September 24, 2021 - PBS NewsHour full episode
September 24, 2021 - PBS NewsHour full episode
JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I'm Judy Woodruff.
On the "NewsHour" tonight: stalemate. President Biden's agenda stalls in Congress amid disagreements
among Democrats over his $3.5 trillion spending plan.
Then: the end of an era. Angela Merkel's 16 years as chancellor draws to a close, with
German voters uncertain about the country's future.
MAN: Angela Merkel was -- I think she did a good job overall, but we need to do something
JUDY WOODRUFF: And it's Friday.
JIM LEHRER, Co-Founder and Former Anchor, "PBS NewsHour": The official debut of Shields
JUDY WOODRUFF: We celebrate David Brooks' 20 years on the program, as he and Jonathan
Capehart consider the divide among Democrats and the looming debt ceiling deadline.
All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."
JUDY WOODRUFF: Major pieces of President Biden's ambitious domestic agenda are at risk tonight,
amid infighting among members of his own Democratic Party.
Hanging in the balance, the bipartisan infrastructure bill and his $3.5 trillion spending package
to address health care, child care, the environment, and more. The president spoke about the status
of negotiations earlier today.
JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: We're at this stalemate at the moment. And
we're going to have to get these two pieces of legislation passed. Both need to be passed.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And Amna Nawaz joins me now.
So, Amna, what -- tell us more about the stalemate the president is referring to.
AMNA NAWAZ: Judy, it's a big acknowledge, but he's sort of been building his language
And it is very descriptive and indicative of where they are right now. You're talking
about two major bills, both central to the president's economic agenda, that $1 trillion
bipartisan infrastructure bill, the larger $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. They are
locked up in an intra-Democratic Party battle right now.
So, we know, of course, centrists want that bipartisan bill to move forward through, first
alone. It's already passed the Senate. They have some sticker shock when it comes to the
reconciliation bill. And progressives want both tracked, moving through together. They
have even threatened to tank the infrastructure bill if they don't move through together.
So, look, President Biden, we know this week has been working to unite both sides, figure
out where the common ground is. His language today is very reflective of where they are
right now. He ended with that little bit of hope and optimism. They both need to be passed.
It's not clear where the common ground is moving forward.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, given all that, where does it go from here?
AMNA NAWAZ: So here's where we are today. You have got the leader of the House Congressional
- - the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal, basically doubling down and saying,
we are not going to leave behind the things that we fought so hard for, child care and
education and climate and so on, the human infrastructure bill.
And she had some tough words for those moderate centrists, for Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema,
saying, you drafted the infrastructure bill without input from us. We have drafted the
reconciliation bill. You now need to come along.
Now, Senator Manchin has said this week that President Biden asked him for a number. He
said, tell me what you would support. What would it take to get your support on this
bill? Please just continue to work on this. That's where we could see some agreement,
if they can come to some kind of compromise on the number.
But the House, meanwhile, it's going to continue to work through the weekend. Speaker Pelosi's
office today told us the Budget Committee is going to continue to mark up that reconciliation
bill tomorrow. It then goes to the Rules Committee. A source in her office says they are very
much moving forward.
But in her latest letter to her Democratic colleagues, she did have some careful language.
She said: "As negotiations continue, there may be changes," so maybe bracing some members
of her caucus that some of the details or the contours of the bill could change.
It does end with a plan, though. Speaker Pelosi announced she does plan to move forward next
week with two bills, both infrastructure and reconciliation. And we should say she pledged
to bring the infrastructure bill to a vote on Monday, when, by the way, Judy, the Senate
is also likely voting on continuing government funding and raising the debt ceiling.
So, just all of the things happening on Monday.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All of it's happening all at one time. And we will see what happens. It
is going to be a full weekend.
AMNA NAWAZ: We will see.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Amna Nawaz, thanks very much.
AMNA NAWAZ: Thanks, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day's other news: Millions of Americans who got Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine
are now eligible to receive a booster shot. That's after the CDC's director, Dr. Rochelle
Walensky, signed off on her agency's advisory panel recommendations for extra doses for
older and high-risk Americans.
She also overruled her advisers to expand eligibility to include front-line workers,
to side with the FDA's recommendation.
President Biden praised the decision and pleaded with Americans who have yet to receive their
JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: Listen to the voices of the unvaccinated Americans
who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breaths, saying -- and, literally, we
have seen this on television -- "If only I had gotten vaccinated."
Please don't let this become your tragedy. Get vaccinated. It can save your live -- your
life. It can save the lives of those around you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Vice President Harris had her own COVID scare today, just moments before
an interview with ABC's "The View." Two of the show's hosts, Sunny Hostin and Ana Navarro,
tested positive for COVID. They were pulled from the set in front of a live audience.
The vice president, who was later interviewed remotely from another room, did not have any
contact with them.
A migrant encampment in Del Rio, Texas, where thousands of Haitian migrants had converged
this week has now been cleared.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said some 12, 400 were allowed into the U.S.
to seek asylum. He also expressed outrage over scenes of Border Patrol agents whipping
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security: The images horrified us in terms
of what they suggest and what they conjure up, in terms of not only our nation's history,
but, unfortunately, the fact that that page of history has not been turned entirely. And
that means that there is much work to do, and we are very focused on doing it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Mayorkas said about 2,000 migrants have been flown back to Haiti since Sunday,
and more could be expelled in the coming days.
The U.N. now says the death toll from the Syrian civil war is far higher than it previously
believed. Its human rights office has documented more than 350,000 civilian and combatant deaths
during the decade-long conflict.
But it acknowledged the true toll is likely much greater.
MICHELLE BACHELET, U.N. Human Rights Commissioner: It is not and should be not seen as a complete
number of conflict-related killings in Syria during this period.
It indicates a minimum verifiable number and is certainly an undercount of the actual number
of killings. Tragically, there are also many other victims who left behind no witnesses
or documentation as to their death.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.N.'s death toll numbers are still far lower than the tally from the
Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, which estimates more than 606,000 people have died.
Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin plans to appeal his convictions and his 22.5-year
sentence for the murder of George Floyd. In documents filed Thursday, he argued the judge
abused his discretion and erred multiple times during the trial. Chauvin is representing
himself in the appeals process after he was denied a public defender.
President Biden will not invoke executive privilege to shield former President Trump's
records from the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. White House Press
Secretary Jen Psaki said that they will cooperate with Congress to help get to the bottom of
what happened that day.
The GOP audit of 2020 election results in Arizona's largest county has confirmed President
Biden won the state. The findings released today further discredit former President Trump's
claims of election fraud.
Meanwhile, Texas is launching its own election audit in four counties, under pressure from
We will return to Arizona's audit after the news summary.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to protect a woman's right to an abortion.
It was in response to a highly restrictive Texas law that went into effect earlier this
month that has the effect of banning most abortions.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi celebrated today's vote.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): This is about women's right to choose, yes, but it's about freedom,
freedom of that choice, and freedom from the vigilantes, the bounty hunters that the Texas
government has -- legislature has set in motion.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The bill's passage in the House is largely symbolic, since it's not likely
to get the support it needs to advance in the Senate.
The Senate's oldest Republican, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, announced today that he will run
for reelection next year. The 88-year-old has held his seat for four decades. His announcement
gives Senate Republicans more hope that they will be able to hold onto his seat in next
year's midterm elections.
The chief financial officer of Huawei has reached a deal with the U.S. Justice Department
to resolve criminal charges against her and allow her to return to China. Meng Wanzhou
admitted to misleading a bank about the Chinese communications giant's business with Iran.
She's been in Canada since her 2018 arrest on a U.S. warrant.
And trading was light on Wall Street today, after a volatile week. The Dow Jones industrial
average gained 33 points to close at 34798. The Nasdaq fell four points, and the S&P 500
Still to come on the "NewsHour": a controversial Republican-led election audit in Arizona confirms
Biden won the state in 2020; German voters chart a new future, as the Angela Merkel era
draws to a close; the jury begins deliberations in the trial of embattled singer R. Kelly;
and much more.
The widely discredited election review in Arizona
But more than 10 months after the 2020 election, there is growing alarm about other efforts
launched with no credible justification to sow doubt about elections past, present and
William Brangham explains.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That's right, Judy.
It was Republicans in the Arizona state Senate who commissioned this review of ballots in
Maricopa County, even though election officials in the state said there was no large-scale
fraud in the 2020 election.
But a partisan group called Cyber Ninjas undertook a controversial review of the vote, and they
affirmed that Joe Biden in fact won Maricopa County and Arizona.
And here with us to look at the larger context is Nate Persily, a scholar of election law
at Stanford University Law School.
Nate, great to see you back on the "NewsHour."
I hesitate to call this an actual audit, what this organization did in Arizona. But they
affirmed what we already knew, that Joe Biden won Maricopa County and he won Arizona. But
what do you make of this when you look at this process?
NATE PERSILY, Stanford Law School: Well, you're right to hesitate in calling it an audit.
Audits are good things. We know how to do election audits. Every state should audit
its elections. But that is not what this was. This really was part of a coordinated disinformation
campaign to try to undermine the legitimacy of the election. And we should not put too
fine a point on it, that the whole goal here after the fact, many months after the fact,
now almost a year after the election, was to cast doubt on the basic machinery of this
And, as we have seen, even in the sort of public reception of this draft report, the
fact that Cyber Ninjas did not find that it affected the outcome hasn't sort of decreased
speculation or this lack of confidence that the whole audit process has generated.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And for people who haven't been following this rather circuitous process
they took, I mean, this was a very bizarre process, the way they went about this. These
people had no experience in election law.
They spent a period of time searching for bamboo fibers, allegedly looking for counterfeit
Chinese ballots. I mean, the whole process seems -- bizarre is the official term, I think,
NATE PERSILY: Well, one of the problems is that we don't really know what the basic allegation
was as to why there might have been fraud, whether in Arizona or elsewhere.
Throughout the last 10, 12 months, what we have seen are allegations, again, of Chinese
ballots, as you were saying, in Arizona, of Italian satellites as having manipulated voting
machines, or of Dominion voting machines not being secure, of dead people voting and the
There's this very heterogeneous set of complaints. And so what Cyber Ninjas was doing was going
on a fishing expedition to find out if there was anything that implicated the outcome.
Now, they didn't find that the results would have been different. In fact, they had -- from
their results, they suggest that Joe Biden actually increased his vote totals through
their audit than what was found on Election Day.
But the fact that it may have sort of confirmed the result should not be any solace to those
of us who worry about the lack of confidence that this type of process has engendered among
the mass public.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And, as you say, if this were just Arizona, that might be one thing.
We might be able to put this behind us, but this is going on in multiple other states
NATE PERSILY: That's right.
This is now a playbook for other states. If you are a sort of disgruntled politician or
one trying to make a name for yourself, then, whether it's in Pennsylvania or Wisconsin
or some other states, Georgia, now that this is a pathway that they have chosen.
Now, again, recounts and audits are part of our process. We want to encourage that in
the month or so after an election, because we want to know that the election machinery
is working as intended. But a year after an election, right, all this is trying to do
is to undermine confidence in the result.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And it sounds like, on some level, that perpetual argument that is made
is having an effect, there was a Monmouth University poll out a month or two ago that
showed that a third of Americans believe that President Biden was elected only because of
fraud and that Donald Trump should have properly won the election.
I mean, from an election administrator standpoint, if a third of the country thinks that you're
engaged in a widespread fraud, what does that do to their ability to run elections safely
NATE PERSILY: Well, this is a very dangerous period, I think, for our democracy, that we
have not seen this erosion of confidence in the basic infrastructure America, of the elections,
in our history.
We see lots of retirements among these veteran election officials. We see that many of them
feel that they're taking their lives in their own hands because of death threats and the
And so these are challenges we have not faced before, and they're a direct result of the
concerted disinformation campaign that's trying to undermine the legitimacy the outcome.
But these folks are heroes.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Nate Persily of Stanford University Law School, thanks so much for
NATE PERSILY: Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Germany is one of America's most important allies, and nearly every American
president since George W. Bush has worked closely with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
But for the first time since 2005, she will not be a candidate when Germans head to the
polls this Sunday to vote for her successor.
Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant is in Berlin with a preview of the upcoming election.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Judy, this is the end of an era.
Angela Merkel is slipping away from the political stage with minimal fanfare, which is entirely
consistent with her modest, understated style. She's leaving behind huge shoes to fill, and
there's a very tight race to replace her as chancellor.
For 16 years, Angela Merkel has led Germany and been Europe's most dominant politician.
They call her Mutti, or Mom. Now, as Mutti is leaving the chancellery, Germany is out
of its comfort zone.
PETER NEUMANN, Christian Democratic Union: I think she will be remembered as a very important
statesperson who kept Europe together.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Peter Neumann is a senior adviser to Merkel's center-right Christian
PETER NEUMANN: History will remember her as a successful chancellor, as a popular chancellor,
as a chancellor that brought Germans a great deal of prosperity
MALCOLM BRABANT: President Biden saluted the shy research scientist who became the first
East German to assume her nation's highest office since reunification.
JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: On behalf of the United States, thank you,
Angela, for your career of strong, principled leadership.
And I want to thank you for your continued support for the longstanding goal of Europe
whole, free and at peace.
MALCOLM BRABANT: In 2010, Merkel saved the euro currency by coordinating a financial
bailout for Greece when it went bust. There were fears that other weak European economies
would collapse and the euro would tank.
ANGELA MERKEL, German Chancellor (through translator): Europe fails when the euro fails.
Europe wins when the euro wins.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Merkel's most controversial unilateral act was to throw open Germany's
borders to Syrian refugees in 2015. In all, Germany granted asylum to over a million in
that first year of Europe's migration crisis.
ANGELA MERKEL (through translator): And I have to say quite honestly, if we now start
having to apologize even for showing a friendly face in emergency situations, then this is
not my country.
MALCOLM BRABANT: People across the developing world saw this as an invitation to enter Europe.
Only Sweden emulated Germany. Partner nations resented being pressured. Hungary erected
a border fence, wrecking the E.U.'s commitment to open internal frontiers.
Six years on, the flow of asylum seekers into Europe is still strong.
Sonya Sceats runs a London-based pro refugee nonprofit. She thinks Merkel was right.
SONYA SCEATS, Chief Executive, Freedom From Torture: Germany and Sweden tried to start
a grownup conversation with other European states, and other European states weren't
willing to step up to the plate.
MALCOLM BRABANT: The influx caused a backlash at home, and, as Peter Neumann explains, led
to a resurgence of the far right in East Germany.
PETER NEUMANN: Significant parts of the electorate didn't like it at all and especially the East,
where she's coming from was very aggrieved about it and still holds it against her. I
think that's the point where she lost the former East Germany.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Since Merkel opened Germany's borders in 2015. European right-wingers like
French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen have secured a stronger footing with their
MARINE LE PEN, President, National Rally Party (through translator): All of the migrants
who didn't stay in Germany went off amusing themselves in other European countries without
asking for our permission. Those who didn't remain in Germany went to Sweden, Italy, France,
weighing heavily on our finances, and creating conditions for conflict.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Unlike last time, when immigration dominated, climate change is this election's
hot issue. Polls suggest that Germany is steering to the left.
Most Germans expect Social Democrat Olaf Scholz to replace Merkel. As finance minister in
Merkel's coalition government, Scholz is a known quantity, if a little dull. His main
rival, Armin Laschet, who replaced Merkel as head of the center-right Christian Democrats,
is also charisma-challenged.
But that's not a disadvantage in Germany. The main outsider, Annalena Baerbock of the
environmentalist Greens, is predicted to be kingmaker in the next inevitable coalition.
OLAF SCHOLZ, Social Democratic Party (through translator): Many citizens can see me as the
next head of government, the next chancellor. And I make no secret that, above all, I would
like to create a government in alliance with the Greens.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Laschet is promising Merkel-like stability.
ARMIN LASCHET, Christian Democratic Union (through translator): I stand for the cohesion
of Europe in these difficult times, a climate-neutral industry and strong economy, and a clear course
for national security.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Baerbock wants to force the Christian Democrats into opposition.
ANNALENA BAERBOCK, Leader, German Green Party (through translator): I stand for no longer
using half-measures to protect the climate, a policy that finally brings children and
families to its core and a human rights-led foreign policy in the heart of Europe.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Devastating floods caused by unnaturally heavy summer rain pushed climate
change onto the election agenda. The death toll is still unclear, but could be as high
as 300. Restoration could cost $30 billion.
Activist Jacob Heinze has gone without food for three weeks to highlight climate change.
At the hunger striker'S camp, spokeswoman Helen Luebbert had harsh words for the greens.
HELEN LUEBBERT, Climate Change Activist: They are not the solution. Even their program is
not enough. And, therefore, I think it's important that they are part of the coalition, they
do everything they can within the political spectrum, within the Parliament, and then
we definitely need opposition from without the Parliament.
MALCOLM BRABANT: Facing possible defeat, center-right parliamentary candidate Klaus-Dieter Grohler
was trying to woo votes with bratwurst and beer.
KLAUS-DIETER GROHLER, Christian Democratic Union (through translator): People are asking
critical questions, but I'm not getting the sense that they are really interested in a
change of government.
MALCOLM BRABANT: That's not what the polls say. This voter won't be swayed by a sausage.
MAN: Angela Merkel was -- I think she did a good job overall, but we need to do something
MALCOLM BRABANT: As Election Day approaches, the party of Angela Merkel is hoping Germans
will avoid change, and play safe, as they have done so often in the past.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Malcolm Brabant in Berlin.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A jury began deliberations today in the of federal trial of singer R.
Kelly. The R&B artist is accused of kidnapping, bribery, sex trafficking, and racketeering,
among other charges.
Amna Nawaz is back with our look at the case.
And a warning for some viewers: This story deals with explicit references to sexual assault.
AMNA NAWAZ: Judy, R. Kelly has faced allegations of sexual abuse for more than two decades
and has settled multiple cases.
But this is the first criminal trial he's faced since being acquitted of child pornography
charges back in 2008. Over this trial, prosecutors brought 45 witnesses to prove racketeering
charges. They argue that Kelly oversaw a criminal enterprise, with associates helping to lure
underage girls, boys, and young women, whom he sexually assaulted and imprisoned.
Kelly pled not guilty.
Emily Palmer is covering this for The New York Times. And she joins me now.
Emily, welcome to the "NewsHour."
You have been listening to those witnesses as they're shared their testimony, horrifying
details. Tell us a little bit about who we have heard from and what they have said.
EMILY PALMER, The New York Times: This case is built on the stories of six women. Five
of them testified.
And the first woman to take the stand, the first woman to ever actually take the stand
and testify against R. Kelly was a woman named Jerhonda Pace. She was nine months' pregnant
at the time. And she took the stand.
And, over the course of two days, she delineated what she says was a system of abuse that began
upon her first meeting with R. Kelly when she was just 14 years old and attended his
child pornography trial in Chicago. Two years later, she met up with the singer again, and
he began having sex with her almost from the get-go.
She outlined horrific details of sexual, as well as physical abuse. And from there, the
trial just sort of pushed forward. We heard also from a woman named Stephanie, Sonya,
a woman who testified under the name of Jane, and another Faith.
They all came forward, and they talked about the same thing. They had testimony that actually
stretched all the way back into the 1990s, all the way into just a few years ago. And
they were saying the same story over and over again.
AMNA NAWAZ: And, Emily, as prosecutors say, it wasn't just about the predatory actions
of one man, that there was an entire network of enablers around him. Tell me a little bit
about how they made that case.
EMILY PALMER: Absolutely.
And that network of enablers is actually the whole reason that we're in federal court right
now. The racketeering charge that they have put against R. Kelly allows them to go stretch
all the way back into the 1990s and bring these stories of horrible things that happen
to women like the R&B singer Aaliyah that would normally be too old to actually prosecute.
But by charging him with racketeering, something that's usually used against mobsters, they
have been able to establish that we're not talking about a successful music company,
prosecutors say. We're talking about an enterprise designed specifically to allow R. Kelly to
switch up his -- sorry.
We are talking about an enterprise that allows R. Kelly to cash in his fame and stardom to
have sex with underage women, girls, and even boys.
AMNA NAWAZ: So, Emily, R. Kelly has pled not guilty. He's denied all the accusations against
him. Tell me about his defense team.
How do they answer some of these allegations and handle the witnesses?
EMILY PALMER: His defense, from opening arguments through cross-examination of 45 witnesses,
through their own five witnesses that came and testified earlier this week, through closing
statements, have kept to a very specific story.
They say this is a complete conspiracy to undermine a successful R&B artist who enjoyed
younger women, but there was nothing illegal about it, they say. They say that these sexual
acts were completely -- they say that the women were happy to indulge R. Kelly, were
fans, even super stalkers at times, that they wanted into the relationships, and then they
became jealous and hurt and upset, and they were coming after his money.
AMNA NAWAZ: Emily, I think a lot of people will listen to this and wonder, how? How did
this go on for so long without charges of this kind being brought?
EMILY PALMER: It's really important to look at the people who are accusing R. Kelly.
And most of the people who have taken -- a majority of the people who have taken the
stand are Black women who have historically not been heard, especially in cases like this.
And this is really a huge moment in the MeToo movement.
We have had other trials. We have had Bill Cosby. We have had Harvey Weinstein. But this
is the first big high-profile case where a majority of the accusers are Black women.
And it's really going to be interesting as the jury continues to deliberate, because,
for many years, people knew what was going on. His employees knew. Even, to a certain
extent, the public knew, and yet nobody did anything.
AMNA NAWAZ: And we will be waiting and watching for that verdict.
That is Emily Palmer of The New York Times covering the trial of R. Kelly and joining
Thank you, Emily.
EMILY PALMER: Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: As President Biden's legislative agenda stalls in Congress, he has run into
yet another issue, or, we should say, continues to run into the issue of turmoil on the Southern
For a look at this busy week and what it all means, we're joined by Brooks and Capehart.
That is New York Times columnist David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart, columnist for The Washington
Hello to both of you.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: You too, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Very good to see you...
JONATHAN CAPEHART: You too.
JUDY WOODRUFF: ... on this Friday.
And there is so much to talk about.
So, David, it does look like there's real trouble for President Biden's domestic agenda.
And it's not the Republicans this time, at least on the part that he's run into, headwinds
this week. It's his own Democratic colleagues. What is behind this?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, it's just an intellectual difference.
The -- and what strikes me is how so many people are drawing red lines. The progressives
are saying, we want $3.5 trillion. We're not going under. Manchin and others say $1.5 trillion,
we're not going over.
And so that's a gigantic gap. They can't even agree on when to vote on what. And so I think
what they need to do is look at, what is the key insight of each side? The progressives
are right that we need something big. We're a nation in decline. We're a nation -- because
of disunity. Lots of people have been left behind by this economy. And they're right
to do something big to try to jolt us back to unity.
The moderates, in my view, are right that we're not going to have a European-style welfare
state. We're just not that kind of country. We're an individualistic country. We like
to tie benefits to work and have a work obligation. We're never going to give away as much money
in taxes as the Europeans do. The Norwegians give away about 46 percent of their GDP to
taxes. If this passed, it would get us up to 19.
We're just not that kind of country. So, if you take the scope of the progressives and
the values of the moderates, I think you can get a deal, but they're pretty far away from
it right now.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, they both may have a point, Jonathan, but the president's -- the
future of his of his term in office could be in the balance here.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Well, sure, it could be in the balance, but we don't know.
And I look at this as being the storm before the calm. David's right. A lot of red lines
are being drawn. And they seem to be being drawn since Wednesday, since they all went
to the White House and had their respective meetings with the president. And then they
come out and then they state their positions again.
But I have been paying close attention to the language that they're using. They're being
very firm about what they're for and what they're not for. But they're not attacking
each other, the way they were during the summer.
And so I wonder if this is the usual Washington theatrics of just doing all of this performance,
and then, at some point, when we're -- when we least expect it, breaking news announcement,
here's the deal.
Now, this is a different Washington. Who knows if that moment is going to come? I pray that
it does, one, because what they're arguing over is very important for the American people.
Two, if they don't come to some sort of deal, the president's agenda goes from being stalled
to dead. And then, three, it means finally that Washington is completely broken if they
can't come to some agreement here.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it's a different -- and then, meantime, there's another massive headache
the president has. And I don't know whether it's another Washington performance, but it's
over the debt limit, David.
And this one is between the Democrats and the Republicans. The Republicans are saying
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
And when the shoe was on the other foot, they wanted the Republicans, when they were controlling
things, to take it. It's -- what's changed is that, 10 years ago, people really used
to care about debts and deficits. It was ranked as a major issue by a lot of Americans. Now,
for whatever reason, some maybe dubious reasons, nobody cares, maybe just low interest rates.
So now there's much greater tolerance among both Republicans and Democrats to run up the
debt. And so voting to raise the limit is not as politically costly as it used to be.
I wish they would just get away with -- do away with the whole thing.
We have committed to spend.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The debt limit, yes. Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
We have committed to spend the money. The debt limit just says, yes, we're going to
borrow the money to spend the money we already committed to. So they should raise it to a
gazillion dollars. And then we never approach the limit, hopefully.
DAVID BROOKS: And then they should move forward. It's a bit of ballet that we don't need.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Gazillion? What do you think?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Sure. Gazillion is a great numerator.
But this is sort of a wonky thing, but it's super important for the American people to
understand that raising the debt ceiling is not giving Washington a blank check. It is
allowing Washington to pay for the things that they have already bought.
If the government does not raise the debt ceiling, the Bipartisan Policy Center this
morning put out their charts, and they have turned me into a huge debt ceiling nerd. Started
back in 2011, when Jay Powell, who was with Bipartisan Policy Center then, put this together.
He is now the Fed chairman.
I just want the American people to understand this. If the debt ceiling is not raised and
the government can't borrow any money, it has to use the cash it has on hand. And I
have this chart here. I don't know if the camera can get it, but I will just talk it
through, that, on October 15, which they think might be the first day that we reach that
X-date, the government will bring in $27 billion in revenues, but will have $43 billion in
And that's just on that first day. All that debt that -- all those things that aren't
paid carries over to the next day. I can't - - we don't -- I don't even have enough time
to tell you the avalanche of harm that would come to the American people, to the federal
government and to the global economy if that debt ceiling isn't raised.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And not to mention that, government shutdown and all the all the consequences
of that, David.
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
And both the topics we have talked about so far that, the consequences of failure are
cataclysmic. And so I presume, in a normal, functioning democracy, that we don't walk
over those cliffs, but who knows?
JUDY WOODRUFF: I'm just taking a deep breath here.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Another, of course, major issue the president had to deal with this week,
again, Jonathan, was the Southern border.
In addition to what's already been happening there, and the Haitian migrants were starting
to gather, in the past week, these images of Border Patrol using reins or other -- whatever,
belts to go after the migrants.
President Biden has come in from enormous criticism from fellow Democrats over this.
And here's how he commented this morning on what happened.
JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: Of course I take responsibility. I'm President.
But it was horrible what -- to see, as you saw -- to see people treated like they did,
horses nearly running them over and people being strapped. It's outrageous.
I promise you, those people will pay. They will be -- an investigation under way now,
and there will be consequences.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, today, we reported there are no Haitian migrants at that particular
place. We don't know whether more will be coming.
But, Jonathan, how is the president handling this? And how much of a of a political hit
is it for him?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: I will take the political hit first. It's a huge hit.
And it's a huge hit. One, with immigration, the president was already on squishy ground
with the American people. But those images that came out of the men on horseback and
Black people running, it was just -- is a little too close to home for a lot of us.
And for a president who campaigned on a more humane immigration policy, for a president
who, on election night, said to African Americans, you brought me here and I will not forget
it, that's why you had a lot of Democrats, particularly African American Democrats, saying
to the president, what is going on here? You must -- you must do something about this.
And then, on top of it, what made it even more inhumane is that the president or the
administration deported Haitians who had not lived in Haiti for more than 10 years to a
country that is still dealing with an earthquake that happened and a presidential assassination.
JUDY WOODRUFF: How can -- immigration, every president counting back as far as we can count,
this has been a tough issue. Where do you see this going?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
Well, we had our last successful immigration bill, comprehensive one, under Ronald Reagan.
That was a long time ago. And, so, he's inherited a gigantic mess that nobody has had the solution
for. I think Biden did make it worse.
And part of the problem was, they promised, on day one, they would reverse all the Trump
rules. Reversing the Trump rules was a good idea. But doing it all at once, on day one,
people in the transition, in the White House were warning about that. They were saying,
we will be overwhelmed. It'll be a big open door signal. And we don't have the facilities
to handle what's about to hit us.
And that turned out to be true. And I think what bothers me, aside from what Jonathan
was just expressing, was, it seems to be arbitrary, like who gets sent where. It seems like it's
just like, who knows who's being decided? There's no methodology. There's no procedure
for a lot of people.
And so we're just overwhelmed right now. And it's disturbing that we're overwhelmed after
basically 40 years of this mess.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It's hard to see how this is an issue that gets resolved any time in the
So, the last thing we want to bring up is, it was September 21, 2001, just a week-and-a-half
after the 9/11 attacks, and here was the beginning of the "NewsHour" that night with Jim Lehrer.
JIM LEHRER, Co-Founder and Former Anchor, "PBS NewsHour": And that brings us to Shields
and Brooks, syndicated columnist Mark Shields, joined tonight by his new regular partner,
David Brooks of The Weekly Standard.
DAVID BROOKS: Thank you.
JIM LEHRER: Formally, welcome. You have been here many, many times before.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And that man has not changed one iota since September...
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I wanted to point out I was 12 at that time.
DAVID BROOKS: So, I'm -- I don't know how old I am now.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, David, you joined -- I mean, you had been on the "NewsHour," but
you joined this program at a very sobering, difficult moment for this country.
It was, what, 10 days after 9/11. And you have been through a lot of ups and downs with
the country ever since.
But just talk a little bit about what it's meant to you to be here at this table every
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I will tell you what it's been like.
Like, it's the end of the week. And, often, I'm tired. Sometimes, I'm under the weather.
Sometimes, I'm stressed. I come in here a little low. I walk out of here an hour later
super charged up and super happy, because I get to work with the people I have worked
with, and not only the people on set, but Leah (ph) in the makeup room. Charlie's back
there, our lighting guy.
DAVID BROOKS: And so it's just -- you feel uplifted when you walk out.
And then, when you think about 20 years, I think about the time and about '04, '05. Mark
and I were on with Jim. And we showed a Marine funeral just before our segment. And Jim started
crying. And Mark and I gave like 10 minute answers, so Jim could compose itself.
And so that -- that was just like -- that's something we're going through together.
I think about sitting with Mark and Jim when Barack Obama gave his 2004 speech, that first
big speech, which was watching a star appear, but it was also about a version of America
that he was describing.
I think about the day Gwen died. And I go through all the e-mails that she sent me over
the years, and some were just about our friendship. But a lot were tough. Like, Gwen demanded
DAVID BROOKS: And if you didn't show up, Gwen was like, show up.
DAVID BROOKS: And then with you, I mean, you're the hardest-working woman in show business.
Like, I -- you have not had a day where you don't completely show up for this thing.
And so you get a sense of people who respect their job and mostly respect the audience.
And out of that derives a kind of patriotism.
And other networks talk a lot about patriotism, but I think we -- we try to serve a certain
kind of America. And we try to exemplify that service in a way we do things, in the culture
And it's just been an honor to be part of that for 20 years. And my next 60 years will
be just as good.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Next 60.
I mean, the "NewsHour" has been just incredibly fortunate and honored to have you with us
and, of course, Mark for all those years. And then Jonathan joined us almost a year
And, Jonathan, you get to sit next to David on Friday nights. It's not exactly like every
other television show.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: No, it's not like every other television show.
And I knew that this was an important job to get, succeeding Mark Shields, the e-mails
that came in from people saying: Oh, my God, Mark Shields is gone. I'm so upset. I'm so
sad. We miss him. But I'm glad you're there.
It was then that I realized how important this job is, how important it is, what we
But what makes this so much fun and why it's so wonderful to celebrate David is, we have
been doing this in other venues for a few years now. And I always look forward to being
with David, because you're to the right of me. I'm to the left of you, completely different
And yet, when I sit with David and talk with David, I feel like I have learned something.
The way David speaks about all the issues, it's inviting. And that's what makes Brooks
and Capehart, Shields and Brooks and all the other iterations of this so wonderful. We
come to the table to bring news, educate the audience on the inside, but then to do it
in a way that invites the audience in.
JUDY WOODRUFF: There's clearly some magic that happens here.
DAVID BROOKS: Thank you, Jonathan. Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And we are grateful to both of you, to Jonathan Capehart and to David
Congratulations on 20 years.
Twenty years more, 40 years more coming up.
DAVID BROOKS: Shoot me.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Whether teaching NYU marketing students or co-hosting the podcast "Pivot,"
Scott Galloway rarely misses an opportunity to share his insight on the effects of big
Tonight, he shares his Brief But Spectacular take on this country's response to the pandemic.
It is also the subject of his latest book, "Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity."
SCOTT GALLOWAY, Author, "Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity": Within seven days
of Pearl Harbor, Chrysler converted its largest factory to a factory punching out M1 Bradley
What company has totally pivoted to fighting this virus? If Walmart stock had been down
30 percent and if Amazon stock had been down 60 percent, instead of up 30 percent and up
60 percent, that van with a smile rolling into my driveway delivering my espresso pods
would have had someone jump out and jab me and my family. This virus has not seen what
America is capable of when it has a full-throated capitalist response.
The bottom line is, if you're in the top 1 percent, you are living your best life. That
is the dirty secret of this pandemic. This pandemic for the shareholder class has meant
more time with Netflix, more time with family, and your wealth has skyrocketed.
And so, for the wealthy, this has been stop, stop, it hurts so good.
This has disproportionately impacted people of color who live in food deserts. This has
been an enormous tragedy across senior citizens in nursing homes. What we have is the worst
of both worlds, capitalism on the way up, socialism on the way down. That's not capitalism.
We need to be more heavy-handed with corporations and more empathetic and loving with individuals.
The biggest mistake we made in this pandemic was, we should have been protecting people,
not American airlines.
There is a danger here, and that is the dispersion of headquarters to our homes. The ugly stepchild
of dispersion is segregation. When you don't see the homeless veteran on the on-ramp or
the off-ramp to work, when you don't see people of different ethnic groups and different income
classes, you begin to resent them.
So, the enduring feature of COVID-19, it will be seen as an accelerant more than a change
agent. Online grocery delivery accelerated eight years. Work from home accelerated six
years. Income inequality took an economy that was dysfunctional and turned it dystopic.
So, take any trend in your life personally or professionally, take it out 10 years, and
there's a decent chance that we're here, there, now.
I worry that today's youth doesn't have the connective tissue that some of our leaders
had in the past. They were Americans first before they were red or blue. And a way to
get that back might be some sort of mandatory national service. It might be building housing
or a corona corps that helps people, where kids get a chance to meet other kids from
different backgrounds and feel like they have a shared experience, such that maybe there's
more cooperation as they get into positions of power.
Some of the greatest periods of prosperity have come out of crisis. And that's the opportunity
here. So, ask yourself three questions. One, is this an opportunity for you to become a
caretaker for someone? Do you have the relationship with your siblings that you want, if you were
forced to say goodbye to someone over FaceTime?
Have you made the requisite investments in friendships to ensure that you maintain those
relationships? Are you willing to show the type of grace, and courage, and forgiveness,
such that you can cement and repair the most important thing in respect to our happiness?
And that is your relationships.
This is either going to be the best year in the history of America, or it could be the
worst. It's up to us.
My name is Scott Galloway, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on post-corona,
from crisis to opportunity.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now an artist straddling worlds and using her art to examine how we see the
past and present, East and West.
Jeffrey Brown has the story from New York for our arts and culture series, Canvas.
JEFFREY BROWN: Dancing women from a South Asian painting tradition, a headless Western-style
Venus, and what's a fighter jet doing there?
Ask the woman with the ornate ram's horns, the artist herself,
SHAHZIA SIKANDER, Artist: I see myself as somebody who's interested, like a detective,
to look at the -- how to connect the dots, how to find where the material is, and to
also examine my own relationship with it, but also how some of the stories. What are
the archetypal stories within the medium itself?
JEFFREY BROWN: Sikander, born in Pakistan and living in the U.S. since 1993, is known
for examining and breaking down familiar archetypes and stereotypes of art history, and questioning
the assigned roles of women and simplistic notions of an East-West divide.
She began in art school in Lahore, studying the refined tradition of Persian and Indian
manuscript, or miniature, painting, dating to the 16th century, and then began to play
with it and make it her own, adding the image of a friend, for example.
SHAHZIA SIKANDER: This took me almost two years.
JEFFREY BROWN: Oh, really?
SHAHZIA SIKANDER: Yes.
JEFFREY BROWN: In her most renowned early work, called The Scroll, she captured her
own life within this history. That's her, a ghostlike presence throughout the scene,
which can be read left to right.
SHAHZIA SIKANDER: At the end you also see her. She's painting herself, but you never
really get to see her face. So there's always this level of mystery.
JEFFREY BROWN: In fact, the entire exhibition, titled Extraordinary Realities and starting
at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York, is a kind of portrait of the young artist,
mostly paintings from Sikander's first two decades of work in the 1990s and early 2000s,
a chance for us and her, now 52, to look back, but also see continuing connections.
SHAHZIA SIKANDER: I was interested in examining some of those projections. Like, what is tradition?
How do we define tradition? How is tradition performed? And those ideas captured my imagination
as a young artist that who dictated when and what in time is old, and what is avant garde?
And the more I examined it, the more I felt like there was room to reexamine, to reimagine.
JEFFREY BROWN: She began to layer image upon image, sometimes adding fantastical creatures
and abstraction over refined details. She packed different kinds of information into
small paintings, often using humor and wit angels, American flags for wings, in a reference
to U.S. military interventions in the Muslim world.
In 1999, she did a painting titled The Faces of Islam for "The New York Times Magazine."
What is the role of art that you see for addressing or responding to those kind of stereotypes?
SHAHZIA SIKANDER: The work was always resisting that type of fetishization, especially about
the Muslim woman as needing to be saved, especially in how it gets played up in Hollywood, in
media, in TV, in this.
And it has a deeper history of the representation of the veil in European colonial imperial
history. And it counters it with other types of narratives, where the joyousness of the
feminine, the inherent female agency, autonomy, ability to be creative, where its inner beauty,
its inner strength is very present.
JEFFREY BROWN: That shows itself especially in Sikander's first sculpture, two women intertwined,
a classical Venus and Hindu devata, both, she says, in a position of power.
In recent years, Sikander has worked in new forms and larger formats, including massive
billboard projections in Times Square and a 66-foot glass and ceramic scroll for Princeton
SHAHZIA SIKANDER: So, I made this here. I basically took elements from some of the paintings.
JEFFREY BROWN: She created a new installation for this exhibition, long strips of paper
that bring her small painting and imagery to three-dimensional life and draw in the
Regularly defined herself as South Asian, Pakistani, Muslim, and more, she's been determined
to break out of the boxes.
SHAHZIA SIKANDER: The more categories, the merrier. If the work can speak to Asian American-ness,
fine, Muslim American-ness, fine, female artist, fine, artist, great.
All those categories and boxes are fine, as long as one is not restricted to operate within
one or two. And I think, when we talk about that, we are talking about the agency of imagination,
and that's the best part of being an artist, is that you can really soar.
JEFFREY BROWN: Shahzia Sikander's exhibition, Extraordinary Realities, moves next to the
Rhode Island School of Design Museum in providence, and then to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jeffrey Brown at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Some soaring art there.
And a new app to help people overcome fear of spiders, the plan to train to cows to protect
the environment and an invasive bug threatening America's trees, those are among the five
stories you may have missed this week we are highlighting online. You can find all that
and more on our Web site at PBS.org/NewsHour.
And be sure to join my colleague moderator Yamiche Alcindor tonight on "Washington Week."
She will get insight and analysis of the week's big stories from an all-star panel including
Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, authors of the bestselling book "Peril."
And that is the "NewsHour" for tonight. I'm Judy Woodruff.
Join us online and again here on Monday evening.
For all of us at the "PBS NewsHour," thank you, please stay safe, and have a good weekend.
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