PBS NewsHour full episode October 29, 2019

PBS NewsHour full episode October 29, 2019


JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: speaking out. A decorated Army officer is the first White
House staff member to tell Congress about the alarming nature of President Trump’s push
to withhold military aid from Ukraine for personal political gain. Then: Rethinking College — a how a school
in one of Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods graduates 95 percent of its students. And dancing through the years. Celebrated choreographer Twyla Tharp on art,
aging and reimagining our relationship with the future. TWYLA THARP, Choreographer: Shut up and do
what you love, and be grateful and keep doing, and stop second-guessing it. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: For the first time, investigators
in the House of Representatives have heard a direct account of the phone call that launched
the impeachment inquiry. It came today from a veteran of 20 years in
the U.S. military. White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor
begins our coverage. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: He arrived at the Capitol
in uniform wearing his medals. Alexander Vindman, an Army lieutenant colonel,
works for the National Security Council. On Tuesday, he became the first White House
official who was on the call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine to testify
as part of the impeachment inquiry. That call happened on July 25 with President
Volodymyr Zelensky and sits at the heart of the Democrats’ investigations. In prepared testimony, Vindman said he was
concerned about what he heard. Some Republicans, like Congressman Jim Jordan
of Ohio, dismissed the testimony in advance. REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): But the fundamental facts
have never changed. We can read the call. We know what President Trump and President
Zelensky have said. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Democrats, by contrast,
said it was more confirmation of President Trump’s misconduct. REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): You have a whistle-blower
complaint that has been repeatedly validated by Trump’s own appointees. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Vindman said he witnessed
attempts to pressure Zelensky into opening an investigation into former Vice President
Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The younger Biden was on the board of a Ukrainian
gas company Burisma. In his opening statement, Vindman said of
the July call that — quote — “I didn’t think it was proper to demand a foreign government
investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s
support of Ukraine.” He went on: “I realized that, if Ukraine pursued
an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan
play, which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus
far maintained.” Soon after the call, Vindman said he relayed
his worries to the National Security Council’s top lawyer. It was the second time he had raised the issue. The first was after a July 10 meeting including
Gordon Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, and Ukraine’s national security adviser. According to Vindman, Sondland said it was
important that Ukraine open an investigation if Zelensky wanted a meeting with President
Trump. Vindman wrote that he told Sondland later
that — quote — “His statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and
his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something
the NSC was going to get involved in or push.” Earlier this month, Sondland told lawmakers
that no one at the NSC ever expressed any concerns. Meanwhile, some of President Trump’s allies
attacked Vindman and questioned his loyalty to the U.S. “FOX & Friends” host Brian Kilmeade: BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS: We also know he
was born in the Soviet Union, emigrated with his family, young. He tends to feel simpatico with the Ukraine. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: And former Wisconsin Republican
Congressman Sean Duffy: SEAN DUFFY (R), Former U.S. Congressman: I
don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy, but his main mission was to make sure
that the Ukraine got those weapons. I understand that. We all have an affinity to our homeland, where
we came from. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The president tweeted — without
evidence — that Vindman is a never-Trumper. Vindman said his family brought him to the
United States from the Soviet Union in 1979, when he was 3 years old. He served in the U.S. military for two decades. He earned a Purple Heart after being wounded
by a roadside bomb in Iraq. He held also various diplomatic posts before
joining the NSC in 2018 as a Ukraine expert. He testified today he has served in a — quote
— “nonpartisan manner.” And at least one Democrat, Wyoming’s Liz Cheney,
defended him. REP. LIZ CHENEY (D-WY): I think that we need to
show that we’re better than that as a nation. Their patriotism, their love of country, we’re
talking about decorated veterans who have served this nation. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Meanwhile, House Democrats
are now moving toward holding a formal vote on the impeachment inquiry and public hearings. This afternoon, the text of the resolution
was released. It gives Republicans some of what they have
been demanding after they slammed Democrats for not holding a House floor vote on the
inquiry. The House is expected to vote Thursday on
the resolution. JUDY WOODRUFF: And Yamiche joins me now, along
with Lisa Desjardins, who’s been watching this all from Capitol Hill. So, hello to both of you. Lisa, I’m going to start with you. What do we know now about what the Democrats
are proposing to do for how to run this impeachment process? LISA DESJARDINS: And we just got a look at
these details in the last couple of hours. So, first, let’s talk about this resolution,
what it doesn’t do. It is not specifically changing the status
of this impeachment inquiry. It’s not a test of whether this is a formal
inquiry or not. Democrats maintain it already has been. What this does is, it lays out procedures,
a framework for going ahead with their impeachment investigation. So, let’s talk about that. What Republicans are getting that they like
out of this is public hearings. That’s something we know the public wants
as well. Here’s how those are going to work. It will be held by the Intelligence Committee
only. And during those committees, House lawyers
for both sides may question the witnesses. Both parties will get equal time. Members can question as well. They will probably have less time than the
lawyers. Now, Republicans are unhappy, though, because,
in this process, these rules mean that the Republicans will not be able to subpoena witnesses
on their own. After those public hearings, then the plan
is to move to the Judiciary Committee and an impeachment debate, based on what the Intelligence
Committee finds. During that process is when the president
and his attorney may be present. That attorney can object and cross-examine
witnesses. This all will be in public. And, again, the Republicans will not be able
to subpoena without essentially help from the Democrats, the blessing of Democrats. That is something Republicans do not like. It’s notable that the Intelligence Committee
is going to be doing these public hearings on their own. That’s only 22 members of Congress. This is a small group that Democrats are focusing
on, first of all. And then now we’re looking at a Judiciary
Committee process that will be highly dramatic, only really the third time in modern history
we have seen anything like this. Democrats are laying the groundwork now. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Yamiche, we know that this
vote, there will be a formal vote, as we heard on Thursday, on this impeachment inquiry in
the House. What is the White House saying? What is their thinking now in terms of, do
they — are they going to be more cooperative in terms of witnesses, in terms of documents,
once there is this formal vote? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The White House is very
unhappy with this resolution. And they’re making that very clear tonight. Just in the last couple of minutes, the White
House press secretary put out a statement, and she said essentially that this is an illegitimate
continuation of what she sees as an illegitimate sham. She also says: “This resolution does nothing
to change the fundamental fact that House Democrats refuse to provide basic due process
rights to this administration.” And they’re taking issue with two big things. The first is the White House participation. As Lisa just laid out, this — the White House
is really included in the second part of this. It’s when the Judiciary Committee gets involved. And the White House is basically saying that’s
a one-sided hearing in the House Intelligence, and then you’re going to have a biased report
for the Judiciary Committee, and then we get to finally get to be involved. They also say that the White House doesn’t
really have its own rights defined, it’s not clear. So they’re essentially saying that it’s uncertain
how the White House is going to be able to actually have an input in this process. I should tell you that I was talking to a
senior White House official before this text came out. And they said to me, I’m really worried that
this is going to really just provide cover for Democrats, but it’s not going to solve
the fundamental issues that Republicans have. And, tonight, essentially, the White House
is saying this is not solving the issues that we had with this investigation and with this
inquiry. So it seems as though the White House is not
going to be complying with any sorts of witness requests or any sorts of document requests. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Yamiche, just continuing
with all this today, this very concerning testimony from Colonel Vindman, how is it
thought that that fits into the inquiry? And what is the White House saying about it? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Lieutenant Colonel Alexander
Vindman is really seen right now as a critical witness in this impeachment inquiry by Democrats. He came to Congress and essentially said that
he was concerned about the president pushing for these investigations into Ukraine. He also said that he basically wanted to come
forward as a patriot. And his testimony led to a very fiery back-and-forth
between lawmakers. So, the reporting I have is that Republicans
were being accused by Democrats of really trying to push the lieutenant colonel to reveal
the identity of the whistle-blower. And Democrats said that that was essentially
not fair. In his opening statement that we got last
night, Vindman says very clearly, I’m not the whistle-blower, and I do not know who
the whistle-blower is. But, essentially, Democrats are saying Republicans
were still trying to push him with that. The other thing to note, though, is that President
Trump has been tweeting that he wants to know who the whistle-blower is, and he’s also been
lashing out at Vindman. He said he’s a never-Trumper, even though
there’s no evidence of that. He also said that this is someone he didn’t
know, even though he’s on the National Security Council. He’s still working at the White House right
now. And I also want to walk you through the timeline
that Vindman really laid out here. So, first, there’s this July 10, 2019 meeting. And it’s a meeting with Ukrainian officials
and the U.S. officials in Washington, D.C. And, essentially, Vindman says that Ambassador
Sondland, who’s a political appointee, the ambassador to the European Union, started
to speak out, asking Ukraine for specific investigations. He says then that the national security adviser,
John Bolton, cut the meeting short, and that essentially several U.S. officials said to
Ambassador Sondland, this is inappropriate. He says, I myself went to Ambassador Sondland
and said, this is inappropriate. You can’t be talking about this investigation
to the Ukrainians. And Vindman then is so frustrated by this
and so concerned that he goes to the NSC lead counsel on that. So that’s the first time he goes to that. Then move forward to the July 25 phone call. Vindman is on the call listening. President Trump mentions the Bidens, talks
about the fact that he wants to have a favor from Ukraine. Vindman again goes to the NSC lead counsel
and says, for a second time, I’m very, very concerned by this. So how he fits in is that there are several
key players that have come to Congress, that he’s now is describing their actions and what
he’s seen firsthand. So what you have is someone really describing
what was going on before the call and after the call. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Lisa, back to you. Clearly, things are moving very quickly, with
all these developments. LISA DESJARDINS: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: Do we have a sense now of the
timeline on impeachment? And who else remains to be called before these
committees? LISA DESJARDINS: If anyone says they know
for sure when any votes are happening, that’s just not true. We don’t know yet. But I think we’re narrowing down the window
that Democrats are looking at in concept. And I think, generally, Judy, to sum it up,
this is a quick timeline. And we will talk more about this. We have a newsletter about this that we send
out each day. And you can look at that online. But, quickly, Judy, just to tell you, it does
look like we could be heading toward a full House vote on impeachment as soon as the end
of December or beginning of January. That seems to be the path right now. JUDY WOODRUFF: And that’s in the House? LISA DESJARDINS: That’s in the House only. And then that would set up the Senate trial
following that, potentially end of December, more likely January or after. JUDY WOODRUFF: In January 2020. All right, Lisa, Yamiche, thank you both. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Thanks. LISA DESJARDINS: Thanks. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: High
winds fueled new fire dangers and new power blackouts in California. Stephanie Sy has our report. STEPHANIE SY: The winds across Northern California
are picking up, and, with them, fears that the fires will only get worse. Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick told evacuees
today not to go home yet. MARK ESSICK, Sonoma County, California, Sheriff:
With the winds, we’re going to get a lot of questions about repopulation, how people can
get back to their homes, with a lot of anxiety and anxiousness there. STEPHANIE SY: Communities across Northern
California are also facing more blackouts. The new high wind advisory prompted Pacific
Gas & Electric to begin cutting off power for the fourth time this month. It’s aimed at preventing downed lines from
sparking new fires. But the frequency of the widespread outages
are adding to frayed nerves and frustrations. More than 1.5 million people are affected,
on top of 2.5 million who lost power over the weekend. Then there are the many people living in evacuation
shelters, anxiously waiting for the all-clear. DAVE ASHMORE, Wildfire Evacuee: It’s quite
frustrating. I mean, all the resources and everything that’s
going on is great, but it’s very frustrating not knowing. STEPHANIE SY: And to the south, in Los Angeles,
daylight revealed damaged homes and scorched hillsides from a fire near the famed Getty
arts complex. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti warned that smoke
clearing doesn’t mean the area is completely safe. ERIC GARCETTI (D), Mayor of Los Angeles: I’m
sure we all have gotten phone calls saying and had conversations with people saying,
well, there’s not a lot of smoke, it should be fine to go home. I want to continue to tell people, listen
to the professionals and the firefighters who are asking you to stay away and mandating
that you stay away. STEPHANIE SY: Wind speeds are expected to
peak with gusts up to 80 miles per hour overnight on both ends of California. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Stephanie Sy. JUDY WOODRUFF: In Iraq, a bloodbath overnight
sparked one of the largest anti-government protests yet. The attacks happened in Karbala, where masked
gunmen shot dead 18 people and wounded hundreds at a tent encampment. Hours later, thousands of people packed Baghdad’s
main square, as police fired tear gas. In Geneva, a United Nations’ spokesman called
the reports out of Karbala particularly disturbing. RUPERT COLVILLE, Spokesman, United Nations
High Commissioner for Human Rights: We call on the authorities to launch investigations
into the use of force, on these continued killings and injuries that are taking place,
and to really knuckle down to a meaningful dialogue to try and reduce the tension and
bring some satisfaction to the situation. JUDY WOODRUFF: In all, at least 240 people
have died in the protests that began October 1, demanding jobs and an end to corruption. Lebanon’s embattled prime minister resigned
today, after nearly two weeks of mass protests in that country. Saad Hariri handed his resignation to President
Michel Aoun, after saying that he had — quote — “hit a dead end.” Protesters in Beirut welcomed the news. IMAD SAMAHA, Protester (through translator):
It was expected, under the pressure of this people’s uprising. It is something joyful for the Lebanese people,
because he was one of the symbols of authority and of the authorities’ strength. They really should all be held accountable. JUDY WOODRUFF: Earlier, supporters of the
Shiite militia Hezbollah torched a protesters camp and beat people up. Hezbollah is part of Lebanon’s ruling coalition. The deadline ran out today for Syrian Kurdish
fighters to withdraw from near the border with Turkey. Turkey said that Russia confirmed that the
Kurds had complied an earlier agreement. The so-called safe zone extends 19 miles into
Northeastern Syria. Turkish and Russian forces now plan joint
patrols in a narrower zone. Late today, the U.S. House of Representatives
passed two measures to punish Turkey for invading Syria. It approved sanctions and it formally recognized
the Armenian genocide in Turkey a century ago, seen as a thumb in the eye to the Turks. The British Parliament agreed today to call
a December election to break months of deadlock over Brexit. Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed to let
the public decide who can best deliver Britain’s departure from the European Union. BORIS JOHNSON, British Prime Minister: There
is only one way to get Brexit done, in the face of this unrelenting parliamentary obstructionism,
this endless, willful, fingers-crossed, not-me-guv refusal to deliver on the mandate of the people. And that is, Mr. Speaker, to refresh this
Parliament. JUDY WOODRUFF: The decision came after the
opposition Labor Party changed course and agreed to the early election. British police are now hunting two brothers
from Northern Ireland in the deaths of 39 migrants. The victims were found last week in a container
truck in Southeastern England. It’s now been confirmed that some were Vietnamese. The truck’s driver has already been charged. Back in this country, a federal judge in Alabama
has temporarily blocked a state law banning nearly all abortions. The measure is part of a wave of state laws
pushed by abortion opponents, who hope to get the issue back before the U.S. Supreme
Court. A major coal mining company filed for federal
bankruptcy protection today, the eighth in the past year to do so. Murray Energy is the largest private coal
miner, with nearly 7,000 employees. Demand for coal has plummeted as utilities
switch to cheaper natural gas and renewable energy. And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial
average lost 19 points to close at 27071. The Nasdaq fell 49 points, and the S&P 500
slipped two. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the CEO of
Boeing comes face to face with lawmakers a year to the day after a fatal crash; how a
school in one of Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods graduates 95 percent of its students; and
much more. Boeing’s 737 MAX planes have yet to return
to the skies worldwide. Governments, airlines and passengers all remain
concerned about the airplane’s safety issues, after a pair of crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia
last year. The investigations have opened a window into
much bigger questions about Boeing and its larger culture when it comes to safety and
certification of new planes. Its CEO came to Capitol Hill for the first
of two days of hearings about accountability. And, as John Yang tells us, he was in the
crosshairs. MAN: Go ahead and hold up the photographs
that you brought. JOHN YANG: A year to the day after the Lion
Air crash in Indonesia, some of the most powerful witnesses at today’s hearing didn’t speak
at all, families the 346 people killed in two crashes of Boeing 737 MAXes five months
apart. They were there with photos of their loved
ones, as Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg faced the Senate Commerce Committee. He began with an apology to the families. DENNIS MUILENBURG, CEO, Boeing: On behalf
of myself and the Boeing company, we are sorry, deeply and truly sorry. JOHN YANG: Senators from both parties slammed
Muilenburg with questions of safety and accountability. Some flatly accused him of outright deception. He was asked whether Boeing withheld damaging
information about the automated flight control system known as MCAS that’s been blamed for
the crashes. Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut: SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Boeing came to
my office shortly after these crashes and said they were the result of pilot error. Those pilots never had a chance. SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): There are a lot of reasons
an airplane can go down, but safety shouldn’t be one of them. JOHN YANG: Senators showed little patience
with Muilenburg, as in this exchange with Democrat Jon Tester of Montana. DENNIS MUILENBURG: We share — we share your
focus on safety. And I can confidently say that. That is our number one priority at the company. SEN. JON TESTER: OK, cool, but we failed in this
case. And there’s a whole bunch of people back there
that are going through incredible anguish because we failed. JOHN YANG: Recently disclosed documents show
a Boeing test pilot complained in November 2016 that the system was running rampant in
simulator tests. Today, Muilenburg indicated he knew about
that after the first crash, but Boeing didn’t hand over the documents to investigators until
much later. Republican Ted Cruz of Texas: SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): You are the CEO. The buck stops with you. Did you read this document? And how did your team not put it in front
of you, run in with their hair on fire, saying, we got a real problem here? JOHN YANG: After the hearing, family members
said Muilenburg’s apology was too little, too late. CLARISS MOORE, Mother of Crash Victim: I was
hoping today that — coming here, that he will at least answer some questions that,
why he didn’t ground the plane five months after the Lion crash? Because, if he did, my daughter would still
be here. JOHN YANG: Muilenburg is going to be back
in the hot seat tomorrow, this time in front of the House Transportation Committee. David Shepardson is the transportation reporter
for Reuters. He covered today’s hearing. David, thanks for being with us. We saw in that piece how angry the senators
were. What did Muilenburg seem to be trying to accomplish
at the hearing? And how successful was he? DAVID SHEPARDSON, Reuters: Well, look, clearly,
they have moved beyond the initial message of just, we’re going the make a safe plane
safer. He did acknowledge mistakes, that the company
did fail to disclose those text messages were referenced and didn’t disclose to the FAA
about a sensor indicator light. But, in general, he stayed away from a lot
of the specific questions that the senators had, raising, did they make critical mistakes
during that 2016 time frame in the development of MCAS and the certification of the airplane? JOHN YANG: How badly was his credibility hurt
on that issue of the text messages from the pilot, the test pilot, saying that the system
was sort of running rampant in the simulator years, months before the crashes? DAVID SHEPARDSON: Well, look, that’s angered
just about everybody. And the Federal Aviation Administration said,
why did you wait months to turn this over, when you handed it over to the Justice Department
in February? And it really goes back to the senators’ anger
is over a number of different buckets. First, there is the issue of, did they properly
design the plane MCAS? And we now know that that anti-stall system
didn’t have the safeguards that the FAA is demanding that it have in order to return
to service. The second issue is, did Boeing do enough
between first crash, Lion Air, and the second crash in March? And why didn’t those concerns that have now
been raised in these text messages and other things, why didn’t that raise, as Senator
Cruz said, immediate alarms? Why didn’t they take further actions before
March? And then finally the issue of, why did it
take so long after March to turn over that material? JOHN YANG: A lot of questions also about the
process of approving this aircraft as airworthy to fly. A lot of talk about the coziness between the
regulators and the regulated, the industry. Is Congress likely to do something about that,
do you think? DAVID SHEPARDSON: Well, they’re going to be
shifting on a dime if they do, because, remember, as recently as October of 2018, just before
this crash, the Congress moved to give more power and authority to airlines, to the manufacturers
to do more of the work. So, in this case, I don’t think we are going
to see immediate action. Everyone on both sides of the aisle agree
that changes need to be made. Reports have suggested the FAA is understaffed,
and some of the officials don’t have enough experience, and that Boeing employees feel
undue pressure to get these planes certified faster. So, I do think you’re going to see some reforms,
but there’s still the investigation into Ethiopian Airlines. There’s also other reports. And the FBI and the Department of Justice
are still investigating. JOHN YANG: You were in the committee room
today. What was the impact, what was the effect of
having those families in the room and having them stand and show the pictures of their
loved ones? DAVID SHEPARDSON: It was incredibly moving. I mean, remember, many of these family members
are still deeply sad. And they’re walking around with open wounds
from losing family members. There is a father who lost his entire family
in the Ethiopian crash. And when they stood up, you really could hear
a pin drop in that room. And there was another moment when Mr. Muilenburg
left the hearing. And one of the family members said, “You should
be saying sorry to us directly.” And he turned to the mother of a young woman
who died and said, “I’m sorry.” Clearly, Boeing is trying to show more contrition. He met with the Indonesian ambassador last
night to express more sympathies. But this is not it by a long shot. There are still more reports. There is another rough day of hearings ahead. And the question is, will this be enough for
the families? And there are still the lawsuits to be resolved. JOHN YANG: David Shepardson of Reuters, thank
you so much. DAVID SHEPARDSON: Thanks. JUDY WOODRUFF: As we have heard tonight, so
much of the news these days centers on Ukraine. Now we turn to one of the darkest chapters
in that country’s history, the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear plant. That came before its independence from the
Soviet Union. Special correspondent Simon Ostrovsky in Northern
Ukraine tells us how that darkness is now pierced by an unlikely wave of popularity. SIMON OSTROVSKY: Something strange is happening
in Chernobyl. The site of the world’s worst radiological
catastrophe is coming back to life. It’s not the residents who are returning,
or nature taking over, as you may have heard. It’s tourists, and they’re coming in droves,
thanks in part to an American TV show. STELLAN SKARSGARD, Actor: Get us over that
building, or I will have you shot! JARED HARRIS, Actor: If you fly directly over
that core, I promise you, by tomorrow morning, you will be begging for that bullet. SIMON OSTROVSKY: Tyler Ackley is an American
visiting Chernobyl with his father-in-law, in part thanks to the critically acclaimed
HBO miniseries dramatizing the disaster that came out earlier this year. TYLER ACKLEY, American Tourist: I thought,
as my wife and I were watching the series, oh, great, now it’s going to be a popular
tourist destination before we get a chance to go there. Hopefully, it’s not too crowded or anything
like that. SIMON OSTROVSKY: The series brought not just
the chronology of the disaster into tragic relief. It also exposed the top-heavy Soviet bureaucracy
that tried to hide the scope of the accident from its own people and from the world. STELLAN SKARSGARD: … is that Legasov humiliate
a nation that is obsessed with not being humiliated. We can make a deal with the KGB. You will leave this information out in Vienna. They quietly let us fix the remaining reactors. EMILY WATSON, Actress: Deal with the KGB? And I’m naive. SIMON OSTROVSKY: But graphic scenes from the
miniseries, which we won’t show here, have inexplicably failed to deter visitors from
the Exclusion Zone, as the area around Chernobyl, where habitation is forbidden, is known. RUDOLPH FOCKEMA, Tourist: We did some research
to see if it’s — how dangerous it is from the radiation. And we saw that with the tours, it’ll be safe. NICHOLE JENSEN, Tourist: Even though I started
to get, like, a little panicked as it was coming up, researching if it actually is safe
or not. So, yes, still a little scared. SIMON OSTROVSKY: Sergii Mirnyi, founder of
one of several travel agencies bringing people to Chernobyl, told us there’s been a dramatic
increase in interest. SERGII MIRNYI, Co-Founder, Chernobyl Tour:
This miniseries has increased the interest to the Chernobyl zone. We predict that it will be like 30 percent
increase. And so is the effect of the HBO miniseries. We expect 150,000, visitors in the zone in
this year. SIMON OSTROVSKY: One hundred and fifty thousand
people, maybe not much for the Mona Lisa, but the Louvre doesn’t exactly have plutonium-241
on display either. So these are our personal dosimeters. They’re supposed to tell the researchers here
how much every tourist absorbs in terms of radiation during their trip to the Chernobyl
Exclusion Zone. We’re right at the checkpoint right now, and,
from here, it’s to the reactor. Guides do what they can to reassure nervous
visitors about the dose of radiation they will get on a typical day trip to the Exclusion
Zone. WOMAN: Do you know to which materials our
bodies produce radiation? This is potassium 14, contained in our favorite
fruits, bananas and nuts as well. If, one day, you have a chance, and you surround
yourself with 40 bananas, and spend about an hour accompanied by 40 bananas, you will
get the same level of radiation that you will accumulate today, during one day presence
in the Exclusion Zone. SIMON OSTROVSKY: But the reassurances also
come with a warning not to stray from approved routes in case you blunder into a radioactive
hot spot. WOMAN: If you decide one minute to roll on
the grass, on the ground, or hug trees, I don’t know, or bushes, or wild animals, well,
maybe there is a chance of contamination. But if you do not do these stupid things,
everything will be all right. SIMON OSTROVSKY: Underneath this brand-new
shelter behind me is Chernobyl reactor number four, which in 1986 exploded and sent lethal
doses of radioactive material throughout the Exclusion Zone. But, as you can see, it’s actually not that
exclusive. The draw is obvious. Chernobyl is billed as an open air museum
of the Soviet era, uninhabited for 33 years, since Mikhail Gorbachev was in charge, frozen
in time, taken over by nature. MAN: Chernobyl, for me, is kind of — it’s
kind of a mecca of sorts. I’m — back home, I’m a professor of Russian
literature, history, culture. I grew up in the height of the Cold War. I remember climbing under desks when they
did mock bomb — nuclear bomb threats. And so, for me, when I see all this debris
and destruction here, for me, it’s kind of symbolic, too, of the Soviet era. SIMON OSTROVSKY: Do you feel like Chernobyl
might have been the beginning of the end for the Soviet Union? MAN: Absolutely. I think it fell under heavy criticism from
the world for that. And the moment Gorbachev tried to correct
Soviet policies, the moment he tried to open things up, I don’t think he knew what he was
opening up. And I think the aftermath of that burned pretty
hot. SIMON OSTROVSKY: As of September, more than
90,000 people have visited. It’s already well above more than the number
of people who decided to brave Chernobyl in the whole of 2018, according to the Exclusion
Zone Administration. So, this is actually my third trip to Chernobyl,
but my first trip since I watched the HBO show. And I have got to say, it’s a different experience,
because Chernobyl is a disaster that I have lived with my entire life, but I didn’t have
an emotional connection to. And now that I’m here, I’m imagining the drama
that played out here from the scenes in the show. Chernobyl lies now in an independent Ukraine. Then, it was the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist
Republic. And for Ukrainians, who are all too familiar
with the consequences of the disaster, the show has served as a fresh reminder of what
life was like under Moscow rule. SERGII MIRNYI: The HBO miniseries has reminded
the many Ukrainians about necessity to have controls of their lives, of their country
closer to their own hands, because it’s a terrible feeling when you are only to rely
on somebody else’s decision who is very, very remote and may or may not care about you at
all. SIMON OSTROVSKY: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m
Simon Ostrovsky in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us. Coming up on the “NewsHour”: Will the NCAA
allow college athletes to cash in on their fame?; and choreographer Twyla Tharp, 78 and
not slowing down at all. Baltimore is a city that has long struggled
with poverty, crime and a high unemployment rate. Another crucial challenge to tackling those
problems, public high school graduation rates that are currently around 70 percent. Special correspondent Hari Sreenivasan recently
visited a charter middle and high school bucking those trends, graduating 95 percent of seniors
and sending them on to colleges or careers. His report is the latest in our special series
on Rethinking College and part of our regular education segment, Making the Grade. NICOLE MCCLINTON WILKS, Mother: Thank you
for giving us this day to watch over Jordan and Amanda. HARI SREENIVASAN: Every day begins with a
prayer in the home of Nicole McClinton Wilks and her two children, Amanda and Jordan Westbrook. McClinton Wilks, a single mom who works as
a security guard and has to leave early for work, worries about Amanda’s safety on her
morning commute through the surrounding neighborhoods. But she’s relieved when Amanda arrives at
her destination, an educational oasis in the heart of West Baltimore. Amanda, who is 17, is a senior at the Green
Street Academy, a 6th-through-12th-grade charter school started in 2010 that currently has
about 850 students. In many ways, it’s a typical school, with
courses like science and Spanish. But there’s a lot about Green Street that’s
not typical for an urban school. Students here are exposed to a wide range
of opportunities to explore and learn outside of the classroom. On a recent afternoon, Amanda and her classmates
tended to a flock of well-loved chickens on the eight-acre farm behind the school. AMANDA WESTBROOK, Student: We produce the
chicken eggs, and we will sell it to different places like stores and restaurants around
the neighborhood to work with these animals and stuff to actually get that hands-on experience. It just makes me happy. (LAUGHTER) HARI SREENIVASAN: Four years ago, the school
moved to its current location, a renovated historic building that was once a junior high
before being abandoned about 30 years ago. There’s a lottery to get in. Last year, more than 1,000 applied for 250
openings. According to the school, 90 percent of graduating
seniors in the spring were accepted into two- and four-year college programs. In a greenhouse, students learn to grow produce
and incorporate it into meals they make at pop-up restaurants. Tanks full of tilapia and perch in the school’s
basement provide hands-on exposure to aquaculture, one of the country’s fastest growing food
production industries. All that training and other career-focused
courses like construction management and nursing are part of the school’s primary goal, to
give students the skills and experiences they need to be successful after high school, ready
for both college and careers. CRYSTAL HARDEN-LINDSEY, Executive Director,
Green Street Academy: I think adults sometimes kind of limit kids’ options by telling them
that it has to be one way or the other, when, at our school, it’s not like that at all. HARI SREENIVASAN: Crystal Harden-Lindsey is
the executive director of the school. Every morning, she and other senior staff
visit classrooms to check on students; 97 percent of Green Street students qualify for
free or reduced lunches. Students who need extra support get regular
counseling and tutoring. Harden-Lindsey says one of the school’s top
priorities, getting students into high-quality paid internships, has been a big boost to
students and their families. CRYSTAL HARDEN-LINDSEY: What we do at Green
Street is, we provide a way for them to make money while going to school, kind of restructure
the trajectory of their lives by saying, you can make money, you can also give back to
your community, you can also go to college. It doesn’t have to be you choose one or the
other. It can be a combination of things. HARI SREENIVASAN: That dual emphasis on college
and careers is reinforced throughout students’ time at Green Street. By ninth grade, students are required to have
resumes, and they are encouraged to consider careers they may not have. WOMAN: I want us to take a deeper look into
STEM fields and STEM jobs. HARI SREENIVASAN: College logos line the school’s
hallways, and seniors have to apply to at least one community college or university. Several counselors stay on top of their plans. WOMAN: I would like for you to do a little
bit more research and pick one more Maryland college. HARI SREENIVASAN: On a recent afternoon, the
school’s seniors gathered for a class meeting about the year ahead. TIA-SHON KELLEY, Green Street Academy: I need
our Green Street kids to go in there and wow people. HARI SREENIVASAN: Tia-Shon Kelley is the director
of internships and student enrichment at Green Street. She was promoting an internship through an
organization called Urban Alliance, which provides intensive workplace training. Students are then placed in paid internships
with Baltimore businesses, including Bank of America and Johns Hopkins. A few land permanent jobs after they graduate. TIA-SHON KELLEY: I’m going to specifically
speak to those of you who know you are not going to college. If you need a full-time job when you graduate,
this is your shot. HARI SREENIVASAN: For the past three years,
Kelley has been building the school’s internship program, and now close to 60 percent of the
high school students participate, but she says it’s not always easy. TIA-SHON KELLEY: I felt like some of our kids
have stopped dreaming. Like, when you ask them what you want to be,
it’s very flatline, because they don’t believe it can happen for them. It happens for everybody else. So, letting them see, hey, this is your peer,
they did John Hopkins last year, they loved it, they’re going to do it again this year,
you try it. Or try the law program. We have law links. Just keeping them exposed. HARI SREENIVASAN: Amanda Westbrook has participated
in several internships, including one with Kaiser Permanente, where her payment was a
$1,000 college scholarship. That will come in handy next year. She’s currently applying to colleges and hopes
to be a marine biologist one day. MAN: Try that piece right there. HARI SREENIVASAN: Amanda’s big brother, Jordan,
who graduated from Green Street last spring, decided to go the career route. He’s now in a paid construction training program,
earning certifications. JORDAN WESTBROOK, High School Graduate: I
knew I didn’t really want to go to college, so I just knew that, once I graduated, I really
wanted to get a job. I’m pretty good with my hands, so I want to
do construction. HARI SREENIVASAN: Mom Nicole McClinton Wilks
says Green Street has given her children opportunities that matched their interests. NICOLE MCCLINTON WILKS: Amanda wants school. Jordan doesn’t want school. Jordan, this is what he wants, not my dreams,
but his dreams. And that’s what I like. They don’t sell a fake dream here. They give you reality. HARI SREENIVASAN: For most Green Street graduates,
the reality is school and work go hand in hand. MICAELA WILSON-WHEATLEY, College Student:
The pancreas is right here. HARI SREENIVASAN: Recent grad Micaela Wilson-Wheatley
is at Coppin State University just 10 minutes away from Green Street. While studying to eventually become an OB-GYN,
she’s also working part-time. She says Green Street prepared her to juggle
both. MICAELA WILSON-WHEATLEY: I was prepared, based
on my time management, because that’s one thing they always, always stressed, time management,
don’t procrastinate, get it done on time. HARI SREENIVASAN: Back at Green Street Academy,
students are harvesting apples and enjoying the fruits of their labor. And in the coming months, the school will
begin a capital campaign for a new innovation center focused on living wage career training
for both students and their parents. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Hari Sreenivasan
in Baltimore, Maryland. JUDY WOODRUFF: For decades, the governing
body overseeing collegiate sports, the NCAA, has refused to budge from its position that
student athletes shouldn’t be financially compensated for their performance on the field
or on the court. But, today, for the first time, the NCAA seemed
to open the door toward a change. But, as William Brangham tells us, the announcement
comes with many caveats. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The NCAA was facing a wave
of new pressure on this issue from California and a dozen other states. California Governor Gavin Newsom recently
signed a law that would allow student athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness,
including from sports merchandise and video games. The change wouldn’t take effect until 2023. But other states are considering following
suit. So, today, the NCAA’s Board of Governors acknowledged
that pressure and voted to consider allowing a similar practice throughout college sports. But this is just the beginning of a very long
path. And the NCAA maintains there will still be
a clear distinction between amateur and professional athletes. Let’s break this down with sportswriter and
author John Feinstein. He’s written numerous books about NCAA sports
and is a columnist for The Washington Post. Welcome back. JOHN FEINSTEIN, Sportswriter/Author: William,
thanks. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, this got a ton of attention
today. The headlines said, NCAA finally relents. They are going to allow athletes to get their
money and earn what they bring in for these schools. LeBron James said this was a beautiful day
for college athletes. What did the NCAA actually say today? JOHN FEINSTEIN: Well, first of all, William,
what they did was, they were like the robber coming out of a bank who is surrounded by
the police. And they held up their hands and said, we
give up. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I have never enjoyed bank
robbing. I totally disavow it. (LAUGHTER) JOHN FEINSTEIN: Yes, I’m really sorry. And now let’s negotiate. And the second thing they were saying is,
we have got this. California, you don’t need a law. Other states, you don’t need a law. There are two bills in Congress that would
federalize the law. We have got this. And we’re going to take care of our, as they
like to call them, student athletes, which is one of the great myths of our time in terms
of the big-time football and men’s basketball players, because they’re training to be professional
athletes. There’s nothing wrong with that, but they
want to maintain this myth that they’re somehow amateurs, which they’re not. They’re recruited in a different way. They travel in a different way. They have locker rooms that are bigger than
this set is here. And they live in luxury, because they’re semi-pros. And, again, I don’t think there’s anything
wrong with that, because they make huge money for the universities. But what they’re saying is, OK, we have got
this, and we’re going to pay them. But then, if you read through this list that’s
in front of me here… WILLIAM BRANGHAM: This is statement the NCAA
put out today. JOHN FEINSTEIN: From the NCAA, with all these
caveats. And one is, as you mentioned, was, we still
want to distinguish between amateur athletes and professional athletes. Well, exactly how do you do that? There’s no real answer in terms of paying
them. Remember, the schools are not paying them. Outside agencies are the ones that will be
allowed to pay them. And they say, well, we have still got to make
sure that recruiting isn’t affected by this. First of all, any change to recruiting would
be a good thing. But, secondly, what they’re saying is, OK,
so, if you’re being recruited, and Kentucky, which is a big basketball power, has more
money from alumni that it can legally offer to you because you’re a star basketball player,
but American University here in Washington doesn’t have nearly that money, then Kentucky
has an unfair advantage, except those unfair advantages already exist in facilities and
how you travel and things like that. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, what is the NCAA doing? I get it. You’re trying to say that they’re holding
off the state efforts and the congressional efforts. JOHN FEINSTEIN: Right. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: But they are at least now
— they directed their three divisions to open up the door to possibly allow students
to be compensated. JOHN FEINSTEIN: That’s right. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, isn’t that progress
in some way? JOHN FEINSTEIN: Well, it is a small first
step. And, again, it is — that’s all it is. And, again, they’re trying to hold off the
avalanche that’s coming in their direction of people saying, we’re not buying this bit
anymore that the sky will fall if college athletes get paid by outside agencies or,
as Mark Emmert, the president of the NCAA, said, it’s an existential issue. What the heck does that mean? I guess I’m not smart enough to understand. What is an existential issue when it comes
to paying people? And so what they’re trying to say is, OK,
we have got it. We’re going to work this out. But what it really is, it’s an opening bargaining
ploy, because they are going to say, OK, we will do this, and the lawmakers are going
to say, no, we want that. And then the NCAA, they will say — will say,
what about this? And they’re going to try to give away as little
of the store as they can, so that the schools and the NCAA itself continue to — can continue
to rake in the billions of dollars they make off of these kids. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That’s the essential argument,
the economic fairness argument, right, that the students are the revenue drivers, and
that no one is there to see the coaches and the grandstands and all that. They’re there to see the athletes play, and
that those athletes ought to get a slice of that pie. JOHN FEINSTEIN: Yes. Well, there are people who come to see the
coaches, and they get — and they’re compensated for that. Coaches in big-time programs make seven-figure
salaries. But let’s use Zion Williamson, who was a freshman
at Duke last year, who was the first pick in the NBA draft. The money that he alone brought in to Duke,
to the ACC, the conference Duke plays in, to the NCAA, as part of their billion — multibillion-dollar
TV contract, can’t be calculated. What did he get in return? Tuition, books, and fees, period. Why can’t he go out while he’s still in college
and sell a car? Why can’t he do an autograph show, the way
professional athletes do, and get paid for that? WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, the NCAA says, OK, we
will look at this. You’re arguing it’s a bargaining ploy. How do you think this is going to end up,
lastly? JOHN FEINSTEIN: It’s going to end up with
some sort of rule being put in place that will allow the athletes to make outside… WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You think that’s a foregone
conclusion now? JOHN FEINSTEIN: It has to be. Certain things have their time. The Edsel is gone. This is going. (LAUGHTER) JOHN FEINSTEIN: And they’re going — the NCAA
is going to fight as hard as it can to give away as little to the athletes as it possibly
can. They’re going to continue to perpetuate this
myth of the student athlete, and — but, eventually, they’re going to have to give in, because,
if they don’t, Congress is going to step in and pass a law. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: John Feinstein, always such
a pleasure to talk to you. JOHN FEINSTEIN: Thanks, William. JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight: A groundbreaking
career in dance has led to an innovative approach to health and aging and a new book released
today. Jeffrey Brown went to the American Ballet
Theatre recently to stay in step with Twyla Tharp. It’s part of our ongoing arts and culture
coverage, Canvas. TWYLA THARP, Choreographer: Sternum up. Breathe deep. Shoulders back. Now we stride. JEFFREY BROWN: A lesson from Twyla Tharp in
allowing our bodies to take up space, even as we grow older, what she refers to as amplitude. TWYLA THARP: Amplitude, moving out, constantly
feeling that you can move out. As age becomes reality, I think we start to
retreat, we retract, we become protective, we become secluded, and we begin to ossify. JEFFREY BROWN: But the body becoming smaller. In a way, it is becoming smaller. TWYLA THARP: Well, that’s its problem. Let’s just get on with it, shall we? JEFFREY BROWN: Tharp is one of the great choreographers
of our age, and, at 78, she’s got a new dance — we met at a rehearsal at the American Ballet
Theatre — and a new book, “Keep It Moving: Lessons For the Rest of Your Life.” TWYLA THARP: I wrote this to help others believe
that constantly you can be evolving, that you don’t accept the rumor that, as the body
ages, it becomes less. It becomes different, hopefully more. JEFFREY BROWN: So do you think of this as
a self-help book? TWYLA THARP: I look at it as a self-survival
book. JEFFREY BROWN: As a girl, Tharp took dance
and music lessons of all kinds. In the 1960s, she was dancing and choreographing
as part of an important experimental modern dance scene. And by the ’70s, she was creating groundbreaking
works like “Deuce Coupe” for the Joffrey Ballet. Set to music by the Beach Boys, it brought
together elements of both ballet and modern dance. She made “Push Comes to Shove” for Mikhail
Baryshnikov, part of an acclaimed partnership that included the award-winning PBS special
“Baryshnikov By Tharp” in 1984, dance after dance combining rigor and boundless energy. She also choreographed films, including “Hair”
and “Amadeus,” and the Broadway hit “Movin’ Out” to the music of
Billy Joel. Tharp has been recipient of pretty much every
prestigious artistic award, including a Kennedy Center Honor in 2008. In her new book, she provides a series of
exercises, and says age is not the enemy; stagnation is the enemy. TWYLA THARP: We all have that laid on us by
our culture. Being squirmy is not really — you can’t do
this at dinner parties, but this is how you keep your system, your metabolic system rolling
by going — you don’t do it like this. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. But you can’t — I’m going to — you can’t
do this even in the way we’re talking about. But you want me to? You want us to? TWYLA THARP: Yes, because, if you keep doing
this, chances are your body is going to be more productive in the moment, and you will
have something left in the evening, particularly as you become older, and you buy into this
reality that older folks can do less. OK, prove it. JEFFREY BROWN: Her own physical regime is
legendary. We watched an early morning workout at her
home studio, breathing and stretching, cycling, and various kinds of strength and resistance
exercises. TWYLA THARP: I could bench my body weight
for three, and I dead-lifted 227 pounds to the waist… JEFFREY BROWN: Wow. TWYLA THARP: … which was twice my body weight,
OK? So — but I developed core strength that the
classical dancer doesn’t have. Now, in making a piece of this sort for a
classical dancer, I can bring that kind of physical intelligence to them and say, try
it this way. JEFFREY BROWN: In fact, her new dance, notated
over three months in intricate detail, directly addresses aging. Titled “A Gathering of Ghosts,” it’s made
for dancer Herman Cornejo, now 38, who’s being honored this season for 20 years at the ABT. Beyond talent, Tharp says the quality she
most looks for in a dancer is optimism. TWYLA THARP: Have a sense that you can do
it, and if you don’t, you will fix it, you will make it work, and you’re going to laugh
this time. No, you haven’t failed. You turn it into comedy. JEFFREY BROWN: You have had, of course, great
success. But you have also experienced failure, which… TWYLA THARP: Really? JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. I’m… TWYLA THARP: Are you kidding? (LAUGHTER) JEFFREY BROWN: I’m sorry to tell you. But you advise us in this book to accept those
failures, right, to take risks. TWYLA THARP: They’re not failures. JEFFREY BROWN: What are they? TWYLA THARP: They’re adventures of a different
kind. You may not have gotten what you set out to
get, but there is something to be learned from everything. JEFFREY BROWN: There was a profile in The
Times that says — I’m quoting — “Ms. Tharp remains among the very few female choreographers…” TWYLA THARP: Oh, please. Give me a break. JEFFREY BROWN: “… to have had a lasting
influence on ballet.” TWYLA THARP: And why don’t they say, one of
the few short choreographers to have an influence on the ballet? The female nomenclature is highly abusive. It’s ghettoizing. And it’s irrelevant to what I have done. JEFFREY BROWN: You don’t want to hear it at
all? TWYLA THARP: I’m not interested. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. TWYLA THARP: I’m a worker. I’m an artist. I make dances, end of story. Judge me with the best. Don’t judge me with the best women. JEFFREY BROWN: You wrote in the book that
you’re always asked, how do you keep working? And the subtext, you know, as you say, is,
at your age. What’s the answer? How do you keep working? TWYLA THARP: Day by day, daily. Do it every day. It’s what you do. I look at the past to see there what works
and let go of what doesn’t work, and build on what does work. JEFFREY BROWN: In the meantime, the final
piece of advice that you give all of us in this book is, shut up and dance. TWYLA THARP: That’s right, shut up and do
what you love. And be grateful and keep doing it. And stop second-guessing it. I’m getting old. I can’t do what I love. Bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED), in a word. (LAUGHTER) TWYLA THARP: It’s going to change. That’s all. It’s not going to be the same. It’s going to be different. JEFFREY BROWN: The dance is “A Gathering of
Ghosts.” The book is “Keep It Moving.” For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jeffrey Brown
at the American Ballet Theatre in New York. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we all want a little piece
of that. And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Judy Woodruff. Join us online and again here tomorrow evening. For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank
you, and we’ll see you soon.

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