tv PBS News Hour PBS January 4, 2022 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: children and covid. with students returning to school amid the surge in omicron cases, districts are forced once again to choose between in-person and remote learning. then, extremism in america. how the growth of far-right groups contributed to the january 6 attack on the capitol, and continues to threaten our nation's democracy today. >> what we have is a new type of political movement, with violence at its core. and what's new about the movement is that it's coming heavily from the mainstream. >> woodruff: and, guilty. theranos founder elizabeth holmes convicted of fraud.
what the verdict means for other tech startups that often rely on high-risk investments. all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> pediatric surgeon. volunteer. topiary artist. a raymond james financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life, well-planned. >> for 25 years, consumer cellular has been offering no-contract wireless plans, designed to help people do more of what they like. our u.s.-based customer service team can help find a plan that fits you. to learn more, visit www.consumercellular.tv. >> johnson & johnson.
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trying to ease theational angst over the omicron surge of covid-19, as cases keep hitting new records. he argued today that those fully vaccinated and boosted are very unlikely to get seriously ill. at the same time, he said his administration is working hard to address a nationwide shortage of covid tests. >> on testing, i know this remains frustrating. believe me, it's frustrating to me. but we're making improvements. in the last two weeks, we've stood up federal testing sites all over the country. we're adding more each and every day. >> woodruff: in other developments, the c.d.c. approved booster shots of the pfizer vaccine, five months after the first two doses. that is down from six months. and, the state of maryland declared an emergency and activated the national guard, due to overwhelmed hospitals. in the day's other news, party leaders butted heads over the future of the filibuster in the
evenly-divided u.s. senate. democratic majority leader chuck schumer vowed again to schedule a vote on a rules change, because republicans have blocked voting rights legislation. but, republican mitch mcconnell warned against eliminating the need for 60 votes to end a filibuster. they spoke at separate news conferences. >> if republicans continue to hijack the rules of the chamber, to prevent action on something as critical as protecting our democracy, then the senate will debate and consider changes to the rules. >> this is genuine radicalism. they want to turn the senate into the house. they want to make it easy to fundamentally change the country. >> woodruff: it would take all 50 senate democrats to force a filibuster change, but one of them, west virginia's joe manchin, voiced renewed doubts today about acting without republican support.
illinois congressman bobby rush has announced he will retire when this term ends. the 75-year-old democrat and former black panther has spent nearly 30 years in congress. he is the 24th house democrat to decide not to run for re-election. black lawmakers in michigan-- both current and former-- are suing to block new district maps for congressional and state legislative seats. they say the plans illegally dilute black voting strength by reducing the number of districts with black majorities. a new, independent commission drew the maps. the winter storm that socked the mid-atlantic on monday left hundreds of people marooned on an interstate highway in virginia all night, and into today. they waited long hours in freezing weather along a 40-mile stretch of i-95-- without food, water, or restrooms. virginia senator tim kaine got
stuck trying to drive from richmond to washington. >> it was nerve-wracking, overnight, and i'll tell you, i had two ings-- i had a heavy coat, and i also had a full tank of gas. and the problem is, a lot of people, when you're stuck that long, between, you know, five miles from an interchange and the traffic isn't moving-- folks are running out of gas. >> woodruff: the storm also played havoc with rail travel. an amtrak train heading north from new orleans was stalled at lynchbur virginia-- blocked by downed trees. a canadian court has ruled that iran owes $84 million in damages for mistakenly downing an airliner in 2020. the ukrainian jet was hit by two missiles, killing all 176 people on board. more than 100 of the victims had canadian citizenship. the canadian ruling involved the families of six victims, but it is unclear if tehran will ever pay the judgment. in sudan, a new round of mass protests filled the streets of
khartoum today, as the country's political paralysis deepened. pro-democracy demonstrators again denounced the october military coup, and troops fired tear gas to break up the crowds. it followed prime minister abdalla hamdok's resignation on sunday. >> ( translated ): today, after hamdok's resignation, the people are confirming the need for all parties to move forward despite the repression. they are facing off against the state and-- as you can hear-- the gas bombs being fired at those on theront lines, who are facing this abuse for the sake of a free, peaceful, and just state. >> woodruff: security forces have killed nearly 60 protesters and wounded hundreds more since the coup. record numbers of migrants braved the english channel in small boats last year, crossing from france to england. reports today said that more than 28,000 people made the dangerous journey. that is triple the previous year's total. back in this country, a congressional committee is
asking "fox news" host sean hannity for information related to the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol. that word came in a committee statement late today. it did not say give any specifics. we will return to january 6th after the news summary. in economic news, the u.s. labor department reports a record 4.5 million americans quit their jobs in november-- mostly, to take better jobs. meanwhile, manufacturing hit an -month low in december, amid supply chain bottlenecks. japanese auto-maker toyota has dethroned general motors as the top-selling car company in the u.s. toyota sold more tha2.3 million vehicles nationwide in 2021. g.m. sold 2.2 million. g.m. had led u.s. auto sales since 1931. and on wall street today, blue chips were up, tech stocks were down. the dow jones industrial average
gained 214 points to close near 36,800-- a record. the nasdaq fell 210 points-- 1%. the s&p 500 slipped three points. still to come on the newshour: one year later, police officers reflt on the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol. and i speak to congressman peter meijer about the political fallout from that day. how schools are weighing the risks from the latest covid surge. and, much more. >> woodruff: we return now to our ongoing coverage this week of the first anniversary of the january 6 insurrection at the capitol. in the months since the riot, a number of far-right extremist groups have become household names.
and, as nick schifrin reports, some of their core beliefs, and even their tactics, have moved from the fringe to the mainstream. ( chanting crowd ) >> schifrin: on january 6, in a sea of thousands of trump supporters, members of the far-right group the proud boys descended on the national mall. among them: matthew greene, who just a month earlier joined the central new york chapter. law enforcement officials say greene and other proud boys-- seen wearing ear pieces-- were among the first to barge through the police line. last month, greene became the first proud boy to plead guilty to conspiracy, and he's cooperating with federal authorities who are attempting to untangle a complex web of planning and coordination. >> i think you'd have to be naive to fail to understand how organized these groups were. >> schifrin: michael german is a retired f.b.i. special agent who focused on domestic terrorism. he sees january 6 as a culmination.
years of activity, from the deadly 2017 white supremacist rally in charlottesville, virginia, to violent, post-election protests in november 2020, that convinced these groups they could act with impunity. >> these groups were increasingly emboldened, to publicly announce their intention to commit violence at a public rally, commit violence at the publirally, walk away despite this criminal activity occurring in plain view. that created an atmosphere where they believed, not just that they were going to get away with engaging in violence, but it was actually encouraged by law enforcement. >> schifrin: law enforcement has cast a wide net, charging more than 700 rioters, including dozens from right-wing groups the proud boys, oath keepers, and three-percenters. but the majority of those are not for violent crimes. >> the justice department's efforts seem to front-load people who are involved in the least egregious conduct.
there were hundreds, if not thousands of people, engaging in violence against police officers. that should have been the primary focus, because many of those people still have yet to be charged and are out in the community, still able to organize, still able to attend events. >> schifrin: this year, across multiple states, pro boys have attended school board meetings to back those opposed to covid measures and critical race theory-- or c.r.t. >> any time that there is a contentious issue such as the mask mandate or c.r.t. in our schools, or forced vaccinations of our children, you're going to see more proud boys. >> schifrin: pro-publica reports at least ten sitting state lawmakers are members of the militia group the oath-keepers. but the majority of experts say january 6 shows that violent, insurrectionist activity is becoming normalized. >> what we have is a new type of political movement, with violence at its core. and what's new about the movement is that it's coming
heavily from the mainstream. >> schifrin: robert pape is a university of chicago political science professor, and director of the chicago project on security and threats. his team studied those arrested for january 6 and found more than half are business owners or white collar workers, including doctors, lawyers, and architects. nearly 90% are not members of militia groups, and they come from 44 states-- half from counties won by president biden. pape's surveys found 21 million amicans-- 8%-- called president biden illegitimate, and supported violence to overthrow the 2020 election. >> we have a tinderbox in front of us. think about this as a wildfire scenario, where what i'm describing with the 21 million with these insurrectionist sentiments are the combustible dry wood that could be set off by a lightning strike, or by a spark, or by a match. and that combustible material is really quite significant at this
point in time. >> the problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now, and it's not going away anytime soon. >> schifrin: in march, f.b.i. director christopher wray told congress, the f.b.i. had for years considered domestic terrorism as much of a threat as isis. >> this is a top concern and remains so for the f.b.i. >> schifrin: in june, the biden administration released the first “national strategy for countering domestic terrorism”-- more information-sharing inside and outside government, preventing extremist group recruitment, improving prosecution, and tackling endemic problems such as racism. >> the only way to find sustainable solutions is not only to disrupt and deter, but also to address the root causes of violence. >> schifrin: and following a stand-down to try and reduce extremism in the ranks, the pentagon released a new strategy, including a ban on "liking" white nationalist or extremist social media content. >> while extremist activity in the force is rare, any instance can have an outsized affect.
>> i think it's a good first step, but, this is fundamentally a problem for our political leaders, our community leaders, our leaders of faith. this-- we need to broaden our approach to this, because it is a broader problem. >> schifrin: a broader problem, as more americans support-- and are willing to commit-- insurrectionist violence. >> the political violence we have most to worry about today is them coming-- rooted in the mainstream. that is a challenge. it's a challenge i believe that we would be able to meet. but that's the core test of our democracy today. professor of history at the university of chicago and author of bringing the war home, the white power movement and paramilitary america, and michael jensen senior researcher at the national consortium for
terrorism and responses to terrorism at the university of maryland, welcome to the "newshour" both of you. michael jensen, let me start with you. do you see more radicalization today than in the past and is the speed of radicalization increasing? >> yeah, absolutely. i think in many ways january 6th was the culmination of things that have been happening for at least 20 years in this country and that really is the mainstreaming of radical political opinion. certainly is events of january 6th were tied, some of the extraordinary circumstances we all endured during 2020, pandemic, racial justice protest and a hotly protested election, but for decades we've seen the surge in especially right wing extreme i'm in the united states. is it moving faster? all indications are yes. this primarily happens online and social media and social media is a hyper mobilizing environment, a 24-7 echo chamber
where individuals hear these ideas and are moving forward much faster than in the past. >> reporter: kathleen, lou you seeing this into politics as well. >> we know that one stream of activism that took us to january 6th was the white power and milint groups in our country since the late '70s. be uh the big question is how they are able to recruit and radicalize from the other groups there that day, trump base, q anon groups, and a large degree of separation between people who came simply to a free speech action and people who came with the intent to do violence and in the middle somewhere are people instantly radicalized on that day. so the we is how the flow works between the extremist groups that are highly weaponized and highly organized and the mainstream people just now finding this ideology.
>> kathleen, it is not just the flow but the question of what the goals are for these groups and people. is it policy to sow distrust? >> i think this is the big question. my guest as a historian is we don't know the full answer yet because earlier in the whiteout power movement, part of the reason these groups became violent and declared war on the federal government all the way back in 1983, and many of these groups considered themselves at war on the state since then, is because they never thought mainstream politics could possibly deliver the kinds of reforms they wanted to see. mainstream politics is not a closed door for many of these activists anymore and some of the people are finding entry into our main stream in all kinds of ways. this would have been unthinkable to the people in the white power movement in the 1980s. >> michael jensen, back to 2020 for a second and a point to what you were making that led to january 6th. unprecedented isolation due to covid lockdowns, people spending a lot of time online.
in the summer of 2020, black "bk lives matter" protests and president trump painting the election as an existential left. >> we are now in the process of at the feeding the radical left, the marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters and people who, in many instances, have absolutely no clue what they are doing. >> how did that rhetoric and variables help lead to january 6th? >> january 6th is a product of having millions of people who are quite vulnerable to a radicalizing narrative. these were people who were sitting at home, isolated, scared, anxious about what was happening around them in their communities and lives and looking for answer and, ultimately, they were spending an awful lot of time online looking for those answers and, in those spaces, they often encountered disinformation as much as they found truth and evidence. for mass radicalization like we
saw on january 6th to have occurred, you have to have a leader that is politically powerful and it carries weight, and nobody's message carries more weight than the united states. so when the president says the election was stolen, that's going to energize his base and that mbilized thousands of people to act on his behalf on these unfounded claims that the election was stolen from him. >> reporter: kathleen blue, let's fast forward from today and look at the strategies we've seen from the biden administration, the pentagon trying to tackle recruitment of active duty and veterans by extremist groups and also the biden administration with a counterdomestic terrorism strategy, the first ever. what do you think of those efforts so far? >> these are both very positive steps in the right direction. the dod policy is particularly noteworthy because, since the mid st. 80s, the pentagon has been trying to prohibit what it called active participation in extremist groups but it did not
define what active participation was or what an extremist group was. this new policy defiance both and the definition broad enough to have limited several of the people who were involved on january 6th. it asks for service members to even take accountability for retweeting and reposting content from hate groups and also lays out a rand landscape of how to begin to think about the problem. >> reporter: michael jensen, you talked about the need for mass deradicallization. are you seeing signs of a policy to achieve that and is it possible to achieve that? >> i think the department of justice has done a good job in reference to the criminal prosecutions, but where we haven't done as good a job is tackling the disinformation that made its way into the mainstream in 2020. it's front and center still in the national political
discourse. an overwhelming majority of republican voters in particular believe the 20/20 election was rampant fraud. we see anti-vaccination these are, q anon movement, et cetera, are still very much in the mainstream political discourse and we haven't had a unified voice that's come out to counterthat disinformation and think really importantly is we haven't had a collective voice from both sides to have the -- of the aisle of powerful political leader condemning that disinformation and what happened on january 6th. so, unfortunately, if anything, we've moved in the opposite direction because, on top of all that disinformation, we now have this revisionist history around january 6th,ou know, certa political commentators pomoting the idea that it was a peaceful protest and the truly aggress i've people that day are the police and the demonstrators were just protecting themselves and they're true patriots and now we have this disinformation making its way into the
mainstream on top of the other disinformation there prior january 6th. >> reporter: michael jensen, kathleen blue, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: as we know, police officers were on the front lines, defending the united states capitol on january 6. for many of them-- and even for the capitol police force as a whole-- the year since has been difficult. lisa desjardins begins there. >> desjardins: one year later, some officers, like u.s. capitol police officer harry dunn, are still recovering from the emotional scars sustained that day. others, like capitol police sergeant aquilino gonell, are still recovering from the physical toll. gonell recently tweeted out graphic photos showing the gashes, bruises from crushing, and other injuries to his shoulder, to his hands, and to his foot. dunn and gonell co-wrote an op-ed today for the "washington
post," demanding accountability for the capitol riot. officer harry dunn andergeant aquilino gonell join me now. thank you both so much for protecting the capitol, me personally and thank you for joining us now. i want to start first off with that op-ed. you had strong words in that. one sentence you wrote was this -- you wrote, it will not be enough to identify and punish only those who physically attacked the capitol and tried to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. those are strong words. sergeant gonell, who do you mean there and what do you want to happen in terms of that accountability? >> oh, it's a lot of people who are involved with what transpired january 6th, including some of those that even after we put our bodies at injure and risk and even death
like officer sicknick, they continue to play down this horrific event of january 6th. it's mind boggling what they do, trying to downplay everything. >> reporter: it sounds like you're talking about politicians, is that right? >> yes, elected officials that, on january 6th and january 7, they all knew where to put the blame and point the finger at, they all knew that the president, for almost three hours, did not do his job. and it pains me that 16 blocks away, he was watching it on tv, despite th horrific images that were coming live on tv. i didn't see it on tv, but i'm sure, by then, everybody around the country were watching with all eyes, as i was in the
tunnel. >> reporter: you're talking about the former president and former president trump put out a statement just in the last few weeks calling what happened on january 6th an unarmed protest. also, at one point, officer dunn, fox news host tucker carlson called you a "angry left wing activist." this is the battle now, a battle of words over what happened on january 6th. officer dunn, i want to ask you how do you respond to people who say that your accounts and the way people look at it are exaggerated and perhaps it wasn't that bad? >> well, thanks for having me on. happy new year to you. angry left wing activist, when i heard that, i had to stop and think about it for a little bit. it's fair to say i am angry. i'm a registered democrat, so i guess i'm left wing, and if activist means someone who's
standing for what's right and fighti for what they believe in, then, sure, i'll be that, but outside of that, i don't have any response to him or anybody over at that network because it seems like they lke to talk about people and not to people. so if they're interested in having an actual conversation about the facts about what happened that day,i would be happy to talk to them. until then, i'm just going to keep on talking to people that matter and fighting for accountability and justice for what happened that day. >> if i may, you're talking about people who never raised a hand who say i solemnly swear to protect and defend the constitution, they've never done that so they are talking from their office in comfort despite doing all the hard work and protecting and serving, something they never thought about doing themselves, both as themselves or a military person. >> reporter:io wrote in your
op-ed there was an effort to whitewash what happened on january 6th. what do you mean by that, officer dunn. >> just a simple downplaying, just like, recently, i wasn't aware what the former president's statement was that u just quoted. i wasn't aware of that statement, but i guess that's the perfect definition to the answer to your question about what they're trying to whitewash it and, you know, an unarmed demonstration. i would like to refer to it as a terrorist attack. i went through it and a lot of my co-workers physically hurt still to this day, one year later, and there'so much that we do not know about what happened that day, and we're starting to find out more and more about what happened that day. so i think we just need to continue to sit pack and let all the facts come out and it will no longer be people's opinions that are valid, once all the
facts are out on the table, so... >> reporter: talking to both of you, first you, sergeant, gonell, about why you think january 6th happened. you saw the faces of your fellow americans attacking you. why do you think -- what was driving them? what's going on here, sergeant? >> in the last almost five years, you have an individual telling other people the system is rigged if i lose, but if i win, everything is okay. and people are susceptible to lies, and the way that he was amplifying it made it even worse, coupling that with the type of charms that some of these -- charges that some of these insurrectionists are getting, and people can see that as a way to explain it to themselves and say, you know
what? it wasn't that bad, it wasn't as horrific as they're saying. but it was horrific. if you were in the entrance of the lower west terrace, it was do or die, it was these people were trying to hurt an officer in fully-clothed police uniform. .>> reporter: officer dunn, do you think the danger is still rear? where are we as far as the threat to democracy, in your view. >> it's scary to think where we are. sure, we succeeded as far as our mission that day. democracy went on late into the night january 6th and into january 7th, democracy reveiled, but i think it's very important for everybody now to think -- democracy prevailed, but i think it's very important for everybody to think about how fragile democracy is and everybody listening has a job to do in protecting and defending
democracy. that could be us police officers, we police, the legislators, the lawmakers need to do their job and legislate, the judges and the american people need to vote who they put into those positions, we need accountability and to make sure the right people are in office who want accountability, also. >> reporter: how is the u.s. capitol police force doing? i know there have been improvements, they announced today, more equipment. but we also know some 200 officers left since january 6th. recruiting is tough. officer dunn, howas the police force? >>'ll just speak on things that i know. we're still hurting. a lot of people are struggling with what happened. i'm still upset, but i'm recovering, i'm starting to heal, but i don't think total
healing can happen until accountability has been had. >> reporter: sergeant gonell, how are you doing? >> i'm okay. i mean, these things comes in waves, they hit you left and right. at times i'm okay for a minute, but something at work, a sound or smell will trigger some of the things that happened back at work on that day. and going back to the question that he posed to harry, the former president is still aware of a lot of influence over these people, and i'm worried about in the future he can just tweak something and make a statement and the same people who were on january 6th, 2021, they can look back at the capitol.
yes, we've had a lot of improvement and training, but the forces culminated in january 6th, they're still in place, and that's why we need accountability. that's why we want to hold those responsible. >> reporter: i know you both were fing the thick of the fighting, and we talk a lot about the difficulties of that day, but i also know you found bright spots in the hundreds of letters and tweets of support. i thank you all for speaking to us tonight,fficers hari officern and sergeant aquilino gonell, thank you for being here. >> thank you for having us. happy new year. >> woodruff: just three days after being sworn in to serve his first term in cogress, representative peter meijer, a republican from michigan, was among the lawmakers in the house chamber last january when pro-trump rioters attacked
the capitol. he voted later with nine other house republicans to impeach then-president donald trump. that decision has resued in death threats, and now, he is facing a trump-endorsed primary challenger as he runs for re-election. congressman peter meijer joins us from grand rapids. congressman, thank you smuch for being with us. as we said, you were in the house chamber on that day. what memories come back to you as you reflect on that? >> thank you for having me tonight. i would say just feels of anger, of frustration, offfeeling something sacred was being trampled on and that in the history that was made, a very dark, dark possibility raised of the threat that every four years we would no longer have a peaceful transfer of power but that we've just chosen to expand
what we compete on in a political playing field outside of elections, outside our institutions and, frankly, put everything up for debate. >> woodruff: as we mentioned, you were one of just a handful of republicans to vote to impeach president trump over inciting that riot. we also mentioned death rest. you had a very negative reaction from your constituents, even from family members. are you able to have a rationale discussion about what happened with any of these people? >> certainly on a one-on-one basis, i think oftentimes we'll find that the misunderstanding or where we differ is a lot less significant than it may appear from the outside, especially talking about the lack of response and the immediate hours after the capitol was broken into. you know, there's obviously people who have very strong beliefs about the november 2020
presidential election, some of the fog and misconception clears away, it's hard to justify how the former president reacted in the very the hours the capitol was attacked when the vice president and the next two individuals in the presidential line of succession were under assault in the capitol. >> woodruff: i want to ask how you reconcile those views because in a poll we just did only 10% of the republicans we asked said they could find what happened on january 6th was insurrection, then the majority of republicans don't believe president biden won. how do you explain these views, both of which are clearly not based on facts? >> whenever you're asking a survey or poll question, there's a certain defensiveness that can come in. i've seen that plenty of times
where someone publicly will be very defensive and on a one-on-one conversation where the guard let down or somebody doesn't feel there's one tribe against the other, they're more than willing to accept and acknowledge things. but when we have a highly polarized context, black or white, all or nothing, when we're dealing with absolutes, it's very tempting to us versus them, when at the end of the day we're all americans. >> woodruff: but 10% of the members of the republican party saying they don't think it was an insurrection. i also want to ask you, congressman, about you did an interview with nbc news over the weekend, you were asked about president trump, whether there was other option for the republican party other than to support him, and you said the's no other option. i mean -- >> to collar -- to clarify, when asked about why was there the reversion back to january 6th when supporting donald trump, i
said because individuals did not see an alternative, they did not see another path. not that there is no choice, but we need to be creating a path, we need to be working on what a party that is reflective of the concerns of conservative americans but also a party that adheres to the rule of law, what that looks like. to me, that is a charge, an opportunity to be defining that, not, you know, succumbing to a believe that there is no other option, but the charge is to create it. just to clarify on that poll, only 10% of republicans described it as an insurrection, i think the otr options were a protest or riot. i think riot was 30%, and i think protest was 40%, if i'm referencing the same poll. >> woodruff: but i think it's clear that you and when you're listening to the police officers we just heard from, what came across is they believe this was an attempt to overthrow the results of the election. congressman, you didn't vote for
this january 6th committee in the house. you've said that you want to wait and see what the work product is, but i did interview yesterday the long-time partner of brian sicknick who was the capitol police officer who died the day after the attack on the capitol, and she said, unless members of congress, including republicans, are able to hold president trump accountable, there's going to be more violence. what do you say to sandra garza, who, again, long-time partner of brian sicknick? >> i say we absolutely have the same fears, that i grieve for the tragedy that struck in her family in those moments, i mean, the loss of officer sicknick, and then the subsequent loss of sevral other capitol police officers and metropolitan police officers who took their own lives in the days and weeks and months that followed is an
absolute tragedy, and why it is even more frustrating to see people whitewash and downplay the event of january 6th. we have to face it for what it was, we have to recognize the threat of political violence and say that we should not be tolerating that. that is one to have the reasons i voted for impeachment, the fact we cannot in our political system play around with dangerous rhetoric and encouraging and inciting people to go and try tose force, use threats, use violence in order to achieve a political end, that cannot be tolerated in our politics. >> woodruff: excuse me. i was just going to say, but you know the leadership of your party in the house and the majority of republican members of the house are saying this committee shouldn't be there, i shouldn't be doing this work, that it's important to look ahead, not to look back. nerd, it's just the opposite of what these police officers and what miss garza are calling for.
>> and there were dozens of my republican colleagues who voted in support of a bipartisan independent commission styled after the 9/11 commission, and i think -- i'm still deeply disappointed and from you strayed that that commission was not formed. again, i said that i will look at the the work product and results coming out of the january 6th select committee, you know, as it continues along, but, in my mind, the opportunity that was missed, and i hope that the ultimate work product will be this, was to have something that could be looked at and viewed objectively by the american people that could be clearing away a lot of, again, the rumors and innuendo and the deception and the misinformation, the whitewashing, the blame casting that we saw in the days, weeks and months after january 6th and, still, you know, today, trying to make it seem like anything other than it was, which was a violent attempt to interfere with the proceedings of congress and specifically the certification of the electoral college. >> woodruff: and we're hearing
your voice, a minority voice, in the republican party. congressman peter meijer, thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you. >> woodruff: and tomorrow we want to say we will continue our coverage of the january 6th anniversary, including a conversation with the chairman of the house democratic tox hakeem jeffries of new york. blchtion >> woodruff: covid surged over the holiday break, but most public schools returned to in-person learning this week. out of nearly 100,000 public schools in the u.s., more than 90% are back with in-person classes. but, concerns over the spread of covid has led some districts to close for the first two weeks of this new year, and move to virtual learning. about 3,500 schools are not back in person yet.
that includes atlanta, detroit, milwaukee and newark. we are going to look at what's behind those decisions-- and that gives me a chance to introduce our new chief washington correspondent, geoff bennett. he has been a white house correspondent, he has long covered politics and many national stories. welcome, geoff! we are very glad to have you join us. >> reporter: judy, thank you very much. it's a real privilege to work with you and the team and contribute to the solid storytelling and reliable reporting for which the "newshour" is known. as you mentioned in the introduction, the current spike in covid cases is presenting a rale challenge not just for school officials and teachers but, also, as you can imagine, for students and parents, and to learn more about why one school district decided to return to virtual instruction, i spoke with newark school superintendent roger leon earlier today. superintendent roger leon, welcome to the "newshour", thanks for your time.
>> thank you, geoff. >> reporter: in your district, 90% of teachers are vaccinated, more than 80% of students over alien 12 are vaccinated. given all that, help us to understand your decision to switch back to remote learning, at least temporarily. >> we have been monitoring all of the covid 19-positive numbers on a daily basis, and interesting phenomenon occurred after thanksgiving, three weeks afterward, a spike in numbers leading to our winter break. that became the really deciding factor to activate preparation plans for remote instruction in case the numbers continued to rise. we d some mandatory tsting during the holidays, nd that is exactly what we decided to do, which was activate remote instruction starting on the 3rd with an anticipated january 18th in-person return
date. >> reporter: and what has the reaction been so far from parents who are now etering year three of deal with this pandemic, those, you know, who have to deal with all these disruptions that their kids face? >> absolutely, from scared to concerned to anxious, no one appreciates any type of disruption. that's one of the reasons why we activated it for a two-week time period. i tinted want to do it for one week and then have them to have to wait at the end of one week and activate it again for another week. that would be more concerning. so i share in all of the concerns of our parents in getting kids back to school in person is the priority, obviously, over the course of the next two weeks. >> reporter: president biden said today that school districts across the country have l the tests and tools they need to remain open, even given this resurgence in the pandemic. the governor of new jersey has expressed much of the same thing. do you feel like you have the guidance and the resources you
need from the federal and state level to do tha to keep your schools open? >> in newark, not only guidance and support on ground, has been absolutely incredible from the governor as well as the mayor. so our ultimate strategy to work reallyard at getting kids back into school, working hard these next weeks with our implementation and curriculum changes during remote instruction to do just that. so it's a coupling effect of what we're doing now, not to delay time, and then, obviously, getting kids back into school so that we can address not only the ademic issues but the social-mional learning need of students as well. >> reporter: let's talk about the academic issues because we now know the many ways that children are negatively impacted by these disruptions to their learning, not just the foundational issues, but also with their mental health. how are you planning to mitigate that all and deal with it
directly? >> yeah, so one of the comose important pieces we in newark will need during a global pandemic to let us know in addressing the needs of the students who are in our schools. so we have from classroo teachers to our school counselors and social worksers, really making both propositions as it relays to the propositions we need to do to meet students where they are and let them know their dreams will, in fact, be realized, as well as addressing social-motional learning needs that the students actually have as well. so a lot of separation has occurred over the 15 month of the high of the pandemic, and we actually don't want anything to revert back to the hard work and undo the work that we started doing last april and then, obviously, when everyone was in person this september. so a lot of intentional efforts occurred over the winter break,
where teaching staff members have provided some really good recommendations to make some adapve changes as to what i'm lling the january reset for all students and staff starting yesterday. >> and what's the level of morale among those teachers and staff, i mean, who are called on not just to educate students but who are now asked to be effectively public health officials and arm chair epidemiologists, how are they holding u in all of this? >> so i think your categorization of all of it is so accurate, but we have asked our teaching staff members to go to that well again and to just draw a lot of energy. we know that our teachers are working extremely hard as well as our students and their families, and definitely a lot of pressure on the leadership of our schools and our principals to really shoulder a lot of it, and we know the teachers are not left behind in that all too important work. so it's both addressing their
own needs personally and in their families as well as assisting them in supporting the needs of our students and their families as well. >> newark school superintendent roger leon, thanks again for your time. >> thank you, geoff. >> woodruff: elizabeth holmes, founder of the blood testing company theranos and a one-time darling of silicon valley, has been convicted of fraud. the verdict came down last night in the closely-watched case and trial that rippled beyond the tech world. stephanie sy has more. >> sy: judy, elizabeth holmes was found guilty on four charges of fraud, for lying to investors about the effectiveness of her blood testing device. she was acquitted on four other counts related to defrauding patients who used the test. the jury could not reach a verdict on three other fraud charges. for more on the wider
implications, i'm joined by margaret o'mara. she is a history professor at the unersity of washington, and author of the book “the code: silicon valley and the remaking of america.” professor o'mara, thank you for joining the "newshour". i want to remind viewers that elizabeth holmes was a media sensation when she first pitched theranos as a disruptor in the blood testing space, and then she had this remarkable fall from grace that culminated in the prosecution yesterday, yet this was a mixed verdict. what was your bg takeaway on the jury's decision? >> yeah, it was silicon valley's trial to have the century, indeed. you know, my takeaway is i was surprised a gilley verdict came in. this is unusual to have white collar prosecutions of c.e.o. especially a silicon valley c.e.o. is rare, a first for elizabeth holmes, but i think the counts on which the verdict ruled guilty were ones where there was the strongest body of
evidence that was really tying her to telling investors one thing and the reality being different in our accountability as a c.e.o. that doesen mean the other charges weren't substantial, but in terms of the evidence presented to the jury and what's being shown to them at the trial, that those charges are the one that seemed most clear cut. >> reporter: help us put this into context. the plaintiffs were multi-million-dollar investors in companies like walgreens, they lost hundreds of millions of dollars. was any greater harm done? >> i think the bigger lesson here is a bigger lesson about finance and investment. we have so much money flowing into the system that some people and families have so much money that investing a few million dollars here and there in a startup like theranos, particularly one promising such huge returns and had such illustrious people associated with it like henry kissinger and george shuttles, it was not that much o of a stretch.
what is remarkable that the trial showed was how little diligence and investigation some of these companies and investors made before they put their money in and formed alliances with theranos. >> reporter: i cannot think of the last time a silicon valley executive this high up was found guilty of criminal fraud. why holmes? was this really a one-off or did this case open a window into a wider problem within tech startups? >> elizabeth holmes and theranos were quite different than most startups. they weren't tech, it was a medical device company, a highly regulated space, they were building things, a physical device. all those things made the value proposition quite different and made the evidence of fraud much easier to accumulate and to prove. that doesn't mean that there aren't some really important lessons here for the startup world in terms of the enthusiasm about young college dropouts, relatively inexperienced, giving them a lot of money and power and credibility when, perhaps,
what they are building is not something that they're going to be able to deliver. >> reporter: do you think that holmes' prosecution will affect how startup entrepreneurs behave? >> doubtful because silicon valley insiders have fairly distanced themselves and shown theranos was a quite different sort of company. you know, what really changes behavior, silicon valley is a boom invest economy, always has been, i studied its history, thrz always a big up and a big down, and really what changes the status quo is when there's a larger market correction, when there are investors as a class back away from tech. right now tech stocks are going up and up. i think we shall see what the next year or two brings in that direction. >> reporter: professor, many observed that elizabeth holmes per sewna, staing a biotech company as a 19-year-old stanford dropout, made her the ultimate silicon valley
fairytale and blinded inverts to performing the riforce of due diligence. as egregious as the jury may have deemed her fraud was, do you have concerns that the first big silicon valley prosecution is of a young woman? >> as challenge. i don't think her gender was why she was on trial. i think it had to do with the substance of the company and the fact that there was a very clear evidce presented and aired about what theranos was not doing. that being said, i think one of the reasons that elizabeth holmes became so prominent was because of her gender. she's rising star in 2013, 2014, around the same time that questions are beginning to be raised publicly about the stark gender imbalance in silicon valley leadership and also criticisms about the valley's focus on apps and social media platforms instead of important things that were truly going to change the world. here is elizabeth holmes kind of giving a counterargument to that critique saying here's a female
steve jobs just as good as any guy, here's someone truly changing the world with blood testing technology. it was a really compelling story and a lot ofeople bought into it. >> reporter: margaret o'mara, author of "the code: silicon valley and the remaking of america," thank you so much for being here with your instation. >> great to be here. >> woodruff: and that is the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> fidelity wealth management. >> consumer cellular. >> johnson & johnson. >> financi services firm raymond james. >> bnsf railway.
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