GEOFF BENNETT: Good evening.
I'm Geoff Bennett.
AMNA NAWAZ: And I'm Amna Nawaz.
On the "NewsHour" tonight: Congressional leaders hit pause on negotiations to raise the debt limit, with time quickly running out to make a deal.
GEOFF BENNETT: President Biden says the U.S. will help train Ukrainians on F-16 fighter jets that allies plan to provide in the fight against Russia.
AMNA NAWAZ: And Syria is welcomed back to an alliance of Arab nations after years of brutal civil war orchestrated by the Assad regime.
RANDA SLIM, Middle East Institute: The message from these key Arab countries to the American administration -- and is also to the European - - is, you have followed your strategy of sanctions, of isolation of the regime.
Well, it hasn't worked.
(BREAK) GEOFF BENNETT: Welcome to the "NewsHour."
The high-stakes debt ceiling talks in Washington are now on hold, and its unclear when they will resume.
House Republicans called a halt today to negotiations with the White House on raising the debt limit and curbing spending.
AMNA NAWAZ: The Republican speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, said its time for a pause.
McCarthy told reporters there's been no movement by the White House on reining in spending.
A White House official said further talks will be difficult.
The deadline for preventing a possible national default is less than two weeks away.
GEOFF BENNETT: Meantime, a National Guardsman in Massachusetts accused of leaking secret documents will stay in jail awaiting trial.
A federal magistrate judge today ordered Jack Teixeira to remain behind bars.
Prosecutors argued he is a flight risk.
Teixeira is charged with sharing highly classified material in an online chat room.
The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, made a surprise trip to the Middle East today to win support in the war against Russia.
He arrived in Saudi Arabia for the Arab League Summit and met with its leaders.
Later, he warned against turning a blind eye to Russia's actions.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, Ukrainian President: I'm more than sure that none of you will agree to surrender a third of your country to the invaders.
And I'm more than sure none of you would watch without a fight how foreigners steal the children of your people.
GEOFF BENNETT: Also today, Moscow put a prosecutor for the International Criminal Court on a wanted list.
Karim Khan had prepared an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It accuses him of war crimes.
The U.S., British and French naval commanders in the Middle East sailed into the Persian Gulf together today, in a message to Iran.
They passed through the Strait of Hormuz on an American destroyer.
Iran seized two oil tankers there in recent weeks.
As the USS Paul Hamilton made its transit today, patrol boats from Iran's Revolutionary Guard approached.
They kept their distance and there was no confrontation.
Iran has executed three more men linked to last year's anti-government protests.
They were accused of killing a police officer and two members of a paramilitary group.
Human rights groups said they were tortured.
Officially, Iran has put to death a total of seven people over the protests, but the real number could be higher.
In Pakistan, confusion reigned in the standoff between former prime minister Imran Khan and police.
At one point, inspectors entered his residential compound in Lahore, but there were conflicting accounts on whether he allowed them to carry out a search.
Khan has denied harboring suspects linked to violent unrest.
Back in this country, a funeral was held for Jordan Neely, the New York City man who was choked to death on a subway car.
Family and friends paid respects at a Harlem church.
The Reverend Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy and demanded help for people like Neely.
AL SHARPTON, Civil Rights Activist: We keep criminalizing people with mental illness.
People keep criminalizing people that need help.
They don't need abuse.
They need help.
GEOFF BENNETT: Daniel Penny put Neely in a choke hold after he'd been yelling at passengers, and is now charged with manslaughter.
And on Wall Street, new doubts about the debt ceiling talks dampened any momentum.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 109 points to close at 33426.
The Nasdaq fell 31 points.
The S&P 500 slipped six.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": a new book details how the U.S. Supreme Court's shadow docket shapes American law; the legacy of NFL legend and activist Jim Brown; David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart weigh in on the week's political headlines; and actor Michael J.
Fox discusses a documentary on his career and his battle with Parkinson's.
AMNA NAWAZ: White House officials say the Biden administration will approve European allies providing American-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.
The U.S. will also support a joint effort to train Ukrainian pilots to operate them.
Ukraine has been asking for those F-16s since early in the war with Russia.
Up until now, the U.S. has refused.
For more on this policy reversal and what these jets mean for the war, we turn to retired Lieutenant General Doug Lute.
He had a 35-year career in the Army and served on the National Security Council for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
He was also the U.S. ambassador to NATO during the Obama administration.
General Lute, as you know, the U.S. had previously said providing those F-16s could be provocative.
They also said the Ukraine didn't necessarily need that specific military capability.
So what changed?
LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE (RET.
), Former U.S.
Ambassador to NATO: Well, look, you're right that this has long been on the list of requirements from the Ukrainian government to the 50-nation coalition that has been providing military support.
But you're also right that we have not to date agreed to this requirement up, in part because we're concerned about provoking Russia.
But the longer pattern here over the last 15 months of this war is that, time and again, Russia has told us, don't do something, it will be provocative, and we will respond.
We eventually do it, whether it's long-range rocket systems, tanks, Patriot air defense systems, and now F-16s, only to see that Russia does not have the capability to actually do much about it.
AMNA NAWAZ: Do you think the U.S. or the allies should have provided these F-16s earlier?
Would it have made a difference in the war?
LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: Well, I think, certainly, given the hindsight of the last 15 months, these would have been much -- very much useful over the last year or so.
And, frankly, the Ukrainians have been suffering from an imbalance in manned aircraft, where the Russians have a distinct advantage.
So this decision now to provide aircraft and provide the training required really addresses that imbalance.
And I think it's one of the last remaining imbalances, frankly, in the favor of the Russians.
AMNA NAWAZ: So what does this allow the Ukrainians to do specifically in the war that they couldn't do before?
LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: Well, the F-16 provides two key capabilities.
First of all, on the offensive side, it can provide precision close air support to ground troops, and that will be very important as the Ukrainians take the offensive this year and into next year.
The second thing it can do on the offensive side is provide deep fires.
This is fires well into the depth beyond the front lines into occupied Ukraine, where Ukraine can increasingly hit Russian command-and-control sites, Russian headquarters, Russian logistics sites in bases deep into -- deep into occupied Ukraine, for example, even into Crimea and into the waters of the Black Sea.
On the defensive side, these aircraft are also important, because they can take on the Russian manned aircraft, but also, very important, they can attack the Russian cruise missiles which have been striking Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.
So, both on the offensive side and the defensive side, the F-16 could really make a difference.
AMNA NAWAZ: What about training Ukrainian pilots to use them?
There was a report this week, based on some U.S. Air Force internal documents, that said the U.S. could probably train Ukrainian pilots to fly those F-16s in as little as four months.
Do you see that happening?
LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: Well, I will leave it to the experts who actually fly F-16s to make that declaration.
But four to six months seems reasonable to me.
And we have been increasingly, over time, surprised time and again by the ability of the Ukrainians to adopt new systems which are technically very sophisticated, difficult to maintain.
But they have proved adept at accepting these new systems from the Western coalition and making good use of them on the battlefield.
So my bet here is on the Ukrainians.
AMNA NAWAZ: So if these jets could potentially allow Ukraine to claim back some of that territory by Russia, Donbass and Crimea, in particular, does that translate to ending the war on terms more acceptable to Ukraine?
LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: Well, it moves us in that direction.
But, to be clear, Amna, this is not going to happen this year, when you add the four to six months of training with the delivery process of the aircraft themselves.
And remember, it's not just the aircraft.
You have to deliver a maintenance capability to keep the aircraft flying.
That really means that it is unlikely that this decision today is going to make a meaningful difference on the battlefield this year.
AMNA NAWAZ: General Lute, we know we have been anticipating a spring Ukrainian counteroffensive for a while.
What can you tell us about that?
And why haven't we seen that launched yet?
LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: Well, we, as Americans, tend to be impatient on these things.
We want to see it in the next news cycle or something, right?
But, look, the Ukrainian commanders are amassing forces.
They're marshaling their resources.
They have amassed, created nine new maneuver brigades.
Think of a brigade as 4,000 to 5,000 new troops, armed with new equipment, trained together, ready to go on the offensive.
And now, because they have the initiative, the Ukrainian commanders can pick the timing and the location and the method of attack, all to their advantage.
And they're waiting for that moment.
Again, my confidence is in the Ukrainians, who have proved time and again that they understand this battlefield.
It is after all, Ukraine.
This is a home court advantage for the Ukrainians.
And they will pick the time and place that's right and most advantageous for the offensive.
AMNA NAWAZ: That is retired Lieutenant General Doug Lute joining us tonight.
General Lute, always good to speak with you.
GEOFF BENNETT: Ukrainian President Zelenskyy's surprise visit to the Arab League was not the only focus of that gathering today.
There was another attendee whose presence sparked outrage the world over.
Twelve years ago, the people of Syria rose up against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, as the Arab Spring uprising swept the Middle East.
Assad proceeded to kill, bomb, starve, poison, and brutalize his people, and does still.
He became an international pariah.
Now he's being welcomed back into the Arab League, a group that suspended Syria from its ranks back in 2011.
Stephanie Sy has the report.
STEPHANIE SY: With a warm hug and kiss, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an accused war criminal behind thousands of indiscriminate killings of his own people, strode back into the good graces of the Arab League, hand-in-hand with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Arab leaders posed with Assad, signaling the end of over 12 years of isolation within the region.
Assad called it a historic opportunity.
BASHAR AL-ASSAD, President of Syria (through translator): We need to treat the cracks that have emerged on the Arab scene during the past decade, for the Arab League should restore its role in healing wounds, not deepening them.
STEPHANIE SY: But Syrians in rebel-held territories have not forgotten their wounds and the tens of thousands of dead sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, all under the direction of Bashar al-Assad.
They continue to protest and fight.
Twelve years ago, pro-democracy voices rose up against the dictatorial Assad family's rule.
Among them was Wafa Mustafa's father.
WAFA MUSTAFA, Syrian Activist: My father was a businessman, but he was also very passionate about politics.
He dared to express his mind and say that the current situation in Syria is not good and it needs to change.
STEPHANIE SY: Her father, Ali Mustafa, is one of hundreds of Syrians that have been forcibly disappeared by Assad's regime.
WAFA MUSTAFA: We do not even know if he's still alive or not.
We do not know if he's -- what he's accused of, where he's held or anything.
STEPHANIE SY: The family fled Syria in 2013 and is split between Germany and Canada.
WAFA MUSTAFA: No justice, no accountability, no courthouses, no lawyers.
No one can do anything.
STEPHANIE SY: Omar Alshogre can testify to that.
Now a human rights activist he was jailed in 2012, in the early days of Assad's crackdown on dissent.
OMAR ALSHOGRE, Syrian Activist: They tortured me for years.
I was forced to be imprisoned.
I was forced to look at my fingernails when they were pulling them out.
I was forced to see my cousin dying in my arms.
I was forced to beat my cousin.
Otherwise, we both would be executed.
STEPHANIE SY: Documented torture, chemical attacks and incalculable destruction are the hallmarks of the Assad regime.
OMAR ALSHOGRE: How would you feel if a government kills your father, kills your brothers and destroy your hometown, your school, the places where you're supposed to have very beautiful memories?
That's what the Syrian regime did to me.
And when the Syrian regime is welcomed back to its seat in the Arab League, I feel like the entire world is betraying.
STEPHANIE SY: That sentiment resounds across the Syrian diaspora.
MOUAZ MOUSTAFA, Founder, Syrian Emergency Task Force: And it only reminds me of, like, the worst moments in our history.
I mean, imagine a time where anyone was willing to normalize with someone like Hitler or someone Milosevic.
STEPHANIE SY: Mouaz Moustafa is the founder of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, an organization that provides aid in Northwest Syria, which is rebel-held.
Some of these regional powers that have decided to normalize, including UAE, including Saudi Arabia, are U.S. allies.
Has -- have you seen the U.S. use its leverage in any way in these negotiations?
MOUAZ MOUSTAFA: Well, I have to say they have not been nearly as vocal and not public in their condemnation of any efforts at normalization or reintegration of the Assad regime.
STEPHANIE SY: Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the administration is against the readmission of Syria to the Arab League.
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. Secretary of State: They have to make -- make their own decisions.
And our position is clear.
We are not going to be in the business of normalizing relations with Assad and with that regime.
STEPHANIE SY: But Moustafa says the Biden administration is guilty of putting Syria on the back burner.
He is hopeful that the U.S. Congress will act.
His group helped author the Assad Anti-Normalization Act, which has bipartisan support.
MOUAZ MOUSTAFA: This legislation really holds responsible some of these Arab countries and will hold them accountable if they support the Assad regime and his crimes, as they normalize relations with him.
STEPHANIE SY: Moustafa's organization runs Tomorrow's Dawn, a women's center in school for Syrians displaced by the war.
RASHA ALSHAHAD, Director, Tomorrow's Dawn Women's Center (through translator): There is no family in the liberated area or what used to be liberated area that did not taste death or loss or fear for their children.
STEPHANIE SY: Rasha Alshahad is the center's director.
She feels betrayed.
RASHA ALSHAHAD (through translator): They welcome him as though nothing has happened.
The bigger blame is on the Arab people who did not vehemently disagree with what was happening, allowing it to happen.
STEPHANIE SY: For their part, Arab leaders have been on the path to normalization for years.
But Saudi Arabia was the key to letting Assad through the door.
Randa Slim of the Middle East Institute says: RANDA SLIM, Middle East Institute: The rapprochement with Syria is very much part of their detente with Iran.
STEPHANIE SY: Saudi Arabia recently restored ties with Iran after seven years of estrangement, and Slim says Saudi Arabia needs regional stability to meet its economic aims.
The move is also an acknowledgment that Assad is not going anywhere, and regional actors need him to address issues of refugees, counterterrorism, and a drug trade sanctioned by Damascus.
RANDA SLIM: The message from the Arab -- from these key Arab countries is that -- to the American administration and is also to the European -- is, OK, you have followed your strategy of sanctions, of isolation of the regime.
Well, it hasn't worked.
Let us try our way.
Let us try to see if we can offer some carrots to Assad to help on all these issues that concern you.
STEPHANIE SY: But Slim says Assad's comeback is limited.
Not all Arab countries have welcomed the move.
RANDA SLIM: It's really not significant.
Look, having a seat in the Arab League is - - is really not that powerful.
After all, it's not a powerful organization.
It's very much symbolic.
STEPHANIE SY: For others, including Wafa Mustafa, the readmittance of Assad is significant.
She now worries even more about her father's fate.
WAFA MUSTAFA: Such a step will only make things worse for Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, but also for Syrians inside Syria.
And, most importantly, it will kill any hope for people like me that our loved ones might be freed one day.
STEPHANIE SY: This July will mark 10 years since she last saw her beloved father.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Stephanie Sy.
AMNA NAWAZ: A new book out this week explores the Supreme Court's growing influence on the country through a number of emergency actions on cases not on the official docket.
John Yang explains.
Many of us were taught in civics class that the Supreme Court is the court of last resort, that cases end up there after all other appeals have been exhausted.
But for the last decade or so, the court has gotten involved in cases while the appeals process is going on, either blocking or keeping in place policies on issues like abortion, immigration and COVID restrictions, often setting new principles without hearing arguments and without explaining their reasoning.
It's part of what's become known as the shadow docket, which is the title of a new book by Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor.
First off, I gave a very incomplete description of one small part of the shadow docket.
How -- explain what it is.
STEPHEN VLADECK, Author, "The Shadow Docket: How the Supreme Court Uses Stealth Rulings to Amass Power and Undermine the Republic": Yes.
I mean, so, it's an umbrella term, John, that basically describes everything the Supreme Court does, other than the 60 or so big merits rulings we get each term.
That's the ones that we're used to seeing big headlines about.
It's only about 1 percent of what the court does; 99 percent of the dispositive rulings the Supreme Court hands down are these unsigned, unexplained orders.
Most of them are anodyne.
But, increasingly, a lot of them are not.
JOHN YANG: You write that this began to take off in the '80s and '90s with death penalty cases.
Obviously, there's urgency there because they - - the executions are scheduled.
But you also say that it really accelerated and changed under the Trump administration.
STEPHEN VLADECK: That's right.
So the real sort of rise of what we think of as the modern flurry of this kind of emergency application, where the court is being asked to intervene early in a case and not as the court of last resort, starts with the reinstitution of the death penalty in the late '70s.
But, John, it stays over there in the death penalty space for the better part of 35 years.
You asked folks who clerked on the court in that period, and they will say, yes, we had death cases, but not these other ones.
What really shifts in the mid 2010s -- and President Trump's Justice Department is a big part of the cause of this shift -- is the court taken approaches that had become normalized in the death penalty context, full court decisions without oral argument, without a lot of briefing, with no explanation, and now applying it to whether particular immigration policies will be in effect or not while the case works its way through the courts, whether state abortion bans will be in effect or not, whether COVID vaccination mandates will be affected or not, having all of these monumental impacts on us out in the world, far more so than was ever true in the death penalty context.
JOHN YANG: What's wrong with it?
What's the problem with it?
STEPHEN VLADECK: So there's no problem in the abstract with the idea of the Supreme Court gets emergencies.
Any appellate court is going to have to have some mechanism for resolving those kinds of exigent cases.
The problem we have seen in the last five or six years is the way that justices are intervening.
They're intervening more often than ever before, with these broad impacts, without any real explanation, and perhaps, most significantly, John, in ways that actually aren't explainable by reference to any overarching neutral legal principle.
Instead, way too often, the best predictor of who's going to win a shadow docket application is the partisan valence of the dispute, where the justices seem to be siding with Trump policies, but against Biden policies, with red states, but against blue states, where the absence of any explanation deprives us of any reason to feel confident that there are neutral principles here at work, and not just political actors acting politically.
JOHN YANG: There was a recent "NewsHour"/NPR/Marist poll that found that 62 percent of those questions said they had not very much or no confidence in the court.
Is this part of that problem?
STEPHEN VLADECK: I think it is.
And, indeed, I think that these are both symptoms of the same disease, which is a court that is acting in lots of ways, whether it's with regard to emergency applications or ethics, in ways that are just unchecked, unexplained, un-transparent.
And, John, I think the most important part of that survey, of that statistic is that conservatives should be just as invested in public competence in the Supreme Court as progressives who are critical of it.
That's where I think this conversation needs to go.
It's a big part of what I hope the book will accomplish.
JOHN YANG: There have been a lot of calls for changes on the court, legislation introduced that there be a code of ethics, to expand the number of justices on the court, set an age limit.
What does meaningful -- a meaningful solution to the problems before the court, what would - - what does that look like?
STEPHEN VLADECK: I think that all starts from the same place.
And it starts from some kind of congressional effort to reassert even a modicum of institutional, not control, but responsibility for the court.
For the first 200 years that we had a Supreme Court, Congress was actively involved in regulating the court, in shaping its docket, in controlling its budget, in forcing the justices to go out on the road six months out of the year.
Until 1935, the court sat in the Capitol.
And so there really was this synergy, this dynamic between Congress and the court that has really fallen by the wayside.
Folks are going to have their own views on which reforms are the most important.
But I think the story has to start and the book tries to start with a question of Congress taking responsibility for what James Madison said, ambition must be made to counteract ambition.
There's not a lot of ambition the court right now that's being counteracted by Congress.
But there's certainly a lot of ambition among the justices.
JOHN YANG: I want to ask you about a phrase in the subtitle of your book.
How is this undermining our republic?
STEPHEN VLADECK: So, I think the charge and the subtitle that some of these rulings are undermining the republic comes out most forcefully in chapter six, which talks about election cases, where we saw, in 2022, just two rulings, one about congressional district maps in Alabama and one about congressional district maps in Louisiana, where the court, through unsigned, unexplained orders, allowed these states to use maps that lower courts had struck down.
John, there's a pretty good argument that those two rulings by themselves might have been a critical part of how Republicans took control of the House in the midterm elections.
If you have the Supreme Court influencing elections that directly through rulings that are not principled, that are not explaining themselves, I think it's really hard to reconcile that with basic conceptions of how a republic is supposed to operate.
JOHN YANG: Stephen Vladeck of the University of Texas, author of "The Shadow Docket," thank you very much.
STEPHEN VLADECK: Thank you.
AMNA NAWAZ: One of the greatest legends of the NFL has died.
Hall of Famer Jim Brown, running back for the Cleveland Browns from 1957 through the 1965 season, blazed an athletic path few have equaled.
He left the game as its most famous and best player to pursue a life and acting and in activism, as the civil rights movement rolled through the 1960s.
Unstoppable as Brown was on the field, off the field, he led a complicated, at times brutal life.
He was arrested half-a-dozen times, mostly for domestic abuse.
He died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 87.
With me now to discuss his life and legacy is Kevin Blackistone, sportswriter and professor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.
As you well know, Kevin, Jim Brown was not only one of the best to ever play the game; he was really one of the NFL's first superstars, right?
How did he become one of the greats?
KEVIN BLACKISTONE, University of Maryland: Well, absolutely.
Any time you watch the old black-and-white, grainy video of Jim Brown or even that of him in color, you just see people trying to bring him down and being completely unsuccessful at that task.
He ran over people.
He ran through people.
He ran around people.
He was considered the greatest running back in the history of the NFL, even to this day.
Some of the records that he set still have yet to be broken.
For example, he led the league in all-purpose yards, meaning catches and handoffs out of the backfield, for five years in a row.
And many of the records he set stood for decades.
He was that much of a -- he was that much of a power.
And not only that.
I mean, just talk about his athleticism in general.
He was a four sports star in Syracuse, where he also starred in lacrosse, and he's in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame, and money consider him to be the greatest lacrosse player of all time.
He probably played about 30 games, maybe a handful more.
He scored 77 goals and had maybe 20, 30 assists.
So, this is one of the greatest athletes that we have ever seen.
AMNA NAWAZ: I mean, he was still very much in his prime, he was just 30 years old, when he decided to walk away from football.
What do we know about why he made that decision?
KEVIN BLACKISTONE: Well, he got infatuated with Hollywood and trying to become an actor.
And many of us may remember the movie "Dirty Dozen."
And that's really what pulled him into Hollywood.
And so he walked away from the Cleveland Browns to try his hand at acting.
And the owner, Art Modell, at the time started to fine him for not coming back and being ready and in shape to play -- to play football.
And, sooner or later, they parted ways.
He was truly one of the first free agents, you could say, in professional sports.
He became his own man and he refused to -- he refused to do with the Browns wanted him to do.
Jim Brown was only going to do what Jim Brown wanted to do.
AMNA NAWAZ: He also used his platform and his voice to advance the calls for equality during the civil rights movement.
Tell us about that part of his life.
KEVIN BLACKISTONE: You know, in a lot of ways, when I think about Jim Brown, I think about him as kind of being this emperor of Black masculinity, particularly coming to form in the 1960s.
And there were two -- a couple of things that really made him stand out.
One is a famous photograph of Jim Brown with Muhammad Ali and a group of other very famous Black athletes in the 1960s.
And that was called the Cleveland Summit.
It is a misinterpreted photograph, because a lot of people have said, incorrectly, that the meeting was to support Muhammad Ali's refusal to join the military, and therefore continue his boxing career.
But the real reason for the meeting, those guys, including Jim Brown, the ringleader, wanted to get Ali to drop his fight against the military, and continue as an athlete.
And one of the reasons Jim Brown wanted to do that is because, at the end of the day, Jim Brown was a capitalist, and he happened to have a business deal for Ali's next fight.
And so he wanted to get him out there.
But Ali, to his credit, stood down the most powerful Black men in athletics, and told them, no, this is what I have decided to do.
And so they created a unified front with Ali.
But that's one of the first times that we saw Jim Brown really as an activist on the Black front.
The other time was when he started a Black economic organization, which is still alive to this day, to invest in homes and real estate and business opportunities in Kansas City.
So he's had a great impact when it comes to Black capitalism in this country.
AMNA NAWAZ: Kevin, a lot of folks may remember Jim Brown also came out very publicly recently, in 2018, in fact, and had vocally and publicly supported then-President Trump, something he even said at the time would make him -- quote - - "very unpopular" in the Black community.
KEVIN BLACKISTONE: Oh, it absolutely did.
I wrote about it at the time at The Washington Post.
And I remember that.
And I was perplexed as to why Jim Brown would do this.
But, as I just mentioned, at the end of the day, Jim Brown was very much -- very much a capitalist.
And I suspect that that fit into the reasons that he met with Donald Trump.
He was -- he thought, for whatever reasons, that Donald Trump was going to do something for Black America that Donald Trump wound up obviously never doing.
But that's the complexity and uncomfortableness of talking about Jim Brown at some point, because the other thing is, is that -- and he was dogged throughout his life, certainly, as an adult man, was being a terror to the women who he encountered in his life.
A number of times, he was -- he was accused of a battery against women.
There's a famous story about a girlfriend of his who he threw out of a -- threw off of a balcony.
He was once arrested in the '90s over domestic violence and convicted of it.
So there's a -- he was a very complex person.
He's not -- he wasn't just a great athlete.
He wasn't just this actor who played these - - oftentimes these single-name roles where he flexed his muscle and he was this Black male power figure on the screen.
There were some uncomfortable moments in his life as well.
AMNA NAWAZ: A complicated life and a complicated legacy.
Kevin Blackistone, thank you so much for joining us tonight.
KEVIN BLACKISTONE: Thank you.
GEOFF BENNETT: It's Friday.
And that means it's time for the analysis of Brooks and Capehart.
That's New York Times columnist David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart, associate editor for The Washington Post.
It's good to see you both, as always.
And, look, here we are another Friday of late-breaking news, this time on the debt ceiling.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on FOX Business earlier this evening that House Republican negotiators will continue the talks with the White House.
This was after those talks fell apart today.
The negotiators tasked by him to deal with the White House said that they were going to put those talks on hold because they weren't productive.
Jonathan, what's your read on what's happening here?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Well, we're getting down to the wire, what we think is the wire, with June 1 as the X-date, as identified by the Treasury secretary, but also because both the House and Senate will be out of session next week for the Memorial Day recess until May 29, which is the Monday leading up to June 1.
Look, the talks didn't fall apart.
There indeed was a short pause.
We heard about it this morning -- or late this morning, early this afternoon, and now they're going to be back together in the -- negotiating.
Part of me wonders if this is all posturing on the part of Speaker McCarthy, but we will see.
I'm trying not to hyperventilate over every dot and tittle of what's happening until we get closer to June 1, but there are big things that they need to work out and they need to negotiate.
And let's just hope that they make some progress.
GEOFF BENNETT: Deadlines have a way of focusing the minds of members of Congress.
And, look, we don't know what we don't know, but this did sort of have the hallmarks of a Republican pressure play.
The Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell, who was not a part of these talks, tweeted earlier today: "It's past time for the White House to get serious.
Time is of the essence."
How do you see what's happening here?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, I'm sure they both thought the other was not coming through.
I'm glad they're back together.
It's like they just can't quit each other, like -- it's like a Taylor Swift album, getting back together.
But I -- it's dangerous to put even a pause, because while I do think both sides are negotiating hard, but probably in good faith, there are elements of both parties who will take advantage of a pause to say, no, let's not do this deal.
And the Freedom Caucus on the Republican side is saying, you know, we passed our bill.
Take it or leave it.
And that's like, we're going to govern by ourselves, as if the Democrats don't exist.
And then there are a bunch of senators on the Democratic side who say, just use the 14th Amendment to ram through our version.
And that sounds OK legally, but it would be, in my view, disastrous economically, because if we pay -- if Biden tries to use the 14th Amendment to run roughshod, it's going to go through the court system.
Every little decision will create economic uncertainty in a crisis.
It'll probably get to this Supreme Court, which will probably overrule it, and then we will be back to where we started.
So they just have to deal with each other.
GEOFF BENNETT: And President Biden said as much, that it's impractical because it would be litigated, and that would take a lot of time.
Jonathan, let's talk more about the Democrats, because progressives say they are concerned that President Biden might give away too much.
And this follows his comments about toughening standards for social safety net programs like food stamps.
How can he do a deal with House Republicans without alienating the far left of his party, whose votes Democrats will need?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Well, sure.
But, again, what we're talking about are things - - the president said nice things about something he did 30 years ago.
I understand progressives being concerned about what that will -- comments about things he did in the 1990s, what impact that might have on negotiations in 2023, but we just don't know.
And so I take progressives as trying to fill the void and sending a message to the president, think real hard about what you're doing in that negotiating room.
But, again, it is good that they're getting together and they're talking.
No -- neither side is going to get everything that they want.
And so, when it comes to work requirements, we just have to see.
But I just need to make one larger point here.
Speaker McCarthy is trying to do budgetary matters by holding the economy hostage with the debt ceiling, when the president submitted his own budget on March 9.
House Republicans have yet to submit their own budget.
That is where these conversations about spending cuts and caps and requirements and everything.
If Speaker McCarthy had any confidence, he could pass a budget on -- by regular order, through regular order, he would have submitted his own budget right now.
But, instead, he's using the debt ceiling as a way to ram through his own priorities, things he couldn't get through the House and certain really couldn't get through the Senate on his own.
GEOFF BENNETT: How do you see it?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes.
Well, first of all, this happened dozens and dozens of times over the last many decades.
Of the last 43 times we had a debt ceiling crisis, I think it's something like 28 percent - - 28 of those times, a clear majority, it was attached to some sort of spending bill.
So we probably shouldn't do budgeting this way.
But the fact is, we have been doing it.
Democrats have been doing it.
Republicans have been doing it.
Republicans have doing it more.
It's just -- it focuses the mind.
And if -- and both parties in the normal budgetary process tend to just blow through deficits.
And this is the only mechanism we seem to have, as crazy as it is, to bring down spending.
And we really do -- our average deficits historically, recently, have been about 3 -- just over 3 percent.
Now they're over 6 percent.
We just can't run that much debt year upon year.
GEOFF BENNETT: Well, let's shift our focus to 2024, shall we?
Because there are two major announcements expected next week in the GOP presidential primary, Ron DeSantis and Tim Scott.
Senator Scott filed paperwork today to run for president.
Jonathan, let's start with Ron DeSantis first.
And I think we can be forgiven for not remembering that he isn't already a candidate.
In many ways, it feels like he already is.
How do you think he can shape this race once he makes it official?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Well, I'm going to quote something that my Washington Post colleague George Will said this morning on First Look.
And I believe he was quoting someone else in talking about Governor DeSantis, in that it seems as though the governor is trying to be a different version of Donald Trump, say, a competent version of Donald Trump, ramming through all of these culture war laws, signing things into law.
But, as he said, it's like holding up -- asking people to choose between Coke and New Coke.
And when we went through that way back when, people made it clear, when given the choice, they went for Coke.
And so the lane that Ron DeSantis is trying to occupy is not going to be successful, because, if people have to choose between Trump and Governor DeSantis, they're going to go for Trump.
And so that's why I -- the moment he decides - - the moment he makes it official and becomes a candidate, I think the scrutiny will be on, how well will he do under the spotlight of a national presidential campaign and with Donald Trump gnawing on his leg 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until Governor DeSantis cries uncle?
GEOFF BENNETT: Well, on that point, Ron DeSantis, for many Republicans, seemed like someone who could carry the mantle of Trumpism without the baggage that Donald Trump has himself.
But his poll numbers have cratered.
There are questions about his electability should he make it to the general election.
Can he bounce back from that?
And, if so, how?
DAVID BROOKS: He can.
There's a reason we have campaign, so he can surely do it.
But, right now, his campaign is a bit of a mess.
And so, even this week, he had a whole bunch of social conservative culture war-type issues.
Then he goes up to New Hampshire and poses as a very different kind of candidate, sort of a moderate, business-type Republican.
That's -- those are two different messages.
You got to pick one.
Second, it was clearly a terrible mistake not to announce months ago and really begin campaigning and, frankly, hit back at Donald Trump.
I can't think of a time in all the years covering politics where one candidate was just beating the daylights out of one -- the other candidate, and the other guy didn't hit back.
It's just not a way to win.
And so there are just fundamental structural issues in his campaign he has to figure out.
GEOFF BENNETT: Now, this week, DeSantis told donors and supporters on a conference call that there were only three credible candidates in the race, Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and himself.
And he said that Donald Trump could not beat Joe Biden again.
Is that an effective argument for him to make, Jonathan, given where he is in the polls right now against Donald Trump?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: I mean, it sounds like wishful thinking.
And if you're trying to shake people -- separate people from their money, in terms of donors, you got to give them a reason to believe.
And so the governor can believe that there are only three people in the race, and he's the only Republican who could beat President Biden.
But, sure, he -- maybe he can win the Republican nomination, but he has signed a number of things into law in Florida that will make him unpalatable to the general -- a general electorate.
And just his signing, for example, the six-week abortion ban in Florida is not going to play well on the national stage.
And so I don't see how his happy talk to donors is going to become reality.
GEOFF BENNETT: What about Tim Scott?
Is there room for him in this race?
DAVID BROOKS: I think he's underestimated right now.
He's a good person, a nice person, which sets him apart from his two major competitors.
And there may be a lane for a guy like: People are just exhausted.
That guy's a good man.
Let's go for that guy.
He's actually got a fair bit of money already, unlike some of the other candidates.
So I think there's a real chance.
And he's an effective legislator who's done things across the line.
They haven't always worked out, but he's been active in the U.S. Senate.
So I think there's a lane for him.
GEOFF BENNETT: What do you think, Jonathan, to go back to your Coke versus New Coke analogy?
Is there room for a Tim Scott, who doesn't appear anywhere on that shelf, to draw that - - to draw that analogy out?
JONATHAN CAPEHART: Well, sure, because he would be Pepsi.
(LAUGHTER) JONATHAN CAPEHART: He would be an alternative to Coke and New Coke.
The only thing, though, is if you have got Coke, New Coke and Pepsi, how many other brands of Republicans are going to be in the race?
Donald Trump was able to eke his way to the 2016 nomination because there were, as we say, 50-11 people on the stage, and he was able to split all the votes.
If it's just Governor DeSantis, Donald Trump, Asa Hutchinson, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, and one other person, maybe he has a shot.
But the more people who jump into the race, the less likely it is that any of them, any of those folks on the stage who isn't named Donald Trump will win the nomination.
GEOFF BENNETT: Jonathan Capehart and David Brooks, it's great to see you both, as always.
Have a great weekend.
DAVID BROOKS: OK. JONATHAN CAPEHART: Thanks.
AMNA NAWAZ: And incurable optimist confronts an incurable disease.
That is the focus of a film about actor Michael J.
Fox called "Still" out now on Apple TV+.
I sat down with FOX to discuss the documentary and his life's work for our arts and culture series, Canvas.
FOX, Actor: Are you telling me you built a time machine out of a DeLorean?
AMNA NAWAZ: In 1985, Michael J.
Fox skyrocketed to stardom with a breakthrough big-screen role as Marty McFly in the year's number one film, "Back to the Future."
Fox's face was on every teen magazine cover.
By 24, he was Hollywood's golden boy, a world away from his humble roots in Canada.
FOX: I was still pretty fresh off being an 11th grade dropout.
Literally, in three years, I go from being the kid stuffed in lockers to having a conversation with Steven Spielberg about doing his next movie.
AMNA NAWAZ: I spoke to Fox about his full-throttle career, his family and 34-year marriage to Tracy Pollan, and his three decades living with Parkinson's, a story he tells in his own words in the new documentary "Still."
FOX: What I like about it is, it's not morose.
It's not a pity party.
It's not -- it's acerbic and funny and grateful for hard-earned wisdom.
AMNA NAWAZ: Fox first won over audiences with his charisma and comedic timing, stealing the spotlight as Alex P. Keaton on the TV show "Family Ties."
FOX: You ever hear of Mighty Mouse, Jen?
(LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: You have always had this superpower of being able to make people laugh.
You see it throughout the whole film.
FOX: And I can turn cheese into gold.
(CROSSTALK) (LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: That's your other superpower.
We will talk about that later.
You can do it any time still.
What is that like for you to have that kind of power?
FOX: My powers are diminishing.
(LAUGHTER) MICHAEL J.
FOX: But I just always -- everything - - everything I confront and confronts me, I always say, what's funny about this?
Like, what's something funny about it?
As horrible as it is, time plus tragedy equals comedy.
That's why it works.
My kids are funny, which is really good.
And Tracy is funny.
And her humor is very deceptive, because she seems so serious, and she's so beautiful, and she's so smart that you don't get that she's really taking the piss out of you.
AMNA NAWAZ: You're asked in the movie to describe your wife.
QUESTION: Describes this human being to me.
AMNA NAWAZ: You actually close your eyes and sit in silence for a little bit before you speak.
AMNA NAWAZ: And there was just such love in that moment.
And lots of marriages work for lots of different reasons.
But I wanted to ask you, what makes your marriage work?
FOX: There's that old joke, you can always say, we have been married 35 years, and 25 were the best years of our lives.
(LAUGHTER) MICHAEL J.
FOX: It almost doesn't matter why we didn't get as much as we didn't get out.
TRACY POLLAN, Wife of Michael J.
Fox: Can't wait to see you.
FOX: That's it.
(LAUGHTER) MICHAEL J.
FOX: I'm just so grateful.
Grateful is a funny word to use, because grateful infers inequality.
And there's no inequality.
I'm not so much grateful to her as I'm grateful to the powers that be that we continue to have the answers to each other's questions.
AMNA NAWAZ: Among those questions, what the future would hold after Fox's 1991 diagnosis with Parkinson's disease.
He was just 29 years old.
He went public seven years later and became a champion for the 8.5 million people worldwide battling the disease.
FOX: While the changes in my life were profound and progressive... AMNA NAWAZ: Testifying before Congress in 1999 about the need for research funding.
FOX: I heard from thousands of Americans affected by Parkinson's, writing and calling to offer encouragement and to tell me of their experience.
They spoke of pain, frustration, fear, and hope.
AMNA NAWAZ: Fox continued to act, winning awards as the lead in the TV show "Spin City" and gaining ground in the fight against Parkinson's, alongside Tracy and their four kids, running the Michael J.
Fox Foundation for more than 20 years.
Back in 2002, you said that you hoped there would be a cure in 10 years.
You have raised over $1.5 billion for research.
Do you still think we're a few years away from a cure, five, 10?
FOX: Not a cure.
We found a biomarker, which is consistent, which tells us if someone is going to have Parkinson's.
And having been armed with that knowledge, we can then encourage drug companies and scientists to pursue their patents, which we're really enthusiastic about doing.
And we can then hopefully have a prophylactic drug.
AMNA NAWAZ: In his advocacy, as with his acting career, Fox is seemingly tireless.
I noticed one thing over and over again people say to you a lot in the movie: Oh, slow down, slow down.
What is it like for you to hear that right now?
FOX: I take it with a grain of salt.
People don't -- even people who love me more than anyone in the world and the people that are there for me all the time don't have this.
They don't know what it's like.
And I don't want to undervalue that.
There's a scene in the movie where I talk to my son, and I say, why are you so mad at me?
And he tries to explain it to me.
I feel like a 90-year-old, like, dad, or -- because I don't feel like 90 years old.
But you sometimes get mad at me.
Like, you guys all say, be careful, be careful, be careful.
I say, I am being careful.
Do I set out to not be careful?
SAM MICHAEL FOX, Son of Michael J.
Fox: Nobody thinks your agenda isn't to be careful.
It's that that maybe isn't -- it's lower on the list of things than it is for us.
(LAUGHTER) SAM MICHAEL FOX: So, I just have to make sure.
And I'd rather -- it's great if you understand what I'm saying, but I'd rather you don't fall over.
FOX: I'm working on it.
If you want me to slow down, slow me down.
Slow me down with love.
AMNA NAWAZ: Four decades after he burst into the big time, Fox says simply starting each day can be a struggle.
FOX: I got to figure out where I am, how I feel.
What else do I have to do that day?
How much do I have to do?
How am I going to try to take my meds to get through that?
It's just a constant planning and negotiating and sorting out.
AMNA NAWAZ: In the movie, you talk about -- you talk about it all, right?
You talk about the pain.
You talk about falling.
You talk about breaking bones.
You talk about all of that.
But you don't seem to want to dwell on it.
Is that fair?
FOX: Yes, I don't see the point.
I'm through all that.
Whenever I'm in a moment where I'm feeling good, I just want to run with it.
I just want to go with it and feel good and enjoy myself.
I always bombard my kids with all this stuff.
I say, if you find yourself obsessing over the worst-case scenario and it actually happens, you have lived it twice.
AMNA NAWAZ: You know, there's a whole generation of fans, my kids among them, who are coming into contact with you and your work for the time, but who never knew you as Alex P. Keaton or Marty McFly in the way that we did back then.
They will know you through this movie.
They will know you through the work you do now.
And I wonder what it is you hope that they know and understand about you.
FOX: I hope they understand that everything is possible, that effort brings reward, and reward is deepest when it's not for you, and just that I think -- my mother passed away in September, and my brothers and sisters asked me to write the obituary.
And the last thing that I could think of to say was, she left the world a better place than she found it.
And that's all I want to do.
AMNA NAWAZ: You feel like you have done that?
FOX: Well, I haven't left yet.
(LAUGHTER) MICHAEL J.
FOX: I can still screw it up.
(LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: A signature Michael J.
Fox move, to always leave them laughing.
GEOFF BENNETT: It's a fantastic interview.
He is endlessly inspiring.
AMNA NAWAZ: And endlessly funny, I have to say, to this day.
GEOFF BENNETT: Yes.
(LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: It was a lot of fun to talk to him.
Remember, there is much more online as well, including a look at the Senate Watergate hearings that started 50 years ago this week.
And be sure to tune into "Washington Week" later tonight right here on PBS, moderated this evening by our very own John Yang.
GEOFF BENNETT: And watch "PBS News Weekend" for a look at how three Native communities in Louisiana are fighting to save their tribal lands from rising sea levels.
And that is the "NewsHour."
I'm Geoff Bennett.
AMNA NAWAZ: And I'm Amna Nawaz.
On behalf of the entire "NewsHour" team, thank you for joining us.
Have a great weekend.