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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  June 13, 2017 12:30am-1:01am BST

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1 world iworld news. our top story: britain's prime minister has apologised to her party's mps, for the conservatives' performance in the general election. theresa may said she'd got them into "this mess" and would get them out of it. she also said she would serve them as party leader for as long as they want her. hong kong is being lashed by heavy rain and strong winds, as tropical storm merbok makes landfall on china's south coast. waves of up to six metres have been reported. and this story is trending on it's the tale of a ninety four year old indonesian banana seller, who was the victim of theft. after a video was posted online showing him in distress, donations poured in and almost three thousand dollars has been raised so far. that's all from me now. stay with bbc world news. now on bbc news it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk, with me, zeinab badawi.
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my guest is us democratic party insiderjake sullivan. a key adviser to senior democrats, including hillary clinton when she was secretary of state as well as on the campaign trail last year. president trump has attracted a lot of criticism at home and abroad over his rhetoric and style of leadership. but is he not proving more effective in important foreign policy issues like the fight against extremists than the previous democratic administration? jake sullivan, welcome to hardtalk. thanks for having me.
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as a key adviser to hillary clinton, can you be objective about the trump presidency? probably not entirely objective. i would have to put my bias on the table, that i spent two years trying to stop him from getting into the oval office. but i think a lot of things that we predicted during the campaign about his lack of fitness for office have borne out over the past six months. i've tried to take a step back and be as fair—minded as possible in assessing what he's done. but the zeitgeist was always with him, wasn't it? he was much more in tune with what the voters‘ priorities are. you know, i would actually argue that he had a certain emotional appeal, but when it came to voter priorities, to the issues they cared about, they lined up much more with hillary clinton and her approach to the issues. so, it was really a battle between a guy who had the number of the media and could very effectively carry out a political campaign, and the person who actually had the ideas and the substance.
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and in the end, it was the showman who won. let's just look at one key preoccupation at the moment, the attacks by militants, jihadists, extremists, be it in the uk, be it in afghanistan, be it in baghdad, where we saw that awful ice cream parlour attack and so on. he's really much more assertive on terror than president obama ever was. well, he's much more assertive on twitter than obama ever was, and he's certainly speaking much more loudly, but is he carrying a bigger stick, truly a bigger stick? i would say that the fight against isis in iraq and syria is an extension, a building—upon, of the obama policy, not a fundamental transformation. has he added more firepower to the region? he has, but it's been on a slope established by president obama. so i don't think we've actually seen a sea change in his approach to the fight against terrorist groups in the middle east or afghanistan, but rather much more of a continuation. you mention afghanistan. he dropped the "mother of all bbombs", as it's known, in april, on a site in nangarhar.
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it's the largest non—nuclear, the most powerful non—nuclear weapon available. that would sound as though he's being much more assertive than obama on militant targets. the dropping of a single bomb on a tunnel complex in rural afghanistan, i don't think is a good indication of the whole policy he is pursuing. it's true that he did that. would obama have done it, do you think? well, obama never took the moab, as it's called, the mother of all bombs, off the table. if an opportunity had presented itself, a target that made sense to use that bomb, a bomb that obama had in his arsenal during his time, he would have used it. the target presented itself for president trump, and so he used it, but i don't see that as a departure from american doctrine. what about, obama seemed pretty desperate to get out of afghanistan. five years ago there were 100,000 american troops in afghanistan. now it's below 10,000.
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and we have seen a rise in security incidents in afghanistan, far more than since 2007, in the last year and a quarter or so. it's very true that president obama drew down from a height of 100,000 to under 10,000, but before he left office, he fixed a number. he said, actually i'm not going to drive down any further. we are going to keep several thousand american troops there, not to take and hold territory, but to train, advise and assist the afghan national security forces. now president trump is talking about adding a few thousand more... exactly. but to carry out precisely the same mission. so even he recognises that simply inserting huge numbers of american troops back into theatre in afghanistan is not a winning strategy. in that way, i think his campaign rhetoric and what he's realised about the realities of these fights, there's a big gap between them. if you want to argue that donald trump is different from barack obama in foreign policy, you're going to get no debate from me.
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i obviously believe they're very different. the point i'm making is when it comes to the fight against isis and extremist groups, what donald trump is doing is carrying forward ba rack 0bama's strategy. it's hard to see meaningful departures from that strategy. when it comes to iran, on the key issue that president obama pursued on iran during his time — the iran nuclear deal — president trump said during the campaign repeatedly that he would tear it up on day one. he has not done so. why is that? that should please you. it does please me. and the question is why, why hasn't he torn it up? it's because even many of our partners in the region recognise, as does our military, as does the israeli security establishment, that this deal actually improves security in the region. and so i'm glad to see continuity
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on that issue and them carrying it forward. however, i do worry that some of the steps that president trump is taking in the region could make a conflict with iran more likely, and we could easily see him make a decision that would put american lives at risk. and i think that would be negative for us national security interests. ok, let's look at that potential, then. syria, bashar al—assad, the president there, very much an ally of iran. but he has been applauded, president trump, for his intervention in syria in april following those harrowing pictures of the chemical attack on innocent syrian civilians — hundreds dead. wasn't that a good thing that he did? i think it was a good thing. it was a good thing that president trump decided to respond to the chemical weapons attack by the assad regime by striking the airbase from which that chemical weapons attack had been launched. that was a good thing. the bad thing is that it wasn't tied to any broader strategy in syria whatsoever.
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so if you pressed president trump today on what his solution is to the syrian civil war, which is the reservoir from which much of the extremism in the region is flowing, he wouldn't be able to tell you. i think after six months that's a big problem. he has done some things, though. he targeted, launched the cruise missiles on the syrian government attacks. he's also imposing sanctions on individuals at the scientific support centre, which was involved in the production of chemical weapons. supplying arms to the ethnic kurds, fighters in syria, who are syrian, despite criticisms from turkey and so on. so, he is seen as being quite strong on syria. it's interesting on the kurdish point because that too was a decision president obama left for him. it was something president obama was strongly considering doing, but wanted to give president trump the opportunity to decide on it. president trump made the decision that they were going to arm the syrian kurds. that has defied isis. a worthy and important cause to roust isis from raqqa, their capital, to deny them territory from which they can plot
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attacks against the west. but that's not about solving the underlying syrian civil war for which the administration still has no real answer. 0n the cruise missiles launched following the chemical attack, general michael hayden, former cia director, seen as somebody who is very balanced — "trump's public reaction to the atrocity of the chemical attack was genuine and admirable, and his response was decisive and appropriate." trump himself said, what i should did should have been done by the obama administration a long time ago. and nobody is contrasting it with obama saying in 2012, my red line, if there is a chemical attack i would do something. a chemical attack happens in 2013 and obama does nothing. well, 0bama didn't do nothing, let's be clear. well, he didn't do as much as what trump has done in just a few months. what obama did was strike a deal that actually removed 95% or more of chemical weapons from syria, weapons that could easily have
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fallen into the hands of isis to be used against europeans, or hezbollah to be used against israelis. so 0bama didn't do nothing. not to mention the people themselves, the civilians, syrians. of course. the fact is, at the end of the day, the syrian regime broke that deal, kept some stock of chemical weapons, and the right thing for the united states to do once they broke the deal was to strike, which donald trump did, and which i stood up and said, that was the right thing. well done. trump is sort of depicted as this president who makes these intemperate comments and acts in an irrational way, but actually, it seems that you are agreeing that he does take advice from professionals, from people in the know. i think he took advice on that narrow decision of the syria strike, which has not been followed by any serious syria strategy. and when you look at other decisions he's taken, he has completely ignored the advice of every professional around him. his decision to withdraw from the paris climate agreement is just one important example of where his economic advisers, his national security advisers, his diplomatic advisers, all told him, this isjust dumb, and he went ahead and did it anyway. i think he did it for knee
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jerk political reasons. it's not that detrimental, some people say, because as you know, action on climate change is at both federal, state and local level, and as we know, mayor bloomberg, the former mayor of new york, said that we can do a lot of stuff at business level, local level, state level and so on, to meet our targets. look, the united states is a big, diverse and resilient country, so we will move forward. so it's a bit of political theatre, really, what trump was engaged in on the climate change? i think it's folly to say that what happens coming out of washington on climate change doesn't matter at all. of course it does. there wouldn't be a paris deal if it weren't for presidential leadership. if it weren't for president obama going out and getting the chinese on—board, the indians on board, and rallying the europeans. that's how we got here in the first place. and there won't be the next step up the ladder of ambition without american leadership. and what president trump has done is abandon the field. now, to the extent we can,
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at the city and state level, working with our partners and the private sector, we will do what we can, but it really matters that presidential leadership is lacking on this issue. nikki haley, though, the us ambassador to the united nations, after this suggests that trump will be responsible on climate change. she said, just because the us got out of a club, doesn't mean we aren't going to care about the environment. well, everything about their domestic energy policy so far is a rebuttal to that statement. not only did they withdraw from paris, but they rescinded president 0bama's executive actions that would clean—up our energy fleet, that would move towards more renewable energy, that would improve fuel efficiency standards in cars. trump rode all of that back. i'm waiting to see what the meat is behind what nikki haley is saying, because so far we haven't seen it. he hasn't withdrawn from the 1992 un convention framework on climate change, so we will have to see, as you say. but, you said during the campaign trail, donald trump is temperamentally unfit and unqualified to be the nation's commander—in—chief.
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but he's been complimented by key military figures. to give you another example, us admiraljames stavridis, former nato commander, says president trump shows above all he is willing and able to take advice from the first—class national security team he has assembled. so, i think all of us hoped in the early days that when he picked real luminaries, excellent professionals like general mattis as his secretary of defence and general mcmaster as his national security adviser, that this would somehow help him make better decisions. but the problem is, that you cannot normalise a president who is fundamentally not normal. and we have seen repeatedly... i'm sure he would object to being described as not normal, but anyway. he may object to it, but you can see in the way he makes decisions, the way that he lashes out, the way that he attacks people, and the way that he tries to essentially belittle and divide, that this is not a normal circumstance. it's really incumbent on all of us to call it out as such. don't you have to judge him
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by the actions that take place? and, as you just said, we were talking about foreign policy, that's a continuation of barack obama, and that's a continuation of barack 0bama's and the democrat's policy and so on. so actually, the actions don't quite match the intemperate rhetoric. they do in many important respects. the continuation i was describing was specifically on the issue of isis, but when you take a step back and you look at president trump's broader foreign policy, you can take the paris agreement as one we have already talked about. you can take what he went and did in europe, where he stood before the 9/11 memorial, which was the one time in the history of the alliance that article 5 — the collective defence mechanism of nato — was invoked by our allies on our behalf, and basically harangued and castigated them, and then refused to affirm america's commitment. you can talk about what happened at the g7... can i just say to you on that,
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what did the defence secretary james mattis say just a few days after that? but the point is... but what did he say? james mattis said, what a crummy world if we all retreat inside our borders, and, once we've exhausted all possible alternatives, the americans will do the right thing? so who is speaking for the administration? the president of the united states or the secretary of defence? i think we have to listen to what is... he said nato is obsolete and then he rescinded that. you can'tjudge what happens in the trump administration by what president trump himself necessarily says. you have to look at it more in a holistic fashion. when the president of the united states actually shows up in europe, steps into nato headquarters in brussels and conspicuously declines to affirm america's article 5 commitment, at least one person is watching that closely and that's vladimir putin.
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and those words have real consequences. nothing james mattis says five days later can unring that bell. at this point, trump has sent a very clear message to our allies and our adversaries that our commitment to our nato allies is in doubt. that is dangerous, because if it could lead to more instability in europe, and if it could lead to possible conflict there, it's ultimately going to be the united states at the end of the day who is going to have to come in and help sort it out. you are implying he didn't want to make that express commitment i'm not saying anything about his motives, although i do think there have been a lot of questions about the degree to which he has basically followed the wish list of vladimir putin in the policies he has pursued. i'm just saying that regardless of his motive in doing that in brussels, vladimir putin was watching, and that's what he will have taken from it. you brought up the russians, and of course, whether the russians were involved one way or another, in hacking the e—mails of hillary clinton during the presidential campaign was something that was of course a major issue at the time. another major issue, of course,
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was the use of hillary clinton's private e—mail account to conduct her state department business. you were advising her in the state department. you used her private e—mail accounts to talk to her about national security issues or state department matters. do you think that was wise, in retrospect, for you to have done that? look, hillary clinton has said it was a mistake for her to use a private e—mail server. i think all of us involved, looking back, would have done it a different way if we were doing it again. at the time, it didn't seem that out of step with what most other cabinet secretaries, senators, and other senior figures were doing. so at the time, it did not occur to us that this was going to be a major challenge in the future. but now we have looked at it in the cold light of day,
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of course we wish we had handled it differently at the time. but why did you use her private e—mail account to talk to her about state department business? this was the e—mail that hillary clinton was using. this is what she had taken from being a senator and then transitioning over to being secretary of state. previous secretaries of state had used personal e—mail accounts and not official e—mail accounts. in fact, john kerry was the first secretary of state to have an official e—mail account. so this was how it was done at the state department at this time. mow, once you get into the klieg lights, the bright lights of a presidential campaign, things end up looking a lot different. so it was convenience, was it? hillary said repeatedly that this was about convenience, it was about being able for her to have one account and one device in what she was trying to do. but again, she's underscored repeatedly that it was a mistake, and she wishes she had done it differently. that being said, the amount of attention put on this issue — of the type of e—mail account that she was using — in comparison to the policy issues and all of the other major questions
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before the american people last year was astonishing. and completely reckless on the part of the press. do you think it cost her the presidency? whether there was an fbi investigation into the e—mail accounts and so on and so forth, cost her the presidency. look, it's always hard to identify any variable in something as complex as a presidential election, but what i will tell you is this — nate silver, who is the premier statistician who looks at american presidential elections ran an analysis after november 8th and he determined thatjim comey‘s letter in late october... he was fbi director at the time. ..the fbi director who wrote a letter basically reopening the investigation into hillary clinton with only ten days to go in the election, nate silver determined that that letter had a material impact that was the difference between winning and losing. and james comey, of course, then quite unceremoniously sacked by donald trump as director of the fbi. right, he was sacked because, in the president's own words, he thought thatjim comey shouldn't be pursuing this russia investigation the way that he was.
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described him as a nutjob. well, that, to the — he did that privately to the russians in the oval office, correct. he did that privately to the russians in the oval office, and that was the meeting he had with sergei lavrov, the russian foreign minister, and also sergey kislyak, the russian ambassador to the united states. now, there's been a lot of made about what donald trump said to them, or not, about us intelligence in the fight against terror. and it seems as though it's the media who is taking the lead on criticising donald trump on this, not the democrats. i think what the media is doing is digging to get to the bottom of what is a very strange story. it's not so much criticism as it is almost every day, they are coming out with some new information. a new meeting between a trump official and a russian official that had previously been denied. a new financial connection... are they the official opposition now, really, not the democrats anymore? they're the ones who are taking
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the lead, as i said, in being the opposition to donald trump? as you know better than anyone, as you knowjust from this very interview, the media'sjob is to ask the hard questions. and demand answerers. but isn't it also the job of the democrats, the official opposition, to ask hard questions? and i think that's happening. in fact, if you look at some of these hearings where prominent trump administration officials have had to come forward and be held accountable in the congress, democratic senators and democratic house members have been asking the tough questions and have been putting the case to the american people that on the issue of russia, on the issue of the broader question of corruption in this administration, with respect questions we have to get to the bottom of. ok, so who is taking the lead for the democrats? joe biden, former vice president? hillary clinton? are mark warner, who is the senator... ijust meant generally, opposition. i mean, you have the midterms coming up next year. i think that president obama
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is going to have a very important voice in this over the next two years. obviously, he's taken a step back because as the most recently departed president, he wanted to give president trump an opportunity to hit the ground running. vice president biden will be an important voice. secretary clinton has started a pac where she is helping to support a lot of democratic groups and democratic—leaning groups. so all three of them will be active players. but the key thing in this... can i just ask you, all three will be active players. president obama obviously couldn't run again for office. do you thinkjoe biden might, or hillary clinton? i don't think hillary clinton will. as for vice president biden, you would have to obviously ask him. what i would say is that he has just set up a pac to be able to support candidates in 2018. i think he's going to be devoting all his energy in the next two years, not to thinking about 2020, but to thinking about, how do we take the house
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of representatives back in 2018? what's your guess? do you think he might run for president, joe biden? i have got completely out of the business of speculating or predicting on politics at all. so i really couldn't say. the mayor of chicago, the senior democrat rahm emanuel, when asked about this kind of thing on cnn said, hillary clinton has got lots of energy. but you're saying categorically she would not run in 2020? look, it's not my place to say anything categorically. have you talked to her about it, for instance? i haven't talked to her about 2020 because it's not even in the realm of contemplation. what is in the realm of contemplation right now is what she can do to help young people especially, but progressive groups be able to really effectively operate in opposition to trump, and then to win seats that will help us take back both the house of representatives at the federal level and state houses at the state level. michael moore, the very well—known american director,
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says one thing the democrats don't understand is that trump was a beloved tv star. he suggests oprah winfrey, chat show host. tom hanks, the famous actor. somebody that people love, is what he says. donald trump was the outsider, the anti—politician, he became president. what about michael moore's idea? i wouldn't rule out someone who doesn't have a career in politics running for president and being really good. you can also not have a career in politics, run for president and be really bad, and i think we're seeing that play out in living colour. and there are some tremendous public servants who have served in politics who would be great candidates. so i wouldn't rule out people who have served in public office, and i wouldn't rule out people who haven't. i think we should have a free for all, and then let democratic primary voters decide who the best standard bearer will be in 2020. jake sullivan, thank you very much indeed for coming on hardtalk. thank you.
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yesterday was a bit of a breezy day for most parts of the uk, with a fair bit of cloud and a little bit of sunshine. in the north—west of the uk, we temperatures up to 12 degrees. but we got to 20 celsius in the south—eastern corner. a bit warmer than that in the next few days, particularly so for england and wales. a lot of dry weather and the forecast and he went quite light as well. some decent conditions getting out and about. 12 or 13 degrees today and some rain to be had, mainly in the north and west. a wet start in western scotland. the eastern side will be that the drier, perhaps brighter as well. a fair bit of cloud in northern ireland in the morning. some outbreaks of rain as you will find in northern england. then the cloud breaks up there. sunshine possible during the morning across much of our southern counties.
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light winds as well, so a reasonable start to a pretty pleasant day. we will see some good spells of sunshine across the southernmost counties. some are developing, but with light winds, sunshine, it will become pleasant. temperatures will get into the love. to the west of rain time in scotland, that it becomes lighter and more patchy with time. showers in northern ireland. one or two in northern england, but few and far between. 19 degrees for aberdeen and belfast, 23 in the south—eastern corner. going into wednesday, this low pressure system is trying to push in from the west. it is running into this high, and that results in the south—westerly wind being pushed north. that will bring warm air our way. wednesday will be the peak of the temperatures this week across england and wales in particular. we start on a fairly warm note, and there will be a good deal of sunshine, light winds, with temperatures rising quickly through the morning. through the north, more of a breeze.
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more cloud and some rain at times. not so across england and wales. lots of sunshine, light winds, and those temperatures get up to 27 degrees in the south—eastern corner. quite humid as well. the low 20s quite widely elsewhere. maybe the high teens of the north. going into wednesday night, to the west and a weather front is coming. potential thunderstorms. this weather front is going to be bringing some fresher air in from the atlantic. the rain on this weather front fizzles out as it works its way from west to east. still quite warm, though, in the london area, 23 or 24. further north and west, some showers around, and temperatures coming down a little too. i'm babita sharma in london. the headlines: the british prime minister, theresa may, apologises to her mps for losing her government's majority in last week's election. the prime minister was superb,
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really statesmanlike and tumble, in recognising the difficulties in tackling the problems the country faces. —— humble. rain and strong winds lash hong kong, as tropical storm merbok makes landfall on china's south coast. i'm rico hizon in singapore. the headlines: troops step up the battle to expel islamist militants from marawi after the philippines marks its independence day. and the perfect marriage of bride and bollywood.
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