tv PBS News Hour PBS September 20, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> wdruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: raising the alarm. e standoff between congress and the white house continues to roil, as an intelligence community whistleblower'sr' "urgent concern" reverberates through washington. s.then, taking to the stre millions of young people stage protests worldwide to demandct leaders taken on climate change. plus, it's friday. mark shields and davre brooks are o analyze escalating tensions with iran after an attack threatens the world oil suly, and the widening sco of the whistleblower complaint. and: >> are you excited? >> i am a bit, are you? >> would it be common to admit it? >> woodruff: a return to "downton abbey."
after nearly four years off the air, the crawley family is back, this time on the big screen. >> when watched the movie for the rst time a few weeks ago, as the lights went down and the music started, my shoulders literally relaxed and i thought, "i'm going somewhere that is just a bit kinder." >> woodruff: all that and more,w on tonight's pbs newshour. ng >> majorunor the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years.
nnbnsf, the engine that coects us. >> consumer cellular believes that wireless plans should reflect the amount of talk, text and datahat you use. to learn more, go to consumercellular.tv >> financial services firm raymond james. >> 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 station from viewers like you.th k you. >> woodruff: president trump faces fresh allegations tonight about his dealings with a foreign leader, amid his denials of wrongdoing.ed he dismin intelligence whistleblower's complaint today as "just another political hack job." "t "the wall street journ and otrs reported, he pressed ukraine's leader to investigate a son of former vice president biden over biness dealings in ukraine. we will take a close look, after the ws summary. the president appeared today to play down chances of military strike on iran. u.s. and saudi officials have pointed to iran as the culprit in last weekend's attacks on oil facilities in saudi arabia, but tehran denies it. in the oval office today, the president said he does not want
the tensions to boil into war. instead, he counseled restraint. >> f all of those that say, "oh, they should do it, it shows weakness"-- actually, in my opinion, it shows strength because the easiest thing i could do, "okay, go ahead, knock out 15 different major things in iran," i could do that, and it's all set to go. it's all set to go.bu i'm not looking to do that, if i can. >> woodruff: the u.s. treasury department did impose new sanctions today on iran's central bank. officials said they are aimed at cutting funding to iran's military, including the elite revolutionary guard. by the millions, youthful activists around the world s marched todapping school to demand that leaders tackle climate change. the so-called "global climate strike" kicked off across australian cities, and the scene was repeated elsewhere. in blin, germany, activists danced in the streets, and in washington, students rallied at
the u.s. capol. it finally stoppedaining around houston overnight, but widespread flooding ed today. remnants of tropical storm imelda dumped more than 40 inches of rain over three days, and claimed four lives. lisa desjardins has our report. >> desjardins: in parts of southeastern texas, only the roofs of buildings and cars are above water. roadhave become rivers, with drivers leaving wide wakes as they brave the depths. rescue crews worked overnight through heavy rain, to save people in stranded vehicles.nd all of this just two years since hurricane harvey inundatedhe50 region witnches of rain. harris county sheriff ed gonzalez said last night that t houston region waspa better pd. >> we had more rescue vehicles deployed all across the county. as we saw, some of the areas that were harder-hit, we re-depyed them a little bit closer.
>> desjardins: the downpours finally stopped by daybreak. still, the deluge put major highways under water in houston proper, and forced schools to close. on new caney, about 30 miles northeast of houan r.v. floated sideways today in muddy water, and cars anlyhomes were neubmerged. along the san jacinto river, arbridge was closed after rushing water tores off their moorings nearby. they crashed into the span, shtating down part of ters 10. and overnight, in beaunt, gueser waded through dirty wat in a local hotel. the community is taking the slim silver linings it can find. for this man, it was a large fish in what is usually a road. what's left of the storm is now moving northeast, threatening flash floods elsewhere. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa thdesjardi. >> woodruff: also today, pacific hurricane lorena buffeted cabo san lucas, mexico, near the tip of the ba
california peninsula. it could bring heavy rain andmi winds of 7s an hour, through the night. in afghanistan, the death to has nearly doubled to 39 in a taliban bombing at a hospital on thursday. the suicide blast rocked the capital of zabul province, in south. the attack destroyed the hospital, and le at least 140 people wounded. local officials reported thatad most of the ere civilians. a second confirmed case of polio raisedlarms in the philippines today. officials declared the country'i first outbn nearly two decades. they are now launching a mass vaccination campaign. its goal is to immunize more than five million children under the age of five. back in th administration signed an agreement for el salvador to take in grants seeking asylum in the u.s. details were sparse, and it was unclear hoone of central america's most violent places could qualify as a refuge. ofbut, the acting secretar
homeland security, kevin mcaleenan, called it a big step forward. >> as we work tother to target irregular migration flows through the region, that is one potential use of t agreement-- at individuals crossing through el salvador should be able to seek protections there. and we want to enforce the integrity of that process throughout the region. >> woodruff: the u.s. signed a similar agreement with guatemala last month. walmart, the nation's largest retailer, announced that it will stop selling e-cigarettes, once current supplies are gone. that follows a wave of lung illnesses, and eight deaths, linked to vaping. in a statement, walmart cited growing regulations and outright bansn vaping products. new york city mayor bill denc blasio ann today the end of his 2020 presidential run. de blasio joined the crowdedin democratic racay, but he struggled to gain traction among better-known progressives.dr his wial leaves 19 democrats still in the race.ee
and, on wall s stocks slumped amid new doubts about u.s.-china trade talks. the dow jones industrial average lost 159 points to close at 26,935 the nasdaq fell 65 points, and the s&p 500 slipped 14. still to come onhe newshour: mounting tension in washington, as congress and the white house clash over a whistlebler. students demand action to stem the climate crisis, with millions worldwideaking to the streets in protest. and, much more. >> woodruff: the explosive reports of a whileblower complaint against president trump is raising more questions than answers. yamiche alcindor begins our coverage of this fast-moving story. >> alcindor: a mysterious
whistleblower, and a president d ense. today, president trump was insistent-- any communications between him and foreign leaders are strictly above aboard. >> i have conversations with many leaders. they're always appropriate. always appropriate.he at the h level, always appropriate. >> alcindor: sitting next to australia's prime minister in the oval office, he dismissed an compby an intelligence community whistleblower reportedly aimed at him.th >> it's just aer political hack job. that's all it ishe >> alcindor:washington post" and "new york times" have reported the complaint involves the presidenmmunications with an unspecified foreign leader, and other actions, and ceers on ukraine. it is public record that on july 25, the phone with ukrainian president volodymyr zelensky. that was two wee before the wawhistleblower complaint filed. today, new reports that president trump repeatedly pressed zelensky to work with his personal lawyer, rudy
giuliani. the president wanted hunter biden's alings with a ukrainian gas firm investigated, in a bid to aid the trump re-election mpaign. biden's father, former vice president joe biden, is a potential 2020 challenger to president trump. on cnn last night, giuliani first denied it, then admitted it. >> did you ask the ukraine investigate joe biden? >> no, actually i didn't >> so you did ask ukraine to look into joe biden? >> of course i did! >>lcindor: giuliani eventually said the president had no knowledge of his actions. but, the administration has blocked access to the whistleblower's complat, setting up a standoff with congress. in letters released thursday, the intelligence community inspector general called it an i "urgent concern" related to "serious or flagrant abuse," that he said should be given to lawmakers. on also testified behind closed doors before the house intelligence committee, but said he was barred fro revealing the substance of theco whistleblower'laint. committee chair, democrat adam schiff, said he may sue to accessnst. >> given tctor general said this is urgent, it can't wait.
>> alcindor: in a statement toda house speaker nancy pelosi said all of this raes "grave, urgent concerns for ourn na security." those concerns will get an airing next week. on wednesday, presidump is scheduled to meet th president zelensky. the next day, acting dector of national inteigence joseph maguire is set to testify fore the house intelligence committee. for the pbs newshour, i'm yamiche alcindor. >> woodruff: to provide insight on how the ukranian government is factoring into all of this, i'm joined by nina janckowicz of the wilson center, an independent, non-partisan research institute. nina janckowicz, welcome back the "newshour". so now we have thiis new information, the "wall street journal" reporting that president trump repeatedly pressured the president of ukraine to investigate joe biden's son. what is th ukrainian government saying? >> the ukrainian government has been vy deft in their avoidance of this issue which i think is intentional.
they're trying to walk a thin line of not really upsetting anyone in the trump administration or a potential next president,nd in a adout of a call from july 25, they sa that president trump discussed anti-corruption efforts in ukraine that have been stalling u.s.-ukrainian relations, perhaps a nod to this scandal that has come up recently. >> woodruff: could be seen as a reference to that. >> mm-hmm. >> woodruff: so if the government is not commenting officially, what are people around his administration saying? >> well, i think anti-corruption activists in ukraine, which represent a very strong and vibrant portion of civbril society, are saying, you know, they are pretty bemused that victor shoken, the prosecutor general involved, is championed by rudiogiuliani as an oti-corruption crusader. actually he was tacle to anti-corruption efforts in ukraine, and the fact that the trump administration is trying to paint this as a sacking fo hunter biden's own protection is
not ringing truewith the ukrainians who are closest to the material. >> woodruff: that's what i wanted to ask you about because the president, president trump keeps saying the news media needs to investigate what happened with regard to this prosecutor, and you're saying people tre don't think there is anything to that. >> right they say tht claim doesn't hold water that joe biden ask poroshenko to fire victor shoken rotect his sons. they're saying by firing victor, it was iviting more investigation into his son because this former prosetorme had been stonewalling anti-corruption investigations. >> woodruff: the plot thickens. in the meantime, nina janckowicz, there is the question of the ct that these conversationidbetween present trump and zelensky of ukraine were taking place around the same time the administration was about to say it was going t deliver foreign aid to ukraine. >> right.
how does that factor into l of this? >> the delivery to assistance of ukraine was one of ukrainian government's top diplomatic priorities of the last five years. there's a hot war in europe. ukraine has been resisting russian corruption for the past five years and this military assistance is very much neeuded and important to ukraine. the fact that, over the past couple of weeks, it was frozen for resons unknown to the ukrainian grveghts not related to reform efforts, seemingly out of the blue, was seen as a shock in kiev. >> woodruff: what we're learning today and yesterday, are people putting puzzle pieces together and to suggest tha there's a connection? >> yeah, absolutely. it seems like maybe the trump adminiration was considering withholding the aid to prssure the zelensky administration to opening or reopeni this investigation into biden and the gas company he was working with, and that's extremely troubling to me because ukraine is nea democratic beacon for millions of people in the former soviete.
sp they just had a very historic election in the spring in which russians were saying when are we going to have an election like that, and we should be supporting this w administration, building bridges with them, not burning them down. >> woodruff: quickly, what is the overall impression of rapresident trump among uians at the high levels there? >> i think it's one of confusion. on the one hand, he has delivered is military assistance package that for a long te the ukrainian administration could not getes under ent obama, but, on the other hand, they have these crazy mixed signals coming fro the president's personal lawyerf >> woo well, it's quite a story and we're y ing to continue to follow it and you're going to continue it too, nina janckowicz, thank you so much. >> thanks for havi me. >> woodruff: and now to discuss the legal implications of thee administration's reported efforts to bury ese concerns, i'm joined by joel brenner. he was the national security agency's inspector general under the george w. bush administration, and conducted oversight of n.s.a.'s use of
warrant-less wiretapwhich began in 2002. joel brenner, thank you for joining us. joining us, so just at a very basic level, given your experience in the intelligence community, who would be able to listenin or have access to listening to a president's -- a phone call between the president of the united states ond the lead another current, like the prident of ukraine? >> well, you would expect, in the room with the president, would be a significant number of staff members. b they wou from the national security council, might have been someoneom the state department there, there would have been a note-taker, there probably would have been a stenrapher taking a verbatim transcript, and then there would have been a memory random of the conversation which would have had a somewhat wider if not very wide distribution and, of course, there may have been security services listening to that cawell. that would have been the universe of people that youwi would starh and, of course, there might have been people that any one of those people might also have spoken with.
but when you're doing an investigation to find out who might have haa access to information, you fnd it to begin with by asking yourself who could have had it. and that's the unverse that i see here, judy. >> woodruff: we would love to ow who this person , although they are entitled to anonymity because whistleblowers the respected under the law, but in terms of hois is being handled right now -- because we're not going to know, or we don't know at this pot who th whistleblower is -- what do you make of the fact tht the inspector general, the department, thathe rest of the government got involved and, now, the president seems to be very mpch on the sot? >> well, look, i think, on the face of it, you have a statute that's just not being followed. that the administration is thumbing its nose at it.be there coulan associative
executive privilege involved, but i think that privilege would fall away in the event that its ed to protect criminal behavior. i'm not saying that happened, but that's the nature of the way privileges work. of course, the adatinisn is also saying that the statute doesn't apply, and i think they've just got that all wrong. i don't think tropio l storm much said on their behalf theral so we're at an unusual, i think, maybe unique juncture here, judy, with a two main branches of government, absolutelo erheads. the congress has its impeachment tools. not only cold they impeach the president, if they wanted to, but they could also impeach the acting director of national intelligence. i'm not inre there's an appetite for that, but that's theo tol that the congress gives to the congress along with the power over appropriation. >> wdruff: and the fact that, as i was just discussing
with nina janckowicz, that there is a queerstion about whether aid -- u.s. aid to ukraine may have been involved in some sortr of qui quo, how does that complicate this? >> well, look, i ask myself, if i were still an antitrust pros utor, which i was earlyin my career, and saw pri movements in the market that were all over the place, and, all of adden, i thaw the two main companies moving their prices together, and i had access to prooat there had been conversations like this -- not about military aid but about price movements -i would have opened a grand jury. anyone would have opened a gra jury. d in order to investigat whether there was a deal over prices. in this case, one wants to know was there a deal over the milita aid and deals don't have to be explicit. in a price fixing case or ancay
, one gets a jury instruction that an agreement can bea tcit. so i just look at this as an dinary matter, forget who is involved, they were just two companies or smrks you would investigate it. of course the congress wants to investigate it. i don't see how they could take t,different view. >> woodruff: thf course, is what everybody is watching to see whether or not that happens. joel brenner, thank you very much. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: in cities all across the world today,ot tors are taking to the streets in record numbers, demanding their leaders reducese greenhas emissions to e address climate change. william brangham talked with several young peopleis movement to understand what they want, and how they're going poout it. his , and the conversation to follow, is part of our contribution to e overing climw," a global collaboration of more than
300 news outlets to enhance coverage of the climate story. >>rangham: from rmany, to , dnralia, to south afri even with armed guards in afghanistan. record numbers of people all over the world are on strike for the climate. angry that their governments won't acknowledge the crisis, and worried about their future on a warming plat-- millions of protestors today demanded immediate action. >> the climate crisis in totality is destroying myli future. and i don't think we can hope to have jobs or have a nice future when our existen on this earth is not guaranteed. >> brangham: this protest is ique not only for its size, but for those leading it-- young activists are driving thisnt movemany leaving school today to make their point. this movemenyou see here today crgan over a year ago, and most
of these protestorit one teenager from sweden for getting it all started-- 16-year-old greta thunberg. last fall, thunberg started skipping school on fridays to demonstrate outside the swedish parliament building. her sign read, "school strike for climate." since then, she's become a maobal celebrity of sorts, quietly leading ssive rallies, and confronting world leaders in brutally frank terms, like she did in f week in washington: >> i don't want you to listen to me. i want y to listen to the scientists. and i want you to unite behind the science. and then, i want you to take real action. >> my first initial thought was that it is aut time that someone said that. >> brangham: 14-year-old alexandria villasenor is one of the millions of young people who have flowed thunberg's ld and joined this movement. >> today, the young people of the united states are declarin
the era of american climate change denialism over. >> brangham: villasenor was moved to action, after a trip back to her home ste o california was cut short by last year's deadly wildfires. she's now been on her climate strike in front of the united nations headquarters in new york for 40 straight fridays. >> we're continuously putting when we'd hang out with friends or we'd go out to movies or we'd go shopping, and we're giving up a lot of that. at shows how committed we are to organizing and how committed we are to fighting for a future. >> brangham: 17-year-oldan xiye bastida iher member of this movement. she left mexico with her family e four years ago, after shsays heavy rainfall flooded her hometown. ke many of her fellow activists, bastida's message is to policy makers. >> we don't need you to talk aand talk, and say that y going to pass thisesolution or not, or-- because resolutions and declarations are just wordsl
we need you to pass licy. we need you to pass laws. and we need them to happen now. >> brangham: this broad network of activists want several key things: passage of a green new deal, with its sft to 100% newable, green energy by 2030. oprotection and restorati half the world's lands and oceans. opping deforestation within ten years. ending subsidies for industrial agriculture. and, halting resource extractioa on indigenous. ahead of today's strike, bastida anvillasenor joined thunberg and others this week in washington. they had a packed schedule-- speaking on panels, meeting members of congress, rallying in front of the supreme court. and, everywhere they went, they wereurrounded by handlers an cameras. >> as the climate crisis gets worse, m it, and more of us are living it. it's not something that is going to happen in00 years. it's something that is happening
right now to us. >> brangham: another young activist in washington this week was vic barrett. this 21-year-oldisollege student plaintiff in the landmark case, "juliana v. the united ates"-- a lawsuit filed over a dozen young americans alleging the u.s. governo nt has failedeqrntely address climate change. if successful, the case could force the government to reduce tieenhouse gas emissions. it's currently w on an appeals court ruling. >> we're constituents. we live in this untry. and so, we're suing the u.s. federal government for violating young people disproportionately, constitution rights to life, liberty, and property. the united states government has known since the 1950s, 1960s, that climate change could be potentially catastrophic. >> brangham: one lawmaker in their corner is senator ed markey, democrat of massachusetts. hen a co-sponsor of the "gr new deal" resolution. what would you say to the critics who say,what on earth are our leaders doing taking advice from teenagers?" >> well, on this, the teenagers are righ and the older
generation has been wrong, in terms of their lack of attention to this issue. >> brangham: 19-year-old katie eder is another part of the movement. originally fe m milwaukee, but now working full-time in los angeles, she co-founded "the future coalition," which organizes young people around a number of issues, including climate change. >> young people feel like nobody is doing anything, and so the i responsibilityon-- on our shoulders.in and i thit's reallyck important to awledge how sad s.at is, y know, these kids who are really k you know, they're middle school, young high school, and they honestly should not ave to be plan protest. they shoul't have to be lobbying their representatives. they shouldn't have to be trying to convince adults that they t nedo something so we have a future. >> brangham: dana fisher studies social she's a sociology professor at the university of maryland, and tae's collected extensive on this youth climate movement, and her surveys point the potential impacts-- mo of these young activists will be of voting age by the 2020 election.
>> in some ws, the school strike for climate change is what the sit-in was for the civil rights mement. it is a tactic that is doable for people in a very local way, where they can get invold in a movement and, as it diffuses, it can have a huge effect. >> brangham: but fisher says the challenge to this movement-- to force a re-engineering of how the world creates and uses power, and to do it quickly-- is enormous. it would involve converting all gas-powered cars to electric, closing all coal-fired power plants, and dramatically ramping up wind, solar, and even nuclear power. >> ty are asking forsu tantive, transformative change, but they are talking about doing it through traditio and we have seen very few examples of when that's worked c in ontry, or globally. and usually that happens around bilization around a war. i mean, some of the activists are calling for a mobilization on par with world war ii. right? d that's the kind of social
change we're talking about. brangham: the timing of today's march was intentional. monday is the opening of the u.n.'s climate action summit, where heads of government from w around the worl meet in new york to present their plans for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. when we talked with greta thunberg last week, she stressed that-- for now-- this vement needs the adults to act. >> we are not doing this because we think it'fun. and we are not doing this to o easen your conscience. we are doing this for you to join us. we are not the ones who are going to solve this. we are not the ones who are going to provide you with solutions. we are the ones who demand everyo to listen to the united science and to take their responsibility. >> when people see us on the stres, with the river of students protesting, i want them to see that and realize that that is what change looks like, and that they need to be a part of it.
>> brangham: as we can see these protests today are easily the ggest climate change demonstration in history, and, as we heard, this movement is calling for a fundamental re- making of how we power our modern world. i'm joined now by our science m correspondenes o'brien. miles, walk us through some of the practicalities. if theseprouth activists get their way, they would like us to be, by 2030, 100% green renewable energy, how tough is that? >> well, it's a noble goal, willy m, but it's a reag stretch to imagine getting there. l if yk at the slice of te pie right now that is renewables in the united states, it's about 17%. a little more than 7% of that is hydro, dams, so if there are no new rivers to dam up, a little more than is wind, a let more than 1% is solar. in order to get rid of l the fossil fuel production, which is about 63% of the pie,5y 200,
one of the big things you have s ve is the issue of storage, the intermittence is i of wind power and solar. when the wind isn't blowing and the sun is't shing, you havnie no electricity. we like the lights on all the time. that's a big issue t has to be addressed. it raes the question of where is nuclear power in the mix. >> today we saw three mile island, the infamous plant in pennsylvania, closed up shop today, permanently shuttered. can you remind us of whatn happened79 in three mile island and how that impacted u.s. nuclear licy. >> yes, march of 1979, the three mile iland unit 2, through a combination of mechanical problems and human error, had a partial meltdown. in the end, only a small amount of radiation was released. i think the estimate was people
within aten-mile radius would see the give leapt of a chest x-ray after it happened. but it chitanged the thinking about nuclear in a fundamental way. there was growing concern about nuclear, andti interly, about three weeks prior to the three mile island incident, a movie, a very popular one called the china syndrome, came out which portrayed an evil corporation cutting corners and leading to a meltdown at california nuclear power plant. so in this case,ife imtaid art and, frankly, the public, i think, conflated those two events. subsequent to that you had chernobyl and fuk ghima. peop scared about nuclear. >> reporter: what did thado as far as our building out of nuclear. how much do we rely on northerlo r today? >> -- nuclear power today? right now a liettleow 20% but the plants are closing ecitously. since 2013, eight have come
offline. in the next few years, it's projected to be at least another 7. so that 19% of the pie tht's gnarl is slated to drop to about 12%. mostly flat natural gas is replacing it, which is on the rise. bles are on the rise, too, but a lot of people uld want to say if you want to address this carbon issue which these young pele are all about yo need to keep nuclear in the mix at least in the short term because these plan are not being replaced necessarily by zero carbon alternatives. >> reporter: there are oter nuclear pronuponents, bill gates was loni didn't thin.c. recently for billions of dollars to be spent on a new generatione of these nu plants, what happened with that effort? >> it's not easy.e erage age of a nuclear plant is 39 years. right now in the united states, the technology has been frozen in time. bill gates is investigating in a technology called terra power which is sodium cooled t water
cooled. it hast inherfety capabilities. the company wanted to build the first plant in china, but at the first of the year with the tradh wat president trump engaged in with that country, the plans were scuttled. another company is building small modul water-cooled reactor and there is a plant in stages of being permitted will be built in idaho. that has some inheterent saf features as well. a lot of people wld tell you that there's a whole new generation of nuclear out there that has many morye safet features in it than the current fleet and it's time now to put some investment in those. >> reporter:iles o'brien, our science correspondent, thank you very much. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: and now, we turn to the political anaof shields and broo. that is syndicated columnist
mark shields, and "nework times" columnist david brooks. hello to both ofu yo. let's start with the lead story, the whistleblower from the intelligence commuety. the words out, this person is alleging that he knows that the esident, in a conversation with -- now we think it's thet presid ukraine, urged the president of ukraine, mark, to investigate joe biden's son, and there's still no -- the president denies it and others do, but now we have several news outlets, backing of the story, and i was just handed and you've seen it, a statement by joe biden. he says these reorts are true. there's truly no bottom to presidenngtrump's wilss to abuse his power and this puntry. this behavior irticularly abhorrent because it exploits the foreign country and undermines national security for political purw pos. riously should we be taking these allegations?se >> i think they're enrmously
serious, and the fact that the "wall street journal" leading this story, one of t "new york times" tanned "the washington post," but this is not false or fake news, it's note a political vendetta of any sort, and this is quite beyond a playboy model or frat party of ivy league school or any thinolof trt. this is really serious. thiss i totally exploiting the national security -- putting ati the national security of the united states for narrow potical, personal interests if, in fact, the reports are true. and i fess the most disturbing thing to me, judy, that the president accused the whistleblower who, at enormous risk and required considerable courage, of being an extreme partisan, which means, , that somebody in the white house knows who the whistleblower is.
this is mafia-like threats. we know who you are, and investigated his poitical affiliation or her political affiliation. i mea so, i thi it's enormously grave. >> woodruff: in fact, the president, david, was saying today to the television cameras thatople in the white hose were making fun of all of this. are weooking at something where it's going to be a he said-he said situation goirw d? >> well, the call washeistened to by others and recorded -- i'm not sure it was recorded but i was listened to. these calls are not just one-on-one call, people are on line. i ink it's prettyrave. most presidents go into themo white house to thi i'm here to serve the office and america, president trump was using america to serve him and american foreign policy to serve him. most presidents go into the office thinking the phrase my follow americans means something and we have greater loyalty to our fellowmericans than pple
in outside countries, and he's using anher country to research on his fellow american. i think this rises to more a level -- i'm not sure this isti founally changing but it rises to a different revel if there's a connection betwereen n aid and the promise. that really is using sub boring u.s. government money for private gain an that's corruption of a higher order. >> woodruff: and we don't know for isfact that thappened but the evidence is building, the reporting is building, and there are two strands -- it is urging the leader othf ano country to get involved in a political campaign, but then the quid pro quo, poten eally. ctly, judy. it means to say, look, be inh touch wiy together dirt, my opo research guy who once was a mayor and is now doing >> woodruff: rudy giuliani. rudy giuliani. how the mighty have fall ton
that pint where he's an errand boy to a hit man on political opnents. no, david put it very well. i mean, this is a haute teethle, total corruption of the -- if it's valid and if it's accurate, and i think that theews reports are done very serly, quite honestly, because they takeheir position seriously. if it's true, judy, thn i don't see how the democrats can bac off on impeachment investigation. >> woodruff: and i want to ask you about that. this week,avid, as both of yu pointed out, the president's lawyous were in court. they were arg auiainst a new york lawsuit in an attempt to get the president's tax returns to be turned over, to be made public. and the presirnt's lawyers saying you can't investigate a a president while he's sitting in office. what we're learning today in these reports about ukraine t.ise questions about tha
>> yeah, this was the nixon defense with david frost that if a president doest it'st illegal, and it didn't work for nixon, i'm not sure it would work for here. a basic principle of our government is no person is above the law. so i don't think that will work. do think, if there's a link to the foreign aid, the democrats have to launch a different and new investigation. i'm struck mostly by, when president trump does something out in the open or rudy giuliani does something out in the ope like it doesn't become a big thing. now that we have something secrethat thev press haate uncovered, suddenly it blows up. but giuliani was not shy about this. the fall of giuliani is one of .he great stories of our ag i covered him a lot when he was mayor.ll extremely brnt and sharp.br not the man i see today. the one continuity is he would sit around with hiff and watch the godfather movies over and over again. and this really is mob behavior. it's let's dig up dirt on this guy. ikes methe way it str more than anything else. >> woodruff: mark, with the e esident's lawyers fighting
back, which they hen, they have be fighting all these attempts to get any information turn over, but th the first time we've heard them argue a president can't be investigated. >> i agree with david about the nixon defense. nixon invoked the defense 1977, three years after he was forced out, ite an interview withidav frost. he proved by his own statements and actions that no presidentbe cabove the law. i really think the gravity of this is yet to be fully oopreciated. >>uff: the other major story we're watching is, david, in the aftermath of the attack on the saudi oil complex and the administration pointing fingers middle east at ira although, so far, we don't have absolute proof. i'm told thebe's jus a press conference at the department of dense. the defense department expert is saying everything we have points
to iran. president trump's response is to be locked and loaded and we can do whatever we want, to iran, but tod iay, ervals this past week saying, no, we don't want war with iran.we what dake of this american response? >> well, you know, this happensn the middle east. all arrows do point to iran. i mean,ran has ben clearly ramping up their terror activity toward the saudis over t last h a bunch ofhs wit these attacks. secondly, these attacks, they did it with a sophisticated enough weapon to get through. no american missile base saw them. there are a lot of american bases in the region. so that success was something more tan just a smll rebel army. it was a really sophisticated nick. so what's hap is iran is clearly testing to see what it can get away in order to eliminate the saudis. and the saudis know they're ver vulnerable to thettack. they're trying to sell oil, the oil markets are their obvious bread and budder, and iran is
trying to expert their etymology. trump is playing it well. it's a chess match where hey launch something, we try to frighten them or put somon ic sanctions on them. so trump is pushing back without going crazy. so he's t being violent. so far, i think he's playing the game as sort of as wells you can do under the circumstance. >> he's not being violent, but i think we have to say that where we are today with iran is because of donald trump. donald trump withdrew on political grounds alone, thats was nly basis, that barack obama had negotiated thagot agreement, t nuclear agreement with the iranians, with the united states, u.k., rus china, germany, france, put it all tog tethere were 98% reduction in their capacity,
they were open to inspection, and he withdrew, and there was nothing to replace it. he has no coalition partners, he alition. his c we are now standing, waiting for the judgment ofe the sai prince as to whether we sed americans to war. w i meat are our shared values with the saudis? i missed tho are they freedom of press, religion, se bring, lawful -- assembly, rule of law? is there anything in i think what we've seen is theli tations of budget defense sales to a country. i mean, they have the fifth laest defense budget in the world, the saudis do, and they can't even defen temselves. you know, they are overbuilt, they're overmuscled, and david's right, we're not going to win this, and the iranians know president trump does not want to go to war because 2020 is coming
up and a war in theis middle eat bout the last thing in theth world any president wats. >> woodruff: i should add, i was told another comment from st now,ense secretary he said the u.s. will send some troops to the region, but he said it won't be in the thousands. so we don't know what that means, but it's a half sep, david, i think. >> you do this, i do this, we were sigling to each other it's a dance. i think the iranians know trump ll send a sigennal but doesn't want to go to war so they do u have tper hand on this. one area i disagree with mark, is i don't think it's entirely due to the iranian nuclear dea being canceled. the critics oitthe deal prior it being accepted says iran is dointhe nuclear program an the terror in the region program. many people critized the deal because it did nothing to address iran's terror in ther regigram. that's what this is a continuation of. it may beamped up a litle but they have been doing this sort
of thing since 1979. >> i'mot here as an apologist for iran. there was a coherent coalition to contain and limit iranian activity and iranian negative influence, and i believe it was working, and that -- there is no substitute is exactly likeis hong kong plan, there is notu subs. i mean, dismantle what is there anand replace it with nothing. and i honestly think there's no one off with iran. i mean, iran has syria bases, iran has opportunities to perplex and us in all kinds of places. >> woodruff: this story now a week into it, but it looks like we're about to see the next phase with the announcement of more troops going into the region. sheedlmark shields, david brook, thank you. >> thank you.
>> woodruff: now to a much anticipated return-- britain's family opens their doors again at downton abbey, this time on the big screen.l e drama, the intrigue of the pbs series that ended four aars ago-- this time, wit meyal twist. i sat down with of the achirs and the creator for t preview, part of our "canvas" series on arts and culture. >> woodruff: you remember the sets, the costumes. those memorable one-liners: >> after all these years, you still astonish me. >> oh, good. i am glad i am a revelation and not a disappointment. >> woodruff: and most importantly, the dramas of the crawley family and the staff, upstairs and downstairs.
all adapted for the big screen. >> you mean, during the stay you will be the butler? >> excuse me. i am not a butler. i am the king's page of the back stairs. >> so our staff has nothing to do? >> i am sure they can useful. >> woodruff: "downton abbey's" creator, julian fellowes: >> when the first ideas started sort of rumbling around of the possible movie, i didn't think it would happen. >> woodruff: how much of a challenge was it to take this story that had stretched out ovnd six seasons, six years, turn it into a two-hour film? >> well, we didn't go back. we went on. so, it's a continuatiohe story. it's not retelling anything thar we've told b and in a film, you can't say to people, "oh, by the way, this story wi be finished in the second movie." and so we have to find narrativa reasons for th to be there t and have to complete all those stories by the end of the
fi. >> the king and queen are coming to downton. >> what? >> woodruff: the story picks up in 1927, as the entire household prepares for a visit by king george v and queen my. >> are youxcited? >> am a bit. are you? >> would it be common to admit it? >> not to an american. >> to use this... device, if you like, of the royal visit, which does aect everybody, even if some characters, like myself, you know, are supposed not to show their enthusiasm or excitement it's a triumph. >> woodruff: hugh bonneville ays lord grantham. lesley nicol is mrs. patmore, the cook. are u breaking some kind of social taboo by sitting together for this interview? you've never done this?er >> we've none it. >> we love it. >> we do love each other, but we of s't actually done mu this together years. it's nice. >> you've got a handful of scenes together, but yeah. so it's nice to be acquainted offset. >> woodruff: but you do come together in this storyline? g >> tat trick of julian fellowes, our wrer a
creator, our god, is that in the film version, the house is united. the teams both below and above stairs are united.ct >> woodruff:s laurand carmichael a michelle dockery d portray sisters edith anry crawley. it's kind of the shoe on the other fo, isn't it, for thefa crawlely? >> yeah, exactly. it's fun to see them in that ngsition, where they're ha to cater for the king and queen and every single character has a different role to play within that. so i think julian did such an incredible job. having this one main narrative of this big event happening, and then weaving in and out of each chacter's kind of subplot, which he does so cleverly in the film. >> i did get giddy reading the
characters again. you know, he's so goodt getting you right back in there. >> woodruff: the film is inspired by a real royal event. in 1912, king george v and queen mary visited yorkshire, where the fictional downton is set. they're no longer at the top of the heap? >> they are not. you know, they are just a noble familye north. and it is a great honor that the king and queen are coming to their house. woodruff: how important was that to you? was just in the scheme ofri fi this out? >> i like the idea that they had to pull out every stop. >> the tru of trance.in a sort won't you help me? i feel like i am pushi a rock up hill. >> i'll be there in the morning, my lady. the family element is important, not only above stairw but below l, although we're not blood relations. there was a mily kind of vibe to it, and that's universal. >> woodruff: how much of a derture do you think the downton abbey idea is from the way be really was back in the day? >> yeah, there's no question
this is a fictionalized, rose- tinted view of a tiny sliver of society anpaper of course, it's a society, it's a structure that i- if not apparent, it'ss- peculiar, certainly, and has sort of no merit to it at all, because it's all about where you were born in life. >> woodruff: inheritance, and who deserves one, is a sub-plot. >> julian writes from a position of respect for his characters, and there is within that sense of, if not decency, then tolerance and compassion. and so our audiences haveav responded to that. >> it's such a warm environment, this movie, when you go and watch it, really some welcome light relief. w n i watched the movie for the first time, as the lightsn
went d shoulders literallyho relaxed and i thought, "i'm going somewhere that is just a bit kinder." >> i burst into tears, because it's quite something to watch, music never disappoints. ♪ ♪ >> woodruff: do you see any parallels between, clearly class differences of the 1920s in britain, wh what's going on today? >> class is always with us. i mean, who yowere born still is the greatest single determinant on what will happen to you in your life. i am happy to say that i think social mobility has not made it as absolute as it used to . >> woodruff: today, people speak out against a gornment they don't-- they are much more likely to speak up about a governnt they don't like.
you've got the whole fight going on over brexit?t, >> to be honhe whole business of social media, which has allowed people to express their anger, often anonymously usually anonymously, and so this savage anger can be vented, i think that has altered the tone of our societies. >> wdruff: it is aonic at a at a time of great turmoil, isn't it? >> it's so nice to have something that feels so uncynical and so... yeah. just warm, i think. it's sort of as ch a workplace drama as it is anything else than the sort of hierarchy that exists in that world. you could say this is trueirf any work ement. tau know, it's that kind of thowg that is ree. without cynicism, really. let's look at people and believe that we all ve good in us and they're all trying to do their best. >> woodruff: stay ned. there may be more chances to see the downton crew "do their best."
before the film even opens in the united states, the cast say thy a sequel, depending on whether audiences respond to this one. >> woodruff: i worked on my british accent but i jyst couldn't get there. that's the "newshour" for tonight. anthat is the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. thank you, and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ >> life well-planned. learn more at raymondjames.com. >> bnsf railway. >> consumer cellular. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation. for more than 50 years, advancing ideas and supportingio instit to promote a better
world. at w.hewlett.org. ith e ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation r public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> you're watching pbs.