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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  July 19, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: >> we should hammer this out, and get it done. >> woodruff: changing his tune. the president calls on republicans not to leave washington until a health care plan is approved. we talk with two senators, roberts of kansas and wicker of mississippi, about where the effort to repeal obamacare stands. then, new revelations of an undisclosed meeting between president trump and russian president putin at the g20 summit brings the two leaders' relationship back into the spotlight. and, with food stamps on the president's chopping block, we travel south to see what these changes could mean for a state that overwhelmingly supported him in the election. >> give me a chance to get off the very program that you're
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trying to cut. i want to get off. but if you take away my ability to get off, what can i do? >> woodruff: 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.
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>> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- >> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through invention, in the u.s. and developing countries. on the web at >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: senate republicans
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are giving repeal another try, trying to see if there is a way forward on health care reform. their latest bill to replace obamacare collapsed yesterday, and talk of a "repeal-only" option also ran into opposition. president trump called the caucus to the white house today. he said he is ready to act, and insisted that "inaction is not an option." >> frankly, i don't think we should leave town unless we have a health insurance plan, unless we can give our people great health care. because we're close; we're very close. any senator who votes against starting debate is really telling america that you're fine with obamacare. >> woodruff: afterward, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell said he still means to try for a vote next week, but it's not clear on what. >> i think we all agree, it's better to both repeal and replace.
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but we could have a vote on either. and if we end up voting on repeal only, it will be fully amendable on the senate floor. and if it were to pass without any amendment at all, there's a two-year delay before it kicks in. >> woodruff: we will talk to two republican senators about the state of play on health care, after the news summary. seperately, there's word that president trump is ending a c.i.a. program to arm and train moderate rebels in syria. the goal was to fight bashar al-assad, but it had only limited effects after russia intervened to aid assad. the "washington post" reports the president made the decision nearly a month ago, before he met with russian president putin at the g20 summit. afterward, the u.s. and russia announced a limited cease-fire in syria. the "post" account says the aid decision is part of a strategy to negotiate more such deals.
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iran today stepped up its defiant response to the latest round of u.s. sanctions. the sanctions target 18 individuals and companies assisting the iranian ballistic missile program. in tehran, president hassan rouhani charged the u.s. measures are inconsistent with the 2016 nuclear deal. and, he warned of "reciprocal acts." >> ( translated ): if americans pass new sanctions in any form, or under any pretext in congress or elsewhere, the great nation of iran will have an appropriate answer. we won't ignore violations by the united states, and will stand up to them. >> woodruff: separately, the head of the hard-line revolutionary guards warned, the u.s. had better pull its military forces back at least 1,000 kilometers-- 600 miles-- from iran. the u.s. supreme court has issued a split ruling on enforcing the president's travel ban. the court today allowed the administration to strictly
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enforce a ban on refugees, while an appeal moves through lower courts. but, the justices expanded the list of people from six mostly muslim nations who are allowed to visit the u.s. back in this country, the justice department is restoring authority to local police to seize money and property, on suspicion they come from criminal activity. the assets can be taken even without criminal charges being brought. the obama administration had curbed the practice, but attorney general jeff sessions today eased the restrictions. on wall street, tech and health care stocks fueled a day of record highs across the board. the dow jones industrial average gained 66 points to close at 21,640. the nasdaq rose 40 points, and the s&p 500 added 13. and, salem, massachusetts today marked 325 years since five women were hanged in the infamous "witch trials." they were among 19 people
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condemned and hanged for witchcraft in salem in 1692. a descendant of one said it "brings justice to the fact that they were wrongly accused." still to come on the newshour: two republican senators on their party's efforts to repeal obamacare. the president's response to revelations of his second conversation with vladimir putin. two state views on the controversial voter fraud commission. and, much more. >> woodruff: now, we return to the battle over health care, and president trump's meeting with senate republicans at the white house. we hear from two people in the room. first, senator pat roberts of kansas. he is a member of the health, education, labor and pensions committee. i spoke with him earlier this evening, and began by asking if
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what the president changed today. >> we had a meeting i thought was highly productive. i thought the president made a very good case that if you simply have a repeal and in two years you're going to see further deterioration, if that's the right word, for obamacare. in kansas, our premiums continue to soar. we're up now 3,000. this is a little like being in the back seat of a convertible with thelma and louise and we're headed toward the canyon and about at the edge. so we have to do something. number one we have to get out of the car. number two, we've got to get into a new car. that's what the president was talking about. we had the entire republican conference, i think there was a good message. there was a good -- i think he did a good job. >> woodruff: but what has changed with your republican colleagues because, yesterday, there weren't going to be enough votes to do this.
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today there are. is that simply because of an argument the president made? >> well, the first thing, judy, is we've got to get over the business of denying the leadership of our party mitch mcconnell, at least a motion to proceed. i think the american people want us to debate it. i think the american people want us to vote on several different items that people would be presenting. we're probably going to have 150 votes, but we need a debate and we need to vote. this business of stopping the motion to proceed, that has to quit and that was one of the main messages the president indicated to give mitch mcconnell obviously the number of votes he needed to go ahead with this kind of exercise. i think the president really listened. we had at least 35, maybe 40 people make suggestions with regard to the bill. there was a lot of consensus. >> woodruff: right. and the other thing, he mentioned this is much larger than healthcare, is whether or not republicans can actually govern.
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>> woodruff: so you're saying -- let me just clarify. you're saying whether republicans can get together as a group is more important than healthcare legislation. >> no, it's not more important. it's another consideration that if we can't do this, maybe you can't do tax reform or for that matter anything else on the table, both are very important. obviously, you have to get healthcare right. that was the whole intent of the meeting. he listened very carefully. he stated his position very forcefully and i think it was a good meeting. >> woodruff: let me ask you about the fact that the criticisms of this legislation are the same today as yesterday, and i'm just looking at the state of kansas. your hospital association looked at the changes you proposed directing more money to the hospitals and they said that's great, but they said, even with that, it doesn't make up for the deep cuts to medicaid and other problems with the bill. what would you say today to your hospital association? >> well, as a matter of fact, i'm meeting with them just as i
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get through talking with you. i will point out to them that obamacare will continue to deteriorate. we've already lost one insurance company, 42,000 kansans don't have insurance anymore, and if we lose our remaining insurer, we're really going to be in trouble. so it isn't so much what we would like to have as what is happening to obamacare. working with the kansas hospital association, i think there are going to be new ideas presented and whatever bill we come up with and the president was doing a lot of listening, the white house was doing a lot of listening, tom price, all the people within the administration, that they're going to come up with something new. >> woodruff: senator, i was also reading 70% of all medicaid enrollees in kansas are children. >> right. >> woodruff: 300,000 kansas children. what's going to happen to them? >> they're going to be covered. we are increasing medicaid every year. there may be more wrap-around
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amendments or different opportunities for medicaid for us and we were a non-medicaid state. the reason the kansas hospital association was so upset is twice they supported efforts on medicaid funding and not to make it a non-medicaid expansion state. but that ship has sailed. the kansas state legislature did not approve that, and the governor vetoed it and they were not able to override the veto. we have to work with what we have. they're going to be in my office in about 30 minutes and we'll go over that and what the president said. >> woodruff: we look forward to hearing about the outcome of that meeting. senator pat roberts of kansas, thank you very much. >> my privilege. thank you. >> woodruff: and senator roger wicker of mississippi was also at the white house today. i began by asking him if the president's engagement adds more pressure on republicans. >> well, i guess there is some pressure on some of the people
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who are sort of still doubtful about this. i don't feel the pressure because i have been a yes vote for quite some time, but let me tell you, there are two schools of thought on moving forward. the majority leader, senator mcconnell, would like to get to a vote on the motion to proceed and see where people are, and if we win, great, we proceed to the bill. if not, at least people have voted, and we know what the target is, if we lose by two or three votes. the president, on the other hand, really thinks that, over the next few days, we can get 50 votes to yes, and he was all about today getting into the details of what's keeping various members from being able to say 100% that they can support this legislation and deciding what levers to pull to get the bill to a place where 50 of us can say yes.
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>> the reason i'm asking about pressure is because, a couple of weeks ago when senator dean heller of nevada indicated he was having problems with the legislation, there was a political action group supporting the president that ran ads against him. is that the kind of -- >> and i think that was generally considered to be bad form and counterproductive among people in the republican conference. >> woodruff: well, let me ask you a little bit about the substance of this. as you know, a lot of discussion about what this bill would mean for coverage, including medicaid. the vice president of your home state of mississippi state hospital association quoted this week as saying they are opposed to anything that increases the number of uninsured in mississippi. >> well, for one thing, i don't think it would increase the thurm of uninsured. these changes are based on projections of people that will
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be covered, if the estimates are correct. so i would just challenge that. but let me also say -- and i don't mean to be critical or i don't mean this to be taken wrong -- but there's never been a provider who came to us and said, we need you to slow the growth rate of these entitlement programs. i mean, that's just not something that they're going to say, but the fact is we can make health care better for mississippians, and we can make coverage better for the average american while, at the same time, saving a system that is not sustainable for future generations, and we can do that and, at the end of the day, i think people in the health care business, in the hospital business in future years will say you've saved the system and good for you. >> woodruff: so when i read that there are almost half a
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million children in mississippi who depend on medicaid, are you saying they don't have anything to worry about? >> i think -- well, for one thing, we are not a medicaid expansion state. >> woodruff: right. our state did not choose to do that. so it's completely inaccurate to say that these 500,000 children are going to lose their coverage. they're not. as a matter of fact, there will be a tradition -- a transition, i'm sorry, in states that expanded medicaid will have a seven-year period and there will be an extra incentive for those states who chose not the do that. but those 500,000 children that you talk about are not going to have their coverage threatened. >> woodruff: all right. senator roger wicker, joining us from the capitol, thank you. >> thank you.
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>> woodruff: and a quick postscript: we don't know yet what the latest revisions to the senate bill to repeal and replace the affordable care act will include. but for the record, the congressional budget office already estimated what would happen with the first version of the bill. it concluded there would be 15 million fewer medicaid enrollees in a decade than projected under current law. it also said that over the long haul, states would likely have to either spend more money, cut payments, eliminate services or limit who's eligible for medicaid. it is not clear how many children would be affected. >> woodruff: on july 7, president trump sat down for a highly-anticipated meeting with russian president vladimir putin at the g20 summit in hamburg. but last night, a second, lengthy conversation later that day between the two leaders was disclosed by the white house, one that it had not spoken of at the time.
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nick schifrin reports. >> reporter: it was a three-hour dinner party for the world's most powerful people. 20 leaders, and their spouses. on the menu, turbot fish fillet, friesian beef cheeks, and chit chat. president trump worked the room, and then took his seat. diagonally across the table, first lady melania trump and russian president vladimir putin. the two talked to each other with the help of putin's translator. and, as a dessert of raspberries and cheese was served, mr. trump walked over to putin. white house spokeswoman sarah sanders today called their talk "brief and informal." >> to try to create that there was some sort of private conversation, in a room with 40 plus people, seems a little bit ridiculous. >> reporter: nick burns is a former u.s. ambassador to nato and veteran diplomat who participated in dozens of u.s.-russia meetings. >> this is not a bad thing. vladimir putin and donald trump are the two most powerful people in the world, they barely know each other, they'd only met once before this g20 dinner, and it's really important that they get to know each other and develop
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some capacity to have an effective relationship. >> reporter: last night, trump blasted the media coverage, tweeting, "fake news story of secret dinner with putin is sick." the pro-kremlin russian lawmaker alexey pushkov used the exact same language, describing reports about a "secret dinner" as "sick." and today, german chancellor angela merkel's spokesman called these conversations normal. >> ( translated ): it is the fundamental point of the g20 meeting that, alongside working meetings, there is room and opportunity for multiple informal contacts. and that is certainly the point of such a dinner. >> reporter: but what is unusual was that, since there were no other u.s. officials present, and the translator was putin's, the u.s. officials who work on russia have no official notes. >> the people down the line cannot do their job if they don't have an exact sense of what our president said, what the other guy said, and how they can then pursue these issues with the russian government. >> reporter: the dinner talk came on the same day as trump and putin's only official meeting. that talk lasted more than two hours. the next day, having spoken with
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trump at least twice, putin praised trump personally. >> ( translated ): as for personal relations, i think that they've been established. i don't know how this will sound, but i'll say it how i see it: the trump on television is very different from the real person. he's very direct. he perceives his conversation partner very well. he's a fairly quick thinker. >> reporter: it is that kind of praise that many here in washington find strange, and concerning. multiple administration officials tell the newshour they have still not received a report from the official trump/putin meeting, let alone the dinner conversation. that is not business as normal. >> president trump has put together, i think, the weakest policy on russia in 70 years. it's why you've seen so many people concerned by this one on one conversation. what did president trump say to president putin? people in our government need to know the answers to those questions, and we as citizens need those answers as well.
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>> reporter: a dinnertime conversation might not be out of the ordinary-- except, the president's 2016 campaign is under investigation for possibly colluding with russia. and, the man he was talking to is accused by u.s. intelligence of ordering the covert effort to help trump get elected. for the pbs newshour, i'm nick schifrin in washington. >> woodruff: late today, the senate judiciary committee said that donald trump jr. and former trump campaign manager paul manafort will testify next wednesday about their meeting with a russian lawyer last summer. presidential son-in-law jared kushner goes before the senate intelligence committee on monday. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: what proposed cuts to food stamps could mean for trump voters. how tesla's new, cheaper electric car could shape the industry's future. and, "devil's bargain," a new book about white house
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strategist steve bannon. but first, president trump continues to repeat the unsubstantiated claim that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election. the commission he set up to look into this has sparked its own controversy. william brangham reports. >> every time voter fraud occurs, it cancels out the vote of a lawful citizen's, and undermines democracy. >> brangham: the first meeting of the "commission on election integrity" convened with a presidential defense of its mission. >> throughout the campaign and even after, people would come up to me and express their concerns about voter inconsistencies and irregularities which they saw, in some cases having to do with very large numbers of people in certain states. >> brangham: so far, those allegations remain unproven, but the commission is pressing ahead. last month, it sent letters to every state, asking for voter information including names,
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birthdays and partial social security numbers. 17 states, governed by republicans and democrats, as well as the district of columbia, refused to comply. many others said they'll provide only limited information, that's already publicly available. today, the president criticized those who've refused to go along. >> one has to wonder what they're worried about. and i ask the vice president and i ask the commission: what are they worried about? there's something. there always is. >> brangham: just after the election, when hillary clinton won the popular vote by 2.8 million, mr. trump tweeted, again with no evidence whatsoever, that the vote count was skewed: "i won the popular vote, if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." the commission co-chair, kansas secretary of state kris kobach, who is a republican, says the country deserves a "hard, dispassionate" look at the issue. >> for a long time, there has been lingering doubt among many americans about integrity and
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fairness of elections. and it's not a new issue at all. if you look at polling data, it goes back decades. >> brangham: the panel is chaired by vice president pence, and, in addition to kobach, members include current and former secretaries of state from indiana, new hampshire, maine and ohio, among others. but critics of the commission warn that stoking fears of alleged fraud will be used later to justify a crackdown on voting rights. rick hasen is a law professor at the university of california, irvine, and election-law expert. >> i'm concerned that it's going to be something that is just going to try to support the president's agenda, claiming that there's a lot of voter fraud, and use that to make it harder for people to be able to register to vote. >> brangham: already, the commission is facing at least seven lawsuits questioning its transparency, conduct and even its existence. we turn to two officials who actually run elections in their states. matthew dunlap is the secretary of state for maine. he is a democrat, and he's also a member of the president's
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commission and was at today's meeting. and we're joined by michele reagan. she is a republican and arizona's secretary of state. welcome to you both. >> thank you for having us. >> brangham: matthew, i'd love to start with you first. what do you hope this commission will accomplish? >> my general hope is we do something to bolster voter confidence and how we conduct elections in in this country. we have a lot to be proud of. no one's questioning the legitimacy of the 2016 election. there are lingering questions about how elections have been conducted, who was able to vote legally, who not and based on my experience in maine, i think we can proud of what our local election officials have done to make sure their neighbors exercise their democratic right of self-governance. >> brangham: michele reagan, i know you are a supporter of this commission and aims. as you know, the commission was set up in part because to have
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the president's concern there had been some voter fraud in the past election. i'm curious, you were running the election in arizona in 2016, did you have any instances of fraud in your state? >> i can't speak for other states, but i know in arizona we have a number of measures we use to prevent fraud. that's not to say fraud never happens. certainly, when we hear allegations of that, we take it very seriously, but it's important to note arizona has some laws on the books that keep it very safe from fraud, massive fraud. one is the showing proof of i.d. at the polling places. another is proof of citizenship when registering to vote. a lot of states don't have these laws. speaking from arizona's point of view, coupled with the fact that we also participate, already, in interstate cross-check systems for instances of double voting or double registration, we're pretty confident in arizona that we run a really good election.
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>> brangham: matthew dunlap, the commission asked for some types of voter registration and a lot of states pushed back. i understand maine did not share its information. what is the concern? what are you worried about? >> we're not worried about anything. we just follow the law. the request that came from the commission, as commission members we do not review the full text of the letter that went out. we do agree the information that should be requested should be requested, not demanded, and should only be information publicly available to anyone legally able to obtain it under the state laws. the letter said be advised any of the information you provide will be made publicly available for anyone to inspect. main election law specifies anyone who is qualified to access to voter file must keep it confidential and that is directory language. making the list available is discretionary under the law. so with that direction, it was a
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mathematical equation for us, we cannot provide it under those circumstances and we did not. >> brangham: michele, do you have concerns about this database being compiled in washington, d.c. >> we do, and in arizona we look to the law to tell us what we have to do and don't have to do. the law is clear. just like in maine, you can't take the information via a public records request with the intent of sharing it or posting it publicly or to disseminate, you know, give it out. >> brangham: matthew dunlap, what about the larger concern raised by some that this commission and its mission will be used to justify further national crackdown on voting rights? what do you make of that? >> that's one of my favorite questions to get out of all of this is that somehow we're trying to undo the electoral process. my position is is that you have these lingering questions that have been around for a while now about illegal activity around
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elections. sunshine is the greatest disinfectant. i have full confidence that everything that's been claimed will be largely debunked and what we will find will probably be the product of mistakes and errors and unintended actions that were never meant to become felonies. so i think, you know, with that understanding, i think we're going to find we have a really good system that's very decentralized which actually adds to its level of security against some of the allegations we've heard about like the russian federation getting involved in hacking our elections. i think the systems we have in place run by local election officials will be found to work very well and that american voters should feel pretty good about the systems that help us elect our leadership and decide issues. >> brangham: michele reagan, you heard matthew say he believes the mission will largely debunk many of these claims but today the co-chairman of the commission kris kobach
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said on nbc we'll never know if hillary clinton won the popular vote, with the thought 3 million illegal votes were cast. does that concern you at all about the thrust of this commission? >> what really concerns me is the good work that the commission could be doing, and i have high hopes that they will look forward to some of these suggests that states are making. i would hope that this commission takes what states are doing and determines what is working best so they can share it with other states. >> brangham: michele reagan, matthew dunlap, thank you both very much. >> thank you for having us. >> woodruff: house republicans yesterday unveiled a budget that would dramatically curb spending
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on a host of social welfare programs, including snap-- the federal government's supplemental nutrition assistance program, also known as food stamps. the president's budget released earlier this year also included deep cuts to the program. to see how those proposals might play out, newshour special correspondent cat wise recently traveled to arkansas, a state that voted heavily for mr. trump. this report is part of "chasing the dream," our ongoing series on poverty and opportunity in america. >> reporter: in the small town of thornton, arkansas, joannie cayce fires up her truck twice a month, and drives to a walmart, about 30 miles away, to stock up on fruits, vegetables, meat, milk and other products donated by the company. when she returns to the local food pantry her family has run since the 1950s, some 200 residents are waiting, and a desperate rush begins.
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>> we get paid every two weeks, and by the end of the week, it's like the cupboards are bare and we're ramen noodling, you know? >> i'm on a fixed income. i got two kids at the house and stuff, that's hungry, that i have to feed. >> reporter: miss cayce, as she's known here, says the number of people she serves each month has nearly doubled in the past year and a half, from 350 to 650, even as the state's economy has improved. >> it's no employment, no grocery stores, no craft stores, and the community surrounding thornton is poor. mostly the families are generationally poor, and they can't move. they don't have the money to move or anywhere to go to move. >> reporter: the day we visited, brittney williams came to miss cayce's with her two young daughters. at mid-month, she's already run out of the $231 a month she receives in food stamps, or snap, the federal government's supplemental nutrition assistance program for the poor. >> i'm out of food stamps within two weeks.
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and that's another two weeks-- week-and-a-half, two weeks, that i'm sitting here, "well, how am i going to feed my kids?" you know, what am i going to do next? am i going to have to beg people for food, or go to miss casey, or... what if miss casey don't come back to me in time, and i run out? >> reporter: brittney's husband, darryl, works full-time as a security guard at the local sawmill, making $11 an hour. he says the family's bills have been piling up for months, and that they're now facing eviction. >> i've got a truck payment outside. i've got all the utilities in here, and all that. after buying pull-ups and wipes for them, included, i've got maybe $50 to $100 left a month, and that's got to go in for gas so i can get back and forth to work for the next two weeks. >> reporter: to qualify for food stamps, a family of four in arkansas must make less than $32,000 a year. last year, 14% of the state's population was on snap, or about
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426,000 people. that percentage mirrors the national picture. in 2016, 44 million americans were on snap, receiving an average benefit of $126 per person per month, or about $1.40 a meal. for years, the program has been in the crosshairs of conservative lawmakers, who say the government simply can't sustain a federal program that last year cost $71 billion, up from $33 billion in 2007, before the recession. >> reporter: bruce westerman is the republican u.s. representative of the 4th district in arkansas. his district includes thornton. >> we have got to do something to get the debt under control. it's either do it the easy way now, which may not seem easy to some, or have the whole thing come crashing down and not be able to provide snap, medicare, medicaid or anything to anyone
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because we're in a financial crisis. >> reporter: mick mulvaney is the trump administration's director of the office of management and budget. >> we're no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs, but by the number of people we help get off of those programs. >> reporter: in may, the white house presented its budget, which aimed to slash federal spending by $3.6 trillion over the next decade. if congress were to pass that budget, snap would lose $193 billion, around 25% of its funding. the plan calls for tightening standards on who qualifies for the program, and for the first time, the budget shifts a large chunk of the cost to states, starting with 10% in 2020 and rising to 25% in 2023. for arkansas, that would mean $144 million added to its state budget each year. >> i don't see where we would
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make up that $144 million. >> reporter: you don't think the state can make that up? >> i don't think the state can make that up. >> reporter: kathy webb is a former state democratic representative who now runs the arkansas hunger relief alliance, a non-profit organization connecting and advocating for the state's food banks. she says private charities could not fill the gap. >> we cannot make up the difference. and all of the charitable food network put together is about a 20th of what the federal safety net is. >> reporter: webb also worries about the effect a snap cut would have on grocery stores in poor communities. >> it takes everything to make it. there is no slack. >> reporter: randy lindsey and his wife janice run the bottom dollar store in bearden, near thornton. it's one of the few stores in the area selling fresh produce and meat, as well as household items, flowers and more. lindsey, a trump supporter, says in a tough economy, every little bit helps. >> if i lost 25% of snap, for me it would mean cutting 10 to 15 hours a week, or roughly 40 hours a month off payroll.
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>> so your employees would be impacted? >> yes. it would impact employees. that's a pretty good chunk to lose. there's not much gravy in this operation. we make less money, then something has to be cut. >> reporter: conservatives often point out that snap expanded considerably under presidents george w. bush and barack obama, and they are correct. the rise was particularly acute during the recession of 2008, when millions lost work and joined snap's rolls. benefits were also increased as part of the stimulus act, the 2009 law that pumped billions in federal spending into communities across the country. yet since late 2012, both spending and the number of people on snap have fallen, and the non-partisan congressional budget office estimates that if no changes were made, the share of the population on snap would return to pre-recession levels by 2027. still, snap remains historically high, as more working families like the williams, and seniors like 63-year-old james jackson
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earn less, thus qualifying for the benefit. >> anybody, anyone, at anytime can be affected by poverty. >> reporter: nearly 25% of all seniors in arkansas face the threat of hunger. that leads the nation, according to a recent report. jackson, a trained chef and professional painter, has struggled to find work since his truck broke down. he now lives in subsidized housing in little rock and receives $172 a month in food stamps. he voted for president trump, but urges him not to make these cuts. >> give me a chance to get off the very program that you're trying to cut. i want to get off. but if you take away my ability to get off, what can i do? >> reporter: in the long run, it's more economic opportunities, rather than government assistance, that congressman westerman says will
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best help the people of his state. >> it's a shame that we have to have a program that large in this country. we need to provide more opportunities for people so they can have good paying careers. not just jobs, but careers where they can build homes and communities. >> reporter: back in thornton, after the rush has passed, joannie cayce listens to the desperate plea of a woman who couldn't get there today. >> please, miss casey, bring us food, we need it so bad. >> it's the people that don't come in. it's the people that live 30 miles outside of this little food bank and that need to come in, they don't have the gas, and that i don't know about, or that i can't reach, or that they maybe hadn't heard of me yet. but, it's those people that keep me awake at night. those children, that i know that are out of school, that aren't getting a breakfast and lunch. >> reporter: some hungry families may not be able to get to her, but miss cayce spends the rest of her day making home deliveries.
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for the pbs newshour, i'm cat wise in thornton, arkansas. >> woodruff: now, can electric cars capture the mass market? over the past month, those vehicles have been getting even more attention as some companies have ramped up their own plans. tonight, william brangham has a conversation about the realities of the technology and the market demand. he recorded this earlier for our weekly segment on the "leading edge" of science and technology. >> brangham: the knock on electric cars have always been they're a pricey niche product only a handful could want or afford. but that reputation is crumbling and fast. tesla which already has a bigger market value than general motors and ford will soon deliver its mid-priced model three car. volvo announced in two years all
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its cars will be hybrid or electric and some major u.s. manufacturers have proven electric vehicles available right now. so are electric vehicles ready to go mainstream? welcome to the "newshour". >> good to be here. sonar>> it is said these cars ae future. why has it taken this long for them to get to where they are today? >> i would say low gas prices, the pickup truck, and america's sort of dependency on the status quo. when you look at an electric car, if you drive one, i used to have a plug-in hybrid, and i got to a point where i never went to the gas station and i never -- >> brangham: that should be a great feeling. >> exactly. when i switched -- i'm one of the few people to switch, you know, from electric to a gas powered car. when i went to a gas powered
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car, it's a two-seater convertible, so that's the reason i did that, but i cannot imagine -- i can't imagine not having that convenience. you always start the day with a full tank. it's a simpler drive train so it's easier to fix. it has fewer problems. it's quiet like a luxury car. the problem is that the car companies are building trucks that the market desperately wants and people are buying suvs way more now than cars. the tipping point was reached a few years ago and now we're at about 60-40, depending on what month, suvs to cars and that's partially because we're realizing i want to sit up higher -- >> brangham: if the gas prices aren't killing you, there's no reason to go into an electric. >> and right now, to be clear, there are a lot of hurdles for electric cars and mainly it's
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the battery. it's not necessarily figuring out how to move the car, it's getting a lighter, cheaper battery is what's at the crux of this. so the auto industry knows that's where it's going, right, but wall street and customers say, well, we like those f-150s, we like the chevy silverados and dodge rams and we're buying a lot of them and they're hugely profitable. electric car profits -- >> brangham: a tiny sliver of the market. >> less than 4%, and it's been stagnant a few years because of the gas prices. so there are a lot of things. and for the most part, in many places in the country, i live in california where there are many, many charging stations and rebates and things like that you can get, but if you're in the middle of the country, the word may not have gotten to you, you know, there are so many hurdles.
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>> brangham: the incentives aren't there. >> the incentives aren't there and we haven't educated the consumer about the difference. when people get into electric cars, they love them. when they use them in their lives, they love them. but you look at the marketing and the car companies, and your super bowl half-time commercial isn't necessarily, you know, the latest, lightest, most fuel sipping vehicle. no, it's the big trucks. that's what's important in the short term. but every car manufacturer understand electricfication and autonomy are definitely the future. they're not the future 30 years from now, they're the future really, really soon. >> brangham: so there are no codax among car manufacturers. they get electric is the future but they're still making money off trucks. is there compatibility there, can you make electric cars and push them out at the same time you're making big, heavy, gas-guzzling trucks? >> you can make the argument
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that companies like ford or chevy are already doing that. chevy that is the bolt that does what the tesla model 3 says it's going to do. over 200 miles per charge, under $40,000, which is the range of the average american consumer, and some months the silverado is a gang burster for that company. but when we talk to executives, you hear the pressure to keep those trucks going, to pump out those f-150 profits. you know, studies show that, for ford, the f150 is as much as 90% times of profitability. >> brangham: wow, hard to argue against. >> hard to argue against. tesla is about to roll out the model 3 which the big question for them is they have been selling a very small number of very pricey cars and now they want to sell a lot of cheaper cars to appear to the bigger
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audience. what's the challenge for tesla? >> all the bets for tesla, it's a bet inside of a bet inside of a bet. they're betting more people are going to buy electric cars, they're betting on the battery technology which tesla has one of the biggest factories in the world making batteries. they also bet on how they're going to change the way people -- how they sell the cars. you look all across the board when it comes to tesla, this is huge bets. right now they make 4400 cars a month or so and they're looking to sell 500,000 model 3s. >> a huge scale up. nd at the end of the month, tesla says it will deliver 30 cars to the buyers. in 1900, you know, later on, the key is how long are the customers going to wait for the car and how long is it going to take to get there and are they going to be able to scale up and can they keep the quality that they're known for when they were selling 4400? i don't know what the answer to those things are, but i do know
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that is going to be really hard. >> npr's sonari glinton, thank you so much. >> always a pleasure. >> woodruff: finally tonight, an inside look at the relationship and the political partnership between president trump and his controversial advisor, steve bannon. in joshua green's new book, "devil's bargain: steve bannon, donald trump, and the storming of the presidency," he examines how bannon became a prominent nationalist, conservative voice that helped create one of the biggest upsets in american politics. green is also a senior national correspondent for bloomberg businessweek, and he joins me now. welcome to the "newshour". >> thank you. >> woodruff: so, joshua green, you start the book out saying donald trump wouldn't be president if it weren't for
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steve bannon. in a nutshell, who is steve bannon? >> bannon is a guy who is very much an outsider like donald trump, and although he doesn't come from money, he was raised in a blue-collar navy family in richmond, virginia, he has the same basic outlook toward life and elites donald trump developed. bannon has a very unusual background. he joined the navy. he went from the navy to harvard business school. he talked his way into a job with goldman sachs as an investment banker in the 1980s and moved from there to hollywood film financing and eventually became a conservative documentarian, met andrew brite breitbarten, wound up in charge of breitbarten news. >> woodruff: what writes these two together? are they ideological, fil philosophically people some might think?
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what is the magic that brings them together? >> they have the same basic political outlook. what trump said about politics going back to eighties, there have been several clear populous themes. he is against free trade, he thinks the u.s. is getting taken advantage of by foreign governments. bannon's populism is very much is same but adds the element of immigration, hostility to immigrants both legal and illegal, and when bannon met trump in 2011 and began tutoring him on politics, that was the idea he really put forward, and if you look at the politician donald trump became, it's very much a reflection of steve bannon's politics. >> woodruff: is this something that's driven by being against outsiders? >> it really is. it's driven by the idea that the country is in decline and needs to fundamentally return to an earlier time when people like steve bannon were at the heart
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of the american economy and american story. so the 1950s, when you had a strong manufacturing base, when it was clear the forces of good and evil in the world communism versus democracy, both trump and bannon don't like the rise of the younger, multi-ethnic generations of americans that the obama coalition reflected and are doing everything they can to fight against it. >> woodruff: speaking of that, what we've read about steve bannon, breitbart, elements of racism, the alt right movement, antisemitism, how much of that is a strain here? >> it's a big strain and one of the affects bannon had on politics was to open up a kind of sleuce gate of people who existed on the reng of politics and far right talk radio and internet boards and rye to bring
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them into the mainstream political conversation by giving them a voice on places like breitbart news, and what bannon thought he was doing is marshaling these hidden political forces to go up against not democrats but the establishment republican leaders, people like mitch mcconnell, paul ryan and before him house speaker john boehner who was bannon's original target and forced to resign in 2015 in part because to have the energies that bannon and brite parent news unleashed in washington politics. >> woodruff: okay, on just a straight a measurement as you can, how successful has steve bannon been in getting his ideas across in this administration? >> well, it would be hard to argue that bannon hasn't been shockingly successful overall. if you go back three years, and i tell this story in the book, steve bannon was closely aligned with jeff sessions who, at the time, was the populist republican senator from alabama,
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and bannon tried to talk sessions into running for president not because he thought he could win but he thought sessions could elevate the issues of immigration and antipathy to free trade to the top of the republican agenda. and sessions ultimately decided not the do that, but by linking up with donald trump, bannon was able to not only get that on top of the republican agenda but make it all the way into the white house and have real power to enact some of these policies in a way that he never did as a conservative publisher. >> woodruff: is bannon involved in the russian probe? >> so far, he seems not to be directly implicated. i know he hasn't hired a lawyer, as many people in the trump family and the trump administration have to defend him against potential investigation. as far as we know, bannon is not yet implicated in the russia scandal. >> woodruff: you've reported i guess in language that we can't use here that bannon is interested in smearing robert mueller as much as he can.
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>> well, if you look at what steve bannon really does for donald trump, going back to the beginning of the relationship, it isn't that he's a machiavellian figure as he's portrayed, it's steve bannon is the guy who goes out and atactions trump's critics and enemies, whether someone like megyn kelly at fox news or the mainstream media after trump's access hollywood tape was released on the eve of the debates, right now, trump feels hike he needs someone aggressively defending him in the russia probe and he wasn't happy with the way his own white house spokespeople were doing the job. >> woodruff: if you look at the polls right now, i guess in large part, donald trump seems to be holding on to his base, but there is some evidence of slippage. you got 40% of americans with a strong opposition to donald trump. if it continues this way, does steve bannon stay where he is? >> i think it does because bannon and trump both seem to believe that it is absolutely vital to keep trump's base angry
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and riled up and active, and there are pretty interesting polling data to indicate that that's working. the post-abc had a poll that came out this week saying only 9% of those polled thought russia posed a problem, to me that's indication bannon's ways are work. where he hasn't gotten a majority trump support, he manage to maintain the 40% base trump is going to rely on. >> woodruff: josh green, no one else has got then deep a look at steve bannon. thank you very much. "devil's bargain: steve bannon, donald trump, and the storming of the presidency." thank you very much. >> thanks for having me. >> woodruff: and online right now: it took more than 2,500
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cardboard tubes to build the latest exhibit at the national building museum. now you can see what's behind the buzz: go inside the "hive" with our latest stories on instagram and snapchat. you can follow us at "newshour" on instagram and at "pbs news" on snapchat. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again right here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> supported by the rockefeller foundation. promoting the wellbeing of humanity around the world, by building resilience and inclusive economies. more at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions
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and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh >> you're watching pbs. >> you're watching pbs.
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[water rushing] >>zeffirelli: >>narrator: it was a historic and cataclysmic flood which threated lives and some of mankind's most precious masterpieces. >>linda falcone: the whole world really felt that it had been damaged in some very profound way. >>paola vojnovic: we have so many things that were lost over time. not much was left just due to these floods. >>narrator: this is the story of how the world answered. >>jane fortune: the whole world came and answered florence's plea. they did it because i think the world loves florence. >>narrator: and how it's still answer50


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