tv PBS News Hour PBS May 30, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: as president trump tries to settle back in after his trip to the middle east and europe, the white house faces new and persistent questions over the russia investigations. then, i sit down with the former director of national intelligence, james clapper, to talk north korea, the terrorist threat, and those recent revelations linking jared kushner to russia. >> if it's true that the objective here was to use russian secure communications as the mode of this dialogue or this communication, that is, i'll say "curious."
>> woodruff: and, bringing poetry to chicago's schools. how the nation's first mexican american poet laureate is urging students to find their voice through verse. >> the poetry is there, rumbling in what they see day to day. we want to bring all that out. >> woodruff: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for
public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the trump white house has spent this day fending off questions about ties to russia, relations with germany, and staff shakeups. all of this, as the president tries to move ahead amid the turmoil. john yang has our report. >> reporter: it was the first on-camera white house briefing in more than two weeks, but topic "a" was still the russian connection. press secretary sean spicer brushed aside reports that presidential son-in-law jared kushner met the russian ambassador in december, seeking to set up a direct line to russian president vladimir putin outside normal diplomatic channels. >> i think that assumes a lot, and i would just say that mr. kushner's attorney has said that mr. kushner has volunteered to share with congress what he
knows about these meetings and he will do the same if he's contacted or connected with any other inquiry. >> reporter: the "new york times" reported investigators are also looking into a meeting kushner held with the head of a u.s. sanctioned, state-owned russian bank. and, cnn reported that during the presidential campaign, u.s. intelligence intercepted russian officials saying they had potentially "derogatory"
financial information about mr. trump and some top aides. this morning, the president tweeted, "russian officials must be laughing at the u.s. and how a lame excuse for why the dems lost the election has taken over the fake news." now back home after his first overseas trip, mr. trump traded tough words today with german chancellor angela merkel. after the two met at european summits, the german leader said, "we in europe have to take our fate into our own hands." in turn, the president tweeted: "we have a massive trade deficit with germany, plus they pay far less than they should on nato
and military. this will change." today, spicer insisted the leaders' relationship is "unbelievable." >> they get along very well. he has a lot of respect for her. they continue to grow the bond they had during their talks in the g-7. >> reporter: all this comes amid rumblings of a staff shakeup. white house communications director michael dubke has quit after only three months on the job, and the white house may set up a rapid-response "war room" to deal with the russia investigations. for the pbs newshour, i'm john yang. >> woodruff: and we'll take a closer look at how all this affects work at the white house, later in the program. in the day's other news, the u.s. military announced it knocked a mock warhead out of the sky, in the first such test in three years. it targeted a long-range missile like the one that north korea is developing. an interceptor launched from southern california hit the warhead that was launched from more than 4,000 miles away, over
the pacific ocean. south korea's president charged today that the u.s. delivered more anti-missile launchers to his country without his approval, and he demanded an investigation. moon jae-in took office this month after his predecessor was ousted in a corruption scandal. moon wants to review the decision to deploy the "thaad" anti-missile system. now, a spokesman says he wasn't told about new launchers arriving. >> ( translated ): president moon was briefed on such facts, and said it was very shocking. he ordered the defense minister he ordered his senior secretary for civil affairs and the national security council chief to find the truth behind the unauthorized entry of the four rocket launchers. >> woodruff: both china and north korea strongly oppose south korea installing the anti-missile system. the death toll in sri lanka has hit at least 194 in the wake of severe floods and mudslides. the disaster started last friday.
today, indian aid teams off-loaded shiploads of goods as rescue efforts continued. water levels slowly receded as the weather cleared. almost 100 people are still missing, and more than 80,000 are still displaced and remain in relief camps. back in this country, the portland, oregon, man accused of fatally stabbing two other men appeared in court today. police say the victims intervened as jeremy christian was verbally abusing two young muslim women. the 35-year-old suspect repeatedly shouted to the courtroom during his briefing hearing. >> death to the enemies of america. leave this country if your hate our freedoms. you call it terrorism. i call it patriotism. you hear me? die. >> woodruff: the mayor of portland says he hopes the killings will lead to changes in the nation's political dialogue. the city of cleveland has fired the police officer who fatally shot a 12-year-old black boy, tamir rice. officer timothy loehmann shot rice at a recreation center in
2014. it happened moments after loehmann and another officer answered a call about someone pointing a gun. it turned out, rice had a pellet gun. cleveland's police chief says that loehmann was fired for inaccurate details on his job application, and not for the rice shooting itself. >> there's a 12-year-old kid dead, so, i mean, you know, people on both sides are going to say "it wasn't enough," "it was too much." after, you know, over two years of investigation by our agency, the county prosecutor's office and the sheriff's department, i think we've come to a, what we consider a fair conclusion to this process. >> woodruff: loehmann's partner on the force was suspended for ten days for a driving violation. meanwhile, five people are dead and 44 wounded in chicago, after a wave of shootings over the memorial day weekend. the holiday has become one of the deadliest times of the year in the city. this year's numbers are actually
lower than last year, when seven people were killed and 61 wounded. police in florida now confirm that golfing great tiger woods had not been drinking when they arrested him early monday. a police report confirms woods' statement that alcohol was not involved. it does say the golfer was "asleep at the wheel" and his speech was "extremely slow and slurred." woods is still facing a charge of driving under the influence. he blames a reaction to medication. on wall street, a seven-day rally ended as interest rates fell and pulled down bank stocks. the dow jones industrial average lost 50 points to close at 21,029. the nasdaq fell seven points, and the s&p 500 slipped about three. and, former panamanian dictator manuel noriega died in panama city today. he grabbed power in the early 1980s and initially became a u.s. ally, but a u.s. invasion ousted him in 1989, and he
served 17 years in a u.s. federal prison for drug trafficking and money laundering. he later served time in france and back in panama, as well. manuela noriega was 83 years old. still to come on the newshour: one-on-one with the former director of national intelligence. what effect are the russia investigations and turmoil inside the white house having on the president's agenda? bombings rock baghdad at the start of ramadan. and, much more. >> woodruff: now, to my interview with former director of national intelligence, james clapper. he served in that post for six and a half years under president obama, stepping down just this past january. we spoke earlier today.
former director of national intelligence james clapper, thank you for talking with us. >> thanks for having me, judy. >> woodruff: let me start with the news that was out this rning from cnn, essentially that u.s. intelligence officials last year picked up from russian sources that russian government officials said they had derogatory information about then-candidate donald trump and people close to him, some of his top aides. do you know anything about this? >> well, i can't comment on specific reports, whether we have them or not or the content of them. i will say, though, that in general that there was concern that all of us had about these interactions, whether he had direct reflectses or indirect reflections based on discussions among the russians themselves. we didn't know the intent and we didn't know the content, but in the context of what else the
russians were doing to interfere with our elections and the long history of what the russians have didn't and continue to do the undermine us, undermine our processes and undermine our system, there was great concern about what was going on. >> woodruff: let me ask you about another story that surfaced in the last week, and that has to do with the president's son-in-law, jared kushner. essentially it was reported that he was trying to set up a secret back channel to russian government officials in early december, during the transition last year. is there any rational explanation, any explanation you can think of? >> well, i guess a benign explanation was simply an outreach to the russians, the russian government, so that's not in and of itself untoward, but again, not knowing the
intent or the content, and whether or not the sort of time line or principle of one president at a time in this country, that did give rise, particularly given the attempts to mask apparently this dialogue. so that was certainly a concern to all of us. it certainly was to me personally. >> woodruff: can you think of a reason why it would be necessary to have a secret, a channel that was secret from u.s. intelligence agencies? >> well, if it's true, and again, i can't confirm or deny, but if it's true, the objective here was to use russian secure communications as the mode of dialogue or this communication, that is i'll say curious.
why all the cloak and dagger secrecy? if the intent was simply to reach out to establish, to make acquaintance, one wonders if there was something worse than that or more nefarious than that. again, we didn't know, i certainly didn't know before i left the government on the 20th of january. >> woodruff: i'm asking because yesterday or over the weekend, the secretary of homeland security, john kelly, said in an interview, he said it's a good thing, he said, if there were attempts to open lines of communication, it's a good thing. it's a positive thing. >> well, it could be, and i agree with them, and again, this is not a new thing. other governments have sought back channels and particularly as administrations change over, but there is an art form here to how this is done, and there is a line between reaching out, establishing lines of
communication versus undermining the policies of the current administration, and again, we do have a principle here of one president at a time. >> woodruff: i want to ask you about two recent disclosures of classified information by the president himself, one was in the meeting with russian officials in the oval office when the president shared information about isis capabilities. >> right. >> woodruff: that had all the earmarks of coming from israeli intelligence. and then separately in a conversation with the president of the philippines, when the president said that two u.s. nuclear subs had been in the vicinity of north korea. is this truly damaging information to share, or is all this overblown? >> well, certainly i guess there are two dimensions to this. one, the public revelation of this, which, of course, was in both cases somehow leaked to the media, and leaks, i have to say, are bad.
i know that's the lifeblood of the media business, but for the intelligence community, leaks are bad. they in some cases can endanger the lives of assets. so leaks are damaging. the other dimension, of course, is the revelation of these things to a foreign government. that kind of thing goes on all the time, but it's also in due deference to protecting the operational equities or the intelligence equities. it's not something you just kind of wing extemp rainily -- extemp extemporaneously. >> woodruff: this must give some in the administration pause. >> absolutely. and i think it's important to restore or achieve a level of
confidence that that flow can continue unabated. >> woodruff: what do you hear from your friends in the intelligence community about their view of president trump? >> i think the view of the intelligence community, as much as i explained to him when i spoke with him we phone on the 11th of january after he characterized the intelligence community as nazis, that the national intelligence community is a national treasure and the immunity stands ready to support the president, whoever it is, particularly in his role as commander-in-chief. >> woodruff: the terrorist threat. over the last few days the secretary of homeland security john kelly has painted a frightening picture. he said at one point he expects "a lot more attacks like the one in manchester, england," and he said, "the terror threat is worse than most people realize. if people knew what i knew, they would never leave the house in the morning." >> he went on to praise the
counter-terrorism efforts that we have under way, very much of which the intelligence community is involved in. and we've gone the great lens and made great investments to try to ensure that we don't have a similar instance as happened in manchester. but i would point out that this may not necessarily come from outside. >> woodruff: do you share that level of alarm that people wouldn't leave their houses if they knew... >> well, i'm here, so i left my house this morning. >> woodruff: north korea. do you believe there's a realistic chance now that north korea could pull back from its nuclear weapons development program? >> i think it's unlikely, and i certainly think it's not realistic for us to expect the
north koreans to give up their nuclear weapons. that is their ticket to survival i was taken aback when i visited north korea in november 2014 to bring out two of our citizens who were in hard labor then. and i've been a student of the korean peninsula for a long time ever since i served there as the director of intelligence and the u.s. forces created in the mid-80s, but i had underestimated the level of paranoia and the siege mentality that prevails in pyongyang. and as they look outward, all they see are enemies. and so they're not going to give up their nuclear weapons. >> woodruff: you're going to be in south korea in the coming days. what do you think the best approach is for the united states? >> well, i think dialogue. i know we've had a long history here of dialogue, which hasn't turned out so well with the
north koreans. i attempted i myself. but i think that's a far better option than a military confrontation, which i think would be a disaster. >> woodruff: and how much does it matter what the president says and tweets? >> well, it matters a lot. words count. it's quite important what he says or doesn't say. >> woodruff: one final question about robert mueller. you know him well. named special counsel to oversee russia. how confident are you that he's going to be able to get to the bottom of what happened? >> i think that was an inspired, brilliant choice to pick bob mueller for that function. in my opinion, he's cut from the same cloth as jim comey, two outstanding public servants, and bob will get to the bottom of this and he will not be intimidated by any outside influences. >> woodruff: james clapper, former director of national intelligence, thank you very much. >> thank you.
>> woodruff: we return our focus to the white house, how the trump administration is responding to mounting tensions, and how that compares to past administrations, with: gerald seib, executive washington editor for the "wall street journal;" and, christopher ruddy. he's the c.e.o. of the conservative newsmax media and a friend of president trump. welcome both of you to the program. christopher ruddy, i'm going the start with you. you told the "wall street journal" for their today's edition that right now the white house is in a what you call perpetual quagmire on side issues. what did you mean by that? >> well, the side issues are things you've been talking about, judy, on the russia issue, sometimes the president's tweets cause some of those side issues, and they're not focusing
on i think the big agenda items of the trump administration that are very positive for him, such as his jobs programs and efforts there, the fact that he is getting china to open up its markets for the first time in 30 years to american businesses, incredible movement on making the country more secure, and those things are not being talked about, and they're focusing on personnel issues and other things that are not necessarily moving their agenda or making the president more popular. >> woodruff: how do you see the state of affairs right now in the white house, gerald seib? >> i think there is a danger in times like these that the controversy swallows up to the rest of the agenda. i think back to the reagan white house in the second term, the iran-contra scandal. there was a real dangerrer the whole second term could be swallowed up by that scandal, so the white house moved. it brought in new blood, a new white house counsel, a new
national security adviser, and importantly, it set up an entire separate channel to handle the investigation, the scandal, the controversy, trying the wall off the rest of the agenda so it wouldn't get consumed, so the rest of the white house staff could work on things other than the scandal that seemed to be everywhere. it took a listening while, and people who worked in that white house think they lost almost an entire year to the controversy, but eventually they figured out how to get some other things done. i think that's in many ways the challenge before the trump white house right now. >> woodruff: christopher ruddy, you talked to this president on a regular -- pick up on that. i'm curious to know how the president is seeing this. does he feel he's able to turn things around? >> well, i always say donald trump moves in two parallel tracks at the same time. there's the controversial political guy that's always out there with his tweets. he comes from a show business background as well as a very successful career in finance and real estate. he loves sometimes the controversy more than... the
press thinks they're tolley aggravated him. he sometimes that -- thrives on the public controversy and the hitting back. meanwhile, he's very results oriented. he knows that the american people are going to judge him by his performance on the economy, on jobs, on national security. and on those things, judy, he has been pushing forward we relentlessly. i spoke to steve bannon today. he said the morale is very high. they're pushing forward on all these agenda items. they're not going to get bogged down on these investigations, and i think that's the important thing. and i think the president will keep his eye on the ball. >> woodruff: gerald seib, if that's the case, is that coming across? >> well, i don't think at the moment it is. there's a tendency at a time like this in the white house to think the problem is the press or the problem is the leakers, and if we could have a better communication strategy and get our message out, everything will be okay, and it's rarely that simple. i think one of the realities
that past presidents have discovered at times like this is the one thing you can't really do is stonewall the investigative process. you have to let it play out. and clearing the air is an important thing in the long run. in the short run, that's a very tough thing for any president to see. but i do think right now, and this is why the next few weeks i think are really crucial, the way you look forward out of a rut like that is to show some forward momentum on your agenda in washington. the problem right now is that on healthcare and the budget and tax cuts, that doesn't look like it's going to be an easy thing to do. you need to put some wings on the board. >> woodruff: christopher ruddy, is that feasible? >> let's start with one other -- well, gerald says stonewalling the investigative process. where has the president stonewalled the investigative process? he's never said for congress. he's got majorities in the house and senate. he's never encouraged anybody to shut down investigations. even with the firing of comey, he could have... the way you shut down that investigation was in the justice department. he knew that. he could have tried to shut down
that investigation. there was never... he was upset that comey was pursuing this when people are making leaks of the most highly classified conversations our president can have with world leaders, and they're making them out of the intelligence community and nobody wants to investigate that, and yet he feels after six months of investigating russia, they keep saying there's no evidence of collusion on this, but yet it keeps going on and on. so i don't think there is evidence that he's been trying to shut down these investigations, but at the same time, i think he's frustrated that the media keeps focusing on them. >> woodruff: but is it realistic, gerald seib, and i'll come back to you, christopher ruddy on this, but that the media is going to shut down. >> i wasn't saying there was stonewalling. i said that's the temptation. i agree with chris entirely on that. i think it's not realistic to think that the press is going to
stand down. this is going to be with us for a while. so i think the way you approach this is you accept that there's going to be this distraction, but you can't make it... allow it to become an all-consuming distraction. so you almost need a two-track strategy. that's the point i was trying to make. chris... >> woodruff: chris ruddy, is there -- go ahead. >>o go ahead. i keep interrupting. i'm learning the tempo. >> woodruff: i'm curious to know, are there going to be more staff changes? we saw the communications director leave today or expected the leave after today. >> i think there will be. i don't think it's going to be wholesale, like sometimes the press say president trump is going the make this major shake-up. i think there will be changes. again, let's go back to certain core facts here. this is man that was never a politician, never in washington. he brought in some fresh faces. he thought it was going to open up government. he realizes he needs more
veteran, experienced hands. he's on a learning curve, i think a pretty fast one. he's brought in some very good people in the cabinet. he's deferring to them months of the major stuff, which is good. and he's brought in mcmaster, who is excellent. he's bringing in other people. i think we'll see changes over time. i think it will be healthy for him. i think it's going to be good for the country as a whole. but i think there will be additional changes coming down the pike. >> woodruff: very quickly, if that's what they do, gerald seib, can that make a difference? >> i think it can. absolutely. you have to remember, republicans on the hill who control the house and the senate, they're the ones that have to take the next step at push the agenda forward. that's not all on donald trump. that's on republican leadership in the house and the senate, as well. >> woodruff: we'll have to leave it there. gentlemen, we look forward to having you back to discuss this and much more to follow. gerald seib, christopher ruddy, thank you.
>> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: how some simple changes could be revolutionizing care for premature babies. a view from arkansas-- the state's governor on the republican health care plan. and, a poet laureate helping chicago students realize the power of words. but first, twin bombings rocked baghdad early this morning, just days after the beginning of the muslim holy month of ramadan. jeffrey brown has more. >> brown: the first attack hit a popular ice cream parlor in the karrada district of the capital, just after midnight. a suicide bomber struck as families milled about following their breaking of the fast. at least 15 people were killed, and nearly twice as many were wounded. isis has claimed responsibility. the second attack came during the morning rush hour in a central district of baghdad; a car bomb there killed at least 14 and wounded more than 30. all this as iraqi forces,
backed by u.s. and coalition airstrikes, press the offensive on mosul, the last major isis foothold in iraq. we turn to susannah george of the associated press, in baghdad. susannah, thank you for joining us. these attacks are clearly targeting places where many are geared, right? what can you tell us about the bombings? >> in the aftermath of the bombings, there was a lot of anger. some of that anger was to the militants that carried out the bombings, that deliberately targeted targets where there were children and families, but there was a lot of anger at iraq's political leadership, who many iraqis hold responsible for the security failings that allowed these bombs to get into central baghdad. this is not the first time that we've seen these large-scale bombings during ramadan. last year a large truck bombing in the same neighborhood in karrada killed hundreds of people.
that was the largest single attack in baghdad since the 2003 overthrow of saddam hussein. and afterward, iraqi security officials pledged to revamp the security of the district of baghdad. they increased checkpoints. they increased security checks. but the attacks have continued. >> brown: so is there a fear or a sense even that this is the beginning of a new terror campaign, the beginning of ramadan season, and what is the left -- level of security in baghdad? >> this is just the first few days of the holy month of ramadan, that often sees an uptick of violence in iraq, and civilians and iraqi security officials are warning of more attacks to come. they say this is partially because of the holy month of ramadan, but also because fighters are losing ground in mosul in the north of iraq, and we often see this increase in ininsurgent activity in baghdad, other places far from the line as the extremists lose territory
on the battlefield. >> brown: you mentioned mosul and isis losing ground, yes, but the fight does continue there very much. give very briefly, where do things stand? >> i.s. only holds a small pocket of neighborhoods in western mosul, mainly the old city and a few other neighborhoods around that area. iraqi forces are advancing, but the advance is incredibly slow. this is some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in mosul. the u.n. estimates that more than 100,000 civilians are trapped in this part of mosul, and the iraqi military has asked these people to flee in an effort to speed up the military operations in that district, but aid groups are warning that that could be incredibly dangerous for the civilians who are trapped inside the old city as there are no safe passageways for them to exit. so it would mean that thousands
of civilians would be crossing front lines and could get caught up in some of the deadly clashes between fighters and the iraqi security forces. >> brown: susannah, you eluded to this, but these new bombings in baghdad, is this because isis is stronger or weaker in taking an action like this? what do you see, and what are people telling you? >> well, iraqi officials and coalition officials will say that these bombings in baghdad at the same time that i.s. is losing ground on the front lines in places like mosul, are an effort to distract from those territorial defeat, that it's actually a sign of weakness, but the fact that the group is still able to plan and carry out these rather compression attacks inside a very secure part of the iraqi capital shows that the group maintains significant insurgent capabilities, despite the fact that they've lost
significant territory. >> brown: all right, susannah george of the a.p. in baghdad, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: one of the great medical advances in recent years is the treatment and care of pre-mature babies. despite that, these tiny infants born before full term are still at higher risk for a range of problems down the road. william brangham and producer jason kane bring us the first of two stories about a study underway that's testing whether the simplest human interactions can make a big difference in these childrens' lives. >> brangham: most moms don't have to travel 25 miles every morning to see their newborn baby. but for kate ilie, there's an hour-long commute, frantic calls... >> i'd rather just meet in the unit, if we're allowed to. >> brangham: ...and manhattan
gridlock, all to do the one thing she most desperately wants: be with her baby girl, caroline. >> all right, caroline, so we are going to reconnect with mommy now. >> brangham: but as you can see, caroline had a rough path into the world. born 13 weeks too soon, she's had to live here in morgan stanley children's hospital for months. >> okay, now we're going to go skin-to-skin. >> brangham: kate and baby caroline are part of an ongoing research effort out of columbia university medical center and new york presbyterian, examining whether the most basic nurturing techniques, like this quiet moment, can help heal the traumas of premature birth. >> the more you do this, the more you reinforce that connection. >> it took us a little while, but we're doing it now. >> you are calming me, and i am calming you, and then the two crave being together, and it's self-perpetuating. >> brangham: this intervention is the brainchild of dr. martha welch.
she says that while much of this seems like the standard care offered to premature babies and their parents, here the focus is 100% on strengthening the emotional connection between mother and child. >> it's not cerebral, it's visceral, it's gut feelings. and, they're beginning to set this pattern of calming each other. >> brangham: it seems so basic. >> very basic. >> brangham: for the last few months, we've been following several mothers, and their premature babies, through this process. neonatal intensive care units give these children a better shot at survival now than at any other time in history. in the early '90s, a child born as early as 23 or 24 weeks was unlikely to survive. now, they routinely do. but despite that, leaving the womb so early still puts these kids at high risk for emotional, behavioral and developmental challenges. this intervention is meant to help minimize those impacts.
>> you make momma feel more comfortable now. >> brangham: nurse mary mckiernan says step one is often connecting with a child that's literally wrapped in life-saving technology. they call these "calming sessions." >> there's so much medical equipment, and monitors, and beeping, and some mothers, they're afraid. they're afraid to speak to their babies. >> i'm trying to figure out how to hold caroline. she has her c-pap on, she has her tube in, this woman comes up to me, and she said "hi, my name is mary, i'm a nurse here. do you want me to help you hold your baby?" and i could cry just telling this. so i was like, "i'll take anything." >> i know she's sleeping, but she knows your voice, so talk to her, in your emotional tone, as you always do. feels good, right? >> there's nothing better, it's like therapy.
for both of us. i'm telling you that was the first time i felt like i could breathe, and i could bond with my baby. >> brangham: for the first time. >> yes, and it was so emotional. >> brangham: welch and mckiernan say this is a step beyond what's known as "kangaroo care"-- the skin-to-skin contact that's been taught in many nicu's since the 1990s. >> i've been a nurse here many years, but there was something missing. and what was missing was that helping the mother to get to that emotional connection. >> take care of them, st. jude. >> brangham: getting past her fear of losing her babies has been one of the biggest obstacles for elia cardenas. >> please help the nurses give them the care they need so i can bring them home. >> brangham: her twin boys, lukas and tadeo, were born at 26 weeks-- three and a half months too soon. her previous child had also been born prematurely, but he only lived a few hours, and she's terrified the twins won't
survive either. >> on my way home, i was crying the entire way. i was not planning on having them so early. and when i got home, it was even worse, because you know, i had all these things for the babies ready. >> brangham: each day, cardenas makes the hour-long trip to the hospital from her home in port chester, new york. but she's put up her own barriers. >> it makes, made me feel helpless... made me feel, for some reason it made me feel like i wasn't their mom. i didn't feel like they were my babies because they were in the hospital, and i didn't know if they were going to make it or not, and i really didn't want to get close with them, it's hard to describe that feeling. >> brangham: like everyone who was part of this intervention, cardenas was also encouraged to talk with the boys, and taught how to hold them inside the incubators. dr. welch will even put her
hands on cardenas' back, and on her arm to mimic the touch and pressure she can use on the boys. >> i was trying to elicit emotion from elia, wait. i was holding her back so that she would feel the kind of comfort that i wanted her to convey to her baby. this is not a didactic session, it's experiential, she has to experience me and she has to experience what she's doing to the baby. >> trying to be here for them. >> and you have been. >> yeah. it's very hard. i'm always scared. >> yeah, and even though things are really good now, that feeling doesn't exactly go away. >> no, it doesn't. >> it will, it will go away. >> once the baby calms the mother, and the mother feels that, she begins to believe in the baby's survival capacity. because if this baby can make her feel like that, the baby's viable. >> we had eggs, and boy did he
get scared. >> brangham: another mother in the study, miguelina taveras, says she can't really explain why, but these simple interventions have had a powerful effect or her ability to connect with her daughter reylin: >> i actually come in now, and i can take a deep breath and be like, i'm all right. and she's all right. and then in the long run, i'll be like, you know what, me and you have a trust besides a mother and a daughter bond, that i can express myself to you, and you'll appreciate it. >> brangham: today, she's learning another part of the intervention: using what's known as a scent cloth. >> we have a, a little flannel square that the mother wears in her bra, which she then gives to the baby. and we put the same kind of cloth under the baby's head, and give that to the mother. >> i felt like my whole body was relaxed. >> how do you feel now when you smell it? >> the same way.
>> let all the stress drain out. >> brangham: but do these interventions really make any tangible difference? tomorrow, we'll examine some of the surprising results, and we'll look at questions over some of dr. welch's past practices. for the pbs newshour, i'm william brangham in new york. >> woodruff: we turn now to another ongoing political battle, over healthcare. the u.s. senate is beginning to write its own reform bill, and there are some big differences of opinion over what republicans passed in the house. earlier this month, we spoke with democratic governor john hickenlooper of colorado about efforts to replace the affordable care act. today, we hear from a republican. our lisa desjardins has more. >> desjardins: as part of our ongoing look at what's at stake in health care for those closest
to the problem, we're joined now by asa hutchinson, the republican governor from arkansas. you'll recall that arkansas was of course one of the states to expand medicaid under obamacare. governor hutchison, thank you for joining us. now, you're in an interesting position. you have opposed the affordable care act, but also you and your predecessor, as we just said, supported the expansion, and because of those things, we've seen insurance rates in your state get slashed in half under the affordable care act. what do you think of the affordable care act right now? does it need full repeal? >> well, we need to change what we have. it doesn't work completely. for example, we wanted to reform the medicaid expansion in arkansas with a simple work requirement, just lick we have on the snap program, but under obamacare, the previous administration would not give us that requirement. we needed to control the cost more. we're unable to do that.
whichever it's mandatory that you cover everybody up to 138% of the federal poverty level. and is we're trying to concentrate limited resources in arkansas. we don't have the flexibility under the current program, so, yes, i supported a change in it, and i applaud the house for starting the debate with passing a repeal and a replacement, where we need to obviously do more, and i'm looking for the senate to... they're starting over. they're drafting it. i hope they listen to the governors to provide the flexibility that's needed, and i hope they take some ideas from arkansas so some of the good things we've done in terms of reform, controlling costs, and also expanding healthcare coverage. >> one of the items of flexibility that house republicans will give you is the ability to wave out of some things like essential benefits or a cap on the costs for people who have preexisting conditions. are those things that you would want to wait out of? >> not necessarily, but we've
got to be able to have the flexibility and options for the state. for example, on the healthcare benefits, i think the state should be able to give more flexibility in terms of coverage. not everybody wants every essential health benefit. they might want to have different options, and a menu of options that suit their particular needs. let's give the state the option to enhance coverage, to make sure that there's healthcare options that are out, there but also the ability to control costs. and so we want to look at a menu of options. we take two options right now in terms of reform. we want to be able to reduce it from 138% of the federal poverty level down to the poverty level so we can concentrate our limited resources on those that need it the most, shift more to the exchange where they'll have support and coverage, but it will be a cost-saving measure, both for the state and the federal government.
these are types of reforms and flexibility that will make sense, the work requirement is important to encourage peel to have the training they need to move up the employment ladder, to make more money, but at the same time, have some support for healthcare. these are the reforms we want to put enter place. >> governor, house republicans would offer you more flexibility, but they would also cover more medicaid funding you get the from the government, and they are increasing uncertainty. insurers need to set their rates, and they aren't sure if they'll get the subsidies that the president and congress control. what does that uncertainty feel like, and are you worried about funding cuts? >> yes, that's one of the big faults of the house bill. it's a cost shift to the states. we have to absorb more of the cost to maintain the same level of coverage. we don't need that cost ship. we need to continue a good
federal-state partnership. i'm looking to the senate to rewrite that portion of it so flexibility is good, but you cannot accompany that with massive cost shift to the states that would leave more and more uninsured because the states cannot absorb that kind of a burden. but the flexibility is an important part of it to be able to manage it. two points. under obamacare, they underestimated the number that was going to go on medicaid. too many went on medicaid. they overestimated those that would go on the exchange, and there are too few on 2 exchange. we want to reverse that. under arkansas's plan, you're going to restrict those that are on the medicaid portion of it, shift more to the exchange, and that's the original design that makes it more cost effective for the states. >> i see. governor asa hutchinson, republican of arkansas, thank you so much for joining us. >> great to be with you.
>> woodruff: finally tonight, a distinct way of giving students their own voice. earlier, we reported on another violent holiday weekend in chicago. more than 50 people were shot over four days. last year, more than 4,000 were shot in the city. often, when we talk about the school system in chicago, we hear about too much violence and too little money. tonight, we look at a project led by the nation's poet laureate to give kids a way of creating meaningful expression about their lives and challenges they face. jeffrey brown has our report, part of our weekly series, "making the grade." >> brown: the reality of one 9th grade girl's life, told in the language of poetry, by nakia sales. >> black kid, black kid, you've been shot. black kid, black kid, why you have to die? never got to see you walk across
the stage in a suit and tie. now your momma crying over your casket, asking god, why? >> brown: earlier, at her westside chicago school, she'd told me how she came to write her poem: >> when we came back from christmas break, i had just lost two of my friends. >> brown: lost them to violence? >> yeah. they was walking down the street one day and a car had rolled past and they had got shot, both of them in the head. and then when i got back to school that day and i got to writing, "black kid" immediately came to my mind. >> brown: this ceremony at the harold washington public library was the culmination of a year- long pilot program to bring poetry into the curriculum of about 40 inner-city chicago high schools. and a chance for students to read their work for juan-felipe herrera, the outgoing u.s. poet laureate.
this past year, herrera ran four workshops for 9th grade english teachers, offering ideas and prompts to encourage writing. he urged them to choose their own reading texts as examples-- anything they thought their students might relate to. across the city, more than 85% of students in chicago public schools are children of color and most are classified as "economically disadvantaged." >> i'm really intentional about finding poems that are mirror texts for them, or that speak to their experience. >> brown: nakia's teacher, missy hughes of michele clark high school, was one of the instructors who signed up for the program. >> we just saw how students were able to tell their story because there's this mainstream narrative about who they are and what their lives are, and it doesn't honor the complexity or the nuances or, really, their
own voice. >> brown: herrera also pushed the teachers to find their own voice through poetry, and to read the results out loud. >> it's intimidating. it's the poet laureate of the united states. it keeps me honest to do it. it's really hard to do that, to go up there and write something intimate, most likely about your life and your experience, and then to share that work with everyone. >> brown: it worked for the teachers, and for students like nakia, who says poetry has already had a huge impact on her young life. >> it's a way to get anger out too, stress, anything that you got on your mind just let it out on a piece of paper. >> brown: but just how do you reach young people who don't have experience with poetry? >> it may not be in their background, maybe, in terms of books, having books at home. the poetry is there, but it's there rumbling in the heart and in the blood, and what they see day to day.
and we want to bring all that out. nation's first mexican-american >> brown: for herrera, the poet laureate, the project is deeply personal. when we first met two years ago, he told me of growing up in california, the son of migrant workers from mexico. he spoke only spanish at first, an experience that left him feeling outside of society. >> and it created a lot of combustion in me, because i wanted to be inside society, i wanted to communicate, i wanted to have conversations. i got to the point where i just had to explode. >> brown: herrera credits words and poetry with unlocking his ability to communicate with the larger world. >> that's the place i found peace, the place i found freedom, the place i found my voice and the place where i could construct things. >> brown: that's the hope for these students as well. lynnette mendoza is a teacher at the marine leadership academy, a public school where students prepare for military service and wear uniforms. when the laureate visited the
school, mendoza says, it had a strong impact on her students, more than 90% of whom are latino. >> they have a male military instructor, and some of them come from homes where it's male-dominated. but to see that a man could read >> it was really important for me for the kids to see that you can be a man and be invested in words the same way you can be invested in life, and having a path to follow. >> brown: make the connection from what they learn from poetry, to a science class, or a math class, or a government class. >> right, because then you're looking at the formulas in math or science, that's the power. and if you know how to work it, you know how to make certain adjustments, you can come up with something earth-shattering. and the same thing happens with words. >> brown: the district partnered with the library of congress, which selects the poet laureate, and the chicago-based poetry foundation, which, for the record, also supports the newshour. this remains a small program and costs have been minimal. the school system provides subs to fill in when teachers have
their workshop days with herrera. latanya mcdade heads the office of teaching and learning, and while she admits the district, the third largest in the nation, faces enormous challenges, getting buy-in for a poetry program wasn't one of them. >> if you look over time at schools that have strong arts programs, you see higher performance in students overall. so if-- when you show that kind of data, where there's high investments in the arts and low investments in the arts; you're seeing a higher percentage of students really showing strong academic performance where there is high arts investments. it's not a hard sell. >> brown: the next step, mcdade says, is to measure the impact of the poetry classes. the district has signed on for another year and will track the effectiveness of the program for both teachers and their students. >> $3 and upside-down lemons and you, dinky planet on a skateboard of dynamite, oh, what to do? >> brown: as for juan felipe herrera, his term as u.s. poet
laureate is ending, but he's committed to continue working in chicago's schools. he says poetry's place in the education of young people is needed more than ever. >> we've got to let our students lives, all of their lives express itself in as many ways as possible. and where else are they going to get that openness and freedom? in what other area in school? maybe there's other areas but for sure, poetry. >> brown: he and the others involved hope this project can be a model for other cities around the nation. for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown in chicago. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now: in a deeply conservative west virginia town, dubbed "the most trumpian place in america" by their mayor, there's a new movement of women who are coming together to protest the president, even if family and neighbors don't like what they have to say. we take a close look at that
community on our website, www.pbs.org/newshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again right here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions
in the popular imagination, -tango is an exotic seduction,a. born on the sultry streets of buenos aires. in truth it's a complex improvised form, danced the world over. - the passionate elements are very easily read from the outside. i think that what's happening inside the dance can be much more than that. - [jim] jesse krimes describes his six years in federal prison as a kind of arts residency. not only did his work keep him sane while on the inside, it's become the foundation for a successful artistic career on the outside. - they can take your clothes, your car, they can remove you from your family, but they can't take away your ability to create. - [jim] and the celebrated opera tenor, stephen costello, has been both blessed and betrayed by his voice. - you don't realize that you hold your emotions here. when you're stressed you don't realize that you're singing through the stress, and you're trying to overcome it.