tv PBS News Hour PBS December 21, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
b captioning sponsoredy newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. ghm judy woodruff. on the newshour to divided by a wall. president trump threatens a shutdown, as republican lawmakers scramble to keep the government funded. then, secretary of defense mais' resignation sends shock waves around the world amid fears of a u.s. foreignwa policy going f. and, it's friday. mark shields a michael gerson elp make sense of this wild week of news. all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour. or funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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worldwide. ti and with the ongoing support of these instis: and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporatn for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> oodruff: a partial government shutdown looms at miight, after a long day o stalemate. senate republicans could not
muster the votes for a bill that house republicans passed, to fund the government into february. it includes $5.7 billion for a southern border wall, something democrats firmly oppose. but, at a white house event today, president trump insisted again that he will accept nothing less. >> it's up to the democrats. so, it's really the democrat shutdown. because we've done our thing. when nancy pelosi said "you'll never get the house," we got them, and we got them by a big margin, 217-185. so now it's up to the democrats as to whether or not we have a ututdown tonight. i hope we don't,e're totally prepared for a very long shutdown. >> woodruff: mr. trump said last week that he would tali the responsi for a shutdown. today, senate minority leader chuck schumer said it is clear where the blame lies. >> president trump has thrown a temper tantrum, and now has us careening towards a trump shutdown over christmas.
but there is only one wawe will have a trump shutdown. if president trump clings to his position for an unnecessary, ineffective, taxpayer-funded border wall that he promised mexico would pay for. >> woodruff: later, schumer met with vice president pence and other white house officials at the capitol. our white house correspondent yamiche alcindor and congressional correspondent lisa desjardins have beenll ing this all day. they join me now. so much to follow.. so, lisa, where does everything stand now? we just reported both sides say they ge still neiating. >> that's right. judy, i can report now talking to sources in leadership and the republic party that a government showdown is expected, at least a short one. we will see ar tial showdown tonight at midnight, barring a
miracle. the senate is essentially oaiting for members to return, members who have gone far west to the dakotas, to hawaii,t g all day to take an important vote, starting to get on the houseth version, onceey took the vote just a few minutes ago, it was clear the house bill falls far short of the 60 votes needed in the senate. so senate republicans and democrats havesade t agreement, judy, basically to step outside of the proncess the senanote floor and take another vote until there is a deal between democrats and republicans, including the president. so that means we donw 't knowhen we'll see the showdown and we don't know what a deal like that could look lik the talks haven't begun in earnest, there hasn't been a talk about what a deal like that could look like yef: >> woodro many questions, lisa. so, yamiche, at the white house, where do things stand from the president's perspective.he
ays he's not bending at all. what does your reporting show? the president is copletely dug in on this demand to have $5 billion for a border wall. wants to gete money before democrats take control of the house. it's important tnote that the department of homeland security, which would be impacted by theow government wn or partial government showdown, held a call today basinically justiwhat the $5 billion could go to. one of the things they sad iey could build 215 miles of new border wall acor replents. the important thing to note, the president is wagering a lot on this, not only his political capital but actual christmas. he could be without his wife and child because the first lady and barron said beey wilgoing to florida without the president, andif the showdown happens, the president will be stuck in d.c. by himself. >> woodruff: the president
saying flat out he's preparing to stay in washington. how confident are democrats that they have the right rategy? >> i've seen the confidence only inease for demoats in the last couple of days. in january, democrats ofred $25 billion for this wall in f exchan protection for dreamers, children who were brought here illegly now democrats feel more strongly that offering $1 billion to $2 billion is the right deal. they feel the president onshandled these negotia and they feel strongly. the house will return tomorrow. i expect the senate to be here, but it's not clear if this will at all be resolved over the as to the miles of border front, oemocrats counter that by saying that the billionf dollars this president has had for wall or fencing so far, most of it has not been spent yet, d that's a normal process, but because they stillave to ramp up the construction. they're saying there's no need
for all this money now. democrats are digging in just as much as republicans. >> woodruff: what are they saying at the white howhe about s going to be held responsible? >> the president is saying the democrs are to blabecause they won't give him the $5 billion he's wanted. the presint at first saie would be proud to shut down the gornment and changed toay now democrats are to blame. he's been tweeting about this all day. one of the tweets he set out was a design f what he would want for the border wall, laa rge pickett fence with spikes at the top. he's sending the heds i want this bill and now. that would be important as the presidt is fundraising for the 2020 campaign using the border wall and shdown as an argument to get campaign money. he started an offial wall membership program where people can give money to the campaign and be part of this. but i had a sourc that said they would go up against the
president if there was a showdown. so jobs not walls, end the showdown, and they will show photos of immigr tts. president's opponents are also readying their messages. >> woodruff: f the showdown happens, how are government encies preparing? >> the agencies affected have spent a lot of time in preparing their contingency plan. eralthing to note for fed workers is they will receive their next pay czech. ay the showdown happens, it m be a little smaller, but the paycheck that's to be affected is not due to get into their bank accous till january. we took an overall look at exactly what this would mean. we put something together to show our viewers. here you go. >> desjardins: of the 15 cabinet agencies, nine would run out of funding if the government shuts down at midnight. they include some big ones: the departments of homeland security, treasury and justice.
but that doesn't mean lights out. 420,000 "essential" employees in those departments would still have to work, without pay, over the holidays. that includes thousands infe ral law enforcement and corrections. and at airports, tens ofnd thousaof t.s.a. agents would stay on the job-- unpaid. another 380,000 government employees would be furloughed and stay home. often the most visible issue, the nation's 58 national parks would have no federal funds. most would stay accessible, but services and facilities would close. there are a few exceptions, like the grand canyon, where states will spend funds to keep them open. in all, about 25% the government would feel the impact of the closures. but, the shutdown woulnot affect programs like social security, medicaid and medicare, the postal service and the military, which have separate revenue or have already been funded this year.
>> woodruff: thanks to you both. and now to our other major story, the fallout and rising fear over u.s. foreign policy. john yang reports on the first casualty of president trump's decision to retreat from syria. >> yang: defense secretary james mattis' abrupt resignation has rattled nervous u.s. allies. the french foreign minister regretted the loss of a reliable partner. >> ( translated ): what i can say is that he is a lleague which i very much appreciate, with whom i have worked a lot. he's a great soldier, and has en a remarkable secretary. >> yang: in australia, senatorn, jim mo retired general who served alongside mattis in iraq, said it's clear australia must depend less on the united states and become more "self-reliant." in washington, the resignation rocked lawmakers in both parties. virginia democratic senator tim kaine: >> jim mattis is one of finestnt public seri've worked with in my entire career. >> yang: senate majority leader
mitch mcconnell said h "distressed" at the news. the mattis resignation letter was noteworthy for its absence of any praise for president trump. instead, he cited his differences with the commander- in-chief, writg, "you have the right to have a secretary whose views are better aligned with yours." >> we are going to appoint "mad dog" mattis as our secretarof defense. >> yang: the seeds of discord were present when mr. trump announced in 2016 that t retired four-star marine general would run the pentagon. mattis has made it known that he hates the nickname "mad dog." after that, he repeatedly disagreed publicly with the presidt, by supporting nato and other alliances, criticizing russian interference in u.s. elections, and opposing the president's withdrawal from th iran nuclear deal and ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. then came mr. trump's sudden
decision this week to withdraw u.s. troops from syria, a move mattis strongly atsagreed with. he white house last night, press secretary sarah sanders idknowledged the rift. >> he and the prt have a good relationship, but sometimes they disagree. te president always liste the members of his national security team, but at the end of the day, it's the president's decision to make. >> yang: mattis plans leave the pentagont the end of february. for the pbs newshour, i'm john yang. >> woodruff: wwant to continue our look at secretary of defense mattis' resignationan and what it going forward, with two men with extensive experience in u.s. national security policy. leon panetta served as secretary of defense and director the central intelligence agency during the obama administration. he has also served as white house chief of staff during the inton administration. and, richard haass was the director of policy planning at the statdepartment during the george w. bush administration. he also served on the national
security council staff othe george h.w. bush administration. he is now the president of the council on foreign relations. gentlemen, welcome to you both. it is good to see you. leon panetta, to you first, your etaction when you learned sey mattis resigned. >> i thought it was a sad day for the nation to lose an outstanding defense secretary who is well experienced with regards to national security policy and alo believed ithe basic principles of leadership, of strength, of our alliances, of understanding who our adversaries are, principles that i think have served this cuntry well since world war ii. to lose that experience, to lose somebody wh those principles, i think, increases the danger in this country of not having the
ability to deal with a lot of tairng points in the world today, and that concerns me because i think it puts our nati at risk. >> woodruff: richard haass, do you agree it puts the nation at risk? i >> wels certainly a major loss. he was experienced, he was so he represented, essentially, traditional foreign policy. i'll admit my bias, i thi served this country extraordinarily well for three-quarters of a century, so without him there, it can't be good. but i also tell youdyjui wasn't surprised that he left. clearly he calculated quite a onile ago that he and the president were nothe same page, they weren't in the same book sometimes. w i thought a question of when, not if, he decided hi being there wasn't making enough of a difference to justify the ice you pay in that kind of a position. i think what we saw in the lasts couple of das simply
inevitable. >> woodruff: given that,eon panetta, was it better for him to go, given that he could note support esident's policies, or do you think he should have stayed and continued to make the arguments that was making? >> well, i've had conversations with jim mattis, and i think he knew that he would -- he felt his responsibility was continue to try to make sure that the administration walked in the right path, understanding that he had an erratic president in somebody that was predictable. but i think jim mattis felt that it was important to try to ensure that we were implementing strong picy for this country, but i also believe that jim mattis knew there might be a point at which he was asked to cross a line that was unacceptable for him, and i think the fact that the
president made the ecipitous decision to withdraw 2,000 troops from syria witht consultation, without talking to our lies, with really spending time with his key atvisors, people like jim m tees, i think jim felt that that was a terrible signal to send to our allies, to send to the kurds who we had fought alongside of and, very frankly the united states is not going to stand by its wod, i think jim mattis felt it's not worth continuing to try to be secretary of def:nse. >> woodrichard haass, how concerned are you that that kind of advice is not going to be there anymore in this administration, that there isn't going to be someone who has the president's ear, who is sayingha we de to stick by our allies, we do have to stand up to ouadversaries? >> well, my bigger concern,e judy, is evn if someone were toas spouse that point of view in the way that secretary mattis
did that this president simply will not sten. think it's clear, after two years, donald trump is aradical when it comes to foreign policy. he believes cost of leadership far outweighthe benefits, he doesn't believe in free trade or alliance rationships, he rather prefers daily tractional- transactional approaches. he w doesn't cather a country is democratic or respects human righ t, he's looki draw down troops any. >> where signing that's the real danger.th it's not w jim mattis or someone like him is around, it's that the commander-in-chief has what i think is a radical vie of this country's relationship with the world, and that will be heard far beyondthe middle east. i would think people in taiwan, in south korea, in europe, they saw what this president did, and why wod any american ally, why would any country dependent onso americhow believe something like this couldn't happen to them? we have shredded our reputation
rriability and dependability, and that might be the greatt consequence of the last few days. >> woodruff: so leon panetta, secretary panetta, i mean, what could be done, i mean, givene what wearing from you and from richard haass and a number of others, is there anything that can be done to eithere correct urse the country is on under this president's foreign policy or to modify it or to some way -- in some way keep there happening what i hear you two decribing as real danger down the road? >> well, for all the reasons richard described is why i think our nation is at risk right now. there was some comfort in having jim mattis, th secretary of defense, having john kelly as chief of staff, mike pompeo secretary of state, of having so stability within the oval
office that could at least operate as check with this president. i think the only key here is going to be whether or not he's willing to appoint somebody as secretary of defense who believes in the principles that jim mattis espoused in his letter and that he was about and recognizing that that person would probably face the same kind of situation but at least uld provide the experience necessary to not only assure our allies but also assure the american people. and it's als going to take a recognition by this president that he can't simply tweet his way to foreign policy and national security decisions. he can't just stand back without talking to anybody and decide what he thinks is in the interest of th country. he's going to have to be more responsible. th idea of america first, very frankly, is not a policy. in many ways, it's an escape
from the reality of the kind of dangerous world that we live in. >> woodruff: richard haass, we haven't seen any indication the president intends to change course, have we? >> no, ma'am. i think it's probably the triumph of hope over experience to think this president will ange course. it's guy ironic, i spent most of my career arguing for presidential primesy when itto comeoreign policy. i was worried congress would be to pto parochial, and now we're finding the president is the problem when comes to american consistency in the world but there is very little we cando to rein him in. we've seen it in syria,gh istan, the negotiations with north korea, taking the united states out of various tradusagreements, takingout of the climate change agreement, the iran nuclear agreement. almost all the initiative, almost all the discretion when it comes to foreign policy lies with the executive and, for the
first time since world war ii, we have an executive who oped out of the main stream. >> woodruff: in less than a minute, to the tofo you, what iseck do you see out there, realistically, on course? >> the check is going to have to be, you know, what r constitution provides, which is a system of checks and balances. they've never wanted to centralize power this an executive, and, so, congress is going to have to step up and play a bigg, er roleand people within the administration who feel very strong about this country and being able to protect our national secarurity going to have to step up as well. it isn't going to be eabut i think the system that our forefathers created ultimately has got to serve as the ultimate check on this presideno >> wuff: richard haass? i don't think there's much of a check. congress can do a fewthings as leon correctly said. people in the administration could push back if they're given
a hearing, the media can roplaya . some of our allies will have to do more. in some ways almost take o nwhat has been the traditional american role until the united states decides it's preparing to start doing again what it has done for so long. >> woodruff: sobering observations from richard haass and leon panetta. gentlemen, thank you very much. >> thank you, judy. good to be with you. >> woodruff: and we get reaction now to mattis' resignation, and the spending and shutdown fight, from republican senatorru marco of florida. he sits on the foreign relations committee.we poke a short time ago about his concerns over mattis stepping down.vi well, sly, losing jim mattis, someone of his character and caliber is a big loss, but's not unusual for the secretary of defense to move on and an administration to metimes have two or three. my biggest concern was what he wrote in the letter and semed to im ply, when i put that together with things i've heard from others in t e lten days
and consultation with the folks at the administration, seems like we're headed in the direction of not justhat's happening in syria but similar measures in other places. when i look at that and i apply it to what's happening around the world, and i'm deepco erned we're about to undertake a series of foreign policy decisions that are going to undermine our security, alliances and embolden our adversaries. of course, we hate to lose mattis but we knew they would come, didn't think he would be here for eight year t what concerned me most was what he wrote in the letter and seems to conrm some of the fears we have upcoming or pending decisions. >> woodruff: we doelieve he's the first defense secretary to resign in protest at least it modees, but what i want to ask you is what is the check -- weonust heard from panetta and richard haass -- >> yeah. >> woodruff: -- what i check to prevent what is happening what you are worried about and that is moving in a direction you think is dangerou? for the count >> that's a very good question.
a lot of people out there, you know, you hear as you voice the complaints that i voiced, the comeback is, well, do something about it.o in the fieldforeign policy, there are limits to what congress can do. inas an exampleyria, you know, congress using the control of the purse strings, we ccut off funding for an operation, but we can't order the commander-in-chief to stay in one or to undertake one signing our role is largely, ntalthough an imporrole, is a role of oversight. for example, i would love for us be having hearings. i know it's the end of the year. but i think it's important for the secretary of state, the secretary of defense or others to come before the appropriate mmittees in congress and sort of outline why this is a good idea and aswer qtions as an example with i.s.i.s. you know, the intelligence information that's available that's been widely leaked and reported that people discuss all the time, but peosource reporting, basically that i.s.i.s. has not been defeated and remains a threat in the region and they're reconstituting thems
an insurgency. without americans there, we know the kurds are likely tobandon the effort to fight i.s.i.s. and returne o their homcities to fight the turks. who's going to fight i.s.i.s. on the ground, what's the administration's plan to prevent them from posing threats to america and the syrian territories? that's one to have the roles congress can play treally press on that. >> woodruff: given thosehe concerns and you've expressed, do you believe this president should be entrusted with foreign policy for this country? >> well, look, i think the president deerves credit fo eroding i.s.i.s.'s presence, if you look their territorial control when he took office and where they are today, it's been a dramatic erosion. he has done what many of us asked for, u.s. air and logistical supportcombined with local ground forces, in this case the kurds through the ypg and the syrian democratic forces that included arab recruits from the area, o fight ice on the ground.
he has done that. my qualm with him now is he is abandoninghat effort bre it's completely finished. i.s.i.s. still does control territor so he deserves credit for the first part. i think he's about to make a blunder on the second part. our job is to convince himwa through the aies and personally through working with the administration to reverse and change course in that regard. >> woodruff: basically you're saying this could undermine everything that happened before if this is allowed to continue. >> right, and that's why i think those of us who supported his initiatives on foreign policy and other measures should tell him. we don't have enough time to talk about all the diffe problems hat this creates. >> woodruff: senator, do you think that that's been done?pe a lot ofple look at you and other republicans members of congress and say there habesn't enough of a check on this president, that he hasn't been held accountable sufficiently. t dependsi would say on who it is you're talking about. in the case of foreign policy,
the prekesident, we've worwith the white house to do many things, changes in policy o cuba, sanctions on vens ray, and if you look at what he's done syria, our presence in iraq, afghanistan, our support for ukraine, he provided them defensive military, capabilities which the previous administration wouldn't do. you saw the surge and continued surge that began under the obama administration in our presence in the asia-pacific region, we have been supportive of those initiatives.wh i'm the onfiled the bills and put sanctions in place on russia when they interferedy our elections again it didn't paz, but it had affect on what the national securitw councite up as policy. it's all in the interest of serving our country and helping the administration be successful and we have allies in the administration that greece with ma. ully, if the president decides to go in a different direction, we should say so and try to do what we can to prevent that from happening.
>> woodruff: the other story, development todaand that is the impasse, over what's going to happen withnm govt funding, a potential showdown of the government. you sawed this week that you were led to believe by the white house that there was an agreement, that they changed their position on this. how do you assess the white house handling of this? >> well, look, i think the white house should have told us on wednesday that they weren't going to support the version that was before the senate before we voted on it. i tweeted that earlier today. i believe that now. vice president, whgood man and doing a good job, but he was at our lunch on wednesday and he said the white house is open to what the senate was workg on. if they said otherwise, i think we could have spent wednesday thursday and on into today working on this matter. but we can't undo that. i think they could have done that better, didn't, tha's passed now we move forward. i don't want to leave unsaid is that what is in the house bill that came over to us is not
unreasonable. there's nothing radical about funding the top ten priorities of a long-term border improvement plan that's in place which is not all wal by e way. some of it is but some of it are other things. and if you want to put the migration part of it aside, which is a bigo prem, but the majority of heroin and fentanylt re killing people in this country is being trafficked across the border bydrug car tells that are using mexico. that alone tifies $5 billion and is opposed by people who voted for far more money in the past for border security. p >> woodruf the president is describing that $5 billion as money for a physical wall and that's what the democrats say they oppose. but saturdays the disagreement. >> yeah, but they supported a physical wall in the past. 2013 i was part of an effort to pa an immigration refobill lhat spent much more an $5 billion and iuded a wall.
the wall isn't going to solve the problem but is part of it. people misunderstand independents purpose. unnel borderis to traffic into areas you can monitor to prevent unlawful migration but also to prevent the illegal runng of guns and drugs that are killing americans and i believe we'll he a partner with mexico in doing this because they're now getting uck with the cost of migrants stranded as they come through mexico and dealing with the vicious drug gangs who are making nonny by getting drugsde across the b and into a regional marketplace i hope we'll partner with mexico to confront the challenges and i think they would benefit from taking away the meg net of a porous u.s. border. >> woodruff: marcorubio, thank you very much. >> woodruff: and now in the day's other newse the u.s. suprurt ruled against a ban on granting asylum to people who enter the u.s. illegally. the justices voted 5 to 4 to
rulingsower cou against the trump administration rlicy. chief justice joerts sided with the four more-liberal justices. justice th bader ginsburg cast her vote in the asylum case, before entering a hospital in new yo r. she overing after doctors removed two malignant growths from her left lung. a court statement said there is no evidence the cancer had spread. ginsburg is 85, and the leader of the court's liberal wing. this is the third time she has been treated for cancer since 1999. wa street's week ended wit more losses over worries about a possible recession. the dow jones industrial averago 414 points to close at 22,445. the nasdaq fell 195 points to close below 6,333. gh is down 22% from its august now officially in "bear market" territory. t an s&p 500 gave up 50.
for the week, the dow and thebo s&p lost 7%.ed the nasdaq dro%. turkey's president recep tayyip erdogan today welcomed u.s. plans to leave syria that came as the associated press reported president trump made the decision ter speaking with erdogan last week. in istanbul, the turkish leader said he promised the president that turkey will finish off islamic state militants. >> ( translated ): we will be working on our operational plans to eliminateslamic state elements, which are said to remain intact in syria, in line with our conversation with president trump. in other words, over the next months, we will adopt an operational style geared toward this goal. >> woodruff: erdogan also said that turkey is delaying a planned operation against u.s.- backed kurdish forces in syria. meanwhile, the kurds warned their fighters may have to leave thfight against isis to confront any turkish attack.
the u.n. security council voted unanimously today to send tase-fire monitors to yemen. they will watch ov truce in the red sea port of hodeidah, and the withdrawal of rival forces. yemen's government, backed by saudi arabia, and shiite rebels aligned with iran, agreed to the cease-fire this month. pope francis has demanded that predatests who have sexually abused children, turn themselves in.it he also ized church leaders who iled to take the oblem seriously in the past. toancis spoke during his annual christmas messagatican administrators. he said the church will never again cover up clergy abuse. t ( translated ): the church will spare no effodo all that is necessary to bring to justice whoever has committed such cmes. the church will never seek to hush up, or not take seriously, any se. and to those who abuse minors, i say: convert and hand yourself over to human justice, and prepare for divine justice. w
druff: this week, illinois accused church officials of shielding more than 500 priests accused of abuse in the state, going back decades. mourners gathered in lockerbie, scotland today, on the 30th anniversary of the pan am airliner bombing that killed 270 people. milies and friends of th victims laid wreaths to honor their loved ones. there were similar services in the u.s. for the american victims. a bomb dtroyed the plane, on a flight from london to new york.i a libyan intnce agent was convicted of the crime in 2001. flights have finally resum at london's gatwick airport, after a series of drone sightings that shut down operations there for 36 hours. the trouble began wednesday and it disrupted holiday pla for thousands of travelers. another drone sighting forced another shutdown today, for 80 minutes. police are still searching for the drone operator.
and back in this country, michigan's republican-run legislature took new action to extend its authority before a democratic governor and attorney general take office next month. early today, lawmakers voted to give themselves the power to intervene court cases. another bill would limit ballot initiatives. still to come on the newshour: how the new criminal justice reform law can change lives.d, ark shields and michael gerson help us understand a tumultuous week. >> woodruff: there is a new law in the land today, meanto address two central tenants of american life: freedom and justice. in the last 40 years, the federal prison populion has risen by more than 600%. yamiche alcindor reports on a rare bipartisan push to bring big changes for some 180,000
inmates. >> alcindor: angel gregorio hasn't seen her two brothers in more than a decade. they're both doing time in deral prison for murder. her younger brother is more than 1,300 miles away in beaumont, texas. >>ust, financially, it's a burden.ly logisticalit's a burden. >> alcindor: at her spice shop in washington, d.c., she is hoping a new federal l will bring her brothers and other federal inmates closer to their families. >> we aren't asking you that you open up the floodgates and let everybody out of prison. we're just asking that you bring them a little closer, so we can come and see them, hug them, talk to them, not have to spend so much money on phone calls just to stay connected. >> alcindor: under the new criminal justice law signed by president trump today, federal inmates will be placed in prisons within 500 miles of their families. at's just one of the changes paming from the first step act. it's a rare isan effort that deals with both sentencing and prison reforms. it will also lower mandatory
minimum sentences. it will retroactively change sentencing disparities for drug crimes, including for powder and crack cocaine. such differences have often lead to longer prison times african americans. those changes will benefit abou, 0 inmates. they could shave 53,000 years off sentences over the next ten years. the billould also end life sentences under the strike law established i a 1994 crime bill. there are also changes to encourage prisoners to participate in recidivis programs. in an often bitterly divided seshington, the bill was p overwhelmingly by both chambers of congress. it united conservatives like the kochrothers with liberal groups like the a.c.l.u. even celebrities like kim kardashian voiced theie support. but ad to "yes" was long. >> this is truly a landmark piece of legislation. it's the biggest criminal justice reform in a geon. >> alcindor: that was three years ago. judiary chairman chuck grassley and a bipartisan senate
group announced a similar effort. then-president obama pushed hard. he became the first sitting president to ever visit a federal prison. >> that's what strikes me. there but for the grace of god. >> alcindor: but the effort fell short when senate majoritych leader mcconnell wouldn't let it come to vote. >> in this race for the white house, i am the law and der candidat>> lcindor: mcconnell was bowing to pressure from the republican base, and a vocal "tough on crime" candidate named donald trump. in a crowded field of 17 g.o.p. candidates, mr. trump consistetheltion, mr. trump doubled down on being "a law and order president.">> hen you see these towns, and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in. rough. i said, please don't be too nice.
>> alcindor: so how did the president go from "lock them up" to "let them out?" some point to mr. trump's son- in-law and white house adviser, jared kushner. >> this is an issue i had personal experience with. so alcindor: kushner's motivation was pl. his own father served 14 months in federal prison, after pleading guilty to illegal campaign contributions, wix evasion aness tampering. >> we're putting too much money towards warehousing people who in don't need to be wareho that money should instead be going lawmakers on the front lines, to keep our communities fe. >> alcindor: another thing that angel thinks led to this change is a stark increasin the number of people going to jail for drug offenses. >> i think once anything starts to impact folks who are not just black and brown, then you get this sort of bipartisanship. you know, like, now that youny have so hite people who are being locked up for these drug offenses, it's like, okay, we need to do somethout this. you take what you can get, right? >> alcindor: in november, the president came around.
>> i'm thrilled to announce my sullort for this bipartisan that will make our communities safer and give former inmates a second chance at life after they have served their time. >> alcindor: still, not every republican is on board. arkansas senator tom cotton remains a vocal opponent: >> i think many of the policies in this bill are deeply unwise, to allow early release from prison, thousands of serious, repeat and potentially violent felons over the next few months. >> alcindor: some of the bill's liberal opposition-- and even some of its supporters-- say ito doesn'ar enough. illinois senator dick durbin: >> we're not finished.th it's entitlefirst step. awat's the second step? >> alcindor: the n applies only to fedel prisoners. that's less than 10% of the 2.3 million people behind bars. advocates say they will continue to push for more reforms, including at thetate level. for the pbs newshour, i'm yamiche alcindor. w
druff: the white house and congress may have clinched that new criminal justice law this week, but this evening, they are on the brink of a partial government shutdown, even as they continue to process the resignation of the defense secretary. here to analyze this week of upheaval are shields and gerson. tthat's syndicated column mark shields, and "washington postcolumnist michael gerson david brooks is away this week. hello to both of you. >> judy. >> woodruff: i doyot think, markcould call it an orderly week in washington. yes, there was this agreement that the president signed, the icriminal justice reformll today, but here we are just hours away from yet another government is shutdown.
>> it seems eons ago senator schuman and speaker pelosi met with the pnt and the president manfully stepped up and said i'll take the sutdown and be happy to put it on me.ag then ieement with the senate that they'd fund it through the neyear and en come back and revisit it, and then immediately a revulsion, if you would, from the president'st longest anongest supporters, tv commentators ton ght such as rush limbaugh, ann waulter, and said this was a sellout on thel, and coulter going so far to say his presidency was a joke, d that icanad scammed the am people. so now we have to have funding for the wall or else. re that'ally where it is.an i it's loggerheads
wherever loggerheads afound, i think somewhere outside of boseman, montana, but that's where it is. >> woodruff: michael, the president is point ago finger at the democrats. the democrats are saying you're the one who said a few days ago you would be proud to own this shutdown, so where does the fault ige? >> picture. this shows how easy the president of tis united states o manipulate. here he agreed to a deal, and some of his toughest supporters, limbaugh and coulter and some of the time in the fox news morning programs, came out against it, and he changed his view like a puppet on a string. it was really extraordinary, a sign of weak laneadership. i can bet you that russia and china and north korea look omething like that, about how easy this president is to manipulate. that's the context for this. you know, so i don't think that
he can make a particularly good case, having agreed already to something rather reasonable, you ow, that hchanged his view with good reason, he can't make that case. >> woodruff: and w hea senator rubio saying they were told at the white house a few days ago by the victe presid that they had agreed -- >> at the luncheon of the senators. that's right. >> woodruff: so, mark, is there any good outcome from this? i mean, they're still negotiating. >> they're still negotiating,ju . and i don't know. you know, i think there may be some political necessity right now for it to be shut down for a while, the president, i don't buknow. it's tough. i mean, the people are leaving town, have left town, d, you know, the trauma of the week was secretary mattis, with no question about it. that was e monumental event. i would say that there was alarm
after the president's appearance at helsinki with mr. putin, i think there was alarm after the fing of f.bi. director comey, but there was panic, bipartisan, non-parents panic in this city, the country and the world whn general jim mattis left as secretary of defense. i mean, he was seen, and thin rightfully so, as the thoughtful, well-read, well-prepared, country-before-self leader who believed in reciprocal burdens and benefits to the united states with other countries and was fighting that cause and had some influence on donald trump, but left on his own terms. >> woodruff: and we talked out this earlier in the program with some of our oter guests, leon panetta, richard haass, sator rubio, michael, boutwhat does this say this president that at this stage, two years in, he and
james mattis are separating? >> i talked with a non-histrionic member of -- republican member of the senate today who said twiceuring the course of our conversation, we are in peril, we are in peril. some of the reason is because all of oualr lies did rely on him to provide the intel is the noesident serious about the attacks on ourand he assured our allies, but he played another role with republicans in the senate provide a level of assurance that the most basic ncpea of government were being filled. they could say i don't like his tweets and his poy is absurd and he changed his mind on this and i'thcritical of all is, but at least he hazmatties in that place, and nowy thave lost "but at least," and that, i ink, is the big change you know, you look at his
resignation letter, which coldly and rationally said to the andsident, you do not under our friends and you do not understand our enemies, and that's about it, right? i mean, there's no one else to understand. it was a comprehensive critique of the president byhe secretary of defense. you know, not an angry one but a very serious one, and to leave that as a document of our time is, you know, unp extraordinarily. >> i think back, mark, to the anonymous person who wrote that tter to the "new york times" that i'm inside this administration, i'm fighting for the things that mter to this country. but where is the check? i put this question tsenator rubio and the others, where is the check on the president for those who think the things are just going to run amok now? >> not to be partisan, but i think it's the, republicae kind of people michael was
talking to today that i've lked to who basically have been mute, who stand paralyzed the mark sanford experience, namely the former governor ando congressman m south carolina who president trump opposed and defeated in his primary, and i think they have lived in mortal fear. it's time for them to man up, step up, and i just -- i think, judy, the mattis thing is big, picking up what michae l said, most responses in this town thaanything that ppens are in silos politically. theye politically predictable. on this one, you had almost the same statementm seneca, south carolina's favorite son and donald trump's nebest friend lindsey graham, lindsey graham a hawk on defense, and nancy elosi, the demcratic leader from the bay area of san francisco, a card carlirying ral, and they both said the same thing, the losjs of im
mattis was a tragedy for the country and a loss that's incalculable. so that'hewhat i say about sense of panic. >> woodruff: and you have thet, commnusual comment from the senate majority leader mitch mcco that he was concerned about the reason -- just what you were citing -- the reasons that secretary mattis gave in his letter. but my question remains, where is the check?d if there sho a check, where is it going to come from?f >> well, tunately, senator rubio is right on foreign policy policy issues, the presidenhas a lot of leeway. they can't force him to stay in syria. and part of thncerns not just personnel. it's actually policy. getting out of syria is a terrible idea from many different perspectives. we are in the process of pursuing a buildup to a major operations against i.s.i.s. in the euphrates valley but nowis off the table. you know, it gives the turks
free hand with the kurds.e things are also bothering members of congress. you know, they register their tr dissent in deb senate, there will be congressional debates on that. we'll see how they react to the broader mueller report, that will be very, very important. t but, you knore are limits to what you can do on foreign policy, i'm afraid. >> woodruff: and what abouin domestic policy, mark? >> well, judy, i think that what we've seen, quite honestly, first of all, you've got democratic house that's coming in and that has struck fear, but you think what the president di and the did et this week as far as syria was concerned and now afghanistan, and i think that we've lacked a publ debate in this country. there hasn't been a thoughtful, serious debate. congress has abdicated its
responsibility. successive administrations, in my judgment, failed to make public case, entertain public criticism and debate on this issue. but the way it was done, the decision was arrived at for the president to justify it solely on the basis of it was a campaign promise he was keeping some two years later, it suggests to me thathere is panic within the white house and withinthe white house residence. we have seen the spotlight, thel flht and then the spotlight focus on trump university, and what it saw it closed down. we saw in thend trump fouion, the charitable foundation, they closed down. en on the inaugural, the campaign and now the administration. i think what we see in the president, judy, is a president who is concerned and so alarmed that what the mueller report is going to reveal is he's ing to have to hold on to that 35 ord 40% base e will do anything
he can. i think it's thaserious and grave. i don't think anybody reallyga es how in peril this presidency is, except a few republicans i've talked to really believe thate end is probably in sight. >> woodruff: the end what?i the end of s administration. >> woodruff: in what way? the mueller report will be so serious that the democrats real don't seek impeachment, but it's almost going to be inevitable that theouse would be forced to vote on it. >> yeah, i've heard one republican today that i talked to call eis th beginning to have the end, they felt that. that is going to be the only question, when the mueller report comes out, and the strength of the report will determine that. i think there are at least some republicans inat are talknow that the president needs a challenge in the primaries, and that he needs to los
reelection. but right now these are not loud voices in the republican party because the se has not turned, but you do hear that sort of motalk responsible republicans. >> woodruff: sobenote at the end of a week i think like no other. >> like no other week. >> woodruff: like no other week that i remember in washington, and i have been here for 40 years. thchael gerson, mark shields. >> you game in third grade? (laughter) >> woodruff: thank you both. thk you, judy. woodruff: as we've been reporting, a partial government shutdown is on track to begin at midnightonight, but how long it will last is unclear. the u.s. senate agreed late today to new negotiations on funding federal operations into february. the major obstacle remains president trump's demand for $5 billion to fu a wall on the
southern border. democrats firmly oppose that idea. l senaders say they will not vote on anything until everyone-- including the president-- has agreed to a deal.d at is the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. thank you, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> financial services firm ymond james. >> bnsf railway. >> consumer cellular. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems--ol skoundation.org. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation. for more than 50 years, advancing ideas and supporting institutions to promote a better world. at www.hewlett.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions
and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank u. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> you're watching pbs.
hello everyone and welcome to amanpour and company. here's what's cominup. >> enter stage left, from syria and foreign policy to climate and the environment, the progressive candidates shaking up global politics. a conversation with the chief of staff toti democ rising star alexandria cortes. and the dutch politician that's become the country's great green hope. then is our private data safe on facebook? the top tech journalist digs intog alarmew revelations. plus, shooting the breeze. why the candid cafe chats of two britishoi reporters areng viral the