tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC April 2, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT
starting right now on "this week" with george stephanopoulos, the kremlin cloud. >> this is not fake news. >> as the former national security adviser asks for immunity. >> does the president think mike flynn is guilty of a crime? >> he believes mike flynn should go testify. >> the president calling it a witch hunt and not taking any questions. >> any comment on michael flynn? mr. president? >> thank you. >> will flynn strike a deal and sit before congress? what could he reveal about a possible russian connection? how much damage has this done to president trump's agenda? and -- >> we will never reveal sources and methods. >> why all the cloak and dagger stuff? >> is the leader into the russian investigation too close to the white house? tough questions ahead for trump's u.n. ambassador, nikki
haley. former secretary of defense, ash carter. a top republican critic, senator john mccain. >> from abc news, it's "this week." here now, co-anchor martha raddatz. good morning. in the tenth week of his presidency, after the disastrous collapse of the obamacare repeal, donald trump needed a rebound. but instead of bouncing back, trump is still stuck in the russian mud. the endless questions. the shape-shifting investigations. mike flynn's attempt to cut an immunity deal. the swirl of suspicion and distraction. now the gray cloud looking more and more like an oncoming storm. by saturday, instead of moving forward with his america first agenda, trump was right back where he started. digging in deeper on his baseless charge that president obama wire-tapped trump tower. asking when the media will start
talking about the obama surveillance scandal, and stop with the fake trump/russia story. all this comes as trump prepares to face a week of serious and urgent global challenges. from the raging battles in syria and iraq with u.s. lives on the line in the fight against isis, facing a full-blown crisis with north korea. and with a critical meeting with china's president days away, this hour, we'll dig into the dangers the russian investigations pose to the president. and we'll confront how trump's struggles could affect america's place in the world. with three influential voices. ash carter joins us exclusively. he's the highest ranking member of president obama's cabinet to speak out since trump took office. and armed services committee chair, senator john mccain, now breaking with trump on a range of critical issues. we begin with the first sunday morning interview with a member of donald trump's core foreign policy team. u.s. ambassador to the united
nations nikki haley. ambassador haley, thank you for joining us this morning. >> good morning, martha. >> i want to start with russia. president trump has been tweeting again this week end, calling the trump/russia story fake news. do you think it's fake news? phony? a total scam, as the president says? >> i can tell you, martha, that things are very busy at the united nations. what i'm focused on is the chatter that the international community is saying. not the chatter going on in d.c. and so what i can tell you is that i talk with countries, whether it's the arab states or in the middle east, they talk about how they're glad to see us fighting against iran. i talk with different countries in reference to syria. we talk about getting the iranian influence out. north korea the pressure we need and china. they're happy we're finally beating up on russia for what they've done in the ukraine.
those are the focuses and conversations i've had. people are talking to me that they're very happy to see the united states lead again. >> ambassador haley, this has to affect the u.s. relationship with russia. what are you seeing? >> well, i can tell you that in my dealings with russia, in particular at the united nations, we beat up on them because we thought what they did with crimea and what is happening in ukraine is wrong. we called them out for it. what we've said is that they're not being helpful in the way that they and iran are covering up for assad. we don't think that's helpful. we need their pressure in dealing with isis. we need their help in dealing with china and north korea. there are things we work with russia on. there are things when they do something wrong, i have no problem calling them out on it. >> what do you think should happen to russia for hacking into the u.s. election, for trying to influence the u.s. election? >> first, the facts need to come out. that whole process needs to take place. >> what facts haven't come out? 17 u.s. intelligence agencies said they did that. do you believe them? >> certainly, i think russia was
involved in the election. there's no question about that. i think when they finish with the process, yes, they need to address russia. they need to act. and they need to make sure they're loud about it. we don't want any country involved in our elections ever. so once that information comes out, i expect that that will be handled accordingly. what everybody at the united nations is talking about is what will happen with north korea. how are we going to deal with the crisis in syria? what are we doing to wage the war on isis? >> let's stay on russia. president trump says he respects putin. you say you don't trust him. you've said the u.s. needs to take hacking seriously. president trump has been dismissive of it. which one of you should our allies and adversaries believe? >> i think we're both saying the same thing. it's just being reported differently. if you look at russia and us calling them out. president trump has agreed, this administration agrees russia's involvement in ukraine is wrong.
and i think that if you listen to what he said about the elections -- of course we don't want any country involved in our elections. i think that russia is very aware that they're on notice when it comes to certain issues. they're very aware that we do want to try to defeat isis together, if that's at all possible, along with our allies. but there's no love or anything going on with russia right now. they get that we're getting our strength back. that we're getting our voice back. we're starting to lead again. at the united nations, that's the number one comment i get. they're so happy to see the united states lead again. >> you really think that you and president trump are saying the same things? let me tell you one thing president trump recently said. he defended putin after fox news bill o'reilly called him a killer saying, there are a lot of killers. do you think our country is so innocent? how does the u.s. maintain its role as the moral conscience of the world, to use your words this week, if the president
won't condemn what is happening inside russia? >> well, martha, this is what i can tell you. the president has not once called me and said, don't beat up on russia. has not once called and said what to say. >> but he isn't beating up on russia. should he be beating up on russia? again, how does -- >> i am. >> so he doesn't need to? >> he's got a lot of things he's doing. he's not stopping me from beating up on russia. he's not stopping me from talking about the pressure china needs to be putting on north korea. he's not stopping me with how we're working together to defeat isis. right now, general mattis and i are working on stability. the president has not disagreed with one thing i've said. that means he supports everything i'm saying. i'm going along with everything i know this administration believes in. >> you take over the rotating presidency of the u.n. security council this month. let me read some things you say you want. you say you want to emphasize the role of human rights. you intend to challenge members not just to talk the talk but walk the walk. russia is going to be at that
table having supported syria's president assad in killing syrian civilians which you have called war crimes. putin has jailed and killed dissidents in his own country. you talk tough. but again, doesn't president trump have to start talking tough? >> he has his people talking tough. and that's what we're doing. is, right now, we're saying whatever we need to say. look, he's the president. he can say what he wants when ever he wants. the direction we've gotten is to do our jobs. make sure the united states is strong. that's what we'll do. human rights is very important. if you look at the syrian conflict, how did it start? it was a group of teenagers that were the ages of 10 to 15. they went and spraypainted graffiti about their government on a wall. with that, the police came in, picked up those boys. beat them up, pulled their nails out. kept them overnight, and returned them bloody to their parents. their parents went to the streets and protested.
other parents saw that and responded. that led to the overall conflict in syria because the government wasn't treating their people well. >> you say your team -- >> human rights is a big important part of how to prevent conflict in the first place if we focus on how the governments are treating their people. >> so what will you do about russia? what will you do about them not just walking the walk but -- not just talking the talk but walking the walk? how will you hold them accountable? you say you have a results-oriented team. how will that manifest itself with russia? >> the way that we already have. we called them out on ukraine. we're having this human rights hearing. i'm sure there will be a vote of who wants it, who doesn't. we expect to watch and see what countries don't want to have it. we fully expect this hearing will take place. this is not about keeping countries happy. this is about keeping the united states strong. in order to do that, we have to have the backs of our
allies. we have to call out wrongs when we see them. we have to try to move policies. that's what we're doing at the united nations. it's a new day at the united nations in that we're not afraid to talk. we'll say what we think. we'll move the ball. that's what this is about. i'm very excited to be taking the presidency of the security council. because i think we can even more push how the united states feels about issues in the world and we can show how strong we are. >> let's talk about syria more. you and secretary of state tillerson have said that assad leaving power is no longer a priority. let me return to your comments about human rights and your charge that assad has committed war crimes. do we just let that go? >> assad is always a priority. that is not an issue. he's a war criminal. he's done terrible things to his own people. he's used chemical weapons on his own people. he continues to be a hindrance to peace in syria. that is something the administration strongly believes. in addition to that, we need to start putting pressure on russia and iran in terms of the fact that we need to get iran out of
there. we need to get the iranian influence out of there. >> but assad can stay in power? assad can stay in power. that's not a priority? >> no, our goal is we want to bring assad to justice. we want him to pay for the crimes he's done. we're going to continue to let russia know how dangerous it is to keep assad in power. in addition to that, we're going to fight isis. we're going to try to bring stability back to the area. you don't have to have one or the other. we have a lot of important issues. assad is not going away. we're not going to stop beating up on him. not going to stop saying the way he treats the people in syria is wrong. that he's killed his own people. and america will never stand for that. >> that sounds like talk. ambassador haley. that sounds like talk. not walk. >> oh, no. the walk is there. if you go and look at what we're trying to do in syria. it's only been two months. look how much difference we have made in the united nations in two months. we're calling out russia when we need to. we're working on pushing iranian influence out when it comes to
syria. we're talking about the pressure on china that needs to happen with north korea. we're also moving things. we have changed the israel bias. it's happened at the united nations. making sure we call out anyone that focuses on that as opposed to focussing on the conflicts. we made sure that a ridiculous report comparing israel to apartheid state was pulled down. the director resigned. we're changing the culture at the united nations, with that, we're changing the culture in the world. in the discussions that we're having. we're going to be strong. we have already started leading as it comes to this administration. we're going to continue to do that. i'm very confident. i walk the halls of the united nations. i talk with my colleagues. i know what the ambassadors are saying. an what -- and what they're saying is, they're happy to see us leading against iran. happy to see us putting pressure on china when it comes to north korea. >> we have a couple more minutes, sorry to interrupt you there. i do want to get to north korea. north korea is supposedly just about to do its sixth nuclear test. what should we do about north
korea? >> no longer take the excuses from china that they're concerned, too. they need to show us how concerned they are. they need to put pressure on north korea. the only country that can stop north korea is china. and they know that. and i think that you saw when secretary tillerson went to beijing, that was a way of putting pressure. you'll see president trump meet with president xi. and a lot of conversation. and the most important conversation will be how we're going to be dealing with the nonproliferation of north korea. >> if china doesn't cooperate? >> oh, no. they have to cooperate. do we want to see these attacks from north korea? or does china want to do something about it? and this is all about the fact that they need to have action. we're going to continue to put pressure on china to have action. that will be shown in multiple ways. what we're going to do is say, china, you know that you're the only one that's doing this. we appreciate that you stopped coal go into north korea. but we know it's going in in other ways.
at some point, we need to see definitive actions by china condemning north korea. >> how do you view china? president trump has said in the past he views china as an enemy, at least an economic enemy. >> i think what you have to look at is, china and russia play very different roles. they're both getting involved across the world in all different pockets. their tentacles are everywhere. russia is doing it in elections, military actions. trying to get involved in conversations. china is doing it economically. if you look at their infrastructure, they're everywhere in the world now. they want to continue to do it. so they have a stronghold. we need to say that's fine, if they're going to continue to do that, they're going to have to be accountable for the things they are responsible for. we think north korea is one of those that they need to be held accountable for. >> thank you, ambassador. >> thank you. thanks so much. let's take all of that to former defense secretary ash carter, the highest ranking member of president obama's cabinet to sit for an interview since donald trump took the oath of office.
he's now a professor of technology and global affairs and the director of the belfor center at harvard university. and secretary carter joins us now. good morning, secretary carter. >> great to be here. >> great to have you here. let's go right to the interview with ambassador haley. you heard ambassador haley talk about what to do with north korea. she says china has to take steps to contain north korea. does the president's criticism of china putting the missile system in south korea make this more difficult to get china to take action? >> china, i have been working on the north korea problem since 1994. we have consistently asked chinese leaders, i have spoken to chinese leaders, because they uniquely have the historical and the economic relationship with north korea to make a difference. they haven't used that influence. and, so, it's hard for me to be optimistic that --
>> it didn't work with the obama administration. >> nor the bush administration before, or the clinton administration before. and this is on china. and there's a reason why they don't do that. and i think, pause i am rather pessimistic that they will take that course, i think we need to stand strong. with deterrents and defense there. we have 28,500 u.s. troops there. our slogan there is fight tonight. we don't want that. but we need to be ready to do that. >> but they've been there the entire time -- >> but defenses like that. but in order to defend ourselves. and the territory of our friends, and allies. >> back to the question about what the trump administration is doing. they're clearly being quite afwresz -- aggressive about this. donald trump has essentially made a red line. saying north korea will not get a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the united states.
what do you see happening from here because of that aggressive stance? >> well, i -- we're not the cause of -- north korean aggression or their missile program. i mean, we're not the cause of that. this has been going on for quite some time. we have to protect ourselves. at the same time, i think it's worth while to put pressure on china. to play this role. it's been unwilling to play. now the reason it's unwilling to play this role is even though they see in the long run this leads to danger in the short run, they're fearful of the collapse of north korea. or a war on the korean peninsula. which would result in, since we will defeat north korea and would destroy the regime, would create a unified korea allied with the united states on their border. >> would you support military action? a preemptive strike by the trump administration? is that a good idea? >> if it comes to the necessity
to protect ourselves, we have always had all options on the table. i wouldn't take any off. >> but preemptive strike? we're talking about. >> we had in 1994, i worked on a preemptive strike plan, which we did not need to carry out at that time, on the research facility. we have those options. we shouldn't take them off the table. >> how do you think north korea would respond? >> to a -- >> a preemptive strike on a launch pad, say. >> it's quite possible, as a consequence of that, they would launch an attempted invasion of south korea. as i said, i'm confident of the outcome of that war. which would be the defeat of north korea. but martha, i need to caution you. this is a war that would have an intensity of violence associated with it. that we haven't seen since the last korean war. seoul is right there on the
borders of the dmz. so even though the outcome is certain, it is a very destructive war. one needs to proceed carefully. that's why we're emphasizing so strongly our own deterrent posture and deterrent strength. so north korea knows that. >> you heard ambassador haley say president trump can say whatever he wants because he has his people talking tough. these two different messages coming from ambassador haley and others and president trump. what do you think about what president trump says about russia and his constant tweets? >> i think in strategic affairs, clarity and consistency are very important. i hope that over time things settle down and one sees more clarity and consistency here. i mean, this is our government. and, our foreign policy. we all need to wish it success. but there does need to be
clarity and consistency. with respect to the russians, they need to hear that from the united states. if we have for decades now, and i have dealt with the russians for 35 years. we have from time to time been able to -- even though we have different interests -- to align them. that alignment has become more and more difficult under putin. you see that in ukraine. in the middle east. to an extent where he actually defines russian success as thwarting the united states. it's difficult to build a bridge to that motivation. >> let me go to something. george stephanopoulos spoke to putin's spokes person, dmitry peskov this week. asked him if we're in a new cold war. this is the response he got. >> new cold war? maybe even worse. maybe even worse, taking into account actions of the present
presidential administration. >> worse than the cold war? >> well, of course. of course. >> do you agree with that? >> well, i came up during the cold war. and during the cold war, it was soviet union, the russian leaders behaved carefully and leaders behaved carefully and predictably. they didn't engage in nuclear saber-rattling. they were able to work with us and align their interests where possible. that's not happening -- >> do you think the obama administration bears responsibility for the low in the relationship? >> this goes back to the beginning of vladimir putin taking power a long time ago. it seems to be in his nature. as i said, i've actually -- when i was working and boris yeltsin was the president of russia, vladimir putin was in the room when we had meetings. i think it's part of his nature to define russian success many
foreign policy as thwarting the united states. that's in his nature. that is very difficult to align with strategically. >> we have a couple of seconds. i have two quick questions. do you have any concerns about the president or any of his advisers' relationship with russia? i know you know mike flynn. >> i do know mike flynn. i worked with him in afghanistan. we worked hard together. what we know is that russia meddled with and attempted to influence the outcome of our elections. we know that. the intelligence community did a very careful, pain staking job. >> do you have concerns? >> people are launching investigations now on whether there were americans involved in that. i don't know. and can't say. we have a law enforcement investigation going on by the fbi. and another one in the senate, a bipartisan one. and, so, i'm sure -- >> we'll have to wait and see. very quickly.
we have ten seconds here, sir. i know you're doing important stuff at harvard. trying to light a fire under the tech industry. >> it is. it's a fire that's already there. i want to get the tech industry as they were in world war ii and after world war ii and the next generation to take more of an interest in public purpose. not just defense. i tried to build bridges between the pentagon and the tech world because i thought it was important to defense's future. i think it's important to america's future, the future of the american dream, our people, the unity and purpose and cohesion of our society that everybody feel like the pace of change is not just dizzying. but it can work for them and not against them. younger generations. >> more than the dating apps. we're going to have to leave it there. >> not just apps. public purpose. there's a hunger for that in the innovative community. i want to build a bridge to that on behalf of all of us. >> thanks so much for joining
us. much more on trump's russian challenges. we'll hear from putin's right-hand man again in moscow. and one of trump's toughest republican critics in congress. senator john mccain. plus in the shadow of his health care defeat, what effect will the questions about russia have on president trump's agenda? our special panel is standing by to weigh in. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ what we do every night is like something out of a strange dream.
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system very similar. he cites conspiracies. he cites falsehoods. to use them against adversaries. as long as he continues to do that, not only can we not counter russian measures, we're promoting them. >> he's using the same tactics as the russians? >> yes. >> clinton watts. a veteran of the army, fbi, and west point's combatting terrorism center delivered explosive testimony before the senate intelligence committee this week. echoing what he told our mary bruce there. that president trump parroted russian propaganda. and made it more effective. i'll talk to senator john mccain about that allegation and much more next. to senator john mccain about that allegation and much more next.
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he will eliminate his opponents and anyone who stands up for democracy and freedom. and he does so with relative impunity. >> senator john mccain with strong words about russian president vladimir putin. senator mccain will join us in a moment. his accusation is fiercely denied by russia. as is the finding from u.s. intelligence agencies that russia sought to undermine and influence the 2016 presidential election. my colleague, george stephanopoulos, talked to kremlin spokesperson dmitry dmi peskov. they started with michael flynn's request for immunity. >> michael flynn is now seeking immunity to talk to the fbi. his lawyer says he has a story to tell. are you concerned about anything he might say about his contacts with russia? >> no.
we're not. any blame that russia could have been interfering in domestic affairs of the united states is slander. and it has no evidence at all. >> well, general flynn did have documented contacts with russian officials, including ambassador kislyak. it's now been reported they doesed u.s. sanctions against russia. you initially denied that. do you now accept that they did in fact discuss sanctions? >> listen, our ambassador in washington is performing his job 100%. he's a brilliant diplomat. but he's not a spy. this is a perverted perception of ambassador's job to say every contact with russian ambassador is potentially dangerous. and potentially can be put in line of activities interfering.
in can -- in domestic affairs. >> it was rather unusual for president putin not to retaliate after those sanctions were imposed by president obama. did that failure to retaliate have anything to do with a message that general flynn gave to ambassador kislyak? >> sanctions or ease of lifting sanctions or imposing sanctions, any promises, could not be an issue of those -- of those contacts. because none of them -- neither ambassador kislyak nor general flynn -- could have been involved in decisionmaking. >> you have said that president putin and president trump are very much alike in their basic approach to international relations. how so? >> they both insist on their priority as national interests. and they understand pretty well that sometimes, it is in your national interest to conduct good relationship with your counterpart. ensuring that those relationships are mutually
beneficial and that you're really ready to take into account each other's concerns. this is a great similarity between them. >> that now infamous dossier prepared by christopher steel said the russian federation, president putin, has compromising information on president trump. your response? >> uh -- well -- it's against -- again, it's slander. it's nothing else. >> finally, how can u.s.-russia relations get back on track? >> i think if two presidents meet each other, if they exchange views, then there will be a chance for our bilateral relations to get better. >> mr. peskov, thank you for your time the morning. >> thank you very much. it was my pleasure. >> let's bring in the chair of senate armed services committee, senator john mccain. welcome. good to see you. you were smiling through much of that interview with mr. peskov.
the russians are essentially saying that the sanctions imposed by barack obama are worse than a nuclear standoff. worse than the cold war right now. yet, as george pointed out, there was no public retaliation after the sanctions were imposed. what does that tell you? >> i don't know what it tells me except that they're succeeding. succeeding in continuing their dismembering of ukraine. succeeding in exerting enormous influence in the middle east. which they never had before. they have succeeded in interfering with our election. we know that they continue that in the french elections and other elections. and so far, they have paid little or no penalty for all of this misbehavior. the pattern. listening to that guy, watching him, that's echoes of the cold war. where they just tell flat-out lies. you know, that's the way it is. >> how about president trump's response? and his tweets? >> well, look.
i hope that the president will respond but -- mr. tillerson's statement that the syrian people will determine their own future? that is one of the more unusual statements i have ever heard. i know mr. tillerson was busy. but did he miss the barrel bombing? did he miss the iranian revolutionary guard? did hi miss the russians striking with precision weapons, hospitals in aleppo? deliberately killing people in hospitals? >> you heard what ambassador haley said about syria. >> and to say now that we're going to turn our backs on these people? what about the thousands we have trained and equipped? what about those people? what signal do we send people who struggle for freedom around the world? that syria is determining its own future? let's go back few years. bashir assad was on his way out the door before hezbollah came in with the iranians sponsoring
them and the iranian revolutionary guard. how can the syrian people determine their own future? >> very tough to do that right now. i want to go back to russia. obviously, syria is very important. but, president trump just tweeted the real story is the surveillance, find the leakers. is the real story the surveillance? or what's going on in the investigation? >> i think all of it needs to be examined. obviously, if there was intentional disclosure of names of people who were in the trump campaign, that has to be revealed. but the fact is, we know for a fact, the russians tried to change the outcome of our election. attacking the very fundamentals of democracy. we know they did that. we need to know how, why, and most of all, what to do to prevent this kind of activity, which they continue to carry on in free nations around the world. >> peskov made no secret that vladimir putin preferred trump to hillary clinton.
you have heard the kinds of things that president trump says and feets about the russians and putin. some very positive remarks. do you think there is a possibility that the russians are still trying to help president trump? >> no, i would -- i would be astounded. and, by the way, i think the national security team that the president has assembled is outstanding. and i hope that he listens to them. because they don't have any illusions about vladimir putin and russian behavior. so -- this is why we need a select committee. every time we turn around, another shoe drops from this centipede. we need to examine all the aspects of it. president trump's priorities and the other priorities many of us believe exist. >> sean spicer said what congressman nunes did, the intelligence xhut tcommittee, w received the secret information
the white house was both routine and proper. what he did, what he saw, who he met with is 100% proper. do you think that is true? >> it's hard to respond. but the fact is that -- these committees, especially intelligence committees and armed services committees. we work closely together as republicans and democrats. we have to. it's for the good of the security of the nation and the men and women who serve us. i'm happy to see the senate intelligence committee, senator warner and senator burr working together. this is obviously a schism. between republican and democrat. let alone the bizarre fashion in which all of this happened. if we're really going to get to the bottom, it has to be done in a bipartisan fashion. as far as i can tell, congressman nunes killed that. >> okay. thank you so much for joining us. it's very good to see you. we'll talk more about syria in the future. a very serious problem indeed. up next, abc's bob woodruff is inside north korea. with an eye-opening report.
plus, insights and analysis into the russian question from our special panel. and what kind of fallout the trump administration could confront politically. excuse me, are you aware of what's happening right now? we're facing 20 billion security events every day. ddos campaigns, ransomware, malware attacks... actually, we just handled all the priority threats. you did that? we did that. really. we analyzed millions of articles and reports. we can identify threats 50% faster.
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commented on in front of the -- involving russian involvement in the u.s. elections? >> we are looking at the facts. we don't care whose political ox is gored by our work. that is the passion at the heart of the fbi. we will always be that way. that can make us annoying in different circumstances. i hope it's comforting to the american people. we're comp tent, honest, and independent. >> fbi director james comey sitting down last week with michael leiter. the former director of the the national counterterrorism center. comey sounding confident that the fbi will run a thorough, inbiased investigation. should the american people share the confidence? michael leiter joins our panel just ahead. leiter joins our panel just ahead. i take movantik for oic, opioid-induced constipation. had a bad back injury, my doctor prescribed opioids which helped with the chronic pain, but backed me up big-time. tried prunes, laxatives, still constipated...
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♪ ♪ what we do every night is like something out of a strange dream. except that the next morning... it all makes sense. fedex powers global e-commerce... with networks built over 40 years... that are massive... far-reaching... and, yes... maybe a bit magical. ♪ visit fedex.com slash dream we heard the trump administration's take on the growing tensions over north korea's nuclear program.
this morning, bob woodruff is reporting inside the reclusive country where he's just had a rare interview with a top north korean official for u.s. affairs. good morning, bob. >> reporter: good morning, martha. these tensions have never been as high as they are right now. the top north korean official that i spoke with told me he thinks there's a strong possibility for a preemptive strike against his country's nuclear program. he says that the army here is at the highest alert. much of this because of that joint south korea and u.s. military exercise nearby. and also, more nuclear assets in the peninsula. concerns here also about u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson's calling for an end to the policy of strategic patience with korea. he says it has failed. but mr. hon responds that the strategy to isolate north korea has not worked and that it never will. he's never met president trump himself. he says he understands he's a good businessman.
but also very unpredictable. so they're preparing for everything. we will never know exactly what is happening behind the curtain here in pyongyang. only what we see on the rare trips inside the country. certainly, the capital city right here is growing. a lot more construction. in fact, they are building entirely new neighborhoods that we have seen. in less than a year. we went to their new ski resort. today, with beautiful construction and amazing lifts. but not many people are there. and despite all of the new sanctions by the u.s., china, the u.n., we didn't see anything getting worse. but, of course, what they never show us is what is happening in the countryside. that is true. and impact on north koreans who are living out there. what is obvious is that the u.s.-north korea relationship has been getting worse. there's a lot of talking. in our interview, mr. hon's last words were interesting. he said if you bring out a knife to attack us, we'll take out a sword.
if you come at us with a gun, we'll pull out a cannon. when it comes to diplomacy, while the trump administration talks about putting pressure on china to deal with north korea, this top official says in terms of nuclear talks, north korea only wants to talk to the united states. martha? >> thank you very much, bob. let's bring in our panel. the director of the national counterterrorism center under presidents bush and obama, michael leiter. "washington post" correspondent anne gearan, and jonathan karl. abc news chief white house correspondent. i want to get to the politics in just a moment. but first, i want to turn to you, michael leiter. pretty strong language. >> the language out of north korea is always bombastic. what has changed is the acceleration of their nuclear program, the likelihood of more
and more weapons, and the acceleration in testing. in very aggressive ways toward japan. and i thing it's absolutely right that we have to work with china. we have, as ash carter said earlier, we have not had great success on that for more than 30 years. that is not a silver bullet. >> let's turn back to what's happened this week in washington. the fbi has made, talking to comey, the fbi has made very clear that trump tower was not wiretapped by barack obama. but if, in fact, trump associates were picked up on that incidental collection, what does that tell you about what is going on? >> if they were picked up or talked about, it tells me more than likely, the u.s. intelligence committee is doing what it's supposed to do. imagine that you intercept after the election, the, we'll say the israeli ambassador talking to an israeli intelligence officer. and they're saying, oh, we know rex tillerson. he's going to be secretary of state.
we should do talk with him. that's relevant information. it's helpful to the intelligence community and to rex tillerson. that seems to be what chairman nunes has been talking about. i think that sort of activity is entirely appropriate. it's really dangerous, i think, to conflate that with inappropriate, illegal surveillance targeting members of the incoming trump administration. >> the trump administration has talked about unmasking. this is serious. >> it can be. you have to protect the identity of u.s. persons. sometimes it's appropriate to know who that person is to understand the intelligence that is being collected. so there needs to be an investigation of this. that's hat the president asked for. what doesn't help is further obfuscation through these really, as others have said, bizarre interactions with the chairman of the house intelligence committee. >> and jon karl, let's turn to the other big news of the week, which was mike flynn. you have done great reporting on in this week. asking for immunity to testify. trump encouraging him to do
that. do you think that will happen? and what kind of story do you think he'll tell? >> i think we're a long way from mike flynn getting any kind of inmum immunity, if he ever does. the investigation has to figure out where it's going. the investigators are at the beginning of the process. and what does mike flynn have to say? they're not going to give him immunity unless he has something big on somebody higher up than he is. there are not many people on this that are higher up than he is. the white house insists they have nothing to fear. they have no problem with mike flynn testifying. at this point, it seems to be a little bit of posturing. >> it's also reported this week that devin nunes got his information allegedly from two national security council aides. where does that go?
>> it really up ended a lot of where this whole thing looks like aweek ago. it looked like in the hands of congress and democrats could, on the outside, criticize the appearance of some sort of partisanship in both committees. but, nunes really handed them, you know, i think, a big weapon that they'll be able to use going forward. to challenge the fundamental premise and credibility of his leadership. there are calls for him to step aside, which he says he won't do. i think it sort of takes the whole house investigation out of serious contention here and leaves the senate investigation as the one that people will be watching. >> you hinted at this a little bit, michael. do you think what nunes did was 100% proper as the white house says? >> uh, no. i think when you're conducting
an independent investigation and congress is article one. president is article two, that's an independent house investigation. that should be done through that committee. this pulls away from the real strategic challenges the u.s. has. russian involvement in our elections. and it furthers our looking inside at our own problems, which is exactly what russia wants. russia wants to diminish our role in the world. this is doing that with our allies. >> jon, what does president trump do with this? he keeps tweeting about it, bringing it up. he blames the news media. you see the constant tweets about russia. he tries to turn the focus, he did again this morning, to the surveillance. not the story about russia and the investigation. >> this is to the frustration of his own top advisers. on this nunes thing. there's a certain absurdity to what happened. you step back for a minute. he went to the white house, received information with the help of the president's own aides, and then came back to the white house the next day to
brief the white house on what he had found out at the white house. it's -- really just kind of a -- >> i can't believe you got through that sentence. it was -- >> i'm telling you. if you talk to -- to top republicans, on capitol hill, including republicans that are positively inclined to this white house that are allies of this white house, and of this president, there is just a -- they throw their hands up and say this is just bizarre. and, you know, it's clear that this investigation will go forward. the emphasis will be in the senate. >> and anne, i want to go to you. you had a front page story in "the washington post" this morning on secretary of state rex tillerson. the headline, an uneasy atmosphere at stake. tillerson saying he's walled off from bureaucracy and diplomats around the world. i know the state department wants a retraction of a part of that story.
tell us more about what you found out about tillerson and your reaction to the state department. >> my colleague, carol morrell and i wanted to look at what's happened at the state department in the early weeks here. and how tillerson's initial reception, quite warm and optimistic among a lot of career diplomats, kind of how that has faded and the rising frustration among the career foreign service officers. who, of course, served presidents of both parties. usually for many, many years. and the senior ones across numerous administrations. and lower ranking officials at the state department who really feel cut off from their leader. like they're not being listened to and consulted. and we had an example of some of that. this week. when tillerson had to remake his schedule and attend a rescheduled nato foreign ministers meeting.
he had initially told -- he didn't tell the ministers directly. it was leaked elsewhere that he was going to skip that meeting. this would be the first nato meeting he was to attend. this president's attention to nato is seriously under question. if he was going to not attend that meeting, it would send the opposite signal he had been trying to send in private meetings. >> quickly on the retraction? and your reaction to it? >> we stand by our story. we had multiple people telling us this happened. >> thanks. you have 20 seconds. i know you'll keep to 20 because you're in tv. the latest tweet, who thinks that -- anybody who thinks that the repeal of obamacare is dead does not know the love and strength in r -- capital r party. >> the president needs to get back on track. the way he does that is to get points on the board with democrats. needs to find maybe an infrastructure bill. something to work with democrats. i don't think this is going to
go anywhere. >> despite what paul ryan says. >> yes. thank you very much to all of you. we'll be right back. k you very much to all of you. we'll be right back. and now we honor our fellow americans who serve and sacrifice. in the month of march, three service members died overseas, supporting operations in iraq, syria, and afghanistan.