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Trump Administration
  This Week With George Stephanopoulos  ABC  April 2, 2017 8:02am-8:13am PDT

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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,
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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,
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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