PBS NewsHour full episode October 14, 2019

JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: shifting alliances.
In the wake of President Trump’s controversial order to withdraw U.S. troops from Northern
Syria, the Kurds seek new support amid fears of a resurgent Islamic State and further violence. Then: As the impeachment inquiry in the Congress
pushes on, a few holdout Democrats in the House face fierce tensions back home while
they weigh the choice. And Ronan Farrow on his new book, “Catch and
Kill,” the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and how news organizations handled it. RONAN FARROW, “The New Yorker”: In industry
after industry, these patterns of misconduct and cover-ups exist, and also there are more
and more people speaking out, and more and more really good, brave reporters refusing
to stop reporting. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: The battlefield in Northern
Syria has grown wider and increasingly complicated and more dangerous. The Kurds, once aligned with the U.S., are
now fighting with Syrian government troops against invading Turkish forces. As foreign affairs correspondent Nick Schifrin
reports, President Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region is leading to more
change than the area has seen in years. And a warning: Some viewers may find some
of the images in this piece disturbing. NICK SCHIFRIN: On state TV, the Syrian flag
flies over an important Northern Syrian city, after Syrian troops overnight recaptured this
territory for the first time in more than five years. Meanwhile, in another important Syrian town,
Turkish troops and Turkish-backed rebels advanced. Both cities had been held by U.S.-backed Kurdish
partners. But in just a few days, the map of Northern Syria is being redrawn. Just last week, the U.S.-backed majority Kurdish
Syrian Democratic Forces, in yellow, controlled a large area along the Syrian-Turkish border.
Now Turkey, in green, is moving south across the border, and the Syrian regime, in red,
backed by Russia, is taking back territory. For Turkey, the goal is to remove Kurdish
forces it considers terrorists and establish a buffer zone along the border. It’s an operation
Turkey long threatened, but avoided so long as U.S. troops remained in Northern Syria,
partnered with those Kurdish forces to defeat ISIS. But those U.S. troops are now withdrawing,
giving Turkey a window to launch an offensive that Defense Secretary Mark Esper called inevitable. MARK ESPER, U.S. Defense Secretary: We didn’t
want to get involved in a conflict that dates back nearly 200 years between the Turks and
the Kurds and get involved in another — yet another war in the Middle East. NICK SCHIFRIN: But the U.S. was already in
the middle of the war, and, by leaving, the carnage came quickly. This weekend, videos posted on social media
showed Turkish-backed militias killing Kurdish prisoners on the streets. And residents injured
by the Turkish assault ended up in the back of pickup trucks. Washington asserts Turkey will not go unchecked.
In a statement this afternoon, President Trump increased tariffs on Turkey, called Turkey’s
actions setting conditions for possible war crimes, and threatened to swiftly destroy
Turkey’s economy if Turkey’s operation continued. But just hours before that announcement, Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doubled down. RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkish President (through
translator): Regardless of the threats and pressures, we are determined to continue the
operation until the end. I am stating clearly, we will absolutely finish the job we started. NICK SCHIFRIN: For Turkey’s Kurdish targets,
they felt they had no choice but to embrace the Syrian regime and invite Syrian troops
to provide the protection once promised by the U.S. MAN (through translator): We came here to
face the Turkish attack and to ensure the safety of families from the random Turkish
shelling. NICK SCHIFRIN: The U.S. military fears that
shelling could allow ISIS to resurge. Over the weekend ISIS-affiliated prisoners escaped. The alarm is being sounded loudest by countries
hit hardest by Islamic State terrorism. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas spoke today
in Europe. HEIKO MAAS, German Foreign Minister (through
translator): We are also fearing, and we are seeing it already, that this is leading to
a strengthening of ISIS, which we absolutely must prevent. NICK SCHIFRIN: Caught in the crossfire are
Syrian civilians. The U.N. says 130,000 have fled their homes in what local Kurdish authorities
call a humanitarian disaster. WOMAN (through translator): I have four children,
two girls and two boys. Where should I go? I’m so tired. I left the house a week ago.
Where should I go now? NICK SCHIFRIN: And it’s not clear where the
future of Northeast Syria goes now either. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Nick Schifrin. JUDY WOODRUFF: Another marathon of private
hearings on Capitol Hill today, as members of three committees in the House of Representatives
question President Trump’s former top Russia adviser Fiona Hill. It’s part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry. Our Yamiche Alcindor has been reporting on
Capitol Hill today. And she joins us now. So, Yamiche, remind us who Fiona Hill is.
What is her background? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Fiona Hill was the first
person who worked at the White House to come before Congress to testify as part of the
Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. She was President Trump’s top Europe and Russia
adviser. She worked with President Trump for about two years as part of the National Security
Council staff. And she had a long career as a national intelligence officer before she
came to work for President Trump. Now, she left the administration just a couple
of days before that July 25 phone call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine.
Before, she worked — came to work for President Trump, she worked for both George W. Bush’s
administration, as well as the administration of Barack Obama. And she’s seen as someone who’s very knowledgeable
on the issue of Russia. She’s also seen as someone who’s very skeptical of Vladimir Putin.
She’s written several books about Russia. And one of them is seen as a critical biography
of Vladimir Putin called “Mr. Putin.” So she’s someone who is very well-respected.
And Democrats are eager to hear what she has to say. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Yamiche, we know that
she was answering questions among a number of committees in the House of Representatives
today, but behind closed doors. What do we know about what she’s been saying? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, it’s clear that Fiona
Hill came here with an agenda. And that agenda is to, based on reports, talk
about the fact that she was against the removal of the former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie
Yovanovitch, and she was also really concerned with the actions of Trump allies. She thinks
that they were abusing power by having the former ambassador of Ukraine removed. She’s, according to reports, wanted to come
here, but she also was a complying with a subpoena, much like last week, when we saw
the former ambassador of Ukraine say that she was legally required to be here. Her lawyer
said she was served with a subpoena today and came here before Congress to offer information. So we’re not exactly sure exactly what she
said in the deposition, because it’s continuing to go on, but the idea is that she’s going
to be giving critical information that’s going to be part of this impeachment inquiry. And,
basically, it’s going to be saying that Rudy Giuliani and Gordon Sondland, the ambassador
to Europe — to the European Union, as well as the president’s personal attorney, were
operating outside of the official channels that the State Department has to try to pressure
Ukraine to investigate the president’s political rivals. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Yamiche, separate story,
but we know that the White House is today dealing with the fallout from something that
happened several days ago. This was at a conference of Trump supporters
at which a video was shown that actually shows someone with the head of President Trump going
into a church, a congregation, people filling a church, and shooting people, with the names
of news organizations superimposed on their heads, among them, PBS, The New York Times
and others. What is the White House saying about this? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, Judy, this is really
a disturbing video that depicts President Trump murdering journalists. And the White House press secretary, Stephanie
Grisham, says that the president hasn’t seen the video, but that, based on what’s been
described to her and to him, that he would condemn it. However, the president, who has been out tweeting
about all sorts of other things, has not actually condemned this video. Now, the president of the White House Correspondents
Association, he released a statement saying that this video is horrifying. And he called
on both President Trump and people who went to that pro-Trump conference to denounce this
video. I should also tell you, I have been talking
to reporters personally all day about this video. And there are a lot of people who are
shaken up. They see this as an escalation of the president’s rhetoric against journalists. He’s been calling reporters the enemy of the
people. And now people are really afraid that people might actually be violent toward journalists.
So people are really telling me that they’re laying low and really trying to be vigilant
about their surroundings. So this is really something we’re going to
have to keep our eye on, because it’s really disturbing to a lot of reporters. JUDY WOODRUFF: Incredibly disturbing. Yamiche Alcindor today reporting from Capitol
Hill, thanks, Yamiche. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Thanks, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news, a
white police officer in Fort Worth, Texas, has resigned after fatally shooting a black
woman in her own home Saturday. The officer, Aaron Dean, was responding to
a call about an open door. Police body-cam video showed Dean firing a split-second after
shouting at 28 year old Atatiana Jefferson to show her hands. Fort Worth Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus: ED KRAUS, Fort Worth, Texas, Interim Police
Chief: Nobody looked at this video and said that there’s any doubt that this officer acted
inappropriately. Had the officer not resigned, I would have fired him for violations of several
policies, including our use of force policy, our de-escalation policy, and unprofessional
conduct. JUDY WOODRUFF: Jefferson’s family told reporters
today they want accountability. ASHLEY CARR, Sister of Atatiana Jefferson:
There is simply no justification for his actions. She was enjoying a life in her home, where
no one would have expected it to be — her own life to be in harm’s way, especially not
at the hands of a civil servant. JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, former Georgia police
officer Robert Olsen today was found not guilty of murder in the 2015 fatal shooting of a
black man who was unarmed and naked. In Spain, the Supreme Court has convicted
12 Catalan separatist leaders over the region’s failed secession attempt in 2017. After the
ruling, protesters clashed with riot police outside the airport in the region’s capital,
Barcelona, injuring dozens. And thousands descended on the streets of the city, with
separatists decrying the decision. WOMAN (through translator): These people have
been unfairly sentenced, although we already know this was going to happen because it had
been decided already. That has been a fake trial. There is no other name for this. JUDY WOODRUFF: The Catalan regional president
called the verdict an act of vengeance and said that it wouldn’t stop a bid for independence. In Britain, Queen Elizabeth opened a new session
of Parliament today as the deadline looms for the country’s exit from the European Union.
In the House of Lords, she gave a ceremonial queen’s speech, written by Prime Minister
Boris Johnson’s government. She said his government is committed to leaving
the E.U. by the end-of-month deadline. QUEEN ELIZABETH II, United Kingdom: “My government’s
priority has always been to secure the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union
on the 31st of October. My government intends to work towards a new partnership with the
European Union based on free trade and friendly cooperation.” JUDY WOODRUFF: Both sides said that significant
gaps remain in the talks, which could spill into next week. Ecuadorians are celebrating deal between the
government and indigenous leaders to end nearly two weeks of protests that left seven dead.
The agreement would cancel an austerity package, including sharp fuel price hikes, that set
off the demonstrations. In the capital, Quito, protesters danced in the streets overnight. And, today, thousands of demonstrators and
volunteers cleaned a park where police had clashed with protesters. On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial
average lost 29 points to close at 26787. The Nasdaq fell eight points to close at 8048.
The S&P 500 dropped four. Three researchers working to fight poverty
have won the Nobel Prize for Economics. They are Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Michael Kremer of Harvard. Their studies favored
practical steps: breaking down poverty into areas like education and health care, and
then testing specific solutions. ESTHER DUFLO, Nobel Prize Winner: It goes
in two ways. It goes in designing the policies, not based on your intuition or whatever happens
to be the flavor of the month, but based on a better understanding of how the poor live,
why they make the choices they make, what are the specific traps that hold them back,
and how to — what lever to push that could unlock these traps. JUDY WOODRUFF: Duflo, who is married to Banerjee,
is only the second woman to win the economics prize. And in a surprise, judges have awarded two
authors the prestigious Booker Prize. Canadian Margaret Atwood won for “The Testaments,”
a sequel to her bestselling novel “The Handmaid’s Tale.” And British author Bernardine Evaristo
is the first black woman to win the major literary prize for her novel “Girl, Woman,
Other.” Still to come on the “NewsHour”: why a handful
of Democrats are still holding out on throwing their support behind the impeachment inquiry;
Amy Walter and Domenico Montanaro analyze the president’s relationship with his own
party as he moves troops out of Syria; journalist Ronan Farrow on his new book about covering
the most explosive stories of the MeToo era and much more. We return now to the volatile situation on
the Syrian-Turkish border, where an American effort over the past five years devolved into
new violence just in the last few days. Nick Schifrin is back with that. NICK SCHIFRIN: Thanks, Judy. So, what do the latest developments in the
fluid situation in Syria and Middle East mean? For that, we get two views from two longtime
Syria watchers. Ted Kattouf was a career diplomat and served as ambassador to Syria under President
George W. Bush. He’s now president of Amideast, which promotes mutual understand of the Middle
East. And Joshua Landis is the director of the Center for Middle East studies at the
University of Oklahoma and runs the blog called SyriaComment.com. Thanks very much to you both. Ambassador Kattouf, let me start with you. The developments in the last few days, Turkish
forces, Turkish-aligned forces moving south into Northern Syria, Syrian government forces
moving north, now allied with former U.S. partners Syrian Kurds. How does that affect the U.S. stated goals
in Syria, including the enduring defeat of ISIS and starting the political process? THEODORE KATTOUF, Former U.S. Ambassador to
Syria: Well, I remember that President Obama was severely criticized for pulling out of
Iraq in 2011, and many people said that that pullout of the U.S. troops led to the rise
of ISIS, although some have said it would have happened anyway had we stayed or not. But, clearly, there’s a clear link between
what has just happened and the potential for ISIS to reassert itself in various parts of
Syria. And also besides Turkish-Kurdish clashes going on right now, and, of course, the Turks
clearly having the upper hand over a militia group, we also have the potential for Syrian-Turkish
fighting going on. The Turkish army, I believe, is much stronger
than Syria’s war-weary units. But you have Iran in the mix. You have Russia in the mix.
It’s a real — we have opened a Pandora’s box. NICK SCHIFRIN: Joshua Landis, wasn’t that
Pandora’s box opened long ago, when this civil war started? And President Trump has talked about how the
U.S. shouldn’t be in forever wars. Do you think he has a point? JOSHUA LANDIS, University of Oklahoma: He
absolutely has a point. Of course, the execution has been very ham-fisted.
And I agree with Ted on that. But the notion of pulling out of Syria is, I think, well-made.
And there’s no good way to pull out of Syria. The real mistake was getting into Iraq and
invading Iraq and turning over the apple cart in this region to begin with. But Americans
don’t see any benefit coming out of these wars. And it’s now $5 trillion, according to some
estimates, that have been spent in the Middle East over the last 20 years. I am sitting
here at the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. And people are fed up. They want better
roads. They are wondering why their schools aren’t as good as they should be. And they wonder where the money has gone.
In some ways, the elite in Washington, the foreign policy establishment, has become dissociated
from the average American. And Trump is exploiting that. He’s going to use it in order to try
to — I think, obviously, try to win the elections. And this is what he ran on last time, and
he’s going to run on it again. NICK SCHIFRIN: Ambassador Kattouf, the Trump
administration also makes another point, which is that Turkey has been a NATO ally since
1952, has fought in every war alongside the U.S. since then, and the Kurds were simply
a partner, a temporary one, at that, to help fight ISIS. So do those arguments have a point? Do the
Turks have legitimate security interests here? THEODORE KATTOUF: The Turks have legitimate
security interests. And I also want to say I don’t disagree with
Joshua Landis that eventually we need to get out of these areas, get our troops out. But
it’s how it’s done, the implementation, the impulse of the president, talking to Erdogan,
and then just telling the Pentagon, the National Security Council, pull our troops back, leaving
the Kurds totally exposed. And, by the way, this is not the first time
we have betrayed the Kurds. You could go back to the San Remo conference of 1923. NICK SCHIFRIN: Twenty-three. THEODORE KATTOUF: If you want to look for
original sins, that might be it, because 20 million Kurds have been left out of having
their nation state of their own, and they’re divided among four countries in that region. But this is a terrible betrayal. And our allies
will not — our other allies will not fail to notice. NICK SCHIFRIN: Joshua Landis, I want to move
to something that we have seen in the last few hours, this afternoon. President Trump has imposed sanctions on Turkey,
and he’s used language also that went even further than he did before. He talked about
how the Turkish incursion precipitating a humanitarian crisis and setting the conditions
for possible war crimes. The vice president just came out a few minutes
ago talking — calling for a cease-fire and negotiations. Will this change Turkish behavior? JOSHUA LANDIS: You know, Turkey — unfortunately,
this has been so badly handled, that you would think that, if you’re going to sell out the
Kurds to Turkey, that you would get something in exchange, perhaps that Turkey would move
closer to the United States, would get rid of its Russian missiles that it just bought. And — but that hasn’t happened. And now the
United States looks like it could be moving into a situation where it’s putting sanctions
on Turkey, it’s throwing the Kurds under the bus. And you wonder, what are we coming away
with? Very little. NICK SCHIFRIN: Ambassador Kattouf, on what
happens next, you mentioned before there could be some confrontation between Turkey and Syria.
How serious would that be? THEODORE KATTOUF: It would be very serious. But I think Russia is going to play a role,
a very important role, in all of this. Russia doesn’t want to have to get its troops involved
in defending Syria against Turkey. They’re going to be talking to both sides. Both sides
are going to listen to Russia. Erdogan is not going to be intimidated right
now by sanctions, because he wants a cordon sanitaire. And it won’t take him forever to
get that done. NICK SCHIFRIN: You mean he wants a buffer
zone right along that border. THEODORE KATTOUF: Right. Exactly. NICK SCHIFRIN: And he’s going to continue
to do that, you think? THEODORE KATTOUF: He will. NICK SCHIFRIN: Joshua Landis, we just heard
Ambassador Kattouf mention Russia. What is the state of Russian influence in
Syria, and how does compare to U.S. influence right now? JOSHUA LANDIS: Well, Putin’s stock has gone
up to the skies now. And Trump has collapsed in terms of Middle
East. We see Putin has gone to Saudi Arabia today, first time a Russian president has
gone to Saudi Arabia in over a decade. And he has a royal — he’s getting the royal treatment. Everywhere, we see Middle Eastern countries
turning to Russia. Israel has established close relations with Russia. So has Saudi
Arabia. Iran, of course, is an ally. Syria, Turkey is an ally. So Russia — Putin, in many ways, is the man
of the hour. He’s become the statesman who can talk to everybody. Everybody’s looking
to him to help to attenuate the conflicts that seem to be multiplying in the Middle
East. This is a bad moment for the United States. Trying to get out of the Middle East the way
it has been has caused many people to distrust the United States and to wonder, are they
an ally that will come to my aid in our time of need? NICK SCHIFRIN: Joshua Landis, Ambassador Ted
Kattouf, thank you very much to you both. THEODORE KATTOUF: Pleasure. JUDY WOODRUFF: As of today, only seven of
the 235 Democrats in the House of Representatives aren’t supporting the inquiry into impeaching
the president. Each one represents a district President Trump won in 2016. John Yang traveled to Upstate New York to
find out what constituents there are saying to one of the holdouts. REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI (D-NY): I work for you. JOHN YANG: It was freshman Democratic Representative
Anthony Brindisi’s 11th town hall meeting since taking office, this one in the new Hartford,
New York, high school auditorium. REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: I’m here to listen,
which I think is the most important role any representative can play, is to be a good listener. JOHN YANG: And he got an earful from both
sides in the debate over impeachment, from supporters of President Trump in this GOP-leaning
district in Upstate New York that gave Mr. Trump 54 percent of the vote: MAN: What have you said against your colleagues
who would promote this unfairness of the president? MAN: What about the 95 percent who have rushed
to a conclusion about impeachment? What have you said to those people? REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: I can’t change people’s
minds. MAN: What have you said to them? (CROSSTALK) REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: I say what I — all
I can say is what I believe and what I am going to do as a representative. I can’t control
what colleagues… MAN: You said you speak up. REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: I say… MAN: Have you spoken up to those people? (CROSSTALK) REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: Absolutely. (CROSSTALK) REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: Do you want me to answer? MAN: Yes. I’d love to hear… REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: OK. I’m trying to. JOHN YANG: And from Democrats who helped Brindisi
unseat a Republican last year in a narrow 1 percentage point victory. MAN: Do you think the president of the United
States is above the law? And if you do not, then what do you plan to do about it? JOHN YANG: For two hours, Brindisi delicately
threaded a needle, raising concerns about the president’s behavior, but avoiding explicit
support for the impeachment inquiry. WOMAN: You should at least come out forcefully
on, I want to see this evidence. This wishy-washy is for the birds. It really is. (APPLAUSE) REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: In my opinion, the
standard is, is the president a danger to the country, putting our national security
at risk. AUDIENCE: He is! AUDIENCE: Yes, he is! WOMAN: We’re the ones who are voting for you. REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: I understand. WOMAN: And I get your position. You won here
by a very small margin. It’s a Republican area, a Republican state. REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: Look, politics — I
want to make this very clear to everybody: Politics is not calculating into my mind.
If the voters send me packing next year, that’s their business. I am very troubled by the allegations that
I have read. We want to hear — I want to hear from the people who are in that whistle-blower
report. WOMAN: Then you support the inquiry? REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: The inquiry’s happening,
whether I support it or not. WOMAN: I want to know that you support it. REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: It doesn’t matter. JOHN YANG: Those whistle-blower allegations
moved a majority of House Democrats toward impeachment, but not Brindisi. REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: Look, I didn’t go to
Washington to impeach the president, OK? I went to Washington to try and get things done
for the people in this community. JOHN YANG: Most of the questions were about
other topics. WOMAN: Could you talk about a humane immigration
policy for our country should look like? WOMAN: Are you in favor of Medicare for all? WOMAN: What is your plan to ensure the U.S.
and this district reaches 100 percent clean and renewable energy? JOHN YANG: That’s where Brindisi wants the
focus to be as Congress returns from a two-week recess. What do you want your colleagues to understand
the needs of this district as this impeachment inquiry goes on? REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: I think people have
struggles here that are more front and center than some of the latest news that’s coming
out of Washington. And that’s what I’m committed to working on. JOHN YANG: But the flash points of the evening
were the questions about impeachment, like the one from Lauren Earl. Were you satisfied with his answer about the
impeachment inquiry? LAUREN EARL, Voter: Right now, by not saying
it, I feel like that gives Trump leverage. So just come out and say how you feel and
trust that what you believe is how you are going to lead, because we will follow you
if you tell us what you believe. JOHN YANG: Trump supporters, who were early
to the meeting and loud, hope impeachment could be leverage to win back Brindisi’s House
seat. Earlier this month, Claudia Tenney, the Trump-backed
incumbent Brindisi defeated, said she’s running again. James Zecca helped rally Trump backers in
front of the school before going inside for Brindisi’s meeting. JAMES ZECCA, Voter: He’s in a real pickle
here, because, if he votes to impeach, he’s going to lose all of the people that supported
Trump. And if he doesn’t vote to impeach, he’s going to lose his radical left-wing socialists. (LAUGHTER) JOHN YANG: The tension didn’t stop when the
town hall ended. WOMAN: I can’t stand you. I hate you. So why
should I vote for you? REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: Well, look, I… WOMAN: Some of these people act like they
think he somehow got in there illegitimately. He didn’t. REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: Yes. No, I take that
very seriously. We, as representatives in Washington, have
to do everything we can to try and get the emotion out of this, to get the partisanship
out of this. JOHN YANG: Can that calm and measured approach
survive, sustain through this? REP. ANTHONY BRINDISI: I’m an eternal optimist,
and you have to be when you’re in politics, I guess, in Washington. JOHN YANG: And facing an election year that’s
bound to be filled with emotion and partisanship. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang in New
Hartford, New York. JUDY WOODRUFF: That town hall was just a few
days ago, and all signs point to the House impeachment inquiry looming large over this
coming week as well. But that’s not the only major political event
in the cards. Amna Nawaz takes a look. AMNA NAWAZ: That’s right, Judy. It’s not just
the impeachment inquiry. Capitol Hill is also focused on the president’s
actions toward Turkey and Syria. And the 2020 Democrats have a primary debate tomorrow night. That’s plenty for our weekly Politics Monday
roundup. I’m joined by Amy Walter of The Cook Political
Report and host of public radio’s “Politics With Amy Walter,” and Domenico Montanaro.
He’s senior political editor at NPR. Welcome to you both. Shall we jump right into the polls? AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Why
not? Let’s do it. AMNA NAWAZ: Take a look at this graphic. These
are five polls over the last week, the latest just out today in the lower right-hand corner
from Quinnipiac. We can now say a majority of Americans in
all five of these polls show support for the impeachment process. Amy, when you look at those numbers, all of
those represent an increase, the numbers ranging from 51 percent to 58 percent now. Why are
we seeing those now? AMY WALTER: I think they — it’s really important
to understand the difference between supporting an impeachment inquiry and supporting impeachment
itself, which is still there are a couple of polls that show it just over 50 percent
support, but it’s really hovering around 48, 47 percent. Why is that important? Because there are people
out there who say, I support an inquiry, but I don’t necessarily support, at this point,
the idea of Trump being impeached by the House. So I think that’s a really important thing
to appreciate. What we have also seen in the polls is, not surprisingly, people have taken
to their corners. But you have seen the president’s approval ratings in just his overall approval
ratings not budge pretty much at all. So, even as support for an impeachment inquiry
has risen, the president’s overall — how people feel about him overall has not budged. DOMENICO MONTANARO, Political Editor, NPR:
Look, and also, when you look at our NPR/”PBS NewsHour”/Marist poll, 58 percent of people
said that they would like to see the president’s fate decided at the ballot box, rather than
through the impeachment process. I think that that tells you that, even though
we also saw a big swing among independents saying that they support this impeachment
inquiry, I think that really tells you how cautious Americans are, and that while Democrats
over the last couple of weeks have won over those independents, and that independents
see that maybe that phone call was unacceptable — they said in our poll — two-thirds of
people said that what President Trump did in asking for a favor in investigating a political
rival was unacceptable. But that they’re cautious about how they want
Democrats to have this process play out. And Democrats have to walk a very fine line, sticking
to unimpeachable facts, so to speak. AMNA NAWAZ: So, that swing towards the increase
there fueled by the independents. Could it go the other way, swing back down? DOMENICO MONTANARO: Absolutely. It could. I mean, but I think there’s a little bit of
a ceiling for independents. I mean, having them at 50, 55 percent is about as good as
Democrats can do. But it’s important, because Democrats — independents have tracked with
Democrats on almost every issue since President Trump took office. And why that’s really important is because
Republicans need to win a greater share of independents to win presidential elections.
Remember, Mitt Romney won a majority of independents in 2012 and still lost the election to President
Obama. Amy, your analysis — your latest analysis
actually titled the fall was supposed to be about 2020 Democrats. It’s now all about impeachment.
Is that just taking up all the oxygen in the room now? AMY WALTER: Well, and I think, if this were
normal time, which I realize I don’t know when that last time was, but we would have
been talking about the fact that there’s a presidential — Democratic presidential debate
coming up, that we would be actually — we probably would have been talking about it
the week previous. It is now barely registering. And it’s very
difficult for a bunch of these folks to sort of break through. I think this has been good
news overall, though, for Elizabeth Warren, who has seen her start rise, seen her poll
numbers rise. She now gets to sort of freeze the race in
place. And I think that all of the attention that today would be focused on her specifically,
media scrutiny, scrutiny of her opponents, is now being lost in the focus on the impeachment
inquiry. AMNA NAWAZ: And I do want to get both your
takes on the debate in just a second. But one other question I wanted to ask you
related to the president and specifically his relationship to key members of his party
is something else we have seen happen last week now seems to be defining much of this
week. And that is many Republicans now speaking
out very critically about the president’s decision to pull back troops from the U.S.
— U.S. troops, rather, from the Syrian border. Domenico, for all the many times Republicans
have struggled to defend the president, it’s unequivocal now the criticism. Why now? DOMENICO MONTANARO: Well, look, I think that,
as we know, the Republican Party is made up of a three-legged stool. It’s national security
chief among them, economics and culture being the other two. And the Republican Party, if it’s nothing
else, the brand is macho. So if you’re going to say, let’s pull out of a country, that
kind of goes against their instincts of how they want to be in foreign policy, and not
to mention it’s a bipartisan issue. I mean, almost nobody on Capitol Hill thinks
the way the president handled this was a good thing. And if you look at the polling, the
biggest vulnerability for President Trump is in his handling of foreign policy. Nothing rates lower for him than that. AMNA NAWAZ: Amy, you look at some of the people
who are criticizing him, though, very vocally, some of his staunchest defenders. You have Lindsey Graham out there saying it
could be the biggest mistake of his presidency. You have Liz Cheney saying it was catastrophic
to do this. What does that do for him and his support? AMY WALTER: I don’t think it does much of
anything. I mean, these are very well known hawks within
the party. Even if President Trump were not the leader of the party, they would probably
be to the right of whoever the president would be on some of these foreign policies. And I think what Domenico said is really important
about the three-legged stool and the fact that Republicans knew this president coming
in was unorthodox on a number of issues that have been traditionally Republican issues,
free trade and national security, specifically the role that America plays in the world. And Republicans have been able to criticize
him on those issues, in part, because you have seen some criticism about the tariffs
and the trade war from Republicans, in part because there are still a lot of Republicans
who believe those things. It’s when Republicans criticize the president
personally, when it looks like it’s about his behavior, that they get the backlash.
When it’s about policy, I think there is within the Republican electorate a sort of like acceptance
for, OK, you can criticize the policy. Don’t criticize him personally. AMNA NAWAZ: And backlash, you mean, from voters. AMY WALTER: From voters, from Republican voters. AMNA NAWAZ: Yes. DOMENICO MONTANARO: One place I think you’re
seeing some cracks among a key group of Trump supporters are evangelicals, for example. They really feel like Kurdish Christians and
Christians in general in that part of the world are persecuted. And, remember, white
evangelicals in the U.S. have for at least 30 years felt like they don’t like the direction
that the country is headed in liberal, mainstream culture, and feel like that they can sympathize
and have a bit of a kinship with Christians in that part of the world. AMNA NAWAZ: Very quickly before we go, less
than a minute. I hate to do this to you. But tomorrow is another Democratic primary
debate. AMY WALTER: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: Twelve candidates on the stage
this time, the most any one stage so far this cycle. Domenico, what’s one thing you’re looking
for tomorrow night? DOMENICO MONTANARO: I mean, look are the other
candidates going to criticize Joe Biden and Hunter Biden for his ties? I mean, clearly, the Bidens feel like this
is a problem, because Biden had to put out an ethics program, and Hunter Biden had to
step down from a board in China. AMY WALTER: I’m watching Elizabeth Warren
and whether her opponent — now that she’s the front-runner, or at least the co-front-runner,
the focus on her. And I’m also going to spend a lot of time
looking at Pete Buttigieg. I think he, more than almost anybody else in this race, is
making a very clear distinction between his brand of progressivism and specifically against
the other candidates, making critical remarks about other candidates’ positions on things
like guns and health care. AMNA NAWAZ: Two key things, among many others… AMY WALTER: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: … we will be watching. Domenico Montanaro, Amy Walter, thanks for
being here. AMY WALTER: Thank you. DOMENICO MONTANARO: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Ronan Farrow’s explosive reporting
on Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual abuse of women helped to launch the MeToo movement
in 2017, winning him and other reporters a Pulitzer Prize the year after. Now Farrow has written a book about the episode,
“Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators,” which he charges includes
efforts by NBC News, his former employer, to stop his reporting. And Ronan Farrow joins me now. Welcome back to the “NewsHour.” It was exactly two years ago this week that
we talked. That story in “The New Yorker” came out with all your reporting on Harvey
Weinstein… RONAN FARROW, “The New Yorker”: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: … his efforts to stop you
and other journalists from reporting on it. This book builds on that. RONAN FARROW: It does, and there’s a lot of
threads to it. You know, this really is about a set of systems
that we have now been talking about for several years as I broke these stories about the private
espionage world and Harvey Weinstein hiring former Mossad agents to go after sources and
reporters. That’s something where there’s brand-new information
about it in the book. About the efforts of AMI and the tabloid “The National Enquirer”
to catch and kill, this term that stands for buying and burying stories, unflattering items
about Donald Trump. There are brand-new revelations about that in the book. And indeed in the mainstream media world.
You and I have been talking about now for a while when I broke the story about CBS and
allegations of misconduct there. JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. RONAN FARROW: And now, with this book, there
are allegations of misconduct at NBC and a paper trail that suggests that there was an
active effort to kill this story. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, and I want to get to
that, but just on the point of Harvey Weinstein sending out detectives and others to find
out what you and others were doing, by way of argument, a person is within his rights
to protect his reputation, right? So where’s the line? What is OK and what isn’t? RONAN FARROW: Absolutely. And nothing in the book suggests that someone
shouldn’t have the right to legally defend themselves, shouldn’t have the right to respond.
And, indeed, the book is very carefully fact-checked, extremely fair to each of the parties I just
mentioned. It is inclusive of every response from every person discussed in it, including
in the private espionage world. But there is a point at which when sophisticated
lawyers, in this case, Harvey Weinstein’s attorney, David Boies, something of a liberal
hero, hired some of these former Mossad agents, who in turn hired subcontractors who were
chasing me, chasing other reporters, staking us out. There were multiple secret agents with false
identities following accusers, following reporters. The question is, as you say, where’s the line?
And I think that, correctly, there’s a conversation happening now in response to this reporting
in this book about maybe a need for more accountability. Now, the story of Rose McGowan is an important
thread in this book, Judy. And Rose McGowan had an individual infiltrate her life to the
point where she thought it was her best friend, and this person was secretly recording her
for Harvey Weinstein. JUDY WOODRUFF: And you write extensively about
that. But one of the central threads, as we mentioned,
was what you say happened at NBC News, where you spent a number of months working on the
story. What — they are pushing back on your main
narrative here. They are saying they gave you many months to work on the story and,
at the end of the time you were there, that you just didn’t have a single source who was
willing to go on the record, and that’s the reason they weren’t allowing you to go forward
with your reporting. RONAN FARROW: So the reporting in this book,
Judy, shows that that’s flatly untrue. My working level producer at NBC, Rich McHugh,
has come forward and said that is flatly untrue. We always had multiple named women in the
story. We had an audiotape of Harvey Weinstein admitting to serial sexual assault. I’ll let people decide for themselves whether
they think that should have been aired. We were fighting like hell to get it on air. But that’s actually not the point. The point
is that this is a company that ordered a hard stop on reporting. Six times in this book,
the president of NBC News, Noah Oppenheim, orders a stop to reporting. And the book really answers why. It suggests
with documentation and a fact-checked paper trail that this was a company that, like CBS,
had a lot of secrets, had a pattern of secret settlements, not dissimilar from Harvey Weinstein’s
own, and had a knowledge of predation within the company that was under threat of exposure
at the time. JUDY WOODRUFF: So you’re referring to — in
part to Matt Lauer and what happened to him. You’re saying that NBC knew there were accusations
against Matt Lauer. Are you saying that’s the main reason that
NBC didn’t want your story to go forward? Because, again, they are pushing back completely
on that and saying, it’s not true, that they didn’t have any credible charges against Matt
Lauer before — the day before he left. RONAN FARROW: The reporting in the book, which,
again, very carefully fact-checked — and NBC’s denials are all included in the book
— it’s extremely fair to NBC — it’s very measured — suggests otherwise. I personally talked to executives who, years
before Matt Lauer’s firing, were told about Matt Lauer misconduct allegations within this
company. And there were multiple settlements with women who had complaints about Matt Lauer
that they voiced within this company. Now, they say, in terms of formal records,
these were not Matt Lauer-related settlements. That is what sexual harassment secret settlements
look like. They do not say in writing, this is what happened to this woman. They are designed
to conceal exactly that connection. JUDY WOODRUFF: The other point they make — and
I do want to pursue this, because you do spend a lot of time in the book on it, about NBC
— they say, when you went to “The New Yorker,” after you left NBC, two months later, you
produced a story that was very different, they said bore little resemblance to what
you had at NBC. So… RONAN FARROW: So, that is inaccurate, Judy. The timeline is that “The New Yorker” actually
green-lit the story and, a month later, they ran it. And here’s the fundamental fact. “The New
Yorker” looked at the same reporting that NBC sent out the door. They ordered us to
stopped taking calls, stop conducting interviews. And, in the end, executives there suggested
that we run it elsewhere. And we went across the street, and I took
it to “The New Yorker.” And, four weeks later, it was a Pulitzer Prize-winning story. So people can decide whether their decisions
had a valid journalistic ground. When they read the book, I think it’s pretty clear. JUDY WOODRUFF: And when they go on to say
that you had an axe to grind, that you really wanted to stay at NBC News, what do you say? RONAN FARROW: Well, they extended that offer,
and that’s discussed in the book. There were sources coming forward at that
time at both CBS and NBC. And the book is very open about me being someone who didn’t
want to lose my job and was in a quandary over this. And senior people there were saying,
we will issue an apology. Come back. Come back. And, in the end, I realized that the accumulating
weight of evidence that there was a significant cover-up and a significant story to be told
about this company and misconduct there and about these broader themes of accountability
in the media, Judy, made me understand that I would have to independently report this
from the outside. And that’s what I have done for two years.
And I think the reporting in the book correctly has been regarded as airtight and held up
to all of those rebuttals. JUDY WOODRUFF: What are you saying overall,
Ronan Farrow, about the news media in this country? Are you saying that it’s — some of it is
bought and paid for by powerful interests, or what? I mean, NBC News has a reputation
built on many years. So do other news organizations. What are you saying? RONAN FARROW: And, look, in many ways, the
book is a love letter to my fellow journalists and great journalists at NBC News who are
right now anguished and asking tough questions of their bosses there and who were supportive
at every step of the reporting. There’s only executives who shut down the
reporting. The fundamental point here, Judy, is, whether
it’s AMI, the publisher of “The National Enquirer,” going after people on Trump’s behalf, or Weinstein’s
behalf — they did both, and that’s all documented in this book — or NBC becoming an instrument
of suppression on Harvey Weinstein’s behalf — I document 15 secret calls between executives
and Weinstein that they have now admitted did take place in which assurances were made
to kill this story. Those are the kinds of things that shouldn’t
happen in any journalistic process. These are ways in which the media shouldn’t be deployed.
And this is not a book that reinforces the authoritarian attacks on the media. This is
a book that highlights the bravery and importance of reporters. It’s not just me that face this kind of intimidation
and these kinds of tactics. It is a whole community of reporters. I am optimistic that
they will not stop and brave sources will not stop coming forward. But we have got to hold ourselves accountable
too and do right by those stories and sources. JUDY WOODRUFF: How much more willing do you
think women are — how much freer do you think women are today to tell their stories than
they were just a year or two ago? RONAN FARROW: You know, there’s still a long
way to go. The reporting in this book shows that. At some of our great institutions, we have
an active effort to silence these kinds of accusations and to diminish transparency about
them. That said, there’s no doubt in my mind that
things are changing for the better. My inbox is full right now of allegations, not just
from within NBC, but in the broader media world and beyond. In industry after industry,
these patterns of misconduct and cover-ups exist. And, also, there are more and more people
speaking out and more and more really good, brave reporters refusing to stop reporting. JUDY WOODRUFF: And are you saying that employers
are more — are listening to this and acting on it, or not? RONAN FARROW: Well, I’ll give you an example. I mean, one of the things that I have documented
both at CBS and now at NBC is that, in periods of time where they claimed there were no secret
settlements with harassment survivors, there actually were many of them. In NBC’s case, in a period where they denied
this, there were seven. Many companies have now stepped away from that. Companies like
Uber have said, we’re not going to use these kinds of tactics to silence accusers in sexual
abuse allegation cases. I think that we’re seeing more and more of
that for a reason. I’m a reporter, not an activist, but I certainly see why both legislatures
and private companies are reassessing the use of those tools, including NDAs. JUDY WOODRUFF: Ronan Farrow, the book, again,
is “Catch and Kill.” And we thank you very much for joining us. RONAN FARROW: Thank you, Judy. Always a pleasure. JUDY WOODRUFF: Detroit is home to an unusual
museum that draws on African history and customs, including a city block filled with installations
and sculptures. It also allows visitors hands-on experiences and is a stabilizing force in
the city. Special correspondent Mary Ellen Geist reports,
as part of our ongoing arts and culture series, Canvas. MARY ELLEN GEIST: Olayami Dabls is an artist
and the founder of Detroit’s MBAD African Bead Museum. OLAYAMI DABLS, Founder, MBAD African Bead
Museum: You have got to do some things for just the average person. I decided that I
would open up an African Bead Museum, specially learning that the beads embodied the culture
and the history of the people. And that’s something that was missing in the
history of Africans in this country. MARY ELLEN GEIST: The museum is located in
one of Detroit’s most distressed neighborhoods, and for two decades has provided something
else that was missing, stability. It has expanded to include a bead gallery
and 18 outdoor sculptures covering an entire city block. OLAYAMI DABLS: I decided to take the relationship
between Africans and Europeans over a 500-year period of time and put them in storylines. And, to my surprise, the community was elated
over this and said, oh, man, this is nice. The best indicator that we have been accepted
by the community, this place is out in the open. You can access it 24/7. Anyone can come.
If people wanted to destroy it, they could destroy it in one day, years of work. MARY ELLEN GEIST: Maurice Cox is the former
director of Detroit’s Planning and Development Department. MAURICE COX, Former Director, Detroit Planning
and Development Department: Artists have a very special superpower to take the ordinary
and turn it into something extraordinary. The area that Dabls adopted was an area that
was devastated and had gone through trauma. He found a way to tell that story, but also
to find some joy in the retelling of the story. MARY ELLEN GEIST: In telling the story of
his neighborhood, Dabls has inspired Detroit officials to rethink how to structure the
city’s recovery. MAURICE COX: He’s begun to show us how the
city can recover in increments. His Bead Museum is a building that, in one part, it’s completely
ornate and it’s been transformed. But then you go to another portion of it,
and the roof is caved in and it’s waiting for investment. He’s said, oh, OK, here’s
a way that you can incrementally go about stabilizing an area or a building that wasn’t. That’s a brand-new way of creating an institution.
That’s not normally how we do it. OLAYAMI DABLS: This is not a traditional museum.
This is a museum for exposure to connect with what’s inside of you. The community engages
with us on their own terms. MARY ELLEN GEIST: Dabls has continued to engage
the surrounding community by starting an internship program. Over time, the surrounding neighborhood
may change, but Dabls says the guiding principle behind his work and the MBAD African Bead
Museum will not. OLAYAMI DABLS: Just because a person is poor,
just because a person is homeless, just because a person doesn’t have anything, they still
can have an appreciation for art. MARY ELLEN GEIST: For the “PBS NewsHour,”
I’m Mary Ellen Geist in Detroit, Michigan. JUDY WOODRUFF: And finally tonight, for those
of you watching “NewsHour” in the Western part of the country, or after 9:00 p.m. in
the East and online, you may have noticed something different. We are thrilled to announce that tonight we
are launching “NewsHour West.” We realize the news doesn’t stop after we go off the
air, most nights at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. So we will be updating news headlines to better
serve our Western and late-night audiences. And I’m now joined by our correspondent anchor
Stephanie Sy, who is based at our bureau at the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona
State University in Phoenix. Stephanie, you have been preparing for months.
Are you ready? STEPHANIE SY: We are absolutely ready and
so excited. Thank you so much, Judy. You might recognize my surroundings, by the
way, because this set was built to match your set. Starting tonight, we are offering an
updated version of the show for our viewers in the Western U.S. and for viewers online
or, if you’re on the East Coast and take the late-night feed, you as well. To be clear, we won’t be redoing the entire
show. We will be redoing the news summary, which will allow us to bring the most up-to-date
news to viewers in the Western time zone. As you said, Judy, often, news breaks after
you get off the air. Maybe a Cabinet secretary resigns or a wildfire gets out of control. So, myself, our senior producer here, Richard
Coolidge, and the rest of our team will be here to stay on top of those developments
and write bring the latest news where you have left off. It is something our West Coast and online
audiences have been wanting. And I think it really broadens “NewsHour”‘s reach and scope. JUDY WOODRUFF: And you’re also going to be
serving as a center for expanding our ability to report throughout the Western U.S. STEPHANIE SY: Yes, that’s right, Judy. Our bureau here in Phoenix is also going to
be serving as a reporting hub for this part of the country. So I and a field producer
will be going to cover both breaking news of national importance that comes up, as well
as feature stories. For example, there are a lot of unique challenges
in states in the Southwest, water shortages, land use issues, issues that are particular
to Native American communities. Then we have the political impact of a state
of Arizona, which has a crucial Senate race coming up in 2020, and has a changing demographic
that could make it highly significant politically in coming years. And then, of course, you have the giant out
West, California, which is becoming really, Judy, a laboratory for all kinds of progressive
legislation and is also, of course, with its raging wildfires, one of the front lines in
climate change. It’s a lot, and now we will be closer to those
stories. JUDY WOODRUFF: The “NewsHour” goes West, Stephanie
Sy, starting tonight. Thank you, Stephanie. And on the “NewsHour” online right now: Out
of 12 Nobel laureates honored for their work in the sciences this year, one was a woman,
and two were people of color. Why do the Nobel Prizes lack diversity? We
examine that question on our Web site, PBS.org/”NewsHour.” And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m
Judy Woodruff. Join us online and again here tomorrow evening.
For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank you, and we’ll see you soon.

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