tv PBS News Hour PBS October 12, 2022 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
amna: good evening and welcome. i'm amna nawaz. judy woodruff is away. on the "newshour" tonight, a verdict, a jury orders conspiracy theorist alex jones to pay the families of the sandy hook massacre nearly $1 billion in damages. then, the saudi connection, the united states re-evaluates its relationship with the kingdom over a cut in oil production that's pushing up gas prices. and, first time voters, young adults in wisconsin discuss their hopes for the country's future and whether politicians are listening to their concerns. >> i've been very politically engaged throughout high school, and i'm excited to get my foot in the door and actually have a voice in my government. amna: all that and more on tonight's "pbs newshour."
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had claimed the 2012 sandy hook school massacre was a hoax. relatives of eight of the 26 victims and an fbi agent brought the suit. they said today's verdict is a hard-fought victory. >> all i can really say is that i'm just proud that what we were able to accomplish was just to simply tell the truth. and it shouldn't be this hard, and it shouldn't be the scary. i shouldn't have to worry about what my daughter is going to go through when i tell them that it's best that they just tell the truth. amna: jones already faced a $50 million penalty that a texas jury imposed in august. we will return to this story later in the program. a jury in south florida has begun deliberating on whether parkland school shooter nikolas cruz will be sentenced to death. cruz already pleaded guilty to killing 17 people at marjory stoneman douglas high school in 2018. he is now 24 years old. the defense is asking for life in prison without parole.
in ukraine, seven more people were killed today as russia fired more missiles, drones, and artillery rounds into major cities. in all, the new russian offensive has killed at least 26 people since monday. the latest attacks came as u.s. defense secretary lloyd austin and other nato defense ministers met in brussels on bolstering ukraine's weapon supply. >> that resolve has only been heightened by the deliberate cruelty of russia's new barrage against ukrainian cities. thosassaults on targets with no military purpose again reveal the malice of putin's war of choice. laura: russian fire also knocked -- amna: russian fire also knocked out por to the zaporizhzhia nuclear plant for the second time in five days. and at the united nations, the general assembly voted overwhelmingly to condemn russia's attempt to annex more of ukraine. russian president vladimir putin says moscow is set to resume natural gas deliveries to
europe. he said today that the nord stream 2 pipeline to germany could still be used despite being damaged by explosions last month. germany quickly rejected the offer as another attempt to renew europe's dependence on russian energy. new protests swept iran today, despite heavy police presence and an internet outage that hindered communications. demonstrators rallied in at least 19 cities over the death of mahsa amini in police custody. women marched in the streets, defiantly removing their mandatory hijabs. in tehran, supreme leader ayatollah khamenei blamed foreign elements for the unrest. >> some are either agents of the enemy, or they are aligned with the enemy. others are just excited. the first group must be dealt with by judicial and national security officials. amna: the regime has carried out a violent crackdown on the protests. at least -- one human rights group estimated today that at least 200 people have been
killed. the former head of the los angeles city council has resigned her seat over racist remarks that were leaked. martinez had stepped down from her post as council president. martinez and two other councilmembers talked about attracting latino voting power d made abusive or marks about other groups. the attorney general announced he will look into the process for drawing new counsel districts. former president trump was ordered today to give a deposition in a defamation lawsuit. a federal judge sued the order in new york. advice columnist e. jean carroll says mr. trump defamed her when he denied raping her in a department store dressing room, in the mid-1990's. the former president's legal team has repeatedly tried to quash the lawsuit. the cdc today approved uated covid-19 booster shots for children as young as five years old. the latest pfizer and moderna vaccines are tailored to provide better protection against the highly contagious omicron variant.
cdc approval came hours after the fda authorized the boosters for the younger age group. on wall street today, stocks ended slightly lower after news that wholesale inflation rose 8.5% in september, from a year earlier. the dow jones industrial average lost 28 points to close at 29,210. the nasdaq fell 9 points. the s&p 500 slipped 11. still to come on the "newshour," president biden's student loan forgiveness plan faces legal challenges. reporters across the country share the latest on the races that could decide control of congress plus much more. >> this is pbs newshour from weta studios in washington and from the west, from the walter cronkite school of journalism. amna: alex jones has been ordered to pay money for the
lies he's right about the sandy hook elementary school massacre in 2012. he had falsely claimed the attack that left more than 2000 people dead, including 20 children, was a hoax, and accused a grieving parent of being an actor in the days after the murders. texas jury awarded nearly $50 million in a separate damages trial this summer. jones likely faces another trial before the year is up. for some perspective on the scope of this award and what happens now, we turn to jesse, a lawyer in california who works on civil and criminal cases. welcome to the newshour. thank you for joining us. let's start with some context on this verdict. it is an enormous amount of money. what did you think when you heard the damages being awarded? jesse: wow, quite frankly. it is probably one of the largest defamation verdicts in u.s. history and it is compensatory, meaning there is still going to be up to 10 times
as much under the united states constitution. so we are going to see probably this verdict at least double or triple or maybe even up to 10 times more. amna: it was an incredibly emotional trial with emotional testimony. did that play a role in the size of the verdict that was eventually awarded? jesse: assuredly. this verdict says two things. number one, it says we hate alex jones, number two, that we are inflamed and we feel that these parents have lost something very special to them and we are going to do our best to give it back to them with our verdict. amna: we should point out, earlier this year, info wars and
its parent company did file for bankruptcy protections. what kind of impact could not have on the amount that is actually paid out? jesse: well, the verdict is against alex jones and the company. alex jones may end up filing for bankruptcy protection as well. his estimated net worth is anywhere between 170 to 135 to 270 million so he may declare bankruptcy as well. it is certainly possible that this verdict and the texas verdict could be swept up in bankruptcy and significantly decreased under u.s. bankruptcy law. amna: you mentioned that texas verdict and i want to get your analysis on the difference in you see between the texas verdict that's around 50 million dollars and was eventually knocked down because of state limits because of those kind of awards and the damages we saw
awarded today. how do you see the difference between what unfolded in texas and what happened in connecticut? jesse: it is hard not to draw the inference that the two different jury pools are somewhat politically motivated. the compensatory damages in the texas verdict was $4 million. the compensatory damages in the connecticut verdict is $965 million. that is a 960 $1 million difference in compensatory damages. we still have to see punitive damages in connecticut so the difference could be far more striking. i think it is safe to say that the connecticut verdict is a far more liberal jury pool that had to have factored into their verdict. amna: we learned later today that jones's lawyer says they plan to appeal.
we should remind folks that mr. jones was spreading these lies for years, saying that the whole attack was a hoax. in some cases, parents were responble for the deaths of their own children. he is not alone in spreading some of these lies and i wonder as you look at this moment what you tnk this verdict says in the way of a message it sends about the legal landscape surrounding holding those who spread misinformation accountable in some way. jesse: well, if you are profiting off of conspiracy theories that are defamatory, that are obviously false, you need to watch yourself. and a litigant can clearly prosper in two very separate forms. and i think that it sends a strong message to people that are making money on lies. and especially given that this
is not the end. we have the punitive damages verdict and we also have a third sandy hook lawsuit so i think that it sends a strong message to people who are in the business of peddling conspiracies. amna: that is a trial attorney in california joining us tonight. thank you for your time. >> thank you for having me. amna: relatio between the white house and saudi arabia's ruling royal family are at a low point, and may be set to dive even lower. from president biden's fighting words on the campaign trail to recent saudi-led cuts in global oil supplies, the status of the more than 75-year-old alliance is troubled, and many in the administration and on capitol hill want a reset. nick schifrin begins our coverage.
>> one of the most colorful visits to the presidential cruiser was that of the ruler of saudi arabia. nick: america's longest relationship with an arab state began 77 years ago. four-time elected u.s. president franklin roosevelt, and ibn saud, the warrior monarch backed by a fanatical clergy, created a fundamental agreement, american security in exchange for saudi energy. but today, that agreement must be re-examined, president biden told cnn's jake tapper last night. pres. biden: there's going to be some consequences, for what they've done, with russia. nick: what the saudis did with fellow opec leader russia, the largest oil production cut in more than two years over u.s. warnings. it was announced by opec secretary general haitham al ghais. >> we are not endangering the energy markets. we are providing security stability to the energy markets. ,>> at a price. >> everything has a price. nick: including the u.s.-saudi
relationship. in the 1970's, saudi arabia helped lead an oil embargo over us support for israel. >> you have declared a jihad against the united states. can you tell us why the kingdom -- tell us why? nick: the kingdom claims it fights the fires of radicalism, but critics call it the arsonist. the saudi osama bin laden sparked global attacks against the west and their arab allies. 15 of the 9/11 hijackers were saudi. and decades of criticism of saudi arabia's poor human rights record crescendoed in 18 after journalist jamal khashoggi walked into the saudi istanbul's consulate, was murdered, and cut into pieces. the u.s. intelligence community assessed the operation was approved by the kingdom's powerful crown prince, and future king, mohammad bin salman. the following year, candidate joe biden promised punishment. pres. biden: we were going to in fact make them pay the price, and make them in fact the pariah that they are. nick: but that proved to be a speed bump that preceded this year's fist bump. president biden and his team worked with mbs, an
acknowledgement the kingdom has helped the u.s. for decades, across continents. in the late 1970's, saudi arabia provided crucial support for the afghan mujahideen to defeat the soviet military and help collapse the soviet union. in the early 1990's, saudi arabia invited the largest u.s. overseas deployment in decades. u.s. troops used the kingdom as a base to fight the gulf war. after 9/11, the bush administration held onto the alliance, to cooperate on terrorism and target al qaeda. and in 2017, president trump made saudi arabia his first overseas stop. saudi arabia and allies helped shif u.s. regional policy. and riyadh-washington cooperation helped lead to the historic 2020 normalization agreements between israel, bahrain, and the united arab emirates. >> today, the biden administration is releasing our national security strategy. nick: today, the u.s. says it's well aware the relationship provides benefits.
but the administration will review the relationship and consult lawmakers, including democrats, who today called for a one-year block on weapons sales. >> saudi arabia has broken trust with america, and it needs to come to its senses. nick: the u.s.-saudi relationship has survived previous challenges. the administration says there's no timetable for its review. for the pbs newshour, i'm nick schifrin. amna: representative ro khanna of california is a member of the house armed services committee, and is spearheading the house version of the bill to end u.s. arm sales to saudi arabia for one year. he joins me now. congressman, welcome back to the newshour. thank you for joining us. you said the u.s. needs to immediately halt those arms sales. this has been proposed many times by many other people and it has never moved fward. why do you think this moment is different? rep. khanna: this is a defining moment just like the war powers
resolution that stopped the refueling of the saudi planes that senator sanders and i that pass after jamal khashoggi's murder. this outraged people on both sides of the aisle. we provide saudi arabia was 70 something percent of their arms and we stood up for them when saddam hussein was going to invade after saddam had invaded kuwait and saudi planes could not fly if not for american technicians yet they are fleecing the american public, making about $100 billion in 2022. there need to be consequences. amna: we provide them with all these things you just listed but they provide us with crucial counterterrorism intelligence that the u.s. relies on for national security purposes. could imposing consequences compromise u.s. national security? rep. khanna: no, it will not. they are far more reliant on us. in fact, the defense agreements we have, the joint defense
initiatives, are more defensive than almost any other major ally and that is all too saudi's benefit. they are far more dependent on us and they already are making these drastic cuts and they are making drastic cuts at a time when they are making 70% profit margins on each barrel of oil. why are they doing it? they are doing it to help putin because putin is selling his oil at a discount of $35 a barrel to china and other countries. to appease putin, they are hurting the american sumer at the pump and that is just -- it won't stand. we have far more leverage over them than they do for us. amna: it is a gamble. what if it backfires? what if a further cut oil production? what if they end up moving further towards russia and china? rep. khanna: they cannot move further towards russia and china in the near term. it would take almost 10 years for them to be able t get the
weapons that we provide just because of interoperability of these weapons and the air force would be grounded to a halt tomorrow if they did not have american technicians. maybe it would take years for them to build with russia and china but they simply could not do that. in terms of cuts, they have cut already. i don't think further cuts would be possible. they were talking about a million barrels. they have cut 2 million barrels. in other countries in opec, the uae and kuwait, they will make up for it if they went for further cuts. though they already had taken the most drastic action. amna: what about iran in all of this? none of this unfolds in a vacuum. the u.s. foreign policy in the region is structured largely around saudi arabia. this summer, we approved two massive arms deals for saudi arabia and the united arab emirates to help them defend against iran. those cutting saudi arm sales empower iran? rep. khanna: no, it doesn't.
i was opposed to those arms sales. the saudi's are responsible for one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the world in yemen. it is appalling what they have done to the children there, the starvation that it has caused, and it is appalling that they are continuing to blockade. the iranians are to blame in yemen as well but the saudi's have been the principal perpetrators of that war so i don't think that cutting off these arm sales are suddenly going to make them vulnerable to iran. i have spoken out very strongly for the students, for the women protesting in iran. i believe there are other ways that we can contain iran but we should not use a kissingerian balance of power where we end up supporting brutal dictators at the expense of our own public because of some balance of power politics in the middle east. amna: what do you believe president biden could have done differently in this moment? he went from calling saudi
arabia a variety visiting crown prince mohammad bin salman on in july, the fist bump seen around the world. is there anything the president or this administration could have done differently to avoid this moment? rep. khanna: i don't think he should have gone to saudi arabia. senator sanders and i took to the papers to say that the trip was misguided. i believe he should havbeen clearer with the saudi's that there would be very drastic consequences both if they did not lift the blockade, which they still have not in yemen, but now they are talking about actually not following through on the truce in yemen, but certainly, extremely drastic consequences if they cut oil production so i believe that he could have been clearer on all of those things. i'm glad he's contemplating action now and my belief is if we are tough enough, they will reverse the decision. am you said he is contemplating action. you heard the word consequences
but no specifics. how serious are they in imposing immediate consequences? rep. khanna: they have told me that the president is going to take action, that the president is re-examining the saudi relationship, and that the action is imminent, so i believe the president has to act. how can you allow a country that is a "ally" to continue to profit off the american public and make drastic cuts when we are going through one of the bigger energy crises we have in recent decades? allies don't treat each other that way. amna: more broadly, u.s. officials did reportedly warned saudi leaders that a cut in production would be seen as a clear choice that they are siding with russia and the saud's did it anyway. what does that say to you about how they view the west right now? --the u.s. right now? rep. khanna: they don't think that there's going to be
consequences. they should take temperature of many of the younger members of congress who are not steeped in the same traditional relationship with saudi, who basically know saudi arabia through the prism of the yemen war and the humanitarian crisis that they have caused. they should remember that the war powers resolution stopping passed the house and senate. the only time a war powers resolution is ever passed. and they should know that now, there are going to be consequences. not just senator blumenthal and i but senator menendez, a respected foreign-policy voice who chairs the senate foreign relations committee, calling for it. they are really hurting their relationship on the hill. amna: briefly if you can, the saudi's have said this was economic, their decision to cut oil production. do you believe it had anything to do with the timing of the upcoming midterm elections? rep. khanna: i don't know but it's not economic when they are making over 70% profits on your barrels of oil. i have been critical of exxon
and chevron but it pales to the coarison to what the saudi's are making on oil. what i do know is that they have chosen deliberately to hurt americans at the pump. look, i don't think the timing is coincidental but i have no evidence of why they have taken that decision. all i know is that they are hurting the american public. amna: that is representative ro khanna. thank you so much for your time. rep. khanna: thank you. ♪ amna: president biden's executive order to cancel student debt is facing its most serious legal challenge to date. a federal judge in missouri heard arguments today from six states hoping to block the plan from taking effect. to qualify for the student loan program, individuals must make less than $125,000 a year or $250,000 for married couples and families.
eligible borrowers can receive up to $10,000 in forgiveness. or up to $20,000 if they are pell grant recipients. white house correspondent laura barron-lopez has been following it all and joins me now as part of our series, "rethinking college." laura, good to see you. that's talk about this case that was heard today. what are the states arguing? laura: there are six republican states including nebraska, missouri, arkansas, and they are arguing the administration's debt relief program is illegal on three fronts. those three frontsre that the administration lacks authority, that they did not follow administrative procedure, and that it harms state revenue, so today, we spoke to arkansas attorney general leslie rutledge and she really focused on whether or not the president has authority to do this and took erect aim at him. >> the president did not have the authority to make this
decision. he made this decision and based it on the heroes act which essentially was put in place during the iraq war in order to give relief to our brave men and women in uniform and it was also as part of it, could be used during a national emergency. president biden forgot that he declared the pandemic over a few short weeks ago. >> as you heard the attorney general saying, she thinks the president doesn't have this authority but what was interesting in the arguments today was that missouri judge, henry, really scrutinized that, saying why is the president being the wood as part of this lawsuit? and questioning whether or not the republican states had standing against the president versus standing against the education department and the education secretary. amna: a main part of their argument is the ministration doesn't have the authority to view this. what has the biden administration been saying about this? laura: the biden administration
is essentially saying they were granted this authority under a 2003 higher education law, the heroes act. today, brian netter argued that the pandemic gives them this authority. >> it is crucial that this is a statute about emergencies, national emergencies, and it seems hard to fathom that congress would not have understood at the time that a larger national emergency is going to prompt and assess the take a larger action secretary of education. >> essentially, he is saying that as the economic hardships were growing due to the covid pandemic, so does the power of the education secretary. those powers grow as well with it. he specifically argued against this front that the states were bringing forward, saying that this national emergency statute only applies to specific
military activity. it applies to military members, service members. he said historically, that is not the case under this law. when he think about a hurricane, government doesn't provide relief just when the hurricane is spinning. after a national emergency happens or national disaster like that, the government has to help people come out of that come out of economic hardships brought upon by national emergencies. amna: what about the whole racial equity part of this? we heard the message that is an underpinning as to why they were rolling out this loan forgiveness program. how does that factor into their argument? laura: the states were saying this is only going to provide relief to wealthy individuals, higher income individuals. what the administration is saying back is you have to look at who the borrowers are these
loan programs. and for the loan forgiveness program, it would significantly impact black borrowers. specifically, the average debt is 10,000 more than for white borrowers. pell grant recipients are twice as likely to be black. another big piece of this is the federal family education loan borrowers which was at first part of the announcement when the administration said they were going to provide this big cancellation of debt and then they ended up taking that out of the guidance, saying that these borrowers would not be given this relief and that was a big piece of this lawsuit. because essentially, the states are arguing that they get state revenues from the companies that take on those loans from those borrowers. by the government is saying that ultimately, the relief provided to these borrowers is -- it far always the state revenue that would ultimately be last.
again, on the federal family loan borrowers, the administration hasried to make clear that while ty may not receive relief now, that ultimately, the education department is trying to find an alternative pathway for them. amna: before anyone can get any relief, they have to fill out an application. we have been anticipating the release of that formrom the white house. what do we know about that? laura: they issued a preview this week, the white house did, and essentially, what borrowers have to do, they have to get social security numbers, date of birth, email, but they also have to click this box that certifies under penalty of perjury that they meet the income thresholds. some of those borrowers will be provided just based on tt certification, will be provided relief. others are going to have to show more proof that they meet those income thresholds that you outlined earlier. now, i spoke to the white house assistant press secretary today and he said that essentially, as the lawsuits are proceeding,
because there is more than just the one we talked about today, that the white house is going to still move forward with implementing this plan. no relief is going to be felt prior to october 23 but the application process is going to be rolled out this month. amna: folks can check that out and start to apply if they are eligible. white house correspondent laura barron-lopez. thank you so much. laura: thank you. ♪ amna: election night is less than a month away and we're digging into some key races that could determine the balance of power in congress. lisa desjardins has more. lisa: let's talk about control of the house of representatives. to take over the house, republicans need to gain just five total seats next month. net. their party may have a slight advantage from redistricting. but there are dozens of competitive races, including
more than 30 rated as toss-ups. to take a good look at the map, i'm joined by three public media reporters, karen kasler of ohio public radio and television, scott shafer with kqed in california, and zoe clark with michigan radio. so happy to have all of you together to talk about this. each of your states has lost a congressional district because of redistricting but you also each have a clutch of competitive races that could determine control of the house. i wonder if you could set the mood for us. what is on voters minds question marc everything from the weather to redistricting to issues that you think might be affecting their vote. let's start out west with you, scott shafer. scott: california has an unusual system for creating redistricting. it is a citizen's commission. it is not gerrymandering. so we have four to six competitive house races in california including probably two of the 10 most vulnerable republicans. david in the central valley and mike garcia in los angeles. both of them running in plus d
districts where democrats outnumber republicans. in terms of, you know, the seat that we lost, karen bass decided not to run for reelection. she is not running for mayor of los angeles which is dominating the headlines and not in very good ways. in terms of issues, in terms of these congressional races, it is a competing narrative. republicans want to talk about gas prices and the economy, and democrats want to talk about abortion rights and about threats to democracy so you have these competing narratives that are playing out on the campaign trail and on television and in addition, i would say that republicans also want to talk about crime and immigration, much more so than abortion rights. amna: what is going on in chigan? his politics breaking through in general? zoe: it actually is, if you can imagine. it is not just spartans and wolverines in michigan although the weather is always something
we talk about. much like what scott said, it is about the economy. it is about inflation. it is about gas prices. since the decision here in michigan, abortion has become something that has changed the dynamic. we have an amendment that is going to be on the ballot in november that would enshrine reproductive rights, abortion rights, into the state constitution. so on top of these really must watch congressional seats, some of the most competitive in the country, abortion is short of -- sort of overshadowing the conversation when it comes to all of these races. amna: is that what you are finding in ohio? karen: i cannot let zoe talk about those teams without mentioning the buckeyes and football here but there's a lot of conversation also about the few competitive districts here. our most competitive seat and race really is the ohio u.s. senate race. but in ohio, we are starting
early voting today and it is interesting to note that ohio went from 16 to 15 districts. majority republicans drew maps that were ruled unconstitutional several times by the supreme court and were running elections on maps that were ruled unconstitutional but put into place by a federal court. so while we are electing representatives through these maps this time around, those could change based on the results of what happens in the election next month. so there are only about -- there are 10 safe districts and five democratic seats but only a couple are considered very competitive. amna: i want to come back to you. i talked to all of you about favorite races. let's start in ohio and your favorite races, when i am watching is one of the longest serving women in congress, marcy kaptur. that is a race where it is not just issues but also the effect perhaps a president trump and the 2020. can you talk about that race and what you are watching in that toledo area?
karen: that race has tightened up a lot. jr majewski broke out when he got the attention of donald trump by painting a picture of trump on his lawn and trump shouted out to him at a rally. he ended up winning, beating some other established politicians, and now he and marcy kaptur are facing off. he made headlines recently because he has claimed that he saw combat in afghanistan but an investigation has shown that is not the case. he also said he was at the capitol on january 6. he has not been charged with anything. all of this has made this race a little more repetitive and house republicans pulled their ads in this race so that has tightened things up. there is an open seat that features two women. amelia sykes, the former democratic leader of the ohio house, and addison gilbert, a trump endorsed republican. only 12 ohio women have ever
been elected to congress from the state so that is going to make history with that race. amna: i like that ohio 13 race because that is a very rustbelt seat that might tell us something about the senate race as it evolves over the night. speaking of, let's go back to you in michigan, zoe. you have one of the most offensive house races in the country among others that i know you're watching. alyssa slotkin, the incumbent democrat, is a must win seat for democrats if they have any hope of holding the house. zoe: absolutely and this district is fascinating. it went for donald trump in 2016. it went for trump in 2020. but alyssa slotkin has won it two times so she's looking for a third win here. it's going to be in the seventh congressional district because of redistricting and she's always outperformed as a democrat. she has a conservative republican challenger, state senator tom barrett. again, like we have been talking about this narrative, he's
trying to talk about the economy, trying to talk about inflation, trying to talk about joe biden, and i was just talking to alyssa slotkin, the congresswoman, today. she is talking fundamentally about right and what she wants to see happen change in d.c. including, interestingly enough, immigration, she said, in the state of michigan, as well as the cost of childcare. we also have the third congressional district. this one is just fascinating. this is where peter mayer, a freshman republican within the first few days of being sworn in , voted to impeach donald trump for the second time, and he lost his primary in august to a former trump official, john gibbs. this really is an open seat now. we have a democrat running. it looks like it could lean democrat more because again, this redistricting. but it probably would have been closer had he won the seat but again, conservative republicans
booted him out and went with this trump endorsed republican and said this could be a democratic win. amna: you hear zoe talking about a place that democrats hope to flip this year. you have one of those, too. tell us about the congressman and what you are seeing in california. scott: he lost the c in 2018 and got it back in 2020 so he actually voted to impeach donald trump but he is getting protection from that. trump has not gone after him because his district is right next to kevin mccarthy. it inclus part of bakersfield, his hometown. he's running in a district that is 59% latino. rudy salas would be the first latino member of congress from the central valley ever and he's also cosponsoring our proposition one which would enshrine abortion rights here in california. when other quickly, race that i'm looking at, the 44th congressional district in riverside, a 30 year republican incumbent has easily gotten
reelected but the redistricting has taken out some of the most conservative parts of his district and added palm springs and other districts with a lot of lgbt voters. anti-gay positions and campaigninand he's running against an openly gay federal prosecutor who prosecuted somebody in the january 6 cases. he did not vote to certify the election saw lots of interesting crosscurrents there. amna: i have been hearing from you all about the 2020 election. i want a show of hands on this last question which may be unusual, but have you spoken to any democrats in tough races in your states who would like president biden to come and campaign for them? i would like to see a show of hands if anyone has talked to a democrat like that. both the former and current president seem to be on the ballot this year in the 2022 midterms. we are so grateful to all of you for joining us. thank you all. scott: thank you. karen: thanks. zoe: great to be here.
amna: thank you to lisa. in another battleground state, wisconsin, the senate and governor's races e in the spotlight. and while younger americans traditionally show up to the polls at lower rates than older generations, one recent study suggests young voters could play a decisive role in the state's elections this november. judy woodruff recently sat down with a group of high school and college students in wisconsin who will be voting for the first time. judy: thank you so much for joining us for this conversation. we really appreciate it. you all, the reason we have you here is to talk about the fact that this is the firstear you're going to be voting. and we want to talk about what that means to you. so, ryan, i'm going to start with you. how big a deal is it to you that you're going to be voting for the first time here? ryan: it's a pretty big deal for me. i mean, i sort of see it as sort of like when you're 16, you get your driver's license, when you're 18, you get to vote. katherine: i actually registered to vote in my ap government class on my birthday, which was a fun experience.
it's very easy to register online now. i've been very politically engaged thughout high school and i'm excited to get my foot in the door and actually have a voice in my government. judy: and ben, you're turning 18 just in time to vote in early november. how big a deal for you? ben: i am very excited to vote. everyone in my family has always voted, and although not a ton of people my age do vote as it's one of the lower turnout groups, i'm very excited to vote because i think having that voice in our elections is really important. judy: what is it that you care about a lot this year that is driving you especially to want to vote in 2022? katherine: i do see the candidates, but i see pro-choice and pro-life. personally, i am extremely pro-choice. i've always grown up with the belief that women should be able to have bodily autonomy in our government. amaya: i agree with the pro-choice movement. i think women have been ripped of their bodily autonomy specificly in the state. and i think that it disproportionately affects women
of color and women from more low income communities. and the disproportionate effect that that has on their access to health care, theirccess to reproductive justice, that their just -- their right to be a mother or to choose not to be is frustrating to witness to somebody who can be subjected to these laws. so that for me is very top of mind. soren: for me, it's our economy. i mean, i see on the decline, everything seems more expensive. our gas is more expensive. it's such a up and down, you don't know what's going to happen with it. for me, it's scary. and it's especially scary because with everything on the rise, i have celiac disease. i already spend an arm and a leg for my food. it's going to end up hurting people whenever they can't afford the food they need to feed their families. ryan: as the son of two teachers, education is a very big issue for me. i personally, i think that everyone should have access to quality education, whether that be, you know, good schools, good public education, or access to college and less college debt. ben: i think my biggest issue is
voting really in terms of the amount of people that can't vote under our current system. we have a lot of laws in wisconsin, especially voter id laws, that make it very hard for people to vote. another big thing on my mind is health care. seeing ron johnson vote against the access to insulin was hugely disappointing to me as a diabetic, seeing that it, while it does not directly affect me, there's many people in my situation where that bill would have hugely helped them and people are going to die if -- when people make decisions like that. judy: let's talk about the person in office right now, president biden. how do you think he's doing? ben: i think that with any president, there will almost always be argument that they are not doing enough. and i think that i can say that about biden right now. the new decision to pardon thousands of people on a low
level, on low level federal marijuana charges is a great decision, i think with his decision to help with student debt, though, he campaigned on bigger promises, i think that at least he fulfilled it somewhat. and i think at you can always ask for more. but i will say that i am relatively pleased with how he's doing so far. katherine: i believe that he's not delivering on campaign promises that he made, such as protecting our right to choose. i would like to see him codify -- i would like to see him do a bit more to serve the american people. i would like to see him codify roe or make a more of a effort to. i would like to see him protect that right, ask the senate to protect that right. ask the house of representatives to protect that right. i want to see him fight tooth and nail for that right. but i haven't seen that so far. judy: soren, what about you? what is your sense of how president biden's doing?
soren: i quite don't like president biden. certainly wouldn't have been my first choice, nor would have donald trump been my first choice for this election or for the previous election. i think he's doing he's doing well enough for now, but i don't think he is doing enough. judy: what do you think he should be doing that he's not doing? soren: he, well, for one, i think his afghanistan pullout was a disaster. he left so many people, it was petrifying. he's not doing enou on the border. we have hundreds of thousands of people getting in. and it's scary knowing, you don't know who those people are. there's so much more that he could be doing that he's not, i mean, i don't know if he's made effort to try or not. judy: amaya, what is your sense of how president biden is doing? amaya: i think if i had voted in the 2020 presidential election, i would have voted for biden. i think he is not living up to the promises he made, but i don't know of any president that has. so i don't think that that's a fair standard to hold him at. i think as a firsthand recipient of what the student loan forgiveness was, my mom fought for the united states army for
four years, was a recipient of the gi bill, got an associate's in nursing and still had loans. so for her loans to be completely forgiven means an incredible amount. ryan: while i would like for biden to have done more, we live in such a polarized country right now that despite his efforts to get things done, it's just so hard right now to get anything through, which is like, obviously, i'd like, you know, marijuana to be legalized. i'd like to live in a country where roe is codified, where abortions are available. i'd love to live in a country where they, where i don't have to worry about student loan debt, but it's just hard to get through all of that right now in how the state of america is today. judy: a couple of you have mentioned or alluded to former president trump. judy amaya, what's your take on the former president?
amaya: i grew up in a very isolated, in a very white populated community, and i had never experienced the difference that i was black until trump was in presidency. that complete isolation that was brought on just by this political figure. we had hmong facilities in my community that were destroyed in the name of trump. we had monuments that were destroyed in the name of trump. we had people who were attacked in the name of trump. and i think he brought out the worst in people and he supported it and he didn't correct that behavior. and i believe no president would ever do that. judy: kathryn. katherine: he, by all accounts, disgraced america in the january 6 insurrection. he, though the hearings are still going on, personally, i believe that he incited the insurrection and sent a mob of angry people to the capitol, which is completely undemocratic. and he also did not facilitate a peaceful transfer of power, which has been an american tradition for hundreds of years, which upset me greatly.
soren: i did, do support trump and have for quite a while. i mean, during that time period, he had the nation in the best economic period we had for quite a long time. he kept us very well. unfortunately, he did have his wrongdoings and has been a nasty person and has almost always been. but he also was the person politically wise, he ran america as a business, in my opinion. he ran it as though that's what it was. and so running it like a business, him being a business man, allowed us to have financial gain, allowed us to prosper in those times until covid had hit and which kind of tanked the entire world economy. amna: -- judy: would you like to see him serve in office again? soren: most likely not. judy: why not? soren: for the sole reason of, st it comes down to the rioting. it comes down to him being a nasty person. and i think the first four years is good, but i don't think another four years would be great. ryan: i will agree with soren that the one thing good thing i think donald trump ever did was
with the economy. that is the only good thing i will say about him. i believe in this country we shouldn't have this sort of the massive division we have between republican and democrat, because working together is how we fix things. and donald trump basically drove a gigantic wedge between people. he was such a polarizing figure that from 2016 onwards, the country could never get anything done. judy: as you all know, the percentage of of people who vote of your generation, the youngest generation vote less frequently, a smaller percentage of you vote than the older folks do in the country. but i really do want to understand how you see the politicians listening or not listening to your generation right now. amaya? amaya: i do think that there has been efforts. i know several candidates
throughouthe past two years have been to campuses, have literally been outreached. they sit and they listen. but once they're elected into office, that stops. and that communication line is, you're emailing a staffer or that person is so slim tots none that the reality that they're actually listening to the complaints of their own constituents is very like, i have no faith that they are listening to those. and so it's hard to say when i don't even know if they're hearing the issues that are happening in their communities. soren: i feel like if we had more young voters and more people that voted as soon as 18 or as soon as they possibly could, i feel like we would have more politicians listening to our opinions, listening to what we want. katherine: i think that what politicians need to understand is that if you start politically engaging kids when they're 18 to 21, when they're just starting to get their foot in the door, in politics, you're more likely to have an engaged audience or an engaged constituency as we grow up. and i think that that's a fact that's overlooked most often.
ben: a lot of these politicians are just so much older than us. the problems that i see are going to be very different because for our 80 and 60 year -- 80-year-old and 60-year-old senate members, climate change means ree or four degrees and then they aren't going to be around much longer. but for me, climate change means i might see the world crumble . these politicians are so much older than us. they've been in these offices for so long that they don't need to listen to us. they've kind of got their election secured almost that they just kind of keep coming back in and they don't have to engage anymore. judy: well, this has been -- there's so much more i'd love to ask you, but it's been such a wonderful conversation. i so appreciate every one of you sharing your thoughts. thank you very, very much.
amna: and tomorrow night, judy will have a report on the senate race in wisconsin between incumbent republican ron johnson and democrat mandela barnes, one of the critical contests that will determine control of that legislative body. also tomorrow, join us tomorrow here on pbs for special live coverage of the january 6 committee's public hearing beginning at 1:00 p.m. eastern, plus additional analysis on our regularly-scheduled program. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm amna nawaz. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by -- >> for 25 years, consumer cellular's goal has been to provide wireless service that helps people communicate and connect. we offer a variety of plans and our customer service team can find one that fits you. visit consumer cellular -- consumercellular.tv.
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. hello, everyone and welcome to "amanpour and company." here is what is come g up comin. more contentious cases on the supreme court docket. voting rights come up for review and i speak to the former attorney general eric holder. a growing power vacuum, how pu putin's war in ukraine is hurting his innewinfluence else. plus. iran intensifies the crackdown with protesters showing no sign of bowing to the pressure. the country's deep culture of protest with the