Monday, May 16, 2022

OPINION - Capehart and Abernathy 5/13/2022

"Capehart and Abernathy on COVID deaths, pandemic funding and Jan. 6 subpoenasPBS NewsHour 5/13/2022


SUMMARY:  Washington Post associate editor Jonathan Capehart and Washington Post columnist Gary Abernathy join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including the U.S. marks a million deaths from COVID-19, Congress reached an impasse on pandemic funding, and the Jan. 6 committee issued subpoenas for five Republican lawmakers.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  As the United States marks one million deaths from the pandemic, President Biden has asked Congress to approve new money to fight future coronavirus variants.  That spending has been stalled for weeks.

Meanwhile, Congress' January 6 Committee issued subpoenas to five Republican lawmakers.

And that brings us to the analysis of Capehart and Abernathy.  That is Jonathan Capehart, associate editor for The Washington Post, and Gary Abernathy, a Washington Post columnist.  David Brooks is away tonight.

Hello to both of you on this Friday night.

Jonathan Capehart (Washington Post):  Judy.

Gary Abernathy (Washington Post):  Hi, Judy.

Judy Woodruff:  Very good to see you.

The subject is grim, you won't be surprised to know.

But I want — I do want to start, Jonathan, by asking you about where we are on COVID.  Here we are at a million deaths.  We are all incredibly sobered by that.  We're hearing from the experts that there could be another, what, 100 million infections — or — I'm sorry — yes, 100 million infections coming.

And the administration is saying, we need between $10 million and $20 million — billion dollars — to deal with COVID.  Are there good arguments against that?

Jonathan Capehart:  No.  No.

Can we just pause for a moment and understand we have lost one million Americans?  I don't know what the particular folks on Capitol Hill, what other evidence they need to see for why that funding needs to be — needs to be passed.  Think about just how much pain and death and agony the American people have suffered, not just the one million people who died, but their families and loved ones and colleagues.

There's going to be another variant.  For the United States not to be — to do everything possible to be prepared for that moment, to do everything possible to forestall another 100 million infections, that's — that would be dereliction of duty.

In March 2020, we had no vaccines.  We didn't know what this was.  Everything was shut down just to try to stop this virus, this thing from spreading around.  We know so much more two years later.  We have got vaccines.  We have got boosters.

Why on earth would we not do everything possible to ensure that we don't go back to those to those horrible days two years ago?

Judy Woodruff:  Gary, what is the argument?  Republicans are resisting this funding.  What are the good arguments not to give it?

Gary Abernathy:  Well, it's hard to come up with good arguments not to offer a lifesaving vaccine.

But when you talk about what happened two years ago and how it happened, you have got to remember, we took a one-size-fits-all approach to fighting this thing nationwide.  And I know communities that got a tremendous influx of COVID money and couldn't find out — couldn't figure out how to spend it all.

I mean, it was kind of a, let's just throw a lot of money out there.  And this is not a Republican or Democrat criticism.  Donald Trump was a part of this.  Donald Trump was approving these things too.  Republicans and Democrats did this.

And now some people are kind of starting to say, well, wait a minute, where's our priority list?  Where's this on President Biden's list of priorities?  Is it — is it above Ukraine?  Is it above helping more — with more money for Ukraine?  Is it more important than the Build Back Better program?  Is it more important than forgiving student loans?

Maybe.  To me, I think providing these vaccines is.  But, at some point, we get to a point where this money doesn't exist.  We don't have this money to spend really.  And so I think people are asking — are asking the President, hey, come up with priorities.  And I think he does have a plan that says, OK, now we're going to prioritize people.

We're going to provide vaccines maybe to just the most at-risk people, people 60 and over, people with immune issues.

Judy Woodruff:  What about the argument, Jonathan, that some of this money was spent, and it's not clear where it went, or it went in other directions?

Jonathan Capehart:  Sure.  Sure.

But that's not an argument to do nothing.  You do better the next time.  But the idea that, because some money went somewhere it shouldn't — it shouldn't have gone, that we shouldn't prepare and protect against a future variant, I think, is ridiculous.

Also, this idea of more money for Ukraine, I wrote down politics, because folks are playing politics with money for Ukraine.  And it's clear why that money is needed.  Again, it's for Ukraine, but it's really for the fight for democracy.  So the same firefight — some of the same folks who are who are complaining about the COVID money are some of the same people who are complaining or stalling funding for Ukraine.

This — when — to bring it back to COVID funding, the administration and basically Washington [DC] cannot not do anything, cannot not prepare for what's to come.

Judy Woodruff:  Gary, how much of this is politics, and how much of it is based on a real, legitimate argument?

Gary Abernathy:  In Washington, there's politics?

Judy Woodruff:  Hello.


Judy Woodruff:  I know.  I know.  What kind of a question…

Gary Abernathy:  Yes, right.  All of it.

But even on Ukraine, the Associated Press a couple of weeks ago — and PBS highlighted it, I think — talked about there comes — there's coming a point where, how much can we — how much can we give?  I mean, everybody wants to help Ukraine.  It's the most worthy cause, but we're depleting our own resources.

There's real questions now about our ability to defend ourselves against a North Korea or an Iran if something were to happen, because there's only a limited supply of these things.  So, people are starting to now take a look and say, look, we'd love to do it all, but we have to start prioritizing and figuring out, because, really, this is money that just doesn't exist.

Judy Woodruff:  And, of course, Ukraine, we don't know how long that's going to go.

Gary Abernathy:  Right.

Judy Woodruff:  I mean, the predictions are, it could be months, even years, is what we were hearing this week.

The January 6 Committee, they have issued more subpoenas, Jonathan, this time to five House Republicans.  One of them is the minority leader, Kevin McCarthy.  He's indicated he's not particularly excited about going.


Judy Woodruff:  But what does this lead to, I mean, these high-profile — well, asking for their own membership to come and testify?

Jonathan Capehart:  So, let's keep something in mind here.  When someone is subpoenaed, that's an extraordinary step.  And when that person is a sitting member of Congress in an investigation into an attack on the Capitol, an attack on American democracy, that is a serious step.

But it's not the first step.  The first step was asking House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and some of the others to come in voluntarily and do their duty as a member of Congress, but also as a patriot, to come in and talk about what they know, and to help fill in the gaps, to help that committee and the American people, by extension, to understand what happened on that day as a means of trying to prevent it from happening again.

They refused.  And so the fact that they're being subpoenaed, yes, it's an extraordinary step.  I think it 100 percent should have been done.  It needs to be done.  The attack on the Capitol was an attack on the American people, an attack on our democracy.  And we need answers.

Judy Woodruff:  How do you look on these subpoenas?

Gary Abernathy:  Yes, I agree 100 percent that we need answers, that what happened on January 6 was one of the most horrible things in our nation's history.

And I think we have already had a lot of answers.  I think answers are coming in many ways, including through law enforcement with the people who are charged.  One thing that I know a lot of people are worried about is conflating the peaceful rally that day with the riot.

In other words, there's a lot of talk about, well, who did — did you know, did you help plan this rally?  Did you help?  And planning the rally was perfectly fine, OK?  It's the 100 — a few hundred that broke off and actually invaded the Capitol that are being prosecuted.

But I think the committee does risk some partisan suspicions if it doesn't — it depends on what it finds.  I think that people have already made up their mind about whether this committee is going to uncover anything, without a bombshell revelation.

If this committee comes up with and says, you know what, here's a bombshell revelation about what was really behind this and what the intent was, and it kind of rocks the whole world, both sides of the aisle, that's going to be one thing.

But, short of that, I think people have kind of already settled on their talking points and what they're going to come out with at the end of the day, when this thing eventually wraps up.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, you do have committee members saying there is eye-popping, big information to come from what they have discovered.

Jonathan Capehart:  And I hope it's eye-popping.

But I also hope that the information, even if it's stuff that we already know, even if it's stuff that we have read about, that we have listened to with some of these — these audio — the audio recordings that we have listened to, that we not become numb to the seriousness of the information that we're getting, and that it is important that an investigative body with subpoena power and the ability to write a report, to put on hearings for the American people to see, to bring in witnesses, to show them what people were doing, what people were saying, how this thing got planned.

And, yes, we need to know how the rally got organized, and then how all — how some of these people went to the Capitol and ransacked the Capitol and tried to attack our democracy.  I don't want us to lose sight of the fact that, even if we have read some of this stuff on the front page of The Washington Post, or we have watched news reports here at "PBS NewsHour," that it's not important.

Judy Woodruff:  The fact that it's almost a year and — a year-and-a-half later.

Jonathan Capehart:  Yes.

Gary Abernathy:  Well, here's what we do know.

The rally happened.  And what we know is bad enough.  Donald Trump stood up at a rally and said, if you don't fight for your country, you're not going to have a country, and basically pointed them to the Capitol, where his own vice President was overseeing the count of electoral votes in a constitutional process to certify this election for Joe Biden.

I mean, that's bad enough.  How much more do we need to — how much more bad things do we need to come out to say — for enough people to say, Trump's responsible for what happened?

Jonathan Capehart:  It would be helpful if House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy would tell the American people what he told the President in those moments.

It would be helpful if Jim Jordan, who wants to become the next — I think Judiciary Committee chair in the House, what he said to the President when he talked to him probably multiple times that day.  That's important for us to know.

This is not a partisan issue.  This should be a patriotism issue.  Our country was under attack.  And it could happen again, which is why that commission, that select committee is in place to do this report.

Judy Woodruff:  And his point is that there's maybe culpability on the part of some of these members.

Gary Abernathy:  Yes.

And, again, there's a fine line.  And, again, you're talking about your fellow members of Congress.  There's a fine line between saying things to try to — we know a lot of those conversations that were happening, through what's been leaked, were to try to get Trump to take action to calm things down, to put an end to this thing.

And who knows what they said to try to appeal to him and his ego to make that happen.  But would it be interesting?  Yes.  I just think that a lot of it's being found out in other ways.  And the committee just needs to be careful when it comes to subpoenaing members of Congress.

Republicans are going to control Congress, very likely, very likely, after November.  And what goes around comes around.  And you just got to be careful how you treat your fellow members of Congress.

Jonathan Capehart:  They have already said that, if they come into power in the House, that there are going to be investigations galore.

Gary Abernathy:  Yes.

Jonathan Capehart:  The White House is already preparing for that moment.

Gary Abernathy:  And that's not — we need to back off from those vendettas.


Jonathan Capehart:  Gary.

Judy Woodruff:  On this Friday night, all right, we thank you both.

Gary Abernathy:  Yes.

Judy Woodruff:  Jonathan Capehart, Gary Abernathy, thank you very much, both of you.

Jonathan Capehart:  Thanks, Judy.  Thank you.

THE SHORTAGE - Baby Formula

"Parents nationwide struggle with a critical baby formula shortagePBS NewsHour 5/13/2022


SUMMARY:  A baby formula shortage has become a major problem for parents around the U.S., one without quick solutions.  About 40 percent of formula is out of stock nationwide due to supply chain disruptions, inflation and a recall by one of the biggest producers.  Meanwhile, the White House announced steps to address the shortage.  Brian Dittmeier, of the National WIC Association, joins Ali Rogin to discuss.

AMERICAN POLITICS - Extreme Political Polarization

"Examining the crisis in America’s democracy and the polarization of its politicsPBS NewsHour 5/12/2022

aka Republican anything goes to win politics.


SUMMARY:  Nearly 250 years ago, America's founders declared that everyone has "unalienable rights."  What those rights are has been debated ever since.  As the Supreme Court weighs the future of abortion rights the nation's divide has come into sharper focus, as growing political polarization plays out in the midterms.  University of Virginia politics professor Sidney Milkis joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.

PANDEMIC - Views From Dr. Fauci and Americans

"Dr. Fauci on the state of the pandemic as the U.S. marks 1 million COVID-19 deathsPBS NewsHour 5/12/2022


SUMMARY:  President Biden on Thursday marked the U.S. nearing one million lives lost due to the pandemic and called on Congress to pass funding for more COVID relief.  The pandemic has claimed more than 6 million lives worldwide, though WHO estimates the real toll tops 15 million deaths tied to the virus.  Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, joins Amna Nawaz to discuss.



"Americans reflect on hardship and loss from the pandemicPBS NewsHour 5/12/2022


SUMMARY:  As we approach the tragic milestone of 1 million deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. we wanted to bring you reflections from some of the people we’ve met over the past two years of this pandemic.  A paramedic, a nurse, a single mom, a sister, a daughter, a student -- all facing their own challenges and carrying their own hopes for what comes next.



"‘Faces Of COVID’ memorializes Americans who have died during the pandemicPBS NewsHour 5/14/2022


SUMMARY:  Each day the Twitter thread “Faces Of COVID” posts the names, images and a short remembrance of Americans who have died from COVID-19.  The project was started by Boston-based communications consultant Alex Goldstein, who has posted more than 7,000 remembrances since starting the feed in March 2020.  Geoff Bennett recently spoke with Goldstein to learn more.


"A Brief But Spectacular take on the power of documentary filmmakingPBS NewsHour 5/11/2022


SUMMARY:  As wildfires continue to rage in the western United States, we look at how these increasingly common events are affecting the people in the midst of them.  Lucy Walker is a documentary filmmaker whose most recent work, "Bring Your Own Brigade," follows residents after the disastrous Camp Fire in California.  She offers her Brief But Spectacular take on the power of documentary filmmaking.

DRUGS IN AMERICA - Record Overdose Deaths

"Overdose deaths in the U.S. reached record levels in 2021PBS NewsHour 5/11/2022


SUMMARY:  New CDC data released Wednesday indicates that deaths from drug overdoses in the U.S. reached a record-high last year.  More than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, the highest annual death toll ever recorded.  Deaths from fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine rose sharply.  Dr. Nora Volkow, the National Institute On Drug Abuse director, joins Geoff Bennett to discuss.

JOURNALIST - West Bank Killing

"Al Jazeera journalist killed in West Bank raidPBS NewsHour 5/11/2022


SUMMARY:  Israeli troops on Wednesday reportedly shot dead Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh during a West Bank raid.  The 51-year-old Palestinian-American journalist was a household name across the Middle East for her coverage of the conflict.  Josef Federman, Associated Press news director for Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan, joins John Yang to discuss.

AMERICAN POLITICS - U.S. Senate On Record, Abortion Stance

COMMENT:  Make the anti-women's rights Senators pay in next election!  Hay, hay they must go!

"U.S. senators go on the record with their stance on abortionPBS NewsHour 5/11/2022


SUMMARY:  Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked efforts on Wednesday to enshrine abortion rights into federal law.  Democrats fell well short of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster on codifying abortion access, with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin joining all Republicans in voting against the Women’s Health Protection Act.  Lisa Desjardins joins Judy Woodruff from the U.S. Capitol with more.


"Colorado college reckons with a troubling legacy of erasing Indigenous culturePBS NewsHour 5/10/2022


SUMMARY:  Over the course of more than 100 years beginning in the 1800s, hundreds of thousands of Native American children in the U.S. were removed from their families, placed in federal boarding schools and forced to abandon their Native languages and culture.  One college in Colorado is now reckoning with that history.  Hari Sreenivasan reports for our "Rethinking College" series.

MIDWEST - Bird Flu Plague

"A highly contagious strain of bird flu plagues farmers across the U.S.PBS NewsHour 5/10/2022


SUMMARY:  The U.S. is in the midst of its worst deadly bird flu outbreak in years.  Millions of poultry and wild birds have been killed.  And although the risk to human health is low, the impacts have trickled down to consumers.  William Brangham traveled to the Midwest, where producers and scientists are desperately trying to stay ahead of the virus.

AMERICAN POLITICS - The Shield Against Trump

"Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper details his fraught relationship with TrumpPBS NewsHour 5/10/2022


SUMMARY:  During the 18 months Mark Esper served as Secretary of Defense, he often clashed with President Trump, who wanted to use the military in ways Esper thought were inappropriate.  Trump fired Esper in November 2020, a few days after Trump lost the election.  Esper sat down with Judy Woodruff to discuss his experiences, which he details in a new book, "A Sacred Oath."

GRAMMYS - Jon Batiste Most Nominations of any Artist

"‘I’m just getting started’: Musician Jon Batiste on the next phase of his musical journeyPBS NewsHour 5/9/2022


SUMMARY:  Multi-talented musician Jon Batiste received the most nominations of any artist at the recent Grammys, capturing a total of 11 in all in a wide variety of categories.  He also came away with the most wins, including the biggest, "Album of the year," for his recording titled “We Are."  Jeffrey Brown spoke with Batiste about what has led to his success for our arts and culture series, "CANVAS."

AMERICA - The Digital Divide

"White House tries to close the digital divide in rural America with more broadband accessPBS NewsHour 5/9/2022


SUMMARY:  The so-called “digital divide” remains a major issue in America when it comes to providing high-speed internet, particularly in rural and other low-income communities.  The Biden administration on Monday announced new commitments from 20 internet providers to help close that gap by lowering the cost for millions.  The Brookings Institution's Nicol Turner Lee joins Stephanie Sy to discuss.

AFGHANISTAN - Under Taliban Rule

"As crisis grips Afghanistan, the Taliban tighten their draconian rulePBS NewsHour 5/9/2022


SUMMARY:  Nearly nine months since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, the economy is in freefall and about half the country is nearing acute food insecurity.  But even with this widespread suffering, the Taliban on Sunday ordered all women be completely covered - head to toe - when leaving their homes, requiring them again to don the burqa that was a telltale of their first rule.  Jane Ferguson reports.

U.S. SUPREME COURT - In Support of Theocracy aka Anti-Abortion

"Lawyer in a landmark abortion rights case discusses a potential Roe reversalPBS NewsHour 5/9/2022


SUMMARY:  A leaked early draft of a coming Supreme Court decision suggests Roe v. Wade could be struck down.  The landmark decision established the constitutional right to abortion and the last major challenge to it came in a 1992 case called Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. CaseyKathryn Kolbert, an attorney who argued that case for Planned Parenthood, joins John Yang to discuss.



"Former Pennsylvania attorney general who argued against Roe reflects on Supreme Court leakPBS NewsHour 5/10/2022


SUMMARY:  The leaked Supreme Court draft opinion shows justices appear poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, which would result in the biggest change to abortion rights since the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed the right to an abortion with restrictions.  Former Pennsylvania Attorney General Ernest Preate, who argued that case and asked the court to overturn Roe, joins John Yang to discuss.

UKRAINE - Putin's War This Week

"On Victory Day, Putin paints Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine as a response to the WestPBS NewsHour 5/9/2022


SUMMARY:  In Moscow and Kyiv on Monday, two countries at war fought over the meaning of what used to be the shared holiday of Victory Day, when Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet states celebrate the defeat of Nazi Germany.  But instead this year, the Kremlin likened Ukrainians to Nazis and Ukrainians compared Russian actions to Nazi war crimes.  Nick Schifrin reports.



"As Ukraine regains territory near Kharkiv, Russia prepares for a more expansive warPBS NewsHour 5/10/2022


SUMMARY:  Ukraine announced on Tuesday that Russia is withdrawing some troops from the region around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city and a crucial base for the Ukrainian military.  The announcement comes after Ukrainian soldiers recently recaptured towns and as top U.S. intelligence officials told senators that President Putin was aiming for a longer, wider war.  Nick Schifrin reports.



"Ukrainian forces claim new gains as Sweden, Finland seek NATO membershipPBS NewsHour 5/11/2022


SUMMARY:  President Biden on Wednesday highlighted how the war in Ukraine is raising food prices globally as previously neutral countries increasingly seek to join the defensive umbrella of NATO.  This as Ukraine's counter-offensive around Kharkiv has pushed close to the Russian border, and as Russian missiles again struck Odessa in an effort to stop the flow of Western weapons.  Nick Schifrin reports.



"Ukraine’s religious community perseveres through the horrors of warPBS NewsHour 5/12/2022


SUMMARY:  We are just weeks past Easter, the holiest day of the Christian calendar.  For the 70 percent of Ukrainians who are orthodox, the day was freighted with extra meaning this year.  The Ukrainian Orthodox Church split from its Russian parent when Vladimir Putin first invaded Ukraine eight years ago, and now religion's role in the conflict is front and center.  Nick Schifrin reports.



"Finland pursues NATO membership as Russia vows retaliationPBS NewsHour 5/12/2022


SUMMARY:  Finland announced Thursday it would end its decades-long neutral status and seek to join NATO.  A formal declaration will be made Sunday, while Sweden is expected to follow suit next week.  Both nations have resisted joining NATO but were spurred by Russia's invasion of Ukraine to change course.  Eric Edelman, U.S. Ambassador to Finland during the Clinton administration, joins Amna Nawaz to discuss.

Correction:  After this interview, Eric Edelman reached out to clarify his statement about Finland's participation in the Ottawa Convention.  “Finland did join the Landmine Convention in 2011 (although the decision was very controversial).  Nevertheless, Finland has developed a 'self-propelled' landmine which they believe is permissible under the treaty's definition and which they would undoubtedly use in a conflict with Russia."



"War in Ukraine takes heavy toll on children and families who are being torn apartPBS NewsHour 5/13/2022


SUMMARY:  Nearly three months into this bloody war in Ukraine, much of the focus is now on the eastern Donbas.  But there is also a southern front, where Russia made early gains and occupied large areas of land.  The fighting continues in the Kherson region.  And as elsewhere, stuck in the middle are families struggling to stay united.  Nick Schifrin reports.

Monday, April 04, 2022

NCAA - New Rules for Student-Athletes

"How new NCAA rules for student-athletes are playing into this year’s March MadnessPBS NewsHour 4/2/2022


SUMMARY:  Duke University men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, fondly known as Coach K., will participate Saturday in his last Final Four, and possibly his final game, before retirement.  Veteran sportswriter Howard Bryant joins Geoff Bennett to discuss the matchups and how new rules have changed the game for student-athletes and coaches alike.

CANVAS - 'Abbott Elementary’

"Hit show ‘Abbott Elementary’ addresses education equity through a comedic lensPBS NewsHour 4/2/2022


SUMMARY:  "Abbott Elementary" is a hit new series on ABC, tackling the issue of public education and equity using humor.  It's a workplace comedy focused on a group of dedicated teachers at an underfunded elementary school in Philadelphia.  Veteran actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, who plays Barbara Howard, an elementary school teacher who has seen it all, joins Geoff Bennett to discuss for our series, "CANVAS."

PBS NEWSHOUR - Farewell to Producer Lee Koromvokis

"A tribute to PBS NewsHour producer Lee KoromvokisPBS NewsHour 4/1/2022


SUMMARY:  NewsHour is saying farewell to one of our great producers who is retiring after a long career at the program.  Lee Koromvokis has worked on hundreds of stories over the years and produced some of our best pieces, and the correspondent she has worked with the most is Paul Solman, who pays tribute to a friend and colleague.

OPINION - Brooks and Capehart 4/1/2022

"Brooks and Capehart on Biden’s shifting immigration policy, the Jan. 6 investigationPBS NewsHour 4/1/2022


SUMMARY:  New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including President Biden's decision to tap the country's strategic petroleum reserve, a return to pre-pandemic border policies and the latest on the Jan. 6 investigation.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  What you were just hearing about, that return to pre-pandemic border policies, President Biden's attempt to reduce pain at the pump, and the January 6 investigation all heating up.

To discuss another busy week, we turn to the analysis of Brooks and Capehart.  That is New York Times columnist David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart, associate editor for The Washington Post, new position.


Jonathan Capehart (Washington Post):  Thank you, Judy.  Thank you.

Judy Woodruff:  So good to see both of you.  And there is a lot to talk about.

Let's start, David, with the report that we just heard Amna talking to a reporter about.  And that is the Biden administration rescinding this rule that was handed down under President Trump, the argument being that COVID — we're in a different place with COVID, this is the humane thing to do.  Is it the right thing to do?

David Brooks (New York Times):  Intellectually, yes.

I mean, it was — there seems to be a bipartisan agreement, Republicans and Democrats, saying the reason it was put in place for COVID reasons doesn't pertain anymore.  It's just not — it's not a health matter.  It's become an art of convenience to simplify what goes on at the border.

The question is what plan they have in place.  And we're at a rate now where there are two million encounters at the borders a year.  Like, two million times, U.S. officials are encountering immigrants or people are trying to get in.

And it's just flooding the system.  And there's a lot of skepticism that there's a system in place, if we not get rid of 42, that they will be able to have the hearings, do all the stuff we normally do with asylum seekers.

And so, as we just heard, it's just a gigantic political issue.  And in the bumper, that little quote there, that 21 percent of Americans say immigration is the highest, if you think about the dominant issues right now, inflation is number one, immigration is probably number two.  Probably education and crime are three or four.

These are all nightmare issues for Democrats right now.  And so Republicans put up this long fact sheet.  And I don't want to vouch for its veracity.  It's a partisan fact sheet.  But you see the ads writing themselves, chaos at the border, drugs coming in, record opioid deaths.

Republicans are going to go to town on this one.

Judy Woodruff:  So, Republicans against it, Jonathan.  Even some Democrats are saying they think it's the wrong thing.

Jonathan Capehart:  Right.  And I think the — what it points to is the lack of a comprehensive immigration overhaul.

And this is something that's vexed Republican presidents.  I remember when President George W.  Bush wanted to do something.  It's vexed Democratic presidents.  President Obama wanted to work with Congress.  And Congress gave him the stiff-arm.  And that's what pushed him to do DACA, after saying over and over again that he had no power to do anything about immigration.

This is a political problem for the President, for the White House, for Democrats.  In a normal, functioning Congress, the White House and the House and the Senate would be able to get in the room, get together, and come up with a solution.

But there's no political will on the part of Republicans.  And it's great that they put out what — you called it a fact sheet, but a fact sheet with no policy prescriptions.  A functioning party would say, Mr. President, you're in trouble, the country's in danger.  Here's what — here's our proposal.

I have yet to hear what the Republican proposal is, other than fearmongering.

David Brooks:  Build a wall.


Judy Woodruff:  Oh, yes, there's that.



David Brooks:  Yes.


Judy Woodruff:  But we just — yes, we just seem stuck on this issue.

David Brooks:  Yes.

Well, it's a complicated moral problem.  People are coming here not because their lives are great back home.  They're coming here because situations in a lot of Latin American countries are deteriorating.  And some of them are genuinely in horrific circumstances.  And one's heart leaps out to them.

And yet they're coming in such large numbers, it's probably beyond our capacity to absorb all the people who want to come.  And a lot of people are coming for economic opportunity.  I don't blame them.  My ancestors came for economic opportunity.  And they — I wish they would go through the regular means.

But it takes a morally complicated government or a policy or a collective mind to say, we're going to help the people we are capable of helping.  How many people are we capable of helping?  And how do we help them humanely?  And how — for those who can't, how do we say sorry, but how do we do it humanely?

And that kind of moral nuance is not something we have seen a lot of in American policymaking for a while.

Judy Woodruff:  We're not seeing that.

Jonathan Capehart:  No.

And it's made more complicated because the party opposite the President, instead of lending a hand, is hurling brickbats and not being part of the solution.  The only way we get to this nirvana you're talking about, David…


Jonathan Capehart:  … is if the Republican Party wanted to be a true negotiating partner wanting to get something done.

Judy Woodruff:  Well, another hot issue, I think it's fair to say, that surface this week, and it's something the president announced yesterday, David, and that's that he said, yes, the jobs numbers are looking good.  And we had more proof of that today.

But the administration is still very worried about inflation, very worried about the price of gas.  The president announced he's going to release 180 million barrels from what's called the Strategic Petroleum Reserve just to try to get gas prices down a little bit.

Is this — is this a good move at this moment?

David Brooks:  It's hard to know.

Presidents always do this.  They always release from the reserve, and it never works.  Now, in Biden's — to his credit, this release is way bigger than any other President has done.  And so they're trying to dump stuff on the market.  And they're saying that it may produce a 10, 15, 20 percent gain per gallon at the pump.

And so that would have some effects.  That is far from certain, because when we release from the reserve, the markets think, well, they're releasing now, but they're going to have to put back in the reserve.  And so the markets can think long term and think, well, that's not going to really reduce demand.

Second, we're not the only people producing oil, in this country.  OPEC could say, we want to keep prices up.  If they're releasing, we will just limit our supply for a little while.  And so there are plenty of other actors who have the chance to mess with our plans.

And so I remain, I guess I would say, guardedly skeptical…


David Brooks:  … that this is going to do — that this is going to do much for the people who are paying 60, 70 bucks to fill up their tank.

Judy Woodruff:  How do you size this up?

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, the key thing you said, David, is that markets think long term, but Presidents think in short — well, they try to think long term, but when presidents go to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, this is short-term thinking.

There is short-term pain that the President has to deal with.  And the reports I saw showed that this release would/could lead to 10 cents per gallon, up to 35 cents per gallon for consumers.  When you — when you are a consumer, and you're saving 10 cents, that adds up; 35 cents, that's huge.

And gas prices is — they are the one thing that consumers feel immediately.  And so, if you're a White House looking at tough economic news, and the American people are angry about inflation and everything, if you can give them something where they're saving in the short term, you will go with it.

But David is right.  The market does think long term and think, yes, they're releasing it, but they're going to have to buy it back.  So — but I think administrations always do this, but I think it's the right thing to do for their political calculus right now.

Judy Woodruff:  They're saying it's — excuse me.  They're saying it's for six months.  I looked at the calendar.  That's right about November, David.

David Brooks:  Yes.


Judy Woodruff:  Do you think — do you think this is going to matter in the elections this year?

David Brooks:  Oh, yes.  Oh, absolutely.

Judy Woodruff:  Hello.

David Brooks:  As Jonathan said, you look at the — you drive down the street, you see the gas prices.

And I was out in California, and it's like, whoa.

Jonathan Capehart:  Oh.

David Brooks:  And so it's definitely going to matter.

The — substantively, the better policy, in 2015, Barack Obama and Paul Ryan, the Republican House speaker, did a deal where they increased production, which the Republicans wanted, lightening regulations on producers, but then, in exchange, increased money for green energy, which the Democrats wanted.

And Joe Manchin saying, let's do that all over again.  And that sounds like a good idea.  But it probably won't help Joe Biden between now and November.

Judy Woodruff:  Yes.  That's the question.

Do you think it helps Democrats at all between…

Jonathan Capehart:  Which…

Judy Woodruff:  Between now and the midterms.

Jonathan Capehart:  David — what David was just talking about, it's long term.

Judy Woodruff:  Yes.

Jonathan Capehart:  So, in the short term, no, it's not going to help them.

But I do think the SPR, that will help.

Judy Woodruff:  The January 6 Committee, two developments this week, David.

One of them, there's this seven-and-a-half-hour gap in the phone records from the White House on January the 6th.  There appears to be a gap.  The committee's still figuring out what that's all about, whether that was deliberate where it was an accident.  We will see.

The other is that the members of the committee — I ended up talking to two of them this week, Adam Schiff and Zoe Lofgren, who are just more openly critical of the Justice Department for not picking this up and running with it and moving towards some kind of prosecution of people like Mark Meadows, the former White House Chief of Staff.

Zoe Lofgren said to me yesterday — what did she say?  What he [Trump] did was completely lawless, she said.

David Brooks:  Yes.

Well, first, on the gap, it sparked a bunch of conspiracies, reminded us all the Watergate, so we could all plug and play on that one.

Judy Woodruff:  Yes.

David Brooks:  But is he using a burner phone secretly?

And I think CNN seems to have the most plausible explanation, which is, when — the record-keeping in the Trump administration is not always meticulous, was 'not always meticulous' which I know was a shocker for everybody.  And — but, apparently, when he went into the Oval Office, he didn't use the White House phone system, and then it wasn't recorded.

That could be it.  They were just bad record-keepers.  It is weird that it happened to be at the crucial moment on January 6.  So I assume we will find out here.

To be honest, I trust Merrick Garland.  The political players on Capitol Hill are political players.  And they're going to go maximalist.  They have no incentive to be balanced.  Merrick Garland and the Justice Department have an incentive to be like prosecutors.  And my overall approach to this whole deal, there have been a lot of extremely questionable things that have been done.

But the Trump administration does us a favor by doing most of their questionable things out in the open.


David Brooks:  And I haven't seen much that would make me think that there's some hidden, gigantic scandal, like, there's some phone call somewhere where Donald Trump was saying, storm the Capitol.

If that call exists or that e-mail exists or that tweet exists, then we're in a whole new ball game.  But it's easy for people who want to delegitimize Donald Trump to get excited that they have got something and get a little overpoliticized about it.  So, right now, my trust would be of the Justice Department.

Judy Woodruff:  How do you read all this?

Jonathan Capehart:  Well, when it comes to the Attorney General, I think what Chairman Schiff and Congresswoman Lofgren, their upset with him over the contempt charges, I think, are — they're valid.

They have passed out of the House.  They're sitting at DOJ.  And no one knows what's happening with them in terms of prosecution.

Where I agree with David in terms of trust Merrick Garland is on the call from the — from Democrats and folks on the left for the DOJ to investigate Donald Trump.  And I think these are two separate things.  And when it comes to investigating the former President, I — it would be, I was about to say, insane if Merrick Garland telegraphed that this was happening before he had all the I's dotted and the T's crossed.

This has been — there are lots of former prosecutors out on television who keep saying the same thing you're saying.  Trust — they trust — they trust Merrick Garland.  But, at some point, that trust is going to erode.

But, right now, when it comes to the contempt charges, I say, Mr. Attorney General, what are you doing?  But when it comes to the overall issue of, should Donald Trump be investigated, I'm willing — I'm willing to wait, because I want DOJ, I want the attorney general to be as careful as possible, to make his case as bulletproof as possible, if there is one, so that it doesn't make things worse by falling apart.

Judy Woodruff:  Their focus right now seems to be Mark Meadows, but we will see.

Jonathan Capehart:  Yes.

Judy Woodruff:  We will see.

Jonathan Capehart, David Brooks, thank you both.

Jonathan Capehart:  Thanks, Judy.


"Biden administration ends controversial Trump-era immigration rulePBS NewsHour 4/1/2022


SUMMARY:  The Biden administration announced Friday that it will be phasing out what's known as Title 42, a policy that prevented migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S. due to public health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  Washington Post immigration reporter Nick Miroff joins Amna Nawaz to discuss.

AMERICAN JOBS - America Now Hiring

"Strong jobs report shows the American economy gaining steamPBS NewsHour 4/1/2022


SUMMARY:  As the White House tries to manage rising inflation, the U.S. labor market is bouncing back, adding another 431,000 jobs in March and bringing the unemployment rate to a new pandemic-era low of 3.6 percent, according to the latest jobs report from the Labor Department.  Bharat Ramamurti, deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, joins Geoff Bennett to discuss.

RACISM IN AMERICA - Art to Promote Diversity

"Florida school uses art displays from around the world to promote diversity and inclusionPBS NewsHour 3/30/2022


SUMMARY:  In Sarasota, Florida large scale artworks are being used to teach students about diversity, inclusion and mental health.  This comes at a time when there is growing controversy in the state, and school districts across the country, over how and whether to teach about racism in America.  Special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault went to see how the exhibit encourages inclusion.

BLUE ORIGIN - Latest Mission and Jim Kitchen

"Blue Origin’s latest mission takes a professor and entrepreneur to the edge of spacePBS NewsHour 3/30/2022


SUMMARY:  American astronaut Mark Vande Hei returned to Earth Wednesday from the International Space Station along with two fellow Russian cosmonauts.  He was in space for 355 straight days, longer than any American yet.  But attention will return to private efforts Thursday as Blue Origin, the rocket company founded by Jeff Bezos, will launch its latest human flight.  Miles O’Brien reports.