PBS NewsHour full episode, Feb 11, 2020

PBS NewsHour full episode, Feb 11, 2020


AMNA NAWAZ: Good evening. I’m Amna Nawaz in
Washington. JUDY WOODRUFF: And I am Judy Woodruff in New
Hampshire. On the “NewsHour” tonight: We are on the ground
in the Granite State, where voters in the nation’s first primary will help shape the
Democratic race for president. AMNA NAWAZ: Then: a Justice Department at
war with itself. Mass resignations from the prosecution team in the case against Roger
Stone, confidant of President Trump and convicted felon. And: cleansing the sacred water. On the banks
of India’s Ganga River, where the holy waters grow more polluted every day. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: By far, the most toxic
pollution of this river is probably the least visible, unless you happen upon drainage canals
like this one. AMNA NAWAZ: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: The voting has ended here in New Hampshire, and results in the first primaries of this presidential election are coming in. Among Democrats, with almost a quarter of
the precincts now reporting, Bernie Sanders is in the lead, followed by Pete Buttigieg
by a few points, and Amy Klobuchar in third place. Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden are
well back. Meantime, in the Republican primary, no surprise,
President Donald Trump has already been declared the winner. But there is already a reshaping of the Democratic
race. Two of the Democratic candidates have already announced tonight, within the hour,
they are dropping out. They are Colorado Senator Michael Bennet and entrepreneur Andrew Yang. Let’s hear what both of them had to say, beginning
with Andrew Yang. ANDREW YANG (D), Presidential Candidate: We
highlighted the real problems in our communities, as our economy is being transformed before
our eyes by technology and automation. And Americans know now that, when you go to
a factory in Michigan, you do not find wall-to-wall immigrants doing work. You find wall-to-wall
robot arms and machines doing the work that people used to do. I am not someone who wants to accept donations
and support in a race that we will not win. And so, tonight, I am announcing I am suspending
my campaign for president. MAN: We love you, Andrew! ANDREW YANG: I love you, too. Thank you, New
Hampshire. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) JUDY WOODRUFF: And the other dropout announcement
we have already heard, again, within just the last few minutes is Colorado Senator Michael
Bennet. SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO), Presidential Candidate:
I feel nothing but joy tonight, as we — as we conclude this particular campaign and this
particular chapter. I am going to do absolutely everything I can
do, as one human being, to make sure that Donald Trump is a one-term president. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, the race already changing
rapidly, as these results come in. And, tonight, I’m joined by Amna Nawaz in
Washington, where our “NewsHour” colleagues are watching these results closely come in
as well — Amna. AMNA NAWAZ: That’s right, Judy. While most of the attention is on the Democratic
race, unsurprisingly, we can now declare President Donald Trump the winner in the Republican
primary with, it looks like, just over a quarter of the votes now reporting in there. You see
85 percent of those votes going to President Trump — Judy, back to you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you, Amna. And I am here now in Manchester with Lucas
Meyer. He is a strategist for a number of Democratic campaigns here in New Hampshire.
He is also president of the state’s Young Democrats. Lucas Meyer, welcome to the “NewsHour” and
our special coverage. Surprises tonight. Yes, Bernie Sanders is
in the lead, but followed closely by Pete Buttigieg. What do you make of that? LUCAS MEYER, President, New Hampshire Young
Democrats: Yes, certainly a really exciting night here in New Hampshire. You know, Pete Buttigieg came into this campaign
a relative unknown. Unless you’re a deep party insider like me, who was following DNC chairman
race a couple years ago, you had no idea who the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was. So to see him make these gains, and then see
Senator Klobuchar make a really late push and really — a lot of the operatives in the
state sort of maybe thought it was a little phony. We weren’t sure if the surge was real,
but it is certainly real. And we will see if she can carry it out of
New Hampshire across the rest of the country. JUDY WOODRUFF: And see what she does with
it. So, at this point — and, again, only a quarter
of the results in, but that’s what we see. But the other dramatic story tonight is Joe
Biden. At this point, he’s coming in fifth, behind Elizabeth Warren, both of them well
back from the top three. Joe Biden left the state. LUCAS MEYER: Yes. No, it was definitely unexpected. Vice President
Biden was leading in the polls up until just a couple weeks ago, had a robust campaign
in the state, was in the state early. So, to see him leave before even the results
had come in was certainly surprising. And to see him lead off the debate on Friday night
was certainly surprising, hearing him say that he had sort of conceded the state, to
a degree. JUDY WOODRUFF: There was — there’s been a
lot of discussion, Lucas Meyer, about the struggles that New Hampshire voters have had
making up their minds. And part of that is because there’s so many
candidates, so many more than we have seen in the past. But why is that? How are we seeing
that? LUCAS MEYER: Yes, I think this is emblematic
of the primary here in New Hampshire and the voters of New Hampshire really taking their
role in — as the first-in-the-nation state really seriously, and really not wanting to
rush that decision. I mean, even this morning, around town, you
would talk to folks, and they still hadn’t made up their mind yet. And I don’t think
a lot of people really believed that folks were going to take that long to make up their
mind, with all these campaigns and all this information and all these events, all this
access. But it really played out. And I think, certainly,
Senator Klobuchar’s result really is emblematic of that, where the debate performance coming
out of Iowa… JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. LUCAS MEYER: … I think you probably saw
a lot of support for senator Warren cut to Senator Klobuchar. So, definitely not a boring night here. JUDY WOODRUFF: And Iowa — it was said right
after the Iowa results, which, of course, were mishandled, or at least they were — the
count didn’t come in as it should have, on time. It took days before we really knew what
had happened. But there does seem to be a reaction to Iowa,
in that, again, Biden did not do as well as expected there, Klobuchar did better than
expected. LUCAS MEYER: Yes. Coming out of Iowa, I think — one, I feel
for — as an operative, I feel for those campaign staffers in Iowa, having spent a year working
on the ground, and then to sort of not have that finality come in the caucuses last week. But I do think some of that uncertainty coming
out of Iowa really forced New Hampshire voters to take a step back and really, I think, reanalyze
their support for some candidates, which is maybe why we’re seeing some of the volatility,
seeing Mayor Buttigieg really up tight with Senator Sanders, who… JUDY WOODRUFF: Yes. LUCAS MEYER: I mean, he had a really tough
standard to uphold from 2016 to this year. So I think it was fascinating. JUDY WOODRUFF: Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire
four years ago by 22 points. Now, granted, he — his main opponent was
Hillary Clinton. It was mainly the two of them. But — and this time, he will argue
— he’s been arguing — I talked to him this morning, a lot more candidates in the race. But this appears to be, at this point, a tighter
margin. I also quickly want to ask you about the Republicans
in this state. No surprise, President Trump the winner of that primary. Republicans do
seem united behind the president. LUCAS MEYER: They certainly do, even regardless
of Governor Weld’s efforts in the state, which I was kind of surprised he got as many percentage
points as he did, honorable effort. There certainly are a lot of, I would say,
moderate Republicans in the state looking for an alternative. And I think that that dynamic as we head into
the general election, as the Democratic Party coalesces around our nominee, I think some
of those decisions by those moderate voters is going to play a really big role in November. JUDY WOODRUFF: Really — really — and, again,
Bill Weld was the president’s only opponent, governor of your neighboring state, Massachusetts. Lucas Meyer, thank you very much. LUCAS MEYER: Thank you so much. JUDY WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. And, Amna, back to you. AMNA NAWAZ: Thanks, Judy. Let’s take a closer look now at the state
of the race in New Hampshire right now. This is so far with just over 31 percent of those
votes in right now. It’s still very early. But, as we mentioned before, Senator Sanders
has that early lead, with over 27 percent of the vote so far, Pete Buttigieg coming
in second with just over 23 percent, and Senator Amy Klobuchar there in third place with over
19 percent of those early votes, again, just over 31 percent of vote in so far. We’re going to keep up with those results
as they come in, of course. But, for now, we want to go live to Lisa Desjardins.
She has been on the ground in Manchester following these results as they come in at a Bernie
Sanders campaign event there. Lisa, no surprise so far in some regards,
right? This is Senator Sanders’ backyard. What’s the feeling right there as these early
results are coming in and showing him with a bit of a lead? LISA DESJARDINS: I think you can hear the
— what the sentiment is here. We have lot of chants from Bernie Sanders
supporters basically saying that they believe anything is possible for this campaign. Changing
the world is possible is part of their chant. Amna, for Bernie Sanders, he had a massive
get-out-the-vote campaign. Just on Saturday alone of this week, his campaign said they
knocked on 20 percent of the doors in this state. They’re reaping the benefits from that,
it looks like, in these early results here in New Hampshire. AMNA NAWAZ: Lisa, I want to walk you through
a little bit more of what we know from some of the votes that have been coming in New
Hampshire. As a result of some voter surveys, we can
kind of break it down by age to see how people are breaking for which candidates. When you
look at those younger demographics — these are voters aged 18 to 29 — Senator Sanders
there with a clear lead, 49 percent of those younger votes. As we make our way up through the age brackets,
you see, among voters 30 to 44, again, Senator Sanders has a lead there, 43 percent, the
next closest candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with 19 percent. Older voters, still there, you start to see
them break for Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 26 percent of those voters aged 45 to 64. And then, when
you go up to the next age bracket, that is voters over the age of 65, Senator Amy Klobuchar
seems to be in the lead there with 23 percent of those votes. Lisa, based on what you’re hearing on the
ground, the voters you have been talking to there in New Hampshire, does that track, that
age breakdown, with the candidates? LISA DESJARDINS: Oh, 100 percent. And I kept track of all these undecided voters
in the state. I finally got responses from all of them, Amna. And, to me, it does seem
that it is the younger undecided voters that were going for Bernie Sanders. Those who are
parents, those who are grandparents, they were split between Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar
and Pete Buttigieg, those that I spoke to. But this is a challenge for Bernie Sanders
as he goes forward. His coalition is young in these states. He’s also won with communities
of color. But the young do not always turn out in November. It’s something his campaign
will think about. Also, Amna, some news from the Amy Klobuchar
campaign to me. They tell me that they are now ramping up their staff in Nevada. They
plan to have 50 staff members there in the next few days. And listen to this, Amna. They are spending
a seven-figure amount — they didn’t give me the exact amount — seven figures on a
TV ad buy for Amy Klobuchar in Nevada. That is a massive amount for her campaign, which
has run on a very limited amount of money. One sign that competitors are nervous about
Amy Klobuchar, Amna, a rival campaign — and I agreed to call them only that, a rival campaign
— texted me and said: Amy Klobuchar doesn’t have the infrastructure. Amy Klobuchar hasn’t
been put under the microscope. They want us to ask questions about Amy Klobuchar.
Clearly, they’re concerned. The Klobuchar campaign answers by saying:
Hey, we have gotten this far on limited resources. We plan to go farther. AMNA NAWAZ: Amy Klobuchar clearly seizing
the moment there, and probably going to face some of the fire some of the others have as
they have seen surges. LISA DESJARDINS: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: Lisa, before I let you go, is
there any indication — now that we have the news two more candidates are suspending their
campaigns, Andrew Yang and Michael Bennet, is there any indication of where their voters
might go? LISA DESJARDINS: I don’t think so. We have seen from a recent poll that Andrew
Yang voters seem to be most loyal to him. And it’s — some 42 percent of them in a recent
poll said they wouldn’t support any other Democratic nominee. That is much higher than
any other candidate. So, for Democrats, those are voters that they
have to win back that are going to be harder for them to get than other candidates dropping
out. One other note, Amna. Tom Steyer has announced
he is not dropping out of this race. Of course, he has been running a very strong campaign
in South Carolina. He wants to get there and be on the ballot there. So, he’s staying in
the race. We know he’s not dropping out at this point. AMNA NAWAZ: Lisa Desjardins reporting for
us from a Bernie Sanders campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire. Thanks, Lisa. Good to talk to you. We will go back now to Judy Woodruff in New
Hampshire. JUDY WOODRUFF: Thank you, Amna. And for more analysis of the race here in
New Hampshire, I am with our senior politics reporter, Dan Bush. Dan, we’re listening to Lisa. We’re hearing
what the different campaigns are saying. You have also been looking at these interviews
with voters, a so-called voters survey done by the Associated Press. We’re all trying
to figure out why voters have done what they have done and what might happen in the future. What are you seeing? I mean, in particular,
everybody’s been talking about the split between moderates — more moderate and more liberal
voters among the Democrats. DANIEL BUSH: And that’s the big story here,
Judy. We’re seeing that divide play out. And one
thing that really jumps out when you look at these survey results, among voters overall
here in New Hampshire, just 43 percent said they’d be very satisfied if Bernie Sanders
won the nomination. Just 39 percent said they’d be very satisfied
if Pete Buttigieg won, who now, if the results hold, will come in second place. That very — is critical, I think, because
it speaks to energy and turnout in a general election. So, we’re seeing in these numbers
Democrats are still pretty hesitant about, now in Iowa and New Hampshire, who is finishing
first and second so far. JUDY WOODRUFF: So interesting, because we
know the Democrats, when — I was looking at the same voter survey you were. And when Democrats were asked, what is your
overriding — the overriding quality you want in a candidate, in a nominee, it’s — 92 percent
said someone who can beat Donald Trump. That overrode policy differences, policy issues
and so forth. I’m curious about age and whether — there
was a lot of conversation about Bernie Sanders appealing to the young, and the other candidates
having a hard time with the young. And yet the older voters are the ones who turn out
reliably in elections. DANIEL BUSH: They do. And when you look at these numbers, another
interesting thing, when we look at Buttigieg, who would be the youngest president ever,
if elected, it’s no surprise that there are some young people who do support him, who
do relate to him because of his age. But when you look at those older age brackets,
there are a lot of older voters as well who don’t see his relatively inexperience on the
national level compared to his rivals as an impediment. Yesterday, I spoke with voters at a Buttigieg
rally, voters in their 60s, 70s, one gentleman in his 80s, who said that he sees in Buttigieg
his children. He wants the next generation to get a shot. So, Buttigieg is right now getting support
across the board, even though Sanders is still dominating with those younger voters. JUDY WOODRUFF: And the last thing — and I
think this is something that Lucas Meyer, the Democratic strategist, and I were speaking
about — was late deciders. People have had a very hard time here in New
Hampshire, a lot of them, making up their minds. What is it, 35 percent made up their
mind just in the last few days. They broke heavily for Buttigieg and Klobuchar. DANIEL BUSH: They did. And I was hearing that from voters again and
again in recent days here in New Hampshire. I spoke with one person just yesterday who
said they’re going to figure it out when they walk into the ballot box. You were hearing
that a lot, a lot of indecision still. And if you look at the two sort of sides of
the party, a lot of Warren and support — and Sanders supporters who were undecided, but
only focused on them, a lot of Buttigieg-, Biden-, Klobuchar-leaning voters who were
only focused on that side. So, there’s not a lot of overlap. JUDY WOODRUFF: Not a lot of overlap at all. Well, we’re going to continue to go through
these numbers. We do have a PBS special coming up in a few hours. But this is something that
— there are so many numbers to follow, and so many candidates to follow at this hour. So, we hope you will follow the election results.
We’re going to be updating this program later, if we have news. You can catch up on all the day’s news later
tonight on this PBS station with that special “NewsHour” following the New Hampshire primary
results. AMNA NAWAZ: In the day’s other news: The potential
prison sentence for President Trump’s friend and adviser Roger Stone has triggered an upheaval
at the Justice Department. Four federal prosecutors resigned after the
department criticized their call for a seven-to-nine-year sentence as — quote — “excessive and unwarranted.” Stone was convicted of obstructing Congress
and witness tampering in the Russia investigation. We will take a closer look after the rest
of today’s headlines. The president suggested today that the Pentagon
may punish Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, key impeachment witness against him.
Vindman and his twin brother were ousted from the National Security Council staff last week.
Mr. Trump also said he expects other departures from the White House. The World Health Organization warned today
that China’s coronavirus outbreak poses a very grave threat to the world. China reported
new totals of more than 1,100 deaths and some 44,000 cases. In Geneva, the head of the WHO urged nations
to get their health systems ready. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, Director General,
World Health Organization: A virus can have more powerful consequences than any terrorist
action. And that’s true. And if the world doesn’t want to wake up and consider this
enemy virus as public enemy number one, I don’t think we will learn from our lessons. AMNA NAWAZ: The agency also convened more
than 400 scientists to focus on speeding up drug treatments for the virus. But officials
said it could take 18 months before the first vaccine is ready. We will have a report from Beijing later in
the program. Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets
in the West Bank and Gaza today, protesting against President Trump’s Middle East peace
plan. In downtown Ramallah, crowds waved flags and chanted against Mr. Trump. Outside a nearby
Jewish settlement, Israeli forces fired tear gas at Palestinians throwing rocks. Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
went before the U.N. Security Council in New York and condemned the peace plan. MAHMOUD ABBAS, Palestinian Authority President
(through translator): It leaves Palestine fragmented without any control on our land,
air and sea. It would put an end to the question of Palestinian refugees. It means a rejection
to all agreements and obligations to establish two states along the pre-1967 lines. This plan will not bring peace or stability,
and, therefore, we will not accept this plan. AMNA NAWAZ: The Trump plan allows Israel to
annex large parts of the West Bank, including Jewish settlements considered illegal by most
of the world’s governments. Back in this country, the defense has rested
its case in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial in New York today. The Hollywood producer’s
lawyers opted not to have Weinstein testify, shielding him from a potentially aggressive
cross-examination. Closing arguments are set for Thursday and Friday. Actor Jussie Smollett is facing new charges
of allegedly staging an attack on himself last January. A grand jury in Chicago today
returned a six-count indictment today. It accuses Smollett of lying to police when he
claimed he’d been the target of a racist and homophobic assault. The actor was originally
charged with disorderly conduct, but that was later dropped. A federal judge in New York has cleared a
major obstacle to T-Mobile’s takeover of Sprint. Today’s ruling rejects a lawsuit from 14 states
arguing the deal would mean less competition and higher phone bills. The merger totals
$26.5 billion and would cut the number of major U.S. wireless carriers from four to
three. The deal still needs approval from another federal judge and a state board in
California. The head of the Federal Reserve reaffirmed
today that no additional interest rate cuts are in the works, unless the economy suddenly
sours. Jerome Powell told a House hearing that three rate cuts last year have helped
growth and job creation. JEROME POWELL, Federal Reserve Chairman: As
long as incoming information about the economy remains broadly consistent with this outlook,
the current stance of monetary policy will likely remain appropriate. Of course, policy
is not on a pre-set course. If developments emerge that cause a material reassessment
of our outlook, we would respond accordingly. AMNA NAWAZ: During the hearing, President
Trump again complained that the Central Bank should do more to spur the economy. He tweeted
— quote — “The Fed rate is too high.” Seattle is now the first American city to
ban evicting people from their homes during the winter between December and February.
The city council adopted the ban last night in a bid to help low- and moderate-income
tenants. Seattle has some of the nation’s highest rents and widespread homelessness.
The bill faces a possible veto by the mayor, plus a likely court challenge. And Wall Street had a relatively quiet day.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost a fraction to close at 29276. The Nasdaq rose 10 points,
and the S&P 500 added five. South Africa today celebrated the 30-year
anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. He walked free in 1990 after 27 years
behind bars under apartheid. Mandela led the fight to dismantle the racist system of oppression. In Cape Town today, a crowd gathered to honor
Mandela at city hall, where he first spoke after his release. Mandela ultimately won
the Nobel Peace Prize and was elected president of South Africa. He died in 2013. South Africa is also in mourning today for
musical great Joseph Shabalala, who passed away in Pretoria. He created the choral group
Ladysmith Black Mambazo and led them to global fame and multiple Grammys over five decades.
They collaborated with Paul Simon on the “Graceland” album in 1986, and performed together in Zimbabwe
in 1987, with Shabalala sing the lead on a signature song. (SINGING) AMNA NAWAZ: Joseph Shabalala was 78 years
old. And Grammy-winning jazz keyboardist Lyle Mays
has died in Los Angeles after a long illness. He co-founded the Pat Metheny Group in the
1970s and also worked with the likes of Joni Mitchell and Earth, Wind & Fire. Lyle Mays was 66 years old. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: a new twist
in the saga of convicted felon and friend of the president Roger Stone; the view from
Beijing, as the death toll from coronavirus shows no signs of slowing; to The Hague — Sudan’s
former dictator will be handed over to the International Criminal Court; and much more. Roger Stone is again at the center of controversy.
This time, it is causing a shakeup at the Department of Justice. Stone is the sixth former associate of President
Trump to be convicted on cases stemming from the Mueller investigation. Federal prosecutors
recommended in a Monday night filing that Stone be sentenced to seven to nine years
in prison for lying to Congress and witness tampering. But senior Justice Department officials intervened. John Yang explores how there is now a fight
over how long Stone should spend in jail. JOHN YANG: Amna, the new filing makes no recommendation
for Stone’s sentence, deferring to the judge in the case. It said the original seven to
nine years could be considered excessive and unwarranted. The shift comes hours after a middle-of-the-night
presidential tweet calling the original recommendation: “horrible and very unfair. Cannot allow this
miscarriage of justice.” Late today, the president said he had not
intervened in the case. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
No, I didn’t speak to the Justice — I’d be able to do it if I wanted. I have the absolute
right to do it. I stay out of things to a degree that people
wouldn’t believe. But I didn’t speak to him. I thought the recommendation was ridiculous.
I thought the whole prosecution was ridiculous. JOHN YANG: And now all four of the line prosecutors
in the Stone case have quit the case. And at least one of them has quit his job entirely. Matt Zapotosky covers the Justice Department
for The Washington Post, and he joins us now from their newsroom. Matt, we just heard the president say he had
nothing to do with this. What’s your reporting tell you about how this happened and what
the sequence of events was? MATT ZAPOTOSKY, The Washington Post: Yes,
the Justice Department also denies that there was any contact between the White House and
them in the last day or two, when this all transpired. Here’s our best understanding so far. In recent
days, there had been great argument internally about what to do with the Stone sentencing
recommendation, with kind of these line prosecutors, these guys who tried to withdraw from the
case today, advocating for a guideline sentence, seven to nine years, and their supervisors
pushing back. We don’t know exactly why they were pushing
back. I think it’s fair to assume now that it was probably because of pressure from Justice
Department leadership. What happens then is very unclear. The Justice
Department claims that they were sort of blindsided by the recommendation that is filed. There’s
a lot of reason to be skeptical about that, given that they presumably would be engaged
in discussions about what was about to be filed. But they claim they’re blindsided by
this seven-to-nine-year recommendation that is filed yesterday. So, then, today, they say publicly — a senior
Justice Department official says to a lot of reporters: Hey, we’re going to undo this.
We were surprised by this recommendation. We’re going to undo it. And, as you reported, that’s exactly what
they did. They didn’t say specifically, we think it should be half of seven to nine years,
we think it should be three-quarters. They just said they think it should be less. But it’s a remarkable, a stunning rebuke of
the career prosecutors who by that point had all moved to withdraw themselves from the
case. JOHN YANG: How unusual is the back-and-forth
between the line prosecutors and the higher-ups in the Justice Department over something like
this? And how unusual is it to completely reverse the recommendation entirely? MATT ZAPOTOSKY: Back-and-forths over a sentencing
recommendation are not that unusual. It’s very typical for prosecutors to want
to be aggressive, and either their bosses or even political leaders to say, well, I
think you’re taking this a little too personal. I think you’re going a little too far. But that’s not exactly what we seem to have
here. I don’t — can’t say that I have ever seen a case where the department has made
a recommendation, and then not, 24 hours later, reversed itself. That’s just so unusual. And given that there was such debate, you
would think that Justice Department leaders would be paying close attention to what was
filed and would want to sign off on what was about to be filed. So, we still have a lot
of questions there. But suffice it to say, this is all very unusual.
While debate about what should be recommended is not unusual, we have something much more
than that in this case. JOHN YANG: And the line prosecutors, the prosecutors
who know the details of the case, involved in it day to day, they’re the assistant U.S.
attorneys who appear in court, as opposed to the U.S. attorney, who sort of supervises
the office, the four line attorneys in this case have now left the case, one of them quitting
the Justice Department altogether. What’s the message there? What do you make
of that? MATT ZAPOTOSKY: They have not given a reason
for that, but, again, the implication here seems clear. So, it’s only hours after the Justice Department
says publicly it’s going to reverse their recommendation that all this happened. And
it’s so unusual for prosecutors to withdraw from a case. When they do it, it’s because
they sort of can’t ethically attach their name to filings in that case. People might remember you saw that in the
Affordable Care Act case, when attorneys at the Justice Department felt they couldn’t
get behind the Trump administration’s position on that. You saw kind of a similar thing in the census
case, when career attorneys were replaced on that by the Justice Department after possibly
voicing some objection. So, that seems to be what you have here again, the career prosecutors,
guys who weren’t politically appointed by President Trump, resigning from the case,
one from the department entirely, one from his post in the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office,
after the department sort of undercut them and said, we’re going in a different direction. JOHN YANG: Matt Zapotosky at The Washington
Post, thanks so much. MATT ZAPOTOSKY: Thank you. AMNA NAWAZ: China continues to struggle against
the viral outbreak of this new coronavirus, and is only now starting to allow scientists
and public health officials from the outside to assist its efforts. William Brangham takes a look at how the country
is coping. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: While the vast majority
of infections and fatalities are centered in Eastern Central China, in Hubei province,
this outbreak is increasingly being felt across China. For a look at how things are on the ground
hundreds of miles from Hubei, I’m joined by David Rennie. He’s the Beijing bureau chief
for “The Economist” magazine. David, thank you very much for being here. Could you just give us a sense right now,
what is it like in Beijing? DAVID RENNIE, “The Economist”: So, today in
Beijing, where I am, would normally be absolutely packed. It’s the end of this very long, extended
lunar new year holiday. Literally, millions of migrant workers are
due to be coming back to the big city here from their homes in the countryside, where
they went to see their families. Factories should be starting up. Shops should be starting
up. None of that is happening. It’s still unbelievably
quiet. This is a city of 22 million people, and most small shops are closed. Restaurants
are closed. The schools are closed. No parents will put their kids out on the playground
or in the park. It really is a ghost town, though it’s a huge city. It’s really extraordinary, how this enormous
city just feels completely, completely dead. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And I understand that people
have basically been ordered to quarantine themselves inside their homes. How are people
reacting to those kind of orders from the government? DAVID RENNIE: So, it’s a mixed picture. If you’re asking, how do the Chinese take
the idea of being told to stay home and effectively cancel the biggest holiday of the year, there’s
an amazing acceptance. I went into villages where a dozen or so people
were literally locked in their bedrooms for the whole of the Chinese equivalent of kind
of Christmas and Thanksgiving rolled into one, because they had come from jobs in Wuhan,
the worst affected city. And so they were immediately just quarantined and told they
couldn’t even see their own families. That kind of quarantine, there is amazing
acceptance. People use these propaganda phrases that you see on red banners hung around the
street by the party saying that this is a war, this is a people’s war, a battle. And they really do feel, I think, like foot
soldiers in that battle. That’s one side of it. There is another side of it, which is
how much people trust the government’s assurances that this is under control, and how they seem
to have really covered this up for several weeks at the start. And has that made this a bigger crisis than
it needed to be? That, we’re seeing a tremendous, unusual amount of very unusual political anger
on Chinese social media. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And what about the economic
impacts? We have seen some car manufacturers outside of China basically stop production
because they’re saying that they can’t get parts from China. But I’m curious, how is the local economy
in China holding up? DAVID RENNIE: I think that it’s next couple
of weeks that will tell us a tremendous amount about public morale inside China, because
people are going to either not be able to come back to their jobs at all, or — tens
of millions of people were expecting to come back and pick up that job as a waiter or as
a cleaner in an office building or working in an airport. But all the flights are canceled. All the
restaurants are closed. All the office buildings are telling people to work from home. So,
if you were counting on that income, it’s not going to be there. Now, if that lasts a couple more weeks, if
the infection numbers keep climbing, then that’s going to become a really serious domestic
issue. And inasmuch as big factories that are part of global supply chains are also
not able to get up and running, what’s at the moment a kind of Chinese domestic worry
is very quickly going to become a worry for the whole of kind of global commerce. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: What is your sense about
how President Xi and the central government being perceived in this crisis? This obviously
has to be an enormous test for them. DAVID RENNIE: President Xi has been presented
for the last several years as the supreme leader, the man with all of the wisdom to
run this country. But, right now, he’s clearly the man on the
hook. And we’re seeing the propaganda machine pushing very much this familiar narrative
that, if there had been any mistakes made, it’s because of bad apples at the local level
who will be sort of rooted out by the central government, investigated, and anti-corruption
kind of detected. In the meantime, President Xi, as you say,
has been touring hospitals and medical facilities here in Beijing. He was called the commander
of the people’s war against the epidemic today by the state media. They’re very much presenting
him as kind of the general in charge. But there is that tremendous distrust of a
lot of what the government is telling people. And people can see images, particularly from
those worse affected areas like the city of Wuhan, where there are a lot of frightened,
sick people, who think they might have the virus, but when they get to hospitals, they’re
completely overwhelmed. A lot of doctors and nurses are getting sick.
There just aren’t the supplies. And so, inasmuch as things are going wrong — and it’s a massive
challenge for any country — that is a very hard thing to manage, if you are the team
around President Xi who’ve really presented him as this utterly infallible, benevolent,
kind of imperial figure. And that raises the stakes for him when a
big crisis like this needs managing. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, David Rennie,
Beijing bureau chief for “The Economist,” thank you very much. DAVID RENNIE: Thank you. AMNA NAWAZ: Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour”: how to clean
a sacred waterway — the difficulty of washing away the pollution of India’s Ganga River. The former president of Sudan is one step
closer to facing justice for the most egregious of the crimes he allegedly committed. During the most violent of Omar al-Bashir’s
30 years in power, Sudan descended into civil war. Now, as the government conducts peace
talks with rebel leaders, they have agreed to send Bashir to trial. For more than a decade, Omar al-Bashir has
been wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes, crimes against
humanity, torture, rape, and genocide in the Darfur region. Today, Sudan’s transitional government and
rebel groups in Darfur announced the deposed leader will be handed over to the court at
The Hague in the Netherlands. MOHAMMED HASSAN AL-TAISHI, Sudan Sovereign
Council (through translator): We agreed on the appearance of those whose arrests have
been ordered in front of the International Criminal Court. We cannot achieve justice unless we heal the
wounds with justice itself. We cannot, under any condition, flee from facing these crimes
against humanity and crimes of war. AMNA NAWAZ: Bashir has been jailed in Khartoum
on corruption charges since mass protests and a military coup forced him from power
last April. His 30-year regime was marked by war in Darfur
that began in 2003, when rebels launched an insurgency. Bashir responded with a brutal
crackdown that killed more than 300,000 people and forced some 2.5 million others from their
homes. The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Bashir
in 2009, its first for a sitting president. Another warrant came the following year. But,
for years, the Sudanese strongman continued to travel across Africa, dismissing the allegations
as Western conspiracy. It remains unclear when Bashir will be handed
over, but it would be only the second time a country has surrendered its head of state
to face the ICC. The other, former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, was acquitted last
year of crimes against humanity. And joining me now is Salih Booker. He is
the president and CEO of the Center for International Policy, a nonpartisan research and advocacy
group. He has extensive experience advising U.S. government officials on Africa policy. Welcome back to the “NewsHour.” SALIH BOOKER, President and CEO, Center for
International Policy: Thank you for having me. AMNA NAWAZ: So, just when we look at the timeline,
Bashir was indicted by the ICC over a decade ago. SALIH BOOKER: That’s right. AMNA NAWAZ: Ousted from power a year ago almost.
Why is this happening now? SALIH BOOKER: Well, initially, the transitional
government thought they could deal with this domestically within Sudan. But it’s their negotiations with the rebels
in Darfur and other southern regions that has led to this decision that they have to
release him to the ICC. So it’s the demands of the rebels that they’re trying to end the
civil wars that have made this happen. Many people forget, Sudan, while it’s overthrown
Bashir, it has a transitional government, a hybrid military-civilian rule, it’s still
facing multiple civil wars. And it’s serious about ending those civil wars. And the demands of the rebels are for justice,
first and foremost, and that means making sure al-Bashir faces justice. AMNA NAWAZ: The decision to hand him over,
some are reporting, is sort of a reversal of the council’s previous position, though.
This was not something they were readily willing to offer. Is there a chance that it doesn’t happen,
that they decide not to send him through to the ICC? SALIH BOOKER: There is that chance. And, in fact, what they have said is that
they intend to create some kind of special court in Sudan to try those alleged to have
committed war crimes in Darfur and elsewhere during these civil wars. But the pressure will continue to be there
to release him to the International Criminal Court, and largely because Sudan, the justice
system in Sudan is not really able to handle this kind of trial impartially and fairly,
largely because the justice system was just decimated during the 30-year dictatorship
of al-Bashir. AMNA NAWAZ: And could there be other people,
in addition to Bashir, who faced charges in Sudan? SALIH BOOKER: Well, there are three other
Sudanese government officials and janjaweed militia leaders who already have arrest warrants
that have been issued by the ICC? So they two are wanted in The Hague. AMNA NAWAZ: It’s worth remembering when those
arrest warrants were issued by the ICC, Bashir became sort of a pariah, right? There are very few heads of state in other
nations who would actually meet with him. What would this mean, if he does go through
to the ICC to face justice there, for the place of Sudan in the rest of the world? SALIH BOOKER: I think it’s very important
for the rest of the world and for the rule of law and the international rule of law. When he had the arrest warrants issued in
2009-2010, yes, he was to be a pariah, but, in fact, many countries did receive him, not
only in Africa, but the Middle East and Russia and China. And so I think finally facing justice in The
Hague will show that countries have an obligation, particularly those that are signatories to
the International Criminal Court, but also the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. system,
to make sure those who face arrest warrants have their day in court in The Hague. AMNA NAWAZ: So, what about for the country,
how they perceive this trial? If he goes through to the ICC, if for some reason he is not convicted
— there has been some criticism on how the court sees through some of those trials — does
it undermine the same forces that ousted him from power in the first place? SALIH BOOKER: There’s that risk. But I think the evidence is overwhelming.
And there’s loads of evidence, in terms of the crimes that he’s charged with, genocide,
war crimes, crimes against humanity. The investigations by others, NGOs, journalists,
have all led and helped the ICC develop the case against him. They began investigating this case in 2005,
and didn’t issue the arrest warrants until four years later. So, there’s sufficient evidence,
I think, to convict him, as well as his colleagues, in the crimes that he committed. AMNA NAWAZ: So what does all this mean for
the people of Sudan? We mentioned the hundreds of thousands who
were killed at that time of war. SALIH BOOKER: Right. AMNA NAWAZ: The millions who were displaced. You mentioned the ongoing displacement and
conflict. SALIH BOOKER: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: How does this all resolve for
the future and stability of people there? SALIH BOOKER: Well, Sudan is a big and important
country. It used to be Africa’s largest country, until South Sudan split away in 2011. But it’s an African country at the crossroads
of the Middle East and Africa. It’s a country that has seen a civilian uprising and nonviolent
protests, leading to democratic change, overthrowing a military dictatorship. Algeria is attempting to do the same also
after 30 years. So, these are very important developments. But they need justice. They need to be able
to demonstrate that those who are responsible for the massive and gross human rights abuses,
for the destruction of the economy, for all the wars in the country are held accountable.
They need to end the wars. They need to restore the economy, and they need to show that they
can deliver a democratic system. They have two-and-a-half years left in this
interim period to prepare for the elections that will usher in a truly democratic government
for the first time in over three decades. AMNA NAWAZ: It’s a critical time for Sudan. SALIH BOOKER: It is, indeed. AMNA NAWAZ: And the world will be watching. Salih Booker of the Center for International
Policy, always good to have you here. SALIH BOOKER: Thank you so much. AMNA NAWAZ: The Ganga River, known as the
Ganges under British rule, is one of the most revered waterways in the world, and also one
of the most polluted. It provides water for nearly half-a-billion
people, more than any other river in the world, stretching from the foothills of the Himalayas
to the Bay of Bengal. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports
from Varanasi, India, on the latest efforts to help clean the river. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: In Hinduism, the Ganges,
or Ganga, is sacred, a river that has nourished an ancient civilization since its beginning. Today, the Ganges Basin, the river and its
tributaries, takes in 11 states, plus the capital region of Delhi. In all, some 400
million people, on farms, in factories and in households, rely on it for life, livelihood
and spiritual sustenance. In the holy city of Varanasi, temples draw
throngs of believers, who float oil lamps and marigolds. PIRBHADRA TIWARI, India (through translator):
It’s our faith that brings us here. It’s like nectar to me. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: They take ritual baths,
dips, even small sips, while reciting prayers to heal the body, to clean the soul. Vishwambhar Nath Mishra is an engineer by
training. He also heads the 500-year-old Sankat Mochan temple. VISHWAMBHAR NATH MISHRA, Sankat Mochan Hanuman
Temple: Whatever suffering we have, seems to just take away all the suffering. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: So the river can be the
source of happiness and contentment. VISHWAMBHAR NATH MISHRA: Definitely. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Many believers seek to
have their ashes sprinkled in the river. Thousands of bodies are burned here. Many, however,
are not fully cremated. These practices stress the river, but they
are only a small part of what it endures. By far, the most toxic pollution of this river
is probably the least visible, unless you happen upon drainage canals like this one,
which discharge millions every day of gallons of raw, untreated sewage. Experts link pollution in the Ganga and other
rivers to India’s high rate of waterborne illnesses, which kill an estimated 1.5 million
children each year. Researchers have also discovered the emergence of so-called superbugs
in Ganges water samples, bacteria resistant to most commonly used antibiotics. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, devoutly Hindu
and allied with Hindu nationalist groups, represents Varanasi in Parliament and has
made the river’s cleanup a signature issue for his government. In this video posted online
by his office, Modi vows to jump-start the effort, which has languished for decades. The $3 billion dollar cleanup program began
in 2015, but Mishra, citing the continued pollution, among other things, says it’s shown
little progress. VISHWAMBHAR NATH MISHRA: Now, I think red
tape-ism is the biggest cause for it. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Red tape-ism? VISHWAMBHAR NATH MISHRA: Definitely. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Pollution control officials
in Varanasi say new capacity is coming online that will treat much of the daily effluent. But Rajiv Mishra, who heads the prime minister’s
national clean Ganga project, says there is no quick solution. RAJIV RANJAN MISHRA, National Mission for
Clean Ganga: It’s a very long-term thing. People always think, like, when it will be
clean? I mean, that question has no meaning. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: He say it will take years
to bring together the competing interests and jurisdictions across an area one-and-a-half
times the size of Texas. And while the public supports a cleanup, Mishra
says many don’t perceive a grave threat to a river that they feel can withstand anything. RAJIV RANJAN MISHRA: People will say, there
can be some dirty things in the river, there may be some pollution, but the river remains
pure. So that’s a strength, as well as a challenge, for us. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: He says there needs to
be a shift in perception and even in some rituals. Electric crematoria have been built
as an alternative to the traditional and less efficient wood-burning pyres. And there also are smaller campaigns another
to raise public awareness, like one effort which recycles flowers. Directly or indirectly,
tons of these chemically treated flowers find their way into the river. They are now turned
into incense sticks, which are sold near the temples. However, the most effective way to cleanse
the river — also the biggest challenge — would be to restore its natural flow. After dams,
industrial and agricultural use, Mishra says there’s a lot less water left for cities like
Varanasi. RAJIV RANJAN MISHRA: Imagine a person, if
you take out 70 percent, 50 percent of the blood from someone’s body, what will happen
to it? FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Restoring the river’s
natural flow will require sacrifice from all users, Mishra says. It’s a political challenge
that will become even more difficult given climate change. Himalayan glaciers that feed this region’s
major rivers are receding. Rainy seasons are getting shorter and dry spells longer. For now, Arunabha Ghosh, who heads a Delhi-based
think tank, gives the government’s effort a low grade. ARUNABHA GHOSH, CEO, Council on Energy, Environment
and Water: You have a financing problem. You have a manpower problem. And, most importantly,
I would say, you still have a governance architecture problem. And if we don’t fix those basic things, then
you won’t be able to truly transform, because the idea was, if you can fix this, you know,
which — because what happens to the Ganga has a kind of also social resonance. FRED DE SAM LAZARO: For now, many eyes are
on Varanasi, from the prime minister to the canoeing balladeer who shuttles tourists along
the Ganga. She is sacred, he sings. Stop throwing trash into her. For the “PBS NewsHour,” this is Fred de Sam
Lazaro in Varanasi, India. AMNA NAWAZ: And Fred’s reporting is in partnership
with the Under-Told Stories Project at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. From “Star Wars” to 1970s TV shows, the promise
of a bionic limb was always the stuff of science fiction. Now it’s real. From PBS station WGBH in Boston, Cristina
Quinn introduces us to a woman who’s helping local researchers perfect the technology. CRISTINA QUINN: Morgan Stickney approaches
physical therapy at Spaulding Rehab like everything in life, with her eyes on the prize. MORGAN STICKNEY, Swimmer: I like to treat
P.T. and O.T. as if it’s a workout. So I go down there and give it my all. CRISTINA QUINN: She’s a pre-med student, an
elite swimmer, and a one-time Olympic hopeful. But she has suffered for years from an extremely
rare vascular disease that went undiagnosed. It restricts blood flow to lower limbs, resulting
in brittle bones. MORGAN STICKNEY: I was trying to take my classes
on opioids because I was suffering in so much pain. All my bones in my feet were dying.
So, I couldn’t walk. CRISTINA QUINN: Facing amputation, she learned
about an experimental surgery happening at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The Ewing amputation, named after the first
patient to undergo the procedure, reconnects the muscles and nerves that communicate with
the brain. It’s a major advancement compared to a standard amputation, which severs these
connections, says surgeon Matthew Carty. DR. MATTHEW CARTY, Brigham and Women’s Hospital:
When a patient with a standard amputation thinks about moving their ankle, which is
no longer there, for example, they only get half the information. And so the brain searches
for a way to process that incomplete equation. CRISTINA QUINN: The Ewing amputation closes
the loop, so, when an amputee puts on a prosthetic limb, the brain knows exactly where that leg
is, because the muscles and nerves are still intact. DR. MATTHEW CARTY: And the idea is that, once
they have healed, when they fire off those muscles and think about moving their ankle,
their body basically thinks it’s moving a biological ankle still. CRISTINA QUINN: Carty has been working with
researchers at the MIT Media Lab, who are developing what is essentially a bionic leg. And Stickney, who underwent A Ewing amputation
a year-and-a-half ago, is among the first to help MIT researchers test it out. She’s
moving a robotic ankle just by thinking about it. It’s a potential game-changer for anyone who
uses a prosthetic limb. But for Stickney, the immediate payoff off of the surgery was
being pain-free and returning to competitive swimming. Months after her amputation, Stickney won
two national championships and was living in Colorado training for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
But a few months later, the rare vascular disease affected her other leg. MORGAN STICKNEY: I was recovering in the cold
tub, and I got out and hopped three steps, and my foot fractured. CRISTINA QUINN: Stickney has since become
the first person to undergo a bilateral, or double, Ewing amputation. She’s part of a
small, but growing group of pioneers helping perfect this new technology. In the meantime, though, she’s already thinking
about restarting her training regimen. MORGAN STICKNEY: Nothing will stop me from
getting in the pool. My goal is to go to the 2024 Paralympic Games. I will be in a different
classification this time. But that doesn’t change anything. I’m going to be working just
as hard in the pool, if not harder. CRISTINA QUINN: Proving loss can fuel one’s
competitive spirit. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Cristina Quinn
in Boston. JUDY WOODRUFF: And that is the “NewsHour”
for now. Please join us right here starting at 11:00
p.m. Eastern for PBS’ special live coverage of the primary. We will have up-to-the-minute
results and livestreams of speeches online and on our social pages. Stay with us. I’m Judy Woodruff in New Hampshire. AMNA NAWAZ: And I’m Amna Nawaz in Washington. For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank
you. We will see you soon.

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