PBS NewsHour full episode December 2, 2019

JOHN YANG: Good evening. I’m John Yang. Judy Woodruff is away. On the “NewsHour” tonight: A new phase begins
— what to expect as the House begins the next stage of its impeachment inquiry. Then: guns on the docket. For the first time in a decade, the Supreme
Court hears arguments in a major Second Amendment case. And Politics Monday: analysis of the Democratic
2020 presidential race with just two months to go before the first votes are cast. Plus: saying goodbye to the city — the growing
movement of millennials making small town America their homes. KAROLINE ROSE, CEO, KRose Cattle Company:
It’s really important that, when you move into rural America, that you get out and you
know the community and you show up, but also that you’re different, and you bring your
skills and your knowledge to the table, because that’s what we need and that’s what we’re
looking for. JOHN YANG: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JOHN YANG: President Trump headed abroad today,
while, here at home, the House moves closer to a potential vote on impeachment. Mr. Trump will be participating in a NATO
summit in London this week as the House Judiciary Committee holds its first impeachment hearing. Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins
is here to tell us what’s ahead. Lisa, the president has now landed the London,
but while he was in the air, the impeachment news kept happening here at home. What happened while he was in the air? LISA DESJARDINS: And here he is talking to
important allies, but on his mind as well is the impeachment hearing going forward. I want to first of all play what the president
had to say on his way to London as he left the White House today. He’s going to remark on something that the
Ukrainian president, Zelensky, said. We’re going to come to that. But here’s the president basically building
his case even as he left the White House today. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
Because the whole thing is a hoax. Everybody knows it. All you have to do is look at the words of
the Ukrainian president that he just issued, and you know it’s a hoax. It’s an absolute disgrace, what they’re doing
to our country. LISA DESJARDINS: We will continue to hear
this from Republicans, the idea that this investigation and impeachment is a hoax or
a sham. Let’s talk about what President Zelensky said
specifically that the president thinks exonerates him. Here are the words from the Ukrainian president
in an interview that was published in the last day. He said: “Look, I never talked to the president
from the position of a quid pro quo. That’s not my thing. But you have to understand we’re at war. If you’re a strategic partner, then you can’t
go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness.” There’s a lot in that quote, John, but, essentially,
he’s saying a quid pro quo is not his thing. I don’t know if that’s a clear exoneration
of the president. But he went on farther, this as the president’s
job is at stake here. Zelensky thinks his country is at stake over
there over U.S. policy, so an important development. Also something today that I think we need
to keep our eye on for the next week, this man. His name is Lev Parnas. We are going to show a photo of him. He’s a known associate of Rudy Giuliani who
was working in Ukraine on behalf of Giuliani and is known to have been part of this idea
of a parallel track of diplomacy. He’s under indictment. And in court today, his lawyer said he would
like to turn over a large amount of documents and electronic devices, 14 cell phones and
laptops with information that he thinks House Democrats should get. That’s working through the courts, but the
judge indicates — the judge — that they may grant that request and get that evidence
to Democrats. JOHN YANG: Sort of tantalizing. We don’t know what’s there. LISA DESJARDINS: No. No. JOHN YANG: But he says it could be helpful
or of interest. LISA DESJARDINS: Yes. JOHN YANG: Now, the White House said over
the weekend that it won’t participate in this week’s House Judiciary Committee impeachment
hearing. LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right. JOHN YANG: How does that affect things? LISA DESJARDINS: Well, it’s fascinating because
this is the first opportunity to the White House has had to participate. They could not participate in the House Intelligence
Committee hearing, something that they have raised a lot of criticism about. But we did get this letter from the White
House counsel, Pat Cipollone. He’s the one sort of heading up impeachment
from a legal standpoint. He wrote in this letter to the House Judiciary
chairman: “An invitation to an academic discussion with law professors,” which is what the hearing
is on Wednesday, “does not begin to provide the president with any semblance of a fair
process. Accordingly, under the current circumstances,
we do not intend to participate in your Wednesday hearing.” And I will note, we have gotten that witness
list. It is four law professors, one of whom was
chosen by Republicans. But still the White House is saying that’s
not enough. Interestingly enough, John, they may participate
later. In this same letter, the White House counsel
says they’re considering whether they will call other witnesses or participate at a different
time. But there’s a deadline for them to make that
decision as well. JOHN YANG: Where does this go from here? I mean, what’s going to happen this week,
and then what’s the process after that? LISA DESJARDINS: Let’s go to the calendar. I love it. First, let’s talk about this week. Again, this is the hearing on Wednesday, the
4th. That is the first House Judiciary Committee
hearing with those law professors. Now, after that, on Friday, that is the deadline
that Democrats have set for the White House to announce if they will participate at all,
if they want to call any witnesses, cross-examine any witnesses in the future. One reason that deadline is so tight is because
the following week is when Democrats seem to be moving toward at least a committee vote
on actual articles of impeachment. If things move along quickly, that could also
be a House floor vote. So if the White House is going to participate,
they need to announce that soon. Now, after that, an important date, of course,
the 25th, Christmas, this has sort of been the tool by which — or the measure for Democrats
when they would like to have articles of impeachment through the House altogether. I want to point out a couple other dates in
December that may affect everything. December 9, that’s when the inspector general
at the Department of Justice releases a report about the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation. That’s something Republicans say will show
bias against the president. There’s some reporting it may not. That’s a big date. Then, December 20, oh, just the deadline for
government spending. That’s when government spending will run out. So that’s something else that members of Congress
and the president have to agree on in the midst of all of this kind of upheaval and
very serious constitutional debate. JOHN YANG: And, meanwhile, the House Republicans
said today that they will have something to say about this. Right? LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right. Just in the last hour or so, we received a
report from House Republicans. They have written their own prebuttal to the
impeachment hearings of the week. That is 110 pages. Essentially, they say the president never
pressured the Ukrainian president. And this document really lays out, I think,
how they will proceed. By tomorrow night, John, we should also get
the Democrats’ Intelligence report. We expect that to be lengthy and significant. It will first be presented behind closed doors,
but we should get a look at it by tomorrow night, just in time for that Wednesday hearing. It’s going to be busy. JOHN YANG: And so that goes to the Judiciary
Committee as sort of the basis for their work. LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right. The thinking is, the Intelligence Committee
Democrats will recommend impeachment move forward to House Judiciary. JOHN YANG: Lisa Desjardins, busy days ahead. LISA DESJARDINS: Indeed. JOHN YANG: Thanks very much. LISA DESJARDINS: You’re welcome. JOHN YANG: In the day’s other news: There were more demonstrations
in Iraq, even after Parliament accepted the prime minister’s resignation. Women led a protest in the southern city of
Basra, demanding the entire government be dismissed. And, in Baghdad, protesters also insisted
on more changes. FAYIZA ABDUL HASSAN, Iraqi Protester (through
translator): We do not want the current government officials. They must go. The young people are in a deteriorating situation. The women are begging on the streets, no medications
in hospitals. All parties must go. We don’t want any one of them. JOHN YANG: Iraqi lawmakers say Prime Minister
Adil Abdul-Mahdi will stay as a caretaker until a new government is formed. That process could take weeks. Amnesty International said today it believes
more than 200 people were killed in Iran during November protests and the ensuing crackdown. The Iranian government has yet to release
a full account of those who died in the protests, which were over gasoline prices. China today indefinitely suspended U.S. military
ships and aircraft from visiting Hong Kong. That comes after President Trump signed legislation
supporting anti-government protests in the Chinese territory. Also today, hundreds of office workers rallied
in Hong Kong’s Central Business District. A day earlier, police fired tear gas to disperse
thousands of protesters. World leaders have begun a two-week climate
conference in Madrid. They convened today amid warnings that the
2015 Paris climate accord will fall short of preventing major consequences of climate
change. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened
the conference by criticizing global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. ANTONIO GUTERRES, United Nations Secretary-General:
Do we really want to be remembered as the generation that buried its head in the sense,
that fiddled while the planet burns? The other option is the path of hope, the
path of resolve, of sustainable solutions. JOHN YANG: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led
an American delegation of Democratic lawmakers to the conference, voicing support for the
Paris accords. President Trump has moved to withdraw the
United States from the accord, effective next November. Back in this country, a storm system blew
into the Northeast, after making a mess across the Midwest. New Jersey’s state government largely shut
down, as did schools in several states. Parts of Eastern New York state were under
snow emergencies, and New York City warned commuters to brace for the worst. BILL DE BLASIO (D), Presidential Candidate:
The fact that we have got five to eight inches projected for some parts of the city should
make everyone aware quite that number could go up, and could go up quickly. We have all been down this road before. This could fluctuate a lot. But when I start to hear five to eight, I’m
like, you know, buckle your seat belts, because you’re never sure what’s going to happen next. JOHN YANG: The storm could dump up to 20 inches
of snow from Pennsylvania to Maine. Six-term Congressman from California Duncan
Hunter now plans to plead guilty to misusing campaign funds. The San Diego Republican said today he will
appear in federal court tomorrow to change his earlier not guilty plea. He said he’s doing it to protect his family. Hunter is accused of using campaign contributions
to pay for vacations, golf trips and other personal expenses. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson
was fired today, a month before he was set to retire. In mid-October, he had been found passed out
in his car at a stop sign near his home. He acknowledged that he had had a few drinks. But Mayor Lori Lightfoot said today an inspector
general’s report showed that Johnson was not truthful with her. LORI LIGHTFOOT, Mayor of Chicago, Illinois:
Eddie Johnson intentionally lied to me several times, even when I challenged him about the
narrative that he shared with me. He maintained that he was telling the truth. I now know definitively that he wasn’t. Had I known these facts at the time, I would’ve
relieved him of his duties as superintendent then and there. JOHN YANG: Lightfoot gave no details, but
said the report could become public later. A new study out today finds one in four young
Americans aged 19 to 34 is living with pre-diabetes. The report comes from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. It also finds that men are almost twice as
likely to have the condition as women. Pre-diabetes causes blood sugar levels to
spike, and can lead to Type 2 diabetes, as well as to kidney and heart disease. In economic news, President Trump declared
today he will reimpose tariffs on steel and aluminum from Brazil and Argentina. In a tweet, he accused the two nations of
manipulating their currencies to undercut U.S. farm products. The president had exempted Brazil and Argentina
from the tariffs in March of 2018. And on Wall Street, December got off to a
rough start amid new worries about trade tensions with China. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 268
points to close at 27783. The Nasdaq fell 97 points. And the S&P 500 dropped 27. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: arguments
before the Supreme Court in the first major gun case in a decade; Amy Walter and Domenico
Montanaro break down the week’s top political headlines; why young Americans are waving
goodbye to the cities and settling down in small towns; plus, trees take center stage
in our “NewsHour”-New York Times book club pick, “The Overstory.” Today’s Supreme Court oral arguments were
highly anticipated, the first gun control case in a decade. It was about a now repealed New York City
law that limited where licensed gun owners could carry their weapons. Second Amendment advocates saw the potential
to expand gun rights. But, based on today’s arguments, it appears
the issue may have to wait. Marcia Coyle is chief Washington correspondent
for “The National Law Journal.” She was in the courtroom this morning. Marcia, thanks for joining us. MARCIA COYLE, “The National Law Journal”:
Glad to be here, John. JOHN YANG: So why was this highly anticipated
moment seems like it may be a little less than what people had hoped for? MARCIA COYLE: Well, John, federal courts have
to decide cases or controversies. After the — New York City repealed its law,
the question arose, is there still a live controversy for the court to resolve? So the arguments today really were dominated
by questioning both sides, the city’s lawyer, as well as the lawyer for the gun rights organization,
on whether they’re still was something here for the justices to decide. JOHN YANG: And even on this issue, was the
sort of ideological split on the court evident in the court you were there? MARCIA COYLE: There absolutely were. You had Justice Ginsburg, for example, saying
to the lawyer for the gun rights organization, what is left of this case? She pointed out that the challengers to the
city’s law had received all that they sought in the initial lawsuit that they had filed. And you had, for example, Justice Sotomayor
saying: The city threw in the towel here. And what are we to do with this? You’re asking us to opine on the old law,
when there’s a new one in place. And then you had on the other side, though,
Justices Gorsuch and Alito really push back on that. They seemed to be — their questions were
geared more to see, was there still — were there still issues left unresolved? Justice Gorsuch was a — the court doesn’t
like it when, after they grant review, one of the parties takes an act to get rid of
the case. So Justice Gorsuch called this a Herculean
late-breaking attempt to moot the case. And Justice Alito also-called this an extraordinary
step to keep the case from getting to the merits of the constitutional challenge. So they continued to probe the lawyers about
whether there was still something that they could decide. JOHN YANG: Why was it so significant that
the court took this case in the first place? MARCIA COYLE: Well, first of all, it was the
first case and almost a decade in which they were going to take up the Second Amendment. Gun rights organizations have been very frustrated
with how the lower courts have been applying the Second Amendment to local and state government
regulations of guns. And they — what they really want here, the
bottom line is, they want the Supreme Court to announce a standard, a test that the lower
courts have to use, a test with teeth, they claim, that will probably work more to their
favor than they have — thus far, they have had very little success in the lower courts
in knocking down gun regulations. JOHN YANG: And this — just to remind people,
the court ruled in 2008 and then again in 2010 that there is an absolute right to own
guns. MARCIA COYLE: It’s — none of our rights are
absolute, John, OK? The Supreme Court in 2008 said that there
was an individual right to possess a firearm in the home for self-defense, but it wasn’t
absolute. There is room for regulation. And that’s where the battle is being fought,
over how much regulation. JOHN YANG: And even if they don’t decide this
case on the merits, as they say, on the issue, will there be an opportunity for it to come
up again? MARCIA COYLE: There could be. We see almost every term at least one gun
rights challenge coming to the court. And, as you pointed out, it had been a decade
since they took one. These challenges will continue to come. Already this term, the court had three cases. They turned away two, and took the New York
City case. JOHN YANG: Marcia Coyle with “The National
Law Journal,” thanks so much. MARCIA COYLE: My pleasure, John. JOHN YANG: There are twists, turns, two in
and two out, with two months to go until the first votes. Yamiche Alcindor brings us up to speed on
the race to the race House. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: This is a Democratic field
in flux. Candidates on the rise are shoring up weaknesses. PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), Presidential Candidate:
Mass incarceration must end. It’s that simple. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Candidates whose campaigns
are lagging are looking for a second wind. SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), Presidential Candidate:
And what are the challenges for you as a small business owner? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And still other candidates
are dropping out entirely. Today, it was Montana Governor Steve Bullock
who left the race. He said in a statement — quote — “It has
become clear that, in this moment, I won’t be able to break through to the top tier.” Yesterday, it was former Pennsylvania Congressman
Joe Sestak, a retired rear admiral. Despite walking the width of New Hampshire
to try and boost name recognition, he failed to find national support. PETE BUTTIGIEG: We have seen Americans pitted
against each other. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: South Bend, Indiana, Mayor
Pete Buttigieg hoped to build on his strong standing in Iowa with a weekend church visit
in North Carolina with the Reverend William Barber. PETE BUTTIGIEG: The hope of an American experience. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Today, he announced a new
TV ad aimed at boosting South Carolina support. PETE BUTTIGIEG: When I say we have got to
unify the American people, it doesn’t mean pretending that we’re all the same. It means unifying around issues from wages
and family leave to gun violence and immigration. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Former Vice President Joe
Biden spent the holiday weekend in Iowa, where his support has been losing steam. He also kicked off what he has dubbed the
No Malarkey Bus Tour. He stressed his number one priority, defeating
President Trump. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), Presidential Candidate:
It’s aptly named. The reason we named it No Malarkey is because
the other guy’s all lies. And so we just want to make sure there’s a
contrast in what we’re talking about here. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The Hawkeye State is also
key for California Senator Kamala Harris. During the holiday shopping weekend, she spoke
with small business owners. Yet she is still dealing with the aftermath
of a damning New York Times report on the state of her campaign. The story quoted one former campaign aide
as saying: “I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly.” Meanwhile, a new campaign ad from Minnesota
Senator Amy Klobuchar will also be targeting Iowans with a heavy emphasis on health care. SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), Presidential Candidate:
Why do drug companies make billions of dollars getting people hooked on opioids? The big pharmaceutical companies, they think
they own Washington. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And Iowa was a focus, too,
for New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who said this on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), Presidential Candidate:
We see my favorability is now number three in net favorability in Iowa. So it’s working. It’s not translating to people choosing me
in the polls. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The tenor was different
at a weekend Iowa stop for Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. An attendee questioned whether she ever felt
not accepted by someone she looked up to. Warren responded with a personal story: how
she told her mother that her first marriage was ending. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), Presidential Candidate:
I heard the disappointment in her voice. I knew how she felt about it. But I also know it was the right thing to
do. And, sometimes, you just got to do what’s
right inside. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: A quiet, deeply personal
moment, even in the rush to the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses just two months away. And now it’s time for Politics Monday. Here to analyze all the week’s political news,
Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and host of public radio’s “Politics With Amy
Walter,” and Domenico Montanaro. He’s a senior political editor at NPR. Thanks so much for being here. Amy, this is the Democratic field still in
flux. We’re two months away from the Iowa caucuses. The people are having bus tours. There are TV ads. How wide open is this field right now? AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Well,
you laid it out pretty well in your opening with the fact that you have two candidates
really focusing on their weaknesses this week. So, Joe Biden is ahead in all the national
polling and has had a pretty consistent lead for the entirety of this campaign. It’s narrowed a little bit since he first
jumped in. But his big problem spot is Iowa, that very
first state that kicks us off, where he’s somewhere maybe second, maybe he’s third place. But he’s certainly behind Pete Buttigieg. Pete Buttigieg’s problem, as you pointed out,
is not with Iowa, where he could win, and even do well in New Hampshire, where he’s
been moving up in the polls. His problem is the states that come afterwards,
states that are — have many — a more diverse electorate, many more African-American voters,
many more voters of color, where he still has not been able to pick up much support. And he’s not just in North Carolina. He’s spending this week in Alabama, which
is also — I think it’s a Super Tuesday state — and in South Carolina as well. DOMENICO MONTANARO, Political Editor, NPR:
You have got half to two-thirds of Democratic primary voters saying that they’re not decided
on the race. They don’t have their minds made up. And what does that lead to? Volatility. So that’s why you have seen these sort of
spurts from some candidates and then decreasing back down. The most recent, maybe the biggest development
of the campaign has been Elizabeth Warren’s surge and then collapse. When it comes to her talking about Medicare
for all as a replacement to private insurance, that has been a very difficult position for
her to try to defend. And I think a lot of Democrats actually very
curious why she went that far, when, honestly, with the way the Senate is currently, there’s
no way that that would pass anyway. So why go that far and take that position,
when she could have put it as a goalpost and say, this is a goal, but not what we’re going
to do maybe right away when I get into be president? So, you know, there’s a lot that still could
come. And we’re in this final stretch now until
Iowa, where you’re going to see voters start to really make up their minds. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, you’re talking about
Elizabeth Warren having a peak and then crashing. Amy, you’re talking about this idea that that
the former vice president, who had all this name recognition, is now struggling in Iowa. AMY WALTER: Right. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: But, Domenico, you think
that there are clear top-tier candidates, even though polls show that Democrats haven’t
really made up their minds all the way? DOMENICO MONTANARO: Look, I think this is
the time of year we need to start talking about paths to the nomination and not the
time of year we talk about national polling. You know, national polling is always sort
of like a barometer of, you know, how well somebody might do or how people feel about
them. But it’s not a national race. You know, if that were the case, then Hillary
Clinton and Rudy Giuliani would have been the 2008 nominees and ran away with it. You have to have a path. And as Amy was laying out, Joe Biden does
have a path still, even though he has this fractured, you know, quarter of the Democratic
Party, it looks like. You know, if he were to win, place or show
in Iowa, top three, kind of still be in the game in New Hampshire, he can retain what’s
held him up, which is that 60 percent of African-American support. And if he can do that, then he has a shot
of winning in the South, where black voters make up the majority of Democratic voters. But that doesn’t mean that some other candidate
can’t come along and take some of those voters away. If he finishes fourth or fifth in Iowa, that’s
going to completely — could completely collapse his momentum, if there was any. AMY WALTER: Yes, we could absolutely be looking
at the possibility that there is a different winner in each of the first four states. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Which would be incredible. AMY WALTER: Which would be incredible, and
then lead us into Super Tuesday, where, by the end of March 3, 40 percent of all the
delegates will have been selected. So we can then be getting into this discussion
of, is anyone able to really coordinate? DOMENICO MONTANARO: And then we’re talking
about Mike Bloomberg, who’s been spending all this money. I mean, he spent $50 million in his first
two weeks of advertising to get his name I.D. up there. He’s not even competing in the first four
states. Nobody’s ever done that before. I mean, he’s got the money. He can do it, but, still, putting that in
context, I mean, that’s 20 times what Everytown spent in Virginia, a group that he backs,
for gun control. And, remember, they were able to take back
the Virginia state House and Senate just based in many ways because of that $2.5 million
that Everytown was able to pour in and outspend the NRA, which only spent about $300,000. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, I saw a lot of Michael
Bloomberg ads this weekend. DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yes. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Something else that I saw
this weekend, Senator John Kennedy on “Meet the Press” defending President Trump. Here’s what he had to say. SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): And I believe that a
Ukrainian district court in December of 2018 slapped down several Ukrainian officials for
meddling in our election as a violation of Ukrainian law. Now, I didn’t report those facts. Reputable journalists reported those facts. Does that mean that Ukrainian — the Ukrainian
leaders were more aggressive than Russia? No, Russia was very aggressive, and they’re
much more sophisticated. But the fact that Russia was so aggressive
does not exclude the fact that President Poroshenko actively worked for Secretary Clinton. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Amy, we know that Ukrainian
meddling in the 2016 election is a theory, a debunked claim that’s been pushed by Russia. It benefits Russia. Our intelligence community, they have not
said that this is true. They have not backed this theory. They say Russia was the one who meddled in
the 2016 election. So what’s going on here? It seems like Democrats and Republicans can’t
even agree on the facts. AMY WALTER: Right. What’s going on here is that Republicans — and
we’re seeing this, I think, also in this report that they just released today from the House
Intelligence Republican report — that the president’s interest in Ukraine wasn’t just
about Joe Biden, and it wasn’t just about digging up dirt on his rival, that there are
real reasons the president had to be wary of Ukraine. There’s a lot of corruption in Ukraine. There’s a lot of political sort of malfeasance,
and it’s very murky. And introducing that element into it is also
making the case for the president to say, look, all I was doing when I was making these
calls to Ukraine was to say, you guys got a lot of problems. You got a lot of corruption. I was absolutely right to question that. DOMENICO MONTANARO: Look, the truth is the
truth, though. And the fact is, the U.S. intelligence community
has said that Ukraine was not who was pushing a government-led effort to, you know, hack
and to interfere and to put out memes and, you know, try to get people voting for Donald
Trump. That was Russia. Russia did that. And we have a president of the United States
who doesn’t believe his own intelligence community, because it doesn’t suit his needs. Yes, there were Ukrainian officials who were
upset about President Trump potentially being president, but a couple op-eds and tweets
are not the same as a government-backed effort to get somebody installed as president. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Senator Kennedy’s comments
are coming as this impeachment inquiry continues to move through the House. Amy, tell me a little bit about what you make
of Republicans spending a lot of money on ads arguing that President Trump shouldn’t
be impeached and shouldn’t be removed. AMY WALTER: Yes. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: How vulnerable are Democrats
who are moderate and how vulnerable are Republicans who are moderate? AMY WALTER: So, like you — if you were watching
TV wherever you were for Thanksgiving, I was watching some live events and seeing a lot
of ads that were — I was in South Carolina, where there’s a freshman member of Congress
named Joe Cunningham, Democrat, a lot of advertising from Republican groups encouraging this freshman
Democrat to vote against impeachment. So I took a look at the districts where you
do have freshman Democrats, swing districts, districts that Trump carried. And you have Republican groups spending anywhere
between $300,000 or $500,000 urging these Democrats to vote no on impeachment. At the end of the day, I don’t think that
they are going to sway these Democrats. But here’s what’s more important. Even when I talked to a Republican today,
his take on this is, look, are we still going to be talking about impeachment by the time
we hit the November 2020 election? I don’t think so. I’m under the same impression. I just believe that we are going to — this
is quite remarkable, that there is going to be an impeachment of the president of the
United States for the third time in history. It is both remarkable and predictable in this
very partisan era that we’re in. And by the time we hit next summer, we will
probably have moved on to something else. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And, Domenico, we only have
about 30 seconds left. But talk a little bit about the Democrats’
timeline here. Amy is saying that this might not be something
that we’re talking about when the 2020 election rolls around. DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yes. I mean, look, the fact is, Democrats want
to get this out of the way too. I mean, they don’t want this to be the dominant
issue. You have half-a-dozen Democrats who are in
the Senate who would have to sit for a Senate trial. They don’t want to have to be doing that in
the middle of campaigning in Iowa or New Hampshire or elsewhere. Democrats want to get this out of the way. They do feel, though, that at least it hasn’t
hurt them, that pushing for impeachment, they haven’t lost independents. They gained some. And it’s firing up the base. So it’s a win-win. And, basically, views of President Trump are
as locked in as they ever were. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, thank you so much,
Domenico Montanaro of NPR and, of course, Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report. I appreciate you both being here. AMY WALTER: You’re welcome. DOMENICO MONTANARO: Thank you. JOHN YANG: For years, rural and small towns
have been experiencing a brain drain, as some of their most talented young people move to
more urban areas. But recent census data has shown that millennials,
those born between 1981 and 1996, are increasingly choosing to live in suburbs and smaller cities. Jeffrey Brown traveled to Montana to hear
why. KAROLINE ROSE, CEO, KRose Cattle Company:
I have to talk strategy with you for a minute. JEFFREY BROWN: For Karoline Rose, it’s just
another day at the office. KAROLINE ROSE: Fall 2020 production sale. You click, and it pulls up. JEFFREY BROWN: The 27-year-old is the founder
of a digital consulting and agricultural marketing company near Toston, Montana, population 108. KAROLINE ROSE: The town of Toston isn’t much. If you blink, you kind of miss it. JEFFREY BROWN: Not a typical setting for a
millennial CEO, perhaps, but with clients across much of rural America, she’s not only
surviving, but thriving, in a place where cows outnumber people. Rose started KRose Company in 2015 and began
using social media to do what her family has always done, sell cattle. KAROLINE ROSE: So we listed them, and they
sold it in about six minutes. And I called my dad on the phone and I said,
I have something. And I was actually the first company to sell
cattle on social media that we know of. JEFFREY BROWN: But her dad, John Rose, who
has been in this business in Montana since the 1980s, was initially skeptical. JOHN ROSE, Montana Rancher: Agriculture’s
still very much a handshake business. And she came home and said, we’re just going
to put them on Facebook or the Internet, and we’re going to sell cattle. I said, that — there’s no way that’s going
to happen. I said, it just is not what agriculture in
the West is. And she said, oh, yes, we can do that. JEFFREY BROWN: Karoline’s success is no surprise
to Ben Winchester, a researcher at the University of Minnesota. He’s been documenting rural population trends
for more than 25 years and says young adults are increasingly coming to these areas for
the cheaper cost of living and new opportunities. BEN WINCHESTER, University of Minnesota: You
can be a doctor in a rural community. You can be an editor for a newspaper in a
rural community. You can be a book publisher. You can be electrical engineer. While not every town will have that diversity
of employment or occupation, when you start putting together five to seven counties, you
have got the same diversity in a rural region that you find in the metropolitan area. JEFFREY BROWN: And according to the latest
census data, millennials are no longer finding metropolitan areas as attractive as they once
did. Collectively, large U.S. cities lost nearly
30,000 millennials in 2018, the fourth consecutive year the population of young adults declined. And it’s not just millennials. A 2018 Gallup poll found that, while 80 percent
of all Americans live in urban areas, rural life is most desired. All this is fueling migration to places like
Bozeman, Montana, now one of the fastest growing small cities in the nation. Dr. Meghan Johnston grew up in Montana and
settled in Bozeman after finishing her residency in Seattle. DR. MEGHAN JOHNSTON, Montana: I live five minutes
from here. My day care is five minutes from here. So I can run out of here at 5:20. I can pick up my kids and go home for dinner
and be home at 5:35. And I know my good friends that live in Seattle
that, logistically, is so much more challenging. So, I think the quality of life here is just
— it’s just easier. JEFFREY BROWN: Dr. Johnston also trains medical
students like Ezekiel Sharples, who has another reason for staying. Nearly 80 percent of rural America is classified
as medically underserved, and Sharples says his hometown of Chinook in Northern Montana
remains without a doctor. EZEKIEL SHARPLES, Medical Student: Almost
everywhere in Montana is like that. All these small towns are either single-physician
or no-physician towns. And so kind of that experience growing up
gave me this drive to go back and kind of be part of solving that issue, I guess. JEFFREY BROWN: Ben Winchester sees a pattern. BEN WINCHESTER: So, millennials especially,
they’re starting to hit the same trends that we had seen in other generations, which is,
again, as you age and you start to gain some stability, that you start to question some
of the facts of your life. JEFFREY BROWN: Of course, moving to a more
rural life hardly guarantees success. BEN WINCHESTER: Well, you have some towns
that — quote, unquote — “succeed” and other towns that fail. And what we find is that really the biggest
differential in communities is social capital. And it is, how well do people work together? JEFFREY BROWN: Another factor, cultural life. Bozeman may not have the nightly high-profile
music and arts scene of a larger city, but it does have Live From the Divide. JASON WICKENS, Singer-Songwriter: Started
with the intention of just creating a place for songwriters to have a place where they
could play their songs and people would respect that, but listen. JEFFREY BROWN: Thirty-five-year-old Jason
Wickens is a singer-songwriter from Central Montana. He lived briefly in Nashville, but decided
to come back home, and now runs a music venue, where national touring acts can play to small,
intimate crowds. So, when did you realize that you could give
it a go here in Montana? JASON WICKENS: If you’re in Nashville or New
York or L.A., it is hard. Like, I would say it’s a lot harder, depending
on what your… JEFFREY BROWN: Harder because it’s expensive? JASON WICKENS: It’s expensive. It’s way more cutthroat. You have to really be a hustler. And there’s nothing wrong with any of those
things. For me, I just — I had no interest in even
trying to make it work there, because I wanted to be back in the culture that inspired me
in my music and to do the things I wanted to do. JEFFREY BROWN: Back on her family’s ranch,
Karoline Rose says she’s now buying, selling and marketing cattle to more than 300 clients
in 12 states. And she has this advice for those who might
want to try making it in places like this: KAROLINE ROSE: It’s really important that,
when you move into rural America, that you get out and you know the community and you
show up, but also that you’re different, and you bring your skills and your knowledge to
the table, because that’s what we need and that’s what we’re looking for. JEFFREY BROWN: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m
Jeffrey Brown in Montana. JOHN YANG: We will be back shortly with Richard
Powers, the author of our Now Read This book club pick, “The Overstory.” But, first, take a moment to hear from your
local PBS station. It’s a chance to offer your support, which
helps keep programs like ours on the air. (BREAK)
JOHN YANG: For those stations staying with us, roughly four million children entered
the Kindergarten last year nearly one third of them had previously been in preschool. Special corespondent Lisa Stark, of our partner
Education Week, has an encore look at an effort in Portland, Oregon to get those students
ready. DONNA SHINAGAWA: Good morning, kindergartners. LISA STARK: This has the look and feel of
a typical kindergarten class. It’s designed to get students ready for the
real thing, says teacher Donna Shinagawa. DONNA SHINAGAWA: It’s a preview to kindergarten,
and so we try to make it as similar to kindergarten as possible. LISA STARK: This summer program in Portland,
Oregon, runs for three weeks, helping ease the transition to kindergarten. DONNA SHINAGAWA: Put your thumb in like this,
and two fingers like that. LISA STARK: Some have never attended preschool. Others struggle with poverty, or their first
language isn’t English. The start of kindergarten can be overwhelming
for anyone, but especially for these children. Mom Suzhen Li and her daughter Suki Chen are
taking part. Why did you think it was important for Suki
to be here? SUZHEN LI: She can meet the teachers and new
classmates here first, and I think it is better for her to get used to the others. LISA STARK: The program, offered in a dozen
of Portland’s high poverty schools, is helping some 240 children this summer. Here at the Harrison Park School, those participating
speak eight different languages, and at least a third have never been in a classroom setting. What is your goal for the kids in this program? DONNA SHINAGAWA:Just to be confident about
school. To know that school is fun, and it’s a place
that’s safe. LISA STARK: Students learn everything from
how to navigate the cafeteria, line up in the hallways, use their lockers, even how
to bid parents goodbye. CHILDREN: Bye, bye! LISA STARK:There’s also big emphasis on social
skills, which studies show can be a major factor in early school success. DONNA SHINAGAWA: How do we make a friend? Raise your hand if you’d like to share how
do we make a friend? LISA STARK: Can three weeks really make that
much of a difference? DONNA SHINAGAWA: Yes, it really helps build
community. The parents also feel comfortable when they
drop the kids off. They know the building, they know the teachers,
they know the classroom, and the kids feel the same way, too. LISA STARK: Suki is settling in. KID: In my class, in one day, I got a sticker! LISA STARK: You got a sticker! KID: Two times in a row! NANCY HAUTH: We will build connections with
each other, you know, the importance of coming to school and not feeling isolated. LISA STARK: Nancy Hauth oversees the program
in the Portland Public Schools. NANCY HAUTH: We know that families who are
coming into kindergarten without a preschool experience really struggle with the start
to kindergarten, understanding expectations, and we know that they also start kindergarten
with a higher level of stress. LISA STARK: In a study of preschool enrollment
in 36 countries, the United States ranks near the bottom, above just three other countries. In the U.S., publicly funded pre-K serves
only about 44 percent of four-year-olds, and 16 percent of three-year-olds. Education analyst Aaron Loewenberg says that’s
a problem. Aaron Loewenberg: So, it’s important to realize
that while these summer programs are definitely helpful with the transition to kindergarten,
they’re not at all a replacement for high quality pre-k. High-quality pre-K program also is going to
help them build the academic and social, emotional skills that will help them be successful once
they get into the kindergarten classroom. LISA STARK: Those in Portland agree, but in
Oregon, there are limited state and federally-funded preschool slots for low-income students. So the district packs as much as it can into
these three summer weeks. NANCY HAUTH: Kindergarten is so foundational,
and this is where children are learning to read. This is where children are learning how read,
this is where they are learning how to interact with each other, they’re gaining huge math
skills. It is the very basis of the rest of their
education. LISA STARK:Getting these young students excited
and ready for kindergarten is only part of the summer program. Another key element is getting their parents
ready as well. WOMAN: So, welcome. LISA STARK: Parents gather for six mornings
over the three-week program. To make it easy, there’s food, childcare,
and translators. It’s all to encourage parents to be an active
part of their children’s education. Woman: If you guys do stuff with math. That’s critical to student achievement. The program allows parents to get to know
each other, build their own support systems, and connects them to the school. Here’s principal Leah Dickey. LEAH DICKEY: It really helps parents feel
they have a voice and that they know answers, and they’re not just coming into this blindly. I think we forget, with parents, oftentimes
have kindergartners that they have never done this before, many of them have never done
this, and it’s just as scary for them as it is for their students. SUZHEN LI: I was a teacher in China before
I move here, so I know that school and the family, is a very good bridge to get it together. We need to know each other to help the kids
to grow. WOMAN: Today, we’re going to talk about the
school calendar. LISA STARK: The school staff stresses attendance,
how critical it is to get students to school every day and on time. Nationally, about one in ten kindergartners
is chronically absent. It’s a big concern, and in Oregon, the numbers
are even worse. BETH TARASAWA: You know, ultimately, we’re
trying to change behaviors in both parents and in kids. LISA STARK: Researcher Beth Tarasawa has analyzed
Portland’s early transition program, and says students who attend are less likely to be
absent, not just in kindergarten, but through third grade. BETH TARASAWA: So when you’re seeing promising
results in the very population that we’re trying to reach, that we’ve struggled to,
historically, in our school systems, traditionally our public. That is something that is very noteworthy. LISA STARK: She also looked at early reading
skills and found mixed results. In most years, summer program participants
showed more growth than their classmates. In other years, they did not. BETH TARASAWA: We can’t expect a three-week
program to come in and eradicate what, you know, years of poverty and trauma, potentially,
in these kids’ lives, have exposed them to. But those first few years, without this intervention,
could look a lot different for these same kids. LISA STARK: Many districts make efforts to
ease the entry into kindergarten — maybe an open house, or meet the teacher event — but
few districts have as extensive a program as Portland’s. At about $14,000 a school, supporters say
it’s a relatively affordable way to help families hit the ground running on that first day of
kindergarten. DONNA SHINAGAWA: See if you can find any more
E’s. CHILDREN: E! LISA STARK:For the PBS NewsHour and Education
Week, I’m Lisa Stark, in Portland, Oregon. (BREAK) JOHN YANG: Next: Now Read This, our monthly
book club partnership with The New York Times. Our current selection takes us into the natural
world through fiction. Jeffrey Brown is back with that, part of our
ongoing arts and culture coverage, Canvas. JEFFREY BROWN: One review called “The Overstory”
the most exciting novel about trees you will ever read. Well, it is about trees, but, perhaps more,
it’s about people from different walks of life who become aware of their place in the
natural world, see its destruction, and begin to take action to defend against it. The book won the Pulitzer Prize. Author Richard Powers is here to answer questions
from me and our readers. And thank you very much for doing this with
us. RICHARD POWERS, Author, “The Overstory”: Oh,
it’s a great pleasure to be here. JEFFREY BROWN: Let’s let those in — everyone
else, readers and non-readers here. I said it’s an interesting mix of trees. It’s about people. What were you after? What’s the story? RICHARD POWERS: I wanted, I guess, to recover
a lost kind of drama that’s fallen out of literary fiction. We’re very good at telling psychological stories,
conflicts inside individual people. We’re also really good at telling sociological
or political stories, conflicts between two people, where both sides are equally defensible,
or equally admirable somehow, but not compatible. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. RICHARD POWERS: We have, more or less in recent
years in the West, forgotten about a third kind of drama, which is, we human beings may
want something that the rest of the living world is at best indifferent to and may be
hostile toward or at least incompatible with. I wanted to tell a story that brought people
and non-humans back together into the same negotiating space. JEFFREY BROWN: That’s very interesting, sitting
on a news program, where we’re talking about these things a lot. RICHARD POWERS: Yes. JEFFREY BROWN: But you wanted to bring it
into the world of fiction. RICHARD POWERS: Yes, to create a novel that
is vocalized through people, but also has non-humans as central protagonists in the
dramatic story, but they’re not there just for window dressing. They are what’s at stake. So, we like to think about people and nature
as two separate things. This book is precisely a book that challenges
that notion of human separatism. JEFFREY BROWN: All right, so we meet a number
of people along the way with their own stories, and then they — you slowly bring them together. Many of our readers wondered about the mix
of fact and fiction and the level of research, because we learn a lot about the life of trees
here. MOLLY MCLASKEY, Vermont: Would you comment
on the mingling of factual tree science or the history of tree-saving activism that informed
the development of the characters in this utterly surprising and impactful story? RICHARD POWERS: What a lovely question. Whatever I present in the book as scientific
fact was, to the best of my ability at the time of publication, verifiable, consensually
repeated and agreed upon. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. RICHARD POWERS: So I didn’t play fast and
loose with any of these extraordinary discoveries about trees that have been made over the last
three or four decades, the fact that trees communicate to each other above the — over
the air with chemical signals warning about predation and sharing an immune system, if
you will. I was absolutely astonished, while researching
this book, to discover how little primary forest, old growth forest, in the United States
is left. The number is somewhere between 2 and 5 percent
of these forests that were supposed to be inexhaustible. And that’s basically the heart and soul of
this story, the attempt to stave that last little irreplaceable bit of national patrimony
that we have been losing so rapidly. JEFFREY BROWN: I want to go to our next question
from a viewer, because it goes to this experience. MARY AUMACK, California: Did you have any
idea how much this book could change the reader’s perception and emotion relative to trees? RICHARD POWERS: I have never experienced anything
like this. JEFFREY BROWN: The reaction? RICHARD POWERS: Yes. And I felt close to the story, and the subject
matter really lifted me up. But to go to these events and come face to
face with people who, you know, will stay until all hours of the night in order to tell
me a personal story from their childhood or from their adulthood, and to obviously do
so with great emotion., it’s very unusual for me to come away from an event like this
and not have experienced some deep linkage with people who have responded to the subject
of the story in a deeply emotional way. JEFFREY BROWN: Part of that response — and
it also came out with our readers — is as a call to action, right, because that’s part
of — a big part of the story of the novel. So let’s look at that, one more question here. CHAU WU, Virginia: Does the world need to
take more immediate and drastic actions toward climate change? And what can we as citizens do? RICHARD POWERS: You know, we are living at
an extraordinary moment. The deep — the outpouring of emotion that
people have toward this subject matter, any book that attempts to bring in that question
of what we’re doing to the living world is triggering sympathetic grief in people, terror,
fear of what’s happening. JEFFREY BROWN: I want to ask you one more
personal question, because you told me before we started that you had moved because of this
book. RICHARD POWERS: Yes. The book moved me across the country. I was… JEFFREY BROWN: Yes, to the Great Smoky Mountains? RICHARD POWERS: Yes, I was living and working
in Silicon Valley. I was teaching at Stanford University when
I got the idea for the book. As I was reading about how little old growth
forest was left, I kept reading that, if you wanted to see what an eastern broadleaf deciduous
forest looked like before Europeans came, that you have to go to the Smokies, because
that’s one of the last large contiguous chunks of old growth. And I went there about four years ago strictly
as a research outing. And walking up from a regrowth forest into
the old growth, it was that moment in “Wizard of Oz” where it changes from black and white
to color. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. Yes. Yes. Right. RICHARD POWERS: Everything was different. And I thought, here is it. Here’s what my country looked like. And it was such an overpowering, such a visceral
feeling, the look of it, the smell of it, the sound of it, that, eight months later,
after this little research trip, I was still thinking about the place. And I bought a house there, and I moved. And I have been living there ever since. JEFFREY BROWN: Wow. That’s a personal reaction to your own book,
huh? RICHARD POWERS: Yes. Yes. JEFFREY BROWN: All right, we’re going to leave
it there. And we will have more available later on our
Now Read This Facebook page. For now, Richard Powers, thank you so much
for this. RICHARD POWERS: I’m very grateful. JEFFREY BROWN: And on to our next book for
December. She is the stuff of ancient Greek myth, a
witch in Homer’s Odyssey, but in a new novel by Madeline Miller, Circe tells her own story,
one that has been embraced by readers and critics alike. And we’re delighted to make it our December
pick. As always, you can read along, join in discussions
with others, and get insight from the author herself. It’s all on our Facebook page for Now Read
This, our book club partnership with The New York Times. JOHN YANG: Two news updates before we go. The Senate tonight confirmed Dan Brouillette
as the new energy secretary. He’s a former Ford Motor Company lobbyist
and has served as deputy secretary since 2017. He replaces Rick Perry, who resigned amid
scrutiny over his role in the U.S.-Ukraine policy at the center of the impeachment probe. And former President Jimmy Carter has been
hospitalized again, this time for a urinary tract infection. The 95-year-old was admitted to a hospital
in Americus, Georgia, over the weekend. In a statement, his spokeswoman said he is
feeling better and hopes to return home soon. Mr. Carter had just been released from a hospital
in Atlanta last Wednesday after surgery to relieve pressure from bleeding in his brain
caused by a recent fall. And on the “NewsHour” online, author Richard
Powers shares 26 books about trees that helped him write his novel “The Overstory.” The books cover a wide range of topics, from
the disappearance of the American chestnut to histories of forest activism. All that and more on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour. That is the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m John Yang. Join us online and again here tomorrow evening. For all of us at the “NewsHour,” thanks. See you soon.

Maurice Vega

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