tv HAR Dtalk BBC News September 6, 2022 12:30am-1:01am BST
this is bbc news. the headlines will follow at the top of the hour, after hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk, i'm stephen sackur and this is lake como in northern italy — venue for the ambrosetti forum, which, every year, brings together politicians from around the world. my guest today is one of them, republican senator lindsey graham, who is perhaps the loudest, most loyal defender of donald trump in the us congress. now, mr trump seems intent
on running for the white house again in 2024 but his legal troubles are mounting, so republicans face a decision — can they afford to remain the party of trump? senator lindsey graham, welcome to hardtalk. thank you very much. senator, you are deep in the political trenches with donald trump and right now, that looks like a pretty unhealthy place to be. does it feel that way to you? uh, no. if you're a republican, it's a good place to be because he's very popular among republicans. emerson college — not exactly, you know, a right—wing polling firm — has trump up in pennsylvania and some of the swing states.
so, this election coming up in 80 days, they want to make it about trump, republicans want to make it about a failed presidency of biden, and we'll see where it shakes out. but no, the truth of the matter is that president trump and the republican party is seen as successful on issues that matter to the country, to conservatism, the court, the border, strong national security, so he's in good standing with republicans. crosstalk. i'm going to stop you, if i may, because it seems to me politics isn'tjust about polling, it's notjust about appealing to your core base and activists. you're right. that's where i was headed. it really is about also showing respect for principles, for institutions, and for the democracy that you live under. and right now, it really looks as though there are very serious questions about whether donald trump is respecting the laws of the united states of america. yeah, yeah — you know, that's what people will be voting on.
i don't think that's what people are going to be voting on. i think that's a bunch of new york times—stirred stuff. the bottom line is we live in america, right? where you had hillary clinton set up a server in her basement to get classified information in a way that she shouldn't have gotten it. 33,000 e—mails that were subpoenaed were somehow missing, and she got a pass. i don't know what happened... there was a federal investigation. yeah, that's right. and the finding was, after a long investigation, there was no wilful intent to abuse the rules. so, let's see what happens with trump. let's see. that's all i'm asking. but i just want to ask you, given that i talked about you being in the trenches with trump, do you find it in any way difficult to explain what donald trump was doing with 33 boxes of secret — top secret — highly confidential information which he had taken out of the white house which we now know, thanks to federal filings, that investigators
found at various different points in the mar—a—lago estate, including in his personal office. yep—no... can you explain that? no, i don't. i haven't talked to him about it, but i don't think that's going to be the issue that decides the 2022 election. he is under investigation. hillary clinton was under investigation. after all the things she did, nothing happened with her. we'll see what happens with him. she cooperated. he clearly has not cooperated. he was subpoenaed in may. injune, his people said they had handed over all of the possibly relevant documents. that was plainly not true. all i can say is i don't know what happened. i do know this — what happened with her. we'll see what happens with him. but the point i'm trying to make is, you know, the hunter biden laptop — republicans love talking about that. you know, liberals love talking about everything with trump. i guess what i'm trying to tell everybody —
i tell everybody at home — people want to know what you're going to do about inflation, what you're going to do about crime, what you're going to do about a broken border. and the question is trump fit to serve? that will be a question. is biden capable of serving another term? that'd be a question. but the 2022 election is going to be about congress and we'll see how that shakes out. let's, if i may, stick to trump, because that's what really matters right now. chuckles. now, after that fbi raid in mar—a—lago we saw a spike — we are still seeing a spike — of threats, very real threats being made on fbi offices and fbi agents. totally inappropriate, totally inappropriate. right. well, if that's inappropriate, why did you, lindsey graham, go on to fox news and say, you know what? if trump is prosecuted for mishandling classified information, you can expect riots on the streets of the united states. why did you say that? well, number one, i don't want riots from black lives matter or anybody else.
i said it because i travel the world and i understand what happens when people lose respect for the rule of law and you don't want me to talk about it but i am going to talk about it. hillary clinton's compromised, classified information, in the eyes of many — including me — classified information ended up being on anthony weiner�*s laptop. the bottom line is i accepted the results of the investigation. the crossfire hurricane investigation was corrupt. i supported mueller not being replaced as a special counsel, because you can't fire people because you don't agree with them. but the work product in crossfire hurricane — social media outlets were told by the fbi the hunter laptop thing is russian disinformation in october, before an election. so, there is a real deep scepticism that there are elements of departmentjustice and the fbi who hate trump's guts, and it doesn't matter what you do to get him... but if i may say so, senator, what you said
about riots in the streets if he is prosecuted appeared to be rationalising, maybe even justifying, more political violence... no, i'm not trying to justify... ..from the right. i'm not trying to justify violence. i rejected it on january the 6th. those people who seized the capitol, i hope they all go to jail. i'm not interested in pardoning them. donald trump is. yeah, well, ithink that's a mistake. the vice president raised bail money for people who rioted in the black lives matter protests, so i've been pretty consistent here. what i am saying is that the department ofjustice and fbi, when it comes to trump, there seems to be no rules among some. and if you're going to prosecute the likely nominee in 2024, the former president of the united states, for mishandling classified information, and that's it, after hillary clinton, it's going to create a major problem in the united states. if he's done more, then he'll be held accountable. just one more point on your
rhetoric and whether you are behaving responsibly. the former george w bush ethics chief richard painter, a long—time republican, said this — "a senator who talks in those terms, of riots in the streets if trump is indicted, should be expelled from the senate because he, in effect, is inciting january the 6th all over again." yeah, i know him. he hates trump, he hates me. i'm just being honest with you. i was asked a question. if, at the end of the day, you give clinton a pass and you go after trump forjust mishandling classified information, you'll have a real problem in america. and what i hope is we'll have a legal system we all can trust. i'm not asking to stop the investigation against president trump, i'm asking the media not to try him before we get all the information, and i'm trying to tell you and your audience that the topics that will decide the next election won't be this. right. but when you talk about rioting on the streets,
can you understand that some will make a link between that and joe biden who, just a day or two ago, made a very important speech to the american public, saying, quote, "the republican party is dominated, driven and intimidated by trump, and maga — make america great again — republicans, and their extreme ideology." yeah. he is saying there are dark forces at work who are inciting violence and i think he may see you as one of them. well, the bottom line here is i don't want violence at any level, and the speech by president biden was pathetic, in my view, and desperate because he's running for re—election based on the idea you should be afraid of donald trump, i guess me and every other conservative republican in the country. what he should be running on is his record, and he can't. we'll get to his record injust a moment, but the idea that it is only partisan democrats led byjoe biden who are accusing the trump wing
of the republican party of irresponsibility, of threatening america's key institutions — that's nonsense. because people like liz cheney, highly respected conservatives who have senior positions in your party for many years... i like liz! liz cheney says that donald trump is now running a crusade that is undermining american democracy. your lens of what's going on in america is a bit cloudy. liz cheney hates trump's guts. january 6... because she hates what donald trump is doing to america! all i can say is that donald trump i think was a consequential president in terms of making america strong, securing the border, taking the fight to al-qaeda in the most effective way. you know, we'll go on and on about his accomplishments but january the 6th was a bad day for the country. but it's notjust about january the 6th. it's about here we are today, about to go into midterm elections with donald trump who, de facto, is the most
important figure in your party who may well be about to announce a run for the presidency in 2024, a man who still says the election was stolen from him, in effectjoe biden is an illegitimate president and that the united states right now is a delegitimised democracy. he is undermining all of the institutions of your state and you still back him. here's what i would say. the january sixth committee doesn't have one dissenting voice on it. it would be — you know, the soviet union would be proud of this committee. there is nobody on that committee asking questions about if it was all trump's fault, why did people, the night before, show up and plant bombs around the democratic national committee? crosstalk. but senator, that contention that there is no dissenting voices is precisely because the republicans refused to serve on it, except for two — there are two
republicans, kinzinger and cheney, whojust don't fit your view of what the republicans should think. no, no, no — you're completely wrong. the republican party offered jim jordan and a few others to serve and the democrats said no because they didn't like their point of view. we're 80 days before an election. the former president of the united states�* home was raided by the fbi. he's the likely nominee. you're 80 days before an election and there's a suspicion in the air on the conservative side this is an effort to continue to go after trump, no matter how you do it, it'sjustified if you're trying to get him. so, what i think is going to happen is biden's speech in philadelphia is going to fall on deaf ears, that most americans have problems with trump kind of liked his policies and 70% of the country thinks we are going in the wrong direction on major issues, and that will decide 2022. we will get to those issues injust a moment. 0k. one more actually very personal
reflection on the legal travails and the trench that you're currently in with donald trump. you yourself have been subpoenaed to face a grand jury in georgia because of a conversation you had with the secretary of state in georgia right after the november 2020 election about what would happen to mail—in votes. hmm—mm. a lot of people are very interested in why you made that call and what you discussed with the secretary of state and you, it seems, are intent on refusing to testify. why? number one, iam united states senator. it was myjob to vote as to whether or not to certify the results of the election in each state and i voted to certify all of them, including georgia. i had a real problem with mail—in voting — notjust in georgia, but other places. i think i have an obligation to understand the facts before a vote and my case is on appeal. the subpoena was... because you are desperate not
to testify under oath? no, because i am making sure that county prosecutors — which you're ok with in this case — can't call senators in county courts all over the country when they make a decision within the confines of being a senator. to my democratic friends, if you like what she's doing to me, there will be a county prosecutor coming for you one day. we have, in our constitution, speech and immunity privileges so this very thing can't happen, that you can't have subdivisions of the government opening up — and this is a county prosecutor by the way. so the bottom line is, let's see what the courts do, but my position is, i was doing myjob as a united states senator and that is privileged... or were you doing yourjob as a friend and ally of donald trump, trying to reverse the result of the election by getting a whole bunch of mail—in votes removed from the tally in georgia? i voted to certify the election. everything i did was proper in my view and we will see
what the courts say about it. but if i thought that the election, you know, i had concerns about it, but i voted to certify it because i think i did my homework. as you have rightly said, there's a lot of politics in the united states right now, and it's not all about donald trump and legal travails. a lot of it is about what the american public are getting from their government. joe biden, it seems, has begun to turn the tide of opinion about his achievements, because in the last few weeks, he has actually delivered on a bunch of key promises. and the polls show that his approval rating is actually rising into the low to mid 40s percent. it is. you perhaps assumed there would be a tidal wave of republican support in the house and senate elections in the midterms — may not happen that way. you know, we are 80 days out, i feel good about a republican takeover of both the house and the senate. but the infrastructure bill,
the bipartisan infrastructure bill is a trillion dollars — i voted for it. the gun reform bill, i voted for it, so... these are achievements of the biden presidency. he deserves credit. i deserve credit. i guess my point is i don't mind working with president biden and my democratic colleagues when it makes sense to me. the american rescue plan was throwing gas on a fire in my view. the last... the inflation reduction act, i think, is going to make problems worse. so we did gun reform, the biggest in 30 years. we did an infrastructure bill that was a fraction of what build back better would have been, but it made sense to me. so the bottom line is when 70% of the people believe we're headed in the wrong direction, the party in power usually loses seats in midterms to begin with, but that's a huge number.
and when that number... you can slice the polls different ways. the polls also show that democrats, compared with republicans across the country, actually coming up, almost in a tie now. in fact, it looks less likely that you republicans are going to take the senate because americans it seems quite like whatjoe biden is doing on, for example, massive spending on climate change measures, new renewables infrastructure. they love what he's doing sponsoring massive investment in semiconductor industries across the country. which i voted for, by the way. what i'm painting is a picture where the democrats have found ways of reaching the american people at a time of economic difficulty and you republicans don't appear to have answers. what i'm trying to tell you, you're missing a lot in your analysis. there's two issues that really loom large. three, i guess. crime is up everywhere. the border is a complete national security nightmare. and inflation is crushing
the middle class. so, generally speaking, we do well in off years — the party out of power, notjust us — me, the republican party. i think it will be the averages plus. usually we pick up about 25 seats in off—year elections, the party out of power. i think we'll be a little north of that. you are optimistic, but i want to go into two issues briefly, which might disturb your optimism. one is abortion. i am sure you have seen the polls. two—thirds of american women do not approve of the supreme court overturning the roe versus wade decision, which, in essence, gave a constitutional right to a woman for an abortion in the us. right. women don't like it. well, in 1973 — from the time of our founding until 1973, abortion was decided by each state. then you had a supreme court take that issue away from elected officials and created a constitutional right to an abortion,
which doesn't exist in my view. they manufactured a right out of the constitution that is popular with many, but that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. so what will happen in america is that each state, including my own, will decide the issue of abortion based on what they think is best for the people in that state. what about those republicans in congress who say if they get a majority in both houses they will push for nationwide legislation, massively restricting abortion in every state? i don't know who you are talking about, but i know this — there are not 60 votes in the united states senate to ban abortion at the federal level. i will be introducing legislation in the fall to make america more in line with the european countries that ban abortion after 15 weeks. so the abortion debate, you're right, is hotly contested, but women, yeah, i understand what you're saying, it's a difficult issue, but i think... it could be a vote loser for you. according to the new york
times, trump privately believes it is a vote loser for republicans. here is what i think is going to will change the tide significantly. i think women, you know, people in charge of households, more time than not are the mothers, are worried about putting food on the table, the economy, crime, being able to send your kids to school and go downtown safely. a final point — specific policy areas. nothing to do with the political horse race in the united states, it's arguably way more important. you're here in italy to talk to europeans, particularly about the state of the ukraine war. yes. about european and american partnership to try to help the ukrainians win that war. can you hand on heart say that if your man, donald trump, were in the white house, you think the american stand confronting putin would be as strong as it has been under joe biden? i can say hand on my heart that if donald trump were still president, putin would not have invaded ukraine.
afghanistan set in motion our withdrawal under biden... hang on, i'm going to stop you right now. let's not talk about afghanistan. i am saying if donald trump i was president putin would not have gone into ukraine. donald trump, on the eve of the invasion, said it was very smart of vladimir putin to, in effect, annex those two regions in the donbas. why didn't he do it when trump was president? what makes you think he wouldn't have done it? he didn't do it. trump was president for four years. we lost the east under biden — i mean, 0bama. if you think it's an accident that trump gets out of office, biden pulls out of afghanistan in the most shameful, dishonourable way and all of a suddenly everybody gets squirrelly in the world, that's pretty naive. and you seriously think that donald trump would have spent more than $10 billion already giving military assistance to volodymyr zelensky? you think that donald trump would have committed to defeating putin and getting him out of all ukrainian territory when. .. yeah. ..we know donald trump said
the ukrainians should have given crimea once and for all to russia. here's what i think. i think if donald trump were president, putin would not have invaded ukraine. the bottom line is, china is just all over taiwan. there's a weakness in the world that started with afghanistan and it needs to be repaired. congress has been very bipartisan. we broughtjoe biden to the dance. they — we begged for pre—invasion sanctions and the administration fought us tooth and nail. i've got legislation with bob menendez, who's here at this conference, to beef up our relationship with taiwan and they're trying to stop it from moving forward. let's just say this — i appreciate what president biden has done. he has signed in law very robust aid. i want to say something about your country. of all the countries out there, from the right, left and centre, great britain, the british people have really been stalwarts for ukraine and i think there's bipartisanship. i want to end by reflecting
on what might happen next in the united states. 0k. you have said to me in the past, in the end, it's the mid—term elections of 2022 which will define whether donald trump will be the republican nominee in 202a. it will have a lot to do with it, yes, it will. what will it take for you, the ultimate trump loyalist, to walk away from donald trump? is it if the republicans don't take both chambers of the us congress? is it if he gets criminal prosecut... criminal charges? what is it that would get you to leave donald trump? so, here's what i would say. that's a ridiculous question. it's not about what. .. you know, isupported the president. i still do. when he wanted to pull out of syria, i was his worst nightmare. i like president trump. i understand the problems with president trump, trust me! i've had my time with him too. i think if he runs in 2024...
and you think you will. i think he will. and if he'll talk about, it doesn't have to be this way, folks. the border, too many illegal crossings. crime rampant, inflation out of control, terrorism on the rise, i think he would have a hell of a case. and you see this in polling. you may not like all the things i do and say, and i get that too, but i know how to fix the problems that have been caused by this presidency ofjoe biden. if he does that, i think he has a good chance of winning. senator lindsey graham, we have to end there, but thank you so much for being on hardtalk. thank you.
hello there. so far, the weather for the month of september has been one of contrast. eastern england has stayed dry and quite warm. out to the west, it's been pretty wet at times, and partly responsible is this area of low pressure sitting out in the atlantic. you can see the cloud spiralling in an anticlockwise direction. that's the weather fronts, and they've been kicking in and producing some sharp, thundery downpours. this has been the last few hours, moving into cornwall, stretching up across wales, pushing into the midlands. now, they're continuing to drift their way steadily northwards, and so they will be sitting towards southern scotland over the next few hours. behind it, slightly quieter. a little bit of patchy mist and fog. a very warm start to tuesday morning, with temperatures widely into mid—teens. still a relatively quiet start. there will be some mild weather through northern ireland and parts of england and wales first thing, those showers drifting their way northwards through scotland before further
sharp showers develop once again into the southwest. blustery winds will drive them further inland. again, not everywhere will see the showers — northern ireland, parts of eastern england escaping them. it will be a little bit fresher generally, but top temperatures still, with the best of the sunshine, at around 24 celsius — that's 75 fahrenheit. now, as we move into wednesday, the area of low pressure is going to just push its way a little bit further eastwards. that means that all of us are at greater risk of seeing more frequent showers, particularly areas where we've not seen too manyjust recently. there will be some more persistent rain easing away from northern scotland, and then the showers will develop as we go through the day. very hit—and—miss, but they will rattle through at quite a pace, some of them still quite hefty. top temperatures of around 15—21 degrees. once again, we might see 23 degrees into east anglia. now, as we move towards the end of the week, that low pressure still has yet to clear, and then we could potentially see this little nose of high
pressure building for a time. and what that basically means is out to the east, with the low clearing away, it's going to stay quite showery towards the end of the working week and temperatures perhaps into the low 20s. but the further west, yes, we're likely to start off with showers on thursday, but hopefully something a little bit drier and brighter and, fingers crossed, a little quieter.
welcome to newsday, reporting live from singapore. i'm karishma vaswani. the headlines: canadian police say one of the two men charged in connection with a string of fatal stabbings has been found dead. we can confirm he has visible injuries. these injuries are not believed to be self—inflicted at this point. (cheering) liz truss wins the race to become britain's next prime minister — promising to tackle the issues that matter. iwill i will deliver a iwill deliver a bold i will deliver a bold plan i will deliver a bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy. because, my friends, i know we
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