PBS NewsHour full episode July 22, 2019

PBS NewsHour full episode July 22, 2019


AMNA NAWAZ: Good evening. I’m Amna Nawaz. Judy Woodruff is away. On the “NewsHour” tonight: a political storm. A massive wave of protests rocks Puerto Rico,
as residents seek to force the resignation of the island’s scandal-plagued governor. Then, Amy Walter and Tamara Keith break down
the competing visions for health care shaping the Democratic primary and the continuing
fallout from President Trump’s racist tweets. Plus: 100 years of Harlem, New York’s fabled
neighborhood through the lens and on the canvas and now on display in a gallery exhibit. STEPHANIE SPARLING WILLIAMS, Addison Gallery
of American Art: The art was important then in creating a new visual lexicon for African-Americans
against histories of dehumanizing and degrading stereotypes and imagery in the American popular
imagination. AMNA NAWAZ: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: Massive protests filled the streets
and highways around San Juan, Puerto Rico, today. The marches have grown for almost two weeks
now. Even as the heat index topped 100 degrees
there today, crowds effectively shut down major portions of the city. And they prevented cruise boats, which bring
crucial tourist business, from docking. As of this hour, the island’s governor is
refusing to resign, triggering a political crisis on top of an economic one. Demonstrations across Puerto Rico today swelled
into the hundreds of thousands, one of the largest protests the island has ever seen. Their immediate target? Governor Ricardo Rossello. ERNESTO MARIN, Protester (through translator):
I decided to come to be with the people, because we are tired. The people are tired. It’s been years and years, and the people
have awoken. AMNA NAWAZ: It’s the latest in a series of
protests calling for Rossello to step down. At times, there’s been sporadic violence with
riot police, but no known deaths. Rossello tried to address the unrest in a
Facebook video yesterday, saying he would give up his role as president of his party
and wouldn’t seek reelection next year. But he stopped short of resigning. GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLO, Puerto Rico (through translator):
I recognize that apologizing is not enough. Only my work will help to restore the trust
of these sectors and forge a path toward reconciliation. In the face of this scenario, I am announcing
that I will not seek reelection as governor next year. AMNA NAWAZ: Protesters said he had not gone
far enough. RAFAEL MORALES MOL, Protester (through translator):
It’s one more demonstration of the arrogance of the governor, that he doesn’t want to recognize
the failure of what’s taking place and the demonstration of the people who are demanding
his resignation. We have been asking for his resignation for
12 days already, and he is trying to give a candy to those in his party, offering to
give up the presidency and the candidature in 2020, so that they allow him to remain
through the year-and-a-half he has left. That’s not acceptable. AMNA NAWAZ: This afternoon, Rossello was asked
about the protests by FOX News’ Shepard Smith. SHEPARD SMITH, FOX News: Today, the largest
demonstration potentially in the history of the island, and you stand with firm resolve
and talk about accomplishments. Do you hear them? GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLO: I hear them, and it’s part
of my introspection, and I will continue to hear them. I will continue to make my decisions and work
with the people of Puerto Rico. AMNA NAWAZ: The public outrage was set off
by a leak of offensive online chat messages between Rossello and his aides. The nearly 900-page document published by
Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism exposed private messages mocking women, gay
people, and even hurricane victims. The targets also included political opponents
and the island’s financial oversight board. The scandal broke as federal corruption charges
were leveled against six members of his administration, and it has since led to the resignation of
others. President Trump, who has frequently criticized
the U.S. territory’s government, weighed in today. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
You have incompetent, totally, grossly incompetent leadership at the top of Puerto Rico. The money is squandered and wasted and stolen. AMNA NAWAZ: That criticism has been at the
heart of the crisis. Protests have tapped into resentment over
the governor’s handling of Hurricane Maria in 2017 and the years of economic austerity
measures the bankrupt island has faced. To talk about what’s behind the protests and
where things stand this evening, I spoke a short time ago with Adrian Florido of NPR,
who was out with the protesters all day in San Juan. Adrian Florido, thanks for being with us. So, give us a sense. You were out there with the protesters today. Who is out there on the streets exactly, and
how did the governor’s announcement that he will not resign go over? ADRIAN FLORIDO, NPR: There is a wide swathe
of Puerto Ricans out on the streets, a lot of people who have been protesters around
social issues here in Puerto Rico a long time, but even more people who have never engaged
in protests at all. And that’s one of the things that’s been so
fascinating about these protests that have just surged in the last week, is that a lot
of the forces come from these large sectors of society that have never been engaged in
politics or political protests at all. When the governor announced yesterday that
he wasn’t going to resign, people seemed to get even more angry, even more motivated to
come out into the streets. I think that’s a big part of why we saw these
massive numbers coming out today. AMNA NAWAZ: So, give us a sense of what you’re
hearing on the ground now. What would it take, do you think, for the
governor to step down? The economy is in trouble. Tourism is taking a big hit. Obviously, the protesters aren’t going anywhere. Do you get the sense that he thinks he can
ride this out? ADRIAN FLORIDO: Well, I think he has the sense
that he thinks he can ride this out. But it’s really hard to understand to — it’s
really hard to understand how he has come to that conclusion, because he’s lost almost
all of his political support. There’s really no one in Puerto Rico who supports
him publicly. Unclear whether people support him privately,
but, at least publicly, no one is coming out. Obviously, a big part of governing is having
allies within the government, because you don’t govern via dictate. You govern through legislation. And no one in the legislature seems to be
willing to stand up behind him. So, a big question is whether he’s going to
be able to regain that credibility, and all indications are that he’s not. AMNA NAWAZ: So, when you talk to people on
the ground who have taken to the streets, are protesting, are calling for him to step
down, what are they telling you? What specific grievances do they have that
led them out to the streets today? ADRIAN FLORIDO: There are so — the reasons
for all the discontent in Puerto Rico are really complex. They’re nuanced. And they go back for many years, many decades
really. But some of the more recent things are obviously
the economic crisis that Puerto Rico has been in since 2006, when it descended into a recession
that it still hasn’t recovered from, the billions of dollars of debt that Puerto Rico faces,
austerity measures that have been imposed by a federal oversight board. They’re leading to the slashing of all kinds
of public services that have made it really hard for Puerto Ricans to really just get
by, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to leave for the United States over the last
decade, and then, of course, the bungled response to Hurricane Maria, which inflicted a lot
of damage, trauma on Puerto Ricans they still haven’t recovered from. All of those things are things that people
feel like they’re — the traumas around those things, people have been sort of trying to
suppress and hold things together and just sort of live, get — move forward day by day,
and they feel like they can’t do it anymore. And that’s why people are fed up. AMNA NAWAZ: Adrian, you mentioned that oversight
board. Very briefly explain to us, what’s their role,
and are members of that board vulnerable now as well. ADRIAN FLORIDO: So the federal oversight board,
which Puerto Ricans call the fiscal control board, was this body that the U.S. Congress
appointed a couple of years ago to take control of Puerto Rico’s finances and try to get it
out of debt. It’s been imposing all kinds of austerity
measures that have driven Puerto Ricans out into the streets for the last three years
for a May Day protest every 1st of May. Right now, a lot of the focus is on the governor,
in part because of these chats and what they revealed and people feeling like he’s out
of touch and he needs to go. But, in the streets, you do hear people also
— they’re continuing to point out that the fiscal oversight board is also largely responsible
for a lot of the austerity that is making life a little more difficult for Puerto Ricans
here. AMNA NAWAZ: Adrian, as you mentioned, the
economic troubles of the island predate even the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Is there any sense that a new governor or
a new government could step in and write that ship right now? ADRIAN FLORIDO: That is a very complicated
task here in Puerto Rico, in part because the Puerto Rican government only has — the
governor only has so much power, especially right now. This oversight board has a lot of the control
of the purse strings. And so, in many instances, any governor of
Puerto Rico has to get permission from this federally appointed non-elected board to implement
public policy. So it’s a very sort of complicated question. But it’s one that Puerto Rico is going to
have to figure out very soon. AMNA NAWAZ: Adrian Florido of NPR, joining
us from San Juan, Puerto Rico, thank you very much. ADRIAN FLORIDO: Thanks for having me. AMNA NAWAZ: In the day’s other news: President
Trump announced later today that Congress and the White House have reached a budget
deal. It would raise the debt ceiling, the government’s
borrowing limit, and set government spending limits for two years. The spending blueprints are expected to include
big increases for defense and domestic programs. Details are still coming out at this hour,
but the deal removes the possibility of government shutdowns for the foreseeable future. China today condemned pro-democracy protests
in Hong Kong and warned they are directly challenging the central government’s authority. On Sunday, more than 100,000 people marched
in the streets of Hong Kong, at night, some egging and spray-painting the Chinese government’s
office. That incident touched a nerve in Beijing. GENG SHUANG, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
(through translator): The behavior of some radical demonstrators has touched the bottom
line of the one country-two systems principle and must not be tolerated. We firmly support the Hong Kong government
in taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the Chinese central government’s
agencies in Hong Kong, defend Hong Kong’s rule of law and punish criminals. AMNA NAWAZ: In a separate incident, at a subway
station last night, a group of assailants wearing white attacked pro-democracy protesters
dressed in black and gray. At least 45 people were hurt. Hong Kong Administrator Carrie Lam rejected
allegations that police had colluded in the subway attack. Iran said today it arrested 17 Iranian nationals
accused of spying for the CIA. It said they worked at — quote — “sensitive
military and nuclear sites,” and that some have now been sentenced to death. President Trump said the claim is a lie. Meanwhile, Iranian state TV aired footage
of the crew of a British tanker seized last week at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. They appeared to be unharmed. On Afghanistan, President Trump claimed the
U.S. could win a full-scale war there in a week. He met with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran
Khan, hoping Pakistan will help broker an Afghan peace deal. And he played up peace talks over more fighting. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
We have done what we were supposed to do. We have been there for 19 years, and we have
acted as policemen, not soldiers. And, again, if we wanted to be soldiers, it
would be over in 10 days, one week to 10 days, if we wanted to. But I have not chosen that. Why are we — why would we kill millions of
people? It wouldn’t be fair. In terms of humanity, it wouldn’t be fair. AMNA NAWAZ: Prime minister Khan said he thinks
the U.S. and Taliban are closer to a peace deal than ever before. The president also said he’s willing to mediate
between India and Pakistan in their 70-year dispute over Kashmir. He said India’s prime minister had asked him
about it, but India’s Foreign Ministry denied that. In East Jerusalem, Israeli crews began demolishing
dozens of Palestinian homes today in one of the largest operations of its kind in years. Bulldozers tore through apartment buildings
near the West Bank-Jerusalem divide. Residents said the Palestinian Authority let
them build there. The Israeli military said the high-rise apartments
pose a security threat because they are too close to the separation barrier with the West
Bank. The death toll from monsoon flooding across
parts of India, Nepal, and Bangladesh rose to more than 300 today. Vast stretches of land are still underwater,
even as the rain has eased. That, in turn, is letting crews gain access
to some of the hardest-hit areas to tally the damage and deaths. South Asia’s monsoon season typically runs
from June until September. India’s space agency successfully has launched
an unmanned mission to the moon. A rocket carrying the spacecraft blasted off
from southern India today. Flight controllers celebrated the sequel to
an orbital flight to the moon in 2008. This flight aims to land a rover on the far
side of the moon to explore water ice deposits at the lunar south pole. Back in this country, retired Supreme Court
Justice John Paul Stevens was remembered with a special ceremony at the court. He died last week at the age of 99. Stevens’ remains were brought to the court’s
Great Hall to lie in repose for the day. President Trump was among those who paid their
respects. Former colleagues were also there, including
Justice Elena Kagan, who succeeded Stevens on the court. ELENA KAGAN, Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme
Court: He was a brilliant man with extraordinary legal gifts and talents, which he combined
with a deep devotion to the rule of law and a deep commitment to equal justice. AMNA NAWAZ: Justice Stevens will have a private
burial tomorrow at Arlington National Cemetery. The credit rating agency Equifax will pay
up to $700 million in a settlement involving a huge data breach. Today’s announcement closes investigations
by the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, plus nearly all
50 states. Equifax acknowledged in 2017 that hackers
gained access to Social Security numbers and other personal data for nearly 150 million
people. And on Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial
average gained 17 points to close near 27192. The Nasdaq rose 57 points and the S&P 500
added eight. And the statues have come to life, sort of,
in Belgium. It hosted Europe’s largest living statue festival
this weekend. Performers included a headless duo who danced
with young attendees. A group known as the Mirror Family, clad in
gold and silver, showed off their moves. And Mr. Red joined a long list of others entertaining
the crowds. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the bitter
struggle for gay rights amid growing anti-LGBT sentiment in Poland; revisiting the case of
Al Franken a year-and-a-half after the senator resigned in scandal; Amy Walter and Tamara
Keith on the latest moves from the 2020 campaign trail; plus, much more. A wave of hostility towards LGBTQ people in
Poland has alarmed officials and led the American ambassador there to denounce conservative
Polish newspapers for stoking hatred in its campaign for so-called LGBT-free zones. Those fears were realized this weekend, as
a mob of right-wing Poles attacked a Pride March in the town of Bialystok, one of several
districts that have declared themselves to be LGBT-free. From Bialystok in Eastern Poland, special
correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports. MALCOLM BRABANT: “God, honor, motherland,”
they chanted. Wearing obscene anti-gay T-shirts, some hard-core
right-wingers were intent on violence. Following their lead, thousands of people
from Bialystok, including senior citizens, lambasted marchers protesting against the
sudden rise of so-called LGBT-free zones. Among those they tried to intimidate, Malgorzata
Mroz. MALGORZATA MROZ, LGBTQ Activist (through translator):
It makes me sad that people claim those LGBTQ-free zones in Poland, because me, as a bisexual
and also Polish person, I would really love to feel welcome in every single place in this
country. MALCOLM BRABANT: The marchers were vastly
outnumbered, and police protection was essential. Gay activists claim they have replaced refugees
as Poland’s main hate figures. MALGORZATA MROZ: I am scared a bit. I have tear gas with me. So, yes, as you can see, they basically shout
“Get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of here” to me and to other people like me. So I can’t feel welcome in my country. MALCOLM BRABANT: As the hostile mood intensified,
the police struggled to defend stragglers separated from the main march. The mob set off in pursuit of one small group
of gay pride campaigners seeking safety. But they spotted police pinning down a hard-liner,
and the first skirmish of the afternoon began. Police arrested 30 people. This exemplified the hatred and intolerance
that concerns the U.S. ambassador and the openly gay deputy mayor of Warsaw, who compared
it to the behavior of the Nazis in the Second World War. The issue of gay rights has been bubbling
beneath the surface in Poland for years. But, recently, it’s just exploded and gone
to the forefront of the political agenda. And this issue has placed Poland into conflict
with mainstream Europe. When Poland’s populist Law and Justice Party
came to power in 2015, it declared ambitions to Christianize the European Union. In towns like Bialystok, they abhor what they
regard as mainstream Europe’s decadent values. At Parliament in Warsaw, influential law and
justice politician Zdzislaw Krasnodebski said Europe favored constitutions, but was hypocritical
when it came to Poland. ZDZISLAW KRASNODEBSKI, European Parliament
Member: Our Constitution in the Article 18 states the marriage is only between a man
and a woman. For me, it’s very interesting that, in this
case, there’s no interest in what actually our constitution is talking about. MALCOLM BRABANT: Government critics say such
arguments have emboldened protesters, like Lukasz Marcinkiewicz, who is studying medicine
in Bialystok. LUKASZ MARCINKIEWICZ, Medical Student: It
makes me sad when I see a situation where we have two people, two men together or two
women together, and they declare love for each other. There is no biological possibility for them
to have a child. So I realize that this is not what families
should look like. I strongly support the model where there is
one woman, one man, and babies. KAMIL SIENICKI, All Poland Youth Movement
(through translator): We think that LGBTQ movements have a very long tradition of profanity
towards state symbols. They turned Poland’s national red-and-white
flag into a white rainbow flag and desecrate Catholic and Christian symbols. MALCOLM BRABANT: He has in his sights Daniel
Rycharski, an artist who wears prayer beads made of the blood of homosexuals and who portrays
saints as gay icons. DANIEL RYCHARSKI, Artist (through translator):
What is going on around the LGBT community appalls me, the fact that the governing party
uses us as electoral fuel, because of the fact that the government works closely with
the church, and the church is its authority. The Catholic Church’s teaching says it explicitly. You could say it has incited hatred against
LGBT people. MALCOLM BRABANT: The anti-gay sermons of some
priests are frequently rabid. Wieslaw Dawidowski, who leads Poland’s Order
of Saint Augustine is a man of peace. But, on this issue, he says he’s neither moderate
nor liberal. FATHER WIESLAW DAWIDOWSKI, Order of Saint
Augustine: I would quote Pope Francis. And I would say, here, I’m not a judge. And I cannot judge people. If people want to live this way of live, all
right, they live this way of life with full consequences. MALCOLM BRABANT: Thirty miles away from Bialystok
is rustic, God-fearing Kulesze Koscielne, where 90 percent voted for the ruling party. ELZBIETA MIERZWINSKA, Poland (through translator):
What’s new isn’t always good. And Poland always stood firmly on tradition,
religion, right? KAZIMIERZ TRZASKA, Poland (through translator):
I would find some remote islands. I would take gay men to one island and lesbians
to the other. Let them live there. MALCOLM BRABANT: Still inspired by the conservative
vision of the late Polish Pope John Paul II, the Catholic Church is engaged in a battle
for Europe’s identity. FATHER WIESLAW DAWIDOWSKI: This is a certain
pivotal moment in our relationship. I think the old Europe, which is called the
old lady, which is a dying Europe, by the way, has to redefine what she really wants. And it’s the question of the Brussels elites. It is also the question of the church elites. What is this we want in Europe in the future,
the issues that concern human values? MALCOLM BRABANT: “Freedom, equality and tolerance,’
chanted the pride marchers. They yearn for the right to have same-sex
marriages. But given the levels of prejudice in Poland
right now, that looks like an impossible dream. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Malcolm Brabant
in Bialystok. AMNA NAWAZ: In November 2017, during the height
of the MeToo movement, a conservative talk-radio host named Leeann Tweeden accused Minnesota
Senator Al Franken of forcing an unwanted kiss on her a decade earlier. In the days that followed, seven additional
women came forward with allegations of inappropriate behavior. Three dozen Democratic senators demanded Franken’s
resignation from the Senate. And, by January, he was gone. A new piece by “The New Yorker”‘s Jane Mayer
asks the question: Did the punishment fit the crime? To dig deeper, I’m joined by longtime Congress
watcher Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute. He is also a close friend of Senator Franken’s. Norm, welcome back to the “NewsHour.” NORMAN ORNSTEIN, Resident Scholar, American
Enterprise Institute: Great to be back. AMNA NAWAZ: So, in that “New Yorker” piece,
Senator Franken gives an interview. And he says, when he first heard about the
allegation and saw an accompanying photo that Ms. Tweeden had shared, it was her sleeping
on a USO flight. Senator Franken is reaching out to her and
what can only be described as sort of a lewd gesture… NORMAN ORNSTEIN: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: … pretending to grope her. When that photo came out and the piece came
out, he said: Oh, my God, my life — my life. He knew it would have a big impact. When you first heard about it, did you feel
the same way? NORMAN ORNSTEIN: I knew it would have an impact,
but none of us, his close friends, including those who’d work with him on “Saturday Night
Live” going back decades, the people who worked on his staff, who had been in his campaign,
thought it would have the kind of rolling and dramatic implications that it did, because
there was nothing in his past behavior from people close to him, including women who had
been his press secretary, his chief of staff, his campaign manager, the women he’d worked
with at “SNL,” had any sense at all that there was a problem or a potential problem there. AMNA NAWAZ: Even as additional women came
forward? Did you start to wonder, maybe I don’t know
what’s really going on here? NORMAN ORNSTEIN: Well, there was some puzzlement
about it. And most of the additional allegations that
emerged were basically from photo-ops that he’d taken at the Minnesota State Fair with
tens of thousands of people around or in very public settings of grabbing a buttock or a
waist even during a photo-op. And the questions of whether this was a misinterpretation,
crossed signals, a kind of “Rashomon” kind of thing all emerged. But, obviously, as each additional one emerged,
you wondered what the political dynamic would be in the Senate. But through all of this, people who knew him
well and those who knew his family well, there was never any sense that Al was in the same
category as people with whom he was being lumped together, like Harvey Weinstein or
Charlie Rose. AMNA NAWAZ: Well, the calls for him to resign
from his senator colleagues, they came pretty quickly. And I wonder, did you talk to him at the time? Did you offer him any counsel as to what he
should do? NORMAN ORNSTEIN: Yes. And from the beginning, when the Tweeden accusations
emerged — and it’s, as the Jane Mayer article points out, a much more complex setting, where
a lot of what she said was simply not true — what Al did was, first, he didn’t want
to blame the victim, which makes you look like a jerk. And, obviously, there’s a long history of
that. But he also called for this Senate ethics
investigation, believing that people other than himself who could look at this and look
at the nature of these allegations, what the real truth was, would have it emerge eventually. And that it suddenly turned with a kind of
perfect storm to these calls for his resignation, starting with Senator Gillibrand and including
a bunch of others, was stunning to him and to all of us. AMNA NAWAZ: So you mentioned Senator Gillibrand. She was, in fact, the first senator to call
for his resignation. NORMAN ORNSTEIN: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: Take a listen to what she had
to say back at that time. SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), Presidential Candidate:
I do not feel that he should continue to serve. Everyone will make their own judgment. I hope they do make their own judgment. AMNA NAWAZ: She was asked about why she made
that decision in a recent interview. This was Judy Woodruff back in May of this
year. Take a listen to what she had to say then. SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND: I have a responsibility. I stood with eight women who feel they were
groped and forcibly kissed by Senator Franken inappropriately, and spoke out. I stood with them. And, again, if our party is going to punish
women who stand up for other women, then we are absolutely going in the wrong direction. AMNA NAWAZ: Norm, from the Democratic standpoint,
do you understand why Senator Gillibrand and why so many others called for Senator Franken
to resign? NORMAN ORNSTEIN: The way in which it happened,
and the move to force him out, without allowing any due process, and basically saying, doesn’t
matter what the nature of the offenses is, you’re out of here, with all the public humiliation
that came with it, was still pretty stunning. And one of the key points in this article
is, seven senators, including women and men, who said you should resign now saying, oh,
my God, we made terrible mistakes, we should have let due process go forward. And I have been around the Senate for 50 years. I have never found a situation where seven
senators admit to a major mistake. It’s hard to find one. AMNA NAWAZ: Have you spoken to any others
who also regret calling for his resignation? NORMAN ORNSTEIN: There are other senators
who don’t want to come forward now because you get in the crosshairs on an issue like
this. And that’s a part of what happened. But, yes, there are plenty who got caught
up in the moment. And, remember, one of the things that happens
in cases like this is, media go on a death watch. And so there were 50 cameras and other reporters
surrounding his daughter’s house when he was there. Every Democratic senator had microphones thrust
in their faces: What are you going to do? What are you going to do? And people caved, and now, I think, believe
that they made a mistake. It was a perfect storm in a lot of ways. And I have to say some of it came from Senator
Schumer, the leader, who basically told Franken, if you don’t announce you’re resigning by
5:00 p.m., the same day that all of this emerged, then I will get the caucus to vote calling
for your resignation, and we may strip you of your committees, and you will become a
pariah. So the pressure was intense. And there wasn’t any sense of, let’s step
back from this. AMNA NAWAZ: What do you think would be different
today if Senator Franken had not resigned? NORMAN ORNSTEIN: I think Al, who was an enormous
force in the Senate, would be an enormous force in the Senate. He would have been a force in a lot of the
hearings that have taken place. He would have been strong when it came to
the Mueller report and Trump’s reaction to it. He would have been an incredible questioner. He’s missed in the Senate, as a lot of people
see it. But it’s also a human tragedy that something
like this that might have resulted with an ethics investigation and, what Jane Mayer’s
article shows, probably a letter of admonishment, that it ended up destroying a career and causing
an enormous level of heartache is really unfortunate. AMNA NAWAZ: Is his political career over? Why give this interview now? Do you think he would ever run for office
again? NORMAN ORNSTEIN: I think more significant
is getting his voice back. When he announced that he would resign, under
this intense pressure, he said: I’m not going to give up my voice in public issues. He started a podcast. He’s doing a little writing. There are a lot of issues he cares about. I think the importance of this article and
the interview is, now we can have Al Franken back as a public voice. And his is an important and powerful voice. And with all the tragedy, at least that’s
a very positive thing. AMNA NAWAZ: Norman Ornstein, thanks very much
for being here. NORMAN ORNSTEIN: My pleasure. AMNA NAWAZ: Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour”: columnist George
Will on the origins and future of American conservatism; plus, history and change in
New York’s Harlem neighborhood as seen through art. A new “PBS NewsHour”/NPR/Marist poll offers
clues into where voters stand on President Trump, the 2020 Democratic candidates and
health care; plus, what to expect from Wednesday’s Mueller hearings. Analyzing all this and more, our Politics
Monday team. That’s Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report
and host of “Politics With Amy Walter on WNYC Radio, and Tamara Keith of NPR. She also co-hosts “The NPR Politics Podcast.” Amy and Tam, welcome to you both. Happy Monday. Shall we dig into this hole? TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: Let’s. AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Please. AMNA NAWAZ: Let’s do it. Let’s take a look at the presidential approval
rating. This is its highest point ever, 44 percent. That has inched up recently. And take a look at what’s driving that increase
right here, among independents, a bit of a shift. It was 42 percent. Sorry. Rather, it was 35 percent in June. That’s now up to 42 percent. Amy, when you see those numbers, what do you
think? AMY WALTER: So the good news for the president
is this is the first time since Marist has been polling his presidency that he’s had
a 40 percent approval, or over 40 percent approval rating, for three consecutive polls
that they have taken. So that’s the good news. But here’s underneath it all some challenges
for the president. I think the number one number at least that
I looked at was, if you had said to me there’s a president running for reelection, 53 percent
of voters say they think he’s doing a good job on the economy, 65 percent of voters said
the economy is working well for them personally, including almost half of Democrats and 62
percent of independents, you would say, that president is going to get reelected, right? People feel good about the economy. They personally feel good, including Democrats. And then you see his overall approval rating
is 44 percent, right, which I guess there’s a disconnect there, people feeling good about
the economy. They’re not feeling particularly good about
the president himself. And underneath this too for Democrats, though,
there’s some warning signs. The number that really stood out for me when
they asked, do you think the ideas offered by Democrats move the country in the right
direction or wrong direction, 43 percent said wrong direction, 46 percent the right direction,
which is part of the reason I think you’re seeing that independent number move and the
overall number move, is that it’s not just Trump, the president, in a sort of a vacuum. It’s now the president up against the concept
of Democrats. There’s no Democratic nominee, but the concept
that people saw at the Democratic debates and the fight that they’re seeing right now
among Democratic candidates. AMNA NAWAZ: And I want to talk specifically
about one of those policies and some of the plans they have in just a second. But, Tam, over to you. That shift in independents, that might surprise
a lot of people, though. Is there something in the message the president’s
delivering or, as Amy is suggesting, is it really just, OK, we’re not sure what the Democrats
are putting forward, so we will go here? TAMARA KEITH: I think we can’t know for certain,
but I think Amy is right on in saying that approval for the economy is strong. People feel good about the economy. They feel good about how they’re doing. And an important part of presidential approval
traditionally is, how do you feel about how the country is doing? How do you feel about the economy? So the president has that going for him. What he has potentially weighing him down
is what’s always weighed him down, which is the tweets and the comments and the feuds
and the fights and the things that make people feel uncomfortable about him. AMNA NAWAZ: So take a look at how folks are
looking at the Democratic candidates. This is another graphic we’re pulling out
from this new poll today. Back in June, people were asked, what’s more
important to them, a nominee who shares their values or someone who can beat Trump? Slightly more people wanted someone who shares
their values back in June. Now that has shifted. More people want a nominee who can beat Donald
Trump in the next election. It’s an eight-point jump there. What do you make when you look at those numbers? TAMARA KEITH: Those numbers reflect everything
that I have been told by any voter I have talked to in any early state, early voting
state, in this country, which is you hear again and again and again: I want to beat
Donald Trump. I want a candidate who can beat Donald Trump. Now, try to pull out of them, what does that
mean, and a lot of them have a lot of different ideas. But the fact that they are willing to sort
of put their own personal priorities behind the big one, which is preventing the president
from being reelected, is an indication of just how strongly Democrats feel heading into
this election. AMY WALTER: And what that means — that’s
a very good point, because the number that really didn’t much between June and July when
you ask Democrats, have you settled on a candidate yet? Nineteen percent say yes. Back in June, it was 14 percent. So it’s not exactly skyrocketing now. People say, well, I know who the most — normally,
you would look at that and you say, well, if those numbers are moving on I want a candidate
who can be elected, certainly, they must be agreeing on who that most electable candidate
is. That is not the case. TAMARA KEITH: There’s a really big argument
right now in the Democratic primary about what it means to be electable and how — what
is electable for Democrats this time around? And that is completely unsettled, which is
showing up in a lot of these numbers. AMNA NAWAZ: Very quickly, I want to get to
one last interesting thing from this poll. This is on one specific issue, right? This is how Democrats are looking at health
care and what voters say that they want. There’s a big divide among the Democratic
Party, right? But this is what people say that they want;
70 percent of Americans favor Medicare for all who want it, which basically means they
want choice between a national health insurance program or a private health insurance. Amy, there’s still a big divide among the
Democratic candidates about what kind of plan they’re actually going to get behind. AMY WALTER: There is. And the one thing that I noticed in this poll,
when they asked Democrats that question, the Medicare for all is popular, more popular
among people who identify as progressive, so liberal or very liberal, but it also has
a 55 percent approval rating among moderates as well. So this is one of those issues that, if you’re
Joe Biden or some of the other more moderate members of the 2020 Democratic class running
for president, you point to that number, you say, look, 41 percent — only 41 percent of
overall Americans like this idea of a Medicare for all that gets rid of private insurance. But you have to convince members of your own
party, most of whom, two-thirds of them, are supportive of the Bernie Sanders model, that
it’s better to look at, again, going to the electability question, can somebody with this
sort of position get elected, when only 40 percent approve of it? AMNA NAWAZ: Let’s take a look at another story
we have been following. And that is the ongoing tweetstorm from the
president; 10:48 this morning, he tweeted this, in his latest in a series about the
four young congresswomen of color. “The Squad,” as they’re known, he says, “is
a very racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, not very smart. They’re pulling the once great Democrat Party
far left.” He goes on specifically about other issues. Tam, as I mentioned, this was 10:48 this morning. Every time we think this has gone away, the
president tweets about it again. Is this just what we’re going to continue
to see? TAMARA KEITH: Oh, right through to the election. I mean, I think he — if he could continue
to talk about the squad forever, he would. And this, no, I’m not the racist, you’re the
racist, they’re the real racists — I mean, for months, I have been hearing on conservative
talk various hosts saying, oh, my gosh, this congresswoman, that congresswoman, Ocasio-Cortez,
or Ilhan Omar, so racist. They say it again and again in conservative
media. And this is the president sort of reflecting
that messaging. And it’s messaging that you hear when you
talk to his supporters. They volunteer it. They volunteer those names of those congresswomen
and say, wow, they’re racist. AMNA NAWAZ: Tam, I hate to do this to you. One minute left. But there’s a big day coming up this week. TAMARA KEITH: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: Robert Mueller is going to be
on Capitol Hill testifying. It’s the first time we hear from him directly. What is the Democrats’ strategy here, and
how do Republicans counter it? TAMARA KEITH: Well, so what Democrats want
is for people who didn’t read the book or read the report to watch the movie, watch
the TV show, see some of the elements that were in that report and say, oh, wow, there
was more there than I realized. What the president and his allies want is
a dud. They want people either not to watch it, not
to pay attention, or for Mueller to give his testimony, for it to be bland, and for them
to be able to just say, well, there’s nothing more than you saw in the report, and the report
speaks for itself, the end. AMNA NAWAZ: Fifteen seconds. What do you think? (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: I think, depending on what kind
of Democrat you are, the outcome is very different. If you’re a moderate, you would hope that
maybe there’s nothing that’s really incredible that comes out of this that pushes the impeachment
debate into a reality. If you are someone on the progressive end
or have signed on already to saying you wanted to impeach the president, you’re hoping there
will be momentum behind that. AMNA NAWAZ: And the president says that he
might watch a little bit of it. AMY WALTER: Might. AMNA NAWAZ: Maybe. AMY WALTER: Maybe. AMNA NAWAZ: Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, Politics
Monday. Thanks for being here. AMY WALTER: You’re welcome. TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome. AMNA NAWAZ: Longtime columnist George Will
recently left the Republican Party, in protest of what he sees as shifting values. Judy Woodruff sat down with him recently at
the Aspen Ideas Festival to discuss this shift and his new book, “The Conservative Sensibility.” She started by asking Will to explain his
view of American conservatism. GEORGE WILL, Author, “The Conservative
Sensibility”: People think conservatives only want to conserve, and they want to conserve
the past. American conservatism is precisely the reverse. It is to preserve a society open to perpetual
dynamic change. To do that, you have to go back to the past. You have to conserve the founders’ vision,
which was natural rights, limited government and separation of powers. JUDY WOODRUFF: So many people say, why do
you want the take us back to the original idea of America? I think many, many, if not most Americans
don’t understand this being open to perpetual change. GEORGE WILL: I don’t want the take
the country back to a time before. I want to take us back to premises before. One of the reasons Jefferson leapt at the
Louisiana Purchase was so that he could have an ample land for a rural humans republic,
so that people would more or less be like Thomas Jefferson. A rival founder, Hamilton, star of a recent
musical… (LAUGHTER) GEORGE WILL: … said, no, he wanted
an urban, churning, entrepreneurial, industrial, investing, restless society full of people
rather like Alexander Hamilton. So there was a viable vision of what kind
of people we would be. JUDY WOODRUFF: What should the role of government
be? I mean, you argue throughout — and you have
argued this for a long time — minimal role, government should have a small profile as
possible. And yet everybody knows there are some things
that have happened since the founders that have made a huge difference in… GEORGE WILL: Conservatives are not
against ameliorative government. Conservatives do think we need to have a constant
argument about the proper scope and actual competence of government. In 1964, 77 percent of the American people
said they trusted the federal government to do the right thing all the time or almost
all the time. Today, the figure is 17 percent, 60-point
collapse in the prestige of government, as government’s activism has risen. I would think my progressive friends would
be intensely interested in this, because everything they want to do depends on strong government. And strong government at the end of the day
depends upon confidence in government. Conservatives have no problem with Social
Security. Government identifies an eligible cohort,
the elderly, and writes them checks and mails them. It’s good at that. What government is not so good at is what
it began to undertake in the 1960s, model cities. We don’t know how to build model cities. There’s a sense in which that is as futile
an enterprise as nation-building, which is as futile an enterprise as orchid-building. Cities, like nations, like orchids, are organic
things. And they are not built by governments. JUDY WOODRUFF: Medicare? You started with Social Security. How has the government done running Medicare? GEORGE WILL: Well, it’s been constantly
surprised, because everything had predicted — all of its predictions for costs and eligibility
were much too conservative. What we did in 1965 was attach the most rapidly
growing portion of our population, the elderly, to our most dynamic science, which is medicine,
as an entitlement. So longevity is a great social achievement. It’s also ruinously expensive. Look at how we’re actually governed today. For all the talk about discord in the United
States, what’s most frightening to me is consensus. It’s as broad as the republic. It extends from Elizabeth Warren to Ted Cruz. And it’s as deep as a grand canyon. And it is this. We should have a large, well-armed, generous
entitlement state, and not pay for it. Everyone’s agreed on that. (LAUGHTER) GEORGE WILL: I’m serious. The political class is more united by class
interest than it is divided by ideology. And the class interest is to give the American
people a dollar’s worth of government and charge them 80 cents for it. We used to borrow money for the future. We fought wars for the future, built roads,
dams, highways, and we borrowed. And because the future was going to benefit
from it, it was ethical to have them pay part of the burden. Today, we’re borrowing to finance our own
consumption of government goods and services, which is decadent. JUDY WOODRUFF: What’s happened to conservatism? What happened to all the arguments that George
Will and other conservatives have made over all these years? I mean, how did it get shoved aside, in your
view, and taken over, that space taken over by Donald Trump and what most Republicans
say they support? GEORGE WILL: The very reverse, the
obverse of everything conservatism stands for is populism. Populism means the direct translation of majority
passion into governance. The ultimate direct translation of passion
into politics is Trump at the Cleveland convention, “Only I can fix it.” Now, conservatism says majorities are going
to rule, majorities ought to rule, but, said Madison — and what a wonderful phrase — he
says, we want mitigated democracy. We want public opinion slowed and filtered
and refined through representative institutions. What he brings is the manner, the lying, the
name-calling, all of this, which I think will do more lasting damage to the country — you
can’t unring these bells — than Nixon’s surreptitious burglaries did. It’s going to be extremely difficult to restore
the tone of American life that prevailed from Washington through Barack Obama. JUDY WOODRUFF: Leave us with something powerful
to take away from this — from this session. (LAUGHTER) GEORGE WILL: Well, here’s the bright
side. No one ever got rich betting against the United
States or against the American people. They are more sensible and less passionate
and inflamed than some of their representatives would have us believe they are. People, rather cavalierly, say we’re in a
constitutional crisis. We have had one constitutional crisis, that
is, one crisis that Madisonian institutions could not handle. And that was the Civil War. Watergate, all the rest, the institutions
took care of them just fine. AMNA NAWAZ: At the turn of the last century,
African-Americans from across the country flooded New York City’s Harlem neighborhood,
leading to a cultural explosion of books, poetry, music and art that is now collectively
known as the Harlem Renaissance. As special correspondent Jared Bowen from
WGBH in Boston reports, a photography exhibit now traces the evolution of one of the nation’s
most recognized neighborhoods as it continues to evolve today. It’s part of our series on arts and culture,
Canvas. JARED BOWEN: The 19-teens saw the start of
the Great Migration, when millions of African-Americans moved away from the South, many to the North,
and to Harlem, which became an oasis from oppression, especially for artists. Stephanie Sparling Williams is the exhibition’s
curator. STEPHANIE SPARLING WILLIAMS, Addison Gallery
of American Art: The art was important then in creating a new visual lexicon for African-Americans
against histories of dehumanizing and degrading stereotypes and imagery in the American popular
imagination. JARED BOWEN: At the Addison Gallery of American
Art, we find representation of nearly 100 years of life in Harlem, mostly in photographs
from the museum’s collection. The show takes us from the 1930s, just after
the Harlem Renaissance, to today. STEPHANIE SPARLING WILLIAMS: I see vibrance. I see a people who have been through so much
and were given so little and have made this out of it, this miraculous — this place. A lot of people describe Harlem as a cultural
mecca. This is where a lot of the socializing happened,
was out on street corners or in front of shops. JARED BOWEN: The Harlem of the 1930s was a
place reeling from the Great Depression. And Williams sees in the work of both black
and white photographers a place of fortune and despair. STEPHANIE SPARLING WILLIAMS: You see a tension
between Harlem’s working class, the unemployed, and then also Harlem’s upper and middle class
citizens, stuck within Harlem, but all trying to pick up the pieces. JARED BOWEN: By the 1960s, Harlem had become
a hotbed of protest in America, fueled in large part by its community of artists, says
Judith Dolkart, the Addison’s director. JUDITH DOLKART, Director, Addison Gallery
of American Art: I always see artists as active agents in the culture. So artists have the ability to change the
culture as much as anyone else. They have a point of view, and they are putting
that point of view out there. JARED BOWEN: In the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s,
Harlem’s streets were host to civil rights marches and later black power rallies. It brought an energy that Williams says courses
through these photographs. STEPHANIE SPARLING WILLIAMS: I describe it
as a buzz, the sound when you get off the subway of just people in the streets. And I think that’s captured throughout the
exhibition, not only the built environment and people, but how both come together to
create the social life of Harlem, the lifeblood of the neighborhood itself. JARED BOWEN: Today, Harlem tells a different
story, the result of gentrification. A way of life is changing, as it always has,
but now so are Harlem’s people. STEPHANIE SPARLING WILLIAMS: It comes into
sharp focus through Dawoud Bey’s series Harlem Redux, which he shot in 2016 when we see the
development, the construction. We see the different ways in which space is
being claimed by other bodies, particularly white bodies. JARED BOWEN: The show ends on an epic piece
by Kehinde Wiley, who created this instantly famous portrait of President Barack Obama. The subject, regal and wielding a sword, on
his equally mighty horse, was straight off 125th street in Harlem. STEPHANIE SPARLING WILLIAMS: It’s carrying
along this tradition of self-determined imagery, but also there’s a tension, right, this tension
between the art historical canon, this genre that African-Americans would never find themselves
in — the black body was never portrayed in these heroic paintings that depicted valor
and masculinity and virility often. But Wiley shows us that black the black figure
is no less powerful, no less masculine. JARED BOWEN: And, instead, there is glory
in a neighborhood that has long encouraged that in its residents. For the “PBS NewsHour” I’m Jared Bowen of
WGBH in Boston. AMNA NAWAZ: Across the country, communities
struggle to create jobs and end homelessness. One Detroit nonprofit has found a unique solution
to help address both challenges. Special correspondent Mary Ellen Geist has
the story. MARY ELLEN GEIST: Casandra Grimes has been
homeless for a year. But she has started to stitch her life back
together. CASANDRA GRIMES, Seamstress: I try to just
make my life better than it was before. MARY ELLEN GEIST: Grimes discovered a unique
opportunity, working at the Empowerment Plan, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending
homelessness through employment. The organization was founded by Veronika Scott. VERONIKA SCOTT, CEO, Empowerment Plan: Both
of my parents struggled with employment and addiction and poverty, and so it is creating
an opportunity I wish had been given to my own family. MARY ELLEN GEIST: While conducting research
to design a coat for homeless people, Scott was confronted by a woman who told her that
she didn’t need a coat; she needed a job. That led Scott to launch the Empowerment Plan,
which offers both employment and a unique product for people in need, a durable garment
that can be transformed from a shoulder bag, to a coat, to a sleeping bag, and back to
a shoulder bag. VERONIKA SCOTT: The coat on its own is a Band-Aid
for a systemic issue, and what really has the impact is hiring the people that would
need it in the first place. MARY ELLEN GEIST: Casandra Grimes admits the
job has its challenges. CASANDRA GRIMES: You got to focus when you
thread, because I kept on breaking the needle when I first started. But I manage it now. MARY ELLEN GEIST: Managing the work-life balance
is a part of employment at the Empowerment Plan. Employees spend 60 percent of their paid time
working and 40 percent improving their education and life skills. VERONIKA SCOTT: Empowerment Plan started off
as an education for me, and it really has evolved into creating that same opportunity
for education for everybody. MARY ELLEN GEIST: Grimes is studying for her
GED, and plans to attend college and pursue a career as a seamstress. Employees work at the Empowerment Plan for
two years, then transition out into the work force. Grimes has a year left, and the organization
is helping her find an apartment of her own. CASANDRA GRIMES: I really do feel empowered
when I am here, because I can get a good job in the future knowing I have got my education. I love what I do. They helped me get back on my feet too. MARY ELLEN GEIST: For the “PBS NewsHour,”
I’m Mary Ellen Geist in Detroit, Michigan. AMNA NAWAZ: Later tonight on PBS, “POV” presents
a film about a 23-year old Yazidi woman trying to shine the spotlight on the struggles of
her community. “On Her Shoulders” follows Nobel Peace Prize
winner Nadia Murad, who you may recall met with President Trump in the Oval Office last
week. Murad survived the 2014 genocide against the
Yazidi in Iraq, and has gone on to be an activist, hoping to spur the world to action on behalf
of the Yazidi people. “POV”‘s film “On Her Shoulders” airs tonight
on most PBS stations. And remember, on Wednesday, former special
counsel Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill. Our coverage begins online at 7:45 a.m. Eastern and on the broadcast at 8:30 a.m. And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight. On Tuesday, join us again. I’m Amna Nawaz. Join us online and again here tomorrow evening. For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank
you. We’ll see you soon.

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