they’re going to be exposed to unvaccinated kids. So, if they stay home, I wish it wasn’t that why but that’s what it’ll be – but I hope it also creates a powerful incentive for parents to talk to each other because this is really a grassroots reality. You know, a lot of the community leadership is very forcefully told residents of the community get vaccinated. Certainly the city government has, the Health Department has. There’s a small group of grassroots folks who are trying to tell people that they know better than all of the assembled doctors from the community and from the City of New York, and it’s putting a lot of people in danger. So, I am hoping that when parents see their kids can’t go to school because of the danger, they’re going to put pressure on people in their own community and say we can’t keep doing this, this is dangerous, and that might help change this, but we just have to be aggressive here.

Lehrer: Ian in Harlem, you’re on WNYC with the Mayor. Hi, Ian.

Question: Hello, good morning.

Lehrer: Hi, Ian. You’re on the air.

Question: Oh, thank you, Mr. Mayor, thank you, Brian, for taking my call. I’m calling about the Department of Parks and Recreation skate parks. We are the greatest city in the world. Unfortunately we build the lamest skate parks due to an antiquated three-foot obstacle policy. Any skate parks over three feet require an attendant with limited opening hours. We do actually have a skate park that’s skate-at-your-own-risk, that’s overnight, but that’s at Hudson River—

Lehrer: Ian, forgive me, we have a terrible line that’s cutting in and out. What is that you want the Mayor to do, specifically? Let’s get right to it.

Question: We would like the Mayor to look at this antiquated three-foot obstacle limit on the New York City Parks Department skate parks, so we can start building skate parks that are in line with the rest of the country.

Mayor: Alright. Ian, thank you for the call. I am not an expert on skate parks, I cannot tell a lie, but I will ask my team and the folks at Parks and City Hall to look at this and see if there’s something different we should be doing. Obviously, just picking up on the previous answer, you know, we’re always going to think about safety first, and I think I get the inference of your question that some might think there’s a different way to interpret that, but we definitely will give it a look, but we’re going to do give it that look with a safety lens firmly in place.

Lehrer: Andrew, in Brooklyn. You’re on WNYC with the Mayor. Hello, Andrew.

Question: Hi. So last week there was a hearing at City Council about a package of bills that would reform our street vending laws, most of which haven’t been changed since 1983, and our antiquated system really puts vendors in a difficult position where most of them have to pay up to $25,000 to get a permit on the black market. So this is a really important bill, Intro 11-16, and what I was really disappointed by at the hearing was two things: first, the Department of Health and other executive agencies came out against the bill, and the excuse that they gave was really that they don’t have enough data. They want to collect more information for an indeterminate period of time in the future, which is the same excuse that they gave two years ago. And so it’s really putting street vendors kind of in a really difficult position. They’re in an incredibly precarious position, they’re overwhelmingly immigrants, and this makes them extremely vulnerable. And I’m just wondering, number one, why the executive agencies and the Mayor haven’t come out in support of this bill, which would do some much to help immigrant entrepreneurs, but number two, it seems that the Department of Health and other executive agencies just aren’t collecting the data that they need to make informed decisions, and we see this across many different executive agencies, and it’s very troubling – whether it’s the e-bike crackdown, or the parking placard issue, or the ferry system, or the Staten Island vasectomy deer program, like we just don’t have – we’re not getting the data that we need to make smart decisions as a city, is what it seems to me, and that’s just being used as an excuse to not take action when it’s really necessary.

Mayor: Well, you know, Andrew, I appreciate the first part of the question, I want to speak to it. I’m definitely going to contest you on the latter part. You named really disparate examples, each of which has their own reality. We put out a lot of data on what’s happened – I think you mentioned the ferry system. We’ve definitely put out data on that. If we have data and we’ve discussed the data on the e-bikes, just have a real profound disagreement with some advocates on how to interpret what we know and how much of a challenge it is and I’m very clear about that. You know, the – I think you would agree with me that you can read data more than one way, so I think there’s a lot of data out, but then there has to be judgement on what it tells us and how we act on it and all the factors that we have to take into play. So I just want to put down my marker, I disagree, I think there’s lots of data on the issues you’ve raised – we just may disagree on what to do with the information we have, and on the street vendors—

Lehrer: And how about on the vendors and then we’re out of time?

Mayor: Yeah, on the street vendors – I do not know – I haven’t seen this latest bill, as you, you know, toward the end of the last City Council of 2017, we almost got to a bill that everyone could agree on and I was hopeful we were going to get there, it just didn’t work at the end. I haven’t seen the one you’re referring to and I don’t know why the Department of Health took the stance that it did and I want to find out. But on this broad point, we can get to wholesale street vending reform, we can do it. It’s going to take some geographical restrictions to protect bricks-and-mortar stores, it’s going to take you know, adding some more vendor permits for sure, it’s going to take much better enforcement and cracking down on that black market. So I think there is this sort of – a big set of pieces that can come together in one omnibus bill and solve the problems, and we’ve been trying to get there with the City Council. I believe that vision still can be achieved in the coming months.

Lehrer: We have Tom Steyer coming on next, the Democratic activist and billionaire who, as you know, has been calling for the impeachment of Donald Trump for a long time. We’ll see what he thinks now that Mueller report is out. Do you think he’s barking up the wrong tree?

Mayor: I think he’s morally right. I think, you know, this president has been the most reckless, dangerous president we’ve ever had, but that’s a different question than whether we have at this moment on the table the specific grounds to achieve impeachment and whether we have something that’s going to get through the United States Senate, held by Republicans, and so I’m just trying to get to a real world place and I actually think most Democrats and progressives want to have the honest, realistic conversation – that yes, pursue every avenue, and there could come out new facts that then would make impeachment a much more realistic and immediate option. But today it does not exist, and we’re – we’ve got to keep our eyes on building the framework to win the 2020 election and we’re not there yet, there’s a lot of parts in this country that right now Democrats and progressives have to do a lot more work to win over, and in the meantime there’s government – governing to be done and that’s why I keep coming back to global warming. I would like to see more energy, more protests directed on the federal policies that are, you know, standing in the way of our existence and survival, and some balance in the equation. That’s my concern.

Lehrer: Mr. Mayor, thanks as always. Talk to you next week.

Mayor: Take care, Brian.

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