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PBS NewsHour full episode December 3, 2019

December 4, 2019

JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: the case for impeachment. The U.S. House Intelligence Committee delivers
its report on how President Trump subverted national security for personal political gain. Then: on the world stage. We are on the ground in London, as Mr. Trump
arrives for the NATO summit at a contentious moment for the military alliance. Plus: Supreme ambition — a new book explores
how Brett Kavanaugh’s fraught appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court was just one step
in a plan to move the judiciary to the right. All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. House Intelligence
Committee today formally accuses President Trump of abusing his power to pressure a foreign
government for his personal political gain. As Lisa Desjardins reports, it marks the official
launch of the next phase of impeachment proceedings. LISA DESJARDINS: For Intelligence Committee
Chairman Adam Schiff, a turning point. REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): This is not about Ukraine. This is about our democracy. This is about our national security. This is about whether the American people
have a right to expect that the president of the United States is going to act in their
interests. LISA DESJARDINS: After two months of public
and closed-door hearings investigating President Trump, Schiff and Democratic staff released
a 300-page report laying the groundwork for Democrats’ moves toward impeachment. It charges that Mr. Trump solicited the interference
of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection by withholding military aid
and other things, including a White House meeting, until Ukraine agreed to political
investigations. The report accuses the president of obstructing
Congress by ordering witnesses not to testify in the probe. And it states the president publicly attacked
and intimidated congressional witnesses, which the report says is a federal crime. In their own 110-page report released last
night, Republicans called the impeachment inquiry an orchestrated campaign to upend
our political system. They said President Trump showed genuine and
reasonable skepticism about corruption in Ukraine and that withholding aid was entirely
prudent. That language echoed that of Mr. Trump himself. At a NATO summit in London, sitting next to
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mr. Trump raged against the Democrats. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
I think it’s a disgrace. I think the Democrats should be ashamed of
themselves. If you look at impeachment and the word impeachment,
here, there was nothing wrong, nothing done wrong. LISA DESJARDINS: The president has also pushed
a theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election, a claim debunked by the U.S. intelligence
community. As recently as today, Undersecretary of State
David Hale was asked about alleged Ukrainian interference at a hearing before the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee. SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ): Was the Kremlin’s
interference in our 2016 election a hoax? DAVID HALE, U.S. Undersecretary of State:
No. SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ: Are you aware of any evidence
that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. election? DAVID HALE: I am not. LISA DESJARDINS: But some Senate Republicans
have not been so unequivocal. SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): There are articles
about Ukrainian officials talking to Democratic officials. I don’t know if that’s true or not. LISA DESJARDINS: Democrats say their investigation
into President Trump will continue. The report now goes to the House Judiciary
Committee ahead of tomorrow’s public hearings on the constitutional precedent for impeachment. JUDY WOODRUFF: And Lisa joins me now, along
with our White House correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor. So, Lisa, to you first. Tell us some of the key takeaways from this
report today. LISA DESJARDINS: Let’s look at the big picture,
Judy. Democrats, first of all, are talking about
the call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky. They see two items of misconduct there, separately,
the idea that the president used his power for political gain, to get an investigation
that helped him politically. Second, the Democrats say, on that call, the
president also did something else wrong, which was try and get a foreign government, Ukraine,
to intervene in U.S. politics. But if you take an even bigger step back,
Judy, look even bigger picture, Democrats are also alleging in this report that the
president risked our national security by hurting a vulnerable ally, Ukraine, when it
needed help, and helping a potential foe, Russia. Then, one more thing in this report, Judy,
that they’re alleging, they’re alleging, Democrats, a conspiracy and a cover-up. And they’re saying it went beyond the president,
including other officials, such as Cabinet secretaries, like Secretary of State Pompeo. They say that their decisions not to testify
amount to a cover-up. These are all things we will be hearing a
lot about in the next week-and-a-half. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Yamiche, you have also
taken a close look at all this. What do you see in here that’s new information? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, Judy, this is the
report. It’s long and it’s tedious. But the most important thing and the new thing
that we learned is that there going to be call logs in here between Rudy Giuliani calling
White House officials and White House officials calling him back. So we put up on the screen — you see, in
August, Rudy Giuliani is making a number of calls to the White House, and we see him calling
the Office of Management and Budget. Now, that’s very important, because we didn’t
know that the president’s personal attorney was calling that Budget Office. They are very critically connected to the
$391 million that was withheld from Ukraine as part of what Democrats would say is a quid
pro quo. So it’s really important that the president’s
personal attorney, that we now know we have physical evidence of him doing that. It’s also important, in April 2019, on April
24, Rudy Giuliani was again on the phone with Lev Parnas. He’s on the phone with White House officials. That’s the same day that the former ambassador
to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, is recalled from Ukraine. So while this is happening, while Democrats
would say this is a critical step in Republicans and in the president trying to get people
out of the way and move out — move players like Marie Yovanovitch out of the way to get
this scheme, as Democrats have said, to really pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden
and Hunter Biden. So we now see in these call logs Rudy Giuliani
calling on that critical, critical day. JUDY WOODRUFF: And you were telling us, Yamiche,
there are still other call logs in this report that are interesting. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Another important part of
this is that Devin Nunes, he’s — Representative Devin Nunes. He’s on the House Intelligence Committee. He’s the ranking member, a Republican. He is now connected to Lev Parnas, which is
an associate of Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, who has been indicted for
violating campaign finance laws. Now, I was on the phone with Lev Parnas’ attorney. His name is Joseph Bondy. He was saying this really proves his client’s
point that he was in contact with this high-ranking Republican congressman and that he was part
of this — the lawyer told me, this scheme to try to pressure Ukraine to investigate
Joe Biden. Now, this lawyer is not saying that Devin
Nunes was part of this quid pro quo. He stopped short of saying that. But what you have is a sitting congressman
now being accused of being part of all of this. And you now have this physical evidence. And I was told that Lev Parnas didn’t know
that these call logs existed and that the House Intelligence Committee had them, so
this is really a bombshell that is really, really important in all of this. JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, Lisa, you were, separately,
at a press conference today that was held by the Intelligence Committee chair, Adam
Schiff. Tell us about that. LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right. Yamiche was calling Parnas’ lawyer. I was asking the same questions to Adam Schiff,
because it’s his report that now is connecting Mr. Nunes to Mr. Parnas. So, I asked Chairman Schiff whether he thought
Mr. Nunes should recuse himself. Remember, Nunes at this moment is voting on
this report in which he is depicted. So, I asked Chairman Schiff, the Democrat,
should the Republican Nunes recuse himself? Here’s his response. REP. ADAM SCHIFF: It won’t surprise you I’m going
to reserve comment. It is, I think, deeply concerning that, at
a time when the president of the United States was using the power of his office to dig up
dirt on a political rival, that there may be evidence that there were members of Congress
complicit in that activity. LISA DESJARDINS: So, that was a classic there. You heard Chairman Schiff first say, I’m going
to reserve comment. But then he did comment that he thought this
was a matter of serious concern. And he recommended that perhaps other groups
— he didn’t say who exactly — should investigate this. Now, as for Devin Nunes, his office has not
responded. And, actually, he didn’t answer questions
as he walked into the Intelligence Committee just a few minutes ago. But his ally Jim Jordan, I spoke to him just
a few minutes ago. And Jim Jordan, the Republican from Ohio,
said, I don’t understand what the big deal is. Everyone makes phone calls. I see no problem with that. And, Jordan said, many, many people to speak
to Rudy Giuliani. I don’t have a problem with that. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Yamiche, now we have the
Intelligence Committee report. What happens next? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: What’s next is that the
White House is going to continue to defend itself. I want to point now to a statement that was
released by the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham. I’m going to read part of it. It says: “This report reflects nothing more
than their frustration.” She’s talking about the Democrats. “Chairman Schiff’s report reads like the ramblings
of a basement blogger straining to prove something when there’s evidence of nothing.” So, that’s the White House really digging
in, saying that Democrats are on a wrong path here, and that they — the president essentially
did nothing wrong. The lawyer for Lev Parnas says that Devin
Nunes should recuse himself, so there are people outside of this saying that there needs
to be other steps here. The other thing to note is that the White
House is not sending lawyers tomorrow to this hearing, this public hearing by the Judiciary
Committee, where we’re going to hear from constitutional experts. So, the White House, as they’re defending
themselves, are saying, we don’t even want to take part in any of this. LISA DESJARDINS: And, you know, Judy, let
me jump in really quick. Also, we do expect at least one more hearing. Chairman Schiff told me and other reporters
that he expects his staff to present the report at the committee. That will be a big hearing to watch. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, all eyes on all of this. Thank you, Yamiche. Thank you, Lisa. And please do, all of you, join us tomorrow
at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. We will have special live coverage of the
U.S. House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing. In the day’s other news: President Trump’s
first day at the NATO summit was marked by a clash with French President Emmanuel Macron. He criticized Macron for saying that the alliance
suffers from — quote — “brain death.” But the French leader stood by his criticism. We will have a detailed report after the news
summary. As he made his rounds in London, the president
lost a round in his legal fight to keep his banking records from Congress. A federal appeals court in New York directed
Deutsche Bank and Capital One to comply with subpoenas from House committees. They’re investigating Mr. Trump’s business
dealings. The White House said that it may appeal to
the U.S. Supreme Court. The president roiled financial markets today
when he suggested delaying a trade agreement with China until after the 2020 election. New tariffs on Chinese imports could take
effect December 15, but Mr. Trump said there is no deadline for making a deal. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
I think, in some ways, it’s better to wait until after the election with China. But I’m not going to say that. I just think that. I’ll just tell you, in some ways, I like the
idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal. But they want to make the deal now. And we will see whether or not the deal is
going to be right. It’s got to be right. JUDY WOODRUFF: The president’s remarks sent
Wall Street into a day-long dive. In the end, the Dow Jones industrial average
lost 280 points to close at 27502. The Nasdaq fell 47 points, and the S&P 500
gave up 20. California Senator Kamala Harris dropped out
of the 2020 Democratic presidential race today. She said her campaign lacks the money to go
on. Harris was an early standout in the crowded
field, but has since faded. We will take a closer look later in the program. In Iran, the government acknowledged, for
the first time, that security forces shot and killed demonstrators in a crackdown on
protests over gas prices. State TV described the protesters as rioters. Amnesty International had said that at least
208 people were killed in a crackdown. but Tehran rejected that figure today. GHOLAMHOSSEIN ESMAILI, Spokesman, Iranian
Judiciary (through translator): I bluntly say that numbers and figures given by hostile
groups about deaths in the protests are sheer lies. Real statistics are seriously different from
what they announce, and numbers are far less than what they claim. JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump said today
that Iran is killing thousands of people, and he added — quote — “I think the world
has to be watching.” A new wave of anti-government protests flared
across Southern Iraq today. Thousands of college students filled streets
in Basra to demand government reforms. Some carried mock coffins representing more
than 400 protesters killed by security forces since October 1. In this country, Republican Congressman Duncan
Hunter formally admitted diverting campaign funds for personal use. He pled guilty today in federal court in San
Diego. He now faces five years in prison. The six-term California lawmaker will also
resign from Congress. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today
in a high-stakes environmental case on Superfund sites. It involves a former copper smelter site in
Montana. Local landowners want a more extensive cleanup
of arsenic contamination than federal rules call for. Atlantic Richfield, which is the site’s owner,
argues that the federal regulations take precedent. And back in London, Prince Andrew faced allegations
that he once had sex with a 17-year-old American. And President Trump faced questions about
it. The accuser, who’s now 35, said that Jeffrey
Epstein trafficked her. Mr. Trump offered no opinion the case and
said that he did not know Andrew. Photos like this one from June do show them
at several events together over the years. The prince has denied any wrongdoing. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: on the ground
for the NATO summit, as the alliance faces new challenges; bowing out — Senator Kamala
Harris ends her run for the presidency; plus, on the “NewsHour” Bookshelf, “Supreme Ambition:
Brett Kavanaugh and the Conservative Takeover.” President Trump today shook up a gathering
of world leaders. Special correspondent Ryan Chilcote reports
on how strained relations across the Atlantic took center stage. RYAN CHILCOTE: President Trump arrived last
night in London for a NATO summit meant to celebrate the alliance’s 70th anniversary. Allies were hoping it wouldn’t descend into
chaos. Come this morning, those hopes were dashed. It was a day marred by acrimony between at
least three of NATO’s leading countries. At a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens
Stoltenberg, President Trump went first, uncharacteristically defending the alliance, while lashing out
at the president of France for having labeled NATO brain-dead in a recent interview. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
Nobody needs NATO more than France. And, frankly, the one that benefits really
the least is the United States. RYAN CHILCOTE: The NATO chief listening on,
the president railed against what he sees as NATO countries freeloading on the back
of U.S. military spending, and repeatedly schooled his French counterpart, threatening
retaliation for a new French tax on American tech companies. DONALD TRUMP: That is a very — very, very
nasty statement. They’re starting to tax other people’s products,
so, therefore, we go and tax them, which is taking place right now on technology. And we’re doing their wines and everything
else. RYAN CHILCOTE: In early afternoon, the two
sat down for a tense tete-a-tete. President Macron didn’t back down. EMMANUEL MACRON, French President: I know
that my statements created some reactions and shake a little bit a lot of people. I do stand by it. And I have to say, when you look at what NATO
is and should be, first of all, this is a burden we share. RYAN CHILCOTE: The French president then took
a swipe at Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who in the lead-up to the meeting
called President Macron himself brain-dead. EMMANUEL MACRON: When I look at Turkey, they
now are fighting against those who fight with us, who fought with us. And, sometimes, they work with ISIS forces. RYAN CHILCOTE: ISIS was even a bone of contention
between the French and American presidents. DONALD TRUMP: Would you like some nice ISIS
fighters? I can give them to you. You can take — you can take everyone you
can. RYAN CHILCOTE: President Macron responded
sternly. EMMANUEL MACRON: Let’s be serious. RYAN CHILCOTE: And Trump shot back. DONALD TRUMP: That was one of the greatest
non-answers I have ever heard. RYAN CHILCOTE: Meantime, to round out the
roundhouse punching, before leaving for London, President Erdogan promised to block NATO plans
if the alliance doesn’t label the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the YPG a terrorist group. It’s a U.S. partner in the fight against ISIS
and Turkey’s enemy in Syria. RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, Turkish President (through
translator): If our friends at NATO do not recognize as terrorist organizations those
against whom we carry out fights against terrorism, then, excuse me, we will stand against any
that will be taken there. RYAN CHILCOTE: While the public spat between
other NATO leaders is unusual, President Trump’s unconventional demeanor with allies is not
new. Two years ago, at his first NATO meeting,
the president appeared to shove the prime minister of Montenegro. And, last year, he told NATO leaders that
if they didn’t spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense, the U.S. would go it alone. DONALD TRUMP: But I’m not negotiating. RYAN CHILCOTE: In another veiled threat he
appeared to make today in a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the president
suggested the U.S. wouldn’t necessarily defend NATO allies who don’t pay the 2 percent. DONALD TRUMP: And, you know, I’m going to
be discussing that today. RYAN CHILCOTE: White House officials say the
president’s combative approach to American allies is paying off. In 2016, just four of the 29 NATO countries
met the 2 percent threshold. Today, that number stands at nine. By 2024, the Trump administration says the
number will have risen to 18. At an event on the meeting’s sidelines, the
NATO chief, tasked with wrangling its headstrong leaders, praised the alliance, despite today’s
circular firing squad. JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO Secretary-General:
I’m a politician, and I’m used to be criticized for having good rhetoric, rhetorics, but bad
substance. NATO is the opposite. RYAN CHILCOTE: At a Buckingham Palace reception
hosted by the queen, NATO leaders had plenty to chew over. On the allies’ plates, disagreement too on
China. President Trump wants the alliance to take
a tougher stance on China and refrain from buying its 5G technology, but many of the
European allies oppose that idea. For a nightcap, an angelic holiday choir greeted
squabbling allies at 10 Downing Street, home to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who
hosted the leaders, at least three of whom didn’t go gently into that good night. JUDY WOODRUFF: And Ryan Chilcote joins me
now. Ryan, how unusual was it for President Trump
to criticize President Macron as he did? RYAN CHILCOTE: Well, I think it’s pretty unusual
in any circumstances, and particularly in this case, because, after all, you would kind
of expect President Trump to call NATO brain-dead. He’s been calling the alliance obsolete for
many years. What President Macron really meant when he
gave that interview a month ago and made that comment about NATO being brain-dead was that
European countries need to do more in terms of their own defense and that NATO — European
NATO countries can’t necessarily rely on the United States to come to their defense. Well, even today, President Trump intimated
that last point, that, if NATO countries weren’t paying their fair share, the U.S. might not
come to their defense. And he has always said that NATO countries,
European NATO countries should be spending more on it. So, I think that was pretty surprising. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, you know, Ryan, you have
obviously covered a number of NATO meetings over the years. How is this one different? RYAN CHILCOTE: Look, this is President Trump’s
third NATO summit. So if the other NATO leaders were surprised
by his unconventional approach to diplomacy in the past, they certainly weren’t this time. In fact, some NATO officials even told us
that the — this meeting was designed in a way to kind of keep everything scripted. As you know, obviously, President Trump went
off-script, but, again, not a huge surprise. What is different, I think, Judy, this time
is that we had a number over leaders squabbling amongst themselves. And I think that — if you were just listen
to the rhetoric kind of makes you think that maybe NATO itself is coming undone at the
seams, though, when it comes to policy, NATO is definitely very united. JUDY WOODRUFF: And finally, Ryan, what do
you look for tomorrow? RYAN CHILCOTE: Well, given all the division
that we had today, I will certainly be looking to see if we have any fireworks tomorrow,
more fireworks. The only fireworks that there should be would
be because this meeting is supposed to be celebrating NATO’s 70 years of unity. Beyond that, I will look at burden-sharing. President Trump was talking about it today. Actually, the conversation began many years
ago and really intensified after President Putin’s annexation of Crimea. I’m sure we will hear more about that tomorrow. China, the United States calls China a developing
threat. Not all of the NATO countries agree. And, finally, the president is having, well,
what you could say would be his fourth press conference after three today, a press conference
tomorrow that will begin just one half-hour after the impeachment hearing begins. So I think tomorrow might be another day when
we all have split-screen on our TV screens again — Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: No question about it. Interesting timing. Ryan Chilcote, reporting from London, thank
you, Ryan. RYAN CHILCOTE: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Three Democratic candidates
in three days have exited the Democratic race for president. With more than a dozen still remaining in
the race, John Yang reports on how the latest to bow out could reshape the campaign. JOHN YANG: Judy, California Senator Kamala
Harris launched her campaign in January amid high expectations. Today, as she left the race, she told supporters
in a video message that she doesn’t have the resources to compete. SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), Presidential Candidate:
I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign. And as the campaign has gone on, it has become
harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete. In good faith, I cannot tell you, my supporters
and volunteers, that I have a path forward if I don’t believe I do. JOHN YANG: To talk about what happened to
Senator Harris’ campaign and what her departure does to the race, I’m joined by Chelsea Janes
of The Washington Post. Chelsea, thanks so much for joining us. We began — the Democrats began this campaign
season with a historically diverse field of candidates. As things stand now, in the next debate, the
“PBS NewsHour”/Politico debate, you’re going to have six candidates on the stage, all of
them white, four white males, two white women. What does that say about what’s happening
in this race? CHELSEA JANES, The Washington Post: It is
certainly striking. And, today, we have seen a lot of candidates
and pundits and people in that world take to Twitter and point that out. I think it’s disappointing to a lot of people,
who — in these underrepresented groups that looked at someone like Kamala Harris and said,
you know, that’s the first person to look like me who is going to have a shot at this. And to have it whittle down as it has, I think,
on the one hand, you have the most diverse field in history, and, on the other, it’s
not shaping up to remain that way. And I think there’s a lesson to be learned
there. What it is, is far above my pay grade, but
I do think that it’s really disappointing to a lot of people in an increasingly diverse
Democratic electorate, who hoped that they would see somebody different represented this
time around. JOHN YANG: The other candidates may still
qualify for the debate, but that’s what the qualifications — who has qualified so far. As you say, Kamala Harris began this race
as a rising star in the party, a woman, one of the few women, African-American women,
in the Senate, mixed race. She tried to recreate the coalition that elected
Barack Obama. You were just in South Carolina last week
talking about her difficulties gaining traction. What happened to her race? What happened to her campaign? CHELSEA JANES: You know, I think it really
started with a bang. As we all know, she had over 20,000 people
in Oakland, still one of the biggest events of this entire campaign cycle. But I think what that did was sort of mask
for a lot of people sort of the reality of Kamala Harris as a relatively unknown figure
nationally. To those of us in the Beltway, who watch all
the hearings and know who she was from that, yes, she feels like she’s been around a bit. But I think, nationally, she had a lot of
introducing to do, and her campaign sort of had to operate more nationally, on a broader
scale, as if she were a front-runner and I think, eventually, sort of built out this
big operation that, when the polling dropped and the money wasn’t coming, it was too big
to sustain. And, you know, entering a Senate race in 2022
in a state as expensive as California, she can’t do go into debt. She can’t have something like that hanging
over her. So, I think this was a calculation that was
mostly financial, which is surprising. But I think, ultimately, they decided there’s
no reason to push this. We’re not seeing signs of progress. And what was once a really promising campaign
just wasn’t able to regain its footing. JOHN YANG: In your piece, you talked about
how she sort of wavered between the — never really defined herself, as part of the progressives,
part of the moderates. Talk about the difficulty she had sort of
defining herself. CHELSEA JANES: Yes. You know, I think it’s really interesting. You look at this field, you see Biden. You kind of know who Joe Biden is, and voters
say, oh, I know Joe. And Bernie Sanders, you know who Bernie Sanders
is. And Elizabeth Warren, with her 2 cents and
her big structural change, has sort of carved out a brand for herself. But Kamala Harris was never as easy to put
on a bumper sticker as some of the others and never found that message that really summed
up the brand in a word or two and made you know exactly who she was. And maybe it’s not fair to ask that of candidates,
but I think, in her case, in this time, people really wanted to see someone with clear intentions
and clear priorities. And as she tried to pitch herself as sort
of the one who would work on issues and be practical, not ideological, and as she tried
to thread the needle between sort of the moderates in the Democratic Party and Sanders and Warren
for the left, she sort of lost clarity in exactly who she was and why she was running. And I think one thing we have heard from voters
everywhere is that they want someone they can trust and someone whose intentions are
very clear. They want to know who these people are. And I don’t think she ever gave people the
answer they were looking for. JOHN YANG: Given that, with less than two
months to go before the first votes are cast, is there a candidate who would be a naturally
— natural recipient of her supporters now? CHELSEA JANES: It’s a great question. I have heard a lot of theories on that. But I — my understanding is that some of
their polling showed that her — people that supported Kamala Harris, their second choice,
it wasn’t a clear-cut thing. It came from a lot of places. I think you’re going to see some of it go
to Elizabeth Warren. I think there’s a large contingent of people,
kind of the suburban women that Harris was courting, that might find their way to her. I think Mayor Pete is obviously someone with
whom she’s had overlap. And I think, initially, it was Joe Biden that
her campaign really thought she’d have to sort of undermine to get those voters and
pry those voters away from him. So maybe he will be the recipient of some
of those voters. But I think it helps a variety of candidates,
and maybe isn’t necessarily a huge push for one over the other. JOHN YANG: Chelsea Janes of The Washington
Post, thanks so much. CHELSEA JANES: Thanks for having me. JUDY WOODRUFF: This year has led to the beginnings
of a reckoning for the manufacturers, marketers and distributors of opioids. The epidemic has taken of hundreds of thousands
of Americans lives over the past two decades. Multibillion-dollar settlements have been
announced. But there’s great anger. Many states and municipalities say there’s
not enough accountability and transparency over the companies’ roles. Purdue Pharma, which created OxyContin and
is controlled by the Sackler family, is the biggest target. As Amna Nawaz tells us, there’s new information
about how the company responded in the earliest days. AMNA NAWAZ: Judy, the information comes from
newly unsealed court documents that include Richard Sackler’s e-mails in the late ’90s. Sackler was a senior vice president of the
company at the time, one year after OxyContin was launched. By 1999, he was president of Purdue Pharma. The documents were part of a court case against
Purdue Pharma in Kentucky. And, as part of that case, Richard Sackler
was deposed in 2015. STAT News has been working to get these documents
for four years. And Casey Ross of STAT joins me now. Casey Ross, welcome to the “NewsHour.” Help us by understanding, what is the new
information you have learned from these court documents when it comes to Purdue Pharma,
the Sackler family that owns it, and OxyContin? CASEY ROSS, STAT News: Well, these documents
really shed light on the interactions that the Sackler family, in particular Dr. Richard
Sackler, had with executives at the company during the key time period in which OxyContin
was being released into the marketplace. AMNA NAWAZ: And what is that connection, based
on what you have seen so far? CASEY ROSS: The e-mails that we found in these
court records discuss Richard Sackler becoming aware at a very early point in OxyContin’s
release of concerns that a large pharmacy benefit manager was expressing to doctors
about abuse potential in the drug. And Dr. Sackler responded to that concern
by calling for a presentation, specifically in which he suggested that the presentation
could be given to show that controlled-release opioids, like OxyContin, were less subject
to abuse potential, addiction concerns and diversion than other opioids. And at the time, there was no — and since
— there is no evidence to support that. AMNA NAWAZ: How would you characterize the
response to some of those concerns at the time? And, also, why was it important at this particular
point in history? CASEY ROSS: Well, so this is a time period
when OxyContin is just being released into the market. Executives at the company, based on the concerns,
were very worried that they were going to get essentially blocked out of the market,
because Merck-Medco, which is the pharmacy benefit manager that raised these concerns,
controlled a large part of the access to the marketplace. So if Merck-Medco is refusing to cover these
drugs out of abuse concerns, then Purdue Pharma is in a situation where it cannot distribute
its project — product to the extent that it wants. It cannot tap a very lucrative market for
chronic pain patients. AMNA NAWAZ: Casey, you mentioned some of the
concerns raised by Merck-Medco. They said that addiction could be one of their
potential concerns. I want to read you an excerpt from one of
the e-mails you published. It’s from Richard Sackler. He says, we should consider that — quote
— addiction may be a convenient way to just say no, and when this objection is obliterated,
they will fall back on the question of costs. Unless we can give a convincing presentation
that C.R.” — that is control release — “products are less prone to addiction potential.” Based on these e-mails that you have seen,
Casey, is this unusual for a pharmaceutical executive to basically be pushing to get his
product out there and tamp down on concerns? CASEY ROSS: I think that it’s not unusual
for pharmaceutical executives, when they’re launching a product, to try to protect its
reputation and push it into the marketplace in a way that’s going to be beneficial to
the company. I think, here, the situation is that OxyContin
is an opioid. It’s a drug which contains a lot of inherent
addiction potential. So it’s something that’s sensitive. And I think that these documents really shed
light on the extent to which, despite those potential concerns about addiction, the company
was intent on aggressively marketing the product. AMNA NAWAZ: Casey, the big question is, now
what? There have been a lot of questions about what
the Sackler family knew and what they didn’t know. There is ongoing litigation. There is a tentative settlement. What do these new e-mails tell us? And do they change how things could move forward
at all? CASEY ROSS: Well, that’s going to be a question
for authorities across the country who are evaluating how this circumstance ought to
be resolved in terms of the financial liability that the Sackler family high face ultimately
for the addiction problems that are ongoing in communities across the country. So there are attorneys general, states across
the country and other jurisdictions that are refusing to sign on to a settlement with the
Sackler family right now that would resolve those concerns because they’re concerned that
the family is not being held accountable enough financially for the harm that has been caused. So I think that’s going to be a question,
in light of these records, that folks are going to continue to focus on. And we will have to see what the result is. AMNA NAWAZ: Casey, as you mentioned, a lawyer
for the Sackler family, in response to your article, said there was nothing improper in
those e-mails. They say the e-mails discuss how doctors who
prescribed OxyContin were upset that insurance companies wanted to avoid paying for their
patients’ medicine. They also say that Dr. Sackler was just responding
by asking whether it would be accurate to make a presentation to the insurance companies,
that they deferred to Purdue’s in-house experts. What do you make of the Sackler family’s response? CASEY ROSS: Well, they’re emphasizing essentially
that he did defer to company experts in asking the question of whether that presentation
could be given. And they also pointed to Dr. Sackler’s 2015
deposition in which he said, look, I was just asking a question here as to whether a medically
correct presentation could be given to show the claim that I’d like to make. But I think it’s really up to the public and
authorities to consider whether or not the presentation that he was calling for had an
effect on marketing OxyContin in a deceptive way, ultimately. AMNA NAWAZ: And I’d also like to note we have
offered the Sackler family or their representative a chance to join us on the program in the
future. For now, that is Casey Ross of STAT News. Thanks for very much for joining us. CASEY ROSS: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: The nation’s capital was riveted
during the fall of 2018 after President Trump, for his second nomination to the Supreme Court,
chose a 53-year-old federal judge, Brett Kavanaugh. What was already a bitter partisan fight grew
even more so after a California woman, Christine Blasey Ford, charged that Kavanaugh had sexually
assaulted her in high school. He forcefully rejected the claim and went
on to sit on the court. But the fascinating the story of how he got
there is the focus of a new book, “Supreme Ambition,” by Washington Post columnist and
editor Ruth Marcus, a familiar face here on the “NewsHour.” Welcome back to the “NewsHour,” Ruth Marcus. RUTH MARCUS, Author, “Supreme Ambition: Brett
Kavanaugh and the Conservative Takeover”: Thank you. It’s always great to be here. JUDY WOODRUFF: And congratulations on the
book. So,was this a search-and-destroy mission,
a calculated effort to take him down, as Brett Kavanaugh charged, in his hearing? Or was what Christine Blasey Ford and others
said about him true? RUTH MARCUS: I think that what Christine Blasey
Ford and others said about Justice Kavanaugh was true. But it’s also true that Democrats inside the
Senate and in outside groups did want to find a way to take Brett Kavanaugh down. So when he complained that people were out
to get him, that was fair. The question is, what was the evidence against
him? Was it adequately investigated? And when there was a question in some people’s
minds about what happened — and it’s hard to determine what happened 35 years earlier
— who gets the benefit of the doubt? JUDY WOODRUFF: I have never seen or never
read about a campaign to get someone chosen for the court as orchestrated as this was. I mean, Kavanaugh himself was involved. Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose seat, whose
vacancy he was filling, was involved. Tell — give us a sense, Ruth, of just how
extraordinary the campaign was to pick Brett Kavanaugh. RUTH MARCUS: So, there were a couple different
campaigns. The first phase of the campaign came when
Brett Kavanaugh wasn’t on President Trump, then-candidate Trump’s list to be on the Supreme
Court. You may remember candidate Trump did something
no candidate had done before, which is to say, here is my list. He put out one. He put out another. There was one name that was particularly missing
from that list. It was Brett Kavanaugh. So, when President Trump surprised all of
us and became President Trump, Brett Kavanaugh had a problem. He wasn’t on that list. And one of the people, I report in “Supreme
Ambition,” who went to bat for him was Justice Anthony Kennedy. He had clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy. The White House was eager, desperate even,
to convince Justice Kennedy that it would be safe to retire. And when Justice Kennedy came to the White
House to swear in Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s first choice for the Supreme Court,
he asked for some time alone with the president, and suggested that there was a name missing
from his list. And, lo and behold, a few months later, Brett
Kavanaugh’s name turned up on that list. JUDY WOODRUFF: How unusual for a justice of
the Supreme Court to go personally to the president, as Justice Kennedy did? RUTH MARCUS: It’s quite unusual. It was a very unusual intervention from a
sitting justice. Justices can say nice things about people,
but this was particularly effective. And it’s an illustration of Justice Kavanaugh’s
ability to find extremely influential and powerful mentors. In some ways, the reason it was is hard for
him to get on the list was, the president he had worked for, President George W. Bush. But President Bush became, once he was selected,
one of his most powerful advocates, calling senators on his behalf, vouching for him,
making sure that his library was able to produce all the documents that were necessary in order
to get him confirmed. JUDY WOODRUFF: You paint, as we said, this
extraordinary picture of the movement, in essence, to get him nominated, first of all,
and then to get him confirmed. And it’s a process that it appears the conservatives,
the Republicans have done a much better job of figuring out than the Democrats. Is that how you see it? RUTH MARCUS: It is. The book is called “Supreme Ambition” for
two reasons. One is, it reflects Brett Kavanaugh’s ambition
since really from the very early years as a lawyer to get onto the Supreme Court. But it also reflects the ambition of the conservative
movement to finally, after 30 years of trying and getting close, but having it elude them,
to cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. And the book tells the story of the lengths
that Republicans in the Senate and elsewhere went to, to make sure that he was going to
get across the finish line. JUDY WOODRUFF: There were doubts among some
conservatives that he was conservative enough, in their views, to begin with, that, as you
point out, he was too much of a Bushie, loyal to President Bush. And then there were others, Democrats, who
said he was far too conservative. Who is he at his core? What is his ideology, as we see on the court
and just from knowing him? RUTH MARCUS: Well, that is partly to be determined. We had one term of Brett Kavanaugh, Justice
Kavanaugh, where he showed himself to be significantly less conservative than Justice Gorsuch. That’s not to say he’s not conservative. He’s a very conservative judge. But his conservatism is more toward the center,
closer to the chief justice, who he is very close to, than it is to the more extreme conservatives
on the court. JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally, Ruth Marcus, I want
you to read — there’s — the last few sentences in the book are pretty telling. I want you to read that, and then talk about
why you have written this at the end here, where that mark is. RUTH MARCUS: OK. “The country has lived with the results of
badly run or tainted elections. For the same reasons, it has to endure the
consequences of a flawed confirmation process. But it doesn’t have to excuse what happened. The Kavanaugh confirmation discredited the
White House and the Senate, which is supposed to play an independent advise-and-consent
role. “In the end, it disserved both Kavanaugh and
the country. As a result, his tenure will forever have
an asterisk attached, a blot on Kavanaugh and the court that is, to use Christine Blasey
Ford’s phrase, indelible.” I… JUDY WOODRUFF: Pretty tough. RUTH MARCUS: I wrote that because one of the
things that I found most tragic here is that we didn’t have an intensive, responsible enough
FBI investigation in the end. The goal of Don McGahn, the goal of Mitch
McConnell, the Senate leader, was not to get at the truth. It was to get at 50 votes. And they ignored potential witnesses that
could have helped us to get further at the truth. And I think that’s just something we’re going
to have to live with, and Justice Kavanaugh is Justice Kavanaugh. And long after we’re done with impeachment
and long after we’re done with the next election, he and Justice Gorsuch, and who knows what
else might happen, will be President Trump’s most lasting legacy. JUDY WOODRUFF: Ruth Marcus. The book is “Supreme Ambition: Brett Kavanaugh
and the Conservative Takeover.” Thank you. RUTH MARCUS: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us. We will be back shortly with a Brief But Spectacular
take on documenting dreams. But, first, take a moment to hear from your
local PBS station. It’s a chance to offer your support, which
helps keep programs like ours on the air. (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: For years female country music
artists from Dolly Parton to Kasey Musgraves have dominated the ear-waves, but the reality
is that only sixteen percent of country artists are women, and many still struggle to get
on the radio. Jeffrey Brown has an encore report on Nashville’s
gender imbalance and what’s being done to address it. JEFFREY BROWN: This is the sound of Monday
nights at The Listening Room, known in Nashville as a writers round, where singer-songwriters
learn to hone their craft before a live audience.But this one is different and rare, an all-women
female showcase in a city dominated by male voices. Turn to a country station today, and this
is what you’re most likely to hear.(MUSIC) JEFFREY BROWN: In fact, in 2017, just around
10 percent of billboard’s top 60 country songs were by women, a number that’s actually fallen
in recent years.And it was that persistent disparity that led producer Todd Cassetty
to found this all-female showcase, called Song Suffragettes.TODD CASSETTY: We thought,
if we create a female-only weekly show where a lot of these women can come, play their
songs, try them out, see what the responses are, meet like-minded creatives, they would
benefit, and hopefully the community as a whole would benefit. JEFFREY BROWN: Kalie Shorr is one of them. Originally from Maine, in 2012, she graduated
high school early, so she could move to Nashville to pursue her dream.KALIE SHORR: My first
concert ever was the Dixie Chicks with Michelle Branch opening, and I was 9. And I just remember looking at them and being
like, that’s what I want to do. JEFFREY BROWN: In 2015, Shorr had a hit single
in “Fight Like a Girl,” a song discovered here at The Listening Room and played on the
SiriusXM station The Highway. It was an anthem for an issue she’s become
outspoken about: the lack of opportunities for young women in country music.But, ironically,
that experience only served to highlight how bad the problem was.KALIE SHORR: It was doing
all this stuff and getting all this traction, had, millions of streams, and it sold really,
really well. And I walked into a couple of major labels
and had them look me in the eye and say, we can’t sign another girl right now. We already have one. JEFFREY BROWN: We can’t sign — we already
have one?KALIE SHORR: Yes. And it sounds unbelievable. And I literally had someone say like, oh,
well, we’d sign if you were a guy, like literal, concrete stuff people will say around town.And
they’re comfortable saying it, because it’s just kind of part of it now. JEFFREY BROWN: For many in Nashville, the
lack of women’s voices on the air came to a head in 2015. That’s when a country radio consultant named
Keith Hill told a trade newsletter that, to maximize radio listenership, women should
be like tomatoes in a larger salad of male artists, never played back to back and never
more than about 20 percent of the mix.Those comments confirmed what many had long suspected,
that the lack of women on country radio was by design.TODD CASSETTY: It’s kind of historically
kind of an accepted practice that, if you play more women, listeners will turn the channel,
and your ratings will go down, which will affect your revenue. JEFFREY BROWN: But you’re saying it’s it’s
perceived economics. You don’t buy it? TODD CASSETTY: There’s no research, there’s
no hard research to prove this. JEFFREY BROWN: The backlash to the remarks
became known as Tomatogate, and galvanized women across the industry to speak out about
their experiences of sexism.WOMAN: It’s long been reported that women in music can’t sell
merch the way that men can. JEFFREY BROWN: Including at this monthly forum
called Change the Conversation.Each month, songwriters, performers, producers, industry
veterans and newcomers, mostly women, but men too, gather to share stories.WOMAN: I
have two words on merchandise: Taylor Swift.Beverly Keel helped found the group. She’s a journalist and professor of recording
at Middle Tennessee State University.BEVERLY KEEL: I wrote a column in The Tennessean about
it and said, look, you know, the problem’s at country radio, because they’re not playing
women. And then you have a chilling effect, because
country radio is still the driver in country music.So, if country radio doesn’t play women,
labels don’t sign women. female songwriters aren’t going to get signed
as much you won’t see as many female producers, and so on. JEFFREY BROWN: I mean, is it sexism? Is it economics? Perceived economics? What? BEVERLY KEEL: I think it is long-held beliefs. I think that it’s sexism. There’s institutional sexism. We can’t believe we’re having this conversation
in 2019. R.J. CURTIS: I think it’s just as frustrating to
radio as it is to anybody else. JEFFREY BROWN: That’s R.J. Curtis, incoming head of the Country Radio
Broadcasters, a nonprofit group that helps promote the music.R.J. CURTIS: Look, it’s a multilayered situation,
and it’s (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up all over. JEFFREY BROWN: He’s been attending the Change
the Conversation meetings, and wants people to recognize that this problem isn’t just
with radio, but with the entire industry pipeline, from talent scouts to publishers to labels.R.J. CURTIS: If you looked at the rosters of most
major labels in town here, I think you would find that the ratio is about a 4-1 male to
female in terms of artists on that roster. So there’s just fewer of them coming at radio
for airplay consideration. JEFFREY BROWN: If you’re a woman who’s concerned
about this, and they’re hearing you say, well, it’s the ecosystem, that would be frustrating.R.J. CURTIS: Oh, very frustrating. And… JEFFREY BROWN: Right? Because then it’s like, everybody’s to blame,
nobody is to blame.R.J. CURTIS: Yes. I can see their frustration. I definitely hear that.JEFFREY BROWN: We reached
out to multiple country radio stations for comment, but none responded. And whether radio is the driver of this marketplace,
or just another victim of decisions made at other levels, many here say it’s past time
for solutions. BEVERLY KEEL: I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what caused it. I don’t know who caused it. And we don’t want to just put the blame on
country radio. And Change the Conversation is not interested
in finding blame or pointing fingers. We just want to find a solution. JEFFREY BROWN: One answer: new streaming platforms,
social media and touring to connect directly with audiences, circumventing radio.Radio
Disney Country is a relatively young, mostly streaming station based in Los Angeles that’s
found an audience by playing mostly women in its mix. And prominent artists such Margo Price and
Kacey Musgraves, who just won four Grammys, including Album of the Year, are succeeding
despite a lack of airplay.Meanwhile, in Nashville, forums like Change the Conversation and Song
Suffragettes are bringing women together to help one another.KALIE SHORR: I think, in
the past five, six years that I have been in town, I saw this attitude shift, even within
myself, where it was like, she’s not your competition. She’s trying to do the same thing you’re doing,
and that’s great because, Patsy and Loretta were best friends, and Dolly and Emmylou and
all that.Like, women can support each other. And I think they’re more successful when they
are. JEFFREY BROWN: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m
Jeffrey Brown in Nashville. (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Tonight’s Brief But Spectacular
features artist Uldus Bakhtiozina. The award-winning photographer explains her
vision of documenting dreams. It’s part of our ongoing Canvas series. ULDUS BAKHTIOZINA, Photographer: I’m not a
documentary photographer in the common sense, but I am a documentary photographer in a different
sense. I document dreams. My photography is widely exposing theme of
escapism. All of us struggle sometimes to escape in
order to analyze our reality. I love complicated personalities. And, actually, real life inspires me to create
my images. I choose to work with people who are survivors,
who are fighting everyday routines that are not always full of color. What I really find exciting is the ability
to make people’s dreams of being someone else a reality. Sometimes, it take months to actually prepare
everything for the shoot. This process, like, of getting ready is 95
percent of the time. And 5 percent is actual just the shooting. Real life inspires our escape. And, sometimes, that escape is very needed. Irony is still the key in what I’m doing,
because I believe that, in our life, it’s a lot of sadness. We need a little bit of irony to art as well. Digitally manipulated photograph is not really
true for me. It doesn’t capture anything real. That’s like, instead of going traveling, you
just look at someone else travel photographs. I work with analogue. In spite of the fact that, nowadays, digitally
you can create pretty much everything, I don’t like this path. I see the beauty in authenticity of making. And that’s impossible without flaws. I see the future of photography 95 percent
is digital, and I’m very happy about that, because that makes me special. My name is Uldus Bakhtiozina. This is my Brief But Spectacular take on documenting
dreams. JUDY WOODRUFF: And you can find more Brief
But Spectaculars on our Web site. And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Judy Woodruff. Join us tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Eastern for special coverage of the U.S. House
Judiciary hearing on impeachment. Thank you, and we’ll see you soon.

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