PBS NewsHour full episode September 30, 2019

JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening.
I’m Judy Woodruff.
On the “NewsHour” tonight: a critical moment
for the country.
As President Trump lashes out, what’s next
as the impeachment inquiry moves forward and
the president’s lawyer is subpoenaed by the
House of Representatives?
Then: hitting the mark — Senator Cory Booker
on impeachment moves, his run for the White
House, and meeting a key fund-raising goal.
And as rapid advances in technology propel
China to the global forefront, critics decry
the implementation of a surveillance state
within its borders.
ZHANG LIFAN, Historian (through translator):
Of course.
We can feel this surveillance all the time.
The Chinese authorities use a network of cameras
throughout cities, facial recognition systems,
as well as various mobile phone apps, to monitor
Surveillance is indeed omnipresent.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.”
JUDY WOODRUFF: From President Trump today:
new accusations and threats over impeachment.
He all but accused a key lawmaker of treason,
and declared that publicly identifying a government
whistle-blower is fair game, all this as new
allegations emerge and a new subpoena landed.
Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins
begins our coverage.
LISA DESJARDINS: Outside Washington, President
Trump, the commander in chief, today formally
welcomed the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff.
Back in the Oval Office, he played the role
of his own defender in chief about a July
phone call with Ukraine’s president.
DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
I made a call.
The call was perfect.
When the whistle-blower reported it, he made
it sound terrible.
LISA DESJARDINS: Mr. Trump also stormed out
more than 90 tweets about Democrats’ impeachment
efforts since Friday, many retweeting thoughts
from FOX News.
In one tweet Sunday, he quoted a FOX News
contributor saying: “If the Democrats are
successful in removing the president from
office, it will cause a civil war-like fracture
in this nation.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times and others reported
today that the president pushed Australia’s
Prime Minister Scott Morrison in another call.
The report Mr. Trump sought information for
Attorney William Barr on the origins of the
Mueller probe, this as the top Senate Republican,
Mitch McConnell, stated how he sees the process,
should the House impeach Mr. Trump.
MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The Senate impeachment
rules are very clear.
The Senate would have to take up an impeachment
resolution if it came over from the House.
LISA DESJARDINS: McConnell didn’t say if impeachment
requires a full Senate trial, this after a
weekend of rhetorical exchanges of fire.
LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Salem witch trials
had more due process than this.
LISA DESJARDINS: The president’s allies, like
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and
his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, repeatedly
argued that Democrats are rushing this process.
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller
went on a different attack, against the original
whistle-blower who raised concerns.
STEPHEN MILLER, Senior White House Adviser:
The president of the United States is the
And this individual is a saboteur trying to
undermine a democratically elected government!
LISA DESJARDINS: The whistle-blower’s identity
is supposed to be protected by law, but, today,
the president said his White House is trying
to uncover it.
Multiple outlets have reported that the whistle-blower
is a CIA official, though, otherwise, that
person’s identity and motivations are not
The whistle-blower set off a historic cascade
of events after revealing that Mr. Trump asked
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to
investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden
and Biden son’s Hunter.
The younger Biden had served on the board
of a Ukrainian gas company.
A former Ukrainian prosecutor told The L.A.
Times that Giuliani repeatedly asked him to
open an inquiry, but he refused and told Giuliani
it was a political vendetta.
And, today, as part of their impeachment probe,
House Democrats subpoena Giuliani for documents
related to his communications with Ukrainian
Not all Republicans defended the president.
His former Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert
criticized Giuliani for pushing the Biden
TOM BOSSERT, Former White House Homeland Security
Adviser: That conspiracy theory has got to
They have to stop with that.
It cannot continue to be repeated.
I am deeply frustrated with what he and the
legal team is doing and repeating that debunked
theory to the president.
It sticks in his mind when he hears it over
and over again.
LISA DESJARDINS: All this as the Intelligence
Committee in the House, led by Chairman Adam
Schiff, ramps up its action, with depositions
and a closed hearing this week about the phone
call and aid money kept from Ukraine.
ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We’re going to find out
why those funds were withheld, who was in
the know about it.
We’re going to find out what other communications
were also improperly hidden in this classified
system that’s meant to contain the most highly
sensitive, classified information involving
covert action, not the president’s misconduct.
LISA DESJARDINS: On “60 Minutes” Sunday, House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked the White House
to cooperate.
NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): And let us work together
to have this be a unifying experience, not
a dividing one for our country.
Don’t make this any worse than it already
LISA DESJARDINS: Schiff says his committee
has reached an agreement with the whistle-blower
and expects that person will testify soon
in a closed hearing.
JUDY WOODRUFF: This evening, both The Wall
Street Journal and CNN are reporting that
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was among those
listening to President Trump’s phone call
with the leader of Ukraine.
And just moments ago, the Justice Department
released a statement confirming that President
Trump has contacted other countries to have
them connect Attorney General William Barr
with appropriate officials to investigate
the 2016 election.
And Lisa joins me now, along with our Yamiche
Alcindor, to help keep up with this fast-moving
Thank you.
And it is fast-moving, these developments
just in the last few minutes.
Lisa, I’m going to start with you, though.
What — you have been talking to Democrats
What should we expect them to do in coming
days as they move this inquiry forward?
LISA DESJARDINS: I don’t know that we have
had a busier day or that I have ever put on
a more complicated story at the top of the
newscast as we have just now.
So, this is something that has crystallized
what’s happening this week.
We’re going to have three major depositions
or days for the House Intelligence Committee.
First, let’s look.
We’re going to have Wednesday, former Ambassador
Marie Yovanovitch.
She was the ambassador of Ukraine who was
asked to leave and now still works at the
State Department.
After that, Thursday, House Intelligence Committee
will be hearing from Ambassador Volker, who
used to be the U.S. envoy to Ukraine for President
He stepped down just last week, at the end
of the week.
Friday, that is a deadline for Secretary of
State Pompeo to hand over documents that the
House Intelligence Committee is seeking.
Also, Friday is when the House Intelligence
Committee will hear from the inspector general,
who basically led this whole whistle-blower
investigation over the department for the
DNI and intelligence agencies.
But, Judy, I think a bigger date might be
October 15.
That is when Rudy Giuliani has been given
a deadline to turn over all of the documents
he has about his — any of his conversations
with Ukrainians.
And, Judy, that subpoena categorizes 23 different
types of documents, different dates, meetings
that Giuliani had with many Ukrainians, purportedly
on behalf of the president.
And even the mayor of Kiev, a famous boxer
named Vitali Klitschko, some of our viewers
may know, he’s in that subpoena.
So it is a narrow issue, but a very wide-ranging
JUDY WOODRUFF: So many strands that they are
So, Yamiche, meantime, President Trump today
seems very focused on this whistle-blower,
the person whose document we saw last week.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, as this impeachment
inquiry deepens, President Trump is really
focusing his anger on this whistle-blower
and saying now that he’s going to be looking
to figure out who this person is.
Now, that would be a violation of federal
And the attorney for the whistle-blower felt
compelled to tweet about that today and said,
look, if this — my whistle-blower, my client
needs to be protected and not be retaliated
We also are talking to lawyers, and I talked
to some lawyers that were involved in the
impeachment hearings for President Clinton.
And that person says, let’s look at all that
the White House is dealing with.
So I want to kind of walk through just the
last couple of hours.
There’s Rudy Giuliani being subpoenaed.
There’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo now
revealed to be on the call with the Ukrainian
There’s President Trump pressuring the Australian
prime minister to essentially be part of investigation
to discredit the Mueller report.
So this lawyer who worked for President Clinton,
he said this White House doesn’t have a strategy
to handle this.
They might have a messaging.
They might want to put out TV ads.
But they need a legal strategy to figure out
how to deal with all of this and to really
make the case that these are not impeachable
And, right now, the White House is not doing
JUDY WOODRUFF: We also know, Yamiche, the
White House, the president very focused on
Joe Biden, one of his chief Democratic rivals,
his son Hunter.
How is the Biden campaign — you have been
talking to them.
How are they responding to this?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: President Trump and Republicans
are making the case that Joe Biden and his
son Hunter Biden were engaged in unethical
behavior as part of their Ukrainian business
dealings — really Hunter’s Ukrainian business
The Ukrainian prosecutor who was working at
as a part of all this, he’s saying that Rudy
Giuliani was trying to pressure him to look
into the Bidens, but that, in fact, he saw
no reason, no wrongdoing on any part of the
Bidens to do that.
And Ukrainian officials are essentially saying
that Joe Biden’s in the clear here.
So what Joe Biden is doing is saying, I’m
in the clear, and all of these things that
they’re saying about me are simply not true.
But I put the question to the Biden campaign,
how are you dealing with the idea that some
people see this as a conflict of interests,
that Hunter Biden was profiting off of the
fact that his father was vice president of
the United States?
And they essentially say, it’s ridiculous
to compare Joe Biden’s children to President
Trump’s children Ivanka Trump and Don Jr.,
and that really this is about the president
being completely not transparent and that,
essentially, Joe Biden is in the clear here.
So that’s their plan of attack as of now.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Separately, Lisa, we know you
have stepped back a little bit to look at
— put this in some historical perspective.
As this impeachment process moves, you have
looked at President Clinton, what happened
under his presidency.
Do you see parallels?
LISA DESJARDINS: Democrats have a lot of choices
to make in terms of how they go forward.
They have not made all of those decisions
But here’s what we know about how Democrats
are moving forward now.
The House Intelligence Committee is gathering
evidence, as we see right now.
Then, after they’re done, they feel like they
have got their case to make, they will present
it to the House Judiciary Committee, which
will vote on articles of impeachment, I’m
Then those articles of impeachment would move
to the House of Representatives.
OK, that’s a big process.
How long could that take?
And here’s where the Clinton case comes in
It’s interesting.
The Clinton — the House Judiciary Committee
began their inquiry October 5 of 1997.
In just three months, it had moved all the
way through the House and a Senate trial had
So — I’m sorry — ’98 and ’99.
So, at that point, we see that this could
happen pretty quickly.
JUDY WOODRUFF: I remember it vividly.
LISA DESJARDINS: Maybe by Thanksgiving, even,
I should say.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It didn’t feel quick at the
time, but you’re both…
JUDY WOODRUFF: Lisa Desjardins…
LISA DESJARDINS: It feels quick today, yes.
So much going on.
Lisa Desjardins, Yamiche Alcindor, thank you
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news — and
there was some — the Kremlin insisted that
U.S. officials need Russia’s consent before
releasing transcripts of President Trump’s
phone calls with Russia’s President Vladimir
The White House has limited access to those
records, as it initially did with a call to
Ukraine’s president.
Congressional Democrats are now pressing for
the Putin transcripts.
The two front-runners in Afghanistan’s presidential
election claimed victory today, even as vote-counting
Saturday’s turnout was low, but many Afghans
defied Taliban threats of violence to cast
They received the trademark finger ink for
By today, the country’s chief executive, Abdullah
Abdullah, declared himself the winner.
So did the incumbent president, Ashraf Ghani,
as his running mate counseled patience.
AMRULLAH SALEH, Afghan Vice Presidential Candidate
(through translator): Whatever the outcome
will be, we should wait for it and accept
the judgment of the election commission.
Let’s not confuse the nation of Afghanistan
by making casual judgments.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Ghani and Abdullah have governed
under a power-sharing deal negotiated by the
United States after the disputed 2014 election.
In Haiti, fresh violence erupted today, as
thousands heeded calls from opposition leaders
to press President Jovenel Moise.
Crowds set fires, police fired tear gas, and
gunfire broke out.
It was the latest in three weeks of demonstrations
over an economic crisis and allegations of
corruption linked to the president.
Authorities in Hong Kong are bracing for new
protests as mainland China marks the 70th
anniversary of the communist state on Tuesday.
It follows another weekend of violent demonstrations
in the city, as protesters battled police
with fire bombs.
Some Hong Kong lawmakers decried police tactics.
TANYA CHAN, Pro-Democracy Party Lawmaker:
The police brutality, in fact, it’s escalating
and extremely disturbing and brutal.
And, at the same time, you can see that a
lot of — under a lot of different situations,
the use of force is unnecessary and disproportionate.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, Reuters reports
that China has effectively doubled its security
forces in Hong Kong to as many as 12,000.
Beijing had billed the deployment as part
of a routine rotation of troops.
It’s been nearly a year since the murder of
Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi,
and the president of Turkey says that he still
wants answers.
Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Consulate
in Istanbul last October.
In a Washington Post guest editorial today,
Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed what
he called a shadow state within the Saudi
Meanwhile, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin
Salman told CBS that he takes full responsibility,
but he denied that he ordered the killing.
Back in this country, California became the
first state to let college athletes hire agents
and make money from endorsements, starting
in 2023.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed the measure into
law today.
But the NCAA, overseeing college sports, has
warned it would give California schools an
unfair recruiting advantage and says that
they may be barred from competition.
Republican Congressman Chris Collins of New
York resigned today, ahead of pleading guilty
in an insider trading case.
Federal court records said that Collins will
enter the plea tomorrow.
He is accused of tipping confidential information
about a bio-pharmaceutical company to his
son and then lying to the FBI.
Texas Congressman Mac Thornberry is now the
20th House Republican to announce he is leaving
He said today that he will not seek reelection
in 2020.
Thornberry was first elected in 1994.
He is the ranking member on the House Armed
Services Committee.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average
climbed 96 points to close above 26916.
The Nasdaq rose 59 points.
And the S&P 500 added 15.
And opera great Jessye Norman died today in
New York after complications from a spinal
She made her international debut in 1969,
and her vibrant soprano made her a worldwide
star and a winner of four Grammys.
Here she is in concert singing the spiritual
“Great Day.”
JUDY WOODRUFF: Jessye Norman was 74 years
Still to come on the “NewsHour”: presidential
candidate Cory Booker on his self-imposed
fund-raising deadline; our Politics Monday
team breaks down the latest on the impeachment
inquiry; China’s rapid technology boom raises
questions of a surveillance state; and our
latest “NewsHour” book club author, Sally
Rooney, discusses her breakout debut novel.
Democratic presidential candidates spent this
weekend crisscrossing early primary states.
And as Yamiche Alcindor is back to report,
from Nevada to South Carolina to New Hampshire,
there was one major topic on their minds.
AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), Presidential Candidate:
We have a constitutional obligation to move
forward with this impeachment investigation.
CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), Presidential Candidate:
I worry that this election is being overshadowed
by all that’s going on.
It’s being overshadowed by impeachment proceedings.
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), Presidential Candidate:
This presidency has got to come to an end
for the good of the republic.
I think we can all agree on that.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: It was the first weekend
of campaigning since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
announced a formal an impeachment inquiry
into President Trump.
All 19 Democratic candidates support that
The last holdout, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi
Gabbard, changed her mind on Friday.
Some said the details in the whistle-blower
complaint are the clearest impeachable offenses
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren:
ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), Presidential Candidate:
This latest business with Ukraine, where it
appears that he is willing to take taxpayer
dollars and dangle them in front of a foreign
country in order to help himself and his own
political chances of being reelected, it’s
It’s a violation of the law.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: President Trump has tried
to turn attention to former Vice President
Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings
in Ukraine.
Warren said she would consider a ban on presidential
children serving on boards of foreign companies.
She added that the focus should be on Trump’s
California Senator Kamala Harris came to Biden’s
KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), Presidential Candidate:
As far as I’m concerned leave Joe Biden.
Just leave him alone.
I’m not going to be distracted by what this
president is trying to play, which is a game,
because he knows that he is actually probably
looking at an indictment.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: If the House does impeach
President Trump, six Democratic candidates
will have a vote in the Senate on whether
to remove him from office.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders urged Majority
Leader Mitch McConnell not to hold up a vote,
though, currently, there are not the 67 votes
required to convict the president.
BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), Presidential Candidate:
I ask Mitch McConnell to do the right thing
and make sure that the Senate begins that
trial immediately after the impeachment process
is over.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: McConnell said today the
Senate would have — quote — “no choice”
but to take up impeachment.
Meanwhile, with just hours until the end of
the quarterly fund-raising deadline, campaigns
sent a flood of e-mails to supporters soliciting
Those efforts come as the Democratic National
Committee continues to raise the bar for candidates
to make it onto the debate stage.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Yamiche Alcindor.
JUDY WOODRUFF: One candidate who raised his
own bar, saying publicly that, if he didn’t
make fund-raising goals, he would drop out,
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, met his goal.
And he joins me now.
Senator Booker, welcome to the “NewsHour.”
So you did raise the $1.7 million you said
you needed to stay in the race.
How far will this take you?
CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), Presidential Candidate:
Well, it’s going to give us what we need to
start growing in the fourth quarter.
We have already run a campaign now where we’re
leading in Iowa, New Hampshire in endorsements
from local elected officials, and have a really
good, competitive team.
But we have got to keep building.
And so it’s going to definitely get us through
the next debate or so, and — but we have
to keep this pace going now.
We have got a lot to grow on.
And I hope that people will continue to go
to CoryBooker.com.
We got tens of thousands of supporters in
this last 10 days.
And it’s got to continue if we’re going to
keep in this race.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Some of the candidates, Senator
Booker, have said that the Democratic National
Committee rules for who can be on the stage
in terms of how many people you have to have
donating to your campaign, where you have
to be in the polls, that those rules are too
tight too early, that they’re — it’s too
far away from the first votes cast in February.
What do you think?
CORY BOOKER: Well, look, I don’t argue with
the refs.
I took that rule a lot when I was playing
football in college.
But we do have a real issue here, that we
have never, ever had a president come from
our party since I have been alive that was
leading in the polls this far out.
People like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton
were not really registering that much at all.
And, remember, this far out, we have seen
everybody from Giuliani leading, to Rick Perry
in other — in the Republican Party.
We’re still four months out.
So I understand people that might have some
issues with the polling thresholds that are
being set, especially when it doesn’t necessarily
reflect what’s actually going on, on the ground.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me turn you to what’s going
in the Congress right now.
And that is the impeachment inquiry into President
Democratic candidates for president, you included,
seem to be all in on this.
But what about the point of view out there
that that’s something that the voters should
be deciding, and not members of Congress?
CORY BOOKER: Well, I swore an oath to uphold
and defend the Constitution.
And Congress has an obligation to provide
checks and balances and accountability, oversight,
to the president of the United States.
If he violates his oath, if he violates the
Constitution, there has to be consequences.
And so this is not about popularity.
This is about doing our job.
It’s not about politics.
Really, it’s about patriotism.
And I think that the long arc of history is
going to look back on this moment and say,
when you saw a president use — literally
using his office to pursue his own personal
ends, at the — contrary to national security
interests, that’s a pretty serious violation.
We need to investigate this.
And that’s why impeachment proceedings mean
that we’re going to get to the truth.
And the public deserves to know the truth.
And the more that’s coming out, as we have
seen breaking news today, it’s more and more
JUDY WOODRUFF: Are you worried at all, though,
Senator, as some are pointing out, that this
could end up helping the president, galvanizing
his base, motivating them, donating to his
campaign, in other words, see what happened
to President Bill Clinton when the Republicans
went after him when he president?
CORY BOOKER: President Bill Clinton, the impeachment
proceedings that were surrounding his activities
in a White House Oval Office, as opposed to
this president, what we’re talking about here
— I have been to Ukraine.
I have seen the crisis there.
I have met with soldiers, Ukrainian soldiers,
who have lost their fellow soldiers.
This is a very serious betrayal that is being
accused here.
And, again, politics be damned.
I just want to get to the truth.
I want to do my job.
And I think the time is right to do what is
right in this case.
And it’s right to investigate this president,
not just to wipe your hands and say, well,
we will see what happens in the next election.
This is too serious, too grave.
JUDY WOODRUFF: If it’s — it’s a hypothetical
now, but if President Trump were impeached,
if he were convicted by the Senate, removed
from office, would the Democrats have an easier
or a more difficult time running against Vice
President Pence, who would then be president?
CORY BOOKER: I caution Democrats, as well
as Republicans, to not let concerns about
the election 13 months from now enter into
any of your thought process here.
That’s an unfair calculus.
I just think this needs to be done in a sobered
It is a sad thing to have a president of the
United States have impeachment proceedings
And we need to deal with this in a sober,
objective, nonpartisan way.
I plead with folks to approach it that way.
Let the politics and the campaigning and going
— look, I’m out there on the stump every
day talking about taking the fight to Donald
But that doesn’t mean the sacred obligation
that we have right now to follow this impeachment
proceeding where the evidence goes and to
make an objective decision, based upon that.
These are two separate matters.
They should be handled that way.
JUDY WOODRUFF: One other part of this Ukraine
story, Senator, which the White House is focused
on is Joe Biden.
Did he do anything wrong?
I — again, to make this about Joe Biden is
absolutely wrong.
It’s unfortunate.
He’s a statesman.
He is somebody that — many people have investigated
this and come up with nothing.
This is an attempt upon the Trump administration
to distract from their massive exposure from
the tremendous implications and to distract
by trying to besmirch the reputation of Joe
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, finally, Senator Elizabeth
Warren, she’s the Democrat who’s moving up
significantly in the polls, drawing big crowds.
What are your main disagreements with her?
CORY BOOKER: Well, again, I just want to remind
everybody about the polls.
Never have they been predictive of who would
be the next president of the United States.
I am running my campaign every single day,
about the highest ideals of our country, that
this time, especially, we need a revival of
civic grace.
We need to have a nation that can pull together
and heal, not just our party.
I warn Democrats all the time, this election
can’t be about what we’re against.
It has to be about what we’re for.
And what we’re for is not the short-term political
ends of beating Republicans.
This moral moment calls us to unite Americans.
This is the theme that I’m bringing.
If we’re going to bring more justice to this
country and deal with really serious issues,
we need to build new American majorities,
not partisan ones, but new American majorities
that can take on tough problems, from climate
change, all the way to the urgent issues with
gun violence.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, this is unfair, but in
just a few seconds that we have, what would
you say is the main thing that separates you
from Elizabeth Warren?
CORY BOOKER: Again, I’m not in this to talk
about her campaign.
And I think people who read our policies can
find that.
I’m talking about the spirit that I’m trying
to bring to the presidency, one that can unite
our party, all factions of it, and also can
unite this country.
That’s why I got into this race.
And that’s the theme of my campaign.
And folks can look to hers and compare us
on their own.
But I’m going to be working every day to let
people know my vision for this country, not
just my head, but also my heart and the kind
of leader that I will be as president of the
United States.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Senator Cory Booker, running
for the Democratic nomination, thank you,
CORY BOOKER: Thank you very much.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And now we turn to Politics
Monday with Amy Walter of The Cook Political
Report and the host of public radio’s “Politics
With Amy Walter.”
And Tamara Keith from NPR, she also co-hosts
the “NPR Politics Podcast.”
Hello to both of you.
There’s so much going on.
I do not know where to begin.
But why don’t we start, Tam, with Senator
Booker and what he had to say about impeachment,
about his own campaign?
What did you hear?
TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: Well,
I heard him not taking an opportunity to try
to go after Joe Biden and not taking an opportunity
to try to go after Elizabeth Warren.
He is really taking the position in this race
— as he is trying to stay in it and work
his way up, he is taking a position of not
attacking other Democrats.
Some of the other candidates have taken a
different tack.
But when it the Ukraine conversation and Joe
Biden, the candidates, the Democratic candidates,
have really hung back.
In some ways, it’s put the primary in stasis.
They are being careful to not go after Joe
Biden, in part because he is in the middle
of this storm that President Trump created.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What are you hearing, Amy?
AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Yes,
and I think it’s — for a candidate like Cory
Booker, who is struggling to sort of catch
up into that top tier of candidates, all the
focus on impeachment just sucks all the oxygen
and attention away.
It was hard enough to break through even before
this story.
Now it’s Nancy Pelosi, Donald Trump, Donald
Trump’s administration that are going to be
the Senator of the universe.
It’s not going to be as much even on Elizabeth
And so if you are Elizabeth Warren, and you
were getting a great deal of attention up
until now, you also will have trouble breaking
through, through all of this.
I did think it was interesting, to your point,
Judy, of trying to get him to try to contrast
There’s one candidate in that lower tier of
candidates who is actively trying to contrast
And that’s Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is basically
saying, I am that bridge between the old,
which is Joe Biden, and the old way of doing
things, and what he would say would be the
two far left candidates, like Warren and Sanders.
I can be that — that middle candidate, that
person who’s young enough, different enough,
but not too far to the left.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But categorizing her on the
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, let’s turn to the elephant
in the room, Tam, and that is impeachment.
The Democrats are going, with the subpoenas
of Rudy Giuliani.
These stories are breaking, and from one news
organization to another.
Does it seem like a rush on the part of the
Democrats, or does it seem like they have
their ducks in a row and they’re proceeding
What does it look like?
TAMARA KEITH: Well, you know what is completely
remarkable, as I reflect back on one week
ago today?
We were sitting on this set.
We were talking about, well, there’s one Democrat
who has crossed over after this news came
Within five or six hours, the whole universe
had changed.
This is happening incredibly quickly.
It’s a challenge for President Trump, who
— I mean, the president and the White House
have really been caught flat-footed by this,
in part because they thought that the Mueller
thing was over and they were done.
And then — and they were focused on reelection.
And, then, all of a sudden, this blooms up.
Now, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker, had been holding
back Democrats, trying not to do this.
And then the moderate Democrats she was trying
to protect jumped out in front of her and
said, stop protecting us.
Basically, we’re ready.
We feel like this needs to be investigated.
And now they’re on the path and they’re — now
it’s going.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s going.
AMY WALTER: It is going.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Amy, I mean, is there
any break on this now?
Are we — is it full-throated ahead?
AMY WALTER: I mean, that, to me, is the really
interesting question, right?
Are we down these tracks and there is no going
back, there will be an impeachment vote, no
matter what, and it then will be determined
by the Senate, whether the president is convicted
and then ultimately has to leave office?
And I think that the fact we’re on a two-week
recess is really important.
These members now get a chance to check in
back home at the reception that they’re getting.
We’re seeing a lot of polls coming out in
the last few days.
There was obviously one, an NPR/Marist/PBS
They’re showing, basically, that folks, while
they’re engaged in this, they don’t quite
know what to make of it either.
I think what we’re going to see, we have the
most polarized electorate that I certainly
remember of my lifetime.
We have a very polarizing president, and so,
not surprisingly, I think what we’re going
to see, people go into their corners, we get
sort of evenly divided about this.
The challenge, to the point that Nancy — that
you all are making about Nancy Pelosi and
the calendar, I think the more this drags
out, the more that it looks partisan, the
more that it looks like they’re just fishing
— for example, this Australian story sort
of muddies the water a little bit in my mind,
because it’s no longer about Ukraine and this
call — it drags out, it drags out, it’s getting
harder to keep people focused on what it was
exactly that Democrats said was the impeachable
TAMARA KEITH: And there’s so much fatigue.
TAMARA KEITH: There was so much fatigue about
the Mueller investigation.
And now the voters are going to get tired
of this quickly, not least because, if this
continues on the path that it’s on, there’s
going to be an air war.
There are going to be ads in congressional
districts that — of vulnerable Democrats.
There are going to be ads on cable.
This is going to be fought out both in paid
media and free media.
And it’s going to be a lot.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But you’re — so you’re saying
even if the Democrats move quickly with whatever
ammunition, information they have, you’re
saying there’s a real risk if they can’t get
voters engaged and on board?
TAMARA KEITH: Certainly.
And because this moved in the course of a
week so dramatically, I think it’s hard for
these polls to fully pick up.
It’s hard for people to register this just
yet, because it just happened so quickly.
If you miss a couple of days, you have missed
numerous developments.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And a couple — I mean, among
Republicans, it looks like the number barely
It moved just slightly, but within…
AMY WALTER: But within Democrats, they’re
more unified.
And then, surprise, surprise, independents
will be divided on it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But just quickly, issues that
get forgotten in all this, whether it’s guns
or anything else the Democrats have been talking
AMY WALTER: It’s not exactly like Congress
and the White House have been on a breaking
pace, breakneck pace, in passing significant
legislation, so I don’t know that voters are
going to say, boy, they were just on the cusp
of doing something.
They haven’t been on the cusp of doing anything
significant for the last two-and-a-half years.
But it certainly — if this does drag out,
it certainly lends to that argument that this
is just partisan politics, Washington becomes
more dysfunctional, and it’s harder for Democrats
to make a strong case.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The warnings have already begun.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, Politics
Monday, thank you both.
AMY WALTER: You’re welcome.
TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Chinese technology has helped
that country achieve extraordinary growth.
But critics say it is facilitating a surveillance
Tonight, we begin two stories focusing on
Chinese technology.
It’s part of our series “China: Power & Prosperity.”
With the support of the Pulitzer Center, Nick
Schifrin begins in a remote area that is becoming
more connected.
NICK SCHIFRIN: In China’s Lipu Mountains,
past rolling hillside farms, the remote city
of Guilin is nestled into a valley and built
along a riverbank that’s been inhabited for
10,000 years.
Today, this old town is getting older.
The population is older, and often needs medical
The closest hospital is far.
So, on this day, they line up for a mobile
clinic on a bus.
Visiting specialists have a small room in
the back for X-rays and a nearby room for
eye specialists to check for cataracts.
In this clinic, everything is electronic.
And all the patient records and data feed
into a single phone application.
It’s made by the company Ping An, and the
app is called Good Doctor.
Local doctor Luo Jiangshan says the technology
changes everything.
LUO JIANGSHAN, Guilin General Practitioner
(through translator): Before we had this platform,
patients had to go so far away.
It was a big burden.
Now, with this platform, it saves both money
and time.
NICK SCHIFRIN: For decades, a country that
suffered from widespread rural poverty relied
on so-called barefoot doctors to provide remote
areas medical care.
Today, technology, from medicine, to telecommunications,
to artificial intelligence, is helping transform
the country.
JESSICA TAN, Co-CEO, Ping An: China is quite
unique because it’s been a rapidly developing
So we have very, very uneven distribution.
Technology helps to bridge those gaps and
deliver service, particularly in an environment
like this.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Jessica Tan is the co-CEO of
Ping An, whose building towers over Shenzhen,
China’s Silicon Valley.
Ping An boomed financially into the world’s
second largest insurance company.
But now it’s celebrating by turning old insurance
into new tech.
Last month, Ping An unveiled new facial recognition
software for drivers.
Those markings judge whether she’s a good
driver and feeds all her data into Ping An’s
A separate application uses facial recognition
to determine whether Ping An loan applicants
are lying about their identity by examining
more than 90 distinct expressions.
JESSICA TAN: When you are nervous, there are
these microexpressions that people would do.
Verifying the person who they are supposed
to be in most cases is quite accurate, so
I think already better than the human eye.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And those human eyes, China’s
1.4 billion citizens, are now entering more
and more data on their phones.
And, in China, it’s big data.
Ping An’s health care app has 250 million
Ping An’s car accident app that can automatically
assess and cost damage has 200 million users.
And China has developed so recently, the majority
all of those users have never owned cars,
or borrowed money, or earned a credit score.
So to choose loan applicants, Ping An’s developed
a social credit score, based on all the data
users enter into their phones.
JESSICA TAN: Having the expertise to change
that series of raw information to actually
a credit report, a score that people trust.
So we’re able to do that based on your mobile
phone bills, your shopping records, right?
Do you splurge on your spending?
If you have a good credit record, you get
the loans faster at a cheaper rate.
So I think the idea is then there’s incentive
for people who have nothing to hide to want
to share.
NICK SCHIFRIN: But in communist China, who
decides who has nothing to hide?
Like Ping An, the government is now converting
data on its citizens into social credit scores.
It’s called Sharp Eyes.
And those eyes are electronic, thanks to the
world’s most advanced surveillance.
The five most surveilled cities in the world
are Chinese.
China now has more than 200 million cameras,
including at the entrance of an international
And cameras use software that recognize not
only faces, but also how people walk, and
then can then track their location as they
That allows cameras to judge behavior.
In Shenzhen, cameras watch this intersection.
If people jaywalk, they’re publicly shamed
when their faces are displayed on the screen.
Do you think, because that camera is there,
more people cross legally?
CHEN HAOBING, China (through translator):
Of course.
They are afraid to be seen doing something
inappropriate, so they will change their behavior.
FENG XUE, China (through translator): If you
jaywalk, it reduces your credit score.
For example, if you cross the red light, your
score would be reduced by two to three.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Behavior change is exactly
what the government wants.
And the credit score system is so important,
there’s even a Communist Party-produced “National
Credit Magazine.”
Wu Xiaoyan is the editor in chief.
WU XIAOYAN, Editor in Chief, “National Credit
Magazine” (through translator): The Chinese
system’s main purpose is to build a credible
society of trust.
This system has become an effective measure
in our social governance.
For example, on the bus, people with regular
scores will pay regular price, and people
with good scores only pay 80 percent of that.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Rewarding good behavior all
across society, and punishing bad behavior,
is enshrined in her magazine.
When I look in this magazine I see an honor
list in red, and then, in black, a black list.
WU XIAOYAN (through translator): Those on
the red list are people who have trustworthy
Those on the black list are people whose behaviors
are not trustworthy.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Does it work?
Does rewarding people who act well and punishing
people who act badly make more people act
WU XIAOYAN (through translator): Of course
it works.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And something about that question
made her uncomfortable.
She and her staff walked out of the interview
and the newsroom.
But the microphones were still rolling and
recorded their conversation about my questions.
WOMAN (through translator): What kind of question
was that?
WOMAN (through translator): Don’t talk about
the government.
Talk about companies, businesses.
MAN (through translator): We need to be calm.
We cannot refuse to be interviewed, not too
rigid or serious.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Ten minutes later, she did
come back to finish the interview.
Everything OK?
She said everything was OK.
But the government’s critics say everything
is not OK, because they say China’s big data
is becoming Big Brother.
Companies that use the social credit system
and the government say the social credit system
improves people’s behavior.
But critics say that the government can use
the social credit system to target and penalize
anyone who opposes or criticizes the Communist
In Hong Kong, protesters say mainland China
is exporting a system of surveillance.
So, when they demonstrate, they climb up ladders
and try and cover up the cameras.
And protesters also cover up their faces.
This 21-year-old and her friends declined
to give their names, for fear China would
punish them.
WOMAN (through translator): Although I’m wearing
a mask, they’re, like, A.I. tracking, tracking
down our faces.
And maybe they will just use computers and
recognize us in maybe just one second, and
having all our identifications and our informations.
We are scared about it.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And protesters fear surveillance
goes from cameras to inside their phones.
They organize these rallies offline because
they believe police hacked into their messaging
WOMAN (through translator): We are super scared
that our personal information will leak out
and we will get caught based on these informations.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Protesters’ fears are accurate,
says Zhang Lifan, a longstanding critic of
the government.
He was willing to sit for an interview, but
refused to be seen with us in public.
So he met us in our hotel room.
Are you, as a constant critic of the government,
under surveillance?
ZHANG LIFAN, Historian (through translator):
Of course.
We can feel this surveillance all the time.
The Chinese authorities use a network of cameras
throughout cities, facial recognition systems,
as well as various mobile phone apps, to monitor
Surveillance is indeed omnipresent.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And that surveillance happens
automatically and instantaneously.
Every day, Chinese citizens send more than
45 billion messages on WeChat, the country’s
most popular messaging service.
If you type in something sensitive, like a
reference to the Tiananmen Square massacre
in Mandarin, the recipient never receives
ZHANG LIFAN (through translator): Sometimes,
my wife and I suddenly can’t contact each
I noticed that, whenever foreign media reporters
were trying to set up interviews with me,
the police would always show up downstairs.
And I have noticed that the police who follow
me use the same mobile phones from Huawei.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Huawei is a $100 billion phone
and technology giant that’s the world’s largest
provider of telecom equipment.
U.S. officials describe it as the symbol of
high-tech Chinese government suppression and
beholden to the Communist Party, alongside
fellow telecommunications giant ZTE.
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. Secretary of State: As a
matter of Chinese law, the Chinese government
can rightfully demand access to data flowing
through Huawei and ZTE systems.
Why would anyone grant such power to a regime
that has already grossly violated cyberspace?
NICK SCHIFRIN: The Trump administration has
mostly blocked U.S. companies from selling
technology to Huawei.
But the company is expanding its 5G, or fifth-generation
phone technology, and Vice President Vincent
Peng says business is booming.
VINCENT PENG, Vice President, Huawei: All
our major customers chose still stay with
We sign 50 contracts with our major customers
for 5G already.
And this year, we will deliver 150,000 base
stations outside of China.
I think that is the fact.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And that expansion of Chinese
technology around the world has enormous implications
for China and the U.S.
That story tomorrow night.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Nick Schifrin
in Shenzhen, China.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now Jeffrey Brown is here with
the author of our latest book club pick and,
at the end of the conversation, what to read
next month.
Stick around for our latest selection with
The New York Times.
It’s all part of Canvas, our ongoing series
on art and culture.
JEFFREY BROWN: It sounds perfectly ordinary,
“Conversations With Friends.”
But the novel by that name about two Dublin
college students and their relationship with
an older couple was an anything-but-ordinary
debut for a young Irish writer named Sally
“Conversations With Friends” was our book
club pick for September.
Sally Rooney joins me now.
And welcome to you.
Thanks for being part of this.
SALLY ROONEY, Author, “Conversations With
Friends”: Thank you for having me.
JEFFREY BROWN: So, in one way, this was a
coming of age story, but set in a very particular
time, place.
Tell us what you were after.
SALLY ROONEY: Yes, absolutely.
I think it’s right to describe it in one sense
as a coming of age story.
So, as you have said, it follows these two
college students.
It’s told from the perspective of my narrator,
And it’s very much about her relationship
with her ex-girlfriend, her best friend, Bobbi.
And it’s also about their encounter with a
married couple, who to these young women,
who are 21 — and in the course of the book,
and this couple seem much older, much more
glamorous, much more sophisticated.
In fact, they’re quite young.
They’re only in their 30s.
And so it’s a book set in Dublin sort of in
the present day.
And it follows the journey of those four characters
and the sort of interrelationships that develop
between them.
JEFFREY BROWN: It’s a love story, but it’s
also a kind of running commentary on social
life that the characters are encountering.
It’s set very specifically in this post-economic
crash, right, 2008?
SALLY ROONEY: Absolutely.
JEFFREY BROWN: What ideas did you want to
get across there?
SALLY ROONEY: So it wasn’t necessarily that
I was undertaking a project of social commentary,
as such, but I suppose what I was trying to
do was observe the texture of the world that
I myself was inhabiting.
So, even though all the characters are completely
fictional and their exploits are very much
figments of my imagination, the world that
they live in was and is very similar to the
world that I was living in as I wrote the
And so, in that sense, maybe it does accidentally
provide some kind of commentary on the city
of Dublin at that time, from one very limited,
I should say, perspective.
JEFFREY BROWN: And a number of our readers
wanted to know about the particular characters,
where did they come from, where they — of
course, they want to know, are they based
on real people?
SALLY ROONEY: I feel if I knew the answer
to that question myself, I would be able to
write a novel sort of every month, because
I can — I never know where are the ideas
for my characters are going to come from.
They do arrive to me what seems fully formed,
sort of whole, even with the interrelationships
between them kind of intact.
And then my job as a novelist is, I feel I’m
to follow the thread of where those relationships
are going and to try and explore them on the
But the characters really seem to walk into
my brain.
And they aren’t based, certainly not consciously,
on anyone that I know or any fictional characters
I have read about before.
They’re sort of just the whole thing, and
they come to me as they are.
JEFFREY BROWN: One reader, Mary O’Brien,
she noted, as did others, the constant push
and pull between the emotional life and the
analytical, which we see constantly throughout
the book.
And no one can seem to escape the emotional
life in the end, right?
So she noted the character saying, “You can’t
always take the analytical position.”
Where does this push and pull come from?
SALLY ROONEY: I think, certainly, that the
narrator that I conceived for myself here,
Frances, is somebody who’s a little bit more
comfortable on the analytical level than she
is both experiencing her emotions and also
inhabiting a sort of physical body.
Those things don’t come so easily to her,
whereas the kind of intellectual life, she
finds a little bit more comfortable.
So I think, for me, it was interesting to
take her out of her comfort zone and force
her to confront these parts of life that,
for her, are a little bit more — a little
bit messier and more difficult to deal with.
JEFFREY BROWN: Much of the conversation between
friends is by text, by e-mail, all of them
used extensively in the novel.
Is that because that was just natural to you?
SALLY ROONEY: Yes, I mean, partly because
it was natural and partly, I think, because
it was interesting.
I mean, look, as a writer, I’m very drawn
to text and words.
And so uses of language always interest me.
And I feel that the Internet gives us new
ways of using language and has really embedded
written language in our lives in a new way.
So the fact that so many relationships are
now conducted almost primarily through the
written word for a writer is sort of very
juicy and interesting, because I love the
written word.
SALLY ROONEY: So I was, yes, really interested
in pursuing how it is that people build relationships
using language alone.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, but it’s also very interesting,
because you know there’s all kinds of discussion
and talk about what our lives on screens are
doing to us, interrelationships, communications
with our friends and loved ones.
JEFFREY BROWN: Do you see it changing?
SALLY ROONEY: Yes, absolutely.
I mean, I think we have — our lives have
become more textual.
And we spend more and more time looking at
And most of what we look at on screens are
words of one kind or another.
So, of course, that shift into textuality
is very compelling for me as a writer, because
my whole life, my whole working life is about
But I suppose I feel that, as a novelist,
my job is to observe, rather than to judge,
so just to try and depict and to get into
a granular level of detail about what it feels
like to live out these kind of lives, without
sort of judging whether or not that’s a good
or bad thing.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, we will continue
our conversation online, where you can find
it later on.
For now, let me say, thank you, Sally Rooney.
SALLY ROONEY: Thank you so much for having
JEFFREY BROWN: And before we go, I want to
introduce our pick for October.
It’s a shift to a subject very much part of
our political campaigns these days, as candidates,
legislators, judges, and citizens assess and
debate the political power of corporations,
especially after the Citizens United case.
The book is “We the Corporations” by law professor
and author Adam Winkler.
As always, we hope you will read along and
join us and other readers on our Web site
and our Facebook page for Now Read This, our
book club partnership with The New York Times.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally: an excerpt from our
Facebook Watch show “That Moment When.”
Netflix has just released actor Ben Platt’s
new series “The Politician.”
And in this episode, he discusses how he chooses
the roles he plays.
It is also part of our Canvas series.
QUESTION: What’s the first thing you look
for when you read a script?
BEN PLATT, Actor: With theater, I think the
first thing I look at is sort of the trajectory
of the character, because I feel like, when
you’re doing a piece of theater and you’re
getting to live it kind of from beginning
to end, so much of what’s sort of bite-into-able
about it is the change or sort of the journey
that you get to go through every night, because
it’s going to be something you’re doing eight
times a week, theoretically.
And with film, it’s also very much character-driven
when I read it.
But I think it’s a little bit more about the
grander piece right from the get-go, just
because film is so much less, I think, at
the end of the day, our medium as actors,
because it gets sort of curated and edited
by other people after the fact.
QUESTION: And then how about after you have
decided to take it?
How important is tone, to, like, match the
tone what the piece is?
BEN PLATT: Totally.
I feel like tone is nearly everything, particularly
with film, because I think, like, for example,
the show I’m doing on Netflix called “The
Politician,” I think kind of the greatest
strength of it is that it has a very sort
of strange and singular tone and feeling,
which creates kind of a different world than
anything else that I have seen.
And I think that is the ultimate entry when
reading something, where you feel like it’s
a voice and sort of like a vernacular you
have never heard before.
I’m running for student body president.
That is why I’m proud to introduce my running
meat today, Infinity Jackson.
QUESTION: In some of the roles you have had,
you had to reconcile, it feels like, a universal
theme in adolescence of both confidence and
terror in the same person.
BEN PLATT: You kind of can’t necessarily have
one without the other.
I think terror is necessary.
Making it through terror and sort of finding
ways to push the art through regardless of
fear and anxiety, which is obviously one of
my biggest sort of issues, is what cultivates
confidence, ultimately.
I think if someone is just blindly confident
from birth, and you never get to sort of see
where that came from or what challenges brought
the character to that place, then you don’t
necessarily find a way into them or a way
to relate to them or to love them.
And on the same token, I don’t think you necessarily
want to see a character that’s purely weak
and terrified and never can overcome that
to accomplish anything.
And you can find all episodes of this series
on Facebook Watch @thatmomentwhenshow.
And that’s 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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