PBS NewsHour full episode, Aug. 4, 2023

PBS NewsHour full episode, Aug. 4, 2023

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GEOFF BENNETT: Good evening. I'm Geoff Bennett. AMNA NAWAZ: And I'm Amna Nawaz. On the "NewsHour" tonight: The latest jobs report falls slightly short of expectations, but the economy showed steady growth, signaling a recession might still be avoided. GEOFF BENNETT: Despite claims to the contrary, an American machine tool manufacturer appears to still indirectly supply the Russian arms industry with its technology. AMNA NAWAZ: And leading Republican presidential candidates largely avoid the issue of climate change on the campaign trail, despite increasingly dire weather events.

LISA FRIEDMAN, The New York Times: To talk about climate change remains very difficult for a number of conservative lawmakers, who feel that their constituents are themselves either apathetic or antagonistic to it. (BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: Good evening, and welcome to the "NewsHour." The U.S. economy added 187,000 jobs last month, slightly fewer than expected, but still a sign of a resilient job market.

GEOFF BENNETT: And the unemployment rate dipped to 3.5 percent. It follows several encouraging reports in the last two weeks on GDP and inflation. To break it down, we're now joined by "NewsHour" special correspondent and Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell.

Thank you for being with us. CATHERINE RAMPELL: Great to join you. GEOFF BENNETT: So, Catherine, what are the key takeaways from this report? What stands out the most to you? CATHERINE RAMPELL: I think this was a solid report.

It was a slower pace of growth, but a more sustainable pace of growth, and, frankly, not even that slow; 187,000 jobs is exactly equal to the average pace of job growth we had in the decade preceding the pandemic. So, in many ways, this was a relatively strong report, probably what the Federal Reserve was looking for, and hopefully a sign that we might be able to avoid a recession. GEOFF BENNETT: Well, yes, a question about that, because the economy seems to be holding out now against a recession that lots of people thought was closing in.

Has that led to concerns that Jay Powell, the Fed chairman, might be overdoing it. CATHERINE RAMPELL: Certainly, some people think he is. If you look at where the Fed says rates are going to go, they have anticipated just one more interest rate hike this year.

Markets don't yet seem to believe them. They don't seem to think that that will actually come. I think what happens in September, what happens in the months ahead in terms of Fed policy is still a -- it's still very much a live issue. We don't know what they're going to do. And I think they will be monitoring the data to make sure that they do their best to avoid tipping us into a recession.

GEOFF BENNETT: Looking at the data, women's labor force participation rates are at an all-time high. What do you make of that? CATHERINE RAMPELL: I think it's remarkable. Viewers may remember that, a couple of years ago, three years ago, in fact, there were lots of articles, lots of coverage about a she-cession. Folks may remember that, the idea being that women were disproportionately hurt by the pandemic recession because of the kinds of occupations they were in, as well as the fact that they were disproportionately hurt by childcare disruptions and schools going remote. And there were a lot of fears that working women would be set back a generation. Instead, the reverse has happened.

Women have come back, at least financially or labor-wise, stronger than ever. As you point out, their labor force participation rates for prime-age women are around record highs. And I don't exactly know what to attribute that to. It could very well be the fact that there's more remote work available. It could be the fact that more women are college-educated today than had been so in the past and, as a result, that has contributed to their greater likelihood to be in the work force.

But I think it's a bit of a puzzle, and, frankly, a good problem to have or a good puzzle to have. GEOFF BENNETT: Let's talk about wages, because the Fed doesn't want them to rise too fast because of inflation. Workers obviously want to make more money.

Where does that stand right now? CATHERINE RAMPELL: The numbers for wage growth were a little bit stronger, I think, than the Fed might want to see. However, I don't necessarily know that that means we should expect the Federal Reserve to raise rates more aggressively than we thought they would have done a few days ago, in the sense that this may be a bit of a lag. It may be that workers are catching up, in fact, to the price growth -- price growth that we have already seen elsewhere in the labor market.

That is, they're demanding higher pay to compensate for the fact that the things that they buy are getting more expensive, and it doesn't seem so high that I think it's going to be cause for concern. But, that said, we don't know. It's one month of data. We will have to watch what happens in the months ahead.

And other indicators, I think, have been more comforting for the Federal Reserve, things like overall price growth coming down, for example. GEOFF BENNETT: Catherine Rampell, thanks so much for that insight and analysis. We appreciate it.

CATHERINE RAMPELL: Thank you. AMNA NAWAZ: In the day's other headlines: Former President Trump entered another not guilty plea, this time to a revised indictment in the classified documents case. The new charges say Mr. Trump asked a worker to delete security video at his estate in

Florida. He was already accused of illegally taking classified documents and making false statements. A court in Russia has sentenced opposition leader Alexey Navalny to 19 more years in prison, this time for extremism. Court video today showed Navalny looking gaunt and wearing a prison suit. State news reports said he will serve the new sentence concurrently with existing terms of nearly 12 years.

Navalny supporters said it's all part of a campaign to silence the Kremlin's fiercest critic. Ukraine attacked a major Russian port today, damaging a warship and halting maritime traffic for several hours. The Ukrainian navy and security service said see drones hit Novorossiysk. It's a Black Sea naval base and hub for exporting grain and oil. Ukrainian media showed a drone heading toward a Russian landing ship.

The Russians said they repelled the attack, but Reuters obtained video showing the ship listing badly. In the meantime, Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie got a firsthand look at battle damage in Ukraine. He met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv and visited the nearby town of Bucha, where Russian occupiers left a mass grave of civilians.

Christie called for us unity on supporting Ukraine's fight. FMR. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), Presidential Candidate: These are the things that America needs to stand up to prevent and to work with friends like the Ukrainians to give them the means necessary for them to be able to secure once again their liberty and their freedom. AMNA NAWAZ: Several of Christie's Republican rivals, including former President Trump, have opposed support for Ukraine.

Back in this country, the Biden administration's new policy limiting asylum for migrants will remain in effect while legal challenges play out. A federal appeals court on Thursday overruled a lower court that ordered the policy to end. The rule says that migrants must first seek protection before they reach the U.S. border

or apply for asylum online. Officials in Florida carried out a live-fire reenactment today of the Parkland school massacre that killed 17 people. It was part of a civil lawsuit accusing a former sheriff's deputy of failing to protect students and staff. Earlier, nine members of Congress toured the crime scene, joined by victims' families and prosecutors. Afterward, the six Democrats and three Republicans spoke of bipartisan action.

REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): To see the blood of children on the floor in a school together is going to change the way we interact and collaborate with each other going forward. And I am already in touch with leadership of the House via text messages, telling them they have to get down here. AMNA NAWAZ: The convicted Parkland gunman is now serving life in prison.

The school building is set to be demolished at a later date. Two Tennessee state House members who were expelled in April over a gun control protest are celebrating today. Democrats Justin Pearson and Justin Jones won special elections on Thursday. The victories allow them to lee reclaim their seats in the Republican-dominated legislature.

Local officials had already reinstated them, but only temporarily. And, on Wall Street, stocks finished the week with a fourth straight losing session. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 150 points to close at 35065. The Nasdaq fell 50 points, and the S&P 500 slipped almost 24.

And basketball pro Diana Taurasi is now the first player in WNBA history to score 10,000 points in a career. The Phoenix Mercury star reached the milestone last night against the Atlanta Dream in this, her 19th season. After the celebrations, Taurasi went on to finish the game with a season high 42 points, as you do. Still to come on the "NewsHour": negotiations to end the Hollywood writers strike resume; a top State Department official discusses threats to global health and a lifesaving AIDS relief program; David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart weigh in on the latest Trump indictment; plus much more. GEOFF BENNETT: Back in March, "NewsHour" revealed allegations that American machine tools giant Haas Automation sold millions of dollars' worth of its technology to the Russian arms industry via its former distributor Abamet.

Haas denied the story and claimed it had halted sales to Russia as soon as Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in early 2022. But, according to new research, Haas may still be supplying the Russian arms industry indirectly. With support from the Pulitzer Center, special correspondent Simon Ostrovsky reports from Kyiv.

SIMON OSTROVSKY: This is the Novosibirsk instrument building plan, known as NPZ in Russian. It manufactures high-end optics used by the Russian military for everything from targeting systems to Russia's weapons to night vision for its infantry. NPZ doesn't want you to know where it gets its high-tech equipment from, which is why they have pasted their own logo over the logo of the manufacturer of this machine tool, seen in a promotional video released in April. But they have missed a spot. Zoom in here, and you can see the distinctive red H above the control panel identifying it as a computer numerical control machine tool made by Haas Automation of Oxnard, California. NPZ isn't alone in being partial to Haas machine tools.

They're used throughout the Russian military industrial complex, because they can be programmed to mill, cut or shave metal into almost any shape necessary. For years, Haas sold machine tools in Russia via its official distributor, Abamet Management LTD. Even though sanctions have been in place against the Russian defense industry for almost a decade as a result of the annexation of Crimea, only after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year did Haas officially sever its relationship with Abamet and made -- quote -- "no direct or indirect shipments or sales to Russia" since March 3, 2022. But the organization that originally exposed Haas' dealings in Russia says even that may not be true. Denys Hutyk is an adviser at the Economic Security Council of Ukraine, or ESCU.

He told "NewsHour" spare parts needed to maintain the Haas machines already being used in Russia continue to flow into the country via a mysterious firm in China called Suzhou Sup Bestech Machine Tools Co., LTD. that doesn't seem to have a Web site or phone number, and was set up just two weeks after Haas officially pulled out of Russia. DENYS HUTYK, Economic Security Council of Ukraine: Since the moment when Russia received the last direct shipment of Haas products from Oxnard, California, and since October 2022, this Chinese company supplied or conducted around 200 shipments of Haas products to Abamet, and all those shipments are worth about $600,000. SIMON OSTROVSKY: customs records reviewed by "NewsHour" show that Haas-branded spare parts were being shipped to Russia as recently as April of this year, more than a year after Haas says it halted any sales or shipments to the country. Many of the spare parts appear to be made specifically for a Haas model VF-2YT machine tool, one of which, according to Russian state procurement records, is owned by the NPZ plant in Novosibirsk, 2,000 miles east of Moscow.

Further procurement records show the NPZ plant is one of Abamet's clients, meaning it's possible the spare parts sold via China were special-ordered to maintain the Haas machine at NPZ, whose owner, Rostec, has been subject to U.S. sanctions since 2015. NPZ didn't always obscure the logos on its equipment. In this promotional video it released seven years ago, several Haas machines are featured to highlight how modern the factory is, including the VF-2YT, which is capable of shaping materials as tough as steel. Then, in 2018, NPZ announced on Russia's official state procurement marketplace that it needed a replacement engine for the VF-2YT, illustrating how reliant Russia's arms industry was on after-sales support. In that instance, the Fischer Spindle group of Switzerland supplied the motor.

Today, NPZ uses its Haas machines to shape the casings for its various sites and scopes. The finished casings look like this and are collected in this wooden box, before being painted, finished and fitted to army equipment like this. MAN (through translator): These instruments are supplied to the Russian army. Tanks, armored vehicles and small arms in Russian factories, it also exported.

SIMON OSTROVSKY: The applications are endless. And so, seemingly, is the list of Russian defense firms that use Haas equipment bought over the years. This is RPBK (ph). They make flight control systems for attack helicopters.

This is NII-Vektor, which makes electronic surveillance systems for the army and navy. And this is Electro Pregoran Penza (ph) having its Haas machines disinfected during the COVID pandemic. They make communication systems for the Russian military.

The list goes on. That's why Ukrainians have been pushing U.S. enforcement agencies, like the Office of Foreign Asset Controls, or OFAC, to act more aggressively against American companies whose products continue to flow to the Russian arms industry.

VLADYSLAV VLASYUK, Adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy: I think that, most certainly, the OFAC does have very powerful tools at its disposal to make sure the enforcement of sanctions. So, I think that you just have to unleash anything you have. SIMON OSTROVSKY: Vladyslav Vlasyuk is an adviser to the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and co-chair of a U.S.-Ukrainian working group on Russian sanctions. He told "NewsHour" Russia has managed to ramp up production, despite the unprecedented sanctions imposed by America and its allies. VLADYSLAV VLASYUK: They are partners.

We have been dealing with sanctions matters. Quite disappointed about our recent findings. They have been doing a lot of pushing up -- putting a lot of efforts into stopping this. And now we tell them that this has not stopped. And I think you know that the rate of production as we consider is just doubled.

And I think that this is quite obvious now that much more has to be done. SIMON OSTROVSKY: The Biden administration says it's acted forcefully to restrict the Russian arms industry's access to technology it needs to sustain its war machine, like setting sanctions on Russian companies and export controls on American firms. But what have the agencies that set the rules done to enforce them? For months after "NewsHour" exposed the allegations that Haas was violating those rules, the U.S. Treasury and the Department of Commerce wouldn't say whether they're investigating the company or planning to levy a fine. We reached out to Haas to inform the company that its equipment continued to be shipped to Russia via the Chinese intermediary company. They didn't agree to an interview, but said in an e-mail response that they had no records of sales to the entity and that any sales to Russia were being made by third parties, in contravention of Haas policy.

MAN: "If that company is selling genuine Haas parts, it does not appear to have acquired those parts from Haas. Haas voluntarily terminated its relationship with its sole distributor for Russia and Belarus, Abamet Management, on March 3, 2022. Haas has not conducted any sales or shipments of parts to Abamet or anyone else in Russia since that date."

SIMON OSTROVSKY: Haas has repeatedly told us it -- quote -- "voluntarily" stopped doing business in Russia last year after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but sectoral sanctions have been in place against the Russian arms industry since 2014. And Abamet sales of millions of dollars worth of Haas equipment to Russian defense firms between 2014 and 2022 plainly helped Moscow rearm ahead of its unprovoked aggression. WOMAN: H, my God. MAN: I don't need any of this. SIMON OSTROVSKY: Haas' past sales in Russia aren't the first time its dealings with the country have landed the company in hot water.

Haas owns America's only Formula 1 racing team,which was prominently featured in the popular Netflix series "Drive to Survive." Haas drew criticism for a sponsorship deal with Russian fertilizer giant Uralkali, whose owner, Dmitry Mazepin, is known to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The deal meant putting the Russian flag on Haas race cars and putting Mazepin's son Nikita in the driver's seat.

NIKITA MAZEPIN, Driver: You know what? Actually, everyone calls me Maz. MAN: Maz. NIKITA MAZEPIN: Yes. SIMON OSTROVSKY: Haas only canceled the sponsorship and fired Nikita Mazepin and after Russia's full-scale invasion last year, and both father and son were subsequently slapped with personal E.U. and U.K. sanctions. But officials at the Department of Commerce and the Treasury have yet to give any sign that they plan to go after American manufacturers that may have violated the sanctions regime on Russia, nor is there any sign that they plan to add Haas former distributor, Abamet, to their list of officially sanctioned entities.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Simon Ostrovsky in Kyiv. AMNA NAWAZ: Major studios and producers are sitting down today for the first time in three months with the Writers Guild of America. It's the first sign of any progress and possibly the first steps on the road to a deal. Jeffrey Brown has the latest on the standoff and the talks for arts and culture series, Canvas. JEFFREY BROWN: The strike by TV and film writers began before the summer. Then, last month SAG-AFTRA, the union representing actors, joined with their own strike after their contract negotiations broke down over similar issues.

The dual strikes have upended the industry, halting promotion of new movies and shows and shutting down most production. Jane Fonda is among those who have been out on the picket line. JANE FONDA, Actress: These unions coming together in solidarity is historically important.

Union solidarity forever. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) JEFFREY BROWN: The new talks will have to solve some major divides over streaming, revenues and compensation and the role of A.I. We get an update now from Matthew Belloni, entertainment journalist and founding partner of Puck News. He's also the host of the podcast "The Town."

Thanks for joining us, Matt. It's worth noting that, even before they sit down today, there was new mudslinging. But what brought the writers and producers back to the table? MATTHEW BELLONI, Puck News: I think, honestly, the pain has that has been inflicted on both sides over the past three months is really driving this. We're getting to mission critical right now, where some of these movies that are slated to come out next summer in the summer moviegoing season are in peril. The fall television season is basically on life support at this point. And these writers are also getting pretty desperate.

They are feeling the pinch of no work for three months. So I really do think that it's the overall collective pain of this three-month strike by the writers that is coming home to roost. And they're saying, let's at least see if there is a common ground to work on a settlement. JEFFREY BROWN: But it's interesting that it goes starting with the writers first, nothing with the actors. Where does that stand? And should this be seen perhaps as a new strategy by the producers to go to the writers first? MATTHEW BELLONI: The studio side has gone one by one with these guilds.

That has been the strategy from the beginning. They went first to the writers. They couldn't make a deal.

So they went on strike. Then they went to the directors. The directors did make a deal and did not strike. Then they went to the actors, and the actors then decided to strike.

So I think the length of term here, three months for the writers, is a factor in them going to them first. Also, the rhetoric on the actors side, especially from the president of SAG-AFTRA, Fran Drescher, has been really ratcheted up. And I think the studio side thought that they might have a better chance going to the writers first. JEFFREY BROWN: There's been a lot of focus on the actors and writers issues. What about the studios, the producers side? These are different kinds of media companies, traditional studios, as well as streamers. Do they all come with the same issues, with the same top things that they're after? And how together are they? MATTHEW BELLONI: That is a fascinating issue, and something that really distinguishes this strike from other labor impasses in Hollywood history, is that the major players on the studio side are companies that are traditional, like Disney and Warner Bros., but there are

also companies like Amazon and Apple and Netflix that are tech companies and have very different business interests. They are in selling subscriptions. That is their primary business in Hollywood, whereas the others have all these other businesses, like linear television, where their late-night shows are shut down.

They have theme parks where they're not going to have new product to promote the theme parks. So, the studio side is not an entirely coalesced coalition. They are negotiating together, and they're trying to put on the best face.

But, behind the scenes, there is a lot of debate amongst the members. JEFFREY BROWN: There is one interesting side activity here where there are some independent studios that are making films now because they're getting so-called waivers from the unions. Explain that. It's caused some tension, hasn't it? MATTHEW BELLONI: A little bit, yes. And just to clarify, these are not waivers.

They're what's called an interim agreement. And for certain productions that are not financed or distributed by these struck companies, the major studios and streamers, you can sign an interim agreement, which essentially says, we agree to everything that the guild is asking for. And that's a lot. That's double digit-rise in wages.

That's an agreement to share 2 percent of all your revenue on the content. You can sign that agreement and go into production a show or a movie. Now, whether the talent involved in those movies is willing to do so is a separate issue. We saw Viola Davis specifically back out of a movie that got an interim agreement, because she said she didn't feel it was appropriate to be working while her fellow actors or not. But there are others, almost 100 now, productions that have gotten these interim agreements and are able to shoot. JEFFREY BROWN: Even in recent days, we have seen some big-name actors come together to build -- help build a very large fund to help other actors in need.

Does that point to a level of solidarity that we expected? Does it point to a potential for a long strike? MATTHEW BELLONI: The level of solidarity in this strike has been pretty extraordinary, both on the writers' side and the actors' side. Basically, the writers were able to go to the picket lines around the country and say, no, you are not going to shoot this show. And most of the productions shut down. On the actor side, you're seeing an extraordinary level of solidarity, because the actors have not been on strike since 1980. So, this is new ground, especially in the social media era, where they're able to mobilize, and you have got these big stars that are under pressure from the guild and from social media to provide funds for the actors that are out of work. So it's not a surprise to me, that you're seeing this level of giving and solidarity.

JEFFREY BROWN: All right, we will keep watching. Matthew Belloni, thank you very much. MATTHEW BELLONI: Thank you. GEOFF BENNETT: The U.S. State Department this week launched a new effort to respond to global health crises and put lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic into action. The Bureau of Global Health Security and Diplomacy is aimed at better preventing, detecting and responding to existing and future health threats.

Its first leader is esteemed virologist Dr. John Nkengasong, ambassador at large for global health diplomacy, also the administration's global AIDS coordinator. I spoke with him earlier this week about his new role. Welcome to the "NewsHour."

DR. JOHN NKENGASONG, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator: Thank you. GEOFF BENNETT: So, in creating this new bureau, the State Department hopes to elevate the issue of global health in U.S. international policy.

How? How will this new bureau empower public health experts and diplomats to work more efficiently and more effectively? DR. JOHN NKENGASONG: No, thank you. The new bureau was launched today, as you rightly stated, by Secretary Blinken.

Let me start off by saying that this is a historic moment in our efforts to respond to global health threats, which we all learned from the COVID-19 pandemic that a threat anywhere in the world is a threat everywhere in the world. There are three things that the bureau, we strive to do. One is to elevate and lead with the United States' diplomacy, so that countries can work together in a coordinated, collaborative fashion to address any disease threat. Secondly is to elevate health security as part of our foreign policy. We have seen how devastating a disease that in 2019 was unknown in three short years killed 20 million people, disrupted economies in a way that was unimaginable and cost trillions and trillions of dollars. And, lastly, truly to coordinate our own efforts domestically, because we know that the United States is a global leader in the field of global health.

But those assets, if coordinated appropriately, in collaboration with partner countries, can actually be a tremendous tool in responding to disease outbreaks. GEOFF BENNETT: Drawing on your experience leading the agency that responded to public health crises across the continent of Africa known as Africa CDC, you confronted the early days of the Ebola crisis, the HIV/AIDS crisis, the COVID-19 crisis across the continent. What lessons did you learn in that experience that you hope to apply to your new role? DR.

JOHN NKENGASONG: The number one lesson that I learned during my stay at the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as the pioneering director, was that international cooperation matters, because when disease emerge, they move very quickly. I will give you an example. When COVID-19 was first recognized in Wuhan, it took only 20 days for 66 countries in the world to be affected, 20 days, 66 countries affected. It took only three years for 20 million people to die from that pandemic.

Now, the Africa CDC's role was to work at political level with the head of states, work at policy levels, work at technical level, and bring the whole continent together to cooperate and collaborate and coordinate their efforts as much as possible. That is lesson number one. When I made my remarks today at the launch of the bureau, I said, we need to lead with four C's, the ability to cooperate, collaborate, coordinate, and communicate.

The centrality for us to better respond to disease outbreaks and threats is to follow the leads with those four C's. GEOFF BENNETT: The launch of this new bureau comes at a time when funding could be imperiled for another critical U.S. global health imperative known as PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, established under former President George W. Bush back in 2003.

Right now, for the first time in the program's history, there are Republicans who are threatening the reauthorization because they say that PEPFAR is a vehicle for promoting abortion access, which is not true. It's objectively not true. That's prohibited by law.

But, still, this program has been caught up in the cultural wars. How do you see that? How do you respond to that? DR. JOHN NKENGASONG: First of all, I always like to lift the mirror and look at where we're coming from 20 years ago, the desperate phase of HIV/AIDS in the world. We saw in Africa, many countries in Africa, that the coffin market was thriving. We saw in -- hospitals after hospitals were full of people, human beings that were skeleton with a thin skin over their bodies.

Because of the United States' moral leadership and values, we stepped in, and it became a defining moment. We changed the narrative. We changed the ugly face of HIV/AIDS. And, today, 25 million lives have been saved; 5.5 million children have been born free of HIV/AIDS thanks to the commitment of the American people through the PEPFAR program, the U.S.

President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Our goal is to bring HIV/AIDS to an end by the year 2030 as a public health threat. And it is very feasible. This is not the time for us to relent on our leadership that the world has recognized, praised, and it reflects our values.

This is not the time for us to step back from those remarkable gains, which are very fragile. So I remain optimistic that the bipartisanship that characterized PEPFAR and has done so for 20 years will prevail, and PEPFAR will continue to be reauthorized for five years. GEOFF BENNETT: What's the key to that? I mean, what's the key to sustaining those gains and then convincing political leadership that the fight against HIV/AIDS across the globe is not over and that the U.S. and the

world, in fact, need to be prepared for the next outbreak? DR. JOHN NKENGASONG: Absolutely. First of all, we have to recognize that, thanks to our efforts through PEPFAR, about 20 million people in Africa are currently receiving lifesaving treatment. However, they have to receive those treatment every day. If you stop taking that treatment after a few weeks, the virus comes back. It becomes a threat to the individual, which means the 20 million people would subsequently die.

It becomes a threat to the community, because they will transmit the virus. And the systems, the infrastructure that we put in place through PEPFAR, is helping those partner countries, but it's helping us and protecting us, because, each time there's a disease outbreak out there, the PEPFAR infrastructure that we put in place is used frequently and often and immediately in responding to those disease threats so that they do not become a threat here in the United States. So, I think it's a critical moment that we finish the fight and we do not get complacent. GEOFF BENNETT: Dr. John Nkengasong is the new head of the Bureau of Global Health Security

and Diplomacy. It's great to have you here, sir. Few people have done as much to confront global health crises around the globe as you have. So it's a real privilege to speak with you. DR. JOHN NKENGASONG: Thank you.

Thank you so much. AMNA NAWAZ: The 2024 Republican presidential campaign season is in full swing, and candidates are stomping on a host of key issues, but one that's missing from their agenda, climate change. Despite a summer of record-setting heat, new polling shows that Republican voters still don't see a warming planet as a concern. As William Brangham reports, neither do the Republican candidates who want to lead them. CHUCK TODD, Moderator, "Meet The Press": Heat waves and wildfire.

MAN: A major heat wave. They will likely hit 100 degrees today or tomorrow. MAN: We're seeing Central Park today. Glowing orange isn't good. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: This summer, smoke from Canadian wildfires cast a dystopian yellow haze over U.S. cities.

The drought-stricken Colorado River forced seventh Southwestern states to consider drastic water cuts. A blistering heat wave punished millions of Americans. The disparate impacts of our warming world were impossible to miss.

But out on the campaign trail, Republican candidates are talking about everything but climate change. GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), Presidential Candidate: We're going to end the woke agenda. VIVEK RAMASWAMY (R), Presidential Candidate: An open border is not a border.

MIKE PENCE (R), Presidential Candidate: It's the worst inflation in 40 years. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The Republican silence on climate change is echoed in recent polling, which shows Republican voters also don't see it as a concern. In a new "PBS NewsHour"/NPR/Marist poll, while 56 percent of Americans think climate change is a major threat, only 28 percent of Republicans do. A third of Republicans say it's a minor threat.

And another third say it's no threat at all. LISA FRIEDMAN, The New York Times: To talk about climate change remains very difficult for a number of conservative lawmakers, who feel that their constituents are themselves either apathetic or antagonistic to it. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Lisa Friedman covers climate and environmental policy for The New York Times. She says this trend comes even as some Republican leaders have shifted to acknowledge the scientific consensus on what's driving climate change.

LISA FRIEDMAN: Overwhelmingly, Republican leadership acknowledges that climate change is happening, that it is driven, in their view, at least, in part by fossil fuels. The deep division is over what to do with it. MIKE PENCE: Well, let me just say that, clearly, the climate is changing, not as dramatically as the radical environmentalists like to present. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Most Republicans reject the single biggest way to cut the emissions that are driving climate change, to shift away from burning fossil fuels and transition to renewable power, like solar, wind, hydropower, and geothermal.

VIVEK RAMASWAMY: Fossil fuels are a requirement for human prosperity. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: What's more, many Republicans pledge to roll back the Biden administration signature climate initiative, the Inflation Reduction Act, which directs billions of dollars in subsidies and incentives to deploy those technologies. LISA FRIEDMAN: What you hear often from conservatives is that we can address climate change, we can address the emissions from fossil fuels without reducing the fossil fuels themselves.

That is not the way scientists see it. Scientists have said over and over again, that, in order to reduce emissions, we need to convert to renewable energy and reduce the burning of fossil fuels altogether. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The leading Republican in the race, former President Donald Trump, is also the most ardent denier of the reality of climate change.

DONALD TRUMP, Former President of the United States: The environmentalists talk about all this nonsense. LEAH STOKES, University of California, Santa Barbara: Donald Trump is a climate denier. He has consistently cast doubt on climate science. He says that it's a hoax. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Political scientists Leah Stokes researches energy and climate policy. LEAH STOKES: Under his administration, there was a massive gutting of bedrock environmental agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency, and rolling back hundreds of environmental regulations.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), Presidential Candidate: Hello, Iowa! WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Other leading Republicans, like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, have also dismissed the issue as an exaggerated left-wing talking point. GOV. RON DESANTIS: I have always rejected the politicization of the weather.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Florida often suffers from disasters that are made worse by climate change. Since 2020, 16 major storms have caused over $100 billion in damage to the state, sending insurance rates through the roof and some insurance companies out of state. Despite his rhetoric, DeSantis has implemented programs to address these disasters. LISA FRIEDMAN: On the ground, he has taken steps to protect Florida against stronger storms, against rising sea levels. I think what you're seeing is also common among many Republicans in areas deeply threatened by climate change, is a resistance to push on fossil fuels, but a very much of an openness and a willingness to address what we call adaptation, protecting areas against the consequences of climate change. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Critics argue a main reason why Republicans resist any limits on fossil fuels is campaign money.

According to the money tracking group Open Secrets, the top 20 oil, coal and gas donors gave out over $80 million in campaign contributions in the last two years. That money went almost exclusively to Republicans and conservative groups. LEAH STOKES: The problem is that the fossil fuel industry has increasingly bought and paid for huge swathes of Republican Party politicians, whether that's in Congress or in statehouses or sometimes in the White House. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: A conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, has drafted a detailed climate and energy plan called Project 2025 for the next Republican president. Its sweeping reforms would cut nearly all of the federal government's current climate work, blunt the use of renewable energy and cut current regulations on the fossil fuel industry. Mandy Gunasekara is with the Heritage Foundation and was formerly chief of staff at the Environmental Protection Agency during the Trump administration.

She helped write the section on the EPA. MANDY GUNASEKARA, Heritage Foundation: The Republican Party understands that climate change is a serious issue that needs to be addressed, now needs to be addressed through balanced regulations and investing in solutions that will actually make a difference. It should not be used as a means to justify expanded control of the federal government. LEAH STOKES: It's unconscionable. It would be like being in a global pandemic and deciding that the thing you needed to do was fire all of the doctors and nurses. That's basically what the conservative Republican plan is if they take the White House in 2025.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Across the globe, this July was the hottest month on record, yet another indicator of the increasingly harsh reality of present-day climate change. But the political schism in America over what to do about it continues. For the "PBS "NewsHour," I'm William Brangham. AMNA NAWAZ: For analysis on climate policy, as well as the latest indictment of former President Trump, we turn now to Brooks and Capehart. That is New York Times columnist David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart, associate editor for The Washington Post.

David, Jonathan, good to see you both. JONATHAN CAPEHART: Hi, Amna. DAVID BROOKS: Good to see you.

AMNA NAWAZ: All right. I wanted to revisit a quick look at William's report there, because one number really stuck out to me, and I want to get your take on it. When Americans are asked about whether or not climate change is a major threat, overall, about 56 percent say yes it is. But when you break it down into partisan lines here -- this is among Republicans -- only 28 percent think it's a major threat, 37 say it's a minor threat, 33 don't believe it's a threat at all.

David, there's a little bit of a chicken-and-egg argument here. Republican candidates aren't talking about it because people don't think it's a threat. But if they talked about it more, would people think it's a threat? DAVID BROOKS: I think so.

I'm old enough to go back to John McCain and Lindsey Graham 20 years ago, who supported -- who proposed a big climate change bill. Back then, you had Republicans and Democrats both with climate change proposals. Back then, there was about a 20-point gap between Democratic views of climate change and Republican. Now it's a 50-point gap. And so why is that? Well, one, everything's more polarized.

Two, Republicans are more manufacturing than they used to be. And, three, and I think most important, it's just become a sign of political machismo that whatever polite opinion -- if polite opinion says A, then we say Z. And so, drill, baby drill, is a way to offend the elites.

And the weird thing is that, if you look at a bunch of other numbers -- and I looked at some Pew data -- three-quarters of Americans support global climate change treaties, 69 think -- percent we should be carbon-neutral, 66 percent support government subsidies for wind and solar. So the Republicans who have taken this extreme position are not only, in my view, going against the science. They're going against pretty large majorities on a bunch of these subissues. AMNA NAWAZ: Well, Jonathan, this is grounded in science and data, right? But climate change has now taken on a political tenor. One of my first bosses said it's better to be effective than to be right. (LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: So, can you, can anyone, Republican leadership, find an effective way to convey that message to their electorate? JONATHAN CAPEHART: I don't know.

I mean, talk about chicken and egg, they're so worried about primary challenges and looking like they're bending to the woke crowd that they won't do things that are affecting their own constituents in real time. I don't remember -- and you stole my line, because I'm old enough to remember John McCain and Lindsey Graham being the Republicans leading -- helping to lead the charge and be serious about climate change. And yet, this summer, we have seen spectacular stories, and bad spectacular, the ocean off Florida above 100 degrees, heat domes over various parts of this country, but also Europe and Asia, the wildfires that are turning cities orange because of the smoke blowing from Canada, not to mention the wildfires burning from Portugal to Turkey because of the high temperatures. So, if the politicians don't think that it's something that needs to be addressed, there are people -- their own constituents are living through it right now. AMNA NAWAZ: A topic I'm sure we will return to. It may not be a big election issue, but we know Mr. Trump's ongoing legal issues will

certainly be a big issue in the next election. As we should remind viewers, he was indicted again on federal charges this week, this time for his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss. Today, online, he alleged those charges are what he calls election interference. He called them fake charges filed against him by the corrupt Biden DOJ. He says that they waited and waited until he became dominant in the polls. David, what strikes me is three indictments and 78 felony charges later, it seems like those indictments and charges are actually fueling his dominance.

DAVID BROOKS: Oh, for sure. When I look back at the political year, I think the Mar-a-Lago raid was a turning point, and that he's gotten stronger and stronger. And he's not only dominating the Republican field. He's stronger right now against Joe Biden than he was at any point in 2020.

So, his political fortunes have risen and risen. We still got to do this. I mean, the one thing that I'm impressed by about this current indictment is, first, it goes at the core threat here. Donald Trump does a lot of bad stuff, but the threat to democracy is the core threat. And so that puts this front and center. Second, this indictment rises organically from all the other indictments that have been brought against all the January 6 people.

So, they started with the foot soldiers. They moved up to the promise keepers, and now they're going to the top. But it's the same sorts of charges. It's very conventional, and it just flows organically from the indictments that have already been brought. So it seems reasonably legitimate to me.

Telling that to the mass public, who are cynical and distrustful, that, don't worry, most things are pretty fair in this town, that's not really a good story that a lot of people believe. It happens to be something I generally believe. AMNA NAWAZ: Jonathan, what do you make of that? JONATHAN CAPEHART: I agree with David on this, but also because this indictment, of the two others we have seen, and maybe the others that -- to come, is one that is easy to understand. But, also, the American people understand this because they witnessed it with their own eyes, even though insurrection is not part of the charge.

But they watched all the things happen in real time that led to this indictment. They have read the stories. They have read the tweets. They have seen the news accounts, however they're getting them. And this will be a trial. This will be a case that they will be able to follow in the same easy way that they did the January 6 hearings.

The only difference is that they won't be able to see them. AMNA NAWAZ: In terms of how it plays in the Republican field, we should note that there's only a minority of fellow Republican candidates who are saying that Mr. Trump shouldn't be running. Most of them are echoing his claims that there's been a weaponization of government, that this is a political witch-hunt. That includes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who just today in Iowa was asked about the charges and said he believes they're politically motivated.

David, it's worth noting his single biggest individual donor, a man named Robert Bigelow, who's donated some $20 million to Mr. DeSantis' super PAC, said today he's not going to give him any more money until he has more major donors and he moderates his message. Is that going to change Mr. DeSantis' path going forward? (LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: This guy Bigelow thinks he's going to moderate his message. Where's this guy been for the last three years? (LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: I mean, Ron DeSantis is doing the Ron DeSantis thing. He's chosen his strategy, which is to outflank Trump on the right.

It's not working, and none of the other candidates are particularly working. I really don't see a crack in the Republican primary phalanx that wants to support Donald Trump. And I do -- if your core story, which Donald Trump's core story, is that educated elites are out to get us, then these indictments fit into that story. And that's why it's helped him, essentially.

AMNA NAWAZ: But is that a message that helps his rivals in the primaries too? JONATHAN CAPEHART: No. No, if I'm understanding the question correctly. (LAUGHTER) JONATHAN CAPEHART: Because, I mean, Ron DeSantis is not going to beat Donald Trump, because if folks have to choose between Coke and New Coke, they're going to choose Coke. You're going to choose between Trump and Trump-lite, you're going to go with Trump.

That works in the Republican primary. And you can't try to beat Trump, and then think you're going to get the nomination, and then tack back to the middle. You're so far gone from the middle that there's no amount of tacking back to the middle that would make you palatable to the broad sweep of the American public, who find what particularly Ron DeSantis this has done in Florida to be objectionable.

AMNA NAWAZ: We talk about the impact all this has on the election in that context, but, even broader than that, the impact this language about the weaponization of government is having on our democracy. There's a striking number I have to ask you about from our recent poll. Americans were asked about their overall confidence in the FBI. It is now at an all-time low. Among Democrats, it's actually gone up four points. This is since back in 2018.

Among independents, it's down 12 points. Among Republicans, David, it has tanked a whopping 24 points. And you have noted before this is part of a larger point. But when you look at that, doesn't that number worry you? DAVID BROOKS: Yes, well, to me, the number one most important statistic in my life covering this stuff has been, two generations ago, you asked people, do you trust government to do the right thing most of the time, and 75 percent said yes.

And now, what is it, 12 percent 19 percent? It bounces around, but it's phenomenally low. And so imagine walking around the city where I live in Washington, D.C., looking at all -- what I think of as glorious and inspiring buildings and thinking, that's full of monsters, all that's illegitimate, it's all a fraud. To me, I can't even imagine that mind-set, to be honest.

But it is a mind-set that a lot of people have and, frankly, because of things that have happened over the last 30 or 40 years, a lot of people feel is justified. It probably is justified because of the failures of a lot of things that have happened in this country over that time. AMNA NAWAZ: You agree with that, Jonathan? JONATHAN CAPEHART: I get that. But it also is the result of people who know better not acting better and not speaking better, knowing full well that what's being said about the FBI, what's being said about government, what's being said about innocent people is wrong, and not standing up to it and saying, no -- at the time, no, President Trump, that is not true, no, President Trump, you should not do that, and standing up, as leaders in the Republican Party, but also leaders of this country, and saying, this is not right, this is not correct, this is not who we are as a party, and this is not who we are as a nation. If someone with the moral courage to do that had done that, we would be, I think, in a much stronger position than we are now. DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I know some people in the FBI.

I can tell you they are not left-wing, pointy-headed intellectuals. (LAUGHTER) DAVID BROOKS: They are like tough Americans, tough, smart Americans. And so some Republicans should be able to say, actually, these people are pretty impressive. AMNA NAWAZ: Do you see that happening, in 20 seconds we have left? DAVID BROOKS: Oh, heck no.

(LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: On that note, David Brooks, Jonathan Capehart, always good to see you both. Thank you so much. Have a good weekend.

JONATHAN CAPEHART: You too, Amna. GEOFF BENNETT: Don't forget to watch our own John Yang moderate a panel of journalists on "Washington Week" tonight here on PBS. They will have more on this week's historic federal indictment of former President Donald Trump. And on "PBS News Weekend": Twelve years after a tsunami sent Fukushima's nuclear power plant into meltdown, Japan plans to release more than a million tons of wastewater from that damaged facility. NARRATOR: Haruo Ono's younger brother was out at sea when the tsunami struck and lost his life.

He's worked hard to rebuild his livelihood since, but he fears that Fukushima will be paying the price for years to come. HARUO ONO, Fisherman (through translator): It's a lifelong problem. This is our children's problem. This is our grandchildren's problem. It will affect everyone.

Who can say with certainty that this will be fine? GEOFF BENNETT: That's tomorrow on "PBS News Weekend." And that is the "NewsHour" for tonight. I'm Geoff Bennett. AMNA NAWAZ: And I'm Amna Nawaz.

On behalf of the entire "NewsHour" team, thank you for joining us, and have a great weekend.

2023-08-06 16:24

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