tv PBS News Hour PBS July 17, 2019 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight,ve conty in context-- as president trump stands by his attacks against four congresswomen, unpacking the painful history behind his words. then, where peace goes from. he a key trump advisor on what's next in the white house's plan to resolve the israeli-nf palestinian ct plus, orbiting history. memories of apollo 11 from michael collins, the astronaut who circled the moon while his cracmates walked on the surf >> i think of a flight to the moon as being a long and fragile, daisy cin of events. any one of those links breaks, everything downstream from thate is uss.
there are so many things that can go wrong. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newr. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: l. >> bab a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, french, german, italian, and more. babbel's 10-15 minute lessons are available as an app, or online. more information on babbel.com. ♪ ♪ >> sup entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through invention, in the u.s. and develong countries.
on the web at lemelson.org. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. re information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by conibutions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: president trump says tonighte is beating democrats in a battle being fought along the dividing lines of race. it began with his attacks on 4 freshmen democratic women in the the u.s. house of representatives. last night, the house voted to
condemn his attacks as racist. but as he left the white house late today, for a campaign rally in north carolina, mr. trump said he has no regrets. th>> i do think i'm winnin political fight. i think i'm winning it by a lot. i think they are not espousing the views of our country. m not relishing the fight i'm enjoying it because i have to get the word out to the americae pe s woodruff: meanwhile, house speaker nancy pelod the president is trying to distract people from criticisms of his policies. she also told reportertoday that last night's resolution condemning mr. trump's tweets was "benign." it condemned the words of the president, not the president. the words of the president. we weren't saying that he was racist, we were sang that the words he used were racist. so that was as gentle as itde could be conng the wappropriateness and the disgusting nature t the president said.dr >> wf: pelosi also moved
today to block action on impeaching the president. texas mocratic congressman al green offered an impeachment resolution, but pelosi said house committees need time to finish investigations of mr. trump. house democrats moved this evening to hold attorney general william barr and commerce secretary wilbur ross in contempt of congress. the two men had refused to provide documents on adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. the president has now abandoned that effort, but the issue was still very much alive on the house floor. >> the departments have refused to provide key unredacteddo ments that we need to understand the truth, the wholen trutnothing but the truth as to why they really made this decision.mo >> if the ats can't impeach president trump they will instead hold his cabinet in
contempt of congress. this is just anopoer episode in tical theater. this exercise is not a responsible use of the contempt authority. >> woodruff: despite, he house acti is unlikely that the u.s. justice department will actually prosecutearr or ross on the contempt citation. the pentagon announced tay it is sending another 1,000 texas national guard and 1,100 active- duty troops to the u.s.-mexico border. they will join about 4,500 troops already deployed for logistical support and aerial surveillance. the trump administration has said the troops arneeded to backstop border agents who face a surge of migrants. the mexican drug kingpin knownel ashapo" has been sentenced to life in a u.s. prison, without parole. a federal judge in new yk imposed the penalty on joaquin guzman tod. prosecutors said guzman's sinaloa cartel smuggled
mountains of cocaine into the u.s. over 25 years, and killed those who stood in the way. >> the long road that led "chapo" guzman from the mountains of sinaloa to the courthouse behind us today was paved with death, drugs and destruction. but it ended today with justice. >> woodruff: the judge also ordered guzman to pay more than $12 billion in drug earnings. wly released federal dat shows drug companies in the u.s. steppeup shipments of opioid painkillers as the addiction epidemic expded. between 2006 and 2012, the shipments rose morthan 50%, totaling 76 billion pillel the data wassed by a federal judge in ohio, who i presiding over hundreds of lawsuits against drug makers. the world health organization has declared an international health emergency over the ebolau reak in congo.
today's action follows the virus' spread intooma, a city of two million people close to neighboring rwanda. ebola has also appeared in uganda. the year-old outbreak has infected thousands in congo and killed more than 1,600.no but unti the w.h.o. had declined to declare an emergency. in sudan, the ruling military council and pro-democracy leaders signed an agreement today to share power, following frnths of political deadlock. representatives the two sides met in khartoum for the signing. opposition leaders saias the beginning of a new era. >> ( translated ): today we look forward to a new phase, oney where we can r ourselves, and move away from all that anvides us. sudan is for all se people, and yes, those who signed here today are a part of the revolution, and are a part of the sudanese people. >> woodruff: protest leaders had demanded an immediate er
of power. instead, it will take place over threieyears. the paalso have to work out the exact division of powers. all of this follows the overthrow of long-time dictator omar al-bashir, back in april. senior citizens in hong kong took to the streets today in support of young pro-democracy activists. thousands marched to the central government offices, g banners that read: "support the youngsters." they also accused police of using o much force. demonstrations have engulfed the city in recent months, sparked by a proposal to extradite criminal suspects to mainland china. back in this country, prosecutors in massachusetts today dropped a sexual assault case against actor kevin spacey. he was accused of groping a young man at a nantucket restaurant in 2016. but, his accuser refused to testify about a missing cell one. spacey's lawyers said text messages on it could vindicate him.
spacey has faced oth allegations of sexual misconduct, but, so far, nocr otheinal charges. and, on wall street, stocks gavs ground, onpointing earnings reports and ongoing worries about trade tensions with china. the dow jones industrial average lost 115 points to close below 27,220. thnasdaq fell 37 points, a the s&p 50was down 19. still to the painful history behind the president's racist tweets against members oftrongress. a kep advisor on what's next in the white house's long- promised plan for peace the middle east. tensions ratchet up between th u.s. and nato ally turkey over the controversial sale of hrussian weapons, plus, m more.
>> woodruff: the president's criticism this week against four members of congress, all women of color, has set off a fierce debate about whether or not the president's words were racist. as william brangham reports, the president's comments don't exist in a vacuum. >> brangham: last night on the floor of the house of representatives, an uproar broke out when speaker nancy pelosi and her fellow democrats wanted to pass a resolution specifically calling the president's attack "racist" >> join us in condemning the president's racist tweets. n our rules of order and decency were broday. >> i know racism when i see it.o >> this ridi slander does a disservice to our nation. >> brangham: in the end, the house did vote to condemn thepr ident's tweets. it was a vote almost entirely along partisan lines. four republicans and one independent joined the democrats.
now, we're not here to debate whether or not the president's xprds were racist. instead we want tore how those tweets, and the ferocious reaction to them, are part of a myng history of what one o guests calls the "racial theater in american politics." joining me now is erika lee. she's the director of the immigration history research center at the university of minnesota, a she's writing a book on the history of xenophobia in america. and ian haney lopez, a professor of public law at u.c. berkeley who studies coded racialng ge in america. he's author of "dog whistle politics. " welcom you for being here.nk ian haney lopez, to you first, you're the one i was quoting about this racial theater in american politics. i wonder if you could just help us zoom out a little bit from this week's controversy and help us explain how this thater plays out. what does this play look like? >> here's the way the play works -- it's what i cl g whistle politics is the use of
coded racial appeals in politics, but coded racial appeals, there's a lot going on. act one of the play: some politician decides to gin up controversy by pushing a racial idea or meme into the conversation but doing so through a coded term that allows plausible deniability. so think of the phrase, go back where you came from. t.me people see it as rac other people say this doesn't have to do with race at all. or think make america great again or real americans or the american heartland. act 2, the person whose dog whistling about race comesar foand exercises the plausible deniability of these terms and says, hey, me? i didn't say anything about race, or as donald trump cistted, i don't have a ra bone in my body.t
ree: turn around and say, but you know who is talkg about race? it's my critics.cs my criave accused me of being a racist and, since i'm not a racist, they're the real racists because they are falsely smearing me with this awful charge of being a racist, and that's the basic drama of this week in american polics. >> reporter: erika, sticking with this, the president said go back to your home country, fixth gs there, leave this country. i know your scholarship has looked at how that is part of the coded language that s evolved over time. can you explain a little bit of the history of that typeof terminology? >> sure, and it's not even that coded. literally get out of this couny is quite an insult and quite a charge, and this has arranged throughout our history
from more softball questions su as "where are you from? no, where are you really from?" sort of a symbol that the persol is not reaa fully american or really belongs her, but "g back" has also literally been attached to violent campaigns of mass deportation. so this is both coded language but also connected to a much longer history that is violent, that is xenophobic and that has always been a form of racism in the united states. t,ere is this idea tha especially with immigrants, that we should be grateful to have let into the,.d.a.s and because of this gift of -- let to the united states and because of this gift of immigration that we shoulddl bl you know, follow all of the policies of the adopted homeland, and that, to be sure, is not american.
>> rep lorter: ian hanpez, you were touching before on this issuet that, if you use coded language, it allows you a sort of plausible deniability that you can say, i didn't mentionki anyone'scolor, i didn't mention their race, so why are you calling me a racist? this, i take it, too, is not a new phenomenon. >> it is not a new phenomenon. well, i want to me a distinction here. we're talking about two different things that arenn ted but we ought to see that they're two different things. one is the dynamic in which one person says to another, go bac where you came from, and i've had that happento me. i think many people in the united states have hadat happen to them. that's one phemen. the other is where some of the most powerful people in the country and, in paicular, politicians seek to explo racial division and stoke racial acrimony, and they're beinge.
combined he >> reporter: erika, we saw a turning of the tables this week where the president said i'm not the racist, the people accusing me of racism are the racists. reminds me of a moment yamiche alcindor had this year where she stiod the president a que about why his policies echoed strongly with white nationalists. he turned the tables on her and said the exact thing. >> that's such a racist question. honestly, i know you have it written down and you're going tell me -- let me tell you, that is a racist question. >> r too, that turning of the tables is not a new thing. >> it's not a new thing,ut it has become especially effective in the post-civil rights. era it was mowmp accepting to be explicitly racist and to have legal discrimination, obviously, and to have th signs -- no jews allowed, no chinese allowed, no mexicans allowed,
et cetera, but explicit racism was illegal andt fell favor, and, so, we have become much more adept at color-blind racism, at dogistle politics without talking about race or using explicitly racial language. it's not new but it has become a new way and effective way in the eost-civil rights era and in th obama and post-obama era to denigrate others, to insult them, to tr them as unequal, to justify inequality without using the old racial labels. en reporter: ian haney lopez, the president appy contacted a reporter today and said that he was happy with the way th debate went forward this week and thought it was a good thing, and i'm curious, do you see any good news in this in the way that this has unfolded in the conversations happening
around tis? >> i don't see particular good news in this. i see a very treacherous moment for the american people, for our society, for our docracy, and here's what's so treacherous -- we have a president who benefits, who seems hiself benefiting from social division and acrimony, and that's what he's stirred this week, and i think that's wh he's happy with the result. when we hae a huge outraged conversation in this country, is trump and by extllsion the ns of our fellow citizens who love him, is trump racist, are they somehow racist? are people of color somehow their enemy? are people of color threatened by them? that sort of conversation about racial division is what trumpt' wants,the way he benefits, and what we have then is we have a political leader who, for his
own benefit and for the benet of his party, sees himself as leading the country further into division a hatred and lence and, yet, at the very moment that this is so treacherous, it's also an opportunity because president trump is making clear through his actions a dynamic tht is actually plagued our untry for the last 50 years since the civil ghts moement. >> reporter: erika lee, lastly, to you, how would you like to see us try to bidge this chasm, to move through this and pry to heal this divide? >> i think that one of the important aspects is to understand that this goes beyond the 2020 ections, that the remarks by the president and the division that it has caused t poin a much larger, deer problem in the united states, a problem that is about div it's about race, and it's about
the future of the united states, and i do agree that these politics of distraction and these politics of division have driv us away from the actualer business of gong. >> reporter: all right, erika lee and ian haney lopez, thank you both very much. >> woodruff: the role of the united states in mediating the israeli-palestinian conflict is almost as old, and as complex, as the conflict itself. american presidents have tried, failed, and tried again to bring an end to the standoff. last month, president trump's team began rolling out the first part of its two stage peace plan: e economic piece, unveiled at a conference in bahrain. the all-importt political plan is yet to come. jason greenblatt is e of the men leading the u.s. effort,
along with presidential son-in- law red kushner. he's a former real estate lawyer turned negotiator, focused on some of the most prized, and fraught nd in the world. i spoke with him this morning. jason greenblatt, you very much for talking with us. >> thank you for having me. >> woodruff: so despite multiple efforts over the dedes, there has not been a mutually agreed-on peace plan ih middle east since jimmy carter, the camp david peace accords, anwar sadat, that was 40 years ago. what makes you believe that now is the time and the right moment for a peace plan that works? >> i tnk we're at a unique time in history. we have a unique president w is not afraid to speak his mind. we have a region that actually wants to incorporate israel into the neighborhood. i think people are tired to hav. the confli i think everyone wants better lives for the palestinians, but
everne isalso willing to acknowledge the many, many, challenges that existso give them better lives to improve everything. >> woodruff:idou've d this into an economic and political plan, and some of the tritics are already saying wha you've simply done is swap the ea of land with money for peace. how do you respond that? >> we fully understands the palestinians do not want an economic ace, they deserve much more than an economic peace. it's unrealistic to expect that an economic peace couve ever worked, but no matter how many times we say that, the manipulators, thpeople who want to undermine our efforts will just keep using thatpo talkinnt. soil say very clearly, there is no economic peace without an acceptable political solution to both sides. >> woodruff: so at this pointia palestleaders have not only not expressed interest, they say they are actively against this. you've talke about it needing grassroots support.
who is going to leave that grassroots support? can you name anyone in the palestinian community who has come forward and said want t talk to you about this? >> unfortunately not. i meet countless palestinians here in the region. they know i'm very active on twitter, and no matter how great the meeting goes and almost all of theare great, even they are tough discussions at u.s. policy, they aways plead with me when we leave, please do not tweet about our meeting and tell who you met. with i have to respect that. when they go home, they are afraid, and that's unfteortu >> woodruff: what the critics say is when you look at whattr this adminiion has done with regard to israel, and i'll tick off a few things, they say auld cords of the rignght thi have been implemented, u.s. aid to palestine have been flate including air palestinian refugees, jerusalem declared as israel'sapital, palestinian diplomatic missions closed in
washington, u ands. closed in west bank and gaza. so how do palestinians see this as a time when the trump administration is even willing to give them any benefit of the doubt? >> when i speak tose ordinary palestinians, i explain they have to view thedese sions through a united states lens not a peace process lens. jerusalem has a law since 1995 that every presidential candidate promised to do, both recognize jerusalem as the capital and move the embassy. no followed through on that premise till president trump. united nations relief u.na is a broken system. it kes palestinian amps with no future. it's unfair to say we don't care about palestinians. >> woodruff: what rights do you believe the palestinians deserve to have? >> right is a big word. i mean, i think our hope is topa giveestinians as great a
life as the israelis have, with everybody in the region being secure -- as secure as possible. >> woodruff: i think mr. kushner has referr -- has said he supports palestinian self-determination. what does that mean? >> i don't want to get aad of the plan. we agreed not to disdeploys t element plan because people will start attacking each element of the plan, but suffice it to say that rou ighthe 60 pages of the plan that question is answered and our goal is to give the lestinians everything possible with respect to that and anything else, so long as israel's security is not affected in a negative way. >> woodruff: is there still ao possibilita two-state solution here? >> the reason we don't use that term is you can't take a conflict as complex as this and boil it downo those thee words. so we've avoided the slogan, if you will, but the 60-page plan will address everything,
including thatuestion, and then we've very carefully designed this plan to give everybody as much freedom as possible but without compromising on security for anybody. >> woodruff: let me come back to the israelis. what responsibility do the israelis bear for the current state of afarces in the middle east -- of affairs in the middle east? >> i think that israel is actually more the vican the party that's responsible, from the moment of its formation, they were attacked multiple times, they continue to be attacked with terrorism, so i'm not sure i understand the premise of the question. i thinkhat they are trying their best to suc they've actually succeeded in many ways, especially economically, under very, very tryinges circumsta >> woodruff: so you don't see t mistaky've made, places where they've overstepped their thority, and so on? >> nobody's perfect, right? i can't think of sine instances, but i think even our
great country has madise takes over the years and over time you try to correct those misistakes buel is doing the best it can under challenge circumstances. >> woodruff: president netanyahu who floated the idea of annexes the west bank settlements, is this something support?ed states could >> i don't like the word "assessments" i think it's a pejorative ter i use the term neighborhoods and cities. a won't get int political discussion. i dont's do it with president abbas when he talks about his talking poilnts, 67 borders, al that. let's wait till we show the political plan. woodruff: some peple believe israelis had a one-state, quaisy -- a one state. >> i'm not sure many ople think a one state is good for either sde. our plan does not contemplate one state. ift did, i think wewould have released over two years ago. but one of the challenges,
people i speak about the west bank, judea and samaria as being occupied. i would arg the land is disputed and it needs to be resolved innv direct sations with the parties. calling it occupied territory does not help reseolve th conflict. >> woodruff: president trump, how does he look on this pea process, how it's going so far? >> i think he understands the reality and the complexity of the situation. he has grt credibility among the israeli public. he had throughout 2017 strong credibility among palestinians. obviously that's beended because of u.s. policy, but he has great credibility among all the leaders in the region other dership. palestinian lea >> woodruff: and when do you think we'll see the political proposalnt >> the presiill make his decision soon. it's no secret when the israelis have to go to a seiocond ele that sort of threw us off a bit. we haven't yet decided wheether wease the plan before or after the israeli elections. if it's after the israeli elections, before or after the i
governmeformed, we're still evaluating that and the president has not yet made his decision. >> woodruff: what is stake here ultimately? i mean, what does it mean if you are not able tget this done and it continues as it is now in e region? >> to me, the most important -- the two most important things, one israel, one palestinian. on the israeli side, they willin co to be in a risky security situation and the united states, cer utainlyer president trump, will always support them and watch their back. for the palestinians, it would be tragic, both nott just he palestinians in the west bank, judeia, samaria, but also in gaza. y e palestinians in gaza are suffering terri what's at stake is the next generation of kids are going to continue to suffer aat would be terrible. >> woodruff: jason greenblatt, thank you very much. >> thanksoou. thank youch.
>> woodruff: the white house dnounced today the u.s. would not sell billions lars worth of next-generation fighter planes to turkey.as the : ankara's decision to buy advanced russian surface to air missiles. >> reporter: triumph in turkey's capital last week, for a president who had just secured a critical deal-- a massive missile defense system. not from a nato ally, but from the country that alliance was founded to counter, russia. >> ( translated ): they told us "you can't buy them, you can't station them, it wouldn't be right to buy them." god willing, we'll finalize the process in april 2020. now our goal is co-producing with russia. we'll do this. we'll go even furt pr. >> reportenes carrying parts for the s-400 missile defense system began arriving in turkey on friday, part of a $2-billion deal. the s-400 can intercept ballistic missiles up to 38
miles away, and shoot down aircraft up to 150 miles away.ag two year turkey announced it would buy the s-400 system liom russia, because the u.s. had stalled in s turkey the american system, called "patriot. at a cabinet meeting yesterday, president trump blamed the obama administration for giving turkey no other option. >> and because of the fact he bought a russian missile, we're not allowed to sell him billions of dollars of aircraft, it's not a fair situation. ed>> reporter: congress pa legislation to exclude turkey from an f-35 traininprogram, if both were in turkish hands. >> turkey cannot field aussian intelligence collection platform
5n proximity to where the f-3 program makes repairs and houses the f-35.r: >> reporteow the decades long relationship between the u.s. and turkey, a n.a.t.o. ally, has been dealt another blow. the two had already beent at odds for years. the u.s. had refused to extradite a turkish clerk, who turkish cleric erdogan blames for an attempted coup in 2016; and u.s. support for the y.p.g a northeast syrian kursh group turkey considers a terrorist, organizationinflamed the tensions. >> this is a relationship thats en on the skids for a number of years, and mistrust and distrust, are what now characterize it. >> reporter: steven cook, a turkey expert at the council on foreign relations, say the s-400 shipment alscomes at a difficult time for erdogan. of faces a weak turkish economy and a recent loss he important istanbul mayor's election to the opposition. erdogan's deal with russia also puts at risk turkey's
credentials as a nato member. >> there's no mechanism to remove a countryrom nato, but there are measures that the alliance can take to isolate, for lack of a better term, a alliance member and this is something that nato officials have warned turkey about. that if they went forward withy the s-400, tuld not be privy to certain meetings within t to. they wouldn't be p certain training missions and certain planning. >> reporter: erdogan has insisted it wasohis country's reign right to buy the missile defense system. steven cook says, "erdogan is trying to assert his ability to stand alone." >> turkish officials have been very, very clear that this purchase reflects turkey's independence, that turkey isca ble of pursuing its own foreign policy independent of the wishes of the united states and other great powers.nd
>> what f damage has been done to u.s.-turkey relations and within the larger n.a.t.o. alliance? to answer those questions and more i'm joined by the former supreme allied commander of nate o's top militarofficer, he assumed that command in 2009 and retired in 2013. admiral, welcome back to the ewshour". as you just heard, the u.s. said to turkey, back out of that s-400 deal or else. n.a.t.o. officas have issue similar sort of warning. where does that leave turkey?w what happens n? >> i would say that, on a scale, amna, that kind of runs from both sides shrug say, ah, we were just kidding, no big deal and, at the other end of the spectrum, dork pulls out of n.a.t.o., neither of those are going to happen. we're kind of in the middle. the next step is withholding participation in the joint strike fighter program. that's a big deal for president odor wan. i think it will cause him to hio
pause ansider whether there is some way we can map out a compromise bewet these very difficult positions. >> reporter: can any of these steps, pressure from n.t.o., the u.s. sanctions, anything else, would any of those potentially force erdogan to back out of that deal? >> i think it's highly unlikely. i've met with now president erdogan, prime minister erdogan while i was the n.a.t.o. commander, i met wh him. i know very well the minister of defense who, at the time, wa chief of defense, the senior military officer, gennoally halusiw the chief of defense, they are very dug in at thisoint. and here's an important point, for president erdogan, this is a pride point, not only for him personally, but as he sees it, for the way turkey is viewed ine the ational recommend. this is going to be a hard one to find comn.promise upo >> reporter: there is an important point of clarifyis hts i asked president erdogan about the s-400 deal last year. he said we tried to buy it from
the u.s., we were we fraud and we heard president trump echo the same narrative. is that exactly what happened? >> no, as usual, there are shades of grey in all these conversations. from my perspective, also unclear the turks were actually told, no, you can't buy the patriot missile. certainly, the u.s. has reverse course under the trump administration and made that offer ry explicitly. i would say if president erdogan were here right now, he would say the offer of thetriot is too little too late. >> reporter: admiral, help us understand the position president erdogan is in right now, though. back in 2016, her survived a coup attempt, but he's now facing a weak economy, he's suffered political losses at home. what is it now that's forcing him or pushing him rather to strengthen that relationship with russia? >> first and foremost, he sees port issue of the u.s. sup for kurdish allies in syria pulling us apart.
secondly, he continues to be frustrated, as do many seniorrs turkish leadabout their feelings that the european union cthas re turkey's membership over a decade andd more, an they feel the united states has not done enough to put pressure on the european union to accept turkey. then third and finally, presidentd eran has found a new friend, if you will, in vladimir pun, who tends to reinforce some of erdogan's authoritarian impulses. when you put all three of those things together, you can see turkey drifting away from the alliance. the key here, amna, is what should the united sttes be doing at this point, and i would say it is ou geopolitical interests to try to find a compromise here with turkey, t work with our european allies, to do this in the context of n.t.o. it would be a geopolitical mistake of near epic prportion to allow turkey to kind of drifa
out of tliance over this issue. we really need to work to find compromise here. >> reporter: epic proportion. some analysts say we're approaching the zero hour when it comes to the alliance between u.s. and turkey. what is at sta if the alliance doesn't hold? >> we've never seen a nation -- we now have 29 nations in nate o. we've never seen a nation pull out of nateo. it wold fundamentally weaken the alliance and, secondly, turkey is an important growing state. by mid century, turkey will have a larger population thanrussia does. t, is a long term, not a bridge between east and wurkey is a center of power unto itself. we need to hold them in alliance and hold them with the west. >> reporter: admiral jamesvr daitas, supreme commander of n.a.t.o., thank you for your time. >> thanks, amna.
>> woodruff: 50 years ago this week, the world watched as the apollo 11 crew lifted off, andhe then landed onoon a few days later. much of the attention, and ocpecially during milestone anniversaries, hased on neil armstrong and buzz aldrin, the asonauts who first set foot on the moon. but the work andfforts of their command module pilot and crew member, michael collins, was crucial, too. as miles o'brien tells us, collins had a perspective and concerns of his own that were distinct to the mission as well. his profile is the focus of tonight's "leading edge" segment. r >>orter: for a man spun from the rarest of right stuff cloth, mike collins is surprisingly humble and self-deprecating. how much of what happened to you was luck do you think? y luck? >> reporter: but, ou believe in luck, that's anotherqu tion? >> i believe, ardently i believe in luck, luck should be put on my gravestone.
>> reporter: sure, he and his apollo 11 compadres, neil armstrong and buzz aldrin were all born in the same year, 1930. >> we just wandered by at exactly the right moment and that is a consummate example of luck, luck, and more luck, i am big believer in luck.>> eporter: but of course they really weren't wandering-- no, they were marching with a warrior's purpose. after all, luck favors the well prepared. in 1963, he was a test pilot, driven to go faster and higher, when nasa selected hits third class of astronauts. his first mission-- gemini 10 in 1966-- the gemini missions were primarily focused on perfecting orbital rendezvous and docking, the devilishly complex process ofringing two ships togeth in space. it consumed the time and talent of nasa's engineering brain trust. but what about spacewalking?
>> well, you just kind of go out there, and wreally had not thought through just what going out there meant. >> reporter: and he had two spacewalks on his to-do list for gemini 10. >> one of the consequences of our being ignorant it ave to say abacewalking was i foundno myself outsideandholds where i was, slippery surfaces, slipped off, went ass over teakettle out into the unknown, beyondhe gemini. >> reporter: it wasn't pretty, but he pulled it off, the worst part for us-- during the gyrations, his camera unmoored from its tether-- sending his priceless selfies into the void. collins became the astronaut specialist on space suit development, ironically, thereew were accasions when wearing the suit during a long session in the apollo command module simulor gave him elaustrophobia. >> i was wedged in the, one of the couches and very
almited space, i couldn't ly move, i was almost trapped. >> reporter: so, something like that you probably could never confess to anybody at that time, right? >> that is correct, i never confessed that to anybody at that time, i was afraid i would be grounded. >> reporter: it's the worst word a pilot can ever hear, fortunately, he never felthe panic in space. he says he never really felt scared. but he was worried pretty much the whole time. >> i think a flight to the moon as being a long and fragile, daisy chain of events, any one of those links breaks, everything downstream from that is useless. there arso many things that can go wrong, the machinery is compact, but complex, extremely complex. you can never relax, or at least i could never relax. i could never say things are going well, that was almost a-- a jinx to say that things were going well.at
i might think n the back of my mind, but really i-- i would be a little on edge and a little b worried about the next little link in that chain, >> reporter: when il armstrong and buzz aldrin climbed into the lunar module and made their way toward their historic landing on the lunar surface... >> roger, eagle is undocked-- roger, in how does it look? >> the eagle has. >> reporter: ...collins remained in the apollo command module, orbiting the moon, not t best at on this mission, but not something he regretted. >> think you've got a finein lookflying machine, eagle, despite the fact you're upside wn. >> reporter: surprisingly, he did not worry about whether they would land successfully-- >> the eagle has landed. >> reporter: but rather, whether they could depart. the engine to propel the lunar module off the surface was a huge exception to nasa's design philosophy of redundant systems. >> it was a solitary, single, one chamber; that chamber eithei d properly and got you the
thrust or it did not, if it did not, neil and buzz were dead on the surface, and so that was a very critical worry point for me. >> reporter: did you guys talkpo about thibility that you might be the guy coming home alone, did that ever come up? >>edt was not something i wa to discuss with them, "hey neil, suppose you are stranded forever on the surface of the moon, would you mind terribly if i just sort of headed home?" i mean it was not the kind of thing one talked about, but it was-- it was a presence, it was there. >> reporter: there was no need to have that conversation, was there? >> exactly! >> reporter: coming home ane, what would they at have been like? >> well, it would have been terrible, i hate to think about it. >> tranquility base houston you're cleared for takeoff, >> roger understand we are number one on the runway. >> beautiful, very smooth, very quiet de. >> reporter: on their ride back
home, they mveled at our perch in the universe, the moon was their destination, but for collins, the real discovery was earth itself. >> alright, i've got the world in my window for a change. >> the moon was nothinarg co to my view of home planet, it was it, it was the main chance. i look out the window and-- and there would be a tiny little thing, you know, we can obscure it with your thumb, but every time you put it away somewhere it pop out and wanted you to look at it. in wanted to be seen, it was gorgeous, it was shiny, blue and white, the blue of the oceans, the white of the clouds, little streak of rust color tha we cntinents, but it just glowed. having ge out 240,000 miles and seeing it, gives me a much fragility, a much greater urge to do something to protect tt fragility as we go along. >> reporter: his memoirar
ing the fire", remains the standard by which all books authored by astronauts are judged, right stuff meets right brain.au he is the poetate of the apollo astronauts, and yet one of his regrets from that era involves a lack of poetry at a historic moment. in december 1968, he was the astronaut in charge of radio communication with the crew of apollo 8, the first voyage to orbit the moon. it was his job to give mission commander frank borman permission to fire the rocket that would give them enough pe thety to es gravitational pull of earth. in nasa parlan, it was called "trans lunar injection," or t.l.i. it was a historic first. >> so, i thought when thisom moment in history, this is it. well, the pope certainly sent a message, president will come, frank sinatra will sing-- ere
will be some acknowledgment of it and in the meantime, of course, it and we were both right up there, we are going to handle this thing properly. so my went first, i said, apollo 8, you are go for t.l.i, over. and frank rose to the occasion and he said, >> roger, understand, we are go for t.l.i.th >> that was it was it, that was the whole thing, that was ridiculous! i mean what-- what do we have all of this for?>> eporter: if you had to do that one over, what would you say? >> i don't know, i d t't know, i hathink that one over. ag reporter: a few weeks later, i interviewed hin at the world science festival in new york city. he was ready. here's your moment for do-over, what would you say if you could do it again? >> uh oh. well, would abide by nasa rules which you can't say more than i think eight words in a row, and preferably ey'll all be monosyllabic-- under those
conditions, i would say: "apollo 8, the moon is yours, go! ( cheers and applause ) >> reporter: 50 years ago,amhe moon be ours thanks to apollo 11. armstrong, aldrin, and collins were the trio at the tip of a rocket that flew into history-- thanks to the concerted effort of more than 300,000 people and the consistent support of american taxpayers. when it was done, inhabitants in all corners of our fragile planet saw it as a triumph for not just one country-- but for humanity as a whole. >> that's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind, >> reporter: for the pbs newshour, i'm miles o'brien.
>> woodruff: finally tonight, remembering a legend of the law. retired supreme court justice john paul stevens, whose career on the high court spanned 35 years, has died. in a statement, chief justice john roberts said, "he brought to our bench an inimitable blend of kindness, humility, wisdom and independence.hi unrelenting commitment to justice has left us a better n tion." we look back nows life and legacy. by the time john paul stevensiv re the nation's highest civilian honor in 2012, the presidential medal of freedom, he had already put his stamp on american law as former president barack obama noted that day, stevens, bow tie and all, did so in his own way. >> during oral argument, justice john paul stevens often beganf
his lineestioning with a polite, "may i interrupt?" or "may i k a question?" you can imagine the lawyers would say, " (laughter) --after which he would, just as litely, force a lawyer to stop dancing around and focus on the most important issues in the case. and that was his signature style: modest, insightful, well- prepared, razor-sharp. dy woodruff: the justice was a product of the wity-- the son of a hotel businessman and an english teacher. a ng-time chicago cubs fan stevens said, as a boy, he was at wrigley field in 1932-- witness to the new york yankees' babe ruth and his legendary "called shot" home run. after serving in the u.s. navy, working as a supreme court clerk, and lawyering in private practice, stevens was appointed in 1970 to be a federal appeals judge. then, in 1975, president gerald
ford picked him to fill a vacancy onhe u.s. supreme court, where justice stevens would serve for 35 years. in that time, the republican appointee was eventually seen as a liberal leader on the court, though in 2011, a retired justice stevens told our late newshour colleague gwen ifill that he never cared for the lal.ti >> by th you retired, you were considered to be the court's unlikely liberal. were you really that unlikely? or were you really tharal? >> well, i never have been a fan of trying to use labels like that to describe justices, because, very often, the justili will bral on one issue and conservative on another. >> woodruff: one of therm justice's supreme court clerks, melissa arbus sherry, echoed that sentiment. >> he was true. he felt like the justice or thei judge is to bng their own
judgment to each and every case, and i think that is at he applied throughout his career, and it may have led to dfering decisions along the way. >> woodruff: stevens's majority opinions handed legal victories to detainees at the u.s. naval se in guantanamo bay, cuba, who were seeking to challenge their detentions. another ruled in favor of convicts with mental disabilities, who had been sentenced to death and, during that 2011 newshour interview, he said he disagreed with the way some conservative i justicerpret federal law and the constitution. >> everybody agrees that it's appropriate to do everything we can to understand the original intent behind both statutes and constitutional provisions.ti but the that that can provide the answer in all cases is whais incorrect. it sheds light on all cases, but s it is just one of the tou have to use in trying to answer the question. >> woodruff: but often, stevens was in dissent
even in his final months of life, stevens lamented the court's 20 "bush v. gore" ruling, which ended a florida recount and effectively decided that year's presidential election. he disagreed sharply with how his conservative colleagues voted in the "heller" case loosening gun laws. and when i sat down wivens this spring, for one of his final interviews, he said this about the 2010 "citizens united" ruling on campaign finance laws. why do you think it's had a corrosive effect on american politics? >> just look at the amount of money. i can't give you the figures, but millions and millions of dollars are spent on cpaigns now. and, often there's state representatives spending money provided by residents of other states. people in the district should be the ones who decide the outcome of elections.dr >> wf: the ruling in
"citizens united" came toward the end of stevens' tenure, throughout which he was able to maintain a rich personal life. again, former clerk sherry: >> he was very passionate about everything, about, you know, all of his interests, and, so, he had a lot of extracurricular uinterests outside the , tennis and fossil fuel and bridge and the like, but he was so passionate about the the i mean, for many years after he was off the court, he was sti iting and speaking and ootraveling. >>uff: >> woodruff: i asked him to assess his lengthy career, and his own impact on american law:r you havearkable legacy on the court. you served for 35 years. what do you believe your legacy will be? >> well, that's difficult to figure out. but i would like people to think i was an honest judge and a good judg and i always tried to reach the best result in every case. >> woodruff: he suffered a stroke earlier this week, andte died yay evening in fort
lauderdale, florida. justice john paul stevens was 99 years old. the u.s. htase of represves has voted to hold attorney general william barr and commerce secretary wilbur roth in criminal contempt for not sharing information about the attempt to add a citizenship question to th census. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs nehour has been provided b >> ordering takeout. >> finding the west route. >> talking for hours. >> planninfor showers. >> you can do the things you like to do with a wireless plan with talk, text and data. consumer cellular. learn more at consumercellular.tv >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, french, german, italian, and more.
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