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PBS NewsHour full episode July 17, 2019

PBS NewsHour full episode July 17, 2019


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: controversy in
context — as President Trump stands by his attacks against four congresswomen, unpacking
the painful history behind his words. Then: where peace goes from here. A key Trump adviser on what’s next in the
White House’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Plus: orbiting history. Memories of Apollo 11 from Michael Collins,
the astronaut who circled the moon while his crewmates walked on the surface. MICHAEL COLLINS, Former NASA Astronaut: I
think of the flight to moon as being a long and fragile daisy chain of events. Any one of those links breaks, everything
downstream from that is useless. There are so many things that can go wrong. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump says tonight
he is beating Democrats in a battle being fought along the dividing lines of race. It began with his attacks on four freshman
Democratic women in the U.S. House of Representatives. Last night, the House voted to condemn his
attacks as racist. But as he left the White House late today
for a campaign rally in North Carolina, Mr. Trump said he has no regrets. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
I do think I’m winning the political fight. I think I’m winning it by a lot. I think that they are not espousing the views
of our country. I’m not relishing the fight. I’m enjoying it because I have to get the
word out to the American people. JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi said the president is trying to distract people from criticisms of his policies. She also told reporters today that last night’s
congressional resolution condemning Mr. Trump’s tweets was — quote — “benign.” REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It condemned the words
of the president, not the president, but the words of the president — saying that he was
racist — we were saying that the words that he used were racist. So that was as gentle as it could be, considering
the inappropriateness and the disgusting nature of what the president said. JUDY WOODRUFF: The speaker also moved today
to block action on impeaching the president. Texas Democratic Representative Al Green offered
an impeachment resolution, but the House tabled it. Pelosi said Democrats need time first to finish
investigations of Mr. Trump. House Democrats, meanwhile, 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
behind the plan to plan 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. REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): The departments have
refused to provide key unredacted documents that we need to understand the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth, about why they really made this decision. REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): If the Democrats can’t
impeach President Trump, they will instead hold his Cabinet in contempt of Congress. This is just another episode in political
theater. This exercise is not a responsible use of
the contempt authority. JUDY WOODRUFF: Despite the House action, it
is unlikely the U.S. Justice Department will actually prosecute Barr or Ross on the contempt
citation. The Pentagon announced today that it is sending
another 1,000 Texas National Guard and an additional 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. The Mexican drug kingpin known as El Chapo
has been sentenced to life in a U.S. prison without parole. A federal judge in New York imposed the penalty
on Joaquin Guzman today. Prosecutors said that Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel
smuggled mountains of cocaine into the U.S. over 25 years and killed those who stood in
the way. BRIAN BENCZKOWSKI, U.S. Department of Justice:
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. JUDY WOODRUFF: The judge also ordered Guzman
to pay more than $12 billion in drug earnings. Newly released federal data shows pharmaceutical
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 percent, totaling 76 billion pills. The data was released by a federal judge in
Ohio who is presiding over hundreds of lawsuits against the drugmakers. The World Health Organization has declared
an international health emergency over the Ebola outbreak in Congo. Today’s action follows the virus spread into
Goma, a city of two million people close to neighboring Rwanda. Ebola has also appeared in Uganda. The year-old outbreak has infected thousands
in Congo and left more than 1,600 dead. But until now, the WHO had declined to declare
an emergency. In Sudan, the ruling military council and
pro-democracy leaders signed an agreement today to share power, following months of
political deadlock. Representatives from the two sides met in
Khartoum for the signing. Opposition leaders said it was the beginning
of a new era. IBRAHIM AL-AMIN, Leader, Sudanese Opposition
Coalition (through translator): Today, we look forward to a new phase, one where we
can rely on ourselves, and move away from all that divides us. Sudan is for all Sudanese people, and, yes,
those who signed here today are a part of the revolution and are a part of the Sudanese
people. JUDY WOODRUFF: Protest leaders had demanded
an immediate transfer of power. Instead, it will take place over three years. The parties also have to work out the exact
division of powers. All of this follows the overthrow of longtime
dictator Omar al-Bashir back in April. Senior citizens in Hong Kong took to the streets
today in support of young pro-democracy activists. Thousands marched to the central government
offices holding banners that read “Support the youngsters.” They also accused police of using too much
force. Demonstrations have engulfed the city in recent
months, sparked by a proposal to extradite criminal suspects to mainland China. Back in this country, prosecutors in Massachusetts
today dropped a sexual assault case against actor Kevin Spacey. He was accused of groping a young man at a
Nantucket restaurant in 2016. But his accuser refused to testify about a
missing cell phone. Spacey’s lawyers said that text messages on
it could vindicate him. Spacey has faced other allegations of sexual
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. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 115
points to close below 27220. The Nasdaq fell 37, and the S&P 500 was down
19. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the painful
history behind the president’s racist tweets against members of Congress; a key Trump adviser
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
weapons; plus, much more. The president’s criticisms this week singling
out 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. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Last night on the floor
of the House of Representatives, an uproar broke out when Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her
fellow Democrats wanted to pass a resolution specifically calling the president’s attack
racist. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Join us in condemning
the president’s racist tweets. MAN: Our rules of order and decency were broken
today. MAN: I know racism when I see it. MAN: This ridiculous slander does a disservice
to our nation and the American people. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: After all the debate, in
the end, the House did vote to condemn the president’s tweets. It was a vote almost entirely along partisan
lines. Four Republicans and one independent joined
the Democrats. Now, we’re not here to debate whether or not
the president’s words were racist. Instead, we want to explore how those tweets
and the ferocious reaction to them are part of a long history of what one of my guests
calls the racial theater of 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 is a professor of public
law at U.C. Berkeley who studies coded racial language
in America. He’s the author of “Dog Whistle Politics.” Welcome to you both, and thank you for being
here. Ian Haney Lopez, to you first. You’re the one I was quoting about this racial
theater in American politics. I wonder if you could just help us zoom out
a little bit from this week’s controversy and help us explain how this theater plays
out. What does this play look like? IAN HANEY LOPEZ, U.C. Berkeley: Here’s the way the play works. It’s — what I call dog whistle politics is
the use of coded racial appeals in politics, but coded racial appeals, there’s a lot going
on. Act one of the play, some politician decides
to gin up controversy by pushing a racial idea or meme into the conversation, but doing
so through a coded term that allows plausible deniability. So think of the phrase, “Go back where you
came from.” Some people see it as racist. Other people say this doesn’t have to do with
race at all. Right? Or think criminal and illegal aliens, or sanctuary
cities, or, contrary-wise, think, make America great again, or real Americans, or the American
heartland Act two, the person who is dog whistling about
race comes forward and exercises the plausible deniability of these terms and says, hey,
me? I didn’t say anything about race, or, as Donald
Trump tweeted, “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.” Act three, turn around and say, but you know
who is talking about race? It’s my critics. My critics have accused me of being a racist. And since I’m not a racist, they’re the real
racists, because they are falsely smearing me with this awful charge of being a racist. And that’s the basic drama of this week in
American politics. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Erika, let’s — sticking
with that metaphor for a moment, let’s go back to act one, as Ian Haney Lopez lays it
out. The president said, 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? ERIKA LEE, University of Minnesota: Sure. And it’s not even that coded. Literally get out of your of this country
is quite an insult and quite a charge. And this has ranged throughout our history
from more softball questions such as, where are you from? No, where are you really from? Sort of a symbol that the person is not really
a full American or really belongs here. But go back has also literally been attached
to violent campaigns of mass deportation. So, this is both coded language, but also
connected to a much longer history that is violent, that is xenophobic, and that has
always been a form of racism in the United States. There’s this idea that — especially with
immigrants, that we should be grateful to have been let into the United States, and
because of this gift of migration, that then we should blindly and follow all of the policies
of the adopted homeland. And that, to be sure, is not American. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Ian Haney Lopez, you were
touching before on this issue that, if you use coded language, it allows you a sort of
plausible deniability, that you can say, I didn’t mention anyone’s skin color. I didn’t mention their race. So why are you calling me a racist? I take it this, too, is not a new phenomenon. IAN HANEY LOPEZ: It’s not a new phenomenon. And, well, I want to make a distinction here. We’re talking about two different things that
are connected, but we ought to see that they’re two different things. One is the dynamic in which one person says
to another, go back where you came from. And I have had that happen to me. I think many people in the United States have
had that happen to them. That’s one phenomena. The other is where some of the most powerful
people in the country, and in particular politicians, seek to exploit racial divisions, seek to
stoke racial acrimony. And they’re being combined here. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Erika Lee, we also saw something
of a turning of the tables here this week, where the president said, I’m not the racist,
those people who are accusing me of racism are the racists. It reminded me very much of a moment my colleague
Yamiche Alcindor had earlier this year where she asked the president a question about why
his policies seem to echo so strongly with white nationalists. He turned the tables on her and said the exact
same thing. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
That’s such a racist question, honestly. I mean, I know you have it written down and
you’re going to tell me — let me tell you, that’s a racist question. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I take it that too, that
turning of the tables, is not a new thing. ERIKA LEE: It’s not a new thing. But it has become especially effective in
the post-civil rights era. It was much more accepting to be explicitly
racist and to have legal discrimination, obviously, and to have those signs, “No Jews allowed,
“No Chinese allowed, “No Mexicans allowed,” et cetera. But, of course, after the civil rights movement,
explicit racism, explicit discriminatory — was illegal. Explicit racism fell out of favor. And so we have become much more adept at colorblind
racism, at dog whistle politics, about talking about race without using explicitly racial
language. So it’s — it’s not new, but it has become
a new way and a very effective way in the post-civil rights era, and I would say in
the Obama and post-Obama America, to denigrate others, to insult them, to treat them as unequal,
to justify inequality without using the old racial labels. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Ian Haney Lopez, the president
apparently contacted a reporter today and said to him that he was happy with the way
this debate went forward this week, and thought it was a good thing. And I’m curious, do you see any good news
in this, in the way that this is unfolded, in the conversations that are happening around
this? IAN HANEY LOPEZ: I don’t see particular 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 our fellow citizens who love
him, is Trump racist, are they somehow racist, are people of color somehow their enemy, are
people of color threatened by them, that sort of conversation about racial division is what
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 of his party, sees himself as leading
the country further into division and hatred and violence. And yet, at the very moment that this is so
treacherous, it’s also an opportunity, because President Trump is making clear, through his
actions, a dynamic that has actually plagued our country for the last 50 years since the
civil rights movement. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Erika Lee, lastly to you,
how would you like to see us try to bridge this chasm, to move through this and try to
heal this divide? ERIKA LEE: I think that one of the important
aspects is to understand that this 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. And I do agree that this — these politics
of distraction and these politics of division have driven us away from the actual business
of governing. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Erika Lee and
Ian Haney Lopez, thank you both very much. JUDY WOODRUFF: The role of the United States
in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is almost as old and as complex as the conflict
itself. American presidents have tried, failed, and
tried again to bring an end to the standoff. Last month, President Trump’s team began rolling
out the first part of its two-stage peace plan: the economic component unveiled at a
conference in Bahrain. 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-law Jared Kushner. He’s a former real estate lawyer for Mr. Trump
turned negotiator, focused on some of the most prized and fraught land in the world. I spoke with him this morning. Jason Greenblatt, thank you very much for
talking with us. JASON GREENBLATT, U.S. Special Envoy to the
Middle East: Thank you for having me. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, despite 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, Menachem Begin, Anwar Sadat. That was 40 years ago. What makes you believe that now is the time
and the right moment for a peace plan that works? JASON GREENBLATT: I think we’re at a unique
time in history. We have a unique president, who is not afraid
to speak his mind. We have a region that actually wants to incorporate
Israel into the neighborhood. I think people are tired of the conflict. I think everyone wants better lives for the
Palestinians, but everyone is also willing to acknowledge the many, many challenges that
exists to give them better lives to improve everything. JUDY WOODRUFF: You have divided this into
an economic plan and a political plan. And, as you know, some of the critics are
already saying what you have simply done is swap the idea of land for peace with money
for peace. How do you respond to that? JASON GREENBLATT: We fully understands the
Palestinians do not want an economic peace. They deserve much more than an economic peace. It’s unrealistic to expect that an economic
peace could have ever worked. But no matter how many times we say that,
the manipulators, the people who want to undermine our efforts will just keep using that talking
point. So, I will say very clearly, there is no economic
peace without an acceptable political solution to both sides. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, at this point, Palestinian
leaders have not only not expressed interest. They are actively — they say they are actively
against this. You have talked about it needing grassroots
support. Who is going to lead that grassroots support? Can you name anyone in the Palestinian community
who has come forward and said, I want to talk to you about this? JASON GREENBLATT: Unfortunately not. I meet countless Palestinians here in the
region. They know I’m very active on Twitter. And no matter how great the meeting goes — and
almost all of them are great, even if they are tough discussions about U.S. policy — they
always plead with me when I leave: “Please do not tweet about our meeting. Please do not tell who you met with.” And I have to respect that. When they go home, they are afraid, and that’s
unfortunate. JUDY WOODRUFF: What the critics say is that,
when you look at what this administration has done with regard to Israel — and I’m
just going to tick off a few things, all the — they say all the core demands of Israel’s
right wing have been implemented, U.S. aid to Palestine have been slashed, including
U.S. support for the U.N. Agency for Palestinian Refugees, Jerusalem declared as Israel’s capital,
Palestinian diplomatic missions closed in Washington, and U.S. missions closed in the
West Bank and Gaza. So how do Palestinians see this as a time
when the Trump administration is even willing to give them any benefit of the doubt? JASON GREENBLATT: When I speak to these ordinary
Palestinians, I explain to them that they have to view these decisions through a United
States lens, not through a peace process lens. Jerusalem, for example, was a law since 1995
that every presidential candidate promised to do, recognize — both recognize Jerusalem
as the capital and move the embassy. Nobody actually followed through on that promise
until President Trump. The United Nations relief, UNRWA, it’s a broken
system. It keeps Palestinians living in these refugee
camps in a suffering condition with no possible future. So it’s a bit unfair for the critics to say
that, because of those decisions, we don’t care about Palestinians. JUDY WOODRUFF: What rights do you believe
the Palestinians deserve to have? JASON GREENBLATT: It’s — rights is a big
word. I mean, I think our hope is to give Palestinians
as great a life as the Israeli have — as the Israelis have, with everybody in the region
being secure, as secure as possible. JUDY WOODRUFF: I think Mr. Kushner has referred
to — has said that he supports Palestinian self-determination. What does that mean? JASON GREENBLATT: I don’t want to get ahead
of the plan. Every — one of the decisions we made strategically
is not to disclose any element of the plan, because then people will start attacking each
element of the plan. But suffice it to say that, in the roughly
60 pages of the plan, that question is answered. And our goal is to give the Palestinians everything
possible with respect to that and anything else, so long as Israel’s security is not
affected in a negative way. JUDY WOODRUFF: Is there still a possibility
of a two-state solution here? JASON GREENBLATT: The reason we don’t use
that term is, you can’t take a complex — a conflict as complex as this and boil it down
to those three words. So we have avoided the slogan, if you will. But the 60-page plan will address everything,
including that question. And we have very carefully designed this plan
to give everybody as much freedom as possible, but without compromising on security for anybody. JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me come back to the Israelis. What responsibility do the Israelis bear for
the current state of affairs in the Middle East? JASON GREENBLATT: I think that Israel is actually
more the victim than the party that’s responsible. From the moment of its formation, they were
attacked multiple times. They continue to be attacked with terrorism. So — I’m not sure I understand the premise
of the question. I think that they’re trying their best to
succeed. They have actually succeeded in many ways,
especially economically, under very, very trying circumstances. JUDY WOODRUFF: So you don’t — you don’t see
mistakes they have made, places where they have overstepped their authority? (CROSSTALK) JASON GREENBLATT: Nobody’s perfect, right? I can’t think of single instances. But I think even our great country has made
mistakes over the years. And, over time, you try to correct those mistakes. But I think Israel is doing the best that
it possibly can under very challenging circumstances. JUDY WOODRUFF: As you know, Prime Minister
Netanyahu has floated the idea of annexing the West Bank settlements. Is this something the United States could
support? JASON GREENBLATT: I don’t even like the word
settlements. I think it’s a pejorative term. I use the term neighborhoods and cities. But I’m not going to get into a political
discussion. I don’t do it with President Abbas when he
talks about his talking points, ’67 borders and all that. Let’s wait until we show the political plan. JUDY WOODRUFF: Some people do believe Israel
is headed toward a one-state, quasi — a one-state. JASON GREENBLATT: I’m not sure that there
are many people that think that a one-state is good for either side. Our plan does not contemplate one state. I think, if it did, we would have released
it over two years ago. But I think that one of the challenges of
this file, as people speak about the West Bank, Judea and Samaria as being occupied,
I would argue that the land is disputed. It needs to be resolved in the context of
direct negotiations between the parties. Calling it occupied territory does not help
resolve the conflict. JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump, how does he
look on this peace process, how it’s going so far? JASON GREENBLATT: I think he understands the
reality and the complexity of the situation. He has great credibility among the Israeli
public. He had throughout 2017 strong credibility
among Palestinians. Obviously, that’s been eroded because of U.S.
policy. But he has great credibility among all the
leaders in the region, other than the Palestinian leadership. JUDY WOODRUFF: And when do you think we will
see the political proposal? JASON GREENBLATT: The president will make
his decision soon. It’s no secret that, when the Israelis had
to go to a second election, that sort of threw us off a little bit. We haven’t yet decided whether we release
the plan before or after the Israeli elections, if it’s after the Israeli elections, before
or after the government is formed. We’re still evaluating that. And the president has not yet made his decision. JUDY WOODRUFF: What is at stake here, ultimately? What does it mean if you’re not able to get
this done, and it continues as it is now in region? JASON GREENBLATT: 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 just the Palestinians in the West Bank, Judea, Samaria, but also in Gaza. I mean, the Palestinians in Gaza are suffering
terribly. So what’s at stake is, the next generation
of kids are going to continue to suffer. And that would be terrible. JUDY WOODRUFF: Jason Greenblatt, thank you
very much. JASON GREENBLATT: Thank you. Thank you so much. JUDY WOODRUFF: The White House announced today
that the U.S. wouldn’t sell billions of dollars worth of next-generation fighter planes to
Turkey. The reason? Ankara’s decision to buy advanced Russian
surface-to-air missiles. Amna Nawaz reports. AMNA NAWAZ: Triumph in Turkey’s capital last
week for a president who had just secured a critical deal, a massive missile defense
system, not from a NATO ally, but from the country that alliance was founded to counter,
Russia. RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkish President (through
translator): They told us, you can’t buy them, you can’t station them, it wouldn’t be right
to buy them. God willing, we will finalize the process
in April 2020. Now our goal is co-producing with Russia. We will do this. We will go even further. AMNA NAWAZ: Planes carrying parts for the
S-400 missile defense system began arriving in Turkey on Friday, part of a $2 billion
deal. The S-400 can intercept ballistic missiles
up to 38 miles away and shoot down aircraft up to 150 miles away, aircraft like the U.S.
F-35 fighter jet. Two years ago, Turkey announced it would buy
the S-400 system from Russia because the U.S. had stalled in selling Turkey the American
system, called Patriot. At a Cabinet meeting yesterday, President
Trump blamed the Obama administration for giving Turkey no other option. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
And because of the fact he bought a Russian missile, we’re not allowed to sell him billions
of dollars worth of aircraft. It’s not a fair situation. AMNA NAWAZ: Congress had passed legislation
to exclude Turkey from an F-35 training program. And, today, the Pentagon confirmed the U.S.
wouldn’t sell the fighter jet to Turkey. U.S. officials fear the Russian S-400 system
could learn too much about the F-35’s capabilities if both were in Turkish hands. ELLEN LORD, U.S. Undersecretary of Defense:
Turkey cannot field a Russian intelligence collection platform in proximity to where
the F-35 program makes repairs and houses the F-35. AMNA NAWAZ: Now the decades-long relationship
between the U.S. and Turkey, a NATO ally, has been dealt another blow. The two had already been at odds for years. The U.S. had refused to extradite Fethullah
Gulen, a Turkish cleric who Erdogan blames for an attempted coup in 2016. And U.S. support for the YPG, a Northeast
Syrian Kurdish group that Turkey considers a terrorist organization, inflamed the tensions. STEVEN COOK, Douglas Dillon Fellow, Council
on Foreign Relations: This is a relationship that has been on the skids for a number of
years, and mistrust and distrust are what now characterize it. AMNA NAWAZ: Steven Cook, a Turkey expert at
the Council on Foreign Relations, says the S-400 shipment also comes at a difficult time
for Erdogan. He faces a weak Turkish economy and a recent
loss of the important Istanbul mayor’s election to the opposition. Erdogan’s deal with Russia also puts at risk
Turkey’s credentials as a NATO member. STEVEN COOK: Well, 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 wouldn’t be privy
to certain meetings within NATO, they wouldn’t be part of certain training missions and certain
planning. AMNA NAWAZ: Erdogan has insisted it was his
country’s sovereign right to buy the missile defense system. Cook says, Erdogan is trying to assert his
ability to stand alone. STEVEN COOK: Turkish officials have been very,
very clear that this purchase reflects Turkey’s independence, that Turkey is capable of pursuing
its own foreign policy, independent of the wishes of the United States and other great
powers. AMNA NAWAZ: So, what kind of damage has been
done to U.S.-Turkey relations and within the larger NATO alliance? To answer those questions and more, I’m joined
by Admiral James Stavridis, the former supreme allied commander, NATO’s top military officer. He assumed that command in 2009 and retired
in 2013. Admiral Stavridis, welcome back to the “NewsHour.” So, as you just heard, the U.S. has said to
Turkey, back out of that S-400 deal, or else. NATO officers have issued a similar sort of
warning. Where does that leave Turkey? What happens now? ADM. JAMES STAVRIDIS (RET.), Former NATO Supreme
Allied Commander: I would say that, on a scale, Amna, that kind of runs from both sides shrug,
say, eh, we were just kidding, this is no big deal, and, at the other end of the spectrum,
Turkey pulls out of NATO, neither of those are going to happen. We’re kind of in the middle. The next step is withholding their participation
in the Joint Strike Fighter program. That’s a big deal for President Erdogan. I think it will cause him to hit pause and
consider whether there is some way we can map out a compromise between these very difficult
positions. AMNA NAWAZ: Can any of these steps, though,
pressure from NATO, the U.S. sanctions, anything else, would any of those potentially force
Erdogan to back out of that deal? ADM. JAMES STAVRIDIS: I think it’s highly unlikely. I have met with now President Erdogan. He was Prime Minister Erdogan while I was
the NATO commander. I met with him. I know very well the minister of defense,
who, at the time, was chief of defense, the senior military officer, Generally Hulusi. He’s now the chief of defense. They are very dug in at this point. And here’s an important point. For President Erdogan, this is a pride point,
not only for him personally, but, as he sees it, for the way Turkey is viewed in the international
recommend. This is going to be a hard one to find compromise
upon. AMNA NAWAZ: There is an important point of
clarification I want to make. I interviewed President Erdogan last year. I asked him about the S-400 deal. And he said, look, we tried to buy the same
technology from the U.S. We were refused. We have now heard President Trump echo that
same narrative. Is that exactly what happened? ADM. JAMES STAVRIDIS: No. As usual, there is shades of gray in all these
conversations. From my perspective, it is unclear that the
Turks were actually told, no, you can’t buy the Patriot missile. Certainly, the U.S. has reversed course under
the Trump administration and made that offer very explicitly. I would say, if President Erdogan were here
right now, he would say the offer of the Patriot is too little, too late. AMNA NAWAZ: Admiral, help us understand the
position President Erdogan is in right now, though. Back in 2016, he survived a coup attempt,
but he’s now facing a weak economy. He’s suffered some political losses at home. What is it right now that’s forcing him — or
pushing him, rather, to strengthen that relationship with Russia? ADM. JAMES STAVRIDIS: First and foremost, he sees
this issue, the U.S. support for Kurdish allies in Syria, pulling us apart. Secondly, he continues to be frustrated, as
do many senior Turkish leaders, about their feelings that the European 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. And then, third and finally, President Erdogan
has found a new friend, if you will, in Vladimir Putin, who tends to reinforce some of Erdogan’s
authoritarian impulses. When you put all three of those things together,
you can see Turkey drifting away from the alliance. The key here, Amna, is, what should the United
States be doing at this point? And I would say it is in our geopolitical
interests to try and find a compromise here with Turkey, to work with our European allies,
to do this in the context of NATO. It would be a geopolitical mistake of near
epic proportion to allow Turkey to kind of drift out of the alliance over this issue. We really need to work hard to find compromise
here. AMNA NAWAZ: Epic proportion, you say. We have just got a minute left here. We have had some analysts look at this and
say we’re approaching the zero hour when it comes to the alliance between U.S. and Turkey. What is at stake here if that alliance doesn’t
hold? ADM. JAMES STAVRIDIS: We have never seen a nation
— we now have 29 nations in NATO. We have never seen a nation pull out of NATO. 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
East and West. Turkey is a center of power unto itself. We need to hold them in the alliance. We need to hold them with the West. AMNA NAWAZ: Admiral James Stavridis, former
supreme allied commander of NATO, thank you for your time. ADM. JAMES STAVRIDIS: Thanks, Amna. JUDY WOODRUFF: Fifty years ago this week,
the world watched as the Apollo 11 crew lifted off, and then landed on the moon a few days
later. Much of the attention, and especially during
milestone anniversaries, has focused on Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the astronauts
who first 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 were distinct to the mission. His profile is the focus of tonight’s Leading
Edge segment. MILES O’BRIEN: For a man spun from the rarest
of right stuff cloth, Mike Collins is surprisingly humble and self-deprecating. How much of what happened to you was luck,
do you think? MICHAEL COLLINS, Former NASA Astronaut: Ooh,
luck. I think… MILES O’BRIEN: Or do you believe in luck? That’s another question. MICHAEL COLLINS: Ardently, I believe in luck. Luck should be put on my gravestone. MILES O’BRIEN: Sure, he and his Apollo 11
compadres, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, were all born in the same year, 1930. MICHAEL COLLINS: We just wandered by at exactly
the right moment. And that is a consummate example of luck,
luck, and more luck. I am a big believer in luck. MILES O’BRIEN: But, of course, they really
weren’t wandering. No, they were marching with a warrior’s purpose. After all, luck favors the well-prepared. In 1963, he was a test pilot, driven to go
faster and higher, when NASA selected him in its third class of astronauts. His first mission? Gemini 10 in 1966. The Gemini missions were primarily focused
on perfecting orbital rendezvous and docking, the devilishly complex process of bringing
two ships together in space. It consumed the time and talent of NASA’s
engineering brain trust. But what about space-walking? MICHAEL COLLINS: Well, you just kind of go
out there. And we really had not thought through just
what going out there meant. MILES O’BRIEN: And he had two space walks
on his to-do list for Gemini 10. MICHAEL COLLINS: One of the consequences of
our being ignorant, I have to say, about spacewalking was, I found myself outside, no handholds
where I was, slippery surfaces, slipped off, went ass over teakettle out into the unknown,
beyond the Gemini. MILES O’BRIEN: It wasn’t pretty, but he pulled
it off. The worst part for us, during the gyrations,
his camera, unmoored from its tether, sending his priceless selfies into the void. Collins became the astronaut specialist on
space suit development. Ironically, there were a few occasions when
wearing the suit during a long session in the Apollo command module simulator gave him
claustrophobia. MICHAEL COLLINS: I was wedged in below one
of the couches, and very limited space. I couldn’t really move. I was almost trapped. MILES O’BRIEN: Something like that, you probably
could never confess to anybody at that time, right? MICHAEL COLLINS: That is correct. I never confessed that to anybody at that
time. I was afraid I would be grounded. MILES O’BRIEN: 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. But he was worried pretty much the whole time. MICHAEL COLLINS: I think of a flight to the
moon as being a long and fragile daisy chain of events. Any one of those links breaks, everything
downstream from that is useless. There are so many things that can go wrong. The machinery is compact, but complex, extremely
complex. You can never relax — or at least I could
never relax. I could never say, things are going well. That was almost a jinx to say that things
were going well. I might think that in the back of my mind,
but, really, I would be a little on edge and a little bit worried about the next little
link in that chain. MILES O’BRIEN: When Neil Armstrong and Buzz
Aldrin climbed into the lunar module and made their way toward their historic landing on
the lunar surface… MAN: Roger. Eagle is undocked. MAN: Roger. How does it look? MAN: The Eagle has wings. MILES O’BRIEN: … Collins remained in the
Apollo command module, orbiting the moon, not the best seat on this mission, but not
something he regretted. MICHAEL COLLINS: I think you have got a fine
looking flying machine there, Eagle, despite the fact you’re upside down. MILES O’BRIEN: Surprisingly, he didn’t worry
about whether his crewmates would land successfully . MAN: The Eagle has landed. MILES O’BRIEN: But, rather, whether they could
depart. The engine to propel them off the lunar surface
was a huge exception to NASA’s design philosophy of redundant systems. MICHAEL COLLINS: It was a solitary, single,
one chamber. That chamber either ignited properly and got
you the thrust, or it didn’t. If it didn’t, Neil and Buzz were dead on the
surface. So, that was very critical worry point for
me. MILES O’BRIEN: Did you guys talk about the
possibility that you might be the guy coming home alone? Did that ever come up? MICHAEL COLLINS: It wasn’t something I wanted
to discuss with them. “Hey, Neil, suppose you are stranded forever
on the surface of the moon. Would you mind terribly if I just sort of
headed home?” I mean, it wasn’t the kind of thing one talked
about, but it was a presence. It was there. MILES O’BRIEN: There was no need to have that
conversation, was there? MICHAEL COLLINS: Exactly. MILES O’BRIEN: Coming home alone, what would
that have been like? MICHAEL COLLINS: Well, it would have been
terrible. I mean, I don’t — I hate to think about it. MAN: Tranquility Base Houston, you’re cleared
for takeoff, MAN: Roger. Understand. We are number one on the runway. MAN: Beautiful. Very smooth. Very quiet ride. MILES O’BRIEN: On their ride back home, they
marveled at our perch in the universe. The moon was their destination, but, for Collins,
the real discovery was Earth itself. MICHAEL COLLINS: All right, I have got the
world in my window for a change. The moon was nothing compared to my view of
home planet. It was it. It was the main chance. I would look out the window, and there would
be a tiny little thing. You know, you could obscure it with your thumb. But every time you put it away somewhere,
it would pop out. It wanted you to look at it. It wanted to be seen. It was gorgeous. It was tiny, shiny, the blue of the oceans,
the white of the clouds, little streak of rust color that we call continents. 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. MILES O’BRIEN: His memoir, “Carrying the Fire,”
remains the standard by which all books authored by astronauts are judged, right stuff meets
right brain. He is the poet laureate the Apollo astronauts,
and yet one of his regrets from that era involves a lack of poetry at a historic moment. In December 1968, he was the astronaut in
charge of radio communication with the crew of Apollo 8, the first voyage to orbit the
moon. It was his job to give mission commander Frank
Borman permission to fire the rocket that would give them enough velocity to escape
the gravitational pull of Earth. In NASA parlance, it was called trans-lunar
injection, or TLI. It was a historic first. MICHAEL COLLINS: So, I thought, when this
moment comes in history, this is it, the pope will certainly send a message. The president will come. Sinatra will sing. There will be some acknowledgment of it. And in the meantime, of course, it’s up to
Frank and me. And we’re both right up there. We are going to handle this thing properly. So, I went first. I said: Apollo 8, you are go for TLI. Over. And Frank rose to the occasion. And he said: FRANK BORMAN, NASA Astronaut: Roger. Understand. We are go for TLI. MICHAEL COLLINS: That was it. That was it. That was the whole thing. That was ridiculous. (LAUGHTER) MICHAEL COLLINS: I mean, what do we have all
of this for? MILES O’BRIEN: If you had to do that one over,
what would you say? (LAUGHTER) MICHAEL COLLINS: I don’t know. I don’t know. I have to think that one over. MILES O’BRIEN: A few weeks later, I interviewed
him again at the World Science Festival in New York City. He was ready. Here’s your moment for a do-over. What would you say if you could do it again? MICHAEL COLLINS: Uh-oh. (LAUGHTER) MICHAEL COLLINS: Well, I would abide by the
NASA rules, which you can’t — you can’t say more than I think eight words in a row, and,
preferably, they will all be monosyllabic. (LAUGHTER) MICHAEL COLLINS: But, under those conditions,
I would say: “Apollo 8, the moon is yours. Go.” (LAUGHTER) MILES O’BRIEN: Yes. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) MILES O’BRIEN: Fifty years ago, the moon became
ours, thanks to Apollo 11. Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins were the trio
at the tip of a rocket that flew into history, thanks to the concerted effort of more than
300,000 people and the consistent support of American taxpayers. When it was done, inhabitants in all corners
of our fragile planet saw it as a triumph for not just one country, but for humanity
as a whole. NEIL ARMSTRONG, NASA Astronaut: That’s one
small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. MILES O’BRIEN: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m
Miles O’Brien. JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, remembering
a legend of the law. Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens,
whose career on the high court spanned 35 years, died yesterday. In a statement, Chief Justice John Roberts
said: “He brought to our bench an inimitable blend of kindness, humility, wisdom and independence. His unrelenting commitment to justice has
left us a better nation.” We look back now on Stevens’ 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 American law. As former President Barack Obama noted that
day, Stevens, bow-tie and all, did so in his own way. BARACK OBAMA, Former President of the United
States: During oral argument, Justice John Paul Stevens often began his line of questioning
with a polite, “May I interrupt?” or “May I ask a question?” And you can imagine the lawyers would say,
OK. (LAUGHTER) BARACK OBAMA: After which he would, just as
politely, force a lawyer to stop dancing around and focus on the most important issues in
the case. And that was his signature style: modest,
insightful, well-prepared, razor-sharp. JUDY WOODRUFF: The justice was a product of
the Windy City, the son of a hotel businessman and an English teacher. A longtime Chicago Cubs fan, Stevens said,
as a boy, he was at Wrigley Field in 1932, witness to the New York Yankees’ Babe Ruth
and his legendary called shot home run. After serving in the U.S. Navy, working as
a Supreme Court clerk, and lawyering in private practice, Stevens was appointed in 1970 to
be a federal appeals judge. Then, in 1975, President Gerald Ford picked
him to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, where Justice Stevens would serve for
35 years. In that time, the Republican appointee was
eventually seen as a liberal leader on the court, although, in 2011, a retired Justice
Stevens told our late “NewsHour” colleague Gwen Ifill that he never cared for the label. GWEN IFILL: By the time you retired, you were
considered to be the court’s unlikely liberal. Were you really that unlikely? Or were you really that liberal? JOHN PAUL STEVENS, Former U.S. Supreme Court
Justice: 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 one issue and conservative
on another. JUDY WOODRUFF: One of the justice’s former
Supreme Court clerks, Melissa Arbus Sherry, echoed that sentiment. MELISSA ARBUS SHERRY, Former Stevens Clerk:
He was a true judge, in that he just felt like the justice or judge is to bring their
own judgment to each and every case. And I think that is what he applied throughout
his career, and it may have led to differing decisions along the way. JUDY WOODRUFF: Stevens’ 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 law and the Constitution. JOHN PAUL STEVENS: Everybody agrees that it’s
appropriate to do everything you can to understand the original intent behind both statutes and
constitutional provisions. But the notion that that can provide the answer
in all cases is what is incorrect. It sheds light on all cases, but it is just
one of the tools you have to use. JUDY WOODRUFF: Often, Stevens was in dissent. Even in his final months of life, Stevens
lamented the court’s 2000 Bush v. Gore ruling, which ended a Florida recount and effectively
decided that year’s presidential election. He disagreed sharply with how his conservative
colleagues voted in the Heller case, loosening gun laws. And when I sat down 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? JOHN PAUL STEVENS: 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 provided by residents of other states. People in the district should be the ones
who decide the outcome of elections. JUDY WOODRUFF: The ruling in Citizens United
came toward the end of Stevens’ tenure, throughout which he was able to maintain a rich personal
life. Again, former clerk Melissa Arbus Sherry: MELISSA ARBUS SHERRY: He was very passionate
about everything, about, you know, all of his interests. And so he had a lot of extracurricular interests
outside the court, tennis and golf and bridge and the like. But he was so passionate about the law. I mean, for many years after he was off the
court, he was still writing and speaking and traveling. JUDY 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? JOHN PAUL STEVENS: 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. JUDY WOODRUFF: He suffered a stroke earlier
this week, and died yesterday evening in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Justice John Paul Stevens was 99 years old. JUDY WOODRUFF: And it was an honor to sit
down with him this year. And a news update, finally. The U.S. House of Representatives has voted
to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross 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. Thank you, and we’ll see you soon.


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