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PBS NewsHour full episode August 12, 2019

PBS NewsHour full episode August 12, 2019

AMNA NAWAZ, PBS NEWSHOUR ANCHOR: Good evening. I’m Amna Nawaz. Judy Woodruff is away. On the “NewsHour” tonight: Protestors in Hong Kong bring one of the world’s
busiest airports to a standstill, as fears grow over a Chinese military crackdown. Then, new threats of extinction as the Trump
administration changes the rules of the Endangered Species Act. And on the ground at the Iowa state fair,
where butter sculptures and 2020 presidential hopefuls vie for voters’ attention. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree with what Biden
has to say, but I also agree with Warren and what Sanders has to say. So I’m right now, I’m kind of conflicted. (END VIDEO CLIP) AMNA NAWAZ: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour”. (BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: Air traffic in Hong Kong was brought
to a ground stop after a fourth day of protests inside the international airport. More than 150 flights were canceled. Thousands of anti-government demonstrators
occupied the terminal, holding signs and chanting calls for democratic reforms. They’re demanding the resignation of the territory’s
chief executive Carrie Lam, and an investigation into police use of force. We’ll have more on this after the news summary. The Trump administration finalized rollbacks
on the Nixon-era Endangered Species Act today. The changes end automatic end automatic endangered
specifies protections for those classified as threatened. They’ll also allow economic cost to factor
into whether or not a species should be protected. Conservation groups and at least 10 attorneys
general have warned the move could put more wildlife at risk for extinction. We’ll take a closer look at the impact of
today’s rollback later in the program. In economic news: a sell-off in the banking
and technology sectors caused stocks to plunge on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 391
points to close at 25,896. The Nasdaq fell more than 95 points, and the
S&P 500 slid 36. In Eastern China, meanwhile, the death toll
from a weekend typhoon has now risen to at least 45 people. Rescue workers are still evacuating residents
stranded in buildings after their streets were submerged by floodwaters. Crews have been working to clean up debris
left behind. Meanwhile, in southern India, days of torrential
rain and mudslides have now killed nearly 100 people and displaced 400,000 others. In the worst-hit state of Kerala, muddy water
filled the roads as rescue workers in boats helped people evacuate. At least one crocodile found refuge on the
roof of a submerged home. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AJEET PATTANKUDI, RESCUED LOCAL (through translator):
It has been at least five to six days. Everybody is stuck in flooded villages. Animals and others all are stuck there. People are facing a lot of problems. Water has come from all directions. Water has entered all the houses. (END VIDEO CLIP) AMNA NAWAZ: Local officials in the state of
Karnataka said the flooding was the worst they’ve seen in 45 years. In Congo, two experimental drugs are showing
promise in the fight against Ebola. They’re part of a clinical trial that began
last November. The therapies are the first of their kind
to treat patients who’ve already contracted the highly contagious disease. People who received the drugs shortly after
becoming infected had a 90 percent survival rate. The Ebola outbreak in Congo killed more than
1,800 people over the past year. Back in this country, a friend of a gunman
who killed nine people outside of bar in Dayton, Ohio, told investigators he purchased the
body armor and ammunition that were used in the rampage. Federal prosecutors unsealed charges against
Ethan Kollie today. But they emphasized there was no evidence
DISTRICT OF OHIO: In the course of this ongoing investigation into the August 4th shooting,
anyone who is discovered to have any criminal culpability for any act that is ultimately
discovered through the investigation or contributed in any way to the events on August 4 is going
to be held criminally responsible. (END VIDEO CLIP) AMNA NAWAZ: Kollie was charged today with
lying on a federal firearms form used for an unrelated gun purchase. Also today, lawyers for comedian Bill Cosby
appeared before a Pennsylvania appeals court today, in a bid to overturn his sexual assault
conviction. They argued a judge denied Cosby a fair trial
by letting additional accusers testify in a case that concerned only one allegation. The 82-year-old Cosby is now serving a prison
sentence of three to 10 years for drugging and assaulting a woman in 2004. A decision on the appeal is not expected for
several months. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: how will
the Chinese government respond to protestors in Hong Kong shutting down a major airport;
questions and conspiracy theories in the wake of billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s
death; the Trump administration moves to radically reduce the amount of legal immigration to
the U.S.; Democratic hopefuls head to the storied Iowa state fair and our politics Monday
team examines the state of the race. Plus much more. (BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: Hong Kong’s airport was shut down
today, occupied by thousands of protesters. The authorities in Beijing again struck an
ominous note, comparing the mass protests to terrorism, and, as thousands of Chinese
security personnel mustered on Hong Kong’s border, Beijing declared there should be,
quote, no leniency or mercy for the protesters. Jonathan Miller of Independent Television
REPORTER: In air thick with tear gas, inside an underground station, Hong Kong police last
night resorting to ever harsher tactics. These protestors had been attempting to flee. Across the harbor, outside a Kowloon police
station, a protester was shot in the eye with a (INAUDIBLE) from a police shot gun. Despite wearing protective goggles, her eyeball
was ruptured and there are fears she could lose her eye. Earlier in the same location, police fried
tear gas from inside the station. A battle ensued, as protestors laid siege. Then this. A policeman inside suffered burns to his legs. Today, an infuriated Beijing lashed out, branding
this terrorism. The state council, Chinas cabinet, ratcheting
up the ruthlessness of the rhetoric, leaving no room now to back down. These were serious and sinister crimes, it
said, protestors reckless. Things had reached what the spokesman called
AFFAIRS OFFICE (through translator): Such violent crimes must be resolutely cracked
down on, in accordance with the law. No leniency, no mercy, we strongly support
the Hong Kong police as they enforce the law strictly to bring the criminals to justice
as soon as possible. JONATHAN MILLER: There’s been mounting alarm
in Hong Kong, over whether China might order military onto the streets. But today, communist party papers released
footage complete with sinister soundtrack, showing convoy of people’s armed police
heading to Shenzhen on Hong Kong’s northern border. These paramilitary under command of central
military council headed by President Xi Jinping himself have been used to put down protest,
often brutally, in other regions. Growing outrage over police brutality led
to thousands of demonstrators converging today on Hong Kong International Airport, one of
the busiest in the world, forcing the total cancellation of all flights in and out. It’s the protestors that were brutal today,
the police said, exhibiting weapons they said were confiscated. Most Hong Kongers won’t buy that now, the
trust is broken. There are 28 years still to go before China
can take full control of Hong Kong. But Beijing looks impatient to bring the territory
under its authoritarian aegis. Among Hong Kongers, banks and businesses,
a quiet but rising panic. (END VIDEOTAPE) (BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: Attorney General William Barr
today sharply criticized the management of the Manhattan federal jail where wealthy financier
Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his cell this weekend. As John Yang reports, Epstein’s death does
not mean the end to the federal sex-trafficking investigation that led to his indictment. JOHN YANG, PBS NEWSHOUR CORRESPONDENT: Amna,
in his remarks today, the attorney general also pledged that any co-conspirators should
not rest easy. The victims, he said, deserve justice and
they will get it. So where does the case go now? Jessica Roth is a professor at Yeshiva University’s
Cardozo School of Law, and joins us from New York. Jessica Roth, thanks. What do prosecutors in the case of the United
States versus Jeffrey Epstein do now that Jeffrey Epstein is dead? JESSICA ROTH, YESHIVA UNIVERSITY: Well, the
case against Jeffrey Epstein himself will be dismissed because he’s now deceased and
you can’t proceed with a criminal case against a person who’s dead, but the overall criminal
investigation will continue. Over the weekend, U.S. attorney for the southern
district of New York, Geoff Berman issued a statement in which he made clear that the
criminal investigation would continue and he said that his office would continue to
stand for the victims, stand up for the victims, and, in particular, he pointed to the fact
that Jeffrey Epstein had been charged in one count of the indictment with conspiring with
others to engage in sex trafficking and that’s significant because the law of conspiracy
requires proof that two or more persons agreed to commit a crime. And what that means is that Mr. Berman was
prepared to prove in court that at least one other person and possibly others were engaged
in a criminal conspiracy with Jeffrey Epstein. JOHN YANG: Well, we know that in the Flor
— that highly criticized Florida non-prosecution agreement, there are named — were named four
potential co-conspirators who were not charged, and in this New York indictment, there were
three people cited though not named who also participated in this. Do you think we’re likely to see indictments
against those folks coming up in the coming days? JESSICA ROTH: I don’t know about the timeline,
but certainly from everything that’s been indicated by the U.S. attorney’s office and
what’s been publicly reported, it would seem that they have significant evidence against
other people. As you mentioned in the indictment, there
are people identified not by name but in terms of the role that they played. So, clearly, the U.S. attorney’s office has
evidence against those other people and they will be pursuing that investigation and looking
also at the evidence that was collected during the search of Jeffrey Epstein’s home that
was done on the day of his arrest to see what that yields at the involvement of co-conspirators
and accomplices. It’s been reported that his pilots have been
subpoenaed for their testimony, and they would have significant information about who was
else may have been involved in arranging the travel for the sex trafficking. So I think we need to be patient as the investigators
reorient to a case in which Jeffrey Epstein will not sit at the table, but Mr. Berman
made clear that the investigation is ongoing. JOHN YANG: And even without a conviction,
can prosecutors go after his assets or in this case, I guess, his estate? JESSICA ROTH: Yes. So there’s still a process in which the U.S.
attorney’s office, through its U.S. attorneys office, can go after assets that were used
to facilitate the crimes that have been alleged here. So, for example, his Manhattan town house,
allegedly, was involved — was used as a place where some of the unlawful activity occurred. If his properties in the Virgin Island were
involved. Those also could be sought through what’s
called a civil asset forfeiture proceeding. The advantage of that, first, is that it can
be handled by the U.S. attorney’s office, and any assets that were recovered distributed
to victims for restitution through the federal government. It also allows a proof by preponderance of
evidence standard which is a civil standard of proof rather than the criminal beyond a
reasonable doubt standard. It allows offers an advantage frankly, of
allowing the narrative of what unfolded in his crimes to be told, because much of the
same proof would be offered that would have been offered in a criminal trial against Jeffrey
Epstein. JOHN YANG: And, of course, this doesn’t do
anything to the civil lawsuits that might be coming from accusers? JESSICA ROTH: No, those can proceed as well. So, the accusers have multiple avenues through
which they can seek some measure of justice. None will be the same, of course, as actually
confronting Jeffrey Epstein in a criminal case. But through the civil lawsuits, they can pursue
his estate. As I mentioned, the civil asset forfeiture
proceedings against specific assets that were used to facilitate his crimes is another avenue
of potential relief, and then, of course, as we discussed a moment ago, there’s a possibility
of criminal proceedings against others who were his accomplices and co-conspirators. JOHN YANG: Jessica Roth of the Cardozo School
of Law, thank you very much. ROTH: Thank you. (BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: The Trump administration announced
today that it plans to implement new immigration rules. As Yamiche Alcindor explains, it’s one of
the most aggressive steps yet to limit legal immigration. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) YAMICHE ALCINDOR, PBS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT:
Today’s new rule from the Trump administration limits who will be eligible for a green card
in the United States. Under current law, immigrants are already
required to prove that they are not what the government deems a, quote, public charge. Today, Ken Cuccinelli, the acting head of
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, announced the plans. He said any immigrants who use– or who have
deemed likely to use a number of public benefits may not be eligible for legal status. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. CITIZENSHIP
AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: The benefit to taxpayers is a long term benefit of seeking to ensure
that our immigration system is bringing people to join us as American citizens as legal permanent
residents first who can stand on their own two feet, who will not be reliant on the welfare
system, especially in the age of the modern welfare state which is so expansive and expensive
frankly. (END VIDEO CLIP) YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The new rule includes services
afforded to legal immigrants under current law, such as housing assistance, Medicaid
and food stamps. To break it all down, I’m joined by Theresa
Cardinal Brown. She is the director of immigration and cross
border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. Thanks so much, Theresa, for being here. Talk to me about how this will impact immigrants
and the legal immigration process in the United States and who will be most impacted by this
CENTER: Sure. So, the rule applies to those who are applying
to get green cards in the United States. And, so, one of the long-standing issues in
immigration laws as you mentioned is whether or not someone would become a public charge. That has been broadly defined as somebody
who has been mostly dependent on the government. It’s a criteria that has been, I’d say, used
sparingly, especially over the last couple of decades but has been a priority of this
administration to implement. So, it would look whether or not people who
are applying to be green cardholders have used public benefits that they might be eligible
for. It would apply to current immigrants or citizens
who are looking to sponsor others to come on green cards, and it would apply to some
non-immigrants who are looking to extend or change their status as well. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: What can you tell us about
how much immigrants use public benefits in comparison to native born Americans. THERESA CARDINAL BROWN: So, we did a literature
review a couple of years about who uses public benefits, and what we found is, in general,
individual immigrants use benefits less often and at lower rates than U.S. citizens do,
but some immigrant-headed households, particularly those with U.S. citizen children may use more
because the children are eligible for benefits that maybe the immigrant parents are not. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Critics of the new rule
say this is the Trump administration again unfairly targeting immigrants. There are talks there are going to be swift
legal challenges to this. How does this new rule really factor into
how the Trump administration has overall used its immigration agenda to target different
groups? THERESA CARDINAL BROWN: Well, particularly
its regulatory agenda has been about legal immigrants, and one of the things that we
have seen is that a lot of the regulatory changes that have been implemented have been
about reducing eligibility for legal immigration, reducing the number of people who can qualified
for legal immigration or slowing down the legal immigration process. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: You said the term public
charge had been kind of implemented and enforced sparingly. Tell us a little bit about the history of
the term public charge and how certain immigrant groups have been subject to that term and
what it’s meant overall and in the years coming. THERESA CARDINAL BROWN: Well, the idea of
preventing the poor or paupers from immigrating has been around basically since the beginning
of the republic. Initially when the United States was created,
states had control over who could immigrant and would look for people who they thought
might not be eligible to — able to work or support themselves. In the 1800s, Congress passed the sort of
uniform immigration rules, the Chinese Escalation Act that included this public charge rule. But, over the years, it has been very subjectively
enforced. So, for example, during the Ellis Island days,
they would look whether or not they thought somebody was physically able of performing
work, did they have family members already here, sponsors, did they bring any money with
them. So it was sort of on the fly. This has been a priority of this administration
to get a public charge rule published since the administration came in. An executive order was issued very early in
the presidency asking for this to be done. So, it’s new in that we don’t know exactly
how it’s going to be implemented. It’s still a relatively subjected standard,
especially that prospective looking part, is an immigrant likely to be become a public
charge? That’s where it’s a little more iffy because
they’re looking at things like, does the immigrant have a work history? What’s their education level? Do they have any health issues that might
affect whether or not they would become a public charge? We have to kind of see how that would be implemented,
but we’ve already seen some of these because consulates overseas have been implementing
some of this through the visa review process over the last year, already. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Now, I want to turn to a
major story from last week. Some 680 immigrants were arrested during immigration
raids at food processing centers in Mississippi. What goes into such raids and what legal consequences
if any might employers face? THERESA CARDINAL BROWN: So, a raid like that
is — that size and scope has probably been in process for many, many months. It probably was based on some information
that Immigration and Customs Enforcement received that those employers are employing undocumented
immigrants, then they also collaterally arrested undocumented immigrants they found on the
premises. Now, ICE will go through all that documents
that they found during those search warrants to see if they have enough evidence to proceed
with prosecutions of those employers. So, we may see some prosecutions, but historically,
it’s been much more difficult to prosecute employers for knowingly hiring undocumented
immigrants than it has been to arrest the undocumented immigrants themselves and see
them deported. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, lots of immigration
news. Thanks so much for joining us, Theresa Cardinal
Brown of the Bipartisan Policy Center. THERESA CARDINAL BROWN: Thank you. (END VIDEOTAPE) AMNA NAWAZ: With six months before the first-in-the-nation
Iowa caucuses, more than 20 presidential hopefuls descended on the Hawkeye State this weekend. As Lisa Desjardins reports, voters were navigating
crowds of people and the crowded candidate field. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LISA DESJARDINS, PBS NEWSHOUR CORRESPONDENT:
Welcome to the Iowa state fair, a mix of high political stakes and high blood sugar all
on a stick, or on a soapbox. JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hello,
You have a very important choice to make. SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:
It’s going to be a test for all of us. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:
This is the moment we bring our people together. REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:
That’s why I’m here asking for your support. LISA DESJARDINS: The soapbox, where candidates
each get 20 minutes, has never held more presidential weight. Twenty-three contenders, including one GOP
challenger to President Trump, will come and go throughout the fair. And with each one comes a walking mosh pit
of press attention. None more so than former Vice President Joe
Biden, who barely had room at his own press conference. Biden has been here before, in failed runs
in 1988 and 2008. But he’s never had the lead in Iowa until
now. And it’s a large, nearly ten-point lead. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go Joe! LISA DESJARDINS: His supporters feel they
know him. They trust him. LASHA ROBERTS: I like Joe Biden. I enjoyed him when he was with Obama and stuff,
and so I think he would definitely be a good candidate for sure. LISA DESJARDINS: But opponents question if
Biden sparks enough passion. How do you do that? JOE BIDEN: Look at the polls. So far, so good. I do it by being me. Look, no one’s ever including reporters cover
me all the time. No one’s ever doubted I mean what I say. The problem is sometimes I say all that I
everything. LISA DESJARDINS: Matt Paul has deep roots
with the Democratic Party in Iowa. He ran Hillary Clinton’s winning Iowa campaign
in 2016. Despite Biden’s early lead, Paul says the
state is still up for grabs. MATT PAUL: He’s popular here, but he has work
to do. He’s got to be here more. I think he’s got to talk about the future. LISA DESJARDINS: Some voters are more blunt
about Biden. TAYLOR WYSS: If he was the primary candidate,
I would still vote for him. But I don’t want him to be the candidate. I want someone new and fresh. SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:
Good morning, good morning. LISA DESJARDINS: Among those angling as new
and fresh is California Senator Kamala Harris, third in Iowa polls. Her staff is energetic and her fair crowd
was large, but she dipped in the last poll here, and admits she’s still building. KAMALA HARRIS: We have over 65 staff in Iowa. And, you know, there are people in this race
who have had national profiles for many years. I’m still introducing myself to people. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:
2020 is our big chance. LISA DESJARDINS: Quickly surging here is Massachusetts
Senator Elizabeth Warren, now second in the Iowa polls, and captain of what many see as
the best organized ground game in the state, with fired-up volunteers like Joie Otting. JOIE OTTING: I think it’s important that we
just take a new, almost radical — not to call Elizabeth Warren radical — but take
a big change in direction. LISA DESJARDINS: This is a problem for Bernie
Sanders. BERNIE SANDERS: Let me make a major announcement:
pretty good. LISA DESJARDINS: The Vermont senator is still
popular in Iowa, but losing the most ground to Warren. Over one million people will come to the Iowa
state fair. And that is a prime political audience, especially
for the many Democrats trying to break into the top tier. The problem: there are just so many candidates. And they’re seemingly everywhere — flipping
pork, pouring beer, and counting corn kernels. Voters are overwhelmed. MISSY PRICE: I’m a registered Democrat. I’m an open-ticket voter, but I have no
clue what I’m going to do. UNIDENTIFIED MAE: Buttigieg. Biden. GRANT WALLER: Biden. I like Beto, but we’ll see how it goes with
that. KEVIN CAVALLIN: I agree with what Biden has
to say. But I also agree with Warren and what Sanders
has to say. So, I’m right now, I’m kind of conflicted. LISA DESJARDINS: And thus, candidates are
self-separating in groups. The Midwesterners. How do you break out? SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:
I think you do it the old fashioned way. You just keep reaching out to people and you
people hear what I have to say, especially coming from Ohio and being in Iowa, it’s very
similar culturally. LISA DESJARDINS: Those focused on personal
I’ve had a lot of town halls, lots of events at breweries, and it makes a difference because
people can get to know me, I can get to know them, make sure I’m lifting up their voices. TULSI GABBARD: I’m really focused on is
do what we’re doing out here today really getting down into communities here in Iowa
and New Hampshire and other parts of the country. JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:
I believe that as the race gets smaller and smaller, people pay more attention to the
candidates. LISA DESJARDINS: And the I-can-get-it-done
way we break out is by just keep hammering the message the American people that we need
solutions not sound bites, and that it’s not their imagination. JOHN DELANEY: When the field shrinks, they’re
going to start focusing on ideas, who’s got the best ideas, who’s the best person to beat
Trump. And that’s when I think I can break through. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:
I’ve just got to keep finding fresh ways to talk about what we did in Colorado, and
most importantly, how we brought people together. LISA DESJARDINS: And then there’s New Jersey
Senator Cory Booker, who says he’s already rising in less-noticed metrics like endorsements
and staff. CORY BOOKER: The people that have gone on
are people more like me, the people like Jimmy Carter or Barack Obama or Bill Clinton, are
people who were considered long shots this far out. But what were they were doing was they were
building incredible organizations here in Iowa. LISA DESJARDINS: There’s another issue for
Democrats in Iowa, beating President Trump in a state he won by nine points. DAN PUTNEY: I like Trump. I like Trump. He’s just… He’s just a guy. He’s not a politician. He’s just a guy like — like me. LISA DESJARDINS: Here, the move by Democrats
to the left for the primary is pushing some away. PATRICIA PUTNEY: They’re so liberal. They just don’t even want to move on in this
world. They want everything to be socialism. They want everything to be calm and nice and
everybody loves everybody. But you know sometimes you got to get out
and get a little aggressive. LISA DESJARDINS: At the Iowa state fair this
week, scenes of whirling Americana, rows of fried foods and some 40,000 prize ribbons. But, for candidates — far less reward. Traditionally, just the top three finishers
in Iowa are thought to have a real shot at the nomination. The fair marks the end of summer for the state,
but it’s the beginning of the real heat in the race for president. For the “PBS NewsHour”, I’m Lisa Desjardins
at the Iowa state fair in Des Moines. (END VIDEOTAPE) AMNA NAWAZ: Of course, the Iowa state fair
stretches on until next Sunday (AUDIO GAP). We’re here now for our “Politics Monday”
segment. I’m joined by Shawna Thomas and Tamara Keith. Thanks to you both for being here. (CROSSTALK) SHAWNA THOMAS, VICE NEWS: Good with you. AMNA NAWAZ: So, no fried food, no butter sculptures,
but a lot of politics to talk about. SHAWNA THOMAS: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: The Iowa state fair, Tam, is supposed
to be an opportunity for the candidates to break away from the pack, take a chance to
shine if they can or kind of continue in the middle and fight for air. Did anyone stand out to you over the last
few days? TAMARA KEITH, NPR: So, I was there. I was technically on vacation. I did eat fried foods but also — I can’t
turn off — SHAWNA THOMAS: You played political tourist. TAMARA KEITH: I played political tourist. You can’t turn it off. SHAWNA THOMAS: And so, what I saw is that
candidates like Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren who are not at the very top in the
polls drew very large crowds of very interested people who came early and stayed late and
watched their speeches. In fact, for Warren, when she was speaking
at the soap box, you actually couldn’t walk past the entire grand passageway or whatever
it’s called. The big road in the middle of the fairgrounds
was just completely congested with people who had stopped to watch her speak. And so, that — and that sort of reflects
what you’ve seen in the polls, which is that Elizabeth Warren, you know, taking as many
selfies as she has to take at every event, has begun to sort of notch things up in Iowa,
I believe, in the latest Iowa poll. She’s in seconds behind Joe Biden. AMNA NAWAZ: Shawna, every selfie matters at
this stage but it’s worth reminding people still over six months away before anyone in
Iowa casts a vote. How much does this matter, this cycle? SHAWNA THOMAS: I mean, how much does the Iowa
state fair matter in any cycle? AMNA NAWAZ: Ever, yes. SHAWNA THOMAS: The thing is, what our correspondent
on Vice News was telling me and she was out there as well was there was so much media
there that she was confused as to whether the candidates were actually able to speak
to Iowans one on one. And so, yes, you have “The Des Moines Register”
soapbox. We all enjoy seeing that. It’s a good way to get for a candidate to
get their stump speech out there. But also, the point of the Iowa state fair
in visiting sort of historically has been to try to have those one-on-one interactions
with Iowans. AMNA NAWAZ: Right. SHAWNA THOMAS: And the sort of like, and the
thing is, you know, what one guy told us was like, all Iowans are here. It’s not just a Democratic Party event. It’s not some special interest event. You could run into anyone, but it’s also kind
of hard apparently to do with the amount of media that’s there. But hopefully, some of them took advantage
of having conversations with people who would not necessarily be able to see them or want
them to see them like at a general Democratic event or something like that. AMNA NAWAZ: So, they want to get as much as
attention as they can. SHAWNA THOMAS: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: Not all attention is good attention,
though. One of the story lines we’ve been talking
about is how former Vice President Joe Biden has done so far in some of these events. I want to play for you, guys, just a couple
of quick sound bytes. They’re from two different events. One from Thursday, one from Saturday, but
these are the kinds of comments from Mr. Biden that are getting attention right now. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN: Poor kids are just as bright and
just as talented as white kids, wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids. (APPLAUSE) JOE BIDEN: I watched what happened to those
kids from Parkland came up to see me when I was vice president. (END VIDEO CLIP) AMNA NAWAZ: So, you know, Tam, we’re calling
these as gaffes in this conversation, right? He misspeaks. He corrects himself. Sometimes he has to come back and correct
himself a little later. Is it fair criticism of him right now? TAMARA KEITH: It is Joe Biden. Joe Biden has called himself a gaffe machine. He — this is sort of a trademark. He does this. He’s done this his entire political career. When he announced that he was going to run
for president, that he was running for president, you knew that this was going to happen and
it has continued to happen all along. One thing that’s been sort of puzzling to
me is why this weekend is the weekend that everyone started to talk about, well, will
Joe Biden’s gaffes matter? And I think that the way they could matter
is if voters decide that it’s an indicator of something larger, if it taps into a concern
that voters have perhaps about his age or some other thing like that. But that Joe Biden would say the wrong words
or stumble is not new. SHAWNA THOMAS: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: What do you think, Shawna? SHAWNA THOMAS: But I think the thing is, when
he said the wrong words and stumbled historically when we both covered him before, it’s Uncle
Joe. It’s, like, OK, it’s Joe Biden, he’s great,
look, whatever. Much like in some ways the awkward touching
and that kind of thing. But when you are the frontrunner for — to
be president and everyone thinks you may actually have a shot at getting the Democratic nomination,
everyone is going to pay even more attention to every little stumble, and I do think that
is going to get worse. Now, some of why this has been highlighted
is Trump’s team is the one who sort of pushed this narrative event. I am interested to see if like a lower tier
presidential candidate goes along this narrative, like a one who’s actually on the Democratic
side, because, of course, President Trump is going to push this. He wants to beat Biden. He thinks Biden is the guy to beat. But does — do the Cory Bookers of the world
or does someone else start trying to talk about Joe Biden’s age and play these gaffes
or anything like that, does it cause Democratic infighting? And I think that’s something to be more worried
more about at this stage with Biden. AMNA NAWAZ: You mentioned President Trump,
but I want to ask you about something else. Over the weekend, he retweeted a post from
a comedian linking the Clintons to the death of Jeffrey Epstein, the accused sex trafficker
in jail this weekend. We’re not showing it here because it is a
conspiracy theory. It’s baseless. It traces back years, just some far right
conspiracy theories. Shawna, of all the things the president could
have been tweeting about this weekend, why this? SHAWNA THOMAS: Because he — I mean, I can’t
get into the president’s head and I can’t pretend to be in the president’s head, but
he saw something, it attacked the Clintons, he is still attacking the Clintons, people
still cheer “lock her up” at his events, at his campaign events. And, you know what? He pressed retweet. And this is just what he does. He has spread other conspiracy theories. We can go all the way back to Barack Obama’s
birth certificate. Now, yes, he could have been tweetings about
other things like, hey, does the Bureau of Prisons have staffing problems? What is going on there? There are some real issues with Epstein and
will his victims be able to be able to see justice, and that kind of thing. But, you know, this is what the president
likes to do and now we’re talking about it. AMNA NAWAZ: Tammy, with 63 million Twitter
followers, there’s — you know, I have been in countries where conspiracy theories and
misinformation campaigns are very active, it has an impact. Do you worry about that here? Is there concern? TAMARA KEITH: We are also in a country where
conspiracy theories have been very active especially in recent years, especially with
social media, and President Trump has at times retweeted or otherwise trafficked in conspiracy
theories. So, that he’s doing this now is not really
out of character. It’s something that he does. And I think that we are in a time in this
country where conspiracy theories, for whatever reason, are particularly sticky, and especially
on the right but not entirely on the right, also very much on the left conspiracy theories
have taken hold. And so, this is — this is sort of — this
is where we are. SHAWNA THOMAS: And the question really — I
mean, the larger question that comes out of this conspiracy thing is what do we do about
social media? And are we going to hold social media companies
accountable for the spread of things that are not true? And this is something that Congress has been
talking about and they have been trying to tackle it, but they haven’t done anything
yet. I think this reiterates that that conversation
is really important. AMNA NAWAZ: Another conversation to have at
another time. SHAWNA THOMAS: There will be so many. AMNA NAWAZ: Shawna Thomas of “Vice News”,
Tamara Keith of NPR, thanks to you both. TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome. SHAWNA THOMAS: Thanks. (BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: The Trump administration is making
some of the broadest changes in years to the Endangered Species Act, the landmark law signed
by President Richard Nixon that’s been credited with saving iconic species like the bald eagle
and the grizzly bear. William Brangham explores what today’s changes
That’s right, Amna. The Endangered Species Act currently protects
about 1,600 species in the U.S. by limiting the activities that could harm those species. And it’s been overwhelmingly successful in
protecting those plants and animals. But the act has been a target for Republican
lawmakers and industry groups for years. They argue these protections cost too many
jobs and too much money. Now, the Trump administration is proposing
changes that one Democratic lawmaker referred to as taking a wrecking ball to the act. Joining me now is “New York Times” environmental
reporter Lisa Friedman. Lisa Friedman, welcome back to the “NewsHour”. LISA FRIEDMAN, ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTER, THE
NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks so much for having me. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Before we get to the administration’s
proposed changes, what can we say — what species can we credit are alive today because
of the Endangered Species Act? LISA FRIEDMAN: The Endangered Species Act
has helped to save from extinction some of the most well-known plant and animal species
in the country, the bald eagle, the grizzly bear, the humpback whale, are all species
that owe a tremendous amount to the protection of the Endangered Species Act. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: As I mentioned before, the
Republican lawmakers for decades have hated this law, wanted to dial it back. Industry groups said the same, saying it’s
too costly, it’s not really helping as much as it is hurting our industries. What is the Trump administration proposing
with these new changes? LISA FRIEDMAN: There are a number of changes
in the final rules that were issued today. A number of them are ones that environmental
groups fear will severely weaken protections for plant and animal species. I list just two of the big ones for now. One of them is a measure that would weaken
the ability of scientists to protect species against the threats of climate change. Another is a phrase that would introduce the
ability of the federal government to include economic analysis. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: An analysis, meaning if
we’re going to protect X species that might cost us Y amount of money. LISA FRIEDMAN: Absolutely right. Currently, the way the law reads, scientists
can only consider one thing when they’re deciding whether or not to list species as
threatened or endangered, the science. Is it threatened? Should it be listed? That language is going to be eliminated, and
what replaces it will give the federal government the ability to conduct analyses just as you
described to find out whether listing a species will cost money, will cost money and perhaps
lost development. The Interior Department has insisted that
this won’t change anything, that decisions will still be made purely on the basis of
science. They just want to have the information and
be able to know the information when these listing possibilities come up. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: These changes are coming
amidst a lot of news about endangered species. We saw the U.N. a few months ago put out this
report indicating that upwards of a million plant and animal species globally could be
threatened if we don’t change our ways. LISA FRIEDMAN: Yes. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Help me understand what
the administration is arguing here. Are they saying, here in the U.S., we are
doing endangered species just fine or are they saying we can do it in a better way? What are they arguing? LISA FRIEDMAN: Yes. I think, you know, what we heard from the
administration is it’s possible to both be stewards of the environment while also cutting
red tape, and their argument is that that is what they’re doing with this regulation
today. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Is there a sense that if
these changes go through, any particular species that might be impacted? LISA FRIEDMAN: You know, one of the ones we
hear about a lot are species that are affected by climate change and, you know, one that
comes to mind easily is the polar bear. The polar bear habitat is going to be affected
dramatically by climate change. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Their sea ice and their
habitat disappears year after year. LISA FRIEDMAN: Exactly. Some of these changes are far into the future. Whether this new regulation hamstrings scientists’
ability to take action to protect these species is something that the environmental groups
are very worried about. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We know these are proposed
rules, probably going to be some lawsuits, right? What’s the future look like? LISA FRIEDMAN: Today, we heard from the attorneys
general of Massachusetts and California, they have vowed to sue. Senator Udall, who you mentioned, said that
he’s going to be looking at legislative measures to block this in Congress. It seems with the makeup of this Congress,
it’s going to be very hard to pass anything that would block this legislatively. So, I think the — some of these questions
about whether this regulation will stand the test of time are going to be answered in the
courts. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Lisa Friedman of “The New
York Times,” thank you. LISA FRIEDMAN: Thank you. (END VIDEOTAPE) AMNA NAWAZ: Nancy Armour is a sports columnist
for “USA Today”. In her latest piece, Armour said, quote: Simone
Biles isn’t just best gymnast of her time, she’s an athlete for the ages. She joins me now from Chicago. Nancy, thanks for being with us. So, the triple-double is two flips with three
twists. Just how big a deal is this move? NANCY ARMOUR, SPORTS COLUMNIST, USA TODAY:
It is huge. It’s the — the physics of it alone are really
unbelievable, almost. I mean, consider the fact that she is turning
herself end over end twice, but at the same time, she is twisting her body around three
times. You have to have the physics of that exactly
right or you basically will stop in the air and kind of plop to the ground. And she also has to know exactly where she
is in the air, otherwise, she could do real damage if she’s off at all. The power and the strength that it takes to
do this is really nothing short of amazing, and, obviously, this is why it’s taken so
long for a woman to even try it, let alone land it like she did. AMNA NAWAZ: You wrote in your column, she
got so much height that if there was an SUV parked on the floor, she would have cleared
it. And it’s worth noting it’s one of two
record-breaking moves she made, right? NANCY ARMOUR: Yes, she also did a double-double
off, dismount off a balance beam, which is a double-twisting double summersault, and
what makes that so amazing is she’s basically at a complete standstill before she does it. So, imagine that you are trying to dunk a
basketball from flat feet. It’s not exactly comparable but pretty close. So, what she’s doing, the power and the strength
that she has to get these moves, it’s unmatched, and not just in her sport, I would say in
pretty much any sport. AMNA NAWAZ: And it’s worth noting, that
little interview piece we just heard from her which was just days prior to her giving
this performance. I mean, the fact that she is out there, still
competing for USA Gymnastics, speaking out so bravely about the abuse she said she suffered,
and then giving performances like this, what does that say to you about Simone Biles? NANCY ARMOUS: She’s not only an amazing athlete,
she’s an amazing person. And Simone recognizes the power that she has
and influence she has. She’s the best thing that USA gymnastics has
going and has had going for the last couple of years. And she picks her spots and she picks what
she wants to say and how she wants to say it, but she recognizes that she has an influence
and that she can hold USA Gymnastics’ feet to the fire and USOC and even Congress, because
she is the best gymnast in the history for sport and she’s been failed, and somebody
has to answer that, and she continues to point that out and demand that they do right not
just by her but the other hundreds of women who were abused by Larry Nassar. AMNA NAWAZ: Nancy, there’s a reason the move
from this weekend has gone viral. People know that they are watching greatness
when they see it go by. You wrote about this in your column. You compared it to Mohammed Ali’s Rumble
in the Jungle, Serena Williams winning the Australian Open when she was pregnant. You mentioned Simone Biles being one of the
best gymnasts of all time. Is it fair to say she’s one of the best athletes
of all time? NANCY ARMOUR: I think so. I was struck last night that this is going
to be one of these things — and I’ve seen her do many spectacular things, many of them. But this is one of those things that a decade
from now, two decades from now, I’ll be able to picture it in my mind, if somebody
says Simone Biles’ triple-double, or what was the best move you ever saw Simone Biles
do, this will immediately come to mind. And I think that is the mark of an athlete
who has transcended not just in their own sports but across sports. And if she doesn’t qualify, then I don’t know
who does. AMNA NAWAZ: We’re all lucky to watch that
greatness in action. Nancy Armour of “USA Today”, thank you
so much. NANCY ARMOUR: Thanks for having me. (BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: “Star Wars” creator George
Lucas and “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin have cited him as an influence
on their work, helping them imagine what an adventure story might look like. Now, N.C. Wyeth, who led a family of American art royalty,
gets a new look in an exhibition of his illustrations and paintings. Jeffrey Brown reports for our ongoing arts
The beautiful Brandywine River Valley in Pennsylvania: inspiration and home to Newell Convers better
known as N.C. Wyeth. Today, it’s also home to the Brandywine River
Museum of Art, in Chadds Ford, which is giving Wyeth a new look. It was Robert Louis Stevenson who wrote the
beloved adventure tale, “Treasure Island.” But for millions of American, beginning in
the early 20th century, it was Wyeth who created the lasting images of pirates and much more. CHRISTINE PODMANICZKY, CO-CURATOR, “N.C. WYETH: NEW PERSPECTIVES”: The personal paintings,
the illustrations, he did mural work, he did advertising work. So, his reach into the different aspects of
visual culture is so broad. JEFFREY BROWN: Christine Podmaniczky is co-curator
of the exhibition, “N.C. Wyeth: New Perspectives.” The goal here: to present a more well-rounded
portrait of an artist who painted scenes of rural life here and in coastal Maine, where
he had a residence, but who remains best known for his book illustrations, the smaller reproductions
of his large-scale paintings for such classic children’s stories as “Robin Hood”, “Last
of the Mohicans”, “King Arthur”. Wyeth’s genius, says Podmaniczky, was to find
just the right moment in the story to bring to life. As when young Jim Hawkins first leaves home
in treasure island. CHRISTINE PODMANICZKY: I said goodbye to mother
and the cove. That’s all Stevenson writes — JEFFREY BROWN: That’s it? CHRISTINE PODMANICZKY: That’s it. JEFFREY BROWN: One line? CHRISTINE PODMANICKZY: That’s it. All he writes about Jim Hawkins leaving home,
going off on this exploit where he’s to search for treasure. But when you look at the painting, you see
how much N.C. Wyeth has brought here in the form of emotion. First of all, the characters themselves, the
look on Jim Hawkins face. But his use of shadow, the sharp lines, the
sort of cloud over the mother, posture, all sorts of things heighten the sense of what’s
going on. JEFFREY BROWN: Wyeth’s first breakthrough,
in 1902, was a cover for the “Saturday Evening Post,” imagery of an already past and mythic
American west. He created magazine advertisements, including
for “Cream of Wheat”. It was a time before television and our own
screen-saturated lives, the golden age of illustration, and Wyeth was at its forefront. The commissions allowed him to buy property
here in Pennsylvania and to support the other part of his life for which he became best
known: as patriarch of an American art family dynasty, father of five children, three of
them painters, most famously the youngest, Andrew. Andrew Wyeth would become one of the biggest
names in 20th century American art, also focusing on his hometown of Chadds Ford and summer
home in Maine, including the celebrated Christina’s World from 1948. Andrew’s son, N.C.’s grandson, is Jamie
Wyeth. This is the grounds of your childhood, huh? JAMIE WYETH, PAINTER/GRANDSON, N.C. WYETH: Yes, my grandfather’s orchard and
whatnot, and then my aunt used this and studio. JEFFREY BROWN: Jamie now 73 and also a prominent
painter, first learned to draw in the grand studio N.C. built here. Jamie never knew his grandfather, who died
in 1945, age 62, in a car accident at a railroad crossing. The studio is owned by the Brandywine Museum. This is pretty much the way it was when you
were a kid? JAMIE WYETH: Totally, it hasn’t been changed
at all. It’s as if he walked out of it yesterday. JEFFREY BROWN: He painted this giant mural
for a Wilmington bank. JAMIE WYETH: My father told me that he would
watch his father walk up, put a brush stroke on, and walk back to see the visual effect. JEFFREY BROWN: So, he’d go up and back and
up and back. JAMIE WYETH: Back and forth, yes, putting
them in — I mean, it’s pretty loosely and thinly done when you get up to it, but to
do this expression and then get back knowing this thing would be 50 feet from the viewers,
and whatnot. JEFFREY BROWN: All around, the collection
of items he gathered for his book illustrations. JAMIE WYETH: Coming to this studio was magical
to me because here, it was full of costumes and cutlasses and flintlocks, and a lot of
his illustrations were still in the back room here. So I’d go through them for hours. JEFFREY BROWN: This was like the amusement
park in a way. JAMIE WYETH: Oh, my God, it was just magical. My father, of course, I would pump him and
ask him about N.C. Wyeth and he said, he wanted the paintings
to leap out of the page as you read them, to grab you by the neck. And they sure do. JEFFREY BROWN: As the show makes clear, though,
N.C. also had larger ambitions: to be taken seriously as a fine artist, rather than just
a successful commercial illustrator. Much of the exhibition’s second floor displays
the more personal paintings Wyeth created largely for himself, as well as two from his
late-in-life, first solo exhibition in a New York gallery. Among those: island funeral, which uses paint
Wyeth made from dyes he received from the nearby DuPont Company CHRISTINE PODMANICZKY: Ands that’s how he
gets these beautiful, deep, sort of jewel-like tones here. There’s a lot of tension going on here between
the old-fashioned bird’s eye view, the new cutting-edge dyes, the death of an island
patriarch. Well, N.C. Wyeth is in his late 50’s at this point, he
is already been publicized, if you will, as the patriarch of his own family. So there are thoughts, I think, of mortality
here. JEFFREY BROWN: There are also signs of Wyeth,
a traditional artist, flicking at some of the more modern painting techniques of his
time. CHRISTINE PODMANICZKY: This is one of the
most fascinating paintings as far as technique goes because you have him here trying to capture
the light on this chain mail or armor, and it’s just a magnificent piece of painting. JEFFREY BROWN: And grandson Jamie goes so
far to see in this exhibition an unusual kind of group show all by one painter. JAMIE WYETH: He tried so many different techniques,
so many different approaches. Some are very Cezanne-like, broken color,
impressionistic, tried them all, which is wonderful, I guess, you know? There’s a wonderful little self- portrait
of him looking. It’s just teeny and just very delicately done. JEFFREY BROWN: Painting, Jamie says, has been
the family passion. JAMIE WYETH: It was sort of like another world,
the comparing the three generations and so forth. And I happen to adore their work. I mean, these two individuals, very different
individuals, very different approaches to painting — I mean, what a thing to build
on. JEFFREY BROWN: The elder Wyeth himself, though,
never achieved the recognition he craved. JAMIE WYETH: He looked at it and thought his
life had just been doing these children’s books. It was hard for me to conceive that, though. I mean, he had to have looked at — I remember
my mother, she said when she first met him, she was very young and said, oh, Mr. Wyeth,
I love your illustrations, your “Treasure Island”, and he said, you’ll grow out of
that. JEFFREY BROWN: Really? JAMIE WYETH: Uh-huh. And he was wrong. JEFFREY BROWN: “N.C. Wyeth: New Perspectives” is at the Brandywine
River Museum of Art through September 15th. For the “PBS NewsHour”, I’m Jeffrey
Brown in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. (END VIDEOTAPE) AMNA NAWAZ: The exhibit moves next to the
Portland Museum of Art in Maine and, in 2020, the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati. And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Amna Nawaz. Join us online and again here tomorrow evening. For all of us here at the “PBS NewsHour”,
thank you. We’ll see you soon. END

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