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I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday Morning. With our economy reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and Congress at a stalemate over a relief package, last weekend President Trump issued four executive actions he says offer a lifeline to those in need. Was it a bold act of presidential leadership or a troubling violation of the limits of power?
Ted Koppel will report our cover story. We have done a job the likes of which nobody's seen. We've learned to take some of what the president says with a grain of salt. It's going to disappear. One day it's like a miracle.
It will disappear. But when he says this. We have things that I can do. Take him seriously.
I have the right to do a lot of things that people don't even know about. Very seriously. Thank you all very much. That's ahead on a Sunday morning. Then we're off on a musical journey to the place they call the Mother Church of Country Music. With Mark Strassman, we visit the theater that made the Grand Ole Opry an American treasure. What makes Nashville's Ryman Auditorium hallowed ground?
We asked singer-songwriter Cheryl Crow. I think people who come in this room know that they're going to be a part of something that is bigger than just them. There's a different mojo here. It's like your first date. You know it's like it's scary but then it's like oh this is amazing or awful. Depending on the day.
Depending on yeah. A date at Country Music's Mother Church coming up on Sunday morning. In this time of quarantines and social distancing, many of us are struggling for some sense of normalcy. Lee Cowan introduces us to a growing group of people living life in a bubble. George, his triple is right down. The NBA playoffs start tomorrow inside a protective bubble where not a single player has tested positive for COVID-19 in over a month.
So far so good is what I would say. Other expanded bubbles are holding tune. Some include more than just extended family.
If my husband is driving me crazy or vice versa, I have somebody else that I can talk to. The bigger our bubbles, the better. Later on Sunday morning. Nancy Giles has the history of one of the very cool things about summer, popsicles. David Martin looks back on the disastrous attempt to rescue Americans from captivity in Iran 40 years ago. John Dickerson looks ahead to this week's most unconventional Democratic Convention. Plus Erin Moriarty on the challenge of counting votes in a pandemic. And Steve Hartman is back. It's Sunday morning, the 16th of August, 2020.
And we'll be back in a moment. The President of the United States is often called the most powerful person on earth. But where do those powers begin and end?
A question for senior contributor Ted Koppel to consider. The power of the president is enormous. I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency. And this president is not bashful in describing powers that go well beyond simple declarations. The authority is total.
And that's the way it's got to be. There are, it's true, some restraints on most presidential authority, but those might not apply to all the president's powers. I have the right to do a lot of things that people don't even know about. We can't know for sure, but what the president appears to have been referring to are his presidential emergency action documents, often referred to as PIATs, former Senator Gary Hart. Even though I've had security clearances for the better part of 50 years and been in and out of national security matters during that half century, I had never heard of these secret powers.
Do you know what they are now that you've heard of them? Only vaguely due to research done at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. What these secret powers are apparently based on the research is suspension of the constitution, basically. And that's what's worrying, particularly on the eve of a national election. These are essentially presidential orders that are drafted in anticipation of a range of hypothetical worst case scenarios. The Brennan Center research that Senator Hart referred to has been spearheaded by Elizabeth Goite, the co-director of its national security program and a contributing writer at the Atlantic. Several times during his administration, President Trump has made allusions to secret powers that he has that we don't know about. Is he making that up?
Well, not exactly. And what's alarming about that is that no one really knows what the limits of those claimed authorities might be because they are often developed and kept in secret. Goiteen says what little we do know about Pieds comes from references to them in other documents, some of which are now declassified. They originated in the Eisenhower administration as part of an effort to try to plan for a potential Soviet nuclear attack.
But since then, they've expanded to address other types of emergencies as well. No presidential emergency action document has ever been released or even leaked. Not even Congress has access to them, which is really pretty extraordinary when you consider that even the most highly classified covert military and intelligence operations have to be reported to at least eight members of Congress, the Gang of Eight. You're saying they are not consulting with Congress.
Exactly. Congress is not aware of what's in these documents. And from public sources, we know that at least in the past, these documents have purported to do things that are not permitted by the Constitution, things like martial law and the suspension of habeas corpus and the roundup and detention of people not suspected of any crime. The reason these documents are secret is for 11 administrations, people in power did not want to frighten the American people or to demonstrate what might happen to their constitutional rights and liberties.
And keep going. And you're saying what, therefore? Well, these every administration, including Democratic administrations, has revised and updated these powers. And I started contacting friends of mine of both parties who had been in senior positions. And I got two responses or one response, which is I never heard of these powers. And these are people in senior cabinet positions.
Or I got no response at all. And it was the no response at all from people I knew that began to worry me, because they're not only as secrecy around these powers, there is a mystery around the secrecy. Tell me what you know about these peons. I think I know as much about the peons as any other American citizen, which is almost nothing at all.
David Cole is national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. And he is concerned about the vast array of presidential emergency powers that we know about. Under the National Emergencies Act of 1976 alone, the president can declare a national emergency just by signing a proclamation. We've got a president who, in his first week in office, essentially declared an emergency to ban Muslims from coming into the country, more recently declared a widely understood be a fake emergency in order to build a border wall when Congress told him they would not give him the funds to create a border wall, and most recently has declared that he may need to delay the election, which would be an emergency authority that doesn't even exist. So I think you have to be very concerned. Which brings us back to those mysterious presidential emergency action documents. Tell me about those pieds.
You're the only person I have met so far who will even admit to knowing what the hell they are and having seen one. Really? Yes, really. John Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. While serving at the Justice Department after 9-11, he drafted the memo that justified the use of enhanced interrogation of terrorism suspects. Just to reassure our viewers a little bit, John, you've seen these pieds?
I am not allowed to say whether I have or not. Let me put it this way. You were at the Justice Department. Presumably, the Justice Department would have had to deal with these pieds if a president wanted to implement one.
Yes, that's a fair way to say it. The Justice Department and the office I worked in would review the legality of the pieds because they would draw on presidential powers and congressional powers delegated to them. Just a couple of weeks ago, Professor Yoo was at the White House discussing executive power with President Trump. Because you never know what the emergency is going to be. So these pieds and similar contingency planning documents, when we look back historically at them, sometimes they seem comic.
The notion that there are executive powers based on something that has never been vetted by Congress, giving the president almost limitless powers to do what he needs to do in the event of a crisis. That's not funny to me. That's scary. Oh, forgive me. I don't mean this whole question as comic.
And you are right, Ted. There's dangers to that. And we've seen in our history where presidents have gone too far. I guess there's a balance and I guess the founders, they balanced in favor of giving the president that kind of ability to face emergencies, even understanding that a badly intentioned president might abuse those powers.
These pieds undergo periodic revision. And we know that the Department of Justice is in the middle of one of these periodic reviews and revisions. So we have to imagine what the Trump administration might be doing with these documents and what authorities this administration might be trying to give itself. That's why the framers created the presidency was because it could act quickly. I would want President Obama or President Biden to have the power to respond quickly to a hurricane or a terrorist attack, just as I would want President Trump to.
That's fairly benign, John. But what if what the president was planning to do was the suspension of habeas corpus? How would you feel about it then? I'd be the first to admit that in emergencies, the executive branch can make mistakes. And that's sometimes the price of swift action. Congress is more likely to get things right. The founders thought that, but Congress is too large and too slow to act decisively. Having said that, Professor, you would be comfortable giving a few select members of Congress classified access to the secret pieds. Gary Hart doesn't think that goes far enough. I want them public because they affect the freedom and liberty and rights of every American citizen.
I can't say it any better. This is a blueprint for dictatorship. Now, I think the more attention it gets, the less likely those in power are going to use them. We have so much publicity, Senator Hart. We have so many different voices being raised in anger, in outrage, in fury. I'm not sure what a few more voices raising an issue like this, what impact that's going to have. This goes to the core of our country and our founding. And if there is what amounts to the capability to suspend our Constitution, that's not just another issue.
That's serious. To unleash the full power of the federal government in this effort today, I am officially declaring a national emergency. Keep in mind, two very big words, the current incumbent president has declared seven national emergencies and he has stated repeatedly that he has more power than most people know about. And you will find that frightening.
I will not reverse the question. This is Intelligence Matters with former acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell. Bridge Colby is co-founder and principal of the Marathon Initiative, a project focused on developing strategies to prepare the United States for an era of sustained great power competition. The United States put our mind to something we can usually figure it out. What people are saying and what we kind of know analytically and empirically, we're saying analytically and empirically is our strategic situation.
Our military situation is not being matched up with what we're doing. Intelligence Matters, wherever you get your podcasts. But did you know the original popsicle sprang from the mind of a 10-year-old boy named Frank Epperson back in 1905 on an unusually cold San Francisco night? He had some kind of soda mix in a glass and for experimental reasons, he decided to leave it out on the porch overnight.
Kathleen Epperson is Frank's granddaughter. In the morning when he came out, it was frozen solid and so he took it out and that was the beginning of the popsicle. He would have to grow up before he patented the idea. Yes, the popsicle had a patent in 1924. He called it Epp-sicle for Epperson and sickle because it looked like an icicle.
But his four-year-old son George came up with a catchier name. So he ran up and he put his arms around his father's leg and he said, Pop, Pop, can I have a sickle? I want a popsicle.
Oh, I love that. Frank took his popsicles to San Francisco's Neptune Beach, the Coney Island of the West. You know, each week it'd be a different kid going in and asking for a popsicle and the guy would have to say, we don't sell popsicles. And then after several weeks of different kids asking for popsicles, my grandfather would go in and say, can I interest you in selling popsicles? That is marketing genius.
Then the Great Depression hit and he was forced to sell all his rights for $50,000. What I can tell you is that we make over 2 billion popsicles per year. Russell Lilly is a senior marketing director at Unilever, parent company of Good Humor Breyers, which is the latest company to make popsicles. I have here one of your magical double pop. The double pop once discontinued, now the height of cool. It's returned championed by the likes of Justin Bieber. Since there's no one in the room to share this with, I guess I'll have it myself.
I won't tell anybody. Thank you. And creative folks are still being inspired by Frank Epperson's original idea. We saw the need for it and we went for it. Khaled Hamid and his wife Shelly created Island Pops in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, five years ago. Everything that we do is handmade, small batch, made with love and based on memories that we have acquired growing up in the Caribbean. Both came from Trinidad, and it was Shelly's craving for the flavors of her hometown. For the flavors of her homeland that inspired them to open this family business.
We saw the need. We saw the need for the island experience, the island authenticity. You know, like a vacation in a spoon, I would say. A vacation in a spoon. It really does take you away. Oh, my God.
That is like so pineapple. A vacation. All right. And these days. Oh, that's good.
Isn't that what we all want? I don't know what else to say. Let's turn on the music and start dancing. That old expression, keep on trucking, takes on new meaning when you meet the fellow our Steve Hartman has been spending time with. High on the list of things I never thought I'd see is this Ernie Andress, who turns 97 next week, still marching across America every step of the way. I first met Ernie six years ago. He was in the middle of the Arizona desert trying to become the oldest person to ever run coast to coast. Three years later, he actually made it to the Georgia shore, only to then turn around and start running back the other way. Ernie is now a year into the return trip. We caught up with him outside Lufkin, Texas, plodding along slow and steady as usual, albeit slightly slower. Hey, I better hang on.
And noticeably less steady. A few weeks ago, a doctor diagnosed Ernie with congestive heart failure. Yeah, that's what they told me. But he's selling pacemakers. So you think that's just all a sales pitch? Yeah. There's a chance he could be telling you the truth, though, Ernie. Does that change anything?
No, no, it runs a lot of drop. I always said I would die with my running shoes on. Much of Ernie's motivation to soldier on comes from his sailor past. During World War II, Ernie served on a ship called an LST, and he's been running to raise money for the LST Memorial in Evansville, Indiana. This shouldn't be forgotten.
It's the ship that won the war. But along the way, this run has also taken on a more personal purpose, as thousands have joined him for at least a leg of the journey. They have listened to his stories, celebrated his fortitude, and given Ernie the key to a long life, a deep desire to keep pressing forward. Run, Ernie, run! And that's why, although his doctor says time is short, Ernie is still planning to reach the Pacific sometime around his 101st birthday. So, let's say you make it to California, then you stop running? No, I have a plan for a coast-to-coast relay. Ernie Andress. Yeah. Optimistic for the long run. The Good Fight, the final season. Now streaming exclusively on Paramount+.
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