The Issue Is: Another unprecedented week in American politics

This week, political history made from coast-to-coast.

On Tuesday, former President Trump was in Manhattan to be arrested and arraigned - the first U.S. President to face criminal charges. Trump pleaded ‘not guilty’ to 34 felony charges tied to the falsification of business documents.

Then, on Wednesday in Simi Valley, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R. – Calif.) led a bipartisan Congressional delegation to welcome Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-Wen. The meeting coming amid rising tensions with China, who said the summit could provoke further confrontation with the United States.

To break down those issues, and so much more, Elex Michaelson is joined on "The Issue Is" by Speaker McCarthy - the two talking at the Reagan Presidential Library shortly after the Taiwanese President’s visit.

Also joining Michaelson this week is California Congressman Adam Schiff (D.).

This, on a week where Schiff’s Senate campaign announced a record first quarter fundraising haul: $6.5 million. That total is larger than the combined figures for Schiff’s closest 2024 competitors Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) with $4.5 million and Rep. Barbara Lee (D. – Calif.) with $1.4 million.


SPEAKER McCARTHY'S CENTRAL TAKE: "We sat down with President Tsai as she transits through America and we brought a bipartisan group - and I think people should really note that - Republicans and Democrats together here at the Reagan Library. And I think part of that symbolism is the ideas that Reagan fostered from freedom, democracy and peace. And I think it's very important that when we look to the future, a lot of people bring hypothetical questions, 'could China invade Taiwan and others,' and as policymakers, we want to make sure that day never happens. Ss what we talked about is how do we follow through on our six assurances? How do we provide the weapons to Taiwan to deter anybody from having war? How do we build greater economic relationships with one another and help foster that democracy and peace and freedom that Taiwan has?…"


SPEAKER McCARTHY'S CENTRAL TAKE: "This is a D.A. of a borough who ran and campaigned on the idea of taking Soros money, that he was going to indict the President. People see what it is. In America, one of our greatest strength is the rule of law, but the fairness of that. My fear is what's going to happen here is this is going to spiral. This claim isn't going to go anywhere, right? It can't sustain in a court of law…

"What's going to happen is, will this spur some conservative D.A. in a small county in a red state to go and try to indict Biden after election? That's not America, right? Let's respect one another. Let's apply the rule of law equal to everybody. And if that was the case, this indictment would never come, especially to someone who is running for President and could be the frontrunner to the party. It's really showing the politics and it's really not the finest hour…"

REP. SCHIFF’S CENTRAL TAKE: "Well, it's a sad day for the country that a person United States sits at the defense table, former President of the United States. I don't take joy in it and I count myself as among the most vociferous opponents of his abuse of power. But I do think it's also an affirmation of the principle that the rule of law needs to apply to everyone, needs to play the the rich and powerful as it applies to the powerless, and we cannot have a principle in this country where if you occupy high office, you're immune from liability, you can break the law with impunity. That way lies the end of our democracy. So I think it's also an affirmation of an important principle that the rule of law applies, and no one is above that law…"


REP. SCHIFF’S CENTRAL TAKE: "What's so encouraging about it is those that amount of support came from over 100,000 contributions, tens of thousands of people up and down the state, the vast, vast majority of grassroots donors, that's a wonderful show of support. Every county in California participated in supporting our campaign, and we're seeing that reflected in the travel we're doing in the state. A lot of enthusiasm and excitement about the campaign. So I think we're off to a great start…"


SPEAKER McCARTHY'S CENTRAL TAKE: "I think it's healthy that you have ideas on both sides of the aisle... I've been leader for four years and Nancy Pelosi got elected speaker four years ago. We have a five-seat majority. In those four years, Nancy Pelosi never won a congressional seat in California. She lost six Democrats in that time period. So I think California is primed to get a Republican... so what I think really happens, especially from a place of California, you want a check and balance. Wouldn't it be nice to have a voice on the other side of the aisle that can be that check and balance? I think there's a number of Republicans that can reflect the views of California, be they fiscal policy, to make our streets safer, to make our energy policy better, to make sure our borders are secure and fentanyl's not coming to kill our children. I think a Republican could win…"


REP. SCHIFF’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I think we're all progressive in this race by any measure. The real question, I think, for voters, will ultimately be who's able to make the most progress? You really can't be progressive unless you're willing to work with others to bring about a consensus, to attack homelessness, to attack public safety issues, to make sure that the economy is working for everyone…

"Honestly, I think you're going to have a hard time distinguishing us on our votes. Where you're going to be able to distinguish us is, I have a track record of delivering for my constituents, bringing home millions to deal with homelessness, building an early earthquake warning system throughout California, the West. So the question is more who's the progressive that has a record of actually getting things done and developing that kind of consensus?…"


The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to