Over 20,000 sexual assaults in the military reported in 2018

Military sexual assault survivors react to rising numbers of reported sexual assault; the House passes a climate change bill; Attorney General William Barr skips House Judiciary hearing.
29:07 | 05/02/19

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Transcript for Over 20,000 sexual assaults in the military reported in 2018
And. Everybody welcome to the briefing room on this Thursday and Devin Dwyer with her deputy political director Mary Alice parks he packed show freed today. A lot happening in this town especially over at the Pentagon will get there Mary Alice also a historic climate change vote. Over in the House of Representatives and there's a new entry into the 20/20. Democratic race now there are 21. If we went one for twenty sworn in as a little certain ring to it. Michael Bennett then senator from Colorado who entered the race today made a joke that he would. Told his mother he was gonna be trade sailing so at least he's already had his own game plan. And you're headed to Iowa so get to that shortly but some stunning news out of the Pentagon this morning a story that hasn't. Gotten a lot of attention lately but it certainly is a big one military and a new survey says the number of reported sexual assaults. A has skyrocketed in the past year to more than 20000. I reported in 2018 that's on par with the number five years ago. So this number is coming after the military has said taken extraordinary steps to try to reduce. The incidents of assault in the military this is how they define military sexual assault they call it rape. Forcible sodomy aggravated sexual contact abusive sexual contact and attempts to commit this offense is all of that. Tracked in this new pentagon survey and are. Our pentagon reporter me Martinez joins us now from over there are you got an early look at all this information Louis certainly eye opening what did they survey find. And who is that British Rex. Denton of the people at greatest risk are the female service members between the ages of seventeen and 24. Which equates to the junior enlisted members and military. This isn't a study is carried out every two years by the military. And it kinda gives in high into that what he's going on it when it comes to sexual assault. They look for trends on the spot where they need to focus on and what they're realizing CA is that they really need to focus on these very young. Female service members and also on their male peers because the study found that it is feared. And peers who who won it both in age and in rank so maybe just that the same rank or maybe one or two ranks above. That these are the individuals who really in there in these incidents for perpetrating the incidence of on sexual assault so what the military's going to be doing is that they say they are going to be focusing on that age group. I'm they've gotten new plans in place. Essentially changing some of the things that have been working in the past. But which officials who they were very candid them and they said that they were disheartened some of them said that they were angry. On the scene at these numbers because just two years ago the numbers if god to the lowest ever. I since have been carrying out these surveys over the last decade. And now just to see the numbers just go back up to where they were five years ago. Armed they are not encouraged by the what they do you know is that they know that change has to be done. I'm and they say that that's part of the situation they have to be adaptable you can't keep going with the same. Planning or the same prevention efforts you have to keep up with what's working and what's and change what's not work. All right clearly more change needs to be done and the ranks of the panic at the Pentagon and our military new Martinez thanks for the breaking news there today it's free and two military veterans and survivors of sexual assault in the ranks also to advocates pressing the military. To do more treat a MacDonald served in the navy she joins us now. As to Stacy Thompson on Lance corporal in the Marine Corps both outspoken advocates both survivors. Ladies think you so much for coming in what do you make of the new numbers Katrina let's start with you. Are these more women coming forward as is their more misconduct in your viewers this a little bit of both. I think it a little bit of both. My. My you know first impression is you know of course is women that are seventeen to 24 years old. There are young enlisted you know members that are coming and there's a culture that they're coming into in the climate that are coming in which they mentioned and the actual report is there about the climate. And I think that there's this huge problem. Dead. The people that we're bringing into the military is walking into the culture were raised and harassment and retaliation and all these things are happening. You know and I am really Andy Sheehan is a huge problem in is something that needs to be changed. And they haven't been advocating forward veterans since 2000 until the 2010. After you know and in that and dealing with my own symptoms and you know I was raped when I was eighteen years old you know shortly after I went to my first duty stations time I'm seeing this of the problem right now. I'll ask you and Stacey Powell you think the culture has changed or hasn't changed we've heard stories of that victims being so worried about retaliation if they come forward hasn't gotten any better. And he wondered. Yeah our and you know from where we've been doing lately. And we heard quite a bit worried that retaliate. And hanging it day and week year better that serves. You know over a decade and veterans who had recently got out. We're all your aunt Tina Brown the letter ged re now in every Allie is not aimed. And I don't feel that it you know I think it's been a rack. And everybody is acknowledged it out or at that point Whitney problem. Need you to stop and talk about weenie. And the problem and how do you know what we need to implement and waited only military across all the rain in. We're understand it if I think there can no longer can Indian. If we address last on the risks we don't have a standard at each other. What Rick have what it out we can't even hander that Clinton. You know they're all different brands and he absolutely. Clear understanding of what it how legal and honey. And I think you gonna continue being. Angry. Where it a lot of top. Yet and train in light of that with them with these numbers and picking up for Stacy was Hussein there and I do it do you have any confidence that the military can fix this. On its own or is it gonna take congress is again take the president. To implement some of the changes from the outside. Well I think that way you know and Turkey those questions. My hate my dad says. Yeah you know there's better than anything changes but I think you know what you're saying is we need actually call out the president a little bit and think that the year military. You know here behind veteran you know this is you know what you say. Why are you doing something about it because the way things have worked in the past and if not getting any better. When you have numbers that have jumped out of over the past five years to where they're at the day in over 20000. That's incredible I mean and then nobody did anything about it and we're hearing you know I've I guess someone here that rhetoric and zero tolerance. I've heard it sure over twenty years and outplayed I want to see action just like safe he said. And seizing what other action do you want to see from military leaders or from. Concerned citizen. Well I'd you know I think that we all. 88 knowledge. Yes I understand and I. Come the Pentagon is read it night saying. It isn't happening you mostly women but we can act tonight at half due men and women we don't Ada. Don't want to see it how many people were light brown it's happening to members here. And the kind of fat we need is up wrapping up its rat race does eight. You know actual issued an. Hour. Down a little rain all. Tying your ire. It made me an example of power we each equal to retaliate when one hour or it which is that we don't deal. Warm more or. I'm. And and yes I'm glad he got front that it is Julie I don't eat Gatwick Conrad Black buying an eight hour. You are handwritten sheet what you plan on doing it dress that is how we're issue happening in your military. Where it one year twenty Allen and by 800. Fire reporting. Again get the numbers are reporting rape are recording some sort of re explore. All. I'm. Eating gun you bar in the week you gotta really it. Yeah yeah and Israelis there's really some than the numbers again 120000. In just in the last year alone that's an uptick Stacy Thompson. Treated McDonald thank you both so much for for your advocacy and for sharing your voices. With us here in the briefing or appreciate you very much. I'm will continue to follow the latest house sparkling that are willing to speak out and be public and are sliding on behalf of and others especially others are worried retaliation any sane. Absolutely shifting gears now to some history that was made today in the House of Representatives. Offer the first time in a decade the US congress moved a bill. To address climate change here's speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi on the floor. It's time mr. speaker to and denial about this. And start listening to the facts this is about science science science. Is at an overwhelming number of an 86% of Americans know that this is a crisis. They know that human behavior has an impact on it and they want us to act. Can't refute to president from her house you know this is overwhelmingly passed. This was a piece of legislation called the climate action now act it would force the United States to rejoin stay in the Paris a court also forced president trump. To come up with a plan to combat our climate change has it has no chance of going anywhere in the United States senate controlled by Republicans but it was. Luscious symbolic today. And we are seeing a number of those presidential hopefuls that are Ari running against president trump. Lay out their own plans are really ambitious goals and they don't work laid out a plan just this week that calls on. The United States to be net. Zero admissions by twenty safety. We're seeing a lot of conversation on the democratic side and I was struck by this one number in a Harvard youth poll of young voters under thirty. Younger voters thought that is in terms of foreign policy fighting climate change was as important as fighting terrorism. And domestically thank kinda change was one of their very top. Issues and it's a top issue for a growing number increasing number of Republicans surprise in the us well we're starting to frame this. As a national security issue at least in congress they are sort of plane off this surge of of support among young people between forty crowd I caught up. A little bit earlier with that Abigail spam burger congresswoman democratic congressman of Virginia she's one of the sponsors this legislation. Hot and congressman Matt gets. A Florida he's a Republican who oppose the bill here's a little bit of our conversation. So you're one of the sponsors are of this legislation what does it actually do it is asserting our commitment to news here's president from home without. That's for acts that's tracked and so he took that unilateral action and we are affirming that Wheatley the United States. Should be partners court wise it actually trekked for security is typical changes and national security threat it's been identified as such for many years at this point one. The rising seas were as its rising sea levels of B issue pitted for the needy former. And for our ports our ability. After the navy to ensure that we had to pass offenses it's also when you look at increased poverty instability that's caused because of unique weather events. Cases of salmon what do you tell people that are really skeptical about the ripple effects of climate change you don't have to believe this whether or not global climate change has a national security impact when the CIA is telling you it does win the Department of Defense toes telling you that it does. You know I think perhaps we should listen to them. I didn't come to congress to argue with the thermometer. And as we see global temperatures rising and we see the impacts of climate change on our military on the strategic decisions we have to make. It seems foolish to deny the obvious signs of climate change see you agree with Democrats that say this is a serious national. Security concern right. Yeah absolutely Democrats say. This is symbolic vote. You'll it is a symbolic vote and it won't do anything and also my opposition is rooted in my belief that this is just a bad deal have you staked out any common ground anything you'd think that can get through this congress gets armour president from to make a difference. While I agree with Alexandria costs you Cortez that we need to improve our elect corporate I tend to think that we're gonna have to have everybody working on that together public and private sector she'd use a more public sector approach but we share the goal. Of improving agree that the two day. Leaks dirty energy off of that so we create dirty energy and then plowed onto a grid doesn't work also trade Alexandra Costa Cortez mentioned to me. That she agrees that China cannot continue to hollow out the American innovator at no consequence and so getting tough on trade. Might be an area where the far right far left have some agreement. Well you heard it here in Britain and there may be have a common ground the smallest of small aspects of climate. Climate change policy there from not mad gates at Florida who is pretty far right he was called city of Basra to the PA but as you heard it shocked me name dropping. Alexandria across Joseph Cortez a writer of the green new deal twice. I asked him if perhaps as a summit in the works between the two of them he he wouldn't commitment but maybe there is a glimmer of hope that. Actually that theme in this debate forward yet recent a lot of movement from the Republican Party in Florida in particular on this issue. And yet and young there there's data separate hurricanes DC rising sea levels and dated to eight. It'll be interesting if some of those borders diesels coastline states really start to move the conversation. Charge shifting gears in a Capitol Hill though it was a big day. Over in the House of Representatives in the House Judiciary Committee specifically there's an empty seat there Mary Alice but the spell of chicken. Was in fact in the air in fact KFC to be specific. Democrats were accusing they see the buckets on that. You change attorney general bill Barr being too chicken answer their questions he didn't show up today. There was a bit of controversy some fireworks are senior justice reporter Jack got these here to help us understand the significance of this Jack. He you have some wrangling over and over the procedural aspects of this committee hearing mr. supposed to be to ask questions about the -- report. But out of all this to speaker of the house accused the attorney general. Are reliant they're breaking the law. Well all right in the very serious law who read we have that we can Muller from the put some folks. A way Ford dealers like you'll start popping up close. Or is a rather Roger Stone been charged with it there was a note Michael Cohen. He's been convicted of lying to congress this is not a small thing but Alex exceptions to Alex is right but but it's a bit of a stretch to think that they're gonna move forward on any pre. Procedural way tents that hold accountable for that alleged plan also the other thing which he feasible flying and I think I think. There's a lot of wiggle room in his remarks and in and I think. In my history. What we're talking earlier reject the significance of this in her house you can speak to the politics of this to. All this wrangling and theater and posturing aside this is this is a really extraordinary moment. For the administration and the democratic congress as we head into election campaign the president has made clear he stone walling. Everything that the Democrats are demanding an end here today it was a perfect case study in what's going on. Yeah and Democrats I think they're just getting started in your congressional investigations and in a president and attorney general they're essentially saying no we're got its over. He didn't show up today. Hasn't shown a lot of interest in backing up the president's or or disagreeing with the presidents and drive to Stonewall the subpoena requests. My I think that they would like to move on and we've seen that Republicans and just as much. Could he be arrested Jack and could include any attorney general of the United States be thrown in jail or held in contempt misogyny and it is an extreme path of that it it its hasn't been done in. Think overs century and it's. Extremely unlikely if it this is all pretty much for show and and you know ballots getting accomplished however. Every day that they're not talking about allegations of obstruction of justice it but rather focused on process issues about being you know. Brought for the committee to testify you know if they think get him in the chair. You know they're not going to be able to get to some of those more serious issues you know what actually happened here. Imminent see what happens in the chairman of the house judiciary can major in Eller has warned he will try to subpoena. The attorney general we could see that coming by Monday jerked up to think he's so much for that moving on now to the crisis. At the southern border this sobering reminder overnight of just how dire the situation there is a a sixteen year old Guatemala boy was. We're passed away. Earlier this week in US custody the latest in a number of migrant deaths and are numerous reporter quit no one is here. To break this down foursquare and what actually happened in this latest. Young person death in US custody. So this unaccompanied teenager. Across that over the border in El Paso. Where is picked up by agency was then transferred to aim shelter for kids in Texas. And when he ride to the shelter he was. Assessed to be pretty healthy. But the next day he came down with a fever and chills. And was taken the hospital where where he Tesla name what are what are HHS and immigration authorities scenes what they could have done or where should they might have done here. Well there's the flu the procedures were followed and the kid the child was assessed to be healthy. TVP is implement a new medical procedures and given the recent influx of migrants. Families and children that it had happened so far this year. And those procedures. As far as we know were followed and when you got to the shelter that's when he started to come down with these. Symptoms and then he was taken to the hospital where he died. It's part of a massive flow northern migration pattern of especially families and children that are coming up to cross the border. And just so far this year. 22000. Children who are traveling by themselves have been picked up by CBP. Bronfman thanks for that I'm people who want to bring in now someone who is on the front lines of that situation down there with those immigrant flows and families Benjamin de La Garza. Who's executive director of Catholic Charities in the diocese of Laredo Texas. Tied down there on the front lines of venturing great to see you thanks so much for joining us what wait what is your organization doing right now. To help this crisis and so. You are with you what we're doing is basically providing. Help and humanitarian exist in some resist the federal authorities. We did we get everyday all ice cream in a text sometimes it might. Informing us that there will be. Bus coming to a radio from different ball. Or rent respect for example from eagle pass from Dell Rio Texas from Texas. And being released at the bus station it's what we do what we normally do east. With our old. All looks like we just lost Benjamin de La Garza down there Laredo Texas but are thinks intimacy we get him back to wanna go now to the White House. Though were torn Phelps is there Jordan. Benjamin was talking about the situation he's proudly showing up at charity workers are on their own a quarter having to go and reach out to a lot of these migrants. Most of them women and children at this stage. The trump administration overnight said they are asking for billions dollars more to help handle the situation as well what do we know about that. Dads have in the administration is asking for an additional four point five billion to be exact this is money that they're requesting to support. The humanitarian mission and that support missions we're talking very basic things here like detention bad. Baby formula close. I things like that to go into supporting fined mansion because the administration is dealing with this major infusion of migrants as we've been talking about. But DeVon it's not clear at this point whether congress. It's going to new bond as there is understandably. Skepticism on Capitol Hill any time this administration is asking for money as it relates to the border. Because we've seen and try to move. Money towards the wall in times past. Seven to make clear the money that the White House is requesting here is not for the border while they made that clear that's skepticism still exists. But DeVon no doubt that this is a very real problem that the administration is dealing. My journey routes that the White House thanks so much room. Wanted it that money ends of being. As stern censor political and and debated. And and and and the Democrats tinsel skeptical dealing with the administration over any of these questions. A but immersing usually dire situation currency we have Benjamin them back. I appear in their half day. You know more time about had humanitarian need the administration saying they need more money. Just to provide the basis of global aircraft in the border what are you seeing what's the first need when someone crosses the border and and win here. When your organization is her testimony interact and. Well as you may know every time your who provide shelter opened. Humanitarian assistant. It's very costly audit cost of the utilities. We even have to hire a security guard or even sometimes even to ought to be vigilant all Larry I mean we have to. Apple those students applies to maintain that sheltered to sanitize your spice. We we don't wash your a dry you hear the detergent. All of those openings I simple as they may museum are its its its cause that doubted that during her every day. All right an important reminder of the good work that charities are doing in all this crisis at the border Benjamin David Ross executive director of Catholic Charities. In the diocese of Laredo Texas Benjamin thank you so much for sticking with us there through the technical problems great to have you. On the ground in their perspective and queen Ellen thank you for your reporting as well. A big story you know you'll stay on that finally today shifted to some health news. That is a gripping much of the country this measles outbreak the largest. And 25 years in this country just twenty years ago measles have been declared eradicated from the United States now. A we have it's shocking number of cases cropping up a lot of it. Because of American parents choosing not to vaccinated there kids thankfully it has not yet been deadly in this latest. Outbreak but officials are very concerned including the surgeon general of the United States doctors Rome Adams who might crop up with just a short time ago. Surgeon general Adams thanks so much for joining us 700 cases 22 states quite an alarming. Outbreak are we any closer. To getting this under control. Well we're certainly closer to raising awareness across the country about the importance of vaccinations. I think it's important that everyone understand vaccination. Is our strongest and our safest tool. And it is a linchpin of public health and the quicker. And more effectively we can get that message out. The F quicker we'll see the end of this outbreak and hopefully prevent future outbreaks yet you. In pleading with the public of my parents since as far back as the Super Bowl before. To get your kids vaccinated you are the father of three yourself your kids Iraq's that it. Is it frustrating to you that so many people are still skeptical about the safety of vaccines. Well I don't know if frustrating is the right word. If it's a challenge it but it's also an opportunity. Unfortunately many folks haven't seen. The that the damage that can be caused. By vaccine preventable diseases like measles and they think it's a thing of the past and I've often said that the biggest problem with public health. Is that no one appreciates it when it's working well. But up. Everyone wonders what happened when things go right I really and 1 am. When I when asked if its message out before out and fortunately we experienced any death. But hopefully we can use this as an opportunity to impress upon folks these safety of vaccinations. And the effectiveness of vaccinations and that's why HHS during national infant immunization week is a really trying to help. All of America understand that vaccines are one of the best schools that we have available to keep our children safe. Indicate people who can't get vaccinated just like my wife. Who's actually undergoing therapy for cancer. To keep people like about like them say to him you know suppressed. Yet and it. It it is so highly contagious. As you say who it's not something we've dealt with here on this scale for quite some time I wondered if you're following. This tentative reports today that Caribbean cruise in a case of the measles down. Down there would have with a bunch of people in close quarters and wonder if that's sort of good eggs illustrating an example of just how concerning this can be if you get even one person with this disease among a whole bunch of people that maybe are vaccinated. Absolutely I was just in Canada a few days ago when we were talking about this issue there is no where in the world that is more than a plane flight away. My may back theme preventable disease outbreak and it's why it's important we get the message across to the United States about how important community. Community if so that if measles is. Imported then again it won't have the opportunity to spread within a community but it's also why again I was in Canada talking about vaccinations and why. The United States public health service which I lead. He's not only in the United States but throughout the world helping folks understand the importance of vaccinations. Answers you know we've also hear from a lot of parents whose children are under twelve months that sort of the agency insert to get these vaccines what. What advice do you have for those folks who want to keep their kids safe from the measles what should they do. Well we know if they're going out of the country that you can get vaccinations. At at six months. But in the the most important advice I give to anyone who have questions about vaccinations. If the talk to your health care provider. We know the strongest predictor of whether or not pierce the going to get vaccinated. But whether or not they have a health care provider who they can trust and who takes the time to answer their questions and in many cases. It's individual life in terms of the advice particularly for free young people and people who may be and you know suppressed in silicon top tier health care provider. It's Smart advice from the surgeon general of the United States appreciated his time doctor Jerome Adams. Scary stuff. Jinx. Off finally today though we teased at the begin to show there is yet another democratic contender in in this when he towards president Joseph case. Very us what is this gonna stop. Michael bat out of Colorado senator. He just got in this morning he is said touting his experience in Washington bipartisan record. Roots in a purple state also adjusting we talk a lot about health care he has made part of his very early announcement here about how after he was just diagnosed with prostate cancer. It's clear it Brent. Reasoning he got in late what does he got. He lacked a weekly got a clean bill of health from his doctor but he talks would personally about that fight ends and the policy angles associate with it. At but this is sort of interesting to me he's an awkward moments to come on the trail. He'll be running against his former boss thought that governor Hickenlooper of Colorado he used to be as chief of staff so too tolerant and in this very crowded race. And I'll be going tent and they go out and Hickenlooper welcome. And in his body going to be interesting to see if you're eating toast it's they were I'm you're going fermenter. Michael Bennett so all right welcome to the race a lot more to come. On that front tomorrow as well I think procedure headed to Iowa for a big weekend there lot of candidates stormy I mean almost ten and it is they're tripping over each other. Well a full report here. On ABC news Rodriguez you're listening very busy show. Pretend their analysis on DeVon while Washington back here tomorrow 3:30 eastern time to see them.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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