tv BBC World News America PBS November 20, 2019 2:30pm-3:00pm PST
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laura: this is "bbc world news america." reporting from washington, i am laura trevyan. key testimony in the impeachment inquiry. the u.s. ambassador to the eu ties president trump to the pressure on ukraine to investigate the bidens, but he claimse never heard it from him directly. amb. sondland: was there a quid as i testified previously, the answer is yes. laura: prince andrew sown from his royal duties. the controversy over his link to jeffrey epstein intensified following a bbc interview. us, trying to keep australia's koalas safe. a volunteer force is trying to t savem from the dangers of raging bushfires. laura: for those watching on pbs
and around the globe, welcome to "world news america." it was a day of explosive testimony in the impeachment inquiry as the u.s. ambassador to the eu, gordon sondland, gave evidence. he sd he was acting at the express direction of the president on ukraine andwahere a quid pro quo directed by rudy giuliani. everyone was in the loop, said the ambassador. the president says he never wanted anything from ukraine. the bbc's nort jon sopel reports. jon: the day a simmering potboiler became a blockbuster drama, with this unlikely character as the leading man. gordon sondland, a weahy hotelier, was made ambassador to the euan union on the strength oa million-dollar donation to donald's inauguration committee. now he h come under oath to eviscerate the president's account of his dealings with ukraine. amb. sondland: i was acting in good faith.
as a presidential appointee, i followed the directions the president. we worked with mr. giuliani because the president directed us to do so. we had no desire to set any conditns. we had no dere to set any conditions on the ukrainians. jon: the president has denieded repe that was a quid pro quo, or asemocrats now call it, bribery. in other words, unless the ukrainians delivered what donald trump demanded, vital military aid and a white house meeting would be withheld. amb. sondland: was there a quid pro quo? as i testified previously with regard to the requested white house call andsweeting, the is yes. n:ccording to sondland, everne was in on the plan -- the president, vice president, secretary of state, chief of staff, theall knew what was going on. amb. sondland: everyone was in the loop. there was no secret. everyone was informed via email on july 19, days before the presidential call.
jon: but one important source of evmfort for the white house, sondland said he heard directly from the president conditioning aid on an inquiry into the bidens. that has been seized on by the president, who had his script lines carefully prepared. pres. trum ready? u have the cameras rolling? i want nothing. that is what i want from raine. that is what i said. i want nothing. i i satwice. jon: gordon sondland was faced with a binary choice in his evidence today -- tie himself to donald trump, be vague about the decisions made in hope of future protection, or he could throw gie president and his personal emissary rudiani under the bus and take the vice president and secretary of state with them. he chose option two. it is hard to believe he will bo eu ambassadomuch longer. jon sopel, bbc news, washington. laura: for more on today's
testimony i spoke with law professor and bbc legal analyst jonathan turley. ambassador sonand said he was working with rudy giuliani on ukraine at the express direction of the president. how significant is that? jonathan: it was very significant. when he came it was clear he was adopting a type of mutually assured destruction strategy. he was saying ev the loop -- in other words, i go down, everyone goes down. immediately starteweetpeople denying they had meetings and even denying they really knew who he was type of tweets. but he did a lot of damage, because his point was that tre was no irregular small group called the three amigos.t everyone was p the amigos. laura: the president has said there was no quid pro quo. sondland said there was one. about the ukrainians calling for investigations to get a white house visit. how damaging is that? jonathan: well, i think the most damaging aspect is that sondland
was quite clear that he came to understand that president trump these investigations in ukraine. but he also gave a lot of points to the republicans. ople may not have noticed, butga republicaned a lot of ground today. he said he did not understand at this was an investigation of the bidens. he did not connect the bidens till fairly late. ambassador volker, who testied the night , said the same thing, that biden did not come up. most importantly, the republicans are creating a timeline of their own, and they are noting that the only two direct conversationsn the record besides the famous h transcript, boe trump denying a quid pro quo. in august he denied it in a meeting with a u.s. senator, and then in september he denied it with sondland. republics are saying, look, the ukrainians only knew about this quid pro quo for at most two weeks, and the aid wleas ed.
the midst of all that, we have statements from trump saying there is no quid pro quo. they think that is a winning combination. laura: he was also v, wasn't he, ambassador sondland, when he said that he presumed that military aid was nditional on the investigations being announced. what did you make of that? jonathan: that is the key republican point here. they seeto be pointing attention at rudy giuliani, that giuliani was saying i want this and this and this, but whepon people directly to the president, they quote him as sayingt is not a quid pro quo. most people watching the hearing today felt that giulia was acting under direction of the president, that the president clearly wanted sondland to work with giulian giuliani was a real bull in the china shop. that is what is coming out of all of these diplomats, that they were horrified they had to deal with him. laura: will the president
suddenly say that he hardly [laughter] giuliani -- laura: to try to dent the democrats' impeachment case? jonathan: well, i don't think he can do that, but he is already doing that with sondland. it is like the kevin bacon game, degrees of kevin bacon. everybody's trying to do that with sondland cause he is now radioactive. what republicans will hit at very hard is that you might think this is inappropriate thab -- there is no direct evidencehe president wanted a quid pro q, and most of the discussion is about investigatns of the 2016 elections, and most of these people did not even connect the bidens till later. laura: jonathan turley, thanksth for being s. tomorrow is another full day of impeachment hearings s. we wait if democrats draw of articles of impeachment in the coming weeks. now, prince andrew is stepping back from public duties, saying the scandal over his relationip with sex offender jeffrey epstein has become a
family.iuption to the royal the duke has facedas bac his interview with the bbc's "newsnight" aired this weekend. he said he continues to regret his ill judged association with jeffrey epstein. here is royal correspondent nicholas: driving himself into buckingham palace yesterday, the andreiting of prince since the "newsnight" interview was broadcast. honility towards him has sh no signs of lessening. "poison prince" and "pariah prince" were just two of the headlines this morng. at the same time, sponsors of his various initiatives and charities have continued to distance themselves from him. all this in response to a notably misjudged interview in which he failed to fineither the right tone or the right words to respond to his association wi epstn.ey tonight he and buckingham palace accepted that his decision had -- position had become unsustainable.
w a statement, prince and said, "i asked her majesty if i may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permison.un i continue tuivocally regret my ill-judged association with jeffrey epstein. i deeply sympathize with everyone who has been ed. i can only hope that in time they will be able to rebuild their lives." llnally and significantly, "of course i'm g to help any agency with their investigations if required." the tone was notably contrite, something of a contrast to emily: any sense of guilt,. regret, or shame about any of your behavior and your friendship with epstein? prince andrew: as far as mr. epstein is concerned, it was the wrong decision to see him in 2010. do i regret the fact that he has
quite obviously conducted himself in a manner unbecoming? yes. emily: unbecoming? he was a sex offender. prince andrew: yeah, i'm sorry. nicholas: for the queen, fulfilling royal duties on her 77th wedding anniversary, it must be unwelcome. andrew has enjoyed her particular support, but this morning it had become evident his position was untenable. thus, for the first time, one of her own immediate family was forced by public opinion to step back. >> i've neveraceen such a on to a royal interview. royal interviews.many but the reaction was just so condemnatory, and he came across so badly, not once expressing regret or sympathy for the victims of epstein's behavior. nicholas: buckingham palace will be hoping that andrew's statement and his withdrawal
from public duties will stem the criticism. they will be hoping, too, that the epstein allegative now run their full course. laura:ho ns witchell reporting on the latest royal woes. in other news, israel says it hit dozens of targets syria. they say the strikes were a response to rockets fired by an anian unit into israel. israel has carried o hundreds of strikes in syria since the civil war broke out in an -- trying to counter iran's gring presence in the region. a businessman who was being investigated by murdered maltese journalist has been arrested at sea in his yacht off malta. it comes a day after the prime minister said he would consir pardoning the alleged moy-launderer suspected of being the middleman in the murderer. the president of the world's biggest long-haul airline has
praised greta thunberg. he says he is a climate-change believer, but stresselo it took him time to get there. iran's president hassan rouha stdeclared the public unhat rock to the country four days has been put down, calling this a victory over foreign enemies. amnesty international says it has document at least 106 deaths of protesters, who took to the streets to protest petrol prices. the human rights group lves real numbers higher. nks and other been set ablaze. for more, i spoke to robin wright of the u.s. institute for peace. iran's leadership islaiming they have ended the protests, but how much of a threat to they posed to the leadership in tehran? robin: these are the mostat serious demonsns in two years and arguably one of only four sets of demonstrations since the revolution in 1979. the regime is in seriousec omic trouble because o
u.s. sanctions and the plummeting value of the rial, the plummeting sale of oil. these are serious. they could crack down all theyff want and cuthe internet but the fact is that the iranians are very unhappy with the impact on the lue of their income and the prices. but the question is, is this enough to actually force a change in regime or force major policy changes? laura: do you think the u.s. is going to turn up the maximum thpressure campaign, hopinat that could force an end to the iranian regime? robin: absoluty. this plays right into the trump administration's policy of trying to get the regime to succumb -- to provide moreco essions, whether it is on the nuclear program, man-rights abuses, missile tests, support for extremist groups. this will give them ammunition to say our policy has been working. laura: do you think the fact that israel has been carrying
out these strikes on iranian proxies in syria -- is israel sensing weakness?ro n: i think israel is probably responding to what itth sees as at from inside syria. what is interesting, given what israel did against syria and the fact that you see protests in iraq and lebanon against pro-iran regimes or governments that have allied with iran in different ways, is a rlection of how iran is weak inside iran but also its position being challenged inside the region.th laura: the fac the iranians tried to do shut down the internet pretty successfully, is that significant and they are determined to bluff th tr way out s? robin: every time there has been an uprising of some sort, the iranians have cracked down. remember, this is a very sophisticated, very connected society. they have gotten around inteet restrictions in the past. but by cutting off the internet completely, this makes it hardel for people to ach other where they are going to
demonstrate, where they are gog to rally, and to call allies or friends out on the streets. laura: does iran have any allies in the european ion now that it is having this veryifficult position with the nuclear deal and basically underming it? robin: i think the iranians' decision to gradually erode their commitment to the nuclear deal, gradually take steps to breach i commitments, has made it very hard for the europeans particularly to stick to their commitnt to stand by iran when it comes to the nuclear deal. splitting with united states on arguably the biggest splitince the end of world war ii. laura: iran's leaders are saying that they raised fuel prices so they could givsh handout to the very poorest. is that going to help them ridet out these ts? robin: it may with some, but the fa is the middle class is increasingly becoming the lower middle class.s what striking is it was only a matter of a few cents
in the increase in fl. but the spending power of the average iranian has declined so much that it is maki everyone worried, particularly as they become more isolated about the thfuture. k there is a boldness like we have not seen in a long time among iranians. laura: robin wright, thank you so much for being with us. robin: thank you. laura: you are watchbc world news america." still to come on tonight's program, the former britis consulate worker who says he was detained and tortured in china speaks to the bbc. laura: afghanistan's first all- fele squad of landmine experts are close to announcing their clear to province of explosives. the bbc has been there to find out what motivates them. reporter: it is mission critical for these women.
walking in a battlefield in search of a hidden enemy. they are the country's first ever team of female deminers,ea hing remnants of the four decades can't. fo some, it is a personal flight. -- fight >> a man had gone to the mountain on the day of eid. said he would be back soon, but he never came back. from that day i decided, i wish there was equipment or opportun the mine.uld clear of reporter: this was a war front between the russians and the then-mujahedin. now it is a pastor littered with cluster bombs, landmines, and bombshells. within the firstwo hours working,he girls founded exploded shell here and a cluster bomb 10 meters to my
left. it is a dangerous undertaking, aling with these highly sensitive explosives. the only way to secu them is to get rid of them. four afghans fall victim to an exploded ordinance on a daily basis. this coupl lost two of their sons to a landmine explosion six nths ago. this province is soon to be announced mine-free, a new beginning fothis ancient place. laura: a man who worked for the british consulate in hong kong has told the bbc he was tortured in mainland china after being
accused of inciting political unrest. while on a trip to china in august, simon cheng says he was detained for two weeks and was shackled, blindfolded, and beaten. stchina has told britain t interfering in its affairs. mr. cheng has spoken exclusively to china correspondent john sudworth. long claimed that the crisis in hong kong, still raging this week, is being driven by foreign meddling. now, simon cheng sayas seen firsthand how much they want to prove it. simon: they handcuff me like this. john: your hands are cuffed and simon: yes, exactlomething? they start to torture. for example, like to put my handsr up, handcuff foveral hours. you feel very painful. john: held in this detention center for 15 days, he says he
was accused of inciting hong kong's unrest on behalf of theve british ment. simon: they regard me as the i said you don't need to torture me. i will say anything you want to say, but i want to make 100% clear that i didn't -- u.k. did not assign any resources or materials to the prote john: the u.k.'s hong kg consulate, where he worked as a trade and investment officer, is now at the center of an escalating diplomatic row. >> we are outraged by the disgraceful mistreatment that detention in mainland china.in i summoned the chinese ambassador to see me, and we made clear not only that this is outrageous and disgracefulor behabut also that expect the chinese authorities to review and to hold to account those responsible. john: china's reaction was
equally forthright. >> the chinese ambassador will summon the british side to express our anger. we hope the u.k. will stop interfering in china's affairs, or it will eventually harm british interests. john: simon cheng was detainedve after an at this chinese conference center just over th f bordm hong kong. he claims he s other hong kongers in custody. simon: i heard someone spoke in cantonese saying "raise your hands up. you raise lots of flag you raise your hands up."i john: for a protest movement that began with concerns about china's legal system, such claims will cae deep alarm. china may have been looking for
proof that the u.k. is somehow inciting these protests. the irony is simon cheng's account of his treatment in chinese custody is itself a kind of incitement, proof for these vast protesters preparing fort battle teir freedoms are being eroded under chinese rule. simon cheng has had to resign. the u. vis his exposure to chinese state security as too much of a risk. and he is living in fear. he told me his interrogators said if he spoke out, they would find him. john sudworth, bbc news, beijing. laura: how one man got caught up in a diplomatic orw over the hong kong protests. now to australia, where bushfires are having a devastating impact. it is feared that hundreds of koalas may have esed in the bl now people are trying to help animals that survived. a volunteerese operation is to save the koalas. just to warn you, you may find some of ese images upsetting.
reporter:habeen one of the sworsteasons f bushfires in australia in many years. millions of hectares have burnt. hundreds of homes have been destroyed. erand has been a devastating toll on wildlife. other animals can run from the flames.al the can't. this slow-moving marsupial is trapped. the woman behind that voice takes the shirt off her back and rescues the animal, taki care to avoid getting hurt herself. car? water out of my reporter: and then she gives him first aid, dousing with water to try to treat his burns. bring him out of t stuff. and reporter: this animal was lucky. he was taken off to clical -- to a local animal hospital
fornt treatme it is believed that hundreds of koalas have died in the bushfires.ed this is a dog bear. he has been specially trained to sniff out koalas and other small marsupials so they can be rescued from the flames. this is a young koala recovering well after being rescued. it was found curled up and bad dehydrated it is hoped it will eventually go back to itsome in the wild. laura: race against time to save those koalas. ucremember, you can findmore of all the day's news on our website, including the very latest on the impeachment hearings, which have been dominating the news here in gton, d c plus, to see what we are working on at any time, do make ecre to us out on twitter. i'm laura trevelyan. thank you so much for watching "bbc world news america." narrator: funding for this presentation is made possible by... babb signed by language specialists
captioning sponsored by newshour productionsllc 'm woodruff: good evening, judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight... >> was there a "quid pro quo?" as i testified previously, withe rd to the requested white house call and white house meeting? the answer is ye >> woodruff: ...u.s. ambassador to the european union gordonnd nd delivers explosive testimony that he followed with rudy guiliani and to work implicates secretary of state pompeo and vice president pence in the pressure campaign against ukraine. we break down the highlights of this major moment in the impeachmt inquiry. antaking the stage. withess than three months to go before votes are cast in the first primary contest, what to watch out fo t