tv PBS News Hour PBS September 7, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: a tale of two presidents. as mr. trump says he wants the attorney general to investigate who is criticizing him from the inside, former president obama delivers a call arms for democrats. then, the presidents of russia, turkey and iran gather to plot the future of the war in syria. plus, how access to abortion is shrinking in some parts of the leuntry. >> there's a whoost of restrictions in south dakota, and then it's compounded by really, the lack of access, with only one clinic in the state. >> woodruff: and it's friday. mark shields and david brooksee tackle thein news: the kavanaugh conf tmation hearin scathing anonymous
editorial about president trump, and more. niall that and more, on toght'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. >> consumer cellular understands that not everyone needs an unlimited wireless plan. our u.s.-based customer service
reps can help you choose a plan based on how much you use your phon less.ing more, nothing to learn more, go to >> financial services firmd raymmes. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs ation from viewers like you. thank you.
>> woodruff: the u.s. senate confirmation hearings for supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh are now over.e nal day saw the american bar association give kavanaugh its highest rang. but former nixon white house counsel john dean warned that kavanaugh would fail to oppose presidential abuse of power. we will have a full report, after the news summary. the president today stepped up his attacks on an unsigned essai criticizinleadership. he called for attorney general jeff sessions to find out who wrote the piece in the "new york times," and he raised the possibility of legal action against the newspaper. mr. trump spoke off-cas ra to reportile traveling aboard air force one. >> i think somebody can do that. and i think it'sl ore disgraceat the "new york times" would do it. edbut that somebody is allo do that is, it's very sad commentary.
jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was beuse i really believe it' national security. >> woodruff: the "new york times" responded that the present's demand for an investigation would constitute "a blatant abuse of government power." former trump campaign adviser george papadopoulos has been sentenced to 14 days iprison for lying to the f.b.i. about his contacts with russians. prosecutors wanted a six-month sentence papadopoulos was the first person to plead guilty in the special counsel's russia probe. former president obama aimed sharp criticism at president trump today, as he called on democrats to vote in the midterm elections. he named his successor in a speech at the univerf illinois, but said the trouble goes even deeper. >> in the end, the threat to our democracy doesn't just come from donald trump, or the current batch of republicans in
congress, or the koch brothers and their lobbyists, or, you omow, too much compromise democrats, or russian hacking. the biggest threat to democracy is indifference. >>poodruff: at a campaign s in north dakota, president trump dismissed the criticism. he said, "i watched iti fell asleep." we'll hear more of mr. obaer's remarks, ln the program. the anti-establidement surge in cratic primaries has been stopped for the moment in delaware. veteran u.s. senator tom carper easily won re-nomination on thuray. he defeated first-time candidate kerri evelyn harris, who had tried to paint carper as out of touch. in japan, the death to rose to 18, a day after an earthquake rocked the northern island of hokkaido. rescue workers searched homes destroyed by a landslide in the town of atsuma.at east two dozen people were still missing.
officials also say fully restoring power to the region will take at least a week. back in this country, part of a major west coast thoroughfare, interstate-5, remains closed in california, as a wildfire burns out of control. the delta fire broke outy wednesar the oregon state line. it's now spread across 38 square miles. officials say the section of i-5 will stay closed through the weekend. ise august u.s. jobs repor out, and it shows continued strong hiring. the labor departplnt says u.s. ers added a net of 201,000 jobs last month., at the same tie unemployment rate held steady at 3.9%, that's near theowest in 18 years. average hourly wages were up nearly% from a year ago, just enough to keep pace with inflation. the good jobs news failed to boost wall street. the dow jones industrial average
lost 79 points to close at 25,916. the nasdaq fell 20, and the s&p 500 slipped six. shares in automaker tesla fell 6%, after its c.e.o. elon musk smoked marijuana on a live, online show. and, the company's chief accounting officer resigned after just a month on the job. still to come on the newshour: we wrap up the week's coverage of judge brett kavanaugh's confirmation hearing iran, russia, and turkey discuss what could be the laof major nsive in syria's civil war.ws how lan some u.s. states impede access to abortions. and much more. >> woodruff: the supreme court confirmation hearing for brett kavanaugh has now wrapped up.en
prestrump's nominee was not in the hot seat himself today. instead, witnees were brought ju both to defend and to warn about the kind oice he'd be. the day began with the american bar association giving judge kavanaugh its highest rating. it found him "well qualified," after consulting with more than 500 lawyers, jges and others. >> they said his integty is absolutely unquestioned. he is a person of the highes morality and the highest ethics. he is what he seems. very decent, humble and honest. >> woodruff: republicans called former students, colleagues and law clerks okavanaugh's. they depicted him as a thoughtful man and teacher, wito a of hiring women and minorities. >> i always knew judge kavanaugh came to his position honestly, based on a rigorous analysis of oe strengths and weakness the arguments before him.
there was no hidden agenda or a partis to grind, just the law, always the law. >> woodruff: democrats couered with former nixon white house counsel john dean, who famously cooperated with prosecutors during watergate. >> if judge kavanaugs the court, it will be the most presidential-powers-friendly court in the modern era. d >> woodrufn voiced concerns about kavanaugh's expansive views of presidential power-- and ether he would block any subpoena of presidentr p in the russia investigation. >> the fact that we have a prhtident who is unchecked r now by other branches makes it particully timely to be worried afresh, given the kavanaugh positions on so many cases at would enhance presidential powers. >> woodruff: democrats also called rochelle garza, the lawyer who represented
"jane doe," a migrant teenager in federal detention, who wanted an abortion. as a federal appeals judge, kavanaugh ruled against her, before the full court overturned him. >> throughout her ordeal, i saw her suffer. no politician or judge saw firsthand what she went through. as she later said, it had been incredibly difficultit in the shelter for news that the judges in washington, d.c. have given me permission to proceed with my decision.s >> woodruff: tek, kavanaugh called "roe v. wade"-- the landmark supreme courtig abortions case-- an "important precedent." but meli university law professor-- said kavanaugh did not follow precedent in the "jane doe" case, or in another case denying birth control coverage because of an employer's religious beliefs. >> i think kavanaugh's judicial records, senators, that he is not a jurist in the mold of justice
kennedy, who frequently upheld these precedents. judge kanaugh, in these decisions, has a narrow understanding of the right to liberty. >> woodruff: disabily rights advocates also criticized kavanaugh for liming their legal autonomy in a previous ruling, and refusing to say if he would protect the affdable care act. >> i speak for every person with a disability who will never be able to live independently. most importantly, i speak for every american whose life could change tomorrow with a new diagnosis. >> woodruff: witnesses supporting kavanaugh pushed back, defending him as a fair- minded and independent jurist.nd >> istand the concerns, but the man i know is generous with his time and thought, a love the discussion of process. he seeks to not be influenced by people outside and he is one of the most prepared, thoughtful people i know. >> woodruff: the senate judiciary committee is expected
to vote on the nomination as early as next week. a full senate vote w follow, later this month. >> woodruff: the leaders of russia, turkey and iran met s today for high stakes taer syria, and the looming last major battle of that war, in idli idlib is the last remaining holdout of radical militants and more moderate armed opposition to the syrian reme. it is also home to hundreds of thousands of syrian civilians who have fd the war and sought refuge. but now russia, iran and the syrian regime are on theerge of launching a major assault. in a moment, nick schifrin will join us, but first, special correspondent reza sayah reports on the summit from tehran. >> reporter: the summit brought together the three presidents
who'll help decide sia's fate. russia's vladimir putin and oan's hassan rouhani both support an assauidlib province, the last rebel stronghold in syria. russia is the new regional power broker, and today, its war planes bombed idlib on behalf of bashar al assad, the syrian president whose government russia and iran helped save.ay russiait wants to finish the job. >> ( translated ): the main task at this stage is to banish militants from the province of idlib. we hope that the members of thea terrorist orgaons have enough common sense to stop resistance and to lay down their arms. >> reporter: iranian-backedoo hezbollah are fighting for syrian government. iran hopes to extend their presence in syisa, and counter el. but, turkish president recep tayyip erdogan warned t an offensive into idlib. heears a new flood of refugees on top of the 3.5
million already in his country. >> ( translated ): tur ty does not ha resources or power to host a further three million people. we need to take a joint step tor prevent migrat this area. >> reporter: iran and russia claim idlib is home to terrorists. rouhani said syria should root out militants in idlib, and also force u.s. forces out. >> ( translated ): the illegal presence and interrence of america in syria, which has led to the continuation of insecurity in that country, must end quickly. >> reporter: about 2,000 u.s. troops are deployed across bases in northern syria, inside land largely controlled by kurds. their mission: fighting the last pockets of isis. they are far from the potential idlib battlefield. in the past, pwasident trump ed to withdraw u.s. troops from syria completely. but this week, top advisers say tshe reversed course and w u.s. military presence there "indefinitely."o
he's arning against any all-out assault on idlib-- specifically, the use of chemical weaponst >> there can a slaughter. if it's a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry, and the united states is going to get very angry too. >> reporter: in the security council today, u.s. ador to the united nations nikki haley echoed thet warning. >>ssad regime must halt its offensive. russia and iran, acountries with influence over the regime, must stop this catastrophe. >> reporter: meanwhile, civilians in idlib are bracing r an assault. they even showed their children how to use improvised gas masks. and in a shoof defiance, some protested the syrian government's looming military action. back in tehran, putin, erdogan and rouhani issued statement that the syrian conflict can end only through a "negotiated political process," not through the military. they also agreed to hold more
talks-- soon-- in russia. deoite the promise to hold re talks, bottom line, the three parties failed to agree on a peaceful solution in idlib. so does that makthe battle for idlib more likely, and does than hat iran gets what it wants? >> nick, there were three presidents. it's a summit today. two suggested an offensive is the answer. president erdogan suggested it wasn't the answer. so if you go by the numbers, ite s that the idlib battle is likely. when it comes to iran, they certainly asked for what they wanted today. whether they will get what they want, we'll have to see in the comingays and weeks. it will have a lot to do with what happens in idlou. oby, iran has spent a lot of blood and treasure in supporting the syria government, supporting their key ally president bashaassad, at a time when iran's economy is under tremendous pressure, now under u.s. sanctions reimpose
bid president trump, iran simply can't afford this conflict to go on forever. more bloodshed could cost iran key support from europe that it's counting on to pusback against washington. so what iran wants is an end to this conflict wih a decisive battle, a strong, stable syria, a stre g, staesident bashar al-assad. once that happens, iran leaves it can go into r rebuild syria, present itself to the world as a key player in stabilizing sir. i ca't -- syr. that's what iran wants. getting what you want isn't easy in idlib especially with so many tegional rivals that wan something very different. >> reza sayah, thank you very much. inr more, i turn to andrew tabler joining mhe studio from the washington institute for near east policy. thank you very much for being here. >> my pleasure. that's what iran wants. what does the u.s. want right now?nd >> firstoremost, the u.s. wants to stop the assault.
we hae 3.5 million civilians inside idlib and president trump has been very up front that he wants to avert that humiaanit disaster. behind that is the fact that, in idlib province is the largest pocket of al quaida affiliated fighters in the wod and an assault on that pocket could push not only civilians across the border into turkey but also these fighters as well, and they could go on to fight in euope, throughout the world and perhaps even the russian federation. so the u.s. wants to stop this assault. second, i want to strengthen turkey. the point for agreement is clear, thewant h.t.s. to be disarmed, the al quaida link, they want these groups to bera sed by pro turkish groups in the area, particularly western idlib, ahen, at that point in time, negotiate and try to get these fghters awy from tue extremist groups for some further perhaps f military
operation. >> that's a lot to pull off the can turkey do that? >> it would be very difficult. turkey has had some luc in organizing the more moderate groups but it has not happened fast if you have and the al quaida affiliates hve held firm. now, will the supporters of these groups change their mindwh faced with an imminent assault from russia and iran and the reeime, or could united states step in and also could there beinpointed strikes in that area, which the u.s. has carried out strikes in idlib province in the past. >> in response to chemical weapons attacks. >> correct, most to have the strikes inside syria have been for reasons of chemical weaponsh attacks ant's what we could see, if this goes along and the united states has to get involved, there could be a couple of ways, one, if the questis red line is crossed, anli estabed patton of the outside regime that they useo questions,e u.s. has drawn a line and that will be enforced if chemical weapons are used and
the preside's been very clar. there's another avenue. the u.s. could end uptriking against these extremist groups and could drive a process in favor turkey. >> humanitarian impact of the assault on idl? >> the impact would be massive. 3.5 million civilians, if they would perhaps go into neighboring turkey, they couldv bewhelmed. turkey openly said they tonight have the capacity or the wherewithal to take care of them and the question is where would they go, and the answer is probably northward towards europe and a number of u.s. >> andrew tabler, thank you very much. my pleasure. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: former president barack obama takes on his successor as he sends a message to democrats.
and, the indelible legacy of tennis giant arthur ashe. judge brett kavanaugh's nomination to the supreme court has many abortion rights advocates worried that the ruroe v. wade supreme courng is in peril. but in many states, throllback of abortion access is already steadily progressing. amna nawaz recently traveled to south dakota, one of four states with a so-called trigger law on the books that would immediately ban all abortis if roe were overturned >> nawaz: every few weeks, dr. sarah traxler flies from her home in minneapolis to sioux falls, south dakota to work her shift at planned parenthood, the only abortion clinic in this sprawling state of 850,000 people. >> i have about 20 patients on the schedule today that i'll see. hopefully most of them will. come that's about the average we have on our schedule. >> nawaz: traxler is the medical director for planned parenthood in minnesota, north dakota andre
hen south dakota. the organization has been flying in physicians since the 1990s, after the last remai abortion doctor in the state retired. dr. traxler is one of four t ctors who rotate in and the sioux falls clinic. she says that about a third of her patients travel more than 150 miles to get to her. >> there's no "typical" abortion patient. i see women from all over and from all walks of life come through these doors. >> nawaz: planned parenthood says about 17% of all their paents in south dakota are here for abortion-related services. under ste law, they provide abortions up until the gestational age of 13 weeks and six days. last year, the clinic rformed 525 abortions in all. planned parenthood requested that we not show the inside layout of their clinic, nor the outse of dr. traxler's car, nor the security that she travels with here in south dakota. their concerns, they s, is rooted in the recognition that
they're working in hostile territory. that's because in recent years, south dakota's abortion laws have become some of the most restrictive in the n >> south dakota is really a microcosm for what's happening around the >> nawaz: elizabeth nash is the senior state issues manager for the guttmacher institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.>> here's a whole host of restrictions in south dakota, and then it's compounded by, really, the lack of access, with only one clinic in the state. >> nawaz: in 2006, south dakota's legislature passed a law banning nearly all veortions. that law was laterurned by voters. a 2011 law requiring wen to first visit a state-regulated" pregnancy help center," whereti abs are discouraged, is currently in litigation. likewise, a law passed earlier this year requiring the readinda of a state-md script to patients that says abortions terminate the li of a "whole, separate, unique, living human being," is also being fought by planned parenthood. south dakota was also the first state to introduceou mandatory 72waiting period, the longest in the nation-- meaning a woman seeking an abortion must
meet with a doctorin person, for her first visit. then return 72 hours later, to meet with the same doctor for the actual procedure. holidays and weekends don't count. to comply with the law, dr. traxler flies in and out on one day, for patient consultations. after the mandatory waiting period, she repeats the trip to see those same patients for their abortion procedures. caitlin anderson was a patient at the sioux falls clinilast year. already a mother of three, anderson became unexpectedly pregnant. she says she and her husband discussed their options, andrt decided to ahe pregnancy. >> we knew immediately that was the best choice. i spent--y >> nawaz: you mediately. you mean you found out you were pregnant, then you knew? >> i knew. rttook a couple days to sof emotionally come to terms with it. i was sad. i didn't like that i had to do it. my youngest was a ye. he just turned one. financially, we were still kind of struggling. our marriage was sort of still recovering from pregnancy and
chatdbirth, and all of that goes along with it. and it just was not a good time. it was knowing that it would strain the limited resources we already had and ke things even more difficult. >> nawaz: in south dakota, a little more than half of all women who have abortions are already mothers of at least one child. nationwide, that number is about 60%. anderson, a sioux falls resident, says she's willing toc speak pu about her decision to help fight the stigma she says many women in her conservative he state face. >> i want to talk about it so i can be like, "i'm a stay-at-home mom.ve i hree kids. i'm not a dumb teenager. it's not just these imaginary immoral people that some people like to make up. it's every type of person." >> nawaz: but anderson says it was the 72-hour waiting period that was the hardest part of the process for her. at any point in those 72 hours did you think, "maybe i don't want to do this?"o. >> >> nawaz: not once?
>> no. uh-uh. >> nawaz: did that surprise you? did you think, "maybe i'll use this time to mull myion over?" >> no. i mean, that's... supposedly, that's the intention of it, but again, i feel like, why wouldu sume a woman hasn't thought about those things before making that call?ve >> i truly belhat for most women, once that pregnancy test turns positive, they're already starting that decision making process. the 72-hour waiting period is simply a delay in women being able to access safe, legal healthcare and that it is a part of the decisi-making process that's unnecessary. >> i would say that i t a women's right to choose, but not to choose to murder her own unrn child. that's a horrific choice. it's a choice too far. >> nawaz: fred deutsch is the president of sou dakota right to life. he says the state's cuent restrictions have helped preve abortions, and he's hopeful that supreme court nominee judge
brett kavanaugh will be the justice to help reverse roe v. wade. >> obviously, i'd like to see the supreme court revisit roe. i'm hopeful that if roe is potentially overturned, i hope that the decision-making can come back to the states, so each state can make their own decision. >> states started limiting access to abortion as soon as the ink was dry on roe >> nawaz: elizabeth nash says that while she's worried roe might e day be overturned, her bigger concern is that abortion access is already beingct restri aggressively in many states across the nation. >> since january 2011, we've seen 423 abortion restrictions enacted in 33 states. from, you know, virginia to arizona to south dakota to georgia. it's everywhere. >> nawaz: south dakota is one os ju states with only one abortion clinic currently open, and women are often tr seling to neartes in these areas to have abortions, according to nash. >> if roe isurther undermined
or overturned, then the issues around travel will just grow, because you will be ta about more states that will either ban abortioabor all but bation. >> nawaz: in minnesota, seate figures suggest that non-residents compbout 10% of all abortion patients, traveling mainly from wisconsin, iowa and north and south dakota, states that have all moved to restrict abortion access in recent years. >> you'll be about 3.5 weeks pregnant at the time of your abortion. >> nawaz: we watched dr. traxler meet with patients here at planned parenthood's st. paul clinic. a 24-hour waiting period has been on the books here sin 2003, but patients are allowed to conduct their first consultation over the phone. >>he state of minnesota requires that i give you certain information at least 24 hours prior to your abortion. >> nawaz: since the 1980s, minnesota has seen a steady dcline in the total number of abortions. but over the last two years, the
state had its first consecutive uptick in abortions since 2000. >> make them show you your setrasound! you have a right tit! >> nawaz: the increase has caused concern among antti ab activists here, like brian gibson, who stands sentryg with his cols from pro-life ministries every week outside planned parenthood. gibson s for a total ban on abortions since 1981. and even though he's been disappointed in the past by the supreme court, hsays he's now cautiously optimistic that his movement is closer than ever to overturning roe. >> it feels like it may be really happening. and part of that is just, the whole political climate across the united states over the past five or six years has shifted dramatically. a lot of states have passed pro-life legislation in large numbers. >> nawaz: 72 hours after first seeing her patients, dr. traxler returns south dakota. of the ten patients scheduled to haven abortion on this day, all but one showed up for the procedure.
ere's been a lot of conversation about whether or not roe v. wade could be overturned.. >> y >> nawaz: what do you think about that? is that something you worry about? >> yes, i truly worry about women living in a world witht roe. my fear, if roe were to be ever overturned, is that women would turn to unsafe places to accomplish that. n az: dr. traxler says that's why she'll continue making this trip for along as she is legally allowed.s for the pbwshour, i'm amna nawaz in sioux falls, south dakota. >> woodruff: we return now to former president obama's remarks noday to the students at the university of il. from pointed criticism on the current state of polito calling for more common ground, one message was consistent: urging people to vot
>> i'm he today because this is one of those pivotal moments when every onef us, as citizens of the united states, need to determine just who it is that we are. just what it is that we stand for. and as a fellow citizen, not as an ex-president, but as a fellow citizen, i'm here to deliver a simple message. and that is, that you need to vote, because our democracy depends on it. over the past few decades, the politics of division and resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the republican party. they're undermining our alliances, cozying up to russia. what happened to the republican party? its central organizing principle in foreign policy was the fight
against communism. and now they're cozying up to the former head of the k.g.b.! and by the way, the claim that kaeverything will turn out because there are people inside the white house who secretly aren't following the president's orders? that is not a check. i'm being serious here. that's not democracy. they're not doinus a service by actively promoting 90% of the crazy stuff that's coming out of this white house, anthen saying, don't worry, we're preventing the other 10%. it should not be a partisan issue to say that we do not pressure the attorney general, or the f.b.i., to use the criminal justice system as a cudgel to punish our political opponents. we're supposed to stand up to discrimination, and we're sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to nazi sympathizers.
how hard can that be? saying that nazis are bad. you cannot sit back and wait foi a . you can't opt out because you don't feel sufficiently inspired by this or that particular candidate. this is not a rock concert. this is not coachella. we don't need a messiah. all we need are decent, honest, hard-working people who are accountable and wh america's best interests at heart. and they'll step up and they'll join our gernment, and they will make things better, if they
have support. one election will not fix everything that needs to be fixed. but, it will be a start. and you have to start it. >> woodruff: and that was just the latest of political news this week. there was also a bombshell op-ed; an eye-opening bob b woodwak; a high-stakes confirmation hearing; and even a primary election upset. that's plenty this friday for shields and brooks. that is syndicated columnist mark shields, and "new york times" columnist david brooks. hello to both of you. happy friday. whe do we begin? i actually want to postpone former presidentbama's comments, david, for just a moment and start with brett kavanaugh because here is someone who could tilt the balance of the supreme court. he spent three days before the members of the senate judiciary committee. how did he do? >> he did what he was supposed to do, which say nothing, and
viouss what all pre nominees in the last few years have done. so i think he's very much liky to be confirmed and, frankly, i think he should be. nwhether i agree ort, elections have consequences. if a democrat or rep wins, they get to pick the supreme court justice in line with their pg arty, and as las the person is well qualified, which according to the american bar association brett kavanaugh is, then i think the senate should confirm that person. i guess what strikes me most of all is that senate democratsd have hnths and months to find something to make him look bad going over the whole course of his life, and they've come up nearly dry. a few episodes, there were a few questionable things having to do with stolen documents in the early 2000s he may have lied about, we'll see. other than thaet, he semed to have led a remarkably upright life, nocandal or embarrassment. >> woodruff: they didn't lay a glove on him? >> no, i thought he showed himself to be more than
qualified by experience, temperament and bra pinower, and, at the same time -- and i am one to sal pute hisolitical experience, i think it's important. we've had enough judges who lived this monastic separation. but the stunning hypocrisy of nge republicans in not bei forthcoming about the papers of his -- the work within the administration that heid honorably for president bush, i ink, if i'm not mistaken, these are the same folks who are quite upset about secretary and,on in her own emai itu know, at the same time, they're being moed and vet bid a republican lawyer, not the archives, not the archives of the united states in this rush to confirmatinn, butstead, by a republican lawyer who's a personal friend of judge kavanaugh's.
so i think that he was less forthcoming, qui fraly, than even neil goresful was on the question of the pesident's intemperate outburst and criticism and condemnation of judges. you could call it demoralizing and diheartening. i think david's right, i think he's absolutely confirmable. i didt think there was a glove laid on him. i think, at the same time, he could be the democrat's wrst nightmare when with it comes to voting rights, when it comes to affirmative action, when it comes to access to abortion, when it comes to, you know, the agenda that democrats look to the court for support. >> woodruff: do you think he could be that? i mean, he was trying very hard for that not to come across, if that's the case. >> i just don't know. i think there is great respect for precedent. i think john roberts certainly has great resct for precedent and if something like
roe v. wade was likely to be overturned, maybe he would flip out of respect for that precedent. i'm not sure how that's going to be. i join mark in tg inkhe political process around these nominations gets worse and wose every single time, just about. the republicans as mark said why not release the documents and the democrats were overwrought throughout and turned it into arguments about paper release and it was supposed to be about a supreme court nominee. so i think we had a pretty bad process. that's why none of the nominees speak. it's not a conversation. it's a period of people whose minds are mae up and scream at each other and the nominee plays possum to get through it. >> the pyrotechnics were anything if unconvincing. senator booker offed to make himself into a political marty risk the wrath of all the institution, then sen cornyn responding by comparing him to
benedict arnd, when, in fact, it turns out the papers had been made available hours before thee soap opera on. so that was not confidence building. >> woodruff: and saying he coemd be roved from the senate. >> yes. >> woodruff: and they don't seem to be going anywhere on that. >> no. >> woodruff: and a one-two bunch directed at president trump in the book byo bob dward, painting a picture of a president unfit for office, surround bid people trying to keep him from his worst instincts followed by an anonymous op-ed, opinion piece in the "new york times," a paintiequally damning portrait of the president. what do we take away from all this? >> that we're in a state of permanent crisis, th we've got an age of incompetence and instability in the oval office, and that pele around him ar trying to do what they can. i wish they wouldn't write about
it. and the questions, to me, is, hey, will this spin out ofm control into shing truly horrific? will trump take some action in a way thally does endanger the nation? or is he in a sta where he can corrode-the norms, he can corrode the republican party, he can coroad the government, but we're just going to be for the next two years or so in a state of just this dstability a crisis, and the argus he's too ignorant and incompetent to do too much damage. i don't know which track we're on, whether a try ajectward disaster or continuing depressing erosion of standards. >> woodruff: how serious do w take this, mark. >> quite seriously, judy, because this wasn't artisan attack. this wasn't from democrats. first of all, bob woodward, i thought the most telling response of boboodward was made by eari flischer,
president bush james brown's white house secretary, a frequent poll gist and defender of donald trump, he said, i have been on the receiving end of a bob woodward piece and there were goats i did not like but never did i think bob wodward made it up, woodward always plays it straight. argue that nobody who's ever done buiness with could make a similar statement about his honesty and integrity. so i think that comes with it. the sources are all people elevated to positions of high importance and significance in the united states of america by one person, donald trump, and they are the ones. it's not easy to take on a president. riticize -asy to >> woodruff: but it's anonymous. >> rob porter, gary coen, i mean, there are people in the woodward book that's correctmony, are pretty damne
clear where y stand, in spite of disclaimers and so forth. i mean, his reputation, i think, stands unassailed. so i think that's important. the anonymous thing, i disagree with my of any colleagues, i think maybe even david, in the sense that, when they first ran political campaigns, an old manager said to me never have anybody sign mo. just give them the memo and let them read it. i said why? because you want to look at the substance and not the source. you don't want to be deferentia beca who's writing it or ungmissive because they're yo and experienced. and if the person had been -- if the person's name had beethn on piece, they would have gone after the writer, and say he's had a d.w.i. charge in 1983 or something ofhe sort and try to sabotage that. as aonsequence, it forced us
to look at the substance of what was writt. and they come from republicans, from people who work in the the significance of it demands our attention. >> woodruff: so what do we do about it? we've had this gripping weeof criticism of the president. a lot of people say, well, we've heard this before, but it's sitting there. what happens now? >> well, you kno it's partially up to republicans, if he does something trulyme dangerous -- i, it should be said, you know, we probably have the best economy of our litimes right now. >> woodruff: new numbers out today. >> they're fantastic. >> woodruf yeah. but there comes a moment cwhere something sary could happen, and i don't expect republicans to actually take some action but, you know, thef invocation the 25th -- i forget -- the amendment, you know, i just think we wat, as
we have been for two and three years, with sort of shocked horror, and then i think we rebuild for the long term, which is how do we rebuild norms of morality, how do we build norms behavior so we can have a functioning, civil government in the future. >> woodruffand that's what, in part, mark, former president obama was saying today.wa >> h. >> woodruff: he was calling on democrats to get in the arena. >> absolutely, and republicans as well. quickly on david, the republicans have been neutered. they stand mu i mean, the only people who have had the courage to speak are people who lead with perhaps the exception of ben sasse ofne aska. lamar alexander, a great public servant, mute, rob portman, acclaimed, respected, mute on the subject of donald trump.th i thine was a challenge by present obama at him but
primarily it was dirted at miennials, those who go to coachella, the rock cocert. i went there a couple of times, i didn't leave the program last night. but it was obinma reng us former presidents are regarded quite positively by americans, 63% favorably at this point. you know, just behind reagan and jack kennedy in that pantheon.k and i the's been mute himself for the past 20 months, and i think it was a ll to arms, i really do. >> woodruff: and now we're told he will be out on the campaign trail. will it make a difference, david? is this a message that sticks?
>> chu pac's holograms atll coac we have to go back to midterms in 2004, he lost them. one of the interesting things i agree, mollilizing nials is a big thing. the second thing is how are democrats actually go frame the argument against trump? there are a lot of arguments tot make agarump and they made a lot of them in 2016 and barack obama sort ofpread the field with a lot of different arguments, but which is the one that acally turns voters minds? i personally think it's the corruption o t. >> woodrufe clock is ticking. they better make up their minds. it's almost november. >> trump is the issue. >> woodruff: mark shields, david brooks, thank you.
>> woodruff: the u.s. open tennis tournament continues this week to celebrate its 50th anniversary, and the "open era" which marked the beginning of players winning prize money. jeffrey brown looks at the legacy of the first men's champion there, arthur ashe, and the lessons his career and life still serve up. >> brown: when the world's greatest tennis plaympete at the u.s. open in flushingow me new york, this is the mecca: the huge stadium where championships are won and lost. it's named for a tennis great who transcended the court and ndort itself: arthur ashe. >> he said it overver again: "if the tennis championship are all that i leave, i've left nothing." that he wanted to lelegacy and he wanted other athletes to take it as an example. >> brown: the story is now told in a new biograph "arthur ashe: a life," by raymond arsenault.
>> i know how difficult it was toiso justice to him because life was so complicated. so many layers. >> brown: arsenault, an t historian university of south florida and author of numerous books on the american south, joined us at this year's open, with remindersf ashe all around-- from a photographic exhibit to a virtual reality film and display about his rich life. >> this is my first sports book. i'm an avid sports nut all my life. >> brown: a sports nut, but a historian. why is this a good subject for a historian? >> well, for me, it was the connection between race and sports. i've always been struck by that. race was always at the center, i think, of his sense that he, he really had to change the world. >> brown: born in 1943, ashe grew up in segregated richmond, virginia, next to the city's largest blacks-only park, which was managed by his father, arthur sr.it as here the young arthur first hit tennis balls. >> he never could play at bird park, which was the major white park where the good tennis
courts were. in fact, nothing galled him more. he was not a man, o have a grud to get angry, but he said the thing that stuck in his craw is he'd be somewhere in the world, later in life when he was famous, and someone from richmond would come up to himth and say, "oh, , we're so proud of you back in richmond. i can remember seeing you play at bird park when you were a boy."e and of course,ew he had never played at bird park. >> brown: the peil-thin young ashe was accepted and tutored by bert johnson, whose tenn camp in lynchburg, virginia helpedpen the sport to many african americans. but there, the lessons in race relations continue >> johnson always said, you know, if you see the ball, and your opponent hits it, and it's just "out," you call it "in." >> brown: you call it "in?" >> "we can't afford an incident. you're the first black to play in these mixed race tournaments. if you screw it up, there will probably never be another." and so, he grew up with that.
but it was his way. he was a paragon of sportsmanship, of civility. however, as i did my research,r i discovered od over again that there was a kind of tumultuous inside. that, in many ways, he was a driven man. >> brown: he would win a tennis scholarship to attend u.c.l.a., and became the first african- american to represent the u.s. on the davis cup team, anio internatnal tennis competition. in 1968, at age 25-- and still in the u.s. army as a second lieutnant-- ashe won the firs u.s. open. ashe was the first and still only african american man to wie the tournant. it would change his life forer. >> as he said, it gave him a platform. "people now will listen toe." and so, a week after... >> brown: you mean he realized that, then? >> absolutely. a week after he won, he was the ofirst athlete ever invit "face the nation." so there he was, little arthur ashe, 25 years oh , holding fo questions of education and race, and he was very poised.
>> if you happen to be tlack in thesmes, 1968, it's really a mandate you do something. it's a must. there are other athletes and mack leaders, period, that are using their positions of power and influence to wield someo practical ess. so i was just simply saying to myself, arthur, you must do something, you can just not sit by and let the world go by. >> brown: he did write, and you go into this, of feeling shame, really, that while others were fighting injustice and sociales cahe was playing tennis. >> yeah, he said, "as my fame increased, so did my anguish." and i think a lot of what he did, why he was so driven, was making up for lost time. >> brown: two other grand slam titles followed: the australian open in 1970, and a 1975 upset over jimmy connors at wimbledon. but now it was ashe, the civil rights activist and public intellectual, who moreore
galvanized the public'sn, attentnd fully took over when heart disease-- and quadruplbypass surgery-- rced him to retire at age 36. he was activaiin the fight t apartheid in south trafrica, and in this coun worked to bring better athtic becilities to black youth. and he protested ohalf of haitian immigrants trying to enter the u.s. he was criticized at the time by some african american leaders for not being more militant and aggressive enough in his stances bus arsenault: >> he took the weight of the world on his shoulders, even though he knew there were certain things he couldn't do. he had to dot his way, his calm, deliberative style, never losing his cool, never raising his voice. that was who he was. >> brown: ashe would also write a three-volume history of african american athletes, titled "a hard road to glory;" plus regular newspaper columns;h and memoirs of own experience.
in 1988, ashe was diagnosed with h.i.v.-aids, a result of two blood transfusions during one of his heart operations. he and his wife, jeannie, chose to keep it quiet, not speaking publicly until 1992, to head off a news report. >> it put me in the unenviable position of having to lie if i wanted to protect our privacy. no one should have to make that choice. >> brown: ashe became an ambassador for aids awareness and compassion. >> there's a tremendous amount of w public to assure them that ordinary contact with people like myself poses absolutely no dang to them. >> brown: arthur ashe died in 1993 at 49 of aids-related pneumonia. ray arsenault hano trouble imagining the man who would be 75 today. >> today, obviously, he'be
taking a knee for justice with colin kaepernick and the other because he felt so-- >> brown: you think he would be? >> i have no doubt whatsoever, because the one thing-- he never complained about much of anything, but one thing he did complain about was the way that athletes were treated as sort of court jesters, that they were entertainers. and he resented that. i mean, he had a mind. he wanted to be taken seriously as a citizen, a kind of activeci zenship. his favorite t-shirt was "citizen of the world." that's what he was, from thisli le boy in jim crow richmond, who kind of became, you know, the quintessential citizen of the world. >> brown: for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown at the u.s. open in flushing meadows, new york. >> woodruff: what a great tuneter tonight. n memory. on "washington week," tracking the potentially pivotahemoments inrump presidency this enek. on pbs newshour wesunday, the first of a two-part series tracking the resurgence of isis in iraq. and that's the newshour for
toght. i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. thank you, and gd night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> kevin. >> kevin! >> kevin? >> advice for life. life well-planned. learn more at raymondjames.com. >> bnsf railway. >> consumer cellular. >>upporting social entrepreneurs and their s-lutions to the world's most pressing problem skollfoundation.org. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation. for more than 50 years,an advancing ideasupporting institutions to promote a better world. at www.hewlett.org. >> and with the ongoing supportf hese institutions
. tonight on "kqed newsroom," a startling op-ed from inside of the trump administration. and contentious hearings for supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh. and san francisco is pushing for a controversial approach t the pioid crisis. plus a new ad campaign reignites a debate over politics and he and welcome to "kqed sports. newsroom." i'm scott schaefer in for thuy vu. we begin with politics. president trump's pick for the supreme court brett kavanaugh faced three days of tense an contentious questions on capitol hill. at stake are his opinions on gun rights and contr and whether the president could be protected from prosecution in office. meanwhile an explosive op-ed but an unnamedor sen o