WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Good evening. I’m William Brangham. Judy Woodruff is away. On the “NewsHour” tonight: expanding detention. The White House moves to rewrite the rules
on immigration, throwing out the caps on how long migrant families can be held in custody. Plus: DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
I am the chosen one. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Another day, another freewheeling
talk with reporters. Our Yamiche Alcindor was there and breaks
down what was on the president’s mind. Then: icy relations. President Trump abruptly cancels his upcoming
visit to Denmark, after the Scandinavian nation declares that Greenland is not for sale. And nature trails vs. oil drills — the shifting
political landscape of the Western wilderness. KATY BEATTIE, Montana: There are these large
landscapes that are still so intact. It’s a rare thing, and I feel like we should
rally behind that and understand what a unique area we live in. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) WILLIAM BRANGHAM: President Trump held court
on the White House South Lawn for more than half-an-hour today, answering questions on
a wide-range of topics: gun laws, Russia, the economy, even birthright citizenship. There was a lot on the president’s mind today. Our White House correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor,
was there, and she joins me now. Hi. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Hi. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, the president covered
so many different topics today. I’m so glad you were there. One of the issues I want to talk about is
the issue of guns. We’re just over two weeks now from El Paso
and from Dayton. And the president seems to have vacillated
a little bit on his — what he wants to do about background checks. He talked about that today. Let’s take a listen to what he had to say. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
Oh, I have an appetite for background checks. We’re going to be doing background checks. We’re working with Democrats. We’re working with Republicans. We already have very strong background checks. But there are loopholes in the background
checks. And that’s what I spoke to the NRA about yesterday. They want to get rid of the loopholes, as
well as I do. At the same time, I don’t want to take away
people’s Second Amendment rights. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We know the president has
also been talking to the head of the National Rifle Association. Do you have a better sense of what the president
willing to do about guns? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The president is clearly
in lockstep with the NRA on this issue when it comes to background checks and gun legislation
overall. He’s been talking frequently to Wayne LaPierre,
the head of the NRA. I put the question to the president, are you
also talking to mass shooting victims? He wouldn’t answer specifically that. All he would say is that I visited them in
the hospital. But then he was really misleading when it
came to the idea of what the NRA wants to do. He said Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA,
wants to somehow close loopholes in the background check system. And that’s completely not what the NRA says
on its own Web site. It says that they oppose expanding any sort
of background checks. They also say that they take issue with the
idea that there any sort of gun loopholes in the system right now. Now, critics would say that’s completely not
true. In fact, they would say online sales and at
gun shows, personal person-to-person private gun sales, you don’t need background checks
for that. So that’s why a lot of people want universal
background checks. But the president so far is not supporting
that issue. So it’s going to — we’re going to have to
see where the president goes with this. But it’s pretty clear that he’s leaning toward
whatever that NRA wants to support. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: On another issue, for the
second day in a row, the president seemed to question the loyalty of Jewish Americans
who support Democrats. Let’s listen to what he said about that today. DONALD TRUMP: They don’t want to fund Israel. They want to take away foreign aid to Israel. They want to do a lot of bad things, Israel. In my opinion, you vote for a Democrat, you’re
being very disloyal to Jewish people, and you’re being very disloyal to Israel. And only weak people would say anything other
than that. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: How did the president respond
to the criticism that, when you start talking about loyalty in relation to Jewish people,
that that relies on some pretty anti-Semitic ideas? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The president completely
doubled down on his attacks on American Jews, and did not back away from the idea that,
if they vote for Democrats, that they are disloyal, and that they are not using good
knowledge in doing so. Now, it’s important to note just how many
American Jews support Democrats. About 75 percent of American Jews supported
Democrats in the midterms. And, overwhelmingly, American Jews support
Democrats overall. It’s important to also note that the president,
when he — when he was asked about whether or not some of his words might be anti-Semitic,
he said that he hadn’t heard that criticism. But it’s important to also look at the groups
that are calling the president out. The Anti-Defamation League criticized him
for using other people who say that that’s anti-Semitic to say that Jews are disloyal. Also, J Street, a liberal advocacy group that’s
involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they called the president’s words dangerous
and shameful. So while the president is not backing down,
there are Jewish leaders and civil rights groups who are saying the president should
not be using this language. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I know you have been watching
this president for a long time. And, today, it seemed like he really did have
a lot of anger and sort of fury and fire that he was shooting at the Democrats. Do you have a sense of what’s driving that? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The president is really,
I think, making the case for his 2020 election. He is trying to posit himself as this person
who is the only person who can fix the country’s ill and that Democrats have really led this
country astray. You see that when he talked about Denmark
and saying that he canceled his trip there. He said, maybe Denmark could have called the
country — or called out the country under President Obama, but with me as president,
that’s not going to happen. The same thing on immigration. He said, oh, President Obama — he said falsely
that President Obama separated immigrant children. That’s, of course, not true. But, even more, he said Democrats were essentially
letting open borders and letting all sorts of immigrants in. That’s also not true. But, really, it comes down to the president’s
strategy when it comes to reelection. He has to say, Democrats are trying to destroy
your way of life, in order to really what he thinks is bring out the turnout in his
voters. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Yamiche, we will talk about
those that Denmark and those immigration issues later in the show. Thank you. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Thanks. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In day’s other news: Before
President Trump spoke today, China called for the U.S. to meet it halfway on a trade
deal. A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing said
the tariff war is hurting both countries. He said the U.S. should follow China’s example
in approaching trade talks. GENG SHUANG, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
(through translator): China has a good reputation for abiding by international treaties. The United States, in contrast, often breaks
promises, overthrows consensus and violates rules. A country that habitually goes back on its
word, breaks its promises and withdraws from treaties has no right at all to talk about
fulfilling commitments with China. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The two countries are scheduled
to hold their next round of trade talks in September. Protesters in Hong Kong staged a sit-in today
at the subway station where pro-democracy supporters were attacked last month. Police with riot shields faced off with the
crowd at the station’s entrance. Protesters, in turn, sprayed fire extinguishers
to slow their approach. Two more American service members have been
killed in Afghanistan. NATO announced the deaths today, but gave
no details. And the death toll from Saturday’s suicide
bombing in Kabul rose to 80, as more victims died of their wounds. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility. Wildfires kept burning today across Brazil,
and President Jair Bolsonaro suggested they’re the work of nonprofit groups that oppose his
Amazon development policy. He gave no evidence to support that claim. More than 74,000 fires have ravaged Brazil
this year, up 80 percent from last year. Smoke has caused near-blackout conditions
in Sao Paulo and elsewhere. In Australia, Roman Catholic Cardinal George
Pell will stay behind bars, after a court denied his appeal. Last March, the former Vatican finance minister
was sentenced to six years in jail for sexually abusing two choir boys back in the 1990s. Today, an appeals court in Melbourne ruled
2-1 to uphold those convictions, based on the testimony of one of the victims. ANNE FERGUSON, Chief Justice, Supreme Court
of Victoria: Justice Maxwell and I accepted the prosecution’s submission that the complainant
was a very compelling witness, was clearly not a liar, wasn’t a fantasist, and was a
witness of truth. He didn’t seek to embellish his evidence or
tailor it in a manner favorable to the prosecution. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Pell is the highest ranking
Catholic worldwide to be found guilty of sexually abusing children. He could still appeal to Australia’s highest
court. Back in this country, President Trump ordered
expedited action to wipe out federal student loan debt for some 25,000 American veterans
who are permanently disabled. He signed the order at the AMVETS National
Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. and he said veterans won’t be taxed on the
forgiven debt. The action affects just a fraction of 1 percent
of overall student loan debt in the U.S., which exceeds $1.5 trillion. New numbers on the nation’s fiscal outlook
say federal deficits are surging. The Congressional Budget Office projected
today the deficit will top $1 trillion a year starting next year, and deficits over the
next decade will be more than $800 billion higher than expected. The CBO cited the recent budget deal that
lifted the debt limit and eliminated planned spending cuts. And on Wall Street today, stocks jumped after
major retailers reported strong earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 240
points to close at 26202. The Nasdaq rose 71 points, and the S&P 500
added nearly 24. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: how will
the White House’s new immigration rules impact families seeking asylum?; icy relations between
President Trump and Denmark after the Scandinavian nation refuses to put Greenland up for sale;
breaking down the issues facing the Native American community, and much more. In his effort to crack down on immigration
along the southern border, the president has repeatedly tried to change how the U.S. government
detains migrants. Today, his administration went further than
it has before, announcing big changes to the regulations that have been in place for decades. The president’s team says the overhaul wasn’t
only overdue and legally required, but that it will lead to more humane conditions. Migrant advocates say it’ll do the opposite. Today’s move effectively paves the way for
the indefinite detention of migrant children and their families, until their immigration
cases are decided. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan
announced the change. KEVIN MCALEENAN, Acting Secretary of Homeland
Security: At the heart of this new rule are two core principles: that families should
remain together during immigration proceedings and that conditions for care of children must
be appropriate. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The new regulation would
end the current standard, the so-called Flores agreement. Since 1997, that federal court settlement
required the government to hold children in the least restrictive setting possible, establish
welfare standards, and release them within about 20 days. As a result, migrant families were often released
into the U.S. while their asylum requests worked their way through the court system. KEVIN MCALEENAN: The purpose of holding individuals
in administrative custody during immigration proceedings is to get an immigration result
as expeditiously as possible. There is no intent to hold families for a
long period of time. In fact, we have the prior experience that
shows we were able to average under 50 days. That is the intent, for a fair, but expeditious
immigration proceeding. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: McAleenan said children
will also be better protected under the new regulation. KEVIN MCALEENAN: No child should be a pawn
in a scheme to manipulate our immigration system, which is why the new rule eliminates
the incentive to exploit children as a free ticket or, as one gentleman in Guatemala told
me, a passport for migration to the United States.’ WILLIAM BRANGHAM: President Trump today echoed
his support for this rule change. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
President Obama and others brought the families apart, but I’m the one that kept the families
together. With what we’re doing now, we will do even
more of that, but it will make it almost impossible for people to come into our country illegally. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: While President Obama did
prosecute some migrant adults and deported more than five million authorized immigrants,
neither he nor his predecessor enacted mass separations of families. In recent months, border officials have been
overwhelmed by the massive influx of families and children fleeing violence and poverty
in Central America. U.S. Customs and Border Protection estimates
more than 432,000 family units were taken into custody from October through July alone. Most were released into the U.S. That’s a 456 percent increase over the same
period last year. McAleenan said some migrants will now go to
family residential centers that have higher standards than current overcrowded border
facilities. KEVIN MCALEENAN: They are campus-like settings
with appropriate medical, educational, recreational, dining, and private housing facilities. For example, the first family residential
center in Berks, Pennsylvania, has suites where each family is housed separately. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: ICE currently has three
such family residential centers, but they’re already nearing full capacity. The Justice Department, in its announcement,
said the Flores agreement was originally only supposed to remain in place for five years. In 2001, the parties agreed to terminate the
policy after a final rule-making, but no previous administration issued a final rule until now. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted the change,
writing — quote — “The administration is seeking to codify child abuse, plain and simple.” The Congressional Hispanic Caucus also denounced
the move, saying — quote — “They’re punishing vulnerable families as if they are criminals,
when they’re asylum seekers fleeing violence, gangs, rape, and murder.” The new regulation will be published in the
federal register Friday and go into effect 60 days later. Legal challenges are expected within days. So, let’s explain in greater detail how these
changes to the Flores agreement could play out. We get the perspective of a legal scholar
who has visited many of the current migrant detention centers. Warren Binford is the director of the clinical
law program at Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon. She was part of the team that visited one
center in Clint, Texas, this summer, and strongly criticized the conditions she witnessed. Warren Binford, welcome back to the “NewsHour.” I wonder if you could just give me your reaction
to what the administration is proposing today. WARREN BINFORD, Willamette University: Well,
unfortunately, William, I’m quite horrified in hearing what the administration is proposing. Indefinite detention of children is something
that we saw in the apartheid South Africa. It’s something that we saw in Nazi Germany. It’s not something that we would ever expect
to see in 21st century America. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I mean, those are pretty
harsh comparisons to make. And the administration, if you listen to Secretary
McAleenan today, he said these are going to be better conditions, children will be housed
with their parents. He seemed to paint a picture that is much
better than the conditions that you were here on the “NewsHour” this summer worried about. WARREN BINFORD: Well, it’s not really a question
of conditions at this point, because there is no question that we need to make sure that
when the children are in government custody that they need to be well-cared-for. The issue is that children don’t belong in
government custody to begin with. Children are not supposed to be detained. This is one of the fundamental values of Flores,
is that children are supposed to be released and placed with their family in the United
States as expeditiously as possible. And, basically, what the administration is
trying to do is to throw out the very heart of Flores, which is that children are not
supposed to be detained. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I mean, the administration
argues that Flores was outdated, they have the legal authority to do, this other administrations
didn’t, and that, if they keep to the spirit of Flores, that they have the authority to
do that. You don’t think that that’s true? WARREN BINFORD: Well, I think that the administration
is telling the truth, in that Flores was never intended to be permanent, that it was the
responsibility of administration and it’s also been the responsibility of Congress to
establish standards for the care of children consistent with Flores. My criticism is that the regulations that
have been proposed, they’re no resemblance not only to the spirit of Flores, which they
flagrantly violate, but also to the fundamental protections there as well. So, basically, what this is, is a gutting
of Flores and saying that, despite the legal holdings over the last 30 years in this case,
as well as the research that’s been done with regard to child welfare and child health,
that, you know, children are not supposed to be detained indefinitely. And that’s basically what this administration
is trying to do. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: What are the specifics about
— you said that this would violate Flores. What are the things that you argue? I mean, we still don’t know what the final
rules are. We haven’t seen those until Friday. What — how is it that they’re violating Flores? WARREN BINFORD: So, in several ways. For example, the most obvious way is the proposal
that they detain children at all, that children are not supposed to be detained. This hurts children. And we need to care for these children in
a way that places them in the least restrictive environment possible. That’s what the law provides. And that is with families in normal homes. So that’s the first way that this violates
the children’s rights. The second way that this violates the children’s
rights is that it not only is proposing that children be detained, but that they be detained
in unlicensed facilities. The government has no facilities that have
been licensed to care for families. And so they’re talking about having the federal
government regulate itself and monitor itself. And we have already seen what happens when
there’s no one monitoring the facilities on a regular basis. I have seen that with my own eyes, and it’s
a horrendous situation. A third way is that they’re talking about
having these children have to put together their court cases within a matter of days
or weeks. And the fact is that we know that these children,
in order to put together their asylum cases, that they’re going to need the assistance
of attorneys, they’re going to have to gather their evidence. And we need to make sure that these children’s
due process rights are protected. So, we’re seeing multiple violations of these
children’s rights. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: One of the arguments that
the administration makes is that, under the current agreement, that people who wanted
to migrate illegally to the United States knew that this system existed, that they couldn’t
be kept for very long in a center in the U.S., and that it was, in essence, a magnet, that
it was drawing people to the U.S. because of this system that offered, so, basically
catch and release, as the president likes to put it. Is there any evidence that that’s true, that
this is a magnet? WARREN BINFORD: I have never seen any evidence
of that. What I know is, the reason that most of these
children are coming to the United States is that they’re being threatened with murder,
they’re being threatened with sexual assault, sexual violence. They’re experiencing domestic violence. You’re seeing ineffective governments. You’re seeing — or gang organizations, criminal
organizations that are taking over these children’s streets where they live, the schools that
they attend, and coming to the very homes and threatening their lives. And so these children are simply trying to
survive. This is not an opportunistic migration that
we’re seeing, but, rather, an attempt by these children to survive what are very violent
threats at home. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Another argument the administration
makes is that the system we have now helps fuel human trafficking coming across our border. Is there evidence for that? WARREN BINFORD: No, I’m not seeing any evidence
of that at all. As a matter of fact, every child that I interviewed
in the Border Patrol facilities in June came over with a family member. And there was only one child whom I interviewed
who it appeared had come over with a coyote. When we treat those illegally, those are not
considered to be human trafficking. Having an adult with you doesn’t make that
person a trafficker. And I think that it really detracts from the
very real issue of human trafficking for the administration to so disingenuously try and
present these children as being trafficked, when, in fact, their parents, their family
members are trying to simply get them to safe homes in the United States. And you have to remember that 40 percent of
these children, approximately, have a legal right to be here in the United States. So to pretend that these children are being
trafficked, it’s really to do these children a disservice. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Warren Binford,
thank you very much for being here. WARREN BINFORD: Thank you, William. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In the age of President
Trump, tweets often announce official policy. And, last night, it happened again, when the
president, on Twitter, declared that he wouldn’t travel to Denmark in 10 days’ time. The reason? Danish leaders wouldn’t discuss selling Greenland
to the U.S. And, thus, the massive ice-covered island
and Danish autonomous territory marked yet another frigid moment in U.S. relations with
an ally. Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports
from Copenhagen. MALCOLM BRABANT: The meticulous traditions
of the Danish kingdom were trotting on as usual today, as news spread of the White House
snub. Horses from the royal stables would have been
used during Donald Trump’s trip, had he maintained his plan. A former Danish prime minister claims the
Americans pushed for a formal state visit, with all its ceremony and grandeur. The American ambassador even promoted the
visit on Twitter hours before Mr. Trump tweeted that, since Greenland wasn’t for sale, he
wouldn’t be coming. President Trump’s rebuff is seen here as being
doubly offensive, especially to the Danish Queen Margrethe. At her main Copenhagen residence, a spokeswoman
would only say they were surprised. According to Danish royal experts, that’s
palace-speak for being livid. The Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen,
delivered what she thought was a restrained response. METTE FREDERIKSEN, Prime Minister of Denmark:
I have been looking forwarded to the visit. Our preparations were well under way. A discussion has, however, been raised about
a potential sale of Greenland. This has clearly been rejected by Kim Kielsen,
a position that I share, of course. This doesn’t change the character of our good
relations. MALCOLM BRABANT: But her comments over the
weekend upset the president. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
No, Denmark, I looked forward to going, but I thought that the prime minister’s statement
that it was absurd, that it was an absurd idea was nasty. I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do is say, no, we wouldn’t
be interested. But we can’t treat the United States of America
the way they treated us under President Obama. I thought it was a very not nice way of saying
something. MALCOLM BRABANT: In response, the Danish prime
minister says she won’t engage in a verbal war. But Rufus Gifford, the former U.S. ambassador
to Denmark, has gone on the offensive. RUFUS GIFFORD, Former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark:
It is embarrassing. But I think the bigger shame here is, as I
get reaction from Danes this morning, there’s not the level of outrage that I sort of wish
there was, that this is met with a collective eye-roll of sorts, that this is just Donald
Trump being Donald Trump. MALCOLM BRABANT: That eye-rolling is evident
on the streets of Copenhagen. ANNE FIELD, Nurse: I heard it was because
he couldn’t buy Greenland. So, if he’s that stupid, I think it’s good
that he’s not coming. MALCOLM BRABANT: Jon Burgwald is an expert
on the Arctic region and advises one of the left-leaning parties in the Danish Parliament. JON BURGWALD, Red-Green Alliance: What he
obviously doesn’t understand is that Greenland is a sovereign country, with its own government,
its own parliament, its own judicial system. But, at the same time, it also shows that
he has no understanding whatsoever of, to be honest, international politics and diplomacy. MALCOLM BRABANT: The Danes and Greenlanders
may believe that buying the world’s largest island is absurd, but the controversy has
had the impact of concentrating minds at the very highest level. The former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh
Rasmussen tweeted today that: “The Arctic’s security and environmental challenges are
too important to be considered alongside hopeless discussions like the sale of Greenland.” On Twitter, Mr. Trump admonished Denmark over
its defense spending as part of NATO and lambasted other European allies for taking advantage
of American security guarantees. NICHOLAS BURNS, Former U.S. Undersecretary
of State for Political Affairs: Frankly, I think President Trump is digging a big hole
for the United States with Europe. He is by far the most anti-European and anti-NATO
leader that we have had. MALCOLM BRABANT: Nicholas Burns was a career
U.S. diplomat and ambassador to NATO during the Obama administration. He’s now at Harvard University. NICHOLAS BURNS: I think this is the worst
treatment of an American ally by an American president in our lifetime. I can’t think of anything remotely like this. Denmark has contributed over 10,0,000 soldiers
over 17 years in Afghanistan. They have lost soldiers there. They have been with us in every major conflict
for the past 100 years. MALCOLM BRABANT: Many Greenlanders have been
offended by President Trump, but Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, one of two lawmakers representing
the territory in the Danish Parliament, is taking a more positive view. AAJA CHEMNITZ LARSEN, Danish Parliament: I
think it would be quite interesting to get him to Greenland instead, because it shows
a clear interest in Greenland, if you look at the process. So I think, in many ways, it actually put
Greenland in a good position. MALCOLM BRABANT: So why is Greenland suddenly
demanding everyone’s attention? The short answer is climate change. This is Ilulissat on Greenland’s west coast,
opposite Canada, which spawns icebergs of the size that sank the Titanic. RENE FORSBERG, National Space Institute: Where
we are right now, we see the stranded icebergs. They are coming from the main Jakobshavn glacier
up the fjord, 60 kilometers inland. These are the biggest icebergs which get stranded
here. MALCOLM BRABANT: Professor Rene Forsberg works
with NASA and the European Space Agency to monitor climate change. RENE FORSBERG: The Greenland ice sheet mass
loss has been accelerating, and it has been accelerating for the last 20 years. We can see that from space. We can see that from the measurements we do. There’s a lot of untapped potential in the
minerals domain. And when the ice sheet retreats, the edges
go sort of closer to the center of the ICE, and you do expose new areas. MALCOLM BRABANT: This mining project in Southern
Greenland is a source of potential riches. It’s backed heavily by Chinese investors,
who want to access rare earth metals used in mobile phone and other advanced technologies. The area also has large uranium deposits. The company behind the project predicts a
possible annual income of $700 million. There’s concern in the U.S. and Denmark that,
if China gets a commercial foothold in Greenland, it will mutate into governmental interference
in the Arctic. Recently, China was in the running to build
three new airports in Greenland, but was blocked when, at America’s insistence, Denmark stepped
in with the necessary finance. The United States operates the Thule Air Base
in Greenland, which provides early missile warning, space surveillance and control. Having Chinese neighbors would have been most
unwelcome. The melting icecap is opening up new shipping
routes across the top of the world up, which means shorter voyages for vessels carrying
Chinese goods. Russia is also fiercely competitive in the
Arctic. While Greenland is not for sale, it is open
for business to America, despite, not because, of President Trump. AAJA CHEMNITZ LARSEN: We would like to have
collaboration with the U.S., both when we talk about defense, but especially when we
talk about investment. MALCOLM BRABANT: But Greenland is a difficult
landscape, with a harsh climate. And to realize its potential treasures will
require time and patience, qualities not normally associated with the Trump White House. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Malcolm Brabant
in Copenhagen. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: This week, Native American
voters got more attention from political candidates than they have in years. Our Lisa Desjardins has more on the presidential
forum which drew those candidates and the issues that matter most to Native voters. LISA DESJARDINS: First, a reminder about this
country’s Native population. As many know, it is most concentrated in Western
areas, but is present in every part of the country, including large cities. Less well-known the fact that Indian reservations
and Alaska Native villages make up more than 100 million acres across the country. On its own, that would be the fourth largest
state. At the same time, Native Americans also face
the highest poverty rate in this country, more than 20 percent. So there was much to discuss when nine Democrats
vying to be president spoke at this week’s forum on Native American issues in Sioux City,
Iowa, from the candidates and rising Native American leaders. REP. DEB HAALAND (D-NM): The epidemic of missing
and murdered indigenous women has been a silent crisis for far too long. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), Presidential Candidate:
We need to honor our trust and treaty obligations to the Native tribes. (APPLAUSE) JULIAN CASTRO (D), Presidential Candidate:
In every single classroom in America, we need to be teaching about Native history. LISA DESJARDINS: I’m joined now by Mark Trahant. He moderated that presidential forum and is
the editor of Indian Country Today, a newspaper that is now owned by the National Congress
of American Indians. Mark, you were the emcee. From where you sat, what stood out at this
forum? MARK TRAHANT, Editor, Indian Country Today:
I think the main takeaway is that there are so many issues that just don’t get into the
public discourse that really ought to. These are stories that would benefit all Americans
to be able to understand and appreciate not just the history, but the context of today. One example would be, one of the issues that
all of the candidates addressed was that of honors of medal given to those massacred people
at Wounded Knee. Every candidate said they would like to have
those medals revoked. But that’s not a story that is often out there
in the public discourse. LISA DESJARDINS: I know there is actually
legislation in Congress about that as well that just a few representatives have entered. I’m wondering, what issues do you think matter
most to Native Americans right now? MARK TRAHANT: The very first one that came
up again every time is treaty rights. Under the Constitution, treaties are the supreme
law of the land. Yet, often, those treaties aren’t funded,
they’re not executed the way that tribes would like to see it. One part, for example, would be every — nearly
every treaty talks about health care. And yet the Indian Health Service, and — the
system is completely underfunded. LISA DESJARDINS: And this leaves, I know,
large gaps every year for I think it’s something like the 40 to 50 percent of Natives who depend
on that system. Another issue that I know we mentioned, of
course, is violence, and that the rates of violence for Native people is much higher
than the rest of Americans, especially indigenous women. Part of that issue is the bureaucracy, the
fact that federal prosecutors oversee most major crime in Indian country, yet they don’t
really spend time in Indian country. How do you think — or what proposals are
out there to try and fix that incredibly high violence rate? MARK TRAHANT: One of the candidates, Elizabeth
Warren, came straight out and said that the Oliphant decision, which was a Supreme Court
decision that said tribes could not prosecute non-Indians, should be reversed legislatively. And that would give tribes the right to prosecute
for all crimes on reservations. In fact, another candidate said that it’s
the same when you’re traveling throughout Europe. Each government has jurisdiction. And he said it should be the same for tribal
governments. So that’d be a very simple fix, to let tribes
do that. LISA DESJARDINS: Something else to ask you
about is the courts that you raised. How important are federal courts right now
in terms of rights and also regulation affecting Indian country? MARK TRAHANT: Well, the federal court system
has an enormous amount of influence in Indian country, because so many of the laws are federal
laws. And yet, out of 3,600 Article III judges,
there’s only one Native American district court judge, Diane Humetewa in Arizona. And one out of 3,600 seems a little bit absurd
in a country like this. LISA DESJARDINS: I’m curious. This forum represented also something significant. Tell me about how many candidates have shown
up in the past. And what other bright spots do you see for
our indigenous population politically? MARK TRAHANT: There’s only been one other
presidential forum like this. It was 12 years ago. And I actually was the moderator of that one
as well. And that one only had three candidates, Governor
Bill Richardson, Representative Dennis Kucinich, and Senator — former Senator Mike Gravel. And this one is elevated substantially with
major candidates being involved. And I think what’s important about that is,
it brings life to these issues that just don’t get the attention normally in the media. One of the funny things about the change with
the election last time of Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids to the Congress is that Congress
now has a better record than media in terms of representation, actually by about double. LISA DESJARDINS: But it’s still not proportional,
right? There are now, I think, four Native Americans
in Congress? MARK TRAHANT: Right. Proportional would be at least seven in the
House and two in the Senate. So there remains a long way to go. There’s actually a really interesting development
just this week on that. And this goes back to the idea of treaty rights. Several treaties actually have a delegate
to Congress as part of the provision. And the Cherokee Nation has appointed a delegate
and said it would like to exercise that treaty right and send a delegate to the Congress. LISA DESJARDINS: I’m going to be watching
that, as will we all. Mark Trahant from Indian Country Today, thank
you so much for joining us. MARK TRAHANT: Thank you, Lisa. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: A recent study published
in the journal “Science” found that the Trump administration is responsible for the largest
reduction of federally protected land in U.S. history. President Trump has moved to shrink national
monuments such as Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah. Jeffrey Brown has a story of a fight over
land in Central Montana. It’s about the tension between conservation
and development and what it could mean for the future of all of America’s public lands. It’s part of our regular segment on the Leading
Edge of science. JEFFREY BROWN: It’s a landscape of rugged
mountains, vast grasslands and tree-covered slopes. In this part of Central Montana, there’s hardly
a human in sight. Wildlife can be hard to spot, too, but the
area is home to populations of elk and sage-grouse, as well as migratory birds. It’s a paradise for hikers and hunters, like
Rob and Katy Beattie of Lewistown, Montana. ROB BEATTIE, Montana: We usually like to go
out into some of these areas and take big, long walks with the dogs. We look specifically for these big tracts
of land that don’t have roads in them, that are harder access for other people. And then we go way back into them, hoping
to find a deer that maybe hasn’t seen a person in its lifetime. JEFFREY BROWN: This is public land, just a
fraction of the 245 million acres in the United States administered by the Bureau of Land
Management, or BLM. Now, though, a familiar question hangs above
this terrain, how best to use and protect it. Land fights in the West over energy production
and conservation have gone on forever, of course. But this one, like so much else, is now caught
up in today’s political divides. In 2014, under President Obama, the BLM identified
some 200,000 acres in Central Montana as having — quote — “wilderness characteristics.” But in May, more than two years after President
Trump took office, the agency released a draft of its new preferred plan for managing that
land, and none was set aside for protection. Instead, the plan would open more than a million
acres to oil and gas exploration. And it calls for eliminating eight existing
so-called areas of critical environmental concern. These spaces require special protection for
wildlife, history, culture, or scenery. Conservationists have cried foul, saying guidance
from career professionals was ignored. Aubrey Bertram is a field director for the
Montana Wilderness Association. She says the BLM’s longstanding mission to
allow multiple use of public land, a range of activities commercial and recreational,
is under threat. AUBREY BERTRAM, Montana Wilderness Association:
We’re seeing a prioritization of oil and gas over all other uses. And that is not multiple use. When we when we put these extractive industries
on the landscape, that that impact doesn’t go away. That stays on the landscape for a really,
really, really long time. It is about the integrity of the land, and
it’s also really about the integrity of the public process. JEFFREY BROWN: What changed? Al Nash is the spokesperson for the Bureau’s
Montana-Dakotas state office. AL NASH, Bureau of Land Management: Our documents
need to reflect those current policies. And this draft document does. JEFFREY BROWN: So, this is elections do matter,
right? AL NASH: I have worked under, a number of
administrations, a number of interior secretaries. Each of those brings its own emphasis and
perspective. And you do see change from year to year or
four years to four years. It is part of our American political landscape. JEFFREY BROWN: Meanwhile, the new plan has
won praise from Montana’s oil and gas industries. ALAN OLSON, Executive Director, Montana Petroleum
Association: We agree with everybody else. This is public land, and it should be open
to the public. But we are a part of that public. JEFFREY BROWN: Alan Olson is executive director
of the Montana Petroleum Association. He said the BLM is now leveling a playing
field that was tipped too far in favor of conservation under President Obama. ALAN OLSON: We have got land that’s preserved. We have got it. Why do we need to keep dying the death of
1,000 cuts? JEFFREY BROWN: You’re saying you don’t think
we need more protection of wild — of wilderness areas. The other side says, we don’t need more energy
production. ALAN OLSON: Every Tesla that’s manufactured
is hauled on the back of a diesel truck or behind a diesel locomotive. If they’re riding bicycles, those tires come
from oil. If we didn’t have the petroleum industry,
farmers would be farming behind a team of mules, and not sitting in a tractor. JEFFREY BROWN: Even so, BLM’s own assessment
of this land indicates it has little or no potential for more oil and gas development,
at least for the time being. One wonders, why bother opening it up, then,
to that kind of production? AL NASH: It is part of our mandate to look
at those opportunities and to make them available. But, ultimately, it’s extraordinarily unlikely
that there would be leasing or any significant development. JEFFREY BROWN: And that’s looking at changing
technology, because this is going to last for several decades? AL NASH: It’s based on our best information
and our best analysis looking out 20 years. JEFFREY BROWN: While the two sides grapple
over this part of Central Montana, there’s a broader battle playing out over the future
of all public lands in the U.S. Last month, the BLM announced plans to move
its headquarters and most of its staff from Washington to Grand Junction, Colorado. The Department of Interior said the location
is — quote — “closer to the Western lands the agency is tasked to care for. This move will make the Bureau of Land Management
stronger, more responsive, better informed, more accountable, and more in touch with the
people who matter.” But Mike Penfold sees it differently. Now retired, Penfold directed the BLM state
offices both for Montana-Dakotas and Alaska. He was also an assistant director in the BLM’s
national office. MIKE PENFOLD, Former Bureau of Land Management
Official: It’s ridiculous. It’s purposeful. It’s purposeful. It’s directed to make this totally a political
arm in Washington, D.C., and not representing what the people feel out in the field. JEFFREY BROWN: You’re afraid they’re moving
the people who actually know something out of Washington. MIKE PENFOLD: Exactly. JEFFREY BROWN: Even more concerning, Penfold
says, is the recent appointment of William Perry Pendley as acting BLM director. Pendley is a conservative lawyer who’s advocated
for selling public lands. In 2016, he wrote in “The National Review”
— quote — “The founding fathers intended all lands owned by the federal government
to be sold.” He also said in a tweet this year: “Fracking
is an energy, economic, and environmental miracle.” MIKE PENFOLD: That’s like putting the arsonist
in charge of the fire department. I’m a multiple use guy. I probably made more timber sales than most
guys. I sold more oil and gas than most guys. I have leased more coal than most guys in
my career. I’m not a lock everything up kind of a guy. JEFFREY BROWN: You’re just afraid it’s out
of balance, it’s out of whack. MIKE PENFOLD: It’s out of balance. JEFFREY BROWN: Pendley was unavailable for
an on-camera interview, but an Interior Department spokesperson said in a statement: “The department
adamantly opposes the wholesale sale or transfer of public lands, which is also Perry’s position
as he exercises the authority of the BLM director.” Back in Lewistown, however, the Beatties remain
concerned about the future of the public lands they frequent. It’s so large, so big, the land. Isn’t the argument that there’s room for everything? KATY BEATTIE, Montana: I think that that’s
why it’s so unique and why we love it, is because there are these large landscapes that
are still so intact. It’s a rare thing. And I feel like we should rally behind that
and understand what a unique area we live in. JEFFREY BROWN: The Bureau is expected to release
its final plan early next year. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Jeffrey Brown
in Central Montana. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And we will be back shortly. But, first, please take a moment to hear from
your local PBS station. (Break) WILLIAM BRANGHAM: For those stations staying
with us, salt, acid, fat, heat. Chef Samin Nosrat tells Steve Goldbloom about
that moment when she discovered the key ingredients to a good meal and a good life. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Tell me about the series
of serendipitous events that led to you to Chez Panisse. SAMIN NOSRAT: I was 19 years old. I’d never been to a restaurant like that
before. I remember just feeling likE every need was
met before I even realized I had it. The dessert was a
chocolate souffle and when the server brought it, she asked if I had ever had
souffle before, and I said no. And she said, “Would you like me to show you
how to eat it?” And I said yes. She said, “You have to poke a hole in it
with your spoon and pour this sauce in so that every
bite has raspberry sauce.” So I
did that and I took a bite and she asked how it was, and I said, “Oh it’s really
good, but you know what would make it even better is a glass of cold milk.” What I didn’t know at the time was that, first
of all, it’s super rude to tell somebody what would make their dish better and, secondly,
that in fine dining, it’s considered like — only babies drink milk
after 11:00 a.m. So asking for milk sort
of like tipped my hand as if they didn’t already know that I knew nothing. So she sort of laughed and she brought me
a glass of milk, and then she brought us each a glass of desert wine to teach us the
refined accompaniment, and it just felt like that was the beginning of my culinary
education. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Welcome to “That Moment When.” I’m Steve Goldbloom. Sameen Nosrat will tell you that she spent
way too much of her childhood in the car with her mom criss-crossing
San Diego to find the flavors of Iran. She eventually found her way to Berkeley and
worked her way through college at Chez Panisse after talking legendary
chef Alice Waters into giving her a job and a glass of milk. Nosrat stars in the Netflix original series,
“Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat,” a travelogue based on her New York Times bestseller by
the same name — a book that took more than a decade to create and received a James
Beard Prize. As you’ll hear now Nosrat’s point of view
comes from a rare combination of ingredients. SAMIN NOSRAT: Even though I often know that
the scariest or worst thing I could possibly do is to say the uncomfortable vulnerable
thing, I usually run straight for it. So when I wanted milk, I asked for it. It ends up disarming the situation and diffusing
it, and often it ends up putting the other person at ease. It’s like a wonderful tool that I love using. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: You’d like weaponized this
non-threatening tool. SAMIN NOSRAT: I think it has to do with being
the child of immigrants, someone who like really felt like I didn’t fit in. I wrote a letter begging for a job, just saying
how moving this meal had been and I brought it in and they said, “Oh you need to give
that to the floor manager.” So they brought me to the floor manager’s
office and I knocked on the door and she opened the door, and it was the souffle lady. And you know in retrospect she was probably
really like, um, desperate ’cause she said, “You want to start tomorrow?” So I was hired on the spot and I started the
next day, and it was really the first day of you know the beginning of my
career and my professional life. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Tell me the moment when you
realized that there were four basic elements common to all cooking. SAMIN NOSRAT: So I started cooking in this
incredible, elite, world-class kitchen with cooks who were among the best in the world. They never used recipes. They just used their senses and they taste
it, and they paid attention to what was happening. It was probably a year and a half into my
cooking that I had a moment where I realized, “Oh! Salt, fat, acid, heat. These four things we pay attention to them
every day, and I went up to the chef and I said, “I figured it out! Salt, fat, acid, heat.” And he just looked at me and he was like,
Yeah, duh, we all know that.”And I thought, well if you know that and it took me this
long of being here and this isn’t in any of the books that I’ve read that you’ve told
me to read and immerse myself in, then it’s my job. It’s going to be my job and my work to explain
this to everyone else. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Describe for me in vivid
detail the childhood kitchen that you grew up with. SAMIN NOSRAT: I grew up in a ranch-style home
in Southern California, in San Diego. There wasn’t much fancy about anything and
sometimes now, when I think about it, I’m like,”How did my mom cook such beautiful food
out of that dinky kitchen?” There was
an electric stove most of my childhood, which as now a professional cook I really disdain,
and two electric top and bottom ovens that didn’t work so well, and not that much counter
space. And I think about that a lot still today because
I really believe it’s not the tools or the stuff you have that determines what kind of
food or how good your food can be. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: What did your mother’s
commitment to keeping Iran alive through food look like? SAMIN NOSRAT: So my parents came to California
a few years before I was born and I think they weren’t sure if we’d ever return. So for my mom, cooking and sharing our culture
through our food was really her most important and most powerful tool of giving us a sense
of our heritage. So she would drive across Southern California
in search of the perfect flatbread or in search of just the right kind of Danish feta cheese. So I thought that was a normal way to shop,
a normal way to seek flavor, and the highest compliment any ingredient or any dish could
ever receive from anyone in my family was that it tasted like Iran. And, until I went to Iran and until I grew
up and understood sort of the immigrant mentality, I didn’t really get why that was so important. When I get to cook for people who I care about
it’s really one of the greatest pleasures of my life, and it starts for me with the
shopping. Then I come home and I lay everything out. Maybe by then, I have an idea of what I want
to make, or maybe I don’t and I sort of start putting things together. And I taste the whole way. I’m often pretty full by the time it’s time
to sit down and eat. So it’s just about that act of like showing
how much I care and being a host — that’s really what fulfills me. I take so much pleasure in those little moments
that happen between people that are unexpected, that happen when their guard is down. There are so many amazing things have happened
at my table before like people have found their dream job, people have found their dream
person. It’s not even about the fanciest food or even
the most delicious food, it’s about setting a tone of being cared for that I think lets
you feel like anything can happen. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You can find all episodes
of this series on Facebook. Watch @THATMOMENTWHENSHOW. (BREAK) WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Every summer, a handful
of interns are selected from hundreds of applicants to camp in primitive conditions on a tiny
treeless island several miles off the Maine coast. As Susan Sharon of PBS station Maine Public
reports, their job is to monitor Atlantic puffins and other vulnerable seabirds. SUSAN SHARON: It takes about 30 minutes by
boat to reach Eastern Egg Rock. Dr. Stephen Kress, founder of the National
Audubon Society’s Project Puffin, has lost track of the number of times he’s made the
trip. He’s been doing it for 46 years. Today, he’s dropping off supplies for the
island’s five interns and research assistants who come from all over the world. Sarah Guitart is the crew lead. SARAH GUITART, Island Supervisor: Things are
changing. And we are here kind of potentially documenting
that change and trying to figure out, like, what are the questions we need to be asking
now, and how do we ask those questions, and how do we get that information out of these
— out of the seabirds? SUSAN SHARON: Puffins are the reason this
project started. They’re cute and colorful, but, by the late
1800s, they’d largely disappeared from this region, killed off by hunters. More than a century later, puffins have returned
with help from humans. DR. STEPHEN KRESS, National Audubon Society: This
little puffin chick is about five weeks old. I can tell that by the lack of down on it. SUSAN SHARON: In 1973, with permission from
the government, Kress began transporting chicks from a healthy colony in Newfoundland to Eastern
Egg Rock. The pioneering effort paid off and expanded. There are now 1,300 puffins living on five
Maine islands. DR. STEPHEN KRESS: We have worked very hard to
build this colony up to the point where I can say that it is continuing to grow. Our general trend is growth here. But it’s still a very small colony. It’s still extremely vulnerable to things
that can happen here. SUSAN SHARON: Those things can include disease
and threats from predators, like gulls, which the interns occasionally have to shoot. It’s a last resort to protect puffin eggs
and chicks from being eaten. But there’s nothing they can do about the
rapidly warming Gulf of Maine. Twice a day, they take sea surface temperatures
to look for changes that might affect the food chain. In some parts of the world, puffins and other
seabirds are starving, in the absence of small fish. WOMAN: It’s like 62 degrees. So, this morning, it was 60 degrees, so it
got a little warmer. But it’s not, like, abnormal. SUSAN SHARON: The job requires carefully observing
birds’ nesting and feeding habits. All the data is then recorded and taken back
to the island’s central station. SARAH GUITART: So this is the Egg Rock Hilton. SUSAN SHARON: Between May and August, the
interns are essentially camping in the field. The Hilton is where they typically relax when
they’re aren’t working and where they cook their meals. SARAH GUITART: Got a nice little kitchen counter. We got pretty great amenities. Got a cooler, which is pretty great. We can store some dairy products from time
to time. And this is our workstation. This is where we enter data. SUSAN SHARON: Out here, electricity is limited,
and there is no running water. The birds’ noise is constant, even at night. And so are their droppings. But Michael Rickershauser, a former auto mechanic
from Long Island, doesn’t mind. MICHAEL RICKERSHAUSER, Research Assistant:
It was sort of a dream come true to work out here. It’s something special. It’s more than seeing a picture or reading
a book. SUSAN SHARON: Something special that remains
dependent on an adequate number of small fish and a few dedicated interns to keep predators
at bay. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Susan Sharon on
Eastern Egg Rock off the coast of Maine. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And that’s the “NewsHour”
for tonight. I’m William Brangham. For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank
you, and good night.