Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  June 21, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

6:00 pm
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. m judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: on the brink-- tensions remain between iran and the uniteprstates despitident trump's canceling retaliatory airstrikes then, harsh detention-- new details about conditions in a government facility for immigrant children. plus, it's friday, mark shields and david brooks analyze all the week's news includin standoff between the u.s. and iran, and democratic pridential candidate joe biden's comments about working with segregationists. and, behind the curtain of "be more chill," the youthful musical that's made it to broadway despite the critics. >> it's kind of refreshing to a hahow for whom critics are
6:01 pm
absolutely irrelevant. the first time i saw it in new yoo, it was like what going a beatles concert must have been like. i hope this will be a gateway drug for kids who have never experienced thter before and say, "hey, i had a swell time." >> woodruff: all that and more on tonht's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> text night and day. >> catch it on replay. >> burning some fat. >> sharing the latest viral cat! >> you can do the things you like to do with a wireless plan designed for you. with talk, text and data. consumer cellular. learn more at >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, french, german, italian, and more.
6:02 pm
>> financial services firm raymond james. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> and with the ongoing ipport of thetitutions: and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbe station from v like you. ank you. dr >> wf: the weekend is beginning amid a swirl of speculation about president trump's intentns toward iran. he says he was on the brink of ordering air strikes last night when he pulled back.
6:03 pm
iran says it, too, is practicinp restraint-- e shooting down a u.s. military drone. foreign affairs correspondent nick schifrin begins our coverage. >> schifrin: in tehran today, the revolutionary guard corps showed off their catch: the charred remains of the u.s. drone they shot down. but as he invited camera crews to document the destruction, general amir ali hajizadeh said yesterday could have been deadlier. >> ( translated ): at the same moment when this aircraft was being tracked, another spy aircraft called p8 was flying close to this drone. that aircraft is manned, and has around 35 crew members. we could have targeted that plane. >> schifrin: 6,000 miles away, in an interview with nbc, president trump described discussing options with military commanders, and also said yesterday could have been. deadli >> they came and they said, "sir, we're ready to go. we'd liksaa decision." , "i want to know something before you go. how many people will be killed, in this case iranians?"
6:04 pm
they said, came back, aid, "sir, approximately 150." and i thought about it for a seco and i said, "you know what? they shot down an unmanned drone, pne, whatever you want to call it. and here we are sitting with 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after i said go ahead." l and i ike it. i didn't think, i didn't think it was proportionate. >> schifrin: iran says it used this interceptor missile to shoot down the drone. the u.s. mitary says it's located here, along iran's coast. former senior military officials tell pbs newshour the president was likely given options to attack that missile site, its command and control, and its radar systems. and those former seniomilitary and diplomatic officials say the military strike options presented to the president would have included casualty estimates from the very beginning. it's not clear why the president
6:05 pm
received that information so close to giving an order to attack. o but those formicials say it raises questions about the decision making process. >> ting the president at his word today, the key fact, how many people are going to die before thiattack-- was apparently not in the president's mind until reallyom beforets before he was going to order the attack. so that suggestions to me a breakdn of the process, that should be one of the first facts on the table. >> schifrin: brett mcguirk was a senior state department official until he resigned in december in protest to the administration's decision to withdrawal from syria. he says the strike the president described could have quickly escalad. >> an american attack that took 150 iranian lives-- particularly response to an attack that took no american lives-- i think the iranians would be in aus positiongiven how they think, that they would have to respond to that. therefore there would benother reckless provocation by the iranians, putting the onus onum president to have to respond again. >> schifrin: that fear was echoed today by speaker of the house nancy pelosi. >> a strike of that amount of
6:06 pm
collateral damage would be very procative. and i'm glad the president did not take that. >> schifrin: but some of the president's allies called his response weak. number three ithe house republican leadership, liz cheney of wyoming. >> schifrin: but the military says it's still ready to respond, should the president h chan mind. for the pbs newshour, i'm nick schifrin. >> woodruff: and our white house correspondent yamiche alcindor joins me with details on what happened within the trump administration.ya soche, what do we know now about the president's decision to call a halt to thimission, this what was going to be a
6:07 pm
strike on iran? >> well, by the president's own account, this really com down to him, at the last minute, changing his mind and thinking that killing 150 people wasn't going to be a "proportionalha response" toiran did to the u.s. military drone, which was, of course, to sho it down. the president said he was moved essentially by a moral decision by him to say this wasn't going to be fair if we do this. it's important to note theid president ut different time lines for how this happened. on twitter he said it was only ten minutes before the missiond happened, me reports said the planes were even in the sky. but in the interview with nbc news, he put the estimate at more than 30 minutes and saidwa therno actual plan approved yet, that this was all him still thinking about whether or not he wanted to approve the plan. the bottom line, the president is really relying on his own goingcts and saying i'm to listen to the foreign policy, hit i'm going to make the decisions in the house. >> woodruff: yamiche, you have been talking to a lot of people.
6:08 pm
what is your underanding of the politics at work here for the president? >> the president is really stk in a decision-making mode. on the one hand, he ha the promise he's made to be reel really strong on iran anda relly make sure they're not going to have a nuclear weapon, but on the other hand he's made a promise to his se 's not getting into end less wars on the middle east.d he pult of the iran nuclear deal, he made it clear iran is a bad actor and they're a corrupt nation, but the president, just in florida on tuesday, said to a crowd of thousands of people, i'm not going to get your children into a war, i understand what it's like to send men and women off to war and i don't want to do that. it's important to note on capitol hill, thinking about the thlitics of this, there's an effort moving to e hill that would ban the president from using funds to get into a war with iran without quonk congressional authorization. thanffort that's bipartisan. so we have people really looking at the politics of thisnd saying the president needs to be
6:09 pm
wa. another part of this that's gotten attention is the fact the president was sharing details of decision-making about something that's normally kept under wraps, we should say. what is your understanding about that? >> well, one of the mot remarkable parts of this whole story is the president was sharing all of this openly on twitter and in its interview with nbnews. so many reporters includinglf myere feverishly looking for details of the president's thinking, and this morning here laid it out t this is what the president does, he likes being able to to be transparenin his mind, he likes not having a filter. i should say i talked to of supporters in florida who say they love the president tweets,t they this is a good thing for him. we've never seen anything like this in a president, but this is the president's style and he's sticking to it. >> wouff: yamiche alcindor reporting to us from the white house, than thank you so much.
6:10 pm
>> woodruff: and now for thr view from . special correspondent reza sayah is there, and joins me v skype. hello, reza. first of all, what was the recollection to president trump tweeting that he had ind sd called forrike on iran before he decided to call it off? >> judy, like much of the world, iranians and the iranian government were engross bid these tweets that confirmed mr. trump had okayea military strike against iran last night and abruptly called it off lat minute even after the mission was underway. even if this is true, that mens for iranians, this is as close as thy've come seeing the u.s. attack iran, to see iran and t. u.sgo to war since 1988, that's when the at and downed a small iran within warship in the persian gulf. so thieds acknos the gravity of the situation, one that tknowledges that the situation is getting close a possible
6:11 pm
open conflict. the reaion has been firm in that they've said, look, we've downed the u.s . drone, weaim it, we had the right to down the u.s. one because iran sas it crossed into iranian territory, but they've also been even though the head of the iranian revolutioary guardid they're prepared for war even though they eve said they do not want war. >> woodruff: the shooting down of the american drone,inly it was seen as an act of aggression. some of it see it as an act,yb of inviting an attack by the u.s. what was the thinking behind that? >> i think that seemsto suggest at this point that perhaps the iranian government is changing its strategy, it's taking a step tords becoming more aggressive against this maximum pressure campaign by u.s. president donald trump.
6:12 pm
er since mr trump last year pulled out of the iran nuclear deal, reimposed those economic sanctions, added new ones, iran hadn't done much, it had n reacted in an aggressive way. it had stayed in the nuclear agreement. but over the past month, you've seen indications of them take more aggressive steps, threatening to ramp up what they call a nuclear program and now they've attacked a u.s. drone. remember, even if this dr would have encroached iranian airspace, iran could have choset not to attac considering the sions.e and rising ten it chose not to do that. >> woodruff: what about the people of iran? what are ordinary iranians saying about all this? >> as you know, judy, iran ybs have been through a lot ever since the islamic revolution 1979, 40 years of political and economic isolation and pressure and threats and nctions.
6:13 pm
they have been through a lot. they know how to roll with the punches. they're resilient. but this me, you sense that they're rattled. they are a little scared. day i was in a coffee shop this morning. you had everyone asking this question -- is there going to be an attack by the u.s.? is there goi to be war? again, this is the closest we've en the u.s. and iran go to war, so it's causing a lot of anxiety. >> woodruff: reza sayah reporting for us from tehran. thank you, rez >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, te >> woodruff: in the day's other ws: the u.s. supreme cou threw out a murder convictionh and dentence for a black mississippi man citing racial bias in jury selection. a 7-to-2 majority found curtis flowers was deprived of a fair trial because a prosecutor excluded black jurors-- over six trials. flowers could now face a seventh trial.
6:14 pm
a mass government roundup may begin sunday for migrant milies who have received deportation orders. several news organizations report immigration and customs enforcement-- or ice-- is likely to launch pre-dawn raids in major cities president trump tweeted earlier this week that millions of migrants will soon be deported. long-time advice c cumnist e. jeroll is accusing president trump of sexually assaulting hers.ack in the 19 in a memoir-- excerpted in "new york" magazine-- sheit happened in a department store drsing room. carroll is the 16th woman to accuse mr. trump of sexual assault. the president denies all of the claims, and he said today that he has never met carroll. the state of missouri refused today to renew an abortion license for a planned parenthood clinic in st. louis. it is the last missouri clinic doing abortions, but a judge's previous order will let it
6:15 pm
continue-- at least for now. inanned parenthood vowed to challenge the lice decision. >> we will continue to fight for our ability to deliver high- quality, patient-centered healthcare and that incles the full range of reproductive healthcare. so i want the people ow missouri to kat people in need of reproductive healthcare that they can ce to planned parenthood. the doors are open.uf >> woo last month, missouri's republican governor also signed a law banning most abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy. in hong kong: there were fresh protests today, demanding that city leade scrap a proposal allowing extraditions to mainland china more than a thousand demonstrators-- wearing black-- rallied outside the police headquarters and government buildings. others marched in the street and put up barricades, but there was no violence. violent, anti-russian clashes did break out overnight in the former sovieorrepublic of gia and at least 240 people
6:16 pm
were hurt. some we left bleeding after police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at demonstrators trying to storm the parliament building in tbilisi, the capital. anti-russian feeling runs deep in georgia after moscow helped two georgian provinces break away, in 2008. protesters from across europe gathered in western germany today to call for action on climate change. organizers estimate 20,000 people filled the streets.e thotest came a day after the european union failed to agreeon plan to make the e.u. carbon neutral by 2050. >> ( translated ): it's simply a shame and terrible what happens. y, among other industria nations, is one of the countries mainly responsible for climateo change, and wet feel the effects yet in comparison to the countries in the global south, tand it is simply essenti take to the streets against it and to protest. >> woodruff: today's rally took place near one of germany's
6:17 pm
largest coal mines. back in this country: 11 republican state senators in oregon stayed off the job for a second day to block climate legislation. majority democrats are pushing a measure to make dramaticuts in greenhouse gas emissions. republicanwant a public referendum instead, and they've refused to show up, to deprive the state senate of a quorum. wisconsin's state supreme court has upheldhe legality of a ecial legislative session that curbed the powers of the incoming gernor and attorney general. democrats won the jobs in november, and republican erwmakers called the session afterward, in dece the laws they passed still face a legal challenge in fedal court. russian-born businessman felix sater was a no-show today before the u.s. house intelligence committee. he worked on a proposed trump tower for moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign-- before the project was
6:18 pm
his lawyer health reasons today. democrats said they will nowna subpater. and, wall street's week-long rally finally ran out of gas. the dow jones industrial average lost 34 points to close at 26,719. the nasdaq fell 19 points and the s&p 500 slipped three. still to come on the newshour: to the brink-- two u.s. se respond to the current tensions between the s. and iran, new tails of the conditions that children face at a migrant detention center in texas, and much more. >> woodruff: we return to our tostory, the trump administration's response to iran shooting down an american drone. senator jack reed, democrat of rhode island, is the rankiar member of thd services
6:19 pm
committee; he was one of the lawmakers the white use briefed on the administration's options for dealing with iran. i spoke with him earlier and i started by asking if president trump was right to call off the strike on iran. >> i think he made a correct decision because, as he indicated, it woulbe disproportionate. we lost an expensive drone, but without any casualties. to inflict up to 100 casualties in an attack in iraq -- excuseme - in iran would, i think, have been not the appropriate response. >> woodruf what do you think any alternative would have been? and w congress being notified? >> well, the president called together leaders of congress yesterday and didnot indicate any specific plan, indicated he had a range of plans, but he did listen to r concerns, and i made it my point we have be very cautious here because any action against iran could be
6:20 pm
reciprocated by asymmetric attacks across the region from afghanistan to lebanon, so we have to be very carereful. are things that we can and should do. we have to insist on the ability to fly in international airspace. our drone was in international airspace. that could have been demonstrated by a multi-national flight of fiter aircraft r other aircraft. we have to maintain navigational waters. we could have done that, again, hopefully in a multi-nationalio fa and we can take other covert means to indicate that we are not going to accept the downing of one of our drones. d you have any concerns that the u.s. looks indecisive or weak because of this on-off-again move on the part of the administration? >> i think that, if it could be done over again, rather than, at the last moment, calling off the strike, if it could have been
6:21 pm
sort of eliminated from the list of options previously and rsued other less kinetic opties, then w wouldn't have been in this predicament of a last-minute cancellation based on the sudden legalization of the casualties that would result. but i think that, again, more careful thought, more deliberate thought about alternatives that are very proportional and alternatives that recognize there could be likely retsipouro case by the iranians to any particular type of kinetic strike in iran, that consciousness should be in place. >> woodruff: you mentioned the negotiation, is at possible, though, with the kind of maximum pressure campaign the administration has undertaken? >> well, i think thmae ximum pressure campaign has resulted
6:22 pm
in significant depredations in iran in terms of the economy but it's also prompting much more hostile actions in the region and i think, perps unwittingly, the attack on the drone. so we're gting into this dangerous territory. i think it would be good to re-think this maximum pressure campaign to see if there's an avenue and a series of areas in which we can have some discussions, maybe through third parties. >> woodruff: finally, i just want to ask you to step back and look at what happened, howshi decision was made. what does it say about milar decisions that have to be made at one time or another at the a time we don't have a confirmed secretary of defense. we know there are disagreements between the president and some of his senior advisors. >> well, i think it shows that that's not a thoough prcess, and some of that might be a function not only of the difficult administrative predicament of not having a
6:23 pm
confirmed secretary of defense, some of it might be the national security council is not functioning as a new central arbiter of opinions but are more ition john the pos bolton embraces which is maximum pressure and effect irainst , and it also might be a iunction of the president's kind of approach whics not going into full detail until it appears at the last moment, when he recognized this would be a serious attack with as much 10 1 * hundred or 150 casualties at a minimum. so i think it's a nction of all of these things, but the first thing that can and should be done is get in place a confirmed team at the department of defense and then also look very carefully at t decision-making process so that, when the president gets options, erything's on the table,
6:24 pm
including the potential onsualties in any type of military opera >> woodruff: senator jack reed, ranking member on the senate armed services committeeo than >> thatch. thank you very muc >> woodruff: and now for the orspective of a republican lawmaker, chairmthe senate foreign relations committee, senator james risch of idaho. senator, thank you for joiningma us, what do yoe of mr. trump's decision to make a strike and then call it off sterday on iran. >> i saw the president agoo nice with this decision. i was at the table at the white house with a group of people, milita and intelligence was represented there, in a broad spectrum of political peoplefr congress were there. the president gave everybody an opportunity to express their opinions, to express their of the upside and downside of all the various options that were there on the table.
6:25 pm
he listened carefully. he didn't take one side or the other. he anguished over this and was very concerned about, obviously, the human aspects of this, what happens when kinetic action is used, but also with his duty toe nd america and present the front that america has to present when dealt with confntation from aligned forces. >> woodruff: ultimately, do you think he made the right decision? ell, look, i'm not going to go there. what i'm going to say is this is not a republican or a democrat decision. this is an american decision, and the person making -- only one person can make that decision.l that room was of people, very high-ranking people, but there was only one person in that room that could make the decision. we need to all pray for him as he makes those kids of decisions. >> woodruff: what do you make, though, of the fact that it wasm at the laute that the president asked about how many
6:26 pm
lives would be lost and then decided to pull back? >> you know, i think the president was vey aware that there were lives lost. i think, when that decision -- when that advice was given to him, i think he was a litt taken aback that it was going to be 150 people, and i know whatg he was thinkout was the ponse,tionality of the res shooting down an unarmed drone versus killing 150 people. i think, at that moment, tt weight came to him, and that was a decision that, lik he i sai had to make. again, i hope the iranians won't come away from this saying, oh, this guy is week. they're -- weak. they're dealing with donald trump and not another president and he is deeply committed protecting the country and is not soft about it. >> woodruff: so you don'tun think thed states or the president looks indecisive? >> i don't think the united states comes outf this looki indecisive at all. out of all the countries on the eface of the planet, no s more concerned about civilian
6:27 pm
casualties than america, is and i think that weighed heavily on the president as he made this decision. look, there's ing to be other things follow this, not necessarily kinetic, but that in reve to what the iranians did. >> woodruff: what will that be? p well, look, theresident's going to make that decision, also, and i'll leave that o him to make the announcements. >> woodruff: when you say not necessarily kinetic, you mean not necessily the military. do you think there should be a military response to their shooting down a drone the president has to make that decision. i sat and listened to the samee thingsisted to, and it is a very difficult decision. the question for him is what is proportionate to shooting down an unarmed drone. do you respond to that with kinetic action that causes injuries or death? he haso makthat decision, and only he can make that decision. >> woodruff: senator, do you r think itlistic to expect iran to be restrained as theco u.s.tinues its so-called maximum pressure campaign under
6:28 pm
president trump? >> i don't know about the expectations for them to be restrained. what my expectation is is that they would do what any reasonable human being would do, and that is say, look, we want national security, what's the best way to get there? is it continue to go down the road to try to develop a nuclear rorists to support ter all over the world, to violate the u.n. resolutions prohibiting from testing rockets? is it bettehato go tt way or do what north korea did and say, you know, there's a betr path to follow? and if they think this thing through correctly, they will dos themsend their people a great favor, and the iranian people are just as much a victim of this as everyone in the world is. >> woodruff: senator, quickly, with regard to north korea, it's not clear, is it, they have given up the nuclear path, is >> well, they've done no more on
6:29 pm
nuclear testing. they've certainly stepped away from that. they have told us, they've told the chinese, and they've told the world that their goal is to get to a nuclear-free korean peninsula. that's where-a want to ge. that's not where we were 18 months ago. >> woodruff: senator james jamesrisch, we thank you have bn much. >> judy, good to be with you, as always. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: mark shields and david brooks break down another jam-packed week of news. plus, behind the arrival of the musical "be more chill" on broadway. but first, a new report is again sting a spotlight on the harsh conditions for migrant families and children who a b being detainthe u.s. government near the mexican border. william brangham get aa first- handccount about what some
6:30 pm
children are dealing with at a detention el paso.outheast of >> brangham: that's exactly dght, judy. the associated preailed conditions inside a customs and border patrol detention centerte in clints where allegedly 250 infants, children and teenagers are being held. according to the a.p., there's not adequate food, water or sanitation. the report describes teen edthers and other younger children being ao care for infants and toddlers on their frn, with little or no hel any adults. warren binford is one of the lawyers that visited that texas facility and spoke with the children being held inside. she's a law professor at willamette university in oregon. >> professor binford, thank you very much for being here. as i mentioned, you werinsid this texas facility. can you give us some sense of what it is you saw se? >> yes, basically, what we saw are dirty children, who are malnourished, who are beingve ly neglected, they are being kept in inhumaneey
6:31 pm
conditions, re essentially being warehoused, as many as 300 children in a cell with almost no adult supervision. we have children caring for ther young children. for example, we s little boy in diapers, or he had no diapers on. he should have had a diaper on. he was two. i whas asked why he didn't have a diaper on, i was told he didn't need it. he immanediately urinated d he was in the care of another child.e ildren are hardly being fed anything nutritious and being medically nlected. we're seeing a flu outbreak, ali infestation, we have children sleeping on the floor. it's the worst conditions i've witnessed in several years of doing these inspections. >> reporter: what you're describing is hard for us to put our heads round asis is inside a u.s. government facility. where e the children's parents? were they coming across the border alone, coming with families and separa how did they get there? >> almost none of the children
6:32 pm
we interviewed had come acros alone. essentially, they came across the border with family, and they are trying to be reunited witmih who are living in the united states. almost every child that i interviewed had family, parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, siblings in the united states who are waiting for them and ready to care f them. >> reporter: we know the american academy of pediatrics and many others, as you weryi test, said these are not the kinds of facilities for children, around my understanding is that, under federal law, these chieldren supposed to only be kept for about 72 hours, and then transferred to health and human services facilitiesre elsewhe is that going to happen with these children? would that be a better outcome for these children? what do you know about their future? >> the goal for all thedr ch is to eventually place them with their family. the facilities you're saying they're supposed to be transferred to, those are not required by law, that's the way the administration is doing it. these childrenould be placed with their families immediately if we wanted to that. basically, we're takawing childn
6:33 pm
from their family at the border, we're putting them ind inhumane citions in border patrol facilities where they shouldn't be at all, not even au few rs. and that 72 hours, that's the ptximum that somebody is supposed to be ke there, and the innerch are supposed to be moved through these these facilities as expeditiously as possible. >> we asked cbd for a c and haven't gotten one yet, but we've heard governmental officials say we were caught flat-footed on this. we built the facilities for e ngle men, now have influx of children. we simply don't have the capacity, fustaff or ing to properly care for these children, and congress needs to pass more money so wcan do our job better. is that our sense of what's going on there? >> that's exactly what i'm rolring from the border pa officers who spoke to us, you know, privately in the hallways. they are on ourteam. they don't want the children there. eany are parents themselves. they know thse children don't belong there and they need to be with their amies. they're saying that orr and
6:34 pm
pi.c.e. are not coming k up these children and process them to be reunited with theirfa lies. >> reporter: professor warren binford of willamette university, thank you for your time and coming forward with this. >> thank you. >> woodruff: this week in politics: e biden comments on working with segregationists, and tensions with iran escalate to new heights. it's time for the analysis of shields and brooks. that's syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. a very, very full week. so, mark, let's talk about what we are leading with tonight and that is, again, the tense situation, standoff, whatever you want to call it, between the united states and iran, witthe latest news being president trump had authorized a military strike -- or almost authorized, and then the last
6:35 pm
minute pulled it back what do we make of this? >> well, the president is keeping rs wod we made during the campaign to bepr ictable, and i think .npredictable is what this qualifies as, judy it's a little unsettling, obviously, because there is no warrior like jim mattis in the room, u don't get the se that this has been well thought out, and the idea that the country is prepared, there is n sense of what our objective is and how we will know we've succeeded and how the country gets oard and whether, in fact, we do have, as -- for example, george h.w. bush had 39 nations in the coalition in 1991 when he was responding to the invasion iof kuwait, and s is -- we are virtually alone. i mean, it's. unsettli i believe the president did -- upset he found out latin the game that nobody thought to
6:36 pm
tell him that we're talking about human casualties, but that's where we are. >> woodruff: what does this y to you, david, about this sort of last-minute reverse courhi? >>seems disproportionate to me. donalddtrump an st. augustine have one thing in common with this strategy. i don't know donald trump's o theothe iranian regime. they have been expanding their terror activities and seemingly stepping up the pace, but is there a battle within theme iranian rege should be conscious of to try not to tilt things over to the hard core radicals, or do just need to lay down some deterrents? is there a way we could set talk them into being nicer? there are all these things. it's all abo the regime. are they or we the aggressor here? these are the bas questions that underlie how you react. to know how you react, you have
6:37 pm
to know how they will react, and you have to have a theorof what they're thinking. a normal president would give an oval office address and tell us. but we don't ht.e tha i don't know what the proper deterrence is because i don't know what will deter or what eir goals are. >> woodruff: mark, is there clarity in the administration's approach iran? >> no. no, there isn't, judy. the old saying in washington is if you want people in on a ky landing, make sure they're on board for the taeoff. going back to george h.w. bush, who was probably the model in this regard, you know, he got his position ratified by the united nations security council and approved by democratic house and a democratic senate, so that there was a sef e owhat our objective was, what -- why the force was being applied, and at there had been an international effort to enlist support, a successful one. all of that is miing here, judy, and, so, as a consequence, i think, as david said, bothit
6:38 pm
curi anxiety and just tension. >> and tactics are sort of driving strategy. so we have accidentally walked iointo this poswhere we've drawn a red line where pompeo said you cannokill americans and if you do that, suddenly, you know, things change so that's a red line. so if they do end up killing americans accidentally or on purpose, then what happens? and if yu don't have the overall strategy, they have so many tools at their disposal. they could do cyber war fair, attack te iranian forces spread around the immediately, go after the iranian navy. lots of things. some would kill people, some would not kill people. but if you don't have an overala gy, you don't know the order tore do those things soarvetion riday becomes its ow decision point and you're stumbling around in the dark doing one thing, then they do something, and that seems a perfect recipe for esalation. what about the the question i
6:39 pm
was asking senator risch and senator reed and this is does this have longer lasting effectn hat does it give the sense that this is an administration that is indecisive, weak and then have -- in other words, ar thasting effects or is this something you just move on and on to the next crisis? >> the next crisis -- well, i don't think -- i don't want to accuse the president of being frankly, not taking off myuite analyst hat because, you kno he di show restraint about policy that he has not been abl to articulate or explain, and, therefore torqu for it. support so we're all by ourselves here, judy. there are no allies and, youth know, i thin's a consequence of everything we have been through for the first three ars of this administration. >> yeah, and at the core, i think he is america first, andat
6:40 pm
oes back to whether he knows or not to sort of an olationist tendency, we should not get involved in foreign adventures, and that's pretty much where the american people are now and even where the republican party is. so i think there's that core. but if you looked at his rhetoric, you would think he's the most aggressive person on earth because hi rhetoric is we'll bring down fire and death upon you. so a gigantic gap between the way he talks about what he's been doing. >> it's the maximum application is sort of contradictory, maximum application force to the iranian regime, yet i'm not getting involved or were not getting involved in any foreign entanglements, which would collide. i mean, maximum foratce ome point could lead to a foreign entanglement. i think that's the dilemma. >> woodruff: completely different subject area but that's what happened this w. among the democratic candidates for president, joe biden was making remarks and referred to h
6:41 pm
senatoworked with in the 1970s he tinted necessarily agree with. james eastland fromim ssissippi, herman talmadge of georgia. these are known to be people who had supported segregation but he was extolling the need tro wok with people he disagreed with successfully. >> jesse holmes disagreed with upont bono bulped him and saved lives in africa. if you're a congressmanand have a segregationist, you have to work with thso per it's about politics and you hope to have conversations and change their minds. engagement is usually the right thing. having said this, when i look at what's happening in the mocratic party, this seems to be almost entirely generational. so the older folks, frankly,
6:42 pm
john r. lewis today was a strong idefender of biden, he d, yeah, we worked with people in the k.k.k. in the civil rights movementbut some of the younger folks said, no, you don't touch that. and i sort of understand thebu argumenti don't think it's right if you're in a body and you're dealing with people who are elected. >> woodruff: he tid get in hot water, mark. is it purely generational? >> he did get in hotater, and it was a gift, actually, in a strange way, the iranian to joe biden because it got him out toa the hot water and into his wheelhouse politically, which is international, known, short footed, understanding the players and so forth, all of which seemto be missing from this administration. i agree with david to this extent, politics is a matter of addition, not subtraction, judy. you're looking for converts, for people to come over to your side, you're not looking for
6:43 pm
herecs, hunting down pee who are somehow morally defective or imperfect to be banished to outer darkness. it was no accident when the democratic had jim eastland andl her man dge, they were in a majority that meant people lik h pht and mike mansfield and ted kennedy could write great legislation. we had the civil rightact, voted in medicaid and passed the g.i. bill, it was remarkable. you can be pure and noble and sami don't want anybody ony side but who were absolutely pure, i don't want anybody who might have sinned in y urch. that's a prescription for p minority. it must be satisfactory to be as noble as cory booker and kamalan harris elizabeth warren and bernie sanders to tisk tisk joe biden. is no accident at joe biden alone of anybody in public life had been asked to give the eulogy at strom thurman'sol
6:44 pm
funeral and ngs funeral add gehn mccain and ted kennedy and ge mcgoverns' funerals. it's the politics he practiced. it's imperfect politics with an imperfect man but it's the right politics. >> woodruff: you may have to work with people across the aisle but why did he have to hold them up as examples? >> he was tone deaf on that, and mentioning segregation, he could have said i disagreed with john mccain but was friends with him. raising segregation was tone deaf even for people my age. that's just -- that'sc. problema it is a moral problem. if david duke were in the hallway, would i wanto talk to him? no, and i get that. yet i do think this attitude that morality is about canceling otr people, banning speakers, shutting people down, calling them out, telling them you're
6:45 pm
expunged from ociety, that instinct to me is a dangerous instinct, even if i get in private life, that i don't want uo talk to a person who's an out and out racist, it don't want to talk to that person. in congress, that's a little different. they were elected by the people c the state. ngress you're trying to get something done. it's not about your own personae viit's about what you can do for america and if you have to work wit them you have to work with them, it seems to me. >> woodruff: but tod seems to me, there's a requirement -- i guess the p.c. requirement is raised. >> maybe, so judy, but if you think about it, the most universally admired legislator in the last half century is ted kennedy, liberal line of the senate, and what did every obituary, every eulogy, every tribute to him say? he worked across the aisle. he worked with orrin hatch to pass chiurldren's health insce for working parents who didn't get insurance through their jobs
6:46 pm
and their employers. he passed aids aid, he passed title 9, voting rights, workinga across tle with ludman, john mccain, nancy casonbaum, john dole, republicans. >> woodruff: but we're not seeing as much outthat. >> we have republicans that's performance like kristen gillibrand said she wouldn't -life.ith pr if you're going to draw a boundary of acceptable opinion to only us, progressiven you are really draw ago small boundary. we're t havg democracy, we're just having a campus where you're not allowed to ve diversity of opinion. i get the segregationist thing, that's the hard case. i get that. most of us don't want to deal th that. but in politics, you do what you've got to do to deal with the majority and sometimes you have to deal wih people you
6:47 pm
hold your nose with. >> woouff: these are gh questions. >> it's a tough question. i worked on capitol hill5, 1 the senate voting rights act, william fulbright, the principal octave for the war in vietnam went down and mike mansfieldsa i'm going to tote vote for it and he said, no, you'll lose in arkansas, we need you more here. so he voted against the civil cl rights act even tho wanted to to preserve his options andhe preservease of being against the war in vietnam. moral choice, i'm glad he made it. >> woodruff: a lot fors to think afnlt thank you very much, mark shields, david brooks. >> woodruff: finally tonight, there's a broadway hit that's broken many of the conventional rules of how to make it on the great white way.
6:48 pm
jeffrey brown visited the stage of "be more chill" recently and reports why this coming of age musical is hitting high notes with a certain audience even while failing to win over many critics. it's part of "canvas," our ongoing arts and culture series. ♪ >> brown: the stress, the awkwardness, the sheer horror of high school. ♪ in the musical "be more chill" the very unhappy andncool cremy ingests a pill-shaped "supercomputer" thnges him into a popular kid. mayhem and magic ensue. ♪ the story itself may gover familiarund, but the story of the musicals anything but. "be more chill" could be creating a new model for broadway. 37-year-old joe iconis wrote the music and lyrics. >> i was shocked by what
6:49 pm
happened because it's not something that's ever happened before. >> brown: in 2015 the play opened in a new jersey theater and received a less-than- enthusiastic by "new york times" critic charles thatght iconis, was that. >> when we closed in jersey i thought the show was dead. but i thought that because it was. no one wanted it because the war that our theusiness works or has worked up until now is that you need that "new yorkti s" review if you're a little show like ours in order to come into new york. >> brown: yeah, but you went a different route. >> it went a different route, >> brown: but not by was no more. but the cast recording of its music-- including the song, "michael in the bathroom"-- became a huge viral sensation. >> ♪ i am hanging in the bathroom at the biggest party of ♪ the year >> brown: toth its themes hing on the anxieties and t pressures ofeenage suburban life. pired social media memes and fan art, clubs, online and
6:50 pm
then live performances to date the recording has been tistreamed some 300 millios. will roland plays jeremy and george salazar is his friend michael. >> well a couple of people found this album, found out about the show, told their friends about the show, shared the >> it was multi-level marketing scheme in a way. it's what they tell you, they're like "if you tell five friends and they tell five friends, then suonenly you'll have a milli friends," and that's literally what happened with this show. >> brown: with a built-in fan base, the play got an off- broadway run and then opened in the grand lyceum theater in march. >> people feel kind of represented by this. it's a cast of people who lookhe likeeople you'd see on the street. it's a cast of ten incredible actors, incredible singers, and okay dancers who are representative of society.
6:51 pm
it's not ten instagram models in a musical, you have people of coall shapes and sizes, alrs and backgrounds and so i think the success to the show is the show. >> i think the thing that's really worth noting here is thaa this is not anation of a blockbuster film. there are no wor class celebrities in it. there's nothing in this that isa trying to y, "oh well this will get butts irothe seats." wn: but it did, and outsidthe theater patrons told ushy. 23-year-old lauren hugh arrived early in the morning to buy a matinee ticket and stayed to get autographs afterwards. >> the thing i think is cool is it's not big money backers that brought this s broadway, it's beautiful the theme that came throh phenomenon of all the fans. without this fans, like, this show would not be on broadway right now.
6:52 pm
>> brown: and miona williams, on a school trip, was brought to tears when she got an autograph. for their part, the critics have continued to howl, with >> i like his friend came back, even though he treated him like -- >> for their part thecrtics >> brown: for their part, the critics have continued to howl, with headlines like: "'be more chill' is dopey, shrill and somehow very popular". and "this coming of age musical is a real pill to swallow." >> i think the show is pitched at a very particular frequency, which is like some dog whistles to the ears of people who are under the agof probably 21. brown: "new york times" co- chief theater critic ben brantley had some harsh things uc say in his review, but also respect for a prtion that seems to be "critic-proof". >> it's kind of refreshing to have a show for whom critics are absolutely irrelevant. the first time i saw it in new yorkoff broadway, it was lik going to a beatles concert or a one direction concert must have been like. i hope this will be a gateway
6:53 pm
drug for kids who have never experienced theay,r before and hey, i had a swell time." >> brown: "be more chill" comes on the heels oseveral successful musicals about teen angst, including "dear evan hansen"-- will roland was an original cast member there too. but those followed a traditional route to broadway, where production costs run high and ticket prices regularly top $100. do you see this as a potential new model for the way theater and broadway can work? or is this kind of a one-off? >> i certainly hope it's a potential new model. the idea that a little show can make it to broadway because actual human beings love it, not because it has name recognition, brand recognition-- that's i think, a dream. >> brown: for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown on broadway.
6:54 pm
>> woodruff: on the newshour online right now: as we mark the 50th anniversary of the stonewall ris, a major turning point in the fight for gay shghts, we asked the new york public library te some young adult books that feature lgbtq characters. you can find those suggestions on our website: robert costa is praring for more on president trump' decision to cabsle an airstrike against iran. newshouer weekend saturday: a new series from food journalist markittman on the future of food, a global look at what communities are doing to tackle food scarcity and waste around the world. and we'll be back, right here on monday i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. thank you and good night.
6:55 pm
ajor funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> kevin. >> kevin! >> kevin. >> advice for life. life well-planned. learn more at consumer cellular. babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, french, german, italian, and more. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressingolroblems-- >> the william and flora hewlett foundation. advancing ideas and supporting institutions to promote a better world. at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour.
6:56 pm
>> this program was made possibley the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh >> you're watching pbs.
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm
7:00 pm
we talked to samafrancisco yor london breed about the gripping challenges and affordable housing. and presidential candidates prepare for the first debate next week. and joe biden picked up a firestorm. and pg&e, san francisco looks for several ties with the company. >> we begin our showith a top official from san francisco.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on