PBS NewsHour full episode December 6, 2019

PBS NewsHour full episode December 6, 2019


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: a country on strike. France comes to a nationwide standstill, as
protests over pension reform close schools and stop trains. Then: anatomy of a conspiracy — how a disproven
narrative tying Ukraine to interference in the 2016 election found a home in the White
House. And it’s Friday. As the U.S. House drafts articles of impeachment,
Mark Shields and David Brooks are here to analyze the process and the president’s troubled
summit with NATO allies. Plus: A new exhibit reveals the inspiration
that led a struggling artist named Vincent to become the beloved painter van Gogh. WILL SOUTH, Curator, Van Gogh and His Inspirations:
The thing is, as soon as you label somebody a genius, you stop looking for sources. What’s there is this tremendous background
of effort and struggle and experimentation that he constantly brings forward. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: U.S. unemployment has now fallen
to a 50-year low, as hiring picked up steam. The Labor Department today reported that the
unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent in November, down from 3.6 percent. Meanwhile, employers added a larger-than-expected
net of 266,000 new jobs last month. That is the biggest increase in 10 months. Today’s strong jobs report 10 stocks soaring
on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average surged 337
points to close at 28015. The Nasdaq rose more than 85 points, and the
S&P 500 added 28. Florida officials have confirmed that a gunman
who killed three people today at Naval Air Station Pensacola was a member of the Saudi
Air Force. The attack happened in a classroom where the
suspect was undergoing aviation training. Several people were wounded, before an officer
shot and killed the suspect. Governor Ron DeSantis said authorities are
investigating several possible links to terrorism. GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): The government of Saudi
Arabia needs to make things better for these victims. And I think that they — they’re going to
owe a debt here, given that this was one of their individuals. When you have a foreign national involved,
you know, particularly in that part of the world, the investigation is obviously going
to be different than if it were just somebody from a local community. JUDY WOODRUFF: In Washington, President Trump
said that Saudi King Salman had called to offer condolences and assistance. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
The king said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter,
and that this person in no way, shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people,
who love the American people so much. JUDY WOODRUFF: This was the second deadly
shooting at a U.S. military base this week. The first happened at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard
in Hawaii on Wednesday. A U.S. Navy sailor fatally shot two people,
before killing himself. Military officials said today that he had
been unhappy with his commanders and was undergoing counseling. The White House is refusing to take part in
the House of Representatives’ impeachment proceedings against President Trump. White House counsel Pat Cipollone — Cipollone,
that is — wrote a letter to the House Judiciary Committee’s chairman, Jerry Nadler, and demanded
an end to the inquiry, calling it — quote — “completely baseless.” Meanwhile, House Republicans said today that
they want to hear testimony from Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son, from House
Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, and from the anonymous whistle-blower. The death toll from a migrant boat that capsized
off Mauritania rose to 63 people today. The vessel was headed to Spain’s Canary Islands
when it ran out of fuel Wednesday and overturned off Africa’s west coast. Some 150 migrants were on board. Most were from nearby Gambia. The U.S. sanctioned three Iraqi military — or,
rather, militia leaders today over the killing of anti-government protesters. The men are accused of leading Iranian-backed
paramilitary groups that shot at demonstrators. More than 400 people have been killed since
October in a crackdown on protests demanding reforms. Today, a senior State Department official
left open the possibility of imposing more sanctions. DAVID SCHENKER, U.S. Assistant Secretary,
Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs: We’re not done. This is an ongoing process. These designations don’t prejudice future
designations. And we will be doing further designations
in the future. JUDY WOODRUFF: In Central Baghdad today, thousands
of protesters flooded the streets demanding the formation of a new government. Later, Iraqi officials said that an attack
targeting those demonstrators killed at least 15 people. Lebanon’s outgoing prime minister appealed
for international aid today, amid the country’s worst economic crisis in decades. Prime Minister Saad Hariri sent letters to
several countries, including the U.S., asking for help in securing credit lines. For months, thousands of protesters have taken
to the streets across the country to accuse the government of mismanagement and corruption. China today canceled planned tariff hikes
on U.S. pork and soybean imports amid ongoing trade negotiations. In September, Beijing had promised to lift
the duties, in the hopes of securing an agreement. Washington is set to impose a new round of
tariffs on $160 billion of Chinese goods on December 15. Oil prices surged today after OPEC reached
a deal committing to some of the deepest oil output cuts this decade. At a meeting in Vienna, the group’s oil-producing
countries and their ally Russia agreed to cut an extra 500,000 barrels per day through
the first quarter of next year. The move aims to prevent an oversupply and
to boost oil prices. North Carolina Republican Congressman George
Holding announced today that he’s retiring in 2020. His Raleigh area district now leans heavily
Democratic, after a court ordered the congressional map be redrawn. Meanwhile, California Congressman Duncan Hunter
said today that he will resign at the end of the year. He faces charges of misusing campaign funds. There are now 23 House Republicans who are
not seeking reelection next year. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: France comes
to a halt, as the nation erupts in protest over President Macron’s pension reform; how
a fringe conspiracy theory about Ukraine gained currency in the Oval Office; Mark Shields
and David Brooks break down a week that brought us even closer to impeachment; and much more. For a second straight day, a general strike
brought much of France to a halt. The streets are filled with protesters denouncing
President Emmanuel Macron. As Nick Schifrin tells us, it’s Macron’s ideas
on reforming sacrosanct sections of the French national retirement system that have sparked
outrage across the country. NICK SCHIFRIN: In the City of Light, dusk
arrives early in a cloud of tear gas. Protesters have shut down Paris and much of
France. Phalanx of police charge at demonstrators
and show little restraint. Police have arrested hundreds. In a nation founded on revolt, demonstrators
have held up the flag and much of Paris’ public transit and schools for two days. Hundreds of thousands of protesters from all
walks of life are united by opposition to proposed pensions reforms. PHILIPPE MARTINEZ, French Union Leader (through
translator): Retirees are here. Youth are here. This shows that we are all affected by this
bad proposal, and we are all here to say that we don’t want it. MICHEL LAURENT, Protester (through translator):
I demonstrate for the next generation. I doubt that younger people will have a pension
like we currently have. NICK SCHIFRIN: This is the French union’s
greatest show of force since 41-year-old Emmanuel Macron was elected president, promising fundamental
reforms to an economic system considered anti-business, with pension reform at the center. JEAN PISANI-FERRY, Peterson Institute for
International Economics: It’s the most ambitious reform than Macron has introduced. NICK SCHIFRIN: Jean Pisani-Ferry helped design
the pension reforms as a Macron senior adviser. He says they’re supposed make a complex system
more transparent and fair. JEAN PISANI-FERRY: It’s a very ambitious reform,
the reform of the pension system. We have a fragmented pensions system. And the ambition of the reform is to create
a unified system, which would favor mobility, because you could easily move from one sector
to another. And, also, in terms of fairness, it would
be the same rules for everyone. NICK SCHIFRIN: France has one of the world’s
most protective pension systems. France’s average retirement age is 62, and
the country spends 14 percent of its GDP on pensions. The average for leading industrialized countries
is 8 percent. These reforms don’t actually change those
numbers, but protesters fear the reforms could lower pensions and increase the retirement
age, tapping into larger economic concerns. IVE, Protester (through translator): Reforming
the pensions was the last straw, since, in the past few years, we have been losing everything,
whether it be unemployment benefits or job cuts in the public sector. NICK SCHIFRIN: And as that fear increases,
Macron’s gotten less popular. His critics call him imperious. And he misread his 2017 election landslide,
says Pisani-Ferry, who is now at the Peterson Institute in Washington, D.C. JEAN PISANI-FERRY: These was never a real
debate on issues. And I think Macron misinterpreted that by
saying that he had got a mandate to do what he had proposed. And that put him very much out of touch with
the perception of inequality and the anger and what we see in many of our societies,
that people are — feel they are left behind. NICK SCHIFRIN: For more than a year, yellow
vest protesters have demonstrated the high cost of living and rising fuel costs. They carried the cross for lower taxes and
wage increases on weekends to not lose workdays. Today’s protesters are mostly unionized employees
unafraid to spend workdays on the streets. And that means they threaten Macron’s entire
reform agenda. JEAN PISANI-FERRY: If he has to capitulate,
this means the ability to do anything significant until the end of the term will be destroyed. EMMANUEL MACRON, French President: Let’s be
serious. NICK SCHIFRIN: In Europe, Macron’s become
an outspoken voice, standing up to President Trump and calling for fundamental reforms
to NATO and European defense. But if he loses his domestic reform battle,
that imperils his international agenda, says Pisani-Ferry. JEAN PISANI-FERRY: Part of his legitimacy
internationally has been based on the fact that he’s perceived as a reformer, as someone
who is able to tackle the problem of the French society and the French economy. You cannot be unable to do reforms at home
and ask for reforms at the international level. NICK SCHIFRIN: Today, the majority of France
supports the general strike. Macron’s fundamental reforms are being fundamentally
challenged, and the protesters vow to keep going until the pension reforms are abandoned. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Nick Schifrin. JUDY WOODRUFF: The impeachment inquiry under
way in the U.S. Congress began after President Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s President
Volodymyr Zelensky. But Mr. Trump has repeatedly charged that
the real wrongdoing was by Ukrainians. He asserts that they colluded against him
in the past. William Brangham begins our look at this theory
and where it may have originated. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In that now infamous phone
call with Zelensky, President Trump brought up two distinct theories he wanted the young
Ukrainian president to investigate. The thing we hear most about was the request
that Ukraine investigate the Bidens. But the other request was about an unproven
allegation that the Ukrainians were somehow working against Trump, that it was Ukrainians,
not Russians, who were hiding something about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s
computer server back in 2016. We’re going to look at this second issue,
why it’s not true, where this idea comes from, and how it’s now morphed into a much larger
accusation about how Ukraine allegedly interfered more broadly in the 2016 election. Our guide for all of this is our very own
Lisa Desjardins. Lisa, welcome. LISA DESJARDINS: Thank you. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So much to get through on
all of this. So, tell us a little bit more about this theory
that President Trump has that he brought up with President Zelensky about Ukraine’s involvement
in the hacking of the DNC. LISA DESJARDINS: This resolves around the
server that the intelligence community overwhelmingly concluded was hacked by the Russians, the
server containing Democratic Party information from the Democratic National Convention. And the president, however, has long resented
the idea the Russians got involved in his favor. Instead, he’s embraced this theory that it
was the Ukrainians who were trying to help out Clinton who may have had something to
do with this server. And, in fact, William, as you pointed out,
this is the favor he asked Zelensky for. Let’s look at that partial transcript from
that call with President Zelensky. President Trump said: “I would like you to
find out what happened with the whole situation with Ukraine. They say CrowdStrike, the server, they say
Ukraine has it.” Also, the president brought this up in a press
conference or an availability in October. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
How come the FBI never got the server from the DNC? The server, they say, is held by a company
whose primary ownership individual is from Ukraine. LISA DESJARDINS: So, now we can explain exactly
what he’s talking about. CrowdStrike is a cybersecurity firm, was hired
by the Democrats to look into this hack. It is not owned by any Ukrainians. It is owned by two Americans, including this
man. His name is Dmitri Alperovitch. You may have seen him on “NewsHour” talking
about cybersecurity in the past. Now, while the FBI did not take possession
of this DNC server, as the president has noted, neither did CrowdStrike. They don’t have it. They don’t have any connection to Ukraine. There is zero evidence that Ukraine has anything
to do with this server at all. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: OK, so that’s the server
and CrowdStrike issue. The president and his supporters point to
other evidence, they say, that shows that the Ukrainian — some Ukrainians, at least
— had real animus towards then candidate Trump back in 2016. What’s the evidence for that? LISA DESJARDINS: Let’s look at two things. First, Republicans point to this op-ed that
was run in 2016 written by the ambassador to the U.S. from Ukraine. That ambassador raised concerns about what
then candidate Trump was saying about Crimea. Trump was kind of indicating that he might
be OK with Russians taking over Crimea. And, here, the ambassador’s raising very sharp
concerns about that. Republicans say that’s an example of bias. Come back to it in a second. The second example involves a Democratic National
Committee staffer named Alexandra Chalupa. You might have heard that name around. She says, in her off-work time, not as part
of her job, she was interested in Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. She had questions about his past in Ukraine. And she spoke with officials at the Ukrainian
Embassy. She says they didn’t give her really much
guidance than they would have given anyone else. But there is a Ukrainian Embassy staffer from
the time who says it went beyond that. He’s offered no proof. I think what we take from both of these is
that there were individuals certainly who were looking into the Trump campaign or might
have had bias, but, in the case of the ambassador, it was a case of national interest. There’s no evidence of any larger Ukrainian
government effort to try and undermine the Trump campaign. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So where did this idea come
from that Ukraine, more broadly, was trying to interfere? LISA DESJARDINS: We may not know all of the
actors, but let’s start with the press. First of all, there was this article from
Politico in 2017. Look at that. It says Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump. That’s a blaring headline. But, if you dig deeper, really, the only evidence
is — there is about that one Democratic staffer. And that article itself says there was no
deeper effort. They didn’t have proof of a top-down effort. That was 2017. But then flash forward to earlier this year,
and you see in The Hill in March a reporter named John Solomon in a piece that was titled
as opinion put out this idea that there was a Ukrainian plot to help Clinton. Now, it should be noted that this — in particular,
this report, William, now is under investigation by The Hill, as is John Solomon’s reporting. The president, though, picked up on it. He tweeted the very next day. He — or that day. He saw that report. And you see this idea of starting to take
hold. Rudy Giuliani appeared on FOX News a couple
months later, also putting out these theories. What’s happening here? Well, the intelligence community is looking
at this. And they have recently, according to The New
York Times, concluded that, actually, it was Russia that put out these ideas that Ukraine
was behind any election meddling in 2016, certainly something that benefits Russia,
that’s been in the hot spot for this. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Push blame off of Russia
onto Ukraine. LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right. And intelligence community in the U.S. has
concluded that’s what happened, according to The New York Times’ reporting. And people might remember Fiona Hill, the
former Russia and Ukraine expert on the National Security Council staff. This is what she testified to about a week-and-a-half
ago in the impeachment hearings. FIONA HILL, Former National Security Council
Official: Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee
appear to believe that Russia and its security services didn’t conduct a campaign against
our country, and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been
perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves. LISA DESJARDINS: One more note on this. Vladimir Putin himself, last month, said he’s
paid attention to this, and he sort of joked, in a happy way, that he’s glad Ukraine is
getting the blame. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, despite all of this,
the seeming evidence that this might be the Russians who are trying to gin up this idea,
we are still seeing some members of the GOP parrot these same talking points. LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right. Let’s talk about a couple of Republican senators
just this week. First, I want to play a sound bite from Louisiana
Senator John Kennedy. SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I think both Russia and
Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election. I think it’s been well-documented in The Financial
Times, in Politico, in The Economist, and The Washington Examiner, even on CBS. LISA DESJARDINS: Also, notably, the Senate
Intelligence chairman, Richard Burr, who is usually known for being very cautious, told
me and a few other reporters this a couple of days ago. He said: “There’s no difference in the way
Russians put their finger early on, on the scale and how the Ukrainian officials did
it.” This kind of saying that these are two equal
things is something that blows the mind of many other Republicans. It’s a minority who’s holding this view. They’re obviously supporting the president. But look at, for example, someone else, Senator
Lindsey Graham, an ally of the president. Instead, he said; “I’m 1000 percent confidence
that the hack of the Democratic National Committee was by Russian operatives, no one else.” So, you see a battle for what’s true or not,
when, really, the evidence is overwhelming on one side that the Russians attacked us
in many ways. And there’s almost no evidence that the Ukrainians
had a government-wide attempt to try and meddle in 2016. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Lisa Desjardins, thank you
so much for helping us wade through all of this. LISA DESJARDINS: Good teamwork. You’re welcome. JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour”: discovering the
inspiration behind Vincent van Gogh’s masterpieces; and the difficulties farm workers face in
maintaining their health. A milestone week in Washington. The impeachment proceedings against President
Trump advanced to the House Judiciary Committee, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed House chairmen
to begin drafting articles of impeachment. And while facing impeachment back home, President
Trump faced NATO allies in London, as the Democratic primary field shrunk — shrank
again. Here to help us make sense of it all are Shields
and Brooks. That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields
and New York Times columnist David Brooks. OK, shrink, shrank, shrunk. (CROSSTALK) DAVID BROOKS: Shrunking right in front of
you. (LAUGHTER) JUDY WOODRUFF: We’re moving ahead. Let’s — let’s start with impeachment, Mark. Quite a week. The speaker did say, I want you to begin,
to the chairmen, I want you to begin drafting articles. Judiciary Committee held a hearing with constitutional
scholars, experts on Wednesday. Where does this argument stand right now that
the president should be impeached? MARK SHIELDS: I think the argument is quite
straightforward, that the president illicitly used his power, in violation of his oath of
office, to enlist, maybe subvert another country to participate in and sabotage an American
election, upcoming, not 2016, as — revisiting that. He’s talking about the election of 2020. And I think that’s it. It’s clear, straightforward, in violation
of not only his oath, but of the express position, will and law of the United States Congress. And so, you know, I think it’s pretty clear. JUDY WOODRUFF: Where does it — clear to you? DAVID BROOKS: Yes. It takes two to have an argument. And we don’t seem to have an argument, because
we have one side, the Democrats, who are happy to talk about it, and the White House doesn’t
seem very interested in confronting the argument with another side. MARK SHIELDS: That’s true. DAVID BROOKS: And so that’s their decision
in the House. I wonder what they’re going to do in the Senate. Are they going to — is the White House going
to mount a defense? Are they going to leave it to Republican senators? But I think — I agree with Mark. The evidence is just pretty overwhelming. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you have the — mentioned
the Judiciary Committee happened its hearings this week. They heard from scholars, Mark. Monday, they’re going to have what they call
an evidence hearing. Is either side — both of you are saying the
White House isn’t presenting a defense. But the — some of the Republicans on the
committee are saying, this whole thing is a sham. I mean, how much headway are the Republicans
making with that argument that they keep hammering at? MARK SHIELDS: I mean, the Republicans have
been united, I mean, so, I don’t know if there’s headway to make in the nation. Their position is pretty clear. They’re going to stick with the president
regardless. It’s kind of fascinating to me. There’s a little vignette, I think, that sort
of encompasses and explains this whole thing. In the 2018 election, in the 11th District
of New Jersey, it was a Republican seat been held for 25 years. The Democrats nominated a rather remarkable
candidate, a Navel Academy graduate, a mother of four, who had been a helicopter pilot and
a federal prosecutor. And Nancy Pelosi supported her. But before the election, Mikie Sherrill, a
Democrat, called Nancy Pelosi and said, I’m getting an awful lot of criticism. I’m going to have to announce I will not support
you for speaker if I do win. Nancy Pelosi said, oh, Mikie, forget about
it, go win, that’s what matters. All right? That same election, in Utah, Mia Love, the
only black Republican woman in the Congress, in a district that was incredibly fought,
290,000 votes cast, she lost by one-third of 1 percent. And Donald Trump, in his first press conference
after the election, said, Mia Love didn’t show me any love, and she lost. I mean, that just sort of encapsulates where
we are, I think, on the two combatants. And it is. It’s Pelosi against Trump. Let’s be very blunt about it. They talk about the chairman and all the rest
of it, but it is Pelosi against Trump. DAVID BROOKS: Yes. And Trump had an argument of a sort today,
which was 256,000 new jobs. MARK SHIELDS: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: That’s right. That’s right. DAVID BROOKS: And so the economy is a big
factor here. And so, as long as he has that economy, the
Republicans will be sticking with him, the whole atmosphere around him will be good from
the Republican point of view. I should say, I thought Nancy Pelosi had one
of the best political moments of the year this week in saying that she doesn’t hate
Donald Trump. She’s going to pray for Donald Trump. MARK SHIELDS: That’s right. DAVID BROOKS: That was a — I just thought
a beautiful moment of, well, she said it’s her Catholic faith of Christian witness. JUDY WOODRUFF: So I hear… (CROSSTALK) MARK SHIELDS: David… JUDY WOODRUFF: Go ahead. MARK SHIELDS: David is a devotee of Saint
Augustine. And she was quoting, of course, Saint Augustine,
hate the sin, but don’t hate the sinner. JUDY WOODRUFF: But not the sinner. So, do I hear both of you saying you think
the Democrats are correct to be moving forward with this impeachment, that this is a wise
move on their part? MARK SHIELDS: I don’t know if it’s wise. I think they feel it’s an imperative move,
I mean, that if they don’t do it, they will never again be able to face themselves in
the mirror or look at history’s judgment, that they watched a president do this, they
saw a president do this openly and clearly, and did not act. I mean, that is just simply saying — it’s
abdicating all power. It’s changing our system. DAVID BROOKS: Yes. And I think Pelosi understands two contradictory
facts. One, they have to do this for constitutional
reasons. MARK SHIELDS: Yes. DAVID BROOKS: And, two, it could hurt some
swing voters, but it’s not the conversation she wants to have, which is about health care
and other things. MARK SHIELDS: That’s right. DAVID BROOKS: So, they’re doing the right
thing, which is to do it and do it as fast as they possibly can. I’m sort of struck by what Mitch McConnell
— how he will react in the Senate. Does he want to drag this out as a way to
keep Democrats, Senate candidates in there? Or does he want to short — also get it out
of the way? Maybe he — if I were him, I’d probably want
to get out of the way too. JUDY WOODRUFF: A lot of questions. A lot of questions. So, meantime, this week, while all this is
going on in Washington, the president is in London meeting with NATO leaders. And, Mark, once again, the president manages
to get into a squabble with his counterparts. Is this — is this something that you think
is having a bigger effect on the United States? Or is this something that is limited? There was a video of the other leaders apparently
mocking President Trump. Is this something that’s just about him? Or is this affecting the United States? MARK SHIELDS: Well, Judy, I went back. I checked the record. It was first time that Donald Trump, at least
publicly I could find — 1987, took a full page ad in The New York Times, saying, Japan
was having its freighters sail through the Persian Gulf protected by the Americans, and
they ought to pay for it. Otherwise, the world would be laughing at
us, and OPEC would be laughing at us. And he said China would be laughing at us,
Russia would be laughing at us, Iran was laughing at us. And this was a constant theme throughout his
campaign, that the world’s laughing at us. And I was unaware of the world laughing at
us. I will be very honest with you. But I saw evidence of the world laughing at
the president of the United States, I mean, the leaders of the free world laughing at
him and what had been his — his egotism and egocentricity just run rampant, at the indifference
of anybody else. So that’s what struck me about that vignette
you described. JUDY WOODRUFF: Is that about him, or is it
about the country? DAVID BROOKS: It’s about him. My Twitter feed was interesting that day when
the video came out, because the left side of my Twitter feed was saying, this is terrible
that everyone’s laughing at — and Donald Trump can’t get along with foreign leaders. And the right side of my Twitter feed was
saying, this is awesome. Donald Trump can’t get along with foreign
leaders. (LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: So, they like the idea that
he was having a fight. And I will say, from the right side of the
— or of the universe, mockery is a sign of higher status to people they think are less
intelligent or less good. And so a lot of people who feel that everyone’s
looking down on them see mockery as sort of an elite phenomenon toward them. And it’s read very differently, in my experience,
in different parts of the country. And so I do think this is — this was an example
of how we see the world differently. I do think it’s indisputable that Donald Trump
is hurting our relationships with our allies. I mean, that’s indisputable. I once had a friend who was in the State Department
say, most of what we do here is not foreign policy. It’s foreign relations. We do relationships. And as Mark can tell you, in politics, and
as in life, relationship is 98 percent of the game. And if you’re torching your relationships
with your allies, then they’re not going to be there when you need them. MARK SHIELDS: That’s a good point. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, meantime, there still are
a dozen-and-a-half Democrats running for president. And this week — actually, there’s one fewer
this week. Kamala Harris, senator from California, dropped
out. Mark, we saw an exchange, an interesting exchange,
between Joe Biden and a voter yesterday, where Joe Biden looked like he got pretty angry. How has the race shaped up at this point,
given some of the — a number of candidates have now dropped down? MARK SHIELDS: Well, I mean, the Kamala Harris
thing, patterned, why not, a first-term African-American senator running for the presidency? Barack Obama did it. Two major differences. Barack Obama was a once-in-a-lifetime political
talent. And, secondly, he was the only anti-war candidate
in an anti-war party. Everybody else had supported the Iraq War. A lack of core convictions. She was for single-payer health insurance,
until she was against it. And she got caught in the changing mores. I mean, a woman who had been a district attorney
and an A.G. was a real plus, kind of proving her toughness. But, all of a sudden, in this Democratic Party
and changing values, the question became, what about prisoners’ rights and so forth? And so I think the premortems on her campaign,
in both Politico and The New York Times and The Washington Post, on the internal strife
almost… (CROSSTALK) JUDY WOODRUFF: And we talked about that last
week. The Democrats are left with a less, shall
we say, colorful — fewer people of color in the race. DAVID BROOKS: Yes. And I think, as a number of people have said,
identity politics plays well on Twitter, not in campaigns. And Beto O’Rourke and Kamala Harris were the
two most identity politics candidates. I also think it’s just indisputably true this
year that being an African-American is a disadvantage, not because Democrats voted — Democrats think
other people are racist, and that they won’t vote, I think, for an African-American. I think that’s — I think that’s not the whole
explanation, a piece the explanation, for why Cory Booker, who I think has run a very
good campaign, has not done better and why she has not done better. And they’re left with this white — an all-white
debate state. JUDY WOODRUFF: And among those left in the
race, we mentioned Joe Biden getting into the squabble with a voter this week. But Joe Biden was endorsed by John Kerry,
former secretary of state, this week, who was, of course, the nominee one — not so
long ago himself. And then you had three Obama administration
officials endorsing Pete Buttigieg. What about these endorsements? MARK SHIELDS: Well, I mean, the John Kerry
is not unimportant. I don’t think endorsements mean — they mean
a lot more on the back of the check than they do in a political campaign, unless it’s the
spouse of one candidate endorsing that candidate’s opponent, generally speaking. But John Kerry did win Iowa. He was the nominee. He was the secretary of state. Certainly, one of the central themes of Joe
Biden’s campaign is that the world is in disarray, as we have just been talking about, and it’s
going to take an awful lot of effort and expertise from day one to reassemble it. And I think the New Hampshire — and it’s
a little bit of a slap at Elizabeth Warren at the same time. JUDY WOODRUFF: Kerry endorsing… MARK SHIELDS: Or Deval Patrick, even, yes. DAVID BROOKS: Yes. I think the Obama officials endorsing Buttigieg
is a bigger deal, just because he needs the credibility of, can a 37-year-old do this? And that sort of lends some credibility to
him. MARK SHIELDS: OK. DAVID BROOKS: But I do think Biden had a — one
of the best weeks of the campaign. He had an ad mocking President Bush — President
Trump — wishful thinking. And then he went after that voter, which I
think showed vigor, showed toughness, showed he’s doing well, and I think also allowed
him to control the news cycle, which he hasn’t done for a long time. MARK SHIELDS: Disagree. I disagree with David. I think that Joe Biden can take on a voter,
but he looked — you want to do pushups? You want to run? You want to take an I.Q. test? It looked a little bit like mini-Trump. And that isn’t where Joe Biden is going to
win this campaign, if he’s going to win it. JUDY WOODRUFF: Mark Shields, David Brooks,
thank you. MARK SHIELDS: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: There are a number of unanswered
questions regarding the artist Vincent van Gogh. There was mental illness, but a precise diagnosis
is still disputed, an early death at 37 thought to be a suicide, but, again, not certain. What we do know is that van Gogh was a difficult,
pained man who produced some of the world’s most exuberant paintings, becoming one of
the most beloved artists of all time. Jeffrey Brown takes us to a new exhibition,
with an interesting origin story of its own, that helps us see how he got there. It is part of our ongoing arts and culture
coverage, Canvas. JEFFREY BROWN: It’s the most famous stare
in art history, the one and only Vincent van Gogh. WILL SOUTH, Curator, Van Gogh and His Inspirations:
I say to visitors, if you’re sitting on a stool in a bar, and someone turns to you with
this look, you might want to move. And this says something about Vincent. He is out there emotionally, and this is my
life. JEFFREY BROWN: Will South is curator of a
new exhibition, Van Gogh and His Inspirations, at the Columbia Museum of Art in South Carolina’s
capital city. It presents a less familiar van Gogh, the
wayward, struggling, largely self-taught young man who learned from looking hard at the world… WOMAN: This is one of his very first teachers. JEFFREY BROWN: … and the work of artists
around him. This is seeing how van Gogh became van Gogh. WILL SOUTH: That’s the question we sought
to answer. He doesn’t come out of the womb and paint
Starry Night. It takes a lot of failure, a lot of experimentation,
a lot of false starts, a number of early successes. And you have to look at a lot of things to
arrive at Starry Night. That doesn’t just come out of nowhere. JEFFREY BROWN: In fact, Starry Night and most
of van Gogh’s best known paintings date to the last few years of his short life. They rarely travel, and are not here. What is here, 12 van Goghs on loan from museums
around the country, surrounded by works by 30 other artists, most from earlier in the
19th century, a drawing of an old woman by Jean Francois Raffaelli, next to one by van
Gogh of a worker. A Japanese woodblock print of a plum garden,
side by side with van Gogh’s Orchard with Arles in the Background. Notice the tree branches. Jean-Francois Millet’s painting of two peasants
next to van Gogh’s Beef Cart. Van Gogh would retain some elements of what
he saw, even as he later exploded them into his own revolutionary style. WILL SOUTH: All those things are coming in,
and he’s going to reshuffle those things constantly. The thing is, as soon as you label somebody
a genius, you stop looking for sources. What’s there is this tremendous background
of effort and struggle and experimentation that he constantly brings forward. JEFFREY BROWN: The source for this exhibition
is an hour away from Columbia in the town of Aiken, in a Gilded Age 60-room estate that
had fallen into disrepair and neglect, when Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith bought
it in 1989, slowly restoring it over the next 25 years. It was here that the two men, professional
and life partners before Smith died in 2014, wrote their Pulitzer Prize-winning biography
of Jackson Pollock, and then spent a decade researching and writing an acclaimed biography
of van Gogh published in 2011. STEVEN NAIFEH, Art Donor: The thing we came
away with from the 10 years, the most important lesson, was the lesson of resilience, resilience
in the face of adversity. It was constant, but somehow he just picked
himself up every day and started painting again. JEFFREY BROWN: It was also here that Naifeh
and Smith began buying art as a way to see through van Gogh’s eyes. They couldn’t afford actual van Goghs, but
they combed auctions to find works by lesser known artists they knew he’d admired. STEVEN NAIFEH: And it’s the most van Gogh-like. We’re living in his head. We’re looking at the list of artists he admired,
the artists he saw in an exhibition that he wanted Theo to make sure that he went to see. JEFFREY BROWN: Artists such as Georges Michel,
who painted this landscape. The van Gogh we all know and love would create
something very different. But Naifeh makes the case he got there through
artists like Michel. STEVEN NAIFEH: He leaves behind the coloring
of paintings like this, but what he keeps are certain things, like these dynamic clouds,
these wonderful clouds. And if you think about his late, most advanced
landscapes, they may be brightly colored, but they have these wonderful, tempestuous,
exciting, jubilant clouds. And they come directly out of Georges Michel. JEFFREY BROWN: So, all these empty — these
were paintings that are in the exhibition? STEVEN NAIFEH: These were paintings that are
in the exhibition. JEFFREY BROWN: Naifeh lent part of his collection
to the Columbia Museum of Art for the new exhibition, including this painting by Adolphe
Monticelli, whose work van Gogh greatly admired. STEVEN NAIFEH: What’s astonishing about Monticelli
is how abstract he is. But the other thing that’s important in it
is the thickness of the paint. And it’s almost sculptural, to so thick. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes, look at this. STEVEN NAIFEH: Look at this in here. JEFFREY BROWN: Next to it, van Gogh’ Wheat
Field With Poppies. This is getting closer to the van Gogh that
many people know, right? STEVEN NAIFEH: Yes. JEFFREY BROWN: Because we look around, and
I imagine a lot of people coming to the galleries are saying, this doesn’t look like a van Gogh. Right? STEVEN NAIFEH: The van Gogh that we know is
only the van Gogh of the last four years of his life. So what’s really helpful is to realize that
art history, even with somebody as revolutionary as van Gogh, is an ongoing dialogue between
each artist and the artists that came before. JEFFREY BROWN: That was a lesson being passed
on to a group of local high school art students who visited the exhibition, and then made
their own works inspired by van Gogh and his interest in Japanese art. Paige Williams and Olivia Herod are both 17. PAIGE WILLIAMS, Student: I think it’s so cool
to see how van Gogh kind of took inspiration and techniques from other artists and incorporated
that. And then he transformed it into his own work,
but he kind of still put his own van Gogh twist. OLIVIA HEROD, Student: And he focused more
on the emotion within it, while this other person didn’t. So you can tell, like, the difference in artists. JEFFREY BROWN: I’m just curious about, how
often do you get to see a van Gogh or van Gogh exhibition here? PAIGE WILLIAMS: Like never, ever. JEFFREY BROWN: Never? OLIVIA HEROD: No. As famous as he is, I just honestly don’t
think I have seen really any other majorly famous paintings in person. PAIGE WILLIAMS: I just feel so fortunate,
able to see these famous works, and I’m able to, like, not see them through a computer
screen. JEFFREY BROWN: Pulling in both art lovers
and people who aren’t regular museum visitors was very much the idea for curator Will South,
who says this exhibition carries a larger ambition. WILL SOUTH: There’s the idea when you’re in
a moderately big town, really a small big town, that we are just so far from the Parises
and the New Yorks of this world. And in a sense we are. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t a capable
town, an aggressively smart town. Everybody needs to experience art. If they can make it here, and we can give
them a similar experience, then we should. That’s our responsibility. That’s our job. And we take that very seriously. JEFFREY BROWN: The exhibition Van Gogh and
His Inspirations is here through January 12, 2020, and will travel later to Santa Barbara,
California, and Columbus, Ohio. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jeffrey Brown
in Columbia, South Carolina. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we will be back shortly
with a look at how a farm worker community in Arizona is addressing the challenges of
providing health care. But, first, take a moment to hear from your
local PBS station. It’s a chance to offer your support, which
helps to keep programs like ours on the air. For those stations staying with us, as marijuana
legalization has swept the country, investors are seeing green. In California, new companies are scaling up
operations, while some smaller businesses are fighting for survival. Economics correspondent Paul Solman has this
encore report. PAUL HENDERSON, CEO, Grupo Flor: So, we have
about 60 to 70 different strains at any given time. PAUL SOLMAN: At East of Eden in Salinas, California,
pick your cannabis flower, any flower, labeled by brand and THC punch. Well, here is one. Berry O.G… PAUL HENDERSON: Twenty-nine. PAUL SOLMAN: … is 29.7, so you really high
off of this, I take it? PAUL HENDERSON: Anything above 25 will sell
out almost immediately. PAUL SOLMAN: Is that right? PAUL HENDERSON: Right. PAUL SOLMAN: Paul Henderson, formerly with
Goldman Sachs, now CEO of Grupo Flor, which owns two dispensaries and will open 18 more
within a year. PAUL HENDERSON: We will do around, right now,
$1.3 million a month in sales… PAUL SOLMAN: Right here? PAUL HENDERSON: … from this store alone,
yes. PAUL SOLMAN: And Grupo Flor isn’t just retail. In a few years, the firm’s become one of California’s
largest cannabis companies, from retail, to cultivation, to manufacturing and distribution. Co-founder Mike Bitar had been in commercial
real estate. MIKE BITAR, Co-Founder, Grupo Flor: And I
just happened to stumble across cannabis and saw how lucrative it was and realized we should
get in the business. PAUL SOLMAN: Were you a user? ®MD-BO¯MIKE BITAR: No. I didn’t see the difference between heroin,
unfortunately, and marijuana. PAUL SOLMAN: Well, he soon did. By 2016, when Californians voted to legalize
recreational adult marijuana use, Bitar and partners had already snapped up one-and-a-half
million square feet of greenhouse space lying fallow since the cut flower business emigrated
to South America. They’d grow cannabis instead. PAUL HENDERSON: There might not be a larger
wealth-generating opportunity that I will see in my lifetime again. I mean, it’s staggering what can be built
in this industry right now. PAUL SOLMAN: Eighteen billion dollars was
invested in cannabis last year alone. And, says industry researcher John Kagia,
big-time players are moving in. JOHN KAGIA, New Frontier Data: Constellation
Brands, the world’s largest alcohol company, and Altria, the world’s largest tobacco company. But you have also seen companies like Molson
Coors, Lagunitas Brewing Company, CVS and Walgreens getting into this space. PAUL SOLMAN: This is the green rush, chasing
an estimated $350 billion in annual global sales, Kagia thinks a trillion within 15 years. In Santa Barbara County, acres of white structures
house some of the biggest grows in the world. Grupo Flor is rushing to keep up. A recent operations meeting, new employees,
new dispensaries. MAN: They’re targeting this location to be
the dispensary for celebrities. PAUL SOLMAN: And over speakerphone. MAN: Greetings from Colombia. PAUL SOLMAN: New operations overseas. MAN: We incorporated Grupo Flor Colombia in
February of this year. We’re also looking at Mexico. And last but not least, we are looking at
Asia as well. PAUL SOLMAN: In Salinas, fences block the
product from public view, while razor wire and guards protect the high-profit plants
from thieves. GAVIN KOGAN, Co-Founder, Grupo Flor: A farm
like this is ever-flowering. We’re always cutting and always harvesting. PAUL SOLMAN: Five crops a year in this greenhouse,
says Grupo Flor’s Gavin Kogan, vs. just one or two outdoors. This is one of the firm’s seven California
sites. GAVIN KOGAN: Right now, what’s happening in
California is aggregation. Companies are acquiring other companies. And so, if we don’t cultivate, we lose our
supply chain, and we can get crushed out. PAUL SOLMAN: Crushed out like Oliver Bates. So, you cultivated marijuana for 25 years. Now you are out of the business and broke? OLIVER BATES, Cannabis Grower: Now I’m out
of the business and broke. PAUL SOLMAN: Bates grew cannabis for years
in the Monterey County hills near Big Sur. But with legalization came rules and regs. OLIVER BATES: Outside investment came in and
lobbied their interests and made sure that, in the new regulation, that only commercial
greenhouses were allowed to grow cannabis. PAUL SOLMAN: So you cannot have an outdoor
farm in Monterey County? OLIVER BATES: Yes. I have been giving away weed, all my weed. I can say a pound of mine made it to the Grammys,
and it was a big hit. PAUL SOLMAN: But it’s not legal yet? OLIVER BATES: It’s not legal yet. PAUL SOLMAN: What are you doing for a living
now? OLIVER BATES: Consulting and working for free. I’m actually not making a living right now. PAUL SOLMAN: How are you surviving? OLIVER BATES: I’m broke. Day by day, you know, and really help — help
from friends at this point. PAUL SOLMAN: Further north in Humboldt County,
outdoor is OK, but it’s costly. Dylan Mattole had to run a licensing steeplechase. DYLAN MATTOLE, Mattole Valley Sungrown: We’re
probably into it about $100,000. PAUL SOLMAN: A hundred thousand dollars, and
how much of your time? DYLAN MATTOLE: Well, about three years. PAUL SOLMAN: Really? DYLAN MATTOLE: Absolutely. For many people, it wasn’t even possible to
be compliant, in the sense of dealing with the regulatory requirements for roads, water,
grading. And so, for people, it just — it wasn’t — it
isn’t feasible to move on. PAUL SOLMAN: What’s more, since the 1960s,
rural, rugged, way out-of-the-way Humboldt has attracted government-leery homesteaders
who grew pot illegally. To no one around here does regulation compliance
come naturally. DYLAN MATTOLE: A lot of the, you know, as
we would call them, legacy farmers here have been doing this for a long time, generations,
and the culture was to keep your head down, mind your own business. PAUL SOLMAN: And having nothing to do with
the man, right? DYLAN MATTOLE: But having nothing to do with
the man. PAUL SOLMAN: There are thousands of cannabis
farms in Humboldt, but just a tiny fraction have been licensed. DYLAN MATTOLE: You know, where this is going
to end, I couldn’t say quite yet. But it’s a void and a vacuum that is not going
to be readily filled. There is not a huge economy in Humboldt County
currently outside of cannabis. PAUL SOLMAN: And small farmers like Mattole,
licensed and now growing above-board, face other hurdles. DYLAN MATTOLE: There currently still is zero
banking in the cannabis industry. So, imagine trying to start a small business
funding it entirely on your own without credit. PAUL SOLMAN: Grupo Flor’s Gavin Kogan sympathizes. GAVIN KOGAN: This is really difficult to do. It takes a lot of capital. Regulations are heavy. We’re overtaxed. And so where I really feel the pain coming
for small farmers is that they’re having to face the obstacles we face without the capital
and without the people and the business know-how to really do an effective job. PAUL SOLMAN: And without the cost advantages
of the black market from which they have come. Nikki Lastreto’s Mendocino farm is now legit. But most of her neighboring farmers aren’t. And they pose as much of a threat as her corporate
competitors, she says. NIKKI LASTRETO, Co-Founder, Swami Select:
Right now, they’re able to sell at $1,500, where we’re getting, after all the expenses
involved, the taxes, et cetera, and the packaging, about $900 a pound. PAUL SOLMAN: And if you’re a seller on the
black market? NIKKI LASTRETO: You sell it on the black market,
you just do like the old days. You just grow it in seclusion, hope the cops
don’t find you, and find a buyer, and they come right up. They pay you cash. And it’s out the door. PAUL SOLMAN: No permits? NIKKI LASTRETO: No permits, no licenses, no
taxes. The disadvantage the black market has is,
of course, like in the old days, they have to worry about the cops. They have to worry about helicopters circling
overhead, getting busted. PAUL SOLMAN: So, you’re in the odd position
now… NIKKI LASTRETO: It’s very odd. PAUL SOLMAN: … of rooting for the helicopters. NIKKI LASTRETO: It’s difficult, though, because
they’re our friends, they’re our neighbors. And it is what we used to do. So, how can I judge them? PAUL SOLMAN: Back in Monterey County, where
only greenhouse growing is allowed: OLIVER BATES: We’re going extinct. We’re really fighting to survive. PAUL SOLMAN: Oliver Bates lobbies to make
outdoor grows legal. And what does he think of big new operations
like Grupo Flor? OLIVER BATES: I am furious that they have
no respect for the people that brought this to them. PAUL SOLMAN: The people who paid their dues? OLIVER BATES: The people that paid their dues,
the people that spent their lives hiding in the bushes from helicopters, feeling like
they were criminals. And, for that, I will be forever furious. PAUL SOLMAN: Lawyer and Grupo Flor co-founder
Gavin Kogan is conflicted. GAVIN KOGAN: I used — spent most of my time
as a cannabis attorney representing small growers. It affects me to be seen as a threat and somebody
that is against their interests, because I don’t conceive of myself that way. PAUL SOLMAN: But he is a threat, due to the
economies of scale of industrial production, as prohibition comes to an end. For the “PBS NewsHour,” this is business and
economics correspondent Paul Solman in Northern California. JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally: Farm workers face
major challenges accessing health care. But a group in Southeastern Arizona has a
unique solution that appears to be working. From the Cronkite School of Journalism at
Arizona State University, Anikka Abbott reports. ANIKKA ABBOTT: Bend, pluck, place, repeat. For hours a day, workers at NatureSweet farms
in Southeast Arizona pick tomatoes. It’s work that requires strength, skill, and
good health. Public health expert Jill Guernsey de Zapien
says farmwork often causes muscle and back issues. JILL GUERNSEY DE ZAPIEN, University of Arizona:
Everything for harvesting crops, for packaging them, et cetera, and stuff, it is built to
make it happen fast. It’s not built to protect the body of the
workers. ANIKKA ABBOTT: The National Center for Farmworker
Health says the top three things farm workers suffer from are obesity, hypertension, and
diabetes. Workers like Dillon Valenzuela do what they
can to get ready for the day. DILLON VALENZUELA, Farmworker (through translator):
When we enter, first, we have to exercise, stretch out. Then we put all the protective clothes on
for the greenhouse. ANIKKA ABBOTT: Even though they prepare for
the work, some farmworkers struggle to maintain their own health. Four hundred people work in this tomato plant. The majority of them work here in the greenhouses. And almost 95 percent of them speak Spanish
primarily. Language is one barrier to health care. Access is another, says Gail Emrick, executive
director of the Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center, or SEAHEC. GAIL EMRICK, Executive Director, Southeast
Arizona Area Health Education Center: Particularly precarious with farmworkers is the type of
labor they’re involved in, if it’s shift work vs. ongoing or formal employment. And so some people might have health insurance
and health coverage, and others may not. ANIKKA ABBOTT: The National Center for Farmworker
Health says almost 53 percent of farmworkers across the country are uninsured. Even some with health insurance have limited
access. The ratio of people to doctors in rural areas
is 2,500 to one. JILL GUERNSEY DE ZAPIEN: It’s not saying necessarily
that we don’t have enough health professionals. It’s saying that they’re not distributed well
throughout the country. ANIKKA ABBOTT: Here in Winchester Heights,
an unincorporated Latino neighborhood just 10 minutes from the farm, there are no doctors. The closest town with a medical facility is
20 minutes away. Enter the Southeast Arizona Area Health Education
Center, whose goal is to help residents in rural areas gain access to health care. In Winchester Heights, they helped build a
community center where public health interns train resident volunteers, known as promotoras
de salud. After receiving training, health care workers,
like Aida Dominguez, go door to door in Winchester Heights to teach their neighbors about better
health, like nutrition and sun protection. AIDA DOMINGUEZ, Health Care Volunteer (through
translator): And then she told me, I am so grateful because, I didn’t know, but now I
know that you have to use a hat. ANIKKA ABBOTT: Latino farmworkers say the
community center and health workers have made an impact on their health. Having promotoras who speak their own language
and come from their own community make a difference. AIDA DOMINGUEZ (through translator): It’s
important to have a social environment and also to be able to help the children, the
youth, the adults, the elders, so we will be united. ANIKKA ABBOTT: Along with health care, the
health education group is now also teaching residents how to run their own nonprofit. They plan to turn the community center over
to the people in Winchester Heights next year. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Anikka Abbott
with Cronkite News in Winchester Heights, Arizona. JUDY WOODRUFF: Before we go tonight, a brief
news update. It has been a busy evening at the U.S. Supreme
Court. The court has blocked a request from the Trump
administration to lift a ban on federal executions. For 16 years, there have been no death penalty
executions in federal cases. Also, the Supreme Court has temporarily granted
the president’s request to block a ruling by a lower court that required banks to hand
over President Trump and his family’s financial records to Congress. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg signed that order. The stay gives relief for only a week while
the court considers the request. A federal appeals court had ruled earlier
this week that Deutsche Bank and Capital One must turn over what they have of the president’s
personal and financial business records. There are two other cases before the court
involving subpoenas for the president’s financial records. And that is the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Judy Woodruff. For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank
you, and have a great weekend.

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