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Morning News Brief: Trump Is In A Twitter Fight With Sen. Bob Corker

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

President Trump is sharpening the terms of a deal. He says he wants a lot in return for protecting young people who are known as DREAMers.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

People who are in this country without papers. You may recall that some weeks ago, Democrats met with the president and said he agreed to a way to preserve that program that provides DREAMers legal status. Immigration hardliners were furious. And the president said there wasn't really a deal - at least not yet. Now the White House says in exchange for protecting hundreds of thousands of immigrants, he wants approval of his immigration agenda, which includes funding for a border wall, hiring more immigration agents and shifting who's allowed in.

GREENE: Well, let's talk this through with Scott Detrow, who is in the studio. He's the host of the NPR Politics Podcast. Hey there, Scott.

SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Morning, David.

GREENE: So what exactly is the president asking for here? What's in these proposals?

DETROW: This is basically a laundry list of hardline immigration proposals. Trump wants to see a border wall and grants for so-called sanctuary cities and make big changes to existing immigration policy, including making it much harder for people to bring their families into this country.

GREENE: Well, weren't we just talking about this outbreak of bipartisanship when Chuck Schumer and Nancy Schumer - Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi were at the White House having that cozy meeting, coming out thinking that they had some kind of deal with the president. Are the two sides now much farther apart?

DETROW: Yeah. Any sort of big-picture deal that was agreed to in that meeting - and, again, it was kind of unclear because Trump kept changing the way he framed it. Seems to be off the table here. Pelosi and Schumer put out a statement saying all of this stuff is a nonstarter. But, you know, it's really unclear because President Trump could go into a meeting with Schumer and Pelosi and other congressional leaders and change his mind because the border wall - we remember it was a key issue when he ran for president in the campaign. He has repeatedly - at every moment he could've had leverage to get a border wall into the federal budget, he has walked away from that and put off that fight for another day.

GREENE: Well, let me ask you about another fight, Scott Detrow. It's the president really going back and forth with Republican Senator Bob Corker on Twitter, which seems really significant. So what's the beef here?

DETROW: Yeah. You know, so many of these back and forths get boiled down to, oh, Trump is in another feud. But big picture, this is really significant. The chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee...

INSKEEP: The Republican chairman, yeah.

DETROW: And not only that - someone who, for a while, had a close relationship with Trump - says the president of the United States concerns him. And Corker told The New York Times, I know for a fact that every single day at the White House - it's a situation of trying to contain him. That is a remarkable concern for a top lawmaker to raise about the president when it comes to national security.

GREENE: Yeah, like, getting really personal and suggesting that - I mean, that people have to control the president of the United States. This is not a small thing.

DETROW: Yeah. And Corker for a while has been getting more and more critical, raising more and more concerns. Recall that after Charlottesville, Corker said that Trump had not demonstrated the stability or the competence he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.

GREENE: Let me ask you about football and politics before I let you go.

DETROW: Yes.

GREENE: At the 49ers and Colts game yesterday, Vice President Pence goes to the game. He leaves early, citing the anthem protests by players from the San Francisco 49ers. Then President Trump takes credit for telling Pence to leave the game. Was - how planned was this?

DETROW: You know, we don't know for sure. But there are many indications that it was, including the fact that the traveling press, who goes along with the vice president to events, was told to hold in the van because it could be a quick exit.

GREENE: Oh (laughter).

DETROW: This is something that...

GREENE: So it sounds like it was planned.

DETROW: Sounds like it was planned. And, of course, Pence flew across the country to go to this game and then flew back across the country. So a lot of questions about how much this all cost, among other things.

INSKEEP: And in Indiana, actually, some questions about why he would pick this particular day to go to this particular game. It was supposed to be a day to honor Peyton Manning, the great former Colts quarterback. Instead, it's about Mike Pence and sitting down.

DETROW: And full circle, Peyton Manning had been possibly thinking of running for Corker's seat.

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: That brings it all together, Scott Detrow. Amazing. Scott is the host of NPR's Politics Podcast. Thanks, Scott.

DETROW: Thank you.

GREENE: OK. Interesting story in Hollywood, Steve - Harvey Weinstein is out of the company that bears his name.

INSKEEP: He is one of the Weinstein brothers, founder of a company that made several of the biggest movies of recent decades. And he was revealed last week to have settled numerous sexual harassment lawsuits. Now, Weinstein said he'd take a leave of absence, try to learn and channel his anger at the National Rifle Association. But, apparently, that was not enough for the company's board, which ousted him.

GREENE: All right. Matt Belloni of The Hollywood Reporter joins us to talk about this. Hey there, Matt.

MATT BELLONI: Good morning.

GREENE: So Weinstein talking about a leave of absence - the company says, no, you're out. What exactly is the company saying?

BELLONI: Basically, Harvey Weinstein has been terminated from the Weinstein Company. It's an extraordinary turn of events for someone who has been perhaps the most influential and important figure in independent film over the past 25 years.

GREENE: Was he playing a big role in the company's daily operation, or was it just the name and his long history there?

BELLONI: Oh, absolutely. He was running the company. I mean, this was the Harvey Weinstein Company. And he was selecting the films. He was marketing the films. He was wooing talent. Everything about this company has been Harvey Weinstein.

GREENE: Well, so he apologized after this report in The New York Times. And although he didn't use it as an excuse, he said that he came of age in the '60s and '70s, when there were different rules about behavior in the workplace. So the fact that he has now been ousted - is this some kind of sign that things are changing for the better in Hollywood?

BELLONI: I think so. I mean, I think it definitely is a turning point of sorts in the culture. I mean, you've seen what's gone on at Fox News and the media in New York. And you've seen some of the people that have come forward about sexual harassment in Silicon Valley. And now we have a very prominent Hollywood figure that has been brought down by sexual harassment allegations in Hollywood. I think it's a sign of a change in the culture everywhere.

GREENE: People are suggesting this was an open secret for a long time. Do you see it that way? I mean, did everyone know this was going on and just sort of kept it under wraps?

BELLONI: I mean, that's a complicated question because I think that the fact that Harvey Weinstein was sort of an abusive guy and had claims against him in the workplace - I think that was an open secret. And people had heard stuff about harassment allegations. But I don't know that the severity and detailed allegations that came about in The New York Times story were widely known.

GREENE: Matt Belloni is the editorial director for The Hollywood Reporter. Matt, we appreciate it.

BELLONI: Thank you.

GREENE: All right. We're going to take you now to Barcelona, where hundreds of thousands of people were rallying yesterday against independence from Spain.

INSKEEP: Crowds chanted, I am Spanish. Barcelona is the capital of the Catalonia region. That's where the protests were. Barcelona's - rather, Catalonia's governed by separatists who held an independence referendum on October 1 and have said, after that referendum, they may declare independence from Spain this week. So this was one chance for opponents of independence to be heard.

GREENE: And let's talk about what that might mean with Lauren Frayer. She is reporting from Barcelona. Hi, Lauren.

LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: Hi there.

GREENE: So we've seen these separatist rallies in Catalonia. You've been reporting on them in recent weeks. This one was actually against secession. So, I mean, can we now say that the population really is split.

FRAYER: Indeed, we're seeing they are. I mean, opinion polls have long showed the Catalans are divided roughly 50/50 on the question of independence, though the vast majority of them want the right to vote on the issue. Spain denied them that vote. Catalan leaders went ahead, held that independence referendum anyway on October 1. And you saw those shocking scenes of police raiding polling stations, beating voters. And that sort of galvanized people.

And there's been an outpouring of sympathy for Catalonia around the world because of that police brutality. And this weekend, what we saw was people coming out and saying, look, (unintelligible) police brutality. But that still hasn't changed my basic opinion that I'm also against Catalonia breaking away from Spain. And that may even be a majority of Catalans who feel this way that have sort of been silent until now because they're really just defending the status quo.

GREENE: What is actually being debated here? What are the central issues that people talk about when they decide whether or not they want independence from Spain?

FRAYER: So separatist leaders cite the repression that Catalonia suffered under a 40-year dictatorship of Francisco Franco. He died in 1975 but anybody sort of older than age 40 will remember that repression. Much more recently, Catalonia has become Spain's richest region. Separatist leaders say, look, we're better off not subsidizing poorer parts of Spain. But yesterday, people I met in the crowd talked about the risks of independence. A businessman I met - his name is Jose Manuel Gonzalez (ph) - born and raised in Barcelona. He told me that the decider for him is that an independent Catalonia would have to leave the European Union. Trade barriers could go up. There are questions about which currency the new country would use.

GREENE: So what happens now? Is there another referendum? Is there another vote at some point? What's next?

FRAYER: Well, last week, the Catalan president said he would declare independence within days. A week has gone by, and it still hasn't happened. He's set to address the regional Parliament tomorrow. He says he'll give an update on the political situation. So that's pretty vague. He may be delaying, you know, hoping for European mediation, which has not come. And there's a sense with these crowds yesterday that the momentum may have shifted - this big backlash against independence. And it's not clear at all that a majority of Catalans would support any sort of unilateral declaration of independence here.

INSKEEP: You know, this is a story that fits a broader pattern in the world. There are questions all around the world about nationality, about nationhood, about national identity, who's in charge and who an American, for example, in the United States, who's British - Brexit and the question about Scotland and England. And this thing with Catalonia fits right in.

GREENE: It sure does. All right. NPR's Lauren Frayer talking to us via Skype from Barcelona. Lauren, we appreciate it.

FRAYER: You're welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF CITY OF THE SUN'S "PACO") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.