PBS NewsHour full episode December 10, 2019


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): The House Committee
on the Judiciary is introducing two articles of impeachment, charging the president of
the United States, Donald J. Trump, with committing high crimes and misdemeanors. JUDY WOODRUFF: A day for the history books. Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives
make the case the president has committed high crimes and misdemeanors on the same day
they announce a major trade deal with the White House. Then: a failing grade. Climate scientists release the annual Arctic
report card, and it is a dire warning for the health of the planet. And broken justice — sentenced to life as
teenagers, hundreds of Maryland prisoners have only a sliver of a chance at parole. SONIA KUMAR, ACLU Maryland: Maryland’s system
has been set up so that opportunities for release are almost like winning the lottery. It’s unpredictable. It’s rare. There are many more people who are arguably
deserving of it than can ever get it. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: A new act in the impeachment
of President Trump has played out today, but, this time, a rare agreement between two normally
warring sides shared the spotlight. Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins
begins our coverage. LISA DESJARDINS: Two historic announcements,
one accusing a president, the other embracing a major trade alliance, within an hour of
each other, with starkly different tones. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): On this solemn day… LISA DESJARDINS: First, the somber. House Speaker Pelosi and a few key committee
chairmen gathered to announce articles of impeachment against the president. REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): No one, not even the
president, is above the law. LISA DESJARDINS: Judiciary Chairman Jerry
Nadler announced two charges, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Those two articles of impeachment are nine
pages’ long in total. The first, on abuse of power, centers on Ukraine,
charging that President Trump — quote — “conditioned” millions of dollars in aid and a White House
meeting on Ukraine announcing an investigation into the Biden family. The article of impeachment charges that — quote
— “President Trump abused the powers of the presidency by ignoring and injuring national
security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit. He has also betrayed the nation by abusing
his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections.” The document alleges the president “will remain
a threat to national security if allowed to remain in office.” Article two, on obstruction of Congress, points
to indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas in the Ukraine investigation, and goes further,
alleging that the president has a pattern of “previous efforts to undermine investigations
into foreign interference.” That is a clear reference to the Russia investigation
and Mueller report. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff helped
lead the impeachment investigation. REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We stand here today because
the president’s continuing abuse of power left us no choice. To do nothing would make ourselves complicit
in the president’s abuse of his high office, the public trust, and our national security. LISA DESJARDINS: The White House immediately
rejected the charges, with Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham calling them baseless and
writing — quote — “The president will address these false charges in the Senate and expects
to be fully exonerated, because he did nothing wrong.” REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): This is not a day that
America will be proud about. LISA DESJARDINS: The president’s Republican
allies in Congress, like House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, threw their own counterpunch,
accusing Democrats of wasting time on politics. REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY: I just hope no Congress, regardless
who is in the majority, will ever take us down this path again. We have such great potential in this nation. But to have wasted a majority on this is an
embarrassment to this Congress. LISA DESJARDINS: Democrats answered that charge
with their other major event. REP. NANCY PELOSI: This is a day we have all been
working to and working for, on the path to yes. LISA DESJARDINS: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
and top Democrats struck a deal with the White House over trade. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement, known as
the USMCA, was crafted to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA,
which President Trump opposes. This new deal represents the largest single
trade deal for the U.S., with trillions of dollars in goods flowing both ways. The deal still must be voted on by Congress,
but has been months in the making. And, at this announcement, Pelosi was exuberant
and surrounded by House members. REP. NANCY PELOSI: There is no question, of course,
that this trade agreement is much better than NAFTA. But in terms of our work here, it is infinitely
better than what was initially proposed by the administration. LISA DESJARDINS: Republican Congressman Kevin
Brady of Texas said the new trade pact was a major win for America. REP. KEVIN BRADY (R-TX): This agreement means more
jobs, more customers for made-in-America goods, and a stronger economy for the United States. I give President Trump credit for creating
a new bipartisan model for free and fair trade that levels the playing field for American
workers and can be used in future trade agreements. LISA DESJARDINS: Not all Republicans agree. Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey called the
bill far too liberal. But President Trump disagreed. In a statement, the White House called the
USMCA a huge win for American workers. Overall, a divided day of compromise and constitutional
clash in a very divided government. JUDY WOODRUFF: And Lisa joins me now, along
with Yamiche Alcindor, who’s been tracking developments today from the White House. So, hello to both of you. Lisa, on the same day, within a few hours,
you have the impeachment articles unveiled and you have this trade agreement. How do they — how do Democrats explain how
this all happened on the same day? LISA DESJARDINS: It was remarkable. Republicans are asking, is this a coincidence? Is it that Nancy Pelosi wants to show they’re
doing something of substance while they’re doing something that they say is political,
impeachment? Nancy Pelosi was asked this question today. The speaker said, yes, actually, it’s no coincidence. It’s matter of fact that we always have a
lot of legislation at the end of the session, end of the year like this. She raises a good point. That’s true. But, Judy, I have never seen this much significant
legislation, agreements, privileged motions like impeachment, announced in a 24-hour period,
and we haven’t even spoken of everything that they did in the last day. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Yamiche, the president
is now facing, what, an impeachment battle that only three presidents in American history
have faced. The White House, obviously, they haven’t presented
their side of the argument. They haven’t put lawyers forward. How do they now plan to make their case? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: We can expect the White
House is going to be launching a pretty vigorous defense over next weeks and months. We can also expect that they’re going to be
making the case that Democrats are doing this because they don’t have a viable candidate
in 2020, really trying to make this a campaign issue, both from the Trump campaign, but also
from the White House. The president was just talking about this
on the lawn. He says that these two articles of impeachment
are — quote — “very weak.” He made the case that he thought that he was
actually asking for America to have a favor when he said to the president of Ukraine,
“I need you to do us a favor, though.” There are, of course, Democrats who say that
he was asking for a personal favor, because he was talking about investigating Joe Biden. Another thing to note, I was spending a few
hours at the White House today, walking around, talking to aides. The mood was really that this was an inevitable
day, that — and I had a lot of aides tell me, Democrats should have done this a year
ago. They don’t like President Trump. They want to undo the 2016 election. They should just go ahead and get this over
with. So, in some ways, the White House has been
feeling in some ways pretty solemn, pretty ready for this fight, but also feeling like,
this is just what we were going to end up doing. Another thing to note, I was talking to lawmakers
last night and today about the articles of impeachment. They didn’t include it, didn’t tie Mueller
in a very direct way to these articles of impeachment. They say this is that’s because they didn’t
really want to — well, really talk about Mueller again and relitigate that issue. But the White House is pointing out that this
is really an extension of Democrats making the case that Russia is part of the president’s
calculations here. So even as Democrats — as Lisa has noted,
even as Democrats want to talk about Russia as being a pattern here from the president
doing things to benefit that country, the White House is saying there’s something fishy
there and that Democrats really still want to hit President Trump when it comes to Russia. JUDY WOODRUFF: So they’re bringing up Mueller
and the Russia investigation regardless. Lisa, what do we expect — what should we
expect in the days to come on impeachment? LISA DESJARDINS: OK, here we go. Let’s roll up our sleeves. We’re going to have — the next thing to happen
will be around this time tomorrow; 7:00 Eastern is when the House Judiciary Committee will
begin to mark up the actual articles of impeachment. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the evening. LISA DESJARDINS: In the evening. I don’t know why they chose that time. There’s some speculation that they wanted
to hit maybe a prime-time news cycle. One other issue is that the markup takes quite
a long time. Tomorrow night, we will have opening statements
from all members of that 41-member committee. That will take three-and-a-half-hours tomorrow
night, just opening statements for the markup. Then, Thursday morning 9:00 a.m. Eastern is when we will see sort of that debate
in committee, including any attempts at amending the articles of impeachment. That could take all day. It could be short. We don’t know. And this is all in preparation for an expected
vote on the House floor next week. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Yamiche, how is the White
House balancing all this? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The White House is making
the case that Democrats decided to announce this deal on USMCA because they really wanted
to be able to say that they’re getting some work done, even though Republicans and the
president say they’re really wasting time by moving forward with impeaching the president. The president at the White House just a few
moments ago said there’s a silver lining on this impeachment day. And he said that is that I got my trade deal. There’s been this emerging theme of President
Trump’s 2020 campaign, promises kept, promises — promises made, promises kept. This is something else that they would say
is a promise kept. He said he was going to pull out the Paris
climate accord. He said that he was going to get out of the
Iran nuclear deal, and he said he was going to get a new trade deal. It’s also important to note the president
is heading to Hershey, Pennsylvania, today. That’s a big manufacturing town. He’s going to be taking his victory lap in
Pennsylvania, which is a crucial 2020 state. LISA DESJARDINS: But this trade deal has also
been so important for these moderate Democrats who have had trouble with impeachment, some
of them. And they say they’re going to go home to their
district and talk about this trade deal, and not impeachment, in districts that maybe the
president has won. So the trade deal is also very important politically,
and especially in places like Texas, where Democrats have been picking up congressional
seats. They want to talk trade. JUDY WOODRUFF: And very, very interesting,
all that. But, Lisa, separately from all this, there
was this major defense authorization bill that they came to an agreement on today. LISA DESJARDINS: Right. That’s right. This is something that would have headlined
our newscast any other day. And I want to talk about it quickly. This was a 3,500-page national policy about
defense. They do this every year, but it is a critical
document, a must-pass bill. And this one is special, because it had some
special things in it. First of all, let’s take a look. This will include a 3.1 percent pay raise
for our military. Also, inside this bill will be something new,
a new kind of policy, which is 12 weeks of paid family leave for federal workers. Mothers, fathers that want to take off time
with the birth of a child, and also some other family issues, you will be paid if you’re
a federal worker now. Also, in exchange for that — Democrats wanted
the paid family leave. Republicans wanted a U.S. Space Force. This national defense authorization bill creates
the Space Force. Judy, it’s notable. It says this Space Force will be our sixth
military agency. It will be operated by the Air Force. It does not seem to get an extra budget, but
it is within the president’s budget request. It’s something to watch. It was a trade-off, the Space Force for paid
family leave. That’s what’s in this bill. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And something the president
wanted. He wanted this Space Force a lot. So, he really got two big things today. JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s so interesting. LISA DESJARDINS: Compromise. (CROSSTALK) (LAUGHTER) JUDY WOODRUFF: On the day of articles of impeachment. LISA DESJARDINS: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: Lisa Desjardins, Yamiche Alcindor,
thank you. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Thanks. LISA DESJARDINS: Thanks. JUDY WOODRUFF: We were just talking about
the USMCA, as it’s called. Let’s break down this trade agreement further
and examine what was agreed to and what it means. Amna Nawaz has that part of the story for
us. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): It’s a victory for America’s
workers. AMNA NAWAZ: Today’s agreement would replace
the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement first signed into law and hailed
by President Bill Clinton. BILL CLINTON, Former President of the United
States: NAFTA will tear down trade barriers between our three nations. It will create the world’s largest trade zone
and create 200,000 jobs in this country by 1995 alone. AMNA NAWAZ: Politicians and economists have
long debated NAFTA’s impact on economic growth and jobs in this country. But many workers, labor unions and political
leaders say the deal made it too easy for Mexico to lure manufacturing jobs and factories
out of the U.S. President Trump has long pledged to either get rid of NAFTA or substantially
rewrite it. It was a crucial promise of his campaign. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
I’m going to renegotiate NAFTA, one of the worst trade deals ever signed in the history
of our country. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) AMNA NAWAZ: NAFTA won’t exactly be eliminated. Many of its provisions governing trade between
Mexico, Canada and the U.S. will still be intact. But the new deal has provisions aimed at increasing
manufacturing here. Specifically, a greater percentage of a car
and its components will have to be produced in North America, and by workers who get better
wages. The Trump administration, Democrats and labor
unions all say USMCA will provide tougher labor enforcement, including some inspections
in Mexican factories. It also includes a loss for the pharmaceutical
industry by stripping out a rule that would have protected expensive biological drugs
from generic competitors for 10 years. Meanwhile, today in Mexico City, U.S. trade
Representative Robert Lighthizer signed the deal with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts. ROBERT LIGHTHIZER, U.S. Trade Representative:
The result, I think, is the best trade agreement in history. AMNA NAWAZ: Mr. Trump has indicated he will
sign the USMCA once it is passed by Congress. For a closer look at some of the provisions
in this new deal and what their impact will be, I’m joined by Christopher Wilson, who
closely follows NAFTA and Mexico for the nonpartisan Wilson Center. Welcome to the “NewsHour.” CHRISTOPHER WILSON, Wilson Center: Thanks
a lot for having me. AMNA NAWAZ: So, let’s take a step back here. Some of the provisions from the previous NAFTA
deal do remain in this new deal. How substantially different is this new USMCA
from the old NAFTA? CHRISTOPHER WILSON, The Wilson Center: Yes,
I would say the new USMCA is really 90 percent NAFTA. And that’s actually the most important thing
here is that what happened is that this cloud of uncertainty about the future of NAFTA,
the possibility that the president might withdraw from NAFTA, goes away with the agreement around
the completion of the USMCA. That matters because companies have invested
billions of dollars in the creation of a North American system of manufacturing production. So we have now not just sort of regular trade
of finished goods happening between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. We’re actually building things together. And so all of those products, all of that
trillion dollars of trade was put at risk. Now investors, companies that are involved
in the trade can sort of breathe a sigh of relief and continue doing business. That said, there were, of course, some important
changes as well. AMNA NAWAZ: Important changes, important updates,
too. Why were those necessary? CHRISTOPHER WILSON: Well, that’s matter of
huge debate, whether those were necessary or not. And I think, in certain areas, different people
would sort of have different opinions. So, on labor, for example, the idea that there
was a need for changes to Mexican labor law, Mexico agreed to a major labor reform through
the USMCA, that, in my opinion, was absolutely necessary. Workers in Mexico were not well-represented
previously, are not currently well-represented, but under the new labor reform, they will
have real unions that represent the workers, instead of employer-dominated unions that
have probably artificially suppressed wages to a certain extent in Mexico previously. So, hopefully, that will change for the better
following this agreement. AMNA NAWAZ: There’s also been sort of a rebalancing,
right? There was this big push to try to bring back
those manufacturing jobs to the U.S., protect the wages here. Will this deal have a significant impact on
that front? CHRISTOPHER WILSON: I mean, I think the reality
is that most of those jobs in manufacturing that have been lost in the United States were
lost due to automation, technological change, robots on the factory floor, things like that. So we shouldn’t expect any major changes. I mean, the reality is, in my opinion, NAFTA
wasn’t the main problem there. So changes to NAFTA can’t solve that big problem. That said, there are some specific areas where
there are important changes. And the auto industry was one that was mentioned,
right? So there will now be rules that say, a larger
portion of what goes into an automobile needs to be made in — somewhere in North America. That’s going to bring some auto jobs back
to the United States. But it’s going to come at a cost, because
cars will be a little bit more expensive. And this is what the ITC, the International
Trade Commission, of the U.S. government found when they did a study on the change from NAFTA
to the USMCA. They said, there will be jobs gained and sort
of production gained in the U.S. auto industry, but there’s actually a larger loss in the
rest of the economy, because it takes money and new investments to meet these new rules. AMNA NAWAZ: So, we could see car prices go
up. I want to ask you, from the American farmer’s
perspective, because the auto industry gets a lot of attention when it comes to this. Mexico’s a huge purchaser when it comes to
American wheat. And barley farmers have had a lot of uncertainty,
not just with this deal, but also under the trade tariffs. What does this deal do for them? What does it give them today? CHRISTOPHER WILSON: Yes. And this is sort of back to that first message. It gives them back certainty about their market. And Canada and Mexico are incredibly important
markets for our agricultural community in the United States. There’s, of course, huge challenges right
now because of the trade war going on with China as well. Whenever there’s a trade war, agriculture
is the place in the United States that gets hit first. China will respond with tariffs on agriculture
in the United States. Mexico and Canada responded when there were
steel and aluminum tariffs being fought over last year with tariffs on U.S. agricultural
exports. And that’s because they’re politically sensitive. People know, other countries know that, if
they hit agriculture in the United States, it’s a way of exerting political influence
on Congress in the United States. And so this deal just gets us back to having
certainty. It also provides a little bit of new access
to the Canadian dairy market. There’s a few extra good things in there for
agriculture. But it gives them a platform on which they
can continue to do business. AMNA NAWAZ: And we mentioned the stripping
away of protection for drug companies against generic competitors. Does this mean prices could come down? CHRISTOPHER WILSON: Well, we will have to
see what happens in the future there, because the — what we have is, this is specifically
about biologic drugs, a specific set of sort of pretty expensive, cutting-edge types of
drugs generally. In the United States right now, there’s 12
years of intellectual property protection for those drugs. Under the USMCA before, there had been a commitment
to 10 years of protections for them. Democrats might like to lower that level from
12 years to something lower than 10 years, possibly in the future. And now, with the update to this, the agreement
that they just negotiated, they will be able to do that if they want to. But this is all going to depend on what happens
in the 2020 elections in the United States. But maybe sometime in the future, there will
be a change on that specific set of drugs. AMNA NAWAZ: Like a lot of things, it’s going
to depend on what happens in the 2020 election. CHRISTOPHER WILSON: Absolutely. AMNA NAWAZ: Christopher Wilson of the Mexico
Institute at the Wilson Center, thanks so much for being here. CHRISTOPHER WILSON: Thank you, Amna. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: U.S.
Attorney General William Barr blasted the FBI’s probe into links between Russia and
the 2016 Trump campaign. The Justice Department’s internal watchdog
reported yesterday that, despite mistakes in the way the investigation was carried out,
it wasn’t motivated by political bias. But Barr told NBC News today that the entire
undertaking was baseless. WILLIAM BARR, U.S. Attorney General: I think
our nation was turned on its head for three years, I think, based on a completely bogus
narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by an irresponsible press. I think that leaves open the possibility to
infer bad faith. JUDY WOODRUFF: Earlier, President Trump criticized
FBI Director Christopher Wray, who had welcomed the findings. On Twitter, the president called Wray the
— quote — “current director” and said — quote — “He will never be able to fix the FBI.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a new
warning to Russia today not to interfere in next year’s U.S. elections. Pompeo hosted Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov. Later, he said he raised election interference
in their wide-ranging talks. MIKE POMPEO, U.S. Secretary of State: I was
clear it is unacceptable, and I made our expectations of Russia clear. The Trump administration will always work
to protect the integrity of our elections, period. Should Russia or any foreign actor take steps
to undermine our democratic processes, we will take action in response. JUDY WOODRUFF: Lavrov also met with President
Trump. And the White House said the president repeated
the warning. But Lavrov told reporters late today that
elections were not discussed. Six people were killed in a shoot-out today
in Jersey City, New Jersey. SWAT teams swarmed to a kosher market when
two men holed up there after killing a policeman elsewhere. Three civilians and the gunmen died in a gun
battle that lasted hours. Officials said there was no indication of
terrorism. The U.S. Navy has grounded some 300 military
fliers from Saudi Arabia, after Friday’s shooting attack at a Naval air base in Pensacola, Florida. A Saudi lieutenant shot three people to death
before he was killed in turn. The Navy said today the grounding applies
to three installations in Florida. There’s no word on when it might end. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today
on whether insurance companies are owed $12 billion under Obamacare. The law, officially the Affordable Care Act,
incentivized insurers to sell plans on federal marketplaces by reimbursing them for losses. Later, Congress limited that provision, and
the Obama and the Trump administrations balked at paying. The United Nations’ top court has begun a
hearing into Myanmar’s alleged genocide against Rohingya Muslims. The leader of the mainly Buddhist nation,
Aung San Suu Kyi, faced protests as she arrived at the court in the Netherlands. Inside, lawyers speaking for Gambia and other
Muslim states detailed atrocities. PAYAM AKHAVAN, Attorney Representing Gambia:
Everyone was a target, and no one was spared. Mothers, infants, pregnant women, the old,
and infirm all fell victim to the ruthless campaign. JUDY WOODRUFF: The military-led assault in
Myanmar led to an exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya to neighboring Bangladesh. A new wave of strikers in France joined transportation
workers today in a six-day-old walkout. Thousands rallied in Paris, where bus drivers
chanted as teachers, airport workers, and others marched. They were protesting plans to standardize
pensions. Turnout was about half of last week’s march,
when some 800,000 showed up. In Australia, wildfires turned the air toxic
today in the country’s largest city. Smoke cloaked the iconic Sydney Opera House
this morning, and the skyline was all but erased under the haze. Air samples registered 11 times the hazardous
level. Back in this country, ExxonMobil has won a
legal victory linked to climate change. A state judge in Manhattan ruled today that
there was no proof the company lied about the potential costs of future climate regulations. New York state had charged that the energy
giant duped investors. A 23rd U.S. House Republican is retiring and
will not seek reelection. Representative Ted Yoho of Florida announced
his decision today, citing his pledge to serve only four terms. Yoho is strongly aligned with the Tea Party
faction and with President Trump. And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial
average lost 27 points to close at 27881. The Nasdaq fell five points, and the S&P 500
slipped three. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: a deep dive
into confidential documents revealing distortions by those leading the war in Afghanistan; climate
scientists release a dire warning about the Arctic; attempts to reform Maryland’s parole
system, where those sentenced as minors to life have only a sliver of a chance at release;
and more. We return to the ongoing story broken by The
Washington Post of a trove of government documents that broadly condemn America’s operations
in Afghanistan over nearly two decades of war there. Nick Schifrin speaks with one of the chief
policy-makers on the Afghan war effort during the Bush and Obama years. NICK SCHIFRIN: Afghanistan is the graveyard
of empires. So goes the saying that describes why the
U.S. faced a seemingly impossible task after overthrowing the Taliban after 9/11. But the fate of the U.S.’ longest war wasn’t
preordained. The U.S. has made many tactical and strategic
mistakes. And we now know many U.S. officials knew about
those mistakes as they were making them, thanks to reports by The Washington Post’s Craig
Whitlock, based on 2,000 previously unpublished pages of notes and interviews, part of the
U.S. government’s own Lessons Learned project. One of those officials interviewed was retired
General Douglas Lute, former NATO ambassador and the senior official on the National Security
Council staff coordinating the Afghan war from 2007 to 2013 for Presidents George W.
Bush and Barack Obama. Ambassador Lute, welcome to the program. Thanks very much. LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE (RET.), Former U.S. Ambassador
to NATO: It’s good to be with you, Nick. NICK SCHIFRIN: You arrived at the end of the
Bush administration and, describe the strategy basically as lost. You gave an interview in which you said: “We
were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan. We didn’t know what we were doing.” There might have been a lot of tactics. Was there any strategy? LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: So I think the key word in that
quote — and it’s an accurate quote — the key word there is no. And what I mean by that is that we didn’t
fully appreciate we didn’t have sufficient expertise on Afghanistan, understanding the
politics, the economics, the neighborhood. Afghanistan lives in a very tough neighborhood,
prominently with Pakistan to the south and the east. We didn’t understand the ethnicities that
made up the Afghan people, the demographics, well enough to craft a meaningful strategy. So it’s got to start with expertise. And we were short on that from the outset. NICK SCHIFRIN: So, you come in, and you see
very little expertise. Fast-forward a couple years. You’re discussing with President Obama. And the administration makes a major decision,
right? There’s a surge into Afghanistan. And the new strategy is counterinsurgency. And these interviews, it seems to suggest
that that strategy tried to accomplish too much, too quickly, depended on a corrupt and
dysfunctional Afghan government. Looking back, do you think that the Obama
administration did any better than what you saw at the end of the Bush administration? LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: I think that the Obama administration
tried a new approach. But in the course of the surge, which was
approved in late 2009, in fact, about this time 10 years ago, the result of the search
was an Americanization of the fight in Afghanistan. We essentially took over the reins from the
fledgling and emerging Afghan security capacity, and we took that on as our own. This, of course, is a natural outcome of dispatching
100,000 Americans to any war zone, but in particular in Afghanistan. And that Americanization, that owning of the
war, in a way, set us back on the strategic goal of transferring this war and the responsibility
of the war to the Afghan government and the Afghan security forces. NICK SCHIFRIN: How much personal responsibility,
looking back, do you take in that decision that you see as so flawed today? LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: Look, Nick, I was very candid
in this interview, because I own some of this. It was on my watch that we made some of these
strategic mistakes. It was on my watch that I learned about Afghanistan
and tried to build personal expertise. But it took me 10 years. And on the last day of 10 years working on
Afghanistan, I was still learning something new about Afghanistan. So these are very close and personal experiences
that I carry with myself — with me myself. NICK SCHIFRIN: I think, for a lot of us who
spent a lot of time there… LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: I think that’s right. NICK SCHIFRIN: … carry with us as well. One of the most major flaws of the strategy,
it seems to me, over the last 17 years really centers on governance and corruption in Afghanistan. And I remember, when I was there from 2008
to 2012, especially toward the end, there was a lot of U.S. military officials who would
describe the Afghans as the problem, the Afghans as corrupt. But I want to read what Ryan Crocker told
interviewers as part of this project — quote — “Our biggest single project, sadly and
inadvertently, of course, may have been the development of mass corruption.” Wasn’t the corruption also our fault, because
we spent so much money so quickly, and the country really couldn’t absorb it? LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: Look, Afghanistan was corrupt
before 9/11 and before we went in and overthrew the Taliban and displaced al-Qaida. So corruption was a preexisting condition. It’s, by the way, one of those conditions
that we didn’t appreciate sufficiently that could have really empowered or influenced,
informed our strategy. But it was there before we got there. Our pouring of billions of dollars, though,
into that corrupt economy simply inflamed it and made it worse. And in a way, we created — we have created
a war economy that is very corrupt and which depends on our continued presence. NICK SCHIFRIN: We helped fueled the war, frankly. We — a lot of our money was going to insurgents
themselves, going to corrupt officials who weren’t trusted by the Afghan people. LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: Well, that’s right, and also
corrupt officials who demonstrated, by way of their corruption, that they could not be
trusted, and therefore compromised the link between the Afghan people and their government. And that link, of course, is the centerpiece
of any effort to defeat a counter — an insurgency. NICK SCHIFRIN: One of the major aspects that
runs through these papers as well, is, frankly, a lack of truth. Interviews suggest U.S. officials failed to
tell the truth, made claims they knew were false, hid negative evidence. And one senior National Security Council staff
official said this: “It was impossible to create good metrics. The metrics were always manipulated for the
duration of the war.” Is that true? Was the National Security Council manipulating
metrics? LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: So, Nick, this is the part of
the recent reporting that I refute. I don’t have any experience in an effort to
deceive the American public, obscure the facts, or actually hide the lessons. In fact, the report itself, which is now largely
public, is an effort to do just the reverse. And that is to look in the mirror and try
to mine the lessons, so that we don’t have a repeat of this kind of performance in some
other theater on some other day. NICK SCHIFRIN: This project was titled Lessons
Learned. Can there actually be lessons learned? Is the U.S. capable of it? LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: Well, so, look, as a 35-year
veteran of the American Army, I come at this notion of learning lessons from that military
experience. You will see that, in this effort, some of
us, perhaps those who come from that kind of military experience, were especially candid,
because this notion of mining lessons seemed very natural to us. I’m not sure that the rest of the U.S. government
is prepared to look at itself so candidly and take on these lessons. NICK SCHIFRIN: And so what’s the implication
of that? LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: The implications are, we’re
subject to do this again. And I think that should be deeply dissatisfying. NICK SCHIFRIN: Ambassador Doug Lute, coordinator
of the war in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2013, thank you very much. LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: Thank you, Nick. JUDY WOODRUFF: There’s yet another stark report
out today detailing how the increased warming of the Earth’s atmosphere is transforming
the planet. As William Brangham reports, the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual Arctic Report Card has just been released,
and the news for wildlife, native communities and global sea level rise is not good. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That’s right, Judy. This report shows that warming in the Arctic
is having dramatic impacts now, with worse yet to come. Sea and land ice is disappearing at unprecedented
rates. Permafrost is continuing to thaw, releasing
more carbon and methane, which will only make warming worse. Fish and bird species are also suffering,
and native communities are seeing their home transformed. Joining me now is Erich Osterberg of Dartmouth
University. He’s a scientist who has studied ice loss
on Greenland. Erich, thank you very much for being here. I wonder if you could just give us a sense
of what jumps out most at you from this report. ERICH OSTERBERG, Dartmouth University: Yes,
I think the headline from this report is that the Arctic is in real trouble. If this were an annual health checkup, I think
we would have to say that the Arctic is chronically sick and getting worse. And 2019 was a particularly bad year for the
Arctic. We saw the second warmest temperatures that
we had ever seen on record. And those warm temperatures led to near record
levels of melting of the sea ice on the Arctic Ocean and also near record levels of melting
of the glaciers on Greenland, which raises sea level. So, it’s a really sobering report, but I have
to say, it’s not a very surprising report, because this is a continuation of the trends
that we have been seeing happening in the Arctic for quite a few decades now, as climate
change has gotten worse. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Your particular expertise
is in ice. And as you mentioned, the ice sheet on Greenland,
which I believe is the second largest structure of ice on Earth, is losing ice at an accelerating
rate. Can you give us a sense of the scale of the
loss happening there? ERICH OSTERBERG: Yes, it’s enormous numbers,
so it’s hard to comprehend. It’s about 250 billion tons of ice that gets
lost from Greenland every year and goes into the ocean. And for your viewers to conceptualize that,
I want them to think about a herd of elephants charging into the ocean off of Greenland. And in order the equal the amount of mass
that gets lost from Greenland every year, you need 2,000 elephants charging into the
ocean every second. So, these are enormous amounts of mass. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Every second? ERICH OSTERBERG: Every second. So, this is going right into the ocean, and
it’s raising sea levels around the world, which is affecting communities that live on
the coastline. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It really is an incredibly
striking and dire image you’re painting. ERICH OSTERBERG: Yes. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The warming, as I mentioned
in my introduction, is also causing the permafrost to thaw. We know permafrost, by its name, is land that
is normally permanently frozen. Why is it such a concern to the scientific
community when permafrost goes from being frozen to starting to thaw? ERICH OSTERBERG: So, it’s a concern because
there’s a lot of extra carbon that’s stored in the permafrost. And when it’s frozen, that’s OK, because it
means it’s not in the atmosphere. And it’s carbon in the atmosphere that causes
the warming. The problem is that, as that permafrost melts,
some of that carbon gets released into the atmosphere as CO2 and methane. And so this is a climate change amplifier. And for a long time, we have been studying,
trying to figure out, on average, is there more carbon going up into the atmosphere from
the permafrost? And this report is striking because it’s really
first time they have come out and said, yes, we believe that the permafrost is now contributing
CO2 into the environment. It’s now become this climate change amplifier
that we feared. And I would say that this is really sort of
tip-of-the-spear science here. I think we need a lot more research to confirm
these findings. But this is something we have been worried
about in the scientific community for a while now. And now we’re starting to see indications
that it’s happening. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: This report also touches
on a lot of the downstream impacts of this warming on fish species, on bird species,
on the humans that live there. Can you tell us a little bit about how warming
is impacting them? ERICH OSTERBERG: Yes. So the report does a nice job of talking about
different species, like the ivory gull, which has seen a 70 percent decline in its population. And as the oceans get warmer, we know that
the fish species are migrating. These fish need cold water. And as the waters warm up with sea ice loss,
they have to migrate away, and that affects the whole ecosystem. And it affects the fishing industry there. This is a billion-dollar fishing industry
in the Bering Sea off Alaska. And so it affects that industry. And it affects the local native communities
who live there on the coastline and depend on those fish for their sustenance. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Erich Osterberg
of Dartmouth University, thank you very, very much. ERICH OSTERBERG: You’re welcome. It’s good to be with you. JUDY WOODRUFF: It was almost a year ago when
President Trump signed into law a bipartisan federal criminal justice reform bill that
reduced mandatory sentences. Many states followed suit, with a notable
exception, the state of Maryland. In this story, produced in collaboration with
the University of Maryland’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism, national correspondent
John Yang reports on the uncertain fate of prisoners who are still serving life sentences
for crimes they committed as minors. JOHN YANG: In the 1990s, fear and anger over
violent crime led to a sharp increase in incarceration. That included sentencing large numbers of
juveniles to life in adult prisons without parole. In 2012, the Supreme Court declared that cruel
and unusual punishment, but, in Maryland, so-called juvenile lifers now in their 50s
and 60s still wait for parole. Earl Young had been sentenced to life at age
17. EARL YOUNG, Recently Released Juvenile Lifer:
The system is broke. The system needs fixing. And one individual, Mr. Parris Glendening,
was the head of this situation. JOHN YANG: Parris Glendening was Maryland’s
liberal Democratic governor. During his first campaign in 1994, he sought
to counter attacks that he was soft on crime. PARRIS GLENDENING (D), Former Maryland Governor:
We must stop the slaughter that is going on in our communities. I support putting violent offenders in prison
and giving what I call truth in sentencing. If you are sentenced to life in prison, it
ought to mean life in prison, and not 11 years, the way it does today. JOHN YANG: In 1994, Earl Young had served
nine years for first-degree murder in a robbery gone wrong. Tell me what it was like as a 17-year-old
to go into a maximum security prison. EARL YOUNG: Hard. I went into the Maryland Penitentiary with
some of society’s — supposedly, some of society’s worst of the worst. JOHN YANG: Were you scared? EARL YOUNG: Absolutely. Absolutely JOHN YANG: His hope? The possibility of parole. EARL YOUNG: I felt optimistic because I applied
myself. I kept steady employment. I stayed out of trouble to the best of my
ability. My days were complete from the beginning to
the end with all constructive things. JOHN YANG: But after Glendening announced
in 1995 he would no longer sign paroles, Young would remain in prison another 24 years. More than 300 juvenile lifers sit in Maryland
prisons, among them, 55-year-old Calvin McNeill, convicted at 17 of first-degree murder in
a dice game turned violent. We spoke to him by phone. CALVIN MCNEILL, Juvenile Lifer: I was sentenced
to life, life with parole. That’s been 38 years, three months and 10
days ago. Every time I go up, they always say, keep
doing what you doing and such and such, but we can’t do anything right now because of
what the governor said. And I have been stuck ever since. JOHN YANG: Now Glendening sees things differently. PARRIS GLENDENING: I made a mistake. It was a very bad mistake, in the sense that
it impacted lots of people, it impacted subsequent administrations. But it was a mistake. And I think it is important to acknowledge. JOHN YANG: Because of the governor’s extraordinary
power, that mistake had an outsized impact. SONIA KUMAR, ACLU Maryland: Maryland is fairly
unique among states in giving the authority to parole someone serving a life sentence
exclusively to the governor. In other states, it would be a parole board. JOHN YANG: ACLU attorney Sonia Kumar is suing
the state to restore a full parole system and allow these lifers a chance at release. SONIA KUMAR: Maryland’s system has been set
up so that opportunities for release are almost like winning the lottery. It’s unpredictable. It’s rare. There are many more people who are arguably
deserving of it than can ever get it. JOHN YANG: The figures in the ACLU suit are
striking. Before Glendening, four governors issued 181
parole orders over 25 years. In the next 23 years, starting with Glendening,
just two paroles were issued, both by current Governor Larry Hogan, both adult lifers. SONIA KUMAR: You are serving a sentence that
is life with parole on paper, but, in practice, parole is really unattainable. JOHN YANG: From his Baltimore office, Walter
Lomax has organized lifers and their families as part of the ACLU lawsuit. WALTER LOMAX, Executive Director, Maryland
Restorative Justice Initiative: We became more politically astute, right? Individuals understood that this was a political
issue, because the governor made that decision, based on politics. JOHN YANG: Lomax had been imprisoned 38 years
before it was established he had been wrongfully convicted. When Glendening said he would no longer sign
paroles, Lomax’s parole recommendation was sitting on the governor’s desk. WALTER LOMAX: I was one of those people. So, it was pretty demoralizing, yes. JOHN YANG: He understands the perspective
of victims’ families. WALTER LOMAX: My younger brother was murdered. And one of my grandsons was murdered in this
city. And so I personally know the pain and anguish
that family members feel for that loss. Some of these men who’ve committed horrible
crimes, and I look at them at this later point in their lives, and I see someone that’s totally
remorseful, that’s totally different from the person that they were when they committed
the crime. CALVIN MCNEILL: I am 55 years old. I have to be a person that’s crazy and out
of his mind that has spent 30-something years in prison to go back out into society and
do something crazy and come back to prison? JOHN YANG: Earl Young’s sentence was commuted
this year by Governor Hogan. He now works as a mentor in the Baltimore
school system, trying to discourage teens from repeating his mistakes. How have you changed in those 34 years? EARL YOUNG: Impulsive behavior? Gone. Immature thinking? Gone. Putting others before myself? Absolutely. JOHN YANG: Glendening now says the governor
should be taken out of the process. PARRIS GLENDENING: Of all the powers you want,
to be involved in that kind of decision is not one of them. The issues are too emotional and too political
to put it on the desk of someone who is going to turn around in a few months, a year, and
run for election. And it almost asks for political decisions
on something that shouldn’t be political. EARL YOUNG: Yes, individuals have committed
some serious crimes, but — and I say but — for those who are deserving of a second
opportunity, what’s the process? It has to be better than what we have. JOHN YANG: Times may be changing. In recent weeks, Hogan has paroled the first
three juvenile lifers in 24 years. Young cherishes Hogan’s letter telling him
he would be a free man. EARL YOUNG: The best thing that I read during
the course of my incarceration was the executive order with my name on it. It says: “Dear Mr. Young, I have accepted
the recommendation of Maryland Parole Commission and ordered that your life sentence be conditionally
commuted to life sentence with all but 49 years suspended. During most of your incarceration, you have
served your sentence in exemplary fashion. You have chosen to be positive and a productive
person. Please make the most of this second chance.” JOHN YANG: A second chance hundreds of juvenile
lifers may never get. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang in Baltimore. JUDY WOODRUFF: And finally tonight: a budding
movement that suggests changes in millennials’ relationship with alcohol. Hari Sreenivasan has our story from New York. HARI SREENIVASAN: New York City, Times Square. This party started just before sunrise. For more than five years, Daybreaker has hosted
these early morning events around the world. People come out for two hours of dancing,
but alcohol is strictly off the table. ADRIAN WILLIAMSON, Daybreaker Attendee: Drinking
gets in the way of dancing a lot. People are always making trips to the bar. People have drinks on the dance floor. They’re engaged with their drink, instead
of engaged with other people. HARI SREENIVASAN: Daybreaker’s goal is to
be healthy and have fun while staying substance-free. MIKA FOX, Daybreaker Attendee: It changed
the way I go out, too. So I feel like I don’t need to drink now. I don’t need to, you know, have anything in
my body, and just enjoy the dancing. HARI SREENIVASAN: It’s part of a growing idea
called sober curious, people who don’t misuse or abuse alcohol trying out alcohol sobriety. The movement, still in its infancy, is not
meant for those recovering from substance abuse problems. RUBY WARRINGTON, Author, “Sober Curious”:
It describes a questioning mind-set that can be applied to any and all drinking occasions. HARI SREENIVASAN: Ruby Warrington coined the
term in her book “Sober Curious.” We caught up with her at Getaway Bar in Brooklyn,
where mocktails are the main event. RUBY WARRINGTON: For millennials and Gen Z’s,
alcohol consumption is way, way down. And I think there are a few things playing
into it. One is that people are just much better educated
about the different ways that what we consume influences our well-being, whether it’s the
food and drink we consume, whether it’s the media we consume. HARI SREENIVASAN: And although sober curiosity
hasn’t reached every corner of the country, booze-free bars like this one have popped
up in Illinois, Maine and even the U.K. It gives people choosing sobriety from alcohol
a chance to get out and socialize without the pressure of drinking, people like wellness
coach and yoga teacher Emily Nachazel. EMILY NACHAZEL, Wellness Coach: I am not an
alcoholic. I am not totally sober, but I go through periods
of my life where I’m not drinking or I go to events and I choose not to drink. And, yes, really just questioning that relationship,
is this something that I want to do right now vs. kind of doing it all the time? HARI SREENIVASAN: Nachazel says sober curiosity
makes sense for a lot of millennials. EMILY NACHAZEL: We are a generation of really
wanting more, and not just in, like, want more money, but we want to, like, know ourselves
better. We want to be the healthiest. We want to have jobs that we’re passionate
about. And so this is like another space where we
are able to get to know ourselves. HARI SREENIVASAN: NYU clinical psychologist
Belinda Carrasco says, although this generation is less alcohol-centric, millennials struggle
with alcohol in their own way. BELINDA CARRASCO, NYU Steinhardt: If you think
about millennials, they mostly relate with one another digitally. But what happens when you don’t sort of develop
those skills to navigate interpersonal, not only relationships, but also interpersonal
conflict? Then perhaps alcohol plays a role, as not
only a social lubricant, but, again, it’s an attempt to self-soothe, manage anxiety,
self-medicate. HARI SREENIVASAN: Carrasco says millennials
certainly aren’t the first to try out sobriety. BELINDA CARRASCO: Sobriety has existed for
the longest time. And it is more about the rebranding, right? ACTRESS: We, the jury, find the defendant… ACTOR: Oh, it’s non-alcoholic. HARI SREENIVASAN: Even big alcohol is getting
in on this booze-free trend. Companies like Coors, Heineken, and even Guinness
now offer alcohol-free beers. WOMAN: Cheers. ROBIN OTTAWAY, President, Brooklyn Brewery:
Cheers. HARI SREENIVASAN: And craft brewers like Brooklyn
Brewery, who recently released its first non-alcoholic beer called Special Effects. Robin Ottaway is the brewery’s president. ROBIN OTTAWAY: What do we do when we drink? We get together with friends or family. We socialize. It’s conviviality, right? And those moments are pretty important to
us as humans. If you can extend those moments and not have
some of the negative effects, that’s pretty good. HARI SREENIVASAN: It’s potentially risky for
these smaller companies to venture outside their normal products. But Ottaway says they couldn’t pass up the
opportunity to market to more people, including millennials. ROBIN OTTAWAY: They’re growing up in a completely
different world and have different spending and consumption habits. And I think our timing has proven to be pretty
— pretty good. HARI SREENIVASAN: A survey funded by the National
Institutes of Health confirms that thinking: Alcohol use among Young people has been on
the decline since the mid-’90s. That is happening even as marijuana use is
rising. The same survey found, in 2018, nearly 40
percent of young adults used marijuana, compared to 25 percent in the mid-’90s. But the toll of alcohol addiction is far larger. For millennials who are simply trying to test
out sobriety, it’s not always easy to forgo drinking. It seems so embedded in our culture right
now. Well, let’s go grab a drink. EMILY NACHAZEL: Yes. Try dating without alcohol. To be fair, like, I have had a lot of men
be totally fine with it. Yes, let’s meet for coffee. Meeting someone new one-on-one is challenging
enough. HARI SREENIVASAN: And, yes, there’s an app
for that. M.J. GOTTLIEB, CEO, Loosid: Sober Dating. There’s Sober Travel, Sober Events, Sober
Groups. So, think of it, for lack of a better example,
as like a sober Facebook. HARI SREENIVASAN: M.J. Gottlieb, who’s been
sober for seven years, created Loosid to help connect people practicing sobriety, even the
sober curious. M.J. GOTTLIEB: One of the biggest reasons
why I didn’t get sober for so long is, I found myself invariably at diners and coffee shops. And I was like, if this is all there is, I’m
going to continue to use, which I did. HARI SREENIVASAN: For people like Gottlieb,
the sober curious movement is having a positive side effect, creating more safe spaces to
socialize for those in recovery. Ruby Warrington believes, because people now
have more choices, the sober curious movement will stick around. RUBY WARRINGTON: Once you have kind of opened
the door of sober curiosity, it’s very hard to go back to just drinking, blindly accepting
hangovers as a part and parcel of life. HARI SREENIVASAN: Emily Nachazel has certainly
latched on to the idea and says she’s now very intentional about her use of alcohol. EMILY NACHAZEL: I can have a good time without
alcohol. HARI SREENIVASAN: Are you surprised by that? EMILY NACHAZEL: No, but I think we lean into
it. And there are other ways that you can feel
good. There’s other ways you can be social without
having alcohol. HARI SREENIVASAN: For the “PBS NewsHour,”
I’m Hari Sreenivasan in Brooklyn, New York. JUDY WOODRUFF: So interesting. And on the “NewsHour” online: As the end of
the year approaches, you may be looking for books to give as gifts or to read on vacation. Senior correspondent Jeffrey Brown and the
rest of the “NewsHour” staff have some ideas. Explore a few dozen of the books we read this
year, and maybe add them to your own bookshelf. That’s on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour. And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Judy Woodruff. Join us online and again here tomorrow evening. For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank
you, and we’ll see you soon.

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