tv PBS News Hour PBS August 28, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> o'brien: good evening, i'm miles o'brien. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight... houston under water: "harvey" brings historic floods, forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee, many by boat or helicopter, with a cruel forecast of much more rain for days. >> to have to make some very tough decision as to which people to rescue, what people come back to later to help, weighs on all of us here. >> o'brien: then, pardon power-- president trump's controversial move to absolve former sheriff joe arpaio raises questions about respect for federal law. and, it's politics monday-- we explore how recent statements from the secretaries of state and defense highlight a growing gap between mr. trump and key members of his administration.
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: 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. >> o'brien: houston, the nation's 4th largest city, is virtually paralyzed tonight. huge swaths are underwater in the wake of hurricane, now tropical storm "harvey." at least eight people are dead, thousands rescued, untold numbers stranded. about 30 inches of rain has fallen already with 20 more inches possible. special correspondent christopher booker reports from
houston >> reporter: hour by hour, the water keeps rising and rescuers keep going, with whatever is at hand. >> it's just gonna get worse and if they don't get out today, they're going to have to get out tomorrow or the day after anyway. power is not gonna come back, so might as well get out and try to ride it out at a shelter. >> reporter: whole communities have already been inundated, and officials opened two reservoirs today to ease pressure on dams and protect the city's business core. it could also mean flooding thousands more homes. that's lent new urgency to the 'round-the-clock rescue efforts. all over the city impromptu rescue operations are underway. in this apartment complex, neighbors are going door-to-door encouraging people to leave. houston mayor sylvester turner: >> the rescues, that's our number one priority. getting to people in houston who remain their homes, we want to get to them today, we want to
reach everyone today. >> reporter: harvey made landfall near corpus christi late friday night, then stalled, all the while dumping rain measured in feet. now, the storm is expected to dip back into the gulf of mexico, then hit houston for a second time by wednesday. today, governor greg abbott activated all 12,000 members of the texas national guard for search-and-rescue missions. but it's still not enough, and civilians, from texas and beyond, have volunteered boats and trucks to help overwhelmed first responders. >> you've just got to look out for everybody. it's overwhelming, the amount of rain. it's too much for the first responders. they need help. >> reporter: over the weekend, some people were airlifted from roofs by coast guard helicopters, others ferried off on boats. >> thigh deep water. current was strong. and they helped us up to the military truck that evacuated us over here to the library. so we're just happy to be okay.
>> reporter: for rescuers and rescued alike, it's risky business. as you're walking through the water, the water is actually moving pretty rapidly past you, and the danger is you take each step you re not exactly sure what you're going to step on, or how deep it is or how shallow it is, you're constantly getting jostled back and forth. many of houston's main roadways are still impassable today. this map shows where high water has made travel all but impossible, except by boat. for those forced from their homes, the scope of what's been lost is sinking in. >> i have three feet of water in my house. three feet in my bed, in my hospital bed in my house, because i'm bed-ridden. there's water in all of the beds in the house, we've lost every strip of furniture, every couch, everything. >> reporter: houston's george r. brown convention center housed thousands of new orleans victims during hurricane "katrina" in 2005. now, the city's own residents are taking shelter there. city officials are defending their decision not to order evacuations. francisco sanchez is a
spokesperson for the harris county office of homeland security says it would have been worse to let people get caught in the open. >> some of those questions and criticisms, where you're actually looking at where those are coming from, aren't people from texas and they aren't people from harris county. our community here understands hurricanes. >> reporter: some coastal texas counties did evacuate friday night, but the sheer destruction will take months, if not years, to clean up. >> we don't have any electricity. there's no water. so, basically, we're still breathing, but it humbled us. it really did. if nobody's humbled by this, something's wrong. >> reporter: volunteers arrived in rockport, texas, to hand out water bottles. president trump monitored the situation from the white house, promising full federal support for the victims. >> i think that you're going to see very rapid action from congress. certainly from the president and you're going to get your funding. >> reporter: the president and mrs. trump plan travel to corpus christi themselves tomorrow,
then to san antonio. mr. trump has also declared a separate emergency in louisiana. that was from special christopher booker who joins me with more now. christopher, where are you and what are you seeing right now there in houston? >> reporter: justth just west of downtown houston and seeing what you seen all over city. playing out everywhere. we drove a little bit around, everywhere we went streets just like this and many, amazing things all the people coming out in these impromty rescue units a family walks past with a young child and the woman was very, very pregnant. it's just unbelievable >> o'brien: you get the sense that people are banding together and relying on each other as much they can. not necessarily waiting for the authorities to come rescue them.
is that what you're seeing? >> rorter: we spent some time earlier this afternoon with a group of neighbors who had formed an impromptu rescue chain where people were going into this apartment complex with boats getting encouraging people to leave their homes and once the people got out ofa?qs their homes, they then went to the next chain where the people were directing them to shelters or to hotels. this was all organized on the scene in the moment. >> o'brien: what does surprise me as i see this scene there with the driving rain a lot of water behind you is there still quite a bit of put activity. what is going on there right now? what are people doing? >> reporter: this is just like many of the other cities. people are coming, up we've seen number of possibly of launch their boats and they've been taking them through the flooded waters. truck passed me is from the ohio task force, people are dispatching clearly from all over to go to different places. just down the way, i'm not sure if you can actually see it here,
but there's an 18 wheeler stuck in the water, and there's a group of people walking toward it. people seem to be coming out from the right here as basically making their way toward higher ground. and just beyond my view, there's a higher spot where people who have walked out of the water are kind of walking up to what seems to be people ranged to pick them up >> o'brien: christopher booker in houston. christopher, you and your team please be safe. >> thank you. >> o'brien: another view on the soggy ground in texas, i spoke to sheila jackson lee, a democrat. represented downtown houston more than two decades. the congress woman has not been able to access her own home due to flooding in the area. she join us from the george r brown convention center in houston. thanks for being with us. i know you've been in your district for the day and i know you are personally affected by this. if you can just paint the scene for me. what are you seeing among your
constituents right now? >> well, i'm seeing a lot. i just came back in from the northeast part of high district, rescuing about 50 people including elderly that were frail, babies and moms and others that were disabled, but these were resilient people. who are waiting and really said we'll wait it out. we'll stay here in this place with no real food and no real resources. they had taken cover, if you will, in a place in the neighborhood. a lot of people are doing that. they are seeking their own refuge but a lot of people are volunteering and being the good samaritans. at the same time, we're working closely with local governments. the mayor and county judge and i'm here on the federal resources. fema at this center we have is very, very popular center, if you will. the george brown convention center, the shelter here.
we got fema and a full medical center established and we're trying to restore people's lives. but we do need and will need federal resources and i'm looking for a bipartisan approach to making sure we get those monies to restore the lives houstonians and those of south texas and those all over the state being impacted and still being impacted by hurricane harvey >> o'brien: what will you be asking for >> an aids package we hope will be joined by republicans and democrats that are compress as ifly look at the housing. we reallies that there are homes that are now sitting with water. this is most catastrophic event we have had in houston. bar none, bar alicia and allison, the water is pounding. we're going to have to restore a lot of housing.
infrastructure has to be restored, water retention. all of that will be part of an aids package and i hope we will not only have the leadership of the congress but the white house will understand that a large economic piece of the nation has been severely impacted. i heard someone from fema say this will take months for restoration and maybe even years. >> o'brien: the politics in washington is the possibility maybe of a government shutdown in context of what's happening in houston what do you say to that >> this is a busy place. i'm trying to get people rescued. i intend to send a letter to the president of the united states and he does not to him this is the worst time that a government shutdown could occur. i'm not for a government shutdown. i understand the speaker is not, and the majority leaders are not. those of us in the other party, democratic party, our leadership wants to be able to help working people get a better deal. we do not want to have a
shutdown so my message to the president is if you're coming here tomorrow, come here with a message of unity, come here with a message of strength and come here with a message that we are america first and that we want to help the people of america, we're going to help houston texas and the first first responders, the police and firefighters with me just an hours ago bringing these 60 people inform i watched them carefully lift up the elderly and sick and frail and young mothers and families. that's what i needed the president to do. he should come here with a message unity and thanks for all of these people who sacrifice out there with their own boats helping and he should come with a message of a dollar sign he's going to go back keep the government open and help us get back on our feet. >> o'brien: is there a sense of desperation in your district >> i will say to you that this is beyond our even appreciation or understanding. we're in an ocean. people rightly so are mourning and concerned about their lives. they have been disrupted.
but they're welcoming of help and i don't think despair set in at this point but i think they're looking for those who are going to be held accountable and get us back on our feet. despair comes when you think no one is caring about you. >> o'brien: congressmansheila jackson lee, thank you very much, we'll let you get back to it >> thank you very much and i thank all the volunteers who have come in some across the nation and we need help, please send us help. a lot of items here, whatever you have, bring them down to the george brown convention center in houston, texas, thank you so much >> o'brien: the u.s. coast guard is on the front line using boats and helicopters to get residents to safety. lieutenant commander michael is helping relieve them. we spoke about the challenges. >> we're getting calls for rescues continuously, nonstop since the incident began. we have multiple aircrafts, multiple small boats, state,
multiple counties, city and resources all in the water, in the air at the same time, and their rescues are nonstop. >> o'brien: give us an idea of the kinds of scenarios you're running into >> say there's a shelter or say there's a specific home, rising flood water, we'll immediately dispatch a helicopter and we'll try to prioritize those as best we can. as our helicopter is en route, that helicopter may encounter another person in distress that we may not have realized, they weren't able to make an emergency call, we'll have to trust the on scene initiative, experience of our pilots and our boat crews to have to make very tough decisions as to which people they do rescue and which people theyvef and that is an extremely difficult things and something that weighs on all of us >> o'brien: tell me about the resources you have there at your disposal, how many aircraft exactly? how many crews do you need more help? >> this morning, when we
started, when we deployed for operations, i had over 21 coast guard small boat teams, small boat punt teams and ice rescue teams from district 9. these are our shallow water flood experts, i had access to 21 of those boats, and in excess of 50 to 60 personnel specifically trained for these types of operations. i had access to them this morning, i was able to get them out in the field very early. get them to areas where we were receiving the most calls and immediately had those rescues in some cases, immediately getting people from danger to high ground. the aircraft, i'm just going to speak in excess of 20 coast guard helicopters and that includes other aircraft we have of state aircraft, we have other dhs aircraft and dod. >> o'brien: a little unusual and this situation is the crews are flying through ongoing hazardous weather. how much is that hampering
efforts and how much are you concerned about the safety of these crews? >> i think you hit it right on the head. i think that's the unique challenge of this particular storm, of this. weather event is extreme complicated rescue operations and coordination, for the air crews having to fight through hazard weather but the fact that the rain and the con within what will flood waters has made coordination extremely difficult >> o'brien: michael attanasio they know for your work. >> o'brien: they might be the most immediate but part of how houston is grappling with harvey. police chief art acevedo described the magnitude of the situation. >> our priority is saving lives. we're getting so many calls for people requires rescue from rising flood waters and unfortunately, so far, we have more calls than we have
capacity. our response to the teams from the state and other cities are having a hard time accessing the area of operation where we are and it's just seems that every time we think we're going to get a break, the weather keeps getting worse and the rain just will not stop and the flooding is just getting worse. >> o'brien: i read that at one point in the midst of this an individual 911 operator had as many as 250 calls on hold. where do you stand on that right now and how are you getting help to people who need it >> the houston police department has responded to over 60,000 calls. we have rescued over 2000 of our fellow houstonians, the backlog was down. at one point last night of just ten, but now, the rain and the flooding starting to spread to places that that historically never flooded and it will start
getting worse again. bottom line is a lot of folks are using social media and we're monitoring it to get help to folks the been all hands on deck. and just seems there's no end in sight to the tragedies that our community is facing >> o'brien: chris houston is renown for the medical center. one of the hospitals was a great concern. i know evacuating patients from there was a big priority, bring us up to date on that >> we had evacuate that hospital, there are other hospitals that are here in houston, that are at a level where that may become an issue. i heard recently they were down if pasadena. a their hospital is not functioning normally. this is -- the perfect storm is an under statement, is this a storm of historical proportions, and they will be they knowing about it many generations to
come. >> o'brien: what do you need right now the most >> we need more rescue boats. we need more rescue boats in our ror, more aircraft, again, the problem with aircraft is that the coast guard has been heroic in their efforts, but not -- they can't operate 24/7 because of the weather conditions, and they're relief boats that are coming from dps and the national guard are still having difficulty trying to get into the or because of flooded freeways and unfortunately, the freeways in or around houston, we've been having the issue throughout the state. there's big debate about whether you should evacuated or not evacuated? people are forget this entire state has been dell lukeed but one city tan stop is the houston
region >> o'brien: do you feel you made the right call >> highways are prone and the rural community and entire state is prone to flash floods. just yesterday, she was three days into this event. we, the dps, the department of safety trooper, 500 troopers could not get past the city of bass trap on the way to houston, i'm convinced we would be talking about hundreds if not thousands of lives lost had we put try to put a regional 6.5 million, i'm not sure we would have taken them. this entire state seems like has been under water, and now, that water is all headed here. >> o'brien: art, acevedo is the police chief in houston, thank you. >> thank you and if you believe in the good lord above i don't care what religion, please send prayers >> o'brien: the american red cross is on the scene in texas to help thousands of people in need. i spoke with mary jane mudd from
the convention center where they're providing shelter and aid. thank you very much for joining us. i know you're extremely busy. give us an overview of the red cross response to harvey so far. >> the response has been astronomical because the storm has been astronomical. the it hit us in south texas and made its way here to houston. last night, we provided shelter for over 1600 people in 34 shelters up and down the texas gulf coast. now, in this shelter, 2900 people and currently there are 3800 people here who have registered today. it's growing and growing and growing. it is just -- it's just major. i have lived here 25 years and i have never seen anything like it. there's water lapping at our front door, my husband informed me as well. we live about a half hour away. but my heart is broken for those who are here. because they've lost everything. the red cross is all about the
response to this sort of thing, we've been planning for this. we had supplies coming in. terrors, emergency response vehicles, enough food and hygiene products and comfort items for 34,000 people. this is not a sprint. this is a marathon. it will go on a long time. and that's what we're trying to do is bring some comfort, have those thing available and have the people here to make them feel comfortable when they've lost everything. >> o'brien: it's not over. we're told, you know, or a punch is anticipated. a little bit to the east of where you are right now. is the red cross able to respond to that? are you strained as it is >> well, this is what the red cross prepared for. we're about three things, preparedness, response and recovery. and you know, two weeks ago, they were telling people how to prepare. how they would need to evacuate. things like that. but when we saw this was going to happen, working with our partner, our city officials, and looking at the maps and the
models and figuring you all of this out, the organization knew this was going to happen. therefore, yes, we brought in the supply, talked to our shelter partners, they've been on active stand by. this shelter will hold up to 5,000 people. but after this is full, there are other shelters because there are other partners and because the red cross is out ahead of of it. we're ready for it. it doesn't mean it's easy, there's a lot of heartbreak here, but there's so much resilience. ready to help people. >> o'brien: mary jane mudd is with the american red cross of the texas gulf coast, thank you for time. >> o'brien: and if you want to help the victims of hurricane "harvey," you can give to a number of organizations aiding in the relief efforts, including the red cross and the salvation army. donate on their websites or by mobile phone. in the day's other news, north korea has fired its second missile in three days, and this time, it flew over northern japan. south korea's military says the missile flew nearly 1,700 miles.
japanese broadcaster nhk says the missile crossed the island of hokkaido and triggered alarms. a top official in the trump organization has acknowledged working on a trump tower for moscow as late as january 2016. it's widely reported today that michael cohen asked president vladimir putin's spokesman to help advance the proposal, but he got no response. cohen gave the explanation to a house panel that's investigating possible russia ties to the trump campaign. the president will allow police departments to resume buying a wide range of surplus military weapons and equipment. in the wake of the police shooting and protests in ferguson, missouri, president obama had limited police access to everything from armored vehicles to grenade launchers to large-caliber ammunition in 2015. attorney general jeff sessions announced the roll back in a speech to the fraternal order of police, meeting in nashville, tennessee. >> the executive order the
president will sign today will ensure that you can get the lifesaving gear that you need to do your job and send a strong message that we will not allow criminal activity, violence, and lawlessness to become a new normal. and we will save taxpayer money in the process. >> o'brien: police drew criticism in recent years for deploying heavy military gear in response to mass protests against police killings. there's more fallout from the violence in charlottesvile, virginia, two weeks ago. in berkeley, california, thousands rallied sunday against hate. but, scores of masked anarchists overran police barricades and attacked several supporters of president trump. officers arrested 13. in charlottesville, hundreds turned out for a special town hall. they criticized mayor mike signer and others over the violence at a white supremacist rally. in northern india, a self-
declared guru was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for raping two followers. ahead of the sentencing, thousands of police filled the streets to keep order. last week, the religious sect leader's conviction set off riots that killed at least 38 people. israel's prime minister benjamin netanyahu accused iran today of building sites in syria and lebanon to make guided missiles. and, he said, they're for use against israel. in jerusalem, netanyahu told u.n. secretary general antonio guterres that the u.n. is not doing enough to counter iranian aggression. >> iran is busy turning syria into a base of military entrenchment and it wants to use syria and lebanon as war fronts against its declared goal to eradicate israel. this is something israel cannot accept. this is something the u.n.
should not accept. >> o'brien: iran is fighting in syria to aid president bashar assad, aided by the lebanese militant group hezbollah. authorities in germany now say they think a male nurse killed at least 86 people. it happened over 15 years, in two cities. niels hoegel was sentenced to life in prison in 2015 for two murders. he admitting giving overdoses of heart medication because he liked trying to revive the victims. investigators warn the number of victims could go higher still. in economic news, the effects of hurricane "harvey" sent oil prices tumbling, and gas prices rising. but stocks had a quiet day. the dow jones industrial average lost five points to close at 21,808. the nasdaq rose 17 points, and the s&p 500 added a single point. still to come on the newshour: what president trump's pardon of joe arpaio says about how he
views the rule of law. we break down the legal challenges to the president's military transgender ban. a portrait of three black boys growing up in rural north carolina, and much more. >> o'brien: the presidential pardon for a controversial former arizona sheriff is illuminating key aspects of president trump's approach to the rule of law. john yang has more. >> yang: criticism of president trump's friday night pardon for former maricopa county sheriff joe arpaio was swift and even came from fellow republicans. house speaker paul ryan's said he "does not agree with this decision." arizona senator john mccain said it "undermines" mr. trump's "claim for the respect of the rule of law."
ohio governor john kasich said mr. trump wielded his pardon authority as a political wedge. >> the president has that power. i don't agree with what he did. >> yang: arpaio was awaiting sentencing after his july conviction for defying a 2011 court order to stop detaining people solely on the suspicion they were in the country illegally. the court said the practice violated the constitutional rights of latinos. protected our borders and sheriff joe was very unfairly treated by the obama administration. >> the 85-year-old >> yang: the 85-year-old former d.e.a. agent has long been a lightning rod for his tough stand on criminals and undocumented immigrants, which he talked about in a 2012 interview with the newshour. >> i don't just talk and say i'm going to arrest illegal immigrants, i do it.
>> yang: he housed prisoners in tents beneath the blazing desert sun. >> these guys are all convicted, regardless of critics. they are doing their time in the tents. >> yang: he made pink underwear part of inmate's uniforms. >> you know what? you don't like it? don't come to jail. very simple. i'm here to endorse a great patriot. >> yang: the tough-talking sheriff was an early supporter of the tough-talking presidential candidate who shared the belief that barack obama was not born in the united states. >> he's the kind of guy we want on our team. he's tough, he's strong, he's smart. and he's done an amazing job. >> yang: last year, arpaio was defeated in his bid for a sixth term as sheriff. it was the same night mr. trump won the white house, and the power to give arpaio a presidential pardon. we take a deeper look at this controversial pardon with brian kalt. he's a michigan state university law professor, and author
of "constitutional cliffhangers: a legal guide for presidents and their enemies." from your perspective as a constitutional scholar or professional of law, what make this pardon so-and-s noteworthy >> it's unusual to a president to make a pardon this early in his term. in recent history, presidents waited until after the election. after the ford pardon of new mexico son which probably cost president ford the election, presidents have been reluctant to use the pardon power, when they have, they've waited until there aren't really political ramifications for it. >> o'brien: aside from the timing, is there anything about the nature of this pardon, what it was for, what sheriff arpaio was convicted of doing that makes this sort of noteworthy
>> the merits of the pardon. it's unusual for a president to step in and sort of cheer onxkxk someone for defying a court order like this. >> o'brien: as press conference the president compared this was defending this by noting the pardons from presidents clinton and obama of drug dealers of members of underground puerto rican separatists, are those fair comparisons in your view >> there are a lot of differences. most of the examples that the president gave today were of commutations of sentence, people convicted, in prison, and they had the president shorten their sentences. that's very different from a pardon where the president is not only preventing joe arpaio from going to jail but he's also basically up doing the conviction entirely >> o'brien: also, the sheriff arpaio's appeals process hadn't even begun yet or ended. is that unusual for a president
to step in at this point? >> it is fairly unusual. i think more conventional thing would have been to wait and see what sort of sentence came down. if he had wanted to appeal let him appeal. let the system work its way through. but the president used the pardon power to prevent prosecutions not wait until the conviction, till the sentencing is over. that's -- it's not common, but it's not unheard of. >> o'brien: also, the cases that the president trump spoke of, those were cases where people were convicted of breaking a law. in this case, this is someone who was convicted of denying a court order, trying to protect constitutional rights. does that make a difference? >> well, certainly. i think it make as difference because if the president is sort of intervening in an ongoing case, it's a little different from the president saying, well, this person broke the law, but
the sentence should be reduced or they've done enough time now, without saying what this person did was ok, they're saying the punishment needs to be reduced. what president trump did was basically endorse joe arpaio denying a court order which is troubling from are a separation of power standpoint >> o'brien: michigan state university, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> o'brien: we stay with the politics of the arpaio pardon, plus, the growing public rift between president trump and key members of his administration with our regulars: amy walter of the cook political report and tamara keith of npr. >> o'brien: thanks for being with us, atm ma are a, let's begin with you, hurricane harvey is the first natural disaster test. go back to katrina, 2005 and how
that affected president george w bush at the time. how would you score him so far? >> i believe it's too soon, this is an ongoing natural disaster. it is still raining as we speak in houston. and so it's really hard to know exactly how this is all going to play out since it's on going. he's planning to go tomorrow to texas, he's planning, we think to stay outside of the main most heavily impacted areas. it's an interesting choice. a lot of presidents have waited longer not wanting to take resources away from the ongoing disaster recovery and rescue efforts. president trump is making a calculation that being there on the ground is important. and this is a president who has shown that he is easily moved by the stories of individual people. so if he goes to texas and he meets individual people and he feels these stories this early, it may change the way he talks about the disaster.
>> o'brien: you mentioned the way he talked about it in his case more likely tweets. we'll put up a screen with some tweets that occurred from friday till now from the president. there are a couple addressing the storm itself. but they're oddly in a strange way up beat. talking about teamwork and things going along and tough about nafta, the wall at the border to mexico and recommendation of a book by david clark, the milwaukee county sheriff, a controversial sheriff. were those the right tweets do you think? >> listen i believe the attention right now for the first time in a long time is not on donald trump. it's on the rescuers and the people being rescued in houston. and it's on another politician. and that's governor abbott of texas, who is the person who's the point person there on the ground. the president will get a lot of attention as he goes to texas this week. but i believe that the focus, as
tam pointed out will be the long running success of the state and federal government. i believe what people are seeing is restoring, which is that neighbors are coming out and helping neighbors, the coast guard. that things are actually at this point working. the tragedy with katrina was that from the outset, everything collapsed. the levies collapsed. government, state, local and federal collapsed. that's not what we're seeing here. >> o'brien: here in washington, before friday, tamara, there was talk about a possible show down, a government shutdown of this issue of whether to build the wall or not. does this disaster change that appreciably? >> it should. i believe it does. and in the president was asked about it today in his press conference and he said this is what related to the disaster and we're going to get the funding that's needed to deal with harvey. it seems quite highly that given everything that the going on with harvey, congress will find a way to probably do what they
do best, which is kick the can or any other number of analogies to push this off, to get it to december, to mess up the holidays, but to get out from under the shadow of this disaster, that does not need a government shutdown to compound things. >> o'brien: anything add? >> no >> o'brien: let's shift gears on charlottesville and president's statement subsequent to that. interesting to see yesterday the secretary of state. rex tillerson on fox news sunday addressing who's speaking for whom here. let's roll the tape for a moment. >> i don't believe anyone doubts the american people's values or the commitment of the american government or the government's agencies to advancing those values and defending those values. >> and the president's values >> the president speaks for himself, chris >> o'brien: there was another little piece of tape from the secretary of defense, general mattis with troops offering sort of similar sentiments.
amy is there a rift here between the president and people at the top of the cabinet >> there's another person gary cohen who's his top economic advisor who in an interview said that he was getting pressured to resign over comments that president had made about charlottesville and there was reporting in the "new york times" that he actually penned his own resignation letter. but the bottom line is, yes, there are risks obviously about the president's response to charlottesville. but they are staying in his administration. nobody has quit. nobody is actually resigned. and this is what you're seeing just in general with the isolation that president is getting right now, both with his own cabinet and with his party in congress. so much of it is overstyled, and the tweeting and the behavior, it's not necessarily oversubstance, that's usually where you see parties break part. we thought we would see this with the president on some of the substantive issues in which he disagreed with his party.
whether on taxes or on trade or on some of the social programs. today, we're not seeing it that the policy as much as we're seeing the behavior >> o'brien: he aim an awful lot of criticism at members of his own party and i think ronald reagan described that as the 11th commandment, you never criticize members of your own party. what's the strategy there >> president trump is a brand, more popular than republicans in congress among republicans and president trump sees this as working for him. and you hear from people who say, you know, i love president trump, and congress and the swamp need to figure this out. you know, they need to move along and go along with what the president is saying. what is remarkable is also republicans and members of his own cabinet who no longer seem afraid of the president. sort of remarkable. they're not afraid of a rogue
tweet or angry black-ish in the way that six or it eight months ago they might have been afraid >> o'brien: he seems to be doubling down with the base in a sense >> he is. there's a piece of him that really all about protecting his brand. he doesn't want to get dragged down and he is much more popular than congress is. interestingly enough, there are also some republicans who don't mind that they're separate. seen as separate from donald trump. they say normally when the president is unpopular, he's sitting at somewhere 38, 40% approval rating, he drags the party down because his brand is the party brand. their hope right now from some republicans is our brand is actually different. we can go and separate ourselvess from some of his behavior. even though, you know, we all have an r behind our name. we're seen as different. we can project ourselves present ourselves in a different way than the president. >> o'brien: that's politics monday. amy what will ter, tamara, keith
thank you always. >> o'brien: to another >> o'brien: now to another controversial move announced by the white house late friday, this time about transgender people serving in the military. william brangham brings us up to date. >> brangham: on friday, the white house issued a memorandum following through on president trump's unexpected tweets last month where he said transgender people wouldn't be accepted or allowed to serve in the u.s. armed forces. friday's memo said allowing trans servicemebers could "hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, [and] tax military resources." the memo asked the defense department to finalize new rules about what to do with the several thousand existing trans servicemembers within six for more on this, we turn to agnes gereben schaefer, she's a
senior political scientist at the rand corporation and was the lead author of a 2016 study for the defense department about transgender people in the military. >> o'brien: welcome to news hour. you were tasked to do the study back in 2016 when the obama administration was trying to figure out what to do with regards to transgender service members. and what was the overall sort of focus of your study? >> so the office of the secretary of defense for personnel readiness asked us to conduct a study with a very distinct mandate. and that included looking at the estimated transgender population in the military. seeing how many of those transgender service members would be likely to seek transition related treatment. what the costs would be of extending healthcare coverage to the transgender community in the military. and what the potential readiness implications might be associated
with some of those medical treatments that they may undertake. and lastly, what lessons could be learned from foreign military that is had already allowed transgender individuals to serve openly. >> o'brien: the president in hits tweet cite todd main concerns that he had that made it why he wanted to do this. it was cost was one of the things, he was referred to these as tremendous medical costs. i know you looked at this in your study. what are the costs? >> we estimated that the cost would be about between 2.4 and $8.4 million >> o'brien: per year >> exactly. and that represents .4 to 1/10th of a percent of the active component healthcare budget for 2014, which are the numbers that the base numbers we used. >> o'brien: minuscule fraction. >> it's the total number of transgender individuals in the
military, and they're small numbers less than 11,000 across the active and reserve component and so those small numbers drive small costs, and the other thing to take into account is that not all transgender service members will undertake these medical treatments like surgeries and hormone replacement. but the surgeries is really what was driving the cost >> o'brien: the other thing the president cited at a main driver of why he wanted to change the policy was disruption to the military services. what did you find in that regard? >> we found that the readiness impact of transgender related treatments would lead to a loss of less than 1% of the total available labor years across the active component. in fact, the number that we estimate as .o o 15%.
again, the number of individuals that we think will use these or take these medical treatments is small. so we estimate between 25 and 130 active component members would actually have surgical treatments. >> o'brien: quickly. i understand you looked at the experiences of i believe 18 other countries? did any of those other nations have a problem that they felt they needed to get transgender service members out of their services? >> we didn't find any readiness or cohesion implications. that were anecdotal concerns about that they were able to deal with that through policy changes. >> o'brien: thank you very much. >> thank you. ♪. >> o'brien: finally tonight, an intimate look into an often overlooked community. the documentary "raising bertie" follows three young african- american men coming of age in
rural north carolina, as they struggle with school, society and generational poverty. documentarians margaret byrne and ian kibbe spent six years filming the young men, and sat down with jeffrey brown to discuss what they found. ♪ . ♪. ♪. >> what in the world going to happen? have we give them the tools to be able to survive?
. the new documentary raising bertie takes us to a place and people rarely the focus of films, television or other media. set in rural north carolina settles on three african-american males as they move from teenager years into young call hood. film maker margaret byrne spent six years on the project. six years is a long time. did you know what you were getting into >> i had no idea what i was getting into. i originally went down there with john the director of photography and a producer on the film in 2009. and we -- we intended to just follow the school for a year and what happened is the school an alternative school for boys called the hive closed very on into filming we had to decide is
this something we abandoned? and it became a story about these three young men and their lives and it took six years to tell it. three young men and a place we often did not see, what did you see in it in the end when you entered the project? >> like you said, it was a community and communities like this do not get nearly i believe enough attention from the media or from our, you know, educational reform systems and for me, as a north carolinaian, i grew up about two hours from bertie and still i had no idea what this area was like or what the people in these communities lived like. i was drawn to the project. because in a lot of ways i was ashamed not to know more about these communities i want to show you a clip. this introduces two of the young men. let's take a look. >> me and been giving together
yo. just stick together. that introduces us to two of the young men, david perry an davonte davonte, h ar rell. were you surprised by what you heard and how were you able to capture the kind of intimate see of their lives >> coming to bertie as an outsider and i'm from the city, i lived in new york at the time. you know, i'm a white woman making a film in a a majority african-american community. think what was important is that when, you know, especially when we decided that it's about three young men and we were trying to3 figure out what this film is and learn about the community, we got an apartment and we lived there. we spent time with the families
developing trust and i think those relationships are key in the making of this film. what about the sense of outsider ness? i was reading the bio and it said you were of mixed race's i was thinking about the outsider ness of somebody coming in but perhaps a sense of understanding. what did it bring to your sense of this project >> i think there's a lot of ways that we're outside to these this community. looks like an as instructor. i'm a white male living in this society. that's something i think about a lot. and it has shaped my life tremendously. but you know, i think there are a lot of ways that we were outsiders, and but then there's also a lot of ways we connect. i think one of the things we want people to get this is a community you may not know or
may not know someone who lives in or be near, but there's sort of human elements and these guys have tremendous value in their lives and we can human ize them and the issues, we want people to connect to them as people. i want to ask you from a film making perspective. when we talk about something takes six years, you go with one idea in mind to focused on the school. the school choses things change. in the meantime, a lot changed in the culture. right? black lives matters happened. a lot of things happened. is that just the nature of your business? making documentary >> absolutely. i don't think i've ever worked on a film where it was what it was when it started. i believe as a film maker, if you try to dictate that, then you're straying away from the truth. also, the real story is also much more interesting than what you intended to make. do you end this project with pessimism, hope, or what? >> i believe there's a lot of
hope in the end. there's hope. i really believe in them. i hope that this is a story that honors them and shows what value there is in the human capitol in our world commutes. document raising bertie. thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> o'brien: and you can watch the entire film when "raising bertie" premieres later tonight on the pbs documentary series pov. on the newshour online right now, we have more on the federal and local response to hurricane "harvey." and, once again, if you are looking for a way to help the victims of the storm, aid groups say they are most in need of financial donations. you can find more information on our website, pbs.org/newshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm miles o'brien. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> rose: welcome to the program. it is the end of summer and as we prepared for the next season we bring you some of our favorite conversations here on charlie rose. tonight a conversation with mohammad javad zarif of foreign affairs. >> i believe everybody should come together and actually fighting these extremists idealogies and fighting them does not mean only military, this is much deeper. it should be a comprehensive strategy to deal with extremism and terrorism. extremism and terrorism emanate from lack of heart. in addition to an ideology based on hatred and exclusio