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

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president xijinping is on his first official visit to hong kong. the united states urges china to respect freedom and civil liberties there. donald trump's travel ban will take effect shorly time after the supreme court allowed parts of it go ahead. people from six muslim majority countries will be affected. and this story is trending on twitter in india. despite protests against the lynchings, another muslim man has been killed by a mob of people in india on suspicion he was carrying beef in his car. prime minister narendra modi had condemned killings by cow vigilantes just hours earlier. that's all from me now. stay with bbc world news. now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. a generation ago the first president bush declared a new world order which america
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would lead by 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 senator, al gore's vice presidential running mate in 2000. and recently touted as 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— well, we 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 that is appropriate?
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the right thing for america at this time? 0r whether you see dangers in it? i think he has real strengths. he really has to be more disciplined. is 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
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to agree something. right now, the obvious place where that is necessary is on health care. that is not happening. 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 quit the democratic party more than ten years ago. ran against them, won your connecticut seat as an independent. you infuriated so 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? no, oh, no. i strongly voted for hillary clinton. but you are not a democrat. i'm still a 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
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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 a republican. that perspective depends on the size of your ego. what i'm saying is the democratic party rejected may rejected my candidacy for the us senate. one of my consultants 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 i'm capable of running. of course they did, i was lucky enough to get elected. i want to come back to the extent
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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? i was raised to believe if the president of united states calls you 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
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of james comey, he feels that donald trump 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.
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i don't think he has crossed that line. certainly not yet. i agree with a lot of what he has done on 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 recused yourself because you believed there was a conflict—of—interest, because of activities in yourlawfirm. when you and trump discussed the possibility of you becoming his new fbi chief, new fbi chief, did he at any point say, if you take this job you have to go easy on this russia thing, as he calls it. he has always called it fake news. quite the opposite happened.
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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 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, you have to do what the law and the evidence requires you to do. and he added, i did not ask comey to do anything, either. i will say, i don't know president trump very well, i've 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 to believe he was a truth teller, a man you could respect. can you tick both those boxes? i don't think he has gone over the line on either of those. his presidency is a work in progress. the director of the fbi is an important role. you're not kidding. i could not say i would not do it. this is part of the
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problem in washington. i don't like that democrats, my party, have 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 of its 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 and i discussed 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 he has done as president should not stop me considering taking
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on this responsibility. a final thought on that. in the last few days trump has publicly reflected on the friendship between james comey, whom 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. do you 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 said. 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. my own feeling — i don't know comey, i do know bob mueller. he is first rate.
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there is at least as high a 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. but 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 really is — did the president do something
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criminal? probably not. just to protect general flynn from prosecution. my guess is, they will be a lot of sound and fury coming out of capitol hill. in the end bob mueller, the special counsel, has the power to do something or not 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 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
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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 contrary. the only way we can build a movement to take back the white house
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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, or whether this will be two years of screaming at each other. it is a difference between what seems to me at times to be 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, where donald trump actually
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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. because they knew i was not a captive of any political group. really fighting for them, trying to get things done for them. helping them economically. 0ne element you have just said in your attraction to a certain brand of democratic politics was a muscularforeign policy. ultimately you walked out of your party precisely because of your differences with the mainstream of the party on a host of foreign policy issues, most particularly iraq. seems to me, you have not learned the lessons of what america has done in the middle east over the last two decades.
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endless interventions, endless commitment and belief that america could change the rules of the game. sow the seeds of democracy in a host of countries where they do not have a history of democracy. it has failed time and time again. yet you seem to remain a hawkish liberal interventionist. why? because i believe that is the right place for us to be. in the face of the evidence? i don't agree with the evidence as you have stated it. let me say again, i did not walk away from the democrats. the democrat party rejected my candidacy for re—election based on one policy, iraq. classic case of what politics is in america. i knew if i supported the war, that the bush administration made very serious mistakes after the war was won trying to reconstruct iraq. i thought if we withdrew,
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it would be a cataclysm, not only for iraq, but american credibility in the world. a lot depends on american credibility in the world. my record beyond that was a pretty strong pro—democratic party record. let's take another example, leaving iraq. talk about iran. barack 0bama spent years, invested a huge amount of time and effort in pulling together a nuclear deal with the iranians. with of course the international community, the key five plus one. he got it. he got the deal. 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 ona iran. why?
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because iran has not changed. iran, still by our own state department determination, the number—i state—sponsor of 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 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 with the government in iraq.
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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 to crippling sanctions. we don't have much time left.
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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. i don't like breaking
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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. he 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. a final thought, when you talk about his change of policy
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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. 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 not worry, as someone who has wanted america to play a very active role in the world, that 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. see where it goes.
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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 as much as we need them. that is why... 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. june has been a crazy month weatherwise with a number of records set. last week it was hot and humid,
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temperatures to 35 degrees. the highest temperature recorded since 1976 but this week it has been cloudy, cool and wet. we have had record rainfall across parts of eastern scotland. in edinburgh, 178 millimetres of rain has fallen so far injune which makes it the wettestjune on record and, yesterday, for a time roads became rivers. looking at the forecast for today, low pressure still with us and we still have a lot of cloud left over with rain at the start of the day but at least it is mild with temperatures 12 to 14 degrees. we will still have rain left over across parts of western wales south—west england has gusty wind so the rain heavy over the hills for a while. moving eastwards, breaks in the cloud coming in. glimmers of sunshine first thing in the morning.
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the eastern areas of scotland expect hill fog with low cloud. further outbreaks of rain as well but the rain will not be as heavy as it was yesterday. a relatively mild start to the day. temperatures will struggle to rise as much of the day goes by. we still see these northerly winds and the wind will continue to push cloud on to the hills with further bursts of rain. overall the rain comes later as the day goes by. that could be a few isolated showers moving into south—east england but, equally, sunny spells breaking through the cloud. still cool across the north and the west but we do see bright spells across parts of england, temperatures could reach as high as 23 towards south—east england. 0vernight, and a weather front and a band of rain sinks southwards taking rain with it. at the same time, the rain eases across scotland. here the weather becomes a little bit dry overnight. that is because we got a ridge of high—pressure moving in overnight across the north—west of the uk before spreading in across england and wales as we move on into saturday. it means, all in all, for this weekend weather prospects are a little drier and will be brighter. most of us will see spells of sunshine. there could be some rain left
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overfor the night—time across with extreme south—east of england. then comes the sunshine. in the afternoon, thick cloud into scotland and northern ireland with a band of rain pushing in here. winds freshen as well. should stay relatively cool. quite warm across south—east of england with highs to 24. sunday again most of us will have a dry day with sunny spells. a few showers across north—western similar temperatures. that is our weather. this is newsday on the bbc. i'm rico hizon in singapore. the headlines: the united states urges china to respect freedom and civil liberties in hong kong, as president xi continues his symbolic visit to mark 20 years of reunification. donald trump's travel ban comes into force after a supreme court ruling partially allows travel restrictions from six mainly muslim muslim countries. i'm babita sharma in london. also in the programme: hoping to defuse tensions with north korea, south korea's president moon arrives at the white house for talks with president trump.
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and we have the findings of a major new study, into the effects of pesticides on bees.
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