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tv   KQED Newsroom  PBS  July 22, 2017 1:00am-1:31am PDT

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♪ hello, and welcome to kqed newsroom i'm thuy vu. coming up on tonight's program, silicon valley is steering a revolution to make cars smart enough to drive themselves. and meet a san jose native who stars in the tony award winning hit, hamilton. first, more signs of chaos in the trump administration. today white house press secretary sean spicer resigned saying he strongly disagreed with president trump's pick for a communications director. meanwhile the senate debate over health care continues. on tuesday the gop bill looked all but dead when several republican lawmakers refused to repeal obamacare without a plan to replace it. but after president trump met with wavering republicans on wednesday the senate gop leader said he would now try to open debate on the legislation next
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week. and in sacramento, the state's cap and trade program to lower greenhouse gas emissions was extended to 2030. it is a victory for governor jerry browne who lobbied hard to win bipartisan support for the program. >> climate change is real. it is a threat to organized human existence. maybe not in my life. i'll be dead. what am i? 79? do i have five years more, ten years more, 15? i don't know. 20? i don't know. i don't think i want that long. but most of you people when i look ought hert here, a lot of going to be alive. >> joining me are marissa lagos. shawn walsh, and carla maranucci. welcome to you all. sean, i'll start with you. the other sean, sean spicer quit. >> big news of the day. you were press secretary in the
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reagan and the george h.w. bush ut white house. what do you make of this. >> it's not a surprise. mr. spicer lost the confidence of the president and he couldn't stay in that role anymore. now you have a new communications director and he was going to be basically put into a closet and do talking points. it's no surprised that he left. it was only a matter of time. >> you have done this job. you have seen -- how do you characterize how sean spicer did the job? what does it say about the divisions in the trump white house? you have got jared and ivanka pushing the new guy, anthony scaramucci. reince priebus looks on the outs. it looks like a disaster. >> well, it's an audience of one. i think that the president didn't think that mr. spicer was defending him and appropriately putting his messages forward and he felt compelled to do it him on his twitter. i'm not sure anybody can live up to what the president's expectations are. being the communications
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director is a big job arc hard job. >> he has to have relationships with the press even if it is, you know, not the best one at this point with the trump white house. he has the please his boss. as you mentioned there is all these factions in the white house. i think in a way it is sort of an impossible job. it's shocking that sean spicer held on as long as he did. we have been hearing rumors of his ousting for i think months now. >> and scaramucci's predecessor, mike ducky resigned in may. lasted only several months on the job. what's your prediction if you will, for how long scaramucci might last? because trump is someone who seems to think that he is his own best spokesman, is there anyone that can actually do that job fushtly and effectively. >> apparently mr. trump believes he can do that job efficiently and effectively. i think you have got a short clock on these things. it depends how long scaramucci does on television. i think that's how long he will be in that job. >> i don't think it's unusual to have tension between preks press
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secretary and -- >> but the amount of tension between the press secretary and the press is interesting. how do you see that? in the administrations you worked in, and i have worked with you as a press secretary, i have never seen quite the embattlement going on. >> you are still going to see it. you have sarah huckabee sanders who has been officially given that role. she is going to be combative because the president wants her to be combative in the role. what's telling is always when you have a new press secretary coming in, the president walks into the briefing room and says this is my gal or my guy. it sends a message to the world of full faith and confidence what the president says, you have a guy who is reporting directly from the president. that didn't happen today. >> let's talk about russia and sessions. there was an extraordinary with the "new york times" when
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president trump said that he would never have made jeff sessions attorney general if he had known sessions was going to recuse himself from the russia matter. as a republican strategists what is your take on that? >> oh, my god. he has one friend in the justice department. that's jeff sessions. his earliest backer and supporter. he drops shade on him bigtime yesterday. >> he thought sessions would be a greater friend if he did not recuse himself. that seems to be the message. >> there is a back story about why he recused himself and communications lapses in the white house that would take too long to explain here. but there is a back story. the real problem is he took on mueller head on and threatened mueller and other people in the justice department and his investigators. these guys are constant washington insiders, they are tough prosecutors, and this will be a disaster. you do not want to war with these people because they have full investigative power. >> i think it speaks back to the challenges for the new press secretary. it's like if you have a president who wants to sort of
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control everything, and you have someone like sessions who -- and he wants loyalty, right? so there's no sort of opportunity for independence. i thought when i saw that interview, okay here's an opportunity for sessions to stake out some ground as independence to say you know what, mr. president, i had to do that, this is what was right, that was the law and i am going to be independent. he didn't do that. he finally put out a statement a day later basically saying i'm not going to resign and that's it. >> shocking, after that interview have been the stories that are coming out and the fact they are trying to undermine mueller as we speak in the white house with messages that he has conflicts of interest, et cetera, the fact in a the president may be thinking about trying to pardon himself or members of his family -- how does the press going to deal with all of that. >> it's all terrible. what you should do, you should do what bill clinton did when he had his problems, you basically say i have got outside legal teams. it all goes to them, they handle it and they control it. you don't want this in the white house because you don't want trails of what information is
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going back -- you want attorney-client privilege with the outside lawyers. you want mr. began coordinating with them and less is more in this case. >> do you think he will try to get mueller fired? what do you think he will ultimately try to do here? >> if he fires mr. mueller i think you do have a saturday night-like massacre on your hands. i think you will see some of those more moderate members of the republican senate actually talking about looking at investigating the president. >> who would do the firing though? because he can't do the firing directly. sessions has recused himself. would it be rod rosenstein who have have to do the firing. >> yes. >> i don't think he would do the firing. >> that's the whole -- he would tell rosenstein to do it. rosenstein i'm almost certain would say no and quit. he would go down the food chain to find someone who would. eventually they found work to
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fire. they would fine somebody, it might be the janitor. >> we saw this with sally yates. she was a holdover from obama, but you have seen trump sort of -- i don't think we should assume he will fire him yet but they want every option on the table. >> here's something important, and in fairness to the president, every special counsel, every one of them went far outside of their purview went after the presidents on issues they weren't supposed to deal with. whitewater and land dealings became sex with an intern. we don't need that in this country. setting up parameters to deal with the issues is fine but i think his lawyers should be doing it. >> what does the president's finances have to do with this? this is like a spiderweb, at what point do you stop. >> the issue is was there collusion with the russian government to affect the
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election. not did donald trump have business dealings with the russians ten or 15 years ago or his kids. >> absolutely. but if you have some of those people involved with business dealings sitting in with agents. and jared kushner. we don't know. >> we don't. >> and mueller has been given broad powers. like you said we saw ken starr go from whitewater to the monica lewinsky investigation. we are going to be keeping an eye on that. something else i know you have all been keeping an eye on is health care. >> whiplash, right. >> this has been a week of whiplash. it seems to be the summer of discontent, in the only for trump, but for the republican party. the collapse of the health care plan this week. how much of that bill's troubles stem from trump? and how much of it stems from divisions within the republican party? >> i put it almost all on congress. not on president trump. number one, they made a fundamental mistake. they should have put transportation up first. then they should have gone to taxes. then they should have gone to health care. get some wins under your belt make some bipartisan moves. they went with health care
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first. and distilled through a bumper sticker, 22 million people thrown off. if you can distill to a message that small it doesn't work. he threw up a bill he knew he didn't have votes for. looks terrible. >> it was like he threw up his hands, fine we are going to vote on this. i have heard people say maybe he wins even if he loses. i'm not sure that's true but it illustrates the deep divisions. people on the right including ted cruz and other senators saying we want deep cuts to medicaid, this isn't going far enough. but then buff more moderates saying we can't bring this home to our constituents. finding common ground. i agree, i think it's mcconnell's battle to loose but the president needs to step in. >> it was one of his key campaign promises, repeal and replace obamacare. then he went to repeal only. now we're not sure where he's
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at. >> i -- look. because of all the problems the president has, i don't think that the legislature -- legislature -- congress is working well with him. i think to that extent he has not played a constructive or helpful role. there was a really easy solution to this, to be honest with you. i would have walked in the door and said guess what, myth romney is right. every state should have their own health care thing they want. i'm block granting mine to the state. here is x, hundreds had of billions of dollars, every state gets a piece. if you want to have kaiser for the whole state, if you want community clinics, fine. what works in north dakota is not going to work in new york state. give it to the states and let them figure it out. it would have been easy politics. >> speaking of politics at the state level, what you see here actually is a really interesting compare and contrast between president trump who didn't take an active role on the health care bill. and then in california on cap and trade you see governor brown out there. >> staking his fortune on it. >> there he was going to
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legislative committee meetings which governors never do and giving this impassioned speech about how this isn't about me. i'm going to be dead. it's going to be about all you. he cajoled people, he worked with people. he knew what he needed in terms of votes across the aisle and he went for it. that is the big difference with the president trump, is it not? >> and that's where experience comes in. right. >> oh, yes. >> and also, he engages something that trump disdains, which is old-fashioned politicking. >> it's also about philosophy, do you look at politics as a win or lose game? for brown in this case he looks at it as one of the most important initiatives he has undertaken as governor. >> do the math. you have got basically super majorities in both houses he had two thirds of the democrats. he went out and did that. >> you about he didn't get. >> that's the ugly part where the republicans are fighting because they believe a lot of the republicans gave him the probably biggest win of his legacy and his career. >> right. >> so having the republicans go out and not actually articulate
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it would have been way worse if they didn't go with this, doing the kumbaya press conference with mr. may, it was bad politics. >> he also got the business community behind him. >> because there was a supreme court decision that basically said if you don't do this, then you can say this is a fee with 50% vote and not a two thirds vote. so it was going to be way worse if the republicans didn't go along. cap and trade versus a carbon tax. >> i'm not sure it's bad politics. it may be for chad mays within the party, party leaders outside the capitol are calling for his head. the caucus met on thursday and did not oust him yet. but i think it could be good politics generally because what you hear from voters is they don't want the division, they want people to work together. when you can go out and shake hands and hug the opposition
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leader that may convince voters you are doing the right thin. >> he could have done it differently. i shawle poing numbers before i walked in the door showing republicans themselves are favorably inclined than the rest of the country on greenhouse gas and cap and trade. it doesn't hurt him in that context. the issue is you have got the gas tax that's now coming forward. people are really angry about that. if this cap in trade raises gas prices from the low en15 to 73 cents a gallon, whole different story. >> it's going to happen over ten years, though. i would know. >> all right. we are going to leave it there. for awful you, carla mayor nuchy with politico. marissa lagos, and shawn walsh, thank you all. >> thank you. we have been hearing a lot about self driving cars. big auto makers and tech companies are racing to perfect technology to make that happen. up in of the innovation is happening here in the bay area. fueled by engineering talent,
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silicon valley start-up culture and by putting prototypes through their paces. here to talk about the bay area's central role in the self driving car industry are carolyn sigh yeed and david baker. welcome to you both. >> thank you. >> glad to be here. >> carolyn b 60 companies in the bay area are working on self driving technology right now. how close is all this could becoming reality? >> that is the multitrillion dollar question. all those companies will tell you they are 97% of the way there. but that 3% is crucial. you can't have a self driving car that is going to make a mistake. many of the major car makers and companies like uber and lyft predicted by 2020 or 2021 we will have fleets of robot taxis on the street but not everywhere. just sort of phasing in. in fact they are already phasing in. their uber heads of fleet in pittsburgh, pennsylvania, and in phoenix. wemo, which is google, has a fleet in phoenix as well. and lyft will have taxis in
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boston by the end of the year. there is little pockets of start-up, but all those cars now have safety drivers is so they are not auto on the mousse 100% of the time. >> safety is one of the concerns. what are some of the other concerns about self driving technology? >> that one takes paramount importance over everything else. we lose 30 to 35,000 people each year this this country to car accidents. if you can cut that down, that's a huge benefit to society. but that affects very much the way these cars will roll out. because if you think about it needing to be better than a human, what is satisfactory? like ten times better than a human? that means you would still have 3,000 people dying, and now they would be dying at the hands afro bot in a sense. these things have to be near flawless before people will accept them on the road. >> and the crusaders behind robotic cars, right, they really view this as something that is
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very transformative, what do they say about it? >> absolutely. first of all, they all cite the statistic -- it's real wide, 1.3 million people are killed in car crashes and 95% of those are people's fault. but then there are so many other potential ways they could change our lives, obvious ones like traffic, traffic would flow more smoothly because all the cars would go at the same rate of speed and they will be much closer together. there is climate change. the cars would be electric so we are cutting down emissions significantly. then there is parking. if we go to a model where instead of everybody owning their own car we have fleets of robot taxis and you sub vooik vibe to it like a service like netflix then we don't need the 500 million parking spots in this country. that's a landmass the size of delaware and maryland put together. that's a huge amount of urban spaces that could be freed up for housing, for offices, for
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community blgsz, for just other uses. >> but there are critics out there who point out what if hackers take over, what if a terrorist decides to put a bomb into a robotic car and sends it into a crowd? >> there are a lot of efforts at the big auto makers and the smaller companies, too, to focus on bulletproofing these from hackers and trying to stop up all the ways they might try to get into the car and take control of it. but the sec thing you mentioned the idea of basically someone just turning it into a low-speed cruise missile, putting an explosive programming in a destination, nobody has a great way to stop that yet. i have heard people suggest perhaps you could have chemical sniffing devices on the inside of these cars. but there is always a different way to make a bomb. so that's something that the companies are aware of as a problem that they know they need to fix but they don't have a fix for it yet. >> there is also the issue of jobs. a lot of taxi drivers, delivery
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tlifrs. >> truck drivers. >> truck drivers, millions and millions of people without a way to make a living. what will happen to them? >> that is a huge issue. on the other hand to you can say when the horseless carriage came into being everybody said what about the blacksmiths and the buggy makers. yet that engendered a whole new profession that hadn't been conceived of at that time. hopefully the same thing will happen here but it is something we should be thinking about now, about retraining, about social safety nets for the millions of people who potentially could be put out of work within a decade or two decades if driving no longer is a human professor. >> the bottom line though is that this is happening. so who has the edge right now david? traditional automakers such as ford and gm? they are getting in on this as well. or is it the tech companies who have the bigger edge? >> it sort of depends who you ask. there was a study that came out a couple months ago that argued that the traditional automakers have an edge. but that study itself sort of
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gave extra points if you were a big automaker that had experience rolling out cars. the big automakers did experiments with this technology for decades but they never really dove in feet first until google and other companies here in the bay area started leaping ahead of them. and suddenly, detroit realized, this is real, we can't get left in the dust. they ratcheted up their efforts. they started making partnerships with people here in the bay area. so they don't want to get left behind but it is a mad scramble at this point i'd stay from. >> from a regulatory standpoint who is keeping an eye on this to make sure it's not a whole lawless situation. we see test cars on roads in san francisco, in mountain view. they have special permits to do so, but what is the state doing about this. >> the state has come up with a series of regulations. but what the car makers want is for it to happen at the federal level. and there are regulations at the
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federal level that are fairly open-ended and provide a framework for states to plug in their own rules. but the car makers say that doesn't make sense. suppose to have a self driving truck going from new york to. ka, does it have to stop at every border and perhaps have to have a human get on board or go at a different speed? it is a work in process. there are a number of consumer advocate who are concerned we are rushing too quickly to allow the cars without checking on safety whereas the people making the cars would say you can't trampl trampel innovation by regulating it out of existence. >> fascinating. and the chain is coming quickly. thank you to our san francisco chronicle business reporters. from broadway to san francisco, the hip hop musical hamilton has been breaking box office records and winning hearts coast to coast. it showcases a diverse cast and brings to life the story of one of mark's founding fathers. one member of the touring cast
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tails from san jose and is performing in the hit show's san francisco run. kqed's reporter sat down with hamilton ensemble member ryan vazquez. >> thanks for being here with us. >> thanks for havingly. >> tell me the role you play. who do you play? what role does he play in the story? >> i'm james reynolds. he comes in in the second act as to sort of the linchpin to lament ton's demise, sort of. he actually puts his wife on loan to hamilton for some extra money and that ends up getting out in this huge thing called the reynolds pamphlet which sort of begins the spiral of hamilton's political career sort of. >> you are also an understudy for three major roles including alexander hamilton. have you gotten to go on same as hamilton and other characters? >> yes, actually the day of my
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25th birthday was my put in for alexander. and it ended up being the next day that i went on as hamilton for the first time. it was an exciting way to begin the year. i have been on as aaron burr. and tonight will be my first performance as george washington. i'll have everything knocked out after tonight. which will be a relief. >> how do you keep it all straight in your head. >> it's wild. it is all hands on deck. everyone is working to the extent of their ability there. so i have, you know, a tablet with all of my notes, and all of the little diagrams and the audio of the parts that i sing and everything. so i have basically a key that i can keep and sort of do a speed review before the show. and then you just cross your fingers and hope that your brain and your mouth are coordinated enough to say all of the words at the same time. >> you are a emin of the touring cast. obviously, hamilton was made famous on broadway. do you guys get the chance to put your personal stamp on the show? >> yeah, it's been nice,
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actually because the other companies, because there have been people coming in and out, they are sort of like patchwork quilts almost, you know, and we are still our original group from rehearsal in new york. so it's nice we all had that six weeks of rehearsal and he auto all moved here together. i think there is a special energy that is associated with this company because we all sort of created it together. and of course there is an outline. we are still doing the same hamilton as it was done in new york and chicago and london soon. but we, having been together from theity start, have sort of a special bond that is palpable, i think. >> now, before new york, there was san jose. you were a local boy made good. i believe you started in san jose at the tender age of 8? >> i did, yeah, yeah, i did. i did shows at the children's musical theater of san jose growing up from age 8 to post freshman year of college. i came back and did another show there. that's really where i got the
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bulk of my sort of feeder education. i went to bellerman college prep for high school. and so that was a different sort of side of my education as a person and as a young unanimous. and so i think all of those things kind of simultaneously working together allowed me to approach theater as not just as a had beeny but as sort of a business and a career and taking it seriously. so i attribute the bay area and those experiences i had there a lot to the success that i've had, yeah. >> now, i imagine you get this question a lot. but given the nature of the story, an immigrant son made good in washington, d.c., why are the tickets so darn expensive? >> it is wild. yeah, it is. you know, it -- demand is a crazy thing. you know? and i think what's interesting is -- i think it's good that the show, especially the traveling company that's going to be all over the country is going to share a message with people from
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actually different sort of economic backgrounds. what's cool about hamilton is because the tickets are so expensive it's offset by the fact that we do something called ham for ham, which is a lottery system where you can see the show in the front couple rows for $10. so it's nice because the expensive tickets allow people who would not be able to even see a broadway show at all to come and see something that's this pop culture phenomenon for just a hamilton, a reasonable -- you know. >> one last question. this is a very tough role that involves dancing and acting and singing. what's your favorite part? >> i love -- when playing hamilton, it's going to be a very unique experience because my girlfriend actually of many years is eliza hamilton, his wife. so when i do get to go on as that, that is my favorite part, being able to share the stage with her is really unique and
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cool. >> ryan vazquez, what a pleasure. >> thanks, thanks for having me. >> it is a fantastic show if you haven't seen it. that will do it for us. thank you for joining us i'm thuy vu, for more of our coverage, as always go to kqed.org/newsroom.
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>> disruptions and eruptions. president trump looks to box in rocket mueller's russia investigation and a staff shakeup rocks the west ring. i'm rob robert. we explore the looming showdown over pardons, conflicts of interests and trump family finances. tonight on "washington week." bombshell reports reveal the president's legal team is looking to blunt the russia investigation. scouring robert muler and his investigators. looking for conflicts of interest they can use to discredit the investigation. mr. trump is also exploring his authority to pardon aides, family members and even himself, as mueller checks trump's business transactions, the president issues a

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