PBS NewsHour full episode October 10, 2019

PBS NewsHour full episode October 10, 2019


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: all the president’s
lawyer’s men. Two associates of Rudy Giuliani are arrested
on campaign finance charges, as the U.S. House subpoenas them in the impeachment inquiry. Then: crossing the line. Kurdish civilians try to flee for safety,
as the Turkish invasion into Northern Syria escalates. And: ACTOR: Sally, you have never seen a street
like Sesame Street. Everything happens here. You’re going to love it. JUDY WOODRUFF: This show is brought to you
by the number 50 — a half-century of learning and growing with the neighbors of “Sesame
Street.” SHERRIE WESTIN, President of Global Impact
and Philanthropy, “Sesame Workshop: We have a 50-year history of reaching children in
those critical early years, when you can make the most difference, and have them arrive
at school ready to learn and ready to thrive. And so it’s not just the academics. It’s the socio-emotional skills. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: A new twist in the impeachment
inquiry. Two associates of Rudy Giuliani who were to
appear before Congress today and tomorrow have been arrested on charges of violating
campaign finance law. The two, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were
apprehended at Dulles International Airport in Washington with one-way tickets out of
the country. This afternoon, a U.S. attorney in New York
and assistant director of the FBI laid out the severity of the charges and how they strike
at the heart of our democratic system. GEOFFREY BERMAN, U.S. Attorney, Southern District
of New York: They sought political influence not only to advance their own financial interests,
but to advance the political interests of at least one foreign official, a Ukrainian
government official, who sought the dismissal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. WILLIAM SWEENEY, Assistant FBI Director: These
allegations are not about some technicality, a civil violation or an error on form. This investigation is about corrupt behavior,
deliberate lawbreaking. JUDY WOODRUFF: To examine these latest developments
and how the American public views them, our own Lisa Desjardins and Yamiche Alcindor. Hello to both of you. So much going on. Yamiche, I’m going to come to you first. Tell us who these men are. And what is their connection to Rudy Giuliani? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, the allegations laid
out against them are very serious in this 21-page indictment. Parnas and Fruman are accused of trying to
channel and funnel foreign money into U.S. elections to try to interfere with U.S. elections. They’re accused of setting up a company to
mask hundreds of thousands of dollars of donations to foreign — to U.S. politicians and candidates
in a pro-Trump super PAC. They are accused of also working with President
Trump and Rudy Giuliani to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. That’s really important, because, even as
Rudy Giuliani is saying he’s not really connected with these two men in terms of the work that
they were doing, these two men are accused of essentially trying to meddle in these elections
by using this money. Now, it’s also important to note that these
are two men that House Democrats want to know a lot about. There are photos of President Trump and these
two men circling around on the Internet, both with Rudy Giuliani and with the president. The president just took questions about this
on the White House lawn. He says: I don’t know these two men. I take photos with a lot of different people. The president said that he hopes Rudy Giuliani
doesn’t get indicted, but he wouldn’t say whether or not he was concerned about that. It’s also important to note that these two
men were arrested, as you said, with one-way tickets on an international flight. Federal prosecutors are essentially saying
they were trying to get out of town. Rudy Giuliani says that they were just going
on a business trip. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, so again, so much to
follow. So, Lisa, tell us more about how all this
relates to Ukraine, as Yamiche mentioned, and to the House impeachment inquiry. LISA DESJARDINS: There are so many complicated
threads, but here are the connections we know about right now distinctly. First of all, we know that these two men worked
not only for Rudy Giuliani, but, specifically, that they assisted the president’s work — Giuliani’s
work for President Trump. We also know from reports from many different
outlets that these two were pushing Ukraine to investigate Vice President Biden and his
son Hunter Biden. Also, these two men are cited in the whistle-blower
complaint. So it does draw together some of these threads. Judy, also today, we had a new subpoena, not
only for these two men, but for Energy Secretary Rick Perry. How does that connect? Part of that subpoena is asking for information
about why Perry was pushing for a change in management at a Ukrainian energy company. Who else might have an interest in that Ukrainian
energy company? Democrats say these two men also had interest
in that Ukrainian energy company. So a lot of sort of early edges to this puzzle. Many questions still remain. JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, separately from all this,
Yamiche, we have the results now of a new poll, “PBS NewsHour”/NPR/Marist, looking at
how voters are reacting to the impeachment inquiry. What do we see from that? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: This new poll that is out
this afternoon shows that a slim majority of Americans now support going forward with
an impeachment inquiry against President Trump. I want to walk you through some of the numbers. The poll shows that national support for an
impeachment inquiry has actually been up after — from two weeks ago. Two weeks ago, 49 percent of U.S. adults supported
an impeachment inquiry. Now it’s 52 percent. That — those numbers dovetail with The Washington
Post and FOX News and a number of other polls who show that the majority of Americans want
to see an impeachment inquiry. I also want to walk through that independents
are a big part of this. Two weeks ago, when we took this poll, 44
percent of independents supported an impeachment inquiry. Now the poll that’s out today shows an uptick
of 10 points to 54 percent. That’s — that’s bad news for President Trump. He wouldn’t answer questions about this poll
specifically at the White House lawn today. But what it tells you is that the president
is essentially facing more pressure with impeachment inquiry, as he says that he did nothing wrong,
as he says that he doesn’t want to comply with House Democrats. JUDY WOODRUFF: Fascinating. And, Lisa, I know they’re watching all this
closely on Capitol Hill. What are you learning from there? LISA DESJARDINS: They are. Democrats were not sort of like jumping in
the aisles over this. But they do feel that this adds to the cloud
over the Trump presidency, and it raises more questions about corruption in his administration
and among those around him. So they obviously are trying to get details
themselves, but they think that this adds to what they see as their narrative, which
is, this is an administration that tries to cross legal boundaries on a regular basis. Now, Democrats are also paying attention to
some other kind of effects of this. As part of the indictment today, it named
— it said these two men had been reaching out to a specific congressman. We know, from transactions, dates, times and
other reporting, that that congressman is former Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas. There he is right there. He’s not just any Republican. He was chairman of the Rules Committee, a
very powerful position. The allegation here in the indictment is that
these two men were trying to get him — to leverage donations with him to get him to
pressure for the ouster of that Ukrainian ambassador. He has released a statement saying there was
no such transaction, no request. I never did anything like that. But, Judy, he’s trying to get back into Congress. And so this is again where Democrats see a
gain for them. Two other quick notes about what’s happening
with Democrats tonight. Nancy Pelosi is planning a call tomorrow afternoon
with all of the Democratic members in Congress. They’re going — or in the House, rather. They’re going to talk about impeachment and
talk about things like, do they hold a full House vote? What do they do next? How fast do they move? As these layers pile up, Democrats again will
have to choose which ones they pursue and for how long. Finally, tomorrow, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch,
who we keep bringing up, the one that Giuliani wanted out, is supposed to testify behind
closed doors. And my Democratic sources say, even though
she’s still at the State Department, they think she’s going to come. We will see. It’s tomorrow morning. We will know within 24 hours. JUDY WOODRUFF: Her testimony was delayed from
last week. LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right. JUDY WOODRUFF: And you remind us, there has
not been a formal vote yet to pursue an impeachment inquiry. LISA DESJARDINS: Not by the full House. That’s right. JUDY WOODRUFF: Lisa and Yamiche, thank you
both. In the day’s other news: Ukraine’s president
denied that President Trump sought to blackmail him by withholding military aid unless Kiev
investigated the president’s Democratic rival Joe Biden. Volodymyr Zelensky also vowed for the first
time that his country would investigate whether Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential
election. He said they’d also look into the Ukrainian
gas company Burisma that is linked to Biden’s son. VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, Ukrainian President (through
translator): Indeed, we are ready to investigate the Burisma case and interference from the
Ukrainian side into U.S. elections in 2016, if it happened. We are ready — and I have talked about this
before — if it will be a joint investigative team of U.S. and Ukrainian general prosecutors. JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump has claimed
that Ukraine involvement in a democratic plot to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. But there has been no evidence to support
this. Turkey’s ground and air assault against Kurdish
fighters in Northern Syria raged for a second day, as tens of thousands of civilians near
the border attempted to flee. Meanwhile, Kurdish fighters suspended their
operations against the Islamic State to focus instead on battling Turkish troops. We will get an inside look at the conflict
later in the program. Back in this country, more than 1.5 million
people in Northern and Central California were in the dark today, after the state’s
largest utility shut off their electricity. Beginning yesterday, Pacific Gas and Electric
deliberately cut off the power to avoid sparking wildfires, as strong winds moved through the
drier-than-usual region. We will explore the impact of this unprecedented
move right after the news summary. A powerful snowstorm is roaring through the
Great Plains and the Central Rockies today, threatening to dump up to two feet of snow
in some parts of the country. It was a slick morning commute for drivers
in cities like Billings, Montana, and Rapid City, South Dakota, which saw eight inches
of snow. And, in Denver, Colorado, temperatures plummeted
nearly 64 degrees since yesterday. Apple has removed a digital app that helped
Hong Kong protesters track police movements, amid a backlash from Chinese state media. Apple said the demonstrators had used the
real-time mapping app, HKmap.live, to ambush law enforcement. In Beijing, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman
denounced any type of support for the ongoing protests. GENG SHUANG, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
(through translator): I need to repeat again that the recent extreme and violent criminal
acts happening in Hong Kong have challenged Hong Kong’s rule of law and its social order. When it comes to these kinds of extreme and
violent criminal acts, it is reasonable to oppose and resist, rather than support and
connive. JUDY WOODRUFF: The app appeared to be still
working for users in Hong Kong who downloaded it before it was removed from Apple’s app
store. The Environmental Protection Agency in this
country is proposing an overhaul to how communities test their water for lead contamination. It’s the first time the rule has been revamped
in three decades, and includes stricter testing requirements at schools and day care centers,
among other things. That comes after tainted water crises in Flint,
Michigan, Newark, New Jersey, and other areas exposed tens of thousands of residents to
the toxic metal. The number of deaths linked to vaping has
climbed to 26, up from just 18 — or rather, 18, just last week. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
reported today almost 1,300 confirmed and probable cases of lung conditions tied to
vaping. Every state but Alaska has now reported vaping-related
illnesses. The Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded
today to Austrian author Peter Handke and Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk. Two recipients were announced this year, since
no one won in 2018 following a sexual misconduct scandal involving the Swedish academy that
bestows the honor. Tokarczuk hailed the academy today for recognizing
literature from Central Europe. OLGA TOKARCZUK, Nobel Prize Winner: For me,
as a Polish, it shows that, despite all those problems with democracy in my country, we
still have something to say to the world, and we have very strong literature, very strong
culture. And I am part of this big, big power. JUDY WOODRUFF: Her fellow recipient, Peter
Handke, has long faced criticism for defending the Serbs during the Balkan Wars in the 1990s. Today, the nonprofit organization PEN America
issued a rare statement opposing his Nobel win. It cited that Handke has — quote — “persistently
called into question thoroughly documented war crimes.” The Federal Reserve today voted to loosen
restrictions imposed on banks following the 2008 financial crisis. The move was a follow-up to legislation Congress
passed last year to roll back parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank act. The changes would relax capital requirements
and rules on so called living wills that big banks must develop if they fail. And stocks rallied today, as a new round of
high-level trade talks between the U.S. and China got under way in Washington. President Trump said the negotiations were
going — quote — “really, really well,” but he provided no specifics. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average
gained 150 points to close at 26496. The Nasdaq rose 47, and the S&P 500 added
more than 18. Still to come on the “NewsHour:: panic in
Northern Syria, as Turkish forces escalate the invasion; the lights go out in California
— what is driving a massive power outage?; a new book reexamines the Russia inquiry and
the president’s troubled relationship with the FBI; plus, much more. The power is still out in Northern California
and a across a wide swathe of the state. The blackout was planned by public utility
officials to reduce the risks of wildfire, as high winds mix with dry weather. But many don’t agree with that timing or reasoning. And, as William Brangham tells us, the anger
is building around the state, as residents, businesses and local government offices are
trying to deal with it. WOMAN: This is my neighborhood right now. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Across Northern California
overnight, entire communities turned invisible to the naked eye. The region was plunged into darkness after
the California utility company PG&E shut down power over fears high winds could bring down
lines and start wildfires. PG&E initially said it would affect up to
800,000 households, which, according to other estimates, could impact nearly two million
people. MAN: I think they jumped the gun, in my opinion. Turning it off is good, but wait until it’s
dangerous. MAN: PG&E in general should have taken care
of this for the last 50 years. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: PG&E says it restored power
today to hundreds of thousands, but warned some outages could last for days. A statement today read: “We faced a choice
between hardship or safety, and we chose safety. We deeply apologize for the inconvenience
and the hardship, but we stand by the decision.” In the meantime, residents stocked up on ICE
and supplies, shopping in stores left in virtual darkness. Businesses that stayed open had to operate
cash-only. Elsewhere, authorities reported several traffic
accidents overnight which resulted in injuries. The decision to shut down power came as high
winds and particularly dry conditions increased the threat of new wildfires. But California Governor Gavin Newsom said
the reason for blackouts falls squarely on PG&E. GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): They have created these
conditions. It was unnecessary. We’re doing everything in our power, my gosh,
doing everything in our power to help them help themselves. Now it’s time for them to do the right thing. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The electric utility has
been held liable for its role in prior wildfires in 2017 because of downed power lines. It filed for bankruptcy this year after last
year’s devastating Camp Fire, which was believed to have been triggered in part by PG&E transmission
lines. That blaze killed 85 people and destroyed
tens of thousands of buildings. So, let’s hear more about the impact of this
blackout. Matthias Gafni of The San Francisco Chronicle
is covering it in Northern California. And he joins me now from Oakland. Matthias, thank you very much for being here. I know you have been driving around in the
regions that are — some of them that have been blacked out right now. What’s it like? MATTHIAS GAFNI, The San Francisco Chronicle:
Yes, it’s really frustrated a lot of people in the area. I mean, there’s people who are struggling
to know what to do with their food, for child care, for schools. There’s moms, new moms, who are figuring out
what to do with their frozen breast milk. I mean, it really runs the gamut. It’s just been an incredible inconvenience
for a lot of people. And they just want to know when it’s going
to end. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I mean, blackouts are one
of those things that really emphasize how many parts of our life are dependent upon
electricity. I think about banks, hospitals, stores. All of those places are now seemingly in some
sort of crisis mode. MATTHIAS GAFNI: Most of them are closed, frankly. I mean, I went around a small city today in
the major kind of business district, and I didn’t find much open. I saw a janitor at a bar who was figuring
out how to keep the beer cold. It’s — the people are trying to maintain
and figure out how to kind of get through it. And you see grocery stores with empty shelves
because they had to dump all their perishables, people working off generators, some people. But most of the people I visited today had
just closed up shop and were going to wait it out. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Now, PG&E says, it’s really
dry. It’s really windy. We had to shut down the power so that these
lines don’t go down and trigger new fires. How are people responding to that rationale? Do they understand it? And what do they think about it? MATTHIAS GAFNI: Yes, that’s really the tricky
part. You know, we had two straight years of just
devastating wildfires in Northern California right around here around this time of the
year. And, at the time, for the first one at least,
PG&E didn’t have a program where they could even do a shutdown like this, which is what
they do in Southern California, the utilities down there. So they made that change last year. And yet we still had the Camp Fire. And I think the Camp Fire last year was a
watershed moment. They had warned that they might do a shutdown. All the weather factors seemed to align with
their standards and criteria for when they would do it. And yet, they kept the power on, and their
electricity wound up causing this incredibly deadly fire, where more than 80 people died. So I think a lot of people understand that,
but, at the same time, they realize that this is an incredible inconvenience. And they just hope it’s done better, these
shutdowns. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I mean, obviously, people
pay their utility bills. They have some reasonable expectation that
the power would stay on somewhat consistently. Is there a viable long-term solution to this
that doesn’t involve putting people into the dark every time it gets hot and windy? MATTHIAS GAFNI: It’s really tricky. There’s people — you know, one side of the
spectrum say, you run this utility. You shouldn’t have to shut it down to keep
it safe. This should be safe to begin with. When you talk about increasing climate issues
that are kind of putting a lot of stress on the system, that can be difficult. That’s also putting stress on nature. We have a lot of dead trees in California
that, when they topple over, they can hit a power line. So it’s very difficult. But, at the same time, people are concerned
that — you know, PG&E is a publicly traded company, and a lot of people think that they’re
caring more about the shareholders than they are about the general public and keeping them
safe. So there’s a balance that needs to be struck
there, that’s, you know, incredibly difficult. And a lot of people say, you know, make it
go public. San Francisco has thought about buying out
PG&E and taking it over. But, you know, there’s a lot of difficulty
there, too. Do they want to take on the liability if something
bad happens? WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I imagine this has just
got to be so frustrating for so many people. And some of it, obviously, is the uncertainty
of not knowing how long this is going to go. Is this — is PG&E giving people a sense of
how long their lights will be out? MATTHIAS GAFNI: They give you a ballpark idea. I mean, the weather event hopefully is going
to be ending by the end of today. But that doesn’t mean your power’s coming
right back on. My power is out. I’m not expecting it to be on for a day or
two. And the reason is once the weather subsides,
and you don’t have that threat, PG&E has to go out and inspect all the lines before they
even think about re-energizing those lines. And I talked to a PG&E official yesterday
who compared all the lines that they will have to investigate and inspect after this
incident equates to lining up — if you lined them all up, it would equate to the circumference
of the Earth, the entire equator. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: wow. And, then, obviously, there’s no predicting
whether or not this has to be redone in weeks or months ahead. Matthias Gafni of The San Francisco Chronicle,
thank you very much for your time. MATTHIAS GAFNI: Thanks for having me. JUDY WOODRUFF: The situation in Syria is escalating
at a dangerous pace. Turkey continues its military assault into
Northern Syria, forcing tens of thousands to flee. Aid agencies warn, nearly a half-million people
near the border are at risk. Amna Nawaz has the latest. AMNA NAWAZ: Inside Syria’s northern border,
Turkish tanks let loose a hail of gunfire. Turkey stepped up its assault on U.S.-allied
Syrian Kurdish forces on the ground and in the air. On day two of the offensive, Turkish planes
bombed Kurdish-held towns, dotting the Syrian skyline with smoke. Near Qamishli in Northeastern Syria, families
fled for the Iraqi border. SUAD SULIMAN, Syrian Kurd (through translator):
Last night, they fired rockets, and I swear the situation is not good at all. AMNA NAWAZ: Those still in town grieved in
the hospital for family killed by the airstrikes. In Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan defended the operation, dubbed Peace Spring. He insisted the onslaught is about protecting
territory. RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkish President (through
translator): Just like all the other operations carried out by Turkey, the aim of the Peace
Spring is to contribute to Syria’s territorial and political integrity. AMNA NAWAZ: Turkey says the territory should
include a 20-mile buffer zone along the Syrian border to protect against Syrian Kurds, who
it views as terrorists. Turkey today hit a number of Kurdish-held
border towns. The assault on the U.S. Kurdish allies came
after the U.S. withdrew its forces from the area Monday. On Sunday, President Trump spoke with Erdogan
on the phone about the removal, giving Turkey a green light to attack the Kurds. The Syrian Kurds played a key role in the
U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition that took back territory held by the so-called Islamic State. After coming under fire for the troop withdrawal,
President Trump threatened economic action against Turkey, a NATO ally, over the attack. In Washington this afternoon, President Trump
weighed in. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
We are going to possibly do something very, very tough with respect to sanctions and other
financial things. AMNA NAWAZ: The U.S. also announced today
it had in its custody two ISIS fighters from a group of four known as the Beatles for their
British accents. They were known for beheading prisoners. Experts worry that other ISIS fighters detained
in Syria by Kurdish forces could escape amid the onslaught. But Turkey’s foreign minister said it will
take over the prisons if the assault on the Kurds succeeds. MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, Turkish Foreign Minister:
It will be our responsibility to make sure that they will be held accountable for what
they did. And we will make sure that they will not be
released. AMNA NAWAZ: In response to criticism, Erdogan
threatened to send Turkey’s 3.6 million Syrian refugees to Europe. RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN (through translator):
If you try to label this operation as an invasion, it’s very simple. We will open the gates and send 3.6 million
refugees your way. AMNA NAWAZ: Since the fighting started on
Wednesday, an estimated 60,000 have already fled their homes in Northern Syria. The violence threatens some 450,000 Syrians
who live within three miles of the Turkish border. Human rights groups say they are all at risk. And for now an inside look, we have Sinam
Mohamad. She’s the U.S. representative for the Syrian
Democratic Council. It’s the political wing of the Syrian Democratic
Forces, the coalition of Kurdish, Arab and other minority groups fighting on the ground
in Northeast Syria. The Council’s mission is to work toward implementing
a — quote — “secular, democratic, and decentralized system for all of Syria.” Sinam, welcome to the “NewsHour.” SINAM MOHAMAD, U.S. Representative, Syrian
Democratic Council: Thank you so much. AMNA NAWAZ: So, I have to ask you. Turkish President Erdogan has said the purpose
of these strikes is to fight and target terrorists on the ground. You have been in contact with the people on
the ground in those communities. What are you hearing today? SINAM MOHAMAD: Unfortunately, what’s going
on, on the ground, it is not the same thing that Mr. Erdogan is telling. First of all, this attack has been launched
from yesterday. And even though the agreement between the
United States and Turkey and the SDF about the safe zone or about the security mechanism,
how to leave this border safe, this is agreed to. We agreed because we wanted to have this area’s
peace. We don’t — we wanted to avoid the war in
the area. Unfortunately, I mean, Erdogan, he is not
satisfied with this agreement. Although we are showing very flexibility in
this agreement, they say, you have to withdraw all the fighters, the Kurdish fighters. OK, we accepted. We withdrew it about five kilometers away
from the border. They say, you have to pull all the heavy weapons
from the border. We did it. And we pulled back all the heavy weapons away
from the border. AMNA NAWAZ: You’re saying that, in those negotiations… SINAM MOHAMAD: This is in the — yes, in the
agreement. AMNA NAWAZ: … you didn’t expect the Turkish
forces to launch this offensive. SINAM MOHAMAD: This is what the United States
told us. OK, this agreement will be to avoid the war
in between Turkey — I mean, not to attack you. (CROSSTALK) AMNA NAWAZ: That is what the U.S. told you? SINAM MOHAMAD: Yes. And this is what we agreed to. AMNA NAWAZ: So, when President Trump said
that the U.S. forces would be leaving, did you know then that Turkish forces would be
moving in? (CROSSTALK) SINAM MOHAMAD: It was suddenly like this happened. When Erdogan, he is gathering all his forces
and his army across our border, to the border, that time here, we were in the United States,
and we asked them. He is gathering all the forces there. And it seems he’s not satisfied what’s going
on in our agreement. They say, he’s Erdogan. We don’t know what can he do? But we are there on the ground. But, suddenly, what happened then, the U.S.,
they pulled back their forces from the border only, from the safe zone, which they call
it, safe zone border of Turkey, and put it back inside Syria. And this makes Turkey to come and to attack
this region. (CROSSTALK) AMNA NAWAZ: Yes. And, Sinam, I apologize. We don’t have too much time. I do want to get to some of the people you
have been talking to on the ground. What are they telling you? SINAM MOHAMAD: Now, the situation is very
catastrophe. Turkey is shelling from airspace and from
the artillery. Most of them, they are using the airplanes. And they are shelling all over the border,
from the Euphrates River, to the Tigris River, to the border of Iraqi River. It is about 450 kilometers’ long they are
shelling. AMNA NAWAZ: And what is the impact on the
ground? SINAM MOHAMAD: All the civilians. The civilians are there. They are shelling the cities where are the
civilians. For instance, I will give you one example. In (INAUDIBLE) city, which is the biggest
inhabited people there, yesterday, they shelled a neighborhood, a Christian neighborhood. There, two people, they be killed. They are Christians, and the other, they are
injured. As well as we have (INAUDIBLE) now we have
people, they demonstrate against this attack of Turkey (INAUDIBLE). And it’s inhabited. (INAUDIBLE) and Ras al-Ayn, it is about 400,000
living there. And when they demonstrate against the attack,
Turkey shelling this demonstration, and 10 people died. This is what’s happening. So, they are telling, we are not shelling
the civilian, but the civilian… (CROSSTALK) AMNA NAWAZ: Yes. But you’re hearing they are shelling civilians
as well. SINAM MOHAMAD: Yes. Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: I want to ask you something a
senior State Department official mentioned to us earlier. They said that they think it this is big mistake. They wished that Turkey had not launched this
offensive. And they also said that they plan to work
with the SDF in the future. Very briefly, do you ever see the SDF working
with the U.S. again? SINAM MOHAMAD: Now they are in the inside. Still, they are there. The U.S., they are still there, military. But we hope that they can stop this attack. This is what we hope. We hope that, can they stop this attack, because
we would like to have the stability. We would like to have the peace process talk
in order to save the people, the Syrian people. It’s enough for the Syrian people. They have suffered a lot through these eight
years. And now this attack will be — destabilize
the area, and will be — the consequences of it, it will be very dangerous… AMNA NAWAZ: You would like to see… SINAM MOHAMAD: … for Syria and even — and
for Turkey. AMNA NAWAZ: You would like to see the U.S.
act right now. SINAM MOHAMAD: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: Sinam Mohamad, the U.S. representative
for the Syrian Democratic Council, thank you for your time. SINAM MOHAMAD: Thank you so much. AMNA NAWAZ: We invited the Turkish ambassador
to the United States to join us on tonight’s show. The embassy declined. Now we get a perspective from Turkey expert
Soner Cagaptay. He’s the director of the Turkish Research
Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He’s also the author the new book called “Erdogan’s
Empire.” Soner, welcome back to the “NewsHour.” SONER CAGAPTAY, Director, Turkish Research
Program, Washington Institute for Near East Policy: My pleasure. Thank you. AMNA NAWAZ: I want to ask you about this. The president, obviously, of Turkey has said
this is a national security concern. Explain for us, what is the threat? And how do these strikes address that threat? SONER CAGAPTAY: There is a legitimate security
concern for Turkey here. The Syrian Kurdish group is an offshore a
Turkish Kurdish group called PKK. And that group is listed as a foreign terrorist
organization by the United States, as well as by a number of NATO countries, of course
Turkey. And the Kurdish group in Syria known as People’s
Protection Units, YPG, is an offshoot of this group that is designated. This group is now establishing a legal entity,
a state-like entity along Turkey’s border in Syria. And, of course, Turkey for a long time tolerated
that, because the United States partnered with this Kurdish group to combat ISIS. But with the defeat of ISIS, now Turkey wants
not only this relationship to be reconsidered, but also is going after this offshoot of this
terrorist group in Northern Syria. AMNA NAWAZ: Well, let me ask you about that
fight against ISIS now, because even U.S. officials will say that ISIS could become
resurgent again, and that Turkey launching an offensive will take the attention of those
same forces that helped to defeat ISIS away from ISIS and allow them to reassess and reassert
themselves there. What do you say to that? SONER CAGAPTAY: That would be an unfortunate
outcome. And that’s why I think it’s important for
this conflict to come to a speedy end, and just seeing that United States might be mediating
between Turkey and the fighting parties. I think, though, at this stage, it is important
for Washington to not appear as if it is marking or underestimating a severe security threat
to Turkey. Turkey is a United States ally by treaty. It is a member of NATO. And I think, for a very long time, the Turks
are very patient, allowing the United States to work with this group that is a sworn enemy
of Ankara. And now, of course, they have gone after it. So, hopefully, this will end up quite soon,
and we will see some more stability in Northern Syria. AMNA NAWAZ: You know, Soner, a senior State
Department official briefed some reporters earlier and mentioned that they did not think
that they gave a green light in any way to President Erdogan. And they also said they hope this mission
and operation concludes quickly. Do you have any idea of how long it will go
on? SONER CAGAPTAY: I think Turkey at this stage
wants to establish bridgeheads Northern Syria. And what Ankara has done something quite smart
is, they have used as entry points Arab-majority areas in Northern Syria, where Turkish troops
would be more welcome than had they gone into Kurdish majority areas. I don’t think Turkey is going to invade and
hold onto large parts of Northern Syria. They only want to establish bridgeheads populated
by Arabs in order to undermine and weaken the Syrian Kurdish group. AMNA NAWAZ: There is obviously a lot of talk
here about this move now empowering Turkey’s position in the area. They could expand further. I’d like to get your thoughts on that. But I also wonder if you think that this empowers
Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Does it empower Iran? Does it empower Russia? SONER CAGAPTAY: It probably does empower those
parties. And I think that’s why the conflict in Syria
needs a global solution. For once, I think, other than looking at ISIS
problem, the United States has naturally looked into the other problem, which is the problem
of Bashar al-Assad, the dictator, who has been bombed millions of people. And he’s the root cause of the radicalization
of Syrian people. And I think, of course, short of that, you
cannot find a global fix to Syria’s problem. AMNA NAWAZ: How much of this offensive do
you think is driven as primarily a security concern for President Erdogan? How much of it is him seeing an opportunity
to make good on something he’s wanted to do for a while, while he is vulnerable electorally
at home? SONER CAGAPTAY: Look, I have been quite critical
of Turkish President Erdogan. After all, I wrote an entire book on him called
“The New Sultan.” But in this case, I think President Erdogan
is right. The concern that he has towards this terrorist
group is shared not by those who support him in Turkey, but also by many of those who oppose
him. There is broad consensus among Turkey’s 82
million citizenry that this is the time for Turkey to act. Otherwise, a terror group across the country’s
longest land border in Syria will establish an independent or autonomous political entity. So, in this regard, I think the timing is
right and Mr. Erdogan is right. AMNA NAWAZ: Soner Cagaptay of the Washington
Institute’s Turkish Research Program, thank you for your time. SONER CAGAPTAY: Thank you so much. JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour”: Elmo, Big Bird,
and all the residents of “Sesame Street” celebrate a milestone anniversary. Even as impeachment consumes much of Washington’s
attention, the president, as well as his critics and supporters, still focus on Robert Mueller’s
investigation and its continued fallout. William Brangham is back now to dive into
a new book that reexamines the story with a tough take of some of the central characters
in that drama. It’s part of our “NewsHour” Bookshelf. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In his new book, Pulitzer
Prize winner James B. Stewart gives an in-depth look at the two of the most controversial
recent investigations by the FBI and the Justice Department, first, the probe into Hillary
Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server when she was secretary of state, and then the investigation
into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, and whether anyone in the Trump campaign participated
in that effort or tried to block the subsequent inquiry. The book is called “Deep State: Trump, the
FBI, and the Rule of Law.” And James Stewart joins me now. Welcome. JAMES B. STEWART, AUTHOR, “Deep State: Trump,
the FBI, and the Rule of Law”: Thank you. Good to be here. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, deep state, as we know
it, is a pejorative term about shadowy, unseen forces conspiring and pulling the levers of
power. And the president has repeatedly stated that,
certainly within the FBI, that there is a deep state of Trump-hating agents and officers
and officials. You have spent two years digging into this
agency. Is that true? JAMES B. STEWART: It’s utterly false. President Trump has weaponized this notion
of a deep state, turned it into this pejorative term. There is a career bureaucracy. There are independent agencies in this country,
and there are checks and balances, and in this case, there are checks on the power of
the presidency. They’re constitutionally designed to do that. He accuses anyone who unearths facts that
he doesn’t like or criticizes him as being part of this sinister deep state. In fact, to the extent they are independent,
they are doing their constitutional duty, they are doing their patriotic duty to honor
their pledge to both support the Constitution and recognize the fact they work for the people
of the United States, not the president. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: As you repeatedly point
out in the book, if the names that the president likes to cite as evidence of the deep state,
Strzok, Page, Comey, McCabe, if they had wanted to do him in or to derail his presidency or
candidacy, they could have. JAMES B. STEWART: Absolutely. I think many people do not realize, because
we didn’t know it at the time, that both the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation and the
Trump-Russia investigation were going on at the same time, before the election. We had this extraordinary situation where
the FBI is investigating both major candidates. One of the questions I wanted to answer in
the book was, why was the Clinton one public, but we never heard about Russia? But if they had wanted to derail Trump, one
leak would have crushed that campaign, not only a leak that it was going on, but a leak
of some of the salacious details, which we now know were being investigated. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Two of the most notorious
people on the president’s Twitter speed feed Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Peter Strzok, for those who remember him,
was the man who helmed the Hillary Clinton investigation and then took over the beginnings
of the Russia investigation and his colleague, Lisa Page. JAMES B. STEWART: Right. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Even though you report that
they denied and lied about the fact that they were having an affair, and that they exchanged
many of these very hostile texts expressing antipathy to the president, your book also
goes to great lengths in some ways to show that they really were not the partisan villains
we have been led to believe. JAMES B. STEWART: Well, that’s correct. And I want to clarify, Peter Strzok never
did lie about the existence of the affair. Obviously, neither one of them wanted it to
become public, and they never thought that it would become public. And they ended it before it did become public. But let’s put that aside for a moment. They did have an affair. They did, in what they thought were private
texts, express political views that were hostile to Trump. But everyone in the FBI, everyone in the government,
everyone in this country has a First Amendment right to think whatever they want. Everybody has political views. Some of them are pro-Trump. Some of them are anti-Trump. Some of them are pro-Clinton, anti-Clinton. The question is not, do they have views? Of course they do. Do their views affect their professional work? And in both my investigation and a thorough
investigation by the inspector general, the conclusion was, no, it never did. And I demonstrate in the book, on the contrary,
there were times when both Page and Strzok were harder on Hillary Clinton than their
colleagues wanted to be and they were softer on Trump. They were very cautious about wanting to make
Trump the subject, the formal subject of an FBI investigation. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Perhaps the most complicated,
some would say damning, portrait in this book is of Rod Rosenstein, the acting attorney,
who came in after Sessions recused himself. He appointed Robert Mueller to be special
counsel, to take over the investigation, and, largely, at first, was seen as a calming influence. JAMES B. STEWART: Well, Rosenstein to me is
both a fascinating character and someone who kind of captures what has happened to many
people who come into the Trump administration with the highest of motives, wanting to serve
the country, and they slowly, but surely get brought into this vortex of amorality, dishonesty,
expediency, and they seem to lose their bearings. I mean, he was a respected independent prosecutor. He almost immediately got sucked in by Trump
to providing a false rationale for firing Comey. Trump wanted him to have a press conference
and claim that he was the one who told Trump to fire Comey over the — Comey’s handling
of Clinton. All of this was completely false. And I think it completely unnerved him. And he also — there’s a scene, a dramatic
scene, in the book where he confides in Andrew McCabe. There’s no one he can trust. He can’t to Sessions or the attorney general. He can’t talk to anyone in the White House. He can’t talk to underlings in the Justice
Department. And after Comey is fired, he says, the one
person I wish I could talk to is Comey, which was — left everyone kind of flabbergasted. He then proposes wiring himself to secretly
record Trump, invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: He has denied that, that
he did any of that. JAMES B. STEWART: He said that the wiring
thing was a joke. It’s not a joke, as you can see in context. And he denied the 25th Amendment thing, but
there are witnesses to that. I’m amply persuaded that that did happen. But he was — I think he was somewhat — he
was unnerved by what was happening to him and the position he was thrust into. And you then see he manages to keep his job. What he had to promise Trump to do that, I
don’t really know. We don’t really know. His defenders have told me that he was solely
focused on helping Mueller over the finish line. But what compromises were made? Why didn’t Mueller reach a conclusion on obstruction? Why didn’t Mueller include these events about
Rosenstein in his report? Why, in the end, did Rosenstein go along with
Barr’s characterization of the report, which was a blatant mischaracterization, as Mueller
himself said in a letter? WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We know, the Mueller report
comes out, we saw the impact it had on our country. The president is now involved in another investigation,
this impeachment inquiry, about whether he’s trying to get foreign governments, like Ukraine,
perhaps China, to investigate Joe Biden. Does — does what we are seeing documented
about the president’s behavior now make sense to you, given the two years you spent looking
at the president’s behavior during the election and thereafter? JAMES B. STEWART: It makes total sense to
me. If you read last few paragraphs of “Deep State,”
not to mention all that’s gone before it, it’s almost as though this was going to be
inevitable. The reason is, there are certain qualities
that emerge in “Deep State” that are built into Trump’s DNA. Number one, he’s extremely impulsive. Two, he doesn’t listen to anyone around him. Three, if people don’t let him get his way,
he gets rid of them. He fires them. Four, he lies about it, which then makes it
look like he has something to hide or cover up. And, finally, the important thing, he doesn’t
really recognize the constraints of law on his office. All he concluded, as far as I can tell, from
the whole Mueller episode, which put the country through years of turmoil, is, it was a total
victory for him. He was exonerated. He won. And it only emboldened him to go out and behave
in an even more egregious fashion. The Russia investigation, it lacked one critical
piece of evidence to conclude that he broke the law, which was that Trump himself didn’t
instigate or conspire with anyone to get a foreign government involved. What has he done now? He makes a phone call, where he asks a foreign
government to undertake acts that would interfere with the next election. He just handed the Democrats the very missing
piece from the Mueller report. That is, I find, pretty flabbergasting. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The book is “Deep State:
Trump, the FBI, and the Rule of Law.” James B. Stewart, thank you very much. JAMES B. STEWART: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, let’s close out tonight
with a little Muppet talk. Next month marks the 50th anniversary of “Sesame
Street”‘s debut, now a landmark in children’s television. Beyond all of the fun and humor and songs,
the show has been doing serious work to reach out to families in need. That’s probably not widely known by many people. Its latest effort, a new initiative with its
well-known characters to help families deal with addiction, including alcoholism, drugs
and opioids. Hari Sreenivasan looks at that work and how
it fits into the program’s growing legacy. It’s part of our arts and culture series,
Canvas. ACTOR: Sally, you have never seen a street
here like Sesame Street. Everything happens here. You’re going to love it. HARI SREENIVASAN: Ever since Big Bird and
his friends took their first steps onto their neighborhood full of Harlem brownstones and
into public television households, the program’s creators have always had a few goals in mind
for its young audience. It all seems as simple as A, B, C today. But back then, its secret sauce was unprecedented
for children’s television. It provided children with a mix of early childhood
education, social and emotional learning, all with a sense of humor, music and hundreds
of guest stars to keep parents engaged as well. At the same time, the creators wove diversity
into the show’s DNA at a time when that wasn’t common in TV. Over its more than 4,500 episodes, 35 TV specials,
and the 1,000-plus fuzzy characters it introduced, the show’s reach is enormous. Tens of millions of adults and their children
have watched in more than 150 countries. New episodes air first on HBO and then on
PBS, and more than five million subscribe to its YouTube channel. SHERRIE WESTIN, President of Global Impact
and Philanthropy, Sesame Workshop: We are experts on helping children — child arrive
at school ready to learn. HARI SREENIVASAN: Sherrie Westin is the president
of global impact and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop, the company behind “Sesame Street.” SHERRIE WESTIN: We have a 50-year history
of reaching children in those critical early years, when you can make the most difference,
and have them arrive at school ready to learn and ready to thrive. HARI SREENIVASAN: “Sesame Street” teaches
those social and emotional skills in part by being inclusive and showcasing it. ACTOR (singing): There’s nothing else that
can compare with my hair. HARI SREENIVASAN: It was the first children’s
show to prominently feature actors of color. In 1971, it cast Sonia Manzano as Maria, in
the first Latina leading role in TV history. ACTOR: Do you, Maria, take Luis to be your
husband? SONIA MANZANO, Actor: I do. HARI SREENIVASAN: That goal of inclusion and
diversity has expanded over the past 15 years. Sesame Workshop’s Communities Initiative now
reaches specific audiences who are facing major challenges. That can mean distinctive videos for children
of parents who are incarcerated, or families with children who have special needs, or live
in foster care, or are homeless. Sesame Workshop has done this internationally
as well, creating early childhood programs for children of refugees in Jordan, Lebanon,
Iraq, Syria, and Bangladesh. Though the Communities program has grown,
there’s still a big focus with one of the original targeted groups, military families. SHERRIE WESTIN: It started actually 13 years
ago with our military family initiative, when we realized how many young children had parents
who were being deployed, and often multiple deployments, and realized there were no tools
for those parents and no resources for those young children to help understand it. HARI SREENIVASAN: Sesame creates videos, apps
and books with messages aimed at these families about how to help them cope with the realities
of their experiences. They are available online to all, but they
are crafted to show parents how they can talk to children about their challenges. Elmo and Rosita helped me understand. Elmo, do you know a lot of kids that have
military families? ACTOR: Elmo’s been really lucky, because Elmo
has gotten to meet a lot of kids who have mommies and daddies in the military. ACTOR: Yes. ACTOR: And you know what? Elmo learned that military kids are actually
a lot like Elmo, but sometimes they have to go through big changes, too. HARI SREENIVASAN: Fooshea and Felicia Miller
were one of several sets of parents we caught up with at a special Sesame event for military
families. When Fooshea, a staff sergeant in the Army,
is away, the family connects over video chat, but that’s not always an option. What’s hard for you to communicate to them? STAFF. SGT. FOOSHEA MILLER, U.S. Army: Well, when I’m
out on deployments, the hardest for is basically, we — sometimes, we don’t have Internet service,
or we’re out on missions for days without being able to communicate back home. HARI SREENIVASAN: How do you deal with missing
your kids? FOOSHEA MILLER III: For the most part, I try
to block it out, which you can’t. HARI SREENIVASAN: Abraham and Nicole Blocker
face similar challenges, but because Abraham is a Marine Corps Reservist, they face even
more difficulties connecting to a larger community. NICOLE BLOCKER, Mother: And so a lot of people
where we live, I just have — they don’t know — we’re the only military people that they
know. And so it’s — we don’t have that community. Even though people are very eager to help,
we don’t have that. ABRAHAM BLOCKER, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve:
I think the challenge is just the sadness that comes with that and trying to turn it
into a positive, to not to dwell on that, but to own it and know that something is sad,
that daddy’s going to be away, and he’s really going to miss them. HARI SREENIVASAN: Parents told us the programs
helped their children better understand what was happening and gave tools they used to
reassure their kids. FELICIA MILLER, Mother: So, we recently watched
Elmo’s dad gets deployed. And this one kind of understands, when daddy
leaves and goes to work, he’s helping other people. HARI SREENIVASAN: The military families initiative
goes beyond deployment. It has expanded to include material about
dealing with grief when a loved one doesn’t come home, and caregiving for a loved one
who comes home with injuries. Sherrie Westin says the programs can be watched
by all families to increase their empathy, but they are written to help kids and parents
directly affected. ACTOR: He’s not here? Well, what do you mean? ACTOR: You know how poppy has days when he
feels OK? ACTOR: Si. ACTOR: He also has days where he doesn’t feel
like himself, and some of his days are a little rough and stormy. HARI SREENIVASAN: Westin says work like this
is a natural outgrowth of what the show always did, like in 1982, when Big Bird and millions
of children learned about the death of longtime character Mr. Hooper. ACTOR: He’s going to come back? Who’s going to take care of the store and
who is going to make my birdseed milkshakes and tell me stories? ACTOR: Big Bird, I’m going to take care of
the store. Mr. Hooper, he left it to me. And I will make you your milkshakes, and we
will all tell you stories, and we will make sure you’re OK. HARI SREENIVASAN: In the past couple of years,
the show gained recognition for its introduction of a Muppet on the autism spectrum, Julia. ACTOR: May I see your painting, Julia? Julia? ACTOR: Sometimes, it takes Julia a while to
answer. It helps to ask again. Julia, can Big Bird see your painting? ACTOR: See your painting? Yes. SHERRIE WESTIN: And so I think Julia has been
amazing, because, again, she’s helping children with autism have a child they can relate to
and feel less alone, but she’s also teaching others why Julia may not look you in the eye. HARI SREENIVASAN: Some of that praise turned
into tough criticism over the summer, when a different group, the Autistic Self-Advocacy
Network, broke off its work with “Sesame Street.” The group criticized an advertising campaign
which it says promotes screening for autism. It says that stigmatizes and treats autistic
people as burdens on their families. For its part, the Sesame Workshop says the
campaign was developed in close consultation with more than 250 organizations and experts
across the autism community. It also says it will celebrate the uniqueness
of every child, as well as what all children have in common. More than any criticism, the show has weathered
a big change in a fractured TV landscape, and, at one point, a financial deficit that
led many to wonder whether it could stay afloat. Sesame Workshop just signed a five-year deal
with HBO for new episodes to air first on its upcoming streaming app. They will then be available for free here
on PBS. In the meantime, the hugs are free, too, for
kids and parents, if you can get one. For the “PBS NewsHour,” this is Hari Sreenivasan,
hanging out under sunny skies with a few furry friends on the friendliest block in New York. JUDY WOODRUFF: Love that show. And on the “NewsHour” online right now, we
go inside a mobile vision clinic bringing eye exams and glasses to kids in need. That’s 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *