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Washington Week With Gwen Ifill And National Journal

Airs Fridays at 8 p.m. & Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on KPBS TV

Above: WASHINGTON WEEK features Washington's top journalists analyzing the week's top news stories and their effect on the lives of all Americans. Gwen Ifill (pictured) hosts.

WASHINGTON WEEK, PBS' longest-running public affairs series, features Washington's top journalists analyzing the week's top news stories and their effect on the lives of all Americans. Gwen Ifill hosts.


Have you visited the new WASHINGTON WEEK website? This week we proudly unveiled a redesigned and improved on-line experience with all your favorite features like the Webcast Extra, Top Stories, and Gwen’s Take plus some new elements.


If you miss the program or want to hear it a second time, download the podcast and listen to both the show and the Webcast Extra.

Meet The Panelists

Get to know the panelists who join Gwen around the table each week.

Topics for Dec. 19 (encore Dec. 21):

President Obama’s action to restore diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba was the result of 18-months of secret negotiations with the communist regime that also included a prisoner exchange. Pope Francis played a crucial role in the talks that led to the release of American contractor Alan Gross, who was held in a Cuban prison for five years.

There was substantial push-back, mostly from Republicans to the president’s announcement. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, whose parents emigrated from Cuba, is among a group of bipartisan lawmakers vowing to block the deal and U.S. plans to establish an embassy in Havana.

Tom Gjelten of NPR and John Harwood of CNBC and The New York Times will explain how the president was able to breakthrough 50-years of hostility to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba and what it will mean for the citizens of both countries.

Federal investigators now believe North Korea was behind the cyber-attack of Sony Pictures computers. The movie studio has canceled the release of the comedy about the assassination of North Korea's leader after hackers threatened that there would be 9/11-style attacks on theaters that show the film. David Sanger of The New York Times will explain the dilemma the U.S. faces trying to confront the government of Kim Jong-un about this alleged cyber terrorism.

Plus, Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post will examine the possibility that the 2016 presidential election will feature two members of America's political dynasties -- Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.

If you're looking for a good book to read or give as a gift this holiday season, check out the WASHINGTON WEEK Holiday Reading List. There you'll find recommendations from many of your favorite Washington Week panelists.

From Gwen and everyone here at WASHINGTON WEEK, best wishes for a Merry Christmas, joyous holiday season and a healthy and happy New Year filled with peace.

And don’t forget you can follow WASHINGTON WEEK on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with daily developments. Past episodes of WASHINGTON WEEK are available for online viewing.

Senate Releases CIA Torture Report & Bipartisan Budget Deal

The release of a Senate report detailing the CIA's enhanced interrogation tactics after the September 11 attacks has the CIA, Congress, and present and former administrations scrambling for answers. The New York Times' Mark Mazzetti, Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus examine results of the five-year investigation. Also Real Clear Politics' Alexis Simendinger and ABC News' Jeff Zeleny explain how

Federal Probes into Policing, New Defense Chief

NBC News' Pete Williams reports on the multiple federal investigations into fatal, police-involved incidents involving minority citizens nationwide; McClatchy Newspapers' Nancy Youssef takes a closer look at newly nominated Ashton Carter for defense secretary, his qualifications and what challenges he may face during his confirmation hearings next year


Ferguson fallout, Chuck Hagel resigns, and Voice of the Vote

Above: After a grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, we look at what’s next as the issue of race and justice continues to capture national attention. Also, the surprise resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel after less than two years. Plus, we hear from our viewers on key issues like Washington gridlock, healthcare and the environment.

Our Panelists Give Thanks

On the Webcast Extra, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, our panelists pause to think about why they're thankful. From family to politics and even bike lanes, 2014 has been a good year for our panelists. We, at Washington Week, are thankful for you, our viewers, and hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Politics of Immigration Reform, and Lame Duck Legislation

President Obama's immigration decision and the Republican response questioning the president's authority. Also what will Obama's lame duck years look like going up against a new GOP Congress? Plus, will an immigration overhaul impact Election 2016?


Congress' Lame Duck Agenda, U.S.-China Climate Deal

Above: The White House and Congress recalibrated this week after the Midterm Election with a refocus on issues such as the Keystone pipeline, immigration and healthcare. Also a closer look at the historic U.S.-China climate deal. Plus, if the midterms were a wave election for the GOP, what does it mean for both parties as they look to 2016?

Election Analysis and New Congress, New Agenda

In our post-election roundtable, we deep dive into Midterm Election analysis and look at how Republicans made historic gains by winning control of the Senate, a wider majority in the House, and control of a number of governorships in key battleground states. Also, can we expect more conflict or more compromise in 2015 between President Obama and a new Congress led by the next likely Senate majorit

Midterm Elections, Incumbents in Trouble, Motivating Voters

It's the final countdown to Election Day 2014, and in the final days of the campaign, polls show a number of key Senate races tightening. Republicans and Democrats are spending the last few days motivating voters to show up to the polls.


Obama Names Ebola Czar, Economic Recovery Anxiety, Midterm

Above: (aired 10/17/14)


Secret Service Failures, Ebola in America and Midterm Preview

Above: October 3, 2014: The alarming revelations about recent Secret Service failings and the concerns of agency's ability to protect the presidency; a Liberian man being treated in Dallas became the first case of Ebola in the U.S.; and in our new feature “Friday Focus with John Harwood”, we look at the political campaign landscape in Colorado as we start the countdown to the midterm elections.

Obama's Strategy to Combat ISIS and Immigration Reform Delay

Analysis of President Obama's anti-terror strategy, Congress' outlook, and the U.S. public opinion toward the threat from ISIS. Also, why has Obama put immigration reform on the backburner? Joining Gwen Ifill: James Kitfield; National Journal; Ed O'Keefe, The Washington Post; Molly Ball, The Atlantic; and Carrie Budoff Brown, POLITICO.


NATO Summit & U.S. Strategy to Combat ISIL and Contain Ukraine-Russia Crisis


Washington Week: Islamic State; Russia-Ukraine crisis; Fleeing Taxes

Above: The growing ISIL threat and the Obama administration’s strategy to diminish the terror group. U.S. response to Russian troops entering southeastern Ukraine. Also, why U.S. companies, like Burger King, are heading abroad. Plus, a preview of the races to watch and the top issues in the midterm elections.


Washington Week: Missouri Teen Shooting, Upheaval in Iraq, Obama-Hillary Relationship

Above: The investigation into the shooting death of an unarmed Missouri teen, the fast-changing developments in Iraq and the status of the U.S. humanitarian rescue mission, and the reported rift between Hillary Clinton and President Obama over U.S. foreign policy. Joining Gwen: Yochi Dreazen, Foreign Policy Magazine; Carrie Johnson, NPR; Jeff Zeleny, ABC News