PBS NewsHour full episode November 24, 2017

PBS NewsHour full episode November 24, 2017
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening.
    I'm Judy Woodruff.
    On the "NewsHour" tonight: Hundreds are killed and more injured after militants attack a
    mosque in Egypt, making it one of the country's deadliest attacks in modern history.
    And it's Friday.
    Mark Shields and David Brooks are here.
    We talk former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's apparent split from President Trump
    amid the Russia investigation, and where the Republican tax bill stands.
    Plus: Lin-Manuel Miranda sings out for Puerto Rico.
    The "Hamilton" creator takes on a new role as political activist after Hurricane Maria.
    LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA, Artist/Political Activist: Many of the needs of the 3.5 million American
    citizens on the island are still not being met.
    I'm here because we need to be here and we need to continue to amplify the needs of the
    JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."
    JUDY WOODRUFF: A mosque in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula was the scene of mayhem and carnage today.
    At least 235 people were killed, and more than 100 injured, as militants attacked a
    crowded house of worship during Friday prayers in the town of Bir al-Abd.
    The attackers detonated explosives and shot worshipers as they tried to escape.
    Egypt's government declared three days of mourning across the nation.
    President Trump condemned the attack, and spoke this afternoon with Egypt's President
    Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
    Earlier, Sisi declared that the attack will not go unpunished.
    For more, I spoke a short time ago with New York Times Cairo bureau chief Declan Walsh.
    Declan Walsh, thank you for joining us.
    This seems to have been an unusually ruthless attack.
    They kept on shooting as the ambulances arrived?
    DECLAN WALSH, The New York Times: Absolutely.
    That's right.
    There were -- the team -- the gunmen arrived in several vehicles.
    They split up into teams.
    Some of the gunmen went inside the mosque.
    They started shooting the worshipers immediately after a bomb had gone off.
    Other gunmen waited outside and shot people as they tried to flee.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: And it was unusual that, in the past, they have been going typically after
    This time, it was at a mosque.
    DECLAN WALSH: That's right.
    This is extremely unusual.
    This attack is extremely unusual, both by the size of the attack, the number of people
    who have been killed.
    This is the largest attack in modern Egyptian history.
    And it's also, as you say, by dint of the target.
    Over the last year, Islamic State have carried out a number of attacks on Christian, Coptic
    Christian churches here in Egypt, but they have never turned their guns on a Muslim mosque.
    Now, we do not yet have a claim of responsibility for this attack, but it's important to note
    that Islamic State, the local affiliate of Islamic State is the most significant, the
    most powerful group that is operating in that area, and they had previously made threats
    against Sufi Muslims.
    So these are Muslims who belong -- who have a particular practice which extremists find
    to be heretical.
    And they have made threats against this group in Sinai in the past.
    They have killed about a year ago a senior Sunni cleric.
    They beheaded him, and they said that there would be more violence to come.
    And now they appear to have made good on that threat.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Why isn't there more security in these places?
    DECLAN WALSH: That's an excellent question.
    The Egyptian state has been battling the Islamic State in Sinai now for the last three or four
    It has poured huge resources into the fight in that part of the country.
    And we, as the foreign press and even most of the Egyptian press, have relatively little
    visibility on what goes on over there because it's a closed area to foreigners and indeed
    to many Egyptians.
    But we do know that there are ambushes against the Egyptian military and that the Egyptian
    military has responded with some force.
    So, this again is going to raise questions, particularly for President Sisi, as to why
    his military has been unable to push back the Islamic State, to stop them from carrying
    out attacks like this with such impunity.
    It's worth recalling that earlier on today, it seems that these groups, these gunmen who
    possibly numbered in the dozens were able to carry out this attack with no hindrance.
    They even waited at the site of the attack while the first-responders and the ambulances
    turned up, and they opened fire on some of the ambulances.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, as you point out, President El-Sisi said he's going to do something about
    He made a statement today, this will not go unpunished.
    But, as you have point out, there have been these other attacks.
    Do people believe that he will do something about this?
    DECLAN WALSH: I think there's going to be a particular type of pressure on President
    Sisi because a mosque has been attacked this time.
    On the other hand, this is an attack that's taken place in Sinai.
    And often, the rest of Egypt is referred to here as mainland Egypt.
    That's the main cities like Cairo and Alexandria.
    That's where the attacks against Christians took place last year.
    And they certainly did ramp up the pressure on President Sisi, not just from the Christian
    community, but I think from Egyptians across the board, who were worried at the sight of
    these Islamic State attacks coming into their capital and into other major cities.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Declan Walsh with The New York Times joining us from Cairo, thank you.
    DECLAN WALSH: Thank you.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day's other news: The government of Turkey says President Trump
    has agreed to stop arming Kurdish fighters in Syria.
    The foreign minister says Mr. Trump made the pledge in a phone call to President Recep
    Tayyip Erdogan.
    Later, the White House informed Erdogan of -- quote -- "pending adjustments" to support
    for groups on the ground.
    The Kurdish fighters have scored major victories against Islamic State, but Turkey considers
    them terrorists.
    In Zimbabwe, the new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was sworn in today.
    Tens of thousands turned out to see the ceremony, but Robert Mugabe, who stepped down this week
    under pressure, didn't join them.
    John Ray of Independent Television News reports from the capital, Harare.
    JOHN RAY: The trace of a smile on the crocodile, a nickname earned through fear, not affection,
    today, acclaimed president of Zimbabwe, his own and his nation's reputation in need of
    A huge crowd danced and sang many of the same songs they sang once for Robert Mugabe, while
    the military who removed him from power paraded for their new commander in chief.
    This is the first time Zimbabwe has sworn in a new leader in almost 40 years.
    He took the oath of office.
    EMMERSON MNANGAGWA, President of Zimbabwe: So help me God.
    JOHN RAY: Assumed the mantle of head of state and promised his people a fresh start.
    EMMERSON MNANGAGWA: I solemnly promise that I shall, to the best of my abilities, serve
    everyone, everyone who calls and considers Zimbabwe their home.
    JOHN RAY: More muted was the response to his tribute to Mugabe, the specter at the feast.
    EMMERSON MNANGAGWA: To me personally, he remains a father, mentor, comrade-in-arms and my leader.
    JOHN RAY: The Zimbabwe Mugabe left behind needs jobs and foreign investment.
    Even Mnangagwa is still subject to U.S. sanctions.
    This former spy chief accused in the past of helping rig elections now promises free
    and fair elections next year.
    So, after 10 days that have changed everything we knew about Zimbabwe, the country has a
    new president.
    But he's here as much because of a palace coup as a popular uprising, so how deep will
    the change really be?
    From Mnangagwa's hometown, we met one family who traveled 200 miles from 2:00 in the morning
    to see history unfolding.
    Expectations are high.
    WOMAN: Our town, it has been forgotten, the town, which was just dying.
    And now we are hoping that there is going to be -- there is going to be life.
    JOHN RAY: The new president will need time to deliver his promises, but he has already
    given his people hope.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: That report from John Ray of Independent Television News.
    Interpol has announced 40 arrests in a bid to break up a human trafficking ring in Africa.
    The international police organization says the operation was carried out in Chad, Mali,
    Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal earlier this month.
    Nearly 500 people were rescued, including 236 children.
    A top Pakistani militant wanted by the U.S. was freed today, on the orders of a Pakistani
    Hafiz Saeed allegedly founded an outlawed group that linked to a 2008 attack in Mumbai,
    The attack killed nearly 170 people.
    This morning in Lahore, Saeed greeted supporters at Friday prayers.
    His lawyer accused the U.S. and others of trying to block Saeed's release.
    KAMRAN NASEER ABRASI, Attorney for Hafiz Saeed: The government officials produced many fake
    and frivolous reports with regards to the Hafiz Saeed, but the honorable court disagreed,
    and we have produced that he has no concern with any proscribed organization or activities.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: The United States has offered a $10 million bounty for Saeed, but he's repeatedly
    been detained and then released.
    An appeals court in South Africa today more than doubled the prison sentence of Oscar
    Pistorius, the first amputee to run in the Olympics.
    The court ordered him to serve another 13 years and five months for the murder of his
    girlfriend in 2013.
    That is on top of more than a year-and-a-half that he has already served.
    Prosecutors had appealed the initial six-year sentence.
    Back in this country, Senator Al Franken has issued a new apology, after new allegations
    of sexual harassment.
    He said in a statement last night -- quote -- "I feel terribly that I have made some
    women feel badly, and for that, I am so sorry."
    Four women have now accused the Minnesota Democrat of groping them.
    He faces a Senate Ethics Committee investigation.
    Black Friday shoppers hit the stores with abandon today.
    Macy's and other big retailers reported a healthy business boost.
    Meanwhile, online giant Amazon said Thanksgiving Day orders on its mobile app jumped 50 percent
    from a year ago.
    And on Wall Street, stocks made a modest advance in a shortened trading day.
    The Dow Jones industrial average gained 31 points to close at 23558.
    The Nasdaq rose 21, and the S&P 500 added five.
    Still to come on the "NewsHour": how a school in Rwanda is empowering women to become business
    leaders; a look at the NFL's controversy-packed year; Mark Shields and David Brooks analyze
    the week's news; and much more.
    Now to Rwanda, where a college is trying to break a cycle of violence and discrimination
    by empowering women through education.
    Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports.
    It's part of his series, Agents for Change.
    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: During the workweek, 30-year old Nadia Kubwimana is a catering manager
    at the Marriott Hotel, one of the newer entries into a glitzy skyline of Rwanda's capital,
    On weekends, she steps into a very different world, helping mentor 250 women in her hometown
    just outside Kigali.
    Together, they have started 42 different small businesses, ranging from vegetable markets,
    to handmade baskets, to a cooperative that sells coal for cooking stoves.
    These women meet in a tiny storage shed located in a less trafficked area on the outskirts
    of the city.
    NADIA KUBWIMANA, Business Mentor: They wish to grow their business.
    The problem they have, as you see where we are, it's far from the road, the main road.
    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Kubwimana is a recent graduate of the Akilah Institute, a two-year
    college which trains women to be leaders in the world of business.
    NADIA KUBWIMANA: From Akilah, I learn about leadership.
    I learn to be confident.
    I learn how I can manage a small business.
    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The school is part of an effort by Rwanda to leave behind its image
    of a violent country wracked by genocide.
    Rwanda's president, Paul Kagame, has been criticized for human rights violations and
    for stifling dissent.
    He recently won reelection by a lopsided 99 percent after changing the constitution to
    extend his reign.
    Still, the country has made considerable strides in reducing poverty.
    In the 23 years since the genocide, Rwanda has been a world leader in bringing down infant
    mortality, maternal mortality.
    Life expectancy has climbed from 48 to 58.
    But the statistic that makes this country unique in the world reflects the role of women
    in all of this.
    Half of this country's Supreme Court justices are female, and so are two-thirds of its members
    of parliament.
    In spite of the impressive statistics, many women have not participated in those gains.
    The Akilah Institute, the first all-women's college in the country, wants to change that.
    It was founded seven years ago by Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes, a Vanderbilt University graduate
    who had come to volunteer in Rwanda in 2008 and found that only 7 percent of women entered
    college and nearly 85 percent of women made less than $2 a day, if they found work at
    At Akilah, the emphasis is on preparing women for well-paying jobs and financial independence.
    Aline Kabanda is the school's director.
    ALINE KABANDA, Director, Akilah Institute: The Akilah founders went to the private sector
    and asked, where do you see the country's fastest growing sectors of the economy?
    Where are the skills gaps?
    What do you need?
    And really make sure that, one, the choice of the programs, as well the curriculum itself
    really mirrors the expectations of the private sector.
    WOMAN: When you do something wrong to a customer, you're ruining the company's image.
    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The school focuses on three areas of study: entrepreneurship, the
    hospitality industry and information technology.
    It recruits half of its students from rural areas, the other half from Kigali, and offers
    generous financial aid to attract and encourage students who otherwise would have no chance
    of receiving a college education.
    But before teaching any specific skills for a career path, the school works to develop
    the women's self-confidence, says instructor Jackie Semakula.
    JACKIE SEMAKULA, Akilah Institute: First, we build in them the spirit of believing in
    themselves, taking them through a growth mind-set class, where their ability to excel and grow
    is not fixed, so they start believing, oh, I can do this.
    And if they try it again today, try it again tomorrow, you're building self-belief, and,
    hence, no limit.
    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: For many of the young students, Akilah is the first place they have
    heard about gender equality.
    Sandrine Sangwa now studies I.T., but back in high school, she says, girls were not encouraged
    to develop computer skills.
    SANDRINE SANGWA, Student: We were supposed to sit like three children on one computer,
    and, at that time, they allowed a boy to stand in front of the keyboard, so like he can be
    the one who is doing the keyboard.
    They don't see the potential that we have as girls.
    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Allen Ingabire, who is studying hospitality management, realizes
    that many young women don't see their potential either.
    ALLEN INGABIRE, Student: Some girls will not come to Akilah.
    They still feel they can't do that.
    Here at Akilah, we have been given this opportunity to et exposed to leaders, to learn leadership.
    So, it is our time to go out and tell our young sisters, tell our friends that, you
    can do this, even though your friend is telling you that you can't.
    ALINE KABANDA: We're looking at the next generation of female leaders, and then we're telling
    them, you have a role to play as a leader of yourself, as a leader of your family, as
    a leader of your community.
    And that will trickle down to the whole country.
    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Jacky Mutama is a good example of the shift that is starting to taking
    place in Rwanda.
    In 2010, she was a 35-year-old housewife with two small children, but she was restless.
    JACKY MUTAMA, Graduate: I wasn't interested to stay home as a housewife.
    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: She became part of the first class of students at Akilah, graduating
    in 2012, and then pursued a dream of owning a farm.
    Mutama bought 17 acres of land outside Kigali and now manages four full-time and several
    seasonal workers, growing nuts, bananas, sorghum and yucca.
    And she's looking to expand her business.
    She knows that her success will help provide jobs for others in her community.
    And she's also become a role model for her two daughters, who say they dream of going
    to Harvard and Oxford when they grow up.
    Jacky Mutama gives much of the credit to Akilah.
    JACKY MUTAMA: I think Akilah makes you a new creature.
    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Makes you into a new creature?
    JACKY MUTAMA: Yes, how to manage things, how to become as a leader.
    FRED DE SAM LAZARO: The Akilah Institute is also hoping to expand in the coming years,
    building colleges in seven other African countries.
    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Fred de Sam Lazaro in Kigali, Rwanda.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Fred's reporting is part of the Under-Told Stories Project at the University
    of St. Thomas in Minnesota.
    Now, for many Americans, the traditions of Thanksgiving week include food, family and
    very often football.
    But this year, the sport is, at least for the moment, struggling to find its footing.
    Jeffrey Brown has the story.
    JEFFREY BROWN: The national football league finds itself mired in a number of controversies
    this season, most prominent, player protests over police mistreatment of African-Americans
    and the reaction from President Trump and other critics about taking a knee.
    There are also continuing concerns over player safety and the status of a concussion settlement
    with retired players and, topping it off, a recent civil war of sorts between two of
    the most powerful people in the league, commissioner Roger Goodell and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry
    In the meantime, the games do go on, but ratings have fallen.
    Seth Wickersham covers the NFL for ESPN and joins us now.
    Thanks for joining us, Seth.
    So, let's start with the player protests.
    How are players and teams dealing with it now, and is it still boiling or do you see
    things calming down at all?
    SETH WICKERSHAM, ESPN: It's largely faded.
    I think that the number of players that are kneeling as a protest are down to two now.
    And, you know, I think that it's been an interesting moment to look at the NFL as this has happened,
    because a lot of the owners of teams and a lot of league executives want a mandate that
    would force the players to stand.
    And Roger Goodell, who has been accused by the players of often serving as a puppet for
    the billionaire ruthless owners, has backed them in their right to protest and has not
    backed a mandate.
    And so it's been a really interesting issue to watch unfold, especially going back to
    a story that I wrote a month ago with Don Van Natta where we quoted Bob McNair, the
    owner of the Houston Texans, in an owners meeting, saying -- quote -- "We can't have
    the inmates running the prison."
    SETH WICKERSHAM: And that caused all kinds of trouble, caused a lot of stress between
    But I think that largely right now the anthem has faded as an issue.
    And, fortunately, for people like me, there are plenty of other things to write about.
    Well, one of them of course, is this question of the violence and the concussions.
    So, it's interesting, because there's what happens on the field, where there seems to
    be more attention to concussions.
    There's that long-term settlement with former players.
    And then there's this question of how much it's affecting fans, you know, how much people
    are maybe turned off to the game because of it.
    SETH WICKERSHAM: Where you're seeing the biggest effects from head injuries, more than concussions,
    I think just generally, it's head injuries, is on the youth levels.
    And that is a real problem.
    I think, in the NFL, its ratings drop, I don't think, has a lot to do with the violence of
    the game.
    And I think that there is a war right now within the NFL that's kind of playing out
    where there are owners who think that fans come to the NFL for violence, and they don't
    actually want the game to get to much safer, because it would sort of end up in this weird
    middle ground that would end up entertaining and pleasing nobody.
    JEFFREY BROWN: Where are things with that settlement?
    Because that's been that's been going on a few years now.
    SETH WICKERSHAM: yes, it's going on a few years, and it is not going to end anytime
    I think that, like, right now the settlement is mired in litigation, and even the players
    who won settlements are being targeted by certain kinds of attorneys that, you know,
    can promise more and aren't delivering.
    This entire thing has been -- it's been a mess.
    JEFFREY BROWN: You think about people wanting perhaps fans who want to come and see the
    action, and including the violence.
    But we also have seen a number of big stars injured, right?
    I mean, this is a -- it always happens every year, but this year especially, Aaron Rodgers
    and others.
    And that really affects the quality of the games, I would think.
    SETH WICKERSHAM: There is no question that, you know, so many of these big stars going
    down has had a huge impact on the game.
    And I think that, in a weird way, it's what's elevated this battle going on right now between
    Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell and a few other owners over who is going to serve as commissioner
    next, and whether that will be Roger Goodell, because the games themselves have been kind
    of flat, and not as many people are watching them.
    And yet this stuff that's going on in the executive suites is really fascinating.
    JEFFREY BROWN: Explain that a little bit, especially for those who don't follow especially
    the internal side of this, Jerry Jones, a very sort of familiar figure to football fans,
    a very powerful owner, in a very unusually public spat with the commissioner.
    SETH WICKERSHAM: Yes, Jerry Jones, during Roger Goodell's 11-year tenure, has been one
    of his most ardent supporters.
    I mean, he supported Roger Goodell as they have gone from crisis to crisis to crisis,
    from head injuries, to the Ray Rice domestic violence dispute a couple of years ago, to
    all of the gates, you know, Spygate, Bountygate, Deflategate.
    And now we're seeing this huge public civil war breaking out, with Jerry Jones leading
    the charge, with not many people behind him.
    And what he wants out of this is unclear.
    It's clear that he doesn't want Roger Goodell to continue being commissioner of the NFL
    under the current terms, and he doesn't want him to get much more money to do it.
    And that raises the question, does he want someone else to do it?
    JEFFREY BROWN: So come back finally to this question of the impact on the game, and particularly
    the ratings being down.
    You said earlier you don't think it's because people are being turned off by the concussions
    and the violence.
    Does anyone know what is going on?
    SETH WICKERSHAM: It's a problem.
    And even people within the NFL aren't able to get clear answers on it.
    Clearly, a lot of it has to do with viewer habits changing.
    I think that a lot of it has to do with people being turned off by the NFL, maybe not totally
    because of head injuries, but because of the way that they have handled things.
    A small percentage of them may be these anthem protests.
    But college football ratings are up.
    So, America is not losing its appetite for football as much as people seem -- as people
    seem to think.
    But there is a problem with the NFL.
    And it's a perception problem, and I think that that's what Jerry Jones, on top of everything
    else, is worried about, is that there are these systemic forces that are coming at the
    NFL right now.
    And he's asking, has Roger Goodell shown the ability to navigate the league through these
    things enough to the point that we trust him to navigate the league going forward and end
    up in a stronger place?
    JEFFREY BROWN: You know, it's still worth saying, though, that the NFL is still America's
    biggest and most lucrative sport, right?
    That hasn't changed.
    SETH WICKERSHAM: It hasn't changed a bit.
    You know, baseball sets their records in World Series ratings, and the NBA has said NBA finals
    ratings lately, and, you know, look, the Super Bowl still draws well over 100 million people
    a year.
    That's multiple, multiple times the amount that those other sports draw at their peak.
    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Seth Wickersham of ESPN, thanks very much.
    SETH WICKERSHAM: Thank you.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us.
    Coming up on the "NewsHour": a guide to the best books of the year; and "Hamilton" creator
    Lin-Manuel Miranda speaks out for Puerto Rico's recovery.
    But first: Another week of sexual misconduct allegations plagued the political and media
    And with Congress returning next week, we look ahead to Republican efforts on taxes
    and more.
    And for all that, we turn to the analysis of Shields and Brooks.
    That's syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.
    Welcome, gentlemen.
    So, let's start, Mark, with the sexual allegations cascading across new names this week.
    It's crossing party lines, Al Franken among the Democrats.
    Congressman Joe Barton, not sexual harassment, but a personal relationship, pictures have
    What are we -- we know that politicians and people in the media aren't perfect, never
    have been, but what are we learning now from all this?
    MARK SHIELDS: Well, I think we're learning, Judy, the dimensions of it.
    I mean, this isn't the pass at the office Christmas party after two drinks, "Would you
    like a ride home, Sally?"
    I mean, this is abusive stuff, and it's male-directed, it's male-dominated, it's male power.
    I'm embarrassed for my gender to read this stuff.
    I'm appalled.
    Quite frankly, I have not led a cloistered life, but men exposing themselves, just this
    is a form of human depravity and abuse that is unrecorded and unreported.
    And I think it's -- I think we're seeing a sea change in attitudes in this country.
    The one encouraging aspect is, generationally, younger men find the harassment -- they agree
    more with women about the prevalence of it and the unacceptability of it.
    And for that, I'm cheered and encouraged.
    But I have to say, it's not a party thing.
    Obviously, it's not an ideological thing.
    It's a power thing, and it's a male thing overwhelmingly.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: David, do you think we may be seeing a turn, a change in people's willingness
    to put up with this?
    DAVID BROOKS: Yes, well, certainly the willingness of people to come out, the encouragement of
    people to come out, the instinctive siding with the people who come out, which I think
    is the right posture.
    I think we are seeing a change.
    And what interest me is, I was wondering, would we -- Harvey Weinstein, that probably
    would have happened.
    But if Donald Trump were not president, would it have had these massive ripple effects,
    so it becomes a big national change?
    And I think the reaction to Trump is part of the deal here.
    And we have talked about Trump maybe polluting our national culture, but it could be the
    reaction to Trump is also making us hypersensitive and making us want to correct the national
    And so you could be a -- see a reaction to -- the Trump wave, I think, has lowered norms
    and the standards, but a lot of people would say, no, we're not happy with this, we're
    going to raise norms and standards.
    And so I hope this is part of that larger reestablishment of what is decency.
    MARK SHIELDS: Judy, one point, just a minor point, but we find out this week that there
    have been $17 million in settlement payments to members of the staffs on Capitol Hill who
    have been sexually abused or harassed or mistreated.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Taxpayer money.
    MARK SHIELDS: Taxpayer money, 256, I think, settlements.
    And the idea that -- yes, you want to protect obviously the victim and the identity of the
    victim and the pain of the victim, but the idea that this is private and not public,
    I mean, this ought to be bipartisan.
    It ought to be Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan walking into the House Administration Committee
    or the House Clerk's Office and saying, all right, these records are going public, and
    every member who was involved in a settlement has to be known and the amount paid and the
    And, as I say, protect the innocent, but don't protect the guilty, especially when there
    is taxpayer money involved.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, David, that part about nondisclosure is just one part of this convoluted,
    complicated process that people who have been victims in working in the Congress or working
    for a member of Congress have had to go through in order to file even a complaint.
    No, and you think about it, so many -- every summer, hundreds, thousands of college students
    are going into these offices as interns.
    And you don't know where these kids are going.
    You don't know who their boss is.
    And there has been, on Capitol Hill, this back-channel gossip of who is a good boss,
    who is a bad boss, who is abusive.
    But the idea that taxpayer money is not -- is going to cover this stuff up is -- just whoever
    set that up, it's just mind-boggling, frankly.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: And I have to say, when it comes to the young people, whether they're
    coming out of college or wherever, Mark, the people who have been accused in the news media,
    whether it's Charlie Rose, Mark Halperin and others, so often, these are just interns or
    young women who are just starting out in their careers, in their lives, and they become the
    main victims.
    MARK SHIELDS: They become the victims.
    And the number of stories, Judy, of young women who had gone into journalism, and that
    this experience, whether it was at NPR, or Charlie Rose, or Mark Halperin, and it soured
    them on the career, it led to a career change, that, you know, it's a loss to the country.
    It's a -- the pain, they carry it with them every day of their life.
    DAVID BROOKS: And one of the things that's striking to me about it -- and this was true
    of "The Charlie Rose Show," which I have been on many, many times -- is the narcissism of
    it, that the people who are perpetrating it can't even see the human beings on the other
    side of what's happening.
    There is a saying that obscenity is covering up the soul of another human being.
    And when -- it's -- they -- it's as if the other person is not just even another human
    being, and they just dehumanize the person.
    And, of course, that's how it feels.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it's incredibly disturbing.
    And I know I'm one of many who thinks we have to continue to report on this...
    MARK SHIELDS: You're right.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: ... to continue to talk about it as long as we know that it's going on.
    Mark, so much else to talk about this week, but one is the Russia investigation.
    It was reported in The New York Times yesterday that the lawyers representing Michael Flynn,
    the president's former national security adviser, are no longer communicating with the president's
    legal team, which could mean some kind of negotiation, cooperation is under way with
    the special counsel.
    We don't know that for sure.
    MARK SHIELDS: Right.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: But this could mean something is happening.
    MARK SHIELDS: It -- whatever it means, Judy, in all likelihood, it means nothing good for
    the White House.
    It's always been a matter of fascination and curiosity, I think, to those of us who cover
    politics and care about politics to watch Donald Trump, a man not known for self-sacrifice
    or self-absorption -- self-concern with others, react to Michael Flynn.
    Michael Flynn was the one person caught up, whoever worked for him, for whom he actually
    went to James Comey, the FBI director, and said, can't you make this go away for Mike
    He asked Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, to intervene with James Comey
    to see if they couldn't drop it on Michael Flynn.
    The idea that Michael Flynn has some information -- and Michael Flynn is vulnerable, we know,
    for a couple of reasons.
    One, as a former Army general, he went to give the speech in Russia without the, apparently,
    appropriate and legal clearance he needed, and the unreported half-a-million dollars
    in earnings to represent interests identical to or very close to the Turkish government.
    And so I think he's vulnerable.
    He has a son who is an admitted zealot who was a conspiracy buff and all the rest of
    it about Pizzagate, the satanic conspiracy of child molestation, totally fabricated,
    totally bogus.
    MARK SHIELDS: So, I think there's a lot of pressure points and vulnerabilities with Michael
    JUDY WOODRUFF: And we know this is something the White House is really worried about, David.
    DAVID BROOKS: Yes, and we don't know if he's cooperating.
    It might be part of a negotiation to cooperate.
    But if he does, it signals two things to me.
    One is that they're going after somebody higher.
    DAVID BROOKS: That they wouldn't go after -- they wouldn't strike a deal with Flynn
    or even attempt to if they didn't have their eyes on somebody else.
    Doesn't mean it's Trump, but it could be somebody higher.
    And the second thing is, Flynn, in the brief moments when all this was all going on during
    the campaign, during the transition, very early in the administration, Flynn was right
    in the center.
    He was Grand Central Station for all the Russia contracts.
    So, if they have some disparate things, Flynn would be the person who could fit it all together.
    And what -- I have always been pooh-poohing the scandal, in part because I haven't seen
    how Trump personally would be involved.
    And we would need that for it to be really a major, major scandal.
    It could be Flynn could be there to say Trump did offer to get rid of the sanctions if they
    would help with the election.
    And that would be the conversation that really would turn this into a major political story.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: And then we think of the other players in the White House.
    And we don't know their role, whether it was Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law,
    whether it was his son, Donald Trump Jr., and the efforts to reach the Russians, but
    clearly something we're all keeping an eye on.
    Just finally, quickly -- and, David, I'm going to start with you on this -- the Republican
    tax plan, tax cuts, normally, this is a very popular idea.
    But there's been, I think, a surprising amount of pushback from nonpartisan think tanks saying,
    wait a minute, no, the middle class is not going to benefit necessarily very much, or
    at all, from this, and the deficit is going to balloon.
    No, to me, the big story was the University of Chicago Business School came out with a
    study of I think it was 48 economists.
    And it's very bipartisan.
    And tax reform, in principle, is super popular among economists.
    But they have designed a bill so these economists do not think it would help growth, with one
    exception, and they think it would explode the deficit.
    So, you take a very popular concept and you write it, the bill, in such a way that it
    becomes extremely unpopular among people who know most about it on both parties.
    That's a trick.
    That's hard to do, to be that incompetent.
    And so I'm -- the Republicans feel huge pressure to pass this thing.
    But I still have to feel there are least three, four, five, six senators who really do care
    about the deficits, really do not want to destroy the federal budget, and that they
    will somehow stand in the way.
    It would take major courage to do so, but a lot them really, really do care about debt.
    MARK SHIELDS: I want to believe what David wants to believe.
    I mean, I really...
    MARK SHIELDS: No, I think we found out that the Republican Party doesn't believe it about
    I can recall, seven years ago, when then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral
    Mike Mullen, made a very serious public statement that the national debt was the greatest threat
    to national security, and Barack Obama was president, and the national debt doubling,
    of course, in the interim.
    But Republican after Republican said, this is absolutely right.
    This is a matter of national security.
    And so now we're really down to five, five Republicans, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, Jim Lankford,
    John McCain, and -- who am I missing?
    DAVID BROOKS: Susan Collins maybe.
    I don't know.
    MARK SHIELDS: Well, Susan Collins -- I think Susan Collins is there on other philosophical
    grounds, but certainly that.
    But, today, to add to the problems of the economists, the Catholic bishops came out
    and called it fundamentally flawed, this tax bill, and said that it will raise income taxes
    on the working poor to give a tax cut to millionaires and billionaires.
    Now, you know, that really has -- it does something in one day to pick up the group
    at the University of Chicago crowd and the Catholic bishops.
    You have united unlikely allies here.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: But against that, as you said, David, there is huge pressure on the Republicans
    and coming from the White House to get this tax bill done.
    A lot of donors say, if you don't pass something, just -- and they -- they're not even thinking
    about what's in the bill, like, just pass it, and I'm never giving you another cent.
    Republicans are hearing that a lot.
    So, they do feel that pressure.
    And so it's another vote they are going to have to hate.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: A mark on the wall.
    All right, David Brooks, Mark Shields, happy Thanksgiving weekend to both of you.
    MARK SHIELDS: Thank you very much, Judy.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now a look at some of the best reads of 2017.
    Jeffrey Brown is back.
    He recently sat down with Ann Patchett, author of "Commonwealth" and co-owner of the Parnassus
    bookstore in Nashville, and Daniel Pink, author of "When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect
    Timing," to be published in January.
    They met up at the newest Politics and Prose Bookstore here in D.C.
    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, so you want to start us off, Ann?
    What do you want to start with?
    ANN PATCHETT, Owner, Parnassus Books: OK, so, so many things.
    I'm going to start off with David Sedaris' "Theft by Finding."
    This book just broke my heart, smashed me open.
    It's David Sedaris' very, very best book.
    It's his diaries from 1977 to 2002.
    His partner, Hugh, described it as David Copperfield Sedaris, and that's exactly what it's like.
    JEFFREY BROWN: Sort of the making of David Sedaris.
    ANN PATCHETT: It's so true.
    And he had a really tough start.
    He says in the introduction that this book should be dipped in and out of, and read over
    a long period of time.
    Absolutely not true.
    I picked it up.
    I could not stand up until I finished it.
    It's riveting.
    It makes you laugh.
    It makes you cry.
    It's everything you would want in a book.
    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, and for David Sedaris' fans, you sort of see where he came from and
    where the stories came from.
    ANN PATCHETT: Yes, but also for people who have never read him before or who aren't David
    Sedaris fans, this is just a fantastic piece of writing.
    DANIEL PINK, Author, "When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing": So, this one will
    make you laugh, will make you cry, though I think for different reasons.
    DANIEL PINK: It's a book called "Everybody Lies" by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz.
    He is a data scientist.
    And the premise of the book is, indeed, that everybody lies, that when we talk to our friends
    and when we talk on social media, we actually are not truthful about who we really are,
    what our preferences are.
    But there is one place where we are incredibly honest.
    There is one place in our lives that operates as a confessional.
    And that is the Google search box.
    And if you look at aggregated Google searches, you find some incredible truths about who
    human beings are, what their preferences are, and sometimes in disturbing ways.
    Incredible amounts of racism.
    So, searches for racial slurs and racist jokes surge on Martin Luther King Day, for instance,
    surge after President Obama was elected.
    They end up being predictive of which counties certain candidates are going to perform well
    And, also, as someone who's been married for 22 years, if you look at what wives say about
    their husbands on social media, if you look at the actual words, they say, my husband
    is the best, my husband is my best friend, my husband is cute.
    JEFFREY BROWN: I think I know what is coming.
    DANIEL PINK: But you look at their search data, their search data say, my husband is
    annoying, my husband is gay, my husband is cheating on me.
    JEFFREY BROWN: So does it offer any hope for the human condition, or at least understanding
    the human condition?
    DANIEL PINK: You know what I think it does?
    I think what it offers is, is that we should trust our instincts less and trust the data
    more, that there are some ways to reveal what people's preferences are, what people are
    really thinking, and that a lot of times our intuitions about people are dead wrong.
    JEFFREY BROWN: Ann, you're moving us to fiction.
    ANN PATCHETT: "Lincoln in the Bardo," George Saunders.
    ANN PATCHETT: It came out February.
    It's a big winner.
    It just won the Man Booker Prize.
    It's the story of the death of Willie Lincoln, who goes to the cemetery, and Lincoln comes
    to visit his son in the cemetery, and all the different ghosts are there talking to
    Willie Lincoln.
    It's a little bit like "Spoon River Anthology."
    JEFFREY BROWN: Multiple voices.
    ANN PATCHETT: Multiple voices, and also a lot about Tibetan Buddhism, a lot about American
    It's really innovative.
    It's smart.
    And it's a book that pushes you.
    It stretches you in a lot of different ways.
    But, believe me, you're not ever going to read anything else like it.
    JEFFREY BROWN: You know, I interviewed him, and I read the book.
    And I told him, it's one where I started and wasn't quite sure what I was reading.
    ANN PATCHETT: Right.
    JEFFREY BROWN: I couldn't decide for a little bit.
    And then, when I picked it up a second time, I just breezed through it, loving it.
    It is a profound book, I would say the best book of the year, for my money.
    ANN PATCHETT: This one.
    What do you got?
    DANIEL PINK: Well, so, what I have got is a runner-up for the Man Booker Prize, which
    is "Exit West" by Mohsin Hamid.
    This is a really peculiar and intriguing book.
    It's a love story at some level about these two characters named Saeed and Nadia.
    It's also a political novel, because it's set in a place that's torn by civil war, and
    these two characters end up becoming refugees.
    But it also has this really interesting amount of magical realism, because the way that people
    emigrate is, they go through these doors, Narnia-like, and they end up in Greece, they
    end up in London.
    The thing about this book, and the reason that I chose it, is that, for me, this book
    was sort of like those moments when you sit around a campfire, OK, and then you put your
    jacket back in the closet when you come home.
    And then, a couple months later, you come back to the jacket, and you can -- oh, it
    sort of smells like a fire.
    And this book, for me, it just stays with me all the time.
    I keep thinking about it.
    And what I also love it, as a writer, is that this is not a long book.
    And it is an incredibly efficient, well-constructed book.
    And so it does all these things at once in a way that is really, for me, has lingered
    with me months and months and months after reading it.
    JEFFREY BROWN: It's very up to the moment in its concerns, right?
    It's immigrants.
    DANIEL PINK: Right.
    It's about refugees, right.
    JEFFREY BROWN: But in an extremely creative telling.
    DANIEL PINK: Right.
    JEFFREY BROWN: OK, Ann, what do you got?
    ANN PATCHETT: "Less" by Andrew Sean Greer.
    This has been a depressing year for a lot of people.
    And I really want a book that was going to make me laugh.
    And the number one thing that people come into my bookstore and ask for is a book that
    is smart and funny and has an uplifting ending.
    And those books are few and far between.
    JEFFREY BROWN: Really?
    They're coming to you asking you to be for uplift?
    ANN PATCHETT: That is what people want.
    And a really smart, funny book that pulls you up, instead of down, tough to find.
    This is about a character whose last name is Less.
    Arthur Less is just about to turn 50.
    His longtime partner is about to marry another man.
    And he is -- Less is embarrassed because he can't go to the wedding, but he can't just
    sit around.
    So, he decides to take a trip around the world and accept all the invitations he's been offered.
    So, this is really just a story of a guy on the eve of his 50th birthday trying to make
    peace with his life, his past, who he is.
    And it's hysterical.
    And the writing is fantastic.
    And I think not enough people are reading this book, so read "Less."
    JEFFREY BROWN: Oh, well, that's -- I mean, some of those others you have picked have
    gotten more attention than that one.
    ANN PATCHETT: Exactly.
    DANIEL PINK: So, in that spirit, my next choice is a book called...
    JEFFREY BROWN: In the unsung spirit?
    DANIEL PINK: It's not this -- well, I have one that is really unsung.
    DANIEL PINK: This one is quietly sung.
    DANIEL PINK: This is "The Best We Could Do," and it's a graphic novel.
    And I happen to love graphic memoirs, books like "Persepolis," books like " Arab of the
    Future," because they take you into this world that you might not see.
    But, again, they do it in this brisk, powerful way.
    And this is a story about a woman who was born in Vietnam, whose family fled Vietnam,
    was -- were both people in Vietnam, and made their way into the United States.
    And so what seems like a classic immigration story -- and this is -- what this writer does
    is that, when she has her first kid, she starts wondering about her own parents.
    And so she goes back and researches her own parents' lives.
    And it turns out her parents, born in Vietnam -- well, one born in Cambodia, one born in
    Vietnam, have lived these extraordinary lives as kids that she didn't realize.
    So what seems to be superficially a novel about the immigration experience is really
    a graphic memoir about parents and children.
    What do parents understand about their kids?
    What do kids understand about their parents?
    So I found this.
    It's a really beautiful and powerful memoir, and it gives you some great insight into the
    history of Vietnam, without watching a 37-part PBS series.
    Ooh, rough.
    JEFFREY BROWN: A great 37-part series.
    DANIEL PINK: A great 37-part PBS series.
    DANIEL PINK: This could be a two-part PBS series.
    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, we're going to continue this discussion online.
    But, for now, Ann Patchett, Dan Pink, thank you both very much.
    DANIEL PINK: Thank you.
    ANN PATCHETT: Thank you.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, on our Web site, you can find the titles of five additional books recommended
    by Ann Patchett and Daniel Pink.
    That's at PBS.org/NewsHour.
    Next: One of the shining lights of Broadway brings his star power to Washington and the
    cause of the people of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.
    John Yang has this report.
    JOHN YANG: In Washington last weekend, Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright,
    composer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda was on a different kind of stage, leading a march
    calling on Congress to help Puerto Rico recover.
    LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA, Artist/Political Activist: The compassion of the American people is real
    and it is still here.
    And if the government would meet us where we already are, that would be really an incredible
    JOHN YANG: For the creator and star of "Hamilton" and "In the Heights," it's a new, emerging
    role: political activist.
    LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: Oh, I'm so uncomfortable in the space.
    You can't -- I can't tell you how much I would rather be writing a new musical right now.
    But this is where we are.
    And we're two months after Hurricane Maria.
    Many of the needs of the 3.5 million American citizens on the island are still not being
    met, basic needs like water and electricity.
    I'm here because we need to be here, and we need to continue to amplify the needs of the
    JOHN YANG: Miranda's connection to Puerto Rico is strong.
    His parents were born there, and, as a child, he spent a month every year there visiting
    his grandparents.
    When the hurricane hit, how did it affect you?
    LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: I will always remember the terrible silence that followed.
    That's what Puerto Ricans who weren't in Puerto Rico experienced, was days and days of silence
    from the island.
    My social media feeds and my phone became this roll call of towns.
    "Has anyone heard from Lares?"
    "My grandmother lives in Vega Alta."
    "My son works in Ponce."
    JOHN YANG: That roll call inspired a song to raise money for hurricane relief.
    Called "Almost Like Praying," its lyrics call out all 78 cities and towns on the island,
    including Vega Alta, his grandparents' home.
    LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: I get a sense of pride when I hear those words in a song, and that's
    what I was hoping I would do for all Puerto Ricans.
    The notion that these are 21 artists of our brightest lights in the Latino community,
    everyone from Marc Anthony, to Gloria Estefan, to Fat Joe, to Jennifer Lopez, and everyone
    in between, and the notion that no town goes unsung, and the notion that, oh, my God, Luis
    Fonsi sang my town's name, and the feeling of pride that comes with that.
    JOHN YANG: The song was also inspired by "West Side Story"'s "Maria."
    LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: That's like my favorite song from "West Side Story."
    I knew it would have a different connotation forever.
    JOHN YANG: The idea that you're calling out Maria, in a way, and it was Maria that delivered
    the final blow to Puerto Rico.
    LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: For Puerto Ricans now, there is the time before Hurricane Maria and
    the time after.
    It was a way of taking a couple of lines from that song and flipping it.
    And I isolated the phrase "almost like praying" because that's what we always send in the
    wake of a tragedy, right, thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers.
    But thoughts and prayers are really not enough to get the job done.
    JOHN YANG: Miranda visited Puerto Rico earlier this month, helping distribute aid, meeting
    the U.S. Coast Guard, which Alexander Hamilton created, and visiting what's left of his grandparents'
    What was it like to see the island after the storms hit, and what was it like to go back
    to Vega Alta?
    LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: It's very surreal.
    There's so many sections still without power.
    The gas situation has eased, but the electricity situation is still touch and go, and we are
    at the two-month anniversary of the hurricane right now, so that's maddening.
    That's maddening.
    JOHN YANG: Puerto Rico is very much on Miranda's mind these days, as last week, when he received
    the Latin Grammy's President's Merit Award.
    LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: Puerto Rico!
    Puerto Rico!
    Puerto Rico!
    Puerto Rico!
    JOHN YANG: The son of a Democratic consultant, Miranda has largely avoided politics.
    LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: I grew up with my dad running political campaigns.
    I know what goes into it.
    I have seen how the sausage gets made.
    That's not interesting to me.
    JOHN YANG: But in the days after Hurricane Maria, he seemed to find his voice in a big
    When President Trump criticized the San Juan mayor, he fired back, "You're going straight
    to hell."
    LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: I'm pretty good with words.
    Those were the only ones I had left at my disposal.
    I'm accustomed to presidents on either side of the political spectrum uniting us in the
    face of natural disasters.
    I have never seen a president say that the victims of a natural disaster weren't doing
    enough for themselves, or attack an elected official on the front line of such a disaster.
    JOHN YANG: Miranda will also try to help Puerto Rico in a more familiar way.
    He's taking "Hamilton" to San Juan in early 2019, and returning to the role of Alexander
    Hamilton for the first time since originating it on Broadway.
    LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: In the wake of the tragedy of Hurricane Maria and everything after, it
    felt all the more important to say, listen, we have planted this flag in the sand.
    It's a year and three months from now, but we have faith, and we have to work to make
    sure Puerto Rico is ready.
    JOHN YANG: And doing everything he can to make it happen.
    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang in Washington.
    JUDY WOODRUFF: Later tonight, tune in for "Washington Week": how Donald Trump's presidency
    has rocked American politics, and the impact his disrupter in chief role has had on the
    Republican Party, on the White House and on popular culture.
    On "PBS NewsHour Weekend" Saturday: one year since the death of Fidel Castro, a look at
    a new film that chronicles the lives of three Cuban families over 45 years during Castro's
    And that's the "NewsHour" for tonight.
    I'm Judy Woodruff.
    Have a great weekend.
    Thank you, and good night.
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