Monday, April 30, 2018

OPINION - Shields and Charen 4/27/2018

"Shields and Charen on North Korea peace prospects, Ronny Jackson VA vetting" PBS NewsHour 4/27/2018


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnists Mark Shields and Mona Charen join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, including the historic summit between the leaders of North Korea and South Korea, French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit, Dr. Ronny Jackson’s decision to withdraw as the Veterans Affairs nominee, and controversy surrounding Mick Mulvaney’s comments about lobbyists.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  This week in Washington has been consumed by talks of deals, a possible peace deal for the Korean Peninsula, and discussions with European leaders about the Iran nuclear deal.

That brings us to the analysis of Shields and Charen.  That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and syndicated columnist Mona Charen.  David Brooks is away.

And we welcome both of you here on this Friday.

So, we have had this backdrop of a cliffhanger of a relationship between the United States and North Korea.  Mark, a lot of tough language shared.  But then, this week, we see this remarkable yesterday coming together — early this morning, coming together at the border, the North and South Korean leader.

How do you read this, and how do you see President Trump’s role in it?

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  I read it quite superficially, because, unlike our earlier scholars and analysts, I’m not an authority on Korean politics.

But just looking at it politically, it’s a dramatic improvement.  Just a few months ago, we were talking about the possibility of a million people being killed on the Korean Peninsula in a war which people feared in some cases was only weeks away.

And here we are talking about blood relatives reaching across the 38th Parallel, reconnecting, reconciliation between North and South, ending formally 65 years of war between the two.

And so you ask about President Trump.  You know, I think you have to say that, while his unorthodoxy, his inflammatory rhetoric, his unpredictability has been in many cases an impediment to thoughtful and positive relations, actually, here it may have worked.  It may be working.

This is a positive development, an encouraging development.  It’s not the resolution, but I think this is one case where Donald Trump’s style may have worked for positive results.

Judy Woodruff:  And we will see what happens, Mona, but at this point, what do you see?

Mona Charen, syndicated columnist:  Well, the optics, as we would put it in Washington, were terrific, stepping across the barrier, both of them and so forth, and making a lot of promises.

But I think skepticism, deep skepticism is in order.  Look, what does Kim Jong-un want?  He wants to remain in power.  Nuclear weapons are the key to — they’re his insurance policy.  And he has devoted tremendous effort and tremendous expense to obtain them.

The idea that he would now wake up one morning and say, you know, forget all that, I actually want to live in peace and I want to denuclearize.  And, by the way, as your previous guests said, a lot of dispute about what that means to the two different parties.

But we have seen over the years the North Koreans.  The Kim family has made promises, has made overtures, have promised even to give up their quest for nuclear weapons.  And they have never done it.  They constantly renege.

So, I’m deeply skeptical that anything has really changed, except the optics.

Judy Woodruff:  And so meantime, Mark, the nuclear deal that exists now between Iran and several other countries, including the U.S., President Trump keeps saying that he doesn’t like it, and there is every indication he’s going to pull out.

He’s met this week with the leader of — President of France, Emmanuel Macron, then just today with Chancellor Merkel of Germany.  Does it look like the President is going to go through with this deal, and how do you see the President as diplomat this week?

Mark Shields:  Well, just to respond to Mona’s point, all of that is true, the history of relations between North Korea and the rest of the world, the six-nation parlance, under four different American Presidents.

This is different.  This raising the stakes by the part of the President himself.

Judy Woodruff:  In Korea?

Mark Shields:  In Korea.

And the reality — the reality is, Judy, that the per capita income in North Korea is $1,800.  And it’s $33,200 in South Korea.  And I think there is pressure there.  I’m not saying that he’s the avenging angel of piece.

As far as keeping the word, and being trust and verify and skeptical, all of a sudden, the shoe is on the other foot.  Are we — is our word reliable?

Judy Woodruff:  With regard to the Iran…


Mark Shields:  Iran.  Are we going to keep our promise made just three short years ago?  Are we going to pull out?

And right now, I think you would have to say the betting is that that’s what the President is going to do.  As far as President Macron’s visit this week, I think, besides the heavy necking and the light petting that we saw in public between these two grown and married men in our liberalized area here, I don’t think there’s any question that he absolutely dazzled, and for home consumption and playing to positive reviews in Paris before the Congress.

And his message was unalloyed and direct and candid to the President about isolationism and its costs.

Judy Woodruff:  A direct message to the Congress from Emmanuel Macron, Mona, but it doesn’t appear to have changed the President’s mind when it comes to this Iran nuclear deal.

Mona Charen:  Yes.

It’s hard to understand the position that we should tear up the Iran deal.  As somebody who was deeply opposed to the original deal, it just strikes me that once you have given away all the money, which is what we did — we gave them back their $100 million — we have lost all of our negotiating leverage.

How is it that we are going to get the Iranians to give up something more, when we have already given them what they were after?  It seems to me that we don’t have the leverage we think we do with this — with the Iran deal.

Regarding Macron, I think he did the star turn this week.  He rally did, because he managed Trump.  He flattered him.  He got along with Trump and all of that, which isn’t the easiest thing to do.  And then, when he spoke to Congress, he sounded like the leader of the Western world.

He was talking about the importance of our obligations and freedom and that we shouldn’t retreat into nationalism and protectionism.  I thought it was a real star turn.  And I thought he did himself a lot of good.

Mark Shields:  Let me just agree that I hadn’t heard a President with such command of the English language speak to Congress since Barack Obama.


Mark Shields:  And I just — I was very impressed by Macron’s performance.

AT THE BORDER - Asylum Seekers

"‘I didn’t come here to cross illegally.  I came here for help’" PBS NewsHour 4/27/2018


SUMMARY:  More than 300 Central Americans have arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, in recent days, and plan on Sunday to ask for asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry [San Diego].  But President Trump has tweeted that Homeland Security is instructed to turn them away.  Special correspondent Jean Guerrero of KPBS reports.

KOREA - The North-South Summit

"At summit, Kim Jong Un pledges to not repeat ‘unfortunate history’" PBS NewsHour 4/27/2018


SUMMARY:  Kim Jong Un became the first North Korean leader to set foot in South Korea since the Korean War 65 years ago.  The official talks focused heavily on North Korea's nuclear weapons program.  President Moon Jae-in said that he and Kim shared the goal of ridding “the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons through complete denuclearization."  Judy Woodruff reports.

"Does denuclearization mean the same thing to North and South Korea?" PBS NewsHour 4/27/2018

Short answer, NO.


SUMMARY:  The meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas along the heavily fortified border marked a day of diplomacy after months of war talk.  Judy Woodruff talks to former State Department official Frank Jannuzi, and Victor Cha of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, about the significance of the meeting and how it sets up the summit between Kim Jong Un and President Trump.

BITCOIN - Bubble? Scam?

"The bubble dynamics of Bitcoin" PBS NewsHour 4/26/2018


SUMMARY:  Can Bitcoin be a currency if you never know its value?  Living outside the traditional banking network by design, its fluctuating value makes it too cumbersome for petty transactions.  Yet despite the hurdles, Bitcoin and its underlying technology is seen as a kind of "digital gold."  Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports.

ON THE HOT SEAT - Scott Pruitt

Scott Pruitt, Trump's (anti-science, anti-regulation) servant trying to dismantle the EPA.

"On the hot seat at the House, Scott Pruitt makes few concessions" PBS NewsHour 4/26/2018


SUMMARY:  Now, we turn to one of the President’s top cabinet members who’s been under fire himself, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.  His appearances before two House committees today were ostensibly about budget matters.  But lawmakers put him on the hot seat for all sorts of different reasons.

In a moment, Jeffrey Brown talks with Lisa Desjardins about the politics and the policy at issue.  But we begin with Lisa’s look at Pruitt’s day on Capitol Hill.

KOREA - The Defectors' View

"North Korean defectors regard historic summit with hope" PBS NewsHour 4/26/2018


SUMMARY:  At a historic meeting on Friday, North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will discuss the North's nuclear program, begin talks on officially ending the Korean War after 65 years, and lay the groundwork for a meeting between Kim and President Trump later this spring.  Special correspondent Katrina Yu reports.

FACEBOOK - Can Be Fooled

"How Facebook’s news feed can be fooled into spreading misinformation" PBS NewsHour 4/25/2018


SUMMARY:  Facebook’s news feed algorithm learns in great detail what we like, and then strives to give us more of the same -- and it's that technology that can be taken advantage of to spread junk news like a virus.  Science correspondent Miles O'Brien begins a four-part series on Facebook’s battle against misinformation that began after the 2016 Presidential election.

What is the NewsTracker?

TRUMP AGENDA - The Travel Ban

aka "How Did Our A-Hole President's Travel Ban Got to SCUS"

"How Trump’s travel ban ended up at the Supreme Court" PBS NewsHour 4/25/2018


SUMMARY:  President Trump's bid to bar travel from five Muslim-majority countries went before the Supreme Court on Wednesday.  Justices heard arguments on the third version of the ban, which the state of Hawaii argued is unconstitutionally discriminatory.  Jeffrey Brown looks back on how it ended up at the high court.

"What motivated Trump’s travel ban?  Supreme Court weighs relevance of campaign statements" PBS NewsHour 4/25/2018


SUMMARY:  In arguments over President Trump's travel ban, Supreme Court justices were concerned with questions of the President's authority and whether it was his intention to discriminate against Muslims.  Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal joins Judy Woodruff to review the travel ban's day in court.

"Sally Yates on Trump’s travel ban and protecting the rule of law" PBS NewsHour 4/25/2018


SUMMARY:  Sally Yates took a stand in refusing to defend President Trump's first travel ban.  Could she defend the one now being argued at the Supreme Court?  The former acting attorney general joins Judy Woodruff to offer her take on the case, her work to promote the importance of an independent judiciary in light of President Trump’s comments, and the Robert Mueller investigation into Russian interference.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION - Ronny Jackson Nomination

"Is Ronny Jackson’s nomination in peril?  Here’s what Congress, Trump are saying" PBS NewsHour 4/24/2018


SUMMARY:  Senators have indefinitely postponed the confirmation hearing for Ronny Jackson, President Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Lawmakers are reportedly investigating unspecified allegations that including drinking on the job.  Yamiche Alcindor and Lisa Desjardins join Amna Nawaz to discuss what we know so far, and how the President is reacting.

"‘No red flags were raised’ in Ronny Jackson nomination vetting, White House says" PBS NewsHour 4/24/2018

This from the three-ring-circus called the White House.


SUMMARY:  Why didn’t accusations against Ronny Jackson come up when he was vetted for the role of Veterans Affairs Secretary?  White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short joins Amna Nawaz to discuss President Trump’s troubled Cabinet nominations; plus the ongoing military presence in Syria, and the legal basis for the President to launch strikes.

"Veterans community doesn’t know where VA nominee Ronny Jackson stands on key issues" PBS NewsHour 4/24/2018


SUMMARY:  Ronny Jackson's pathway to confirmation as head of the Veterans Affairs Department is anything but clear as lawmakers investigate allegations about his professional conduct.  Amna Nawaz learns more about the agency, its problems and increasing politicization from Lisa Rein of The Washington Post.

"White House prized loyalty of Ronny Jackson more than what’s best for veterans, says Sen. Sherrod Brown" PBS NewsHour 4/25/2018


SUMMARY:  Shocking new allegations emerged on Wednesday about Dr. Ronny Jackson, President Trump's nominee for the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the White House stepped up its defense.  John Yang explores the claims, the President’s process for picking Cabinet members and what’s at stake for veterans with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

TRUMP AGENDA - Macron vs Trump

REMINDER:  Trump only likes people who get on their knees and kiss Trump's........

"Can EU allies convince Trump to stay in the Iran nuclear deal?" PBS NewsHour 4/23/2018


SUMMARY:  French President Emmanuel Macron is on what some have called "Operation Save the Iran Deal."  On a visit to the U.S., Macron will try to convince President Trump that the deal is working and that it's better to confront Iran while its nuclear program is frozen.  But Trump is vowing to pull out of the deal unless the U.S. and Europe can fix it to his specifications.  Nick Schifrin joins Amna Nawaz.

"Macron lobbies Trump to keep and improve Iran nuclear deal as ‘only way to bring about stability’" PBS NewsHour 4/24/2018


SUMMARY:  In a state visit hosting the leader of America's oldest ally, the personal bond between President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron was evident, and so were their differences over the Iran nuclear deal.  At a news conference, Macron said the U.S. should remain part of the deal, but hold talks to improve it, while Trump said he wants an entirely new agreement.  Yamiche Alcindor reports.

French President Macron addresses a joint session of Congress (1:20:24)

RACE IN AMERICA - Ricky Boyd Police Shooting

"Ricky Boyd was shot by police.  3 months later, his mother wants the body-cam released" PBS NewsHour 4/23/2018


SUMMARY:  Ricky Boyd, 20, was shot outside his grandmother's home three months ago Monday.  Law enforcement in Georgia went to arrest Boyd, claiming he was a murder suspect, but shot him.  They claimed he had a firearm, which turned out to be a BB gun found 45 feet away.  Boyd's mother, Jameillah Smiley, talks with Amna Nawaz in her first national broadcast interview, with her attorney, Will Claiborne.

INDIA - The Struggle

"In India, this group helps turn wasteland into greener pastures" (Part-1) PBS NewsHour 4/19/2018


SUMMARY:  Most rural Indian parents dream of an education and job in the city for their children, rather than a life spent farming.  But with a growing migration to cities, there is concern India might not be able to produce enough food to feed its people.  Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports on one group’s effort to restore rural land and communities, in part one of a two-part look.

"India’s struggling farmers find seeds of hope in heritage crops" (Part-2) PBS NewsHour 4/23/2018


SUMMARY:  About two-thirds of India's 1.3 billion people live on small subsistence farms, struggling to eke out a living.  Many farmers have felt left behind as crops have failed or diminished due to disease, degraded soil, and drought.  Not thousands are returning to traditional seeds that went out fashion decades ago -- an approach that's gaining attention.  Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports.

BANGLADESH - The Price of Fashion

"Are your clothes made in safer factories after the 2013 Bangladesh factory disaster?" PBS NewsHour 4/23/2018


SUMMARY:  The 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh killed more than 1,100, a tragedy that pressured Western clothing retailers and customers to take responsibility for work conditions.  Five years later, signs suggest factories have improved, but progress is not universal.  John Yang talks with Paul Barrett, Deputy Director of the Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.

Monday, April 23, 2018

OPINION - Shields and Salam 4/20/2018

"Shields and Salam on DNC’s Russia lawsuit, James Comey’s memos" PBS NewsHour 4/20/2018


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and National Review executive editor Reihan Salam join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s news, including the DNC’s move to sue Russia and members of the Trump campaign over election meddling, the memos written by former FBI Director James Comey about his interactions with President Trump, plus the legacy of former first lady Barbara Bush.

Judy Woodruff (NewsHour):  It was another news-packed week.  In fact, it’s still going on.

And we have Shields and Salam to unpack it.  That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and National Review executive editor Reihan Salam.  David Brooks is away.

Gentlemen, welcome on this Friday.

So, Mark, I want to point out, we have just learned there is a Washington Post story just moving that the attorney general let the White House last weekend that, if the President were to fire the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, that he, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, would have to step down.

I guess the language is, might have to leave his job.

So it looks as if there’s still worry, concern about the President’s intentions, even though he said he doesn’t plan to fire these people.

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  It’s a happy, productive place to work, the Trump administration, a feeling of conviviality, trust, congeniality, and mutual sense of mission. [satire]

I mean, as a personnel director, the President is unrivaled as a disaster in the profession.  People who work for him work so in terror, anxiety, unsure of what he wants to do and what they’re supposed to do, and whether they will be there two weeks from now.

Judy Woodruff:  Reihan, it’s just another element in this ongoing saga.

Reihan Salam, National Review:  I can’t say we know exactly where the story is here.

Were we to actually hear that there was some move to fire the Deputy Attorney General, that would be very big news.  There would be very intense resistance from many Republican lawmakers, as well as many other figures in the senior ranks of the White House.  So I’m not sure there is a story yet, but certainly it’s a sign that there are many people in the White House who would strongly discourage the President from taking such a step.

And he himself said that he had no intention of pursuing it.  So, we will see what happens.

Judy Woodruff:  Right.  I think this was probably in the wake of that — it was in that several-day period when we were hearing the President was very upset and was thinking about or talking about firing.  But, as you said, nothing's happened yet.

So let’s move, Mark, to the story today.  Democratic National Committee announces it is filing a lawsuit against the Trump campaign, against high Russian officials, the Russian government, and WikiLeaks for hacking into the Democratic National Committee e-mail system and essentially for stealing, they’re saying, corrupting the election in 2016.

We heard Tom Perez a few minutes ago, the chair of the party, say, well, one of the reasons we’re doing this is the statute of limitations; we think there is evidence to believe there was a conspiracy.

Is it a smart move on their part?

Mark Shields:  Well, we will find out if it’s a smart move, Judy.

Part of the problem is that it does have echoes of Watergate, and without, right now at least, the persuasive proof that the same set of facts operated, where the President was intimately, deeply involved in a criminal act.

I would say this.  Part of it is, I think, politics has become litigation.  Politics has become lawyers and depositions and whether you’re going to testify.  And, you know, in that sense, it’s not, at least initially, exhilarating to those of us who care about politics and policy and legislation and righting wrongs and bringing justice.

But, you know, I can honestly say, I don’t know.

Judy Woodruff:  What do you make of it?  What’s the significance?

Reihan Salam:  Well, politics is becoming litigation, certainly, but politics is also fund-raising.

That is especially true if you’re the chair of the Democratic National Committee.  One thing that is important to understand is that American politics is very decentralized.  Typically, candidates raise their own money, they have their own networks.

For the Democratic National Committee to be influential and important, it has to raise money.  And one way fort DNC to raise its profile is to do things along these lines that really fires up the base and the small-dollar donors, many of whom are very passionate about the Russia story.

Susan Hennessey earlier on this program explained that they are setting a very high bar for themselves.  It’s hard to see that they’re really going to prove these allegations in court, but the litigation is definitely going to get the DNC and DNC Chair Tom Perez in the news.

And I think that it’s going to fire up a ton of people to open up their checkbooks.  So, in that sense, I think it is a very shrewd move for the DNC.  For Democrats more broadly, we will see.  I’m skeptical.


Judy Woodruff:  Excuse me.  I wanted to let you finish your thought.

All this coming, Mark, in a week when we’re hearing so much about James Comey, his book, and then today — or last night, I guess, the — after urging by Republicans on Capitol Hill, the Comey memos that he wrote after his conversations with the President before Comey was fired have now been made public.

You have had a chance — both of you have had a chance to look at them.  Do they change anything?

Mark Shields:  I can’t — other than perhaps your opinion of the three chairmen who pushed for their publication.

They in no way conflict, at least in my reading of them, with James Comey’s own testimony.  They reinforce what he has said and what he has written.

Now, I think Congressman Gowdy has said that they’re exhibit A for the defense for the White House for any case of obstruction of justice on the part of the President.  They’re certainly not complimentary of the President.  They’re not inspiring.  But they do reinforce what Comey has said.

Judy Woodruff:  What do you see there, Reihan, and also with the book — coming out the same week as the book?  As Mark said, most people are saying they are affirming what’s in the book.

Reihan Salam:  I agree with Mark’s remarks.

I think that, basically, this is entirely consistent with what James Comey had said before.  Clearly, James Comey had serious misgivings about President Trump long before he was elected.

And, also, it’s — now openly campaigning against President Trump’s reelection.  He’s telling people that he wants American voters to throw him out.

And the trouble here is this.  If you are James Comey and you really want to convince folks that President Trump should be voted out of office, et cetera, the thing is that you have to find persuadable people.  You have to find people who might be favorably disposed to the President and persuade them not to be.

And the thing is that I’m not sure why he’s really doing that.  What we know now is that he’s always had misgivings about the President.  So, I think that tends to reinforce this narrative that he wasn’t favorably disposed.

Judy Woodruff:  How do you see this?

Mark Shields:  I will say this about James Comey.  And he’s certainly gotten criticism from a number of quarters.  And I think he’s earned it by including the rather snide remarks about the President’s appearance and suntanning and hair color and all the rest of it, which was petty.  It was mud-wrestling, getting down where Donald Trump mud-wrestles.

But his statement uncontradicted in any way, before the election, he revealed that Hillary Clinton’s personal e-mails were going to be reopened, at a time when he and virtually everybody in shoe leather and a majority of people in the Trump campaign firmly believed that Hillary Clinton was going to win.

And he put that election in some suspense.  The Clinton people blame him for it.  The Trump people acknowledge what he did.  And I have to say, it certainly wasn’t — it was an act of some integrity, professional integrity, for him to do that.

The safe thing would have been to not say anything at the time and, in fact, let it happen and be reappointed.  He was certainly putting at jeopardy his own position, if, in fact, Hillary Clinton did win, that he had tried to sabotage and submarine her chances in the last week of the campaign.

So I think, right now, Judy, what we have seen in the first week is that the two tribes have formed, on the one side those who don’t believe James Comey, and those who do.  I don’t know how many people are persuadable on this issue at this point.

ENOUGH! - Another National Student Walkout

"‘Enough of killing, enough of being scared’: Students stage another gun violence walkout" PBS NewsHour 4/20/2018


SUMMARY:  From Houston to Indianapolis, thousands of students walked out of schools Friday morning to participate in staged sit-ins, marches, and moments of silence to demand action on gun legislation and mark the 19th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado.  Lisa Desjardins reports on the renewed push for gun control and what change it could bring in Washington.

"How this Columbine survivor is helping scared students" PBS NewsHour 4/20/2018


SUMMARY:  When Lindsey O’Donnell survived the Columbine High School shooting at age 17, she relied on friends and family to cope with the anxiety that remained.  Now a physical education teacher, she’s discovered fitness and mindfulness can also help alleviate the fear, and prepare her students for handling other stressful situations.  NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs bring us her story.

UNITED NATIONS - On Human Rights

"The universal danger of ignoring human rights violations" PBS NewsHour 4/20/2018


SUMMARY:  In Syria, almost every conceivable atrocity has been committed in the last few years, says UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.  Al Hussein joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the U.S. role in the destruction of Raqqa, the investigation into a suspected chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime, as well as the “horrific” conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

DNC STRIKES BACK - 2016 Election Meddling

"DNC sues Russia, Trump ‘co-conspirators’ over 2016 election meddling" PBS NewsHour 4/20/2018


SUMMARY:  A lawsuit filed by the Democratic National Committee alleges that people close to President Trump, and Russian entities, conspired to spread documents that were stolen from the DNC to bolster the Trump campaign.  The Democratic Party set off a similar legal battle after the Watergate break-in.  Meanwhile, the Justice Department has handed over the "Comey memos" to Congress.  Yamiche Alcindor reports.

"Tom Perez on DNC lawsuit: Russian and Trump campaign conspiracy ‘abundantly clear to me’" PBS NewsHour 4/20/2018


SUMMARY:  In a lawsuit filed Friday, the Democratic National Committee alleges President Trump’s campaign, WikiLeaks, and the Russian government took part in a massive plot to interfere in the 2016 Presidential election by releasing stolen DNC emails.  Why file the lawsuit while Special Counsel Robert Mueller is still investigating?  DNC chairman Tom Perez joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the decision.

"How the DNC lawsuit could become a powerful tool" PBS NewsHour 4/20/2018


SUMMARY:  The Democratic National Committee is claiming there was a broad conspiracy to aid Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign by hacking and leaking stolen emails.  How hard will that be to prove in court?  William Brangham gets analysis from Susan Hennessey, executive editor of Lawfare, about why they are suing, the other legal challenges facing the President, and takeaways from the Comey memos.


"How Southwest pilot Tammie Jo Shults stayed calm in the cockpit" PBS NewsHour 4/19/2018


SUMMARY:  Twenty minutes after takeoff, Southwest Flight 1380 had to make an emergency landing.  One of the engines had exploded, sending metal fragments into cabin and shattering a window, killing passenger Jennifer Riordan.  Pilot Tammie Jo Shults, a former navy pilot, is being praised for how she reacted.  Science correspondent and aviation expert Miles O'Brien joins Judy Woodruff to discuss what happened.

ECONOMICS - Chinese Trade Deficit

"The argument for a U.S. trade deficit with China" PBS NewsHour 4/19/2018


SUMMARY:  America's growing trade deficit is one of President Trump's main arguments for imposing tariffs on China.  And yet most economists would agree instead with the doctrine of trade deficits and its benefits for consumers.  Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports.

PUERTO RICO - 2018 Hurricane Season

"Hurricane season is coming and Puerto Rico still has a big power problem" PBS NewsHour 4/19/2018


SUMMARY:  Seven months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and its power grid, the entire island lost power on Wednesday -- the biggest outage since September.  As crews keep working to restore power to the full island, residents are raising questions once again about the adequacy of those efforts.  Amna Nawaz gets an update from special correspondent Monica Villamizar.

Amna Nawaz (NewsHour):  So, you have been reporting on this painfully slow pace of recovery ever since Hurricane Maria hit.

But this doesn’t seem to be related to Maria anymore.  Everyone’s wondering, how does this keep happening?

Monica Villamizar, special correspondent:  Yes, absolutely.  That’s a great question.

Many people — Puerto Ricans right now are being out to sort of be patient and understand, at least by PREPA the power utility company — that keep on asking everybody, be patient and understand that generating electricity and distributing it to everybody is very difficult, and our infrastructure was absolutely decimated by Maria.

But if you stop think, Puerto Ricans are saying, how can we be patient after not having electricity for months on end?  Many people still today do not have power.

Amna Nawaz:  Right.

Monica Villamizar:  And how can it be so complicated?

The truth of the matter is, in all fairness, it is complicated.  And the grades is — was very poorly [badly] damaged, but it was also in very bad conditions.

They have a massive transmission problem right now, which means it’s really fragile and unstable.  So, if you will, you knock down a power — like you say, how can that throw the whole island into darkness?  That’s not normal, normally what happens in other countries.

In Puerto Rico, it’s happening because the system that was put in place and the power grid is so obsolete, that this is the situation they have.

Amna Nawaz:  So, it was a bad problem decimated and made worse by this Category 5 storm seven months ago.

So, who owns the problem?  Who actually has responsibility to try to fix it now?

Monica Villamizar:  That’s a great question.  And that’s sort of what we have been seeing, a political blame-game.

So, the power utility company blames FEMA.  FEMA blames the Corps of Engineers.  Puerto Ricans blame the Trump administration.  Everybody is going to blame everybody.  But in the end, the island is bankrupt.  There is no money.

And to fix this enormous problem is going to take billions and billions of dollars that the island does not have.  So they’re facing a very serious situation, which is fixing a massive problem, fixing it soon, because, remember, hurricane season is going to start again.

Amna Nawaz:  Right.

Monica Villamizar:  And in the meantime, all these local authorities and politicians throwing blame around.

In the end, everybody is to blame in a way.  But what they have to do and what a lot of people are telling me now is that they want to look to local authorities and pass that to sort of try to own the situation, as you say, and make something better for the island, really, try to construct the future themselves.

Amna Nawaz:  And what about people on the ground?  What are they telling you now?  How do they feel after all this time and where they still are today?

Monica Villamizar:  Well, so, most people at the beginning, when we first reported in Puerto Rico, and the generalized feeling was, we are American citizens and we are being treated as secondhand citizens by the company administrations effectively, because the response to our hurricane wasn’t the same as we saw in Florida or Texas, for instance.

And there was no sense of urgency.  But we were here dying and hungry and being affected.

It’s sort of slightly shifted now, and I think they’re looking to their local authorities, to Governor Rossello, to Mayor Carmen Yulin, et cetera, like, what are you going to do to fix our problems?

Because, you know what, in the end, they say they don’t have education because of all this debt restructuring and the consolidations of schools, et cetera.  They don’t have education, they don’t have power, and they don’t have health.

So when a government is not providing that, it’s somewhat failing in its role.  And that’s when people are really going to start asking more of their local authorities and local leaders, because they really need solutions to urgent problems.

And the situation they’re facing right now is, we stay here and make things better, or we have to leave to the mainland.

CUBA - After the Castros

"After the Castros, what do Cubans want from this new era?" PBS NewsHour 4/19/2018


SUMMARY:  Thursday marked the end of the Castro era, but not its legacy.  The late Fidel Castro and his younger brother Raul controlled Cuba for nearly 60 years.  How do Cubans feel as 57-year-old Miguel Diaz-Canel takes control as the new head of state?  William Brangham talks with Azam Ahmed of The New York Times.

MEMORIAM - Barbara Bush

"Former first lady Barbara Bush dies at 92" PBS NewsHour 4/17/2018


SUMMARY:  Former first lady Barbara Bush, known for her shock of snowy white hair and sharp wit, died Tuesday in Houston, Texas.  She was 92.

A statement from the family did not mention a cause of death.  A private funeral is planned for Saturday at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, where she and her family have been members since the 1950s.

"Remembering Barbara Bush, political dynasty matriarch" PBS NewsHour 4/18/2018


SUMMARY:  We look back at the life of former First Lady Barbara Bush.  Son and former President George W. Bush describes his family saying goodbye in a conversation with Amy Holmes and Michael Gerson; then Judy Woodruff gets remembrances from Susan Page of USA Today, C. Boyden Gray White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush, and Bonnie Steinroeder former pastor at the First Congregational Church of Kennebunkport.

NORTH KOREA - The Meeting

I trust Kim Jong Un about as far as I can pickup Trump and throw him.

"Pompeo mum on Kim Jong Un meeting amid confirmation process" PBS NewsHour 4/18/2018


SUMMARY:  CIA director and secretary of state-designate Mike Pompeo met secretly with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend, President Trump confirmed on Wednesday.  At his recent confirmation hearing, Pompeo spoke hopefully about the upcoming Trump-Kim summit, never mentioning in public or behind closed doors that he had personally already met with Kim.  William Brangham reports.

"Trump strikes optimistic tone on North Korea, thanks Japan’s Abe for his role" PBS NewsHour 4/18/2018


SUMMARY:  President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met reporters at Mar-a-Lago Wednesday evening, where Trump said that he would be doing everything possible to make his anticipated meeting with the leader of North Korea "a worldwide success."  Yamiche Alcindor joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the President’s remarks and the relationship between Trump and Abe.

"North Korea willing to discuss dismantling nuclear program, says Trump official" PBS NewsHour 4/18/2018


SUMMARY:  There’s no doubt that President Trump and Kim Jong Un intend to meet, said Victoria Coates, special assistant to the President, who noted that the tone coming out of North Korea is making the Trump administration “very hopeful.”  Coates joins Judy Woodruff to discuss the meeting between CIA Director Mike Pompeo and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the potential for denuclearization and more.

RURAL TOWN - Green River

"Can this rural town go from a youth exodus to an art epicenter?" PBS NewsHour 4/17/2018


SUMMARY:  What kind of future should a struggling rural town choose?  In the town of Green River [Utah], population 950, a nonprofit called Epicenter aims to use art and architecture to bring new energy, life and economic development.  Jeffrey Brown reports.

U.S. SUPREME COURT - Can States Require Online Sales Tax?

"Can states require online sales tax? Billions at stake in case at Supreme Court" PBS NewsHour 4/17/2018


SUMMARY:  On this Tax Day, while many Americans rush to file their income tax returns, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a case on state sales taxes and online shopping.  Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal joins Judy Woodruff to discuss what happened in the courtroom today, as well as a ruling that will make it harder for the Trump administration to deport some immigrants.

TRUMP - Congressional Gridlock

"Trump has made political gridlock ‘more challenging,’ says retiring Rep. Charlie Dent" PBS NewsHour 4/17/2018


SUMMARY:  Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa) announced Tuesday he will leave Congress a few months earlier than expected; last fall he announced he would not seek re-election.  Why leave now?  Dent says he plans to bring a voice to the “sensible center” from outside of Congress.  He joins Judy Woodruff to discuss his exit, President Trump and the political headwinds for Republicans going into the midterm election.

Gosh!  Dent use a cuss word, "compromise."

PULITZER PRIZE - Kendrick Lamar

"Pulitzer winner Kendrick Lamar just made history" PBS NewsHour 4/16/2018


SUMMARY:  Rapper Kendrick Lamar was the first non-classical or jazz artist to win a Pulitzer Prize on Monday for his album "DAMN."  Jeffrey Brown joins Judy Woodruff to discuss some of the recipients in areas of literature and music.

"DNA"  (note this is a reference to scene in "The Day The Earth Stood Still" 2008)
Album "DAMN" Kendrick Lamar

WAR POWERS - U.S. Congress Abdicated Long Ago

"Did Trump have the authority to strike Syria?  It’s ‘a gray area,’ says Sen. Coons" PBS NewsHour 4/16/2018


SUMMARY:  The airstrikes launched by the U.S., UK, and France to punish the Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons have renewed questions about Presidential warmaking powers.  Lisa Desjardins reports on the reaction to the strikes, then talks to Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del) about Congress’ role in authorizing military action, as well as concerns about protecting Robert Mueller’s investigation.

War Powers
Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war. The President, meanwhile, derives the power to direct the military after a Congressional declaration of war from Article II, Section 2, which names the President Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.  These provisions require cooperation between the President and Congress regarding military affairs, with Congress funding or declaring the operation and the President directing it.  Nevertheless, throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, Presidents have often engaged in military operations without express Congressional consent.  These operations include the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, the Afghanistan War of 2001 and the Iraq War of 2002.

Commander in Chief
The questions of whether the President possesses authority to use the military absent a Congressional declaration of war and the scope of such power, if it exists, have proven to be sources of conflict and debate throughout American history.  In general, scholars express various views on the amount of power that the President actually has and the amount of power that the Constitution promises to the holder of that position.

After the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon Administrations had spent nearly a decade committing U.S. troops to Southeast Asia without Congressional approval, Congress responded by passing the War Powers Resolution in 1973.  The War Powers Resolution requires that the President communicate to Congress the committal of troops within 48 hours.  Further, the statute requires the President to remove all troops after 60 days if Congress has not granted an extension.

When passed, Congress intended the War Powers Resolution to halt the erosion of Congress's ability to participate in war-making decisions.  This resolution, however, has not been as effective as Congress likely intended (see the "War Powers Resolution" section in the Commander in Chief Powers article).  The terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 further complicated the issue of war powers shared between the President and Congress.  After September 11, the United States Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force against Terrorists (AUMF).  When the United States invaded Afghanistan, the U.S. military rounded up alleged members of the Taliban and those fighting against U.S. forces.  The military then placed these "detainees" at a U.S. base located at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba at the direction of the Bush Administration who designed the plan under the premise that federal court jurisdiction did not reach the base.  Consequently, the Bush Administration and military believed that the detainees could not avail themselves of habeas corpus and certain protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

As the military held many of these prisoners at the base for years without bringing formal charges against them, the prisoners found counsel within the United States to file habeas corpus petitions within U.S. federal courts.  A series of cases then came before the U.S. Supreme Court dealing with the constitutionality of the prisoners' detentions at Guantanamo.

In 2004 Rasul v. Bush became the first case in which the Supreme Court directly discussed the Bush Administration's Guantanamo detention policies. 542 U.S. 466.  The Court held that 28 U.S.C. § 2241 permits federal district courts to hear habeas corpus petitions by aliens held within territory over which the United States exercises "plenary and exclusive jurisdiction."  This holding included Guantanamo detainees.  The Court then instructed the district courts to hear the petitions.

After the Bush Administration responded to Rasul by permitting detainees to bring their petitions before military tribunals, the Supreme Court again addressed the matter in 2006 when they decided Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. 548 U.S. 557.  The Court in Hamdan held that the President lacks constitutional authority under the Commander-in-Chief Clause to try detainees in military tribunals.  The tribunals also violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions. Furthermore, the Court rebuked the government's arguments that the AUMF expanded Presidential authority.

Congress responded by passing the Detainee Treatment Act, which provides that "no court, court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider . . . an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by . . . an alien detained . . . at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."  In 2008, an Algerian citizen challenged the constitutionality of this statute in Boumediene v. Bush (06-1195).  The Court held that a Congressional suspension of habeas corpus requires an explicit suspension of the writ and that merely stripping the federal courts of jurisdiction does not actually suspend the writ.  The Court also stated that the detainees lacked proper procedural safeguards to ensure they obtained fair trials and the ability to ascertain the nature of the charges against them.

Post-Boumediene, the Supreme Court has continued to uphold the constitutionality of the Detainee Treatment Act.  In 2014 the Supreme Court refused two separate appeals for certiorari which related to the Detainee Treatment Act.  In the first appeal, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case in which a Syrian man sought to sue the United States over his alleged torture at Guantanamo.  In the second appeal, the Supreme Court blocked the release of images purported to show evidence of a Saudi man's mistreatment by Guantanamo officials.

The Supreme Court deferred to the lower appeals courts, which found that due to the Detainee Treatment Act, "courts do not have the authority to hear lawsuits like the one[s] filed [here]."

Emergency Powers
The Constitution does not expressly grant the President additional powers in times of national emergency.  However, Presidents have claimed they have this power, often conflicting with the Supreme Court's interpretation of the extent of Presidential powers.

President Abraham Lincoln's suspended habeas corpus without Congressional approval in 1861, and he claimed he could do so due to emergency war powers. Lincoln claimed that the rebellion created an emergency that permitted him the extraordinary power of unilaterally suspending the writ.  With Chief Justice Roger Taney sitting as judge, the Federal District Court of Maryland struck down the suspension in Ex Parte Merryman, although Lincoln ignored the order. 17 F. Cas. 144 (1861).

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt similarly invoked emergency powers when he issued Order 9066, placing Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II.  The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this order in Korematsu v. United States. 323 U.S. 214 (1944).

Harry Truman declared the use of emergency powers when he seized private steel mills that failed to produce steel because of a labor strike in 1952.  With the Korean War ongoing, Truman asserted that he could not wage war successfully if the economy failed to provide him with the material resources necessary to keep the troops well-equipped.  The U.S. Supreme Court, however, refused to accept that argument in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, voting 6-3 that neither Commander in Chief powers nor any claimed emergency powers gave the President the authority to unilaterally seize private property without Congressional legislation. 343 U.S. 579.

AMERICAN POLITICS - The Center of a Storm, Trump

"Trump fires back at Comey, fights to examine Cohen papers" PBS NewsHour 4/16/2018


SUMMARY:  Former FBI Director James Comey led off his new memoir media blitz by criticizing President Trump in an interview with ABC News, focusing much of his attack on the President's character, and addressing the Hillary Clinton email investigation as a “no-win situation.”  Trump on Monday questioned Comey's credibility, while his legal team fought a different battle.  Yamiche Alcindor reports.

"Will Comey’s book have any effect on the Russia probe?" PBS NewsHour 4/16/2018


SUMMARY:  New revelations by former FBI director James Comey have stirred the President's ire on Twitter.  But do they say anything new about the potential legal trouble President Trump could face?  Judy Woodruff talks with Chuck Rosenberg a former U.S. attorney and senior FBI official, about Comey’s book, as well as efforts by Trump’s legal team to stop prosecutors to examine files of his personal lawyer.

"Trump firing Mueller would ‘create a constitutional crisis,’ Sen. Warner says" PBS NewsHour 4/19/2018


SUMMARY:  The Senate Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat said Thursday that President Donald Trump would spark a “constitutional crisis” if he fired special counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

“I believe that firing Mueller or Rosenstein would create a constitutional crisis,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va) told the PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff.  Warner added that “history would then judge all of us” if Congress did not prevent Trump from firing the officials in charge of overseeing the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties to the Trump campaign.

The White House has in the past denied that Trump is considering firing Mueller.  Rosenstein appointed the former FBI director last May to head the Russia probe.

But Warner said the President is unpredictable.  Last week, as FBI agents raided Michael Cohen, the President’s personal lawyer, Trump said “we’ll see what happens” when asked if he’d fire Mueller.  And White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the President had the power to fire Mueller, if he wanted to.

“Saying one thing on one day doesn’t mean that’ll be his position the next day,” Warner said of Trump.

Warner, who along with Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is leading the Senate Intelligence panel’s probe into Russia — also expressed support for a bipartisan Senate bill aimed at protecting Mueller from getting fired.  The bill would fast track a judicial review of a President’s decision to fire Mueller and future special counsels.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is planning to hold a committee vote on the bill.  But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) has said he won’t bring the bill to the full Senate floor, so its chances of passage, at least now, appear to be zero.

Warner said he was disappointed in McConnell’s opposition to the proposal.  Warner added that he hoped the majority leader “would reconsider” if the Judiciary Committee passes the measure with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Monday, April 16, 2018

SYRIA - War on Assad

"Why Assad is winning the war in Syria" PBS NewsHour 4/14/2018


SUMMARY:  With support from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, the Assad regime has managed to consolidate power in most parts of Syria previously held by ISIS.  Apart from Friday’s joint missile strikes, the U.S.’s role has been limited to diplomatic talks, which has yielded few results in sustaining ceasefires in the seven-year-long warThe New Yorker’s Robin Wright joins Hari Sreenivasan for more.

"U.S., Russia keep from escalating conflict after Syrian strike" PBS NewsHour 4/14/2018


SUMMARY:  Russian President Putin on Saturday condemned a series of strikes on Syrian targets, calling the military action by the U.S. and its allies "an act of aggression against a sovereign state."  Kimberly Marten, director of a program on U.S.-Russia relations at Columbia University's Harriman Institute, joins Hari Sreenivasan for more on Russia's reaction means and what may come next.

"Syrian people fight for survival as multiple powers face off" PBS NewsHour 4/14/2018


SUMMARY:  Syrians have continued to flee to neighboring countries and Europe as conflict in their country has intensified, and in Lebanon, nearly one in four people is a Syrian migrant.  Meanwhile, pro-Assad leaders have condemned the coordinated strikes on Syria, with Hezbollah calling them an “aggression.”  NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Jane Ferguson joins Hari Sreenivasan from Beirut for more reaction from the Middle East.

"Will strikes in Syria stop chemical weapons production?" PBS NewsHour 4/14/2018


SUMMARY:  Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons last week spurred strikes by the U.S. and its allies in the war-torn country this weekend.  But what effect did the latest military action have on the country's weapons cache, and will it stop Syria from targeting civilians in opposition-held areas?  Douglas Ollivant, senior vice president at Mantid International, joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss.

OPINION - Shields and Brooks 4/13/2018

"Shields and Brooks on James Comey’s tell-all, Paul Ryan’s retirement" PBS NewsHour 4/13/2018


SUMMARY:  Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join John Yang to discuss the week’s news, including James Comey’s memoir detailing his interactions with and impressions of President Trump, what House Speaker Paul Ryan’s retirement means for the GOP and the pardoning of Scooter Libby.

John Yang (NewsHour):  But first to the analysis of Shields and Brooks.  That’s syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks, who joins us tonight from San Francisco.

Gentlemen, welcome to you both.

We have a lot of talk about the new book by James Comey.  He talks about — describes the President as being unethical, untethered to the truth, and describes his presidency as a forest fire.

David, let me start with you.

What — from what you have read of the reporting and the excerpts, what’s your takeaway?

David Brooks, New York Times:  Well, I think President Trump has done a pretty good job of confirming everything Comey said by his tweets today.  I mean, the word slimeball shouldn’t be coming out of the White House.

I think it’s aptly titled.  One of the things we see in this book is a guy who is like, frankly, a lot of people who work in government in Washington as part of the career civil service, that their loyalty is not to red and blue.  And we’re used to covering politics as a red and blue tribal war.

But their loyalty is to their profession, to their agency, to their institution, to some other set of standards.  And they get in the middle of red-blue fights and they probably have their own personal opinions, but Comey seems to be a guy who has loyalties to other things.

And he’s offended Democrats mightily.  He’s offended the Republican President mightily.  And I think he passes the smell test, by and large.  And I so think he’s honest that it could — it’s quite possible that Donald Trump didn’t do anything criminal here, but did do something mafioso-like.  And that’s, frankly, not a completely new revelation.

John Yang:  Mark?

Mark Shields, syndicated columnist:  I think David makes a very good point about Jim Comey, who has been a rather remarkable public servant for a long time and then found himself, in 2016, on the receiving end of vilification from both candidates, from the Clinton people for his handling of the e-mail matter right up to the Election Day, and by the Trump people since and then his firing.

And the President’s adding to the sort of annals of American Presidential rhetoric this week, along with malice toward none and charity toward all, and the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, to a weak and untruthful slimeball is what he’s called James Comey.

I do think that this is not to be confused with the “Fire and Fury” book, which was great gossip and great anecdotage.  This is the testimony, straightforwardly, on the record, of a rather remarkable public servant who kept notes on everything and gives his own testimony.  It’s not hearsay.  This is what he says.

And I think it will be given great attention.  It’s already gotten great sales.  And it will become part of the national dialogue, and much to the consternation of the President.

John Yang:  David, I have got to ask you.  There is so much of what has been said about this in the press is talking about the sort of personal comments and personal observations about the President, the size of his hands, the complexion, orange tone to his — hue to his face.

It sort of feels like — does it feel to you that Comey is goading the President in a way?

David Brooks:  Not really.

And that reads to me like novelistic detail.  One of the things we know about Comey is, he’s a serious reader.  He’s a big fan of Reinhold Niebuhr, as am I.  And so I think he was trying to write a book which had some literary detail that 'you are there.'

I do think, in general, from what I have read of the book and the excerpts, it passes the smell test.  One important moment for me was his description of his handling of the Clinton e-mails.

And now he says, my goal consciously wasn’t to let politics influence my decision.  But he allows — and this is him showing some vulnerability — he allows the possibility that the thought of her winning election and then having the e-mail investigation come out might seem illegitimate to people.

And he didn’t want her to be elected and then something new comes out right after the election.  He thought that might hurt the institution of the Presidency.  And so he allows that possibility could have had some unconscious influence on him.

And that strikes me as a man who is looking at himself and saying, is it possible I messed up?  Is it possible I was influenced in ways that I wasn’t consciously aware of?  That strikes me, by the standards of Washington memoirs, as a reasonably high level of honesty.

Mark Shields:  And I think one thing that we will see is, he is a very effective witness on his own behalf.  And he’s going — it’s full-court press.

There’s going to be media coverage.  He will be on the “NewsHour.”  He will be on the networks.  He will be everywhere.  And he will be answering all the questions, and he will influence, if not drive, much of the conversation for the next couple of weeks.

TEACHERS - Strikes Around the Nation

"What’s different about this wave of teacher strikes" PBS NewsHour 4/13/2018


SUMMARY:  Teacher strikes and walkouts have been spreading from West Virginia to Arizona.  Thousands of Kentucky educators rallied on Friday at their state Capitol, as Oklahoma's largest teachers' union called for an end to their nine-day walkout.  William Brangham talks with Sarah Jaffe, author of “Necessary Trouble,” about what these states have in common and why it’s happening.


"This political insider’s thriller novels predicted U.S. election interference" PBS NewsHour 4/13/2018


SUMMARY:  A foreign country attempts to influence the outcome of an American election [The People's House, 2012] -- before the 2016 election, it was the plot of a new novel by Ohio's Democratic Party chairman.  Now David Pepper returns with a second book,"The Wingman," which picks up where "The People's House" left off.  He joins Judy Woodruff to discuss how a politician came to write political thrillers.

TRUMP - "A Higher Loyalty"

"James Comey memoir paints scathing portrait of Trump, rousing GOP furor" PBS NewsHour 4/13/2018


SUMMARY:  James Comey's new book offers unsparing views of President Trump.  In "A Higher Loyalty," Comey shares new details about his interactions with Trump, whom he compares to a mafia boss and whose behavior he says is "untethered to the truth."  John Yang talks with Yamiche Alcindor and Philip Rucker of The Washington Post about the White House reaction and more.

TRUMP AGENDA - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

To Trump & Mulvaney:  It IS the "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau" NOT the 'Business Financial Protection Bureau.'

"Elizabeth Warren and Mick Mulvaney face off over Consumer Protection Bureau" PBS NewsHour 4/12/2018


SUMMARY:  President Trump and Acting Director Mick Mulvaney have charted a dramatically different course for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren that was created in 2010 to curb predatory practices and lending problems.  Today those two visions collided in a showdown on Capitol Hill.  William Brangham talks with Ken Sweet from The Associated Press.