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tv   Conflict Zone  Deutsche Welle  July 11, 2020 6:30pm-7:00pm CEST

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literature invites us to see people in particular. and i like to see how some fine. might. be got on you tube. i don't think he understood what he was doing when he wife talking to big guys you know the guys get together and they do big guy things but you did accept it for 17 months didn't you why so long the principal way you were moot the president is byelection smothered by impeachment 4 months to go till the presidential elections in america donald trump is sinking in the polls and now his former national security adviser says he isn't fit to be president anyway in a new book john bolton a long serving big beast of the republican party accuses mr trump of a litany of incompetence and obstruction of justice mr bolton is my guest this week
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from washington how much damage have trumped al bolton done to america and the rest of the world. john bolton welcome to conflict zone. to be with you thank you for having me when you became donald trump's national security advisor you wrote that you thought you knew what you were getting yourself into it's not true why work for and give your loyalty to a man labeled as a serial liar. well i viewed the loyalty that i owed and i tried to live up to to the constitution in the country you know we're not a medieval society you don't have a legal order that you personally to it's not a mafia or something like that and the fact was in my view the country faced some
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serious challenges i think a number of the national security policies during the obama administration had been misguided there was a chance to make a contribution and certainly went in with my eyes open but i believed at least at that time that we could have a more regular process a more typical if you will republican administration and not withstanding the risks i thought they were worth taking and the risks did they include the honesty and integrity of the president all the lack of it didn't matter to you. well it remains to be seen as far as i was concerned how much of this was campaign rhetoric by the opposition i had had as i recount in the book a number of conversations with donald trump before the election during the
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transition in his 1st year in office we talked about all of my views on the key issues he had watched me on fox news for nearly 10 years i assumed he was listening to what i was saying i certainly wasn't shy about sharing my views and therefore when we talked about working together and the. role of the national security advisor. it struck me it was entirely possible that we could work together and the issues of his character would not adversely affect the decision making on national security issues but he was that just a general i eat i don't i don't think i was naive and i thought it could be as as many others did who came to work for the administration that it could be made successful now the book really is the story of whether that turned out to be true or not obstruction of justice is perhaps your most serious charge against trump you
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talked about several episodes where he expressed a willingness to hold criminal investigations to in effect give personal favors to dictate as he liked to the turkish leader. even to xi jinping anyone else. well i think these these were the most obvious but. the whole concept of dealing for example with a lot of your putin as if the assertions of our intelligence services were the moral equivalent of what putin said on behalf of russia. was another aspect of it and i felt that this was an extremely serious defect in trump's performance on the investigations of. bags c.t.e. rahway and others i spoke with the counsel to the president spoke with the attorney
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general really their domain to take a look at and i say in the book that they were troubled by this is that this is the ukraine case that everybody is familiar with that it was the kind of last issue that i dealt with before i resigned it's become the most famous but my point really was it was only one in a series chance pacu you said looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life which you said we couldn't accept but you did accept it for 17 months than 2 why so low well you know a pattern by definition is something that doesn't emerge all at once. and the personal dilemma that anybody in a senior position faces is the knowledge that you're not going to prevail on every issue i like to say i was the national security advisor not the national security
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decisions maker in each of these cases as they came up i had conversations with others in the ministration certainly didn't feel that i was alone and my view. of the seriousness of these issues but i think it's a very personal decision to try. and decide when finally you have to resign versus whether you can keep it keep doing what you're trying to do because of the issues presented you say you shared your concerns about this pattern of obstruction with key members of trumps in a team the attorney general bill barr secretary of state mike pompei oh you say bar told you he was very worried about the appearances trump was creating just the appearances is that all that worried him. well look at the reason i informed him and the white house counsel pats lonny and others was because they're the ones
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responsible for enforcing the legal guidelines and boundaries. which they didn't do it at least i feel let me finish for a 2nd it's not my job to be the prosecutor it's my job to tell the people whose responsibility it is what i was saying and let them decide what to do the fact that i didn't know what they were doing a didn't surprise me and the fact is we don't know what yet may be going on you know it's very easy for somebody who's never been this kind of circumstance to just announce their moral purity and stand out and virtue signal my view is that that in in service to the country. that that there are a lot of factors to be taken into account and they the duty that one owes to the
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constitution faced with this kind of president isn't simply to make yourself feel good bye bye by issuing her virtuous pieties but really more by trying to get the right thing done so to take the example of ukraine my focus was on getting the security assistance. to ukraine the trunk was holding up to get that deliver and. that finally succeeded as it turned out the day after i resigned but that is the focus i think that. in my job it was my responsibility i told several members of the n.s.c. staff to speak to the lawyers to told them what we had seen and they did that that for filled their responsibilities. and and i thought that was the proper course of the officials you alerted to trump's obstruction of justice what
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conclusion did you draw from their lack of any substantive reaction that trump and successfully corrupted the government machine and made it life for him. well i think it's. it's pretty evident that. that the number of people in inside the government. who were willing to. challenge trump on a number of these issues has diminished over time now let me be clear the president holds the constitutional responsibility you can like that or not like that but the constitution is very clear and if you don't want to carry out an order the responsible thing to do is to resign and if others in the government are not carrying out their responsibilities that as a matter for them and their conscience and how they see their job what is it about dictators and despots that term so it muddles did he ever tell you. no and i'm not
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a schrank i don't psychoanalyze people i think others others like to do that and god bless them if that's what they want to do i think that trump in a sense envied this season paintings and the end of lattimer putin he liked talking to big guys you know the big guys get together and they do big guy things i think it was that simplistic i didn't see any evidence of. a relationship that would be improper or constitute undue influence i just think that was part of trump simple simplistic view of relations with foreign leaders especially authoritarian foreign leaders let's take the north korean leader kim jong il and you were present at 2 out of 3 meetings between trump and kim you said there were times when we were very close to making concessions that i think even prior administrations like the clinton and obama administrations wouldn't have made was trump willing to give away the shop what kinds of concessions do you mean. well i don't think he understood
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what he was doing i think he he he longed for a deal with north korea on the nuclear weapons program i don't think he studied the issue closely enough to know what the ramifications of different terms that were offered were i think ultimately in the case of the whole noise some at the 2nd meeting where he did walk away from a proposal by north korea that i thought entirely inadequate he did so because he knew that if he were to accept that it would have produced a volcanic political reaction in america from the republican party and he fundamentally couldn't do that and that really was the sort of reaction that troubled me the most that he didn't approach north korea or much else on the basis of philosophy or grand strategy or policy it approached it on the basis of what was
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politically beneficial to him now look every democratic politician in whatever country takes politics into account in their decision making it goes with the territory it's not only not something to be surprised that it would be surprising if they didn't take politics into account the difference with tromp is qualitative it's the it's not just a factor in decision making on serious issues sometimes it seemed to me to be essentially the only factor he took into account a lot has been made of trump's supine attitude to vladimir putin his own willingness to raise difficult issues like election interference is time scared of him. you know i don't think he's scared of him and and helsinki to be clear putin himself said at the lunch. after the one on one meeting the 2 of them had
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that it was trump who had raised the election interference issue i think it's very important for people who observe. who have to make decisions on whether to vote for him or people who report on him to be accurate in their criticisms there's plenty to criticize. but when people stretch beyond what they need to do to make the criticism it doesn't strengthen the case against trump it weakens it it emboldens many of his supporters to say we're victims of a conspiracy by the press or whatever fake news hoaxes that sort of thing so when you have latimer putin saying that trump raised the election interference issue with helsinki summit i think that's worth taking into account if you want to criticize trump if you're criticizing all you want i did but be accurate about.
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that out no detailed records going to washington post no deal it's all records from 5 of trump's meetings with putin since taking office and the least one occasion in the 2017 he asked for the interpreter's notes in order them to say nothing about the discussion which does indicate doesn't it that time had something to hide from these discussions i don't know what it indicates i was not in the government in 2017 i can tell you in the case of the helsinki meeting n.s.c. staff did speak with their interpreter and got a pretty complete readout of what the 2 leaders discussed which turned out to be mostly on syria mostly putin talking. you know i think that trump is very mistrustful. not only the bureaucracy as a whole but but even his own staff i think it reflects the way he did business in the trump organization and i think one of his problems as president is that he
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still hasn't fully appreciated what it means to be president of the united states as opposed to the head of the trump organization how credible is trump's claim not to have been briefed about reports that the russians paid the taliban to kill american soldiers you were national security advisor in march last year when this information apparently surfaced. well there have been press reports not a fact then you know press reports are sometimes wrong and in any event i have said repeatedly i'm not going to comment on that because it doesn't. intelligence i can say with respect to the information reported about this issue and 2020 that it's surprising to me that it wasn't briefed to the president the administration itself has apparently said it was in the presidential daily brief during my 17 months at the white house i never saw any evidence that the president read the p.t.b.
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and in terms of whether or not it was briefed to i've said and i think it's important for people understand that i agreed with susan rice who has written out there where she said if she were a national security adviser and that information had come to her attention she'd have gone and to the oval office and told obama and i like to think i would have done the same do you buy the story which has been put out by your successor as national security advisor robert o'brien is that the president's career cia briefer decided not to brief him about this because it was under verified intelligence she made that call and i think she made the right call does the system work like that. well it didn't work like that when i was there nor did it work like that under my predecessor h.r. mcmaster at least as i understand it. the issue when you only provide an oral briefing to the president twice
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a week is how much are you going to try and squeeze in a limited amount of time and that's usually the scots at a preliminary meeting right before going in to see the president with the director of national intelligence director and cia the briefer of the time and and myself you know it would be better if the president read the materials and studied them more carefully i think that written materials tend to be a more efficient way to convey information certainly the president's always free to ask questions and that is to be encouraged but it's it's despite what some advisers to the president have said he does not consume as much intelligence as you should let's talk every man about the 2800 murder of the saudi journalist jamal khashoggi by saudi operatives in istanbul with the 15 that year trump decided to stand by the saudi leadership and even wrote their excuse for them suggesting it
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was a rogue operation but it wasn't a rogue operation was a. well you know i'm not going to get into the to. the intelligence that the united states had on that i can say the president decided that he was going to stand by the saudis and. because of the importance of the relationship. that position i think was. was in a way verified by vladimir putin in a conversation i had with him in moscow who said look you don't want to sell weapons to the saudis you don't have to i'd be happy to sell it is that what it really comes down to who is going to be able to sell weapons to whom you gave a free pass to a government that brazenly chops up its political opponents in other people's countries not just to the saudis but to every other state the u.s. does big business with that tortures and murders its own people doesn't that worry you well you know as went in churchill said if. if the
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devil were who opposed it of hitler he would have found it in his heart for a kind word to say on the floor of the house of commons you don't you don't always get to pick who your allies are. difficult unstable part of the world nobody in the administration condoned what happened you can show there's no question about it but we live in a harsh world. 1 you live in a world where i wonder how many of the untold masses jailed for having opinions in saudi arabia and other despotic states that the us but friends would go along with your statement that the greatest hope for freedom of mankind is the u.s. if a country that can finesse missed the casualties murder is the best hope for mankind's freedom then god help me. well look you're entitled to your opinions and i'm glad
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and proud to be an american citizen there isn't any country in the world that has done more to protect human freedom in the united states period close quote. let's talk about iran if we may so many bad deals to kill you once wrote so little time the one that you really have in your sights over many years was the iran nuclear deal wasn't it on in forcible that you were betting. on in forcible you code it i'm very fireball and that it quit your ration and scope but you wanted to kill that deal with nothing to put in its place over the objections of key members of israel's military and intelligence stuff who regard iran as that number one of many of them didn't see it your way that. well i think you have it wrong about israel i think support for the u.s. getting out of the iran nuclear deal in israel is overwhelming you may have noticed some things are happening in iran there. centrifuge assembly plant it natanz apparently had
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a severe accident that that they have not revealed fully there are other explosions going on around the country i don't know who's doing it but i'm glad somebody is doing it i don't know whether it's the precursor to taking down the entire nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program in iran but. it certainly is a step and in that direction the fact is i don't trust the ayatollah as in the regime i think they consistently withheld information from international inspectors they lied about the nature of the program for 20 plus years until they were caught time and time again in those lies i don't think they ever made a strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons and i think the u.s. decision to pull out of the deal. caught them by surprise and left them in a very difficult position it's a hugely unpopular regime in iran and hopefully the day will come when the ayatollah as you're swept into the dustbin of history. if we could just go back to
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ukraine you decided not to give testimony at the house impeachment hearing you didn't like the way the democrats handled the process you called it impeachment malpractise if you thought the president was abusing his power wasn't it more important to get that out the worrying about procedural issues isn't it more important to get a result again you're back in the virtue signaling posturing mode of politics and that's just not the way i do things the democratic malpractise which is what it was left the situation worse than it was before the impeachment why because the way they conducted the impeachment you know very partisan fashion essentially guaranteed a partisan outcome and the outcome was that the senate acquitted tromp so the impeachment advocates said that the house action of impeaching the president he will be deterred from engaging in the kind of conduct we saw in ukraine but they
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had no way of getting 2 thirds of the senate to vote to convict so having acquitted trog no i did not the church him they empowered him they were removed the impeachment guardrail is a huge mistake by publishing this book what i've done is to try and lay the facts out before the real judges not congress but the american people we have an election in 4 months the american people will speak i trust their judgment more than congress but the election isn't a substitute for the constitutional provisions for removing a president from office of this or is it also you think elections are s. what do you think the lections are if they're not the principal constitutional path to doing just that and pietschmann has occurred 4 times in american history and no president has ever been convicted only nixon resigned and what distinguishes. the
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watergate impeachment proceeding from the 3 that failed andrew johnson bill clinton and donald trump the democrats worked in watergate with republican sam ervin to north korea in north carolina worked with howard baker of tennessee and they produced a growing feeling. on a bipartisan basis that nixon had to go by ignoring that relatively recent precedent the democrats guaranteed the outcome we got that the and this this is a i think a very fundamental point about democratic theory the principle way you remove presidents is by elections not by age we're 4 months away from the next of those elections what is true blues is by a small margin do you expect him to go quietly or organize some going of bizarre national emergency to try and stay way well maybe you would tell me what evidence
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you have that he's planning to to create a bizarre national emergency you know exile for those in arizona didn't see that the vote will be the most corrupt election in the history of our country and we cannot let this happen so you're making the same mistake as many trump critics you're exaggerating without adequate evidence and i hope your question and i know from your questions you obviously despise truck that's fine and i understand that but but the way you're approaching it makes it difficult for those of us who are opposed to him getting another term to make the case to americans who want to know what the facts are that that's something that you know the people will decide here in 4 months and we'll see what the outcome is before you get hyperthyroid about it let's see what happens jumbo then thanks very much for being a conflict zone i enjoyed that.
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what's going on here oh no. house of your family going from a printer. computer games that are killing. my dog needs electricity. to deliver facts what the future holds. living in the digital world. 15.
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this is the new news live from berlin 25 years on from europe's worst atrocities since the 2nd world. thousands of bosnian muslims were killed in the massacre on this day in 1995 the world remembers the victims. also coming up roger stone walks free after u.s. president. his friend.


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