Former top U.S. military official in Mideast on the outlook for peace in Syria


AMNA NAWAZ: The United States has been at
war in Afghanistan for 18 years, and the American role in Syria continues to evolve, with no
clear end in sight. Until recently, retired General Joseph Votel
oversaw those conflicts and others as head of the U.S. military’s Middle East operations. Stephanie Sy speaks with Votel. But, first, she has an update on the conflict
in Syria. STEPHANIE SY: From the air and on the ground,
up to three million people living in Northern Syria are being boxed in, with nowhere to
go. President Bashar al-Assad’s forces are continuing
their onslaught in northwest Idlib province, the last rebel stronghold. The cease-fire announced by Assad and his
Russian backers at the end of August has been all but broken, according to Idlib resident
and civilian activist Jomah Alqasem. JOMAH ALQASEM, Humanitarian Worker: The airstrikes
in the recent offensive are more concentrated towards the rebel front lines. This is the burned by land — or what they
call the burned land strategy that the Syrian regime, Syrian army and the Russian backup
of the air is demolishing all this architecture. STEPHANIE SY: While Idlib burns, hundreds
of thousands of residents are fleeing toward Turkey, joining a bottleneck of refugees from
other parts of Syria, packed into overcrowded camps like al-Hol. The camps for the desperately displaced are
fertile ground for extremists looking for recruits. Camps across the border are also at their
breaking point. Turkey is already host to 3.6 million refugees,
having made a deal with Europe to keep them from migrating further. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is
now threatening to release the refugees unless Europe provides more aid. RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkish President (through
translator): This either happens, or we will have to open the gates. Either you will provide support, or, excuse
us, but we can only tolerate this so much. Are we going to carry this weight alone? STEPHANIE SY: Turkey is also poised for its
own conflict in Northeast Syria, against the very forces that have helped the U.S. beat
back ISIS. The Syrian Kurds are viewed by Turkey as terrorists,
threatening to carve out their own nation. Caught in a crosscurrent of dueling interests,
the U.S. agreed to help clear the northeastern border of Syrian Kurdish outposts, and begin
patrolling the border, along with Turkish forces. But Turkey’s foreign minister says the U.S.
isn’t doing enough. MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, Turkish Foreign Minister
(through translator): There are some joint patrols, but other than that, the steps that
have been taken, or the steps that are said to be taken, are cosmetic steps. We are seeing that the United States want
to enter another stalling process. They are trying to get Turkey accustomed to
this stalling process. But our stance on this matter is very clear. STEPHANIE SY: The multifront war in Syria
has divided allies and diffused attention. U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet
urged the world to refocus. MICHELLE BACHELET, U.N. Human Rights Commissioner:
These figures are appalling, shameful, and deeply tragic. In a bid to take control of territories, there
appears to be little concern about taking civilian lives. Any further escalation will only result in
further loss of life and displacement of civilians who have already been forced to repeatedly
flee a situation of dire humanitarian conditions. So I appeal to all parties in the conflict
and to those many powerful states with influence to put aside political differences and halt
the carnage. STEPHANIE SY: Meanwhile, back in Idlib, Jomah
Alqasem says his fellow countrymen, women and children are losing hope. JOMAH ALQASEM: All of these humanitarian actors
that we have seen actively being involved in the Syria crisis are shrinking and decreasing
the fund that is being allocated to the Syrian response. What we are seeing is the worst humanitarian
crisis, let’s say, or part of the Syrian crisis that has been chronically occurring the last
nine years. But, unfortunately, this is the weakest response. STEPHANIE SY: According to The New York Times,
the U.S. is boosting its military response in Northeast Syria. It’s sending 150 additional forces to monitor
the border with Turkey. Joining me now to discuss this conflict in
Syria and on other fronts is retired General Joseph Votel. Until April, he led U.S. Central Command,
which oversees military operations in the Middle East. He is now a fellow at the Middle East Institute. General Votel, it’s a pleasure to have you
with us here at the “NewsHour.” Is there a solution in Syria? GEN. JOSEPH VOTEL (RET.), Former Commander, U.S.
Central Command: Well, certainly, there is. I mean, the solution is, we have to get to
a political settlement of the situation here. Military operations can only do so much, but,
ultimately, the international community has got to come together, hopefully under the
support of the United Nations, to move forward with a political solution here in Syria. STEPHANIE SY: But what role does the U.S.
play? The U.S. really isn’t involved in a place
like Idlib. It really isn’t involved in the Syrian civil
war. Beyond it wanting to contain ISIS, what role
should the administration be playing in Syria right now? GEN. JOSEPH VOTEL: Well, I think the role the United
States should be playing certainly is that we have led a 79-member coalition to address
the threat of ISIS. And we have done that very effectively. And we have used our partners on the ground
to do that. And now, in places like North and East Syria,
we are working with our partners to help stabilize these areas so we can create platform that
would allow for — allow for the international community to move forward. STEPHANIE SY: You oversaw the withdrawal of
most U.S. troops from Syria last year, after it was ordered by President Trump via Twitter. You were not informed or consulted before
that move. Had you been consulted, what would you have
said? GEN. JOSEPH VOTEL: Well, I don’t think that would
have been — as I have said, I don’t — in congressional testimony — I don’t think that
would have been my recommendation at the time. I think it’s important to remember that, in
December, at the time when that announcement was made, we were still very engaged in a
military campaign down in the Middle Euphrates Valley. We had not yet completed the defeat of the
caliphate. And so we needed to finish that. So it wouldn’t have been my advice to make
that decision at that particular juncture. STEPHANIE SY: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis
actually resigned over that decision. Six months since you have retired from Central
Command, are you seeing ramifications of that troop withdrawal? And do you think ISIS is potentially resurgent
still in Syria? GEN. JOSEPH VOTEL: Yes, I think that’s an excellent
question. I think we have always been concerned about
the resurgence of ISIS. It’s important to recognize that what we accomplished
was the defeat of the physical caliphate, the state-like entity that ISIS tried to impose,
and actually did impose for a long period of time, which we, I think, completely dismantled. But that doesn’t mean all the fighters have
gone away. What we have learned over time with these
types of organizations is that we do have to keep pressure on them. They have gone to ground. They have gone to small cells. So we have to stay after them in terms of
that. We have known that that’s going to be a requirement. And that’s a key aspect of, I think, what
we’re doing now with our partners on the ground. STEPHANIE SY: Let’s talk about Afghanistan,
troops there also under your command, troops there also promised a withdrawal. President Trump called off secret talks he
had planned with the Taliban and the Afghan government last week over the death of an
American soldier. Some 2,000 Americans soldiers have been killed
there in Afghanistan. When lawmakers and others criticize negotiations
with the Taliban because they consider them terrorists — and, mind you, yesterday was
the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks — what would you say? GEN. JOSEPH VOTEL: The strategy the administration
has put in place that was announced in August of 2017 was to move towards an end state of
reconciliation between the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan. And so that’s what the object of all of our
military activity and a lot of our diplomatic activity has been since then, is to create
the conditions that would bring the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan together. And through our special envoy, that’s what
a bulk of his work has been over the last year-plus, to try to do that. This will not be resolved militarily. STEPHANIE SY: What do we stand to lose as
nation if we pull out now? GEN. JOSEPH VOTEL: Well, I think we have to remember
the reason why we went to Afghanistan. We went to Afghanistan because Afghanistan
turned into a land of instability that allowed an organization like al-Qaida to plot an attack
that killed 3,000 of our citizens. STEPHANIE SY: Is it not still completely unstable? GEN. JOSEPH VOTEL: I don’t know that it’s completely
unstable. There certainly is an element of instability
that is being caused by the Taliban and other terrorist groups that operate in that particular
area. But it’s in our interest, it’s in our national
interest to ensure that we try to get Afghanistan as stable as we can, and that the instability
that remains in Afghanistan doesn’t impact our other interests. STEPHANIE SY: You recently wrote a letter,
along with many other generals, more than two dozen, about the Trump administration’s
policy toward refugees. And your argument is that drawing down the
number of refugees this nation accepts could actually destabilize our allies, as well as
threaten our own national security. Can you explain that? GEN. JOSEPH VOTEL: Sure. One of the provisions I think that we addressed
in the letter was a provision for the special immigrant visa. This is a program that was set in — was put
in place a number of years ago to offer an opportunity for those who assisted us in our
military operations to come to the United States. I think what we have to remember is, many
of these Afghan citizens that served with us as interpreters not only put themselves,
but put their families at risk, in support of our national security objectives. STEPHANIE SY: Iraqis as well. GEN. JOSEPH VOTEL: And Iraqis as well. And so this is — I think this is — it’s
important for us to follow through, I think, and provide them the safety and the opportunity
to come to our country. And the special immigrant visa, the P-2 and
visa program that’s in place for Iraq, these are extraordinarily important programs. And they send a very strong message to our
partners and people that put it on the line for us that we are with you and we are going
the stay with you. We have talked about the number of refugees
in countries like Turkey, but also Lebanon, Jordan. All of these countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan,
have absorbed huge numbers of refugees. And this is a challenge for the international
community that we have to address. And I think the United States has to play
a role and be seen as a leader on this. So that’s what motivated me to support this
letter. STEPHANIE SY: General Joseph Votel, former
head of Central Command, thank you so much. GEN. JOSEPH VOTEL: Thank you. It’s great to be with you.

News Wrap: U.S. employers added fewer jobs than expected in August


JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: U.S.
businesses slowed their hiring in August amid global economic weakness and the tariff war
with China. The Labor Department reports employers added
a net of 130,000 jobs, fewer than expected. That total included 25,000 temporary workers
hired for the 2020 U.S. census. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent,
even as more people started looking for work. The chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome
Powell, is playing down the risk of recession. He spoke at a conference in Switzerland today,
and gave an upbeat view of what lies ahead, despite some uncertainty. JEROME POWELL, Federal Reserve Chairman: Our
main expectation is not at all that there’ll be a recession. I did mention, though, that there are these
risks. And we’re monitoring them very carefully and
we’re conducting policy in a way that will address them. But, no, I wouldn’t see a recession as the
most likely outcome for the United States or for the world economy, for that matter. JUDY WOODRUFF: The Fed cut short-term interest
rates in July, and is widely expected to do so again this month. The Taliban staged another fatal assault in
Afghanistan today amid growing questions about a potential peace deal. The attack killed two people in the Western
province of Farah, and fighting continued in the city hours later. Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani postponed
a trip to Washington next week. His government says that a potential U.S.
agreement with the Taliban could lead to all-out civil war. In Hong Kong, some 2,000 pro-democracy protesters
surrounded a police station and subway stop in new confrontations with police. Officers answered with rubber bullets, tear
gas and pepper spray, and the demonstrators used umbrellas to shield themselves. They also rejected promises to kill a much-criticized
extradition law. JOHN CHAN, Student (through translator): The
government is one that doesn’t listen to the voice of the people. It doesn’t have a mandate from the people. All it listens to is the central people’s
government. This is an issue that, during the last two
to three months, everyone has been able to see really clearly. Our government is not working for us. JUDY WOODRUFF: The protesters are now calling
for an investigation of alleged police brutality and for direct elections of city leaders. The one-time strongman president of Zimbabwe,
Robert Mugabe has died. He led the African nation’s black majority
to power in 1980 and he ruled for 37 years, before being driven from office. JUDY WOODRUFF: Robert Mugabe was 95 years
old. Mexico now says the number of migrants arriving
at its border to cross into the United States has fallen more than 50 percent in the last
three months. The foreign minister announced today that
some 64,000 people were stopped from crossing in August. That’s down from more than 144,000 who crossed
in May. Mexico deployed thousands of troops and police
to slow the flow of migrants, after President Trump threatened tariffs. Back in this country, the Trump administration
opened a legal assault today on California and four automakers over emissions standards. The U.S. Justice Department notified Ford,
Honda, Volkswagen and BMW that they are being investigated for possible antitrust violations. In July, the companies adopted California’s
emissions standards, which are tougher than those the administration favors. And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial
average gained 69 points to close at 26797. The Nasdaq fell 13 points and the S&P 500
added two. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the psychological
trauma of separating children from their families at the border; Mark Shields and David Brooks
break down the week’s news, including funding decisions for the border wall and Democrats’
plans to address climate change; inside the new wing of the Kennedy Center for the Performing
Arts; and much more.

News Wrap: Taliban inflict more deadly violence in Afghanistan


JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: A
Taliban car bombing in Afghanistan killed two NATO soldiers and 10 civilians. One soldier was an American, the fourth to
die in the last two weeks. The suicide blast in Kabul left wrecked vehicles
near the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters. In addition to the dead, 42 people were wounded. Hours later, a bombing in a neighboring province
killed four people at an Afghan military base. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is
vowing to push again for early elections in the battle over Brexit. The House of Commons voted Wednesday against
calling elections. It also voted against leaving the European
Union on October 31 without a formal deal. Today, at a police recruiting event in North
England, Johnson said an election is now essential. BORIS JOHNSON, British Prime Minister: I hate
banging on about Brexit. I don’t want to go on about this anymore. And I don’t want an election at all. I don’t want an election at all, but, frankly,
I cannot see any other way. The only way to get this thing done, to get
this thing moving is to make that decision. JUDY WOODRUFF: Johnson’s ruling Conservatives
will try again on Monday to win approval of new elections. Meanwhile, the prime minister’s brother, Jo
Johnson, quit his position as a conservative member of Parliament today. He said he was torn between family loyalty
and the British national interest. President Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason
Greenblatt, has announced he is leaving the administration. He was the architect of the president’s still
evolving Israeli peace plan. But it has not been released, and the Palestinians
rejected negotiations after Mr. Trump moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and recognized
Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
is threatening to let a flood of Syrian refugees leave Turkey for Western countries, that is,
unless a safe zone for refugees is established inside Syria before the month is out. Erdogan voiced his frustration to officials
of his ruling party in Ankara today. RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkish President (through
translator): We will be forced to open the gates. We will be forced to open the gates. If you’re going to provide support, then provide
support. And if you’re not, sorry. We have tolerated this up to a certain point,
and we’re still tolerating it. Are we the only ones who are going to carry
this burden? JUDY WOODRUFF: Turkey has taken in 3.6 million
Syrian refugees since the war in Syria began in 2011. Erdogan says the European Union has not kept
promises of financial support in exchange for Turkey stemming the flow of migrants. Back in this country, a jury in Oakland, California,
acquitted one of two men charged with involuntary manslaughter in a warehouse party fire in
2016. The jury failed to reach a verdict on the
other defendant. The pair managed the warehouse, where 36 people
died. The place was packed with furniture and other
flammable material, but had only two exits, and no smoke detectors. The U.S. Education Department fined Michigan
State University $4.5 million today over sexual abuse by a sports doctor. The announcement said the school failed to
respond to repeated complaints against Larry Nassar. He is now in prison, effectively for life,
for possessing child pornography and molesting young girls. On Wall Street, stocks surged on news that
the U.S. and China plan to hold new trade talks next month. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 372
points to close at 26728. The Nasdaq rose nearly 140 points, and the
S&P 500 added 38. And basketball great Jerry West received the
Presidential Medal of Freedom today. West was a 14-time All-Star in his Hall of
Fame career with the Los Angeles Lakers, a career that ended in 1974. President Trump presented West with the medal
at a White House ceremony. It is the nation’s highest civilian honor. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: where is
President Trump finding the money to pay for his long -promised border wall?; a threat
to the Amazon is a threat to the planet, — Brazil and the risks of species extinction; fusing
the political and the artistic to critique how leaders wield power; plus, much more.

Obama EXPOSES Trump’s Hypocrisy


>>Following news that Donald Trump cancelled
a meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David only days before 9/11. Some of his old tweets toward Barack Obama
have resurfaced for good cause. Now Trump was very critical toward Obama when
it came to negotiating with terrorists and I want to read some of those tweets to you. This was a tweet from January 13th of 2012,
Trump had tweeted, while Barack Obama is slashing the military, he’s also negotiating with our
sworn enemy, the Taliban, who facilitated 9/11. That wasn’t the only tweet there were several
of them. I’m not even gonna read all of them to you
but one other one->>Slashing the military like in an alley
and shipping them, not even including the budget part.>>Pathetic Barack Obama is sweetening his
offer to the Taliban. And then he said, read the art of the deal. Little plug for his book, so it goes on and
on. Look, what I found fascinating was the damage
control we saw from Mike Pompeo the morning after Trump had tweeted about the meeting
falling apart. And so let’s go to the first video. Here, he is speaking to Jake Tapper. And Jake Tapper asks him, what if this was
Obama?>>I can’t help but think that if a democratic
president had talked about having the Taliban come to Camp David to negotiate a peace process,
that was not already a done deal, that you, as a congressman, as a soldier, as a veteran
as a West Point graduate, that you would be rather upset.>>Yeah, Jake, you’re just wrong about that. I’ve been fully supportive of this effort,
the direction that we have taken the state department, the effort, President Trump has
given us guidance to go deliver on a something I think is important, it’s valuable. I think the timing is just right. We’ve made enormous progress. I know who the Taliban are, and I know who
Al-Qaeda is. And I’ve seen that UN report, I will tell
you that they described that Al-Qaeda leadership as being happy about the conditions Afghanistan,
well, a lot of them are in their graves. And so make no mistake about it, we will continue
to punish, we will continue to pound, we will continue to fight, we’ll continue to protect
the American people, we will never construct a deal. If I was worried about Barack Obama and President
Obama, it was because he was prepared to leave without ensuring that we can protect America,
this administration will never do that.>>So that last statement perfectly summarizes
one of the reasons why Trump is gonna stay in Afghanistan. I mean, that is the kind of influence that
surrounds him in the White House. And at the same time, come on, let’s keep
it real. We know the situation would be very different,
the response from someone like Pompeo would be very different toward Obama, if Obama were
doing the exact same thing that Trump is trying to do.>>But when you say this is the group that
surrounds Trump, it’s frankly the group that surrounds both parties.>>Yeah, definitely.>>In terms of the blob, what is sometimes
known as the blob, which is this sort of diplomatic and intelligence, and military communities
within Washington. They have the same mindset that Pompeo just
said right there, we can’t leave until we’ve secured the zone. But we have nothing to do to be able to do
that. So we’re just not gonna leave.>>So we’re just gonna punish and pound them.>>Punish and pound them.>>And using a soldier’s death as an excuse
is actually kinda offensive to the memory of that soldier because it has nothing to
do with one tragic event. It has everything to do with the foreign policy
mentality of the United States in a bipartisan fashion. And it does wrong to the memory of the soldier
to say that he was the reason or his death was the reason that we’re staying.>>Right, and Obama got elected and there
were all sorts of promises when it came to changing foreign policy, changing the course
of foreign policy in America. But in reality, Obama expanded Bush era foreign
policy. Drone strikes increased under him. Our civil liberties continued to be violated
under the Obama administration. So you’re absolutely right. And there is this notion that if you don’t
play ball with the military-industrial complex, especially if you’re a democrat, you’re weak
on national security. And when you think about that, that is a criticism
that’s perpetuated by the right-wing, and democrats just fall right into it.>>It’s cuz they’re terrified of the military-industrial
complex, that huge apparatus that you’re talking about, which is even more influential in Washington
than I think people realize. And what’s fascinating to me about how Jake
Tapper framed that question is, he started it off the exact right way. Isn’t there hypocrisy, would you not be extremely
critical if this was President Obama? But then he goes as a soldier, as a veteran,
as a West Point graduate. As if there’s something wrong with diplomacy
with the Taliban. And that’s what’s frustrating about the entire
media coverage of it. They are anti-peace, consistently, and they
are anti-diplomacy, consistently. That’s a bias you see on Fox News, MSNBC,
CNN repeatedly, they want belligerence. They were so orgasmic about when Trump dropped
that mother of all bombs in Afghanistan, and they’re silent, radio silent that Trump within
the first year I think in office already surpassed Obama in drone strikes civilian deaths in
Syria and Iraq. So this is just increasing, increasing, and
increasing. And unless we have someone who’s a radical
in the right sense in office, it’s not gonna change because the power of the presidency
in this regard has gotten completely out of control.>>And while you thought that Trump might
be someone who would reject the establishment consequences of this.>>Mm-hm.>>Because his intellectual curiosity only
extends to cable news.>>Right.>>If cable news is reinforcing what you just
said in terms of putting forward a belligerent pro-intervention, anti-peace mindset, then
that’s the feedback that he gets. The only feedback that he gets while he’s
sitting in bed.>>It is interesting though because if I recall
correctly, back when Obama was president and when he did wanna do these negotiations, and
when he was getting criticize from the right-wing for being part of these talks. Of course, Fox News criticized him, but MSNBC
was kind to him, CNN was relatively kind to him. They were a lot more in favor of working with
and negotiating with so-called terrorist under the Obama administration, but when it comes
to Trump, it’s amazing to see how those very same cable news hosts change tune, right? Where all of a sudden they’re the ones, no,
you shouldn’t be negotiating with terrorists. This is offensive, this is terrible. But you shouldn’t change your perspective
on these peace deals, depending on who the president is at that moment. And one other thing I wanted to give Trump
credit for in a weird way. There are moments where he pushes through
the pressures of the military industrial conflicts. Remember, he was about to do an air strike
on Iran, and he called it off last minute. And the reason why he called it off last minute
is because he went with his instinct and realized, okay, Pompeo’s pressuring me to do this, Bolton’s
pressuring me to do this. This is not the right way to go about it. And so luckily, that wildcard component of
Donald Trump work to our favor in that case. But yeah, he is surrounded by people, much
like democratic candidates in the past by people who want to push for perpetual war,
who want us in Afghanistan, pretend as if there’s some solution in sight when really
there isn’t.

Trump’s SECRET Taliban Meeting Fails


>>President Trump revealed in a series of
bombshell tweets late Saturday that he planned to secretly meet with Taliban leaders and
the president of Afghanistan Sunday at Camp David. Now that meeting came as a surprise and it
was abruptly cancelled. And we found out about that through a series
of tweets that Trump put out. And I’m gonna go ahead and read those tweets
to you and give you some more details about what this meeting was supposed to be about. Trump Tweets, unbeknownst to almost everyone,
the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to
secretly meet with me at Camp David on Saturday. They were coming to the United States tonight,
this is a tweet from Saturday night. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage,
they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great soldiers and 11 other people. I immediately cancel the meeting, and called
off peace negotiations. What kind of people would kill so many in
order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position? I don’t know we should take a look at what’s
happening in Yemen. They didn’t, they didn’t they only made it
worse, then he continues to write. If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during
these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people. Then they probably don’t have the power to
negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway. How many more decades are they willing to
fight? Now as we all know, Donald Trump has wanted
to pull out of Afghanistan and now that the 2020 election is quickly approaching. If he succeeds in it, it’s one of the things
he wants to point to as a success in his first term. However, as with anything Trump tweets, what’s
happening behind the scenes is very different from what he’s putting out there publicly. So we’re gonna get into the details of why
these negotiations really fell apart. But first, let me give you the background
on how this meeting came about in the first place. At some point during the meeting, the idea
was floated to finalize the negotiations in Washington. Trump suggested that he would even invite
President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan, whose government has not been party to these negotiation
talks, and get him to sign on. So I want to stop there for a second, so the
United States and the Taliban have been negotiating a peace deal. Without any type of involvement from the actual
government of Afghanistan. And in the meantime, Trump is making concessions
on behalf of the Afghan government as part of these negotiations. So as soon as the Afghan government got involved
clearly there were some issues. And there were disagreements about the concessions
that Trump provided to the Taliban. Namely that the Afghan government would release
Taliban prisoners, which is not something that Afghanistan agreed to do. Now in the days that followed Trump embraced
an even more remarkable idea. He would not only bring the Taliban to Washington,
but to Camp David, the crown jewel of the American presidency. The leaders of a militant organization, and
this is writing from the New York Times. Deems terrorists by the United States would
be hosted in the mountain getaway used for presidents, prime ministers and kings. Just three days before the anniversary of
the Sept 11, 2001 attacks that led to the Afghan war. All right, so let’s open this up for discussion. I just want to say right off the bat, I am
not one to say that you should never negotiate with so called terrorists. We have negotiated with terrorists in the
past. We’re actually fighting a war for terror terrorists
in Yemen right now. So I’m not in the camp of no, you should not
negotiate with the Taliban. However, the way Trump wanted to do this and
the way he wanted to bring the Taliban to Camp David days prior to September 11, I think
was not a good idea to say the least. And the way the negotiations have gone down
so far, have been pretty bad, especially when he hasn’t involved the Afghan government. And based on reporting, Trump wasn’t even
really involved in the negotiations himself until the very end, because he wanted that
spectacle.>>Well, I mean that’s somewhat common, right,
that you do this stuff at the staff level and then you bring the world leaders in at
the end to close and seal the deal. The real problem here is that I mean let’s
take a step back. The Afghan government controls like four streets
in Kabul and that’s about it. And the Americans do in fact leave which in
my view we should. The government is going to likely collapse. It’s going to fall to the Taliban. No American presidents been willing to take
that risk. We thought maybe Trump was so desirous of
saying, I brought the troops back. And so uncaring of the fallout that he might
but no he’s not willing to do that either. So apparently we’re locked into the Afghanistan
for 100 years doing nothing of consequence. For stalling an inevitable solution or an
inevitable consequence of our eventually leaving if we ever do.>>But the Taliban and the Afghan government
despite how marginalized the Afghan government is both want the United States troops to leave
their nation. So if Trump and his team if you’re saying
that, it’s more gonna be on the, lower levels that are having these conversations. If they had the shred of competency, they
would know that that is a common goal to bring those two groups together to have a conversation
if they actually wanted peace. The reality is that Trump acts impulsively,
he sort of wants peace and has these anti interventionist inclinations. But when it comes down to it, it’s the establishment
of the republican party that will always put a wall up in front of him. And he wants to be liked by that his covert
of people around him and by his supporters so much. So that’s what’s going to win out dirt at
the end of the day. And he’s so easily swayed by who’s the last
person in the room.>>True.>>So while that might be his initial instinct
to be anti interventionist. It’s never going to get past the first step
and this is just another another example of it. And it’s frustrating because he could be the
Trojan Horse for us people who love peace who want us to get out of these forever wars. And actually accomplish this goal because
only a republican can for the republicans to accept it. And democrats and liberals are principled
enough to say, okay, we’ll be fine with it even if Trump does it.>>Yeah, I mean, it was the idea that if anyone
could get away with this, it could be trial. And no, he’s he’s not willing to and and frankly
the the Afghan government and the Taliban’s concerns and wishes mean absolutely nothing
to US foreign policy in any fashion.>>Which is why we invaded them, we stay there
for decades.>>This is about an American president trying
to save face. And unfortunately, he’s going to continue
to have Americans there who are still in harm’s way as those tweets show.>>So I wanna get to the Warhawks, who surrounds
him and his administration in just a second. But I do also wanna give you some information
about the soldier who died in these Taliban attack. As I mentioned earlier, 12 innocent people
were killed. Including a soldier who, Army sergeant 1st
class Elis Angel Barreto Ortiz. Now he was cited, his death was cited as the
reason for why this meeting didn’t happen and why the negotiations fell apart. But in reality, these Taliban attacks have
never subsided, like they have continued more American military have died as a result of
these attacks. What really happened is there was so many
disagreements and there was so much chaos in the middle of these negotiations. That it just kind of fell apart and my interpretation
of this is that the administration is now pointing to this particular Taliban attack. For their reason to kind of leave the negotiations
behind at the moment.>>Definitely.>>They claim that they want to continue negotating
but we’ll see. Now, I want to go to Mike Pompeo because Pompeo’s
rhetoric here perfectly demonstrates and illustrates what you guys are talking about. The kind of hawkishness that you can expect
from someone like Pompeo and to an even greater degree John Bolton, take a look.>>We’re not gonna withdraw our forces without
making sure we achieve President Trump’s Twitter objectives. Any reduction of forces will be based on actual
conditions not commitments but actual conditions on the grounds.>>Okay, well giving that conditions appeared
to be worsening.>>Chuck that’s not true.>>You don’t believe, okay?>>I don’t believe that’s true. If you are the Taliban conditions have been
worsening and they’re about to get worse.>>Okay, what you say about to get worse? So you’re gonna, and does this mean we are
going to increase the military activity against the Taliban?>>We’re gonna make sure that everyone in
the region understands that America will always protect its national security interests. And I’ll leave to the Department of Defense
to talk about specifics, but no one should underestimate President Trump’s commitment
to achieving this goal.>>So it’s just clear who surrounds Donald
Trump. So you guys are right in that he has these
inclinations, he has this feeling that, hey, voters are sick of these forever wars, they
wanna get out. But when you surround yourself with the likes
of John Bolton, who’s even more hawkish than Pompeo is in this administration specifically. Well, you’re gonna have some issues, and I
wannna give you some details about what they were negotiating, what were the terms of the
deal as they stood? The deal called for a gradual withdraw the
remaining 14,000 American troops over 16 months, with about 5000 of them leaving within 135
days. In return, the Taliban would provide counterterrorism
assurances to ease American fears of a repeat September 11th from Afghans soil. But I mean, even in that case, do you trust
the Taliban to avoid another terrorist attack? I mean, I wouldn’t trust them. I would take the proper national security
measures to make sure that an attack like that doesn’t happen in the future.>>Well, but I mean, that is the doom loop
of this militarized policy that we’ve continued to see. We can’t leave, because what would happen
if we leave?>>Well, I wanna leave, don’t get me wrong. I wanna leave but like this whole notion that
like they’re gonna promise that they’re not gonna do any they’re not gonna be naughty
anymore. Of course they’re gonna throughout these negotiations
they’ve continued with their attacks.>>I mean nothing in that says we’re not going
to take over the government and rule the country. I mean they could not harbor a terrorist and
still subjugate women and do everything that the Taliban was doing and controlling Afghanistan. Which was not great situation for the Afghan
people.>>It wasn’t, I mean but,
>>And frankly though, that’s their business. I mean, we’ve invaded the,>>I heard.>>Yeah like I’m obviously sympathetic to
the plate of women and all of these individuals who have to suffer under these authoritarian
governments. These religious governments that are being
run by maniacs. I mean, but we fund one in Saudi Arabia. So the fact that we’re showing this false
concern about all what happens is the Taliban actually gains official control as opposed
to just 90% control of Afghanistan, is absurd. So we’re doing all of this in bad faith and
that’s what’s frustrating about this conversation.>>Yeah, I wanna leave you with one final
bit of information on this graphic 11. A senior Taleban leader on Sunday said that
Trump was fooling himself to think that he could bring the Taliban and President Ashrafj
Ghani together at Camp David. Because we do not recognize stooge government
in Kabul. So there were deep disagreements during these
negotiations. The way that the Trump Administration is trying
to spin it as if everything was hunky-dory they had agreed on everything, everything
was fine. It was just that one final terrorist attack
that they did the changed everything is just a lie. They hadn’t really come to an agreement. There were still deep differences and that
doesn’t mean that you should avoid pulling out of Afghanistan. But you should know what the facts are and
how the negotiations really went.

PBS NewsHour full episode September 2, 2019


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: the coming storm. Hurricane Dorian lays siege to the Bahamas,
as it continues its journey closer to the U.S. mainland. Then: former Secretary of Defense James Mattis
on leadership, the role of the military and his work in the Trump administration. JAMES MATTIS, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense:
George Washington, the father of our country, I think, put it very well, how you have to
listen, learn, help, and then lead. That was his approach, and I think it’s one
that served me well. JUDY WOODRUFF: Plus: Parliament, the prime
minister, and the protests in the street — outrage in the United Kingdom as no-deal Brexit looms. ZOE BINNIE, Protester Organizer: I think this
is a British coup. It’s very polite, it’s very unassuming, and
that’s the worst thing. It’s very quiet. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Hurricane Dorian pummeled the
Bahamas today, leading to several deaths and what was called catastrophic damage. Officials confirmed at least five people died
in the Abaco Islands. And there are many reports of people in serious
distress tonight. The prime minister of the Bahamas called the
storm — quote — “a historic tragedy.” The damage was also on the minds of federal,
state and local leaders in the U.S., as preparations continued for possible landfall this week. John Yang reports from Florida. JOHN YANG: Hurricane Dorian carved a slow,
destructive path across the Bahamas today. It made landfall yesterday with winds exceeding
185 miles per hour, a Category 5 storm, the strongest on record to strike the island nation. Dorian weakened to a Category 4 storm this
morning, but continued lashing the Bahamas. The winds rocked trees. Torrential rains triggered massive flooding. HUBERT MINNIS, Prime Minister of the Bahamas:
Some areas, you Cannot tell the difference as to the beginning of the street vs. where
the ocean begins. JOHN YANG: The storm toppled power poles and
damaged vehicles. The current forecast envisions Dorian moving
dangerously close to the Southeastern U.S. Seaboard, offshore of Florida’s East Coast
tonight through Wednesday evening. It’s expected to pass near the Carolinas,
where states of emergency have now been declared. Even a minor deviation could send Dorian onshore. But if it doesn’t make landfall, it still
has the potential to do major damage. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis: GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Hurricane Dorian has
shown what it is capable of. It’s absolutely battered the Bahamas. Our East Coast is certainly within the cone
still, and people need to remain vigilant. If you’re ordered to evacuate, you need to
do that. JOHN YANG: At the Good Samaritan Society’s
retirement community in Kissimmee, outside Orlando, a fleet of ambulances transported
seniors to a sister facility on higher ground. The community was flooded after Hurricane
Irma in 2017. Throughout Florida, past experiences are shaping
residents’ responses. Ivette Alsina of Winter Haven, south of Orlando,
stocked up on sandbags, and other emergency supplies. You got everything ready here. You’re all prepared. IVETTE ALSINA, Florida: Almost prepared. I think I’m prepared. I got the batteries, flashlight, a first kit. I got food, water. Everything is set. JOHN YANG: Alsina is among the tens of thousands
of Puerto Ricans who moved to Florida after surviving 2017’s Hurricane Maria. How did you feel when you heard about this
hurricane and that it might be coming and hitting Florida? IVETTE ALSINA: I felt fear and anxiety. JOHN YANG: Anxiety? IVETTE ALSINA: Yes, because it’s really bad. I was in Puerto Rico when Maria passed. And thinking that that is coming here right
now is really bad. JOHN YANG: She evacuated from Cayey, Puerto
Rico, 10 days after Maria to get treatment for high blood pressure. Storm warnings this week have put her back
on high alert. IVETTE ALSINA: Three days ago, I went to the
doctor. He gave me a lot of medicines, so I can be
calm through the toll of these days. JOHN YANG: Other Puerto Ricans in the area
are also feeling tense. MILLIE SANTIAGO, Florida (through translator):
I’m not the only one. I have received a lot of calls from Puerto
Rican families who ended up here because of Maria. They’re in critical states of anxiety. JOHN YANG: Millie Santiago is another survivor
of Hurricane Maria. She’s helping 22 families staying at an Episcopal
Church conference center outside Orlando, where mental health counselors are on hand. Yemanja Krasnow is a University of Central
Florida clinician and social worker. YEMANJA KRASNOW, University of Central Florida:
A lot of the Puerto Ricans that came to Central Florida post-Maria, they had some very traumatic
experience. It wasn’t just the storm. There was loss of lives. There was loss of house, of pets, of properties,
of businesses. So there was a compound of trauma going on,
not just the experience of the hurricane itself. JOHN YANG: In Jacksonville, restaurant owner
Andy Zarka is preparing for the possibility his business might end up underwater, as it
did during Hurricane Irma. ANDY ZARKA, Florida: They told us two years
ago that Irma was a once-in-a-lifetime storm, that there’s no — it’s never happened like
that and it’s never going to happen again. And now here we are two years later, and we’re
getting ready for what could be Irma 2.0. JOHN YANG: On Jacksonville Beach, residents
enjoyed a pleasant day while considering their next steps. WALTER CHOWN, Florida: We are going to take
our time on making a decision to leave. But, especially having children, we don’t
want to make — be foolhardy or make bad decisions. JOHN YANG: Others took advantage of the high
Atlantic waves Dorian churned up. But few expect the calm to last long. Here on Jacksonville Beach, the winds and
the waves already picking up, even though the brunt of Hurricane Dorian won’t be felt
for another 48 hours or so. Just a little bit ago, the Orlando Airport
announced it is suspending operations overnight tonight, which means that every major airport
on the eastern side of Florida from West Palm Beach to Daytona Beach is now closed. And, Judy, even if Dorian doesn’t make landfall,
it doesn’t mean there won’t be any damage. The track it’s forecast to take is very similar
to Hurricane Matthew about — in 2016. That storm too stayed off the coast, never
made landfall all the way to North Carolina. It caused about $3 billion of damage and claimed
12 lives — Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we remember that well. So, John, I — you were telling us you have
been talking to a lot of people there in Florida about the decisions they’re having to make
about whether to go, whether to stay. Tell us a little about what they’re saying. JOHN YANG: Well, this hurricane has been sort
of on the news and in the headlines for about a week now. They started talking about it last Monday. The good news is, that’s given a lot of people
a lot of time to plan. The bad news may be, it’s also given a lot
of people time to worry, and anxiety levels are high. But I thought that with the — perhaps with
the storm taking so long to get here, with it slowing down over the Bahamas so much,
that some people might become complacent. But the people I have talked to say that they
know what storms can do. This is the — would be the eighth major hurricane
to hit Florida since 2000. And a lot of people say that they know what
storms can do, they respect their power. And they also point to Andrew, the storm in
1992 that did about $27 billion worth of damage, killed 65. They say, since then, they take every storm
seriously. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, John, they are now issuing,
what, evacuation orders in Georgia and in the Carolinas. JOHN YANG: That’s right, up and down the coast. Low-lying coastal counties — actually, all
the counties along the coast have mandatory evacuation orders in place. And in South Carolina, they have begun what
they call contraflow. All the interstates going into Charleston,
all the traffic is outbound — from Charleston to Colombia outbound, and the other parts
of the state, the interstates all leading out of Charleston. You can’t get into Charleston. They want people to leave. JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes. Even with this hurricane still sitting over
the Bahamas, so much havoc it is already creating up and down the East Coast. John Yang, reporting for us tonight from Jacksonville
Beach, thank you, John. Back in the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian spent
much of this day pummeling Grand Bahama and other islands and is expected hover there
into tomorrow. The National Hurricane Center warned this
afternoon of ocean storm surges that could be 20 feet higher than normal, while wind
gusts were nearly 200 miles an hour at times. Phone service has been spotty or disconnected
there. So we check in this evening with Danica Coto,
who covers the Caribbean for the Associated Press. She’s been reporting, along with a colleague
who’s in the Bahamas. Danica joins us via Skype from San Juan, Puerto
Rico. Danica, hello again to us. So, what are you hearing about what this hurricane
has done to the Bahamas? DANICA COTO, Associated Press: Well, there’s
a lot of harrowing call for help coming out of not only the Abaco Islands, which was hit
on Sunday, but as well from Grand Bahama Island, which was affected today, on Monday — all
Monday for more than 12 hours. It’s a pretty significant amount of time for
an island that is mostly zero to 15 feet above sea levels, given that the storm surge is
expected between 18 to 23 feet. JUDY WOODRUFF: I was seeing in a report you
did with your colleague in the Bahamas there were something like over 2,000 distress calls? DANICA COTO: Correct. A lot of people were calling in for friends
and relatives, relaying messages to a radio station that was then passing on messages
to the Emergency Management Agency. These calls ranged from a 5-month-old that
was stuck atop a roof, to an elderly woman who had a stroke, to a pregnant woman, to
a grandmother with six grandchildren who had to literally cut a hole in the roof. And many of these people were asking for help. But rescue crews said that they were unable
to go out, given the current weather conditions. So, unfortunately, a lot of people were left
waiting for help. And as soon as the weather cleared, officials
said they could go out and help. And most of them went out as the eye passed
through Grand Bahama. So some people were able to be rescued, but
many are still waiting for help. JUDY WOODRUFF: What about infrastructure there? Danica, you mentioned it’s, what — you said
zero to 15 feet above sea level. How prepared are they to deal with any storm
and in particular a storm like this one that’s just sitting there? DANICA COTO: Well, the Bahamas is pretty used
to major storms. From 2015 to 2017, they were hit by three
Category 4 storms consecutively in those years. The homes are built to withstand 150 mile-per-hour
winds. But Dorian was no match. Dorian was carrying 185 mile-per-hour winds,
with gusts of up to 220 mile-per-hour winds, when it hit the Abaco Islands on Sunday. JUDY WOODRUFF: But we don’t know yet, is what
you’re saying, the extent of the destruction. DANICA COTO: Correct. Officials say they are still unable to go
to the Abaco Islands, which was hit on Sunday. And so the earliest they would be able to
go in to help these communities and the nearby keys would be around 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday. But a lot remains unknown, given that the
storm has basically parked itself over the Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands for two
days. JUDY WOODRUFF: Is it known how many people
were able actually to leave the Bahamas? I’m assuming not that many before the storm
hit. DANICA COTO: A lot of people sought shelter,
but legislators have said that many remained in the tiny keys around Abaco Island and Grand
Bahama. And they’re talking about creating legislation
to be able to enforce mandatory evacuations. JUDY WOODRUFF: But in order to do that, people
have to have the — they have to be able to afford to get on a boat or an airplane. DANICA COTO: Correct. They provide the transportation for many of
these people. And it was even up to 11:00 a.m. on Sunday,
which was the last bus leaving for shelters. And, even then, a couple of shelters in Grand
Bahama today were reporting problems with flooding. Our local reporters were saying that children
were sitting on the laps of adults as floodwaters began to rise in at least two shelters. Some people are describing the airport in
Freeport, which is in Grand Bahama. They say it looks like an ocean. A lot of areas are completely underwater. People are in the second floors of their homes. Bahama they say it looks like an ocean. A lot of areas are completely underwater. People are on the second floors of their homes
filming videos with waters rising. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it’s a terrible situation. And, of course, we’re all waiting to see what
more is learned. Danica Coto with the Associated Press, thank
you, Danica. DANICA COTO: Thank you very much. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: Four
people died and another 29 are missing and feared dead after a dive boat sank off the
coast of Southern California. The 75-foot vessel caught fire before sinking
near Santa Cruz Island. The Ventura County Fire Department released
photos of the boat engulfed in flames before dawn. All five crew members survived by jumping
into the water. But the U.S. Coast Guard is still combing
the site, looking for missing passengers. CAPT. MONICA ROCHESTER, U.S. Coast Guard: Presently,
the Coast Guard is — has full efforts in a response posture right now. We are currently still in the response phase. Right now, they are conducting shoreline searches
for any available survivors. JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s still unclear what caused
the fire. Federal transportation authorities have sent
a team to the scene to investigate. Authorities in Odessa, Texas, say the gunman
who killed seven in a mass shooting this weekend was fired from his job on the day of the attack. The shooter wounded at least 22 people before
he was killed by police. Authorities said he made rambling calls to
911 and to the FBI before the attack. CHRISTOPHER COMBS, FBI Special Agent in Charge:
He was on a long spiral of going down. He didn’t wake up Saturday morning and walk
into his company and then it happened. He went to that company in trouble. He’s probably been in trouble for a while,
which is why we have been reaching out. I talked to some of you yesterday about, we
really need the public’s help to reach out to us when they see people in that downward
spiral that may be on that road to violence. JUDY WOODRUFF: We will get a report on the
latest from Odessa later in the program. In Afghanistan, the Taliban claimed responsibility
for a massive explosion that rocked the capital city, Kabul, today, killing at least five
civilians. More than 50 others were wounded. It targeted the heavily secured Green Village
compound that’s home to several aid agencies and international organizations. The attack happened hours after U.S. envoy
Zalmay Khalilzad briefed the Afghan government about a draft peace deal with the Taliban. Special correspondent Jane Ferguson is in
Kabul, and joins us now. Jane, good evening. JANE FERGUSON: Hi, Judy. This is just the latest of a series of escalating
attacks by the Taliban in recent days, designed to keep up pressure on both the United States
and the Afghan government here in Kabul. The timing is very significant. The U.S. special envoy to those peace talks
between the United States government and the Taliban that have been taking place in Qatar,
Zalmay Khalilzad, just arrived this weekend back into Kabul, where he is presenting Afghan
President Ashraf Ghani with the initial details of a proposed agreement between the United
States and the Taliban. It’s believed they’re close to agreeing on
a U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan, but have yet to finalize that agreement. In the meantime, the Taliban have marched
on two major cities in the north of Afghanistan just over the weekend as well. JUDY WOODRUFF: That’s special correspondent
Jane Ferguson reporting from Kabul tonight. Thank you, Jane. In Hong Kong, tens of thousands of students
boycotted their first day of class to join anti-government demonstrations. Their peaceful rallies followed a weekend
of violent clashes with police that resulted in over 150 arrests. Today, high school and college students wore
face masks and school uniforms, as they demanded democratic change and an inquiry into police
conduct. ANDY CHAN, Student (through translator): I
think that secondary school students are part of society, and if we secondary school students
decide to boycott classes, that shows that part of society has already stopped functioning. JUDY WOODRUFF: The mass pro-democracy protests
in the semiautonomous Chinese territory began in June. Police officials have arrested more than 1,000
people since then. Medics in Yemen pulled 88 bodies from a demolished
detention center run by Houthi rebels. The building was targeted yesterday by Saudi-led
coalition airstrikes. In all, the strikes killed over a hundred
people and wounded dozens more. It was the deadliest assault there so far
this year. And the Trump administration said today that
it’s reconsidering its decision to force immigrants with life-threatening illnesses to return
to their home countries. U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services
abruptly ended the program last month, sparking widespread condemnation from the medical community. The policy had allowed immigrants to avoid
deportation as they or relatives underwent lifesaving medical treatment. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: former Secretary
of Defense James Mattis speaks about his decades of service in the Marines and why he’s unwilling
to answer questions about President Trump; an update from Odessa, Texas, after a gunman
kills at least seven in deadly drive-by shootings; protesters in the U.K. angry over the prospect
of leaving the European Union without a deal; and much more. Now to my interview with former Secretary
of Defense retired Marine Corps General James Mattis. He resigned in protest just before Christmas
last year after President Trump announced that he would pull American forces out of
Syria. The U.S. and its allies were trying to finish
off the remnants of the ISIS caliphate, and Mattis wrote in his resignation letter that
he believed Mr. Trump deserved a secretary of defense whose — quote — “views are better
aligned with yours.” The decorated Marine served more than four
decades in uniform, including commands in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He left the Corps in 2013 after a tumultuous
turn running U.S. Central Command under President Obama. Secretary Mattis has written a new book, “Call
Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead.” And I sat down with him this morning in New
York City. Former Secretary James Mattis, thank you very
much for talking with us. JAMES MATTIS, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense:
Yes, it’s a pleasure to be here this morning. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, the book is “Call Sign
Chaos.” It’s about your 40 years in the Marines. It’s also about your philosophy of leadership. And there’s a lot of advice in here with regard
to leadership. What does it boil down to? JAMES MATTIS: Well, I think leadership has
some enduring qualities, whether you’re leading a parish, or you’re leading a school district,
you’re leading a business, or you’re in the military or politics. George Washington, the father of our country,
I think, put it very well, how you have to listen, learn, help, and then lead. That was his approach. And it’s one that served me well. JUDY WOODRUFF: The book is full of so many
stories of your life, among other things, how you thought the troops and the people
out on the front lines were not being listened to by people in Washington. And one of those examples was in 2001, when
you thought Osama bin Laden, you had him cornered, in essence, in Afghanistan, but then the Bush
administration, in effect, pulled the rug out from under you. JAMES MATTIS: The Marine Corps required you
to read a lot of history. And when our intelligence services said that
they believed Osama bin Laden was in one of two valleys in an area up near Tora Bora,
having studied the Geronimo Campaign, and how you could put in outposts that would cut
him off, I pressed very hard to move against him. The challenge we face — and you’re right
to bring it up the way you did, Judy — is, oftentimes, we have 19- and 25-year-olds out
there giving 100 percent, rigorously learning their jobs and carrying them out, but I’m
not sure we have been as rigorous in setting policy. And this isn’t about Republicans or Democrats
or partisan. This goes across party lines. It even goes throughout the Western democracies
right now that seem to be stumbling in protection of democratic values and what we all stand
for. JUDY WOODRUFF: I want to ask you about a few
issues touching on American leadership today, and start with Russia. You write at the end of the book especially
about the critical importance of alliances, of America’s allies. Is it a good or a bad idea to let Russia back
into the G7, which is what the president has suggested? JAMES MATTIS: Let me answer that in two ways,
Judy. First, I believe that, when someone departs
an administration over policy differences, you have what the French call a duty of reserve,
a devoir de reserve. I don’t want to, on the outside, be making
it more difficult for our secretary of defense, secretary of state and president who have
to deal with this very complex world. There will be a time when it’s right for me
to come out on strategy and policy disagreements. But I was clear in my letter of resignation
that I believed in having alliances and staying true to alliances. And I think that, as we look at the importance
of alliances, this is critical that we work with our allies. For example, when this town was attacked on
9/11, I was joined on the battlefield very quickly by troops from Canada and the United
Kingdom, Norway and Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Jordan, and Turkey, not because their
city had been attacked, because we had been attacked. So we need to hold our allies close. In this world, if you study history, nations
with allies thrive, and nations without allies wither. And that’s a reality. JUDY WOODRUFF: And what about Russia joining
— joining the G7? JAMES MATTIS: Yes, I think I maintain my quiet
right now. I don’t want to speak to things that I’m no
longer responsible for. JUDY WOODRUFF: Saudi Arabia. Given what we know about the murder of journalists
Jamal Khashoggi, is it in the long-term interests of the U.S. to be working with Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman? JAMES MATTIS: I think what we have to look,
and what my book is written about is the lessons I learned about, how do you lead? And part of this is, at times, you have to
work with countries that you don’t share everything in common with. No doubt about that. But when you get into current policies and
that sort of — that sort of subject, the reason I want to keep quiet right now is,
we have troops all around the world engaged in operations. We have diplomats all around the world engaged
in very sensitive negotiations. And for a former sitting secretary of defense
to come out with criticism, especially when I’m not completely current — I don’t know
all the back-channel things that are going on — I think it’s unhelpful, especially when
I’m contributing to political assessments at a time when it’s — the political discussions
in this country are so corrosive. I think it is better that we all — at least
the majority of us learn how to roll up our sleeves and listen to each other, work together,
and try to support sound policies that answer the question you just asked. JUDY WOODRUFF: I hear what you’re saying,
Secretary Mattis, but your book is full of references to decisions made for ethical reasons. This is an ethical decision, is it not, given
what Mohammed bin Salman is accused of? JAMES MATTIS: I believe it would be an ethical
decision about working with him. I think you can separate that decision from
working with Saudi Arabia. And that’s difficult to do. But this is sometimes the case that those
in positions of authority, they have to make accommodations to things, where you take the
least of two bad options. JUDY WOODRUFF: North Korea. President Trump has praised Kim Jong-un as
a great leader with — quote — “a beautiful vision” and that, due to the president’s personal
diplomacy, he says he’s changed his behavior. How do you assess Kim Jong-un and the success
at this point of U.S. policy with North Korea? JAMES MATTIS: I’m going to frustrate you here,
Judy, because I don’t believe that, now in the cheap seats, is what I would call myself,
that I’m going to engage in political assessments of something like that. There will come a point where I want to talk
about strategy and policy. It’s not yet. But there will come a time. JUDY WOODRUFF: But, as you know, the election
coming up in November of next year, Americans are going to be making a very important decision
about in whom to place enormous decision-making power over the future of this country and
the world. Are you saying you don’t think it’s your responsibility
to speak up before the election? JAMES MATTIS: That’s exactly what I’m saying. I come from the Department of Defense. And this isn’t just about me. Secretary Ash Carter, the secretary of defense
under President Obama, made very clear that the defense of this country is a nonpartisan
issue. And that was our area of expertise. He studiously avoided political statements. And that — so, this is not just me trying
to be protective of the administration that I just left over policy differences, I might
add. This is a standing tradition of the American
military and the American defense establishment that goes back to century now. And in the current corrosive political debates,
it can get submerged, where everybody thinks it’s all about political assessments all the
time. That doesn’t have to be the case when it comes
to the U.S. military. They protect the experiment. And it’s pretty a raucous experiment right
now. JUDY WOODRUFF: But you also served as the
secretary of defense, a Cabinet position… JAMES MATTIS: Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: … in the government with
immense responsibility. And I just want to ask you some more about
that, because you spent a lot of time with the editor of “The Atlantic,” Jeffrey Goldberg. He did — wrote a very thoughtful piece for
them. He talked to a number of your associates. They have talked to you about President Trump,
that they believe what you believe about him is that he is a man of limited cognitive ability
and of generally dubious character. JAMES MATTIS: Number one, I never said that. And I’m not going to comment on who might
have said it. But I wouldn’t tolerate, when I was on active
duty or as secretary defense, any condemnation or characterization like that of any elected
commander in chief. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, to those who would — and
some are writing this right now — who say that you have a responsibility, because you
have worked so closely with this president, to speak candidly about what you have seen? And some of them are saying, you’re trying
to have it both ways, that you both enjoyed this position of enormous influence inside
the administration, but now you’re out, you don’t have that responsibility anymore, and
you’re not speaking to the American people about what you know. And allies of this country could be asking
the same question. JAMES MATTIS: Well, I — frankly, I determine
my own responsibilities. And I have lived what I believed is a responsible
life. The area of expertise that I had had to do
with the protection of this experiment that you and I call America. It’s the protection of it. And, at times, it’s very raucous. But I also have a lot of confidence in the
American people that they can select who they think is the best president, without me coming
in from the outside on a — as a defense official, whether active or former or whatever, and
start sounding like I’m the one who is able to evaluate those who have the toughest job
in the world. JUDY WOODRUFF: Are you confident this is a
president who can be trusted with the nuclear codes, a fateful responsibility? JAMES MATTIS: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: You want to expand on that,
why you believe that? JAMES MATTIS: You know, the responsibility
that lies — and that’s a very grave one. I have not heard anything that would indicate
there was some irresponsibility there. The thing is, Judy, that we live in a time
where every word is taken apart. And I realize we have an unusual president,
and he talks openly about many things. But, at the same time, in the privacy of the
office, he has to deal with the reality of competing factors. And I would bring the grim realities of war
into that office. At the same time, political leaders are elected
to try to bring human aspirations to bear, of a better economy, of pulling troops out
of wars. This is the normal — to me, this is the normal
tension between human aspirations and war’s realities, those grim realities. And it’s something that, I like being hard
on the issues. I don’t believe in being hard on the people. JUDY WOODRUFF: If you believed that this president
or any president wasn’t a fit commander in chief, would you say so? JAMES MATTIS: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: In other words, you think he’s
fit? JAMES MATTIS: No, I’m not saying that. I don’t make political assessments one way
or the other. I come from the Defense Department. We protect this experiment in democracy. We don’t make assessments of the people’s
choice to serve as the elected commander in chief. JUDY WOODRUFF: Former Secretary of Defense
James Mattis, thank you very much for talking with us. JAMES MATTIS: You’re welcome, Judy. Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: The weekend shooting rampage
in West Texas has left two more American communities in mourning. Seven people were killed in Odessa and nearby
Midland on Saturday, and another 22 people were wounded, including a 17-month-old girl. It came after state troopers stopped the alleged
shooter for driving his car erratically. He shot one of the troopers and then sped
away, firing at people randomly. William Brangham gets an update. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Judy, there was an emotional
vigil last night for victims of the shooting. The gunman’s motive is still unknown. He was apparently fired from his job just
before the traffic stop that started the shootings. This, of course, all comes less than a month
since the massacre at the Walmart in El Paso that killed 22 people. Mitch Borden of Marfa Public Radio joins me
from Midland via Skype. Mitch, thank you very much for doing this. Could you just tell me, first off, what we
know about the seven victims who were killed in this rampage? MITCH BORDEN, Marfa Public Radio: We know
they ranged in age by quite a bit, the youngest being 15 and the oldest being 57. The youngest was a high school student, a
sophomore at a local Odessa high school. And other than that, information is coming
out slowly about the victims. There are fund-raisers. But, so far, at least from what I have seen,
they haven’t released a complete list of the names of the dead. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And this is such a strange
type of mass shooting, where it’s going sort of between these two cities from location
to location. How are the two communities of Midland and
Odessa doing, grappling with all of this? MITCH BORDEN: Just to clear things up, the
traffic stop probably started in Midland County, but it mostly took place in Odessa. The shooter never went to the city limits
of Midland. And both communities, I think, are just in
shock. After being at the vigil last night, people
are ready to heal, but people are scared. This happened in so many places, so quickly,
so many people were affected, that, you know, it’s only, what, two days later. Like, people are trying to still just understand
how this happened. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And Governor Abbott today
said we still don’t know anything about the motive of what drove this man to act this
way. But he did say something, that they found
out something about him failing some background checks for purchasing guns. Can you tell us more about that? MITCH BORDEN: Yes, it does — it did come
out in a presser held earlier today by the — by law enforcement officials that he had
in the past failed a background check. They didn’t release any more information. They also said they didn’t know how he obtained
the assault-style weapon that he used in the shooting. Other than that, we will just have to wait
for them to release more information. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So this massacre, following
El Paso, also occurs right when a series of new state laws go into effect that would loosen
prior gun regulations in the state of Texas. What are those changes? MITCH BORDEN: There’s a lot. There were eight laws that came into effect
on September 1. But a lot of them make it easier to carry
guns in certain settings, such as houses of worship during a disaster. One increased the amount of school marshals
that can carry a firearm. And at a presser — a presser yesterday, Governor
Abbott addressed a crowd and talked to them about action was needed, but he didn’t specify
what type of action. And when asked about, like, these regulations,
he stated that some of them make situations safer, such as the school one, where school
marshal — more school marshals can be armed. So he didn’t want to really engage on the
idea that maybe these regulations make things unsafe. And, so far, there hasn’t been any more comment
around Odessa on this matter. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I mean, calls for new gun
control measures always follow these types of shootings. We saw that after El Paso and Dayton, and
we certainly saw it here. And I know former Congressman Beto O’Rourke
was in the region. I know you were with — I take it, with him
earlier today. He has made much of his presidential campaign
based on gun control. He’s called for some very aggressive measures,
like mandatory buybacks of assault-style weapons. Did he talk about that today? And, if so, what is your sense of, how does
that play in Texas to Texas ears? MITCH BORDEN: You know, I — when I saw him,
he was visiting a Labor Day celebration, a potluck at a union hall — or, like, a celebration
put on by unions. And he was just there trying to spread support
from all of West Texas, El Paso. The shooting in El Paso happened less than
30 days ago. And it was just about trying to bring the
communities together. And he also said action needed to be taken. He didn’t go into, like — and during his
speech, he didn’t go into the certain policies, but he did express like, yes, more things
need to be done on a policy level. He wasn’t shy about that. I don’t think he’s usually shy about that. How that will play in Texas, I think Texas
is a red state. I think a lot of people love guns in this
state and are very protective of their Second Amendment rights. At the same time, two mass shootings in less
than 30 days. I think some people do want change. And I think you can get really granular when
you go into what type of change people want. But I think people are getting to their wit’s
end with this violence. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Mitch Borden of Marfa Public
Radio, thank you very much for your time and for your reporting. MITCH BORDEN: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Britain has begun a critical
week in the battle over its planned exit from the European Union. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered members
of his governing Conservative Party to back his efforts to secure the best possible Brexit
deal. The state of Britain’s democracy is now under
severe scrutiny, after Johnson obtained the queen’s permission to suspend Parliament,
in an apparent attempt to halt debate over Brexit. As special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports,
that move led to dozens of demonstrations over the weekend. MALCOLM BRABANT: Members of Boris Johnson’s
Cabinet were summoned to his Downing Street residence for an emergency session. He told them he’s optimistic of getting concessions
from Europe, so that Britain can leave on October the 31st with a deal. But his plans are being threatened by an opposition
bill due to be tabled by the Labor leader, Jeremy Corbyn, tomorrow. With demonstrators jeering in the background,
the prime minister urged his party to back him. BORIS JOHNSON, British Prime Minister: But
if there’s one thing that can hold us back in these talks, it is the sense in Brussels
that M.P.s may find some way to cancel the referendum or that, tomorrow, M.P.s will vote
with Jeremy Corbyn for yet another pointless delay. I don’t think they will. I hope that they won’t. But, if they do, they will plainly chop the
legs out from under the U.K. position and make any further negotiation absolutely impossible. MALCOLM BRABANT: The implied threat was that,
if the government fails to defeat the bill in Parliament tomorrow, he will seek a general
election. BORIS JOHNSON: I don’t want an election. You don’t want an election. Let’s get on with the people’s agenda. MALCOLM BRABANT: Johnson spent the weekend
war-gaming with his closest advisers at his official retreat, Chequers, after he decided,
controversially, to suspend Parliament for five weeks. His ultimatum is a response to plans outlined
by Labor’s Brexit spokesman, Sir Keir Starmer. SIR KEIR STARMER, Brexit Spokesperson, Labor
Party: The legislation is simple and straightforward, the purpose of which is to ensure that, if
we get to the 31st of October without a deal, we do not crash out. There’s no mandate from the referendum for
crashing out without a deal, nor is there a mandate from Parliament for that. So, actually, Boris Johnson has no mandate
for this at all. MALCOLM BRABANT: Two opinion polls conducted
in recent days indicate that Boris Johnson is gaining support for his tough stance. Despite the resistance to the suspension of
Parliament, one of those polls suggests that Johnson would win a general election. He’s buoyed by reactions like this from businesswoman
Kindi Kaur, a Conservative supporter. She’s from Gravesend, a district east of London
that voted overwhelmingly for Brexit. KINDI KAUR, Brexit Supporter: I think Boris
has done a fantastic tactical move here to make everyone pull their acts together and
give us a good deal. Otherwise, thank you very much. We’re leaving, whether you like it or not. And we are strong enough to survive this. MALCOLM BRABANT: The shockwaves of Boris Johnson’s
nuclear option to suspend Parliament have reverberated nationwide. There may not have been thousands on the queen’s
doorstep at Windsor Castle, but the symbolism was obvious. PROTESTERS: Stop the coup! Stop the coup! ZOE BINNIE, Protest Organizer: I think this
is a British coup. It’s very polite, it’s very unassuming. And that’s the worst thing. It’s very quiet. They slip things through the door. Before we know, we have accepted things that
we didn’t realize were going to happen. MALCOLM BRABANT: The precise verb to suspend
Parliament is prorogue. The prime minister insists it’s a standard
procedure, leaving ample time for lawmakers to debate Brexit. But protesters don’t believe him. CLAIRE PATON, Teacher: It’s the most vital
time in our recent history, and he’s just shut everybody up. He’s shut everybody out, so he can force through
what the vocal minority of people want, which is a no-deal Brexit. MALCOLM BRABANT: Architect Matthew Taylor
is concerned that Johnson is flouting the conventions of Britain’s unwritten constitution. MATTHEW TAYLOR, Architect: In the past, it’s
relied lots of trust and good faith, a belief that the people in charge are doing the right
thing. But if they switch to not doing it, it’s very
easy to start abusing a system like that, because there aren’t enough checks and balances
in place. MALCOLM BRABANT: Another reason for staging
the protest here. Just opposite the queen’s favorite pad in
Windsor lies Eton. The very name exudes privilege in class-obsessed
Britain. That Ivy-est of Ivy League schools, Eton College,
is where Britain’s royals and upper crust send their heirs to learn about gaining and
using power. It’s produced 20 British prime ministers,
including the latest, Boris Johnson. PROTESTERS: Hey, ho, Boris Johnson has to
go! ANGUS CAMERON, Chairman, Windsor Labor Party:
The idiot that got schooled just down the road has in one or two weeks destroyed everything. We are supposed to be the home place of democracy. OK? No longer. CRAIG MACKINLAY, British Parliament Member:
This has got nothing to do with outrage about democracy. This is all to do with trying to stop Brexit. And it’s not going to work. MALCOLM BRABANT: Craig Mackinlay is a leading
member of a hardcore conservative group of lawmakers? known as the Spartans. They helped depose the previous prime minister,
Theresa May, because they thought she wasn’t tough enough on Brexit. Mackinlay defends Parliament’s suspension
as normal, and applauds Johnson’s push for a better Brexit deal from Europe. CRAIG MACKINLAY: Everybody goes to look at
new houses, new cars. You don’t go into that showroom to buy a new
car and saying, I’m not leaving here until I buy it. If you’re not getting the deal you want, the
price you want and the extras you want, you walk away. So what Prime Minister Johnson has done is
trying to get that no-deal threat back on the table, because only if you have that no-deal
threat, in my view, have you got any chance of getting a deal that would be acceptable. MALCOLM BRABANT: There are fears that a no-deal
Brexit would cause hold ups at ports like Dover. The government has promised there will be
no food shortages. But Matthew Taylor is not convinced. MATTHEW TAYLOR: If anything, civil unrest
is likely to start when there are food shortages and stuff. Only a few months ago, we had people phoning
the police because KFC ran out of chicken. So, if people are going to react like that
about that, their idea of this Blitz spirit, where they all kind of survive on homegrown
vegetables, it’s not going to happen. MALCOLM BRABANT: They’re not starving just
yet, but there’s increasing worry, in picture-postcard Britain, that the country’s destiny is about
to change forever. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Malcolm Brabant
in Eton. JUDY WOODRUFF: From coast to coast, the 2020 presidential candidates celebrated Labor Day. But a weekend of breaking news turned their
attention to guns once again. Lisa Desjardins brings us this campaign update. LISA DESJARDINS: There they were, at work
today, among the crowds and parades charming potential voters. But, listen closely. On this Labor Day, Democratic candidates for
president focused less on jobs and wages, and more on the gun debate, after Odessa,
Texas, became the latest site of a mass shooting on Saturday. Take former Vice President Joe Biden in Iowa. He said the Constitution doesn’t protect semiautomatic
rifles, like the one used in Odessa. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), Presidential Candidate:
Having assault weapons on the street and multi — magazines carrying multiple bullets is
irrational. There is no need for it, and your Second Amendment
rights are in no way violated. LISA DESJARDINS: Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar,singled
out Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on guns. SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), Presidential Candidate:
Mitch McConnell is going to have to decide what side he’s on. He’s going to have to explain to the people
of this country why he wouldn’t let that bill that just passed the House come up for a vote. LISA DESJARDINS: And all this follows the
comments from former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, who used an expletive on CNN Sunday
while reacting to another mass shooting in his home state. BETO O’ROURKE (D), Presidential Candidate:
So, yes, this is (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up. And if we don’t call it out for what it is,
if we’re not able to speak clearly, if we’re not able to act decisively, then we will continue
to have this kind of bloodshed in America. And I cannot accept that. LISA DESJARDINS: In Los Angeles, California
Senator Kamala Harris hit several notes, vowing executive action on guns if Congress doesn’t
act, while commemorating the holiday. SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), Presidential Candidate:
We are celebrating the leadership of organized labor that brought all of us, whether you’re
member of a union or not, better conditions, better wages, better benefits. LISA DESJARDINS: Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth
Warren sent out a Labor Day video to her supporters, while, for another candidate, Labor Day was
about their work force. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
is expanding in Iowa. PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), Presidential Candidate:
That starts with the folks who are gathered here. And it starts in this, the first of 20 field
offices that we’re going to be opening over the next few days. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) LISA DESJARDINS: In the meantime, Vermont
Senator Bernie Sanders focused on New England, stumping in the first-in-the-nation primary
state of New Hampshire. And that brings us to Politics Monday. Our Politics Monday team is back, Amy Walter
of The Cook Political Report and host of public radio’s “Politics With Amy Walter,” and Tamara
Keith from NPR. She also co-hosts “The NPR Politics Podcast.” Multimedia women, thank you for working this
Labor Day. We appreciate it. TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: Absolutely. LISA DESJARDINS: Let’s start with unions on
this Labor Day. And, Tam, what do we know about President
Trump’s relationship with unions? He talks a lot about them. Is he keeping those voters right now? TAMARA KEITH: He does talk a lot about them. And what he talks about is how he really identifies
with the rank and file. And he is constantly saying, well, the union
bosses, they don’t like me, but the rank and file, they’re my people. The numbers don’t exactly bear that out. Certainly, some rank and file union members
and union households did support President Trump and no doubt continue to. But he’s really pushing the idea. And his idea, I think, the image in his mind
of a union worker is somebody with a hardhat and a lunch pail who takes a shower at the
end of the day. Now, that isn’t necessarily reflective of
union workers as a whole in America. (CROSSTALK) LISA DESJARDINS: And that’s what I want to
talk to you about, Amy. In your podcast, “Politics With Amy Walter”
from “The Takeaway”… (LAUGHTER) AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Yes. Thank you. LISA DESJARDINS: … you spent the whole episode
last week looking at this. And the face of actual union voters is not
what people think it is. AMY WALTER: Right. I mean, Tam is right that Trump has made inroads
with rank and file members, especially in places that we know are key to the presidential
election, in those battleground states. In Ohio, according to the exit polls, he actually
won union households by 13 points. This is a group of voters that four years
earlier Obama had won by 20. So there is something going on there. He did much better overall with labor voters,
for example — or union households is how exit polls ask that — than Romney did four
years earlier. So, yes, he’s been able to make some inroads. But Tam is also correct that this image of
the hardhat — and, really, we’re talking about a white guy with a hardhat or a white
guy who’s coming out of the mines — doesn’t reflect, I think, where labor currently is
in terms of its membership. It’s becoming much more female-centered. Certainly, for — people of color are much
more significant influence and force within the labor movement than they have been ever
before. And think about where — if you’re looking
to what the most high-profile union-organizing or labor issues have been in the last year
or so, it’s been the teacher strikes, again, a profession that’s heavily female, and the
Fight for 15, this — the organizing of fast food workers for minimum wage of $15 an hour. So, the service industry also very influential. And we know that, in 2018, women were a very
big source of Democratic votes and energy. And I think we should be looking also to those
women who are part of labor as a another piece of this. One more thing about the labor makeup that’s
interesting, I think part of the reason that Joe Biden has done as well — or doing as
well in the Democratic primary is that he’s seen as the candidate, the one candidate who
can win back those guys with lunch pails and hardhats in Pennsylvania, in Michigan, in
Ohio. And that has, I think, helped submit his front-runner
status. TAMARA KEITH: And he obviously pushes that
image, that sort of Scranton Joe, middle-class Joe. AMY WALTER: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely, TAMARA KEITH: Like, he really — that is part
of his pitch. AMY WALTER: That’s right. TAMARA KEITH: And, in part, that pitch isn’t
just to white voters who fit the image. He’s also pitching that to voters of color
who just want to beat President Trump. LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right. He’s saying: This is how we can win. I can get these voters. AMY WALTER: That’s right. TAMARA KEITH: Yes. LISA DESJARDINS: Another way that Democrats
are hoping to get attention and energize at least their base, maybe some suburban women
voters, is the issue of guns. We are here yet again on another Monday after
another weekend with more gun deaths in this country. Tam, where exactly do you think the White
House really is on wanting to get legislation through Congress of any kind? TAMARA KEITH: In part, I think the White House
is still trying to figure that out. I know that they — and I have spoken to people
who’ve been in meetings. The White House at a staff level has been
having meetings with gun rights people, but also with victims families and other advocates,
staff of members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. But what they think they can actually do,
what they think the president will actually get behind, that’s not clear. It’s — there’s sort of a disconnect right
now between the president and the staff, and sort of a disconnect between the president
from one moment to the next. And what I mean by that is, he keep saying
different things that are seemingly quite contradictory, saying, well, we do want to
do background checks, but then saying, except, you know, background checks wouldn’t have
prevented any of the recent shootings, so I guess maybe, well, we need to protect the
Second Amendment. It’s not clear exactly where he stands. The issue right now is that the White House
keeps saying, we need to know what is politically feasible. We need to know what can pass Congress. You talk to people over in Congress, and they
say, we need to know what the president would actually support. LISA DESJARDINS: Amy, yes. AMY WALTER: Doesn’t that sound familiar? (LAUGHTER) AMY WALTER: It feels like we have this conversation
a lot. The interesting element here, too, is what’s
happening on the Democratic side. And when we have talked to before about, this
is a really unique period of time where you have all the Democratic candidates running
for president pretty much united around the issue of guns, that’s brand-new. But now you see somebody like Beto O’Rourke
from Texas, who has retooled his campaign since the El Paso shooting, and is running
essentially on the issue of gun control, moving even farther than we have heard previous Democratic
candidates on issues like having buybacks for assault weapons. Will this become part of the debate? He’s no longer in Congress, but are there
other members of Congress who will say, huh, maybe we should put that into the mix, too? That’s probably — that is certainly too far
for Republicans. The question is, will it be too far for many
Democrats too? LISA DESJARDINS: This is a good transition
to another thing we have seen in the last week, which is more retirements from Congress,
especially by Republicans. I believe we’re at around 11 right now. I know it’s still early, but lightning round,
ladies. Are we going to see another record year retirements
from Congress, or no? TAMARA KEITH: Well, what I will say is that
some of these retirements are based on personal factors. Other retirements appear to be based on, well,
it’s just not that fun to be in the minority. AMY WALTER: Yes, that is absolutely true. I think we will know if there will be another
slew of retirements. There’s a special election in North Carolina
in a very Republican district on September 10, next week, right? TAMARA KEITH: Yes. AMY WALTER: That’s next week. (CROSSTALK) TAMARA KEITH: Already. AMY WALTER: I know. It feels like it’s already coming up on it. I think, should Democrats win there, that
would be another alarm bell and a real worry spot for Republicans, maybe another incentive
to pack it in. LISA DESJARDINS: Amy Walter, Tamara Keith,
thank you. Enjoy the rest of your holiday. TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome. AMY WALTER: Thank you. You too. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we thank Amy, Lisa, and
Tam for coming in on this Labor Day. And that’s the “NewsHour” for this day. I’m Judy Woodruff. Thank you, and we’ll see you soon.

Planned Taliban Talks Show ‘There Is No Process’ | Morning Joe | MSNBC


SIGN UP AT A NEWSLETTER BY GOING TO AXIOS.SIGN UP.COM. TO AXIOS.SIGN UP.COM.>>”MORNING JOE” STARTS RIGHT>>”MORNING JOE” STARTS RIGHT NOW. NOW.>>>ON MY ORDERS, THE UNITED>>>ON MY ORDERS, THE UNITED STATES MILITARY HAS BEGUN STATES MILITARY HAS BEGUN STRIKES AGAINST AL QAEDA STRIKES AGAINST AL QAEDA TERRORIST TRAINING CAMPS AND TERRORIST TRAINING CAMPS AND MILITARY INSTALLATIONS OF THE MILITARY INSTALLATIONS OF THE RETALIATORY REGIME IN ZBLANS RETALIATORY REGIME IN ZBLANS AFTER 2014, WE WILL SUPPORT A AFTER 2014, WE WILL SUPPORT A UNIFIED AFGHANISTAN AS IT TAKES UNIFIED AFGHANISTAN AS IT TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR ITS OWN RESPONSIBILITY FOR ITS OWN FUTURE. FUTURE.>>OUR BRAVE TROOPS HAVE NOW>>OUR BRAVE TROOPS HAVE NOW BEEN FIGHTING IN THE MIDDLE EAST BEEN FIGHTING IN THE MIDDLE EAST FOR ALMOST 19 YEARS. FOR ALMOST 19 YEARS.>>AND AFGHANISTAN VERY MUCH IN>>AND AFGHANISTAN VERY MUCH IN THE NEWS THIS MORNING. THE NEWS THIS MORNING. GOOD MORNING AND WELCOME TO GOOD MORNING AND WELCOME TO “MORNING JOE.” “MORNING JOE.” IT’S MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9th. IT’S MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9th. WITH US WE HAVE POLITICAL WRITER WITH US WE HAVE POLITICAL WRITER FOR “THE NEW YORK TIMES” AND FOR “THE NEW YORK TIMES” AND NAME POLITICAL ANALYST NICK. NAME POLITICAL ANALYST NICK. THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNSEL ON THE PRESIDENT OF THE COUNSEL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS AND AUTHOR OF FOREIGN RELATIONS AND AUTHOR OF THE BOOK “A WORLD IN THE BOOK “A WORLD IN DISARRAY” RICHARD HAAS. DISARRAY” RICHARD HAAS. AND AUTHOR OF THE MATRIARCH, AND AUTHOR OF THE MATRIARCH, SUSAN PAGE IS WITH US. SUSAN PAGE IS WITH US. SEEP YORE WRITE AT “POLITICO,” SEEP YORE WRITE AT “POLITICO,” JAKE SHERMAN, AN MSNBC JAKE SHERMAN, AN MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR. CONTRIBUTOR. AND JOURNALISTS AND RESIDENTS AT AND JOURNALISTS AND RESIDENTS AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL, FOREIGN SERVICE, ALIZE LABBOTT FOREIGN SERVICE, ALIZE LABBOTT JOINS US. JOINS US. WE’RE LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE WE’RE LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE SECRET MEETING THE PRESIDENT SECRET MEETING THE PRESIDENT LEARNED ON TWITTER THAT IT WAS LEARNED ON TWITTER THAT IT WAS CANCELLED. CANCELLED. THE MEET WOULD HAVE HAPPENED THE MEET WOULD HAVE HAPPENED YESTERDAY JUST DAYS BEFORE THE YESTERDAY JUST DAYS BEFORE THE 18th ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11. 18th ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11. THE PRESIDENT SAYS HE CANCELED THE PRESIDENT SAYS HE CANCELED THE MEETING AFTER THE TALIBAN THE MEETING AFTER THE TALIBAN CLAIMED RESPONSIBILITY FOR A CLAIMED RESPONSIBILITY FOR A BOMBING IN KABUL LAST THURSDAY BOMBING IN KABUL LAST THURSDAY THAT KILLED AN AMERICAN SOLDIER THAT KILLED AN AMERICAN SOLDIER AND 11 OTHERS. AND 11 OTHERS. TRUMP TWEETED IN PART WHAT KIND TRUMP TWEETED IN PART WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE WOULD KILL SO MANY IN OF PEOPLE WOULD KILL SO MANY IN ORDER TO SEEMINGLY STRENGTHEN ORDER TO SEEMINGLY STRENGTHEN THEIR BARGAINING POSITION? THEIR BARGAINING POSITION? THEY DIDN’T. THEY DIDN’T. THEY ONLY MADE IT WORSE. THEY ONLY MADE IT WORSE. IF THEY CANNOT AGREE TO A IF THEY CANNOT AGREE TO A CEASEFIRE DURING THESE VERY CEASEFIRE DURING THESE VERY IMPORTANT PEACE TALKS AND WOULD IMPORTANT PEACE TALKS AND WOULD EVEN KILL 12 INNOCENT PEOPLE, EVEN KILL 12 INNOCENT PEOPLE, THEN THEY PROBABLY DON’T HAVE THEN THEY PROBABLY DON’T HAVE THE POWER TO NEGOTIATE A THE POWER TO NEGOTIATE A MEANINGFUL AGREEMENTNY WAY. MEANINGFUL AGREEMENTNY WAY. U.S. OFFICIALS TELL NBC NEWS U.S. OFFICIALS TELL NBC NEWS THAT THE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THE THAT THE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THE MEETING WITH TALIBAN LEADERS MEETING WITH TALIBAN LEADERS BEGAN ABOUT A WEEK AGO. BEGAN ABOUT A WEEK AGO. PRESIDENT TRUMP FIRST DECIDED TO PRESIDENT TRUMP FIRST DECIDED TO HOLD A MEETING WITH THE GROUP HOLD A MEETING WITH THE GROUP AND THE PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN AND THE PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN IN WASHINGTON. IN WASHINGTON. BUT LATER CAME UP WITH THE IDEA BUT LATER CAME UP WITH THE IDEA OF HOSTING THEM AT CAMP DAVID. OF HOSTING THEM AT CAMP DAVID. AS “THE NEW YORK TIMES” NOTES, AS “THE NEW YORK TIMES” NOTES, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE BIGGEST HEADLINE GRABBING BIGGEST HEADLINE GRABBING MOMENTS OF HIS TENURE, WAS PUT MOMENTS OF HIS TENURE, WAS PUT TOGETHER ON THE SPUR OF THE TOGETHER ON THE SPUR OF THE MOMENT AND THEN CANCELED ON THE MOMENT AND THEN CANCELED ON THE SPUR OF THE MOMENT. SPUR OF THE MOMENT. THE USUAL NATIONAL SECURITY THE USUAL NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL PROCESS WAS DISPENSED COUNCIL PROCESS WAS DISPENSED WITH. WITH. ONLY A SMALL CIRCLE OF ADVISERS ONLY A SMALL CIRCLE OF ADVISERS WAS EVEN CLUED IN. WAS EVEN CLUED IN. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER JOHN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER JOHN BOLTON VEHEMENTLY OPPOSED BOLTON VEHEMENTLY OPPOSED MEETING WITH THE TALIBAN. MEETING WITH THE TALIBAN. AND BOLTON HAD AN ALLY IN VICE AND BOLTON HAD AN ALLY IN VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE. PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE. OFFICIALS AND PEOPLE FAMILIAR OFFICIALS AND PEOPLE FAMILIAR WITH THE MATTER TELL NBC NEWS WITH THE MATTER TELL NBC NEWS THAT AMONG THE CONCERNS OF THAT AMONG THE CONCERNS OF ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS WHO ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS WHO OPPOSE THE MEETING WAS THAT IT OPPOSE THE MEETING WAS THAT IT MIGHT TAKE PLACE AROUND THE MIGHT TAKE PLACE AROUND THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE 9/11 ATTACKS. ANNIVERSARY OF THE 9/11 ATTACKS. PENCE ARGUED AT ONE POINT THAT PENCE ARGUED AT ONE POINT THAT SUCH A MEETING COULD SEND THE SUCH A MEETING COULD SEND THE WRONG MESSAGE TO MEMBERS OF THE WRONG MESSAGE TO MEMBERS OF THE U.S. MILITARY WHO HAVE FOUGHT U.S. MILITARY WHO HAVE FOUGHT AND BEEN KILLED BY THE TALIBAN AND BEEN KILLED BY THE TALIBAN FOR YEARS. FOR YEARS. ONE SENIOR ADMINISTRATION ONE SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL SAID. OFFICIAL SAID. ANOTHER CONCERN AMONG SOME ANOTHER CONCERN AMONG SOME ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS WAS ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS WAS THAT ELEVATING THE NEGOTIATIONS THAT ELEVATING THE NEGOTIATIONS TO A MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT TO A MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT AT CAMP DAVID MIGHT LATER AT CAMP DAVID MIGHT LATER EMBARRASS TRUMP IF A DEAL FELL EMBARRASS TRUMP IF A DEAL FELL APART. APART. MEANWHILE, SECRETARY OF STATE MEANWHILE, SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO WENT ON ALL FIVE MIKE POMPEO WENT ON ALL FIVE SUNDAY TALK SHOWS TO DEFEND HIS SUNDAY TALK SHOWS TO DEFEND HIS PEACE EFFORTS AND THE DECISION PEACE EFFORTS AND THE DECISION TO HOST THE TALIBAN AT CAMP TO HOST THE TALIBAN AT CAMP DAVID. DAVID.>>IN THE END, IF YOU’RE GOING>>IN THE END, IF YOU’RE GOING TO NEGOTIATE PEACE, YOU OFTEN TO NEGOTIATE PEACE, YOU OFTEN HAVE TO DEAL WITH SOME PRETTY HAVE TO DEAL WITH SOME PRETTY BAD ACTORS. BAD ACTORS. THERE HAVE OFTEN BEEN THERE HAVE OFTEN BEEN DISCUSSIONS ABOUT WAR AT CAMP DISCUSSIONS ABOUT WAR AT CAMP DAVID. DAVID. THERE HAVE BEEN DISCUSSIONS THERE HAVE BEEN DISCUSSIONS ABOUT PEACE THERE AS WELL. ABOUT PEACE THERE AS WELL. BEEN SOME PRETTY BAD ACTORS BEEN SOME PRETTY BAD ACTORS TRAVEL THROUGH THAT PLACE TRAVEL THROUGH THAT PLACE THROUGHOUT RECORDED HISTORY. THROUGHOUT RECORDED HISTORY. IT WAS AN IMPORTANT PLACE. IT WAS AN IMPORTANT PLACE. IT’S A PLACE WHERE WE THOUGHT WE IT’S A PLACE WHERE WE THOUGHT WE COULD CONVINCE ALL THE LEADERS COULD CONVINCE ALL THE LEADERS OF AFGHANISTAN, PRESIDENT GHANI OF AFGHANISTAN, PRESIDENT GHANI AND HIS TEAM, AS WELL AS THE AND HIS TEAM, AS WELL AS THE TALIBAN, WE COULD CONVINCE THEM TALIBAN, WE COULD CONVINCE THEM TO BEGIN TO HEAD IN A DIRECTION TO BEGIN TO HEAD IN A DIRECTION THAT WOULD CREATE BETTER THAT WOULD CREATE BETTER CONDITIONS ON THE GROUND IN CONDITIONS ON THE GROUND IN AFGHANISTAN. AFGHANISTAN.>>DOES THIS MEAN TALKS ARE OFF>>DOES THIS MEAN TALKS ARE OFF COMPLETELY? COMPLETELY?>>SO FOR THE TIME BEING THAT’S>>SO FOR THE TIME BEING THAT’S ABSOLUTELY THE CASE. ABSOLUTELY THE CASE.>>IF YOU’RE THE TALIBAN>>IF YOU’RE THE TALIBAN CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN WORSENING CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN WORSENING AND THEY’RE ABOUT TO GET WORSE. AND THEY’RE ABOUT TO GET WORSE. WE’RE GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT WE’RE GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYONE IN THE REGION EVERYONE IN THE REGION UNDERSTANDS THAT AMERICA WILL UNDERSTANDS THAT AMERICA WILL ALWAYS PROTECT ITS NATIONAL ALWAYS PROTECT ITS NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS. SECURITY INTERESTS.>>RICHARD HAAS, THERE IS SO>>RICHARD HAAS, THERE IS SO MUCH TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT WITH MUCH TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT WITH THIS PROPOSED MEETING PUT THIS PROPOSED MEETING PUT TOGETHER AT THE SPUR OF THE TOGETHER AT THE SPUR OF THE MOMENT. MOMENT. JUST COMES UP WITH AN IDEA A JUST COMES UP WITH AN IDEA A WEEK AGO AND THEN HE’S GOING TO WEEK AGO AND THEN HE’S GOING TO HAVE A CAMP DAVID SUMMIT WITH, HAVE A CAMP DAVID SUMMIT WITH, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN YOU KNOW, PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN KILLING AMERICANS NOW FOR 19 KILLING AMERICANS NOW FOR 19 YEARS WHO ARE SAVAGED TOS TO THE YEARS WHO ARE SAVAGED TOS TO THE OWN PEOPLE, DO UNTOLD THINGS TO OWN PEOPLE, DO UNTOLD THINGS TO THE WOMEN OF THAT COUNTRY. THE WOMEN OF THAT COUNTRY. ARE THE ABSOLUTE WORST OF THE ARE THE ABSOLUTE WORST OF THE WORST. WORST. BUT STEPPING BACK FROM THAT, BUT STEPPING BACK FROM THAT, JUST WHO DONALD TRUMP WANTED TO JUST WHO DONALD TRUMP WANTED TO TAKE TO CAMP DAVID, WE COULD TAKE TO CAMP DAVID, WE COULD LOOK AT THE WAY HE HAS PLANNED LOOK AT THE WAY HE HAS PLANNED SUMMITS WITH KIM JONG-UN AS WELL SUMMITS WITH KIM JONG-UN AS WELL AS THE TALIBAN AND OTHERS AND AS THE TALIBAN AND OTHERS AND THIS IS A MAN WHO PUT FAR MORE THIS IS A MAN WHO PUT FAR MORE FORESIGHT AND FAR MORE PLANNING FORESIGHT AND FAR MORE PLANNING INTO HIS BEAUTY PAGEANTS AND INTO HIS BEAUTY PAGEANTS AND CLUB GOLF TOURNAMENTS THAN HE CLUB GOLF TOURNAMENTS THAN HE HAS — AND I’M DEAD SERIOUS, HAS — AND I’M DEAD SERIOUS, DEAD SERIOUS — PUT MORE DEAD SERIOUS — PUT MORE PLANNING AND FORETHOUGHT INTO PLANNING AND FORETHOUGHT INTO HIS BEAUTY PAGEANTS AND CLUB HIS BEAUTY PAGEANTS AND CLUB GOLF TOURNAMENTS THAN HE IS THE GOLF TOURNAMENTS THAN HE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DIPLOMATIC MOST IMPORTANT DIPLOMATIC MEETINGS THAT THE UNITED STATES MEETINGS THAT THE UNITED STATES COULD BE FACING RIGHT NOW. COULD BE FACING RIGHT NOW.>>LOOK, THERE’S SO MANY WAYS TO>>LOOK, THERE’S SO MANY WAYS TO GO AT THIS. GO AT THIS. ONE IS IT SHOWS THE PRESIDENT’S ONE IS IT SHOWS THE PRESIDENT’S UNLIMITED AND TOTALLY MISPLACED UNLIMITED AND TOTALLY MISPLACED CONFIDENCE IN SUMMITRY AND THE CONFIDENCE IN SUMMITRY AND THE POWER OF HIS OWN PERSONALITY IN POWER OF HIS OWN PERSONALITY IN THESE ONE-ON-ONE SETTINGS. THESE ONE-ON-ONE SETTINGS. SECONDLY, IT REVEALS THAT THERE SECONDLY, IT REVEALS THAT THERE IS NO PROCESS IN THIS IS NO PROCESS IN THIS ADMINISTRATION. ADMINISTRATION. THERE IS NO SERIOUS THERE IS NO SERIOUS POLICY-MAKING PROCESS WITH THE POLICY-MAKING PROCESS WITH THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS COME VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS COME TOGETHER, WEIGH INTELLIGENCE. TOGETHER, WEIGH INTELLIGENCE. BUT MOST OF ALL, THIS JUST BUT MOST OF ALL, THIS JUST REPRESENTS A FUNDAMENTAL REPRESENTS A FUNDAMENTAL MISREADING OF AFGHANISTAN AND MISREADING OF AFGHANISTAN AND THE TALIBAN. THE TALIBAN. THE TALIBAN ARE NOT A THE TALIBAN ARE NOT A NEGOTIATING PARTNER. NEGOTIATING PARTNER. THE ONLY THING YOU CAN NEGOTIATE THE ONLY THING YOU CAN NEGOTIATE IS NOT PEACE, IS AMERICAN IS NOT PEACE, IS AMERICAN WITHDRAWAL. WITHDRAWAL. IF THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, IF THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, FINE. FINE. BUT LET’S NOT CONFUSE IT WITH BUT LET’S NOT CONFUSE IT WITH PEACE. PEACE. WHAT WE’RE SIMPLY DOING IS WHAT WE’RE SIMPLY DOING IS LEAVING AND SELLING OUT OUR LEAVING AND SELLING OUT OUR PARTNERS. PARTNERS. WHAT WE NEED IS NOT A WHAT WE NEED IS NOT A NEGOTIATING STRATEGY WITH THE NEGOTIATING STRATEGY WITH THE TALIBAN. TALIBAN. WHAT WE NEED IS A CONSULTING WHAT WE NEED IS A CONSULTING STRATEGY WITH THE AFGHAN STRATEGY WITH THE AFGHAN GOVERNMENT. GOVERNMENT. AND THE QUESTION OUGHT TO BE HOW AND THE QUESTION OUGHT TO BE HOW LONG DO U.S. TROOPS STAY? LONG DO U.S. TROOPS STAY? WE COULD PROBABLY LIVE WAY WE COULD PROBABLY LIVE WAY REDUCTION IN TROOPS. REDUCTION IN TROOPS. WHAT KIND OF LONG-TERM MILITARY WHAT KIND OF LONG-TERM MILITARY AND EVEN MORE IMPORTANT ECONOMIC AND EVEN MORE IMPORTANT ECONOMIC AND DIPLOMATIC SUPPORT WE GIVE AND DIPLOMATIC SUPPORT WE GIVE THEM. THEM. THE GOAL OUGHT TO BE THAT THE GOAL OUGHT TO BE THAT AFGHANISTAN NEVER AGAIN BECOMES AFGHANISTAN NEVER AGAIN BECOMES A LAUNCHING PAD FOR TERRORISM A LAUNCHING PAD FOR TERRORISM AGAINST AMERICANS. AGAINST AMERICANS. BUT THERE IS NO PEACE TO BUT THERE IS NO PEACE TO NEGOTIATE GIVEN WHO THE TALIBAN NEGOTIATE GIVEN WHO THE TALIBAN ARE AND GIVEN THE FACT THAT THEY ARE AND GIVEN THE FACT THAT THEY CONTINUE TO ENJOY SANCTUARY OUT CONTINUE TO ENJOY SANCTUARY OUT OF PAKISTAN. OF PAKISTAN. THAT IS THE HISTORY OF THESE THAT IS THE HISTORY OF THESE TYPES OF WARS. TYPES OF WARS.>>THE IRONY THAT A POLITICIAN>>THE IRONY THAT A POLITICIAN WHO CAMPAIGNED ON STRENGTH HAS WHO CAMPAIGNED ON STRENGTH HAS PROVEN TO BE SUCH A PATSY FOR PROVEN TO BE SUCH A PATSY FOR VLADIMIR PUTIN AND FOR KIM VLADIMIR PUTIN AND FOR KIM JONG-UN AND NOW THE TALIBAN JONG-UN AND NOW THE TALIBAN TRYING TO DESPERATELY COBBLE TRYING TO DESPERATELY COBBLE TOGETHER A MEETING WITH THE TOGETHER A MEETING WITH THE TALIBAN TO TRY TO MAKE PEACE TALIBAN TO TRY TO MAKE PEACE WITH THEM AT CAMP DAVID, AGAIN, WITH THEM AT CAMP DAVID, AGAIN, WITH NO FORESIGHT, NO PLANNING, WITH NO FORESIGHT, NO PLANNING, NO TRAGIC GUIDANCE FROM ANYONE NO TRAGIC GUIDANCE FROM ANYONE ELSE. ELSE. BECAUSE, OF COURSE, HE DIDN’T GO BECAUSE, OF COURSE, HE DIDN’T GO THROUGH THE PROCESS BECAUSE THROUGH THE PROCESS BECAUSE THERE IS NO PROCESS INSIDE THE THERE IS NO PROCESS INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE. WHITE HOUSE.>>WELL, YOU’RE EXACTLY RIGHT,>>WELL, YOU’RE EXACTLY RIGHT, JOE. JOE. I MEAN, I THINK PRESIDENT TRUMP I MEAN, I THINK PRESIDENT TRUMP SAW THE DEAL SHAPING UP, HE SAW THE DEAL SHAPING UP, HE WANTS A DEAL WITH THE TALIBAN WANTS A DEAL WITH THE TALIBAN BECAUSE HE WANTS TO FULFILL THAT BECAUSE HE WANTS TO FULFILL THAT CAMPAIGN PROMISE OF GETTING OUT CAMPAIGN PROMISE OF GETTING OUT OF AFGHANISTAN. OF AFGHANISTAN. SO HE ACTUALLY IF YOU REMEMBER SO HE ACTUALLY IF YOU REMEMBER LAST MONTH IN BEDMINSTER HE MET LAST MONTH IN BEDMINSTER HE MET WITH HIS AIDES. WITH HIS AIDES. THEY WERE STARTING TO TALK ABOUT THEY WERE STARTING TO TALK ABOUT IT THEN. IT THEN. AND TRUMP BASICALLY SAID, AND TRUMP BASICALLY SAID, LISTEN, I NEGOTIATED WITH KIM LISTEN, I NEGOTIATED WITH KIM JONG-UN, I NEGOTIATED WITH JONG-UN, I NEGOTIATED WITH PUTIN, I NEGOTIATE WITH PUTIN, I NEGOTIATE WITH PRESIDENT XI OF CHINA, I CAN DO PRESIDENT XI OF CHINA, I CAN DO THIS BETTER. THIS BETTER. AND SO THAT’S WHEN HE DECIDED, AND SO THAT’S WHEN HE DECIDED, YOU KNOW, AFTER TALKING ON THAT YOU KNOW, AFTER TALKING ON THAT MEETING ON SEPTEMBER 1st JUST MEETING ON SEPTEMBER 1st JUST BEFORE LABOR DAY TO BRING BEFORE LABOR DAY TO BRING EVERYBODY TOGETHER. EVERYBODY TOGETHER. BUT, AGAIN, AS RICHARD SAID, BUT, AGAIN, AS RICHARD SAID, IT’S MORE ABOUT THE PAGEANTRY, IT’S MORE ABOUT THE PAGEANTRY, IT’S MORE ABOUT GETTING THEM IN IT’S MORE ABOUT GETTING THEM IN THE ROOM. THE ROOM. AND THEN I THINK HE GOT COLD AND THEN I THINK HE GOT COLD FEET. FEET. AND IT WASN’T ONLY THE U.S. THAT AND IT WASN’T ONLY THE U.S. THAT KIND OF CANCELED THE MEETING. KIND OF CANCELED THE MEETING. YOU KNOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP MIGHT YOU KNOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP MIGHT HAVE PUT THE FINAL STAMP TON HAVE PUT THE FINAL STAMP TON WITH THOSE TWEETS WHERE ARE WITH THOSE TWEETS WHERE ARE WHICH I MIGHT KALIL’S TEAM WAS WHICH I MIGHT KALIL’S TEAM WAS CAUGHT FLAT FOOTED. CAUGHT FLAT FOOTED. I THINK IT COMPLICATES THINGS I THINK IT COMPLICATES THINGS FOR THEM. FOR THEM. THEY DIDN’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT THE THEY DIDN’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT THE MEETING. MEETING. BUT THE TALIBAN WASN’T THRILLED BUT THE TALIBAN WASN’T THRILLED ABOUT COMING BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T ABOUT COMING BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T WANT TO BE COMING TO MEET WITH WANT TO BE COMING TO MEET WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP BEFORE A DEAL PRESIDENT TRUMP BEFORE A DEAL WAS SIGNED. WAS SIGNED. AND AFGHAN PRESIDENT GHANI AND AFGHAN PRESIDENT GHANI DIDN’T NECESSARILY WANT TO BE DIDN’T NECESSARILY WANT TO BE HERE WHEN HE’S NOT EVEN HERE WHEN HE’S NOT EVEN NEGOTIATING WITH THE TALIBAN. NEGOTIATING WITH THE TALIBAN. SO AS YOU BOTH — AS YOU AND SO AS YOU BOTH — AS YOU AND RICHARD BOTH SAID, THERE’S NO RICHARD BOTH SAID, THERE’S NO VISION, THERE’S NO STRATEGIC VISION, THERE’S NO STRATEGIC PLAN AND CERTAINLY NO PLAN AND CERTAINLY NO CONSULTATIONS WITH THE CONSULTATIONS WITH THE GOVERNMENT. GOVERNMENT. AND IT MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT AND IT MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT NOW BECAUSE I THINK, YOU KNOW, NOW BECAUSE I THINK, YOU KNOW, ZAL KALIL SAD’S TEAM WANTS TO ZAL KALIL SAD’S TEAM WANTS TO MAKE THIS DEAL. MAKE THIS DEAL. PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS TWEETED PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS TWEETED BEFORE AND IT HASN’T REALLY BEFORE AND IT HASN’T REALLY MEANT ANYTHING, THEY KEEP MEANT ANYTHING, THEY KEEP TALKING. TALKING. SO I THINK YOU CAN EXACT THEY SO I THINK YOU CAN EXACT THEY WILL PICK UP TALKS AGAIN. WILL PICK UP TALKS AGAIN.>>AND NICK, THERE’S ALWAYS A>>AND NICK, THERE’S ALWAYS A TWEET FOR EVERY OCCASION. TWEET FOR EVERY OCCASION. EVERY OCCASION. EVERY OCCASION. AND THIS IS NO EXCEPTION EITHER. AND THIS IS NO EXCEPTION EITHER. OF COURSE LET’S PUT IT UP. OF COURSE LET’S PUT IT UP. WHILE THIS WAS FROM 12, JANUARY WHILE THIS WAS FROM 12, JANUARY OF 12, WHILE BARACK OBAMA IS OF 12, WHILE BARACK OBAMA IS SLASHING THE MILITARY, HE IS SLASHING THE MILITARY, HE IS ALSO NEGOTIATING WITH OUR SWORN ALSO NEGOTIATING WITH OUR SWORN ENEMY, THE TALIBAN, WHO ENEMY, THE TALIBAN, WHO FACILITATED 9/11. FACILITATED 9/11. IF ONLY BARACK OBAMA COULD HAVE IF ONLY BARACK OBAMA COULD HAVE IMAGINED THAT SEVEN YEARS LATER IMAGINED THAT SEVEN YEARS LATER ON THE EVE OF THE 9/11 ON THE EVE OF THE 9/11 ANNIVERSARY DONALD TRUMP WOULD ANNIVERSARY DONALD TRUMP WOULD BE ESCORTING THE TALIBAN TO CAMP BE ESCORTING THE TALIBAN TO CAMP DAVID TO TALK PEACE WHILE DAVID TO TALK PEACE WHILE UNDERCUTTING OUR AFGHANISTAN UNDERCUTTING OUR AFGHANISTAN ALLIES WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLIES WOULD HAVE BEEN UNIMAGINABLE. UNIMAGINABLE. AND OF COURSE THIS COMES THE AND OF COURSE THIS COMES THE SAME WEEK WE FIND OUT THAT HE, I SAME WEEK WE FIND OUT THAT HE, I BELIEVE, ILLEGALLY STEALS MONEY BELIEVE, ILLEGALLY STEALS MONEY FROM THE PENTAGON BUDGET AND FROM THE PENTAGON BUDGET AND FROM FACILITIES FOR THE CHILDREN FROM FACILITIES FOR THE CHILDREN OF OUR MEN AND WOMEN WHO DEFEND OF OUR MEN AND WOMEN WHO DEFEND THIS COUNTRY ACROSS THE GLOBE THIS COUNTRY ACROSS THE GLOBE FOR A POLITICAL PROJECT. FOR A POLITICAL PROJECT. AGAIN, IT’S A TWEET FOR EVERY AGAIN, IT’S A TWEET FOR EVERY OCCASION. OCCASION. AND THIS DONALD TRUMP IS TRYING AND THIS DONALD TRUMP IS TRYING DESPERATELY TO LEAVE AFGHANISTAN DESPERATELY TO LEAVE AFGHANISTAN TO THE TALIBAN, AL QAEDA, AND TO THE TALIBAN, AL QAEDA, AND ISIS. ISIS.>>WELL, JOE, PEACE TALKS HAPPEN>>WELL, JOE, PEACE TALKS HAPPEN WITH YOUR ENEMIES AND NOT WITH WITH YOUR ENEMIES AND NOT WITH YOUR FRIENDS. YOUR FRIENDS. SO HAVING THE TALKS IS NOT A SO HAVING THE TALKS IS NOT A PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE. PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE. WHAT WE SAW WITH THE TWEETS THIS WHAT WE SAW WITH THE TWEETS THIS MORNING OR LAST NIGHT IS THAT MORNING OR LAST NIGHT IS THAT THE STATE OF THE REASON FOR THE STATE OF THE REASON FOR PULLING OUT OF THESE TALKS WAS PULLING OUT OF THESE TALKS WAS NOT THE ACTUAL REASONS. NOT THE ACTUAL REASONS. SO HE’S SAYING IT HAS TO DO WITH SO HE’S SAYING IT HAS TO DO WITH THE ENERGY OF AMERICANS AND THE ENERGY OF AMERICANS AND THESE ATTACKS IN KABUL, I THESE ATTACKS IN KABUL, I BELIEVE. BELIEVE. IT’S ACTUALLY HAVING DO WITH IT’S ACTUALLY HAVING DO WITH PROBLEMS ON HIS OWN TEAM AND PROBLEMS ON HIS OWN TEAM AND DIVISIONS ON THE ACTUAL DEAL. DIVISIONS ON THE ACTUAL DEAL. IT’S THE CREATING OF A MOMENT AS IT’S THE CREATING OF A MOMENT AS OPPOSED TO SITTING BACK AND

News Wrap: Italy’s far-right party shut out from power


JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: Tropical
Storm Fernand has come ashore in Northeastern Mexico, and is now moving inland. It struck a sparsely populated area north
of La Pesca today with winds of 40 miles an hour and 18 inches of rain. Forecasters said that it will stay south of
the Texas border and dissipate by tomorrow. In Britain, lawmakers have dealt Prime Minister
Boris Johnson a stinging blow over Brexit. The House of Commons voted today to block
the country from leaving the European Union without a formal agreement. In turn, Johnson is warning that he will call
a snap election for mid-October, two weeks before the Brexit deadline. We will have a report from London right after
the news summary. In Italy, Premier Giuseppe Conte unveiled
a new governing coalition that shuts the hard-right League Party out of power. Conte met with the Italian president to present
his cabinet. It unites his populist Five Star Movement
with the center-left Democratic Party. Conte’s original coalition collapsed when
the League Party withdrew, in a failed bid to force new elections. The government of Afghanistan voiced new concerns
today about a potential peace deal between the U.S. and the Taliban. An adviser to President Ashraf Ghani cautioned
against withdrawing U.S. troops too quickly, with the insurgent Taliban at its strongest
since the 2001 U.S. invasion. But, in Brussels, the NATO secretary-general
tried to allay fears of a hasty pullout. JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO Secretary-General:
We will not leave too early, but our aim is not to stay in Afghanistan forever. Our aim is to make sure that Afghanistan never
again creates the platform for threats, for planning, for organizing, for funding terrorist
attacks against our countries. JUDY WOODRUFF: NATO has about a 20,000 troops
in Afghanistan, including some 14,000 Americans. The draft peace agreement calls for 5,000
of those U.S. troops to leave shortly after a final deal. Back in this country, a government watchdog
says migrant children separated from their parents last year have shown post-traumatic
stress and other mental health issues. They included heightened fear and feelings
of abandonment. The report comes from the inspector general
at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is based on interviews with about 100 mental
health clinicians who dealt with the affected children. The Pentagon has diverted $3.6 billion away
from military construction funds to build 175 miles of a wall on the U.S. southern border. The move effectively de-funds a total of 127
projects, including some military schools and day care. Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced it
late Tuesday, and President Trump said today that it’s part of his declaration of a national
emergency along the border. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
The secretary of defense spoke with members of Congress and explained it to them. And I think he felt very good about it. He feels it’s a national security problem. I do too. It is. When you have thousands of people trying to
rush our country, I think that’s national security. JUDY WOODRUFF: A number of congressional Democrats
condemned the funding shift. Texas Congressman Bill Flores today became
the latest Republican to announce he’s retiring from the U.S. House of Representatives. Flores is in his fifth term, and is now the
15th GOP Congress member not seeking reelection and the fifth from the state of Texas. That is ahead of the pace at this point in
the 2018 election cycle, when a total of 34 House Republicans retired. Michigan will be the first state in the nation
to ban sales of flavored nicotine vaping products. Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered
the move today. She said e-cigarette makers are using candy
flavors and misleading ads to, in her words, hook children on nicotine. YouTube has agreed to pay $170 million over
charges that it collected personal data on children without parental consent. The Federal Trade Commission and New York
state say that the company used the data to target kids with advertising. Under the settlement, YouTube also agrees
to limit its data collection. And on Wall Street, gains in technology stocks
fueled a rally. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 237
points to close at 26355. The Nasdaq rose 102 points, and the S&P 500
added 31. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: blocking
Brexit — British lawmakers defy their prime minister to stop an abrupt break from the
European Union; protests turn to policy in Hong Kong, as a controversial extradition
bill is withdrawn; how the Amazon rain forests bear the brunt of Brazil’s booming agriculture
business; and much more.

PBS NewsHour full episode September 9, 2019


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: the meeting that
wasn’t. After President Trump cancels a secret summit
with Taliban and Afghan leaders, where does the United States stand in the effort to end
its longest war? Then: Brexit on the brink. Chaos envelops the British government, as
its options for leaving the European Union grow murkier. Plus, Amy Walter and Tamara Keith are here
to examine the closely watched special election in North Carolina and President Trump’s latest
Republican challenger. And Margaret Atwood, author of the acclaimed
novel “The Handmaid’s Tale,” returns to her infamous dystopia in the new sequel, “The
Testaments.” MARGARET ATWOOD, Author, “The Testaments”:
If I had thought, let’s write a sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale” this kind in 1999, I
would have said, why bother? We’re not going there. Surely, people are moving away from that. But in the moment in which we know exist,
that’s not true anymore. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump now says that
peace talks with the Taliban are dead. His pronouncement today came after he disclosed
that he was canceling a secret weekend meeting with Taliban and Afghan leaders at Camp David. He blamed a Taliban bombing that killed a
U.S. service member last Thursday. We will get some analysis after the news summary. North Korea’s government offered today to
restart nuclear talks with the United States this month. The talks stalled after President Trump and
North Korea’s Kim Jong-un held a failed summit in Hanoi last February. Mr. Trump reacted this afternoon outside the
White House. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
I have a very good relationship with Chairman Kim, Kim Jong-un, and it just came out. I just saw it as I’m coming out here. It just came out that they would like to meet. We will see what happens, but I always say
having meetings is a good thing, not a bad thing. JUDY WOODRUFF: Kim Jong-un is widely believed
to be seeking security guarantees and relief from U.S. sanctions. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
claimed today that Iran had a secret nuclear weapons site. He said it had been in Abadeh in Central Iran,
but was destroyed by the Iranians after being discovered. Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif dismissed
the Israeli claim. He said — quote — “The possessor of real
nukes cries wolf.” The deadly storm Dorian is no longer a hurricane,
but thousands are still struggling in its wake. The storm lashed at Nova Scotia and Newfoundland
yesterday, before moving into the North Atlantic. Meanwhile, search teams in the Bahamas recovered
more bodies, as the death toll there reached at least 45. We will hear more about the Bahamas, later
in the program. In Russia, voters have handed a victory to
opponents of President Vladimir Putin’s party. Results from Sunday’s voting show the opposition
won nearly half of the Moscow City Council’s seats. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny had urged
support for the anti-Kremlin candidates with the best chance of winning. ALEXEI NAVALNY, Russian Opposition Leader
(through translator): In general, we can say that the tactical vote worked in the country
and for the first time. It worked much better than we had expected. This was an experiment, and in those cities
and regions where it was implemented for the first time, it worked very, very well. JUDY WOODRUFF: Putin’s party won several governorships,
but also suffered defeats in several other city elections. Thousands of high school and college students
in Hong Kong formed human chains today to support democratic reforms. They held hands outside their schools. It was a show of solidarity after violent
weekend clashes between protesters and police. On Sunday, marchers urged the U.S. to impose
sanctions on Hong Kong and on mainland China. Back in this country, the U.S. Coast Guard
rescued three of four crew members trapped inside a South Korean cargo ship off the coast
of Georgia. The massive vessel was carrying more than
4,000 new vehicles when it overturned and burned early Sunday, closing the Port of Brunswick. Today, a Coast Guard helicopter landed on
the ship’s side, and rescuers rappelled down and drilled a hole into the hull. They found the crew members alive and safe. Twenty other crew members were rescued yesterday. Fifty states and U.S. territories have opened
an antitrust investigation into Google. The bipartisan group announced today that
they are looking into alleged monopolistic behavior. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was among
those speaking outside the U.S. Supreme Court. KEN PAXTON, Texas Attorney General: This is
a company that dominates all aspects of advertising on the Internet and searching on the Internet,
as they dominate the buyer’s side, the seller’s side, the auction side, and even the video
side with YouTube. JUDY WOODRUFF: Facebook is facing a similar
investigation by a separate group of states. Three committees in the U.S. House of Representatives,
Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs, are all investigating whether President Trump
and top aides pressed Ukraine for reelection help. At issue is whether they pushed Kiev to probe
Hunter Biden’s connections to a Ukrainian gas company. His father is former Vice President Joe Biden,
who is now, of course, a Democratic presidential candidate. A federal judge in California has reissued
a nationwide injunction against barring most migrants from seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico
border. The Trump administration rule applies to those
who pass through a third country. An appeals court restricted the judge’s previous
injunction. But, today, he reinstated his initial ruling. The White House called it — quote — “a gift
to human smugglers and traffickers.” And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial
average gained 38 points to close at 26835. The Nasdaq fell 15 points, and the S&P 500
slipped a fraction. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: nearly 18
years after the invasion, how close is the U.S. to ending its military involvement in
Afghanistan?; dealing with the magnitude of suffering in the Bahamas, as the scope of
Hurricane Dorian’s destruction becomes clear; the Brexit breakdown — U.K. leaders scramble
to figure out just how they will be leaving the European Union; and much more. The fallout continued today from the collapse
of the White House plan to invite the leaders of the Taliban and president of Afghanistan
to Camp David. President Trump’s twin surprise, that he had
invited the Taliban to the U.S., but then was canceling the talks, echoed in Washington
and in Kabul. And that’s where special correspondent Jane
Ferguson is tonight. JANE FERGUSON: Leaving the White House today,
President Trump had ominous words about the Taliban peace talks. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
They’re dead. They’re dead. As far as I’m concerned, they’re dead. JANE FERGUSON: He spoke after canceling separate
meetings with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Taliban leaders planned for this weekend
at the Camp David presidential retreat. Lawmakers of both parties blasted the president
for even inviting the Taliban to Camp David days before the 18th anniversary of the September
11 terror attacks. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New
Jersey: SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ): I think it was ill-conceived
in the first place. It’s another example of the Trump administration’s
foreign policy, which is a high-wire act. JANE FERGUSON: Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the
third-ranking Republican in the House tweeted; “No member of the Taliban should set foot
there ever.” The meeting would have come after nearly a
year of talks. U.S. officials, led by Afghan native and former
Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, and the Taliban had closed in on a peace deal to end the 18-year
American war in Afghanistan. As part of that tentative deal, the U.S. would
remove 5,000 troops in return for a Taliban pledge to reduce violence and prevent the
terror groups like ISIS and al-Qaida from operating in the country. There would also be follow-on talks between
the Taliban and Afghan government. Then, in three tweets Saturday night, President
Trump announced the Camp David talks with the Taliban, and said he had canceled the
meeting and called off peace negotiations. He blamed a Taliban attack last Thursday that
killed a U.S. soldier, an attack he said proved the Taliban were negotiating in bad faith. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday defended
the president. MIKE POMPEO, U.S. Secretary of State: When
the Taliban tried to gain negotiating advantage by conducting terror attacks inside of the
country, President Trump made the right decision to say, that’s not going to work. JANE FERGUSON: In Kabul, Afghan presidential
spokesman Sediq Seddiqi welcomed the breakdown of the deal. The Afghan government says it has been shut
out of the talks completely, and their criticism of the proposed deal had strained relations
with the Trump administration. SEDIQ SEDDIQI, Afghan Presidential Spokesman:
We strongly believe that that shift in policy is a reflection of the concerns that we have
raised towards that peace deal, and there is a true and genuine understanding in the
White House of any consequences of any bad peace deal or peace process. JANE FERGUSON: Mr. Trump announced from the
start of negotiations that he was determined to pull the troops out entirely. DR. HAMDULLAH MOHIB, Afghan Presidential National
Security Adviser: I would have done the negotiations differently. JANE FERGUSON: Dr. Hamdullah Mohib is President
Ashraf Ghani’s national security adviser. DR. HAMDULLAH MOHIB: Showing your card right at
the outset doesn’t make for good negotiations. And I think perhaps that’s why their position
has hardened over the last nine months, since these negotiations have been going on. JANE FERGUSON: The violence across Afghanistan
in recent weeks has been staggering, as both sides have pressured each other in the negotiations. The Taliban has killed dozens of Afghan civilians
here in Kabul in suicide attacks and launched offensives on provincial capitals, as well
as killing four U.S. soldiers in the last two weeks. In turn, Afghan and American forces have been
pounding the Taliban with special forces raids and airstrikes. If there is no deal, and the Taliban continue
to refuse to talk to the Kabul government, then the bloodshed in Afghanistan will continue. But the Taliban have still said that they
won’t recognize your government. If they won’t sit down with you, is there
a plan, other than more war? SEDIQ SEDDIQI: If they do not accept that,
and they are still a major threat to the security of us and partners, so they will face the
consequences. And we have the will. JANE FERGUSON: The Taliban have reacted angrily,
releasing a statement saying: “This will harm America more than anyone else.” It’s not clear if this deal is completely
off the table or the current collapse of the talks can be repaired. No deal at all comes with one certainty: that
the U.S.’ longest war will get longer. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jane Ferguson
in Kabul, Afghanistan. JUDY WOODRUFF: We look further now into why
the talks collapsed and where this goes from here with Laurel Miller. She was President Obama’s special representative
for Afghanistan and Pakistan. She’s now at the International Crisis Group. It is a global nonprofit. Laurel Miller, welcome back to the “NewsHour.” So, we heard President Trump say today that
the peace talks are dead. Do we believe, do you believe that’s the case? LAUREL MILLER, Former State Department Official:
They don’t have to be dead. It’s a question of whether the U.S. has the
will to restart the talks. Some of the statements that have been made
by Secretary Pompeo, in particular, have indicated some openness to restarting the talks, and
the Taliban has likewise. It’s hard to know how to interpret President
Trump’s latest statements that sound more definitive, given that he has changed his
mind on similar issues in the past. JUDY WOODRUFF: And given that it’s just a
couple of days after we thought these — the meetings were on. LAUREL MILLER: That’s right. JUDY WOODRUFF: What’s your understanding of
exactly what caused this thing to go off the rails? The president is blaming, as you know, Taliban
attacks that include killing an American service member in Afghanistan. But Americans have been killed regularly over
many months. And many people we have talked to say they
think there’s there’s much more here. LAUREL MILLER: Yes. I mean, there’s no logic, you can say, to
that explanation. The attacks, the ramping up of violence that
was described in the earlier piece has been going on throughout these negotiations, almost
a year now. Last year, Afghanistan was the deadliest conflict
in the world. This has been a trajectory over a long period
of time. And many Americans have been killed before
now. So the idea that one particular attack, tragic
as it may be, was the unique reason for canceling these last-minute, thrown-together events
in Camp David doesn’t sound very credible. What’s more likely is that the Taliban didn’t
want to show up, because it was their understanding that the deal had been concluded, that it
had been negotiated with Ambassador Khalilzad. Why would they want to come to Camp David
to reopen the deal? JUDY WOODRUFF: In other words, they had been
in these discussions with Ambassador Khalilzad, and they thought that that was what was going
to — they were going to be discussing, whereas the word they got from the White House was
that this was going to be something that was open. LAUREL MILLER: Right. At a minimum, there was a lot of ambiguity
about what this meeting would be. Also, the invitation to President Ghani raised
questions as to what was the intention of this meeting, given that the negotiations
that have taken place so far have only been on a narrow set of issues just between the
U.S. and the Taliban? JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s talk about what
was in the agreement. We just heard Jane Ferguson refer to — and
we have heard this before — 5,000 some U.S. troops out of the total 14,000 in the coalition,
a follow-up of Taliban talks with the Afghan government. What more do we know about what was in this
deal? LAUREL MILLER: Not a lot more. I mean, the administration and others, the
very, very few people who’ve actually seen the text of the agreement, have been extraordinarily
tight-lipped about it. So we know about the first phase of drawdown,
the 5,000, over 135 days that you referred to, very little detail about what the rest
of a drawdown of American forces would look like. We know there would be a commitment to starting
Afghan talks, and that there would be some kind of assurances from the Taliban that they
would break with al-Qaida and prevent Afghanistan from ever again being used as a launching
pad for terrorism. JUDY WOODRUFF: But, at this point, how much
trust is there among these parties involved? LAUREL MILLER: Very little, but you never
negotiate peace on the basis of trust. You negotiate on the basis of interests and
of trying to identify common interests. And the reasons that gave birth to these negotiations
nearly a year ago still exist. The Afghan war is a bloody stalemate. The U.S. is not going to defeat the Taliban. The Afghan government is not showing signs
of being able to defeat the Taliban. And the U.S. was looking for a way out, with
as much grace and potential stability left behind as possible. JUDY WOODRUFF: Is it your understanding that
the key figures in the Trump administration believed that if the Taliban signed on to
any agreement, that they were going to abide by it? My question is, were they — did they truly
believe that the Taliban was ready to split from al-Qaida, to stop attacking the Afghan
government and so on? LAUREL MILLER: You don’t have to believe that
they’re ready in order to enter into an agreement like this. You have to have mechanisms for verifying,
for implementing the agreement, and then provisions that enable you to pull out of the agreement
if they don’t abide by it. But you can never know whether that intention
is real in advance of actually testing it through a negotiation and implementation. JUDY WOODRUFF: Is there one party on whom
we can say the responsibility for this thing falling apart lies? LAUREL MILLER: I think the United States. I mean, I — that’s not to say that there
haven’t been difficulties in the negotiations or that the Taliban hasn’t been stubbornly
insistent on its positions. But there’s no evidence so far there was any
last-minute change of position their part. There’s only evidence that there was this
last-minute initiative to hold the Camp David meeting. JUDY WOODRUFF: Right, because they had — as
you said earlier, they had agreed or thought they had an agreement, a tentative agreement,
with Ambassador Khalilzad. LAUREL MILLER: Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: Where do we go from here, Laurel
Miller? LAUREL MILLER: Yes. I mean, it’s — there’s no good alternative
to trying to negotiate a peace agreement in Afghanistan. That remains true today as it was a few days
before this. It’s obviously going to be hard to restart
the talks, if the parties want to, because credibility has been damaged. And, already, minimal trust has been further
lost. (COUGHING) JUDY WOODRUFF: And at this point — excuse
me. Go ahead. Have a sip of water. (COUGHING) JUDY WOODRUFF: At this point, President Ghani,
who — sorry — go ahead and — sorry about your cough. But President Ghani of Afghanistan was reluctant
to accept these talks, but then he agreed to come. And then, I guess on Friday, he changed his
mind about coming. So, there is a factor there. LAUREL MILLER: Yes, it’s not clear whether… JUDY WOODRUFF: I’m sorry about that. (COUGHING) LAUREL MILLER: It’s not clear whether his
not coming was a refusal to enter into talks, as much as just the cancellation. JUDY WOODRUFF: Sorry about that, Laurel Miller. It happens to all of us. It’s happened to me. Thank you very much, and we will have you
on again to talk about this. LAUREL MILLER: Thank you very much. JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you. Rescue workers searched for bodies in the
Bahamas today, and thousands of residents evacuated to shelters. The Abaco Islands were devastated by Hurricane
Dorian. Relief operations are under way, but it’s
been a slow and difficult process. Amna Nawaz gets a report from the islands. AMNA NAWAZ: Judy, it’s been a week since Dorian
struck the Abaco Islands and part of the Grand Bahama. It’s been slow going to get enough food, water
and supplies to these places. As much as 90 percent of all the buildings
and structures on the Abaco Islands appear to have been destroyed. Areas like Marsh Harbour, where there were
many Haitian immigrants, may not be habitable for any real length of time. There’s also been difficulties in getting
supplies to people in need, and there’s been talk of possible strains between the local
government and some relief groups. Today, government officials were asked about
why some flights aren’t getting to the hard-hit islands. MAN: The priority is given to those entities
that made contact with NEMA. That is one of the functions of NEMA. It is to coordinate. And so we are not preventing persons from
getting in, but it has to be done in an orderly fashion. We don’t want a disaster upon a disaster. AMNA NAWAZ: UNICEF began delivering water
supplies this weekend, after a plane landed with 1.5 tons of supplies. Naqib Safi is an emergency specialist for
UNICEF. He was in Marsh Harbour yesterday. And he joins me from Nassau by Skype. Naqib Safi, welcome to the “NewsHour.” You were just in Marsh Harbour. Some of the hardest-hit areas are there. Tell me what it was that you saw and heard
on the ground. NAQIB SAFI, UNICEF: Devastation. Almost all infrastructure, houses were affected. At the airport, when we arrived, we saw a
long queue of children, women and of rest of the families who were evacuating in a flight
towards Nassau. We drove almost for five to seven hours in
different locations. We talked to people. We saw destruction, we saw desperation. And when we talked to individuals and different
groups who were taking shelter in churches, school and, in one case, within a government
complex, they were all stressed and they were desperate for help. AMNA NAWAZ: Naqib, I have to ask. There have been dozens of accounts of people
fleeing, people evacuating, people leaving. When it comes to basic needs, water and food,
on the most basic level, are those getting through to the people who need them? And if they aren’t, why not? NAQIB SAFI: What we have observed in all these
areas, at least in nine specific centers that I can refer to, food and water was provided
through either private donation, government, and whoever was working and providing assistance. What I have seen, there were food available. Of course, it’s the matter for how long, but,
at the moment, it’s not been an issue of serious concern in a given moment. AMNA NAWAZ: So, we heard earlier from one
of the Bahamian emergency management officials. And this has been a criticism we have heard
again and again now, that there have been difficulties with some relief organizations
working with the Bahamian authorities on the ground. Can you tell me a little bit? Have you seen those kinds of tensions? Is it any more difficult to work with this
— with this government than others? NAQIB SAFI: There are realistic challenges
on the ground, especially in a crisis of this scale and magnitude, which was unexpected
and it was much more bigger than initially thought. The stress — those who are dealing with it,
they are part of the affected population, so, if there are occasion that we see some
level of destruction, that’s actually a normal nature of this crisis. I have been to many crises around the world,
and I don’t see anything different. In addition, actually, here, the government
is allocating resources. And they are showing quite extensive level
of commitment and determination to provide support and facilitate other partners’ access
to the people in need. AMNA NAWAZ: Naqib, very briefly, it’s been
one week since the hurricane struck. Do you see that the people on the islands,
the people of the Bahamas, will get the aid that they need, or will leaving be the best
option for many of them right now? NAQIB SAFI: In Abaco, which mostly has been
affected, I think 90, 95 percent of the population has already left. Remember, this percentage should be taken
into the context, because we are still figuring out — and when I say we, the government and
the partners — to see, what are the exact number of people staying? The return of these people will need significant
level of investment, of rehabilitation of water system, power supplies, infrastructure,
et cetera, and, most importantly from our perspective, a sense of normal and education
for children, so — which I don’t think it will happen, at least in the very near future,
because it will require quite significant level of investment and reconstruction effort. AMNA NAWAZ: That is Naqib Safi of UNICEF joining
us tonight from Nassau. Thank you very much for your time. NAQIB SAFI: You’re welcome. JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour”: Amy Walter and
Tamara Keith break down what Congress is up to now that it’s back in session; a conversation
with Margaret Atwood the sequel to her acclaimed and controversial bestseller “The Handmaid’s
Tale”; plus, remembering the life and legacy of pioneering disabilities rights activist
Marca Bristo. The British Parliament was as blur of activity
today, as lawmakers rushed to get work done before they are forced to disband until mid-October. They approved a bill that requires Prime Minister
Boris Johnson to delay Brexit, now just over six weeks away, if he doesn’t have a deal. They were also voting on his effort to force
a snap election next month. Johnson is dismissing Parliament until mid-October. His critics say it’s a ploy to prevent further
anti-Brexit machinations. Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant has
this update. MALCOLM BRABANT: Boris Johnson began his day
in Dublin with his Irish counterpart, Leo Varadkar. He was addressing one of the key Brexit issues,
the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic
of Ireland in the south, which is part of the E.U. BORIS JOHNSON, British Prime Minister: I want
to get a deal. Like you, I have looked carefully at no deal. I have assessed its consequences both for
our country and yours. And, yes, of course, we could do it. The U.K. could certainly get through it, but
be in no doubt that outcome would be a failure of statecraft for which we would all be responsible. MALCOLM BRABANT: Johnson wants an alternative
to what’s known as the Irish backstop, a mechanism designed to prevent a hard border between
the republic and the north. The government in London opposes it because
it claims it could keep the U.K. tied indefinitely to the E.U. LEO VARADKAR, Irish Prime Minister: In the
absence of agreed alternative arrangements, no backstop is no deal. MALCOLM BRABANT: As he returned to Westminster,
Johnson’s hands were officially tied by the final approval of a law designed to stop the
government leaving the E.U. without a deal. Cabinet members have suggested the prime minister
may try to circumvent that new law. The bill’s author, Hilary Benn, has threatened
a legal challenge if that happens. HILARY BENN, British Parliament Member: If
the government tries not to do what the bill, which will become an act on Monday, says very
clearly they have to do, then it provides time to go into court. Lawmaker Tommy Sheppard’s Scottish National
Party is fighting to thwart Johnson. TOMMY SHEPPARD, British Parliament Member:
There really is a case of the lunatics having taken over the asylum here. I mean, the people that seem to be running
the strategy in No. 10 Downing Street are not playing by the normal rules. MALCOLM BRABANT: At the Institute for Government,
historian Catherine Haddon said the current state of British politics is the most chaotic
in centuries. CATHERINE HADDON, Institute for Government:
Parliament is the creator of law, so for them to even be talking about the idea of, you
know, not obeying the law or trying to find ways to disrupt the intention of that law
is an incredible situation that we are finding ourselves in. MALCOLM BRABANT: One of the loudest voices
of the Brexit campaign will soon be silent. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow promised
to step down on October the 31st, the date Britain is scheduled to leave the E.U. The reality is, he jumped before he was pushed. His departure follows that of Pensions Secretary
Amber Rudd over the weekend. She accused the prime minister of an assault
on decency and democracy. Meanwhile, more and more E.U. member states
are warning that a no-deal Brexit is looking more likely. HEIKO MAAS, German Foreign Minister (through
translator): The British Parliament has decided that it wants to prevent a no-deal Brexit. And we remain ready for discussion in principle. We must also make an orderly exit possible,
which is preferable, but for this to happen, we finally need a decision and proposals from
London. MALCOLM BRABANT: As Parliament began its last
debates before being closed down by the prime minister, rival factions outside tried to
make their voices heard. LISETTE STUX, London; I am very afraid. This smacks of 1930s Germany. Hitler closed down the Parliament. This is what Boris is doing. MAN: In God’s name, will the traitor M.P.s
go? WOMAN: This is it, do or die. We’re leaving on the 31st of October. MALCOLM BRABANT: With Parliament shuttered
for the next five weeks, Boris Johnson is not going to be distracted by bruising fights
in the chamber. Although he’s lost his majority, he’s still
in charge of the country. And now he can concentrate on trying to persuade
the E.U. to give him a Brexit deal. At the same time, his government is stepping
up preparations just in case the country does crash out of the E.U. without a deal. The uncertainty that’s hobbling Britain is
no closer to being resolved. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Malcolm Brabant
in London. JUDY WOODRUFF: Labor Day is behind us, schools
have started and the political calendar is ramping up. Lisa Desjardins fills in the picture. LISA DESJARDINS: North Carolina is the first
hot spot, hosting President Trump tonight for a campaign rally tonight ahead of a special
congressional election. And Congress is also back, with Democrats
in the House shedding the spotlight on gun violence and impeachment. That’s plenty for our weekly Politics Monday
roundup with Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and host of public radio’s “Politics
With Amy Walter” and Tamara Keith of NPR and co-host of the “NPR Politics Podcast.” Ladies, it’s Election Day tomorrow, just one
special election, the North Carolina Ninth Congressional District. Let’s look at — there’s two candidates running,
Republican Dan Bishop. He’s a state senator, also fiscal conservative,
running against Dan McCready. He’s a Marine veteran and also a former money
manager. He’s running as more of a moderate. Amy, why are people paying such attention
to this race? What does it tell you? AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: And
people, the parties and the outside groups, are also spending a whole lot of money here. It’s over $10 million that outside groups
have spent in this race, you’re right, for one congressional seat. It’s because it’s symbolic. This is a district that the Democrat, Democrat,
Dan McCready, lost very narrowly, but there was vote fraud allegations. The election was thrown out. This is the do-over election with a different
Republican. But, really, it’s about, is Donald Trump still
as strong of a force for Republicans in Republican-leaning districts as he was, let’s say, in 2016? The president there trying to urge Republicans
to turn out in a district that gave him 54 percent. But recent polls from that district show that
the president’s approval rating there is now down to 47 percent. The race is within single digits. If the Democrat were to win here, if Dan McCready
were to win here, it would — it would send a pretty big shockwave, that not only is a
district that the president pretty handily carried in danger, but it would also say to
Democrats, you better put North Carolina in play, and, Trump, you can’t count on winning
North Carolina again. That would be a very big upset. LISA DESJARDINS: And this is a partially suburban
district too around Charlotte. TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: Right. It’s partially suburban. It actually — it has — it has a mix of rural
and suburban. And it is a decent test case of a Trump district
and what happens there. In a lot of ways, even though this is the
last vote of 2018, it is the first vote of 2020. And a lot of people are treating it that way,
including the president, who, as you said, is there holding a rally tonight. And although he doesn’t want to put too much
of his political sway on the line, or he doesn’t want to admit that he’s putting a lot into
this, he is putting a lot into this. The most valuable thing that a candidate and
a president have is the president’s time. And he is dedicating his time by going down
there, holding this rally, and hoping that he can declare victory in less than 48 hours. AMY WALTER: The other interesting thing about
this district, if a Democrat should win, it would be one of the most Republican districts
held by Democrats. We know that Democrats won a lot of seats
in 2018. They netted 40 seats, but they were mostly
in districts that Trump narrowly won or narrowly lost. There aren’t many districts that he won by
54 percent or even 53 percent that Democrats hold. So this would be one of the most Republicans. LISA DESJARDINS: To move the line. AMY WALTER: Yes. LISA DESJARDINS: Someone else trying to move
the line, former Congressman and former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who announced
he is also a candidate for president. Let’s take a listen to what he said, why he’s
doing this. MARK SANFORD (R), Presidential Candidate:
Those people were core to the Republican Party and what it used to stand for. They haven’t been talked to here lately. And the president said those concerns you
have with regard to spending, they’re out the window, we’re not going to worry about
them, the economy is great. But I believe that they’re still there. LISA DESJARDINS: He’s talking about Republicans
who are unhappy with the direction of the party, think this is not the party they recognize. He’s a complicated figure. He’s got a complicated party. But, Amy, is there a possibility of Republicans
who don’t like Trump actually breaking from him, going with someone like Mark Sanford? AMY WALTER: It doesn’t look like there’s any
opportunity — or possibility of Trump losing this nomination, or even any of the three
candidates who are running right now getting much of the vote. This is especially true in South Carolina,
where they actually — the Republican Party canceled the primary there. And there are four other states where the
primary has been canceled on the Republican side. LISA DESJARDINS: Just in the past few days. AMY WALTER: Just in the past few days. Now, in 2004, when George W. Bush was running
— running for reelection, about 10 states canceled their Republican primary. So this isn’t all that new. The interesting — really interesting thing,
though, about Sanford is, he’s running on this fiscal conservatism, right? The debt is too big, the deficit is too high. This is something Republicans, right, we heard
them talk about all the time during the Obama administration. And, in fact, if you look at what priority
Republicans put on the issue of debt and deficit, it peaked at 82 percent in the middle of the
Trump — I’m sorry — the Obama administration. (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: The Obama administration. And since then, it’s been going back down. So if you look at like the arc of it, of Republicans’
concern, voter concern with debt and deficit, really high when the Democrat is in office,
pretty low when George W. Bush’s in office, pretty low when Donald Trump’s in office. LISA DESJARDINS: Tam? TAMARA KEITH: Yes. And Bill Weld, and Joe Walsh, and Mark Sanford,
they’re all entering this knowing that they basically have no chance of winning the nomination
and even less of a chance of becoming president of the United States. But that’s not their only goal. Sanford is clearly saying, like, I want to
have a conversation. He doesn’t feel like the Republican Party
has really had an internal debate about who they are since President Trump became president. Mark Sanford tried to have that debate when
he was in Congress, and he started criticizing President Trump. President Trump endorsed his primary opponent,
and then that person won, and then went on to lose in the general election to a Democrat,
which was a pretty big surprise in that district. So all of these candidate in part are either
hoping to have a conversation or they are hoping to damage the incumbent. And incumbent presidents who have had primary
challenges in the past, there is a history there of them going on to — and being denied
a second term. But it is hard to say that these three are
at the same level as a Ted Kennedy or a Ronald Reagan or a Pat Buchanan in 1992. AMY WALTER: Yes. LISA DESJARDINS: So Congress is also back. I feel like we need to take a deep breath. I think things are going to start moving very
quickly. It started today, with House Democrats holding
a news conference on guns. This is issue number one for them. And they invited to that news conference the
mayor of Dayton, Nan Whaley. There she is right there at the U.S. Capitol
today. Last week, you all did a great job of helping
us understand we don’t know where the president is on guns. But let’s talk about Congress a little bit. It seems like there are many members on both
sides trying to coalesce around maybe expanding background checks, perhaps helping states
with red flag laws that give law enforcement more power in emergency and crisis situations. Do either of these stand a chance? They’re very popular in polls with the American
people. TAMARA KEITH: Well, they stand a great chance
in the House of Representatives, where Democrats are in power, and, in fact, well, they have
already passed bills that do these things, essentially. But on the Senate side, it’s much more difficult. And Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said
that he is not going to put up something for a vote that the president won’t sign. And they don’t yet know what the president
will sign. LISA DESJARDINS: Briefly, Amy? AMY WALTER: Yes. I mean, this is one of those issues that,
again, if you’re looking at this, if you’re President Trump, you know suburban women are
going to be very important in this election. This would be an issue to take and support
to win those voters back. But this is a president who’s always been
about his base and keeping them happy. LISA DESJARDINS: We still have a lot to watch. AMY WALTER: That’s right. LISA DESJARDINS: Amy Walter, Tamara Keith,
thank you. TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome. JUDY WOODRUFF: A dark, dystopian vision that
is capturing the public’s attention. Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” is
now a cultural touchstone for readers and viewers. Her much anticipated sequel, “The Testaments,”
is out tomorrow, and is already on the short list for this year’s Booker Prize and green-lit
for a series on Hulu. Jeffrey Brown sat down with Atwood recently
in Toronto for a preview. It is part of our ongoing series on arts and
culture, Canvas. ACTRESS: Whose fault was it? JEFFREY BROWN: In a harrowing scene early
in the TV series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” young women are being forcibly reeducated for their
subservient roles in the United States that has become a fundamentalist theocracy. One of them, played by actress Elisabeth Moss,
is suddenly struck. The perpetrator, in a surprise cameo appearance,
none other than celebrated author Margaret Atwood. MARGARET ATWOOD, Author, “The Testaments”:
And we had to shoot it four times because she kept saying: “Hit me harder.” No. (LAUGHTER) MARGARET ATWOOD: No, I don’t want to injure
the leading lady. “Come on. Give me a whack.” JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. Yes. It was Atwood who started all this back in
1984, when she wrote her classic novel of a near future takeover of the U.S. by religious
zealots, who forced fertile women into sexual servitude as childbearers. ACTRESS: You will bear children for them. JEFFREY BROWN: The new nation is called Gilead. What did you think you were doing then at
that time? MARGARET ATWOOD: I thought I was getting in
trouble. JEFFREY BROWN: You thought it was going to
get you in trouble because of the story? MARGARET ATWOOD: Well, it answered the question,
if the United States were to become a totalitarianism, what kind of totalitarianism would it become? JEFFREY BROWN: Atwood, now 79 and author of
more than 60 books, is Canadian, but traces part of her ancestry to early American Puritans. “The Handmaid’s Tale” struck a deep and lasting
chord for millions of readers the world over. We talked this summer in her Toronto neighborhood. You have got to be amazed by what “The Handmaid’s
Tale” has grown into as a phenomenon. MARGARET ATWOOD: It’s out of control. JEFFREY BROWN: Out of control? MARGARET ATWOOD: Yes. Well, I can’t do anything about it. (LAUGHTER) JEFFREY BROWN: Well… MARGARET ATWOOD: Come back. (LAUGHTER) JEFFREY BROWN: Not a chance. The story has been made into a 1990 film,
an opera and ballet, a graphic novel, and, reaching millions more, the Emmy Award-winning
hit Hulu series, which has completed its third season. Atwood served as a consultant and, with her
blessing, the series move well beyond her original ending. Now Atwood has written her own sequel, “The
Testaments,” in part a response to her readers’ continued interest. MARGARET ATWOOD: It was a lot of unanswered
questions that either they kept asking or they kept making up answers to. There’s a lot of things left hanging at the
end of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” JEFFREY BROWN: So you decided to address that? MARGARET ATWOOD: Investigate it. JEFFREY BROWN: The new book, set some 15 years
after the previous ending, is told through three testimonies, two young women and an
older one, Aunt Lydia, familiar to viewers of the series as the most powerful woman in
Gilead. Played by Ann Dowd, she’s gone along with
evil, and, for the young handmaids, become their principal enforcer, but Atwood had her
own questions. MARGARET ATWOOD: Is she really evil? Is she totally evil? The question is, how do people end up in those
positions? And I remember, when I was born, which was
1939, I was a war child. So I have always been pretty interested in
those totalitarianisms, how people born into them, how people rose in them, how they became
members of the hierarchy. JEFFREY BROWN: So you’re always looking to
these historical analogies, huh? MARGARET ATWOOD: The series, as well as the
book, and as well as “The Testaments,” follow one axiom, and that is, you can’t put anything
in that doesn’t have a precedent in human history. So, yes, I’m always looking. JEFFREY BROWN: It has to have happen somehow
at some time? MARGARET ATWOOD: Well, in these books, yes,
because I didn’t want anybody saying, you’re just weird. Somebody asked me on Twitter recently, how
do you come up with this (EXPLETIVE DELETED)? The answer is, it’s not me who comes up with
it. It’s the human race over the past 4,000 years. JEFFREY BROWN: And that leads to the other
reason for the sequel, the times we’re living in today, where Atwood and others again see
women’s rights under threat. MARGARET ATWOOD: If I had thought, let’s write
a sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale” this kind in 1999, I would have said, why bother? We’re not going there. Surely, people are moving away from that. But in the moment in which means now exist,
that’s not true anymore. JEFFREY BROWN: So, in 1999, you would have
said, why bother? MARGARET ATWOOD: Yes. JEFFREY BROWN: But, in 2016-’17? MARGARET ATWOOD: I’m going to bother. I’m going to bother. It’s time to bother. You can ignore the fact that there are a number
of regimes that have come into power than have these kinds of ideas in mind. The thing they have in common is, they all
want to roll back women’s rights. JEFFREY BROWN: Atwood is no fan of Donald
Trump, but doesn’t see him in the world she’s created. MARGARET ATWOOD: Trump is not Gileadean leader
figure. There’s some other people kicking around on
the U.S. political scene that would be much more like one of those figures, but he is
not that kind of figure. JEFFREY BROWN: Gilead is a theocracy. MARGARET ATWOOD: We are probably pretty close
to it in some states. JEFFREY BROWN: You wrote that readers bombarded
you over the years with questions, right? MARGARET ATWOOD: Yes. JEFFREY BROWN: Is it a feminist novel? Is it a warning? MARGARET ATWOOD: Yes. Yes. JEFFREY BROWN: You’re going to be asked the
same thing of this new — of this sequel. MARGARET ATWOOD: Yes. Yes. JEFFREY BROWN: In what sense would you say
it is a feminist novel? MARGARET ATWOOD: It makes women front and
center and puts it reproductive rights front and center. But it doesn’t say all women are angelic beings
who would never, ever do anything wrong, because, as we know from having been in grade four,
that’s not true. JEFFREY BROWN: And in what sense is it a warning? MARGARET ATWOOD: Don’t go there. Don’t make those choices. Don’t go there. JEFFREY BROWN: Atwood’s handmaids have become
part of the political culture, popping up in protests. And the frenzy around the new book is intense,
unusual for any novelist this side of J.K. Rowling and another “Harry Potter” book. MARGARET ATWOOD: See you in September. JEFFREY BROWN: It includes a live event Tuesday
in which Atwood and various guests will take part, which will be telecast in more than
1,000 theaters around the world. And Atwood has been glammed up for features
like this one in The Sunday Times of London “Style” magazine. You are in rare air for a novelist, for a
writer. MARGARET ATWOOD: I’m in rare air for an old
bitty writer. JEFFREY BROWN: Well, you are. I mean, it’s sort of international celebrity
air. MARGARET ATWOOD: Well, yes. And good thing that I’m old, because if this
happened to younger people, it would probably ruin their life. Where do you go from here, except down? JEFFREY BROWN: Are you enjoying it? MARGARET ATWOOD: Of course I’m enjoying it. I would be lying to say otherwise. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. MARGARET ATWOOD: You saw the pictures of me
with hair extensions. Who wouldn’t enjoy that? (LAUGHTER) JEFFREY BROWN: Margaret Atwood’s “The Testaments”
is out tomorrow. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jeffrey Brown
in Toronto. JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, we remember
a woman who helped changed the law and the lives of tens of millions of people with disabilities. Marca Bristo may not have been a household
name, but her work seeped into many U.S. households. Paralyzed from the waist down after a diving
accident when she was 23, Bristo became a longtime disability rights activist from her
home base in Chicago. She worked on improving access and rights,
no matter how small or how large the issue. Bristo fought against discrimination, helped
create a better model for independent living, and led strikes and helped file lawsuits that
led to the creation of bus lifts in Chicago. She was a pivotal voice in the shaping and
passage of the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act. Bristo died yesterday of cancer at the age
of 66. Former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa knew
her well and worked with her when he helped to write the Americans With Disabilities Act. Senator Harkin, thank you so much for being
here. And we’re sorry for your loss. We know how close you were to Marca Bristo. You have worked for decades in the disabilities
movement. TOM HARKIN (D), Former U.S. Senator: Mm-hmm. JUDY WOODRUFF: How did — how should we see
Marca Bristo in that movement? TOM HARKIN: I think she will enshrined in
the future as one of the great leaders of a global disability — civil rights movement
for persons with disabilities. When you think of the civil rights movement
for African-Americans, you of course think of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King and John
Lewis. I think, when people in the future look back
at the disability rights civil rights movement, they will think of, of course, Justin Dart
and George H.W. Bush that signed the law, but they will also think of Marca Bristo,
who really made it happen. JUDY WOODRUFF: As I mentioned, you were pivotal
in writing and putting together the Americans With Disabilities Act. You worked on it. A lot of people were involved in that. It was the late 1980s into 1990, when President
George Bush, H.W. Bush, signed it into law. What did Marca Bristo do that others weren’t
doing at that time? TOM HARKIN: She was Justin Dart’s protege. Justin Dart… JUDY WOODRUFF: And he, of course, was one
of the real leaders. TOM HARKIN: One of the real advocates of the
Americans With Disabilities Act. He, in his wheelchair, went to all 50 states. But then he got ahold of this young woman
from Chicago, Marca Bristo, and sort of got her to move all over the country getting young
people involved, young people who may have been born with a disability or, like herself,
had been injured in an accident. And she got them stimulated to think about
themselves not in terms of someone that just had to take what was given to them, but to
start getting young people to demand better access to all forms of living in America. She was a foot soldier in that effort. JUDY WOODRUFF: I met her at an Access Living
event in Chicago. That was an organization that she helped to
found all around, pushing for independent living for people with disabilities. What do you think drove her? What pushed her to do what she did? TOM HARKIN: She wrote about this once and
spoke about it often, and I have often talked about the fact, after she had her diving accident
when she was 23, as you mentioned, she thought: How am I going to cope? How do I have to change my life? Well, she ran into Judy Heumann, another advocate
for disability rights, and a few other people, Ed Roberts, others, in the movement, who said,
no, you don’t have to change. They have got to change. Society needs to change. They need to change the way they buildings,
the way they make doorways, the way they have bus lifts. You’re still the same person. They have got to change how they’re doing
it. And so that sort of got her thinking that,
yes, society has built in all these barriers to people with disabilities. If we break down the barriers, people with
disabilities can do anything. JUDY WOODRUFF: She wouldn’t accept the idea
that anything was closed to someone with a disability. TOM HARKIN: Marca Bristo didn’t want to be
paternalized. She didn’t want to have people patting her
on the head and say, now you go off and we will help you. She said: Take the barriers down. I can help myself. JUDY WOODRUFF: She was tough. TOM HARKIN: Oh, she was tough. She was very tough, but had a heart of gold. She was just one of the most unique persons
I have ever known in my lifetime. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, she certainly left a
mark on the lives, as we said, of millions and millions of Americans. TOM HARKIN: Oh, just — she was a mentor to
so many young women. She was also a feminist, so she got young
women with disabilities to think of themselves in a different light. She was just a wonderful mentor to so many
young people. JUDY WOODRUFF: Former Senator Tom Harkin,
who worked with Marca Bristo, thank you for helping us remember her. TOM HARKIN: Thanks for having me. JUDY WOODRUFF: Appreciate it. Thank you. We close with our ongoing honor roll of American
service personnel killed in combat during U.S. military operations overseas. We add them as their deaths are made official
and photographs become available. Here now, 16 more. We honor each and every one of them. And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Judy Woodruff. Join us online and again here tomorrow evening. For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank
you, and we’ll see you soon.

How clashes with Trump led to John Bolton’s firing


-Well, President Trump said
that he fired John Bolton because he often disagreed with
the advice that Bolton gave. -Was he fired? Did he get fired,
or did he quit? And did he leave the White House because he disagreed
with you in particular? -John Bolton just texted me.
-Oh. -Just now.
He’s watching. -Can you read it?
-Yeah. He said, “Let’s be clear.
I resigned.” And I said, “Do you mind
if I say that?” while you were talking.
And he wrote “Yes.” -The president’s entitled
to the staff that he wants at any moment. This is a staff person
who works directly for the President
of the United States, and he should have people
that he trusts and values and whose efforts and judgments
benefit him in delivering
American foreign policy. -This did not entirely
come out of the blue, though. I don’t think anyone saw that
it was going to happen today. -Last night, we were told
he would be here today. -I’m never surprised. -Well, let me ask —
-And I don’t mean that on just this issue. -It appears that their
differences were not so much ideological
as they were tactical, particularly in the big
three countries involving policy towards Iran, North Korea,
and, most recently, Afghanistan. He was very hawkish. On Iran, for example,
the president openly said that he wanted to negotiate
with President Rouhani of Iran. -Would you agree to meet
with President Rouhani? -If the circumstances
were correct or right, I would certainly agree to that. Look, Iran is a country
with tremendous potential. We’re not looking
for regime change. -John Bolton, in contrast,
openly called for regime change. -There’s a lot we can do,
and we should do it. Our goal should be regime
change in Iran. -He thought that the Iranian
government is irredeemably evil and there was no point
in talking to them. In North Korea, President Trump
would sort of wave aside a number of missile tests that
North Korea continued making, even as they were holding talks
with the administration. -Short-range missiles —
we never made an agreement on that. I have no problem.
We’ll see what happens. But these are short-range
missiles. They’re very standard. -Unlike President Trump,
Bolton was very critical of them and said that they violated
UN Security Council Resolutions. But it was really
the Afghanistan policy that sort of brought
the disagreements and the internal divisions
into the public. -Are peace talks
with the Taliban dead? -They’re dead.
They’re dead. As far as I’m concerned,
they’re dead. -As Zalmay Khalilzad,
the State Department’s special envoy for peace
talks with the Taliban — as he came up
with a draft agreement, Bolton asked to see
a copy of it, reportedly. And they refused to send him
over a draft of the agreement. They said if he wanted to,
he could come in and read it, but they would not give him
a copy to take out. He just didn’t think that the
deal that was being negotiated by Khalilzad was a good one. And he was quite open
and vocal about that. So, there was a point last month
when there was a meeting at the White House
between all the principles, really, in national security
in the administration. And initially Bolton was not
even invited to it. You had the head of the CIA. You had Mike Pompeo. You had a number of officials,
but not John Bolton. And Bolton’s aides apparently
appealed to Mick Mulvaney, the Chief of Staff. And so he finally
did get to come, but he had to sort of, you know,
push his way into this meeting. So, he was completely
being sidelined. -The acting National Security
Advisor is Charlie Kupperman. And the fact is, the President
of the United States asked John Bolton
last night for his resignation. It was delivered today. John Bolton’s priorities
and policies just don’t line up
with the president’s. And any sitting president
has the right to put someone in that position
that can carry out his agenda. That became no longer tenable,
so the president made a change. Thanks.