PBS NewsHour full episode December 9, 2019


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: the origins of
the Russia inquiry. The Department of Justice releases its findings
on the investigation that became the Mueller report. Then: DANIEL GOLDMAN, Democratic Counsel: We are
here today because Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States, abused the
power of his office, the American presidency, for his personal and political benefit. JUDY WOODRUFF: The evidence is presented. Democrats in the U.S. House put forth their
arguments for impeaching the president. And the Afghanistan papers. A classified trove of documents is published,
revealing the lies and distortions at the heart of America’s longest war. Plus: “Jagged Little Pill,” Alanis Morissette’s
landmark 1995 album, is back, angry as ever, and now on Broadway. ALANIS MORISSETTE, Musician: I love anger. You know, and if I’m going to be one-dimensionalized
as anything, I will take anger. I think it’s a gorgeous life force. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK ) JUDY WOODRUFF: A
long-awaited report into the origins of the probe into Russian interference in the 2016
election has found no evidence of a political conspiracy against the president. But the Justice Department’s inspector general
criticized the FBI’s handling of wiretap applications used in the early stages of the investigation. Our William Brangham was at the Department
of Justice today. He’s been looking into this 400-plus pages
of the report, and he joins me now. William, you have the report right next to
you. Tell us, first of all, the headlines from
this. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The headline, as you touched
on, is that the inspector general that there was found no political bias in the origins
of the Russia report. As we have been reporting for years now, President
Trump has constantly said this was a witch-hunt, that bad cops in the FBI ginned up this investigation
illegally to put him in jeopardy. And this report quite clearly says that that’s
not true. I’d like to read you this one key quote from
the report. It says — quote — “We didn’t find documentary
or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions
to open four individual investigations.” So, they’re saying also that there was no
role played by the infamous Steele dossier in the beginning of this investigation. And it also says that the FBI, contrary to
the president’s assertions, didn’t spy on his campaign. Let’s listen today. The FBI director, Christopher Wray, came out
after this report was released. Here’s what he had to say. CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI Director: I think it’s
important that the inspector general found that, in this particular instance, the investigation
was opened with appropriate predication and authorization The inspector general did find a number of
instances where employees either failed to follow our policies, neglected to exercise
appropriate diligence, or in some other way fell short of the standard of conduct and
performance that we and that I, as director, expect of all of our employees. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, while you can read part
of this report as a rebuttal of the president’s theories all along, it certainly seemed like
his mind wasn’t changed by this. The president also, after the report came
out today, had this to say about the investigation: DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
They fabricated evidence, and they lied to the courts, and they did all sorts of things
to have it go their way. And this was something that we can never allow
that to happen again. The report actually, and especially when you
look into it and the details of the report, are far worse than anything I would have even
imagined. This was an overthrow of government. This was an attempted overthrow, and a lot
of people were in on it. And they got caught. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, William, the president
is saying that there’s evidence here of bad behavior by the FBI. Is that what’s in this report? WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That’s right. I mean, the president is right in that regard. The other headline really coming out of this
report is that the inspector general found a lot of what he argues were serious mistakes
made by FBI agents after the investigation was launched, specifically looking at the
FISA warrant that they used against one Trump campaign aide named Carter Page. The inspector general said that there were
omissions and errors and embellishments in these documents. The FISA warrant, if you remember all of this,
is, if you want to open a foreign intelligence investigation into a person, you have to present
this court with a warrant. And the inspector general says that in the
FBI’s case, the warrants that they put forward left evidence out that didn’t bolster their
case. They looked over contradictory information,
and basically didn’t provide truly scrupulously factual warrants. This is another quote from the report today,
specifically about this criticism — quote — “That so many basic and fundamental errors
were made by three separate hand-picked teams on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations
raised significant questions regarding the FBI’s chain of command’s management and supervision
of the FISA process.” In fact, today, in this report, the inspector
general announced that the FBI will now be conducting an audit of how they undergo these
FISA warrants going forward. JUDY WOODRUFF: So this report is from the
inspector general at the Department of Justice. The man who heads the Department of Justice,
the attorney general, William Barr, put out a statement that was critical of this, which
is interesting. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It is. Interesting is a nice way to put it. It’s a very, very divergent reaction going
on here. As you remember, Attorney General Barr has
long said he thought spying did occur against the Trump campaign. He has been publicly suspicious of the origins
of the Russia probe. Again, this report seems to have changed his
mind not one bit. Here’s a statement he said today: “The inspector
general’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of
a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient
to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception,
the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory.” Again, this is just a very striking reaction. This is the attorney general taking direct
aim at his own inspector general and saying that, in some sense, his findings documented
in this huge report are not to be believed. JUDY WOODRUFF: But, in so doing, he’s completely
in alliance with the president’s view on this. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Exactly. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, finally, William, we know
this is not the end of this. There are still — still several more shoes
to drop. Tell us about that. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Yes. On Wednesday — the inspector general, Horowitz,
who wrote this report, he will be testifying before the Senate on Wednesday. There is also a second broader investigation
going on. Attorney General William Barr tasked Connecticut
assistant U.S. attorney John Durham to lead a wider investigation, one that’s now become
a criminal investigation, also looking in the origins of the Russia investigation, how
that went forward, and what role foreign countries might have played in that. So, Durham is undertaking this much broader
investigation. The president seems to be banking a lot on
what Durham will find. And, in fact, Durham made the striking statement
today where he said this: “Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation
is ongoing, last month, we advised the inspector general that we do not agree with some of
the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.” Again, it’s just a very striking point, where
a U.S. attorney, who theoretically is underneath the inspector general, seems to be openly
criticizing the inspector general. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you had the attorney general
with a comment. You have this — the other prosecutor, in
effect, making his own reaction, as well as the president. William Brangham, thank you very much. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You’re welcome. JUDY WOODRUFF: And now, for more on the inspector
general’s report, I am joined by John Carlin. He served as assistant attorney general for
the Justice Department’s National Security Division from 2014 to 2016, and he was also
Robert Mueller’s chief of staff when Mueller was director of the FBI. And John Carlin joins me now from Phoenix,
Arizona. So, John, I just want to say at the outset
that your name is mentioned in this 400-plus-page report in two footnotes. We have looked at them both. They are tangential references, so we’re not
going to go into that detail. I do want to get, though, to the meat of this. What is your principal takeaway from it? JOHN CARLIN, Former Justice Department Official:
Well, Judy, after two years, a million documents, over, what, 50, 70 interviews by an independent
inspector general, you have a conclusion that the FBI appropriately followed its procedures
in opening the Russia investigation. They followed the rules of the Justice Department
and the FBI. And because they followed those rules, we
had an investigation that led to the unpacking and discovery of an unprecedented Russian
intelligence conspiracy, which cost tens of millions of dollars, included computer hacking,
leaked documents, exploitation of social media campaigns, and has led to 30 successful indictments,
in some cases convictions, of individuals for criminal misconduct. JUDY WOODRUFF: But you also had, as William
Brangham just laid out, description of errors made along the way by individuals in the FBI
and others who were working on this investigation. JOHN CARLIN: No, that’s right and should be
taken seriously. But, first, to distinguish, what the inspector
general found was that the investigation itself, the broad Russia investigation, was appropriately
opened under FBI and Department of Justice procedures. After it was opened, the inspector general
details mistakes that were made in the application process regarding the investigation of one
of the individuals, part of that broader investigation, and that those mistakes linked to the obtaining
one application that was then renewed for a wiretap. And that’s regarding Carter Page. We should definitely — and I think the FBI
director, Christopher Wray, struck exactly the appropriate note in saying that any — any
type of mistake or misconduct in obtaining a wiretap under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Court is serious, it should be looked at for process improvements, so that that doesn’t
occur again. It doesn’t change the fundamental funding,
though, that that occurred after this investigation was launched and opened. JUDY WOODRUFF: Right. John Carlin, how do you account for the reaction
of the attorney general, who clearly has problems with the thrust of this report? JOHN CARLIN: Look, it’s — he, of course,
is entitled to his own opinion, but his opinion is not the rules under which the then assistant
director of the Counterintelligence Division, Bill Priestap, was operating when he opened
the investigation. And in some respects, good thing it wasn’t,
at least the way I’m interpreting the remarks, because if we had an Attorney General Barr’s
opinion, instead of the rules and procedures of the FBI, it seems like we would never have
found out and held accountable numerous Russian agents for their attempts to interfere in
the 2016 campaign. I hope he applies a different standard when
we’re looking to determine foreign interference coming up in our 2020 election. And it sends an unfortunate message to the
men and women of the FBI and the Department of Justice, thousands of career agents and
prosecutors, who day to day are dedicated to protecting us from foreign threats against
our nation, that their leader, the top official of the Justice Department, in no way recognizes
what they did right. JUDY WOODRUFF: John Carlin, former Justice
Department official, thank you. JOHN CARLIN: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Our other big story tonight,
impeachment. The Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives
met all today, hearing the evidence and the arguments for and against putting President
Trump on trial. Nick Schifrin begins our coverage. NICK SCHIFRIN: Today, Democrats summed up
their case for impeachment and sharpened their attacks on President Trump. DANIEL GOLDMAN, Democratic Counsel: President
Trump’s persistent and continuing effort to coerce a foreign country to help him cheat
to win an election is a clear a clear and present danger to our free and fair elections
and to our national security. NICK SCHIFRIN: Republicans called the hearing
a sham: REP. JAMES SENSENBRENNER (R-WI): The lawyer is
badgering the witness. We have to have some decorum in here. NICK SCHIFRIN: And called the Democrats’ case
an unfair rush to judgment based on secondhand information. STEVE CASTOR, Republican Counsel: The impeachment
inquiry record is riddled with hearsay, presumptions and speculation. To paraphrase Professor Turley from last week,
the impeachment record is heavy on presumptions and empty on proof. NICK SCHIFRIN: This was Democrats’ main attempt
to narrate their story before submitting articles of impeachment. Democrats argue President Trump withheld military
aid and a White House meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, so Zelensky
would announce investigations into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and the 2016
election. The first article of impeachment is expected
to accuse President Trump of abuse of power, as argued by Judiciary Committee Democratic
counsel Barry Berke. BARRY BERKE, Judiciary Committee Democratic
Counsel: He put his political reelection interest over the nation’s national security and the
integrity of its elections. He did it intentionally. He did it corruptly. He abused his powers in the ways that the
founders feared the most. NICK SCHIFRIN: Democrats are also expected
to accuse President Trump of obstruction, as described by Intelligence Committee Democratic
counsel Daniel Goldman. DANIEL GOLDMAN: President Trump launched an
unprecedented campaign of obstruction of Congress, ordering executive branch agencies and government
officials to defy subpoenas for documents and testimony. NICK SCHIFRIN: Republicans argued the Democrats
had failed to prove their case. Republican counsel Stephen Castor: STEVE CASTOR: The inquiry has returned no
direct evidence that President Trump withheld a meeting or security assistance in order
to pressure President Zelensky to investigate former V.P. Biden. NICK SCHIFRIN: Republicans also pointed out
that, despite the delay, Ukraine did receive the military aid it wanted, and Zelensky repeatedly
said he didn’t feel pressure, including on his July 25 phone call with President Trump. VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, Ukrainian President (through
translator): I have never felt any influence on me. And there are a lot of people in Russia, in
the West and in Ukraine who would like to influence me. STEVE CASTOR: President Zelensky never vocalized
any discomfort or pressure on the call. Contrary to Democrat allegations, President
Trump wasn’t asking for a favor that would help his reelection. He was asking for assistance in helping our
country move forward from the divisiveness of the Russia collusion investigation. NICK SCHIFRIN: The Judiciary Committee is
full of some of the most vocal and partisan-leaning members of the House. REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): For the next four hours,
you are going to try to overturn the result of an election with unelected people giving
testimony? REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): The gentleman will
suspend. If the president puts himself before the country,
he violates a president’s most basic responsibility. He breaks his oath to American people. NICK SCHIFRIN: And both sides took aim at
each other’s counsels. Republican Jim Jordan criticized the House
Intelligence Democrats’ final report for including phone call records. REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Mr. Goldman, the Democrats
— did the Democrats publish phone records of the president’s attorney? DANIEL GOLDMAN: Mr. Giuliani, yes. REP. JIM JORDAN: Did the Democrats publish the
phone records of a member of the press? DANIEL GOLDMAN: Yes, who was also involved
in this. REP. JIM JORDAN: Did the Democrats publish phone
records of a member of Congress? They published the phone records of the president’s
personal lawyer, the phone records of a member of the press, and the phone records of the
chairman of the Intelligence Committee’s political opponent, Representative Nunes. That’s what these guys did. NICK SCHIFRIN: And after Berry Berke testified,
he became the Democratic questioner. BARRY BERKE: And you made a big point, sir,
in your presentation that on that call President Trump didn’t go further and tell President
Zelensky that he wanted the investigation announced to help his 2020 election. STEVE CASTOR: Yes, he definitely didn’t talk
about 2020. BARRY BERKE: And, Mr. Goldman, would you agree
that if President Trump was acting corruptly, wrongfully, abusing his power, that it was
unlikely he was going to confess to Zelensky that he was asking for the investigation explicitly
to help his 2020 election prospects? DANIEL GOLDMAN: You almost never have a defendant
or someone who’s engaging in misconduct who would ever explicitly say, in this case, President
Zelensky, I’m going to bribe you now, or I’m going to ask for a bribe, or I am now going
to extort you. That’s not the way these things work. NICK SCHIFRIN: Not present today ,President
Trump’s lawyers. On Friday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone
released a letter refusing to appear that warned: “Adopting articles of impeachment
would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats, and would constitute the most unjust,
highly partisan, and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our nation’s history.” The Republicans call Democrats obsessed. The Democrats call the evidence overwhelming. And split along party lines, the committee
is on the verge of passing articles of impeachment for the fourth time in history. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Nick Schifrin. JUDY WOODRUFF: Our team is reporting from
both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Lisa Desjardins joins us from Capitol Hill,
where she spent most of today inside the hearing room. And Yamiche Alcindor is at the White House. Hello to both of you. Lisa, to you first. What was it that, would you say, each side
was trying to do today? And as you talked to members, did they tell
you they think they’re changing minds? LISA DESJARDINS: Well, Democrats, I think,
as Nick reported well, were trying to lay out a substantive case that the president
abused his power and was corrupt. Republicans did two things. They actually did answer that substance to
some degree, more than we have seen in hearings before. But, Judy, they also were trying to point
at what they saw was other wrongdoing, other subjects, not just the president, but the
call log, for example, or Hunter Biden. And they repeatedly raised points of order,
sort of tried to shake up the hearing, make the hearing itself look like it wasn’t on
stable ground. As for whether they changed minds, Judy, I
will tell you this. This was the smallest crowd of any impeachment
hearing I have seen so far. I asked one Democratic member what they thought
of that. They said: We just don’t know. We’re hoping that we reach voters, but, obviously,
there weren’t as many voters in the room today. JUDY WOODRUFF: And to you, Lisa. We — as we just heard Nick report, the White
House decided not to put its side of the story forward. They didn’t provide a lawyer, anybody to make
a defense for the president. How are they reacting to today, and how do
they think the Republican — how do the Republicans feel they made their case? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, the president at the
White House spoke about the impeachment hearing. He said he watched a bit of this, but he said
it was basically a disgrace and a hoax. That said, Republicans really outlined a new
defense of the president today. They went after Ambassador Gordon Sondland,
the E.U. ambassador, the European Union ambassador. They said that he was seen as an intelligence
risk, that he was seen as problematic, and that people were wondering why he was still
involved in Ukraine. Now, Democrats and critics of the president
will say that Ambassador Gordon Sondland was acting at that the direction of President
Trump. I spoke to the an attorney for Gordon Sondland,
who said he didn’t want to comment about Republicans going after Gordon Sondland specifically,
but he said his testimony speaks for himself. And in his testimony, Gordon Sondland said
that he thought the president was asking him to go forward with a quid pro quo and to pressure
Ukraine to get an investigation into Joe Biden in exchange for that military aid. Also, Republicans are going after Rudy Giuliani
and trying to scapegoat him in some ways. They were saying that there was evidence that
the president’s personal attorney was acting not in line with what the president wanted
him to do. But over the weekend, President Trump said
that he was aware of Rudy Giuliani being in Ukraine and that he was collecting information
that might help him. The president also said that Rudy Giuliani
might be coming out with some sort of report that might be filed to Congress or the attorney
general. So, even as Republicans are trying to, in
some ways, throw people under the bus or scapegoat them, as Democrats would say, both — the
Republicans are really coming up short on that end. JUDY WOODRUFF: Lisa, back to you. Where do things go from here after today’s
long hearing? LISA DESJARDINS: Buckle up, Judy. It’s going to move very quickly. Chairman Nadler said over the weekend that
he does think they should — they could have articles of impeachment ready for the committee
to discuss this week. So, that means probably in the next three
days, maybe four days. They have not decided, our reporting is, exactly
what those articles will be yet. We know that they will likely include abuse
of power and some form of obstruction. Now, what’s interesting here, Judy, just in
the past few minutes, Republicans put out — I’m sorry — Democrats, Jerry Nadler, put
out a letter rejecting witness requests from Republicans. Now, this means it’s not clear if there will
be any more hearings or any more witnesses in the House process. The next hour may be the final substantive
hearing that we have before Democrats move to marking up articles of impeachment. We don’t know yet. But we’re going to pay very close attention,
because I do think it will move fast. JUDY WOODRUFF: And finally, back to you, Yamiche. How — we know the White House wasn’t participating
in what’s going on in the House. Assuming the House passes impeachment, it
goes to the Senate for a trial, the White House is going to have to participate in that. How are they preparing? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The White House is taking
a very different stance as it relates to the Senate than they did with the House of Representatives. The White House is gearing up to have representatives
come to the Senate and defend the president. I talked to a White House aide today who said
he was 100 percent certain that there would be White House lawyers at that Senate trial. So, the White House has been really beefing
up its staff. The other thing to note is that, tomorrow,
there’s going to be some news here at the White House. The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov,
is going to be meeting with President Trump. And that’s notable, because the last time
the Russian foreign minister was here was in 2017. And President Trump was accused of disclosing
classified information relating to an ISIS informant to Russia. So people are going to be watching really
closely how President Trump interacts with this Russian official yesterday (sic), because
Democrats have been making the case that, really, all roads lead back to Russia, including
with this Ukraine investigation. JUDY WOODRUFF: Yamiche Alcindor, Lisa Desjardins,
both of you all day long on this story, thank you very much. In the day’s other news: Russia’s President
Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky held their first one-on-one meeting. It came in Paris, after they met with French
President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel for broader talks at a peace
summit. Putin and Zelensky said the meetings were
positive, and they agreed on a prisoner swap. Russia backs rebel forces that control Eastern
Ukraine. North Korea sent hostile new words in the
direction of President Trump today. Former nuclear negotiator Kim Yong-chol called
the president — quote — “a heedless and erratic old man.” That came after Mr. Trump tweeted Sunday that
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is — quote — “too smart” and has gone too far — and
has far too much to lose to return to open hostility. Iran says that it is ready to swap more prisoners
with the U.S. after an exchange on Saturday. Tehran freed a Chinese-American scholar who
is accused of espionage. Washington released an Iranian scientist charged
with violating sanctions on Iran. In Tehran today, a government spokesman said
the swap doesn’t open the door to broader talks. ALI RABIEI, Iranian Government Spokesperson
(through translator): We are ready for cooperation to bring back all the Iranians unfairly imprisoned
in America. But I emphasize that the prisoner exchange
wasn’t done based on negotiations. JUDY WOODRUFF: At least four American citizens
are currently being held in Iran. Police in Hong Kong report that they have
made 6,000 arrests during six months of pro-democracy protests. Today’s announcement came after hundreds of
thousands of protesters marched peacefully through the city on Sunday. Many carried banners and chanted “Fight for
freedom.” Officials approved the march in advance. In France, mass strikes kicked off the workweek
with near standstill commutes. Parisians crammed into the few available trains,
as transit workers stayed off the job for a fifth day. And in Lille, train tracks at usually bustling
stations were empty. The strikers are targeting President Emmanuel
Macron’s calls for pension changes. The World Anti-Doping Agency banned Russia
today from international sporting events for four years over state-sponsored doping. Russian athletes will still be allowed to
compete at next Summer’s Olympics in Tokyo and elsewhere, but not with their flag or
their national anthem. In Switzerland, the Anti-Doping Agency said
that Russian authorities have only themselves to blame. CRAIG REEDIE, President, World Anti-Doping
Agency: Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and to rejoin the
global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and for the integrity of sport. But it chose instead a different route. JUDY WOODRUFF: The Russians signaled that
they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. At least five tourists are dead after a volcano
erupted today off New Zealand’s coast. Eight more are missing and feared dead. It happened on White Island in the Bay of
Plenty, just north of the mainland. Dozens of people were exploring the area at
the time. Most were evacuated, but some were critically
injured. Back in this country, the U.S. Supreme Court
left in place a Kentucky law that mandates ultrasound exams for women who want abortions. The statute requires doctors to perform the
ultrasound and show the images to the patient before any abortion procedure. An appeals court had upheld the law. The Supreme Court refused today to review
that ruling. On Wall Street, stocks pulled back, as investors
kept watch on U.S.-China trade talks. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 105
points to close at 27909. The Nasdaq fell 34 points. And the S&P 500 slipped almost 10. And former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker
died today. His passing came 40 years after he drove interest
rates to record highs to tame double-digit inflation. Economics correspondent Paul Solman looks
back at Volcker’s life and work. PAUL SOLMAN: At 6’7”, Paul Volcker was known
as tall Paul. And, indeed, he towered over economic policy
for more than 60 years. President Jimmy Carter chose Volcker to head
the Federal Reserve in 1979, when the U.S. faced runaway inflation. To bring prices under control, Volcker, never
without a cigar, choked off the money supply, driving up interest rates to discourage lending
and borrowing. Volcker defended the policy on “The MacNeil/Lehrer
Report” in 1981. PAUL VOLCKER, Former Federal Reserve Chairman:
The way you’re going to get those interest rates down is by persisting in policies that
will indeed continue to bring the inflation rate down. And at some point, this dam is going to break
and the psychology is going to change. PAUL SOLMAN: And sky-high interest rates,
he figured, would have the desired effect, as they did, but caused deep recession and
unemployment that reached nearly 11 percent. Homebuilders sent Volcker their protests scrolled
on wooden planks. But Volcker stood tall. PAUL VOLCKER: You can’t deal with that problem
by simply saying, we’re going to let inflation go ahead. PAUL SOLMAN: Volcker’s policies may have cost
Carter the 1980 election. But in a statement released today, the one-term
president said: “Although some of his policies as Fed chairman were politically costly, they
were the right thing to do.” By 1983, inflation had come down dramatically,
and President Ronald Reagan reappointed Volcker, a lifelong Democrat, as Fed chair. But the two soon clashed over the growing
federal deficit, which Volcker feared might reignite inflation. Volcker left the Fed in 1987. His last legacy, advising President Obama
after the 2008 financial crisis, pressing to restrict commercial banks from making risky
investments, a controversial reform known as the Volcker rule. For the “NewsHour,” this is Paul Solman. JUDY WOODRUFF: Paul Volcker was 92 years old. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: a blockbuster
trove of documents unveils the lies undergirding the war in Afghanistan; Amy Walter and Tamara
Keith on the latest moves from the Democratic campaign trail; and singer/songwriter Alanis
Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill,” a milestone of ’90s rock, opens on Broadway. Today, The Washington Post has a blockbuster story, the results
of several years of reporting and legal pursuit of government documents. For the last 18 years, according to the government
reports obtained by The Post, senior U.S. officials have been misleading the American
public about the war in Afghanistan. John Yang has the story. JOHN YANG: Judy, it was called Lessons Learned,
a project started by a special inspector general tasked with probing U.S. operations in Afghanistan. And those lessons tell a very different private
story, one of misguided and fatal dysfunction, that violently contradicts the narrative pushed
by three successive U.S. presidents and their administrations. GEORGE W. BUSH, Former President of the United
States: There has been a lot of progress since 2001. After all, girls are back in school. BARACK OBAMA, Former President of the United
States: In pursuit of our goal, we’re seeing significant progress. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
We will see what happens. But we have made tremendous progress. JOHN YANG: The Washington Post waged a three-year
legal battle with the government to obtain these Lessons Learned. Craig Whitlock is the lead reporter on the
story. And he joins us now from the Post newsroom. Craig, you read through some thousands of
pages of these interviews. What was the big takeaway that you came away
with? CRAIG WHITLOCK, The Washington Post: Just
how blunt the people in charge of the war were about the failings of the strategy, about
why we were there, about who the enemy was. One of the first quotes that leapt out at
me was from Army Lieutenant General Doug Lute. He was the Afghan war czar in the White House
for both Bush and Obama. And he said, we didn’t have the foggiest notion
of what we were undertaking in Afghanistan. We didn’t know what we were doing. He said, 2,400 lives lost, were they lost
in vain? When you see things like that from generals
in charge of the war, they grab your attention. JOHN YANG: And you talked to a lot of these
people who were interviewed. Did you get any sense from them why they weren’t
— they were saying these things in private to these — the interviewers, but why they
weren’t saying these things in public? CRAIG WHITLOCK: You know, that’s a really
good question. And a lot of them haven’t elaborated. I think what happened is, these people were
being interviewed by another government agency, and many of them had assurances that they
wouldn’t be quoted by name, or that their comments wouldn’t make it out without their
approval. And The Washington Post took the position
that these are public records. These are people, senior government officials,
criticizing the war from top to bottom, that the public has a right to know that. So we have been fighting that for a long time. And we finally managed to pry a good number
of them loose. But I think most of these people, they never
— they never thought they’d be quoted in public. JOHN YANG: And you also say that these reports,
as you say in the story: “Written in dense bureaucratic prose and focused on an alphabet
soup of government initiatives, left out the harshest and most frank criticisms from the
interviews.” Did you get a sense of why that was? CRAIG WHITLOCK: Well, I asked the inspector
general whose office was behind this project. I said, here you have these commanders and
ambassadors and White House officials all saying what a disaster the war was. How could you keep that from the public? If your job is to hold the government accountable
for the war, how could you sit on this? And I didn’t get much of an answer. They said, well, maybe they would get around
to it in a forthcoming report. But I think there was a — this was so explosive,
what people were saying, I think another government agency just found it too hot to handle and
decided it would be better to bury it. JOHN YANG: But also, given the title of the
project, Lessons Learned, you think they would want the harshest and most frank commentary
to teach these lessons. But they were not interested in sort of spreading
this around the government? CRAIG WHITLOCK: I think part of the issue
here is, when they started this project in 2014, you have to remember, everybody assumed
the war was coming to an end. And I think they thought it was a safe time
to do a Lessons Learned project and get people to look back in time to see what happened. Of course, at that point, President Obama
said he was going to withdraw all troops by the time he left office. That didn’t happen. And then, when Trump took office, he’s actually
escalated the war. There are more troops there. The bombing from the air — the air wars have
intensified greatly. So, I think the war went on much longer than
even this agency or anybody in government thought. So I think it became much more sensitive,
and they felt they had to keep it under wraps while the war was still going on. JOHN YANG: And the people interviewed not
only just talked about the military strategies, but also talked about the other strategies. You pointed out that more than — the amount
of money that’s been spent on Afghanistan, if adjusted for inflation, is more than the
United States — the United States spent on The Marshall Project after World War II. And what’s to show for it, as it were, from
this report? CRAIG WHITLOCK: Well, not much. I mean, what we heard in interview after interview
that these people gave, particularly aid workers in the field, military officers, diplomats,
they all said, this was more money than they could possibly spend, that they were ordered
by Congress and officials back in Washington during the Obama administration to spend,
spend, spend as quickly as they could as much as they could. And they were — they really just graded on
how much money they spent, not on whether these projects made any sense. And the people who had to do this, they said,
not only didn’t it make any sense, but it backfired because it fueled corruption, it
alienated the Afghan people against the Afghan government, and it just made everything much,
much worse. JOHN YANG: And you’re going to have more coming
up in The Post in the coming days? CRAIG WHITLOCK: We are. Every day, we’re going to come out with a
new volume. Tomorrow, we’re going to have a piece on just
how flawed the strategy was both for Bush and Obama, and, again, in the voices of the
people who ran the war. JOHN YANG: Craig Whitlock of The Washington
Post with some very important reporting, thank you very much. JUDY WOODRUFF: With eight weeks until the
Iowa caucuses and 15 Democrats still vying for their party’s presidential nomination,
Amna Nawaz reports on how the top-polling candidates are turning their criticism on
each other. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) AMNA NAWAZ: South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete
Buttigieg today announced he will open all future fund-raisers to the press and make
public the names of his top financial supporters, that after public pressure from fellow 2020
candidate Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), Presidential Candidate:
Americans are just sick of the typical politician who says one thing out in public and then
goes behind closed doors. It’s time for everyone in this campaign, including
the mayor, to open up those closed-door fund-raisers and let the press come in. AMNA NAWAZ: Warren herself faces criticism
from Buttigieg for her closed-door events during previous Senate campaigns. The two are also sparring over questions about
who they represented while in private practice, Buttigieg as a consultant at McKinsey and
Warren as a corporate lawyer. Late on Sunday, Warren’s campaign released
additional client names and income totaling $1.9 million over 25 years as a private attorney. Buttigieg has so far released information
on the nature of his consultancy work, not a client list, citing a nondisclosure agreement. But late today, McKinsey said it would allow
him to disclose clients’ names. Meanwhile, in Nevada, Vermont Senator Bernie
Sanders stayed out of fray, focusing more broadly on campaign finance. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), Presidential Candidate:
They say all those campaign contributions from the rich, they don’t impact me. Really? Then why do you think these guys are giving
the money? Of course it impacts you. AMNA NAWAZ: But former Vice President Joe
Biden, asked about Buttigieg in an interview with Axios on HBO, noted the mayor’s difficulty
courting black voters. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), Presidential Candidate:
Mayor Pete obviously has had difficulty garnering black support in his home city. I have never been uncomfortable or unwelcomed
in the African-American community, and — because they know I care deeply about the issues that
affect them. And systemic racism still exists. AMNA NAWAZ: Biden polls higher than any other
candidate among black voters, but the candidates leading the polls so far are all white. With just 10 days before the next debate,
no candidates of color have made the cut. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, struggling
to gain ground in national polls, has decried the party’s qualification standards for putting
more billionaires than African-Americans on the debate stage. SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), Presidential Candidate:
To win in the next election, we had — we had massive drop-offs between 2012 and 2016
in African-American voting. And as a result of that, we lost three states. Whoever the next candidate is, they better
have an authentic connection with African-American communities. AMNA NAWAZ: Candidates still hoping to take
part in next week’s debate have until Thursday to meet the requirements. And that brings us to Politics Monday with
Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Public Radio’s “Politics With Amy Walter,”
and Tamara Keith of NPR. She also co-hosts “The NPR Politics Podcast.” Welcome to you both. Good to see you. Amy, I want to start with you. Buttigieg has been under pressure to release,
as we just reported in there, this client list from his time in McKinsey. McKinsey now says, you can release it. I should also note that his campaign spokeswoman
said they will be releasing that client list soon. We will keep an eye out for that. Is there something on there that could damage
him? Do voters care about this? AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Well,
we will see what’s on there and whether it matters. But, look, it’s pretty clear what’s going
on right now. Iowa, as Judy pointed out, is just two months
away. Pete Buttigieg is now far and away the front-runner
in Iowa. That used to be Elizabeth Warren’s territory. She was seen over the summer as the candidate
most likely to win the Iowa caucuses. She needs to get back into contention. And the person that’s standing in her way
is Pete Buttigieg. So it makes perfect sense that she’s going
to be spending time trying to knock him off of the — his first-place finish. It’s also really clear that the two of them
need Iowa as a springboard. They are seeing, not only have they both been
front-runners in the polls at certain points during this campaign, but both of them are
expecting to use Iowa to springboard them to a really strong stand in New Hampshire. And that, they think, will help them go to
Nevada and South Carolina, places where they’re not polling as well, because, as we heard
in that opening, they’re not doing quite as well, especially Pete Buttigieg, with voters
of color. AMNA NAWAZ: Tam, when you look at this larger
conversation around transparency, this battle between Warren and Buttigieg so far, it strikes
me that we’re having it on the Democratic side at the same time we have a president
who hasn’t released his tax returns. Is there just a different bar? Is this — and a different bar for Democratic
voters in particular? TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: Well,
there is a battle of radical transparency going on, on the Democratic side. But this is about the Democratic primary. And they are signaling that they will be different
than President Trump. Now, of course, they will all be different
than President Trump. You have — Vice President Biden has had reporters
in his fund-raisers all along. Elizabeth Warren has not been having those
big fund-raisers. You have — Bernie Sanders released his tax
returns. And he was one of the more reluctant ones
in 2016. He didn’t release his tax returns, but, this
time, he did. And then you have President Trump, who is
literally in court every few days fighting to keep his records sealed. AMNA NAWAZ: And — sorry, go ahead. (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: No, and it’s also — what Tam
points out is important is, in Democratic primaries, the things that may be animating
voters aren’t necessarily things that animate independent voters or voters who aren’t voting
in the Democratic primary. But it is pretty clear that what they’re also
doing here with this sparring back and forth — and I think we will see it on the debate
stage too — is, who can stand up when Trump hurls accusations at you? Who’s going to be able to, when they get punched,
be able not only to take it, but be able to counterpunch really quickly? AMNA NAWAZ: Amy, something you have looked
at, though, is when two candidates kind of hone in on each other and start sparring like
this, it’s often an opportunity for other candidates who are not involved in that crossfire
to rise. AMY WALTER: That’s right. That’s right. It’s always — to rise up. AMNA NAWAZ: Who benefits from this? AMY WALTER: Yes. I mean, I think if you are somebody like Amy
Klobuchar, you’re watching this and saying, maybe this is my opportunity now. I have been sitting in fifth place. And maybe if the shine comes off those top
two candidates, they drop a little bit, it gives me an opportunity to just focus on my
message while not coming under attack. They’re all going to be focusing on each other. I think it’s probably good for Joe Biden too
for the spotlight to be off with him. Every time the spotlight is on him, it’s usually
for not good reasons. We’re talking about something — one of his
weaknesses. Now the focus on the challenges for Buttigieg
and Warren give him an opportunity to make his case. AMNA NAWAZ: Well, the spotlight is going to
be on a few more candidates. There’s another Democratic debate coming up. We’re a few days away from the qualifying
deadline. That debate is going to be December 19 in
Los Angeles. We at “NewsHour,” of course, are co-hosting
with our friends over at Politico. But take a look at the candidates who have
qualified so far. Just a reminder, we still have a few days
before the qualifying deadline. All six candidates — there you have Biden,
Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Steyer, and Warren. All six candidates who have so far met all
of the thresholds to qualify are white. If you take a look at the four candidates
who are on the cusp, potentially, they have met one debate qualification, not yet the
either, both Congresswoman Gabbard and Mr. Yang, I believe, have to make one more poll
to qualify, and could still do so. There’s a divide there, very clear. AMY WALTER: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: And, Tam, you and your colleagues
have been talking to Democratic voters out there. For a party that so desperately needs voters
of color to rally and be enthusiastic behind it, is that a problem, an all-white debate
stage? TAMARA KEITH: Well, a lot of my colleagues
have been out talking to Democratic voters, as you say. And, sometimes, what they’re hearing from
voters of color who are Democrats is this sort of whisper of, well, we want to take
on Trump. We think that maybe — maybe somebody like
a Biden or a Sanders or a — like, they — they wonder whether a candidate of color can take
on Trump. There are a lot of — as you talk to Democratic
voters, a lot of Democrats are still sort of replaying 2016, trying to figure out what
went wrong, what they can do this time to beat the president. And you hear in these sort of whispered tones
a number of people I talk to, women, saying, oh, I don’t know if women — if a woman can
beat Trump. And my colleagues who’ve been out in an Iowa
just in the last week have heard voters of color saying, well, we don’t — we just don’t
know if if — maybe — maybe we need a white guy to take on President Trump. (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: Well, yes. And let’s be clear too, when we look at the
— I don’t know — we get the farm team of potential presidential candidates, there aren’t
a whole lot of women and people of color there. Look at governors. Look at senators. The only two African-American senators in
the entire United States Senate are currently running for president, or were. Obviously, Kamala Harris just dropped out. So the pool is not that deep. And of the folks who are in the pool, they’re
actually running. What needs to happen is, the Senate needs
to and governorships need to look a lot more like the Democratic coalition in the House. That actually is much more reflective of the
Democratic electorate, the House caucus, which is majority female and non-white. And that is what, eventually, the theory is
that the Senate and governorships would look like. But we’re not there yet. AMNA NAWAZ: Amy, before we go — rather, Tam. I apologize. I want to get your take on this long awaited
release of the watchdog report, the Justice Department’s inspector general. Very quickly, in 30 seconds, what did you
make of the response from President Trump and his attorney general? TAMARA KEITH: The response from President
Trump and his attorney general was almost like they were looking at a different inspector
general’s report. But they — the president and Attorney General
Barr have wanted to focus on sort of discrediting the entire investigation. And Barr, much as he did with the Mueller
report, came out, made a statement saying, this is what I see in here. AMNA NAWAZ: Tamara Keith and Amy Walter, that
is Politics Monday. Good to see you both. AMY WALTER: Thank you. TAMARA KEITH: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: “Jagged Little Pill,” Alanis
Morissette’s Grammy Award-winning album released in 1995, became the angry and raw soundtrack
of a generation. Today, it is the basis of a musical that has
just opened on Broadway. Special correspondent Jared Bowen of WGBH
caught up with the show as it made its pre-Broadway run in Boston. The story is part of our ongoing arts and
culture series, Canvas. JARED BOWEN: It came out of nowhere. Released just before summer in 1995, the album
“Jagged Little Pill” tore into culture with all the ferocity its title would suggest. The lyrics were all those of a teenager, Alanis
Morissette, who had been a purveyor of pop in her native Canada. Today, she remembers she suddenly had something
altogether different to say. ALANIS MORISSETTE, Musician: I was giving
myself permission to express exactly what was going on without sugarcoating it. JARED BOWEN: Over the next year came a flood
of singles that burned through the sheen of life. It was the anti-pop. And writing was producer Glen Ballard, Morissette
got real and raw. ALANIS MORISSETTE: There was an urgency to
the writing, definitely. It was — it was almost manic in a way, a
very channeled experience, super exhausting, but really, really gratifying. And we got all the vocals on tape one or two
takes 80 percent of the record or the original demos. So it was a very sacred experience, certainly. JARED BOWEN: The record won five Grammys,
went on to sell 33 million copies and is now among the bestselling albums of all time. Do you look back at it now and — what happened? What the heck happened? (LAUGHTER) ALANIS MORISSETTE: Good question. You know, I mean, I make funny guesses at
this, but some of it was that there was a movement, whether it was the feminist movement
or consciousness evolution movement. And the wave was happening, and I feel as
though I put my hand up and volunteered to be on the front top of the wave with my surfboard. And I became a spokesperson of a kind for
this emergence of an authentic experience of what it is to be human, what it was to
be a woman in those times. JARED BOWEN: Today, under the direction of
Tony winner Diane Paulus, “Jagged Little Pill” is taking on a new life. ALANIS MORISSETTE: The running joke became,
you know, there was a circumstance in this story that was emerging, and I would say,
I have a song for that. And they would say, of course you do. (LAUGHTER) JARED BOWEN: The musical centers on a middle-class
family in Connecticut. Picture-perfect on the outside, they’re unraveling
from within, beset by a host of issues plaguing families today, from opioid addiction to sexual
assault. ALANIS MORISSETTE: I was up for it out of
the gate. You know, I didn’t want the songs to lead,
as such. I wanted the songs to support the story, if
that makes sense. DIABLO CODY, Writer: The songs do an incredible
amount of heavy lifting. JARED BOWEN: Academy Award winning screenwriter
Diablo Cody makes her theatrical debut with “Jagged Little Pill,” writing the show’s book. With myriad projects in the works, Cody says
she didn’t have time for the show. But as someone whose adolescence was shaped
by Morissette, she couldn’t say no either. DIABLO CODY: I couldn’t not do it. Those are the projects that you can’t walk
away from, when you think to yourself, I will be consumed with jealousy and rage if somebody
else gets to do this. (LAUGHTER) DIABLO CODY: Like, the ones where you just
— you can just see future you regretting not doing this. JARED BOWEN: Here, Cody has created the family,
and all the issues drowning them, as a metaphor for society, writ large, addiction chief among
them, apt, she says, for a show called “Jagged Little Pill.” DIABLO CODY: Right now, we are in a place
as a society where a lot of people are in desperate need of comfort and are feeling
just kind of disenfranchised. And so it honestly doesn’t surprise me to
see this, the crisis — the opiate crisis. It just doesn’t — it feels sort of grotesquely
appropriate to the times. JARED BOWEN: As does Morissette’s music, even
though it’s now more than 20 years old. DIABLO CODY: It’s crazy to me how well it
holds up. There’s no song that I hear and think, oh,
that’s juvenile, or, oh, I can’t believe I thought this was profound when I was 16. If anything, it’s more profound to me now. ALANIS MORISSETTE: I can still sing it with
as much conviction, perhaps even more, based on the fact that I think there’s more receptivity
to some of the topics that I dive into when I write. JARED BOWEN: Including anger, a label that’s
always been synonymous with her work and which defines some of the show’s younger characters. ALANIS MORISSETTE: I love anger. You know, and if I’m going to be one-dimensionalized
as anything, I will take anger. I think it’s a gorgeous life force. I think it gets a bad rap because of how it
shows up destructively in the world. The actings out of anger in destructive ways
is a big boo for me. But the actual life force itself, in the sense
and the body of what anger is, and the heat, and the jaw clench, and the forward movement,
I mean, it helps me, and others, I’m assuming, set boundaries, speak up for oneself, say
no. JARED BOWEN: Morissette says, when she finished
the album, she had no idea it would be so successful. ALANIS MORISSETTE: My dad said when I was
younger, he goes: “Sweetheart, people are going to love you, people are going to hate
you, and most people won’t give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).” You know? And I said, OK, well, if that’s the case,
you know, I’m left with just defining myself, and trying things on for size, and seeing
if they fit, and defining what my value system is, and how I want to show up, and how I don’t
want to show up. And that’s all I can continue to do. JARED BOWEN: Morissette’s intention has always
been to make the music matter, a philosophy she now carries to the musical. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jared Bowen of
WGBH in Cambridge, Massachusetts. JUDY WOODRUFF: “Jagged Little Pill” now a
show. And that is the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Judy Woodruff. Join us online and again right here tomorrow
evening. For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank
you, and we’ll see you soon.

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