Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  February 11, 2021 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

3:00 pm
low-income families can get the tools they need to be ready for anything. oh we're ready. ♪ captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, the trial intensifies-- democrats wrap up their argument against former president trump by asking if what he did isn't impeachable, what is? then, 10 years on-- violence persists and democracy remains elusive in the middle east, a decade after the arab spring uprisings. and, the longest war-- an afghan air force pilot searches for a new life in the u.s. after running afoul of both the afghan government and the taliban. >> he is in a lose-lose situation. either the afghan government
3:01 pm
wants to arrest him or the taliban wants to kill him. so what is he supposed to do? he's just not safe anywhere. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> twins! >> we'd be closer to the twins. >> let me guess, change in plans? >> at fidelity, changing plans is always part of the plan. >> the kendeda fund. committed to advancing restorative justice and meaningful work through investments in transformative leaders and ideas.
3:02 pm
more at >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: this has been the
3:03 pm
second and final day of the case against former president trump; that he incited an assault on the united states capitol. senators serving as the jury heard that the mob had no doubt about why they were there. white house correspondent yamiche alcindor reports. >> alcindor: today, house democrats, acting as prosecutors, zeroed in on the argument that on january 6th, rioters believed donald trump wanted them to invade the u.s. capitol. colorado congresswoman diana degette: >> many of them actually posed for pictures, bragging about it on social media and they tagged mr. trump in tweets. folks, this was not a hidden crime. the president told tm to be there and so they actually believed they would face no punishment. >> i thought i was following my president. i thought i was following what
3:04 pm
we were called to do. he asked us to fly there, he asked us to be there, so i was doing what he asked us to do. >> alcindor: maryland congressman jamie raskin said the armed siege at the michigan state capitol last april was proof that the former president knew the power of his words. >> this trump-inspired mob may indeed look familiar to you. confederate battle flags, maga hats, weapons, camo army gear. just like the insurrectionists who showed up and invaded this chamber on january 6th. the siege of the michigan state house was effectively a state- level dress rehearsafor the siege of the u.s. capitol that trump incited on january 6th. >> alcindor: and raskin had this warning for senators who will decide president trump's guilt or innocence, and whether to b him from running again. >> president trump declared his conduct totally appropriate.
3:05 pm
so, if he gets back into office and it happens again, we'll have no one to blame but ourselves. >> alcindor: representative ted lieu of california also pointed to the former president's lack of any public remorse over the violence. >> on insurrection day, january 6, president trump did not once condemn the attack. not even once. even when he finally asked the violent extremists to go home, which was three hours after the attack began, he sends this video and he ends it with“ you're very special, we love you.” >> alcindor: moreover, diana degette said the former president's response has led to other, serious consequences. >> look at the price we've paid. the price that we're still paying. it's not just dollars and cents. this capitol has become a fortress, as state capitol, state capitols have all across the country.
3:06 pm
>> alcindor: prosecutors also argued that harm has been done to congress and the democratic process. >> this mob was trying to overthrow our government and they came perilously close to reaching the first three people in line to the presidency. it wasn't just the vice president and the speaker, rioters were ready to attack any member of congress they found. >> alcindor: and they spoke of the trauma that remains for those who witnessed that day firsthand. >> for many of the black and brown staff, the trauma was made worse by the many painful symbols of hate that were on full display that day. one member of the janitorial staff reflected how terrible he felt when he had to clean up feces that had been smeared on the wall, blood of a rioter who had died, broken glass, and other objects strewn all over the floor he said “i felt bad, i felt degraded.” >> alcindor: representative david cicilline of rhode island also requested senators to
3:07 pm
remember all the police who were seriously injured trying to protect the capitol. >> injuries to the u.s. capitol police and the metropolitan police department include concussions, irritated lungs, serious injues caused by repeated blows from bats, poles, and clubs. capitol police officers also sustained injuries that will be with them for the rest of their lives. >> alcindor: the house managers yesterday had already laid out a detailed timeline of the capit insurrection. it included chilling new video evidence from inside the siege. it captured everything from the moments the angry mob stormed the building, to scenes of vice president pence and lawmakers being evacuated to safety just feet from the angry mob. but it's still unclear if that powerful evidence has swayed any republicans to vote to convict the former president. at the white house this morning, president biden weighed in on the trial during an oval office event. >> i think the senate has a very important job to complete and i
3:08 pm
think my guess is some minds may have een changed, but i don't know. >> alcindor: starting tomorrow, president trump's defense team will have up to 16 hours to make their case. but they said today, they expect to wrap up their arguments by tomorrow night. in that case, the vote-- guilty or not guilty-- could come on saturday. >> woodruff: and yamiche joins us now from the capitol, along with lisa desjardins. along with our lisa desjardins, so lisa, i want to come to you first. you were there, you were both intently paying attention to this. what stood out to you and what did you see in the snators' reaction? >> it's clear that senators were more tired today. but judy, they were still listening, both parties listening carefully. i want democrats feel strongly about their case. they feel they made their case, exiting the chamber exsenator dean said i think we made our
3:09 pm
case, the video, the impact of that video, there were a lot of important legal arguments that democrats were making today. high among them about the president's intent. they took the time line today and yesterday of the president's actions to try and show his actions before january 6th, his wordings before january 6th and then on january 6th is lack of getting involved. his lack of stopping the mob. shows the president's intent to allow and actually help foment that riot. that is a legal argument that they have been making today. also i want to say that their case is so strong that senate democrats are telling me they don't think any witnesses are needed. we will see if house democrats make that decision or not but that seems to be some moentum from senate democrats. one other piece of this democratic case that was note worthy to me today judy, was words by ted lieu, the house manager, he said he is not worried about president trump running again. he's worried about president trump running again and losing. that's not a bad in-- about
3:10 pm
intent. that is about the impact of this trial and the danger democrats are trying to tell republicans exist if they do not convict and prevent president trump from running again. one republican toll me he thought that was very powerful. he and other republicans wrote that down, that statement. he still seems unconvinced but that was one thing he was chewing on. >> woodruff: really, really interesting. and to yamiche we know we are going to hear tomorrow from president trump's defense team. you have been speaking with them, at would you say their mindset is after seeing the house presentation and then seeing the senate reaction wpsz well, despite pot we areful presentation put on by house impeachment managers, president trump's lawyers, former president trump's lawyers feel very confident that the president will in fact be acquitted. they feel as though this is really something they knew from the beginning. i just spoke to two of the president's lawyers, bruce
3:11 pm
castor who told me, very confident when i asked how confident he felt, david shown what was doing tv hits saying president trump is upbeat, he said this should really have been over before it was started. he also said it would take about three hours, the trump impeachment team, the trump defense team tomorrow to make their case, feeling as though they don't have to use the 16 hours that they are allotted. now why do they feel so confident? it's because the senators that i talked to today and that lisa has been chasing along with me, they are not really changing their minds if they are republicans. i spoke to lynde graham, marco rubio, ted cruz. they all told the same thing which is they feel lake yes, house impeachment managers are showing powerful video but that is not tieing the seige on the capitol direct leigh to president trump. they're saying instead this say political activity, political theater and not actually proving their point. interestingly though tommy tuberville who president trump
3:12 pm
called during the riot to slow down the vote certification, he told me he is undecided. he said he will look, he has never been on a jury before, he said that being said there is a real feeling that will still vote to acquit the president. and one other big thing, even if the president is acquitted, what i am hearing from democrats is that they feel like their audience is beyond the senate chamber. sitting in there today i can tell you they were really making the case that white supremacy and systemic racism, that is the danger they are fighting as they are putting on this impeachment trial. >> all right, three days down and one or more, one and more to go. lisa desjardins, yamiche alcindor, thank you both. and we turn now to one of the jurors in this tria is he democratic senator mark warner of virginia. senator warner, thank you very much for joining us again. so tell us, what do you think the strong elements and maybe the weaker elements have been in the presentation by the house
3:13 pm
managers? >> i think the house managers made a very compelling case and i wish every american would spend a couple of hours what they were supporters of biden or supporters of mr. trump and watch the presentation. yesterday was very emotional, reliving january 6th. i was on the floor that day. we saw the mob, trashing the capitol, seven people dead, 150 law enforcement officers hurt, today was-- was i didn't think it would reach the same emotional pitch, but in many ways it did. the idea that show this would have happened without donald trump just makes no sense to me. the kind of but for argument. but for donald trump calling this mob together. but for him inviting them, urging them to go to the capitol. his failure then to call them off, this is a man who
3:14 pm
definitely knows how to use twitter. and instead being supportive of this crowd. and then showing no remorse even as the tragedy and the fact that he was actually putting his own vice president in harm away. regardless of how people end up voting, i don't think there are many in my republican colleagues who in their heart don't know that donald trump was responsible for what happened on january 6th. and what i am hoping is that many of them will think beyond the next two weeks, the next six months or even the next election psh nell two years, and think how do they want to be judged by history. there was an analogy made on one of the shows yesterday that this is, in some way, equivalent to what happened with joe mccarthy, the anti-communist red baiter in the early '50s when he was riding high and then the sthat came to his senses and those who stood by mccarthy were forever had their reputations forever tarnished. what donald trump has done makes
3:15 pm
what joe mccarthy did in the early '50s look like child's play. this is exponentially worst. poses a long-term effects on democracy, i think one of the concerns i have is somebody sitting in the-- the amount of damage done to our reputation abroad. and i just hope that my republican colleagues will think about that and ponder that and again i think the house made a very compelling case. and those who are going to hide behind a legalistic argument such as the constitutionality and due process, it is pretty flimsy and it may be an excuse but st not something i think in their hearts they actually believe. >> woodruff: senator, so you are saying that you think most of your republican colleagues are going to be voting based on what is good for their own realisti- re-election, the next time. >> i'm saying it is too early to say. i don't-- i know there are some on the republican side who are
3:16 pm
all in with trump, all in with these antigovernment extremists. i'm not sure. they pinned their political future, i think, very craftily to that kind of america. i don't think it frankly represents the republican party. they are trumpistas, they are not republican. but i think there are a lot of men and women that i work with consistently, and are very proud-- i have had a bipartisan partner proud on what we have done on the intelligence committee, these are good american patriots but they've got to be having some really challenging times over the next 24, 48, 72 hours until we vote because i am not sure that any of them could look me in the eye or look you in the eye and say donald trump did not incite that crowd to come and bring violence upon the united states capitol in a way that not only caused
3:17 pm
death and bodily harm, but destroyed something that represents more than any of us who work there, the notion of our democracy. and those images that are still being used by china and russia to diminish our democracy. thosimages are not going away. >> woodruff: senator, sounds like you have made up your mind. you do plan to vote to convict, is that right? >> again, i'm going to ask, i'm going to listen mr. trump's attorneys. i have some pretty firm views obviously. but i can't ask my republicans colleagues to listen to the house managers and then make their final decision until they hear from the opposition. but, i don't know what mr. trump's defense could be that will change my mine or change what i saw or lived through myself or had seen as chair of the intelligence committee in terms of how these images are being used against our national interest, all around the world at this point. but to be kind of honest to
3:18 pm
my-- i asked them to take which is to be listen to both sides and reach a verdict. but the evidence is overwhelmingly compelling in my mind at this point. >> woodruff: very quick, and just a few seconds, senator, how closely do you think your constituents in the state of virginia do you think are following this? how much attention are they paying? >> probably not very much. but i think this is-- this is for the historical record. i do think tt we will be better served if virnlg yans regardless of who they supported were watching this and they all would reach their own independent judgment because i think anyone that would look at a couple hours of this testimony, i will trust them to come to the same conclusion i have. >> senator mark warner of virginia, we appreciate it. thank you. >> thank you, judy >> woodruff: andoining me again tonight are two experts of
3:19 pm
the senate: states senate, they are liz beth chryst, having served as a republican senate secretary during the impeachment trial of president bill clinton. and mel melody barnes of the democracy i nishive she was chief counsel to the late massachusetts senator edward kennedyhen she helped broker the rules for president clinton's impeachment trial. welcome ain to both of you, very good to have you with us, melody barnes to you first, how do you assess the overall, the strength of the case made by the impeachment managers. and in particular, this focus on not just on punishing former president trump but on making sure that this doesn't happen again. >> well, first of all, it's great to be with you judy and to be with elizabeth again. i think it was another very strong day for the house managers. they felt like that a student
3:20 pm
that was extremely well prepared and wanted to get everything in the report that they shared with the teacher and shared with the class. but i think it's because they believe that they have a real uphill battle to persuade the number of republicans and make sure the democrats feel that they have the evidence that they need to convict the former president. i also think that they played to the senators sense that they are the upper body. you just referred to the upper chamber, that they, at least in the past there was a sense of a club, for better or for worse. and the sense of what happened to their staff, what happened to the capitol police, what happened to the capitol itself. i think they wanted to wrap all of those things together and then to point the senators toward the future. this isn't just about punishment, this is about prevention. this is about the constitutio i think about raskin's wrap-up of when he told them to think about what this meant for
3:21 pm
democracy. >> and elizabeth chryst, how would you size up the presentation by the impeachment managers? >> well, i think they made a strong case about the senate jurisdiction but i think they were weak on the president being responsible for january 6th. and they were also weak on him violating his oath of office. let me say this, judy. i think there were way too many references to trump's mob or trump's armed insurrection t made it feel like to me its with a political exercise, maybe to shore up what might be a rocky 2022 mid-term election. those mid-term elections are usually pretty brutal when it comes to the president's party. averaging time sometimes as many as 30 losses. so i sort of fell like it it might be a little bit like that. i would agree with melody though. maybe we could figure out a way for this not to happen again. maybe the president's lawyers
3:22 pm
could mex that there should be a blue ribbon panel, a commission that could study-- how did this happen, how did the security fall down. should, what to do to make sure this doesn't happen in the future. and i really hope the president's lawyers condemn the violence as strong as possible. and i am expecting them to bring up other members of congress words that are also inflammatory. that wouldn't surprise me at all. it wouldn't surprise may if they were democratic members. >> woodruff: and melody barnes, is there something, to elizabeth's point that maybe this was too political, that they tried to call it trump's mob too many times. and in connection with that, how good a job did they do of anticipating what the pushback, the defense is going to be tomorrow. >> well, a couple of things.
3:23 pm
i believe that the references to trump's mob were in part because they were starting to lay the ground work to create an unfriendly environment for the argument that former president trump's lawyers plabbed to make tomorrow. and connecting the dots between everything that has happened and the fact that person after person, individuals who have now been arrested, the arguments that their lawyers are making to defend them that indicate that they were there because the former president called him to be there. and i don't think that you n look at the tape, look at that security footage from yesterday and not refer to this as a mob or as a riot or as an insurrection. but in addition to that, i think that they were making the argument that they gnaw were going to be raised tomorrow, both about the first amendment issues that have been addressed by the best of the legal community from the left and from the right, as well as this
3:24 pm
incitement argument. and working their way through the elements and connecting that to the words that, and to the tape and to the information that we've all now seen over the last two days, an to make sure that people understand that not only are the-- are we looking at the facts. not only is this a horrible thing but this also meets the element of incitement that they want to prove based on the article of impeachment that was brought before the senate. >> elizabeth chryst, i would like for you to comment on any of that, but i'm also curious to know, are you a republican, you have worked for republicans in the senate. do you think what we've heard and seen over the last two days does damage to former president trump? >> there is no doubt it would-- this will damage him some. there is no doubt about that. there are going to be people all throughout history that are going to say that this was something that he caused, or he
3:25 pm
certainly could have fore seen it, stopped it, slowed it down, all of those things. it, will it drive a wedge between some republican senators seeking re-election and their base or some of their voters? there ill probably be issues after they have their vote, after they conduct their vote on whether this could be guilty or not, but this will cause issues with them. but again, i think the connecting of the dots by the house leadership, the house managers was a little over the top and again, i mention this many times. members of congress are so worried about social media posts or a picture or anything like that going viral and really harming them. and i think in a lot of cases they can take a lot of what happened as far as some of the video that was shown and then some of the posts and some of the awful language and all of that, that was set all during it in the video, that was shown to
3:26 pm
be more of this oh o this is just viral stuff. so i think it hits home with them it was certainly very emotional but overall, i think that tomorrow will be a better day for the president, hopefully. and if all is right they will wrap up in one day and we will have saturday afternoon or saturday evening. >> well, we are so glad to have the two of you watching along with us. elizabeth chryst, melody barnes, we thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: we want to move away from washington, to get a sense of how the impeachment trial is being seen and heard across the country. we turn to two political reporters to share what they're hearing: in phoenix, yvonne wingett sanchez of the "arizona
3:27 pm
republic," and in ann arbor, michigan, tim alberta of politico. very good to have you both with us. we appreciate it. tim alberta i will start with you. you have been talking to people. i asked senator warner this. he said he didn't think his constituents were watching it that closely. but what are you hearing from americans from people you talked to. >> judy, i think senator warner deserves credit for his canneddor because he's right. -- candor, because he's right n my experience there are not an awful lot of americans paying attention to this. and frankly you can see why, because if members of the u.s. senate aren't going to take this terribly seriously, than why should the average american voter. why should their constituents. so i agree with senator warner that by and large, listen, the second impeachment trial is never gong to be as compelling as the original, right, the sequel is never quite as good. in all seriousness i think you
3:28 pm
have a lot of americans regardless of whether they supported president trump or opposed president trump, at the ballot box or over the last four years, they are simply not terribly interested in continuing to litigate his presidency, his twitter feed, his behavior and rhetoric any more. i think a lot of folks are sort of welcoming this little bit of a down period now, judy. and the idea of having to dive back into the news cycle for more arguments proand con, is just not something that is rribly appetizing to a lot of folks. >> yvonne sanchez, let me broaden it out a little bit for you. how much in your experience, people you talk to in arizona are they-- have they been paying attention since the attack on the capitol, on january 6th? did that get a lot of attention. and have people been focused on it ever since, one way or the other? >> so here in arizona it felt as
3:29 pm
though there was maybe several day window, maybe a week-long window where people really sort of seemed to be paying attention and it sort of wore off. people here are much more focused on the next covid relief package, how they're going to pay their mortgages, getting their schools on their virtual classrooms and making sure that they can have some scort of date that they can look forward to, to sending them back to school. hardly anyone, any sort of normal person who lives outside of the political bubble is really talking even about the impeachment trial, particularly because it seems as though both of our senators kirsten sin he ma and mark kelly there seems to be little suspense about where they are going to go and the senate more broadly. >> and to that question, in part, to you sim alberta republicans you tlk to in the state of michigan, what are they
3:30 pm
saying about not just how their senators vote but how republicans in the house and the senate are approaching the impeachment, and conviction decisions on the former president. >> well judy, the michigan republican party just held its annual convention last weekend. and i can tell you having covered republican politics for quite some time and having done it at the grassroots level as well as at the national level there has never been more clarity in these republican proceedings internally than there is now. and the question is not one of ideology, not one of policy. it is not one of any specific tactical or strategic disagreement. it is very broadly and very plainly are you with donald trump still, or are you getting cold feet. are you giving in to this pressure from the left, from the media, from some of these
3:31 pm
weak-kneed republicans like liz cheney and mitt romney or are you holding the line and are you staying loyally behind this president who did so much for you and so much for the party and so much for the country. it's awfully black and white. i wish i could be more nuanced but it is actually quite simple. and i do believe that even if over time there is a sort, sort of a slow movement away from trump style republicanism, it's going to take awhile. and it's not going to happen with this sort of snatch of a finger that many republicans were hoping for post november 3-rd, and certainly post january 6th. this idea that donald trump is just going to go away and that his support is going to diminish rapidly, it is just not, it's just not reality. >> and i should have said that michigan played a central role in the impeachment trial today. we've seen more video of the takeover of your capitol, in the state of michigan. the reminders about the plot to kidnap the democratic governor
3:32 pm
gretchen whitmer but back to you, what about the republicans in the state of arizona. how are they talking about, what are they saying about, what their expectations are of elected republicans in washington and president trump? >> well, it depends on who you talk to. i mean just-- tim has described the risk here within the republican party, is deeper than it has ever been. and it has been deep for some time. this is the state republican party that censured former senator john mccain. they doubled down on their tactic to go after those who were not completely with trump, just a few weeks ago. and they re-elected tullee ward as their party chair. she has been one of the most outspoken loyal act vaises trying to help trumppread his message, stop the steal message.
3:33 pm
and you know, we have freedom members andy two kokmen who also have been very active in the stop the steal movement. and we have you know. the mccain family and governor ducey on the other side, conservative, sort of traditional-style republicans who are on the outs of their own party. and i don't know, you know, when this will, when this fever will break but it seems as though it is going to get a lot deeper and worse before it gets better. >> i want to quickly ask both of you, we've got 40 seconds left. but what, how do you think this trial will affect president trump's political strgth when all is said and done, tim alberta? >> you know, swrudy, i will just tell you that the fear a lot of republicans have is that trump will be made into a mar ter here-- mar tir and in some way
3:34 pm
his grip on the party will be even stronger because of these proceedings. and that remains to be seen, obviously. but that is the fear a lot of republicans have going into 2022. and's von sanchez? >> yeah, there seems to be a sentiments that the president former presidentill emerge stronger than programs he entered this phase of the trial. >> woodruff: well, we are all watching it very closely. and we so appreciate hearing from both of you in arizona and in michigan. we thank you, yvonne sanchez, tim alberta thank you. >> thanks, judy. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, president biden announced the federal government has bought another 200 million doses of covid-19 vaccines. but, he acknowledged his administration is still playing
3:35 pm
catch-up. the president spoke at the national institutes of health outside washington. and, he blamed president trump for doing little to lay the groundwork. >> he didn't order enough vaccines. he didn't mobilize enough people to administer the shots. he didn't set up a federal vaccine centers where eligible people could come and get their shots. when i became president three weeks ago, american had no plan to vaccinate most of the country. it was a big mess. it's going to take time to fix, to be blunt with you. >> woodruff: the president said he now hopes to have enough vaccine to cover 300 million americans by the end of july. meanwhile, schools in chicago began returning to in-person learning today. mayor lori lightfoot visited classrooms and said the city's public schools worked hard to address teachers' concerns about safety. >> we absolutely understood
3:36 pm
that. and the $100 million that c.p.s. has invested to open up schools and all the other mitigation efforts we put forward, giving accommodations to as many people as we possibly could. that was all about recognizing teachers, and other people in school communities, concerns. >> woodruff: the reopening began with pre-kindergarten and special education students. president biden warned today that the u.s. must rebuild transportation systems, from rail to roads, to compete with china. he said, "if we don't get moving, they're going to eat our lunch." the president talked up his infrastructure plans with u.s. senators, and discussed his two-hour phone call last night with china's president xi jinping. in afghanistan, gunmen killed five more policemen today, in a growing wave of violence. the victims were escorting a united nations convoy east of kabul. no one claimed responsibility,
3:37 pm
but violence has spiked as peace talks with the taliban have stalled. fresh protests gripped myanmar's largest cities, in a sixth day of outrage over the military takeover. thousands of people, including ethnic minorities, lined the streets with banners and flags. the general who led the coup said the protests have to end, to stop the spread of the coronavirus. >> ( translated ): people are continuing to assemble in public areas at present. it is urgent to avoid such gatherings that can increase the rate of covid-19 infections. it is also essential to accelerate the pace of tests to contain the virus. >> woodruff: hundreds of the protesters rallied outside china's embassy in myanmar. they accused beijing of backing the junta, despite chinese denials. back in this country, a massive pileup on an icy interstate
3:38 pm
killed at least six people and injured at least 65 more, in texas. police said 135 vehicles crashed into each other on i-35 near fort worth. a winter storm had coated the area in freezing rain and sleet. in economic news, another 793,000 americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. that was down slightly from the previous week. but, it points to continued layoffs due to the pandemic. on wall street, stocks made little or no headway again. the dow jones industrial average lost seven points to close at 31,430; the nasdaq rose 53 points, and the s&p 500 added six points. there's word that the legendary jazz pianist chick corea has died. his website says he passed away tuesday, after suffering a rare form of cancer. corea was renowned for his avant-garde approach, and over his long career he won 23 grammy awards, the most for any jazz
3:39 pm
artist. chick corea was 79 years old. and, a french nun, sister andre, turned 117 today, after surviving covid-19 with hardly any symptoms. the sister, who is blind now, celebrated with a prayer and her favorite dessert, baked alaska, at her retirement home, in southern france. sister andre also survived the great flu pandemic a century ago. she is belied to be the world's second-oldest person. still to come on the newshour: democracy remains elusive in the middle east a decade after the arab spring uprisings. and an afghan air force pilot searches for a new life in the u.s. amid deteriorating security for his family.
3:40 pm
>> woodruff: 10 years ago today, longtime egyptian dictator hosni mubarak was deposed. the egyptian revolution was the high point of what became known as the arab spring: the idea of democracy spreading across the middle east. but as nick schifrin reports, for many egyptians and much of the region, the intervening decade has seen winter fall. >> schifrin: where there was fearless and victorious revolt. where there was jubilant hope-- >> people are celebrating the love for the country and wanting to change and wanting to become a better country. >> schifrin: there is failure and fear. >> for the first time in my life, i actually want to be out of egypt. >> schifrin: 10 years ago, mona
3:41 pm
seif and millions of egyptians rewrote history in tahrir, or liberation, square. liberated from the dictator they deposed. egypt was the arab spring's zenith. the momentum began in tunisia, and toppled dictators in tunisia, libya, egypt, and yemen. today, tunisia has a dysfunctional but durable democracy. but libya and yemen are mired in civil war. and egypt? where the taste of spring was perhaps most sweet, the arab winter is most bitter. >> we were defeated. we tried to overthrow mubarak's regime and deconstruct the machine that that is mubarak's machine, state security, police, military, all of this. and we failed. >> schifrin: that was not mona seif's message five years ago, when we last met. >> in every ar, once people reale their lives and the
3:42 pm
future of their sons is at stake, they start mobilizing and we have to be there and enable that. >> schifrin: back then, she was carrying on with the family business. campaigning for justice by documenting egypt's 40,000 political prisoners-- that included her brother alaa, imprisoned for being a symbol of the revolution, and her sister sanaa, imprisoned for demonstrating when few were willing. mona also was a prisoner, at one point, she and alaa appeared together in court. has anyone in the family ever questioned whether your work was worth it? >> questioning whether it is worth it? i don't think so. i think it's always, always very obvious that it's worth it a that it needs to be done. >> schifrin: back then, abdel fattah el-sisi had been president for two and a half years, since overthrowing muslim brotherhood leader, and elected president mohammad morsi, in a 2013 coup. sisi's regime massacred muslim brotherhood supporters. and it re-energized the machine of oppression. today, there are even more
3:43 pm
political prisoners,t least 60,000, including, once again, alaa, who's in worse conditions, has been tortured in prison. and sanaa, arrested last summer when the seifs were outside alla's prison, and has since been charged with inciting terrorism. >> the current regime is intent on squashing any kind of remaining voices. and our faly is one of the few remaining voices. and so for the first time, 2020, i started thinking, okay, i want out. i want my siblings out. i want them toe out and safe. and then i think i want out and to see how can i resume a semi- normal life. >> schifrin: does that mean you've lost hope for the future of egypt? >> i no longer function on hope. >> what egypt has learned is that you can start an uprising. but turning an uprising into a revolution is very difficult. >> schifrin: osamah khalil is a professor of history at syracuse university. he says egypt's and the region's protestors failed to overthrow repressive security structures. but the problems that sparked protests, persist.
3:44 pm
>> i think it's tempting to think about the arab spring as a failure, right. but i think the reality is that it's really still underway. many of those same issues that brought the protest to a head and a challenging of those in the different arab governments still exist. >> schifrin: the middle east has the world's highest youth unemployment. there is still corruption and the stifling of political participation. that helped lead to what some scholars called arab spring 2.0. from 2019 to 2020, protestors filled streets and deposed leaders in algeria, sudan, iraq, lebanon, and, multiple times, tunisia. but the arab spring also birthed brutality and barbarity. the grinding war in syria, the spread of isis, and the largest movement of refugees since world war ii. >> the example osyria, in addition to being a tremendous humanitarian catastrophe, it has an additional catastrophic effect it's a winning argument in the hands of authoritarians who want to forestall any sort
3:45 pm
of democratic change. >> schifrin: tarek massood is a professor at harvard kennedy school. he worries that war and chaos delay democracy, by teaching dictators to destroy dissent, and reducing people's appetite for unrest. but populations often only stay silent if the autocrats fulfill promises of security and prosperity, which are absent. >> public patience with the kind of regime that egypt has right now only extends so far as that government is able to produce material improvement in people's lives. and so if it's covid-19 or if it's something else that causes egyptians to feel that the current bargain isn't working, we could absolutely see a return of some of the sentiments that prefigure january 25th, 2011. >> schifrin: so president biden may have to choose how much support to provide future protestors. in january 2011, vice president biden chose the status quo.
3:46 pm
>> look, mubarak has been an ally of ours in a number of things and he's been very responsible on, relative to geopolitical interests in the region. i would not refer to him as a dictator. >> schifrin: khalil hopes biden has changed. >> are we going to rely on the traditional status quo, reliance on these authoritarian leaders to maintain american interests in the region? my hope is that biden will look at american ideas and values. >> schifrin: masoud is more skeptical. >> i think that the average arab's diagnosis of u.s. involvement has to be that everything the united states has touched in the region since 2011 and probably well before has turned to ashes. >> schifrin: which means that collective demand for self- determination 10 years ago, is still up to the people. that dream remains. but for now, it's a dream deferred. for the pbs newshour, i'm nick schifrin.
3:47 pm
>> woodruff: returning to afghanistan and our series on the longest war. thousands of afghans who worked with or for the u.s. face threats, even death, for their service. special correspondent jane ferguson and producer- cinematographer emily kassie bring us the story of one pilot who found that american pledges to help him and his family proved nearly worthless. >> reporter: naiem asadi had his dream job, as one of afghanistan's most celebrated military helicopter pilots, he was part of an elite club of aviators, trained by americans to fight in the war. >> ( translated ): as a soldier, as a fighter, it is our responsibility and our job to risk our lives to protect someone else's. >> reporter: now his life is in danger in ways he had never planned for.
3:48 pm
abandoned by america, hunted by the taliban, and threatened by his own government. >> ( translated ): initially when i started and was going to the battles i was scared, but after a few missions i got used to it. it became as normal to me as it is for any otr pilots in the world fighting for the freedom of their country. >> reporter: in many ways, he was the image of america's efforts to build the afghan military'skills. >> ( translated ): after i graduated in 2013, i became an instructor to the other pilots for two years. then in 2015, the afghan government decided to arm our helicopters and send us to the battlefields. within a couple of months we had covered nearly all the provinces. we had a very good relationship with the americans. we got along well. honestly everything i have learned and everything i have today was from americans. i will never forget this. >> reporter: asadi's work took him all over the country, protecting afghan and american soldiers. in 2018 when there was a serious threat in the capital, he was ready.
3:49 pm
>> ( translated ): i was flying on that day and on the radio i heard there we mortar attacks on the presidential palace and diplomatic area, and they told me to find the location of the attackers. i searched for them and i located them and then we engaged with them and hit them. after this mission i was approached by my american colleagues. they said they wanted to interview me. >> reporter: the nato u.s. military's media team put together this video, praising asadi's actions that day. the video was picked up by local media in afghanistan too. that's when his life changed. >> ( translated ): the threats started. a few months later my father received a call from the taliban. they threatened him and said,¡ we know your son is a military pilot, you should hand him over to us.' >> reporter: when he told his american colleagues, they applied for a special visa to the u.s. finally, last october he, got the call that he, his wife and four year old daughter should pack their bags and drive to a u.s. base, bound for a new life in america.
3:50 pm
in the car on the way, he got a call he couldn't believe: with no explanation, u.s. immigration had just cancelled his visa. kimberly motley is a human rights lawyer representing asadi. >> i can't point to exactly why asadi was frankly screwed in the way he was by the u.s. government, however i do know that it was unfair, patently unfair, and frankly immoral in my opinion that he was told that they would sponsor him, the >> reporter: so they gave him no explanation? >> no explanation. >> reporter: immediately afterwards, still in the car, he got another call, this time from the afghan military. >> ( translated ): they said ¡we know you are leaving, you need to come to us and explain.' i was confident if i went there, they would have put me in jail. >> reporter: asadi says his visa to the u.s. had become a politically and diplomatically sensitive issue, with the afghan government angry a pilot currently serving in their military could be granted a visa to the u.s. he and his family had no choice but to seek refuge in the
3:51 pm
american base. >> and so they lived there for several weeks, under the protection of the u.s. military, under the protection of many and for whatever reason the u.s. pentagon decided to contact the u.s. immigration and said ¡we are no long going to sponsor this visa' with zero explanation. >> ( translated ): that was the most painful moment for me, when they told me to leave the base. they told me to go back to kabul and report back to my work. i never would have thought the u.s. government would make a promise and then break it. it was very painful. >> reporter: since then, he and his family have been living in hiding. terrified that either the taliban or the afghan government will find them. asadi had qualified for pentagon sponsorship of the rare humanitarian parole visa. this was not simply because he was under such threat from the taliban, but because he had saved american lives, including rescuing at least one crashed and stranded u.s. pilot in baghlan province last year.
3:52 pm
>> ( translated ): saving i have saved the lives of many afghan soldiers who were fighting. on that day i acted quickly. i felt very lucky that i was able to participate in a mission where could save the life of an american pilot. >> reporter: because of his work, and the relationships he has built, american servicemembers agreed to help him and his family when they arrive. >> i have over 10 ex-military, current military members that are willing to sponsor him in america because they recognize worked along side him, and they recognize his bravery. >> reporter: how unique is that? >> i've never had a case like that. >> reporter: although asadi's case, like his career, is unique, there are thousands of afghans who worked with the u.s. military, waiting, trying to get visas promised to them when they took the jobs years ago. 17,000 afghan translators alone are stuck in limbo, as visas ground to a halt in recent years, and they are targets all. the translator visas are officially called special immigrant visas, or sivs. years of bureaucracy and tough
3:53 pm
immigration policies have stalled the process. >> reporter: last week the biden administration issued an executive order on immigration policy and refugee acceptance into the u.s. saying,“ the special immigrant visa (siv) programs for iraqi and afghan allies provid humanitarian protection to nationals of iraq and afghanistan experiencing an ongoing, serious threat because they provided faithful and valuable service to the united states, including its troops serving in those countries. the federal government should enre that these important programs are administered without undue delay.” however quickly these visas can now be made a reality, it will come too late for some. in the months since asadi was kicked off the u.s. base and has been in hiding, several other afghan pilots have been targeted and killed by the taliban, and it's not known how many former translators have been killed. the afghan government has argued that u.s. visas for service members could demoralize the afghan forces, and encourage
3:54 pm
more to leave the country. >> i think frankly, they are mad at him, you know, for wanting to come to america and having the audacity of wanting his family to live in safety. so i think he has been used as afghan government being made, and unfortunately the afghan government they cannot protect him. and they know that. they are not saying ¡come back and we will protect you'. they are saying ¡if you don't come back we will put you in prison'. well, you know, he is in a lose- lose situation. either the afghan government wants to arrest him or the taliban wants to kill him. so what is he supposed to do? he's just not safe anywhere. >> reporter: safety is no longer a possibility for asadi and his family. what would y say to joe biden if you met him? >> i would explain and i would urge to him to give me a visa and allow me to go to live beside the honorable people of
3:55 pm
the united states. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour, i'm jane ferguson, in kabul, afghanistan >> we certainly hope this story has a good ending and we will continue to follow it. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for now. watch our gavel-to-gavel coverage of the second impeachment trial of former president trump starting again at noon eastern tomorrow. check your local pbs station, and you can also find it online on our website and social channels. i'm judy woodruff. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: our u.s.-based customer service reps can help you choose a plan based on how much you use your phone, nothing more, nothing less. to learn more, go to
3:56 pm
>> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and friends of the newshour. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at bh
3:57 pm
3:58 pm
3:59 pm
4:00 pm
hello, everyone, and welcome to "amanpour & company." here's what's coming up. in myanmar, a young democracy under threat, while in washington, the world's oldest democracy tries to clean up its own house. i speakith derrick mitchell, form u.s. ambassador. and constitutional scholar noah feldman breaks down the issues in trump's senate trial. then -- ♪ she's called a voice for a generation with little hope. i speak with breakout


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on