tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS March 12, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for sunday, march 12: republican infighting over the plan to replace obamacare. the netherlands prepares to pick a new leader. will the anti-immigrant nationalist candidate prevail? and in our signature segment: presidential secrecy through history. next on "pbs newshour weekend." >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the john and helen glessner family trust-- supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your
retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening and thanks for joining us. the white house and republican congressional leaders are pushing back on opposition to their plan to repeal and replace the affordable care act-- both from democrats and from within their party. the law signed by president obama has covered 20 million previously uninsured americans through the expansion of the medicaid program for low-income americans and income-based premium subsidies for others. there are at least two fundamental disagreements some republicans have with the plan. governor john kasich of ohio says the house bill will fall short of the care available
today. ohio is one of 31 states that expanded medicaid. >> if you're drug-addicted, if you're mentally ill, you have to consistently see the doctor. from what i see in this house bill, the resources are not there. if you're chronically ill, you're going to have to have consistent coverage. under this bill, you don't have it. >> sreenivasan: then there are republicans like senators rand paul and tom cotton, who say the plan is too similar to obamacare and won't do enough to bring costs down. >> i think it's basically obamacare lite. keeps the subsidies, keeps the taxes for a year, then keeps the cadillac tax forever, the tax on good insurance. keeps the individual mandate. >> sreenivasan: part of speaker of the house paul ryan's response is that the house bill will decrease costs by replacing subsidies to buy insurance with age-based tax credits...and replacing medicaid expansion with block grants to states. >> we're taking one entitlement that's going bankrupt--medicaid, where more and more low income people don't even get access to a doctor-- and we're giving it back to the states, so that they
can experiment and innovate and make it work better for low income citizens. >> sreenivasan: trump budget director mick mulvaney said today too many americans with private insurance are facing annual deductibles that exceed their medical bills. >> do you think they could afford to go to the doctor? that's what we're trying to fix. not coverage for people, not coverage they can afford, but care they can afford. when they get sick, they can go to the doctor. that's what the donald trump plan is working on, and that's where we think it's going to be wildly successful. >> sreenivasan: independent senator bernie sanders-- who caucuses with the democrats-- said today the republican plan won't reduce out of pocket costs for most americans and will cut access for some. >> premiums are going to soar. they're gonna defund planned parenthood, deny over two million women the right to choose the health care that they need, they're gonna decimate medicaid, which is why the american medical association-- the ama-- and the american hospital association are opposed in addition to the aarp.
this is a disgrace. >> sreenivasan: senate armed services committee chairman john mccain called on president trump today to provide proof of his unsubstantiated twitter claim that former president obama bugged trump tower last year. >> president trump has to provide not just the intelligence committee but the american people with evidence that his predecessor former president of the united states was guilty of breaking the law because our director of national intelligence general clapper testified that there was absolutely no truth to that allegation. so i think the president has one of two choices either retract or to provide the information that the american people deserve. >> sreenivasan: the house intelligence committee has asked the white house to provide any evidence of the allegations by tomorrow. american-backed iraqi forces have completely surrounded mosul, iraq's second-largest city, according to a special u-s envoy for the global coalition against isis.
in baghdad today, brett mcgurk said all ways out of mosul for isis fighters are blocked. an iraqi general said today troops had retaken a third of west mosul, after taking east mosul in january in the offensive that began last october. as many as 600,000 civilians are believed to be trapped in the city. a jihadist group linked to al qaeda is claiming responsibility for yesterday's twin suicide bombings in the syrian capital of damascus. the syrian observatory for human rights said today the death toll has risen to at least 74 people. the majority were iraqi pilgrims visiting shiite shrines. the group said one explosion was a roadside bomb, the other a suicide attacker. two days after south korea's constitutional court removed her from office for a corruption scandal, former south korean president park geun-hye left the presidential mansion. hundreds of supporters cheered park when she arrived at her residence in another part of seoul today. protesting her innocence, park said in a written statement,
quote, "i believe the truth will certainly come out." as a private citizen, she could yet face criminal charges, including extortion, bribery, and abuse of power. a huge garbage dump in ethiopia collapsed today, claiming at least 46 lives, most of them women and children. the victims are said to have lived in mud and stick homes on the main landfill for the capital of addis ababa, a city of four million. dozens more people are missing. officials don't know what triggered the landslide. read about the data behind terrorism convictions in the united states. visit www.pbs.org/newshour. >> sreenivasan: tensions between turkey and the netherlands continue to rise. today the foreign minister of turkey called the netherlands" the capital of fascism" for blocking his planned visit. he wanted to address turks living in holland eligible to vote in next month's referendum in turkey. last night, dutch police arrested a dozen people and used water cannon to disperse hundreds of turks protesting the ban, near the turkish consulate
in rotterdam. dutch prime minister mark rutte said today he wants to calm the protests and diplomatic dispute, just three days before national elections in the netherlands. seeking a third term, rutte's stiffest challenge comes from far-right nationalist candidate geert wilders, who has called for banning muslim immigrants and asylum seekers. >> if you believe, and certainly many people do, my party does, that islam and freedom are incompatible, then by allowing more islam into your country, at the end of the day, it will cost you your constitution your freedom and your rule of law. >> sreenivasan: 850,000 muslims live in the netherlands, about 5% of the population. an imam in rotterdam dismissed wilders's rhetoric. >> it's not realistic. it is not something what we see, what we need to have here in our society. it's only a kind propaganda, a kind of ways to get more votes. >> sreenivasan: for more on the netherlands election, i am joined by skype by from
amsterdam newshour weekend special correspondent malcolm brabant. >> malcolm, we don't usually pay attention in the united states to elections in the netherlands. why is this one so significant? >> well, this is first of three important european elections taking place this year. the others taking place in france and germany and what everybody's waiting to see can whether or not the continuation of this antiestablishment votes vote, the nationalistic vote that began with brexit last year is going to continue here. the main contender is a man by the name of gert wilders, he is a very strong anti-islamist. campaigning on that particular issue. >> sreenivasan: even if he has to win the most votes there has to be a coalition government. >> that's right. the prime minister rutte, has
been wilder has been dropping votes in the past few days, according to the opinion polls and as we've seen throughout all the recent election the opinion porls something that you can't trust. and the indication is there are lots of people who support his freedom party as it's called who don't really want to declare their intentions. so perhaps he might be better on the night but the anticipation is that he won't get enough to form a government. >> sreenivasan: when you speak to people on the streets, do they have a concern about you know what this is what happens when brexit takes place or this is what happens when president donald trump wins the white house, these are the consequences, are they having any thoughts about that, looking at what can be an upheaval politically in the netherlands as well? >> i think the trump effect is kind of a double edged sword. he want to go with really grueling donald trump saying he
was going to follow in his shoes. and when i caught up with him yesterday at a rally down in the south of the country he is still trying to distance himself. now there are some people who believe because of the way that donald trump's presidency has vetted in as it were, not well received are internationally. that height in harm wilders records. but he is not on any american issues, going to specifically do dutch issues and that's what it's all about. >> sreenivasan: malcolm what is the central issue that is driving people to the polls? >> wilders has really made this a one subject issue election. he's been concentrating on islam immigration nothing else. there will be no more immigrants from islamic countries. he will bask mosques, ban the koran, so the economy hean
really taken -- hasn't really taken the front staple. that has upset people in the labor unions, who have seen their taxes go up benefits slash pensions go down and they are realize concerned that these things aren't being discussed. labor unions may possibly support wilders as a protest vote because they are fed up with the politician he. >> sreenivasan: all right, malcolm brabant joining us from a busy thoroughfare in the netherlands, thank you so much. >> sreenivasan: last week, the anti-secrecy group "wikileaks" published thousands of files purportedly describing how the cia hacks into computer servers, smartphones, and tv's connected to the internet. the disclosures are another reminder of the sensitivity of government secrets and how controversial they can be, especially in the white house. newshour weekend's christopher booker has more. >> reporter: the actions taken
by the george w. bush administration in the aftermath of the september 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, were, according to author mary graham, a recalibration of the role of secrecy in open government. a president who championed limited government approved the secret detention of foreign terrorist suspects and the eavesdropping on phone calls of american citizens. >> when his detention policies and interrogation policies and surveillance policies began to be revealed, this was then a few years later, i thought there must be some ground rules. there must be a law that tells us what a president can do behind closed doors in an emergency. but it turned out there really were no laws. one thing about our system of governance that makes secrecy so interesting is that there's really no way that to stop a president from doing something illegal, unethical, or just plain foolish behind closed doors. >> reporter: in her new book," presidents' secrets: the use
and abuse of hidden power," graham finds modern presidential secrecy is paramount in questions of national security, from the cold war to the war on terror. the bush administration came in with a firm commitment that they could move things quickly through government and then they have the crisis of 9/11. and this substantially changed the way that they used information and used secrecy. >> it's only in the hard times when the president has to face these values-- the conflict between values that we cherish, that you see a president's true character. so i think that these are the times when we need to pay attention to what decisions the president makes about openness and secrecy. >> reporter: when president barack obama took over, he declassified memos used to justify harsh interrogations of post 9/11 terror suspects, and he created a national declassification center for older government documents. but wikileaks and self-described whistleblower, edward snowden, prevented the obama administration from concealing details about electronic
surveillance, drone strikes, and offensive cyber weapons. what was it like coming to the finish line of your book toward the end of the obama administration thinking that we have just now tapped into a whole new chapter of information and secrecy, particularly the ways in which the digital age are transforming the whole landscape? >> secrecy doesn't work in the digital age. one way or another, controversial secrets and big controversial secrets come out these days. and it's much harder to keep anything hidden for very long. and what ends up happening is that the president cedes leadership to his opponents and to the media. and therefore is weakened in the process. >> reporter: a co-founder of harvard's transparency policy project, graham finds our democracy's delicate balance between openness and secrecy dates back to country's founding. you write, "in democracy, secrecy cannot last forever." and yet, our government, the representative form we so often celebrate, was rather shockingly
born out of unplanned secrecy. >> that's so true. so the constitutional convention was held behind closed doors. the delegates certainly felt that it had to be held behind closed doors because they had been asked by congress only to tweak what were then called the articles of confederation. and once they decided that they would consider an entirely different form of government, it really was an illicit meeting in a good cause, but still an illicit meeting. >> reporter: do you think had the discussion taken place out in the open it would have altered our national trajectory and essentially our identity? >> you know, the consensus of historians seems to be that it would not have resulted in an agreement on a constitution if the process had been open. >> reporter: even george washington, a champion of government transparency, suffered his greatest political crisis as president, when he hid the terms of a treaty with
britain. one of the best kept presidential secrets in u.s. history occurred in 1919, when president woodrow wilson suffered a stroke. >> it would never happen now, what happened with wilson, which was he was able to keep an incapacitating stroke secret for a year-and-a-half. but during much of that time, he was still quite weak but what became the biggest problem for the country is that he became irrational. >> reporter: but graham says, it wasn't until the cold war, that secrecy became institutionalized. as she tells it, harry truman's creation of the central intelligence agency originated simply with a quest for a convenient delivery of information. >> on his desk every morning, there were stacks and stacks of military cables, which was the best effort at the time to give him information about what was going on in the world. but he found them very frustrating. so what he asked an aide to do which seemed very simple at the time was just to form a small group in the white house that
would digest those cables and give him a few type-written pages every morning telling him what was the important intelligence. and so he borrowed 15 employees from elsewhere in the government and he called that the central intelligence group. >> reporter: less than two years later, this group, which had evolved into what is now called the central intelligence agency, had been granted the right to keep its spending secret and operate with little oversight. >> as harry truman said later, it was never supposed to be a cloak and dagger operation. they were just supposed to gather intelligence. so they were gathering intelligence. but from a very early stage, they were also conducting these covert operations that involved bribing foreign officials. later on by the '60s, it involved assassination plots and surveillance of americans, even though it was not, the c.i.a. was not supposed to be in that business. >> reporter: with vietnam and watergate, lyndon johnson and richard nixon had two of the more notably secretive
administrations. ironically, as a senator, johnson fought for increased presidential transparency. but in the white house, he worked to water down the bill that became the freedom of information act, which gives journalists and the public greater access to government documents. and while nixon's back channel negotiations led to normalizing u.s. relations with china, the revelation of his secret tape recordings discussing the watergate break-in forced him to resign. this was all before 24/7 cable news, the internet, and social media. a constant part of a 21st century presidency. it seems nearly every, single day there's a new revelation that's come via an anonymous source or a leak. >> so every president gets mad about leaks. president obama was mad about leaks. president bush was mad about leaks. george washington was mad about leaks. there's one thing to remember about leaks, and that is leakers only have power if the president gives them power.
the president can stop leaks in a nanosecond by simply disclosing information. >> sreenivasan: a panel of federal judges in texas is ordering the state of texas to redraw the state's congressional district map, because it intentionally discriminated against hispanic voters. the judges ruled friday that in 2011, republican state legislators engaged in racial gerrymandering by diluting hispanic voting strength in two republican-held districts and by packing hispanic voters into a neighboring district. the ruling, and another pending case over texas's strict photo voter id law, raise questions about how the justice department and supreme court will handle voting rights. joining me now to discuss that is reporter reid wilson from" the hill." >> to explain what happened in these two districts. >> there's this term called packing and cracking. and essentially what the court said to the texas legislature did was they packed hispanic
voters into one district that centered around austin and they cracked those voters apart in different communities. they divided similar communities in another district on the east coast of texas and a third district that runs along the texas-mexico border. this is all part of a pattern that parties engage in, in states think control state legislatures in hopes of building more safe republican districts and in cementing their majority in the u.s. house of representatives. >> there used to be communities the department of justice would monitor and say hey you've got a history of bad voting practices. we want to get in there. that was kind of lifted by the supreme court, what happens this that case now? >> what we see voting rights voaks doing now is challenging these gerrymanders, under section 2 of the voting rights act, that requires them to prove
that the -- whoever is making these laws that are involving election procedures, are doing so with a racially discriminatory intent. and the court said that's what the texas legislature did in this case. now redistricting cases are special in that any time they are appealed, a decision at a district court level is appealed they will go directly to the supreme court. so if the state of texas decides to appeal and they most certainly will we'll get an issue such as this before the supreme court in the next couple of years. >> the justice department, led by jeff sessions, where do they weigh in? >> that has olot of civil rights groups unhappy that essentially they're not going to have the weight of the obama justice department behind them in the trump administration. >> sreenivasan: there are
repercussions for other gerrymandered districts around the country? >> we have seen the courts rule in a few cases most thoatably virginia, where the house picked up a seat after the court found those districts were improperly drawn and in cases such as north carolina involving voter i.d. changes in states like arizona and texas as we have been talking about and florida and some other states too. so this is very much an active legal battlefield and one that's going to evolve over the next few years. >> sreenivasan: reid wilson from the hill thanks so much. >> a reminder to tune into the newshour tomorrow, judy woodruff interviewers al gore.
i'm hari sreenivasan, have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the john and helen glessner family trust-- supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for
each summer it hosts its famous salzburg festival. but salzburg is busy all year long with over 2,000 live performances in churches and palaces like this. [ "eine kleine nachtmusik" plays ] we're heading into the mirabell palace to hear a string quartet play in a splendid baroque hall. mozart performed for the prince-archbishop right here. and this evening the twins quartet from moscow play mozart's "eine kleine nachtmusik."
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