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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  January 4, 2022 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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♪ judy: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. tonight on the “newshour,” children and covid. with students returning to school amid the surge in omicron crisis 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 6th 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 is coming heavily from the mainstream. judy: and -- guilty. theranos founder elizabeth holmes convicted of fraud. what the verdict means for other
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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 raymondjames financial advisor. tailors advice to help you live your life. life, well-planned. >> 420 five years, consumer cellular has been offering wireless contract plans to help people do whatever they work. our u.s.-based customer service team can help you find a plan that fits you. to learn more, visit ♪ >> johnson & johnson. bnsf railway.
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♪ >> that jonas and james l knight foundation, fostering informed and engaged communities. >> and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions. ♪ >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ stephanie: i'm stephanie sy with “newshour west.” we'll return to the full program
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after these latest headlines. president biden is trying to ease criticism over the covid 19 omicron surge, as cases keep hitting new records. he argued today that those lly vaccinated and insteadre 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. pres. biden: 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. stephanie: in other developments, the cdc approved earlier booster shots of the "pfizer" vaccine changing the guance from 6 months to 5 months after the second dose. and the state of maryland declared an emergency and activated its national guard due to overwhelmed hospitals. meanwhile, in texas, thousands of members of the national guard
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are refusing to be vaccinated, in violation of a biden adminstration order. about 40% of texas's 20,000 army national guard have declined the covid-19 vaccine, according to a lawsuit challenging the order filed today by the state's attorney general. party leaders that are ahead over the -- 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. >> if republicans continue to 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 turthe senate
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into the house. they want to make it easy to fundamentally change the country. stephanie: 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 and. 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 until late today.
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they waited long hours in freezing weather, along the stretch of i-95, without food, water, or toilets. virginia senator tim kaine got stuck trying to drive from richmond to washington. sen. kaine: it was nerve wracking overnight, and i'll tell you, i had two things, i had a heavy coat and i also had a full tank of gas. and the problem is, a lot of people, when you are stuck that long between five miles from an interchange and the traffic isn't moving, folks are running out of gas. stephanie: the storm also played havoc with rail travel. an amtrak train heading north from new orleans was stalled at lynchburg, virginia until late today, by downed trees. a canadian court has ruled that iran owes $84 million dollars in damages for mistakenly downing an airliner in 2020. the ukrainian jet was hit by 2 missiles, killing all 176 people on board. more than 100 of the victims had canadian citizenship.
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the canadian ruling involved the families of six victims, but it is unclear if iran 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. [vo] 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. >> today aft 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 the frontlines who are facing this abuse for the sake of a free, peaceful and just state. stephanie: 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.
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reports say 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 6th attack on the u.s. capitol. the statement did nogive any specifics. we'll return to january 6th, after the news summary. in economic news, the u.s. labor department reported a record 4.5 million americans quit their jobs in november, mostly to take better jobs. meanwhile, manufacturing hit an 11 month low in november, due to bottlenecks. toyota has dethroned -- gm sold 2.2 million vehicles. gm had led u.s. auto sales since 1931. still toome, one year later,
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police officers reflect on the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol. and judy speaks to republican congressman peter meyer about the political fallout from that day. how schools are weighing the risks from the latest covid surge, and much more. >> this is the pbs newshour from w eta studios in washington, and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism at arona state university. judy: we return now to our ongoing coverage this week of the first anniversary of the january 6th insurrection at the capitol. in the months since the riot, a number of far-right extremist grps 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. nick: on january 6th, in a sea of thousands of trump
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supporters, members of the far-right groups voice descended onhe 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 bargehrough the police line. last month greene became the first proud boy to plead guilty to conspiracy. and he's cooperating with federal authorities attempting to untangle a complex web of planning and coordination. >> i think you would have to be naive to fail to understand how organized these groups were. nick: michael german is a retired fbi 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 had impunity. >> these groups were increasingly emboldened to
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publicly announce their intention to commit violence at a public riley,, violence at a public rally and 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. nick: law enforcement has cast a wide net, charging more than 700 rioters, including dozens from ght-wing groups the proud boys, oath keepers and three-percenters. but the majority of those are not for violent crimes. such as assaul >> the justice department's efforts seem to frontload 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 a out in the community, still able to organize, still able to attend events. nick: this year, across multiple
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states, proud boys have attended school board meetings to back those opposed to covid measures and critical race theory, or crt. >> any time that there is a contentious issue such as the mask mandate, or crt in our schools, or forced vaccinations of our children, you're going to see more proud boys. nick: pro-publica reports at least 10 sitting state lawmakers are members of the militia group the oath keepers. [chanting] >> usa! usa! nick: experts say the mentality 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. nick: 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 architects .
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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 americans, 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 am 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. combustible material is really and thatcombustible material is really quite significant at this point in time sot chris wray/fbi >> the problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now, and it's not going away anytime soon. nick: in march, f you director christopher wray told congress the fbi had for years considered domestic terrorism as much of a threat as isis.
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>> this is a top concern and remains so for the fbi. nick: 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. nick: 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. we need to broaden our approach to this, because it is a broader problem.
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nick: 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 the rooted in the mainstream. that is a challenge. it's a challenge. i believe that we would be able to to to meet. but that's the core test of our democracy today. nick: so, to explore how radicalization and extremism are testing our democracy, i am joined by a professor of history at the university of chicago and an author. and michael, senior researcher at the national consortium for the study of terrorism and responses to terrorism at the university of maryland. welcome to the newshour, both of you. michael, let me start with you, do you see more radicalization today than in the past, and is the speed of radicalization increasing?
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>> i think in many ways january 6 was the combination of things at have been happening for 20 years in this country, that is the mainstreaming of radical political opinion. certainly the independence of generally six for type two extra dinners circumstances we all endured 2020, the racial justice protests and the pandemic and a hotly contested election. but the surge in right-wing extremism in the united states, is moving faster, all indications are yes. it is something that primarily help is now online, on social media. social media is a 24/7 echo chamber where people hear these views and they are mobilized. it absolutely is moving much faster today than in the past. nick: kathryn bloom, the mainstreaming of radicalization, how are you seeing that in politics as well? guest: we know that one stream of activism that took us into january 6 or the white power and
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militant groups that have been active since the late 1970's. . but the big question is how they are able to recruit and radicalize from other groups of people who were there that day, the trump's base, qanon groups, even within stop the steal, there is a large degree of separation between people who came simply to a free-speech action, and those who came with the intent to do violence and in the middle, people who were instantly radicalized on that day. so the question is how the flow works between highly weaponized and highly organized extremist groups, and mainstream people who are just now finding that ideology. nick: is it also a question of what the goals are of these groups? are the goals political or policy? is it to sow distressed? guest: my guess is a historian is that we don't know the full answer yet. earlier in the white power movement, but of the reason these groups became violent and
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declared war on the federal government all the way back in 1983 and many of them have considered themselves at war on the state since then is because they never thought mainstream politics would live the results they wanted to see. mainstream politics is not a closed door for these activists anymore, and some are finding enter into our mainstream in all kinds of ways, something that would have been unthinkable to people in the web or movement i the 1980's. nick: michael, let me take us back to the point you were making about what led to the january 6. we had unprecedented isolation thanks to covid lockdowns, people spending lots of time online. than in the summer of 2020, widespread black lives matter protests, then-predent trump painting the election as an existential threat. >> we are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and
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people who in many instances, have absolutely no clue what they are doing. nick: how did that rhetoric and those variables help lead to january 6? guest: january 6 was a product of having millions of people that would quite vulnerable to radicalizing, as you mentioned, these were people sitting at home, isolated and anxious about what was happening around them and their communities and their lives and were looking for answers. ultimately they were spending a lawful lot of time online looking for those answers. in those instances, they often encountered this as much as they found truth and evidence. for mass radicalization like we saw on january 6 to occur again, his message carries weight. nobodies message carries more weight than the president. when the president says the election was stolen, that will energize his base and ultimately mobilized thousands of people to
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act on these unfounded claims that the election was stolen from him. nick: kathleen, let's fast-forward to today and look at the two strategies we have seen from the biden administration, the pentagon trying to tackle recruitment of active duty but also veterans by extremist groups, and also the biden administration with a counter domestic terrorism strategy. the first ever. what do you think of those efforts? guest: these are both positive steps in the right direction. the dod policy is particularly noteworthy because since the 1980's the pentagon has been trying to prohibit what is called active purchasing and in extremist groups, but it did not defy active -- it did not define active participation, or what and extremist group was. this policy does. . it would have limited several of the police were involved on january 6. it asks for service members to take accountability for
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reposting and retrievingontent from hate groups, and also lays out a landscape of how we can begin to think about this problem. nick: michael jsen, you have talked about the need for mass radicalization, are you seeing signs of a policy that can achieve that, or is it even possible to achieve that? guest: when you look at the events of the past year, the department of justice has done a good job with the criminal investigations tied to january 6, the largest criminal prosecution in the history of the united states. but we haven't done as good a job with is tackling misinformation that made its way to the mainstream. it is still up front and center in our national political discourse. an overwhelming majority of republican voters in particular believe that election was rampant fraud. we still see anti-vaccination conspiracy theories, the qanon movement, etcetera, still very much in mainstream medical discourse, and we haven't had a
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unified voice counter that disinformation. and importantly, we have not had a collective voice from both sides of the aisle, from the powerful political leaders condemning that misinformation that led to january 6. so unfortunaly, if anything,p we have moved in thea opposite direction, because on top of all of that disinformation, we now have this revisionist history around january 6. certain political commentators promoting the idea that it was a peaceful protest, and the truly aggressive people that they were the police, and the demonstrators were just protecting themselves and they were true atrios. . we have this disinformation making its way to the mainstream on top of the other disinformation prior to january 6. nick: michael jensen and kathleen belew, thank you very much. ♪
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judy: 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. lisa: 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, his hands, and to his foot. dunn and gonell cowrote an op-ed today for the washington post, demanding accountability for the capitol riot. officer harry dunn and sergeant aquilino gonell join me now. thank you both so much for protecting the capitol, personality, and thank you for joining us now. i want to start the fact op-ed.
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he had strong words. one sentence, you wrote, it will not enough to identify and punish those who physically attack the capitol and tried to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. strong words. sergeant, what do you mean and what do you want to happen in terms of the accountability? >> it is a lot of people who were involved with what transpired on january 6 including some of the officials that even after we put our bodies at risk of injuries and even death, they continue to downplay this tragic, horrific event of january 6. by trying to downplay everything
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-- lisa: sounds like you are talking politicians trying to downplay what happened. >> they all knew where to put the blame on january 7 and pointed the finger. they all knew that the president for almost three hours did not do his job. it pains me that 16 blocks away, he was watching it on tv, the horrific images that were coming live on tv. i didn't see it on tv, but i am sure by then everybody around the country were watching, as i was battling those people in what people known now as the tunnel. lisa: you're talking about the president. he put out a statement in the last few weeks calling what happened on january 6 an unarmed
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protest. and at one point officer dunn, a fox news host called you an angry left-wing activist. this is a battle now, a batt of words over what happened on january 6. how do you respond to people who say that your accounts are exaggerated and perhaps it wasn't that bad? guest: 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 father bit. it is fair to say i am angry. i am a registered democrat, so i guess i am a left wing. if activist means somebody standing up for what is right and fighting for what they believe in, then i will need that. outside of that, i have no responses to him or over at that networ because it just seems like they like to talk about people. if they are interested in having a natural conversation about the
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facts, about what happened that day, i would be happy to talk to them. until then, i will just keep talking to the people that matter and fighting for accountability and justice for what happened that day. guest: when talking about peopl who say that they solemnly swear to protect and defend this country and this constitution, they have never done that. they are talking from their office and in comfort, despite all of us doing the hard work of protecting and serving. it is something they never thought about doing themselves both as a police officer or as a military person. nick: you wrote in your op-ed you feel that there is an effort to whitewash what happened on january 6. lisa: what do you mean by that? guest: just the simple downplaying. just like recently, i was not aware what the former president's statement was that you just quoted. i was not aware of that
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statement. but i guess that is the perfect definition to the answer to your question about what they are trying to whitewash it. i would like to refer to it as a terrorist attack. i went through it, and a lot of my coworkers were physically hurt still to this day, one year later. there is so much that we do not know about what happened that day. and more about what happened that day. so i think we just need to continue to sit back and let all the facts come out. it will no longer be other people's opinions that are valid once all the facts are on the table. lisa: i am interested in talking to you about why you think january 6 happened. you saw the faces of your fellow americans attacking you. what do you think was driving them?
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what is going on here, sergeant? guest: during the last five years, you had an individual telling a lot of people that the is great if i -- the system is rigged if i lose, and if i win, it is ok. people were susceptible to lies. the way he was amplifying it made it even worse. coupling that with the type of charges some of these insurrectionists have been getting and people can see that as a way to explaining to themselves and say, well, it wasn't that bad. it wasn't -- it was do or die. these people were trying to hurt
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officers in fully closed police uniforms. lisa: officer dunn, do you think the danger is still here? where are we now in terms of the threat to democracy, in your view? guest: it is scary to think about where we are. sure, we succeeded as far as our mission that day, democracy went on late into the night, january 6 into january 7. democracy prevailed. but i think it is very important for everybody now to think, realize how close and fragile democracy is and that everybody, everybody, anybody watching or listening, has a job to do in protecting and defending democracy that could be, as police oicers, the legislators, the lawmakers, they need to do their job and legislate. the judges, the judge and american people need to vote about who to put into those positions.
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we nd accountability and we need to make sure the right people are in office that want accountability also. lisa: how is the u.s. capitol police force doing? i know there have been improvements. they announced today more equipment. but we also know that some 200 officers have left. recruiting is tough. how is the police force? >> i don't want to speak for everybody else, i will just because what i know. we are still hurting, a lot of people are struggling with what happened. i am still upset. but i am recovering. i am starting to heal. i don't think total healing can happen until accountability has been had. lisa: sergeant canal, how are you doing? guest: i am ok. there are days things come in waves, they hate you left and right.
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sometimes i am ok for a minute and then a sound or a smell will trigger some of the things said, some of the things that happened that day. and going back to the question you posed to harry, the former president still wields a lot of influence over these people, and i am worried that in the future he could just tweet something and we could see the same people who were on january 6, 2021, they cou end up back at the capitol. yes, we have made a lot of improvements, we have had a lot of training, but the forces that culminated on january 6, they are still in place, and that is why we need accountability. that's why we want to hold those responsible. lisa: i know you both are facing -- were facing the sick of the
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fighting. . we talk about the difficulties of that i also know that you found, bright spots in the hundreds of letters and tweets and support. i just want to thank you all for speaking to us tonight, officers harry dunn and sergeant quilino. guest: thank you for having us. guest: happy new year. ♪ judy: just three days after being sworn in service in his first term in congress representative peter meijer, a , republican from michigan, was among the lawmakers in the house chamber last january when pro-trump rioters tacked the capitol. he voted later with nine other house republicans to impeach then-president trump that has resulted in death threats. and now, he is facing a trump-endorsed primary challenger as he runs for
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re-election. congressman peter meijer joins us from grand rapids. congressman, thank you so much for being with us. you were in the house chamber that day. what memories come back to you as you reflect on that? rep. meijer: thank you for having me tonight. i would say just feelings of anger and frustration and feeling like 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 never have a peaceful transfer of power, that we have just chosen to expand what we compete on on the political playing field outside of elections, outside of our institutions, and we have put everything up for debate. judy: you are just one of a handful of republicans to vote to impeach president trump over
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inciting the riot. you had a very negative reaction from your constituents, even from family members. are you able to have irrational discussion about what happened with any of these people? rep. meijer: certainly on a one-on-one basis. after times we will find that the misunderstanding or where we differ is a lot less significant than it may appear on the outside, especially talking about the lack of response in the immediate hours after the capitol was broken into. there's obviously people who still have very strong beliefs of the november 2020 presidential election, but when we get down to brass tacks and what actually occurred, clear away the fog and the deception and misinformation out there, it is very hard to justify how the former president reacted, at the very least in the hours after the capitol was attacked, when the vice president a the next
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two individuals in their line of succession were under assault at the capitol. judy: i want to ask you how you reconcile those views because in a poll we have just done only 10% of republicans said they could call what happened on january 6 an insurrection. coupled with that, you have a great majority of republicans who don't believe president biden won. how do you explain these views, both of which are clearly not waste on facts? rep. meijer: when you were asking a survey or a poll question, there is a certain defensiveness that can come in. i have seen that plenty of times for somebody who will publicly be very defensive, and then a one-on-one conversation where their guard is let down, or somebody doesn't feel like it is their tribe against another, they are more than willing to acknowledge this. but when we have a highly polarized context, whether it is black or white or all or
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nothing, where we are dealing with absolutes, it is very tempting to feel like it is us versus them, when at the end of the day, we are all americans. judy: 10% of the republican party members saying they don't think it was an insurrection. i also want to ask you, you did an interview with nbc news over the weekend and you were asked about president trump, whether there was another option for the republican party other than to support him, and you said, there is no other option. rep. meijer: to clarify that, when asked about why there was a reversion back to supporting president trump, i said it was because individuals did not see another path. not that there is no choice, but that we need to be creati the path, working on what a party that is reflective of the concerns of the concerta -- conservative americans but
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also adheres to the rule of law and what that looks like. to me that is an opportunity to be defining that not succumbing to a belief that there is no other option. and just to clarify that fool that only 10% of republicans describe it as an insurrection, i think the other options were a protest or a riot, and i think it riot was 30% and protest was 40%, if i am referencing the same. judy: i think it is clear that when listening to the police officers, there is no doubt in their mind. they believe this was an attempt to overthrow the results of the election. congressman, you did not vote for the january 6 committee in the house, you said you want to wait and see what the work product is. but i did interview yesterday the longtime partner of ryan sicknick the capitol police officer who died the day after the attack on the capitol, and
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she said, unless members of congress, including republicans, are able to hold president trump accountable, there will be more violence. what do you say to sandra garza, again, longtime partner of ryan sicknick? rep. meijer: i say we absolutely have the same fears. i grieve for the tragedy that struck her and her family in those moments. the loss of officer sicknick and then the subsequent loss of other capitol police officers and metropolitan police office who took their lives in the days and weeks and months that followed is an absolute tragedy. and it is even more frustrating to see more people whitewash and downplay the events of january 6. we have to say that we should not be tolerating that. that was one of the reasons i voted for impeachment.
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the fact that we cannot in our political system, the playing around with endorsed rhetoric and encouraging, inciting people to go around and use force, use threats and violence to achieve a political event, that cannot be tolerated in our politics. judy: i wasust going to say, but you know the leadership of your party in the house, and a majority of republican members of the house are saying that this committee shouldn't be there, it shouldn't be doing this work, that it is important to look ahead, not look back. in other words, it is just be opposite of what these police officers and what ms. garza are calling for? rep. meijer: dozens of my colleagues voted for the commission. i am still disappointed and frustrated that the commission was not formed.
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again, i said i would look at the work product and the results coming out of the january 6 select committee as it continues along. in my mind, the opportunity that was missed, and i hope the ultimate work product will be this, is to have something that can be viewed objectively by the american people, that could be clearing away a lot of the rumors and innuendo and deception and misinformation, the whitewashing, the blame-casting that we saw in the weeks and months after january 6, and still today are trying to make it seem anything than what it was, which was a violent attempt to interfere with the proceedings of congress, specifically the certification of the electoral college results. judy: and we are hearing your voice a minority voice in the republican party. congressman peter meijer, thank you very much. rep. meijer: thank you. judy: tomorrow, we will continue
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our coverage of the january 6th anniversary including a conversation with chairman of the house democratic caucus , hakeem jeffries, of new york. 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 have led some districts to close for the first two weeks of this new year and moved to virtual learning. about 3500 schools are not back in person yet. that includes atlanta, detroit, milwaukee, and no work. we will look at what is behind those decisions, and that gives me a chance to introduce our new chief washington correspondent, geoff bennett.
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he has been a white house correspondent, he has long covered politics and other national stories. welcome. we have very glad to have you join us. geoff: judy, thank you very much. it's a true privilege to work alongse you and contribute to the solid storytelling and reliable reporting for which the newshour is known. and as you mention in the introduction, this current spike in covid cases is presenting a real challenge moment for school officials, teachers, staff, and, of course, students and parents. to understand more about the decision to go to virtual in newark, i'm joined by district superintendent roger lyon earlier today. welcome to the newshour. thank you for your time. >> thanks. geoff: so in your district 90% , of teachers are vaccinated, more than 80% of students over 12 are vaccinated. given all that, help us understand your decision to
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switch back to remote learning momentarily. >> we have good monitoring the covid-19 positive numbers on a daily basis, and an interesting phenomenon occurred after thanksgiving, three weeks afterwards, a spike in numbers leading to our winter break. that became the deciding factor to activate the preparation plans for remote instruction in case the numbers continue to rise. because mandatory testing during the holidays, that is exactly what we decided to do which was activate remote instruction starting on the third with an anticipated january 18 in-person return date. geoff: what has been the reaction from parents who are now entering year three of dealing with this pandemic, those who have to deal with these disruptions? guest: from scared to concern
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that anxious. no one appreciates any type of disruption. that is one of the reasons we activated it for a two-week time period. i didn't want to do it for one week and then have them wait, and then activate for another week. so i share in all the concerts of our parents in getting kids back to school and in person. it is their priority obviously over the course of the next two weeks. geoff: president biden's said today that school districts across the country have the tests and tools they need to remain open, even given this resurgence in the pandemic. the governor of n jersey expressed the same thing. do you feel like you have the guidance and the resources you need from the federal and state leveto keep your schools open? guest: in the work, not only guidance and sub boards on the ground, has been absolutely incredible from the governor as well as the mayor.
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so our ultimate strategy is to work really hard at getting kids back into school, working hard during these next two weeks with our implementation of all our curriculum changes during remote instruction, to do just that. it is a coupling effect of what we are doing now, not to delay time, and obviously, getting kids back to school so we can address not only academic issues, social and emotional learning. geoff:. geoff: let's talk about those academic issues, because we now know that many ways children are negatively impacted by these disruptions, not just educational issues, but also their mental health. how are you planning to mitigate and deal with that directly? guest: one of the most important pieces, we in new work did not need a global pandemic to let us know the importance of addressing the needs of the students in our schools. we have from teachers to school
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counselors and social workers, really making bold propositions as it relates to what our curriculum changes that we need to do to meet students where they are and get them to where they know that their kids will in fact -- to where they feel that their dreams will in fact be reazed, as well as addressing the social emotional needs they have as well. there has been a lot of separation that has occurred in the last 15 months of the pandemic, and we don't want to revert back to the hard work and undo the work we started doing last april, and of history when everyone was in person this september. so a lot of international efforts occurred over the winter break, where teachg staff members have provided really good recommendations to make some adaptive changes as to what i am calling the january reset for all students and staff starting yesterday. geoff: and what is theevel of morale among those teachers and
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staff who are called on not just to educate students, but are now asked to effectively be public health officials and armchair epidemiologists, how are they holding up? guest: i think your characterization of it is so accurate. we have asked our teaching staff members to go to that well again and 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 principal s to shoulder a lot of it. we know that teachers are not behind in that all too important work. so in addressing their own needs personally and in their families , as well as assisting them in supporting the needs of our students. geoff: school superintendent of newark, roger leon, thank you for your time. guest: thank you.
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♪ judy: 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 trial that rippled beyond the tech world. stephanie sy has more. stephanie: 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 cunts 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 professor of history at the university of washington and author of the book, "the code: silicon valley and the remaking of america. thank you for joining the newshour. i want to remind you that
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elizabeth holmes was a media sensation when she first pitched theranos as a disrupter in the blood testing space-she had a remarkable fall from grace that culminates in this prosecution, yesterday. yet, this was a mixed verdict. wh was your big take away on the jury's decision? guest: yes, this wasn't silicon valley's trial of the century indeed. i was surprised a guilty verdict came in. this is unusual to have these white collar prosecutions of ceos, much less a silicon valley ceo, it is rare, but i think that counts on which the verdict was guilty were ones where there was a strongest body of evidence tying her to telling investors one thing and the reality being quite different, and her accountability as a ceo. it does not mean the other charges were not substantial, but in terms of the evidence presented to the jury and shown to them at the trial, those
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charges seemed most clear cut. stephanie: help us put the importance of this case into context. many companies like walgreens lost hundreds of millions of dollars. was there any greater hi harm darling? margaret: i think the biggest lesson is we have so much money flowing into the system, people and money that investing a few million dollars here and there in a startup, particularly one that is promising such huge returns and has such illustrious people associated with it like kissinger, it wasn't much 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 and formed alliances with theranos. stephanie: i cannot think of the last time a silicon valley executive this high up was found guilty of criminal fraudwhy
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holmes? was this really a one-off or does this case open a window into a wider problem within tech start-up guest: elizabeth holmes and theranos were different from other tech startups. he warned tech, they were a medical device company, a highly regulated space, they were building a physical device. all those things made the value proposition different, and made the evidence of fraud much easier to prove. . that doesn't mean there are not some 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 will be able to deliver. stephanie: do you think holmes' secretion will affect how startup entrepreneurs will behave? guest: i am doubtful, in part because silicon valley insiders have distanced themselves and
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shown that there were notes was a different sort of company. what really changes behavior of silicon valley, it is a boom and bust economy it always has been. there is always a big and it, -- -- and a big down. what changes the status quo is when investors as a class back away from tech. right now tech stocks are going up and. we shall see what the next year or two brings. stephanie: many have observed that elizabeth holmes stuffy persona, starting a biotech company as a 19-year-old stanford dropout, made her the ultimate selection very fairly fairytale and may have led investors not to perform their due diligence. you have concerns that the first big silicon valley prosecution is of a young woman? guest: it is a challenge. i don't think her gender was why she was on trial, i think it had
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to do with the substance of the company and the fact that there was a very clear evidence presented and aired about what theranos was doing. that being said, i think one of the reasons she became so prominent was because of her gender. she is a rising star in 2013, 2014, around the same time questions are beginning to be raised about the stark gender imbalance in silicon valley leadership, and also the studies focused on absent social media platforms instead of important things that will change the world. here was elizabeth holmes giving a counter argument to that critique and saying, here is the female steve jobs, just as good as any guy, someone who is truly changing the world with technology. it was a really compelling story and a lot of people bought into it. stephanie: margaret o'mara, author of "the code," thank you so much for joining us with your
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insights. guest: great to be here. judy: and that is the newshour for tonight. i am judy woodruff. join us on-line 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 that pbs newshour has been provided by -- ♪ >> consumer cellular. johnson & johnson. financial services firm raymond james. bnsf railway. carnegie corporation of new york, supporting innovions in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security, at the target foundation, committed to advancing racial equity and creating the change required to shift systems and accelerate equitable economic opportunity.
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and with the ongoing support of these institutions. ♪ this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ >> this is "pbs newshour west" from weta studios in washington and from our bureau at the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. ♪
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[ sizzling ] -the sounds of sizzle, the smells from the grill. don't you just love it? look at these you guys. these sights and sounds go by many names. a barbecue, a cookout, a parrilla. but in mexico state of sonora, these delicious weekly gathering of family and friend is known simply as a carne asada. mm, so good, so good. and today, i'm bringing that traditional carne asada experience right into my own back yard with the help of some very hungry and suddenly much taller boys. i don't... -you need to flip it soon. -i don't see any sweat. -i don't see any sweat. -i see, i see some sweat. -you don't have the chef's eye. -we're making a fire roasted salsita, a chunky chili verde guacamole, a sonoran-style macaroni salad, dressed with a spicy mayo and mixed with grilled ham


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