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tv   Inside Story 2018 Ep 63  Al Jazeera  March 4, 2018 8:32pm-9:01pm +03

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of civilians is unacceptable nearly one hundred fifty thousand people are in urgent need of emergency supplies nearly a week after a did deadly quake struck the highlands of papua new guinea damaged roads and landslides have prevented the delivery of aid a man has been shot dead in bicheno fast while attempting to storm a roadblock near the presidential compound two other men involved in the attack which happened in the capital aka dugu managed to flee it's happened two days after eight people were killed twenty assaults on the military headquarters and french embassy in iraq a jugar. chancellor angela merkel's center left rivals the social democrats have overwhelmingly voted to approve a new grand coalition with her conservatives it turns months of political uncertainty the investigation into russian interference in the election of donald trump has reportedly been widened to include the united arab emirates the new york times says investigators have been questioning george naida american lebanese
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businessman who's now buys or to the crown prince of the u.a.e. those are the headlines stay with us around inside story coming up next. conflict of interest in the white house donald trump's son in law is reported to have used his influence with the president to boost the family business and cushier has had his top secret security clearance downgraded is that a sign of more chaos in the president's inner circle this is inside story.
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hello and welcome to the program i'm. donald trump's son in law jared kushner has a reputation for being one of the president's closest and well listen to advisers but his role in the white house is being scrutinized because of us media reports about the impact his business ties are having on u.s. policy questions are being asked whether or not he's misused his influence to secure money for his family business from foreign countries another concern is whether he helped russian interference in trump's election campaign all the while the president's appointed middle east peace broker has had his top level security clearance downgraded last week jarrett krishna became increasingly powerful when he organized trump's digital media strategy during his presidential election bid in two thousand and sixteen. the thirty seven year old is married to the president's daughter ivanka he took over his family's firm after his father was jailed for tax evasion christian was appointed senior white house advisor when president trump was
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inaugurated in january last year despite his lack of government experience he was tasked with resolving the israeli palestinian conflict and was the president's lead advisor on relations with china mexico and canada he's being scrutinized for his alleged links to russia's interference in trump's presidential campaign cushion admits meeting the russian ambassador but denies collusion let's now get the thoughts of our guests joining us here with me in doha clyde wilcox a professor of government at georgetown university in washington d.c. bruce fine he's a former u.s. associate deputy attorney general and in beirut rami hooty senior fellow at there is some photos institute for public policy at the american university of beirut welcome to all of you clyde i want to start with you president trump famously said that there was no conflict of interest when it comes to the president of the us but it's a different story for jared cushier i mean there is conflict of interest that applies to him correct oh yes absolutely there's a lot that's unprecedented here so we have the son in law and the daughter of the president in the white house the son in law having an enormous portfolio but as he
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travels he's promoting his business he's seeking business loans from countries that he is dealing with and so it's it's a even in the best of cases even imagine it's squeaky clean there is a smell to that right there's a problem with that arrangement. bruce how worried would you be right now if you were jared kirshner and why it's not only that he's seeking loans from foreign governments that he has his portfolio over as a member of the administration but it's known that he is in some kind of financial straits he's searching desperately for loans to prop up some of his tottering real estate investments and that's a clear sign that intelligence community looks for when they seek somebody who they believe may defect or turn to be some kind of a counterintelligence problem and that fits i think a financial situation like a glove also i think had omitted the fact that mr questioner was in that june two
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thousand and sixteen meeting with the russians where they are going to promise dirt on hillary and he was there with paul mann afford and donald jr that's another connection we have to him in collusion and then we also have this issue of him omitting a literally scores if not hundreds of foreign contacts he had when he supplied his s.f. eighty six in order to obtain a security clearance if those things were intentionally misled and withheld they could be perjury problems with regard to mr mr questioner and lastly it's quite clear from the leaks out of the state department in the white house probably mr kelly that mr questioner has virtually no allies many enemies and the only person who saving him is mr trump himself the president and mr trump is known to be quite erratic with regard to his loyalties he's narcissistic i think to to say the
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least and i would feel very precarious of our mr questioner at present but i mean critics of both president trump and jared cushion or say that christers position in the white house makes a mockery of federal guidelines to prevent nepotism and conflicts of interest but if if there are guidelines that are in place i mean are they just being ignored. well it seems that virtually the entire legacy of modern american governance and constitutional norms is being ignored or at least twisted or reinterpreted in the way that one man wants to do that donald trump he sees the presidency as an extension of his own career rather than as a public responsibility and trust the really big problem along with all the other ones that have been mentioned by my fellow guests about the impropriety and the ethical issues is that questioner doesn't seem to have any competence in any of the things that he's actually and trusted with as far as we can tell there you know
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where we have them he doesn't do press conferences he doesn't. allow himself to be questioned there's no real public accountability or transparency the only area where we have quite a bit of knowledge about what he is actually doing is the palestinian israeli peace talks that he's supposed to be. coordinating or heading and he's he's proved totally incompetent there not only incompetent but he's the policies that he's pursued have pushed the united states into the greatest isolation globally that it's ever been on this issue fourteen to one against the u.s. in the security council the talks have broken down the palestinians wanted them to talk won't even meet the vice president when he goes to to address them in bethlehem so the level of impropriety or apparent impropriety let's say as matched by a level of incompetence that is quite shocking for any branch of government let alone the white house quite i want to i want to build on what rami was just saying
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that he was talking about jarrett christers role as an envoy for peace in the middle east now jared christers recently had his security clearance downgraded in order to be a peace envoy especially in such a volatile region as this wouldn't one need to have access to top secret information to help the silicate that jump yes. i think it's remarkable that he had a top secret clearance as long as he did given the problems that the other guests have mentioned about his debt to the seeking out the money and so forth and the many many versions of the forms he's been filing he's been incompetent to date and now he will have even less information than in the past the fact that it's pointed out that mr questioner has virtually no competence in any of the areas of the portfolio that he's handling made shoes suspect that the reason why he even accepted the position that he enjoyed in the white house was as a surrogate to advance his business interest there's nothing that suggests mr
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questioner has not only any competence but any interest in pursuing these areas so i asked as well would then why did he accept a position in the white house other than to advance his business interests that creates the conflict that you pointed out earlier or abers let me let me follow up that by asking you he's had his security clearance downgraded he no longer has access to the president's daily intelligence briefing do we know what he has access to at this point it's the top secret in what's called specialized compartmental information he does not have access to but he would have access to what's called secret now in classified information that's lower rung sensitivity of information now that it's the executive branch who decides what to stamp it secret or classified or top secret it's a largely subjective area so we don't know exactly what information he does have still available to him but i think the symbolic gesture of mr kelly
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suggesting that he no longer has confidence that he should be entrusted with the president's daily brief indicates that mr kelly will not include mr questioner on discussions these may not be documents that could involve sensitive classified information he's been frozen out so he's kind of a lone ranger now and he doesn't have the ability to consult with others. because he's viewed somewhat as a pariah at the highest level the chief of staff but i mean isn't that the case that the architects of american democracy thought it was a bad idea to hire presidential relatives i mean are we now seeing evidence of why so many who came before in american government were so low that to have relatives of presidents working alongside presidents in the white house. right you had this occasionally in history you had robert kennedy has turned a general for john kennedy but they were done that was done under certain circumstances that were seen to be acceptable but the thing about trump the whole
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trump family under president donald trump is that they have basically turned on its head this extraordinarily impressive legacy of american constitutionalism and governance by the people for the people and of the people and there are cases of course of corruption and abuse of power and unethical behavior in the united states and those are often caught not every one of them but the the central tenet of american governance is that it's a system based on the rule of law not on the rule of personal people men and women who enrich themselves as is the case in much of the rest of the third world and other parts of. the world so this is the real tragedy and danger of what is happening in the u.s. compounded just yesterday when trump apparently said that he likes what the president is doing in china having you know rule for perpetual rule for life and maybe he'll try it himself one day so this is where the real story is how far and how effectively can the institutions of american life the press the courts the
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political parties citizens peacefully demonstrating education system how can they push back using those instruments of constitutional governance to protect the constitutionalism as it has been practiced for two and a quarter century is and this is the real test i think in the in the final analysis and that's why questioner is such a glaring insult not just to israelis when he's presented as the as the peace negotiator he's and so to the united to the american people in their own legacy of having the rule of law and we'll see how this plays out quite as i react to what the romney was saying what are your thoughts what's your reaction to romney was saying yes well i fully agree and i'd like to this sort of think about we. we know why might accept but why would donald trump put a novice with no experience in this position and the one thing we know about donald trump he's darcis istic he also trust no one he really has no close personal
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friends they're all business relationships and so the people he trusts you know are his family and he's but totally irresponsible to give this much you know of a portfolio to someone with so little experience bruce the washington post reported that u.s. intelligence services had determined that officials in four countries including the u.a.e. china and israel that they had been privately discussing how to use jared christians real estate investments as a way to gain leverage over him in order to influence official u.s. policy so this becomes about more and concerns of nepotism right i mean this becomes more about concerns about national security at this point correct that is right a dual loyalties that they see that his financial straits enable them perhaps to sway is used by offering the money or loans or otherwise they see him very vulnerable and the other area that i'd like to just amplify the earlier statements about turning constitutionalism on its head there are two elements of mr trump's
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behavior that are really quite disturbing gone beyond any previous present number one you know he openly says i need an attorney general to protect me they did he views is other government officials in the cabinet they're not to protect the constitution the american people predict him individually the second thing is that he demands personal loyalty to him self says your loyalty is to me mr trump not to the constitution of the united states now we know where that originated no that was the oath that hitler demanded of his civil servants in the military and it's really quite extraordinary i served in the government for fifteen years and my loyalty was the constitution i served during the nixon administration when he was under assault when he said if the president does it it means it legal and never did i once think that milo. l.t. was the anything but the constitution that's what elliot richardson said when he resigned that's what bill ruckelshaus said that's why the system worked the differences at that time there was a revolt against these ideas mr trump says them and there's complacency with the
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republicans in congress and elsewhere that's truly extraordinary rami i want to talk about the reports that there was a possible deal between cutler and jared cushioning earned questioners business is that it fell through just weeks. fell through and then weeks later the white house possibly back the blockading in scotter whether this was coincidence or whether this was retaliation how severely does that undermine the credibility of the u.s. well it certainly looks bad for the white house we don't know the exact details and there's only probably three or four people in the world who do know who are involved in those talks but eternally looks very bad what's clear is that when the saudis and that is behind in is an egyptian is put the siege on qatar in june early june of last year the american response was totally confused you had the white house the defense department the state department all saying slightly different things it took them about
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a month to more less get on the get on the same message so it's not clear who is actually making policy on that issue but it certainly looks bad for a cushion or for trump for the white house and for the american political system that somebody would go and try to get a massive multi hundred million dollar investment or a loan to save a sinking. real estate project and then when that is turned down that that same person joins the chorus against. but this is part of the bigger problem again of the white house there are does there's a over a dozen people who have resigned from the white house senior positions and there's five or six people who are somehow linked to trump or his campaign or his white house or. his staff who have been indicted some of them have already pleaded guilty so there's just a big big complex of people who are behaving in
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ways that the american culture sees as inappropriate unethical illegal or even dangerous and that's why there's a special prosecutor the full power of the law has now been brought in to investigate all this issues whether it's russia in the campaign and now it's a dealings of question or another things are being investigated. as well so it's a question or is the is the kind of tip of the iceberg here here's the most dramatic and most glaring example of this apparently unethical behavior he still hasn't been indicted there are mostly reports in the press that we're dealing with so we just have to give the guy his constitutional rights and wait till the actual facts come out in a court of law or in some other mechanism but it seems that he is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg a bigger problem of people who behave in this way and they are very much the reflection of donald trump's way of life clyde the new york times reporting that an
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advisor to the u.a.e. crown prince has been questioned and the special counsel robert mueller wants to know whether george is now there who's a regular visitor to the white house attempted to buy political influence i mean how is the region seeing the u.s. in the midst of all this reporting that's going on especially in light of the g.c.c. crisis well i'm sure there is as i said before the real problem is whether there's anything here or not we have to be suspicious right. from what i've heard. has pushed business deals in the middle of a conversation about policy as he's traveled through the region and i think it's just a great problem for you america that we have a man who has been mixing these things up because you have to assume the worst if you're another country. bruce jared cushion or divested himself from only a small portion of cushion or companies before he started working at the white house but he's retained substantial substantial ownership still what i'd like to
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know is how different is that what he did in comparison to what other officials who were interim government work for the white house did to divest themselves from their businesses well i think it was standard practice up until the trump administration that someone coming into the administration would put their serious assets in a blind trust and they would have no control over what was invested they wouldn't know what deals were being done now as a way to ensure that they couldn't have you know a conflict of interest it's really say it's unprecedented that they open in the tory is retention of business interests that obviously could be influenced by american foreign policy create clearly and the appearance of divided loyalties here and it's a sad day when the standard for remaining in public life in the white house is well you're not been indicted for a felony yet i mean surely we demand more of our public servants than well you skated above the felonious line and that's kind of what we're giving jared kush no
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two i mean not only combined with the incompetence but with the obvious suggestion of nepotism and conflict of interest he said voluntarily the part it's because of the appearance problem that we have but that's something that the trump people resisted putting all their assets in a blind trust and you have to ask them why is that why would they not be comfortable putting assets in a blind trust and the only answer that's readily apparent is because they wanted to use their political stature to promote their business interests. rami turning back to the mideast peace process again and building on something you said a short while ago you know it's been reported in the last few days that jared coaster now wants to pivot wholeheartedly into into presenting his plan for israeli palestinian peace but not only is that difficult because of his security clearances being downgraded it's also difficult because of
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a lack of credibility if the people are accusing him of having many of his critics say he's just not an objective player because he has extensive business ties to israel i mean how is it he can now pivot into this would he be taken seriously in this process that can't be taken seriously at all and that's one reason why it's gotten nowhere and not only is it got nowhere but the trumpet ministration with cushions involvement with it will some sheldon adelson the the big pro israeli financier or. a political donor who supports right wing groups in israel in the united states who is supported trump with another people have taken the initiative on the drew slim decision that the united states government made to move its embassy to jerusalem which has completely. wiped out thirty forty years of diplomatic negotiations which haven't succeeded fully but clearly we're creating a set of rules and an outline for what
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a final permanent israeli palestinian arab israeli peace could look like and has completely set on that out the window and generated huge obstacles in the way of just even getting the israelis and palestinians to talk to one another has wiped out the credibility of the united states as an impartial mediator which was already very low anyway with the legacy of dennis ross and people like that in the government who for decades promoted policies that most people in the region and internationally saw as leaning to the israelis rather than being. even handed and further the third problem is that you've got this related question you asked a couple questions of what do arabs think of what they see in the white house and trump the reality is that there are a lot of power elites in the arab world leaders of governments kings and meters and others presidents who love trump and they just want to be part of what he's doing they're desperate for his support and therefore they are trying to get close to him
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but the reality is that these are also leaders in the arab world who are wildly out of touch with their own people and have very little credibility at home and have massive internal problems in their own countries so what you're seeing is the fragmentation of the arab world into a small power elite that is desperately trying to align with the trump or any foreign power that will protect them and masses of people in the side they are world who are much less supportive of that are much more critical of what the united states is doing partly because of the mass support in the arab world for a just resolution of the arab israeli conflict that's just for the israelis and just for the arabs as well and that's not what we're getting out of the white house so these are all. dimensions of the incompetence and the political tilt that the american government has practiced under questioners amend it. clyde critics of robert mueller charged him with working outside the scope of his mandate
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that if he's focusing on christie's not doing what he's supposed to be doing what do you say to that well so kushner was involved in meetings as we just heard with the russians so that's clearly within the mandate the fact that he actually was seeking money for russians to makes this whole money seeking project connected to the russian investigation but the special prosecutors have some leeway in expanding the scope as they find other examples of malfeasance the final thing i'd say here is that question or some people have said is like the tip of the iceberg what i've heard from many countries as i've traveled is we have been told to move our events to trump towers we have been told to move our events to trumpet elves so this has been the the norm of the administration to build business for the trump family and the christian family through foreign policy bruce how much longer do you think christian has a role in this white house do you think he's going to be pushed out or does he survive this in the short term at least. you know i think he's done i think he has
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no friends the leaks will continue he'll be shut out of meetings other than perhaps with mr trump himself that are important and i think the pressure will be great and he and yvonne will will leave i would say with regard to the writ that you mentioned under which mr molder is operating it is narrower than the special prosecutor rich that were given to archibald cox and previous special counsels but it superintended in in force by the deputy attorney general who would entertain claims that he's going beyond the scope of his investigation that is true that it cites collusion between russia and the trump campaign as the prime target but it also says as a kind of residual clause that you know anything that emerges out of that investigation is also fair game but the fact is mr rosenstein the deputy attorney
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general is the one who's empowered to police whether or not he's stepping outside of his jurisdiction and moreover remember that even if it is outside of his jurisdiction it's not like the issue goes away it would just be transferred to the main justice department attorneys who would continue to investigate if it had credibility and we know that mr trump feels uncomfortable about that he's called his attorney general most recently disgraceful because he gave to the inspector general the task of determining whether there are problems with this face to warrant concerning christopher steele than this though cia on trump and so the whether it's within or outside the special counsel's writ it's going to remain as a bird in the facade of the administration all right gentlemen we're going to have to leave it there thanks to all our guests clyde wilcox bruce fein and rami hooty and thank you too for watching you can see the program again any time by visiting our website al-jazeera dot com and for further discussion go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on to. twitter our handle is at
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a.j. inside story for me the whole team here i for now. more than forty thousand africans are facing deportation from israel is awarded more than ninety percent of their gender except as if it is the way it is the europeans almost zero point one per cent of those if it is two of those in danger of being thrown out of the country in which they sought refuge talks out jazeera at this time. capital the capital which makes a creative. when nature is transformed into
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right and populist posses us.


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