tv PBS News Hour PBS February 10, 2021 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
judy: gooevening. i'm judy woodruff. the trial continues. the second senate judgment of former president trump intensifies as democrats make their case over his incitement of the attack on the capital. then, covid response. we discuss the proposed changes to the vaccine campaign with a senior member of the white house pandemic team. and, the longest war. afghan warlords and militias fill the security vacuum left by a weak central government and the withdrawal of u.s. forces. >> if a deal is done in doha between the afghan government and the taliban, it'll be men like this, who have been targeted by the taliban for years, who will get to decide whether or not they themselves
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thank you. judy: the preliminaries are over, and the second impeachment trial of former president donald trump is now underway in earnest. the u.s. senate heard evidence today, some of it never-before shown, that he fomented the storming of the u.s. capitol last month. white house correspondent yamiche alcindor begins our coverage. yamiche: in the case against former president trump, house democratic impeachment managers wasted no time. >> members of the senate, good day. yamiche: leading the way, jamie raskin. >> president trump was no innocent by sander. he clearly incited the january 6 insurrection. this will show the donald trump surrendered his role as commander-in-chief and became the insider in chief -- inciter in chief of a dangerous insurrection. yamiche: it was the beginning of
16 hours of arguments. congressman raskin insisted prep -- former president trump must be held accountable for the assault on the u.s. capitol area he stressed this was no accident. >> it may have felt like chaos and madness but there was method in the madness that day. yamich he said the house team argues former president trump told momentum for trying to overthrow the election. they said it was clear extremists were responding. >> there were countless social media posts, news stories, most importantly credible reports from the fbi and capitol police that the thousands gathering for the save america march were violent, organized with weapons, and targeting that capitol. as they would later scream in these halls, they were sent here by the president. yamiche: another impeachment
manager argued the president's own words laid the crucial groundwork for the attack. he played videos of president trump's postelection rallies and specific remarks democrats say fueled his supporters' anger. >> we will never surrender. now is not the time to retreat. now is the time to fight harder than ever before. we have to go all the way. we are going to fight like hell. >> the president had every reason to know that this would happen. because he assembled the mob, he summoned the mob and he incited the mob. >> good afternoon. yamiche: a representative from texas pointed to the former president's frequent tweets and claims the election was rigged. >> rather than calmly say let's count the votes he told his supporters he actually won the election and the thing was a fraud. he said on november 4, and he has never recounted that
statement since. yamiche: a california congressman said the rhetoric escalated into, quote, combat terms. >> stop the steal. yamiche: he said that fueled anger towards officials. >> he could have told his supporters stop threatening officials, stop going to their homes, stop it with the threats. but each time, he didn't. instead, in the face of escalating violence, he incited them further. yamiche: two representatives cited many incidents in which president trump pressured state election officials, senate and house lawmakers, and even his own vice president keep him in power. >> what we saw was a man so desperate to cling to power that he tried everything he could to keep it. yamiche: another member of the prosecution team unveiled powerful new security camera
footage showing how rioters breached the capital, -- capitol, with only one police officer, eugene goodman, standing guard. as they moved up the stairs they were within 100 feet of where mike pence was sheltering with his family. this is trying to win the votes of 67 senators. that means getting 17 republicans to vote to convict president trump. yesterday only one republican, louisiana senator bill cassidy must switched sides devote that the trial is constitutional. six republicans joined democrats and voted to proceed. others said it is clear there is not enough support to convict president trump in the end. >> we have one senator that changed their point of view. i think that says a lot. i think that pretty well fixes in place what you might see as the eventual outcome, although
all of us will listen through the rest of the proceedings. yamiche: that has left president trump's lawyers feeling confident he will be acquitted. tomorrow the house impeachment managers wrap up their opening arguments. then president trump's defense team will get up to 16 hours to make their case. that will come as some of president trump's republican supporters on tuesday criticized the trump lawyers' presentation and called into question their strategy. many said it lacked focus and was a missed opportunity. >> members of the senate. yamiche: they pointed meandering remarks. sources close to president trump called them off. when both teams wrap up their cases, the senators will question both sides for up to four hours. judy: yamiche alcindor joins me now along with lisa de chardin. -- desjardins. you were in the chamber when two of the house
managers, a delicate and a congressman, made their presentations. they were showing new video. tell us what you saw and what you saw of the senators' reaction. lisa: most of this was videoed that was nev before seen come a dramatic depiction members of congress, including the senators watching, came to encountering the mob as the democrats put it, bent on destruction of the chamber and also of harming the senators themselves. i have to say, i sat there watching senators observe their own lives and essentially flash before their eyes as they saw silent video, because it was security camera video, of protesters coming within 100 feet of the chamber. the senators were almost completely still and it was so silent in that chamber. i had a felt tip pen.
the sound my pen was noticeably loud. somebody turned to me and heard my pen strokes. it was that silent during the video. i noticed senators having reactions when depictions of staff being threatened, as speaker pelosi's staff barricaded, as the rioters stormed around them, i saw senator tommy tuberville of alama, the republican, shake his head in dismay. we saw video of the rioters coming to the senate chamber and they showed video of the senators watching themselves evacuate, including a close call for senator mitt romney. he shook his head. he told reporters he had never seen the video before. i saw senator bill cassidy, an important republican, still as a stone except for his pen, which was moving in his fingers, as i think he perceived the threat he actually faced on that day. i have to say one other observation, in the press area
where i was there was a single police officer who was there to protect us and make sure we were in our positions. he was behind us. i was the only one looking at him. the police officer had tears in his eyes as he heard how his fellow officers, perhaps he himself, were brutalized. i saw him look at the sky and pulled his hands together. it was a difficult video to watch. judy: capitol police, certainly heroes that day. just quickly, there is still more to go. we haven't heard president trump's defense yet. what is your sense on conviction? lisa: does this emotion matter? senator lisa murkowski spoke to reporters and said she is disturbed and angry and the evidence is pretty damning, but on the others, mart -- marco rubio said this was powerful material but he doesn't think it
convicts. he still contends that you can't convict a former president. judy: quickly, yamiche, you have been following the story for a long time. so much of what we heard today was about what the president has sa over the past many mths, what he has done. what is your sense of how that is playing out? yamiche: democrats really put up a damning argument against president trump and they used his own words and never before seen video of his perceived opponents, his targeted opponents running for their lives. we heard from president trump over and over. he is not going to testify the trial area legal experts say it is because he was scared he was going to perjure himself. we saw president trump at rallies, in interviews, over and over saying this election was rigged and stolen from him. we know now that none of that
was true. what was interesting is, they were going back, the impeachment managers, months and months, all the way back to 107 days before the election to make the case. there is also the video of so many of the presidents targets running for their lives. mitt romney was one of the few republicans who stood up to the president. vice president pence, his last act of crossing the president, the president tweeted at him on january 6 angry because he wouldn't overturn the election for him. we saw people dressed in the symbols of president trump going after these lawmakers, trying to hurt them. this is stunning video, video that president trump's lawyers will hav to contend with. they are confident the president will be acquitted. they don't think this emotion will changany minds, but the president will have to contend with this and like a -- lisa murkowski says she doesn't see help -- how president trump
coulget reelected. whether the president being acquitted may not matter for his political future. judy: so much yet to unfold. thank you both. joining me now are two women who have worked on senate impeachment trials before. elizabeth chryst is a 26-year veteran of the senate, and served as the republican senate secretary during the impeachment trial of president bill clinton. and melody barnes of the university of virginia's democracy initiative, miller center and law school. she was chief counsel to the late massachusetts senator edward kennedy when she helped broker the rules for president clinton's impeachment trial. it is good to see both of you. thank you for joining me. elizabeth, i'm going to start with you. the number kratz started the day calling president, former president trump the insight or
-- inciter in chief. how strong of a case are they making? elizabeth: i think they are making a very strong case because the video, it is a disgrace. it is horrible. the loss-of-life is sad. i think everybody would agree, the violent trespassing of our nations capitol should never happen again. there i no doubt about that. to say that it all falls on the feet of donald trump, i'm not sure they are making that case really well. i mentioned this earlier, they are talking to politicians, they are talking to men and women in the chamber that seek reelection or election and they understand that campaign rhetoric can be just that, it can be fiery, it can be a lot of things. you can have a supporter or group that supports you and they
are fringe or they go off the rails in some way. that doesn't mean you support what they do. i'm not sure they are making that connection very well. but it was a horrific day. i worked in the capitol for 26 years and i can cry overseeing many of these clips. it was horrible, a sad day. judy: melody, how would you say they are making the case that president trump was not only involved but he was the chief inciter of all this? melody: that is the case they have to make. i believe they are doing a very methodical job of doing that. they have gone back for many months and they are connecting the dots between what happened prior to november, prior to the election, pulling it all the way through that period, the former president's work in the courts that was highly unsuccessful, his attempts to badger and push
other republicans like george as secretary of state -- georgia's secretary of state, and when that failed he invited his supporters to washington, d.c. and as the house manager said, he knew that they were violent. he knew that they were armed. he knew that they were coming with the intention to do his bidding. they called themselves the cavalry for the commander-in-chief and they connected those dots to show that even with that knowledge, the former president whipped them into a frenzy at the rally, then pointed them towards the capitol. using his words and his tweets, using the video, they have built i think a very compelling case. also, they said to the senate, what would you have done? asking them to compe their n actions, the convictions to what the former president of the united states did and the way
that they had to be protected by capitol police and law enforcement and how close many of them came to a really ugly demise. judy: coming back to you, elizabeth, your int about politicians, members of the senate think of themselves and words they have used. what we are talking about is a series of actions, of statements, of pleadings, urgings by president trump. it wasn't just a comment here or there. they went back to a year ago when the president started talking about the election being fraudulent. but ur point is that that is still likely not to be enough? elizabeth: correct. i don't believe it is enough. going back to a year or year and a half of statements, this is the way the president, the former president, that is the
way he did his rallies. he did whip up his supporters. that is the nature of the rallies. people say that is why they were so infectious to begin with. but again, i think it is hard to go from there to him approving and being pleased at what happened in the united states capitol. i can't see that in any way. it was such a disgrace and we all i'm sure are confident that we hope it never happens again. judy: melody, is there more that you know, that the managers could be doing to connect what president trump did, former president trump did, to the events of january 6? melody: well, i disagree with elizabeth. i think they are showing in every way what the former president did and what he intended up to and including the fact that even as this mob was overtaking the capital -- the
capitol, as members of the senate and house were running for their lives, that the president didn't do anything. in fact, he encouraged this mob to go to the capitol because the vice president, his own partner, his running mate wasn't doing what he wanted them to do. and they were up there and they were chanting horrible things about the vice president, threatening his life. and still, the president did nothing. one of the things that house managers pointed out was that this is a president who had every capability to say stop when he wanted to. he was saying stop steel. he could have said stop the mo, stop the rioting. and there were crickets. one of the questions for the republicans, and i think the house managers have done a good job in putting this on the table, they pointed out that this is a former president who
was coming for them, meaning coming for the gop, the crowd chanting defeat the gop, we are attacking the gop. this is a republican party that worked the brand itself as being pro-law-enforcement, patriotic, and religious. the house managers were showing attacks on churches prior to this moment. they were showing attacks on law enforcement officers that were just unimaginable with blue lives matter flags while they were draped in the american flag. i think the house managers are saying to them, do you want to protect a president who has incited this kind of violence, who has undermined a constitutional act of counting electoral college votes, when in fact this president is not with you? i think it is a question they put in front of the gop to be playing in the background as they look at this evidence and consider these actions.
judy: we are going to continue to look at this but we will have to leave this conversation there. we thank both of you, melody and elizabeth. we appreciate it. ♪ stephanie: i'm stephanie sy with newshour west. we'll return to the full show after the latest headlines. updating our top story, the house managers have concluded their first day of arguments against former president donald trump. they are expected to resume tomorrow at 12:00 noo stern, 9:00 a.m. pacific. judy woodruff, our correspondents, and our panelists will be here then for our coverage. the democratic district attorney for fulton county, georgia, the atlanta area, opened a criminal investigation into efforts to influence the state's presidential vote count. the announcement did not mention any names, but former president trump phoned georgia's secretary of state, brad raffensperger, in
early january, appealing for enough votes to overturn the biden win in the state. raffensperger refused. on the pandemic, the cdc now says wearing 2 face masks, or one tightly fitted mask, is more effective in blocking covid-19. new research released today showed exposure can be reduced by 95%, more than twice what a single mask achieves. the cdc head, dr. rochelle walensky, spoke at a virtual briefing. >> the science is clear, everyone needs to be wearing a mask when they are in public, or when they are in their own home but with people who do not live in their household. this is especially true with our ongoing concern about new variants spreading in the united states. stephanie: the new advice on masks came as the nationwide death toll from covid-19 passed 470,000. president biden is holding his first call with chinese
president xi jinping tonight, and brought up several contentious issues. biden underscored concerns about what it called ijing's unfair economic rectus is. he also brought up human rights abuses and its crackdown on hong kong protesters. they discussed areas of mutual interest, including the pandemic, climate change and preventing weapons proliferation. president biden ordered sanctions against military leaders against myanmar for staging a coup and using violence against protesters. he said the move would freeze $1 billion dollars in the general'' u.s. assets. meanwhile, thousands of protesters turned out again in cities across myanmar, despite the police crackdown and a ban on gatherings. saudi arabia has released a leading women's rights activist from prison. loujain al-hathloul pushed to end the kingdom's ban on women driving. she was sentenced under a counterterrorism law, and served nearly 3 years.
her release comes as president biden has pledged to emphasize human rights in u.s.-saudi relations. the white house is warning that, for now, the u.s. will continue turning back most migrants who enter illegally from mexico. press secretary jen psaki said today that officials need time to implement changes from trump-era policies that kept most migrants out. >> due to the pandemic, and the fact that we have not had the time as an administration to put in place humane comprehensive process for processing individuals who are coming to the border, now is not the time to come. and the vast majority of people will be turned away. stephanie: crossings at the southern border have been growing for months, and border patrol facilities are filling up. another new spacecraft has rived at mars, this one from china. this official animation showed the unmanned vessel going into orbit today. its goal is to land a rover, looking for underground water
and signs of previous life. an orbiter from the united arab emirates reached the red planet on tuesday. an american rover arrives next week. and larry flynt, who founded "hustler" magazine, has died. flynt built a pornography empire, partly on images of violence against women, and fought several first amendment battles. during one case, in 1978, he was shot by a gunman and left partially paralyzed. in 1988, he won a u.s. supreme court fight with the reverend jerry falwell, who had sued him over a parody. larry flynt was 78 years old. still to come on the "newshour," we discuss the ongoing vaccine campaign with a senior member of the white house cod-19 response team afghan warlords and militias fill the security vacuum left by e withdrawal of united states forces. new accountability for a major company and its role in the opioids crisis plus, much more.
♪ >> this is the pbs newshour from w eta studios in washington and in the west, from the walter cronkite school of journalism at arizona state university. judy: the white house said today that the u.s. is on track to meet president biden's pledge of 100 million covid-19 vaccinations in his first 100 days. but as amna nawaz reports, demand is greater than the federal supply, frustration is building, and questions about and the equity of vaccine distribution persist. amna: judy, about 10% of the country has so far gotten at least one dose of the covid vaccine, and about 1.5 million americans are now getting a shot every day. but the pace and supply of vaccinations remain low. andy slavitt has been at the center of the biden administration's efforts to increase those numbers. he is a white house senior adviser on the covid-19
response. he joins me now. welcome back to the newshour and thanks for making the time. i want to begin by asking about the registration process sign-up to get the vaccines. it is a bit of a hunger games situation, if you can afford a smart phone and the time to sit and refresh your browser. if you can afford it you can get one of those slots. is there a federal fix in the works or is this just the way it is? andy: thank you for having me on the show. you are right, there are a couple things that we are concerned about right now. one is that for the next little while, we will be in an under supply situation. that won't be the case forever, but that will be the case for the next few weeks, if not a couple months. while that is happening, one of the things we are very worried abouis people with the savvy and resources, whether it is the ability to smile and dial or use the internet or they have kids, they have transportation, but
there are peoe who are clamoring for these vaccines and we are worried that they will be able to get ahead of the people who are quite frankly, at greater risk, the people in communities of color and low income people, people who are essential workers. so we have a big effort, as we talked about, to make sure we do things to combat that. one of those things is a we announced yesterday, we are going to be distributing vaccines in federally qualified health centers and community clinics, setting up mobile clinics. we just announced today five more federally funded clinics in low income neighborhoods and low income communities and we are asking people to reserve appointments for the people who live in these communities and not allow people to slip in. amna: i think folks would agree that is a lot task ask.
everybody is clamoring to get a slot. you mentioned getting the vaccine directly to those community health centers that serve poor americans, communities of color, that will begin next week. when you look at where the vaccines are going so far, there is limited data. the cdc report shows the federal government has only gathered rate that -- race and ethnicity data for just over half the people vaccinated. the data that exist shows it has gone overwhelmingly to white americans. even if you put the vaccine into community health centers, how do you make sure people from wealthy areas don't come in and get those slots especially if you are not tracking? andy: i will give you an example. in north carolina there was an event last week at panthers stadium and the people put on the event, like the state of north carolina, they reserved appointments for people in communities of color early in the morning, and they located themselves on a bus line and
major there was adequate transportation. if people make the effort, and those folks are writing the playbook on how they did it, because they had twice as much participation from communities of color than was the state's population. the key here is, you have to make an effort because you said it right, if you do nothing, then you can just assume, and you need to just assume that you are going to, your distribution will be inequitable. when i talk about reserving appointment times, i wasn't asking individuals, we have been talking to pharmacies, talking to hospitals, talking to others who have vaccine supply and what we are suggesting is that they have to make re that if they want to continue to get increasing doses, they are not only efficiently movg out vaccines but also equitably. over time, the places that are going to get more and more doses are places that are both efficient and equitable. amna: so you are suggesting to
states and pharmacies that they put those tracking mechanisms into place. let me ask about the supply because the biden administration has increased the supply going to states. state leaders say they welcome everything they can get but they could be doing more. when you look at the map across the country right now, every state right now except for kansas has administered at least 60% of the allocated vaccine. 10 states have administered more than 75% of their vaccines. some folks say they could read doing three or four or five times what they are doing what -- right n. when is the supply going to meet the capacity to deliver? andy: they can, and i think for quite a while, we will be able to get the vaccines more and more efficiently to people as we get, as we increase the supply. so far, we have been here three weeks and as you said, we have increased, the vaccinations going to states by 28%.
that doesn't count the additional vaccine they are able to get out of the pfizer tubes now that we enclosed the ability to get the sixth dose out. we staed this week three till pharmacy program, we started the feather really qualified health center program and these community health clinics. we are getting more places, more vaccinators and more vaccines. i think we will see over th next weeks, us, we feel confident, being able to continue to take that up and we will continue to take that up more and more. i think at some point, we will be out of this situation where we have people chasing vaccines ad we will be in a situation, it is hard to imagine today but where vaccines are chasing people and we will be talking about people who are unsure. amna: i have a few seconds left. when will that be? when will we have more vaccine than we need? andy: i think over the spring, i
expect most states will be able to invite people from across the state come in and get vaccines. i think by the end of the summer, we believe we will be able to get all americans vaccinated and we will do everything we can to do that but we won't over-promise things we haven't been able to do yet. amna: andy, senior advisor on the covid-19 white house task force, thanks for being with us. ♪ judy: we return to our series on the longest war, in afghanistan. afghan security forces are strained to the limit and unable to stop rampant violence fracturing the country. warlords, a mainstay of power and force, are stepping into that breach again. special correspondent jane ferguson and producer-cinematographer emily kassie have our report. jane: these gunmen are the rule
of law in this remote, mountainous region in the center of afghanistan. groups of fighters patrol and protect these communities, entirely independent of the kabul government. instead, they serve under this man, abdul ghani alipur, known as "commander sword." >> 20 years ago, there was a sense of hope in afghanistan. but unfortunately, the situation is getting worse. the government was not able to establish itself in the way people had expected. the democracy that we were establishing never took much of a foothold. jane: and so, he says, the rise of militias and their leaders is inevitable, with security deteriorating across the country. >> when a nation moves towards destruction, every group is forced to take their security into their own hands. they cannot leave their people behind. this is everyone's right. jane: these fighters' long-persecuted ethnic community, the hazaras, have been the target of the taliban for decades.
alipur says the government doesn't protect them. >> hazaras have always been left behind. we can never ensure our rights will be respected. jane: but that fear is felt by many across afghanistan right now, from the various ethnic groups to civil society, and women, as the american military prepares to leave the country. fighting has intensified between government forces and the taliban, despite both sides technically negotiating in qatar, and the kabul authorities are less and less able to provide real security to civilian populations. the state's security forces arrested alipur in 2018, accusing him of leading a iminal gang of fighters, but violent protests in the capital forced his release. now, he sticks to his own stronghold in the mountains. he won't let us come to where he normally hides out. he is, after all, a wanted man, by both the taliban and the government. so he has agreed to meet us here
at this very remote and extraordinary beautiful mountainous part of the very center of afghanistan. thentense security surrounding him is a reflection of this fracturing war. as each group entrenches, men like him have many enemies. his followers say they are providing a service to the community that the government simply doesn't. without security, peopleannot live decent lives. >> at one point, even schools had to close here, and people didn't have the ability to get on with daily life. with alipur's movement, our people now live in security, and they can return to school, boys and girls, men and women. jane: they were keen to show us those schools, alipur himself giving us a tour. here on this snowy mountaintop, a remarkable sight, boys and girls sitting side by side taking extra classes in calculus, as state schools close for winter break. but the reality is, this is not the image of afghanistan's future either the afghan people
or the international community pictured 20 years ago. local militias, patrolling their own communities, fighting off other militant groups. as america prepares to withdraw its troops under a february 2020 deal with the taliban, talks between the afghan government and the taliban have stalled. if that peace process fails, there is a serious risk of the country's war splintering, and smaller conflicts between fighting groups erupting for control of territory. the afghan civil war of the early 1990's after the soviet retreat, was devastating, with gangs of fighters plundering the country. that chaos was what eventually led to the taliban's se in popularity, as communities begged for order. hopes to avoid repeating history lie with current talks on doha between the afghan government and the taliban. but even if a deal happens, there is no guarantee that various ethnic and social groups in afghanistan would support it. the hazara community is predominantly made up of shia
muslims, making them a target for the taliban's sunni extremism. if a deal is done between the afghan government and the taliban, it would be men like this, who have been targeted by the taliban for years, who get to decide. several hours away from alipur's hideout, in rural bamiyan province, people live in the shadow of a visceral symbol of the country's culture, and its destructive war. the famous 2000-year-old giant buddha statues, carved from these cliffs and once a marker of the area's ancient buddhist communities, were blown up by the taliban during their rule. and they continue to hold these communities in fear. hussein razayee makes a living as a taxi driver between biyan and the capital, kabul. it's one of the few jobs going in this part of the country. but to do it, he has to travel through areas controlled by the taliban. >> if they decide they don't like something about me, or with
my passengers, if there is a government employee with documents, they might beat me. if a passenger is taken from my vehicle and is arrested by the taliban, the government will say i am involved. both sides wou accuse me, the taliban and the government. all i could do is beg the mullah to please release the passengers, but they wouldn't. they don't respect us. jane: now, he says, the immediate area is safer because of alipur and his men. >> alipur's presence is very good for the people who are using this road. he is doing a good job. before he came, people were arrested by the taliban who were from this area, because there was no one to protect them, even the government didn't care. jane: despite the peace talks, the realities on the ground of entrenched fighting, and a rapid u.s. withdrawal, leave few here like him confident the next generation will inherit a nation at peace. >> i hope so, but i'm not optimistic. we might have peace one day, but not soon.
if fighting breaks out, i won't paicipate. for the last 35 years, i've never touched a weapon. i'm not a violent person. i just want to live as ordinary a life as i can. i just want a simple life. jane: that's a sentiment echoed across this country, by the millions who aren't armed, who are exhausted from war, asking for only a peaceful, dignified life. yet, as fear sets in that the balance of power is being upended with a u.s. exit, strong men many call warlords may inherit some of that power once again. >> the government is weak. they are not able to defend the people, they cannot defend the country, they cannot move the war forward. when there is destruction and the system deteriorates, everyone ends up looking out for the themselves. no one's intention is to start a civil war. everyone knows that civil war is an awful phenomenon. but if people feel unsafe, then they are forced to defend themselves. jane: america's withdrawal from
afghanistan will be the ultimate test of its government's ability to rule the country and hold central power. the fear for so many afghans is that it will not, and what divides the country could prevail over what unites it, aving people with no choice but to look to their own for survival. for the pbs newshour, i'm jane ferguson in bamiyan, afghanistan. ♪ judy: the opioid crisis that has taken hundreds of thousands of american lives has gotten less attention during the pandemic. but it's no less dangerous. in fact, the cdc says drug overdoses and deaths have grown substantially since the pandemic began. now, one of the world's most powerful corporate consulting firms has agreed to a major settlement for its role and
trying to, quote, "turbocharge" sales of painkillers. stephanie sy has our update. stephanie: judy, the settlement holds mckinsey and company financially accountable for its extensive work with purdue pharma, and other drugmakers, to aggressively market highly addictive painkillers. the agreement allocates $573 million to 47 states, the district of columbia, and five u.s. territories to fund opioid treatment, recovery, and prevention programs. massachusetts attorney general maura healey has been leading the legal battles against mckinsey and purdue pharma, and joins me now. madame attorney general, thanks for joining the newshour. it's a pleasure having you. i want to dive right in. the velocity, the breadth of the opioid epidemic and how many american lives it has devastated is astounding. how much of that would you ascribe to mckinsey consultant''
strategy to sell more oxycontin? >> stephanie, what my office's investigation uncovered is that in fact, mckinsey was right at the heart of this. mckinsey, to be clear, what are investigation uncovered was consulting with the sacklers and purdue, instructing them how to boost oxycontin sales and get doctors to prescribe more and more to patients. mckinsey consultants actually rode along with, went with purdue sales reps to doctors offices in massachusetts to critique them on how effective they were at selling oxycontin. mix it -- mckinsey advised purdue on how to avoid restrictions and advised purdue on how to enter the market for opioid rescu and treatment medications because mckinsey new that people were over dicing -- overdosing and dying and getting
sick from oxycontin. so mckinsey's fingers are all over this. that is why we came together as states. this is the first multi-state resolution that will return millions and millions of dollars to our states right away that we are going to use directly for treatment and also, importantly, we did some thing forhe first time, set up an online document repository where in months, everyone in the country, researchers, the press, the puic, will be able to see mckinsey's emails, memos and the individuals involved in this effort. stephanie: one of the more egregious tactics the complaint alleges was proposed by mckinsey consultants was giving the idea to give rebates to pharmacies when their customers overdosed on oxycontin. there is no evidence that that was enacted, but what does that tell you about these entities'
desire for profit at all costs? maura: it is exactly that, profit at all costs. mckinsey consultants were about the business of advising their clients on how to make as much money as possible from this deadly epidemic. it shows a callousness that really is beyond the pale. it is why mckinsey needs to be held accountable. the fact that they knew, i mean, they knew how dangerous these opioids were. that they went so far as to try to propose to purdue how it could pay insurance companies rebates for every patient who overdosed on oxycontin, is gross, it is disturbing, and today, there is a reckoning and unaccountability that our families in massachusetts and all across this country deserve. those who engaged in acts and perpetrated such wrong against so many families need to be held accountable and mckinsey was right there, part of it.
stephanie: we should say that mckinsey issued a rare apology, saying we recognize that we did not adequately acknowledge the epidemic unfolding in our communities. we want to be part of the solution, however they never explicitly acknowledge any wrongdoing or illegality. i want to ask, are you planning any further complaints, criminal complaints against make his new -- against mckinsey? maura: our agreement doesn't release any click -- criminal claims. i can't speak to any criminal investigations. i will say that this agreement, remember we filed a complaint in every state in this country, we filed a consent judgment in the states, and you will see in time with the documents, people be very clear to the public exactly what mckinsey did. the apology is a little too late
for the families who have lost loved ones, to this disease, to this epidemic and to the families who are struggling every day. yes, we have covid and that is understandably taking t front pages, but this crisis, the opioid crisis has not gone away. it has in fact gotten worse. so mckinsey needs to pay up. they are paying up big time with this nearly $600 million consent judgment, where the money will go right into the states soe can use that money to help treat people, to help with the recovery effort. i hope it sends a message loud and clear to those entities out there who are willing, it seems, all too willing to put profits ahead of people. there is a price for that. i am proud of the work. stephanie: i know that you are continuing to pursue a case against purdue pharma as well. maura healey, attorney general of massachusetts, thanks for
joining us. maura: good to be with you, stephanie. thank you. ♪ judy: now to a marriage of science and art, onstage and in real life, from a leading playwright and a pioneering researcher into the causes and effects of pandemics. jeffrey brown has the story for our ongoing arts and culture series, canvas. >> this is -- what is this? jeffrey: what is it? a play, in the time of pandemic, about how pandemics happen. >> i try to predict new pandemics. if you can predict pandemics, you just might be able to prevent them. jeffrey: a story of a scientist thrilled by discovery -- >> bacteria and viruses are the same thing. no, absolutely not. they are vastly different. jeffrey: and pained by loss. it's called "the catastrophist." playwright lauren gunderson.
>> it was a story that i knew i could tell. but the question was, should you? jeffrey: the reason? the subject is her husband, nathan wolfe. >> but it felt like now is an obvious time to go into the back story, the passion behind scientists who study what nathan studies, virology pandemic experts. jeffrey: and how did the subject himself feel? >> the truth of the matter is, if you're married to one of the most prolific playwrights in the world, especiallsomeone who focuses on science, you shouldn't, you learn the various characters in her place, you shouldn't extrapolate oree yourself in those characters. of course, i had to change my viewpoint a little bit for this particular play. jeffrey: wolfe, now 50, is a virologist known for his work tracing how viruses jump from animals to humans. he worked in africa for many years, and was on time magazine's 2011 list of 100 most influential people.
that same year he was featured on the newshour after his book, "the viral storm: the dawn of a new pandemic age," predicted the kind of event we are living through now. 39-year-old lauren gunderson is prolific and successful. according to the trade magazine, american theater, she is the most produced playwright in the country, with many works that explore science and scientists of the past. she wrote "the catastrophist" during the pandemic, commissioned by marin theatre in california, directed by its artistic director jasson minadakis, and co-produced with round house theater in maryland. actor william demeritt plays a character besotted with science and the search for the unknown. >> we made the decision that this is not an imitation o nathan, it's an artistic synthesis of nathan. i also can say that it absolutely is true that nathan is besotted with science. i can confirm that at is true. jeffrey: gunderson and wolfe live in san francisco and have
two young sons. the play delves deeply into wolfe becoming a father while losing his own, a man obsessed with mapping future catastrophes while unable to foresee those in front of him. >> how does the futurist not see his own future? how does the catastrophist not plan for his own catastrophe? jeffrey: it's a personal story. but also, for gunderson and her collaborators, about the power of art, especially now. >> we believe in theater. we believe it never stops. we believe it's necessary, especially in times of crisis. we believe in science. we believe that the stories of science and scientists lift up new heroes. we believe in empathy and how that is a unifying force, and it happens to be one of theater's superpowers. jeffrey: wolfe's focus these days is assessing the risks of pandemics. his company creates models for government agencies and corporations to help mitigate potential damage. of course, as a recent cover story on him in wired magazine suggests, we humans aren't very good at planning ahead.
i asked if anything about this pandemic has surprised him. >> in some ways, what is unexpected is the nuance, the small features, you know, that you won't model. you know, the impact of twitter, the way that communication and miscommunication has played a role. jeffrey: still, he says -- >> i tend to be an optimist. and let's just say it this way. i no longer have to spend the first ten minutes when i'm talking to somebody, the ceo of a larger corporation, explaining the potential impact of pandemics. jeffrey: in their own personal lives, gunderson and wolfe say their work as writer and scientist feeds the other. and they see a deeper connection in the disciplines. >> i think that science and art are a lot closer than they are often portrayed, because at the heart, you are trying to innovate. you are trying to investigate, you are trying to create. >> people think of scientists in a particular way, laboring in the lab. but at its fundamental
core, science is attempting to understand features of the universe. and in order to sort of really make important strides in science, you have to see something and be willing to believe something which others don't. that is the part of science that i love. >> see he makes a great character. jeffrey: now you see a chacter you could use in a play. >> i love it. this is what i write about. no wonder. i kept waking up next to a character and it took me ten years to write it! jeffrey: as the character in the play says -- >> it is a risk being married to a playwright. they usually get the last word. "the catastrophist" is streaming through february 28 by the round house and marin theater companies. i'm jeffrey brown. judy: a reminder that we are carrying gavel to gavel coverage
of the second impeachment trial of former president trump. you can check your local pbs station and also find it online. i'm judy road draft. stay safe -- judy woodruff. stay safe and we will see you soon. >> major funding has been provided by -- >> for 25 years, consumer cellular's goal has been to provide wireless service that helps people connect. we offer no contract plans and our u.s.-based team can help find one that fits you. to learn more, visit consumer cellular.tv. >> johnson & johnson. bnsf railway. the ford foundation, working with visionaries on the frontlines lines of social change worldwide. and with the ongoing support of these individuals and institutions.
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