tv PBS News Hour PBS February 22, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning snsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm on the newshour tonight, the politics of guns-- the n.r.a. backs the president's calls for arming ts as a national debate over gun control heats up. then, the immigration status of first lady melania trump's parents raises quens about a path to citizenship the president is trying to eliminate. and, data in the face of cynicism-- is using numbers to prove society is better today than ever bore. >> fewer of usie of disease and starvation, fewer of us are illiterate, fewer of us are victims of violent crimes, fewer of us diars. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour.
bs>> major funding for the newshour has been provided by: >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new chnguage, like spanish, fr german, italian, and more. babbel's 10-15 minute lessons are available as an app, or more information on babbel.com. h >> and balfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security.
at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: call, and response. the pressure to stop school shootings prompted new rostatements todaythe president and the gun rights lobby. william brangham begins our coverage. >> to stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun.
>> brangham: wayne lapierre, head of the national rifle association, gfull-bore defense of gun rights today, and a call to put weapons in schools. >> every day young children are being dropped off at schools that are virtually wid soft targets for anyone bent on mass murder. schools must be the most hardened targe in this country. >> brangham: lapierre addressed the conservative political action cference, "c-pac," near washington, and accused gun control advocates of exploiting the killin in florida. >> their solution iso make you, all of you less free. they want to sweep right under the carpet the failu of school security, the failure of family, the failure of america's mental health system, and even the unbelievable failure of the
f.b.i. >> brangham: the n.r.a.'s spokeswoman dana loesch was also at c-pac. she directed her criticism at the media. >> many in legacy media love mass shootings. you guys love it. now i'm not saying that you love the tragedy. but i am saying that you love the ratings. crying white mothers are ratings gold. >> brangham: president trump today tweeted his support for the n.r.a., calling its leaders "great people and great american patriots." and, at a white house listening session with state aal officials, he talked again of arming teachers. >> a gun-free zone to a killer or somebody that wants to be a killer, that's like going in for the ice cream. >> brangham: the president said it should be teachers with military experience or specialized training:
>> if they have the aptitude, i think a concealed permit for having teachers, and letting people know there are people in building with guns, you won't have, in my opinion, you won't have these shootings because these people are s. >> brangham: mr. trump went on to lay out other ideas he said ow supports. >> we're gonna do strong background checks. we're gonna work on getting the age up to instead of 18. we're getting rid of the bump stocks. and we're going to be focusing very strongly on mental health. >>rangham: the n.r.a. has opposed raising the age limits for buying any rifles, including the a-r-15 used in the florida shootings. but the president predicted he'll bring them around. >> i don't think i'loing up against them. i really think the n.r.a. wants to do what is right. >> brangham: the president has already asked the justice departmework on banning those bump stock devices, like the ones used in last years massacre ilas vegas . but the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives said today it is still reviewing whether it can actually regulate bump stocks without
congressional approval. meanwhile,epublicans in are facingressure, as evidenced by last night's cnn town hall event in florida. senator marco rubio was the only republican lawmaker to take part, and he facedrage of questions, with some students pointedly challenging him. >> senator rubio, can you tell me rig accept a single donation from the n.r.a. in the fure? ( cheers and applause ) >> the answer to the question is that people buy into my agenda. and i do support the second amendment. and i also support the rig of you and everyone here to be able to go to school and be safe. the influence of these groups comes not from money. the influence comes from the millions of people that agree with the agenda. >> brangham: rubio has long been a vocal advocate for gun rights, but last night he conceded that he's rethinking some of his past positions. >> i traditionally have not supported looking at magazine clip size, and after this and some of the details i learned about it, i'm reconsidering that position.
i do believe that in this instance, it didn't prevent it wouldn't have prevented the attack but it made it less lethal. >> brangham: the town hall came an outpouring of student protests in tallahassee and around the country. today, former president obama praised the activists. he tweeted: "young people have helped lead all our great vements. how inspiring to see it again in so many smart, fearless students ng up for their right to be safe." back in fl the latest funeral, for aaron feis, the football coach at douglas high. he was among therdered there, eight days ago. for the pbs newshour, i'm william brangham. >> woodruff: late today we learned the armed depu assigned to douglas high school resigned. the sheriff says the officer never went into the building during the shootings. we'll hear a new set of student voices in the gun debate after the ne summary. in the day's other news,rnour northeasemocratic governors announced a coalition on gun control, dubbed "states
for gun safety." onnecticut, new york, new jersey and rhode celand, and they say they want to int illegal guns and share intelligence. new charges today against two former trump campaign officials. former campaign chair paul manafort and aide rick gates face an updated indictment by the special counsel in the russia probe. it adds x evasion and bank fraud, linked to alleged money laundering a failing to register as foreign agents for ukraine. the charges do n relate directly to the trump campaign. ood warnings stretched today from texas to wisconsin, as rivers kept rising from rain and snow melt. officials declared states of emergency around lansing, michigan, and urged evacuations. the red cedar river was at its highest since 1975. and in south bend, indiana, record floods shn a treatment plant, dumping untreated sewage into the st. joseph river.
the u.n. security council heard calls today for a 30-day cease- fire in the syrian war. human rights monitors say 400 people have died in government air strikes near damascus, this ek alone. but the u.s. charged russia is obstructing action, to protect its syrian ally. >> the bombing attacks have been relentless. the regime wants to keep bombing and gassing these 400,000 people, and the assad regime is counting on russia to make sure the security council is unable to stop their suffering. >> woodruff: meanwhile, the syrian leave the eastern ghouta suburbs outside damascus, and demanded that rebels surrender. nigeria, parents say an attack on a school has left more than 100 girls missing. that's twice the official count. boko haram extremists attacked the school in northern yobe state on monday evening. girls haven't been seen since.
four years ago, the militants kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from the town of chibok. north korea today named a provocative leader for its delegation to the winter olymclosing ceremonies, in south korea. ki chol allegedly planned an attack on a south korean lowarship that killed 46 s in 2010. meanwhile, vice presidnce defended not standing for the north korean anthem at the olympics, two weeks ago. he also declined to noknowledge thh korean leader's sister, seated behind him. he appeared at a conservative gathg outside washington, and saide has no apologies. >> the sister of kim jong un is a central pillar othe most radical and oppressive regime on the planet. so for all those in the media who think i should have stood and cheered with the north koreans, i say the united ates
of america doesn't stand with murderous dictatorships, we stand up to ous dictatorships. >> woodruff: mr. pence's office said this week he'd agreed to meet with north kofficials during the games, but the north canceled. pyongyang has denied it. missouri's republican governor eric graten was indicted for invasion of privacy, from an extra marital affair in 2015 he admitted having. he admitted using a compromising photo of the woman and threatened to black mail he she talked about the relationship. a third state a third state lawmaker has resigned in california over sexual misconduct allegations. state senator tony mendoza d down today before the legislature, controlled by fellow democrats, could expel him. an investigation a he made unwanted advances to six women. mendoza charged he'd bee sacrificed to appease the "me-
too" movemen a florida eye doctor was sentenced today to7 years in prison, for medicare fraud totaling $73 million. salomon melgen had been the nation's highest-paid medicare doctor. melgen hadbeen accused of bribing new jersey senator bob menendez, but a separate menendez trial ended in a hung jury. and, on wall street, stocks were mostly higher despite a late-day sell-off. the dow jones industrial average gained 164 points to close at 24,962. the nasdaq fell points, and the s&p 500 added two. at the winter games today, a long drought ended for american women. the u.s. women's hockey team defeated canada for the gold medal, their first since 1998. american david wise took the gold in men's freestyle skiing half-pipe. and, u.s. skiier mikaela shiffrin w the women's alpine combined.
still to come on the newshour: students speak out in support of gun rights. the migration system president trump wants nge but has also benefited his in-laws. a psychologist's argument for why life todaytually pretty good, and mmore. >> woodruff: on la night's program, we heard from two students who took part in wednesday's rallies to push for stronger gun control laws. tonight, we'ned by two students who attended n.r.a. president wayne lapierre's speech at the conservative politicaon conference, or "c-pac," this morning in washington. and ian parish is a sophomore at berty university in lynchburg,
virginia. and we welcome both of you to the "newshour". ian, i'm going to start with you. yohow would you sahave been affected by the events of the last week, the shooting at that high school in f and all the reaction to it? >> so at first, like, when i chool heard about the s shooting, i actually started crying, right, because it is a fagedy and it's one the worst tragedies that i think we could see happen. and in the days afterward, i think there's a mixture of emotions i'm normally not someone who i very -- very emotional when it comes to news events or stuff like that, but i saw some hatext messagest some of the students were sending their parents and i was reading them to my moth t, right, at was one of those instances where i -- it broke me emotionay. so i think -- i think the entire nation is really in a state of mourning wheit comes to that type of thing. >> woodruff: madison, what about you? what has it meant to you to see this infold and see the reactions to it?
>> right. i really do sympathize with the students who were at the parkland shooting. we are a nation of mourning right now, and we all -- we need to let it settle in. >> woodruff: for sure. there's already, though, a lot of conversation about what todo to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. the presidnt's been talking abit, other politicians. ian, one of the things being discussed is saying you have to be older in order to buy an assault type weapon. what do you think about that? >> i don't really necessarily believe in a that, i -- >> woodruff: because right now you can buy one at 18. >> yes. so i think if someone is going to commit a premeditated act like this, they're going to plae out andre going to acquire the weapon in one way or another. we actually do know -- i believe i saw a headline where te gunman at parkland actually had -- well, i i thi was smoke grenades in the aurora,
colorado shooting, also likewise. the man had full body armor. these people are going to go out of their way to get thingso sort of promulgate these acts, i don't think an age limit is very conducive to limiting gun violence, anyway. woodruff: so, madison, what about any restrictions on being able to buy an assault weapon whether raising the age or placing another barrier to thatr ht, so i believe if you rose the age, you would be putting people at risk between es of 18 and 21. at 18, you're sent off into the rld and given all these opportunities, you can fight for your country, you can vote, you can do all these other fun things that you haven't been able to do, you know, in high school or middle school elementary school, and now that you're older, you have also the right to protect yourself and, whe you're 18, you should allowed to go out and buy a gun own.se you are on your >> woodruff: do you have one? i do not have a gun currently
but i am a member of the n.r.a. and i have been for four months now. i grew u a house full of guns with just women and learned at a young age you can protect yourself using a weapon. >> woodruff: what about thisba ground check question, ian? >> we already have background checks instituted here in se united sta i think a key thing that we need a talk about and reference here is the gunma parkland, he committed no prior crime, so even if were ie background checks, we're not going to see -- this man would sll have gotten this weapon because he does -- he hasn't committed a crime. so he's technically legally allowed and capable of acquiring a firearm. >> wf: unless there had been some way of monitoring his emotnal and mental health which i think has become an issue. >> right. >> woodruff: the othto thing i wantsk both of you about, madison, is the suggestion teachers should be armed. the presidnt spoke about this
today about how it makes more seune for teachers to have to protect their students and themselves. >> yes. so this is something i actually believe pretty strongly in. i would love to see more teachers armed.oe that't necessarily mean every single teacher needs to have a firearmn them during school hours. even if just one teacher has a firearm on them in a department scale, then that's just fine. imy high school set up by department so we have the math, hee science, the english, gymnasium had their own little department. even if just one person -- oner teacs a firearm in that department, it automatically reduces the risk of people coming in and being able to shoot -- wedwoodruff: i've intervie a couple of teachers on this program in the last figews. last night a teacher i talked to says me thinks putting a gun on the body of a teacher basically says you've given up on school safety and sends a signal students that the classroom is
just not a safe environment wymore. >> welt i'd say to him, in all due respect is we, for some reason, we have are culin this nation where we defend our airpos, we have security at our banks, we have securityat our government facilities, but, for some reason, we are not securing our most precious national treasures which are our children. so i disagree with the notion that arming -- somehow allowing teachers to be armed on the campus of an elementary middle high school somehow would increase gun violence or say they had given up. >> woodruff: madison, do want to raise, though, the question i hear across the board and that is people sayg it means more people can get hurt, too, including those children in the school. >> okay. so all due respect once again t the teacho said that, i anuldn't want him as my teacher
nor would i him to have a gun, if he thinks schools are thatrs any student would come up, that any student wouldd come up grab the gun, there is a serious problem with the teachers, th, if that's what they're going to say. >> woodruff: i think theti qu was it basically is sending a signal to students that the environment can't be made safe unless there are guan therit takes the attention away from education toward security. >> there's no need for students to know the teacher has a gun. thers i reason why a student should know that the teacher has a gun. the tbcher shoule able to protect the students if that was ever to happen, but there's no reason for them to know. if you look at schools like in israel, the was one mass shooting there in a school and now they're heavily armed and it hasn't happened since. yes, the's guns aroundow, but you are more safe with more good guys that have guns. w druff: well, it's certainly something -- it's being discusd right now, we
know it is going to continue to be discussed and we thank both you for coming in to share your thoughts. madison, iank you both. >> yes, thank you. >> woodruff: various news media outlets reported this week that first lady melania trump's parents have obtained green s, allowing them to live in the u.s. that raises questions about ether their legal permanent residency here benefited from the very set of immigration laws that mr. trump wants to eliminate. and family-based immigration, has become a key sticking point in negotiations on immigration reform. our lisa desjardins takes a closer look atunhe policy now r consideration. >> desjardins: judy, for a closer look at family- immigration, and how it compares " the president's preferred "merit-based system joined by art arthur. he served for eight years as an
immigration judge atork immigration court in york, pennsylvania. he is now a fellow at the center for immigration studie a group that advocates for stricter immigration laws. and john c. yang of the group asian americans advancing justice,n advocacy group dealing with civil rights and immigration issues. >> not related to our john yang, by the way. let me start with you, john. the u.s. family based immigration, let's talk about how this works, if you were to ha a green card this country, you are able to bring your spouse and unmarried children right now under u.s. law and if you're a s. citizen you can petition in addition to that to bring your parents, any married children you have and your siblings. this has been in blais for many decades an resulted in aystem where the u.s. has more family-based migration than any country in the world. why is that and how does this shape thi >> that's correct, and it's a very misunderstood part of our
law. we've had this system in pla for the last 50 years and it's really shaped our country inou allowing thisry to have a much greater diversity and dynamism in terms of the people coming here with new ideas and real work ethic. one of the important things to remember and dispel is what it a is not. oftentimes people talk about whatoneder an offensive term "chain migration," we think 's offensive and dehumanizing. they're saying the is an unlimited number of people that can come to the united states. as you suggested, that's not the case. we're not talking cousins, uncles, aunts that can come to the country. we are talking immediate relatives, people core to that family. >> woodruff: you think this is -- >> desjardins: you think this should be sharply limit. >> right, i would disagree it
brings for diversity to theca united states e the fact is you are getting relatives of the individuals who are already heg. so you'rting the same flow of individuals. in the last ten years, 70% of all immigration to the united based, has been famil and there is no pejorative term when it comes to chain migratios been usedince 1966 and, in fact, it's commonig parlance in ition. the f bringing -- deciding who should be a united states citizen and get to stay here permanently based on family relationships rather than skills is an i that's been discredited for a long time. barbara jordan, we celebrated ar birthday yesterday, she passy two decades ago but sh herself said absent elling national interest immigration should be based on skills. >> woodruff: i'm going to ask you, john, you mentioned the statistic, about 72% of people who come to thisuntry legally come through family connecti n. does th limit people who
don't have a family connection but something to offer? is this closing a door to perhaps some skilled workers as art is ash d auing? >> absolutely not. we have different perhaps for skilled woers, for people bringing new business to the united states, we obviously have fugee programs, asylum programs to help bring a full mix to the country.en e're talking about what constitutes merit-based, that's the place we need to have a discussi notion that family is not merit, that there's no merit to having a parent over that will help take care of your kids when you are running a busiruns afoul of what we as americans have typically valued. i mean, if this notion of merit should be that you bring certain skills to the cu ntry, ing certain connections or you bring certain wealth, that's not how thntry was founded. if you look at some of the iconic american brands like lee vai straus -- levi strauss, he came here with nothing in s pocket, so to speak, but because
he had a brother or sister already here and came to the country and built a wonderful brand. that's certainly th case with a number of companies here in the united states. >> desjardins: john arguing the desire in itself to come to america shows you have innovation in your blood. how would you define a rit-based system. often i see countries like canada, they use english proficiency or education. how would you do it in a way that doesn't limit lower-income countries and doesn't sort of roself-select for certains of people? >> well, the good thing about merit-based immigration is that you don't have to worry about certain countrie the fact is the skills and abilities are spread around theo d. you know, we can be the bangladeshi engineer, the nigerian doctor that comes to the united states. we want to bring people to the united states who are not only going to be able to support themselves but also contribute to themerican economy and gro our economy. >> desjardins: what criteria are we talking about? >> people who have job offers that pay above the median wage.
people who have education, people who have show an attachment to our core principles and values. as barbara jordaelf said, we are talking about people who eme able to not only support lves and their families but also help to grow the american economy a help the americans already here, both citizens and lawful permanent residents. >> desjardins: we have a histy in immigration debate that race comes up. how to you make sure this isn't system based on racial preferences. >> that's the best part, it is race blind. it's based purely on merit. no one cares what you look like or wre you're from. people care what you can criebt to the american economyhen you move to a skills-based system. ardins: what do yo think is at stake in this debate about family migratio >> when we talk about merit-based immigration, what art is talking about and the oposals that are out there actually reduce immigration by over 50%. so there's app hit to our chi on that. number two is i would suggest
hat merit extends far more to people thate over the median recome, rather people who have s that come over help support small businesses must part of the equation. >> desjardins: you want to limit immigration eral. >> the fact is most of the people who come to the united ates right now are competing against our most vulnerable members of society, the individuals who don't have the educational adva work experience a lot of other people do. so by bringing in more skilled individuals who can help to grow tbs and the economy will provide jobs for folks who are here, again not just american citizensut lawful permitted residents and aliens who have already come to the country j. a very important yobate. thank u for having a conversation about it with us, john yang, art arthur. >> thank you so much. >> woodruff: stay with u
coming up the newshour: an oscar-nominated film about the on u.s. bank to face criminal charges after the 2008 financial crisis. and a brief but spectacular take on including women in the quest for peace. there are many days when news events can be overwhelming and even lead to a pessimistic sense of the world, especially after tragedies like the shooting in florida. but it may help to take the much longer view, and that's the focus of a conversation our economrrespondent, paul solman, has tonight for his weekly series, "making sense." >> despite what you read on the news, humanity has been getting better off. reporter: that's right, better, psychologist steven pinker insists. >> all too often, something happens, there's a terrorist attack, there's a horrific killing, there's a market plunge, and all of a sudden it's a symptom of a sick society and of a downward spiral.
reporter: but in his new book, "enlightenment now," pinker aates the positive, to the delight of superfan bill gates, who's dubbed it his favorite book of all time, even pred a trippy video about it. >> i loved "better angels of our nature." i'm even more thrilled about your next book "nolightenment " >> reporter: "better angels" argued that violas been plunging worldwide for centies. "enlightenment now" says pretty much everything has. >>ewer of us die of diseas and starvation, fewer of us are illiterate, fewer of us are ewctims of violent crimes, of us die in wars, fewer of us live under dictatorships. >> reporter: i'm doing this as the economics correspondent because the end goal of economics is welfare. and you'reg that overall, net welfare for humankind has never been better and is getting better all the time? it's never been better, whether it will continue to get better depends on whether we
continue to seek human wellbeing as our goal as opposed to say, the glory of the nation or the race or the faith. whether we continue to develop science and technology, whether we continue to apply reason and not fall back on superstition and fallacies, which we know, as psychologists, humans are vulnerable to. and by the way, it is the economists who tend to be more optimistic. i think because they're moren tune with data showing that societies really do get richer. >> for most of human history life expectancy at birth was nned to about 30 years. >> reporter: pinker pushes his case with in the book and on the hustings, recently at the world econorum at davos. >> our chance of dying in a car accident has beeced by 96% from the 1920s. we're 88% less likely to be mowed dothe sidewalk, 99% less likely to die in a plane crash, 95%ess likely to die in an accident on the job, 96% less likely to be killed by a bolt of lightning. >> reporter: well, but i mean,
life expectancy in the united states has gone down now for two years in a row. doesn't that begin to suggest that we've crested? >> no it doesn't, absolutely not. the united states is just one country. and one of the reasons for the deceleration is the opioid crisis. the fact that it's a crisis doesn't mean it's going to last forever and we're never ever going to figure out anyway to make it any better. >> reporter: you write about" erce," an idea that started in the 1700s, i guess. and how commerce basically begets peace, people getting along with one another and you quote a famousonservative economist, ludwig von mises, "if the tailor goes to war against the baker, he muceforth bake his own bread." therhe doesn't go to war. you can't take the pursuit of self-interest, liberal democracy too far? >> oh, you could definitely take it too far, but you can also ke it not far enough, and
empiricallmercial states, at least today, tend to be less warlike than protectionist states. >> reporter: but is it not arguable at least that we have moved so far in the pursuit of the fruits of commerce that we sort of lost sight of the cooperative aspects of it? >> that's possible. w's certainly possible when you have monopolien you have fraud, when you have resources that no one owns like the atmosphere where no onpays for the advantages they get from polluting it. should also add i've spent a lot of pages on what i consider to be the biggest thats to progress, they include climate change, they include the possibility of nuclear war, they include the possibility economic stagnation, and they include the rise of authoritarian populism. indeed, i think it's only by acknowledging the darker side of human nature that we can single out what it is that we're trying to minimize. >> reporter: but do you not
think that at the moment in history, the darker impulses of human beings aren't coming to the fore all over the world? >> they are, but they always have been. i mean, things weren't so great in the 197 when you had civil wars raging all over the world, when you had the war in vietnam killing ten times as many people he die in wars today. in980s when you had most dictatorships behind the iron icrtain or in military states of latin amand east asia. so yeah, there are threats, but the fact that there are threats now doesn't mean that they're worse now. they were pretty bad in e past too. >> reporter: but you're bacally placing your bet o liberal democracy and saying things have been getting better and better. and the freedom house just came out with its 2018 report, and i quote, "democracy faced its most serious crisis in dedes in 2017 as its basic tenets, including guarantees of free and
fair electns, the rights of minorities, freedom of the press, and the rule of law, came under attack around the wod. 71 countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties with only 35 registering gains. 12th consecutive year of decline in global freedom." >> couple things. first of all, i never use data from any website that has a button that says, "donate." because advocacy organizations always cry crisis. there's certainly been a deceleration in democratization but you and i were alive in the '70s, there were 31 democracies in the world at the time. now there are, depending on how you count, 105. >> reporter: whether you think pinker a prophet of progress or its p.r. shi, you have admire his book's purpose: >> it just puts the events of the day into conteen and it pr people from becoming fatalistic thinking there's no beint in trying to solve problemsuse everything is hopeless, so why support-- >> reporter: i think there's a lot of that now. >> i think that's a severe
problem. that people become so cynical about our ability to deal with oblems that they either withdraw from politics altogether or embrace radicalism, the calls to smash the machine, to drain the swamp, to burthe empire, to hand power to chasmatic, would-be dictators as, "only i can fix it." that's appealing if you thinknt that the incre technocratic solutions are failing. it's only when you zoom out and you look at the historical trajectory you realize that some of these incremental measures really can work over the long run. >> reporter: but we're all worried about the here and now. that's what your readers like me are gonna be thinking when they rrar this argument not to ve not to worry so much. >> the book says not to worry, in fact, quite the contrary, worry because the people who worried in the past led to the improvements that we see today.
>> reporter: that's why it has to be enlightenment now. this is a call to arms, is that what you're saying? >> absolutely. progress doesn't happen by magic, it happens to the extent that we uh, embrace, what i identify as the ideathe enlightenment, reason, and 'sience, and humanism. thhat gave us the progress toat we've enjoyed and the imperative i we dedicate ourselves to those ideals so we would enjoy more progress in the future. >> reporter: for t pbs newshour, this is economics correspondent paul solman, corresponding from cambridge, massachusetts. >> woodruff: much of the public ter the financial crisis focused on banks and other large financial institutions. many asked whether those banks were considered "too big to fail" and their executives too ofotected to go to jail. onhe documentaries
nominated for an academy award this yr looks at that question, but as jeffrey brown tells us, through a very different lens. >> brown: a number of banks, including some of the biggest in the country, paid large fines. but just one bank was indicted for mortgage fraud r to the crisis and it was a very small one, abacus federal savings and loan, located in new york's chinatown. the story of its prosecution and ultimate acquittal is told in the documentary, "abacus: small enough to jail," which had a theatrical run and also aired on tes' frontline. it's now been nomifor an oscar for best documentary. filmmaker steve james joins me now. "hong his previous work, the filmp dreams" and "the onterrupters." and congratulation the oscar nomination. what attracted you to this story in the first place? what attracted me was here was a story of a bank that discow-verd vel fraud going on and
acted to deal with it -- they fired the employee, initiated their own investigation and reported it to the regulators -- but when it got to the d.a.'s office in new york city, the d.a. decided the bank itself, the president and executives in the bank were complicit and orgi strated the fraud and decided to prosecute them and connected this whole case to the 2008 crisis saying this was indicative of what happened in 2008. >> brown: you have this remarkable family and the story behind the bank. thomas sung who founded it in 1984 in chinatown. tell us a little about the background of the bank >> thomas sung was a lawyer who realizedne day that, in his own community in chinatown, that peopleould make deposits at banks and -- but not get loans to bui businesses or buy homes, and he decided that was something he wanted to try to change, so he became a banker and started abacus over 30 years ago with the express purpose to
serve that community and help build that community. c brown: so i want to show a littp here because your film is about the bank but also ul immigrant family and a partly immigrant community, chinese-americans in new york. >> it's about exonerati our entire community, no matter what we do, be it selling or a ban doing business. i told mr. sung, i'm glad they pick on you because you'ra fighter. >> the bank fell easy to the attack especially because it's a family bank but he doesn't realize tois not easy to be pushed around. and my girls, they are tough smart, capable women. so courageous. >> although this is david versus
goliath, david being abacus federal savings bank has a sling shot and that's their family of lawyers. >> brown: the daughters are lawyers and got involved with this. the gument of the family and bank is we're doing good on ourn communityou're picking on the wrong people. you were sympathetic to that argument? >> i was very sympathetic to it tand also to the factt they seem to do everything they could to try to root out the fraud themselves and they even cooperated with the d.a.'s office until they realized th were the target of the investigation. so nothing tt they did bespoke a bank that was trying to orchestrate orid fraud. >> brown: the cyrus vans who was -- vance mentioned in the ip was the manhattan d.a. and was the office that brought this, he spokeo you for the film. for the record, he still believ this was an appropriate case to bring. >> he does. i mean, we interviewed him after the case he felt just as
strongly after the verdict as he did while they tried the cas and i don't know, it bewilledders me, i think a i think he really did believe there was fraud going on, and was sincere. i think his judgment was clouded the fact that there was ambition there to be the office that brought case against a bank in the wake of the 2008 crisis and noere is that revealed more plainly to me than me the indictment in the announ of it. he had the feds from washington behind him, and then he also orchestrated this chain gang of mostly ex-employees, low-level employees, members of the chinese community chained together and paraded in front of the media. >> brown: but this goes to the larger context of the film, i mean something we covered for years on this program looking at the termath o the 2008 financial crisi it's subtitled "small enough to ng on thviously play "too big to fail." so the question you're raising
is why just this bank and not other banks. >> yes, and if he had gone after bank of america, if the feds let him do that, thewould still be in discovery. i think there was a belief that this bk, because it w a chinese-american bank, there was not gointo be any kind of political fallout from this. i think he really believed that this bank would roll over and probably never go to trial. it's interesting, the big banks were allffered non-prosecution agreements, the pd figure fines and it all went away.us with abahey didn't get that offer. a they were offered ao felny conviction plus a fine and they believed they were so firmly t innocey weren't going to take a deal like that. >> brown: as a filmmaker, whenng you're looor a story to tell, were you starting off with the big story looking at the financial crisis and what happened with the banks, and this was your way in, or did you start with this small story?
>> well, i started with the story of what looked to like an unequal application of justice inmerica, this bank being picked on. that was the initial hook, but the heart of the story is this family, as you mentioned earlier. the integrity, the commitment, the courage that theyhowed, is really very much a human story about a chinese-american family that pushes back and doe nove in to this wrongful prosecution. b brown: and how are they doing now and thk doing? >> the bank's doing great now. they lost money during the whole period of indictment and th trial, but they have rebounded sine. fannie mae, the alleged victim in this case, is now back in business with abacus. sthey're happy the trial over, and things are well. there are even people who have made deposits at their bank that don't even live in cnawn in support of the bank after seeing the film which is really kind of
sweet. >> brown: abacus: small enough to jail, nominated for an oscar. stmes, thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> woodruff: and you can watch it online. >> woodruff: as we reported, the u.s. team won several medals last night, but as william brangham reports, none was more thrilling than when the women's hockey team won the gold medal against arch-rival canada. >> pore the past two decades the american team has been looking up enviously at their rivals. that finally changed last night with a game for t ages. i spoke earlier to christine brennan of "usa today" who washi wa the game in south korea. she's also a comen fair to -- commentator for cnn. you wrote, wake up america, while you were sleeping
somesing magical happened t night. can you tell us a little bit about that game? >> oh, my gosh. i've covered a lot of sports. this is one of the greatestv things iever seen. u.s. women's hockey, they won the gold mal, beat canada 3-2. there's such a history between the two teams, they're the two best teams in women's hockey in the world. ses like every four years they play each other for the gold medal. u.s. wo i1988 and that is never won another gold medal.on canada'sll of them. 20-year drought of the united states, this buildup to the rivalry and the game lived up to the billing in every wa. u.s. up 1-0, canada swarms back, takes a 2-1 lead. u.s. ties it at thend, 6 minutes to go. es into overtime, 20 minovutes ertime. free wheeling, intsceresting faating play both sides. eill tied, ges to shootouts, after five of th shootoutot
each side, 5-3 each, still tied and they have to go to a 6 and thas t'ere the u.s.a. wins it. >> the united states wins gold! in pyeongchang! >> it was jusrivetting and fun to watch and great playing. these two teamsho respect each other so much and are so close proximitywise, and to have this game played at the most important moment of lives and the u.s. wins, for the first time in 20 years the u.s. wins a gold medal in women's ice hockey, that's as good as gets. >> brangham: i heard women say they were inspired by the win in 1998. did you hear tt as well is this. >> i did. every d e saithat, they were either trying win it for some of the older women, the veterans, including the twins, obviously jocelyne lamoureaux
had the last shootout goal that won it for the united states and the great save by maddie rooney when they had the chance to tie it up again. you had older players with three olympics, and at that poinno gold and two unsatisfying silvers to point. and then you have the names that these women grew up with. you know, they were thir role models. they were cheering for them back when they ngre pla in '98 when these women were little kids in their bedrooms and had posters of them in their rooms so absolutely, we see this over and over again in women's sports that wow we have ahole new generation of girls who grew up watching athletes plateam sports at a high level and the same eact scenario really for me as the 1999 women's world cuw in soccer an that has translated to so many women being empowered ate rivby that game who have now gone on
to other great things in their li19 years later. anit's terrific to see in this case the girls next door happen to be wearing hckey skates, but it's that same story over and over again, and the olympics bring us those title stories, especially, involving women and ene girls who root for them. >> brangham: weto think of hockey as a largely male sport. is it becoming more popular with young women? >> yes, it absolutely is. obviously, it's a northern sport and it's alays been very popular in the boston area and in minnesota and wisconsin, the great high school programs there, the great college ograms there and then of course canada, they're so good at it as well. but i was just looking thiup and over the last decade a 5% increase in participation, according to u.s.a. hockey, for girls and women, and especially from 18 and uer. so these youth programs, they're starting. i know this, i greup, my brother played hockey, we grew up in toledo, ohio, nota ffrom
detroit, and i think i would hade played hockey if it been available back then and i had plenty of sports to play but i never had a chance. there is girls hockey now. girls playing throughe midwest, great lakes states, the northern med west and in new england pecially, and i think something like this, the way this game was plateyed, the ion to it, i actually think, william, the fact it wasr ght, i heard from a lot of people who stayed up and watched it. east coast, you had to stay up etty late, obviously. in the west coast, it wasn't so bad. i think people waking up to the news that something great happened and watching the highlights, even if just a few seconds of thehootout, i think this is going to have a nice impact, and i think tse kin of touch-tone moments really reoccur whehe olympics bring, in this case, girls to a sport they may not ot therwiught of even trying. >> brangham: christine brennanda of "usa to" thank you so much. >> william, my pleasure, thank
you. >> woodruff: next, we turn to another installment of o weekly brief but spectacular series, where we ask people about their passions. tonight, we hear from author and activist swanee hunt.is shhe founding director of the women and public policy program at harvard's kennedy school of government and a former u.s. amaussador to ria. hunt's latest book is called "rwandan women rising." >> after shock and awe in iraq, i went to meet with the general at the pentagon. i said, "you've got to bring in women now. they're so invested in having peace because of the cost to their children. they're your best allies on the ground." and is wonderful general, so polite, poured me some coffee, and he said, "oh, madam
ambassador, thanyou so much for coming by, and, you know, it's been a wonderful ith you, and we will be sure, after we get the place secure,bee'll ble to think about women's issues. and i thought, "what are you talking about? this is not cervical cancer. this is security." i was ambassador to austria, and right next door, yugoslavia was falling apart. and there was a genocide going on. and i-- i was tormented trying to figure out how to intervene,h soted negotiations-- 14 days. and it wasn't until i walked into the room at the white house where the peace agreement was going to be signed, and i thought, "holy cow. this is a room full of suits," and i didn't realize that there were no women involved. i was invited then to go to
rwanda. a few years after the genocide, "hand i looked around said did these women come to be, eventually, 64% of the parliament?" like, no place in the world is near that. rwanda is a case where women have in fact come in and waged ace, and they have so much to teach us. not just peoplin conflict but the united states. this was not a women movement by design. it was organic; it grew out of the necessity. when you have so much suffering in a conflict area, usually it's the women who are more sensitive to what's happening on the ground. ke in colombia, it was the women involved in the peace talks who insisted that victims would be at the table.
it might be a minority group, it might be people from a certain area of the region. i mean, that's the beauty of it, that the women, perhaps because they've been outsiders, they look for other outsiders to be there. we've got the research now. when women are significantly involved in a peace talk, there's a much greater chance that that peace reement is going to last. n e is swanee hunt, and this is my brief but spectacular takg on how womenpeace. >> woodruff: you can watch more brief but spectacular videos on our weite, pbs.org/newshour/brief. so online, an annotated excerpt from the book "killers of the flower moon." crauthor david grann's true story about the murders of i native americaoklahoma, which led to the birth of the f.b.i., is the latt selection in our book club: "now read
this." that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. m judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening with davi ooks and ruth marcus. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> babbel. a language app that teaches real-life conversations in a new language, like spanish, french, german, italian, and more. babbel's 10-15 minute lessons are available as an app, or online. more information on babbel.c. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions
elyse: we're the history detectives, 'r and wegoing to investigate some ntold stories from america's past. this week, what was the connection between the owner of this cup and a strange sideshow curiosity? look at that, wow! eduardo: why would a navajo weaver depart fm tradition to make this rug? v it'sy powerful rug. elvis costello: ♪ watchin' the detectives
IN COLLECTIONSKQED (PBS) Television Archive Television Archive News Search Service The Chin Grimes TV News Archive
Uploaded by TV Archive on