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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  June 29, 2017 4:30am-5:01am BST

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with multiple counts of sexually abusing children. cardinal pell is the most senior roman catholic cleric in australia, third in the hierarchy of the church worldwide. he strongly denies the allegations. the united states is introducing tough new security measures for inbound flights, but has stopped short of expanding the ban on laptops in hand luggage. the new measures, described as both seen and unseen, include enhanced screening of passengers and electronic devices. 26 pro—democracy protestors have been arrested in hong kong, shortly before the arrival of president xi. he is coming to mark the 20th anniversary of hong kong's handover from britain to china. it is his first visit as chinese leader, and more protests are expected. now it is time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk,
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i'm stephen sackur. a generation ago, the first president bush proclaimed a new world order which america would lead a example. 25 years on, and donald trump is in the white house. so what kind of example is america setting now? my guest isjoe lieberman, former us senator, al gore's vice presidential running mate in 2000, and recently touted as a contender for fbi director under the current president. is donald trump fundamentally changing america's global role? joe lieberman, welcome.
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stephen, good to be with you. let's begin maybe have to begin, with an assessment of donald trump. six months in the white house. are you alarmed or reassured by what you have seen? iam uncertain. 0bviously president trump ran a campaign unlike any we have ever seen in america. as a former officeholder, during the year i would run into other officeholders or current elected officials, and we would go through the latest thing that candidate trump had said, which he would have agreed would have ended our campaign. he kept going. part of it was that the public wanted a change, wanted an outsider. because he was a successful businessman, they thought he may be able to make the government work again. he has brought the same style, spirit and unpredictability into his white house? i wonder whether you think
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that is appropriate? the right thing for america at this time. whether you see dangers in it? i think he has real strengths. he really has to be more disciplined. he has to do a couple of things. we're talking about foreign policy exclusively? i'm going to talk to you about both. part of why i think people elected him is for change. he has implemented some change by executive order. regulation withdrawal. pulling out of the climate change pact. withdrawing us from the tpp trade agreement. personally they are steps i don't agree with and are disappointed by. but they do represent change. the next most important thing, and has not happened yet, to prove that his capacity as a leader, and experience as negotiator, enables him to do something that has not been done very much in recent years in washington. bring republicans and democrats together. each to compromise to agree something. right now, the obvious place where that is necessary is on health care. that is not happening.
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the atmosphere seems as toxic, poisonous as ever before. it is on both sides. the democrats are the out party. my party. we need to clarify what your party is. you say that is your party. you famously quipped the democratic party more than ten years ago. ran against them won your connecticut seat as an independent. you infuriated save many in your party by actually backing john mccain for president against barack 0bama in 2008. i have to ask you did you vote for trump? i strongly voted for hillary clinton. but you are not a democrat. i'm still at democrat. many democrats regard you as an traitor. unfairly. in 2006, because i stuck with the iraq war longer than others. this is part of the toxic atmosphere. even though my voting record was good on domestic issues. i was challenged in the democratic primary and lost. the old ronald reagan line, not so much i left the democratic party, but the democratic party left me. 0n the other hand i didn't become republican. that perspective depends on the size of your ego. what i'm saying is democratic
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rejected may rejected my candidacy for the us senate. one of my consultant said, you should run as an independent. i am afraid the iraq war will do you win. i said, what? i am a democrat. they will have to push me out of they don't think i'm capable of running. of course they did, i was lucky enough to get elected. i want to come back to the extent america may still be open to a different brand of politics, getting away from the binary republican and democrat thing. i want to stick with trump. what intrigues me now, within the last month or two, you seriously toyed with the proposition ofjoining the trump team, in a sense, by taking seriously deep thought you might become trump's new director of the fbi. how could you do that? if you say, it at the beginning of the interview, have serious reservations about the trump style? who i am. who are a lot of people used to be in american politics.
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here is what i mean. but not so many anymore unfortunately. i was raised to believe if the president of united states calls to service, of the country, you have a profound obligation to take that seriously, probably do it unless there is a good reason. really, even if it is donald trump? he has fired his fbi chief, because, and we now know from the testimony ofjames comey, he feels that donald trump
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was telling him to close down an investigation into his first national security adviser, general mike flynn. 0r connected with the allegations... i don't want to quibble about words. we'll knowjames comey said, i hope you will know what the president said. a direct quote from james comey, his direct recollection, that trump said i hope you can see your way to letting this go. he's a good guy, i hope you can let this go. here is the point, i suppose there is a possibility that a president i have such a profound difference in foreign and domestic policy, that i would not seriously consider what i would normally do, in a call to serve. i don't think he has crossed that line. certainly not yet.
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i agree with a lot of what he has done foreign policy. of course i had the confidence and ego to think perhaps i could make a difference as director of the fbi. take me into that conversation you had with donald trump. in the end you refuse yourself because you believed there was a conflict—of—interest, because of activities in yourlawfirm. when you trump discuss the possibility of you becoming his new fbi chief, did he at any point sake, if you take this job you have to go easy on this russia thing, as he calls it. he has always called it news. quite the opposite happened. really important to say this. i don't like to talk about conversations i had with the president. we talked about this. this was post james comey. he said i would never ask you to do something or not do something that you did not want to do. you are the director of the fbi,
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you have to do what the law and the evidence requires you to do. and he added, i did not ask james comey to do anything, either. i don't know president trump very well, met him over the years in different ways. i am aware for some of the things he said during the campaign, i thought were just awful. if it comes down to this, senator, if i may. if you were to consider being his fbi chief, you would have too believed he was a truth teller, a man you could respect. can you take both those boxes? i don't think he has gone over the line on either of those. his presidency is a work in progress.
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the director of the fbi is an important role. you are not kidding. i could not say i would not do it. this is part of the problem in washington. i don't like that democrats, my party, had gone into what they have called themselves, the resistance. anything that trump recommends, forget it, we are opposed to it. what happens in that case, the country does not solve any of its problems, take any opportunities. there is no compromise to get things done. we will not deal with immigration reform. about budget deficits. infrastructure, tax reforms. any of the rest that we need to deal with. people need to cool down a bit. not look at people in the other party as the enemy. president trump discuss this. he knows i was a strong supporter of secretary clinton last year. that did not stop him from asking me to do this. the fact i did not support him, disagreed with some of the things
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he has done as president should not stop me considering taking on this responsibility. a final thought on that. in the last few days trump has publicly reflected on the friendship between james comey, he fired, and robert mueller, now the special counsel in charge of investigating the russia allegations. trump says he finds it very bothersome that they are friends. de think he has a right to say that, and say it in public? one thing we have to accept is that president trump will say a lot of things in public that other elected leaders have traditionally not say. i understand particularly because he feels he is unfairly targeted, while he will worry as result of learning about what i think is a professional friendship and relationship between comey and mueller. i don't know comey, i do know bob mueller.
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he is first rate. there is at least as high likelihood that bob mueller will look at the facts and decide the president has done nothing wrong or actionable, as he will find wrongdoing. he's independent. you lived through the impeachment of a democratic president, bill clinton. at the end of the last century. do you think, now you look at how this is unfolding, we may see the impeachment of donald trump? i would be surprised. who knows? in other words, based on what we have heard so far, including comey saying in his testimony before the senate there was no evidence he has seen the president being involved in collusion with the russians, meddling in the us election. the case, the president needs to do something criminal, probably not. to try to protect general flynn from prosecution. my guess is, they will be a lot
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of sound and fury coming out of capitol hill. in the end bob mueller, the special counsel has the power to do something do something. i would be very surprised if this ends up impeachment. let me ask you about the democrat party, i'm intrigued in this interview keep calling it your party. bernie sanders says the lessons of the last election cycle are quite clear. the american people are fed up with the elites that have run their lives and neglected their interests for so long. he says the democratic party has
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been a part of that problem. the system is rigged against ordinary people, rigged in favour of the billionaires, the democrats must find a leadership prepared to express that the basis for fighting a political battle against the republicans. do you agree with him? only in very small parts. which is to say there are some people in the us who feel that way. in my opinion, there are a lot more who want republicans and democrats to come together and get something done. i think bernie sanders did as well as he did in the primaries only in part because of what i would call a far left approach. however one describes his ideology. resistance approach. you say the democrats have to get over this idea they have the present resistance to trump. sanders is saying absolutely on the country. —— sanders is saying absolutely on the contrary.
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the only way we can build a movement to take back the white house and the congress is to resist. perhaps this is a way to clarify what i'm saying. i think democrats have a responsibility to oppose trump when they have a policy reason to do so. and they should do it with real vigour. at some point they have to decide, for instance, on health care and tax reform, whether they want to negotiate to get something done, whether this will be two years of screaming at each other. it is a difference between what seems to be a times a mindless resistance. anything trump and the republicans want, we are against. really principled and aggressive promotion of a different set of ideas. are you not part of the problem? you are a lawyer, a beltway insider. you have spent much of your life either in new york or washington. you are an elite democrat, precisely the reason the democrats are not getting traction, in the rust belt states,
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where donald trump actually found his path to victory? i don't think so, needless to say. i spent most of my life in connecticut. always did very well in connecticut amongst working—class democrats, independents, and sometimes republicans. sometimes they knew it was because i was not a captive of any political group. i was really fighting for them, trying to get things done for them. helping them economically. medicaid tip at ultimately you walked out of your party precisely because of your differences with the mainstream of your party on a host
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of foreign policies, in particular iraq. it seems to me that you have not learned the lesson of what america has done, in the least, over the last two decades. endless interventions, endless commitment and belief that america could change the rules of the game and sow the seeds of democracy in a host of countries where they do not have a history of democracy and it has failed time and again. yet you seem to remaina failed time and again. yet you seem to remain a hawkish liberal interventionist. why? ithink to remain a hawkish liberal interventionist. why? i think that is the right place for us to be. in the face of evidence? let me say again that i did not walk away from the democrats. this is important. the democratic party rejected my candidacy for re—election based on one issue, iraq. it was classic of what politics is in america. i believed... i knew that if i supported the war i knew that the
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bush administration had made a serious mistake after the war was won in trying to reconstruct iraq. but i thought that if we withdrew it would be a cataclysm are not only for iraq for the credibility of america in the world and our lot depends on our credibility in the world. my record beyond that was a strong pro— democratic, that is pro— democratic party record. leaving iraq for a moment and talking about iran. barack 0bama pulled together a nuclear deal with the iranians, with the p5 plus one. he got that deal in the p5 plus one. he got that deal in the deal is intact. rex tillerson testified to say the iranians are meeting the conditions of that deal. yet, you continue to say, one time you called it shameful. an egregious mistake. you continue to call for new sanctions to be placed on iran.
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why? because iran has not changed. iran is still by our own state department determination, the number—i state—sponsored terrorism. iran has tens of thousands of its own forces in syria, which has become a bloodbath. a genocide of the syrian people. iran represses its own people in a way, the regime does come in a way that is brutal and unacceptable. this is all way more complicated than you have just outlined. in syria, iran is backing bashar al—assad, to even some in washington now represents some sort of stability in the face of the threat of islamic state and other jihadists organisations. equally in iraq, iran's role in iraq has been, over the years, essentially buttressed by the war america started. right now we are doing better in our relations
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with the government in iraq. quite successful in mosul, in rolling back isis. i don't know where to begin to respond first time here in london, part of a group called united against nuclear iran. we are focused on businesses in 2008. to observe the economic sanctions, not doing business in iran. since the iran nuclear agreement, we have been saying to businesses do not rush in there. it is a high risk situation for any business. a lot of the other sanctions are still there. you may suffer economically. it remains a place where there is not really rule of law. tremendous corruption. a dominant influence by the iranian revolutionary guard corps, which as been designated a terrorist organisation. any business doing business with it may subject itself
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to crippling sanctions. we don't have much time left. quickfire thoughts on the role america in the world today under trump. trump said he would rip up the deal with the iranians. it is quite clear he will not. he also came to office saying he would move the israeli embassy to jerusalem. something you very actively supported. now seems he would not do that either. do you think donald trump, in reality, is rather different from the donald trump of twitter promises and outrageous comments? the foreign policy of the trump organisation is a work of progress. some of the changes you describe should be encouraging to people who are in a panic about what they trump presidency would mean. not necessarily to you, in a sense you are more hawkish than he is in some matters. i accept a foreign policy is broad.
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i don't like breaking of the trade agreements. i don't like pulling out of the climate change pact, etc. there is a steadiness, leaning towards change on most of the foreign policy. the big area of changing the trump foreign policy, from president 0bama is in the middle east. i think trump has said very clearly, we have two enemies in the middle east, and i think he's right, iran and isis. we have friends. the friends in the arab world, and israel. we will support our friends, and oppose our enemies until they prove to us, iran, that they are no longer enemies. which iran continues not to prove. that is significant, already having effects on the ground. both in terms of the unprecedented diplomatic and military activity in the gulf arab nations, and this remarkable coming together of the arabs and israelis.
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a final thought, when you talk about his change of policy from 0bama in the middle east, you are focused on one part of the world. perhaps not taking account of what trump means, and the impact he's having on america's partners and allies around the world. let me quote you angela merkel, ending his interview, she says this. clearly she and trump have problems. she says time for germany and europe to take their fate into their own hands. the time we can rely on others, and clearly referring to trump, the time is over. do you worry, as someone who has was wanted america to play very active role in the world. under trump, america's most staunch partners and allies have fundamental doubts about whether america is still the world's leading power? of course, because i believe in a foreign policy that builds our alliances. i would urge people like chancellor merkel and others who have doubts about president trump's foreign policy to give it a chance.
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see where it goes. acknowledge that although he has said nato was obsolete, and when he came to europe he did not say he supported article five of the nato charter. later he did say he supported it. i think he will prove himself to be a better ally than people think. look, the world, our allies, they need us you are remarkably kind of donald trump. the cynic in me wonders whether you still want him to offer you a job? no, when he offered me thejob, it was a time of real strain within myself. when he first called me, i said to him, mr president, i am honoured, i will think about it because you are the president. i must tell you i love my life since i left the senate. still feel that way. i'm quite happy. we must end there. joe lieberman, thank you very much for being on hardtalk. thank you.
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if the truth be known, thursday will be a hard sell for the latter part ofjune, given that low pressure is still very much the dominant feature. not a cold start to the day, that is positive, 12, 13, 14 degrees across the south. but as i say, even on this big picture here you get a sense that there is an awful lot of wet and windy weather to be had, not just to be found across the northern half of the british isles either. as we slump towards the south—west, a dank start here. not cold, 13, 14 degrees
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but the cloud sits low on the tors and moors in the south—west. hill fog around, further east and it is a good deal drier, still a lot of cloud with a hint of brightness if you are lucky. in the northern part of wales in the north of england, light patchy rain here with hill fog around. the rain beginning there to ramp up and as we come into the heart of scotland, a lot of rain here, especially in the south—east and into the north—east of england. weather warnings about this. a lot of rain here just keeps on coming. it is fed in by this north to north—westerly wind and that will be it for the day. that is the bad news about it. all the while the rain is trying to move a bit further north through the course of the day. so for any heat at all, well, we have to rely on a little sunshine coming through in the south—east. 18, 19 here but underneath the cloud wind and rain further north, up to 1a degrees.
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itjust keeps on coming through the daylight hours. here we are into the evening and the pattern is very much the same. i changed the day and the pattern remains the same. the one crumb of comfort at this stage is that by then we may see 80 millimetres of rain across the high ground in the north—east and the rain will be lighter and patchier across the north and west. down in the south—east, 23, mayjust pop off a couple of heavy showers and the start of the weekend looks to be a bit damp across the south—eastern quarter until that front moves off into the near continent and then we look back towards the atlantic to see the supply of weather for the weekend. once the front is gone, there is a lull in proceedings and a decent day for many on saturday. pushing the weather front into the north—western corner of the british isles during the course of saturday afternoon, that will then transfer a weakening band of weather down towards the south—west and we do it all again. not a bad day following on behind but again, a scattering of showers across the northern and western parts of scotland. so compared to what comes in the next 2a hours or so, the weekend is dry, bright
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and warm for many of us. this is bbc news. our top stories: one of the world's most senior roman catholic cardinals, george pell, has been charged with multiple sexual offences. hong kong police arrest democracy activists, hours before president xi arrives to celebrate twenty years of chinese rule. they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. the germans build their own trees to counter urban pollution. and i'm jamie robertson. reaching for the sky. will rupert murdoch's takeover plans for the pay tv giant be cleared for lift—off, or grounded? plus: ringgit rebellion. they saw off the speculators and the imf, but 20 years on from the asian financial crisis, did malaysia's risky strategy really pay off?
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