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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  January 7, 2022 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: challenging the mandates. the supreme court hears arguments on whether the federal government can require vaccinations for health care workers and large employers. then, chaos in kazakhstan. the country's leader vows to quash unrest as violent protests erupt against the government's authoritarian policies. >> ( translated ): you have to understand what has hpened here-- the coiled spring has now been unleashed after 30 years. >> woodruff: and, it's friday. david brooks and jonathan capehart weigh in on the way forward after the nation remembers the january 6th assault on the capitol. all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour.
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>> major funding for the pbs newsur has been provided by: ♪ ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> fidelity wealth management. >> johnson & johnson. >> financial services firm raymond james. >> the john s. and james l.
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knight foundation. fostering informed and engaged communities. more at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the u.s. supreme court today heard lengthy arguments challenging the biden administration's vaccine and testing requirements in the workplace. the high-stakes cases could have significant implications for some 100 million workers. john yang has the story. >> yang: judy, the rules at
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stake are at the heart of the administration'sandemic response. one would require big employers to make sure their workers are either vaccinated or tested weekly. the other would mandate vaccinations for healthcare workers at facilities that treat medicare or medicaid patients. as with all issues surrounding the pandemic and vaccines, the rules spark strong opinions. we asked viewers for theirs. >>i, my name is robert. i'm 27 years old, and i work in public programming at a local museum here in miami, florida. as of october 1st of last year, my workplace required that all staff be fully vaccinated. >> my name is kate alexander. i'm 26 years old. currently, i'm a nurse extern at a hospital. >> i'm tommy. i'm an m.d., board certified emergency physician, and have been for the past 30 yrs. when the mandates came out, it was "get the vaccine or face
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termination of privileges." i had certain concerns about the safety of the vaccines and the efficacy of the vaccines, and for this reason, i elected not to get the vaccine. i was terminated. >> my name is rebekah lawson. i am 35 years old. i am from spokane county, washington. in washington state, governor inslee did put out a mandate for a vaccine for particular sectors of employment. at the time that the mandate was put into effect, i was pregnant, and when i got my first shot to keep my employment, it was a situation where, i had wanted to get it on my own terms, but to keep my employment, i needed to get it on the timeline that was required by the state. >> my hospital job mandated the implementation of having the vaccine. we've lost more housekeeping staff. if anything, with declining the vaccine. so, it's moreso a time issue, in terms of the burden being
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left on people who are not in traditionally housekeeping roles such as myself or a nurse. >> i fully support the mandate from osha, and i hope it passes. my hope is that they can help level out some of the discrepancies between the federal response and the state responses to the pandemic. as someone who has loved ones and family in places like california and new hampshire, and living here in florida, i think it's a shame that the response has been so uneven. >> i think my feelings on a federal mandate for vaccination is that, it is the responsibility of a person, their family, and their community to make the best decisions for them. it is a deeply personal decision, and fear is a very powerful motivator. >> being terminated after devoting my entire professional career to this community? coupled with the fact that just one year earlier, we were being touted as heroes? at the end of the evening,
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you would hear the car horns honking and people, you know, celebrating the things that we were doing. and to go from that to saying, "okay, we appreciate your service, you were a hero, but now, if you don't do what we tell you to do, we're going to terminatyou. we don't need you anymore." that felt like a form of betrayal from the system. >> i do think that since people have made it very clear that it is their right to have the vaccine, they need to understand clearly, it is a company's right to not employ you if they want you to be vaccinated. >> yang: technically, the court is not being asked to decide the legality of the rules-- >> reporter: technically today the arguments are not about whether the mandates are legal, they're about whether they should take effect while being challenged in lower courts. marcia coyle is chief continued for "national law journal." marcia. divergent views from the viewers and justices today during oral arguments. so let's start by playing some of that. the first is it chief justice
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john roberts questioning elizabeth prelogar, the biden administration's attorney.
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snoop justice elena kagan questioning scott keller who represented the trade groups opposing the osha rule.
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marcia, what's the significance of what we just heard? >> well, john, i think the bottom line is there is a very deep divide on the court on how it's looking at the vaccine mandates and the authority of the federal agencies that are trying to implement them, whether they have that authority. the chief justice was increasingly skeptical, as the arguments went on, and he pointed out several times that, okay, there's a workplace mandate, there's the medicaid-medicare mandate, the federal contractor mandate, and he said, you know, really, this looks like it's almost an attempt to work around the limits of authority of executive branch. and that concern about how broad some of the agencies are using their authority was echoed by other justices such as justice neil gorsuch and justice amy
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coney barrett, they wondered, you know, where are the limits on agency authority. that is something conservatives in particular on the court have been concerned about for many years. on the other hand, you have someone like justice kagan saying this is how government works -- congress delegates a certain amount of authority to fergd agencies in order to make decisions, rules, regulations based upon their special expertise, expertise that a congress cannot have every time an issue comes up that has to be addressed by the national government. and, so, she is saying, you know, who would you rather make this decision, the courts or the agency with the expertise? and her view, also, was echoed in a different way by justices breyer and sotomayor. justice breyer in particular is
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sort of the reignen pragmatist on the roberts court, and he's very concerned about the consequences of delaying the mandates, and he gave the statistics that we are all seeing now and reading now about the number of infections, the number of hospitalizations, and he worried each day of delay would cause more deaths, more burdens on the hospitals trying to deal with the growing number overin-- of infections. so there's a deep divide. it's not to say theustices o the left are not also concerned that the agencies exercised the proper authority here, but they're seeing it through a different lens. >> reporter: was there the same divide, skepticism, from the conservative justices when it came to the healthcare worker vaccine mandate? >> not so much, john. in fact, the arguments were somewhat muted, and i don't know
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if it was because the justices were exhausted after two hours of arguments on the workplace mandate. but i think they saw -- and the chief justice did point this oua much tighter fit between the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers and the statutes that govern the centers for medicare and medicaid services and the department of health and human services, which are charged with being responsible for the health and safety of the patients in those facilities. so i think that that mandate is going to have an easier road when the justices sit down. and as you pointed out, this was not really an argument on the merits of the mandates. they're looking at whether injunctions should be issued to delay these mandates. and when they do that, they have a whole series of factors that they look at, and one of the factors is, of course, the
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likelihood of success on the merits of a challenge to the mandate, and also the weighing of, you know, the public intests, what are the equities here on each side and what is more important, public health or, as some of the states have demonstrated, there could be some serious consequences from the mandatesn terms of job losses. so is not the easiest decision for some of them. in fact, justice ali pointed out at one point that this raises complex issues, and maybe even though the states want an immediate halt to these mandates, maybe the court should have what they call an administrative stay to give them a couple of days, at least, to think it through. i'm not sure what the court is going to do at this point, but i have a feeling that they will act fairly quickly. >> reporter: marcia coyle of the "national law journal,"
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thank you very much. >> my pleasure, john. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, the number of children under five who are hospitalized in the u.s. and test positive for covid is still rising sharply. the c.d.c. reports that the figure has hit pandemic highs as overall infections top 600,000 a day. presidt biden offered an optomistic assessment today, after former advisers urged him to adopt stregies for "the new normal." >> having covid in the environment here and in the world is probably here to stay. but covid, as we are dealing with it now, is not here to stay. the "new normal" doesn't have to be. we have so many more tools we're developing, and continue to develop, that can contain covid and other strains of covid. >> woodruff: also today, the f.d.a. cut the wait time for getting moderna's booster shot
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after the initial two doses to five months, instead of six. u.s. unemployment rate is now at its lowest since the pandemic began. the labor department today reported the rate dipped to 3.9% in december. that was down from 4.2% in november, and far below the pandemic peak of nearly 15%. at the same time, employers reported a net gain of 199,000 jobs, well short of expectations. three white men convicted of chasing and murdering ahmaud arbery in georgia were sentenced today to life in prison. father and son greg and travis mcmichael, who initiated the chase, got life without parole. william "roddie" bryan took video of the confrontation. he will have a chance at parole. in court, his mother said they killed her son for being black
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and jogging in their neighborhood. >> they chose to target my son because they didn't want him in their community. they chose to treat him differently than other people who frequently visited their communit and when they couldn't sufficiently sca him or intimidate him, they killed him. >> woodruff: defense attorneys have said they plan to appeal the convictions. in michigan, a judge refused today to lower the bond penalty for the parents of a teenager who allegedly killed four students at his high school. james and jennifer crumbley are charged with involuntary manslaughter for giving their son a gun, and failing to intervene after seeing his violent drawings. they're now each being held on a $500,000 bond. a winter storm has dropped more than a foot of snow across the northeast. plows in boston labored to keep up today, and new jersey
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declared an emergency. skiers glided through new york's central park, but public schools stayed open. hundreds of other school districts did close. the storm broke snowfall records in the south, on thursday. meanwhile, on the west coast, heavy rain caused severe flooding today near chehalis, washington. the water closed a 20-mile stretch of interstate-5. and president biden got a firsthand look today at wildfire damage near denver and boulder, colorado. he met with people affected by last week's fire that destroyed nearly 1,100 buildings, most of them, homes. some 35,000 people were forced to flee. on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average lost four points to close at 36,231. the nasdaq fell 145 points. it was down 4.5% for the week, the most since february.
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the s&p 500 slipped 19 point today. and, two passings of note tonight. groundbreaking actor sidney poitier has died in los angeles, at age 94. we will look at his life and work later in the program. and, harvard law school professor lani guinier died in boston. in 1993, president clinton chose her to lead civil rights enforcement in the u.s. justice department. he withdrew the nomination, after republicans attacked her views. lani guinier was 71 years old. still to come on the newshour: our correspondents share memories of the day the u.s. capitol was attacked, and reflect on the time since. david brooks a jonathan capehart on vaccine mandates, and the messages of january 6. how the late sidney poitier pad the way for other black actors. and much more.
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>> woodruff: today, kazakhstan's president promised to “shoot to kill” protestors after a week of demonstrations. kazakhstan lies at the strategic crossroads of russia, china, a central asia, and has large energy reserves with billions invested by american companies. despite that wealth, many kazakhs live in poverty. and, as nick schifrin reports, economic frustrations are boiling over into demands to upend the country's authoritarian politics. >> schifrin: in western kazakhstan, the protest became a revolt. >> shal ket, shal ket! >> schifrin: protesters chant“ shal ket”-- “old man, out!"-- a reference to 81-year-old nursultan nazarbayev, who's helped lead kazakhstan since independence 30 years ago, and is the symbol of a corrupt elite whom demonstrators tried to topple.
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( cheering ) they rallied to target a system they say enriches political cronies, and neglects the people. >> ( translated ): you have to understand what has happened here-- the coiled spring has now been unleashed after 30 years. >> kazakhstan is wealthy, but technically, it's listed as a lower-middle income country. and the actual day-to-day incomes of the majority of the population, it's really quite low. >> schifrin: richard hoagland is a former u.s. ambassador to kazakhstan, and isow at the caspian policy institute. >> most of the money has gone into very few pockets, and those tend to be the pockets of the oligarchs and the pockets of the nazarbaev extended family. >> schifrin: nazarbayev stepped down as president in 2019, but as the so-called “father of the nation,” installed tokayev as his successor.
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>> schifrin: protestors first clashed with police over an increase in the price of fuel. that ignited a political flame. in the cultural capital, almaty, they stormed government buildings. by thursday, the mayor's office and the presidential residence, both burned out. authorities turned violent. police said they “liquidated” more than two dozen protestors. over multiple days, demonstrators attacked police, burned police cars, and authorities say, killed more than 18 cops-- at least one by beheading. president kassym-jomart tokayev called the protestors "foreign terrorists," cut off the internet, and today, told police to shoot to kill. >> ( translated ): the militants have not laid down their arms. the fight against them must be pursued to the end. whoever does not surrender will be destroyed. >> schifrin: and now, for the first time, an alliance of post-soviet states deployed its military, and russian troops are in a neighbor considered the region's most stable country.
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>> cay zac authorities and government certainly have the capacity to deal appropriately with protests to do so in a way that respects the rights of protesters while maintaining law and order. once russians are in your house, it's sometimes very difficult to get them to leave. >> reporter: toiav maintained a partnership with the u.s. >> schifrin: tokayev has maintained a partnership with the u.s., in part through american oil giants' presence in kazakhst's westnorth. but russia's influence is greater, and it may increase with the deployment, says hoagland. >> what he's probably doing is, in a way, making sure that a new western-looking generation of leadership does not come into power immediately in kazhakstan, that it will stay with the people who understand russia, o are partners with russia. and russia geta leg up that way. >> schifrin: and it looks like kazakhstan's leaders will try to keep their power, by targeting their own citizens. for the pbs newshour, i'm nick schifrin.
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>> woodruff: as we end this week of remembrance of the capitol attack, we return to some familiar faces: our own newshour correspondents who were covering the events of january 6. lisa desjardins, who was inside the capitol. amna nawaz, who was outside the building as the crowd gathered. and yamiche alcindor, who was at the white house. the four of us spoke last year in the days following the insurrection for our podcast "america, interrupted," and when we sat down again earlier this week, we talked about how the country hachanged in the year since. lisa, let me start with you. you were inside the capitol, i remember it vividly, as the rioters broke through the glass in those doors. you were eyewitness to the worst attack on the u.s. capitol
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in 200 years. from a-- from a political standpoint, sa, it looks like a much more partisan even place what does it feel like from the inside? >> desjardins: i didn't think that the capitol could get more partisan than after the 2020 election ended, in 2020, but it has, and-- and i also have to say, a year ago, we all felt these palpable, very raw emotions from lawmakers right after january 6. and i knew they would continue. i thought they would continue february, march, april. democrats just seething with anger. democrats who don't usually express this kind of anger, were saying things like this to me, that they couldn't look at republicans, couldn't even get in an elevator with some of the republicans who had objected to the election. i was sure that that would wane by the end of the summer, and i have to say, it really didn't. it continued through the fall, as we saw some republicans increased their rhetoric on the other side. i will say just this one holiday
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break, this-- this past holiday break, i have sensed in my phone calls with lawmakers, finally, a little bit of breathing and a little bit of relaxing of that anger. but i just don't know what's going to happen when they return to washington. >> woodruff: interesting and yamiche, you were at the white house. you were on the lawn as all this was unfolding at the capitol. you were trying to stay in contact with trump-- then-trump administration officials on the inside. how has our understanding of what then-president trump was doing during all of this, how has that evolved and changed over the last year? >> alcindor: well, judy, i do remember standing on the white house lawn and watching people break into the u.s. capitol. the president was watching it all unfold on tv, like so many other americans. and he was, in some ways, both enjoying the idea that his supporters had taken his lie about the election being stolen so seriously that they were breaking into the capitol to sort of defend his lie, his idea of what should be happening in
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this moment, but he was also in some ways fearful, because there was real violence happening. the president's lie has metastasized. it's grown all across the g.o.p. and now you have g.o.p. lawmakers, elected officials, who at first were outraged, o at first were telling me that the president had gone too far. they've now all sort of fallen in line. so, the president, former president, has continued to lie about the election, continued to say that the election was stolen and his power that seemed to be teetering, that seemed to be almost coming to an end on january 6-- it's only grown and grown. >> woodruff: and then, amna, you were outside the capitol. you were talking to the protesters and others outside, watching as all of this unfolded. recollect for us some of the language you were hearing from them, and talk about how that's evolved in the year since. >> nawaz: judy, in terms of everyone we talked to outside that day, there was one thing everyone had in common, and that was that they believed the election lie. they believe that the election had been stolen. beyond that, in terms of rhetoric, it was really a
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mishmash. i mean, there were conspiracy theorists out there waving q-anon flags. they were anti-vaxxers and covid deniers who harassed me and our team for wearing masks out there. they were far-right extremists. they were white nationalists, white supremacists, openly wearing the insignias of these groups and walking around. and it was this overlapping-- this sort of toxic brew of ideological beliefs and personal grievances that really caught a lot of people by surprise-- and caught a lot of national security and counterterrorism experts by surprise at the time, too. they hadn't seen it before. well, how much has that changed in the year since? not much. if anything, it's gotten worse. i mean, we know the potency of that election lie that millions of people still believe. we know where we are with anti-vaxxers and covid deniers. and we also know where we are with the larger threat to the u.s. from some of those groups, those blending of beliefs, experts say, is more volatile than ever. the top two lethal threats,
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domestic threats to the u.s. today, are violent white supremacists and anti-government extremists, and those remain the top concerns for counterterrorism officials. >> woodruff: and in terms of holding people accountable, we've seen over 700 people arreed, charged in connection with the assault on the capitol. lisa, you have a first-hand connection with this. what is it, two of the people who were following you inside the capitol have been sentenced in the last week or so. >> desjardins: that's right, and you know, judy, i didn't know that i was being followed until this summer, when the department of justice contacted me and said, we see on video that two of the rioters followed you for a significant distance. those two-- two men from pennsylvania-- were just sentenced this week, and their attorneys were both asking that they be given no more than one day in jail. this was their first offense for both of them. neither of them harmed anyone when they were in the building. they did pick up some paper, some congressional papers at some point, and put them down. and that is one of the things
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the judge said was serious. the judge did give them 30 days in jail, which was a disappointment to their attorneys. but the judge said, "it is not enough to say that you just wandered into the building, or you didn't mean to be there, or you wish you could have left, or that you regret it." the judge was very strong, and said this was an attack on our democracy and you cannot-- "i cannot condone this kind of mob violence." >> woodruff: some of the language we heard from these-- these rioters that day, clearly there were racist elements to it. yamiche, we've talked over the past year about how that language has persisted and how it's played into what was already a fraught controversy conflict in our-- in our nation, across our nation, over-- over racial justice. how do you see that coming together a year later? >> alcindor: well, a year later, the language that we saw used at this attack on the capitol has
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sort of spread and deepened across our country. we've had-- seen really an evolving of the conversation on race, where we saw, of course, the murder of george floyd and the swelling of this idea that america really needed to be better when it came to not only policing americans, but also the way that we talk about justice and race. and there's been a big backlash to that movement. what we've really seen is that jaary 6 was not the end of something, but it was really the benning of this ugly phase. so we've really seen a lot of people, i think, twisting the idea of pushing for racial equality in this country a making excuses, frankly, for the people who broke into the capitol, and that has been detrimental, i think, to our-- to our democracy. and that continues to be the case. >> woodruff: and amna, i want you to pick up on that, because this-- this notion of how we use language with racist overtones and just arguments over what word to use about what happened on january the 6th, the words to use, whether it's white supremacy, whether it's insurrection versus a coup, all
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of these things are-- have-- have not only been-- they've filtered out into the public discourse, but there are things that journalists have had to think about. >> nawaz: that's absutely right, judy. i think it's important to point out that some of those forces that we confronted face-to-face that day on the capitol grounds have always represented some of the biggest threats to people of cor and to marginalized people in this country. and it was a mostly-white crowd who had openly talked about bringing violence to the capitol that day, who thorities did not see as a threat, who felt entitled to storm a federal property and try to overturn a democratic process, because they were angry. and i think we've all done this long enough to know what that response would have been if that had been a crowd of all-black people or all-brown people or all-muslim people or all immigrants. and this kind of organized eruption really id bare what so many of us have long known and lived, which is that white anger is seen differently here.
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>> woodruff: i want to close by asking each one of you to think about what stays with you, what sticks in your mind as you go back and you think about that day. lisa? >> desjardins: i think one that stays with me-- this is going to sound so corny-- there are two things. it's jus the walking away from the capitol that night. you know, we were there till 3:00, 4:00 in the morning, for the election to finish, and it was so important for all of us to stay there. and, i just, i think about that image... and it was just-- i just have such faith in the capitol. sorry, i'm getting emotional... >> woodruff: now, one year later? >> desjardins: i just-- it had, it was just-- it's a-- it's a-- it's a beautiful place, and i really-- walking away from the capital that night, looking at it, i just remember that feeling of faith in our constitution and in that building. and one more thing: someone loaned me a phone charger at a critical moment, and that is something i will always hold on to.
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it is my lucky phone charger. >> woodruff: and yamiche, for you? what-- what memory stays most th you? >> alcindor: the memory that sticks most with me watching the capitol being attacked is that sense of entitlement that these white protesters had, to break in. i kept picturing what it might have been like, had these people been the protesters that i covered so closely in ferguson, the black people that were demanding justice and police accountability. it's not with-- it's very easy to see those people being shot, frankly, dead on the steps of the capitol, if-- if they were black or brown or immigrants. and to see some of-- some of the white protesters walk away with their lives? i think it's something that sticks with me, because to me, it taught a lesson of who could be outraged, who could break into the capitol, and keep their lives, and who are the people who, if they stand peacefully on a street and demand justice, they might die just for asking peacefully for respect. >> woodruff: and finally, amna, what-- what stays with you? >> nawaz: judy, as you know,
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i spent years as a war correspondent, a conflict reporter overseas, parachuting in and out of places where, quite frankly, scenes like this were expected. and i said on the day, and it is still true, that i never expected to see at scene unfold in my own home country, but also on the steps of the u.s. capitol. and i think what last year has shown me is that while america is absolutely unique as a nation with its democra, it is not immune from a lot of those same forces that can wear away and tear away and-- and eat away at foundational parts of our democracy. and that includes journalism, right? a free-- a free and fair press. so i think what i carry with me, what sticks with me, is really just this the sense of duty to continue to not just report on everything we see and to bear witness, but also to remind people about what's at stake. >> woodruff: well, the three of you were absolutely essential to the newshour's reporting on that
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historic, tragic, and historic day in america, so we cannot thank you enough for what you did on that day, and the reporting ever since. and of course, right up until right now. so i want to thank you, lisa desjardins, amna nawaz-- and yamiche alcindor, this is your last program as a newshour correspondent, white house correspondent. you are leaving us to go on to nbc news. we wish you the very best. we're going to miss you. you've contributed so much to the work of this program. but we will miss you, and we thank you, all three. >> alcindor: thank you so much. it's been an honor to-- to work and report with you and so many others on this program. >> woodruff: thank you. thank you all.
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>> woodruff: with a one-year anniversary of the capitol insurrection, push on voting rights and vaccine mandates getting their day in court, it has been a full wee to consider it all, we're joined by brooks and capehart, "new york times" columnist david brooks and jonathan capehart, columnist for "the washington post." very good to see both of you, even though you're not here in the studio. i was going to start with something else, but i have to begin with january 6, jonathan, listening to what our correspondents were saying and thinking about what president biden, yesterday, said taking it right to his predecessor, saying that former president trump was holding a dagger at the throat of our democracy. that's a stunning statement. what do we make of that? >> it's a stunning statement, judy, and it is a true statement. you know, the thing to keep in mind about president biden is that he is -- since the
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campaign, he has been -- never been more clear e focused, direct, passionate and determined than when he is talking about american democracy or as he called it the soul of america, and the damage and danger donald trump was to both. he started his campaign talking about charlottesville and why that animated him to jump into the 2020 race, and then in statuary hall with the then president of the united states, to his mind the clear and present danger of donald trump and what he did as president and what he could do down the road if he decides to run for president in 2024. i think the president, after almost a year in office of getting some legislative wins under his belt, decided that the anniversary of the most dangerous moment in history for
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congress, that that was the time to say clearly and forcefully that what happened in that building was a travesty, and that he's going to do everything that he possibly can to ensur that it doesn't happen again, and the first step in that is talking about it, naming names, and trying to hold them publicly accountable for what they did. > >> woodruff: and, david, what do you make of president biden using this stark imagery, holding a dagger? >> i thought the president was right to not talk about trump directly for most to have the past year because there was the hope trump would fade aay. i must say on january 7 of last year, i thought the events of january 6th were to horrific and disgusting it would be an inflection point and people would look at te trump era as something lamentable and terrible. i was wrong. donald trump has not faded away
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and is if anything stronger in the republican party. so if donald trump is not going to fade away, you might as well tell the truth and go after him with the passion of a manho worked more than 30 years in that building and who mentioned yesterday that the rotunda where they were sitting, that's where abraham lincoln sat, a few feet down the hallway is john f. kennedy, a few feet down the hallway, tip o'neal. there's got to be strong emotions there and glad he expressed them. >> woodruff: jonathan, as david is pointing out, this is a turn for president biden. he hasn't wanted or hasn't spent a lot of time talking directly about the former president, but now he's going after him. is there a risk in that? >> there are risks in everything, but i think the president and the white house have made the calculation that if you're going to take any kind of risk, if the risk is in
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defending american democracy, then it is a risk worth taking. and i think that the president, the speech yesterday was terrific, it's what the nation needed to hear, but it can't be the last step. it has to be the first step of many to remind people about what happened, who did it, and also to remind people that, even though the focus right now is on donald trump, what donald trump unleashed will survive donald trump, whether he runs for president or not, and that is the big danger that i think a lot of people might be getting themselves into by focusing so intensely on donald trump and the damage he did to this country that they're maybe not paying attention to the forces that he unleashed that can't be put back in the bottle now that they have been unleashed. >> woodruff: david, pick up on that. i mean, is it a gamble for
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president biden to be taking this tack right now in his presidency? >> i don't think so. you know, the democrats criticizing donald trump is not exactly a new thing or risky thing for democrats. to take it down a notch to the last political level, the democrats will try to get the majority in 2022, joe biden will try to keep the presidency or at least have a democrat in the presidency in 2024. his approval rates are not high enough do that on the basis of his own accomplishments. frankly he didn't win the presidency because people love joe biden, he won it because people dislike donald trump. so raising the saliency of trump is probably the smart thing to do. there are clear limits so that as a which lerned in the virginia gubernatorial rate where the democrats ride to tie youngkin to trump and it didn't work. so i don't think it's the obviously thing he can do to keep democrats in office but
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it's certainly a key part of it. >> woodruff: one to have the things we're seeing the president and vice esident do, they're heading to atlanta, jonathan, next week to make a major speech on voting rights, a big push for legislation that they have not been able to get through congress. meantime, some republicans, and i know you all talked a little bit about this last week, but meantime republicans are coming backand saying let's look at electoral vote count reform. i asked vice president harris about that when i had a chance to talk to her yesterday. here's what she has to say about how to think about these two things. >> it's not a solution to the problem at hand. which is that, right now in the united states of america, we need federal laws that guarantee the freedom and rights of every american to have access to the ballot, to be able to vote. the john lewis voting rights act, the freedom to vote act, address that issue. and those are the issues that are present and that are imminent.
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>> woodruff: so, jonathan, she's saying voting rights has to come before anything with the electoral vote count. >> well, because, as she was saying, what is happening in the states is happening because of the big lie, suppressing the vote, keeping people from voting and also, now, the prospect of, once people have voted, boards of elections that have now been taken over by state legislatures having their votes tossed out, so that's why there's this big push for the john lewis voting rights advancement act and freedom to vote act to be passed. but with the vice president, she goes on to say it's not an either/or. both have to be done, it's a matter of priority. when it comets to the electoral count act, congressman jamie raskin, a member of the january 6th select committee, writes in his new book
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"unthinkable" about how they saw months before may of 2020 that the electoral count act was probably the way donald trump would try to mess with the election because it was so squishy. so the electoral count act must be reformed, but doing that instead of passing e john lewis voting rights advancement act or the freedom to vote act, that's not a solution to the near term danger that faces the right to vote right now. >> woodruff: david, how do you see movement on these two things, or not? >> well, i think we probably need to do both but i think the democrats have to revamp approach to the national emergency january 6th started or donald trump started and is expanding to this day. there are three elements to an election -- casting, countering
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the votes and certifying the results. we do not have a crisis in casting votes. in 2020 we had the highest vote turnout in american history. we don't have a problem counting the votes, we counting the votes without fraud or error in 2020. we have a complete crisis in the certification of the votes. it's the third thing, complete crisisy state legislatures are politicizing the vote certification, where they're attacking the people who bravely stood up to donald trump, the republicans running for local judge of elections positions, republicans who are trumpy and he will use for nefarious ends. so we have a massive assault on our democracy in the certification of the results. the problem of the freedom to vote act is it has very little about that. it' all about elements one and two. so, to me, the democrats need to focus on the certification, protecting the people who are nonpartisan certifying results. the democrats need to get much more active local lil on these
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local races for judge of elections and all those other things and this they're not doing that. the republicans are far outpacing them on the ground and on the grassroots and, so, to me, the house is on fire on that, so we should be focusing on that and take care of that immediately, and then we can do the other voting rights, which are very hard to pass. we can do it now or later, but we need to focus on that third thing. >> woodruff: jonathan, what about that? >> i agree with david that the house is on fire, but i don't agree with david -- and david has mentioned this at least three times about how there's no -- you know, the vote is not being suppressed. you know, there are a lot of democratic and progressive activists and actual voters who would disagree with that, especially those standing in line for hours and hours in muiple locations, multiple states in order to vote. t, look, all of these things that we are talking about need to be addressed. the only problem is we don't
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live in a monarchy, and we don't live in a dictatorship where, you know, president biden, king biden, dictator biden can just go and say this shall be done. what the senate needs to do is to take action to ensure that whoever wants to register to vote can vote, that the person who registers to vote is able to vote as conveniently as possible and then, when that person does vote, that their vote actually gets counted and that their voice is actually heard by not having a state board overturn the voice of the people, the will of the people at the ballot box. that has to be done and can only be done at this point if the united states senate rallies around and gets it done. but unfortunately we spend a lot of our time talking ability two senators, one in particular, who still, even though the house is on fire, is refusing to be arp
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part over the solution to put fire out. >> woodruff: david, put the button on this. why isn't that the priority? you've got 30 seconds. >> i don't think the answer is in washington. democrats need to rally people in harrisburg, pennsylvania, in state capitols around the country. they need to work on state legislators. they need to make it painful for anyone to vote to cert the result. republicans are doing something about this and democrats are not. >> woodruff: clarion call from each one of you, david brooks, jonathan capehart, thank you both on this friday night, thank you so much. >> thanks, judy. >> woodruff: as we reported tonight, oscar winning actor sidney poitier has died, at the age of 94.
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throughout his life, the star carved a path for generations of black actors to come. geoff bennett has our remembrance. >> reporter: sidney poitier transformed how black characters were portrayed on screen, and became the first black actor to win an academy award for best lead performance. for more on his life, i'm joined by jacqueline stewart, the chief artistic and programming officer for the new academy museum of motion pictures in los angeles. she is a professor of film and media studies at the university of chicago, and host of "silent sunday nights" on turner classic movies. it's great to have you with us. sidney portier was dignified, he was elegant, he was regal, he was known for playing characters who really jumped off the screen. but before we talk about his cinematic and cultural legacies, help us understand his journey to stardom. he was born in the bahamas before moving to harlem. facing this sort of hardscrabble life of an actor. >> that's absolutely right. he really did struggle to become
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an actor. it wasn't something obvious given his impoverished background in the bahamas. it's really gratifying to see the ways he took all those hardships he faced, working odd jobs in new york, trying to figure out a way that he was going to achieve his professional vision, and it's a really miraculous story of how he entered the theater and became such an important film star. >> reporter: poitier was the emment of a proud and dig need black per suspect at the american conversation about race. during the civil rights movement and by 1967 he was hollywood's top earning leading man, played a philadelphia detective fighting dig tri-in mississippi, played virgil tibbs in "in the heat of the night," a man righteous enough to slap in turn the white politician who slapped him.
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>> was mr. kolbert ever in this greenhouse, say last night? ( slap ) >> gillespe, you saw i >> gillespe? >> yeah? >> you saw it. >> i saw it. >> what are you going to do about it? >> i don't know. >> reporter: so how did that resonate in a moment theblock man slapping back the white man who slapped him? >> it was an incredibly powerful moment and i would say an important moment not just for white audiences but black audiences as well. what's important is we see gillespie's reaction to the slap, his visual reaction and then his expression, i don't know what to do, a moment where white supremacy was being questioned and challenged and that was tremendously significant to people. this idea that, you know, i think, for so many folks, people think of sidney portier as this
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sort of of hair binger of a kind of assimilationist or accommodationist point of view, but that scene demonstrates he was also someone who was representing this fury that was raging in so many black communities and this tipping point that we're not going to take it anymore, and, so, that was hugely important to audiences across the racial spectrum. >> reporter: and then his role in "guess who's coming to dinner" as dr. john prentice. he was half of this interracial couple. he had to tell his disapproving father. the times had >> i'm your son. i love you. i always have. but you think of yourself as a colored man. i think of myself as a man. >> reporter: i want to ask you more about the scrutiny he faced because poitier was often hailed as the noble symbol of his race that took these sanitized roles
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which drew criticism from some that he took roles that in many ways were pandering to white audiences. you hear him saying i don't think of myself as a colored man. there are a lotf black folks who would say that is a choice not available many. >> that's right, yeah. i think what's important is to really look at the more nuanced aspects of what poitier was doing across his career. he was so selective with the roles that he took. he understood the limitations of what was possible for black actors for hollywood during that time and it seems to me that he was always trying to squeeze out as much dignity and respect and adding aspects to these performances that i don't think many audiences really understood, whether they were championing or criticizing him. so when he says, you think of yourself as a colored man, that's a generational thing he's pointing to in that speech, that his father is from an older time. he's not saying that i'm not a black man, with i is not the same thing as being a colored
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man. i think that part of what the point of that scene is opening up a space for black people to think about themselves in ways beyond the white limitations that had been placed on them. and i think, now, when we look back at a scene like that, we can see that there's something much more complex going on than, say, some simple rejection of his racial identity. >> reporter: how would you capture his contributions to the culture. >> is this he was hugely influential. this is an actor who really changed the minds of many white people about black people, of seeing black people as complex human beings, and he also was a figure who paved the way for so many generations of black actors to follow. there were very few model also for him but he has been the model for den easy washington and so many others who followed. >> reporter: jacqueline stewart, thanks for join us as we remember the life and many contributions of sidney portier. >> my pleasure. >> woodruff: sidney portier,
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no one like him. and that is the "newshour" for tonight. and that is the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online, and again here on monday evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and have a good weekend. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> fidelity wealth management. >> consumer cellular. >> johnson & johnson. >> bnsf railway. >> financial services firm raymond james. >> the william and flora hewlett foundation. for more than 50 years, advancing ideas and supporting institutions to promote a better world. at >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most
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pressing problems-- >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh >>
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♪ hello, everyone, and welcome to "amanpour & company." here's what's coming up. >> on this day of remembrance, we must make sure that such attack never, never happens again. >> washington reflects on the first anniversary of the assault on the capitol. i speak to democratic rosa delauro who was trapped inside congress that day. >> we're standing on the abyss of the destruction of our democracy. >> before january 6th, former republican senator and defense secretary william cohen was warning of a crisis. one year later, he tells us what he thinks will happen next. also ahead -- >> we're seeing a system put in place that will enable. >> yale professor


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