PBS NewsHour full episode September 17, 2019

JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening.
I’m Judy Woodruff.
On the “NewsHour” tonight: a return to the
Mueller report.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski
appears before Congress to answer for his
actions investigated by the special counsel.
Then: Bibi and the ballot — on the ground
in Israel, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
attempts to cling to power in today’s historic
do-over election.
Plus: guns, red flag laws, and the Lone Star
State — touching down in Texas as the national
debate over firearms heats up.
DUSTIN FAWCETT, Texas: What if he would have
came running up at me and I didn’t have a
weapon on me at the time?
What would I have done?
You know, you start thinking of that.
And that’s when you think, well, the only
answer to that would be a firearm.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.”
JUDY WOODRUFF: Lots of questions, not many
new answers.
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee spent this
afternoon hearing from Corey Lewandowski,
President Trump’s former campaign manager.
He stuck mostly to what he said in the Mueller
report on the Russia investigation, and he
defended Mr. Trump against impeachment talk.
We will hear some of what he said, plus analysis,
after the news summary.
In Afghanistan, Taliban suicide bombers killed
at least 48 people and wounded scores today
in two separate attacks.
The first targeted President Ashraf Ghani’s
election rally in Parwan province in the north;
26 people died there.
Survivors, including Ghani himself, fled a
scene of charred cars and chaos.
Hours later, in Kabul, Afghan guards scrambled
after a blast near the U.S. Embassy killed
One witness described the horror.
JAVED, Witness (through translator): Suddenly,
a blast occurred at the entrance of the army
recruit center near the U.S. Embassy.
I saw people and human flesh in the air.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The attacks came a week after
President Trump canceled peace talks with
the Taliban and 11 days before the Afghan
The political future of Israel’s Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu could be in doubt tonight.
Israel held national elections today, and
early projections showed a center-right party
slightly ahead of Netanyahu’s Likud Party.
It appears that neither can reach a majority
in Parliament without forming a coalition
with other groups.
We are going to be taking a closer look later
in the program.
The supreme leader of Iran today rejected
any talks with the U.S. when the U.N. General
Assembly opens this month or at any other
In Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that
there will be no talks at any level, regardless
of ever-growing U.S. sanctions.
Iran (through translator): The U.S. claim
that maximum pressure policy works means that
they want to push the Islamic Republic of
Iran to the negotiation table.
Then they can say, you see?
Maximum pressure policy forced them to come
to the table.
This is their goal.
JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump had initially
suggested a meeting with Iran’s President
Hassan Rouhani might be possible.
Today, he said he prefers not to meet, but
doesn’t rule it out.
Back in this country, Tropical Storm Imelda
came ashore in Texas hours after forming in
the Gulf of Mexico.
It could dump 15 inches of rain in the Houston
And, in the Atlantic, Hurricane Humberto headed
away from the U.S. and toward Bermuda, with
winds of 100 miles an hour.
It could be near the island early Thursday.
The Trump administration is preparing to revoke
California’s authority to set its own gas
mileage standards.
Reports today said that the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency will make the formal announcement
on Wednesday.
The administration is trying to relax Obama
era mileage standards nationwide.
Members of the United Auto Workers have spent
a second day on the picket lines at General
Motors plants.
At the same time, the union reported progress
in contract negotiations.
The strike affects some 49,000 workers and
more than 50 factories and parts warehouses.
The price of oil receded today from Monday’s
big surge.
That came as Saudi Arabia said it had restored
half of the output that was halted by a drone
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial
average gained 34 points to close at 27110.
The Nasdaq rose 32 points, and the S&P 500
added seven.
Another Republican says that he will not be
returning to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Four-term Congressman Paul Cook of California
announced today that he won’t seek reelection
next year.
So far, at least 18 Republican House members
have opted to retire from Congress.
And American endurance swimmer Sarah Thomas
finished a first today, swimming across the
English Channel four times without stopping.
Cell phone footage captured her coming ashore
today at Dover, exhausted after swimming a
total of 130 miles over 54 hours.
Thomas is 37.
She performed the feat just one year after
she was treated for breast cancer.
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: President
Trump’s former campaign manager appears before
Congress, as Democrats weigh the possibility
of impeachment; Israelis go to the polls,
while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s
political future hangs in the balance; hearing
from Texas gun owners amid a swirling debate
over how to deal with a spate of mass shootings;
remembering the life of legendary Washington
journalist and friend of the “NewsHour” Cokie
Roberts; plus, much more.
The Mueller report is back in the headlines
The first witness mentioned in the special
counsel’s investigation appeared before the
U.S. House Judiciary Committee to answer questions
on obstruction of justice.
Our Lisa Desjardins was there, and she begins
with this report.
LISA DESJARDINS: Democrats have been waiting
for this opportunity.
JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): The Committee on the
Judiciary will come to order.
LISA DESJARDINS: An open hearing with Corey
Lewandowski, a former Trump campaign manager
who remained in touch with the president when
he was in office.
He also saw the hearing as an opportunity
to defend the president.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, Former Trump Campaign Manager:
The investigation was populated by many Trump
haters, who had their own agenda, to take
down a duly elected president of the United
As for actual collusion or conspiracy, there
was none.
LISA DESJARDINS: Lewandowski ran Mr. Trump’s
presidential campaign through the early 2016
primaries, getting radiant praise from his
boss after their crushing victory in New Hampshire.
DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
He was the first one that talked about us
possibly winning the whole big ball game,
and he’s tough and he’s smart.
LISA DESJARDINS: Problems with delegate math
and other issues pushed Lewandowski out that
He didn’t work in the Trump White House.
But Lewandowski defended the president on
television and stayed in Mr. Trump’s orbit.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI: Which is talking to the
president on a fairly regular basis.
LISA DESJARDINS: Which is one reason he landed
in the Mueller report.
Democrats have been keenly interested in a
section in volume two dealing with whether
the president obstructed justice.
The report lays out how, in May of 2017, Mueller
began his investigation.
Just one month later, the report states, the
president called Lewandowski to the White
House for a one-on-one meeting, dictating
a message for him to take to then-Attorney
General Jeff Sessions.
It directed Sessions to give a speech announcing
the president was being mistreated, and Mueller
would have to limit his investigation to future
campaigns, not Trump or his team.
For this appearance, the White House told
the Judiciary Committee Lewandowski could
speak only to material in the Mueller report,
and no other interactions with President or
candidate Trump.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And Lisa joins me now.
So, Lisa, what were the Democrats trying,
hoping to show here about the Mueller report?
LISA DESJARDINS: About the Mueller report
specifically, Judy, Democrats were focused
on one portion of volume two that we just
They wanted to get Corey Lewandowski to talk
about that moment that he testified between
himself and President Trump where President
Trump asked him to direct the attorney general
to essentially make sure he couldn’t be investigated,
to make sure that President Trump himself
couldn’t be investigated.
But, Judy, I’m not sure that Democrats got
the sounds that they wanted out of Corey Lewandowski.
He was very dismissive of the Mueller report
in general.
In fact, he said he never read it.
And for every question he asked, where specifically
in the report is that, he soaked up time doing
And he repeatedly seemed — either refused
to answer questions or took a long time answering
That raised a lot of frustration for Democrats.
They didn’t really bring out any information
and very little sound from Mr. Lewandowski
on that.
In fact, it was a circus at the beginning
of this hearing.
Later, it calmed down.
But here are a few examples of what I’m talking
about, Rhode Island Representative David Cicilline,
also Representative Pramila Jayapal.
Here, Cicilline is asking why he didn’t follow
through on the president’s order for him to
talk to the attorney general.
DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): Just to be clear,
although you were not working for the president
in any capacity, you wanted to give the president
the impression that you were going to follow
his orders, correct?
DAVID CICILLINE: Well, you said, I’m going
to take care of it.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI: Is that referenced in the
DAVID CICILLINE: Did you tell the president
you were going to deliver the message?
COREY LEWANDOWSKI: I can’t comment on private
The president has reserved executive privilege.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI: I can read you the exact
statement again, if you would like me to.
As I said, the White House has directed me
that I not disclose the substance of any discussions
with the president or his advisers to protect
executive privilege confidentiality.
DAVID CICILLINE: Reclaiming my time.
You’re not going to stonewall me and my questioning.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI: Would you like me to answer
your question?
PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): You were dictated
those notes by the president, correct?
COREY LEWANDOWSKI: I believe that’s in the
PRAMILA JAYAPAL: And you told the special
counsel the president has dictated a message
to you, and you said, write this down.
This is volume two, page 91.
And you gave the notes to the special counsel.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI: I can’t speak to the way
the special counsel conducted their investigation.
PRAMILA JAYAPAL: Did you give the notes to
the special counsel?
This is not about how the special counsel
conducted its investigation.
It’s about whether you gave the notes to the
special counsel.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI: That’s a question for special
counsel Mueller.
PRAMILA JAYAPAL: Those were your notes, Mr.
They were in your safe.
They were dictated to you and written down
by you.
Did you give them to the special counsel?
COREY LEWANDOWSKI: I comply with all legal
and lawful requests of the special counsel.
PRAMILA JAYAPAL: Well, obviously, you are
once again obstructing our investigation by
refusing to answer questions that…
COREY LEWANDOWSKI: I have just answered your
I said I comply with all requests by the special
LISA DESJARDINS: This was very typical of
the now five hours and running of this hearing
today, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Lisa, your reporting is,
though, that the Democrats had another goal
in all of this, one that maybe they’re happier
about the result from?
LISA DESJARDINS: I think that’s right.
A more pragmatic goal for Democrats was to
show that Corey Lewandowski and, more importantly
to them, President Trump and his White House
are obstructing justice in this probe itself
by preventing him from answering questions,
by saying that two top aides, Rick Dearborn
and Rob Porter, who were also subpoenaed to
testify today, were not able to because the
White House blocked them from doing so.
All of that, the Democrats are arguing, shows
a pattern of obstruction of justice, obstruction
of Congress that they think may be impeachable
itself later on or at least give them an argument
to the courts.
Here is House Judiciary Committee Chairman
Jerry Nadler talking about this as he was
in a back-and-forth with Mr. Lewandowski.
JERROLD NADLER: When you refuse to answer
these questions, you are obstructing the work
of our committee.
You are also proving our point to the American
people to see.
The president is intent on obstructing our
legitimate oversight.
You are aiding him in that obstruction.
And I will remind you that Article 3 of the
impeachment against President Nixon was based
on obstruction of Congress.
You are instructed to answer the question.
LISA DESJARDINS: And that Article 3, Judy,
that Nadler was talking about specifically
was about the Nixon White House refusing to
testify and answer to subpoenas before the
House Judiciary Committee.
So that is a very important layer of the case
that House Democrats are trying to make.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, meantime, Lisa, tell us
what Republicans are saying about all this.
Republicans are building a separate case.
They say they’re trying to show that they
think House Democrats are trying to replay
the 2016 election.
They made a case repeatedly today that Democrats
are moving out of emotion, out of a tremendous
bias against this president.
They do not see this — or they say they don’t
see it as a fact-finding investigation.
And that certainly played with how you could
see Mr. Lewandowski.
He walked into the hearing room, Judy.
I noticed, and I asked him, his pin was an
American flag with the presidential seal on
He was there making a statement of loyalty
to the president, and he basically told Democrats
that he felt this investigation was their
attempt to overturn the last election.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it’s remarkable, another
remarkable hearing.
And you’re right.
It takes us right back to the Mueller report.
Lisa Desjardins, thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It is Election Day in Israel
all over again.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed the
unprecedented do-over after falling one Parliament
seat short of forming a government last April.
Special correspondent Ryan Chilcote is there
for us, and has the story.
RYAN CHILCOTE: Election Day was deja vu, all
over again, less than six months after the
last go-round, prolonging the political turmoil
and putting Israel’s long-serving prime minister
in peril.
At the center of it all, Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud Party,
and his chief rival, Benny Gantz, his former
military chief of staff, who leads the centrist
Blue and White Party.
Voters flocked to the polls, and while support
for the ruling Likud Party fell, neither of
Israel’s largest parties may have the votes
to form a government.
That leaves this man, Avigdor Lieberman, Netanyahu’s
longtime-ally-turned-foe, as a potential kingmaker.
He wants a national unity government, forcing
Likud and the Blue and White to govern together.
In a last-minute get-out-the-vote plea at
a Jerusalem’s bus station, Netanyahu warned
voters about the perils of choosing his challenger.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Israeli Prime Minister
(through translator): Do you want to prevent
a left-wing government and a coalition with
the Arab parties?
You don’t want that.
So, go vote.
Go vote Likud.
RYAN CHILCOTE: Political problems aside, Netanyahu
is also in legal jeopardy.
A hearing next month will decide whether he
is indicted for breach of trust and accepting
bribes that include champagne and expensive
That didn’t matter to some voters, like Rami
Netanyahu’s hard line on the Arabs and Palestinians
trumps everything.
RAMI BIRENBAUM, Israeli Voter: Moses did a
big mistake 2,000 years ago.
Instead of going to America or to Australia,
went over to the Middle East.
And all around us, we’re surround enemies.
It’s the problem, yes.
If you ask me, the Arabs not accept us, only
to throw us into the ocean.
And only Netanyahu.
I don’t care about his wife, about his children,
about if he took cigarettes or not.
I don’t care.
RYAN CHILCOTE: You don’t care about the corruption?
RYAN CHILCOTE: But it did for others, like
Ruthy Ranan, who’s voted for Netanyahu in
the past.
RUTHY RANAN, Israeli Voter: I voted for Gantz
because it needs to be a change, because Netanyahu
is doing very bad things for everybody.
RYAN CHILCOTE: Gantz said this election could
bring change, but only if Israelis actually
BENNY GANTZ, Israeli Prime Minister Candidate
(through translator): Anyone who stays home
doesn’t take responsibility for what is going
to happen.
We want new hope.
We vote today for change, without corruption,
without extremism.
RYAN CHILCOTE: His supporters appear to have
heeded the warning.
It’s a day off in Israel, but, even at the
beach, there was no escaping the election.
At the White House yesterday, U.S. President
Donald Trump predicted a tight race.
DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
It’s a 50/50 election.
A lot of people, if you look at the polls
and everything else, it is going to be very
RYAN CHILCOTE: Israelis Arabs, who make up
a sixth of the electorate, but tend to turn
out in smaller numbers than their Jewish counterparts,
also appear to have shaped the outcome.
Netanyahu had directed the police to be on
the lookout for fraud in Arab neighborhoods,
warning his supporters, the Arabs are voting
this time, and they better, too.
Ayman Odeh heads the predominately Arab coalition
of parties called The Joint List.
AYMAN ODEH, Leader, The Joint List (through
translator): We are not against a group of
We are against a racist prime minister.
But he is against a whole nation.
That is the big difference.
RYAN CHILCOTE: A polling station we visited
in Kfar Qasim, an Arab town outside Tel Aviv,
appeared to have an outsized police presence.
One man told us the police had demanded campaign
signs be taken down.
Sabaa Taha said it’s her duty to preserve
Arabs’ identity in an increasingly right-wing
Arabs’ representation in Parliament marginally
SABAA TAHA, Arab Israeli Voter: The more we
vote, the more we change something.
There’s a lot of things that are going against
Arabs in Israel.
RYAN CHILCOTE: Israel’s election has left
more questions than answers.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And Ryan joins us now from
Netanyahu’s election night headquarters in
Tel Aviv.
So, Ryan, it sounds complicated.
What happens next?
RYAN CHILCOTE: It is a bit complicated.
Israel’s president now will sit down with
the leaders of the nine political parties
that look poised to get into Parliament.
I say poised because all we have at this point
are the exit polls, though they generally
are pretty accurate.
And he will ask the leaders those political
parties who they want to be prime minister.
He will then go away, have a think, and come
back and offer the — extend the opportunity
to the leader of one of the political parties
to try to form a coalition, to form a government.
I say try, because, of course, that’s exactly
what Benjamin Netanyahu tried to do back in
April, and, for the first time in the history
of Israel, failed.
Now, the magic number is 61.
That’s the number of seats that you have to
have in your coalition if you’re going to
form a government.
Neither of the main political — two biggest
political parties right now have coalition
partners that add up to 61 seats.
So there’s really several ways to get to 61.
But the most — two most talked about are
for the two political parties, the Blue and
White Party and the Likud Party, to get together
and form a national unity government.
If they were to do that, they would have the
61 seats.
But then, of course, the question is, who
gets to be prime minister?
Now, back in 1984, Israel was in this very
situation, and the two political parties agreed
to rotate the job.
In other words, the leader of one political
party gets to be prime minister for a couple
years, then the leader of the other political
party, the other coalition partner in that
unity government.
Now, there is another path forward, which
is that the leader of one of the two main
parties gets together with the leader of another
party called Israel Our Home, and that would
give them the 61 seats, though I should point
out — his name is Avigdor Lieberman, the
leader of that party — that Netanyahu tried
to do that with him in the last election.
He pledged his support, pledged his seats
in the Parliament to Prime Minister Netanyahu,
and at the last minute actually pulled out
the rug from underneath Netanyahu.
And that is how we got to where we are today,
because Netanyahu couldn’t form a government.
So anything really is possible in Israeli
politics, and it’s unlikely to happen very
quickly — Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Complicated is an understatement.
Ryan, so, is it clear where all this leaves
Benjamin Netanyahu?
RYAN CHILCOTE: Politically speaking, he’s
definitely in a weaker position.
His party, the Likud Party, got less seats,
less votes, and now less seats in the Parliament
than they did back in April.
And, of course, two weeks from tomorrow, there
will be a hearing where a judge will decide
whether he is to be indicted on three charges
of corruption.
Now, if he was to be indicted, he will obviously
go to trial.
And if he was found guilty, he could very
well go to prison.
Politically, that’s not very helpful for him
either, even the hearing, because, if he is
indicted, it is entirely possible that some
people within his very own party will say,
Prime Minister, we think, in the interest
of our party and in the interest of the country,
it’s better for you to step down, sort out
your legal problems, and come back later.
So it doesn’t put him in a very good position
if there is some kind of national unity government,
where they get to decide — they have to decide
who wants to — who gets to be prime minister
first, clearly, Benjamin Netanyahu is going
to want to be prime minister, and he’s going
to want to be a prime minister first to try
and push back any of his legal proceedings
using the office of the prime minister.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Tough to keep track of all
of this.
But, Ryan, we know, meantime, there is this
stalled peace process out there.
The U.S. has been involved.
Where does this leave that?
RYAN CHILCOTE: It doesn’t change much.
The reality is, while the Palestinians may
want to see Netanyahu out of office, it may
not really change much.
The political establishment here in Israel
is pretty unified when it comes to how to
deal with the Palestinians.
There isn’t a lot of difference between the
front-runners in this election and the parties
that are going to have the seats in the Knesset,
in the Parliament.
The real question is, what happens when President
Trump comes up with his peace plan for the
Middle East?
The president has billed it as the deal of
the century.
Now, that plan is quite likely going to be
the liking of the Israelis, but the Palestinians
have already rejected it.
So then the question really becomes, what
do the Israelis and the United States and
other people that want to see some kind of
peace deal do?
Do they forge ahead without the Palestinians
and force some kind of solution on them, or
does the whole thing get shelved, and the
Israelis just do whatever they want?
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, as you said at the outset,
Ryan, there are more questions than there
are answers right now.
Ryan Chilcote for us at Netanyahu headquarters
in Tel Aviv, thank you, Ryan.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us.
Coming up on the “NewsHour”: the trauma of
separation — the physical and emotional damage
borne by migrant children detained by the
U.S. government.
After the recent mass shootings in El Paso,
Dayton, and then Odessa and Midland, Texas,
calls for gun reforms have been growing.
They are coming from the public, from the
business community, and from lawmakers.
President Trump has said that he will unveil
what he supports sometime this week.
Recently, William Brangham went to Odessa
and Midland to see what gun owners themselves
think ought to be done — William.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That’s right, Judy.
While this debate unfolds here in Washington
right now, we sought out gun owners — and
only gun owners — to hear their take on what
might be done to reduce gun violence in America.
As you might imagine, many of them argued
that more Americans should be armed.
But we also asked them, should we require
universal background checks for all gun sales?
Should we enact tougher red flag laws?
Here’s some of what we found.
Just over two weeks ago, Dustin Fawcett was
waiting in his truck outside this Starbucks
in Odessa, Texas, with his 3-week-old daughter.
DUSTIN FAWCETT, Texas: We were just sitting
there jamming out to some music, and, all
of a sudden I hear a stream of gunshots, bop,
bop, bop.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The shooter, who killed
seven and wounded 25, had just shot at several
cars in the intersection right behind him.
DUSTIN FAWCETT: Then I crawl in the back seat
and check to make sure she’s OK, still unsure
if these are actually bullets being shot.
It was chaos.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Fawcett and his family have
long been hunters.
While he’s considered carrying a handgun,
now, he like a lot of other Texans we met,
will carry one.
DUSTIN FAWCETT: I mean, I felt helpless.
I had a little daughter in the back seat.
I have no way — what if he would have came
running up at me and I didn’t have a weapon
on me at the time?
What would I have done?
You know, you start thinking of that.
And that’s when you think, well, the only
answer to that would be a firearm.
TONY GRIJALVA, Owner, Family Armory: After
the tragedy, we see a response from the community.
There’s sorrow.
And we see a lot of people that are motivated
They want to do something about it.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Tony Grijalva owns Family
Armory in Midland, Texas, and he says he can
barely keep up with the demand from people
who want to carry a gun.
Typically, he has about 25 clients in September
for his license-to-carry class.
Now he’s got over 175.
TONY GRIJALVA: What it boils down to is a
feeling of powerlessness.
Things are out of control.
But action, just generally speaking, is better
than inaction.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We know gun sales often
increase after mass shootings, and we saw
that at this gun show in Hillsboro, Texas.
Some people here told us, no laws can stop
mass shootings.
But others were open to some changes, some
even supporting policies actively opposed
by the NRA.
DYLAN HAMMONS, Texas: No, there’s got to be
something done.
There’s got to be a happy medium.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Dylan Hammons is selling
handguns and long guns today, including AR-15s,
the gun used in many recent mass shootings,
and one he thinks the media gets way too worked
up about.
He says there are plenty of similar guns just
as lethal.
But Hammons believes people should be required
to prove they know how to safely handle and
store a gun before they can buy one.
DYLAN HAMMONS: Why wouldn’t that work?
It might not stop it, but we don’t resist
driver’s license.
They will gladly go down and pay their money
to get a driver’s license, so they can jump
in a car and go to Walmart and buy beer.
They have no issue with that.
But as soon as you have to have a license
to buy one of these, they don’t want anything
to do with it.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Karen Barlow and her husband,
Gary, own a gun store in Wichita Falls, Texas.
They believe guns are valuable for protection.
In fact, Gary used his gun a few years ago
to defend their store from two armed robbers.
KAREN BARLOW, Gun Store Owner: I carry a .38
Special revolver.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The Barlows are federally
licensed gun dealers, so, by law, they have
to run background checks on every single buyer.
But, at gun shows like this and in millions
of private or online sales across the country,
there’s a loophole, and that check isn’t required.
The shooter in Odessa reportedly failed one
of these checks in 2014, and then bought his
AR-15 privately.
In your store, because you’re a federally
licensed gun retailer…
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: … you have to get background
checks on everyone you sell a gun to.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But not every seller standing
behind you right now has to do that.
KAREN BARLOW: That’s true.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Do you think that ought
to change?
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Is that right?
KAREN BARLOW: I would like to see that loophole
closed just…
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, universal background
KAREN BARLOW: Universal.
However, for private sales, if you’re selling
— if I’m selling a personal gun to my neighbor
or to my nephew or something that — like,
you don’t have to do a background check.
WALLACE DUNN, Vice President, Texas Handgun
Association: Honestly, it’s — it’s ludicrous.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Others are more skeptical.
Wallace Dunn Is Vice President Of The Texas
Handgun Association, a lifetime NRA member,
and someone who thinks Democrats and the media
use fear of mass shootings to push for gun
WALLACE DUNN: We hear in the media all the
time when there’s a mass shooting.
I liken it to airplane crashes.
We hear airplane crashes.
They’re horrible.
We don’t hear about the million people that
flew safely today.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So you think we have an
exaggerated fear about mass shootings?
If you look at — it’s horrible if it happens
to you or your family, but the odds of being
a victim of a mass shooting are probably pretty
close to winning the lottery.
It’s — it’s — it happens and it’s horrible,
but, as a percentage of the population, it’s
not likely.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: At the Odessa outdoor gun
range, I met three more gun owners.
They’d heard PBS was in town and they wanted
to talk.
They all support carrying guns for self-defense,
but, at times, some are also open to changes
that are nonstarters for the gun lobby.
STEVE HARRISON, Gun Owner: I think that the
shooting two weeks ago or a week ago was a
But it’s something that’s going to happen
as long as there are idiots allowed to get
They need to weed out the idiots and keep
them from getting the guns, and leave the
rest of us to do what we want to do.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But how do you weed out
the idiots?
STEVE HARRISON: Better and more stringent
background checks.
I would be willing to wait a week, two weeks
to get a new gun, if, in the same venue, in
that week or two weeks, they found out that
there was somebody trying to get one that
didn’t need one.
MARCIE LAMB, Gun Owner: I think it’s more
of a mental health issue.
DON RUTLEDGE, Gun Owner: I’m an NRA member.
And I’m not against a background check at
But I feel like our morals have changed so
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So you think the problem
that we have with violence is because morality
has slipped, not because people are armed
more or have access to guns more?
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: What about this question
of what are called these red flag laws, where,
if someone is worried about someone they know,
thinks they’re on a downward spiral of some
kind, and alerts the authorities, and then
the authorities check that person out, and
if they determine there’s a problem, possibly
take their guns for a period of time?
DON RUTLEDGE: I would have mixed feelings
about that.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We heard this from almost
every gun owner we talked to in Texas.
People think red flag laws won’t help, and
they think people will abuse them by falsely
reporting perfectly fine gun owners that they
just don’t like.
DON RUTLEDGE: There is enough gun laws on
the books right now, if you enforce every
single one of them to the fullest extent of
the law, they will slow things down a lot.
We don’t need new laws.
We need enforcement of existing laws.
MARCIE LAMB: Empathy to people, too.
I mean, I think you need to have empathy,
I mean, just reaching out to your neighbors
and your family, I mean, talking to people,
instead of just Facebooking and talking about
the left and the right.
Reach out to your Democratic or Republican
neighbor and say, hi, how you doing?
DON RUTLEDGE: I would — like everybody else
in the nation, would like to find the solution
to stop all these rampages.
That’s the only reason I carry a gun anymore.
Used to never have to worry about it.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Contrary to popular lore,
Texas isn’t a particularly gun-heavy state.
About a third of adults here own them, which
is pretty close to the national average.
And according to recent polls, a broad majority
of Americans Democrats, Republicans and gun
owners, support some increased action on gun
Whether those majorities translate into political
action remains to be seen.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m William Brangham
in West Texas.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The numbers of immigrant children
being detained by U.S. authorities at the
U.S.-Mexico border have dropped in recent
But, as Amna Nawaz reports, medical professionals
continue to raise concerns about the harmful
effects any detention can have on both the
short-and long-term health of these young
AMNA NAWAZ: That’s right, Judy.
Medical doctors and child psychologists agree
that the stress children endure during even
short periods of detention poses very real
risks, physically and emotionally.
Dr. Alan Shapiro is a clinical professor in
pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College
of Medicine and co-founder of Terra Firma.
That’s a group that promotes access to health
care and other services for immigrant children.
He’s also part of a group of physicians meeting
with lawmakers on the subject.
Dr. Shapiro, welcome to the “NewsHour.”
ALAN SHAPIRO, Co-Founder, Terra Firma: Thank
you for inviting me.
AMNA NAWAZ: Let’s start with where migrant
children would first be taken into custody,
along some of these Border Patrol detention
and processing centers.
You’re a child welfare expert.
From your perspective, can children safely
be held there?
ALAN SHAPIRO: Well, the short answer to that
is no.
And, you know, what’s so important for everyone
to think about is that children arrive at
our border who are traumatized from violence
that they have experienced in their home community,
an arduous journey thousands of miles that
they took to get to the U.S. border.
So they’re — they’re traumatized and they’re
And when you think about, where would you
want to put a child like that, you don’t want
to put a child in a freezing cold cell, or
in a warehouse that’s filled with cages, and
that doesn’t have the right mix of staff to
actually take care of them.
Really, these processing stations are the
worst and the last place you would ever want
to put a child.
AMNA NAWAZ: I should say, I have spent time
in some of those facilities, and Border Patrol
officers will be the first to tell you, we
are not equipped to handle children.
ALAN SHAPIRO: Absolutely.
AMNA NAWAZ: These are cramped, windowless,
cell-like areas.
But explain to us, because we talk about this
a lot, what exactly is it that’s harmful to
What’s happening in a child — in a child’s
mind, to their emotional, physical well-being
when they’re held in these kind of facilities
even for short periods of time?
So, the facility I went to was Ursula in McAllen,
There were a thousand people in cages in that
There were no parents that were there for
There was no one to help mitigate that stress.
Plus, the conditions themselves in detention
are harmful to children, which, unfortunately,
is why that has contributed to the death of
some children in the past year.
They do not have medical facilities for children.
They do not have proper food.
The temperatures are freezing cold, and they’re
sleeping oftentimes on the floor.
That is not a safe, sanitary place for a child
to be kept.
AMNA NAWAZ: That stress that you mentioned,
though, what kind of effect can that have
on a child’s well-being, both short-term or
How does that manifest itself?
So stress has both short-term and long-term
effects on children.
In the short-term, what we see is children
with regressive behavior.
We might see a child that had mastered bed-wetting
and now all of a sudden is wetting themselves,
children who become withdrawn, children who
stop speaking.
All of the things that you see in a child
with acute stress, we can see, we do see in
these detention facilities.
So what happens is, when a child is under
stress, they’re levels of hormones and stress
hormones rise.
So, cortisol, it’s one of those stress hormones
that rise, right?
That rise of stress hormones is there to protect
That’s that fight-or-flight experience that
you have.
Then we want those hormones to go down and
for children to relax and then to go back
to their baseline, and allows them to go on
once they feel safe.
If a child is constantly feeling at danger,
those stress hormones never go down.
And that’s what leads to long-term chronic
medical problems, learning problems, developmental
problems and growth.
AMNA NAWAZ: I mean, all of these detention
centers are not exactly equal.
And I wanted to ask you about one type of
facility in particular.
They’re called family residential centers.
AMNA NAWAZ: Because, obviously, many of these
children are actually detained with the parent
or legal guardian with whom they arrived.
I actually asked Homeland Security Acting
Secretary Kevin McAleenan about some of those
centers, about the care of children in those
centers when he was here.
Here’s what he had to say.
KEVIN MCALEENAN, Acting Secretary of Homeland
Security: These centers were built, purpose-built,
to house families during their immigration
Again, they have educational facilities, recreational,
dining, medical.
And they’re appropriate settings for people
to spend a period of time in while they go
through the immigration proceedings.
AMNA NAWAZ: Dr. Shapiro, administration officials
say these are appropriate settings, they’re
campus-like facilities.
What’s your opinion?
Are they appropriate for children?
ALAN SHAPIRO: So, I have been to every existing
family residential center.
And I will say — I hate to put it this way,
but he’s dead wrong, and he’s wrong from a
child welfare perspective.
These facilities are prison-like.
Families are treated like prisoners.
Parents are not allowed to freely parent their
children in the way that they want to.
The facilities are — at the Berks Family
Residential Center, where I have been, children
and women have flashlights shone in their
face every 15 minutes to make sure they’re
sleeping in their bed.
Disrupts their sleep, and it scares them.
I mean, that is not a facility that we would
want our families to live in.
You wouldn’t want to live there.
I wouldn’t want to live there.
We wouldn’t want our families to live there.
And, most egregiously, they do not have adequate
medical, the mental health services that families
We have to remember, detention itself is traumatizing.
And that is why, when I was in those facilities,
I saw very regressive behavior in children.
I saw teenagers that told me that they were
I saw parents that told me they were depressed
and suicidal.
AMNA NAWAZ: Well, let me ask you this, because
the administration will say, we have an immigration
enforcement job to do.
Some kind of detention, for a matter of days,
if not weeks, is necessary as we process who
these families are, do background checks,
et cetera.
They also say these children already suffered
multiple traumas before they have even gotten
This is a much better environment than the
one they came from.
What do you say to that?
ALAN SHAPIRO: First of all, trauma is that
these children are facing are — is compounded,
so it’s trauma after trauma.
Just because you have been badly traumatized
in the past doesn’t mean that that trauma
doesn’t continue.
And the more trauma you have, the worse your
outcome is going to be, worse your mental
health, worse your physical health.
And, remember, we’re talking about children
who are developing, who are learning.
Every one of those traumas interferes with
their growth, development and learning.
AMNA NAWAZ: So if you could suggest one step
the administration could take today that would
be in the best interests of these children,
what would that be?
ALAN SHAPIRO: My recommendation would be to
free those children, let them into the community
and those families into the community as soon
as possible.
And what’s very worrisome is that now the
administration is recommending that children
and these families are kept in long-term detention.
I have seen firsthand with my own eyes what
can happen to children.
AMNA NAWAZ: Dr. Alan Shapiro, thank you very
much for being here.
ALAN SHAPIRO: Thank you so much for inviting
JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, we remember
two outstanding broadcast journalists of the
past half-century, Cokie Roberts and Sander
For decades, Vanocur worked at NBC and ABC
News, covering everything from the Kennedy-Nixon
debate, which he participated in, to the war
in Vietnam.
He died last night in California at 91.
Cokie Roberts passed away today in Washington.
She was a pioneering journalist and political
commentator known to millions over the years.
Cokie Roberts’ career spanned more than 40
years, taking her from the U.S. Capitol.
COKIE ROBERTS, ABC NEWS: Both parties think
they can use concern about drugs to play to
their own particular strengths.
JUDY WOODRUFF: To the floors of national political
COKIE ROBERTS: We have seen an awful lot of
years of the woman.
This one could be different.
The economy is so bad, and that is something
that women care about a great deal.
JUDY WOODRUFF: She was born Mary Martha Corinne
Morrison Claiborne Boggs in New Orleans, and
early on, picked up the nickname Cokie.
It was a political family.
Her father, Hale Boggs, a Democratic congressman
from Louisiana, became the U.S. House majority
leader, and her mother, Lindy, who succeeded
her husband in office after he died in a plane
crash in Alaska.
The young Cokie Boggs graduated from Wellesley
College in 1964 with a degree in political
Two years later, she married journalist Steven
Roberts, and the couple went on to have two
After getting her start in local news and
then at CBS, Roberts joined NPR in 1978, when
it was still an upstart.
She became the congressional correspondent,
a job she held for 10 years.
She later became NPR’s senior news analyst
and commentator.
She also served as a congressional correspondent
and frequent contributor to “The MacNeil/Lehrer
NewsHour,” our predecessor.
That included her award-winning coverage of
the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980s.
COKIE ROBERTS: The contradictions in the Iran-Contra
testimony continue, with each witness giving
more glimpses of life behind the closed doors
of the government, including the locked doors
of the CIA.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In 1988, Roberts joined ABC
News as a political commentator for “This
Week With David Brinkley.”
She would eventually co-anchor ABC’s “This
Week,” alongside Sam Donaldson, from 1996
to 2002.
COKIE ROBERTS: That’s all for us this Sunday,
until next week.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Over the years, she chronicled
the week’s political news as ABC’s chief congressional
analyst, and was a regular fixture on the
network’s roundtables.
In front of the cameras, her work was marked
by tenacious reporting and sharp analysis,
matched by an equally sharp wit.
COKIE ROBERTS: The truth is, the president
is a lame duck.
The 22nd Amendment is a terrible idea.
COKIE ROBERTS: You know, term limits always
create lame-duckhood.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Behind the scenes, she was
known as a generous mentor to many young journalists.
She also wrote a weekly syndicated news column
with her husband.
Over the course of her career, Roberts received
countless recognitions, including three Emmys
and the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence
in Journalism.
She was also a bestselling author, mostly
exploring the important roles women have played
throughout American history.
Roberts sat down with the late Gwen Ifill
for the “NewsHour” in 2015.
COKIE ROBERTS: One of the reasons I have been
writing books about women in history is because
other people haven’t been.
And telling history without talking about
one-half of the human race seems to me to
be an inaccurate way of telling the story.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the end, Roberts earned
her own place in history as a trailblazer
in journalism.
President Obama issued a statement today,
praising her as a — quote — “role model
to young women at a time when the profession
was still dominated by men.”
And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of Roberts
that — quote — “She forever transformed
the role of women in the newsroom and in our
history books.”
Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in
2002, and died today in Washington of complications
from the disease.
She was 75 years old.
Let’s hear more about Cokie’s life and legacy
from two of her longtime colleagues and friends
who helped to shape NPR.
Nina Totenberg is legal affairs correspondent
at NPR.
And Linda Wertheimer is senior national correspondent.
They, along with Cokie, are often referred
to as the founding mothers of National Public
And welcome to both of you, to Nina and to
you, Linda.
I knew Cokie and admired her so much.
But to the rest of us, the three of you were
I’m so sorry for your loss.
NINA TOTENBERG, NPR: Well, I guess we have
had a little longer to get used to it than
other people, but it’s a terrible loss for
My phone, my e-mail, they’re all bursting
with tears.
Some pretty hard-bitten female reporters called
me this morning just bawling on the phone.
It’s a terrible loss for those of us who loved
her and knew her for a long time and knew
what she meant to journalism and to women.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Linda, what are you thinking
about today?
Are you thinking back to those early days
when it was the three of you?
It was an interesting time.
And Cokie and I worked together on the Hill
during peace time and together on the campaign
when we were catching the bus, riding the
I stayed on the plane pretty much, and she
stayed on the ground talking to voters.
And she did some of her best work talking
to voters.
She — you know, she carried that out to making
those polls come alive, all that kind of thing.
I think she was very, very good at that.
But, mainly, the thing that I’m remembering
today is that getting out on that campaign,
talking to people, working together, filing
our pieces together, it was really fun, just
so much fun.
People used to tell me, you sound like you’re
having a really good time, and I said, because
we are having a really good time.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Nina, what drove her as a journalist,
do you think?
NINA TOTENBERG: You know, one of my colleagues
said to me today that he thought it was fitting
that she died on Constitution Day.
And I think that Cokie really saw journalism
as a calling to carry out the values of our
system of government and our Constitution.
And she — later, she wrote books about it
and about the role of women, even when we
didn’t have the vote, in actually playing
a role in the Constitution.
So I think that is what drove her.
But, as she often said, you know, male historians
make it boring.
NINA TOTENBERG: Women know that gossip is
NINA TOTENBERG: And it can be fun to learn
about what’s happened and to know what’s going
on behind the scenes.
And it tells you something about history.
And I think that drove her, too.
LINDA WERTHEIMER: She also came from a political
Cokie’s father was in the House leadership.
And, after he died, her mother ran for his
seat and became one of the leaders in the
Democratic Party in the Congress.
And then, after she left the Congress, she
was an ambassador to, of all places, the Vatican.
But that immersion in politics that Cokie
had, it informed everything that she did.
And the thing that I always loved about her
was that — how much she liked politics.
She even liked the sort of down-and-dirty
aspects of it.
She just — she enjoyed the rough-and-tumble
She was never prissy about it, never saying:
I could never vote for someone who could — she
was — she was — well, she loved it.
And I think that would have driven her, too,
just the notion that she had all of this knowledge
and all of these extremely good instincts
about politics.
She should put them to a good use.
NINA TOTENBERG: Linda said today on the air
that she — that Cokie knew all the little
old men in the Congress, and she knew the
waiters in the cafeteria.
NINA TOTENBERG: She knew how to find out everything.
JUDY WOODRUFF: She liked politicians, too.
She didn’t just like politics.
She liked the people who practiced politics.
Yes, it is.
NINA TOTENBERG: And she didn’t think — you
know, she said, you know, there are high crimes
and misdemeanors, the kind that inflict, great
grievous damage on the country, and then there
are the little, bitty sort of crappy bribery
scandals that she thought were not pleasant,
but not the be-all and end-all.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Linda, what do you think she
loved about public media?
She also obviously worked in commercial media.
But what was it about NPR, about public media
that attracted her, do you think?
LINDA WERTHEIMER: Well, I think, among other
things, it was that it was a very open and
diverse staff.
We have a lot of women at NPR.
A lot of people of color work here.
It wasn’t impossible to get a job here if
you were a woman.
Cokie and I had two of the best jobs at NPR,
and Nina had the other best job at NPR.
LINDA WERTHEIMER: And I don’t know what we
would have had to do if we had gone to work
for a television network or gone to work for
a massive daily newspaper of the kind we don’t
have too many of anymore.
We would have had no way to get to the top,
because, by the time we got within shooting
distance of the top, we would have been too
old, and they would have not wanted us to
be there.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Nina, what do you think about
the public media part of who she was?
NINA TOTENBERG: She was really devoted to
Even after she worked principally for ABC
and only partly for us, she did fund-raiser
after fund-raiser, speech after speech for
every station.
She did way more than I did for National Public
And she played a very important role in securing
a new president for NPR who was up to the
task at a time when we desperately needed
that, about five or six years ago.
She really cared about this network desperately.
She thought it was an essential part of a
democratic system.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Linda, the last thing I want
to ask you both is about Cokie as your friend.
What she was like as a friend?
Where did that energy level come from?
LINDA WERTHEIMER: Well, it was kind of terrifying.
LINDA WERTHEIMER: I mean, Cokie, even when
she was sick — I was sitting at the kitchen
table with her.
You know, we — having a little chat.
She kept getting up and rearranging the dishes
in the cabinets.
I mean, anything that was — anything that
needed doing, she got up and did it.
But the thing about Cokie that I think endeared
her to everyone was her generosity.
She would do anything for her friends.
She would do anything for total strangers
if she felt that they needed her to.
She was just incredibly kind and good.
NINA TOTENBERG: And generous.
LINDA WERTHEIMER: And, at the same time, she
was funny.
And she didn’t you feel like you were sitting
down next to Saint Cokie.
She was very mischievous and funny.
And that was wonderful, too.
NINA TOTENBERG: I wrote a piece today that
said she was the embodiment of our better
You know, people who were only casual friends
would find her at their hospital beds with
a visit.
She would — as Linda said, she would do anything
for every — anyone.
People who worked for her and who were in
terrible financial straits suddenly found
they had a whole bunch of new work to do for
She wanted to leave them with their dignity,
but she wanted to help them get out of financial
And, for me, when my late husband had a prolonged
illness after a fall, and at the time of his
death, I don’t know what I would have done
without her.
She was just always there.
She heard my voice even faltering on the phone
She would magically turn up.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we think of her in so
many ways, and her voice on the radio, seeing
her on television, but, most of all, the Cokie
in person.
Nina Totenberg, Linda Wertheimer, thank you
NINA TOTENBERG: Thank you, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Cokie Roberts, a singular figure
in journalism, someone we will all miss, someone
who mentored so many younger women journalists.
We will miss her so much.
And that is the “NewsHour” for tonight.
I’m Judy Woodruff.
Join us online and again here tomorrow evening.
For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank
you, and we’ll see you soon.

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