tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS March 17, 2018 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by wnet on>> thompson: on this edior saturday, march 17th: new details on the deadly bridge collapse in florida. also, a top f.b.i. official is fired just hours before retiring, what it means for the russia investigation. and in our signature segment, pudto rican students displa by hurricane maria try to adjust to school on the mainland. next on "pbs newshour weekend." >> "pbs newshour weekend" is made possible by: bernard d irene schwartz. .the cheryl and philip milstein fami sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation. the anders family fund. rosalind p. walter z barbara hockerberg.
corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. >> additial support has been provided by: and by the corporation for b public broadcasting, a contributions to your pbs iewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, megan thompson >> thompson: good evening and thank you for joining us. in miami today, rescue workers e working around the clock to reach victims crushed by the pedestrian bdge collapse at orida international university. today, they managed to pull out the first flattened vehicles from underneath tons of concrete. at least six people arenown dead, and authorities say there are no more survivors. it has been exceedingly difficult to reach the victims. >> there is nothing that we can use to lift it because it's too much weit and right now some of the pieces are unstable, so it's just gonna break apart.
rht now we're just chipping away trying to lift, a combination of things. >> thompson: the cause of the collapse is under investigation. today, the university said that just hours before the bridge collapsed thursday, engineers and the state's department of haansportation were meeting to discuss cracks thabeen detected on the bridge, and the lead engineering firm concluded there were no immediate safety ncerns. united states attorney general jeff sessions has fired a top f.b.i. official, andrew mccabe, nnjust hours before he plaed to retire with full benefits. mcca is the former deputy director of thf.b.i. he h 2ad put in more than0 years at the agency. his 50th birthday is tomorrow, 's when he was scheduled to retire. sessions said the firing came after an intl justice department investigation that found professional misconduct by ll. mccabe. president trump d it a" great day for democracy," and sal id mccabe "...knew out the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the f.b.i." in a statement, mccabe suggested
his firing is part of what he called the president's "war on the f.b.i. and the efforts of the special couns investigation," meaning robert mueller's look into russia's poib collusion with the trump campaign. there are also reports that mccabe kept detailed memos of ions with president trump, which could become evidence for the special counsel investigation. for more on all of this, i am t ined now by carrie johnson, justice correspond national public radio. >> thompson: carrie, thanks so much for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> so president trump and mccabe have bee time now.uite some can you walk us through the controversies that led up to this? >> yes, remember andy mccabe was the deputy director of the fbi and he fired jim comey the fbi last maymccabe took over as acting director for several months but pretty soon tension. began f mccabe s sweeted tweeted by president trump. >>and taken some money from
virginia governor terry mcauliffe a close ally of the clintons. although he said he vetted his i rothe fbi ethics. president trump just couldn't let go of it. he is accused the of a multitude of since over the, sins over the last year and particularly targeted mccabe just a few weeks ago he act a accused mcca a in a tweet of running out the clock to his tirement and thisll culminated of course in a firing by doj just hours before mccabe s set to turn 50 years old, his birthday is sunday and collechis fullederal law enforcement pension. >> thompson: attorney general jeff sessions fired mccabe,he said because of a lack of candor and without hearing a word ab it inspector general report that has even more accusations usainst mccabe a can you explain to us what all of these accusations are? >> terhe inspector g at justice has been investigating how the fbi and the justice department amended the clinton investation in 2016. he some interviewed alaska andy
mccabe as part of that investigation last year and the justice department says that oucabe was not honest. you asked mccabe this, he says he may have misstated somen in the course of the baos of the fbi and the attacks from president tru he always corrected the record. the key issue with respect to mccabe is his contacts with the "wreet journal", about an fbi investigation of the clinton foundation in 2016mc, be said he didn't authorize that investigation. the inspector general and the justice department appear to be saying he did and then he didn't tell the truth about it ter. thompson: mcexaib is also a potential witness into the investigation, to whether or not president trump may have obstructed justice in the russian investigation. so what effect could his firing have on the investigation? >> well, it is really andy mccabe and his lawyer brian tom witch put his firing in the context ofs ongoing special counsel probe. mccabe saithis is all part of an effort to discredit him personally and to discredit the
fbi and the justice department generally, because president trump so fears whatspecial counsel robert mueller may be turning over in the russia instigation. he said you cannot separate what he considers his abuse by the president for over a year fromth russia probe. mccabe says he testified in close sensed before theuse intelligence committee in december and shortly thereafter it became clear to him that the justice department may have been out to get him, trying to punimh fore he could collect his full retirement benefits this >> thompson: on that point, what do you make of the timing of this firing? >> well, it is true tha justice department investigations into wrongdoing often take a reall y long tim the notion that this one was speeded up in some regard to try to have some implication or some effect on andrew mccabe's pension does seem to be a little unusual. at this point mccabe is not explicitly threatening to sue, but that may come down the pik and certainly the tweet from president trump just a couple of
hours after mcc fabe wasired late friday night could be evidence that the politicians here were trying to weigh in and press attorney general jeff sessions to punish mcbe before he could collect those pension benefits he was due. >> rhompson: allht. carrie johnson of national public radio, than thank you soh for joining us. asure.ple thank you. >> thompson: president trump's lawyers are seeking $20 million in damages from porn actress stormy daniels. they claim she violated a nondisclosure agreemr t requiring stay silent about an affair she says she had with the president over a decade ago in exchange for a paent of $130,000. daniels, whoseegal name is stephanie clifford, has filed her own lawsuit to break thesc non-sure agreement, saying it was never signed by the president. her lawyer calls this latest legal move against her nothing more than a bullying tactic. it it all comes in advance of a cbs "60 minutes" interview with daniels, planned for air next weekend. facebook has suspended a data analysis firm called cambridge-
analytica that worked for president trump's 2016 campaign. cebook says cambridge- analytica improperly obtained databout its users, and was not truthful when it said it had deletedhe information. mbridge-analytica says it builds psychological profiles of voters based on personal details from milmelions ofcans and denies any wrongdoing. russia says it is kicking out 23 british diplomats after britain blamed russia for a nervagent attack on a former russian double-agent and his daughter. it's the latest escalation in a diplomatic dispute. earlier this week, britain expelled 23 russian diplomats over the poisoning incident. >> we will never tolerate a threat to the life of british citizens and others on british soil from the russian government. >> thompson: vladimir putin's spokesman said that blaming the kremlin for the attack is," shking and unforgivable." d it's official, xi jinping is now constitutionally able to be
president of china for life. the legislature voted today to reappoint him to the presidency without term limits, makingerim the most pl leader in china since mao zedong. >> thompson: we turn now to syria where violence near damascus continued today. syrian forces supported by russian-backed air power are fighting in eastern ghouta, the last rebel-held area near the capital. tens of thousands of people are fleeing the area, which has been besieged for weeks. more than 1,300 cilians have been killed, and as many as 400,000 people remain trapped. the violence in ghouta is just the latest battle in a war that marked its seventh anniversary this week. an estimated five milln syrians have fled the country, while the death tol ais estimated taggering half a million people. as the country slides pasilt ths grimtone, there appears to
be very little progress in resolving the conflict. philip issa has been covering the war for the associated press,nd joins me now via skype from beirut. >> thompson: with all of the deeing instruction and devastation and foreign influence in syria, what do the syrians you speak to think about syria the country itself now? i mean is it even the same country it was? will it ever be the same country again? >> i think it is almost too early to talk about where the country is heading, because there are so many variables and so many moving parts. there are so many sides that want to see their own interests realized in syria, among the syrians i have spoken to the ones that left syria and the ones who have theo means t stay abroad generally arehoosing to do so. they say their country no longe r looks -- is no longer something they recognize, no longer, it is alien to them and they are going to stay out for the foreseeable future. >> thompson: thunited nations is again debating how to
respond to this latest round of violence in syria. we saw a cease-fire last month that wab broken within t a day. i mean, is there any sense that ae un has power now to do anything that will make a the difference in syria? >> no. inere is not that sense. i mean the syriansde syria, the ones who are trapped in the siege in hut at that and efraim, they want action and they realize that actipeaks louder than words, and to them, wh the u.n., the security council resolution is not on paper unless it is enforced. seven years of war in syria we have seen that the is very little international community eo actually enforce th resolutions that the security council passes and to enforce the international la that apply, the laws of war that apply here. be thompson: there have moments throughout this conflict over the years where it seemed like, okay, maybe now there be a resolution to this, i mean, over the last year the islamic
state was defeated in syria and it seemed like, okay, maybe now this will be a time when the conflict can end. but we vice president seen that happen. i mean, why not? >> well, the islamic state was a common know/foe for a lot of different side actually don't have much in common. they have opposing goals. they have opposing aims. so without that common enemy we have all of the different sides in syria now getting back to looking out for their own aims, whether that is russia and iran, trying to set up a zone of influence for united states trying to support its allies, the kurds, we have turkey, which is trying to supress -- that is what happens once you move the islamic state from t equation, all of these groups have to start fighting eachin other a. >> thompson: all right.
philip issa of the associate press. ank you very much. >> yes. my pleasure. >> thompson: last month, we brought you the story of displaced families that came to hartford, connectut, from puerto rico following the devastation wrought last year by hurricane maria. hartford, with a strong puerto rican population and heritage of its own, is now home to hundreds of children displaced by the storm. today, we take a closer look at the stallenges thesents face adjusting to life in a scdehool system that irmined to educate them even as it struggles to find the funding to do so. newsho weekend's yvette feliciano reports. >> reporter:ia de leon had just started her day at bulkeley high schooartford, connecticut, when she found herself too sad and distracted to focus on algebra. >> it was my first period, and i told my teacher that i needed to go to the bathroom, but i didn't go to the bathroom.
>> reporter: instead, she walked through the hallways, cing, until she found gretchen levitz, who students here call the school mom. >> she asked me about, like, why i was crying, and then i told her, "because i miss my mom, i don't get used to this, it's hard, i'm distracted." >> reporter: de leon, a junior at bulkeley, came to hartford last fall from puerto rico after hurricane maria struck the island. her family had nev considered sending her away to be educated, but when her school lost anth electricitwater, and closed, her mother decided to send her to live with her aunt in hartford to finish school. >>'m always going to prefer that life i used to have before the hurricane.ce >> reporter: surricane maria, more than 24,000 displaced students from puerto rico have enrolled in school in states including florida,ss husetts and new york. almost 2,000 have come toti connt, more than 400 to hartford. the city has a long history of puerto rican migration and a
strong puerto rican community, but that doesn't mean it's easyt for thents or the schools. after de leton arrived, she levitz, who runs student activities and programming at bulkeley high school. levitz says the new students from puerto rico are resilient but still face emotional challenges as ty adjust to a new school, especially if they have been separated from family and friends >> when the kids come, they don't necessarily come right out and say, "i'm having a terrible time adjusting." c es out in different ways. for example, a student might see something that reminds them of home, and then they might start crying or they may feel lonely. we try to provide them with... with as much compassion and... and assistance as we can. >> reporter: levitz has worked at bulkeley for more than 20 years. >> you're here! >> reporter: she sayschool has always welcomed students from all over the world, but she's never seen anything quite like this.
more than 70 displaced students have enrolled here sint september. >> the students from puerto rico re a little different because it was sudden, it wasn't planned. and some of them werng without their family members or staying in hotels or emergency types of shelters. >> reporter: the i fue is person levitz, whose extended family lives on the island. and she' close ties there.with >> when new arrivals started to come, i still had not heard from my mom. so, i was very eager tmeet them. >> reporter: enitzaida rodriguez attend lkeley and now works here as a social worker. she says students have told her it's harfor them to adjust to a new school where many people don't speak their language. >> many do know come, and they do know the ge, but many others don't know the language. so, i think even adjusting to the language and barriers that th fey migd, whether discrimination because of the language or racism. >>eeporter: does anything c to mind about something a student has said to you in that
regar>>d? ell, the phrase that i think this has been ongoing: "you're in america, speak english." "like, here i go again. like, isn't that hascrimination?" i said, "yeah, we to work through that." >> reporter: two miles away, mcdonough middle sc 1ol has accept8 new students since the hurricane, which means more students in bilingual education class. hartford educators say that this bilingual support is cruenal for new st and that additional staff are needed, but providingo adequate srt is a struggle in a district that lacks the funding to do so. that's according to superintendent dr. leslie torres-rodriguez. >> if you're asking me whether i have the resources-- people, time and money? no. no. already were a... a challenged district. and we remain committed to providing high quality teaching and learning, but, at the same time, right, we know that that rerequires additionaurces. >> reporter: those resources could be hard to come by.
hartford was grappling with its own budget crisis long before rricane maria. last year, its credit rating wa downgraded to junk bond status. the cedity narrowly avo bankruptcy when connecticut lawmakers approved a state budget in october tt would provide $40 million in aid to keep it from collapsing. still, hartford public schools began this school year with a $3 mil plion deficit ans to close several schools over the next thrdi years. thrict estimates that educating the new students will add about another $3 million in costs this year, which includes rsring more bilingual teac and tutors along with transportation costs and assessments. so far, hartford has hired more than 20 teachers anstaff to support the new students. superintendent torres-rodriguez points out that hartford schools are legally required to provide public education. >> at no point am i going to say we are not going to deliver or our students.
so, let's put that aside and clarify that even if that means that we have to run a deficit,we ave to educate our students. >> reporter: several federal and state forts could provide additional funding for hartford's eduyscationm. this year's federal budget deal awarded $2.7 billion to schools affected by hurricanes harvey, irma and maria, and last year's wildfires. but schools still need guidance on how to apply for those funds, so that money hasn't reached connecticut schools yet. and last month, connecticut governor dann malloy asked state lawmakers to use 3.8 million of its education dollars to help districts hosting the displaced s, dents. he wrohis is the right thing to do. frankly, i wish that we couldo afford tore." in the meantime, a volunteer community effort has worked to provide the newly-arrived families and students with food, clothing and shelter. across the hall from her officez leeeps extra supplies like school uniforms, sanitary
products and shoes. >> so, socks are... are a luxury item for a t of our students. if you're coming from a country where it's very warm and you're ju wearing flip flops, for example, and you come here in connecticut-- one day it's 80 degrees, but the next day we have snow. so, socks are definitely in order for... for many of our students. >y,> reporter: todae leon and some of her friends are hanging out in levitz's room. they all bondeewd over being n at bulkeley and started calling themselves the newbies. >> it's a nice support system because, like, i feel like anyou one ofuys, like, i could text and be like, "hey, like, sup? mem upset." and you would makeel better. and like, that's nice to have. >> rerter: levitz said both emotional and material support will continue to be important. researchers at hunter college in new york city estimated in ,0october that as many as school-age children could leave the island as a result of t hurricane's devastation and puerto rico's ongoing economic crisis.
>> we haven't seen the end of this influx, and the needs are going to shift and change as more... more students come i and also as the students become more acclimated. so, definitely socia, bilingual teachers, resources,te material-- backpacks, uniforms, whatever a student ma- nen order to... to come to school and be prepared to learn. >> ( translated ): i need ha keep in mindi am here for a reason, that i have to finish school. that will benefit me ithe future. >> reporter: back in puerto rico, because of the debt crisis, the island's government recently proposed cutting subsidies to its only puic university system by almost half. de leon says she may apply to college on the mainland where she believes there are more opportunities. but one day, she wants to return home. >> i would choose puerto rico over any other country.
>> thompso watch our previous report on displaced puerto ricans in hartford on our website, pbs.org/newshour. and finally tonight, a st. patricy k's tradition wike no other flowed past revelers celebra pting srick's day in chicago. the chicago river has been dyed a hue of emerald green to mark the holiday every year since19 2. that's all for this etion of" pbs newshour weekend." the getting a second chance. >> in federal prison how long did it take for you decide to be an artist again? >> it was edpretty iate. being an artist is one of the only things that they couldn't take away from me. >> thompson: that's all for this edition of pbs newshour w that's all for this edition of" .bs newshour weekend." i'm megan thomps thanks for watching. have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
>> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene scchartz. thyl and philip milstein family. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. s. vage the j.p.b. foundation. the anderson family fund. rosalind p. walter barbara hope zuckerberg. ecorpornding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement comny. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by
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