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tv   Outside Source  BBC News  March 2, 2017 9:00pm-9:31pm GMT

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hello, i'm ros atkins, welcome to outside source. pressure mounting on us attorney generaljeff sessions. donald trump was asked about his position not long ago, this was the reply. do you still have confidence in your attorney general? total. the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you guard. truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you guardi do. this is the issue. that was jeff sessions in january speaking do. this is the issue. that was jeff sessions injanuary speaking under oath at a senate hearing. sessions injanuary speaking under oath at a senate hearingli sessions injanuary speaking under oath at a senate hearing. i did not have communications with the russians. the problem is, he had met the russian ambassador twice. mr sessions is about to hold a press conference in washington, dc. the moment it begins at the department ofjustice you'll see it here live an outside source. we report from brussels as $200 million is raised forfamily brussels as $200 million is raised for family planning schemes brussels as $200 million is raised forfamily planning schemes in developing countries to counter cuts introduced by donald trump. marine le pen could face charges relating to treating graphic images of
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islamic state atrocities. emmanuel macron has launched his manifesto and francois fillon has had more bad news today, a property of his raided by police. we'll have the latest on the french presidential election. if you bought shares in the company that owned snapchat you probably had a good day, the stockjumping by more than 40% just since the company floated. there were a few hours after donald trump's speech to congress where something resembling calm had descended on washington, dc. but it didn't last long. there is now huge pressure on mr trump's attorney generaljeff sessions and what relationship and connections he has had with the russians. mr trump has been talking about this in the last few hours, he says he has total
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confidence injeff sessions, that he thinks there's no need for the attorney general to recuse himself from an investigation into contact between the trump campaigner russian officials during the election. he told reporters he wasn't aware mr sessions had these two meetings with the russian ambassador in washington. that is the president's analysis. there are a significant number of people who do not agree with it, that includes senior republicans. for instance this is the us house majority leader kevin mccarthy. this is the main senator susan collins. both say mr sessions should recuse himself from this investigation. and this is why. in january mr sessions was being questioned under oath by senators as pa rt questioned under oath by senators as part of the confirmation hearing that led to him being approved attorney general. this exchange took place. ivanovic any evidence that
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anyone affiliated with the trump campaign communicated with the russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?|j am this campaign, what will you do?” am not aware of any of those activities. i have been called a celibate a time or two in that campaign andl celibate a time or two in that campaign and i did not have communications with the russians. and i'm unable to comment. the problem was, he had had communication with the russians. this is the washington post which was the first to report he had met the russian ambassador to america doing a presidential campaign. after that story came out a spokesperson for that story came out a spokesperson foer that story came out a spokesperson for mr sessions confirmed that that was the case. butjeff sessions is adamant he's done nothing wrong. have a look at this exchange on us television. well, i have not met with any russians at any time to discuss any political campaign. and no remarks —— those remarks are
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unbelievable to me and false. i don't have anything else to say about that. what about reducing yourself from your agency... i've said whenever is appropriate i will recuse myself, there is no doubt about that. remember in all the best that it was communications with the russian ambassador that led to the firing of the national security adviser michael flynn, surrounding how he reported those conversations with the ambassador to the vice president. also remember in his capacity as attorney general, jeff sessions ultimately overseas that investigation into allegations of russian interference in the us elections. now, end of the democrats. nancy pelosi is one of the most senior democrats, she says... building on those points, here is the democratic leader in the senate. did the president know about the meetings between then senator
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sessions and the russian ambassador? were these the only two meetings between the now attorney general and the russian ambassador? or other russian officials? did the attorney general disclose these meetings during the fbi background check for his nomination? there has been a revelation after revelation. mistruths after mistruths. stories shifting like quicksand. if they is truly no there there, why weren't they tell the truth? as ever in washington there are two narratives. this is the speaker of the house paul ryan, a senior republican, this is his take. first i will refer to the senate judiciary committee. i checked the transcript on all of that, so i can't speak to what the judiciary committee transcriptase, frankly i haven't read it. should he recuse himself, ithink
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frankly i haven't read it. should he recuse himself, i think he answered that question this morning. which is if he himself is subject of an investigation, of course he could, but if he's not i don't see any purpose or reason of doing this. let's bring in anthony zurcher as we a lwa ys let's bring in anthony zurcher as we always do. from washington, dc. so many elements to this story, what is your reading of it? as you said, pressure is mounting onjeff sessions to recuse himself. the ground underneath him as far as staying involved in this investigation in his capacity as attorney general overseeing the fbi is crumbling, with leaders of the republican party in congress, kevin mccarthy, the second—in—command in the house of representatives, arming out and saying he needed to recuse himself. it has allowed democrats to go step further and start calling for his resignation. we got a couple of stories out of sessions own press secretary about that meeting in september. first it was an in—person meeting, then over the phone, then in person. if it was over the phone
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with the russian ambassador, michael flynn's phone conversations with the russian ambassador were recorded by us intelligence agencies so i wouldn't be surprised if a phone conversation with jeff sessions wouldn't be surprised if a phone conversation withjeff sessions also had a transcript that also leaked. it'll be interesting to see where the story goes from here. a tweet from michael floyd says one was put up from michael floyd says one was put up ahead of the us national security— michael flynn— the other is head of the department responsible for masticating domestic espionage. the point is that these stories an incredibly damaging so early in mrtrump's stories an incredibly damaging so early in mr trump's presidency. absolutely, michael flynn, like sessions, is a close adviser to donald trump during the campaign. jeff sessions was one of the first prominent politicians to endorse donald trump early in the campaign before he became a front runner when he was more of a sideshow in the republican primary process, he
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helped devise donald trump's immigration strategy, much of his foreign policy. it was clear he would have a key role in the administration and attorney general is the top law enforcement official in the us government. there are ties between these two and the fact they had between these two and the fact they ha d co nta cts between these two and the fact they had contacts with russia oil officials during the campaign and after the election lends a view that there may be more here, that they went direct about it, didn't ask —— hansa questions directly when they could have, it raises suspicions and casts doubt that there could be a bigger story behind us. we're told jeff sessions is imminent at the department ofjustice. while we wait for the press conference to begin, let's remind you while these elements we've already discussed have played out, a cross—party congressional committee whose website you can find online, i'll post this because jeff sessions website you can find online, i'll post this becausejeff sessions is stepping out. let's bring the live feed. thank you for being with me. my
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chief of staff. jodie has been almost 20 years in the department of justice. let me share a few thoughts. first, about the comments that i made to the committee that have been said to be incorrect and false. let me be clear, i never had meetings with russian operatives or russian intermediaries about the trump campaign. and the idea that i was part of a" continuing exchange of information" during the campaign between tromso gets and intermediaries for the russian government is totally false. that is the question senator frank and asked me at the hearing and that's what got my attention, as he noted, it
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was the first... breaking news. it got my attention. and that is the question i responded to. i did not respond by referring to the two meetings, one very brief after a speech, and one with two of my senior staffers, professional staffers, with the russian ambassador in washington. where no such things were discussed. in my reply to the question of senator frank and, it was honest and correct asi frank and, it was honest and correct as i understood it at the time. i appreciate that some have taken the view that this was a false comment, thatis view that this was a false comment, that is not my intent, that is not correct. i will write thejudiciary committee soon, today or tomorrow, to explain this testimony for the record. secondly, at my confirmation hearing, i promised that i would do
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this... is a specific matter arose where i believed my impartiality might reasonably be questioned, i would consult with the department ethics officials regarding the most appropriate way to proceed. that's what i told them at the confirmation hearing. i've been herejust three weeks today. a lot has been happening in this three week period. i wish i'd had more of my staff on board, but we're still waiting for now. much has been done, much needs to be done, but idea down and have done as i promised. i have met with senior officials, shortly after arriving here, we evaluated the rules of ethics and recusal. i've considered the issues at stake. in fa ct, considered the issues at stake. in fact, on monday, of this week, we
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set a meeting for a final decision on this question and on monday we set that meeting today. so this was the day that we planned to have a final discussion. i asked for their candid and honest opinion about what i should do about investigation, certain investigations. my staff recommended recusal, they said that since i had involvement with the campaigni since i had involvement with the campaign i should not be involved in any campaign investigation. i have studied the rules and considered their comments, and evaluation. i believe those recommendations are right and just. therefore, i have recuse myself in the matters that deal with the trump campaign. the exact language of that recusal is in
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the press release that we will give to you. i have said this "i have now decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matter relating in any way to the campaign for president of the united states. rose group i went on to say, this announcement should not be interpreted as confirmation of the existence of any investigation or suggestive of the scope of any such investigation. because we in the department ofjustice resist confirming or denying the very existence of the investigation. so, in the end, i have followed the right procedure, just as i promised the committee i would. just as i believe any good attorney general should do. and a proper decision, i believe, has been reached. so i thank you for the opportunity to
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make those comments, and would be pleased to take a few questions. ok. to clear up pleased to take a few questions. ok. to clearup any pleased to take a few questions. ok. to clear up any confusion over this, could you just explain a little bit about the september eight meeting, who in your staff was there, and what was discussed with the russian ambassador? the russian ambassador a p pa re ntly ambassador? the russian ambassador apparently sent a staffer to my office, i did not see him, and asked for a meeting, as so many of the ambassadors were doing. we set up a time, as we did, as we normally did. and we met with him. two of my senior staffers were there. maybe a younger staffer, too. and they both we re younger staffer, too. and they both were retired ani kernels, not politicians, and we listened to the ambassador, and what his concerns might be. well, it wasjust
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ambassador, and what his concerns might be. well, it was just normal things, such as i started off by saying, i don't remember a lot of it, but i do remember saying i had gone to russia with a church group in1991. gone to russia with a church group ini99i. he said gone to russia with a church group in 1991. he said he was not a believer himself, but he was glad to have church people come there. indeed, i thought he was pretty much ofan indeed, i thought he was pretty much of an old—style of soviet type ambassador. so we talked a little bit about terrorism. somehow the subject of ukraine came up, i'd had the ukrainian ambassador in my office the day before. to listen to him. nothing... russia had done nothing that was wrong in any area, and everybody else was wrong with regard to the ukraine. it got to be a little bit of a testy conversation at that point, it wrapped up, he
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said something about inviting me to have lunch. i did not accept that. that never occurred. inaudible i don't recall but most of these ambassadors are pretty gossipy. and they like... this was in campaign season. but i don't recall any specific political discussions. do you recall meeting with ambassador any othertime? you recall meeting with ambassador any other time? it is possible. i'm on the armed services committee and things happen but i don't recall having met him before. did he consider you a representative of the trump campaign? they think ambassadors are always out trying to find out things and advance their
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agenda. most of the ambassadors out there would lay out the case for ukraine, lay out his case, poland laid out his case, latvia, lithuania, hungary, japan, canada, australia, i met with all of those ambassadors over the year. so i think that's why. .. ambassadors over the year. so i think that's why... did you consult with the white house about your decision was too much and to follow on the last question, with hindsight do you believe it is a coincidence the russians ask you for a meeting or do you believe you were targeted because it came at the height of russia's interference? and trump was giving an interview to say he didn't think there was anything to the report. i don't recall and have a sense of any connection whatsoever about that. i'm not sure i even knew, when we set up the meeting,
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what was going to be going on in the world at the time. i can't speak for what the russian ambassador had in his mind. have you met with any russian officials or folk associated with the russian government since you endorsed president trump?” don't think so. we meet a lot of people, so... from those two meetings you discussed with the ambassador... i don't believe so. the white house press secretary and president bush said today they think you should not recuse yourself from these investigations. inaudible idea to share with white house counsel and my staff that i intend to recuse myself this afternoon. but i feel like because they don't know the rules, the ethics rules, most people don't bother but when you
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evaluate the rules i feel like i should not be involved investigating a campaigni should not be involved investigating a campaign i had a role in. one more question and we wrap this up. ferri two questioned if i may. you were already considering recusal before today, is that correct? and when you've answered senator frank and's question were you just not thinking of the meeting with the russian ambassador or did you not consider it relevant? i was taken back a little bit about this new information, this allegation that surrogates, and i have been called a surrogate for donald trump, had been meeting continuously with russian officials. and that's what struck me very hard and what i focused my answer on. in retrospect, i should have slowed down and said, but i did meet one russian official a couple of times.
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that would be the ambassador. thank you all, take care. there goes the attorney general of america, jeff sessions. let's immediately turn to anthony zurcher, who has been watching it. a number of important lines, let's go through them, what would you pick out? interesting he said he decided to recuse himself after consulting with justice department officials and they said he should do that based on his ties to the trump campaign. if you take him at his word, he was going to recuse himself anyway regardless of the story that came out last night about his specific contacts with the russian ambassador. that is a little different. he said in a written statement during his confirmation process that he didn't talk with russian officials about elections matters. when he was asked, you heard him say, he couldn't recall whether politics and elections ever came up, but that the russian buzzard tends to be a gossip, ambassadors in general tend to be gossipy. —— the russian ambassador tends to be a gossip. the person
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taking over the investigation is the acting deputy attorney general. he was the acting attorney general last month after sally yates was fired after she wouldn't enforce his immigration ban. dame ben te'o defended it in court. he served as acting attorney general. said his a nswer acting attorney general. said his answer was honest and correct as he understood the answer at the time. is it good enough? when it when it comes to allegations of perjury, for perjury charges to be brought up you have to have intent to deceive. for him to say he did everything he could to be honest and open, did not intend to deceive or mislead the investigators bourdy interrogating senators, i think it is a very carefully chosen word to picture he
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doesn't open himself up to any allegations of perjury. i'll let you continue on the story, maybe we'll talk later. anthony zurcher live from washington, dc. to remind you where we are with the story, the us attorney generaljeff sessions has finished a press conference in washington, dc in which he's paying he's going to recuse himself from any investigations there may be into the relationship between russia and donald trump's campaign. ——jeff sessions saying. he understands the recommendation that he would recuse himself from any such investigation. whether it's enough to keep him in thejob we shall whether it's enough to keep him in the job we shall have to see. donald trump has said earlier, before speaking, before giving a speech to the navy, he has full support directed towards jeff the navy, he has full support directed towardsjeff sessions. we shall see if it proves to be enough. at the moment he's not leaving his
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job but is recuse in himself. we'll keep you up—to—date on that. in the meantime let's turn from american politics to french politics because we have three important stories from the french presidential election campaign. emmanuel macron unveiled his manifesto and turning his centrist policies. lorraine the pen is leading in the polls. she leads the national front party. is leading in the polls. she leads the nationalfront party. she's is leading in the polls. she leads the national front party. she's lost immunity from prosecution for treating graphic images of atrocities committed by the islamic state group. those images involve pictures of james foley being beheaded by the islamic state group. she could face criminal enquiry if that was the case. this offence carries a penalty of three years in prison. we're a long way away from anything like that. the decision remove her immunity was taken by the european parliament. let me show you what emmanuel macron said as he delivered this new manifesto. we in
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our project have chosen first of all to look to the future. the transformation of the world of work, the transformation of our productive model. the digital transition. these are risks. but they are also brilliant opportunities. and so, at the heart of this project, there is the heart of this project, there is the refusal to acknowledge defeat. i will not say in this project that we have already lost the battle over the nature of work. no, work is going to change, and we will be part of that change. we will go with it, and we will transform the balance of forces. emmanuel macron. we talked about marina pen, leader of the front nationale. they are the main candidates. francois fillon is in a lot of trouble with his campaign because of allegations he created fa ke because of allegations he created fakejobs for because of allegations he created fake jobs for relatives, in particular his wife and two of his children. the socialists are struggling in the polls. francois
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fillon continues to have problems, all relating to whether his support stays firm going into the first round of the presidential election. some states to tell you. which microsoft updates. police raided the home of francois fillon as part of a probe into allegations of a fake parliamentaryjob given to his wife. according to several sources. this from the spectator index twitter feed saint emmanuel macron leaves marina pen by 26% in the second round. the way the french system works if there is a first round and the top two candidates go into a second round and it is whoever wins that who becomes president. an interesting first half—hour of outside source, see you in a couple of minutes. if you were watching this bulletin yesterday you would have seen the video and photographs i showed you
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of the tornadoes in the united states. that threat of tornadoes and thunderstorms has cleared away and as we had to friday looks like we'll see a plunge of cold air across new england, the great lakes, towards eastern canada. much colder than what it was at the beginning of the week. —11 celsius in quebec, only three degrees in new york, compared to 20 celsius in new york we had on monday and tuesday. further west it looks like we have the series of weather systems bringing unsettled weather systems bringing unsettled weather to washington state and into british columbia. we could see a lot of rain and heavy snowfall over the high ground of washington state for the foreseeable future. could cause travel disruption and we could see some showers pushing into central and northern california. by the time we reach sunday and on into monday. into africa, it is wet season across central and southern areas. the rain has been exceptionally intense over
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the last few days with reports of flooding in zimbabwe. across the southern indian ocean, signs there is potential of a tropical cyclone developing to the north east of madagascar. if it does do so, it will move south close to mauritius and the union, could bring heavy rain into the start of next week. —— reunion. some dust storms. friday looks quiet across the middle east must try making a return to northern saudl must try making a return to northern saudi. wet weather in lebanon, syria and israel through friday afternoon. could bring very heavy rain here, potentially with a bit of flooding in places. into europe, friday looking quieterfor in places. into europe, friday looking quieter for many central, southern areas thanks to high pressure. looking at a whole series of low pressure systems bringing up across the west. of the atlantic. it'll bring pretty heavy rain to portugal and western spain. later on
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friday, this area of low pressure will develop further. some really strong winds likely to develop across north—east spain, southern france, northern italy. heavy potentially flooding rain across this film, and exceptionally heavy snow for the pyrenees in towards the alps. we could see more than a metre of snow by the time the weekend is out and it could really increase the avalanche risk. back home for friday looking pretty wet across much of england and wales and northern ireland committee rain band moving north. windy in the south. the best of sunshine across the northern half of sunshine across the northern half of scotland. chilly here. you can see if you are reed for uk weather forecast here in about half an hour. —— you can see a full uk weather forecast here in about half an hour. these are some of the main stories in the bbc newsroom. jeff sessions has recused himself from an investigation into contact between russian officials and the donald
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trump campaign during the election campaign. donald trump had said he has total confidence in his attorney general. total. we will report from brussels, $200 billion have been raised herfamily brussels, $200 billion have been raised her family planning schemes in developing countries to counter cuts introduced by donald trump. and the latest in the build—up to saturday's showdown between david
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