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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice | Election 2020


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Robert Costa, the moderator of WASHINGTON WEEK, on the set of the weekly prog...

Credit: Courtesy of Scott Suchman

Above: Robert Costa, the moderator of WASHINGTON WEEK, on the set of the weekly program, July 2018.

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.

Join moderator Robert Costa for a robust roundtable discussion with award-winning journalists who provide reporting and analysis of the major stories emanating from the nation’s capital.

Topics for Sept. 25 (Repeats Sunday, Sept. 27):

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a trailblazer and icon on the nation's highest court, died last Friday night, her death announced just minutes before WASHINGTON WEEK went to air. This week, our show will discuss her legacy and the impact of having a vacancy on the court just weeks before a hotly-contested presidential election.

President Trump is set to announce his choice for the seat this Saturday, all as he continues to make unfounded allegations about widespread voter fraud and refuses to commit to a peaceful transition of power. The decision about who will be America's next president could be decided by the Supreme Court.

What are the stakes for both the president and Democratic nominee Joe Biden? And what about for American democracy?

After the show, watch the WASHINGTON WEEK Extra for a discussion of Ginsburg’s life and legacy with NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg. The WASHINGTON WEEK Extra streams live on our website, Facebook, and YouTube page, Fridays at 8:30 p.m.

Joining Robert Costa to discuss this pivotal week:

  • Carl Hulse, Chief Washington Correspondent for the New York Times and author of "Confirmation Bias: Inside Washington's War Over the Supreme Court, from Scalia's Death to Justice Kavanaugh"
  • Seung Min Kim, White House Reporter, covering the Trump administration through the lens of Capitol Hill for the Washington Post
  • Nina Totenberg, Legal Affairs Correspondent for NPR, who covered Justice Ginsburg for over forty years, starting when Ginsburg was Director of the ACLU's Women's Rights Project in the 1970s


Test your knowledge of the week's news with the Washington Week-ly News Quiz!

And don’t forget you can follow WASHINGTON WEEK on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter to keep up with daily developments. Past episodes of WASHINGTON WEEK are available for streaming on demand.


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 Robert around the table each week.

WASHINGTON WEEK: Full Show for Sept. 18, 2020

President Trump is at odds with scientists and his administration's own health experts over the timeline of a possible COVID-19 vaccine and he is pushing back against the explosive reporting in Bob Woodward's new best-selling book "Rage." Woodward joins Washington Week this Friday to discuss his reporting and the tapes of his conversations with the president. Meanwhile, fires continue to ravage the West Coast while storms slam the South, adding to hardships for many across the country after months of the pandemic. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, spoke about those issues this week, bringing matters of climate change into the campaign. As the election nears and the headlines pile up, what matters most to voters?

WASHINGTON WEEK: full episode for Sept. 11, 2020

Explosive reporting this week from author Bob Woodward in his new book “Rage” shows President Donald Trump knew COVID-19 was “deadly” and spread by air as early as February but chose to play down the threat, arguing he did not want Americans to panic. The president also said it was more deadly than the flu in an interview with Woodward on February 7. Yet in public comments in the same period, the president dismissed the coronavirus risk to Americans, saying “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.” WASHINGTON WEEK will discuss Robert Costa’s reporting on “Rage,” published in the Washington Post Wednesday, and the latest on what the president knew and when he knew it. The panel will also discuss the White House’s response to the book and the fallout in the 2020 presidential campaign, just weeks before Election Day. And in this week's online WASHINGTON WEEK Extra Bookshelf, a one-on-one conversation with Michael Schmidt about his new book “Donald Trump V. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President.”

WASHINGTON WEEK full episode for Sept. 4, 2020

The 2020 election is just two months away and the polls show a tight race between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. And this week, Kenosha, Wisconsin became the latest and key front in the battle for the battleground states. The city has been facing unrest since Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot by police, and after a white man, age 17, shot and killed two protestors several nights later. These incidents have thrust Wisconsin into the fore of the national debate over race, violence, policing, and power, and led to dueling visions from Biden and Trump about how to address the crisis. The president visited on Tuesday to meet with law enforcement officials and business owners, and Biden is in Kenosha on Thursday, meeting with Blake's family and community members. It is his first visit to the pivotal swing state as the Democratic nominee. And in the background, the pandemic continues to ravage the country with over 6 million cases and 185,000 dead. In Washington, there is growing debate whether the Food and Drug Administration should use emergency powers to clear a vaccine by November 1, just days before the election, and new scrutiny of the president's health advisers in the West Wing.

WASHINGTON WEEK: full episode for Aug. 28, 2020

President Trump is scheduled to wrap up the Republican National Convention tonight with his acceptance speech at the White House, followed by a fireworks show at the Washington Monument. Unlike most conventions where the candidate is largely off stage until the final night, the president has made multiple appearances, including a surprise speech in Charlotte on day one. The president has also appeared in videos using the White House as a backdrop for a presidential pardon and a naturalization ceremony, and in the Rose Garden as the First Lady gave her address. Tonight’s speech will cap a week of norm-shattering moments, where the Republicans chose to forgo a platform, and ignore allegations of violations of the Hatch Act, a federal law prohibiting federal employees, other than the president and first lady, from using government resources for campaigning. Plus, a racial reckoning in Kenosha, WI after police officers shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back. His family's lawyer says it is unlikely he will ever walk again. The shooting has led to racial justice protests across the country and in the NBA, which postponed all playoff games after a walkout by Milwaukee Bucks players. A 17-year-old white man is also charged with fatally shooting two people at a protest in Kenosha, Tuesday night. And, we are following developing events after Hurricane Laura made landfall on the Gulf Coast in Louisiana Wednesday night as a Category 4 storm.

WASHINGTON WEEK: full episode for August 21, 2020

The first ever virtual Democratic National Convention captured how the battle is now on for the hearts and minds of the American voter with just 75 days to the election. The overarching message so far in speeches from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to former President Barack Obama is that another four years of a Donald Trump presidency is a threat to American democracy. Senator Kamala Harris made history as the first Black and South Asian woman to accept the nomination as a major party vice presidential nominee. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden takes the stage Thursday to formally accept the nomination. The president travels Thursday to the battleground state of Pennsylvania, visiting Biden’s hometown of Scranton, and then plans a Fox News appearance Thursday evening as counter programming to the keynote speech. Meanwhile, the showdown over mail in voting and the United States Postal Service continues to dominate discussions on Capitol Hill, just days before the Republican National Convention. And longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon was arrested on Thursday on fraud charges.

WASHINGTON WEEK: full episode for August 14, 2020

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) made history this week, becoming the first Black woman and first Asian-American on a major party presidential ticket. Presumptive Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden announced the barrier-breaking decision to make Harris his running mate this week, just days before the Democratic National Convention. Washington Week digs in deep this week on what this choice means for the 2020 campaign. Weekly unemployment numbers dropped below 1 million for first time in five months, but Congress is making little headway on another round of economic stimulus in the face of ongoing economic pressures for many Americans due to Coronavirus. President Trump took unilateral action over the weekend to send $300 per week in supplemental weekly unemployment benefits to Americans and asked cash-strapped states to pitch in another $100, but questions remain about the ability for the White House to execute on this. The president says he is blocking additional funds requested to assist the United States Postal Service with mail-in voting.

WASHINGTON WEEK: full episode for August 7, 2020

As the election nears, President Trump is eager to project optimism as the nation struggles with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. But the heath and economic data continues to be bleak, just days before many schools are scheduled to reopen. Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the top scientists on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said this week that “what we’re seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread.” Before voters make their final judgment on the president’s handling of the crisis, Trump is facing tough questions from reporters. When pressed recently about the number of deaths in an interview with AXIOS National Political Reporter Jonathan Swan, Trump said “it is what it is," while insisting the White House is doing everything possible to combat the virus. Jonathan Swan will join us on Friday.

WASHINGTON WEEK: full episode for July 31, 2020

Watch the full episode for July, 31, 2020

WASHINGTON WEEK: full episode for July 17, 2020

President Trump's reelection campaign is at a summer crossroads as his poll numbers dip and the coronavirus pandemic shows no signs of abating. And this week, in an effort to shake things up, the president shuffled his political operation, replacing campaign manager Brad Parscale with longtime political adviser Bill Stepien. But the challenges facing Parscale will still face Stepien, including a scaled back Republican National Convention next month in Florida, following discussions this week among Republican leaders. Beyond the political battle, economic and health issues continue to mount. According to a report by the nonpartisan consumer advocacy group Families U.S.A. 5.4 million people lost their health insurance between February and May due to unemployment. The unemployment figures this week show 1.3 million more people filed for unemployment last week, with the federal program that boosted benefits scheduled to end this month. Those matters loom over the talks on Capitol Hill. Congressional Republicans are considering floating billions in aid for schools in the next relief bill as the Trump Administration continues to push for sending kids back to the classroom. But negotiations are far from over.

WASHINGTON WEEK: full episode for July 10, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic continues to see a surge in cases across the country, and it is now hitting red states hard with new hotspots in Arizona, Florida and Texas. As the number of Americans infected with COVID-19 surpassed 3 million this week, leaders in Washington are at a crossroads. Will they encourage schools to reopen? And will they pass another round of stimulus funding? For now, tensions are evident. White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci told an interviewer this week, "We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this … that really never got down to where we wanted to go." Yet with no vaccine on the horizon, President Trump is pressing schools to reopen, and threatening to cut federal funding if they do not open this fall. The 2020 presidential election continues to heat up. Some top Republicans say they will not attend the Republican National Convention next month in Jacksonville, Fla., as cases soar in that state. The president will visit Florida this Friday and then hold a rally in New Hampshire on Saturday. And on Thursday morning, the Supreme Court ruled on the president's tax returns. The court granted the Manhattan District Attorney access to President Trump’s financial records but did not order him to hand over his tax returns to Congressional committees led by Democrats. A lower court will decide if Congressional investigators can subpoena these documents.


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