March 7, 2023 - PBS NewsHour full episode
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March 7, 2023 - PBS NewsHour full episode
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03/07/2023 | 56m 42s | Video has closed captioning.
March 7, 2023 - PBS NewsHour full episode
Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning
AMNA NAWAZ: Good evening, and welcome.
I'm Amna Nawaz.
GEOFF BENNETT: And I'm Geoff Bennett.
On the "NewsHour" tonight: As campaigns to become the next Republican presidential nominee ramp up, we speak to a current and former governor about the direction of the GOP.
AMNA NAWAZ: FOX News uses selective clips of Capitol security footage provided by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to spread misinformation about what happened on January 6.
GEOFF BENNETT: And a ruling by a Texas judge on birth control threatens a nationwide program that provides contraception to minors without requiring their parents' permission.
ELIZABETH SEPPER, University of Texas at Austin: We're seeing a movement that maybe began with a religious exemption, and we're moving toward an agenda that says let me structure all of health care according to my morals.
(BREAK) GEOFF BENNETT: Good evening, and welcome to the "NewsHour."
The U.S. Federal Reserve is putting Congress in the country unnoticed tonight more and larger interest rate hikes may be coming and may be lasting longer than expected.
AMNA NAWAZ: At a Senate hearing today, Fed Chair Jerome Powell cited stubbornly high inflation and a robust economy.
But Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, complained rate hikes could bring on recession and hurt workers.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): If you could speak directly to the two million hardworking people who have decent jobs today who you're planning to get fired over the next year, what would you say to them?
How would you explain your view that they need to lose their jobs?
JEROME POWELL, Federal Reserve Chairman: I would explain to people more broadly that inflation is extremely high, and it's hurting the working people of this country badly.
All of them, not just two million of them, but all of them are suffering under high inflation.
And we are taking the only measures we have.
GEOFF BENNETT: The Fed holds its next meeting on interest rates in two weeks.
Mexican officials confirmed today that two of four kidnapped Americans have been found dead.
The four crossed Friday into Matamoros across from Brownsville, Texas, so that one of them could have cosmetic surgery.
They were caught in a gunfight between rival drug cartels and then abducted.
The two survivors were found today in a rural area and driven back to Texas for medical treatment.
Israeli troops have killed at least six Palestinians in a gun battle in the occupied West Bank.
Smoke rose today above Jenin as soldiers tried to arrest of man in the killing of two Israeli brothers.
Militants opened fire and the Israelis fired missiles.
The suspect was killed.
More than 60 Palestinians and 14 Israelis have died in violence this year.
China's new foreign minister is sounding a stern new warning to Washington as relations hit new lows.
Qin Gang today held his first news conference since taking office late last year.
And he talked tough about U.S. policy toward China.
QIN GANG, Chinese Foreign Minister (through translator): If the U.S. does not hit the brake, but continues to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing, and there will surely be conflicts and confrontation.
Such a competition is a reckless gamble with the fundamental interests of the two peoples and the future of humanity.
GEOFF BENNETT: In turn, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. does not seek conflict on Taiwan or any other issue.
The National Transportation Safety Board will open a special investigation into Norfolk Southern railroad.
Today's announcement follows a derailment involving a toxic material in East Palestine, Ohio, and four other significant accidents since December of 2021.
The NTSB says it wants a broad look at the railroad's safety culture.
President Biden today proposed raising Medicare taxes on those making more than $400,000 a year.
The White House said it would keep the program solvent for an extra 25 years, but it drew a sharply partisan response from Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Thank goodness the House is Republican.
Massive tax increases, more spending, all of which the American people can thank the Republican House for, will not see the light of day.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): I anticipate the president's budget will address what Americans care most about, extending Medicare solvency by 25 years, beyond 2050, without costing a penny in benefits.
That is great.
GEOFF BENNETT: Federal officials project that, without some kind of action, Medicare benefits might be cut starting in the year 2028.
President Biden is also considering a return to detaining migrant families who enter the U.S. illegally.
The "NewsHour" confirmed that today with multiple sources.
It comes as officials expect a new surge of crossings when COVID restrictions end in May.
The Justice Department has filed suit to block JetBlue Airways from buying Spirit Airlines.
The suit charges the merger would cut competition and raise prices.
DOJ lawyers say a buyout of Spirit would eliminate about half of all low-cost airline seats.
And on Wall Street, stocks retreated on the Federal Reserve warnings about inflation and interest rates.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 575 points, or 1.7 percent.
The Nasdaq fell 1.2 percent.
The S&P 500 shed 1.5 percent.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": how a lawsuit is putting a nationwide birth control program for minors at risk; a renowned architect reconsiders his industry's impact as he receives the prestigious Pritzker Prize; an Iraqi American photo journalist gives his Brief But Spectacular take on refugees.
AMNA NAWAZ: As the 2024 presidential race takes shape, we're getting perspective tonight from two Republicans.
GEOFF BENNETT: First up, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu.
He's considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination, and I spoke with him earlier today about that and the future of the Republican Party.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, thanks for coming in.
Good to see you.
CHRIS SUNUNU (R-NH): Well, thanks for having me in.
This is great, yes.
GEOFF BENNETT: And you have said that Donald Trump will not be the Republican Party's nominee in 2024.
You said, that is just not going to happen.
How can you be so sure?
CHRIS SUNUNU: Well, he ain't going up, right?
So, with the former president, as I have said many times, thank you for your service.
I think he did some very good things, but we're moving on as a country.
He's a known commodity.
Let's just start there, right?
There's very few Americans right now that are kind of on the fence, whether they would be with him or against him.
People know where they are.
So he's going to have a tough time going up in the polls, if you will.
And there's other really good, viable next-generation candidates out there that are going to step forward.
And so the race hasn't even really started.
You're in the news, and I'm a politician.
So we're in the mix.
The average American family isn't even thinking about this yet.
They're really not.
They're just getting over the hangover of November of '22.
They're glad that they're not inundated with a lot of campaign ads and all that sort of thing.
And folks are taking a breath, and then, maybe around this fall, the debates will pick up.
People will start really paying attention.
You will see all these other candidates potentially rise to the top.
So I just don't see it going up.
And as I have always said, it's not in our DNA as Americans to go backwards.
And that would be going backwards.
GEOFF BENNETT: Taking your point that it's March of 2023, and there's a ways to go, the design of the Republican Party's winner-take-all delegate system benefits someone like Donald Trump, whose base of support seems pretty stuck at around 35 to 40 percent, not a majority, but it's enough to deliver him the nomination.
CHRIS SUNUNU: If there were six, seven, eight candidates in the race when these -- when these -- as these races play out.
That's not going to be the case.
I think the Republican Party definitely learned their lesson, so to say, in 2016, and I don't mind who gets into a race.
I have learned you can't control who gets in.
But I think we all understand -- and I have talked to all the candidates about this -- the discipline of getting out.
If you're not polling, if it's really not going to happen, get out, get out early, galvanize behind a single candidate, likely someone not that -- named Donald Trump, and they're going to move forward, and we're going to move forward as a party.
So I'm just incredibly optimistic about it.
There's still so much politics to play out.
We don't know where things are going.
But that's the fun of it.
GEOFF BENNETT: The insurrection, the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, that could have been the Republican Party's breaking point with Donald Trump.
And for a few days after, it seems like it might have been.
But now none of the Republicans running against him want to talk about it.
You say you have talked to all of these candidates.
Why don't they talk about that issue in particular?
CHRIS SUNUNU: Well, I don't know.
Look, I mean, everybody saw what happened on January 6.
The one, I would say, positive aspect over the last two years is, we have seen everything, right?
And we have even new tapes coming out as early as even yesterday, some stuff coming out.
So we know what happened there.
People understand it.
I think America has to kind of learn that lesson and understand where extremism can go, the dangers of it.
But I think we have.
I mean, why other candidates might not talk about it, I don't know.
But I think there's definitely something to be learned.
It's nothing that you can just step over and ignore.
It's part -- it's part of our history, unfortunately.
And, again, you have to really kind of, hopefully, let those pains grow in and understand why and how did we get there?
What pushed that?
And there's a large part of the population that still surprises me that they're OK with it.
They didn't see what a lot of us saw as an insurrection event on the U.S. Capitol.
And that's a very, very dangerous thing for our democracy, for where we go as a country.
GEOFF BENNETT: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, in his own way, has departed from GOP orthodoxy in support of free market capitalism.
He's using his executive power to target private companies, namely, Disney.
You are an old-school Republican, if I can use that phrase.
CHRIS SUNUNU: I'm not old, but... (LAUGHTER) GEOFF BENNETT: But is that something that sits well with you?
CHRIS SUNUNU: No.
GEOFF BENNETT: You talk about the next generation of Republicans.
CHRIS SUNUNU: Yes.
GEOFF BENNETT: I imagine you're talking about him when you say that... (CROSSTALK) GOV.
CHRIS SUNUNU: Yes, look, there's nothing old-school about being a principled, free market conservative, because, at its fundamentals, that's what Republican is all about.
It's about limited government, local control, individual responsibility, and valuing that the voter knows better than we do.
I'm the governor.
I will tell you, the voter is smarter than I am, because the voter knows what their school needs.
They know what roads need to be paved.
They know what their community needs.
My job is to create as many doors of opportunity for them to be successful, not to take kind of vengeance out or revenge because somebody doesn't agree with me politically on something.
So, I will say, I think Ron is a good guy.
I think we definitely differ in that approach.
He's talking a lot about this wokism, which I cannot stand, the cancel culture, which is just like a parasite running its way through the United States.
I think we have to talk about that stuff.
And you have to be willing to have the fight.
You can't only be about the fight.
That can't be what defines you.
But, as a leader, you got to be able to talk about that and have the fight.
But at the end of the day, it's about a free market.
It's about appreciating the value of that individual over the -- over the government.
GEOFF BENNETT: It strikes me, though, that what the Trump base wants is the fight?
Isn't that -- you see it that way?
CHRIS SUNUNU: Well, there's a lot of anger, right?
So let's understand, why did Donald Trump get elected in 2016?
He connected with folks with their anger, and he gave a voice to that.
And there's -- there was a lot of validity to that.
So when folks get frustrated, they want to find someone that they can empathetically connect with, with their frustrations, their anger, where they want to see things go.
I think sometimes we get a little blind and thinking that governments can just solve it for us.
As long as they're on our side, government will solve the problem.
Government is not here to solve your problem.
I'm the governor.
I'm telling you, that's not our job.
Our job is to create doors of opportunity for you or your family, your business, your school, whatever it is, your kids.
And then you decide what door you best -- best fits you and your path.
GEOFF BENNETT: You launched a national political fund-raising group, which is the most significant sign yet that you're serious about running for president.
What's it going to take for you to make that decision, ultimately?
What are you waiting for?
What are you looking for?
CHRIS SUNUNU: Well, it's a good question.
So we don't have to make the decision now.
Kind of looking to see where a lot of this plays out.
My number one purpose right now is making sure that, as Republicans, we're making the party bigger, we're talking to independents.
And we have disenfranchised some independents.
We need them back on the team.
We're talking with more inspirational voice, because no one gets inspired to get on your team by getting yelled at all the time.
So, as a leader, I try to be more positive in my approach, and I want to talk to that next generation.
I think the next generation of potential Republican and Republican voters are probably further away from us than they ever have been.
But we got a great product.
We got something that we want to bring them in on.
I think they're a little disenfranchised with some of the messaging.
I don't like using the word branding, but some of the messaging that's out there.
But we have got this great thing of limited government, local control.
You are smarter than the government.
And that's a great thing that Republicans need to rally around and get those voters back.
And if that leads to something bigger in terms of me getting in the race, being a spark of '23 that gets people excited, then so be it.
That would be awesome.
But this organization is really about charging forward and growing the party, ensuring a November win.
GEOFF BENNETT: That sounds like the elevator pitch for a Sununu candidacy.
CHRIS SUNUNU: Does it?
GEOFF BENNETT: A little.
CHRIS SUNUNU: Well, we will see.
No, look, I don't know where it's going to go.
I think this summer -- most candidates will have to figure out what they're doing by this summer.
I'd love to get in debate, don't get me wrong.
I love debating.
I love talking about this stuff.
I love bringing kind of a different attitude and a different spirit to it.
But it's got to be right for me and my family and the country.
I'm not doing this for myself.
I mean, it's -- it would be a huge sacrifice.
So you got to make sure that, whatever you're going to do, you can give it 120 percent.
I always -- I'm amazed by people that always look miserable in their job, right?
Politicians, my peers especially, sometimes, they look so miserable.
They're so angry.
All they're doing is yelling at everybody.
But if you look unhappy in your job, is the public really going to believe you're going to give 120 percent to it?
But it demands 120 percent.
And I love what I do as governor.
I really do, a four-term governor.
We have gotten extraordinary results, but I think with a very everyday approach.
And I think that's something that folks are looking for.
GEOFF BENNETT: New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, it's good to see you.
Thanks for coming in.
CHRIS SUNUNU: It was a lot of fun.
Thank you, man.
GEOFF BENNETT: All right.
AMNA NAWAZ: Another Republican, former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, ruled out a presidential bid earlier this week.
I spoke with him about his decision a short time ago.
Governor Hogan, welcome back to the "NewsHour."
Thanks for being here.
LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): Thank you for having me.
AMNA NAWAZ: So you decided not to run specifically over concerns that a crowded primary would once again benefit Donald Trump.
Governor Sununu just said it doesn't really matter how many people get in, you can't control who gets in, as long as they get out early and get out on time.
You agree with that?
LARRY HOGAN: Well, I don't necessarily disagree with that.
I mean, look, it was one of the many reasons.
I really put a lot more thought into it than just that.
It was one of the reasons I got out.
I want to -- I didn't want to have a crowded primary and help -- see -- have what happened in 2016 happen.
But I don't disagree with Governor Sununu.
I think -- I think if you're not seriously contending, and if you don't really have a shot to win, then you probably should not get in the race in the first place, if you're just trying to maybe be a Cabinet secretary, or you're auditioning for vice president, or you want to get on television or get a book deal.
But if you really think you can compete and you have a chance to win, then I think everybody ought to make that decision about getting in.
But, certainly, if the campaign is not going well, then they ought to get out earlier.
I think the problem in 2016 was people refusing to get out of the race.
And it was so divided that Donald Trump was able to capture the nomination.
AMNA NAWAZ: Governor Sununu also said that he doesn't really believe that Trump could actually be the nominee.
He seems to think people are moving forward, and that would be moving backwards.
He doesn't think that's going to happen.
You still seem concerned?
LARRY HOGAN: Well, I have been, I think, the leading voice for years about moving in a different direction.
And I'm very pleased that more and more people are speaking out, including Governor Sununu and others who are agreeing with me that we need to move in a different direction.
I think that we are moving in that direction.
But it's a long way from over.
I mean, I'm still concerned.
It's a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party.
And I wouldn't -- I wouldn't take him lightly.
He's still the 800-pound gorilla.
And we have got to work hard to make sure he's not the nominee.
AMNA NAWAZ: You have called Governor DeSantis, who is expected to also enter the race.
You said he's trying to be the younger version of Donald Trump.
Would you back him if he was the nominee?
LARRY HOGAN: Well, I don't think he's trying to be the younger version.
He is -- I think he is the younger, maybe smarter version of Donald Trump.
But he's fishing for the same exact -- he's fighting for the same MAGA base, and he's trying to appeal to them.
But I have said I wouldn't support Donald Trump.
But I'm anxious to see how Governor DeSantis performs, if he gets in the race, and how he does.
And I'm hoping, like, we can get a strong nominee that I can support, but... AMNA NAWAZ: You are open to supporting him now?
(CROSSTALK) AMNA NAWAZ: Because there's a lot of daylight between the two of you on many issues.
LARRY HOGAN: Oh, we -- I mean, we don't agree on a lot of things.
We're completely different in many respects, in tone and style and substance.
But I will -- we will just have to see -- how the campaign plays out.
AMNA NAWAZ: But you are open to supporting him?
I just -- I need to ask you this, again, because he has many of the same policies and many of the same approaches that Donald Trump has, and you said you would not support him.
LARRY HOGAN: Yes, well, I have committed to not supporting Donald Trump.
And I'm hoping he's not the nominee.
Ron DeSantis would not be my most favorite pick at this point in time.
But we will have to see how that plays out.
AMNA NAWAZ: I'd love to ask you about what's going on in the Republican Party right now, because you have talked about your concerns over its direction.
There was just a main stage speaker at a major Republican Conference who openly and publicly called for the eradication of transgenderism.
How is it that kind of rhetoric has found a home in your party right now?
LARRY HOGAN: Well, it's still just a -- it's not the mainstream thought in the party.
But there are certainly people that are focused on these kinds of issues.
And I think it's -- again, we were just talking about playing to the MAGA base that both President Trump and Governor DeSantis are fighting for.
But it's not what the average American is thinking about or talking about.
It's not what the average Republican is even focused on.
They're talking -- they're concerned about the economy, about crime, about education.
And, I mean, these are -- some of these issues, I think, need to be addressed are parents concerned about teaching very young children about sex in first grade.
That's a legitimate issue.
But the over-the-top rhetoric and some of the things that we're hearing out there just are not mainstream ideas that are going to have any kind of ability to win crossover votes and win an election.
AMNA NAWAZ: But the two candidates or candidates - - the potential candidates who are leading all the polls at this time, Mr. Trump and Mr. DeSantis, are not necessarily talking about the economy and those kinds of issues.
LARRY HOGAN: Yes, I know.
AMNA NAWAZ: Why do you think that is?
LARRY HOGAN: I think they're all playing to the MAGA base.
And DeSantis is trying to beat Trump with the Trump base.
And they're not focused on the general election and swing voters.
And I think it's a mistake, because, while it may have a short-term effect in the positive, it's not going to help us win back the White House.
And I think we have got to find a more hopeful, positive vision that appeals to a broader group of voters.
And that's what I have done in my state of Maryland, bluest state in the country, where I have been elected and reelected and leaving with strong support among not just Republicans, but independents and Democrats.
AMNA NAWAZ: When do you think you will see that change?
And I ask because all -- it is early, as you say, but all the polls so far show Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump far out ahead of everybody else.
LARRY HOGAN: Yes.
AMNA NAWAZ: Where do you see that shift happening?
LARRY HOGAN: I think the polls a year out mean absolutely nothing.
If you look at 2015, one year out from 2016, Jeb Bush was at 30-some percent, and Donald Trump was less than 1.
They were talking about Scott Walker was going to be president, Tim Pawlenty.
If you go all the way back, almost every one they have ever said a year out that was going to be the next person has never been the next person.
So I think we have a whole lot of daylight between now and the first primary a year from now.
And I think a year is an eternity in politics.
So I think polls now are almost meaningless.
AMNA NAWAZ: I'm curious.
Since you announced you're not running and your reasons for not running, have you spoken to any of the other potential candidates?
LARRY HOGAN: Yes, I have talked to a number of them and called them ahead of time before the announcement and had some pretty detailed discussions with a few of my friends that may potentially be in the race.
AMNA NAWAZ: Did you give them any advice of any kind?
LARRY HOGAN: I have just told them exactly what my thinking was, and let several of them know that, if I could be of any help in any way as they're weighing their decisions, that I was available.
AMNA NAWAZ: I'm sure we will be following all of their tracks in the many weeks and months ahead.
A long way to go, as you say.
LARRY HOGAN: Yes.
AMNA NAWAZ: Governor Larry Hogan, always good to have you here.
Thank you so much.
LARRY HOGAN: Thank you very much.
GEOFF BENNETT: This week, FOX personality Tucker Carlson is releasing security video from the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol using footage provided exclusively to him by Speaker Kevin McCarthy in an effort to portray the day as a peaceful gathering.
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX News Anchor: It was neither an insurrection nor deadly.
The January 6 Committee knew perfectly well that Brian Sicknick was walking normally through the Capitol after he was supposedly murdered by Trump supporters.
To prove that Josh Hawley was a coward, the committee released a video of him loping out of the building on the afternoon of January 6 with a police escort.
But, in fact, the surveillance footage we reviewed shows that famous clip was a sham, edited deceptively by the January 6 Committee.
The January 6 Committee lied.
GEOFF BENNETT: North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis today responded to that this way: SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): I think it's bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
If you were just a tourist, you should have probably lined up at the visitors center and came in on an orderly basis.
GEOFF BENNETT: U.S. Capitol Police in an internal message to officers today said -- quote -- "The program conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video.
The commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and the violence that happened before or during these less tense moments."
James Sasso served as senior investigative counsel for the January 6 Committee, and he joins us now.
Thanks for being here.
And we should say that you spent a year investigating the Capitol attack, specifically the people who planned and attended the riot, as well as the domestic extremist groups responsible for most of the violence.
How does it strike you to hear Tucker Carlson say that the insurrection wasn't an insurrection at all and that the January 6 Committee lied?
JAMES SASSO, Former Senior Investigative Counsel, January 6 Committee: It's just objectively not true.
We watched thousands of hours of violence that happened on January 6, between rioter and police officers, rioters and rioters sometimes.
The rioters too, if you look at DOJ filings that we covered and some of the defendants we interviewed, things that they said, were pretty explicit about what they were doing there.
They were there at President Trump's beck and call to try to keep him in power at all - - by all means necessary.
Some of them mentioned going to Civil War or Revolutionary War, depending on which one they wanted to choose.
Many of them like Ryan Nichols mentioned dragging, I will just say, members of Congress, although he used more colorful language, through the streets.
He mentioned the same about Vice President Pence.
Nicholas Dempsey stood in front of gallows and said members of Congress should all hang.
They -- a lot of people there were explicitly there to commit violence.
And even though a vast majority of the people who were part of the violence that day did not engage in, let's say, hand-to-hand violence or did not destroy the Capitol or did not do any act of violence, the truth is that those who committed those horrible acts would not have succeeded if it weren't for the numbers of people who were there to stop the peaceful transfer of power.
And that is an insurrection.
The footage that Tucker Carlson showed was very selectively chosen.
GEOFF BENNETT: Well, on that point, there will be people who will say, well, the January 6 Committee also selectively chose footage and interviews to stitch together its own narrative, that the committee and Tucker Carlson are both in the storytelling business.
How would you respond to that?
JAMES SASSO: I would respond that we picked footage that showed the facts of the matter and what actually happened that day.
There's nothing to hide in the footage.
There's nothing to hide in the interviews that we had with defendants.
We put out all of our transcripts.
We have backed it up.
There -- we did have a story that we're telling the American public, but it was a story backed up by thousands and thousands of hours of investigation and fact-checking.
It wasn't as if we just were, like, the narrative we want and go for it.
It was what actually happened.
And you can see that based on the extensive evidence we put forward and is in our report, and it is in all the public documents as well.
GEOFF BENNETT: As you mentioned, you interviewed about 30 of the January 6 defendants about their motives.
And you wrote an opinion piece recently for The New York Times where you said -- quote - - "With the legitimacy of democracy so degraded, revolution appeared logical to these people."
What then is the impact of this effort, this coordinated effort to whitewash January 6 and rewrite that history?
JAMES SASSO: It's dangerous.
It legitimizes those feelings that people were already expressing on January 6 and ahead of January 6.
It wasn't as if, magically, people were suddenly were like, oh, it's time to go to war, it's time to overthrow the government.
People have been dissatisfied for a long time with the way American political institutions are working.
People have a lot of racial resentment that's been building for 50 years.
And President Trump gave them legitimacy.
Now that we have an effort to whitewash what actually happened by not showing the violence that happened inside the Capitol that day, two officers who were getting swarmed in the crypt, in Senate hallways.
An Oath Keeper confronted and threatened officers, saying: "This is my 'bleeping' Capitol."
By not showing what truly happens, we are telling those people who want to commit more political violence that it's OK. And that's a very big problem in America and a really big problem if we want our democracy to survive.
We can't have people out there thinking it's OK to battle each other and to battle people who disagree with them.
GEOFF BENNETT: James Sasso, former senior investigative counsel for the January 6 Committee, thanks for coming in.
Good to talk to you.
JAMES SASSO: Thank you for having me.
It's been great.
AMNA NAWAZ: Today, on the steps of the Texas state capitol, a group of women said they are suing the state after they were denied abortions, a ban that in some cases presented grave risks to their lives.
Texas' near-total abortion ban is just one of many ways reproductive health care has been restricted in the Lone Star State in recent years.
In a separate case, a Texas federal judge has also limited young people's access to birth control.
Kaiser Health News correspondent Sarah Varney reports on the impact of that ruling in a story co-produced with Kaiser Health News.
SARAH VARNEY: Victoria and Richard Robledo's days are filled with work and looking after their two sons.
It's a far different life from when the couple first started dating in high school a decade ago in Corpus Christi, Texas.
VICTORIA ROBLEDO, Texas: I was 14, and he was 15.
We were in the same ROTC program together.
SARAH VARNEY: Who went after who first?
RICHARD ROBLEDO, Texas: She went after me.
SARAH VARNEY: Oh.
(LAUGHTER) SARAH VARNEY: When they started having sex, Victoria, now 24, decided to get on birth control.
But she couldn't turn to her mother, a devout Catholic, for advice.
VICTORIA ROBLEDO: We were, I guess, a typical, like, Hispanic household.
And so, usually, in households like mine, they don't want to talk about boyfriends or sex or anything like that.
SARAH VARNEY: You couldn't talk to her about it?
VICTORIA ROBLEDO: Yes, I couldn't talk to her.
I couldn't talk to her about boys.
I couldn't talk to her about becoming sexually active.
SARAH VARNEY: Under state law, teenage girls in Texas have long needed their parents' permission to get prescriptive contraception, but, online, Victoria found a special federal program that did provide contraception without parental consent.
Known as Title X, it was established in 1970 with broad bipartisan support to provide family planning services to low-income people, including minors.
WOMAN: There is no set fee.
The cost depends upon family income.
SARAH VARNEY: With the goal of reducing teen pregnancy.
The clinic Victoria found was less than a mile away from her high school.
VICTORIA ROBLEDO: I would take the bus home.
And so I skipped the bus that day, and I walked over to the clinic, and then I was able to get, like, my birth control for free.
SARAH VARNEY: In the vast Texas Panhandle, patients often drive for hours to reach Haven Health in Amarillo.
It's one of 3,200 Title X clinics around the country.
DR. STEPHEN GRIFFIN, Haven Health Clinics: What are you doing for birth control right now?
SARAH VARNEY: They come here for birth control, pregnancy and STD testing, and cervical cancer screening in English and Spanish.
But in a federal court case in December, a judge ruled that these clinics violate Texas state law and federal constitutional rights to direct the upbringing of one's children.
CAROLENA COGDILL, CEO, Haven Health: And now we can't even provide contraception for a gynecological issue.
SARAH VARNEY: Carolena Cogdill is the head of Haven Health.
The ruling applies to the national Title X regulations, but, for now, it is only being followed in Texas.
CAROLENA COGDILL: Just recently, we had a young lady come in who had abnormal bleeding, and we wanted to prescribe contraception to help control that bleeding.
And we couldn't do it because she was 16.
SARAH VARNEY: And she was unable to have that conversation with her parents?
CAROLENA COGDILL: Exactly.
She was fearful that her mom wouldn't understand if she was going to get on birth control, because, if she's going to get on birth control, then she's going to go out and have sex.
And she just didn't want to go there.
SARAH VARNEY: The case was brought by a conservative Christian father, Alex Deanda, who lives here in Amarillo, Texas.
He said that just the possibility that his daughters might access prescription contraception without his permission violated the tenants of his Christian faith.
Neither Mr. Deanda, nor his attorney responded to our interview requests.
ELIZABETH SEPPER, University of Texas at Austin: And we filed them in Amarillo because... SARAH VARNEY: Elizabeth Sepper is a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
ELIZABETH SEPPER: We have seen religious arguments increasingly, I think, come into the courts dressed up as legal arguments.
SARAH VARNEY: In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk wrote -- quote -- "The use of contraception, just like abortion, violates traditional tenets of many faiths, including the Christian faith plaintiff practices."
Kacsmaryk references Catholic catechisms and 4th century religious texts.
"Does Onan, the second son of Judah, imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children?"
Sepper says the decision marks the rising influence of conservative Christian theology in the courts.
ELIZABETH SEPPER: I think we're seeing a movement that maybe began with a religious exemption, saying let me structure my health care to suit my morals, and we're moving toward an agenda that says, let me structure all of health care according to my morals, that federal family planning programs need to reflect conservative Christian beliefs.
SARAH VARNEY: Christi Covington lives in Round Rock, Texas, an Austin suburb.
Raised in a large evangelical family, she's passing those teachings on to her three children.
How does your faith influence how you're raising your family?
CHRISTI COVINGTON, Texas: It's everything, because I believe We're all made by God.
he's the one who created the order in nature itself.
SARAH VARNEY: Covington says, leaving aside religious objections to birth control, the family unit should be respected.
CHRISTI COVINGTON: God designed the world for there to be parents, and then we have our offspring, and that the parents care for those children.
And that is design.
And we do see that reflected in nature.
I have to give consent all over the place for my children's other medical care.
Why would we decide that this one area is exempt?
SARAH VARNEY: At Haven Health in Amarillo, we put this question to Dr. Stephen Griffin, an assistant professor at Texas Tech University and a practicing OB-GYN.
Why is access to birth control different, in your mind?
DR. STEPHEN GRIFFIN: It's a safety issue.
It also, unlike a cold or aches and pains, does have lifetime consequences attached to the other side of it.
SARAH VARNEY: Half of teenage mothers receive a high school diploma, compared to 90 percent of teenage girls who do not give birth.
And teen births often lead to poor outcomes for the next generation.
Children of teenage mothers are more likely to drop out of high school and end up in jail or prison during adolescence.
Griffin says parents underestimate their teenagers' sexual activity.
DR. STEPHEN GRIFFIN: We know that people who identify as regular church attenders are more likely to underestimate their child's risk-taking behavior in terms of sex.
We know that parents who feel they have open lines of communication with their children also are more likely to underestimate that risk.
SARAH VARNEY: Decades of research show that teens are more likely to seek sexual health care if they can do so confidentially.
Rebecca Gudeman at the National Center for Youth Law says a majority of teens involve their parents in decisions around contraception.
REBECCA GUDEMAN, National Center for Youth Law: And they do that not because the law requires them to do that, but that they do that because that's what they want to do.
SARAH VARNEY: But, she says, some young people simply can't involve their parents or guardians.
REBECCA GUDEMAN: This isn't just about voluntary sexual activity.
Almost 40 percent of young people who are homeless will say that they have been sexually abused either before they left home or when they were on the street.
Almost 50 percent, 50 percent of young people in foster care will be sexually assaulted either before care or while they're in care.
SARAH VARNEY: Evangelical mother Christi Covington believes the law shouldn't make exceptions even in the hardest cases.
CHRISTI COVINGTON: Everybody would want their child to feel that they could come to them.
SARAH VARNEY: Sure.
But what do you do about the many, many children who just don't have that situation?
CHRISTI COVINGTON: Absolutely.
But there's other social ills within family units.
But we don't just totally erode the family unit to fix this problem.
It feels like a Band-Aid.
It feels like a Band-Aid.
Let's give them -- let's give them birth control.
And then we don't actually have to deal with what's happening in our society where these teens are getting pregnant so quickly.
SARAH VARNEY: Texas has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the nation and the highest rate of repeat teen pregnancy.
Experts say the court decision banning access to contraception is likely to increase those numbers, and it follows other restrictions on reproductive health care in the state.
STEPHANIE LEBLEU, Every Body Texas: Abortion is illegal in Texas.
Kids aren't getting comprehensive sexual education in schools.
We have a very large population of folks that are uninsured and not eligible for any other programs.
SARAH VARNEY: Stephanie LeBleu is the acting director of Every Body Texas, the administrator of the state's more than 150 Title X clinics.
The Biden administration appealed the Texas decision in February, but, in the meantime, LeBleu says there is no safety net left here for teens.
STEPHANIE LEBLEU: What we don't know is not having that control over their lives and their bodies, what impact that will have to them over the long haul.
VICTORIA ROBLEDO: Let me see.
SARAH VARNEY: Victoria and Richard Robledo now live across the Texas border in Clovis, New Mexico.
Had you not been able to get birth control when you were teenagers, would you have not had sex?
(LAUGHTER) VICTORIA ROBLEDO: Absolutely not.
(LAUGHTER) SARAH VARNEY: Victoria says being able to protect herself from pregnancy when they were teenagers changed the course of both of their lives.
VICTORIA ROBLEDO: You know, we both were able to go out and live our own lives.
You know, he was able to join the military, and I was able to go to college.
It gave us, like, the confidence that we needed to make the right decisions for our reproductive health.
RICHARD ROBLEDO: Very important for us to say like we want a kid now.
We're comfortable enough to have a kid now.
VICTORIA ROBLEDO: On our terms.
RICHARD ROBLEDO: Yes.
SARAH VARNEY: Victoria wonders what teenage girls in Texas will do now.
For the "PBS NewsHour" and Kaiser Health News, I'm Sarah Varney in Clovis, New Mexico.
GEOFF BENNETT: David Chipperfield is one of the world's most prolific architects, with buildings all around the world.
And, today, the British architect was awarded his profession's most distinguished honor, the Pritzker Prize.
Jeffrey Brown spoke to him for our arts and culture series, Canvas.
JEFFREY BROWN: David Chipperfield has designed museums, in addition to the St. Louis Art Museum, the Turner Contemporary in the U.K., the James Simon Gallery in Berlin, civic buildings, retail stores, apartment houses, more than 100 built works over four decades, and an espresso maker.
He's less known for a signature look or style than for work that responds to specific places and needs.
DAVID CHIPPERFIELD, 2023 Pritzker Prize Winner: I would hope that there's a certain consistency of approach and a certain consistency of process and ethos in our work.
But I am very concerned that buildings are of their location more than of their author.
The important thing is to make a building for Mexico City or Des Moines, Iowa, or Berlin.
It shouldn't be an obsessive idea that it's a recognizable signa, signature building.
That's reducing architecture to becoming a sort of product and object.
JEFFREY BROWN: I saw an interview where you said: "As I get older, I am much less interested in architecture, per se.
I'm more interested in the societal issues of architecture."
What does that mean?
DAVID CHIPPERFIELD: I suppose, putting it very bluntly, as architects, we are very concerned, of course, with our products, you know, what - - the buildings we make.
We can see them as, in a way, sculptures.
We can see them for their physical and creative qualities.
But we also should be seeing them for their societal worth and their purpose.
And there's a lot of mismatching in that.
So, I think I'm increasingly concerned with what architecture is for and in what ways we build our cities and how useful or useless architecture is for the general public.
JEFFREY BROWN: One unusual aspect of his work, transforming older buildings, preserving what holds history and beauty, while adapting them for today.
Among these, in Berlin, the 19th century Neues Museum, left devastated during World War II, given a new life by Chipperfield in 2009, and, completely different, the refurbishment of what's considered a 20th century masterwork, by Mies van der Rohe, the new National Gallery, and, in Venice, a recent restoration of a building that dates to the 16th century.
It's a challenge he believes his profession must embrace, rather than focusing so much on the new.
DAVID CHIPPERFIELD: From a sustainability perspective and a resource perspective, we will be working much more with existing buildings, not just monumental ones, and not just the obviously significant ones.
But I think we are going to change our attitude towards the reuse and the refurbishment and the refitting of more ordinary buildings.
And I think this will be a big shift in the next 10 years.
JEFFREY BROWN: Does that require a shift in thinking among architects and your profession?
DAVID CHIPPERFIELD: I think it does.
I think it makes a big shift.
And I think it's challenging, but also, I believe, quite rewarding.
There is something very collaborative about restoration projects.
And I believe that that's very important for the profession to embrace.
And I think it's a way back for my profession to become slightly more useful to society, where we're sort of seen to be artistic at the best and commercial at the worst.
We haven't quite made up our minds whether were profiteers or artists.
I believe that architects, we have all been trained to believe that we can help build better cities, we can build better places, and that that's the basis of quality of life.
JEFFREY BROWN: What do you think is most important now for the health of our cities today and what architects can bring to it?
DAVID CHIPPERFIELD: The most obvious is environmental crisis, global warming, and the fact that we're going to have to be more clever about how we use resources.
The construction industry contributes an enormous amount of damage to our environment.
So, we have to think about how we might mitigate that, limit that, and address that.
And the second existential crisis is social inequality, and, again, cities and where we live contribute or compensate for inequality.
They exaggerate or they level up, to some degree.
So, again, I think, as architects, we should be provoking and encouraging politicians and our society at large to take more care about the cities we live in, not just the rich bits and the glamorous bits, not just the shopping centers, but where people live.
And I believe that the reflection that we have all been able to make or being forced to make over these last years with COVID, staying at home much more work being in our locality much more, I think, has -- and being with our families much more, has reminded us of these simple facts.
JEFFREY BROWN: David Chipperfield is now working on what could be his biggest project in Galicia in the northwest of Spain, where he's created a foundation to help plan and develop the region's long-term economy and environmental sustainability.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jeffrey Brown.
AMNA NAWAZ: And we will be back shortly, but, first, take a moment to hear from your local PBS station.
GEOFF BENNETT: It's a chance to offer your support, which helps keep programs like ours on the air.
AMNA NAWAZ: For those of you staying with us, the rise in demand for electric vehicles is spotlighting a looming supply shortage of lithium used for batteries.
Stephanie Sy traveled to California's Salton Sea to explore the promise and challenges of meeting the country's energy needs.
Here now is an encore of her report.
STEPHANIE SY: In the most southeastern stretch of the Southern California desert sits a most unusual piece of the planet.
It's like a Dr. Seuss book with sound effects.
Wow, it's fascinating.
What we're hearing is what?
MICHAEL MCKIBBEN, University of California, Riverside: CO2.
STEPHANIE SY: Carbon dioxide is generated by reactions between superheated salty water called brine and rock deep in the bowels of the earth.
Geologist Michael McKibben says the brine is full of lithium.
MICHAEL MCKIBBEN: The attractiveness of geothermal brines and oil field brands is that the plumbing system is already there.
The fluid is already been brought up.
STEPHANIE SY: This sound of the gurgling... MICHAEL MCKIBBEN: Is, well, the sound of bad plumbing.
(LAUGHTER) STEPHANIE SY: It's the sound of economic opportunity.
Since the 1980s, companies have tapped into the hot brine for geothermal energy, it would take just a few more steps to recover the lithium in the used brine.
Today, the U.S. sources most of its lithium from South America and processes it in China.
But what if the supply chain could all be right here?
It's a natural twofer?
MICHAEL MCKIBBEN: And it could supply all of the U.S. needs of lithium could come out of this geothermal field.
STEPHANIE SY: The Salton Sea area alone could produce nearly six times the lithium currently produced globally.
And McKibben says the way it could be done here would be less harmful to the environment than other methods, such as crushing it out of hard rocks.
The only barrier remains affordable technology that can extract lithium efficiently at a massive scale.
A newer player in town, Controlled Thermal Resources, has been testing their lithium extraction protocols in the area known as Hell's Kitchen.
JIM TURNER, COO, Controlled Thermal Resources: We have a process.
It works great.
STEPHANIE SY: Is the process scalable?
JIM TURNER: Oh, yes, definitely.
STEPHANIE SY: Chief operating officer Jim Turner says the plant was designed to reuse and recycle as much as possible, including the water that's needed to separate lithium.
For every ton of lithium produced, some 50,000 gallons of water will be needed.
And as evidenced by the shrinking Salton Sea, water is increasingly scarce here.
What does come from the Colorado River mostly goes to municipalities and agriculture, the economic backbone of the valley.
You do think that, if Colorado River water really starts to go down, that there could be a little bit of tension?
JIM TURNER: Yes, there probably will be a lot of tension.
There already is.
And that's a very difficult problem to solve.
FRANK RUIZ, Audubon California: We are experiencing the worst drought in modern history, but I don't even call it a drought anymore.
I call it the new normalcy, because the water is simply not here.
STEPHANIE SY: Frank Ruiz is the Salton Sea program director for Audubon California and sits on the state's Lithium Valley Commission.
He says the ecosystem, a crucial habitat for millions of migratory birds, is near collapse.
FRANK RUIZ: This is probably one of the worst environmental crisis on the West.
In California, we have lost over 97 percent of the wetlands in the last few decades, either to the agricultural industry or to urban developments.
STEPHANIE SY: Lithium extraction here could easily grow to a multibillion-dollar industry that drives the transition away from fossil fuels.
FRANK RUIZ: If California is going to electrify every single vehicle by 2035, we're going to need every piece of lithium we can get.
But -- and I understand that sense of urgency.
But we also need to be careful not to rush it in a way that we're going to be cutting corners here.
STEPHANIE SY: But, if done right, many say lithium could benefit the long-suffering region, one of the poorest in the Golden State.
The Buckshot Deli & Diner sits on the deserted highway leading to the concentration of geothermal power plants.
It may be the only eatery for miles, but it also serves up a mean plate of machaca con huevos.
Ruben Hernandez owns the establishment with his wife.
What are your concerns about the lithium industry coming here?
RUBEN HERNANDEZ, Owner, Buckshot Deli & Diner: Well, the concern is for the revenue for the little town, this little town, some of the companies come, and they just want -- the first time they come, and they say, oh, here is money, and they leave.
Then they take all the profit, and they don't leave nothing here.
STEPHANIE SY: He says the surrounding towns needs services, especially better access to health care.
ELIZABETH JAIME, North Shore Resident (through translator): There are a lot of people who have allergies, have asthma or nosebleeds.
And there's been a lot of research, but we have never been given a clear answer on the cause.
STEPHANIE SY: Elizabeth Jaime's family has lived in the North Shore neighborhood for 12 years with a view of the Salton Sea from the backyard.
Her son, Lorenzo, has asthma, which researchers have linked to the toxic dust blowing off the Salton Sea's exposed lake bed.
The region has some of the worst air quality in the country, and the children have a higher rate of asthma-related E.R.
visits than in most parts of California.
Jamie is worried lithium extraction will bring more health hazards.
ELIZABETH JAIME (through translator): We don't know what is in the air.
This is why we are worried about lithium.
What more problems is it going to bring?
They say it's going to have less of an impact, but they're not saying there's going to be no impact.
REP. RAUL RUIZ (D-CA): What we have here is momentum that we haven't seen around the Salton Sea.
STEPHANIE SY: Representative Raul Ruiz, whose district includes the Salton Sea, wants to leverage that momentum by getting the burgeoning lithium interests to help foot the bill for the community's problems.
REP. RAUL RUIZ: They have been sick and tired of politicians that come in and promise to fix the Salton Sea.
And they haven't seen any progress.
STEPHANIE SY: But what does the lithium industry have to do with the Salton Sea?
Why should they have to pay for that?
REP. RAUL RUIZ: Because they're benefiting from the resources of the environment that is at jeopardy to the local residents.
STEPHANIE SY: Even before lithium has proven a viable industry here, California has enacted a tax on any lithium produced that will go partially toward Salton Sea remediation efforts and local community programs.
Not everyone agrees with the move.
But, so far, the tax hasn't scared off developers.
And local officials have even bigger hopes for the area.
REP. RAUL RUIZ: This is an incredible opportunity, not just for the local community, the state, but also for our nation, because it is a matter of national security to have our own steady source of lithium and batteries, instead of relying on other countries like China.
STEPHANIE SY: Back at the diner, Ruben Hernandez says he'd just like to know when the lithium plants will be open, so he can prepare for more customers.
RUBEN HERNANDEZ: All of that people, they are going to need their housing.
They're going to need service.
And maybe the town going to grow up.
STEPHANIE SY: For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Stephanie Sy in the Imperial Valley, California.
GEOFF BENNETT: Artist and photographer Wesaam Al-Badry's family fled his home country of Iraq at the start of the Gulf War.
That experience has shaped much of his work, which focuses on capturing human struggle with dignity and love.
Tonight, he shares his Brief But Spectacular take.
WESAAM AL-BADRY, Artist and Photographer: I always wanted to make people as beautiful as possible, right?
And if I'm doing documentary, if I'm doing my art, it's like the Arabs -- if you Google anything about Arab, it's just always with a gun, being violent, or being abusive, right?
Like, we could never look beautiful.
And, to me, that didn't sit well.
I was born in Nasiriyah, Iraq, in 1984.
I remember, as a child, like, I was sitting outside our house, and you hear that the jets flying over bombing Iraqi military.
Then you hear a few minutes later the Iraqi military bombing the civilians, my grandmother screaming at my mom: "You need to get your kids out of the city.You need to get your kids out of the city."
There was blood all over the streets.
Like, that was my first introduction to people dying and death, is that I thought they're going to sleep.
My sister, she was about close to 2 weeks old.
You know, she was born, and we had to flee, and I had to carry my other brother on my back.
And my other brother carried the other one.
And my mom had to carry my newborn sister and my other sibling.
And we walked for four days in the rain, mud and rain, to get to safety.
We were living in the middle of a desert with nothing.
There was no tents.
There was no water.
Then, after that, we got to move inland and inland over time.
We stayed for four-and-a-half years there.
Our name was picked in a lottery, and we ended up moving to the Midwest in the United States, Lincoln, Nebraska.
And that's where I grew up.
When we first moved here in '94, I was about to start sixth grade, and we lived in this low-income housing unit.
And -- but to me, it was beautiful.
And I cannot explain it to you when you have a good night's sleep.
You know, that's something people don't understand.
Like, having running water and a good night's sleep, like, it just changes a lot.
I picked up a camera in a refugee camp.
That was my first introduction to a camera.
For the longest time, I didn't have film.
But people, like, entertained the idea of this little kid trying to escape this reality.
We really don't talk about our experience.
Like, when we sit around, we joke, we laugh, we fight, but we don't talk about that time in our life, like as if it never existed.
I think we feel ashamed of it.
I'm not a unique case.
I'm one who gets a camera and got a mic to speak out about it.
Like, my whole belief is like, if I went through it and I -- why can't I help other people?
My main two personal projects have to deal with my family history and who we are and what we're -- how did we get here?
And going from that is, I'm doing my Arabs in America.
Like, what does it mean to be an Arab in America?
And, basically, it's like everybody's included, right, trans and queer Arab communities.
I want to tell these stories.
I want to show up to places and work with people and meet people where they're at.
Seeing yourself as beautiful, it can start the healing process.
And I -- that's what I want to strive to do in my work.
My name is Wesaam Al-Badry.
This is my Brief But Spectacular take on how refugees are beautiful.
GEOFF BENNETT: And, as always, you can watch more Brief But Spectacular videos online at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.
AMNA NAWAZ: And that is the "NewsHour" for tonight.
Join us tomorrow for Judy Woodruff's latest report in her series America at a Crossroads.
She will examine how politics and social identity have become so intertwined.
I'm Amna Nawaz.
GEOFF BENNETT: And I'm Geoff Bennett.
Thanks for spending part of your evening with us.