PBS NewsHour full episode September 27, 2019

PBS NewsHour full episode September 27, 2019


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: a pivotal week
for the presidency. The impeachment inquiry intensifies, as a
whistle-blower’s concerns are increasingly verified. Then: the road to influence. China’s Belt and Road Initiative builds infrastructure
around the world, but critics say the cost is more than money. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD, Malaysian Prime Minister:
When you start borrowing huge sums of money and asking foreign countries to develop, and
then you cannot pay, then, obviously, you’re going to lose that part of the country. JUDY WOODRUFF: And it’s Friday. Mark Shields and David Brooks are here to
analyze the breakneck fallout from the whistle-blower complaint and the opening salvos of the impeachment
inquiry against President Trump. All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Congress is headed home for
a break tonight, leaving a White House besieged by impeachment revelations. The disclosures and President Trump’s denials
kept coming today, and the top Democrat in Congress kept up the pressure. White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor
begins our coverage. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: A historic week and, at
the end of it, both sides sounding off. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi summed up the situation
from her point of view like this: REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The impeachment of a
president is as serious as our congressional responsibilities can be, apart from declaring
war or something. And so we have to be very prayerful and we
always have to put country before party. The clarity of the president’s actions is
compelling, and gave us no choice but to move forward. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: On Monday, President Trump
started the week in New York upbeat. He was looking forward to being on the world
stage at the U.N. General Assembly. But that visit was quickly upended, when news
broke of a whistle-blower complaint from the intelligence community against him. It focused on a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian
President Volodymyr Zelensky. The complaint alleged that President Trump
pressured Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival and former Vice President Joe Biden
and his son Hunter. And it accused the president of temporarily
withholding military aid to force Ukraine to look into the younger Biden’s business
dealings in Ukraine. The whistle-blower didn’t personally hear
the phone call, but said multiple officials relayed the facts. Reports say the whistle-blower is an unidentified
CIA officer. On Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi announced a formal
impeachment inquiry. She confirmed it would narrowly focus on that
call. REP. NANCY PELOSI: The president of the United
States used taxpayer dollars to shake down the leader of another country for his own
political gain. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Initially, White House officials
blocked release of a transcript the call, as well as the whistle-blower complaint itself. But, by Wednesday, after both the House and
Senate demanded the transcript, the White House gave in. It distributed a memo summarizing the call. It also sent the redacted whistle-blower complaint
to Congress. And, yesterday, the House Intelligence Committee
made the document public. Among the revelations, the whistle-blower
accuses President Trump of — quote — “using the power of his office to solicit interference
from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election.” The complaint also said senior White House
officials intervened to — quote — “lock down” all records of the Ukraine phone call. And it alleged that — quote — “This was
not the first time under this administration that a presidential transcript was placed
into this code word-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive
information.” Today, reports surfaced that unnamed White
House officials confirmed the attempt to lock down the Zelensky call. Minutes after the complaint was released on
Thursday, acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified before the House
Intelligence Committee. JOSEPH MAGUIRE, Acting Director of National
Intelligence: We consulted with the White House Counsel’s Office, and we were advised
that much of the information in the complaint was in fact subject to executive privilege,
a privilege that I do not have the authority to waive. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Meanwhile, yesterday, during
a private event at the U.S. mission to the U.N., President Trump lashed out at the whistle-blower
and the whistle-blower’s sources. Bloomberg News published video from the event. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
That’s close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days,
when we were smart, right, with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently
than we do now. (LAUGHTER) YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Today, the president took
to Twitter, saying it’s — quote — “sounding more and more like the so-called whistle-blower
isn’t a whistle-blower at all.” Back in Washington, House Democrats are forging
ahead on their inquiry, even as they begin a two-week Columbus Day recess. REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): The president
of the United States is threatening a whistle-blower’s life. This is authoritarian behavior, and we have
to recognize and see it for what it is. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: But Republicans, by and
large, are defending the president. REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): He had no firsthand knowledge,
wasn’t on the call, and the inspector general even told us that he had a bias against the
president. And yet we’re going to — the Democrats are
going to move ahead with impeachment after reading that transcript? It’s just ridiculous. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Speaker Pelosi said today
there is no timeline for the inquiry, but the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee,
Adam Schiff, said impeachment hearings could begin as early as next week. JUDY WOODRUFF: And Yamiche joins me now with
the latest. So, Yamiche, the Democrats getting more specific
about who they want to come testify from the Trump administration. What are you learning about who all may be
implicated in this? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The whistle-blower’s complaint
focuses on President Trump, but, like the Mueller report, it also outlines a number
of individuals that are either trying to mitigate President Trump’s alleged actions or trying
to help him. So I want to walk through some of the people
mentioned in the complaint. There’s Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal
lawyer. The whistle-blower calls him — quote — “a
central figure” in President Trump’s alleged effort to pressure Ukraine. He’s said to met in person with Ukrainian
officials. There’s also John Bolton. He’s the former national security adviser. He is implemented because the National Security
Council is being accused of trying to bury President Trump’s call with the president
of Ukraine in a computer system. There’s also Attorney General William Barr. He’s accused by the whistle-blower of being
involved in pressuring Ukraine. And Trump talks about Barr on the call with
president of Ukraine — the president of Ukraine. There’s also Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,
because State Department officials are said to be on the call. And Rudy Giuliani also claims that the State
Department called him and asked him to get involved in — with Ukraine. And then, lastly, there’s Kurt Volker. He’s a U.S. special representative for Ukraine
negotiations. And Gordon Sondland, he’s the U.S. ambassador
to the European Union. Both of them are said to have given advice
to Ukraine, basically saying, here’s how you deal with President Trump’s actions. So there’s a lot of people involved here. JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, you were just reporting
that Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee in the House, is talking about maybe
moving as quickly as next week. What are you learning about how the committee
is going to move forward? There’s so much to cover and they want to
move quickly. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Democrats have said that
they’re going to move quickly with this impeachment inquiry expeditiously, they have said. And they’re doing basically just that. The House Intelligence Committee is supposed
to be going back to — basically coming back into D.C. on Friday and — early next week,
at least — and having a hearing with the inspector general Michael Atkinson. He’s supposed to be testifying behind closed
doors about basically the handling of this call. Also, three House committees subpoenaed Secretary
of State Mike Pompeo for documents related to Ukraine. The House Intelligence Committee, the House
Oversight Committee and the House Foreign Relations Committee are saying, you have until
Friday to produce those documents. Also, NPR has surfaced an hat interview that
happened in March where Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said that if the House
voted to impeach President Trump, the Senate would have no choice but to hold a trial. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Yamiche, so much going
on. This has been — I mean, every week is high
pressure at the White House. This one has been particularly so. How are they dealing with this? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The White House is in full
defense mode. And they’re really trying to help — trying
to get help from the Trump campaign with all of this. The president has been lashing out, but the
Trump campaign is going to be launching millions of dollars in ads, both on Facebook and social
media, but also in cable news outlets. And they’re going to be basically making the
case that the president is being unfairly targeted. The other thing to note is that there’s going
to be, in some ways, the spin that’s going to continue to go on from the White House. And that’s been in its — in their part, their
defense of the president. It’s also important to know that there are
300 former national security officials who released a letter. And I want to read part of that letter, because
all of this is going on as people are basically sounding the alarm. In that letter, they say: “We consider the
president’s actions to be a profound national security concern.” They also say: “There is no escaping that
what we know already is serious enough to merit impeachment proceedings.” So as the president is trying to essentially
launch his impeachment defense, you have people that are — that have worked for both Democrats
and Republicans who are pushing back on that. JUDY WOODRUFF: And those ads you mentioned,
the White House is saying they’re going to run — that’s going to start pretty quickly. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: It’s going to be the Trump
campaign running the ads. But, yes, it’s going to be pretty quickly. It’s starting this weekend. JUDY WOODRUFF: Yamiche Alcindor, so much to
keep track of. Thank you. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Thanks so much. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: Democrats
in the U.S. House of Representatives challenged President Trump on another front, the southern
border. They voted to end the national emergency declaration
that allows military funds be diverted from the military to building a border wall. The Republican-controlled Senate already approved
the resolution, but the president is expected to veto it. Congress wasn’t able to override a similar
veto last March. A federal judge in Los Angeles today blocked
the Trump administration’s new rules that could prevent indefinite detentions of migrant
children. The judge said that the rules violate the
standards set by the 1997 so-called Flores Settlement agreement. It barred indefinite detention. The administration is expected to appeal. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says that
the United States offered to lift all sanctions in exchange for renegotiating the 2015 nuclear
deal. Rouhani returned to Tehran today after attending
the U.N. General Assembly in New York. He said European leaders there brought him
a message. HASSAN ROUHANI, Iranian President (through
translator): They said America was saying it would lift the sanctions. Another issue under discussion was which sanctions
would be lifted. The Americans had clearly stated that we would
lift the entire sanctions. JUDY WOODRUFF: Hours later, President Trump
claimed that Iran asked for sanctions relief in return for a meeting, but he tweeted — quote
— “I said, of course, no.” Meanwhile, Iran today released a British-flagged
tanker that it had detained in July. Iranian state TV showed the ship leaving port. It sailed to Dubai so that the crew could
disembark and undergo medical checks. The vessel was seized after British authorities
in Gibraltar stopped an Iranian oil tanker suspected of violating European sanctions. The British released that ship last month. In Afghanistan, millions of people are preparing
for tomorrow’s presidential election, despite Taliban threats of violence. In Kabul today, armed police were preemptively
deployed to polling stations. but potential voters were divided on whether
to risk the Taliban’s wrath. MALANG SHAH, Kabul (through translator): If,
like previous elections, fingers would be chopped off, no security, I personally will
not go to vote. ABDULLAH RAMAZANI, Kabul (through translator):
At any cost, we will go to vote and elect our leader. We support the Afghan security forces ensuring
our security. JUDY WOODRUFF: President Ashraf Ghani is seeking
reelection to a second term. His chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, is
his main rival. Security forces in Egypt moved today to prevent
new mass protests against President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Popular demonstrations in recent days targeted
poor living conditions and corruption. Police vehicles took up positions all over
central Cairo today. There were still scattered protests, but El-Sisi
dismissed them and the claims of corruption. ABDEL FATTAH EL-SISI, Egyptian President (through
translator): This is an image being painted as was done before, comprised of lies and
defamation, and some media working to present an image that isn’t true. We’re really strong. The country is really strong, so don’t worry
about anything. JUDY WOODRUFF: Egyptian authorities have carried
out mass arrests in recent days. Human rights monitors say that at least 1,
900 people have been detained. Hundreds of thousands of young people marched
in cities worldwide today in a second wave of worldwide climate protests. The rallies began in New Zealand, where demonstrators
crowded filled streets outside the Parliament in Auckland. Elsewhere, there were about 180 protests in
Italy alone, with more than 10,000 people marching in Rome. Back in this country, federal immigration
judges accused the U.S. Justice Department of unfair labor practices. A union representing the more than 400 judges
alleged that a racist, anti-immigration blog post appeared in a briefing. The union also said judges are sinking under
huge caseloads and that the department is challenging their right to have a union. President Trump tonight has signed a spending
bill to keep the federal government open. It will fund federal agencies through November
21. It gives lawmakers more time to negotiate
money for points of disagreement, like funds for Mr. Trump’s border wall. And on Wall Street, stocks finished the week
on a down note. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 70 points
to close at 26820. The Nasdaq fell 91 points, and the S&P 500
was down 15. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: building
the future — Chinese construction and the global balance of power; 2020 Democratic hopefuls
vie for the crucial support of black voters in South Carolina; Mark Shields and David
Brooks break down a week that may be destined for the history books; and Judy Garland back
on screen — a new film depicts the last year in the life of the Hollywood legend. China’s Belt and Road Initiative is the most
expensive infrastructure project in history. Chinese companies are building roads, pipelines,
and railroads around the world. But the initiative is also building China’s
influence. With the support of the Pulitzer Center, Nick
Schifrin has the second installment in our series “China: Power & Prosperity.” He begins this report in Indonesia, a recipient
of Belt and Road investments. NICK SCHIFRIN: In the middle of West Java,
Indonesia, fishermen drop nets from bamboo poles, and a tea plantation fills rolling
hills that lead to a major highway and Indonesia’s fourth largest city. Here on the outskirts of Bandung, the commuter
train is old and slow. But now, cutting through the hills that lead
to Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, there’s a tunnel for a high-speed train, and the engineers
and managers who lead this $6 billion project are Chinese. They construct railway that will carry the
fastest train in Southern Asia, able to travel 215 miles an hour. Xiao Songxin leads the consortium of Indonesian
and Chinese companies building the railroad. XIAO SONGXIN, High-Speed Railroad Contractors
Consortium (through translator): The two countries’ companies can complement each other, support
each other, and develop together. It’s fundamentally a win-win project. NICK SCHIFRIN: Two thousand years ago, the
ancient Silk Road helped China spread goods, ideas and culture all the way to Europe. Today, China aspires to recreate a maritime
Silk Road of ports and an economic belt of roads, in the orange, and railways, in the
red, including the high-speed route from Bandung to Jakarta, where, in 2013, President Xi Jinping
debuted the Belt and Road Initiative as a signature foreign policy. XI JINPING, Chinese President (through translator):
Only with high ambition and hard work can one make great achievements. We have the confidence, conditions and capabilities
to obtain our goals. NICK SCHIFRIN: For Indonesia, the goal is
to collaborate with China on Belt and Road projects to lift millions of its citizens
out of poverty. At this construction yard, many lower-skilled
Indonesians, in the yellow hats, have been trained by Chinese workers in the white hats. Belt and Road projects create jobs and spark
development, says Indonesian minister Luhut Pandjaitan. LUHUT BINSAR PANDJAITAN, Indonesian Minister
for Maritime Affairs: This benefit us very much, you know, because we are going to have
also like new cities, suburbs, so then we can spread out people to the area. NICK SCHIFRIN: With new industry, new employment,
new production? LUHUT BINSAR PANDJAITAN: Yes. Yes, indeed. NICK SCHIFRIN: Indonesia needs improved infrastructure. Right now, the road from Jakarta to Bandung
weaves through the edges of forests, where constant traffic means the 90-mile trip takes
five hours. On the railroad been built over the next three
years, the trip will take 45 minutes. Luhut dreams of Indonesians traveling like
the Chinese. LUHUT BINSAR PANDJAITAN: I experienced that
when I was in Beijing. I went from Beijing to what name of the city
only one hour by speed train, very comfortable. NICK SCHIFRIN: Like the train we rode from
Hong Kong to the city of Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland. Welcome to China. In 20 years, China has gone from no high-speed
rail to the longest high-speed rail network in the world, thanks to state-owned enterprises,
the rails, the electricity, the telecommunications all produced by majority state-owned enterprises. And much of the steel comes from companies
like the majority state-owned Baosteel. The company is now so large, it has its own
ports, four of them, on the outskirts of Shanghai. Baosteel Group makes as much steel as the
entire U.S. It’s actually too much. Excess Chinese steel capacity weighs down
the economy. The Belt and Road Initiative gives Baosteel
new markets. Huang Weiliang directs Baosteel’s strategic
planning and technology. HUANG WEILIANG, Baosteel (through translator):
For the steel industry, the Belt and Road Initiative will generate direct demand for
steel products. With the economic development in those Belt
and Road countries, their people’s living standards will improve, and thus the demands
for durable consumer goods will increase. NICK SCHIFRIN: And China says the Belt and
Road Initiative also improves Chinese living standards by connecting rural, previously
unconnected areas, such as this site in Sichuan province. The government argues more rail access produces
prosperity and stability. XIAO WEIMING, Director General, National Development
and Reform Commission (through translator): We encourage Chinese companies to go out of
China to enhance their production capability. In return, we can use the increased government
revenue to improve the income level of some poor areas. This is important. NICK SCHIFRIN: Xiao Weiming leads the office
in the Chinese Ministry that oversees the Belt and Road Initiative. He describes the initiative as helping China
to develop internally and expand externally. XIAO WEIMING (through translator): China has
entered a new era. The Belt and Road Initiative is the banner
of China’s new round of reform and opening up, as well as a general plan of economic
cooperation with foreign countries. NICK SCHIFRIN: But, for some countries, that
cooperation led to a loss of control. In Kuantan, Malaysia, a state-owned Chinese
developer was building this industrial park and port. But the construction is frozen, stopped by
an unlikely critic. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD, Malaysian Prime Minister:
China is a big power now. And big powers normally want to expand their
influence. NICK SCHIFRIN: Mahathir Mohamad served as
Malaysian prime minister from 1981 to 2003. He used to describe the U.S. as the colonizer. But last year, at the age of 92, he came out
of retirement and was reelected. His opponent was accused of siphoning off
Chinese money connected to Belt and Road contracts. Mahathir called China the new colonizer and
Belt and Road projects predatory. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD: Everything is imported,
mostly from China. Workers were from China. All of the parts and the materials were from
China. And the payment for the contracts were also
to be made in China. That means that Malaysia doesn’t get any benefit
at all. NICK SCHIFRIN: The original contracts called
for Chinese-built ports, Chinese-built pipelines, a $20 billion Chinese-built rail link, and
the Melaka Gateway, a Chinese-financed development project on the Melaka Strait, through which
almost all Chinese oil flows. Mahathir accused the Chinese of taking advantage
of a corrupt government. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD: The whole thing was
done in a hurry by the previous government without due regard for the interests of Malaysia. NICK SCHIFRIN: In Belt and Road deals, countries
can lose sovereignty and China can gain assets. Sri Lanka had to hand over a port when it
couldn’t afford debt payments to a Chinese bank. To build this Belt and Road railroad with
Chinese loans, Kenya agreed to apply Chinese law inside Kenya and give up East Africa’s
largest port if it couldn’t repay its debts. And to pay for South America’s largest dam,
Ecuador is selling 80 percent of its most valuable asset, oil, to China at a discount. Mahathir says he too feared that loss of control. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD: When you start borrowing
huge sums of money and asking foreign countries to develop, and then you cannot pay, then,
obviously you’re going to lose that part of the country. NICK SCHIFRIN: That warning has been echoed
by the U.S.’ most senior officials. MIKE PENCE, Vice President of the United States:
We don’t drown our partners in a sea of debt. We don’t coerce or compromise your independence. The United States deals openly, fairly. We do not offer a constricting belt or a one-way
road. NICK SCHIFRIN: The U.S. argues, China’s version
of Belt and Road fosters corruption. The state-owned China Communications Construction
Company alone has been accused of bribery across four countries. The U.S. also warns, China’s ports could one
day host Chinese warships. Last year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
warned that could lead to a Chinese empire. MIKE POMPEO, U.S. Secretary of State: When
China shows up with bribes to senior leaders in countries, in exchange for infrastructure
projects, then this idea of a treasury-run empire build is something that I think would
be bad for each of those countries, and certainly presents risk to American interests. NICK SCHIFRIN: The United States government
describes the Belt and Road Initiative as a way for Chinese to exert control and to
increase Chinese power around the world. XIAO WEIMING (through translator): We Chinese
do not have what you call ambition or a grand vision to change the world order. We only want to promote more economic cooperation. NICK SCHIFRIN: What’s your response to that
criticism, that the Belt and Road Initiative contracts are debt traps and aren’t transparent? XIAO WEIMING (through translator): Chinese
companies won the bidding, and other foreign companies didn’t win. And the reason is simple. Foreign companies and workers are not as hardworking
as the Chinese. NICK SCHIFRIN: But don’t those Chinese companies
get advantages, not because they are just hard workers, but because they are protected
by the Chinese state? XIAO WEIMING (through translator): I cannot
say it’s the Chinese government’s support. China’s financial institutions will provide
financing only if they deem the projects are profitable. We do not make investments blindly. We Chinese are not stupid. NICK SCHIFRIN: And some of the countries with
Belt and Road investments say they’re not stupid either. Malaysia renegotiated with China, and, in
late July, the construction of the rail link restarted, in a joint Malaysian-Chinese ceremony. China agreed to reduce the price tag for construction
by 30 percent and allow more Malaysian workers. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD: They are willing to
listen to our views, and, in the end, they accommodated our problems. NICK SCHIFRIN: U.S. officials say they’re
trying to develop an alternative. The leaders of a new $60 billion agency that
will launch next month have been visiting countries where China is investing. The U.S. is pitching public-private deals
to counter Belt and Road investments. And the U.S. advocates Japanese investment
as an alternative. Japan built Jakarta’s local subway. But the Chinese deals are better, Indonesian
Minister Luhut told the Japanese. LUHUT BINSAR PANDJAITAN: I said to them, OK,
look, your term on the previous project, I think too tight for us. The Chinese offer us now the term much better. NICK SCHIFRIN: And countries who receive Belt
and Road investment say the Trump administration is difficult to deal with compared to the
Chinese. They have got this Belt and Road Initiative. Does the United States offer anything like
that? LUHUT BINSAR PANDJAITAN: Never. To reach Washington is very hard. We don’t know to whom to talk. In China, we have so many people over there. MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD: The U.S. approach is
always with a big stick and very little carrot. This has not happened with the Chinese. That’s not the Chinese way. NICK SCHIFRIN: But the Chinese way is to increase
its presence and find allies all over the world to increase influence. The Belt and Road Initiative is the engine
to power that expansion, and it’s full-speed ahead. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Nick Schifrin
in Bandung, Indonesia. South Carolina JUDY WOODRUFF: South Carolina’s primary is
an early and critical test of support from black voters. That is why Democratic presidential candidates
have already held more than 400 events in the Palmetto State. Yamiche Alcindor is back to report on how
the 2020 hopefuls still have a lot of voters to win over. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: In North Charleston, South
Carolina, Royal Missionary Baptist Church has seen its fair share of presidential candidates. REV. ISAAC HOLT, Royal Missionary Baptist Church:
Some people say we need a change in the nation’s highest office. Amen. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Reverend Isaac Holt isn’t
making any endorsements. He believes the best way to help his members
decide who to support is to give them options. REV. ISAAC HOLT: Let’s receive sister Kamala Harris. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: So, he’s welcoming the candidates
to show up in person and speak to his more than 3,000 parishioners. SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), Presidential Candidate:
Good morning. Good morning, Royal. Good morning. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Today, California Senator
Kamala Harris is taking a turn. SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: Yes, we must love thy neighbor,
but let’s define and be clear about who is our neighbor. Our neighbor is not just the person that lives
next door. We learn and know everybody is our neighbor,
including that man by the side of the road who may be afflicted, who may have been rejected. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Black voters, like those
at church this morning, made up more than 60 percent of the South Carolina Democratic
primary electorate in 2016. That means the path to the presidential nomination
runs straight through communities like this one. But Harris is still struggling to break through
here. She’s stuck in single digits in recent polls. She trails former Vice President Joe Biden,
as well as Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. But she is ahead of South Bend, Indiana, Mayor
Pete Buttigieg and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. What do you make of the fact that there are
two white male candidates, both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, who have more support
in the African-American community? SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: A lot of it has to do with
the fact that they are known, and we are still introducing ourselves. And there is still a long way to go in this
campaign to be able to do that. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: For a number of the senator’s
Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sisters, many sitting in the front row of church, the candidate
showing up here is an important step. LORETTA JENKINS SUMTER, South Carolina: You
need to start grassroots. And I think her infusion into the community
like this is the best way to go. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: But she has some work to
do here? LORETTA JENKINS SUMTER: She has some work
to do. She needs to interface more, be it in this
community, the African-American community, the Hispanic community, wherever. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The South Carolina primary
is just five months away. That gives candidates precious little time
to make in-roads with the biggest voting bloc in the Democratic Party here. Coming to a historically black community like
Liberty Hill in North Charleston is a prime opportunity. After the Civil War, freed African-Americans
founded this neighborhood. Today, it’s holding its first annual reunion. Hester McFadden helped plan the celebration. HESTER MCFADDEN, South Carolina: We thought
it was necessary to bring together folks so that they could learn about the history of
this community. All too often in this country, a lot of the
African-American communities are fading away, for whatever reasons, gentrification and for
a lot of other reasons. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: In this neighborhood, politics
and fellowship are intertwined. SHAMEKIA DESAUSSURE, South Carolina: You got
like 20 candidates running at this point. To read up on 20 different people, that’s
too many people at this point. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Tell me a little bit about
who you’re thinking you like for the 2020 election? TERRY HART, South Carolina: I like Biden. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Why? TERRY HART: I like Biden because I think he
will still have a lot of what Obama did. THOMAS ALSTOM, South Carolina: I’m hoping
Elizabeth Warren actually succeeds in her bid for the nomination. You know, actually, I like quite a few of
them. I think we have got a great team. Biden is all right, but I think Biden and
Bernie are a little past the lifespan, you know? Cory Booker, he’s — you know, I mean, he’s
pretty good. SHAMEKIA DESAUSSURE: Talking about Harris,
so, I — I’m just not connecting with her at all. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Some black voters said they
don’t trust Harris because of her background as a prosecutor. SHAMEKIA DESAUSSURE: What I have read so far
about her, they were saying that she was kind of harsh on African-Americans, especially
on drug charges and things like that. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: So how is she trying to
change this perception? SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: Look, first of all, let’s just
back up, because here’s the thing. I am the only one on the stage who decided
to jump in the fire at a very young age in my life and do what I could to reform the
system from the inside. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Hester and her daughter
Stephanie represent a generational divide that is showing up in polls. Like most older black voters, Hester is strongly
in the Joe Biden camp. She likes his connection to former President
Barack Obama. Stephanie likes Biden, but she also likes
Sanders, and her mind isn’t quite made up yet. There are times when African-Americans are
given this message of criminal justice: I want to come to your church and talk about
these other things. Is there pandering that you worry about? STEPHANIE MCFADDEN, South Carolina: Absolutely. HESTER MCFADDEN: Yes, most definitely. STEPHANIE MCFADDEN: We don’t need a candidate
to play on our emotions. We just want someone to get the job done. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: As African-American women,
what are your concerns when you think about your race and your gender? HESTER MCFADDEN: I’m concerned about equity
in the job market and housing, and to make sure that our children are not straddled with
debt. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Hester McFadden thinks the
still-crowded Democratic field could learn from her reunion. HESTER MCFADDEN: The candidates need to sit
down and say, look, let’s — let’s work together collectively. Let’s work together as a united front. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Meanwhile, Liberty Hill
has already started thinking about its next reunion in 2021. That one won’t be overshadowed by presidential
politics. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Yamiche Alcindor
in North Charleston, South Carolina. JUDY WOODRUFF: And now back in Washington,
fallout from the whistle-blower’s complaint, as the formal impeachment inquiry picks up
steam. And to help analyze this historic week, I’m
joined by Shields and Brooks. That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields
and New York Times columnist David Brooks. Hello to both of you. So much going on this week, but I think we
know where to start. And that is — David, looking back at this
conversation that took place in July between President Trump, the president of Ukraine,
the White House continues to say this is perfectly appropriate, the president said perfect, conversation
with the leader of another country. Democrats are saying it was a violation of
his oath, an impeachable offense. DAVID BROOKS: Yes. I’m a little mystified. I think they’re sincere. They thought it was exculpatory. But I don’t see how they could actually think
that. I mean, the crucial thing to do with that
transcript is to look at the logic chain of the thing. So Trump says, we have been very generous
to you. You haven’t always been generous to us. We have been more generous than the others. And then — then that follows with, well,
maybe you can do us a favor. And that favor is to investigate the Bidens. So when you just break down the logic chain,
it’s a very clear, we did this for you, you owe us, here’s what you can do for us. And that is — it’s not an explicit quid pro
quo, but it comes pretty close, I think. JUDY WOODRUFF: Are there shades of questions
here about what happened in that conversation, Mark, or is it clear-cut for you? MARK SHIELDS: It’s clear-cut, Judy. I mean, what it puts to rest is the lie about
the confidence of the Trump campaign: We’re leading in all polls. We’re ahead. He was so terrified, so intimidated, the president
of the United States got on the phone with the leader of Ukraine to get dirt on the one
Democrat who in every major poll was beating him and that candidate’s son. I mean, this shows the terror, the intimidation. And the false bravado is just totally exposed. And it is — David — I think David was more
than kind. It is totally explicit. This is a country, Judy, that has a smaller
army than that of Sri Lanka. I mean, it’s sitting on the doorstep of Russia,
that has shown nothing but imperial totalitarian impulses toward it, translated into physical
action. It’s got an economy smaller than that of El
Salvador. And we’re holding $451 million? And the president of the United States — it’s
a supplicant, mendicant. It’s the boss to the lowest employee. I mean, the power is totally disproportionate. And anybody has to acknowledge that who sees
it. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, David, you still have
Republicans, though, saying, highly appropriate for the United States to be saying to the
leader of Ukraine, we want you to clean up corruption in your country, that that was
what… (CROSSTALK) DAVID BROOKS: Yes. Well, that is appropriate, I suppose, to say. But the Republicans are not going to break
on this. And that’s, I think, when — as we look at
impeachment — I vaguely remember Watergate. I was young. But I remember a sense of gravity, a sense
that we’re stepping outside our party lines. At least some people did that, Sam Ervin,
other people, Howard Baker. And we’re going to weigh the evidence. And this is so serious, we can’t just play
normal politics. That’s not going to happen this time. To me, this is already feeling like very normal
politics, where the Democrats are going to be all here and the Republicans will be all
here, and the idea of stepping outside your partisan affiliation for the sake of the truth,
that’s just not the way the game is played anymore. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I want to ask you both
about the role that the whistle-blower played in all this. We learned several days ago that this is someone
in the intelligence community, in the last few days, Mark, reporting, that it’s an analyst
at the CIA. We don’t have the name. In fact, we’re not supposed to have the name. This person is supposed to be — identity
is supposed to be protected. But the president is calling this individual
a spy, in effect, saying, this is somebody who’s disloyal to the country. MARK SHIELDS: Last week, the president branded
the person a partisan hack, you will recall. It’s gone now to treachery. I mean, the person who did it, Judy, assuming
that it’s a person of rational — and I think it’s an intelligent and comprehensive and
well-written complaint — had to know what he or she was putting at risk, in the hothouse
in which we live here in Washington, that the identity will eventually be made public. And I think it can only be revealed and described
as act of great — of great courage to do so. JUDY WOODRUFF: And pulling in, David, a number
of other administration officials, which is what’s launching the congressional… DAVID BROOKS: Yes. That was the big thing I took away from the
report, that it was — it’s bigger than just one phone call. MARK SHIELDS: Yes. DAVID BROOKS: It’s partly the cover-up, but
he said it was over a series of months. There’s a lot of people who were in a panic
about this. And so it’s not just that one phone call,
and then he heard about it. But there was a process. There were people who were freaked out about
it. And so there’s a little more here than just
one person who’s going to be involved in this. MARK SHIELDS: David’s right, Judy, that he
laid out a blueprint. That’s what the letter does and the statement
does. It’s a blueprint to pursue investigation,
to interview and expand. JUDY WOODRUFF: And the fact that this person,
what, spent four months, collected — talked to a number of different people. MARK SHIELDS: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: Didn’t just rashly set this
— set this out there and throw it out. MARK SHIELDS: No. JUDY WOODRUFF: But the question then comes
down to is, David, the impeachment inquiry. The House is doubling down. We had Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House
Intelligence, on the program last night, saying, this is more serious than the Mueller report,
which they spent months and months considering. DAVID BROOKS: Yes. It’s certainly narratively cleaner. You can understand it, where Russia was much
more complicated. And, to me, the decision to do impeachment
is a mistake. They — I do agree Trump did something impeachable,
but this is a political process, not a legal process. There’s no obligation to prosecute. And, to me, it’s a mistake for a couple reasons. If your object is to get Donald Trump out
of the White House, impeachment doesn’t get you there, because the chance that you will
get 20 senators, 20 Republican senators, to vote to vote Donald Trump out of office seems
to me so remote, it’s minuscule. So the likely outcome of this is that Donald
Trump will say, see, I was acquitted in the Senate. I’m vindicated. I beat these people. And so he will get a little victory. And then both parties will go into revolt. And so that’s the way it likely looks to end
up. In the meantime, you’re trampling over your
Democratic primary season. You’re not having the debate the voters want,
which is about climate change and health care and jobs and stuff like that. You’re focusing all the attention on the Democratic
side, or the bulk of it, to the Congress, not to the presidential candidates. And, to me, so what Pelosi has done, I think,
here is taken a decision that has a very low chance of succeeding, to get him out of office,
but has huge risks in ways we can’t even imagine. And so I’m a little nervous about where impeachment
is going to get us. JUDY WOODRUFF: You think the Democrats are
doing the right thing, or not? MARK SHIELDS: The Democrats are doing the
only thing they can do. I mean, what this president has done is not
outrageous. It’s not indefensible. It’s criminal. And that’s what he’s done. He has totally abdicated, abrogated and corrupted
his oath of office. So when it comes to making this decision,
I think the preeminent national American political leader of the 21st century is the speaker
of the House, more so than any president. She single-handedly passed the Affordable
Care Act. She is the one major figure in the national
firmament of any presidential candidate who opposed the folly and the debacle and the
tragedy of the war in Iraq. She put at risk her majority to pass the Affordable
Care Act, covering 17 million Americans, two million of whom have lost their coverage as
a result of Donald Trump’s policies in the last year alone. And she knew she was losing the majority. And she came back. She has not — she has avoided the rush to
join the pound-of-flesh club, let’s get — get him for double-parking outside an orphanage
on the Capitol — on Christmas Eve. This is just too serious. You can’t turn your back on it. I agree with David it may not be politically
good timing, expedient. It would be an act of total irresponsibility
not to act when you have the evidence given to the Democrats. JUDY WOODRUFF: How do you… DAVID BROOKS: Yes, there’s this thing called
the ethical responsibility. What’s the actual outcome of the decision? And maybe she couldn’t act, but she said,
I will not do impeachment unless there’s a bipartisan upswell of support for this. And there’s not that. And that will never happen right now. And so I think she was — she was forced into
it by the pressure in her own party, their own caucus. But the House is not the central question
here. The Senate is the central question here. And it’s the Senate that’s going to give Trump
this victory. And, in the meantime, I just think she’s given
Trump the fight he wants, which is the fight against the congressional Democrats, not about
policy, not about things that actually affect people’s lives, but just a personality, reality
TV role with inside the Beltway. And, to me, that’s the fight he wants. I don’t know where it’ll go. It’ll spin wildly out of control over the
next several months. But it’s — to me, it’s not — the ethical
responsibility is, what can I do to get Donald Trump out of the White House? And this is not the right path, in my view. MARK SHIELDS: I would say this, Judy, that,
unlike David and perhaps Secretary Clinton, I do not believe people on the other side
are irredeemable. I really do believe that, when confronted
with the evidence and the reality, and that this — we have seen just the beginning. This is the tip of the camel’s nose that we
have seen. I think… JUDY WOODRUFF: You means in terms of… MARK SHIELDS: Of what’s gone on. And I think, when people come and are under
oath and are sworn to testify, I think we will find more. And I think Republicans, at the core, are
Americans before they’re Republicans. And, yes, there’s a herd mentality and a silo
attitude right now, but I do think that, when the — when the evidence becomes overwhelming,
which I think it will be, I think they will act. JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you think, David? If not an impeachment inquiry, what should
the — what should Democrats do? DAVID BROOKS: Well, they could have censured
him and then say, let’s have an election. We’re in an election year. Let’s have an election about this. And then they can investigate and lay before
the American people everything that’s happened. I think the inquiry is totally fine. But let’s not have this process swallow up
an election year. We have elections for a reason. We happen to be in the middle one. And let’s do that. And I think this election was a — it’s a
good moment for the Democratic Party. It’s an exciting election, a lot of ideas. And to overshadow that, to me, a lot of people
are going to take a look at this and say, well, we could have settled this with 100
million voters around the country or 100 millionaires in the Senate. Who should have the power here? MARK SHIELDS: He — this is question, Judy,
of, he is asking, if not demanding and coercing, an ally, a subservient ally, let’s be very
frank about it — I mean, in the relationship between the United States and Ukraine, Ukraine
is subservient to the United States on — in all candor. He’s asking them to interfere in an American
election, to spill dirt on an opponent. I mean, we can’t have that. I mean, we can’t pretend that that’s tolerable
at all and, oh, we will just wait until the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. It’s — I’m sorry. It’s just too grave. JUDY WOODRUFF: Is there — is there something,
David, that would make an impeachment inquiry the right thing to do, or is it — I mean,
is there anything this president can do? (CROSSTALK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes, are you saying there’s
nothing that… DAVID BROOKS: No, I’m not saying that. But I agree with Mark on the severity of what
he did. I’m not saying that he — I think he did an
impeachable offense. I’m just saying, look at our context. And our context is, we’re in the middle of
an election year. And we should not walk down a path that will
lead ultimately to failure in 99 percent. I really do not think — and Mark and I may
disagree on this — that the Republican senators who hung with Donald Trump through Charlottesville,
through three years of moral turpitude, of 1,000 outrages which we speak about on every
Friday, I just don’t think they’re going to break with him. And I don’t think the Republican voters are
going to break with him. They will find some way. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Mark, what about that? MARK SHIELDS: I guess I have more confidence
in the Republicans than David does. But I’d say — and I don’t argue. JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Mark — but let me just… MARK SHIELDS: This is totally disruptive. I mean, it’s totally disruptive to the process. David’s right. It totally intrudes and puts everything else
aside. But I will say this. If you’re picking sides in the Democrats,
you want the Intelligence Committee. You want it to be Adam Schiff against Devin
Nunes. I mean, that’s a mismatch in talent. JUDY WOODRUFF: And in just five seconds, you’re
saying it’s worth it to go through with this even if the Senate does not vote to convict? You’re saying it’s worth it? MARK SHIELDS: Yes, it is. I mean, we have — we cannot sit here and
pretend that this didn’t happen and that it’s not serious, what this president has done. And it should be disqualifying. JUDY WOODRUFF: Mark Shields, David Brooks,
thank you. We are still months away from awards season
in Hollywood, but one film already getting buzz. It’s “Judy,” a biography about legendary actress
Judy Garland. From the recent Toronto International Film
Festival, Jeffrey Brown takes a look at the movie and its star, as part of our Canvas
series on arts and culture. JEFFREY BROWN: In the new film “Judy,” we
meet one of the 20th century’s greatest entertainers in freefall near the end of her life. RENEE ZELLWEGER, Actress: I can’t. ACTRESS: You will be fine. JEFFREY BROWN: It’s a study of Hollywood both
magic and tragic, the girl who is forever Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” the woman who
dazzled with her singing and screen performances, the great Judy Garland, played by Renee Zellweger. RENEE ZELLWEGER: It’s impossible not to appreciate
just how truly extraordinary she was. JEFFREY BROWN: What did she have? And what did you see in her? RENEE ZELLWEGER: Hope, joy, tenacity, and
just raw, God-given talent. Her ability to transcend. She gets inside a song. She breaks it apart. She lives and feels the content of whatever
it is that’s speaking to human emotion. And every person who sees her feels that she’s
singing to me. JEFFREY BROWN: Rupert Goold directed the new
film. He’s best known for his work in London theater. RUPERT GOOLD, Director, “Judy”: I spent my
life in rehearsal rooms, and had the privilege of being incredibly close to all sorts of
actors and singers. And I was just really interested in trying
to capture what it is to perform, sort of intuitively in the body, emotionally, psychologically. And Garland was, like, an incredible performer. And in some senses, this film is a study of
what that means and the cost of that. JEFFREY BROWN: The film shows flashbacks to
the teenaged Frances Gumm, her given name, from a small town in Minnesota, as she becomes
the national darling Judy Garland, part of the star-making MGM Studio machine, groomed
for fame, but fed pills to stay slim, others to stay awake for grueling 18-hour shoots,
still others to sleep. RUPERT GOOLD: Judy Garland literally grew
up on camera. She was the first person who had that experience. Her entire life was in the public eye. And she was incubated by the studio, and I’m
sure that had lots of triumphs and joys in that. But there was also a lot of very punishing,
difficult times for her, particularly in her youth. JEFFREY BROWN: But the real focus here is
much later, in 1969, the final year of her life, when, all but broke, homeless, and unemployable
in Hollywood, Garland took on a series of stage performances in a London nightclub. Zellweger says that, while much has changed
in the film world, she found ways to connect. RENEE ZELLWEGER: Well, I probably understand
a little bit of it, from personal experience. There’s an awareness among most people in
our business that we’re lucky to be doing what we’re doing. So there’s a certain level of gratitude that
then translates into a sense of responsibility, that you want to hold up your end of the deal. And for someone like Judy, for example, who
was made to feel constantly that she was lucky, and — but lucky and replaceable, and that
there’s a million girls who can take your place, what wouldn’t you do in order to hold
onto your place, when this is your joy? JEFFREY BROWN: You have to make a decision
about how to play her, right, an iconic person. Do you end up coming to feel that you are
impersonating her, playing her? RENEE ZELLWEGER: Oh, I hope not. JEFFREY BROWN: No? RENEE ZELLWEGER: I hope not. No, it felt — I don’t know. It just felt — I just wanted to express what
it was I was feeling. It was a search for finding that moment, that
opportunity to tell that point of that emotional experience, and a celebration. RUPERT GOOLD: It was funny. I remember, in the early part of the shoot,
we talked about whether we’d refer to Judy or Renee in between takes or in filming. JEFFREY BROWN: Oh, really? RUPERT GOOLD: And I think, as it went on,
which often happens, I think, with actors in a role, it just becomes a she. She’s this, she’s that. And the she, of course, is Judy Garland, but,
of course, it’s also what we’re doing on the day in the performance. And the she becomes sort of like a dream state,
which, hopefully, if you have done the work beforehand, that there is enough Judy in there. JEFFREY BROWN: Oh, goodness. Were you in this dream state, too? Judy, Renee, Judy, Renee, Renee, Judy? RENEE ZELLWEGER: Hopefully not cognizant of
what’s happening in the moment, in the surroundings, but trying to stay connected to whatever it
was that we had collected and discussed and, again, conjured, bring this energy, bring
this emotion, bring this moment in the telling of her story. JEFFREY BROWN: Some of the interest in this
film, too, is seeing Zellweger herself, now 50, return to the screen. A star since her 20s in films like “Jerry
Maguire,” “Maguire,” “Chicago,” “Bridget Jones,” and “Cold Mountain,” for which she won an
Oscar for best supporting actress, she stepped away from the movies for six years, and has
spoken openly of the emotional stress and depression she battled. Part of it, she told me in Toronto, was her
own Hollywood bubble, estranged from life itself. RENEE ZELLWEGER: And I’d learned about this
process. But I don’t think that you can authentically
tell stories when you don’t have authentic exchanges with people. And most of my exchanges were as a different
character, or talking about the character that I had played. So, you know, where’s home, and who are your
friends, and what do you like to do now, and why don’t you learn something new, and why
don’t you grow as a person? It just seemed essential to me, or I was boring
myself. You know, kill, I would hear myself speaking
the lines. That’s no good. JEFFREY BROWN: “Judy,” one of today’s stars
taking on one of the greatest ever, is quite a comeback performance. And Zellweger did her own singing and dancing. RENEE ZELLWEGER: That’s his fault. (LAUGHTER) JEFFREY BROWN: That’s his fault? RUPERT GOOLD: I wasn’t the one singing. (LAUGHTER) JEFFREY BROWN: What do you mean? He made you do it? Yes? RENEE ZELLWEGER: Well, I didn’t show up going,
hey, guys, I have a good idea. (LAUGHTER) RUPERT GOOLD: She’s a great singer. JEFFREY BROWN: But you went for it, huh? RUPERT GOOLD: And then some. RENEE ZELLWEGER: You won’t forget me, will
you? Promise you won’t. JEFFREY BROWN: Judy Garland was just 47 when
she died. The new film “Judy” opens this weekend. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jeffrey Brown
at the Toronto International Film Festival. JUDY WOODRUFF: That’s got to be quite a film. And on the “NewsHour” online: Medicare for
all has become a central tenet of some Democrats’ presidential campaigns. But 40 percent of U.S. adults say they still
do not know enough about the insurance proposal to offer an opinion on it. That is according to a survey from the Commonwealth
Fund released yesterday. We take a look at where Americans stand on
health care ahead of the 2020 election. All that and more is on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour. Our China series continues on tomorrow’s edition
of “PBS NewsHour Weekend.” Nick Schifrin and special correspondent Katrina
Yu examine the trade war and the winners and losers on both sides. And that is the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Judy Woodruff. Have a great weekend. Thank you, and good night.

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