Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  July 31, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

3:00 pm
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> brangham: good evening, i'm william brangham. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight, ten days in and anthony scaramucci is out. president trump removes his controversial communications director on the same day his new chief of staff takes over. then... >> we'll handle north korea. we're going to be able to handle them okay? it will be handled. >> brangham: the president responds to threat from north korea, after its latest missile test shows they're capable of reaching the u.s. plus, in a culture bound by strict religious traditions, a group of girls pushes against the tide by hitting the waves. >> ( translated ): my daughter surfs and i am so happy. our lives are functioning. if allah blesses us then my daughter will be very big surfer!
3:01 pm
>> brangham: 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.
3:02 pm
>> 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. >> brangham: the tumult at the white house continues to churn at a pace unprecedented in an american presidency. anthony scaramucci, just 10 days on the job of communications director is out. the move comes on john kelly's first day as president trump's chief of staff. our own lisa desjardins is here to walk us through these shake- ups at the top. welcome, lisa. >> thank you.
3:03 pm
pretty busy set of days here. walk us through the time like of how we got here. >> to do that, west go back to ten days ago. that's when we saw anthony scaramucci be hired as the communications director the same day press secretary sean spicer resigned. five days later july 26 he made the phone call to the "new yorker" reporter in which scaramucci used a series of profane words to openly attack chief of staff priebus. then the next to go july 21, friday, reince priebus resigned, bringing us to today when we're told by the white house anthony scaramucci will no longer be communications director or have any other role in the white house at all. this comes as the sale of scaramucci's company is for sale. it's not clear what will happen with that. >> brangham: was this chief of staff kelly on day one of the job pushing him out? was the president saying enough
3:04 pm
is enough? >> the word of the white house press secretary sarah huckabee sanders -- >> the president felt anthony's comments were inappropriate for a person in that position, and he didn't want to burden general kelly, also, with that line of succession. as we've made clear the last couple of days to several individually, general kelly has the full authority to operate within the white house and all staff will report to him. >> in other words, both. that last line was important to him. she said all staff will report to well kelley including ivanka trump, jared kushner, steve bannon, all advisors now report to him. >> brangham: how important is this shakeup? >> clearly a temp estthat will last and be important. the takeaway is the four key
3:05 pm
positions you have year in and year out at the white house, chief of staff, press secretary, communications director, and your national security advisor, those are the potions that keep changing at this white house. they are not stable. what is stable? these advisors like jared kushner or steve bannon whose jobs it's not clear what they are. that might work for this presidents, but it's a problem for his cabinet officials and agencies in washington. >> brangham: lisa desjardins, thank you so much. in the day's other news, venezuelan president nicolas maduro is celebrating the election of a new legislative body that would give him sweeping new powers. but today, the u.s. slapped maduro with financial sanctions. in a statement, president trump referred to maduro's sham election and said he is now a dictator. months of violent protests against the embattled leader turned deadlier yesterday, with at least ten killed. "new york times" correspondent nicholas casey, who has been bannd from venezuela because of his reporting there, spoke with me from colombia a short time ago where he has been watching
3:06 pm
the developments closely. sanctioning individuals in venezuela has a long history going back to president obama. they haven't amounted to very much, mainly this government when it sees sanctions, wipes them off. they don't go to the u.s. very much anyway. this doesn't affect them on a day-to-day basis and what we're seeing is that the vice president was sanctioned a number of other members of mr. maduro's government have been sanctioned and nothing had happened so far, so i don't expect if maduro himself is sanctioned, he's going to change his ways. it's not clear if maduro owns assets in the united states and what those would be. >> brangham: you can learn more about the venezuela situation and hear my full conversation with nick casey on our website, the white house said it's reviewing all its options on russia, a day after the kremlin said it's kicking out nearly 800 employees from u.s. diplomatic posts.
3:07 pm
in moscow, a spokesman for president vladimir putin said the u.s. must recover from "political schizophrenia." we'll have more on the diplomatic row later in the program. in afghanistan, the islamic state group has claimed responsibility for an attack on the iraqi embassy. a suicide bomber blew himself up at the main gate of the complex in kabul. three gunmen then stormed inside, setting off an hours- long fire-fight with security forces. all the attackers were killed, as were two embassy workers. three police officers were wounded. back in this country, tropical storm "emily" churned across florida today. governor rick scott declared a state of emergency for 31 counties, as waves of rain drenched the peninsula. about 18,000 homes and businesses lost power. "emily" was expected to dump two to four inches of rain through tonight, and bring winds of up to 45 miles per hour. the storm did weaken to a tropical depression as it moved inland. former arizona sheriff joe arpaio has been convicted of criminal contempt, in a racial arpaio was found guilty for
3:08 pm
defying a 2011 court order, which barred his officers from stopping and detaining latino motorists. the 85-year-old arpaio faces up to six months in jail and a fine. on wall street today, the dow joes industrial average gained 61 points to close at 21,891. the nasdaq fell 26 points. and the s&p 500 dropped almost two. president trump presented a medal of honor for the first time today. the highest military combat honor went to james mccloughan who served as an army medic during the vietnam war. mr. trump hailed mccloughan's bravery during a two-day battle in 1969. he entered a kill zone to rescue wounded comrades, despite his own serious injuries. >> but today 320 million grateful american hearts, private mccloughan carries one immortal title. and that title is: hero. specialist 5 mccloughan, we honor you we salute and with god
3:09 pm
as your witness we thank you for what you did for all of us. >> brangham: mccloughan, a michigan native, left the army in 1970, and spent decades as a coach and a teacher. and, two passings in the arts world today: pulitzer prize- winning playwright sam shepard has died at the age of 73. we'll explore shepard's impact on theater, literature and cinema later in the program. and outspoken french actress jeanne moreau has died. she became one of france's most recognized performers over a decades-long acting career. she was best-known for starring in francois truffaut's 1962 film "jules and jim." jeanne moreau was 89-years-old. still to come on the newshour: the expanding range of north korea's missiles. sanctions on russia prompt a tit-for-tat from vladimir putin. the political stakes for the president's new chief of staff, and much more.
3:10 pm
>> brangham: today, president trump and japanese prime minister shinzo abe spoke by phone about the growing threat posed by north korea. the two agreed on the importance of further action in the wake of north korea's second major missile test this month. our chief foreign affairs correspondent, margaret warner, begins our coverage. >> warner: north korean state television hailed friday's launch as a national triumph. >> ( translated ): the supreme leader proudly said that this test demonstrates our ability to attack at any time from any place, proving that all parts of the u.s. territory is within our firing range. >> warner: the intercontinental ballistic missile traveled for 620 miles, reaching a height of over 2,000 miles before landing off the coast of the japanese island of hokkaido. the missile flew farther than
3:11 pm
if its trajectory were flattened, experts said it could strike at least the western half, if not all of the continental u.s. scientist siegfried hecker has visited north korea's nuclear facilities. he believes north korea is still a way from being able to launch a nuclear weapon on an i.c.b.m. >> it goes up into space, the temperatures are very, very cold, and then it goes through re-entry, and again it has enormous mechanical stresses, and very, very high temperatures. and that package withstand all of that, everything. that's a very, very, very difficult process. >> warner: over the weekend, the u.s. and south korea responded with a joint show of strength.. u.s. b-1 bombers streaked over the korean peninsula, and the u.s. military said a sunday test of its thaad interceptor successfully shot down a medium- range missile over the pacific. but a south korean government spokesman said the door is still open for talks. >> ( translated ): we are maintaining our original stance in firmly dealing with the provocations but also combining
3:12 pm
both sanctions and dialogic approaches at the same time. >> warner: china said it opposed north korea's missile launch, but beiijing directed harsher criticism at south korea for bolstering its defenses, saying the thaad deployment could escalate tensions. on sunday, president trump took to twitter, and u.n. ambassador china's u.n. ambassador shrugged off the blame, saying the conflict was between north korea and the u.s. but time may be running out. the "washington post" reported that the defense intelligence agency has concluded north korea's i.c.b.m.'s could be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead by next year. siegried hecker, who thinks that long-range capability is four to five years away, says he believes the north can already put a nuclear device on shorter- range missiles.
3:13 pm
>> i believe the north koreans have already developed the capabilities to reach all of south korea, all of japan. and those weapons are in the hands of a leader, and in the hands of a military with about whom we know nothing. >> warner: president trump insisted today that his administration is in control. >> we'll handle north korea. we're gonna be able to handle them. it will be-- it will be handled. we handle everything. >> warner: for the pbs newshour, i'm margaret warner. >> brangham: so what are the u.s.'s options for dealing with north korea? for that, i'm joined now by two men who've thought long and hard about this. michael pillsbury is a senior fellow at the hudson institute, where he directs the center for chinese strategy. he was also an advisor to the trump transition. and robert galucci is a professor at georgetown university and chair of the u.s./korea institute at johns hopkins school for advanced international studies.
3:14 pm
he was also the chief u.s. negotiator during the 1994 north korean nuclear crisis. welcome to you both. so, michael pillsbury, i'd like to start with you first. as we saw in margaret's report, the north koreans keep building better and better missiles, able to get closer and closer, well into the mainland of the u.s. there is still a question as to whether they could put a nuclear weapon on the missile but still pretty alarming developments. i understand you have been thinking about what we ought to do in response. tell us about that. >> it seems to me we need to think about several factors. first of all, not going back to the six-party talks with the agreed framework. a new framework, a new round of talks that has a better mix, frankly, of more sticks as well as carrots it seems to me is a vague outline. secondly, give one year. we have president trump planning to visit china in early november, so between now and then we have time to start super
3:15 pm
sanctions, much tougher sanctions including on chinese banks and in ways north korea has access to the international financial system. at the same time, before he goes to china, the united states can begin a program that appears it's already started of show of force activities -- flying bombers, having south korean and japanese jet fighters join them, a whole series of things that suggests what many presidents have said, including president obama, that i'v everything is oe table, drawing attention to some of the ways force could be used. frankly, if you look in wikipedia, you will find a list of 14 missile sites and nuclear production facilities that would be the heart of a strike on north korean facilities. they're generally speaking in the far north of the country, so common sense tell us beijing and moscow should be involved. at the minimum, beijing and moscow should not oppose strikes
3:16 pm
on north korea. ideally, they'd join us or at least warn north korea in advance, a sort of last-chance dialogue with them, convey a message that this time the americans may use force. >> brangham: you believe we ought to if necessary do a preemptive strike on the north korean facilities? >> yes. i'm inspired by an op-ed piece written by ash carter and bill perry that revealed years later the way the agreed framework came about is they went ahead with not only a war plan, a concept, but also preparations to have a strike on north korea. in my viewrks that's what proposed the -- produced the agreed framework which at the time was a great step forward. >> brangham: you heard this, the super sanctions, leaning on the chinese to increase pressure, and also a surgical strike against the north koreans. what do you make of that? >> for me the idea to use force before we fully explored the
3:17 pm
force of negotiating an outcome is naive and irresponsible. i'm not saying that's what mike was saying, he can speak for himself, but i do believe there is a negotiation option that, at least in terms of what's available to me as a member of the public i am unaware as having been pursued by this administration and ought to be. one other thing, if i might, and that is here we have the three options we've always had. the first one we have been talking about really is containment -- that is where we try to use sanctions, alliance work. we do military exercises, lots of things to tell the north koreans we are serious but we don't actually do anything to them. it's containment, right. the second is negotiation. the third is use of something kinetic, as they say these days, a military strike. what i am concerned about here is that we really don't give the
3:18 pm
negotiation option a chance, that when we see something we don't like which isn't fix bid containment, and that's what happened in 1994, we were driven to negotiations then and that worked out pretty well, i would argue, right now it's something we don't want to con dangerous we want to stop. they are about to have an intercontinental ballistic missile capability to reach us and we would like to stop that from emerging, and containment won't do it, so the question is the military option the only option or can we, in fact, live with it through deterrence or, finally, can we enter a negotiation that stops it. >> brangham: what do you make of that? don't you think there might be diplomatic moves that perhaps -- i know the north koreans would love it if we dialed back our military exercises. perhaps we send a special envoy for more high-level talks with the north koreans. what i'm trying to get at is is there a diplomatic way to stop what we all argue is -- what many argue is a dangerous
3:19 pm
development in north korea absent us attacking them? >> yes, and i agree with bob, negotiations come first. ideally it's a broader set of negotiations that works out a settlement for the entire peninsula and into the korean war. president trump tweeted about a meeting with kim jong un, whether they have hamburgers or other things could be part of the negotiations. i see a settlement as part of the entire peninsula issue as being the goal. i think we can probably with a bigger package of carrots. the notion that kim jong un and president trump could meet somewhere and legitimacy be give ton his regime, that's a huge carrot. >> brangham: what do you think the north koreans actually want in what would work for them?
3:20 pm
>> they certainly want a treaty of peace to end the korean war and replace the armistice. after that, the north koreans now want something they didn't want a long time ago, they want recognition as a nuclear weapons state and that's something i would argue we should not give them. that's going to be a sticking point. that's a second thing. the third thing is the kind of thing we put into the agreed framework those 25 years ago which at the time were two light order reactors, 1,000 meg awatt reactors which ultimately escalated in cost to about $6 billion. so think, to substitute for that, substantial economic assistance. but fundamentally, they want a nuclear weapons program at least in order that they could be sure to prevent the united states from attempting regime change. they may want it for more than that. >> certainly a very tough pill for the administration to swallow.
3:21 pm
bob gallucci, michael pillsbury, thank you very much. >> brangham: yesterday brought another low point between the united states and russia, as vladimir putin elaborated on his demand that the u.s. reduce its staff in russia by hundreds of personnel. it's the latest diplomatic flashpoint in a tense relationship that president trump and putin had sought to improve. special correspondent nick schifrin reports. >> reporter: this weekend on the neva river in st. petersburg, russia celebrated its global naval ambitions. president putin hailed thousands of russian sailors lined up on ships and submarines. he said his hopes for a revamped, reenergized navy had been realized. and he admitted his hopes for a better relationship with the united states, had been dashed. >> ( translated ): we had hoped
3:22 pm
that the situation will somehow change, but apparently if it changes, it won't be soon. >> reporter: on friday, the russian government ordered the closure of this u.s. embassy moscow storage facility. today, american workers packed it up. the russian government also ordered the closure of this country home used by u.s. diplomats, and an unprecedented, even stunning reduction in us staff, from more than 1,300 to 455. putin said he hoped he wouldn't have to deliver further punishment. >> ( translated ): we certainly have something to respond with and restrict those areas of joint cooperation that will be painful for the american side, but i don't think we need to do it. >> reporter: dimitry trenin runs the carnegie center in moscow. >> putin cares about the relationship, even though the but he is not going to burn his bridge although it may be a very rickety bridge that he has established with president trump. >> reporter: 300 miles away from st. petersburg, vice president pence visited nato and e.u.
3:23 pm
member estonia. he praised estonia's commitment to nato and called the russian government's cap on staff drastic. and like putin, e said he hoped things didn't get even worse. >> america is open to a better a better relationship and the lifting of sanctions will require russia to reverse the actions that caused the sanctions to be imposed in the first place. >> reporter: those actions include destablizing ukraine and hacking during the 2016 election. most u.s. officials tell me they want to see a robust response to putin's moves, and acknowledge these days are echoing the cold war diplomatic tit-for-tats of the 1980s. >> he wants to have a cold war type relationship? let's remind him how it ended up. >> reporter: ambassador dan fried led the obama adminstration's efforts last year to sanction russia. fried urges the administration to exploit the nearly unanimously passed congressional sanctions bill. >> if russians are messing with us and trying a playbook from the cold war, then let's
3:24 pm
implement those new sanctions with vigor. let's lean forward and let's mean it. >> reporter: but that is exactly the kind of response that russians fear will exacerbate a conflict that's increasingly dangerous and increasingly poisoned by the u.s.' russia investigations. >> try to distinguish, or differentiate between the russia story in the united states and the russia policy of the united states. to make sure that the united states and russia, who are adversaries at this point, do not become true enemies. >> reporter: and that is something that neither side wanted, but is looking increasingly inevitable. nick schifrin, pbs newshour, washington. >> brangham: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: surfer girls making waves and breaking barriers in bangladesh. lessons from watergate-- we speak to a justice department
3:25 pm
official from the nixon era. and, remebering playwright and actor sam shepard. but first, the revolving door at the white house keeps spinning. anthony scaramucci is now the second communications director to leave. there have been two chiefs of staff, two press secretaries, two heads of the f.b.i., and two national security advisors. all that, in just half a year of the trump administration. these latest shakeups come on the heels of the dramatic failure last week of the republican plan to replace obamacare. it is a perfect time for politics monday, this week with tamara keith of npr and stu rothenberg- senior editor at "inside elections." welcome to you both. another slow news day here in the trump administration (laughter) tam, i'd like to start with you. we saw this incredible move today where scaramucci is pushed out. what's your sense? there's been a reporting on two days, that this was john kelly's
3:26 pm
first day in office, the president wanted this done, what are the reasons he's fired? >> there are a number of reasons he would have been fired. we don't know exactly because john kelly and the president will still the story they tell and we'll see how much leaks out. but just think about anthony scaramucci, in his very short tenure as the communications director, first, he had no experience in communications, really and communications strategy. over those ten days he made himself the story. everybody was talking about the mooch and nobody was talking about president trump's policies. this tirade with all of the profanity and the very not suitable for work things he said, that alone would be a firing offense and, yet, he wasn't fired until john kelly came on board. so there's that.
3:27 pm
>> brangham: so john kelly, day one, this is heralded by many as a return to order, that trump white house will now right the ship and policy will flow and everything will be hunky-dory. do you think this move signals a shift? can he do this job? >> this is the first time i heard that, there's going to be a dramatic shift, reorganizing, a rebirth of this administration. look, i want to give now chief of staff kelly wide berth here. i want to give him the benefit of the doubt. he's an accomplished plan, a great background and has presence. >> crucial. given that, let's give him a chance. the president is the president, the organizations reflect the person at the top, their management style and personality, so i'm a little skeptical we'll have a fundamental change here.
3:28 pm
>> brangham: what is your take on that? obviously, he comes from a very different command structure. in marine corps, it's top-down, chain of command, and we know the trump administration doesn't like it like that. the president likes to hear from a lot of people at a lot of different times of the day. how do you see this shaking out? >> a well-run white house has a chain of command, has somebody blocking the door to the oval office and controlling the information flow to and from the president. >> brangham: but will that happen? >> that is a very excellent question and i think if anyone tells you that they know -- now, john kelly has gotten assurances he will able to run the shop, but can he run the president? when i was younger my dad gave me advice about dating and that advice was don't go into a relationship believing you can change someone because you can't. >> brangham: good advice. people don't change. people are who they are. president trump has shown him to be someone who likes the chaos,
3:29 pm
who likes to make the phone calls, who's constantly talking, and a chief of staff may not be able to change that especially when the person you're trying to change is the president of the united states, and he got there -- he got there this way and he believes that what got him there is what made him successful. >> and when you have the president's daughter and son-in-law right there in the white house being very close to the president, do we really think that they are not going to go see donald trump but they're going to go see the chief of staff? maybe, we'll see. >> or that john kelly ca cannott the president call senators or tweet. >> brangham: good luck with that. on health care, we saw dramatic late thursday night into friday the g.o.p.'s efforts to undo obamacare. is it dead? >> for the moment, but i don't
3:30 pm
think necessarily long-term. we have rand paul, republican senator from kentucky talking to the president, suggest there's a way around this, that he has some authority to allow creation of associations and group healthcare plans. i don't know whether that's true but he reminded me, yeah, we've moved on to the next subjects, but healthcare is so important to republicans, they're going to be looking for ways to revive the program, whether it's a repeal and replace or move on somehow. i don't think it's entirely dead now. >> brangham: tam, there have been talks of little chutes of bipartisanship, the problem solvers caucus gathering to work out another way on health care. do you see any optimism they will try to work on reforms everyone can agree to? >> certainly the caucus which is relatively small is strike something and they're working on something. if you listen to republican
3:31 pm
senators, many say, well, we need a bipartisan bill, but one person's fix is another person's tear it apart, and that has been the problem all along is coming together on something like that. through there are other chutes of bipartisanship in the congress right now, a remarkable chute of bipartisanship which is the russia sanctions bill. overwhelming bipartisan support between the house and the senate, only five people voted against it, which is to say there are areas where people can get together and that the other party isn't the enemy. >> count me as skeptical, wildly skeptical for this reason, the republican party stretches from susan collins to ted cruz. the u.s. senate and the u.s. house stretches from ted cruz to bernie sanders. how will we meet in the middle? if they meet in the middle, it requires republicans, i think,
3:32 pm
to give up their repeal argument. they would have to accept a continuation of obamacare. i'm skeptical. >> sanctions russia is certainly easier than solving healthcare. >> brangham: lastly, i know you're itching to talk about the alabama special election to fill jeff sessions' seat. >> august 15, runoff, into september, the general election or special election, why? because the incumbent appointed to the u.s. senate is getting support from mitch mcconnell and the republican establishment and there are two big-mom contenders in the race, mel brooks, congressman from alabama, and roy moore, the judge famous for the ten commandments, both in this race attack not only the senator but mitch mcconnell and the republican establishment. i get e-mails all the time from
3:33 pm
them saying mitch mcconnell is trying to come in and take our senate seat. it reflects the ongoing fighting in the republican party. >> brangham: something to keep an eye on. stu rothenberg, tamera keith, thank you very much. >> you're welcome. >> brangham: now we turn to bangladesh, where some children walk the beaches selling trinkets and food to help their families deal with grinding poverty. many of the girls will be married before they become adults, and will often be expected to assume traditional roles in the home. but one ambitious group of young girls is pushing back against that tide, and heading into the surf. special correspondent tania rashid takes us wave-riding. >> reporter: the world's longest beach is in bangladesh, and it is in cox's bazaar, the only beach town in the country. and these are the only girls that ride the waves. watching girls surf is a rare
3:34 pm
sight in this predominantly- muslim country of 160 million. the surfers are mainly men, and most of the people here say it bothers them to see girls in the water. but that's no matter to sobe meheraz. she is one of the 12 surfer girls in the entire region. at the surf club she tells me about her passion for surfing. >> ( translated ): my friends surf, once we surf, and i can ride a big wave, then i feel really good. that's why i love surfing. when people see me they say wow you rode such a big wave. everyone watches me at the beach. everyone says, good job, good job! but there are some boys around the neighborhood that say bad things. they don't know me. >> ( translated ): people don't understand. they frown upon it. it's most bengali people that don't like it. >> reporter: with the rising scale of islamist extremism, and attacks in the area, these girls have already faced threats from conservative muslims in the neighborhood. at a nearby madrassa, an islamic
3:35 pm
religious school, funded by non- government sources, including help from individuals abroad and within their community. a local imam is training young boys to read the quran and practice islam. what do you think of young girls and women surfing? >> ( translated ): the issue of girls surfing, to me, isn't a good thing. girls are meant to be covered so that boys can't see them. girls have been told to stay out of boys' sight. girls are respectful beings and they have been asked to stay hidden. so if girls are surfing and go into the ocean, then a lot of people can see then and that's a sin. it's not good. >> reporter: how should women behave according to islam? >> ( translated ): god has created women to be respected and to be at a man's disposal. this is the main theory of islam. >> reporter: but this perception of the men doesn't stop sobe meheraz from surfing. do you ever feel scared? >> ( translated ): no i'm not scared i used to be scared at first but not anymore. >> reporter: in just a few days there will be a competition sponsored by an american
3:36 pm
missionary, called surfing the nations. hundreds of people will be watching, including the judges. sobe meheraz, and soma are the best surfers among the girls. the top winner will receive $248.00 and a used surfboard. the girls could use the cash-- they all live in the slums. they are determined to win. rashed alam, a long-time surfer himself, found the girls selling eggs and jewelry on the beach five years ago, and decided to train the girls to surf and he now looks after them as his own and runs a local surfer boys and girls club. >> ( translated ): they have freedom. they have lots of things to do. they have life. what do women do in bangladesh. they go get married and stay in home. like whole life as housewife. here there are lots of things to do outside of home. don't give up. don't give up. what you are doing is amazing job. you are promoting our country. i just want to see a smile on their face. >> reporter: soma's mother believes in empowering her
3:37 pm
daughter. >> ( translated ): my daughter surfs and i am so happy. our lives are functioning. if allah blesses us then my daughter will be very big surfer! she can surf for 40 or 50 years. surf well and go to a foreign land! >> reporter: but this town has some of the highest rates of poverty in bangladesh, and child marriage is rampant with one in three girls is being married under the age of 15. baby aktar, sobe meheraz's mother, a victim of child marriage herself, married off all her daughters at 13, except for sobe meheraz. since her husband, a drug addict, left, she's had to support her family alone. she is not so fond of her daughter's surfing. >> ( translated ): if she had a job it would be good for us. i have so many illnesses. this illness makes me very weak. i have no one to help me to get me medicine. i just stay in the house all by myself. a woman should understand another woman's hardship.
3:38 pm
she is also a woman. she is causing me a lot of pain, this daughter of mine. >> reporter: meheraz remains to be the only unmarried daughter in the family only because, when she's not surfing, she does her best to support her mother. meheraz is determined to win the girls division at the annual competition. and today is the big day. she and the rest of the girls come one by one at 5:00 a.m. to begin prepping for the competition. now that i'm looking at the waves it seems like it might be difficult for you to surf, do you think you will be able to manage? >> ( translated ): yes i want to be number one. >> reporter: bthough crowds cheer on the girls, the stares linger. local muslim onlookers are not very pleased watching the girls surf, including the religious men surrounding the area. crowds gather to watch both the girls and boys prep to ride the waves. local media is present. >> ( translated ): my name is shobe meheraz. i give my salaam to everyone, i'm happy im in the final, if i
3:39 pm
am first place i will be happy and if my team members win i will be really happy. >> reporter: meheraz and the girls wait nervously before they hit their last wave. the stakes are high. sobe meheraz's friend, shoma also feels the pressure. >> ( translated ): i'm really scared, i'm very scared about my performance will i do well? the the waves are bad. i will be really happy if i win. it is my life's dream. >> reporter: but the whistle blows. and they have to face the ocean. one by one they each go as rashed looks on. >> i'm feeling really happy now. what i'm always looking for, always my dream. there it's happening. they are surfing. >> reporter: at a final ceremony the winners are about to be awarded. the girls dance to pass time as all the mothers wait anxiously. and after surfing into being in second place two years in a row, this year sobe meheraz wins first prize place.
3:40 pm
>> ( translated ): i didn't win twice but i won this time! my name is sobe meheraz. 2017 champion! champion! >> ( translated ): i kept telling myself i'm not going to give up. when i went surfing i said i can do this. at first i did feel then i went for it and dived and became a champion. >> reporter: and she finally feels like she has won her mother's approval. >> ( translated ): my mom is so happy. she can tell everyone in my neighborhood, my daughter is the champion of 2017. >> reporter: sobe meheraz plans on giving the money she won to help her family and donating her board to the surf club so young girls can continue to learn to surf, just like her. for the pbs newshour, i'm tania rashid in cox's bazaar, bangladesh. >> brangham: now for some political history, with a look back at a pivotal chapter from watergate. last week, judy woodruff spoke
3:41 pm
with one of the nixon administration officials who was in the thick of it. >> woodruff: it was a political drama with parallels today. one that pitted a president against the u.s. justice department, and jolted washington on the night of october 20th, 1973. president richard nixon that day was trying to get rid of the special prosecutor investigating the watergate scandal. his attorney general, elliot richardson, refused to carry out the order and resigned. richardson's deputy, william ruckelshaus, who immediately became acting attorney general, also refused, and he followed richardson out the door. in the end, president nixon succeeded in getting the special prosecutor discharged. but the nixon presidency only lasted another 10 months. the episode has been dubbed the "saturday night massacre." and william ruckelshaus, one of the central characters from that night, joins us now. thank you very much for being
3:42 pm
with us, bill ruckelshaus. 44 years ago, this happened. how fresh is it in your memory? >> well, it'll be there as long as i'm around. it certainly became a very important part of my life. it affected it directly the next several months. but it's never left my consciousness. >> woodruff: were you worried at the time that president nixon would get away with what he was trying to do? >> not really. i didn't think at the time that the american people would tolerate firing a man who is essentially hired by the senate and by the justice department to investigate crimes that they expected were committed by the president. >> woodruff: how similar, and you've written about this recently, how similar and how different are what happened back then to what's going on right now with the trump presidency and the russia investigation? >> well, one difference is in
3:43 pm
the nature of the people involved. these two presidents are clearly not the same kind of person. there was also a republican administration and a democratic congress back in 1973. and today we have one party dominating both the presidency as well as the congress. but in many respects, the rest of it is similar. in the first place, we don't know whether president trump will try to fire bob mueller, the special counsel as he's now called. but he might. and he's hinted that he might. and if he does, i expect the result will be the same: that the public will, once they digest it, not tolerate it. >> woodruff: we know that he certainly expressed a desire for bob mueller to step down. he isn't happy with what he's doing. if he can't get someone, or the process, to remove robert
3:44 pm
mueller, do you believe he could use some sort of executive order to remove him? >> i think he can remove him if he wants to. it would have to be discharged by, now, the deputy attorney general, since general sessions has recused himself from this investigation. but he could just keep going down the list of the justice department employees and finally find somebody who would carry out his wishes. i don't think that's going to be an issue for him, if that's what he wants to do. that's not what's going to sink him. >> woodruff: you, again you wrote about this this week. you also said that you thought the public anger today is not as great against president trump as it was then against president nixon. >> i think that's right. on this issue that we're talking about whether the special trump has only been in office six months, a little over six months, whereas nixon had been there for four years, had been re-elected, and had been there for about another year. and he was also vice president,
3:45 pm
of course, under president eisenhower. so the public had had a long time to get used to president nixon and what he was all about. they haven't had all that time with president trump. so they're not adjusted enough to his habits, i don't think, to decide that he should be impeached or in some way driven out of office. it's just too soon. >> wooduff: william ruckelshaus, the country clearly did survive watergate. it wracked the country, it wracked the government at the time. what do you think that-- and what do you think today's controversy with regard to the russia investigation-- says about our government, says about our people? >> well, it says we're confused, russian, and the administrative branch, at least, is doing extraordinary things to please him. many of the people in the congress are confused by these actions. both parties want to investigate why the russian government wanted to interfere in our
3:46 pm
election. that's a very serious charge to make, that's a very serious thing for them to do. one of the central tenets of a democracy is to be able to have a free vote for your leadership, and having taken that vote, then to find a long-term antagonist like russia be interfering with the exercise of that kind of power is really quite extraordinary. and i think this investigation should be carried out by bob mueller. i think he's a first-rate prosecutor, first-rate public servant. he'll be credible, it will be fair, and the public will be satisfied that justice will have been done. >> woodruff: one other thing you told us, bill ruckelshaus, that was on your mind. and that is, as you watch the trump administration, the trump white house, the challenge of serving both the president and
3:47 pm
the american people at the same time, when those two things may come in conflict. >> that's a good question. when i was confirmed, just as elliot richardson had been three months earlier, we both "will you pledge only to discharge the special prosecutor for extraordinary improprieties?" and when you are faced with the question of obeying the president's order, you don't decide not to do that lightly. so you don't always get your way in terms of what you want to do. but if he asks you to do something that you believe is fundamentally wrong, then you should not do it. and you should tell yourself that before you go into one of these jobs in washington, so that you don't find yourself compromising your principles, or your conscience. >> woodruff: something for every administration, every group of people who serve every
3:48 pm
president, to remember. william ruckelshaus, joining us from seattle. thank you very much. >> thank you, judy. >> brangham: finally tonight, the legacy of sam shepard, one of america's greatest playwrights of the modern era. jeffrey brown has our remembrance. >> brown: his was an original voice, a deeply american voice, offered most powerful riin a series of plays beginning in the 1970s and '80s that portrayed the darker side of family life on the outskirts of american society. >> so why should i have worried about you? >> because i was by myself. y yourself? yeah. i was by myself more than i've ever been before. >> and why was that? can i get some of that whiskey you've got? >> among them buried child which won the pulitzer prize in 1979, and true west and fool for love
3:49 pm
both nominated for pulitzers. shepard appeared in a film version of fool for love in 1985. >> i took her out to dinner once. >> you're lying. okay, twice. born steve rogers in 1943, shepard was the son of an army officer who sam later described as "a drinking man, a dedicated alcoholic," and many of shepard's characters are loners and drifters. in a 1998 documentary on great performances, shepard spoke of his writing and coming to terms with his own family history. >> it suddenly occurred to me that i may be avoiding a territory i needed to investigate which was the family, and i avoided it for quite a while because, to me, there was a danger in -- i was a little afraid of it, you know, particularly my old man and all that emotional territory, you know. i didn't really want to tiptoe in there, and then i thought,
3:50 pm
well, maybe i better. >> shepard was also a renowned actor, appeared in the 1978 film days of heaven. he reached hollywood stardom and received anos cur-supporting nomination for portrayal of pilot chuck yager, from the right stuff in 1983. >> takes a special kind of man to volunteer for a suicide mission especially when it's on tv. >> many others would follow including the recent netflix series "blood lines." he published a work of fiction earlier this year. shepard wrote more than 45 blaze in all, many continuing to be performed regular riaround the country and abroad. shepard had three children, two from his 30 year relationship with actress jessica lange. he died thursday from complications of a.l.s. in his home thursday. he was 73 years old.
3:51 pm
now to thoughts from another leading playwright, screen writer and actor tracy letts. he won a tony for performance in revival of "who's afraid of virginia woolf" and "august: oasage county." sam shepard appeared in the 2013 film version. what did sam shepard bring to american theater in how do you define the voice? >> singular and distinctive, like all great writers. he synthesized a lot of different elements. european avant-garde, rock and roll, cowboy movies, poetry, and a working-class sensibility. he synthesized all of that, and when it came out in his writing, it was such a new and exciting and individual and true voice.
3:52 pm
>> i wonder what stands out to you in terms of the writing or structure of the plays? i read an interview where he talked about in the early '70s discovering the greek tragedies and how they were accessible and rather straightforward family dramas full of an idea of destiny. does that sound right to you? >> yeah, i think the moment at which he started to become a more mainstream writer or at least his avant-garde sensibilities started to include classic family drama, what american family drama is based on, of course, the greeks, and the point which he started to bring that into his work is the point at which he seemed to find greater success, though he never lost his avant-garde sensibilities and his poetic
3:53 pm
voice. >> brown: is there a play that stands out for you or is there a typical sam shepard character? >> well, i love the early work. i love some of the early rock and roll work like tooth of crime, but buried child certainly seemed to be -- really seemed to be what we was getting at and a lot of the plays after buried child seem to continue to eplore some of the themes. buried child is a great, great american play. >> brown: of course, a lot of his plays really sort of redefining perhaps the american west or looking at that landscape that perhaps wasn't so much in american theater? >> oh, certainly not. i think it's one of the -- not only one of the reasons he was such a singular talent himself, but it speaks to the influence he had. certainly, you know, i'm speaking to you from chicago. this is home of steppenwolf theater and romaine's theater
3:54 pm
and so much of that theater -- i mean, sam shepard was the perfect playwright. to this day, he's one or two on our lest at steppenwolf of playwrights because he was writing about people we knew, that you could make great drama and you didn't have to do it on the east coast or with an ivy league education. that meant the world to me and hoards of actors here in this part of the country. >> brown: and what was it like for you personally having him act in your play in "august: oasage county"? >> the first time we got together to read the screenplay, there were some scary people around the table but the only one i was scared of was sam. i was very intimidated by him. i really look up to him. he was an important figure in my life, very influential and very generous with me, i'll never forget it. >> brown: life and work of sam
3:55 pm
shepard by tracy letts. thank you very much. >> thanks, jeff. >> brangham: on the newshour online right now, almost half of all americans who mis-use opioids have received the drugs from a friend or family member. that's according to a national survey released late today that looks at how the overprescription of painkillers can lead to abuse. you can read more about the findings on our web site, and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm william brangham. join us online and again here 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
3:56 pm
just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at >> 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
3:57 pm
3:58 pm
3:59 pm
4:00 pm
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin tonight with breaking news from the white house. a little after 5:00 p.m., president trump tweeted that reince priebus is out as chief of staff and general john kelly former director of homeland security is in as chief of staff. joining me from abc studios in new york is jonathan karl the white house correspondent for abc news. >> he was fired, the president had made it clear even before scaramucci came in, the president made it clear internally he was getting ready to make a change. >> rose: we continue with a conversation with john dickerson, moderator of "face the nation" and chief white house corporate for cbs news. >> it's every morning the president woke up and criticized his attorney general often using the manipulation of the truth yo


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on