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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  July 17, 2019 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. te the newshour tonight, controversy in con-- as president trump stands by his attacks against four congresswomen, unpacking the painful history behind his then, where goes from here. a key trump advisor on what'sth next iwhite house's plan to resolve the israeli- palestinian conflict plus, orbiting history. memoes of apollo 11 from michael collins, the astd naut who circe moon while his crewmates walk on the surface. ng i think of a flight to the moon as being a lond fragile, daisy chain of events. any one of those links breaks, haerything downstream from is useless. there are so many things that can go wrong. >> woodruff: all that and more
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on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the p newshour has been provided by: >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanishch, german, italian, and more. babbel's 10-15 minute lessons are available as an app, or online. more information on ♪ ♪ >> supporting socialne entrepres and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- >> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through invention, in the u.s. and developing countries. on the web at
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>> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more ant and peaceful world. more information at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: president trump says tonight he is beating mocrats in a battle bein 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 tos condemn tacks as racist. but as he left the white house
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late today, for a campaign rally in north carolina, mr. trump said he has no regrets. >> i do think i'm winning the political fight. i think i'm winning it by a lot. i think they are not espousing the views of our country. i'm not relishing the fight i'ms enjoying it bei have to get the word out to the american people.oo >>uff: meanwhile, house speaker nancy pelosi said the president is trying to distractc people from crms of his policies. she also told reporters today that last night's resolution condemng mr. trump's tweets was "benign. >> it condemned the words of the president, not theresident. the words of the president. we wer't saying that he was racist, we were saying that the words he used were racist. so that was as gentlas it could be considering the inappropriateness and the disgusng nature of what the alesident said. >> woodruff: pelos moved today to block action on impeaching the president.
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texas democratic conessman al green offered an impeachment resolution, but pelosi said house committees need time to finish invtigations 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 unredacted documents that we need to t derstand the truth, the whole truth and nothing e truth as to why they really made this decision. >> if the democrats can' impeach president trump they will instead hold his cabinet in contempt of congress. this is just another episode ite
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political th this exercise is not a responsible use of the contempt authority. >> woodruff: despite the house action, it is unlikely that the u. justice department will actually prosecute barr or ross on the contempt citation. the pentagon announced today 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 are needed to backstop border agents who face a surge of migrants. bee mexican drug kingpin known as "el chapo" ha sentenced to life in a u.s. prison, without parole. a federal judge in new york imposed the penalty on joaquin guzman today. osecutors said guzman's sinaloa cartel smuggledta mos of cocaine into the
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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. newly released federal data shows drug companies in the u.s. stepped up shipments of opioid painkillers as the addiction epidemic exploded. between 2006 and 2012, the shipments rose more than 50%, totaling 76 billion pills. e data was released by a federal judge in ohio, who is presiding over hundreds of lawsuits against drug makers. the world health organization has declared an international health emergency over thebola outbreak in congo. today's action follows the
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virus' spread into goma, a city of two million people close to neighboring rwanda. ebola has also appeared in uganda.e ar-old outbreak has infected thousands in congo and killed more than 1,600. but until now, 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 nths of political deadlock. representatives from the two sides met in khartoum for thegn sig. opposition leaders said it was the beginning of a new era. >> ( translated ): today we look forward to a new phase, one wh,e we can rely on ourselv and move away from all that divides us. sudan for all sudanese people, and yes, those who signed here toy are a part of the revolution, and are a part of the sudanese people. >> woodruff: protest leaders had demanded an mediate transfer of power. instead, it will take place over
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three years. the parties also have k out the exact division of powers. all of this follows the overthrow of long-time dictator omar al-bashir, back in april. senior citizs in hong kong took to the streets today in support of young pro-democracy activists. thousands marched to the central governmentffices, holding r banners thatead: "support the youngsters." they also accused police of using too much force demonstrations have engulfed the city irecent 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 phone. spacey's lawyers said text messages on it could vindicate him. spacey has faced other allegations of sexual
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misconduct, but, so far, no other criminal charges. and, on wall street, stocks gave ground, on disappointing earnings reports and ongoing worries about trade tensions with china.w the nes industrial average lost 115 points to close below 27,220. the nasdaq fell 37 points, and the s&p 500 was down 19. still to come on the nfushour: the pahistory behind the president's racist tweets against members of congress. a key trump advisor on what's next in the white house's long- promised plan for peace in the middle east. tensions ratchet up between the u.s. and nato ally turkey over the controversial sale of russian weapon plus, much more. >> woodruff: the president's
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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. b ngham: last night on the floor of the house ofta represves, an uproar broke out when speaker nancy pelosi and her fellow democrats wanted to pass a resolution raecifically calling the president's attackst" >> join us in condemning the president's racist tweet >> our rules of order and decency were broken today. i know racism when i see it. >>shis ridiculous slander d a disservice to our nation. >> brangham: in the end, the house did vote to condemn thets president's tw 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 preside's
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words were racist. instead we want to explore how those tweets, and the ferocious reaction to them, are part of a long history of at one of my 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, and she's writing a book on the history of xenophobia in america. and ian haney lopez, a professor of public law at u.c. berkey a.o studies coded racial language in amer he's author of "dog whistle politics. " welcome to you both anbethank you fog here. ian haney lopez, to you first, you're the one i was quoting about this racial theater in p americitics. i wonder if you could just help us zoom out a little bit from this week's controversy and hel us explain how this theater plays out. what does this play look like? >> here's the way the play works -- it's what i call dog whistle politics is the use of coded racial appeals in
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politics, but coded racial appeals, there's a lot going on. act onef e play: some hilitician decides to gin up controversy by p a racial idea or meme into the coersation but doing so through a coded term that allows plausible denia. so think of the phrase, go back where you came from. some people see it as racist.r otople 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, t person whose dog eistling about race comes forward andxercises the plausible deniability of these terms and says, hey, me?dn i say anything about race, or as donald trump tweeted, i don't have a racnt bone my body. act three: turn around and say,
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but you know who is talking about race? it's my critics. my critics have accused me ofa beincist and, since i'm not a racist, they're the real racists becausthey are falsely smearing me with this awful charge of being a racist, and that's the basic drama of this week in american politics. >> reporter: erika, sticking with this, the president sid go back to your home country, fix things there, leave this country. i know your scholarship has looked at how that is part of the coded language that has evolved over time. can you explain a little bit of the history of that type of terminology? >> sure, and it's not even that coded. literally get out of this country is quite an insult an quite a charge, and this has arranged throughout our history from more softball questions
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such as "where are you from? no, where are yo really from?" sort of a symbol that the person is t really a fully american or really belongs her, but "gos back" lso literally been attached to violent campaigns of ortation so this is both coded language but also conected to a much longer history that is violent, that i xenophobic and that has always been a form of racism in the united states. there is this idea that,al espe with immigrants, that we should be grateful to have let into the n.d.a.s and, because of thiift of -- let into the united states and because of this gift of immigration that we should blindly, you know, follow all of the policies of the adoptedd homeland, at, to be sure, is not american. >> reporter: ian haney lopez,
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you were touching before on this issuet that, you use coded language, it allows you a sort of plausible deniability that u can say, i didn't mention anyone's skin color, i didn't mention their race, s ao whyre 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 make a distinction here. wetwe talking about different things that are connected but we ought to see that they're twdifferent things. one is the dynamic in which one person says to another, go back where you came from,nd ie had that happen to me. i think many people in th united states have had that happen to them. that's oe phenomenon. the other is where some of the most perful people in the country and, in particular, politicians seek to exploit racial division and stoke racial acrimony, and they're being combined here.
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>> reporter: erikw , we sa turning of the tables this week where the president said i'm not the racist, the people accusing me of racism arethe racists. reminds me of a mom alcindor had this year where she asked the president a question about why his policies echoed strongly with white nationalists. he turned the tables on her and said the exct thing. >> that's such a racist question. honestly, i know you have it written down and you're going to tell me -- let me tell you, that is a racist question. >> reporter: i thi that, too, tat turning of the tables is not a new thing. >> it's not a new thing, but it has become especially effective in the post-civil rights era. it was mowmp acepting to be explicitly racist and to have legal discrimination, obviously, and to have those signs -- no jews allowed, no chinese allowed, noe mxicans allowed,
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et cetera, but explicit racism was illegal andell out of favor, and, so, we have become much more adept at color-blind racism, at dog whistle politics without talking about race or ing explicitly racial language. at's not new but it has become new way and effective way in the post-civil rights era and in the and post-obama era to denigratothers, to iult them, to treat them as unequal, to justify inequality without using the old racial labels. >> reporter: ian haney lopez, the prident apparently contacted a reporter today and said that he was happy with the way e is debent 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 this?
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>> i don p seearticular good news in this. i see a very treacherous moment for the american people, for our society, for our democracy, and here's what's so treacherous -- we have a president who benefits, who sees himself benefiting from social division and acrimony, and that's what he's stirred this week, and i think that's why he's happy with the result. when we have a huge outraged conversation in this country, is trump and by extension the millions of ou fellow citizens who love him, is trump ract, 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 trump wants, it's the way he benefits, and what we have then is we have a political leader who, for his own benefit and for the benefit
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of his party, sees himse as leading the country further into division and hatred a violence and, yet, at the very moment that this is so treacherous, it's also an opportuniau bec president trump is making clear through his actions a dynamic tht is actually plagued ourth country fo last 50 years since the civil rights movement. >> reporter: erika lee, lastly, to you, how would you like to see us try to bridge this chasm, to move throughtohis and preal this divide? >> i think that one of the important aspects is to understand that ths goes beyond the 2020 elections, that the remarks by the president and the division that it has caused points to a much larger, deeper problem in the united states, a problem that is about division, it's about race, and it's about the future of the united states,
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and i agree that these politics of distraction andf these politics division have driven us away from the actual buness of governing. >> reporter: all right, erika lee and ian haneypez, thank you both very much. >> woodruff: the role of the united states in mediating the isseli-palestinian conflict almost as old, and as complex, as the conflict pself. americsidents have tried, failed, and tried again to bring an end to the andoff. last month, president trump's team began rolng out the first part of its two stage peace plan: the economic piece, unveiled at a confern.ce in bahr the all-important political plan is yet to come. jason greenblatt is one of the men leading the u.s. effort, along with presidential son-in- stw jared kushner.
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he's a former reale lawyer turned negotiator, focused on some of the most prized, and fraught land in the world. i spoke with him this morning. jason grnblatt, thank you very much for talking with us. >> thank you for having me. >>teoodruff: so des multiple efforts over the decades, there has not been a mutually agreed-on peace plan in the middle east since jimmy carter, the camp david peace accords, anwar sadat, that was a 40 yeao. what makes you believe that now is the time andthe right moment for a peace plan that works? >> i think we' at a uque time in history. we have a unique president who is not afraid to speak his min . e a region that actually wants to incorporate israel into the neighborhood. i think people are tired to have the conflict. i think everyone wants better lives for the palestinians, but everyone is alswilling to acknowledge the many, many,
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challenges that exists to give them better lives to improve everything. >> woodruff: you've divided is into an economic and political plan, and some of thet s are already saying what you've simply done isth swap e idea of land with money for peace. how do you respond to that? >> we fully understands the palestinians do not want an economic peace, they dserve much more than an economic peace. it's unrealistic to expect that an economiepeace could hav ever worked, but no matter how many times we say that, the manipulators, the people who want to undermine our efforts wi just keep usng that talking point. soil say very clearly, there is no economic peace without anpt acle political solution to both sides. >> woodruff: so at this point, palestinian leadve not only not expressed interest, they sayy they are activ against this. you've talked about it needing grassroots support. who is going to leave that grasoots support?
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can you name anyone in the palestinian community who has come forward and said i want to talk to you about this? >> unfortunately not. tinianscountless pal here in the region. they know i'm very active on twitter, and no matter how grea the meetoes and almost all of them are great, even if they are tough discussionsu.t s. policy, they always plead with me when we leave, please do not tweet about our meeting d tel who you met. with i have to respect that. when they go home, they are afraid, and that's unfortunate. >> woodruff: what the criticssa is when you look at what this administration has done with regard to israel, and i'll tick off a few things, they sa auld cords of the right thing have been impedlemeu.s. aid to palestine have been flat including aide for palestinianre gees, jerusalem declared as israel's capital, palestinian diplomatic missions closed in washington, and u.s. closed in
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west bank and gaza. so how do palestinians see this as a time when the adump nistration is even willing to give them any benefit of the doubt? >> when speak to these ordinary palestinians, i explain ey have to view these decisions 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 ottha premise till president trump. united nations relief u.n.ra is a broken system. it keeps palestinian in camps with no future.fa it's un to say we don't care about palestinians. >> woodruff: what rights do p you believe thalestinians deserve to have? >> right is a big word. i me han, i think ouope is to give palestinians as great a life ashe israelis have, with
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everybody in the region beingas secure -ecure as possible. >> woodruff: i think mr. kushner has referred to -- has said he supports palestinian self-determination. what does that mean? >> i don't want to get ahead of the plan. we agreed not to disdeploys element of the plan because people will start attacking each element of the plan, but suffice it to say that roughly in the 60 pages of the plan that questionn is answereour goal is to give the palestinians everything possible with respect to that and aything else, so long as israel's security is not affected in negative way. >> woodruff: is there still a possibility of a 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 down to those three words. so we've avoided the slogan, if you will, but the 60-page plan will address everything, including that question, and then we've vercarefully
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designed this plan to give everybody as much eedom 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 victim than ponsible, that's res from the moment of its formation, they were attacked multiple times, theytinue to be attacked with terrorism, so i'm not sure i derstand the premise of the question. i think that they are trying their best to succeed. they've actually succeeded in many ways, especially economically, under very, very trying circumstances. >> woodruff: so you don't see mistakes they've made, places where they've overstepped their authority, ando on? >> nobody's perfect, right? i can't think of single instances, but i think even our great country has made mistake
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over the years and over time you try to corect those mistakes but israel is doing the best it can under cllenges circumstances. >> woodruff: president netanyahu who floated the idea of annexes the west bank settlements, is this something the united states could sup ipo? >>on't like the word"a essments" i think it's a pejorative term. i use the ter am neighborhood cities. won't get into a political discussion. i dont's do it with president abbas when he tal about his talking points, 67 borders, all that. let's wait till we show t political plan. >> woodruff: some people believe israelis had a one-state, quaisy -- a one state. >> i'm not sure many people think a one state is good for either side. our plan does not contemplate one state. if it did, i think we would have released over two years ago. but one of the callenges, people i speak about the west bank, judea and samaria as being
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occupied. i would argue the land is disputed and it needs tbe resolved in direct conversations with the parties.pi calling it oc territory does not help resolve the conflict. >> woodruff: presiderump, how does he look on this peace process, how it's going so far? >> i think he understands thed reality e complexity of the situation. he has great credibility among the raeli public. he had throughout 2017 strong credibility among palestinians. obviously at's been eroded because of u.s. policy, but he has great credibility among all the leaders in the region other than the palestinian leadershioo >>uff: and when do you think we'll see the political proposal? >>he president will make s decision soon. it's no secret when the israelis have to go to a second that sort of threw us off a bit. n haven't yet decided whether we release the pefore or after the israeli elections. if it's after the israelief elections,e or after the government is formed, we're
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still evuating that and the president has not yet made his decision. >> woodruff: what is at stakeat here ulty? i mean, what does it mean if you are not le to get this done and it continues as it is now in the region? >> to me, the most important -- the two most important things, one israel, one palestinian. on the israeli side, they will continue to be in a risky security situation and the united states, certainly under president trump, will always support them and watch their back. for the palestinians, it would be tragic, both not jut the palestinians in the west bank, judeia, samaria, but also in gaza. the palestinians in gaza are sufferg terribly so what's at stake is the next generation of kids are going to continue to suffer and that would be terrible. druff: jason greenblatt, thank you very much. >> thank you. thank you so much.
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>> woodruff: the white house announced today the u.s. would not se worth of next-generation fighter danes to turkey. the reason: ankaraision to buy advanced russian surface toi aiiles. >> reporter: triumph in turkey's capital last week, for ad president who st secured a critical deal-- a massive missile det nse system. om 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 further. >> reporter: planes carryings- parts for th0 missile defense system began arriving in turkey on friday, part of a $2-billion deal. the s-400 can interceptti ballmissiles up to 38 miles away, and shoot down
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aircraft up to 150 miles away. two years ago, turkey announced it would buy the s-400 system from russia, because the u.s. had alled in selling turkey the american system, called "patriot. at a cabinet meeting yesterday, presidentrump 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. >> reporter: congress passed legislation to exclude turkey from an f-35 training program, if both were in turkish hands. >>urkey cannot field a russian intelligence collection platform in poximity to where the f-35
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program makes repairs and houses the f-35. >> reporter: now the decades ationship between th 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 turkish clerk, whork ch cleric erdogan blames for an attemptedoup in 2016; and u.s. support for the y.p.g., a northeast syrian kurdish group turkey considers a terrorist ganization, inflamed the tensions. id this is a relationship that has been on the for a number of years, and mistrust and distrustarare what now terize it. >> reporter: steven cook, a turkey expert at the council on foreign relations, say the s-400 shipment also comes at a difficult time for erdogan. he faces a weak turkish economy and a recent loss of the siportant istanbul mayor's election to the opon. erdogan's deal with russia also puts at risk turkey'scr entials as a nato member.
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>> there's no mechanism to remove a country from nato, but there are measures that the alliance can take to isolate, for lack of a better term, an alliance member and this is something that nato officials have warned turkey about. that if they went forward with the s-400, they would not beto privertain meetings within nato. they wouldn't be part of certain training missions and certain planning. >> reporter: erdogan has insisted it was his country't sovereign ri buy the missile defense system. steven cook says, "erdogan is trying to assert his ability to stanalone." >> turkish officials have been very, very clear that this purchase reflects turkey'sin pendence, that turkey is capable of pursuing its own foreign policy independent of the wishes of the united states and other great powers.
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>> what kind of damageeen 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 alliedommander of nate o's top military officer, he assumed that command in 2009 and retired in 2013.ra ad welcome back to the "newshour". as you just heard, the u.s. said to turt key, back that s-400 deal or else. n.a.t.o. officers have issued a similar sort of warning. where does that leave turkey? whatappens now? >> i would say that, on a scale, amna, that kind of runs frm both sides shrug sayh,, 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 bi deafor president odor wan. i think it will cause him to hit thpause and consider whe there is some way we can map out a
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compromise between these vry difficult positions. >> reporter: can any of these steps, pressure from n.a.t.o., the u.s. sanctions, anything else, would any of tho potentially force erdogan to back out of that deal? >> i think it's highly unlikely. i've met with now preside erdogan, prime minister erdogan while i was the n.a.t.o. commande i met with hi. i know very well the minister of defense who, at the time, was chief of defense, the senior military officer, generally halusi, now the chief of fense, they are very dug in at this point. and here's an important point, for predent erdogan, this is a pride point, not only for him, personalt as he sees it, for the way turkey is viewed in the international rend. this is going to be a hard one to find compromise on. >> reporter: there is an important point of clarify caismghts i ask 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
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we heard president trump echo 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 very explicitly. i would say if president erd were here right now, he would say the offer of the patriot is too little tooe. lat >> reporter: admiral, help us understand the position president erdogan is in right now, thoug back in 2016, her survived a coup attempt, but he's no facing a weak economy, he'sol sufferedical 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 seesue this isf the u.s. support for kurdish allies in syriapu ing us apart. secondly, he continues to bedo frustrated, as many senior
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turkish leaders, about their feelings that theuropean union has rejected turkey's membership over a decade and more, and they feel the united states has not done enough to put pressure on the european union to accept turkey. en third and finally, president erdogan has found a new friend, if u will, in vladimir putin, who tends t reinforce some of erdogan's authorarian impulses. en you put all three of those things together, you can see turk drifting away frm the alliance. the key here, amna, is what should the united states be doing at this point, and i would say it is in our geopolitical interests to try to find a compromise here with turkey, to work with our european allies, to do this in the cntext of n.a.t.o. it would be a geopolitical mistake of near epic proportion to allow turkey to kind of drift out of the alliance over this
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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 stake if the alliance doesn't hold? >> we've never seen nation -- we now have 29 nations in nate o. we've never seen a nation pull out of nate o. it would fundamentally weaken the alliance and, secondly, turkey is an important growing state. by mid century, turkey will have a larger population than russia does. it is a long term, not a bridge between st and west, turkey is a center of power unto itself. we need to hold them in the a allian hold them with the west. >> reporter: admiral jamesem davritas, suprcommander of n.a.t.o., thank you fo time. >> thanks, amna. >> woodruff: 50 years ago this
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week, the world watched as the apol 11 crew lifted off, and then landed on the moon a few days later. much of the attentio especially during milestone anniversies, has focused on neil armstrong and buzz aldrin, the astronauts who fir set foot on the moon. but the work and efforts 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 we distinct to the mission as well. his profile is the focus of tonight's "leading edge" mgment. >> reporter: foran spun from the rarest of right stuff clothi mike col is surprisingly humble and self-deprecating. how muchf what happened to you was luck do you think? >> luck? >> repter: but, do you believe in luck, that's another question? >> i believe, ardently i believe in luck, luck should be put on my graveston >> reporter: sure, he and his apollo 11 compadres, neil
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armstrong and buzz aldn were l 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.ut >> reporter:f 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 him in its third class of astronauts. his first missio- gemini 10 in 1966-- the gemini missions were primarily focused on perfecting orbital rendezvous and docking, the devilishly complex process of bringing two ships together it consumed the time and talent of nasa's engineering brain trust. but what about spacewalking? >> well, you just kind of go out
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there, and we really 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 i have to say about spacewalking was i found mylf outside, no handholds where i was, slippery surfaces, slipped off, went ass over teakettle out into the unknown, beyond the gemini. >> reporter: it wasn't pretty,bu he pulled it off, the worst part for us-- during the c gyrations, hera unmoored from its tether-- sending his priceless selfies into the void. collins became the astronaut specialist on space suit development, ironically, there were a few occasions when wearing the suit during a long session in the apollo command module simulator gave him claustrophobia. >> i wasedged in below the, one of the couches and very limited space, i couldn't really
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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 felt the panic in space. he says he never really felt scared.or but he was wried pretty much the whole time. >> i think a flight to the moon as being a long and ile, daisy chain of events, any one of those links breaks, everthing downstream from tha is useless. there are so many thingshat can go wrong, the machinery is compact, but complex, extremely omplex. you can never relaat least i could never i coulr say things are going well, that was almost a-- a jinx to say that things were going well. i might think that in the back of my mind, but really i-- i
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would be a little on edge and a little bit worried about t next little link in that chain, r: when neil armstrong and buzz aldrin climbed into the lunar module andtoade their way rd their historic landing on the lunar surface... >> roger, eagle is undocke- roger, >> how does it look? >> the eagle has wings. >> reporter: ...collins remained in the apollo command module, orbiting the moon, not the bestm seat on thsion, but not something he regretted. ne think you've got a fine looking flying maceagle, despite the fact you're upside down. >> 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 solitaryle, one chamber; that chamber either ignited properly and got you the thrust or it did not, if it did
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not, neil the surface, and so that was a very critical worry point for me. >> reporter: did you guys talk about the possibility ou might be the guy coming home alone, did that ever come up? >> it was not sothing i wanted to discuss with them, "hey neil, ppose you are stranded forever on the surface of the moon, would you mind terribly if i s jut of headed home?" i mean it was not the kind of thing one talked about, but as was-- it presence, it was there.or >> repter: there was no need to have that conversation, was there? >> exactly! >> reporter: coming home alone,h 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 onen the runway. >> beautiful, very smooth, very quiet ride. >> reporter: on their ride back home, they marveled at ourerch
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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. >> theoon was nothing compared to my view of home planet, it was it, it was the main chance. i look out the window and-- and lethere would be a tiny li thing, you know, we can obscure it with your thumb, but every time you put it away sre it pop out and wanted you to look at it. it wanted to be seen, it was gorgeous, it was tiny, shiny, blue and white, the blue of the oceans, the white of the clouds, little streak of rust that we call continents, but it just glowed. having gone out 240,000 miles and seeing it, gives me a much greater sense of fragility, a much greater urge to do something to protect that fragility as we go along. >> reporter: his memoir "carrying the fire", remains the
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andard by which all books authored by astronauts are judged, right stuff meets righ brain. he is the poet laureate 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 creof apollo 8, the first voyage to orbit the moon. it was his job to give mission commander frank bormano permissionre the rocket that would give them enough velocity to escape theat gravnal pull of earth. in nasa parlance, it was calle "trans lunar injection," or t.l.i. it was a historic first. >> so, i thought when this moment comes in history, this is it. well, the pope certainly sent a message, president will come, frank sinatra will sing-- theree will be cknowledgment of it and in the meantime, of
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course, it's up to frank and me and we were both right up there, we are going to handle ts thing properly. so my went first, i said, apollo 8, you are goor t.l.i, over. and frank rose to the occasion and he said, >> roger, understand, we are go for t.l.i. >>hat was it, that was it, that was the whole thing, that was ridiculous! i mean what-- what do e all of this for? >> reporter: if you had to do that one over, what would you say? o i don't know, i don't know, i have to think th over. >> reporter: a few weeks later, i inrviewed him again 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 . well, i would abide byasa rules which you can't say more than i think eight words in a row, and preferably they'll all be monosyllabic-- under thosend
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ions, i would say: "apollo 8, the moon is yours, go! ( cheers and applause ) >> reporter: 50 years ago, the tomoon became ours thanks apollo 11. armstrong, aldrin, and collins were the trio at the tip of rocket that flew into history-- thanks to the concerted effort of more th 300,000 people and the consistent support of erican 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.
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>> woodruff: finally tonight, remembering a gend of the law. retired supreme court justice john paul stevens, wse 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 cod independence. his unrelenting itment to justice has left us a better nation." we look back now on his life and legacy. by the time john paul stevens received the nation's highest civilian honor in 2012, the presidential medal of freedom, he had already put his stamp on erican 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 ten began his line of questioning with a polite, "may i interrupt?"
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or "may i ask a question?" you can imagine the lawyers would say, "okay"-- (laughter) --after which he would, just as politely, force a lawyer to stop dancing around and focus on tae most imp issues in the case. and that was his signature style: modest, insig well- prepared, razor-sharp. a woodruff: the justice w product of the windy city-- the son of a hotel businessman and an engli teacher. a long-time chico cubs fan, stevens said, as a boy, he was at wrigley field in 32-- 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 privater tice, stevens was appointed in 1970 to be a federal appeals judge. then, in 1975, president gerald ford picked him to fill a cecancy on the u.s. supreme
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court, where justevens 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 label. >> by the time you retired, you were considered to be the court's unlikely liberal. were you really that unlikely? or were yo >> well, i never have been a fan of trying to use labels like that to describe justices, because, very often, the justice will be liberal on oue and conservative on another. >> woodruff: one of the oujustice's former supreme clerks, melissa arbus sherry, echoed that sentiment. >> he was telue. helike the justice or the judge is to bring their own judgment to each and every case, and i think that is what he
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applied throughout his career, and it may have led to differing decisions along the way. >> woodruff: stevens's majority opinions handed legal victories to detainees at the u.s. naval base 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 justices interpret federal lawd e constitution. >> everybody agrees that it's apprriate to do everything w can to understand the original intent behind both statutes and constitutional provisions. anbut the notion that that provide the answer in all cases is what is incorrect. it sheds light on all cases, but it is just onef the tools you ve to use in trying to answer the question. >> woodruff: but often, stevens was in dissent. even in his final months of
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life, stevens lamented the court's 2000 "bush v. gore" ivling, which ended a florida recount and effey 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 with stevens 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 campaigns now. and, often there's state representatives spending money b providresidents of other states. people in the district should be the ones who decide the outcome of elections. >> woodruff: the rul "citizens united" came toward the end of stevens' tenure,
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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 ide the court, tennis and fossil fuel and bridge and the like, but he was so passionate about the the lawf i mean,or many years after he was off the court, he was stillp writing andaking and traveling. >> woodruff: >> woodruff: i asked him to assess his lengthy career, and his own impact on american law: you have a remarkable 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 judge. and i always tried to reach the best result in every case. >> woodruff: he suffered a stroke earlier this week, and died yesterday evening in fort lauderdale, florida. justice john paul stevens was 99
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years old. the u.s. house of representatives 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 the 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 newshour has been ovided by: >> ordering takeout. >> findi the west route. talking for hours. >> planning for showers.ou >>an do the things you like to do with a wireless plan designed fork,ou. with tal text and data. consumer cellular. learn more at >> babbel. a language app that hes real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, french, german, italian, and more.
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>> and with the ongoing support of these instituons and individuals. >> this program was made porible by the corporation 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
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