PBS NewsHour full episode October 3, 2019


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: President Trump
publicly urges China and Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, doubling down on actions at the
heart of the impeachment inquiry. Then: a return to Flint. Five years after lead contamination in the
water supply, what has changed and what has not? KAREN WEAVER (D), Mayor of Flint, Michigan:
We need to get the help that we deserve, so we can have a full recovery. And, for some, that full recovery, you know,
we don’t know if it will come. If you have lost a loved one, if you have
a child that’s been damaged, you’re going to deal with that for the rest of your life. JUDY WOODRUFF: Plus: an expanding canvas. As China grows wealthier, so does the desire
to collect art, reinvigorating China’s art market. HAO LIANG, Artist (through translator): People
have loved to collect art since the olden days, whether it was royal collections or
private collections. China was a country which favored art, but
we had a break in our history. We are restoring it, this respect for art
and culture. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump is already
under fire for alleged abuse of power, and now he faces a new firestorm of his own making. It erupted today in front of White House reporters
and TV cameras. White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor
begins our coverage. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: First Ukraine, now China. On the White House lawn, President Trump set
off a whole new controversy with these words: DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is
just about as bad as what happened with — with Ukraine. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Without evidence, the president
renewed his claim that China let Hunter Biden open a major equity fund in 2013, in return
for a sweetheart deal on trade with the Obama administration. DONALD TRUMP: You know what they call that? They call that a payoff. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: President Trump said he
has not requested China pursue an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his
son. But, moments earlier, he said he believes
he has the upper hand in trade negotiations that resume next week. DONALD TRUMP: I got a lot of options on China,
but if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous, tremendous power. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The comments sparked new
outrage from top Democrats, including Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence
Committee. REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The president of the United
States encouraging a foreign nation to interfere again to help his campaign by investigating
a rival is a fundamental breach of the president’s oath of office. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: A spokeswoman for Vice President
Biden’s presidential campaign called President Trump’s statements “a grotesque choice of
lies.” She also accused him of desperately clutching
for conspiracy theories. Last night in Reno, Nevada, Joe Biden fired
off his strongest denunciation yet of President Trump. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), Presidential Candidate:
Like every bully in history, he’s afraid. He’s afraid of just how badly he may be beaten
in November. I’m not going anywhere. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) JOSEPH BIDEN: You are not going to destroy
me. You’re not going to destroy my family. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: But today, in Scottsdale,
Arizona, Vice President Mike Pence reinforced President Trump’s calls for a probe into the
Bidens. MIKE PENCE, Vice President of the United States:
I think the American people have a right to know if the vice president of the United States
or his family profited from his position as vice president during the last administration. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill,
a first appearance from a key witness in the impeachment inquiry. Former envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker was interviewed
behind closed doors by members of three House committees. He resigned last Friday, after the release
of a whistle-blower’s complaint. It accused President Trump of pressuring Ukraine’s
president to investigate the Bidens. It is now the focus of the impeachment investigation. The complaint says Volker provided advice
to the Ukrainian leadership about how to navigate President Trump’s demands. It also says he met with Ukrainian President
Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian political figures in Kiev a day after the July phone
call. Volker is one of five current or former State
Department officials that Democrats want to hear from. But Republicans said his appearance today
didn’t advance the Democrats’ impeachment agenda. REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Not one thing he has said
comports with any of the Democrats’ impeachment narrative. Not one thing. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Congressman Jim Jordan,
ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, also accused Democrats of unfair investigation
procedures. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy raised
the same concerns in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He called for a suspension of impeachment
proceedings until the full House votes on ordering an impeachment inquiry. Pelosi responded with a letter of her own. She said the Constitution doesn’t require
a House vote before proceeding with an impeachment inquiry. Tomorrow, the inspector general of the intelligence
community, Michael Atkinson, is scheduled to go behind closed doors with the House Intelligence
Committee to discuss the whistle-blower’s complaint. JUDY WOODRUFF: For more on all this, I’m joined
by “NewsHour”‘s White House correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor, and by Washington Post investigative
reporter Michael Kranish. He also joins us from The Post. Thanks to you both. Yamiche, I’m going to start with you. Now that out in the open the president is
asking for China, as well as Ukraine, to investigate Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, you have
been talking to people inside and outside the administration. What are they saying are the implications
of all this? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, the president was
really doubling down on this idea that he thinks it’s ethical and within his right to
have a foreign leader investigate a political rival. The White House is defending his claims. Vice President Mike Pence was also out defending
the president. And the president is essentially saying, look,
I’m not going to face any consequences for this because I believe that this is the right
thing to do. I believe that investigating Joe Biden and
his son Hunter Biden is essentially in the best interests of the United States. Of course, there are political opponents of
the president who say that’s not exactly what the president should be doing. Instead, they assume that the president and
say that the president is really trying to normalize this idea that foreign leaders should
be helping him in his political pursuits. And they say that that would be illegal. It’s also important to note that the head
of the Federal Elections Commission tweeted today. She said it’s still illegal for a U.S. national
to solicit information or to get any sort of help for a U.S. election from a foreign
national. So as the president is saying, this is within
my right, you have at least federal officials saying, that’s actually not true and this
is not the way that things should be done. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Michael Kranish, when
it comes to Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, you have been reporting for a long time and
looking for a long time into Hunter Biden’s activities in China. We have heard what the president is alleging. What is it the source of this? How much of it do we know to be true? MICHAEL KRANISH, The Washington Post: Well,
President Trump has alleged that Hunter Biden, the vice president’s son, walked away with
$1.5 billion for an investment fund. The evidence of that is not there. What happened was, on December 4 of 2013,
Hunter Biden did go on Air Force Two with his father, Joe Biden, who was Vice President. Joe Biden met with the leader of China, Xi
Jinping, and — for about five hours. And during this two-day trip, Joe Biden was
introduced by his son Hunter to a gentleman who was involved with an investment matter
that Hunter Biden was involved with. Hunter Biden did become a member, unpaid,
of an advisory group that was advising an investment group that wanted to raise $1.5
billion. To this day, Hunter Biden’s lawyer has said
that Hunter Biden actually hasn’t made any money from an investment that actually took
effect in 2017. Hunter Biden owns about 10 percent of a company
that is being involved here. And the lawyer has said that no money has
been made. Hunter Biden has declined repeatedly to talk
to us. There are still questions about why he joined
this board, what exactly he did, why he did this, basically, in the wake of the trip with
his father to Beijing. So there are some appearance issues there. I think folks on all sides might say, why
would he do this and potentially put his father up for questioning later, just as Hunter Biden
joined the board of a gas company in Ukraine at a time when his father was shepherding
U.S. policy in that country and actually talking about gas policy. So there is a pattern here that’s caused some
issues even for members of the vice president’s staff. Former staffers who I talked to said they
were concerned, but they didn’t feel any laws were broken. And so they let the matter pass. But they were concerned about appearance. JUDY WOODRUFF: And just quickly, Michael Kranish,
you have also reported that the president has tried at times to get the financier Stephen
Schwarzman involved in these allegations around China. Remind us who Steve Schwarzman is and what
it was the president was asking him to do. MICHAEL KRANISH: Well, President Trump said
last week at a meeting with the U.S. Mission at the U.N. in remarks that later were obtained
by The Post in the video, he said that he talked to Steve Schwarzman, the head of Blackstone,
one of the world’s largest investment companies based here in the U.S., he talked to him about
Hunter Biden. Steve Schwarzman wrote in a recent book that
he had spent a lot of time helping the administration on the trade talks. He made eight trips in 2018 alone, he wrote
— quote — “on behalf” — unquote — of the administration in their efforts to deal with
trade matters in China. So Schwarzman — I wrote a story about Schwarzman
last year where I referred to him as Trump’s China whisperer. He’s very influential on China policy. He is probably the U.S. businessperson closest
to the Chinese leadership. So for Trump to say this was significant. However, Schwarzman’s spokesman said this
didn’t happen. Mr. Schwarzman never talked to Trump about
Hunter Biden. So the two disagree on whether this conversation
even took place. JUDY WOODRUFF: Fascinating. And finally, Yamiche, we know that the former
envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker was on the Hill today having private briefings with House
members. What have we learned about what Mr. Volker
had to say? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: According to a number of
different sources and a number of different reports, Kurt Volker was eager to share information
with lawmakers and staff today. He said a number of things, including that
he wasn’t personally involved with President Trump trying to pressure Ukraine to investigate
Joe Biden. He also said that he tried to warn Rudy Giuliani,
the president’s personal attorney, against using any information coming from Ukraine. He said, none of that is trustworthy and you
shouldn’t be using that. He also said that it wasn’t unusual for Ukraine’s
military aid to be held up, even though it was eventually released. So it’s really important to really follow
and really look at whether or not Kurt Volker’s statements are going to gel with what Democrats
are looking for, and whether or not this is going to — how that’s going to impact the
impeachment inquiry. I also think it’s important to note, as I
was saying in the first answer about President Trump talking about China, next week, we’re
going to have Chinese negotiators meeting with the U.S. And the president is essentially saying, look,
I’m going to use the military might and — the economic might, rather, of the U.S. to pressure
China possibly to looking into Joe Biden. So what you have is Kurt Volker basically
saying, I wasn’t a part of any of that. And you have the president saying, look, I’m
actually looking at a new country to find more information about Joe Biden. JUDY WOODRUFF: So many strands to follow today
and now and everyday, virtually. Yamiche Alcindor, Michael Kranish, thank you
both. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Thanks. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: Security
forces in Iraq shot and killed at least 12 more protesters, raising the death toll there
to 33 over three days. The government also cut off Internet access,
in a bid to calm things down. Still, crowds in Baghdad defied a curfew,
and troops opened fire with live rounds and tear gas. But the protesters insisted they wouldn’t
be cowed. ABU AL QASSIM, Baghdad Protester (through
translator): Even with the curfew, I swear to God we will not retreat. We are demanding our simplest rights. It is the simplest rights that we ask for. I view this gas canister as if it had been
given to me by a lady. We sacrifice ourselves for our country. JUDY WOODRUFF: The protests have spread to
Southern Iraq, where at least 10 people were killed overnight. Demonstrators are demanding jobs, better services
and an end to corruption. A Hong Kong teenager who was shot by police
on Tuesday is now charged with rioting and attacking officers. He is the first person wounded by police gunfire
in months of pro-democracy protests. New rallies tonight demanded accountability
for the shooting. Police fired tear gas and pepper spray to
disperse the crowd. In Paris, at least four people were stabbed
to death today at the city’s police headquarters by a civilian co-worker. The assailant was finally shot and killed
by an officer. France’s interior minister said the man had
worked in computer support since 2003, with no apparent problems. CHRISTOPHE CASTANER, French Minister of the
Interior (through translator): This man was known inside the computer department. He worked alongside his colleagues and never
presented any behavioral difficulties, never any warning signs. And, this morning, he went on a deadly rampage. JUDY WOODRUFF: The attack came one day after
thousands of Paris police staged a protest over working conditions and an increase in
officer suicides. The European Union’s top court ruled today
that Facebook must remove or block unlawful content worldwide, if E.U. courts order it. The case had begun with an Austrian politician
who sued to remove a news item that she considered libelous and insulting. Facebook and industry groups warned that today’s
decision raises critical questions about freedom of expression. Back in this country, MGM Resorts will pay
up to $800 million to families of the 58 who were killed and hundreds hurt in the Las Vegas
mass shooting of 2017. The gunman opened fire from his room in the
MGM Hotel on an outdoor music festival. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S.
history. Today’s settlement resolves hundreds of lawsuits. The number of people with severe lung conditions
linked to vaping passed the 1,000 mark today, with 18 deaths. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
reported a total of 1,080 confirmed and probable cases since March in 48 states. Officials have not yet identified a definitive
cause for the lung injuries. More than 45 million people across 14 Southern
states of the U.S. are now suffering through a so-called flash drought. Government and university researchers reported
today that the dry conditions came on suddenly, and worsened throughout September. The drought has parched farmland, dried up
ponds and increased the danger of wildfires. On Wall Street, stocks bounced back from two
days of losses. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 122
points to close at 26201. The Nasdaq rose 87 points, and the S&P 500
added 23. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: did President
Trump violate his oath of office before TV cameras today?; on the ground in Flint, Michigan,
where residents still grapple with the water crisis five years on; and much more. Returning now to our main story, the president
urging another foreign power, China, to start an investigation into a potential political
rival. What are the implications of this, as a matter
of law and national security? Michael Mukasey was the U.S. attorney general
under former President George W. Bush. And Carrie Cordero served in both Republican
and Democratic administrations in national security roles at the U.S. Justice Department
and at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Welcome to you both. Thank you for joining us. I’m going to start with you, Attorney General
Mukasey. Let me just ask first, before we get to oath
of office, and ask about the law. Is what President Trump is doing in asking
another country to investigate a potential political rival, does that break a law? MICHAEL MUKASEY, Former U.S. Attorney General:
No, the — I think the Justice Department has already opined in the context of the request,
such as the — seen to the Ukraine to investigate Biden, as to whether that was a solicitation
of a thing of value. I think they said it’s not. Presidents have been conducting foreign relations
— presidents running for reelection, hoping for reelection, have been conducting foreign
relations for as long as the country’s been around, in the hope of getting reelected. Let’s — you take a hypothetical. It’s got nothing to do with this case. If a president running for reelection asked
a foreign power to finance the construction of a hospital in a state where his numbers
were not very good, that would not be a thing of value. It would be — it would benefit the state. As to whether it would be politically wise
or not, that’s something else again. But I think it would — the principle is essentially
the same. JUDY WOODRUFF: Carrie Cordero, is this in
any regard a violation of law, what the president has done? CARRIE CORDERO, Former Department of Justice
Official: Well, I think what former Attorney General Mukasey is getting at with respect
to a thing of value has to do with whether or not we’re applying the specific statutory
provisions perhaps of campaign finance law. But the situation that the country is in right
now with President Trump’s activities as revealed by the conversation that he had with the Ukrainian
president, and then even his public statements today, goes far beyond technical violations
of specific statutory visions. And, instead, the problem has to do with whether
or not he is in violation of the Constitution and of constitutional principles of whether
or not he is fulfilling his oath of office, whether or not he is abusing his constitutional
authorities to conduct foreign affairs by using that access to foreign leaders to basically
work in his own personal interest. And so the fundamental question is, is the
president, when he’s conducting foreign affairs, acting in the United States’ interests, or
is he using that position to work in the benefit of his own personal political ambitions? And that’s not an appropriate use of his authority. JUDY WOODRUFF: Michael Mukasey, what about
that? MICHAEL MUKASEY: That, it seems to me, is
up to the voters. And if they think he’s using his authority
in a way that hurts the country, they can express that at the polls. You don’t simply take a difference of opinion
with what somebody is doing in office and use it as a basis to remove him. Now, that said, this is obviously a political
process. The standards are political. And the House is not barred from considering
his statement today or a statement during that conversation, if they choose to do so,
as a basis for impeachment. But that doesn’t mean that it is properly
so considered. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let me just quickly follow
up on that, I mean, because what I hear Carrie Cordero saying is that it is not in the interests
of the United States of America for President Trump to be asking a foreign leader to assist
in his reelection campaign. MICHAEL MUKASEY: Well, the question is whether
he’s asking a foreign leader to do something that’s in the interest of the United States,
i.e., investigate potential dishonesty by a — by a former vice president. That — the fact that that may serve his political
interests is also true. But the question then becomes whether he’s
asking for something that is in the interest of the United States or not. Again, I think that’s up to the voters. JUDY WOODRUFF: Carrie Cordero? CARRIE CORDERO: Yes, I’m frankly surprised
to hear the former attorney general make these arguments. The president should not be using his authority
to dig up political dirt on spurious claims against political opponents. That’s the stuff of opposition research, perhaps
appropriately conducted or at least lawfully conducted by his political operative team
here in the United States. But by the president’s statements and by this
open admission that he thinks it’s OK to use his position to seek foreign assistance in
elections, he just made the job of the U.S. intelligence community and the national security
community exponentially harder by them trying to protect the country against foreign influence
in our elections. And it was just last week that the acting
director of national intelligence, Mr. Maguire, said that, in his judgment, the most pressing
national concern today in the seat that he sits in now is the integrity of our elections. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, given that, Michael Mukasey,
how is this within the purview of the president to do this to, to — again, repeating myself
— but to ask a foreign leader to take steps that would help his reelection, and then,
by the way, as the president said today, to say, I’m going to be meeting with the Chinese
next week, and suggest — and he said, if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous
power. MICHAEL MUKASEY: That, as I said, is a matter
for the voters. Presidents have been engaging with foreign
leaders in aid of their reelection campaigns for decades. They may be explicit about it. They may be implicit about it. If he’s saying that he’s going to use the
power of his office against the interests of the United States in order to bring about
a result, that’s a wholly different thing. That’s a misuse of his office. It may not be a violation of law, but it may
be something to be considered by an impeachment inquiry. But, once again, simply using or asking for
a foreign — a foreign country to conduct an investigation that may — that may be warranted
is not unlawful. It may be something that people find distasteful,
but it is not unlawful. JUDY WOODRUFF: Are you saying that President
George W. Bush did that when he was running for reelection, and, if so, how? MICHAEL MUKASEY: I’m not — oh, come on. I’m not saying anything of the sort. He — that president — when I say presidents
conduct foreign relations, I don’t mean that they — that they — that they necessarily
ask in this way for this kind of thing. That’s why I said it may be distasteful. But the principle about presidents being able
to conduct foreign relations in their interests, so long as it serves the country’s interests,
is the same character. JUDY WOODRUFF: Carrie Cordero? CARRIE CORDERO: Yes, I just — I just fundamentally
disagree with the with the position that the former attorney general is positing, that
a legitimate exercise of the president’s foreign affairs power includes asking a foreign government
to interfere in our elections when it comes to China. I mean, it’s basically an open invitation
for foreign intelligence services now to do whatever activity they want to do if they
think that it will dig up political information that Donald Trump wants. And that’s not that — that’s not an appropriate
use of the president’s foreign affairs policy. It undermines national security. It means that when foreign governments are
dealing with the American president on issues of tariffs, on issues of foreign aid, on issues
of defense, they are now in a position where they have to calculate whether or not they
should be providing information that assists the president in his political ambitions,
vs. what is actually a legitimate exchange between two countries. And so there is a difference between a public
official acting in their personal interests and potentially holding out leverage of what
the U.S. government might be able to provide to them vs. an appropriate exercise of constitutional
presidential authority. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we’re going to be… MICHAEL MUKASEY: That’s… JUDY WOODRUFF: You — a very quick response,
Mr. Mukasey. MICHAEL MUKASEY: No, I mean, that — there’s
— there’s a lot of syllables in there, but not a — not a lot of substance. The fact is, as I said, that presidents engage
in activities that help their reelection. If this activity is offensive, then the voters
can reflect that at the ballot box. That’s all I’m saying. JUDY WOODRUFF: A lot of questions here, and
we’re going to continue to report on all of it. Michael Mukasey, Carrie Cordero, thank you
both very much. CARRIE CORDERO: Thanks, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: Since 2014, Flint, Michigan
has been synonymous with tainted water. Five years on, city officials are still struggling
to make the water safe for all its residents. John Yang went back to see what’s changed
and what hasn’t. JOHN YANG: A typical Thursday morning on Flint,
Michigan’s North side. Cars stretch for a full mile, some in line
for more than five hours. The goal of this weekly quest? Bottled water. Ray Ducham comes once a month. This crisis started years ago. RAY DUCHAM, Flint, Michigan: yes. JOHN YANG: Did you think you would still be
doing this now? RAY DUCHAM: No. I thought maybe they’d have the water clean
by now. JOHN YANG: After the state stopped distributing
water last year, the Greater Holy Temple Church of God in Christ stepped up. Latrece Davis, who coordinates the effort,
says they start each week with more than 1,700 cases of water, and, every week, the demand
is greater than that supply. How many cars, how many families each Thursday? LATRECE DAVIS, Water and Food Distribution
Coordinator: We run probably about 1,500 to 1,700 cars. So, you’re looking about 700 — 600 to 800
families. JOHN YANG: For more than five years, water
has dominated the lives of many in this city, where more than 55 percent of residents are
black and more than 40 percent live in poverty. In April 2014, state-appointed officials tried
to save money by shifting the source from Lake Huron to the Flint River. But the river water was more corrosive than
the lake water. The city failed to treat it properly, and
it damaged Flint’s aging pipes, causing lead to leach into the system. The city switched back to lake water in October
2015, but pipe replacement is still ongoing, and so are concerns. ARIANA HAWK, Flint, Michigan: It affects the
way that we cook, the way that we brush our teeth, the way that we just use water in general. JOHN YANG: In 2016, Ariana Hawk’s second oldest
son, Sincere, then 2 years old, was on the cover of “TIME” magazine, after developing
painful blisters and rashes. ARIANA HAWK: His thing was just the fear of
the water. Even him as a 6-year-old, he still says, like,
the water is dangerous. Like, he don’t like it. He avoids it as much as possible. JOHN YANG: Despite officials’ assurances at
the time that the water was safe, Hawk blames herself. ARIANA HAWK: I’m his mom. I should have been protective. I should’ve knew better. I should have — I should have been educated
more, and this wouldn’t have happened. JOHN YANG: Although her 4-year-old daughter,
Aliana, doesn’t have symptoms, blood tests show she has high lead levels. ARIANA HAWK: It’s devastating. It’s very hard to deal with on a daily basis. It’s hard to even just deal with as a parent,
because, sometimes, I feel like I can do better. But it’s not my fault that the water is like
this. It’s not something that I asked for. It’s not something that I chose for my kids. JOHN YANG: Across town, Maxine Onstott’s 7-year-old
son, Max, was diagnosed with autism in the midst of the crisis. MAXINE ONSTOTT, Flint, Michigan: With Max,
I can’t say that’s what caused him to have the disability he has, but he was exposed. We drank it. We bathed in that. We used it every single day. We cooked with it. JOHN YANG: Max is among the growing number
of special education students in Flint public schools. Since 2013, before the crisis, it’s up 56
percent, according to state figures. A group of Flint parents is suing the school
system, saying it is not meeting those students’ needs. What would recovery mean for you? MAXINE ONSTOTT: Recovery for me would be my
city recovering. There’s nothing more that anybody can do for
me and my family at this point. DR. MONA HANNA-ATTISHA, Michigan State University:
Well, the Flint water crisis is really a whole bunch of things. JOHN YANG: Flint pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha
was among the first to sound the alarm about lead in the drinking water. DR. MONA HANNA-ATTISHA: We can’t take it away. There’s no magic pill. There’s no antidote. We can’t we can’t press rewind and pretend
that this didn’t happen. JOHN YANG: Now she’s deeply involved in the
recovery effort. DR. MONA HANNA-ATTISHA: We have invested in the
critical period of early childhood, with home visiting programs, and Medicaid expansion,
school health services, a massive expansion of early literacy programs. We have turned this crisis into almost this
model public health program of recovery and hope for the people of Flint. JOHN YANG: A project called the Flint Registry
tracks the effects of lead exposure and connects residents to those programs. KAREN WEAVER (D), Mayor of Flint, Michigan:
Flint was a thriving city, and it can be a thriving city again. And we’re on that road. We’re headed that way. JOHN YANG: Flint Mayor Karen weaver beat the
incumbent at the height of the crisis. KAREN WEAVER: We need to get the help that
we deserve, so we can have a full recovery. And, for some, that full recovery, you know,
we don’t know if it will come. If you have lost a loved one, if you have
a child that’s been damaged, you’re going to deal with that for the rest of your life. JOHN YANG: She expressed frustration that,
this summer, criminal charges were dropped against officials, including manslaughter
for at least a dozen deaths from Legionnaires’ disease believed linked to the water crisis. The new Michigan attorney general said her
predecessor had botched the investigation, so she was starting all over again. KAREN WEAVER: If it had been a shooting, people
would be locked up. Well, we had killings that took place here
in the city of Flint, and no one has looked at it that way. JOHN YANG: The city no longer takes its water
from the Flint River, and it’s begun to replace its lead and galvanized steel water pipes. But rebuilding the shattered public trust
is likely to take some time. It is a wound that seems to run deep. MAXINE ONSTOTT: You’re supposed to be able
to trust these people in power. And we were bamboozled by them. JOHN YANG: Are you angry? ARIANA HAWK: Oh, yes, of course I’m angry. I’m more upset and hurt than anger. It’s hurting, because these are people who
we trust everyday, these are the people who say that this was OK. KAREN WEAVER: One of the things I did promise
was that I would give them the information, whether it was good news or bad news, because
we had bad news that people kept from us. And had they shared that bad news with us,
we could have protected ourselves better. JOHN YANG: For residents like Ariana Hawk
and Maxine Onstott, it may be too late. I mean, it almost sounds like that there’s
some parts that you just don’t think you can recover. MAXINE ONSTOTT: We wake up. We brush our teeth with bottled water. We drink bottled water. We’re out of bottled water. It’s, pack back up, let’s get in the van,
and go get some more bottled water. ARIANA HAWK: We’re still fighting for us to
have a healthy and safe life. Things in Flint are not better. Nothing has changed for us. This has become our reality, which is not
right. JOHN YANG: A reality for them that no amount
of pipe replacement or reassuring words is likely to repair. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang in Flint,
Michigan. JUDY WOODRUFF: Speaking of Flint, it is one
of many places around the country dealing with the impact of a national strike by the
United Auto Workers. It is now the 18th day of the strike against
General Motors affecting more than 50 sites and 46,000 workers. William Brangham takes a look at the big stakes
for both sides. It’s part of our regular reporting on business
and economics for Making Sense. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Judy, the two sides were
still talking today, and there have been reports of progress in recent days. But as the strike continues, there are a number
of key issues still to be resolved, among them, wage increases, how much workers have
to pay toward their health care costs, converting temporary workers, who are paid at a lower
rate, into permanent workers, and a push to move more GM production back to the U.S. Micki Maynard is a journalist who follows
the automotive industry in Detroit, and has written several books on the subject. She joins me now from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Micki, thank you very much for being here. I laid out some of the details of the conflict
between the union and the automakers. What is the essential conflict there? MICHELINE “MICKI” MAYNARD, Journalist and
Author: I think the essential conflict is — there’s two parts to it. One is that the auto industry is at another
corner. The auto industry is looking at a future that’s
extremely uncertain. If you even think back 10 years ago to the
bailout, essentially, Americans, they wanted to get somewhere, they had to buy a car. If you lived in a big city, you might have
access to transit, but other than that, car ownership was what you were looking at. And fast-forward 10 years, we have all kinds
of choices. Even in a place like Ann Arbor, where I live,
I can choose from Zipcar, from Lyft and Uber. I could get a scooter if I wanted one. We have rental bikes. We have a terrific public transportation system. And, oh, yes, I can own a car. And, 10 years ago, we didn’t have that. So that’s the future facing the industry. And then what the UAW is looking at is, they
would like a guarantee from General Motors that the job levels right now will at least
stay at this level. Right now, the UAW is about one-tenth the
size at General Motors that it was at its peak in 1978. There were about 550,000 workers then. There are about 50,000 hourly workers now. They don’t want to lose any more jobs. And you can’t blame them. There has been an enormous amount of shrinkage. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That is an incredible decline,
a 10-times decline in the number of — in that union. With regards to the strike, it has been going
on a long time. Why do you think this has been such a protracted
fight? MICHELINE “MICKI” MAYNARD: A couple of things. I think that emotions and tempers got very
high towards the end of the period before the strike deadline. And, sometimes, you just get angry and walk
out of the room. But the other issue that’s facing GM is that
they have an excess amount of cars. Right about this time of the year, car dealers
need about 65 days, so two months’ supply worth of cars. General Motors went into the strike with about
90 days’ worth of car, so 50 percent more than they needed. And from what I saw this week — I looked
at some sales figures — they have only lost about eight days’ worth of cars, or nine days’
worth of cars. So they could let the strike go another couple
of weeks without dealers really feeling the pinch. And this is a time of real uncertainty in
the manufacturing sector. Not just autos, but a lot of companies are
facing excess inventories. And a decision must have been made that, let’s
wind down some of these inventories, and maybe then we will talk. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You touched on this before
about how the auto-buying population, the people who might be going into dealerships
and dropping money for cars, has certainly changed. You wrote a very interesting piece in The
Washington Post that touched on some of the other ways that the industry, the car-buying
world is shifting. Can you explain a little bit more about how
the world is changing under our feet that way? MICHELINE “MICKI” MAYNARD: Well, that’s — thanks
for mentioning my Washington Post story. I think that the focus on labor and the focus
on General Motors is simply different than it was over the past couple of decades. One of the major issues that has come up time
and again are SUVs and pickups. So if you think back to about 1990, most people
still owned cars for their regular usage. But right around 1990 was when people started
to drive SUVs, not just to go up in the mountains or anything, but to drive them for everyday
purposes. And we have had kind of three waves of these
big SUVs and pickups. And we’re in an another one of them now. So, while General Motors, Ford, Chrysler have
talked about the future as electric cars, possibly self-driving cars, much more efficient
cars, what they’re selling to the American public are big vehicles that are very profitable
for them. The average price of a car now is $37,000. That’s not just a car. That’s an SUV and a pickup. And loans are just getting longer and longer,
six years, seven years, eight years, so — for people to afford to pay for them. So if you look at owning a vehicle, you’re
going to spend a lot of money and you’re going to have it for quite a while. So people are weighing that into the equation
as they make decisions about whether they’re going to buy a vehicle at all. The other thing I wanted to mention was the
focus on electric vehicles, because General Motors, one of the proposals it’s made to
the union is that it would take two plants it was planning to close, put batteries in
one and put electric — I think electric trucks in the other one. But, again, the union has watched GM kind
of lurch around on electrics. They had the little EV1 that they killed. They had the Volt, which they told Congress
was going to be its future. The Volt is gone. And now they’re talking electrics again. And, in a sense, you can’t blame the union
for being a little skeptical about whether this is its future. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It’s such a fascinating
backdrop to this whole strike as it’s unfolding. Micki Maynard, thank you very much for being
here. MICHELINE “MICKI” MAYNARD: My pleasure. Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour”: an inside look
at how far President Trump has been willing to go to keep migrants out of the country;
and Chinese artists try to meet the growing demand for their work. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a
federal lawsuit today on behalf of parents and children separated at the U.S.-Mexico
border under the Trump administration’s controversial zero tolerance policy. In “Border Wars,” a new book out next week,
we get a glimpse into how the administration put that controversial policy in place and
looked for other ways to keep migrants out. Amna Nawaz has more. AMNA NAWAZ: That’s right, Judy. New York Times reporters Michael Shear and
Julie Hirschfeld Davis co-wrote that explosive new book. And Michael joins me here now. Welcome to the “NewsHour.” MICHAEL SHEAR, Co-Author, “Border Wars: Inside
Trump’s Assault on Immigration”: Happy to be here. AMNA NAWAZ: So, family separation, I think
it’s fair to say, was easily one of the more punitive measures you detail in this book
and that we have seen from the Trump administration. MICHAEL SHEAR: Right. AMNA NAWAZ: It’s worth remembering, when the
idea was first floated by then DHS Secretary John Kelly, it had a lot of heat and a lot
of backlash. What did you find out about why the administration
pushed forward with it anyway? MICHAEL SHEAR: Well, John Kelly, I think,
was cognizant of both the political implications and also the sort of moral implications of
what was going to happen to the children. And I think he recognized when it was first
floated that that was — the damage to the administration early on at the time. But inside the administration, allies of Stephen
Miller, who has always been the president’s architect of his immigration agenda, and allies
of Jeff Sessions, who was the attorney general at the time, never let the idea go. They continued to believe, and I think still
believe today, that it would be the most effective — it was going to be and would be the most
effective deterrent. Essentially, their idea was, if you make coming
into the United States as miserable and horrible as possible, people will stop doing it. And it percolated in the administration for
the better part of a year, until the summer of last year, essentially, when they finally
pushed it through, first at Justice, declaring kind of a zero tolerance policy that the attorney
general announced. And then what they needed to do was to have
the Department of Homeland Security decide, we’re going to push all families over to Justice
to be proud executed, even if that means that they will be separated. And that’s after — after much kind of deliberation,
that’s finally what they did. AMNA NAWAZ: And that was applied across the
U.S. Southern border, as we saw unfold over that summer. You report in here, though, there were actually
people in the administration arguing it should be spread even wider than that, into the interior
of the U.S. MICHAEL SHEAR: Right. I mean, there is a — there was a part of
the administration that believed that just doing it at the border wasn’t enough, that
you had to apply a kind of zero tolerance policy across the board in the interior as
well. That never carried the day. And, in fact, the — what we will never know
is, if the president hadn’t backed off after several weeks at the — of doing it at the
border, whether that would have been the next step. AMNA NAWAZ: You know, more than any other
issue, immigration has been central to this president’s message, right? What is it about this one issue that draws
a singular focus? Where does that come from? MICHAEL SHEAR: You know, that’s a really good
question. The president didn’t — when he was coming
campaigning for the — for — initially thinking about campaigning for the White House, it
wasn’t the first thing that came to mind. Trade was the first thing that came to mind. And when he talked about immigration, his
advisers would see what the crowd — what that would do to the crowd. And, ultimately, they kept trying to get him
to come back to immigration . They didn’t want him to forget about it. The wall and the idea of building the wall
was actually a pneumonic device for them, that they said, if they — they knew that
he was a builder, he liked to build things. And they figured, if they could get him talking
about wanting to build a wall, that he wouldn’t forget to talk about immigration. But it — but the idea of running on it and
then pushing it through as president, there’s a — there’s a part of him that just instinctively
kind of tends to the Archie Bunker-like sort of bigoted view of sort of who should be in
this country, who should be part of this country. And I think that’s, at route, what drives
him. AMNA NAWAZ: That wall has become sort of the
physical embodiment of all of these policies and his view on immigration. You have written in there — you quote him
in one of those meetings discussing what the wall should look like, what it should have
around it, saying: “I want these people to be in horrible shape if they climb up.” You have reported on — talking about him
suggesting a moat around it, alligators, snakes, electrifying it. What is the obsession with the wall and also
making it as harmful and violent as possible? MICHAEL SHEAR: I think there’s two things. Part of it comes from his belief that the
country shouldn’t have more people coming in. He really firmly believes that. But it also — the extreme measures that he
kept reaching for were part of a growing frustration over the last three years, in which, each
time he saw a policy not being — not working, he would be told by his advisers, you can’t
do this, you can’t do that. It’s either illegal, Mr. President, it’s immoral,
it’s impractical. And each time he got told no, he got more
and more frustrated. And what we what we saw when — we talked
to about 150 people for the book inside and outside the administration. And what a lot of them told us is that it
wasn’t like he would raise an idea once and then be convinced that it wasn’t — wasn’t
possible. He came back to it again and again. So whether it was the idea of the wall with
pointy spikes, or the moat, or shooting migrants in the legs, that — those were ideas that
he would — he would be told no, and he would come back to again and again. AMNA NAWAZ: You detail one of those moments
of frustration inside one of the White House meetings, where he’s being told no, and he’s
got a list of visa numbers in front of him. He starts ticking down them. And you and Julie first reported this for
The New York Times and broke the story back in December of last year. And he basically launches into a racist rant,
calling everyone from Haiti, saying that they all have AIDS, saying Nigerians will never
go back to their huts, calling all Afghans terrorists. When you look at that kind of language, and
all of the policies that you detail in this book, what is it about the mission of this
president when it comes to immigration? Does he just not want brown and black people
to come into the country? MICHAEL SHEAR: You know, one of the things
that I think we don’t — I don’t think we could sort of come to a final conclusion on
is the question that I think a lot of people ask, which is, is this president a racist? Is he a xenophobic person? I don’t know that I’m — even after writing
this book, after a year of working on this, that I’m qualified to sort of look into his
soul and know that. What you can say is that there were several
times. That was one of them, calling S-hole countries
another one. There been numerous times that he’s both expressed
racist language, as well as policies that essentially, in practice, do play out against
brown, black people that are coming from other parts of the world. And so we asked him — we met with him in
the Oval Office just this past June. We asked him, pointedly, do you worry that
you are going to be remembered as a xenophobic president? And the answer he gave us was interesting. His first answer was, no, I don’t think so. And then he said, I hope not, but maybe you’re
right. Maybe that’s how I will be remembered. I hope that’s not. And I think you could see in that both a sort
of desire not to be sort of called a bad name, but also a recognition that he kind of understands
the way people view him. AMNA NAWAZ: Michael Shear is the co-author,
along with Julie Davis. The book is “Border Wars.” It’s out next week. Thanks very much. MICHAEL SHEAR: Thank you so much. JUDY WOODRUFF: For the past week, we have
been reporting on China’s explosive growth and development as a world power. Tonight, we look at how Chinese artists are
recreating what they call the country’s cultural aristocracy by producing original art. That is a shift from recent years, when China
produced 75 percent of the world’s art knockoffs. The story is part of our ongoing arts and
culture coverage, Canvas, and also part of our series “China: Power & Prosperity,” produced
with the support of the Pulitzer Center. Special correspondent Katrina Yu begins her
story in the village of Dafen. KATRINA YU: Artist Zeng Muquan has never set
foot outside China, but he knows a lot about the streets of Paris. From his studio in the country’s southern
Guangdong province, he’s painted tens of thousands of European scenes. The 44-year-old earns a living duplicating
paintings, and has copied works by some of the world’s most famous artists, including
van Gogh. ZENG MUQUAN, Artist (through translator):
You know van Gogh’s Starry Night? I used to paint three to five copies per day. Every year, I produced 3,000 to 5,000. KATRINA YU: Artists here used to produce up
to 75 percent of the world’s duplicates. These were ordered by a souvenir shop in Amsterdam. Each canvas earns him just $5, though he knows
they’re sold for much more. He often spends 14 hours a day, seven days
a week painting duplicates. ZENG MUQUAN (through translator): People say
painters here in Dafen Village are no better than copy machines. We started before things became digital, and
the quantity was huge. Every copy was almost the same, as if done
by machine. But it’s not. It’s done by hand. And there’s a process. And by this process, we become better artists. KATRINA YU: He lives in Dafen Village and
dreams of making his mark on China’s art scene. His timing could be just right. Once notorious for forgeries and fakes, China’s
art market is now forging ahead. This isn’t a mad dash on Black Friday. It’s the race to grab a seat at one of the
country’s most prestigious auction houses, China Guardian. Last year, the firm says it closed $822 million
worth of sales. One-third of all art global sales are now
made in China. And the country’s new wealthy class are a
hungry market. Here, ink paintings, paper fans and calligraphy
can sell for millions. With traditional works commanding such high
prices, Chinese buyers are starting to see art as a more reliable investment than the
stock market. China Guardian is the country’s oldest auction
house, founded with the mission of recreating China’s cultural aristocracy. ZHANG QIAN, China (through translator): We
are now living in a flourishing age. We see more people visiting exhibitions, museums
and collections. This shows that the level of people’s artistic
appreciation and cultural quality are improving. PENG LIU, China (through translator): In China,
we say our nation has 5,000 years of history, and we can understand Chinese society and
humanity through our art and culture. KATRINA YU: Beijing-based artist Hao Liang
says China is slowly restoring its artistic legacy, something lost during the cultural
revolution of the 1960s and ’70s, when many artists were condemned as counter-revolutionaries. HAO LIANG, Artist (through translator): People
have loved to collect art since the olden days, whether it was royal collections or
private collections. China was a country which favored art, but
we had a break in our history. We are restoring it, this respect for art
and culture. KATRINA YU: The 36-year-old’s ink paintings
have sold to the likes of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Centre Georges Pompidou
in Paris. But contemporary paintings such as his aren’t
as sought after in a Chinese market dominated by traditional art, where some consider more
modern work heretical. HAO LIANG (through translator): I think it’s
fair and normal for people to criticize. After all, I’m doing what I want and don’t
think too much about cultural tradition or what’s popular according to the current climate. KATRINA YU: But that climate is changing,
thanks to younger buyers. Beijing gallery M Woods is popular with millennial
art lovers, and often showcases collections by Western artists, including British artist
David Hockney. Visitors to this gallery represent a new generation
of Chinese art enthusiasts, educated abroad and increasingly interested in Western work. But they are the urban elite minority. The majority of Chinese art buyers are middle-income,
middle-aged, and buying their art in places like Dafen Village. Art dealer Jack Ye serves a man looking to
decorate his home. Ten years ago, most of his customers were
foreigners looking to buy copies of European paintings. Today, he says they’re mostly middle-income
Chinese looking to buy original Chinese art. He says the change is thanks in large part
to a government push to shed China’s copycat label. JACK YE, Art Dealer (through translator):
Highly skilled painters or art school graduates were trained and encouraged to create original
work. Artistic taste and education is improving. And, in the future, it will be even better. KATRINA YU: It’s that future that Zeng Muquan
looks forward to. When his copies are complete, he works on
his own art, a fusion of Western and Chinese styles. Zeng says China’s growing art market means
it’s now more profitable for him to be original. ZENG MUQUAN (through translator): These days,
when customers are interested in my work, they’re more generous in what they’re willing
to pay. As an artist, I dream of producing excellent
art of my own, and leaving behind influential work for the next generation. KATRINA YU: As China’s art market develops,
artists like Zeng Muquan are producing art that’s more reflective of themselves, and
hoping for a life spent copying less and creating more. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Katrina Yu in
Dafen Village, Guangdong. JUDY WOODRUFF: Wonderful report. And on the “NewsHour” online: China is now
expected to surpass the U.S. as the number one film market in the world. We look at how the Chinese government uses
film industry stars as a form of influence on their public and what happens when these
stars find themselves in the crosshairs of Chinese authorities. All that and more is on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour. And that is the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Judy Woodruff. Join us online and again here tomorrow evening. For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank
you, and we’ll see you soon.