PBS NewsHour for August 4, 2016 - Part 1

NEWSHOUR-00

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Lazaro, Lisa Desjardins, Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff>

Nancy Hogshead-Makar>

to the general election, as Hillary Clinton benefits from a steady post-

convention bounce. On the eve of the Olympics, an investigation uncovers

decades of sexual abuse ignored by U.S. gymnastic officials. Hunting for a

new job can bring opportunities to reconnect and reinvent. President Obama

addresses the fight against ISIS in Libya. The Jewish community on India`s

coast continues shrinking. Why did the U.S. send Iran $400 million the

same day four hostages were released? Alec Baldwin explains why he was

born to be a radio host.>

Sports; Employment and Unemployment; Economy; Tim Kaine; Mike Pence; Abuse;

Donald Trump; Hillary Clinton; Elections; Barack Obama; ISIS; Terrorism>

JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I`m Judy Woodruff.

GWEN IFILL: And I`m Gwen Ifill.

JUDY WOODRUFF: On the "NewsHour" tonight: Donald Trump`s campaign does damage control after a troubled start to the general election, as Hillary Clinton benefits from a steady post-convention bounce.

GWEN IFILL: Also ahead this Thursday: On the eve of the Olympics, an investigation uncovers decades of sexual abuse ignored by U.S. gymnastic officials.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And making the most out of a career low point -- why hunting for a new job can bring opportunities to reconnect and reinvent.

SREE SREENIVASAN, Job Seeker: I have to take every phone call, every lunch, every coffee that I can take and my days are booked from 7:15 in the morning until late at night.

GWEN IFILL: All that and more on tonight`s "PBS NewsHour."

(BREAK)

GWEN IFILL: Donald Trump has spent this day trying to recover, after a series of statements that triggered a storm of criticism. He campaigned today in the face of sliding poll numbers, and more defections within Republican ranks.

Correspondent Lisa Desjardins has today`s developments.

LISA DESJARDINS: The unconventional Donald Trump spent the day in an unexpected place, Portland, Maine, with remarks focused on immigrants and crime.

DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Candidate: We are letting people come in from terrorist nations that shouldn`t be allowed, because you can`t vet them. There`s no way of vetting them. You have no idea who they are. This could be the great Trojan horse of all time.

LISA DESJARDINS: For Trump, winning Maine, with a history of voting for Democrats for president, would be a coup. But he has other electoral map concerns: A dozen states are thought to be in play, and new polls out today show Trump down significantly in three key states, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.

He`s also behind, but within the margin of error, in the often decisive Florida. Running mate Mike Pence today was in yet another November battleground, North Carolina. In Raleigh, an 11-year-old boy, off-camera, put him on the spot.

BOY: You have been kind of softening up on his words.

(LAUGHTER)

LISA DESJARDINS: Over how Pence has been handling Trump`s recent missteps.

GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), Vice Presidential Candidate: You know, sometimes, things don`t come out like you mean, right? And Donald Trump and I are absolutely determined to work together. We have differences styles. You might have noticed that.

(LAUGHTER)

LISA DESJARDINS: But some other Republicans are attacking, not defending Trump. Congressman Mike Coffman of Colorado is launching this ad slamming the nominee.

REP. MIKE COFFMAN (R), Colorado: So, if Donald Trump is president, I will stand up to him, plain and simple.

LISA DESJARDINS: And the list of GOP members of Congress who`ve gone beyond just criticism, and publicly say they won`t vote for Trump, is growing.

It now includes Air Force vet Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. He joins Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, plus Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo of Florida. There`s also New York`s Richard Hanna, who`s going a step further, saying he will vote for Hillary Clinton. And today, the top Republican in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan, tried to walk the tightrope.

Trump has refused to endorse him. Ryan says he still supports Trump, but he implied that could change. Ryan also told a Wisconsin radio show he will keep pushing back when he thinks Trump is out of bounds.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), Speaker of the House: I don`t like to do this, I don`t want to do this, but I will do this because I feel I have to in order to defend Republicans and our principles, so that people don`t make the mistake of thinking we think like that.

LISA DESJARDINS: Trump did extend an olive branch today, telling a crowd he thinks Ryan is a good guy, but still not endorsing him.

Meanwhile, on the left:

JILL STEIN, Green Party Presidential Candidate: I would feel terrible if Donald Trump gets elected.

LISA DESJARDINS: Green Party candidate Jill Stein released her first campaign ad, going after Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton both.

As for Clinton, she was in Las Vegas talking about jobs. As she left one stop, she turned to respond to a question about outsourcing, and Donald Trump.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), Presidential Candidate: When you run for president, you need to be judged by what you have done. And I think the evidence is pretty clear. Everything he`s made, he`s made somewhere else. He`s not put Americans to work.

He`s imported foreign workers, instead of hiring Americans at his country clubs and his resorts. He has cheated contractors. I take that personally.

LISA DESJARDINS: The other half of the Democratic ticket, Tim Kaine, stopped in Baltimore for the National Urban League Conference this morning, before a tour through the Upper Midwest tomorrow.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I`m Lisa Desjardins.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day`s other news: a stunning investigation into U.S. gymnastics on the eve of the Olympics in Brazil. The Indianapolis Star and USA Today Network reported widespread claims that coaches have sexually abused young athletes. It said the sport`s governing body has mostly dismissed the claims. We will explore this in full right after the news summary.

GWEN IFILL: In Israel, the head of a Christian charity`s operations in Gaza is now accused of diverting donations to Hamas to build tunnels and buy weapons. Mohammad El Halabi was arrested in June. He appeared in court today on charges he siphoned up to $50 million from World Vision over 10 years. World Vision says it`s shocked and has no reason to believe the charges.

JUDY WOODRUFF: A stabbing spree in the heart of London last night left one American woman dead and five other people wounded. The attacker was a Norwegian teenager of Somali origin. Investigators worked the crime scene today, and said it appeared to be the result of mental illness, not terrorism. But people in the area were rattled.

MAN: It`s such a busy area. It is right by Euston station. There must be thousands of people who pass through this area every day. I heard on the news this morning that the police response was quite quick. I mean, so that gives some comfort, but, yes, I`m shocked.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The suspect is in custody. One of the wounded remains hospitalized.

GWEN IFILL: Back in this country, the National Institutes of Health is moving to promote research using human stem cells in animal embryos. It could help find ways to treat Alzheimer`s and other diseases, or grow organs for transplants. NIH proposed today to lift the moratorium on government funding for the research. It was imposed last September because of ethical concerns.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Much of the Southwestern U.S. is bracing for new flooding as monsoon seasonal rains sweep across the region. Six states, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah, were warned today to be ready.

Flash floods hit parts of the region earlier this week, after intense storms that knocked down power lines and left drivers stranded.

GWEN IFILL: A major recall today from the Ford Motor Company. It involves 830,000 vehicles in the U.S. and Mexico. They could have faulty side door latches that break, allowing the doors to open while the car is moving. Ford says the recall covers six different models ranging from model years 2012 to 2016.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And Wall Street mostly marked time, ahead of tomorrow`s jobs report for July. The Dow Jones industrial average lost about three points to close at 18352. The Nasdaq rose six points, and the S&P 500 added half-a-point.

GWEN IFILL: Still to come on the "NewsHour": years of unreported sexual abuse accusations against U.S. gymnastics coaches; stepping up the fight against ISIS in Libya; a shrinking Jewish community on India`s coast; and much more.

JUDY WOODRUFF: On the eve of the opening Olympic ceremonies in Brazil, a new investigation into USA Gymnastics uncovers some disturbing details.

As athletes are gathering in Rio, a stunning report from The Indianapolis Star and USA Today Network dominated this day: It found top executives in charge of gymnastics` national governing body for years routinely ignored allegations of sexual abuse by coaches of young athletes, in some cases going back to the 1990s.

The report said USA Gymnastics had files on more than 50 coaches around the country, claims that had long sat in drawers at its office in Indianapolis. That included a former coach, Mark Schiefelbein. The news report said gymnastics officials had a thick file of complaints about him for years before he was convicted of sexual battery and sexual exploitation of a minor.

Former gymnast Becca Seaborn says he molested her as a young girl. Her parents learned of the extensive file USA Olympics had only after he was convicted.

JILL ROBINSON, Parent: Our daughter now is 26 years old. This happened when she was 10 and 11. And for it still to be where it`s at and for them not to have changed anything, it just makes me sick that this is still happening, that these children aren`t being protected. And it`s just not fair.

The Olympics is going to start. These kids are going to want to go jump in gyms and be just like these heroes they see on TV, and it just starts all over again. And it just makes me really sad.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In another case, the report found gymnastics officials had sexual misconduct files on coach James Bell five years before he was arrested for molesting other gymnasts.

Kaylin Maddox Brietzke said she was 7 when Bell inappropriately touched her, and she is angry at USA Gymnastics.

KAYLIN MADDOX BRIETZKE, Sexual Abuse Survivor: Any corporation that puts their reputation above safety, honestly, is something that I don`t want to be a part of at all. And I was part of USA Gymnastics for a very long time. It doesn`t matter who you are protecting. It doesn`t matter that they are part of your organization and you want to save face. How about saving me?

JUDY WOODRUFF: In a statement, Steve Penny, the president of USA Gymnastics, said the organization is -- quote -- "committed to promoting a safe environment" and -- quote -- "believes it has a duty to report to law enforcement whatever circumstances warrant."

But he also said the group seeks first-hand knowledge whenever allegations arise and noted -- quote -- "We feel The Star left out significant facts that would have painted a more accurate picture."

For a closer look at all this, we turn to Marisa Kwiatkowski. She`s investigative reporter for The Indy Star, which is part of the USA Today Network, and Nancy Hogshead-Makar, a three-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming. She`s a lawyer and the CEO of Champion Women, which provides legal advocacy for girls and women in sports.

For the record, we invited USA Gymnastics to appear, but no one was available.

And we want to thank both of you for joining us.

Marisa Kwiatkowski, to you first. Help our audience to understand the role that USA Gymnastics plays. What is it to the sport of gymnastics?

MARISA KWIATKOWSKI, Indianapolis Star: USA Gymnastics is the sport`s national governing body, so they set the rules and policies that govern the sport of gymnastics in the United States.

They also are the ones who select the Olympic team, the team that will represent the United States in the Olympics.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, the report today suggested something like 50 coaches may have been involved over a period of how many years?

MARISA KWIATKOWSKI: We know that USA Gymnastics compiled sexual misconduct complaint files on at least 54 coaches between 1966 and 2006.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And so we`re talking about something that allegedly went on for a long time.

MARISA KWIATKOWSKI: Well, the issue of sexual misconduct has been a problem in all different kind of sports, all different disciplines over a long time.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Marisa Kwiatkowski, as we just heard, USA Gymnastics is saying, "We feel The Star left out significant facts that would have painted a more accurate picture."

What do you think they`re referring to?

MARISA KWIATKOWSKI: I`m not sure what they`re referring to.

I can tell you that we feel that we were extremely fair to the information that they provided. In fact, on our Web site, IndyStar.com, we do have all of the questions that we asked them, along with all of their responses, so the public can see for themselves specifically what we asked and what they responded.

We have also posted their statement that you`re referring to in its entirety on our Web site.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what is their best explanation for why these files sat there and why people -- parents weren`t notified, why this wasn`t more public, why something wasn`t done sooner?

MARISA KWIATKOWSKI: Well, we don`t know at this time what`s in those files because they are sealed by the judge in the criminal case.

And USA Gymnastics has declined to release them to us. They cited the privacy of those involved. But we do know that those involved allegations of sexual misconduct against coaches. We don`t know whether or not those were investigated by USA Gymnastics or whether they were reported to authorities.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And do you have any sense of what happens next after - - now that this report is public?

MARISA KWIATKOWSKI: Well, we have a number of articles that we`re continuing to work on, on this topic that will be coming out through Indy Star and USA Today Network in the future.

But, specifically, there`s a lawsuit. The lawsuit is ongoing, so the judge will at some point rule both on our motion to intervene to get access to those documents and also to the plaintiff`s case.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me turn now to Nancy Hogshead-Makar.

What was your reaction when you first saw this story?

NANCY HOGSHEAD-MAKAR, Champion Women: Well, I was aware of this rule.

I knew that United States Swimming also has a similar rule, which says that it will only review complaints that are filed by either victims or parents of victims. And that rule is not required by the SPORTS Act or by any sports law. And it`s just -- it`s sort of a random rule, but it works to keep national governing bodies from having to go and do these investigations or go and file reports with the police and other authorities.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Was there an awareness -- staying with you Nancy Hogshead-Makar, was there an awareness that this might have been going on over time?

NANCY HOGSHEAD-MAKAR: Well, the issue of sexual abuse in club and Olympic sports is one that I have been working on for a number of years.

So, you, as an employee, are protected by Title VII. As a student, they are protected by Title IX that requires that schools investigate and sanction those abusers or sexual violence. We got the president of the United States involved.

But when it comes to club and Olympic sports, there is no civil rights protection for them. So these national governing bodies, what they will say in court that we don`t owe a legal duty to the kid who is harmed, that the club should handle it, that the parent should handle it, that other people, but not the national governing bodies, should handle it.

So they -- so, consequently, you get the rules like the one they have which says that, you know, unless the kid makes the complaint, they`re not going to do anything. And we know that molesters are very good at getting molester -- or getting kids to be quiet. That`s why when we find out about molesters, somebody like the Sandusky type, you just find dozens, if not hundreds of cases.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what is the recourse, then, for parents, for men or women who may have been involved in -- may have been involved in a case of molestation years ago or currently? What can they do?

NANCY HOGSHEAD-MAKAR: Yes, there is not the same league protection.

There`s not -- I mean, right. And so that`s consequently why it`s hard to hear about it, why we don`t hear about a lot of it. And so it`s usually people who are deeply in the sport that know best about just how bad it is and where the problems are, things like what The Indianapolis Star revealed in their investigation.

But if a parent thinks that they have a problem, they should definitely report to their national governing body, you know, because we know that both parents and victims, they will do an investigation, that they will report to the appropriate authorities.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But one of the things that`s so disturbing is how young these children were. Seven years old?

NANCY HOGSHEAD-MAKAR: Absolutely. Yes. No, these are small children.

The easy part for governing bodies to do is the education piece. The much harder part is getting a coach out. You know, listen, police have a hard time dealing with sexual abuse and getting and convicting these people and making sure that they are in prison.

Any youth-serving organization needs to have very strong protections. What we want them to have is an independent duty to do these investigations and get the molesters out of the organization.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I know, for one thing, I`m sure everyone hopes that this kind of public reporting of this could begin to make some difference.

We`re going to leave it there.

Marisa Kwiatkowski, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, we thank you both.

NANCY HOGSHEAD-MAKAR: Thank you very much.

MARISA KWIATKOWSKI: Thank you.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And in other Olympics news, this evening, the International Olympic Committee approved the entry of 271 Russian athletes for the Rio games. They had faced questions as to whether or not Russian athletes would be banned due to allegations of doping.

GWEN IFILL: The chaos in Libya after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi created a vacuum, filled in part by the Islamic State. Now the United States is stepping up pressure on the group`s stronghold there with new attacks launched this week.

Foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Warner begins our coverage.

MARGARET WARNER: President Obama visited the Pentagon today to confer with his military leadership about the battle against the Islamic State.

He had this to say about the newest U.S. military front in that fight in Libya.

BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States: At the request of Libya`s government of national accord, we are conducting strikes in support of government-aligned forces as they fight to retake Sirte from ISIL, and we will continue to support the government`s efforts to secure their country.

MARGARET WARNER: The meeting came three days after the U.S. launched a series of air and drone strikes against the Islamic State`s Libyan stronghold, in and around the town of Sirte. The U.S. air campaign comes in support of a Libyan government-backed coalition of brigades and militias fighting ISIS on the ground.

Those forces have taken heavy casualties trying to clear the town block by block, pushing ISIS fighters into the city center.

MAN (through translator): Despite the obstacles and difficulties we have faced, such as land mines, booby traps and snipers, we have made good progress forward.

MARGARET WARNER: But their slow going prompted the U.N. and Western- backed Libyan government in Tripoli to request the U.S. support. The Tripoli government isn`t the only one claiming legitimate rule in the country. It has a competitor in the east.

In Benghazi, renegade General Khalifa Haftar has been fighting Islamists and other rival militias for supremacy there. He rejects the Tripoli government`s claim to power. But for now, the U.S. military is focused on the fight for Sirte, at the heart of the Islamic State`s bid to make Libya its most important outpost outside of Iraq and Syria.

For the "PBS NewsHour," I`m Margaret Warner.

GWEN IFILL: Joining me now for more on this is Frederic Wehrey of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He`s just returned from a research trip to the front lines of the battle for Sirte. He was embedded with government-backed militias as they battled Islamic State fighters.

Welcome.

FREDERIC WEHREY, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Thank you.

GWEN IFILL: We heard the president today boast of success against ISIS, whether it was in Syria or Iraq or Afghanistan, and he also scolded Russia`s role.

But Libya seems like it`s a whole more complicated issue.

FREDERIC WEHREY: Absolutely.

First, there`s no government, or it`s split. I mean, there`s many governments. And the forces that are fighting the Islamic State are a coalition of militias that are very loosely affiliated to this government of national accord.

And so the United States` effort is to really use airpower to support that offensive. But, beyond that, you have got enormous challenges of building the Libyan state.

GWEN IFILL: How widespread is the ISIS footprint in Libya?

FREDERIC WEHREY: Right now, it`s concentrated in this coastal city of Sirte.

I heard estimates of about 500 fighters. It also has a presence, a slight presence, in the West, a presence in Benghazi. But over the past year, we have really seen Libyan forces of their own accord push back against the Islamic State.

GWEN IFILL: We have heard the president use an interesting term today in his remarks today. He talked about the risk of this becoming global Whac-A-Mole.

Is that what Libya is?

FREDERIC WEHREY: Well, certainly, this is an affiliate that is powerful, that was growing. And so I think the president of the United States and our Western allies felt the need to support local forces in this battle.

Libya is strategically located close to Africa, close to Europe. By some estimates, it is the most powerful affiliate outside of Syria and Iraq.

GWEN IFILL: Tell us about Sirte and tell us about Misrata, two key areas here.

FREDERIC WEHREY: Right.

Well, Sirte was Gadhafi`s hometown and base of support. The town really fell into disrepair and disarray after the revolution. And the Islamic State was able to exploit that, exploit tribal grievances, and come in and set up a form of governance there, a very draconian form of government.

Misrata is a town just down the road to the west that fields the most powerful militias. And they are providing most of the fighters that are launching that assault on Sirte.

GWEN IFILL: And that`s who you spent a lot of time with, these fighters, when you were on the ground. So what evidence did you see as you traveled on the front lines of the presence of ISIS?

FREDERIC WEHREY: Well, you certainly see ISIS beyond the front lines.

GWEN IFILL: Right.

FREDERIC WEHREY: They -- we went into a bomb-making factory, and you see ISIS corpses. ISIS is in the city. The Misratan forces are flying drones. They are observing the ISIS fighters.

So they are dug in. They have sniper in buildings. They set up booby traps and mines. They have a few artillery and tank pieces that the U.S. just hit. So they`re prepared for the long haul. And the thing is, they don`t have anywhere to go. And that`s why they`re fighting so ferociously, to the death.

GWEN IFILL: You wrote that you saw a structure for crucifixions?

FREDERIC WEHREY: This was a roundabout on the outskirts of Sirte that was used for crucifixions that had a metal scaffolding that the Misratans, when they went in, they dismantled it.

It was a very powerful moment when they took this down, because that`s where the Islamic State held their public executions.

GWEN IFILL: How sophisticated are the ISIS fighters?

FREDERIC WEHREY: They enjoy a lot of support from foreign fighters that seem to have quite a lot of expertise in tactics like mortars and sniping and booby traps, mines.

When you talk to the Misratan and GNA fighters, they`re suffering a lot from mines. There are reports of some defections from Libyan fighters because they see the noose tightening. But they`re in it for the long haul.

GWEN IFILL: And yet, as you started off pointing out, and we always come back around to this every place that the U.S. is engaged in, which is internal politics on the ground affect what the future will be.

FREDERIC WEHREY: Absolutely.

In Libya, the government, even if ISIS is ousted from Sirte, there are enormous challenges for rebuilding this country. As we heard, there is the faction in the east under General Khalifa Haftar that rejects this government in Tripoli. There`s the question of oil revenues.

This government in Tripoli is so fragile. And it hasn`t been able to exert its authority. And so I think one purpose behind the U.S. strikes was to help this government, to show the government that the U.S. has your back, we`re helping you in this campaign.

GWEN IFILL: With the understanding that the U.S. will be done once ISIS is done?

FREDERIC WEHREY: Well, I think U.S. and the other allies want to help this government rebuild its army, get the economy back on track.

The Europeans have a huge role to play here. I think we heard the president acknowledge that we really dropped the ball in the year after Gadhafi fell, so there`s tremendous work to be done.

GWEN IFILL: Frederic Wehrey of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, thank you.

FREDERIC WEHREY: My pleasure. Thank you.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Stay with us.

Coming up on the "NewsHour": why the U.S. sent Iran $400 million the same day four hostages were released; what one man`s very public job search teaches us about being unemployed; and Alec Baldwin explains why he was born to be a radio host.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But, first: the last hurrah in a once thriving Jewish community in one of the diaspora`s farthest-flung places.

Fred de Sam Lazaro takes us to India.

A version of this story aired on "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly."

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: In its nearly 900-year history, this synagogue had never seen an observance like this one. They came from four continents to this unlikely location, the coastal Indian city of Cochin, for the first Sabbath service in decades -- and possibly the last one ever.

A once thriving Jewish community of several thousand has mostly faded into a bittersweet history in the age of modern-day Israel, said Yeshoshua Sivan, a British-born Israeli.

YESHOSHUA SIVAN, British-born Israeli: I`m very sad to see communities disappear. On the other hand, I`m very happy to see that after all these years of dispersion the prophecy of the return to the land of Israel is in my time being -- I`m part of it -- is being realized. At least we see the synagogues, we see the streets, we see how life was once here.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO: Jewish life along India`s Malabar Coast dates back to the ancient spice trade that drew explorers from across the sea.

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