tv PBS News Hour PBS March 31, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, we take a deep dive into questions surrounding the russia investigation as new revelations shake the white house. then, trump supporters take stock-- what trump supporters in michigan are saying about the his first two months in office. >> what he has said is the truth and i don't think that he has reason to lie. what does he have to gain by lying? nothing. >> woodruff: then, in the final look of our series exploring new p.t.s.d. research. how explosions from battle may have a direct link to the causes of p.t.s.d. >> when the explosion goes off,
it, it forms what's called a blast wave. and so here you have a high, high pressure pulse blasting through this delicate instrument called the brain. >> woodruff: and it's friday, mark shields and david brooks are here to analyze the week's news. all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects
us. >> our tradition has been to take care of mother earth, because it's that that gives us water, gives us life. the land is here for everyone. >> 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. thank you. >> woodruff: the immunity request from president trump's former national security advisor drew sharply different responses today. michael flynn said he'll cooperate with congressional russia probes, but only if he's granted immunity. mr. trump tweeted: flynn should ask for immunity, because "this is a witch hunt" by the "media and democrats." but adam schiff, the top democrat on the house intelligence committee, said it's too early to consider such a deal. we'll take a closer look at the investigations after the news summary. meanwhile, president trump moved to re-shape his u.s. trade policy with two executive orders combating foreign trade abuse. the first will initiate a large- scale review of causes for u.s. trade deficits.
the second mandates tougher enforcement of laws that stop manufacturers abroad from the president said this will promote a "revival in american manufacturing." secretary of state rex tillerson today warned nato allies to boost defense spending within the next two months. during tillerson's first meeting with his alliance counterparts in brussels, he said washington is contributing a "disproportianate share" to defense. germany's foreign minister, sigmar gabriel, balked at the call, saying nato's spending targets are neither "reachable nor desirable." there's word the european union may be open to talks later this year on its future relationship with britain. but draft guidelines issued today say the u.k.'s "disentanglement" from the bloc must be settled first. british prime minister theresa may wanted talks on a future trade deal with the e.u. to start quickly. but in malta today, the president of the european
council, donald tusk, said that won't happen. >> once, and only once we have achieved sufficient progress on the withdrawal, can we discuss the framework for our future relationship. starting parallel talks on all issues at the same time, as suggested by some in the u.k., will not happen. >> woodruff: meanwhile, scotland's first minister has formally requested a second referendum on its independence from the u.k. britain's government has said it will deny the request. violence erupted in venezuela today, amid the country's deepening political crisis. it followed the supreme court's move to dissolve the country's opposition-led congress-- a move widely condemned as a power grab. in the capital caracas, scores of students squared off against police in riot gear who retaliated with batons and buckshot. a number of people were arrested.
in pakistan, a suicide car bomb near a shiite mosque today killed at least 24 people. it happened in a key northwest town near the country's border with afghanistan. the powerful blast damaged vehicles and nearby shops. more than 100 people were wounded. a break-away taliban faction claimed responsibility. the trump administration imposed a new round of sanctions on north korea today. they targeted 11 north koreans and one company who helped finance or develop weapons of mass destruction. the treasury department said the people were working as agents of the north korean regime in russia, china, vietnam, and cuba. back in this country, traffic was snarled for miles in atlanta today, after a fire brought down part of heavily-traveled interstate 85. officials are still trying to determine how yesterday's blaze started. authorities closed the section
before it collapsed and there were no injuries. but commuters in the densely populated area will likely have to find new routes for months. on wall street, stocks ended the month on a down note. the dow jones industrial average lost 65 points to close at 20,663. the nasdaq fell more than two points, and the s&p 500 slipped five. for the week, both the dow and the s&p 500 gained a fraction of a percent. the nasdaq rose more than a percent. space-x made history last night by successfully launching and retrieving its first recycled rocket. rocket boosters normally drop into the atlantic ocean after liftoff and are not retrieved. this was the "falcon 9" booster's second trip in orbit, launching from cape canaveral, florida. it landed on the bull's-eye of an ocean platform and could be used a third time. a rare photo of harriet tubman
has been acquired by the library of congress and the smithsonian's new african- american history museum. it shows a seated tubman in her late 40s. most photos of the underground railroad hero were taken later in her life. it was part of an album sold at auction in new york friday for more than $160,000. still to come on the newshour: what we know and don't know about russia's influence in the 2016 election. the potential human toll of loosening restrictions on air strikes abroad. trump supporters grade the president on his first months in office, and much more. >> woodruff: it seems every day, sometimes every hour, there are new developments on the connections between the white house and the russian
government. it's hard to keep it all straight. but we will try. here to talk through what we know, and what we don't know, about the alleged ties and what they mean. for that i am joined by correspondents john yang and lisa desjardins. thank you both for being here to do this. lisa, i'm going to start with you. remind us, where did all this come from? what was the origin of russia's interest in our elections? >> let's startith 2011 when hillary clinton then secretary of state spoke out criticizing russian elections. vladimir putin, president of russia, then reacted saying she was interfering and helping protesters and trying to have an impact on the russian election. then we can flash forward to last summer when the f.b.i. became aware of hacking into the democratic national committee, then to october with a conclusion with the director of national intelligence that the russian were in fact trying to interfere with our election, and then this month we heard from
f.b.i. director comey about their investigation making this rare public statement. >> the f.b.i., as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential presidential presil election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian government. >> and their statement in the middle of an investigation. bottom line, judy, we know our intelligence on the u.s. side concluded russia tried to interfere with the election and that includes they're investigating things like trying to send fake news to particular states like michigan and pennsylvania. the biggest question now seems to be were any trump associates, trump campaign officials involved and did they know and collude with russia at all. >> woodruff: what is known about links or any connections between trump, trump's campaign and russian officials?
>> it is a spider web. you have campaign officials who had or have business relations with russia bike paul mann afort, advisor carter page. you have others in the campaign in contact with the russian ambassador to the united states either during the campaign or transition. j.d. gordon. jared kushner, michael flynn, attorney general jeff sessions, sessions who's recuse himself from the investigation does a of the contact. and roger stone somehow got advanced word about the hacked hillary clinton e-mails, e-mails that our united states intelligence says came from the russian intelligence, was hacked by the russian intelligence. could this all be coincidence? sure, but a lot of these people have been less than forthcoming about the contacts. last month, judy, you asked carter page whether he met any russian official during the campaign. >> woodruff: i'll ask again,
did you have any meetings last year with russian initials russia, outside russia, anywhere? >> i had no meetings, no meetings. >> of course, eventually, he acknowledged that wasn't true, he met the ambassador at the republican convection. >> woodruff: and he said that after he told me just the opposite. lisa, what about financial connections between the president, people around him and russia? >> the president, for so much of his life, was the c.e.o. of the trump organizations. let's look at the business side of the trump organization to russia. the white house has few direct connections. one, the president sold real estate to russias, and mr. trump hosted the miss universe pageant in moscow in 2013. there are more indirect kind of connections. we know among the other business ties, donald j. trump, jr. said,
in 2008, that, of their businesses all across the board, that russians were pouring in money. he thought russians were among their most important clients at that time. now russia was emerging as an important economy then. think what you will. 1987, trump viltsed in 1996, and in 2013 looked for potential sites for a trump hotel in moscow that never came to bea bear. last summer, a story people paid attention, to we know there are reports from cnn and others investigators looked into rawngs bank repeatedly trying to contact servers in the trump organization. the trump organization says they did not know anything about that andeth not clear if that was for business reasons or what was going on, but one way connection but many of them from a russian bank to the trump organization. the kushners also have a family
business kushner properties. >> woodruff: the son-in-law. and jared kushner in addition to meeting with the russian ambassador also in december met with the head of a russian bank which is under sanctions right now. the white house said that was a diplomatic meeting, but the russian bank says it was for business reasons. so it's something to look at. >> woodruff: one of the other names you mentioned, of course, michael flynn, so much attention around him. he was briefly the president's national security advisor and then he stepped down. what's known about his role in all this? >> he has told the senate intelligence committee he's willing to testify if he gets immunity. the committee rejected that request for now, they said it's too early, that they generally like to find out what they can without immunity first. he was a surrogate and an advisor in the campaign. he became well known for both attacking hillary clinton in the campaign and advocating closer ties with russia and, as you say, he was very briefly the
national security advisor. he had to resign after it turned out he misled white house officials about some of his contacts with the russian ambassador during the transition. now, his attorney says he certainly has quite a story to tell, but it's not quite clear what that story is or who it's about. this morning, the president tweeted that he thought that flynn should give immunity and should testify. this afternoon at the white house briefing, sean spicer was asked if the president had anything to fear from that testimony. sean spicer had a one-word answer -- nope. >> woodruff: all right. well, so much to follow. police departments this go from here, lisa? >> let's look forward a bit. there are three investigations underway now that we know of -- the f.b.i. investigation, the house intelligence investigation and the senate intelligence investigation -- all of those could take months, many months. that brings us to our final name in the look at the who's who in
this russian situation, devin nunes, the congressman from california, chairs the house intelligence committee and the russian investigation. in the past two weeks he said he was made aware of intelligence there a source he's not aiming that u.s. spy agencies somehow caught surveillance of some trump associates and some trump white house officials potentially inadvertently. he took that information and spoke to the president about it but did not share that with his own intelligence committee. that is raising questions especially from democrats who are calling for him to recuse himself. >> woodruff: he said it didn't have to do with russia, right? >> that's right, but since he's chairing the russian investigate, he's too close to the president, who's he watching out for, the democrats say he has a conflict of interest. mr. nunes says, no, he feels he can chair the investigation.
>> this embroils the white house. and schiff the top democrat on the intelligence committee went to the white house to look at documents that the white house says they have uncovered that relates to this coincidental or incidental surveillance. it's not clear yet whether or not this is the same material that chairman nunes was shown. >> again, the material might not be about russia. it's a question of the man leading the russian investigation. >> woodruff: there are so many strands in this story to follow. the two of you are on the case. we thank you. i feel like we've brought our audience up to date. thank you very much. lisa desjardins, john yang, thank you. >> woodruff: during the presidential campaign candidate trump promised to give the u.s. military more freedom to strike terrorist targets around the world.
yesterday, it was announced that president trump made good on that promise. hari screenivasan has the story. >> sreenivasan: among the countries where the u.s. is using fighting terrorism are iraq, yemen and somalia. now, the president has approved the pentagon's plan to beef up its targeting of al shabab in somalia, giving the military greater latitude to decide when and where to strike. for more on all of this, we turn to sarah sewall. she served as undersecretary of state for civilian security, democracy and human rights during the obama administration. she's written extensively about military operations and civilian casualties. she's now at johns hopkins university. first, just walk us through what the changes are that the pentagon announced. >> essentially, president obama had created two categories for thinking about the use of force in the context of the war on terror. one was more like targeted killing with more restricted types overtargets that you could both choose and be forced to identify, and it controlled the effects of those uses of force
more closely. the other is more like what americans would understand as war, general hostilities, and what has happened is the current president has now moved, according to reports, moved the somalia engagement of the u.s. forces from the category of more targeted uses of force to more general hostilities. >> sreenivasan: it says the new rules says it's okay to kill civilians if necessary and proportionate. what does that mean? in the past, it used to be if they were threatening americans that doesn't seem the case now. >> that's what i mean by the kind of targets that are chosen. the former category required only those who were a direct threat to americans could be targeted. now they can be targeted if they're members of an organization that's an associated force for the perpetrators of 9/11, has huge impacts for civilian casualties because the former standard of targeting according to a near certainty of not killing
civilians has now been relaxed. but, of course, the laws of war still apply, so uses of force still have to be proportionate and discriminate. >> sreenivasan: the military complained for quite some time even through the obama administration that there was too much red tape when the time they found the target and the hoops they had to jump through to take action on it. >> that's right, hari. the u.s. military lierg most militaries will seek greater latitude for the use of force. it's the role of civilian authorities to make sure america's broader strategic interests are balanced against tactical possibilities for gain and here is whether i think president obama's decision to make sure that the uses of force did not have blowback either by virtue of killing civilians unnecessarily or feeding into the i.s.i.s. narrative that the u.s. coz seeking to fight a war against islam or by allowing a slippery slope for the use of military force which i think is
a legitimate concern we should be asking about in the context of moving toward general hostilities for engagement in somalia. >> sreenivasan: we go out of our way more than anybody to try to minimize civilian casualties, so what's the harm in giving them leeway if they follow the same protocols? >> they won't follow the same protocols. the protocols are very different. the u.s. military is better than anybody else at avoiding civilian harm, but we need to look at the airstrikes in mosul and iraq to see there are huge potentials for backlash that come when you relax those protocols, and we can do extremely well, we've done extremely well at different periods during our history. we know how to be discriminating in the use of air power and president obama's original intent was to keep the standards high as much as possible so we should be asking tough questions when the standards are relaxed. >> sreenivasan: does the ability to use force make the
troops sayer? >> i did a study in afghanistan in 2010 and there was no correlation between the kinds of standards that protectioned civilians and the protection our forces enjoyed. what changed was the way we pursued our objectives. sometimes we took more time, statements an indirect route, but the u.s. military can do a phenomenal job at avoiding civilian harm, but it does require civilian leadership to emphasize that as a matter of priority. >> sreenivan: sarah sewall, johns hopkins university, thank you so much. >> thank you. supporters whom william brangham >> woodruff: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: mark shields and david brooks analyze the week's news. the search for what triggers p.t.s.d. and a doctor's take on why affirmative action could be hurting asian americans. but first, the fallout from last week's failed republican effort
to repeal healthcare is still being felt across the political landscape. president trump's approval rating now hovers around 40% in national tracking polls. but in michigan, trump supporters whom william brangham spoke to offered their own assessments of the president's first two months in office. >> brangham: 64 year-old randall shelton is a self-described independent and "angry white man." for him, trump's election wasn't a surprise, even though trump wasn't shelton's first choice. >> i wish there had been another candidate but i chose the one that i believe was going to do the right thing. i thought he was going to do and still believe he's going to do the right thing. >> brangham: shelton lives in allen park, a blue-collar suburb of detroit. 12 years ago, he got hurt working at the local general motors plant, and he's been on disability and off work ever since. he thinks democrats and
republicans are blocking the very things trump was elected to do, like bringing back jobs and fixing immigration, and he but shelton says the president is also partly to blame for some of his early failures >> it seems like once he got in there, all he wants to do is play golf and take vacations and tweet. if he'd shut up and just do what he said he's going to do and stay off the twitter, or whatever and take care of business in washington it would probably be a whole lot better off. >> brangham: 30 miles away in novi, michigan, we found a small, ardent group of supporters who remain totally committed to the president >> i've been completely blown away, completely surprised. >> brangham: in a good way? >> in a good way. still find him a little bit of abrasive. but i'm willing to look past that and forgive him. the president of the united states and he's leading this country from where we have come and that's important to me. >> brangham: meshawn maddock helped organize this gathering. she ran a facebook group calle¡' michigan women for trump' and
>> brangham: maddock likes that trump is disrupting what she sees as a broken political system and that he's using social media in a way that no president has ever done before. >> i don't think anyone is monitoring him on twitter. it's all him and what i love is there is no middle man anymore, so i think he's completely changing how the media is going to work and serve the people. that's not necessarily a bad thing. >> brangham: theresa johns originally wanted ted cruz, but later came around to the trump camp. even though a recent quinnipiac poll showed that six in ten americans say the president is dishonest, johns is not one of them: >> trump has never ever said anything that has not come to pass. it's not. what he has said is the truth and i don't think that he has reason to lie. what does he have to gain by lying? nothing.
>> brangham: we also asked about the various allegations surrounding russia-- that russia seems to have tried to undermine hillary clinton's campaign and that members of the trump campaign may have close ties to that nation. does that bother you at all? >> i hate to say it but it doesn't bother me. i don't want to focus on russia, i just think it's smoke. >> brangham: so you don't think there's anything to these allegations? >> no i don't think there's anything there. they are going to try to do anything they can to bring this man down. >> brangham: few expected president trump to win here in michigan, but it was the last state he visited on the campaign trail and one of the first he came back to after being elected. >> this is the type of guy that is crude and he's loud and he is not politically correct, but he says everything we think. >> brangham: in commerce, michigan, linda brandis, who's an active member of the state's tea party, remains thankful the
president won. but she also just reached out directly to him about some growing concerns she has. >> i sent him an email last night. >> brangham: what did it say? >> it said, "i voted for you because i'm concerned about healthcare." i wanted to remind him that it was the grassroots that put him in the white house, and it can be the grassroots that takes him out of the white house. >> brangham: brandis was disappointed that trump didn't push initially for a full repeal of obamacare, and then when the republican-led congress couldn't pass their bill, the president just seemed to move onto other priorities. >> i think in his mind he really thought, "oh, i can go in and i'm just going to fix this." it's not that easy a problem to fix. and i don't appreciate, the childish attitude of, "it's my way or the highway." >> brangham: guy gordon hosts the afternoon talk show on wjr in detroit. his show follows rush limbaugh's.
>> brangham: we were there the afternoon the republican health care bill collapsed, and the phones lit up with callers, like beth from macomb county. >> i'm disgusted at the conservative republicans. they should get their heads out of their you know whats. >> there is a heartland, here in america, that feels overlooked, disrespected, mocked for their beliefs. they've also seen their jobs leave. there's no greater window into that than macomb county. >> brangham: macomb county is famous in political circles because for decades this area overwhelmingly voted for democrats. but then in the 1980's ronald reagan campaigned here and he turned those voters to the republican side. this area became known as the home of the reagan democrats. >> you are right now, at this moment, sitting in the birthplace of the reagan democrats. >> brangham: state senator jack brandenburg says he was the first elected official in michigan to formally endorse donald trump. and he believes that following
reagan's path through macomb county, which had gone to president obama in both 2008 and 2012, was key to trump's success. trump won macomb county by more than 48,000 votes, but carried the entire state by less than 12,000. >> if you do the math macomb county put him over the top in michigan and quite possibly gave him the presidency. >> brangham: closer to downtown detroit, the lingering scars of the area's economic crisis are everywhere. >> just about everybody in this neighborhood has basically voted democrat but i tell people all the time, "what is 50 plus years of democratic policies done for our communities? >> brangham: fewer than five percent of voters in detroit picked president trump, but coron bentley, who works for ford motor company, supported him. he says he gets a lot of grief from friends and family for being a black republican, but he's glad to have voted for the president, and he says it's already paying off.
>> there was talk of them building a brand new $700 million dollar plant in mexico, but instead, they decided to invest that money in the plant that i work at. that, as herbert hoover once said of all people, ¡prosperity is right around the corner.' >> brangham: bentley says that optimism stems from ford's recent decision to reinvest more than a billion dollars into three michigan plants. president trump applauded the announcement on twitter earlier this week, saying car company jobs are coming back to the u.s. however, ford said much of the plan had been in the works long before the election. back in allen park, randall shelton wants the president to refocus on cracking down on illegal immigration and to start acting a little more presidential. >> up and-- you're supposed to be the president of the united states. act like the president of the united states. don't act like some bragger, spoiled little rich kid, which you are, and start doing what you're supposed to be doing. >> brangham: shelton says, in the end, he's still glad he voted for the president and hopes he'll start turning things around in the weeks and months
ahead. for the pbs newshour, i'm william brangham in detroit. >> woodruff: that brings us to the analysis of shields and brooks. that's syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. gentlemen, great report from william brangham from michigan. david, a lot of these voters still like donald trump. it's been a rough two months but they're looking past that. >> yeah, he's still got 80% approval rating among republicans, and the senate and the house face if they face donald trump, they are in trouble at home. he's popular in republican circles. 35%, 40% national approval. >> woodruff: what did you make of that? >> i think it was a terrific piece. we have to understand, having
missed that story last november myself, that donald trump -- >> woodruff: most of us did. -- donald trump felt the pain of these people, that's what he communicated to them. he acknowledged their existence, what they had been through, and that, while the great big numbers in the country were great, the stock market, the unemployment, that these were people. who themselves and experienced being left behind and said i would stand up for you. and they are giving him the benefit of the doubt. >> imagine how popular he would be if he had policies to help the people. >> as opposed to a health care policy that would have taken 24 million people off health care. >> woodruff: one woman in michigan who voted for him said the russia story, she said it doesn't add up to anything for her and, yet, this week it didn't seem to stop. you've got two sides of congress, both houses of congress going after it, the f.b.i., now we learn more about
what was going on inside the white house. how damaging is this for the president? >> i don't know. we have a tendency to get overhyped at the trump scandal. and whether there are actual ties between russia and the trump campaign, where paul manafort came from, whether there was money laundering, will there is a lot to know and i'm trying to not pre-judge it. we know there are high levels of incompetence. we had a president who tweeted the wiretapping tweets, wrong. aing young man in the national security whose boss he tried to get rid of, preserved by steve bannon, tried to give information to chairman nunes, who is also behaving incompetently. there is a way to conduct the investigationenned it's not to cancel hearings willy-nilly, not
to go brief the guy you're supposed to be investigating, not to create a civil war within your own committee. so we have just levels and levels and levels of just incompetence, of people who do not know how to play this game. when that happens, you never know what's going to happen next. so i don't know if it's a scandal in the class of watergate, but it's not inspiring to see. >> woodruff: how much is this hurting the president, mark? >> it's hurting the president. everything in politics is a poll. if you want the ultimate poll -- forget gallup, nebraska california, wall street, anything else -- on monday, april 3, baseball season begins in washington, d.c. and donald trump, former baseball player, proudly proclaiming his athletic ability, will not be there. why? because he would be booed. he would be booed loudly, he would be booed long, and it would be seen all over the world, and it would be seen time and time again. so that's what it's done, that's
what it's doing. david's right. this is a white house that prizes loyalty above ability, imagination, experience, judgment, and, so, what do they do to the one loyal supporter aco lite apologist they have in the entire congress, part of the intelligence committees? devin nunes, inspector nunes of california, they bring him down to the white house under the cover of darkness on a secret mission, show him these documents that he discovers, and then he goes and reveals them to the president of the united states, even though the documents are shown to him by people who work in the white house for the president of the united states, including one of his former employees. they take his loyalty, turn him into an absolute butt of jokes. he's defenseless, unflinchingly loyal and incompetent.
so what they set out to do was to slow down the investigation, which suggests there is something there, and what they've done is highlight, spotlight and give a new urgency to it. thetime of f.b.i. agent clinton before the senate intelligence committee thursday was compelling. it was compelling about the efforts and sabotaging by russia of the american democratic process. anybody democrat, republican, could listen to that and say this is serious stuff. >> woodruff: so whether there is more there on russia or not, david, this is one that's going to go on. and i think one of you mentioned health care. when we talked last week, we had just learned that the republicans had pulled the bill, david, in the house of representatives, but this week you have the president criticizing the conservative freedom caucus members, naming them, calling them out, singling them out by name, going after them and the democrats.
is this a strategy that's likely to cause them to bring back the attempt to repeal obamacare successfully and get that done? >> first of all, i highly think it's unlikely they will bring it back. the core problem is the freedom caucus and the moderates want a bill the decision to send these tweets into threaten mark sanford and other members to have the freedom caucus is amateur. efirst of all, he's not going to run against somebody in two years, secondly it would be highly unsuccessful. franklin roosevelt tried to run against a local person and lost across the board because people like their local member. meanwhile, the freedom caucus guys are loving this today. they have a little guy representing their district, and
they can't back down and i found it completely counterproductive. >> woodruff: mark? judy, an old friend of ours les francis from california said today, since the collapse and the failure of the republicans who promised four consecutive elections to repeal and replace obamacare, the first act a total abject failure, the republicans look more like the donner party than the national governing party. those who don't know who the donner party is, got caught in the sierra madres in the winter and practiced can ballism to survive. it's been a circular firing squad. donald trump is attacking the freedom caucus. paul ryan is attacking the freedom caucus and suggesting the worst thing that could happen is for the president to work with democrats to solve a national problem. we've never had a speaker of the
house in the history of the country to say that before. ryan has been crippled by this, had editorial upon editorial. his approval rating fell from 35% to 21%, and he's getting battered on all sides. paul ryan -- i know david has great respect and admiration for him -- but, fil philosophically, he's like a hammer, and for the hammer every problem is a nail. and for paul ryan, his solution the invariably cutting taxes on the wealthiest americans, and he's tried to sell this health care bill as a tax cut of a trillion dollars, time and again in interviews, and it knocked 24 million people off health care, and donald trump who had been the tribune of these people stood by uncuriously, uninterested and watched it happen, and now this landed on
paul ryan. >> woodruff: do you want to come to his defense? >> no, i want to blame trump more. (laughter) i respect paul ryan but i think he's locked in the '80s, intellectually. the problem is donald trump. he doesn't have a theory of what trumpism is and doesn't have a strategy for converting his populist campaign into legislative agenda. you could pick a right wing agenda and get people all on the right and push through a republican agenda or pick a m.r.i.s left and not worry about the freedom caucus, but he's managed to offend the right, center and left. so how many people -- how do you get to 50% of that? and you don't. so i assume that if he will sometimes figure out and say, okay, i've got to be this kind of president or that kind of president, but right now he's no kind of president. eth not interest right or left, it's not far right, it's just chaos.
somehow, he's got to figure out, okay, i have an actual strategy. he does not have one now. >> as he's criticizing the democrats on healthcare, mark, he's counting on at least some democrats to support his supreme court nominee. neil gorsuch, two of them came forward and said there are others you would think the white house would be counting on who are saying they're not going to vote for him. what does that nomination look like now? >> what it looks like now is i think clarence thomas is the only sitting judge who was confirmed by shorter than 60 votes. he got 52. and neil gorsuch will not reach the 60 level, and this will be the dramatic moment when -- they're going to impose -- the republican majority will impose the nuclear solution, a majority to confirm supreme court justice. the question is shall lay do it on this one, on gorsuch or on
the next one? but, no, i think that democrats -- donald trump has done one thing, h he may not have energized republicans but he certainly energized democrats and the democratic base, and there's a sense of outrage, continuing outrage over the fact that a mild-mannered, widely-admired person of high character and principle, merrick garland, the same things they say about neil gorsuch, his supporters never even got a moment of the hearing, never had the decency, many, to meet with them, so there is a sense of vengeance and anger over that still brewing. >> it's pure vengeance, it's an eye for an eye and two wrong trying to make a right but they do not. if neil gorsuch doesn't like like he will get 60, that has nothing to do with neil gorsuch who is completely qualified. if the democrats are doing that, they say what's fair is fair, but it's wrong in both cases. the democratic arguments against
gorsuch are pathetic. the core argument is he's the sort of judge a republican candidate nominate for justice. there is no question about his character, his mainstream jurisprudence, his swell generals or qualifications. so to blow up a nuclear option over gorsuch seems to be pointless partisanship which will have long-standing damage to the country. we have the 60 votes, so it forces people to think about being bipartisan. once we get rid of that, you never vo to worry about it again if you're a majority. >> woodruff: makes it more partisan. >> you have to admit he's been forthcoming, under question of dark money, he has been totally -- >> woodruff: we are going to get to that -- >> okay, but i'm not just going to let it pass like that, judy. >> woodruff: you're allowed to say that and so are you. david brooks, mark shields, the thank you both.
>> woodruff: tonight we conclude our series war on the brain. special correspondent soledad o'brien reports on the efforts of researchers to find the cause of post traumatic stress disorder. >> having p.t.s.d. is, is like being in a room where you have no control and everything's going wrong there's a lot of anxiety. it's a feeling of dread. and hopelessness. triggers are for me, when i'm in traffic. there's a lot of stuff going on >> reporter: jacob fadley served 12 years and four tours in iraq and afghanistan. he was a combat photographer in the army. he spent time close to heart thumping blasts.
yet he came home without a scratch... on the outside. did you think you had post traumatic stress? >> i think, no i knew i had p.t.s.d., but i never wanted to say that. because when you say it, then you have to deal with it. >> she's cutting very, very thin ribbon of sections of this portion of the brain. the specimen. >> she'll put it in the water bath and it'll spread out. look at that! >> wow. >> reporter: dr. daniel perl has a clue as to what's going on inside the heads of veterans like jacob fadley. he is a neuropathologist at the uniformed services university of the health sciences an entity of the department of defense. he is studying how blast exposure impacts the brain. >> this is from an individual who had been in an automobile
accident and survived for about >> reporter: he is studying the brains of people who suffered traumatic brain injuries. one group-- civilians who suffered impacts to the head. another-- soldiers exposed to blast shockwaves. >> now let me show you the same procedure. same, roughly the same area of the brain, same stain. >> reporter: oh wow. >> this is somebody who'd been exposed to and i.e.d., to blast. >> reporter: and is this a person, clearly has blast exposure. do they also have post-traumatic stress disorder? >> yes, all of the cases that we looked at had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. >> reporter: while there's growing evidence of a link between traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder, a connection between p.t.s.d. and blast waves has remained elusive. >> when the explosion goes off, it, it forms what's called a blast wave. which is a high-pressure pulse, that expands out from the blast in all directions at the speed of sound approximately. and so here you have a high,
high pressure pulse blasting through this delicate instrument called the brain. >> reporter: what does a concussive blast feel like? >> it's just like a-- an entire force is being pushed through you, something powerful too. and you know it's powerful. that you freeze. that your body just kind of stops and goes 'what, what is going on?' and kind of, for me it felt like it was rebooting itself. >> reporter: dr. perl believes this brown scarring is a breakthrough discovery-- possible evidence that blast exposure may contribute to p.t.s.d. >> i've been looking at brain slides for over 40 years and i had never seen this pattern before. we thought this, this must be something very unique and special to blast exposure. >> reporter: when you look at this picture would you say this matches someone's reporting on the impact of p.t.s.d. >> it's widespread damage throughout the cortex and it's our belief that in the areas
with the scarring function is compromised. >> reporter: fadley left the military in 2014, after his fourth deployment. >> what's another visual component? >> rhythm. >> reporter: 33 and eligible for the g.i. bill, he thought studying film at u.s.c. would put his life back on track, but just one month into his first semester... >> i didn't see the train signal, i didn't see that at all. and i made a right turn exactly as the train was coming. i could feel blood pouring out of me. i knew i was dying. >> reporter: los angeles news media reported on his brush with death. >> hard to believe but the man driving the silver hyundai with arizona plates survived the crash that caused this metro train to derail. >> reporter: fadley had driven accidently into the path of a train. to this day he avoids the intersection.
>> it's not comfortable. it's okay, i mean there's no reason to be upset with this. i'm not, i'm not upset, i'm just anxious. >> reporter: it was finally enough for him to seek treatment for p.t.s.d. that saw-dusty brown pattern that exists across the brain in the slides that you showed me-- an m.r.i. doesn't pick that up? a cat scan doesn't pick that up? you can't see that in a living person? >> it has not been identified in it's not that it isn't there, it just, doesn't have the resolution to see it. we're gonna need to use other, other means. we're gonna have to develop other, other approaches. >> reporter: dr. perl's research is just in its infancy. if confirmed it would be evidence that p.t.s.d., a psychological disorder, might be partly the result of physical harm. that could change the way we diagnose and treat the disorder. do you think you'll ever be able to not only identify it but come
up with some kind of a solution when you start working in living beings? >> well, that's, that's the ultimate objective. we need to be able to find a therapy for this. we need to be, be able to find a way to prevent it. >> reporter: the veteran's administration uses the diagnosis of the american psychiatric association for p.t.s.d. they call it a mental disorder, treated by drugs or therapy. they don't consider it a physical injury. >> a series of problems that happen after you've lived through an overwhelming life event. the problems involve things intruding on you, memories, images, nightmares, flashbacks where you feel like you're reliving that event. >> reporter: the va's chief mental health consultant is dr. harold kudler. >> no matter what we find in the brain, in the blood, on the e.e.g.'s, we're still going to have to have these conversations with people and talk about what trauma means to people as part of their recovery. >> reporter: fadley's film school thesis is called "into the trenches" and focuses on his
struggles. >> depression on a scale of one to ten? >> three. >> anxiety on a scale of one to ten? >> seven. >> feeling emotionally numb or being unable to have loving feelings for those close to you? >> quite a bit. >> reporter: fadley hopes research will one day give him the comfort of knowing what's going wrong inside his head. >> it makes you feel like you're not crazy, that there is-- you can point to something to someone else and say. do you see this? this thing did it. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour, i'm soledad o'brien in los angeles. >> woodruff: there is more reporting on p.t.s.d. including four profiles of military veterans working through the disorder. that's at pbs.org/newshour. >> woodruff: finally tonight, doctor and author andrew lam offers his humble opinion of how college affirmative should
evolve. >> there are lots of stereotypes about asian americans. i probably fit some of them. i did well in school. i played a couple instruments. i went to yale and became a doctor. each year, i volunteer to interview yale applicants. my ties to the college are strong, especially since my dad also went there, in the 1960s. at the time, there were only about ten asians in his class. today, there are many, many more. in fact, there are now so many asians at elite colleges that many asians fear affirmative action makes colleges hold them to a higher standard. asian students straight out ask me if being asian will hurt their chances, or if it's better to mark their race as "other" instead of "asian." seriously? we've reached the point where kids are afraid to admit their own ethnicity? it's true. and sadly, it appears their concerns are not unfounded. one study showed asians had to score higher on the s.a.t. than all other ethnicities to get into top colleges.
in a recent lawsuit, harvard was accused of using race quotas and maintaining a cap on asian enrollment for decades. to me, the worst part of this isn't that some kid who looks like my son won't get into the ivy league. it's that truly disadvantaged asians get lumped in with "model minority" asians. there are economically disadvantaged students from laotian, cambodian and hmong communities. there are pakistani and south asian students whose parents scrape by working 100-hour weeks. affirmative action has the potential to hurt these individuals most of all. but let's be fair. colleges' intentions are good. they use affirmative action to craft diverse classes because we all benefit from exposure to people of different races and backgrounds. i strongly agree with this. would i have preferred to go to a yale that was predominantly asian? absolutely not. so i support affirmative action. but i also know we could do it better. we should assist students based on socio-economic disadvantage, no matter their race. there are rural white kids who deserve assistance but aren't getting it.
there are affluent african need special preference to succeed. doing this wouldn't make sense if it reduced racial diversity. but it doesn't have to. a detailed study of colleges that switched to socio-economic factors showed the majority had stable or increased black and hispanic enrollment. one student i interviewed worked at a fast food restaurant to help support her family. another had to care for two younger siblings, an obligation that prevented him from doing extracurricular activities. i could tell you their races, but should it matter? you can't judge someone's accomplishments until you appreciate the obstacles overcome to achieve them. and if this could be a better way of doing affirmative action, rather than simply loong at someone's skin color or a box they check, maybe we should give it a try. >> woodruff: on the newshour an update before we go. reports are terrorists are developing a bomb small enough to fit in a computer laptop. u.s. intelligence officials told multiple news outlets that the
device could get past airport scanners. earlier this month the homeland security department banned devices larger than a cell phone on certain incoming flights from international aiorts. and that's the "newshour" for tonight, i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend and thank you. good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> it's hard not to feel pride as a citizen of this country when we're in a place like this. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives.
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
. >> rose: welcome to the program, we begin this evening with senator mark warner, a ranking democrat and vice chairman of the senate intelligence committee which began hearings today. >> when i started this process a month and a half ago or so i said i thought this was the most serious thing that i have ever tried to take on in my public life. i've been a governor an a senator. i feel much more strongly the truth and valid of-- validity of that statement today than i could have ever imagined when i first made it a month and a half ago. >> rose: also this evening carol lee of "the wall street journal" on the relationship between russia and the trump administration. >> this is-- said it will maintain sanctions on ukraine until russia abides by the peace accord, that the two sides had agreed to. that's not a position that russia likes. the admin