October 31, 2016: Comey & Clinton Under Fire. A Faster Commute? Terrifying True Halloween Tale.

Tonight, this election season has been filled with one political scandal after another, but with only eight days until America elects our next Commander in Chief, perhaps the biggest bombshell has just been detonated. The FBI is now sifting through newly discovered emails related to the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State. The new messages surfaced in an unrelated investigation regarding disgraced former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner and his estranged wife, Huma Abedin, who serves as a top aide to the Democratic nominee. The two reportedly shared the computer on which the emails were found.

This all came to light as a result of a letter FBI Director James Comey recently wrote to Congress to inform them of the discovery of new Clinton digital correspondences– a move that is being criticized as political and out of step with departmental policy. Was Comey’s timing deliberate and will this latest scandal influence your vote on Election Day? To answer those questions and more, we’ll speak with longtime Comey friend and adviser, former federal prosecutor and Columbia Law Professor Daniel Richman, and former Bill Clinton adviser, Democratic strategist and President of Sheinkopf Communications Ltd, Hank Sheinkopf.

Next, it looks like it’s full steam ahead for The Gateway Project, an infrastructure proposal that will add two new tunnels to improve rail connections between New York and New Jersey and avert what some are calling “Transportation Armageddon.” The project was recently placed on the President’s Permitting Dashboard, a process that will have any permitting needs for Gateway pushed to the front of the line. If all goes according to plan, New York Senator Chuck Schumer says that construction on the Hudson tunnel portion of the project could begin in 2019. But, is the project truly necessary? What obstacles stand in its way? And beyond that, why has it been so difficult to build and repair our nation’s infrastructure over the past few decades? Philip K. Howard, chair of Common Good, a nonpartisan coalition whose goal is to simplify government, joins us to discuss how critical The Gateway Project is for our region and the roadblocks that infrastructure projects face.

Finally, Happy Halloween! Tonight, MetroFocus celebrates with a terrifyingly true piece of American history: The Salem Witch Trials. Perhaps no historical event has been discussed, written about, or sensationalized quite like this famous, 17th-century witch hunt. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff continues to tell the tale with The Witches: Salem 1692, detailing the hidden stories of the unbelievable historical event. Tonight, Stacy Schiff joins us to discuss the trials, why they have captivated our minds for centuries, and why they are so important to our nation’s history.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' EIGHT DAYS TO GO BEFORE AMERICA GOES TO THE POLLS, AND WE FACE AN OCTOBER SURPRISE LIKE NEVER BEFORE.

THE FBI DIRECTOR'S RELEASE OF WHAT MAY BE CLINTON E-MAILS HAVE MANY ASKING IF COMEY'S MOVE IS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED.

> PLUS, GATEWAY.

THE TUNNEL THAT MANY ARGUE IS CRITICAL TO AVOIDING A TRAFFIC ARMAGEDDON HERE IN THE CITY HAS JUST BEEN FAST TRACKED.

WHAT IS IT AND WILL IT REALLY HELP YOU?

> AND ON THIS HALLOWEEN WE'RE TAKING YOU INSIDE THE FAMOUS SALEM WITCH TRIALS.

ALL THAT AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪ ♪♪♪

THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --

CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND P PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

> GOOD EVENING.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

WE'RE EXPECTING TO BRING YOU THE SECOND PART OF OUR INTERVIEW WITH POLITICAL OPERATIVE NATE SILVER, BUT WE ARE NOW BRINGING YOU THE E-MAILS POSSIBLY RELATED TO HILLARY CLINTON.

FIRST, HERE IS OUR SPECIAL REPORT ON PERHAPS THE BIGGEST BOMBSHELL OF THIS ELECTION SEASON SO FAR.

THE FBI WILL BE SIFTING THROUGH THESE E-MAILS AS PART OF ITS INVESTIGATION OF SECRETARY CLINTON'S USE OF A PRIVATE E-MAIL SERVER.

THOSE E-MAILS SERVE AS PART OF A SEPARATE INVESTIGATION INTO POSSIBLE SEXING WITH A MINOR BY FORMER NEW YORK CONGRESSMAN ANTHONY WEINER, WHO IS THE ESTRANGED HUSBAND OF TOP AIDE TO HILLARY CLINTON HUMA ABEDIN.

WEINER AND ABEDIN REPORTEDLY SHARED A COMPUTER ON WHICH THE E-MAILS WERE DISCOVERED.

ALL THIS COMING TO LIGHT IN THE FBI'S LETTER TO CONGRESS SENT DAYS AGO.

TONIGHT, IT'S A MOVE THAT'S BEING WIDELY CRITICIZED AS POLITICAL AND OUT OF STEP WITH DEPARTMENT POLICY.

SO DID THE DIRECTOR MAKE THE RIGHT CALL?

HERE TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION IS A LONG-TIME FRIEND AND ADVISER TO JAMES COMEY, COLUMBIA LAW PROFESSOR.

THANKS FOR LETTING US COME TO YOUR OFFICE.

PROFESSOR, THERE'S LITTLE DOUBT THAT DIRECTOR COMEY KNEW THAT THIS WOULD BE A BOMBSHELL WHEN HE SENT THAT LETTER TO CONGRESS.

SO GIVEN THA THE ATTORNEY GENERAL HERSELF, LORETTA LYNCH, ASKED, ADMONISHED THE DIRECTOR NOT TO SEND THIS LETTER, WHY DID HE DO IT?

I HAVE TO SAY, I'M NOT FAMILIAR WITH HIS PRECISE REASONINGS SINCE I'VE NOT BEEN INVOLVED IN THIS TYPE OF AN INVESTIGATION NOR HIS DECISION MAKING ON THIS POINT.

BUT I DO COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND WHY HE DID WHAT HE DID.

THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT JUST ABOUT ALL OF DEPARTMENTAL POLICIES IN EXTRAORDINARY CASES WILL BE RECONSIDERED AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS WHERE A CASE REQUIRES IT.

SO THE QUESTION BECOMES NOT WHETHER THIS IS A POLICY.

OF COURSE THERE IS, AND IT'S GOOD POLICY.

IT'S POLICIES THAT PROSECUTORS AND AGENTS AROUND THE COUNTRY REALLY ABIDE BY.

BUT THERE'S ALSO A POLICY OR YOU CAN SAY IT'S A LEGAL OBLIGATION ON THE PART OF THE DIRECTOR WHERE HE HAS MADE STATEMENTS TO CONGRESS TO CORRECT THOSE STATEMENTS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

AND I SHOULD NOTE THAT HE'S GOING TO BE THERE NEXT YEAR.

HE HAS A TEN-YEAR APPOINTMENT.

ONE THING ABOUT THOSE CRITICIZING HIM, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE THE ONES IN FRONT OF CONGRESS NEXT YEAR OR THE YEAR AFTER, WHOSE CREDIBILITY IS CRITICAL.

IN FACT, HE'S GOING TO BE THERE SEVEN MORE YEARS, BECAUSE HE HAS A TEN-YEAR APPOINTMENT.

HE DOES INDEED.

AND HIS PERSPECTIVE WHEN DEALING WITH CONGRESS AND OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES IS PROBABLY A LITTLE DIFFERENT FROM THAT OF POLITICAL APPOINTEES WHO COME AND GO.

WHAT ABOUT THE CRITICISM THAT PERHAPS HE'S TOO SENSITIVE ABOUT HIS REPUTATION, THAT PERHAPS HE CARES TOO MUCH ABOUT HIS REPUTATION AND PERHAPS TOO LITTLE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

I SHOULD NOTE THAT I DON'T THINK HE'S MAKING THIS DECISION FROM HIS PERSPECTIVE OF HIS OWN REPUTATION.

IT'S JUST AS IMPORTANT, AND EVEN MORE IMPORTANT TO HIM TO PROTECT THE REPUTATION OF THE BUREAU AS BEING SEPARATE FROM POLITICS.

AND IF THE BUREAU IS SEEN AS TOO DIFFERENTIAL IN THE POLITICAL CLIMATE, WE'RE GOING TO BE IN A REALLY BAD PLACE.

WELL, WHAT ABOUT THE CHARGES THAT HE IS BEING POLITICAL, THAT EITHER HE BENT TOO MUCH TO THE PRESSURE OF REPUBLICANS, WHO WERE FIERCE IN THEIR CRITICISM OF HIM UNTIL FRIDAY, OR THAT, AS HARRY REID HAS SAID, HE'S DIRECTLY INVOLVING HIMSELF IN ORDER TO THROW THIS ELECTION DONALD TRUMP'S WAY.

ONE OF THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS ABOUT THIS ELECTION IS THAT ALLEGATIONS OF DEEP, DARK MOTIVATIONS CAN ALWAYS BE RAISED.

AND SAD TO SAY, PARTICULARLY IN THIS ELECTION, HAVE ALWAYS BEEN RAISED.

AND I THINK THE BEST WAY TO THINK ABOUT THIS IS RATHER FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF -- NOT FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF IMPORTING ONE'S WORST CASE SCENARIO, BUT THINKING WHAT IS HE SUPPOSED TO DO AT ANY PARTICULAR TIME UNDER THE SITUATION?

HE MADE STATEMENTS IN JULY THAT I THINK MADE A LOT OF SENSE IN TERMS OF TAKING A MATTER THAT WAS VERY MUCH IN THE POLITICAL WINDS, AND ADDRESSING IT IN A VERY TRANSPARENT, CLEAR WAY.

HE TOOK HIS ATTACKS FOR THAT, AND I THINK THAT HE WAS WELL AWARE THAT HE WOULD TAKE ATTACKS.

BOTH THE CLINTON AND TRUMP CAMPAIGNS HAVE ASKED FOR THE E-MAILS TO BE MADE PUBLIC AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, OR FOR AMERICANS TO BE INFORMED WHETHER THERE IS ANY SIGNIFICANT E-MAILS IN IT THAT WILL AFFECT HILLARY CLINTON AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

IS THAT REALISTIC?

I DON'T KNOW.

FROM WHAT I READ IN THE NEWSPAPERS, THE SEARCH WARRANTS THAT WILL ALLOW ACCESS TO THESE E-MAILS HAVE, I BELIEVE, BEEN OBTAINED.

IT SOUNDS LIKE THERE ARE A GREAT MANY OF THEM.

I DON'T KNOW THE TECHNOLOGICAL RESOURCES THEY HAVE TO PROCESS THEM IN A QUICK WAY.

I THINK EVERYBODY WOULD AGREE, IT WOULD BE BETTER IF IT COULD BE DONE QUICKLY.

JUST ABOUT 30 SECONDS THAT WE HAVE LEFT, MAYBE LESS THAN THAT, DO YOU THINK THAT DIRECTOR COMEY WOULD HAVE INITIATED THIS BOMBSHELL IF, IN FACT, HE DIDN'T ALREADY KNOW THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING IN THERE?

YES, I THINK IT'S VERY CLEAR THAT HE DOES NOT KNOW WHAT IS IN THERE.

WHAT USUALLY HAPPENS IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS IS AGENTS IN PLAIN VIEW DISCOVER THAT THERE ARE THINGS, THEY IMMEDIATELY STOP LOOKING BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE PURSUING REVIEWING WITHOUT COURT AUTHORIZATION.

AND THEIR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE GETS TRANSMITTED UP THE CHAIN AND I CAN'T IMAGINE HE HAS KNOWLEDGE OF THE E-MAILS.

THANK YOU, PROFESSOR.

MY PLEASURE.

> NOW TO GET THE POLITICAL RAMIFICATIONS, WE'RE OUT HERE IN FRONT OF THE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY LIBRARY WITH THE FORMER ADVISER TO BILL CLINTON.

HANK, BEFORE LAST FRIDAY, THE TOP POLITICALS WERE SAYING HILLARY CLINTON HAD A 85% TO 99% CHANCE OF WINNING THE ELECTIONS.

WOULD THESE REVELATIONS UP END THIS?

IT'S HARD TO SEE HOW HILLARY CLINTON COULD LOSE THIS RACE BUT IT'S HARD TORE SEE HOW DONALD TRUMP HAS A CLEAR FAITH TO 270 ELECTORAL VOTES.

BY THE WAY, THERE MIGHT BE SOME SERIOUS IMPACTS ON DOWN BALLOT RACES, WHERE DEMOCRATS ARE HOPING FOR VICTORIES.

THIS MIGHT BE THE KIND OF RED MEAT THAT REPUBLICANS WOULD WANT.

THIS MAY MEAN THAT THE REPUBLICANS COULD KEEP CONTROL OF THE SENATE?

IT MAY HAVE THAT KIND OF IMPACT, YES.

SOME PEOPLE I HEARD OVER THE WEEKEND THAT THE BIGGEST EFFECT THAT THIS -- THAT WHAT DIRECTOR COMEY DID WAS THAT IT MIGHT GET PEOPLE TO LOOK AT THE STUFF, THE WIKILEAKS TROVE OF STUFF THAT HAS COME OUT, PARTICULARLY THE CONFUSING STUFF ABOUT THE CLINTON FOUNDATION.

IS THERE SOMETHING TO THAT?

THOSE WHO REALLY HATE HILLARY CLINTON WEREN'T VOTING FOR HER ANY WAY, UNLESS THEY SAW TRUMP AS A WORSE ALTERNATIVE.

THIS IS AN ELECTION BASED ON WHO IS THE LEAST ONEROUS IN MANY WAYS.

AS TO THE QUESTION ABOUT WIKILEAKS AND THE CLINTON FOUNDATION, THIS IS A CAMPAIGN ULTIMATELY WINDING UP IN THE WORST PLACE.

TRUMP BEING PERCEIVED AND PROJECTED AS SOMEBODY WHO ABUSES WOMEN AND HAS BAD HABITS.

HILLARY CLINTON BEING INVOLVED WITH ANTHONY WEINER.

IT DOESN'T MAKE US LOOK GREAT.

THAT'S THE QUESTION.

DOES THE REVELATIONS OR WHAT COMEY DID, IS IT MADE WORSE BY THE FACT THAT ANTHONY WEINER IS INVOLVED IN IT?

IT'S KIND OF LIKE A BAD PLAY WITH A BAD ENDING AND A BUNCH OF ACTORS WHO CAN'T WORK VERY WELL TOGETHER.

THE RUSSIANS ARE TRYING TO MOVE LOW-GRADE NUCLEAR WEAPONS TO THE POLISH BORDER.

SYRIA IS A MESS.

THE WORLD IS IN CHAOS.

STORIES ABOUT TRADE CHANGING AND THE AMERICANS BEING IN A LESS FAVORABLE POSITION ARE ALL OVER.

AND WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

SEXTING, E-MAILS AND OTHER NONSENSE.

IT'S THE CULTURE OF GOSSIP AND ENTERTAINMENT WHILE WE'RE TAKING THE POLITICS OF THE GREATEST DEMOCRACY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN IS ASKING FOR THE FBI TO MAKE THESE E-MAILS PUBLIC AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, OR AT LEAST GIVE US A HINT TO WHAT IT'S IN IT, IF ANYTHING IMPORTANT IS IN IT.

IS THAT THE RIGHT POLITICAL PLAY THIS

THE RIGHT PLAY IS FOR SECRETARY CLINTON TO WHO WHAT SHE IS DOING, SAYING LOOK, WE'VE ASKED AND ANSWERED, PUT UP OR SHUT UP.

THAT'S THE KIND OF RHETORIC BEING USED BY HER CAMPAIGN.

HOW CAN ANY HUMAN BEING GO THROUGH 8700,000 E-MAILS?

WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON WHAT DIRECTOR COMEY DID?

THERE'S NO SENSE OF WHAT THIS REALLY MEANS.

COMEY IS AN APPOINTEE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

HE'S BEEN ABOVE REPUTE IN ANY WAY.

WHY DID HE DO IT?

WELL, WHEN YOU THINK THERE MIGHT BE SOMETHING THERE, PEOPLE MIGHT THINK YOU DIDN'T DO THE RIGHT THING, YOU DO WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO DO.

SOME PEOPLE ARE SAYING, LISTEN, CANDIDATE CLINTON, IF YOU WANT THE INFORMATION THAT'S IN THESE E-MAILS TO COME OUT, WHY DON'T YOU JUST HAVE HUMA ABEDIN HAVE A PRESS CONFERENCE AND TELL AMERICA MORE OR LESS WHAT'S IN IT.

THAT MAY BE FINE, BUT LET'S THINK ABOUT REALITY.

A WEEK FROM NOW IS ELECTION DAY.

BY THE WAY, RUN THE CLOCK AS MUCH AS YOU CAN AND HOPE THAT THE REF CALLS TIME-OUT, NOT OFTEN, AND THAT YOU KEEP RUNNING.

HANK, I HEARD DONALD TRUMP IN A SPEECH YESTERDAY SAY THAT BASICALLY WARN HIS FOLLOWERS NOT TO BE SURPRISED IF THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN CAME OUT WITH ANOTHER OCTOBER SURPRISE AGAINST HIM.

DO YOU THINK THAT'S LIKELY, THAT THEY HAVE SOMETHING STOWED AWAY JUST LIKE FOR A RAINY DAY LIKE THIS?

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, BUT THEY'VE HIT HIM SO HARD WITH SUCH SIGNIFICANT INFORMATION THAT HAS ERODED ANY POSITION HE MIGHT HAVE HAD TO GET THE VOTES OF WOMEN IN THIS COUNTRY THAT IT DOESN'T MATTER.

BUT DONALD TRUMP HAS TO SAY THOSE THINGS.

HE'S GOING TO LOSE THE ELECTION MOST LIKELY.

HE HAS TO CREATE A MOVEMENT THAT HAS LEGS.

SO GIVE US A PREDICTION.

WHAT IS THE PERCENTAGE HE'LL WIN THE RACE?

IT'S HARD TO WIN HOW HILLARY CLINTON DOESN'T WIN THE RACE.

FRANKLY, IN THE ELECTORAL VOTES, SHE'S WINNING IN STATES WITH HEAVY ELECTORAL VOTE LOADS.

IF SHE DOES WIN AND THE REPUBLICANS KEEP THE SENATE, WILL THESE INVESTIGATIONS AND ALL THIS STUFF ABOUT THE E-MAIL CONTINUE TO LINGER DURING HER TENURE?

THE REPUBLICAN DECISION WHETHER THEY'RE GOING TO CREATE ANIMOSITY OR NOT.

THEY'RE PROBABLY GOING TO LOSE A COUPLE SENATE SEATS, DO THE BEST YOU CAN TO RUN THE GOVERNMENT AND WORRY ABOUT HURTING THE PRESIDENT A LOT LESS.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU.

> THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS IN THE COUNTRY.

WE DO NOT HAVE TIME TO WASTE.

WE HAVE TO GET THIS DONE OR ELSE WE'RE GOING TO LOSE A LOT OF CAPACITY ON THE NORTHEAST CORRIDOR.

EVERY REVIEW WILL BE EXPEDITED.

GATEWAY SERVES NOT ONLY A JERSEY TRANSIT, BUT AMTRAK RIDERS, AS WELL.

WE'RE NOT LOOKING AT IT AS IF IT'S SOME FUTURE PROJECT THAT'S ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY AND WE NEED TO DO IT.

WE ARE DOING IT.

WE TURNED THE HOURGLASS OVER.

WE'RE BUILD THING PROJECT.

THERE IS NO TURNING BACK.

IT LOOKS LIKE IT'S FULL STEAM AHEAD FOR THE GATEWAY PROJECT THAT WILL ADD TWO NEW TUNNELS TO IMPROVE RAIL CONNECTIONS BETWEEN NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY, AMONG OTHER THINGS.

IT'S A HUGE STEP FORWARD FOR THE PROJECT, PLACED ON THE PRESIDENT'S DASH BOARD, A PROCESS THAT WILL HAVE ANY PERMITTING NEEDS FOR GATEWAY PUSHED TO THE FRONT OF THE LINE.

IF ALL GOES ACCORDING TO PLAN, NEW YORK SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER SAYS THAT CONSTRUCTION ON THE HUDSON TUNNEL PART OF THE PROJECT COULD BEGIN IN 2019.

BUT MANY QUESTIONS REMAIN.

IS THE PROJECT NECESSARY?

WHAT OBSTACLES IN THE WAY?

AND WHY HAS IT BEEN SO DIFFICULT TO BUILD AND REPAIR OUR NATION'S INFRASTRUCTURE.

I REALLY SPOKE WITH PHILLIP K.

HOWARD AND I ASKED HIM IF GATEWAY IS, IN FACT, TRULY A CRITICAL PROJECT FOR OUR REGION.

ON THE POSITIVE SIDE, IT WILL DOUBLE THE RAIL CAPACITY FROM -- ALONG THE NORTHEAST CORRIDOR SO THAT WE WON'T HAVE RAIL DELAYS ALL THE TIME AS TRAINS STACK UP TRYING TO GO THROUGH EXISTING TUNNELS.

SECONDLY, AVOIDING A NEGATIVE, AFTER SUPERSTORM SANDY, THESE 100-YEAR-OLD TUNNELS WERE SEVERELY DAMAGED AND THEY SOMETIMES HAVE TO CLOSE DOWN AT UNEXPECTED TIMES.

WHEN THEY DO, IT'S TRANSPORTATION GRIDLOCK FOR 25 MILES.

IN FACT, SENATOR SCHUMER SAID IF THIS WASN'T BUILT, IT WOULD BE TRAFFIC ARMAGEDDON.

NOT EXAGGERATING.

IT'S AMAZING THAT NEW YORK CITY IS DEPENDENT ON THESE RAILWAY TUNNELS THAT ARE CRUMBLING.

SO THIS PROJECT IS ESSENTIAL TO THE CITY'S AND REGION'S ECONOMY.

YOU MAKE A GOOD CASE.

SO THEREFORE, IT SEEMS OBVIOUS.

SO WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?

IT WILL GET BUILT NOW.

IT'S BEEN FUNDED.

THE PROBLEM IS, IN AMERICAN BUREAUCRACY, NO ONE HAS AUTHORITY TO ACTUALLY SAY, YES, THIS IS VITAL ENVIRONMENTALLY AS WELL AS ECONOMICALLY.

LET'S GET GOING.

SO IF YOU JUST TRUDGED THROUGH THE USUAL RED TAPE FOR A MAJOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECT, IT CAN TAKE A DECADE OR LONGER.

SO THAT WILL PROBABLY REQUIRE THE OTHER TUNNELS TO SHUT DOWN.

SO OUR GROUP AND OTHERS HAVE BEEN PUSHING TO HELP THE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO ACCELERATE THE PERMITTING PROCESS.

YOU HAVE TO GET THESE TUNNELS BUILT, BECAUSE THE OTHER TUNNELS HAVE TO BE CLOSED DOWN ONE AFTER ANOTHER FOR REPAIRS.

SO WE HAVE TO HAVE THESE NEW TUNNELS READY IN TIME, FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AS WELL AS THE ECONOMY.

SO THERE'S NO LOGIC THAT WOULD SAY IT'S BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT TO WAIT A FEW EXTRA YEARS TO MAKE SURE EVERY PEBBLE IS OVERTURNED.

THAT'S YOUR ARGUMENT.

THERE'S NO LOGIC, PERIOD, TO MOST OF THE GOVERNMENTAL BUREAUCRACY.

AND IN THE PAST, I DON'T WANT TO DIGRESS TOO MUCH, BUT IN THE PAST, YOU'VE GIVEN US CRAZY EXAMPLES HOW THE OBSTACLES OF THE BUREAUCRACY, EVEN IN THE TRISTATE AREA.

SO THE BAYON BRIDGE WAS A PROJECT SO THAT A NEW GENERATION COULD COME INTO NEWARK HARBOR.

VERY ENVIRONMENTALLY EFFICIENT SHIPS, JUST RAISING THE ROADWAY WITHIN THE EXISTING 80-YEAR-OLD ARCH INSTEAD OF BUILDING A NEW TUNNEL OR BRIDGE, WHICH SAVED THREE QUARTERS OF THE MONEY.

SO IT'S GOING TO COST ONLY A BILLION DOLLARS INSTEAD OF $3 OR $4 BILLION.

THIS PROJECT HAD NO ENVIRONMENT IMPACT.

THEY'RE JUST RAISING THE ROADWAY.

FIVE YEARS, AND 20,000 PAGE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT.

PERMITS FROM I THINK 49 DIFFERENT AGENCIES.

THE AMOUNT OF RED TAPE, STUDIES OF HISTORIC BUILDINGS IN A TWO-MILE RADIUS, EVEN THOUGH THE PROJECT WASN'T TOUCHING ANY HISTORIC BUILDING.

SO YOU'RE SAYING -- YOU'RE CONFIDENT NOW, YOU'VE BEEN WORKING ON THIS 25 YEARS AND YOU TOLD ME BEFORE THAT THE PROBLEM HAS ONLY GOTTEN WORSE.

WHAT MAKES YOU OPTIMISTIC THAT THING ALSO CHANGE?

THINGS WILL CHANGE, BECAUSE THE PITCHFORKS ARE OUT.

LOOK AT THIS ELECTION SEASON.

PEOPLE KNOW THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH GOVERNMENT.

IT'S COMPLETE UNRESPONSIVE BECAUSE NOBODY HAS AUTHORITY TO USE THEIR JUDGMENT TO SAY NO, I HAVE TO MAINTAIN ORDER IN THE CLASSROOM SO TEACHERS HAVE THE AUTHORITY.

NO DOCTOR SHOULD HAVE TO SPEND HALF THEIR DAY FILLING OUT PAPERWORK.

THERE'S THIS THING THAT'S HAPPENED IN GOVERNMENT WHERE IT'S IMPOSED ON CITIZENS AND ITSELF THIS KIND OF ENDLESS PROCESS WHERE THERE'S NO STOPPING --

YOU'RE SAYING NOW THAT THE PEOPLE ARE BEGINNING TO NOTICE AND FIGHTING AGAINST IT?

YES.

WE HAVE GOTTEN A BROAD COALITION, CORY BOOKER HAS BEEN HELPFUL, PROJECT SPONSORS, OTHERS, BASICALLY SAYING YES, WE WANT TO GET THIS PERMIT GOING.

BUT IT'S GOING TO TAKE FUNDAMENTALLY, MORE BROADLY A BASIC RESTRUCTURING OF THE WAY WE RUN GOVERNMENT SO THAT THERE ARE YEAR LINES OF AUTHORITY.

TIME WILL TELL.

WE'LL SEE IF THAT HAPPENS.

PHIL, THANKS SO MUCH.

ALWAYS GOOD TO TALK TO YOU.

NICE TO BE WITH YOU.

> 'NEW YORK TIMES' BEST SELLING AUTHOR STACY SCHIFF HAS WRITTEN BIOGRAPHIES OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, THE AUTHOR OF 'THE LITTLE PRINCE.'

SHE HAS NOW TURNED HER ATTENTION TO ONE OF THE MOST FASCINATING EVENTS IN AMERICAN COLONIAL HISTORY, THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS.

JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT HER NEW BOOK, 'THE WITCHES, SALEM 1692' IS STACY SCHIFF.

WELCOME.

THANK YOU.

AS I MENTIONED, ALL YOUR PREVIOUS WORKS WERE BIOGRAPHIES OF INDIVIDUALS OR COUPS.

SO WHY DID YOU TURN TO THIS MULTITASKED STORY?

IT DOESN'T SEEM OBVIOUS, BUT SALEM CONTINUES TO RESONATE SO LOUDLY AND CONSISTENTLY FOR US.

IT'S VERY SEMINAL AT THE TIME.

IT WILL CHANGE WHAT AMERICA WILL BECOME.

AND WE GO BACK TO IT OVER AND OVER.

WHEN WE GO BACK TO IT, WE SOMEWHAT DEFORM IT.

WE GO BACK TO ARTHUR MILLER'S CRUCIBLE.

SO GIVE US A SUMMARY OF WHAT HAPPENED, AND WHERE IT HAPPENED AND WHEN EXACT HI IT HAPPENED.

IT'S THE WINTER OF 1692.

AROUND LATE JANUARY, EARLY FEBRUARY, TWO LITTLE GIRLS, 9 AND 11, IN A VILLAGE PARSONAGE, ABOUT 50 MILES FROM THE INDIAN FRONTIER AT THAT POINT, BEGIN TO CONVULSE AND SHRIEK AND SHUTTER AND SPEAK IN GIBBERISH.

THESE WERE SYMPTOMS UNDERSTOOD TO BE WITCHCRAFT.

SO AFTER A NUMBER OF WEEKS, THEY NAME THREE WOMEN IN THE VILLAGE AND ACCUSE THEM OF HAVING BEWITCHED THEM.

VERY QUICKLY, ONE OF THOSE THREE SUSPECTS CONFESS TO WITCHCRAFT.

HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE ULTIMATELY CHARGED?

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 140 AND 180ISH.

THE RECORD ISN'T COMPLETE.

HOW MANY WERE EXECUTED?

19 PEOPLE WERE HANGED, 14 WOMEN AND 5 MEN, WHICH IS ONE OF THE ASTONISHING PIECES.

AND ONE MAN IS PRESSED TO DEATH UNDER STONES BECAUSE HE REFUSES TO ENTER A PLAY OF GUILT OR INNOCENCE.

ONE OF THE MISCONCEPTIONS -- WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BASIC MISCONCEPTIONS MOST OF US HAVE ABOUT THOSE TRIALS?

WE ALL ASSUME THIS WAS A CRIME OF MEN PERPETRATED ON WOMEN, THIS IS A MISOGYNISTIC EPISODE.

WE FORGET THE EARLY ACCUSERS ARE PREADOLESCENT GIRLS.

ALL OF THE ACCUSERS ARE MEN.

THEY PUT A MINISTER AT THE CENTER OF THIS.

THE IDEA THAT A HARVARD EDUCATED MINISTER HANGS IS NEWS TO US.

THIS IS NINE MONTHS FROM THE OUTBREAK OF THE WITCHCRAFT TO THE DAY WHEN THE COURT -- THAT THE SORT IS SHUT DOWN.

SO IT'S A RAMPAGING EPIDEMIC AND WE FORGET THAT THERE WAS A SENSE HERE OF DISLOCATION OF VULNERABILITY, THE INDIAN FRONTIER WAS VERY CLOSED.

TALK ABOUT THAT, THE KING PHILLIPS WAR.

YES, VERY, VERY SAVAGE WAR, WHICH CLAIMED A TREMENDOUS NUMBER OF CASUAL TRIES, A NEW INDIAN CAR IS ABOUT TO BREAK OUT.

ALMOST EVERYONE KNOWS OF OR HAS A FAMILY MEMBER INVOLVED IN SOME KIND OF INDIAN ATTACK.

SO THE SENSE THAT YOU WERE UNDER SIEGE IN SOME WAY PHYSICALLY WAS VERY CLOSE TO THE SURFACE CERTAINLY.

AND MANY OF THE GIRLS INVOLVED, MANY OF THE ACCUSERS WERE ORPHANS OF OR REFUGEES FROM THOSE PLACES.

SO THERE'S THAT.

I THINK THERE'S A POLITICAL PIECE OF THIS, THERE HAD BEEN A COUP AGAINST THE GOVERNOR, AND MASSACHUSETTS WAS IN THE STATE OF POLITICAL ANARCHY BECAUSE OF THAT.

IT SEEMED TO STOP PRETTY QUICKLY.

ONE SUGGESTION WAS BECAUSE THE WIFE OF THE GOVERNOR WAS ACCUSED.

ONE OF THE SKEPTICS WILL SAY WE SHOULD THANK WHOEVER ACCUSED THE WIFE OF THE GOVERNOR.

THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE ACCUSED JUST BECOMES -- IT'S ASTRONOMICAL.

IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO JAIL THAT MANY PEOPLE AND IT BEGINS TO DEFY THE IMAGINATION THAT MANY PEOPLE WERE PRACTICING WITCHCRAFT.

WHAT WERE THE REPERCUSSIONS OF CHRISTIANITY, OF FAITH?

ALREADY RELIGIOUS TOLERATION HAD BEEN DEMANDED IN MASSACHUSETTS, BUT THIS CLINCHES THE DEAL.

THE CHURCH HAS EMBARRASSED ITSELF.

THE VERY IDEA OF CONFESSION, WHICH IS CENTRAL, IS TAINTED BECAUSE THERE HAD BEEN SO MANY SEEMINGLY FALSE CONFESSIONS.

AND THE JUSTICE SYSTEM, IT'S EASY TO MAKE MOCKERY OF THE JUSTICE SYSTEM AFTER 1692.

SOMEONE POINTED OUT IT WAS VERY HARD FOR A WOMAN TO BE ARRESTED FOR ANYTHING AFTER 1692, AFTER THIS TERRIFIC MISMANAGEMENT.

ESSENTIALLY, WHY IS THIS STORY SO ENDLESSLY FASCINATING DO YOU THINK?

I THINK WE'RE ALWAYS FASCINATED WITH OUR ORIGINS.

THIS IS GROUND ZERO -- THESE WERE OUR REAL FOUNDING FATHERS IN MANY WAYS.

SO MANY OF THE STRAINS OF THE STORY, FROM THE FUNDAMENTALIST BELIEFS TO THIS TRIBAL INSTINCT, TO THIS IDEA THAT WE ARE EXCEPTIONAL IN SOME WAY.

THE DEVIL HAS COME DOWN IN MASSACHUSETTS, BECAUSE WE ARE THE EXCEPTIONAL, WE ARE THE CHOSEN PEOPLE.

SO I THINK IT RESONATES ON MANY LEVELS, WHY ARE TERRORISTS TARGETING US TODAY?

BECAUSE THEY ENVY OUR FREEDOMS.

WHEN YOU EXPLAIN IT, IT'S NOT THAT DISSIMILAR FROM THIS IDEA THAT WE ARE BEING PREYED UPON BECAUSE WE'RE THE CHOSEN ONES.

BRILLIANT BOOK.

FANTASTIC STORY.

THANK YOU.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --

©2023 WNET. All Rights Reserved. 825 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10019

WNET is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Tax ID: 26-2810489