tv PBS News Hour PBS February 9, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
♪ judy: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. tonight, the trial begins. donald trump becomes the first former presint to face judgment from the senate as both sides begin to their make case in the capitol insurrection. then, getting the vaccine. west virginia emerges in the leader in theen inoculations 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'sapital. >> this should be a relatively safe neighborhood of kabul. and one of the impacts of these
killings is to remind everyone especially professional women, they're not safe anywhere in the city. judy: all that and more on tonight's "pbs newshour." ♪ announcer: major funding for the "pbs newshour" has been provided by -- >> for 25 years consumer cellular has been offering wireless plans, no contract to do more of what they like. we can help you find more of what you're looking for. cellular tv. johnson & johnson. bnsf railway ♪ >> jonas and james knight
foundation. announcer: wand the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions. ♪ >> this program was made possible for the corporation for bub broadcast ling and to from contributions to your pbs news station from viewers like you. thank you. judy: the united states senate has made history prosecuting a past president. the first order of business was voting 56-44 putting donald trump on trial again is constitutional.
our congressional corporate lisa desjardins begins our coverage. lisa: for the second time in just over a year, the senate con veend as a courtroom. >> the senate will convene as a court of impeachment. >> in front of the dais, newly installed tables separated the defense from the prosecution. and senators already sworn in as jurors gathered for the second impeachment trial of donald trump. the former president is charged with inciting the deadly insurrection that more than a month later still has the capitol building on edge surrounded by razor wire and heightened security. >> we outnumber you a billion to one out here. >> democrats began dramatically with a video showing the attack. and president trump's actions and words that day. >> after this, we're going to walk down and i'll be there with you -- we're going to walk down -- we're going to walk down to the capitol --
>> yeah! >> take the capitol! take the capitol! >> we are going to the capitol. >> the team of house democrats acting as impeachment managers were inside the capitol themselves during the attack and stressed the danger they saw. >> what you experienced that day , what we experienced that day, what our country experienced that day is the framer's worst nightmare come to life. >> jamie raskin was emotional speaking of burying his son one day previously and then on january 6th, fearing for the lives of his daughter and son-in-law that were at the capitol with him >> we cannot have presidents mobilizing mob violence against our government. >> he and other democrats pointed the constitution itself
as evidence that this trial should go ahead because it allows for officials to lose the right to run for office again. >> the text of the constitution makes clear, there is no january exception to the impeachment power. that presidents can't commit grave offenses in their final days and escape any congressional response. >> if mr. trump is convicted, senators could bar him from holding federal office in the future. this as dozens of constitutional lawyers including charles cooper who published an op-ed agreed that it is constitutional. the 1876 trial of secrery of war william belk nap who resigned before his trial. >> when his case reached the senate, this body, belk nap made the exact same argument that president trump is making today.
that you all lack jurisdiction, any power to try him because he's a former official. >> but the senate then voted that it had the right to go ahead anyway. >> the belknap case is clear precedent that the senate must proceed with this trial. >> one thing i have discovered whether it be democrats or republicans -- united states senators are patriots first. patriots first. they love their country. they love their families. they love the states that they represent. >> pennsylvania attorney bruce castor began by extoling the senate and senators themselves even praising his legal opponents. >> we changed what we were going to do on account that we thought that the house manager's presentation was well done. >> he and fellow trump lawyer david schen argued that it's an
unnecessary and partisan exercise showing their own video of democrats calling for impeachment years ago. >> i rise today mr. speaker to call for the impeachment of the president of the united states of america. >> i continue to say, impeach him! impeach 45! >> they argued the trial is divisive and unconstitutional. >> the section i read, judgment, in other words, the bad thing that can happen, the judgment in cases of impeachment, i.e. what we were doing, shall not extend further than removal from office. what is so hard about that? which of those words are unclear? president trump no longer is in office. >> my overriding emotion is frankly wanting to cry for what
i believe these proceedings will do to our great so long enduring sacred constitution and to the american people on both side of the great divide that now characterize as our nation. >> through it all, staff and senators watch taking in the constitutional arguments that were more like opening arguments. those officially are set to begin tomorrow. >> and lisa joins me now along with our yamiche alcindor. you were both watching this very closely. lisa, we could see only the speaker during today's proceedings, but you were in and out of the chamber. tell us the bigger picture. what else was going on? lisa: senators certainly came ready to take notice, ready to be informed about the situation. but i will tell you that they definitely seem to be paying much more attention to the democrats' case than to the
republicans' case. i saw them taking copious notes during the presentation. it's very significant when that video of the riot was played, some had different reactions. others were emotional and turned away because of the emotional that they were feeling and watching in the midst of all of it, senator mitch mcconnell whose own words were put in that video was reactionless. when republicans began their case -- when the trump team began their case, i saw one or two senators taking notice. it was a clear difference in sort of the way senators took those two side today. we saw that in the vote as an additional republican senator joaned democrats, senator bill cassidy of louisiana to vote to keep this trial going. judey: that's a reminder that at the last impeachment trial for former president trump, the vote came down entirely finally along partisan lines.
only one senator joined the democrats. what do you -- what is your sense from reading the senators this time in terms of how they may be receiving the arguments? lessa: i've been able to speak to many senators. they were remarkably chatty after this session just in the past few minutes. and something stands out to me. i have never heard members of one party criticize an attorney representing their party the way i heard republican senators talk about bruce castor including lindsey graham, one of trump's biggest allies. i thought i would figure out where he was going. but in the end i don't know where he was going. lisa murkowski told me it was a missed opportunity. senator susan collins said, i was perplexed by that first lawyer who seemed not to make any argument at off. mr. schoen did a better job. but a missed opportunities is how replicans looked at that. i hear from republicans and
democrats that the democratic team did better than the team we saw last year. that it was a more senatororial tone and more didactic and legal. something senators seem to be paying attention to. judy: all but six voted that it still was not constitutional to go ahead with the trial. but yeah mitch -- yamiche, who had been in trump with the trump team before. what struck you about the arguments they made? yamiche: this was a trump defense that was meandering, at times struggling to get to their point and at times confusing and contradicting the preside -- the former president trump's own words. that said, they did eventually get to the point which was that they feel that democrats are doing this for political theater and really this is about democrats wanting to make sure that president trump can't be
their political opponent in future elections. now, to bruce castor who was that fst attorney is really getting bad, bad remarks from both democrats and republicans. he made this argument that president trump was really a target of a political motivated attack here. and he said something that was interesting. he said the american people spoke and that they made sure to vote president trump out of office. that is a concession that president trump has never made. it's interesting what he said in his long 50-minute speech. he said that he believes that no one on the trump defense will be trying to defend the actions on january 6th. keep that in mind as i read this tweet by president trump on january 6th. he said these are the things and the event that happens when a sacred landslide victory is unceremoniously viciously stripped. that's president trump defending the attack on that siege in the
capitol. but his attorneys are saying they're not going do that. david schoen talked about though that democrats were showing quote, unquote movies. they were trying to be too emotional in their arguments. democrats were showing real video from the attack on january 6th trying to remind lawmakers just all of what happened. something that bruce -- something that david said was that democrats were too slow to send the impeachment arguments be they reached the impeachment of this. those four lawyers that are going to make the team for trump's legal defense. today we saw two of them. these are some of the interesting things that are contradictory arguments but arguments that landed their punches when they finally got the point. judy yamiche alcindor andlessa desjardins. thank you both.
and now, i'm joined by a member of mr. trump's defense team from his first senate impeachment trial. he's robert ray. he was independent council during the white water investigation into president clinton. robert white, thank you for joining us. they did take a sflote the senate. and it was 56-44. they're going to proceed. the argumentro -- prevailed that it is constitutional to have this trial. but you think that's a mistake. why? rob: i think the proceedings are only like the pregame festivities. there's a constitutional argument still to be made that was made today. and that is that if the only purpose served by this impeachment upon conviction is the remedy that precludes donald trump from ever running for public avs again, it strikes me that that's a political judgment
that is more appropriately reserved to the american people and the voters close to 75 million of whom spoke in the last election. and not one that should be made by 50 senators from the democratic party plus possibly 17 senators from the republican party. i think that's basically marco rubio's view from florida. and i think he's right about that. that's a structural constitution argument as to why presidential impeachments once the president has left office is not a good idea. i don't think it's healthy. and when the shoe is on the other foot, i'm not sure this is the kind of precedent that any party would like to see. but look, the decision has been made. there was a difference of opinion. a majority vote carries and we now proceed to trial. judy: i'm sure you know that the argument not only by the house managers but by a number of constitutional scholars is that because the constitutional gives
the senate the right, the role of carrying out not just removal from office but the decision on whether -- whether someone can run -- can hold office again. they're basing the argumt on that. but let's move on to what the trial will be about in the days to come. how strong do you believe the arguments are that -- that president trump had a role, a direct role in inciting the insurrection at the capitol? >> well, that's not enough. the role has to be shown so that it's not contrary to the first amendment is that there was a direct call for violent or lawless action. i don't know of any evidence that i've seen so far that would suggest that kind of coordination with the president, the then-president of the united states. i know that the majority leader, chuck schumer has promised that there will be new evidence presented at trial. i'll be very interested to see
if that kind of new evidence is presented. because if it's not, this is an impeachment that should fail as a legal matter because there's not going to be sufficient proof of insurrection of federal offense. after all, an impeachment is about impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors. and the problem with the first impeachment of president trump is that a crime wasn't charged at all. and although a crime has been charged in this impeachment, a statement or speech like fight like hell otherwise you're not going to have your country back is not the same thing as a call for violent action. and if you can't show that under branden vs. ohio it violates the first amendment. i think the president will have a strong defense under the constitution as to why he should not be convicted. judy: so just elaborate on that. what is it that you're saying the president would have had to have done or said that would
have made him culpable? >> he has to call for a violent action or call for illegal conduct. you know, it's not enough to just say, well, there's encouragement. there's a very broad protection particularly for political speech. the brandonburg decision for more than 50 years ago is clear on that. and it's why there has been precious few prosecutions under federal law in this area because it invariably bumps up against the first amendment. and apparently, the aclu as i understand it from professor de-- wits shares my view that this prugs by impeachment in the senate is unconstitutional under the first amendment. i expect you'll hear more about that as the defense unfolds in the coming days. judy: well, we will be listening and we certain hi do appreciate you joining us today. robert ray. thank you.
robert: thanks very much. judy: and next we turn to constitutional scholar and former judge michael mcconnell of stanford university law school of he was nominated to the 10th circuit court of appeals by president george w. bush and served for seven years. thank you for joining us. you may have just heard robert ray saying in so many words that it is a mistake. that it is not constitutional for this trial go forward, which we now know that it will because that was the senate vote. but his argument is that it isn't constitutional because the decision or mr.someone runs for office again is something that should be left to the voters and not to the kong. i would -- i would love you to react to that. but also to explain, you know, your view on the constitutionality of this trial. >> what's constitutional and isn't doesn't depend upon what any of us may think is a good
idea. it's what the constitution says. and the constitution clearly gives the senate the authority to try all impeachments and to impose the sanction of disqualification from future office. senators will decide whether that's an appropriate sanction or not. but it's certainly authorized by the constitution. judy: and so thi argument that it should be left to the voters doesn't hold weight? >> well, that's -- that's an argument to the discretion of the senators. buts the not a constitutional argument. judy: so you're comfortable with essentially with the argument -- with the fact that this trial is going ahead, that it is constitutional? so that brings us judge mcconnell to the question of -- of the president's role or not in inciting this insurrection.
how do you read the evidence so far that you've seen? >> so let me be clear first on the constitutionality point becuse i think many people have missed this that i do think that the constitution allows for impeachment only of current office holders. but mr. trump was impeached when he was president of the united states on january 13th. so that requirement is met. once the house impeaches, there's a separate provision of the constitution that gives the senate the power to try all impeachments. so while i do agree that impeachment is limited to current officers, that does not disqualify this particular proceeding. now, as to the incitement, we haven't seen all of the -- all of the evidence yet. i think the house made a serious
mistake in framing this impeachment in terms simply of -- of the criminal law of incitement because i think it will invite people to treat this as if this was a criminal prosecution of mr. trump. it is not. this is an impeachment, a trial of an impeachment, not a criminal trial for incitement. i doubt very much that mr. trump could be convicted of the crime of impeachment -- of incitement. but that's not what the kong is limited to. the queson here is whether mr. trump committ high crimes and misdemeanors, which is a term of art which extends beyond mere violations of the criminal code to serious abuses of -- of the office, and would include such things as -- as attempting to
persuade officers of the states to disregard election results after proper challenges to those election results had been properly pursued in the courts an rejected. -- and rejected. it would include the failure of mr. trump to take any action to stop the riot when it was taking place, when he was in the very best position to do that. the president does have the duty under the constitution to take care of the laws to be faithfully executed. judy: so just very quickly, the wording instead of incitement to insurrection would have bn stronger if it would have been worded how? >> i think it should have -- it should not have been framed in terms of the precise words of a criminal violation. and it should have included both the attempts to -- to persuade
officers not to certify properly guest voting results and also the failure of the president to take steps that he should have taken to end the riot. judy: former judge mhael mcconnell, now arofessor at stanrd law. thank you very much. we appreciate it. >> i'm stephanie sy. we'll return to the full show after the latest headlines. president biden endorsed making $1400 stimulus payments to americans earning up to $75,000. democratic leaders and the house ways and means committee back that figure overnight. republicans and some democratic moderates want to limit those
making $50,000 or less. the nominee for white house chief said that new stimulus might ignite inflation. but doing too little could do even more damage. on another issue tanden apologized for her scathing tweets. >> i recognize that this role is a bipartisan. i know i have to earn the trust of senators across the board. for those concerned about my -- my work and my language, you know, i'm -- i'm sorry and i'm sorry for any hurt that they've caused. >> experts from the world health organization have concluded that covid-19 most likely did not come from a chinese lab. the team announced that finding today after investigating in was hahn where the first cases appeared. >> our initial findings suggest that the introduction to a host is the most likely pathways.
the finding suggest that the laboratory hypothesis is extremely unlikely and to explain introduction of the virus into the human population. >> in myanmar police cracked down on crowd who defied a ban against last week's military coup. authorities fired water cannons. some of the protestors were wounded by rubber bullets. searchers serged for survivors. a flash flood that killed 32 people and left 165 missing. rescue workers today looked through muddy valleys and cleared debris from a tunnel where three workers are believed to be trapped. one person has died after a shooting in buffalo, minnesota.
three other people who were wounded at the health clinic are in critical condition this evening. police arrested 67-year-old gregory paul a ridge who they say opened fire because he was unhappy with healthcare he received. >> the history that we have as a department with this individual makes it most likely that his -- his -- this incident was targeted at that facility or someone within that facility. >> police also found what appeared to be homemade bombs. federal safety investigators blamed a helicopter pilot for the crash that killed the late great kobe bryant. it crashed in january 2020. bryant's 13-year-old daughter and six others including t pilot also died. the national transportation safety board ruled the pilot violated safety rules when he flew into heavy fog.
the arab world scored a trirpe in air space as this animation shows an unmanned craft reached or bith around mars after traveling for seven months. the orbiter will gather data. they are set to arrive at mars in the next few days. and singer mary wilson one of the original supremes has died. she helped power motown in the 1960's. jeffrey brown has her remembrance. ♪ >> mary wilson was a key part of a legendary sound, a founding member with florence ballard and diana ross of the supremes. ♪ stop in the name of love ♪ >> they were trail blazers with a string of hits from motown in the is the 60's after coming together as teenagers in detroit. >> we were stars.
in fact, i remember instead of going home on the bus, we flew that was our first plane ride. we flew home. we had really hit big. >> group would go through changes, most of all, diana ross leaving to go solo. mary wilson remained until the end in 1977 before starting her own solo career. her 1986 documentary "dream girl" documented including strange relations with ross before the split in a video shared saturday, she said she was excited to celebrate black history month and the release of more of her work time for her upcoming birthday on march sixth. >> we'll see. i've got my fingers crossed here. i do. wilson died on monday at her home in las vegas. no cause of death was given. ♪ >> for the pbs newshour, i'm jeffrey brown. stephanie: mary wilson was 76 years old.
announcer: this is "the pbs newshour" from weta studios in washington and in the west from the walter cronkite school of journalism from the arizona state university. judy: the data are preliminary so far but there are concerns that some of the new covid strains are more infectious, more deadly and possibly even more resistant to the vaccines. given that, experts stress mass vaccination is crucial to slowing the spread because studies show that vaccines can prevent severe disease, hospitalization and death. william bringham has our conversation about what can be done and changing public attitudes. >> judy, this doctor leads one of those vaccinations campaigns with his company c.i.c. health. he's a surgeon at brigham and william hospital.
he is also a staff writer. for his latest issue he visited one north dakota town when it was suffering a terrible covid outbreak and an open fight with the public health protections meant to contain it. doctor, great to have you back on "newsor." first on the vags nation programs you're running. your company in a sense, was created to step into the breach officially over testing now over vacks nations. -- vaccinations. some states is done well. many have struggled with this. do you have a good sense as to why this initial stage has faltered so much? >> first of all, everybody was late to planning. this should have been part of the planning process months ago. states were coming forward asking for that planning process. but it really didn't get underway until after thanksgiving. we got involved to enable mass vacks nation at gillette
stadium, fenway park, reggie lewis track and field here in boston. and the challenges really were that the planning only got underway maybe the week before christmas for enabling this kind of mass scale that we're now hitting. so the good news is people have had six weeks, eight weeks of getting these operations up and running. we're now past two million vaccinations a day that hit the peak over the weekend. and -- and we are well on our way to reaching 100 million vaccines in arms by 100 days. but we have to move even faster because of the mutant strains that are spreading that you mentioned. >> yeah, how concerned are you about those? one of them might be more contagio and one of them might be more deadly. it seems that we're in a race before time before the variant truly spread. >> yeah, we have across the world tens of millions of active
infections and a very large base of infections here that become a petri dish for lots new mutations. some of those mutations, one from the u.k. one from south africa, one from brazil, these are more contagious. and in some cases have some less effectiveness with the vaccines. i'm very concerned about these. the doubling time, the rate at which you see the virus spreading to double its number is only 10 days. florida already is at 5% of all infections there have the u.k. variant, which we know to be more contagious. that means that as our counts drop right now for the wild type that had been the dominant one in the u.s., we're seeing a rise in this more contagious version
which is around march we can expect some real trouble unless we double down not just on vaccines but on our masks. >> i'd love to turn to a piece in "the new yorker." in north dakota when it was going through that stretch of the pandemic and they were having this very public open fight about a mask mandate in town. can you give us the synopsis, that masks don't work? that the virus wasn't such a threat? what was the debate going on there? >> it was a fierce debate over both, you know, an argument whether masks work and also about whether this was a really serious infection worth attacking or not and at a more fundamental level and i engaged in a discussion about the fact that there was pain and suffering about not just about the public health consequences
which experts have tended to focus on, but also they felt their arguments weren't being heard about their jobs being damaged, about not being able to have their kids in schools, and they just wanted return to normal. that -- that fierce debate was had out in a city council that forced the issue, the state would not adopt the mask mandate, but the city council did. and over time, what you saw throughout north dakota which a that time had the hhest rates of infections, you saw a place change where mask wearing reached a high of 89% in the state. now, the challenges can they keep the foot on the pedal, the mask mandate was repealed just a couple of weeks ago. >> i mean, i hear everything you're saying about the importance of recognizing the economic pain caused by some of the shutdowns and restrictions,
but i mean, this pandemic as you well know is not over by any stretch. people are still going to have to wear masks and notrowd into bars and all of those public health measures. going forward from what you reported, what is your sense about how we do our messaging about public health better next time this time? >> well, i think the first thing to understand is, we're not going to get consensus on these issues. the question is can we have an open respectful debate? hear each other, pay attention to the pain everything's feeling? you have people who are reluctant to -- to enter back into society as rates fall and participate. and you reluctance about taking the measures that we need to to stop the infection from coming. there's a lot of exhaustion and a lot of pain. and we are going to be, you know, the -- the -- the debate, the arguments the anger isn't going to stop.
and yet, the country even north dakota got past 80% of wearing of mask. they got the infections down. the debates will be hard and fierce and angry. but our democracy may be frayed. what i saw there though was it wasn't broken. that we were able to hold together, have these fights and then move forward. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. judy: the biden administration announced more efforts today to ramp up vaccine distribution around the country, and to make sure that undserved communities get more access. it comes after many states struggled to distribute it quickly. buwest virginia has been a
leader from the outset. in fact, it has outpaced nearly every other state when it comes to vaccinations. >> for 75 ed turly the question wasn't if he would get the vaccine. >> i talked to my wife, and you don't know what it's like to be married to a nurse. >> what is it like? >> you can't get by with nothing. [laughter] >> the question was when? the very day he was eligible he booked a slot >> i was relieved. i wasn't going to tell him then. >> left arm ok? >> on this day, turley was one of about 50 people vaccinated in preston county, west virginia. his home state is leading the country when it comes to vacks nations. seven weeks into their rollout, west virginia has vaccinated more than 12% of its population including both doses delivered to all nursing home residents
and most healthcare workers. now, anyone 65 and older can sign up on a statewide wait list. each week local clinics work their way down that list and schedule the next round of shots. >> i need your consent and then your card. >> this west virginia university clinic is one of several specialized clinics also in place. >> today, faculty and staff over 65, plus younger clinical students are getting their vaccines. >> here's the lay of the land, that table all the way in back, the syringes are being filled. they are distributed to six vaccination stations. from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave sthowled take five minutes total. >> tony christian is getting her second dose and looking forward to the protection it affords. >> i miss the sial interaction more than anything. i think that's probably been the hardest thing. >> do you do ok? >> 77-year-old paul lewis says while he's relieved to be
vaccinated, he's worried about his son a vaccine skeptic. >> what's that conversation like? >> that conversation is consistent. but brief. you don't know what the long-term health implications are of having covid-19. so if i'm going to take my choices, i'll take the choice with the vaccine. >> here in west virginia that vaccine arrives each week from the government. they transport it to five state hubs. those hubs allocate it to clinics where residents who put their names on a weight list are brought there. >> it's and all-hands-on-deck so we can get people vaccinated as quickly and safely as possible. >> the key to their success, she says is remaining nimble and flexible. >> we have a group text message that we utilize often so that we get our people there when we need to get them to the places
to vaccinate. >> you literally have a group chat going? >> yes. we have those relationships and we know how to work together. we know how to get into the rural communities. >> and because the state is mostly rural, west virginia chose to tap into its network of independent pharmacies instead of joining the federal partnership with c.v.a. and walgreens. that decision was the most crucial to get people vaccinated quickly. >> one of the things we have an as independent pharmacist is we're able to adapt quickly. we don't have to go through any corporate bureaucracies. >> dr. clay marsh is west virginia's covid czar. >> if we had a great idea that this plan was better for us and we didn't implement it, then that would have been irresponsible for us. >> he says he's proud of the speed of the roll oith. but it hasn't been without bumps. in december more than 40 people in the southern part of the state were given an antibody
treatment instead of a covid-19 vaccine. >> with the complexity of is, we know mistakes will be made. we will always get better and we'll be better the next time. >> other states are now turning to west virginia as a guide. marsh was recently asked to testify before a house committee. >> what can we say to the other states how they can improve on that? >> ultimately west virginia made a plan that worked for us. >> but what wks here in a small rural state may not work in bigger more urban states. >>o it's really important that you know your own state, that you have a committed group of empower people. that you you're on the right culture and you're trying things but you're sticking with some very clear, true north principles that you won't violate. >> and for all their success, west virginia is still facing the same vaccine shortage foundation the rest of the country is.
>> we'll still be doing first doses towards the end of the year, which is not a number i like to hear. >> we have the capacity today with no more infrastructure expansion, we believe to be able to push out 145,000 dose as week. >> today, you could be doing four times what you're currently doing? >> yes. >> one practice, use every last drop from every single vial. >> i can say tt out of the thousands that i've given, i have not wasted a single dose. we've found arms for each one of them. >> organizers realize they have extra doses left in the vials. they'll expire within hours. so county health administrator vijay davis works his way down the standby list. >> hey, we have an extra corovirus shot today, would you be able to come and get it? >> they called us like five
minutes before we got here. [laughter] >> frees youp a little bit more to feel like you can go out and you've got some protection now. >> protection ed turley welcomes. he says he hasn't hugged his grandkids in almost a year. >> have you ever lived through anything like this any all of your life? >> no, don't want to go through anything like this either. >> with both shots behind him, he hopes the pandemic will soon be too. for "the pbs newshour" i'm amna navaz in west virginia. judy: we return to our series on afghanistan. tonight, deep fear in the afghan capital. special correspondent jane ferguson and producer cinematographer emily cassy report. >> two female supreme court judges were killed.
>> afghans wake up you to news of more assassinations. this time it's two female judges killed in a brazen execution on their way to work in the morning. seconds after she left her house to go to work, her brother heard the gunshots. >> i heard the bullets fired, constant firing. my wife screamed. we all ran out barefooted. i saw one of her colleagues was laying down and shouted at me to go check my sister. but when i saw her she was hit here and also in the shoulders. i felt as though the ground fell away below me and the sky fell. when i saw her, i knew she was gone. >> she was a supreme court judge and a breadwinner. every man in this room relied on her to support them and their children. a highly successful professional at work she was a matriarchal leader at home. >> she was a very strong person. when she left kissed the hand of
our mother and said i'm not sure i'll be back alive. >> rooms like this filled with family with shock and grieve emerge across kabul for days now. they have immeasurable loss but this recent campaign of assassinations shock the country. kabul's middle-class neighborhood are stocked with killers picking off a generation of professionals. [speaking foreign language] >> the people in the capital are educated bright people. some people from the villages are uneducated and they come to kill the educated people. >> bitterness runs deep. >> 100% this is the taliban. all attacks are carried out by them. all people are targeted. police, prosecutors. she was a judge. what will the international community do? they are leaving while the
taliban is still here. >> it's not clear if the assassinations are ordered by the taliban. no group has formerly claimed responsibility. according to a deal signed between the taliban and the trump administration a year ago, the last american boots on the ground here leave in less than 100 days. in the meantime, peace negotiations between the taliban and the afghan government are not making progress. journalists, judges, human rights activists, anyone with a voice and a role to play in building civil society mere is now marked for death by nameless assassins. since the deal was signed, over 150 have been murdered. a new cold fear has descended here. no one knows who will be targeted next or why. >> this should be a relatively safe neighborhood of kabul. and one of the impacts of these killings is to remind everyone especially professional women they're not safe anywhere in this city. >> she refuses to bow to that
pressure. a well-known tv reporter for afghanistan's talo tv heading out on a story is more dangerous for her now than ever. the afghan intelligence services say militants plan to lure female journalists to interviews where assist sins will be waiting. -- assasns will be waiting. the office is worried and calling to check on her, she tells us. today, she is reporting on a domestic murder case enter vuge a family who say the government and the police won't investigate. her job is a form of service to her people and community. but it leaves her very exposed. do you feel in danger when you arrive here? >> yes, because kabul is insecure. and right now, we're far away from the city. so yeah, it doesn't feel good. >> but you don't stop doing it. you don't stop coming out here.
you keep working. why? >> i can't not come here just because i'm scared or because i'm urn threat. i can't not come here. if i don't, who will make this family's voice heard? who will make sure their word reach officials? >> the taliban deny they are responsible for killings across the country. we traveled to one of their strong holds less than two hours outside the capitol and challenged them on this. >> is the taliban responsible for asays nations in particular against female journalists? >> whatever acts we do in kabul or around the country, we claim responsibility. the other attacks are spraps by isis or someone else to create tension. the taliban always claims responsible for any attack they've carried out. >> but the afghan governmt insists it's the taliban not the
isis. they said he helped in assassination of an official. this man who thinks he's 17 or 18 years old is from the same taliban-controed area we visited. although, he is willing to do the interview, we are hiding his aid identity because he has no access to a lawyer. >> where i live there is a lot of taliban. they have a lot of influence. everyone there is a part "on the fly." >> he's accuse -- everyone there is a part of it. he's accused of helping his cousin assassinate the man. >> they told know follow him and watch his house to keep track of his where abouts. when he leaves and when he comes home. i don't support them now. i've been captured. i know my punishment. >> now, his young life could be ended too with high officials calling for the death penalty against those involved in such killings. >> i want to study. to go to school. i had.
biggses grohl grow -- i had vision and ambitions. anger here at the trump administration handling of their peac negotiations with the taliban is tangible. since the february 2020 agreement between the american government and the taliban, the group has not killed american soldiers for over a year. but afghans continue to be slaughtered. >> there was this promise, sort of made also made by the american who is initiated this process that there will be a redaction in violence. however what we see is the opposite. the americans who protect themselves, but there was no protection for afghans. >> the head of the independent human rights commission -- >> the feeling is this feeling of being forgotten, being -- it's about a dignified exit for the u.s. or is it about lasting peace for eafl. >> akbar has been personally
impacted by the colleagues. colleagues of hers have been target and killed within the last few months. >> one of the biggest achievements over the past 20 years was that some of them received international standard contribution. they are the backbone of our turning the system of governance. the message to them is there's not a futch for you here. >> as for so many people in this city, the grief is crushing for those left behind. >> i think -- i think my colleagues really test my strength. and really tested my hope. but it doesn't stop me. but, i -- i need to be honest. i think if there is one thing that can really test my strength again would be something like that. i am more afraid of losing any
of my colleagues. and i'm afraid for my own life. and it's -- it's a horrible feeling because i can't protect them. sometime the only regret that i have about taking this job is this that i have to experience this pain. to look at my colleagues in the eyes and tell them that i'm sorry we lost. we lost your child. >> back in the newsroom, atal tv, anisa is putting together her story. she's defiant about keeping up her work as normal but carries around the same fear that the violent and sudden loss of loved ones will continue.
>> i'm scared that i will lose more colleagues. we have lost too many. when he friends see me outside they say, you are a live? everyone who goes outside you think they won't come back alive. it's auge worry. i never thought we would get to point where every day we wait for the death of our friends. all my friends know me. they know i'm not one to be afraid. but now, i know that i actually do have fear. >> whoever is behind these killings, their chosen targets seem to speak to how they view eaf's future, one without the new generation of civic leaders, rights activists and journalists without influential women. the fight for afghanistan's future has entered a new deadly phase. for the pbs newshour, i'm jane
ferguson. in kabul, afghanistan. judy: such important reporting. thank you, jane. that's "the newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. thank you. please stay safe and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by -- >> consumer cellular. johnson & johnson. bnsf railway. carnegie corporation of new york, supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement and the advancement of international peace and security at carnegie.org. and with the ongoing support of these institutions.
this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> this is pbs "newshour" west from weta sdios in washington and from our bureau at the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy.visit ncicaorg]
>> ooh. pati narrates: sometimes when i travel i find the best experiences are the ones i least expected. loreto, baja california sur. it might not be the busiest destination on the baja peninsula, but it is one of the oldest. the spanish built mision loreto here in 1744. for a tiny fishing village, loreto has a lot to offer. i'm getting a little history. the clams have been made for centuries. >> before the spanish, as a matter of fact the indigenous left their shells. >> pati: a gigantic burrito. woah! and something completely unexpected i found the best pizza in all the baja peninsula. mmm! in my kitchen, i'm inspired by the sea of cortez.