tv PBS News Hour PBS July 25, 2018 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, in the hot seat-- secretary of state pompeo faces senators amid growing questions over the trump administration's relations with russia and the u.s.' role in the world. then, a secret recording between the president and his personal lawyer surfaces: what it shows about the plan to pay off a former playboy model, the larger questions raised about truth and falsehoods in the time of mr. trump.d, he leading edge of science: a look inside the dikeovery of a subterranean on mars. all that a more on tonight'sho pbs newsur.
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>> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: s >> this program de possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >>eoodruff: secretary of st mike pompeo has spent this afternoon defending the first trump-putin summit. but as u.s. senators turned up the heat over helsinki, rd came that a second summit, in washington, th fall, will be delayed until next year. a statement from natiol security adviser john bolton said, "the president believes that the next bilateral meeting with president putin should take
place after the russia witch hunt is over." at's a reference to the special counsel's investigation. we'll have a fl report, after the news summary. president trump and the leader of the european commission say they've agreed to turn from tariffs to talks. they met at the white house today and afterward, jean-claude juncker said both sides will hold off further tariffs while negotiations continue. mr. trump said the e.u. agreed to buy "a lot of soybeans," and liquefied gas. >> we agreed today, first of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods. this will open markets for farmers and workers, increase investment and lead to greater prosperity in both the united states and the european union. >> woodruff: it's unclear whether the e.u. purchase of soybeans will come nking
up for lost sales to china. thisonth, beijing imposed tariffs on u.s. soybeans, responng to american tariffs on steel and aluminum. yesterday, therump administration announced $12 billion in aid for farmers. republicans in georgia have chosen a candidate for govnor, endorsed by president trump, over one endorsed by the current governor. brian kemp won a decive victory in tuesday's runoff with lieutenant governor casey cagle. kemp campaigned on protecting gun rights and rounding up people in the country illegally. he'll face democratic nominee stacey abrams in november. the people opakistan turned out today to elect a new parliament, and prime minister, but thvoting was marred by violence. martin geissleteof independent vision news reports, from islamabad.or >> rr: pakistan's troubled election came to a bloody end
today, in the city of quetta more than 30 were killy a suicide bomber as they queued to vote. so-called islamic state clbimed responsity.ut just oside islamabad, bomb disposal teams checked the streets around imran khan's delling station. he arrived surroby anti terror squad officers, calm amid the chaos around him. a world famous fmer cricketer, th a privileged background and is oxford education, he cast himself as a popul a man of the people. he's pledg to end corruption and ease poverty here. his country, he told me, is t seeinge democracy at last. has this election been free and fair? >> it is one of the freest a fairest elections in pistan. the 2013lection, all the parties said it was rigged, 22 parties said it was rigged, i was the only one who said there should be an investigation.8
soelection, this election should be a free and fair. >> reporter: and everyone's conscience can be clear now? >> i'm clear. >> reporter: but not everyone is so sure. this campaign has been blighted by allegations of corruption. among the loudest, a claim that the military manulated the vote in imran khan's favor. >> woodruff: that report from martin geissler of indendent television news. in southern syria, healthfi als say a wave of suicidegs bombin killed more than 200 people. the islamic state group claimed responsibility. h pened in sweida province. that's east of where syria's military is engaged in a major offensive. one blast struck a vegetable market in the main city of sweida. other coordinated attacks hit villagesprhroughout the ince. the death toll from monday's firestorm inreece rose to at least 79 today, with up to 100 missing. residents and rescueorkers in mati, east of athens, searched
burned-out homes for loved ones. survivors told of tching the flames roar down on th. >> ( translated ): there was a great panic because the whole street was blocked bcars. shouting, hysteria, they could see the fire was coming with the wind. it already smelled a lot. the sky was black. >> woodruff: flags across athens flew at half staff today to begin three days of national mourning. they're still looking for survivors and victim monday's dam collapse in laos. the local red cross said today workers have found 24 boes so far. today, survivors gathered in shelters. they're among the more than 6,000 made homeless after walls of water smashed their villages. back in this country, extremeth heat kepsouthwest on the broil. power demand hit new recor around phoenix, arizona, and temperatures headed into the tr several states. across
ecst yesterday, death valley, california hit ad high of 127 degrees. and, on wall street, stocks rose on hopes for easing trade tensions. the dow jones industrial average gained 172 points to close at 25,414. the naaq rose 91 points, and the s&p 500 added 25. still to come on the newshour: senators grill secretary of state mike pompeo abssia. the secret recording of president trump and a larger question of truth telling. a kind of liquid water lake found on mars, and much more. >> woodruff: the trump y ministration's foreign policy came under fire to capitol hill. for the first time since president trump met with leaders from north korea and russia,cr
ary of state mike pompeo was grilled at a senate foreign relations committee hearing. nick schifrin has the story. >> two months, two summits, two mysteries-- what did the uresident promise in his meetings with rsian president vladimir putin... >> it's great to be with you. >> ...and north korean leader kim jong-un. today, secretary of state mike pompeo defended the administration. but before he could even begin, republican chairman, bob corker, who is not running for re-election, unloaded on the nation's top diplomat. >> you come before a group of senators today who are filled with serious doubts about this white hoe and its conduct of american foreign policy. in the summit's aftermath, we saw an american president who appeared dismissive and deferential. from where we sit, it peers in a "ready, fire, aim," fashion, the white house is waking up every
morning to making it up as they go. >> pompeo tried to reassure senators on the ruy,ssian pol announce what he called the new crimea declaration. in 2014. after the u.s. imposed snctions and refused to recognize crimea as part of russia. pompeo reiterated those policies. >> i want to ensure this mmittee the united states does not and will not recognize the annexation of crimea. >> both republican and democratic senators expressed repeated concerns about lasekt summit in helsinki, and what the president did and did not offer, led ranking member new jersey democrat bob menendez. >> did he tell putin i'll release o ultimately relax sanctions? >> senator, what you need to conduct your role, your approvriate role, i will pe you today. and i can confirm to you that no commitment h been made to
heange those policies in any way. >>resident was very clear with vladimir putin about u.s. positions. theatre u.s. posithat are the trump administration positions and he spoke about them very firmly and clearl when he met with vladimir putin. >> and he told you that. >> senator, i'm telling you what he had a conversation with putin about, and i'm telling you what u.s. policy is today. i understand-- senator, i understand t game that you're playing-- >> with all due respect, i don'e apprecou characterizing my questions. we questions is to get to the truth. on't know what the truth is. let me ask you this: did the president say they were going to our force structure in syria? >> senator, presidents are permitted to have conversations with their cabinetembers that aren't repeated in public. >> i don't know what happened in that meeting.st >> laeek, director of national intelligence, dan coats, a cabinet mmber, admitted he hadn't gotten a read-out. today, pompeo insisted the president was communicating wihh staff and being tough on russia. >> there's a narrative that developed that somehow president trump is weak on russia, and
when in fact the-- >> well, let me just-- >> reporter: americans support the president's outreacto russia. in a new pbs newshour/npr maris poll,59% of americans think it's better to bond market a relationship with russia but they don't support the president's style. 64% believe trump has not been tough enough on russia. and 72% of americans believe u.s. intelligence agencies' accusation that russia interfer in 2016 over russia's denials, including 63% of republicans. pompeo insisted the president agreed with u.s. intelligenceas agenciesessment that russia launched an influence campaign in the 2016 elctions. >> he has a complete and proper understanding of what happened. i feow. i brhim on it for over a this is perfectly clear to me personally. i am also certain he deeply respects the difficult and
dangerous work thar patriots in the intelligence community do every single day. >> in congrs, there's momentum for a new russian sanctions package, and pompeo came out with a bill that wouggld tri automatic sanctions if the intelligence community-- >> so, it folws necsarily that putting on notice with essentially a fail safe, if you will, thihs that follow has te likelihood of being successful in raising the cost in terms of how he calculates will risks associated with a wyatt range of actions. >> pompeo tried to convince kim jong-un to give ups nuclear weapons. u.s. intelligence believes north korea is dismantling a testing site, but north korea has not made any other pblic concession. massachusetts democrat edward markey worried the u.s. wasn't getting enough. >> ir am afaid that at at this
point, the united states, the trump administration is being takefor a ride. >> fear not, senator. we have no intention of allowing the u.n. sanctions, the world's sanctions, that we led the charge to ha put in place, to allow those sanctions to eithei beted or not enforced. >> but even after two hours ofte imony, chairman corker said he still had concerns, and he accused president trump ofpu osely sowing discourse in american foreign policy. >> i think you're a patriot, matremendous faith inis, but it's the president's actions that create tremendous distrust in our nation, among our allie it's palpable. we meet and talk with th is there a strategy to this? or is it-- what is it that causes the president to purposely, purposely create distrust in these institutions and what w're doing? >> so did secretary pompeo successfully address concerns about president trump's approach to russia and north korea?
for at we get twoiews from senators who were at today's hearing. weoregin with senames risch of idaho. he also serves on the senate intelligence commiee. senator, thank you very much. welcome to the program. a fellow republican, chairman bob corker, expressed very deep concerns about psident trump's approach to both summits with presidt putin and cairman kim jong-un. and not only, that the white house's general foreign policy. do yare those concerns? >> well, first of all, bob corker is a really good friend of mine, and i have greatr respect s opinion, but he and i do differ significantly on a number of thesessues. i think that secretary pompeo really lid out an excellent case today about towough president trump has been on russia, more so than any of his predecessors, be it sanctions, be it money spe on helping
nato, being money spent on helping people in eastern ukraine, the fact that they are absolutely refusing to accept russia's annexation of the crimea, and the list goes on and on and on. i think he did really an excellent job ofti pu to rest the national media's obsession with this issue. >> as you know, a lot of peopler were cod with president trump's policies wards rusia acknowledge this administration's policies aowards russia, as you mentioned-- for le sangzs with eastern ukraine-- has been tougher tn his predecessors. a lot of people are worried about the rhetoric, the president himself and s wavering on whether he trusts the intelligenc communities' assessment on the election in 2016. >> well, look, everybody speaks differently. certainly, i wouldn't say it the same way the president would, and nobody else would sayt exactly the same way, either. but as you point out, even the--
even the president's enemies and his critics acknowledge that he has been tougherhan anybody else. you've got to look at what a person doeandot pay nearly as much attention to the rhetoric. as far as his acknowledgment that the russians were involved in the 2016 election, secretary pompeo shot that right out of the-- right out of the chute when he started and said thes president is autely convinced that it happened. he trusts the intelligence agencies. i sit on the foreign-- i sit on not only the foreign relations committe but also the intelligence commit. i've looked at thousands and thousands of documents.yo ev acknowledges that the russians were involved. i think one of the problems they have is when people try to tie that to the president say that somehow he colluded. there was no collusion, and there's been no evidence of collusion. and i think the president,ul righ, takes exception with
people who claim that there was. >> let me switch the topic to north korea. the secretary, of course, was asked about north korea ltiple times. we've recently seen intelligence community say, yes, they are dismantling an eine test sit but that is all that north korea has publicly done in terms of denuclearization. is north korea doing enough, and is the u.s. getting enough, given what the secretary said, not to worry about nort north ks commitments? >> well, first of all, i'e just been shocked at the national media's hunger for the president to fail on the north koea issue. we are all americans. we should be pulling for theen presto be successful in this regard. the president was vey successful in getting the north koreans to reverse their position on nuclearization of the korean pbs. he should be given crediatfor instead of criticized for it. in addition to that, there have been a number of things that
have happens since theyid reverse positions, not the least of which was the rhetoric stopped from th north koreans and, number, two, they've quit testing. and number 3, we've seen a number of things on the ground, some of which i can talk aboreut most of which i can't talk about here, that indicates they e heading towards denuclearization. secretary pompeo was questionedt ab that. and gave some outline of it but conceded that he was going to have to, in a closed session, disclose more of what he knows, althoughthose of uso have been through those closed sessions already know. i suspect we're ing to have a closed session in the very near future where we have discussions of that. but, look, thisng-- this thing is moving forward well. d when it-- i'm ama turn on the tv and see the talking heads tell us oh, the president's failing on north kore look at the years that it took barack obama to get to a very bad agreement in iran. the president wants a good agreement. let's be a little patie with
him, and give him credit for what he's been able to achieve r. >> senator james risch of idaho. thank you very much. fo thank you. >> nor a perspective from the other side of the aisle, efmocratic senatormerkley of oregon. senator, thank you very much for joining us. secretary pompeo,s the pompeo said that the administration's been tough on russia, tugher than its predecessor, and that the president has the progative to have privat conversations with his own cabinet, and with other leaosrs. were tanswers sufficient? >> oh, absolutely not. what we have seen is a president who refused to critique russia on their annexation of crimea. they're holding the eastern edge of ukraine. he hasn't criticized them over the attacks on individuals in britain with chemical weapons. he hasn't criticized them ford cozying up a supporting the syrian government as it droppedb barrel n people, and he certainly hasn't criticized em for cyber attacking our elections. and we heard nothing today to
contravene that. in fact the one thing we did hear is that there is not yet any type of agreement with norto korea t even over creating an inventory of its ballistic missile and nuclear safeties. >> i want to get to north korea in a secon but the president's defenders on russia say, you are criticizing some of the president's rhetoric or lak of criticism, as you put it, but the policy have bee aggressive on russia in eastern ukraine, and, also, that the present has actually pushed forward in terms of getting rid of russian intelligence officials and closed cons laits in the u.s., something his predecessor did not do. >> well, as was noted in the hearing today, the president has failedo implement all of the cuts, provisions foranctions on russia. t basically-- democrats, republicans all cagether and said, "you must do this," precedented.t and the president still was very slow to implement, very slow to
act. he's had to have been drugged into taking any type of firm stand in that reeard. >> th president's defenders also say that, you know, russia and the united states haee 90% of world's nuclear weapons. the two leaders should be talking. don't you believe te two leaders should be talking? >> oh, absolutely. i agree with that. but it helps tave a-- the president actually learn iomething about the topics before he meetsh a former spy chief who is extraordina capable. the president came away essentially spouting all of the positi the russian government instead of fighting g for the united states. we ne w achdog for the united states. we need a fierce effort to take on the cyber attacks in tede untates, which really are acts of war. we need the predent to say, "get those additional sanctions done. i'm going to implement them and pass the 'deter act' whichould say if russia meddles in another election there will be
consequences." we need a tough president, notak epetitions of talking points from our chander in chief. >> reporter: secretary pompeo said he would support a further bill that would acually impose automatic sanctions on russia or any other country that is deemed impede in u.s. elections. do you trust and believe that the u.s. administration will actually protect this election and elections moving forward? >> well, im pleased to hear that today. but we need the president too actuallye to capitol hill, make the case, say to the senate, "get it say to the house, "get it passed. at this point on my desk." we need the president to show some leadership on this. >> on north korea, we've seen a freeze i missile and nuclear tests. we've seen the closing of this engine testing sit are those signs as secretary pompeo suggested today that the u.s. and north korea are in a better place today than they were under the previous two administrations? >> you know, we've had under
previo presidents north kore do the same dance. they've put in a temporaryze fr they say they support complete denuclearization. we've even got gunn further with detailed agreements. this administration hasn't gotten to the detrade agreements. in fact today it was cofirmed by the secretary that north korea at this very moment is continuing to enrich and createa more nuclearerials. >> stk pompeo, quickly, senator, in the 30 seconds we haveef secretary pompeo insisted there are other issues that have been discussed between the u.s. and north korea that he couldn't talk about in open session. do you have faith that there are other issues that north kor has pledged to that will lead to denuclearization? >> no, i don't have much faith. i'm in a "show me" mode. we have security clarance soulhe come and briefous that. but at this point, there's very throitle show, other tha same dance we've seen under previous efforts. in fact, even less now now
because our president, up front, agreed not as a reward for advancing but justaise concession, tore down our joint exercises with south crazy. >> senator jeff merkley of oregon, thank you very much. >> youl're wecome. thank you. >>oodruff: the fallout continued today from a secret recording of then candidate trump discusng hush money to a former "playboy" model. yamiche alcindor begins our coverage. >> well, thank you very much. >> alcindor: the big topic at the white house today was supposed to be trade, but when president trump and european commission president jeaclaude juncker ended the public portion of the meeting, they were sprayed with questions about something entirely different: >> did michael cohen betray you? >> thank you very much. >> alcindor: this new talk about the presidens former personal lawyer, michael cohen, comes as a new recording has been made
public: ioa september 2016 convers between cohen and then-candidate donald trump. tn, the first news outlet obtain the tape, reported thatit ot the recording from cohen's legal team. in the recording, cohen seems to be discussing a possible way to send payments to "david"-- davio pecker, chairmamerican media inc., which owns the "national enquirer" tabloid. >> i need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend david, you know, so t dt. i'm going that right away. when it comes time for the financing, which will be-- >> what financing? >> we'll have to pay -- >> we won't pay with caso. >> no, no, got -- no, no, no. >> check. >> alcindor: days before the 2016 election, the "wall street rijournal" reported that an media agreed to pay $150,0ay to former "y" model karen mcdougal for her story alleging that shead an affair with mr. trump a decade ago, a story that american media nev ran.
in the report, the company disputed the characterization of the payment. and then-spokeswoman hope hicks responded on behalf of the tru mpaign: "we have no knowledge of any of this." today, the dispute between lawyers for the two men, was over what was actually said in the recording about how the payment to pecker could be made. lanny davis, an attorney for cohen, told abc this: >> the word is "cash." everybody should listen to the tape to see if i'm right or t. >> alcindor: while rudy giuliani, a personal attorneyro for mr. trump,: "why are (cohen) and lanny davis misrepresenting the language from president trump "do not pay by cash... check.'" the apparent break between ssesident trump and his long- time aiate comes despite cohen's past statements of loyalty.he told "vanity fair" magazine i'r an article last year--m the guy who would take a bullet for the president." but since then, it has become public that federal authoritiesr in new yorinvestigating cohen.e
>> he's nowdicated to telling the truth to everyone and we'll see what happens. >> as to the wh behind cohen's apparent break with mr. trump, davis denied was still seeking a pardon for the president. for the pbs nehour, i'm yamiche alndor. he reporter who we heard just ask the preside he betrayed him was barred from the white house from attending an open press event in the rose garden. kaitlyn colin was told by the chief of staff and the pretess sey that her questions were "inappropriate." we take a closer look now at what we know about the president's former weather and his legal troubles with attorney renato mariotti. he's a former federalec pror. he currently works in private practice in chicago. renato mariotti, thank you for what do you hear in that recording that's significant? >> well, one thing they hear, judy, is ah discussionat makes
it clear that the president is familiar with this that heenes the circumstances of it. he does not seyem surprised the subject at all. that would make it very difficult for the president orhi legal team to say later that the president had no knowledge of this matter. y it als know, the fact that he talks in the plural suggesthi thatisn't the first time that he's dealt with a situation like this. you know, if isk had ed you, if i demanded payment from you for information, i'm sure you'd have a lot of questions about it. wiewhowant to know you could be sure that the story wouldn't getu pblished, and you'd have a lot of questions about the details. you know, there's really not a re. of questions he this seems almost like a standard transaction. the president ggests a number-- 150-- very quickly. and then there's, obviously, this whole, as you played a moment ago, this whole discussion of cash.f and regardlessow you read
the conversation, whether you accept mr. guiliani's version or the version that mr. cohen's lawyer put forward, the fact that a lawyer was discussing whether or not to pay in cash for a large fancial transaction is very unusual. >> woodruff: so what does this mean in termsf legal jeopardy, either from michael cohen, who we believe to bender investigation-- or for president trump? do you hear anything that crosses the line? >> well, certainly, this i i-- tha problem for-- in terms of campaign finance violations. what's been reported is that mr. cohen is under investigation for both campaign fiolnance ions and for fraud. and as to the cancpaign fi violations, there's discussion on this tape of another sort of related matter that the president suggests could be eushed off until after th election. there's a-- there's an issue of timing there. and i think that's important
because what the legal issue is regarding campaign finance is whether or not these payments to women would be considered an sexpense that relate to the campaign. typically, the president would have, i think, a very strong defense that anyone would want to hide their-- you know, their rsonal affairs from the public or from others and to protect a their spou their family, regardless of whether they're in the middle of a campaig the fact, though, that during the same conversation, the president is talking about ming and it appears to be related to pushing something off after the election, suggests that the purpose of this conversation and of the payment was related to the election. and i think that in particular would be problematic. and like i said earlier, the mere fact that the president knows about the payment and knows the specifics also could potentially create problems for him when combined with oth evidence. >> woodruff: now, we know that this recording was-- they- the-- they waived the right
privilege here in making it public. i think there are some-- i think i don't and many others who don't know the law-- want to understand why would that be? why would they waive the privilege of the president, the client speaking to his lawy w? >>ell, judy, you and the viewers at home aren't the onlyo ones who wantnow that. many lawyers have asked me that question over last ek becacathe last 24 hours. because typically, lawyers are very reluctant to waive privilege. not only is it because you can't ke that waimp back once you've, waived iut sometimes waiving privilege over one recording or thedocument opens privilege as to other documents or recordings because courts don't want to let-- don't waont you se privilege as a way of unmasking only certain things, to, you know, waive privilege over the documents, or the recordings that ae helpful to you and maintain privileges to others. so often, that could mean that
privilege is waived as to a number of documents or a number of rcordings. so typically, attorneys are very reluct t to waiivilege. there really is no legal strategy to explain whythe waived privilege here. it must be a p.r. or press strategy unrelated to legal strategy. >> woodruff: quickly, renato mariotti, what questions do you have after this that are not answeed? >> the stion is, the questions i have relate to the fraud charges that are supposedly under investigation by federal prosecutors. we still don't know what theokye g at or what those charges are cen >> woodruff: well, this and a number of other things areeration qualstions. we'r seeking answers to. renato mariotti, thank you very much >> thank you, judy. >> woodruff: as we heard,s michael cohecording contradicts what the trump campaign said they knew about model karen mcdougal at theti . it is one of a number of false statements that, over time, have come from present trump or a member of his team.
at the newshour, we do not report on all of them. tonight we want to step back and look broadly at president trump's relationship with the truth and what it means for our democracy. let's start with some background. >> we're putting america first again and we're seeing the incredible results. >> woodruff: when weighing what's true and what isn't, one of the president's favorite rgets is the news media, and the many news organization he attacks. that was the case last night when he spoke to the veterans of foreign wars in kansas city and stirred up the crowd. >> just stick with us.e don't believe ap you see from these people, the fake news. (applause) just remember: what you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening. >> woodruff: but in just the last few weeks alone, the president has made a number of misleading or inaccurateen statem on subjects ranging from russian interference in
u.s. politics to farmers and trade to how much member nato countries spend on defense. mr. trump's statements on russia have gotten the most attention,t particularly his news conference with president putin inelsinki where he seemed agree with putin instead of u.s. telligence. >> i will tell you that president putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. >> woodruff: that brought condemnation from both political parties, includingepublican senator jeff flake of arizona, a frequent critic. >> we have indulged myths and fabrications, pretended that it wasn't so bad, and our indulgence got us the cpitulation in helsinki. we in the senate who have been elected to represent our constituents cannot be enablers of falsehoods. >> woodruff: the next day, mr. trump said he stood with u.s. agencies. but even then he put in a caveat: >> i accept our intelligence
community's conclusion that russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place. could be other people also. a lot of people out there. >> woodruff: but a declassified intelligence report shared with mr. trump before he became president concluded that putinpe rsonally "ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at thent u.s. presil election." u.s. agencies have not suggeste any otuntry intended to disrupt the election.on earlier this in a tweet about the impact of foreign taffs on farmers, the president wrote that "farmers enhave been on a downward for 15 years" and "a big reason is b terrible trade deals." but that statement is not accurate. farmers have earned less in the past few years, but that's not been the case for 15 years. in fact, net income adjued for
inflation reached a record in 2013. and many experts say the problem has not been trade deals, but commodity prices. the "washington post," a news organization the president regularly iticizes, keeps its own list. it found the president has made more than 3,200 false or misleading claims while in office. and that was bere the start of summer. it also analyzed a speech mr. trump gaven montana earlier this month and found, 76% of the claims the president made in that speech alone were false, misleading or unsupported by evidence. the latest newshour/npr/marist poll asked whether voters think esident generally tells the truth. 58% said only some of the time or hardly ever. 36% said almost all of the time ed most of the time. republicans believhe l president byge margin.
the poll also sked whether prhident trump tells the tr more often or less than prior u.s. presidents. 56% said ls often, 32% said more often. for a closer look at president trump and the matter of truth, we turn to peter wehner, a senior felloat the ethics and public policy center in washington. he served in the lt three republican administrations, presidents reagan and both bushes. lara brown, director of the graduate school of polical management at the george washington university. she's also the author of several books on presidents, including "jockeying for the american presidency." and domenico montanaro, the lead political editor for npr. and we welcome all of you back to the newshour.m domenico, ing to start with you upon. we were just sharing with the audience some se theoll numbers. 58% of those polled say they think the president tells the truth some of the time or har
ever. how does that breawn among the electorate? who art we talking abre? >> well, and if you add "never" into there, you get to 61 so you have a full 60-somethingt percent american people who think that this president either never, hardly ever, or only some of the time tells the truth. you know and when you look, particularly in the suburbs, where there are going to be all these key s,house raou wind up with seeing that, you know, the-quarters of people o live in the suburbs, including, especially, suburban women who are going to be so key to this election, really not having a lot of faith in this president or his ability to tell the truth. >> woodruff: peter w thner, the faat we're even having this conversation tells us that isomething different is gng on. as we said, you have worked in the bush white house 41, 43, you worked for president reagan. what is different? >> what's different is we don't have a run-of-the-milliar in the white house.
we have a pathological liar. this is a man who lies on personal matters, political matters, domestic, internationani he lies mo, noon, and night. and it just is never-- never-ending. so that's one thing. we have never had a president who is so pathologically-- es so pathologically, andalize needlessly, often. that's one. thother tng is the number of people in this country whoin believhe lies, who have accept them. this has tremendous daming effects in the political and civic culture of the tri. a self-governing nation can't run if you can't have a common set of facts. if you can't agree on common realities. what you've got is a man in the white house who is engaged in not just an assault on truth but an effort to annihilate truth. >> woodruff: "annihilate truth." >> yeah. >> woodruff: that's an incredible statement. >> it's not just the lies. it's that he's trying to destroy the categories ofruth and falsity. and that's really why he goes
auser the media, right, bec the media has always been the institution in american life that has kept president's accountable when it comes to what's true and what's not. and he knew from the outside of his presidencthat he had to delegitimize the media, so he could get away with this kid of of-- kind of thing. and this has an enormous seeefpe ct in the life of a country. >> woodruff: laura brown, we all know-- we talked about this before-- politicns exaggerate. presidents exaggerate. they strecht truth. sometimes they have been found to be lying. why-- what isifferent about right now? what-- we hear peter wehner saying this is an assault on the truth. how do you see it. >> well, i wouy ld actuaree with that. i think one of the things that you with this presidec, especiallyss the administration, is a desire to lie on everything. i mean, there is such a voume of lies that it actually becomes
difficult to catalog. and it creates confusion among the public, and as a result, many people end up tryg to understand what is true, what is not, and thaolt whe conversation about what is truth is precisely what allows his base to continue to support him and to believe his versionre ofality and not the news media's actl version of reality. >> woodruff: and, yet, domenico, you watch these polls over time, going back to the campaign, aong the people who supthport president trump have been willing to pretty much embrace everythi he's done and said. >> absolutely. and when, you know, lara talks about beingiebl categorize untruths orct mischaizations, "the washington post" has tried to do 0hat and has found some 320 misleading statements or false claims by the president.
that isn't something, as you te, that's really had any effect on his base, obviously. in this pol,he npr/newshour-- pbs newshour/maris poll, 85% of republicans ill support this president. now, when it comes to independen, which is a really key group, they sort of turned on this president a year ago, end two-thirds of them say that they a not-- they do not approve of the job that he's doing, and theyon't believe him. you know, and a lot of this also has to do with a lot of his personal attributes, his personal characteristics. you ve 60% of pele in this poll also saying that they're embarrassed by the president's conduct. now, there are a couple of caveats i want to put i here because i went back and looks at the 2016 exit polls. and you might remember some 60% said tesident trump didn't have the temperament to be president. e ey said that he wasn't qualified to se president. and that they would be concerned or scared if hewon, and yet, he
won. and here we are. >> woodruff: pete wehner, as we look back over the last year and a half of the president in office, are there moments, are there statements of-- where something wasn't borne out by inidence that you think particular stand out? >> yeah, there are several. i mean, there are so many it's hard to-- i would say the charlevoix event was very importdt, that there were go people on both sides. i think the attacks on the mueller investigation are extremely mportant because this is an investigation trying to discern truth, and he's trying to disoi it. the one where he said hillary clinton won because three million illeg votes were cast. i'll tell you one that might strike people as trivial but in retrospect is important, that was the original lie at the dawn of the presidency of donald trump, and that was the crowd size, when he insisted and sent his press secretary out to insist that this was larger tha rack obama's. in one sense, people say this is a trivial matter. wh cares?
the reason it mattered is this was right out of the box-- not just a lie but it was an asault on empirical, demonstrable facts. reat is, there were pic that showed the difference, and that was the tell, as they a in ker that said that this guy was something different. he was going to go ahfter tr in a way, and it's been a >>stained, relentless assault on truth. ould like to, just for a moment, kind of put some of this into historical context. when you look bacat other presidents who have lied-- because most presidents have in someat least minor ways, sometimes justifiablenes, and sometimes categorically wronge ones, that were morally problematic. you still don't see anything like the sheer kind of volume that president trump is doing. i mean, what we have when we look back at f.d.r., he even admitted that he would be perfectly willingto mislead and
tell lies if it were to win then war. of course, he was talking about world war ii. when you look at richard nixon with watergate. that was, obviously, an obstruction of justice, and that became a problem for the presidency, and it created a great deal of cynicism among the public. when you lookt lyndon johnson, or you look to the "pntagon papers," we know that there was lying. but, again, most of these things were liited by topic or limited damage. this is not that kind of a tuation. >> woodruff: pete wehner, finally, what does this mean for our democracy? people talk about a democracy is built on a foation of send ?ruths, reality. what is this doi >> it's hurting democracy. it's weakening the foundations. and that's why people stand up and speak out. democracy is about persuasion, right, not coercion. and you can't persuade people if
you can't agree on facts. you can't even agree on common problems. that, when you enter this realm, it deepens polarization. it deepens a sense of political tribalism. all of the rancor, all of the divisions are madi worse. buuld say a couple of things. vises create their own antibodies, and the public can do something about this. you can do it in your individual lives. people can do it in socl media. they can make a commitment not to put party loyalties ahead of the truth when they're in conflict. they can vote against-- >> woodruff: and you thenk that is hag now? >> i think you are starting to get a reaction-- i'm sure you're getting a reaction against ito efcause ple understand both the disorientinect of this-- that's one thing. but there's something else going on asl wel. everybody knows in your individual life you can't live if you don't have a common understanding of truth, and that's true in a national life as well. i think donald trump, the effect of all of this isxhausting on
the public. i think they're embarrassed, asa wa early, and i think they're ashamed of what's i happening. anink there will be, in 2020, and maybe in 2018, reaction against this. this is not as if h ameri a terminal disease and nothing can beo dne. individual lives matter. if one person does something, it may not. but if a lot of people ating act together, you can change a political and civic cul'sture. thappened before and it can happen again. >> woodruff: pete wehner, lara brown, domenico montanaro, we >> thank you.. >> thank you. >> woodruff: finally, some tantalizing new findings about water on mars. naturally, it raises more atestions about the possibility of some kind of exrestrial life there. it's a perfect fit for our miles
o'brien and our weekly segmented on the "leadin" of science. amna nawaz caught up with him. >> nawaz: they may have long suspected it, but scientists have finally found for the first time a large watery reservoir, ibly a lake, beneath the southern ice cap of mars. radar suggests the reservoir i12 more thailes wide and similar in some ways to lakes found beneath the greenland and antarctic ice sheets on earth. it's salty and buried nearly a mile below thehree-billion- year-old ice cap. for many, it's a huge moment. that includes miles, long been covering the latest on the red planetnd he joins me now. miles, for those of us who haven't been following the red planet all these years, why is this su a big deal? >> well, amna, i guesscs ntists, myself, and anyone who watches this closely, would have been surprised if th didn't find liquid water beneath the surface. but it's not an easy thing to do. you know, really, when you think about this,his is th culmination benefit 150 years of
work that began with an italian astronomer by the name of chiparly, who trained his telescope on mars and saw what he called canali, which translated shomeul channels but got mistranslated into canals and started off a trend which led us to the war of the worlds and the idea that there were really martians. this has gone on rectly with nasa missions, including the path finder, curiosity, spirit, and opportunity missions, where there were all kin of t ferences of past water, min logical data, tnd of thing. finally the discovery of water ice at tth poles. k about it for a moment. you have all this evidence of distant, ancient ter. you've got water ice at the poles. you know you have a hot core in the middle. so if there's a hot core in the middle, ice at the poles, somewhere along wait there has to be water. that's what they dicovered. the significance of that is on this planet wherever we find lierid water-- no matter w
it is, the bottom of the ocean, in a hot acidic bath in yellow stoarng underneath a glacier in antarctica, wherever that may be, you find life. >> it's a huge moment. let's talk about h got here in the first place. what have they been lookingat. what do we use, how do they know the water there. >> it's a european orbit ter, mars express. it has been b orit for 89 faen years and has a long-wave radar, a ground-penetrating radar tht has been looking, analyzing beneath the surfafs mars for all this te. the data goes back really about a decade, and the scientists have just been trying very carefully toake sure what they thought they saw is what they thought. and in fact, after all these years of going through all the possibilities of what it might m ht not be, they've come to the coclusion it haso be water. scientists i've talked to today say it's a very elega piece of science. there's a radar return about a
mile and a half below the surface of the south pole ice that is clear-cut signs of liquid water. >> okay, so let's hear from one of the scientists who i actually the lead on this research. he's a planetary sentist. this is him talking about exactly what with they did find there. ke a listen. >> the radar data tell us that this water must contain a large amount of lts. this is because the ice above it is very transparent. and this would not be possible if the ice was too warm, too close toohe meltingnt. so we have to nclude that the water in contact with the ie must be at least minus 10, minus 20, maybe minus0 clsius. >> so, miles, very salty water, veryold water. you mentioned life where there is water. what can actually live in these conditions? >> well, tiny, microscopic things, but that mht be the
extent of what we ultimately find, and it won't be easy to do, but maybe downtown road, in the way of martians. it's importstt to undd that, you know, at that temperature, you would think it would be st lid. it's a briny solution, if it's a seattle solution, and under pressure-- which is whau't have in this case-- it can stay at liquid form at much lower temperatures. and that part of mars is very cold place, indeed. the question is how would you evererify if there were microbes there? that would require some drillisa. and when i that, some significant drilling, more than a mile and half deep at the south pole. >> so is that what's next? we're going to possibly see missions to drill on mars? >> well, the devil is in the oetails on that one for sure, amna, because ifthink about what it takes to do, you know, armageddon-style dribrlling with e willis on mars, it involves a lot of very heavyma inery and drill bits which is very expensive and way beyond our capabilities right now to
get to mars. one of the scwientists talking to today, the principal investigator on spirit and opportunity, steve squyres, said, you know, if there's water there, it's very likely it is in the midlatitude regions, which would be a better place for humans to go anyway. and it might be shallower depth because it's warmer there. maybe, justaybe they could do some drilling midlatitude anu it be not as deep. but either way, it's not an easy mission. so it will be-- we'll have to sort of stay tuned as to whether there are microbes in this underwater lake on mars. >> we will be staying tuned we know you will as well. miles o'brien, always great to talk to you. >> amna, it's a >> woodruff: on the newshour online right now, a new studyow a very tiny amount of radiation from the 2011 disaster at japan's fukushima nuclear
plant has made its way into california grapes, and it could help in the hunt for fraudulent wine.r learn more on b site,g/ pbs.wshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again hereve tomorrowng. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs wshour has been proved by: >> consumer cellular believes that wireless plans should reflect the amount of talk, text and data that yoffuse. we a variety of no- contract wireless plans for people who use their phone a little, a lot, or anything in between. to learn more, go to consumercellular.tv >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language.
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