tv PBS News Hour PBS November 6, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> yang: good evening, i'm john yang. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight, police search for a motive after a gunman opened fire on a texas church, killing 26 people in the deadliest shooting in the state's history. then, president trump talks trade and the threat of north korea in a visit to japan, the start of a five nation asian trip. and, it's politics monday-- as more revelations come out of the 2016 presidential election, a look at the political state of affairs one year later. all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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lives. >> 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. >> yang: investigators in texas are starting to piece together what was behind this weekend's mass shooting at a church in a small texas town. 26 people were killed in the attack about 30 miles southeast of san antonio. some 20 others were wounded. the first baptist church in sutherland springs was quiet today, one day after services erupted in carnage.
officials say 26-year-old devin kelley opened fire with an assault-type rifle in the largest mass shooting in texas history. investigators are now trying to determine his motive. >> but we can tell you that there was a domestic situation going on within this family. the suspect's mother in law attended this church. we know that he had made threatening-- she had received threatening texts from him. >> yang: kelley had served in the air force, but in 2012, he was convicted of assaulting his wife and child, served a year in prison, and received a bad conduct discharge. then, officials say yesterday morning, he parked at a gas station across from the church. fred curnow watched from his home as a figure in black clothing and a black mask with a white skull face, opened fire, reloaded, and kept going. >> he was just shooting the church from the outside.
he was going from the face of the church around to the side and he kept unloading clip after clip. so i duck down making sure he doesn't see me or anything and he proceeds forward shooting still. he then opens the church and goes in and i kept hearing gun shots. >> yang: then, police say, another neighbor ran out of his home with a rifle, firing at the shooter. kelley was wounded, and dropped his rifle just as johnnie langendorff drove by. >> the shooter got in his truck. the gentleman with the rifle came to my truck as the shooter took off and he briefed me quickly and said we had to get him and that's what i did. >> yang: the two men chased kelley at high speed, for 11 miles. >> i was on the phone with dispatch the entire time. as far as i could see, wilson county police were all headed to the church and on 539 i did not see any police and so i gave them the direction were going in, what road and everything and you
know the vehicle was in sight and i was picking up, getting closer and closer. >> yang: finally, kelley's s.u.v. ran off the road, and when police got there, they found he'd shot himself with one of two guns he still had with him. >> we know during that pursuit, the suspect used his cell phone to notify his father that he had been shot and didn't think he was gonna make it. >> yang: back at the church, fred curnow had run over to help the victims. >> i'm right in the doorway and i looked around and there's just casings everywhere. and when i looked to the side and i did see a couple of small children not moving. they were-- they were not moving. >> yang: the victims ranged in age from 18 months to 77 years old. they included eight members of one family, a pregnant woman and the pastor's 14-year-old daughter, annabelle pomeroy. her mother spoke today: >> and one thing that gives me a sliver of encouragement is the fact that bell was surrounded yesterday by her church family
that she loved fiercely, and vice versa. our church was not comprised of members or parishioners, we were a very close family. we ate together, we laughed together, we cried together and we worshiped together. now most of our church family is gone. our building is probably beyond repair. and the few of us that are left behind lost tragically yesterday. >> america is praying for you, supporting you and grieving alongside of you. >> yang: from tokyo, on his asia trip, president trump, as ordered flags to be flown at half staff. he called the shooting "an act of evil." >> a very deranged individual, lot of problems over a long period of time. we have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries, but this isn't a guns situation.
>> yang: authorities say kelley had been denied a license to carry a concealed weapon, but he'd managed to buy at least two guns after background checks. for more, we're joined by joey palacios of texas public radio who is across the street from the first baptist church in sutherland springs, texas. joey, thanks for joining us. first, joey, can you give us a sense of what the mood in this community is like today? >> people here are still trying to figure out what has happened to their loved ones. i've gotten a few stories here and there of people who know some of their loved ones are already dead, and others who aren't quite sure what their status is. we know that 26 people are dead and at least 20 were taken to the hospital. last we heard, there were about 14 people still in the hospital. no official neighbors have been released, but we hope that authorities will start releasing names soon. >> yang: and i have to imagine, in a community this size, as i understand it, about 400 people, even if you didn't
lose a member of your family, you have to know someone who did or who did lose their life. >> that's right. this community, as you mentioned, is around 400 people, and this is the type of town where everyone knows everyone, and the gas station that's across the street from first baptist church, i've talked to the two clerks that have been there throughout the day. there are people that come in and they're just happy to see that they're alive and okay. i've had one woman tell me who runs the taco shop inside this convenience store that people inside this church, the people that regularly come to this church will go to this shop on a regular basis. so they're like family. they have nicknames for these folks that come in here. >> yang: joey, you talked to johnny langendorf who is one of those who chased the shooter. what was going on during that chase? >> so langendorf was here for a short time and gave us an
account of what happened. outside of the church, there was a neighbor who began firing at the suspect as he came out. langendorf was here outside the church in his vehicle, when this neighbor, who he only identified as steve, came up to langendorf and said what had happened, that somebody was shooting at the church and he was trying to get away. this neighbor steve jumped into langendorf's car and langendorf told us earlier that he reached up to 90 miles an hour trying to chase this suspect out of town. some time during this point, it could be that the suspect did a self-inflicted gunshot wound because langendorf said they saw the suspect careen off the street into a ditch. they then got out of their car and the neighbor took his own rifle and pointed it at the suspect, telling him to get out of the car, but the suspect did not, and that's when deputies arrived and took over the
situation. >> yang: joey, tell us what you're hearing about some of the victims. >> i've talked to two people here who both tell me about a woman named jo ann ward. they tell me she was in her 30s and was attending church here with at least three of her children. they know that ms. ward is dead and at least two of her children are dead. she was described as a vibrant community member here, a daycare worker, and one of the gentlemen that i spoke to was in tears as he recounted of how much he loved this woman, how much of a friend that she was. so these people are just starting to realize that their friends, their family aren't going to be coming home because of the actions of this suspect. >> yang: joe clines of texas public radio in sutherland springs, texas, thank you very much. >> john, thank you.
>> yang: texas congressman henry cuellar represents sutherland springs and he has been briefed throughout the day on e latest developments in the ongoing investigation. we spoke a short time ago and he explains what we know about motive at this time. since yesterday, i have been saying there had to be some sort of nexus or connection to somebody who attended that church. i know the geography very well because ep i represent the northern part where comal is at and, of course, the southeast of san antonio, and you don't just go into a very rural community, a very small community without having a reason, and i think this is where the investigation, the texts and threatening messaging, i think that's what we're seeing right now, and that's the nexus that i have been talking about since yesterday. >> yang: you say this is a very small community. i think i've heard only about 400 people. what are you hearing from your constituents about how they're coping with this? >> you know, they're going through a very difficult time, going through grief.
they're going through the grieving, they're going through the healing process. everybody knows each other. everybody, you know, once the names have been released, everybody will know every single person there because it's a very small community. i have been there, i've done parades there, i've visited there, and it's one of those places where everybody knows each other and it's very difficult because, you know, a community of 400, 500 individuals, it's like a large family that's just been hurt immensely. >> yang: earlier today the president said this is not a gun issue, it's a mental health issue. do you agree? >> well, you know, i want to see what the investigation comes up to because, apparently, he tried to get a gun permit in texas, didn't happen. but, at the same time, he was able to get some guns, i think two in texas, two in colorado. we have been in contact with the law enforcement. i want them to do the investigation so we can talk a little bit more about it.
but again, it looks like there was a breakdown in the system. i want to know where was the breakdown in the system. how did somebody who was dishonorably discharged, had some domestic violence issues with his ex-wife and child, house of this person able to get this done and i hope the investigation will tell us something about that. >> yang: is this a case of needing to enforce laws that are already on the books? >> well, again, let's see what the investigation tells us. it might be that we need to enforce that law. it might have to be that, you know, we do need -- everybody talks about mental illnesses, i'm one of those, but i want to see more money put in. you know, how do we treat those individuals? because if somebody wants to kill somebody, they can use a gun, they can use a truck like they did in new york and other places in the world, they can use an airplane like 9/11, they can use a knife, they can use
their bare hands. let's see what are we talking about here and see what actions we need to take. >> yang: we've seen three of the most deadly mass shootings in modern u.s. history have occurred in the last 18 months, two in the last 36 days. there will be, i'm sure, a lot of people who will be calling for new gun control. what's your position on that? >> well, again, i'm a big believer in the second amendment. keep in mind also that the persons were able to probably prevent killings there are in sutherland springs, was an individual that confronted him and began shooting at the suspect, and the suspect ran away. the suspect started shooting at innocent individuals in the church, but when somebody confronted him with a gun herrings ran off like a coward. he was a coward in the church, he was a coward when he ran off.
but, again, this discussion has been going for a long time. i think people are already set in their positions right now. i'm hoping we can find maybe some sort of middle ground to address this without going against second amendment of the u.s. constitution. >> yang: representative henry cuellar of texas who represents the district where the shooting took place. thank you so much for your time and our condolences to your constituents. >> thank you so much. >> yang: as we mentioned, authorities say an unspecified domestic situation may have been part of the shooter's motivation. officials say the shooter was convicted in 2012 for assaulting his wife and a child. the tragedy underscores that those responsible for mass killings often have some history of domestic violence or family violence. we explore that now with deborah epstein, a practicing attorney and co-director of the domestic violence clinic at the georgetown university law center. and james alan fox, a noted criminologist from northeastern university in boston.
welcome to you both. deborah, we're learning more details. we've learned the assault on the child in 2012 for which he was convicted was so severe, it fractured the child's skull. the air force is also ac knowledging they -- acknowledging they did not give this information to the national criminal information database. what about this nexus between domestic violence and mass shooting, how do you see it? >> well, theres a very tight correlation between domestic violence and mass shootings. if you look at all the mass shootings that occurred on u.s. soil, the vast majority of them have been committed by people who have perpetrated domestic violence against an intimate partner, a series of intimate partners or in the process of dealing with domestic violence and other people get caught in the working out of all that. so -- and you can see the parallels, right? so if you are a person and it's
usually, in most cases, it's a man who is engaged in domestic violence, they're using violence as a strategy to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in their home. a mass shooter is doing the same thing on a much larger scale, creating a primary circumstance of fear and intimidation for people there on the scene and a much wider secondary circle for those of us who are watching it on tape, hearing about it in the media, all of that. but that need for fear and intimidation is there in both circumstances. >> yang: to be clear, deborah, you're not saying everyone with a history of domestic violence become a mass shooter but you are saying many mass shooters have a history of domestic violence? >> there are tens of millions of cases of domestic violence in this country each year, and there are 20 mass shootings. so clearly there is not always a presence of domestic violence. in fact, only 16% of mass
killings since 2006 involve individuals who have a history of domestic violence. now, when you focus on family annihilations, a gunman who kills his wife and whole family, 29%. most mass killers do not have a criminal record. most mass murderers do not have a history of domestic violence. in fact, many live alone, they don't have a partner, and social isolation is part of the problem. and if domestic violence is truly a causal factor, boy, we would have a much bigger problem with mass murder than we do. >> yang: mr. fox, what characteristics do you see sort of common among mass murderers, mass shooters? is. >> well, they tend to have a history of frustration, failure and disappointment and blame others for their problems. if they blame themselves, perhaps they take the violence out on themselves, but they blame other people and want others to suffer for what they have been going through.
they don't particularly care to live anymore because life is miserable, but they want other people to die as well. also they have -- they lack social support systems. they don't have close friends or family around them who can help them get through the hard times and help them put perspective on what they're feeling and thinking. now, that describes tens of thousands of americans. there are so many out there who don't smile, who write ugly words on the internet, who have no friends, who are unemployed and losing job after job and getting divorced, but they don't pick up a gun and start shooting people. there's no way, no matter what factors we look at, that we can identify the next mass shooter. the only silver lining, i guess, is that it's a rare event. a couple dozen case as year, and it's not growing. the growth, however, is in the body count, and that's where, i think, president trump is wrong, that guns really are an important factor here.
mental illness, no. in fact, only 18% of mass killers have a history of mental illness. >> yang: deborah epstein, what about the the point the president said it's not a guns issue, it's a mental health issue? yo>> of course, it's a gun issu. i don't know the facts in this case about the history of mental illness, but there is a clear link between using violence in the home and in other situations where you encounter frustration and don't know how to deal wit. one of the few things we really know is people who grow up in families where there is adult on adult abuse or the victims of child abuse are more likely to become battererrers because they don't know how to deal with frustration, anger and isolation that we're talking about, they learn how to deal with it with violence.
>> yang: i agree with that, but -- >> we need early interventions that allow people to relearn how to deal with frustration and not leap to violence. >> mr. fox -- i agree about violence but we're talking about a type of domestic violence where mental health is rarely involvement we should have mental health access in the country. why do we always talk about the mental health after mass shooting? because we care about the well being of the mentally ill or the well being of the people they might kill? i think it's the latter and that only adds to the stigma that we have in this country about mental illness, and we connect id to mass murder when, in fact, the seriously mentally ill are less likely to commit serious acts of violence than the rest of us. >> yang: mr. fox, should we be more stringent about access to guns, to buying guns among the
mentally ill, among people who have a history of mental illness? >> well, i think we already are, but we do see cases -- again, if you're talking about a serious case of mental illness, people who have a history of treatment, who have been institutionalized, they are already not legally able to buy a gun. the thing about mass killers, if they can't buy a gun legally, doesn't mean they can't get a gun. adduwhat's true about mass kills is they're very determined. they will get a gun no matter what obstacles we put in their path. now, is gun control a good idea? yes. but, again, the right thing to do, but not for this reason. the reason for gun control is, of course, every day in america.
you know, we had 58 people killed in las vegas, but that's about the same number of people murdered every day in america. so we have a gun problem, and we need to do something about it. this is just the tip of the iceberg. that actually is least impacted by gun control. >> yang: deborah, about 30 seconds left. what do you want to see done? >> i want to see early intervention, before anybody gets access to the guns, before anybody commits violence, early interventions and money for research on programs that helps people deal with frustration in a way that does not involve access to violence. >> yang: deborah epstein, james allen fox, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> yang: in the day's other news, president trump is moving on to south korea, after winding up two days in japan. he complained today about the trade imbalance with japan, and defended his tough talk on north korea. he called the north "a threat to
the civilized world." we'll get a full report, after the news summary. back in washington, two of president trump's former campaign aides will stay under house arrest for now. they're charged in the special counsel's probe of russian election-meddling. one-time campaign chairman paul manafort and business associate rick gates appeared today in federal court in washington. they've pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and money laundering. the judge asked for more information on a bond package to guarantee they won't flee. the house ways and means committee began work on a far- reaching tax overhaul bill today. it would cut the corporate rate, simplify individual rates, and add more than a trillion dollars to the national debt. republicans and democrats jousted at length over whether the bill would help more than hurt, and who would benefit. >> we stand on the doorstep of delivering the most sweeping tax overhaul in more than 30 years. but make no mistake, this day and this historic legislation is not about us. it's about providing long overdue relief to american workers, families, and job
creators. >> i don't care whether you live in dakota, jersey, this thing is really shafting everybody. it's an equal opportunity shafter, this bill. i got to admit that. there are a lot of people expecting a tax cut who will be big losers under this bill. >> yang: the lawmakers heard from staff today that the bill would likely mean tax hikes for about 38 million americans, by 2023. but republicans countered that in the near term, most people will get tax cuts. in south sudan, warnings today that more than 1.25 million people face starvation. the united nations and the south sudanese government say that's double the number from last year. and, they say the country could plunge back into famine. the world's youngest nation has been ravaged by a civil war that's killed more than 50,000 people since 2013. 2017 is on track to become one of the three hottest years on record.
the other two were 2015 and 2016, but unlike this year, they had strong el nino weather patterns that boosted temperatures. the u.n.'s weather agency reports the average surface temperature this year has run nearly two degrees fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels. and on wall street today, stocks made modest advances, but three major stock indexes closed at record highs. the dow jones industrial average gained nine points to close at 23,548. the nasdaq rose 22 points, and the s&p 500 added three. still to come on the newshour. president trump talks up trade in japan. offshore holdings link the u.s. commerce secretary and russia. saudi princes arrested in a sweeping power grab. and it's politics monday, lessons learned one year after the divisive presidential election.
>> yang: we return to president trump's lengthy trip to asia, and the first stop on his visit: japan. william brangham reports. >> brangham: it was mostly smiles and warm words today in tokyo. >> our two great countries will have incredible friendship and incredible success for many centuries to come, not years, >> brangham: president trump praised his host at a banquet ending his two-day stop in japan, and prime minister shinzo abe responded in kind. >> ( translated ): yesterday's golf diplomacy between donald and me attracted so much attention. and we actually made everything public except for the score. and through golf we could demonstrate to the world, how strong the bond is between japan and the united states. >> brangham: indeed, after the president's arrival, the two men went straight to the golf course sunday. they forged a friendship last february during abe's visit to
mr. trump's mar-a-lago resort in florida. but for all the golf and good feelings, the president also aimed some criticisms at the japanese, specifically about trade. >> we have to do more. the united states has suffered massive trade deficits with japan for many many years. almost $70 billion annually, 70 billion. many millions of cars are sold by japan into the united states whereas virtually no cars go from the united states into japan. >> brangham: the president offered no new ideas on how to remedy the trade gap, but he defended his decision at the start of his term to pull out of the trans-pacific trade agreement, known as t.p.p. >> we will have more trade than anybody ever thought of under t.p.p., that i can tell you. t.p.p. was not the right idea, probably some of you in this room disagree but ultimately i'll be proven to be right. >> brangham: the "new york times'" mark landler is covering the president's visit. he says japan is unlikely to reopen trade talks.
>> the problem that the administration has, not just in japan but around the region is that all of these countries put a lot of political capital and domestic muscle into getting the t.p.p. deal done and they don't really have the appetite or in some cases the political influence at home to enter into a bilateral negotiation at this point. >> brangham: mr. trump also spent time underscoring the north korea threat, starting with an address to u.s. troops just after his arrival sunday. >> no dictator, no regime, and no nation should underestimate ever american resolve. >> brangham: today, president and prime minister met with families of japanese people who've been abducted over the years by north korea. mark landler says the japanese government has strongly endorsed the trump strategy of "maximum pressure" on the north koreans regarding their nuclear weapons program.
>> abe announced some unilateral sanctions today against north korean individuals and entities. so he's putting a little bit of tangible action behind his words and he also said that he supports president trump's statement that all options are on the table, including potential military action. >> brangham: abe himself made that clear, at their joint news conference today. >> ( translated ): as far as shooting down missiles, we will shoot them down if necessary. but we will coordinate closely with the united states even on shooting down missiles. >> brangham: president trump endorsed that sentiment, and pushed again for japan to buy more american hardware. >> he will shoot them out of the sky when he completes the purchase of a lot of military equipment from the united states. >> brangham: with the visit completed, mr. trump's next stop is south korea. he lands there tomorrow. for the pbs newshour, i'm william brangham.
>> yang: now, a new series of investigations reveals the offshore financial dealings of some of the world's wealthiest people and biggest corporations. the stories are tied to what's being called the "paradise papers," a leak of more than 13 million documents from a bermuda law firm, offshore havens and other corporate registries. they show how trillions of dollars is moved around, often illegally and how taxes and regulations can be ducked. lisa desjardins has the story. >> desjardins: the papers were leaked to a german newspaper and then shared with the international consortium of investigative journalists. in all, more than 380 journalists in 67 countries. one of many investigations getting a lot of attention-- the investments of commerce secretary wilbur ross. ross kept a stake in a shipping company called navigator holdings after he became secretary.
one of navigator's top clients is the russian energy company sibur whose owners include vladimir putin's son-in-law and kremlin-linked oligarchs on the u.s. sanction's list. critics are calling for an investigation but the commerce secretary said he's done nothing wrong and has been transparent sasha chavkin is a reporter with the international consortium of investigative journalists who broke this story. thank you so much for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> desjardins: this is a vast amount of data on what is one of the murkiest sources of wealth and power in the world. the big picture first. can you explain what the tax havens are and why there's concern? >> yeah, so we were leaked 13.4 million documents from an elite offshore law firm called appleby, and what it did is it used those tax havens to help its clients who are ridge
individuals, multi-national corporations, powerful politicians conduct their business, often in ways where they reduce taxes or face less disclosure than ordinary people are subject to. >> desjardins: this is legal or illegal? >> most of this is legal, and that's a lot of the concern our investigation has raised. in some cases, people crossed the line into illegal activity. >> desjardins: this brings us to one of the names. there are many names in the file, but let's talk about wlbur ross. what exactly is his connection? >> wilbur ross and his private equity firm, w.l. ross & company, was one of the biggest offshore firms. we were able to trace a personal
stake ross held through cayman islands companies in navigator holdings. the shipper company that has ties to this kremlin-linked energy firm. >> desjardins: secretary ross spoke about this today on c.n.b.c. >> my obligation is to disclose companies in which i'm an officer, a director or an investor, and neither an officer nor a director for an investor in sibur, have not met them, don't know the people, had nothing to do with the negotiation of the charter arrangement. >> desjardins: critics say he wasn't fully disclosing he has an indirect relationship with this company sibur but he said i'm on the up and up, the fact i invested in a company that has a relationship with sibur wasn't asked. is that right? did he disclose things properly?
>> there's no indication that he broke the letter of the disclosure rules. but what he did do was came to an ethics agreement where he mentioned nine companies that he was holding a stake in, and that ethics agreement, he mentioned the cayman island companies that held navigator but not navigator itself, and that's why some critics such as richard blumenthal, the senator from connecticut, essentially said he was using offshore shell companies to obfuscate. he ceased a lot of questions about his relationship with russia during the confirmation process mostly because of the business he did with cypress which is a destination for russianoly garks. navigation and sibur never came up and they tell us they didn't figure it out based on his
disclosures. >> desjardins: they would not have been able to figure it out without these documents? >> the documents were crucial in piecing together the connection. >> desjardins: thank you sasha chavkin, with the international consortiumum of international journalists. >> thank you, lisa. >> yang: it was a momentous weekend in the middle east. in saudi arabia today, the government announced it would hold trials for 11 princes accused of corruption. their arrest was an unprecedented crackdown and just one of many aggressive moves made by the young saudi crown prince, in the last few days. and that turmoil sent oil prices to a two-year high today. president trump, traveling in asia, took to twitter moments ago expressing "great confidence" in king salman and the crown prince, saying, "they know exactly what they are doing." here's special correspondent
nick schifrin. >> reporter: in the name of fighting corruption, crown prince mohammad bin salman is stamping out opposition and cementing his rule. the 32-year-old ordered the arrests of more than a dozen, including prince alwaleed bin talal, a billionaire who has major investments in citigroup, twitter and apple. prince mutaib bin abdullah, the former national guard chief and most obvious rival. it's not the first house of saud shakeup, but it's the most rapid. and it centralizes mohammad bin salman's power over the military and security services that began earlier this year, when he replaced mohammed bin nayef, the former heir to the throne. state tv announced the arrests and accused the princes of embezzlement and stealing public money. that was a message to a saudi population that's sick of ostentatious royal wealth, and eager for reform. that reform is what mohammad bin salman is selling, as state owned oil company aramco plans to go public and diversify. mohammad bin salman has vowed to modernize, and fight extremism.
>> ( translated ): we only want to go back to what we were: moderate islam that is open to the world, open to all the religions. 70% of the saudi people are younger than 30 and, quite frankly, we will not waste 30 years dealing with extremist ideas. >> reporter: mohammad bin salman has also led a muscular foreign policy to confront iran, especially in yemen. for two years, a saudi-led coalition has targeted iranian allies, the houthis. the war has caused the world's worst humanitarian crisis. and this weekend, saudi announced a total blockade. that was in response to the houthis' launching a ballistic missile at saudi arabia. a saudi military spokesman said it intercepted the missile, and blamed iran. >> ( translated ): the coalition has ample evidence to prove that iran is providing weapons to the huthi armed group. >> reporter: saudi's anti-iran policy extends to lebanon. prime minister saad hariri has
led a fragile alliance with iran-backed hezbollah. and this weekend hariri visited saudi arabia and appeared on saudi owned tv to resign, and blame iran. >> ( translated ): wherever iran is present it plants discord and destruction attested to by its interference in arab countries. >> reporter: throughout this process, president trump has lent support. and the saudi leaders who embraced him, have been emboldened. all of this means today might be the most volatile moment in saudi history in more than a half-century. and to discuss that, i'm joined by bilal saab. he is the senior fellow and director of the defense and security program at the middle east institute. and aaron david miller is the middle east program director of the wilson center, and a former advisor and negotiator in democratic and republican administrations. thank you to you both. bilal saab, let me start with you. mohammad bin salman has an
ambitious internal agenda he's looking at over the next few decades, buzz he feel the need to consolidate power to enact the agenda? >> i think so. i had a chance to meet with mohammad bin salman for an hour in riyadh not too long ago and i think he's someone who doesn't like ambition and strikes me as genuine in his desire to reform his country. that being said, the reform agenda he has spearheaded, in his mind, i think, requires consolidation of power. this is now the old saudi is gone, this is mbs land, now, whoever is not on board with this reform process and also is not really investing in this is basically removed. >> schifrin: can mohammad bin salman rule from the top-down? can he reform from the top? >> he's incognito, basically, never been here before. our political system has never seen a president quite like
donald trump, saudis have never encountered a would-be king, not king yet, a 30-something who has created an accretion of power which is unprecedented in the history of the kingdom, ruling a country of 33 million people and maintaining the status quo and managing, transacting, if you will, is probably something that is feasible. but mbs aspires to be a transformation leader and as bilal suggested, his first step is repress opposition, maintain colonel over security services, send mebltions to the economic and financial establishment that he will not tolerate or suffer opposition and even to try to to coop the religious establishment he intends to reform. so a tough lift for a 33-year-old let alone an
experienced, prudent and wise and skilled saudi leader. >> bilal saab, can he effectively dismantle the version of saudi governance that we've seen for a long time and pick all of these fights not only with the princes we talked about but intellectuals and critical clerics and succeed? >> what was particularly striking about this move is it tells us he has basically blown up the saudi decision making which has been consensus. now it's one person, one decision. that brings some good. the saudi decision-making has been notoriously slow and needed reform, but now basically it's one person, whether he makes a mistake, it's basically observe him. >> yeah, the buck stops there. let me stick with you and move to the external factors. do the steps he's taking in the last couple of days increase tension in the middle east especially between saudi and
iran? >> saudi has enhanced stability. this is a much more aggressive stance toward the arrangements, you just heard what was said about the missile strike against the houthis at the saudi airport. >> he accused iran of launching that missile. >> yes, and hezbollah basically. you saw what happened in lebanon with the prime minister resigning. i think that's all a part of the new aggressive stance against the iranians. the question, will they succeed. what gains will you get is unclear. >> can he succeed or get the gains that he wants and, also, because president trump has obviously supported this new saudi leadership. what's the impact of that? >> there's no question that the administration has invested heavily both in ca salman.
they're looking to the saudis to create a vanguard in that regard and the administration wants to pursue the president's vision of an ultimate deal and he and son-in-law jared kushner are banking on some saudi support. >> israeli-palestinian. the israeli-palestinian agreement, and i think both these are probably bridges too far. but let's be clear about one unique and extraordinary thing that mbs possesses, it's possible if saudi arabia survives that this man, when he becomes king, could rule the kingdom of saudi arabia healthy, vibrant and not infirmed for almost 50 years. that's app extraordinary arc and may well be the time, which is the ultimate arbitrator which is
bilal. you want to become supreme leader, which is essentially what he intends to do, the man to rule them all? it's all going to fall on you and the reality is he's banked his fate, his political fortune on the fact he has enough horses to pull this wagon, and it won't be easy. >> just last word, bilal saab, regional instability in the near future after what we've seen in the past few days? >> that's a safe assumption, fortunately. >> bilal saab, aaron david miller, thank you very much to both of you. >> pleasure. no problem. >> yang: it's been a year since donald trump won the white
house. what lessons have democrats and republicans learned since the divisive 2016 election? for answers, it's time for politics monday with tamara keith of npr and amy walter of the "cook political report." welcome to you both. the bug story, the headline tonight, of course, is this horrible shooting in texas. five weeks ago was the horrible shooting in las vegas. tam, is anything going to happen? >> i'm pretty sure amy and i were here on this set a month and a week ago saying probably not and, really, not much has changed since that shooting in las vegas. there was some talk, very briefly, about looking at bump stocks, which was this modification made to the weapon in las vegas. that talk has pretty much gone away. now it's another mass shooting, and in this one there are a lot of children and it's tragic, it's in a place of worship, but the conversation really doesn't
change. it sort of follows this cycle and seems to speed up where almost immediately it's either gun control or mental health and people go into their corners and are very much in their corners, already. >> yang: amy? one thing i would say, too, is while we may not be seeing any change in the way the politics of this play out, i don't think we should discount the way in which these events which seem to be happening with really painful regulator are chipping away at americans' sense of safety and security, raising anxiety, when these shootings are taking place in places that should be places of safety -- they are churches, they are schools, they are cinemas, they are concerts -- you know, i think it really underscores the sense of instability and anxiety that so
many americans are feeling now just about the state of the world in general, but when they look at home the feeling that they can't quite be sure at anytime, anywhere, that they will be safe, and that the ground seems to be shifting constantly underneath them on so many issues, this issue of safety prime among them. >> yang: instability, anxiety, shifting ground takes us to the next topping, a much less threatening scale. it was a year ago this week, tam, you and i were in new york and the entire political world shifted when both parties, i think it's fair to say, were confronted with an election result neither one really anticipated. a year later, where are the republicans and the democrats in trying to get their footing, get their sort of reoriented in this world. >> is this well, it turns out that winning for the republicans didn't paper over all of the
problems. there are definitely divisions within the republican party, much the same divisions that we were discussing in 2016. as for the democrats, losing did not prompt a miraculous overnight rethinking, thinking, oh, now we no how to proceed. i was talking to women who volunteered for hillary clinton's campaign in the cleveland area and they said they weren't surprised by the election results. all three predicted she would lose before she lost. as for the next steps, they are pretty frustrated with the democratic party. they thought by now the party would have figured it out and there's a sense they haven't. >> yang: tomorrow, we'll have a big erection in virginia, the governor's race, will that give us a clue about where the parties are and where they are heading? >> we'll probe read too much
into the results, as we always do, of one race, but let's look at a couple of things. the two counties, the democrat and republican, are not exactly fitting into the sort of traditional post-trump stereotypes. the republican candidate ed gillespie is a long-time republican establishment republican, moderate republican, worked in the bush white house, he doesn't fit the stereotype of the outsider brash kind of candidate that trump is. on the democratic side you have in rave ralph northrum, an establishment candidate, a southern drawl, the part of the state that's not the fast-growing, urban northern virginia suburbs, he doesn't act or speak like bernie sanders, and what both candidates are finding in this virginia race is there are sections of their party that want them to be more like the insurgents they saw in 2016. both are trying to thread the
needle there, and we will find out in the next 24 hours or so which one was successful. we are also going to get our first real sense of whether there is a real enthusiasm gap between democrats who still are frustrated and furious about the results of 2016 and republicans who, as you pointed out, john, were even surprised themselves that donald trump won. we saw in special elections in this last year and house races that democrats did have something of an enthusiasm advantage. is it going to translate into a state like virginia which is unlike those special elections, it is more democratic leaning and a state that hillary clinton carried. >> democrats are under a lot more pressure with this virginia race than the republicans are because democrats have an edge, as amy said, hillary clinton won the state. so if democrats lose, that's going to be a really, really big
story. if the republican loses, well, you know, often that happens in virginia that the opposing party of the president ends up winning and, so, there's more to lose for democrats here. >> yang: and, tam, we had more fallout from 2016 over the weekend with donna brazile's new book talking about -- sort of airing her complaints about the hillary clinton campaign, about the fundraising agreement her campaign had with the democratic national committee. what do you make of all this? why is donna doing this? >> and donald trump, president trump jumps in and tweets and says, look, it really was rigged against bernie! that's what i have been saying all along because 2016 will never end. donna brazile is trying to sell books for one thing, so why do the juiciest parts come out in sh because she's trying to sell books. also she has real grievous from the which the 2016 campaign was
handled and, you know, how the wikileaks affected her life and existence and what she thought she would be doing with her life. >> yang: is this division, the fissure between hillary clinton and bernie sanders wings that is now from 2016, is that going to animate the party through 2020, do you think? >> yeah, i think the division democrats are facing is not so much between the bernie and hillary wing, but it is a general sense of where their strategy, is more tactical and more fundamental to the kinds of voters that they want to see turn up and vote for democrats. barack obama, when he ran for office, something called the obama coalition, the younger, more diverse voters who came and turned out in record numbers to support him, since that election in 20 '08, those voters have turned out for nobody else other than barack obama. they didn't turn out for midterm
elections for hillary clinton. democrats said we have to find a way to get those voters out and animated without barack obama on the ballot. other democrats say we lost white working class voters by a bigger percentage than we should have in 2016 and need to win those voters back. they have to figure out how to bring those two groups under one banner and message. >> yang: not an easy task sounds like, amy walter, tamera keith, that's "politics monday." thanks for joining us. >> you're welcome. >> yang: on the newshour online right now, open enrollment is underway for the affordable care act insurance exchanges and we want to hear your story. whether it's your first time signing up or you've done this before, you can answer a short survey about your health coverage on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm john yang.
join us online and again here tomorrow evening, when judy will be back. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ >> collette. celebrating 100 years of travel, together. >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language.
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[ bells play tune ] ♪ [ theme music plays ] ♪ -♪ i think i'm home ♪ i think i'm home ♪ how nice to look at you again ♪ ♪ along the road ♪ along the road ♪ anytime you want me ♪ you can find me living right between your eyes, yeah ♪ ♪ oh, i think i'm home ♪ oh, i think i'm home -today on "cook's country," bridget and julia cook basque-inspired garlic fried chicken. adam reviews inexpensive dutch ovens with julia.