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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  January 13, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> inskeep: and i'm steve inskeep. >> woodruff: on the newshour tonight, dividing lines. we examine how some of the president-elect's cabinet picks >> inskeep: also ahead, president obama leaves office in a week, and we examine his legacy in the middle east. >> woodruff: and, it's friday. mark shields and david brooks are here to analyze the week's news. >> inskeep: plus, the director of "patriots day" tries to make a movie about the boston marathon bombing, the right way. making sure that we understand that these acts of terrorism don't achieve what the terrorists think they're going to achieve. they don't destroy us, they don't break us apart. >> woodruff: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour.
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>> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> xq institute.
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>> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: president-elect
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donald trump today renewed his efforts to discredit reports that russia has compromising information on him. on twitter, he said it's all "totally made-up facts by sleazebag political operatives." and, he said, they were "probably released by 'intelligence' agencies." and there were new questions about contacts between michael flynn, mr. trump's incoming national security adviser, and russia's ambassador to the u.s. we will delve into that, after the news summary. >> inskeep: that was part of a busy morning for the president- elect on twitter. he also said his onetime opponent hillary clinton was "guilty as hell" and that the f.b.i. was "very nice to her". f.b.i. director james comey made public statements about his investigation of clinton's emails during the campaign-- acts that an inspector general is now examining. >> woodruff: the u.s. justice department charged today that chicago's police have been violating people's rights for years. the federal agency found widespread use of excessive force and racial bias against blacks and latinos.
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u.s. attorney general loretta lynch announced the assessment in chicago after a year-long probe. >> our investigation found that this pattern of practice is in no small part the result of severely deficient training procedures and accountability systems. it does not adequately review "use of force" incidents to determine whether force was appropriate or lawful, or whether the use of force could have been avoided altogether. >> woodruff: chicago mayor rahm emanuel called the findings "sobering" and pledged new reforms. >> inskeep: u.s. marines may finally get help after drinking tainted water at camp lejeune. the case goes back to the 1980s at the famous training base in north carolina. testing found contamination from fuel tanks and a dry cleaner. hundreds of thousands of people passed through that base, and some developed diseases like leukemia, liver cancer, and parkinson's disease. the department of veterans affairs says it will pay up to $2.2 billion. >> woodruff: the japanese company takata will plead guilty
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in a federal investigation of its air-bag inflators, and pay $1 billion in fines and restitution. federal prosecutors announced the plea deal in detroit. and, they said three former takata executives have been indicted for a cover-up, going back to 2000. >> they signed and submitted false reports of test data to their customers, and directed engineers to falsify and manipulate data. even after the inflators began to fail in the field and injuries and deaths were occuring, these takata executives continued to withhold the true data from its customers. >> woodruff: the defective inflators can explode with too much force. they are blamed for 16 deaths and 180 injuries worldwide. >> inskeep: today, the house followed the senate in setting the stage for repealing obamacare. lawmakers approved a rule, which allows big parts of the law to be removed with a simple majority in the senate. the republican majority still has not agreed on their long-
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promised replacement for the program, which provides health insurance for millions. >> woodruff: and wall street had a fairly quiet friday the 13th. the dow jones industrial average lost five points to close at 19,885. the nasdaq rose 26, and the s&p 500 added four. still to come on the newshour: how eight years of obama's foreign policy shaped the middle east; mark shields and david brooks on the week's news; mark wahlberg's new film, recounting the horror and courage displayed in the boston marathon bombing, and much more. >> inskeep: when president-elect trump is inaugurated next week, he inherits enormous power. during confirmation hearings for his cabinet secretaries this week, u.s. senators have taken steps to limit that power. they pressed the president- elect's cabinet nominees to admit climate change is real, or that russia is a threat, or that
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torture is illegal. it's still considered unlikely that the senate will reject his nominees, but senators are setting terms of employment for the administration ahead. the terms are often different than what mr. trump proposed while campaigning. >> torture works. torture works, okay, folks? waterboarding is your minor form. >> inskeep: that's what the candidate said in early 2016. in early 2017, a democratic senator asked jeff sessions, the nominee for attorney general, if torture is legal. >> congress has taken an action now that makes it absolutely improper and illegal to use waterboarding or any other form of torture in the united states, by our military and by all our other departments and agencies. >> inskeep: sessions effectively committed himself to telling the president, the u.s. can't do that. elaine kamarck has written a book on the presidency. >> this is the u.s. senate
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reminding president-elect trump, that there is a constitution and that the constitution has divided powers in it, and we are a government of laws, not men. >> inskeep: a president can override the attorney general, but it can be politically costly. in 1973, richard nixon's attorney general resigned rather than follow his orders during watergate. in 2004, george w. bush's attorney general, john ashcroft, rejected a secret wiretapping program. this week, senators are asking nominees if they're ready to push back against the president's promises. the president-elect scorns the iran nuclear deal. >> never, never, ever, in my life, have i seen any transaction so incompetently negotiated as our deal with iran. >> inskeep: his choice for defense secretary, james mattis, was skeptical too, but told senators he favors keeping it.
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>> sir, i think it is an imperfect arms control agreement. it's not a friendship treaty. but when america gives her word, we have to live up to it and work with our allies. >> inskeep: some of the same allies work with the u.s. on climate change. >> we're going to cancel the paris climate agreement and and stop all payments of the united states tax dollars to u.n. global warming programs. >> inskeep: rex tillerson, the choice for secretary of state, said he'd rather not walk away from this issue. >> i think it's important that the united states maintain its seat at the table, on the conversations around, how to address threats of climate change, which do require a global response. no one country is going to solve this alone. >> inskeep: this afternoon, the president-elect said he's not concerned about these different views. >> i said, i want you to be yourselves. be yourselves, say what you want to say. don't worry about me. >> inskeep: but paul light, who studies presidential transitions, has rarely seen so much daylight between a chief
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executive and his nominees. >> they are setting themselves up for scrutiny-- remove the person or change his policy. >> inskeep: the senate hearings have also reflected some senators' anxieties about this president. >> congressman, during the campaign, the president-elect essentially laid out something that looks to me like outsourcing surveillance. >> inskeep: consider the hearing for congressman mike pompeo, now the nominee to run the c.i.a. oregon's ron wyden asked if the new president might receive surveillance information on americans, gathered by russia. >> it is not lawful to outsource that which we cannot do under the agency, cannot do under its laws.
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>> but that's not the question. you can't request the information from a foreign government, i understand that. if it's provided to you, especially since it's being encouraged. >> senator, my understanding is that the same set of rules that surround the information if it were collected by the u.s. government, apply to information that becomes available as a result of collection from non-u.s. sources as well. >> inskeep: scholar elaine kamarck, a democrat who's been critical of the president-elect, ended this week of hearings feeling better. >> i think the nominees, in their disagreement, what they are saying, almost uniformly, is: we will abide by the law of the land. that's pretty good. now, if, down the road, the congress wants to change the law of the land, well, we elected them and that is what we got. >> inskeep: the nominees do not differ from the president on everything. elaine chao, the choice for
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transportation secretary, said she will support the president- elect's plan to buy american: >> it is his policy, and of course all cabinet members will follow his policy. >> inskeep: --even though chao once wrote that it was like "digging a moat around america." there will be only one president of the united states, and his name will be trump. >> inskeep: by the way, both the house and senate have passed the waiver for general mattis to serve as secretary of defense. it awaits the president's signature. now, as we heard, russia has loomed over this week of hearings. columnist david ignatius has been compiling unanswered questions about each of the players. he is at "the washington post." what's the question on your mind about trump? >> well, we had a week in which trump not surprisingly pushed back unsubstantiated allegations that were made. what we need to know and the russian hacking effort is was there any connection, what's true and what isn't.
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trump is right to say we shouldn't listen to fake news or rumor. we need an investigation in congress and i think also by the f.b.i. to establish what is true and not. >> inskeep: about what connections between staff and contacts with russia? >> i read something saying trump's choice for national security advisor general michael flynn had been in contact with the russian ambassador around the time, said on the day of but i think it was the day before -- the announcement of sanctions against russia, expulsion of 35 diplomats. the trump campaign today confirmed that, yes, indeed, there had been a conversation between flynn and the ambassador, the day sanctions were on the way. the question is was it probate to be talking about future policies, future conversations
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between trump and putin on the day that the obama administration was trying to impose sanctions. >> inskeep: because you can't have two presidents at the same time and president obama is still the president at this moment. >> precise. >> inskeep: you also have a question about president obama. >> there is a question. the more we know about russian hacking, we legitimately ask why didn't president obama do more to stop it? now we realize months in which the f.b.i., our intelligence agencies were looking at this threat, why didn't the administration take stronger steps? i think the administration is the white house was genuinely worried if it took steps it might escalate into much sharper russian action that could actually disrupt the election, even the process of counting votes on election day. >> inskeep: an what's your question about russia? >> well, i tried in my last question to think the way a sowrnt intelligence an -- a counterintelligence analyst at
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the c.i.a. would think looking at the kind of evidence. is it possible the russians wanted this information to come out, wanted the unsubstantiated slaycious information and the dossier compiled by a former british intelligence officer to come out? is the real goal of russia all along to destabilize the american environment, the american political system? i think you knead to look at every piece with the most skeptical eye. >> inskeep: who would you trust, david ignatius, to answer those questions? >> well, we have institutions. that's what our system is about, i would trust congress, a bipartisan select committee of the house and senate, i would certainly trust our law enforcement agencies. we have experienced u.s. attorneys, we have f.b.i. investigators, we have intelligence officers. i think they ought to do this, they ought to do it in their own time, in secret. it's not something to be hashed out in the press every day, but
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i do think we need answers, we need to know what's true and isn't i david ignatius at "the washington post," thank you very much. >> thank you. >> inskeep: >> inskeep: and just moments ago, the trump transition team said that incoming national security advisor michael flynn also spoke with the russian ambassador on december 29, the day the new sanctions were announced. >> woodruff: president obama came into office with a desire to wind down america's wars overseas and step up the focus at home, but events had a way of intervening, especially in the middle east. tonight, we take stock of the president's record in that volatile region. margaret warner begins our look. >> reporter: shortly after taking office, president obama traveled to egypt to address the islamic world. >> i've come here to cairo to
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seek a new beginning between the united states and muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect. >> reporter: yet eight years later, the broader middle east is a far more volatile place than it was. scholar vali nasr joined the administration to deal with afghanistan and pakistan. he's now dean of the johns hopkins school of advanced international studies. >> i think president obama came to office with quite fundamental understandings in his mind about what's possible and what's not possible in the middle east. the first, i would say revolutionary breakthrough that he introduced, is that the middle east does not matter to american strategy as much as we think. >> reporter: that view colored the president's approach to making good on two campaign promises: ending the u.s. war in iraq, and investing more military resources to afghanistan, where the taliban
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was regaining ground. in afghanistan, the military reportedly wanted up to 80,000 more troops, on top of the tens of thousands already there, for an iraq-like counter-insurgency campaign. the president ordered a review of the entire approach. michele flournoy was the undersecretary for policy at the defense department. >> there was a tug-of-war between people who had very ambitious transformational goals in afghanistan, and those who argued for what was sort of a good-enough solution for afghanistan and for achieving our limited objectives. >> reporter: did the president come to that, as it was known, afghan good-enough objective? >> yes, i think he did. >> reporter: in december 2009, mr. obama announced 30,000 more u.s. troops for afghanistan-- and pledged, they'd start coming home after 18 months.
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nasr believes afghanistan marked a "pivot point" for him. >> president obama started by accepting the military's counter-insurgency, but came out of afghanistan having decided that counter-insurgency actually doesn't work. >> reporter: instead, the u.s. turned to counter-terrorism, relying more on drones and special forces to target terrorists. in may 2011, that strategy produced a fateful raid on a compound in abbottabad, pakistan. >> the united states has conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda. >> reporter: to fulfill a second campaign promise, the president moved briskly to withdraw u.s. forces from iraq, ending the u.s. combat mission in 2010. negotiations to leave even a residual force foundered, in a dispute with iraqi prime minister nouri al-maliki. >> when we removed our forces, we lost our ability to reassure maliki, to influence maliki, and absent that reassurance, he took
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a very hard turn towards sectarianism. >> reporter: in early 2011, the "arab spring" exploded. one of the first targets was a longtime u.s. ally, egyptian president hosni mubarak. after failing to persuade mubarak to plan his own exit, mr. obama spoke: >> an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now. >> reporter: derek chollet was a top official in both the state and defense departments under president obama. >> the calculation was, if mubarak's going to go anyway, what position are we going to put ourselves into, to have any influence in a post-mubarak egypt? >> reporter: in syria, peaceful protests against president bashar al assad exploded into a full-blown civil war. in august, mr. obama said it was time for assad to step aside. but, he resisted giving mainstream rebels the weapons they needed. derek chollet said the chaos
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that followed the limited u.s. intervention in libya's uprising affected the president's approach to syria. >> the initial conversation was about who was the syrian opposition? how can we be sure that the capabilities we provide them don't end up in the wrong hands? >> reporter: that gave the upper hand to assad's forces, and islamist fighters. in 2012, asked what could prompt u.s. action in syria, the president issued a now-infamous warning. >> a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. >> reporter: one year later, assad's forces killed 1,400 people in a chemical weapons attack on a damascus suburb. plans were set for the u.s. and french to strike. but suddenly, president obama announced he would seek congressional approval first. >> while i believe i have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, i know that the country will be
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stronger if we take this course. >> reporter: with no action by congress, secretary of state john kerry worked with russia, pressuring assad to surrender the chemical weapons stockpile. michele flournoy said the move shook u.s. credibility in the minds of some allies. >> i personally had allies from asia on my doorstep the next day, asking what syria and the red line meant for our guarantees to them. >> reporter: this week, kerry heatedly defended the choice. >> would it have been better to bomb them for two days and not get all the weapons out, and today those weapons would be in the hands of isil? >> reporter: kerry spent two years with his russian counterpart, lavrov, trying to get assad and the rebels to a political settlement. then, 16 months ago, russia launched heavy airstrikes in syria to shore up assad. and last month, with up to half a million dead, and a refugee crisis swamping europe, the u.s. was on the sidelines as russia
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and turkey negotiated a fragile cease-fire. all this conflict also generated a new threat: the islamic state. in 2013, remnants of the once- defeated al qaeda in iraq moved into ungoverned territory in syria. they declared the syrian city of raqqa as their capital, then swept back into iraq, capturing swaths of sunni territory. in january 2014, president obama dismissed isis as a "j.v. basketball team." but after isis took iraq's second largest city, mosul, and threatened iraqi kurdistan, the u.s. began air strikes. the bombing campaign soon expanded into syria. >> i can announce that america will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. >> reporter: he would later add u.s. special forces, trainers and some troops in iraq and syria, where they remain today. one goal president obama fulfilled was to sideline iran's
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progress towards a nuclear weapon. two years of negotiations among iran, the u.s. and other world powers produced a deal in 2015. mr. obama struck the deal over strong objections from israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu, adding to tensions between the two over other issues. brookings institution scholar shadi hamid credits mr. obama for the iran deal, but says: >> i don't remember ever hearing a real, live arab say that iran's nuclear program was their number one concern or priority. >> reporter: he also believes the apparent trade-off-- making the u.s. reluctant to enter the fray in syria where iran was helping assad-- wasn't worth it. >> in the middle east, we've learned everything is interconnected, and if we do one thing in one area, it can come at the cost of something else. >> reporter: one week from today, dealing with that web of conflicts will fall to a new
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commander in chief. for the pbs newshour, i'm margaret warner. >> woodruff: for more on this part of the president's foreign policy legacy, we turn to three guests with deep experience managing national security policy, and in some cases, fighting the united states' wars. retired general david petraeus commanded american forces in iraq, in afghanistan, and for the entire middle east. he also served as president obama's director of the c.i.a., a post from which he was forced to resign in 2012. ambassador eric edelman served in a variety of senior positions at the departments of state and defense as well as the white house, and was a national security aide for vice president dick cheney. and, phillip gordon. he served in the state department under president clinton and obama, and served as the senior-most official responsible for the middle east on mr. obama's national security staff from 2013-2015. gentlemen, we welcome all three of you to the program. it's a complicated region, a lot
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to cover, but let's focus on three countries. general petraeus, iraq, how do you size up the legacy of this president, president obama in iraq? >> i think it's mixed. certainly the developments of the last couple of years when we have responded to the actions by the islamic state has gathered a considerable amount of momentum and actually taken back from the islamic state all but one of the major cities which is likely to fall in the weeks or months ahead. but prior to that, of course, there was a pulling out of our forces, various explanations for that and, if we would have been able to keep them, whether that would have prevented the ruinous course maliki pursued and planted the seeds of extremism that the islamic state exploid before drifting into syria and gaining lots of power in that civil war. >> woodruff: ambassador
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edelman, how do you see the president's legacy in iraq? >> largely as a lost opportunity, when general petraeus and our mutual league ryan crocker negotiated the agreement in 2008, i think all of us anticipated there would be a residual u.s. force staying after december 31, 2011, and i think we would have had more influence, we would have been better able to help prevent the rise of i.s.i.s. had we kept a residual force there. >> woodruff: and was that a mistake? >> well i think you have to remember the situation at the time. on balance would it have been nice to have a residual force, yes. it also was the case the iraqis very much wanted us to leave. the bush administration agreed we would leave by 2011, u.s. forces shall leave the country, and obama was present the situation where the iraqis asked us to leave. the u.s. public not wanting to say, the force giving us the
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leave with forces to stay. so you can't just have president obama coming in and saying we're staying whether you like it or not. one, it's a moot point that it would have been nice because itt wasn't possible. i would have rather seen forces, that even a ricies yule 1,000, 5,000 force would have been able to stop the friends trends going on, the rise of i.s.i.s. emerging from syria and other things, yes, it would have been nice but -- >> one of the paradoxes now is that we now have nearly 6,000 troops on the ground. >ground. >> woodruff: in iraq. and not a parliamentary agreed status for forces. one to have the terrible ironies of a country that has suffered so much. >> general petraeus made the point i was going to make. i think we could have made a more serious effort with the
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iraqis. i think they detected what philip was talking about, which is the president really didn't have his heart in it and that the american people were tired of aling and difficult war. >> woodruff: let's turn to afghanistan, philand phil gordo. how do you size up what the president has done in afghanistan? >> an iraq general petraeus said mixed, mixed will probably be the answer for a lot of the questions and in afghanistan that probably is the right assessment there as well. it can't be better than mixed because afghanistan is hugely dysfunctional. the taliban is there. when the president decided to surge, he wanted to surge and deal with the threat and get out and get out completely. well, the government is still dysfunctional and fractured, the taliban is there and we're not able to get out completely. so it's not positive for all of those reasons, but it's also not terrible because we have achieved the minimal, which is keeping the government in kabul
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in place and depending off the taliban. >> woodruff: general petraeus. if you remember the reason we went to afghanistan and stayed is to ensure that afghanistan is not once again a sanctuary for al quaida or other transnational extremists the way it was when the 9/11 attacks were planned and the initial turning of attacks was conducted there. we have accomplished that mission to date. yes we have had to keep 10,000 forces on the ground. that was not the president's plan. i think we should give them the credit of backing off the plan of pulling them all out which would have unhinged the country and give some credit to the afghans as well that they are very much shouldering the burden of fighting and in many cases dying for their country, but it is a challenged, difficult country and has been throughout history. >> woodruff: ambassador edelman, afghanistan. >> i largely gray with what both phillip and general petraeus has said. i would say i think the president's decision to set a
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timeline at the outset of the surge -- >> woodruff: publicly. -- publicly created difficulties that made it, i think, a harder row to hoe for general petraeus and, jr. alan and others -- general alan and others who succeeded them. i give the president credit fort insisting on a complete withdrawal during his time in office, but i think the new need to keep in we went there to begin with is not to allow it to be kind of petri dish for an islamic state system that continues to seek to harm the united states. >> and i hope there will be a modest sustainable strategy -- >> woodruff: in the next administration? >> yes. >> woodruff: general petraeus, you told us syria, the last place i want to ask you all about, is a place in which
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history is going to judge this administration most harshly. why? >> well, i think what's happened in syria is we have had rhetoric that has not, in the end, been backed up by resources and commitment. bashar must go. a red line discussion of what a humanitarian catastrophe it was, and at the end of the day, we haven't made the very difficult -- and again there are no easy choices about syria. i was at the never guarantees -- but we given us a chance in some of these cases, and where you're pretty certain that if there was not a decision or not sufficient resources, that it was not going to succeed in the way that we defined success at >> woodruff: phil gordon, why was president obama right not to retaliate, do something in a military nature after president
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assad crossed that red line? >> well, i actually think he should have done something of a military nature after he crossed that red line. that was about chemical weapons. he said if they used chemical weapons he would respond. but i don't think we should confuse that with the broader question of using military force to achieve our broader goals in syria like getting rid of the assad regime, and there if your question is why was he right, i think people should be very careful not to assume there was some modest use of military force that would have achieved the objective of getting rid of the regime and putting moderates in charge of a stable syria. in that sense i think general petraeus is right that there was a gap between the rhetoric, the ends and means, but the critique that somehow if only the president had given more arms to the opposition or set up a "no fly" zone that gap would have been closed, i disagree with. >> woodruff: ambassador. the administration's argument for inaction in syria is doing some of the things phillip
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suggested would lead to greater violence, more extremism, greater radicalization and a worse humanitarian situation in syria. however, there are consequences to inaction as well and the inaction that we saw i think has led to a catastrophic situation, half a million people killed, eleven million people displaced, a migration crisis that is overwhelming the institutions of europe, our closest allies, and i agree with general petraeus, i think in retrospect when people judge this administration, it will be seen as the biggest stain on this administration's record. >> i think that surmt of the consequences of inaction is fair and accurate. no one involved with this policy would disagree that the consequences of the road traveled were poor, but, again, we have to be careful not to assume that the alternative course of action, using military force, for example, would have had led to a better set of circumstances. it would be different
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circumstances. >> i do think we have to be a little careful not to say it was either this or either that, that it was either all-out military action to get rid of bashar or nothing. i do think there were alternatives as have been discussed by the participants. again, no guarantee that they would have succeeded, but it's hard to imagine the situation could be worse than it is right now. >> woodruff: we know we will be debating all three of these places we've talked about just now and the rest of that part of the world for a long time to come. for now we thank all of you for being here, general petraeus, ambassador edelman, phillip gordon, thank you. >> woodruff: now, to the analysis of shields and brooks. that is syndicated columnist mark shields, and "new york times" columnist david brooks. and welcome to you both.
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there is so much to talk about, but let's start with talking about the president-elect and russia. we had the news today on top of all the confirmation that the russians interfeeshed in the u.s. election and we talked about it on the show that general flynn had phone conversations with the russian ambassador in december, several of them. tonight we're learning the senate intelligence committee will expand what was already an investigation into the russian interference into the election to look at any contacts between the trump campaign and the russians and the clinton campaign though the main focus is donald trump. what do we make of this? >> i was struck by david ignatius' statement that they might trying to be destabilize the united states across the board. that's a possibility. putin who has been undermining the norms of what we consider the world order since he got into power and increasing success. what's interesting about the trump administration is how bitterly they are divided in their attitudes towards putin. steve bannon and general flynn
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have warm feelings. putin has been -- and with a lot of the conservative groups, the more extreme conservative groups that underlie trump, he's a bit of a hero because he speaks for traditional values, against global institutions, been on the defensive from an aggressive e.u. and n.a.t.o., and there is sympathy there. the more established republicans see him as a person for world order. the question is will trump and bannon control foreign policy or will everyone else basically? my money is on everyone else because i think trump's attention span is super low. i don't think he has the the expertise to actually run a foreign policy. at the end of the day, and i think it's the major story of the trump administration, he's going to want the affirmation of the establishment. the reason he had the clintons at his wedding he wants the affirmation and i think he will bend if that direction.
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>> woodruff: how do you look at it. >> donald trump is to traditional values as what i am to marathon running. it just doesn't fit, judy. i am perplexed as are a number of republicans perplexed and nervous about donald trump and russia, nervous in a sense that he is gratuitously giving democrats the national security advantage, that standing up to the country, we have testimony of general mattis, the nominee for secretary of defense, asserting that the objective, the stated objective and the mission of vladimir putin's russia is to destabilize the north atlantic alliance, and he who believes in n.a.t.o. and believes it's been one of the great alliances in modern history, that putin represents a threat to this, that russia today is nothing but a propaganda arm, that general flynn went to celebrate its
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anniversary, sitting at putin's table for money, paid to show up. so, i mean, these questions, they're just giving it to the democrats to stand up and say, wait a minute, what do you believe about this country including the suspicions involving russia and this election. the moment of truth will arrive shortly, a couple of weeks when sanctions arrive on president trump's desk passed by a republican congress. will he oppose the sanctions? what's he going to do? it's inexplicable and irrational his policy. >> i would say it's a theory. he has a theory of it, which is the theory of the ukip in the united kingdom, the theory of franch that the global establishment has failed people, and all around the world, a global moving hpv movement is
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arising that's against these institutions that fail people and that's part of the movement. it's the theory, i don't think it's true, but they have a theory. >> woodruff: david's argument a moment ago is the establishment will win out because donald trump, he said, just can't organize a foreign policy. >> i don't know. that, of course -- you know, the white house, as warren harding said, i think accurately, is an alchemist. we find out the strengths, weaknesses and the smartness of people under the presidency. i was encouraged by the eelection of general mattis, by the nomination of him and command of subject matter he displayed and his independence, independence of thought and, so -- >> woodruff: and we saw that from several of the -- >> we did. >> woodruff: -- choices. less convincing from some others. mike pompeo who had been an
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advocate of waterboarding as a house member, said donald trump would never, but on the strump donald trump was a champion of water boarding. >> woodruff: david, you saw a number of the cabinet choices and you referred to putting distance between them. >> it was a good tweak for the country and the trump administration. a lot of us expected extremely confrontational hearings and that didn't happen. they sailed through by and large and that's because they distanced themselves. they behaved responsibly, even tillerson who is probably the weakest because h he doesn't knw that much about fb, but in private meetings with the senators, he made a good impression, he's an intelligent and polished man. and, so -- i hate to praise
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trump so much, but i've always wanted administrations to admit, yes, we have differences. there's always been this lock uniformity, oh, we all think alike and if we disagree it's somehow a scandal. but, yeah, people have differences and donald trump did not emerge from the orthodoxy republican party and there will be bigger differences than normal and if they could have the differences in the open it would be a good thing. >> woodruff: he tweeted it was a good thing if they spoke for themselves. back on russia, mark, the civil rights icon congressman john lewis of georgia in an interview today with chuck todd at nbc said he doesn't view donald trump as a legitimate president, he said, because the russians interfered with the u.s. election. he said the results don't represent legitimacy. >> it's a legitimate argument that russia's involvement in our election, it's open to question whether it was, in fact,
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influential, the fact they were involved and tried to influence and subvert our democratic processes. >> woodruff: you're saying it's not settled? >> i think there is a sense of irony and perhaps payback in the fact john lewis, a certified icon to have the civil rights movement, questions the legitimacy of the man who questioned the legitimacy and led the fight falsely, unfairly and repeatedly, questioned the legitimacy of barack obama as president. there is perhaps a little sense of getting even here. >> whatever happened to when they go low we go high? if you're going to question the legitimacy you better have evidence, and john lewis is obviously a hero, but the bias when we have an election result has to be the election results is legitimate and whatever the russians did it didn't probably affect the outcome. if we have evidence to counter that, then you can say it's legit mas, but the bias has
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always to be to respect the process, the voters and to assume if they make a call some deference has to be paid unless there is evidence and as i understand it john lewis and none of us know whether it had any huge determining effect. >> woodruff: two other things. the first, what donald trump said this week about his business interests. he said he's basically turning everything over to his sons, that it will be a kind of a blind trust. did he go far enough? >> of course he didn't, judy. he said after eight years he'll grade his sons and if they didn't perform well, they're fired, sort of an offhand line but showing he did have a continuing interest. there's never been a accepts of public service about this man, and i don't think there is in this alleged arrangement. it's anything but a behind trust, it's a seeing-eye trust. >> if it's a blind trust -- it's a blind trust, i'm giving it to
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my closest relatives. >> woodruff: he said he's not going to talk to them about it. >> yeah, right. he has a different model. the way laws are envisioned are for people who work in the private sector, cut it offer and go to public service. that's how you're supposed to do it. but his business is a monarchy with family members all around, his administration is a monarchy with family members all around, so the laws are just not going to apply to him and he'll wind up with corruption problems, probably. >> woodruff: last question, about the man donald trump is succeeding as president, mark, president obama, gave a farewell address if his hometown of chicago this week, a call of citizens to pick up their clip boards, he said, and get involved. >> and get out of one of their bubbles. we have become bubbles as david pointed out in our neighborhoods, places of
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worship, campuses, our occupations. and the venue just amazed me, why he would do a speech of this seriousness and importance in a crowd of 18,000. i understand chicago and all the rest of it, but it is a reminder that the difference today from eight years ago, the sense of hope and pride in the nation and unrealistic hope in perhaps unrealistic self-congratulations on his election, but he leaves close to 60% approval at a time when the confidence in public institutions is at its lowest, and private institutions. so he is a major figure going forward. he's 15 years younger than the man who succeeds him, and he promises to be engaged far more than going to write his book or just go into a paint lesson. >> woodruff: what did he leave you with? >> i think we saw in the speech
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an outstanding man and he leaves his presidency with the respect of almost everybody as a human being. i think he'll get high remarks for the handling of the financial crisis, the auto bailout. we're in much better shape than we were. i think his foreign policy will be regarded with more failure than success because of reasons we mentioned earlier. but to have spent most time on obamacare cost them their majorities but also a bit of a cost to the country because it didn't address the fundamental issues that led to donald trump and unhappiness, just the continued widening in inequality. >> woodruff: inequality. income inequality, social inequality, the things that shaped this whole election year, it is a fact that this sense of fragmentation and segmentation happened and were exacerbated under president obama. >> woodruff: he has seven more days in office.
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we thank you. david brooks, mark shields. >> thank you, judy. >> inskeep: finally tonight, a new movie navigates tricky terrain, revisiting recent, and painful, history. here's jeffrey brown. >> reporter: it's a moment still painfully fresh for many americans: april 2013, the boston marathon, with some 30,000 runners taking to the streets for the 26.2-mile race. when, suddenly, everything changed. ( explosion ) an explosion at the finish line on boylston street. 12 seconds later, another. three people were dead and more than 260 wounded, and so began a panicked search for the perpetrators that shut down the city. every inch of this city is getting searched. >> brown: that drama unfolds that drama unfolds in the new
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film "patriots day," starring mark wahlberg in a role stitched together from multiple boston police officers' experiences. the film was written and directed by peter berg. >> to me, the boston marathon is a pretty profound moment in american history. the lessons that can be learned from that response, from the way that community came together, from the way the police and the f.b.i. worked together so effectively to solve that crime, is something i think worth examining. >> reporter: other characters are based on real individuals, such as boston police commissioner ed davis, played by john goodman, who wants investigators to release photos to the public of tamerlan and djhokhar tzarnaev, the prime suspects. >> i understand boston but i can't just snap my fingers. this decision goes up to the attorney general. >> then give me his number. i'll call him now. this is my city rick. >> brown: davis retired >> reporter: davis retired later in 2013.
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>> it's been very interesting to watch the process. i have to keep telling myself, it's not a documentary, it's a movie. >> reporter: yeah, you mean at moments where you wonder, what? >> sure, you can put words in one person's mouth that was spoken by someone else, and you want to say, "no, no, it didn't happen exactly like that." but when you take a step back and you realize that it's a story being told for the public about the complexity of this investigation and really, about the victims, about the city, and about the police officers that heroically responded to it, they did a really great job in catching the essence of what happened. >> reporter: how concerned were you though about getting it right? you know, on weighing the needs of the hollywood drama, right? >> mm-hmm. >> reporter: versus the news, the actual facts. >> i felt that if we got it right, if we just told the truth, we wouldn't have to worry about hollywood drama, or we wouldn't have to worry about action or tension or plot twists
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or heroism, or any of the things that you look for in a traditional hollywood story. we felt, from the research that we did, that there was plenty of inspiration and drama to be told. >> reporter: for peter berg, "patriots day" is the third nonfiction, ripped from the headlines project he's worked on with wahlberg, following 2013's "lone survivor," which follows a navy seal team on a mission in afghanistan: >> everybody out! >> brown: which recounts the explosion on the b.p. drilling platform in 2010 that killed 11 men and spilled nearly 3.2 million barrels of oil into the gulf of mexico. >> it's time. >> brown: before those berg directed the film friday night lights based on the nonfiction book
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nonfiction book by buzz bissinger, and served as executive producer on the popular tv drama of the same name. how do you decide what to tackle? >> i get attracted to something for a variety of reasons. i'm obviously attracted to nonfiction. i'm attracted to tales of men and women doing their jobs under duress-- i find that interesting, i don't know why, i just do. when i start to hone in on a story, i generally see how hard it sticks and how easy it is to dismiss. >> reporter: "patriots day" has received generally positive reviews. but like berg's other recent films, its proximity to actual events raises an old question: do you think it's too soon to be telling the story? >> i think that's a decision that's made individually by people. i talked to a couple that went to see it, and the husband, who was at the finish line, said it was a cathartic experience for him and he was very happy that the film was done. the wife was upset by it and
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couldn't stay for the whole thing. so i think it goes person by person. >> i don't think it's too early to examine it. i think if we waited much longer, it would unfortunately start to be almost an irrelevant story, because the news cycle moves so quickly. already, since we've filmed the movie, there have been at least six major attacks, and certainly no stop in sight. >> reporter: you are, in a sense, defining some history for many people who might see the story now through your eyes. so do you feel some personal responsibility to get it right, to think about how it might inflame passions, or help people think about-- ? >> yes, yes, of course. i do. i think the main reason that i wanted to make the film, and if i feel a personal responsibility in terms of presenting a thesis or something i want an audience
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to take away, it's certainly not that we need to get rid of every muslim in this country. it's certainly not a commentary on law enforcement, although i think we're pretty clear in our support of law enforcement, particularly in the way they handled themselves during that period of time. it's a responsibility for making sure that we understand that these acts of terrorism don't achieve what the terrorists think they're going to achieve. they don't destroy us, they don't break us apart. we see the very best of human beings rise to the surface. >> reporter: "patriots day" opens today, in theaters across the country. from new york, i'm jeffrey brown for the pbs newshour. >> inskeep: if you've ever been changed by a book, you may relate to author will schwalbe. jeff talks with him online about "books for living," on works
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that affected his life; and, we want to hear from you about books that affected yours. that's on our "art beat" page. find that and more at >> woodruff: and tonight on "washington week:" a closer look at why president-elect donald trump sees russia as a strategic partner for the u.s. rather than a global threat. that's later on "washington week." >> inskeep: tomorrow night, on pbs newshour weekend: inside a camp that provides safe haven for homeless veterans. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm steve inskeep. >> woodruff: great to have you with us. and i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> bnsf railway. >> xq institute. >> supporting social
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entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
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