tv BBC World News America PBS November 13, 2019 2:30pm-3:00pm PST
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america." laura trevelyan.hington, i am the first public impeachment hearings take place on capitol hill. america's top diplomat in military aid was tied intot investigating the bidens. >>this was the first time t i had heard that the security assistance, not just the white house meeting, was conditioned on investigations. laura: psident trump he didn't watch the hearings. instead, he was welcoming turkey's president to the white house, as congress calls for sanctions over the syria campaign. plus, an inside look at notre dame. ewe hhe first tv images of the damage left behind by fire and the rebuildingde effort rway. laura: for those watching on pbs and around the globe, welcome to
orld news america." hewith cameras rolling and world watching, the first open hearings of the impeachment inquiry into president trump were held today. two veteran diplomats were key witnesses. one piece of new information came when ambassador william taylor testified that the president cared more about investigating joe biden and his son than about ukraine. mr trump dismissed the hearings, saying he was too busy to watch. the bbc's north america editor jon sopel start>>our coverage. istory in the house. jon: this is like the super bowl for politics, the day the impeachment hearings go public,c and coast-st, although -- all the u.s. tv networks are aring up for the unfoldi drama that could be the decisive moment of the trump presidency. early this morning in the white house residence, the light is on and the tweets are angry. in the committee room,t is a scrum an hour before the hearing gets underway. fit up was this man, georg kent. he is a senior state department official overseeing ukraineir
af mr. kent: i do not believe thete united sshould ask other countries to engage in selective, politically associated investigations or prosecutions against opponents t se in power, because such selective actions undermine the rule of law. president ordered a halt to military aid to ukraine until it agreed it to dig dirt on the gas company, burisma, that hunter biden, son of former vice president joe biden and donald trump's potential 2020 rival, was a director of. next up, bill taylor, acting ambassador to ukrain he says the president was trying to strong-arkiev. mr. taylor: by mid-july it was meetingg clear that th president zelensky wanted was conditioned on investigations of buria and alled ukrainian interference in the 2016 u.s. elections.li jon: t repn strategy seems to be to cast doubt on everyone and everything involvep in thechment inquiry, including the undermining of these lifelong public servants.
>> ambassador taylor and mr. kent, i would like to welcome you here. i would like to congratulate yo for passing mocrats' star chamber editions held in the basement of the capitol. it seems you agreed willingly or unwittingly to participate in a drama. jon: republicans have dismissed much of the evidence as hearsay and complained that the whistleblower hasn't been called. >> there is e witness they won't bring in front of us, they won't bring in front of the american people. that is the guy who started ital the whistleblower. >> i would be glad to have the rson who started it all come president trump is welcome to take a seat right there. [laughter] jon: a rare moment of humor in a sour, partisan hearing. impeachment is the mechanism by which a sitting president can be removed from office gh crimes and misdemeanors. the first stage of the vote in the house of representatives,ca
which has to bied by a simple majority. to that is passed, the articles of impeachment ghe upper house. here, the president put on trial with 100 senators acting as a jury. for dona trump to be removed from office, two thirds of senators would have to find him guilty, a threshold that has never been reached before. on this blockbuster wednesday, donald trump is meeting turkey's president erdogan at the white house.um pres. i am too busy to watch it. it is a witchhunt, it is a hoax. 'm too busy to watch it, so i'm sure i will get a report. jon: mr. trump hasailed against the unfairness of the process, and has insisted repeatedly he has done nothing wrong. jon sopel, bbc news, washiton. laura: for analysis of today's hearings, i spokeh w constitutional law professor and bbc legal analyst jonathan turley. what struck you as the most significant piece of evidence that came out today? jonathan: funny engh, the most
damaging piece of evidence came at the very end when chairman schiff was wrapping up, and he noted that the aid to ukraine was released 48 hours after itca known that the whistleblower complaint had gone to congress. that really plows into the main republican talking point, which is the aid wasn't withheld, and at least in watergate they got into the hotel. here, nothing actually happened in terms of holding this back permanently. but that really undermines the argument, because it suggests that the aid was being withheldt untiecame clear that this was going to explode in the public. laura: what seems to you the basis for the democrats' attempt to impeach the president based on these two key witnesses today? jonathan: you know, there is a lot in this testimony that was upsetting.m but the prob that i'm not
so sure they gained as much ground towards impeachment as they had hed.ed you don't crime for impeachment, but you do need clarity. they are proceeding on an abuse of power theory, which you canh impepresident for, but this woulde the narrowestup basi which an impeachment went to the senate. it would be the least developed evidentiary record. seems like this is almo designed to collapse in the senate, because e problem is, yes, you can be impeached for abuse of power, but what is the limiting principle when does the president overstep that line? all presidents are self dealers. is are all the members of committee. where do you draw the line? laura: but when it comes to the possible breaking of a law, is it possible that the president did break campaign finance law? he was calling for an investigation into his political opponents while leveraging military ajo. than: i don't think he did.
i really don't thine he violated w. in fact, the federal law says he has discretion to withhold military aid. chairm schiff in the last 48 hours says he believes the president committed bribery and said that during the colonial period leading up to the constitutional period, the framers had a broader concept of bribery. i don't think that is true at all. discussed by the f andribery was they thought it was too narrow of a concept. that is why they added high crimes and misdemeanors. a laura: howut this figure of ambassador gordon sondland, who he president said on frid hardly knows him but we learn from testimony today that the president had his cell phone number and called up to see how the investigation was going after he talked to ukraine's leader. jonathan: i thk sondland is shaping up to be very damaging. you never know which of these witnesses will get radioactivet. for the presid sondland looks like that. he has changed his testimo in a way that hurts the president. and now he is featured with a new witness, a young diplomat
who said he heard sondland at a restaurant say on e phone that the president cares more about investigating the bidens than about ukraine.th i will note, bway, this only the latest such embarrassment of a trump figure speaking on a phone or at a restaurant and overheard by someone. i don't know why the memo hasn't gone out, since every 11-year-old knows thatave to be careful speaking on a cell phone. laura: but no gotcha moment for you, jonathan? jonathan: i think the gotcha timing of the release of thethe aid. the rest of it is the type of thing that drives people cra about trump. but as a disruptor, there are people in this country that love it. that is why 50% want impeachment, 50% do not. laura: jonathan turley, thanks for being with us. as wheard earlier, president welcome to the turkis leader to the white house today. it is the first time the two men
have met president erdogan launch an offensive against lakurdish fighters in syri month. it comes as turkey haid th conse ueemly to man with the trumps welcoming to tho white a man whose forces have attacked a neighboring country, leaving hundreds dead and many thousands displaced. pres. trump: thank you very much. it is a great honor to be with president erdogan. decision to withdraw u.stroopsom orthern syria in effect give president erdogan the gaden light to i pres. trump: the relationship we have had is good, and i have heard all the pundits three or four or five weeks ago, they were against what i did. now all of a sudden they are saying, wow, that is really working well. aleem: tell that tsyrian kurds
who have been left reeling by recentvents and are still burying their dead. they feel they sacrificed so much in the fight against the islamic state group, only to be abandoned by their ameri.n al at the mercy of turkey, and leaving i.s. to start to assert itself again. the group once more carrying out attacks that kill civilians. the kurds, feeling forgotten, have been trying to me their voice heard in washington. a protest ght outside the white house as the two leaders met. how do you feel about president erdogan being at the white house today? >> honestly, the trail -- betrayal. as a kurdish american for our president inviting someone that knows the invasion going on. it is a disgrace. >> unfortunately, he is being appeased, which is a policy thah we akurds have been critical of for years.
erdogan in his current form should not be allowed to further his own destabilizing reenda in thon. aleem: but president erdogan stood by the turkish operationsn into syria, eiterating his aim to use the invaded areas to be house -- rehouse refugees. pres. erdogaap i launched an al in order to establish a safe zone in syria, but because of the delay, tens of thousands of civilian lives were this problem cannot continue rever and ever. t aleere are many here who been punished for starting itsot operation in northern syria, but that in fact president erdogan is being rewarded just an offensive he never should have started that has y agdone irreparable d aleem maqbool, bbc news, washington. laura: joining me is former u.s.
defense secretary and u.s. senator william cohen. thanks for being with us. was president tmp right to president erdogan at the white house, to reward him in this way? mr. cohen: obviously, turkey is an important nato ally and i would expect the president to entertain any memberf the alliance, and not to have entertained him would have sent a signal that they are really oh the outs witunited states. i think turkey is going down a path that is not going to be well received by members of congress certainly. it is more of an autocratic government then a democratic government. one of the key things in it nato membership is that you have a democracy subordination of capital stick form of economic system, etc. i think president erdogan is more heading toward a putin
yle of autocratic leadership, and i think president trump tends to like that. as a matter of fact, he tends to embrace autrats and tends to give the heisman, a stiff arm, to our nato allies. trauma in washington today, the impeachment inquiry, as a former defense secretary and someone who was in the senate, with your vast experience, how do you see this unfolding? . cohen: well, it is unfolding. today was a gooday in the e that for the first time the american people have the opportunity to season good news and bad news. the good news is that they could see two very distinguished public servants who have had 30-plus years from each of them, serving our country, certainly with billba taylor on the lefield and now as a diplomatand same with george kent. really terrific diplomats. and ihi it disavows what the ting, tha keeps ins
they are part of the deep state. i hope they are part of the state that represents the united stes globally, that we have people of this caliber who are willing to serve for very low competition compared to what they might otherwisen e out of the prive sector, but to be able to have people voke that who d their lives to public service, that is the good news. the bad news is thawe see how the system can be either circumveed oranipulated by having either a shadow, or shady foreignd policy carrt by the president's personal attorney andhose he is trying to push aside in terms of the established all of the expertise, push them away so he could pursue his own rsonal agenda. laura: having be in the senate, do you think republican senators will find it disturpeng enough to h th president? mr. cohen: probably not. i think the republicans have lined up with president trump an.very little will move th
there may be some and i ho at least four or 54 six, half a dofn, to say that this kind conduct cannot be sanctioned, it cannot be dismissed away. the notion that you would have a president of the united states condition military aid upon an ally who was on the front lines of defense for them and for us, and to condition that on holding a public conference with c and then to denounce, or announce, rather, there is going to be an investigation of joe biden and his familythat cannot be accepted, that should be condned. if it is not impeachable conduct, at least subject to condemnation. laura: when you heard of the career -- say that withholding of the aid to ukraine emboldened russia how did that make you feel as a former defense secretary? mr. cohen: ah. have always been concerned about the nature of the relationship between president trump and president putin. it seems that everything putin
once can he gets from this president. putin is in favor of wright state, putin isn't -- in favor of president, putin cash b-- brexit, putin is in favor of undermining nato. the president has yet to confront putin, to say that i believe that youre have inter with our presidential elections and if you do it again there will be serious to the mac and economic consequences. .it has never been sa the president says i believe putin, i don't believe our intelligence community. that is a continuation of the sameic policy is stunning to me and stunning to the market people. laura: secretary cohen, thank you for being with us. you are watching "bbc world news america." still to come oon tonight's program, democrats on today's testimony. we speak to a lawmakho would be involved in drafting the articles of impeachment if it comes to that.
in bolivia, an opposition lawmaker has declared herself interim president following the resignationo of morales,ho fled the country after weeksesf violent pr he is katy watson. katy: for the moment -- it is the moment many believe in the have been many for a n leader after evo morales' e signation. thws was geted with huge cheers full house, supporters of evo morales refusing to take part. she was sworn in swiftly, no time to lose. >> it has been 14 years of a regime that has violated constitutional right guarantees from a regime that has persecuted and arrested those for thinking dferently. i have been in the opposition for 14 years, but i'm proud of myountry, the people who shouted this is neither cuba nos venezuela, thi bolivia, and
bolivia needs to be respected. katy: interim president has 90 days in which to call elections. the question is whether evo morales' rssupporteill agree with the process. on the street outside cgress, anger, taking it out on police, who evo morales' supporters fail have been tors. the departure mr. moralesen has heiged tensions and polarized to the nation. on tuesday, thousands marched, waving the multicolored symbol of the indigenous communities. respect the ballot," they said, enangry that the flight ha burned in opposition protest. many say that they fear a return to the bolivian of the past. thit opposn has cheated us," this woman tells me. "i will ,ways love you evo, wherever you are."
there is a great deal of anger on the streets of bolivia cad the politi crisis will not be easy to solve. katy watson, bbc news. laura: returning to our top story,he must-seimpeachment hearings on capitol hill. mo find out what lawmakers made of the tes, i spoke to a democratic congresswoman who sits on the judiciary committee. thanks so much for being with us. convince the public the president should be impeached? >> i think that listening from a witness like ambassador taylor who has been a career official present served under republican and democratic administrations was very powerful. i was in an outcome i had other work in the judiciy committee -- in and out, i had other work the judiciary comttee
but one of the things i learned is that one of histutaff members ly overheard president trump ask about the investigations, and where they were, whether the president of ukine was going to be conducting investigations into his political opponent, which we know that is against our lnstitution and against t and threatens our national security. laura: and yet republicans are inting out that the ukrainians fnever did publicly call investigations into democrats and the hold on military assistance was lifted. dwhat is the issuyou think? rep. mucarsel-powell: two things to remember. first llyou have to look at the timeline. the moment that the president heard about the whistleblower's complaint, they released to the aid. when president zelensky from ukraine released the military aid, he canceled his public appearance on cnn to say that he was going to be conducting an investigation. the timing is goipo to be very ant. ultimately, i don't want people
to get confused with all the details. it is important for us to remember and make sure that the american public understands there was an aempt to extort, for this president's political and private gain. again, no one in this country, no one in the united states of america, is above the law, and not the president, not this time. which is why democrats in the house of representatives are very focused on making sure we texpo truth to the american public. laura: you are on the judiciary committee, which would draft of the articles of impeachment if you get that farwo. d your chart against the present the abuse of power? rep. mucarsel-powell: we are no there yet. it is very important for me to keep an open mind, to understand all the facts, to hear all the we have not decided whether we are going to be dfting the articles. we suspect there will be sent to the judiciary committee, so i don't want to get ahead of ourselves. it is important to let these hearings play out for themselves. laura: congresswoman, than you
for being with us. rep. mucarsel-powell: thank you. laura: in otheews, there has been more cross-border violence between israel and militants in gaza a day after an israeli airstrike killed and islamic jihad commander. gaza's health ministry said 14 palestinia have been killed by israeli fire on wednesday,th bringing the doll there to 24 since tuesday. in israel, some 50 people have been treated for injuries or anxiety. venice has been hit by severe floodingfter the highest tide in more than 50 years. water levels rose by almost two meters, floating st. mark's basilica for the sixth time in 1200 years. the city's mayor said a venice was on his knees d the cost of into hundreds of ms ofould run euros. this past april, the world watched in horror as fire engulfed the cathedral of notre dame in paris. the legendary landmark barely survived, and now we are getting the first tv pictures of the
extent of the damage. the images shot by a french general show the scale of the reconstruction and the risks asciated with rebuilding. our paris correspondent lucy williamson rorts. lucy: behind its familiar towers, the shape of notre dame has changed. it's soaring spire now a gaping hole. lead melting in new sculptures. slking into notre dame wa always humbling. philip is one of very few to have h seen the cathedral looks today. it's silent, floodlit by sunlight. d the charmains of the collapsing spire still piled on the floor. >> the wood continued to burn on the ground and burned to the basis of these two columns. if they want to reinforce to stop them shattering, they could ha collapsed taken the walls
with them. it would have been a lucy: firefighters say they came clthe to losing notre dame night but the reconstruction could risk its survival agn. architects here say there is still a major risk of the vaults thcollapsing because oeffect of intense heat and water on the stones also teams are working to stabilize the structure over the next two months so reconstruction can begin. it took an evening to burn through this building. it will take much more tn a single night to really save it. lucy williamson, bbc news, harris. laura: r so muuilding to be done and so risky. i am laura trevelyan. thank you for watching "bbc world ne america." narrator: funding for this presentation is made possible by... babbel, an online program designed by language specialists
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