July 24, 2017: TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

How was the start of your commute week?  Snags plagued some systems, and while a blame game goes on between the mayor and the governor, a bigger issue surfaces:  is it time to ban food from the platforms and trains?  All the issues we’re facing this week as these “days of delays” creep on. Presidential Advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner faced the Senate Intelligence Committee and in a prepared and unsworn statement declared he did not collude with Russian operatives during the election.  Now we wait for Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort to do the same.  Former Watergate Special Prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks will be here with analysis. NYC Councilman Ritchie Torres is calling for desegregation in our cities schools immediately!  He joins us with the details.

 

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' HOW IS THE START OF YOUR COMMUTE WEEK?

SNAGS PLAGUED SOME SYSTEMS AND WHILE THE BLAME GAME GOES ON BETWEEN THE MAYOR AND THE GOVERNOR, A BIGGER ISSUE SURFACES.

IS IT TIME TO BAN FOOD FROM THE PLATFORM AND TRAINS?

ALL THE ISSUES WE'RE FACING THIS WEEK AS THESE DAYS OF DELAYS CREEP FORWARD.

PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER AND SON-IN-LAW JARED KUSHNER IN A PREPARED AND UNSWORN STATEMENT DECLARED HE DID NOT COLLUDE WITH RUSSIAN OPERATIVES DURING THE ELECTION.

NOW WE WAIT FOR DONALD TRUMP JR.

AND PAUL MANAFORT TO DO THE SAME.

FORMER WATER GATE PROSECUTOR IS HERE WITH ANALYSIS.

COUNCILMAN RICHIE TORRES IS LOOKING FOR THE DESEGREGATION OF OUR CITY'S SCHOOLS IMMEDIATELY.

THOSE STORIES, AND MORE, AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL P. ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANNIGAN.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --

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

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

> GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'VE RAFAEL P. RAMON.

IT'S THE START OF A NEW WORK WEEK AND COMMUTERS FACING TRAFFIC PROBLEMS, AS THE BLAME GAME CONTINUES BETWEEN THE MAYOR AND GOVERNOR.

COMMUTERS ARE NOT SURE WHAT IT MEANS, BUT ARE WARY OF MORE HEADACHES.

FOR EXAMPLE, JUST LAST WEEK, A Q TRAIN DERAILED IN BROOKLYN DURING THE MORNING RUSH HOUR.

THAT WASN'T THE ONLY INCIDENT THAT CAUSED DISRUPTIONS AND EVEN FEAR ON OUR SUBWAY SYSTEM.

EARLIER IN THE WEEK A TRACK FIRE IN HARLEM SENT AT LEAST NINE PEOPLE TO LOCAL HOSPITALS, SOME FOR SMOKE INHALATION.

AUTHORITIES SAY GARBAGE FIRE ON THE TRACK WAS THE CAUSE OF THE EVENT.

IS POSING ANOTHER INCONVENIENCE OF STRAP HANGERS THE WAY TO FIX THE TRANSIT SYSTEM'S FIRE PROBLEM?

AS PART OF OUR ONGOING DAYS OF DELAYS COVERAGE OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, WE'RE TAKING A CLOSER LOOK AT THIS AND OTHER RAIL RELATED ISSUES WITH CHANNEL 11 REPORTER GREG MOCKER WHO JOINS US NOW.

GREG, WELCOME.

THANKS, RAFAEL.

HOW SERIOUS IS THE FOOD BAN?

THE POSSIBILITY OF A FOOD BAN?

IT DOES SEEM LIKE THE LEAST OF OUR WORRIES, RIGHT?

ALTHOUGH WHEN I HAVEN'T HAD DINNER, I DO GET JEALOUS IF SOMEBODY HAS SOME PARTICULARLY SCRUMPTIOUS FOOD THERE.

OR SOME PEOPLE MAY NOT LIKE THE SMELL.

MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, THE SECOND IS THE --

I UNDERSTAND.

PEOPLE HAVE TO DO IT, RIGHT?

YEAH, HOW LIKELY IS IT?

I THINK THIS CAME UP AS A -- AS SOMETHING THAT WAS ON THE TABLE.

AND I DON'T THINK IT'S THAT LIKELY.

BECAUSE THE ENFORCEMENT WOULD BE --

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE ENFORCEMENT.

JOE LOTTA, IN HIS PREVIOUS INCARNATION AS MTA CHIEF, WAS VERY MUCH OPPOSED TO IT.

IN FACT HE KILLED A BILL THAT WAS PROPOSED IN ALBANY THAT WOULD BAN FOOD.

NOW HE'S THE ONE THAT'S PROPOSING IT.

IN FACT, HE MOCKED, OR CHASTISED THE MAYOR FOR BEING AGAINST THE FOOD BAN.

SO THERE'S SOME SERIOUSNESS TO IT.

IT'S ALMOST AS IF HE'S SAYING WE'RE TRYING TO COVER ALL THE BASES.

HE SAID WHEN YOU'RE ON A TRAIN YOU MIGHT NEED A SNACK.

AND WHAT'S NEXT, IS THIS GOING TO BE BANNING NEWSPAPERS?

I HOPE NOT.

WE'VE GOT TO BE ABLE TO HAVE OUR NEWSPAPERS.

THAT'S A GOOD POINT.

I THINK THEY'RE TRYING TO AT LEAST MAYBE BEFORE THIS PAST WEEK, SINCE SO MANY THINGS HAPPENED AGAIN, THEY WERE TRYING TO SAY, WE'RE LOOKING AT ALL OF THESE OPTIONS.

IT SEEMS TO ME WHEN I FIRST HEARD IT, THERE'S PLENTY OF OTHER ALTERNATIVES TO GO TO BEFORE BANNING FOOD.

INSTEAD OF REDUCING THE GARBAGE CANS, INCREASING.

YOU KNOW, PATH TRAIN HAVE A FOOD BAN.

THEY HAVE DIFFERENT ISSUES, BUT IT GOES TO ENFORCEMENT AS WELL THERE.

AGAIN, I THINK THEY'RE RUNNING DOWN EVERY POSSIBLE THING THAT THEY -- THEY WANT TO COVER EVERYTHING.

WE'RE GOING TO GET --

AS YOU SAY, ENFORCEMENT WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT.

PANHANDLING IN THE SUBWAY IS STILL ILLEGAL AND IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME, FOR EXAMPLE, RIGHT?

RIGHT.

AND THEN THAT WILL BE NYPD, ARE THEY GOING TO GET CHARGED TO START ENFORCING THIS?

COULD SET UP ANOTHER MAYOR AND GOVERNOR BACK-AND-FORTH.

ANOTHER ONE.

GREG, I WAS THINKING ABOUT, AS WE WERE PREPARING FOR THIS CONVERSATION, YOU KNOW, I GOT TO NEW YORK IN 1979.

DURING THE BAD OLD DAYS OF THE SUBWAY SYSTEM.

AND THEY WERE BAD.

THEY WERE DIRTY, THEY WERE DANGEROUS, COVERED BY GRAFFITI.

HALF THE DOORS NEVER OPENED.

BUT UNLESS MY MEMORY IS FAILING ME, I DON'T REMEMBER REGULAR DERAILMENTS, I DON'T REMEMBER REGULAR FIRES ON THE TRACK, I DON'T REMEMBER DAILY PROBLEMS --

YOUR MEMORY IS FINE.

I THINK THAT IT'S CERTAINLY AN OLDER SYSTEM THAN IT WAS DECADES AGO.

THAT'S JUST -- THAT'S AN EASY FACT.

AND THE ROUTINE MAINTENANCE DIDN'T HAPPEN WITH DELAYS.

YOU KNOW, YOU'VE GOT A CAR AT HOME.

YOU HAVE A BIKE, YOU HAVE A HOUSE AND YOU PUT OFF TAKING CARE OF THOSE LITTLE THINGS.

AFTER A WHILE THEY START TO ADD UP.

AND THE OTHER THING, I THINK WE'RE MORE AWARE OF IT NOW, TOO, SINCE WE HAVE THE INTERNET, SINCE WE HAVE THESE APPS THAT CAN TELL US IF THEY'RE DELAYED.

WE'RE CONDITIONED, AT LEAST I AM, TO CHECK BEFORE YOU GO OUT.

I THINK WE'RE GETTING THE INFORMATION MORE THAN MAYBE WE WERE IN THE PAST.

THAT'S ALL TRUE, BUT THE EXPERIENCE.

FOR EXAMPLE, ON MY WAY HERE TODAY THE TRAIN STOPPED THREE TIMES.

THAT HAPPENS ON A DAILY BASIS.

IT'S UNUSUAL FOR THAT NOT TO HAPPEN.

WE'RE CONDITIONED FOR THAT AGAIN, BECAUSE IT'S GETTING OLDER AND THEY NEED TO TAKE BETTER CARE OF IT.

HOPEFULLY THAT'S -- WE'RE AT THE BEGINNING OF THAT.

I'VE SAID THAT BEFORE.

WE'RE BACK TO THIS KIND OF BACK-AND-FORTH THAT I HEARD --

THE $64,000 QUESTION, WHO'S RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS?

WHO'S TO BLAME?

AS I SAID IN THE INTRODUCTION, THE GOVERNOR'S BLAMING THE MAYOR, JOE LOTTO IS BLAMING THE CITY.

AND THE GOVERNOR BLAMING THE MAYOR.

SAYING THE MTA WAS USING THE SUBWAY MONEY, YOU KNOW, AS AN ATM.

BECAUSE THERE HAVE BEEN SOME BUDGET SHIFTING AROUND.

ABSOLUTELY.

I ALWAYS SAY YOU'VE GOT TO GO TO THE LAW AND WHAT IT SAYS.

AND IT SETS UP THE MTA AS THE BODY THAT IS IN CHARGE OF THAT, AND THE GOVERNOR MAKES THE APPOINTMENTS.

I SAY THE BUCK STOPS --

THE MAJORITY OF APPOINTMENTS.

YEAH.

BUT IS THE MAYOR OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, AND HAS THE INFRASTRUCTURE HERE TO BE ON HIS MIND?

I LIKE TO SAY, MAYBE I'M JUST LIKE A WEIRD OPTIMIST, IF THEY COULD GET ALONG, IF THEY COULD COMPROMISE AND SAY WE'RE BOTH GOING TO WORK ON THIS, I THINK THEY COULD BOTH WIN.

IT'S A WIN-WIN FOR BOTH OF THEM.

THIS BACK-AND-FORTH IS JUST AN ODD THING.

GOVERNOR CUOMO IS AN ASTUTE POLITICIAN, HE KNOWS HOW THIS WORKS.

HE'S AT SECOND AVENUE STOOD THERE AND SAID HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE.

HOW ABOUT THE DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS -- OH, NOT ON THIS PROJECT.

IT SEEMS LIKE EVERYBODY IN THIS IS TRYING TO HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.

EXCEPT THE RIDERS.

WE'RE JUST TRYING TO GET SOMEWHERE SAFELY, RELATIVELY ON TIME.

JOE LOTTO IS GOING TO HAVE A LONG-TERM SOLUTION TO FIXING THE SUBWAYS LATER THIS WEEK.

ANY IDEA WHAT THAT WILL INCLUDE?

I THINK WE'LL SEE SOME SHORT-TERM THINGS.

REMOVING TRASH, OR, YOU KNOW, CLEANING IT UP MORE, THAT WOULD HELP CUT DOWN TRACK FIRES WHICH WOULD TAKE A SLICE OF THE DELAYS OUT.

THEY'RE LOOKING AT EVERYTHING.

I THINK IT MAY MEAN MORE INSPECTIONS.

BECAUSE RIGHT NOW THEY HAVE SOME GUIDELINES THAT THEY FOLLOW, BUT THEY'RE SPACED OUT.

THEY'RE INSPECTING THINGS MAYBE ONCE EVERY TWO MONTHS.

WHY IS THAT?

SOME OF IT IS STAFFING.

SOME OF IT IS JUST LIKE THE WAY THAT IT'S ALWAYS BEEN.

IT'S NOT ALWAYS WHAT HAPPENS WITH GOVERNMENT SOMETIMES, THE BUREAUCRACY.

WE'VE ALWAYS DONE IT THIS WAY.

I'VE WORKED AT CHANNEL 11 FOR GOING ON SEVEN YEARS NOW.

AND WHEN I FIRST STARTED, THAT'S WHAT IT WAS, THIS IS THE WAY WE ALWAYS DID IT MTA WOULD SAY.

THAT'S MOVING A LITTLE BIT NOW.

WE HAVE LESS THAN 30 SECONDS.

IS THERE ANY LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL, NO PUN INTENDED?

ARE THE DAYS OF DELAYS GOING TO CONTINUE BEYOND THE SUMMER?

I THINK IT'S GOING TO CONTINUE THIS WAY FOR THE SHORT TERM.

I'M BELIEVING THAT THERE'S LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL, BECAUSE WE NEED THIS SYSTEM TO BE OPERATIONAL.

THE THING THAT IS THERE NOW IS CERTAINLY THE RIDERS SAYING, OKAY, WE'VE HAD ENOUGH NOW.

THEY ARE TWEETING, THEY'RE ACTIVISTS, THERE ARE GROUPS THAT ARE TOGETHER.

I THINK THE TIDE IS DEFINITELY ROLLING IN THAT DIRECTION.

AND WE'RE GOING TO SEE SOME IMPROVEMENTS.

THEY'RE GOING TO TRY SOME THINGS, AND I'LL KEEP ASKING ABOUT THAT.

GREG, WE'LL HAVE YOU BACK TO TELL US ABOUT IT.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

BE SURE TO LOGON TO OUR NEW WEBSITE DAYS OF DELAYS.ORG FOR THE LATEST ON WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE DAILY COMMUTE AND TO SHARE YOUR OWN PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION STORY.

WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.

WE TURN NOW TO NATIONAL POLITICS AND THE ONGOING RUSSIA INVESTIGATION WHICH APPEARS TO BE EXPANDING TO INCLUDE SOME OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FAMILY MEMBERS AND THEIR BUSINESS DEALINGS.

TO DATE, TRUMP'S SON-IN-LAW AND SPECIAL ADVISER JARED KUSHNER WAS INTERVIEWED BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AND NOT UNDER OATH BY STAFF OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE FOR RUSSIAN MEDDLING.

LET ME BE VERY CLEAR, I DID NOT COLLUDE WITH RUSSIA, NOR DO I KNOW OF ANYONE ELSE IN THE CAMPAIGN WHO DID SO.

THE PRESIDENT'S ELDEST SON, DONALD TRUMP JR., AND FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER PAUL MANAFORT ARE ALSO SET TO BE INTERVIEWED BY CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATORS.

THAT, TOO, IS NOW SCHEDULED TO HAPPEN PRIVATELY AND NOT UNDER OATH.

THIS ALL COMES AMID REPORTS THAT THE PRESIDENT IS LOOKING FOR WAYS TO DISCREDIT THE SPECIAL COUNCIL INVESTIGATION LED BY ROBERT MUELLER, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME EXPLORING HIS PRESIDENTIAL PARDONING POWERS.

JOINING ME TO TALK GOOD WHERE THINGS STAND AND WHERE THIS COULD ALL BE HEADED, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WHO SERVED AS ASSISTANT SPECIAL PROSECUTOR DURING THE WATERGATE INVESTIGATION.

JILL, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM ONCE AGAIN.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME AS A GUEST.

NOW, JILL, IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT ROBERT MUELLER IS EXPANDING THIS INVESTIGATION TO LOOK INTO AT LEAST SOME OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S BUSINESSES, AND AS I MENTIONED, AS WE KNOW, SOME OF HIS FAMILY MEMBERS.

IN THE PAST, THESE INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATIONS HAVE TENDED TO EXPAND, CLEARLY, FOR EXAMPLE, WHITEWATER ENDED UP IN IMPEACHMENT OF THE PRESIDENT FOR HIS SEXUAL DEALINGS WITH MONICA LEWINSKY.

IS THERE A CONCERN, DO YOU HAVE A CONCERN THAT THIS INVESTIGATION WILL EXPAND EVEN IF THEY DON'T FIND IT THERE REGARDING RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE?

I DO NOT HAVE ANY FEAR THAT IT WILL EXPAND BEYOND RUSSIA.

IT SHOULD FOLLOW THE EVIDENCE.

AND THAT MEANS WHEREVER IT GOES.

MY CONCERN IS THE THREATS FROM THE PRESIDENT TO NOT ALLOW THE INVESTIGATION TO CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THE EVIDENCE.

THAT WOULD BE A SERIOUS PROBLEM.

HE CANNOT DO THAT.

HE SHOULD NOT DO THAT.

IT COULD LEAD TO A HUGE PUBLIC OUTCRY AS HAPPENED IN WATERGATE.

WE'LL GET TO THAT IN ONE MOMENT.

BUT LET ME ASK YOU, SINCE YOU WERE INVOLVED IN WATERGATE, DO YOU SEE ANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE RUSSIAN PROBE AT THIS STAGE AND THE WATERGATE INVESTIGATION IN ITS EARLY DAYS?

IN THE EARLY DAYS OF WATERGATE, WE HAD TWO THINGS GOING FOR US.

WE HAD McCORD, WHO WAS ONE OF THE BURGLARS, HAD WRITTEN A LETTER TO THE JUDGE IN THE BURGLARY TRIAL SAYING THAT THERE WERE HIGHER-UPS INVOLVED, THAT PEOPLE HAD LIED DURING THE TRIAL, PEOPLE HAD SAID, I DON'T REMEMBER WHEN THEY DID, AND THAT THERE HAD BEEN HUSH MONEY PAID.

AND WE THEN VERY QUICKLY HAD JOHN DEAN, WHO WAS THE WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL AND KNEW ABOUT THE PRESIDENT'S KNOWLEDGE TESTIFY.

WHAT WE DIDN'T HAVE IS ANY WAY TO CONFIRM AND CORROBORATE THOSE STATEMENTS UNTIL JULY, WHICH WAS ACTUALLY ONLY A FEW MONTHS AFTER WE WERE APPOINTED.

IN JULY, ALEXANDER BUTTERFIELD TESTIFIED THERE WAS A TAPING SYSTEM, AND THAT'S WHAT GAVE US EVENTUALLY EVERYTHING WE NEEDED TO CORROBORATE WHAT JOHN DEAN WAS SAYING.

AND I THINK IN THIS CASE, WE HAVE E-MAILS, WHICH ARE THE EQUIVALENT OF OLD-FASHIONED TAPE RECORDINGS, THAT WILL NEED TO BE FOLLOWED.

AND IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO TAKE WHATEVER THE SUBJECT GIVES YOU, FOR EXAMPLE, KUSHNER HAS PROVIDED A CHAIN OF E-MAILS -- I'M SORRY, DONALD TRUMP JR.

PROVIDED THE CHAIN OF E-MAILS.

IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO PROVIDE THE CHAIN, I WANT TO SEE HIS COMPUTER.

I WANT TO TEST IT TO SEE WHAT'S BEEN DELETED AND KNOW ALL OF THE E-MAILS HE GOT.

SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER IS PROBABLY SAYING THE SAME THING I'M GUESSING.

I'M GUESSING THAT'S PROBABLY TRUE.

IT SEEMS VERY OBVIOUS TO ME.

ONE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS INVESTIGATION, OR THIS INCIDENT, AND WATERGATE IS THAT SO MANY OF HIS FAMILY MEMBERS ARE PART OF THE INNER CIRCLE IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

HOW DOES THAT CHANGE THE TENOR OF THE INVESTIGATION, OR THE NATURE OF THE INVESTIGATION DO YOU THINK?

I THINK IT DOES COMPLICATE THINGS.

I THINK WHAT YOU NEED TO LOOK FOR IS WHO IS GOING TO BE THE JOHN DEAN OF THIS CASE.

AND IT'S MUCH MORE UNLIKELY TO BE HIS SON OR HIS SON-IN-LAW, EVEN THOUGH THEY APPEAR TO HAVE THE KIND OF KNOWLEDGE THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL.

BUT IT COULD BE SOMEONE LIKE PAUL MANAFORT WHO IS NOT RELATED AND WHO IS IN CLEAR LEGAL JEOPARDY FOR A VARIETY OF THINGS, INCLUDING POSSIBLE MONEY LAUNDERING.

IT COULD BE MICHAEL FLYNN WHO WAS HIS FORMER SECURITY DIRECTOR, WHO IS OBVIOUSLY IN CLEAR TROUBLE FOR PERJURY, FOR VIOLATING PENTAGON RULES, FOR WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE.

THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE YOU MIGHT BE LOOKING AT, AS TO WHO'S GOING TO BE FLIP, AND WHO'S GOING TO COOPERATE TO GET THE BEST DEAL.

THE FIRST IN TO COOPERATE USUALLY GETS THE BEST DEAL.

AND SO THEY NEED SOMEONE TO DO THAT.

DO YOU THINK THERE ARE ALREADY CALLS FOR IMPEACHMENT IN THIS INVESTIGATION?

LEGALLY, YES.

POLITICALLY, THAT'S A DIFFERENT QUESTION.

WHAT I KNOW, AND ASSUMING THAT WHAT THE PRESS IS REPORTING IS TRUE, AND BASED ON COMEY'S TESTIMONY WHICH WAS PUBLIC, THERE'S DEFINITELY BEEN AN OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE IN TRYING TO STOP THE INVESTIGATION.

NOT ONLY WAS IT BECAUSE THAT THE PRESIDENT ASKED COMEY TO STOP THE INVESTIGATION OF FLYNN, BUT BECAUSE HE THEN FIRED COMEY FOR NOT DOING THAT.

THAT'S OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE.

THAT IS AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE.

IT WAS THE FIRST ARTICLE OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST PRESIDENT NIXON.

SO DEFINITELY THAT IS TRUE.

BUT WHETHER THERE'S THE WILL IN CONGRESS IS ANOTHER ISSUE.

BUT GEORGE H.W. BUSH PARDONED CASPAR WEINBERGER DURING THE IRAN CONTRA INVESTIGATION.

HE PARDONED HIM AND HE WASN'T CHARGED WITH OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE.

ALLEN DERSHOWITZ SAID HE CAN'T BE CHARGED WITH OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE BECAUSE HE HAS THE CONSTITUTIONAL POWER TO PARDON OR FIRE THE FBI DIRECTOR.

YOU DISAGREE?

I DISAGREE.

FIRST OF ALL, THE IMPEACHMENT LAW IS EXTREMELY VAGUE.

IT SAYS FOR HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, WHICH ARE UNDEFINED.

AND IT MEANS ANYTHING THAT CONGRESS THINKS IS INTERFERING WITH OUR DEMOCRACY.

AND I THINK THAT ONE COULD SAY THAT A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN AN ADVERSARY, THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT, AND THE U.S.

GOVERNMENT, WOULD BE SOMETHING THAT ENDANGERS OUR DEMOCRACY.

THE INTERFERENCE IN OUR ELECTION IS A CLEAR DANGER THAT CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE.

WE MUST GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THAT.

WE MUST FIND OUT WHAT THE RUSSIANS DID AND PREVENT THEM FROM EVER DOING IT AGAIN.

SO I THINK THAT IT'S CLEAR THAT IT IS IMPEACHABLE.

HE MAY BE TALKING ABOUT, YOU KNOW, LEGALLY COULD IT BE OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE IF HE HAD UNFETTERED POWER?

WELL, I WOULD ARGUE HE DOESN'T.

BUT IF HE DOES, IT'S STILL AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE.

YOUR QUESTION WAS, IS IT IMPEACHABLE.

IF YOU WERE ADVISING PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LEGAL TEAM, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THEM?

TAKE AWAY HIS PHONE.

TAKE AWAY HIS PHONE IS THE ANSWER.

AND I KNOW HE WON'T LISTEN TO ANYBODY.

SO I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO.

HE IS A NIGHTMARE OF A CLIENT FOR A LAWYER.

OKAY.

JILL, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

WE REALLY APPRECIATE YOU COMING ON.

AND WE'LL INVITE YOU BACK AS THE INVESTIGATION PROGRESSES.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

> OVER 60 YEARS AFTER THE BROWN VERSUS BOARD OF EDUCATION RULING, BANNING STATE SANCTIONS OF SEGREGATION OF PUBLIC SOOLS, DIVERSITY IN SCHOOLS CONTINUE TO FALL SHORT FOR MANY STUDENTS.

NEW YORK CITY HAS ONE OF THE MOST SEGREGATED SCHOOL SYSTEMS IN THE COUNTRY.

TO TRY AND ADDRESS THIS, A COALITION OF ADVOCATES SENT A LETTER TO THE CITY SCHOOL'S CHANCELLOR, CARMEN FIORINA, FOR A PLAN TO INTEGRATE SCHOOLS.

ONE OF THE LETTER'S SIGNATORY JOINS US NOW TO TALK ABOUT DIVERSITY IN SCHOOLS.

WHAT HAS BEEN DONE, WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE, AND WHY NOW IS THE TIME TO MOVE FORWARD.

WELCOME, COUNCILMAN.

GOOD TO BE HERE.

WITH THIS LETTER THAT WAS SENT ON MAY 26th, ONE OF THE THING THAT WAS POINTED OUT WAS THAT THERE NEEDS TO BE MEASURABLE GOALS INVOLVED IN DIVERSIFYING NEW YORK CITY SCHOOLS.

WHAT ARE THOSE GOALS AND HOW DO WE MEASURE THEM?

FIRST I NEED THE RECOGNITION THAT SEGREGATION IS A PROBLEM.

ACCORDING TO THE ACLU, WE HAVE THE MOST SEGREGATED SCHOOL SYSTEM.

WE HAVE TO RECONCILE OUR SELF-IMAGE WITH THIS ROCK AT THE VERY CORE OF OUR PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM.

I WOULD CALL ON THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO ADOPT SCHOOL INTEGRATION AS A POLICY OBJECTIVE.

WE'VE SEEN THE NUMBER OF INTENSELY SEGREGATED SCHOOLS RISE BY 70%.

HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT INTEGRATING -- ARE WE TALKING ABOUT BUSING THAT WE SAW IN THE '70s?

HOW DOES THIS WORK, AND WHAT WOULD THOSE GOALS LOOK LIKE?

I THINK ONE OF THE MOST COMMON RESPONSES IS THE MAYOR, IS THAT SEGREGATION IS PURELY A MOSTLY FUNCTION OF THE IMPACT.

IT'S TRUE, THAT'S HELPING TO PLAY A ROLE.

INTEGRATED -- HOUSING CANNOT EXPLAIN SEGREGATION IN NEIGHBORHOODS.

THAT IS A PUBLIC POLICY, WHETHER ZONING, OR CHOICE, OR SCREENING, WHICH ARE KNOWN TO PRODUCE RACIAL INEQUITIES IN THE PUBLIC EDUCATION.

SO WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT CHANGES THAT NEED TO BE MADE, I JUST WANT TO BE CLEAR FOR OUR VIEWERS WHAT EXACTLY IS IT THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO HELP MOVE NEW YORK CITY INTO A MORE DIVERSE, AND OF COURSE, WITH DIVERSITY, WE'RE NOT JUST TALKING RACIAL DIVERSITY, THIS IS DIVERSITY OF CLASS, AND ETHNICITY, RELIGION, ET CETERA?

IT'S MOSTLY RACE.

AND OBVIOUSLY RACE AND CLASS IN AMERICAN LIFE ARE CLOSELY INTERTWINED.

ELIMINATING SCREENING WHICH SEGREGATES STUDENTS OF COLOR.

IT MEANS IMPLEMENTING AN ALTERNATIVE TO ZONING AND CHOICE.

KNOWN AS CONTROLLED CHOICE.

UNDER CONTROLLED CHOICE.

IT ALLOWS PARENTS TO RANK THEIR PREFERRED SCHOOLS IN ORDER.

AND THOSE PREFERENCES ARE FACTORED INTO A COMPUTER ALGORITHM THAT ALSO CONSIDERS DIVERSITY.

THERE'S A BALANCE BETWEEN THE NEED FOR GREATER DIVERSITY IN THE CLASSROOM AND THE NEED TO PRESERVE THE ABILITY OF PARENTS TO SELECT THE BEST SCHOOLS FOR THEIR CHILDREN.

YOU MENTIONED THE MAYOR A FEW MOMENTS AGO AND HE DID, OF COURSE, RELEASE HIS OWN PLAN FOR DIVERSIFYING SCHOOLS.

IT WAS DONE WITH LITTLE FANFARE.

SOME PEOPLE WERE CONCERNED ABOUT THE FACT THAT IT DIDN'T SEEM TO GET A WHOLE LOT OF ATTENTION.

FIRST, WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE MAYOR'S PLAN FOR DIVERSIFYING SCHOOLS?

MIXED.

DOES THE PLAN RISE TO THE LEVEL OF SYSTEMIC CHANGE?

NO.

NOR IS IT SIMPLY A PUBLIC RELATIONS GIMMICK.

FOR THE LARGEST SCHOOL SYSTEM IN THE COUNTRY, TO SET QUANTIFIABLE GOALS TO DIVERSIFY THE CLASSROOM, IT'S AN OFFICIAL RECOGNITION OF INTEGRATION AS A PUBLIC POLICY OBJECTIVE WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.

AND IT DEMONSTRATES THAT THE COALITION FOR SCHOOL INTEGRATION HAS HAD A REAL IMPACT IN CHANGING THE TERMS OF THE DEBATE.

THAT THE DEBATE IS NO LONGER ABOUT WHETHER TO DIVERSIFY OUR SCHOOLS, BUT HOW.

HE ALSO DID MENTION THAT THERE'S A ROLE THAT STATE LEGISLATORS COULD BE PLAYING IN ALL OF THIS.

NOW, OF COURSE, WE KNOW THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF BACK-AND-FORTH WITH THE MAYOR AND STATE WITH MAYORAL CONTROL OVER SCHOOLS.

WHAT ROLE DO STATE LAWMAKERS PLAY IN NEW YORK'S ABILITY TO DIVERSIFY ITS SCHOOLS AND WHAT SHOULD THEY BE DOING?

ULTIMATE AUTHORITY OVER THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM AND WE'VE FOUND OUT LIES NOT WITH THE MAYOR, WITH THE LEGISLATURE, THE LEGISLATURE COULD SET REQUIREMENTS THAT NEW YORK CITY MOVE TOWARD GREATER DESEGREGATION OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM, WHICH I WOULD WHOLEHEARTEDLY SUPPORT.

TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT.

THE MAYOR SORT OF TOUCHED ON IN HIS OWN SPEECH ANNOUNCING THAT HE WENT TO DIVERSE SCHOOLS, OR INTEGRATED SCHOOLS AND BENEFITED FROM THAT.

HE INTENTIONALLY WANTED THAT FOR HIS OWN CHILDREN.

HOW CAN THEY BENEFIT FROM BEING IN A MORE DIVERSE ATMOSPHERE IN THEIR MORE FORMATIVE YEARS, AND ALSO, DOES THAT MEAN THE SEGREGATED SCHOOLS ACTUALLY HURT THEM?

OR DOES IT AT ALL?

SEGREGATION IS DESTRUCTIVE.

THAT'S NOT MY OPINION, THAT'S THE OPINION OF BROWN VERSUS BOARD OF EDUCATION.

I BELIEVE AS JOHN MARSHALL DID, THAT THE ROAD TO RACIAL EQUITY RUNS THROUGH RACIALLY INTEGRATED CLASSROOMS.

SEPARATE EQUALS CAN NEVER BE EQUAL.

I THINK A LOT OF TIMES WHEN PEOPLE THINK ABOUT SEGREGATION HARMING KIDS, THEY THINK OF THE KIDS WHO ARE SEPARATED INTO POORER DISTRICTS.

I'M WONDERING IF IT IS ALSO DAMAGING TO KIDS THAT ARE IN ELITE SCHOOLS WHO DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO A DIFFERENT KIND OF --

IT'S A DIFFERENT KIND OF HARM.

I THINK IN THE CASE OF STUDENTS OF COLOR, IT'S RESOURCE AND EQUITY, DEPRIVATION OF RESOURCES.

IN THE CASE OF THE REST OF SOCIETY, YOU'RE DENYING THEM OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN HOW TO BE A CITIZEN IN A COSMOPOLITAN SOCIETY, AND INTERACT WITH PEOPLE OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE.

THERE ARE CIVIC HARMS AND MATERIAL EDUCATIONAL HARMS THAT ARISE FROM SEGREGATION.

GOING FORWARD WITH DIVERSIFYING NEW YORK CITY SCHOOLS, IS IT POSSIBLE -- BECAUSE THERE'S BEEN AN ARGUMENT THAT THE CHARTER SCHOOL SYSTEM ACTUALLY DOES A VERY GOOD JOB OF DIVERSIFYING ITS STUDENT BODY.

IS THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU'VE FOUND, AND THAT COULD BE AN ARGUMENT FOR MORE CHARTER SCHOOLS, OR SHOULD THERE BE MORE PUSH AND EMPHASIS ON THIS IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM?

MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT A FEW CHARTER SCHOOLS EXIST TO PROMOTE DIVERSITY, BUT NOT ALL OF THEM.

I THINK THE EMPHASIS OF THE CHARTER SCHOOL MOVEMENT HAS BEEN ON TEACHER QUALITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY AND THE EMPHASIS ON THE CAMPAIGN FOR FISCAL EQUITY.

WHAT I'M ARGUING IS THAT THOSE ARE SYMPTOMS.

THE LARGER PROBLEM IS SCHOOL SEGREGATION.

SHOW ME ANY SCHOOL SYSTEM THAT IS DEEPLY SEGREGATED IN THE COUNTRY AND I WILL SHOW YOU A SCHOOL SYSTEM THAT PRODUCES INEQUITY AND OPPORTUNITIES.

COUNCILMAN TORRES, THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO COME DOWN AND TALK TO US ABOUT THIS ISSUE.

WE'LL BE WATCHING TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS GOING FORWARD WITH INTEGRATING AND DESEGREGATING NEW YORK CITY SCHOOLS.

IF THERE'S ONE THOUGHT YOU COULD LEAVE OUR VIEWERS WITH, WHAT WOULD THAT BE, ABOUT THE DIVERSITY OF CITY SCHOOLS?

WE ARE NOT POWERLESS TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

I THINK WE'VE CONVINCED OURSELVES THAT THERE ARE FORCES BEYOND OUR CONTROL THAT DICTATE THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION.

I THINK WE SHOULD EMPOWER OURSELVES TO HONOR THE HERITAGE OF BROWN VERSUS BOARD OF EDUCATION AND ENSURE THAT THE POOREST KIDS IN THE POOREST NEIGHBORHOODS HAVE A FIGHTING CHANCE AT A DECENT EDUCATION.

AGAIN, COUNCILMAN TORRES, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

IT'S AN HONOR TO BE HERE.

THANK YOU.

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Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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