tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg July 25, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT
♪ announcer: from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: it has been six months since president trump took office. his administration continues to be plagued by controversy and infighting. earlier today, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner appeared before the senate intelligence committee as part of their inquiry into collusion in the 2016 election. he addressed the media after the closed-door meeting. >> i did not collude with russia, nor do i know if anyone else in the campaign who did so. i had no improper contacts.
in a i have not relied on russian funds for my businesses, and i have been fully transparent in providing all requested information. charlie: donald trump jr. and former campaign chairman paul manafort will also appear before the judiciary committee this week. joining me from washington, joining me from washington, one robert costa from the washington post and moderator of "washington week," on pbs, susan page of usa today, and hugh hewitt, of "the hugh hewitt show," and frank bruni of the new york times. tell me about the appearance today and what might have been this week with respect to the testimony. >> i think jared kushner did about as well as anyone could in a difficult situation, charlie. i read his entire 11 page letter over the air so that commuters could hear it. it was not denial. it was specific and details.
it was explanatory. for those trying to give trump the benefit of the doubt, they would find it comforting. i found it interesting that he said he met sir big archive -- sergey gorkov before. i also found it interesting that he specifically said no collusion. the two stories were that he got russian money, and he denied that, and that he colluded with data. i thought for someone who is used to hearing evasive nondenial denials, it was clear, specific, and complete. it doesn't help anyone else, but it helps him. charlie: but you are basing that on the statement he read before the testimony. >> i am. i read the whole thing and i also listened to the two and a half minutes afterwards, taken verbatim out of the statement. we knows what else he got asked
in the hearing or what he will say tomorrow, but thus far, you can't give that statement to a congressional committee and have anything false in it without violating the law. i think there's a pretty specific denial. charlie: susan. >> this is not the end of questions for jared kushner or anybody else. this was the beginning. today was the beginning of a new phase of the investigation where we're hearing for the first time central figures of people close to president trump being called the congress and required to answer questions. i think jared kushner deserves credit for not demanding a subpoena, for going voluntarily, for releasing the 11 page statement. there are many questions that remain to be asked. i will point out one. in the statement, kushner said he did not rely on russian money for his private business interests. rely doesn't mean you have no russian money, it doesn't mean it wasn't offered.
to me as a reporter, it jumped out. it deserves follow-up questions. i'm sure there are many other examples where members of the intelligence committee and has intelligence committee are going to want to pursue questions with the jared kushner and everybody else. charlie: robert costa. >> we are watching a president who ran a family enterprise for decades, trying to take the same approach to the white house, and encountering challenge after challenge. if you think beyond the stalled republican agenda, it is his family, jared kushner, his son, all their different meetings and entanglements, accusations about what they were up to during the campaign. this has been part of the russia cloud that continues to sit over the white house. it is not going away today just because mr. kushner went to capitol hill. it really encapsulates what the president is experiencing at the six month mark. a family enterprise still trying
to protect his family believed he is truly loyal to. the only people he trusts. this presidency is having problems because of this. charlie: frank, you wrote that jared kushner will be appearing in front of the committee, but not so we can watch. it is closed door, which means kushner gets to dance in the dark. how fitting. we never get to hear his voice. he throws his weight around then floats above it all. no wonder the various white house aides and advisers are fed up with him. he is there, but not there. a meddlesome ghost. a puff of smoke. >> when i heard his voice for the first time, i am not familiar with it. you know trump's voice. same thing with any number of people in the administration. not so with jared kushner because he has occupied a peculiar role where he lets it be known to the world, he has it both ways, that he's got great influence.
he and ivanka crow about their supposedly moderating influence on the president, but then they -- president, even though it is not visible. but then they hold back and say they are not political types. one thing about jared kushner's statement, it bothered me that he dwelt for a moment on, yes, i went into that russian meeting, the famous one in june trump tower but it was a complete , waste of time, so i left right away. that is not the issue. the issue is this meeting was billed to donald trump jr.. if jared kushner read the subject line, it was billed to him too, which said russia, clinton, private, confidential, it doesn't matter what was in the meeting. it matters if they went to the meeting. his statement does not satisfy me in that regard. charlie: as susan said, it's not the beginning of the end, it is
something else. are we looking at at the beginning of what might be six months of hand-to-hand fighting between the trump investigation? -- administration, investigative committees, and robert mueller? >> that's what we are watching. what scares people if the , president believes it is a witch hunt, if he's convinced he did nothing wrong, or if he is hiding something, at what point does he go beyond questioning bob mueller, and actually considers firing him? if so, what happens? some people believe that's plausible. charlie: do you believe that is possible? >> possible, but ill-advised. two things. for one, i don't want frank bruni to ever be mad at me. i read that piece. [laughter] don't ever want that to happen. today, it was announced that donald trump jr. hired fred fielding, widely regarded as one of the wisest people in washington. advicertain that fred's
to donald trump jr. is that he better hope that robert mueller is not fired. because that is a firestorm. if jared is telling the truth and everyone can make a declaration as specific and detailed about no collusion -- i'm putting aside general flynn and paul manafort -- but the president, donald trump jr., and everyone else in the white house, then it will be over. mueller will not indict someone just to indict someone. he has the reputation of being a straight shooter. you cannot fire robert mueller and expect the administration not to collapse if only with momentum. the republicans have enough problems without triggering saturday night massacre-lite 2.0 with the firing of a special counsel. charlie: would it bring what some people call a constitutional crisis? >> no, that's when the constitution is not working. i see the constitution working,
with one exception -- the team trump is so distracted that they are not getting judicial nominations for article iii judges put forward. is the bottom line for conservatives. they have 20 vacancies on the circuit court. more than 100 district court vacancies on the lower court, for whom there has not been a nomination put forward yet. this is unacceptable. it's a failure of governance. constitutional structures are in place and they are working. i don't see a crisis. but i do see a bogged down white house. charlie: we saw the new head of communications at the white house making a couple appearances. what does he bring in and what does his arrival signal? >> the arrival of anthony scaramucci, a wall street financier and trump confidant, at least for six months, it signals a presidency moving to a
loyalty-based operation, an aversion to leaks and the republican establishment. scaramucci does not have political experience. he has been a republican donor, not strategist or consultant. when you watch him on the sunday shows, you saw him speaking directly to president trump, almost in an attempt to calm the president as all the drama unfolds. it was not a messaging operation. it was not a new republican way coming in. this is a loyalist replacing a republican operative in sean spicer. the president is turning to these types of people. charlie: when you look at all of this now, this is the central act. we are looking at a six-month evaluation of the president -- what might he hope to have achieved by the time he gets to midterm elections? >> i think the problem for the president is that even though he was elected for four years, all
political time is not created equal. the first six months is the time when presidents have the most power. it is one the public is willing to cut them a break it is when , congress is most deferential. it is when the biggest achievements typically are passed. for the affordable care act with barack obama, it took about 14 months. what do we see with president trump? not a single major legislative achievement, real confusion over the affordable care act. and what is consuming his presidency is a scandal over russian meddling and allegations about whether there might have been collusion by his associates. this is not the recipe for a president who can count on getting things done. if you can't get things done the first year, it is tough to get things done in the second year when congress is worried about their own prospects. charlie: you're shaking your
head. >> i think susan is right. you have more political capital after an election than ever. the problem for trump is, largely of his own making but not entirely, is the election went down in such an unusual way. he lost the popular vote. he did not have the traditional political capital and incoming president has. what he did have he has frittered away. i do not see how the next 18 months look better than the last he's making changes. six. bob costello talked about anthony scaramucci coming. i found that interesting. if there was a lesson from the first six months, his team does not know washington well enough. now he is replacing someone who knew those ways with a newcomer. it suggests he's more interested in the emotional climate than what would be tactically successful. charlie: go ahead, bob. >> to build on that point, i think it is smart insight. instead of turning to people who know washington inside of the
white house, the discussions are turning to who knows trump, who understands the president. he wants to be surrounded by people who get his new york combative ways. scaramucci has the same personality. trump has never felt comfortable with the republicans around him. you have an administration, a white house, becoming more trump, not republican. charlie: it's a bit like circling the wagons. >> you could say that. >> it's a metaphor. this is a president that makes every thing about him. until he makes things more about the country he is serving and the people, not what feels good, not about applause, until he can really take himself a little bit out of the equation, he will not be about to accomplish the things he says he wants to accomplish. charlie: but it's unlikely donald trump would select those kinds of people like howard baker.
they were not the kind of people that that he knew or was confident in or believed in. >> there are two cabinet members on thin ice. attorney general sessions and secretary of state tillerson. if either of them go, expect a hardliner, a combative personality. maybe rudy giuliani, although i don't see him confirmed by the senate. look for john bolton at stake, not bob corker. where i would disagree a little bit, we are forgetting justice gorsuch. that is a monumental accomplishment. people get tired of me bringing it up. it will change the u.s. for 30 years. if i were the president, i would throw open the door on the counsel's office and demand my 20 circuit court nominees by the end of next week.
the way to keep conservatives with your back covered and to , move forward is to make sure the courts, which matter more than almost anything else, are taken care of. >> i want to push back at one thing. it is monumental if what you mean is it will have great consequence. it is important for conservatives. let's not forget that in order to accomplish that, the senate had to get rid of the traditional filibuster of supreme court nominees. that mitigates the accomplishment somewhat. >> now the playback on the pushback. [laughter] the guy who broke the filibuster was harry reid, and it was applied to the d.c. circuit. >> not for supreme court nominees. >> the rule was you could change the rules of the senate with a simple majority, which is what mcconnell did. that might be used again on the blue slip tradition of holding
back judges. if you have a complaint with gorsuch, you have harry reid. >> if the shoes were on the other foot, democrats might have done the same thing. i'm just saying while we are talking about at an -- as an accomplishment a , republican majority confirmed a republican president supreme court nominee, it's not that monumental to me. >> i would also just say that conservative voters may be very happy with neil gorsuch, but the voters who put donald trump and the white house include a lot of people who are nontraditional conservatives and did not vote on the basis of judges. but there are a lot of nontraditional conservatives that voted on the basis of getting manufacturing jobs back or health premiums reduced. those voters will not be satisfied with, look at neil gorsuch. ♪ charlie: let me bring up the
issue in terms of foreign policy of russian sanctions, and trump's relationship with the republicans in congress after six months. >> it is a fascinating question. you see republicans in congress have a traditional republican view of vladimir putin, of russia, a hawkish take, a view that he is perhaps a human rights abuser, he is murdering
journalists, he's trying to disrupt u.s. elections, and yet inside the white house and parts of the administration people who want to reimagine u.s. and russia relations. this is a real standoff between the gop and republican president. the president shows no signs of acknowledging or going along with of the congressional impulse when it comes to russia. charlie: but with the health care debate, did the president lose whatever confidence he might have had in the republicans in congress? >> i was talking to congressman over the weekend. if they really feel like they've made so many mistakes in how they sold this piece of legislation, instead of talking about regulations and taxes, they have become mired in a debate over medicaid and health care coverage for people who are poor, all as republican governors are clamoring to make sure medicaid expansions remain, and they don't have the votes because moderates are uneasy.
conservatives want much bigger cuts. this is the burden for senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. they made this promise to the republican base, yet the law has become rooted in many states and there's no clear path forward. charlie: is this some debate between reality and what happens on the ground, which governors know, and senators in washington who know something else? >> it's a debate over whether or not politicians keep their word. mike lee ran on repeal and replace. many ran on her appeal and replace. i do not know how their brands survive. i do not know how their credibility survives not opening debate on a subject matter for which republicans have been campaigning for eight years. it would be a devastating blow, so much that there's an effort, senator cornyn announced he would fly senator mccain to get clearance from his doctor to open up debate.
i can't believe they are considering not opening up debate. you might vote against the final product, but not to open debate is a devastating takedown. why believe anything a republican senator says if they reverse themselves on this? >> can i just add one question? the republicans i'm talking to, they wonder if there's actually a political cost for republicans in 2018 not pass this piece of legislation? privately, a lot of them say republican governors want the medicaid expansion, the law has already taken root, maybe let it fade away and focus on taxes, because health care is a thorny issue. >> on a day-to-day basis, i think dean heller loses his election unless in both passes and fails. why believe anyone about anything? the damage to our government will be so profound if the
republican party cannot deliver a debate on something they campaigned on for eight years. it's almost stomach churning they would not vote to open debate on this. charlie: is it likely to happen? >> i have no idea. they are very close to bringing senator mccain back. maybe senator lee said he would at least try to open debate. they will not get collins and rand paul, so they need john mccain and everybody else. charlie: how long can the white house lived with this infighting? >> there are white houses that have had competing power centers in the past, and it worked well in some cases, because it generates ideas and keeps things moving. this has been pretty rough, though. in part because you really don't have a president familiar with washington, and you don't really have republicans sticking with
them. i think there are questions being raised about how long they will do this and what kind of plank they would walk off for donald trump. one thing you do hear from republicans on the hill is they are not criticizing him on russia, not criticizing him on the staff, because they think they can possibly get their big agenda items done, like tax cuts. if they can't do that after winning the house and the senate in the white house, that is a tough message to take into the midterms or into a reelection campaign. charlie: do you believe the mueller investigational figure out why donald trump has behaved as he has and said what he said during the campaign, continuing up until today, about russia? >> i have huge faith in robert mueller, who is universally respected as a dogged, serious, cautious investigators. i think we will have a lot of answers.
charlie: in your judgment, will it be more likely to be tied to some kind of financial arrangement or transaction? arrangement or transaction? >> i think some people will definitely find this will lead to their indictment. i don't believe this administration will be defined by russia. i think mr. mueller there's no evidence of collusion induced, but there may be wrongdoing by individuals. the administration will be defined by what it does or fails to do. right now, the ice is thin. when it breaks, it will be dramatic, unless they deliver. you get the fall and the first quarter of 2018, but after that, nothing happens. you don't want to go into the midterms with your party staying
at home angry and the other party marching in the streets. that's a recipe for a wave. charlie: so trump will be defined between now and right before the midterm election? >> absence and extraordinary crisis abroad, yes. >> he's right. we spend a lot of time talking about the russian investigation. that dominates headlines. but i think when voters go to vote in 2018, i agree 100%. i think what will happen will be more reflective of whether they see anything in washington true to his promises. as an american, i'm really concerned, because he tapped into a great deal of anger in this country. legitimate anger about the broken ways of washington, about broken promises. what happens to that anger if after two years or four years of donald trump, washington looks the same, the source of priorities we have been paralyzed around have not been advanced?
what happens to the already shriveled faith in government? >> we are seeing flickers of an emerging dynamic that i'm paying attention to ahead of 2018. it looks more like president trump is preparing, if he wants to, to run against his own party, to blame congressional republicans for the inaction, rather than having it on his shoulders. this can become a yawning divide. the there is a view that trump is fueled by grievance politics, populism, and anger, not necessarily by accomplishments. ideology and accomplishments will not determine whether trump has success or not. it may determine whether the republicans control congress, but trump is on a different track. because of that, he may start running against his own party.
>> and he's going to run against us. one of the things that has been true -- charlie: against republicans? >> one of the reasons why he has waged such a war over what is a fact, what is truth is if he , wants to evade accountability in the long run, one way to say is you can trust no source of information except what i'm telling you. in his perfect world, we believe without question what he tells us, and distrust other sources. that is a big narrative. charlie: what bothers you most about this president? >> that he is not spending his time focused on legislative agenda. i mentioned judges before. i don't mind tweak storms, controversy or combativeness but , i do want results. i do worry. it is rare for frank and i to agree, but the politics of
grievance cut against the front row in the back row analogy. people sitting in the front versus people sitting in the back. people in the back are very angry. if donald trump tries to tap into that, against coastal elites, republican and democrat, it could be really disruptive for the country. i would like him to go back to governing. more than anything else. charlie: but does he know that? does he know governing, or does he simply know the power of grievance? >> there are good people in the administration. there are competent people who know governing very well. i think he listens to them, at least sporadically. i don't underestimate leader mcconnell or paul ryan or chairman kevin brady. there are lots of effective
people. the president's attention is often engaged at people who punched him, and he punches back. that's not the problem. the problem is, at least find time for the agenda, not just combat. charlie: but it is a problem if everyone perceives that to be your primary concern. your primary focus is simply being so angry at people that you can't resist joining the battle. mad that you cannot resist. >> the 40% that is solid for him, they love that part. but getting to an electoral college majority in 2020 will require the traditionalists, and conservatives, and that is the 10% he is missing out on right now. if you are fighting all the time, using the times you have the microphone, using the bully pulpit to wage all of these wars with different people, how are you ever going to sell your agenda? one of the things about this
health care debacle is we never heard in a consistent or coherent way from the president why we should buy into this. he never made the case. he has to be a will to make the case because he has the largest -- loudest megaphone. charlie: can he make the case? we have expected him to change and it many times said that is , the final straw, but it has never been a final straw. >> that's true. the politics of grievance are powerful, but the politics of grievance do not change the facts on the ground in people's lives. one of the things donald trump has struggled most with is we have a system with lots of checks and balances. if you want an immigration plan into place it has to pass constitutional muster in the courts. if you want to repeal and replace the affordable care act, you have to do it through congress. you can't just do it through the stroke of a pen. he continues to tap anger at washington, but he doesn't have anything to show for it. that doesn't strike me as being a powerful political message.
bill clinton famously did triangulation, but he built up relationships with republicans as he was attacking congressional democrats. we haven't seen president trump do that kind of maneuvering that would give him the ability to affect people's lives. charlie: we talked about getting a supreme court justice. where would you put the fact that he pulled out of the climate accord? obviously his base, it pleased some of them, but in terms of the reputation around the world, it had a major impact. robert: that decision was revealing of how this presidency has unfolded. the republican agenda has been stalled, health care, taxes. they haven't happened. what has happened was president trump's agenda on executive authority. use that on the travel ban, to
put forth his own immigration policy, and when it comes to climate change, to retreat from the paris accord. you see him in the white house using executive power to do what he wants, but when it comes to congress, he is in following through with what republicans want. charlie: let me extend that, frank. between january 20 when the president took office and today, how has our reputation around the world changed? frank: it has changed entirely. the paris accord is one example. donald trump has sent a message to the world or our traditional allies -- what he means to be saying to them is, you can no longer take advantage of us, but what they are hearing is, you can no longer count on us. if you listen to what western european diplomats have said, there's a feeling that we are no
longer exercising the kind of global leadership that was expected of us. a lot of donald trump's base likes this because they feel we have been the rest of the world's chump. without us, who else? when we talk about donald trump's relationship with putin and russia, what has devastated me about that is the moral equivalency that is drawn between the united states and russia. there's a reason why we have always seized the role of leadership, and that's because we do have sturdier, better values. we are worthy of that leadership, and i worry that the message he sends out is that we are not worthy of that leadership. hugh: in poland, president trump received a wild reception. he is well loved with the countryside, as opposed to the capital. in japan, they are happy he's engaged on north korea the way president obama was. the redline stuff of the last
eight years did not resonate with a lot of america, and the america first, make nato pay their way does. this separation on foreign affairs matters a great deal but , not if it is obscured by domestic failure at home. i am happy with his foreign policy, very happy. susan: he mentioned poland. the president gave a speech that had a great reception in poland, and since then, we have seen massive demonstrations on behalf of the rule of law in poland. the white house is not spoken up on that. that is surprising to me. i think it's the sign of a more limited american role when it comes to asserting american values of democracy and civil liberties. i think whatever happens with president trump on domestic policy, he has reordered u.s. role in the world to a more limited role. france and germany and canada are stepping up on their own. it's a changed world because of the trump presidency.
charlie: you have covered him from the beginning. how has he changed or not changed, and therefore, that is what we should expect the rest of the term? robert: he has not changed at all. this is a president who is the same person i encountered in 2011 backstage at cpac, 2013 when he started thinking about 2016, and in particular with foreign policy, we are seeing the flames of his youth when he used to talk about the world with his father fred. his father used to tell him -- you read this in every book about trump -- his father felt america was losing in the world. the trade deficit was huge. the president gets credit on having these similar views on the world in trade going back decades, and he is echoing his father fred's view on the world. he has brought them to the white house, and this is someone who has coveted being an
antiestablishment figure. he has always been leery of the establishment, and he continues to be leery of the neoliberal world order, the world order that has been created by the united states since world war ii. he's never seen the world through that prism that many previous leaders have. charlie: i can't continue this conversation without mentioning samuel huntington. is where trump is taking us exactly that? hugh: no. i don't think so, but i think he's much more popular in israel than president obama was. i've we are looking at a long august in the middle east as evidenced by the events of the last two weeks. there is one big change that may be robert didn't note. during the campaign, president trump was his own communications director. he went on all the shows, to quote president trump.
he has never reduced his on-camera visibility. it's great to sit down with maggie haberman and glenn baker. i think he ought to be out there as he was during the campaign. it worked and then. why would he change it now? charlie: on that note, thank you. we will be right back. stay with us. ♪ charlie: we are joined by
sebastian gorka, deputy assistant to president trump. he's been called by "the new york times" one of the most visible defenders of the administration. especially on matters of foreign policy. in an interview on fox news, he characterized himself as the president's pitbull. before joining the administration, he was an editor for breitbart news where he worked closely with white house colleague steve bannon. i am pleased to have sebastian gorka on the program. welcome. sebastian: thank you kindly, charlie. charlie: we have been talking with a group of reporters about the first six months. tell me about how you assess the accomplishments and failures, if you may, of trump's first six months. sebastian: as i wrote on the six-month anniversary, it feels
as if we have been here for 25 months, not weeks. if you look at the successes already, the revitalization of nato, the fact that we have seen without the wall being built a 73% decrease in illegal immigration across the southern border, if you look at the stock market records that have been broken, the riyadh speach, it's -- speech, the warsaw speech it's basically a reassertion of , american leadership globally. ronald reagan had a simple platform -- get us out of the economic malaise of the carter years and revitalize the american sense of self and win the cold war against the soviet union. president trump has a similar three legates tool. fix the economy, build a wall and defeat isis. , with the liberation of mosul, we have gone a great way already.
charlie: what has been the biggest frustration for you and steve bannon and president trump? sebastian: this is a man who does not give into frustration, it is disappointment, i think. the biggest disappointment is this miasma of collusion that -- collusion we have had to deal with for nine months. you heard jared give his public statement. he released a statement to "the hill" before he went. gave a shorter one to the white house a few hours ago. talk about the successes and challenges that remain, included fixing getting , rid of obamacare, what has to be done with health provisions in the united states. but is the obsession of the chattering classes with things that most americans don't
believe exist or don't care about -- charlie: health care is not one of the things they care about. -- that they do not care about. that most americans don't believe exist or don't care about --they care about that. so far there has been a failure , by the administration and republicans to deliver repeal and replace. sebastian: we have in this nation, thank the good lord, a separation of powers with the executive with legislative and judicial, so the president has been relying on the gop and his colleagues on the hill to make this happen. they have another chance to do so. the record has been disappointing, but there's a chance for the gop writ large to do with the expect them to do. -- what the people expect them to do. charlie: let me go back to foreign policy. you said, the first principle of our administration is plain to see -- america is back. under president trump, so is american leadership, influence is a global good and this , recognition is a first step towards advancing our leadership, which in turn can set the conditions for the security and prosperity of the
united states and its allies. the era for apologizing for america is over. when you say the era for apologizing is over, what exactly do you mean? sebastian: we mean it in diametric opposition to the last administration. we wholeheartedly embrace what america stands for. we do not see the problems lying at the feet of american foreign-policy or culture. we say as a judeo-christian nation we are part of western civilization. we want to build our relationships with the world on those immutable values that we see as being objective, whether it's with israel, poland. the warsaw speech is seminal. we say moral relativism, post secularism doesn't lead to the kind of world we wish to see developed. and when america withdraws from the world, it gets to be a dangerous place, whether it's the rise of isis, the remilitarization of china.
or russia invading its neighbors. american leadership is essential for global safety. let me go through that. charlie: with respect to the rise of china, this administration would have done what in terms of the militarization, the advancement of their military strength? what would this administration have done? sebastian: we are doing it already. we are clearly sending a message, whether it's through our freedom of navigation patrols or other measures, that the global pathways, the veins of international trade are not something to be exploited by the chinese regime or to be intimidating their neighbors into trying to close down those channels. the idea that they are creating search-and-rescue bases on these lls, but in reality creating real military bases that is not good for anybody. , we are going to push back on
china's remilitarization and say, look -- charlie: what have we done is my question. sebastian: exactly what i said. we are plotting those courses. we are using the u.s. navy to maintain the freedom of travel through international waterways, and unlike the last administration, if you will allow me, we don't give all of our playbook away. there are lots of things we are doing and will do. but like someone playing poker, you don't show other people at the table your hand. the same goes to those who challenge the international order. charlie: it was the president who said he was disappointed by china's unwillingness to help on north korea. sebastian: absolutely. we have great expectations. there was a great melding of minds at the mar-a-lago summit. we expected china to exert its diplomatic pressure on north korea. the president has said he's not satisfied with the result.
that is why the president set on with the heads of state of south korea and japan to take the north korean issue to the security council and why the president had a conversation with xi jinping to tell him what he thought about what china needs to do. right now, we are going to maintain our policy of peaceful pressure when it comes to north korea, hoping china can step up, but the president takes no options off the table. charlie: wasn't that the policy of the previous administration, not just president obama but , president bush and president clinton? sebastian: not at all. the previous administration lifted it to the highest unclassified national security strategy both the concept of leading from behind, which is oxymoronic, and the other obama bumper sticker, which was "strategic patience," which means we don't do anything, we let others act. we do not allow those vacuums to
be created. if you look at what we did in afghanistan with the moab bomb, we did not talk about red lines. red lines.talk about we used 59 cruise missiles to stop syria from using chemical weapons against women and children. that is very, very different from strategic patience or leading from behind. charlie: have they used chemical weapons since then as far as you know? sebastian: if we stay in the unclassified domain, no, that is -- they have not. that is why we made that statement, i think 10 days ago. we had indications of preparations and we sent a clear message. do not do it, and syria did not do it. charlie: what you think the effort is in finding a cease-fire with the help of israel and jordan between the russians and the effort that is there to create some sort of cease-fire that could create some transitional government?
sebastian: we are very happy to see the cease-fire that was negotiated at the g20 with the inclusion of jordan and russia. that is massively important. it is geographically restricted, but we wish to see it expand. at the end of the day, our one objective in syria is to stop the bloodshed. the president wants to stop the bloodshed. there will have to be some political resolution. the political resolution in syria cannot include the assad regime as it stands. that is what we are going to say now, but we are satisfied with the way things have developed a since the g20. charlie: do the russians agree with that? sebastian: the fact that it is holding right now is very significant. what we are doing by sending certain messages through the use
of force and otherwise is hoping that both the kremlin and other nations, if you look at beijing and north korea, what we are trying to do is to make them think about their internal alliance. how far will you let a client state to go before you say, this buffer state is not acting in my interests? or, this client is doing things that undermine my national interest? i think we have sent a clear message, and russia's cooperation in syria is account -- is a very positive sign. charlie: in respect to nato, you say, being strengthened, has the respectedalways evenle 5 -- article v, though there were questions when he admitted it in one speech or another? sebastian: absolutely unequivocally. article v is the bedrock of the most successful modern military alliance and is nonnegotiable. charlie: the president didn't say it at the first speech he made when he went to nato after he was in riyadh.
sebastian: the president is the key, the master negotiator. what he wanted to see happen, he wanted to minimize the freeloader affect. if dues are $100, and 70% of the members pay $10, you aren't going to want to be a member. we wanted equitable burden sharing. guess what the president did? when the secretary-general came to washington, he said, absolutely, 2%. the president knew exactly what he was doing, and the seriousness of the alliance has been bolstered by people saying ok, we are going to pay for our defense in an equitable fashion. charlie: "the economist" wrote that president trump's idea of the united states' role in the world represents a fundamental break from the role the u.s. has played since world war ii. a, do you agree with that, and b -- sebastian: sebastian: no, i don't. charlie: is the president's foreign policy in accord with
the fundamental tenets of american policy following world war ii throughout american history of the late 20th and 21st century? sebastian: absolutely. what was that foreign policy after world war ii built upon? it was built upon the idea that evil exists. when rgi's went and liberated death camps, when they fought on iwo jima, it wasn't predicated on some squishy comments about -- concept about multilateralism. it was predicated on the fact that real evil exists. threats to western civilization, to decency exist. , there will always be a totalitarian threat, whether it is fascism or jihadis. it completely comports with what we're seeing today. the last eight years, i challenge you to find u.s. one document under the obama document that used the word "enemy" or "evil." it was painted over it didn't , exist. the multicultural relativism denied that.
we are back, we believe these threats exist. the president said in riyadh we , have to defeat evil ideologies like jihadist them because they are the modern , version of the totalitarianism of the past. i think our foreign-policy jails -- gels much more with the original foreign policy of the united states during and after world war ii than the last 16 years of the bush administration and obama administration. charlie: you don't think president obama saw isis as evil? sebastian: if he did, he never said it, and they talked about violent extremism and local grievances, mumbo-jumbo from the social science world, which in fact seemed to predicate that the terrorist was the victim. we don't think terrorists are victims. terrorists are evil and they must be killed or captured. that is very much on america saw the world during world war ii, and the cold war and that is how , president trump sees the world today. charlie: you can agree that there are a number of ways to fight terrorism. you need both hard power and soft power.
sebastian: i jettison the idea that joe and i came up with, the dichotomous concept that there is just soft or hard power -- charlie: your secretary of state believes that soft power and diplomacy plays a role. sebastian: absolutely, but what we believe in is that there is a spectrum, a palette of tools, and what we wish to reassert is statecraft in the original sense where all the tools of national power are used concurrently. it's not either/or. we saw the talk over the last eight years that led to the rise of isis, the empowerment of iran, a militaristic china. diplomacy is great, but if there isn't the option for force, it's just words on a piece of paper. we believe in statecraft, not a binary, either/or diplomacy or war. that is an oversimplification. charlie: let me talk about the first time i met you at a dinner
where we sat across from each other in washington, and i asked you, i want to understand steve bannon, and you said, take a look at a speech he made at the vatican. what would i have learned from that speech? i listened to it, but i want you to tell me what i should have learned. sebastian: very much a longer version of our discussion over the last few minutes, that this man believes there is objective truth, that there are founding principles of this republic, freedom, liberty, dignity of the human being based upon their being made in the image of the creator, and there are and there will always will be those who wish to kill or enslave you. steve understands there is a connective tissue between the third reich of 70 years ago and the jihadis of isis today. steve bannon understands that we have a civilization we are proud of, the judeo-christian civilization, and there are people who wish to destroy it. ♪ ♪
alisa: i'm alisa parenti in washington, and you are watching "bloomberg technology." after a procedural vote that went down the wire the senate officially can begin debating an appeal for the affordable care act. vice president mike pence cast the deciding vote. majority leader mitch mcconnell says debates will continue over the next few days. the plan is to finish with health care at the end of the week. senator john mccain, who is battling brain cancer, made the trip to capitol hill. he voted to move ahead on debating repealing obamacare. it is his first trip back since his diagnosis.