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PBS NewsHour full episode August 9, 2019

PBS NewsHour full episode August 9, 2019


AMNA NAWAZ: Good evening. I’m Amna Nawaz. Judy Woodruff is away. On the “NewsHour” tonight: turmoil at the
top — how multiple resignations at the country’s top intelligence office raise questions about
political influence and the future of the intelligence community. Then: Five years after the police killing
of Michael Brown, we return to Ferguson, Missouri, to look at the emotional toll left behind. LESLEY MCSPADDEN, Mother of Michael Brown:
When I wake up in the morning, my emotions are all over the place, and I really don’t
know if I want to go forwards, backwards, because every day is a fight for me since
August 9, 2014. AMNA NAWAZ: And it’s Friday, so David Brooks
and Jonathan Capehart are here to break down the political response to mass shootings in
El Paso and Dayton, as well as the latest from the 2020 campaign trail. All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: President Trump expressed hope
today that he will be able to persuade Republicans to back stronger background check legislation
for firearms. He said he’s spoken with congressional leaders
and officials from the National Rifle Association after last weekend’s mass shootings in Texas
and Ohio. Before leaving the White House this morning,
the president told reporters there is — quote — “tremendous support” for background check
legislation. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
Frankly, we need intelligent background checks, OK? This isn’t a question of NRA, Republican,
or Democrat. I will tell you, I spoke to Mitch McConnell
yesterday. He’s totally on board. He said, I’ve been waiting for your call. He is totally on board. AMNA NAWAZ: Now, McConnell has not endorsed
any type of gun safety legislation. Yesterday, he told a Kentucky radio show the
Senate will discuss background checks and so-called red flag laws when it returns in
September. Five years after the fatal shooting of Michael
Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, his father called for a new investigation of his death. The 2014 killing sparked nationwide protests
demanding greater police accountability. A grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson,
the white police officer who shot and killed the unarmed black teenager. Today, Brown’s father said justice had not
yet been served. MICHAEL BROWN SR., Father of Michael Brown:
As a father, I vowed to protect my children. Well, on August 9, 2014, that wasn’t the case. I could not protect him that day, and it breaks
my heart. His family is still standing, and we’re not
stopping until we get some type of justice. AMNA NAWAZ: Saint Louis County’s new prosecuting
attorney, Wesley Bell, has not yet said if he will reopen the case. In Hong Kong, demonstrators descended on the
international airport today for the first of three days of planned anti-government protests. Hundreds of activists filled the airport’s
terminal and chanted demands for democratic reforms in the region. Protesters said they want to send a message
to visitors in Hong Kong. CHENG, Protester (through translator): Every
foreigner who came to Hong Kong could see how united we are. This shows that Hong Kong youngsters are 100
percent peaceful and not violent. AMNA NAWAZ: While today’s protests remained
peaceful, some recent demonstrations have led to violent clashes between police and
protesters. Today, the territory’s chief executive, Carrie
Lam, who has faced calls to step down, urged lawmakers not to give in after months of chaos. CARRIE LAM, Hong Kong Chief Executive: I don’t
think we should just sort of make concessions in order to silence the violent protesters. We should do what is right for Hong Kong. And, at this moment, what is right for Hong
Kong, as we have heard all of our 33 business representatives told us, is to stop the violence
and to say no to the chaotic situation that Hong Kong has experienced in the last few
weeks. AMNA NAWAZ: The protests started in opposition
to a now-tabled extradition bill that could have moved Hong Kong residents to mainland
China to face criminal charges. Police have arrested nearly 600 people in
the demonstrations since June. There is word tonight that North Korea has
fired two projectiles into the sea off its eastern coast. It comes as the country has ramped up their
missile tests in recent weeks amid a stalemate in nuclear talks with the U.S. Today, President Trump told reporters he received
a three-page letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but he declined to share what
it said. China, meanwhile, is on red alert, as a powerful
typhoon made landfall on its east coast. It touched down in Zhejiang province around
1:00 a.m. Local time on Saturday. Heavy rains and strong winds had already impacted
parts of northeastern Taiwan, canceling flights and suspending schools. The typhon — typhoon, rather, is expected
to weaken as it moves farther inland. The Indian government today temporarily eased
a strict curfew in the disputed territory of Kashmir for Friday prayers. That came during an unprecedented five-day
lockdown in the Muslim-majority state by India’s Hindu nationalist government. Today, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, hundreds
demonstrated against that crackdown. UMAR AFTEB KIYANI, Student Leader (through
translator): We are on the streets, and we have just one demand, that we should be given
the right of determination as soon as possible and that a solution should be found for the
Kashmir issue. We appeal to the United Nations to find a
peaceful solution and grant us self-determination. AMNA NAWAZ: The Indian government implemented
that lockdown after it unilaterally revoked Kashmir’s autonomy, leading to mass protests
and escalating tensions with Pakistan. The remains of a Detroit man who died in Baghdad
after being deported from the U.S. will be returned to his home state of Michigan for
burial. Jimmy Aldaoud, who was born in Greece to Iraqi
refugees, had lived in the U.S. legally since he was an infant. The 41-year old struggled with mental health
issues and was deported in June as part of an ICE crackdown on immigrants with criminal
convictions. He died in Iraq, a country he’d never before
set foot in, after being unable to obtain insulin to treat his diabetes. And there are new signs that uncertainty about
Brexit is taking a toll on the British economy. It unexpectedly shrank in the second quarter
for the first time since 2012, as Britain prepares to the leave the European Union in
October with or without a deal. Back in this country, Wall Street ended the
week with another decline. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more
than 90 points to close at 26,287, the Nasdaq fell 80 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 19. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: multiple
high-profile resignations raise questions about the future of U.S. intelligence-gathering;
five years later, we examine the lasting impact of the police killing of Michael Brown on
the Ferguson, Missouri, community; Democratic presidential hopefuls gather in Iowa to make
their case to voters at the all-important state fair; and much more. The top two officials at the Office of Director
of National Intelligence will leave service next week. Just last night, the deputy director, a near-30-year
intel veteran named Sue Gordon, tendered her resignation. This follows the resignation of the director,
Dan Coats, 10 days ago. The DNI is charged with coordinating the 17
agencies of the sprawling U.S. intelligence community, or I.C. Now, Mr. Trump has often harshly criticized
the intel community since he took office. Gordon, who was widely respected, sent the
president a curt resignation note, telling Mr. Trump that he should — quote — “have
his team.” The National Counterterrorism Center director,
retired Admiral Joseph Maguire, was named by Mr. Trump last night as acting DNI. To walk us through all this and why it matters,
our Nick Schifrin is here. Hi, Nick. NICK SCHIFRIN: Hey, Amna. AMNA NAWAZ: It’s a lot happening. NICK SCHIFRIN: There is a lot happening, yes. AMNA NAWAZ: So, Joe Maguire, Joseph Maguire,
what do we know about him? NICK SCHIFRIN: Yes, Vice Admiral Joe Maguire
spent 30 years as a Navy special warfare officer. Think Navy SEALs. Most recently, he was the director of the
National Counterterrorism Center, or NCTC, that advises on policy and operations across
the intelligence community. I have talked to a lot of people on the Hill,
in the intelligence community, former senior intelligence who worked for him. The people who defend him call him a first-class
human being, a great leader, a man with integrity and a warrior — quote — “If I ever needed
someone killed, he would be the guy I called,” according to one person I talked to. And that’s the kind of endorsement that President
Trump gave him today. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
Admiral Maguire is a very talented man. He’s a great leader. As an admiral, was always a great leader. He is a man who is respected by everybody,
and he’s going to be there for a period of time. Who knows? Maybe he gets the job. But he’ll be there for a period of time — maybe
a longer period of time than we think. We’ll see. NICK SCHIFRIN: But even the friends of Maguire
I talked to admit that he has some shortcomings. He’s not an analyst, they say. He’s not a strategic thinker. He’s not going to solve the challenges that
face the intelligence community. He is not necessarily going to be the best
at explaining a complex problem. And that’s where some of the criticism of
him comes in. I talked to one senior — former senior official,
a congressional aide, who said that Joe Maguire is going to follow the president’s orders,
rather than speak truth to power, rather than tell him the intelligence that he needs to
hear, even if he doesn’t want to hear it. And they just worry that he’s not up to the
task, that he’s going to take orders like a loyal soldier, rather than giving the president
the truth. AMNA NAWAZ: Yes, Nick, we have heard this
criticism today, the president has been politicizing the intelligence community. We have heard that before. Where does that concern stem from? NICK SCHIFRIN: From the very beginning. Remember that President Trump went to the
CIA and talked about how big his inauguration crowd was in the first few weeks of his presidency. The president defenders have called the intelligence
community the deep state, and he has targeted even his own senior members of the intelligence
community. Think about Dan Coats, the former director
of intelligence, or soon to be former director of national intelligence, criticized the president’s
comments on North Korea and ISIS, or at least didn’t agree with the president’s comments. Just last week, the president called Coats
a little confused and said that the intelligence community had — quote — “run amok.” And so that’s what the people who are worried
about Maguire tell me, that when the president pushes back against Maguire, Maguire is going
to say, OK, sir. These people want Maguire to say, no, sir,
that’s not correct. And they’re worried that he’s just not up
to the task. His defenders say he’s going to stick with
his integrity, he will always be truthful, will always back up his analysts, and that
will back up the community as a whole. AMNA NAWAZ: Now, a lot of this is just as
much about the people who didn’t get the job, right? Sue Gordon, we mentioned. But there was also a name floated by the president,
John Ratcliffe, the Republican Texas congressman. What do we know about why they didn’t get
the job? NICK SCHIFRIN: Well, Ratcliffe did not get
the job because he misled on his resume, simply enough. And people were worried that he was going
to be a yes-man. Remember, Ratcliffe criticized the Russia
investigation. He questioned whether Russia interfered in
the 2016 election. That is something that the entire intelligence
community has been behind. And so there was big questions about him. That left Sue Gordon, who you mentioned in
the introduction, the deputy director of national intelligence, the woman who would have gotten
the job. And I have talked to a lot of people today,
and they universally say that she was a consummate staff officer, beloved on both sides of the
Hill, very capable and tough as nails. And here’s what Representative Adam Schiff,
Democrat of California and the chairman of the House Intelligence community (sic), said
about this: “Gordon brought decades of experience and encyclopedic knowledge of the agencies
to bear. And her absence will leave a great void.” But the president did not see it that way. The president saw her as part of the deep
state. And we saw that in one of the tweets by his
son Donald Trump Jr., who tweeted just last week, “If Adam Schiff wants her in there,
the rumors about her being besties with former CIA Director John Brennan and the rest of
the clown cadre must be 100 percent true.” And, obviously, that distrust is why she did
not get the job, even though she was so beloved and so backed by the intelligence community
and Capitol Hill. AMNA NAWAZ: She didn’t get the note. And then she wrote that note that we referenced
— the job, rather. Then she wrote the note we got before. NICK SCHIFRIN: Right, exactly. Sue Gordon, make no mistake, was pushed out. And she said as much in her letter. She wrote last night in this letter: “I offer
this letter as an act of respect and patriotism, not preference. You should have your team,” and then finished:
“Know that our people,” meaning the intelligence community, “are your strength, and they will
never fail you or the nation” — a clear statement that the people of the intelligence community
will always do their job, whether or not the president wants to listen to them or not. AMNA NAWAZ: Nick, this is a big job, the DNI,
right, overseeing all of the civilian and military intelligence. Why does all of this turmoil matter right
now? NICK SCHIFRIN: The U.S. intelligence agency
is sprawling. It has lots of agencies that are good at specific
things, but the DNI was created to connect the dots. That’s what didn’t happen during 9/11. And that’s what the DNI was created to do,
to make sure that the intelligence agencies are working together, make sure their priorities
in terms of their budgets are right, and, crucially, to make sure that any dissent is
being heard. That’s why the DNI is such an important role. AMNA NAWAZ: A lot of turmoil there. Nick Schifrin keeping track of it all, thanks,
Nick. NICK SCHIFRIN: Thank you. AMNA NAWAZ: Now, we return to Ferguson, Missouri,
where, five years after the killing of Michael Brown, a community is still healing. Our own Yamiche Alcindor went to Ferguson
and reports that, while some progress has been made, many who lived through that day
and the protests and the unrest that followed said their lives have been changed forever. LESLEY MCSPADDEN, Mother of Michael Brown:
When I wake up in the morning, my emotions are all over the place, and I really don’t
know if I want to go forwards, backwards, because every day is a fight for me since
August 9, 2014. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: That was the day Lesley
McSpadden’s son, Michael Brown Jr., was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson,
Missouri. The shooting sparked massive protests and
unrest in the city. Ultimately, officer Darren Wilson wasn’t indicted
for killing the 18-year-old. It’s now been five years since Ferguson became
a national symbol and inspired activists across the world. For those who intimately experienced what
happened here, the trauma of that time runs deep. And for McSpadden, the hurt is about what
never was. LESLEY MCSPADDEN: I was left with absolutely
nothing as far as a remnant of Michael. You know, he didn’t have any children. He had never worked a job. As a mother, it makes you question yourself,
even though you know it’s not your fault. But that’s what I have been dealing with for
the last five years. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Since then, she’s started
a foundation in her son’s name. It offers youth services and a support network
for mothers dealing with similar losses. Much of her focus, though, is on her family. LESLEY MCSPADDEN: My baby son is now about
to be 15. People talk. They ask questions. So, now he has questions for me. How do I answer those questions? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: It sounds like you’re not
any more confident five years later that your son, who’s now 15, would be safe from what
happened to Michael Brown. LESLEY MCSPADDEN: No, I’m not. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: In the hours, days and months
after Brown was killed, thousands of protesters came to Ferguson to voice outrage over the
shooting. Kayla Reed was one of those protesters. KAYLA REED, Action St. Louis: I think it really
touched to the fabric of something in this country for a generation that hadn’t been
touched. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The sights and sounds of
those days and months have left many, including Reed, scarred. KAYLA REED: It is really hard is really hard
for me to go to Ferguson. When I see that box that they pour cement
over where his body laid, and I see his memorial, it is really hard to reckon with the reality
that all of this came because someone had to die. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: She is now co-director of
the advocacy group Action St. Louis. The group campaigns to elect progressive politicians. It also hosts a fellowship for young black
activists. Reed says, despite what she and others like
her have accomplished, there remains a heavy weight. KAYLA REED: There’s a lot of pressure to kind
of achieve this line of justice that was undeclared four years ago. I felt like I was up against a clock, that,
if I didn’t do enough, somebody else’s child was going to get killed. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Physical reminders of what
happened five years ago also remain. There are remnants of buildings that were
damaged and stores boarded up in the wake of the protests. For some, they are triggers that have led
to nightmares. WILLIAM MCCARTY, Ferguson Resident: Well,
some nights, I will be pummeling her in the back. You know, I would like — the other night,
I was trying to push somebody out of the house, you know, thinking that somebody had come
in. And she said: “Your hands are moving. You have got to wake up.” YAMICHE ALCINDOR: For decades, William McCarty
and his wife, Judy, have lived here. Their home is just a few blocks from the epicenter
of the protests and unrest. JUDY MCCARTY, Ferguson Resident: I thought,
every night, when I took a shower, I was afraid that a gunshot was going to come through the
window and kill me. That’s how close it was. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Judy McCarty, whose brother
was once a Ferguson police officer, is still shaken by her experience. JUDY MCCARTY: One night, they came just to
check on us to see how we were doing. And when they left, they asked us to pray
for them. The police wanted prayer. They were scared. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: For Joshua Williams, who
was a prominent protester, the consequences are even more stark. JOSHUA WILLIAMS, Protester: I saw Michael
Brown and Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland. I saw all those people. And, most importantly, I saw myself, because
I could have been one of those people on the ground under the sheet. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Williams, then 19, was arrested
after he tried to set fire to a gas station. There was little damage to the building, and
no one was injured. Williams pled guilty to arson, burglary, and
stealing. He was sentenced to eight years in prison. Williams says he regrets what he did, but
adds he did it for a purpose. JOSHUA WILLIAMS: I was so angry that I didn’t
really care what came out of it. I just did it. In my mind, that would set off the government
to pay attention to us, to see our pain, to see our tears, and to see our blood in the
streets. KAYLA REED: I feel a lot of pain and some
guilt around Josh, because I really wish that it wasn’t his experience. I really wish that he wasn’t so young. And I wish that he didn’t have to suffer this,
like, by himself, you know? I wish we could all do a day for him, so that
he could come home faster or something. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: For many, five years feels
like just a snapshot in time. Residents and activists say it will take much
longer to address longstanding issues and the new ones emerging. When Lesley McSpadden reflects on the next
five years, she again turns to her family. LESLEY MCSPADDEN: In four years, my son will
graduate from high school. In two years, my daughter will graduate from
college. I just want to be here to see it all, through
it all, just continue to be their mother, endure what comes my way, and pray about better
days for Ferguson. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: For the “PBS NewsHour,”
I’m Yamiche Alcindor in Ferguson, Missouri. AMNA NAWAZ: And a note about last night’s
story on the changes taking place in Ferguson. We misidentified the political affiliation
of former Saint Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch. He is a Democrat. We also stated Saint Louis County jail population
has declined by 20 percent since new prosecutor Wesley Bell took office. That number should be 16 percent. We have posted a corrected version online,
where you can watch the entire series at PBS.org/NewsHour. Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour”: David Brooks
and Jonathan Capehart break down the week’s political news; young musicians in Poland
revive the country’s golden age of music cut short by the Nazi invasion; and we take a
moment to remember the lives of those killed in the mass shootings last weekend. Just about all of the Democratic presidential
hopefuls are paying a visit to the Iowa State Fair, six months ahead of the Iowa caucuses. Amid the festivities and all the fried food,
the candidates made their pitches to Iowa voters. Now, some are choosing this occasion to go
further than they have previously on the president’s language around race. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), Presidential Candidate:
Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Even his supporters know who he is. We have got to let him know who we are. We choose unity over division. We choose science over fiction. AMNA NAWAZ: Meanwhile, during a visit to an
Iowa farm, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren called the president himself a white
supremacist. At the state fair, Julian Castro told “NewsHour”‘s
Lisa Desjardins that he agrees. JULIAN CASTRO (D), Presidential Candidate:
He’s actively fostering division and hate in our country. LISA DESJARDINS: You think he’s a white supremacist
and a racist? JULIAN CASTRO: Yes, I think that’s the kind
of — yes, I think he’s a racist. I think that he believes — it seems like
he believes that white people are better than or superior to other people, unfortunately. AMNA NAWAZ: And Lisa joins me now from the
Iowa State Fair. Lisa, I want to ask you about Mr. Castro’s
comments in a moment. But let’s start with the Iowa State Fair. It’s kind of a starting bell for the presidential
primary race. What are all the candidates doing right now
to win voters? LISA DESJARDINS: That’s exactly right. Sort of think of this as almost a political
free-for-all, barely organized political free-for-all, but with your favorite bad-for-you foods involved. I would just say, Amna, that we have seen
something new here, which is a real crush of reporters which is especially around Vice
President Biden. He doesn’t give as many appearances as some
other candidates. So there was a lot of interest in the vice
president — former vice president yesterday, and especially around that topic of the idea
of whether the president is a white supremacist. Vice President Biden did agree in the end
with Elizabeth Warren. And as much as these candidates — and we
will get to it — really want to talk about other issues, this idea of race and divide
in this country seems to be dominating the conversation on the left. I also asked the same question about, how
do you label the president, should you label the president this way to John Delaney and
Andrew Yang today. Andrew Yang agreed he’s a white supremacist. John Delaney and Tulsi Gabbard, they said:
We don’t think it’s useful to go there. It’s a difficult issue for these Democrats. And it’s important not just in terms of those
who want to talk about who the president is and what he represents, but, politically,
it’s very important because Iowa voters here, when you talk to them, they’re not comfortable,
most of them, even some Democrats, with labeling the president as a racist. Here in Iowa, many people I talk to you believe
that to label someone racist or white supremacist, you have to know their intent. Obviously, that’s a big debate. Many Democrats disagree with that. It’s their actions that matter. But it’s a politically very difficult subject. Some Democrats are moving farther faster than
others. AMNA NAWAZ: Lisa, tell me about what you’re
hearing from the Democratic voters in the crowd there. Does this kind of thing matter to them? How are they assessing the candidate field
right now? LISA DESJARDINS: Amna, this has been eye-opening
and fascinating. And, for me, the best part of the fair is
just talking to the voters here in Iowa. And I have to tell you, Elizabeth Warren,
I keep hearing her name. She’s clearly on the rise in this state. And it’s not just her name recognition and
her appeal. Her organization has been on the ground longest,
and they seem to be really that muscle that they have been flexing in numbers of people
knocking on doors is starting to pay off very quickly. Also, you’re hearing a few other names. Like, I think we need to keep an eye still
on Pete Buttigieg. Kamala Harris, of course, gets a lot of mention. And I think dark horses, I’m still hearing
some mentions of Tulsi Gabbard. I think, though, Amna, the bigger story here
— it’s still six months out, of course, but Democrats here in Iowa are very undecided. It doesn’t seem like they passionately feel
strongly about any one candidate, perhaps with the exception of the Elizabeth Warren
supporters. AMNA NAWAZ: Lisa, there’s obviously potential
Republican voters at the state fair too. You have been talking to a lot of them. LISA DESJARDINS: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: What are they telling you about
how they’re viewing what’s going on right now? LISA DESJARDINS: This is the other fascinating
thing. President Trump is very strong here in Iowa. And even some Democrats who said — who told
me that they were Democrats said they think the president is doing a good job, some of
them farmers who say they think the president’s trade policy, while it may be hurting some
of them right now, is something that they believe in long-term. They also think that Democrats may be going
too far when it comes to, say, immigration. And they really — I just can’t stress enough
the strength of President Trump here in this state. Remember, he won Iowa by nine points. Democrats really need to win in states like
Iowa in order to regain the White House. And here at the Iowa State Fair, he’s very
popular. I think, most of all, those who support the
president believe that he represents a kind of pride in America that they don’t see from
the Democrats. Democrats totally disagree. But that’s a message that they’re not getting
across to these Republican Trump fans who are certainly out here at the fair. AMNA NAWAZ: Lisa, you mentioned trade. You mentioned immigration. Are those some of the top issues to Iowans
right now? LISA DESJARDINS: Yes. Quickly, I think also health care. I spoke to several mothers, families, one
mom working three jobs, another with three children, who say that they are depending
on Obamacare. This is something that the Democrats are going
to have to rely on to do well in a state like this. And it’s something that could help Joe Biden. One Biden voter, a mom who’s raising her 3-year-old,
said she needs that kind of health care. And she really appreciates Joe Biden and Obamacare. That is a winning issue right now for Democrats
in this state. AMNA NAWAZ: Our Lisa Desjardins on the ground
for us at the Iowa State Fair, good to talk to you, Lisa. LISA DESJARDINS: You too. AMNA NAWAZ: We’re now nearly a week on from
the two tragedies in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. But the grave questions that have been raised
in the aftermath remain, and likely will remain for some time. How, if at all, will American politics and
American society respond? That brings us to Brooks and Capehart. That’s New York Times columnist David Brooks
and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart. Mark Shields is away this week. Welcome to you both. Thanks for being here. Let’s jump into the big topic for this week. Obviously, gun violence was a big topic of
conversation. I want to go right to a poll. We heard President Trump mention earlier today
that Leader McConnell is totally on board with background checks. That would bring him in line with the rest
of the country. This is broken down by party support for universal
background checks. The floor there, David Brooks, is 84 percent
for Republicans. Do you see this as the moment that this legislation
passes? DAVID BROOKS: Well, of course, logically,
you want to say yes, but we have been here so many times since Newtown and all — Parkland
and all the shootings, that we haven’t quite got there. And so how can something with that kind of
support even among Republicans not pass? First, the NRA has a zero compromise policy,
that we won’t accept any compromise at all. We’re just holding the line. And so far, for 20 or 30 years, that has sort
of been working for them. Second, it’s low salient issue. People care about guns on the week after something
like this happens. And then you ask them, rank the issues you
care about, guns start dropping down. And then the third, it’s turned into a culture
war, where, for a lot of people, it’s not about guns at all. It’s about my culture vs. your culture. And if you want to control my guns, which
are part of my gun clubs, part of my community, you’re just a bunch of coastal elites coming
after me. And so I hope this is a week when that changes,
but we have a right to be a little skeptical. And the one opportunity — and this is a perverse
way to put it — is that we might not have — we might have the same gun debate over
and over again, but what’s become new this week is, it’s a terrorism issue as well, in
that the people, especially in El Paso, but in a lot of these other shootings, they are
killing on behalf of an ideology that is a little like the ISIS ideology in some ways. And we could — if we had a discussion, what
do we do to combat domestic terrorism, that, we might be able to have a different kind
of conversation and pass some of the things we couldn’t pass any other way. AMNA NAWAZ: The threat might be different
there, you think. DAVID BROOKS: You might rearrange the political
alliances, because the gun issue, people are pretty baked in. AMNA NAWAZ: Jonathan, what do you think? I mean, we do have this conversation again
and again. It’s usually right after one of these mass
public events. You remember, back in 2012, after kindergartners
were murdered… JONATHAN CAPEHART: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: … we thought, OK, this is the
moment. And then it wasn’t. JONATHAN CAPEHART: Right. If the slaughter of 20 children in their elementary
school wasn’t enough to move the Senate, to move the U.S. Congress to pass even just background
checks — it failed by six votes — then nothing will move them. To David’s point about, a week we will be
talking about, we will move on, but I think the momentum in this case will dissipate greatly
because the president just left for vacation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is
already on vacation. He’s already said the Senate’s not coming
back. And so by the time they come back in September,
God forbid we’re not talking about another mass shooting, but it might not be until another
mass shooting that you get the kind of energy and momentum that’s needed to push such a
heavy rock up the hill. AMNA NAWAZ: Do you think if they face — members
of Congress are in their home districts. If they’re getting questions about it, that
could help add to some momentum? JONATHAN CAPEHART: I mean, look, again, going
back to Newtown, the national outrage over what happened wasn’t enough to blunt the power
of the NRA. So I don’t know how much a town hall is going
to — or successive town halls will be to change the momentum. DAVID BROOKS: The cultural issue cannot be
underestimated. I have always loved Mayor Bloomberg, but it
wasn’t good for the gun issue that the guy spending all the money around the country
and becoming a spokesperson for the movement was the mayor of New York City. This has to be led by a group of red state
people who are rock-ribbed Republicans who say, I’m very Republican, I love to shoot,
guns are part of my culture, but we got to change. And until you can get red state leaders doing
that, it’s going to be a tougher issue. AMNA NAWAZ: Let me ask you about something
else. The president did, obviously, make a visit
to those affected communities. And his team put out what’s basically a highly
produced edited video of his visit on the ground in El Paso. You’re watching a clip of it right there. There was a contrast there between some of
the reports we heard on the ground from journalists and then another video. It was cell phone video that emerged after
the visit. It showed the president on the ground in El
Paso talking about his crowd size at a rally back in February and comparing it to Beto
O’Rourke’s. Take a quick listen to what he said. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
That was some crowd. WOMAN: Thank you. DONALD TRUMP: And we had twice the number
outside. And then you had this crazy Beto. Beto had like 400 people in a parking lot. They said his crowd was wonderful. AMNA NAWAZ: Jonathan, there is kind of a tale
of two narratives there. In the moment, you don’t really know which
one to pay attention to. JONATHAN CAPEHART: Well, the narrative here
is consistent. President Trump is at the center of that narrative,
whether it’s that highly produced campaign-style-like video of his visits to El Paso Dayton, or
it’s that cell phone video where he’s talking about one of the things that is part of his
greatest hits, crowd size. He has talked about crowd size since the day
of his inauguration. And, for him, that is a marker of popularity. But, in that moment, what I would expect the
people of El Paso and Dayton, the people in Ohio, the American people who are grieving
— and also Texas — people who are grieving, what they want to see from a president is
comfort. They want to see someone consoling them. I was in New York on 9/11. And President George W. Bush was president
of the United States, and I had lots of disagreements with the policies of President George W. Bush. But when he stood on that rubble at ground
zero and talked to those workers, and talked to the city, and talked to the nation, that’s
exactly what we needed to hear then. When President Obama went to Charleston and
impromptu sang “Amazing Grace” at the eulogy for Clementa Pinckney, a state senator who
was murdered with eight other people in Mother Emanuel Church, in that moment, he channeled
the grief of a church, of a city, of a community, and of a nation. We didn’t get that with President Trump. AMNA NAWAZ: David, how do you look at this,
really? He’s such a divisive figure anyway. There is the standard of the consoler in chief. He hasn’t done it yet. It’s not who he is. Right? DAVID BROOKS: Yes. Well, there’s a photo, a still from that visit
where he’s with the orphan baby and two family members, with his wife. And Melania is holding the child. And he’s got this grin and the thumb up. And when I looked at that photo, I thought,
the Democrats are having a debate: Is he a racist? Is he a white supremacist? And I look at that photo, I think, well, he’s
a sociopath. He’s incapable of experiencing or showing
empathy. And, politically, it’s helpful for him to
target that lack of empathy and fellow feeling toward people of color. But how much have we seen him show empathy
for anybody? And so I look at that as someone who is unloved
and made himself unlovable and whose subject is himself, is his own competitive greatness. And so he doesn’t do the consoler in chief
just because he doesn’t do that emotional range. And that’s a burden and a cost for any of
us. AMNA NAWAZ: You mentioned the white supremacy
line there. We have obviously been talking about that
a lot in 2019 now. And Lisa Desjardins was reporting earlier
too on the ground in Iowa there. Candidates are being asked about that: Do
you think this president is a white supremacist? Is that sort of a litmus test now for candidates
moving forward? DAVID BROOKS: It’s an easy emotional inflation,
it seems to me. I thought Biden’s answer and Kamala Harris’
was pretty good, which is, I don’t know, but he’s certainly enabling them. And he’s certainly speaking the language. He uses the language of invasion when talking
about immigration. Now, I read a lot of the manifestos this week
and those who have actually killed in Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso. They start with invasion. They go many more steps. They believe that racial mixing really is
a cancer. And they have this deep separatism. I don’t know if Trump has that. But he has certainly set an atmosphere where
it’s easier to talk about human beings as an invasion. AMNA NAWAZ: What do you make of all this right
now, Jonathan? It’s a big topic. This is nothing new in America. And yet it’s new in terms of how prevalent
it is. JONATHAN CAPEHART: Right, because — and it
pains me to say this, but we’re talking about it because the president of the United States
is a racist with a white supremacist policy agenda. He began his political career questioning
the legitimacy of the first African-American president. He started his campaign within the first two
minutes saying that Mexicans were — quote — “rapists.” He called for a complete and total ban on
Muslims entering the United States after the San Bernardino attack during the campaign
in December 2016. He’s used words on the campaign trail from
the midterm elections and continued, invasion, caravans, infestation, animals, to what David
was talking about. In policy and in rhetoric, he is feeding into
this environment, this atmosphere, where people such as the shooter in El Paso who has — we
have seen the affidavit. He’s confessed in doing what he’s done, and
confessed to targeting — quote — “Mexicans.” That — these things don’t happen in a vacuum. Did the president order this person to do
this? No. But that person heard in that rhetoric — and
we have seen it from New Zealand, around the world, but particularly here, where we are
dealing with a domestic terrorism problem, where the primary people committing these
terrorist acts are white supremacists. We’re dealing with a situation here where
the president of the United States is feeding into it with the rhetoric that’s coming out
of his mouth, whether it’s from a podium at the White House or from a podium at a campaign
rally somewhere in the country. DAVID BROOKS: Yes. I hear you talking, and I think I basically
agree with it. Then I — my next question is, well, how do
we then do democracy for the next 16 months? Like, there is a presumption that we’re all
Americans together. There’s a presumption of goodwill, that we
can have a conversation. And maybe Donald Trump — but how do we address
ourselves to Donald Trump supporters, many of whom are very realistic and are supporters
of him for good reasons having to do with their own lives and the dissolution of their
own communities. It’s going to be hard to have a conversation
once the president has been declared sort of really beneath contempt. And I’m not saying I disagree with you. I’m just saying this is a problem we have
to deal with as we try to have a national conversation over this election. AMNA NAWAZ: Is there a way — and we just
have a couple minutes left. It’s a big question. But, Jonathan, try, if you can. Is there a way to take politics out of this
to explain why these kinds of ideas are so dangerous? Obviously, they’re not new. They have been around for a while. They have just been mainstreamed to some degree
because they’re being spoken from the highest office in the land. JONATHAN CAPEHART: You know, gosh, we have
got a minute or so left? Thanks. Thanks for the question. (LAUGHTER) JONATHAN CAPEHART: I think what — there’s
no way to separate politics from this. I think Vice President Biden and Senator Cory
Booker in speeches on the same day told the story of America from two different perspectives. Vice President Biden talked about — talked
about the country and the problems that it has, about America as an idea. And Cory Booker — or Senator Booker talked
about the same thing, but coming at it from the perspective of, America is an idea, but
we have deep-seated issues that go right back to white supremacy being woven into our founding
documents. And we have to — we have to talk about that,
we have to address it, we have to acknowledge it. And, once we do that, then we can take the
steps to reconciliation. DAVID BROOKS: And I would say I’m a pluralist. We’re probably all pluralists, who we see
good people around like ourselves, cool, like, let’s eat different food, let’s meet different
people, let’s have wide experience. And a lot of us are conservatives, whether
you’re on the left or on the right. But there are a lot of people who are anti-pluralists. When you present them with something different,
they clam up, they shrink in, they become more fearful. Just — Conor Friedersdorf had a piece in
“The Atlantic” today. And it was about people being interviewed
by an African-American interviewer. And some people, they stopped talking, because
it’s different and they’re afraid. And those people don’t see it as an adventure. They see it as a threat. And so we have to have a defense of pluralism
and a critique of anti-pluralism, and, frankly, get a lot of anti-pluralists involved with
a lot of people unlike themselves, so they can see it’s not that scary. But that’s the big cosmic debate I think I
see here. AMNA NAWAZ: Just the big cosmic debate we
all have to engage in. (LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart,
big questions. I’m grateful to you both for being here today. Thank you. DAVID BROOKS: Thank you. AMNA NAWAZ: Young musicians in Poland are
reviving what they are calling the country’s golden era, which was cut short by the Nazi
invasion and Second World War. 1930s dances such as the fox-trot and tango
are making a comeback, as people of all ages flock to listen to a number of ensembles playing
songs that died, along with many of those who used to perform them. Once known as the Paris of the East, the Polish
capital, Warsaw, is pulsating again, as special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports for
our arts and culture series, Canvas. MALCOLM BRABANT: In the courtyard of a trendy
Warsaw bar, the small dance orchestra is starting to swing, as is its leader, Noam Zylberberg. NOAM ZYLBERBERG, Leader, Small Dance Orchestra:
It’s an interesting time. It’s the beginning of pop music. It’s influenced by early jazz. But, at the same time, all the musicians who
were working at the time were classically trained musicians. So, it’s a very classical sound on the one
hand. On the other hand, it’s this sound looking
for itself, looking for its identity. MALCOLM BRABANT: Family identity is at the
core of this revival. Zylberberg moved to Warsaw four years ago
after studying conducting in Israel. His grandparents were Polish, but left before
the Germans invaded. After their deaths, Zylberberg became curious
about their past, and this led to a fascination with the pre-war music scene in Warsaw. NOAM ZYLBERBERG: We don’t play so much concerts. We play for dancing, because we care about
also preserving the original meaning of this music. This was music for dancing. When we play, people enjoy, and this is the
reaction that we get. And so we enjoy. It’s just a lot of fun. We’re honoring the musicians, the composers,
the arrangers, band leaders, all of those people who were involved in creating this
very unique scene in Warsaw in the 1930s. MALCOLM BRABANT: Many of the musicians who
made Warsaw such a vibrant place in the 1930s were Jews. Some of them escaped the Holocaust. But others perished inside the Warsaw ghetto
or in the death camps, and their music died with them. The scars of war are plain to see in Warsaw. The Germans flattened the city before retreating
from the Soviet Red Army. Arches containing the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier are all that remain of a fabulous palace. The Polish capital was stunning before the
war, but the Germans systematically destroyed it in revenge for the Warsaw uprising in 1944. This area, Warsaw Old Town, is anything but. It was meticulously reconstructed after the
war. There’s nothing left of the old Jewish quarter,
just a pastiche of a neighborhood street and the museum of the history of Polish Jews,
and an original recording of a song called “Abdul Bey.” And this is jazz band Mlynarski-Masecki version
of “Abdul Bey,” a crazy Polish-Jewish-Palestinian fox-trot about a chieftain with four wives
and a camel. Marcin Masecki started learning the piano
when he was 3 years old. He’s a multitalented classical and avant-garde
pianist. Jan Emil Mlynarski trained as a drummer, but
he also plays the banjo mandolin and sings. MARCIN MASECKI, Pianist: For us, there’s a
feeling, definite feeling of something that was developing, brutally cut, you know? The American jazz standards is like a classic
— classical music in the States. For us, it was cut by the war and then covered
by 50 years of communism. So, we never had a chance to build a relationship
with that epoch. And it seems to me that we’re doing this now. JAN EMIL MLYNARSKI, Singer: My family comes
from Warsaw. I heard stories about the old days. The Warsaw scene was huge. It’s a beautiful, very complex music. I always wanted to be one of these guys from
the, you know, black-and-white photograph. This is a very important part of my life. Of course, I’m a traditionalist. I love to wear a tuxedo and just be in that
time. MARCIN MASECKI: Just how important is history? History creates your identity. So, for me, it’s a way of discovering our
national identity. I’m not trying to sound nationalist. It’s not any better than any other, but it’s
just something that we have been denied for quite some time as a nation. So, it’s kind of fascinating that we had this
huge thing going on that is kind of forgotten. We love this kind of music, and we love music
from the ’20s and ’30s from every country, actually. But, for us, it has added value of developing
our classical reference, you know, our golden era. So, it’s kind of a building some kind of legend
almost. ANNA WYPIJEWSKA, Poland: It’s very enjoyable,
very powerful, sensual. I really, really enjoy dancing with my friends. And I like the atmosphere and music and everything
around. BOGDAN POPESCU, Poland: It’s beautiful. It’s the best thing I could do on a Saturday
evening, basically. They’re all young, and they’re basically playing
music from the ’40s, from the ’30s. So, that’s a really nice approach to it, basically. I mean, no one would expect a young orchestra
to play such music. So, it’s ideal. I love it. It’s really nice. MALCOLM BRABANT: This band is well-versed
in American swing, but they had to unlearn that style to give this music its unique Polish
accent, which heavily features the tango. NOAM ZYLBERBERG: The Polish tango is based
on the Argentinean tango. It is a sexy dance. It is a passionate dance, but in a more Central
Eastern European manner. This means it’s more polite. MALCOLM BRABANT: Despite trying to faithfully
reproduce the sound of the ’30s, Zylberberg says he’s not turning back the clock. NOAM ZYLBERBERG: It’s similar in the sense
that people come to enjoy this music and dance together with this music. On the other hand, we live in a different
world. It’s not going to be the same, and we don’t
want it to be the same. We just want to keep this music alive, you
know? Just keep it alive. MALCOLM BRABANT: For the moment, they’re certainly
succeeding. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Malcolm Brabant
in Warsaw. AMNA NAWAZ: This week, the nation’s attention
once again turned to gun violence and what can be done to stop it. In the last 72 hours alone, at least 69 people
have been killed and 167 injured by guns in 32 states. And that excludes suicide, the largest factor
for gun deaths. It was the mass murders in El Paso and Dayton
that set off this latest national moment of reflection. So we close tonight with a remembrance of
the 31 people who lost their lives there. David Johnson saved the lives of his wife
and granddaughter in El Paso. The 63-year-old pushed them to the floor below
a checkout counter before he was shot and killed. Angie Englisbee raised seven children on her
own. The 86-year-old widow worked multiple jobs
to feed her family and attended mass regularly. Fifty-seven-year-old Elsa Mendoza Marquez
was an elementary school teacher from Juarez, Mexico. Her husband posted on Facebook, calling Marquez
— quote — “the most wonderful of women.” Jordan Anchondo died while protecting her
2-month-old son. She and her husband, Andre, had dropped off
their 5-year-old daughter at cheerleading practice. They were shopping for school supplies. Fifteen-year-old Javier Rodriguez was starting
his sophomore year in high school. He was the youngest person to die in El Paso. An avid soccer player, Javier is remembered
as a fun-loving teen and a good teammate. Raul and Maria Flores had been married for
60 years. Raul was scheduled to have heart surgery just
a few days later. The couple was at Walmart buying airbeds for
relatives coming in to stay with them during the procedure. Forty-six-year-old Ivan Manzano had a 5-year-old
daughter and a 9-year-old son. Manzano’s wife told their children only that
their father died in — quote — “an accident.” Arturo Benavides was a U.S. Army veteran who
retired as a bus driver in 2013. He loved watching football and was like a
second father to his nieces. Sixty-three-year-old Margie Reckard was — quote
— “an angel” to her husband of 22 years. He told KFOX-TV — quote — “We were going
to live together and die together. That was our plan.” Adolfo Hernandez and Sara Regalado were from
Mexico. Their daughter posted on Facebook — quote
— “I don’t know how long it will take for my heart to heal. Their passing has left us with a great void.” Leo and Maribel Campos had been together for
about 20 years. Leo’s brother said the couple was — quote
— “just really welcoming and friendly. Everybody says that, as soon as you meet them,
it’s like you have known them forever.” Seventy-seven-year-old Juan Velazquez, originally
from Mexico, came to El Paso because he thought it was peaceful. He died after throwing himself in front of
his wife. Gloria Marquez moved to the U.S. from Mexico
more than two decades ago. She was a health care assistant for elderly
patients. Her longtime partner tried to reach her for
hours after the shooting. Ninety-year-old Luis Juarez had been married
for almost 70 years. His family told KTSM he was an amazing human
being, loving, calm, and big-hearted. Jorge Garcia went to Walmart to visit his
granddaughter, who was raising money for her soccer team. According to KFOX-TV, when the gunman opened
fire, Garcia shielded the young girls. Maria Eugenia Legarreta Rothe was in El Paso
to pick up her daughter from the airport, according to a Juarez news outlet. The 58-year-old had planned to just stop in
at Walmart before meeting her daughter. Eighty-two-year-old Teresa Sanchez was a U.S.
citizen who lived with her sister, according to KTSM. She was at the Walmart with two family members. Alexander Hoffmann Roth was born into postwar
Germany. The 66-year-old often talked about the importance
of studying history and warned about the danger of hate. Megan Betts was the sister of the gunman in
the Dayton massacre. A classmate remembered her as artistic and
polite — quote — “She always had a smile on her face.” Fifty-seven-year-old Derrick Fudge was in
the Oregon District with his son for a birthday party. He was shot as his group left a club. Fudge volunteered as a bell ringer for the
Salvation Army. Thomas McNichols, who went by the nickname
T.J., was a 25-year-old father of 4 ranging in age from 2 to 8. His aunt said — quote — “Everybody loved
him. He was like a big kid.” Thirty-six-year-old Beatrice Warren-Curtis
and 39-year-old Monica Brickhouse were dear friends and co-workers at Anthem insurance
company. The two were described as selfless and very
positive. A native of Eritrea, Saeed Saleh moved to
the U.S. a few years ago. A family spokesman remembered the 38-year-old
father of three as — quote — “a humble and quiet person.” Nicholas Cumer was in the master’s program
for cancer care at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania. The school’s president said he was — quote
— “dedicated to caring for others.” Logan Turner had just celebrated his 30th
birthday. He earned an engineering degree from the University
of Toledo and recently started working as a machinist. According to his mother — quote — “Everyone
loved Logan.” Twenty-seven-year-old Lois Oglesby was in
nursing school and the mother of two, including a newborn. A friend told The Dayton Daily News she was
— quote — “a wonderful mother, a wonderful person. I have cried so much, I can’t cry anymore.” AMNA NAWAZ: Thirty-one stories for the 31
lives lost this week. That is the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Amna Nawaz. Have a great weekend to you all out there. Thank you, and good night.


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