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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  October 22, 2018 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: saudi arabia's shifting story on the death of jams khashoggi fa answer key questions in the face of mounting evidence of a brutal murder. then, president trump's plan to pull the u. out of a key nuclear arms control treaty draws criticism across the globe, including from some republican lawmakers here at home. plusbattleground california. democrats look to flip a congressional district that has been reliably conservative for decades, hoping to capitize on reaction to the trump administration. >> what is helping aemocrat in this kind of year is the fact that so many suburban,
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white, college-educated women really do not like donald trump. >> woodruff: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the bbs newshour hn provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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thank you. >> woodruff: the evidencen keeps buildinge death of journalist jamal khashoggi at the saudi consulate in istanbul, turkey. newly released video shows an apparent saudi body double leaving the consulate in the writer's clothes, after the killing. foreign affairs correspondent nick schifrin begins our coverage. >> schifrin: after jamal khassoghi walked into saudi arabia's istanbul consulate, thhe never walked out-- bu saudis tried to convince the world he did. today, turkish officiaked to cnn video of a saudi official named mustafa al-madani, wearing plaid and jeans, walking into the consulate two hours before khashoggi. khashoggi's murder, he walks outside in khasoggi's clothes and glasses, apparently trying to make it seem like assogi left the consulat alive. saudi officials now say the intention wasn't only to fool
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turkish cctv cameras, 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. >> schifrin: saudi officials now admit crown prince mohammad bin salman, known widely as m.b.s., wanted his c to the kingdom-- including jamal saassoggi-- so a group of 15 is flew to istanbul for rendition, but not murder. >> this was an operation that was a rogue operation. this was an operation where individuals ended up exceedingor the auies and responsibilities they had. >> schifrin: a saudi official said t team confronted khasoggi, but he refused to comply, and there was a "quarrel and an altercation." other saudi officials have claimed the team put khassoghi in a chokehold, or covered his mouth, leading to his inadvertent death, and the cover-up and the body double vide saudi officials say m.b.s. was duped by his own people, including deputy intelligence chief major general ahmed al-asiri, royal court advisor saud al-qahtani, and security official maher mutreb, who was photographed outside the
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istanbul consulate before and after khashoggi's murder-- and near mohammad bin salman's side earlier this year.al ecubair said all of that proves no coon to m.b.s. >> there weren't people closely tied to him who were involved . this operati there were pictures of some security officers who may have been part of his security deta t from time toime, but this is normal. >> schifrin: turhash officials kept up pressure by releasing the hit squad's names and passports,en identified by saudi experts as royal guards, special forces, intelligence and air force officers. and turkish officials say, after the murder, the saudis called m.b.s.' private office, and his brother, the saudi ambassador to the u.s. "it's inconceivable that mohammad bin salman didn't know," said long-time saudi torender republican se lindsey graham: >> i find it impossible to think the crown prince wasn't involved. so go after him and his inner circle. save the alliance. i don't mind military cells. but i cannot do business with the current leadship.
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m.b.s., he's done to me. >> schifrin: senate foreign relations chairman bob corker spoke on cnn: >> i don't think anybody believes that story. i can undersnd the president wanting to keep open channels. but i think those of us who, who want to speak directly to this,t knt it's just not 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.th we are far fro having been cleared up and those responsible held to account.er >> schifrin: anitially calling saudi arabiary "credible," today president trump said, "obviously, there's been deception, and there's been lies." but today, senior advisor and edn-in-law jared kushner u
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everyone not to jump to conclusions. >> we are obviously getting as many cts 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 tay than at any point since 9/11, in part because this has been made personal. this weekend, khashoggi's fiancee posted a video of him on twitter, introducing himself, until... ( laughs ) "they took your bodily presence," she wrote, "but your beautiful laugh will remain in my soul forever." >> woodruff: we will take a closer look at effects of all this on u.s.-saudi relations, after the news summary. in the day's other news, russia warned of countermeasures if the u.s. withdraws from a cold war- era nuclear arms treaty. the 1987 pact banned the two sides from having medium-range ground launch missiles-- nuclear or conventional. haesident trump announced saturdaythe u.s. will quit
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the agreement. he charged again today that russia has violated the verms. we will full report, later in the program. shgrowing caravan of central american migrants deeper fto southern mexico today, despite new warninm president trump. he declared that he will slash foreign aid for el salvador, guatemala and honduras for failing to stop the migrants. >>e have been giving so much money to so many different costries for so long, and i 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 e tions officials estimated more than 7,000 peoplve joined the procession toward the u.s. border. they still have some 1,100 miles to go. >> ( translated ): trump's tweets are very worrying. doesn't know how we've suffered, as he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. well, we weren't. if he put himself in our shoes, it would be very different.
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>> woodruff: a spokesman for el salvador's president voiced hope tod that tensions over the caravan will ease after the u.s. mid-term elections in two weeks. hurricane willa set its sights on mexico's pacific coast today, th catastrophic winds of 155 miles an hour. it is now a category 4 storm, expected to hit south of the resort town of mazatlan late tuesday. earlier, it was a category 5, but it weakened slightly. vote counting has begun in afghanistan's parliam atary electioner a weekend of delays and violence. election officials say some four million of the y's nearly nine million registered voters cast ballots. that is despite taliban attacksk thled an estimated 78 people.
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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 injuryt that kandahar meeting. but the pentagon has now confirmed that army brigadier general jeffrey smiley suffered at least one gunshot wound. separately, a nato soldier from the czech republic died in another insider attack today in western afghanistan. and, on wall street, energy and financial stocks led much of the market lower. the dow jones industrial average lost nearly 127 points, to close at 25,317. the nasdaq rose 19 points, and the s&p 500 slipped almost 12. still to come on the newshour: u.s.-saudi relationsre in estion after an unconvincing explanation of jamal khashoggi'. de concerns are raised aboutro security in eupe after the president says he plans to
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withdraw from a nuclear treaty. the ump administration's pla to eliminate protections forpe transgender ople. and, much more. >> woodruff: the apparent killing of jamal khaoggi by saudi arabian agents has roiled the middle east like few events in recent years. and, the allegation of involvement by the saudi crown prince, mohammed bin lman, has put his leadership role in the spotlight. but not for the 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 leads has picked a fightith canada, kidnapped the lebanese prime minister, held members of his own family on house arrest, and sentenced activists to death. and, he leads the coalition waging war in yemen. the u.n. says 16,000 people have been killed and wounded there,
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but the u.n. stopped counting years ago. the newshour has reported often from yemen, but it's not easy. this summer, special correspondent jane ferguson had to smuggle herself into an area controlled by the houthi rebels, to see the impact of the saudi- led bombing campaign. >> reporter: night is slipping away from my mona shagadar. show suffers the agony of starvation in silence. no longer able to walk or talk, at 11 years ol, mona'sdy emaciated eighs just 24 pounds. watching over her is older brotherigib who brought her to this remote hospital in yemen desperate to ge help. the nurses here fight for the lives of children who are tarriving. >> because of the war, she i suffering from mall nutrition, her father is jobless. most to have the families in yemen are jobless. >> reporter: every day, she ys, she sees these sorts of cases. people have lost work, therefore, they have money,
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therefore, there's just no food in the house.re you weever supposed to see these images of the girl. a blockade of northe yemen stops reporters from getting here. journalists are not allowed on flights into the area, no cameras, no pictures. (honking) the only way into rebel hell yemen is to g smuu recallself in, to be dressed entirely as a yemeni woman with full-faced veil to gethrough the checkpoint.el i traved through the front lines to see what's happening inside what the united nations is calling the world's worst humanitarian disaster. the houthis cautiously welcomed me in. once i was there, watched clme ely. the hunger here in this human catastrophe is entirely manmade. yemen was already one of the poorest countries in the middle
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east. war pushed a already needy people to the brink of famine. in the midst of policatil chaos in yemen after the arab spring, houthi rebs from the north captured the capital sinai in 2014 before sweeping south and causing the country's then president to flee.ig nehboring sunni saudi arabia views the houthis from a yemeni sect closto shia islam and backed by rival iran as an unacceptable threat along their border. so it formed a military coalition of countries in 2015,e derald tat the houthis and reinstate the old psident. crucial military support for the campaign is provided by the united states, a long-time ally of saudi arabia. after three years of aerial come barredment and fighting on the ground, the coalition has, so far, failed to dislodge the reatls. the campaign has done is devastate the econom leang two-thirds of the population relying on food aid for survival
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and over 8 million people on the brink of starvation. >> so what to make of >> schifrin: so, what to make of saudi foreign policy, anththis moment imiddle east? professor greg gause is the head a& the international affairs department at texa university's bush school of government and public service. he has written extensiveab about saudi . and randa slim, a senior fellow at t middle east institute. we should mention that last week, the institute stopped taking saudi donathens, "pendingutcome of the investigation" into khashoggi's case. m thank you veh to you both for joining us. rand paul, randa slim, there is external pressure on saudi arabia but there that translate into internal change? atit's difficult to say that the moment because the first reaction from the saudi government is really especially from the king himself, at that point the crown pr in charge ofieforming thntense sector
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which is accused of having committed this tragedy ais murder against jamal.ar so, the king is standing by his son. on the other hd, the crown ofince has angered a lot constituencies who are important to the survival of his reign in the future as a king. he angered theolitical establishment, he has angered the business community. he has anred members of his own family, the royal family. so it's hard to say whetherll there be an eternal coup or what, but as long as the king is standing by his side it's going to be hard to imagine cenario where we're going to have an abrupt change in which th crown prince will be displaced from his position. >> reporter: on the other hand, does any of that critism externally or discussion -- you youd to word coupdoes that reduce saudi stability and perhaps saudi sway in e region and the world?
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>> lk, i mean, saudi stability of affected by this climate impunity. the fact that you have a crown prince who felt he could get away with murder, that in itseif n element of concern about, you know, the effect of future stability in the kingdom and future u.s.-saudi relaons. so i think, as we move forward, and as you said in the introduction, this move or merger comes against a background of an accumulation of decisions, incidents engineered and led by the crown princ which raised a lot of concern about his fitness pore the job as ina crown pce and future as a king. >> reporter: gregorgause, if there is concern about the fitness of crown prince bianna n
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salman, is that a threat, particularly pressuring iran and perhaps a peace deal with the palestinians and israelis? >> those are the this on the agenda right now. but the united states has had a very strong relationship with saudi arabia through a number of american and saudi leaders. i doubtif there were changes at the center of saudi decision-making, even right now that there would be a serus redefinition of the saudi-american relationship. e more dangerous situation is if there is nohange in ssudi arabia that precious from congfrom public opinion and other international precious could force the united states to take its distance from saudi arabia, i think that's the bigger threat right now. >> reporter: so to be more specific, senator lindsey grt am ly says should there be a change in policy toward saudi abia but n.b.s. has to go, i
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think he said n.b. is doe for me. is that something the government should 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 much to one person within the saudi-ruling fam. i think there has to be some kind of communication from washington 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 totoo and talk the king about the way forward in u.s.-saudi relations. >> randa slim, the way forward in u.s.-saudi relations once through ankara.
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the turkish president erdogan, do you have any idea what he announces tomorrow will be eliminated? gregory gause, 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 straitevarus. she's been a statesman and wants the to preserve a relationship with vawd saudi arabia as he faces his icn econproblems but he's allowed his press to leak the information out drip by ip to make the saudis look bad. the backfrowned is the saudis and the turks don't see eye to eye on what the futu the region should be. president erdogan supportive of the uprisings in 2011, of the muslim brotherhood and the saudis are nervous abo any
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kind of bottom-up politics. so there's a reality between ankara a are that's underlying odor wan's behavior. >> reporter: do you think erdogan will make a difference when it comto u.s.-saudi relationship? >> i think negotiating with both the americans and the saudis and cathink his fear is that the saudis and ame will start negotiating with each other and push him aside. i think he has a number overdemands old like to get from the saudis,pririly financial. he has a number of demands dealing from th domestic agenda from the u.s., the bank which is a institution in turkey facing billions of dollars of sanctions against iran, he would like the sanction tons scapedor minimize. and then the issue of
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northeastern syria. that relationship between the u.s. forces ande th shia have been a troubled relationship as far as erdogan is concerned and he would like o make sure this is under a framework he can live with or accept. so there are a number of negotiatio odor wan would like to negotiate with in both these untries and that's wha in my opinion is take place at the row we'll seem whether he's going to 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 rlier, president trump h announced his intention to pull the united states out of a
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landmark, cold war nuclear weapons treaty, struck 30 years ago with the soviet union. , what would the effect of that be? and is the treaty outdated, as the president claims? it was 1987, and president reagan and soviet leader mikhail gorbachev celebrated the intermediate-range nuclear olforces treaty as calming war tensions. flash forward to this past tekend, and president trump's decisiabandon it. >> we're the ones that have stayed in the agreement, and we've honored the agreement, but russia has not, unfortunately, honored the agreement. so we're going to terminate the agreement, and we're going to pull out. >> woodruff: the i.n.f. treaty scrapped tusands of ground- launched nuclear and conventional missiles with rangesf 300 to 3,400 miles. but in 2014, then-president tiama accused russia of developing and tes a cruise missile, in violation of the teaty.
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on sunday, presidemp ldhoed that charge, and today, he said china she added to the agreement. >> it's a threat to whver you want, and it includes china, and it includes russia, and it includes anydy else who wants to play that game. u u can't do that. n't play that game on me. >> woodruff: the russians deny violating 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 sergev laondemned mr. trump's announcement. lavrov said last night that he wants answers from u.s. national security adviser john bolton, who's in moscow this week. >> ( translated ): we will wait for an official explanations from our u.s. colleagues.hn in case olton is ready to give them, we will of course listen to him and assess the situation after that. >> woodruff: for his part, former soviet leader mikhail
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gorbachev said in a statementan that "'t be that hard to understandhat discarding such agreements is narrow-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 right decision to msthdraw from the nuclear treaty. and for answers, we turn to richard burt. he was assistant secretary of r europe and then served as u.s. ambassador to germany during the 1980s. y involved with the original i.n.f. treaty negotiations. he inow a managing partner a 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 nk in washington. we welcome both of you to the "newshour". rebe first, you have told us you think the president is doing the right thing by trying, saying he nts to pull out.
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why? >> well, thiseaty -- cold war treaty, the russians have been on to have the treaty for many years, as early as 2008. the obama administration made clear in 2014 that the russians were inviolation of the treaty and began this soft diplomatic proach to try to get the russians to comply with the treaty. they did not. ngstead, they started mo forward with deploying missiles that would violate the treaty, and, so, the trump administration came in and tried cotougher approach, tried to get them to aye ly to no avail. if arms control is going to mea anything, it has to be enforced and, so, it undermines arms control in general if therens aren't hard cuence force the violations such as the russians have been doing. , reporter: richard bu the russians are in violation, why should the uted states stay in. thisent the first time we've acd the russians of being in violation and i think they are clearly in violation of the agreement, but wete had or major compliance problems in a number of different treaties. this is the first time we've
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actually lefeaa tty, when we haven't been capable of resolving the issue. i don't think the trump administration, when taking thit decision, wethe extra mile in actually trying to sole this problem. asthink the public diplomacy of this issue is jusimportant as the substance, and the problem is is that people should be blaming the russians, but they're not. by virtue oisf th impetuous decision, the united states is f being blam stepping out of a very important arms control agreement and our allies see another example of americanil eralism. >> woodruff: what about his point that the trump administration didn't do enough to try to bring russia into compliens? >> the trump administration did try and has been working with allies since president trump took office. the obama administration worked closely with allies to try to t pressure on the russians.
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enough is enough. you goat the point, the other issues that's happenin while the russians are in violation and moreprovocative in their violations, you have the other issues which is other countrke china, iran, north korea, are not party no the i.n.f. treaty. you have a problem with relevance. is the treaty relevant combined with the issuesf rusia's violations? if the other countries like china are going to be developing the missiles, the u.s. doesn't want to be tied to a treaty when it's the only one abiding by it. >> wdruff: what about the other once moving ahead? >> the only real country ofco ern here and the president mentioned it today and it's china. china are developing newed land-bmissiles targeted against the united states assets e the region and our allies. but we ho plans or need for ground-based missiles. remember, this treaty only focused on ground-based missiles. we're t going to deploy ground-based missiles inut
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korea, japan or anywhere else. we'll do as we did in the past, air launched missiles or submarine missiles, and there are no limits on that, so we ca respond to a growing threatthe treaty that's at the coreof our relationships for over 30 years. >> woodruff: i wt to ask you about china. >> china has the largest and most diverse missile progm in the world. admiral harris was the commander of pacific command in 2017. he said 95% of chna's missiles they have would violate the i.n.f. treaty fit twere pary to that treaty. the united states doesn't have anytgng comparable, accord to admiral harris. so you have the air launch and sea launchap cabilities, but for us to close the gap in terms of fire power, we'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
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your head. >> tell me who's going to accept ground-launched missiles. japan? south korea? no, we don't need those capabilities. what we need are probably enhanced air launched and sea sayabilities. >> woodruff: what are the consequences if the u.s. pullsri out, ricard? >> well, i think what it means is a russian buildup of missiles against our european allies. the people who are really celebrating the trump administration's decision is the russian general staff. they have been opposed to i.n.f. treaty for ten years because they have beenco trained in developing short and medium-range missiles targeted towards europe. they do have this new cruise missile capability they've developed. they have a new icbm that could be used as a new intermediate range missile, so they're ready to be engaged in a buildup.
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we don't have those and wouldke several years to develop them. the former ambassador says thero isgoing to be a repeat 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 undrmine the yebility of the american nuclear deterrent. >> woodruff: he said the russians wanted this treaty to be out of the way? >> there's a legal way to do that and they haveenn't doing it. they have continued to violate the treaty under our noses in esain sight. if the united sts going to deter russia, we can't be constrained by the treaty. i think the points that were just made were ints in favor of the united states saying, well, forget it, if you're going to continue to move forward, wie r we have to close the gap. >> woodruff: you're not raceied about an arms breaking out if this treaty is
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nsne away with? >> the russiare deploying the systems already. we're the ones caught fla footed. if we can do research and i velopment, work with our alliesn't know why we're pre-colluding the idea we'll have allies interted in the united states pre-colluding a greater ssia threat. >> i'm amazed in a matter of days after the president announces we're pulling out of 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 ontire globe. it makes us lok like we're not concerned about global security, we have a very narrow, legalistic view of nuclear weapons. >> woodruff: richard burt, rebeccah heinrichs of the hudson institute, tha you both.
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>> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: democrats look to flip what had been aeliably red district in california. aplus, amy walter and tam keith on where things stand, two 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 administration is preparing to reverse obama-era policies on protecting transgender individuals.li as w brangham explains, the latest battle is over the very recognition of more thansg one million trder americans, and their rights to specific services. >> brangham: just to be clear, it was the obama administration that expanded rad loosened felaws about gender during obama's second term. that administration-- in response to changes ithe legal landscape and to the lived experiens of thousands of trans people-- began to recognize that a person's gender could be how ty self-
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identified, not just how they were born. that change, of course, led to big fights over school bathrooms and dormitories. ast president trump's team argued that those changes went too far,nd is now allegedly proposing a near-total reversal. the "new york times" obtained a draft memo that says the department of health and human services is planning to issue a legal definition of gender that is based "on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective." according to the memo, that definition would be determined at birth-- male or female-- and t changeable. the department today said they wouldn't confirm any proposedwo change, and uldn't verify the accuracy of the leaked memo, but the president today acknowledged that the administratiowas "looking very seriously" at this change. and many trans-rights groups are worried, and protesters today took their case to the white house. joining me now is sharon mcgowan. she's the legal director for lambda legal, one of the nation's oldest groups promoting
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the rights of the l.g.b.t.q. communit welcome to the "newshour". >> thank you for having me. what's your reaction? unfortunately, i'm not surprised because we know from day one this adminiration has taken it upon itself toin undethe progress we've made with the lgbtq community. but in some sense this is a piece ofa larger trend within th la the idea that this is a proposal that is grounded in science is truly laugenble because, wh you think about it, we've had decades now of court cases an medical evidence demonstrating that transgender people real, their identities are real and that your gender and your sex is far more than just what you are classified on your bir certificate or the
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chemicalmakerup of your body. >> reporter:his is something people on both sides are confused about. there are the experience of tens of thousandsof transgender people, but there are also people who don't understand it and people still in the community that the science is still evolving in our understanding of what it means to be transgendered. >> i think that the science has become more accessible to people because, n manyways, for decades, we have had the scientts who study tarea closely recognize that there are many different aspects of yourmo sex and, fo of us, all of those are in alignment, so ine don'ssarily think about any gender identity as distinct perhaps from the body i live in. but i also kn that manyof us wake up every morning knowing in our hearts who we are, that we are male or female. so when describe it inthat way to people, it's not confusing. how do you know it's a an or i am a woman? it's not necessarily from a piece of apriler i look at to
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remind myself. there's a eleeply held ief, and the scientists help us understand at the better in a way that helped us to evolve the conversation so that it is no longer difficult for people tohe wrap head around as it might have been previously. >> reporter: the department of health and human services wouldn't comment today about reis. if this memo ial and enacted as policy, what is your sense of what th peractical implications would be? what would it actually mean for transgendered people in america? >> the good news is any kind of interpretation of the like this from health and human services doesn't change the fact that the law itself protects transgender from sex discrimination. theyviay have a ew that it does not but, at the end of the way, that is a question thgoat's g to continue to be litigated in the courts and, for many, many years, them overwhelmingority of the courts held that sex discrimination laws protect people from being discriminated
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against because they're transgender. but i don't want to downplay the signifant harm done even talking about a proposal like this. i spent today with many transgender people and parents of transgender children who are truly afraid of what this means for their families. the notion that a school may now feel emboldened to discriminate against their child or a healthcare provider may be emboldened to turn them away. previously, there would have been that knowledge that comfort that an agency like he health and human services cou be to turn. and if that were put in that place t doors would be closed in their face. there are organizations that ll continue to detend the transgender community but it's important to recognize the harm grne by trying to create an outcasp of citizens in this country. >> reporter: this memo is credited to a roger sevarino, the civil rights department at m.h.s. priojoining the
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administration, he was at a think tank and veryal critof the obama administration's moves and said they're intended t impose a new definition of what it meant to be a man orwoman 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 policy change from someone like roger. was clearly selected because there is a desire to promote his worlvie but the suggestion this is a response to lawlessness, i point to thfact when attorney general holder in 2014 announced the justice department would be interpreting federal law as protecting transgender people, itas a multi-page, case-ladened document, and when jeff sessions last year rescinded that memo, there were barely any legal citatio at all. >> reporter: here's a case in texas where a federal district court judge said the obama administration citing congres
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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 n r individuals looking down to strike dpects of the obama administration's accomplishmenta protectinggender people, but his decision is truly an outlier in the face of decades of se law in which republican and democratic-appointed judges ike are recognizing discrimination against a trantender individual is ju as much a form of sex discrimination as it is religiousdiscrimination to penalize to have someone who converted from one religion to the other. there armany cases that go through not only that logical argumeif but the scie basis for understanding your gender identity are as much as part of who youe as other aspects of your sex clearly hel to be protected, whether nonconforming appearance, where you continue conform about how
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men and women are supposed to act in the workplace, so this truly is the lawless action, the disregard of case law that this administration doesnike to wahieve an outcome that is the world that they nt to live in. >> reporter: sharon mcgowan, lambda legal, tha very much. >> thank you for having me. vo woodruff: when american rs head to the polls in two weeks, democrats are hoping to pick up 23 g.o.p. seats toga control of the house of representatives. yamiche alcindor reports on what is maki southern california district so competitive. ho alcindor: repairing surfboards, and ping for a big blue wave. at her shop in southern cali fired up new democrat, with a deeply personal motivation. >> well, i dated a man who was similar to trump. he wasery wealthy.
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he was a big bully. it was his highway or the byway. and so trump rinds 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 ieppened. i couldn't bel a man like aump was elected. >>lcindor: she's now working to oust her representative in the 48th district, republican congressman dana roher. she's knocked on hundreds of doors to help democrat harley rouda beat the 30-year accumbent. polls show the ris a virtual ise.
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>> thi neck and neck race. i have no idea how it's going to go, and i'm going to keep woeing my hardest to make s harley wins. >> alcindor: ronald reagan once described orange county as the place "good republicans go to lle." but now,our of the county's republican house members represent districts hillary clinton won 016. that makes this place ground zein for democrats trying to control of congress. orange county has seen a rising number of asian residents. but demographi alone don't explain the changing politics, according to amyalter of the cook political report. >> what is helping a democt 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
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blue wave here, thanks for coming out! >> alcindor: rouda himself isep a formerlican-turned- 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. >> alcindor: but rohrabacher, and his supporters, are more determin h than ever. ley doesn't represent any of the interests of these people. p ple know me. spite the fact my oppone 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 th.e meet and greets a week >> alcindor: inside this republican women's group, volunteers like retiree pamela are mailing out hundreds of invitations to small meetings with rohrabacher. .> he's a christian. he is a conservati he has the same principles as ronald reagan. >> alcindor: she supports president trump, and is feeling confident after the confirmation
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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 herav harleyson to a harley rouda rally. bethany's activism is also personal. in 2011, her sister was killed and her mother injured in a mass shooting in orange county. s for eight hours, you're hopi's hiding, she's really scared, somehow she made it out, because people made it out. >> alcindor: 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 s much clout in our politics.
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>> alcindor: she is one dozens who has protested outside rohrabacher's office every tuesday since president trump's inauguoftion. one er chief concerns is rohrabacher's ties to russia. he supports russia. he doesn't believe that russia interfered in our elections. these are things that, i'm a proud american, make me mad. >> alcindor: some ubbed rohrabacher "vladimir putin's orvorite congressman" because of his public supporthe 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 rly 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 foreign relations.
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>> all these things that have been portrayed as being sinister, that i met with this russian or that russian. a's my job as chairman to meet wi of the people that i can to get a diverse opinion of what's going on and what our relations should be with russia. >> alcindor: still, backlash over russia is only one of rohrabacher's challenges. tw rohrabacher's problems are fold. the first is, he's been in washington for a very long time, at a time when washingtois toxic. and the second is trump's deep unfavorability in orange county. >> alcindor: as democrats focus on voter turnout in november, molly, like others, is already thinking beyond the midterms. what happens after this election? even if, either rley wins, or maybe if he loses. what do you think isoing to happen with you? >> i know i 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
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waiting to see if th house-- and orange county-- turn blue. for the pbs newsho, 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, theen presis energizing his base while democrats continue the gsh for a blue wave. a sense of where things stand, it is a perfect time to check in with tamara keith of npr, and amy walter of the cook political report. didn't we just see you? how do you manage to bere everyw let's talk about, tam, the president is not going tobu californiahe is out on the trail. he's covering as many states, it seems, as he is between now and election day. what's the strategy there? who do you see going n? >> so i analyzed all of his general election trips, put them
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on a map, and he is going to either red states or states that tee battleground states, will be battleground sagain in 2020. coincidence, hmm, the other thing, though -- >> woodruff: 2020, not 2018. that's right. for the most part, he's not going to suburban swingst cts. he's not going to blue states where republicans are potentially in trouble. he is going to states and areas of states that are trump country where he won th a lge margin, where he's favored. he went toelko, nevada over the weekend. he was there beause this is all about firing up the base and getting them to go out and vote. that trip is notut abo winning
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over moderates. >> woodruff: is this the way you n the midterms? well, 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 theydid in 2016. he's replaying the 2016 campaign over and over again. what's fcinating to see in neda now is trump is in elko turning out his base tere, president obama in las vegas making sure his types of votersl hed about in his speech today, younger voters, latino voters. othersconsin we'll have example of what this election is about. president trump will be up in northern ruralwisnsin, small town wisconsin. the president, milwaukee. president obama, sorry. >> woodruff: so, tam, anwhile, the "wall street
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journal" poll suppose the president's approval rating moving open. it was 44% last month, now 47%. is that something he can translate to republicans running for office? can he say, here is my appval ting, it is the best it's ever been, still under 50%. >> it keller can't hurt t publicans 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 different places and, althoughpp presidentialval tends to be a relatively good indicator, it's not the onl y thingthat determines outcome, certainly. >> there is definity a ong correlation between how the people feel about the president and howothey're vg and we've seen this in some of the special elections, the polng in the house and senate districts. the president's strong approvali ratireally good for republicans running those very
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trump-friendly states. this is where the senate map begins to become very probmatic for democrats. in maryland, missouri, indiana, they have to hold all those statestrying to pick up oter 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 exactly where e is in terms of the approval rating of him overall and with almost every single demographic group. for example, among men, in 2016, trump won 52% of those voters.s today he a 56% approval with men. with women he won 39%, he s
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38% now. whites with college degrees, 38% now. it's not only holding, we've go through two years whih 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 e hadrs worked in 2016, h 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. >> woodruff: one thing the president is talking a lot about is immigration going after not justthe l, but he's going after this caravan of migrant from central america making their way into and through t mexiard the united states. does this help him? how does this play? >> well, talk abut things that
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aiven't changed since 2016, president trump caing on 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 p to rile his voters, and polling would indicate both a 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 independent voters who still see the economic and healthcare as the top issues. immigration and terroriuch lower on their list of concerns. >> woodruff: some things are the same, somehings changed. >> some things are a little changed, and he's not runningns aghillary clinton this time. it's a referendum on trump, not a choice. >> but he lks a lot about a it in his rallies. >> he does bring her up.
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>> woodruff: clock is ticking, two more weeks. thank you both. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: a news update, the "newshour" confirmed c.i.a. director gina hasoro is en route to turkey for an investigation into the death of jamal khashoggi. the c.i.a. has declined to comment. with that, that's the "newshour"n toight. 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 haseen provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> consumer cellular. >> financial services fi raymond james. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century.
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>> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdwot and peaceful d. 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. captioningponsored by wshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> you're watching pbs.
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[ theme musisic plays ] ♪ ♪ i think i'm home ♪ i think i'm home ♪ how nice to look at you again ♪ ♪ along the road ♪ along the road ♪ ♪me you want me ♪ you can find me living right between your eyes, yeah ♪ ♪ oh, i think i'm home ♪ oh, i think i'm home ♪ -today on "cook's country," bryan makes julia a midwestern favorite, detroit-style pizza. adam reviews rasp-style graters and ashley makes bridget an ussated version of a dish, bu fettuccine with tter and cheese. that's all right here on "cook's country."

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