tv PBS News Hour PBS October 22, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
y captioning sponsored newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy wdruff. on theewshour tonight: saudi arabia's shifting story on the death of jamal khashoggi fails to answer key estions in the face of mounting evidence of a brutal murder. ten, president trump's pl pull the u.s. out of a key nuclear arms control treaty draws criticism across the globe, including from somebl rean lawmakers here at home. plus, battleground california. democrats look tflip a congressional district that has been reliably conservative f decades, hoping to capitalize on reaction to the trump administration. >> what is helping a democrat in this kind of year is the fact that so many suburban, white, college-educated women
>> consumer cellular believes that wireless planthshould reflecamount of talk, text and data that you use. we offer a variety of no- contract weless plans for people who use their phones a little, a lot, or anything in between. to learn more, go to consumercellular.tv >> financial services firm raymond james. t william and flora hewlett foundation. for more than 50 years, advancing ideas and su institutions to promote a better world. w .hewlett.org. >> 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. >> oodruff: the evidence keeps building in the death of journalistamal khashoggi at the saudi consulate in istanbul, turkey. newly released video shows an apparent saudi body double leaving the consulate in the writ's clothes, after the killing. foreign affairs correspondent nick schifrin begins our verage. >> schifrin: after jamal khassoghi walked into saudi e,arabia's istanbul consul he never walked out-- but the saudis tried to convince the world he did. today, turkish officials leaked to cnn video of a saficial named mustafa al-madani, wearing plaid and jeans, walking into the consulate two hours before khashoggi. after khashoggi's murder, he walks tside in khasoggi's clothes and glasses, apparently trying to make it seem like khassogi left the consulate alive. saudi officials now say the intentwa't only to fool c turkish cceras, but also
fool crown prince mohammad bin salman, said foreign minister adel al-jubeir said on fox news sunday. >> they made a mistake when they killed jamal khassoghi in the consulate, and they tried to cover it up. n>> schifrin: saudi offic admit crown prince mohammad bin salman, known widely as m.b.s., wanted his critics brought back to the kingdom-- including jamal khassoggi-- so a group of 15 saudis flew to istbul for rendition, but not murder. >> this was an operation that was a rogue operation. this was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding sie authorities and resplities they had. >> schifrin: a saudi official said the team confrontedog kh, but he refused to comply, and there was a "quarrel and an hetercation." saudi officials have claimed the team put khassoghi hi a chokehold, or covered his mouth, leading t inadvertent death, and the cover-up and the body double video. saudi officials say m.b.s. was duped by his own people, including deputy intelligence chief major general ahmed al-asiri, royal court advisor a saud al-qahtan security official maher mutreb, who was photographed outside the
istanbul consulate before and after khashoggi's murder-- and near mohammad bin salman's side earlier this year. but al-jubair said all of that proves no connection to m.b.s. >> there weren't people closely tied to him who were involved in this operation. there were pictures of some security officers who may have been part of his security detail from time to time, but this is norm. >> schifrin: turkish officials have kept up pressure by g the hit squad's names and passports, men identified by inudi experts as royal guards, special forces, lligence and air force officers. and turkish officials say, after the murder, the saudis called anm.b.s.' private office, his brother, the saudi ambassador to the u.s. "it's inconceivable that mohammad bin salman didn't know," said lo-time saudi defender republican senator lindsey graham: >> i find it impossible to think the crown prince wasn't involved. neso go after him and his circle. save the alliance. i don't mind military cells.nn but i do business with the current leadership.
m.b.s., he's done to me. >> schifrin: senate foreign relations chairman bobr spoke on cnn: >> i don't think anybody believes that story. i can understand the president wanting to keep open channels. wt i think those of us wh want to speak directly to this, know that it's just no credible. >> schifrin: the international reaction is equally withering. german chancellor angela merkel called for suspending saudi arms sales. >> ( translated ): there is an urgent need to clarify what happened. we are far from this having bee cleared up and those responsible held to account. >> schifrin: after initially calling saudi arabia's story "credible," today president trump said, "obviously, there's been deception, and there's been lies." but today, senior advisor and son-in-law jared kushner urged everyone not to jump to
conclusions. >> we are obviously getting as many facts as we can from the different places, and then we'll determine which facts are credible. >> schifrin: but there's more pressure on saudi arabia today than at any point si11, in part because this has been made personal. this weekend, khashogg fiancee posted a video of him on twitter, introducing himself, until...( laughs ) tehey took your bodily presence," she w"but your beautiful laugh will remain inve my soul fo" >> woodruff: we will take a closer look at effects of all this on u.s.-saudi relations,af r the news summary. in the day's other news, russia warned of countermeasures if the u.s. withdraws from a ld war- era nuclear arms treaty. the 1987 pact banned the two sides from having medige ground launch missiles-- nuclear or conventional. president trump announced quitrday that the u.s. wil the agreement.
he charged again today that russia has violated the terms. we will have a full report later in the program. a growing caravan of central american migrants pushed deeper into southern mexico today, despite new warnings from president trump. he declared that he will slash foreign aid for el salvador, guatemala and honduras for failing to stothe migrants. >> we have been giving so much money to so many different countries for so long, and it's not fair and it's not good. and then when we ask them to keep their people in their country, they're unable to do it. >> woodruff: meanwhile, united nations officials estimated more than 7,000 people have joined ths.procession toward the u. border. they still have some 1,100 miles to go. >> ( translated ): trump'sts twre very worrying. he doesn't know how we'veas sufferede was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. well, we weren't. if he put it would be very different.
>> woodruff: a spokesman for el salvador's president voiced hope today that tensions over the caravan will ease after the u.s. mid-term elecons in two weeks. hurricane willa set its sights on mexico's pacific coast today, with catastropc winds of 155 miles an hour. , is now a category 4 sto expected to hit south of the resort town of mazatlan late tuesday. earlier, it was a category 5, buit weakened slightly. vote counting has begun in afghanistan's parliamentary elections, after a weekendf delays and violence. election officials say some four million of the country's n neare million registered voters cballots. that is despite taliban attacks that killed an estimed 78 people. voting in kandahar province was
delayed a week, after a guard killed two afghan security officials last week. the top u.s. commander in afghanistan, general scott miller, escaped injury at that kandahar meeting. but the pentagon has now confirmed that army brigadier general jeffrey smiley suffered least one gunshot wound separately, a nato soldier from the czech republic died in iother insider attack tod western afghanistan. and, on wall street, energy and financial stocks led much of the market lower. the dow jones industrirage lost nearly 7 points, to close at 25,317. the nasdaq rose 19 points, and the s&p 500 slipped almt 12. still to come on the newshour: u.s.-saudi relations are in alestion after an unconvincing explanation of jhashoggi's death. concerns are raised about security in europe after the president says he plans to
withdraw from a nucleatreaty. the trump administration's plans to eliminate protections for transgender people. and, much more. >> woodruff: the apparent killing of jamal khashoggi by saudi arabian agents has roiled ddle east like few event in recent years. and, the allegation of involvement by the saudi crown prince, mohammed bin salman, has put his leadership role in the spotlight. e first time. once again, here's nick schifrin. >> schifrin: 33-year-old mohammad bin salman has been praised as a reformer, but also vilified as impetuous, and a human rights abuser. the government he ads has picked a fight with canada, kidnapped the lebanese prime minister, held members of his own family on house arrest, and anntenced activists to death. he leads the coalition waging war in yemen. the u.n. says 16,000 people have been killed and wounded there,
but the u.n. stoared counting ago. the newshour has reported often from yemen, but it's not easy. this summer, special correspondent jane ferguson had to smuggle herself int area controlled by the houthi rebels, to see the impact of the saudi- led bombg campaign. s reporter: night is slipping away from my mogadar. show suffers the agony of starvation in silence. no longer able to walk or talk, at 11 years old, mona's emaciated body weighs just 24 pounds. watching over her is older brother nigib who brought her to this remote hospital in yeme desperate to get help. the nurses here fight for the elives of children who rriving. >> because of the war, she is suffering from mall nutrition, her father is jobless. most to have the families in yemen are jobless.>> reporter: every day, she says, she sees these sorts of cases. peopleave lost work, therefore, they have no money,
therefore, there's just no foo the house. you were never supposed to seee thesimages of the girl. a blockade of northern yemen ops reporters from getting here. journalists are not allowed on flights into tarea, no cameras, no pictures.ki (honng) the only way into rebel hell yemen is to smug you recallself in, to be dressed entirely as a yemeni woman with a full-faced veil to get through the checkpoint. i traveled through the front hanes to see what's happening insit the united nations is calling the world's worst humanitarian dister. the houthis cautiously welcomed me in. edonce i was there, watch me closely. the hunger here in this human catastrophe is entirely maman. yemen was already one of the pos est countr the middle east. war pushed an already ney
people to the brink of famine. in the midst of political cha in yemen after the arab spring, houthi rebels fromhe north captured the capital sinaiin 2014 before sweeping south and causing the country's then president to flee. neighboring sunni viudi arabia s the houthis from a yemeni sect close to shia am and backed by rival iran as aunn ceptable threat along their border. so it formed a military coalition of countries in 15, derald to defeat the houthis and reinstate the old president. crucial military support for the campaign is provided united states, a long-time ally of saudi arabia. after threefears o aerial come barredment and fighting on the grou, the coalition has, so far, failed to dislodge the rebels. what the campaign has done is devastate the economy, leaving two-thirdshe population relying on food aid for survival
dover 8 million people on the brink of starvation.ma >> so what toe of >> schifrin: so, what to make of saudi foreign policy, and this moment in the middle east? professor greg gause is the head of the international affairs department at texas a&m university's bush school of government and public service. he has written extensively about saudi arabia. and randa slim, a senior fellow at the middle east institute. we should mention that last week, the institute stopped taking saudi donations, "pending the outcome of th investigation" into khashoggi's case. thank you very much to you both for joining us. rand paul, he randa slim, is external pressure on saudi arabia but there that translate into internal change? >> it's difficult to say that at the moment because the first reaction from the saudi government really especially from the king himself, at that point the crown prince in charge ense sectorg the int
which is accused of having committed this tragedy and this murder against jamal. so far, the king b standiny his son. on the other hand, the crown prince has angered a lot of encies who are important to the survival of his reign in the future as a king. he angered the political establishment, he has angered the business community. he has angered members of hisl own fa the royal family. so it's hard to say whether there will be n eternal coup or what, but as long as tg is standing by his side it's going to be hard to imagine a sce where we're going to have an abrupt change in which the crowl princebe displaced from his position. >> reporter: on the other hand, doesny of that criticism externally or discussion -- you youd to word coup -- does that reduce saudi stability and perhaps saudi sway in the region and the world?
>> look, i mean, sauditability is affected by this climate of ty.u the fact that you have a crown prince who felt he could get away with murder, that in itself is an ement of concern about, you know, the effect of future ability in the kingdom and uture u.s.-saudi relations. so i think,as we move forward, and as you said in the introdu this move or rger comes against a background of an accumulation oc decisions,ents engineered and led by the crown prince which raed a lot of concern about his fitness pore the job as a crown prince and future a a king. >> reporter: gregory gause, if there is concern a the fitness of crown prince bianna n
lman, is that a threat, particularly pressuring iran and perhaps a peace deal with the lestinians and israelis? >> those are the things on the agenda right now. but the united states has had a very strong relationship with saudi arabia through a number of american and sau leaders. i doubt if there were any changes at the center of saudi decision-makin even right now that there would be a serious redefinition of the saudi-american relationship. the more dangerous situation ise if tis no change in saudi arabia that ps from congress, from public opinion and other internional precious could force the united states to take its distance from saudi arabia, i think that's tht biggeat right now. >> reporter: so to be moreif sp, senator lindsey graham not only says should there be a change in policy toward saudi arabia bus.t n.b.as to go, i
think he said n.b.s. is done for me. is that something the government shld be pushing saudi arabia, saying n.b.s. is "done" for the u.s.? >> the it's hard for the united states to say who's in and out. i think the administration is tied much too mu to one person tthin the saudi-ruling family. i think there habe some kind of communication fromgt wash a senior person whom the saudis trust. we don't have an ambassador there now, but a very señor person, somebody like former secretary of state james baker has to go and talk to theab king t the way forward in u.s.-saudi relations. >> randa slim, the way forward in us.-saudi reations once through ankara.r
the sh president erdogan, do you have any idea what heun annos tomorrow will be eliminat? gregory gau, does recep tayyip erdogan control some of the next steps that the u.s. has to take? i think odor wan played this like a straited various. a she's be statesman and wants the to preserve a relationship with vawd saudi arabia as he faces his own economic problems but he's allowed his press to leak the information out drip by drip to make te saudis look bad. the backfrowned is the saudis and the turks don't see eye to eye on what the future of th region should be. president erdogan supportive of the uprinisings2011, of the muslim brotherhood and the saudis are nervous about any kind of bottom-up politics.
so there's a reality between ankara and are that's underlying odor wan's behavior. >> reporter: do you think erdogan will make a difference when it comes to u.s.-saudi relationship? >> i think negotiating with both the americans and the saudis and i think his fear is that th saudis and americans will start negotiating with each other and push him aside. i think he has a numr overdemands old like to get from the saudis, primarily fin he has a number of demands dealing from the domestic agenda from the u.s., the bank which is a institution in turkey facing billions of dollars sanctions against iran, he would like the sanction tons scaped or minimize. and then the issue of
northeastern syria. that relationship between the u.s. forces and the shia have been a troubled relationship as far as erdogan iconcerned and he would like to make sure this is under a framework he can live with or accept. so there are a number of negotiations odor wan would like to negotiate with in both these countries and that's what, in my opinion is take place at the moment and tomorrow we'll see whher he's going reveal the naked truth as he has promised to do or not. >> reporter: randa slim, gregory gause, thank you to you both. >> woodruff: as we reported earlier, president trump has announced his intention to pull the united states out of a
landmark, cold war nuclear weapons treaty, struck 30 yearsg with the soviet union. so, what would the effect of that be? and is the treaty outdated, as the president claims? it was 1987, and president agan and soviet leader mikhail gorbachev celebrated the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty as calming cold r tensions. flash forward to this past weekend, and president trump's decision to abandon it. >> we're the ones that have stayed in the agreement, and we've honored the agreement, but russia has not, unfounately, honored the agreement.so we're going to terminate the agreement, and we're going to pull out. >> woodrf: the i.n.f. treaty scrapped thousands of ground- launched nuclear and conventional missiles th ranges of 300 to 3,400 miles. but in 2014, then-president obama accused russia of developing and testing a cruise missile, in viation of the treaty.
on sunday, president trump echoed that charge, and today, he said china should be added to the agreement. >> it's a threat to whoever you want, and it includes china, and it includes russia, and it includes anybody else who wants to play that game.n' you do that. you can't play that game on me. >> woodruff: the russians denyol ing the pact, and claim that it is the u.s. breaching the treaty with the europe-based missile defense systems it has built. russia's foreign minister sergei lavrov condemned mr. trump's announcement. lavrov said last night that he wants answers from u.s. national security adviser johon, who's in moscow this week. >> ( translated ): we will wait for an official oplanations fr u.s. colleagues. in case john bolton is readye o give them,ll of course listen to him and assess the situation after that. >> woodruff: fer his part, fooviet leader mikhail
goachev said in a statemen that "it can't be that hard to understand that discarding suchi agreementsnarrow-minded." french president emmanuel macron's office said he also voiced misgivings in a sunday phone call with president trump. we ask whether the president has made the rightecision to withdraw from the nuclear arms treaty. and for answers, we turn to richard burt. he was assistant secretary of amate for europe and then served as u.sssador to germany during the 1980s. he was intimately involved with the original i.n.f. treaty negotiations. he is now a managing partner at the consulting firm mclarty associates. and, rebeccah heinrichs was a legislative assistant focusing on foreign and defense policy for a republican member of congress. she is now a senior fellow at the hudson institute, a think tank in washington. we welcome both of you to the "newshour". rebeccah heinrichs, to you first, yohave told us you ink the president is doing the right thing by trying, saying he wants to pull out. why?
>> well, this treaty -- cold war treaty, the russians have been in violation to have the treaty for many years, as early as. 20 the obama administration made clear in 2014 that the russians were itiolation of the trea and began this soft diplomatic approach to try to get theru ians to comply with the treaty. they did not. instead, they started moving d with deploying missiles that would violate the treaty, and, so, the trump administration came in and tried a tougher approach, tried to get them to aye comply to no avail. if arms control ing to mean anything, it has to be enforced and, so, it undermines arms control in general if there aren't hard consequence forc e violations such as the russians have been doing. >> reporter: richard burt, if the russians ar in violation, why should the united states stay in. thisent the first tim we've accd the russians of being in violation and i think they are clearly in vioation of the agreement, but we've had other major compliance problems in a mber of different treaties. this is the first time we've
actually left a treaty, when haven't been capable of resolving the issue. i don't think thrump administration, when taking this decision, went the extra mile in actually trying to solve this problem. i think the pubc diplomacy of this issue is just as important as the substance, and the problem is is that people shoule laming the russians, but they're not. by virtue of this imtuous decision, the united states is being blamed for stepping out a very important arms control agreement and our allies see another example of american unilateralism. >> woodruff: what about his point that the trump administration didn't do enough ngto try to brrussia into compliens? >> the trump administration did y and has been workng with allies since president trumpto office. the obama administration workedi closel allies to try to put pressure on the russians. enough is enough.
you goat the point, the other issues that's happening is, while the russians are in violation and more provocative in their violations, you have the other issues whotich iher countries like china, iran, north korea, are not party no e i.n.f. treaty. you have a problem with relevance. is the treaty relevant combined with the issue of russia's violations? if the other countes lik china are going to be developing the missiles, the u.s. doesn'to want tied to a treaty when it's the only one abding by it. >> woodruff: what about the other once moving ahead? >> the only real cotry of concern here and the president mentioned it today and it's china. china are eveloping new land-based missiles targeted against the united states assets in theegion and our allies. but we have no plans or need for ound-based missiles. remember, this treaty only focused on ground-based missiles. we're not going to deploy ground-based missiles in south korea, japan or anywhere
else. we'll do as we did in the past, air launched missiles orsu arine missiles, and there are no lims on that, so we can respond to a growing threat, the treaty that's at the core of our relationships for ov.r 30 yea >> woodruff: i want to ask you about china. >> china has the largest and most diverse missile program in the world. admiral harris was the commander of pacific command in 2017. he said 95% of china's missiles heey have would violate t i.n.f. treaty fit were party to that treaty. the united states doesn't ve anything comparable, according to admiral harris. so you have the air launch andla sench capabilities, but for us to close the gap in terms ofr fire pwe're going to need ground launch missiles. so we need to close that gap, if we are going to deter china. >> woodruff: you're shaking
l ur head. >> t who's going to accept paound-launched missiles. south korea? no, we don't need those capabilities. what we need are probably enhanced air launched and sea sayabilities. e> woodruff: what are the consequences if .s. pulls out, rich richard? >> well, i think what it means is a russian buildup of missiles against our european allies. e people who are really celebratin administration's decision is the russian general staff. they have been opposed to the i.n.f. treaye for tenars because they have been constrained in developing short and medium-range missiles targeted towards europe. they do have this new cruise missile capability they've veloped. they have a new icbm that could be used asa new intermediate range missile, so they're dy to be engaged in a buildup.
we don't have those and would take several years to develop them. the former amssador s there iso not going to be a reat to have the deployments in the '80s. the europeans will not accept new mobile missiles on their territory. we will be outmatched in n.a.t.o. and that will undermine the yebility of the american nuclear deterrent. >> woodruff: he said the russians wanted this treaty to ?e out of the wa >> there's a legal way to do that and they haven't been dng it. they have continued to violate the treaty under our noses in plain sight. we the united states is going to deter russia, can't be constrained by the treaty. i think the points that were just made were points in favor of the united states saying, well, forget it, if you ce going tinue to move forward, wie r we have to close the gap. >> woodruff: you're not worried about an arms race breaking out if this treaty is done away with? >> the russians are deploying
the systems already. 're the os caught flat footed. if we can do research andpm devet, work with our allies, i don't know why we're pre-colluding the idea we'll have allies interested in the united states pre-colluding a greater russia threat. >> i'm amazed in a matter of days after the president ofnounces we're pulling ou an iconic arms control treaty he talks today about a massive nuclear buildup. that sends the wrong message not only to the russian bus the entire globe. it makes us look like we're not concned about global security, we have a very narrow,ic legaliview of nuclear weapons. >> woodruff: richard burt, rebeccah heinrichs of the hudson institute, thank you both. >> woodruff: stay with us.
coming up on the newshour:at demolook to flip what had been a reliably red district in california plus, amy walter and tamara keith on where things stand,tw weeks from election day. but first, the culture wars over gender, sexuality and identity may be heating up again. a story in the "new york times" says the trump adminion is preparing to reverse obama-era pocies on protecting transgender individuals. as william brangham explains, the latest battle is over the very recognition of more tn one million transgender americans, and their rights to specific services. >> brangham: just to be clear, it was the obama administration that expanded and loosened federal laws about genr during obama's second term. that administration-- in response to changes in the legal landscape and to the lived experiences of thousands of trans people-- began to recognize that a person's gender could be how they self-
identified, not just how they were born. that change, of course, led to big fights over school bathrooms and dormitories. but president trump's team has argued that those changes went too far, and is now allegedly proposing a near-total reversal. the "new york times" obtained a draft memo that says the umdepartment of health and services is planning to issue a legal definition of gender that is bon a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective." according to the memo, that w definitild be determined at birth-- male or female-- and not changeable.od the department said they wouldn't confirm any proposed change, and wouldn't verify the accuracy of the leaked memo, buo the presideny acknowledged that the administration was "looking very seriously" at this change. and many trans-rights groups are trried, and protesters today took their case white house. joining me now is sharon mcgowan. orshe's the legal director lambda legal, one of the nation's oldest groups promoting
the ghts of the l.g.b.t.q. community. we >> thank you for having me. what what's your reaction? unfortunately, i'm not surprised because we know fro day one this administration has taken it upon itself to undermine the progress we've made with the lgbtq community. but in some sense this ia piece of a larger trend within this administration to disregard law and fact. the idea that this is a proposal that is grounded in science is truly laughable because, when you think about it, we've had decades now of court cases and medical evidence demonstrating that transgender people are real, their identities are real and th your gender and your sex is far more than just what you are classified on your birch ificate or the
chemicalmakerup of your body. >> reporter: this op something on both sides are confused about. there are experience of tens of thousands of transgender people, but there are also people who don't understand it and people still in the community that the science is still evolvingn our understanding of what it means to be transgendered. >> i think that the science has become more accessible to people because, in ma ays, for decades, we have had the scientists w study this ea closely recognize that there are oany different aspects of your sex and, for mostus, all of those are in alignment, so iar don't necey think about any gender identity as distinct perhaps from the body i live in. but i also know thamany of us wake up every morning knowing in wer hearts who we are, that are male or female. so when describe it in that way to people, it's not confusing. how do you know it's a man or i am a woman? it's not necessarily from a piece of apriler i look at
remind myself. there's a deeply held belief, and the sentists help us understand at the better in a way that helped us to evolve th conversation so that it is no longer difficult for people tohe wrap their around as it might have been previously. >> reporter: the department of health and human services wouldn't comment today about this. if this memo is rel and enacted as policy, what is your sense of what the practical implications would be? what would it actually mean for transgendered people in amd ica? >> the gews is any kind of interpretation of the law like thisalrom and human services doesn't change the fact that the law itself protectssg trder from sex discrimination. they may have a view that it does not but, at the end of the way, that is a question thg at's go continue to be litigated in the courts and, for orny, many years, the overwhelming my of the courts held that sex discriminationtaws prot people from being discriminated against because they're
transgender. but i don't want to downplay the significant ham done even by talking about a proposal like this. i spent today with many transgender people and parents of transgender children who are truly afraid o what this means for their families. the notion that a school may now feel emboldened to discriminate against their child or a healthcare provider mabe emboldened to turn them away. previously, there would have en that knowledge andthat comfort that an agency like he health and human services could be toturn. and if that were put in that inace the doors would be closed heir face. there are organizations that will ntinue toend the transgender community but it's important to recognize the harm oone by trying to create an outcast grou citizens in this country. >> reporter: this memo is credited to a roger sevarino, the civil rights department at m.is. prior to ng the administration, he was at a
think tank and veryo critical f the obama administration's moves and said they're intended to impose a new definition of what it meant to be a man or woan on the entire nation and called it lawless. what do you think of that criticism? >> i think it's noteworthy we're seeing this kind of policany from someone like roger.w heas clearly selected because there is a desire to promote his world view. but the suggestion this is a fasponse to lawlessness, i point to the when attorney general holder in 2014 announced the justice department would be interpreting federal law as protecting transgender people, it was a multi-page, case-ladened document, and when jeff sessions last year rescinded that memo, there were barely any legal citattions all. >> reporter: here's a case in texas where a federalistrict court judge said the obama administration citing congress'
title nine categorization, he seemed to push back and said there was no, ma'am justification the obama administration had overreached in some way. >> so this judge o'connor in texas has become the go-to court ctr individuals looking down to strike down asof the obama ndministration's accomplishments protecting trans people, but his decision is truly an outlier in the face of decades of case law in which republican and democratic-appointed judges ale recognizing discrimination against a transgendeindividual is just as much a form of sex discrimination as it is religious discrimination to penalize to have one who converted from one religion to the other. there are many cases that go through not only that logical argument butthe scientific basis for understanding your gender identity are as much as ert of who you ar as other aspects of your sex clearly held to be protected, whether nonconforming appearance, where you continue conform about how
men and women are supposed to act in the workplace, so this truly is the lawless action, the disregard of case law that this e administration doesn't l achieve an outcome that is the world that they want to live in. >> reporter: sharon mcgowan, lambda legal, thank you very much. >> thank you for having me. >> woodruff: when american voters head to the polls in twos weeks, democre hoping to pick up 23 g.o.p. seats to regain control of the house of representatives. yamiche alcindor reports on what is making one sern california district so competitive. >> alcindor: repairing arfboards, and hoping for big blue wave. at her shop in southern california, molly logan is a fired up new democrat, with a deeply personal motivation. >> well, i dated a man who was similar to trump. he was very wealthy. he was a big bully.
it was his highway or way. and so trump reminds me of that type of person. i mean, angry, do what he wants with women. he says it's okay to grab women without their permission. and that's just incredibly offensive to me. >> alcindor: she grew up with staunchly conservative parents, and two decades ago, moved to orange county. for most of her life, she was one of the 400,000 independent voters in this longtime republican stronghold. then came president trump's surprise win. >> i was just appalled, what happened. i couldn't believe a man like inump was elected. >> alcr: she's now working to oust her representative in the 48th district, republican ressman dana rohrabacher she's knocked on hundreds of doors to help democrat harley roa beat the 30-year incumbent. polls show the race istual ece.
>> this is aand neck race. i have no idea how it's going to go, and i'm going to keep working my hardest to make sure harley wins. nc alcindor: ronald reagan described orange county as the place "good republicans go to r e." but now, all f the county's republican house members represent districts hiary clinton won in 2016. that makes this place ground zero f democrats trying to win control of congress. orange county has seen a rising nuer of asian residents. but demographics alone don't explain the changing politics, according to amy walter of the cook political report. >> what is helping a democrat in this kind of year is the fact that so many suburban, white, college-educated women really do not like donald trump. >> alcindor: the g.o.p. still has nearly 40,000 more registered voters than democrats. that means rouda will likely need to win over some moderate and disaffected republicans. >> it's great to see the huge
blue wave here, thanks for coming out! >> alcindor: rouda himself isca a former repubturned- democrat, and he thinks voters turned off by president trump will back him. >> whether he's mocking journalists or women who have been sexually harassed, it's wrong. so it's certainly causing many people to rethink their support for republicans. a indor: but rohrabacher, and his supporters, are more determined than ever. an harley doesn't represent of the interests of these people. my people know me. and despite the fact my opponent is outspending me two or three to one, my people know who i am, and they know i'm on their side. >> our congressman, dana rohrabacher, is doing two to three meetnd greets a week. >> alcindor: inside this republican women's group, voluntee like retiree pamela hoffman are mailing out hundreds of invitations to small meetings with rohrabacher >> he's a christian. he is a conservative. he has the same principles as ronald reagan.>> lcindor: she supports president trump, and is feeling confident after the confirmation of supreme court justice brett
kavanaugh. >> i think it's going to help republicans. >> alcindor: jennifer sterling is a small business owner who believes rohrabacher understands residents' struggles. >> he has his hand on the pulse. he knows we're paying huge property tax, huge, you know, .50, .60 cents on every gallon gas of gas we buy. >> alcindor: others, like bethany webb, see things very differently. last weekend, she rode herto harley davidso harley rouda rally. bethany's activism is also personal. in 2011, her sister wakilled and her mother injured in a mass shooting in orange county. h for eight hours, y're hoping sheing, she's really scared, somehow she made it out, because people made it out.>> lcindor: she said rohrabacher's ties to the gun lobby mean he has to go. >> he takes money from the n.r.a., and i find, i think the n.r.a. has so much clout in our politics.
>> a dozens who has protested outside rohrabacher's office every tuesday since president trump's inauguration c one of herhief concerns is rohrabacher's ties to russia. >> hsupports russia. he doesn't believe that russia interfered in our elections. ese are things that, i'm a proud american, make me mad. be>> alcindor: some have d rohrabacher "vladimir putin's favorite congressman" because of his public support for t russian leader. as part of a probe into russia's election meddling, special counsel robert mueller is reportedly looking into a meeting between rohrabacher and then-trump campaign adviser mike flynn. rouda seized on the topic in early campaign ads. >> america, let's show rohrabacher and trump it's time for a leader that represents us, not russia. >> alcindor: rohrabacher strongly defended himself and his position, as chair of a house subcommittee that oversees investigations into reign relations.he
>> all things that have been portrayed as being sinister, that i met with this russian or that russian. f 's my job as chairman to meet with alle people that i can to get a diverse opinion of what's going on and what our relations should be with russia. >> alcindor: still, backlashov russia is only one of rohrabacher's challenges. ld rohrabacher's problems are two- the first is, he's been inwa ington for a very long time, at a time when washington is toxic. and the second is trump's deep ouunfavorability in orangey. >> alcindor: as democrats focus turnout in november, molly, like others, is already thinking beyond the apdterms. whatns after this election? even if, either harley ws, or maybe if he loses. what do you think is going to happen with you? >> i know have the 2020 election to look forward to. i do not plan on quitting. regardless of who is in power, or who was president, who has control of the house, i'm still going to volunteer politically. >> alcindor: but for now, she is
waiting to see if this yeaho the e-- and orange county-- turn blue. for the pbs newshour, i'm yamiche alcindor in huntington beach, california. >> woodruff: from california to texas, the fight for control over the house and the senate is in full swing across the country. with just two weeks left till the midterm elections, the e president rgizing his base while democrats continue the ssh for a blue wave. to getse of where things stand, it is a perfect time to check in with tamara keith of npr, and amy walter of the cook 'tlitical report. die just see you? how do you manage to be everywhere? let's talk about, tam, the iesident is not going to california, but out on the trail. te's covering as many states, i seems, as he is between now and election day. what's the strategy there? what do u see going o >> so i analyzed all of his genes,l election trput them on a map, and he is going to
either red states or states that are battleground states, will be battleground states in 2020. coincidence, hmm, the other thing, though -- >> woodrf: 2020, not 2018. that's right. for the most part, he's not going to suburban swing districts. he's not going to blue states where replicans are potentially in trouble. he is going to states and areas of states that are trump country where he won with a large margin, where he's favored. he went tok o, nevada over the weekend. he was there because this is all about firing up the base and getting them to go out and vote. that trip is not about winning
over moderates. >> woodruff: is this the way you win thelmidterms? >> he has banked from the beginning of his presidency until now that his base is strong enough to overcome whatever the democratic base is, they love him, they will turn out for him just as they in 2016. he's replaying the 2016 campaign over and over again. what's fasinating to see in nevada n is trump is in elko turning out his base there, president obama in las vegas making sure his types of votersb he talket in his speech today, younger voters, latino voters. in wisconsin we'll have ano example of what this election is about. president trump will be up in northern rural wisincosmall town wisconsin. the president, milwaukee. president obama, sorry. >> woodruff: so, tam, meanwhale, the street
journal" poll suppose the president's approval rating moving open. it was 44% last month, now . is that something he can translate to republicans running for office? can he say, here is my approvalg rait is the best it's ever been, still unde.r 50% >> it keller can't hurt thebl reans on the ballot to have the president at the best place he's been in terms of approval, but these are a bunch of different races in a bunch of l fferent places and, although presidential appronds to be a relatively good indicator, it's not the only thing at determines outcome, certainly. >> there is definitely a str correlation between how the people feel about the president and how tany're votind we've seen this in some of the special elections, the polling ithe house and senate districts. ale president's strong approval rating is good for republicans running those very
trump-friendly states. this is where the senate map begins to become very problematifor democrats. in maryland, missouri, indiana, they have to hold all those states, tryi to pick up other red states like tennessee and texas. if the president's approval goes up there, harder for the democrats in the senate races. when i compared the "wall street journal" poll that came out the weekend with the exit polls, pew also did their sue vai of the 2016 voters, when you look at where the president sits right now, he's actly where his in ferms of the approval rating o him overall and with almost every single demographic group. for example, among men, in 2016, trump won 52% of those voters. today he has a 56% approval with men. with women he won 39%, he has
38% now. whites with college degrees, 38% now. it's not only holding, we've gone thrgh two years whic have been like this, and if you look at this data right now you would think nothing changed since 2016. the president's banking on those numbers worked in 2016, he those numbers in 2016, they won, but, a we noted in that previous piece from yamiche, that's not where the background - battleground is for the house, knits the suburbs and he's toxic in the suburbs. ng thedruff: one t president is talking a lot about is immigration going after not just th be walt he's going after this caravan of migrants from central america making their way into and throughd mexico towe united states. does this help him? how does this play? >> well, talk about things that haven't changed since 2016,
g president trump campaign immigration, president trump using some of the very same language that he used in that speech when he rolled down the escalator and said i'm running for president and they send not the best people, they send drug dealers, he's using the very same language now at his rallies to le up his voters, and polling would indicate botha pew poll and a kaiser family foundation poll that, among republican voters, illegal immigration is an incredibly salient issue, it is their number one issue. so he is talking to republicans there. yeah. >> but not necessarily endependent voters who still se the economic and healthcare as the top issues. immiation and terrorism much lower on their list of concerns. >> woodruff: some things are the same, some things hanged. >> some things are a little changed, and he's not runningll against y clinton this time. it's a referendum on trump, not a choice. >> but he talks a lot about a it in his rallies. >> he does bring her up. >> woodruff: clock is ticking,
two more weeks. thank you both. >> you're welcome. >> woodrufs a newupdate, the "newshour" confirmed c.i.a. director gina hasboro is en route turkey for an investigation into the death of jamal khashoggi. the c.i.a. has declined to comment. hat, that's the "newshour" tonight. i'm judy woodruff. thank you and we'll see you soon. i'm judy woodruff. thank you, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been rovided by: >> bnsf railway. >> consumer cellular. ym financial services firm d james. >> and by the alfred p. sloan , undation. supporting scienchnology, and improved economic performance and financiale literacy in st century.
>> supported by the john d. and therine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and aceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponshoed by ne productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> you're watching pbs.
hello, everyone, welcome to "amanpour and recompany." he what's coming up. the toshocking s of journalist jamal cash oak, condemnation of the saudi prince mohammed bin salman continues. we look athat mbs' war in yemen backed by the united nations -- occupation. then the pulitzer winner journalist buzz water feed, his prize is passed down through milies. plus, could we be looking at connecticut's first black democrat in congress? johanna hayes speaks to our michel mar n about her remarkable journey from high school tea