tv KQED Newsroom PBS February 9, 2019 1:00am-1:31am PST
tonight on kqed newsroom, house democrats are pursuing investigations into russian interference, and president trump's finances despite his call to end the probes in the state of the union speech. we will check in with the man leading many of those investigations, the california congressman adam schiff. >> oakland teachers vote to authorize a strike. what it mea for publi education in california. >> and a new exhibit shines a light on a bay area disaster that killed hundreds and led to desegregation in the military. escalatigin with the battle over investigations of president trump and his associates. on thursday, president trump lashed out on house intelligence committee chairman adam schiff who had announced he would launch a broad investigation that goes beyond russia, to examine the president's
mr. trump said it was presidential harassment. the exchange came jus sdays after tate of the union speech, where the presidear d against, quote, a ridiculous partisan investigation. the house intelligence committee first timeek for t in the new congress, and voted to share transcripts from the russiainvestigation with special counsel robert mueller. gressman s now is c adam schiff, nice to have you back with us. with nk you, great to be you. >> well, we'll talk about the investigation you're heading up in just a moment but first i wanted to ask you about the acting attorney general matthew whitaker, his testimony before the house judiciaryit coe today, what do you make of his answers to questionshe related russia investigation? are you satisfied with them? >> no,'m not satisfied, because on some of the most impornt points, he is still refusing to answer. the american people have a right to know whether thecting attorney general, someone who auditioned for that part, by saying how he could privately cripple the investiation, is taking any action that would
undermine the investigation. he's already publicly talked bout the length of the investigation, wh might come to a close, it is something he shouldn't be discussing. and there are a lot of unanswered questions about why he was picked for the positio and whether he has communicated to anyone on the president's legal defenseeam, for example. facts of the investigation that would prejudice that investigation. >> he has said that he hasn't cut funding to the investigation, he hasn't interfered with the investigation. >> well, he has made certainly those top line claims. but without being able to determine what conversations he's had, and with whom, and about what, i is impossible to test those representations. and o thing we have learned the hard way, during the russia investigation, is there are a great many times when peopl including the president, simply say things that are flatly proven false, you know, without much timeing between the statement and the proof.he sottorney general needs to
answer these questions, needs to answer them mptely, and not attempt to stonewall the judiciaryommittee in anyway. >> moving on now to your panel, the house intelligence committee, you announced this week that you are expanding that investigation. what additional areas are you now looking into? >> well, the number of areas that we were not able to fully pursue when the republicans were running the committhey made the decision really to act as more of a legal defense team for the president than objective investigators. and i hope thatan that es this session. we have invited them back into the investigation. but we will continue to purs issues involving the conduct and communications between trump associates and akwiki or the publishing arms of the ruthian militar had hacked these documents. we're going to continue to pursue the facts around that trump tower meeting and what the president may have utown a the trump tower meeting. or other efforts to obtain dirt
on his opponent from the alrussians. we need to look into the president's business, because what we've already seen is deeply alarming. campaign is during the at the time he was denying any business dealings with the russis, he was attempting make the most lucrative business deal potentially of his entire career, a grand tower in moscow, something worth hundreds ofil ons of dollars to him, and to his family, and at the same time, the russians were seeking s help in doing away with sanctions on russia. >> are you concerned about money laundering? are you looking -- you're basically saying that you want to see if any of the decisions he's making in office is prompted by financial interests. tl i correct? >> that's exright. and money laundering is one part of that. there have been continual and credible allegations which we only scratched the surface on previously, with the republian majority. that the president may have been, or his businesses may have
been launderinhe money for russians. there were times when the trump family, by virtue of their nsestionable business practices, couldn't get l from legitimate american banks. and in fact, the only bank that would lend them money was deutsche bank, a bank that has a history of laundering russian money. buthere was also a time when even deutsche bank apparently wouldn't lend to the trump organization. and yet, they were buying golf courses, spending lots of cash, flipping properties, and all those, as potential hlmarks of money laundering. if this is financial leverage that the russians hold because, if they were onthe otherof these transactions, they would know it, then obviously we need to find out. >> other democratic lawmaks e also pursuing additional lines of inquiry, in trying to obtain the president's tax returns.is the presidentlearly unhappy about all of this. what effect do you think all of
these probes will have on efforts to reach an agreement on border security before the government runs out of money again on february 15? >> even before we forma the majority, there were agreements on what to do on border security between democrats and republicans. in the last congress, we voted to fund border security on a bipartisan basis. the reason we ended h in shutdown was the president, in agreeing to these deal, incurred the ire of, you know, the ann coulters and the rush limbaughs of the world, and so he shut down the government for a period of time. that was a disaster for the country. i don't expect that that is pp going to again. but nonetheless, we don't know where we're headed here. i think this committee that's been formed to reach compromise will in fact, reach one. but whether that satisfies the president, or maybe more mportantly, whether tha satisfies rush limbaugh, i don't know. and that shouldn't be the standard. m concerned that the president may declare an emergency, which i think is
ultimately, would be struck down by the courts. >> what will you do if he declas a national emergency? >> i think there will be a resolution of disapproval on the congress. and they're already publicor re that mitch mcconnell has privately warned the president that he will lose likely a lot of his members in those votes, if he takes this action, which is i think anti-thetical to our democratic system. if in a ten-year debatever immigration, and a situation with congress has consider a president's request, but refused it, were to be considered somehow an emergency, we would be in a constant state of emergency. there would be no for a congress. so i think it is about the poorest case yor could make an emergency. >> i also wanted to ask you about president trump's usmination of david burnhart, a former energy iy lobbyist, to be the interior department's next secretaryy we replace zinke who stepped down amid ethics scandals. what would his likely
confirmation mean for california? >> well, i it would be a disaster for california. i think it would be a diplster for paround the country and around the world who care about the environment.pr this is ident of course who campaigned on draining the swamp. and if you look at the department of interior, it is hard to find asw biggep than at the department of interr, where zinke as you pointed out, was, you know, enmeshed in all kinds of ethic scandals. and now, his deputy, who they're seeking to elevate the new secretary, is a former lobbyist for the oil and gas industry. he will continue and be in a fu more powposition to push for offshore drilling, off the shore of california, as well as elsewhere, to minimize and dumb down safety standards on drilling, to sell off public lands, and oemn tp to greater mining operations that d ll pollute the air, pollute the water. >> i also wanted to touch on the at wasnew deal t
announced this week by liberal democrats. there is a very sweeping resolution and one of t most sweeping elements is it is calling for the u.s. to convert to 100% clean renewable energy sources by 2030. about 60 democrats, both in the house andon senate, have signe to this. where do you stand on that bill? >> well, i stabi on th as well, and i think it ta, make a powerful statement where we stand in the country to ween ourselves off fossil fuels and investment dramatically in renewable energy. we are all too aware that we may bein approac and faster than we originally thought, this tipping point, where it may be toote to deal with the problems of climate change. and so there isea asense of urgency among democrats that's reflected in this green new deal. and you can see the contrast between the parties in theee new deal, which is, you know, a very aggressive effort to move ourselves in the direction of renewable energy, and a gop
which is ready to confirm an oil and gas lobbyist. so in this area, more than perhaps any other, can you see the difference between e parties. >> congressifn adam schf, we thank you for your time. >> thank you very much. now, to education. this week, oakland teachers voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strild that co take place later this month. they want that 12% p raise over three years and reduced class sizes. the oakland unified school district is facing a potential $60 million budget short fall next year and is offering a mucm ler raise, 5%. meanwhile governor gavin newsom has directed the state superintendent of ducation,r a look at how charter schools affect the finances of school districts. joining me, janelle scott, associate professor at uc berkeley college ofeducation and vanessa, kqed education reporter. hello to you both. >> there. >> vanessa, you have been covering the oakland situation, the teachers can go on strike
any reach an agreement. >> so if the teachers walk out, what is the district's plan? what should parents and students know? >> right, they haven't said a whole lot about it, but they are ing tory to keep schools open. they say that they will call in substitute, administrators from central office will be on school sites c in somees and they will probably hold fairly big classes in auditoriums, things like that.
that's what happened in 2010 the last time there was a strike. >> janle, you were a teacher in oakland yourself at one point. so you're verfamiliar with t district. in what ways are oakland's issues similar to those that we see in other teachers' strikes around the country, like los angeles and last year in west virginia? >> and oklahoma, right? we're seeing really a growing movement of teachers walking out. i think the movements in west virginia and oklahoma are yolked to very traditional bread an butter issues that unions have always been very interested in, so salaries,pensions, benefits, and the like. but they are also yoked these issues of general support for public education in the state, and reallyg look to increase the supports for counselors and nurses and thing that have really been, resources that have been decimated from public schools, and oakland, and most recently in los angeles, you're seeing those same issues, bute you also hearing very much in the public debate the question
of charter schools, and how charter schools are playing into the fiscal pi vitality of these districts. >> and vanessa, there are tensions over charter schools as you say. can you explain what are charter schools and why are so many public school officials and public schoolteachers upset about them? >> so charterchools emerge in our country, the first state law passed in 1991, california's law passed in 1992, and you know, charr, the ideal behind charter schools have always been somewhat at tension with one another, so on the one hand reformers hoped that charter schools would provide opportunities for parents to have greater choice and acfreed, for torious have greater power over decision making, around curriculum andes the structf their schools. >> how has it worked out? >> well, sort of all over the place. there are some wonderful charter schools that have emerged. i think the broad middle is that most of them are just as
quaity, or maybe slightly below traditional public schools, and then another subset are quite worse, right? so they are all over the place we just look at student achievement on standardized assessments. >> and some of the tensione s around ct that these schools are drawing students and resources from traditional public schools, right? so in oakland, for instance, you can really see a drop, a downward trend in district school enrollment and upward trend in charter school enrollment and they line up pretty clearly and that's a lot of the complaints tt you hear from the union about charter schools. >> and that hurts the finances of the public sool districts. they get less money if there are fewer people. and so is there a movement of sorts, vanessa, in oakland, among the public educators there, to try to get california lawmakers to do something about the charter school law? >> very much. on wednesday, there was a press coference with school leaders, and that's something that they talked about a lot.
they have a lobbying effort under way to try to get governor newsom to put a moratorium in place on new chart schools and on charter school appeals. >> and how liky will that happen, janelle? >> so it is looking more likely that some sort of change will happen than in the recent past. governor newsom has asked the state superintendent of instruction, to coene a commission, to look at the fiscal effects of charters. we are reallyut talking aot just the presence of charter schools in california but particular districts where there is a deep conction of charter schools. so oakland for example has t greatest concentration of charter schools in the state. >> how many charter schools are in oakland? >> so there are about 34rt c schools in oakland and that amounts to about 30% of students enrolled in public schools in oakland. >> how does that compare to icts?boring school dis >> so berkeley unified has one charterchool. >> ju one?
>> one. >> why the big gap? >> so there are different explanations for the big gap. one ex planning from the charter school community oakland is there great parental demand for options. another explanation is that there has been deep donor and philanthropic support to grow the charter in particular school districts as sort of proof points for the charter school movement so oakland charter schools have enjoyed signifomant support donors, from flan pifrts and from the california charter school association. >> and arehere certain guidelines, regulations, that charter schools have to abide by, in terms of what isheir level of accountability? what are the metrics fores su >> i mean i think you're in a better position to talk about that, but that's part of the argument, right, is in oakland, for instance, as the districtes mov to close a number of their schools, to shore up their finances, they say they don't have very much control at all
over what they do with charter schools. their there are very few cases in which they can deny as chartr ool application. >> so the law holds that districts evaluate their charter schools every five years, and chters can come up for renewal. what we know, not just in california, just in oakland, but across the country, that it is very rare for our a charter school to be closed for underperformance. it does he but it israre. >> almost a rubber stamp of approval when these renewals come up. >>yes, what we do see in terms of charter school closures, that it is more likely to be closed for fiscal improprietya rather lack of student performance on standardized tests. >> janelle, you talked earlier about gavin newsom's call on the superent's panel for charter schools and the impact they're having statewide. what would you like to see coming out of this study? >> it woulde great if we could establish some consensus. i think the i deba so charged, with one side saying, on , there's no effec
traditional public schools, and if public schools would just improve, we wouldn't have this problem. on the other side, there epis, concern, and criticism of the growth of charter schools, and it wou be good to have a party that's perceived as somewhat n tral, to talook at the numbers. one of the things that dist have, that districts have raised, as a concern, is that the law does het allow to deny charter applications on the basis of fiscal impact. so evs if the ict is aware that opening another charter school will further destabilize its finances, thogr aren't nds to deny it. and so this is something that i think the state really does neeo take up. for districts like los angeles and oakland, that are really fi strugglingncially. >> and on a broader level, los angeles teachers, ri t, got a agreement last month, as part of that, as a resolution calling for a ten-month mor orium, it does seem like this is part of a broader movement sweeping the nation. thank you both, janelle scott, with uc berkeley, and also vanessa, with kqed, nice to have you here.
>> thank you for having us. now, the 75th anniversary of a bay area disaster that changed the nation in 1944, african-american sailors were loading munitions on to a ship at the port chicago naval magazine, on su sune bay, they had no safety trainin told the munitions were not live but it turned out they were. a massin explosipped through the pier killing 320 servicemen. several weeks lateck 50 b sailors reversed to load munitions in vallejo, out of concern for their safety. all were found guilty of mutiny. b the episode galvanized a movement to desegregate the navy, and eventually the entire military. now, a new exhibit at the treasure island museum sheds light on theort chicago explosion and its impact on the fight for racial justice. joining me now to discuss all of this are the p tsident of treasure island museum, walt balonski. and mary redel, chief officer at the university of san francisco. welcome to you both. >> thank you for having us.
>> mary, you're also thet presid of the san francisco public library commission and you've been working with thee treasland museum on this exhibit. take us back to that day in july, 1944, when the explosion happened. what was the scene like? >> well, the scene was a terrible tragedy. in so manyways. you had these very young men that were working in an enviroent that they were not prepared for. and they suffered the worstype of tragedy that you can ever imagine. and so the survivors of the port chicago essentially had said, we are not going to go back. at least 50 of them, that was. and these were ordinary young men, they were between 18, maybe 21, 22 years old. >> so young. >> so young. they were already i a segregated situation. over 200 of t individuals that were lost were african-american sailors. and otherndividuals. and so these 50 young black sailors who had everything to lose, if they went back, they we afraid for their own
safety, they saw their mates with dismesbered bowere ordered to go back immediately, while the white officers wer given the proper grievance time off and somehow or another, thee were ao muster the courage, and the solidarity, to say we er will ra go and face court he united states navy, which also meant that they, at that time, they could have been sentenced to deat b >> take uk to that era. why wereis tasks like loading live munitions, on to a ship, why were those types of tasks asigned primarily to black sailors? >> well, the navy was segregated, ind frankly, was racist. these sailors had joined the navy to go fight thenemy. and they were put to work doing manual labor loading these munitions. they were supervised by white officers who were under a lot time pressure. they pushed the crews to work faster and faster. h each n they bet w other on which crew could load
the most ammunniion. and p the men if they lost the bet. it was a terrible anituation. >>so mary, how did this proefrt, by the 50 men, eventually influence the navy and eventually the entire military to desegregate? >> well, this is the story. this is a civil rights story that begins in san francisco bay area, that i don'thk that people know about. we often think about atlanta, and other parts of theited states, where the civil rights was born, but this 50 young men were really the ones that set theed early prt to the modern civil rights movement that we knew. and so essentially, t navy moved forward, through this trial, and after the trial, to be the first b of the military to begin desegregation. and under president truman, hee ordhere, by all of the u.s. armed forces followed, and essentially these 50 black ailor, ordinary young men, facing all loss, gave an
extraordinary contribution to racial justice and social justice in the united states, and it happened here. >> did the military desegregate foris altc reasons in the beginning, or were they frankly a little scaredf seeing these 50 young black men band together? >> the thing is i'm sure there was publicity that was going on at the time and this is a precurs tohe modern civil rights movement. but at the same me, these, the e agedy was so significant, i mean that's ing that we cannot deny, it was so horrific, there had never been that type incident happen on the u.s. soil, that i think that even then, they knew that there was something that was not right about it. >> there were two things going on really. one was the publicity you know, the naacp was involved. thurgood marshall was a young attorney, the counsel for the naacp, he came out to assist with the trial. and so there was a lot of publicity and a lot of attention
afterwards. but also, the navy realized that if theyte segreblack sailors into black units, they were creating blacknity. and they realized that was going to be a problem if they kept doing ithat. >> that why, by splitting them up and desegregating, that would actua ly weaken their resolve on a lot of things. >> yes. >> and what happened to the sailors who were convicted of mutiny afterwards? how did that affect their lives later on? >> well, they receivd about seven-year prison sentences, most of them, after the war those werereduced to about two years, and they were returned to service, and derscharged. >>they able to find work? were they able to live normal lives after that? >> noteally. i believe they were received, they received general discharges and it was a black mark on their records that followed them f or mosttheir lives. which is one of the reasons why wee port chicago story took so long to becom known, because this was something they were af.amed sometimes their families didn't know about it. they didn't want to talk about
it. and eventually, the families learned, professor robert allen at berkeley, found out about it, and wrote a book in the 1990s, and th really helped make it more widely known. >> and mary, of all of the menn convicted, one received a pardon from president bill clinton. and some of the men said a pardon impliedth were guilty and instead, they wanted exoneration, they wanted thei names cleared. is there any effort under way to try to get common ration fexonee >> i believe are some exoneration efforts going on right now, and the things, under president obama, there was not a successful empt con exoneration that happened? >> do you know why? why is that? >> do you know the ipecifics? >>on't really know about that. i know maybe the president was reluctant to push race issues on too many fronts, but there is ga zation, the friends of port chicago national memorial, which is working to to clear the
names of ts saild working for the families, and exoneration is one of their priorities. >> mary, wh between those 50 men, convicted 75 years ago, to what you're seeing today? >> youknow, one of the things is that justice does not happen in a vacuum. the arc of moral justice was really long and always bends towards righteousness and these 50 men were essentiall banded together, and this act of solidarity, and it' connected directly to what we saw with rosa parks, connected directly to what wtoseey, in black lives matter, and even more recently, what we're seeing with colin kaepernick. you know, this whole idea of how do you stand up at time when the society doesn't believe that necessarily wbet youeve is right. these 50 young men are directly connected to the young people that are here in the bay area, that are in florida, that are all throughout the united states, that are saying this particular issue is not right. >> certainly the story still
resonates today. you both walt, than for being here. >> thank you. and to learn more about poit chicago an impact on the civil rights movement, you can attend a lecture moderated by mary, tomorrow, at treasure island, visit treasure island museum.org/port chicago, to make a free reservation for the talk. space is limited. and that wl do it for us. as always you can find more of our coverage at kqed.org/newsroom. i'm thuy vu. thank you for joining us.
>> in this divided government, is compromisee? possi i'm robert costa. welcome to "washington week." >> flynn, manafort, gates, pap drop loss and dozens ofs indictment including 13 russian nationals, three russian companies and roger stone. are you overseeing a wch-hunt? robert: acting attorney general matthew whittaker testifi. the latest showdown between the trump administration and congress. >> at no time has the white house asked for nor have i provided any promises or commitments concerning any investigation. robert: democrats are launching new investigations of the president's finances. president trump: it's called presidential harassment. robert: meane,