tv PBS News Hour PBS June 12, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, protesting the kremlin-- hundreds of demonstrators are detained during massive opposition rallies across russia. also ahead, i sit down with the former senior american diplomat in china, who resigned in protest after president trump's withdrawal from the paris climate accord. and, inside the islamist militant group, hezbollah-- a look at the movement's roots in lebanon, and its future in a shifting political landscape. >> the trump administration talked tough about containing iran, but given little explanation of how it would play a role in curbing iran and its ally here in lebanon, hezbollah,
while continuing to fight the common enemy of isis. >> woodruff: then, its politics monday-- tamara keith and stuart rothenberg look ahead to a busy week including tomorrow's congressional testimony from attorney general jeff sessions. 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.
>> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> 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 white house isn't saying tonight whether recordings do exist of president trump's conversations with former f.b.i. director james
comey. over the weekend, several republican senators urged the president to answer that question, yes or no. at the white house today, reporters pressed press secretary sean spicer on the subject. >> i think the president made it very clear on friday that he would get back as soon as possible on this. and his position on that conversation. >> right, but what is he waiting for? what's the delay? >> he's not waiting for anything. when he's ready to further discuss it he will. >> woodruff: spicer also would not say if attorney general jeff sessions should invoke executive privilege when he goes before a senate committee tomorrow. sessions faces questions about his contacts with russia's ambassador during the presidential race. a second u.s. appeals court has upheld a block on president trump's modified travel ban. in seattle today, three judges of the 9th circuit court backed a ruling by a lower court, in hawaii, that the ban discriminates against muslims. a federal appeals court in virginia already issued a similar ruling in a separate
case. the attorneys general of maryland and the district of columbia charged today that the president's ongoing business ties violate the constitution. they sued in federal court, citing the emoluments clause, designed to head off conflicts of interest. in washington, the two officials, both democrats, said it's a matter of saving democracy. >> we're concerned that foreign governments are coming to the trump businesses for the single purpose of currying special favor from the president of the united states so that their interest can get a higher priority than the interest of the american people. >> woodruff: a white house spokesman said the suit is motivated by partisan politics. a similar suit is pending in new york state. the white house also condemned russia's crackdown today on protesters against corruption. more than a thousand people were arrested across the country.
alex thomson of independent television news filed this report. >> reporter: hundreds arrested in moscow alone on a day of protests nationwide against corruption generally and vladimir putin particularly. "putin is a thief" the chant and "russia without putin." all of this organized by the kremlin's most prominent critic by far: the anti-corruption campaigner and presidential hopeful alexei navalny. if navalny's plan was to rain on president putin's parade, it's certainly succeeding in this part of the demonstration. thousands of people gathered here, plainly the vast majority of them here pro navalny. >> putin is killing our people. he's killing you and me. he's sending people to ukraine and syria to die for his interests. let's tell him we're not having it.
>> ( translated ): i came here for the truth. our government is not conducting itself properly. >> reporter: navalny was allowed to demo in moscow, just not here, on the main road leading straight up to red square. but late last night, he ordered his people to this illegal location. that made confrontation inevitable. "moscovites," he told people in a late night appeal, "come to terverskiya street. don't go anywhere else." alexei navalny himself never made it to his own protest, arrested at his home in moscow. he could now be detained for up to 30 days. across moscow, as across russia, these were the official independence day celebrations, the kind the kremlin wanted people to see. and let's face it most russians. putin remains hugely popular. navalny's support runs at just two percent. >> ( translated ): i don't think protesting today makes any sense. people are celebrating.
they're happy. why spoil the mood? >> reporter: this was vladivostok-- demonstrations and arrests well before most of moscow had even got up this morning. north to siberia, novosebirsk, and another of more than 200 cities where anti-corruption protesters gathered. and west to st. petersburg. the same pattern: gathering chanting and arresting. >> woodruff: back in this country, newly elected montana congressman greg gianforte will not go to jail after all, for assaulting a reporter. the republican pleaded guilty today to a misdemeanor charge, and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service. he'll also attend 20 hours of anger management counseling and pay a fine of $385. a pennsylvania jury has begun deliberating in bill cosby's sexual assault trial. the defense rested abruptly today. cosby himself, accompanied by his wife for the first time, declined to testify.
his defense team argued the comedian and his accuser had a consensual relationship. prosecutors argued cosby drugged the woman. in orlando, florida today, they remembered the deadliest mass shooting in modern u.s. history. a gunman, omar mateen, killed 49 people at a gay nightclub last june 12th, before police killed him. he'd pledged allegiance to the islamic state group. this morning, a vigil began at 2:00 a.m., the same hour as the rampage. names of the victims were read aloud, and hundreds carried candles and laid flowers. >> we are not here to relive the rror of that day. we're here for a greater purpose. we're here to remember the innocent lives that were lost, we're here to honor them.
>> woodruff: the owner of the pulse nightclub said she plans to turn the site into a memorial. the interior department is recommending the bears ears national monument in utah be downsized. it now covers 1.3 million acres. president trump has said the protective designations amount to "a massive federal land grab." he's ordered reviews of bears ears and 27 other sites. wall street's week is off to a sluggish start. the dow jones industrial average lost 36 points today, to close at 21,235. the nasdaq fell 32, and the s&p 500 slipped two. and, the first family is finally under one roof, again, at the white house. first lady melania trump and the couple's 11-year-old son, barron, arrived sunday night to take up residence. they'd stayed in new york until the school year ended. still to come on the newshour: the former acting ambassador to china explains why he broke
ranks with the trump administration. democrats speak out about the way republicans are making decisions on health care. a lebanese militant group gaining power as it fights in syria, and much more. >> woodruff: last year, former president obama and china's president xi xinping announced on the same day that the u.s. and china would join the paris climate agreement, in an effort to forestall climate change through capping and reducing emissions. china's participation was seen as key: it is the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide, with the united states running second. but on june 1st, president trump announced his intention to withdraw from the agreement, citing possible economic harm to the u.s. four days later, the top
american official in china, the charges d'affaires in beijing, tendered his resignation, citing the president's withdrawal. his name is david rank, and he served 27 years in the foreign service. he joins me now for his first interview since leaving government. david rank, welcome. you knew, when donald trump was running for president, that he had said the u.s. shouldn't be in this climate accord. what was your thinking then? >> boy, i served five presidents over 27 years, i have been through a lot of presidential campaigns, i've heard a lot of things spoken about the u.s.-china relationship and about other issues. i suppose i thought, boy, that's bad idea but there are a lot of bad ideas talked about in presidential campaigns and we'll see what happens when he becomes president. >> woodruff: and, so, when he made that announcement, what was your rams? >> yoreaction? know, judy, up until the
day before, it caught me offguard. it seemed improbable the u.s. would pull out because paris is a symbol of u.s. leadership in the region, in this world. i mean, the benefits that accrue from being a leader and being in paris just seem to be so obvious that it sort of caught me offguard. >> woodruff: what were interest benefits, in your mind? >> look, how many agreements are there in the world where all but two or three countries are members? once who are the closest partners we've had for 70 years, one of the most important issues to those countries. so the benefits of being the leader, as you said, working with china to bring about to make the paris agreement possible and to be the true leader on climate issues really
is a remarkable benefit. >> woodruff: why does climate matter to you? >> well, as i explained to my staff as i went, not only did it bother me from the perspective of bad policy but also the obligation we have to our kids and, frankly, the moral obligation i feel to take care of the plant we have been given and the plant we leave our children and their children and, you know, realizing, even to take small steps, i couldn't do it, i couldn't in good conscience be party to the u.s. way the drawl. we have a disciplined service. you either agree to implement the president's policy or you step aside, so that was the solution i put forward. >> woodruff: so his argument this was going economic harm to the u.s., he talked about
draconian repercussions to the u.s. thanks to the accord, and he said he wanted to negotiate a new deal on climate. >> i'm quick to admit, i'm not an expert on climate and, had there been a serious proposal, had we said, look, paris is -- instead of paris, we want to do x, y or z, probably would have changed the way i looked at it. there hasn't been any real indication of that, and i suspect -- well, i'll wait and see from the outside. >> woodruff: how difficult a decision is this for you? you have been in the foreign service for 27 years. >> yeah, i love my job. i love the people i work with. i think -- i'd like to think i got up every morning with a feeling of gratitude for the ability to do what i was doing to serve the american people, to work with a group of colleagues who were committed to the same
sorts of goals i am, and it was tough. it was very difficult. >> woodruff: and you could have stayed. i guess did anybody make the argument you could stay and fight and stand up for what you believe in? >> absolutely. i think there's honor in that and i think i made the case to the folks because there are a lot of people who not just in the embassy and beijing but across the state department and government who are asking themselves, if i fundamentally disagree, what do i do? and my answer to that is, look, i have my own particular personal situation, i'm relatively close to the end of my career, but if you have 20 years ahead of you, then there's real honor to doing the tough work, the slow and steady work that we as diplomats and really people throughout the u.s. government, i mean, that's the role of the civil servant, the role of the public servant, and i think it is and will continue to be an honorable role.
>> woodruff: last thing, and separate from this decision, how do you see the state of relations now between the united states and china with president trump pressing the chinese in particular to lean on the north koreans to pull back their nuclear program? >> i think we're early in the trump administration. i think it's a positive thing that the president and his senior advisors have made it clear it's an important issue, that we have to grapple with north korea. you know, it's not the only issue between the united states and china, but certainly it is the one that is on the front burner. but i think it will be a challenge. it will take hard work every day, not just by the president, not just by the secretary of state but by the colleagues of mine who are still in beijing and colleagues in the state department and the department of defense and elsewhere in the u.s. government. it's a real challenge to the united states. >> woodruff: david rank, former charges d'affaires at the
u.s. embassy in beijing, china, up until about a few days ago. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> woodruff: this is an important week for the fate of a bill designed to replace and potentially overhaul the health care law often referred to as "obamacare." republican senators are hoping to finish drafting key portions of their own bill affecting coverage and costs. but democrats say the entire battle over repealing the law is quite different from standard operating procedure, and not nearly transparent enough. lisa desjardins looks at how it's playing out in the senate. >> desjardins: right now the debate over health care is red hot in congress, but only behind closed doors, as republicans privately try to craft a senate bill. and that is something democrats, like claire mccaskill last week, have been raising publicly.
>> we have no idea what's being proposed. there's a group of guys in a back room somewhere that are making these decisions. there were no hearings in the house. i mean, listen, this is hard to take. because i know we made mistakes on the affordable health care act, mr. secretary. and one of the criticisms we got over and over again that the vote was partisan. well you couldn't have a more partisan exercise than what you're engaged in right now. we're not even going to have a hearing on a bill that impacts one-sixth of our economy. >> desjardins: mccaskill wants something called "regular order." what is that? what used to be the normal process, a bill goes through committee hearings, where experts and those affected by an issue ring in, then senators on the committee can vote to change the bill with amendments. and then when a bill gets to the senate floor - regular order means another chance to change it with amendment votes there too. in 2009, with the affordable care act, two senate committees
held three months of hearings and went through weeks of voting on amendments. more recently, senate leader mitch mcconnell said he wanted regular order when republicans took over in 2015. >> we need to open up the legislative process in a way that allows more amendments from both sides. >> desjardins: but that's not how republicans so far have planned this health care debate. again, in regular order bills go through committees and amendment votes. instead, senate republicans have indicated they may send their health care bill straight to the senate floor with little,maybe no, chance to amend it. and they've held no hearings on the bill so far. leading this process is republican senate finance chairman orrin hatch. >> well i don't know there's going to be another hearing, but we've invited you to participate. >> desjardins: who stressed to mccaskill that he wants democratic ideas, if not more hearings and votes. but that differs from hatch in 2009, when republicans were the minority, and he thought democrats were moving too fast on health care.
>> we at least ought to take the time to do it right. >> desjardins: in the end, it took democrats 14 months to pass their health care bill in 2009. that's why this moment is critical-- the senate will make or break health care reform. and senate leaders, including hatch, have said they want to pass a full health care bill by the end of this month. that's just nine or ten legislative days away. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa desjardins. >> woodruff: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: it's politics monday. a look at the week ahead for the white house. cancer screening tests traditions in india. and why professional baseball teams are trying to win over this baby. but first, there is a new and potentially-explosive battleground shaping up in
syria's civil war, in the country's southeast, as isis retreats from its makeshift capital, raqqa, and the larger fight for syria grinds on. along the border shared by syria, iraq and jordan, american and british special operations troops are training rebel fighters, operating in close proximity: forces from the syrian army, russia, iran, and hezbollah. as special correspondent jane ferguson reports, the lebanese militant group is a unique force among the patchwork of overlapping allegiances in the mideast: while it has been integral to the syrian regime's survival, it also remains committed to its original goal, the destruction of israel. >> reporter: forged amid the bloodletting of lebanon's civil war from 1975 to 1990, hezbollah was created to fight israel, whose army invaded and occupied the country half way through the conflict after attacks by
palestinian groups. hezbollah means ¡party of god' in arabic, but members often call themselves, simply, the resistance. it is a secretive, militant movement of the shia sect of islam, largely funded and armed by iran. to the u.s. and many of its allies, hezbollah is a terrorist organization. inside lebanon it regarded as much a political and social movement as an armed one. in 2006, they fought israel to a bloody draw during a 33-day war, which the militants declared a victory. it was celebrated around the arab world, where the group's popularity rose. after the war, with iran's help, hezbollah reorganized to become one of the most powerful militant groups in the middle east. in 2013 however, it entered a much more controversial war, stepping in to syria's chaos to shore up the regime of president
bashar al assad. timur goksil was the spokesperson for the u.n. peacekeeping mission in lebanon throughout the civil war. he has seen first hand the emergence of hezbollah and its evolution over the years from a small group of fighters to a massive movement. he's asking the same question many others are. >> why did hezbollah get so much involved in syria? because of their love for bashar al assad? i don't think so. in that case you have to think of what is happening in lebanon and what are hezbollah's concerns for their own survival. >> reporter: the answer to that question lies in geography. designated by foreign governments as a terrorist organization, hezbollah is blocked from using the sea and air. to the south sits israel, with whom lebanon is still officially at war. hezbollah's weaponry and financing comes from iran, across shia-dominated iraq, through syria and into lebanon. the "shia axis" as it is often called would be broken if the
sunni-dominated opposition took over syria. >> so for them survival of the syrian regime, a friendly regime in syria, is hezbollah's existence. it's their survival. >> reporter: on the battlefield in syria, hezbollah has proved its effectiveness. those injured during battles in syria rely on the organization's extensive network and assistance. the newshour was given exclusive access to this hezbollah treatment center in beirut, where the group's war-wounded from syria received treatment and physical therapy. we were not allowed to speak to these fighters, but imad khoshman, who lost a leg fighting the israeli army in the past and now runs the center, told us about the kind of injuries he sees here. >> ( translated ): they are normally very painful, such as spinal cord injuries or in the brain. they lead to a person being paralyzed, not being able to speak, not being able to move,
or losing limbs. >> reporter: this young fighter is recovering from a devastating head injury, struggling to relearn names for everyday objects. however, the war wounded are just one type of patient here. the center mostly offers medical care to civilians from the local community. it's all part of a policy cultivated by hezbollah's leader, hassan nasralllah. since becoming the group's leader in 1992 after israel killed his predecessor, nasrallah has expanded hezbollah as a militant group, and supervised the creation of extensive social programs for its community, effectively creating a state within a state inside lebanon. hezbollah run its own schools, medical facilities and even sports clubs across lebanon. they may also be used to control that society, too. andrew exum was the top middle
east policy official at the pentagon at the end of the obama administration and lived in lebanon for several years. >> the services that hezbollah provides to its constituency are services that quite frankly the lebanese government has failed to provide historically. and so, you can't blame lebanon's shia constituency for accepting the services provided by hezbollah. on the other hand, it creates a real dilemma for them when they, if they were to think about ever moving away from hezbollah. >> reporter: hezbollah is estimated to have lost over 1,300 fighters in the war, more than they ever lost fighting israel. most of these women have male loved-ones fighting in syria. this woman lost a son. as the mother of a man seen as a martyr, her emotions are complicated. >> ( translated ): the feeling of my son being martyred is powerful. he will attain a high position in heaven for what he did for us and for our dignity even though it is difficult
because he is my child; it is difficult. >> reporter: to followers of hezbollah, this sacrifice is not made for politics. it is a religious duty. and that duty is absolute devotion and loyalty to the global shia community's guardian regardless of national boundaries. currently that guardian is iranian cleric and supreme leader ayatollah khomeini. hezbollah have increasingly been accused of taking iran's side in the region-wide rift between shia iran and sunni saudi arabia. and syria's war is part of that rift. saudi arabia and iran back opposing sides in the sectarian conflict. while hezbollah's supporters in lebanon remain loyal, its popularity in sunni countries across the middle east, which had risen after the 2006 war with israel, has now plummeted. the group is now perceived as killing sunni civilians inside syria on iran's request.
>> they very much played a role in the regime tactics to isolate, surround and starve out communities, the siege and ultimate fall of eastern aleppo had hezbollah's fingerprints all over it. >> reporter: but hezbollah claims it is fighting terrorists in syria and making sure they don't cross over into lebanon. >> ( translated ): our fighters are injured fighting terrorists and protecting our borders. they are protecting our people, our villages and our towns. >> reporter: however, for all it has lost in regional popularity, the group has become hugely strengthened militarily. and it is capitalizing on that by pursuing further involvement in the region. the group is also fighting in iraq, taking on the sunni extremists, isis. at the same time the u.s.-led coalition is also fighting the islamic state in iraq, and operating on the same side as shia militias, including
hezbollah. this indirect relationship of convenience is an irony of the war against the islamic state. the trump administration talked tough about containing iran, but given little explanation of how it would play a role in curbing iran and its ally here in lebanon, hezbollah, while continuing to fight the common enemy of isis. america has always viewed hezbollah as a terrorist organisation and a deadly enemy. in 1983 the group killed 241 u.s. servicemen in lebanon when they blew up a u.s. marine barracks. israel is anxiously watching hezbollah's evolution. the israeli military has conducted air strikes against hezbollah targets inside syria throughout the war, although that hasn't stopped the group from expanding its arms supplies which could threaten israel. in february, hezbollah leader nasrallah leader threatened to strike a nuclear facility in israel:
>> ( translated ): they also know that if rockets hit this reactor what would befall them and their entity. they are aware of the risks which would be inflicted on them. >> reporter: both israel and hezbollah know a war between them would bring more devastation than ever before for communities on each side. this, for now, seems to be the most effective conflict prevention. it is not one, however, guaranteed to keep this fragile truce. for the pbs newshour, jane ferguson. >> woodruff: despite president trump's claims of "total and
all this amid growing criticism from some fellow republicans over the weekend. for more on how all of this is affecting the white house we turn to christopher ruddy, c.e.o. of the conservative newsmax media and a friend of president trump. christopher ruddy, thank you for joining us again. we know you have been talking to folks inside the white house. last week had to have been one of the most difficult weeks for this young presidency, with the comey testimony, other matters out there. how is the president and his team doing? >> well, i think they came out of last week pretty good. i spoke to the president late last week, and i think he was pretty optimistic and things and happy that things -- i wouldn't say overly happy but i think he felt he had won a victory, that director comey's testimony once
again proved there was no obstruction, the director doesn't want to describe what the president said to him as obstruction, there is no evidence of collusion. we have a special prosecutor, judy, who has been appointed here where there was never an allegation or evidence of a crime. this is a very highly unusual situation, but it's also, i think, politically driven, and i think that that's getting the president and a lot of his top aides concerned that there is an effort here to undermine his agenda in washington by people who want to focus on these investigations. >> woodruff: you're saying it may be politically motivated, but even republicans on the senate intelligence committee said of former director comey's testimony that they found him credible, that they view him as someone with integrity and he's someone who said the president lied about the situation with the f.b.i. and was afraid the
president would also lie about their meeting. >> look, it can director comey is a good guy but i also think he violated viewero policy when he held a press conference explaining why he wasn't going to indict hillary clinton in june of last year. the f.b.i. doesn't indict people. they're an investigative agency. i'm not sure what he gave that press conference. i think he violated f.b.i. rules when he interfered in the election two weeks before and opened an investigation into hillary clinton's e-mails. the democrats were very angry. i think he violated f.b.i. rules again last week when he admitted he leaked confidential documents he compiled as the f.b.i. director to the "new york times." some people say that might have been ethically very bad but also possibly a criminal violation. i just think that he engaged in very unusual pattern of activity. i'm not saying everything the president has done has been
right in this case, but when you look at the facts, you have to wonder who would you trust more here? >> woodruff: well, you mentioned the special council robert mueller and i think i heard you suggesting that there is a question about the purpose of his investigation. i want to ask you about that because there are some republicans out there saying that robert mueller shouldn't be doing this job. is president trump prepared to let the special council pursue his investigation? >> well, i think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel. i think he's weighing that option. i think it's pretty clear by what one of his lawyers said on television recently. i personally think it would be a significant mistake a, even though i don't think there is a justification dr. . >> woodruff: you don't think there is a justification -- >> for a special counsel in this case, but also -- i mean, robert mueller, there are real
conflicts. he comes from a law firm that represent members of the trump family. h he interviewed the day before, a few days before he was appointed special counsel with the president who was looking at him potentially to become the next f.b.i. director. that hasn't been accomplished but it's true. i think it would be strange that he would have a confidential conversation and then, a few days later, become the prosecutor over the person e-- prosecutor of the person he may be investigating. i think mueller should not have taken the position if he had a private meeting with the president and had thoughts about that investigation or other matters before the bureau. >> woodruff: you know for a fact robert mueller was offered another position before he became special counsel? >> i know for fact he was under consideration and the president did talk with him in the days before he was named special counsel. i think there's a conflict there.
my position is mueller is a man of integrity, but we all know in the history of these special investigations they go far and wide and they go well beyond what the original jurisdiction was. he's bringing in some of the top prosecutors that have worked in the justice department. this is not going to be rosy for the white house, and i have to look at when you say there's no -- judy, i think we both have to agree, so far there's been no evidence of wrongdoing, there's been no allegation the president engaged in wrongdoing or any member of his staff did. >> woodruff: let me ask you one thing, chris ruddy, and that is the president's declined so far to say one way or the other whether there is audio recording in the oval office nrkts white house -- in the white house, and whether his conversations with director comey could have been recorded. do you know whether there is a recording system in the white house? >> i hope not. i don't want any of my conversations with him out there. i don't know. i can't remember half the things i said to him.
but -- >> woodruff: why do you think he has declined to clarify that? >> well, i don't know. i think -- the way i interpreted the president's remark was that, if there were tapes, that they would vindicate the president and not comey. maybe he loves having that out as a mystery out there, but i'm not interpreting that, that there's actual, physical tapes. >> woodruff: all right, chris ruddy with newsmax, thank you very much. we appreciate it. >> great to be on with you, judy. >> woodruff: to continue our politics conversation we're joined now by tamera keith of npr and stu rothenberg, senior editor at "inside elections." thank you both. good to have you. tam, you just heard chris ruddy who does talk to people in the white house, he said he talked to the president on friday say that he thinks the president is considering terminating robert mueller. is that something we were aware
of? >> certainly there has been stuff around on twitter of other republicans raising questions about mueller, but the way that ruddy just couched that, he made it clear that maybe he was protecting himself and the president, but he made it clear that he was baying that on something that one of the president's lawyers had said on tv over the weekend. the other thing that stood out to me is talking about robert mueller having had a meeting at the white house, having met with the president, possibly to take the job of f.b.i. director which is a job he had held before. npr and carrie johnson my colleague at npr reported that mueller met with justice department and white house officials but the idea he also met with the president himself is new to me, at least. >> woodruff: stu rothenberg, these are -- the story just keep bubbling up about mr. mueller, mr. comey, the president, the russia investigation. this is a white house that, this
week, is trying to clearly get away from this. >> right. >> woodruff: they've labeled it workforce development week. can they have -- can they make any progress in changing direction when you have this kind of conversation going on? >> i think it's a great idea they should try to change the discussion and narrative, but in this case as you point out, too much is going on. during workforce development week, tomorrow we have testimony on the hill, two attorneys general announcing they will sue the president over emoluments clause. the 9th circuit court issued an opinion upholding the travel ban. it's as if the president has already kind of broken so many bottles and glasses that there is glass strewn ant floor and any step he takes he's going to crunch something, so i think it would be a wonderful idea for the white house the change the subject, but you can see what
happened in the last 24 hours. >> woodruff: but, familiar, they're still trying. last week, it was infrastructure week. >> mr. comey week is actually what it was. so the president is flying tomorrow, he's going to wisconsin to tour a technical college and talk about apprenticeships. on a slow news day, any other president, that might sort of be a headline, but it certainly wouldn't be a front page headline. if you're trying to distract some very big headlines, going to a technical college isn't necessarily the answer. here's the other thing, we have been trying to press the white house to find out what policy change the president actually envisions or if they say they want more private to private partnerships to do more -- >> woodruff: around this workforce development. >> exactly, but then they're saying, well, you will have to wait till wednesday to find out exactly what we're talking about, and that's a long time to wait and expect people to pay attention to something that is not related the biggest news of
the day. >> two other points. one is are there tapes? that hasn't been answered, so every day, reporters are going to ask that. the other thing, i think chris ruddy made news today. he said the president is considering the firing of the special counsel. isn't that the next week's discussion now? so it's hard to believe -- >> woodruff: and as tamara was saying, we couldn't tell if he was just referring to what one of the president's lawyers is saying, but the fact he said id -- >> ant the way he said it. >> woodruff: -- has to make us wonder. as you mentioned, stu, you've got the travel ban decision today by the federal court. there doesn't seem to be good news. i mean, healthcare reform seems to be at least, for the time being, flogged, stopped up, is that the word in the senate? there is nothing happening yet, maybe it will happen. we haven't seen a tax reform plan. are we just going to watch the news develop every week like this?
>> yeah, i think so. so there is a problem for the white house on a number of levels. the president wants to change the narrative, wants to accomplish things, hasn't yet, maybe he will. but one of the things for a number of weeks of months, he has to worry about the fatigue factor on the american public. i remember bill clinton and the drama in the clinton white house. the people were like, another thing! this is the same thing. there is another crisis every day. after a while, people don't want that. they want things to return to norm. the whole premise of donald trump is upsetting normal. you can only do that if you accomplish certain things and people start to feel better abut themselves in the country. >> woodruff: how much do they recognize this in the white house, tam? >> they're obviously trying to correct it. they're trying to do things normal presidents do like hold a
cabinet meeting as they did today. it turned into an unusual session of every cabinet head praising the president in very eve fusive ways that is sort of beyond what would be normal for one of these types of events, of photo ops. >> woodruff: we pay attention to parts to have countries outside washington occasionally, but there are a couple of elections coming up tomorrow in virginia. there's a primary as they choose their governor. a week from tomorrow, there's a much-watched vote to choose the next peb of congress from the sixth district in atlanta. >> and i think that special election is a big deal. georgia democrats have been waiting for a victory to take off over a republican seat. this is close. donald trump won it by a point in november and the democrats feel they have a great opportunity here and, if they do, then we'll have another news story, another data point that the white house will have to
respond to. if the democrats lose, i think, after losing in kansas and montana and the democrats kind of exceeded expectations but losing in the georgia seat, there will be a sense of are the voters really turning on donald trump north. so i think it's a big deal for both parties. >> woodruff: is the white house p watching that one? >> absolutely. today president trump was saying we did well in kansas, montana, democrats think they have something going on but, no, they don't, look at what we've done. so the president himself is watching this closely. >> woodruff: and he said complimentary things about karen handel, the republican candidate. >> i think he would take it as a personal loss if she loses. >> woodruff: would it be a statement about donald trump? >> yes. neither karen handel or the democrat are perfect candidates. they've raised a lot of money, there is a lot of energy, mostly
national money and energy, but i think there's no doubt. if there was a democrat in the white house, i would expect republican to win the race easily and, now, with a controversial republican in the white house, no, this election is about donald trump. >> woodruff: than stu rothenber, tamera keith, this is about the two of you. thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: next, screening for cervical cancer in places where the disease rarely gets priority amid other pressing problems. special correspondent fred de sam lazaro has a report on one effort to prevent a disease that afflicts about 500,000 women across the world every year but has the most deadly outcomes in india. it's part of his ongoing series, agents for change. >> reporter: in a village just
outside lucknow, india, recently there was a rare opportunity for many women like 35 year old kiran rawat. for the first time in her life, she saw a doctor. her timing couldn't be better. >> ( translated ): there are some white spots that i found when i applied the medicine. it's nothing to be afraid of. >> reporter: the white spots are lesions. if left untreated they can lead to cervical cancer in women usually between 30 and 60 years old. it is preventable and treatable if detected early. yet, more than half the cases worldwide are fatal, the vast majority of them in developing countries. in india, cervical cancer claims almost 70,000 lives a year, more than anywhere else in the world. that's because for millions of women here, seeing a doctor is the last resort, an unaffordable luxury but a pilot program run by the global nonprofit, population services international or
p.s.i., aimed to change that. the organization has set up medical screening camps in uttar pradesh, india's most populous and impoverished state. 60 women came to this one. four tested positive for the pre-cancerous lesions >> pick up a nice ball of cotton, dip it in freshly made acetic acid solution. >> reporter: in rich countries, pap smears and follow up treatment are the standard but that's neither affordable nor practical here. instead, obstetrics professor uma singh demonstrated to students a low tech, low cost alternative being used in the pilot. a simple swab of the cervix with vinegar. >> after one minute, you do the inspection with good light. so if you see a white area, you treat it by a procedure which is called cryotherapy. >> reporter: literally freezing it off. >> yeah, that's the right word, freezing it off. >> reporter: the lesions are a
virus called h.p.v., a common female patients can't see or feel it and the immune system usually fights it off. however about one in every 100 infections turns cancerous. vaccines are available to prevent h.p.v. but the cost puts them out of reach of most indian women. >> don't be afraid, i will remove them, ts a very simple thing, just 10 minutes. >> reporter: the approach here is to remove any lesions right away. there's no time or resources to monitor or biopsy, no assurance the women will return for follow up treatments. it is likely that in many if not most cases, you are over- treating the patient, but that's >> there's no doubt about it, but it has been seen that it does not produce any substantial harm to the woman in relation to producing any long-term effects on the cervix.
>> reporter: women who test positive are scared off by the prospect of the cryotherapy. >> they think, "i don't' know, they're probably going to do a afraid and at times they do not give consent for the cryo. >> reporter: p.s.i. canvasser pinky rawat says that happens for a simple reason. >> ( translated ): they hear the word cancer and they say, if i do have cancer what can i do? they get very scared when they hear cancer. >> reporter: but even as there's fear of cancer, getting women to the screening was a tough sell. these women complained that they need help for far more mundane health care issues which no one provides. >> ( translated ): my legs hurt all the time. give me something for my gout. >> reporter: many women labor in the field and in households struggling to get by and neglect their own health. >> ( translated ): it's affected my own family, it's been three months since my mother died. >> reporter: p.s.i. worker soni gupta says early screening and treatment might have saved her mother, who died from cervical cancer.
>> ( translated ): i feel terrible, even though i work in this field for women my own mother died, we didn't catch it. >> reporter: of the four women who tested positive for the precancerous lesions, the social workers the next morning were only able to find one willing to go in and get treated. >> ( translated ): i have four children. >> reporter: it was kiran who needed a lot of coaxing and reassurance by a p.s.i. outreach worker. >> ( translated ): there's nothing to worry about. it will just take a few minutes. and you have my phone number, you can call me for anything. >> reporter: a few minutes later, accompanied by her husband, they were on the way to dr. smitha singh's clinic. soon the ten-minute procedure was done. >> ( translated ): i was afraid at first. >> but today no problems, right? >> no problem today. but i didn't sleep all night. >> reporter: the hope is that she'll help spread the word-and a culture-of preventive care says dr. uma singh. >> so it is like motivating them to go for the checkup for prevention of cancer, for
hypertension, for diabetes, for anemia and multiple things. then you have to ensure that there have to be good facilities. >> reporter: that much larger job of building a better public health system will take time, but p.s.i. says its screening program is set to scale up. the state government has begun to train workers to offer it in all public health clinics based on results in the pilot, which concluded in january. 7,000 cases were positive for the pre-cancerous lesions. about two thirds of these women had them removed. for the pbs newshour, fred de sam lazaro outside lucknow, india. >> woodruff: fred's reporting is a partnership with the undertold stories project at the university of st thomas, in minnesota.
>> woodruff: now to our newshour shares, something that caught our eye that may be of interest to you, too. allegiances to sports teams run deep in many families. but one virginia man decided to let the nation's major league baseball franchises make their own pitch for his son's affection. the newshour's julia griffin explains. >> this photo is good for two astros tickets. >> reporter: so when are you going to redeem that? >> you know what, if it were up to me, we're having such a good year, we'd go this season but that would be unfair for jack. >> reporter: right, because he wouldn't remember it. so... >> he wouldn't remember it. >> reporter: jack wouldn't remember a houston astros game, because he was just born in february. and while his father, pete van vleet, is a lifelong astro's fan, he wants jack, like his five-year-old daughter madeline, to choose his own allegiance. >> i didn't want to force anything on my own kids, especially in the realm of baseball, so i let them pick their own team. >> reporter: a few seasons ago, madeline picked detroit, reasoning that tigers are 'fierce.'
>> a friend of mine asked when, after jack was born, is he going to be an astros fan. i said no, he can root for whomever he wants. and then it dawned on me, why not let the teams have a say. >> reporter: when spring training got underway, pete who, for the record, is an employee of pbs, mailed letters to all 30 major league baseball teams. the query was simple, but serious. >> i want to give you, the new york yankees, the washington nationals, the san francisco giants a chance to make your own case as why my son should pick your team to root for. i must tell you i do not take this lightly. friends may come and go. political affiliations and beliefs in higher powers may change, but one's team is one's team. forever. >> reporter: it wasn't long before responses, or arguably bribes, began to arrive. from the milwaukee brewers: a letter and autographed baseball. >> from matt garza, their ace pitcher, so that's great. >> reporter: from the miami marlins countered: >> our mascot is goofy, adorable and is blatantly superior to all other major league mascots. if he's fishing for a team, the
marlins will get him. >> reporter: pittsburgh pirates president frank coonelly wrote a personal note: >> the pirate ship has plenty of room on it for a young fan from ashland, virginia. >> reporter: meanwhile, nationals team manager dusty baker sent pint-sized team gear and an invitation: >> we want to get you started by inciting you out to the ballpark to catch a game, visit the field during batting practice, and of course a sharp outfit for you to start your collection. >> reporter: and the chicago cubs sent an array of 2016 world champions memorabilia, and made a play fadeline. >> i know sisters have a lot of influence over their little brothers, so maybe you can convince jack to become a cubs fan. why not? that's very smart of them. >> reporter: not only did they send all the swag, but they are going after the sister vote as well. >> exactly. >> reporter: a total of 13 teams have replied, so far... but have any knocked their argument out of the park? is three-month-old jack persuaded? that's a smile! well for now... no. comment. jack is just enjoying the
pennant pursuer's pursuit. for the pbs newshour, i'm julia griffin in ashland, virginia. >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now, a historian of economics weighs in on the ramifications of a more and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday we'll wrap up the testimony of attorney general jeff sessions, who faces senators of the select committee on intelligence. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again her tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century.
>> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> 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. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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