PBS NewsHour full episode, Dec 23, 2019

JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: the killing and
the kingdom. Saudi Arabia sentences five to death for the
murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Then: out. After deadly crashes and repeated
delays in fixing the problems with the 737 MAX passenger jet, the CEO of Boeing loses
his job. And cutting coverage — moves by the Trump
administration that permits states to reduce health coverage for children. HEATHER HANTZ, Mother: They said that it would
take several months to have him reinstated, but you don’t have several months with this
type of child. JUDY WOODRUFF: Plus, Amy Walter and Tamara
Keith are here to analyze the state of the Democratic primary in the last full week of
the year, as the U.S. House and Senate continue to fight over the impeachment trial. All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump and Congress
have left Washington for the holidays, but the fight over an impeachment trial goes on. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer argued today over witnesses and documents. McConnell spoke on FOX News and Schumer to
reporters in New York about the best way to proceed. SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): To go through
the opening arguments, to have a written question period, and then, based upon that, deciding
what witnesses to call. We haven’t ruled out witnesses. We have said, let’s handle this
case just like we did with President Clinton. SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): It’s hard to imagine
a trial not having documents and witnesses. If it doesn’t have documents and witnesses,
it’s going to seem to most of the American people that it is a sham trial, a show trial,
not to get at the facts. JUDY WOODRUFF: While that argument continues,
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far declined to send impeachment articles to the Senate.
Meanwhile, House Democrats said today that additional charges could arise. That is if federal judges order former White
House counsel Don McGahn to testify and also grant access to grand jury material from the
Russia investigation. An American soldier was killed in Afghanistan
today in a roadside bombing. The U.S. military says it happened in northern Kunduz province.
The Taliban claimed responsibility. The attack came amid ongoing peace talks to end the nearly
18-year war; 20 U.S. soldiers have been killed in action in Afghanistan this year. In Iraq, political leaders missed another
deadline for naming a new prime minister, in the face of new mass protests. Thousands
turned out across the country on Sunday and again today. They rejected any candidate belonging
to ruling political groups. In Baghdad’s central square, demonstrators
wrote out memories about the months-long unrest. They said none of the existing parties represents
them. MAN (through translator): We have entered
a constitutional vacuum. And, consequently, there is no government. They want to appoint
a prime minister, paying no heed to the people who have been protesting against them. We
don’t want anyone the political parties nominate. We, the people, are the biggest bloc. JUDY WOODRUFF: At least 400 protesters have
been killed since October, many of them at the hands of government security forces. And in neighboring Iran, there is word that
some 1,500 people were killed during a crackdown on protests there last month. Reuters reports
the count from three unnamed officials in Iran’s Interior Ministry. The report says
that Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered security officials to do whatever
it took to stop the protests. Christmas week in Australia has begun with
no relief from a wildfire disaster. More than 200 fires burned across four states today
and fed fears that climate change is causing longer, fiercer fire seasons. That, in turn,
focused new criticism on the prime minister. Rupert Evelyn of Independent Television News
has our report. RUPERT EVELYN: Blistering heat, a tinder-dry
landscape and destruction on a huge scale, dozens of homes destroyed as the bushfires
rage. The searing flames engulf property and possessions. Fighting these fires is a battle against the
elements. It seems to conjure up images of a war zone. Safety of people is paramount,
some rescued with a few belongings they could grab as the fire closed in. RICHARD, Wildfire Victim; It’s the worst I
have ever seen it’s. I have seen a few bushfires come and go, you know, but nothing like this. RUPERT EVELYN: Less than 50 miles west of
Sydney in the Blue Mountains, and the mass of twisted, charred metal is all that remains
of one home. RICHARD: You look closely under the metal,
it’s just melted everything. Just everything is just melted. And it’s just — yes, it just
took everything in its path. RUPERT EVELYN: The community of Balmoral hit
repeatedly on all sides. Exhausted firefighters relentlessly defending the village ran out
of the one commodity they needed, water. BRENDAN O’CONNOR, Balmoral Fire Brigade Captain:
We actually ran out of water in every appliance that we had. Homes were burning everywhere.
The bush was burning. And that’s a horrific feeling. RUPERT EVELYN: Surveying the destruction,
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, under fire himself for taking a holiday in
Hawaii, when, 5,000 miles away, his country burned, back in the bush on the front line
and the front foot, defending his country’s dependence on the coal industry and climate
change. SCOTT MORRISON, Australian Prime Minister:
It’s not for me to make commentaries on what those outside of Australia think Australians
should do. We will do in Australia what we think is right for Australia. RUPERT EVELYN: Rescues apply as much to animals
as people, one thirsty koala saved from the blaze. Temperatures here have dropped, but with a
forecast of yet more intense heat and wind, Christmas for many will be simply about survival. JUDY WOODRUFF: That report from Rupert Evelyn
of Independent Television News. A Japanese government ministry is proposing
to gradually release or evaporate radioactive water at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant.
The water cools melted-down reactor cores, and is kept in tanks, so that it doesn’t leak
into the ocean or waterways. But now the site is running out of storage space. The Fukushima
plant was largely destroyed in a 2011 tsunami. Back in this country, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg
was forced out today in the fallout from the 737 MAX debacle. The planes have been grounded
worldwide since March, after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people. We will talk about the company’s troubles
later in the program. And, on Wall Street, the Boeing news pushed
the company’s stock higher and helped blue chips in general. The Dow Jones industrial
average gained 96 points to close at 28551. The Nasdaq rose 20 points, and the S&P 500
added two. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the killing
and the kingdom — five are sentenced to death for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi;
out — the CEO of Boeing steps down amid turmoil on returning the 737 MAX to flight; cutting
coverage — Washington efforts allowing states to reduce children’s health care; and much
more. A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced five people
to death for their involvement in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The proceedings
took nearly a year, were shrouded in secrecy, closed to the press and the public, and only
open to a select group of diplomats. The “NewsHour”‘s William Brangham has details
on the proceedings and a review of Khashoggi’s murder. SHAALAN AL-SHAALAN, Public Prosecutor Spokesman,
Saudi Arabia (through translator): In the case of the killing of the citizen Jamal Khashoggi,
may he rest in peace, the attorney general has finished its investigation. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The announcement came nearly
14 months after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident and journalist. A spokesman
for Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor read out the guilty verdict and the punishments
on state TV. No names were released. SHAALAN AL-SHAALAN (through translator): The
death penalty for five, and they are those who directly participated in his killing. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Three others received a
total of 24 years in prison for covering up the killing, one that sparked a global outcry. WOMAN: Chilling new developments in the disappearance
of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, MAN: Saudi Arabia has admitted that the missing
journalist Jamal Khashoggi died during his visit to the country’s consulate in Istanbul
earlier this month. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In October of last year,
the Washington Post columnist walked in the consul in Turkey to pick up documents for
his planned marriage, but he never came out. Security camera footage leaked by Turkey showed
the team of Saudi agents who allegedly killed Khashoggi and then reportedly dismembered
his body inside the consulate using a bone saw. Those team members worked for Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudi leader has denied any direct involvement,
though, in September, he signaled for the first time some accountability. MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince
(through translator): When a crime is committed against a Saudi citizen by officials working
for the Saudi government, as a leader, I must take responsibility. This was a mistake. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The kingdom maintains the
murder was part of a rogue operation to bring Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia. The court
said his killing wasn’t premeditated, but rather a — quote — “snap decision.” That conclusion directly contradicts a United
Nations report released in June, which found Khashoggi had been a victim of a deliberate,
premeditated execution. The Saudi court also cleared two of the crown prince’s senior aides
of organizing the murder. Washington Post CEO and publisher Fred Ryan
called it a sham trial. He criticized the kingdom’s lack of transparency in its months
of closed-door court proceedings. Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, also rejected
the verdict as — quote — “unacceptable.” But Khashoggi’s son Salah, who lives in Saudi
Arabia, said justice had been served. For the “PBS NewsHour” I’m William Brangham. JUDY WOODRUFF: Joining me now from France
is Agnes Callamard. She is the United Nations special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary
or arbitrary killings. She is the author of that June report which found Saudi Arabia
responsible for the premeditated execution of Mr. Khashoggi. Dr. Callamard, welcome back to the “NewsHour.” First of all, when you — we saw your reaction
right after this verdict was announced. You called it the antithesis of justice, a mockery.
Why? AGNES CALLAMARD, U.N. Special Rapporteur:
Well, there are several factors. The most important one is the fact that only
the henchmen have been the object of the trial. The masterminds have not been included in
the proceeding. And, therefore, the outcome of the trial is that we have the lowest level
of the chain of command to be sentenced to death, while those that ordered them, those
that commissioned the crimes, those that turned a blind eye to the crimes, none of those people
have been concerned, worried or indeed indicted. JUDY WOODRUFF: The judge found that it was
a spur-of-the-moment thing and not premeditated. How do you know that’s wrong? AGNES CALLAMARD: The killing of Mr. Khashoggi
included a dismemberment. That cannot be done on the spur of the moment. It requires planning,
if only to clean up the crime scene and to determine what to do with the body parts. Two hours before his killing, the forensic
doctor and the head of the team, Mr. Mutreb, discussed the dismemberment. And it happened
two hours later. It cannot be coincidental. It cannot be an
accident. The forensic doctor was included in the team — in the killing team at least
24 hours before the murder. That, too, I think, is indicative of a fair
high level of planning and organization. Witnesses to the killing had been asked to
leave the consulate before — before the people could be present. There is absolutely no indication
that, when Mr. Khashoggi was killed, that those present attempted to revive him, as
you would expect if indeed it had been an accident. JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you have any idea what happened
to that evidence and why it wasn’t considered, not presented, evidently? AGNES CALLAMARD: Well, I don’t know if it
wasn’t presented. I do know that the prosecutor argued, at least
for the first eight hearings, that the crimes had been premeditated. You know, there was
a team of 18 Saudi officials that came after the killing, supposedly to investigate the
killing. In fact, we know now that what they did was
to clean the crime scene. But, presumably, they would also, in the context — in the
process of cleaning of the crime scene, gathering some form of evidence. None of that was presented at the trial, as
far as I am aware. JUDY WOODRUFF: So — and that gets to my question.
Who should have been held responsible who wasn’t? AGNES CALLAMARD: Well, look, at the minimum,
those that were implicated and directly involved in the team. That includes Assiri, who was
the deputy director of intelligence and who was present and who was a member of the team. It includes Saud al-Qahtani, the personal
adviser to the crown prince, who was known to have incited, to have spoken to the killing
team just before he left — it left for Turkey. Those two individuals, one of them was initially
charged, but found not guilty. The other, Saud al-Qahtani, wasn’t even charged. The prosecutor apparently attempted to interview
him, but was never able or willing to proceed with that interview. JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you believe there was ever
a chance that justice would be done in Saudi Arabia? AGNES CALLAMARD: Look, it — you know, I’m
not naive. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s not even going to happen over a few years,
probably. That means that we need to look for justice
elsewhere. We need to look for justice in the United States, where the FBI has a mandate
to undertake an investigation. We look for justice with the U.S. Congress
that has made that specific request last week for the director of the national intelligence
services to issue a report on who ordered the killing. That will be a very important test for the
independence of that director and his ability to provide us with the full truth of who at
ordered the crime. So, I think there are other ways for the truth
to be delivered and for some form of justice to be rendered. JUDY WOODRUFF: Agnes Callamard, thank you
very much, U.N. special rapporteur for extrajudicial executions. We thank you. AGNES CALLAMARD: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Boeing is not likely to look
back fondly on 2019. In October, lawmakers grilled now former chief
executive Dennis Muilenburg at a hearing into the company’s response to the disastrous 737
MAX crashes. Last week, the company took the rare step of shutting down production of that
aircraft, which was the company’s fastest-selling passenger plane ever. On Friday, a new space capsule Boeing designed
for NASA failed to reach the correct orbit. And finally, today, announcing Muilenburg’s
firing, the Boeing’s board of directors said it was time for a change. John Yang examines the company’s turbulent
year and what’s ahead. JOHN YANG: Judy, even though Boeing’s directors
stripped Muilenburg of his title as chairman in October ahead of his congressional testimony,
as recently as last Friday, they backed him as CEO. So what happened between then and this morning? Phil LeBeau covers the aviation industry for
CNBC. And he joins us from his base in Chicago. Phil, great to see you. Thanks for joining
us. So, Muilenburg and Boeing have really been
on the shot seat since March, since the second 737 MAX crash. What was the last straw? What
brought this event today about? PHIL LEBEAU, CNBC: John, it’s great to be
with you. And I would say the last straw really happened
within the last two weeks. It is when Dennis Muilenburg was called to Washington, D.C.,
for a face-to-face meeting with Steve Dickson, the head of the FAA. But make no mistake, this wasn’t a friendly
discussion. This was Steve Dickson laying out in very straightforward ways that Boeing
was no longer calling the shots or shouldn’t be expect to be calling the shots in terms
of when the 737 MAX would be recertified. This was a public dressing down. This was
Boeing immediately afterwards saying, we take back any guidance that we had previously issued
that the MAX might be recertified this year, that it might be in commercial service by
the end of January. And then, remember, it was just four days
later that Boeing made the decision to completely suspend 737 MAX production starting in January. That is a monumental decision, something the
company has never done. And those two, those two events together, going to Washington,
being dressed down by the head of the FAA, along with suspending 737 MAX production,
that was the final straw for the board. They realized they had to make a change, and they
did. JOHN YANG: And what brought us to that point?
Was his departure inevitable from March, from that second crash, when he defended the 737
MAX as being a safe aircraft, or could something have been done differently? PHIL LEBEAU: Well, it was a culmination of
things. And, really, look, if they had gotten the
MAX back in the air, got it recertified, and they got regulators around the world to say,
look, we think we have identified the problem right away, and let’s get it back into operation
with a few changes, I think Dennis Muilenburg might have survived this crisis. But as the weeks turned into months, turned
into constantly pushing back dates when we might see the MAX recertified, his credibility
went away, John. He lost his credibility, not just with airline customers, the key to
Boeing’s cash flow, but also with regulators on Capitol Hill. I mean, there was nobody you could turn to
who would say, look, Dennis Muilenburg is the man to see Boeing through this crisis. JOHN YANG: He’s going to be replaced in January
by David Calhoun, who is currently chairman. What can he do — what is doing or what can
he do to repair those relationships? You talked about the regulators. You talked about the
airlines, the customers… PHIL LEBEAU: Yes. JOHN YANG: … and also the confidence of
the flying public. PHIL LEBEAU: I call it the three R’s. And
that’s what he did today. His first day, after being named incoming
CEO, because he doesn’t really take over his January 13, but make no mistake, he’s already
putting his fingerprints all over reshaping Boeing. And the three R’s are, rebuild the relationship
with the FAA. Completely broken. What does he do this morning? One of the first phone
calls after the news come out that he’s going to be CEO, he calls Steve Dickson, head of
the FAA. Not only does he call him. He says during
the conversation, we welcome rigorous sight and we want to be regulated. Those are two quotes we heard from people
who are familiar with the conversation. So that’s the beginning of changing the tenor
and tone at Boeing. Also a reset on the 737 MAX. And, by that,
I’m not talking about stripping away all the work that’s been done up until now to fix
the plane, but essentially going in and sitting down with the engineers, with all of the people
who were involved in getting this plane back in the air, and saying, where are we? What,
realistically, can we expect? What steps still need to be completed? Under Muilenburg, this was a company that
was much more focused on increasing production, increasing cash flow, and really as much as
possible taking this company to a new level of manufacturing. Well, you can only go so far if the basics
are not being covered. And the basics were not being covered, clearly, with the 737 MAX.
So you will see much more of a reset, if you will, in terms of, let’s focus on safety.
Then we can start rebuilding our relationships with our suppliers. And that’s the last one, the last R, which
is rebuilding those relationships with airline executives, key stakeholders in Washington,
D.C., members of Congress, who are really furious at Boeing. To that end, Calhoun and his management team
were on the phone with members of Congress. They were on the phone with CEOs of airlines.
I mean, I talked with one executive who said, we haven’t heard from Dennis Muilenburg in
weeks. Calhoun gets on the phone today. That’s an
indication that, at a minimum, he realizes the company has to change its public stance
and how it deals with people when it comes to the 737 MAX. JOHN YANG: Phil LeBeau of CNBC in Chicago,
thank you very much. PHIL LEBEAU: Thanks, John. JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour”: Amy Walter and
Tamara Keith analyze the week’s political headlines; and an investigation into how our
mobile phones track our every move. More than a million children have fallen off
public health insurance programs since December 2017. For some of those children, their parents
may have new jobs that come with health coverage. But researchers also see a troubling rise
in uninsured children and say the Trump administration’s efforts to vet families is a big part of the
problem. As special correspondent Sarah Varney reports
from Tennessee, that’s meant families who could qualify for Medicaid are getting knocked
off the rolls because of red tape and errors. Our story was produced in collaboration with
partner Kaiser Health News. SARAH VARNEY: Seven-year-old Harrison relies
on routine and order to make sense of his world. This morning, that world is a mess. HEATHER HANTZ, Mother: Sit down here. Sit
in your chair. No, not the phone. SARAH VARNEY: Heather Hantz says her son’s
struggles intensified after he was cut from Medicaid and missed five months of autism
therapy. Last summer, Hantz called the state Medicaid
office to change her mailing address and found out the state of Tennessee had canceled Harrison’s
health insurance. At first, she didn’t understand why. HEATHER HANTZ: They said it was a renewal
packet, but we never received a renewal packet. SARAH VARNEY: Have they ever tried to come
back to you since then and try and make amends say, we apologize, or… HEATHER HANTZ: No. They said that it would take several months
to have him reinstated, but you don’t have several months with this type of child. He
was very stressed. He started crying a lot, and that’s not him. SARAH VARNEY: Harrison needs physical, behavioral,
speech and language therapy, indispensable care that is hard to come by in rural Cleveland,
Tennessee. Legal advocates waded through the paperwork
to sign Harrison back up for Medicaid. But then he sat on a wait-list until providers
could see him again. The disruption caused problems at school. HEATHER HANTZ: We had to bring him to a new
school, where he could calm down and slowly, gradually bring him back into general education. SARAH VARNEY: As it turned out, it wasn’t
just Harrison. The state’s Medicaid agency had canceled health coverage for more than
130,000 children. It was part of an effort championed by the
Trump administration to closely vet Medicaid applicants and safeguard the integrity of
the taxpayer-funded program. Those are top priorities for Seema Verma,
the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a $1 trillion agency
that pays for medical care for low-income people and seniors. A close ally of Vice President
Mike Pence from Indiana, Verma has vowed to tighten Medicaid’s eligibility rules. SEEMA VERMA, Director, Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services: We have an obligation to taxpayers to make sure that only the people
that qualify for the programs are participating. And we also want to make sure that the programs
are sustainable over the long term. I think there’s a balance between making sure
it’s easy for people to apply, but we also have to make sure that we do the appropriate
work to make sure that they qualify for the programs. SARAH VARNEY: But those efforts have led to
pandemonium in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where Mayor Andy Berke and his staff have rushed
to help parents fill out forms and send in appeals. Aides in the mayor’s office say the state
revoked Medicaid for one in eight kids in Hamilton County. Mayor Berke says the widespread
cancellations across Tennessee’s rural outposts and booming cities are part of Republican
efforts to reduce public benefits, barriers put in place to disenfranchise the poor. And Berke wrote to Tennessee’s top officials
asking for help. ANDY BERKE (D), Mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee:
The response that we got back from the governor and from the lieutenant governor is, well,
the economy’s improved, and, therefore, there are fewer kids on the rolls. And that conflicted, of course, with the experience
that we were having on the ground, which is, you know, these families still qualify, we
know that they do, and there’s no reason why they should be getting kicked off of Medicaid. SARAH VARNEY: All of those questions and rising
frustrations have led back here to Nashville. Tennesseans have been demanding answers from
those in charge of their state’s Medicaid program. So, how is the rollout of the new computer
system going? GABE ROBERTS, Director, TennCare: It’s going
well. SARAH VARNEY: Gabe Roberts oversees Medicaid
in Tennessee. He says, after the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2014, Tennessee,
like many other states, spent its time and money building a new Medicaid computer system. While that work was under way, the Obama administration
allowed states to suspend Medicaid verification, and the numbers of covered Tennesseans swelled. But, in 2016, the state began cleaning out
the backlog, canceling coverage for children like Harrison when paperwork was missing. GABE ROBERTS: We’re extremely concerned about
those comments, those allegations, those criticisms, and we take them extremely seriously. SARAH VARNEY: Roberts says the volume of cancellations
was in line with his expectations, not evidence of widespread failures or nefarious intentions,
and, in fact, enrollment has once again picked up. GABE ROBERTS: Our message has been consistent.
If you’re eligible for Medicaid in Tennessee, we want you on our program. And if someone
— if a child does come off the program, we can get them back on the program, and, a lot
of times, we can get them back on the program with no real break in their coverage. SARAH VARNEY: But front-line workers at hospitals
and clinics around Tennessee are dissatisfied with those explanations, where the rate of
uninsured children has increased 43 percent since 2016. That’s one of the highest in the nation. At Vanderbilt University’s Children’s Hospital
in Nashville, pediatricians like Dr. Shari Barkin continue to find parents blindsided,
even with the improved job market. DR. SHARI BARKIN, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s
Hospital: I think what surprised us towards the end of 2018 and then through this year,
2019, is that the numbers went up to the degree of 15 to 20 patients a day coming to our clinic
and not knowing that they no longer were enrolled. SARAH VARNEY: Barkin says that’s led parents
to make agonizing decisions when their children are ill. But some children have vanished from
medical clinics altogether. BRIAN HAILE, CEO, Neighborhood Health: There’s
a real reluctance to re-enroll if the children or their parents are non-citizens. SARAH VARNEY: Brian Haile is the CEO of Neighborhood
Health, a nonprofit group of clinics serving Nashville’s poorest residents. Many are new
immigrants. Tennessee’s efforts to reconcile its Medicaid
backlog came at the same time that the Trump administration adopted a punitive immigration
policy that withholds green cards to legal immigrants who use public benefits, including
Medicaid. Federal judges have temporarily blocked the
rule from taking effect, but many families working in Nashville’s booming construction
and entertainment industries remain fearful that enrolling their kids in public health
coverage will endanger their legal status. BRIAN HAILE: These are still eligible individuals
who are entitled to the benefit, but they hear so much anti-immigrant rhetoric from
Washington that they feel really insecure. SARAH VARNEY: Whatever the reason, researchers
at Georgetown University found that, after years of gains insuring children in the U.S.,
the number of uninsured kids jumped to four million in 2018. The states with the highest uninsurance rates
include Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Oklahoma, Alaska, Georgia, and Florida. Administrator Verma says it’s not the Trump
administration’s Medicaid policies fueling the rise in uninsured kids, but the outrageous
cost of health care. She says more parents are earning too much to qualify for government
support, but can’t afford private health insurance. SEEMA VERMA: And that’s what the president
is focused on. His health care agenda isn’t just about putting out more subsidies and
having the government pay more and more and creating unaffordable programs, but it is
about addressing the underlying cost drivers in health care. That’s why he’s focused on prescription drug
pricing, he’s focused on transparency, price transparency, so that there’s more competition
in the market. SARAH VARNEY: While President Trump has put
forth a number of health care proposals, few have taken effect. That all seems far away from the world Harrison
inhabits. In East Tennessee, he’s finding moments of delight riding a friend’s aging
pony. Heather Hantz says, when Harrison is vetted
for coverage in the new year, she will keep a watchful eye on the state and on her son’s
future. For the “PBS NewsHour” and Kaiser Health News,
I’m Sarah Varney in Cleveland, Tennessee. JUDY WOODRUFF: We have Sarah’s full interview
with Medicaid Chief Seema Verma online, where the two discussed health coverage, the uninsured,
and how the Trump administration would respond if Obamacare is struck down by the courts
in the future. In the final days of 2019, the Democratic
presidential candidates hit the campaign trail, hoping to head into the new year with new
momentum from last week’s debate, before voting begins, just six weeks away. REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Senator
Bernie Sanders. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) JUDY WOODRUFF: The crowded field crisscrossing
the country. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), Presidential Candidate:
This is a campaign of the working class of this country, JUDY WOODRUFF: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
was joined by New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez out West. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: The history of change
in America always, always takes place from the bottom on up. JUDY WOODRUFF: While Senator Elizabeth Warren
returned to Oklahoma City, where she was born and raised. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), Presidential
Candidate: Hello, Oklahoma! (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) JUDY WOODRUFF: Riling up her supporters with
calls for cleaning up government corruption. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: When you see a government
that works great for those with money and is not working so well for everyone else,
that is corruption, pure and simple. And we need to call it out for what it is. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) JUDY WOODRUFF: And a late edition to the race,
former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, headed to Pennsylvania. ®MDNM¯MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, Presidential Candidate:
I can’t imagine another four years of Donald Trump. We just have to find a way to beat
him in November. JUDY WOODRUFF: Jumping in just a month ago,
Bloomberg has shot up in recent polls, after spending millions of his personal fortune
on campaign ads. The others in the race spent a lot of time
in Iowa, hoping to sway voters who remain largely undecided, with just six weeks before
the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. Former Vice President Joe Biden traveled across
the Hawkeye State, knocking on doors and talking to voters at a local Christmas tree farm.
Speaking at a town hall, he focused on the importance of unity. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), Presidential Candidate:
Our democracy, I think, is in trouble. And we are at breaking point. And I think we need
a president who can rise above the personal attacks and actually reach out and try to
heal. JUDY WOODRUFF: South Bend, Indiana, Mayor
Pete Buttigieg, who is leading recent polls in Iowa, picked up the endorsement of more
than 200 foreign policy and national security professionals, a policy area that Biden has
long touted as his area of expertise. PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), Presidential Candidate:
Some folks on TV starting to use the word front-runner to describe our standing right
here in Iowa. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) JUDY WOODRUFF: Fellow Midwesterner Minnesota
Senator Amy Klobuchar has also seen a surge in Iowa, as she prepares to finish her tour
of the state’s 99 counties. Low polling numbers kept New Jersey Senator
Cory Booker off the debate stage last week. Instead, he took his bus tour across Iowa,
hoping to take advantage of the lack of a clear front-runner in the state’s ever-changing
field. SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), Presidential Candidate:
My whole campaign is based on this idea that we need a revival of civic grace in our country,
we need more courageous empathy for each other. JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, President Trump
was also out speaking to his supporters at a conservative conference in Palm Beach, Florida. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
Generations of patriots before us didn’t work, fight, and sacrifice so that we could surrender
our country to a raging left-wing mob. They don’t know if they’re down the middle, if
they’re far left. They’re fighting with each other. JUDY WOODRUFF: The 15 Democrats still fighting
have just a few weeks left to make their case to voters. And that brings us to Politics Monday with
Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and public radio’s “Politics With Amy Walter,”
and Tamara Keith of NPR. She also co-hosts the “NPR Politics Podcast.” Hello to both of you. AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Hello. JUDY WOODRUFF: It is Politics Monday. And let me just say it for the third time.
We are six weeks away today from the Iowa caucuses. AMY WALTER: I know. JUDY WOODRUFF: So here we are, Amy. Christmas
is right around the corner. AMY WALTER: Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: Where does this Democratic
race stand? AMY WALTER: It’s funny. It feels like it’s
incredibly volatile and totally stable at the same time, where, if we go back to the
beginning of this year, but let’s say the spring, when all of the candidates were in
the race that we now have in this race essentially, Joe Biden was ahead, Bernie Sanders was in
a close second place. We went through the summer. Elizabeth Warren
was on the ascendancy, Biden and Sanders started to drop, Buttigieg came up, seems to have
plateaued. We saw Harris pop up at one point, looked like she was going to get close to
maybe taking a front-runner mantle. We’re here right close to Christmas, and it’s
Bernie Sanders at number two, Joe Biden at number one, although, when we look at Iowa
and New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders doing better than Joe Biden in both of those states. Pete Buttigieg, as you pointed out, could
win in Iowa. So, things are as scrambled as they could be. Add to the other wild cards
— you pointed to them in your package — Michael Bloomberg and his millions and millions and
millions of dollars. Nobody really knows what to make of this. When I talk to political professionals, they’re
really intrigued by this, because they have never seen anything like this. So, we don’t
really know what to make of it. And then Amy Klobuchar, who is trying to get
into a lane somewhere in Iowa for a ticket out. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what does it all add up
to, Tam? (LAUGHTER) TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: Well,
it all adds up to, there are still a lot of people who haven’t made up their mind. So there’s this group of Iowa college students
who I text with every once in a while just to take their temperature. And I — every
time I check with them, they have different candidates who they feel like they might be
willing to caucus for. And, today, I texted, said, what do you — what
are you thinking about? And each one said, well, if I had to caucus today, I might caucus
for either Buttigieg, Sanders or Warren. There’s sort of a variety. But they said, you know,
I haven’t really decided yet. And we are six weeks out. They haven’t really
decided yet. And when you have a race where so many voters, including the ones I text
with, are saying that electability is so important to them, then you get the dynamic that Amy
described, which is sort of this escalator to a cliff, where you notch up, and then you
start taking incoming, as Buttigieg did at the debate. And then people say, oh, well, are they as
electable as I thought they were when they were just on the ascendancy? JUDY WOODRUFF: So, how unusual is it, though,
Amy, at this stage of the campaign for there to be this much indecision? AMY WALTER: The feel — it does feel like
— usually, we would have a sense of who the obvious front-runner is. I do think that Joe Biden can take that title
of front-runner right now, simply because he’s been ahead of national polls and really
hasn’t lost that lead. But… JUDY WOODRUFF: Even though he’s not ahead… AMY WALTER: Even though he’s not ahead in
Iowa. JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. AMY WALTER: And do you still call someone
the front-runner if they lose Iowa and then New Hampshire? I think what’s new for us right now, Judy,
is a sense that the person who wins Iowa and New Hampshire may not get enough momentum
from those two to go ahead and win Nevada and South Carolina, which are the next two.
They look demographically very different from New Hampshire and Iowa, and then to go right
from South Carolina a couple of days later into Super Tuesday, which are big in terms
of the number of delegates, but big, expensive states like Texas and California, where Bloomberg
is already spending a ton of money. JUDY WOODRUFF: Bloomberg is spending money. AMY WALTER: Right. TAMARA KEITH: And he has money to spend. AMY WALTER: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: And folks leading in the polls
in Nevada and South Carolina may be different, in South Carolina, from the ones who are leading,
as you say, in different demographics. (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: In national — ye. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, meanwhile, we have this
other thing going on, Tam, a very real drama of impeachment playing out. A little bit of new information came out over
the weekend about the timeline in terms of the — what the president was saying or doing
about withholding aid from the Ukrainians. Today, there’s a court filing that — wherein
we learned the Democrats may file additional charges against the president on all this.
We don’t know what that could mean. But the Democrats are saying in the House — Nancy
Pelosi is saying, we’re not going to turn over those articles of impeachment to the
Senate just yet. So where does this stand? TAMARA KEITH: Well, it’s at a little bit of
a standstill while people are eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate and spending time
with their families. There’s been a fair bit of noise about it
today, with a tweet from Pelosi and tweets from Trump, Chuck Schumer having a press conference. In essence, the negotiations between the Senate
leaders, the Democratic and Republican Senate leaders, are at a standstill. They are at
an impasse at the moment. And until that breaks, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, says
she won’t send over those articles. It leads to all kinds of interesting rhetorical
arguments about, if Democrats were in such a hurry, why are they slow-walking it now?
And then Democrats say, well, why don’t Republicans want these witnesses and this testimony? They
must be covering up for something. It gives them something to fight about for
the two weeks while they’re out. Now, if there isn’t an agreement on January 6, when they
come back, then this could start getting interesting, because a Senate trial may not happen that
quickly, and then you get into the caucuses, which we were just talking about. (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: That’s bumping into that. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, some risk here for the
Democrats. AMY WALTER: There’s some risk, definitely,
for the Democratic candidates. JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. AMY WALTER: And it’s a process argument, right?
And those are very difficult for voters to understand. And most folks tend to tune out
these process arguments. I mean, the challenge I think in this entire
impeachment process has been — and I think it was Andrew Yang who said it at the debate
the other night — which is, voters feel like they already know what the outcome of the
game is, even though we’re only in the fifth inning, that we know how this is going to
turn out. (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: There’s not one single — right.
We have not seen Republicans break, enough Republicans say publicly that they would vote
to convict the president. And so this just sounds like a whole bunch
of noise that, again, seems like we’re back into the — as I said, the political process
debate. The one thing I will say, though, in the House,
Republicans in the minority, were trying to put those vulnerable Democratic members of
Congress, mostly freshmen who sit in Trump districts or competitive districts, in a bind
on this issue, and talking about the process, meaning it wasn’t going to be fair, they’re
railroading the president, they’re rushing this process, it’s so partisan. Democrats are trying to do that on the Senate
side. They’re in the minority, but there are a handful of senators in blue or purple states
who are — what Democrats are hoping are going to be put at risk by either a long, drawn-out
trial, or having to take votes on things that could come back to hurt them in a campaign. JUDY WOODRUFF: So a lot of calculations. AMY WALTER: A lot of that. JUDY WOODRUFF: A lot of calculations going
on. And, meantime, the president responding to
all this, Tam, by making sure that trade agreement, the North American free trade — we’re calling
it USMCA, but it’s essentially North American. TAMARA KEITH: It’s new NAFTA. JUDY WOODRUFF: That was — new NAFTA — was
passed. The spending bill was passed. Essentially, the White House got a favorable court ruling
on health care. It was put off for a while. It could have been uncomfortable. So the president’s pushing back in several
ways. He’s going out to rallies, being very angry, but also saying, I’m getting work done. TAMARA KEITH: Right. And all of those things that you described
actually require Democratic help. Those were all bipartisan agreements and bipartisan deals
that led to these policy victories that President Trump is able to claim. JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. TAMARA KEITH: And this message is taking hold
in his campaign, and you’re going to see a lot more of this, which is, you may not like
me, you may not like my style, you may not like my tweets, but I get things done. And that is essentially President Trump’s
message going into reelection. JUDY WOODRUFF: Just a few seconds. AMY WALTER: Yes. I do think this health care issue, which didn’t
get a lot of attention, is a very, very big deal, especially for Republicans who could
have been put on the defensive for much of the 2020 election cycle if indeed that health
care case made it the Supreme Court during 2020. It still may make it there. But it won’t be
going on during a campaign. JUDY WOODRUFF: Because it puts pressure on
them to say, where is your plan? AMY WALTER: Exactly. What is your plan? JUDY WOODRUFF: What is your plan? AMY WALTER: Since they were unable to pass
one in 2017. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we wish both of you a
wonderful holiday. AMY WALTER: Thank you. You too, Judy. TAMARA KEITH: You too. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we will see you in the
new year. AMY WALTER: Yay! TAMARA KEITH: Indeed. JUDY WOODRUFF: Amy Walter, Tamara Keith, thank
you. AMY WALTER: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: As the decade draws to a close,
humans’ relationship with technology is more dependent and more interwoven into our daily
lives than ever. But our comfort with that technology and the private data it collects
and shares about our lives may be changing. That’s especially true with smartphones, even
as their growth has soared. Just over a third of American adults owned one in 2010. Now
more than 80 percent do. William Brangham is back with a look at a
new investigative series about how far that data can be tracked and to what end. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Your smartphone is probably
sending your precise location to companies right now. That’s the first sentence in one
of a series of investigative stories by The New York Times that reveals just how often
our phones track our whereabouts and how many largely unknown companies capture all that
data. Here’s just one of the remarkable examples
in the series. One data set of 12 million cell phones across several major cities was
leaked to The New York Times. These are all the smartphone hits around Central Park in
New York City. That one dot there is just one phone, and
here are all the places that phone went within a certain period of time. Stitch those locations
together, and you reveal a map of a person’s daily life. The Times series is called “One Nation Tracked,”
and it examines the serious implications for personal privacy, for free speech and for
national security. Charlie Warzel is one of the reporters on
this series, and he joins me now. This was such a revelatory piece of reporting.
I think all of us know on some level that our privacy has been given up, but to see
it in this kind of granular detail was pretty amazing. And I do think, on some level, people assume
that their phones, when they’re using something like a Google Maps or something like that,
that it does follow where they go. But you’re reporting that there are so many other ways
that our phones can track us. CHARLIE WARZEL, The New York Times: That’s
exactly right. There are certain services that collect location
data that you consent to every day, and you’re very aware of exactly what’s happening and
why it’s happening. Turn-by-turn directions, for example, you
obviously need that GPS data, you need to share that location, and you’re getting a
service that’s very helpful and handy in return. But there are plenty of apps out there that
collect this data for purposes where it’s not quite clear you necessarily need them,
and then they have secondary businesses that aren’t fully disclosed. They may be buried
in those long terms of service agreements. But it’s not exactly clear to the user. And,
there, they have the secondary business of selling this location data to other third
parties, so then repackage and sell it. And once that information is gone, it’s gone for
good. You can’t get it back. And those companies, these middlemen, so to
speak, of location data, they can be, you know, big, trusted companies, or very small
start-ups with security that we don’t know and employees who, you know, it’s not clear
if they have the right permission structure or not to view your information. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And are there rules that
govern this kind of monitoring? I mean, I think it’s one thing if some company
has got this collected, but we would assume there is theoretically some rules about how
quickly they have to purge it, what they can or can’t do with it. What are the ground rules? CHARLIE WARZEL: We kept hearing this one phrase,
it’s the Wild West, still. The online advertising industry is still very
young. It has grown exponentially over the course of this past decade. And it is such
a complex system that people who work in it don’t actually really understand how the whole
thing works. They say, we understand what we do, and we know maybe where it goes, but
we have no idea where the information goes after that. So, that’s a system by design. Like, this
is a system that is made purposefully to be difficult to regulate, for consumers to understand,
for even the participants in the system to understand. They will say that this location
data, because it’s technically anonymized, it doesn’t contain a name or an address on
it, but our investigation shows it’s very easy to de-anonymize this data for most people. And so the rules don’t quite fit with the
sort of sneaky loopholes that this industry has created. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Devil’s advocate question. What do I really care if a company is gathering
the back and forths of my mundane life? I go to work, I go home, I go to my kids’ school,
I go to the grocery store. I mean, what are they really learning that I would be worried
about? CHARLIE WARZEL: That argument gets put out
a lot. I would say that, first and foremost, we have
to start thinking about privacy as a collective concern as a society. This is — it’s not
just your privacy when you’re in a public place and you’re broadcasting your location. If you’re at a protest, say, you could be
broadcasting your location in a way that links you to somebody who really has a lot to lose
if they are exposed there. When you have such a large swathe of surveillance,
it starts to interact in ways that you wouldn’t necessarily know. You bring your phone to
a place of worship, that’s a data point. And if information like this is being surveilled,
or if it leaks, you’re associated with that. The other thing, too, is that the sense of
being sort of a corrosive mentality, we sort of think that we deserve this. We built this
whole surveillance capitalism system not too long ago, and we have a chance to actually
do something about it. We can govern how this works. We don’t have to just accept what larger companies
tell us. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You also detail in another
story in the series that there are some real national security implications about this. I mean, you saw from this one data set phones
pinging all over the White House, phones pinging all over the Pentagon. Can you tell us a little bit more about the
one specific vignette that you drill into? CHARLIE WARZEL: We — early on in our reportings,
we decided to look at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s — quote, unquote — “winter White House”
in Palm Beach. And it immediately became clear, when we isolated
some of the devices, that they were moving to the Trump golf course there, and then to
one of his other properties. And when we compared that with the president’s public schedule,
we realized that these were the sort of exact movements. So we zoomed out on the device, and were able
to actually see that that person was a — believed to be a Secret Service agent. And we were
able to follow that person to their home. We were able from there to understand who
that person’s spouse was, see trips to a school, per se, which was supposedly dropping off
their child, things that no normal person should be able to see, especially a journalist
3,000 miles away. A Secret Service agent who is not securing
the device is not thinking about the way in which they might be tracked is — it’s actually
giving up the location of the president United States. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: For the people who are troubled
by this and are genuinely alarmed, as I am, by your reporting, what are — are there things
that we can all do collectively to protect our own personal phones? CHARLIE WARZEL: Yes,. There are some things, but I think it’s really
important. And we have, on The New York Times’ Web site, published a list of things that
you can do to protect yourself. It’s in the larger package of this. And I hope people
will go look at it and take some of the steps. But one of the biggest things to remember
about this is that, until we have some real regulations and some real enforcement, and
that’s enforced transparency in this industry, that’s enforced disclosure of where this information
is going, we’re not going to be rid of this, because you can’t fully opt out of this without
opting out of modern society, without throwing your phone out the window and into the ocean. So, I think, more than anything, what we’re
hoping from this piece is that people understand what’s on the other side of this tradeoff.
You get those directions, you get that coupon, you get that personalized news alert, but
you’re giving something up. You’re giving up a piece of yourself when
you do this. And so, if people understand that, that’s actually a really huge step in
having this conversation and figuring out the norms around it. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, the series is
called “One Nation Tracked.” Charlie Warzel of The New York Times, thank
you very much. CHARLIE WARZEL: Thanks for having me. JUDY WOODRUFF: Fascinating. And that is the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m
Judy Woodruff. Join us online and again here tomorrow evening.
For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank you, and we’ll see you soon.

Maurice Vega

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