with a massive military response. he was speaking after briefing president trump following north korea's latest nuclear test. south korea has responded by carrying out its own military exercise. a bbc investigation has found that so—called islamic state was secretly directing would—be extremists to murder people at both london bridge and westminster nearly a year before each attack. the government says it is trying to suffocate is's ability to recruit people in the uk. the most devastating floods to hit south asia in a decade have killed more than 1,400 people and focused attention on lack of preparedness for annual monsoon rains. in many areas, the authorities are struggling to get aid to millions of destitute people. now on bbc news, hardtalk. welcome to a special edition of hardtalk, from lake como in italy,
the venue for the annual ambrosetti forum on international affairs. and one topic dominates discussion here — the impact of the trump presidency on the united states and the world. my guest is the us republican senator lindsey graham — himself once a candidate for the white house and now a consistent thorn in the side of president trump. so what does donald trump mean for traditional notions of american leadership? senator lindsey graham, welcome to hardtalk. thank you very much. you are at this significant gathering of international politicians.
you have a chance to take the temperature, the mood, when it comes to international perceptions of president trump today. how would you characterise them? i think there's a lot of anxiety in europe about president trump. i don't think that affects him much at home. there was a lot of anxiety about president reagan, a lot of adulation for president trump. so i'm not so sure that's going to affect domestic politics much. but people are uncertain, people are unsure. who is this guy, what does he think, where is he taking the world? and i can understand that anxiety. but anxious for all sorts of reasons, not least the very significant figures in the united states, like the former director of national intelligence, james clapper, who have said they have very grave doubts about trump's fitness for office. he talked about trump's words being scary and disturbing. well, i'm not worried about — he's entitled to his opinion. look at the people around president trump. i have not seen a better national security team in my political lifetime. general mattis is an excellent
secretary of defence, general kelly, the chief of staff, general mcmaster, dan coats, the director of national intelligence. so he has surrounded himself with very quality people who have a traditional view of the world, from a republican point of view, and i think we're going to be fine. well, it surprises me you say that, in a way, because if one looks at your own thoughts about donald trump, you have, over time, expressed your own grave reservations about his... every day! ..abilities as commander—in—chief? during the campaign, i thought some of the things he was saying, i thought were incendiary and unhelpful but now he is commander—in—chief and i would say this. the muslim ban was a shaky start. the courts rejected his efforts to restrict people coming into america because it appeared to be a ban on a religion and you can't do that in the united states. his decision in afghanistan was a very good decision, well thought out, and basically, completely different than what he campaigned on.
well, we will get to that, because i do want to talk national security issues with you, and us foreign policy. but first, i want to dig away at some of the most controversial elements of the trump presidency. and there is no doubt that his response to the violence in cha rlottesville, and that show of strength, to many people a extremely disturbing show of strength, by neo—nazis and white supremacists in virginia. donald trump's reaction to that and the violence that we saw was to talk about blame on many sides. yeah. you condemned that. yeah, i mean, it was an opportunity missed. he should have come down hard on neo—nazis and white supremacists. you know, the left has a violent element to it but it was a moment for him to basically reset some of the things he said in the campaign. but isn't that the point, that he, right now, looks like a president who is polarising the united states in a way that we have not seen before? i would say the country's been polarised for quite a while, just like your country.
brexit is the result of disenchantment with globalisation. there would be no donald trump if obama had brought us together. so the bottom line is, there is a divide. but here's the good news — every corner of the political spectrum pushed back against president trump's statements. it is incumbent upon me and others to respect his victory, but also to push back when we have to. well, i find that interesting, the way you couch that. but let's be honest. at one point, you called him a jackass. more recently you've said, i like the guy, and he has a unique personality. so let's cut to the chase here. john mccain, your good friend, says it is time for republicans on capitol hill to stand up to donald trump. "we are not his subordinates," mccain says. so are you now prepared to stand up to donald trump? absolutely, i mean, when i think he's wrong. john mccain and i came out very hard against the first travel ban, because i thought it was basically a ban on a person's religion. the russian sanctions, i authored the russian sanctions.
i was the primary author of the sanctions against putin's russia, and trump didn't like but we did, but we got 98—2. so i think he's bizarre when it comes to russia, quite frankly. bizarre? yeah, bizarre feelings about putin. i can't understand it, given what putin has done. but at the end of the day, congress has charted its own path on foreign policy. so the most important relationship that the united states has in the world, that is with the other key nuclear power, russia, you are saying you believe the commander—in—chief‘s behaviour and policy is bizarre? it's not about his behaviour and policy, as much as, why doesn't he see putin like we do? i mean, most of us, republicans and democrats, believe that putin did interfere in our election. he's trying to destabilise democracy all over the world, and i hope that president trump seems to be getting the message. he's kicked russian diplomats out of consulates in california. he's beginning to understand that putin's not his friend. but i don't blame president trump
for trying to have a good relationship with adversaries, but it's clear to me that he was trying to excuse behaviour — putin's behaviour, in a way that i felt uncomfortable with. well, we'll come back to russia later. butjust sticking with domestic policy for a little bit longer, if you say, "yes, like my friend mccain, i am going to stand up to trump," it seems to me that us politics is heading for a car crash very quickly. because donald trump has said, for a start, "i am going to build that wall with mexico, and the congress is going to pay for it, and unless they get quick about paying for it now, i'm going to basically shut down the government." well, i think he said — a couple of days ago, he took that back. we're not going to build a 2,200—mile wall. a 2,200—mile wall not necessary. it would stop the flow of commerce, you would have to take people's property away from them. there are parts of the border that you don't need a wall, other parts you do.
so we are going to secure the border but nobody believes we are going to have a 2,200—mile wall. we're not. and nobody believes mexico is going to pay for it, because they won't. it is notjust about the wall, though. trump is at loggerheads with congress about raising the debt ceiling, it looks like there might be a big argument about the budget, he is at war with the republican head of the senate, mitch mcconnell, he is pretty much at war with the republican leader in the house, paul ryan — wherever you look, donald trump is treating your party, which is in the majority on capitol hill, with contempt. i think that's probably why he won — he shows contempt for the system. mitch mcconnell, paul ryan, lindsey graham, john mccain, in the eyes of many, are the system. and you suck it up? not suck it up, i understand it. again, i'm not going to vote for a 2,200—mile wall that makes no sense. are we heading potentially for a shut down of government? i think we're headed for what we have been having for years in congress, the ability to govern is very much lost. here's what i think will happen. he should be upset with
the republican congress. didn't we promise for seven years to repeal and replace obamacare? now we're in charge, the president says, "where's the bill to repeal and replace obamacare?" i just went all over south carolina and people are saying, "we put you there for a reason. you got the senate, you got the white house, are you telling me that after seven years of "we're going to repeal and replace obamacare", you can't get it done?" guess what? people should be mad at us. if i may say so... what a terrible indictment of all of you, the president, you in the senate, the republicans in the house, as well. yeah. you control, as a party, all of the key institutions, and you are telling me that you can't see any change, that gridlock is still the order of the day. no, i think we will have some breakthroughs. the republicans ran on a platform of repealing and replacing obamaca re, cutting taxes, rebuilding the military, very specific things. if we don't deliver, we're going to lose. so our fates are tied together. you're trying to say, well, will you stand up to trump? what he may not understand
is, as i go, he goes. if we jointly do not repeal and replace obamacare, if we can't have a tax cut, then he's going to lose, and we're all going to lose. let's move onto other matters. you have made it quite plain that you have no doubt that russia meddled, interfered in the presidential campaign? zero doubt. so donald trump is still telling the american people that it is fake news, it is a hoax, it is something being manipulated by the mainstream media. so here's the thing. why do you think donald trump still insists there is no story here? ijust think he believes it undercuts his victory. that if you say that russia was involved, somehow it affects his legitimacy. the question is, did he and his team receive help from the russians? collusion? yeah, collusions. i don't know the answer to that, but we will find out. and you are determined to find out? absolutely, because we are a rule of law nation. and you sit on the senate judiciary committee? i sit on the senatejudiciary
committee, i'm chairman of the subcommittee overseeing this. i will go wherever the facts take us. you appear to believe there is or has been a serious danger of the trump administration seeking to fire robert mueller, the special counsel. i don't know what trump was thinking. i know some press reports were unnerving. there's no reason to fire mueller. if you can find one, let me know. but we introduced legislation to make sure that he can't be fired withoutjudicial review. that, in a sense, is what i'm pointing to — you would not have introduced that legislation unless you, lindsey graham, feared there was a serious possibility that this white house was going to try to remove the special counsel which appears to be ramping up the investigation into this allegation of collusion? you have no faith in your president on this? it's not that i don't have faith in him, it's about whether or not people have faith in the system. i don't like the fact that russia interfered in our elections. i have no evidence of collusion yet between trump and the russians and if there's some to come about,
it will come about. well, you don't know any more than i do about what robert mueller is finding, because he hasn't told us. but i think it is fair to say... myjob is to make sure he can look and not worry. exactly, and is it not fair to say that, given they have empanelled the grand jury, we understand now that he's working with prosecutors in new york as well, he is ramping up this investigation. it seems to be that he's ramping it up and he's taking it serious and it will go where it goes. and i have no idea where this thing is going to go. i do know this — it is important that he be able to do his job without any political interference, and most republicans are behind me in that regard. do you see this as the most ethically challenged administration that you have seen, in your political lifetime? i can't tell you i haven't seen a higher crime or misdemeanour committed by the president. the people around him are some of the best people in the world. about business dealings, there's some things with the trump
family i think mueller may look at. but all i'll say about the president, when you look at the people he's picked to run this government, pretty damn good. you have talked about your confidence in the national security team. does it sit easily with you that his daughter and his son—in—law are key players in the inner, inner, inner circle in the white house? yeah, it does, because i've met them both and i like them and they have a more traditional, centrist view of political issues. how about this? jennifer rubin, a writer in the washington post, she recently wrote this — "trump continues to receive money through his businesses from foreign governments, be they in the form of bookings into his hotel or benefits derived from expedited trademarks," and this, she writes, "is the essence of financial corruption. " yeah, what i would say is that mueller will look at whatever he needs to look at. i think the ethics folks are looking at the trump hotel deal. does that sit easily with you?
well, i don't know what she's talking about. i don't know what allegations she is making. well, what we know is donald trump has not divested of his key assets, including hotels, including a hotel in washington where world leaders tend to stay when they are coming to visit the administration. right, i don't think he gets any personal financial benefit. i don't know. to me, that is something we have a system to look at. right, well, one could say that was an overlap of domestic and foreign affairs, given the russian involvement. let's now get to straight out foreign affairs. let's start with north korea. how close are we to seeing a war on the korean peninsula? that's a good question. let's look at it this way. that's a really good question and i worry about this a lot. how close are we? here's what i think you need to understand. the president's made a decision that's fundamentally different than in the past. every president before him has tried sanctions, cajoling. we sent dennis rodman over, i can't believe that didn't work! you know, madeleine albright danced with the guy's dad. we're tough, we're nice, we're tough, we're nice,
and they get more bombs and bigger missiles. i think trump has made a decision that i'm not going to let this programme mature to the point that they can have a missile to hit america with, a missile with a nuclear weapon on top. so he says that he would use military force to prevent the marriage of those two concepts. you make it sound as though there is something clear, coherent, easily understandable about the administration's korea policy. but what we saw in recent days was a trump tweet saying outright that talking is not the answer to this problem. followed, within hours, with the man that you say you respect so highly, the defence secretary, james mattis, saying, we are never out of diplomatic solutions. so which is it? i think it is what ijust said. we haven't reached the end of the diplomatic road. i don't even think we're reasonably close. but the road of diplomacy has to be married up with the road of missile development. so here's what i'm trying to tell you. you asked me how close are we? i don't know how close
they are to perfecting the technology that would put america in the crosshairs of kim jong—un. so, when does the diplomatic road end? when that marriage is on the brink of happening. but lindsey graham's view is that, yes, in the end, there is on the table the possibility of an american first military strike against north korea? absolutely. as a matter of fact, i think if something doesn't change, it is inevitable. because they seem to be hell—bent on developing technology in defiance of what president trump said he would allow to happen. the thing is, you know that however it works, hundreds of thousands of civilians are going to, in all likelihood, die as a result of that american strike. so here is what i'm trying to say. do you not...
it seems like you don't care that much? because they're not going to die in america? you know what i'm going to quote. you said not so long ago that if there is going to be a war to stop him, kimjong—un, it will be over there. if thousands die, they're going to die over there, they're not going to die here. the president has told that to my face. you and the president don't care that much? i think that is pretty unfair. if you left it up to me, i wouldn't be at war with anybody. i have got a real problem with a man who threatens my country with a nuclear weapon attack. i have got a real problem with that. i have got a problem with what he does to his own people. but i am not trying to change the regime. i'm not trying to unify the peninsula. neither is the president. we're not out for regime change, we're not out to reunify the peninsula. we're out to stop a threat to the american homeland that is unacceptable. but you can imagine a first strike war, a us first strike war in which hundreds of thousands of korean civilians on both sides of the border die and it would be in america's interests? it would be my last resort,
but please understand what i am saying. i care a lot about anybody dying anywhere. but the duty of the american president is to protect america. and our allies. we have troops in korea there to defend korea and to defend our interest. i am 100% certain that if kim jong—un continues to develop missile technology that can hit america, if diplomacy fails to stop him, there will be an attack by the united states against his weapon systems. i am assuming the worst, i am assuming we drop one bomb and he fires at south korea and maybe japan. let me tell you how the war ends. it ends with his utter destruction. thousands of people could be killed or maimed. there is a lot at stake here. and let me ask you, why would the world, given his track record, the north korean leader, allow him to get a hydrogen bomb with a missile to deliver it anywhere in the world? why would we do that? before we end, a quick tour of other key foreign policy issues. that's a pretty good one there!
that's important and that's why we have spent some time on it, but on other issues, whether it be trump's policy on nato, where he talked about obsolescence but he doesn't do that any more. whether it be on russia, where trump clearly wanted to warm up relations with putin but congress imposed new sanctions and trump very reluctantly had to sign the bill. one can look across the piece and see that donald trump's instincts in many foreign policy areas are running up against, one could put it, the pragmatic establishment in washington, dc. is trump losing? i think reality is taking over. when you are a candidate you can say anything, like i'm going to build a wall and mexico will pay for it. when you're the president in a democratic society, it's not so easy to do. when you're a candidate, it's the longest war in history, i'm going to pull out of afghanistan. and then the generals tell you what will happen
if you do pull out. so the reason you should be somewhat optimistic about president trump is he has shown the ability to adjust policy. he took the campaign rhetoric against afghanistan and he ran hard against getting out and i hit him hard. and now he has adjusted his policies in a reasonable way. i think he has taken the right position on north korea. when steve bannon, the noted "american nationalist", who was behind many of the policy positions during the campaign that you have just outlined, when he left the white house a short time ago, did you dance a littlejig of delight? i didn't dance a jig of delight but i think his view of the world is very dangerous and let me tell you about his views, it's a false sense of security. leave them alone, they'll leave you alone. america first. remember that statement from the ‘20s and ‘30s? europe — that's your war. we are not going to be drawn into european wars. as hitler marches through europe and this little island called
britain is the last line of defence, the day before pearl harbor the polling in america was 70% stay out. so this whole isolationist, america first, leave the world alone, i reject that completely. yes, but senator graham, going back to the beginning of our conversation, the problem you've got is that many europeans believe that is what they see in america today. you saw angela merkel a few months ago after a g7 meeting say to her people and to europe, we cannot any more rely on traditional partners. it was clear she meant the united states and perhaps britain as well. and she said, we have to accept our fate in europe is in our hands. a clear indication there is a bigger rift than we have seen for a very long time between merkel, the rest of continental europe and the united states. and if it grows it could be dangerous. trump's inaugural speech came out of the ‘30s. it was very dark. it scared me, quite frankly. his speech in poland about how we're all in it together,
we have to defend our values against those who would destroy them, the benefits of nato. of all the organisations in the history of man, nato has stood the test of time, i am an internationalist, i hope the american union survives, i hope we can get more contributions... i think what trump is trying to do is say, you know, to our european allies, you're not carrying your fair share when it comes to defence spending, and they're not. that's different than saying the alliance has not been official. a final thought for you, it goes back to a couple of things we have talked about. this unfolding investigation into the russian meddling in the election and potential alleged collusion involving the trump campaign. that could be enormously damaging and serious for the president himself. the other reality is that his relationship with some of the key players in your own party on capitol hill is pretty poisonous. those two things combined have led people to debate whether this president is going to see through his four—year term. do you think he will? yeah.
i don't know what the investigation holds. i have seen nothing to the higher crime or misdemeanour yet. we'll see what happens. here's what i would tell my european friends. a judge, with the stroke of a pen, shut down the travel ban. and that held. congress, over the president's objections, said we're going to punish russia for interfering in our elections. and we did. there will be times when we work with him, there will be times when we say, mr president, what you said about charlottesville was fundamentally wrong. that's just the way the game is going to be and it has been that way for quite a long time in america. i want to leave you with a sense of optimism. the president has adjusted policies when it made sense, the people around him are the best i have seen on the national security front. they have a view of the world that i think is healthy
for the president to hear. mr bannon‘s view is shared by many americans. ijust think, in the end, america is destined to lead the world. when we're not around, things usually go bad. now, here's the goal. for me to understand what got him elected and for him to understand my concerns about his agenda. one example. he cut the state department's budget by 29% and increased the military dramatically. i told him, mr president, there is no more hawkish guy on capitol hill than lindsey graham. i'm glad you increase the military budget but if you take diplomacy and developmental aid and foreign assistance off the table, soft power. we can't defend america through military might alone. we have to build up the lives of others to beat the terrorists, not just kill terrorists. and that's the conflict i have with him.
does he understand the limits of military power? does he understand the value of soft power? the power of building up people's economies. a schoolhouse for a poor young girl would do more damage to the taliban than any bomb you can drop on their head. we have to end there. senator lindsay graham, thank you for being on hardtalk. thank you very much. hello. after a weekend of two halves, this week's weather takes us on a bit of a journey but things are a bit quieter for a time mid—week, as i'll show you in a moment. i will start with a couple of images from sunday's weather. after all that saturday sunshine, grey skies, some rain around. the further east you are, you did not get that rain until quite late on and the weather system that brought it is starting to fizzle out but we are left, as monday begins,
with plenty of cloud. it's low cloud, it's misty, murky, some coast and hill fog around. still damp and drizzly in places as well. and it is quite warm, quite humid air that's across us. look these temperatures for 8 o'clock in the morning. some around 16—17 celsius. not as breezy as it has been into england and wales. again the chance of seeing a bit light rain, more especially in parts of northern england and scotland. mainly dry start in northern ireland but this band of wet weather is going to move in and will also push across scotland during the day. still quite windy for some of us here, especially the further north you are. northern isles with a risk of gales, into shetland. on through the day. after all that cloud to begin with, we start to brighten things up a little bit in england and wales, especially east wales and through northern, central, southern and eastern england. if you get some sunny spells for any period of time, it could be quite warm. 23—24 celsius, could well be yours, maybe the chance a shower. we'll move a band of rain through northern ireland. outbreaks of rain through scotland but the further west you are, especially late afternoon gonig into the evening,
it could well be brightening up once again. the rain is not done with us though. on monday night it looks like it will pep up again through this zone here, back into parts of northern ireland, maybe scotland, northern england and wales before going into tuesday this energy will run out eastwards into the north sea. we are left on tuesday with this weatherfront still heading south—east, just not as much rain associated with it. a cold front, the leading edge of cooler, fresher air so there is a change to the feel of the weather coming our way by the end of tuesday from the north—west. so a band of rain pushing south eastwards across england on tuesday, behind that one or two showers following, but actually, as you can see, sunnier weather, cooler, fresher feeling weather but at least we have the sunshine as temperatures come down a few degrees. and then we embark on that somewhat quieter spell of weather for a couple of days. wednesday just a few showers in the west, variable cloud and sunshine. many of us dry on thursday but it looks we will see another weather system bearing down on parts of scotland and northern ireland as we go on through thursday. so this week's weather then, a humid, quite warm start for some
of us, if you see some sunshine, but then turning cooler and fresher, with sunny spells and showers for a few days. but by the end of the week, thursday night into friday, it looks like it will be turning wet and windy for a time. this is bbc news. i'm samantha simmonds. our top stories — the us issues a blunt warning to north korea after its latest and most powerful nuclear test. any threat to the united states or its territories, including guam, or our allies, will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming. a masterclass from angela merkel. the german chancellor dominates a tv showdown with her main electoral rival, martin schulz. a bbc investigation finds recruiters from so—called islamic state were trying to direct would—be attackers a year before westminster and london bridge. and i'm sally bundock.