tv BBC World News America PBS February 9, 2021 2:30pm-3:00pm PST
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ narrator: funding for presentation of this program is provided by.. the freeman foundation. byudy and peter blum-kovler foundation. pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and by contributions to ts pbs station from viewers like you, thank you. woman: and now, "bbc world news". bbc c news. ♪ laura: i am laura trevelyan and
this is "bbc world news america ." formerresident donald trump's second impeachment trial begins. dramatic video of his words that day and the chaos that unfolded. the lee democrats say the case is clear. >> you ask what a high crime and misdemeanor is under our constitution. that is a high crime and misdemeanor. if that is not an impeachable offense, then there is no such thing. laura: for donald trump's lawyers, talk of freedom of speech and warning of tearing the country apart even further. >> this country will be torn apart perhaps like we have only seen once before in our history. ♪ laura: welcome to world news america on pbs and around the
globe. today's impeachment trial of donald j. trump on capitol hill began dramatically. right at the start, house managers played a video featuring some of thworst moments of the capitol hill riots. it was raw, it was emotional, and it was a sharp reminder of why the democrats argued donald trump should be convicted on the charge of incitement of insurrection. then it was the turn of mr. trump's team. they argued the former president's freedom of speech should be protected and that the trial itself is unconstitutional. well, we do have a lot to cover so let's remind ourselves how this works. this is an impeachment, the process through which public officials can be charged with high crimes or misdemeanors. the chges are prosecuted in the u.s. senate. although this is not a criminal trial. impeachment requires a two thirds majority, which could ultimately lead to a ban on
holding any public office. earlier, democratic house impeachment manager jamie raskin made an impassioned case on the floor of the senate. >> senators, this cannot be our future. this cannot be the future of america. we cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions, because they refuse to accept the will of the people under the constitution of the united states. laura: when it was the turn of mr. trump's defense team, lawyer bruce castor says the former president's words should not be on trial. >> is not an accident that the first liberty in the first article of the bill of rights is the first amendment which says, congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech, etc. congress shall make no law. the very first one. the most important one.
the ability to have free and robust debate. free and robust political speech. laura: joining us now is barbara plett-usher on capitol hill. what is today about raw emotion on the side of the democrats as they revisited the events of january 6 and the former president's role, and procedural arguments on the republican side? barbara: yeah, i think that is probably a good way to describe it. it was definitely with that video that the democrats showed, they wanted to remind people about the worst of what had happened. they wanted to remind the american public, but also the republicans who were there on that day, who were shocked and horrified but have been reluctant to criticize mr. trump. so tha was very much part of what they wereoing. this was supposed to be a technical argument about whether the senate hadurisdiction to
try a president longer in office. although the democrats did address those arguments, they went after the merit of the case. on mr. trump's side, yes, there was an argument about why the senate did not have jurisdiction in their view, although it was quite a long time coming. bruce castor was quite rambling as he tried to make his points. the second one, david schoen, was a little bit clearer,ut he also made the argument we were expecting him to make, which is the impeachment is about trying the president. mr. trump is no longer the president, and the senate cannot try private citizen. he also criticized the democrat's process and how they approached it, but of course it was not nearly as emotional as the democrat's side. laura: aides to the democratic
house impeachment managers are suggesting that we could learn things over the next few days about what happened on january 6, and the role of former president donald j. trump, that we don't yet know. could there be no -- be more drama ahead? barbara: that is what they have advertised, in a way. they basically said there will be new evidence presented but have not said what it will be. we do know they have combed all the social media sites, where mr. trump supporters posted videos. so perhaps they feel they have some of that is not been seen before. it is not clear. one of the interesting questions is what they will do to prove mr. trump's intent. because if he is being charged with inciting violence against the american government, intent was a factor in some form. and you have lots of statements by his supporters that they believed h wanted them to do what they were doing and they did it because of what he said, but was that mr. trump's intent.
so that is something people will be looking at quite closely. laura: and it would take 17 republican to break ranks and vote to convict mr. trump. that is a pretty high bar, isn't it? barbara: it is a high bar, and one that does not look like it will be breached at this point. there we at most five senators who even voted to go ahead with this trial in the first place when that vote was taken last week. all the others said we do not want to do it. so the idea of getting 17 seems quite unlikely. it is true right after january 6, you had a lot of concern among republicans. you had 10 republicans voting for impeachment, leaders in the senate and the house saying they felt mr. trump was responsible. but since there has been quite a backlash from mr. trump's base and it is clear he is a powerbroker and the party, and republicans have backed off. an this procedural argument
about the constitutionality of the issue rather than dealing with the content of it, because they would like it to be over as soon as possible and not to be able to vote against it. but they will be forced to look at the merits, because the democrats arvery much going to be pressing that in a visceral and vivid way. laura: barbara plett-usher, thank you so much for that. the u.s. constitution is taking center stage this week. democrats argue there is a precedent to try and official after he leaves office, but most republicans argue the constitution is murky on the matter. joining us is kim whaley, professor at the university of baltimore school of law. you have written a book on the constitution. you know it better than pretty much anyone else. is it the case that a former president, donald j. trump, can be tried for an impeachable offense after he has left office? kim: we will never know for sure unless it were to go to the u.s. supreme court, which it not
likely to do. but in terms of precedent, yes, there has not been a president but a secretary of war who had a trial after he left office. i think so long as the articles of impeachment happened when they are in office, it makes sense to have the trial after office, because the impeachment clauses of the constitution include two possible remedies. one is removal and the other is banning someone from holding public office, and that is not mooted by the fact that the impeachable offenders not in office. laura: democrats say they want to hold former president trump accountable for his role in the events of january 6. but with impeachment being so politicized, is it possible that just the regular courts would be a better arena, or is this the right use of the constitution as the framers intended it? kim: certainly i think as the framers intended it, the house
impeachment managers did a compelling and thorough job explaining how impeachment was meant to be the primary mechanism. it is in the constitution six times, which is a lot for this very short document. they also mentioned the 14th amendment. there is a criminal mechanism for enforcing as a misdemeanor, if someone tries to run for office, if they engaged in insurrection that was historically men around the confederacy and the civil war. but i have argued that congress could pass a statute authorizing a civil action to do just that, to implement the 14th amendment. but what we are seeing is a steady watering down of impeachment as a meaningful meanism for accountability for the presidency. and i think we have to wonder, how are you see this kind of shenanigans go on at the end of every term just to try and force four more years in office. laura: and we are seeing that 56
members of the u.s. senate have voted that it is indeed constitutional to try the former president. but you are listening into his legal team. very different type of team to the arguments in his first impeachment triaa year ago. kim: yeah. i think that in some places they probably crossed some ethical lines in pushing the arguments really beyond where the law takes them. but they are in a very difficult position. it was definitely not a riveting presentation by donald trump's defense lawyers. and i think as the set up indicated, it's because the facts are so terrible. i mean, we're hearing procedural argument, technical legal arguments that would not fly in urt. when you look at the montage the house impeachment managers put together, the 10-plus minutes on january 6, and ask yourself should someone in the white house be accountable for that, should there be any
accountability at all, it is hard to say zero, except for the people who participated. many of them have been arrested and could end up losing their liberty, while the argument we are here and now is donald trump should have zero accountability. that is hard to square with the concept of impeachment itself. laura: kim, thank you so much for joining us tonight. kim: thank you. laura: we will be returning to the impeacent proceedings a little later in tonight's program, but for now let's focus on the global fight against coronavirus. scientists from the world health organization says covid-19 is extremely unlikely to have emerged as a result of a laboratory incident. they presented findings after traveling to china to investigate the origins of the virus. john sudworth reports now from wuhan come away the first case of coronavirus was recorded back in december of 2019. john: it is one of the most important questions of our time. where dithe virus come from?
but the scitists had more to say about what they had not found than what they had. >> it is not been possible to pinpoint any animal species as a potential reservoir for this disease, and it does not look like there was wide assimilation of the virus in any animal species in the country. john: china's wet markets were once thought to be the prime suspect, where the virus was most likely to have jumped from animals to humans. this market, linked to some of the earliest cases, was a particular focus. but with animal tests said to be negative, the team has come up with a negative -- another theory. frozen food. and an idea china itself has been promoting in recent months. they suggest the virus may have traveled to wuhan on imported frozen. producethe w.h.o. arrived here
insisting this would be all about the science. yet science of the politics have been there every step of the way. from the wrangling of timing. from the team's reliance not on their own investigation but data provided by china. questions about how independent these findings really are from china's own narrative are unlikely to go away. and on the question of whether the virus mighhave leaked from this laboratory, known to have been experimenting on coronavirus is, t -- on coronaviruses, the team has all but ruled it out. after the press conference, chese officials try to stop any interviews. but with the conclusions largely supported, there was little to worry about. >> given that this rules out a lab leak, is in your credibility on that undermined by the fact you were ruling it out before you even came here? >> a very large group of experts
have looked at this, they have been to various labs around the region and talked to people, asked critica questions, and they came to their conclusion and i have as well. and what they say is extreme the unlikely, and that stands alone. john: covid devastated this city first. and for now, its origins remain almost as much of a mystery as before. john sudworth, bbc news, wuhan. laura: so we still don't know really where coronavirus came from. in other news, police in myanmar have root -- have used rubber bullets and water cannons to try and disperse protesters during a fourth day of demonstrations. the demonstrators have defied a ban on gatherings to take to the streets of the capital. the united natns in myanmar says use of disproportionate force against demonstrators is unacceable. the investigation into the helicopt crash that killed retired basketball star kobe bryant and his teenage daughter
has said the pilot was not licensed to fly in cloud. nine people died including the pilot when the aircraft clash -- crashed in january of last year. federal officials said the pilot may have experienced spatial disorientation. the number of registered births in china fell by 15% last year to just over 10 million. it is a fourth year in a row there has been a dramatic decline in the number of new babies. this comes despite a change in china's family planning rules five years ago to allow couples to have two children. you are watching "bbc world news america." still to come tonight, the red planet. a historic middle east space mission begins orbiting around mars. ♪ the european union looks set to follow australia's example by forcing big tech companies to
pay for local news content. technology expert stephanie hair says the initiative would be a severe blow to google, which threatened to leave australia in protest over the proposed new law. stephanie: back in december, australia's parliament introduced a law that would force google and facebook to negotiate fees with news companies whose stories appear on the platforms. so when you go onto google and search a story about coronavirus today, you will get a whole bunch of results returned, and it will have a link with the headline. it might even have a couple of sentences, the first few sentences of the news article. that is content that somody had to pay to research and write, and might belong to the new york times or to the bbc, even. but google is getting the value without having to pay the original content creator, in this case. so the law would require them to ha to pay for showing that content. ♪
laura: they probe successfully launched by the united arab emirates has entered orbit around mars. it is the arab world's first major venture into space. the probe named hope has traveled more than 300 million miles since it was launched in july. what it learns on its mission could redefine our understanding of the red planet. our science correspondent rebecca morel reports. rebecca: mission accomplished. the united arab emirates has made it to mars. after a tense weighin the control room, celebrations. as a signal sent from their spacecraft millions of miles away beams in. >> it is like a weight of seven years has been lifted from our shoulders. i am truly looking forward to the scienfic discoveries and i truly hope this mission will
impact an entire generation to strive for things that are even bigger. rebecca: the spacecraft is called hope, and pulled off and make or break maneuver, firing its thrusters so it is captured by the gravitational pull of the red planet. the hope mission will see more of mars than we have ever seen before. its spacecraft has an elliptical orbit, bringing it closer and then much further away. at its closest, the flight path matches the rotation of mars, so it hovers over some key features like the biggest volcano in the solar system. at its furthest point, the planet spins beneath it, giving a much wider view. that means we will see almost all of the planet from both close-up and far away. arriving at the red planet is a huge leap for the uae. until now, the nation has only sent satellites into earth orbit. this spacecraft will study the martian atmosphere to solve a big mystery -- how mars
transformed from a planet th water like earth, to the dry, dusty world it is today. >> to mars is just halfway to the journey. we still have to do the science work. we still have to conduct data. we still have to make discoveries about mars. and this mission is just a starting point. rebecca: for the united arab emirates, they have made history, establishing themselves as a new space power. what they are not the only ones heading to mars. tomorrow, china's spacecraft arrives, and then next week, nasa will attempt toand. the red planet is about to get busy. laura: can't wait to find out what we learn about mars. one of the original supremes, mary wilson, has died age 76. the all-female group which included diana ross was known for their hits such as "baby love."
their music became a defining sound of the 1960's. we look back at mary wilson's life. a warning, the report contains some flashg images. ♪ reporter: mary wilson, the supremes, "baby love." ♪ "you keep me hanging on." ♪ "you can't hurry love." they were a motown hit machine, five number one singles in a row. mary wilson had formed the group with h friend when they were teenagers. they were joined by a neighbor, diana ross. and then, they headed to the office of motown in detroit. >> eventually we got into the lobby, and every day we would do that until eventually they signed us. we pestered them to death.
so much has happened to me in the month of february >> reporter: 60 years on, her death is a shock. she posted this only a few days ago about her plans for the future. the singer emily knight today paid tribute. the head of motown records described her as a trail blazer, a diva. diana ross said she was thinking of the wonderful memories of their time together. ♪ of course there were also tensions within the group, but looking back, mary wilson was always proud of what they had achieved at a time when black america was fighting for civil rights. >> we were the when there were so many social changes in america, because black people were not really citizens until 1964 in the civil rights bill was passed. reporter: over the years she continued to perform. she even helped change the law to stop imposters using the names of classic groups. she was also looking forward to
celebrations of the supremes' 60th anniversary, a reminder of a time when the charts were ruled by three proud, confident, black women. as mary wilson said, y es, she was the dream girl. laura: mary wilson's groundbreaking life. let's go back to our cap story now, the impeachment proceedings on capitol hill. in a vote on the constitutionality of the trial itself, senators voted 56-44 that it was. so it's going to move forward. that means 44 republicans don't even think the trial should ke place, and that is perhaps a clue as to what we can expect and it comes to an ultimate outcome. let's bring in now a former special assistant to president george w. bush. do you see that vote on the constitutionality of the trial as being indicative of where republicans will end up? just six republicans voting the democrats? ron: yes, i think that is pretty
indicative of how the republican conference, when they get the opportunity later this week to vote not to convict the former president. i think we pretty much have an idea of where we are headed. laura: but ron, one of the few republicans in the house who voted to impeach the president, says the future of america and the future of the republican party depends on confronting what happened that day. are republicans actually dodging confronting that? ron: i don't believe so. if you look at the constitution in article one section three, it says upon impeachment and conviction, the president shall be removed from office. if you look at article two section four, it talks about once again removal from office. the president is a private citizen. i certainly can understand as a lawyer those who object to the legality of the proceeding when the president has clearly left office in the constitution
specifically says the senate upon conviction shall remove from office. so i do understand where some republican's are coming from. laura: briefly, does former president trump retain his vice-like grip on the republican party after this trial? ron: i think he does. with nearly 80% of republicans who have a very favorable view of mr. trump, we are going to hear from him in the days, weeks, and daresay years to come, and he will be a force to be reckoned with in republican politics. laura: ron christie, thank you so much for joining us tonight with that analysis. the impeachment trial of donald j. trump continues tomorrow. we will have full coverage here on bbc news. i am laura trevelyan. thank you for watching "wor narrator: funding for presentation of this program is provided by.. the freeman foundation. by judy and peter blum-kovler foundation.
pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you, thank you. ♪ ♪ man: you're watching pbs. narrator: stream the best of pbs on any device with the pbs video app. all your favorite drama, history, science, news, and documentaries all in one place. watch your pbs station live or catch up on the shows you missed. support your pbs station and you can get "passport" giving your full seasons, early releases, special collections and more. get the pbs video app now and stream the best of pbs anytime. anywhere.
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oh we're ready. ♪ captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, the trial begins: donald trump mes e er prto facjudg fm the senate as both sides begin to make their case over his role in the capitol insurrection. then, getting the vaccine-- west virginia emerges as a leader in the inoculation fight against covid-19 as new variants of the virus continue to spread. and, the longest war-- a campaign of targeted assassinations against civil society creates a climate of fear in afghanistan's capital. >> this should be a relatively safe neighborhood of kabul, and one of the effects of these killings is to remind everyone,