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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  April 24, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by newshour proctions, llc >> wdruff:ood evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, congress battles over budget priorities in the face of a government shutdown, as president trump demands funding for a wall on mexico's border. then, we travel to west virginia where a declining coal industry is leaving retired miners-- many sick from working in the mines-- in danger of losing their much needed health care. >> it's not like we're asking for a handout or anything, either. them was hard sweat work, that, benefits that we negotiated our all we want is just, just what was promised to us. >> woodruff: also ahead, outsider candidates sweep the french election.
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a look at the final two presidential hopefuls who could lead france. and, facebook's sheryl sandberg opens up about recovering from the tragic death of her husband and building strength through grief. >> and i learned that resilience, it's not something we've one set amount of. it's a muscle, and we build it. and if this helps anyone even just a little bit then i think i will have found some meaning in this. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪
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mong our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> supported by the rockefeller foundation. promoting the well-being of humanity around the world by building resilience and inclusive economies. more at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals.
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>> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the countdown is on, to a possible government shutdown on saturday, president trump's 100th day in office. congress began returning to work today, facing a presidential demand for funding of a border wall. argued today over putting a down payment in the "continuing resolution," or c.r. >> obviously the money for military and border security and wall have been part of that request. those are president's priorities with respect to the c.r. and keeping government open. i think we feel very confident where we're headed. >> if administration insists on
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funding for a wall in this bill, it will endanger the prospect of bill passing and raise prospect of a government shutdown, because a border wall we believe is a pointless waste of tax payer money. >> woodruff: democrats do want continued federal payments to make sure the poor can afford health coverage, but republicans may oppose that. president trump called in members of the u.n. security council today, and warned them that the situation in north korea is "unacceptable." the president met with the u.n. ambassadors over lunch at the white house. he said they may need to take firm, new action. >> the council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on north korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs. this ia real threat to the world, whether we want to talk abouit or not.
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problem and it's a problem that we have to finally solve. people have put blindfolds on for decades. >> woodruff: the president complained that the u.n. has not been resolving conflicts, but he said, "i think that's going to start happening now." former president barack obama has re-emerged, urging compassion in dealing with illegal immigration. he spoke today at the university of chicago, his first public appearance since leaving office. without mentioning president trump by name, mr. obama called for greater understanding, and a little historical perspective. >> it's not like everybody in ellis island had all their paperwork straight. the truth is the history of our immigration system has always been haphazard a little bit loose. >> woodruff: the former president also said he'll focus on issues like gerrymandering and money in politics. workers in new orleans today
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removed a statue honoring an uprising by whites after the civil war. the operation was carried out in the wee hours, but still sparked a protest. the obelisk has been on display, at different sites, since 1891. three monuments to confederate leaders will be removed in the coming days. the senate has confirmed former georgia governor sonny perdue as secretary of agriculture. his nonation had been held up for weeks over ethics estions. the trump nominees for trade representative and labor secretary are still awaiting confirmation. wall street rallied today, amid hopes that a centrist will win the french presidential election. the dow jones industrial average gained 216 points to close near 20,764. the nasdaq rose 73 points, and the s&p 500 added 25. and, astronaut peggy whitson has now broken the american record
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for the most accumulated time in space. as of today, she's spent more than 534 days in orbit. president trump, with daughter ivanka and astronaut kate rubins, congratulated whitson in a video call to the international space station. she's in command there, and spoke alongside fellow crew member jack fischer. >> this is a very special day in the glorious history of american spaceflight. >> it's actually a huge honor to break a record like this, but it's an honor for me basically to be representing all the folks at nasa who make this spaceflight possible and who make me setting this record feasible. >> woodruff: when whitson returns to earth this september, she'll have spent a total of 666 days in space. the world record is 879 days, held by a russian. still to come on the newshour: broken promises.
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coal miners in danger of losing their benefits. insurance companies pushing congress to make decisions on the nation's health care. anti-establishment candidates go head-to-head in france's presidential election runoff, and much more. >> woodruff: with congress back in session, members face an end- of-the-week deadline to keep the government funded. to dig deeper into the shutdown showdown, we are joined by our correspondents who cover capitol hill andhe wte house, lisa desjardins and john yang respectively. thank you both for being here in the studio to talk about this complicated stuff that's going on. lisa, let me start with you. what are the major sticking points here when it comes to this showdown talk? >> a few. at the top of the list, the the border wall. the white house absolutely wants funding for the border wall.
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democrats in congress say they will not support it. you need at least eight democrats to pass a funding bill. all the democrats say they are against this. and also republicans have a problem with the border wall. judy, there are at least three border state republicans who say they're skeptical about it. other sticking points, too, including miners' benefits, something democrats are willing to fight for even if it means a delay in funding. >> woodruff: john, you've obviously been talking to folks at the white house. do they think they can turn this at the 'tude in congress around? >> they're confident the showdown is not going to happen. they certainly don't want it to happen on their hundredth day in office, that undercuts their leverage a bit. you will notes they have been very careful about not drawing any lines in the sand. president trump on twitter talks about funding pore the border wall, but when you talk to administration officials, they refer to it as border security and suggest it could come in the form of more immigration customs enforcement officers, could be more drones, could be anything
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along the border that would give them the ability to say that this bill reflects their priorities. the president also has been very careful not the say that he would not sign a bill that does not include border -- money for the border wall. >> woodruff: so, lisa, if the white house is willing to redefine the wall, turn it into something called border security along the lines of what john described, are democrats and those republicans opposed prepared to give? >> they're considering it. democrats say they made abofficer to republican leaders yesterday and they haven't gotten an offer back. there's going to be a lot of back and forth over the next few days. they're open to that. i think we need to watch the miners' benefit fight. that's something that came up four months ago the last time we had one of these funding cliffs, and democrats said at that time they wanted a permanent extension to have the health care benefits or they would delay or stop funding and we don't have a solution on that
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either. these are all in the mix together. >> the white house is also careful to say that they are willing to fund democratic priorities that they don't like so that they're willing to see give and take on this. >> woodruff: john, quickly, you were saying a minute ago the white house has essentially given up some leverage here by saying at the outset they don't want a showdown. >> shutdown. it would be bad optics. the president calls this mark arbitrary, calls it ridiculous, at the same time, it would look really bad if it happened on the hundredth day. >> woodruff: this is an ambitious white house. they have been talking about what we have been discussing from the budget but they're also talking act tax reform this week. what are they looking for there? >> i don't think you will see a lot of edetails. the president said he would announce his tax reform plan wednesday maybe minutes after treasury secretary m mnuchin sad
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it wouldn't come in a while. the national economic councilor are going to talk about the leaderrers of the tax writing committees. i think you would see broad guiselines, principles, tax cut, simplification of the tax code, making business rates competitive which means cutting them but probably not much noorn that. >> woodruff: what are folks on the hill saying about it? >> i have been sitting next to orrin hatch talking to the white house about tax reform for a long time and received a call from the white house while i was standing there. he said he hasn't been briefed on the plan yet but says what job's been reporting will be vague. he says there is a 15% corporate tax rate that e president wants to make that drastic cut. hatch said i don't think he'll get away with that, that would be too much of a budget buster. already from a trump support, that's a problem for him. >> woodruff: this is somebody
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they'd normally be counting on. less than a minute, you mentioned healthcare a minute ago, the white house is ready to deal on that, where are they if coming up with a new healthcare? >> they think their contribution is to get conservative and moderate republicans talking to each other. the vote is up to the hill, the speaker, the majority leader and the whip. once they have the votes, they would love for it to happen before the hundred days is up but realize keeping the government opening and running takes precedence. >> maybe tomorrow night the freedom caucus has an important meeting. they have been big on aspiration, short on votes this well year. >> reporter: i know both of you will be following it all this week. lisa desjardins, john yang. lisa, you mentioned the west virginia coal miners' issue several times and you've actually done reporting, been to west virginia. tell us more. >> that's right, we just got back from west virginia over the weekend and president trump, as
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you know, has campaigned on a promise to reverse the fortunes of coal country. that message especially res -- resonated west virginia where he swept every single county in last year's elections and now thousands of miners are in jeopardy of losing their healthcare if congress doesn't act. this and a series in the ongoing "chasing the dream." many stories about mining start here-- a coal yard in appalachia. but this story starts here. in a front yard. after 27 years underground, former miner damon tucker left with a list of health problems and frustrations. >> i told my wife, i said, i will flip hamburgers, i'll draw my pension and flip hamburgers if i have to. i'm not-- i'm coming out of the mines. >> desjardins: flipping hamburgers didn't happen, lawncare did. with his own one-man business near beckley, west virginia. but, tucker, who had open heart surgery just over a year ago,
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still depends on his miners health plan. so what would it mean if your healthcare benefits just stopped? >> well, you know, i will take what medicine i can afford to pay right now, but uh, my follow-up visits with doctors and stuff, uh, i won't, i won't go. i i just, you know, i won't be able to afford to go. >> desjardins: some 22,000 retired union miners and their widows will lose this health care if congress doesn't act. many have chronic lung diseases. their union-benefit health plan supports clinics like this in southern west virginia and helps them pay their medical costs. >> take a deep breath in. >> desjardins: these retired miners say the federal government guaranteed this health care at a key moment 70 years ago. 1946, after a massive miner strike threatened the power grid, president truman did something historic: he stepped
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in to forge a deal where coal companies and the mining union agreed to fund lifelong health care and pensions. >> i blame the government more than the coal companies. >> desjardins: that last-century promise is colliding with today's funding problem and critical health needs at a meeting of the fayette county black lung association. >> they want to send me to a lung doctor the first of next month. well, if they don't pass that bill, then the first oxt month, i won't have no insurance. >> i'd like to say my breathing and everything's getting better, but it's not, it's getting worse. >> it'll take us going back to washington, and protesting, and letting them know how we feel. we need to let the government know: hey, y'all promised that. we opposed get that. >> desjardins: how did this happen? as the coal industry declined, there were fewer miners paying into the system, and more miners retiring and drawing on their benefits. starting in the 1990s, coal companies used bankruptcy filings as a way to stop paying
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their portion of the benefits. all that led to shortfalls, and while government never intended to pay for these benefits, congress has become a kind of funder of last resort, and has stepped in multiple times, to make up the difference. that brings us to today. yet again, miners' fate is in the hands of washington politicians. but notably this time, miners' health benefits run out as another deadline hits: the deadline to fund most of government. >> how many in here are depending on this health care we're talking about? >> desjardins: west virginia democratic senator joe manchin, drawing packed rooms of miners at southern west virginia community college, wants to solve their healthcare issue permanently by leveraging the overlapping crises. he doesn't use the word "shutdown," but his moves could lead to one he says he and other democrats could block or delay government funding this week. is the only way that you could support the next funding bill, if it contains a permanent fix for these healthcare benefits? >> as of i'm speaking of you right now, absolutely.
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it's what i'm fighting for, and it's what's basically the only right thing to do. >> desjardins: but, west virginia republican congressman david mckinley says, for now, he's ok with less - a 20-month or so patch, that would mean another fix needed after the 2018 election. >>ook, i would embrace what he's talking about over on the senate side, but you don't shut government down over this. let's be reasonable about it, and not give false hope. >> desjardins: another potential divide: mckinley is considering running against manchin for senate next year. still other look at coal country, despite truman's involvement, and say it's time congress stop funding these benefits. >> that promise came from their employees and the union, it didn't come from the government. >> desjardins: rachel greszler from the conservative heritage foundation points out miners are far from the only group facing benefit problems. >> if the government steps in now and says, just because you performed a very valuable service, and coal mining is crucial to our country, we're
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going to bail you out. what does that say to any other worker who sees their job as very valuable? and yet, their union and their employers can't make good on the promises they provided. >> it doesn't even look like he had started to develop black lung at that point. >> desjardins: but kathy vance, whose husband larry died of complications from black lung, says miners are different because the federal government was involved in their benefits from the beginning. she's a cancer survivor herself and her widow's benefits help with doctors visits and medicine. >> it's just, you know, a constant worry of, are we gonna have health benefits or not? he would be very angry, because, you know, he-- he supported the union wholeheartedly. >> desjardins: this crisis over miners benefits comes under one of the most pro-coal-sounding presidents in decades. >> in other countries, they love their coal. over here, we haven't treated it with the respect it deserves. >> desjardins: but president trump has been publicly silent
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on miners benefits. and manchin wants more >> i appreciate president trump's willingness to help the coal miners. we just need him now to step forward. >> desjardins: back outside beckley,amon tucker knowmany inis situation, including fellow church leader and in-law ricky coalson who has black lung. both rely on their miners' benefits. >> it's not like we're asking for a handout or anything, either. them was hard sweat work, that, benefits that we negotiated our union negotiated for us. all we want is just, just what was promised to us. >> coal miners are proud people. they're not gonna beg. just to be treated fair. my father was a coal miner, and his father was a coal miner. so, it's kind of like a tradition, too. and i knew -- well i thought -- when i did retire, i would have good benefits. >> desjardins: however congress acts - and even if president trump's coal boom materializes in coal country, this family's mining tradition - and frustrations ends with them.
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both men advised their children not to become coal miners. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa desjardins in josephine, west virginia. >> woodruff: as we heard, the debate over health care coverage is tied to the larger political battle. specifically, the president must decide whether he will continue to pay subsidies to insurance companies that reduce out-of- pocket costs and deductibles for low-income consumers. democrats and the obama administration lost a crucial court ruling last year. seven million people, more than half of those covered through the insurance exchanges, qualify for the subsidies. robert laszewski is a consultant who works with insurers and others industry leaders. he watches this closely.
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robert laszewski, thank you for being back with us. >> you'rwelcome. >> woodruff: remind us, 325 million americans, only 7 million of them receive these subsidies. >> yes. >> woodruff: why does this matter so much? >> first of all, there are 20 million people in the individual health insurance market, so it does affect 20 million people, and the subsidies, the trump administration can cut them off tomorrow morning to. the typical insurance company, that could be worth about $8 million a month they'd lose because they still have to provide the benefits. so what the insurance company does, if this gets cut off overnight, they will have to increase the rates not just for the 7 million in the exchange but the 20 million in the individual health insurance market and that could easily lead to 15% rate increases on top of significant rate increases likely to come in 2018 through obamacare. >> woodruff: humanize this, who benefit from this. >> the poorest people who get health insurance through the affordable care act or obamacare's insurance exchange,
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these are people that as an individual can make $12,000 a year to $24,000 a year. they are people who are such low income that they need help with the deductibles and the co-pays. >> woodruff: and how much money are we talking about is involved? i've seen 130-some-billion. >> it's about $5,000 per person. ates huge amount of money for the individual and the insurance company providing it because the insurance company has to provide the money even if the federal government doesn't have to pay for it, so they get hit $800 million every month for the people they cover. >> woodruff: president trump is dangling this as a barring championship in negotiations over the budget. what happens if this money stops flowing? >> the first thing is people's benefits continue to flow to them.
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the cost sharing would continue to at least the end of the year because the insurance company has to provide the support. so the money would come out to have the insurance company's pocket. the insurance company would then turn around and increase rates for 2018, probably about 15% just for this. in addition to probably 15% rate increases typically that obamacare would get in 2018 anyway. >> and what happens to these exchanges at the national -- the federal exchange and the state exchanges? >> health insurance companies have generally been losing a lot of money in the health insurance exchanges. this would make things far worse. you have a teetering, relatively unstable situation going on now. the fundamental problem with obamacare is we haven't gotten enough healthy people to sign up to pay the claims for the sick. it's an imbalanced pool. so the trump administration would throw a grenade into the middle of that and make it even more unbalanced. >> woodruff: so some exchanges could collapse? >> i doubt you would see the exchanges collapse. we ged get the into the weeds of
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how all this works, but the bottom line is the insurance company would dray patcally increase the rates for all 20 million in the pool, it would make things even more expensive, we would have fewer healthy people in which would, in turn, make things more expensive next year. it continues to make shings unstable. right now, judy, typically, a family of four, mom and dad age 40, right now, would have to pay about $10,000 in premium for a plan with a $7,000 deductible. that's the cheapest plan for people who don't get subsidies and half the people don't get subsidies. this would make this far worse. obamacare is not stable in the sense it's not delivering efficient health insurance costs and would make that worse. >> woodruff: who is arguing to the white house to keep these payments going, and who's arguing to stop them? >> i don't know nine one is
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arguing to the administration to stop them. not only are democrats dead set against stopping them but members to have the republican congress privately are saying we can't do this. why would we make an unstable situation even much worse? >> woodruff: how do you see this playing out? when do you see this -- we foe the president is saying it could happen now, but what are you seeing in the terms of the time line? >> well, the president has dangled this twice now. once he has said to the democrats, you need to come to the table and negotiate repeal and replace bill with me, if you don't, i'll stop the subsidies. that was last week. this week, he said, in order to get the budget done, i need the mexican wall money and i'll give you the subsidies if you give me the mexican wall money. he's now spent the subsidies twice, from a political perspective. so this is all about resolving the budget impasse and resolve the repeal an and replace challe
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the republicans are dealing with, and until those two things are resolved, this will be an issue people worry about. >> woodruff: a tough one. robert laszewski, we thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: a deadly taliban strike shakes afghanistan's defense ministry. politics monday-- including a look at obama's first public appearance since leaving office. and option b-- facebook's sheryl sandberg opens up about her struggle after her husband's death. but first, voters went to the polls yesterday in france, the first of two rounds to elect a new president. the field was winnowed to two candidates, neither from the establishment parties that have governed france for decades. it sets up a may 7th tête-à-tête
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runoff between a centrist newcomer, and thface of the faright from paris, specl corresndent malcolm brabant reports >> reporter: the two candidates still standing emerged this morning to crowds of supporters: centrist emmanuel macron, and marine le pen, leader of the far-right national front. she fired the first broadside, in the northern town of rouvroy: >> ( translated ): the reality is that mr. macron is not a patriot in any way at all. he is a hysterical, radical 'europeanist.' he is for total open borders. >> reporter: sunday's opening round saw a 78% turnout: macron won 24% of the vote. le pen followed with 21%, while conservative francois fillon finished with 20%. and far-left candidate jean-luc melenchon had 19. this was the scene last night in paris as news of macron's first- place finish reached his supporters.
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and this was the countdown to the final round in le pen's headquarters in the northern french rustbelt town of henin beaumont. national front supporters had been expecting her to take first place, and hid their disappointment, chanting we will win. >> ( translated ): it's the mobilization of the people, and she's been fighting for the same cause for years, defending the people, marine will be president. >> reporter: several times the front supporters burst into the marseillaise, the french national anthem. campaign staffer mikael sala resents accusations that the party is racist and insists that le pen can be president for french people of all ethnicities. >> and wherever you come from she's said a zillion times that she considers every french woman every french man as being equal analyst alexandra de hoop scheffer believes that le pen has progressed as far as she can go.
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>> i think people realize that in the brexit post trump election context probably they won't want to follow that trend. and macron has a smart way of portraying his mission which is to show that france is a contrarian. >> reporter: she supports the popular thesis that macron will probably win the second round with about 60% of the vote. marine le pen's success may have ended decades of political domination by the traditional parties of the left and right. but france's political establishment is in a vengeful mood. the leadership of both the republican and the socialist parties have described her candidacy as destructive and have encouraged their supporters to vote for emmanuel macron. sitting president francois hollande, whose socialist party had a disastrous showing, was one of those voices. >> ( translated ): there is a clear choice.
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emmanuel macron is the candidate enables the french people to come together at this moment in europe and the world which is so unusual, so serious. >> reporter: meanwhile, european financial markets surged with the news that macron, who opposes withdrawal from the european union, had come out on top. still, the vice president of lepen's party, steeve briois, is convinced that the party will pick up working class support from the hard-left candidate jean luc melenchon. >> ( translated ): a lot of mélenchon's voters, who voted for him because of anger, will be able to vote for us in 15 days, because they won't vote for an ultra-liberal, such as mr. macron. >> reporter: but jean yves camus, a specialist in right wing politics, believes that's an illusion. >> there's no way she can be elected unless of course a huge political earthquake or something really nasty such as a terrorist attack but i see no >> reporter: these national front supporters were partying as if the ultimate prize was a foregone conclusion. but most people headed home early as reality sank in that they have a major battle on
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their hands if they're to emulate the victories of brexit and donald trump. for the pbs newshour, i'm malcolm brabant in france. >> woodruff: more than a decade- and-a-half into the u.s. war in afghanistan, the country remains wracked by instability. kabul in recent days, just as the taliban reminded the world that it remains a force to be reckoned with. two of the top national security officials in the trump administration have been in william brangham reports. >> brangham: the defense secretary's surprise visit to kabul underscored growing u.s. concerns about afghanistan. secretary mattis made that clear after meeting with president ashraf ghani and other leaders. >> 2017 is going to be another tough year for the valiant afghan security forces and the international troops who have stood and will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with afghanistan against terrorism.
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>> brangham: just three days before, taliban fighters, disguised as government troops, killed at least 140 afghan soldiers. offis believe the final death toll will be highe making this the single deadliest atta on an afghan base in years. it happened at a compound in northern balkh province. >> brangham: also today: at least four security guards were killed, when a suicide bomber hit a u.s. operated base in the east of the country. all this, amid reports that russia is funneling weapons to the taliban, something the top u.s. commander in afghanistan essentially confirmed. >> we had the overt legitimacy lent to the taliban by the russian that really occurred during late last year beginning through this process they've been undertaking. >> so you are not refuting that they are sending weapons? >> oh, no, i am not refuting that. >> brangham: russia has denied aiding the insurgents. but it lends urgency to the u.s. decision whether to deploy more american troops in a war that's now in its 16th year.
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for more on the situation in afghanistan we turn to david sedney, who was deputy assistant secretary of defense for afghanistan, pakistan and central asia during the obama administration. he's now acting president of the american university of afghanistan and joins us via skype from kabul. david sedney, thank you very much for being here. let's talk first about this attack on friday. the afghan forces have already lost thousands of soldiers to the taliban over the last few years. how significant is friday's attack? >> i would have to say that this is a very significant attack. it is probably the largest attack the taliban ever carried out on afghan forces. it was done with a kind of sophistication and planning that i think even surprised many people here, and it shows the taliban have a reach and a capability that is something people just didn't expect. >> brangham: as you say, this
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attack shows -- i don't know if you want to call it the audacity -- but the audacity of the taliban, but is it also something of the forces to have allowed themselves to be caught offguard like this. >> i think it certainly shows a failure of intelligence, it shows that there needs to be improved leadership on the afghan forces, but i have to say that the afghan forces have fought bravely and well in repeated engagements with the taliban over the last several years, after, to be frank, the obama administration made a too hasty and poorly planned withdrawal leaving the afghan forces without the kind of support and the kind of leadership that they needed. >> brangham: obviously, we need as robust an afghan fighting force we can to counter-- counter the taliban. do you think this will hurt recruitment? >> i don't think it will hurt cruitmen after attacks i've seen recruitment tending to go up.
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the real issue here is leadership, not recruitment. leadership and mentoring. the the afghan forces have a real large number of very capable junior and mid-level officers and the united states and our allies have played a major role in training them. but upper leerpd is an area we have not given sustained attention in the last decade. that's where the real problems lie. that's why, as you mentioned earlier, the minister of defense, the chief of staff and other senior generals have been replaced and i would have to say many here believe it's past time that happened. >> woodruff: john nicholson said the security situation in afghanistan is at a stalemate. do you agree with that assessment? >> yes, i do. you have a situation where the afghan security forces are able to prevail in direct engames with the taliban, but because of
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continuing support from pakistan and the taliban's ability to strike anywhere, anytime and weakness in enablers and air and intelligence, the afghans forces haven't gained advantage on the battleground. >> brangham: the returning have been supporting the taliban increasingly. why do the russians want to support them >> the russians see afghanisn as an area, i believe, where they can try and takeantage of the united states, try and drive a wedge between us and some of our allies, and also in the area where they have the ability to strengthen their long-term strategic position. >> brangham: lastly, general nicholson in order to break the stalemate billions of dollars and thousands more u.s. troops may be needed. if the money comes and the troops come l that fix this? >> i think those are important components, but there are two
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other equally or i would say more important components. the first is improved afghan leadership both at the ministry level and the corps level in the military. there needs to be a replacement of many of the older generals that should have been retired many years ago and younger leaders need to be moved up. finally and most importantly is the role of pakistan. pakistan's support for the taliban is what makes them as capable as they are, the ability to have arms -- armed men, explosives sent across the border with no restrictions at all from pakistan, that's what's enabled the taliban continue to fight the way they have and until that safe haven in pakistan is addressed one way or another this nflict will continue. >> brangham: david sedney, acting president of the university of afghanistan, thank you very much. >> thank you, william.
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>> woodruff: now we turn back to the political fight brewing over government funding, healthcare and tax reform as president trump nears his 100th day in office. for all that, it's time for politics monday with amy walter of the cook political report and tamara keith of npr, who joins us tonight from chicago. and welcome to you both. so 100 days, we're coming up on it this saturday. amy, during the campaign, the president said he was going to get a lot done during those first 100 days. then a few days ago, he said it was a rikick louse standard. how important is it? how much attention should we give it? >> a very good question. normally first-term presidents start off in their first few months with a depp reservoir of good will. think of it as a bank account frushed with cash. you spend the good will down
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over the course of your presidency to get things done. president trump is starting in a different place. he has to find a way to fill the reservoir because it's empty. he's sitting at between 40% and 42% approval, the lowest for any president at this point in his ten your as a first-term president. the question we have been asking since the day he won the election is how does he fill the reservoir because, right now, he hasn't done a particularly good job of it. >> woodruff: tam, you not only cover washington, you cover the american people, you hit the road. how do you sense theortance itrary measure.ment, ts 100 it is based on, you know, the roosevelt administration, the f.d.r. administration had incredible accomplishments, but that was done with congress, and a lot of it didn't originate with the white house.
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one historian i talked to last week said even roosevelt didn't meet that standard yet every president is held to that standard. the problem with trump is he made big promises and labeled i want as his 100-day plan he was campaigning on. as the talk of 100 days heated up last week, i was chatting with a trump voter who said to me, you know, in my machine shop, when we get somebody new, we don't expect them to be able to do everything on the first day. i think there are a lot of trump voters out there who say, you know, give ima chance. there is a very steep learning curve when it comes to running the united states. >> woodruff: amy, it is like everything else. so much of this is in the eye of the beholder. >> that's exactly right. i think the learn curve thing is very important. this is the first president we've elected in our time who has never held political office and who's never had military office. this is a big learning curve and
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the people around him has a learning curve and congress has a learning curve. most of congress never worked with a republican president before. the first 100 days are not as important as the next hundred or 200 or 400 as we get closer to the midterm elections. struck can you recallly, hisnt woo has all levers of power in washington, they have the house and the senate. so while i agree there is a learning curve and people will cut them slack saying you're few, take some time before you can put notches on your belt, at some point, if you have all the levers of power and you're still not able to get anything done, i think that's going to be a problem. >> woodruff: part of what you have been both referring to, tam, is he's raised expectations himself, and i have been hearing analysts in the last few days reading them, saying he needs to lower expectations. but we do have a sense, don't we, coming out of these first three months of what kind of
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presidency this is going to be? haven't we learned something from this? >> we have certainly learned how president trump operates. he operates on sort of an ad hoc basis, that the white house, that oval office is very open, that he brings people in, that he is very available, that he does -- for all of his talk of the lying media and fake news, he does a huge number of interviews, where he's more available than past presidents. but what we don't know is if that is how he will govern for the rest of his term. he talks about being a very flexible person, and we with simply don't know if that flexibility means that he'll change again. you know, like president clinton started off with a very rough first 100 days. people wide ridescribed its disastrous. ultimately he changed chiefs of staff and changed the way he ran his white house and then, having lost the congress, cooperated
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with republicans in congress and got some things done. >> woodruff: and, amy, presidents do learn from their mistakes, don't they? >> that's the goal. >> woodruff: right. and to tamara's point about president clinton, that was a rough 1993, and if 1994, it's not just that he had a bad mid-term election, his party lost control of the house for the first time in 40 years. so to me what i'm looking at in terms of the number is not just where president trump is in comparison to where presidents were in the first 100 days. but when i look at the number where he is now, 40, 42%, and where other presidents were close to mare midterm elections at 40% or 42%, they lost lots of seats in congress and in many caseslow control of congress. so it is imperative for him the to get some wins. structurally, he has the ability to do it but he has to deliver. >> woodruff: and has to make up some ground. >> right. >> woodruff: tam, we did note you're in chicago. president obama was there today to make his first sort of public
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presentation since leaving office. so what did you see? >> well, what i saw is a post-president trying his best to not talk about his successor. he was on stage with sixoung people who are civically active and he saidhat he believes that a big part of is post-presidency will be to try to figure out how to get the next generation involved in public life and giving back and in politics. he talked about concerns about people simply not voting or becoming cynical. but what he did not talk about was president trump. so for those people who were hoping that president obama would come back into public hyphand join the resistance, that does not appear to be how he plans to spend his post-presidency. >> well, there's a great irony in president obama as a face of the resistance. we talked throughout the obama era about the so-called obama coalition voters, but guess
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what? those voters, who included a lot of young people, only turned out for one democrat and that was barack obama. they didn't turn out midterm elections or the way democrats hoped for hillary clinton. will they then turn out for another democrat is the big question. >> woodruff: a loft democrats are holding their breath, crossing their fingers or whatever people do when they're hoping. amy walter, tamera keith, thank you both. see you next monday. >> you're welcome. >> woodruff: finally tonight, a conversation with sheryl sandberg about coping with grief and learning about resilience in the face of adversity. that's the subject of a new book in which she opens up about a personal tragedy: the loss of her husband, david goldberg. i visited her at facebook's headquarters in menlo park, california. our interview took place nearly two years after sandberg and her husband went on vacation in
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mexico with friends. sandberg woke up from a poolside nap, saw dave was not there anymore and soon went looking for him. she found him lying on the floor of the hotel gym next to the treadmill. as they later learned he had suffered a cardiac arrhythmia. he was just 47 years old. as the chief operating officer of facebook and one of the best known female executives in the business world, sandberg had all the resources and the support one could imagine. but none of that could lessen the grief that engulfed her, and their two young children. >> in thosearly days and weeks, it feels like you're not gonna get through a minute, let alone a day. my biggest fear was that my kids would never be happy again. that their happiness would have been wiped away in that same instant we lost dave. there are people who had been through loss and been through real adversity who told me it gets better, and i did not
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believe them. >> woodruff: ten days later when she returned to work, it was hard to focus on running a social media giant with 17,000 employees and more than a billion daily users. suddenly, one of the most famous women in business was struggling to hold it together at the office. >> when dave first died, i felt like i was in a void. like i couldn't breathe, or catch my breath. i just thought, i'm never going to get through this. i can't contribute, i can't even get through a meeting without crying. >> woodruff: a month after his death, she posted a tribute to dave on facebook. she wrote about mistakes she had made in the past when friends lost loved ones. she included advice from a close friend about how to handle a father son event. "option a"-- dave--was not available. instead, the friend said it was time to grab onto "option b." but he used stronger language
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than that. it became sandberg's mantra, and it's the name of her new book. >> there are things you can do, steps you can take to help yourself and your kids recover. and i learned that resilience, it's not something we've one set amount of. it's a muscle, and we build it. and if this helps anyone, even just a little bit, themselves or a friend, then i think i will have found some meaning in this. >> woodruff: is the book also about helping you get through it? >> the book is trying to help other people hear what i couldn't hear at the beginning. it does get better. i, i will always miss dave. i miss dave every day. but that feeling of not being able to breathe has passed. i can breathe now! and somemes i think ofim and cry, but sometimes i think of him and smile. and my children can think of their father and smile. and i want other people going through this to know it's possible. >> woodruff: "option b" is not
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just about sandberg's personal journey and loss. it offers ideas and advice for people who've experienced their own trauma. co-written with psychologist and best-selling author adam grant, the book puts a big emphasis on what sandberg calls the elephant in the room. >> it's not just the loss, or the cancer, or losing a job, or someone in your family going to jail. it's the silence that surrounds that. and so, when i lost dave, i had this overwhelming grief, but also just this isolation i'd never felt in my life. i'd always felt really connected to my friends, neighbors and family, people i work with. but when i came back to work, people barely spoke to me. they looked at me like i was a deer in the headlights. and i know they meant well. they were afraid to say the wrong thing, so they said nothing at all. >> woodruff: what's just one of the ways that people should be able to take away from your experience, about how to reach out to someone who's going through something like this, something traumatic like this,
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and for those who are going through it themselves, who aren't accustomed, maybe, to reaching out, or who aren't comfortable, for whatever reason? >> if you're trying to help someone who's facing adversity, the first and most important thing is to acknowledge the pain. before, if i had a colleague or a friend who had lost someone, or is going through cancer treatment, i thought bringing it up to them was reminding them. so i was silent. losing dave taught me how absurd that was. you can't remind me i lost my husband! i know that. every minute of every day. and so, when people said nothing, particularly in the beginning, 'how are you?,' felt like, 'how are, how am i?! i just lost my husband!'' and they were asking! i took that as the standard american i'm supposed to, greeting. i'm supposed to say fine and move on. but they meant it. and when i learned to say, 'i'm not great.' or, 'i'm really sad today.' or, 'thanks for asking, and i want to talk about it right now.' i was letting them acknowledge. and so, it's really on both
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sides to acknowledge. >> woodruff: sandberg also writes about how important it is not to blame yourself. >> when dave first died, i thought it was my fault. the initial report said he'd died of head trauma from falling off an exercise machine. my brother's a neurosurgeon, and he told me that wasn't true. and we got the autopsy, we realized he had died of a cardiac arrhythmia. but i still blamed myself, and i blamed myself for a long time. but when adam told me that because i was blaming myself, i was gonna keep my kids from recovering, because i was going to keep myself from recovering? that really helped. we have to show ourselves compassion. the same compassion we would show a friend, >> woodruff: sandberg said that ultimately family, friends and coworkers, including her boss mark zuckerberg, made a huge difference. not everybody may go back to a supportive environment, making it even harder for them. so, how do you, how do you--
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what do you say to people who are thinking, how am i going to face coworkers? what if my employer doesn't give me the time or the space or the understanding that i need? >> yeah, we have so much to do to make it easier for people at work. i'm really lucky. facebook has great policies. we offer a lot of bereavement leave, a lot of leave of all kinds. and we've done even more since dave died for people. we need our workplaces and our public policy to give people the paid, paid time off they need. because, for a lot of people, if the time is unpaid, they can't take it. >> woodruff: sandberg has become increasingly outspoken about the workplace, family life and women's equality. her 2012 book, "lean in," served as a call to many women to become more assertive. but to some then, sandberg's tone smacked of wealthy white privilege. she was criticized in some quarters for failing to appreciate what single parents and non-traditional families go through. now,he's expanded the message
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to stress the role of government and society in the lives of women. >> we are the only developed country in the world, the only one, without paid maternity leave. and we need that, and paid paternity leave, so men and women are equal. we're one of the only developed countries without paid family leave. i think a lot about going through everything i went through, and also worrying about paying a basic health care bill. about single mothers who wake up every day in this country and worry about whether they can take care of a sick child, or lose their job that they need. about the minimum wage we have, two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women. minimum wage hasn't been raised at the federal level in forever! that's unacceptable. >> woodruff: unexpectedly, joy is also an essential message in the book. it's something sandberg feared she would never feel again. >> i thought it would always feel that way. and the sadness is still here, but it does not feel like i'm trapped in a void anymore.
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and i have joy, and i have laughter, and i have moments with my kids where we remember their daddy with real joy, and we look at pictures and videos, and i want anyone going through hardship to know that it does get better. we all have things we can appreciate, we all have moments that we can notice the joy. we all can find gratitude for being alive. and that doesn't mean that every story has a happy ending, because it doesn't. but there are things we can do to build resilience in ourselves and each other that make us stronger. >> woodruff: cheryl sandberg has not only written this book "option b" about her experience, she's encouraging people going through tragedy to form support groups to be there for each other. and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, our making the grade team looks at the impact of
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i'm judy woodruff. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh ac
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