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This is BBC World News America, reporting from Washington.
I'm Tim Willcox. No information support base, and we have looked
inside the FBI carefully. The head of the FBI says there is no
evidence of wiretapping. The bureau is investigating possible Russian
meddling in the US elections and any ties to the Trump campaign.
Iraq's Prime Minister visited the White House to talk strategy against
Islamic State, and how the two leaders hope to fight back against
the militant group. # The White Cliffs of Dover #
Celebrating the forces sweetheart, Dame Vera Lynn on her 100th
birthday, her voice the soundtrack to the Second World War.
Hello, and welcome to our viewers on public television in America and
around the globe. The allegations had been explosive
but the question today, would be testimony be equally so? Straight
out of the gates, the director of the FBI confirmed his agency is
looking into possible into parents by Russia in the US presidential
elections. He also made clear there is no
evidence to back up President Trump's claims of wiretapping at
Trump Tower. Both of these issues have consumed
the US public and been the talk of Washington for weeks.
Jon Sopel has this. Big questions for a big man, at 638
inches, James Comey stands head and shoulders above all of those around
him, would he stick his neck out at the hearing today?
The answer is yes. The FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission,
is investigating the Russian government efforts to interfere in
the 2016 presidential election. That includes investigating the nature of
any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign,
and the Russian government, and whether there were any coordination
is between the campaign and Russia's efforts. On the detail of the
investigation into Russian pollution, James Comey would not be
drawn. What about the President's claims that his predecessor, Barack
Obama, wiretapped Trump Tower? He was more forthcoming here. With
respect to those tweets from the president about alleged wiretapping
directed at him from the prior administration, I have no evidence
to support those and we have carefully looked inside of the FBI.
Resident Obama could not unilaterally order a wiretap of
anyone? -- president. No president could. President Obama has been
accused of engaging in McCarthyism, do you? I tried very hard not to
engage in any isms of any kind. Then, they turned to the director of
the National Security Agency to answer questions about British
security involvement, but the responses were unequivocal.
Could you ever request that your counterparts at GCHQ should wiretap
President Trump on behalf of Barack Obama. That would break the FISA
agreement that has been in place for decades. They called this nonsense,
would you agree? Yes, sir. Does it damage the relationship with one of
our closest intelligence partners for the president to make a bailiff
-- baseless claim that the British participated in this against him? It
frustrates a key ally. This relationship is strong enough, we
can deal with this. Donald Trump didn't wait for the committee to
start but -- before tweeting his verdict.
At the White House briefing, were they getting ready to hoist the
white flag? Of course not. Is the president prepared to withdraw that
accusation and apologise? No, we started a hearing. It is still
ongoing. As for collusion with the Russians, what pollution? There is
no evidence, according to the people who have been briefed, of any
collusion or activity leading them to believe it exists. The president
had a public meeting today with the Iraqi Prime Minister, and even he
got in on the act, grabbing the arm of the president at the end and
said, we had nothing to do with the wiretapping. It is not recorded
whether or not the president laughed at the joke.
Let's go straight to Capitol Hill, and Laura Trevelyan.
After those allegations and speculation, a significant
development about the investigation? Yes, we now know the FBI had
sufficient evidence, whether circumstantial or what, we don't
know, to decide to open a counterintelligence investigation
into whether there were links between a foreign power, Russia,
which we know intelligence agencies concluded, tried to interfere in the
election with the aim of helping Donald Trump against Hillary
Clinton. Remember, Vladimir Putin does not like her. An investigation
into foreign powers, Russia, and the Trump campaign to see if officials
colluded or coordinated at all with Russian agents during the campaign.
We now know the existence of this enquiry. Before it had been reported
by media outlets, but now it has been officially confirmed.
Potentially this is a criminal investigation, right at the door of
the White House. Upstart involving those currently in the White House
but those who were known to the Trump campaign or part of it.
Where it leads or how long it takes? We have no idea. All we know is the
FBI director has said he will follow the facts wherever they may lead.
And, the existence of this? Of course, it's not good news for the
White House as it revives the whole question of whether or not be
relationship with Russia was to close, and the president is very
sensitive about the election and the fact he lost the popular vote to
Hillary Clinton and doesn't want the issue of Russia revived.
And, difficult for the White House, saying there was no evidence of
wiretapping Trump Tower. Another big hearing today, Neale
course edge, do we expect him to be blocked as a supreme court judge by
the Democrats Russian market is a question as to whether they invoke
the filibuster, talking out that. The nominee by Barack Obama was not
given a hearing by Republicans, they correctly counted that they could
win the election and have the chance to fill the vacancy. What he does
isn't changing the ideological balance of the court. The court
would still be split 4-4 with a swing justice. It is the possibility
of more vacancies opening up in the next couple of years that could tip
the balance. Do they go for broke now, or do the Democrats wait and
save their energy for the next fight? That is big question, he is
doing his best to appear like the best judge you can appealing to
central Democrats. Thank you. And as we saw earlier,
much of the world's media attention was focused on congressional
hearings but Donald Trump welcome to the Iraqi Prime Minister to the
White House. His visit comes as the Trump Prime Minister --
administration has meetings on fighting Isis. He sought financial
and military assistance from the prior administration. I spoke to a
an expert on the matter. What is he seeking from President Trump? I
think Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is looking for President Trump,
something that he will be wanting to hear, it is all Daesh Daesh Daesh,
or Islamic State. You will want there to be programmes to keep it
from being as effective as a terror group, they had a terrible coming in
Baghdad today that killed over 40 people. He will want some help. It
looks like Mosul may finally be retaken but he is also looking for
Reconstruction and that. -- money for that as well. How does it have a
with President Trump and his proposed budget cuts which would see
the State Department losing a lot of money which would be responsible for
reconstruction in Iraq? When it comes to the reconstruction,
President Trump may tell them to look elsewhere, like the Gulf states
and possible donors, Germany and other European countries. But the
USA has pulled most of the weight on the security side which is where
they should expect to see contributions. With proposed 54
billion US extra for the Pentagon, more money could be earmarked for
the fight against Daesh, Islamic State, in Iraq and Syria? Yes, they
could request a long-term military presence to train their army and
police forces. It could easily fit into the new budget proposals. Where
are we at the moment in terms of US forces fighting in Iraq? How many
thousands are there? In Iraq? There are about I've thousand, 5500. Most
of them in a kind of training role. Mostly high-end special forces with
Iraq on the battlefield. We've heard of these conversations with Haider
al-Abadi asking Donald Trump in the early days about these restrictions
on Iraqi forces. He has won a battle against the USA
administration? Or has found allies. Secretary matters, the new National
Security Advisor, General McMaster, they work well and I expect the
Prime Minister had a receptive audience and people to carry his
water into the administration and make his case.
And we have President Trump hosting this meeting, 68 countries in the
fight against Islamic State, what do we expect America will offer to
spearhead any agreement with all of those different countries? I expect
the 68 countries are going to be looking less at Iraq, as you
mentioned. That fight is nearly done, and focus more on Syria where
that problem is more complicated and answers are more difficult to find.
America promises more cash in the fight against Islamic State as well?
Possibly, but money can only take you so far. What you need our boots
on the ground and good allies, not American boots but local forces who
carry the fight to Islamic State. On the Syrian side of the border, they
are more difficult to find. It's a pleasure talking to you.
Pope Francis has asked for God 's forgiveness for what he called the
sins and failings from the Roman Catholic Church during the Rwanda
genocide, and it came after he met the president of Rwanda.
He asked for an apology for the role that some Catholic priests played in
the manner scope -- massacres. Some of the biggest consumers of
Brazilian meets have. In a meeting with ambassadors from
Europe, the USA and China, the Brazilian president said that the
government is confident in the meat's quality, the biggest red meat
exporter in the world. The five main candidates for the
French presidency are taking part in the first of three televised
debates. The frontrunners in the opinion
polls, Marine Le Pen and her opponent, they are hoping.
The divorce date is set, the UK will start the Brexit process on March
the 29th. The Prime Minister will notify the
EU that Britain is leaving the union.
Downing Street says Theresa May will write a letter to the European
Council to make it official and earlier she spoke about the expected
benefits of Brexit. When people voted in the referendum
last year it wasn't just about leaving the EU but voting for
change, they wanted a change in how the country works, to make sure it
works for everyone, not just the privileged few. As part of that, we
have a plan for Britain and part of it is about building a stronger
economy. Against the backdrop of Brexit,
President Trump made it clear he wants to renegotiate the North
American Free Trade Agreement which could be bad news for Texas cattle
ranchers, as the trade agreement eliminates trade barriers between
the US, Canada and Mexico. Since the introduction in 1984, US
beef exports have soared. Coleman Lock is a fifth-generation
Texas cattle rancher. My family have been raising cattle since 1915, a
little over 100 years. His fortunes are tied to International Trade
Commission significant number of his Brahman cattle are sold abroad,
including just south of the border in Mexico. We've been dealing in
international trade since 1933 when we first expect -- exported cattle
to Australia. The export market is important to you? It is very
important to our organisation. Some years, I've seen our international
sales be 85% of all of our business that we did that year. The North
American Free Trade Agreement is really important for those exports.
It allows his beef to enter Mexico duty-free. So any changes could hurt
him and other American cattle owners. Donald Trump enjoyed strong
support in rural communities like this one, as well as the rust belt.
Now, the challenge is, can he come up with a trade policy that helps
both manufacturing and farming? In the state capital of Austin, the
Texas agriculture Commissioner called for calm. Syd Millar was part
of the Trump campaigns advisory Council, and like the president he
believes changing the trade agreement is a good thing, even if
it shakes things up. I predicted that, I said when the president
takes office, it will be a rocky start, he will upset people and rock
the boat, we will renegotiate deals, people won't want to re-negotiate
deals if they don't have a sweet deal. The honeymoon isn't over yet,
but is the cattle industry is beginning to fray? According to this
cattle dealer, Trump's decision to walk away from the transpacific
partnership, a trade pact with Asia, means lost dollars for ranchers. We
can qualify TPP today, what could be going to those countries today is
about $400,000 worth of beef or that would
be going. It is not. It is a quantifiable
number. They are hoping his tough stance on the trade agreement is an
opening negotiation tactic. You are watching BBC World News
America and still to come... A region in peril in Nigeria. Our Boko
Haram has put hundreds of thousands of lives at risk in the country's
north-east. The hundreds of years, the unique
language thrived in the Malayan archipelago but now there are only a
handful of people who speak his language. One group from Singapore
want to stop that. And bring it back.
We are trying to teach this language to a new generation of learners, so
we rebuild the critical mass. These new learners pass the language onto
their children so it will be used future generations.
We use social media like Facebook to reach out to young people and keep
the land which relevant so their generation cares enough about the
language to keep it going. There are gaps in the language
because it is critically endangered, it hasn't been spoken for many years
but what we are trying to do is create new terms which fill the gaps
and leave the language relevant. The UN says hundreds of thousands of
people are at risk in north-east Nigeria as the army continues to
push fighters from the Islamist group Boko Haram out of towns and
villages. Food shortages have forced many people to flee their homes and
farms. The BBC's Clive Myrie has this report.
Farmers fields in north-east Nigeria, known to yield crops but
pity. They are dusty brown patches because farmers for years have been
unable to use this land due to conflict. On the ground in this
town, bullet riddled buildings and homes ransacked. Lives destroyed.
This city used to have a population of close to 300,000 people but now
you walk down the main street here and there is nothing but trouble.
It's a ghost town. A shell, empty of life. Residents had to flee the
Islamist group Boko Haram, and now the grounds of the derelict hospital
many call home. This woman escaped the blood let. She is 14.
TRANSLATION: They started killing people and burning houses, so we
hide. They said that they would be safe, don't be afraid. But when they
found us, they hacked my father, cutting his neck and cutting his
throat. Excels in their own country, the rituals of life continue. But so
many people are paying the price for the twisted ideology of the few that
the camps for those displaced by the fighting are struggling. This one
houses 11,000 people and was so overcrowded with malnourished and
new arrivals a few months ago, there was not enough food. More than 1000
died. Nevertheless, hundreds of thousands are arriving at camps like
this daily, as the Nigerian military continues to push Boko Haram back
and liberating villages. A woman had walked with her three children from
10pm one evening, and it took her until 9pm to reach the camp. It is
estimated there are up to 800,000 people trapped out there without
access. They are left to their fate. What is needed is more international
help, and crucially farmers being able to tell their land. But Boko
Haram is still out there and the farmers are scared. The chances of a
decent harvest this year is zero. Planting season begins in less than
two weeks. This town is being rebuilt, after the wanton
destruction of Boko Haram. But this place holds terrible memories for
those who fled for their lives. For this 15-year-old girl. TRANSLATION:
I have no mother. I have no father. I have nowhere to live. I'll never
go back. Clive Myrie, BBC News. You were watching BBC World News
America. Hers was the voice of a generation under fire, dame here
Lynn provided hope and reassurance to millions during the Second World
War through her songs -- Dame fear relent. Veterans have been taking
place at events Dame fear Lynn says she is thrilled by tributes from
veterans at the white cliffs of Dover. The face of defiance blended
with the voice of hope. 100 years of Day grid three projected onto the
last piece of England that the troops saw as they left to battle
for England's -- Dame Vera Lynn. A heartbreaking lullabies became the
soundtrack for a nation in peril. # Will meet again
# Don't know where, don't know when #
She soothed fears and stiffened resolved
. Some sunny day... But Dame Vera Lynn
can still recall her brush with a demanding voice coach.
She heard me sing and said no, I cannot train that voice! It's not a
natural voice! I said well thank you very much, madam. And left! Today in
Dover, above the cliffs that inspired one of her greatest songs,
veterans and friends came to celebrate her milestone birthday.
And, recall her life affirming sound. Her voice came through clear
and with it was a story as she sang. It gave you hope of coming home. If
you listen to her voice in a jungle clearing, it takes the fright away
by making you think of other parts of your life and hopes for the
future. The bracing winds of the channel did not deter a salute above
the cliffs that Dame Vera Lynn sang to mortality. A grand gesture for a
grand dame still on a journey as she continues to share it with a
grateful nation. Duncan Kennedy, BBC News.
# All over the world will #
Dame Vera Lynn is 100 years old. That's all for today, more stories
available on the website. From all of us, thank