PBS NewsHour full episode, Jan 6, 2020

PBS NewsHour full episode, Jan 6, 2020


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: the U.S. vs. Iran.
Mourners gather across Iran to pay respect to the elite general the U.S. killed in an
airstrike, a killing to which Iran’s ambassador to the U.N. tells the “NewsHour” there would
be a serious response. MAJID TAKHT-RAVANCHI, Iranian Ambassador to
the United Nations: We have to take revenge. When that would happen, how that would happen,
where that would happen, that remains to be seen in the future. JUDY WOODRUFF: Then: new year, same impeachment.
As Congress starts a new session, questions remain open for the president’s impending
Senate trial. And artists in exile: how the City of Light
helps brighten the path for refugees creating work far from home. AHLAM JARBAN, Artist: When we are together,
we speak. We share this story. Keep fighting. It is good to have this place. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: In Iran today, an outpouring
of grief and cries for vengeance. The U.S. killing of Iran’s best-known military
commander brought out vast crowds in Tehran, as leaders on both sides fired off threats. Foreign affairs correspondent Nick Schifrin
begins our coverage. NICK SCHIFRIN: In a massive show of mourning
and unity, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets today to grieve a man
they called a martyr. Crowds rallied around trucks carrying the
remains of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani, killed in a U.S. airstrike last Friday. EHSAN SHARIF, Mourner: Soleimani wasn’t just
an Iranian champion or a hero. He was a hero of all humanity. NICK SCHIFRIN: Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei led funeral prayers weeping over Soleimani’s body. ZEINAB GHASEMI, University of Tehran: Soleimani’s
assassination has united the country very strongly, in a sense, because he was — he
didn’t belong to any specific political party. NICK SCHIFRIN: Zeinab Ghasemi is a professor
at the University of Tehran. She told us Soleimani’s death had created unity, even among the regime’s
critics. ZEINAB GHASEMI: He was a national hero who
fought ISIS so effectively. And even, like, among my students and colleagues,
those who might be very critical of Iran’s foreign policy, they are very much united
over the issue of Soleimani’s assassination. NICK SCHIFRIN: On Sunday, Iran announced it
would no longer abide by the 2015 nuclear deal’s limits, but it said it would continue
cooperating with international inspectors. Europe is still in the deal, and, today, European
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pushed for a return to diplomacy. URSULA VON DER LEYEN, President, European
Commission (through translator): We are extremely concerned that Iran has announced it no longer
feels bound by the deal. We see escalating violence, and that is why it is so important
to break this developing cycle of violence and find room for diplomacy. NICK SCHIFRIN: As that violence escalated,
U.S. officials tell “PBS NewsHour” that, last Monday, President Trump hosted a National
Security Council meeting in Florida, and his top military and diplomatic advisers cited
intelligence of what they called an imminent threat and pushed a more aggressive option. By Thursday, the Pentagon had a plan. On Friday,
a U.S. drone killed Soleimani outside the Baghdad Airport. Over the weekend, President Trump delivered
a specific threat, tweeting: “Let this serve as a warning that if Iran strikes any Americans
or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites, some at a very high level and important
to Iran and the Iranian culture, and those targets and Iran itself will be hit very fast
and very hard.” International lawyers say targeting cultural
sites would be illegal under international law, but President Trump repeated the threat
on Sunday — quote — “They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture
and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And
we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way.” The president also threatened Iraq — quote
— “If they do ask us to leave, if we don’t do it in a very friendly basis, we will charge
them sanctions like they have never seen before. It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat
tame.” The president was responding to a nonbinding
Iraqi Parliament resolution passed Sunday calling on the Iraqi government to evict U.S.
troops. MOHAMED AL-HALBOUSI, Iraqi Parliament Speaker
(through translator): The Iraqi government has an obligation to end the presence of all
foreign forces on Iraqi soil and prevent it from using Iraqi land, water, and airspace
for any other reason. NICK SCHIFRIN: The vote leaves the long-term
fate of 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq in limbo. Those troops have been fighting ISIS and training
Iraqi forces. Today, the military said the troops would
be repositioned, but their mission is on hold. In a statement on Sunday, the U.S.-led coalition
said it would pause the fight against ISIS to focus on protecting American troops. Defense officials tell “PBS NewsHour” that
military commands around the world are increasing U.S. forces’ protection as they brace for
a possible Iranian response. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Nick Schifrin. JUDY WOODRUFF: For the Iranian view of this
crisis, I’m joined now by Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations. He is Majid Takht-Ravanchi
from New York City. Mr. Ambassador, welcome back to the “NewsHour.” As you know, the Trump administration, the
United States government is saying it was justified in targeting General Soleimani because,
not only had he killed many Americans; he was responsible for the grievous wounding
of many more, the killing of many Syrians. They say that this was something the Americans
were completely justified in doing. MAJID TAKHT-RAVANCHI, Iranian Ambassador to
the United Nations: This is fake information that is being provided by the administration. In fact, there is no truth in it. If the administration
has any proof, they have to provide this information to the general public, to the American people. What I can tell you is that General Soleimani
was the champion of fighting ISIS and other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.
And, today, those same terrorists are very happy with what the Americans did to General
Soleimani. They are cheering. They are celebrating the
demise of martyr Soleimani. And all the things that are being said about General Soleimani
is false. JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. administration, Mr.
Ambassador, is also saying they have evidence that General Soleimani was planning more attacks
imminently that would have led to the deaths of more Americans. Do you have proof that he wasn’t doing that? MAJID TAKHT-RAVANCHI: I mean, it is the United
States who should provide the proof. If they have any proof that the threat was
imminent, they should provide this information to the American people. Even the members of
Congress are not satisfied that the — that this information is being relayed to them. And they are not satisfied with the very — that
this so-called imminent threat was being, you know, conveyed to the American people.
So there is no justification for the attack against General Soleimani. It was against
the international law. It was against the violation — it was the violation of sovereignty
and territorial integrity of a U.N. member, namely, Iraq. So there is no justification for that cowardly
attack against General Soleimani. JUDY WOODRUFF: What is your government prepared
to do now? MAJID TAKHT-RAVANCHI: We have said that we
have to take the necessary measures. We have to take revenge. When that would happen, how
that would happen, where that would happen, that remains to be seen in the future. But what — we have to emphasize the fact
that we are not interested in a war with the United States or with anybody else, that we
are a peaceful country. But, at the same time, we cannot just remain silent. We have to respond
to the general public’s demand in Iran. I’m sure you have seen the footages today,
the funeral, the ceremony in Tehran for General Soleimani. Millions of people were in the
streets in Tehran, and all of them are demanding revenge. We cannot just remain indifferent
to the calls by our public. JUDY WOODRUFF: And what does revenge mean?
What is the goal of that? Is that to go after the U.S. government, to go after the U.S.
military, to go after American citizens, or what? MAJID TAKHT-RAVANCHI: No, we are — we do
not have any — anything against the American citizens, the people. But that remains to be seen what would be
the reaction from Tehran. As I said, there is — nothing can be said about the timing,
about the place or how this is going to happen, but this is something that will be done. JUDY WOODRUFF: But could it mean the targeting
of an individual? MAJID TAKHT-RAVANCHI: I’m not in a position
to tell you what exactly Iran will do, but that is something that has to be taken. And this is the demand — as I said, demand
by the Iranian people, that they need something to be done by the government in order to retaliate
the unjust killing of our beloved general. JUDY WOODRUFF: But does your government consider
American officials, U.S. officials, now to be legitimate targets? MAJID TAKHT-RAVANCHI: As I said, I’m not going
to elaborate on the steps that Iran will take, but, in general terms, there will be revenge
against the killing of General Soleimani. JUDY WOODRUFF: Another question, Mr. Ambassador. Your government has now announced that it
is going to suspend any limits that it had placed on its nuclear weapons production program.
Why are you doing this? And does this literally mean now that your government feels you can
move ahead with producing a nuclear weapon? MAJID TAKHT-RAVANCHI: No, we are not — we
are not interested in having a nuclear weapon, because we have a very clear, clear-cut religious
edict by our supreme leader prohibiting nuclear weapons. At the same time, there is no place for nuclear
weapons in Iran’s defensive doctrine. Therefore, we do not want to have nuclear weapons. We
are a member of NPT. We have said, in the JCPOA, the nuclear deal, that Iran will not
have nuclear weapons. But, at the same time, JCPOA was a deal. It
was a give-and-take. We have been — we have been doing our part for some time, with almost
nothing in return. Unfortunately, the European partners which were supposed to give us the
benefit of the nuclear deal, they didn’t act in accordance with the deal. If Iran is given the benefits of the deal,
we will go back to the full implementation of it. JUDY WOODRUFF: Ambassador Majid Ravanchi,
the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, thank you very much. MAJID TAKHT-RAVANCHI: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we will have more on Iran
right after the news summary. In the day’s other news: House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi says Democrats will introduce and vote on a war powers resolution on Iran this week.
It requires congressional approval for any further U.S. military action. The resolution is likely to pass the Democratic-controlled
House, but a similar resolution could stall in the Republican-run Senate. The battle over a Senate impeachment trial
of President Trump has taken a new turn. The president’s former National Security Adviser
John Bolton said today that he would testify if he is subpoenaed. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that Bolton’s
statement bolsters Democrats’ demands for current and former White House officials to
testify. SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Given that Mr.
Bolton’s lawyers have stated he has new and relevant information to share, if any Senate
Republican opposes issuing subpoenas to the four witnesses and documents we have requested,
they would make it absolutely clear they’re participating in a cover-up. JUDY WOODRUFF: House Speaker Pelosi has withheld
the articles of impeachment, in an effort to pressure the Senate to call witnesses. But Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
renewed his criticism of that tactic today. SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Even with a process
this constitutionally serious, even with tensions rising in the Middle East, House Democrats
are treating impeachment like a political toy, like a political toy, treating their
own effort to remove our commander in chief like some frivolous game. JUDY WOODRUFF: We will return to the impeachment
fight a little later in the program. The U.S. has sent an unspecified number of
additional troops to Kenya after Al-Shabaab fighters killed a U.S. soldier and two American
civilians on Sunday. The group, linked to al Qaeda, stormed the Manda Bay Airfield near
the Kenya-Somalia border. Dark smoke rose during an hours-long siege.
The Pentagon said it doesn’t believe the attack was tied to tensions with Iran. In Afghanistan, U.S. Ambassador John Bass
stepped down today, after serving two years in Kabul. It came amid peace talks with the
Taliban and U.S. tensions with neighboring Iran. The State Department said the move was
part of a normal rotation, but there was no word of a permanent replacement. Wildfire conditions have eased a bit in Australia
after intense weekend heat, but scores of fires continue burning. All told, they have
killed 25 people and hundreds of millions of animals. Dan Rivers of Independent Television News
reports from New South Wales in Australia. DAN RIVERS: Not even a week into 2020, and,
already, this is a year no Australian will forget. This is what they’re dealing with all across
Southeastern Australia. They’re using every asset they have got, planes, helicopters,
fire engines. The fire has ripped through here. This property at the back is gone. We
have just talked to the owner. He’s distraught. He doesn’t know what’s saved and what hasn’t.
His entire life possessions are inside. The wind suddenly veers to the south. The
fire switches direction, and our only way out is now a treacherous gauntlet of fallen
trees and flames. They call Australia the lucky country. Right
now, it feels cursed. Rain has now brought some relief, but the fires might be whipped
up again on Thursday. Cathie Bleicher has come back for the first
time to what’s left of her house. CATHIE BLEICHER, Fire Victim: It’s — because
it’s hard, you know? I mean, it is just a house, at the end of the day, but, when you
see it like this, you know, it’s where you lived. DAN RIVERS: It’s your home. CATHIE BLEICHER: Yes. It’s a home. You make
it a home. DAN RIVERS: It’s not just the human toll which
is still being assessed here. There’s also been a catastrophic ecological price for these
fires, which have ravaged 60,000 kilometers. At the village vet in Milton, they’re trying
to cope with dozens of burnt animals, like this brushtail possum. DR. CARRIE HAWTHORN, Veterinarian: It’s got
significant burns on all its feet, its face. Its ears are crinkled. It’s probably got smoke
inhalation. It’s — it’s in a bad way. DAN RIVERS: Sadly, this young possum didn’t
make it, another victim that has succumbed to Australia’s bushfire crisis. JUDY WOODRUFF: That report from Dan Rivers
of Independent Television News. The Trump administration will now include
asylum seekers from Mexico among those being deported to Guatemala. Reports today say that
they will wait there for their claims to be processed. And the deportees will now include
families. It is part of an agreement signed last year with Guatemala and implemented in
late November. Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein made
ready today to face trial on charges of rape and sexual assault. He arrived at court in
New York using a walker after recent back surgery for a hearing on pretrial motions. Outside, some of Weinstein’s 75 accusers,
and later a defense lawyer, spoke on the eve of jury selection. ROSE MCGOWAN, Actress: The eyes of the world
are on this trial, you know, and women’s hopes and dreams of every time they have been assaulted
and hurt and never had their voices heard, or never had their day in court, because 98
percent of rape convictions do not — rape trials do not end with a conviction for the
predator. DONNA ROTUNNO, Attorney for Harvey Weinstein:
The government doesn’t want our side to have a voice. I think they believe that their side
of this story is the only one that matters and the only one that counts. And that’s what this trial’s for. This trial
is to show the jury, the state of New York and the world that there’s more to this than
they would like everyone to believe. JUDY WOODRUFF: Separately, meanwhile, Weinstein
was indicted in Los Angeles today also on charges of rape and sexual assault. Borden Dairy Company filed for federal bankruptcy
protection today. It is the second major U.S. dairy to take that step in the last two months.
Borden cited rising costs and changing consumption habits. The company was founded in 1857 and
employs 3,300 people nationwide. And on Wall Street, stocks shook off jitters
over Iran to make a modest comeback. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 68 points
to close at 28703. The Nasdaq rose 50 points, and the S&P 500 added 11. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: Senate Leader
McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, and the battle over the impeachment trial of President Trump;
our Politics Monday team breaks down the primary race with less than one month before voting
begins; and much more. Now we return to our top story in the ongoing
tensions with Iran. Nick Schifrin is back with a look at where
this stands three days after the killing of General Soleimani. NICK SCHIFRIN: Judy, we look at how the killing
has impacted the region, and specifically Iran, Iraq and the U.S. And we get two views. Ryan Crocker had an almost-40-year career
as an American diplomat. He served as an ambassador to Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, and Lebanon. He’s
now a diplomat in residence at Princeton University. He was unable to make it to a studio tonight
and joins us on the phone. And Narges Bajoghli is a professor of Middle East studies at the
Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She’s the author of “Iran Reframed:
Anxieties of Power in the Islamic Republic.” Welcome to you both. Thanks very much. Welcome
to the “NewsHour.” Narges Bajoghli, let me start with you. We heard from the Iranian ambassador to the
U.N. earlier, Judy’s interview, talking about how he’s blaming European partners for not
delivering enough for them to stay in the nuclear deal. Remind us, is this Iran closing the door on
the nuclear deal? NARGES BAJOGHLI, Johns Hopkins University:
Well, I think it’s important. I actually thought that, after the assassination
of Soleimani, that they would potentially completely pull out of the deal. What they
announced on Sunday was interesting, because they haven’t pulled out of the deal. And what they have decided to do is stay within
the framework of the deal and make it so that as, actually, the ambassador said, if other
parties to the deal come back to the table — he means mostly the United States — and
lift sanctions against Iran, that they would be willing to go back to the full framework
of the JCPOA. The reason that he’s blaming the Europeans,
though, in this is that, once the Trump administration began to impose maximum pressure, and especially
the maximum sanctions against Iran, they were hoping that the Europeans would come to their
aid and relieve some of those sanctions. And even though Europe has done the INSTEX
and tried to create a special-purpose vehicle to get around it, it still has not really
taken off. And so I think that that’s part of the reason that they have been blaming
the Europeans for this. NICK SCHIFRIN: Ambassador Crocker, so, a little
bit of ambiguity in how Iran is approaching this moment when it comes to the nuclear deal.
But what are the implications of their further eroding the commitments that they once agreed
to? RYAN CROCKER, Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq:
I think that if Iran were to pursue its stated desire to pull out of the deal completely
or to start violating all of its terms, they would be making a major strategic mistake. That will alienate the Europeans and many
other countries around the world and serve to isolate Iran, at a time when they have
said they are seeking international support against the United States for the killing
of General Soleimani. So, from an American perspective, if they
want to draw negative attention to them on this important nuclear matter, they’re doing
just the right thing. NICK SCHIFRIN: Narges Bajoghli, in terms of
drawing attention or negative attention, as the ambassador just said, Iran has clearly
been trying to have some positive attention on it accusing the U.S. of an unlawful assassination. And they have been trying to rally their supporters
across the region. What’s the impact of Soleimani’s death on Iran across the region and on Iranian
allies across the region? NARGES BAJOGHLI: Yes, I think the United States
could not have made a bigger mistake as far of the person. The symbol of Soleimani is — what he represented
inside Iran and what he represented to Shia communities across the Middle East, I think,
is something that is extremely important. And that’s one of the reasons, I think, that
other American administrations, when they had the chance, didn’t assassinate Soleimani. But especially since 2013 in the fight against
ISIS, it’s important to remember there was a very large media campaign created in Iran
sort of lionizing Soleimani and his fight against ISIS, because, again, it must be reiterated
that ISIS’ main goal during its fight was to — and one of its main enemies — its main
enemies was the Shia. So Soleimani was seen as this national figure
who stayed above the politics of the country. So, even when Iranians were very much against
the Islamic Republic and against a lot of the policies that the Islamic Republic has
done, he was sort of seen as being above that and protecting the homeland from ISIS coming
in. NICK SCHIFRIN: Ambassador Crocker, Soleimani
did take on ISIS and was seen, of course, as a national figure inside Iran. But the Americans had a very different view
of him, and certainly those American troops. But, also, diplomats who served in Iraq, like
you, had a different view of him, I take it. RYAN CROCKER: The war between Iran and Iraq,
if that’s how we’re styling it, didn’t start with the killing of Qasem Soleimani. It started
ages ago in the early ’80s with his predecessors and their proxies. I was in Lebanon at the time and got to see
up close and personal the bombing of the embassy. I was in it in 1983, again, brought to us
by the — a predecessor of Soleimani and the militia that became Hezbollah. So, General Soleimani, for two decades, has
been heading one of the most lethal operating arms of the state we have ever seen. He has
the blood of hundreds of American troopers in Iraq on his hands. Again, I had to stand at those ramp ceremonies
as we said a final goodbye to dead soldiers. So there’s no question that he was a blood
enemy, if you will. That — all of that said, we have to have
a strategy here. This is a long war. It’s gone on for years. It will go on for years
more at an increased level, I think, after the Soleimani assassination. So the administration has to have a game plan.
And that game plan will need to involve allies, a great deal of strategic patience, the utilization
of some very smart people in the U.S. that know Iran and know how to work with others. None of these are hallmarks of this administration.
So, I worry very much that, while taking a very bad actor off the field is not, in my
view at least, inherently a bad thing, now what? And I’m not seeing any clear answers. NICK SCHIFRIN: Narges Bajoghli, what about
for Iran? Now what? Where do they see this going? And how might they respond? NARGES BAJOGHLI: Yes. Look, a week ago, crowds like we saw the past
two days in Iran were unthinkable, because people were so angry at the state for the
way it had cracked down against protesters in November. What the killing of Soleimani has done is,
it has brought together the population, in addition to not just his assassination, but
also Trump’s tweets about targeting Iranian cultural sites. So, what we do see in this, I think, in the
future? This has been a gift to the survival of the Islamic Republic. I think what we will
see in the future is that the Revolutionary Guard will focus its mission on trying to
get the U.S. forces out of the Middle East. And it now has — and it has rallied forces,
both within Iran and outside of the borders, to do so. NICK SCHIFRIN: And, Ambassador, to you, quickly,
in the time we have left. There have been some fears within administration
officials even that I have talked to, not only fear of unity within Iran, as Narges
Bajoghli just said, but also fear of U.S. troops getting evicted from Iraq because of
this strike. How concerned are you about that? RYAN CROCKER: I think the question of the
U.S. presence in Iraq has a ways to play. The parliamentary resolution was not binding.
And the session was boycotted by most Sunni and Kurdish deputies. There is no unanimity
on the issue of U.S. presence in Iraq, partly because they know how crucial we were to the
eviction of the Islamic State. So, I think it’s time for a pause. Everybody,
take a deep breath and see where we can go with this diplomatically. And I also think
it’s very important for the administration to do what it can to take Iraq out of the
middle. Their president has — the Iraqi president
has… (CROSSTALK) NICK SCHIFRIN: Ambassador, I’m told that — I’m
sorry, Ambassador. I’m sorry to cut you off there, but I’m told we’re out of time. So,
I will just have to thank you there. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, Narges Bajoghli,
thank you very much. JUDY WOODRUFF: For two-and-a-half weeks, the
impeachment process against President Trump has remained, for the most part, frozen in
place. Among the open questions, whether the Senate
will hear witness testimony, despite John Bolton’s statement today signaling his willingness
to testify under subpoena, all of this even as Washington grapples with other serious
foreign policy matters, as we have been hearing. Our own Lisa Desjardins and Yamiche Alcindor
are here to break down where we are right now on so much of this. Hello to both of you. As always, it’s a jam-packed
time for news. Yamiche, I want to start with you. We did learn today that the president’s former
National Security Adviser John Bolton — he put out the statement himself. He said: I’m
willing to testify under subpoena. So, the question is, how much does that matter,
and how much does it affect the call by many Democrats for there to be more witnesses testifying? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, former National Security
Adviser John Bolton saying he’s willing to testify if subpoenaed by the Senate is potentially
a huge development. But it’s potentially, because we’re not sure
if we’re actually going to see John Bolton subpoenaed by the Senate. Of course, this
is a Senate that is controlled by the Republicans. I talked to some Democratic aides today, who
said this puts more pressure on Mitch McConnell to come forward because John Bolton had a
front seat to many of the actions and meetings that led up to the impeachment of President
Trump. But there are Republicans also who say they
would be interested in seeing John Bolton testify, Senator Mitt Romney being one of
them. But he stopped short, as many senators have, of saying that he would vote to subpoena
John Bolton. That said, I want to remind people what John
Bolton might be able to say if he was subpoenaed and testified before the Senate. So here’s
some of the things. First, he objected very strongly to Ukraine
being pushed to investigate Democrats. And he actually told an aide to alert White House
lawyers to say, hey, Gordon Sondland, the European ambassador, and Mick Mulvaney, the
acting chief of staff, they’re trying to get this done. And he said, no, that we shouldn’t
be doing that. He also called to push Ukraine to do these
investigations a — quote — “drug deal” and called Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal
attorney, a hand grenade that would get everyone blown up. The other thing, he met personally with President
Trump sometime in August to try to urge the president personally to withhold — to let
go of this aid and give it to Ukraine. So far — at that moment, he was unsuccessful
in convincing President Trump to do that. But that’s just three things that John Bolton
can be talking about, including much, much more. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Lisa, you have obviously
been talking to people on the Hill. What do we know about when the Senate trial
could start, assuming there’s going to be one, and whether there will be any witnesses? LISA DESJARDINS: Right. Everyone, family members, crew members here
at “NewsHour,” is asking, when will this trial start? And the truth is, we only know one thing.
It will start exactly one day after Speaker Pelosi transmits the articles of impeachment
and the list of House managers. That could happen as soon as this week, if she chooses
to do that. However, Pelosi’s office, talking to them
today — and Yamiche is talking to Democratic aides as well — they do not seem — feeling
like they want to do that this week. They think that this John Bolton news adds to the
pressure to try and push witnesses or an agreement for witnesses before the trial starts. And it’s interesting, Judy. We talk sometimes
about an audience of one, the president. Pelosi has an audience of four, four U.S. senators
who will determine really whether witnesses are testifying or not. There you go, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Maine’s
Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, who Yamiche mentioned, and Cory Gardner. They are all senators who
some have said they’re interested in hearing from John Bolton. They are swing senators.
They say they want more information. But, notably, Judy, they have all said they’re
OK with starting the trial without an agreement on witnesses. That’s what Mitch McConnell
wants. So, it looks like Mitch McConnell has the
cards to start. It’s just a matter of when Nancy Pelosi wants to make her move. JUDY WOODRUFF: OK. We have only got about
45 seconds. LISA DESJARDINS: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: Big question here, war powers,
conversation about Congress wanting to limit the president’s ability to take military action,
where does that stand? LISA DESJARDINS: There will be a vote in the
House this week that we have to watch closely. It’s not expected to go through the Senate,
but that conversation will be important, a briefing on Wednesday for the Senate. JUDY WOODRUFF: And where does that stand,
from talking to the White House? LISA DESJARDINS: Yes. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Talking to the White House,
this is really about the president not wanting to be hamstrung by Congress. But there are, of course, some cynical Democrats
that say the president wants people to continue to talk about Iran, because he doesn’t want
people to be talking about the impeachment trial and all the things that have been going
on. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it’s certainly taking
the attention away. LISA DESJARDINS: Forty-five seconds. We did
it. Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: You did it in less than 45. (LAUGHTER) LISA DESJARDINS: Yes. (LAUGHTER) JUDY WOODRUFF: But you’re right, Yamiche,
in that we’re not talking about impeachment as much as we were. It’s certainly not the
lead tonight. But it’s important. We’re following it. Yamiche Alcindor, Lisa Desjardins, thank you
both. LISA DESJARDINS: You’re welcome. JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour”: crisis in Caracas
— Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro’s attempt to capture control of the legislature;
plus, Paris’ storied past and present as a haven for immigrant artists. They are some of the gravest questions candidates
have to confront, questions about the use of military force and how and when they would
deploy if they become president. This weekend, the Democrats hoping to unseat
the current commander in chief have been weighing in on his pivotal decision to strike out at
a top Iranian commander. Amna Nawaz begins there. AMNA NAWAZ: In a Democratic primary race dominated
by domestic issues, it was issues of war and peace overseas this weekend that deepened
fault lines in the field. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), Presidential Candidate:
War is the last response to international conflict, not the first. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) AMNA NAWAZ: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
has been the sharpest critic so far of the Trump-directed airstrike that killed top Iranian
military leader Qasem Soleimani. An Iraq War veteran in Dubuque, Iowa, asked
Sanders how he’d prevent another war in the region as president. Sanders, in warning against future U.S. involvement
in the Middle East, highlighted his own record on these issues. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I not only voted against
the war in Iraq. I helped lead the opposition to the war in Iraq. AMNA NAWAZ: In particular, a difference with
former Vice President Joe Biden. Candidate Biden has been stressing his foreign
policy experience on the campaign trail. In Des Moines this weekend, he claimed that he
opposed the Iraq War — quote — “from the very moment” the Bush administration started
that military campaign. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), Presidential Candidate:
I opposed what he was doing, and spoke to it. AMNA NAWAZ: But as senator in 2002, Biden
voted for the war in Iraq, voicing his opposition in the years that followed. Biden agreed that Soleimani’s alleged crimes
warranted the U.S. targeting him. Still, Biden questioned the Trump administration’s long-term
Middle East strategy. JOSEPH BIDEN: This is a crisis totally of
Donald Trump’s making. AMNA NAWAZ: Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a
former Naval intelligence officer who served in Afghanistan, took a similar approach. PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), Presidential Candidate:
Now, let’s be clear, Qasem Soleimani was a bad figure. He has American blood on his hands.
None of us should shed a tear for his death. But just because he deserved it doesn’t mean
it was the right strategic move. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), Presidential
Candidate: We don’t need more war in the Middle East. AMNA NAWAZ: Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth
Warren, who walked back her initial strong support for the airstrike, this weekend questioned
its timing. In an NBC interview, she suggested the president
was trying to distract from other issues. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: We are not safer because
Donald Trump had Soleimani killed. We are much closer to the edge of war. I think the
question people reasonably ask is, next week, Donald Trump faces the start potentially of
an impeachment trial. And why now? I think people are starting to ask, why now did he
do this? AMNA NAWAZ: The new questions about force
and foreign affairs come less than one month before the Iowa caucuses. A new CBS News poll shows a three-way tie
in Iowa among Sanders, Biden and Buttigieg, with Warren lagging in fourth. But she also
got a boost today from a former primary rival: JULIAN CASTRO (D), Former Presidential Candidate:
There’s one candidate I see who’s unafraid to fight like hell. AMNA NAWAZ: An endorsement from former Housing
Secretary Julian Castro, who was the primary field’s only Latino candidate before leaving
the race last week. He is scheduled to join Warren on the trail tomorrow in New York City. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Amna Nawaz. JUDY WOODRUFF: And that brings us to Politics
Monday. Here to analyze all this is Tamara Keith of
NPR and co-host of “The NPR Politics Podcast,” and Lisa Lerer, a politics reporter for The
New York Times. Hello to both of you. It is Politics Monday. But let’s start with the story that, of course,
is headlines everywhere still. It’s still very much our lead, Tam, and that is the president’s
move to strike and kill a leading figure in Iran. From a political standpoint, what does this
tell the American people about the president’s foreign policy, his strategy? Because he’s
someone who was saying, we need to get out of endless wars, even get out of the Middle
East, and yet this move to escalate. How is it being seen? TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: Well,
and his position on Iran even has been to have every position on Iran. He’s gone from saber-rattling language to
saying that he wants a deal, Iran wants a deal, maybe we can talk. And then this happened. He has truly been
all over the place about foreign entanglements, though one thing is consistent. I went back
over years of his statements. And his general view is that, if America is going to be involved
in foreign wars or other entanglements, that they should get paid for it, essentially,
that America should get the oil, America should get the money. It’s a view that he has toward Iraq policy
and toward Syria and other countries. And that colors — it’s a very transactional view
of foreign policy, and it covers — it colors this as well, these decisions. JUDY WOODRUFF: Does it have an effect on his
standing politically, among voters, do you think? LISA LERER, The New York Times: I think voters
know where he is. They know that he’s run both as someone who
doesn’t — wants to end foreign wars, but also wants to bomb the expletive of ISIS. In fact, I think that ability to move between
those two messages is really a core part of his appeal. He can appeal to two very different
elements of the Republican Party base. So I don’t think this necessarily damages his
standing. But, look, we don’t know how this is all going
to play out. There are a lot of uncertainties here. And what happens next and how the Iranians
respond, how the Middle East is — if that gets — if that conflict gets reshaped, will
matter immensely to his reelection chances. JUDY WOODRUFF: And interesting. At this point, Tam, Republicans seem to be
backing the president. TAMARA KEITH: Right. They split with him on his move to let Turkey
go into Syria and to have an initiative against the Kurds, who are longtime U.S. allies. But,
when it comes to this, having a hard line against Iran is very much in line with Republican
orthodoxy. A lot of President Trump’s foreign policy
is outside of Republican orthodoxy. And that’s why he’s gotten so much pushback on things
like Russia and Syria. But, here, he’s very much in line with the way Republicans have
viewed Iran. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Lisa, let’s talk about
the 2020 Democrats. And we just heard some of that in Amna’s report, where they’re coming
down on this. Is this likely to, in any way, shape — we
are less than a month from the Iowa caucus, first votes — to have an effect on the race,
to reshape this race somehow? LISA LERER: Well, it’s really hard to say,
right, because there is just so much going on. Remember, before we were talking about Iran,
we were talking about impeachment, and we are likely to come back to that this week.
So, these things are moving so quickly. And it — you don’t hear a ton of questions when
you’re out with these candidates about impeachment, about Iran. The questions remain largely what they have
been for the past year or so, which is health care, college — cost of college, climate
change, and electability, which is the main thing for a lot of Democratic voters. But I do think this could strengthen the hand
of two men that have been leading the polls for a while, that have been rising in the
limited data we have since the holidays, which is Joe Biden, who can run very strongly on
his experience in foreign policy, and Senator Bernie Sanders, who’s really staked out ground
as the liberal messenger, sort of the anti-interventionist face of the party. So this could give a boost to either one of
their campaigns. JUDY WOODRUFF: And with distinct, distinct
views on this. LISA LERER: Right. TAMARA KEITH: Right. And one other person who in that recent poll
was up there at the top all sort of tied with the 23 percent, 25 percent, is Pete Buttigieg,
who is an Afghanistan war veteran and has been trying to use this moment to boost himself
and to argue for his electability. JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you make of this Iowa
poll that we were just reporting, that you now have three individuals — no longer Elizabeth
Warren, interestingly. LISA LERER: Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: She’s lost a little bit of
ground there, Tam and Lisa. I mean, what do we make of this? LISA LERER: I think the race remains unbelievably
fluid. You have these three guys at the top. Elizabeth
Warren, while she’s fallen, is still in the mix. Amy Klobuchar, by some accounts, may
be in the mix in Iowa. This is a race that, from that poll — and
a lot can change in a month, of course — could go on for quite awhile. You could have different
winners of that first four early voting states. We’re a month out from Iowa. And, to me, it
remains very unsettled. TAMARA KEITH: Right. And then you have Michael Bloomberg, who’s
invested… LISA LERER: Right. TAMARA KEITH: … just massive amounts of
money, looking past those early states. So if it’s like a — if it isn’t a clear decision
coming out of those early states, then you head into Super Tuesday, when there’s a huge
number of people voting. And you have Michael Bloomberg, who’s invested a lot of money. Now, whether you can actually skip those early
states and not be overtaken by momentum is a very open question. But Republicans, the
Trump campaign is looking at this and just sort of, like, hoping that it turns into this
extended fight. JUDY WOODRUFF: But the Bloomberg ads that
he’s running, which we’re seeing everywhere, because he’s spending millions of dollars,
they’re going after Donald Trump, many of them. LISA LERER: Right. It’s — in some ways, that’s been helpful
for the party, because it allows them get out there and really target Donald Trump at
a time when they have a very sort of messy primary going on. What’s unbelievable about what — Michael
Bloomberg is that we have just never seen anyone spend this much money. If he continues
on this pace, he will have spent, by Super Tuesday, the same amount that Barack Obama
spent in his entire general election on ads. So we don’t know. Traditionally, yes, entering
the race late is a bad idea. But we just don’t know how this is going to play out, because
we haven’t seen it before. And that’s a lot of what we’re seeing in this
race. It’s very unpredictable. JUDY WOODRUFF: Unprecedented. And we should say, Super Tuesday, we all know
when it is. LISA LERER: Right. Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: But it is early March. It’s
just two months from now. And what your point is, he’s spending more
than President Obama spent in the entire campaign year. LISA LERER: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: Just a quick note to make here
that I want to point out for our viewers at the end. We did learn today that Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo, in a meeting today with the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, announced
that he is not going to run for Senate in the state of Kansas, something that many Republicans
had been urging him to do, Pat Roberts stepping back from the Senate. So, so much to watch. Thank you both, Lisa
Lerer, Tamara Keith, Politics Monday. Thank you. TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome. LISA LERER: Thanks. JUDY WOODRUFF: As Venezuela’s steep slide
into economic disaster accelerates, major political upheaval continues to roil the nation. The opposition to President Nicolas Maduro
took another hit in the National Assembly yesterday, and the leading opposition figure
found himself literally on the outside looking in. With support from the Pulitzer Center, special
correspondent Marcia Biggs reports from Caracas. MARCIA BIGGS: Chaos in Venezuela’s National
Assembly for a vote that was supposed to be a foregone conclusion. Lawmakers had gathered for the annual election
of new leadership in Parliament. And the projected favorite? Incumbent Speaker Juan Guaido, who
last year declared the presidency of Nicolas Maduro illegitimate. Invoking the constitution, he claimed his
role as de facto president and won the support of 58 countries around the world, including
the U.S.. But he’s failed to take control of the country.
The vote stalled for hours yesterday, and tempers flared as members of Parliament waited
for Guaido’s arrival as National Guards troops blocked his entrance. Then, without him, a
faction of supporters loyal to Maduro seized the floor. And by a quick show of hands and no formal
vote, they declared a winner. And that’s when the chaos erupted both inside and out. It’s been an incredible scene here. We’re
standing out in front of the National Assembly Palace, where Guaido was just voted out, but
only because he was stuck outside the gate with his supporters, unable to get in to vote,
the National Guard holding him back. Supporters of Guaido rushed the gate, screaming
that the country had become a dictatorship. Guaido himself even tried to jump the fence,
with troops beating him back. Meanwhile, the National Assembly dispersed,
with their newly elected leader, this man, Luis Parra, an opposition member willing to
negotiate with Maduro. The U.S. was quick to condemn the election, but President Maduro
seized on the results. NICOLAS MADURO, Venezuelan President (through
translator): The National Assembly has made a decision, and there is a new leadership
group from the opposition headed by Congressman Luis Parra from the First Justice Party. MARCIA BIGGS: Outside the palace, Maduro’
supporters rallied. But that wasn’t the end. Across town later that evening, Guaido held
his own vote, bringing together enough members of Parliament to garner the 84 votes required
to win reelection. JUAN GUAIDO, Venezuelan Opposition Leader
(through translator): I swear before God, before the Venezuelan people to fulfill this
constitution, the inherent duties of the position of president of the Parliament and interim
president of Venezuela, to enforce the rights of our Venezuelan brothers and sisters. MARCIA BIGGS: Big promises for a country which
yesterday had two competing presidents, now today dueling parliaments as well, and all
this as the country spirals further into a failed state. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Marcia Biggs in
Caracas. JUDY WOODRUFF: Refugees from the Middle East
and from Africa have been settling in Europe in recent years, igniting anti-immigrant tensions. But one program in Paris is helping some refugees
find a new community in France through art. Jeffrey Brown reports from Paris. It’s part of Canvas, our ongoing arts and
culture coverage. JEFFREY BROWN: Portraits of migration, the
troubles faced along the way, the trauma of making a new home. ABDUL SABOOR, Photographer: I’m from Afghanistan,
but, sometimes, I say from nowhere. (LAUGHTER) JEFFREY BROWN: Photographer Abdul Saboor experienced
it himself. In Afghanistan, he says, he worked in transportation for the U.S. Army, but fled
when the Taliban began threatening him and his family. During a harrowing two-year journey, part
of it spent in an abandoned train station in Serbia, he began taking pictures with a
donated camera. ABDUL SABOOR: When I show to the people, I
say, that’s not normal, how we lived there. JEFFREY BROWN: His photographs became a bridge
to overcome language and other barriers and raise awareness about the plight of refugees,
which he continues to do in Paris. ABDUL SABOOR: After the people published the
pictures, and they did some exhibitions, people was asking, what you guys need? And they were
sending some support. And then I say, it’s really important. JEFFREY BROWN: Saboor is one of some 200 refugee
artists from more than 40 countries now getting support from the Agency of Artists in Exile. On our visit to its makeshift building off
the Seine River, an Ethiopian man belted out a traditional song with accompaniment from
this phone. Across the hall, a Yemeni woman used her vast trail of official asylum-seeking
papers, accumulated over two years of navigating France’s legal process, to create an art installation. ARAM TASTEKIN, Actor (through translator):
It was my first week in France and the first day without documents. JEFFREY BROWN: And a Kurdish actor who fled
Turkey practiced a monologue about his first days in Paris. JUDITH DEPAULE, Director, Agency of Artists
in Exile: Can you imagine to leave your country tomorrow and to leave everything? JEFFREY BROWN: Judith Depaule is director
of the studio, which opened in 2017 with funding from the French Ministry of Culture. JUDITH DEPAULE: In the beginning, you are,
like, in the state of shock. JEFFREY BROWN: When you arrive here, you’re
in shock. JUDITH DEPAULE: Right, yes, because nobody
wants you there. It’s difficult. You have to do a lot of papers.
You don’t understand nothing. And it’s like — I don’t know. It’s like a panic. JEFFREY BROWN: Like many countries in the
West in recent years, France has struggled with rising tensions over an influx of refugees. President Emmanuel Macron has sought to criminalize
illegal border crossings, while tightening restrictions on asylum, even as far-right
parties in the country call for more. But France also has a long tradition of being
a sanctuary for artists, including Pablo Picasso and James Baldwin. The idea here was to give
artists a place to connect with one another, to work on and exhibit their crafts, and to
help with all the practical challenges of living as a refugee. ARAM TASTEKIN (through translator): First
of all, they helped us find a place to live. Secondly, they helped us get a work visa,
find a lawyer. Some people needed psychologists, things like that. JEFFREY BROWN: Kurdish actor and drama teacher
Aram Tastekin fled Turkey in late 2017. So, why did you leave Turkey? ARAM TASTEKIN (through translator): Because
it’s complicated living there. I’m a conscientious objector. I am anti-military. I’m an artist
who tries to make art and theater in the Kurdish language, to protect the Kurdish language. But when we make Kurdish art or theater, they
always say it is terrorist propaganda. And that really hurts. How can a language be terrorist
propaganda? JEFFREY BROWN: In 2018, graffiti artist and
painter Ahlam Jarban fled her native Yemen amid its years-long civil war. She says she
faced added persecution for her family’s Somali and Ethiopian roots and for her wanting to
be an artist as a woman. She left everyone and everything behind, and
says she still doesn’t know if it was the right decision. AHLAM JARBAN, Artist: Because, all of us,
we are we are without our families. So we feel lonely. We feel — there is a lot of
problem. But when we are together, when we speak, when
we share this story, it makes us a little less stressed, make us little — keep fighting.
So it is good to have this place. JEFFREY BROWN: This place, though, the Agency
of Artists in Exile, is experiencing its own problems. It depends on Paris’ city government
for free work space, and has already had to move twice. The building we visited is small
and temporary, and the future is uncertain. Director Judith Depaule: JUDITH DEPAULE: To find the place now, it’s
a very real, concrete problem. JEFFREY BROWN: To further make its case and
showcase its artists, the agency recently presented its third annual month-long festival
titled Visions of Exile. Amid the national and even global fights over
immigration, this is a small project. But those being helped think art can change the
way people think. AHLAM JARBAN: Because when they see our artwork,
they don’t see it as a refugee. This see it as artist, and artist make this thing. We do all this journey to be something. We
have hope, and we are human before we come — we are a refugee. JEFFREY BROWN: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m
Jeffrey Brown in Paris. JUDY WOODRUFF: Wonderful story. And on the “NewsHour” online right now: As
the fires continue to rage in Australia, nonprofit groups are stepping in to help the firefighters,
evacuees and wildlife. Find out how you can support their efforts
at PBS.org/NewsHour. And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m
Judy Woodruff. For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank you, and we’ll see
you soon.