PBS NewsHour full episode, Nov. 30, 2021

PBS NewsHour full episode, Nov. 30, 2021

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JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I'm Judy Woodruff. On the "NewsHour" tonight: COVID concerns. Health officials cast doubt on whether travel bans can slow the spread of the new variant, instead emphasizing the need for global cooperation.

Then: high stakes. Congress faces a potential government shutdown, and Democrats struggle to push through the president's domestic agenda. And on trial. Elizabeth Holmes returns to the stand in the Silicon Valley criminal fraud

case against her former company, Theranos. All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour." (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: More and more countries are reporting cases of COVID-19's Omicron variant tonight, and more are mandating travel bans.

At the same time, advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have now endorsed the Merck company's pill to treat the virus in high-risk adults. All of this comes as public health officials are emphasizing the need for global cooperation. Nick Schifrin begins our coverage. NICK SCHIFRIN: Today, from European capitals where Omicron spread earlier than previously thought, to Eastern Africa, where health workers rushed to administer mRNA vaccines, the world wrestled with worry.

KELVIN BIWOTT, Resident of Nairobi: I overheard of the fears about the Omicron variant, which is ravaging the world, so I decided to come for the jab. NICK SCHIFRIN: Many countries aren't relying only on jabs. At least 56 have imposed Omicron-related travel restrictions. But more than 20 countries have detected Omicron cases, from Canada to Australia.

Yesterday, Japan closed its borders to foreigners and increased quarantines, but today reported its first Omicron case. The World Health Organization has denounced travel bans, but, today, it also warned Omicron numbers could double or triple this week, and suggested people over 60 at high risk postpone travel. And Moderna warned its vaccine would likely be less effective against Omicron. Chief executive Stephane Bancel told The Financial Times: "All the scientists I have talked to say this is not going to be good." But U.S. officials today predicted vaccines could prove effective. White House COVID response coordinator Jeff Zients: JEFFREY ZIENTS, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator: Existing vaccines are likely to continue to provide a degree of protection against severe illness.

NICK SCHIFRIN: In London, Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited a vaccination site and urged Britons get their third shots. But many countries are still racing to give their first shots. Only about 10 percent of sub-Saharan Africans have received one COVID shot, less than one-sixth the rate of North America and Europe. Today, Secretary of State Tony Blinken reiterated the U.S. wanted to help vaccinate the world.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. Secretary of State: We know, we know, we know that none of us will be fully safe until everyone is. NICK SCHIFRIN: The White House says it has donated more vaccines around the world than all countries combined, including 13 million to Southern Africa. Today, the problem is not only supply. DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, Chief Medical Adviser to President Biden: The logistic capability of getting vaccines into people's arms in Southern African countries and in other low-and middle-income countries is really very difficult. And, in fact, many of the doses that have been shipped

have not been used. NICK SCHIFRIN: For more on all of this, we turn to Dr. Richard Hatchett, chief executive officer of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, or CEPI, one of the leading organizations, part of the U.N.'s COVAX vaccine distribution program. Richard Hatchett, thank you very much. Welcome back to the "NewsHour."

Today, the Netherlands announced that it had discovered Omicron variants last week well before South Africa detected it for the first time. What does that say about efforts to prevent this variant spread? DR. RICHARD HATCHETT, CEO, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations: This variant has spread already around the world. I think, as of today, it's already on all six continents. And the news from Netherlands, in some respects, isn't terrifically surprising. I think we will begin to understand its spread

over time. I think what we need to focus on, obviously, is Botswana in South Africa, in identifying this variant, recognizing that it has this increased mutational profile, has given the world notice and given the world time to prepare and to increase its surveillance activities. NICK SCHIFRIN: The Biden administration and other countries around the world have imposed travel bans in order to do what you just said, to increase surveillance. Are those travel bans effective? DR. RICHARD HATCHETT: Travel restrictions can provide some degree of slowing of spread.

In this case, the virus already seems to be disseminated. I think careful monitoring of travelers and the use of testing protocols before they depart and after they arrive in a new country is probably going to be a more effective way to monitor for the virus and allow travel to continue, because it's very, very costly to impose these travel bans. NICK SCHIFRIN: Moderna's CEO today said that he did not believe the vaccines would be as effective against Omicron. Do you agree? DR. RICHARD HATCHETT: I'm very concerned about it.

Looking at the mutational pattern that we're seeing in Omicron, we have never seen such a concentration of mutations in the spike protein, which is part of the virus that binds to the cells. And it's got mutations that we know have been associated with reductions in vaccine effectiveness. So, I am concerned. I think it's really, really important to do the testing, do the analysis, and understand just how much vaccine effectiveness may be reduced. I think it's prudent to begin

developing new vaccine constructs in case, just in case, we need to switch over from the current vaccine to another Omicron-specific vaccine. NICK SCHIFRIN: And are the vaccine companies, are rich countries doing enough in order to accelerate that production of the vaccines you're talking about? DR. RICHARD HATCHETT: Well, very fortunately, we have seen all the major vaccine manufacturing companies, Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, J&J, they're all moving quickly to develop Omicron constructs. In fact, Pfizer and Moderna have both announced that they think they can deliver a new Omicron-specific vaccine early in the new year. That's terrific. At CEPI, we have articulated a goal for the world to be able to develop new vaccines within 100 days. I think Omicron presents a real-world opportunity to see what we can do and to improve our processes.

NICK SCHIFRIN: You said something yesterday that caught a lot of headlines. You said that Omicron is -- quote -- "the chickens coming home to roost." What did you mean? DR. RICHARD HATCHETT: What we think we're seeing, at least based on what we understand right now, is that this virus, this variant has emerged in countries that have had very limited access to vaccine. And that means that COVID has continued to circulate at high rates in these countries, which provides it opportunities to mutate. And so scientists for months have been predicting

that the inequity of vaccine distribution was creating the exact kind of circumstances that would promote the emergence of new variants, potentially with the ability to evade our vaccines. The inequity that has characterized the global response to date has now come home to roost. NICK SCHIFRIN: We heard Dr. Fauci today say the problem wasn't only about supply, how much rich countries are giving, but actually about problems on distribution, especially in Southern Africa. Is that part of the problem? DR. RICHARD HATCHETT: Now the vaccine supplies are increasing. I mean, COVAX has now distributed around 575 million doses.

And the supplies are continuing to increase. We are beginning to see challenges in countries to receive this flood of vaccine and to distribute it. And so we do need to shift our focus to supporting countries' ability to receive and dispense vaccine to their populations as rapidly as possible. That's going to be the big challenge for 2022. NICK SCHIFRIN: And are there not also problems, especially in Southern Africa, of vaccine skepticism and widespread misinformation? How do we fight that? DR. RICHARD HATCHETT: Well, that's a global problem. And vaccines skepticism, vaccine hesitancy has different roots in different environments.

It has emerged as a major challenge to vaccinating populations sufficiently to achieve anything like herd immunity. And I think it -- we have to tackle that problem. But it has many different roots that contribute to it. NICK SCHIFRIN: Dr. Richard Hatchett, thank you very much. DR. RICHARD HATCHETT: Thank you, Nick. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day's other news: At least three students were killed after a shooting at their high school in Southeastern Michigan. Police say the gunman was a 15-year-old sophomore

arrested at the scene about 40 miles north of Detroit. At least eight people were wounded, including a teacher. MIKE MCCABE, Oakland County, Michigan, Undersheriff: We will get to the bottom of this. We're exercising a search warrant at the suspect's house.

We have talked to the parents. And all I can tell you is, they didn't want their son to talk to us, and they have hired an attorney. JUDY WOODRUFF: There is no indication that the alleged shooter had any prior run-ins with police.

A federal appeals court today upheld California's ban on high-capacity firearms magazines. The state wants to limit magazines to 10 bullets. A smaller panel of the same appeals court had found the ban on magazines with higher capacity was unconstitutional. Gun owner groups vowed to take the case of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Federal Reserve may accelerate a shift in its focus away from holding down interest rates to holding down prices. Fed Chair Jerome Powell appeared before senators today with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. He said inflation worries could bring a quicker end to the policy of buying bonds to keep rates low.

JEROME POWELL, Federal Reserve Chairman: We now look at an economy that's very strong and inflationary pressures that are high. And I -- that means it's appropriate, I think, for us to discuss at our next meeting, which is in a couple weeks, whether it will be appropriate to wrap up our purchases a few months earlier. JUDY WOODRUFF: Powell's comments and worries about the Omicron variant hit Wall Street hard. The major indexes fell 1.5 to 2 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 652 points

to close at 34483. The Nasdaq shed 245 points. The S&P 500 was down 88. Former President Trump's lawyers former President Trump's White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has begun cooperating with a congressional probe of the Capitol assault last January. The committee's chair said today that Meadows has turned over records and will give a deposition. For now, the committee has put off plans to hold him in contempt.

In Afghanistan, there is word that the Taliban has killed or abducted more than 100 former police and intelligence officers since seizing power in August. Human Rights Watch reports Taliban commanders have carried out night raids. They initially promised amnesty to those who are now being attacked or targeted. The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, issued a new warning to NATO today over Ukraine. He said Russia will have to act if the alliance places advanced missiles in Ukraine. He spoke during an online forum in Moscow.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russian President (through translator): Creating such threats in Ukraine poses red lines for us. But I hope it doesn't come to that. I hope that common sense and a responsibility for both our countries and the world community will prevail. JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. and NATO warned today that Moscow will pay a high price if it invades Ukraine.

Tens of thousands of protesters turned out in Sudan today, in the latest demonstrations against last month's military coup. Security forces fired tear gas at the crowds in Khartoum. Protesters also marched in other cities around the country. Barbados became a republic today, after nearly 400 years of allegiance to Britain. It is the Caribbean's first such transition since the 1970s. A ceremony in the capital, Bridgetown, marked the event, with Britain's Prince Charles and island native Rihanna taking part. The singer was named a national hero.

Back in this country, New York has become the first major city to open legal safe havens for people to inject heroin or other narcotics. Supporters say that the supervised sites will save lives. Opponents say it amounts to sanctioning drug abuse. Rhode Island is the only state to allow supervised injection sites. And the late Josephine Baker, famed entertainer, French resistance member, and civil rights advocate, was inducted into the Pantheon in Paris today. She is the first Black woman and first American-born recipient of France's highest honor. Military officers carried a

symbolic empty coffin to the mausoleum. Baker's remains are interred in Monaco, where she was living at the time of her death in 1975. Still to come on the "NewsHour": the Supreme Court prepares to hear a major abortion case; Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes on the stand; how a Los Angeles artist draws attention to under-told stories using murals; plus much more. Congress is back and facing a high-stakes December on Capitol Hill. Funding for the federal government runs out on Friday, and lawmakers are scrambling to avoid a shutdown. On top of that, Senate Democrats have a long to-do list of items to pass before the holidays, including President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.

For more on all of this. I'm joined by our congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins. So, Lisa, a lot to keep track of here. So, let's start with the deadlines, government funding, the debt ceiling. Is the government going to run out of money? LISA DESJARDINS: OK, short version here, we are back again at a crisis point, but, this time, it does feel like off-ramps are being built.

Let me talk to you about the longer version, what I mean here. Let's look at a graphic. Now, what -- the first deadline is -- you're talking about is government funding running out on Friday. What's going on with that now? Talks are under way. And I can report there is a likely deal to extend a temporary funding bill into mid-January, maybe early February. They're just working out that date. We expect action that as soon as tomorrow. The other

deadline, the debt ceiling, that could hit middle or late December. Depends on a little bit what they do with some Highway Trust Fund money, what's going on with that. Here's something we haven't seen in a while. Senators Schumer and McConnell, the two leaders of their party, are talking quietly. They are saying they are making progress. This

is a change from McConnell's very defiant stance just a few months ago, when he said Republicans would not help raise the debt ceiling. He is not saying that now. So there is hope that there could be a deal and we could get through this crisis with a lot less stress than last time. JUDY WOODRUFF: When there's cooperation, it's news.

(LAUGHTER) LISA DESJARDINS: Sadly, yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Lisa, meantime, we know, before the Thanksgiving break, Democrats in the House passed this big Build Back Better bill, the president's priority, sent it over to the Senate. LISA DESJARDINS: Right.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Where does it stand? LISA DESJARDINS: All right, I'm going to talk about this in two ways, first the content, what's happening there. A flurry of meetings, especially if you're a senator named Joe Manchin. You're in a lot of meetings today. He's talking a lot about energy, about the carbon offsets perhaps in this bill, climate change, what he wants. He has not yet committed to support the Build Back Better bill. He seems to be getting on board, but he's not there yet. That's important.

The second thing I want to talk about is the timing. We learned today -- I learned from my sources and from at least one senator on the record they believe they're going to need a few more weeks than they wanted to work things out with the Senate parliamentarian, because, remember, to get through this reconciliation process, so they only need 50 votes, they need the parliamentarian's OK. The Senate parliamentarian is now undergoing cancer treatment. So it's taking a little bit more time. They still think they can get through it. But the bottom line here, Judy, is, I think the Build Back Better bill will not make it to the Senate floor for at least two weeks. In that time, we will have a lot of time to look at what's in it. And so will

Democrats in terms of carving out what the final version looks like. JUDY WOODRUFF: Time may not be the friend of -- a friend of the Democrats. And, Lisa, meanwhile, while the Senate's busy with all this, there has been an episode, another episode in the House. This time, the congresswoman from Colorado Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert has made some anti-Muslim remarks about another congresswoman, Ilhan Omar.

LISA DESJARDINS: Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: Bring us up to date on that. LISA DESJARDINS: First, why are we talking about this? We're talking about this because this is part of what I see and many others see as a rise in dangerous, inflammatory personal attacks from our lawmakers themselves, attacks that we have known in the past have led to real-world violence. So let's talk about what Representative Boebert said. On the floor of the House -- this began

about a week-and-a-half ago -- during debate, she referred Representative Omar as part of the "jihad squad." She has said that before Now, of course, Representative Omar, our viewers may be familiar with, she's one of only three Muslims in Congress. She's the only one who wears a hijab. She ran specifically to rail against the idea of bigotry towards Muslims and the idea that they have to prove they're not terrorists. This is part of a pattern Representative Boebert. We also had video from over the Thanksgiving

break in which she spoke to a group, and she talked about -- she was making a joke. The joke was set up like this. She said she saw a Capitol Police officer running toward her in an elevator, and then I will let her pick it up in what she said to the crowd.

REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): I look to my left. And there she is, Ilhan Omar. I said, well, if she doesn't have a backpack, we should be fine. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE) LISA DESJARDINS: That's a clear -- saying that, oh, she's not -- she's a terrorist. I would be scared of her. Now, what's interesting here is that Republicans have pushed back. I want to play the sound of another Republican freshmen woman -- this is Nancy Mace of South Carolina -- asked about Lauren Boebert's comments this weekend.

REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): I have time after time condemned my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for racist tropes and remarks that I find disgusting. And this is no different than any others. LISA DESJARDINS: Now, for that comment that might seem a little bit innocuous for pushing back at all against this bigotry from Representative Boebert, Nancy Mace has faced some very serious pushback on Twitter from Marjorie Taylor Greene, others that are seen on that far right end. And there is an internal war of words now amongst Republicans. Again, I raise this because this is part of very serious personal attacks, rhetoric happening from our lawmakers that we know is affecting people in the real world. And it is a split among Republicans.

Nancy Mace is now putting herself out there. And she's standing up for what she said. She says this was bigotry. She's not backing down. JUDY WOODRUFF: More and more instances like this. LISA DESJARDINS: Unfortunately, yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: Lisa Desjardins, thank you. LISA DESJARDINS: You're welcome.

JUDY WOODRUFF: It is the eve of oral arguments in what could be the most important abortion rights case at the U.S. Supreme Court in a generation. Amna Nawaz previews tomorrow's session. AMNA NAWAZ: Well, the case is seen as one of the most aggressive challenges to date to Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America.

Here, the justices will decide the constitutionality of Mississippi's 2018 law banning most abortions beyond 15 weeks of pregnancy. If the court were to overturn Roe, abortion bans passed in a dozen states since the 1973 ruling would immediately go into effect. For more on these historic stakes, we get perspective from Alexis McGill Johnson. She's president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.

Welcome to you both. Thank you so much for being here. So, Marjorie, I will begin with you. Is this the moment that anti-abortion activists have been waiting half-a-century for? What's the best outcome for you here? MARJORIE DANNENFELSER, President, Susan B. Anthony List: Yes. After 50 years of not being able to allow the will of the people to make its way into law in the states, this seems like the best opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade. The effect

of that will be to return to the states their ability to do just that, to enact laws that reflect the will of the people in each state. So, yes, we are very hopeful. We're hoping that there's a complete overturn, at a minimum, a partial overturn. When that happens, it will put us in line -- better in line with the rest of the world; 47 out of 50 European countries limit abortion before 15 weeks.

We don't limit it at any point during gestation. AMNA NAWAZ: Alexis, I will come to you for response now. And also, just given the fractured landscape of abortion rights we have across the country right now, if the court moves to limit Roe or to overturn it completely, what's at stake here? ALEXIS MCGILL JOHNSON, President, Planned Parenthood: Look, what's at stake is that 36 million people will be living in states without an abortion provider, right? It's not just the dozen states who have trigger laws in the ban. There are 26 states that could move to ban abortion. And the impact that, we have already seen happening already in Texas.

I would disagree that this is about the will of the people. What we have seen in state after state, particularly in the South and Midwest, is a tyranny of the minority, a vocal minority, who actually control the levers of power, because there's no state where banning abortion is popular. And so what you will have is thousands, millions of people having to travel out of state just to seek access to basic health care. AMNA NAWAZ: You talk about the will of the people.

I just want to take a quick look at where current attitudes are when you look at the polling, current attitudes towards abortion in America. These are 2021 numbers from Gallup. About 32 percent of those polled believe abortion should be legal always; 48 percent say it should be legal sometimes. And 19 percent say it should be illegal in all cases. So, Marjorie, you have got 80 percent of Americans polled saying at least sometimes abortion should be legal. Do you want to see it ended in all cases? MARJORIE DANNENFELSER: What I -- what would be a real win is that each state, given the best ability that we have in this country to allow consensus to make its way in the law, with elected officials being accountable to the people, that we will find that each state has its different consensus. That's exactly the way we do things in this country, how we have handled egregious human rights violations over time, that we least allow the people to express their will through their elected representatives. Another permutation of that poll from Marist is that 80 percent of Americans think that abortion should be limited after 12 weeks. That's a far cry from what the Supreme Court

mandated in 1973, that it couldn't be limited at any point up until birth. So, clearly, we have some work to do. And, frankly, consensus is not necessarily what the abortion lobby wants, because that means they lose ground that they got only through judicial fiat. The will of the people expressed, and then those legislators who are accountable to the people, is the best way to resolve this. And we will do this state by state. AMNA NAWAZ: Alexis, I see you shaking your head. I want to give you a chance to respond.

ALEXIS MCGILL JOHNSON: By judicial fiat, right? Here we have the complete remaking of the judiciary among judges, some of whom don't even believe in IVF, right? So I think that's quite laughable. I think what we're talking about is the fact that every pregnancy is unique. Every circumstance for every person to make a decision is unique. And the intent of the anti-abortion movement is to totally ban abortion, because they do not trust pregnant people to make decisions about their own bodies. But the real impact is what we're seeing now in these people who are traveling thousands of miles out of fear because of this horrific ban in Texas, seeing the 12-year-old patient that came into a Planned Parenthood who said: "Mom, it was an accident. Why are they making this so hard for me?" That's the kind of impact, the real-live people who are on the other side of these bans that could be impacted across this country with the overturning of Roe.

AMNA NAWAZ: Marjorie, look forward for me here for just a moment. If Roe is overturned or further dramatically limited, you could potentially have tens of thousands of women facing unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. So, tell me what that landscape looks like for you in the way of support for these children, support for these women, who will be disproportionately women of color, low-income women, rural women.

MARJORIE DANNENFELSER: Yes, I -- just like now, women face unplanned pregnancies all the time. And the one response that Planned Parenthood has, and the disproportionate -- not only just proportionate, almost complete answer they have, is to abort their child. If we actually don't acknowledge what we're really talking about here and the fundamental difference of opinion, we do great discredit to the debate that should be happening in this nation. And that fundamental difference of opinion is about whether there are two human beings that need help in every unplanned pregnancy. So, the responsibility of the pro-life movement and the responsibility of Planned Parenthood is to serve those women and their unborn children and their born children in every unplanned and difficult pregnancy. That should be where we're working together here. This is a compassionate, loving movement

that embraces woman and child. That's the way forward. AMNA NAWAZ: But, Marjorie, just to follow up, what does that landscape look like? MARJORIE DANNENFELSER: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: Are you also advocating for state governments to allocate more funds to support these families? What specifically are you asking for there? MARJORIE DANNENFELSER: Well, specifically in Texas, $100 million was dedicated towards alternatives to abortion and support for services and seven points of reason, seven reasons that women have abortions, and ways that just support their children otherwise. What we are doing at Susan B. Anthony List and through many of our entities is doing

complete reviews of each state that would be most ambitious in passing laws, and looking at every single service to a woman and child, finding the gaps, making sure that that is easily accessible to women, and surrounding them with love and protection in the long term, not just abortion today, and we will never see you again. AMNA NAWAZ: Alexis, we have already seen Democratic-controlled legislatures moving to codify abortion access, in sort of preparation for what could be ahead. And regardless of what happens at the Supreme Court, it looks like this will play out at the state level. So look forward for me from your perspective. What does this landscape look like in the future? And is enough being done to meet the needs of those women, as it could be growing? ALEXIS MCGILL JOHNSON: No, there are nearly not enough providers in states that are moving to codify Roe to meet the need.

We have already, again, seen it in Texas. We have seen the ripple effect of people traveling to New Mexico, people in New Mexico having to travel to Arizona and California. And so the impact on people, the very people that Marjorie claims to care about, who have to take off from work because they need -- they need access to care, they need to get child care, because the majority of people who are seeking access are already parents. What we are talking about is not forcing people into parenthood. We are trying to help people, give them the range of options and support their decisions, because we trust them to actually make the decisions for themselves. And so the work continues to be to push in those states where the access is wider, to really push the boundaries and ensure that there is more access and more support and more care, and to ensure that we can actually export that imagination into the states that are becoming more and more restrictive.

We have seen 600 restrictions introduced just this last year. And the fact that the Supreme Court has taken up this case, again, just goes to demonstrate just the complete disdain for our ability to make decisions about our own bodies and to trust lawmakers to do that instead. It is really quite unconscionable. AMNA NAWAZ: Well, we will certainly be watching this as it unfolds in the court and across the country. It's a historic moment, with a lot at stake. I thank you both for joining in the conversation.

Alexis McGill Johnson and Marjorie Dannenfelser, thank you again. MARJORIE DANNENFELSER: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the former health technology company Theranos, faced cross-examination today for the first time in the fraud case against her. Federal prosecutors have called 29 witnesses over 11 weeks, in an attempt to reveal the alleged deception that led investors and patients to believe the company could conduct a range of tests using just a few drops of blood. The start-up collapsed in 2018.

Rebecca Jarvis is the chief business, technology, and economics correspondent for ABC News and the host of "The Dropout," a podcast about Holmes and the ongoing trial, which is being held in San Jose. Rebecca Jarvis, thank you very much for being with us. The defense has only begun its side. The prosecution has spent, what, almost two months making this case or even longer. If you can, sum up what the prosecution was trying to do.

REBECCA JARVIS, ABC News: Well, Judy, the prosecution has shown now in meticulous detail their allegations that Elizabeth Holmes was the one in charge of her company, Theranos, that she's the reason investors, patients and doctors were defrauded here. And they have shown us individuals, including investors, patients. We have heard from doctors. We have heard from scientists inside the company. We have heard from scientists outside the company, in meticulous detail, laying out this fraud and putting Elizabeth Holmes at the front of it. JUDY WOODRUFF: And she has just, as we said, taken the stand, I guess just before Thanksgiving.

She's only -- we have only heard from her for a few days, but it's been dramatic, including her discussing being raped in college. Give us a sense of what she's saying and what the reaction's been. REBECCA JARVIS: Well, Judy, this has been explosive testimony. We have barely heard from Elizabeth Holmes since the charges were first brought and, frankly, have never heard some of the things she's been saying on the stand, and seen here in the way she's behaved on the stand, getting emotional, talking about, as you mentioned, being raped as a college student at Stanford, that being, according to her, one of the reasons she decided to drop out of Stanford and begin her blood testing company, Theranos. And she's also raised these allegations which we thought might come up at this trial against her former boyfriend and COO, Sunny Balwani, alleging years of abuse in the relationship, alleging it was emotional, it was physical, he dictated everything from her schedule to way that she ate.

Now, these are claims he has denied vociferously. But these are claims that she raised. And they are something that certainly the jurors now are going to have to think about as they think about the bigger picture question, which is, did this woman intend to commit fraud? JUDY WOODRUFF: And what I have read, Rebecca, is that she's walking this fine line, because, on the one hand, she's saying she was heavily influenced by him over a period of time, but then she's now saying that he was not the reason she made these decisions as the head of the company. REBECCA JARVIS: Well, and that's a really important point that you raised, Judy, because she was asked point blank by her own attorney, did Sunny Balwani dictate what you said to investors? Did he dictate what you shared with Walgreens, your biggest customer, Walgreens being the place, the one place where Theranos tests got in front of patients in this country? So she said point blank, no, that he was not a part of those decisions. That is the fraud here. The fraud is not about the rest of these conversations and allegations, though they might make the jury feel more connected to her.

Of course, they have sat in front of her now for many weeks. She's been there in the trial with her family sitting behind her, her partner. They have been told that she's a new mom, she has a newborn baby. And so they have really seen this woman for an extended span of time. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Rebecca, of course, whatever the jury decides will have an enormous impact on her. She could face up to 20 years in prison. But it's also seen as a case important for the future of Silicon Valley. How so? REBECCA JARVIS: Well, it raises these questions about faking it until you make it.

There are definitely people who believe that this is endemic to Silicon Valley, that this is the way people behave in Silicon Valley. And then there are those who think this is absolutely not the case. The bottom line here is, this is a woman who was able to raise more money than almost any other female founder. She became one of the wealthiest self-made women in the world. At one point, her company was worth $9 billion.

So it does raise these questions about how -- what standards we hold founders to. What is important when a device like a blood testing device gets in front of anybody at a Walgreens store? JUDY WOODRUFF: And, finally, any sense of what we can expect next from the defense? REBECCA JARVIS: Well, we have certainly now heard this cross-examination today from the prosecution. And they have raised a number of text exchanges between Elizabeth Holmes and her former boyfriend and COO, Sunny Balwani. The defense is going to have to come back strong here, because the prosecution has presented a lot of very important evidence that really links -- especially today, that really links Elizabeth Holmes directly to the allegations of fraud.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Rebecca Jarvis watching this riveting trial. Thank you very much, Rebecca. We appreciate it. REBECCA JARVIS: Thank you, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: A new exhibit at the museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California, looks at the scale and achievement of an artist capturing the untold stories of Los Angeles. Jeffrey Brown took a look at the work of Judy Baca for our arts and culture series, Canvas. JEFFREY BROWN: It runs a half-mile along the concrete banks of a river in the San Fernando Valley, 13-foot-high panels that tell a history of a city.

It's called The Great Wall of Los Angeles, one of the largest murals in the world, designed and painted, with a little help from her friends, by Judy Baca. JUDY BACA, Visual Artist: The story I wanted to tell was the story of the history that wasn't recorded in the history books, the history of people of color, the history of women, of indigenous people, to look at what was missing from the story of America, and to reconstruct that and teach it to the young people, who'd begin to learn about each other. JEFFREY BROWN: Many of the ideas and stories came from local community members. And so did the actual painting, the work of some 400 people working hand in hand with Baca. It was the 1970s and early '80s, the beginnings of a commitment to a public art that would reach and benefit those around her. Fast-forward to today, a celebration of that commitment

in her first major retrospective exhibition of more than 120 works at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. JUDY BACA: All of them are based in the notion that the land has memory, and that, if I put my ear to the ground, I can hear it, and that I can then articulate it visually. JEFFREY BROWN: Now 75, Baca grew up in the L.A. neighborhoods of Watts and Pacoima, raised

by a single mother who worked at the Goodyear tire factory and a grandmother deeply attuned to the land. JUDY BACA: So, I came out of tradition that was both indigenous and also the tradition of a contemporary woman in the United States, a Chicana born here in the United States. JEFFREY BROWN: The works speak to the mythical power of women and the undervalued domestic worker, to the stereotypes of the lazy Mexican in sculptures that play off tourism shop sombreros, and, more recently, drawings that address the isolation she and many felt during the pandemic. It's an unusual setting, a museum exhibition, for a woman who, from the start, saw herself an outsider in the art world. JUDY BACA: I never aspired to being one of the 2 percent of artists that make it in America.

I never thought that that was possible. First of all, there were no women. And, second of all, there were certainly no Latinas. So, I was free, in a sense. I could put the work where I wanted it to go. JEFFREY BROWN: She wanted it outdoors in public spaces, and she wanted it large-scale, in the tradition of renowned Mexican mural painters like Diego Rivera and others, mostly men. JUDY BACA: First of all, I chose making monumental work, which is basically a male area. I mean, that's...

JEFFREY BROWN: Men make things. (CROSSTALK) JUDY BACA: That's the purview of men. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes.

JUDY BACA: Women don't make monuments. They could make a model of a monument, right? They could do a dollhouse, but they couldn't build a house, right, or design a house. So, in other words, those -- the scale for women was prescribed. JEFFREY BROWN: To overcome barriers, Baca co-founded the Social and Public Art Resource Center, or SPARC, a community arts and education hub housed in an old jail in L.A.'s Venice

neighborhood. Here, she works with other artists to plan and design murals and conduct research. Why is the collaborative aspect of it so important to you? JUDY BACA: It's ownership. I have seen kids come down to the wall many years later saying, "Hey, I painted those mountains, right?" They feel pride in their support of a larger piece that was greater than anyone could do individually. JEFFREY BROWN: At the core of her project, seen dramatically at The Great Wall, is a sense of recovering histories, especially of those written out of the history books.

She calls her murals sites of public memory. JUDY BACA: One of the things I was seeing with the young people in the neighborhoods I was working in was that they didn't have those connections. They did not understand the ancestry and the lineage that would give them dignity, that would give them pride, and that what we needed to do was recover that content. JEFFREY BROWN: Just one example among many:, the story of David Gonzalez, Medal of Honor winner who died in battle saving others in the Philippines during World War II.

As the wall was being painted, his mother told Baca a county juvenile detention center was being named for her son. JUDY BACA: She said: "I don't want him remembered like that. He was not a juvenile delinquent. He was a Congressional Medal of Honor winner. Will you paint him here?" And him depicted with his mother was a joyful thing to paint and a story from my neighborhood that I didn't know. JEFFREY BROWN: Now a new infusion of foundation funding will allow Baca and her team to double the size of the mural, painting on the other side of the river to bring the history up to date. Meanwhile, back in Long Beach, a chance to for the artist herself to see 40 years of work and take stock.

JUDY BACA: Essentially, the thread was always looking at the conditions of my community and of the people that I loved and worked with and cared about, and telling their stories. I really believe that art has amazing capacities to be transformative. JEFFREY BROWN: For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Jeffrey Brown at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California. JUDY WOODRUFF: Some powerful images. And we will be back shortly. But, first, take a moment to hear from your local PBS station. It's a chance to offer

your support and keep programs like ours on the air. For those stations staying with us, we turn to cutting-edge research that aims to improve the lives of people living with paralysis. Finding a way to bridge the severed connections between the brain and limbs remains an urgent, but often elusive goal for researchers. But, as Miles O'Brien reports, they are making steady progress toward restoring some people's sense of touch. This story is part of our "Breakthrough" series on invention and innovation. MILES O'BRIEN: Austin Beggin was 22 when his life changed in an instant. A dive into some

shallow water left him with a broken neck between the C3 and C4 vertebrae. AUSTIN BEGGIN, Study Participant: At that level, you're talking about breathing, you're talking about swallowing, you're talking about pretty much everything as far as how severe of an injury it is. MILES O'BRIEN: When he first started living with quadriplegia, he imagined himself getting better. AUSTIN BEGGIN: You're always thinking you're going to wake up the next day and it's just going to come back. Three months with really no motor gains kind of set in like this might be more of a long haul. MILES O'BRIEN: Now six years since his injury, he is a volunteer participant in a groundbreaking project aimed at changing the long haul for people with paralysis. The big goal is to

find a way for them to move their hands, and regain sensations of touch. Austin Beggin is just getting started moving his hand for the first time since his injury. AUSTIN BEGGIN: Really is remarkable that these little wires coming out my arms to me are allowing something like this to happen. MILES O'BRIEN: What does that feel like? AUSTIN BEGGIN: Just the fact that feeling the arm move is the remarkable part of it. I mean, I could do this all day because I have to go up and down, up and down.

MILES O'BRIEN: It's a project run by Cleveland's pioneering Functional Electrical Stimulation Center, part of the Louis Stokes V.A. Medical Center. For 30 years, they have been innovating technology that restores function for people with paralysis. BOLU AJIBOYE, Case Western Reserve University: We are presently trying to understand the underlying mechanisms of the brain that relate to movement and also sensation. Austin, just looking through your spike panel right now and it seems like we have a good number of potentials. So, your brain is working.

MILES O'BRIEN: Biomedical engineer Bolu Ajiboye is the principal investigator. BOLU AJIBOYE: We would like to be able to design technology that records from the brain, bypasses the spinal cord injury and allows the person to control meaningful movements of their hands, such as positioning their arm in space, moving individual fingers, being able to grasp different objects so that they can perform many activities of daily living that people take for granted every day. MILES O'BRIEN: It begins with brain surgery. Austin Beggin's operation was done by neurosurgeon

Jonathan Miller with University Hospitals Cleveland. DR. JONATHAN MILLER, Functional & Restorative Neurosurgery Center: So this is the electrode we implant into the brain. As you can see, this is the part that goes in. It's very small.

It actually has a total of six of these that we implant for this particular project going into six different areas of the brain. MILES O'BRIEN: But where in the brain? Simply targeting the area that controls the nerves that fire muscles is not enough. DR. JONATHAN MILLER: We're interested in the areas of the brain that are responsible for motor planning, for not just the actual individual nerves that control the muscles, but also the neurons that are upstream of those that control what it is that the person wants to do. MILES O'BRIEN: In another operation, surgeons implanted electrodes to stimulate Beggin's hand and arm muscles. The surgeries were just the start of a long journey. The team is now busy trying to decipher the myriad of signals from Beggin's brain measured in micro volts.

BOLU AJIBOYE: What we're interested in is the fact that we're not just looking at one cell, we're looking at hundreds of cells. And there's this... MILES O'BRIEN: And this is -- this is where you get the pattern? BOLU AJIBOYE: This is where you get the pattern. MILES O'BRIEN: So, if he tried right now to move his finger, some of these panels would light up more than others. BOLU AJIBOYE: The firing would change, right. And that change can to the naked eye, maybe be a little bit challenging to detect. So but our algorithms can detect the change not just again in one neuron, but across the population of neurons.

MILES O'BRIEN: The algorithms are programs that can identify the subtle patterns of brain activity across many neurons linked to specific movements. To improve their accuracy, the team has Beggin play games. He imagines moving his paralyzed arm to match what the animated hand is doing on the screen. BOLU AJIBOYE: There is learning on both sides, actually. So our algorithms get better and better with more information that we have the participant at the same time. There is an opportunity for learning on his end as well.

MILES O'BRIEN: What they are doing here is unique, but there are several other projects underway aiming to understand the activity of the brain during various functions. Some use brain signals to control robotic arms or enable communication. Austin Beggin's predecessor in this project was Bill Kochevar, in 2014, he became the first person in the world to be able to use this brain system to control his own limb. He was able to open and close his hand, move his wrist, elbow and shoulder. But he had

no sensory feedback. Giving paralyzed people a sense of touch is biomedical engineer Emily Graczyk's priority. EMILY GRACZYK, Case Western Reserve University: Very little is known about the neural language of touch in the human brain. And that's something that we hope to study here in this project. MILES O'BRIEN: Eventually, they will give Austin Beggin a glove with sensors in the fingertips. The hope is they will send sensory information to his brain implants.

EMILY GRACZYK: Without sensory feedback, you really don't know how to control the motions that you're producing. You don't know how to control the forces you're exerting on an object or the positioning of your body. MILES O'BRIEN: But there is more to touch and motion than that. Something harder to quantify, something Austin Beggin understands profoundly. AUSTIN BEGGIN: People say, like, what would you love to do? Just I mean, if I could actively shake someone's hand, I mean, what would be what? I mean, what. You couldn't put a price

on that to me. MILES O'BRIEN: A lot of the technology this team is refining to help paralyzed people came out of a lab nearby, one focused on a disability that is part of my reality. For the PBS NewsHour, I'm Miles O'Brien. JUDY WOODRUFF: And now an encore look Brief But Spectacular episode.

A few years ago, the series creator and producer, Steve Goldbloom, talked with his grandfather, Richard, a renowned pediatrician and academic, about his progressive memory loss. Richard Goldbloom died earlier this month at the age of 96. He inspired the name of this series, and will be missed by many.

STEVE GOLDBLOOM: This is our 100th episode of Brief But Spectacular. I'm Steve Goldbloom. RICHARD GOLDBLOOM, Grandfather of Steve Goldbloom: And I'm Steve's favorite grandfather, Richard Goldbloom. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: It's very fitting that you are the 100th guest on Brief But Spectacular. RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: Oh, I'm flattered.

STEVE GOLDBLOOM: You know why? RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: Because I'm 100, or nearly? STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Well, you are close to 100 years old, which is amazing. (LAUGHTER) STEVE GOLDBLOOM: You know how old you are? RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: No. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: You're going to be 93 this year.

RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: My God. If I had known I was going to live this long, I would've taken better care of myself. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: And it's fitting, because you titled this series. You came up with it.

Do you know that? RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: I think I remember that. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: The story that I tell is that I went to synagogue and left. RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: That's correct. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Snuck out, came back in, and what did you say? RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: I said you had made a brief but spectacular appearance. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: I wanted to ask you a couple of questions, not just because you're my grandfather and I love you, and I look up to you. RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: Can I get that in writing? STEVE GOLDBLOOM: No.

Part of what I wanted to ask you about is that you, right now, are going through memory loss. RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: Change of life, yes. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: A change of life. And things that you used to do for yourself, like manage

finances, drive a car, manage medicine, other people do for you. RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: Right. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: And I wanted to ask you if that bothers you at all. RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: No. I consider the alternative.

STEVE GOLDBLOOM: What is the alternative? RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: Being dead. So, I'm quite happy where I am. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Yes. RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: If I can remember where I am. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Do you know what we're doing? RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: I have no idea. But keep talking.

(LAUGHTER) STEVE GOLDBLOOM: We're going to look at this camera here. RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: Right. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: And we're going to do on three a big clap. RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: OK.

STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Right in front of your face. Ready? One, two, three. (CLAPPING) STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Just one clap. RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: Just one clap. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: What does it feel like to forget? Or does it feel like anything? RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: Well, there are some things I would rather forget. In that case, it's a blessing. And, otherwise, I learned to live with it. You know, people remind me, like, when to get up, when to go to bed, things like that.

STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Do you remember when you stopped driving? RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: Did I stop? STEVE GOLDBLOOM: You stopped driving, yes. RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: I didn't know that. I don't particularly miss it. People drive me everywhere.

STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Tell me the role that music has played in your life. RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: I grew up with a lot of music in my environment. And I took to the piano very readily. I played by ear before I ever had a music lesson. I still play, but mostly for my own amazement. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: Tell me how lucky you feel to have had to have the kind of marriage that you have, which is extraordinary and lasted more than 60 years.

RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: Yes, that is true. That was a test of my wife's endurance. It was a great lifelong love affair. She was a very acute assessor of other people. And she was very good to me. She recognized all my shortcomings and discussed them with just about everybody. (LAUGHTER) STEVE GOLDBLOOM: When she passed away, how did that change your life? RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: Oh, dramatically and forever. I mean, I still miss her a lot. And, in that sense something vital is gone out of my life.

STEVE GOLDBLOOM: And you still think about her every day? RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: Pretty near every day. Every once in a while, I take a day off. STEVE GOLDBLOOM: What do you still take pleasure in? RICHARD GOLDBLOOM: Life. My name is Richard Goldbloom, and this has been my Brief But Spectacular take. JUDY WOODRUFF: You can't watch that often enough. And you can watch all of our Brief But Spectacular videos on our Web site. And a clarification: Tonight, we reported that the World Health Organization's recommendation that all people over 60 postpone travel due to the Omicron variant. Reuters later clarified

that the WHO is warning against travel only for those at risk of developing severe COVID and who are not vaccinated. And we have a news update. CNN has suspended indefinitely one of its top anchors, Chris Cuomo. The cable network says that it will evaluate new evidence about his defense of his brother, the former governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, as sexual harassment allegations mounted. And that is the "NewsHour" for tonight. I'm Judy Woodruff.

For all of us at the "NewsHour," thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon.

2021-12-04 08:29

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