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tv   Inside Story 2017 Ep 315  Al Jazeera  November 13, 2017 3:32am-4:01am AST

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i'm not talking about weeks i'm only talking about days and i'll go back to lebanon amnesty international long as the syrian government's surrender or starve campaign targeting civilians is a crime against humanity the group wants an independent body to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the first time in a decade the u.s. and south korea are holding joint naval drills in the region is being viewed as a powerful show of force directed at north korean leader kim jong un over his country's nuclear weapons program three u.s. aircraft carriers and joining several south korean war ships for four days of exercises saudi arabia has asked for an urgent meeting with the arab league to discuss allegations of military aggression by iran to iran denies supplying a missile fired from yemen into saudi a week ago it also says it has nothing to do with a pipeline fire in bahrain saudi arabia has described the fire as sabotage his foreign minister has blamed iran morocco's king mohammed the sixth has arrived in
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qatar to discuss the latest developments in the gulf political crisis the king was greeted by the town and been hammad dhani saudi arabia the u.a.e. bahrain and egypt have cut diplomatic ties with qatar those are the headlines next on al-jazeera it's inside story by for that. what does donald trump and really think about russian links to his election u.s. president says he believes that amir putin's denials but also except cia confirmation of meddling is he trying to influence the criminal investigations that could lead to impeachment and paying lip service to moscow this is inside story.
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hello there and welcome to the program i'm laura carlisle whether at home or abroad donald trump can't seem to shake off discussion about whether or not russia interfered in his election last year and this time the debate on russian meddling and manipulation is the president's own doing trump made contradictory statements whilst meeting world leaders at the asia pacific economic cooperation in vietnam that amir putin and appeared to accept the russian presence denial of involvement then trump told reporters he had full confidence in u.s. intelligence agencies of the cia said russia did meddle in the race for the white house i believe very much in our intelligence agencies now at the same time.
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i want to be able because i think it's very important to get along with russia to get along with china to get along with vietnam to get along with lots of countries because we have a lot of things we have to sell i believe that president putin really feels that he feels strongly that he did not meddle in our election what he believes is what he believes what i believe is that we have to get to work. i believe that he feels that he and russia did not meddle in the election as to whether i believe it or not i'm with our agencies especially as currently constituted with their leadership i believe in our intel agencies our intelligence agencies i've worked with them very strongly all the backlash towards transfinite flopping as been swift u.s. senator john mccain issued a statement saying there is nothing america first about taking the word of a k.g.b. colonel over that of the american intelligence community has no principled realism
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in cooperation with russia to prop up the murderous assad regime which remains the greatest obstacle to a political solution that would bring an end to the bloodshed in syria that i'm a putin does not have america's interests at heart to believe otherwise is not only naive but also places our national security at risk the cia also responded with a statement on behalf of director mike pompei the director stands by and has always stood by the january two thousand and seventeen intelligence community assessment entitled assessing russian activities and intentions and recent u.s. elections intelligence assessment with regard to russian election meddling has not changed so a lot to talk about and joining us to do so from moscow alexy klebnikov international relations analyst at the russian international affairs council from birmingham scott lucas professor of international american studies at the university of birmingham and via skype from london is lisa a soft europe and milly's chair of exeter and the former deputy general counsel for
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the f.b.i. great to have your with us thanks for joining us on inside story scott we've got trump believing putin and he believes his intelligence agencies what do we believe . well what we believe is that between his saturday statement where he said he believed putin and when he called the three former heads of u.s. intelligence agencies political hacks his advisors got a hold of trump and said look you've got to stop trashing the intelligence agencies so he gave this statement which on the one hand said oh yes yes yes as they are currently constituted our intelligence agencies are fine but then you'll notice he reaffirmed the belief in proof and the fact of the matter is is that trump's line as it has been for months is twofold one he's a great admirer of a lot of our putin but to more importantly he wants to get rid of the trump russia investigation he's done that through various methods in recent months up to the point of firing personnel what former f.b.i.
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james director james comey he's now invoking the fact that we need to get rid of the investigation because it's affecting us foreign policy that is going to be looking more into the investigation of the later in this discussion festool alexi i want to get an idea of the reaction there in russia to this particular story because the russia u.s. story will not go away will it and every time we see putin and chatting it's huge speculation about the relationship between these two men so. as for trump's attitude towards putting the whether you know it trust you mobilise him it's pretty outstanding that you know he talks about trust because there is no trust between russia and the u.s. and russia's relations are currently in the deep state of crisis there it is at their lowest point currently so this is why it's very hard to say what's trump a genuine approach your attitude towards put in and his words what's more
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importantly i believe is that basically trump purposefully tries to concentrate and focus on things which. you have the united states and russia have in common so basically the. joint statement which was released. by foot and trump after their quick talks on the margins of a pick summit was concentrated on syria so the topic which was which unites. both of them fight against terrorism and the successes of the deal which was struck between trump and put in that electorate many observers not really that many a distraction tactic. probably you know it's legit point but i mean again. i think that both trump and put in they prefer to concentrate on things which they have in common rather than on differences and it's very important to remember that
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crumb has a huge position domestically in terms of improving relations with russia all of this russia fair is russia related investigations they limits trump and his administration moves and leave really little room for maneuver with regard to u.s. russia relations so go to this is why if i can i jump in logical of course trump wants the conversation to be about issues of mutual concern between russia and the u.s. but why is it do you think that trump is so keen to have a good relationship with vladimir putin why does he go out of his way to say that he believes him when or he believes that vladimir putin believes that russia did not meddle in the u.s. election i think it's very interesting that what russia is trying to do is to try to exploit trump's personal view to get foreign policy advantage and i think a lot she pointed to that and that is because trump just simply off the top of his
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head says putin is a great guy we've got to work with and what russia then tries to do is say all right let's leverage that to pull the u.s. along in syria the russians have been able for example to back the assad regime despite the fact that regime has killed hundreds of thousands of syrians and that millions have been displaced and they successfully have cornered the us where it really now has to accept moscow's vision of the way forward that is assad stays in power for at least the foreseeable future and that there is a political settlement which is really on russia's terms even if the country is partitioned i think russia is also going to try to leverage that with trump over ukraine of course of crimea and russia continuing to to try. heard separatism in eastern ukraine and finally most importantly i think the russians are going to try to use the personal relationship with trump to fight back against congress passing additional sanctions remember trump only reluctantly signed those additional
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sanctions back in the summer and russia would love to try to get that legislation rolled back and actually would you broadly agree though with scott's analysis that putin is looking ultimately to get those sanctions off of russia. well put in consistently with the rates and repeats his position that. moscow was not the first who initiated those sanctions so this won't be moscow who first will ask to lift the sanctions so this is why it cost them plea also points out to about my administration majorly putting major blame on that for his administration because they ruined relations they soured. u.s. russia relations and this is why i mean if putin decides to ask to leave the sanctions that will be perceived as a sign of weakness which russia cannot afford itself so this is why i mean publicly russia won't ask for that but. as for the effect of those sanctions the most
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important one the most significant ones are about. restrictions for access to western funds western money and of course it's high technology so which huge the fact russia's oil industry so projects or of all drilling in arctic where new technologies are needed so that's actually hurts ok but again i would think that no put in or you know russian leadership will ever ask for lifting the so tense and lisa let's bring the conversation about a new i rushes into ferentz alleged interference how you want to put it in the election and how we assured when u.s. intelligence agencies be when trump says he believes them because they of course the cia reports of january has concluded that there was russian meddling in the two thousand and sixteen elections. i think the question for the u.s.
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. people who are always focused on developing intelligence and and pursuing investigative mandates is is really all about what are we in the middle out how do i assess my information carefully where's my next step whether it's bob mueller running the special counsel's office or a long term cia associates and and and folks running these and east agencies they're going to be looking at what what is their day job their job is to pay great attention to what's going on with the electorate in the public their day job is to put their heads down and get on with it the way they've always done it regardless of exactly what's going on out in the political landscape ok but how upset might they be that trump is talking a toll given that this is
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a criminal investigation underway. well i think if you think about it you know put it in context remember these investigations mahler's investigation was going on before mohler gets appointed basically remember jim comey then sitting on the head of the f.b.i. testifies before a senate permanent committee that there's ongoing investigation of alleged ties and alleged ability of foreign governments to affect the u.s. elections he gets he gets taken out of his office put in place by donald trump's acting attorney general. rusty rosenstein puts in place bob mueller who had been a long i'm serving director of the f.b.i. war hero congressional medal of honor winner you know really remember when he gets appointed everybody seemed to be very very happy with that appointment he comes in
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in may of twenty seventeen and he picks up where some of these investigations had already begun i guess what i'm saying is for people whose life work like mine was running investigation or governor your job is to take the evidence where may really put your head and look at the federal crimes that might be out there or at your mandate as an intelligence agency leader and see where you where you're meant to go next based on the facts based on the developments on the ground ok so i think it let's put it in the right context in terms of what these foreign folks whose job it is slightly different from a political agenda going think about right there to stay or the alleged russian influence in the u.s. election last year has caused a long shadow of a trump short presidency the f.b.i. was aware of attempted russian hacking in u.s.
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voter registration databases in june two thousand and sixteen now. i was also involved in new revelations as were the cia and national security agency reports leaked to us media organizations sparked months of investigations and trumped denials a joint report by the f.b.i. cia and n.s.a. in january concluded russian president vladimir putin personally ordered a so-called influence campaign because the kremlin preferred trump in the white house instead of hillary clinton special investigator robert miller was assigned to look into relations between russia and trump and so far there's indicted two of trump's election campaign managers paul manifold and rick gates and charge a third person george papadopoulos the question scott they want to put you next is what's next in miller's investigation we've got these three men already indicted and charged who's next on the hit this. well robert mueller is very capable and he'll move step by step so let's first of all he will not bring new charges until
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he is sure they will stick and that's how serious this is because i think we're looking at michael flynn who was the former national security adviser but before that as a member the truck campaign team had been in contact with the russian ambassador about lifting sanctions on moscow i think he's looking probably at financial links that may implicate eventually jared cushion or president trump son in law he's looking at meetings between russian officials prevalent officials and trump senior advisers now whether this means donald trump jr is also in the frame because of a june two thousand and sixteen meeting that's important and then most importantly he's investigating trump for obstruction of justice with the firing of james comey in may of two thousand and one of two thousand and seventeen and with possible deceptive statements that have tried to deflect or even shut down the investigation i don't think we're going to see trump in the frame publicly in terms of impeachment or criminal charges for several months but i think he will be there by
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next summer and i would be surprised if trump's in office by this time next year anything that's pretty interesting downplayed you do you agree with timeline. i say that there's really the purpose of mahler's investigation is not to bring down trial the purpose of miller's investigation is to explore how hard it was or easy it was and make it harder in the future for foreign governments to interfere with the future of elections he's looking at what was and wasn't disclosed so what's hugely important about the man of fortune gates indictments they were they were one of their charges is that they were operatives for ukrainian government when it was pro russia without disclosing what they were up to as lobbyist we in the us we want to know who's trying to influence our politics just
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as we do in london where i live now we want to know these things there are rules about what lobbyists are doing so mahler's mandate is very very broad he's appointed in may and he's made pretty quick work he hasn't even been there six months he's already brought in three indictments and in terms of what might be happening next let's think about mike flynn we know mike flynn son is in the frame as well at least as as far as you know as far as one can know from the outside and you know we're no longer in the middle of these investigations as we sit here today but we know that mahler's that when sun is in the frame just as if you guys will recall back to enron we had mr and mrs fastow and at some point there was a decision made that asked are you willing to give give up you know let's give yourself up we will you know we will we will go easy on your wife so speculate guys whether there might be some attempt to do some trading off about who actually gets
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indicted who doesn't and remember george have to doubtless get picked up at end july in the dulles airport and he doesn't get charge until third of october what does that say to me as a full. prosecutor i could tell you the bomber would have used his craft team of agents but he's got members not just f.b.i. it's agents from all over the federal government and former agents crack appellate litigators the whole team they would use this time to think about it counted up a list of all witnessed and will he work with us will he where why lexi alexei let's just get some idea of how washington the kremlin is watching this and the investigation unfold as lisa says it's very carefully managed the net seems to be closing in are you hearing anything from the kremlin about says is that any inkling that yes russia was involved in america's actions right so.
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the main line of. crime and is that it's all kind of a joke that russia was i mean interfered in the us elections so put him on all major global platforms and everywhere in interviews here repeats that that kind of a joke and that basically that russian history. is driven by political conjuncture in the united states so basically the bottom line is that kremlin does not i mean denies all legations that's one thing the second thing if. to look at the logic i mean of course if to put article we think that russia get into fear into us elections saw the russian leadership think this way that why the united states and washington can you know interfere into actions or internal
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affairs of other countries so why russia for example cannot do the same with regard to its own elections so this kind of logic i think might be behind that ok scott what do you what do you make of that if russians are thinking that this whole thing is a joke what do americans think. well i think many americans now realize how serious this is because let's be clear russia did interfere in the us elections and the line from the kremlin it's a joke is of course i have nothing to see here move along we've established the fact and i think most americans now acknowledge that russians did have the democratic national committee key adviser to hillary clinton and other institutions we have established that russian outlets helped disseminate that information before the election of donald trump in november two thousand and sixteen we are now at the point and this is i think the next up as to whether russian put money into the trump campaign or put money around the trump campaign i can't to try to put its
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finger on the scales before the election we have never had this extent of foreign interference in a u.s. election and so for russia to simply say well the u.s. did this in the past that's a smokescreen. i agree with lisa in part that there are wider issues that baltimore is investigating to make sure that this can't happen again the list be clear he's also investigating what happened in this specific case but it's taking quite a long time isn't it to reach a point where we kind of push some blame in the u.s. and even before looking to russia to make sure it doesn't happen again lisa do you think when is that going to happen and is it going to happen. i think to be honest does does bob mueller think at all about what is my timeline for keeping this in front of the american public now he's thinking i've got an appointment i've only been in the air since may i need to show
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a budget i need to show i'm moving on this i've got three indictments under my belt i am moving i'm showing that congress and the rest of the american public and everybody was paying attention from all over the world that i mean business and i'm moving through this investigation in of professional and in a in a very. heads down way and in america what does that mean that means working from the bottom working your way up so you start with the capitalists you would approach it at the end of july we don't know exactly what he was doing in that interim period when he before he got charged but safe to say if you're a prosecutor who thinks you might have the opportunity to use an insider to develop further information to wear a wire or however you look whatever tools you're using you're going to do there and then and bob mueller is well aware of how best to use the tools at his disposal
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whether it's on the investigative side remember he ran the f.b.i. big league in the justice department many years ago and he also understands congress as the head of the f.b.i. at the time he had to appear before congress appear before subcommittees he understands the terrain better than most his job now put his head down develop evidence and get wherever it leads elects at this point in time the joists allows as to whether the this more investigation will lead to trump's and pietschmann and if it does where does that leave person in the cold. i don't think that. graham and seriously. thinks. that that might happen so. i don't know it's. the ground that's going over. so the main.
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argument line is that this establishment the american establishment which now currently on to trump and which hinders you know him from basically implementing his agenda or his promises during his electoral campaign ok that all seen. and we will have to leave the discussion there sorry to interrupt you we elect you have run out of time with and keep an eye on events the mere investigation over the coming days weeks months very interesting indeed many thanks to all of you for joining us on inside story alexy klebnikov scott lucas and lisa a soft. and thank you to you for watching you can see this program again any time by visiting our website is al-jazeera dot com and of other discussion to go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com for slash a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter the handlers at a.j. inside story from me laura kyle and the whole team head it's by phone or.
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