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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  December 1, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: the investigation into any russia connection to last year's trump campaign landed at the doorstep of the president himself today, with a guilty plea from his former national security adviser, michael flynn. then, after another round of urgent, last-minute deal-making, republicans push ahead with their massive tax bill in the senate. a look inside the sweeping plan, and what it means for americans. and it's friday. mark shields and michael gerson take on a packed week of news. all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour.
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>> 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: he was candidate trump's, and then president trump's, main adviser on national security and foreign policy. but today, michael flynn entered a guilty plea in the special counsel's investigation into russia, the trump campaign and the 2016 election. william brangham begins our coverage. >> brangham: michael flynn walked into federal court in washington this morning, and plead guilty to a single count of making false statements to the f.b.i. he's now the senior-most member
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of the trump administration to cooperate in special counsel robert mueller's probe into russian meddling in the election. prosecutors say flynn lied when he denied that he and russian ambassador sergey kislyak discussed u.s. sanctions against russia, during and after the 2016 campaign. according to court documents, flynn now says an unidentified "senior official" in the trump transition team directed his contacts with the russians. in a statement, flynn said his guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the special counsel are "in the best interests of my family and of our country." and, he said, "i accept full responsibility for my actions." >> yeah, that's right, lock her up! >> brangham: the retired lieutenant general was an ardent booster of candidate trump-- >> if i did one-tenth of what she did, i would be in jail. >> brangham: sometimes flynn lead chants against hillary clinton, and defended trump's "america first" approach.
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>> the destructive pattern of putting the interests of other nations ahead of our own will end when donald trump is president. >> brangham: then, he was tapped to be national security adviser, but in february, the president fired him. the white house said he'd misled officials about his discussions with kislyak. >> general flynn is a wonderful man. >> brangham: still, president trump continued to defend flynn. >> i think he's been treated very, very unfairly by the media. as i call it, the fake media, in many cases. and i think it's really a sad thing that he was treated so badly. >> brangham: today, just after the guilty plea, the white house cancelled a photo op with president trump and the libyan prime minister, and the president ignored shouted questions. instead, in a statement, white house attorney ty cobb said, "the false statement involved mirror the false statements to white house officials, which resulted in his resignation in february of this year.
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nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than mr. flynn." cobb added that flynn's plea "clears the way for a prompt and reasonable conclusion" to the russia probe. flynn has also been accused of attempting to cover up lobbying work he did for the turkish government. he was reportedly paid at least $600,000 for that work, just before he was tapped as national security adviser. he's one of four former trump advisers charged thus far in the mueller investigation. the others are former trump campaign chairman paul manafort, and his business associate rick gates, and former transition team member george papadopoulos. flynn sentencing is expected in a few months. for the pbs newshour, i'm william brangham. >> woodruff: we'll explore the flynn plea deal, and how it affects the white house, after the news summary. in the day's other news, there is word that president trump urged top senate republicans to end an investigation of russia's meddling in last year's election.
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the "new york times" reports that the president spoke to several republican senators over this past summer. richard burr, chair of the senate intelligence committee, confirms that mr. trump asked for a quick end to the probe. the white house says the president did nothing improper. the u.s. senate plowed ahead today on a republican tax bill, with key senators voicing support. leaders spent last night and part of today rewriting key sections to deal with deficit worries, among other issues. we will have a full report, later in the program. it is reported that texas republican congressman blake farenthold settled a sexual harassment claim for $84,000 in government funds in 2014. "politico" says the money went to farenthold's former communications director. the congressman would neither confirm nor deny the report. meanwhile, the house ethics committee formally asked for records of all taxpayer-funded payments for sexual harassment claims.
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in bangladesh, pope francis met with rohingya muslim refugees from myanmar today, and apologized for their persecution. he greeted and blessed the refugees, and used the term "rohingya," something he had not done while he was in myanmar. >> ( translated ): in the name of all of those who have persecuted you, hurt you, especially the indifference in the world, i ask for forgiveness, forgiveness. the presence of god today is also called rohingya. >> woodruff: hundreds of thousands of rohingya have fled to bangladesh since august, but myanmar's government has denied accusations of ethnic cleansing. president trump today rejected news accounts that he is planning to remove secretary of state rex tillerson. in an afternoon tweet, the president said the reports are "fake news." he acknowledged that he and tillerson sometimes disagree, but he said "i call the final shots." tillerson himself was asked
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about the reports as he met with libya's visiting prime minister. he replied, "it's laughable." an independent review finds multiple failings by police in that violent white nationalist rally in charlottesville, virginia, last summer. the review, released today, points to a breakdown in planning and coordination and a failure to maintain order. the clashes flared in august, during protests against removing a confederate statue. in the midst of it all, a car plowed into counter- demonstrators, killing a woman. and, wall street gave some ground after yesterday's big rally. the dow jones industrial average lost 40 points to close at 24,231. the nasdaq fell 26 points, and the s&p 500 slipped five. for the week, the dow gained almost 3%, and, the s&p 500 rose 1.5%. the nasdaq fell half a percent. still to come on the newshour: how michael flynn's plea deal
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could change the russia investigation. from the senate floor, the latest in the tax battle. reactions to an undocumented immigrant acquitted of murder charges. and, much more. >> woodruff: now again our lead story-- former national security adviser michael flynn's guilty plea, and what it does and does not mean for president trump. i'm joined by npr's justice correspondent, carrie johnson. and, john carlin. he ran the justice department's national security division from 2013 to 2016. before that, he served as chief of staff and senior counsel to then-f.b.i. director robert mueller. and welcome both of you back to the program. carrie, i'm going to start with you. we're hearing and told michael
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flynn has pleaded guilty on this one significant charge but we're not told why he did it. what do we know? >> there is so much more the investigators with special counsel were probing with respect to michael flynn and son who was his business associate ranging from allegations that he violated the foreign agents' registration act through some of his business deals in turkey and russia but he pleaded guilty to one false statements charge and could spend zero to six months in prison. the feeling is he delivered somethingo the special counsel it didn't have before with respect with respect to the investigation and that's why the lenient deal. >> woodruff: the information released said there was a seep yore official inside the trump transition who directed him to make these contacts with russian officials. what is known about who these or individuals or that individual was. >> flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the f.b.i. in a january 27 interview and he lied to the f.b.i. about two things, one
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about his contacts with the russian ambassador during the transition about u.s. sanctionons russia and, two, he lied about contacts with the russian ambassador at the time sur jay kislyak with respect to u.n. security council resolution involving israeli settlements. the plea documents talk about a senior official in the transition and a very senior official in the transition, but prosecutors have not identified those people. what we know from the white house is that all eyes right now are on jared kushner. people close to kushner and the white house say kushner did not direct flynn to do anything with respect to the israeli settlements. that was a thereaboutive effort. a lot were involved includele reince priebus. >> woodruff: jared kushner mash rido the president's daughter. it is the case michael flynn was in legal jeopardy on several things, not just the lying, to the f.b.i. so what does it say that this is
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the deal that was worked out? >> and before we think about with we're going, we should think about where we are. at this point, we've now had the now president's former campaign manager be charged with serious felonies including accepting tens of millionso of dollars from russian interests and lying about it while involved with the campaign. >> woodruff: paul manafort. paul manafort. we've had george papadopoulos identified by president trump as up with of his key advicers on national security matters pleading guilty about lying about contacts with russian interests and now have the sitting national security advisor of the united states at that time lying to the f.b.i. while in that position about secret conversations he was having with the russian ambassador. this is historic. if you look ahead, i think carrie makes a good point in terms of what's in the charges. there is another part of the charge not getting as much
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attention today but he also pled guilty to making false statements about relationships with the turkish government linked to the foreign agents registration act. it shows there was nor cuppable contact that could have been charged. under guidelines as prosecutors, we're not supposed to charge in someone to a less serious charge unless wety they can provide information, cooperation that's going to lead to someone more cullable where the interests of the united states will be vindicated. that indicates valuable cooperation and more to come. >> woodruff: but we don't have a hint yet at this point what that is, right? >> no, we don't. and, usually, when you do these documents, you know what's going to be public when in an active investigation and there may be parts they're deliberately keeping from the public eye so as not to interfere with the ongoing investigation. >> woodruff: what do you know about the piece? >> it should be known the white house has been trying to wrap up the investigation.
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they've scheduled a barrage of interviews with the current white house officials with the special counsel team. we know last month jared kushner met with special counsel investigators. the question now is what he spooled special counsel investigators then, whether that convicts and where there are any inconsistencies from what they have accepted from michael flynn and others in the investigation. >> woodruff: what can you read more into this and more material was released today, but you get a larger sense of what it is that the special counsel robartt mueller is trying to put together here. >> one of the most significant events was the director of the f.b.i. at the time, director comey, testifying he had had a conversation with the president of the united states where the attorney general and other officials were ordered out of the room and, in that conversation in the oval office that the president had told him
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essentially to see if he could let this thing with flynn go, and one of the questions you're asking yourself as a prosecutor is did he do it with corrupt intent and, later, when he fires director comey did he with corrupt intent want to protect himself and those around him and stop the investigation. today soot piece in the puzzle. no longer allegation, he's pled guilty to a felony, the same person the president was trying to protect. >> woodruff: the white house are saying repeatedly today this is one isolated plea, it only involves michael flynn, it doesn't touch anybody else in the white house. >> yeah, the white house law year ty cobb also said michael flynn was an obama administration official. what he didn't say is mike was fired by the obama administration and mike served for 25 days in the trump white
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house as its national security advisor. >> woodruff: and a long-time campaign advisor. >> long-time campaign advisor to donald trump. i think the white house is downplaying the effects of the plea and not a good day for the people in the whiewnsd those who worked on the transition team for sure. >> woodruff: john carlin, for those following, what do we look for next? it's clear robert mueller is playing cards close to the vest. it wasn't announced up till he was going to the courthouse for plea. >> that's classic for him, as i worked with him as a prosecutor, when he talks it would be through the formal charging documents which tell a story. for those involved in the investigation, i think they send a clear message that if you come in and you cooperate, we've seen now two individuals get severely reduced charges to what they might otherwise be facing with
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their cooperation, and for the individuals who didn't come in to cooperate, they're facing a very serious set of charges in an indictment. >> woodruff: carrie, you said not a good day for the white house. how are they taking it? >> the white house had a christmas party for reporters, it was off the record. the mood was subdued and, in fact, the atmosphere right now is one of uncertainty for the very reason you mentioned, judy. nobody knows what might happen next. >> woodruff: carrie johnson with npr, john carlin, thank you both. >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: and in today's other major story line, republican holdouts lined up to support a sweeping tax overhaul in the senate. lisa desjardins is at the capitol. >> desjardins: in the senate, last-minute shifts and changes
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on a bill that could affect the nation for at least a decade. deficit hawk jeff flake became a day-of "yes." >> we didn't get everything we wanted. >> desjardins: that despite almost no change in the bill's bottom line. why is he a yes? in a statement, flake said he got a deal on two other things he wanted: one, to extend an expensing deduction for businesses. and two, to get him a seat in negotiations over the fate of dreamers-- those illegally brought to the u.s. as children. >> unless we can get started on immigration reform, and that starts with daca, that's the easy-- should be the easy part. and so, i've been talking about that to the vice president quite a bit, and others, and i got a good commitment to work on daca quickly. >> desjardins: but the white house point person on working with congress, marc short, told newshour that while flake will be part of the "daca" conversation, he did not get any other guarantees. for republicans, it was an easy deal to get a breakthrough "yes"
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vote. and by noon, senate leader mitch mcconnell told reporters they absolutely had the votes to pass their bill. but as the clock ticked on voting day, the final bill itself was slow to appear. democrats like chuck schumer railed against the idea of a final vote coming within hours, without final language yet in hand. >> why on earth wouldn't you want to spend more than a few hours looking at a bill of this magnitude? what might have been snuck in? what might have been changed by mistake-- innocent mistake? there are so many reasons to not rush this bill through. >> desjardins: to democrats' outrage, from republicans came a steady confidence that a once- in-a-generation tax bill was on track to become law. this morning was traumatic, now a waiting game with staffers sitting in chairs waiting for this bill to be posted. we haven't seen the language yet, judy, so we also don't know
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what time a vote could happen, nor do we know how much time we will have or lawmakers will have to read this bill before they could vote. judy? >> lisa, as you're suggesting, a lot of changes being made very fast. what do we know about the major changes that happened? >> that's right. these are key changes to bring on some of the big votes today. at the top of that list, republicans in the senate restored the alternative minimum tax into the bill. they repealed it. that's th the tax for the wealt. it's now back into the bill. it would tax fewer of the wealthy and have a higher threshold in this version. we don't know how high. they're working that out. another change, they would actually raise the deduction for tax thrust, a bigger tax break for the smaller businesses, owner-operated businesses. also includes donald trump. they'd allow a $10,000 property tax deduction, and that's the
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state and local tax deduction susan collins of maine wanted and she got it. >> woodruff: the other big piece of this, of course, is the deficit, what this bill would do to the deficit. we know senator bob corker's one republican holdout because of it. what are other republicans saying? >> that's right, tonight bob corker is the only republican no-vote on this bill because to have the deficit. everyone else said they will get on board. according to the congressional budget office, on the current path, the nation will have a debt of about $30 trillion in ten years, that is a massive amount and 91% of our gross domestic product. if the tax bill were passed. if either the house or snacial were passed. that would at 1 the 2 there does more to the debt according to the joint committee on taxation. now republicans say that they don't think that number is accurate. they think all the tax cuts will
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actually decrease the deficit, and it looks like tonight, judy, that of all those republicans, one republican seems to be believing the analysts, all 51 others are breefg their sense that the tax cuts will help the economy. >> woodruff: and that one, of course, we mentioned being senator corker from tennessee. lisa, once this is out of the is that, it still has to go to conference committee, they have to work out an agreement with the house. what does that look like? >> to be honest, judy, there are big differences in these bills as they stand now. the amt being back in the bill as i just mentioned now, the difference on the small business taxes they have to work out so the house will not automatically pass the senate bill as sometimes it does. however the pressure on the republicans to pass a tax bill is to overwhelming, i think once this gets through the senate, it's almost a sure thing that some kind of tax bill will make it through congress and perhaps very quickly maybe in the next week. >> woodruff: you're right, a lot of pressure on them they're
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feeling to get this done before the end of the month. lisa desjardins, thank you very much. >> my pleasure. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: mark shields and michael gerson take on a full week of news. and an argument in favor of binge watching. but first, a "not guilty" verdict in a murder case that has become a touchstone in the national debate over immigration. and to hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: the acquittal of an undocumented mexican immigrant charged with murdering san francisco resident kate steinle in 2015 drew immediate fire from president trump. mr. trump has repeatedly invoked her death to rally support for a crackdown on illegal immigration. for more on the verdict, we are joined by vivian ho. she covers criminal justice for the "san francisco chronicle."
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vivian, you were in the courtroom to see some of this. what were the cases that the prosecution and the defense laid out? >> the charges against mr. garcia zarate were murder, possession of a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm as a felon to. prove murder, the prosecution had to prove he intentionally and deliberately fired the gun at kate steinle. the prostitution had many theories about this case. one of them was that he purposely brought the gun to the pier to play his own secret game of russian roulette, that he was session riat the pier scoping out targets and he wanted to shoot anybody and that person just happened to be kate steinle. another theory they offered was that, you know, he pointed the gun at kate steinle, something about kate steinle angered him and he pointed a gun directed at her and pulled the trigger. on the other hand, the defense maintained from the beginning this was all an accident, that mr. garcia zarate never had any intention to do harm, that, in
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fact, he had no idea he even had a gun. but the defense said from the beginning that he was sitting on his chair at the pier when he discovered a bundle at his feet, and while reaching for that bundle, he grabbed it and accidentally discharged a firearm which then went on to strike the ground 12 feet away and rick shea up and travel 78 more feet to strike kate steinle in the back. >> sreenivasan: the president called this a disgraceful verdict but also said the jury was not told the killer of kate was a seven-time felon. what were his previous charges and violent crimes? >> they were not violent crimes. mr. garcia zarate, the majority of his criminal history had to do with reentry into the country, so the majority of his charges were that he was deported and went back in and, you know, he was a homeless man, to there were a -- there are
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several non-violent drug convictions on his record as well. >> sreenivasan: how did president trump use this case on the campaign trail? >> very soon after the killing, president trump got on twitter and tweeted that this was a situation of bad immigration, that mr. garcie zarate should be deported and kate steinle should be alive. president trump sort of used this case as a way to rally people who were looking for better immigration enforcement and to release on a target cities with sanctuary policies like san francisco. >> sreenivasan: what happens to mr. zarate now? >> mr. zarate, while he was acquitted of murder, manslaughter and assault with a firearm, he was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. that conviction holds a possible sentence of three years in state
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prison. he's already served a lot of that time waiting for the trial to happen. because of this, he will most likely not have to serve any time after this. but the situation is that there is a federal warrant for his detainment at the moment, which means that, even if he is released immediately or after sentencing, he still has to be held, and he will most likely be deported. >> sreenivasan: vivian ho, san francisco chronicle, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: from courthouses to congress, it has been a week crammed full of news. a michael flynn guilty plea, momentum for the republican tax plan, and increased calls for congressman john conyers to
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resign amid charges of sexual misconduct. that brings us to the analysis of shields and gerson. that's syndicated columnist mark shields, and "washington post" columnist michael gerson. david brooks is away. welcome to both of you. so, mark shields, what a day here in washington. the special counsel robert mueller made news early today with this guilty plea from retired general michael flynn, the president's former national security advisor. what do you make of it? >> well, judy, one former federal prosecutor said that michael flynn was looking at several score years, potentially, behind bars for the offenses that were listed against him, and for robert mueller to accept his plea of guilty for one charge of lying to the f.b.i., which is a very serious charge, led him and all of his colleagues to conclude that this is big, that what he is delivering, he, michael
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flynn, to robert mueller and his office, is so significant that they would let his son off and apparently not proceed on the charges carrie mentioned in the earlier segment about his not registering to work with turkey and the orthocharges against him. >> woodruff: and again, michael gerson, the white house is saying that's well and good but what michael flynn did and had nothing to do with anybody in the white house. >> not a particularly credible response at this point. it did feel like an historic day. this, when the history of the trump administration is written, i think russia will be in the first paragraph, and reason is exactly what mark was talking about is that mueller got something in order to give a considerable amount here. we don't really know what it is that he got.
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it's still, you know, undetermined. but he got something that he felt that he could bring to a grand jury and that would forward a case towards people who are higher, and there aren't too many other people who are higher. the group is small and many of them have the trump family connection. so i think you can't argue that this is just restricted to him. he was turned in order to turn against others, and i think mueller has a good idea of what that testimony will look like. >> woodruff: and, mark, there is a drum beat from people who say there is too much focus on this russia investigation, we don't know where it's heading, it's taking up a lot of time and energy, and what does it add up to? >> well, i think what it adds up to, judy, is that when -- it's been compared today, michael flynn to john dean, who had been white house counsel to richard
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nixon. when john dean came clean, it wasn't halderman, chief of staff in the white house or john ehrlichman, white house policy advisor, the two people closest to president nixon, out of side, and the president's in sight and the speculation today in washington is what will president trump do? will as the walls apparently seem to close in on him, will he fire robert mueller? lindsey graham urged him not to do it, warned him not to do it. what will the republicans do? paul ryan praised him, the speaker of the house, recently as a president as strong as any president sense ronald reagan. it's serious, us the real, it's genuine.
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and bob mueller is not playing games. he's not a partisan. he was appointed by president george w. bush at the f.b.i., and, you know, he's a guy who's way above any kind of cheap party politics. >> woodruff: michael, does it inexorably lead to the president? >> it leads to a basic question, why has everyone who touched this issue lied, lied to the f.b.i., lied to the american public? you know, if they were just having normal contacts with another power, that's what transitions do. but when it came down to it, and this is advice to our viewers at home, you don't lie to the f.b.i., and that is a dangerous thing because every lie is leverage for them. they use it in order to get more information to make progress in their investigation and, so, they are attracting attention to the mystery at the center of
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this matter by their descriptions, and it seems like we're dealing with something very major. >> if i could pick up on michael's point which i think is a good one. what we do know is this, that after the election, during the transition when michael flynn was out of government but working in the transition about to be named national security advisor, he, to really frustrate and overcome veto, american foreign policy legitimately and legally made by the sitting president of the united states barack obama to impose sanctions upon russia for russia's meddling and sabotaging the american election got in touch with ambassador kislyak former ambassador to russia and urged him not to retaliate or overreact to these sanctions. and we know that the next day,
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russia did not, and the day following that donald trump praised russia for its restraint in not retaliating. >> it was known that was his position. he wanted better relations. >> that's right. but the sequence, in other words, it's impossible the believe that michael flynn was acting on his own, that he was a lone ranger, that this was not part of -- and the sequence is there, that, you know, you go to sleep at night and the ground is bare, you wake up in the morning and there is three inches of snow. you didn't see it snow, but the snow on the ground and the circumstantial evidence is pretty persuasive. >> woodruff: the other story today what we talked to lisa desjardins about is speaking of inexrayable, the tax plan was moved through the house, passed and is now about to be passed by every good reporter's reporting, it's going to pass the senate tonight. what does this say about the
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republican party and how i want to change this chi? >> well, there is some drama to this. last night when the joint committee tax report came out and said this would add a trillion to the debt and senator corker said i can't support it it looked like a near-run thing. but mcconnell gave a rot of people what they wanted like senator collins and others in this process. ultimately, there weren't even three true deficit hawks in the entire republican caucus. there was one, which was corker. all this talk about deficits really was undermined, but the ultimate calculation here that republicans have made broadly on the hill is that, if they end up the year with nothing, that they will be politically punished and their argument is something is better than nothing, even a flawed product like this one. and i don't know if that's a correct argument, but that is generally believed on capitol
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hill among republicans. >> woodruff: are they taking a risk by doing in? >> they're taking a risk they're lose anything sense of integrity. this is a tax bill written sloil for the deserving rich and also, at the same time, manages to help the poor. the joint committee on taxation and congressional budget office indicates that by 2027 americans earning the princely sum of between $40,000 and $50,000 will collectively pay $5.3 trillion more in taxes. americans earning over $1 million, by the same study, will receive $5.7 trillion in tax cuts. i mean, the republican party, for the longest time -- and michael was a card-carrying member of it -- believed in small government, limited
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government, in balanced budgets, and then they drank the kool-aid of supply side, and no republican on capitol hill since 1991 has voted since george h.w. bush was president, has voted to increase taxes. that is the holy grail. that's the one unifying, galvanizing principle in republicans. it's not civil rights as it once with us, the time of abraham lincoln. it's not even small government or balanced budgets. it's tax cuts and it's tax cuts for those best off among us. >> woodruff: to get to your point and to build on what mark said, michael, this says that republicans, either they don't believe the deficits will grow or don't think it's going to be the political liability, or the liability to the economy. >> and they don't think it's a risk to see as the pollute contract party going into these elections. that may well be a risk here.
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one of the examples that senator rubio and lee had a very good proposal here to allow the child tax credit to be deductible against withholding, not just income a taxes, which would really help blue-collar, working-class families in america. it was deeply controversial, up in the air what's happened, but the republicans are supposed to be the populist party, the party of blue-collar workers and they were not at least as of the moment willing to do something like this. and that, i think, is a test that republicans are failing, if they want to be seen as populists in the mode that trump wants the party to be seen. they need to act like it. >> woodruff: and it looks, mark, as if there is no question the house will go along with something. there will be changes but in the end a tax bill. >> i think there will and i don't think democrats ought to skate on this, judy. democrats have let the debate become about the deficit, which
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means if the republicans to lose the house in 2018 and if the calculations and calibrations are accurate, then when the democrats get back in, they will be beset with enormous deficits and their responsibility will be to do cuts an raise taxes. let's be very honest about this, part of this is the norquist idea, the republican conservative strategist, and that is you have to shrink the government. chairman brady head of the house ways and means committee already said the next move is on welfare, we have to cut welfare. welfare means medicaid, medicare and disabilities and social security, and the democrats, like the republicans on healthcare never had a plan, the democrats do not have a single organizing principle that they advance in stead of, and i think that was the failure of democratic leadership. >> woodruff: but it sounds as if republicans are prepared to
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make that argument. >> i agree with that. there's a possibility of the house might vote on the senate bill and avoid conference here, which i don't know if that's going to happen or not because some members of the house might not want it to happen, but i think that they want to move in this direction as fast as they can and they're going to tag the democrats with that type of argument. >> woodruff: less than a minute. john conyers, longest serving member of the house, 88 years old, accused of sexual misconduct, incredible charges against him. he's holding out on saying he's going to step down but now looks like he will. what does this say? >> it says, judy, it knows no partisanship or occupation. its endemic in our society. what had been a high road politically for the democrats ceased to be by the way that this was mishandled by the leader of the democratic party on national television,
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questioning who are the witnesses, something that obviously has not been the democrats' approach in the roy moore case in alabama where he stands accused of child molestation. >> woodruff: it is taking longer thor foes accused in politics than it has for those in other fields of endeavor like the news media and other places where jobs have been taken away and -- >> i agree but they don't face the collective liability that nbc faces for allegedly complicit behavior in the matt lauer. >> woodruff: mark shields, michael gerson, thank you both. >> woodruff: and we'll be back shortly with a view on binge watching television. but first, take a moment to hear from your local pbs station. it is a chance to offer your support, which helps keep programs lik
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>> woodruff: "binging," until recently, was a word usually associated with the meals we enjoy during the holidays. not in this golden age of television. new series debut almost every week, and among avid viewers, there's a feeling that you can't keep up. tonight, actress annabelle gurwitch offers her humble opinion on what may be a new addiction. >> it was 6:00 p.m. when i sat down to watch an episode of the series based on stephen king's "the mist." before i knew it, i was glued to my computer while i cooked and ate dinner, brushed my teeth, took a bath. and it was 4:00 a.m. when i finally dragged myself to bed.
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after ten consecutive episodes, i still didn't know where the mist came from, where the mist was going, or if mist is condensation or precipitation, but i'd gotten sucked into the binge-watching black hole where time and space "spaghettify" and lose all meaning. "this can't be good for me," i thought. but last week, i lost the same amount of time reading virginia woolf, so is that any different? it's a good question to ask ourselves, as binge-watching has become the new normal. see, our brains love anticipation, and producers reel you in with cliffhangers. but the excitement doesn't last, and we need more stimulation, like hamsters on a wheel. so when new episodes load seemlessly, you end up watching more than you intended. and not surprisingly, binging has been linked to poorer sleep
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quality, fatigue, and people report feeling more anxious and depressed afterwards. now, that could be a chicken or egg question, but, being engrossed in a great novel has been shown to spark neural connectivity which lengthens attention spans, increases vocabulary and even has the potential to raise our i.q.s. although, it could be argued that because binge viewing is so popular, it increases your social i.q. fans even track their binge watches on the internet. on one site, when last i checked, 891 people claim to have spent 12 days, 21 hours, and 30 minutes watching all the episodes of "the simpsons." so, to binge or not to binge, that is the question. which is why i'm asking myself what would mrs. dalloway do?
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i highly doubt that clarissa dalloway could have gotten those flowers herself if she'd been hypnotized by, say, "orange is the new black." but if you should hear that i've gone missing, you'll know i got sucked into binging the seven seasons i've missed of "game of thrones," and winter has finally come to my house. >> woodruff: on the newshour online, we will have updates on the senate g.o.p. tax bill. plus, we look at four provisions that have little to do with taxes. that and more is on our website, www.pbs.org/newshour. and tune in later tonight for "washington week," with robert costa.
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we'll be watching. tomorrow on the pbs newshour weekend, in a country divided by war, cyprus turns to science for reconciliation. the fate of hundreds of people on both sides who disappeared in the violence decades ago and were never found. remains are brought here to lab remains are brought here to labs in the neutral, united nations- controlled green zone in cyprus, to be cleaned and organized. so, you are not just putting the bodies back together, you are putting the country back together? >> that's the way we feel here, and that's why we are proud about our work. >> woodruff: and that is the newshour for tonight. but before we go, we want to say thank you to someone who has played an essential role in this program for 40 years. peggy robinson has guided our political coverage through scores of national conventions and elections. she was the lead producer on
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september 11, 2001. she's overseen our book author interviews. today is her last day working with us, but she will always be a beloved friend to me and so many on our staff. thank you, peggy, for all you've meant to the newshour, and best of luck on this new adventure. we love you. for all of us at the pbs newshour, i am judy woodruff. and have a great weekend. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives.
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>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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>> you're watching pbs.
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steves: germany dominates the european union in part because of its effective government.
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the grandiose chancellery is the official residence of the prime minister. it faces germany's parliament building, or reichstag. with its motto, "to the german people," it's the symbolic heart of german democracy. the reichstag has a short yet dramatic history. when inaugurated in the 1890s, the emperor dismissed the new parliament building as a house for chatting, but after world war i, the german republic was proclaimed from right here. then, in 1933, a mysterious fire gutted the building, giving hitler a convenient opportunity to blame the communists for the blaze in order to consolidate his hold on power. as world war ii drew to a close, the nazis made their last stand here. imagine germans fighting russians on its rooftop. after 1945, the bombed-out building stood like a ghost through the cold war. then, with reunification, the parliament moved back to berlin.
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this historic ruin was rebuilt with a modern element, this striking glass dome. a walkway winds all the way to the top. a cone of mirrors reflects natural light into the legislative chamber far below. as you spiral up, survey the city. the views are marvelous. but for germans, with their dark recent history, the view that matters most is inward, looking down literally over the shoulders of their legislators. the architecture comes with a message -- the people are determined to keep a wary eye on their government.
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♪ hello and welcome to "kqed newsroom." i'm thuy vu. coming up on our program, we'll talk with author and scholar rez zais lawn before the intersection between religion and politics from president trump's tweets to the travel ban. and a look at the verdict in the cath lynn steinle murder trial that's drawn criticism. plus a comedian takes aim at racial stereotypes starting with the popular series, the simpsons. but first to the state capitol. >> reporter: lawmakers this week held a hearing in sacramento on how sexual harassment allegations are handled and investigates. the hearing came amid new revelations about nbc anchor matt lauer and garrison keilar who were both fired. former national security adviser mi

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