Government Can’t Fix Healthcare


Why is the government so bad at healthcare? They’ve been at it for seventy-five years
and still can’t get it right. It’s expensive. Access is spotty. It’s mired in bureaucracy. And it’s fraught with waste. Obamacare was supposed to fix all this, but
instead, like every other government healthcare program before it, it just made things worse. Why? Because the government is a third-party payer. Let me explain. Suppose you are going to buy something for
yourself. You have two priorities: price and quality. You want the highest quality for the lowest
possible price. Say you’re buying a television. You have many options: the size of the screen,
the quality of the image, the price. Only you know which one best suits your needs
and your budget. And a lot of companies are competing for your
business. You do your research; you make your choice. This is called a first-party purchase – the
person paying is the person using. Now, let’s suppose that either the price
or quality is not controlled by you; in this case, you are buying something for someone
else. You care about the price because you are paying
for it, but you are a little more flexible on the quality. A good example would be a wedding gift – say,
a coffee maker. You might think, by the time it breaks they’ll
forget who gave it to them anyway… the cheaper one will be fine. All of us have bought things for others we
never would have bought for ourselves. We care about the price because we’re paying
for it, but not so much about the quality because we’re not going to use it. Or, suppose that we’re going to use something,
but we’re not going to pay for it. Then we’re concerned about the quality because
we’re consuming it, but the cost is not as important because we’re not paying for
it. Any father who ever got roped into paying
for an open bar at a wedding understands this program. Nobody ever orders the cheap stuff when it’s
free. These are called second-party purchases. The person paying is not the person using. And now, for the coup de grace: when it is
not your money paying for something, AND you don’t use it. Then you’re not concerned about either the
price or the quality. Suppose the boss gives you $150 to buy a door
prize for the office party. In a store window, you see a six-foot tall
stuffed frog marked $149.00 You think, Oh, that’s perfect – let’s buy it. The raffle winner is awarded the six-foot
frog. Everyone laughs at the gag. Now, this is called a third-party purchase
– a purchase that is made with money that is not yours (therefore you don’t care about
the cost) to buy something you’re not going to consume (therefore you don’t care about
the quality). Here’s the point: By definition, all government
purchases are third-party purchases. The government spends other people’s money
on things it won’t consume. It doesn’t care about the price or the quality. Thus, there will always be waste in government
spending. That is why, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln,
government should do only those things that a man can’t do better for himself. If 300 million Americans were free to buy
health insurance for themselves, just as they buy their own life and home and car insurance,
then that little gecko on television would offer us health insurance with a little more
coverage for a little less cost. And he wouldn’t be the only one. Insurance companies and hospitals would be
working night and day to get our business. Quality would go up, and prices would go down. It’s already happened with laser eye surgery. It used to cost $2,200 per eye. Now it can cost as low as $500 per eye. That’s the way free enterprise competition
works…every time. But when the government gets involved, costs
go up, waste and fraud go up, essential medical services are denied or unavailable. These are the hallmarks of government healthcare
bureaucracies around the globe. The sooner we make health insurance a first-party
purchase again, the sooner Americans will get the health care they want…finally. I’m Bob McEwen for Prager University.

Mueller Testifies, Now What?


Hey thanks for visiting Frongpagelive.com,
I’m Carl Cameron, Former FBI director Bob Mueller, the Special
counsel who led the investigation into Russia’s cyberattack on our election, the Trump campaign’s
involvement, and obstruction of justice testified repeatedly today that the president could
be indicted once he leaves office. Did you actually totally exonerate the president? No. The report did not conclude that he did not
commit obstruction of justice. Is that correct? That is correct. The president was not exculpated for the acts
that he allegedly committed. Mueller confirmed that Trump allies and campaign
staff had contacts with Russians more than 120 times. Now don’t forget that Trump and his entire
team throughout the campaign and for more than a year in office repeatedly lied saying
that there never had been any contact with the Russians, ever. Then they got caught and started going to
jail. Mueller repeatedly said justice department
rules prohibit indicating a sitting president. The only constitutional remedy is impeachment. And it’s a pretty simple process: the house
acts as prosecutor and votes to impeach for high crimes and misdemeanors, it’s sort
of like an indictment. The Senate then acts as jury, and to remove
a president takes a 2/3rds vote. So the Congress….a co-equal branch of government
with the executive and the judiciary, the constitution puts the ball squarely in your
court. DO YOUR JOB. Thanks for visiting FrontPageLive.com. We are now a month old and very much appreciate
your coming back, please subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on social media and
tell your friends. It’s time for a change.

PBS NewsHour full episode October 24, 2019


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: heeding the call
of the White House. More Republican lawmakers attack the impeachment
process, but steer clear of declaring the president innocent of claims that he tied
military aid to political gain. Then: prisoner of conscience. A conversation with Pastor Andrew Brunson,
who was held captive in Turkey for two years on false charges. And by the numbers. As creative industries rely ever more on consumer-generated
data, concerns over privacy grow, and the line between artist and algorithm begins to
blur. CHRISTOPHER SPRIGMAN, New York University
School of Law: The author is now not bringing something out of nothing. The author is kind of conjuring all of our
preferences, taking them into account, and in a sense reflecting ourselves back on us. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Taking on the impeachment process,
more Republican lawmakers are speaking up against how the impeachment inquiry in the
House of Representatives is being conducted. This follows testimony from the top U.S. diplomat
to Ukraine, who, on Tuesday, directly linked President Trump to the withholding of U.S.
military aid in return for political favors. Here to report on where it all stands today,
our own Lisa Desjardins and Yamiche Alcindor. Hello to both of you. So, Lisa, I’m going to start with you. I know you were talking to a lot of folks
on the Hill today. LISA DESJARDINS: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: What are congressional Republicans
saying as they push back against this impeachment inquiry? And do you get a sense of how much pressure
they are feeling to defend the president? LISA DESJARDINS: It’s tremendous pressure. And what a difference a day makes, because
we saw, I think, Republicans especially in the Senate yesterday struggling to understand
that testimony of that top diplomat from Ukraine, Bill Taylor. Today, we heard the sound of a resounding
defense of the president. Part of that came from a White House lunch
that the president had with a few Republican senators, including Senator Lindsey Graham. At that lunch, Graham told us reporters at
the Capitol today that the president said he feels in his bones this process is unfair. He wants, urges, demands Republicans push
back. Here’s how Lindsey Graham described where
he is on the process. SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): And when you’re talking
about the president of the United States, it seems to me you would want to have a process
that is consistent with who we are as Americans and consistent with what Bill Clinton was
allowed to do, Richard Nixon was allowed to do. And the process in the House today, I think,
is a danger to the future of the presidency, because if you can drive down a president’s
poll numbers by having proceedings where you selectively leak information, where the president
who is the subject of all of this is pretty much shut out, God help future presidents. LISA DESJARDINS: So, he’s saying quite a lot
in that sound bite. Let me break it down quickly. When he’s talking about Bill Clinton and President
Nixon, what he is asking for in part is the chance to — basically, the president should
be able to object to testimony, see the testimony against him, have his own counsel, his own
witnesses. Now, Democrats say that’s coming. They’re saying this closed-door process so
far is the initial investigation phase. Now, when Lindsey Graham talks about poll
numbers and leaks, he’s talking about the testimony that we have seen, the opening statements
especially, from some witnesses. You know, Lindsey Graham admitted to me he’s
not exactly sure where it’s coming from. He suspects House Democrats are putting that
out there. But a bigger picture here, Judy, when I talk
to House Democrats — or House Republicans in particular, they say they feel such pressure
to fight for this president because their base is telling them they have to fight for
this president. They have been told by statistics, this president
is not just the one controlling the Republican message, he is the Republican message. So they have to storm committee hearing rooms
to show they’re behind this president. And one source told me today they think that
isn’t going far enough, that they want to tell their base they’re fighting for the president. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Yamiche, you’re obviously
talking to folks at the White House. Republicans on the Hill feeling pressure from
their base, but clearly they’re also getting signals from the White House? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, the White House and
President Trump are really pushing Republicans to defend him both privately and publicly. So, as Lisa mentioned, there was a lunch at
the White House today. And the president was essentially walking
Republicans through what he wants them to say about him. He wants them to say that, I did nothing wrong. He wants them to make sure that they’re making
it clear that he feels like the process is flawed. Mick Mulvaney also told lawmakers that the
White House is trying the get its plan together on impeachment. So what you see is the White House trying
to tell Republicans, we are going to eventually get handle on this and please bear with us
while we do this. And then publicly the president has been making
statements. On Monday, we saw the president really lash
out at Republicans and say, you need to get stronger. The Democrats here have their stuff together. They’re sticking together. And I’m having to deal with Senator Mitt Romney
of Utah, who is tweeting and going on TV, basically, really criticizing me, and that’s
not what I want to see. I want to see more people getting on TV and
defending me. And then we saw the Republicans storm the
Capitol and go into that secure facility and basically do exactly what the president says. That’s what he saw as getting tougher and
really the kind of loyalty that he’s been seeking. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what are you hearing about
the president’s attitude toward all this? Anger? Frustration? I mean, where do they put it on a scale of
whatever? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, the president is very,
very angry about this impeachment inquiry. This issue of Ukraine has really been something
that’s stuck to this presidency and has been a headline for so long. The last couple — really, the last four to
five weeks have been all filled with this. And we have seen this president kind of really
go away from all sorts of scandal and controversy. And this one isn’t going away in the same
way. I also want to walk through kind of the president’s
own responses to this impeachment inquiry, because it’s really something that’s been
something that we should be beholding. So let’s look at what the president has said
and what the White House has said. They said at first that there was no pressure
applied to Ukraine on this call. Then they said aid was delayed to Ukraine,
but that it wasn’t about the investigations into the Bidens or into Joe Biden or Hunter
Biden. They then said the aid was tied to the investigations
of Democrats, but Ukrainians were unaware of that. And what we have seen is that the White House’s
responses have really been pushed back and have been proven to be untrue at least in
time after time after time. We have seen, with the no-pressure campaign,
we saw the call where he says, I need you do me favor, though. Joe Biden needs to really be investigated. They also said that the aid wasn’t delayed
because of the Bidens. We now — there have been multiple people
at least that have come to Capitol Hill to say that aid was tied to the Bidens. And then you have the fact that they say Ukraine
wasn’t aware. And, in fact, there are multiple reports that
say Ukraine knew as early as May that the president wanted them to try to really influence
the 2020 election. LISA DESJARDINS: Lindsey Graham was asked
about that today, saying the president — the White House has had multiple messages. And he said, you noticed that, huh? So, Republicans know. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Lisa, getting back to
the process, which is what the Republicans have been focused on, what do we know about
how the normal, regular process is for these kinds of investigations compared to what’s
happening right now? LISA DESJARDINS: I think is so important. There is so much spin right now. Let’s look at what we know about these closed-door
hearings that are going on right now. First of all, right now, Republicans on three
committees — that’s 47 different House Republicans — do have access to all of this testimony
if they want. Now, that does include about a dozen of those
members who protested yesterday. They didn’t need to so-called storm the facility. They had access as it was. Now, most Republicans don’t have access, but
many do. Democrats say this is a regular practice. They point to a few things, Judy. Let’s talk about the Benghazi investigation
run by the House Oversight Committee under Republican Trey Gowdy. They also had closed-door hearings like this. And, in fact, they kicked out Republicans
as well. Lindsey Graham is saying essentially this
is higher stakes and I think this needs to go public sooner. He thinks this is a derailment of the impeachment
process. But impeachment is how you define it. And Democrats say they are moving to a public
kind of scenario soon, but the pressure, of course, to do that is mounting, and Republicans
want to put that pressure on them. They also want to make this process look like
a circus, which is one of the reasons they did that yesterday. Democrats are trying to make it look serious. So watch those two different dynamics. JUDY WOODRUFF: Two forces heading in each
other’s direction. We will see where this all ends up. Lisa Desjardins, Yamiche Alcindor, thank you
both. LISA DESJARDINS: Thanks. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: You’re welcome. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: Congress
put aside its divisions over impeachment to join in honoring the late Representative Elijah
Cummings. The Baltimore Democrat died last week. Today, an honor guard brought his flag-covered
coffin to Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. Fellow lawmakers, friends and family looked
on as leaders from both parties remembered Cummings as a moral compass. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Elijah was truly a master
of the House. He respected its history, and, in it, he helped
shape America’s future. I have called him our North Star, our guide
to a better future for our children. REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC): He is defined by the
character of his heart, the honesty of his dialogue, and the man that — the man that
we will miss. JUDY WOODRUFF: Cummings lay in state at the
Capitol into early evening. His funeral is tomorrow in Baltimore. A new wildfire spread new fear in Northern
California’s wine country. Flames raced across 15 square miles in Sonoma
County, pushed by winds gusting to 70 miles an hour. Some 2,000 people were ordered to evacuate. Meanwhile, Pacific Gas & Electric imposed
new blackouts to prevent downed lines from igniting fires. Governor Gavin Newsom condemned the outages. GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): It is infuriating beyond
words to live in a state as innovative and extraordinarily entrepreneurial and capable
as the state of California, to be living in an environment where we are seeing this kind
of disruption and these kinds of blackouts. It’s about corporate greed meeting climate
change. It’s about decades of mismanagement. JUDY WOODRUFF: PG&E filed for bankruptcy in
January, facing billions of dollars in damages from the fires of recent years. In Northeastern Syria, both the Syrian government
and Kurdish-led forces accused Turkish troops of cease-fire violations. But Ankara made no apologies. Instead, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
warned Kurdish fighters to leave a border zone, or else. RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkish President (through
translator): Now our soldiers and the Syrian national army are patrolling the area of the
operation inch by inch. If any of these terrorists come across us
there, it is our natural right to crush them. JUDY WOODRUFF: Under a Turkish-Russian plan,
the Kurds must withdraw nearly 20 miles from the Turkish border. The president of Lebanon today urged protesters
to accept a promise of economic reforms and end days of mass demonstrations. Crowds in Beirut listened to the appeal on
speakers and rejected it. Protesters closed roads and lit fires for
an eighth day in an ongoing revolt over economic collapse and official corruption. Chile’s government has offered new concessions
after a week of unrest there that has left 18 dead. President Sebastian Pinera announced today
that he will freeze a hike in electricity rates. But protesters in Santiago were back on the
streets anyway, angered over living costs and inequality. Others returned to work a day after the latest
demonstrations and riots. MAN (through translator): This is a tragedy
for Chile. I think that the majority of the people, the
ones who do not go out and protest and destroy everything, I think they feel differently. These types of things don’t do anything good
for Chile. JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, protests in Honduras
turned violent. Hundreds of people demanded that President
Juan Orlando Hernandez step down over allegations that he aided his brother in drug trafficking. British police confirmed today that all 39
people found dead in a container truck were Chinese citizens. The truck was discovered early yesterday in
an industrial park about 25 miles east of London. The victims included 31 men and eight women. The 25-year-old driver is being held on suspicion
of attempted murder. And in Spain, the remains of the dictator
Francisco Franco were exhumed from a state mausoleum and reburied in a private crypt. Franco’s family carried the coffin away as
supporters gave the fascist salute. Others said the man who overthrew a democratic
government and persecuted his opponents didn’t deserve a place of honor. PEDRO SANCHEZ, Spanish Acting Prime Minister
(through translator): This decision puts an end to a moral affront, the exaltation of
the figure of a dictator in a public place, and takes another step in the reconciliation
, which can only rest in the freedom and democracy. JUDY WOODRUFF: General Franco took power after
the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s that killed half-a-million people. He ruled until his death in 1975. Back in this country, Ohio Congressman Tim
Ryan dropped out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race. He said he will run for reelection instead. Ryan’s departure leaves 17 Democrats vying
for the nomination. Former President Jimmy Carter went home from
a Georgia hospital today. He fell Monday night and fractured his pelvis. It was his third fall and injury since last
spring. Mr. Carter is 95. He has lived longer than any other American
president. The U.S. Census Bureau is now out with new
projections of dramatic change. They show a population of 400 million by the
year 2058, up from the current 326 million. It will also be more diverse, with non-Hispanic
whites dipping below 50 percent of the population. And there will be more senior citizens than
children in just 15 years from now. And on Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial
average lost 28 points to close at 26805. The Nasdaq rose 66 points, and the S&P 500
added five. And the Houston Astros have fired an executive
who shouted abusive language at female reporters. “Sports Illustrated” had reported that Brandon
Taubman used profanity, yelling about player who was once suspended over domestic violence. The firing came as Houston trails the Washington
Nationals in the world series two games to none. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: captive in
Turkey — Pastor Andrew Brunson on his two years imprisoned on false charges; Cambodia
cracks down on the growing orphanage industry; plus, privacy vs. precision — how data is
driving creative breakthroughs and novel legal challenges. We had planned to have a conversation with
Vice President Mike Pence tonight, but that has been moved to Monday. Now we want to hear from lawmakers who have
access to that secure room for the interviews at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. We reached out to all the Republican members
on the three committees involved. None of them were able to join us. We turn to Representative Jackie Speier, Democrat
from California. She sits on the Intelligence Committee and
on the Oversight Committee, both involved in this phase of the impeachment inquiry. Congresswoman Speier, thank you for joining
us again. REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): Thank you, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. I want to ask you first about the pushback
from Republicans, who are focusing, as we have heard, not so much in defending the president
and what he did, although some of them say they’re sure it doesn’t amount to anything,
but on the process. They’re saying it’s unfair, that it damages
the presidency. REP. JACKIE SPEIER: Well, first of all, when you
can’t speak to the merits of an issue, you then direct yourself to something less, and
that’s why they’re looking at process. The interesting thing is that, during the
Benghazi committee meetings, there were over 107 interviews that were held privately before
there was any public hearings. The committee was created and operational
for four months before there was the first public hearing. So if you’re comparing the two efforts, we
are far and away going to see open hearings happen much sooner than four months and much
fewer than 107 private interviews. JUDY WOODRUFF: One of the most vocal opponents
today or critics was Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. I want to play for our audience and for you
just part of what he said at a news conference this afternoon. This is Senator Graham of South Carolina. SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): What they’re doing
is selectively leaking information to drive the president’s poll numbers down and to drive
the momentum for impeachment up. Everything coming out of this Star Chamber
process is being leaked by Democrats. They said, you heard Bill Taylor, I was breathless. Well, I — the point is, you don’t know what
Bill Taylor was asked. We don’t know if he was cross-examined and
what unfolded. So what you have here is a hearing, a process
that is, to me, not sufficient for due process. It’s being used in a politically dangerous
fashion. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Congresswoman Speier, he’s
calling it a Star Chamber. He’s saying it is not due process. REP. JACKIE SPEIER: Well, I would say, first of
all, that that’s a reckless description. He has not ventured into those committee rooms,
but I can tell you and tell him that those interviews that take place are very fair. The Democrats have one hour to ask questions,
the Republicans have one hour to ask questions, and then we alternate back and forth for the
duration of the interview. Secondly, the — most of the transcripts will
become public. Third, the statements that have been released
for the most part have been released by the individuals who were being interviewed. So I don’t quite understand why Mr. Graham
is — or Senator Graham is suggesting such vitriolic language. JUDY WOODRUFF: Why are the hearings being
held in private now? REP. JACKIE SPEIER: So, they’re not really hearings. They’re interviews. And it’s fact-finding. So when you’re trying to develop your facts,
you don’t necessarily want persons to corroborate their testimony before coming in. So if we did, in fact, make them public at
the outset, we wouldn’t find the inconsistencies that, frankly, we have already found. JUDY WOODRUFF: Because that is an essential
point Republicans keep making, that this is so critical, we’re talking about the survival
of the president, the president himself, and the public needs to know what is going on
in this room. REP. JACKIE SPEIER: So, they do need to know, and
they will get to know that. The transcripts are going to be made public,
and there are going to be a series of public hearings as well, where many of these witnesses
will come back and testify before an open committee, so that everyone can hear their
testimony. JUDY WOODRUFF: How does the public have confidence,
Congresswoman Speier, that the questions — that what these individuals who come before the
committee are telling the truth? REP. JACKIE SPEIER: Well, they swear under oath. So, by doing so, if they perjure themselves,
they would be subject to a criminal trial. JUDY WOODRUFF: And what would happen? I mean, how would you… REP. JACKIE SPEIER: I mean, that’s how Michael
Cohen is spending time in prison. He swore under oath, and he was lying. And so he’s now in prison. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, when — so, for example,
when Senator Graham and other Republicans compare this to the process leading up to
the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, and even recalling what happened under President
Nixon, and saying this doesn’t follow the process back then, how does it compare? REP. JACKIE SPEIER: So, there aren’t any specific
rules. But in those case, there was a special prosecutor
who was identified. In this situation, the Department of Justice
under Attorney General Barr declined to pursue the whistle-blower complaint, because they
didn’t think that there was any evidence there. So we have to do the evidence collection at
this point, because the Department of Justice declined to do so. JUDY WOODRUFF: One of the other criticisms
we’re hearing from Republicans is that you didn’t have a special prosecutor who was — and
maybe it’s connected to the point you just made, but they’re saying, wait a minute, Robert
Mueller spent all that time investigating Russia connections. He ended up not finding anything, and Democrats
are disappointed they couldn’t impeach the president over that, so they’re turning to
this, but, in this case, there has been no special prosecutor. REP. JACKIE SPEIER: Well, I guess I would beg to
differ with the conclusion. In the Mueller report, there were 10 incidents
of obstruction of justice, but Robert Mueller believed he could not file any because there
is this Department of Justice rule that you cannot charge a seated president. And I would argue, even in volume one, where
they looked at the intervention by the Russians and to what extent the campaign of Donald
Trump was engaged with them, there were over 250 contacts by the Trump campaign and Russian
operatives and 32 in-person meetings. JUDY WOODRUFF: Look ahead for us, if you will,
Congresswoman. Where do you see this process moving? How long is it going to take to interview
all the people you want to interview? And we’re now hearing that there will be public
hearings next month. When do you see that beginning, and what will
it look like? REP. JACKIE SPEIER: So, I can’t give you a specific
date when those hearings will begin. But I would be confident that we will be having
public hearings within a month. And I think they will be run like any other
hearing, where the Democrats will ask questions and the Republicans will ask questions. It will be very fair, much like all of the
depositions that we have taken. And let me underscore once again that the
Benghazi committee had over 107 behind-closed-door interviews before they completed their work
and four months before they went to their first public hearing. So we’re way ahead of their schedule. JUDY WOODRUFF: And do you know finally, at
this point, how many more witnesses you’re going to be hearing from? REP. JACKIE SPEIER: I can’t tell you a specific
number, but I think we probably have another two weeks or so of interviews to undertake. JUDY WOODRUFF: Congresswoman Jackie Speier
of California, who serves both on the Intelligence Committee and the Oversight Committee, thank
you very much. REP. JACKIE SPEIER: Thank you for having me. JUDY WOODRUFF: American evangelical Pastor
Andrew Brunson spent two years imprisoned in Turkey on what the U.S. calls bogus charges. His case created a crisis between the U.S.
and its NATO ally. For Brunson, it caused a crisis of faith and
a battle with depression. And a warning: There will be a brief mention
of suicide in this segment that is upcoming. Brunson has written a new book about his ordeal
that is titled “God’s Hostage.” Our Nick Schifrin sat down with him and with
Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who played a key role in his release and in Brunson’s story. NICK SCHIFRIN: Before Pastor Andrew Brunson
became an unwilling media sensation and then flash point of U.S.-Turkish hostility, he
lived a quiet life in Turkey for 25 years. He built a small Christian congregation near
the Aegean Sea, and with his wife, Norine, helped refugees from neighboring Syria. But in July 2016, elements of the Turkish
military launched a failed coup. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cracked down
on the military and all aspects of society. He rallied supporters and arrested hundreds
of thousands he accused of terrorism. And the Brunsons were also both arrested. In Turkey, they had spent every day together. But when Norine was released, Andrew was isolated
and shuttled between prisons for two years. Norine visited the prison every day and kept
a vigil. And Turkish TV kept Brunson in the news, accusing
him of being a CIA agent and supporting Fethullah Gulen, an exiled cleric living in Pennsylvania
who Turkey blamed for the coup attempt. Turkey wanted to trade Gulen for Brunson. MIKE PENCE, Vice President of the United States:
Release Pastor Andrew Brunson now, or be prepared to face the consequences. NICK SCHIFRIN: The Trump administration refused
and imposed sanctions, and Congress maintained bipartisan pressure. North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis: SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): And the charges that we
have seen to me are specious. And I think that we have got to continue to
support the family. NICK SCHIFRIN: New Hampshire Democratic Senator
Jeanne Shaheen pushed Erdogan for Brunson’s release. And on October the 12th, 2018, he was released,
almost two years to the day after his arrest. Last week, I sat down with Brunson and Shaheen
together in Washington. PASTOR ANDREW BRUNSON, Former Turkey Detainee:
We were arrested to be deported. And then somebody decided to hold us, and
I think that was to intimidate other missionaries, so they would self-deport. At some point, I became, obviously, a use
for leverage to try to gain concessions from the U.S. There is a human story and the God story. What Erdogan was doing, I was his hostage,
but when God had completed what he wanted to through my imprisonment, then he caused
my release. NICK SCHIFRIN: The first night, you describe. And you write this: “Being locked up behind
a big metal door in a foreign country, hearing the keys turn and the bolt slam for the first
time is sobering. It’s a sudden loss of control and plunge into
uncertainty.” Can you describe what that felt like? PASTOR ANDREW BRUNSON: A total loss of control. It was very scary. So, I was saying, God, you’re the one keeping
me here, when I have — I’m desperate to get out. I’m full of fear. And you’re the one who could release me. And you’re not doing it. And you’re doing this to toughen me up. And so I was having — it was taking me into
a crisis of faith. NICK SCHIFRIN: Do you think you lost your
faith? PASTOR ANDREW BRUNSON: No, I didn’t lose my
faith. I was actually desperate to hold on to it. I wasn’t wanting to walk away from it. But I was afraid that I was going insane at
times. NICK SCHIFRIN: Did you feel forsaken? PASTOR ANDREW BRUNSON: At times, I did. And I was very surprised. Many of the biographies I have read of who
I would call Christian heroes, my heroes, they show very strong people. And I expected that, when I was suffering,
I would also have that strength. And, instead, I felt very broken and weak. NICK SCHIFRIN: And you write very honestly
about not only your crisis of faith, but your crisis of depression. How deep was your despair at one point? PASTOR ANDREW BRUNSON: At one point, the Turkish
government wanted to give me three life sentences in solitary confinement with no parole. So I thought this. I could waste away here and spend years in
this terrible isolation, and I’d much rather be in heaven than spend the rest of my life
in a Turkish prison. And that’s what was leading me to think of
suicide. I’m glad I didn’t do it. The combination of despair and anxiety is
very dangerous. So, when I think I may not ever get out, I
just wanted to escape the situation. It’s not that I wanted to die. It’s that I didn’t want to live, I couldn’t
imagine living in these circumstances for a long period of time. NICK SCHIFRIN: Senator Shaheen, let me turn
to you. How important was this case to you? And how did it become a bipartisan issue? SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): You know, I think the
passage that you read in the beginning, that Andrew describes what it felt like to be locked
in that cell, is an experience that no American citizen should ever have to deal with in a
foreign country, especially someone who’s trying to do good, who’s lived there, whose
family has lived there, who then is taken into custody for no reason. I mean, those were totally trumped-up charges. There was no — there was no spying. No, it clearly was not due process. PASTOR ANDREW BRUNSON: The charges against
me were just ridiculous and had no base. I knew that there would — I could be released
through the judicial process, but this was not being driven by the courts. NICK SCHIFRIN: Meaning it was being driven
by the top? PASTOR ANDREW BRUNSON: Sure. And I knew that there was one person in the
end who would make the decision to release me or not. NICK SCHIFRIN: The president of Turkey. PASTOR ANDREW BRUNSON: Yes. NICK SCHIFRIN: During the trial, when you
had to defend yourself, you described how you found your voice. Can you describe that and what that trial
was like? PASTOR ANDREW BRUNSON: I chose to forgive
people, which I have to forgive them anyway, because that’s what I’m required to do as
a Christian. Actually, Jesus said that we’re supposed to
rejoice when we’re persecuted for his sake. So, I said, I’m blessed to actually be suffering
for his sake. And that’s when I felt — I felt almost a
holy defiance, I would say. We didn’t know, when we went to the final
court session, it ended up being the final court session. I didn’t know that I would be released. I packed two bags, one to go to come to the
States and the other to return to prison. So, in the court session, they declared me
guilty of terrorism. But then they said, we’re suspending this
for time served and while you appeal it, and your travel ban is lifted. And that basically means, please leave as
soon as you can. So it was such a roller coaster to go from
being convicted of terror, thinking I’m going back to prison, and then we’re rushing to
the airport to get on an Air Force plane and leave Turkish airspace as soon as possible,
in case they change their mind. So, within 24 hours, I go from being convicted
of terror to visiting the White House. Overwhelming feeling of gratefulness to all
the people who were involved in both Congress and the administration, and how wonderful
to be back with my children and with my wife. NICK SCHIFRIN: Do you also give President
Trump some credit? SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN: I do. Listen, this is the way government is supposed
to work. People are supposed to work together, both
houses of Congress, with the administration, to accomplish whatever the goal is in the
interests of the American people. We should be able to weigh in for every American
who is falsely imprisoned around the world to try and make sure we can get them released. NICK SCHIFRIN: And was the president’s personal
involvement important? Was the White House’s involvement important? SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN: So, I think so. Clearly, he has a relationship with President
Erdogan. And I think the more pressure we could put
on Turkey, the better. NICK SCHIFRIN: After everything you have been
through, how do you feel about Turkey today? PASTOR ANDREW BRUNSON: We still love the Turks. I don’t really like the Turkish government. But I feel like they stole two years for me,
but it’s — God has redeemed it. And I believe that what I went through, what
I suffered is actually going to bring blessing to Turkey. So we have no regrets. My faith has deepened as I went through this. It’s been — I would say it was severely tested. And because it was tested, and I came out
of it, it’s proven now. So, it’s tested and proven. NICK SCHIFRIN: Senator Shaheen, Andrew Brunson,
thank you very much to you both. PASTOR ANDREW BRUNSON: Thank you. SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: The concept of orphanages has
long been considered outdated in developed countries, and yet these institutions still
house hundreds of thousands of children in the developing world. And, surprisingly, most of these children
are actually not orphans. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports
from Cambodia as part of his series Agents for Change. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Six year old Makara Rith
spent three months in an orphanage in Battambang, Cambodia. But, on this day, his mother’s fingerprint
made it official: He was going home. There, a counselor waited in welcome with
toys for Makara and his siblings. MAKARA RITH, Six Years Old: I’m happy that
I can see my mom and my sister and my brother. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Makara was one of thousands
of Cambodian children who live in facilities commonly called orphanages here. Like him, the vast majority are not orphans. Neither parents nor the facilities are looking
to offer the children for adoption. Parents, many in dire poverty, are easily
convinced to place their children in these so-called residential care facilities, says
Jedtha Pon, co-founder of a nonprofit called the Cambodian Children’s Trust. JEDTHA PON, Co-Founder, Cambodian Children’s
Trust (through translator): Most of them think that, in an orphanage, the child will have
a better life with access to food, education and medical care. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Now Makara and his mother,
Minear Norn, are part of an effort by several aid agencies working with Cambodia’s government
to return children to their families. MINEAR NORN, Mother (through translator):
I feel like I have my child closer to me. Now I feel happy. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Happy that she now has
all three children together. But this was a day of mixed emotions, guilt
for sending her son away, worry about the future. She’s single and has no formal education. MINEAR NORN (through translator): My life
has been very difficult. We just survive day to day. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Under the new campaign,
she will have help. For at least two years, Cambodia Children’s
Trust provides a safety net for the families it serves. JEDTHA PON (through translator): If they have
domestic violence, they have mental health issues, or any children who are not going
to school, we will work with the social worker. We also provide support in terms of food. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The challenges for this
family and for the broader campaign are daunting. It begins with the image Cambodia cannot seem
to shake, of the Khmer Rouge genocide, its two million victims, displayed in museums,
immortalized by Hollywood. SEBASTIEN MAROT, Founder and Executive Director,
Friends-International: Cambodia 2019 has nothing to do with Cambodia 1979. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Sebastien Marot founded
a vocational training charity 25 years ago that’s helped thousands of marginalized children
and their parents. SEBASTIEN MAROT: The movie “Killing Fields”
and all the movies that came out about Cambodia is about this. So, when people think Cambodia, they think
that all the children are being victims of destruction, and everyone is an orphan, which
is far from the truth. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: With the civil strife
over, he says there are far fewer orphans now. Many children still live in poverty, but their
number has also dropped amid robust economic growth, notably in tourism to Cambodia’s world
famous temples. There may be fewer orphans, but orphanages
have also become a growth industry. There were about 150 in 2005. Today, there are more than 400, housing more
than 16,000 children. Often, they are put on display, dancing for
tourists who are then coaxed to leave a donation. DARA ROEUM, 14 Years Old (through translator):
We learned to dance. We performed for foreign visitors. It’s not fun. It’s so exhausting. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Fourteen-year-old Dara
and his sister, Dary, who’s 9, were recently reunited with their mother after six years
in an orphanage, where they recalled lives of physical abuse and insufficient food. DARY ROEUM, 9 Years Old (through translator):
It wasn’t fun. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: There’s profit, Marot
says, in pity. SEBASTIEN MAROT: It’s an easy sell. A child in a terrible situation, fly on the
eye, give me $5 a month. If it were that easy, it would be fantastic. But it’s not. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Then there’s voluntourism,
a thriving industry in which college or gap year students pay agencies to place them in
orphanages. Each year, tens of thousands of young Australians,
Europeans and North Americans come to Cambodia to volunteer. They will spend a few days, sometimes weeks
in orphanages, mostly teaching English to the children. Child development experts say not only does
this not help the children; it actually harms them. SEBASTIEN MAROT: It comes from a very good
feeling that, I’m helping, but, realistically, would you like to have your teacher change
every week? FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Children thrive on nurturing
long-term relationships with adults, the kind usually found only in a family. SEBASTIEN MAROT: The development of a child,
especially a young child, is hindered dramatically by being in an orphanage, by the lack of personal
attention, by not being in a family. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: But to Ted Olbrich, it
depends on the family and the orphanage. Olbrich is an American evangelical pastor
who, with his wife, Sou, founded Foursquare and Children of Promise, the largest of several
faith-based operators of residential care facilities, or, as he calls them, church homes. Some older religion-based groups have joined
the campaign to de-institutionalize children. But others, like Foursquare, have resisted. The Olbrichs say they opened their first church
home in the early ’90s because there was a pressing need. TED OLBRICH, Co-Founder, Foursquare and Children
of Promise: We didn’t come here intending to take care of orphans. We came here to build a church, and we wound
up having these kids dumped on our doorstep. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: And that need has only
grown, he says, to 106 homes, driven by family dysfunction that’s widespread and social mores. TED OLBRICH: Our biggest source of children
is children that had mothers who died in childbirth. Now those children are considered cursed. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Widows are also marginalized
in Cambodia, he adds, and they are brought in to staff their facilities. Each has about 25 children. TED OLBRICH: These widows, they live with
the kids, and they’re there with the kids their entire life that they’re growing up
in the orphan homes. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Many then profess their
Christianity, not a requirement, he says, but a good outcome. TED OLBRICH: I’m a proselytizer. We absolutely… FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Unapologetically? TED OLBRICH: Unapologetic proselytizer. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Sebastien Marot says Olbrich
is exaggerating Cambodia’s social ills and says his mission would be intolerable if the
tables were turned. SEBASTIEN MAROT: I’m sure they would be very
upset if a Muslim organization opened centers in the U.S. or in France, started taking children
from communities, put them there to turn them into nice little Muslims. And this is what they’re doing here. It’s a Buddhist country. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: He says orphanages are
an outdated concept, closed long ago in France and the U.S., in favor of placing children
in foster families and adoption. That’s the goal in Cambodia, but it’s not
easy, given the poverty that keeps life fragile for many families and limited resources for
family reintegration, which, ironically, is the cheaper option. JEDTHA PON (through translator): It’s about
10 to 15 times cheaper to support a child living with their family, rather than to bring
them into an institution. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The Olbrichs say their
institutions are family, and they have no plans to scale them back. The Cambodian government’s goal is to reduce
the number of children in orphanages by a third by next year. For the “PBS NewsHour,” this is Fred de Sam
Lazaro in Battambang, Cambodia. JUDY WOODRUFF: Fred’s important reporting
is a partnership with the Under-Told Stories Project at the University of St. Thomas in
Minnesota. One major transformation profoundly affecting
the global economy is the way that big data and artificial intelligence are being used
in commerce and business. What’s gotten less attention, how this decision
is driving changes in the creative industries. In the second of two pieces, special correspondent
and Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell looks at some of the fundamental questions
this is raising for artists, designers and other creators. It’s part of our regular series Making Sense. CATHERINE RAMPELL: This bright, cheerful clothing
line is a hot commodity, worn by the likes of Michelle Obama, Aidy Bryant, Taylor Swift,
Beyonce. TANYA TAYLOR, Tanya Taylor Clothing: People
wear us to be happy. CATHERINE RAMPELL: Tanya Taylor is undoubtedly
creative, an artist who paints original prints for her clothes. But she’s in demand partly because she gives
customers what they want. TANYA TAYLOR: To me, the biggest part about
being a successful designer is absolutely listening to a customer and knowing who they
are. CATHERINE RAMPELL: And she knows what they
want because they tell her quite explicitly. ACTRESS: So what do you guys do with your
closet space now that you rent the runway? CATHERINE RAMPELL: Thanks to detailed feedback
she receives from Rent the Runway. It’s a platform that allows customers to rent,
rather than buy designer clothes. NARRATOR: Endless styles, infinite possibilities. SARAH TAM, Rent the Runway: We basically had
harnessed millions of data points over the last decade. CATHERINE RAMPELL: Sarah Tam is Rent the Runway’s
chief merchant officer. SARAH TAM: Every item of clothing that we
have on our site is tagged with over 60 attributes, things like color, fabric, silhouette, length. We also have millions of customer interactions
that we collect and millions of photo reviews. CATHERINE RAMPELL: The data help Rent the
Runway refine its inventory and predict what its typical customer will want next season. SARAH TAM: Last fall, we noticed that blazers
really performing extremely well. She loves color and pattern, so we sourced
brands like Veronica Beard that we launched on site. She loves fitted. She likes to outfit in suit sets. So we brought in this Veronica Beard set here. CATHERINE RAMPELL: The data also get Fed back
to designers like Taylor, who use it to nip in the hips or let out the bust, or choose
a different color or fabric, or mash up elements of different designs that are working well. TANYA TAYLOR: So this was our Inez Dress,
and it was definitely the most rented dress of our last spring season. And what we learned is that people loved the
stretch linen, but they didn’t love the snap at the neckline. The next step we learned was that people love
jumpsuits from Rent the Runway. So we’re like, let’s combine that information. What we did, is we took away the snap, and
then it’s a little jumpsuit shape. CATHERINE RAMPELL: In a dark neutral print,
because that’s what the data advised. Access to this kind of feedback significantly
improves the chances that a creation will succeed. CHRISTOPHER SPRIGMAN, New York University
School of Law: The biggest risk for most creators is the risk that what they create will fail. CATHERINE RAMPELL: Law professors Christopher
Sprigman and Kal Raustiala have researched how the harvesting of vast troves of data
is changing creative industries, and what it might mean for their legal protections
and economic rewards. CHRISTOPHER SPRIGMAN: Human creativity has
always been an incredibly risky endeavor as a business. If data can lower that risk, it makes creative
endeavors easier to invest in, potentially more rewarding. KAL RAUSTIALA, UCLA Law School: It’s not a
guarantee, but they’re going to place a better bet. CATHERINE RAMPELL: Creative industries have
traditionally had difficulty predicting what will sell and what won’t. As screenwriter William Goldman memorably
put it in his 1983 memoir, “Nobody knows anything.” WILLIAM GOLDMAN, Screenwriter: Very simply,
people go to see hits because they want to see that movie. They don’t go to see flops because they don’t
want to see that movie. It’s as simple as that. And the problem Hollywood has is, they can’t
figure out why. KAL RAUSTIALA: It’s one of the many reasons
we see so many sequels. What’s worked before will probably work again. CATHERINE RAMPELL: Big data has allowed companies
to figure out what works with much more precision, which, of course, can mean more precise pandering
to the masses. KAL RAUSTIALA: The processes that we’re talking
about tend not to give you something wildly different. They tend to give you more of what you already
watched or listened to or liked. CHRISTOPHER SPRIGMAN: Keep in mind that there’s
a bunch of literature on how much novelty people want. And the answer is a relatively modest amount. People like paintings that look somewhat like
the paintings they have seen. People like movies that are somewhat like
the movies they have seen. CATHERINE RAMPELL: That said, data has been
used to overturn at least some of the conventional wisdom about what and who audiences want to
see. CHRISTOPHER SPRIGMAN: An example is Netflix,
which not too long ago produced a film with Sandra Bullock called “Bird Box.” They cast an older female lead, a relatively
diverse cast in this horror film. That’s a relatively adventurous choice that
turned out to pay off for them. And the talk among Netflix people was that
they did that in response to data. CATHERINE RAMPELL: A ton of data pulled from
more than 100 million users’ viewing habits. CHRISTOPHER SPRIGMAN: Size, scale is very
important here. To make use of data, you have got to collect
a lot of it. CATHERINE RAMPELL: How replicable is what
you do? Could an upstart produce the high-quality
data and analytics that you have? SARAH TAM: It’s not so easily replicable. We have a decade worth of data, along with
a lot of the technology that we employ to analyze the data. CATHERINE RAMPELL: This hunger for data might
be driving consolidation in creative industries. Take the merger of Time Warner and AT&T. CHRISTOPHER SPRIGMAN: They went to the judge
and they said, look. Time Warner is a programmer. AT&T has a platform. What we need to do is, we need to link these
things up so that we can get the data to Time Warner that allows them to produce better
content. CATHERINE RAMPELL: That might be good for
the newly merged company. but, says Sprigman: CHRISTOPHER SPRIGMAN: If the returns to data
keep growing and growing and growing as you get bigger, we could have a pretty strong
impetus toward monopoly, or at least significant market power. And that’s a concern. CATHERINE RAMPELL: Also a concern, privacy. Consumers may not know their Netflix-watching
habits, for example, are being closely monitored. KAL RAUSTIALA: Most people don’t realize how
much data about their activities, when they’re stopping, when they’re starting, that’s being
in a sense just gathered up and then spit back at them in different ways, or maybe sold
to third parties, which is a concern that a lot of people increasingly have about their
data in other contexts. CATHERINE RAMPELL: On the other hand, some
customers turn over this information willingly. SARAH TAM: Our customers, 98 percent of them
give us item level feedback after every time they rent something. So we can understand if our customer loves
an item, how it’s fitting her, how many times she’s wearing it and where she’s wearing it
to. CATHERINE RAMPELL: And the customers just
provide all of this information to you voluntarily? SARAH TAM: Yes. Believe it or not, we have built this incredible
brand community. CATHERINE RAMPELL: There are other legal questions
that arise from this use of big data, like whether we should rethink copyright law, which
exists in part to incentives artists to create. CHRISTOPHER SPRIGMAN: Copyright is a way of
lowering the risk of investing in creative enterprises. If data-driven creativity is lowering that
risk, then it will kind of be a helpmate to or even a stand-in for copyright protection. CATHERINE RAMPELL: And who even deserves to
own the copyright to a work, if it’s created by algorithm, rather than artist? CHRISTOPHER SPRIGMAN: The author is now not
bringing something out of nothing. The author is kind of conjuring all of our
preferences, taking them into account, and in a sense reflecting ourselves back on us. If this shifts people’s views of who’s responsible
for the creative work, where it’s more of a community project, then this might shift
some of the moral supports that undergird copyright protection. CATHERINE RAMPELL: Yes, do I own my consumer
preferences or do the companies whose stuff I buy own those preferences? CHRISTOPHER SPRIGMAN: That is a very current
debate over whether you and I own the data that we in a sense produce through our activities
and that we transmit to these companies. CATHERINE RAMPELL: Artists will argue that
they’re still running the show. SARAH TAM: The algorithm isn’t really telling
them how to create the art. I think it’s just optimizing the art they
create. CATHERINE RAMPELL: It wasn’t like the data
was plugged, it was, like, fed into a computer, and boop, boop, boop, boop, boop, like, the
algorithm spit out this. TANYA TAYLOR: No. I don’t think women’s minds work in algorithms,
unfortunately. I wish it could be that straightforward and
easy. It’s more intuition, and you have to read
between the lines with the data. Where women are going next is hard to predict. CATHERINE RAMPELL: At least for now. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Catherine Rampell
in New York. JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s estimated that as many
as 2.5 billion people around the world need prescription eyeglasses, but don’t have them. Untreated, we know poor vision keeps people
from reaching their full potential. Tonight’s Brief But Spectacular features an
eye doctor looking for new ways to solve the problem. DR. ANDREW BASTAWROUS, Eye Surgeon/Inventor: When
I was 12 years old, I was told by my teachers that I was a bit slow and that I wasn’t paying
attention. And then I was taken for an eye test, where
they found that I had really poor vision. And when I put on a pair of glasses, I saw
that trees have leaves on them for the first time, and my life took a very different course
as a consequence of something so simple. I was aware that the thing that happen to
me with a pair of glasses may not have been true if I have lived somewhere else. And so I wanted to become a doctor, which
I then became, and then I became an eye surgeon and with this burning desire to change this
injustice. Worldwide, there’s 2.5 billion people, so
one in three who need a pair of glasses and can’t get them. There’s 36 million people who are blind, four
in every five of whom shouldn’t be, because their cause of blindness is curable. In 2011, I left my job as an eye surgeon in
the U.K., and my wife and our 1-year-old son packed our bags and moved to Kenya. We went there because we wanted to really
understand the needs of a large population. And to do it, we had to establish 100 eye
clinics, and, in the course of doing so, just realized how big the scale of the problem
was, but also how much potential there was to change lives if this were done differently. When I was working in the field in Kenya,
I was taking 100,000 pounds’ worth of eye equipment and a team of 15 people to understand
why people couldn’t see and what the causes were. What we then started to do as Peek was creating
mobile technology that could do the same assessments, but in the hands of non-specialists. So, the first thing that we built was a vision
test that could measure somebody’s vision in any language. And then we built a tool that would sit on
the phone which would allow you to see inside the eye, so you could see the back of the
eye and understand why somebody can’t see. When I was working in Kenya, it became apparent
how many people had access to a mobile device. I would go to places that had no roads, no
electricity and no water, but in those same places, people had a mobile phone. An incredible doctor said to me: “In the community
that I work, there are children in the schools who can’t see. And when I send my nurse from the hospital
to go and see them, she finds them, but she spends all day in one school to find around
5 percent of the children with a problem. And I can no longer afford to send her because
the clinic is too busy.” So we said, why don’t we train teachers to
do the same thing? And so teachers started using our Peek Acuity
app to measure vision, to get a simulation of what that child could see, and then it
would automate a message to that child’s parents, to the head teacher and to the hospital. So, suddenly, everybody knew that child existed
with a solvable problem. The first time we trialed it, 25 teachers
screened 21,000 children in just nine days. We then went on to scale that up to 300,000
children covering the entire district. The government of Botswana has shown incredible
leadership and have committed to screen and treat every single schoolchild in the country,
making them the first country in the world where an entire generation no longer have
to suffer this problem. My name is Dr. Andrew Bastawrous, and this
is my Brief But Spectacular take on eradicating avoidable blindness. JUDY WOODRUFF: So good to hear about that. And you can find more episodes of our Brief
But Spectacular series at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief. Also online: A new study finds that hospitals
that have experienced a data breach, the death rate among heart attack patients increased
in the months and years afterward. We explain the connection on our Web site,
PBS.org/NewsHour. 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

#WashWeekPBS full episode: What did we learn from the first week of impeachment hearings?


ROBERT COSTA: Impeachment hearings begin, but will the public be swayed? Dueling political arguments. REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): (From video.) If this is not impeachable conduct, what is? REPRESENTATIVE DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): The main performance – the Russia hoax – has ended, and you’ve been cast in the low-rent Ukrainian sequel. ROBERT COSTA: As career diplomats testify. WILLIAM TAYLOR: (From video.) A member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone asking Ambassador Sondland about the investigations. MARIE YOVANOVITCH: (From video.) Shady interests the word – the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want. ROBERT COSTA: Week one of public impeachment hearings comes to a close with many lingering questions, next. ANNOUNCER: This is Washington Week. Once again, from Washington, moderator Robert Costa. ROBERT COSTA: Good evening. Public impeachment hearings began this week with opening statements by Adam Schiff, Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee; and Republican Devin Nunes, the committee’s ranking member. They revealed the fault lines in Congress and the nation. REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): (From video.) If we find that the president of the United States abused his power and invited foreign interference in our elections – or if he sought to condition, coerce, extort, or bribe an ally into conducting investigations to aid his reelection campaign, and did so by withholding official acts, a White House meeting or hundreds of millions of dollars of needed military aid – must we simply get over it? REPRESENTATIVE DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): Ambassador Taylor and Mr. Kent, I’d like to welcome you here. I’d like to congratulate you for passing the Democrats’ star chamber auditions held for the last weeks in the basement of the Capitol. ROBERT COSTA: Those remarks set the stage for the ongoing battle over President Trump’s conduct, his allies’ pressure campaign of Ukraine, and whether it merits impeachment. Joining me tonight are four reporters fresh, or maybe a bit tired, after long days inside the Capitol and at the White House: Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour; Dan Balz, chief correspondent for The Washington Post; Heather Caygle, congressional reporter for POLITICO; and Michael Crowley, White House correspondent covering foreign policy for The New York Times. The focal point of this House inquiry remains the seasoned envoys who came forward to bear witness, civil servants who spoke of rattled diplomatic ranks and alliances. And on Friday former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified and President Trump tweeted as she spoke. REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): (From video.) As we sit here testifying the president is attacking you on Twitter, and I’d like to give you a chance to respond. I’ll read part of one of his tweets: “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” Would you like to respond to the president’s attack that everywhere you went turned bad? MARIE YOVANOVITCH: (From video.) Well, I mean, I don’t – I don’t think I have such powers, not in Mogadishu, Somalia, and not in other places. I actually think that where I’ve served over the years I and others have demonstrably made things better. REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): (From video.) What effect do you think that has on other witnesses’ willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing? MARIE YOVANOVITCH: (From video.) Well, it’s very intimidating. ROBERT COSTA: As Michael recently wrote with his colleagues in the Times, quote, “rarely has the State Department, often seen as a staid pillar of the establishment, been the center of a revolt against a president and his top appointees.” Michael, we saw the president of the United States respond in real time to impeachment testimony. What kind of clash do you see between the executive branch and the nonpartisan civil servants who form the diplomatic corps? MICHAEL CROWLEY: Well, it’s a clash that has been ongoing for years now, and it’s really kind of reaching a crescendo. You know, career civil servants and Foreign Service officers at the State Department, people who have spent a life serving as diplomats, feel that under President Trump they have been disrespected, their profession has been degraded, foreign policy has been warped in ways that they have never seen before. Their morale is terrible. There have been budget cuts or huge attempted budget cuts at the State Department – many of the ones that Trump wanted to do haven’t – didn’t actually go through, but terrible for morale. And so there’s a deep frustration and a sense of morale just being at rock bottom. What has happened in the last few weeks with the impeachment inquiry is a kind of swelling of pride that in a way now the civil service, the Foreign Service officers are fighting back, they’re standing up. They’re showing America and the world the best that they have to offer. I mean, people like Marie Yovanovitch and Bill Taylor are, you know, exemplary diplomats who have enormous respect from their colleagues and peers. And so there’s pride. But there’s still a sense of, I think, deep foreboding that things are going – they may be a little better now, there may be a moment where these civil servants are showing what they can do and standing up for their core principles, but that the long-term picture for them is not good. ROBERT COSTA: Yamiche, you just came over here to the studio from the White House, there all day with PBS’s coverage. What was the White House strategy here? Or was this just a president lashing out? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The White House strategy was to have a rapid response team. And that rapid response team was supposed to be part of the White House counsel staff. It was supposed to be comms directors. It was also supposed to be legislative affairs assistants. What was saw the president become the number-one person who was talking for the White House. And what we saw was the president responding in real time to a public hearing in a way that we have not seen in other public hearings. Think of Robert Muller and the special counsel, his personal attorney Michael Cohen. They all came before Congress and had really high-profile public hearings. But the president wasn’t responding in the way that he was responding to Ambassador Yovanovitch. He really went after her and said: Look, this is a bad ambassador, and really took it personally. And then he defended his tweets, even as Republicans on the Hill were saying what the president did was not really right. Think of Liz Cheney. She’s the third-ranking Republican in the House. She said the president shouldn’t have tweeted that. Jim Jordan, who was put on the House Intel to defend the president later said, hey, you know what, this is someone – Ambassador Yovanovitch is someone who is a tough woman, who I praise her service. So what you have is really the White House on an island by itself. And that island has President Trump attacking Marie Yovanovitch. ROBERT COSTA: Dan, you came to Washington in 1972 to report on this town and politics. You’ve seen an impeachment of a president over a burglary – at least an impeachment proceeding with President Nixon. You saw an extra-marital affair lead to a trial in 1999 and impeachment in the House for President Clinton. What do you make of today and what it tells us about this moment and the institutions in this country? DAN BALZ: Bob, we’ve used the word “extraordinary” around this table for the past three years almost every Friday night. And I think it’s a justifiable word again this week. To see what the president did in the middle of this hearing I think caught everybody by surprise. And one of the things you could see is after he did that the Republicans were in many ways set back, one after another ended up praising the ambassador, or the former ambassador, in ways that were a little bit surprising given that they are trying to drive a wedge into this proceeding. So I think that we are at a stage in this where the lines are clearly drawn, and yet the president continues to have the capability to kind of upend the table. And it puts Republicans in a very difficult spot. And given testimony that we’ve heard, testimony that is coming, and some things that broke late in the day, he’s got a number of bad days ahead of him. Now, where this all ends we’ll wait and see, but today was an example of the kind of problem he’s got. ROBERT COSTA: Let’s hear a little bit more of that testimony. The hearing started Wednesday with testimony from Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. He offered new information about a presidential call. WILLIAM TAYLOR: (From video.) The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone asking Ambassador Sondland about the investigations. Ambassador Sondland told President Trump the Ukrainians were ready to move forward. Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for. ROBERT COSTA: Heather, we had these two ambassador testify this week, then breaking news Friday night, David Holmes, the State Department aide who overheard President Trump’s call with U.S. Ambassador Sondland said that the president – the Ukrainian president will, quote, “do anything you’d ask him to,” this is according to CNN, and the Ukrainians were willing to do the investigation. You cover Speaker Pelosi, House Democrats. When they go home this week and they huddle with each other on the phone, and they step back and look at all this testimony and this breaking news, what do they feel they’ve accomplished in this inquiry? HEATHER CAYGLE: Well, Democrats, they think that, you know, they have been able to methodically and thoughtfully make this case to the public with these hearings this week. For them going into these hearings, they looked back on how they handled the Mueller report, and they felt that those hearings in the Judiciary Committee were a disaster. So for the most part, this week was about letting these career officials, these diplomats, these very well-respected individuals tell their story, and tell what they’ve heard, and get out of the way. And now they’ll turn to – we have eight more folks who are going to testify next week, very high-profile people. and Democrats are trying to figure out how best to sell this to the public. And that’s why we’ve seen them use some more commonplace words, like bribery, this week instead of things like quid pro quo, because they have done polling that shows that quid pro quo doesn’t really break through to voters, but bribery does. And it is in the Constitution as an impeachable offense. ROBERT COSTA: And we learned more about this call Ambassador Sondland had with President Trump back in the summer. Does this bring – all this testimony – bring it closer to the president, Michael, when you look at the testimony? MICHAEL CROWLEY: Sure. I mean, in this case you have a phone call to Ambassador Sondland, who I think is in a terrace restaurant in Kiev, or Kyiv, as we’re supposed to be saying now. And the president speaks so loudly through the phone that two embassy officials who were with Sondland in the restaurant can hear the president’s voice. And according to the account that was given the House today, Sondland evidently held the phone away from his ear because the president was blasting so loudly in his ear. Now, let’s set aside for a minute who might be intercepting a call like that. You are in a city that the Russians very heavily surveil. So it is not a secure phone call. But we now have these two people who heard the president’s voice and also heard Sondland after he hung up the phone essentially recount what these embassy staffers heard the president say, which is basically: I want the investigations. All he really cares about when it comes to Ukraine policy is investigating Joe Biden and this, frankly, totally debunked theory that Ukraine hacked the Democratic servers in the 2016 election. ROBERT COSTA: Yamiche, so much of this is about the culture around President Trump, in his administration, his inner circle. We just saw on Friday Roger Stone, his long-time confidant, convicted by a federal court of lying to Congress. When you think about the pressure campaign by Rudy Giuliani, who you’ve covered extensively, what is the – YAMICHE ALCINDOR: As have you. (Laughs.) ROBERT COSTA: And we’ve all gotten those calls from Mayor Giuliani. So what kind of culture emerged from this testimony? And does the White House have a response for how they conducted foreign policy? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The culture at the White House is really – at the center of it is President Trump. And President Trump is looking at the U.S. government and is – I think neutrally and objectively we can say he’s saying: How can all these agencies make sure that I continue to be reelected, continue to have political success? And how can I use these people around to go to these foreign countries and make sure I get information that will help me personally. That’s something that I think President Trump is saying he has the right to do as president. Mick Mulvaney in that kind of stunning press conference said: This is foreign policy. This is how elections work. This is what we do. MICHAEL CROWLEY: Get over it, he said. (Laughs.) YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Yeah, get over it. So there’s this idea that President Trump is essentially now going out and saying: My personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, you need to go and work with these people. Even though you’re not an official employee of the United States government, go out and find what I need you to find when it comes to – when it comes to these Biden investigations. ROBERT COSTA: That’s such a good point, Yamiche, because the president believes he has the right to do this. He said today he has a right to free speech. He can talk about the witnesses whenever he wants. He says he has a right to fire the ambassador. He may have the right to, Dan, legally speaking, but what about the norms in this country when it comes to dealing with the foreign policy branch of the government, different people who work on diplomacy? How does that affect the presidency when it – when they interact with the diplomats in this way? DAN BALZ: I mean, he’s literally correct that diplomats serve at the pleasure of the president, as do all senior-level officials in the government. And presidents have the right to designate an emissary to carry out aspects of foreign policy who may not be exactly in the mainline of, you know, the State Department on special assignment, or things like that. But traditionally people who are in those positions or asked to do those kinds of things are doing it to carry out the policy of the United States government. And what we’ve learned so far is that what Rudy Giuliani was doing was carrying out a policy specifically to help President Trump on a political mission, as opposed to carrying out policy with respect to Ukraine that has been longstanding policy. And so he’s warped the process through doing this, even though he has a right to free speech, certainly, and a right to decide who should or shouldn’t be an ambassador. ROBERT COSTA: For House Democrats, is all about Ambassador Sondland now? Who is the key witness? Ambassador Bolton, he’s being held up in federal court, his possible testimony. What are they really looking for to build upon this week? HEATHER CAYGLE: Well, I think Holmes, the fellow who testified behind closed doors tonight, they may be asking whether he should come publicly. They are trying to finish the public hearings next week, which is why we are seeing eight witnesses come over three days. It will be an enormous amount of testimony. ROBERT COSTA: Why are they doing it with that kind of timeline? HEATHER CAYGLE: Well, they want – Thanksgiving is the next week. They know that people are going to turn away from this and probably focus on their family. And when they come back they want to pivot to the House Judiciary Committee in the first week of December and move to markup articles of impeachment, if that’s what they choose to do, which many lawmakers say privately they will, and that will in theory allow them to vote on the articles the third week of December and then, you know, Congress leaves for Christmas. ROBERT COSTA: Do we know exactly what the articles would be based on your conversations with House Democrats? HEATHER CAYGLE: There’s a lot of speculation. They do say that they have enough to do obstruction of Congress, just given all of the stonewalling and things like that. They do say that they have enough to do obstruction of justice given things like what President Trump did today, attacking Yovanovitch, which they say is witness intimidation. And then abuse of power, which is the case that they’re trying to make here. They have told me privately that they don’t want to do more than a handful of articles because they don’t want to lose the public’s attention and, you know, overwhelm the folks who may be undecided about this and have, you know, a middle-of-the-road opinion going into the election next year. ROBERT COSTA: Let’s stick with this, about the arguments they’re making to the country, and dig into the evolving strategies from Democrats and Republicans. Here’s Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan. REPRESENTATIVE JIM JORDAN (R-OH): (From video.) Four facts will never change: the transcript speaks for itself; there was no conditionality, no quid pro quo in the transcript; no pressure, no pushing, no linkage to investigations; and of course, President Zelensky didn’t pledge to do any investigations prior to the aid being released, and the Ukrainians didn’t know that the aid was even on hold at the time of the call. ROBERT COSTA: Speaker Pelosi on Thursday discussed possible bribery charges. HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): (From video.) Quid pro quo, bribery – bribery – and that is in the Constitution, attached to the impeachment proceedings. QUESTION: (From video.) So what was the bribe here? HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): (From video.) The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a – of a fake investigation into the elections. QUESTION: (From video.) So could – HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): (From video.) That’s bribery. Yes? ROBERT COSTA: As Heather wrote for POLITICO, quote, “the speaker’s remark is one of her strongest statements yet.” Yamiche, Heather also brought up how the Democrats are moving away from quid pro quo. What is the White House moving toward? Is it an argument about, quote, “secondhand information”? What’s the counterargument over at the West Wing? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: There are, by my count, at least 15 different responses by the White House. There’s everything from this is all hearsay to this is an unfair process to these Democrats just are mad about the 2016 election and they just want to basically undo it and are trying to find any sort of way to get President Trump out of office. We don’t see, I think, a central message from the White House, and what we saw today was the president – he’s met with at least 120 House Democrats – I mean, sorry, 120 House Republicans. He also – he’s also met with 42 Republican senators. After all those meetings he then started tweeting about Ambassador Yovanovitch and upended all of the Republican messaging. So there is – I don’t see a central messaging strategy from the White House as it goes forward. ROBERT COSTA: Dan, where is the country on this? You’ve studied polling. DAN BALZ: When the Ukraine story first broke we saw a spike in support for impeach and remove from office, in some ways a rather surprising one given where public opinion had been through the Mueller report. I think what we’ve seen since then is a hardening of the lines. The support for impeachment in a number of the recent polls has not gone up much, if at all, from where it was in the early stage of the Ukraine story, whereas the opposition has ticked up a little bit. And I think that we’ve seen that certainly in the way the Republicans have approached this and the degree to which there are no – there are no real cracks publicly yet in most of the Republican conference in either the House or the Senate. There are a few people, but for the most part everybody’s standing firm. So I think it is a challenge for the Democrats. The politics of this are, obviously, fraught. It seemed as though the speaker was drawn into moving in this direction as opposed to wanting to do so – that she felt a constitutional obligation given what we have learned over the last month or – plus. But the politics of it are difficult, and I think that’s what the Democrats are going to be wrestling with as they push forward. ROBERT COSTA: And there could be a curveball, Michael. We have an IG report possibly coming out in the next couple weeks from the Department of Justice looking at the Russia probe into President Trump’s campaign. Attorney General Bill Barr was at the White House this week. We’re not entirely sure about the subject of that meeting, but that IG report looms on the horizon. We began tonight talking about clashing of institutions. What could that IG report mean to this impeachment inquiry? MICHAEL CROWLEY: Well, I think it does circle back to what you said at the top. And one of the arguments that we are hearing from the president and his defenders is, in effect, this is the deep state. They’ve been trying to stage a coup against him since the day he was inaugurated, and the bureaucracy is fundamentally Democratic. These people wanted Hillary Clinton to win and they’ll do anything that they have to to get President Trump out of office. That was essentially the argument in the Russia investigation coming from the president and his allies, it’s a deep-state coup, and you are seeing echoes of that today. And in fact, you know, we’re hearing the same words, verbatim in some cases. And so that IG report could make the case that the Russia investigation itself was somehow fundamentally unfair, extralegal, and politically motivated, and the president I’m sure will say: You see, this is just happening to me left and right, that’s all they want to do. And I think a lot of his supporters will accept that argument and tune it out and say it’s the swamp and they’re out to get him. ROBERT COSTA: And this idea of a deep state, you see this in the Republican argument about the whistleblower. They keep saying that Democrats must call forward the whistleblower. How is that factor and that dynamic playing into the proceedings on Capitol Hill? HEATHER CAYGLE: Well, they brought the whistleblower up again today, Republicans did. And Democrats have a fairly coherent argument against it, which is Republicans keep saying that all the witnesses they’ve called so far have not heard anything firsthand, this is all hearsay; well, the whistleblower account by their definition would be hearsay because he was compiling reports that he had heard from White House officials who were on the call with the president and the Ukrainian president. So Democrats look back at the Republicans and they say, why should we call him if – or her – if this is just hearsay and you guys are going to dismiss it anyway? And so I think, you know, that’s a back and forth, but this just shows how Republicans’ defense and strategy is kind of all over the map and they haven’t been able to find anything that sticks. They said privately today – there was a break in between the hearing after the tweet and the rest of the hearing to break for votes – and they said that, you know, they were very dumbfounded by Trump’s tweet because they had spent many hours this week having mock hearings, and senior Republican leaders had cautioned their lawmakers do not attack Yovanovitch, do not attack Yovanovitch, and then President Trump did that and they had to, you know, defend it or dismiss it in a way. ROBERT COSTA: Yamiche, you brought up how the president’s been meeting with all these Republican senators. There’s a trial in the Senate on the horizon. I was at the Senate this week talking to different Republicans. There’s a divide over whether the trial should be five weeks, like it was for President Clinton in ’99, or whether it should be six to eight weeks – Senator Burr was talking about that – or whether it should be very short, a week long – Senator Paul, Trump ally, is talking about something like that, a very short trial. What does the White House want? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: I think the White House in some ways wants whatever ends in President Trump being acquitted. I think that that’s the most important thing to them. I think that there is some thought that if you drag it out and it starts going into the Democratic primaries and people are voting in Iowa while this trial is still going on, that that could be in some ways distracting because you have several senators running for office, running for the Democratic nomination, that would have to be sitting for this trial. So that would be Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, others. But I think there’s also this idea that President Trump wants this to be over. He is really – these tweets today and all sorts of kind of comments that he’s making, this is not the president that we’ve seen deal with other public hearings. So I think that the president is – even as he says that he kind of welcomed the impeachment inquiry and wanted to make his case to the American public, I think we can see a president that’s very agitated by all this. ROBERT COSTA: But some of these senators, the Republicans, are pretty quiet. They keep saying they’re jurors, they don’t want to comment. What’s your read? MICHAEL CROWLEY: My read is that I don’t see a fissure. You know, I think of it like, you know, can there – will these hearings have a stick of dynamite that will sort of blast it open? You know, will there be some witness and some moment that really changes the dynamic? I’m thinking you need a big blast to do it. You know, what we’ve seen so far has been kind of chipping away bit by bit, but I don’t think it’s going to be enough. We’ll see what happens, but you know, the Republican senators have hung pretty tight. There were some pretty dark days during the Mueller investigation. Sure was a lot of reason to think the president might have been obstructing justice. That didn’t do it for them. So I think people who are – who are counting on that are going to be holding their breaths for a long time. ROBERT COSTA: What explains that, Dan – the Republican Party, despite not loving President Trump privately, sometimes publicly, sticking with him at this time of crisis? DAN BALZ: I think it’s the division in the country and the degree to which those lines, as I said earlier, have been and continue to be very, very hardened. I would think that the one thing that would affect Republican senators is if there were a significant move in public opinion away from the president. His approval rating, as we’ve known for three years, has basically traveled in a very narrow range. It doesn’t go very high or very low from where it started out. That I think is why we see what we see in terms of impeachment. The impeachment public opinion today is similar to his approval rating. That doesn’t move much. ROBERT COSTA: We’re going to have to leave it there. Thanks so much for coming in on a Friday night. Really appreciate it. It was busy. So make sure to join us, though, for the Washington Week Extra. We will continue this discussion online and talk 2020. I’m Robert Costa. Good night.

Debate: Is Trump-Putin Summit a “Danger to America” or Crucial Diplomacy Between Nuclear Powers?


AMY GOODMAN: Here on Democracy Now!, Democracynow.org,
the war and peace report. I’m Amy Goodman. President Trump holding a summit with Russian
President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, today, beginning with a one-on-one, 90-minute
meeting, only their translators attending the meeting with them. Putin kept Trump waiting for the summit by
landing in Finland about an hour late. This morning, Trump and Putin made a statement
at a photo op before their private meeting in which Trump said he and Putin would discuss
China, trade and nuclear weapons. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think we have great
opportunities together as two countries, that, frankly, we have not been getting along very
well for the last number of years. I’ve been here not too long, but it’s
getting close to two years. But I think we will end up having an extraordinary
relationship. I hope so. I’ve been saying—and I’m sure you’ve
heard—over the years, and as I campaigned, that getting along with Russia is a good thing,
not a bad thing. … And I really think the world wants to
see us get along. We are the two great nuclear powers. We have 90 percent of the nuclear. And that’s not a good thing, it’s a bad
thing. And I think we hopefully can do something
about that, because it’s not a positive force, it’s a negative force. So we’ll be talking about that, among other
things. AMY GOODMAN: President Trump faces pressure
to confront Putin over Kremlin meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, after
a grand jury indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for their alleged role in hacking
email accounts controlled by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s
campaign. Before today’s meeting, Trump tweeted he
blamed poor relations between the U.S. and Russia on Justice Department’s probe, writing,
“Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness
and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” Trump also tweeted, “President Obama thought
[that] Crooked Hillary was going to win the election, so when he was informed by the FBI
about Russian Meddling, he said it couldn’t happen, was no big deal, & did NOTHING about
it.” In an interview at Trump’s golf course in
Turnberry, Scotland, that aired Sunday, he told CBS [Evening News] anchor Jeff Glor what
he expects from his meeting with Putin. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I go in with very
low expectations. I think that getting along with Russia is
a good thing, but it’s possible we won’t. I think we’re greatly hampered by this whole
witch hunt that’s going on in the United States, the Russian witch hunt. JEFF GLOR: The Russians who were indicted,
would you ask Putin to—to send them here? PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I might. I hadn’t thought of that, but I certainly—I’ll
be asking about it. But, again, this was during the Obama administration. They were doing whatever it was during the
Obama administration. AMY GOODMAN: For more, we are hosting a debate. In Washington, D.C., we’re joined right
now by Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, author
of Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late and Bomb Scare: The
History and Future of Nuclear Weapons, his recent Defense One article headlined “A
No-Cost, No-Brainer of a Nuclear Deal.” Joining us from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Glenn
Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, one of the founding editors of The Intercept,
recently returned from a trip from Russia, where he met with NSA whistleblower Edward
Snowden. He tweeted a photo of them together with a
caption reading “So excited to reunite today with one of this generation’s greatest whistleblowers
and my colleague in defense of press freedoms, Edward Snowden.” We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Joe Cirincione, you’re deeply concerned
about nuclear weapons, about the nuclear arms race. Do you think this meeting, this summit that
Trump has called in Helsinki, is a good thing? JOE CIRINCIONE: No, I do not. This is a danger to America and to the West. This is without precedent in modern American
history. We have never had an American leader that
was this weak, this obsequious towards a murdering tyrant like Vladimir Putin. Both of these gentlemen have terrible records
on freedom of the press, on encouraging a participation in the rule of their countries. There is one good thing, and only one good
thing, that I could see that could come out of this meeting, and that is the extension
of the New START agreement, the agreement that limits U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear
forces. We’ve been limiting these forces since Richard
Nixon agreed to do so in 1972. This deal expires in 2021. If those limits come off, we will not only
be in an arms race, which we now are, but we will be in an arms race without guide rails,
without limits, without any kind of structured talks to limit the arms race. That is the only good thing that could come
out of this summit. AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, good or bad,
the summit? And what do you want to see come out of this? GLENN GREENWALD: I think it’s excellent. And I would just cite two historical examples. In 2007, during the Democratic presidential
debate, Barack Obama was asked whether he would meet with the leaders of North Korea,
Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and Iran without preconditions. He said he would. Hillary Clinton said she wouldn’t, because
it would be used as a propaganda tool for repressive dictators. And liberals celebrated Obama. It was one of his greatest moments and one
of the things that I think helped him to win the Democratic nomination, based on the theory
that it’s always better to meet with leaders, even if they’re repressive, than to isolate
them or to ignore them. In 1987, when President Reagan decided that
he wanted to meet with Soviet leaders, the far right took out ads against him that sounded
very much just like what we just heard from Joe, accusing him of being a useful idiot
to Soviet and Kremlin propaganda, of legitimizing Russian aggression and domestic repression
at home. It is true that Putin is an authoritarian
and is domestically repressive. That’s true of many of the closest allies
of the United States, as well, who are even far more repressive, including ones that fund
most of the think tanks in D.C., such as the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia. And I think the most important issue is the
one that we just heard, which is that 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons are in the
hands of two countries—the United States and Russia—and having them speak and get
along is much better than having them isolate one another and increase the risk of not just
intentional conflict, but misperception and miscommunication, as well. AMY GOODMAN: Joe Cirincione, your response? Your banner says “Ploughshares Fund: Building
a Future Free of Nuclear Threats.” Why not support a conversation between the
people who are in control of, well, essentially, the nuclear trigger in the world? JOE CIRINCIONE: Right. Let’s be clear. Glenn, there’s nothing wrong with meeting. I agree with you. Leaders should meet, and we should be negotiating
with our foes, with those people we disagree with. We’re better off when we do that. And the kind of attacks you saw on Barack
Obama were absolutely uncalled for, and you’re right to condemn those. What I’m worried about is this president
meeting with this leader of Russia and what they’re going to do. That’s what’s so wrong about this summit
coming now, when you have Donald Trump, who just attacked the NATO alliance, who calls
our European allies foes, who turns a blind eye to what his director of national intelligence
called the warning lights that are blinking red. About what? About Russian interference in our elections. So you just had a leader of Russia, Putin,
a skilled tactician, a skilled strategist, interfere in a U.S. election. To what? To help elect Donald Trump. And you now have Donald Trump coming to meet
with him, which is essentially a staff meeting for Vladimir Putin. To do what? To excuse all this behavior, to deride America
for the bad relations between Russia and the United States. He’s airbrushing away everything that Putin
has done over the last five years, from shooting down a Malaysian airliner, MH17, to murdering
people in the U.K., to cyberinterference in the U.S. democracy, to his murderous assault
in Syria. He’s just excusing all that away. For what? For what gain? The only thing we can get out of this is the
extension of New START, but we don’t need a summit to do that. Vladimir Putin offered to do that in his very
first phone call, in February 2017, with Donald Trump. Donald Trump didn’t know what he was talking
about. He had to put the phone on hold, according
to staff members who were there, ask his staff what this treaty was, and then he got back
on the line and blasted the treaty as being one-sided, “another Obama giveaway,” he
said. Yes, extend New START. But the price of the other—what’s going
on here, that what we might get out of this, this excusing of Vladimir Putin’s behavior,
what many people think is the greatest threat to American democracy in decades? No, it’s not worth the cost. AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, your response? GLENN GREENWALD: So, I mean, I think this
kind of rhetoric is so unbelievably unhinged, the idea that the phishing links sent to John
Podesta and the Democratic National Committee are the greatest threat to American democracy
in decades. People are now talking about it as though
it’s on par with 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, that the lights are blinking red, in terms of the
threat level. This is lunacy, this kind of talk. I spent years reading through the most top-secret
documents of the NSA, and I can tell you that not only do they send phishing links to Russian
agencies of every type continuously on a daily basis, but do far more aggressive interference
in the cybersecurity of every single country than Russia is accused of having done during
the 2016 election. To characterize this as some kind of grave
existential threat to American democracy is exactly the kind of rhetoric that we heard
throughout the Bush-Cheney administration about what al-Qaeda was like. And I would just remind everybody, as well,
that if you look at Russia’s—at the United States’s Russia policy during the administration
of Barack Obama—look at what he did and said. In 2012, he mocked the idea, spread by Mitt
Romney, that Russia was our greatest existential foe. Yes, that was before Crimea, but it was after
Georgia. It was after they were accused of murdering
dissidents and imprisoning journalists. He mocked that idea and said we have all kinds
of reasons to try and get along with Russia. Even after 2016, after Crimea, after he was
told that the Russians interfered in the U.S. election, he didn’t talk about it as 9/11
or treat it like 9/11. He expelled a few Russian diplomats and urged
everybody to keep it in perspective, and said that Russia is the seventh- or eighth-largest
economy in the world, behind even Italy, and not a grave threat to the United States. This kind of talk, this kind of climate, it’s
amazing. Joe’s work is something I vehemently support,
which is eliminating the threat of nuclear weapons. Yes, it’d be great if we had better leaders,
but the leaders of the countries that have 90 percent of the nuclear stockpile happen
to be Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. That’s not going to change. So the question is not “Do we wish we had
better leaders?” The question is “Do we want these two countries
trying to talk and resolve their differences peacefully, or do we want them isolating one
another and feeling besieged and belligerent and attacked, which heightens all the tensions
that Joe has devoted his career to combating?” And I think it’s much better to have the
kind of dialogue that Barack Obama advocated with Russia than the kind of belligerence
that Democrats now demand of our government. AMY GOODMAN: Joe Cirincione, do you find it
unusual that you are—you know, you share the same views right now, for example, as
Dan Coats? When the—as the Russian indictments were
coming down, the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats raised the alarm on growing cyberattack
threats, saying the situation is at a critical point, coming out forcefully against Russia. This is President Trump’s national intelligence
director. He said, “The warning signs are there. The system is blinking. It is why I believe we are at a critical point.” Joe? JOE CIRINCIONE: Yeah. Well, let me say where I agree with Glenn. I agreement that many Democrats are trying
to get to the right of Donald Trump on lots of issues—for example, on North Korea. And you see them trying to out-macho Donald
Trump, and that is dangerous. And, of course, I support dialogue. I think the only solution to a lot of these
issues, whether it’s nuclear arms control or Syria or the Korean Peninsula, is diplomacy. There are no military solutions to these issues. What worries me here is not just what Russia
is doing, not just its cyberattacks, not just its efforts to splinter the NATO alliance. What worries me is that Trump is cooperating
with these, that we’re not fighting back, that in the almost two years, as the president
points out, that he’s been in office, he has not once taken a step to counter the cyberattacks
that Russia perpetuates on a—to quote the director of national intelligence—a daily
basis on the United States. He’s not doing anything. He’s opening the doors. And that’s what worries me about this meeting. It’s not quite—and I—it’s not Neville
Chamberlain in Munich appeasing Hitler, but it’s on that spectrum. You have the leader of the country going in
an obsequious posture towards Putin, excusing everything he’s doing, basically brushing
it away, saying, “It’s OK. I don’t care about your attacks. Your attacks on electoral process, it’s
OK with me. I agree with you that European Union is a
threat,” these kinds of things. That’s what’s so worrying. Glenn is right: Russia alone is a small country,
economy about the size of Italy, less organized than Italy’s economy. It’s strong on a periphery. It’s not a global threat. But this stuff? This cyberwarfare? This is a threat to us, and it’s only going
to get worse, unless we fight back, unless we take the kinds of steps we need to protect
our country. President Trump is not only not doing that,
he’s actively cooperating with Putin to promote these kinds of attacks on democracies
all over the world. AMY GOODMAN: So, Glenn, right now President
Trump has, you know, repeated what President Putin says, that he denies that he was doing
any cyberattacks on the United States, but at the same time Trump blames the Democratic
Party, says they should have protected—you know, that the DNC and the DCCC should have
protected their cyberspace more. GLENN GREENWALD: Well, first of all, you know,
in terms of what Joe just said, it’s really not true that the U.S. is doing nothing about
the threat posed to cyberwarfare. We spend $70 billion every year on the intelligence
budget, a large portion of which is spent by the NSA on how to fortify computer systems
and to prevent those kinds of attacks. You know, it is true that if you see what
the Russians allegedly did in 2016 as some kind of 9/11-style attack on the U.S., that
does get pinned on President Obama. He was the president at the time, which means
he allowed it to happen on his watch, that kind of an attack. And he also had six months in office where
he did very little in response, except expel a few diplomats and impose some sanctions,
because he didn’t treat it like some grave attack on American democracy, but it’s the
kind of thing that these two countries have been doing to one another for decades. And I agree with him completely. And let me just say, I do not think that—this
idea that if you meet with a leader, it means that you’re legitimizing all of their abuses. I mean, again, look at Washington. Joe just worked for and just left ThinkProgress,
which is affiliated with the Center for American Progress, that takes money from one of the
most repressive regimes on the planet, the United Arab Emirates. And when he left, he cited that kind of money
drowning Washington as a reason. We deal with regimes all the time that are
incredibly repressive. The United States government is often repressive. We destroyed Iraq. We set up a worldwide torture regime. We still have a prison in Guantánamo where
people have been imprisoned for 17 years on an island with no trial. We have to deal with other countries who violate
human rights. Our own governments deal with human rights—abuse
human rights. And I think to look at dialogue with other
countries as legitimizing human rights is the kind of rhetoric that the right used for
seven decades to delegitimize attempts to reach peaceful negotiations with the Soviet
Union. And that is what I worry about. I actually think that Joe and I are largely
in agreement on most of these questions, with the exception of how to look at what happened
in 2016. And I think it’s time that we move past
2016, fortify our computer systems, try and of course have cyberdefenses, like we’re
already doing, but instead of looking at the world through the 2016 election, look at it
through The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock, that is now at two minutes
before midnight, the worst rating since 1953 for the threat to humanity, largely because
of the threat of nuclear weapons, along with climate change, that is in the hands of these
two countries. And let’s hope for more and more and more
dialogue between Russia and the United States, and move away from the rhetoric that says
it’s treasonous or dangerous for us to meet and talk and have dialogue. AMY GOODMAN: So, Joe, that point, that you
are not condoning your opponent when you have a meeting? JOE CIRINCIONE: No, not necessarily. But Donald Trump is, with this meeting. He is praising Vladimir Putin. I actually think the protesters in Finland
have this just about right. Both of these men are dangerous. Both of these men oppress basic human rights,
basic freedoms. Both of them think the press are the enemy
of the people. Putin goes further: He kills journalists. He has them assassinated on the streets of
Moscow. Donald Trump does not go that far yet. But I think what Putin is doing is using the
president of the United States to project his rule, to increase his power, to carry
out his agenda in Syria, with Europe, etc., and that Trump is acquiescing to that, for
reasons that are not yet clear. There is a very mysterious and suspicious
relationship that Trump has with Putin. He has never attacked him. This is the guy that just undermined the Conservative
prime minister of the United Kingdom. This is the guy that refused to sign the statement
of the G7. But he has never once criticized Putin for
anything. What’s going on there? I wish Glenn would use some of his investigative
powers to find out what the real story is. What does Putin have on Trump? That’s what worries me. In the course of this— GLENN GREENWALD: Amy, can I address that? Can I address that? JOE CIRINCIONE: —can they just—yes, please. AMY GOODMAN: Yes. JOE CIRINCIONE: This is my final statement. In the course of this, can we get an arms
control agreement that can at least extend New START? Yes. Do I expect either one of these guys to seriously
disarm, to seriously reduce their about 6,000 nuclear weapons that each side has? No, I do not. I think both of these men think of these things
as instruments of great power status and are not going to shed them without tremendous
global pressure to do so. AMY GOODMAN: Glenn Greenwald, do you think
Putin has something on Trump? GLENN GREENWALD: No, I mean, I’ll believe
that when I see evidence for it. So let me just make two points. Number one is, if you look at President Obama
versus President Trump, there’s no question that President Obama was more cooperative
with and collaborative with Russia and the Russian agenda than President Trump. President Trump has sent lethal arms to Ukraine—a
crucial issue for Putin—which President Obama refused to do. President Trump has bombed the Assad forces
in Syria, a client state of Putin, something that Obama refused to do because he didn’t
want to provoke Putin. Trump has expelled more Russian diplomats
and sanctioned more Russian oligarchs than [Obama] has. Trump undid the Iran deal, which Russia favored,
while Obama worked with Russia in order to do the Iran deal. So this idea that Trump is some kind of a
puppet of Putin, that he controls him with blackmail, is the kind of stuff that you believe
if you read too many Tom Clancy novels, but isn’t borne out by the facts. The other issue that I want to make is that,
you know, again, this idea that somehow that you are endorsing the repression of other
countries’ leaders if you meet with them—it is true that Trump has never criticized Putin,
although he has taken all the steps I just outlined against Putin. But he’s also never criticized Benjamin
Netanyahu. He’s also never criticized the incredibly
repressive leaders of Saudi Arabia. He’s never criticized the fascist president
of the Philippines. It is true President Trump likes fascist and
authoritarian leaders, and that is a problem, but it’s not like Putin is the only leader
that he doesn’t criticize. But what he has been consistent about for
a long time—and this is something that Joe himself recently said, that I agree with completely—is
that a lot of these international institutions that are supposed to be off limits from criticism,
like free trade organizations, the World Trade Organization, NATO, the EU, have devastated
the working-class populations of multiple countries. And if we want to understand why we have a
Donald Trump and why we have a resurgent “alt-right” throughout Europe and why we have Brexit,
we need to start asking questions about whether or not these institutions, that have been
so sacred for so long, are actually ones that are serving the interest of our country. And until we figure out how to solve the root
causes that have given rise to Trumpism and to fascist extremism in Europe and in the
country I live in, Brazil, which is that these institutions are destroying the economic future
of tens of millions and hundreds of millions of people in order to benefit the rich, we’re
just going to have more Trumps, no matter how much we kick our feet and call him names. And that, I think is the issue that is most
being ignored by all of this rhetoric. AMY GOODMAN: Listen, we have to go to break. It’s really hard to do that, but we’re
going to break for 30 seconds. And when we come back—Glenn, you just got
back from Russia. There are a number of Democrats—I’m not
just talking Republicans, mainly Democrats—who are saying Trump should have done what Obama
did, and that’s cancel this meeting with Putin once the indictments came out. And they’re citing the precedent of Obama
in 2013 when Putin gave Edward Snowden political asylum. Obama canceled their meeting. You just came back from visiting Snowden. I’d like to ask you about that and also
get Joe Cirincione’s view. This is Democracy Now! Our guests are Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
Glenn Greenwald and Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund. Stay with us. [break] AMY GOODMAN: “Police State” by Pussy Riot,
who protested President Putin this weekend at the World Cup. Massive protests in Helsinki, as there were
throughout Europe, with President Trump coming. Also at his struggling Turnberry golf course
in Scotland, the protests were there, with a paraglider saying Trump is below par, flying
over Trump as he was outside at his golf course. This is Democracy Now!, as we host a debate
between Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund, president of the Ploughshares Fund,
and Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, one of the co-founders of The
Intercept. Now, in past years, Joe and Glenn would probably
not be debating in fierce combat over an issue. It is fascinating to see the realliances that
are taking place right now. Now, Glenn, this issue of Democrats calling
on Trump to have canceled the summit, which is already underway, saying Obama canceled
a summit with Putin in 2013 when he gave Edward Snowden political asylum in Moscow. You just came back from visiting Ed Snowden. Can you talk about what’s happening with
Ed Snowden right now? The focus of the Helsinki protests, one of
the main themes, with these 300 billboards, was freedom of the press. What do you want to happen? I don’t think you would share President
Trump’s views on Ed Snowden. GLENN GREENWALD: No, nor did I share President
Obama’s views on Edward Snowden. He wanted to put Edward Snowden in prison
for many decades and actually took down the plane of a sovereign president of a country,
Bolivia, because he thought, mistakenly, that Edward Snowden might be on that plane. You know, and I just want to say, I mean,
I really admire Joe still. I support most of his work, and I think we
are in agreement on most issues, though there is an interesting realignment taking place
that I think deserves a lot more attention. But let me just say this about the press freedom,
because Joe brought it up, as well. You know, a lot of times when people talk
about Trump’s attacks on press freedom, they talk about his rhetoric, his mean tweets
about Wolf Blitzer and Chuck Todd, and his criticisms of the media. I don’t think that those are meaningful
attacks on press freedom. I think what are meaningful attacks on press
freedom are investigations into the work that journalists do with sources, in the attempt
to imprison sources for giving journalists information that belong in the public domain. We at The Intercept have had two of our alleged
sources the subject of investigations by the Justice Department, including one of whom
who is now in prison. And my colleague Jim Risen, who the Obama
administration threatened with prison for many years, wrote an op-ed in The New York
Times after Trump was elected, saying if Trump ends up being able to attack press freedom,
it will be because—due to the infrastructure that Obama created, this obsession with investigating
and prosecuting and imprisoning sources, like my source, Edward Snowden, under the espionage
statutes. And, of course, the Obama Justice Department
prosecuted more sources under the espionage statute—in fact, three times as many—than
all previous administrations combined. That, to me, is a real threat to press freedom,
not some insults on Twitter, that Donald Trump is now taking advantage of. And so, yeah, the idea of canceling a summit
between two nuclear-armed powers because Putin gave asylum to somebody who was a source for
Pulitzer Prize-winning exposés that people all around the world view as heroic and important,
I think, was insanity also and shows that the roots of the attacks of press freedom
that we now see from Donald Trump have their origins in the Obama administration, just
as Jim Risen said. AMY GOODMAN: And the Snowden refugees, as
The Guardian talks about them, those that harbored, that sheltered Ed Snowden to protect
him in Hong Kong before he made his way out of the country, now facing possible return
to Sri Lanka? They’re appealing that decision. Very briefly. We only have a minute. GLENN GREENWALD: Yeah, I mean, it’s a terrible
humanitarian story. I hope people pay attention to it. They deserve asylum, not because of the random
connection they had to Snowden, though they did hide him and house him during the time
he was hiding in Hong Kong, but because they’re refugees who face serious threats if they’re
returned home. And civilized countries grant asylum to people
who face persecution. Whether it’s Edward Snowden or the refugees
that are at the border now in the South of the United States or these refugees in Hong
Kong, they deserve protection. AMY GOODMAN: Joe Cirincione, as we wrap up—and
we’re going to continue this discussion in Part 2, so folks should not go away—but
your thoughts on Ed Snowden? Should he be allowed to come back to this
country? Do you hail him as a whistleblower? JOE CIRINCIONE: This is outside my area. I mean, I admire some of the things that these
whistleblowers have done in disclosing the kind of surveillance that our own government
is conducting on us and the kinds of techniques they’re doing in secret. I believe we do need more sunshine on these. But I also believe that WikiLeaks was clearly
used by Russian military and intelligence sources, directed by Vladimir Putin, to disrupt
the 2016 election and help elect a president of the United States that is probably the
worst president we’ve ever had in our lives, and may lead us down a path of self-isolation
from the world and weaken our national security. So, yes, I think WikiLeaks played an insidious
role in that. I don’t know whether they knew who they
were dealing with, but that has—we’ve got to talk about that. And we have to understand that sometimes our
anger at our own government in the things that we do— AMY GOODMAN: Glenn, five seconds? JOE CIRINCIONE: —can lead us down a very
dangerous path. AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to have to
leave it there, but we’re not going to leave it out. We’re going to—go to democracynow.org
for the rest of this discussion. I want to thank Glenn Greenwald, as well as
Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund. Thanks for joining us.

Next phase of impeachment begins as process goes public


>>Thompson: FOR MORE ON THE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY, NEWSHOUR WEEKEND SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT JEFF GREENFIELD JOINS ME NOW FROM SANTA BARBARA. SO, JEFF, WE’VE HAD THIS VOTE TO FORMALIZE THE PROCEDURES. SO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO SEE NOW?>>SOMETIME IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS, WE’RE GOING TO SEE PUBLIC TELEVISED HEARINGS. WE’RE GOING TO ACTUALLY GET TO SEE THE DEPOSITIONS THAT SOME OF THE WITNESSES GAVE IN CLOSED TESTIMONY. AND THEN THE QUESTION IS, WHO ARE GOING TO SEE IN PUBLIC? WILL WE BE HEARING FROM LIEUTENANT COLONEL VINMAN, THE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR ON UKRAINE WHO WAS QUITE ALARMED BY WHAT HE HEARD ON THE CALL? ARE WE GOING TO HAVE JOHN BOLTON, THE FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER WHO WAS ALSO QUITE ALARMED BY WHAT HE HEARD? HE SAID HE WILL ONLY TESTIFY IF COMPELLED TO BY A COURT. AND THEN THE QUESTION WILL BE WHO WILL REPUBLICANS TRY TO BRING ON TO ATTEMPT TO UNDERCUT THE CENTRAL STORY OF THE PRESIDENT ASKING FOR A QUID PRO QUO IN RETURN FOR MILITARY AID? SO, BUT IT IS GOING TO BE PUBLIC.>>Thompson: I MEAN, WHAT IMPACT COULD THAT HAVE? DOES THIS REPRESENT A RISK IN SOME SENSE OR AN OPPORTUNITY FOR DEMOCRATS?>>WE GET A CLUE FROM THE FACT THAT UNDER THE RULES, EACH SIDE IS GONNA HAVE 45 MINUTES OF BLOCK TIME TO PRESENT THEIR CASE AND TALK TO THEIR WITNESSES. AND THE QUESTION IS GONNA BE DONE BY STAFF ATTORNEYS, NOT BY CONGRESSMEN. AND THAT MEANS THAT THE DEMOCRATS HAVE REALIZED THAT THIS BACK AND FORTH FIVE MINUTES EACH MUDDLES THE STORY. THEY WANT A CLEAR, COHERENT STORY TO PRESENT IF IMPEACHMENT EVER COMES, AS IT PROBABLY WILL, TO A FULL VOTE. THE RISK WOULD BE IF THE REPUBLICANS CAN GET PEOPLE TO TESTIFY WHO BASICALLY SAY THIS WHOLE NARRATIVE IS EXAGGERATED OR FALSE.>>Thompson: JUST THIS MORNING, WE SAW A NEW FOX NEWS POLL COME OUT THAT SAID 49% OF VOTERS SUPPORT IMPEACHMENT. DO WE HAVE REASON TO THINK THAT SOME OF THIS PARTISANSHIP IN CONGRESS MIGHT START TO ERODE?>>I REALLY THINK THAT EVEN WITH THE SLIGHT EROSION IN SUPPORT FOR TRUMP AMONG REPUBLICANS, IT’S DOWN, BUT IT’S THE 78%. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE RISK THAT REPUBLICAN SENATORS UP FOR RE-ELECTION MAY BE TAKING, THEY MIGHT WANT TO APPEAL TO MORE MODERATE VOTERS WHO WERE LESS HAPPY ABOUT TRUMP. BUT DO THEY RISK ALIENATING THAT FIRM BASE? SO THAT PART OF THE PARTISANSHIP, I JUST THINK, IS NOT GONNA FADE, BARRING SOME MIRACLE. ONE OTHER POINT. IF THIS GETS TO A TRIAL IN THE SENATE IN JANUARY, YOU HAVE SIX DEMOCRATIC SENATORS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT WHO ARE GONNA BE, IN EFFECT, CHAINED TO THEIR DESKS JUST AS THE CLIMAX TO THE IOWA CAUCUSES IN THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY APPROACH. AND I DOUBT THAT REPUBLICAN LEADER McCONNELL IS GONNA WANT TO DO THEM ANY FAVORS. SO THAT’S ANOTHER WAY THAT PARTISANSHIP MAY PLAY A ROLE IN WHAT WE SEE.>>Thompson: NONE OF THIS IS HAPPENING IN A VACUUM, OF COURSE. I WANTED TO ASK YOU HISTORICALLY, WHEN WE LOOK AT OTHER IMPEACHMENT INQUIRIES IN THE LAST CENTURY, HOW HAVE THINGS LIKE THE ECONOMY AND APPROVAL RATINGS PLAYED A ROLE?>>ONE OF THE THINGS THAT DOOMED NIXON WAS THAT IN 1974, AS THE IMPEACHMENT WATERS WERE RISING, THE ECONOMY WAS HEADED INTO RECESSION AND THE STOCK MARKET WAS IN FREEFALL. BY CONTRAST, THE ECONOMY UNDER BILL CLINTON IN THE LATE ’90s WAS AS GOOD AS IT HAS BEEN IN THE ENTIRE 20th CENTURY. AND SO, HIS APPROVAL RATINGS, EVEN DURING IMPEACHMENT, NEVER DROPPED BELOW 60%. IN TRUMP’S CASE, HIS APPROVAL RATINGS GENERALLY ARE LOWER THAN THEY SHOULD BE GIVEN THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY. SO YOU COULD SAY THAT IF SOMETHING WERE TO TURN IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS, IF THE ECONOMY WERE REALLY TO SOUR, THAT COULD BE A REAL PROBLEM FOR TRUMP MAINTAINING THE BASE THAT HE DOES HAVE.>>Thompson: ALL RIGHT, JEFF GREENFIELD, THANK YOU SO MUCH, AS ALWAYS, FOR BEING HERE.>>NICE TO BE HERE.

We watched 20 hours of Robert Mueller testifying before Congress


– [Mueller] I report, in
essence to the attorney general and then to the president. There may be unique
circumstances to put the the people above that reporting structure. – [Samuelsohn] That’s Robert Mueller in his Senate confirmation hearing. Now in 2019, the man hasn’t spoken once publicly in any subsistent way since he became special
counsel, in May 2017. We went back and watched hours and hours of C-span footage of Robert Mueller when he was the FBI director, testifying before the
House and the Senate. Some of the Q&A at Robert Mueller’s Senate confirmation hearing
is remarkable to watch, given all the history that has come since. – [Sen. Leahy] And will you
give me your commitment, that if you are ever pressured politically by the Republicans or Democrats,
to affect an investigation that you will resist that
pressure with all your might. – [Mueller] Absolutely. – [Samuelsohn So what’s
Robert Mueller like when he testifies on Capital Hill? Here’s Senator Arlen Specter
pressing Robert Mueller on how he’d handle a president
under criminal investigation. – [Sen. Specter] Would
you, as FBI director, exercise the authority
to withhold information from the president on the
national security matters, because the president was the subject of a criminal investigation? – [Mueller] There may be an occasion where… It’s possible. Yes. – [Samuelsohn] Hearing
him in his own voice, you get a sense of who he is as a person, and even his interactions
with members of Congress, some of the same members
who will be questioning him when he goes before the
House and the Senate. Robert Mueller is quite polite when he’s up on Capitol Hill. He addresses members of
Congress, looks them in the eye, he thanks staffers when they
bring him glasses of water, or even a sandwich
midway through a hearing. – [Rep. Harman] And
you deserve a sandwich. As one of the mothers on this committee I think you deserve a sandwich. (laughter) – [Samuelsohn] Robert
Mueller is a serious guy as an FBI law man, but he
also has a sense of humor. He smiles, and he’ll
crack a joke unexpected. – [Sen. Hatch] The FBI is
now requiring polygraphs for managers handling
national security matters. – [Mueller] I have already
taken that polygraph. – [Sen. Hatch] The only
reason I ask that question is I knew you had, and I just think it’s important.
(Mueller laughs) It’s important for people to… Yeah, how did you do? (laughter) – [Mueller] I’m sitting
here that’s all I can say – [Sen. Hatch] I’m sorry (laughter) – [Samuelsohn] But also can get testy, he doesn’t like to be interrupted, he likes to finish his answers. – [Mueller] Examples of cases
– [Rep. Gohmert] But… I need you to… I don’t…I
have such a short time I need you to answer questions. – [Mueller] Your facts
are not all together – [Rep. Gohmert] Well point out specifically
– [Mueller] May I finish my… – [Rep. Gohmert] Point out specifically, sir if you’re gonna call me a liar you need to point out specifically where any facts are wrong. – [Mueller] We went to the mosque. Prior to Boston
– [Rep. Gohmert] Before… Prior to Boston
– [Mueller] Prior to Boston happening, we were in that mosque talking to Imam several months beforehand as part of our outreach efforts. – [Rep. Gohmert] Were you… – [Samuelsohn] Robert
Mueller has a lot of street credibility largely because
of his bipartisan credentials. He served under Republican President, George W. Bush, and then
President Barack Obama kept him around not just for the end of his term, but actually asked for the Senate to give him 2 more years,
as an FBI director. – [Mueller] Thank you Mr. President. – [Samuelsohn] He’s worked
in several key branches of the justice department, that have direct relevance
to the Russia investigation. So he knows technology quite well, and the importance of cyber-security. – [Rep. Rogers] Who would you assess as the two biggest
actors nation state wise, engaged in espionage
against the United States? – [Mueller] You have countries
such as Russia and China. – [Samuelsohn] Here’s
another remarkable exchange with Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama. The future Attorney General
of the United States wants Robert Mueller to
talk about his independence as the FBI director. – [Sen. Sessions] My respect
for the Attorney General is unbounded, I know you always, if you have a problem, you wanna talk to the Attorney General. If it’s a serious
problem but in this case, the allegation was that
the Attorney General’s own hand-picked, Chief
of Public Integrity, told a high official in the FBI, that the Attorney General had to go in effect, soft on this case because her job might be on the line. – [Mueller] I do not
exclude the possibility, that the circumstances could be such, that I would feel it
necessary to circumvent the ordinary course of proceedings by, which would be to go to
the Attorney General, first before I made, perhaps
a disclosure to Congress I would look and explore every option if I believed that the FBI was being pressured for political reasons. – [Samuelsohn] All eyes are gonna be on what the special counsel has to say whether he shows any daylight between himself and Bill Barr, and whether he puts any more meat on the bones of this 448 page report.