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>> Woodruff: GOOD EVENING. I'M JUDY WOODRUFF. ON THE NEWSHOUR TONIGHT:
>> I WILL NOT ACCEPT, AND REJECT, ACCUSATIONS THAT I HAVE EVER LIED.
>> Woodruff: U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS FACES QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, AND DEFENDS HIS STATEMENTS ABOUT RUSSIAN CONTACTS WITH THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN. THEN, CHAIN OF COMMAND. A RETIRED AIR FORCE GENERAL TESTIFIES THAT AN ORDER BY THE PRESIDENT TO LAUNCH NUCLEAR WEAPONS CAN BE REFUSED, IF DETERMINED TO BE ILLEGAL. PLUS, HOW AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS ARE GETTING KIDS EXCITED ABOUT MATH AND SCIENCE, AND ON THE PATH TO A CAREER.
>> THE SMILE PROGRAM TRIED TO HIT ON A LOT OF DIFFERENT SUBJECTS, SO I WAS ABLE TO, KIND OF LIKE, HAVE A LITTLE TASTE OF ALL THESE DIFFERENT FIELDS. AND THEN I THINK THAT'S WHEN I FIGURED THAT I WANTED TO BE AN ENGINEER.
>> Woodruff: ALL THAT AND MORE, ON TONIGHT'S PBS NEWSHOUR.
>> MAJOR FUNDING FOR THE PBS NEWSHOUR HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY: ♪ ♪
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>> THIS PROGRAM WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING. AND BY CONTRIBUTIONS TO YOUR PBS STATION FROM VIEWERS LIKE YOU. THANK YOU.
>> Woodruff: TOP REPUBLICANS RATCHETED UP PRESSURE AGAIN TODAY ON ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE ROY MOORE. THE FORMER JUDGE DENIED MULTIPLE ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT OR ABUSE AGAINST TEENAGE GIRLS, AND HE IS REFUSING TO DROP OUT OF A DECEMBER SPECIAL ELECTION. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL REPEATED TODAY THAT MOORE IS NOT FIT TO SERVE, BUT HE SAID REPLACING HIM IS "COMPLICATED."
>> IT'S UP TO THE PEOPLE OF ALABAMA TO MAKE THIS DECISION. I THINK THEY HAVE A LOT OF INFORMATION NOW, IN MAKING A DECISION. OBVIOUSLY FROM A REPUBLICAN POINT OF VIEW, WE WOULD HOPE TO SAVE THE SEAT. THAT MIGHT REQUIRE A WRITE-IN, AND ALL THOSE THINGS ARE UNDER DISCUSSION.
>> Woodruff: THE DECEMBER ELECTION IS TO FILL OUT THE TERM OF FORMER SENATOR JEFF SESSIONS, WHO IS NOW THE U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL. SESSIONS SAID TODAY HE HAS "NO REASON TO DOUBT" MOORE'S ACCUSERS. HE SPOKE AT A WIDE-RANGING HEARING, AND WE WILL HEAR MORE ON THAT, RIGHT AFTER THE NEWS SUMMARY. SENATE REPUBLICANS WILL TRY AGAIN TO REPEAL THE INDIVIDUAL INSURANCE MANDATE UNDER OBAMACARE. THEY ARE INCLUDING IT IN THEIR TAX REFORM PACKAGE. LISA DESJARDINS IS AT THE CAPITOL. HELLO, LISA. WHAT ARE THE REPUBLICANS DOING?
>> THAT'S RIGHT. SENATE REPUBLICANS TELL US IT'S A NIGHT THEY'RE ADDING TO THAT SWEEPING TAX REFORM BILL. NOTHING LESS THAN THE FULL AND IMMEDIATE REPEAL OF THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE THAT IS OBAMACARE. AND THEY TELL US THEY HAVE MAJORITY SUPPORT FROM THE REPUBLICAN CONGRESS TO DO IT. THIS IS ONE STEP IN A LISTENING PROCESS ON TAX REFORM, BUT THIS IS A BIG ONE BECAUSE AIDES A CORNERSTONE BILL FOR SENATE REPUBLICANS.
>> Woodruff: IS IT KNOWN HOW THIS WILL AFFECT THE PROSPECTS FOR TAX REFORM?
>> IT GETS EVEN MORE COMPLICATED. I HAVE TALKED TO THE HOUSE REPUBLICAN WHO SAYS THEY WILL TRY TO ADD THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE, A CONSERVATIVE, TO THEIR VERSION ON THE HOUSE SIDE. IT IS SOMETHING THEY THINK MIGHT WIN OVER SOME CONSERVATIVE VOTES. OF COURSE, DEMOCRATS ALREADY SAY THEY THINK IT'S A TERRIBLE IDEA.
>> Woodruff: AND LISA, PROSPECTS BEYOND THAT? I MEAN, AS YOU GET TO THE OTHER CHAMBER?
>> THAT'S RIGHT. THIS IS FOUR-DIMENSIONAL CHESS NOW. WE'RE EXPECTING A HOUSE VOTE ON THURSDAY NOW. THERE MAY BE CHANGES TO THE BILL THEN. THEN THE SENATE'S TURN COMES UP IN ABOUT THREE WEEKS.
>> Woodruff: ALL RIGHT. LISA DESJARDINS AT THE CAPITOL. THANK YOU. IN IRAN, RESCUERS KEPT DIGGING TODAY, AS THE EARTHQUAKE DEATH TOLL ROSE TO AT LEAST 530. MORE THAN 7,800 WERE INJURED IN SUNDAY NIGHT'S TREMOR THAT STRUCK NEAR THE BORDER BETWEEN IRAN AND IRAQ. IRANIAN PRESIDENT HASSAN ROUHANI SURVEYED THE DAMAGE TODAY, AND VOWED TO INVESTIGATE WHY SO MUCH GOVERNMENT HOUSING COLLAPSED. IT WAS BUILT BY HIS HARD-LINE PREDECESSOR. RESCUE WORKERS IN SYRIA ARE STILL LOOKING FOR VICTIMS AFTER AIR STRIKES ON MONDAY ON A NORTHERN TOWN HELD BY REBELS. ACTIVISTS SAY THAT AT LEAST 61 PEOPLE WERE KILLED, WHEN THREE STRIKES HIT A BUSY MARKET. NEARLY ALL OF THE DEAD WERE CIVILIANS. IT IS NOT CLEAR WHETHER RUSSIAN OR SYRIAN PLANES WERE INVOLVED. PRESIDENT TRUMP HEADED BACK TO WASHINGTON TODAY, AFTER A TEN- DAY TOUR OF ASIA. BEFORE LEAVING THE PHILIPPINES, HE HAILED THE TRIP AS "TREMENDOUSLY SUCCESSFUL." ON BOARD AIR FORCE ONE, HE SAID OTHER COUNTRIES ARE GETTING HIS MESSAGE.
>> OVER A PERIOD OF YEARS, THEY WILL BE TREATING US MUCH DIFFERENTLY THAN THEY HAVE IN THE PAST. PEOPLE WERE TAKING ADVANTAGE-- COUNTRIES WERE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE UNITED STATES. MORE THAN JUST THIS REGION, BUT THE WORLD. AND THOSE DAYS ARE OVER.
>> Woodruff: THE PRESIDENT ALSO PROMISED WHAT HE CALLED A "MAJOR STATEMENT" ABOUT THE TRIP, LATER THIS WEEK. AT LEAST FIVE PEOPLE ARE DEAD IN A SERIES OF SHOOTINGS IN RURAL NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. A GUNMAN KILLED FOUR TODAY, AND WOUNDED SEVERAL MORE-- INCLUDING THREE CHILDREN-- BEFORE BEING SHOT DEAD BY POLICE. IT HAPPENED AROUND THE TOWN OF RED BLUFF. AUTHORITIES SAY IT STARTED WITH A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INCIDENT, AND THEN THE SHOOTER PICKED TARGETS AT RANDOM. A TRIAL OPENED IN LAS VEGAS TODAY FOR A RANCHER ACCUSED OF LEADING A STANDOFF WITH FEDERAL AGENTS. CLIVEN BUNDY, TWO SONS AND A CO-DEFENDANT FACE 15 FELONY CHARGES EACH. PROSECUTORS SAY THEY TRIED TO SPARK A "RANGE WAR" IN 2014, OVER ATTEMPTS TO STOP THEIR CATTLE GRAZING ON PUBLIC LAND. IN ECONOMIC NEWS, A STUDY BY CREDIT SUISSE FINDS MILLENNIALS ARE STRUGGLING TO MAKE AS MUCH MONEY AS THEIR BABY BOOMER PARENTS. THE SWISS BANK ALSO SAYS THEY FACE GREATER WEALTH INEQUALITY THAN PREVIOUS GENERATIONS. IT CITES HIGHER HOME PRICES AND STUDENT DEBT BURDENS. AND ON WALL STREET, THE DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE LOST 30 POINTS TO CLOSE AT 23,409. THE NASDAQ FELL 19 POINTS, AND THE S&P 500 SLIPPED NEARLY SIX. STILL TO COME ON THE NEWSHOUR: A BUSY DAY ON CAPITOL HILL. LAWMAKERS PRESS ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS ON RUSSIA. SENATORS QUESTION THE PRESIDENT'S ABILITY TO LAUNCH NUCLEAR WARHEADS. REPRESENTATIVES ADDRESS CLAIMS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT. AND, MUCH MORE.
>> Woodruff: NOW, THE SESSIONS HEARING. THE NATION'S TOP LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL FACED A BATTERY OF QUESTIONS TODAY ABOUT HIS SHIFTING STATEMENTS ON CONTACTS WITH THE RUSSIANS DURING THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN. HE SPOKE TO THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, AND LISA DESJARDINS WAS THERE.
>> I WILL NOT ACCEPT, AND REJECT, ACCUSATIONS THAT I HAVE EVER LIED UNDER OATH. THAT IS A LIE.
>> Reporter: ATTORNEY GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS INSISTED FROM THE START TODAY THAT HE'S NEVER DELIBERATELY MISLED CONGRESS. HE RETURNED TO THE REFRAIN IN HIS OPENING STATEMENT, AND IN QUESTIONING, HERE BY DEMOCRAT HAKEEM JEFFRIES OF NEW YORK.
>> YOUR STORY HAS NEVER CHANGED, CORRECT?
>> I BELIEVE THAT'S FAIR TO SAY. WE'VE ADDED THINGS THAT I DID NOT RECALL AT THE TIME. MY STATEMENT, AT THE TIME, WAS MY BEST RECOLLECTION.
>> Reporter: AT HIS JANUARY CONFIRMATION HEARING, SESSIONS TOLD DEMOCRATIC SENATOR AL FRANKEN THAT HE'D HAD NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH RUSSIANS DURING THE 2016 CAMPAIGN. BUT HE'S BEEN DOGGED BY DISCLOSURES THAT CONTRADICT THAT STATEMENT, AND ABOUT HIS KNOWLEDGE OF OTHER TRUMP CAMPAIGN OFFICIALS.
>> I DO NOW RECALL THE MARCH 2016 MEETING AT TRUMP HOTEL THAT MR. PAPADOPOULOS ATTENDED.
>> Reporter: THAT'S GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS, A FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE ON THE FOREIGN POLICY TEAM SESSIONS CHAIRED, WHO TOLD PROSECUTORS HE TALKED ABOUT CONNECTING WITH RUSSIA IN A MEETING WITH BOTH TRUMP AND SESSIONS. SESSIONS INITIALLY DENIED ANY SUCH MEETING. NOW, SAYS HE REMEMBERS IT.
>> TO THE BEST OF MY RECOLLECTION, I BELIEVE THAT I WANTED TO MAKE CLEAR TO HIM THAT HE WAS NOT AUTHORIZED TO REPRESENT THE CAMPAIGN WITH THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT, OR ANY OTHER FOREIGN GOVERNMENT, FOR THAT MATTER.
>> Reporter: PAPADOPOULOS HAS NOW PLEADED GUILTY TO LYING ABOUT HIS CONTACTS WITH RUSSIANS AND THE CAMPAIGN. SESSIONS HAS ALREADY HAD TO AMEND HIS ORIGINAL ANSWERS AT OTHER SENATE HEARINGS. TEXAS DEMOCRAT SHEILA JACKSON LEE PRESSED THE POINT AGAIN TODAY.
>> DO YOU WANT TO ADMIT UNDER OATH THAT YOU DID NOT TELL THE TRUTH?
>> I WILL JUST SAY THIS, I STAND BY MY TESTIMONY IN THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE. I NEVER HAD ANY-- FURTHERMORE, I NEVER HAD ANY CONTACT WITH RUSSIANS.
>> Reporter: TODAY'S HEARING ALSO CAME THE DAY AFTER DONALD TRUMP, JR. ACKNOWLEDGED THAT HE COMMUNICATED WITH WIKILEAKS IN THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF. THAT, AFTER WIKILEAKS RELEASED SOME 50,000 DOCUMENTS LAST YEAR FROM THE PRIVATE EMAILS OF HILLARY CLINTON, HER CAMPAIGN MANAGER AND OF DEMOCRATIC PARTY OFFICIALS.
>> CANDIDATE TRUMP SAID THROUGHOUT THE CAMPAIGN, "I LOVE WIKILEAKS." DO YOU LOVE WIKILEAKS, MR. ATTORNEY GENERAL? WAS IT APPROPRIATE THAT TRUMP, JR. COMMUNICATED WITH WIKILEAKS DURING THE COURSE OF THE CAMPAIGN?
>> I'M NOT ABLE TO MAKE A JUDGMENT ABOUT THAT.
>> Reporter: SESSIONS DREW FIRE FROM BOTH PARTIES OVER WHETHER HE SHOULD APPOINT A SPECIAL COUNSEL FOR A NEW CLINTON INVESTIGATION. THAT COULD INCLUDE THE 2010 SALE OF URANIUM ONE, A MINING OPERATION IN THE U.S. THAT THEN- SECRETARY OF STATE CLINTON ALLEGEDLY APPROVED IN EXCHANGE FOR DONATIONS TO THE CLINTON FOUNDATION, AND THE F.B.I.'S INVESTIGATION INTO CLINTON'S HANDLING OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION. DEMOCRATS DECRIED THE IDEA OF A NEW PROBE, POINTING TO TWEETS FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP PUSHING SESSIONS TO DO IT.
>> IS IT COMMON FOR THE LEADER OF THE COUNTRY TO ORDER THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM TO RETALIATE AGAINST HIS POLITICAL OPPONENTS?
>> THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CAN NEVER BE USED TO RETALIATE POLITICALLY AGAINST OPPONENTS, AND THAT WOULD BE WRONG.
>> Reporter: REPUBLICANS, WHO WANT A NEW CLINTON PROBE, ALSO ASKED SESSIONS TO LOOK INTO THE SO-CALLED "RUSSIAN DOSSIER" OF OPPOSITION RESEARCH ABOUT MR. TRUMP, BUT SESSIONS PUSHED BACK.
>> ALL THAT-- INCLUDING THE DOSSIER STUFF-- WHAT'S IT GOING TO TAKE TO GET A SPECIAL COUNSEL?
>> SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO STUDY WHAT THE FACTS ARE, TO WARRANT A SPECIAL COUNSEL.
>> Reporter: FOR THE PBS NEWSHOUR, I'M LISA DEJARDINS ON CAPITOL HILL.
>> Woodruff: WE TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT TODAY'S TESTIMONY WITH NPR'S JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT CARRIE JOHNSON. CARRIE, WELCOME BACK TO THE PROGRAM. THIS WAS PRACTICALLY AN ALL-DAY AFFAIR FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, WASN'T IT?
>> MORE THAN FIVE HOURS OF TESTIMONY BACK AND FORTH, REPUBLICANS CENTERING ON ISSUES OTHER THAN RUSSIA, DEMOCRATS ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY ASKING HIM A VERSION OF THE SAME QUESTION, WHAT DID YOU KNOW AND WHY DID YOUR STORY CHANGE?
>> Woodruff: AND THE FACT IS, HE HAS HAD TO CHANGE WHAT HE SAID ABOUT HIS KNOWLEDGE OF AND ANY PARTICIPATION IN COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE RUSSIANS IN THE CAMPAIGN.
>> THIS WAS HIS FOURTH TESTIMONY UNDER OATH ON CAPITOL HILL THIS YEAR, JUDY. JEFF SESSIONS VEHEMENTLY DENIED ANY NOTION THAT HE HAD INTENTIONALLY TRIED TO DECEIVE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS OR LIE UNDER OATH. INSTEAD HE SAID TODAY HE HAD A MEMORY LAPSE. HE DID NOT REMEMBER MEETING... THAT MEETING IN MARCH 2016 WHERE GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS HAD SUGGESTED A MEETING BETWEEN DONALD TRUMP AND RUSSIAN LEADER VLADIMIR PUTIN, BUT HE SAID, JEFF SESSIONS SAID RECENT NEWS ACCOUNTS HAD JOGGED HIS MEMORY AND HE REMEMBERED OBJECTING TO THE IDEA OF PAPADOPOULOS SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF THE CAMPAIGN OR ENGAGING IN FOREIGN POLICY BUSINESS ON BEHALF OF THE CAMPAIGN.
>> Woodruff: INCLUDING SETTING UP A MEETING BETWEEN CANDIDATE TRUMP AND THE RUSSIAN LEADER VLADIMIR PUTIN?
>> ABSOLUTELY. AND SESSIONS ALSO MENTIONED THAT HE DID RECALL INTERACTING WITH CARTER PAGE, ANOTHER FOREIGN POLICY AIDE ON THE CAMPAIGN. HE SAID, WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO, STOP CARTER PAGE FROM TRAVELING? I HAD JUST MADE CLEAR SIMPLY, SESSIONS SAID, THAT HE WASN'T GOING TO BE SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF THE CAMPAIGN.
>> Woodruff: QUICKLY, CARRIE, ON THE QUESTION OF THIS WIKILEAKS-DONALD TRUMP, JR., EXCHANGE, HE WAS ASKED ABOUT THAT AND IT SEEMS HE DIDN'T HAVE ANY INFORMATION TO OFFER.
>> JEFF SESSIONS IS RECUSED FROM THE SPECIAL COUNCIL INVESTIGATION ENTER RUSSIA. SESSIONS WAS ASKED A BASIC AND BLUNT QUESTION ABOUT HIS TAKE ON DONALD TRUMP, JR.'S, TAKE ON WIKILEAKS. THAT MAY COME UNDER THE SPECIAL COUNCIL'S PURVIEW. I THINK JEFF SESSIONS WAS CAREFUL ABOUT NOT WANTING TO GO THERE UNDER OATH.
>> Woodruff: WE HEARD TODAY THAT THE REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE AS WELL AS PRESIDENT TRUMP REALLY WANT HIM TO LOOK INTO SOME OF THE ALLEGATIONS AROUND HILLARY CLINTON. THEY WANT HIM TO APPOINT A SPECIAL COUNSEL.
>> THEY DO, AND, IN FACT, ON THE EVE OF THIS HEARING, THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SENT A LETTER TO REPUBLICANS ON CAPITOL HILL SAYING THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND HIS DEPUTY HAD DIRECTED SENIOR FEDERAL PROSECUTORS TO LOOK INTO THESE ALLEGATIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE CLINTON FOUNDATION, THIS URANIUM DEAL WHEN HILLARY CLINTON WAS SECRETARY OF STATE, AND SOME OTHER ALLEGATIONS WITH RESPECT TO HILLARY CLINTON IN HER E-MAIL. THERE WAS NO COMMITMENT TO NAME A SPECIAL COUNCIL, THOUGH, AND JEFF SESSIONS GOT INTO A BACK-AND-FORTH WITH REPUBLICANS ABOUT THE NEED FOR A FACTUAL BASIS. THINGS JUST LOOKING BAD, JEFF SESSIONS SAID, AREN'T ENOUGH TO LAUNCH AN INVESTIGATION.
>> Woodruff: SETTING A HIGHER BAR. FINALLY, CARRIE, I WAS STRUCK... THEY WERE ASKING HIM ABOUT HIS... DEMOCRATS WERE, ABOUT JUST HOW FAR WOULD HIS LOYALTY TO PRESIDENT TRUMP GO.
>> THIS IS AN OPEN QUESTION AND A SORE SPOT FOR DEMOCRATS BECAUSE DONALD TRUMP MORE THAN ANY PRESIDENT SINCE RICHARD NIXON HAS OPENLY TALKED ABOUT WANTING TO INTERFERE WITH THE BUSINESS OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AND THE F.B.I. JEFF SESSIONS SAID TODAY HE WOULD NOT PERMIT ANY INTERFERENCE, BUT HE ALSO REFUSED TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER THE WHITE HOUSE HAD CONTACTED THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WITH RESPECT TO A MERGER INVOLVING AT&T AND TIME WARNER. TIME WARNER'S ASSET, CNN, IS A VERY BIG FOE OF THE PRESIDENT, AT LEAST ACCORDING TO PRESIDENT TRUMP.
>> Woodruff: VERY, VERY SENSITIVE AREA. CARRIE, NPR, THANK YOU AGAIN.
>> THANK YOU.
>> Woodruff: ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CAPITOL, SENATORS FOCUSED ON PRESIDENT TRUMP'S POWER TO LAUNCH A NUCLEAR WAR. NICK SCHIFRIN REPORTS ON THIS CRITICAL CHAIN OF COMMAND.
>> Reporter: IN A WORLD FULL OF THREATS, SENATE DEMOCRATS TODAY ASKED WHETHER THE BIGGEST THREAT IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE.
>> DONALD TRUMP CAN LAUNCH NUCLEAR CODES AS EASY AS HE CAN USE HIS TWITTER ACCOUNT.
>> Reporter: THE UNITED STATES' NUCLEAR COMMAND STRUCTURE WAS BORN OUT OF THE COLD WAR.
>> THE SOVIETS CONTINUE TO DEVELOP AND DEPLOY STRATEGIC OFFENSIVE NUCLEAR FORCES.
>> Reporter: PENGATON VIDEOS DESCRIBED THE SOVIET THREAT AS "IMMINENT." THE PRESIDENT NEEDED TO BE ABLE TO LAUNCH NUCLEAR WEAPONS QUICKLY, IN CASE THE U.S. WAS BEING ATTACKED. TENNESSEE REPUBLICAN BOB CORKER:
>> THIS PROCESS MEANS THE PRESIDENT HAS THE SOLE AUTHORITY TO GIVE THAT ORDER.
>> Reporter: TODAY, THE THREAT COMES NORTH KOREAN INNTERCONTINENTAL BALLISTIC MISSILES, THAT U.S. INTELLIGENCE PREDICTS COULD SOON CARRY A NUCLEAR WARHEAD. PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS THREATENED PREVENTIVE WAR.
>> THEY WILL BE MET WITH FIRE AND FURY LIKE THE WORLD HAS NEVER SEEN. ROCKET MAN IS ON A SUICIDE MISSION, FOR HIMSELF AND FOR HIS REGIME.
>> MANY AMERICANS SHARE MY FEAR THAT THE PRESIDENT'S BOMBASTIC WORDS COULD TURN INTO NUCLEAR REALITY.
>> Reporter: THE PRESIDENT HAS THE SOLE AUTHORITY TO LAUNCH NUCLEAR WEAPONS. BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN HE CAN LAUNCH A WEAPON FOR NO REASON, WHENEVER HE WANTS, SAID DUKE PROFESSOR PETER FIEVER, WHO HAS STUDIED NUCLEAR COMMAND FOR 30 YEARS.
>> WHERE THE MILITARY WAKES UP THE PRESIDENT AND WARNS HIM THAT THERE IS ABOUT TO BE AN ATTACK, OR WE'RE EXPERIENCING AN ATTACK, HE ALONE WOULD HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE THE DECISION. BUT IN THE OTHER CONTEXT, WHERE THE PRESIDENT IS WAKING UP THE MILITARY, MAYBE IN AN EXTREME FUNK, SAYING, I'M ANGRY AND WANT SOMETHING DONE, IN THAT SETTING, HE REQUIRES THE COOPERATION OF A LOT OF PEOPLE.
>> Reporter: THAT COOPERATION WOULD NOT BE FORTHCOMING IF HIS ORDER WERE ILLEGAL, SAID RETIRED GENERAL ROBERT KEHLER, THE FORMER HEAD OF UNITED STATES STRATEGIC COMMAND.
>> THE UNITED STATES MILITARY DOESN'T BLINDLY FOLLOW ORDERS. A PRESIDENTIAL ORDER TO DEPLOY NUCLEAR WEAPONS MUST BE LEGAL. THE BASIC LEGAL PRINCIPLES OF MILITARY NECESSITY, DISTINCTION, AND PROPORTIONALITY APPLY TO NUCLEAR WEAPONS, JUST AS THEY DO TO EVERY OTHER WEAPON.
>> Reporter: MARYLAND DEMOCRAT BEN CARDIN: BECAUSE OF LEGALITIES, YOU RETAIN THAT DECISION TO DISOBEY THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF?
>> YES. IF THERE IS AN ILLEGAL ORDER PRESENTED TO THE MILITARY, THE MILITARY IS OBLIGATED TO REFUSE TO FOLLOW IT.
>> THE SYSTEM IS NOT A BUTTON
>> Reporter: TODAY'S HEARING WAS CALLED BY SENATE REPUBLICANS, BUT MANY OF THEM URGED EXTREME CAUTION. THEY SAID THE U.S.' ADVERSARIES NEEDED TO UNDERSTAND THE PRESIDENT IS STILL THE SOLE PERSON ABLE, AND STILL WILLING, TO USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS.
>> WE CANNOT HAVE A BUNCH OF BUNKER LAWYERS, OR ACTIVISTS, UP AND DOWN THE CHAIN, WHO DECIDE THEY'RE GOING TO DISOBEY ANY ORDER THEY DISAGREE WITH.
>> PYONGYANG NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND THAT THEY ARE DEALING WITH A PERSON WHO IS COMMANDER IN CHIEF RIGHT NOW, WHO IS VERY FOCUSED ON DEFENDING THIS COUNTRY, AND HE WILL DO WHAT IS NECESSARY TO DEFEND THIS COUNTRY.
>> Reporter: DEMOCRATS HAVE INTRODUCED LEGISLATION THAT WOULD LIMIT THE PRESIDENT'S NUCLEAR AUTHORITY. SOME TODAY QUESTIONED WHETHER SOUND LEGAL ADVICE WOULD PREVAIL IN A NUCLEAR WEAPONS DISCUSSION, AND MASSACHUSETTS DEMOCRAT ED MARKEY QUESTIONED WHETHER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORS, CURRENT AND FORMER GENERALS, COULD CONSTRAIN THE PRESIDENT.
>> I DON'T THINK WE SHOULD BE RELYING UPON A GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS TO BE RESISTING AN ILLEGAL ORDER, WHEN THEY HAVE ALL PRETTY MUCH BEEN HIRED BY THE PRESIDENT.
>> Reporter: SINCE PRESIDENT HARRY TRUMAN BECAME THE ONLY PERSON EVER TO HAVE ORDERED A NUCLEAR STRIKE, U.S. LAW SAID ONLY A PRESIDENT SHOULD CARRY THE NUCLEAR RESPONSIBILITY. BUT TODAY, THAT SINGULAR AUTHORITY IS BEING QUESTIONED. FOR THE PBS NEWSHOUR, I'M NICK SCHIFRIN.
>> Woodruff: THERE WAS A THIRD CONGRESSIONAL HEARING OF NOTE TODAY. HOUSE MEMBERS CONFRONTED THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT WITHIN CAPITOL HILL ITSELF. THIS ON THE SAME DAY THAT SPEAKER PAUL RYAN PUT OUT WORD THAT THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WILL REQUIRE ANTI-HARASSMENT AND ANTI- DISCRIMINATION TRAINING FOR ALL MEMBERS AND STAFF. DURING THIS MORNING'S HEARING, TWO CONGRESSWOMEN, VIRGINIA REPUBLICAN BARBARA COMSTOCK, AND CALIFORNIA DEMOCRAT JACKIE SPEIER, SHARED THEIR PERSPECTIVES ON JUST HOW PERVASIVE THE ISSUE IS. THEY ALSO SUGGESTED-- WITHOUT NAMING NAMES-- THAT A FEW CURRENT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.
>> I WANTED TO CLOSE WITH SOMETHING I JUST HAD SOMEBODY TELL ME RECENTLY. THIS IS ABOUT A MEMBER WHO IS HERE NOW, I DON'T KNOW WHO IT IS, BUT SOMEBODY WHO I TRUST TOLD ME THE SITUATION. THIS MEMBER ASKED A STAFFER TO BRING THEM OVER SOME MATERIALS TO THEIR RESIDENCE. AND THE YOUNG STAFFER, IT'S A YOUNG WOMAN, WENT THERE, AND WAS GREETED WITH A MEMBER IN A TOWEL, WHO WAS A MALE, WHO THEN INVITED HER IN. AT THAT POINT, HE DECIDED TO EXPOSE HIMSELF. SHE LEFT, AND THEN SHE QUIT HER JOB. SHE LEFT, SHE FOUND ANOTHER JOB. BUT THAT KIND OF SITUATION-- WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE FOR WOMEN RIGHT NOW, WHO ARE DEALING WITH SOMEBODY LIKE THAT?
>> SINCE I SHARED MY OWN STORY ON #METOO CONGRESS, I HAVE HAD NUMEROUS MEETINGS AND PHONE CALLS WITH STAFF MEMBERS, BOTH PRESENT AND FORMER, WOMEN AND MEN, WHO HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TO THIS INEXCUSABLE, AND OFTENTIMES ILLEGAL BEHAVIOR. IN FACT, THERE ARE TWO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT, RIGHT NOW, WHO SERVE, WHO HAVE BEEN SUBJECT TO REVIEW, OR NOT HAVE BEEN SUBJECT TO REVIEW, BUT HAVE ENGAGED IN SEXUAL HARASSMENT.
>> Woodruff: AND WITH US NOW IS REPRESENTATIVE JACKIE SPEIER OF CALIFORNIA. CONGRESSWOMAN SPEIER, THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE. YOU COME TO THIS TOPIC WITH YOUR OWN BACKGROUND. YOU'VE TALKED ABOUT IT RECENTLY, AND THAT HAD TO DO WITH YOUR BEING ASSAULTED AS A YOUNG CONGRESSIONAL AIDE BY A SENIOR STAFF MEMBER AT THE CAPITOL.
>> THAT'S RIGHT, JUDY. WHEN I WAS A YOUNG AIDE IN 1973, THE CHIEF OF STAFF IN THE OFFICE I WORKED, WHEN WE WERE IN A ROOM ALONE, CAME UP TO ME, PUT HIS HANDS ON MY FACE, KICKED ME AND STUCK HIS TONGUE IN MY MOUTH, AND I RECOILED AND WAS PANICKED, AND I JUST MADE A POINT OF NEVER BEING ALONE WITH HIM EVER AGAIN. SO I TOLD MY STORY MOSTLY TO ENCOURAGE WOMEN ON THE HILL TO COME FORWARD AND KNOW THAT THEY HAVE AN EAR THAT WILL LISTEN TO THEM. I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THIS ISSUE FOR MANY YEARS. I ATTENDED MANDATORY SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN 2014 AMENDMENT, AND IT NEVER GOT HEARING. TODAY WE HAVE HEARING AND NOW THE SPEAKER IS MANDATING SEXUAL HARASSMENT PREVENTION TRAINING FOR ALL MEMBERS AND STAFF, BUT WE HAVE TO GO BEYOND, THAT BECAUSE THE OFFICE OF COMPLIANCE IS FRAUGHT WITH PROBLEMS FOR VICTIMS, AND HAS BEEN CREATED TO PROTECT THE HARASSER AND NOT TO PROVIDE ANY PROTECTION WHATSOEVER FOR THE VICTIM.
>> Woodruff: HOW PERVASIVE DO YOU THINK SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS TODAY ON THE HILL?
>> WELL, YOU KNOW, IT'S HARD TO MEASURE, BECAUSE VICTIMS ARE AFRAID TO COME FORWARD, AND, I MEAN, MOST VICTIMS, THREE QUARTERS OF THOSE WHO WERE SEXUALLY HARASSED NEVER COME FORWARD BECAUSE THEY'RE IN JOB ENVIRONMENTS WHERE THEY NEED THE JOB. THEY'RE AFRAID IF THEY COME FORWARD THEY'LL LOSE THEIR JOB OR THEY WILL BE A PARIAH. AND SO THE RESULT IS THAT WE REALLY DON'T KNOW. WE DO KNOW THAT OVER THE LAST TEN OR 15 YEARS THERE HAVE BEEN $50 MILLION THAT WE AS TACK PAYERS HAVE PAID OUT FOR CONDUCT BY STAFF OR MEMBERS WHO SEXUALLY HARASS OTHER STAFF IN THE BUILDING.
>> Woodruff: AS YOU JUST SAID, THE PROCESS THAT IT TAKES TO PROCESS A COMPLAINT RIGHT NOW IN THE CONGRESS IS UNUSUALLY ONEROUS. WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO CHANGE THAT?
>> I'M INTRODUCING A BILL TOMORROW THAT HOPEFULLY WILL HAVE ALL OF THE ELEMENTS TO SUCCESS. NO LONGER WILL A VICTIM BE REQUIRED TO SIGN A NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT. THEY WILL NOT BE FORCED INTO MEDIATION. THEY ARE GOING TO BE REPRESENTED BY THEIR OWN COUNCIL. THOSE WHO ARE INTERNS AND FELLOWS WHO HAVE NOWHERE TO GO NOW WILL BE ABLE TO ACCESS THIS PROCESS, AS WELL. SO WE'RE GOING TO CHANGE IT SO THAT IT IS MORE VICTIM CENTRIC.
>> Woodruff: DO YOU HAVE COSPONSORS FROM BOTH PARTIES?
>> I DO HAVE CO-AUTHORS FROM BOTH PARTIES.
>> Woodruff: WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PROSPECTS ARE?
>> WELL, DOING MANDATORY SEXUAL HARASSMENT PREVENTION TRAINING DOES NOTHING IF WE DON'T HAVE A SYSTEM THAT'S GOING TO PROTECT THE VICTIM. SO IT WOULD BE A A SHAME IF WE ONLY DO MANDATORY TRAINING.
>> Woodruff: I NOTICED YOU SAID TODAY WOMEN AND MEN HAVE THIS TO FEAR, NOT JUST WOMEN, BUT MEN WHO EXPERIENCE SEXUAL PEOPLE COMING ON TO THEM IN UNWELCOME WAYS AND WORSE, AS WELL.
>> THAT'S RIGHT. AND SOMETIMES, YOU KNOW, MEN ARE SUBJECT TO HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENTS. I HAD ONE YOUNG MAN WHO WAS DISABLED WHO SPOKE TO ME LAST WEEK AND WAS WORKING IN A VERY HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT, AND HE ATTRIBUTED TO HIS DISABILITY.
>> Woodruff: LIST PUT HIT THE WAY: WHY DO YOU THINK THIS PERSISTS IN THIS ENVIRONMENT? MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ARE WELL EDUCATED. THEY COME TO THIS CITY TO DO THE BUSINESS FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. WHY IS THILL HAPPENING?
>> YOU KNOW, I THINK IT'S BECAUSE THEY BECOME INTOXICATED WITH POWER THAT IT CONTINUES TO HAPPEN. BUT ALSO IT CONTINUES TO HAPPEN BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GET AWAY WITH IT. THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN NAMED. THEY'RE NOT OUTED. THEY DON'T HAVE TO PAY FOR THE SETTLEMENTS. AND SO THERE REALLY IS NO DOWN SIDE TO CONDUCTING THEMSELVES IN A MANNER THAT ALLOWS THEM TO ASSERT THEIR POWER. YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES THIS PLACE HAS BEEN CALLED HOLLYWOOD FOR UGLY PEOPLE. AND I THINK SOMETIMES IT'S THE SENSE THAT SOMEHOW PERSONS WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN SEEN AS ATTRACTIVE, ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY ARE BECAUSE THEY HAVE POWER, AND THEY FIND WAYS TO ABUSE IT. BUT IT'S A CULTURAL PROBLEM, IT'S A CULTURAL PROBLEM THROUGHOUT THIS COUNTRY AND ONE THAT HAS PLAGUED MANY WORKPLACES AND MANY PROFESSIONS AND ONE THAT I THINK WE'RE FINALLY AT A TIPPING POINT THAT WE'LL BE ABLE TO FIX, AND THAT'S GOOD NEWS FOR MEN AND WOMEN IN THIS COUNTRY.
>> Woodruff: I NOTICE THE HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI AT ONE POINT WAS QUOTED AS SAYING SHE NEVER EXPERIENCED THIS HERSELF, WASN'T AWARE OF IT. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT SOME PEOPLE JUST DON'T COME ACROSS THIS?
>> I THINK IT'S POSSIBLE THAT PEOPLE HAVE NOT BEEN SUBJECT TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT, BUT I THINK THE LIKELIHOOD OF BEING SUBJECT TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS GREATER HERE THAN IN MANY OTHER LOCATIONS BECAUSE IT IS A PREDOMINANTLY MALE ENVIRONMENT, AND WE HAVE HAD A SYSTEM THAT HAS PROTECTED HARASSERS. SO THEY HAD THE FREEDOM TO OPERATE IN THAT MANNER. I CAN'T TELL YOU THE NUMBER OF STAFFERS WHO HAVE COME UP TO ME OVER THE LAST COUPLE WEEKS AND SAID, WE'RE SO GRATEFUL YOU'RE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT. THIS WE HAVE 1,500 FORMER STAFFERS ON CAPITOL HILL WHO SIGNED A LETTER TO THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE HOUSE ADMIN COMMITTEE SEEKING TO HAVE THIS ISSUE FINALLY DEALT WITH. AND THEY HAVE SERVED FROM THE '70s THROUGH THE 2000s.
>> Woodruff: REMARKABLE. REMARKABLE. SO MANY PEOPLE. REPRESENTATIVE JACKIE SPEIER, THANK THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
>> THANK YOU.
>> Woodruff: STAY WITH US. COMING UP ON THE NEWSHOUR: HANDS-ON AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS TO GET KIDS EXCITED ABOUT MATH AND THE GROWING RIFT OVER ALLEGATIONS FACING ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE, ROY MOORE. THIS EVENING, THE NEWSHOUR IS CONFIRMING NEWS THAT THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE IS SEVERING ALL TIES WITH THE MOORE CAMPAIGN. THIS EXPOSES A GROWING DIVIDE BETWEEN THE SO-CALLED G.O.P. ESTABLISHMENT AND A KEY PLAYER IN PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SUCCESS: STEVE BANNON. JOHN YANG HAS THE STORY.
>> I HAVE NOT BEEN GUILTY OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT WITH ANYONE.
>> Yang: THAT MIGHT BE THE DEFENSE FOR ROY MOORE, THE REPUBLICAN RUNNING IN ALABAMA'S SPECIAL SENATE ELECTION. BUT WHILE TOP ESTABLISHMENT REPUBLICANS DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM THE CANDIDATE...
>> I THINK IT WOULD BE BEST IF ROY WOULD JUST STEP ASIDE.
>> I DON'T BELIEVE THERE'D BE ANY PLACE FOR HIM IN THE U.S. SENATE.
>> I THINK HE SHOULD STEP ASIDE.
>> Yang: ...THE INSURGENT OUTSIDER WHO'S CHAMPIONING HIM IS DOUBLING DOWN ON HIS SUPPORT.
>> UNTIL I SEE ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE ON JUDGE MOORE, I'M STANDING WITH HIM.
>> Yang: STEVE BANNON, THE OUSTED WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR WHO'S LOOKING TO SEND SHOCKWAVES THROUGH THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN 2018, AND BEYOND. BANNON IS A DIVISIVE FIGURE. A POLITICAL LIGHTNING ROD AS MR. TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN C.E.O., THEN A TOP WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR, WHOSE SEEMINGLY OUTSIZED INFLUENCE ON THE PRESIDENT MADE HIM A HOUSEHOLD NAME.
>> SEND IN STEVE BANNON. ( DRAMATIC MUSIC )
>> Yang: BANNON LEFT THE WHITE HOUSE IN AUGUST AMID OVAL OFFICE TENSIONS AND REPORTS HE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PRESIDENT'S TEPID RESPONSE IN DENOUNCING DEADLY RACIAL VIOLENCE IN CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA.
>> I THINK THERE IS BLAME ON BOTH SIDES, AND I HAVE NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, AND YOU DON'T HAVE A DOUBT ABOUT IT.
>> Yang: BANNON RETURNED AS EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF "BREITBART NEWS," A CONSERVATIVE WEBSITE HE ONCE DUBBED A "PLATFORM FOR THE ALT-RIGHT." NOW, HE IS CHIEF ANTAGONIST FOR MR. TRUMP AND HIS BRAND OF IDEOLOGY, TAKING AIM AT THE HEART OF THE SENATE G.O.P. AND PARTY ESTABLISHMENT. BANNON HAS THREATENED TO IDENTIFY AND SUPPORT PRIMARY CHALLENGERS AGAINST ALMOST EVERY REPUBLICAN RUNNING FOR REELECTION NEXT YEAR-- EXCEPT TEXAS SENATOR TED CRUZ-- AND SOME DEMOCRATS. HIS GOAL: TO LOAD THE SENATE WITH INSURGENTS WHO ARE LOYAL TO MR. TRUMP'S POPULIST IDEAS AND WANT TO BUCK MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL.
>> THERE IS A TIME AND SEASON FOR EVERYTHING. AND RIGHT NOW, IT IS A SEASON OF WAR AGAINST THE G.O.P. ESTABLISHMENT.
>> IT'S AN INCREDIBLY STUPID AND A COUNTERPRODUCTIVE IDEA.
>> Yang: MICHAEL STEEL IS A LONGTIME REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT, AND AN AIDE TO HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER AND JEB BUSH'S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN.
>> THIS ISN'T A MATTER OF IDEOLOGY. THIS IS A MATTER OF MATH. IF YOU HAVE A 52-SEAT MAJORITY IN THE SENATE, WHERE MOST THINGS IN ORDER TO MOVE FORWARD REQUIRES 60 VOTES, YOU NEED MORE REPUBLICANS, NOT MORE PURE REPUBLICANS.
>> Yang: JUST A YEAR FROM THE 2018 MIDTERMS, AND BANNON HAS ALREADY CLAIMED CREDIT FOR UPENDING AT LEAST THREE INCUMBENTS. IN SEPTEMBER, WHEN MOORE WON THE PRIMARY AGAINST INCUMBENT SENATOR LUTHER STRANGE:
>> EVERY PERSON IN THIS COUNTRY SHOULD GET DOWN EVERY NIGHT AND THANK GOD DONALD TRUMP IS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
>> Yang: THAT SAME DAY, BANNON CHEERED WHEN A MODERATE REPUBLICAN FROM TENNESSEE ANNOUNCED HE WOULDN'T RUN.
>> SENATOR CORKER STEPPED DOWN TODAY. HE'S NOT GOING TO RUN FOR RE-ELECTION. ( APPLAUSE )
>> Yang: THEN, A NEW HEIGHT--
>> I AM ANNOUNCING TODAY THAT MY SERVICE IN THE SENATE WILL CONCLUDE AT THE END OF MY TERM.
>> Yang: ...AS INCUMBENT SENATOR JEFF FLAKE OF ARIZONA SAID HE WOULD NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION, EITHER. BANNON'S WEBSITE, BREITBART NEWS, QUICKLY TOOK CREDIT, WITH A HEADLINE FLASHING: "WINNING: FLAKE OUT." IN ARIZONA, BANNON HAS ENDORSED KELLI WARD, A FORMER STATE LEGISLATOR.
>> I THINK OF MYSELF AS AN AMERICANIST, AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT RESONATES SO MUCH WITH THE PEOPLE IN ARIZONA, AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT RESONATED WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THAT'S WHY HE'S IN THE WHITE HOUSE, AND THAT'S WHY I'LL BE IN THE SENATE.
>> Yang: WARD UNSUCCESSFULLY RAN AGAINST SENATOR JOHN McCAIN LAST YEAR. NOW, SHE'S CASTING HERSELF AS AN "AMERICA-FIRST" CONSERVATIVE INSURGENT.
>> WE WANT A SECURE BORDER. WE WANT TO STOP ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. WE WANT OBAMACARE OUT OF HERE. WE WANT THE TAX CODE FIXED. WE WANT THE MILITARY TO BE STRONG. WE WANT ALL OF THOSE THINGS, AND THE PEOPLE WHO ARE IN WASHINGTON., D.C., RIGHT NOW ARE NOT DELIVERING.
>> Yang: AT HER KICKOFF PARTY IN SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA, BANNON MADE CLEAR: IT'S HIM-- AND CANDIDATES LIKE WARD-- VERSUS THE ESTABLISHMENT.
>> IT'S AN OPEN REVOLT, AND IT SHOULD BE. THESE PEOPLE HOLD YOU IN TOTAL CONTEMPT. WHEN THEY ATTACK DONALD TRUMP AND DR. KELLI WARD, IT'S NOT DONALD TRUMP AND KELLI WARD THEY'RE TRYING TO SHUT UP. IT'S YOU THEY'RE TRYING TO SHUT UP.
>> Yang: HIS MESSAGE RESONATED WITH THE CROWD.
>> I AM VERY UNHAPPY WITH McCONNELL, I AM VERY UNHAPPY WITH THE SENATE.
>> I THINK THEY GO BACK TO WASHINGTON, AND THEY JUST THINK THEY'RE SET FOR LIFE THERE.
>> STEVE BANNON IS CARRYING ON WITH THAT CLEAR AGENDA THAT WAS PROMISED TO US DURING THE DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN.
>> Yang: FOR HIS PART, McCONNELL IS ALREADY FIRING BACK: HIS SUPER PAC, THE "SENATE LEADERSHIP FUND," LAUNCHED ADS LINKING WARD TO A CONSPIRACY THEORY THAT THE GOVERNMENT USES AIRPLANES TO SPREAD MIND CONTROL CHEMICALS.
>> CHEMTRAIL KELLY'S GOT HER HEAD IN THE CLOUDS, WITH CRAZY IDEAS.
>> Yang: HE WOULDN'T BE THE FIRST TO TRY AND CLEAN HOUSE WITHIN HIS OWN PARTY, SAYS PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN MICHAEL BESCHLOSS.
>> FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT TRIED THAT IN 1938 WITH SOME SENATORS-- ESPECIALLY FROM THE SOUTH, WHO WERE BLOCKING HIS PROGRAMS. AND HE WOULD ACTUALLY GO INTO THE HOME STATE OF THE SENATOR AND GIVE SPEECHES AGAINST HIM. IT DIDN'T WORK, HE DIDN'T GET ONE OF THEM ELECTED. IF YOU'RE TRYING TO CHANGE THE PARTY, THAT ALWAYS HAPPENS IN HISTORY OVER THE COURSE OF A NUMBER OF ELECTIONS. IT JUST DOESN'T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT WITH ONE ELECTION NIGHT. AND SO, WHEN YOU HEAR A DAVID PLOUFFE OR A KARL ROVE SAY, "I'M NOT JUST TRYING TO CHANGE THE PARTY FOR THIS MOMENT, I'M TRYING TO CHANGE IT FOR THE NEXT GENERATION," THAT'S VERY MUCH WITHIN THE TRADITION OF AMERICAN HISTORY.
>> Yang: BANNON ALSO SAYS HE'S LOOKING FOR A LONG-TERM CHANGE, AND HIS FIRST TEST WILL BE IN 2018. FOR THE PBS NEWSHOUR, I'M JOHN YANG.
>> Woodruff: THE DEMAND FOR SKILLED WORKERS IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, AND MATH, OR SO-CALLED STEM FIELDS, IS ONLY GOING UP. SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT LISA STARK OF "EDUCATION WEEK" REPORTS ON ONE OF THOSE PROGRAMS IN RHODE ISLAND, FOR OUR WEEKLY SERIES ON EDUCATION, "MAKING THE GRADE."
>> YOUR TIMER, YOUR TAPE.
>> Reporter: THESE FOURTH AND FIFTH GRADERS AT ELLA RISK ELEMENTARY IN CENTRAL FALLS, RHODE ISLAND ARE ABOUT TO EMBARK ON AN ENGINEERING ADVENTURE.
>> YEAH, LET'S MOVE OUT THIS THING.
>> SOMEONE TAPE THIS SO THE MARBLE WON'T FALL OFF.
>> Reporter: THEIR JOB IS TO CONSTRUCT A TRACK, THEN LET LOOSE A MARBLE. HERE'S THE TRICKY PART.
>> SO WE PUT THE MARBLE AND WE HAVE TO MAKE IT INTO THE GOAL IN EXACTLY ONE MINUTE.
>> Reporter: HOW HARD IS THAT?
>> VERY HARD!
>> YOU GUYS ARE PRETTY GOOD.
>> Reporter: TEACHER SHERYL WILSON SAYS THIS FEELS LIKE A FUN GAME, BUT IT'S REALLY MUCH MORE.
>> THE LESSON SCIENTIFICALLY WAS ABOUT FRICTION, POTENTIAL, KINETIC ENERGY, SLOPE-- HOW ARE WE GOING TO MAKE IT LAST 60 SECONDS? SO IT'S A CONTINUATION OF REDESIGN, REDESIGN, REDESIGN. AND WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN'T.
>> OH-- TAPE IS TOO SLIPPERY.
>> OHHHHHH.
>> Reporter: THE STUDENTS ARE HERE BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE. THEY CAN SIGN UP FOR THIS FREE STEM CLUB THAT MEETS WEEKLY AFTER SCHOOL. AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS LIKE THIS ALLOW STUDENTS TO LEARN IN A LOW-STAKES ENVIRONMENT. THERE ARE NO TESTS, THERE IS TIME FOR EXPLORATION, AND FAILURE IS CELEBRATED. YOU MAKE A MISTAKE, YOU LEARN FROM THAT, YOU TRY A DIFFERENT APPROACH. THIS PROGRAM, CALLED SMILE, IS ONE OF HUNDREDS OF DIFFERENT AFTERSCHOOL SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH STEM PROGRAMS AROUND THE COUNTRY. HERE, THE IDEA ISN'T TO MIRROR THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM, BUT TO COMPLIMENT IT.
>> I KNEW THAT SMILE WAS SCIENCE, SO I WANTED MORE TIME WITH SCIENCE.
>> Reporter: WHY DID YOU WANT MORE TIME WITH SCIENCE?
>> BECAUSE I DON'T GET THAT MUCH SCIENCE IN MY CLASS AND BECAUSE I LIKE SCIENCE.
>> Reporter: NATIONWIDE ONLY ABOUT HALF OF FOURTH GRADERS GET HANDS-ON SCIENCE ACTIVITIES AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK. BY EIGHTH GRADE, THE VAST MAJORITY OF STUDENTS HAVE ACCESS TO SCIENCE LABS, BUT ONLY ABOUT 40% HAVE SUFFICIENT LAB SUPPLIES. IT'S WHY AFTERSCHOOL OPPORTUNITIES HAVE TAKEN ON ADDED IMPORTANCE.
>> IT'S FUN, WE GOT TO DO A LOT OF BUILDING.
>> Reporter: STEM ADVOCATES SAY CLASSES LIKE THIS ONE, THAT ENCOURAGE TEAMWORK AND ANALYTICAL THINKING, ARE CRITICAL IN OUR INCREASINGLY TECHNOLOGICAL WORLD. CLAUS VON ZASTROW RUNS A BUSINESS-BACKED NONPROFIT THAT WORKS TO EXPAND AND IMPROVE STEM EDUCATION.
>> WHEN WE SEE THE RATE AT WHICH STEM SKILLS ARE INCREASING IN IMPORTANCE IN JOBS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE SAME INCREASE IN STUDENT PERFORMANCE IN STEM IN OUR SCHOOLS. AND WE'RE NOT SEEING THAT YET, AND THAT'S VERY CONCERNING.
>> Reporter: ONLY A THIRD OF EIGHTH GRADERS ARE PROFICIENT IN MATH AND SCIENCE, AND IN 12th GRADE, ABOUT A QUARTER ARE. AND MEASURED AGAINST OTHER COUNTRIES, U.S. STUDENTS LAG BEHIND. 14 YEAR OLDS IN THE U.S. RANK 10th IN MATH WORLDWIDE AND 11th IN SCIENCE.
>> IT TOOK US A LONG TIME TO GET TO THE POINT WHERE WE ACTUALLY HAVE REALLY STRONG STANDARDS, FOR EXAMPLE, AND CURRICULUM IN STEM, AND ONE COULD ARGUE THAT IN MANY STATES THAT CURRICULUM HASN'T EVEN BEEN FULLY DEVELOPED YET.
>> Reporter: VON ZASTROW SAYS STEM SKILLS ARE NEEDED IN A BROAD RANGE OF JOBS, FROM COMPUTER PROGRAMMING TO HEALTHCARE TO MANUFACTURING, AND THAT THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH QUALIFIED WORKERS TO FILL THEM. THERE IS A DEBATE ABOUT THE SIZE OF THIS JOB SKILLS GAP, OR WHETHER IT TRULY EXISTS IN MOST STEM FIELDS. BUT GOVERNMENT STUDIES SHOW STEM JOBS ARE GROWING FASTER THAN OTHER JOBS, AND DO TEND TO OFFER HIGHER SALARIES. WE DO SEATBELT OURSELVES IN, SO THINK ABOUT HOW YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO MIMIC THAT. EXPOSING STUDENTS TO STEM EARLY HAS BENEFITS, BUILDING INTEREST AND CONFIDENCE IN MATH AND SCIENCE.
>> SCIENCE, I'M PRETTY INTERESTED IN. BUT MATH, MAN, I'M NOT GOOD AT MATH. WE'RE GOING TO LEARN ABOUT MATH, AND I FEEL LIKE NOW I'M GOING TO START GETTING MATH MORE AND ENJOYING.
>> THE RESEARCH SHOWS, THE EARLIER WE INTEREST KIDS IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, THE MORE LIKELY THEY WILL FOLLOW THROUGH WITH IT.
>> Reporter: AFTERSCHOOL STEM PROGRAMS TEND TO BE LOCAL. CAROL ENGLANDER STARTED SMILE IN RHODE ISLAND, BASED ON A PROGRAM SHE SAW IN OREGON. FUNDED BY CORPORATE AND FOUNDATION GRANTS, IT NOW SERVES OVER 500 STUDENTS IN THE STATE, FROM FOURTH TO 12th GRADE.
>> EVERYBODY, SHOW ME YOUR TWO SETS OF WHEELS, YOUR TWO AXLES.
>> Reporter: THE LESSON FOR THESE MIDDLE SCHOOLERS IN PAWTUCKET: DESIGN A CAR, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT MASS AND MOMENTUM, AND ENSURE IT WILL PROTECT THE PASSENGER, IN THIS CASE A HARD- BOILED EGG.
>> WHAT DO WE SEE AS ONE IMMEDIATE CONCERN?
>> Reporter: IT'S NOT HARD TO GET KIDS ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT HANDS-ON SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING.
>> I WANT TO BE AN ENGINEER WHEN I GROW UP.
>> Reporter: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?
>> I WANT TO CREATE THINGS.
>> Reporter: BUT IT IS DIFFICULT TO SUSTAIN THAT INTEREST, ESPECIALLY AS CLASSES GET MORE DIFFICULT.
>> WE WORK VERY HARD AT PROMOTING A COHESIVE PEER GROUP WHERE EVERYONE KNOWS IT'S COOL TO BE SMART. THEY IDENTIFY WITH SCIENCE, THEY IDENTIFY WITH STEM. THAT CARRIES THEM INTO HIGH SCHOOL, TO TAKE THE HARDER SCIENCE AND MATH COURSES.
>> AFTER, LIKE, THE FIRST COUPLE OF SESSIONS, KIND OF, JUST GOT HOOKED.
>> Reporter: PEDRO RAPOSO SAID HIS STEM GROUP BECAME LIKE A FAMILY, ALL THERE ON THEIR OWN TIME, ALL EAGER TO LEARN. HE PARTICIPATED THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL.
>> THE SMILE PROGRAM TRIED TO HIT ON A LOT OF DIFFERENT SUBJECTS, SO I WAS ABLE TO KIND OF LIKE, HAVE A LITTLE TASTE OF ALL THESE DIFFERENT FIELDS. AND THEN I THINK THAT'S WHEN I FIGURED THAT I WANTED TO BE AN ENGINEER.
>> Reporter: RAPOSO HAS JUST GRADUATED FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND WITH A DEGREE IN ENGINEERING, AND IS ON THE JOB HUNT-- THE FIRST IN HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY TO ATTEND COLLEGE. LOW-INCOME STUDENTS, MINORITIES AND WOMEN ARE LESS LIKELY TO TAKE STEM CLASSES OR PURSUE THOSE JOBS. MANY AFTERSCHOOL STEM PROGRAMS AIM TO CHANGE THAT. TEACHER JANELLE HAIRE:
>> RIGHT NOW, SCIENCE IS DOMINATED BY WHITE MEN, AND I DON'T KNOW IF YOU NOTICED IN OUR CLUB, IT'S NOT ALL WHITE MEN. SO, IT'S REALLY TO SHOW THEM TOO THAT YOU CAN BE AN ENGINEER REGARDLESS OF YOUR RACE OR YOUR GENDER OR YOUR AGE OR YOUR EDUCATION OR WHERE YOU'RE FROM.
>> Reporter: TO REINFORCE THAT MESSAGE, STEM PROGRAMS OFTEN GET OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM. SMILE GOES TO SCIENCE COMPETITIONS AND THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND.
>> SEEING ALL THE STUDENTS WALK AROUND. THE STUDENTS WITH THEIR BACKPACKS GOING FROM BUILDING TO BUILDING. I WAS REALLY ABLE TO IMAGINE MYSELF THERE IN FOUR MORE YEARS.
>> MASS HAS TO DO WITH WEIGHT.
>> Reporter: EXPOSING STUDENTS TO STEM JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES, AND SURROUNDING THEM WITH EQUALLY ENTHUSIASTIC STUDENTS, CAN BOOST INTEREST IN STEM. IT TAKES A CONCERTED EFFORT, BOTH IN SCHOOL AND OUT. FOR "EDUCATION WEEK" AND THE PBS NEWSHOUR, I'M LISA STARK, IN CENTRAL FALLS, RHODE ISLAND.
>> Woodruff: NOW, THE LONG- LASTING AND POWERFUL INFLUENCE CHILDHOOD HAS HAD ON ONE WRITER. JEFFREY BROWN HAS THE LATEST ADDITION TO THE "NEWSHOUR BOOKSHELF."
>> Brown: IMAGINATION AND MEMORY, TOOLS AMY TAN HAVE MINED SINCE HER HUGELY SUCCESSFUL DEBUT IN 1989 WITH THE NOVEL, "THE JOY LUCK CLUB," FOLLOWED BY FIVE OTHER NOVELS, TWO CHILDREN'S BOOKS AND MORE. IN HER FICTION, SHE'S WRITTEN OF MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS, AND THE CHINESE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. NOW, SHE EXPLORES JUST WHERE THE WRITING COMES FROM IN A NEW BOOK TITLED "WHERE THE PAST BEGINS: A WRITER'S MEMOIR." AND WELCOME TO YOU.
>> GOOD TO BE HERE.
>> Brown: YOU ACTUALLY CALL THIS AN UNINTENDED MEMOIR. WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE ACTUALLY DOING?
>> I WAS GOING TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT WRITING: HOW DOES THE MIND WORK, HOW DOES MY WRITER'S MIND WORK, CREATIVITY, IMAGINATION; AND IT WASN'T UNTIL I STARTED WRITING THINGS SPONTANEOUSLY AND SEEING THAT THEY KEPT REVERTING TO WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO ME IN CHILDHOOD, THAT IT BECAME MORE OF A MEMOIR.
>> Brown: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT COMES THROUGH IN THE BOOK, AS YOU'RE PULLING OUT THOSE DOCUMENTS AND LOOKING AT PHOTOGRAPHS, EACH ONE IS CLEARLY A STORY, CONNECTING TO YOU AS A STORYTELLER, RIGHT?
>> IT WAS FINDING OUT THAT MY FATHER AND MOTHER WERE ILLEGAL, AND THAT'S WHY MY PARENTS HAD LIED ON A FORM. OR, IT WAS FINDING OUT THAT I WASN'T MY FATHER'S FAVORITE. THINGS THAT WERE TRAUMATIC IN A WAY, TO DISCOVER AT THIS AGE, THAT YOU WERE LIED TO. AND THEN I WENT INTO THE REASONS WHY, WHO I BECAME. AND THAT BECAME PART OF THE MEMOIR. BUT IT ALSO HAD TO DO WITH MY SENSIBILITY AS A WRITER.
>> Brown: YOUR MOTHER STANDS OUT AS THE MOST VIVID PERSON IN YOUR LIFE, AND SHE WAS ALWAYS LOOKING, SORT OF LIVING IN THE PAST, IN A WAY.
>> SHE HID THAT PAST, BUT IT ALWAYS KIND OF SNUCK UP IN DIFFERENT WARNINGS THAT SHE GAVE ME, LIKE "DON'T LET A MAN KISS YOU," OR "DON'T LET A BOY KISS YOU AND THEN YOU'LL END UP PREGNANT AND YOU'LL KILL THE BABY AND THEN--" I MEAN, NOT KNOWING WHERE THAT CAME FROM, AND REALIZING LATER SHE WAS MARRIED TO A SOCIOPATH. NOT MY FATHER, BUT SOMEBODY ELSE.
>> Brown: IN HER LIFE IN CHINA.
>> YEAH, AND THE PAST, THEN, WAS ALWAYS PRESENT IN OUR LIVES. I FOUND, IN UNEARTHING ALL THESE THINGS, I FOUND POIGNANT THINGS ABOUT OUR RELATIONSHIP. THE LETTERS SHE WROTE TO ME AND THE LETTERS I WROTE TO HER. I HAD ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT WE WERE APART, AND WHAT I REALIZED IN WRITING THIS, THAT WE WERE ALMOST DANGEROUSLY LIKE SYMBIOTIC TWINS. THAT THERE WAS ALMOST A PATHOLOGICAL NEED TO BE WITHIN EACH OTHER'S FEELINGS AND TO UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER, WHICH THEN I REALIZED BECAME PART OF MY SKILLS AS A WRITER. YOU HAVE TO EMPATHIZE WITH THE CHARACTER, YOU HAVE TO SYMPATHY FOR THEM.
>> Brown: WELL, I WAS ALMOST WONDERING, AS I WAS READING, OBVIOUSLY, THESE ARE REAL PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE. BUT AS YOU'RE GOING BACK AND LOOKING, TO WHAT EXTENT ARE THEY CHARACTERS? BECAUSE YOU ARE A WRITER THAT WRITES CHARACTERS.
>> NO. THEY WERE NEVER CHARACTERS.
>> Brown: NO?
>> IT WAS LIKE GOING BACK INTO MY PAST AND BEING THAT KID AGAIN, AND THIS IS MY MOTHER AND MY FATHER, AND I'M IN THAT SCENE AGAIN. WHERE MY MOTHER AND BROTHERS AND I ARE IN A CAR. MY MOTHER IS IN THE FRONT SEAT, SOMETHING IS GOING ON BETWEEN MY MOTHER AND MY FATHER, AND I NOTICE EVERYTHING THAT'S GOING ON AND I TELL MYSELF TO BE STRONG. MY MOTHER IS ABOUT TO COMMIT SUICIDE, AND I KNOW SHE'S GOING TO DO IT, AND THEN SHE OPENS THE DOOR AND HER FOOT IS OUT. I WAS THERE AGAIN, RELIVING SOMETHING THAT I HAD PUSHED OUT OF MY MIND A LONG TIME AGO.
>> Brown: SHE DID NOT, I MEAN--
>> SHE DIDN'T KILL HERSELF.
>> Brown: BUT THIS WAS THE THREAT THAT YOU SORT OF LIVED THROUGH.
>> IT WAS A CONSTANT, BECAUSE SHE ACTUALLY TRIED A NUMBER OF TIMES. WE COULDN'T EVER DISMISS IT. IT ALWAYS MADE US QUAKE.
>> Brown: I'VE SEEN YOUR FICTION REFERRED TO AS SEMI- AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL. IS THAT FAIR, IS THAT TRUE?
>> EVERYBODY'S NOVEL IS SEMI- AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL. I MEAN, YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, OR THE WAY YOU THINK OF LIFE, OR THE KIND OF PEOPLE YOU THINK ARE INTERESTING OR NOT INTERESTING, PEOPLE WHO HAVE IMPACTED YOUR LIFE AND MADE YOU WHO YOU ARE. THAT'S WHO YOU PUT IN YOUR STORY, SO THEY'RE ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL. PEOPLE SAY IT'S AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL EVEN IF I'VE WRITTEN ABOUT A GHOST.
>> Brown: THERE ARE GHOSTS IN YOUR PAST, RIGHT? I MEAN, FROM THE FAMILY, THEY ARE MUCH ALIVE AS THE REAL PEOPLE.
>> THEY ARE ALWAYS WITH ME WHEN I'M WRITING. WHEN I'M WRITING, WHAT OFTEN HAPPENS IS OUR STRANGE COINCIDENCES, AND I THINK THESE ARE THE CLUES. IT'S LIKE A LITTLE THING I HAVE TO FOLLOW AND I KEEP FOLLOWING MORE COINCIDENCES. I'M ON THE RIGHT TRACK, AND THEN I FIND SOMETHING THAT IS SHOCKING, THAT MAYBE MY GRANDMOTHER WAS A CORTISEN, THAT MY MOTHER HAD BEEN IN JAIL. ALL OF THESE THINGS COME TOGETHER AND THEY MAKE SENSE. FICTION MAKES THOSE THINGS HAPPEN FASTER BECAUSE I LET MYSELF GO AND I'M NOT AS SELF- CONSCIOUS, BUT ALL THESE THINGS FROM THE PAST, THEY SOMEHOW RISE UP WHEN YOU LET GO AND SAY IT'S FICTION.
>> Brown: YOU'RE USED TO PRAISE AND CRITICISM FOR THE FICTION. DOES THIS FEEL DIFFERENT, PUTTING THIS OUT INTO THE WORLD, THIS SLICE OF YOUR REAL SELF?
>> YEAH, I WROTE THIS THING SO SPONTANEOUSLY AND I DIDN'T GET TO EDIT IT IN THE WAY THAT I WANTED AND IT FEELS VERY RAW, IT FEELS TOO NEW. SO IT'S NOT A CRITICISM ABOUT THE WRITING SO MUCH AS ABOUT PRIVACY, AND MISINTERPRETATION OF WHO I AM, AND IT'S ALMOST AS THOUGH I CAN'T BEAR TO HEAR PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT ME.
>> Brown: YOU'RE THE ONE WHO PUT IT OUT THERE. YOU DID IT YOURSELF.
>> I KNOW, IT'S A CONTRADICTION. IT'S A CONTRADICTION I HAVE IN MYSELF TO BE VERY PRIVATE, AND THEN I WRITE ABOUT PRIVACY. I'M UNCENSORED IN A WAY AND CONTRADICTORY AS A WRITER AND SO I'M VERY AMBIVALENT ABOUT THIS BOOK. IT'S OUT THERE. I TOLD MY EDITOR I HATE IT. IT'S TOO EARLY TO BE OUT THERE. I'M STILL THE KID, I HAVEN'T GROWN UP YET.
>> Brown: ALL RIGHT, WELL, IT'S OUT THERE. IT'S CALLED "WHERE THE PAST BEGINS: A WRITER'S MEMOIR." AMY TAN, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
>> THANK YOU.
>> Woodruff: FINALLY TONIGHT, REMEMBERING SOMEONE WHO WAS AN ESSENTIAL MEMBER OF OUR NEWSHOUR FAMILY: MY FORMER CO-ANCHOR AND OUR BELOVED FRIEND. GWEN IFILL DIED ONE YEAR AGO TODAY. SHE WAS A LEADER BOTH ON AIR AND OFF, SHARING HER WISDOM, HER PASSION FOR REPORTING AND HER LOVE OF POLITICS AND PEOPLE. WE SET OUR JOURNALISTIC COMPASS WITH GWEN AS THE NORTH STAR. WE WERE DEVASTATED TO LOSE HER AFTER HER ALMOST YEAR-LONG BATTLE WITH CANCER, BUT HER VALUES INSPIRE US HERE EVERY DAY. HERE NOW, A CONVERSATION SHE HAD IN 2014 WITH HER GOOD FRIEND, THE JOURNALIST MICHELLE NORRIS, FOR THE PBS SERIES "HISTORY MAKERS."
>> WHEN YOU WENT TO TELEVISION--
>> Ifill: YES.
>> WE HEART FROM PETE WILLIAMS THAT YOU TOOK TO IT ALMOST IMMEDIATELY.
>> Ifill: THAT'S SO NOT TRUE. I WAS-- I LOVE PETE, AND IT'S SO SWEET THAT HE THOUGHT THAT. BUT IT WAS REALLY HARD MAKING-- AND YOU KNOW THIS-- MAKING THE TRANSITION FROM PRINT TO TELEVISION. YOU HAD TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO WRITE DIFFERENTLY. YOU HAD TO FIGURE OUT HOW PRESENT DIFFERENTLY. AND YOU HAD TO SETTLE ON THE RIGHT SHADE OF LIPSTICK, WHICH WAS HUGE. ( LAUGHTER ) IT TURNED OUT THAT EVERYBODY HAD SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT YOU WHEN YOU'RE IN FRONT OF A TELEVISION. BUT THE OTHER THING IS, YOU GET YOUR PHONE CALLS RETURNED. PEOPLE FELT THEY KNEW YOU. THAT ACCESSIBILITY QUOTIENT CAME TO WORK, AND YOU REACHED A MUCH BROADER AUDIENCE. SO, WHEN I LEFT THE "TIMES," I REMEMBER GOING TO THE THEN- PUBLISHER, ARTHUR SULZBERGER, AT THE "TIMES" AND TOLD HIM I WAS THINKING OF LEAVING TO GO TO WORK FOR NBC. AND HE SAID, "WHY WOULD YOU GO TO WORK IN TELEVISION? I DON'T WATCH TELEVISION." ( LAUGHTER ) WELL, THAT'S CHANGED. BUT THE POINT WAS, I WANTED TO MAKE SURE-- ANOTHER IMPORTANT LESSON FOR THE CHILDREN, WHICH IS, I DIDN'T BURN BRIDGES. I MADE SURE, IN CASE I FAILED IN TELEVISION, I COULD GO BACK TO PRINT. AND I DIDN'T FAIL, FOR THE SAME REASONS WHY YOU DON'T FAIL. YOU WORK HARD. IT'S NOT HOW YOU GET IN THE DOOR, IT'S WHAT YOU DO ONCE YOU ARE THROUGH THE DOOR. AND YOU MAKE SURE THAT YOU MAKE FRIENDS AND LEARN LESSONS FROM THE PEOPLE WHO ARE WILLING TO HELP AND IGNORE THE HATERS.
>> BUT, YOU KNOW, AND ONE THING THAT I CAN SAY, HAVING WORKED IN TELEVISION ALSO, IS THAT EVERYWHERE I WOULD GO, I WOULD FIND CAMERA CREWS WHO LOVED THEM SOME GWEN IFILL. THAT YOU REMEMBERED THAT IT WAS A TEAM THAT GOT YOU ON THE AIR.
>> Ifill: WELL, I WOULD FLIRT WITH THE CAMERA CREWS, TOO. I SHOULD SAY, TO THIS DAY. ( LAUGHTER )
>> YOU COVERED A LOT OF CONVENTIONS.
>> Ifill: YES.
>> AND YOU HAVE SAID THAT COVERING THE CONVENTIONS IS ACTUALLY ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE PARTS OF COVERING POLITICS.
>> Ifill: YES.
>> WHAT DO YOU LOVE SO MUCH ABOUT CONVENTIONS?
>> Ifill: I'M ONE OF THE LAST HOLDOUTS WHO THINK CONVENTIONS KIND OF MATTER. I LIKE A ROOM FULL OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THE PROCESS. I LIKE-- I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE HEAR FROM THE FUTURE LEADERS OF OUR PARTY. I WAS STANDING ON THE PODIUM-- THE PODIUM? THE DAIS, IN 2004 WHEN THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER FINISHED SPEAKING. AND WHEN BARACK OBAMA WALKED OVER TO ME WITH THE-- YOU KNOW, PLACE WAS CRAZY, AND THE CONFETTI WAS FLYING AND BALLOONS.
>> THE BALLOONS AND ALL THAT.
>> Ifill: AND THERE WAS THIS ELECTRICITY, YOU WILL REMEMBER, THAT NIGHT. AND I ASKED HIM HOW HE THOUGHT HE DID, AND HE SAYS, "AH, I THINK I DID OKAY." NOW, I FOUND OUT LATER THAT MICHELLE HAD SAID TO HIM IN ADVANCE, "JUST DON'T SCREW UP." ( LAUGHTER ) SO, YOU KNOW WHAT? HE DIDN'T. AND IT WAS GREAT TO BE THERE IN THAT MOMENT, AT THAT TIME, AND TO TALK TO HIM ABOUT IT, AND TO CAPTURE THAT SPARKLE THAT CAME OFF HIM AS HE WAS BURSTING ON TO THE SCENE.
>> YOUR BROTHER HAS SAID THAT YOU, AS A KID, USED TO WATCH CONVENTIONS.
>> Ifill: YES. DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING MY BROTHER SAYS, BUT THAT'S RIGHT.
>> YOU DID? YOU DID?
>> Ifill: WE WATCHED CONVENTIONS KIND OF FOR RECREATION. ONCE AGAIN, THIS WAS AN EXTENSION OF THE FACT THAT MY PARENTS THOUGHT THAT WHAT HAPPENED IN AMERICAN POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT MATTERED. SO-- AND, ALSO, KEEP IN MIND THAT, WHEN WE WERE GROWING UP AND WATCHING CONVENTIONS, WE DIDN'T KNOW HOW THEY WERE GOING TO END. THEY WERE ACTUALLY KIND OF DRAMATIC. AND IMAGINE WATCHING A CONVENTION WHEN BARBARA JORDAN GETS UP AND SPEAKS, AND YOU'RE A LITTLE BLACK GIRL AT HOME WHO SEES NOTHING LIKE THIS ON TELEVISION. IT BLOWS YOUR MIND. WHERE ELSE WAS I GOING TO SEE THAT VOICE, HEAR THAT VOICE? AND SO, AS A RESULT, WHENEVER I GO THROUGH THE AUSTIN AIRPORT, I STOP AND PAT HER A LITTLE BIT. THERE'S A WONDERFUL BRONZE SCULPTURE OF HER IN BAGGAGE CLAIM AT THE AUSTIN AIRPORT. AND I JUST GREET HER EVERY TIME, BECAUSE SHE WAS AMAZING. AND SHIRLEY CHISHOLM. I MEAN, THERE WERE WOMEN, BLACK WOMEN, WHO WERE OUT THERE SPEAKING THEIR TRUTH IN AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE IT WASN'T GENERALLY WELCOMED.
>> AS I LISTEN TO YOU TALK ABOUT THIS, THOUGH, I'M IMAGINING CHILDREN WATCHING TELEVISION NOW AND SEEING YOU.
>> Ifill: OKAY. ( LAUGHTER ) SHE'S GOING TO MAKE ME A LITTLE VERKLEMPT HERE. YOU KNOW, WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL, THERE WAS A WOMAN NAMED MELBA TOLLIVER WHO WAS ON THE NEWS, AND SHE HAD A BIG AFRO. AND I JUST WAS TRANSFIXED BY THIS IDEA. NOT-- IT DIDN'T MAKE ME WANT TO BE IN TELEVISION, AS MUCH AS IT MADE ME WANT TO TELL THE STORY. AND EVERY NOW AND THEN, I'M NOT PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN-- YOU KNOW, I JUST GET CAUGHT UP IN WHATEVER THE DAY'S WORK IS. AND, INVARIABLY, SOMEBODY WILL COME UP TO ME AND TELL ME THE STORY OF THEIR LITTLE GIRL. AND IT ALWAYS STOPS ME IN MY TRACKS, BECAUSE, AS LONG AS I REMEMBER THAT THERE IS SOMEONE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PIECE OF EQUIPMENT, THE CAMERA, WHO IS WATCHING ME WITH EXPECTATION, AND IT CAN SHAPE WHAT THEY DO NEXT, I JUST TAKE WHAT I DO SERIOUSLY EVERY SINGLE DAY.
>> Woodruff: GWEN IFILL'S ALMA MATER, SIMMONS COLLEGE, TODAY ANNOUNCED A WONDERFUL TRIBUTE TO ITS ALUMNA FROM THE CLASS OF 1977. THE GWEN IFILL COLLEGE OF MEDIA, ARTS AND HUMANITIES AT SIMMONS WILL FORMALLY LAUNCH IN THE FALL OF 2018. WE KNOW SHE WOULD BE SO PROUD. AND WE THINK GWEN WOULD BE PLEASED TO KNOW SHE WAS TRENDING TODAY ON TWITTER. AS WE GO TONIGHT, WE LEAVE YOU WITH JUST SOME OF THE TWEETS THAT CAUGHT OUR EYE. I'M JUDY WOODRUFF. FOR ALL OF US AT THE PBS NEWS HOUR, THANK YOU, AND-- WE MISS YOU, GWEN.
>> MAJOR FUNDING FOR THE PBS NEWSHOUR HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY:
>> BNSF RAILWAY.
>> COLLETTE.
>> AND WITH THE ONGOING SUPPORT OF THESE INSTITUTIONS
>> THIS PROGRAM WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING. AND BY CONTRIBUTIONS TO YOUR PBS STATION FROM VIEWERS LIKE YOU. THANK YOU. Captioning sponsored by NEWSHOUR PRODUCTIONS, LLC Captioned by ♪ - You know, in life, we tend to do the same thing over and over again without really thinking, like looking in the refrigerator for that item that's never going to be there, or arguing with a friend who's never going to change their mind. I do that all the time. Or maybe you're licking frosting off the beaters of a hand-held electric mixer without unplugging it from the wall. That isn't so smart. Well, today's show is about breaking bad habits. We're going to start with a stew. We're not going to brown the meat, and we're not going to use any kind of canned stock, just water.
Series
PBS NewsHour
Episode
November 14, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
Producing Organization
NewsHour Productions
Contributing Organization
Internet Archive (San Francisco, California)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip/525-6d5p844s2f
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Description
Episode Description
Covering national and international issues, originating from Washington, D.C.
Episode Description
This item is part of the Chinese Americans section of the AAPI special collection.
Segment Description
To jump to the conversation with Amy Tan, visit https://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-525-6d5p844s2f?start=2553.84&end=2976.94 or jump to 00:42:35
Date
2017-11-15
Media type
Moving Image
Duration
01:01:00
Embed Code
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Credits
Producing Organization: NewsHour Productions
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Internet Archive
Identifier: KQED_20171115_020000_PBS_NewsHour (Internet Archive)
Duration: 01:00:59
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Citations
Chicago: “PBS NewsHour; November 14, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PST,” 2017-11-15, Internet Archive, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 9, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-525-6d5p844s2f.
MLA: “PBS NewsHour; November 14, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PST.” 2017-11-15. Internet Archive, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 9, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-525-6d5p844s2f>.
APA: PBS NewsHour; November 14, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PST. Boston, MA: Internet Archive, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-525-6d5p844s2f