JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
On the "NewsHour" tonight: combating COVID.
Vaccines could soon be available for children under age 5, raising hopes and some new questions for parents.
Then: tensions in Europe.
Diplomatic efforts intensify across the continent, amid the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
And democracy in crisis.
New reports reveal that former President Trump proposed seizing voting machines, in an attempt to overturn his 2020 election defeat.
All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."
(BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Children younger than 5 may be able to get a COVID vaccine by the end of this month.
Pfizer asked the Food and Drug Administration today to authorize two low-dose shots for children between 6 months and 5 years old.
At the same time, Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech, are investigating whether three doses would work better.
This has been long awaited by many.
And, for more, we turn to Dr. Yvonne Maldonado.
She's a professor of pediatric infectious disease at Stanford University.
She has helped conduct trials for the under-5 vaccine.
Dr. Maldonado, welcome back to the "NewsHour."
So, what do you think of this move by Pfizer?
DR. YVONNE MALDONADO, Stanford University: Well, I think it's going to be a cautious move forward.
We know that the two-dose vaccine trials didn't give the results that were expected in the 2-to-4-year-olds in particular, and the third dose will be a hopeful next step.
But, in the meantime, it does appear that there may be some data to support a limited use of the two-dose vaccine, that it may actually have some effectiveness.
It's clearly very safe, so that's not the concern.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And it's been reported that Pfizer was encouraged by the Food and Drug Administration to go ahead and request authorization.
And I just want to clarify something you just said.
And that is the trials showing that the two-dose, much lower dose, regimen was working well, providing protection for children 6 months through up to 2 years, but, as you just said, 2 to 4, it wasn't.
Can you explain what that's all about?
Is it the amount of vaccine, or what?
DR. YVONNE MALDONADO: Well, first of all, let me just say that we haven't seen any of the data, even though we're doing the trials.
We're all blinded to the data, which is important.
The FDA will be posting the data, we hope, and we will be able to get a better look.
But the bottom line is that the dose that's being given to the under-5's, by necessity, needs to be lower because the higher doses given to the 5-to-11-year-olds, which themselves were less than the adult dose -- so it's 30, 10 and three micrograms, so a stepwise lowering of the dose -- they just provide a better tolerance of the vaccine.
So, the three-microgram dose, the lowest dose, provides a very acceptable safety profile, less fevers, for example.
But it also didn't provide the same high degree of antibody responses that we're seeing in the older children and adults.
But we just don't know the data.
We haven't seen it yet.
So it will be helpful to see to what degree there were positive antibody responses in that age group.
And perhaps there may even be some data around prevention of disease and prevention of symptomatic cases.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And what I was quoting a moment ago has been from news reports.
But I hear what you are saying, that the official - - that all the data has not been released.
But, on balance, does it sound like a wise thing to do right now to go ahead and seek this authorization, get the authorization, even as you wait to see how effective a third dose would be?
DR. YVONNE MALDONADO: You know, that's a good question.
I really think -- first of all, I don't think that the industry sponsor or the FDA would move ahead if they didn't think they had a compelling argument.
There are -- they are very good.
Both the company and the FDA are very good at this vaccine approval process.
They have been doing it well for -- even before the pandemic, and they have done an excellent job during the pandemic.
So I think they must have data that is going to support their argument.
But, not having seen the data, I can't really make a final judgment.
We will just have to take a look and make sure that their messaging is not only to those of us in the fields of vaccinology, but to the general public as well.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, I think, to parents listening, what you're saying, it could be reassuring.
We know, Dr. Maldonado, that among parents of children of, what, from age 6 through 11, there's already been a degree of reluctance to have their children vaccinated.
I think the uptake is something -- is under a third, something like 29 percent.
How concerned are you that there's going to be ongoing reluctance among parents of these youngest children?
DR. YVONNE MALDONADO: Well, you know, that's a great point.
It is really frustrating to see people who are very anxious to get their kids vaccinated, but then this whole group of people who haven't done it.
And I am not really sure that it's a safety issue or a fear issue.
I really think that the messaging about the significance of COVID in children has been really underplayed.
This is a disease that is the eighth most common cause of death in children in the U.S.
But when you compare it to the data in adults, clearly, children are not dying, fortunately, at the same rate.
That doesn't mean it's not an important disease that needs to be prevented in kids.
And that's the message that I don't think is getting out to the general public.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You're saying there's a lot at stake here, that there's a reason to get the vaccine for these youngest children?
DR. YVONNE MALDONADO: Absolutely.
We know that tens of thousands of children have been hospitalized.
More recently with Omicron, we have been overrun with hospitalizations.
We know that there have been over 1,000 children who have died.
And, again, not to make light of that number, we know that adults have died in many higher numbers.
But that is not a reason to allow children to die unnecessarily.
And we know that this vaccine is safe.
It has been shown over and over again.
So, the messaging is really about families thinking that this is a risk/benefit that is in their favor, in their children's favor.
JUDY WOODRUFF: I think you're right that many people -- that that story is not one that has been widely, widely dispersed.
Dr. Yvonne Maldonado at Stanford University, thank you very much.
DR. YVONNE MALDONADO: Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day's other news: Russia's President Vladimir Putin accused the U.S. and its allies of ignoring Moscow's security demands, amid the tensions over Ukraine.
But he said he is willing to hold more talks.
Meanwhile, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Ukraine and warned again of sanctions if Russia invades.
We will return to all of this after the news summary.
The head of the FBI has fired a new broadside at China, charging that its threat to the West is -- quote -- "more brazen than ever."
In a speech last night, Christopher Wray accused Beijing of rampant cyber-crime.
He said the FBI opens new cases to counter Chinese intelligence operations every 12 hours or so.
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI Director: When we tally up what we see in our investigations, over 2,000 of which are focused on the Chinese government trying to steal our information and technology, there's just no country that presents a broader threat to our ideas, our innovation.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Wray's accusations come just day's before China hosts the Winter Olympics.
Olympic organizers in China are trying to allay any fears of COVID-19 ahead of Friday's Opening Ceremonies.
As final preparations continued today, officials reported infections are within an expected range.
A spokesman said - - quote -- "Everything is under control."
The nation of Myanmar today marked one year since the military seized power.
In Yangon, a silent strike against army rule left streets empty, as businesses closed and people stayed home.
U.N. officials say at least 1,500 protesters have been killed since the coup.
RAVINA SHAMSADANI, Spokeswoman, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: It is time for an urgent, renewed effort to restore human rights and democracy in Myanmar, and to ensure that the perpetrators of systematic human rights violations and abuses are held to account.
JUDY WOODRUFF: A special U.N. investigator said the military has carried out mass killings and bombed villages in a bid to stamp out armed resistance.
Millions of people across Asia and around the world celebrated the lunar new year today.
Colorful light displays, music, and dancing welcomed the Year of the Tiger.
But many festivities were scaled back or canceled again because of the pandemic.
Back in this country, another major winter storm has begun its sweep across a huge swathe of states, with hundreds of flights already canceled.
Heavy snow and freezing rain are expected from the Rockies to Texas, to the Midwest, and, ultimately, New England.
Just a year ago, another storm shut down Texas' power grid and killed hundreds of people.
A fire at a North Carolina fertilizer plant forced thousands of people out their homes today over fears of a giant explosion.
Flames erupted last night at the plant in Winston-Salem, but fire crews pulled back and set up a one-mile evacuation radius once they realized what was stored there.
TREY MAYO, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Fire Chief: The risk that is posed by this facility, is, it stores ammonium nitrate, and there could be as much as some -- there is somewhere between 300 and 600 tons of ammonium nitrate in this facility.
JUDY WOODRUFF: That same chemical, ammonium nitrate, caused a gigantic explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2020, killing more than 200 people.
Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson and three leading drug distributors have agreed to pay $590 million to American Indian tribes over opioid abuse.
A federal court filing outlined the settlements today.
The companies are also working on a $26 billion settlement with state and local governments.
There's word that New Mexico Senator Ben Ray Lujan suffered a stroke last week.
His office says the 49-year-old Democrat had surgery to release swelling on the brain and remains.
It says he is expected to make a full recovery.
For now, Lujan's absence leaves Senate Democrats with just 49 votes.
On Wall Street today, stocks made up a little lost ground.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 273 points to close at 35405.
The Nasdaq rose 106 points.
The S&P 500 added 31.
And Tom Brady made it official today.
The most successful quarterback in NFL history is retiring after 22 seasons and seven Super Bowl wins.
He played 20 years with the New England Patriots, and the last two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
We will look at his career later in the program.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": what new research says about who is most likely to suffer from long COVID; Congressman Ro Khanna discusses his new book, "Dignity in a Digital Age": how Tom Brady's record-breaking career changed the game of football; plus much more.
When Russia's President Vladimir Putin spoke about the crisis in Ukraine today, it was the first time he had done so in four months.
His remarks come as more than 100,000 Russian troops now surround Ukraine on three sides.
Nick Schifrin has our coverage, beginning with a new Russian military base in Brest in far western Belarus.
On the border of Russian-allied Belarus and NATO member Poland, Russian soldiers today set up shop.
The West fears they could invade Ukraine to the south at any time.
But, in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin endorsed diplomacy.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russian President (through translator): I hope that, in the end, we will find the solution.
Though it is not easy, we are aware of it.
NICK SCHIFRIN: But his message was mixed.
Following a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Putin also said recent U.S. and NATO documents disregarded his demands.
VLADIMIR PUTIN (through translator): We didn't see an adequate response to our three key demands, preventing expansion of NATO, the nondeployment of strike weapon systems near Russian borders, and returning the military infrastructure of NATO in Europe to the positions existing in 1997.
NICK SCHIFRIN: In fact, the U.S. rejected those demands, and even today showed off American jets in NATO member Estonia, just a few hundred miles from the Russian border.
Instead, the U.S. is offering to discuss with Russia mutual limits on Eastern European exercises, like these in Poland, and missile deployments, by reviving the defunct Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF.
Senior U.S. officials said that's what Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov talked about on the phone today, and would form the basis of future diplomacy.
NED PRICE, State Department Spokesman: We are prepared to engage in serious diplomacy with the Russian Federation on a reciprocal basis.
WOMAN: Moscow trying to rebuild the Soviet empire.
NICK SCHIFRIN: In Ukraine's Parliament today, a show of thanks for NATO countries that have supported Ukraine's military.
In the last few weeks, the United Kingdom has increased its support, including with weapons designed to destroy Russian tanks.
Today, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson became the first Western head of government to visit Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during the current crisis.
Both warned, war could challenge Europe's future.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, Ukrainian President (through translator): This is not going to be a war of Ukraine and Russia.
This is going to be a European war, a full-fledged war.
BORIS JOHNSON, British Prime Minister: Yes, of course, it's about Ukraine, and that matters deeply to us.
But this is about something even bigger, I'm afraid.
It's about the whole European security architecture.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Over the last few months, the Europeans emphasized a unified front against Russia, amongst themselves and with their American counterparts.
But French President Emmanuel Macron, who has spoken to Putin twice in four days, endorses E.U.
talks with Russia, instead of U.S.-Russia talks.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who talked to Putin today, has downplayed the Russian threat.
Germany sent Ukraine helmets, but refuses to send weapons, and publicly declines to threaten to kill the German-Russian pipeline Nord Stream 2 in case of invasion.
Meanwhile, the NATO countries along Russia's border, including the Baltics and Poland, lend their full support.
Today, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki criticized Germany for giving Putin leverage over Europe.
MATEUSZ MORAWIECKI, Prime Minister of Poland (through translator): By launching Nord Stream 2, Berlin is giving Putin the weapon which he will use to blackmail the whole of Europe.
NICK SCHIFRIN: For more on whether Europe is united in the face of Russian threats to Ukraine and NATO, we get two views.
Kasia (ph) Pisarska is chair of the Warsaw Security Forum, a NATO-sponsored organization that hosts high-level conferences on security.
She is also chair of the European Academy of Diplomacy and professor at the Warsaw School of Economics.
And Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff is vice president and director of the Berlin office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a think tank that promotes U.S.-European cooperation.
Welcome both to the "NewsHour."
Kasia Pisarska, let me start with you.
What is your reaction to what we just heard, those mixed messages from Vladimir Putin, on the one hand, endorsing the idea of diplomacy, but also saying the U.S. and NATO failed to meet his demands?
KATARZYNA PISARSKA, Warsaw Security Forum: Well, let's be honest.
It's not been a good week for Vladimir Putin.
This past few days, we have seen unprecedented unity on the side of many NATO member states, for the first time really trying to put together sanctions that would hurt.
From the United Kingdom declaring that it will sanction oligarchs, Russian oligarchs living in the U.K., and nothing is off the table here, to Denmark, or, of course, the Baltic states, Poland already sending arms to Ukraine.
So Vladimir Putin sees that the Western alliance, that the NATO allegiance is extremely serious.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, is that how you see it, Western unity in the face of Russian aggression?
THOMAS KLEINE-BROCKHOFF, German Marshall Fund: Well, that Europeans disagreed with each other would be nothing unusual.
That's what happens all the time at -- the European Union is a compromise machine to deal with it.
The unusual thing now is, indeed, as Kasia said, unity.
Folks sing from the same song sheet, and I think that is what Vladimir Putin achieved with his threat.
And, in some ways, that may not be what he expected, what he expected to hear.
Now, there is nuances.
There always will be nuances.
But the big message is that I think Western countries, European countries have understood what this is about and what the threat is.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Kasia Pisarska, but are there not differences?
We have Germany, for example, not sending weapons to Ukraine, refusing to publicly say that Nord Stream 2 would be canceled in the face of invasion, while, as you said, the U.K. and eastern flank countries are supporting Ukraine military and trying to publicly support Zelensky himself in Kyiv.
KATARZYNA PISARSKA: I say this with great regret sitting here in Warsaw, that Germany has lost an incredible chance for its foreign policy, for the new government's foreign policy to really stand up to the challenge.
I do agree.
And this is also the assessment, the regional assessment, not only here in Warsaw, but also in Bucharest, in the Baltic states, and surely in Ukraine, that, because of fears, lack of public support, some historical issues, it has not taken the challenge of actually leading the European Union in responding to this crisis.
This is a stark contrast to what Angela Merkel has been doing for many years.
And it was her very clear stance on the annexation of Crimea in 2014 that allowed the E.U.
to create a package of sanctions that we expanded in 2015 and actually sustained these sanctions over the long term.
This leadership is missed.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, is that how you see it?
Germany has failed to lead?
THOMAS KLEINE-BROCKHOFF: Here's where the nuances that I talked about come in.
It is true that this is a new government that hasn't found its footing yet.
This is a government -- this is a German government that he comes in as a domestic reform government with a fragile coalition.
And now they are being -- they're catching up to reality, that there is a reality beyond their nice program of industrial transformation.
All of a sudden, foreign policy intrudes into their plans, and they are not prepared for that.
And it is no surprise, certainly not to me, that Germany is not hawkish, is not forward-leaning when it comes to Russia.
But make no mistake.
This government will be part of the Western alliance should Vladimir Putin move.
And they will be part of a sanctions regime.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Kasia Pisarska, I wonder if we could talk about France and Italy.
We have seen the leaders of those countries speaking directly with Vladimir Putin over the last few days, including Macron twice in the last four days.
Is there a difference between the diplomacy that they are trying to engage with Russia and the more forcible stance that the Brits, that the Poles have taken with Ukraine?
KATARZYNA PISARSKA: Absolutely.
From a Central European perspective, there are fears -- and some of these are legitimate fears -- that France will be soft on Russia and Italy will be soft on Russia, much softer if there is no real threat for Vladimir Putin in terms of large costs, sanctions, and also, most importantly, those type of actions that would hurt oligarchs and Putin's money that is in different places around the West.
Then he will probably see this as weakness, and will -- that will only give a reason for him to move forward into Ukraine.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, is there softness, is there a weakness that you see in France and perhaps other countries, including Italy?
THOMAS KLEINE-BROCKHOFF: First, these are 30 countries in NATO that heads of state and heads of government talk independently with Mr. Putin, is their right.
It is just important that we all sing from the same song sheet.
Unfortunately, with Mr. Macron.
We don't know about his song sheet.
We don't know what he's -- there's been no pre-briefings.
There's been no post-briefings.
This is what concerns me.
Mr. Macron has talked about the need for a new European security architecture just a few days ago, at a time when Mr. Putin is threatening that very architecture.
So, one would -- one would wonder what that conversation would have to be like.
So, I'm waiting for him to give us a readout of it, just as we have expected and received from our American friends to be -- that to be the case.
Mr. Macron is the president of the European Council at the moment, so he has every right to move forward, but he needs to communicate with the rest of us.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Kasia Pisarska, Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, thank you very much to you both.
JUDY WOODRUFF: With hundreds of thousands of Americans contracting COVID every day, health officials worry many more people could end up suffering from so-called long COVID, the mysterious ailment that can affect the body and the mind for months, sometimes longer, after an initial infection.
William Brangham has a look at the latest research on the disorder, beginning with a perspective from a long COVID survivor and advocate.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Judy, one of the largest grassroots support groups for people suffering with long-COVID is called Survivor Corps.
It has roughly 200,000 members.
Diana Berrent founded the group after her own bout with long-COVID, and she shared with us the harsh reality for those in her community.
DIANA BERRENT, Founder, Survivor Corps: Our members are going through hell.
Just surviving COVID doesn't mean recovery from COVID.
And they are experiencing things as dramatic as Parkinsonian-like tremors, and feelings of inner vibrations that are causing them to not be able to sleep, extreme neuropathic pain that mimics advanced diabetes.
We are getting suicide threats daily.
People are losing hope.
I'm overwhelmed with fear about the sheer number of people who have been affected by COVID.
And the more we realize that it is also a neurological disease, it really should put the fear of God into everybody.
My biggest fear, that is, in 10 years, we see a group of 30-year-olds coming -- being diagnosed with neurodegenerative diseases, and we are not tracking them.
We have no registry.
And we have no road to therapeutics or treatments.
My 11-year-old lost one of his front adult teeth, nine months after COVID, an average, mild case of kid COVID.
There is no mild case of COVID.
One of his front adult teeth fell out, unprompted, with no blood loss, from vascular damage to COVID.
Even if you have already had COVID and you have recovered, even if you have had COVID and been boosted, you are still at risk of getting it again.
Our members are suffering.
They need help.
They need treatments.
They need therapeutics.
And we need to make sure that science is moving at warp speed to treat these people.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: There are researchers trying to zero in on this problem.
In fact, a new study just came out that offers several factors that might predict who might end up developing long COVID.
Dr. Jason Goldman is an infectious disease expert at Swedish Health Services in Seattle and a lead author of that study.
Dr. Goldman, it's very, very good to have you on the "NewsHour."
We just heard from Diana Berrent expressing this concern about how difficult this condition is.
And so, if someone is out there listening to this and thinking that they might have symptoms of long COVID, can you tell us a little bit about the symptoms that you saw and that you have studied in your work?
DR. JASON GOLDMAN, Swedish Health Services: Thank you, William.
We're seeing a whole host of symptoms in patients after they have COVID, and some of the most common symptoms are fatigue, sometimes muscle or joint pains, or other aches, and also respiratory symptoms, cough, shortness of breath.
These are some of the most common, but there are also other symptoms like depression and anxiety, that patients are suffering from following a diagnosis of COVID.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And that's got to be complicated too, because those symptoms seem to overlap with so many different conditions that could afflict people.
DR. JASON GOLDMAN: Exactly.
This syndrome of long COVID is complex.
It affects nearly all organ systems.
And there's also an overlay of psychosocial factors and really the collective trauma we have been experiencing.
So it's very hard to tease the biology out with such a complicated syndrome, but that's what we're intending to do.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So your study identified four possible characteristics that might predict whether or not someone develops long COVID.
Can you just explain briefly what those were, those four items were?
DR. JASON GOLDMAN: Sure.
The four factors that we studied that were measured at the time of acute COVID diagnosis that later predict the development of long COVID were, one, the president of autoantibodies.
These are the proteins that the body makes against self that are pathogenic and cause diseases like lupus.
The second was the president of SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID, in the bloodstream at the time of acute diagnosis.
The next one was another virus called Epstein-Barr virus, which is the common cause of mono.
And the last one was type 2 diabetes.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Of those four factors, do they provide some insight into treatment of this?
I mean, some of those things seem like things you might be able to predict or treat or address.
Do they offer a pathway forward for addressing, for treating this condition?
DR. JASON GOLDMAN: That's a really great question, William.
We're very hopeful that our work will be a foundation for developing treatments.
The one that I'm most excited about is the finding that the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the bloodstream predicts long COVID.
This has implications for treating with antivirals.
Now, we're not quite there yet, because the data doesn't support that treating with antivirals prevents long COVID.
But that's a sort of a next step.
And we're in some ways getting some of this data, but it's going to be coming slowly.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We know that this -- that long COVID can present in people in many, many different ways, mild cases or more severe cases.
Does your research indicate which of those four categories might put someone into the more severe vs. the mild category?
DR. JASON GOLDMAN: Well, it's already known that more severe initial forms of COVID at the time of acute diagnosis also translates to more long COVID.
So, for instance, someone who spends a couple of weeks on a ventilator, that person is going to have tissue damage in the lung from the ventilator and just that long period of inactivity.
So, we know that certain forms of long COVID are going to be associated with severity.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And I would assume, then, that vaccination status also makes a difference, that being vaccinated automatically will reduce your symptoms if you do you get infected and do have a breakthrough case, thus offering you more protection from long COVID?
Is that a fair statement?
DR. JASON GOLDMAN: Well, the jury's still out on that one, William, because there's been some conflicting results in the scientific literature on this point.
One study found that vaccination did reduce the incidence of long COVID.
Another study found that there was really no differences.
And we know that some people, even with mild or asymptomatic initial infections, can get long COVID.
So a lot of the vaccine breakthrough cases are more mild, but we just don't know quite yet if -- how that vaccination status is going to impact on long COVID.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Dr. Jason Goldman at Swedish Health Services, thank you very much for being here.
DR. JASON GOLDMAN: Thank you so much.
JUDY WOODRUFF: New reporting indicates former President Donald Trump attempted to use federal agencies to seize voting machines after the 2020 presidential election.
Geoff Bennett has more.
GEOFF BENNETT: Judy, The New York Times is reporting that, six weeks after the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump directed his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to ask the Department of Homeland Security if it could take possession of voting machines in key swing states.
Now, this is just the latest in a string of revelations about the former president's aggressive efforts to overturn the election he lost.
It is also at the heart of what the January 6 Committee is investigating, says Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): This president clearly tried to overthrow a presidential election.
He's the first president in American history to do it.
So, our committee is charged with telling America the truth.
And we're going to get that truth out there in very vivid and fine-grained detail, so America understands exactly what happened.
GEOFF BENNETT: To walk us through all of this, I'm joined by one of The New York Times reporters who broke the story, Luke Broadwater, New York Times congressional correspondent.
Luke, it's great to have you with us.
Help us understand how this new reporting advances our knowledge about the former president's efforts, his aggressive efforts to overturn the election he lost.
LUKE BROADWATER, The New York Times: Sure.
We have known for some time that there was a plot among Trump allies to try to take control of voting machines in the weeks after the election that President Trump lost.
What's new about this reporting is that it shows what President Trump did with that information.
Now, there was this meeting on December 18 in the White House, where a Trump lawyer named Sidney Powell, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and others entered the White House into the Oval Office and pitched President Trump on these executive orders, these plans to seize voting machines.
But what's new here is that Donald Trump then took another step after that.
He didn't just hear the people out or show interest in it.
He -- one, he directed his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to contact the Department of Homeland Security to see if they could, in fact, seize voting machines.
And then he also asked his attorney general, Bill Barr, whether the Justice Department could seize voting machines.
So this shows he tried to attempt to two different branches of government to enact this plan to take control of voting machines in six different states.
GEOFF BENNETT: And, based on your reporting, Barr immediately shot the idea down.
How does this put into a new light Barr's decision that same month to resign?
LUKE BROADWATER: Yes, I mean, I think that Bill Barr was at his -- perhaps at his wit's end there at the end of the Trump administration.
As you know, he was involved in pushing back against some of these very dangerous plans to try to overturn the election.
And, in fact, he came out and made a public statement saying that the Justice Department had found no fraud whatsoever in the election, or at least no widespread fraud in the election.
And he had also rejected the attempts to appointed Sidney Powell, the pro-Trump lawyer who was encouraging the seizures, as a special counsel for the White House to oversee these plans.
So I do think that this affected in some ways Bill Barr's thinking in those final days of the Trump administration.
GEOFF BENNETT: Luke, do you know where this idea to seize voting machines originated?
LUKE BROADWATER: Well, it's hard to credit it to one person, but it does seem like a retired colonel named Phil Waldron down in Texas, who was a contact of Mike Flynn and of Sidney Powell, was the first person to start really promoting this idea that there was so much widespread fraud, that China had interfered in the election, was flipping votes of voting machines, all sorts of crazy, really insane plans, and that the only remedy of trying to fix these things was to basically rerun the election, have the National Guard come in, seize voting machines.
And so he then contacts General Flynn.
He contacts Sidney Powell.
Eventually, they get their way into the White House.
They actually show up unannounced.
They have a low-level staffer swipe them in.
That staffer's privileges are then revoked after this meeting.
Mark Meadows, the chief of staff, revokes this staffer's privileges to let people in the White House.
But I think it shows how some of these far -- these really crazy ideas that most people would discount have found an audience with President Trump.
GEOFF BENNETT: And fast forward to the present moment.
The former president is still focused on the 2020 election, still pushing the false notion that former Vice President Mike Pence had the power and authority to overturn the election.
And then there are President Trump's comments at a rally this past weekend, where he appeared to dangle the prospects of pardons for January 6 rioters.
DONALD TRUMP, Former President of the United States: If I run and if I win, we will treat those people from January 6 fairly.
We will treat them fairly.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) DONALD TRUMP: And, if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons, because they are being treated so unfairly.
GEOFF BENNETT: So, in many ways, it suggests that the conspiracy to undermine or completely overturn the election didn't end on January 6.
In many ways, this is still ongoing.
LUKE BROADWATER: Yes.
I was talking with several members of the January 6 Committee throughout the day today.
And all of them pointed to those remarks over this -- over the weekend, that, in some ways, former President Trump just admitted the very things that they're trying to uncover.
One, he stated openly he was trying to overturn the election.
Two, he floated pardons for people who attacked the Capitol.
And, three, he said, if he's charged with a crime, that he would hold huge rallies and protests again, almost as a threat against investigators.
So, when you hear those things, and you see the lengths the former president was going to go to, to cling to power, whether it was the seizure of voting machines, or having a massive rally on January 6 to pressure Mike Pence, or put forward fake slates of electors from different states, all these different avenues were part of what could say -- what one could say is a was a large plot with many different pieces in place to try to overturn the election.
And sort of, when one avenue failed, President Trump then turned to another one.
GEOFF BENNETT: Luke Broadwater, I appreciate you joining us.
LUKE BROADWATER: Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Silicon Valley is home to some of the world's largest technology giants, Intel, Apple, and Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
Democratic Representative Ro Khanna represents that influential and wealthy part of California in Congress, and in his new book, "Dignity in a Digital Age," he says tech companies should stop concentrating their jobs in cities like San Francisco, and create employment opportunities across the entire country.
And Congressman Ro Khanna joins us now.
Thank you for being here.
Congratulations on the book.
I mean, I say, you know, the book is all about democratizing the digital world, but I was struck because you say at the outset your main aspiration is to lessen some of the bitterness within our country.
What are you referring to there?
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Judy, the young folks in my district are very optimistic about America, $11 trillion of market cap.
It's gone up 40 percent in the two years during the pandemic.
Apple has gone from $1 trillion to $3 trillion.
The young folks have robotics workshops in their garages.
But, for a lot of America, the new economy hasn't worked.
It's meant jobs going offshore, deindustrialization, people buying one-way tickets out of their hometown.
And I believe, to reduce some of the division, we have to bring the opportunities of the modern economy to communities left out, so people can prosper without leaving their hometowns.
And so, when Silicon Valley prospers, Youngstown, Ohio, or Beckley, West Virginia, could prosper, and that there's more interconnection in our economy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Dig into that a little further, because people -- again, people look at you.
You represent, as we said, this -- these powerful tech giants.
And yet you're saying the wealth needs to be spread around, that the work should be done across the nation.
What's the logic here?
REP. RO KHANNA: Well, look, Judy, let me give you a very concrete example, Intel.
Now, they could have put more fabs to make semiconductors in my district.
They made a decision to invest in New Albany, Ohio.
I was just talking to Pat, the CEO of Intel, today, and he said it's not just the economics of it, about creating 3,000 manufacturing jobs and 7,000 construction jobs.
There's something cultural going on, the excitement there, the enthusiasm for an economic revival.
And that's what we need to discuss.
It's not that these tech jobs are, go become a coder for Google, or turn coal miners into software engineers.
There are going to be 25 million of these digital jobs.
They intersect with the manufacturing and construction jobs of the future.
And we have got to bring these jobs and opportunities to places that have been totally left out and deindustrialized if we hope to have a comeback in those areas.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You weave several themes into the book, and one of the things you talk about is, we need an Internet bill of rights.
I think a lot of us have heard about that, but what does it really mean?
REP. RO KHANNA: Judy, it's a couple of simple principles.
First, before your data is collected, you should have to say, I'm OK with that.
Right now, people click through these long agreements, and their data is used.
And it's used to target individuals and to make decisions about what you see, without people knowing about it.
The second part of an Internet bill of rights is, we have to deal with a lot of the misinformation online.
I mean, there should be basic standards.
You can't be a company and sell a product, for example, that's causing teenage depression, in the case of Instagram.
You shouldn't be able to put out information that is telling people don't take vaccines and causing a public health crisis.
I don't think there should be the same standards as broadcast journalism.
But, certainly, there should be some standards.
You can't just say whatever you want online, and think there's no repercussion.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You also write about what you have described as progressive capitalism.
How does that relate?
How -- first of all, what does it mean?
And then how does it relate to everything else you're saying here?
REP. RO KHANNA: It relates in terms of the sense of the Silicon Valley entrepreneur as self-made.
And they are self-made in a sense.
They haven't inherited millions of dollars.
But they come with certain good fortune.
They tend to be young people who are born to middle-class or upper-middle-class families, and they tend to have health care.
They have an education.
They grow up in safe neighborhoods.
And they have the freedom to take risks, the freedom to fail and still have a safety net.
Progressive capitalism, to me, means you want innovation, you want entrepreneurship, but you want everyone to have that basic health care, education, and you want an inclusivity when it comes to race and gender, which, frankly, Silicon Valley has failed at.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In connection with that, and this other theme of, frankly, trying to even the playing field, you talk about creating a national digital corps of young people who would go and live in different parts of the country for up to six months.
Why would that -- why would that accomplish what you're trying to do, or how would it accomplish... REP. RO KHANNA: Well, Judy, let me give you an example of Claflin, a great HBCU in South Carolina.
And they wanted to have a partnership with tech companies.
They kept sending 4.0 students and resumes, and they weren't getting hired.
And it turns out that those students were not getting the training on the interview techniques and whiteboard interviews.
Now, when you have young people actually working with them, they actually got jobs and opportunities.
So, I think we have all of these folks who want to give back.
It's not them telling communities what they want to do, but if they work with communities and listen to those communities' aspirations, that could actually help move the needle forward.
JUDY WOODRUFF: How much of what you're asking for here needs congressional approval?
And what makes you think that can happen in this current divided environment, which is what you do write about?
REP. RO KHANNA: A lot of what I'm talking about does need congressional action.
There is hope.
I mean, with the Intel example in Ohio, the CHIPS Act, which would give funding for semiconductor manufacturing in the United States, actually has passed the Senate.
We're hoping to take it up in the House this week or next.
I believe that will get to the president's desk, along with the Innovation and Competition Act, which I worked with Senator Schumer and bipartisan, to build technology in the United States.
So there is a place where we have hope of actual action.
On the Internet bill of rights, candidly, Judy, it's been much harder, but here's why I think, ultimately, Congress will face the pressure.
They're going to hear from parents that they don't want their kids being manipulated on Instagram, and they don't want teenagers facing anxiety, depression, and even suicide.
They're going to hear from constituents that it's wrong to have anti-vax information circulating on the Internet.
And they're going to hear from Americans that these institutions, if unchecked, are harming our democracy.
These are the modern town halls.
This is the modern digital sphere.
And we can't just cede the construction of that to Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey.
As Americans, we want to construct it.
That's the purpose of Congress.
And it would be awfully sad if we don't ultimately do our job.
I think people are realizing, this is not tech policy (INAUDIBLE) policy.
This is, what do you want 21st century American democracy to look like, and are we up to that task?
JUDY WOODRUFF: Congressman Ro Khanna, Democrat of California.
The book is "Dignity in a Digital Age: Making Tech Work for All of Us."
Congressman, thank you very much.
We appreciate it.
REP. RO KHANNA: Thank you, Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Tom Brady is often called the greatest quarterback who ever played in the NFL.
His retirement today marks the end of a football era.
Jeffrey Brown has this look at Brady's long career.
JEFFREY BROWN: Things ended up working pretty well for Tom Brady in the NFL, but it had an unlikely start, when the University of Michigan quarterback wasn't taken until the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft by the New England Patriots, the 199th player chosen.
But just a year later, the 24-year-old Brady stepped in for injured quarterback Drew Bledsoe, and the rest is sports history.
In 20 dominating seasons with the Patriots, and two more with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady rewrote the record book.
ANNOUNCER: Here's Brady's pass.
JEFFREY BROWN: Ten Super Bowl appearances, seven titles and five MVP Awards.
He was the league MVP three times, made 15 Pro Bowls, and finished his career first in NFL history in touchdown passes, overall completions and passing yards.
He had an uncanny ability to see the field and rise to the moment.
TOM BRADY, Former NFL Football Player: Certainly, on the field, there's a lot of pressurized moments.
There's a lot of moments where you have got to make the critical play.
That's what I always wanted to be to my teammates, someone that, when they look in my eyes at the critical moments, they know that they can believe in me.
And they know that I can get the job done.
JEFFREY BROWN: There were controversies, most famously, Deflategate, but, overall, a Brady highlight reel would take more than our hour.
Among the tops?
ANNOUNCER: Patriots win the Super Bowl!
JEFFREY BROWN: Super Bowl 51, when Brady led the Patriots, trailing by 25 points in the third quarter, to an overtime win against the Atlanta Falcons.
TOM BRADY: The lows of not playing great, to the highs of playing great and then, finally, at the end it was just a great way to finish.
So, to celebrate with my teammates, and then to see my family it was just a night I will never forget.
ANNOUNCER: Brady looking the other way, Brady going deep down the right sideline for Evans!
He makes the catch!
He's in for the score!
JEFFREY BROWN: He almost did it again in what will now be his last game, rallying Tampa Bay from a 24-point deficit against Los Angeles in this year's playoffs, before the Rams pulled it out.
Brady announced his retirement today on social media, saying, in part: "I have loved my NFL career.
It's been a thrilling ride, and far beyond my imagination."
One person who saw many of those Tom Brady highlights is Al Michaels.
He will call this year's Super Bowl on NBC on February 13.
It'll be Al Michaels' 11th Super Bowl.
And that's tying Pat Summerall for the most all time.
So, I will start by saying, congratulations to you.
AL MICHAELS, NBC Sports: Well, thank you, Jeffrey.
I can't believe it's gone by so fast.
I did my first one in 1988 in San Diego, and it's gone by at warp speed.
And when they say time flies when you're having fun, I have had a lot of fun.
JEFFREY BROWN: Well, let me get this out of the way right at the top, because this idea of greatest of all time is very subjective.
Where do you come out on this one?
AL MICHAELS: You know, I always say, I put somebody in the conversation.
When they say, is he see the best ever, I normally say, he's in the conversation, because it is very subjective and people have different viewpoints.
There are different generations.
It's tough to match up what happened in the '40s with what happened in the '90s and in the 21st century.
But in this particular case, I think I have got to finally admit that he is the greatest of all time.
And I think one of the reasons would be, when you win seven Super Bowls, and you go to three others, and you play in a league with 32 teams, the law of averages says you should win seven Super Bowls in over 200 years.
He did it in two decades.
So, I'm putting him on top.
JEFFREY BROWN: I'm thinking of the non-sports audience, the non-football audience.
You know that any NFL quarterback is an elite athlete, right, just to get there.
And, then, what is it that makes somebody the elite of the elite?
What did Tom Brady have or what did he see that was different from others?
AL MICHAELS: Well, I think he was driven.
A lot of those quarterbacks are.
There's no doubt about that.
He was completely invested.
I think, as his career went along, he was enjoying it maybe more than ever toward the end.
And I think he was driven by this -- by whatever it was inside of him to keep it going, to never let people down, in particular, his teammates, to try to get better.
And coaches are always saying and players are always saying, we're trying to get better.
And a lot of times, it's pretty much empty talk.
They're trying to get better, but they're doing other things as well.
With Brady, he truly was trying to get better.
He understood every aspect of the game inside out.
He was matched up with a great coach, obviously, in Bill Belichick.
And I think that Tom, having obviously some fine physical skills -- but plenty of quarterbacks do -- and maybe he was just a touch above in his dedication to the game, the dedication to his craft, the way he took care of his body, and, obviously, the way he performed.
JEFFREY BROWN: You clearly saw a lot of great performances.
Is there a personal highlight you want to give to us?
AL MICHAELS: Well, I did a lot of his great games.
The one game I didn't do, though, is the Super Bowl where he's down 28-3 and he leads them to an overtime victory against the Atlanta Falcons.
But I wound up doing his very last game a couple of weeks ago, the divisional playoff in Tampa against the Rams.
The game is over.
It looks like it's over at 27-3.
And I'm kidding around with the audience, saying, don't touch that dial, to try to keep the audience.
And then I said, just before halftime, if I'm Brady, I go into the locker room and I say: Hey, guys, let me tell you a bedtime story.
I was once down 28-3, and we won the game.
And, sure enough, they tie the game at 27 all.
And it looks like, if he's going to ride off into the sunset, he has another game to ride off in, and maybe another Super Bowl.
But, of course, the Rams won that game.
Still, I think back.
That's as fond a memory as I will have of Tom Brady, his last game.
Everybody thinks they're dead.
All of a sudden, he comes from behind, puts them in a position to win the game, and almost pulls it off.
JEFFREY BROWN: Now, let me ask you finally.
Playing to the age of 44, he is that rare athlete in any sport to excel at different times in his life, and then to play that long at such a high level.
How important was that when you consider his legacy?
AL MICHAELS: He's a freak.
He came from another planet.
You don't do this.
You don't play -- I mean, you can play until 44, and you're not going to look very good.
You play when you're 44, you lead the league in touchdown passes, passing yardage, set a record for most completions, almost get your team into the conference championship game, that's otherworldly.
That's from some other place.
I don't know where that comes from.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Al Michaels on the extraordinary career of Tom Brady, thanks very much.
AL MICHAELS: Thank you, Jeffrey.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And thank you both, Jeffrey Brown and Al Michaels.
And Tom Brady came from another planet.
Another football story broke after Jeff recorded that conversation.
The former head coach of the Miami Dolphins Brian Flores is suing the NFL, alleging that teams discriminate against Black coaches.
Flores was fired by the Dolphins after a second straight winning season and was passed over for a head coaching job with the New York Giants.
That job went to a white coach.
And that's the "NewsHour" for tonight.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
Join us online and again here tomorrow evening.
For all of us at the "PBS NewsHour," thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon.