tv PBS News Hour PBS June 9, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight... >> no collusion, no obstruction, he's a leaker. >> woodruff: president trump fires back, claiming vindication, one day after former f.b.i. director comey testified he lied and tried to stop the investigation into his former national security adviser. also ahead, a reversal of fortune-- british prime minister theresa may loses control of parliament. what it means for brexit and britain's shifting politics. then, searching for peace on stage-- how one play is imagining what really happened behind the scenes in the historic oslo accord negotiations.
>> it's odd to me that current events or larger political things are not approached more in the american theater, only because it's such great red meat for us. >> woodruff: and it's friday. mark shields and david brooks are here to analyze the fallout from the comey hearing and the rest of the week's news. all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪
moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and friends of the newshour. >> 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 high stakes struggle between president trump and fired f.b.i. director james comey is our top story again tonight. the president has answered comey's senate testimony with outright denials, new talk of possible tapes, and a pledge to tell his story under oath. william brangham has the story. >> no collusion, no obstruction, he's a leaker. >> reporter: the president publicly broke his silence about james comey's testimony today, in a rose garden news conference with klaus lohannis, the president of romania. >> we were very, very happy and frankly, james comey confirmed a lot of what i said. and some of the things that he said just weren't true. >> reporter: the fired f.b.i. director yesterday testified several things: that he took detailed notes of his conversations with the president, to protect against mr. trump lying about what was
said. he said he leaked some of those notes last month, hoping to prompt the naming of a special counsel. he did tell president trump, several times, that he was not specifically under investigation. and, comey testified, the president pressured him to end the probe of former national security adviser michael flynn. >> he did say under oath that you told him to let the flynn, you said you hoped the flynn investigation he could let go. >> i didn't say that. >> so he lied about that. >> well, i didn't say that. i will tell you i didn't say that. >> reporter: the president also denied asking comey for a pledge of loyalty. and, he was asked directly if he has recordings of their conversations-- as he's hinted before. >> i'm not hinting anything, i'll tell you about it over a very short period time. >> when will you tell us? >> over a fairly short time. >> are there tapes, sir? >> oh, you are you going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer, don't worry. >> reporter: conservative media conservative news outlets and a number of republicans backed mr. trump over comey. house freedom caucus chairman
mark meadows: >> i think it was actually a day that vindicated the president. when you have director comey three times saying that he was not under investigation. >> reporter: republican senator susan collins-- who's on the intelligence committee-- said comey was wrong to leak his notes, but she defended him as well. >> i found him to be credible, candid and thorough. it doesn't mean that every memory he has is exactly right or that there aren't different interpretations. but he testified under oath. >> 100%. so if robert mueller wanted to speak with you about that -- >> i would be glad to tell him exactly what i just told you. >> brangham: on the other side of the aisle, democrats pounced on claims of the president. nancy pelosi. >> no question he abused power. whether he obstructed justice remains tore the facts to come forward and that's what we want are the facts. >> brangham: 3450e7b while
leaders of the house intelligence committee asked comey for notes and memos and asked the white house for any memos or recordings of the meetings if they exist. for the pbs "newshour", i'm william brangham. >> woodruff: in the day's other major story, one headline in london said it all: "mayhem". the morning after a ballot-box drubbing for british prime minister theresa may and her conservative party. special correspondent malcolm brabant reports. >> reporter: it was a painful reckoning for a prime minister whose election gamble failed in a stunning fashion. but after meeting with the queen, theresa may insisted she'll carry on. >> i will now form a government- - a government that can provide certainty and lead britain forward at this critical time for our country. >> reporter: may had hoped the snap election would boost conservative dominance in parliament, and give her a stronger hand in negotiating britain's exit with the european union.
instead, the tories lost 13 seats in the house of commons. the opposition labour party, led by jeremy corbyn, gained 32 seats. >> i had wanted to achieve a larger majority, but that was not the result that we secured. and as i reflect on the results, i will reflect on what we need to do in the future to take the party forward. >> reporter: at westminster, a demonstrator wearing a may mask laid flowers on a mock grave, amid rising calls for the prime minister to resign. labour leader corbyn led the charge: >> it was her campaign, it was her decision to call the election, it was her name out there and she was saying she was doing it to bring about strong and stable government. well, this morning it doesn't look like a strong government, it doesn't look like a stable government, it doesn't look like a government that has any program whatsoever. >> reporter: corbyn's success came in part from cooperating with the grassroots campaign "momentum," which took advice from bernie sanders volunteers. adam klug is a national
organizer. >> you build up relationships with people on the doorstep. you listen to them. you communicate your ideas effectively and help train people on persuading people of why labour's policies made sense. >> reporter: but may's opponents aren't the only ones questioning her role. anna soubry is a conservative member of parliament. >> this is a very bad moment for the conservative party and we need to take stock and our leader needs to take stock as well. >> reporter: will conservatives go as far as removing may from power? anand menon, a professor at kings college london, says it depends on several, key factors: >> firstly, the availability of someone else who can command support in the party. secondly, the scale of opposition in the party to her. and thirdly, whether or not the members of the parliamentary party think it's better to try and get rid of her now or have a period of calm where things can bed themselves in after the election before maybe trying to do the leadership election next year. >> reporter: may has been criticized for running a lackluster campaign. it was marked by a proposal to force elderly people to pay more
for their care, and her decision to skip a televised debate. then came the terror attacks in manchester and london, which re- focused the race on security, and may's role in cutting police ranks. and, there's "brexit". the u.k.'s withdrawal talks with the e.u. are due to begin in just 10 days. >> this was certainly a rejection of theresa may's very tough brexit strategy where she was going to cleave a lot of the links between the u.k. and the e.u. >> reporter: john springford is director of research at the center for european reform. >> there's only about 18 months left to negotiate the brexit deal, and if, say, we have another three or four months while the government is formed or we have fresh elections, then there's much less time. and so the e.u. then has an awful lot of power towards the end of the negotiating process >> reporter: for now, may needs a coalition partner to form a governing majority in parliament-- likely northern ireland's democratic unionist
party. the group is pro-brexit, but well to the right on social issues. >> across the spectrum, there is a belief theresa may is living on borrowed time. they believe things are unsustainable and there will be another general election in the near future. ms. may wants to remain in office five years but most agree she will be terminated when the time is right and they will select another candidate to lead them into the next election. judy. >> woodruff: malcolm brabant, in london. in the day's other news: president trump dove back into the diplomatic row over qatar, where 10,000 troops are stationed. saudi arabia, egypt and other arab states have cut ties with the persian gulf kingdom at his rose garden news conference today, mr. trump praised the saudis and said
qatar must do more to fight extremism. >> the nation of qatar unfortunately has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level. the time had come to call on qatar to end its funding. they have to end it. and it's extremist ideology in terms of funding. >> woodruff: just an hour earlier, secretary of state rex tillerson had taken a very different tack. he urged the saudis and others to ease what he called a "blockade" of qatar. he said it's hindering u.s. military efforts, including against the islamic state group. the president also did today what he had not done at nato meetings last month: he said he "absolutely" supports the alliance's "article five". that provision requires nato members to defend one another in the event of an attack. mr. trump also called again for member states to spend more on defense.
iranians paid tribute today to the 17 people killed in islamic state attacks on tehran-- and their leaders blamed the u.s. and saudi arabia. at a mass funeral ceremony, the speaker of parliament speaker lit into u.s. lawmakers for moving ahead with new sanctions against their country-- hours after wednesday's deadly attacks. >> ( translated ): as the iranian nation was engaged in conflict with terrorists at the parliament, the american senate, with ultimate shamelessness, passed a law against the iranian nation and in support of terrorists. doing this, america sided with the regional is and proved that america is the great international isis. >> woodruff: meanwhile, iran's intelligence ministry announced 41 people have been arrested for suspected links to the attacks. in iraq: isis took credit for a suicide attack today that killed at least 21 people and wounded dozens more. officials say the sunni militants staged the bombing at
a crowded market, in a mainly shi-ite city south of baghdad. u.s. army private chelsea manning says she wanted to show the human toll of the war in iraq, and that's why she leaked thousands of classified documents. manning spoke in her first interview since being released from military prison last month. she told abc news that she felt obligated to expose civilian casualties, while serving as an intelligence analyst in iraq. >> we're getting all this information and it's just death, destruction, mayhem. and eventually, i stopped seeing just statistics and information. and i started seeing people. i've accepted responsibility. no one told me to do this. nobody directed me to do this. this is me. it's on me. >> woodruff: the transgender soldier-- formerly known as bradley manning-- is now appealing her conviction. meanwhile, a federal contractor employee charged with leaking classified information will stay in jail until her trial.
reality winner was denied bond yesterday in georgia. prosecutors warned she might have taken other classified documents. newly elected congressman greg gianforte will plead guilty to assaulting a reporter. a montana prosecutor says the republican will make the plea deal monday, to a misdemeanor charge. gianforte allegedly knocked down a reporter for "the guardian" newspaper the day before last month's special election. on wall street: blue chips rose, but tech stocks sold off. the dow jones industrial average gained 89 points to close at 21,272. a new record. the nasdaq fell nearly 114 points, and the s&p 500 slipped two. and, the stage is now set for japan's emperor akihito to step down. parliament today adopted a law authorizing the first abdication in 200 years. akihito has indicated that he
wishes to retire, citing his age-- 83-- and declining health. the law clears the way for crown prince naruhito to ascend to the throne. still to come on the newshour: what voters across the nation think of the latest twists in the james comey versus president trump saga, mark shields and david brooks analyze the f.b.i. director's testimony and the president's response, "oslo," one of this year's tony award nominee for best play, and much more. >> woodruff: millions of americans tuned in to watch former f.b.i. director james comey testify before congress, yesterday. but, as hari sreenivasan explores, what they saw differed widely, often depending on where they live. >> reporter: we look at the reaction across the country to the comey hearing, the russia investigations and president trump's first few months in office with jon ralston, editor
of "the nevada independent," who joins us today from california, ashton marra of west virginia public broadcasting, and brandon smith with indiana public broadcasting. ashton, let me tart with you. millions of people watched this in d.c. quite a few watched president trump in rosengarden today deny what former director comey said. how does this compare to the reaction in your community? were people paying attention to this? >> i think, generally, there is the same level of attention as there is generally across the country. but i will say, hari, a lot that's happening in washington is being overshadowed by what's happening at the local level in west virginia. we're at 19 days away from a government showdown and if lawmakers don't approve a budget by june 30 that means all state workers get laid off, no more funding for any government services. so what's happening at the local level of west virginiaians is a much bigger issue than what's going on in washington rest jon
ralston, all politics local in nevada as well? >> to some extent, our legislature just ended. but the shadow of trump is all over everything, as you know. they did a lot of things in reaction to trump. the legislative leaders, controlled by democrats here, we have a republican governor who is not that trump friendly. they passed some bills to try to codify the obamacare here. they accidents out a lot of press releases about trump. nevada's an unusual state, to put it mildly, as all of you know, but we also are one of the few states to go completely democratic in 2016. went for clinton. the legislature turned. we had two republican congressional seats flipped to the democrats. so there is not -- it's not exactly trump-friendly territory in the first place, but i think that all politics is local here in the sense that people are reacting to what just happened in the legislature, what kind of education policies were passed and, of course, the big issue here, which nobody is talking about elsewhere, is we have a
new legalization of marijuana and a pot tax, which overshadows a lot of things. >> sreenivasan: we'll get to those issues in a second. brandon smith, people outside the reporter class, the bubble you're in at the state house, were they watching? were they tuned in? >> not nearly with the tear vor you saw in the nation's capitol -- fervor you saw in the nation's capitol. it's the same as they viewed everything coming out of washington, d.c. the last few months. around the state house yesterday, which is where i work, you heard the audio of the comey hearing coming out of a lot of offices and at the lobbyist were across the street but beyond that people weren't paying nearly as close attention. >> sreenivasan: brandon, what are people in indiana paying attention to? >> one, the economy. this is a heavy manufacturing state which is probably why donald trump's message of bringing jobs back, referencing carrier which said it was pulling out of indiana, people
pay a lot of attention to that here. that and healthcare. this is a state that went through its version of medicaid expansion of mike pence's hip 2.0 which is what he called indiana's program and that enrolled 400,000 hoosiers in the program and if that's taken away that's a lot of people losing out on affordable healthcare and that's something people care about. >> sreenivasan: there is also a lot of talk about coal jobs. >> the president came and visited the state before the republican primary last year, and he came the talk about coal and to show his support for the coal industry and, since he's taken office, has continued talking about putting coal miners back to work in west virginia. i will say that the state -- you know, we're on the edge of this fiscal cliff, essentially but, in the past couple of months, we've seen a rebound in the coal industry and a really small increase in the amount of money we're bringing in from coal
severance tax. but at the local level, west virginiaians see we voted for someone who said he would put miners back to work and just yesterday one coal mine in west virginia said we're going to open our doors and put 300 coal miners back to work. >> reporter: jon ralston, besides the pot tax, what are people in nevada paying attention to? >> you mentioned the medicaid expansion, this is a state at expanded medicaid. we had a republican govrks one of the few to expand medicaid. there is now a bill sitting on his desk that has gotten a lot of attention that would be medicaid for all. in other words, universal healthcare in the state of nevada. there's a lot of emotion behind that. no telling whether the governor will sign. 50/50 at best. healthcare is big in nevada. we've had a lot of uninsured. medicaid helped hundreds of thousands. you have u.s. senator dean heller, the only republican
incumbent running in a state won by clinton going all over the map on medicaid expansion first saying that he wants to phase it out, then coming back today and correcting that and saying, well, he's not so sure. that issue of medicaid expansion and the only country in the state to have medicaid for all if the government signs -- governor signs the bill is a huge issue here. >> sreenivasan: i want to ask about the level of support that exists for the president among voters who stuck with him in the polls. recent polling in "the washington post" on abc wednesday reseals 56% of americans think trump is interfering with the russian investigations rather than cooperating. his approval ratings are relatively low now. brandon, let me start with you. >> indiana is as much trump country as you will find. he won the state here by 19 points in 2016 and i'm sure that number wasn't as strong as it was in november, but it's still pretty strong. the overriding sense among
hoosiers, i think, is a lot of this stuff is distractions, it's not donald trump's fault but it's distracting from the real work, so they're still counting on him to fulfill his promises. >> sreenivasan: ashton marra? i think the same in west virgina. president trump won the state at the largest majority that's ever happened over a democratic candidate and, so, i think, for the most part, trump supporters in west virginia are still trump supporters, and they feel that way because of the things that are happening that woe already talked about, things at the local level, like this small bump in the coal industry. >> sreenivasan: jon ralston, nevada being a purple to blue state? >> yeah, nevada, trump lost here by a couple of points. you have essentially three states. you have the two urban areas of reno and las vegas, then rural nevada where trump won in a landslide. they're the kind of people where if donald trump shot somebody on las vegas boulevard south the strip they would still support him. the urban area of las vegas,
three-quarters of the vote sometimes very very democratic, not trump country. then we have the sing county which is reno and sparks which is more closely divided but i think that that leans a little bit democratic now when it comes to presidential races. so it's three states. i don't think anyone's screws are changing because of what's happened so far. >> sreenivasan: well, all three of your states have senate contests in the midterm, so we'll check back in with you. ashton marra, brandon smith and jon ralston, thank you all. >> thank you. >> woodruff: and to the analysis of shields and brooks. that's syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. welcome, gentlemen. so let's continue the conversation about james comey. david, we heard today what the president thinks of it. he said he thought the former f.b.i. director vindicated him,
but he also was telling lies. what did you think? >> i think trump actually had some points. i think one of the things we heard on the criminal side, it was not a terrible day for donald trump. james comey seemed to suggest that there was no -- maybe cast some doubt whether there was collusion between the russian government and the trump campaign or at least a lot of conversations. i think what trump did with james comey clearing the room and asking him to lay off on flynn is scandalous, terrible, but not something that would rise to the level of impeachment. to me, on the criminal front, not a disastrous testimony for donald trump. on the moral front, kind of disastrous. the thought he lied is pretty strong. we know because of what comey said yesterday there's going to be a lot more investigations and every time there's some sort of independent or special investigations at the white house, it can swallow a white house up not only for months but
years. the whitewater investigations went on for seven years. i think what's going to happen is you will have a continued administration that's dysfunctional, under investigation, distrustful and a president who's obsessed not with policy or anything constructive but with this sort of warfare. >> woodruff: what did you make of james comey and what he had to say? >> i thought james comey was believable, compelling, in large part because he admitted his flaws. he arc knowledged the fact that the pressure of being one-on-one with the president in the white house, that he had not said to the -- that the president was inappropriate. he said he hadn't been strong enough. but what was most revealing to me of all the hearings, republicans -- and i do want the say one word to the senators, i mean, they didn't do soliloquies, they didn't do seven-minute statements followed by a question "do you agree," and they didn't show rank
partisanship, i felt that there was a seriousness belied chairman burr and co-chair warner. what impressed me is republican senators will be willing to come to the defense of the president, there wasn't obstruction of justice on his part. he said he had to memorialize each conversation with the president because he feared that the president would lie and said, wait -- nobody said, wait a minute, this is george washington, he has a reputation for exaggeration, hyping and some would say not a totally consistent relationship with the truth in reality and i think that's a real problem for him. the fact he wasn't under investigation is significant, but ironically, nobody asked him, and director comey didn't
volunteer, whether there is a consequence of what happened in his meetings at the white house that he may now have opened himself up to some investigation. >> woodruff: and as we reported earlier, david, the president said today he would be glad to or willing to speak under oath to the special council robert mueller about what happened. but given what you and mark were saying, does comey now come out with his credibility in tact? >> i think so. i think he's a careful witness. he was a very believable witness, as mark said. i think what we saw in the comey testimony was really a clash of cultures. james comey is an institutional pan. he serves the f.b.i., he believes in the government of laws, he believes in following the procedures and norms that really govern any organization. we are a nation of law enforcement donald trump lives in an entirely different cultural universe. he is more clannist, believing
in family and loyalty, not recognizing seeing objective law, not recognizing the procedures that is really how morpd government operates. so when paul ryan and others say, well, donald trump just didn't know the rules because he's a newbie at this, that's insupport. it's not only that he doesn't know the rules but all along and throughout his presidency, he sort of trampled on the rules almost as a matter of policy and character because he does not believe in that kind of relationship. it's all personal loyalty, not about laws and norms and standards, and do i think, eventually, down the road, that will be a continual source of problem for him that he's continually violating the way we do our government. >> woodruff: david brought it up, speaker paul ryan essentially gives the president a pass saying he's new to washington, doesn't know how government works, he's not a man of government. >> yeah, he's an enormous child, and we don't have the same rules for him. it was less than fa the tuous.
it was dishonest and misleading on the part of the speaker. you cannot say that. this han has been running for president, he is president. he is a graduate of wharton, athough i would like to see the director of admissionings at some point come forward and explain his knowledge of american government from his experience at the university of pennsylvania, but you can't use these kind of excuses, judy. >> just picking up on what david was saying, what is fascinating about the comey testimony, if you listen -- i listened to every word of it -- is donald trump, david mentioned loyalty. loyalty to donald trump is one way. every one of the co-authors who worked with him on his books agreed on one thing, he is a man without friends. he cannot name one friend. the one person he's shown any sense of loyalty to, he shows none to the people around him,
is general mike flynn, and it's curious. what is it about that relationship? what was it that mike flynn did or was doing or that donald trump is concerned that he might say? and he said, in the course of the conversation, other satellites -- referring to people who worked with him on his campaign -- other satellites, if they were involved, go after them, you know, that's okay, but can you go easy on mike. and the idea of clearing out the room, clearing out the -- the attorney general of the united states walking out. i mean, jeff sessions had a terrible day yesterday and so bid reince priebus, the chief of staff of the white house, when it was revealed they left the president alone, left the f.b.i. director one-on-one with the president and for obvious purpose that the president wanted special favors. >> woodruff: he was saying layoff of mike flynn and tell the world i'm in the clear. >> i'm in the clear, that's right. >> woodruff: david, so it comes down to he said versus he
said, and you were sailing a minute ago, this could drag on for years. i hear you referring to the culture. how much damage is being done to this president in. >> you know, i think it wasn't as big a story outside of washington, i was at o'hare airport and they were all on sports channels. i think the scandal, the fact trump will be investigated for obstruction, maybe sessions, and once the investigations start, they go on forever. the whitewater started as a land deal. when it started, monica lewinsky was an unknown in college and then it turned into a monica lewinsky scandal. nobody knows who's being investigated or saying what under oath, and if donald trump is willing to testify under oath, he's very naive about what
happens when you start shift you can stories, what happens when you start talking the way donald trump normally talks which is imprecise at best and that sort of thing is bound to get an administration in trouble and i think that will become the rising tide that will not destroy this administration but it's going to be a long, slow entanglement in the culture of crisis and the culture of scandal. >> let me give you an immediate problem they have, judy. s will a gubernatorial race in virginia. virginia, new jersey have elections and tuesday is the primary in virginia, and the lieutenant governor, a rather mild-mannered pediatric doctor, surgeon, is running on a slogan and a tv ad at the says, do not let this narcissistic maniac -- donald trump -- which tells you two things, one, sort of we've debased the dilog and debate in
america. why is he doing it? because he's challenged by a former congressman who is backed by a lot of obama people, bernie sanders, elizabeth warren. why is he running this way is this because in virginia, among democratic forwards, according to the quinnipiac poll, donald trump is 95% unfavorable and 3% favorable. so that's what republicans are facing right now. they cannot embrace him because he's going to be typhoid mary in november 2018. >> woodruff: but, david, as you and mark heard in hari's interview with the reporters in nevada and indiana and west virginia, they're saying, you know, a lieutenant of people are going about their lives and a lot of people who voted for donald trump are just not paying much attention. >> i think that's generally true. there is been slippage among republicans since he was inaugurated. republican support is down 7%, among those strongly supporting
him it's down more. it's a slow erosion. 39 approval rating is bad but not cataclysmic, especially among his base. so the problem is not a mass public erosion of support, the problem is in washington where he actually has to govern. the senators did a good job but there is a huge wall of difference between a lot of those republican senators and the trump administration and they won't be getting any closer. >> woodruff: mark? on point david made about the interest. the nielson ratings came out. 19.5 million people watched that daytime, it began 7:00 on the west coast. that's a big audience, judy. there are 20 million who watch sunday night's n.b.a. final between the cleveland cavaliers and the golden state warriors. that's a turnout. more people obviously saw the news and the clips and the reports and this show.
so i think, you know, it's not the same thing, a you know, war coverage or whatever, but there is real interest in this. >> woodruff: david, i hear both of you saying it's right now mainly in washington, but that's going to filter down, that's going to have an eventual effect on how people view this. >> yeah. we could have had a day where the trump administration was in titanic-like peril. if there had been testimony about collusion, a strong, repeated attempt to obstruct justice, we would have that. but we're looking more long term, now. >> woodruff: thank you. see you next friday. have a great weekend. the tony awards are this sunday and one of the broadway shows nominated for best play is
"oslo." it's a drama that takes a deeper look at what went into the historical middle east peace accords and their relevance today. jeffrey brown has the story from new york. >> reporter: the world saw this: the historic 1993 handshake between israeli prime minister yitzhak rabin and plo leader yasir arafat, brought together at the white house by president bill clinton. what we didn't see was this: >> you will achieve nothing because you're negotiating method is fundamentally flawed. it's rigid and impersonal. >> reporter: the nine months behind-the-scenes, secret negotiations that led up to the oslo accords. >> this is our chance to make a difference. >> reporter: in the play, "oslo", playwright j.t. rogers has taken real people and events and, with dramatic license, imagined his way into history. >> sneaking into the royal households in norway, the palestine liberation organization illegally meeting with israelis, drinking together, talking about their children in the middle of
winter, and you think, as a storyteller, that's manna from heaven. >> a million palestinians most of them without regular electricity or water crammed into an area 25 miles, but only a few miles wide. >> reporter: roger's "way in" was through the little-known, behind-the-scenes role of a norwegian couple-- social scientist terja rod-larsen, played by jefferson mays, and diplomat mona you-al, played by jennifer ehle. they served as facilitators in a series of high stakes, highly secret talks between israelis and palestinians. >> there in that moment, for us, it began. >> reporter: the real mona juul is now norway's ambassador to the united kingdom. her husband, the real terja rod- larsen, now heads the international peace institute and continues to work on various crises around the world. he joined us in new york onstage recently at lincoln center theater, where "oslo" is being performed. >> just a handful of people knew
about what was happening on the palestinian, israeli and the norwegian side. i think most people had the impression at the time that this was something which was very quickly concocted in the white house and not something which was created laboriously, seven days a week, 24 hours over nine months. >> reporter: does it capture the art of negotiating and of your role, pulling together the negotiations? >> yes, i think it does actually. because we defined very strictly our role to be the facilitator of the talks and the go-between between the parties. and basically telling the parties, "it's your problem. you have to find a solution to it. it's not our job, it's your job." >> reporter: we watch the face off between achmed qurie and uri savir, the top palestinian and israeli negotiators, played by anthony azizi and michael aronov. >> in my country, we see you as terrorists and murderers who wish to drive us into the sea.
>> in my country, we see you as a savage nation whose army shoots our children for sport. >> reporter: over time, the two slowly get to know and respect one another. >> thank you. i admire... your passion. >> reporter: the so-called "oslo accords" agreed to by the real negotiators included the first formal mutual recognition between israel and the p.l.o., and set the guidelines of what to this day is referred to as the "peace process." in the play, the two norwegians, their actions at times secret even from their own government, keep the talks going. and under director bartlett sher, the actors literally keep the play moving along-- 60 scenes through several cities all on one stage set. >> welcome to backstage at the vivian beaumont. >> reporter: i spoke to
jefferson mays and jennifer ehle showed me backstage before a recent performance. >> terje rod-larsen came in to speak to the company about the double, sometimes triple game of diplomacy. and when he was talking about it, it struck me as being very theatrical. the diplomats are as much. >> reporter: really, not far from what you do? >> no, no. a good diplomat i think it very much like a good actor in that extreme sensitivity to the other people in the room, and is called upon to play-act at certain points. you said every character in this play speaks their subtext. there is no subtext. >> it has an element of a spy thriller. i think people come in thinking "i don't know what i'm going to see, three hours of a historical political drama." but it's got a sort of binge- watch sort of hook that gets in you and you really just want to keep going.
there is no subtext. it is about ideas. it's about facts and it's about narrative, an incredible drive when you have characters who are only saying exactly what they mean. >> i'll tell you a secret. i was nervous to meet those two- the first members of the p.l.o. i was face to face with they're not the demons i was expecting. >> reporter: an agreement and great hope-- but it didn't last. the following years brought more suffering, death and enmity that continue to this day. but terje rod-larsen, the ever- optimistic peace negotiator, says the oslo accords did have a lasting impact, including the establishment of the palestinian authority, a peace between israel and jordan that has held, and more. >> what we are seeing today is difficult, but without these institutions, it would have been gangland and complete chaos today. so it has benefited palestinian and israelis alike. when president trump visited the palestinians, he visited the palestinian president, which springs out of the oslo accords. if he brings the parties together again, a premise for
any talk has to be the only signed agreements which are there, which are the oslo accords. >> reporter: as for "oslo," the play taking on such world- shaking history, playwright j.t. rogers cited a pretty good precedent: >> shakespeare's plays are entertaining and bawdy and sexy and politics and life and death, and he's pretty good. i think it's odd to me that current events or larger political things are not approached more in the american theater, only because it's such great red meat for us. 1,200 people a night sit here like around a campfire and hear the same story and ask themselves the same questions. and that's, only the theater can do that. no tv, no netflix, only the theater. >> during the demonstration in support of the oslo accords,
prime minister is assassinated. >> reporter: "oslo" received seven tony nominations in all, including for its two lead actors, and as the year's best play. for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown at lincoln center theater in new york. >> woodruff: and we'll be back shortly with the conclusion of our series on people with disabilities. but first, take a moment to hear
people to describe their passions. tonight, we continue our week- long theme of hearing from people with disabilities and how they deal with the challenges of everyday life. reid davenport, is a documentarian whose films focus on people living with disabilities. his latest project is called "through my lens."
>> woodruff: on our facebook page, we are encouraging young people with disabilities to share their perspective, and you can watch additional brief but spectacular episodes on our website: pbs.org/newshour/brief. on the newshour online right now: did something you read ever help you get through a time of grief? our newshour family share ten pieces of writing that helped them survive and understand loss. all that and more is on our website: pbs.org/newshour. and tune in later tonight robert costa is preparing for "washington week."
robert, what's on tap? >> hello, judy. a remarkable two days in washington with the former f.b.i. director and president accusing each other of lying. then today mr. trump came out swinging in the rose garden defiant that he's the one telling the truth and offering to testify under oath. we'll tell you why that could prove tricky for the president's legal team, tonight on "washington week." judy? >> woodruff: thank you, robert, and we will be watching. on pbs newshour weekend saturday: how social media's power to mobilize may actually limit the impact of a protest. >> the twist in the 21st century seems to be since we can a do things much easier with digital technology, they don't necessarily have the same level of teeth a similar action. say a march on washington might have 30, 40, 50 years ago, because that was a result of a long process of organizing. it pushed the people in power to
take the threat pretty seriously. >> woodruff: that's tomorrow night on pbs newshour weekend. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour.
hello, and welcome to "kqed newsroom." i'm thuy vu. coming up on our program, from voting rights to protecting dolphins. a look at the life and work of u.s. district court judge thelton henderson. plus meet the only woman so far running for governor of california. first, president donald trump says he would be willing to testify under oath, this just a day after former fbi director james comey gave testimony to a senate panel. comey was heading the investigation into russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race when he was abruptly fired by president trump last month. comey opened the hearing by saying the president had lied about why he was fired. >> the administration then chose to defame me, and more importantly the fbi, by saying