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tv   Charlie Rose  Bloomberg  October 9, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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>> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: we begin this program with news out of washington. after weeks of speculation and against the advice of his national security advisors, president trump is expected to decertify the iran nuclear deal next week. what does that mean for the future? david sanger joins me now from washington. he is the national security correspondent of the "new york times." david, let me just begin with you explaining the difference between decertifying or failing to certify, and withdrawal. >> there is a big difference. because the certification
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rocess is merely an internal u.s. government process in which the white house talks to congress. and in this case the president's required under the legislation that passed after the iran deal was signed by the obama administration to certify to congress every 90 days that iran is in compliance with the deal. and the idea at the time they did this was to hold president obama's feet to the fire. they didn't really imagine how this would play out when a republican president got elected. it has no effect on the deal itself unless congress in the 60 days after that notification then decides to impose or re-impose the economic sanctions on iran that were lifted in return for iran shipping 98% of its nuclear fuel out of the country and dismantling a bunch of its facilities and allowing the inspectors free range. we don't know what congress will
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do. but it looks right now as if the plan is for the president to de-certify because he can't ring himself, having denounced this deal so often, to actually have to sign a piece of paper every 90 days saying iran is in compliance, even if that's what the inspectors tell him. because it just to him doesn't feel like they're in compliance because there's so many other issues with iran. then congress, if it does nothing, it would basically signal that the deal can remain in effect and the president hopes that this would create some leverage to either reopen the deal or negotiate something else with the iranians. the problem they've run into is that the europeans have said, look, if you try leave this deal, we're not coming with you. we think it's working.
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the chinese, the russians have all said that. president trump's defense secretary has said he believes that they are in compliance. his secretary of state has said that he believes they are in compliance. the chairman of the joint chiefs has said they believe they're in compliance. so it's only the president himself and the white house seems to be trying to contain this by just having him do a decertification with no further action. charlie: the president says something unusual, he says, well, even if they're in compliance, they're violating the spirit of the agreement. >> that's right. so at the beginning of the agreement, as in most international agreements, there's some preamble language that talks about using this agreement to foster peace and better understanding around the world and perhaps build a bigger and deeper relationship. and the president is saying that because iran is continuing to support terrorism, and it is, because iran is continuing to meddle and deepen its relationship inside syria, and it is, because iran is continuing to launch ballistic missiles, and they are, that as
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a result the spirit of the agreement is not being complied with. and this is his way around the fact that the inspectors have said iran is doing everything that they're supposed to do. so the question here is, does the certification cover the literal words inside this 130-page, 140-page agreement, or does it also cover the feel of this? and if you look at the legislation, the president's within his rights to declare that he no longer believes that the agreement is in the national security interest of the united states. charlie: but clearly, especially the secretary of defense, said in testimony he believes the deal not only is working, but should be upheld. he believes in the deal, as i understand what he said. >> that's right. he was asked in testimony earlier this week, this is defense secretary jim mattis,
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was asked, do you believe that the deal is in the national interest of the united states? he said he did. and he said he thought that -- he would advise staying within it. which is what many other advisors have indicated as well. now, why would mr. mattis say this? well, first of all, he's looking at a growing potential for conflict in the korean peninsula. and he does not want to have two open-sore conflicts with potential nuclear states on different sides of the world at the same time. secondly, it's the view of most people in the defense establishment, certainly in the pentagon, that if they are going to confront iran for its support of terrorism, for its activities in syria, they would much rather confront a non-nuclear iran. and there is no indication right now that iran is producing more uranium or enriching any plutonium that would move them toward a weapon.
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and those restrictions, if they are abided by, would stay in place for another 13 1/2 years. so mattis' view is, let's worry about this as we get closer to the deadline. charlie: basically he's saying, look, this deal put iran further from being able to build a nuclear weapon than it was without the deal. >> and i don't think there's any question about that. most of the israeli military establishment says that as well. although prime minister netanyahu also refers to it as a disaster. president trump has been pretty clear about this. from the first interviews we did with him last year, during the campaign, he said that he could have negotiated a much better deal. the problem is that the complaints that he's making about their terrorism activities, about the ballistic
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missile launches, those were not what the deal was about. the deal was limited to their nuclear activity. and he's saying it should be much bigger and that it shouldn't have sunset clauses. charlie: everybody who is part of the deal says if you included that, you would not have had a deal. >> that's right. because what would have happened is that the iranians would have traded off activity elsewhere for having greater latitude to move toward a nuclear eapon. and they didn't want to get into a position where other issues, including human rights issues and other things, were traded off. when you think about it, think back to the arms control agreements with the soviet union back during the cold war. they dealt with arms control. they didn't deal with the horrors of communist systems, they didn't deal with the gulags. they didn't even deal with missile test launches. they dealt with nuclear weapons. charlie: there's also this. the president rallies nations to be against iran. the president came down fully in support of that effort against
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iran and basically saying that iran does things that are not in the interest of peace in the region. >> that's right. and this is why many of his aides are saying to him, you know, mr. president, you can design a strategy to push back against all of that and still keep the deal in place. so that we're not dealing with a nuclear crisis. and when the president announces his decision next week, we expect that the nuclear deal will be wrapped in a much bigger iran strategy that he apparently has signed off on. and it's exactly what you would expect. bigger pushback against iranian expansionism and aggression around the region. and that's got many facets to it. the only question is how do they finesse the question of the deal? but if you go back to your original question, does the decertification end the deal itself? it doesn't. but it could do -- it could
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starve it to death. it could be the foreign policy equivalent of how the president is handling the health care bill. that while the agreement, the bill, would remain in place, over time it would make it harder and harder and harder for anybody to engage with iran economically. and of course that's the benefit we promise to iran in return for their not producing nuclear material. so if banks in europe are unwilling to finance refineries, for example, because they're afraid of sanctions against them by the united states, that would over time erode the deal in the eyes of the iranians. of course the iranians think that they got too few benefits from it. charlie: let's turn to north korea. ou accompanied secretary tillerson when he went to china. give me a sense of -- give me a report on that.
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in terms of how the secretary went about the business of being ecretary of state, his relationship to the chinese leadership, and what decisions might have come out of that that would have an impact on the crisis that is the most alarming sort of foreign policy issue of our time. >> it was a very brief trip. and that was because he was trying to tuck it in ahead of a big holiday in china that will be followed by the 19th party congress. which is once every five years, party congress is expected to further the power of china's president, who has already got a bit of a consulted personality about him. i think that what secretary tillerson was hoping to do and i think he accomplished this was push the chinese incrementally to squeezing the north koreans more and more and more. nd everybody makes the point
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that the chinese are no more interested in a nuclear north korea than we are. the difference is that the chinese still value stability on the korean peninsula as their number one value and disarming north korea as the number two. and we're in the reverse position. so the chinese still don't want to do anything to the north koreans that they think could lead to the collapse of the regime. and i think it's secretary tillerson's desire to try to convince the chinese that the stability is a false one. that if they continue testing, the u.s. is going to be forced to put so much pressure on north korea that there could be instability and perhaps a conflict, exactly what the chinese don't want. and that there will be more american forces around the korean peninsula. he did pretty well, it looked like, with president xi and his two other meetings with the
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state counselors and the foreign minister. then he met a group of us in the living room of the american ambassador to china. and in the course of that he said that in fact the united states had what he called a couple or three channels of communication opened in north korea. and this enraged trump when he read our stories about it the next morning. because he believes it's not time to talk to north korea yet. and so he immediately turned out a series of tweets that appeared to undercut secretary tillerson and led to all the drama this week about whether the secretary would quit. charlie: regardless of whether the president was angry about it, is it a fact that we do have these channels of communication with the north koreans that american diplomats are talking to chinese diplomats? >> we have channels but from everything i hear, there's not much running through those channels. we have a telephone number to dial and someone answers the phone. but there isn't much of a conversation under way. and in part that's because, i think, the north koreans are first trying to figure out what
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to do next. but secondly, because kim jong un doesn't want to get into any conversation with the united states until he's completed the nuclear testing cycle he's on. which is to say that he's demonstrated that he can launch a weapon that can reach the continental united states and that he can put a nuclear warhead atop it and that it could survive re-entry into the atmosphere. in other words, he wants to have a complete nuclear capability before there's any discussion about whether that capability gets frozen. and to freeze north korea in that position would be to basically allow kim jong un to hold l.a. or chicago or some other city hostage during any crisis and president trump has said, understandably, he's not going to be forced into that situation. charlie: it seems to me like he may be winning, kim jong un, if in fact there is no restrictions so far that will limit him or prevent him so far from reaching that goal.
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>> that's right. and, look, i think he will reach that goal. and that poses some -- he may not reach it for a year, he may not reach it for 18 months. there are rumors of tests this weekend. you never know for sure with the north koreans. but he will make more incremental progress toward it and i think the american intelligence agencies are pretty clear that sooner or later, probably sooner, he'll get there. so then the question is, what do we do? do we actually force a rollback of this? or do we basically acquiesce and freeze him at that level? basically at the level that pakistan was at some number of years ago. or india. or some other nescient nuclear state. and that's the tough decision for trump because everyone's telling him there's no real military solution. except for someone who says
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there is a military solution. they're horrible, they're terrible, but we might be forced to go use them. and the question is, does he really mean that? charlie: when he says horrible, you mean the number of people that would be killed. >> that's right. now, you heard secretary mattis riefly say about two weeks ago that he's seen some options that he thinks would not result in an attack on seoul. charlie: everybody wants to know what that is. >> that's right. everybody wants to know what that is. one possibility is that it's a combination of missile defense and preemptive strikes or preventive strikes against their missile launching sites. in other words, take out a missile before it launches. another possibility is that it's a combination of that and cyberstrikes, the kind we've discussed before and which the united states has tried against their missile programs, starting in 2014, and a program that president obama pushed along. there's certainly a lot of activity under way at the pentagon and in the intelligence
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agencies to come up with new ways to foil these strikes that don't look like big kinetic hits on north korea that could start a war. charlie: there's also this, one last question. how much is the trump administration willing to let the chinese handle this for them? >> i think they would love for the chinese to handle this for them. i think the chinese view is that they just want -- their answer to every question is, let the trump administration and the north koreans talk directly. and the president doesn't appear to be willing to do that and kim jong un doesn't. but it does raise an interesting scenario. supposing the chinese were willing to exercise all their power to remove kim jong un, maybe move some chinese forces into north korea to stabilize it, in other words, make sure that they get that buffer state between themselves and south korea and the united states by basically taking over the transition of power in north
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korea. would they be willing to do it and would we be willing to accept it? and don't know the answer to that. but what i do find interesting is that for the first time i hear that being whispered and speculated about in a lot of laces in washington. not just think tanks but also inside the executive branch. and the question is, how would the united states view that? would they mind it if the chinese basically solved this problem for them? and at this point my guess is that the trump administration would probably welcome that, even if it caused a lot of trouble on the korean peninsula, where of course there's a historic allergy to china's activities on the peninsula. charlie: there's an easy way to do that. the president gets on the phone and he says to xi, mr. president, you and i both are worry about the same issue. it is a nuclear north korea. what would it take to get to you
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take a larger share of this? what can i do for you so that you'll help me and help yourself? and probably doing something and taking a step that will move us closer to a solution. that's the question that has to be asked. >> that's right. and president xi will be in a much better position to answer that after this party congress, after he's consolidated his power. charlie: david sanger, always good. thank you. >> great to be with you. charlie: david sanger from the "new york times." back in a moment.
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charlie: turning now to politics and our white house watch, we're joined by mike allen, the co-founder of axios. he joins me now from washington. let's begin with the president in terms of the role that presidents have always been able to do, try to heal the nation at a time of tragedy and stress. we've had a series of hurricanes in the caribbean, we've had floods in houston. we've had a terrible disaster in puerto rico. and we've also had a shooting, the worst mass shooting in american history happen in las vegas. how is the president doing in terms of operating as one who represents the nation's sympathy and grief? >> we have to pause here and say how sobering those pictures have
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been from puerto rico and how sobering the vegas news is when you think about how many lives and families around the country were touched by that. a place where so many of us have had such great times. it's going to mean changes in our culture. there's no way that it doesn't mean changes to some of the ways that we move around. the places that were formerly just places of entertain. you ask about the president as consoler in chief. this is something he's not good at. but it's something he knows he's not good at. remember, this is someone who for many decades wouldn't shake hands with strangers. remember? the president has said he's a germophobe. he wouldn't shake hands and he'd use purell right after. he started shaking hands as a candidate. but the human touch with the regular folks is something
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that's just not his thing. but as you know, he's extremely attuned to the images. the pictures. so he watches what happens after these visits and he knows that it's something he has to be better at. charlie: in terms of, especially in terms of puerto rico, where the signs of the -- the visible signs of what the devastation has been, there were visuals of him throwing paper towels to people. which offended people. because it suggested something worse. >> people were offended by the self-congratulatory messages including the president about what a great job they were doing and how lucky they were and how they were busting the budget. like, those are all thoughts for another day. and this is what's true of what a lot of what the president says. it may be fine and right and there are a lot of people who agree with him. sometimes it's just not in the moment. so this was a time that called for a filter and control and the
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president wants to do well. he saw that he got very good coverage and very good marks for how he and the government handled the texas floods. and they were slow off the mark in puerto rico. i think they're hoping now, avert their gaze, hope it's all going to be fine. but there's no question that puerto rico could have gotten more help faster. the hospital ship comfort which only went to sea after many days of suffering in puerto rico. charlie: there is north korea. the president evidently called in military official, alerted the white house press, and then aid, stay tuned. >> this was the president as showman. we saw the president thursday night, having dinner with these military officials, taking this picture and then saying to the press corps, think of this as the calm before the storm. and when you have the commander in chief saying calm before the
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storm, that is going to set off radar all around the world. the reporters in the moment asked him, are we talking about north korea, are we talking about isis? what are we talking about here? and that's when the president said, you'll see. now, the president does have a number of important decision points coming up on national security decisions that may have een on his mind. he may have been referring to that. i think it may have been a lot simpler. the president saw these military officials around and realized that that this would be a great photo with him in the middle and the president is a showman. he likes his generals. and so i think that that is part of it. he likes to flummox the press. he likes to troll. he saw a good picture and he likes a cliff hanger. he likes a teaser. that's what this was. charlie: at the same time, we had the white house and the
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president essentially saying to his secretary of state, rex tillerson, who is trying to reach out to the north koreans, suggesting there's some back channels that might be operative, saying, you're going to be unsuccessful. suggesting diplomacy will not work. so you have that and then followed by this, suggesting that maybe he wants to send a signal. we know diplomacy's not working, so something else is under urgent consideration. >> no, that's very astutely put. in the case of rex tillerson who was in beijing and told reporters that there was a direct communication and the president saying basically, leave it to me, rex, who is actually the secretary of state, leave it to me, don't waste your time, what i'm told is that secretary tillerson's comments took people in the white house by surprise. i think that they suggested that more was going on than was, suggested that those talks were at a higher level or more successful than they were.
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so i think a little bit the president dialing that back. we wondered at first, is this a it of bad cop in the white house, good cop at foggy bottom on the road in beijing? like with everything in this white house, it might be simpler than that. the president was taken by surprise by these comments and he wanted to slap the secretary of state down. of course that was only the prelude to quite a tweak between the two of them. charlie: there was a press conference held by the secretary f state. when can you remember the secretary of state holding a press conference to say, i'm not leaving. >> this followed the report that in a meeting at the pentagon, of all places, that the secretary of state had referred to the president as a moron. and i can tell you there's not a single person in the white house that doubts that he actually said that. but after being scolded, secretary tillerson, who has not been doing much with the press, as your viewers well know, came out of the state department and
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made a statement and didn't deny that he called his boss a moron. so that's pretty well confirmation of it. i think if it had not occurred, he would have taken the opportunity to let that slip. his spokeswoman later said that he had not used that language. but at that point it wasn't particularly believable. but what was fascinating was what happened next. the president didn't let it pass. the president didn't brush it off. the president was furious. charlie: it is also noteworthy in axios this morning, in a.m. axios, which you have something to do with, there is a report that if in fact rex tillerson leaves, the person under serious consideration would be mike pompeo, the director of the c.i.a. and another fact i learned from your piece this morning, it is mike pompeo, the director of the c.i.a., who briefs the president personally, suggesting that he has a very good relationship. because often c.i.a. directors will have someone else.
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a briefer brief the president. >> yes. i'm so glad you pointed this out. this was news to me too when i was researching this story. with the other presidents i've covered, there was a briefer and he develops a very close personal relationship with that person. but at first people thought that rex tillerson sort of had a stay of execution. that even though the president was upset not only about him having said this, and the president definitely thinks that he said it, but more than that, the president was very upset that rex tillerson didn't just go out and deny it. he wanted him to just go out and say it wasn't true because he thought that would cut off the story. but here, and this is such a window into what's happening in the west wing, such a watch for your white house watch, the president got back from vegas, where he thought that he had done ok in his consoler in chief role. flips on his cable tv, is flipping around, and he doesn't see himself in vegas.
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sees rex tillerson talking about whether or not he called him a moron. the president was seething about this. very unhappy about this coverage. we're told that this relationship probably is irreparable. so what's going to happen so what's going to happen now? the new regime, the new white house chief of staff, general john kelly, had wanted stability. he doesn't want a shakeup. the president recognizes that it was not good for him. that's how this idea came out that you mentioned. what if you took the current c.i.a. director, mike pompeo, former congressman from kansas, first in his class at west point, and make him the secretary of state? so you have somebody who is already around the table in the situation room, and moving them over. someone the president is comfortable with. and charlie, they are not a lot of people that this president, staff people that president feels like he can have a peer to
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peer conversation with. that we are told he aks director pompeo's opinion on immigration and how congress works, all kinds of things and he does have that daily briefing. this would be a way to have a change in the way that the president feels comfortable, wouldn't cause any disruption, and it's someone whose foreign policy and views and opinions were much more aligned with the west wing than is currently the state with secretary tillerson. charlie: bringing this conversation full circle and back to the reference you made to the horrific tragedy in las vegas, where there are two questions coming out of that and we some remarkable aspects of responders and people who were there giving risk to their own life to save other people. lives for their other people. yes. charlie: you saw heroism, you saw sacrifice. and you saw a common spirit of how can we help? two questions come out of that. one is motive.
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why did this person do that? and we still don't know the answer to that. why did this person do that? second is, will it have any kind of impact in congress on gun control of any kind? is there a mood in the country today that might do, unlike other circumstances, produce some kind of change in our gun regulations? >> charlie, first on the motive and the shooter is turning out to be a much more complex character than people thought. it first turns out that he had characters in the hallway so he would know when people were coming for him. we saw today as i sat down here, a headline that he had purchased 1000 tracer rounds. we heard overnight and you covered the fact that he was looking at other cities. so, this is turning out to be a very complex operation. and charlie, as you know, the authorities definitely think he had help. so, i think there's a lot more for us to learn on that story. we have not had the final turn
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on that. on gun control, and here's where we can tell your viewers something very helpful. that is that what's being said about republicans and gun control is much less than meets the eye. much less than the media is making it sound like. the media's making it sound like, oh, all of a sudden republicans are for the first time, like, considering something because they're willing to consider legislation on this particular device that he used, the bump stock, which makes it possible for a gun to fire like an automatic weapon. this is what we call down home in north carolina, would you have heard this, cheap grace. that is that this is a way for republicans to say, oh, yeah, we get it. we're going to do something on guns. but this is completely an anomaly device. this is a device they didn't even know about it. it should not have been improved under the obama administration. so i think that that will be fixed. we see the n.r.a. for that. we see the white house for that. we see the leaders of congress saying that they're going to consider it.
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but, don't be confused by the headlines. that there is no crack in the underlying opposition to gun control on capitol hill. and charlie, that's because -- it is not about the nra. it is about gun owners. it is personal. this is about the bedrock piece of the republican base. and there's no sign in that. but i do think, and we talked about this in axios a.m. this, i do think there is a a leader that can talk about guns in a new way. we saw in trump's election that an unconventional politician can catch on. i think somebody who can say, we are not going to take your guns, but we are going to take this problem, and think about this uniquely american tragedy and problem in a new way. americans aren't going to give
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up their guns, but they are not giving up. charlie: thank you so much. >> happy weekend. charlie: see you next week. mike allen from washington. back in a moment. ♪ is this a phone?
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see how much you can save. choose by the gig or unlimited. xfinity mobile. a new kind of network designed to save you money. call, visit, or go to xfinitymobile.com. charlie: within the world of surfing, laird hamilton is king. he brought big wave surfing into the mainstream and he's revolutionized the sport. he's the subject of a new film
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"take every wave: the life of laird hamilton." here is a look at that trailer. >> you are looking at mother these mountains of water, crashing down with intensity that nobody has ever seen. hawaii's biggest swell in years. >> a storm with hurricane-force winds, it's the largest ever recorded. >> we heard it was undoable. it was just asking to die. >> i've been waiting a lifetime to ride this thing out here. >> legendary surfer laird hamilton has pioneered the sport of riding huge waves. >> he's fearless. >> we all thought he was crazy. >> laird could do things nobody had ever seen. >> when he's out there surfing, it was like he was in the backyard playing with toys. >> he's controversial. >> he's as radical as they come. >> a visionary. >> the legend starts as well. >> the broader surfing world has turned away from him. >> i was a little bit of a
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radical. >> full of testosterone. and just of notches. he would pop up in the air and fly and do a flip. >> he didn't care if he ate it or not. >> he created a monster. >> we're limited and we are but maybe less than we think. >> he was able to conquer that. that's what defines laird. >> we're subjected to mother nature. you made a mistake, you paid. when you did the right thing, you were rewarded. charlie: i'm pleased to have rory kennedy and laird at this table. so why did you want to make this film? >> i did not actually want to make a typical surfing documentary. what drew me to this story was laird. a greatn him was character. i felt there was a great story that was largely untold. charlie: and that story is? >> well, it is a story about
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somebody who has pushed the limits, both of the human limits and his own limits. and i think the limits of the sport as well. he's been an extraordinary innovator and he's changed the sport more than any person over the last 50 years. and i think you can argue that in any sport, looking across all the sports, what laird has done with surfing is pretty radical and individualized and pretty incredible. charlie: but at the core of it is something you love and something you have loved since you were how old? >> as early as i can remember. i've never not want to be a surfer and i can't remember not loving it, not wanting to always love it. charlie: what's the thrill? is the thrill the risk, or is the thrill something else? laird: the thrill is something else. the thrill is an act of nature.
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for me, it is the ultimate act in nature. the fact that it's thrilling and dangerous. charlie: how does it feel? >> it is part of nature. charlie: you were in the middle of -- when you are under -- >> a giant one. charlie: yeah, a giant one, what's the focus of your mind? >> the focus of your mind is still. you get still. get a certain calmness that is demanded of you to survive it. so, it forces you into a certain state that feels, i think feels somewhat primal and natural, like it feels a need to be in that situation, or i have been there many times before and it is something that makes me feel complete, like i feel i am
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actually accomplishing something here on the planet that i am supposed to be doing. charlie: you're supposed to be surfing? laird: i am. early onyou found out in the people you include in this film, one quality you had was fearlessness. rory: i think it is complicated. laird will do things nobody else will do and there seems to be from the outside a fearlessness when you look at it, and i think the reality and i think another thing that makes laird stand out is that he's extraordinarily disciplined. and i don't think he's reckless. you know, it's not somebody -- charlie: fearless does not mean to be reckless. rory: no, but this is where it's complicated. because i think he works with fear. he has a relationship with fear that he learns from. that's one of the things that drew me to the story.
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fear andve moments of how you handle it and how you work through it is arguably a spiritual a path, and a space where laird spends a lot of time in. charlie: who is bill hamilton? >> he was my step dad and my hero and my older brother and my competition, and a lot of different people. [laughter] rory charlie: it's great, though. your mother moved to hawaii. your dad left to go into the merchant marines. and then he became your mentor. everything. laird: yeah. big obligation for a 17-year-old. charlie: probably most influential person in your life as your mom. laird: yeah. sometimes the best way to influence is how not to. versus how to. charlie: take a look at this. this is another clip. we were talking about bill hamilton because it was so important in the beginning. >> my relationship with bill was
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so important. it was organic. it started in the surf. >> seeing laird playing in the water unattended. i said, what are you doing? he said he wanted to body surf. i said, you really want to learn how to body surf? he said, yeah. i said, ok. i said, hangon to my neck. i sawwam him out. we stand on the reef and wait for a wave to come and then leap into it and, you know, four, five of those and he was like, oh, my god! >> i remember the first time i got inside of a wave, in the tube, on his back. in surfing, that's the holy land, to be able to get inside of the wave, it's beyond explanation. >> we get out of the water and he looked at me and goes, i want you to be my dad. we walked down the beach and i see the beautiful brown-eyed 23-year-old woman. i just went -- i think, you know, it was my destiny.
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something happened. charlie: let's talk about the foil board. i mean, you come along, introduce the foil board. tell us what it is, how innovative it was and why you wanted to do it. laird: the foil board is a hydrofoil. it came off an existing instrument that was for a water ski boat called an air chair. it's a keel that allows the boat to lift up in the air and reduce the drag. charlie: it looks a bit like that. laird: yeah. there's an airplane under water actually that's attached to it. it makes the board fly. charlie: when you created this, what did the other surfers you respected think? laird: most of my friends initially were like, oh, what's laird up to again? i spent quite a lot of time doing it alone, which i have a tendency to do when we first discover things. i am on a bit of a solo path
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because people don't believe. then once they saw the way i could ride waves with it and what i could do with it, then other people started participating. but i've been doing it for close to 20 years, using a version of it. and only in the last two or three years has that gained momentum. charlie: in the last two or three years in terms of present time? laird: yes. people are actually -- now there's companies building them and the people are -- they're popular. and my main objective, like all of my objectives, has been basically either training for or ultimately trying to figure out how to ride the biggest waves in the world. and i know that the hydrofoil -- charlie: explain that to me. laird: in order to ride the biggest waves. [laughter] rory: foreign idea, huh? laird: in order to ride the biggest waves in the world i realized that conventional surf boards weren't going to be effective because of the texture and the speed that the waves move. ard so, the hydrofoil bo
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allowed me to lift up from the surface and not be affected by surface tension. if waves get up to 100 feet, they move faster than we're capable of being with them. so now we have to figure out other techniques. so, through towing and through hydrofoil boards, we can ride waves. charlie: explain towing. charlie: towing is a technique we developed that we use a water ski-like technique to propel ourselves onto waves that are physically too big and too -- charlie: to get you going. laird: right. a little bit like a space shuttle and an airplane. charlie: and purists began to question that too? [laughter] laird: oh, yeah. of course, because you buck the status quo. ,henever you shake the pillars people have a tendency to resist and a big part of that is because people don't want to change. charlie: of course. [laughter] charlie: that is why we have entrepreneurs and that is why we have change agents.
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are you still as good as you were at your best? how much you have slowed down? laird: you know, i have a fake hip, i have seven broken ankles, a ton of injuries. but i think i've never been in a better mental state for doing it because of the wholeness of my health, my family, my mental state, everything that is going on. if i lack a second or two in speed, i make up for in wisdom and patience. i'min a way for me, fortunate that i can say right now that i can perform at the highest level that i am capable of and i have ever been capable of. charlie: are you surfing a lot? laird: i am, yes. charlie: how popular is surfing now? rory: surfing is very popular. charlie: is it getting more popular? rory: yes, increasingly so. they're still finding new places to surf around the world and i think that with paddle boarding too, that's popularized, being out on water, on a board.
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charlie: it's a surf board with an oar. rory: exactly. that's drawn a huge number of people out onto the water as well. laird played a huge role. laird: that may be my biggest legacy. when it's said and done. that may be the thing. charlie: is wind surfing less popular today? laird: it is. because of kite surfing. charlie: because of kite surfing. laird: and there is an equipment barrier. there's a conditions barrier. there's just so many things that -- now the olympics are going to put surfing in it. they have a mechanical wave pool to produce waves so they can have an event on sunday at noon. there's ways surfing is becoming mechanized so that we can make it better for spectating. charlie: well, maybe on that point, but the other day i saw this thing. butied a long time ago, was never any good.
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but i just loved the idea. in fact, i was inspired, although the pictures in north carolina, to go back and bring this big picture of me on a surf board, just to show you how stunningly serious i was. because you have promised to give me lessons over christmas. laird: absolutely. it's a life long invitation. we're all surfers. i tell people, i go, listen, every human is a surfer. charlie: it's a metaphor for life? laird: absolutely. charlie: you don't do that male modeling stuff anymore, do you? laird: as little as i possibly can. [laughter] laird: hey, you have to subsidize your passion. charlie: it's given you everything. it's given you a life. laird: it has. charlie: it has given you a passion. laird: it has. charlie: you met your wife that way. laird: i did. charlie: it has been a wonderful -- laird: it has kept me from being incarcerated. [laughter] laird: or committed. [laughter] he would be even
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more famous because of her. they knew you were a great surfer. now they'll know what kind of human being you are. i think, from watching the film, and also knowing a little bit about the sport, it is that, you'll see what laird has, and he knows he has this, it's the thing that makes champions champions. the xthe extra thing, factor. you can just explain a life and you'll see it. you know that. it's that extra thing. laird: sometimes a burden. it's born. my step-dad said big wave riders are born and not made. and so you come from -- charlie: bill hamilton? laird: yes, when i grew up he said, you are just born that way. people are born with that drive. which is not always easy to live with, that relentless pursuit of something. it is hard for people to live with you.
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it is hard to live with. [laughter] charlie: exactly. it is a competitiveness. it really is. rory: i think that laird was really born with it because there are stories about him when he was very little, three and a half, where he would sneak out from his naptime, climb out the window, down the tree and straight out into the ocean to pipeline, which was some of the biggest surf in the world at the time, and the lifeguards would call his mother and say, he's out in the surf again. and she would say, no, he's sleeping in his bed. it happened so many times that they tied him down with a break and they tied a rope to the end of the brick and would pull him in by the rope. laird: they devised an anchoring technique because napping wasn't working. charlie: we have all this footage. i want to show this here. this is sam george, former editor of "surfer magazine," talking about you and the crew and how you have changed big wave surfing. here it is. >> the thing was, they were
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still riding the bay almost exactly as they were riding it 30 years earlier. so big wave surfing was the least innovative aspect of the sport. six miles up the road, laird and his crew, they were about to take the greatest quantum leap that has happened in the sport in the last 100 years. >> i come into a summer where it's me, buzzy and derek, a lifeguard, big wave rider, we're like the three musketeers. we're playing around and then boredom sets in and a lot of ideas come out of boredom. and we start wakeboarding. we're using our surf boards. we start riding behind the boat. and there's a little bit of a swell. either i towed somebody or they let go or i was being towed and i let go, but we started playing around with it and get technique down. at that point i had the epiphany, like, you know, we could get towed onto waves.
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charlie: and we talked about that. it was a huge innovation too. tell me about jaws. laird: yup, it was a wave that was really being unridden on maui. and the technique of being towed in allowed us to go out to this wave. charlie: and catch it early. laird: yeah, and get onto it on a board that was designed to go faster and have better performance. and through that, that relationship with jaws, we developed flotation device, rescue techniques that have allowed modern surfers to go out and try to manually paddle into these waves. charlie: and find bigger waves. roll tape. this is our last clip. here it is. ♪ i towed laird the first time
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on a couple waves out there. we tried our technique and, wow, this wave is really good. the way it comes in, it's a really good setup. ♪ >> that was like the wave that was designed for it. the technique. the wave was moving at another gear. and there was nobody there. ♪ >> i rode three of the baddest, biggest waves that i'd ever ridden before. and after having all this adrenaline rushing, i peaked. >> it became jaw. that's the nickname we named it. spitting, regurgitating. horrifying. >> you're look at mother nature
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build these mountains of water that are crashing down with intensity that nobody's ever seen. and because i was hanging out with the wrong people at that time, namely laird, i had to go challenge it. [laughter] charlie: now are you going to go to another sport next for your next film? rory: i'm going to outer space. we are doing a documentary about nasa. charlie: oh, terrific. rory: from the depths of the ocean to outerspace. laird: they are also the leaders in climate change. rory: yes, and looking at the health of the ocean. charlie: how is your mom? rory: thank you for asking. my mother is great. i did a documentary about her as well, great to see you. charlie: all right. thank you for joining us. laird: we have your surfboard waxed up. charlie: thank you for joining us. we'll see you next time.
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>> you are watching "bloomberg technology. let's have a check of your first word news. the white house is finalizing an executive order that would expand health plans offered by associations to allow individuals to pull together and buy insurance outside their state. president trump could sign the order this week. epa administrator scott pruitt says the trump administration will abandon the obama-era clean power plan aimed at reducing global warming. pruitt says he will sign a proposal to mount to withdraw the plan that is aimed at restricting greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

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