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- 08/23/17--15:20: _Academic study conc...
- 08/23/17--15:25: _He was a witness in...
- 08/23/17--15:30: _North Korean advanc...
- 08/23/17--15:35: _Does Trump’s divisi...
- 08/23/17--15:40: _Rep. Hurd: Shutting...
- 08/23/17--15:45: _News Wrap: Clinton ...
- 08/23/17--15:50: _In unfiltered Phoen...
- 08/23/17--20:23: _Why the DOJ and an ...
- 08/24/17--06:22: _Within 24 hours, a ...
- 08/24/17--06:33: _Republican agenda t...
- 08/24/17--06:41: _Column: Can corpora...
- 08/24/17--07:39: _Column: Journalist ...
- 08/24/17--08:19: _Analysis: In Kenya,...
- 08/24/17--10:01: _WATCH LIVE: White H...
- 08/24/17--11:19: _Gut microbes found ...
- 08/25/17--14:54: _WATCH LIVE: Hurrica...
- 08/25/17--14:57: _Trump administratio...
- 08/25/17--15:25: _The problem with on...
- 08/25/17--15:30: _Shields and Brooks ...
- 08/25/17--15:35: _How one Syrian city...
- 08/23/17--15:20: Academic study concludes Exxon Mobil misled on climate change
- 08/23/17--15:30: North Korean advances add urgency to U.S. and South Korea war games
- 08/23/17--15:35: Does Trump’s divisive Phoenix rhetoric help his agenda?
- 08/23/17--15:45: News Wrap: Clinton describes ‘incredibly uncomfortable’ Trump debate
- 08/24/17--06:22: Within 24 hours, a pair of wildly different Trump speeches
- 08/24/17--06:33: Republican agenda threatened by Trump-McConnell feud
- 08/24/17--07:39: Column: Journalist Kim Wall’s wit shone through her work and life
- 08/24/17--08:19: Analysis: In Kenya, uneasy stalemate follows election
- 08/24/17--11:19: Gut microbes found in hunter-gatherers shift with the seasons
- 08/25/17--14:54: WATCH LIVE: Hurricane Harvey batters Texas
- 08/25/17--15:25: The problem with only liking things we find relatable
- 08/25/17--15:35: How one Syrian city is rebuilding life after ISIS
JUDY WOODRUFF: ExxonMobil has long been criticized for allegedly hiding what it knew about climate change. Just today, a pair of researchers say that Exxon’s own documents prove that is true.
William Brangham has more. He’s in our weekly series on the “Leading Edge of Science”.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Thanks, Judy.
Those two researchers who are from Harvard University, they published a study today alleging that ExxonMobil tried to systematically mislead the public about climate change for 40 years. The researchers began this study after the energy company challenged critics to compare Exxon’s own peer-reviewed scientific research on climate change, against what the company publicly said about that science.
Our science correspondent Miles O’Brien joins us from Detroit with more on this.
So, Miles, tell us, what was the scope of this particular study?
MILES O’BRIEN: Well, William, we’re talking about systematic, scientific content analysis. A hundred eighty-seven internal and external corporate documents produced by ExxonMobil, 1977 to 2014. Now, during that time, the oil giant was funding a lot of rigorous studies on climate change. They were published in scientific journals, not easily accessible or digestible to the public.
Eighty-three percent of these peer-reviewed studies matched the scientific consensus that climate change is real, caused by humans, largely, and is an existential concern. But the study concludes ExxonMobil offered the general public something else, a diametrically opposed stance on climate science.
Now, to assess ExxonMobil’s public statements, the researchers went through the so-called “advertorials” that the company purchased on the op-ed page of the “New York Times” every Thursday for 30 years.
And it was almost the same proportion, 81 percent of those statements, but on the other side of the coin, a completely divergent view. They cast doubt on whether climate change was real. It discounted human impacts. And they suggested there was nothing practical to do about it anyway.
The study co-author, Geoffrey Supran, is a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEOFFREY SUPRAN, Harvard University: What we found when we read these documents is a clear, unmistakable, systematic discrepancy between, on the one hand, what ExxonMobil said and discussed about climate change in private and in academic circles. And on the other hand, what it said about climate change to the general public, no less than in “The New York Times.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, Miles, this whole research effort basically came out of a dare that ExxonMobil made saying, take a look at our documents. Explain what happened there.
MILES O’BRIEN: Yes, William, this was an attempt to call a bluff, I think. ExxonMobil authored a blog two years ago, daring its critics to analyze its publicly available documents on climate science. They said, read all of these documents. Make up your own mind
The challenge came in the wake of some great investigative reporting by “Inside Climate News,” and it found ExxonMobil years ago acknowledged climate change privately, it is caused by humans and is a serious problem, but it did not acknowledge it publicly.
The study co-author, Naomi Oreskes, is a professor of history of science at Harvard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAOMI ORESKES, Professor of History of Science, Harvard University: We see a picture where the company is aware of evolving science, and saying things that pretty much any climate scientist who would have been working at the time would have basically agreed with more or less. But in contrast, when ExxonMobil turned to the public and published advertorials, there we see a very different picture. There we see a very consistent picture emphasizing doubt, implying that we don’t really know, that the science is unsettled. And, therefore, it’s either too soon to act or it would be too expensive to act or the problem is too difficult to solve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Miles, does the paper point out any specific examples that the authors say prove their conclusion about Exxon?
MILES O’BRIEN: Well, William, there’s one that really stands out. In 1985, an Exxon scientist coauthored a study that was really prescient. He predicted that global climate at the surface would increase by two degrees above preindustrial levels, and this was way before the United Nations scientists came to that conclusion. And yet, 15 years after that study was released in “The New York Times,” Exxon released an advertorial saying unsettled science was the rule of the day, and it quoted data from other studies which seemed to suggest it was natural fluctuations. The authors of that study said it was extremely misleading.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEOFFREY SUPRAN: We have messages like this about unsettled science read by probably millions of people, and in contrast, decent climate science, by Exxon’s own scientists, hidden away in peer-reviewed articles in, you know, scientific journals. And so the discrepancy is not just in the message being communicated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Miles, what has Exxon said about this report?
MILES O’BRIEN: Well, we called ExxonMobil. We asked them to respond on camera to the Harvard study. They declined, but they did offer us a written statement.
In part it reads: The study was paid for, written and published by activists leading a five-year campaign against the company. It is inaccurate and preposterous. Our statements have been consistent with our understanding of climate science. Rather than pursuing solutions to address the risk of climate change, these activists, along with trial lawyers, have acknowledge a goal of extracting money from our shareholders and attacking the company’s reputation.
Naomi Oreskes says she is not ashamed to be called an activist, because she considers herself to be both an activist and a scholar, and she doesn’t see those two things as contradictory, William.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Miles, does Exxon offer any examples that contradict this study?
MILES O’BRIEN: They do offer two examples from the year 2000, two op-ed pieces which seem to embrace the overall scientific consensus. But that’s all they offered specifically.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Obviously, this is coming in the midst of Exxon fighting all of these other legal battles about its messaging about climate change. How is this study going to impact any of that?
MILES O’BRIEN: Well, Exxon is, indeed, fighting off a lot of legal challenges right now. Shareholders have sued the company claiming its public statements dismissing the risks of climate change were materially false and misleading. A class action suit filed by Exxon employees claims the company overstated the value of its assets, driven in part by its failure to acknowledge the impact of climate change on the value of its reserves.
Attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts are probing whether Exxon lied to investors, as is the Securities and Exchange Commission. Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes say they’re not making judgments on specific legal issues, but it is highly likely this scientific take on the politics of climate change will be injected into the legal process, William.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right. As always, Miles O’Brien, thank you so much.
MILES O’BRIEN: You’re welcome, William.
The post Academic study concludes Exxon Mobil misled on climate change appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, a personal take on the aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville. Former Foreign Service officer and Democratic campaign aide, Brennan Gilmore, was there to join the counterprotest against a Unite the Right rally. He witnessed the car plow into a crowd of protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others. He was taking a video that captured the incident. He made it public, did some news media interviews and then came death threats and conspiracy theories.
Brennan Gilmore joins me now.
Thank you for being here.
BRENNAN GILMORE, Charlottesville Attack Witness: Thanks.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Brennan, tell us again, why did you want to be part of this protest?
BRENNAN GILMORE: Well, I thought it was very important to be there as a show of numbers against these white supremacists. So, I think any time you have this very vial ideology show its face in this country, you need to have a majority of people who reject it show up and show that the numbers are on our side. And so, that’s what took me to Charlottesville that day.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And you were saying this is close to your hometown.
BRENNAN GILMORE: Yes, I live in Charlottesville now.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what exactly did you witness?
BRENNAN GILMORE: Well, the day — as soon as I got there early in the morning — they had already become quite tense and there were fights breaking out between counterprotesters and the white supremacists in the park. That became pretty violent pretty quickly, you know, a lot of fist fights, things that were thrown —
JUDY WOODRUFF: On both sides.
BRENNAN GILMORE: Yes, this was happening on both sides. Shortly thereafter, a state of emergency was declared so the central location of the protest was broken up by a pretty overwhelming police presence, and then these groups split apart and moved elsewhere in Charlottesville. And the situation became quite dangerous as these groups were, you know, wandering the streets.
And so, not long after, I found myself on a side street, Forest Street in Charlottesville, with a couple of friends. And I witnessed a crowd of counterprotesters, of antiracist protesters, coming up Forest Street. And began to film their march.
And they were in, you know, a celebratory mood, think that after the state of emergency, these white supremacist and Nazi groups had been banished from Charlottesville.
I began filming when from behind me I heard a vehicle accelerating very quickly. I turned and saw the vehicle in question come down Forest Street at a very high rate of speed. It went over a median area, and then barreled into the crowd, sending bodies flying everywhere.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You were there, you attended, I think, to some of the injured. Then you quickly posted this online. And then within a day or so, what happened?
BRENNAN GILMORE: That’s correct. Well, I immediately gave the video to police because I realized that I had evidence, and then took a little while to determine the benefits of posting it online. I did make a decision to do so.
And basically, within 24, 36 hours, I received a phone call from my sister who had been monitoring, you know, my presence on the Internet and media, and she said, Brennan, I’ve found this, you know, alt-right Nazi message board, and they’ve published our parents’ home address, and there’s death threats towards you. And they’re suggesting that you are somehow involved in the attack, either as an orchestrator or you somehow played a role, and that you weren’t just there to film it but you were actually there as part of the arrangement.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Some of these threats were pretty graphic. But what — I mean, what were the kind of things they were saying?
BRENNAN GILMORE: You’re a dead man walking. You’re a CIA operative. You work for George Soros or Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or a Jewish conspiracy.
And, you know, we’re coming for you. We know where you are. You know, you’re going to burn in hell. Any sort of a litany of accusations and threats that I, you know, can’t discuss on television.
But they came in on Twitter, via Facebook, posted on these message boards at a pretty alarming rate.
JUDY WOODRUFF: There were — there were reports, I know, on the very — the far-right site called Info Wars, the —
BRENNAN GILMORE: Yes, that’s correct. Within, you know, a couple days, you know, these conspiracy theories started on some rather bizarre sites that sort of twisted my former service with the state department and to accusations that I had caused genocide in Africa, and some just ridiculously unbelievable things. But, yes, by a couple of days after the incident, it was on Info Wars, with an hour-long special about how the whole thing in Charlottesville was a Soros plot to destabilize the country —
JUDY WOODRUFF: George Soros being the wealthy —
BRENNAN GILMORE: Correct, billionaire hedge fund manager.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.
BRENNAN GILMORE: And that I had played a key role as an operative and that this — my role in it helped expose the truth.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Is there anything about what you did or how you got involved, Brennan, that could have been interpreted as part of organizing this, making it happen?
BRENNAN GILMORE: Well, I think what triggered a lot of people was my background with the federal government and with, you know, Democratic politics. I had worked as chief of staff to Tom Perriello who had run for governor of Virginia, and I’d spent many years in the State Department.
And for, you know, some people, they think that that equates to some sort of — you know, some sort of spy work. But I was very proud of my Foreign Service career and what I did overseas. It had nothing to do with that.
But, you know, for people that are used to watching movies and things, and the truth is — is less — less relevant than the ideas that they have in their mind.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You were telling us just before this that this has died down a little, some of the threats and so forth. It’s still out there. How are you dealing with it personally?
BRENNAN GILMORE: Well, yes, I mean, if anything, it’s emboldened me to speak more. You know, the threats have come in, and this is a tactic from the alt-right to try and intimidate people and not calling things as they see them and not talk about the truth of a very, very difficult situation for our country, and that is the resurgence of a violent ideology of white supremacy.
So, you know, if anything, it’s convinced me to be even louder in condemning this, and the reason I went to Charlottesville in the first place was to stand up against it. And so, you know, certainly I was taken aback, and worried for my family’s safety. But, you know, they’ve also been incredibly insistent that I continue to speak out and use this platform which I came by in a very unfortunate way to push back against something that, you know, can do a lot of damage to us.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What would you say you learned from this experience?
BRENNAN GILMORE: The broader question here is how dangerous this ideology is for our country, what we saw in Charlottesville. And this is what I’ve seen overseas as well. I worked in a lot of conflict areas in Africa, where you see these very destructive forces of tribalism, of racism be manipulated and instrumentalized by political leaders. And they’re forces that once they are sort of — once the Pandora’s box of racism is opened up, it can spiral out of control very, very quickly.
And so, I think, you know, it’s imperative that political leaders on all sides condemn this and say, here’s the bounds of what’s acceptable in our political discourse in the United States, and we draw a very firm line, and absolutely exile the idea of and ideology of white supremacy which by its very nature is violence, which necessitates, you know, removing certain classes or race of citizens. And we’ve seen some leaders do this, but not enough.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it’s clearly something that I think many people thought couldn’t happen in the United States, but here it is.
BRENNAN GILMORE: Absolutely. I think it can happen anywhere, and it’s incredibly destructive when it rears its head. It belongs in the dust bin of history.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Brennan Gilmore, thank you very much.
BRENNAN GILMORE: Thank you.
The post He was a witness in Charlottesville. Then the death threats and conspiracy theories began. appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But first, war games in Korea. For decades, the U.S. and South Koreans have practiced military exercises, often involving tens of thousands of troops and massive firepower. The U.S. says they’re designed to enhance readiness and maintain stability. The drills that started Monday and will continue into next week don’t look particularly threatening. But some Korea watchers are calling them provocative.
NewsHour special correspondent Nick Schifrin has this report.
NICK SCHIFRIN: As visuals go, this is as provocative as this month’s U.S.-South Korea exercises get. Four men with 15 stars in front of a Patriot missile defense system in South Korea.
GEN. VINCENT BROOKS, U.S. Army: We have had the responsibility of providing military options to our national leaders. And exercises are a way of making sure that the option is a ready option, it’s a capable option.
NICK SCHIFRIN: General Vincent Brooks is the U.S.’ top commander in South Korea. He is leading exercises that are almost entirely computer simulations, as seen here in the 2013 version. It doesn’t look like much, but the exercises allow the U.S. and South Korea militaries to test their communication in case of war.
GEN. VINCENT BROOKS: Being in readiness to fight tonight if we have to is what we’ll do.
NICK SCHIFRIN: But exercises the U.S. calls defensive North Korea calls provocative. Today, state TV showed a smiling Kim Jong-un ordering the production of more rocket warheads and engines. And a not so subtle hint on the poster that North Korea is developing a new missile design. North Korea said the exercises were driving the peninsula to war, and vowed to respond.
WOMAN (through interpreter): U.S. warmongers ignored our warning that they should act cautiously and instead made a dangerous military provocation. They will not be able to avoid merciless retaliation and unsparing punishment.
BALBINA HWANG, Former State Department Adviser: To say these defensive, deterrence exercises are the cause of North Korea’s insecurity simply have it backwards.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Balbina Hwang is a visiting Georgetown professor and former senior State Department advisor on North Korea. She points out in the last few years, the North Koreans have dramatically increased their missile tests and missile capacities. And it’s those tests that make U.S. preparedness crucial.
BALBINA HWANG: It is very important for the U.N. forces, U.S. and South Korea, to be able to maintain constantly, modern, capable defense and deterrence. That is the purpose of the exercise.
NICK SCHIFRIN: But the U.S. and South Korea also conduct annual exercises with massive numbers of forces, and massive amounts of live fire. These are held every spring, and when considered alongside with this month’s exercises, the U.S. should acknowledge North Korean anxieties are legitimate, argues Mansfield Foundation President Frank Jannuzi.
FRANK JANNUZI, President, Mansfield Foundation: Every time we are practicing, whether it’s field exercises, or even a table top exercise, they get a little bit nervous about what we might do. They also worry about the capabilities that we’re demonstrating. And in this particular exercise in the past, we have sometimes demonstrated a capability to launch a decapitation attack, attacking the North Korean leadership.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Jannuzi participated in 2004 talks that froze and dismantled North Korea’s nuclear program in exchange for economic assistance. He was a State Department and congressional North Korea policy analyst. He believes these exercises contribute to increased tensions, and that the U.S. should change them to send a signal.
FRANK JANNUZI: Deterrence can be bolstered without flexing our muscles with B-52 bombers, or B-2 bombers, nuclear capable strike aircraft that could annihilate North Korea. We don’t need necessarily to practice those martial arts.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Over the last few weeks, some of the tension has cooled. Last night, President Trump even praised Kim Jong-un.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I believe he is starting to respect us, I respect that fact very much. Respect that fact. And maybe, probably not, but maybe, something positive can come about.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And North Korea, despite fiery rhetoric, has indicated it doesn’t want increased conflict.
BALBINA HWANG: All this talk and rhetoric about shooting missiles and sea of fire and nuclear war, that’s talk. But what were the actual actions? We do not see any particular increase in North Korean military readiness for war. We don’t see any sort of major maneuvering that would indicate North Korea is ready to launch any kind of major conventional or military strike.
FRANK JANNUZI: A close reading of North Korea’s statements has provided signals to the United States that in fact they are open to negotiations, they’re willing to sit down and talk with us. We need to test them. And we need to explore what, if anything, is possible through those talks.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And those commanders leading this month’s exercise, including Admiral Harry Harris, say they hope their readiness creates room for diplomacy.
ADM. HARRY HARRIS, U.S. Navy: Incredible combat power should be in support of diplomacy, and not the other way around.
NICK SCHIFRIN: So, the U.S. exercises and the North Korean rhetoric will continue. But, from all indications, both sides hope the preparations for war and the threats of war don’t lead to war.
For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Nick Schifrin.
The post North Korean advances add urgency to U.S. and South Korea war games appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, there remains a lot to unpack from the president’s expansive speech last night in Phoenix.
We turn now to Karine Jean-Pierre. She’s a senior adviser to moveon.org, a contributing editor to “Bustle,” an online women’s magazine, and a veteran of the Obama administration.
And Matt Schlapp, he’s the chairman of the American Conservative Union and the former White House political director for President George W. Bush.
And it’s great to see you both with us again. Thank you very much.
Matt, I want to come to you first.
The president is talking unity today in that speech that he gave in Nevada. But last night–
MATT SCHLAPP, American Conservative Union: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: — it was a raucous call. He was defending the way he handled Charlottesville. I was just talking to Congressman Hurd about it. His supporters in the audience loved it, but a lot of people who were listening say they were concerned about what they heard.
How did you hear it?
MATT SCHLAPP: Yes, I think that’s what’s going on in our politics and it’s been going on for, I think, for too long. But we’re in our corners. You know, the nation is very divided. The left has never been more left, and the right has never been more right.
And this president wasn’t elected — at least his core supporters didn’t elect him because they wanted to bring peace and unity to the country. They were spoiling for a fight because after eight years of Obama and what they felt being cut out of the system, they wanted to see some advances on the issues they care about. Donald Trump is actually the type of president that his voters asked him to be.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Karine, what does that mean?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, MoveOn.org: Well, that’s kind of scary in that regard because as president, you’re supposed to be a president for all, and he’s being more and more divider in chief. I think what we saw last night was 75 minutes of woe is me, victimization, the usual Donald Trump. He seemed very detached from reality, also incredibly isolated.
And he tried to rewrite history on how he responded to Charlottesville by omitting all– many sides and both sides, and saying that very fine people, call — saying that about the white supremacists.
So, it was incredibly disturbing what we saw yesterday. But it’s also not surprising. He was of script and speaking from his heart.
MATT SCHLAPP: Judy —
JUDY WOODRUFF: Let’s listen — just one minute, Matt.
MATT SCHLAPP: Sure.
JUDY WOODRUFF: I want you to listen to a brief part of what the president had to say. This is on the news media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: These are sick people. You know the thing I don’t understand? You would think, you would think they’d want to make our country great again, and I honestly believe they don’t. I honestly believe it.
If you want to discover the source of the division in our country, look no further than the fake news and the crooked media.
And I don’t believe they’re going to change, and that’s why I do this. If they would change, I would never say it. The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself and the fake news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JUDY WOODRUFF: Matt, you were saying earlier the president is doing what his supporters elected him to do.
MATT SCHLAPP: Yes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Is this part of that?
MATT SCHLAPP: Yes, absolutely. We’ve been fighting — conservatives have been fighting with the national media for a long time because they feel like they just don’t get a fair shake.
If you look at the Harvard study that came out recently on news coverage, all the big networks and the big media outlets, it skewed way against Trump. It skewed way to the left. If you look at all the surveys of reporters and who they tend to vote for politically and their political leanings, it skews to the left.
It doesn’t mean a Democratic and left-leaning reporter can’t be fair, and I think it’s very unfair to say — to talk about the media monolithically. And he brought that out in his remarks last night, too. But there are place where’s a conservative, quite honestly, just can’t get a fair shake.
This is not one of those. But there are some places where they can’t and this is a 50-year battle that conservatives have had in this country.
JUDY WOODRUFF: How does this advance the president’s agenda?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: It doesn’t at all. And from what I can remember, the white supremacists that were marching in Charlottesville, they weren’t pledging their allegiance to “The New York Times” or CNN. They were pledging their allegiance to Donald Trump. Some of them were saluting to the Nazi flag in his name.
And so, the fake news is coming from Donald Trump, or we are — we are essentially following everything that he is saying. So, we’re not making this up. These are his words. All we have to do is play back the tapes.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The other thing I want to ask you both about is — and this is — quickly just listen to another excerpt of what the president had to say last night about fellow Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Obamacare is a disaster, and think, think — we were just one vote away from victory after seven years of everybody proclaiming repeal and replace. One vote away. One, one vote. One vote away.
And nobody wants me to talk about your other senator, whose weak on borders, weak on crime, so I won’t talk about him.
Nobody wants me to talk about him. Nobody knows who the hell he is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Matt, of course, the president is referring to Arizona’s two senators.
MATT SCHLAPP: Right.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Jeff Flake who he was just talking about. And Senator John McCain —
MATT SCHLAPP: Right.
JUDY WOODRUFF: — that one vote on health care, who by the way is undergoing chemotherapy right now for cancer.
MATT SCHLAPP: Yes, #indisputable. One vote away.
And think about it, two of those votes, both Senator Murkowski and Senator John McCain, went around this country — John McCain featured it in his television ads that he would lead the charge to repeal and replace Obamacare.
And it’s worse than what the president said. There are actually six Republican senators who switched their vote on a copycat vote. In 2015, they voted to repeal Obamacare, knowing Obama would veto it. This time, they didn’t vote that way because they knew it would become law. Why did they go around this country for seven and a half years saying they would repeal it?
JUDY WOODRUFF: But what I’m curious about, Karine, is how does this help the president to be going after members of his own party?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: It doesn’t at all when Congress —
MATT SCHLAPP: But you kind of enjoy it, don’t you?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Hey, it’s great.
MATT SCHLAPP: OK.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: I have popcorn for days to watch this madness. But when Congress comes back in September, Donald Trump’s going to be a very lonely person. And the reason why Obamacare failed to be repealed and is still the law today is because Trumpcare was so unpopular. The only thing more unpopular than Donald Trump was Trumpcare.
MATT SCHLAPP: This is, this is-
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: And, remember, he only needed 50 votes. Not 60.
MATT SCHLAPP: That’s right.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Fifty. And they couldn’t get that number.
MATT SCHLAPP: And we have 52 Republican senators. This is a fight my party has to have. We won’t push aggressively for our agenda, our supporters start to wonder why they put Republicans in at all.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So does that justify or explain the president’s — what was reported to be — this shouting match, angry conversation between Mitch McConnell —
MATT SCHLAPP: Having — we both served in different White House administration, but I cannot tell you how many times word spread when the president, the vice president, or someone senior in the staff had harsh words with someone on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You’re saying this has happened before.
MATT SCHLAPP: It happens all the time. Remember Trent Lott? You know, there was all that controversy. So this is not uncommon.
The only difference in the Trump era which I don’t like is these spats tend to wind up in the pages of magazines and newspapers. I wish there was a little more discretion. I don’t know who’s guilty on that front, but the White House sure has been leaking a lot, previous to General Kelly.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But it does raise a question, Karine, is this president going to get done what he wants to get done, whether it’s — I’m going to say it for Matt, tax reform, infrastructure work.
MATT SCHLAPP: That’s right. Health care.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Health care.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, gosh!
JUDY WOODRUFF: Is this going to advance?
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: I just think it makes it very difficult for him. But I have to say Republicans have been enabling him. I think even though there was a spat, if you will, that was reported in the paper last night, they are still going to be lockstep with Donald Trump. I don’t see any scenario where they are not.
MATT SCHLAPP: We need to have this fight. We need to learn as a party that — I give you guys great credit in the Obama administration. You got the agenda through. Even when you couldn’t get it through Congress, by hook, by crook, by phone, by pen, they got it in.
Republicans, we are much more timid. We’re so afraid we’re going to rankle people. That’s why we turn to Trump. We’re tired of that because it doesn’t — it doesn’t end up in results. They want to see results. Maybe this won’t work, but maybe it’s our only way to actually get things done.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But nothing timid about this president.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: But you guys, they obstructed for eight years and they were very successful. There’s a reason we have Justice Gorsuch and not —
MATT SCHLAPP: The American people gave Republicans majority and they acted in that way. We’re good at obstructing. Let’s see if we can actually govern.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Well, you haven’t been able to do that.
MATT SCHLAPP: I agree with you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Matt Schlapp, Karine Jean-Pierre, we’ll have you back to continue this. Thank you both.
MATT SCHLAPP: Thanks, Judy.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you.
The post Does Trump’s divisive Phoenix rhetoric help his agenda? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We return to the president’s campaign rally last night, and get the perspective of a Republican congressman where the border debate hits home. Representative Will Hurd of Texas serves on the House Homeland Security Committee, as well as the Intelligence and Oversight Committees. Earlier this month, Hurd visited 20 different Dairy Queens for a series of meet-and-greets with constituents across his sprawling district. It stretches from San Antonio down to El Paso. That is one-third of the entire U.S.-Mexico border.
Congressman Hurd, thank you very much for joining us.
So, 20 Dairy Queens. Tell us, what did your constituents tell you? What was on their minds?
REP. WILL HURD, R-Texas: Well, what was interesting is one of the first questions I got asked was about North Korea. I think the potential threat of nuclear war makes people want to ask those questions. We also heard about tax reform as well, and with 820 miles of the border with U.S. and Mexico, the smart wall which is a piece of legislation I have been working on, they were asking more questions about that.
So, it was one of the things I try to do every year. I’ve done over 450 public events in last two and a half years I’ve been in conclude, and it’s a great way to get the temperature of the people you’re supposed to represent.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I don’t know whether you had a chance to talk to constituents today, but I do want to ask you about President Trump’s comments last night at that rally in Phoenix, where he went after the news media other ands, said his remarks in the aftermath of Charlottesville had been misrepresented, that he’s denounced bigotry, and he’s denounced racism. He says he’s been unequivocal in that regard.
Do you think he’s been unequivocal in his statements in Charlottesville?
REP. WILL HURD: Well, I think that the changes in some of the positions created doubt about whether the leader of the free world, you know, denounced racism and bigotry. I think he’s — he’s clarified those statements, and — but whenever there’s any kind of doubts, especially when it comes to the president of the United States, that’s unacceptable.
And in America today, there’s no room for skinheads or KKK or neo-Nazis, or anti-Semitism or hatred or bigotry of any kind.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, where do you think he stands on the issue of racism?
REP. WILL HURD: Well, I think he has clarified those statements in previous comments. But, again, I think everybody would have been — would have been — would feel better if those were the statements that came out first and foremost on day one.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Congressman, I want to turn you to the subject that we mentioned a moment ago, and that is the president’s statement last night that he very much still wants that border wall built along the U.S.-Mexico border. He said at one point that he’s prepared to see the government shut down if the Congress does not vote the funding for that border wall as he envisions it.
And I know you have not supported his position on the wall. How do you read what he’s saying?
REP. WILL HURD: Well, I think shutting the government down for $1.5 billion of a concrete structure doesn’t make sense. The GAO did a report recently that showed that it actually costs more money when the government was shut down in 20 — I think it was 2013, than keeping it open. So I think that’s a strategy that we shouldn’t pursue.
And to me the alternative is a smart wall, building a ball from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least-effective way to do border security. It’s 2017. We should have secured our border by now. We should have operational control over the 2,000 miles. And the quickest and most effective way to do that right now is with technology and manpower.
And this is a fraction of the cost. The wall — based on the administration numbers — per mile is $25.5 million a mile. A smart wall, where you use technology, half a million. It’s a $24 million difference per mile.
It is 2017. We can deploy sensors that tell the difference between an animal and a person. We can track that person with a drone until we deploy our most important resource, the men and women in border patrol. And that’s a fraction of the cost of building a concrete structure.
And what we have to remember is every mile of the border is different from every other mile. And building a 30-foot-high concrete structure that takes four hours to penetrate in the Chihuahuan Desert, is the equivalent of the bridge to nowhere. And if you don’t have Border Patrol to respond to threats on a physical structure, then that physical structure is actually not a barrier.
And so, we should be — we should be smart about this, and we should be making sure we don’t have a one-size-fits-all solution to border security.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It was interesting, the president referred only to Democrats opposing his support of that wall last night. But it’s clear that you and other Republicans have concerns as well.
I do want to ask you, Congressman Hurd about what the president had to say about the two Republican senators from Arizona last night, the state where he was. He didn’t call them out by name, Senator McCain and Senator Flake. But he went after both of them, as he has in the past, and we know in the last few days of reporting, that he got into a shouting match with the Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, in the last few days.
Today, both McConnell and the White House have put out statements saying they’re still working together. But, clearly, there’s been really, some bad blood. How do you look on that?
REP. WILL HURD: Well, one of the things, Judy, I learned as I was crisscrossing my district going to all these Dairy Queens is that people realize there’s way more that unites us than divides us. That is appropriate for our party, that’s appropriate for us, all of us as legislators.
And I think our time should be spent on talking about those things that unite us as Americans and deliver for the American public. And I think that is something that is a better use of everyone’s time, and this is going to further the cause of the American people a lot more than focusing on divisions.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And do you think the president is talking about unifying Americans enough?
REP. WILL HURD: I don’t think so. And, again, you know, the bully pulpit that the president has is pretty significant. And I think that one of the things this I’ve learned in my two and a half years in Congress is the American people want to see us transcend party label and transcend D and R and actually get things done, deliver to the American people, and I think if we were focused on that, we would be seeing a lot more folks happy with what’s going on in Washington, D.C.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Representative Will Hurd of Texas, thank you very much.
REP. WILL HURD: Always a pleasure to be on.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: And we’ll hear more of what Mr. Trump had to say last night, and explore the reaction today, after the news summary.
In the day’s other news, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton says Mr. Trump made her skin crawl during a debate last year. She writes about the incident during their second general election face-off. That’s in her new book “What Happened.” In audio excerpts which she recorded, Clinton speaks of how candidate Trump followed her around the stage, and says, it was incredibly uncomfortable.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, Former Presidential Candidate: Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on as if he weren’t repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye and say loudly and clearly, back up, you creep, get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me, so back up.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
JUDY WOODRUFF: The debate took place in St. Louis, last October, right after an audiotape had surfaced of Mr. Trump bragging about groping women.
The U.S. Navy has relieved the commander of the 7th Fleet after four ship collisions in Asian waters this year. A statement today announced Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin was removed due to, quote, loss of confidence in his ability to command. He’d been scheduled to retire soon.
It follows the latest collision between the destroyer John S. McCain and an oil tanker, off Singapore. Several American sailors were killed; several others are still missing.
In Yemen, officials say an air strike by a Saudi Arabia-run coalition force killed as many as 60 people today, including rebels and civilians. It happened just north of the capital, Sana’a. The city is controlled by the Shiite rebels who are backed by Iran. Emergency workers spent the day recovering bodies from the rubble. The Saudis said they’re reviewing the incident.
The U.S. State Department is defending a decision to cut or delay almost $300 billion in U.S. aid to Egypt, over its human rights violations. Cairo today criticized the move as a, quote, misjudgment by the U.S., but activists say dissent is being stifled by the regime.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says the administration believes that withholding aid will lead to change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEATHER NAUERT, State Department Spokeswoman: Egypt has been put essentially on notice with this. Now as I talk about the money that’s been put off to the side, I want to mention that they still did get a billion dollars in fiscal year 2017. So, they still got some of their money but we’re withholding part of that money until they can start to come around and adhere to democratic reforms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump’s advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner was in Cairo today, and met with Egypt’s president and foreign minister.
Pakistan pushed back harder today against pressure from President Trump. He stepped up criticism this week that Pakistan harbors Taliban militants who stage attacks in Afghanistan. Today, the Pakistani foreign minister said in an interview, about the Trump administration, quote, They should not make Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures in Afghanistan.
Back in this country, federal prosecutors in Las Vegas are trying to regroup after a jury refused on Tuesday to convict four men in a ranch standoff. They were accused of threatening and assaulting federal agents in 2014. Two were acquitted on all charges, two others, on most charges. The case grew out of a standoff between rancher Cliven Bundy and federal officers over his refusal to pay grazing fees on public lands. An earlier trial ended in a hung jury.
Statues of two Confederate generals were shrouded in black today in Charlottesville, Virginia. The city council ordered the monuments to Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson covered. It’s to represent mourning for Heather Heyer. She’s the young woman who was protesting against white supremacists this month when a car ran her down and killed her.
And on Wall Street, stocks pulled back after yesterday’s big gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 87 points to close at 21,812, the Nasdaq fell 19 points, and the S&P 500 slipped eight.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: From the president today, a return to measured tones, and a message of unity. This, only hours after he sounded off in a full-throated denunciation of those he sees as not sharing his views.
John Yang begins our coverage.
JOHN YANG: Addressing the American Legion National Convention today in Reno, Nevada, President Trump largely stayed on message.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It is time to heal the wounds that divided us and to seek a new unity based on the common values that unite us. We are one people, with one home and one great flag.
What a crowd.
JOHN YANG: But at a rally organized and paid for by his re-election campaign in Phoenix Tuesday night, for 77 minutes, it was Mr. Trump unscripted and unfiltered. He mocked critics of his evolving reaction to the violence in Charlottesville and defended his words.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: He didn’t say it fast enough. He didn’t do it on time. Why did it take a day? He must be a racist. It took a day.
I hit ’em with neo-Nazi. I hit ’em with everything. I got the white supremacists, the neo-Nazi. I got them all in there, let’s say. KKK, we have KKK. I got them all.
JOHN YANG: But Mr. Trump did not mention what drew critics’ ire — his previous remarks equating hate groups and those protesting them.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.
JOHN YANG: As the president spoke last night, a leader of the white separatist movement, which calls itself the alt-right, tweeted: Trump has never denounced the alt-right. Nor will he.
Before the speech, Mr. Trump met with Border Patrol officers along the Mexican border, and later declared he will do whatever it takes to achieve a signature campaign promise, even shut down the government.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And we are building a wall on the southern border, which is absolutely necessary.
AUDIENCE: Build that wall! Build that wall!
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Build that wall! Now, the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it. But believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall.
JOHN YANG: Today, House leaders in both parties rejected the idea. Speaker Paul Ryan —
REP. PAUL RYAN, R-Wis., Speaker of the House: I don’t think in anyone’s interested in having a shutdown. I don’t think it’s in our interest to do so. I don’t think you have to choose between the two.
JOHN YANG: Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi accused the president of threatening to cause chaos in the lives of millions of Americans if he doesn’t get his way. She said Democrats will stand fast against the immoral, ineffective border wall.
The president also said talks on renegotiating NAFTA, which began just last week, are likely headed for failure.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Personally, I don’t think we can make a deal, because we have been so badly taken advantage of. So I think we’ll end up probably terminating NAFTA at some point, OK? Probably.
JOHN YANG: And Mr. Trump electrified the crowd by hinting at a presidential pardon for former local sheriff Joe Arpaio. He’s awaiting sentencing for defying a federal court order to stop detaining suspected undocumented immigrants. He faces up to six months in jail.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: So, was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job? That’s what —
I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine, OK?
JOHN YANG: As the president spoke, emotions ran high both inside the arena, and on the streets outside, where hundreds of protesters gathered.
While it was mostly calm, police used tear gas after they said rocks and bottles were thrown at them. Officials reported at least four arrests and no injuries.
Mr. Trump’s Phoenix performance was reminiscent of last year’s campaign — seemingly free of any constraints or inhibitions. And, as in last year’s campaign, it caused critics to question the president’s fitness for office.
On CNN, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
JAMES CLAPPER, Former Director of National Intelligence: I found this downright scary and disturbing. So, there’s very little in the way of controls over, you know, exercising a nuclear option, which is pretty damn scary.
JOHN YANG: But Mr. Trump’s core supporters loved it and their applause, cheers and chants were music to the president’s ears.
For the PBS NewsHour, I’m John Yang.
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Last week, web hosting company DreamHost said it would not comply with a DOJ demand for more than one million visitor IP addresses and other data from a site involved with Inauguration Day protests.
But on Monday, ahead of a Thursday hearing in D.C. Superior Court, the government dropped the request for visitor IP logs and drastically narrowed the warrant’s scope, writing that it had “no interest” in the kind of sweeping data it initially requested.
Here’s a look at what happened, and what comes next.
Why did DOJ make its original request?
Federal prosecutors said Disruptj20.org was used to plan a violent riot on Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C., that caused extensive property damage and injured six police officers.
The demand to DreamHost is part of a larger case the DOJ is building against more than 100 Inauguration Day protesters. Jury trials for those cases are set to begin in October.
A D.C. Superior Court judge approved the government’s search warrant for the visitor IP addresses, among other data, in early July. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says DreamHost refused to comply so they filed a motion to compel DreamHost to do so. DreamHost will have to now make its case Thursday before a D.C Superior Court.
Why was this a big deal?
DreamHost and privacy advocates said the warrant was “a strong example of investigatory overreach and a clear abuse of government authority.”
“That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment. That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind,” DreamHost wrote in a blog post.
How often does a request like this happen?
It is standard for the government to request an expansive amount of electronic records — the entirety of a suspect’s emails, for instance — and then search through those records for the particularly described evidence.
It is unusual, however, to see a warrant for an entire website, said Orin Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University Law School and a computer crime law expert.
When it comes to the physical realm — a car, apartment or an office — what constitutes a reasonable search and seizure is well established and on a practical level, more clear cut.
But “there is not well established case law on this when it comes to the digital realm,” Kerr said.
How and why did the DOJ’s request change?
Prosecutors defend the original warrant but say that they did not realize DreamHost had such a large amount of visitor data, or in turn, that their request would be so sweeping.
“What the government did not know when it obtained the Warrant — what it could not have reasonably known — was the extent of visitor data maintained by DreamHost that extends beyond the government’s singular focus in this case of investigating the planning, organization, and participation in the January 20, 2017 riot,” prosecutors wrote, while defending the original warrant.
(A July email included in DreamHost’s response to the original warrant shows DreamHost did alert federal prosecutors that their warrant “seeks the IP addresses of over 1 million visitors to the website.”)
The U.S. attorney’s D.C. office said its request was not about the first amendment, but rather, trying to prove protesters had premeditated and organized violent demonstrations on Inauguration Day.
The new warrant is narrower in scope, seeking not the IP addresses of every visitor to the site but instead for records of focused, private groups that were organized through the website. The modified warrant would also specify the time frame for records it requests and exclude draft posts and photos that were never published on the website.
“The warrant is focused on evidence of the planning, coordination and participation in a criminal act — that is, a premeditated riot,” the government wrote in its new court filing.
Either way, “I think it was wise for the DOJ to file this revised warrant” Chris Ghazarian, DreamHost’s general counsel, told the Newshour on Tuesday. “This is a huge victory for DreamHost, and, more importantly, for the public.”
A hearing is scheduled Thursday morning in D.C. Superior Court.
A judge will decide whether to modify the scope of the government’s original warrant. DreamHost will have to answer for its delay in complying, and will expand on a brief it filed Wednesday detailing its remaining issues.
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RENO, Nev. — Within a 24-hour span, President Donald Trump delivered one speech in which he tore into the media and members of his own party, and a second in which he called for national unity and love.
The about-face seemed to reflect the president’s real-time internal debate between calls for moderation and his inclination to let loose.
On Wednesday, the president spoke in measured tones and stuck to his prepared remarks as he praised veterans at an American Legion conference in Nevada as examples for a nation yearning to set aside its differences.
“We are here to hold you up as an example of strength, courage and resolve that our country will need to overcome the many challenges that we face,” he said.
The night before, the president cut loose in Arizona, defying instructions from his aides to stick to the script and angrily renewing his fight with the press over its coverage of his comments about the race-fueled violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The public push-and-pull in Trump’s message mirrors the internal dynamics at the White House, where new chief of staff John Kelly has organized and regimented the West Wing staff but has been unable to rein in the president’s tendency to veer off course.
The president’s speech in Reno was full of the calls for patriotism and national healing that would not have seemed out of the ordinary had they been uttered by previous occupants of the Oval Office.
But his rally in Phoenix on Tuesday night was uniquely Trump. He opened his remarks with a talk of unity but quickly erupted in anger, blaming the media for the widespread condemnation of his response to the violence in Charlottesville at a protest organized by white supremacists.
President Trump’s expansive and divisive campaign-style speech in Phoenix drew cheers from his supporters but did nothing to reach more skeptical Americans. Judy Woodruff sits down with Matt Schlapp of the American Conservative Union and Karine Jean-Pierre of MoveOn.org to discuss how his remarks on Charlottesville, the news media and fellow Republicans affect his own agenda.
Trump read from his three responses to the racially charged violence, becoming more animated with each one. He withdrew from his suit pocket the written statement he’d read the day a woman was killed by a man who had plowed a car through counter-protesters. But he skipped over the trouble-causing part that he’d freelanced at the time: his observation that “many sides” were to blame.
That, as well as his reiteration days later that “both sides” were to blame for the violence that led to the death of Heather Heyer and two state troopers, led Democrats and many Republicans to denounce Trump for not unmistakably calling out white supremacists and other hate groups.
By the time he arrived at the American Legion conference, Trump seemed more congenial. He even thanked Sen. Dean Heller, a Nevada Republican with whom he has openly and repeatedly feuded. He discussed his early efforts to restructure and improve the Department of Veterans Affairs.
President Donald Trump addresses the American Legion convention in Reno, Nevada.
Later in the speech, Trump said Americans aren’t defined by the color of their skin, the size of their paycheck or their political party.
Since Kelly took over last month as chief of staff, he has ousted lightning-rod chief strategist Steve Bannon and hard-charging communications director Anthony Scaramucci while limiting dissenting voices, restricting access to the president and steering the president toward a desired outcome on key decisions.
He has urged Trump to more closely follow a game plan. But Trump’s broadside against the “damned dishonest” media, which he says is out to get him, was one of several detours he took from remarks prepared for the Phoenix rally. Trump unabashedly acknowledged that his own advisers had urged him to stay on message, and that he simply couldn’t.
His diatribe against the press wasn’t in his prepared remarks, according to two people familiar with the plan but not authorized to speak publicly about the president’s decision.
Though he was subdued in speaking to the veterans, Trump often resurrects his free-wheeling 2016 campaign style when in the comforting presence of his most fervent fans. He flings insults at perceived enemies and meanders from topic to topic. In Phoenix, his ease was apparent. As he discussed his responses to Charlottesville, Trump interrupted himself to add: “I didn’t want to bore you. You understand where I’m coming from. You people understand.”
Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Alan Fram in Washington contributed to this report.
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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump can’t enact his agenda without Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell may not have a majority to lead without Trump’s help. It’s simple, and still so complicated.
The strangest bedfellows in Washington are locked in an increasingly public and personal feud that defies conventional wisdom. The escalating tension between the two men is threatening the GOP’s re-election prospects and its ability to govern. It has erupted at a high-stakes moment for the Republican Party, which is facing the prospect of a government shutdown — and the possibility it may fail to enact any major legislation during its first year in complete control of Washington.
The dispute is a reminder of the unconventional politics that have gripped the GOP in the Trump era. While Trump and McConnell ostensibly share the same philosophy, legislative agenda, voters and political opponents, they increasingly act more like adversaries than allies — a reminder of just how divisive the president remains within his own party.
“He’s now actively attacking people who can help his agenda,” veteran Republican operative Doug Heye said of Trump, who has mobilized his avid supporters against GOP senators since the party’s embarrassing failure to overhaul the nation’s health care system. “It seems to be really a one-man spiral to the bottom.”
Divisions have deepened in recent weeks.
I requested that Mitch M & Paul R tie the Debt Ceiling legislation into the popular V.A. Bill (which just passed) for easy approval. They…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 24, 2017
…didn't do it so now we have a big deal with Dems holding them up (as usual) on Debt Ceiling approval. Could have been so easy-now a mess!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 24, 2017
McConnell, like other leading Republicans, is particularly upset by Trump’s persistent attacks against vulnerable Republican senators who need his help, according to a person familiar with the Kentucky Republican’s thinking who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share private conversations. The person said McConnell questions whether Trump is capable of righting his struggling presidency.
The concerns were exacerbated by Trump’s recent description of some participants in a white supremacist rally as “very fine people,” remarks that were broadly condemned by Republicans and Democrats.
The intra-party feuding threatens nearly all of Trump’s priorities, including his near-daily campaign trail pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.
While Trump threatened Tuesday to force a federal shutdown unless Congress provides funds for the massive project, many GOP lawmakers, especially moderates, lack his passion for the proposal. They may be harder to win over given the current rancorous atmosphere.
Republicans who feel wounded by Trump also could be less likely to defend him amid investigations into his campaign’s ties to Russia. And it could complicate the task of rallying Republicans around complicated tax legislation, where lawmakers can have divergent priorities.
“In politics, it’s a mistake to personalize things, particularly if it’s a member of your own team,” veteran Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said Wednesday. “The reality is you’re going to need them down the road.”
Trump and McConnell “remain united on many shared priorities” and they and other top officials will hold “previously scheduled meetings” after Congress returns from its August recess, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday in a statement. She said their goals include middle-class tax cuts, building the border wall and strengthening the military.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we are committed to advancing our shared agenda together and anyone who suggests otherwise is clearly not part of the conversation,” McConnell said in his own statement.
Such talks are unlikely to yield a close personal relationship between the two leaders.
At 75 years old, McConnell is just four years older than Trump. But he’s spent decades in Washington compared with Trump’s seven months. And stylistically and substantively, they are worlds apart.
McConnell, a Kentuckian, is guarded and gentlemanly, while Trump flashes a New Yorker’s brash, bombastic impertinence.
McConnell is an unrelenting GOP loyalist who’s mastered Senate rules and the legislative process, while Trump regularly bashes Republicans and has limited knowledge of congressional procedure. McConnell often seems to think several steps ahead of others, while Trump bounces from one subject to another with little clear strategic purpose.
The most perplexing of Trump’s strategies has been the attacks on sitting Republican senators when his party holds control of the Senate by a narrow margin. Without his support, the GOP stands a chance — if somewhat unlikely — of losing its Senate majority.
Last week, Trump encouraged a former Arizona state senator to challenge Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., in a Republican primary election. Meanwhile, a super PAC allied with Trump launched attack ads against Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, who is facing a primary challenge.
On Tuesday, Trump said his coy refusal to mention Flake’s name at an Arizona rally showed “very presidential” restraint. He abandoned the restraint by Wednesday morning, tweeting that he’s “not a fan of” Flake, whom he called “weak on crime & border.”
Publicly and privately, Republicans tasked with preserving the GOP’s House and Senate majorities next year are outraged.
Some party officials, Heye said, are asking themselves a difficult question: “Is it the Republican president or the Republican Senate I want to protect and work for?”
The divisions are “unprecedented,” said Republican pollster Chris Wilson.
Wilson said he thought the party could survive Trump’s political struggles and weak polling numbers in 2018, in part because so few races are being fought in competitive terrain. Democrats seeking the House majority have limited opportunities to pick up new seats given the way many congressional districts have been redrawn by Republican-led state legislatures. And Republicans expect gains among 10 states carried by Trump where Democrats currently serve.
But Wilson noted the division between Trump and his party is so clear, many voters don’t necessarily link the two.
“He does his own job of separating himself from the Republican brand,” Wilson said.
But it would be “catastrophic,” he said, if Trump and the Republican-led Congress fail to enact meaningful legislation now that they have total control of Washington.
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After campaigning as the candidate best able to work with business, President Donald Trump has shown he is anything but.
A stream of resignations from high-level business counsels hit a crescendo recently when Trump was forced to disband two executive councils. The widespread and public defections were in protest over his unwillingness to unequivocally condemn racism and intolerance over the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
As an expert in organizational communication and leadership, I saw the dismissal of the councils as a dramatic and important moment in the relationship between top business leaders and the president. But does it spell the demise of the often difficult partnership between President Trump and corporate America?
A permanent breach?
CEOs like Merck’s Ken Frazier rightly voted their conscience when they began to abandon Trump’s American Manufacturing Council and the Strategic and Policy Forum. Frazier, the first to resign, said he felt “a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
The Wall Street Journal, however, was quick to point out that many companies have stopped short of saying they would refuse to work with the White House in the future.
Indeed, despite the heated rhetoric, one thing is clear: Corporate America wants and needs to work with the administration, while the president benefits from a healthy relationship with America’s CEOs.
So if they both need each other, the question becomes how this increasingly tenuous relationship will play out.
Managing a tense relationship
CEOs from companies as diverse as General Electric and Under Armour resigned their positions on the councils and condemned the president. Despite this, their companies will continue to need to press their vast legislative and regulatory agendas with the White House.
Pretty much every U.S. company has a vested interest in economic and global affairs and the policy choices of the U.S. government. In recent days, some CEOs have told reporters that they regret – now that the councils have disbanded – not having a direct role to play and a collective voice in policy matters.
Others, such as Apple’s Tim Cook, show how it’s possible to publicly disagree with the president over some issues, such as equality, immigration and climate change, yet continue to influence the course of areas like tax reform and LGBTQ rights in private.
This may well be the new way of doing business with Washington.
In general, it is generally not in the best interests of the country to have a schism between the president and corporate America. History shows that there have often been tensions between government and business, yet both sides have generally been able to work collaboratively during critical times.
During Barack Obama’s first term, for example, there was tension between the White House and corporate America over issues such as regulation and his response to the financial crisis. Later in Obama’s presidency, however, business leaders worked closely with him to goad Congress into dealing with fiscal issues like the debt ceiling more responsibly to avoid hurting American’s credit rating or the stock market.
Learning the value of corporate values
What Trump – and perhaps his party as well – needs to learn is that values such as diversity and inclusion are very important to companies and their customers.
CNBC’s John Harwood recently identified three issues that hinder the Republican Party’s relationship with U.S businesses: economic policy, GOP competence and values. On the last point, Harwood argues the “GOP’s embrace of cultural conservatism conflicts with corporate America’s embrace of diversity and tolerance.”
That’s not something companies want to walk away from, nor should they. It is incumbent on this president, who has touted his ability to understand business, to not only face this fact but also to take it to heart.
Americans expect their president to be the moral leader of the United States, and as such, he must stand firmly for American values. When he fails to do so, CEOs have a responsibility to stand up for those values and to call out the president’s failures, as they just did.
Is there hope after Charlottesville?
So how will this historic and dramatic breach between a Republican president and the business community be closed?
In a word: carefully.
Businesses will have little choice but to continue to interact with the White House on some level but in a way that acknowledges how devastating and dangerous dancing with this administration can be. It won’t be business as usual. In the short term, look for most of the engagement to happen on the staff level and through intermediaries such as lobbyists and lawyers.
Meanwhile, the president would be wise to remember that good leaders are often good listeners. Kevin Sharer, the former CEO of Amgen, for example, identified listening as the most critical skill for effective leadership, a sentiment I hear echoed continually from business leaders in my ongoing work on identifying the most critical skills for successful leadership.
Pundits suggest that Donald Trump will always be Donald Trump, without change. Yet doing so has consequences, as the recent defections of CEOs and members of the Council of Arts and Humanities, established in 1982 under President Ronald Reagan, clearly show.
As these decisions show, principled business (and other) leaders will not turn their back on the values they have embedded into their organizations. They will continue to speak out when those values are challenged.
President Trump must now recognize and embrace the values of diversity, equality and inclusion and work collaboratively with leaders from business and government.
This is imperative if he hopes to be effective. CEOs, lawmakers and the American public – including myself – will be watching with keen interest.
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Kim Wall, a Swedish freelance journalist, disappeared after boarding a private submarine owned by Danish inventor Peter Madsen on Aug. 10. She was researching Madsen and his submarine for an article.
Madsen first told authorities that he had dropped her off that night but later changed his story to say she died in an accident on his submarine and that he “buried” her at sea. Madsen has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Remains, found in a Copenhagen port, were identified as Wall on Wednesday. PBS NewsHour producer Jon Gerberg wrote this remembrance of his friend.
There was always a reason to hope with Kim.
The gallivanting journalist she was, always sneaking off to some far corner of the world and returning with a juicy, moving, almost other-worldly story. She could have just snuck off.
The day the news broke, reaching for a possible note of hope, I joked to a friend online. “She’s probably just working on some super stealthy story, about some underground Danish confectionary sex cult,” I wrote.
“That would sound like Kim,” she replied. “Throw in some North Korean or Tamil Tiger defectors, and that’s pretty much her remit.”
But it wasn’t the case this time. Kim Wall’s remains, which had washed ashore the coast of Copenhagen, were identified on Wednesday.
Kim had reported from everywhere from Havana to North Korea. She surveyed post-war tourism in Sri Lanka and explored voodoo in Haiti. She unveiled fairy tale romances in New York and tiger poaching in India. For 30 years old, the amount and the depth of the reporting she did is intimidating.
And her body of journalistic work was almost as expansive as her spirit. Talk to anyone who met her, even once, and they were immediately touched by her almost enchanting positivity. Her humble smile, her crisp wit. She was always excited to see you. And she gave the best hugs.
She was a reporter by nature. When she asked you a question she meant it. If you ever tried to give her a stock answer, or brush off a question, she’d casually bat these pretty eyelashes. “Really? Is that it?” You knew you weren’t getting off that easily.
I last saw her in January. She crashed on my couch in Washington, D.C., for the post-inauguration Women’s March. We went out with friends, laughed, talked politics, planned for the future. She convinced me to visit her in Beijing.
Kim’s loss has devastated an entire community, many of whom knew Kim much better than I. Watching a network of hundreds of journalists — literally across the world — come together through this shock and uncertainty to search for answers and to support each other, has been both heart-wrenching and sadly inspiring.
A 90-person Messenger thread on Facebook, set up by her journalist friends, turned from a crowd-sourced multi-lingual feed of news updates to a Tumblr-style stream of jovial images, videos and memories of the Kim we all love — flashing peace signs, calling out patriarchy and rocking fabulous sweaters; to a log of weary condolences. We chose to remember her, not by the recent headlines, but by her amazing reporting and as the amazing person she was.
“She was extremely easy to love,” Annie Zak, a Columbia University graduate school classmate and friend of Kim’s, told me. “We bonded over late-night work sessions at school, and it was always clear that she had a unique way of viewing the world. This was an asset to her as a reporter as much as it was as a friend.
“She was also the ideal karaoke partner for Toto’s ‘Africa,'” Zak added, “which we sang much more than once.”
Her mother, Ingrid Wall posted a message on Facebook the day the remains were confirmed as her daughter’s (translated): “She gave voice to the weak, the vulnerable and marginalized people. That voice had been needed for a long time. Now it will not be.”
Her colleagues and friends hope that Kim’s never-ending spirit will live on, through the light she cast so widely, in her work and life.
See more examples of her work:
Read more tributes to Kim Wall.
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Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has emerged from a close and widely watched election as winner over perennial opposition candidate Raila Odinga. But tensions have not lifted despite the declaration by Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) that Kenyatta won with 54 percent of the vote.
The election is a litmus test for the nation’s democratic progress, and heightened security measures remain in effect to try to prevent a reoccurrence of the widespread violence that erupted after a presidential vote a decade ago.
Odinga, leader of the National Super Alliance, has appealed to the Supreme Court while at the same time calling for civil disobedience from his supporters. If either side does not accept the court’s eventual ruling, ethnic conflict could erupt again, posing great risks to East Africa’s economic hub and one of the region’s most stable countries.
The question of election credibility
The IEBC and the vote received high marks from international observers. Western observers have concluded that Kenyatta has been legitimately reelected, and the U.S. Department of State has formally congratulated him on his victory. Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party also won a majority of parliamentary seats and governorships, including that of the capital, Nairobi, which had been held by the opposition. Parallel vote counts by the Elections Observation Group (ELOG), an umbrella organization of Kenyan nongovernmental election observers, largely corroborated the IEBC’s results. Nevertheless, some Kenyans see international observers as too quick to accept Kenyatta’s victory, and they did not stay past the election.
Kenya has a history of election fraud. This time, the elections depended on sophisticated technology for voter identification and registration designed to preclude fraud. It appears to have mostly worked. However, the elections were exceptionally expensive, especially for a lower-middle-income country, costing an estimated $333 million in direct costs and another $166 million in indirect costs. The government allocated $25.40 for each of Kenya’s 19.6 million registered voters, making it one of the most expensive elections per capita in the world. Some Kenyans question whether such expense will be justified in the future and whether it significantly mitigates popular suspicions that elections are not credible.
Postelection analysis indicated that most Kenyans voted along ethnic lines, as they have in the past. But at the same time, there is much that is already positive about the 2017 elections. Incumbent governors who were defeated conceded to the victors. The number of women elected to office increased, and, for the first time, a Kenyan Somali, from a hitherto marginalized community, was elected to the parliament. Should the election results as a whole prove to have been credible, public confidence in future elections and, more generally, in democratic institutions is bound to strengthen.
Kenyatta is the son of independent Kenya’s first president, Odinga of its first prime minister. Kenyatta is a member of the Kikuyu, which is the country’s largest ethnic group, with some 7 million of Kenya’s 48 million people; Odinga is a member of the Luo, the fourth largest at about 5 million. Both ethnic groups believe their numbers are undercounted. Both leaders have become rich: Kenyan media has estimated Kenyatta has a net worth $500 million, while Odinga has about half that. By contrast, despite the World Bank’s designation of Kenya as a lower-middle-income country, most Kenyans are poor. Elected officials earn up to 25 times the average Kenyan’s salary, making winning office a compelling concern.
Politics in Kenya is about personality and patronage, not policy. Kenyatta is 56 years old and presumably still has a career in front of him. Odinga is 72; this year’s election was likely his last shot at the presidency. Kenya is waging a war against al-Shabab militants in Somalia and has been subject to terrorist attacks, yet security issues played a muted role, if any, during the campaign.
Economic growth continues to dominate campaigns: while Odinga appeals to a poorer and more marginalized constituency, including the residents of Nairobi’s slums, Kenyatta emphasizes big business. According to the International Monetary Fund, Kenya’s gross domestic product grew 5.3 percent under Kenyatta in 2017 and is projected to increase 5.8 percent next year, though the opposition questions these statistics.
The country is in the midst of a drought, resulting in high food prices, which the Kenyatta administration has sought to control. Some observers thought that Odinga would benefit electorally from high food prices. However, as in other new democracies, Kenyan voters instinctively love a winner; hence Kenyatta’s incumbency worked to his advantage.
A history of violence
In the 2007–2008 election cycle, up to 1,400 were killed and 600,000 were displaced, according to media estimates. Fighting between the Kikuyu and Kalenjin ethnic groups was the prime driver of that violence. In the 2013 elections, Human Rights Watch estimates that 477 were killed and 118,000 displaced, mostly prior to the vote. However, that cycle of violence stopped when Kenyatta and the Kikuyu formed an electoral alliance with former rival William Ruto and the Kalenjin. Election Day in 2013 was peaceful; Kenyatta won the presidency, Ruto the deputy presidency. Odinga contested those election results in the Supreme Court but ultimately accepted its ruling against him.
In 2017, the preelection period included largely underreported violence. Female candidates, of whom there were more than in the past, were victims of violence. The murder of Chris Msando, the electoral commission’s director of technology, days before the election undermined confidence in the process among Odinga’s supporters. Some opposition figures publicly said that his death precluded free and fair elections. Nongovernmental organizations estimate that army and police forces have killed up to 100 Kenyans thus far; the security forces dispute this number. Nevertheless, violence has been lower and the security services have been more restrained than in the past. The Kikuyu-Kalenjin alliance of Kenyatta and Ruto has continued, and ethnic conflict between the two ethnic groups has not resumed.
The role of the media
Though better than in other parts of Africa, the quality of the news media is poor. Kenyans trust radio the most for news but use television more. It is estimated that almost half of all Kenyans used social media for their election news, trusting it about as much as television. Disinformation abounds, feeding conspiracy theories. One survey shows that 90 percent of Kenyans have seen so-called fake news. Its pervasiveness undermines confidence in elections and, more generally, democratic political institutions. But it is also through social media that the Kenyan people can hold their government accountable. Most known episodes of security service brutality were first reported by social media.
As Odinga’s court challenge goes forward, social media will both reflect and shape the popular response. It has the potential to amplify and inflame ethnic tensions, and there have been calls for shutting it down to preserve social peace in a dangerous period.
Kenyatta’s margin of victory is much higher than preelection polls indicated, and there remain some irregularities with respect to documenting the vote count. Msando’s unsolved murder may have facilitated the hacking of the IEBC computers and altering of vote tallies, as Odinga claims, though there is no evidence that this took place. Odinga argues that the elections were stolen at the point during which vote counts were consolidated rather than at polling stations, which were the focus of international and domestic monitors.
No matter how the Supreme Court rules, such is the depth of suspicion of the government and its institutions that a substantial part of the electorate will regard any outcome of the presidential race as illegitimate. Violence, however, is not the inevitable outcome of disaffection. The behavior of political leaders and of the security services are crucial factors. Political leaders can inflame ethnic differences, and brutality by the security services can transform peaceful demonstrations into violent mobs. If Kenya is to continue to avoid widespread violence, Kenyatta and Odinga must be restrained in their rhetoric and the administration must insist on security service discipline.
This analysis first appeared on Aug. 21 on the Council on Foreign Relations’ website.
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The White House may address President Donald Trump’s vocal frustration with Congress in a Thursday news briefing, the first since his working vacation in Bedminster, New Jersey.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will hold a news briefing at 2:30 p.m. ET today. Watch her remarks in the player above.
Since returning from New Jersey, the president has made a series of public remarks that have varied widely in tone. In Phoenix, he mocked the press for their coverage of his Charlottesville remarks, saying it was pulling people apart. By the next day, Trump was calling for unity at a speech to the American Legion.
Today, Trump took to Twitter to criticize leaders within his party, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who the president criticized on Twitter: “The only problem I have with Mitch McConnell is that, after hearing Repeal & Replace for 7 years, he failed! That should NEVER have happened!”
The only problem I have with Mitch McConnell is that, after hearing Repeal & Replace for 7 years, he failed!That should NEVER have happened!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 24, 2017
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Much like the weather, some human stomachs change throughout the year. The gut microbes of the Hadza, a hunter-gatherer group in Tanzania, shift dramatically as their diet changes with the seasons, according to new research from Stanford University. When applied on a longer timescale, these trends could explain why industrialized populations have a less diverse set of gut microbes and more chronic disease relative to hunter-gatherer populations.
“For much of [human] evolution and migrations, it appears that we harbored certain types of bacteria commonly and then many of those bacteria have gone missing over the course of modernization of society,” said Stanford microbiologist Justin Sonnenburg, who led the study published Thursday in Science.
In an ideal world, Sonnenburg said he would have a time machine, so he could study how the human microbiome evolved to influence human health over eons. The gut microbiome is an army of small organisms, like bacteria, that occupy the lower intestine. Mainly feeding on dietary fiber, these tiny troops assist in food digestion, build vitamins, train our immune system and guard against pathogens.
Without a time machine, Sonnenburg’s next best option was ostensibly the Hadza, one of the world’s few remaining populations of hunter-gatherers, with about 200 still adhering to the lifestyle. Much of their traditional way of life, Sonnenburg said, “gives a window into humanity’s ancient past.”
During the dry season, Hadza consume more tubers, potato-like crops, and wild game like zebra or giraffe, while in the wet season, their diets favor berries and honey. Sonnenburg wondered if Hadza microbiomes, like their diets, would also flux with the seasons. So he partnered with Jeff Leach, founder of the Human Food Project, who had been living with and studying the Hadza for years.
The team collected 350 stool samples from 188 Hadza individuals over the course of a year. After analyzing the microbes in each sample, the researchers found that the gut microbes did vary seasonally, which aided the stomach’s ability to digest food.
Hadza had more enzymes for breaking down animal-made carbohydrates during the dry season, and more enzymes to target plant-based carbohydrates in the wet season.
“Given that the changes are so quick and happen every year, [the study] provides support to the claim that a [gut microbiome] change is dependant on the diet,” said University of Minnesota geneticist Ran Blekhman, who was not involved in the study. While previously documented in multiple animal studies, “this is the first study to document the seasonal effect in hunter gatherers.”
But the “jaw-dropping moment,” according to co-author Sam Smits, happened when the team found the biggest fluctuations in the Hadza involve the same bacterial species that are absent in the guts of people living in industrialized societies.
“These bugs are virtually undetectable in Western populations,” Smits said. Given the Hadza lost microbiome diversity over seasons as their dietary fiber decreased, the team argues the same may have happened in Western populations over longer timeframes.
“The Hadza eat 100-150 grams of dietary fiber per day. We Americans eat about 15 grams per day. So I think in the Western world what we are doing is starving our microbial cells,” Sonnenburg said.
But nutritional anthropologist Alyssa Crittenden doesn’t think plant consumption is the best explanation for these seasonal differences. She wished the study had collected more dietary data at the same time the samples were collected. Instead, the researchers relied on diet patterns previously documented by other studies.
Without this information, we cannot be certain what exactly caused the change in gut microbes, she said. Moreover, the Hadza’s way of life has already been influenced by Western society — thanks to nearby cell towers and farming — so Crittenden wonders if Hadza diets can be considered traditional.
“The conclusions insinuate that the Hadza microbiota are ancestral. The Hadza are modern people. They are not fossils,” said Crittenden who works at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “They are undergoing a massive transition.”
In the future, Sonnenburg wants to investigate if we can repair the Western microbiome and improve health in the U.S. by taking cues from Hadza dietary practices. Western diseases like heart disease and diabetes are virtually nonexistent in hunter-gatherer populations like the Hadza.
“Humans are not just a collection of cells. We are composite organisms,” Sonnenburg said. “Just like ecosystems – like a rainforest composed of thousands of species. We need all of the species to work in concert for us to be healthy,” he said.
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Above: Galveston’s seawall camera via Galveston.com
The National Hurricane Center upgraded Hurricane Harvey to a category 4 hurricane Friday evening as the storm barreled toward the U.S.
— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) August 25, 2017
It is expected to make landfall in southeast Texas late Friday evening or Saturday morning.
In a 7 p.m. update on Twitter, the agency said the storm was close to the Corpus Christi’s shore, with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.
President Donald Trump tweeted Friday night that he had signed a federal disaster declaration.
At the request of the Governor of Texas, I have signed the Disaster Proclamation, which unleashes the full force of government help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2017
Earlier in the day, the NHC added that the middle and upper Texas coast could see up to 40 inches of rain in isolated areas throughout the coming days.
Storm Chaser Jeff Piotrowski is streaming from southeast Texas:
WeatherBug has a time-lapse camera at First Community Bank in Corpus Christi.
And here’s the Galveston.com camera from the beach.
President Donald Trump spoke with Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and John Bel Edwards of Louisiana on Thursday and “committed to providing assistance as appropriate,” according to a White House statement.
Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb says he’s confident anything “within our control will be taken care of,” as long as people stay out of the line of flood waters.
A total of 54 Red Cross shelters are expected throughout the recovery process, according to the governor.
How is the state preparing?
On Friday, Governor Abbott issued a statement offering evacuation tips and urging residents to listen to the advice of local officials.
“Texans must also take action and treat this storm seriously,” Abbott said. “Bring in outdoor objects that could become deadly missiles, such as patio furniture, hanging plants, trash cans, gardening tools and barbecues.”
School closures were announced throughout the state Friday, including at the University of Houston, Rice University and Texas A&M Corpus Christi, where the sea wall has already risen two feet.
Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Victoria and Houston will be under flood watch for several days. The Red Cross has plans to open more shelters throughout the state. River flooding in areas will continue for a number of days.
The National Weather Service delivered a list of potential impacts facing area residents along the Texas Coast, from Corpus Christi to Galveston preparing for a life-threatening surge.
Harvey's forecast path is slow and meandering, meaning a long duration flood threat with catastrophic results.
Take preparation actions NOW. pic.twitter.com/gEaDEfJoVY
— NWS (@NWS) August 25, 2017
“Extreme beach erosion. New shoreline cuts possible,” the weather service predicts. “Massive damage to marinas, docks, boardwalks, and piers.”
Elaine Duke, Secretary of Transportation appointed by President Trump, said the administration is ready.
“This is a major catastrophic event though, it will be slow and it will be long,” Duke said Friday afternoon.
According to the Vice President’s spokesperson, Pence is remaining in Washington this weekend and will be coordinating with President Trump at Camp David, monitoring the storm and government response.
On Twitter, Republican Chuck Grassley urged the president to not make the “same mistake Pres Bush made w Katrina.”
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) August 25, 2017
PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.
CHICAGO — The Trump administration’s policy of withholding public safety grants from so-called sanctuary cities unless they agree to tougher enforcement of immigration laws is constitutional and also vital to keeping crime in check, the Department of Justice argues in a new filing opposing Chicago’s request for a court order freezing the policy.
The 27-page court document was filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago, where the nation’s third largest city sued Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Aug. 7. The new filing responds to Chicago’s motion for a preliminary injunction that would halt the safety-grants policy at least until the civil case plays out.
Chicago’s lawsuit focuses on conditions set by Sessions for cities to qualify for the grants, including that they give federal agents access to detention facilities. Sessions has said tougher enforcement of immigration laws will help reduce crime. Many cities say there’s no evidence that’s true.
Thursday’s filing argues that tying public safety grants to conditions isn’t new. It says cities had to meet more than 50 special conditions, including demonstrating compliance with civil rights laws, to receive grants in 2016, “none of which generated … legal challenges” from Chicago.
A Friday statement from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office says the Trump administration should “drop these new conditions … rather than try to salvage its ill-conceived and unlawful attempt to force cities” to choose between public safety funding and providing sanctuary to immigrants.
The Justice Department filing contends Chicago jumped to conclusions about the conditions and sued before the conditions were finalized.
Chicago has received the public safety grants since 2005, spending $33 million to buy police cars during that period; it got $2.3 million last year.
The new filing says Chicago can’t point to any irreparable harm justifying an immediate court order halting the policy, saying “the funding at issue under the program amounts to less than one tenth of one percent of the City’s budget.”
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JUDY WOODRUFF: In the age of social media, there is an elevated emphasis on so-called “likes.” Novelist and creative writing teacher Charmaine Craig sees a disturbing trend. She explains in tonight’s “In My Humble Opinion.”
CHAIRMAINE CRAIG, Author, “Miss Burma”: In addition to being a novelist, I teach fiction at a university. And something that drives me crazy is students rejecting a piece of writing because it’s not relatable,” or because its characters aren’t likable. Recently, I was teaching “Anna Karenina,” and one of my brightest graduate students wrote off the novel because she found the characters’ thinking to be too different from her own.
Well, maybe literature isn’t here to hold a mirror up to our own way of thinking. The word relatable is relatively new, and it strikes me as more than a coincidence that its rise correlates with that of Facebook and its culture of likes. When we say we like something, we’re really describing ourselves more than the thing we like. That character, that photo, that idea reflects my preferences, my outlooks, my tastes, me.
There’s nothing wrong with liking or disliking, but when we only like things we find relatable, or we are only interested in people we find likeable, we’re implicitly holding up narcissism and conformity, and we’re critiquing difference.
I grew up in this country, and there’s no way that my peers would have described me as relatable when I was young. I was shy to the point of extreme awkwardness, this height 5’8″ at age 11, terrible at team sports, and impossible to categorize racially or culturally. My father was a descendent of people who arrived on the Mayflower, and my mother, a mixed-race refugee from the country now called Myanmar, also known as Burma.
Partly because I’m culturally and ethnically kind of anomalous, I’ve rarely related to people in my life. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned from and respected and felt for them. And that’s really what I want to say: that there’s a difference between relating or liking, in our current sense, and being curious and empathic.
Would I rather people like my novel or be affected by it finally? To be moved or affected by a piece of literature isn’t necessarily to see ourselves reflected in it or to like everything about it, we might disapprove of or want to fight with its characters; we might never have been exposed to the kinds of social settings or modes of thinking it describes.
And yet, if we open ourselves to such a piece of literature — to a novel like “Anna Karenina” that attentively describes other human beings, with all their passions, foibles and insights — we might find it opening itself to us, in turn. We might even feel something like love emanating from its pages, a love that comes with an author’s feeling for humanity, for readers, and for characters that, in life, might at first be very difficult to relate to or like.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The week began with the president’s scripted speech on Afghanistan, followed by a raucous rally in Phoenix that helped widen a rift between Mr. Trump and top Republicans in Congress. That’s the backdrop as we turn to the regular Friday analysis of Shields and Brooks. That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields, and “New York Times” columnist David Brooks.
Gentlemen, it’s so good to see you both together. Welcome.
So, Charlottesville, it’s been almost two weeks since the tragedy there. It has risen in the headlines again this week, David. The president’s in Phoenix, he makes this passionate speech unscripted, defending the way he handled Charlottesville, bringing on even more criticism.
Are we in the clear now on what this president believes about racism, about white supremacy and all of it?
DAVID BROOKS, The New York Times: I think we’re a little clearer on where the Republican Party is. You know, the Trump campaign began really seriously with the Muslim ban. It continued with a series of racial things about the wall. It continued Charlottesville and the reactions. And what’s happened is the racial winking and content, the identity politics has become a rising motif in the Trump administration, especially as everything else including economic policy and economic populism has fallen away.
And that’s meant the Republican Party or at least some portion of it, and I don’t know how big, has become more of a white ethnic party, ethnic nationalist party. That has made life impossible for a lot of people who signed up as Republicans but didn’t sign up for this. And we’ve had fights within Republicans on a lot of different issues on taxes, on wars and things like that.
But this is upon which parties break apart because you can’t Republican — if the Republican Party becomes a party aligned with bigotry in some overt way or in any way, you can’t be a Republican and try to be a decent person and be a part of it. And I’ve watched within my friends here in Washington, friendships ending in a way I never really seen before. And friendship ending I think in the evangelical world, friendships are ending.
And Senator Danforth had an op-ed today and Gary Cohn is put in this position. And so, what you’re seeing is a hint of a rupture the likes of which I really haven’t seen before.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And I was going to ask you both and David brought it up, Mark, this column and today an interview by the former Republican senator from the state of Missouri, John Danforth, saying if the Republican Party doesn’t disassociate itself from Donald Trump over his handling most recently of Charlottesville and the race question, but he lists other issues as well, he said the party sunk,.
MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist: Yes. Jack Danforth comes with credentials as a senator, as the Senate sponsor, personal endorser of the only African-American ever nominated to the Supreme Court by any Republican president, Clarence Thomas, who had worked for him. So, he is — he is someone who has certainly street cred on this issue.
Judy, it’s quite I think obvious at this point that the president does not understand what the job is. I mean, the job of the president of the United States is to be the voice of compassion, is to be, to provide equanimity in spirit, is to provide magnanimity of view. He, in a scripted, teleprompted address, he can give a coherent speech as he did on Afghanistan, a colorless, energy-less but nevertheless coherent speech as he did for veterans.
But he only thrives, he’s only alive, he’s only authentic when he unleashes his indictive, when he stirs up the basest instincts of his supporters, and he responds only to cheers, cheers and jeers of those whom he opposes, whom he’s still running against some 10 months after the election he’s still running against.
So, it’s a sad, sad time. It has to be sadder for those who work in this administration to learn as the Quinnipiac University poll, a respected poll, show this week that Americans by two to one believe that Donald Trump is dividing the country rather than writing the country. That solid majority, 3-2, they believe the press, the dreaded media over Donald Trump to tell the truth. And they believe — three out of five Americans believe he is giving aid in comfort to white supremacist and encouragement.
So, it’s a truly sad — I don’t — I can only say to Republicans, I mean, it is a time you’re going to be asked about this. You’re going to be asked where you stood. And what you did on Donald Trump. And I thought Gary Cohn — it only took him two weeks to come to it and —
JUDY WOODRUFF: This is the president’s economic adviser, yes.
MARK SHIELDS: Yes, and then he came to the decision of conscience that Janet Yellen made a very candid statement today, recognition statement at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she announced that she, in fact, the regulations imposed on the big banks after the collapse of 2008, the financial crisis, were necessary, were wise and should not be repealed.
So, Gary Cohn holding on, slimly, perhaps to the hope of becoming chair of the Federal Reserve swallowed his misgivings, and the odor of anti-Semitism that smacked Donald Trump’s remarks and agreed to continue as a patriotic man to serve and I guess we could only salute him.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s a zigzag course, David. I mean, as both of you said, when the president is reading from the teleprompter, the message is that we reject racism, we reject white supremacy, neo Nazis, but it’s in these speeches where there’s another message that seems to come out. I was just reading the radio address that the White House is going to put out tomorrow from the president. He’s back to the scripted lines, rejecting everything that smacks of racism.
DAVID BROOKS: To his credit, he’s incapable of insincerity and hypocrisy. He can — he can keep up for an hour, for a day, for 24 hours, he’ll say what they want him to say, but then within 24 hours, he’s got to come back to be himself and he’s going to explode beyond those barriers. We’ve seen that again and again and again.
I just think the Trump administration is going to wander into these fields more and more in the months and years ahead, simply because they don’t have an economic agenda, there’s very small chance of tax reform, they don’t have the populist thing they can bring to people. And so, what they have is this ethnic nationalism. And they are frankly going to be helped sometimes by Democrats or by radicals on the left who are going to deface the Thomas Jefferson statute or do something like that. And then that’s it for Donald Trump. He can say they’re defacing Thomas Jefferson.
So, then the identity politics of the left and identity politics play off each other and you get this war of people who think that white and black are the only two categories in life and they should have some sort of political war over this and it begins to look like the Sunnis and Shiites. And as I say, that’s a Republican Party that decent people don’t want to be a part of, frankly.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Mark, the president meantime is firing tweets against fellow Republicans. I mea, today, Senator Bob Corker. It’s been the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan. You go down the list, five, or six or seven different Republicans he’s going after. What’s the strategy, the rationale?
MARK SHIELDS: I’m glad to be able to explain it.
It was deemed — prior this week, it was deemed impossible to make Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell into a sympathetic public figure. And Donald Trump has achieved that.
He — it makes no sense. Politic is a matter of addition not subtraction. And I’m sorry, Mr. President, you cannot distance yourself from your own administration. I mean, saying, oh he’s going to blame the Republican Congress for the stalled programs, the non-programs as David’s pointed out and the non-achievements is their fault. It just won’t wash.
I mean, no president has ever attempted to do that before. To say I wasn’t involved in my own administration. It’s these guys in my own party up on the Hill who have done it to me.
So, it makes absolutely no sense politically. One explanation offered by some people in the White House in “The Washington Post” today that he sees looming disaster and so, he’s going to distance himself.
You cannot distance yourself as a president from your own administration.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, but again, I’m referring to this “Washington Post” story, David, the theory is that the president’s going to be able to point the finger at those Republicans who messed this up, didn’t get the job done.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I don’t think theory or strategy would be worse (ph). I think it makes him feel good to get into a shouting match with Mitch McConnell over the investigation of Russia. There’s no strategy here.
The biggest — aside from the legislative agenda, the biggest event looming in Washington these days is the Mueller investigation. And if there’s some sort of bringing impeachment of the U.S. Senate who he’s working really hard to offend, they are the jury at the end of the day. And so, it’s just craziness to offend those people. And — but yet he’s doing it a short term. It’s a matter of not strategy but psychology.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the meantime, his administration is moving in a conservative direction. Lisa Desjardins had a report, Mark, this week on these many steps that Jeff Sessions is taking —
MARK SHIELDS: Right.
JUDY WOODRUFF: — at the Justice Department to roll back what we saw during the Obama administration. Just tonight, the president has finally signed an order telling the Pentagon not to admit anyone, any individuals who are transgender, not to pay for the surgery that some of them choose to have. So, there are steps being taken to carry out the conservative agenda.
MARK SHEILDS: Conservative agenda, Judy, I don’t — you know, among issues I haven’t heard pollsters report or volunteered by those interviewed was statutes being removed which the president greatly moved after are transgender service members. I mean, the Navy SEAL who served 20 years did 13 overseas deployments, seven combat deployments and earned one Bronze Star and one Purple Heart and is transgender, is now a woman had more deployments and more days in uniform than Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Secretary Tillerson or Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Price, Secretary Carson, go right through it. I mean, he proved his patriotism, she proved her patriotism, that they’re 100 percent American.
I don’t understand this. I commend chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joe Dunford, for as soon as it comes out today, came out originally in his tweet that those who serve honorably in this service will be respected and continue to be so.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Just 20 seconds.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes. As I understand that, the important thing here was when he made the order, the generals decided that’s Trump being Trump, let’s just ignore it. And so, that was the right thing to do. What’s disturbing here is he actually followed through on his own statement. And so, a lot of people in the administration are saying let’s just let it pass, let it pass, let it pass, in a lot of ranges. If he’s going to now start following through and actually behaving, that puts them in a much tougher decision.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And this is after saying in the campaign, he was going to be supportive of those LGBTQ.
David, Mark, we thank you both.
MARK SHIELDS: Thank you.
The post Shields and Brooks on Trump’s contrasting speeches, GOP ruptured relations appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
This story was done with the support of The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Tonight, we conclude our three-part series about fighting ISIS, and life in northern Syria.
The country has been ravaged by war. Many parts now lie in ruin. In the north, the grip of ISIS is slowly receding. But what happens once ISIS has been pushed out? How does a community rebuild?
Special correspondent Gayle Tzemach Lemmon traveled to Manbij, a city that was liberated from ISIS control last year. This story, as well as last night’s story about the role of Syria’s Kurdish population in the struggle against ISIS, was done in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: In a neighborhood that looks like this, one front door is hard to miss.
Why the color blue?
ABDULKADIR ALI ABOUD, Manbij Resident (through interpreter): Because it’s the color of happiness.
GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Abdulkadir Ali Aboud is a construction worker, born and raised in Manbij, northern Syria. His home in the neighborhood of Hasani was hit by an airstrike in the fighting that pushed is out exactly one year ago.
ABDULKADIR ALI ABOUD (through interpreter): It’s been two months since we began renovations. When we first saw the damage, we were sad. But then we realized we’d escaped the injustice of ISIS, and it was worth it. Everything can be made right.
GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: As the fight to defeat the so-called Islamic State pushes forward, the question of what comes next comes up again and again. One year on, this town offers a look at the possibilities — and the pitfalls — when it comes to rebuilding and restarting after ISIS.
Manbij was an ISIS stronghold and saw some of the most-savage fighting of the three-year fight. But returning life to normal takes time, and pushing ISIS out is just the start. For the past year, residents have struggled to rebuild.
Ibrahim Qaftan leads the executive council of Manbij, working to get services to residents.
IBRAHIM QAFTAN, Manbij Executive Council (through interpreter): We are done with the military side. We escaped ISIS at home. But we still need civil services. People are looking for public services more than anything else.
GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: The challenges remain, the city still has no phone service. But compared to one year ago, he says, Manbij has made great strides, in health, governance and education. And he says there are lessons to be learned, as the diverse population of Manbij, both Arab and Kurdish, has pushed forward together.
What is the lesson the world should learn from Manbij?
IBRAHIM QAFTAN (through interpreter): Brotherhood, national brotherhood. For the world to succeed, we must act like brothers. To us, Armenians, Turkmen, Alawites, Druze, are all part of Syria. We want them all to be one family. This is our main lesson.
GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: But brotherhood is fragile amid the pressure of war. The city’s population of around 200,000 has doubled, with the arrival of displaced families from across the country, Qaftan says. And tensions have emerged.
The Aswad family arrived here two months ago after fleeing the ongoing violence in their home city of Raqqa. They’ve taken up residence here in a relative’s Manbij home. But, they say they’ve faced discrimination, particularly from other Arab residents, who see that they’re from Raqqa and treat them like ISIS sympathizers.
NAYEF ASWAD, Displaced Raqqa Resident (through interpreter): When we first arrived and said we are from Raqqa, they immediately judged us. They accused us of being ISIS. Yes, we lived in Raqqa, but we were helpless. We didn’t deal with ISIS, we just went to work and that was it.
ASWAD’S MOTHER (through interpreter): When we go to the bakery, people complain that there’s no bread left, because of the refugees from Raqqa. Nothing is like home. We hope it will be freed and we can go back.
GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Shervan Darwish, of the Manbij military council, has witnessed these internal divisions and challenges, ever since the battle that liberated his city.
SHERVAN DARWISH, Manbij Military Council (through interpreter): The start of liberation was a challenge. It is hard to organize a city that was ruled by terror for two years. And after we freed Manbij, we need to clear the city from the ISIS ideology.
GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: The fate of Manbij has also been complicated by another factor: geography. The town sits just 25 miles from its watchful Turkish neighbor. It lies on a fault-line within Syria: the regime of President Bashar al Assad to the west, U.S.-backed Kurdish and Arab forces to the east, and an ISIS insurgency, that is on its heels, but far from gone, Darwish says.
SHERVAN DARWISH (through interpreter): Turkey is trying to destabilize us. The regime also wants Manbij. ISIS is still here and also working against us. For a year, we have not had any internal disorder or attack from inside, but we have had attacks from outside.
GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Despite a year without ISIS, Turkish military incursions remain a threat. Turkish air strikes killed Syrian Democratic forces near Manbij last year, and the city remains a flashpoint between the U.S. and Turkey. U.S. forces now regularly patrol the city.
Back in Abdulkadir’s neighborhood, talk of war amid the renovations.
Rafiq Fouad Ali, Abdulkadir’s cousin, is mourning his younger brother, killed last month on the Raqqa battlefield. He shows us pictures.
RAFIQ FOUAD ALI, Lost his Brother Fighting ISIS (through interpreter): I am proud my brother was killed by ISIS, I’m proud of him. We want to defeat injustice, and remove the ISIS name from everywhere.
GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: He says he will shortly leave Manbij, and return to battle himself.
RAFIQ FOUAD ALI (through interpreter): I don’t mind being killed, if it gives the young generation proper life and education. It is not about ourselves. We must improve the future of the next generation, not ours.
GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: Abdulkadir, too, focuses now on the next generation — doing his part to restore their future, and paint over their past.
ABDULKADIR ALI ABOUD (through interpreter): ISIS would hang people for three days in the circle, and the children would see them. I tried not to let them see such things, and I painted the walls blue, so they would forget about the black darkness. I want happiness and joy for my children and neighbors.
GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: He says restoring his house helps him share that joy, and create new memories.
You have paint on your hands, you’ve been working all day, how does it feel after this day’s work?
ABDULKADIR ALI ABOUD (through interpreter): Life is going well, thanks be to God. My greatest joy has been overcoming ISIS. And we hope for a bright future. As long as we are over these thugs, we are doing well.
GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON: One year on, he says, he and his city have both made a good start at something better. And as the fight against ISIS nears its end in Raqqa, the story of Manbij is one many will look to for inspiration.
For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, in Manbij, Syria.