tv PBS News Hour PBS September 20, 2019 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: raising the alarm. the standoff between congress and the white house continues to roil, as an intelligence community whistleblower's "urgent concer reverberates e rough washington. then, taking to reets. millions of young people stage protests worldwide to demand leaders take action on climate change. plus, it's friday. mark shields and david brooks are here to analyze escalating tensions with iran after an attack threatens the world oil supply, and the widening scope of the whistblower complaint. and: >> are you excited? >> i am a bit, are you? >> would it be common to admit it? >> woodruff: a return to "downton abbey
after nearly four years off thee air, the crawley family is back, this time on the big screen. >> when i watched the movie for the first time a few weeks ago, as the lights went down and the music started, my shoulders literally relaxed and i thought, "i'm goi somewhere that is just a bit kinder." >> woodruff: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ng moviur economy for 160 years.
bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> consumer cellular believes that wirelesplans should reflect the amount of talk, text and data that you use. to learn more, go to consumercellar.tv >> fincial services firm raymond james. >> the ford foundation. working with visionan the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> and with the ongoing support of tse institutions: and friends of the newshour.
>> this program was made possible by the corporation fort public broadg. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: president trumps faesh allegations tonight about his dealings with a foreign leader, amid his denial. of wrongdo he dismissed an intelligence whistleblower's complaint today as "just another pol hack job." but "the wall street journal" and others reported, he pressed ceraine's leader to investigate a son of former resident biden over biness dealings in raine. we will take a close look, after the news summary. the president appeared today to play down chances of a military strike on an. u.s. and saudi officials have pointed to iran as the culprit in last weekend's attacks oil facilities in saudi arabia, but tehran denies it. in the oval office today, the president said he does not want
the tensions to boil into war. instead, he counseled restraint. >> for all of those that say, "oh, they should do it, it shows weakness"-- actually, in my opinion, it shows strength. because the easiest thing i could do, "okay, go ahead, knock out 15 different major things in iran," i could do that, and it's all set to go. it's all set to go. but i'm not looking to do that, if i can. >> woodruff: the u.s. treasury department did impose sanctions today on iran's central bank. meofficials said they are at cutting funding to iran's military, including the elite revolutionary guard. by the millions, youthful activists around the world marched today, skipping school d toand that leaders tackle climate change. the so-called "global climate strike" kicked off across australian cities, and the scene was repeated elsewhere.re stin berlin, germany, acti danced in the streets, and in washington, students rallied at
the u.s. capitol. it finally stopped raining around houston overnight, butin widespread floremained today. remnants of tropical storm imelda dumped more than 40 inches of rain over three days, and claimed four lives. port.desjardins has our >> desjardins: in parts of southeastern texasonly the roofs of buildings and cars are above water. roads have become riveth drivers leaving wide wakes as they brave the dths. rescue crews worked overnight crough heavy rain, to save people in stranded vehicles. all of this just two years since hurricane harvey inuated the region with 50 inches of rain. harris county sheriff ed gonzalez said last night that the houston region was better prepared. >> we had more rescue vehicles deployed all across the county. as we saw, some of the a as that were harder-hit, we bi-deployed them a little t closer.
>> desjardins: the downpours finally stopped by daybreak. still, the deluge put majore highways under water in houston proper, and forced schools to close. in new caney, about 30 miles northeast of houston, an r.v.wa floated si today in muddy water, and cars and homes were nearly submerg. along the san jacinto river, a bridgeas closed afterto rushing wate barges off their moorings nearby. they crashed into the span, shutting down part of rstate 10. and overnight, ibeaumont, tyguests waded through dir water in a local hotel. the community is taking le slim silverings it can find. for this man, it was a large fish in what is usually a road. what's lt of the storm is now moving northeast, threatening e flash flooewhere. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa desjardins. >> woodruff: also to pacific hurricane lorena buffeted cabo san lucas, mexico, near the tip of e baja
california peninsula. it could bring heavy rain andof wind5 miles an hour, through the night. in afghanistan, the deh toll has nearly doubled to 39 in a taliban bombing at a hospital on thursday. the suicide blast rocked the capital of zabul province, in the south. the attack destroyed the hospital, and left at least 140 people wounded. local officials reported thatth most odead were civilians. a second confirmed case of polio raised alarms in the philippinea today. officials declared the country's first outbreak in nearly two decades. they are now launching a mass vaccination campaign. its goal is to immunize more than five million children under the age of five. bap in this country, the tr administration signed an agreement for el salvador to luke in migrants seeking a in the u.s. details were sparse, and it was unear how one of central america's most violent places could qualifas a refuge. but, the acting secretary of
homeland security, kevin mcaleenan, called it a big step forward. >> as we work together to target irregular migration flows througthe region, that is one potential use of the agreement-- that individuals crossing through el salvador should be able to seek protections there. and we want to enforce the integrity of that processte throughout the region. >> woodruf the u.s. signed a similar agreement with guatemala last month. walmart, the nation's largester retaannounced that it will stop selling e-cigarettes, once current supplies are gone. that follows a wave of lun illnesses, and eight deaths,nk to vaping. in a statement, walmart cited growing regutions and outright bans on vaping products. new york city mayor ll de blasio announced today the end of his 2020 presidential run. de blasio joined the crowded democratic race in may, but he struggled to gain traction among better-known progressives. his withdrawal leaves 19 democrats ill in the race.
and, on wall street, stocks slumped amid new doubts about u.s.-china trade talks. the dow jones industrial average lost 159 points to close at26 35. the nasdaq fell 65 points, and the s&p 500 slipped 14. still toome on the newshour: mounting tension in washington, as congress and the white house clash over a wstleblower. students demand action to stem thclimate crisis, with millions worldwideaking to the streets in protest. and, mucmore. >> woodruff: the explosive reports of a whistleblower complaint against president trump is raising more questions than answers. yamiche alcindor begins our coverage of this fast-moving story. >> alcindor: a mysterious
whistleblower, and a president on defense. today, president trump was insistent-- any coasunications between him and foreign leaders are strictly above aboard. >> i have conversations with many leaders. they're always appropriate. always appropriate. at the highest level, always appropriate. >> alcindor: sitting next to australia's prime minister in the oval office, he dismissed ao laint by an intelligence community whistleblower reportedly aimed at him.ju >> it's st another political hack job. that's alldot is. >> alc the "washington post" and "new york times" have reported the complaintesnvolves the ent's communications with an unspecified foreign leader, and other actions, and centers on ukraine. it is public record that on july 25, the president spoke on the phone with ukrainian president volodymyr zelensky. mpat waswo weeks before the whistleblower coint was filed. today, new reports that eppresident trump repeated pressed zelens to work with his personal lawyer, rudy
giuliani. the president want hunter biden's dealings with a ukrainian gas firm investigated, in a b to aid the trump re-election campaign. biden's father, former vice president joe biden,s a potential 2020 challenger to president ump. on cnn last night, giuliani first denied it, then admitted it. >> did you ask thekraine to investigate joe biden? >> no, actually i didn't. >> so you did ask ukraine to look into joe biden? >> of course i did! >> alcindor: giuliani eventually said the president had no knledge of his actions. but, the administration has blocked access to the mplaint,lower's setting up a standoff with congress. in letters released thursday, the intelligence community inspector general called it an "urgent concern" related to "serious or flagrant abuse," that he said should be given to lawmakers. michl atkinson also testifie behind closed doors before the house intelligence committee, but sa he was barred from revealing the substance of the whistleblower's complaint. committee chair, democrat adam schiff, said he may sue to access it. >> given the inspector generalen said this is u it can't wait.
>> alcindor: in a statement today, house speaker nancy pelosi said all of t, s raises "gragent concerns for our national security." thosconcerns will get an idring next week. on wednesday, prent trump is scheduled to meet with president zelensky the next day, acting director of national intelligence joseph maguire is set to testify before the hou intelligence committee. for the pbs newshour, i'm yamiche alcindor. >> woodruff: to provide insight on how the ukranian government is factoring into all of this, i'm joined by nina janckowicz of the wilson center, an independent, nonartisan research institute. nina janckowicz, welcome back to the "newshour". so now we have this new information, the "wall street journal" reporting that president trump repeatedly pressured the president of ukraine to investigate joe biden's son. what te ukrainian government saying? >> the ukrainian government has been very deft in their avoidance of this issue which i think is intial.
they're trying to walk a thin line of not really upsetting anyonemin the trump stration or a potential next president, and in a readout of a call from july 25, they said that prsident trump discussed anti-corruption efforts in ukraine that have been stalling u.s.-ukrainian relations, perhaps a nod to this scandal that has come up recently. >> woodruff: could be seen as a reference to tham- >>m. >> woodruff: so if the government is not commenting officially, what are people aroundis administration saying? >> well, i think anti-corruption activists in ukrainewhich represent very strong and vibrant portion of civil society, are saying, you know, they are pretty bemused that victor shoken, the prosecutor geral in, volv championed by rudy giuliani as an anti-corruption crusader.wa actually han obstacle to anti-corruption efforts in ukraine, and the fact that the trump administration is trying to paint this as a sacking forer huiden's own protection is
not ringing true with the ukrainians who are close to the material. >> woodruff: that's what i wanted to ask you about because the president, president trump keeps saying the news media eds to investigate what happened with regard to this prosecutor, and you're saying pele there don't think there is anything to that. >> right they y that claim doesn't hold water that joe biden asked poroshenko to fire victor shoken to protect his sons. they're saying by firing victor, it was inviting mo investigation into his son because this former prosecutor had been stonewalling anti-corruption investigations. >> woodruff: the plot thickens. in the meantime, nina janckowicz, there is the question othe fact that thes conversations between president trump and nlensky of ukraine were taking place around the same timed theministration was about to say it was going to deliver foreign aid to ukraine. >> right.
how does that factornto all s? thi >> the delivery to assistance of ukraine was one of ukraini government's top diplomatic priorities of the last five years. there's a hot war in europe. ukraine has been resisting russian corruption for the past lve years and this miitary assistance is very much needed and important to ukr the fact that, over the past couple of weeks, it was fror n asons unknown to the ukrainian grveghts not related to reform efforts, seemingly out of the blue, was seen as a shock in kiev. >> woodruff: what we're learning today and yesterday, are people pting puzzle pieces together and to suggest that there's a connection? >> yeah, absolutely. it seems like maitybe e trump administration was considering withholding thpraid tessure the zelensky administration to opening or ropening this investigation into biden and the tas company he was working with, and that's remely troubling to me because ukraine is a ic beacon for millions of people in the former soviet
space. they just had a very historic election in the spring in which russians were saying when are we going to have anlection like that, and we should b supporting this new administration, building bridges with them, not burning them down. >> woodruff: quickly, what is one overall impression of president trump ukrainians at the high levels there? >> i think it's one of confusioa. on the oned, he has delivered this military assistance package that for a long te the ukrainian administration could not get under president obama, but, on the other hand, they have these crazy mixed signals comg from the president's personal lawyerr >> woodruff: well, it's quite a story and w're going to continue to follow it and you're going to contue it, too, nina janckowicz, thank you so much. >> thanks r having me. >> woodruff: and now to discuss the legal implicions of the administration's reported efforts to bury these concerns, m joined by joel brenner he was the national security agency's inspector general under the george w. bush administration, and conducted ersight of n.s.a.'s use of
warrant-less wiretaps which began in 2002. joel brenner, thank you for joining us. joining us, so just at a very basic level, given your experience in the intelligence community, who would be able to listen in or have access to listening to a president's -- a phone call between the president of the united states and the leader of another current, like the president of ukraine? >> well, you would expect, in the room with the president, would be a significant number of staff members.ey ould be from the national security council, migheohave been s from the state department there, there would e ve been a note-taker, there probably would hen a stenographer taking a verbatim transcript, and then would have been a memory random of the conversation which would have wihad a somewhaer if not very wide distribution and, of course, there may have been security services listening to that call as well. that would have been the universe of people that youd woart with and, of course, there might have been people that any one of those people might also have spoken with.
but when you're doing an investigndion to ut who might have had access to information, you found it to begin with by asking yourself who could have had it. and that'sihe universe that see here, judy. rs woodruff: we would love to know who this is, although they are entitled to anonymity because whistleblowers are respected under the law, buf in termsow this is being handled right now -- because we're no goingow, or we wn't know at this point who the whistleblower is at do you make of the fact that the inspector general, the departme, that the rest of th government got involved and, now, the president seems to be very much on the spot? >> well, look, i think, on theyo face of ithave a statute that's just not being followed.e thatdministration is thumbing its nose at it. ociativeuld be an ass
executive privilege involved, but i think that privilege would fall away in the event that it was used to protect critenal behavior. i'm not saying that hapened, but that's the nature of the way privileges work. of course, e admistration is also saying that the statute doesn't apply, and i think they've just got that all wrong. i don't think tropical storm much to be said on their behalf. th so we're at an unusual, i think, maybe unique junctureere, judy, with a two main branches government, absolute loggerheads. the congress has its impeachment tools. not only culd they peach the president, if they wanted to,ld but they clso impeach the acting director of national intelligence. i'm not surrethe an appetite for that, but that's the tool that the congress gives to the congress along with the power over appropriation. >> woodruff: and the fact that, as i was just discussing
with nina janckowicz, that there is a question about whether aid -- u.s. aid to ukraine may have been involved in some sor t d pro quo, how does that complicate this? >> well, look, i ask myself, if i were still an antitrust arprosecutor, which i was in my career, and i saw price movements in the marat were all over the place, and, vll of a sudden, i thaw the tw main companies ing their prices together, and i had access to prf that there had been conversations like this -- not about military aid but about price movemts -- would hav opened a grand jury. anyone would have opened a grand jury. and in order to investigate whether there was a deal overes pr in this case, one wants to know was there a deal over the litary aid. and deals don't have to be explicit. in a price fixing case or an
case, one gets a jury instruction that an agreement can be acit. so i just look at this as an ordinary matter, forget who is involved, they were just two companies or smrks you would investigate it. waof course the congrests to investigate it. i don't e how they could take a different vi t. >> woodrufat, of course, is what everybody is watching to see whether or not that happens. joel brenner, thank you very much. >> you're welcome. woodruff: in cities all across the world today, protestors are taking to the streets in record numbers, manding their leaders reducegr nhouse gas emissions to address climate change. william brangham talked withpe several younle in this movement to understand what they want, and how they're going about it. s report, and the conversation to follow, is part of our contribuon to "covering imate now," a global collaboration of more than
e300 news outlets to enha coverage of the climate story. >> brangha from germany, to australia, to south ca, and even with armed guards in afghistan. record numbers of people all over the world are on strike for the climat angry that their governments won't acknowledge the crisis, and worried about their future on a warmi planet-- millions of protestors today demanded immediate action. >> the climate cris in totality is destroying my future. and i don't think we can hope to have jobs or have a nice future when our estence on this earth is not guaranteed. >> brangham: this protest is unique not only for its size, but for those leading it-- young activists are driving this movement, many leaving school today to make their point. this movement you see here today began over a year ago, and mostt
of these pros credit one teenager from sweden for getting it all started-- 16-year-old greta thunberg. last fall, thunberg started skipping school on fridays to demonstrate outside the swedish parliament building.ea her sign r "school strike for climate." since then, she's become a global celebrity of sorts,ad quietling massive rallies, and confronting world leaders in brutally frank terms, like she did in front of congress this week in washington: >> i don't want you to listen to me. i want you to listen to the scientists and i want you to unite behind the science. and then, i want you to take real action. >> my first initial thought was that iis about time that someone said that. >> brangham: 14-year-old alexandria villasenor is one of the millio of young people who have followed thunberg's lead and joined this movement. >> tay, the yog people of the united states are decling
the era of american imate change denialism over >> brangham:illasenor was moved to action, after a tp back to her home state of california was cut short by last year's deadly wildfires. she's now been on her climate strike in front of the united nations headquarters in new york for 40 straight fridays. >> we're continuously putting when we'd hang out with friends or we'd go out to movies or we'd go shopping, and we're giving u t of that. but i think that shows how committed we are to organizing and how committed we are to fighting for a futur >> brangham: 17-year-old xiye bastida is another member of this movement. afe left mexico with her family four years ago, ter she says heavy rainfall flooded her metown. like many of her fellow activists, bastida's message is to policy makers. th we don't need you to talk and talk, and sa you are going to ps this resolution ores not, or-- because resolutions and declarations are just words.
we need you pass policy. we need you to pass laws. and we need them to happen now. >> brangham: this oad network of activists want several key things: passage of a green new dl, with its shift to 100% tonewable, green energy by 2030. protection and rtion of half the world's lands and oceans. stopping deforestation within ten years. ending subsidies for industrial agriculture. and, halting resource extractiog on ious lands. ahead of today's strike, bastida and villasenor joined thunberg and others this week in washington. they had a packed schedule-- speaking on panels, meeting members of congress, rallying in front of the supreme court. and, everywhere they went, the were surrounded by handlers and cameras. >> as the climate crisis gets grse, more of us are feel it, and more of us are living it. it's not something that is going to hpen in 100 years. it's something that is happening
right now to us. >> brangham: another young activist in washington this week was vic barrett. this 21- is a plaintiff in the landmark fise, "juliana v. the united ates"-- a lawsuid by over a dozen young americans alleging the u.sfagovernment has ed to adequately address climate change. if successful, the case could cerce the government to re greenhouse gas emissions. it's currently waiting on an appeals court ling. >> we're constituents. we live in this country. d so, we're suing the u.s. federal government for violating young people disproportionately, constutional rights to life, liberty, and property. the united states government has known since the 1950s, 1960s, th climate change could be potentially catastrophic. >> brangham: one lawmaker in their corner is senator ed markey, democrat of massachusetts. he's a co-sponsor of the "green new deal" resolution. what would you s to the critics who say, "what on earth are our leaders doing taking advice from teenagers?" >> well, on this, the teenagers are right, and the older
generation has been wrong, in terms of their lack of attention to this issue. >> brangham: 19-year-old katie eder is another part of the movement. originally from milwaukee, but now working full-time in los angeles, she co-founded "the future coalition," which organizes young people around a number of issues, including climate change. >> young pple feel like nobody is doing anything, and so thesi responlity is on-- on our shoulders.d anthink it's really important to acknowledge how sad that is, you know, these kids who ar kreally kids. you know, they're middle s young high school, and they honestly should not have to be planning a protest. theyhouldn't have to be lobbying their representatives. they shouldn't have to be trying to convince adults that they ed to do something so we have a future. >> brangham: dana fisher studies cial movements in americ she's a sociology professor at the university of maryland, and she's collected exteive data on this youth climate movement, and her surveys point the potential impact- most of these young activists will be of voting age by the 2020 election.
>> in some ways, the school strike for climate change is what the sit-in was for the civil rits movement. it is a tactic that is doable for people in a very local way, where they can get involved in movement and, as it diffuses, it can ha a huge effect. >> brangham: but fisher says the challenge to this movement-- to force a re-engineering of how the world creates and uses power, and to do it quickly-- is enormous. it would involve converting all gas-powered cars to electric, closing all coal-fired power plants, and dramatically ramping up wind, solar, and even nuclear power. >> they are asking for substantive, transformative change, but they are talking about doing it through lsaditional political chan and we have seen very few examples of when that's worked our country, or globally. and usually that happens arounda mobilizatiund a war. i mean, some of the activists are calling for a mobilization on par witriworld war ii. t? and that's the kind of social
change we're talking about. >> brangham: t timing of today's march was intentional. monday is the opening of the u.n.'s climate action summit, omere heads of government around the world will meet in new yo to present their plans for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. when we talked with gretaas thunbergweek, she stressed that-- for now-- this movement needs the adults to act. >> we are not doing this because we think it's fun. and we are not doing this to ease on your conscience. we are doing this for you to join us. we are not the ones who are going to solve this. t we are n ones who are going to provide you with solutions. we are the ones who demand everyone to listen to the united science and to take their responsibility. >> when people see us on the streets, with the river of students protesting, i want them to see that and realize thatha that is what change looks like, and that they need to be a part of it.
thesengham: as we can s protests today are easily the biggest climate change demonstration in history, and, as we heard, this movement is calling for a fundamental re-ng maf how we power our modern world. i'm joined now by our sciencend correst, miles o'brien. miles, walk us through some of the practicalities. if these youth activists get their way, they would like us to be, by 2030, 100% green renewable energy, how tough i that? >> well, it's a noble goal, william, but it's a really big sttch to imagine getting there. if you look at the slice of the ght now that is renewables in the united states, it's about 17%. a little more tan 7% of this hydro, dams, so if there ar no new rivers to dam up, a little more than 6% is wind, a little more than 1% is solar. in order to get rid of all the fossil fuel production, which is about 63% of the pie, by 2050,
one of the big things you have to solve is the issue of storage, the intermittence is i of wind power and solar. when the wind isn't blowing and the su isn't sning, you have no electricity. we like the lights on all the time.su that's a big that has to be addressed. raises the question of where is nuclear power in the mix.>> oday we saw three mile island, the infamous plant in pennsylvania, closed up shop today, perlymane shuttered. can you remind us of whuat ha in 1979 in three mile island and how that impacted u.s. nuclear policy. >> yes, march of 1979, the three ,mile island unit 2 through a combination of mechanical oblems and human errorhad a partial meltdown. in the end, only a small amount of radiation was released. i think the estimate was people
wiin a ten-mile raius would see the give leapt of a chest x-ray after it happened. but it changed the thinking about nuclear in a fundamental way. there was growing concern about nuclear, and interestingly, about three weeksrior to th three mile island incident, movie, a very popular one calle the china syndrome, came out which portrayed an evil corporation cutting corners and leading to a meltdn at a california nuclear power plant. so in this case,ife imitated art and, frankly, the public, i think, conflated those two events. subsequent to that you had chernobyl and fukushima. people get scared about nuclear reporter: what did that do as far as our building out of nuclear. how much do we rely on northerly power today >> -- nuclear power today? right now a little below 20% but the plants are closing precipitously. since 2013, eight have come
offline. in the next few years, it's projected to be at least another 7. so that 19% of the pie that's gnarl is slated t droto about 12%. mostly flat natural gas is replacing it, which is on the rise. e newables are on the rise, too, but a lot of peould want to say if you want to address this carbon issue which these young people are all about you need to keep nuclear in the mix at least in the short term because these plants are not being replaced necessarily by zero carbon alternatives. >> reporter: there are other nuclear proponents, bill gates was loni didn't think in d.c. recently for billions of dolla to be spent on a new generation of these nuclear plants, what happened with thaeffort? >> it's not easy. nuclearage age of a plant is 39 years. right now in the united states, the technology has been frozen in time. bill gates is investiting in a technology called terra power which is sodium cootled not waer
cooled. it has inherent safety capabilities. the company wanted to build the first plant in china, but at the first of the year with the trade war that president trump engaged in with that country, the plans were scuttled. another company is bulding small modular water-cooled reactor and there is a plantn stages of being permitted, which will be built in idaho. that has some inherent safetyt features as well. a lot ofpeople would tell you that there's a ole new generation of nuclear out there that has many more safety features in it than the current fleet and it's time now to put some investmentn those. >> reporter: miles o'brien, our science correspondent, thank you very much. >> you're welcome >> woodruff: and now, we turn to the political analysis of olields and brooks. that is syndicatednist
mark shields, and "new york brooks.olumnist dav hello to both of you. let's start with the lead st, the whistleblower from the intelligence community. the word gets out, this person is alleging that he knows that the president, in a conversation with -- now we think it's the president of ukraine, urged thed prt of ukraine, mark, to investigate joe biden's son, and there's still no -- the president denies ithand oters do, but now we have several news outlets, backing of the story, and i was just handed and you've seen it, statement by joe biden. he says these reports are true. the's truly no botom to president trump's willingness to abuse his power and this covitry. this be is particularly abhorrent because it exploits the reign policy of our country and undermines national security for political pur how seriously should wew e taking these allegations? >> i think they' enormously
serious, and the fact that the "wngl stre journal" is lea this story, one o the "w york times" tanned "the washingtoan post," but this is not false or fake news, it's not a political vendetta of any sort, and this is quite beyond a playboy model or frat party oft ivy league school or anything of the sort. this is really seious. this is totally expinlothe national security -- putting at risk the national security of the united states for narrow political, personal interests if, in fact, the repts are true. and i fess the most disturbing thing to me, judy, that the president accused the whistleblower who, at enormous risk and required considerable coage, of being an extreme partisan, which means, a, that somebody in e white house ows who the whistleblower is.
this is mafia-like threats. we know who you are, and investigated his political affiliation orer political affiliation. i mean, so, i think it's enormously grave. >> woodruff: in fact, the presidt, david, was saying todato the television cameras that people in the white house were making fun of all othis. are we looking at something where it's going to be a he said-he said situation going forward? >> well, the call was listenedot to bers and recorded -- i'm not sure it was recorded but it was listened to. these calls are not just a one-o-one call, people arn line. i think it's pretty grave. most presidents go to the white house to tink i'm here to serve the offe and amrica, president trump was using america to serve him and ameran foreign policy to seve him. most presidents go into the office thinking the phrase my follow americans means something and we have treater loyal our fellow americans than people
in outside countries, and he's oing another country do research on his fellow american. i think is rises to more a level -- i'm not sure this is undationally changing but it rises to a different revel if there's a connection be foreign aid and the promise. that really is using sub bor u.s. government money for private gain and that's corruption of a higher order. >> woodruff: and we don't know for a fact thais happened but the evidence is building, the reporting is building, and there a two strands -- it is urging the leader of another country to get involved in a political campaign, but then the quid pro quo, potentially. >> exactly, judly it means to say,ook, be in touch with my together dirt, my opo research guy who once was a mayor and is now dong smear. >> woodruff: rudy giuliani. ruuf giuliani. how the mighty have fall ton
that point where he's an errand boy to a hit man on political opponents. no, david put it very well. i mean, this is a haute tethle, total corruption of the -- if - it's valid and ifs it'curate, and i think that the news reports are donve soberly, quite honestly, because they ke their position seiously. if it's true, jud then i don't see how the democrats can back off on impeachment investigationd >> woodruff: want to ask you about that. this week, david, as both of you pointed out, the president's lawys were in court. ey were arguing against a new york lawsuit in an attempt to get thet' presidtax returns to be turned over, to be made public. and the prsident's law rs are saying you can't investigate a president while he's sitting in rnfice. what we're leag today in these reports about ukraine raise questions about tht.
>> yeah, this was the nixon defense with david frost that if a presidendoes it it' not illegal, and it didn't work for nixon, i'm not sure it wold work for here. a basic principle of our government is no person s abve the law. so i don't think that will work. i do think, if there's a link to the foreign aid, the demlocrats have tnch a different and new investigation. i'm struck mostly by, whe president trump does something out in the open or rudy giuliani does something out in the open, like it doesn't become a big thing. now that we have something secret that tha pressve uncovered, suddenly it blows up. but giuliani was n shy abut this. the fall of giuliani is one of the great stories of our age. i covered him a lot when he was mayor. extremely brilliant and sharp. not the man i see today. the one continuity is he would sit around with his staff and watch the o godfather movier and over again. and this really is mob behio it's let's dig up dirt on this guy. that's the way it strikes me more than anything else. >> woodruff: mark, with the president's lawyers fightingey
back, which ave been, they have been fighting all these attempts to get any information turned over, but this is the first time we've heard the argue a president can't be investigatedh >> i agree wvid about the nixon defense. nixon invoked the defense 1977, three years after he was forced out, in an interview with david frost. he proved by his own statements and actions that no president n be above the law. i really think the gravity of this is yet to b fully appreciated. >> woodruff: the other majstor y we're watching is, david, in the aftermath of the attack on the saudi oil complex and the administration pointing fingers middle east at iraugn, alt so far, we don't have absolute proof. i'm told there's just been a press conference at the department of defense. the defense department expert is saying everything we have points
to iran. president trump's response is to be locked and loaded and we cn do whatever we want, to iran, but today, at intervals this past weekoaying, no, we dn't nwant war with iran. what do we make of this american response? >> well, you know, this happens in the middle east. l arrows do point to iran. i mean, iran has been clearly ramping up teir terror activity toward the saudis over the last several mont with a bun of these attacks. secondly, these attacks, they did it with a sophisticated t ough weapon to rough. no american missile base saw them. there are a lot of american bases in the regio so that success was something more than just a small rebel army. it was a really sophisticated attackp so what's hpening is iran is clearly testing to see what it can get away with in order to and the saudis know they're very vulnerable to the attack. they're trying to sell oil, the oil markets are their obvious bread and budder, and iran is
trying to expert their etymology. trump is playing well. it's a chess match were they launch something, we try to frighten them or put some economic sanctions on them. so trump is pusbangck without going crazy. so he's not being violent. i so fahink he's playing the game as sort of asell as you can do under the circumstance. >> he's not being violent, but i think we have to say that wherer wee today with iran is because of donald trump. donald trump withdrew on political grounds alone, that was his only basis, tha obama had negotiated that agreemntt, the nuclear agree with the iranians, with the united states, u.k., russia, china, germany, france, put it all togetr, there were 98% reduction in they,ir capac
they were open to inspection, and he withdrew, and there was nothing to replace it. he has no coonaliartners, he has lost his coalition. we are now standing, waiting for the judgment of the saudi prince as to whe sther wend americans to war. i mean, what are our sharede values with saudis? i missed those. are they freedoarof press, religion, seem bring, lawful --e ly, rule of law? is there anything in i think what we've seen is the cmitations of budget defense sales to aountry. i mean, they ve the fifth largest defense budget in the world, the saudis do, and they can't even defend themselves. you know, they are overbuilt, they're overmuscled, and david's right, we're not going to win this, and the iraniansnow president trump does not want to go to war bcause 2020 isse comig
up and a war in the middle east is about the last thing in the world an predent wants. >> woodruff: i should add, i was told another nt from the defense secretary just now, ee said the u.s. will send som troops to the region, but he said it won be in the thousands. so we don't know wat that means, but it's a half step, david, i think. >> you do this, i doh tis, we were signang to each other it's a dan a. i think te iranians know trump will send a signal but doewa't to go to war so they do have the upper hand on this. one area i disagree with mark, is i don't think it's entirely due to the iranian nuclear deal being canceled. the critics of thea dl prior it being accepted says iran is doing the nuclear program and the terror in te regi program. many people criticized the deal because it did nothing tobe address iran's terror in the region program. that's what this is a continuation of. it may be ramped up a little but they have been doing this so trt
ng since 1979. >> i'm not here as an apologist forgi iran. there was a coherent coalion to contain and limit iranian activity and iranian negative influence, and i believe it was working, and that -- there is no substitute is exactly like his hong kong plan, there is nosu titute. i mean, dismantle what is there anand replace it with noin and i honestly think there's no one off withon iran. i mean, iran has syria bases, iranpas oportunities tod perplex s in all kinds of places. >> woodruff: this story is now a week into it, but it looks xtke we're about to see the ne phase with the announcement of g more troopsoing into the region. david brooks,ields thank you. >> thank you.
>> woodruff: now to a mucha anticipated return-- britain's crawley family opens their doors again at downton abbey, this time othe big screen. all the drama, the intrigue of the pbs series that ended four years ago-- this time, with a royal twist.it i sat doh some of the actors and the creator for this preview, part of our "canvas" o seriarts and culture. >> woodruff: you remember the sets, the costumbl. those memoone-liners: >> after all these yearsniyou still as me. >> oh, good. i am glad i am a revelation and not a disappointment >> woodruff: and most importantly, the dramas of the crawley familynd their staff, upstairs and downstairs.
all apted for the big screen.r >> you mean, during the stay, you will be the butler? >> excuse me. i am not a butler. i am the king's page of the back stairs. >> so our staff has nothing to do? >> i am sure they can be useful. >> woodruff: "downton abbey's" creator, julian fellowes: >> when the first ideas started sort of rumbling around of the ssible movie, i didn'think it would happen. >> woodruff: how much of a challenge was it to take this story at had stretched out over six seasons, six and turn it into a two-hour film? >> well, we didn't go back. at went on. so, it's a contin the story. it's n retelling anything thatld we've efore. and in a film, you can't say to people, "oh, by the way, this story will be finished in the second movie."ha and so w to find narrative plasons for them all to be there and we have to ce all those stories by the end of the
film. >> the king and queen are coming to downton. >>hat? >> woodruff: the story picks up in 1927, as the entire household prepares for a visit by king george v andueen mary. >> are you excited? >> i am a bit. are you? >> would it be common admit it? >> not to an american. >> to use this... device, if you like, of the royal vit, which does affect everybody, even if some characters, like myself, you know, arsupposed not to show their enthusiasm or excitement. it's a triumph. >> woodruff: hugh bonneville plays lord grantham. lesley nicol is mrs. patmore, the cook. are you breaking some f social taboo by sitting together for this interview? you've never done this?e' >> never done it. >> we love it. >> we do love each other, but we haven't actually done much ofet this tr in six years. it's nice. >> you've got a handful of scenesogether, but yeah. so it's nice to be acquainted offset. >> woouff: but you do come together in this storyline? >> the great trick of julian fellowes, our writer and
creator, our god, is that in the film version, the house is united. the teams both below and above stairs are united. >> woodruff: actors laurarm edhael and michelle dockery portray sisters h and mary e awley.y. it's kind of the s the other foot, isn't it, for the crawley family? >> yeah, exactlye it's fun to em in that position, where they're having to cer for the king and quee and every single character has a differen hle to play within that. so i think julian did such an incredible job. having this one main nartive of this big event happening, and then weaving in and out ofach character's kind of subplot, which he does so cleverly in the film. >> i did get giddy reading the
characters again. you know, he's so good at getting you right back in there. >> woodruff: the film is inspired by a real royal event. in 1912, king george vueen mary visited yorkshire, where the fictional downton is set. they're no longer at the top of the heap? >> they are not. you know, they are just a noble family in the north. and it is a great honor that the king and queen are coming to their house. >> woodruff: how important wasat o you? was it just in the scheme of figuring this out? ey>> i like the idea that ad to pull out every stop. >> the truth is, he's in a sort of trance. won't you help me? i feel like i am pushing a rock up hill. >> i'll be there in the morning, my lady. >> the family element isot important,nly above stairs lat below as well, although we're not blood ons. there was a family kind of vibe to it, and that's universal. >> woodruff: how much of departure do you think the downton abbey idea is from the ey it really was back in day? >> yeah, there's no question
this ia fictionalized, rose- tinted view of a tiny sliver of society and, on paper of course, it's a society, it's a structure that is-- if not apparent, it's peculiar, certainly, and has sort of no merit to it at all, because it's all about where you were born in life. a woodruff: inheritance, and who deserves one, ub-plot. >> julian writes from a position of respect for his characters, and there is within that sense of, if not decency, then tolerance and compassion. and so our audiences have responded to that. >> it's such a warm environment, this movie, when you go and watch it, really some welcome light relief. >> when i watched the movie for the first time, as the lightswe
down my shoulders literally relaxed and i thought, "i'm going somewhere that is just a bit kinder." >> i burst into tears, because it's quite something to watch, and the music never disappoints. ♪ ♪ >> woodruff: do you see any parallels between, clearly class differences of the 1920s in britn, w th what's going on today? >> class is always with us. i mean, o you were born still is the greatest single determinant on what will happen to you in your life. i am happy to say that i think social mobility has not made it as absolute as it used to be.be >> woodruff: today, people speak out againsa government they don'- they are much more likely to speak up about a vernment they don't like
you've got the whole fight going on over brexit? >> to be honest, the whole business of social media, which has allowed people to express their anger, often anonymously, usually anonymously, and so this savage anger can be vented, i think that has altered the to of our societies. >> woodruff: it is a tonic at a at a time of great turmoil, isn't it? >> it's so nice to have something that feels so uncynical and so... yeah. just warm, i think. th's sort of as much a workplace drama as it is ag else than the sort of hierarchy that exists in that world. you could say this irktrue of any nvironment. you know, it's that kinds f thing thatlatable. without cynicism, really. let's ok at people and believe that wall have good in us and they're all trying to do their best. >> woodruff: stay tuned. tere may be more chances to see the downton crew "ir best."
before the film even opens in the united states, the cast says ere may be a sequel, depending on whether audiences respond to this one. >> woodruff: i worked on my british accent but i just couldn't getrehe that's the "newshour" for tonight. and that is the newsho tonight. i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. thank you, a good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ >> life well-planned. learn more at raymondjames.com. >> bnsf railway. >> consumer cellular. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation. for readhan 50 years, ncing ideas and supporting institutions to promote a better
world..o at www.hewlettrg. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewe like you. thank you. captioning sponsor by nnewshour product, llc captioned by media access group at wggb access.worg >> you're watching pbs.
hello, everyone. welcome to "amanpo & co." here's what's coming up. they call him kingor bebe b two days after another election netanyahu still doesn'tave a crow amidst raming tsions with iran i'm joined by dan madior and investigative journalis ronan bergman and suman neiman and what america can learn from germany in facing its original sin, slavery, and -- >> it's not like we're pretending to know everything. >> tnage climate activismas shakenhe world. a conversation with what led one teen to help organize tomorrow's global climate strike.