PBS NewsHour full episode November 21, 2019


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: FIONA HILL, Former National Security Council
Official: I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that
the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine, not Russia, attacked us
in 2016. JUDY WOODRUFF: Two more witnesses shed light
on the pressure campaign for an investigation of the Bidens and forcefully rebuke the conspiracy
that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. We examine what you need to know on this week’s
final day of hearings in the impeachment inquiry. Then: indicted. Amid unprecedented uncertainty over who will
lead the country, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is formally charged with
bribery. Plus: out of the classroom and into the street. A husband and wife team up to tackle poverty,
and win the Nobel Prize in economics along the way. ABHIJIT BANERJEE, Nobel Prize Winner for Economics:
I think, over time, I started to realize that what I was doing could be connected with my
previous life. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Pressure on Ukraine for investigations
was a domestic political errand that would — quote — “blow up.” That is what we heard in the final day of
public impeachment hearings this week. It was another full day, with a lot to absorb. Here again to break down the highlights and
what they mean, Lisa Desjardins is at the Capitol. She was in the hearing room. Yamiche Alcindor is at the White House. And Nick Schifrin is here at the table with
me. Hello to all of you. A lot to unpack here. But let’s start with listening to one of today’s
two witnesses. He is a diplomat, David Holmes. He came to talk about his firsthand sighting,
what he saw at a moment that has received so much attention in these hearings. And let’s listen to part of what David Holmes
had to say. DAVID HOLMES, Counselor for Political Affairs,
U.S. Embassy in Ukraine: The four of us went to a nearby restaurant and sat on an outdoor
terrace. I sat directly across from Ambassador Sondland,
and the two staffers sat off to our sides. At first, the lunch was largely social. Ambassador Sondland selected a bottle of wine
that he shared among the four of us. And we discussed topics such as marketing
strategies for his hotel business. During the lunch, Ambassador Sondland said
that he was going to call President Trump to give him an update. Ambassador Sondland placed a call on his mobile
phone, and I heard him announce himself several times, along the lines of “Gordon Sondland
holding for the President.” It appeared that he was being transferred
through several layers of switchboards and assistants. And I then noticed Ambassador Sondland’s demeanor
change and understood that he had been connected to President Trump. While Ambassador Sondland’s phone was not
on speakerphone, I could hear the president’s voice through the earpiece of the phone. The president’s voice was very loud and recognizable. And Ambassador Sondland held the phone away
from his ear for a period of time, presumably because of the loud volume. I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the President
and explain that he was calling from Kiev. I heard President Trump then clarify that
Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in
Ukraine, and went on to state that President Zelensky — quote — “loves your ass.” I then heard President Trump ask, “So, he’s
going to do the investigation?” Ambassador Sondland replied that, “He’s going
to do it,” adding that, “President Zelensky will do anything you ask him to do.” Even though I did not take notes of these
statements, I have a clear recollection that these statements were made. I believe that my colleagues who were sitting
at the table also knew that Ambassador Sondland was speaking with the president. I then took the opportunity to ask Ambassador
Sondland for his candid impression of the president’s views on Ukraine. In particular, I asked Ambassador Sondland
if it was true that the president did not “give a expletive about Ukraine.” Ambassador Sondland agreed that the president
did not “give an expletive about Ukraine.” I asked why not. Ambassador Sondland stated that the president
only cares about big stuff. I noted that there was big stuff going on
in Ukraine, like a war with Russia. And Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant
big stuff that benefits the president, like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani
was pushing. The conversation then moved on to other topics. JUDY WOODRUFF: So let’s go to you first, Lisa,
on this. We — that’s David Holmes. And he is referring to Gordon Sondland, the
U.S. ambassador to the European Union. We heard from Ambassador Sondland yesterday. How does this fit in with what Sondland said
yesterday? LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right. This was very important testimony, because
there are some gaps in Ambassador Sondland’s memory. And this also is important connective tissue
about a key moment in time. Remember, Judy, this all kind of starts with
that July 25 phone call between President Trump and the Ukrainian president, Zelensky. So let’s think about that phone call like
this, Zelensky and Trump on the call. What we learned from David Holmes was what
happened to those two different players. He testified today that Zelensky, the next
day after that call, met with him, Holmes and Sondland, in Ukraine, and told them that,
after the call, he felt like there had been some very sensitive issues raised on that
call. He said it three times, according to Holmes. This is what Zelensky is thinking about. That was sensitive issues. He’s feeling some pressure, or he’s cautious. He’s worried about sensitive issues. Just a couple of hours later after that, President
Trump — Ambassador Sondland makes that phone call that David Holmes overhears. And what does he say? President Trump immediately says, is he going
to do the investigations, meaning Zelensky? Ambassador Sondland, according to David Holmes,
says, yes, he’s going to do the investigations, completely contrary to what Zelensky just
told that group hours earlier, that he had — that there are sensitive issues and he
could only follow up in person with the president. Now, in between those two things, Zelensky
had a closed-door meeting with — or a Zelensky aide had a closed-door meeting with Mr. Sondland. That’s where Mr. Sondland, others have testified,
said, in order to get the aid, you have to do these investigations. So, while there’s not a direct link to the
president exactly, it’s getting closer in the testimony, the idea that right after the
phone call President Trump wanted to know about the investigations. President Zelensky was worried about the investigations. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, that brings us to you,
Yamiche. You’re at the White House. What is the White House saying about this? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, first, it’s really
critical to look at David Holmes’ testimony and remember that we learned about him, we
learned about what he overheard when the current U.S. — top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, William
Taylor, said that he had an aide who overheard this conversation. So this has been really percolating and people
have been thinking about this for a long time. So the White House has been having a long
time to prepare itself to say, hey, look, the president has not been directly implicated. And that’s what the White House did today. In real time, the White House was saying,
look, a lot of people have a lot of things to say about what the president did or didn’t
do, but at the end of the day no one has directly linked the president to saying to anybody,
I need an investigation into Joe Biden and Hunter Biden in order for them to — in order
for Ukraine to get this military aid. I want to read to you a White House statement
that basically sums that up. But here’s what Stephanie Grisham, the White
House press secretary, had to say. She said: “These two witnesses, just like
the rest, have no personal or direct knowledge regarding why U.S. aid was temporarily withheld. The Democrats are clearly being motivated
by a sick hatred for President Trump and their rapid desire to overturn the 2016 election.” You also have the attorney for Mick Mulvaney,
the acting White House chief of staff. His attorney put out a statement saying that
Fiona Hill was essentially misguided and misrepresenting her relationship with Mick Mulvaney. They’re essentially saying that Mick Mulvaney
wasn’t any part of this. That’s important, because, even though we
haven’t heard from Mick — from Fiona Hill yet in our — in the sound that we’re playing,
what you have is Fiona Hill saying that the White House was directly involved, and essentially
bolstering David Holmes’ testimony. But the White House is sticking to the fact
they think this is a partisan attack, this is all about people being mad about the 2016
election. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s listen now to a
little bit of what Fiona Hill had to say. She is a former White House adviser, national
security adviser, and expert on Russia. Here’s part of that. FIONA HILL, Former National Security Council
Official: Unfortunately, I had a bit of a blowup with Ambassador Sondland. And I had a couple of testy encounters with
him. One of those was in June 18, when I actually
said to him, “Who put you in charge of Ukraine?” And I will admit I was a bit rude. And that’s when he told me the president,
which shut me up. On this other meeting, it was about 15, 20
minutes, exactly as he depicted it was. I was actually, to be honest, angry with him. And, you know, I hate to say it, but, often,
when women show anger, it’s not fully appreciated. It’s often pushed onto emotional issues, perhaps,
or deflected onto other people. And what I was angry about was that he wasn’t
coordinating with us. Now, I actually realize, having listened to
his deposition, that he was absolutely right, that he wasn’t coordinating with us because
we weren’t doing the same thing that he was doing. So I was upset with him that he wasn’t fully
telling us about all of the meetings that he was having. And he said to me: “But I’m briefing the president. I’m briefing Chief of Staff Mulvaney. I’m briefing Secretary Pompeo. And I have talked to Ambassador Bolton. Who else do I have to deal with?” And the point is we have a robust interagency
process that deals with Ukraine. It includes Mr. Holmes. It includes Ambassador Taylor, as the charge
in Ukraine. It includes a whole lot of other people. But it struck me when — yesterday, when you
put up on the screen Ambassador Sondland’s e-mails, and who was on these e-mails, and
he said, these are the people need to know, that he was absolutely right, because he was
being involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being involved in national security
foreign policy. And those two things had just diverged. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Nick Schifrin, how significant,
what Fiona Hill is saying here? NICK SCHIFRIN: This is the heart of what you
and I have been talking about, Judy, the divide between national security policy of President
Trump and the Trump administration and that of Trump’s confidants, led by Rudy Giuliani
and Ambassador Sondland. And Hill actually apologized, because she
admitted that Sondland wasn’t operating in the irregular channel, as it’s been dubbed. He was talking to the president of the United
States, just that the president of the United States wasn’t talking to the National Security
Council staff, or wasn’t listening to the official channel. And the implication of that, of course, is
that — the implication of what she’s saying, is that the president was looking for a domestic
political errand, in her words, because she says that Biden and Burisma are the same thing. Biden and Burisma, Burisma, the energy company
in Ukraine that had Hunter Biden on the board, she says that they’re the same thing. Rudy Giuliani was saying that they were same
thing. President Trump used the words Biden in the
context of Burisma on the July 25 call. And she said it’s not credible that any other
diplomat, including Ambassador Sondland, including another diplomat, Ambassador Volker, did not
know about that. So, for 55 days, what Fiona Hill is saying
is that there was a triumph over — of domestic politics over national security. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, separately, we know that
Fiona Hill, and, in fact, in her opening statements, had some very strong words contradicting what
she said she felt were Republican points that Republicans have made about Ukraine and its
role in the 2016 election. Let’s listen to this from Fiona Hill. FIONA HILL: The impacts of the successful
2016 Russian campaign remains evident today. Our nation is being torn apart. Truth is questioned. Our highly professional and expert career
Foreign Service is being undermined. U.S. support for Ukraine, which continues
to face armed Russian aggression, has been politicized. The Russian government’s goal is to weaken
our country, to diminish America’s global role, and to neutralize a perceived U.S. threat
to Russian interests. President Putin and the Russian security services
aim to counter U.S. foreign policy objectives in Europe, including in Ukraine, where Moscow
wishes to reassert political and economic dominance. I say this not as an alarmist, but as a realist. As Republicans and Democrats have agreed for
decades, Ukraine is a valued partner of the United States. And it plays an important role in our national
security. And as I told a committee last month, I refuse
to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is
a U.S. adversary and that Ukraine, not Russia, attacked us in 2016. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, now I want to turn to you,
Lisa. Put this in the — in context with what Republicans
on the committee have been saying about this. LISA DESJARDINS: This is an interesting situation,
Judy, because, on the one hand, there’s a narrative that Rudy Giuliani was pushing forth
that the Ukrainian government itself, as we heard from Fiona Hill, was trying to manipulate
the election. And we heard more of that today from Republicans
than we have in the past. They point to things like an op-ed, for example,
from the Ukrainian ambassador, in which the Ukrainian ambassador sort of brought up the
idea that candidate Trump was saying he would — could consider allowing Russia to take
over the Crimea. That obviously is a huge sovereign question
from Ukraine. And the ambassador in that op-ed pushed back
against that idea, never fully said that she opposed candidate Trump, just said that this
would be a national — a security risk. That op-ed, to Republicans, is evidence that
Ukraine had reason to have a bias against the president, and that’s why they were going
after him. They also point to sort of theories that there
were some cyber-activities in Ukraine that were targeted against the president. This has not been proven. And they’re putting forth this theory kind
of more than I have seen in the past couple of — then I have seen recently. So it’s something to watch. And, meanwhile, it does seem that they’re
also spending more time on the Bidens. And it does look like perhaps the president
will get some kind of investigation of the Bidens, because, today, Judy, in the Senate,
Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham, who is the head of the Judiciary Committee in the
Senate, sent a letter to the State Department, asking them for documents about Hunter Biden,
about Burisma, about Vice President Joe Biden when he was vice president. It’s not yet an investigation. So far, it is a request for information from
the senator. But this is clearly something the president
still cares about and his allies are still pushing for. One other note. Republicans are pushing back at the same time
at the idea that they don’t believe that Russia was ever meddling. I want to show a picture. This is of Representative Mike Turner of Ohio. He held up a report. What is that? That’s the report from the House Intelligence
Committee that did find that, in fact, Russia was trying to meddle in the elections. And he said Republicans did, in fact, sign
on to that. So, Republicans are trying to shore up the
idea that they believe Russia was a factor, while pointing to Ukraine. They’re trying to walk some difficult lines
here, especially with these Ukraine theories, the broad ones, have not been proven. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we just saw a photo of
that report being held up. It was actually held up by the ranking — ranking
Republican on the committee, Devin Nunes. But I do want to come to Yamiche and ask you,
how does this fit in with the narrative we have been hearing from the White House, which
has still held out? We know the president has been skeptical about
Russia’s role in the election. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, there are two big
things to look at. The first is President Trump’s relationship
with Russia. Critics of the president said that, through
his foreign policy and through his public statements, that, again and again, he has
bolstered the standing of Russia, that he’s played into Russia’s hands. In Helsinki, Finland, when he was standing
next to the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, he was asked about the idea that Russia
meddled in the 2016 election, and he said, well, I asked Putin about it, and he says
he didn’t do it, so he didn’t do it. That was, of course, contradicting multiple
intelligence — intelligence agencies within the Trump administration itself. So the president has been someone who has
been skeptical of this idea that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, but there really hasn’t
been anyone else really questioning that. The other thing to note is that President
Trump has also felt like talking about Russia meddling in the 2016 election, it seems to
delegitimize his win. So he doesn’t like talking about what they
could have done in the 2016 election, because he thinks that that would mean that he was
not duly elected. And there have been people that have cast
doubt about whether or not the president was affectionately — legitimately elected. But there’s, of course, no evidence that Russia
changed any actual voting totals. So most people have, of course, said that
the president was elected fairly. The second thing to note is that the president
often operates in a very personal way when it comes to foreign policy. He likes to have personal relationships. He likes to have bilateral meetings with leaders. In this case, he decided early on that Ukraine,
as a whole, did not support his 2016 presidential election. As a result, he was telling officials again
and again that Ukraine tried to take him down. He was again thinking about the fact that
Ukraine was somehow helping Democrats into trying to defeat him. Some people — witnesses who have come before
Congress say that that really was coming from Rudy Giuliani, his personal attorney. But for whatever reason, President Trump was
very, very negative on Ukraine. And the Ukrainians were very — warned about
that. So you have the president essentially continuing
to hold on to these, in some ways, debunked claims that Ukraine was really against him
overall. JUDY WOODRUFF: So there’s one other chunk
that we want to play for you of Fiona Hill, the Russia expert who was working at the White
House. And this has to do with the role Rudy Giuliani,
the president’s good friend, personal attorney, has played in Ukraine. Let’s listen. FIONA HILL: And Ambassador Bolton had looked
pained, basically indicated with body language that there was nothing much that we could
do about it. And he then, in the course of that discussion,
said that Rudy Giuliani was a hand grenade that was going to blow everyone up. MAN: Did you understand what he meant by that? FIONA HILL: I did, actually. MAN: What did he mean? FIONA HILL: Well, I think he meant that, obviously,
what Mr. Giuliani was saying was pretty explosive in any case. And he was frequently on television making
quite incendiary remarks about everyone involved in this, and that he was clearly pushing forward
issues and ideas that would probably come back to haunt us. And, in fact, I think that that’s where we
are today. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Nick, what do we take away,
last day of televised hearings here? NICK SCHIFRIN: Yes, so a real divide between
President Trump and the Trump administration policy. We have talked a lot about this. What was the policy? Strong support for Ukraine and support for
Ukraine combating corruption overall. For 55 days, what was President Trump’s policy? Holding military support for Ukraine, investigate
two specific things, 2016 and Biden. The whole apparatus scrambles during those
55 days, Pentagon, State, NSC asking, hey, has the policy changed? Is there a memo? No, of course there’s not a memo, because
there is no structure. There is no traditional process. What’s the process in this White House? It’s Gordon Sondland e-mailing Mike Pompeo,
Rudy Giuliani talking to the president. And when it comes to that process, the people
who know best, Giuliani, Pompeo, Mulvaney, the chief of staff, Secretary Perry, those
are people who have not heard from at all. JUDY WOODRUFF: And just quickly, Yamiche,
at the White House, they’re feeling how as we come to the end of this public hearing? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: White House aides feel like
the president is in good standing, because no one has directly connected the president
to giving a specific order to withhold aid in exchange for an investigation into Joe
Biden. The White House also continuing to not comply
with any sort of subpoenas, and they’re continuing to tell officials that are working, both current
and former, not to comply with this impeachment inquiry. So the president’s going to continue to defend
himself and continue to say this is unfair. JUDY WOODRUFF: And finally to you, Lisa. Button it up for us. LISA DESJARDINS: You got it. We had nine witnesses in three days, Judy. This is now going to move forward. Democrats feel confident about their case. Republicans say they’re ready to defend their
president. Voters are going to talk a lot about it over
the holidays, I have a feeling. JUDY WOODRUFF: Coming up on Thanksgiving week. Lisa… (COUGHING) JUDY WOODRUFF: Excuse me. Lisa Desjardins at the Capitol, Yamiche Alcindor
at the White House, Nick Schifrin here in the studio, thank you. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Thank you. NICK SCHIFRIN: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: So let’s step back now and
take a broader look at the testimony we have heard this week in these public impeachment
hearings. We turn now to Leon Panetta. He was President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff. Later, he served as director of the CIA and
the secretary of defense for President Obama. And former Florida Congressman Representative
Bill McCollum, who was a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee, he also
served as one of the House managers for President Clinton’s impeachment trial. Welcome to both of you. Leon Panetta, Secretary Panetta, I’m going
to start with you. Taking everything we have heard so far in
the last week-and-a-half, have the Democrats strengthened their case? Have they weakened it? Where do they stand? LEON PANETTA, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense:
Well, I don’t think there’s any question but that, when you look at all of the testimony
that’s been provided, a lot of it by people who are professional and civil service, who
are committed to their jobs, but if you take all of the testimony, I don’t think there’s
any question but that the weight of the evidence makes clear that the president, as president,
tried to get a foreign president, the president of Ukraine, to conduct an investigation into
a political opponent, Joe Biden, and, in exchange, would get a visit to the Oval Office and the
$400 million in foreign aid and foreign — military assistance that was being held up. I think those points were emphasized today
again by Fiona Hill, who I think made an excellent point, that what the president did is, rather
than focusing on the broad — broad national security issues that are involved with the
Ukraine, and what Russia is trying to do to the Ukraine, and the assistance that we need
to provide in order to defend them, was involved in a domestic political errand, which was
to try to get an investigation into a political opponent. JUDY WOODRUFF: Congressman McCollum, setting
aside the impeachment question, would you agree with Leon Panetta that the Democrats
did build the case that the president, as he said, tried to get the president of Ukraine
to investigate the Bidens in exchange for what was just described? BILL MCCOLLUM (R), Former U.S. Congressman:
Well, Secretary Panetta and I are old friends, but we have a different perspective on this
particular matter. I believe that the president has been trying
for a long time to find out what happened with regard to Ukraine and the 19 — or the
2016 presidential election. He was very concerned, as he should have been,
with the corruption that was going on there, with the fact that there were people — clearly,
evidence exists, although it wasn’t brought forward in these hearings, because the Democrats
denied Republicans — and Devin Nunes expressed what that was — the opportunity to bring
forward witnesses that would have corroborated that. The fact is that the oligarch who controls
the primary interest in Burisma was corrupt. I think everybody understands that. And Hunter Biden, according to Devin Nunes
— we don’t know — I don’t know any more than that — may have made as much as $3 million
on a side deal that went into some organization he had. We don’t know the answers to that, but it’s
enough for me to believe — and I believe most Republicans think this way — that this
whole process has been in search of an impeachment for quite a while, ever since the president
got elected. And in this case, they have landed on this
particular instance, and suggested that the whole investigation that the president was
seeking, which I do believe he was seeking, was to get dirt on Vice President Biden, when,
in fact, I don’t believe that was his primary motive. At least it’s certainly sufficiently in doubt
that I don’t think there’s a chance in the world that anybody, objectively, would find
bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors to convict this president and remove him from
office. I just don’t think this is at all that case. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Leon Panetta, why don’t
some of the points that Bill McCollum made, that, hey, the president was — felt aggrieved,
he felt Ukraine was out to get him, or that Ukrainian officials were out to get him, and
that that undercuts the Democrats’ case? LEON PANETTA: Well, I think you have to look
at the fundamental charge that’s involved here. And the charge is that the president of the
United States was trying to get a foreign leader to get involved in an investigation
of a political opponent. Whether it was Burisma, the main point, as
all of the witnesses have pointed out, was to go after Joe Biden, and in order to ensure
that they would get an Oval Office meeting and to get the military aid which was held
up, that they would have to make that kind of announcement that they were going to conduct
that kind of investigation. I mean, that is the abuse of power that I
think everybody is focusing on. Bill McCollum would not want a Democratic
president to engage with a foreign leader to investigate a political — a Republican
political opponent. That just is not done. And it is an abuse of power. That’s the bottom line. And it’s confirmed, very frankly, by the transcript
of the president himself that he released, in which he asked for the favor and makes
very clear that what he wants the president to do is conduct an investigation of Joe Biden. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, Bill McCollum, if it’s
proven — whether or not you agree the Democrats were able to prove it with these witnesses
over the last week — is that grounds for impeaching, bringing an impeachment charge
against a president? I mean, we don’t — we can’t think of another
president who’s done something exactly like this, can we? BILL MCCOLLUM: Well, I first of all, believe
that they will impeach the president. The Democrats will go forward with articles
of impeachment. I, however, do not believe that it’s sufficient
grounds. I wouldn’t find him to be somebody I’d want
to remove for office from this, that I don’t agree with all the policies of President Trump. In fact, I suspect Secretary Panetta, if we
sat down, we would find a lot of areas where we agree on disagreeing with some of the foreign
policies of this president. But where are you disagree with policy, where
you don’t agree with how he conducts himself or his temperament, or how he handled perhaps
the question of Ambassador Yovanovitch, those are all things that go to temperament and
questions that should be decided by the American public in the next election. They don’t go to removing a president in the
middle of his term, when 63 million Americans voted for him and like his style. At least a lot of them do. My conclusion to this is there was no quid
pro quo. They got the aid at the end of the day. The 55-days delay was in some paperwork authorization. And we heard testimony yesterday from witnesses
that weren’t the president, who said, look, it didn’t cost any of the military aid or
anything else. It actually was being processed in the same
fashion it would have been normally, a delay technically only in paperwork. So I think this has been blown way out of
proportion. If it weren’t for the president’s — the viewpoint
of a lot of people of the president, they don’t like him for a lot of reasons, don’t
agree with his policy, don’t like him personally, et cetera, liked — have always liked to see
him out of office, we wouldn’t be at this point today. When we did President Clinton’s impeachment
trial, it was just the — almost the flip side or the opposite of that. JUDY WOODRUFF: Just about 20 seconds left
for each one of you. Leon Panetta, does it — is this something
the Democrats should go for with, if it’s only the Democrats who favor it, if they don’t
have Republicans on board? LEON PANETTA: Well, I really think that the
Democrats ought not to rush to judgment here. There are some issues that I think need to
be looked at. What is — what is John Bolton’s testimony? What is Mick Mulvaney’s testimony here? What is Mike Pompeo’s testimony. I think there is an urgent need to get this
additional evidence presented before anybody comes to any kind of final conclusion. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Bill McCollum, I guess
the expectation now is that that won’t be forthcoming. BILL MCCOLLUM: Well, I don’t know what’s going
to happen in this regard, because the president, assuming this goes to the Judiciary Committee,
presumably is going to be given some opportunity to present something. Maybe the Democrats on that committee… JUDY WOODRUFF: They will. BILL MCCOLLUM: … will allow some testimony. And if that’s the case, who knows what comes
forth in that regard. My hypothesis to you about what the president
might have been doing and what his motives were is equally valid to that of Secretary
Panetta. And I think the problem is, all of these hearings
have led to a wash at this point. We will see what happens in the future. I’m very open-minded, but I don’t see this
rising with the same type of thing with President Clinton, where we knew that he committed these
crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice. But the public really didn’t want to see him
removed from office. And, at the end of the day, for whatever reason,
I think that was the will. In this case, a lot of people would like to
see him removed from office because they don’t agree with him, but I don’t think you have
the actual crimes. And I don’t think you have the abuse of power
that’s been demonstrated, to the degree that you should remove him or should even go forward
with this. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, you’re right. We are only part of the way into the process. The Intelligence Committee still has this
matter. Then it goes to the Judiciary Committee, then
to the House floor, before we even think about it going to the Senate. Gentlemen, thank you both. We do appreciate it. Bill McCollum, Leon Panetta, thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted in three separate bribery and corruption cases. It came as Israel faces an unprecedented third
election in less than a year, with no political party able to form a governing coalition. The country’s attorney general announced the
charges against Netanyahu in Jerusalem. AVICHAI MANDELBLIT, Israeli Attorney General
(through translator): I made the decision to issue an indictment against him with a
heavy heart, but wholeheartedly, with a feeling of deep commitment to the rule of law, to
the public’s interest and to the citizens of the state of Israel. Law enforcement is not a matter of choice. This is not a matter of right or left. This is not a matter of politics. JUDY WOODRUFF: Netanyahu has been prime minister
for 10 years. He went on national TV today and claimed that
he is the victim of a conspiracy by police and prosecutors. BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Israeli Prime Minister
(through translator): I won’t let the lie win. I will continue to lead the country according
to the law exactly as written. I will continue to lead the country with responsibility,
with dedication. And for the rule of law and for justice, we
need to do one thing. We need, at last, to investigate the investigators. JUDY WOODRUFF: Some of Netanyahu’s political
rivals called today for him to resign. We will take a closer look at Israel’s political
crisis after the news summary. President Trump insisted today that a U.S.
Navy SEAL will not be dismissed from the elite force for crimes in Iraq. Edward Gallagher had been acquitted of murdering
an Islamic State militant, but convicted of posing with the corpse. The Navy reacted to President Trump reversing
Gallagher’s demotion, said it would review Gallagher’s status. But in a tweet today, the president overruled
the decision. But, later, Gallagher’s lawyer said the Navy
is going ahead anyway. In Iraq, security forces killed at least eight
more people in anti-government protests in Baghdad in some of the deadliest clashes yet. Medical workers said the victims were hit
by live fire or tear gas canisters aimed at the head. The fighting focused on demonstrators barricading
key bridges leading to a government center in Baghdad. Dozens more were wounded. China demanded today that President Trump
veto two bills aimed at human rights abuses in Hong Kong. The bills won final congressional approval
yesterday. Among other things, they mandate sanctions
on Chinese officials who violate protesters’ rights. China’s Foreign Ministry rejected the measures
out of hand. GENG SHUANG, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
(through translator): Such a detestable action of the U.S. not only undermines China’s interests,
but also the U.S. interests in Hong Kong. China sternly urges the U.S. to see clearly
the situation, stop its wrongdoing before it’s too late, and immediately take measures
to prevent this act from becoming law. JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, more than 20 protesters,
some wearing masks, surrendered at a Hong Kong university besieged by police. Others were taken out by medical workers. Some 1,000 protesters have surrendered or
been captured at the campus since last weekend. In Congo, an epidemic of measles has now killed
nearly 5,000 people this year, despite a recent vaccination campaign, that word today from
the World Health Organization. It says more than twice as many people have
died from measles in Congo than from Ebola over the last 15 months. Nearly 90 percent were young children. Back in this country, a federal judge has
halted the first federal executions in 16 years, at least until a lawsuit over the issue
is decided. The ruling was issued last night in Washington. It suspends four executions starting next
month. The Justice Department announced in July that
executions would resume. The U.S. Senate today approved a bill funding
the federal government through December 20, and avoiding a shutdown. The legislation went to President Trump, who
signed it this evening. A fight over funding a border wall has blocked
progress on a long-term spending bill. Northern California’s largest utility began
restoring power today to some 120,000 people. That ended the latest planned blackout by
Pacific Gas & Electric to prevent fires during high winds. The outages have been heavily criticized. And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial
average lost 54 points to close at 27766. The Nasdaq fell 20 points, and the S&P 500
slipped about five. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: indicted
— at a moment of political turmoil, Israel’s prime minister is charged with bribery; analysis
of the key moments from last night’s Democratic presidential debate; plus, what works and
doesn’t, and how we know the difference, in the fight against poverty. As we mentioned earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu became the first sitting leader of Israel to be indicted. The announcement came just a day after opposition
leader Benny Gantz lost his mandate to form a unity government. Now Israel is entering a new phase of political
uncertainty. William Brangham examines the fallout. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In Israel today, two major
political events converged. The sitting prime minister gets indicted at
the very same moment that his main challenger misses his deadline to form a new government. Now, for the next three weeks, any member
of the Israeli Knesset can try his or her hand at forming a coalition government. If that fails, Israel will face its third
election in less than one year. For more on these developments, I’m joined
by David Makovsky. He’s a distinguished fellow at the Washington
Institute for Near East Policy. He’s also the co-author of “Be Strong and
of Good Courage,” a book about Israeli leaders who made historic decisions. David, welcome back to the “NewsHour.” Obviously, a tremendous day for Israeli politics. This indictment against Netanyahu has been
threatened for months, but, today, it drops. Can you remind us, what is the allegation
against him? DAVID MAKOVSKY, Senior Fellow, Washington
Institute for Near East Policy: There’s actually three cases against him, and each one of the
cases has components. The third case, which is the most serious
one because it includes bribery, is that there would be regulatory favors of about $500 million
to the Bezeq utility, like the AT&T of Israel, in return for the Bezeq Web site, you know,
giving Netanyahu basically the keys to the Web site. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, Netanyahu says — he
denies all of this, says it’s all lies. DAVID MAKOVSKY: Right. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: He says it’s a political
hit. He says it’s time to investigate the investigators,
which is certainly rhetoric we have heard here, stateside. Is the evidence against him strong? Is this a legitimate case? DAVID MAKOVSKY: Look, I think the public thinks
so. I mean, you have got 46 percent of the public
that is calling on him to resign. And they have heard a lot of this. I think, look, it’s one day, a very sad day
for Israel, that a sitting prime minister is being indicted. At the same time, I think it’s a really important
day, that Israel’s legal law enforcement institutions have proven to be resilient, despite a lot
of partisan attacks. That’s something that also resonates in our
own country. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: As I mentioned before, this
comes at an incredible moment in Israeli politics, where his rival, Benny Gantz, has failed to
create a coalition government of his own. Netanyahu is now weakened. What happens? What do you foresee happening in the next
weeks and months? DAVID MAKOVSKY: If this was — Israeli politics
was a football game, we’re now entering overtime. There’s, by law, a 21-day period that any
party can put together a government. And, basically, there had been a lot of talk
of a power-sharing arrangement between Gantz’s centrist government and the Likud on the right. There have been two sticking points. What we don’t know, whether the terms of the
power-sharing agreement, whether he goes first in that power-sharing agreement. And in terms of the composition of the government,
will it include Ultra Orthodox and settlers that Netanyahu has insisted upon? What we don’t know is if today shifts the
political dynamic towards Gantz and forcing Netanyahu to concede those two key points
in the next 21 days. And if that is not the case, then there will
be, believe it or not, a third election. The joke in Israel, Israelis like to see themselves
as the only democracy in the Middle East, but having three elections back to back is
a bit ridiculous. (LAUGHTER) WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I know there’s a lot of
people that have lost a lot of money trying to bet against Bibi Netanyahu. Do you think, if you were a betting man, he
survives this? DAVID MAKOVSKY: Look, he is an extraordinary
politician. He’s a master communicator. And it’s hard to completely bet against him. But if he would run for a third time as his
way out of this, he’d be now running at a — it would be a much steeper climb. If I did have a bet, I think the Netanyahu
era as we have seen it over certainly the last 10 years is coming to an end. If he limps along in a power-sharing agreement
for another year, OK, but it’s not under the terms that Netanyahu has dominated Israeli
politics over the last decade. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, David Makovsky,
thank you very much. DAVID MAKOVSKY: Delighted to be with you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Ten Democratic candidates aiming
to replace President Trump in the Oval Office met on stage last night for their fifth debate
of the 2020 campaign. Amna Nawaz reports on how the candidates tried
to stand out. AMNA NAWAZ: Nearly 1,000 miles from Washington,
D.C… SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), Presidential Candidate:
We have a criminal living in the White House. AMNA NAWAZ: … the impeachment inquiry was
still the first topic at the Democratic debate in Atlanta, where five of the candidates on
stage would have a vote in the Senate on removing President Trump from office, if it got to
that point. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), Presidential Candidate:
We have to establish the principle no one is above the law. We have a constitutional responsibility, and
we need to meet it. SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), Presidential Candidate:
… this impeachment proceeding about is really our democracy at stake. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), Presidential Candidate:
Sadly, we have a president who is not only a pathological liar; he is likely the most
corrupt president in the modern history of America. AMNA NAWAZ: Former Vice President Biden, who,
along with his son Hunter, is central in the Republican pushback on impeachment, weighed
in on the week’s hearings. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), Presidential Candidate:
I learned, number one, that Donald Trump doesn’t want me to be the nominee. AMNA NAWAZ: For Pete Buttigieg, gaining ground
in some early state polls, Wednesday night was the first time the 37-year-old mayor of
South Bend, Indiana, faced direct questions about his experience to be president. PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), Presidential Candidate:
There is more than 100 years of Washington experience on this stage, and where are we
right now as a country? AMNA NAWAZ: It’s experience Minnesota Senator
Amy Klobuchar said she respects, but also took issue with. SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR: Women are held to a higher
standard. Otherwise, we could play a game called name
your favorite woman president. AMNA NAWAZ: The sharpest critique on Buttigieg
came from fellow military veteran Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI), Presidential Candidate:
I think the most recent example of your inexperience in national security and foreign policy came
from your recent careless statement about how you, as president, would be willing to
send our troops to Mexico to fight the cartels. PETE BUTTIGIEG: I know that it is par for
the course in Washington to take remarks out of context, but that is outlandish, even by
the standards of todays politics. REP. TULSI GABBARD: Are you saying that you didn’t
say that? PETE BUTTIGIEG: I was talking about U.S.-Mexico
cooperation. AMNA NAWAZ: In Atlanta, a city that is more
than 50 percent black, the candidates also tried to state their case on who would best
serve Democrats’ most reliable demographic. SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: They show up when it’s, you
know, close to election time, show up in a black church, and want to get the vote, but
just haven’t been there before. PETE BUTTIGIEG: I welcome the challenge of
connecting with black voters in America who don’t yet know me. SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), Presidential Candidate:
I have a lifetime of experience with black voters. I have been one since I was 18. (LAUGHTER) JOSEPH BIDEN: I have more people supporting
me in the black community that have announced for me because they know me, the only African-American
woman that’s ever been elected to the United States Senate, a whole range of people. SEN. KAMALA HARRIS: No, that’s not true. SEN. CORY BOOKER: That’s not true. AMNA NAWAZ: New Jersey Senator Cory Booker
also questioned Biden’s criminal justice stance, one that disproportionately affects African-Americans. SEN. CORY BOOKER: This week, I hear him literally
say that, I don’t think we should legalize marijuana. I thought you might have been high when you
said it. (LAUGHTER) JOSEPH BIDEN: I think we should decriminalize
marijuana, period. AMNA NAWAZ: The candidates debated kitchen
table issues like taxes. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: Doing a wealth tax is not
about punishing anyone. SEN. CORY BOOKER: The wealth tax, I’m sorry, it’s
cumbersome. It’s been tried by other nations. It’s hard to evaluate. AMNA NAWAZ: And how much paid family leave
should be required. SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR: I’m not going to go for things
just because they sound good on a bumper sticker and then throw in a free car. ANDREW YANG (D), Presidential Candidate: I
would pass paid family leave as one of the first things we do. AMNA NAWAZ: With less than three months before
the first votes are cast, the candidates are running short on time to introduce themselves
to voters. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Amna Nawaz in
Atlanta. JUDY WOODRUFF: The Democrats will share the
stage again one month from now in Los Angeles, as the “PBS NewsHour” partners with Politico
to host the final debate of this year. That’s on Thursday, December the 19th. You can mark your calendars now. This year, a trio of economists were awarded
the Nobel Prize for their work to alleviate global poverty. Their research helped more than five million
children in India benefit from remedial tutoring in schools. Tonight, Paul Solman talks with two of those
winners, a husband-and-wife duo. It’s part of our series Making Sense. PAUL SOLMAN: MIT’s Abhijit Banerjee and Esther
Duflo, the first married couple to win the Nobel Prize in economics. Duflo, 47, is also the youngest economics
laureate ever and only the second woman to receive the prize. They met in the mid-’90s, when Duflo, then
a grad student, took Banerjee’s course on economics and poverty. And she says: ESTHER DUFLO, Nobel Prize Winner for Economics:
I was going to study development, no matter what happened. PAUL SOLMAN: Development to help poor people
with data? ESTHER DUFLO: Exactly, and link sort of careful
thinking, not go with your intuitions, because our intuitions are often wrong. PAUL SOLMAN: Or they have been taught to you
in economics classes. ABHIJIT BANERJEE, Nobel Prize Winner for Economics:
By authority figures. PAUL SOLMAN: By authority figures. ABHIJIT BANERJEE: The issues are fundamental. PAUL SOLMAN: Banerjee was such a figure. But economic theory, his forte, was totally
divorced from the Mumbai neighborhood in which he grew up. ABHIJIT BANERJEE: I played with the kids from
the slum all the time. And I think, over time, I started to realize
that what I was doing could be connected with my previous life. PAUL SOLMAN: Previous life as an economist,
you mean? ABHIJIT BANERJEE: No, previous life as a little
boy playing with other little boys who didn’t go to school. And, mostly, I think I was always a little
bit conscious of the fact that the economics that I practiced were not necessarily always
deeply connected. ESTHER DUFLO: Well, here’s a thought experiment
for you. PAUL SOLMAN: Thus began their rigorous approach
to combating poverty, testing policy solutions through randomized controlled experiments,
the way new treatments are tested in medicine. ESTHER DUFLO: It’s not the Middle Ages anymore. It’s the 21st century. Randomized controlled trials have revolutionized
medicine by allowing us to distinguish between drugs that work and drugs that don’t work. And you can do the same randomized control
trial for social policy. PAUL SOLMAN: How to improve the dreadful state
of schooling in India, for example, at the lowest cost. ESTHER DUFLO: So you could think of any number
of solutions to address this problem, giving more textbooks, cutting class size, giving
incentives to teachers. ABHIJIT BANERJEE: Once you think in the scale
of the Indian school system, these are massive resource implications, 600,000 schools, so
that’s — it’s not cheap. So you want to figure out what exactly you
need to do. Can it be done within the school system, with
normal teachers, in the normal teaching hours? PAUL SOLMAN: And what emerged from the experiments
was a simple cost-benefit conclusion: Teach students what they don’t know in dedicated
classes, rather than one size fits none. But the team isn’t known only for finding
out what works, but what doesn’t, in a word, debunking. ABHIJIT BANERJEE: One of the places where
we partially debunked was microcredit. Microcredit was kind of the flavor of 2000. PAUL SOLMAN: Was it ever, and well before
2000. ROBERT MACNEIL: Microlending, small loans
to small entrepreneurs. PAUL SOLMAN: I did a “NewsHour” story in 1994
in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where entrepreneurs like hair weaver Jessie Pearl Jackson were
having trouble getting bank loans. JESSIE PEARL JACKSON, Hairdresser: Here, you
have to have money to get money. Then you don’t need the money anyway. So I don’t understand the banking process. If you don’t have it, you don’t get it. PAUL SOLMAN: Instead, she applied for, and
got, a $7,000 loan and business advice from a nonprofit based on the idea of Nobel Peace
Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. MUHAMMAD YUNUS, Nobel Peace Prize Winner:
To create a job, I need money. And banks will not lend me money. Once you have a micro-enterprise coming up,
you are allowing a person to show his work and her work. PAUL SOLMAN: It sounded great, looked great,
but this was anecdata, based on a tiny sample. The randomized controlled trials in India
were anything but. ABHIJIT BANERJEE: So, these were 104 neighborhoods
in the city of Hyderabad; 52 were going to get microcredit now, 52 will get in two years. And we compare the places which got microcredit
with ones which didn’t. And we found that, on average, it did nothing
for the earnings of the people who lived there. Didn’t get richer. PAUL SOLMAN: You realize, of course, that,
for me and for our audience, this is an extremely depressing result. ABHIJIT BANERJEE: Yes. It was extremely depressing for us too. ESTHER DUFLO: But for the few people who already
had a business before, there is actually a positive effect. ABHIJIT BANERJEE: I think this presumption
that it’s going to win, win, win, win, win is what the problem was. It was oversold. PAUL SOLMAN: Also controversial are the economist
couple’s randomized trials on local politics. ABHIJIT BANERJEE: We focus on the question
of, how do we get voters to be responsive to the fact that this politician isn’t doing
his job? PAUL SOLMAN: All they actually did, publicize
politicians’ voting records in local newspapers. ABHIJIT BANERJEE: When you ask poor people
in poor neighborhoods, 2 percent say, we want roads, just 2 percent; 57 percent say, we
want drains, sewers, et cetera. PAUL SOLMAN: This politician voted for drains
and sewers. This one voted for roads. And, in fact, people begin to vote for the
drain person. ABHIJIT BANERJEE: Over the roads person. PAUL SOLMAN: Once they see in a newspaper
which way they voted. ABHIJIT BANERJEE: Exactly. PAUL SOLMAN: Another intervention was just
to let the locals know that what politicians do matters, informational theater. ESTHER DUFLO: Street plays, street actors. And we see people deciding, hey, I’m going
to try this out. PAUL SOLMAN: More candidates for office… ESTHER DUFLO: Yes. PAUL SOLMAN: … in the places where the… ESTHER DUFLO: This was done. PAUL SOLMAN: … play was staged… ESTHER DUFLO: Yes, exactly. PAUL SOLMAN: … as opposed to the places
where it wasn’t. ESTHER DUFLO: And the second consequence is
that the incumbent got fewer votes. PAUL SOLMAN: The incumbent got fewer votes? ESTHER DUFLO: And, even more importantly,
the worst incumbents are the ones that get completely clobbered, completely clobbered. PAUL SOLMAN: Clobbered. ABHIJIT BANERJEE: They get zero. So the next intervention we did is, we told
people, two years from now, we’re going to put out a report card on you, OK? And, indeed, when you do that, they start
building those drains or whatever they want to do. PAUL SOLMAN: Who would have guessed? But that’s what the Duflo/Banerjee research
is all about, trying to reduce the guesswork of economic development policy by seeing what
seems to work, and what doesn’t, at least in its current form. For the “PBS NewsHour,” Paul Solman in Boston,
Massachusetts. JUDY WOODRUFF: For more than three decades,
one of the highest honors in the world of arts and humanities have been national medals
awarded by the president annually. But those awards have not been given out since
President Trump took office, until today. Here now Jeffrey Brown with more on the winners. JEFFREY BROWN: Among the honorees in the room
were bluegrass-country star Alison Krauss. Best known for her fiddle playing and ethereal
voice, Krauss has been the winner of 27 Grammy Awards. And actor Jon Voight, best known for “Midnight
Cowboy” and his Oscar-winning performance in the 1978 film “Coming Home.” JON VOIGHT, Actor: Look, you don’t want to
kill anybody here. You have enough ghosts to carry around. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
Jon captures the imagination of the audiences and dominates almost every single scene he’s
in. He’s a special person. JEFFREY BROWN: Voight has been a longtime
supporter of the president, and celebrated his arrival to Washington on the eve of the
inauguration. Since taking office, President Trump has had
a strained relationship with the arts. For three years in a row, he proposed a budget
seeking to eliminate both the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. In 2017, members of his White House Arts Panel
resigned en masse, protesting Mr. Trump’s response to the violence at a white nationalist
rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. And the president and first lady have skipped
events like the Kennedy Center Honors, attended by every president since 1978. Today, he had this to say: DONALD TRUMP: Each of today’s recipients has
made outstanding contributions to American society, culture and life. They exemplify the genius, talent and creativity
of our exceptional nation. JEFFREY BROWN: And among the honorees was
one of our own, Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president of WETA, Washington, D.C.’s public
television and radio station, and home to the “NewsHour.” She was recognized for her work and philanthropy
in the arts. DONALD TRUMP: Sharon Rockefeller has been
a strong advocate for the arts and public broadcasting. She’s currently chairman for the Board of
Trustees for the National Gallery of Art, and has helped the institution acquire breathtaking
works of beauty, some of the best anywhere in the world. JEFFREY BROWN: The final arts medal went to
the musicians of the U.S. military. Bestselling author James Patterson, a champion
for literacy and books, was given a humanity medal. The others were chef Patrick O’Connell, Texas
philanthropist Teresa Lozano Long, and the Claremont Institute, a conservative think
tank. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jeffrey Brown. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we’re so proud of Sharon
Rockefeller, who leads WETA, our producing station. That’s the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Judy Woodruff. For all of us, thank you, and we’ll see you
soon.

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