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tv   BBC World News America  PBS  May 19, 2017 2:30pm-3:01pm PDT

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>> this is "bbc world news america." funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, and kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. >> planning a vacation escape that is relaxing, inviting, and exciting is a lot easier than you think. you can find it here in aruba. families, couples, and friends can all find their escape on the island with warm, sunny days,
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cooling trade winds, and the crystal blue caribbean sea. nonstop flights are available from most major airports. more information for your vacation planning is available at aruba.com. >> and now, "bbc world news." jane: this is "bbc world news america." reporting from washington, i am jane o'brien. as president trump leaves on his first foreign trip, reports emerged that he described former fbi director james comey as a "nut job," and told the russians that firing him took the pressure off. sweden drops the long-running rape investigation into julian assange. he hails it as an important victory, but last those who captain rum his emily. -- from his family. >> it is not something i can forgive, it is not something i can forget.
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jane: and behold the painting that has broken a record for an american artist. it said more than $110 million at auction. ♪ jane: welcome to our viewers on public television in america and around the globe. just when you thought we might make it through one day without a ground-shaking report about the trump administration, think again. today we have two. first, "the new york times" reported that in donald trump's meeting with russian officials that the date after he fired a james comey, he called the former fbi director crazy, a nut job and said, "i faced real pressure because of russia. that is taken off." almost simultaneously come "the washington post" reported that the fbi investigation into possible coordination with
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russia and the trump campaign has identified a current one has -- white house official as a significant person of interest. the revelations drop minutes after the president took off for his first foreign trip. the white house did not deny details but said that the leaked information was the real story, and that it undermined national security. alexis simendinger covers the white house for real clear politics and joins us to cover all of the latest developments. this has been a week of a very serious allegations against the president. how bad are these latest? alexis: for any white house to have the compounding nature of a special counsel, ongoing fbi investigation, firing an fbi director, and congressional investigations being led by the president's own party, members of his own party, and the president's efforts to travel
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abroad and hoping it might turn the page, just blew up this afternoon with revelations from two major news organizations. the white house is scrambling to try to figure out what they will be doing all weekend long and what is going to be trailing the president as he travels in the middle east and europe. so, in every way possible this is one of the worst weeks i have seen and this is the fifth president i have covered. i went through impeachment with bill clinton, and we have seen lots of scandals in the united states, or controversies. and this is one of the most intense weeks. jane: we heard a lot of talk about impeachment, obstruction of justice. does this latest allegation and -- add to those reports? alexis: well, it has to the pressure the public must be feeling and definitely republicans on capitol hill are feeling politically that they don't know where this might be going. i want to emphasize that when you have a report today that a person of interest is under the president's roof, close to the president in the white house,
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that takes the controversy away from the campaign and brings it closer into the white house as an ongoing controversy that the president and his team are going to have to deal with. for instance, we know that the president is thinking about and being advised to hire a personal attorney. we know that some of the people in the white house who have been in the room with the president -- for instance, in the room with the russians in the oval office -- i thinking they might be called to explain or produce information, documents, that they might have to hire lawyers themselves. you can see the controversy begin to balloon. jane: what has been the white house's official response, particularly to allegations that mr. trump may have sacked james comey to take the pressure off? are they denying them? >> they are not denying them. the explanation this afternoon is we are not denying them because it involves classified information and we cannot confirm or deny anything that is classified. but if you read the press secretary's statements and
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reactions in print and adding to it in interviews -- i just left the white house -- you can see they are not denying it because in some cases people don't know what the real truth is, and in some cases, because they know they will be asked to produce information. they are leery of denying something that could end up being wrong. jane: just very briefly, the white house seems to be in constant crisis right now. how is it even functioning? interestingis an question, because it is not just the chaos of the trump administration or the way the president likes to have things being very erratic. he enjoys that come he's used to that. it is that it freezes everything else the white house is trying to do, the agenda, the political ambitions republicans might have had, policies, hiring. it is a big problem. jane: thank you very much for joining me. as we have been discussing, president trump was in the air
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and the first stop on his foreign trip will be in saudi arabia. what is the arab world hope to gain from this trip? lyse: the very fact that this is the first stop for president trump on his first foreign visit is not just a meeting with rulers of the saudi kingdom, as a significant as that is. there's not one, but three summits taking place. the second is with arab leaders and saudi arabia's neighbors, and also leaders from across the arab and islamic world. saudi arabia is killing this is the first visit of its kind in history. this is a land of superlatives now, there will be 55 world leaders coming to riyadh, coming under tight security to meet the american president. if that isn't the welcome of all
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welcomes, it tells you exactly what they are hoping to achieve. there is going to be a lot of talk about new alliances to fight against extremist groups, including so-called islamic state, and for the saudi kingdom, their main ambition is to get stronger action from its allies, most of all the united states, to exert greater pressure on iran. so, they are extremely satisfied that they are claiming this honor of being the first stop. i put it to the foreign minister that this was a bit of a diplomatic coup. >> we believe it is a coup for the world, for peace and coexistence. this is a very powerful message to the islamic world that america and the west is not your enemy. this is a very powerful message to the west that islam is not your enemy. this visit will change the discourse and the dialogue between the islamic world and the west in general and the u.s. in particular. it will isolate the extremists, whether they be iran or isis or
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al qaeda, who say that the west is our enemy. it will also push back against those in the west who say islam is our enemy. this is a truly historic occasion. lyse: do you think the admin istration will be able to overcome the suspicions and anger over the travel ban, widely described as a muslim ban? >> i don't believe -- i think the stories about the anger and so forth are exaggerated. lyse: many were angry. they were seeing it as a muslim ban. christians were not involved. >> we cannot question the right of the united states or any country in the world to decide who to allow and and who not to allow in. we cannot see any measures as being biased against a particular group or religion. the united states, islam is part and parcel of the american social fabric. there are millions of muslims in america. most islamic countries are not on the list. lyse: are you worried that the
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summits, which are going to emphasize the battle against extremism, the visit could be overshadowed by the controversies in washington over the alleged mishandling of intelligence? >> we deal with the administration. we deal with the president as our honored guest. we deal with the 55 delegations coming from the arab and muslim world. that is what our focus will be. lyse: will you make it clear that you have troops ready to offer from your islamic coalition, because trump will want to know what you will do if he becomes more engaged. >> we have made that clear from -- for almost a year now that there are troops available for the islamic coalition and we are prepared to share the burden of going after the terrorists. ultimately, the terrorists are after saudi arabia. we are the land of the two holy mosques. they want to take mecca. we will not allow that to happen. jane: lyse doucet talking to the
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saudi foreign minister in riyadh . today, millions of iranians lined up to vote in iran for a key election which sees the country at a political crossroads. the relatively moderate incumbent, hassan rouhani, wants to normalize ties with the west , is facing a strong challenge from a hardliner, who is close to the supreme leader ayatollah, -- results are due tomorrow. jeremy bowen has this assessment of how the vote could affect iran's future. jeremy: people are encouraged to vote in iran because it gives the system legitimacy, but candidates have to be approved by the unelected guardian council. it is looking like a close race between the main candidates, and at this polling station they are supporting hassan rouhani, the current president. >> i want social justice, social freedoms, political development, and good relations with all
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countries in the world. >> we will stand in these cues es for as long as it is needed in order not to go backwards, for the shutter of the war not to hang over people's heads. jeremy: iranian elections, for all their flaws, produce vigorous campaigns. candidates have traded accusations of corruption and criticized in iran's security policies. canrks that at other times land iranians in jail. iranians don't seem particularly enthused by the candidates. for many, it is a choice between bad and worse. the main challenger is the ruisi deeply
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suspicious of the west. he wants there could be crisis ahead. president has wants to have another term. he is a moderate who would like more openness in society. rouhani was elected last time because he promised better relations with the outside world and the relaxation of the through making a deal about iran's nuclear plans. president rouhani is running on the success of the deal, and in which iran accepted restrictions on the nuclear industry. if he loses, it is because voters think he is handling the economy badly. raisi opposed to the nuclear deal when he was being negotiated, but now says he would keep it, although he insists his toughness will make sure iran stays strong. >> whoever is the next president, whether it be hassan rouhani or ebrahim raisi, it will change the tenor of iranian politics and its ability to dialogue with the international community and the west, particularly the united states, and also its relationship with the neighbors in the region. jeremy: whoever wins will have to work with the supreme leader.
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in iran, he has the power and the last word. viewed from tehran, the country is a regional power with legitimate security interests and the right to help allies like the syrian regime. but that alarms its adversaries, especially the u.s. the saudis, , and israel, that won't change. jane: wikileaks founder julian assange says he won't forgive or forget after a seven-year rape investigation in sweden was dropped without charge today. for almost five of those years he has been holed up in the , ecuadorian embassy in london to avoid extradition. but today's development does not not mean that the 45-year-old can walk free. air on the balcony
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of the ecuadorian embassy, julian assange emerged to have his say on the end of the investigation against him. julian assange: today is an important victory, for me and for the un's human rights system. seven years without charge while my children grew up without me. that is not something that i can forgive. it is not something that i can forget. reporter: but the prosecutor in sweden has not cleared julian assange. she said that in his absence, she simply couldn't pursue the case any further. >> the decision to discontinue the investigation is not based on assessment of the evidence, but because we do not see possibilities to advance the investigation further. so, we do not make any statement on the issue of guilt. reporter: this complex international drama began in
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2010 when two women allege that julian assange had sexually assaulted them on a visit to sweden, accusations he had always denied. he was detained in britain under a european arrest warrant. in may 2012, the supreme court upheld the decision to extradite him to sweden for questioning. and in june, mr. assange walked into the ecuadorian embassy in london, asking for political asylum. the metropolitan police mounted a 24-hour guard at the embassy. by october 2015, it cost over 13 million pounds. and it is not over yet. julian assange is no longer wanted on an international arrest warrant, but the police say that if he stepped out of the embassy, they are still obliged to arrest him for failing to surrender to a london court back in 2012. at the embassy this evening, his supporters were jubilant. but in sweden, the woman who accused him of rape issued a statement saying he was invading
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justice and discussing her shock that the investigation was being shelved. >> julian assange was not held without charge for seven years. he was subject to extradition proceedings within the eu under the european arrest warrant scheme. he would have received a fair trial in sweden had he chosen to go back and the fact that the proceedings lasted seven years was entirely down to him is seeking refuge in the ecuadorian embassy rather than facing trial in a country governed by the rule of law. reporter: it was this footage of an american helicopter shooting civilians in iraq that brought wikileaks to international attention. a flood of other state secrets followed. julian assange has always said it was his fear of extradition to the u.s. that drove him into the doors of the ecuadorian embassy. so, despite today's dramatic twist in the long-running diplomatic and legal saga, tonight he is back inside, not for the moment going anywhere.
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jane: you are watching "bbc world news america. still to come, could donald cause asires for nasa boom in the car industry. we go south of the border to find out. the japanese cabinet has paved fashion to retire. it will be the first time an emperor has stepped down in 200 years. the bill will only apply to the current emperor and will not cover any other issues facing the family. >> it was in this extraordinary television address last year that emperor at we heat so made madeea to be -- emperor
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his plea to retire. asay, he and his cabinet -- his wish.ists this is a one-time deal for him only. crown prince of sense the throne on january 1 2019, he will still be expected to serve for life. ofjapan, changing the rules royal succession it seems our very hard, but something needs to change. emperor's akihito her -- shenced cannot inherit the throne, neither can her children. only the prints can inherit the
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throne. , japan'sn thing is people are all in favor of change. it is not the public or the royal family who oppose change, but the men in dark suits that occupy the halls of power. ♪ the single worst deal ever approved, that was donald trump cry when it came to the free trade agreement. what could be the impact in mexico? michelle fleury has gone to find out. michelle: families -- in mexico.
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the auto industry has been booming for more than 20 years. the country is now the fourth largest car exporter in the world. >> one of the biggest auto ofers is mexico, the import a lot of cars, we export a lot of cars. to be a: it was meant shining example of a shining example of free trade, but today it is a monument to donald trump's brand of protectionism. this is a shining example of the plant ford was slated to make here. this man shows me the deed to the land he sold to ford. good butle, life was , it didn't last. >> some people came to the plant. they sent us home. they said there was no entry anymore. trucks couldn't go in anymore. it collapsed, not just for the truckers, but everyone.
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michelle: during his campaign, donald trump complained of bad trade, making the issue his own. mr. trump: we are living through the greatest jobs theft in the history of the world. michelle: his attempts to coerce carmakers to move production to the u.s. seemed to yield results. ford is keen to emphasize market forces that drove its decision to abandon the plant in mexico, but the ceo admits presidential rhetoric is also a factor. >> at the end of the day, we had to do what is right for our business, and the administration, congress, they have the ability to look at tax policy, trade policy, etc., which affect the business environment we react to. michelle: and now donald trump has said -- set about renegotiating the entire north america free trade agreement, or nafta. the mexican car industry has every reason to be worried. >> people were more pessimistic about the future of the economy than they were at the worst moment of the great recession in
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2009. that is how every body is so scared. michelle: the economic advantages that produced boomo's decade-long car haven't disappeared, but a more protectionist u.s. administration could undoubtedly do great harm. many livelihoods in this part of mexico. set: a new record has been for the work of an american artist. a painting who came to prominence as a graffiti artist in the 1970's and died of a heroin overdose at 27 years old. it sold for a whopping 110 million dollars. moment is about to arrive. at sotheby's last night when the painter who died nearly 30 years hit the big time.
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this sideling it on of the room. there warming. selling, thank you, sir. $98 million. >> the sales price, when commissions are included, 100 million plus dollar club along with pablo picasso and francis bacon. we deftly had the idea everybody felt it was a masterpiece. the previous record price was less than half -- we are going into very new territory. >> the buyer is a japanese fashion retailer and was fascinated. >> the way they put images and text together is extremely influential. added to the fact that he is a
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black american artist, it is an explosive mix. add theat you can mythical nature of the artist's short life. it was memorialized in his biopic with antiwar all played by david bowie, who himself was a collector of the one-time street artist's work. whatever you think of the high-priced tape, there is no question that the artist fits into the story of modern art. something i find quite alarming about that picture, the expressionism of vincent van gogh, and the street art scene of 1970's new york, he is a significant figure in the art world. sales are had privately, the chances are we
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will find out soon if it holds the price. jane: i am sure it is a bargain. i'm jane o'brien. thank you for watching and have a very good weekend. >> make sense of international /news. bbc.com funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, and kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. >> planning a vacation escape that is relaxing, inviting, and exciting is a lot easier than you think. you can find it here in aruba. families, couples, and friends can all find their escape on the
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island with warm, sunny days, cooling trade winds, and the crystal blue caribbean sea. nonstop flights are available from most major airports. more information for your vacation planning is available at aruba.com. >>
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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: new eruptions in the storm following the trump presidency, with reports that a senior white house advisor is a person of interest in the russia investigation. and, president trump boasts to russian officials that firing f.b.i. director comey eased "great pressure" on him. then, new insight into the saga surrounding the russia investigation. we sit down with a friend of comey's. >> the color of wallpaper was that these were not honorable people, and that protecting the f.b.i. from them was his day job. >> woodruff: also ahead, millions in iran went to the

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