tv PBS News Hour PBS January 23, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight... >> what we want to do is bring manufacturing back to our country. >> woodruff: president trump turns his focus to trade and the economy after a rocky start to his administration. then... >> if he works with us on our values, fine. if he doesn't we'll oppose him tooth and nail. >> woodruff: i sit down with senate minority leader chuck schumer to talk about where democrats can and can't see working with the new president. plus, our politics monday duo take on the trump administration's combative relationship with the press. and, feeling the trump effect overseas. how right wing movements across the e.u. are hoping to ride a global wave of populism to the polls.
>> the people will not stop whether the old-fashioned politicians or the friends of the press like it or not, it will not be stopped. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future.
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: it's down to business for president trump, and the first order of business today was economic policy. a weekend of tumult over the size of the inaugural crowd, mass protests and news coverage, gave way today to a focus on trade and jobs. john yang spent this day at the white house. >> yang: on his first full workday in the white house, president trump wielded the presidential pen. >> great thing for the american worker that we just did. >> yang: mr. trump took three
executive actions: formally withdrawing the u.s. from the trans-pacific partnership, or t.p.p. former president obama had pushed the 12-country trade pact but congress never voted on it. the president also froze federal government hiring, outside of the military, and he revived an on again, off again ban on federal funds going to international groups that provide abortions. but the theme of the day was clearly meant to be trade, business and jobs. >> good morning, everybody. >> good morning. >> it's nice to see you. >> yang: the president had breakfast with business executives, talking tax cuts and cutting government regulations. he made clear he wants to keep u.s. jobs from moving overseas: >> we are going to be imposing a very major border tax on the product when it comes in, which i thnk is fair, which is fair. so a company that wants to fire all of its people in the united states and build some factory someplace else and then thinks that that product is going to
just flow across the border into the united states, that's not going to happen. >> yang: ford c.e.o. mark fields said he left the meeting encouraged: >> come out with a lot of confidence that the president is very, very serious on making sure that the united states economy is going to be strong. i think that encourages all of us as c.e.o.'s as we make decisions going forward. >> yang: later, he met with union workers. >> companies that left are going to come back to our country, and we're going to hire a lot of people. it's unconceivable to me that this was allowed to happen in the first place. >> yang: white house press secretary sean spicer, holding his first full white house press briefing, said there'd be more meetings like those. >> you're going to see a lot more of that: a listening president who is engaged and trying to figure out what policies and actions that he can take, that this government can that's who he is, that's what he did during the transition, and i think that's what he's going ot
do going forward. >> yang: mr. trump got in some foreign policy work as well, speaking by phone with egyptian president abdel fattah el-sissi, pledging to continue u.s. military aid. meanwhile, ethics lawyers filed a federal lawsuit charging that his companies are violating the constitution by taking payments from foreign governments while he's in office. >> without merit. totally without merit. >> yang: the white house said mr. trump has now, officially resigned from the trump organization, as he had promised to do. >> woodruff: so, john, you reported on what the trump white house has done this first day. they had been saying to the press that they were going to come out of the box with one action after another. what more are they telling you they have upper their sleeves this week? >> reporter: they say they should look for actions and other indications on trade later this weekend, perhaps on immigration, alhoe one thing they say we will now not see as
an executive action will be president trump undoing president obama's executive action deferring action, deferring deportation action on undocumented immigrants who came to this country as minors. they say that is now not a priority. the priority on undocumented immigrants is on people with criminal records and those who pose a threat and on those so-called dreamers, the young people who came as minors, they say they want to work with congress for a permanent solution. >> woodruff: and, john, we know the president has a couple of meetings already lined up with foreign leaders coming into washington. >> reporter: that's right, friday his first foreign visitor been british prime minister teresa may and on monday meeting with the president of mexico. >> woodruff: and two other quick things we know, the president will be going to a retreat with congressional republicans later in the week, but i want to get a sense of how
it feels to be covered a trump white house. >> reporter: at first transitions tend to be a little chaotic and messy. in the briefing today, there was a lot of activity, a lot of people there, a lot of interest. it was jammed in the briefing room for the briefing. it was not quite as crowded as it was for president obama's last press conference, but still a lot of interest and a lot of people wanting to attend that first briefing. >> woodruff: john yang covering the white house for us on this first full day of workday for the trump administration. thank you, john. in the day's other news, the senate foreign relations committee voted through the nomination of rex tillerson to be secretary of state, along party lines, and sent it to the full senate. that came after republican marco rubio of florida announced his support. he'd clashed with tillerson at his confirmation hearing. separately, the president nominated former u.s. representative heather wilson of
new mexico to be secretary of the air force. she is a retired air force captain. the new president's move to rein in obamacare is raising questions within his own party. hours after his inauguration, mr. trump ordered federal agencies to waive or delay parts of the law, if they impose financial burdens on states. his directive gave no details. today, a leading republican senator, susan collins of maine, said it's not clear what that means. >> i think that the executive order is very confusing. until there is a secretary in place who can interpret the regulations or do the rule making to rescind regulations its very difficult to say what the impact of the executive order is going to be. >> woodruff: collins is offering her own legislation to replace the affordable care act. the death toll has reached 20
after a rare january outbreak of tornadoes hit the deep south over the weekend. 15 of the victims died in south georgia. officials in one hard-hit county made a desperate plea today for federal help, and complained they're not getting any. >> the assistance, the boots on the ground, the reasons why the federal government exists to help in situations like this. we're not asking for money right now. we're asking for resources. and to get caught up in the bureaucratic red tape at a time of this amount of human suffering is disgraceful. >> woodruff: 39 possible twisters were reported across the southeast from saturday morning through sunday evening. all but nine were in georgia. on the pacific coast, a winter storm system is moving out of california tonight, after record rainfall touched off floods. nearly four inches fell south of los angeles on sunday, flooding major roadways around long beach
and even washing away cars. parts of the san francisco area also faced flooding, and heavy snow in the sierra nevada shut down a highway. the storm is blamed for four deaths. representatives of the syrian government and rebel groups sat down in kazakhstan today for their first peace talks in nine months. they traded accusations, and there was little sign of progress. the negotiations, hosted by russia, turkey and iran, are aimed at extending a shaky cease-fire set up last month. the u.s. is not directly involved. china's government is launching a new crackdown on attempts to get around its sweeping internet censorship. beijing said today a 14-month campaign will aim to clean up internet service providers, and target unauthorized connections. the goal is to bar china's 730 million internet users from accessing blocked overseas websites without permission.
on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average lost 27 points to close back below 19,800. the nasdaq fell two, and the s&p 500 slipped six. and, an upbeat report today on the health of former president george h.w. bush. doctors in houston say he's ready to leave intensive care after being admitted nine days ago for pneumonia. his wife, barbara, was discharged from the same hospital today after recovering from bronchitis. still to come on the newshour: the highest-ranking dmocrate in the senate, minority leader chuck shumer, discusses the new president. ongoing concerns over president trump's business dealings. a combative start to the trump administration's relationship with the press, and much more. >> woodruff: republican control
of the house and senate offers president trump an opportunity to deliver on many of his campaign promises. but democrats plan to make that a rocky road. the main voice of the opposition is senator minority leader chuck schumer of new york. we sat down at the capitol this afternoon. i began by asking him how he'd characterize these first days of the trump administration. >> it's been bumpy, to say the least. the rollout, so to speak, at the c.i.a. was really terrible. to stand on sacred ground, people who had given their lives for our country, and then to spend all his time talk about extraneous things that related himself. you know, what he has to realize is he's president, not candidate. instead of talking about numbers of people who showed up at his inauguration, he ought to be talking about the number of people he's gotten into the middle class, gotten good' paying jobs. >> woodruff: all right this morning out of the last few days, h he started signing
executive orders, one having to do with the trans-pacific partnership, the trade pact, another one on the affordable care act. so they are making some statements, aren't they? >> some of these mean very little. the t.p.p. was dead long before he became president. if he wanted to do something real on trade, he could have done what he promised over and over, called china currency manipulators. that would have done something. on his aca on the obamacare he said, keep the good things, get rid of the bad things and obey the law. they want to keep the good things and repeal it but they don't know how to do it. >> woodruff: isn't it entirely possible, senator , that it could be repealed and then no agreement on a replacement for months or longer? >> first, i think they're going to have more trouble with repeal alone than they think. a good number of moderate
republicans, susan collins who i had this proposal, i have a lot of respect for her though i don't think her proposal is very good, and bunch of others, bob corker, has said don't repeal without replacing. but then there are a number of people on the hard right, particularly in the house with a great deal of clout, who say if you put any new money into this, we're not voting for it. well, you can't do that on a replacement bill undecember you decimate all the good things in the bill, the 20 million people who have been covered, pre-existing conditions, kids 21-26 on their parents' plan and a whole raft of other things. so they're stuck, like the dog who caught the bus. very easy when they're out of power to repeal it, not so much now. the odds are 50/50 they won't be able to accomplish an appeal. >> woodruff: this week two, cabinet appointees appointed. do you think it's possible a
couple, one or two will not be confirmed? >> that's up to the republicans. if they have no defections, they can pass all of these with the changes in the rules, but i will say this -- we have an obligation to bring to light who these people are, because this is such a unique, in a bad way, cabinet. we call swamp cabinet, billionaires and bankers. why? well, first, there are huge conflicts of interests with so many of these because they have dramatically large financial holdings that would lend hemselves to all kinds of conflict of interest. many of them have had a great deal of difficulty filing what's required by law, 90-day plan to divest. some have done it cleanly, most have not. many disagree dramatically with the views that president trump or candidate trump then stated, for instant classic is tom price. trump said i'll never touch medicare. price made his whole career getting rid of medicare. >> woodruff: you're pointing
out there are discrepancies. >> we don't know what's going to happen. mull vainy, came out he didn't pay the taxes on a household employee for four years. >> woodruff: do you think he might not be confirmed? >> on the same basis, republicans said tom daschle wasn't fit to be secretary of d.h.h. is. to have a few days to explore who they are and make when the republican and some of our republican colleagues see all the problems, maybe a few will vote for us and knock out some of these nominees. we have an obligation to bring to light w.h.a. who they are so the american people can see that trump is doing. he's talking about a populist in his inauguration speech but governing like a hard right wing guy, totally different than how he campaigned. >> woodruff: you mean in the people he's chosen? >> in the people he's chosen. they're hard right.
a guy like mulvaney who even wants to cut funding to cancer research, he's to the right republican. >> woodruff: but all due respect, senator , sounds like they have big problems but we may have to be prepared to live with them. >> well, we tend on some republicans of conscience coming forward and saying this is unacceptable, we depend on them using the same standards they used against democratic nominees on these republican nominees. we don't know the outcome yet. >> woodruff: let me move to something else we don't know yet and that is who the president is going to nominate for the supreme court. you have said you don't want somebody -- you want him to appoint somebody from the mainstream, who's not off to the far -- in your words -- to the far right. but your friend, your colleague, majority leader mitch mcconnell has left it wide open he might resort to the so-called nuclear option where the republicans could basically have their way with 51 votes, no matter who mr. trump -- >> well, look, first, the last two presidents nominated four
people to the supreme court, two by the republican president bush, two by the democratic president obama, they all got bipartisan support, and i am hopeful, not certain at all, that the president will nominate? someone who could get bipartisan support. if not, obviously, we will oppose them with everything we have, certainly i will, and i would think they wouldn't get enough support, the 60 votes now required. so the republicans will have to come to that rubicon, do they want to change the rules. >> woodruff: infrastructure, you say you're willing to work with president trump on a plan to rebuild the nation's infrastructure, but we have been hearing from the commerce secretary designee wilbur ross that his idea is having a lot of it finance privately. is that something that could go on. >> he won't build many roads and if they do they will have such large tolls that the people donald trump said thoapts help will be dramatically hurt.
no. the only way to do a good infrastructure bill is by a significant increase in federal spending. i've said this to president when he was president-elect, and he said i understand that. i said, you may have to break with a lot of your hard-right republican colleagues in the house and senate who don't like to see the federal government spending money on roads, even though that is usually what we have done throughout the past. and he said, i know. >> woodruff: we've heard different things from people around president trump about what they want to do about tax cuts. what do you think they're going to do? >> he's governing from the hard right, that the overwhelming part of the tax cuts will go to the wealthiest of the americans. that's been the credo of the hard right all along, reduce taxes on the very much and it will trickle down. that's not something democrats or most americans agree with, and i don't think he'll get very much support with tax cuts that predominantly go to the top 1%. it will be against what he
campaigned on and a huge mistake. that's not the way to do things. middle class tax cuts, we'll look at them. closing the loop hoacialtion talked ant closing the carry interest loophole, we would be for that. we'll see what he does. >> woodruff: russia and russia sanctions, whatever is decided by kong in terms of ramping up or continuing retaliation for russia's role in the election, isn't it like the republican majority in the senate is going to not go along with that, basically they won't go anywhere? >> well, our republican colleagues their credo since the days of ronald reagan would be to be tough on putin and russia, would be to increase sanctions if they did this, and i hope that they'll -- john mccain and lindsey graham, to their credit, have been stuck with this, a few others, but most seem to be whatever donald trump wants on foreign policy, they have abandoned their beliefs and i think they'll pay a price tore r that. we the country will a pay a prie
substantively and they politically. >> woodruff: wyatt a strong display of feelings -- >> i was in that march in new york three and a half hours. it was exhilarating. >> woodruff: where do democrats go from here? that was one day. where do you go from here? >> to say on the second day there should be a whole plan and everyone is going to be marching to the polls in 2018, which would be the right thing to do, is a little pre-mature, but the fact that there is such a depth of feeling and worry about this new president, the fact that women feel on the issues of choice and on the issues of planned parenthood and even tissues of the affordable care act which say women have to be treated equally to men, that he's not working for them, that's going to have a huge effect and will help us not just in the elections in 2018 and 2020 but in the next several months. >> woodruff: how do you make sure that you stand up for what you believe in but you don't
come across to th the american people as a battering ram of no, no, no. >> very important, stick to our values. if you stick to your values, you will be guided right. that's what i've done throughout my career. we're not going to oppose something just because the name trump is on it. if he proposes a good plan, we'll work with him. if he wants to change the trade laws in a real way, we'll work with him on it. but at the same time, when he tries to roll over our values, the frocks for consumers and laws against wreath, repeal clean hair and aca, undo the help we've given public education, we'll tight'and nail and i think that's what the country wants us to do. >> woodruff: senator minority
leader chuck schumer. thank you very much. i asked the minority leertd about his personal relationship with president trump. >> he was saying to me he was my friend at the questionby finning, then he called me some names. and i said either isn't going to affect me. flattery or name calling isn't going to affect me and i'm going to do what the right thing to do in terms of or values. i think both democrats and republicans have a lot of questions about his operating style. i'm worried. >> woodruff: as we said earlier, there's been plenty of news in the past 24 hours about mr. trump and his businesses as well in fact, there are continuing questions about his pledge to separate from his company now that he's in the white house. william brangham is here with more. >> brangham: the federal lawsuit filed earlier today alleges that president trump is violating the "emoluments clause" of the constitution.
that clause bars government officials from receiving certain types of gifts from foreign powers or governments. the president called the suit "totally without merit." in other developments, sean spicer said today the president had resigned from his businesses in full, as he'd pledged to do, but the investigative news reported that it couldn't find any evidence that this was true. johnathan o'connell is covering this for the washington post and he joins me now. johnathan, let's start specifically with this lawsuit. what is the argument that these playoffs are arguing? >> what they're taking aim at is the emoluments clause of the constitution, as you mentioned. it's an observe secure clause really no one paid much attention to until recently. it bars the president and other federal officials from receiving benefits of any kind from foreign leads or foreign
officials and, unfortunately, there is ant lot of case record in terms of courts really breaking that apart and explaining what that might mean and the supreme court has never addressed it. so there is a wide view of opinions on what an emolument might mean, what might qualify as an emolument and what might qualify as a violation of the emoluments clause. people are talking about some of the businesses mr. trump has that did receives payments from foreign officials or governments or interest pains from foreign banks, foreign buyers of his condominiums, foreign tenants or foreign-owned tenants of his buildings, and mr. trump is trying to take precautions to separate himself from his businesses but retain ownership of them. >> brangham: is the concern,
if i app a foreign government and putting money into a trump organization, that that might curry favor with the president? >> sure. yeah, the original idea was to prevent bribery from occurring and make sure the president and other officials were focus opened doing the best fin thingr the nation and that core idea is at the center of this lawsuit and the others which could be to come which is out of a concern that mr. trump will continue to have similar allegiance to his businesses and still own them and still profit from them doing well at the same time he is president and, you know, he has such a wide array of businesses that he started, to think about all the various conflicts he could have and the various parts to have the government he will oversee, it will take quite a bit of unwinding. >> brangham: china is one of those cited when we talk about the clause. china rents space in trump
tower. a chinese government bank loans money for a temperature related project. what is it the people bringing the suit want the trump organization to do? >> ink there is a couple different motives for a suit like this. one is if you can get far enough along down the line in a lawsuit, you can get to the discovery phase, as any attorney would know, and learn much more about what the opposing party has at stake here and then, you know, maybe they can unearth some of mr. trump's financials, maybe even his tax returns, some of this might be a long shot, but there are probably a number of groups that will try to take a shot at this. as i mentioned, with all the businesses he has, and you mentioned some of the chinese interests, there are a number of opportunities and courts at which different parties could take a shot at him. he has many hotels in the united states which he owns and has license agreements on, and if a foreign government wanted to say, you know, say they're going
to do him a favor and rent out the entire hotel for a weekend and give his company thousands or tens of thousands of dollars that way, there is nothing preventing him from doing that now. >> the president's lawyers and other legal scholars have looked at this and said booking a hotel is not the same as giving a sack full of cash to a president because the money is going to a corporation, not the president himself. >> sure, there are a number of interpretations here. one is from the president's lawyer you saw, if somebody's paying market rate for a hotel room, that doesn't feel like a gift to a lot of people and may not seem to be a gift under the constitution. if you look at an emolument as any kind of benefit or payment a president receives from a foreign entity, that even if one is paying market rate from a hotel room, that's still a benefit to him and his company. mr. trump said he will be donating any profits from foreign clients or businesses to
the united states treasury, but think about the difficulty if you operate a hotel company. the hotel staff would have to distinguish the payments between foreign entities and guests and everybody else and divvy it up and send a check to the treasury, and mr. trump and his attorneys have not explained any of the logistics of how that would work. he also mentioned he closed down a number of business deals in order to insulate himself from his businesses but hasn't disclosed those deals either. >> brangham: in part to disentangle some of the things you said, the president said he's going to resign from his company. is there evidence that he's taking steps to do that? a lot of ethics lawyers looked at what he's proposed to do and said it's insufficient. what is do they argue the president needs to do? >> the ultimate ideal from the ethics experts and a thing a number of presidents did before
mr. trump is to put their assets into a blind trust -- and the term blind trust gets thrown around a lot, but essentially it is an independently operated entity that would liquidate all mr. trump's assets. it's not easy to do in real estate. it's not ideal to sell real estate when your hand is forced because it's a cyclical business. i think there is probably a reasonable way for mr. trump to retain ownership of his hotel and properties, but if he doesn't do more than what he's doing as far as taking himself and his ownership out of these companies, these questions will continue coming up. i would imagine for the entire presidency, he owns so many businesses and they're so prominent as far as products, they won't go away if he continues to own them all. >> brangham: johnathan o'connell of "the washington
post." >> thank you so much. >> woodruff: stay with us, coming up on the newshour, our politics monday team analyzes the president's first days in office. and europe's far right, hoping to ride a wave of populism. but first, the new white house press secretary stepped in to the spotlight over the weekend, scolding the press, but was later called to account for his own false statements. lisa desjardins has the story. >> i believe we have to be honest with the american people. i think sometimes we can disagree with the facts. >> desjardins: he was notably less heated in tone, but today white house press secretary sean spicer's message was unchanged-- the trump white house feels the press is unfair. >> over and over again there is this attempt to go after this president and say, well that can't be true and that's not right. and the numbers weren't there and there's a rush to judgement every time. and it's a two way street. we want to have a healthy and open dialogue with the press corps and the american people about what he's doing to help
this country and unite it. >> desjardins: today's briefing follow's a tumultuous weekend, starting with president trump's words about the media saturday in front of the c.i.a.'s memorial wall... >> they are among the most dishonest human beings on earth. and they made it sound like i had a feud with the intelligence community, alright, just want to let you know, there's a reason you're number one stop, is exactly the opposite. >> desjardins: in fact, two weeks ago, the president tweeted about intelligence agencies, asking saying: "are we living in nazi germany?" today press secretary spicer said that was about the process, not intelligence workers. also sparking conflict, the size of the crowd at mr. trump's inauguration. many news organizations published side-by-side photos showing the obama 2009 turnout was larger than this year's.
that's where white house press secretary sean spicer picked up saturday evening... >> this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period-- both in person and around the globe. >> desjardins: today, spicer clarified, saying he was including in-person, plus television and online viewers. >> it's unquestionable. and i don't see any numbers that dispute that. >> desjardins: on saturday, spicer also correctly pointed out that a reporter had wrongly blasted out news that a bust of martin luther king junior had been removed from the oval office. but the greater question was about how the trump administration views facts and the free press. trump aide kellyanne conway made headlines when pressed by chuck todd on nbc's "meet the press" yesterday. >> don't be so overly dramatic about it, chuck. what it-- you're saying it's a falsehood and they're giving sean spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. >> alternative facts? alternative facts are falsehoods. >> desjardins: and on "fox news
sunday," president trump's chief of staff issued a warning: >> i'm saying there's an obsession by the media to delegitimize this president, and we are not going to sit around and let it happen. we're going to fight back tooth and nail every day, and twice on >> desjardins: all this follows a presidential campaign in which mr. trump's rhetoric often targeted journalists. >> the election is being rigged by corrupt media pushing completely false allegations and outright lies in an effort to elect hillary clinton president. but we are going to stop it. >> desjardins: as it pushes back at the media, the trump team is also opening up a few new seats. spicer announced the briefing room will have four skype seats to bring in questions from reporters outside washington. for the pbs newshour, i'm lisa desjardins. >> woodruff: we take a deeper look now at the trump administration's relationship with the press and the latest policy moves from president trump in this week's politics
monday, with our regulars, tamara keith of npr and amy walter of the "cook political report." and we're joined tonight by jeff mason of reuters. he's the current president of the white house correspondents' association. and we welcome all three of you to the program. jeff mason, i'm going to start with you since you're standing out there in the cold. you have been covering this white house for eight years and i know there were contention times during the obama administration between the press and the president and the people around him, but how do you compare to what's happened in the last few days under president trump? >> well, it was certainly unusual saturday to have the president of the united states to talk about the media being the most dishonest people on earth and that followed by the statement you showed already by sean spicer in the briefing room. i can't think of anything to compare with that during my time at the white house. that said, today, the first full
working day, this monday, the press has had pretty deep access at the white house. there were several spaces where we got to see the president's debriefings and hear him make statements and sean spicer held his briefing and took questions for over an hour. those were positive steps, but the tension over the weekend was unusual and not how i expected to see them start. >> woodruff: tamara keith who also covered the white house, is this all forgotten now because things went well today? >> no, not necessarily. i think that when a trust is betrayed, that has to be rebuilt, and sean spicer came into the briefing room, stood at that lectern and said things that were verifiably untrue. he pol apologized today at the briefing or at least said he doesn't intentionally want to
say things that aren't true and wants to have a good relationship with the press but it's a process that requires some restoration. >> woodruff: amy, as somebody who watches politicians and the press because you have been -- that's what you do for a living, how does this look from the outside? are we making more of this than there is here? because i know a lot of people in the media who are really upset about it. >> i think that's a great question, judy, because the media loves to spend a lot of time talking about itself and do a lot of navel gazing which the general public isn't interested in. they aren't particularly concerned whether our feelings are hurt or the things we complain about. they have their own lives and jobs that are difficult as well. what they expect is for us to tell them what is and isn't happening, and i think where the media has gotten itself in trouble, not just with people who support donald trump but just in the broader frame of
reference -- remember, they have an approval rating that's almost as low as congress' approval rating -- is the sense that they're much more interested in things like that parsing words and getting into fights about little minutia instead of stepping back and seeing what the big picture is. that's where i would argue the media needs to spend more time focusing on what we know, what we don't know and then moving on. >> woodruff: jeff mason, that does put the press in somewhat an unsympathetic position, doesn't it? >> yeah, it's always a tricky position to be in when the press isn't super popular in this country either and is something that we have to take seriously, but as i have been saying for the last few weeks, in light of some of this tension we've had with the then incoming and now current administration, having some tension is normal, and it's our job to report the news, it's our job to report the news accurately and aggressively, and
i think if the press corps continues to do that, we will be on the right path. >> woodruff: tam, as the media and all of us continue to look at the relationship with the press, there were substantive things that happened in the white house over the last few days, these executive orders. what do they add up to? senator shiewm was fairly dismissive of it. how did you read it? >> first, one thing that happened at the white house today is president trump did things that a president does. he held meetings with people and looked presidential. he signed these three presidential memoranda which is a exer effectually normal and expected thing for a president to do when they come into office, including one that is related to funding of organizations that would perform abortion overseas, that is like a ping-pong. you know, president reagan started it, then president clinton rolled it back, then president bush brought it back,
then president obama rolled it back, and, so, these are, in some ways, expected things for a president to do. the memoranda on hiring freezes that is not unheard of and the t.p.p., that is sort of like, as a colleague of mine said, putting a too many stone in front of a grave that is dug about a year ago. >> woodruff: so, amy, this is an administration that promised to come right out of the gate getting things done. >> that's right. >> woodruff: get rid of obamacare, going to stop the trade deals -- they started that by putting these executive orders in place, but we don't know what that leads to, and especially on the the obamacare executive order. nobody, the insurance industry, hospitals, doctors, the people who are signing to repeal
obamacare knows what that means. this will be a process. but overall i think the trump administration did some substantive things, but we don't know fundamentally where they go. the other thing that donald trump got in his favor today was the fact you had three republican senators who were looking like at one point they were holding out on their support for rex tillerson, secretary of state nominee, and all three came out and publicly supported him. thats a big victory for donald trump because to come in, in your very first days in office, and have your own parties sink a cabinet nominee woul would haven a big blow. >> woodruff: a question i asked john yang who was also at the white house today for us, is i know it's only three or four days in, but does it feel like this trump administration is getting its sea legs? >> they are still working on
that and i think they would say that if anyone from the administration were standing here. certain things like speaking to the press over the loud speaker is not working. they are giving us announcements that way now so that the pool knows when to gather. we are getting our daily guidance at night which shows what the president will be doing the next day. that's taken a couple of days to get into a rhythm, and that sort of applies to other things, too, but they're getting there, in terms of figuring out how the white house works and how the relationship with the press works, and we're getting there, too. it takes some adjustment on both sides. i guess the principle that i am continuing to push for and the correspondents association is continuing to push for is that we have access and we are able to see and witness and chronicle what's going on. >> woodruff: and all of that is very important. in the little bit of time we have left, tam and amy, i want to ask you about what little bit of information that has come out
about president trump and his business connections. is there a sense he's putting a lot of that aside now and away and there aren't going to be that many more questions? or how do you see that? >> oh, i don't think the questions will go away because of the way he's putting it aside, but npr has gotten its hands on documents that show that he did transfer the title of president of his trump organization to his son. so that is something, but the good government people and ethicists and many concerned citizens, this doesn't allay those concerns. again, over the week withenned, they confirm they are not planning on releasing his tax returns anytime soon. >> woodruff: how much does that matter to the electorate, the american people? >> it matters. we have to keep focused on the most important thing, as voters said going into this election, one, they want change, two, they want their economic security to be better, their personal lives to be better. how and what he does that impacts those things are going
to be very important. obviously, these are issues that are going to be surrounding him, but getting it back to what matters to voters is going to be the most important thing. >> woodruff: amy walter, tamara keith, jeff mason, thank you all. >> pleasure. >> woodruff: one day after donald trump was inaugurated, european right wing leaders issued a rallying cry for voters to help them upset the establishment in key elections this year in the netherlands, france and germany. anti-immigration policies, strong border controls and disdain for the bureaucrats of the european union binds these various groups. they met in the german city of koblenz, led by the french presidential candidate, marine lepen.
but as special correspondent malcolm brabant reports, the message of those wanting to benefit from the so-called trump effect, is deepening europe's divisions. >> reporter: it was a triumphant entrance for politicians aspiring to repeat donald trump's unexpected electoral success. the controversial leader of france's national front hopes to be propelled into the presidency this spring by her anti- immigration stance and promise of a brexit style referendum on french membership of the european union. the very first blow to the old order, the one factor that will have the rest of europe falling like dominoes, is brexit. >> ( translated ): a sovereign people has decided to get rid of the powerful agreement, to be able to decide by itself on its own fate.
the second blow wasn't far behind, trump's election as the united states president put the supporters of neo-liberalism in even greater difficulty. >> reporter: on german soil, le pen took aim at the leader all anti immigrant parties blame for europe's migrant crisis, chancellor angela merkel. >> ( translated ): mrs. merkel is presented as a humanitarian heroine, who is a model of if they asked the germans if they were happy, everyone would see that this migration policy is a daily catastrophe. >> reporter: the crowd chanted merkel must go. and lapped up the speech by geert wilders, a fervent critic of islam, leader of holland's freedom party, and in contention to be the next dutch prime minister. >> ( translated ): a new america, today koblenz, tomorrow, a new europe.
>> reporter: and at a packed news conference, he had these words for critics of europe's right wing. >> we will not stop. the people will not stop whether the old-fashioned politicians or the friends of the press like it or not, it will not be stopped. the genie will not go back into the bottle again whether you like it or not. >> reporter: of all the nationalist groups here, it is the alternative for germany party that appears to be faltering although it remains the third most popular in the country. after the christmas market truck massacre in berlin it had a brief surge in support, but according to the latest opinion polls, its approval numbers have dropped down to 11% nationally. the explanation appears to be that chancellor angela merkel's government promised a new raft of security measures including the faster deportation of criminal refugees and migrants. providing more workers for
germany's powerhouse economy was one of merkel's justifications for her open door immigration policy. with elections looming this autumn, merkel's christian democratic union is perceived as having a steadier hand on the tiller of prosperity than the untested a.f.d., or alternative for germany party. at koblenz' biggest monument, the party's a.f.d.'s alleged nazi tendencies were satirised with cardboard cutouts of second world war dictators. that impression was reinforced after one of its leaders said germany should abandon what he called its shameful memories about the holocaust. this might explain the subdued speech of party leader frauke petrie on the banks of the rhine. >> ( translated ): we have to expose those who call for a more powerful european union as the true anti europeans, the true anti democrats. we have an answer to these
spineless technocrats. and that answer is people and politicians who are going to take back europe and restore its freedom and sovereignty. >> reporter: the right-wingers may be hoping to benefit from the trump effect, but on inauguration day most customers in this cafe were turning a blind eye. the koblenz gathering generated two days of protests. history student anna khodorova. >> it kind of reminds me of the time when hitler was still alive because he used populism against other discriminated groups of people. we have learned from history and i'm afraid that this happens again, also when trump becomes president. >> reporter: the next day, outside the conference center, a band played the anthem of the european union, which the
nationalists despise. english teacher herman spix fears europe is backsliding into the darkest period of german history. >> i'm very much concerned because i've been working on the issue of the third reich for nearly 20 years. this is, to my sense, comparable. >> more and more people are spreading racism, sexism and i homophobe sentiments or whatever. if they come into the parliament, it will be a big difference because i think we will all be very astonished at what they will do. >> reporter: the police erected a protective ring around the conference center. local a.f.d. councilor ulli langenback rejected accusations that they are nazis in suits. >> for me, they are. i will not use his word. they are the fascists. because it's only young people.
they got brainwashed by school and university. >> reporter: happy to demonstrate their enthusiasm in the dark, not so many were prepared to voice their opinions publicly. >> germany is very weak. you are not allowed to speak openly. always when you speak that you are in the a.f.d. you can worry about your job. >> reporter: these nationalists hope that hitching themselves to the trump bandwagon will bring electoral success. in order to symbolize unity they held their conference where germany's two great rivers meet. but their message emphasized growing divisions within europe as the continent steams deeper into an unpredictable 2017. for the pbs newshour, i'm malcolm brabant in koblenz. >> woodruff: now to our newshour shares, something that caught our eye that might be of interest to you, too. every winter, millions of tons of salt are spread across the
country's roads and sidewalks. a good chunk of that comes ohio's whiskey island salt mine elizabeth miller of wviz-pbs ideastream in cleveland paid the facility's unique salt formations a visit. >> reporter: when old man winter rears his icy head, there's one thing that keeps ohio from becoming a virtual slip'n'slide: salt. a natural de-icer, over 17 million tons of rock salt was spread over roads and sidewalks in the united states during the particularly fierce winter of 2015. but where does it all come from? the answer might surprise you. >> right now, we are in the whiskey island mine, 1,800 feet below lake erie. we are mining salt for purposes of road deicing. last year we mined a little over three million tons in a pretty mild winter. in a normal winter, we'll do about four million tons. >> reporter: ohio is one of the top exporters of salt in the
country, and it's actually mined right under our noses in places like cargill's whiskey island mine. the 12-square-mile mine lies just offshore of downtown cleveland. >> once we blast the salt out of the ground, we got ahead and scoop it up and put it on the belt lines to be sent to the mill for processing. >> reporter: a system of conveyor belts and elevators bring the salt to the surface. left behind are gigantic pillars of salt. these support the weight of the thousands of feet of rock and lake above the mine but wait. how did all this salt get here, almost 2,000 feet under lake erie? to answer that question, we headed to cleveland's museum of natural history to talk to expert harvey webster. >> we always think, you know, cleveland has always been north of the equator, it's been in a temperate location kind of forever right? and the answer is no. it turns out that north america, like all the other continents, has moved across the planet.
and at the time of the silerian, 400 million years ago, cleveland ohio would have been 400 miles south of the equator in shallow, tropical conditions. so, ohio was tropical, oh yeah, and covered in a shallow sea. reporter: and its inhabitants are not the kind of thing you see strolling in downtown cleveland today. eventually, these tropical conditions and some overgrown coral reefs caused the sea to dry up, leaving the salt behind. >> it would get saltier and saltier and saltier, until finally, the salt literally settles out of that water, and forms rock salt. and this happened thousands, tens of thousands of times, and each time it happened, it would add a new layer to the rock column. and so, if you went to the cargill mine, when you look at the walls, you'll see these alternating bands, each one of those layers is like a chapter in the history of the world right here in cleveland as it
existed 400 million years ago. >> reporter: the salt mine looks like another world, and it really is one. it's the remains of world that existed long before man. but even if you never get down to the mine, you'll still see pieces of this world scattered on icy roads all winter long. for the pbs newshour, i'm elizabeth miller in cleveland, ohio. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your financial future. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide.
>> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions 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. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
>> rose: welcome to the program. it's inauguration day in washington and we talk about the inaugural speech by the new president donald j. trump with mark leibovich, mckay coppins, al hunt and margaret talev. >> i would disagree with the notion it wasn't an aspirational speech. i think through the rhetoric there was quite a bit he was promising, ending radical islamic state, ending the carnage, intentionally. he is creating a rather high bar for himself through the rather bleak language he used. also towards noting obama has given him a long way to fall. obama won the popular vote twice, leaving with high approval ratings, unemployment is around 4. once news actually starts happening, donald j. trump will own it and i think a lot of people wil