PBS NewsHour full episode June 19, 2019

JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I'm Judy Woodruff. On the "NewsHour" tonight: The Federal Reserve
holds interest rates steady, despite pressure from President Trump for a rate
cut, but indicates it is open to easing up in the near future. Then: A new report from the United Nations
further links Saudi Arabia to the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And our series on the risks of pandemic flu. With the prospect of a new strain of flu virus
always on the horizon, researchers study the threat of animal-to-human contagion, and stockpile
vaccines for the next outbreak. DR. RICK BRIGHT, Director, Biomedical Advanced
Research and Development Authority: Everything we think we know about influenza changes almost every day because of the way this virus grows, mutates and spreads. We must look to the future, invest in innovation. Otherwise, our planet could be doomed. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight's
"PBS NewsHour." (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: The Federal Reserve is leaving
its benchmark interest rate unchanged, but that could change the near future. Today's announcement came in the face of renewed
pressure from President Trump to cut rates. Chairman Jerome Powell said the Central Bank
may need to intervene soon because growth indicators worldwide have been disappointing. JEROME POWELL, Federal Reserve Chairman: Apparent
progress on trade turned to greater uncertainty, and our contacts in business and agriculture
report heightened concerns over trade developments. The question is whether these uncertainties
will continue to weigh on the outlook and thus call for additional monetary policy accommodation. JUDY WOODRUFF: We will explore the Fed's decision
and the president's pressure after the news summary. Former White House Communications Director
Hope Hicks was interviewed today by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, but refused to
say much. Hicks was the first senior administration
official cited in the special counsel's Russia report to go before a congressional panel. Democrat said that she refused to discuss
her White House work or even to say where her office had been. The White House argued had immunity. Democrats call that claim bogus. Congress has held its first hearing on reparations
for slavery in more than a decade. At issue is a proposal for a bipartisan commission
to study the question and make recommendations. The House Judiciary Committee heard today
from witnesses ranging from actor Danny Glover to Senator Cory Booker, who is a Democratic
presidential candidate. Author Ta-Nehisi Coates argued the legacy
of slavery lives to this day. TA-NEHISI COATES, "The Atlantic": Enslavement
reigned for 250 years on these shores. When it ended, this country could have extended
its hallowed principles, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, to all regardless
of color. But America had other principles in mind. And the god of bondage was lustful, and begat
many heirs. What this committee must know is that while
emancipation deadbolted the door against the bandits of America, Jim Crow wedged the windows
wide open. JUDY WOODRUFF: On the other side, writer Coleman
Hughes, who said he is descended from slaves owned by Thomas Jefferson, he argued that
reparations would create false victims. COLEMAN HUGHES, Columnist: I understand that
reparations are about what people are owed, regardless of how well they're doing. I understand that. The people who are owed for slavery are no
longer here. And we're not entitled to collect on their
debts. Reparations, by definition, are only given
to victims. So, the moment you give me reparations, you
have made me into a victim without my consent. JUDY WOODRUFF: The hearing fell on the day
known as Juneteenth. It commemorates June 19, 1865, when emancipation
finally reached slaves in Southern Texas, as it spread through the last remnants of
the defeated Confederacy. In the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy said today
that a mine that was used to attack a Japanese oil tanker last week had — quote — "a striking
resemblance to Iranian mines." Tehran has denied any responsibility for the
attacks. Meanwhile, Israel wrapped up its largest military
drill in years. Thousands of troops simulated a war against
the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, which Israel views as Iran's proxy. A record 71 million people were displaced
around the world last year by war, persecution and other violence. The U.N. Refugee Agency reports that's an
increase of more than two million from a year earlier. It says the total would amount to the world's
20th most populous country. The single largest group of refugees are still
Syrians, at some 13 million. International prosecutors charged four men
with murder today for blasting a Malaysia Airlines plane out of the sky over Ukraine
in 2014. It happened in a region controlled by Ukrainian
rebels who are backed by Russia. The attack killed all 298 people on the flight
from Amsterdam. Dutch officials say the suspects probably
thought it was a Ukrainian military plane, and they used a Russian missile to destroy
it. FRED WESTERBEKE, Dutch Chief Prosecutor: They
saw to it that it was brought in, in the area where they were in charge, and it was brought
to the launch site. And from this launch site, the MH-17 was shot
down, and they were responsible for this whole operation. JUDY WOODRUFF: Russia and Ukraine forbid extradition
of their citizens, but prosecutors say the suspects will be tried in absentia next March. Back in this country, aviation experts warned
that pilots need detailed training to ensure they can handle any problems in the Boeing
737 MAX jet. Retired pilot Sully Sullenberger once landed
an airliner in the Hudson River. At a congressional hearing, he said 737 pilots
should have repeated sessions in flight simulators. The 737 MAX has been grounded since fatal
crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. President Trump today awarded the presidential
Medal of Freedom to supply-side economist Arthur Laffer. He pushed for the Reagan tax cuts, arguing
that tax cuts will generate enough growth to pay for themselves. The Trump tax cuts relied upon the same theory. Mainstream economists say that, in fact, Laffer's
prescriptions have led to higher deficits whenever they have been tried. On Wall Street today, stocks managed only
modest gains after the Federal Reserve's statement on interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 38
points to close at 26504. The Nasdaq rose 33 points, and the S&P 500
added eight. And the Library of Congress has named a new
U.S. poet laureate. She is Joy Harjo. She is the first Native American woman to
hold the position, and will serve for the next year. Harjo has won numerous awards and is known
for collections such as "The Woman Who Fell From the Sky" and "In Mad Love and War." Still to come on the "NewsHour": the fight
over interest rates between President Trump and the Federal Reserve; new evidence linking
Saudi Arabia to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi; how the Trump administration's
clean energy rollbacks may impact public health; and much more. Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell's comments
about a potential interest rate cut marked a shift in the Fed's assessment of where the
economy is heading. But they also came after President Trump fired
yet another shot at the Fed chairman he selected. The president was asked yesterday about news
reports that he had explored the idea of demoting Powell this past winter. He neither denied nor confirmed it. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
So, we'll see what happens. They're going to be making an announcement
pretty soon, so we'll see what happens. But I want to be given a level playing field. And, so far, I haven't been. JUDY WOODRUFF: Jay Powell, in turn was asked
today about possible threats from the president. QUESTION: Could you clarify what you would
do if the president tweets or calls you to say he would like to demote you as Fed chair? JEROME POWELL, Federal Reserve Chairman: I
think the law is clear that I have a four-year term, and I fully intend to serve it. JUDY WOODRUFF: Greg Ip of The Wall Street
Journal has been following and writing about all this and the Fed's actions. And he joins me now. Welcome back to the "NewsHour," Greg Ip. First of all, how unusual is it for the president
to be talking about demoting the chairman of the Federal Reserve? GREG IP, The Wall Street Journal: It's very
unusual. Really, since the 1950s at least, I can't
think of any president who has so consistently and ferociously berated the Fed chairman in
public. And it's especially unusual because President
Trump appointed this Fed chairman a little over a year ago. It's even more unusual and unprecedented for
the president to talk about or explore firing the Fed chairman. Now, all that said, this all should be kept
in proportion. I believe our best information is that some
people around Trump did, in fact, explore the legal possibilities of removing Jay Powell
as the Fed chairman sometime in the past winter, and concluded that it was very difficult. In fact, best reading on the law is that the
Fed chairman can be only removed for cause. He can't be removed because the president
doesn't happen to like his monetary policy. And sometime after those explorations, Trump
had a conversation Jay Powell where he basically said, I guess I'm stuck with you. He answered the question yesterday because
he was asked, but I don't actually believe there's any movement afoot right now in the
White House to remove Jay Powell. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, there's no movement on
that front, we know the president has been talking about he wants the Fed to lower rates. Certainly, people who work for the president
have been saying that. What does it say about the Fed's independence
that this kind of discussion is going on so close to the time when the Fed — when the
board has to make the decision about what to do about interest rates? GREG IP: Well, the president and his advisers
clearly think and hope that, by publicly calling on the chairman to cut interest rates, it
will have some effect on the chairman's thinking, that of his colleagues. Now, the Fed chairmen have always tried to
make their decisions free of political influence. This is certainly not the first time a Fed
chairman has had to fend off calls for lower interest rates because somebody in the political
class thought it would be better. So, in that sense, even though the degree
of pressure is very large, I don't think that Powell is facing an especially new situation. And he's been — we believe he's been very
clear to his colleagues, saying, look, our job is to do the best thing for the American
people, full employment, stable inflation. We mustn't cut rates because the president
wants it, but we must also not avoid cutting rates just to show that we're independent
for its own sake, if we think that's what the economy calls for. JUDY WOODRUFF: So let's talk, Greg Ip, quickly,
about what the Fed did today. They said, OK, we do see some clouds on the
horizon, some things that make us think we want to cut rates in the future, but we're
keeping them where they are right now. Why didn't they go ahead and act? GREG IP: Well, because, if you actually look
at the data on the economy, it is not a picture of an economy in deep trouble. We have probably slowed from a 3 percent growth
rate to around a 2 percent growth rate. There's no strong signs, other than a few
sort of signs in the bond market, that a recession is afoot. We had very good news, for example, on retail
sales in the month of May. Bottom line, you do not see the obvious signs
of an economy rolling over. And so the Fed is very reluctant to change
interest rates, unless they actually have decent evidence on hand that it's called for. That said, they also have to take into account
the risks that they are going to be wrong about their outlook. And there are risks out there. The global economy has slowed down. We have seen the manufacturing sector here
and abroad soften a lot. And there's been an eruption anew in the last
few weeks of trade tensions. Talks broke down between the U.S. and China. That led to the threats of more tariffs there. The president briefly threatened to impose
very high tariffs on Mexico. And so there is a lot of murkiness over the
outlook. So, Powell basically said, we see there might
be a case for lowering the rates. Indeed, many of his colleagues think that
rates will be lowered by year-end. But it's their nature to act only when they
have evidence on hand. And they would like a few more weeks to see
whether, in fact, the evidence confirms the economy is slowing enough to require lower
interest rates. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, we will see whether they
are taking a risk or not. But we can imagine they're going to be watching
all this very closely, as we know you are. Greg Ip, thank you very much. GREG IP: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: The brutal murder of journalist
Jamal Khashoggi last October in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Turkey has had implications on
U.S. policy and the kingdom's reputation. As Nick Schifrin reports, today, the U.N.
released new details about how Khashoggi was killed and how the kingdom has responded. NICK SCHIFRIN: The report describes how Jamal
Khashoggi died and was dismembered by Saudi officials. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on those officials
and endorsed Saudi Arabia's trials of what the kingdom calls — quote — "a rogue operation"
without the knowledge of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Today, a State Department official said: "We
are determined to press for accountability for every person who was responsible." Also today, the Saudi minister of state for
foreign affairs tweeted: "The report contains clear contradictions and baseless allegations,
which challenges its credibility." Before that criticism, I interviewed the report's
author, U.N. Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard. Agnes Callamard, welcome to the "NewsHour." You quote Saudi officials inside the Istanbul
Consulate who are waiting for Jamal Khashoggi's arrival. One of them, a Saudi forensic doctor, says:
"Joints will be separated. If we take plastic bags and cut into pieces,
it will be finished. We will wrap each of them." At the end, another Saudi official asks whether
— quote — "the sacrificial animal" had arrived. That seems to suggest this was premeditated. AGNES CALLAMARD, U.N. Special Rapporteur:
There is very little doubt that murder was premeditated. You have already identified the presence of
a forensic doctor in the team of 15 Saudi officials. An hour before Mr. Khashoggi was actually
killed, they were discussing the dismemberment of his body. So, killing was planned, and killing was premeditated. What I could not ascertain was whether or
not killing was the first objective, or whether they were also considering kidnapping, with
killing a second option in case kidnapping failed. NICK SCHIFRIN: On the other hand, you quote
a Saudi official talking to Khashoggi during the incident — quote — "At the end, we will
take you back to Saudi Arabia. And if you don't help us, you know what will
happen at the end." Could their intention have been to convince
him to return to Saudi Arabia? AGNES CALLAMARD: There were a couple of minutes
where they entertained with Mr. Khashoggi the idea of him going back. There were a couple of sentences related to
him returning, but not sufficient, in my opinion, to conclude that, convincingly, it was the
primary objective. NICK SCHIFRIN: Details that you write about,
about Khashoggi was likely injected and dismembered are incredibly difficult to read. The recordings that you quote have not been
made public. What do you want people to know about them? AGNES CALLAMARD: I think the first aspect
of the recording I want to communicate to people is the way Mr. Khashoggi increasingly
became aware that his life was in danger. So, when he enters the consulate, the first
words are words of surprise because there are people there that he wasn't expecting
to find, and progressively going to a state of fear. NICK SCHIFRIN: There is, of course, the big
question of whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered this killing. And you write: "There is credible evidence
warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi officials' individual liability, including
the crown prince's." Do you believe Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
ordered this murder, or do you believe what Saudi officials say, that it was a rogue operation? AGNES CALLAMARD: First, there is no doubt
in my mind that this crime cannot qualify as a so-called rogue operation. I want to really insist upon the fact that
this was a state killing. Every pieces of evidence, every element related
to the circumstances of the killing, its location, its planning, how people arrived, how the
team arrived in the — in Istanbul, the use of a private jet with diplomatic clearance,
the location of the crime in the consulate, the pretense of providing a governmental service
to Mr. Khashoggi to trap him back in the consulate, the fact that the consul used his authorities
to ensure that there were no employees present at the time of the killings, all of that and
far more demonstrate that the state is responsible for the killing. This is simply not a rogue operation. I cannot conclude who has ordered the crime
on the basis of what I have collected. What I can conclude is that there is sufficient
evidence requiring for us to act with due diligence, and to undertake the criminal investigation
into individual liability. I think it is important to understand that
the responsibility of high-level officials, such as the crown prince, are not solely derived
from them or him ordering the crime. There are a range of other actions that lead
to criminal liability on his part. For instance, did he or others directly or
indirectly incite the crime? Did he or others knew about the crime, but
failed to take action to prevent it? NICK SCHIFRIN: The Saudis say their trials
will deliver justice. What's your response to that? AGNES CALLAMARD: No, the trial under the current
conditions will not deliver justice. It's held behind closed door. The identity of those on trial have not been
revealed. The identity of the charges has not been revealed. This is a crime of an international nature,
which requires transparency which, particularly and especially, demands that all fair trial
guarantees be implemented and fulfilled, which is far from being the case at the moment. NICK SCHIFRIN: Agnes Callamard, U.N. special
rapporteur, thank you very much. AGNES CALLAMARD: OK. Thank you very much. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, tonight, the Saudi government
released a statement that questioned the special rapporteur's impartiality and — quote — "reserved
the right to take legal action to respond to the report." Stay with us. Coming up on the "NewsHour": where the 2020
Democratic presidential hopefuls stand on paying for college; breaking the stereotypes
of classical performance with the rock star of organ music; and author Sarah Blake shares
her Humble Opinion on reparations for slavery. But first: President Trump is keeping a signature
pledge to roll back environmental regulations as part of his promise to try boosting the
coal industry and other business. But, as Amna Nawaz explains, environmentalists
say his replacement plan for coal-fired power plants will not make a meaningful difference
in stopping the impact of climate change. AMNA NAWAZ: Judy, the new rule, called Affordable
Clean Energy, replaces the Clean Power Plan, a signature climate rule from the Obama administration. The Obama rules, which could have led to the
closing of older power plants, never took effect after they were challenged in court
by more than two dozen states and energy companies. The Trump plan allows coal-fired plants to
make incremental improvements, rather than major upgrades. And it gives states the power to decide whether
upgrades should be required. States will have three years to decide. It, too, will now be challenged in court by
a number of states and environmental groups. Juliet Eilperin covers this closely for The
Washington Post and joins us once again. Juliet, welcome back to the "NewsHour." Let's start with pointing out what that difference
is. What does this new rule change about the old
Obama era rules? JULIET EILPERIN, The Washington Post: One
of the most important things, which you just alluded to, is that it really empowers the
states to decide the energy mix for their respective jurisdictions. And so rather than setting specific emissions
targets, which is what the Obama EPA did, talking about how much reductions you needed
to have in carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases, this is saying that it's leaving it up to
state regulators. And, as a result, it's harder to predict this
rule will play out in terms of what exact reductions you will get. And you could have states adopting very different
strategies in their respective energy markets. AMNA NAWAZ: So, one of those energy markets
specifically is obviously the coal industry, right? The EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler, said
today that the rule will hopefully — quote — "incentivize clean coal." This has been sort of a signature promise
of President Trump too, but the industry has been in decline. So what do we know about the impact this new
rule could have on coal? JULIET EILPERIN: It could keep some aging
power — coal-fired power plants operating. That's, again, a real difference between the
previous proposal under the Obama administration that really outlined that no existing coal
plants could meet the standards of what it was going to set over time. So you definitely could have the individual
states and individual utilities who can make upgrades and keep coal-fired plants operating
from — for longer. And it doesn't compel the kind of fuel switching
that was the hallmark of the Obama plan, where you really had a directive from the federal
government to switch over to whether it was natural gas, wind, solar, or other forms of
energy. AMNA NAWAZ: So, Juliet, it's worth pointing
out that part of this was meant to bolster the coal industry. That industry has been in decline, though. What can you tell us about that? JULIET EILPERIN: Yes. Certainly, what we have seen is that there's
a shrinking amount of demand for coal here in the United States from the energy sector. It does still have demand overseas. And that's really where we have seen a slight
uptick. What we really seen is that, overall, in the
last couple of years, the coal industry has stabilized somewhat, but it's at a fraction
of the size that it used to be, and there are no prospects for it to grow in a significant
measure, even though it continues to export coal to areas, including China, India, and
elsewhere in the world. AMNA NAWAZ: Much of the industry was already
working towards hitting some of those goals, the rules that the Obama era had set. How does this new rule change their behavior? Does it take them off-track, stop them in
their tracks? JULIET EILPERIN: It doesn't really shift the
direction dramatically. I talked to, for example, folks like the CEO
and chairman of DTE Energy, based in Detroit, which is — has really ambitious pledges to
cut its carbon emissions 50 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2040. And he indicated that there's nothing that's
going to change. And so what is really interesting is that,
at this point, the utility industry as a whole is pretty close to what the Obama goal is
for 2030, that they have already — the power sector in the U.S. has cut its emissions 27
percent compared to 2005, and the benchmark under Obama was a 32 percent cut by that year
in 2030. So they are really on track to make significant
cuts. The significant issue is that, when you look
at what the science says, and what many analysts calculate, the power sector in the U.S. would
have to make much deeper emissions cuts if we are to keep kind of temperatures from exceeding
globally 2 degrees Celsius. And so that's kind of the — still the outstanding
question. AMNA NAWAZ: So, even those previous limits
didn't go quite as far as some environmentalists would have liked. It's worth pointing out where this goes from
here. We obviously know the rule faces threats of
lawsuits, as we mentioned, from attorneys general in a couple of states. What do we think will happen next? Does this just kind of get held up in a legal
court battle and never go into effect? JULIET EILPERIN: Well, certainly, there's
a court battle that will start very soon. This seems more likely to take effect than
the Obama rule, which did have an unconventional approach under the Clean Air Act. So I think that the odds are in the EPA's
favor in the near term to be able to institute this rule. And then, certainly, it remains a little unclear
what will happen, whether it will ultimately be held up in court or not. AMNA NAWAZ: Juliet Eilperin of The Washington
Post, thank you so much for your time. JULIET EILPERIN: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: We resume our look now at how
prepared we are for the next influenza pandemic, not the seasonal flu, whose strains emerge
every year and we take a flu shot to prevent. Public health officials are watching bird
and swine populations for the flu we can't predict, looking for the viruses we have never
seen and have no vaccines against. William Brangham reports for our regular coverage
about the Leading Edge of science, technology and medicine. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: At this county fair in Northern
Ohio, young people come to show off and sell the animals they have raised. Dr. Andrew Bowman is here for a much different
reason. He's looking for the first rumblings of a
potential flu pandemic among these guys. He takes a simple nasal wipe that he will
later test for flu. He and his team will do this thousands of
times at fairs across the country this year. Pigs get the flu, just like people do. They get fevers, they sneeze and cough. And when they're brought together for fairs
and competitions, that flu can spread. Every year, tens of millions of Americans
come to fairs like this one. And Dr. Bowman says that, every once in a
while, that virus can move from the pigs into humans. DR. ANDREW BOWMAN, Ohio State University: You
know, we think about this certainly occurring in Southeast Asia, other places of the world,
where we have a different animal-human interface, and that we think it doesn't happen in the
U.S. But if you think about what we do at shows
and fairs, we certainly have animals from multiple places coming together, and we create
that animal-human interface that's conducive to influenza transmission. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The good news is, this type
of flu usually stops after it makes that interspecies jump, meaning, one of us gets sick, but not
more. It doesn't spread from person to person. The bad news, given how flu viruses mutate,
that could change any minute. DR. ANDREW BOWMAN: In the worst case, a couple
hundred cases in a given year. It's quite low, but realize, right, any one
of those could be the one that starts the next pandemic. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Then there's the viral threat
from the sky. Each spring in Cape May, New Jersey, migratory
birds making their way from South America to the Arctic stop here. These ruddy turnstones and red knots are refueling
for the trip by feasting on the millions of tiny eggs left by these mating horseshoe crabs. And when the birds are here, so are flu researchers,
like Dr. Lisa Kercher. DR. LISA KERCHER, Jude Children's Research Hospital:
There is no other place that we know of that carries this much influenza in these birds. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It's amazing. It just looks like a beautiful beach. DR. LISA KERCHER: Exactly. But there's a lot more going on here than
just birds on the shore and a nice sunny day. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Collectively, the birds
carry dozens of flu strains in their stomachs. Usually, it never bothers them. And by collecting their fecal samples, these
scientists from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital can track how those strains are evolving. They scour and scoop along the beach. They net other birds, swab them, and then
release them. It's not because they're afraid these birds
will pass flu directly to people. That rarely happens. It's because all flu originates in birds. They're the natural world's biggest reservoir
of the virus. With so many species converging and mingling
here, this is a hotbed for viral research. DR. LISA KERCHER: We want to know what they're
leaving behind. Right? So that's why we're out here collecting all
the samples. But what also we're concerned with is, these
birds and other wild birds that migrate, they often mix with domestic group populations. And when they mix with domestic first, domestic
birds can get very sick from… WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That's ducks and chickens
and… DR. LISA KERCHER: Ducks and chickens and things
in your backyard. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Every time a major flu pandemic
has killed lots of humans, it's followed some version of this pattern, flu moving from wild
birds to domestic animals and then into us. In that process, new strains of virus can
be created. And that's what everyone is on the lookout
for. Usually, when one of those novel strains makes
the jump into humans, it then hits a dead end. It doesn't spread further. But if that strain manages to adapt, so it
can then go human to human , watch out. So transmitting on, if I get sick, and seriously
sick, and then I'm able to pass that to other humans, that's a problem. DR. ANDREW BOWMAN: That's a pandemic. It would go to an outbreak and then onto a
pandemic. And that's — that would be the most severe
outcome that we could worry about. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That's exactly what happened
back in 2009. The H1N1 virus jumped from pigs to humans
in Mexico and California. And then it quickly spread. Within six weeks, it had spread to multiple
countries. Within months, nearly every nation on Earth
had cases. It was a true pandemic. H1N1 proved incredibly contagious, but luckily
not that deadly. Still, somewhere between 150,000 and 500,000
people died across the world, and more than 12,000 in the U.S. But those were still below the seasonal flu's
usual toll. Public health officials say the world dodged
a bullet. DR. RICK BRIGHT, Director, Biomedical Advanced
Research and Development Authority: We made a decision to invest heavily in preparing
our nation for pandemic influenza. And that was critical for the government to
work with our industry partners. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: A big part of Dr. Rick Bright's
job is to get the U.S. ready for the next pandemic. He helps oversee vaccine research and development
for the federal government. Vaccines have for years been made using chicken
eggs. They are a superb vehicle for growing virus. Bright says 95 percent of all flu vaccines
globally are made this way. This facility is contracted by the vaccine
makers Sanofi Pasteur to churn out hundreds of thousands of eggs every day if a pandemic
were to break out. But Bright says this process, which can take
six to nine months, is still too long. DR. RICK BRIGHT: Thirty-three million people will
die while we're waiting for a vaccine… WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Thirty-three million? DR. RICK BRIGHT: … in a pandemic scenario. So we have to count every day that passes
from identification of something novel to when we can deliver that vaccine not only
in just days, but also in lives lost. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: To shorten that window,
the government started a partnership with the pharmaceutical company Seqirus to operate
this plant in Holly Springs, North Carolina. Here, they have stockpiled vaccines against
some of the more troubling novel strains that have emerged in the past, just in case they
reemerge. They're also creating new vaccines using cells
from mammals, instead of eggs. Bright says this could save weeks, maybe months. DR. RICK BRIGHT: These, they can actually haven't
growing year-round, if they needed the surge very quickly to make more vaccine for a crisis
or expand even more for a pandemic response. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But almost everyone agrees
the shape-shifting nature of the influenza virus means all these efforts are still not
enough. DR. RICK BRIGHT: Everything we think we know about
influenza changes almost every day, because of the way this virus grows, mutates and spreads. We must look to the future, invest in innovation,
reduce those bottlenecks, and make sure everyone has access to a vaccine for pandemic influenza
when and where they need it. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: While that vaccine work
is under way, surveillance teams across the country keep an eye out, watching the virus,
looking for the emergence of the next potential pandemic. For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm William Brangham. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, tomorrow, William concludes
the series by focusing on the hunt for a universal flu vaccine. We continue our coverage now of some of the
key issues already shaping the 2020 race for president. One of them is an issue that has already resonated
strongly in the last campaign, the burden of college student debt. In the early months of this race, that problem
is a focus for even more candidates, and it's one of the central issues being discussed. Lisa Desjardins helps break down some of the
key dividing lines of what the candidates say they would do. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), Presidential Candidate:
Anybody in here have student loan debt? ANDREW YANG (D), Presidential Candidate: How
many of you all have student loan debt? You all look kind of young. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), Presidential Candidate:
How many of you are dealing with student debt? LISA DESJARDINS: This has become a common
sight on the campaign trail. In 2019, people who held student loan debt,
either private or federal, owed a collective $1.5 trillion. Three Democratic candidates for president
would also raise their hands. Each is currently paying off student loans
for themselves or their spouse. PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), Presidential Candidate:
This is kind of a personal issue for us, because Chasten and I live with six-figure student
debt. REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), Presidential Candidate:
I have two kids under 2 I'm paying off my student loans. LISA DESJARDINS: 2020 candidates ideas divide
in a few ways. Primarily, some would cut college costs with
different forms of free tuition. Others tackle the debt end, with plans to
erase or cut debt. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren does
both, with one of the most detailed plans in the race. She wants to make public colleges and universities
tuition-free for all students and expand the Pell Grant system for lower-income students
to cover other college costs. But Warren's most striking proposal is to
pay for up to $50,000 in student loan debt per person, depending on a family's income. Warren estimates her plan would cost an estimated
$1.25 trillion over 10 years. She would fund it with a new tax on the richest
Americans. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: There are literally tens
of millions of Americans who are being crushed by outstanding student loan debt. LISA DESJARDINS: A few others would also erase
some student debt. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Our plan will cancel a substantial
amount of student debt and in some ways probably go further than Senator Warren's. ANDREW YANG: I would forgive a lot of that
student loan debt, in an argument for stimulus. LISA DESJARDINS: A larger group of candidates
tackle how much debt college students rack up in the first place. Some of those want to make tuition free for
all students at public two- or four-year colleges across the country. It's an idea that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
pushed for in 2016. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: We should have free tuition
at public colleges and universities. That should be a right of all Americans, regardless
of the income of their families. LISA DESJARDINS: But some of the candidates
are worried about benefiting wealthy families. BETO O'ROURKE (D), Presidential Candidate:
No, I'm not for free college for all. LISA DESJARDINS: Former Texas Congressman
Beto O'Rourke says he wants to focus on lower-income communities. BETO O'ROURKE: Because I want to make sure
that we're also not paying the full freight of wealthy Americans at a time of historic
wealth and income inequality. LISA DESJARDINS: O'Rourke and others propose
what they call debt-free higher education that wouldn't make tuition free for everyone,
but instead it would help students who can't afford their college costs to graduate without
debt. Several senators co-sponsored a bill in 2018
to do this, making sure that, after tuition, room, board, books and other expenses are
paid for, students do not have to take out any loans. On the more moderate end of the spectrum,
many candidates are calling for a refinancing of existing student loan debt at a lower rate. And President Trump has also made some changes
to student loan policy while in office. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
Student loan debt, I'm going to work to fix it, because it's outrageous what's happening. LISA DESJARDINS: He called for a cap on student
loans, in the hopes that this would force colleges to reduce their costs. Just to fill out the larger picture a bit
more, here's what the latest numbers show. The average debt for a college student is
more than $29,000. For black students, it's even higher, an average
debt of more than $34,000. That's higher than for any other racial or
ethnic group. Anya Kamenetz is an education reporter for
NPR. She watches this, and joins us now. Anya, let's start right away with, what is
the problem exactly in terms of paying for higher education right now? ANYA KAMENETZ, NPR: Well, the problem is multilayered. I mean, nobody expected, when we created this
federal student aid system, that it would end up being skewed so heavily towards debt
and that tuition would continue to rise. But, really, as long as higher education remains
the ultimate ticket to a middle class, it's going to be very hard for families to opt
out of it. And public colleges and universities, as well
as private colleges, do continue to raise tuition. So, this is kind of the bind that we're in
right now. LISA DESJARDINS: This is obviously a very
high-ranking issue, especially for Democrats, ranking just after health care. But it's complicated, right? Because there's an issue of what's equitable. Can you talk about, if you're helping students,
different students shoulder debts in different ways? Can you hit on that debate? ANYA KAMENETZ: Absolutely. So, fundamentally, right, people with higher
education in this country are better off than people without it. So, when you start talking about targeting
federal money toward people who have higher education, immediately, you're talking about
possibly a more advantaged group. Now, some plans, like Elizabeth Warren's,
have been trying to really target that aid, so that they're reaching the groups that you
mentioned, like African-Americans or lower-income people, and that the debt relief goes there. We really don't want to end up with a system
with, say, dentists or doctors who have six figures in student loan debt, but also have
very high incomes, end up absorbing a huge amount of the federal debt relief. LISA DESJARDINS: One of the things I think
is confusing for folks is just the terminology, debt-free vs. tuition-free. I think, for a student, all of that sounds
pretty good. But can you take us through how you look at
that — those two ideas? ANYA KAMENETZ: Sure. I think this is really important, especially
when we talk about presidential candidates, because, on the one hand, free public college,
this is a topic or an idea that Bernie Sanders put on the table in the 2016 election campaign. The catch is that we don't have a federal
public college system. We have a state public college system. And so any kind of federal proposal would
really just be offering matching funds and trying to fund tuition at public colleges,
universities, maybe community colleges, but that wouldn't necessarily be something that
states would agree to. So, tuition funding is something — is one
thing. Debt relief or debt forgiveness is a little
bit different. And talking about kind of just funding the
money that students borrow or forgiving those loans, that is something that the federal
government has the ability to kind of do with the stroke of a pen. Now, the argument becomes, if you're forgiving
loans, you're forgiving perhaps people who didn't — borrowed more. Maybe they didn't work their way as much through
college. And so people start to say, well, I got — I
worked harder, and I didn't get my loans, and this person is getting more money back. So that's where these arguments kind of start. LISA DESJARDINS: I'm curious, what do you
think? How fast and how far has the Democratic field
in particular moved on this whole idea of education funding, higher ed? ANYA KAMENETZ: It really is a middle-class
kitchen table issue. It's not just a generational issue. You have got retirees facing student debt. And so I think, with Bernie Sanders putting
this on the table really in the 2016 election with his call for free college, you now have
almost all of the candidates trying to put a stake in the ground and say, yes, I stand
for reducing the burden of debt, not just because it's for getting Americans more educated,
but also because people need these loans forgiven, so that they can start businesses, so that
they can buy homes, maybe start families, and really participate in American life. It's really a broad recognition, I think,
that student loan debt has become an albatross around the neck of many of the middle class. LISA DESJARDINS: Anya Kamenetz, I know you
will be following everyone's record on this. And we appreciate it. ANYA KAMENETZ: Thank you so much, Lisa. JUDY WOODRUFF: The pipe organ has long been
called the king of instruments. And because of its size and complexity, it
has, for hundreds of years been associated with churches and cathedrals. But one young organist is out to shatter that
mold. Special correspondent Cat Wise recently went
to an organ concert in Los Angeles to learn more. It's part of our ongoing series on arts and
culture, Canvas. CAT WISE: He has been described as a rock
star, flamboyant, provocative, and a revolutionary. Cameron Carpenter is unlike any organist you
have seen or heard. Are you essentially trying to rewrite the
rules of organ playing? CAMERON CARPENTER, Organist: Well, no, because
I'm not invested in the rules of organ playing. I have never really been an organ music fan. I have been a fan of the instrument and of
playing it. CAT WISE: For fans of organ music who came
to listen to Bach's famous Toccata and Fugue in D Minor at a recent concert in Los Angeles,
and expected a traditional interpretation, they were likely disappointed. But for 38-year-old Carpenter, bucking tradition
is often the goal. CAMERON CARPENTER: I'm not sure that, when
I play, that I'm necessarily playing in the way the composer intended. And that has never really bothered me. For me, it's always been totally clear that
the only place any authority can possibly lie is with the individual listener. CAT WISE: We caught up with Carpenter as he
was practicing for that night's performance on a stunning 6,000-pipe organ that also bucks
tradition, designed in part by architect Frank Gehry, which looms over the stage of the Walt
Disney Concert Hall. CAMERON CARPENTER: And when I play the organ,
I don't much think about critics, purists, other organists. I mostly think about people like my father,
who couldn't have told the difference between music by Leonard Bernstein or J.S. Bach. But I try to play in a way which is understandable. CAT WISE: Is it physically challenging to
play this instrument? CAMERON CARPENTER: Yes. The organ is a complicated instrument which
contains the entire spectrum of hearing, from the threshold of audibility, like that, to
extreme, extreme power, and everything in between, which is really much more important,
since the extremes aren't all that oft frequently used. CAT WISE: Carpenter grew up near Meadville,
Pennsylvania. He was homeschooled, studied dance, and earned
a master's degree at the Juilliard School in New York. He tends to elicit strong reactions from fans
and critics. Some reviewers have praised his superhuman
talents. Others have called his interpretations grotesque. He became known for his glittery wardrobe
and punkish looks. And he has earned a reputation as a brash,
bold breaker of organ stereotypes. CAMERON CARPENTER: It's absolutely required
that you promote everything that you're doing, because to have a career as a classical musician,
you essentially have to beg for attention. CAT WISE: But Carpenter says he has recently
matured. CAMERON CARPENTER: My personal style now is
far more reserved than it used to be even a few years ago. CAT WISE: Really? Why? CAMERON CARPENTER: Because my expression of
how I wanted to be seen changed. It changed after my father died, and it also
changed after my organ was completed. CAT WISE: The organ he's talking about is
a one-of-a-kind instrument that was more than 10 years in the making. The International Touring Organ was custom
made by Marshall & Ogletree in Massachusetts, and cost $2 million to build. He's taken digital samples of notes and tones
from more than 30 traditional pipe organs, and incorporates them into his instrument. What inspired the International Touring Organ
project? CAMERON CARPENTER: Technology and my love
of music, my wish to perform. CAT WISE: Hauled around in a large truck,
the system consists of about 30 cases of equipment that take more than four hours to set up. Carpenter explains that, in today's competitive
arena of commercial music playing, the Touring Organ is what allows him to pursue a career
as a musician. CAMERON CARPENTER: It allows me to play in
a great many places that I would never work and that one would never associate with organ
playing or music of any kind. So, in that sense, it's absolutely groundbreaking. CAT WISE: Beyond pulling the organ out of
churches or concert halls, Carpenter says traditions of classical music as a whole must
be dispelled. CAMERON CARPENTER: Just now, in the early
21st century, classical music is finally trying to make some kind of effort at expanding its
audience. This is a field that is fraught with difficulty
in terms of expectation, tradition and historicity and authenticity. So, eyebrows get raised when a classical performer
suggests that, in fact, people come to hear performance, but, of course, they do. You don't buy a ticket to here an organ. And you don't really buy a ticket to hear
J.S. Bach. You buy a ticket to hear the person playing
J.S. Bach on the organ. Those are different things. CAT WISE: Love him or not, a review of the
Los Angeles concert called Carpenter a "transformative and convincingly individual musician." He has a new album out and is currently on
a worldwide tour. For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Cat Wise in Los
Angeles. JUDY WOODRUFF: As we reported earlier in the
program, a congressional subcommittee held hearings on legislation that would pay reparations
for slavery. The purpose of the hearing was to examine
— quote — "the legacy of the transatlantic slave trade, its continuing impact on the
community and the path to restorative justice." Sarah Blake is a novelist who's been thinking
about reparations and why past attempts have failed. In her Humble Opinion, this time is different. SARAH BLAKE, Author, "The Guest Book": How
long is now? This question, graffitied high above my head
on a blank wall near my apartment in Berlin, greeted me daily years ago. Anonymous and existential, the phrase captured
the spirit of that city. But I have been thinking about it more and
more lately, trying to make sense of what feels like a historical moment here, a moment
when this country appears to be acknowledging a through line between our past and our present
in a way I have never seen. I have spent the past eight years writing
a multi-generational family novel that tries to understand why, as William Faulkner wrote
and President Obama reminded us, the past isn't dead; it isn't even past. And I began to see how family memory is made
of half-truths that become false myth, which echoes how this country's memory works as
well, its history passed down as an open secret, half-told. The myth? Slavery is over. The past is past. The truth? Its consequences live on, ensuring that who
we are and who we were have always been twin faces in our country's mirror, a mirror African-Americans
have held up to the country for years, but a mirror which the collective white imagination
has avoided, until now. Stories of voter suppression in Georgia, law
enforcement unable to restrain white supremacy in Charlottesville, blackface in yearbooks. If you are looking for social justice, the
system is broken, or maybe broken open for all, at last, to see. The serious, extensive discussion of reparations,
from college campuses to presidential candidates, and the national reckoning with our public
monuments suggests the white imagination is beginning to see beyond the veil we hung between
then and now. Seeing that our collective racial past is
and always has been present in our institutions. It never stopped, no matter what we told ourselves. How long, indeed, is now? If we agree that policy change is only possible
when collective imaginations shift, then it is fitting that the talk of reparations now
recalls the enormous shift asked of the country's imagination during Reconstruction. And the questions asked 150 years ago, who
are we and who do we want to be as a country, are questions we are asking again. But what if, this time, we look at the truth
in the mirror, and break now from then, making a truer now, one that doesn't forget the past,
but confronts, acknowledges, reconstructs and so, we can hope, repairs? JUDY WOODRUFF: Novelist Sarah Blake. 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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