this is bbc news. i'm clive myrie. the headlines at 11:00: the us attorney general jeff sessions has recused himself from any investigations into russian interference in the presidential election campaign. the police watchdog is warning that cutbacks to forces in england and wales are putting the public at risk, because services are having to be rationed. snapchat‘s been snapped up. the value of the parent company of the messaging service has risen sharply after its launch on the new york stock exchange. all the reaction over the attorney general in the us, that's coming up on newsnight. good evening and welcome to bbc news.
one of president trump's most trusted colleagues, the us attorney general jeff sessions, is under intense pressure tonight. he's facing allegations that he lied under oath about his contacts with russian officials during the presidential election campaign. mr sessions has denied any improper conduct but he has withdrawn from the official investigation into claims of russian interference in the election. our north america editor jon sopel reports. marine one touching down on the navy's newest aircraft carrier, and the president feeling the full downdraught of the latest setback to buffet his administration. his attorney general, jeff sessions, facing charges that he lied under oath during his confirmation hearings over his contacts with the russians. but the president is standing by him. mr president, do you still have confidence in the attorney general? total. when were you aware that he spoke to the russian ambassador? i wasn't aware at all.
what's emerged is that then—senator sessions met the russian ambassador at the republican convention injuly. he met him again in september. but at his confirmation hearing this january, he denied any contact with the russians. if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the trump campaign communicated with the russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do? senator franken, i'm not aware of any of those activities. i have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and i did not have communications with the russians. i'm unable to comment on it. we've now had the national security adviser fired over his links to russia, we've had the attorney general accused of perjuring himself because of his contacts and the white house is absolutely insistent there is nothing untoward, there is nothing to see, and the crowd should move on. but the questions keep piling up.
senior democrats are demanding jeff sessions' resignation and for the appointment of a special prosecutor. the fact that the attorney general, the top cop in our country, lied under oath to the american people is grounds for him to resign. it is grounds for him to resign. he has proved that he's underqualified and unfit to serve in the position of trust. republicans aren't going that far, but a growing number have said that you can't have an attorney general overseeing an investigation into russian activities, if he himself is comprised. they are demanding him recuse himself. based on what we have read on the information is not complete, the attorney general should further clarify and i think you will need to recuse himself at this point. at a news conference a short time agojeff sessions insisted he'd done nothing wrong, but he did bow to pressure from within his own party. i've decided to recuse myself from any existing
or future investigations of any matter relating in any way to the campaigns for president of the united states. # god bless the usa..# there's no disguising the warmth of the reception the us president received. his hope is the rest of the american personnel are more interested in what he's doing in national security and jobs than they are in latest washington brouhaha. that reportjust in from our north american editor, jon sopel. policing in england and wales is in a potentially perilous state, with some forces putting the public at risk, that's according to the police watchdog, the inspectorate of constabulary. the report said most of the 43 forces were providing a good service but that others were letting victims down. police leaders say forces are having to prioritise more because of a sharp fall in their budgets. our home editor mark easton explains. the arrest of a suspected drug dealer in bedfordshire this morning. this is the traditional
view of what police do. they nick criminals. but the alleged crime scene offers clues to what 21st century policing now involves. phones and sim cards may reveal victims requiring protection. a laptop might reveal evidence of cybercrime. the presence of a woman's possessions could suggest a safeguarding issue to consider. bedfordshire police were today described as "inadequate" in a report by her majesty's inspectorate of constabulary, with around a third of chief constables in england and wales told their effectiveness was not good enough. there's a rationing of police services in some areas because resources are stretched. deliberately on occasions. the amount of risk associated with a victim is downplayed. bedfordshire police is criticising a report which claims the force is inadequate... in an extraordinary response, bedfordshire police issued their own video rebuttal, complaining the official inspectors
had got it wrong. later, the chief constable told the bbc the hmic had failed to recognise the force's changing priorities, including a cyber unit. only today, the officers and staff from this unit have arrested an individual who is responsible for downloading the most abusive and awful images of children. and that's what we're doing, we're protecting people on a daily basis. and i'm very frustrated that the good work of the force hasn't been shown. police budgets have been cut by over 20% in the last five years, but then crime has fallen by a third in the same period. the government argues if some forces are coping, poor performers should get a grip. theresa may once said the mission of the police was to cut crime. no more and no less. but of the priority and emergency calls they receive, actually less than a quarter are directly crime related. a typical day in a typical force will see 50 arrests, but also 14 incidents relating to mental health issues
and 12 missing person reports. police work has shifted from catching villains to protecting victims. there was an age where if someone had an obvious injury from an assault, somebody got arrested, how straightforward is that? it has completely changed, it's about safeguarding. it's about assessing what the risk is. have police officers become social workers? they've had to become broader public servants as well as, not forgetting and they still make lots of arrests, they still take people to court. it's a long way from z cars or the sweeney. whether forces are getting their 21st—century priorities right is a debate that continues to rage. mark easton, bbc news. french police have raided the home of the french presidential candidate francois fillon, as part of a probe into alleged corruption. the centre—right candidate is accused of spending tax payer's money on fake parliamentary jobs given to his wife. this evening he campaigned in the city of nimes, after vowing to stay in the race
despite the controversy surrounding the corruption claims. our paris correspondent hugh schofield says this is a crisis for francois fillon‘s campaign. we have had the news that has been a police raid... well, not brad, they have searched his flat looking for evidence towards the investigation. it is not surprising because we know there is an investigation open and we know that in a couple of weeks he will appear before the judge and his expected to be placed underformal investigation personally and hand the crisis. because there is a crisis. this evening we are seeing defections by large numbers of people from his party, people who had before been aligned to alain jupper had before been aligned to alain juppe, really aligning themselves. mps saying we really should be
looking for an alternative candidate and the likely person would be alain juppe- and the likely person would be alain juppe. things are moving fast. he is down in the south talking to an audience and he is not much in. he's saying people are with me and i not moving. he price of shares in the company that owns the messaging app snapchat hasjumped nearly 50 per cent on its stock market debut. snapchat — best known for its messages and photos which disappear quickly — has 158 million users. but it has yet to make a profit. army explosives experts are trying to make safe a world war two bomb in north west london. homes have been evacuated, roads are closed and a large cordon is in place, after the device was found near a school this morning. our reporter lousia preston has sent us this update. the bomb was discovered in a building site literally behind these buildings behind me. the army are on
the scene tried to make this lomb said. the bomb disposal unit has also turned up. it is an extremely residential area and all homes within the cord and have been evacuated. i have seen people coming in and out of their homes, police have allowed people to come in and collect personal belongings. the council have told me it could take up council have told me it could take up to two days but they have said that all people that are evacuated will be put up in hotels and local b&bs. a refuge centre has also been set up. with the not know a great deal about the bomb. we have been told it is about 500 pounds, it is extremely big. what people are saying in the area is that the cordon is causing extreme traffic congestion is. you can see all the
traffic congestion in this part of london. lots of problems here this evening. that's a summary of the news, newsday is coming up at midnight — now on bbc news it's time for newsnight, with evan davis. last night we learnt the attorney general slide to the senate and the american people about his communications with the russian. they said that since i had involvement with the campaign, i should not be involved in any campaign investigation. i have brick used myself in the matters that deal with the trump campaign. another huge row about the russia connection. the attorney general is in the spotlight this time, notjust over his meetings with the russian ambassador, but about what he said on oath. is the administration accident prone, careless or unfairly treated? and what is the policy to russia?
also tonight... on world book day, stephen smith meets raymond briggs. i know there will be a last time i walk this path, before the hospital, before the home, before something. and the irony is, you never know that the time that it is to be the last time. oh, dear, very profound. the french election is heating up. we'll get the latest, as francois fillon‘s home is searched. and snapchat hits the stockmarket. is this really the future of communication? hello. jeff sessions — the second trump appointment to get into a tangle about russia and about his honesty.
did he tell the truth, or not? the attorney general denied any russian contact in his confirmation hearings. but he in fact met the ambassador twice. as one twitter wit put it, he might as well have said, "i did not have international relations with that country." sessions says the meetings didn't relate to trump or the election, which was the context of the questions he was answering. so, no lie there, he says. he's not resigning. but in the last 90 minutes, he has recused himself from any investigation into the trump campaign or its connections to russia. do you give him the benefit of the doubt? probably depends on whether you think trump is a good thing or not. let's hear first from mark urban. trump and russia — once an apparently irresistible combination for those marketing a vodka. this is their advertisement. but now, the connection is a cocktail of political
difficulties and a tonic to his foes. today's target, trump's chief law officer, who, after a stormy day, stepped back, from all investigations of links between the campaign and washer. my staff recommended recusal. they said that since i had involvement with the campaign, i should not be involved with any campaign investigation. i have studied the rules and considered their comments and evaluation. i believe those recommendations are right and just. that won't satisfy senate democrats, who earlier today called for his resignation. attorney general sessions cannot possibly lead an investigation into russian interference in our elections, or come anywhere near it. with these revelations, he may very well become the subject of it. it would be of alice in wonderland
quality of this administration were to sanction him to investigate himself. the cause of those difficulties is a written denial from the us attorney general that he had met russian officials, and this one during his senate confirmation hearing. if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the trump campaign communicated with the russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do? senator, i am not aware of any of those activities. i have been called a surrogates in that campaign, and i did not have communications with the russians. tonight, it became clear that he had met the russian ambassador last year