britain's prime minister has begun discussions with opposition parties to find a way forward on brexit. theresa may survived a vote of no confidence on wednesday, just a day after the brexit agreement she negotiated with the european union was decisively rejected by mps on all sides. another 28 people injured claimed,,,tesno,nsihility, , ,, , including two servicemen:th you're up to date with the headlines. now on bbc news, it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk,
i'm stephen sackur. if the normal political rules applied to donald trump, he would be holed up in the white house in a state of despair. he's at war with democrats in congress, the federal government is partially shut down, is the trump presidency making america great, or greatly diminished? mica mosbacher in washington, dc,
a very warm welcome to hardtalk. good morning. you have been a long time and a loyal supporter of president trump, but would you accept that his presidency has now entered a very dangerous phase, given that the democrats now control the house of representatives and are using their new power? i wouldn't call it dangerous. i think that we expected to have this issue with the hardline democrats, especially with the leadership, and nancy pelosi and chuck schumer have obviously dug in, and in this hyper charged
environment, i would say that passing bipartisan legislation, including border security, will be as tough as putting socks on a rooster. however, trump will not back down, his base is sticking with him, and after all, i think we're beginning to see some cracks in the democratic party. there were 15 democrats, including ten freshmen, that did not support nancy pelosi for speaker. additionally, the hypocrisy is very rich. president obama said in 2014 that we had a humanitarian crisis at the border and it was time to drop politics. all right, well, we can talk border security and the strength of the case that donald trump has made for the need for the wall in a minute, but let's start by talking political process because, in essence, what donald trump is doing right now is an act of outrageous political vanity, isn't it? he's holding the us government, the federal machine, hostage. he's blackmailing the nation,
saying unless you give me what i want on this wall, i am going to ensure the government can't function. it's blackmail. no, it's not. first of all, the dems also own this shutdown, because president trump is willing to negotiate a deal, and that could include a pathway for the 1.8 million dreamers in the united states, and that's something that the democrats have wanted for some time, so there could be a win—win on both sides and both sides could save face. the problem is, is that the leadership won't come to the table, they won't bring up an alternate proposal, they have walked away like childish children... i'm sorry but, but... so i think again that both sides have a part in this... but the vice president mike pence put it as baldly as anybody, he basically said there's no wall, there's no deal, and that, frankly, in the new regime in washington, with a democratic controlled house, isjust a recipe
for continued gridlock, and the reality is that 800,000 federal workers do not get paid... yes. key government functions, including airport security, fbi, prison guards, these sorts of people are not getting paid. this is an outrageous, irresponsible way to run the government as president, and donald trump, according to the american public‘s opinion polling evidence, is not getting away with it. well, i always look at polling with — and don't believe necessarily all the polls. i did see the abc wapo poll, but actually, the numbers are beginning to drift more and more in favour of president trump. now, let's go back and look at the fact that we have freshmen dems who, some have already said, such as congressman hill out of california, that they are willing to support some sort of barricade at the border. i think the democrats will feel the heat as well, especially from unions. i feel for the federal workers because they do live pay cheque
to pay cheque, and this is an issue. yeah, sure it is. it's even more reason for the democrats to come to the table. now i want to bring up newt gingrich because i think that you might have been — i don't know if you were in washington then, but there was a government shutdown in 1995 when newt gingrich was speaker. i remember. and he said it was very... remember? it was very painful at the time, but out of it came some of the best legislation, including a comprehensive welfare plan. he feels, as i do, that there are some democrats who realise that this could hurt them going forward in their re—elections in 2020. well, maybe. maybe you're right, but maybe there are lots of reasons why republicans might worry and maybe people like you, who've been staunch supporters of trump, might worry too, not least donald trump, again, is telling untruths. he said the other day, he — this is a quote from him, "when i said mexico would pay for the wall in front of thousands of people, obviously i never meant
mexico would write a cheque." that's what he said the other day. the truth is during the 2016 campaign, when you were a loyal supporter of his, he specifically outlined, and i'm going to quote now, he outlined how he planned to, quote, "compel mexico to make a one—time payment of $5—10 billion", so president trump is lying to the american people, he's now putting a bill before the american people for over $5 billion, which he promised as a candidate would be paid by the mexican government direct. so, of course, donald trump is being blamed by the us public. well, being blamed by which public?, i would argue. his base is sticking to him, according to our internal polling. remember, our campaign has been up and running since january 2017, which is kind of unprecedented for an incoming president. but, in regard to mexico paying for the wall, i'm not so sure people really took that literally. if you look at quotes in president trump's book, art of the deal, he said "people want to believe something that is biggest and greatest",
and i call it truthful hyperbole... yeah, but mica... so he uses exaggeration like a salesman. i don't think that that is what people are really concerned about. what they reacted to was his strength and the fact that he said he would build a wall... well, you're dangerously... you're dangerously... i believe that that wall would be built. well, you're dangerously close to suggesting that the truth doesn't really matter. surely, it really does matter a great deal, particularly in this issue. donald trump, again, to move on from the costing of the wall, donald trump said i have the right to declare a national emergency and he went on prime—time tv to tell the american people there was a security crisis, a national emergency. the truth is there is no national emergency, the dea, the drug enforcement agency, confirms that the vast majority of drugs entering the us from mexico come through official border crossings, they do not come from illegals crossing any sort
of border illegally. if you look again at the evidence of terrorist groups, which donald trump says are sending operatives, again, illegally into the us from mexico, there is not one known case of a terrorist entering us territory from mexico. these are more donald trump untruths. no, i mean we could spend all day long if you want to go down the rabbit hole of how many politicians flip—flop, so i think that that is politics as usual. however, i am from texas and i completely disagree. this is a national border, national security crisis, as well as an humanitarian crisis. yes, people in 2016 — yes, there were slightly fewer crossings, but it spiked again at the end of 2018, and what we've seen are 60,000 people coming across the border a month. these are cb — border patrol
statistics, not white house statistics. with respect, the numbers... now, what... wait, wait... the numbers, the numbers... 60,000. they're not even half what they were in the late 90s and early 2000s, so how can you... but what has changed, stephen, what has changed, stephen, is the composite of the illegal immigrants coming across. first of all, it used to be individual males. now they are families, including unaccompanied children, and many make the perilous journey from el salvador, for example, and honduras, and some, i don't know how many, but some are subjected to sexual assault and really terrible conditions, they're made promises from the coyotes — is what we call the human smugglers coming into the united states. and what it has done is it's strained our detention centres, it's strained our medical supply services. we need more personnel across the border, and customs
and border patrol agents, including mark morgan, who was custom border patrol chief under 0bama, stated that a wall works. in texas alone, we have the rio grande border, that is across the us, mexico—texas border. it's a shallow river. idon‘t, i... there are no barricades, so where those people are coming across is where there are no barricades. where there are barricades, in el paso and yuma, arizona, 90% of the traffic has been stopped. if we build a wall, it's a one—time expense... mica, mica. if i may interrupt forjust a second, i don't know whether you supported the way in which the trump administration enforced the policy whereby more than 2500 children were separated from their parents, a policy which in the end was challenged successfully in the courts. i don't know whether you want to go back to that, but i'm telling you a lot of republican donors, and you work closely with republican
donors, are very unhappy about the long—term consequences of what donald trump is doing in terms of the wall, the shutdown, and everything else. i'm going to quote you one, dan eberhardt, a big donor, supportive of trump in the past, he said "weaponising a so—called national emergency to achieve a policy objective is usually something that happens in banana republics, not in george washington's republic." you have got a problem here. well, that's one donor out of many. you know, the rnc raised over $260 million last election cycle. that's a record. i look at money coming in and i look is supporting him. yes, there are dissenters, and i will say something about the families being separated from children, ifound that extraordinarily distressing and certainly very disturbing, and so i haven't always agreed with everything in the trump administration. i'n a volunteer, by the way,
i'm not paid by the campaign, so i am very much an independent thinker. but i do feel that president trump has the right instincts, especially since i'm from texas and i've experienced it first hand, the drug cartel situations, drug cartels like sinaloa controlling certain states of mexico. yes, the drugs are coming in from the port of entry, but i visited with jamie hunt, who's the former dea chief out of new york city, and he said that these drugs are coming in on tractor trailers. they have very smart criminals, who are putting in false walls. the drug sniffing dogs can't... all right, we... may i finish? the drug sniffing dogs can't even sniff the drugs. so if we can have a wall, one—time expense, we can reallocate the money to come up with better detection systems,
more sensors, drones that can thwart the drones that are flying low, that are coming in by bad actors. we have a lot of work to do. the wall is not an end all be all, but it's an important first step. i want to move on from the wall and the shutdown, because there's lots else that represents huge challenges for you guys and the trump administration. before we finish, just one last question, in brief, please. whit r: ”die way an} a, ﬁr: a donald trump has suggested he could live with a shutdown for months, if not a year or more. the way out is fer—- not to recess, not to go to puerto rico on a lobbying trip, do yourjob, sit down and find bipartisan legislation. both sides need to give in a bit. hg willygs g lastrgsgftg'h
something i don't totally support. and i think that we need a legislative solution, and that's up to congress, especially those facing the election in 2020. all donald trump's problems are legion, and perhaps most pressing for him inside the white house, when he's with his closest advisers and legal counsel, is the sense in which the mueller investigation is now closing in on him, his closest associates, and the white house. how did you react when you learned from the newspapers this last week that the fbi had launched an investigation into whether trump wittingly or unwittingly had acted as an agent of russia in 2017? i thought it was outrageous, and kenneth starr, prosecutor for whitewater, said yesterday that it was amazing, and that there should be an investigation into who leaked that, from the d0] or the fbi. the fact that they are calling
president trump a russian agent is preposterous. secondly, we do have a small group in leadership that has been discredited in the fbi, comey was fired, that was the president's constitutional right. we have andrew mccabe, who lied to congress three times... yeah, hang on, on the subject of comey, do you think it's acceptable for donald trump to calljames comey, with his distinguished record and career, "a dirty cop"? well, he certainly did not show best practices... he was... ..when he was fbi director. he was a director of the fbi, he had served the fbi loyally for years, he had served different presidents in differentjobs, always with outstanding success, and donald trump dismisses him as a "dirty bad cop." andrew card had problems with comey way back during bush a3. comey has shown in the past almost a willingness to be above best practices. the fact that he went to the press,
exonerated hillary clinton, after interviewing her, or having that interview during july fourth weekend. a few days later there was the announcement that she had been exonerated without a full investigation. the fact that comey leaked through a professor at columbia to the press is again not something that is normally acceptable within the fbi. yeah, but the point is... so i would say that he does have... the president had some issues with him. he lost faith in him and confidence in him. and it was his right to fire him. the president has his opinions. we all know he can be extremely abrasive at times, and a counter—puncher, and what you see is what you get with president trump. well, i just wonder what current law enforcement agents of all levels feel about donald trump railing against dirty cops,
but in the meantime you suggest to me that, in the end, what is going on with the mueller investigation is pre—judgement, and of course donald trump repeatedly calls it a hoax. exactly. the fact is at least 33 people, three different companies, have been charged already as a result of the special counsel investigation, and very soon now it seems we are going to get his report. how nervous are you? you're involved in donald trump 2020, trying to persuade the american public to give this guy as second term, and yet the net is closing in on him. i don't think so. they have not proved collusion in two years, and after spending $35 million. now, william barr's confirmation hearing is going on today. and william barr has indicated that he feels that mueller should do hisjob without being interfered with. mueller is a professional. i do respect him. so, let him do hisjob. i feel that there will be absolutely no proof of collusion at the end of this investigation.
and the other... those russians, for example, that were indicted, those that had to do with the internet research agency, the troll farm, some of the oligarchs indicted, well, that is somewhat outside of the bounds of the original intent and appointment of the special prosecutor, but i will say one thing, that americans to understand, it has been acknowledged by the trump administration, is russia did attempt to interfere in the election, there is absolutely no question, but that doesn't mean that there was collusion or a crime committed by the campaign. strange, isn't it, that there has not been one time where donald trump has directly — directly — criticised, condemned, taken on vladimir putin. he has called the eu a "foe," he suggested, according to the new york times‘ latest investigative reporting, that he wants the united states to leave nato, and yet he has never directed his fire directly
at vladimir putin. do you ever wonder why? no. i mean, he's entitled to his opinion. he has to work with these world leaders, but no—one has been tougher on russia than president trump. he expelled 60 diplomats, russian diplomats, from the united states. he has very tough sanctions, including those put on russia by the treasury department in the end of 2018. he's certainly shown that he's been tough. so, i say, look at his actions. a lot of this is just his negotiating style. many of the administration policies that have hurt russia appear to have been driven by people not donald trump, for example james mattis, who of course has since quit the administration, with the president. so, i come back to this point,
never, ever has donald trump directed his personal criticism at vladimir putin, and i just wonder if you ever ask yourself why. no, i think he has to get along with world leaders, especially superpowers. but i do feel that, again, look at his actions, not what he says. he also sanctioned russia after they used a nerve agent on a russian agent in great britain. so, again, look at his actions. that speaks volumes. let's just end by talking about the republican party. it's very dear to you. you and your late husband have worked one way or another for the republican party for many years. your late husband was commerce secretary serving george hw bush. we know george hw bush had no time at all for donald trump. we know his son george w bush thought donald trump wasn't qualified, didn't have the character to be president, and we know that other senior republicans think that people, frankly,
like you, are making a grave mistake, tidying yourself and the party to donald trump. i'lljust quote one former speakerjohn boehner, says, "right now, there is no republican party, there is a trump party, and the republican party seems to be kind of taking a nap somewhere." 0h, stephen, you know, i went through a lot of soul—searching when i looked at the field of contenders for 2016. and i had started as a volunteer with president bush a1, so i had loyalty there. but i had begun to do some self—examination. i was a member of the so—called establishment. and i realised an establishment candidate couldn't win. there was anger, collective anger, that was boiling beneath the surface of this country, and there were individuals that were tired of the establishment and politics as usual. and i began to look at who i thought could win. and i narrowed the field down to ted cruz, who was my senator from texas, who i'd known for quite a while, and also donald trump.
i felt that those two individuals were disruptors, they were not part of politics as usual, and i felt that to gain power again in the republican party that we needed someone new and unorthodox, and we certainly got that with president trump. to quote another public servant who served a republican president, george w bush, eliot cohen, he said, "it is clear that under donald trump the united states is ,, he says that, "those forces around the world that are reshaping alliances, reconfiguring networks, they are bypassing the united states and diminishing its standing." you reap what you sow, and you're now reaping what you sowed with your support for donald trump. yes, and i'm proud of it. you don't feel that this idea he's making america great again is,
frankly, the greatest untruth of all? no, he is making america great again. look at his accomplishments, a roaring economy. remember, so many presidents or presidential candidates have lost. it's the economy, stupid. he's rolled back hundreds of regulations, job—killing regulations. we had a jobs report in december, 325k jobs. we have two supreme courtjustices now that are conservatives. we have put the embassy back injerusalem. his accomplishments, i could go on and on and on, and, at the end of the day, americans care about feeding theirfamilies, and that is putting america first. so, while there are some never—trumpers in the party, i understand that, and they're very dissenting voices, at the end of the day, the base is sticking with him, and i predict that he will prevail in 2020. mica mosbacher, we'll talk to you before then, i hope.
thank you very much for being on hardtalk. hello. 0ur weather is taking on an increasingly wintry flavour through the coming days. we're moving into arctic air. the isobars are lining up from north to south, following this weather front south. it will clear southern counties of the uk through the day today. today's certainly a cold day for all of us. should be some decent sunshine around, but there will also be some wintry showers. a frosty start pretty much across the board, with a risk of ice, especially across the northern half of the uk.
here's the weather front first thing. it will push its way into east anglia and the south—east during the morning rush hour. further north, clearer skies. remember that ice, but also the additional complication of some snow showers pushing into scotland, some pushing into eastern coastal counties of england too. snow possible to sea level in scotland, a couple of centimetres particularly for eastern coastal counties through the afternoon. they'll tend to thin out across scotland. a cold afternoon, even in the sunshine. and then, through the evening and overnight into friday, a widespread frost will develop. thursday night likely to be our coldest night of the week. you may have noticed, though, towards the west there was a frontal system trying to approach. now, obviously a frontal system
bumping into cold air has the potential to turn wintry. that little bit of cloud mayjust bolster the temperatures briefly for the likes of plymouth and belfast. but as the system pushes into the cold air, for northern ireland, we could see a difficult mixture of rain, sleet and snow during the early part of friday. the weather system looks like it will perhaps bring some more significant snow for scotland for a time. further south, i think it will be perhaps snow initially, particularly across the hills and the mountains, but turning increasingly back to rain as the system pushes in, because we are bringing in a slightly southerly air stream, so some slightly milder air. but there is a lot of uncertainty in this element of the forecast, and if you are travelling on friday, it will be worth getting your latest update. 0n into the weekend, our story remains chilly, the temperatures perhaps coming up a couple of degrees on the figures we'll see through the end of the week. but i think there'll be a lot of cloud around on saturday. maybe some sunny spells on sunday, but overall, the story for the coming days will definitely
be a rather wintry one. this is the briefing. i'm sally bundock. our top stories: trying to find a way forward on brexit — theresa may prepares to meet more of her critics. greece's prime minister survives his own no confidence vote — just. could the dispute over macedonia's name be ending? the circle of ice — weather conditions in the eastern usa create a rare winter phenomenon. hopes of a truce in the trade war are dashed by reports that china's huawei could be charged with stealing technology from us firms.