tv Bloomberg Businessweek Debrief A Conversation With Justin Trudeau Bloomberg August 9, 2019 6:00pm-6:31pm EDT
>> you have been in north korea. you have spoken with the leader. what kind of person is he? >> i have spent more time with him than any american. i passed dennis rodman on the last trip. tweetedpresident has unfavorable things about some people working for him. he has not tweeted unfavorably about you. >> it is early. >> sometimes when people get close to the president and see the job up close, they think i could do that. has that occurred to you?
would you have any interest in running for president? >> i have never been able to predict what my next gig will be . >> would you fix your tie? >> people wouldn't recognize me if my tie was fixed. all right. >> i don't consider myself a journalist. i began to take on the life of being an interviewer, even though i have a day job of running a private equity firm. how do you define leadership? >> what is it that makes ?omebody tick 70th secretary of state in april. as yous happy a job
thought it would be? what are the biggest challenges right now? >> i get this question all the time about the rank order of challenges. ands about priority resources. how do you allocate time and think about the problems. task when ifirst came in now, into the state department after having been the cia director was making sure the state department was ready in a moment of crisis. every morning the first thing i do is read about china. i take time and talk about all the broad array of issues that present opportunity for the united states and risk to america. david: let's talk about china. the trade negotiations are going on. you are not the lead. rob lighthizer is taking the
lead. can you make any progress in on issues until the trade issue is resolved? mike: yeah. we have made some. other places, we have gone backwards. the chinese have been there he helpful on north korea. they have done more to enforce the un security council resolutions on north korea than any time in history. they are helpful with us today in afghanistan and projects there, too. so far, so good with respect to respecting our sanctions enforcement on the islamic republic of iran. there are places we can work with china. there are lots of diplomatic fronts where we don't share the same values, but we have overlapping interests. david: you have met with the leader of north korea. you have been there with the president. what type of person is he? does he have interesting thoughts? does he speak english? can you summarize what your impression is.
mike: i've spent more time with him than any american. i passed dennis rodman on the last trip. [laughter] david: ok. mike: he's bright. he has managed to rise to the level of leadership in a difficult environment where he was a very young man when his time came. from my first interaction with him, he has been candid with me about the things that are important to him, how the negotiations might proceed. he's repeated that he's prepared to denuclearize. it's now time to execute. i hope that we can achieve denuclearization. david: do you expect a third summit anytime soon? mike: there is nothing in the works. david: why did the last summit end before the lunch occurred? why did it abruptly end? mike: there was a big spread, to put it in economic terms.
we had had a number of conversations about a broad range of issues. my team had worked hard. it turned out that the idea that the leaders could bridge that gap in that moment turned out to not work that day. david: do you think -- the u.s. position has been that we would not lift sanctions until there was denuclearization. would you be willing to consider having the north koreans keep what they have in nuclear weapons now and lift sanctions if they did do more? mike: too hypothetical. i'll say this. i've talked about this publicly. we hope that there are creative solutions. this is a very difficult challenge. these aren't u.s. sanctions. they are un security council resolutions. they are global sanctions. we are mindful that we are the steward for enforcing those. david: let's go to an easier part of the world. the middle east. [laughter] david: the strait of hormuz.
are we committed to keeping open the straits of hormuz at any cost militarily? mike: we're going to keep them open. we're going to build out a maritime security plan. countries all over the world with a vested interest will participate. if it will take more time, i'm confident that the world understands that it's important. america is prepared to be a significant part of that. david: our position is that if a u.s. ship were taken by the iranians, we would do something militarily, i guess. what about if a ship is taken that is a british or some other nationality? are we not committed to recovering that ship? mike: i was working with -- i guess my third british foreign minister.
working with the british to find solutions to right that injustice and to prevent it from happening again. that's the mission set. david: you gave a visa for the foreign minister of iran to come to the united states. were there any talks with him in the state department about anything? mike: no talks. david: ok. mike: he spoke. the american media decided to give him a megaphone to talk about things that are untrue in iran. gave him a chance to lie to the american people. i look forward to the chance to speak to the iranian people in the same way. but truthfully. so far, they have not taken me up on that offer. david: president trump has imposed tough sanctions on iran. will they have the effect of bringing iran to the negotiating table or not? mike: we have to step back and
think about what we are doing more broadly in the middle east. with iran as the largest state sponsor of terror, they have the capacity to work towards a nuclear weapon system which would cause proliferation risks. we are concerned about that as well. our chosen strategy was to take 180 degree turn from what the previous administration has done. they created opportunity for a enormous wealth for the kleptocrats in iran. in yemen, the parties are preparing to continue their attacks on saudi arabia. we are trying to reduce their resources to conduct terror campaigns all around the world. we have been incredibly effective. i'm sure no one in this room but many in washington said that american sanctions alone won't work. they have worked. we have taken over 95% of the crude oil that was being shipped all around the world, we have taken it off of the market.
when i came in, brent crude was at 63.34. 17% lower than when we drove the jcpoa. we have managed to protect the economic growth. david: the prospect of another iranian agreement, one that is more favorable to your point of view, is that likely to happen this year? mike: i don't do time. timelines are a fool's errand, in my business. david: the iranians are now enriching uranium at a greater level than before. are you worried that israel will attack those facilities? mike: they are enriching more than they were under the agreement. their temporary reduction in enriched uranium has now ended. they are moving back in the wrong direction. we are urging them to think about it. it's not about these levels set in the jcpoa. it's about the capacity to build
out a nuclear weapon system in the timeframe that matters to you and your kids and grandkids. the previous agreement didn't remotely touch that. david: you were the head of the cia at the beginning of the administration. do you have doubt that the russians interfered with our last presidential election? mike: none. and the one before that. and the one before that. and the one before that. and the one in 2018. ♪
david: in the middle east, do you see prospect for peace between israel and the palestinians? there has been talk of a plan. do you see any progress being made? mike: there's a reason it hasn't been solved for 40 years or more. in the end, this will be the decision of the prime minister of israel and the leadership in the west bank and gaza. i have been deeply involved in mr. kushner's efforts there. david: does our position, do we prefer a one-state or two-state solution? mike: you will see our plan shortly. david: will you give us a hint? mike: no. [laughter] mike: we prefer what the palestinians and israelis agree
to and what the nature of that relationship will look like. david: negotiations are underway with the taliban. the u.s. is involved in that. do you see any prospect of reducing our need to be in afghanistan? mike: real progress. i try not to do timelines. but i'm optimistic. we are not just negotiating with the taliban. that's the story. the truth is, we are talking to all afghans. i spoke with mr. rohani. speaking with the opposition, the folks not in the government. the abbasid has worked all across afghanistan. when i was there last time, i
met with women's groups, ngos, a broad swath of afghanistan. we want them to take their country back. we want to reduce expenditures and enormous risk to your kids and your grandkids. we think there's a path to reduce violence and achieve reconciliation and make sure that the american counterterrorism effort has reducing risks. david: for the next presidential election, do we reduce our troops in afghanistan? mike: that's my directive from the president of the united states. and the endless wars. he has been unambiguous. it won't just be us. david: on russia, you've met with mr. putin many times. any impressions you might want to convey? is he smart? very tough? does he have an interpreter? mike: i think he speaks english plenty well. he's clear about the things that are in russia's interest. we have a strategic dialogue
with them that we hope will build into something that handles abroad set of proliferation issues, a broad array. we hope china will join that set of conversations. we think in today's world, these agreements need to have china be part of them. i hope that president will support us. i think he will. david: you were the head of the cia. do you have any doubt that the russians interfered with our last presidential election? mike: none. david: okay, and have -- mike: and the one before that and the one before that and the one before that. and the one in 2018. people forget we have had an election since 2016. the people who ran in 2018 cared about us protecting that one. we did so effectively. we'll do so again in 2020. i know this town, i know what will get reported. it ain't just russia. there are more nations than just russia who are attempting to undermine western democracy. that has been true since the founders created this great nation.
we have to be vigilant. david: there is legislation that passed the house and is now in the senate to give more resources to keep the russians from being able to do this again. is the administration supportive of the legislation? it is blocked in the senate. mike: i don't know the details. i'm convinced the state department has all the resources it needs. we have what we need. we have the authorities, the money we need. david: have you communicated to mr. putin that we don't like what he has done before and he shouldn't do it again? mike: on a number of occasions. david: what his response? mike: noted. [laughter] that's a diplomatic term for, i hear you brother. [laughter] david: he doesn't admit anything, i assume. with respect to england, there's a new prime minister. you have met boris johnson before?
mike: i met him when i was the cia director. he was foreign secretary at the time. david: does the trump administration support a brexit? would you prefer a remain? do you not take a position? mike: i have confidence in the british people. david: the british ambassador had to resign because his tables were leaked by somebody. do you tell your on ambassadors they should be more careful about what they say? somebody could leak what they are writing. mike: not at all, and if i did, they would ignore me. they have a duty and responsibility. our task is for them to tell us what we are seeing. we expect them to report candidly. our mission is to make sure they don't end up in the washington post. david: when people get close to a president, they say, i can do that job. has that occurred to you? that you could do the job? would you have any interest in running for president at some point in your life? mike: i try to answer this consistently.
david: in respect to mexico, we have been concerned about people coming over the border. are you confident that the mexican government is doing what it can to keep people from not coming over the border? mike: they are. david: are they doing enough? mike: it's not enough. we still have the high side of 2000 everyday. it's unacceptable. they need to do more. we need to do more.
congress needs to change the rules. we have to create a deterrent. it has to be the case that those who want to come here legally can. those who want to come by some other mechanism choose not to because they understand they will not find a way. people would call my office and say, they want to come here and get citizenship. i won't tell you the joke. the simplest way to do it would be to go to mexico and come on. you want to encourage them to file the paperwork, go to the lawful process. become citizens. we are the most welcoming nation in the world. we will always be. it's not the case that we can be lawless or have our sovereignty broken through having this mass immigration. there's a national security risk. david: venezuela, will the usn troops in if that was necessary to keep further violence from occurring?
mike: he tried to get me at the beginning. now at the end. the president has said clearly, we will do whatever it takes to make sure the venezuelan people get democracy back. david: president trump has sometimes tweeted things that are not favorable about people working for him. he's never tweeted anything unfavorable about you. mike: it's early. [laughter] david: what is the secret of your success in your relationship? you didn't know him before he was elected. mike: i did not. i met him the day i interviewed to be cia director. david: who recommended you? mike: i don't know for sure. david: the cia doesn't have the ability to figure out who recommended you? [laughter] you should figure that out. mike: you'd never believe the cia only does foreign espionage. [laughter] david: somebody recommended you. mike: i think the vice president was likely the person who i had known and served with as a member of congress. david: did you say, i like the job but i would like to be
secretary of state? did this come as a surprise? mike: it was a complete surprise. i was honored to serve as director of central intelligence agency. david: some people say that you should run for the senate from kansas. mitch mcconnell has twisted your arm a few times. can you say definitively that you will not run? the filing date is june of 2020, as you probably know. mike: thank you for reminding me. david: would you consider that? mike: it's off the table. it's a practical matter. i will serve as secretary of state every day i get the chance to do so. we all serve at the pleasure of the president. i have enormous respect for director coates. he served nobly. there's a time for everyone. i'll buy i get to do this for a while longer. david: sometimes when people get close to a president, they say, i can do that job.
has that occurred to you, that you could do the job? would you have any interest in running for president at some point in your life? mike: i try to answer this consistently, i have never been able to predict what my next gig will be. i suspect that is the case. i will say this. 20 years in federal service. in the army, congress, executive branch. it has been a blessing. i feel an obligation. america has given me a lot. if i thought i could do a good turn, there's nothing i wouldn't consider doing for america. david: let's suppose the president is reelected. would you be willing to serve as secretary of state for four years of a second term? mike: i haven't thought about it yet. hard to know, hard to answer those questions. the real question is, would the president still want mike pompeo as secretary of state? david: when you have decisions for the president, is he best
with oral or written communications? what is the process by which decisions are made? mike: there's a very robust nfc process. when i brief him myself, i prefer to have documents. that's the way i prefer to receive information. i always bring something, a one-page summary at least. here's the outline of what i think are the priorities. the president does like to engage in oral exchanges. i have found them to be illucidating for myself. he has been focused on where the money is and how we use economic leverage to achieve our diplomatic ends. david: except when kissinger was secretary of state and national security advisor, generally, there has been tension between secretary of state and nationals agree advisors. how was your relationship with john bolton? mike: there's always tensions among leaders of different organizations. we come at these things from a
different viewpoint. ambassador bolton has his responsibilities to make sure all the ideas are vetted. secretary of treasury, energy, they each have their own mission sets. we have lively debates. i agree with each of them often and disagree with most of them sometimes. david: you were first in your class at west point. that is pretty tough. what happened to all the other people? have they become anything? mike: one of them as secretary of defense. [laughter] he's a classmate of mine as well. i give them a rough time about our relative order of finish. david: you went to harvard law school. why did you abandon the practice of law? mike: i had a great opportunity. i had great partners i worked for. i enjoyed my time there. i went to law school later. i had a chance to start a business in kansas with three of my best friends. it was a machine shop.
i spent the next 15 years there. david: you once told me you were negotiating with somebody on the opposite side of that deal. the person ended up being your wife. mike: true. took my money twice. [laughter] david: ok. what is the best part about being secretary of state? mike: i love susan. we are still married. everything is good. [laughter] david: you had to say that. otherwise -- mike: i have friends in the room who are texting her right now. david: the best part of being secretary of state is what? mike: you get a chance to help ordinary americans understand we are doing and try to deliver them an environment where fewer kids have to be in armed conflict. that is our mission set every day. david: what is the worst part? mike: i haven't figured that out yet. i'm enjoying every minute of what i'm doing. i feel i have been given a remarkable privilege to serve you and trying to do my best. david: thank you so much for your service and coming here today. mike: thank you all very much. [applause]
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