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tv   Hugh Hewitt  MSNBC  June 23, 2018 5:00am-5:30am PDT

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no one has your back like american express. so no matter where you're going... we're right there with you. the powerful backing of american express. don't do business without it. don't live life without it. morning glory, america. i'm hugh hewitt. on friday afternoon, i sat down with secretary of state mike pompeo in his office on the 7th floor of the state department. almost exactly a year since is i interviewed him at cia headquarters in langley. here's part one of the interview. secretary pompeo, thank you for having us. >> hugh, it's great to be with you. welcome to the state department. >> great to be here. is the senate working with you to fill them so you can have the leadership for the best core in the world? >> the answer is we need to move
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faster here. everyone in the process needs to. we need to get our diplomats out to every corner of the world, and do it as expeditiously as possible. there were big gaps in important places when i took over. we will soon have our ambassador in place in south korea. but we need everyone helping. and i'm confident that senators menendez and corker will help to achieve that. >> you talked to leader mcconnell about this? >> he is moving folks through as quickly as we can. in august we will have the opportunity to get additional people out there doing what the president wants. lead to go deliver his foreign policy in every corner. >> you're a former congressman. you can't envy your senate congress. >> it will be warm, but i will be here alongside them. >> geo-political. 40 years ago, this month the split of the soviet union. another army guy, gave the marshall plan. both were talking about the
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soviet union. is it time to re-orient to our peer competitor being russia or then soviet union to the prc now? are they number one in our competitive department? >> i think they do pose the most serious threat and, frankly, an opportunity for america, if we can get it right. if you compare and contrast the two as between not the soviet union but russia and china. we have one that has wealth and resources. and the other that is a power that is struggling mightily. we need to make sure we understand what china is doing. the president has been very clear about the risks to america associated with their willingness to steal our property, intellectual property and otherwise. eyes wide open with respect to russia's efforts in the south china sea and around the world to build out much bigger, stronger, tougher country. there's things we need to do alongside them and where we have shared an interest. where we don't, we need to make
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sure america is properly positioned to speak to them about each of our two country's respective roles in the world. >> when you sat down with president xi, was it cordial? he gets along so well with president trump. you're the diplomat, maybe bad cop to president trump's good cop. how did that go? >> it was very kind of him to meet with me. i was returning to the united states but wanted to make sure i stopped in. china will have an important role to play as we work our way through the challenging issue of denuclearizing north korea. and i wanted to make sure and explain to them the conversations that the president had with chairman kim, to make sure they understood what we needed from them, which at this point is to continue to make sure economic sanctions that are in place remain in place. and we had a handful of other issues i wanted to speak to president xi about. we both expressed our views. i appreciated him meeting with
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the secretary of the united states. >> he is now president for as long as we can see. do you think -- are we talking about 20, 25 years with president xi and do the american people recognize what a significant player he is now for not only this year but the next decade or two. >> he has power in a way that is truly historic. and the united states and other countries in the region as well need to recognize that. i think some are waking up to it in ways they may not have two or five years ago. we all need to acknowledge what china presents in terms of both opportunity and challenge. >> in 1972, president nixon flipped the script on the soviet kwraoup by goi union by going to see now. is it possible you are working to flip the script again and perhaps make nice with russia because china represent to the united states a bigger competitor? >> the president has been unambiguous since he took office
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that there are places where russia is working against the united states. but many plates where we work together. i had a chance to do that in my previous role as cia director. we worked with russians on counterterrorism issues where the two nations had shared interests. so we are having conversations with our russian counterparts trying to find place where we have overlapping interest but protecting american interests where we do not. >> are you going to go to moscow this summer? >> i don't know. i'll meet with my russian counterparts somewhere, i'm sure. i have spoken to sergey lavrov a couple of times already as secretary of state. good conversations. each of us expressing our displeasure with each other for various things were. all the while making sure the things that matter the most in america, you can't mess around in american elections. some of the behaviors the they are under take anything places like syria and ukraine, they're not helpful. they're not constructive towards
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the value set that americans hold dear. those places will continue to work to make sure they know our interests and our concerns. >> so are you surprised that president trump is in moscow this summer? >> you know, i don't know what the president's schedule is going to be. i know ambassador bolton is planning to travel to moscow. sunday or monday he will meet with his counter part. and i think it's likely president trump will meet with his counterpart in the not too distant future following that meeting. >> interesting. let me ask about president xi. what is his role? does he have a veto over what north korea is doing with you in your conversations? >> the conversations between the united states and north korea have been bilateral talks, just the two of us. we are working to strike a deal, a deal chairman kim has signed up for where he will fully denuclearize. he will permit us to verify that
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complete denuclearization. in exchange for that, we will provide security assurances. hugh, u.n. the story well. for decades, kim, his father, grandfather alike believed the nuclear program was their security out. it provided them with regime stability and security. we have now flipped that narrative. i believe we have convinced him that nuclear program in fact, presents a threat to him and giving it up is a path towards a brighter future for the north korean people. >> what she like, mr. secretary, when the cameras aren't on and the doors are closed? when you first went, does he have a sense of humor? did he joke with you? >> he does have a sense of humor. he is conversant in western culture. i'm confident he will be watching this show. he's watching what americans are saying. he is looking to determine if, in fact, america is serious
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about this. if he takes this step and sets a new strategic direction for north korea where they focus on the economy and their people as opposed to their war-making machine, if he makes that strategic change, does he have a reliable partner in america who will behave the way president trump committed we would when they met in singapore. he knows the topic very well. he's not turning to over for guidance. it is chairman kim who is clearly articulating what you heard him say when he was in singapore. he is prepared to fully denuclearize. >> secretary pompeo, when you sit down with chairman kim or president xi, their human rights records is awful. but president regan was with gorbachev. you know the body count is high but with whom we have to deal. >> we know the histories.
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this administration has been clear about defending human rights. everywhere we go, we talk about it. when we meet with countries not implying with human rights, we have done that with chairman kim. i know the president has spoken about that with xi as well. you have to remember, those human rights problems existed long before this administration came in when our policies were very different. previous efforts to improve on the human rights conditions have failed. we are confident that the biggest threat to the united states, chairman kim's nuclear program is the place we need to begin. and if we are successful, if we can get the outcome we hope to have, we think we create a greater probability of human rights conditions not only in north korea but around the world may well improve. >> are there side protocols that we don't know about? >> i just don't want to get into
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the details of the negotiations that took place before in singapore and have continued since then. i think it is fair to say there are a number of things, a number of principles that have been agreed to. i think both parties understand red lines, things neither country is prepared to go past that give us an opportunity, the belief that we really might, for the first time -- this is not the first rodeo negotiating with north korea. that perhaps this time is different. we know, too, we could be wrong. and the president has said this very clearly. if this isn't different, if it is the case that chairman kim is unable to or not prepared to denuclearize, sanctions will remain in place. the enforcement of those sanctions will continue. and we will be back hard at it if the negotiations prove to be either not in good faith or unproductive. >> back to president xi for one or two more questions. we always worry about our friends in taiwan. president xi gave this
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three-hour speech when he became president for life in china. do you think he has ruled out taiwan and the is united states standing by them? >> we are. president trump had no change with the one china policy. the three communiques which followed that remain in place. the president has spoken with xi. on numerous occasions, we told him a nonviolent path is the right path forward. and i think each of our countries understand each other's positions. >> i'll be back with more of my conversation with secretary of state mike pompeo right after this.
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welcome back. i'm hugh hewitt. yesterday afternoon i sat down with secretary of state mike pompeo. here's part two of that conversation. >> let's turn to iran.
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probably the greatest exporter of violence in the world on a daily basis. do you foresee using force if they continue on a nuclear path. >> i hope not. the prime drivers of iranian threat posture, i hope they recognize whatever other decisions other countries make, i hope they understand if they begin to ramp up their nuclear program, the wrath of the entire world will fall upon them. so it is not in their practical best interest to begin that. whatever happens to the jcpoa. i think the iranians understand that. it would be wholly separate from whether they spin a couple of centrifuges. if they move towards a weapons program, this is something the entire world would find unacceptable. and we would end up in a path that is not in the best interest
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of iran. >> when you say the wrath of the entire world, i'm talking about the entante. jordan, iraq, saudi arabia, united arab emirates. would they support that wrath in the form of american military action. >> don't confuse that for military action. the moral and economic power that fell upon them. that's what i'm speaking to. i'm not talking to military action here. i truly hope that's never the case. it's not in anyone's best interest for that. president trump has been very clear. iran will not get a nuclear weapon nor start its weapons program on this president's watch. and i have heard some say that we've separated from our allies on this issue of iran. i don't think that's the case. when i talked to my arab
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friends, israelis, all of those in the region, they are right alongside us. even when i speak to the europeans who whom we have a difference about the jcpoa. they, too, understand the malign activity with hezbollah, yemen, syria, iraq, or its missile program that is launching missiles into airports that westerners travel through. there is a unified understanding of iran's malevolent behavior and will be an incredibly united world if they head down that path. >> you mentioned soleimani. they are trying to move into syria where they have put the revolutionary guard again. but you're saying, i just want to understand, if necessary the united states is prepared to do whatever they have to do to stop them. >> president trump has been unambiguous in his statements that says iran will not be able to obtain a nuclear weapon. remember, too, it's important to
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remind your viewers that the previous agreement permitted them toen raeufp aourtoenrich u. i laid down a dozen items that we're asking iran to do. if your viewers go look at them, they are simple things. become a member of the community of nations, right? stop launching missiles into non-hostile nations. cease support of terrorism around the world. don't go down the path of a nuclear weapons system. the asks from the united states in order for iran to return to the creative nations are what we ask from other countries around the world to be part of the system. >> anyone who follows your twitter feed, and i do, the last two weeks you have done more support for iran than under the
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green revolution. will that be a mark that you are just going to support the democratic movement in iran? >> i think it's a mark of president trump and our administration. we are very hopeful that there will be an increase in the democratic values and the capacity for iranians to speak their mind inside the islamic republic of iran. >> you used to be able to count armys, missiles, airplanes. now the weapons are not visible. you used to see them at langley. how do we know who has the weapons in the world of cyber? how are you working with secretary mattis? >> that's a great question. the range of instrument alitys, the scope of the battle field has changed with the advent of cyber activity. the good news is the united states is unrivaled in our
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capacity to identify bad behaviors. it doesn't mean we pick them all up or we can't be misled. but we have incredible cyber teams both in the department of defense and elsewhere. who are watching. they're watching what folks are doing around the world in cyberspace. we have the capacity to respond. as a diplomat, one of the fundamental things that secretary mattis and i both agree on is that a cyber attack does not necessarily need to be responded to only through a cyber means. if they engage in something that becomes a true act of war, then the response is that the united states needs to take -- aren't limited to just a cyber response. there will be times when the united states government decides that's the most appropriate place because you can in fact, do it quietly. you can respond in the cyber world by sending a message that the entire world doesn't necessarily see but your
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adversary does well see. but there are times when it calls for diplomatic response or other type of responses from our government. >> does the public need to know when we've been attacked? we just found out that we were told to stand down during the russian spwfrpbs in the elections. does the public need to know we're doing things in order to calibrate how to judge the president and your responses and secretary mattis? >> it's a difficult challenge to figure out precisely. in the same way the intelligence community has things that we don't share because they work against american interests when we do or on the department of defense conducts activities that they want to do in a way that is quiet that maybe our adversaries know and we can protect america's secrets, it is a complicated calculation of how much to disclose and the timing of the disclosures. however, when it comes to u.s.
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domestic issues, there is a thumb on the scale for disclosure. that is, i was speaking more about things that happened internationally or the security realm. when it comes to our elections and u.s. democracy, i definitely think there is a thumb on the scale with respect to sharing with the american people the threats that are around them. >> secretary mike pompeo, thanks for being here. >> thank you very much. thanks again to secretary of state mike pompeo for this interview. i'll be right back. oh, you brought butch. yeah! (butch growls at man) he's looking at me right now, isn't he?
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as long as a president is behind his secretary of state, america's diplomatic carries the full faith and credit of the united states. when the confidence of the president is not with the secretary of state, it is the worst-kept secret literally in the world. for now mike pompeo enjoys the trust of president trump. we should all hope it stays that way. lots of famous names from carried this role. madeline albright, hillary clinton, thomas jefferson. it is far too early to suggest any assessment of mike pompeo's tenure but it is easy to assess his first few months on the job, proceeding at breakneck speed and astonishing results. the world hopes it is as happy in a year from now. not just success on the korean peninsula occurs but in asia generally, the middle east, and
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good morning. i'm in for alex witt at msnbc world headquarters in new york. at the half hour, here's what we're watching. we begin with a live picture of the white house where in a half hour from now, president trump is scheduled to leave for los angeles for events with nevada's republican party. and his executive order thursday ending it. new insight this morning from the "new york times" and the "washington post" on what led the president to retreat on that policy and the confusion his executive order created between the justice department and the department o


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