15/02/2017 Newsnight


The latest on the allegations of links between the Trump administration and Russia. Plus the Copeland by-election, high-speed trading, and Islam expert Tariq Ramadan.

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Is reality catching up with the reality TV President?


I think it's very, very unfair what's happened to General Flynn,


the way he was treated and the documents and papers


that were illegally - I stress that, illegally -


We'll ask if the White House can defeat the combined


forces of the Democrats, the FBI and the "fake media".


Did you think this was a stock exchange?


No - this secret data centre in New Jersey


And the closer traders can get to the mainframe,


It's not only being in the building as close


It's where you are in the building, relative to where the exchange is.


A foot of cable equates to a nanosecond, a billionth of a second.


People are getting into pissing matches over


We look at how the playing field could be levelled.


In most known universes, it could be either "conspiracy


theories and fake news" or valid information allegedly


leaked to journalists by intelligence services.


In Donald Trump's universe it can, apparently, be both.


Not yet a month in office and already one National


Security Adviser down, the American President today took


to blame pretty much everybody except Russians and his campaign


team for the reported Russian infiltration of his campaign team.


More on that momentarily, but first a rather more conventional


sortie for a newly-minted President, the Middle East peace process.


Earlier tonight, at a press conference with the visiting Israeli


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Trump shared his vision.


So, I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one


I'm very happy with the one that both parties like.


The BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen is here.


He is certainly covering his bases. Did that mark a profound shift in US


policy? It is hard to know, with President Trump. He is rewriting the


rules or making them up as he goes along. If he says it this week, he


might say something else next week. Certainly, the idea that a US


President is backing away from the idea of the two-state solution is a


change in a fundamental of American foreign policy for... Well, the last


four presidents, since 1990, something like that, the two-state


solution has been what they have been pushing for. Do you think


Netanyahu would have been surprised by what came out of Donald Trump's


mouth at the podium? Or would he have had early warning? All of these


are contingent on more conventional politics, these questions. In these


things, there's clearly a lot of preparation that goes into them. I


think Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli right have been hoping


for rather more from President Trump. Judging by the things he said


as a candidate, they were more or less going to get a blank cheque


when it came to the Palestinians, to do what they wanted, build


settlements where they wanted, in the numbers that they wanted. The US


Embassy was going to move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, therefore


recognising Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, something the rest of the


world has not done, most of the rest of the world. But as President


Trump, he has reined back on this. In the first couple of days after


the inauguration, Mr Netanyahu approved 6500 new settlements for


Jews, new homes for Jews, in the settlement, I should say, and in a


news conference President Trump is saying, hang on, I want you to hold


hard on settlements, there has to be a deal with concessions. Netanyahu


was a bit taken aback, I thought, and said, well, concessions from


both sides. The reported constant contact


between key Trump aides and Russian officials during the election


campaign is a burgeoning scandal with the potential to shake most


politicians to their core. But Donald Trump is not


most politicians. John Sweeney has been wondering


whether the Teflon candidate might I think it is very, very unfair what


has happened to General Flynn, the way he was treated and the documents


and papers that were illegally - I stress that, illegally leaked. Very,


very unfair. President Trump today mourned the loss of his National


Security Adviser of 24 days. The man who, according to reports, he sacked


in a flash. When he ran for office, they called him the Teflon Don.


Don't worry about it, Little Marco, I will.


I'm running against the crooked media.


That is what I'm running against. He won and carried on regardless. Time


to chuck dirt at the CIA. The intelligence agencies allowed any


information that turned out to be so false and fake out, that they did


that, I think it is a disgrace. I say that, and I say that, and that


is something that Nazi Germany would have done. But the Teflon Don is no


more. The grime is sticking to President Trump as never before. At


the heart of the Flynn fiasco are fears that team Trump had a Russian


connection with Kremlin spies. This morning, the New York Times reported


that US intelligence sources told it that three of his closest election


aides have repeated contact with Russian intelligence officials. All


three deny it. Trump took to Twitter to fight back.


The best evidence for the Russia connection might not be all


nonsense, it was from the man himself in the campaign. Russia, if


you are listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 e-mails that


are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our


press. Today, the former reality TV star was clear who was to blame.


America's greatest newspapers and its own spies. So, what is going on?


This building behind me is the case for the defence. It is the new


American Embassy in London. As you can see, like the Trump presidency,


it is a work in progress. Trump has teething problems. But give him time


and he will work perfectly well. The counter argument goes like this. OK,


maybe the building will work, but, for the moment, it has a bloody


great hole in it and it is leaking! Trump this morning praised American


Security journalist Eli Lake. So, who better to ask than the


President's current favourite reporter? We trust the government to


eavesdrop in order to stop terrorism, stop crying, stop foreign


infiltration and so forth. If you want to say Mike Flynn is indeed a


spy, a patsy or agent for the Russians, which nobody is saying,


and I would find hard to believe, having covered the man, that is


interesting. But do that in a court. Let him defend himself. Don't do it


anonymously like this, when you have the allegation hanging over him.


There was a time when this sort of thing was done and it was called


McCarthyism. Perhaps the US the state is at fault and the media are


not giving President Trump a break either. I do think there is not the


same rigour going on in newsrooms. The number of rubbish stories we are


seeing, with reporters rushing to publish, with thinly sourced or


anonymously sourced stories, it is not doing any favours to the


impression that they are out to get Donald Trump. But where are the


media getting the leaks from in the first place? What we are seeing is


we have an establishment faction, like Sean Spicer, and then the


populist faction that sees people in Congress, the leadership in


Congress, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, as sell-outs who have


failed their wing of the Republican party. The number of leaks we are


seeing is people jockeying for power. It could be an explanation


for what happened to Flynn. With his back against the wall, Trump will


need to rely upon Republicans in Congress to push through his agenda.


Tonight, his pick for labour secretary dropped out because of a


lack of that support from his own party. In politics, as in life, in


London, Washington, DC, wherever, the more Knowl View throw around,


sooner or later some of it will stick to you. -- the more mud you


throw around. Let's talk now to Democrat


Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who sits on the Intelligence


Committee in the House It is hard to know where to start.


Let's begin with that word illegal, employed by the President to


describe the passage of information from who knows where into the hands


of American newspapers, with regards to General Flynn. Do you recognise


his description of criminality, illegality? Let's go further back,


to when Sally Yates, then the Acting Attorney General, communicated with


the President through his special counsel that there was concern is


that Michael Flynn was compromised because there were intercepted


communications from the Russian ambassador and inadvertently


received information from Michael Flynn. It is very serious business.


The role of Russia in impacting and meddling in the election in the


United States is real. The President, for the longest time,


denied that Russia was responsible. Now he seems to want to dismiss it.


What we are mostly concerned with is what is the relationship, why is


there such a bromance between our President and Vladimir Putin? In the


last few days, Russia has tested missiles against the treaty dating


back to Ronald Reagan. There was a destroyer that was buzzed by Russian


aeroplanes and also a destroyer on our coast, a spy ship, that was


within 30 miles of Connecticut and Delaware. Forgive me, none of which


addresses the question of off there is a danger, think, that people see


him as being right about everything or wrong about everything. It's


impossible he is 100% right or 100% wrong. Surely, regardless of where


the information has come from, for it to make its way from the


intelligence services to the media is, at best, a dereliction of duty,


and, worst, a form of criminality bordering on treason? Well, I guess


I would disagree with you. The media has to be independent. The extent to


which the President is now is trying to exclude mainstream media and only


provide for opportunities for bloggers that are supportive of him


or local TV stations that are not part of the mainstream media, would


suggest to me that he is trying to silence the media. I go back to the


Sally Yates situation, because it was detected by the CIA and that


information was shared with the President about their concern that


Michael Flynn had been compromised because of the conversations he had


had with the Russian ambassador. Then more information has come out


that there were other people. I haven't seen any of those


transcripts. Whether I will be able to see them as a member of the


intelligence committee is something that we are looking into right now.


But I would say that, if there was collusion by the Trump campaign and


his associates, with the Russian government, that is treason. That is


a crime. Then we move onto a different. The transcripts


notwithstanding, what else is the role of the intelligence committee


now? I don't know how long you have been on it, but have you ever


encountered a phenomenon like this before? No, I have only been on the


committee for two years, but I would suggest to you that this is as big


as Watergate, if not bigger. I think we have an ultimate response ability


to the American people to make sure that we have reviewed all of the


information the CIA has provided, that we have double checked it, that


we have looked into whether or not, beyond what we know today, there


were other relationships that existed between the Trump campaign


and Russian officials. We also need to have the tax return of President


Trump released. It has always been historically the way that


presidential candidates have addressed this issue. He has first


said it was because of an audit, now he says he is not going to release


it at all. We have to find out if there are links between President


Trump and Russian oligarchs, if they have received financing, if there


are relationships that exist. That then puts in question any decision


that is made, relative to Russia, by the President. Many thanks indeed


for your time. One perspective on the unfolding


drama that is often hard for Western watchers to appreciate is that


of the Putin camp itself. Its members could never be accused


of beating a path to the doors Avigdor Eskin isn't exactly in it


but the Russian-Israeli businessman and political activist is a staunch


supporter of the Russian President and frequently lectures


in the country on political science. He's made a reputation by holding


some controversial views. I spoke to him earlier


at his home in Jerusalem, how the Russian media had reacted


to General Flynn's resignation. People could not understand this


whole scandal around General Flynn, because many of us remember him


coming to Moscow one year ago. My colleagues, everybody noticed


that he was kind of redneck American with the type of ideology close


to late Senator Jesse Helms who promoted the American interest


line, America first line, and when someone suspected him


of being somehow leaning towards Moscow, it just sounded


as a joke, as a kind of McCarthyism, which was probably too much


for Senator McCarthy. Flynn is an author of a book


where he describes the fight against world terrorism,


and criticising Russia for many of the things that Russia


presents in this circle of interest and after it, he somehow presents


Washington as being pro-Russia. I mean, it's unbelievable,


it's something unheard-of and nobody Is it really mysterious


to Russians to understand how a National Security Advisor


being economical with the truth to a vice president becomes


a dismissible offence? There are some misunderstandings


between different people, What we are saying is


that Flynn was nothing If he does not force his way now,


to the greater satisfaction of his friends and allies around


the world, and in the United States, He needs to stick to one


promise on every issue, OK, I will park that question of how


it can be uncontroversial to have a National Security Advisor


being misleading I will ask you instead why


Donald Trump was the preferred candidate of the Kremlin


during the American election? We know nothing about it,


Trump was critical of certain However, being a realistic leader


of a first world power sees Russia as a potential ally in fighting


terrorism, which is a mutual threat. He wants to find some neutral ground


for cooperation with Russia, with all the respect to Moscow,


well, Trump is going to disagree It's absolutely clear,


it's absolutely clear. We've are talking about the


realistic approach to this world. Many thanks, Avigdor


Eskin, good night. Even in this era of unprecedented


political upheaval, some of the old conventions


still hold true. And it's fair to say that busy


Prime Ministers don't often turn up on the mid-term by-election stump -


unless they think they've got a very real chance of winning


the seat from another party. Factor in the pub quiz classic


about governing parties not having made a by-election gain since 1960,


defections excluded, and you'll understand some


of the excitement surrounding Theresa May's visit


to Copeland today. Newsnight's Political Editor


Nick Watt was there. For more than 80 years, the Tories


have really had much electoral success beyond the dreamy landscape


of swallows and Amazons countries in the Lake District but now for the


first time since 1981, the Conservatives think that they can


win over the deprived west coast of Cumbria. Today, Theresa May donned a


suitable outfit for this mainly role constituency, as she paid a brief


visit to support her candidate in Copeland, it was not an easy ride as


both Labour and Tories have a strength and weakness in the


by-election -- rural. The Conservatives are on the defensive


why labour. Trying to remove electoral surgery


and midwifery services to Carlisle, 40 miles away.


Labour was today accused of scaremongering, with a warning that


babies could die. The Tory candidate was today criticised for failing to


mention the NHS in her election leaflets but Trudy Harrison is


advocating a rare case for a candidate from a governing party.


She would oppose the reforms outlined in the NHS success regime


consultation. All of the candidates are opposing the success regime. I


think it is a dreadful shame that Labour are using it to score party


politics because it is far too important for that. What is


important is what we do about it. And whilst others have been


designing leaflets, I've been speaking to the health minister.


Feelings are running so high on the NHS that one pensioner who voted


Conservative at the general election is now switching to Labour. In the


Conservative leaflet, the NHS isn't mentioned once. She wants to close


the hospital. Maggie Thatcher was the worst Conservative Prime


Minister. David Cameron was not any better. This woman is in the same


league. Ian Peter is supporting Labour, even though he has strong


doubts about Jeremy Corbyn. I do not think public opinion will keep him


there much longer. You say that you feel confident he will be on his way


out? I don't think he will last much longer. A nurse working in the West


Cumberland Hospital, who normally votes Labour, agrees with the party


's campaign on the NHS but she may switch her vote. Labour are


campaigning heavily on the NHS, why are you pausing about them? I think


possibly due to the leadership. Tell me about it? With Jeremy Corbyn? I


think that he is a weak figure, really. The doubts about Jeremy


Corbyn highlight Labour's principal weakness in this by-election. His


equivocal support for nuclear power in the home of the Sellafield


nuclear reprocessing plant. It employs a vast majority of people


around here. It's under nuclear, it is going to be very difficult for


Labour. But I think it is going to be very close, actually. Labour's


campaign literature barely mentions Jeremy Corbyn, who appeared last


month to offer less than wholehearted support for plans to


build a new, nuclear power station in the community. Eventually he said


he supported the more side project. If you win, you are going to win


despite Jeremy Corbyn, and you? Jeremy has been, and I've had a


pretty good talks with Jeremy... Democracy is that we have a local


candidate who is fighting for their local area. That is what we need


here, someone who really understands the issues in this constituency and


will be a strong voice fighting for this constituency. We need someone


who understands the nuclear industry and understands the investment that


we need for our infrastructure and most importantly, understands that


we need decent health in this constituency to support us when we


most need it. If Labour are struggling with the defining issue


in Copeland, you could believe that they have a clear advantage on the


defining issue in British politics -- Ukip. It was strongly voted here


to leave the EU, 62%. The Tories are obviously saying that they want to


leave but the Prime Minister was a remain, and half the Cabinet were as


well. There are doubts that they will see Brexit through, so they are


thinking of voting Ukip. Despite that, the Liberal Democrats believe


they can appeal across the board by campaigning against hard Brexit. The


Greens have a clear, and some would say brave, message in the home of


Sellafield. Noted nuclear power. Tucked away in a removed


-- removed corner, voters in Copeland often feel forgotten, but


next week they have the power. A Labour win could stabilise Jeremy


Corbyn's leadership at a loss would embolden his critics once again. --


but a loss. Here is a list of all


the candidates standing Back in 2014 the journalist


Michael Lewis caused a storm on Wall Street


and beyond with with He concluded the markets were rigged


against ordinary investors. The book lifted the lid on the world


of High Speed financial traders, who use ever more sophisticated


technology to generate huge profits. They manage to take a tiny slice


of millions of transactions , Two of the stars of the book,


who helped Lewis expose how these traders operate,


have now started a new Stock Exchange to protect investors


from being picked off Our Technology Editor David Grossman


has been to see how they hope to change the odds


so that the fastest operator Who is going to make money today


in New York's financial district? If it's anything like yesterday,


and the day before, it will probably be the people with the fastest


network, the best connections, I've come to New York to meet some


people who think they can rewire the financial system to make it work


for ordinary investors and companies that need to raise capital


for their businesses to grow. They started their


own stock exchange. It's called the Investors


Exchange, or IEX. Brad Katsuyama was a trader


for the Royal Bank of Canada. He set up the exchange


because he became disillusioned with the way stock exchanges


allowed other traders What stock exchanges have become


are vendors of data and technology, where they now make more money


by selling high-speed data and technology,


than they actually do from matching The complexity of the market


is almost overwhelming. 13 stock exchanges in the US alone,


and dozens of other venues, At its heart, each


venue is a computer. How quickly traders can connect


to each of these computers can Selling these ultra fast


connections is a very lucrative They're selling tiers


and levels of access. The more money you'll pay them,


the better and quicker The tourists come to Wall Street


to see the American The institutions they've come to see


are, in reality, long gone. To find them, we have to get out


of Manhattan and head east. The fact is, wherever


the stock exchanges say that they're based -


New York, Philadelphia, Chicago - they're all actually housed in four


highly secure data centres, Forget the idea of traders


waving their arms around, this is what a real stock exchange


floor looks like. This is the Equinix NY5 data centre


in Secaucus, New Jersey. It houses four of America's 13


regulated stock exchanges. To be allowed to have a tour of this


place and film I had to agree not The organisations that pay


to be in here are buying absolute discretion


- absolute secrecy. This is one of the four


main financial data Trillions and trillions


of dollars a day are traded in the computers, the servers,


and the wires in this building. Hundreds of brokers,


asset managers and traders rent space here because they want to be


as close as possible to the exchange's computer,


called the matching engine. This is a graphical


representation of orders, both buy orders and sell orders,


coming into the market. Before he and Brad founded IEX,


he made a very good living installing the ever faster boxes


and cables for traders looking It's not only being in the building,


as close as possible to exchange, it's where you are in the building


relative to where the exchange is. I'll give an idea on that,


roughly 11.8 inches, a foot of cable, equates


to a nanosecond, one People are getting into pissing


matches over the length of their cable in relation


to where the matching engine is. Well, imagine a pension fund


is looking to buy 1 million shares. The order might start in one


exchange, but have to travel around A high-speed trader,


who has paid the first exchange for superfast access,


detects the order in a few millionths of a second and races


around the other exchanges to buy up By the time the pension fund arrives


at the other exchanges, it has to buy it from the trader


at a slightly higher price. It's a guaranteed profit


for the trader and great This is where the New York Stock


Exchange really is, its massive, windowless data centre in Mahwah,


New Jersey. Traders can locate their computers


inside - of course, for a price. It's estimated that if you want it


to connect to all the exchanges in the US, using the highest speed


services available, it would cost They want one team to win


more than the other. Because if the team that was buying


these advantages was losing, So, the price that is being paid


for these advantages helps give you some sense of the magnitude


of the cost. It ends up adding up


to billions of dollars. This is their matching engine,


housed in the CenturyLink NJ2 Not only can you not pay


to get faster access, IEX routes all orders through this


boring looking box. It contains miles and miles


of fibre-optic cable, coiled up. It's a speed bump to slow down


the high-speed traders. What we've done is delayed


the access by 350 microseconds. To give you an idea


what that means, it's 350 millionths of a second,


one thousandth a blink of an eye. Whoever measures this stuff,


it's approximately that. That allows us to interpret what's


going on in the market and ensure the experience on IEX


is as fair as possible. Well, say a pension fund put


in its order to IEX, it goes through a 350 microsecond


speed bump on its way in. But this doesn't matter because,


as yet, no-one knows it's The news of the order also goes


through the speed bump It's only now that high-speed trader


can see the order as it's spread IEX has already had time to check


the other exchanges to see The speed merchants have


lost their advantage. We're not going to let a buyer pay


a price that we know So, in many ways, we prevent


trades from happening. We are lowering our revenue,


but protecting them. We are lowering our market share,


but we are preserving the experience and the quality of the experience


of a buyer on our market by not letting them get


picked off consistently. This is Nasdaq's data


centre at Carteret. Other stock markets have waged


a concerted, but unsuccessful battle against IEX's


approval by regulators. They argue that the 350 microsecond


speed bump meant the new exchange would prevent fair access


to the market. Now, we did ask Nasdaq


for an interview, but they declined, Which is a shame, because there


are plenty of questions No-one can say they're not


cleaning up Wall Street. But a few pine needles


is the least of their problems. Faith in our financial system has


not recovered since the crash. Slowing everything down,


and freezing out the high-speed It could also help the whole system


become more stable and less prone to Last night you heard Graeme Wood


give his view that Isis was part We promised you an alternative


view and here it is, from the academic and philosopher


Tariq Ramadan. Let's go back to where we started,


with President Trump. Is what we have seen so far just


teething problems for an insurgent President, or fundamental problems


of competence and integrity? Let's talk to Dana Milbank


from the Washington Post and Asra Nomani, who has written


for Breitbart and the Hill. I'll start with you, I will mash up


a famous quote about the news being something that somebody somewhere


doesn't want the people to see, everything else is PR. When Donald


Trump talks about fake news, the crew could media, he is talking


about everything that isn't it? -- the crooked media. A correction, I


haven't worked for Breitbart. I now write freelance for a number of


publications. I have to make that correction only because what I


fundamentally see happening in our press in the United States, in our


discourse about so much related to the Trump administration is the


vilification of both the Trump administration and anybody who might


say there is any rational discourse to be had about the administration


and its policies. That is what really concerns me as a journalist.


What do you mean by vilification? I think we have lost our other guest,


this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship! What do you


mean by vilification? I will give you a few examples. 40 years ago, as


you know, you are an old school journalist, Carl Bernstein at the


Washington Post treaded new ground of investigative journalism. Just to


show how far we have fallen, this last week, Carl Bernstein's son, now


a reporter at the New York Times, was busted for calling Melania Trump


a hooker. He owned up to it and apologised. I'm going to insist you


tell me how Donald Trump was vilified, he wasn't busted, he came


forward after an anonymous journalist was identified and, in


something that people may say was dramatic of honest media, said that


me and I apologise profusely. Could you give me some examples of Donald


Trump being vilified? That example is the Trump family being vilified


through the wife. That was a private conversation that wasn't reported.


I'm interested in how journalism has vilified the President. You know as


well as I do that we have a sacred duty as journalists not to have


malice and not to have this type of rabid hatred that I see expressed.


In terms of published journalism? The Washington Post a couple of


weeks ago wrote a piece, a future peace, in which they said Donald


Trump was an ignoramus. An ignoramus? OK. This is not the kind


of language we expect from the media. What we have today, a


columnist for the New York Times, putting forward a hashtag of


Flynngazi, trying to conflated with Benghazi, arguing for new hearings.


The media has, unfortunately, with social media, very important, from


Facebook to Twitter, to traditional legacy media, they have engaged and


participated in this thing that I consider an intifada happening in


America. He has complained about reports regarding his executive


order being turned over by two courts, he has complained about


reports that have led his national security are pointy to resign, he is


no doubt poised to complain about reports on why he can get his labour


secretary pick through a Congress who controls. Being called an


ignoramus is unpleasant, it pales into insignificance when you about


what he levelled at Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Ignoramus is just


name-calling, where is the dishonesty? What I find interesting


even in your response, everything high present as substandard


behaviour by the media, you discount as a irrelevance. But it is not


published vilification. What it reflects is a bias that is turning a


lot of people off. You can deflect from it at every turn, every example


I present, but what I am telling you is that there is a constituency in


America that is very turned off to it and they are going to go into


hiding, like they did with the election. But they will come back


for the votes in 2018, 20 20. It would prove gait behoove is to


ignore those that are turned off by the buyers. -- the bias.


We leave you with news that Harrison Ford is facing


the possibility of losing his pilot's license after almost


landing his single engine plane on top of a Boeing 737 at John Wayne


And it's now come to light that this isn't his first offence.


Hello. Most places becoming dry for the rest of the


The latest on the allegations of links between the Trump administration and Russia.

Plus the Copeland by-election, high-speed trading, and Islam expert Tariq Ramadan.

James O'Brien presents.

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