02/03/2017 Newsnight


02/03/2017

In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Evan Davis.


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Transcript


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Last night, we learnt that Jeff Sessions,

:00:10.:00:11.

the Attorney-General of

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the United States, who lied under oath to his colleagues in the Senate

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and to the American people about his communications with the Russians.

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They said that since I had involvement with

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the campaign, I should not be involved in any campaign

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investigation - therefore I have recused myself in the matters that

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Another huge row about the Russia connection.

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The Attorney General is in the spotlight this time,

:00:47.:00:48.

not just over his meetings with the Russian ambassador,

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Is the administration accident prone, careless or unfairly treated?

:00:51.:00:55.

On World Book Day, Stephen Smith meets Raymond Briggs.

:00:56.:01:08.

I know there will be a last time I walk this path,

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before the hospital, before the home, before something.

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And the irony is, you never know that the time that it is to be the

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We'll get the latest, as Francois Fillon's home is searched.

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Is this really the future of communication?

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Jeff Sessions - the second Trump appointment

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to get into a tangle about Russia and about his honesty.

:01:59.:02:00.

The Attorney General denied any Russian contact

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But he in fact met the ambassador twice.

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As one Twitter wit put it, he might as well have said,

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"I did not have international relations with that country."

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Sessions says the meetings didn't relate to Trump or the election,

:02:17.:02:18.

which was the context of the questions he was answering.

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But in the last 90 minutes, he has recused himself from any

:02:22.:02:26.

investigation into the Trump campaign or its

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Do you give him the benefit of the doubt?

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Probably depends on whether you think Trump is a good thing or not.

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Trump and Russia - once an apparently irresistible combination

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for those marketing a vodka. This is their advertisement. But now, the

:02:55.:03:01.

connection is a cocktail of political difficulties and a tonic

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to his foes. Today's target, Trump's chief law officer, who, after a

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stormy day, stepped back, from all investigations of links between the

:03:15.:03:18.

campaign and washer. My staff recommended recusal. They said that

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since I had involvement with the campaign, I should not be involved

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with any campaign investigation. I have studied the rules and

:03:30.:03:32.

considered their comments and evaluation. I believe those

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recommendations are right and just. That won't satisfy Senate Democrats,

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who earlier today called for his resignation. Attorney General

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Sessions cannot possibly lead an investigation into Russian

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interference in our elections, or come anywhere near it. With these

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revelations, he may very well become the subject of it. It would be of

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Alice in Wonderland quality of this administration were to sanction him

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to investigate himself. The cause of those difficulties is a written

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denial from the US Attorney General that he had met Russian officials,

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and this one during his Senate confirmation hearing. If there is

:04:23.:04:25.

any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated

:04:26.:04:31.

with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will

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you do? Senator, I am not aware of any of those activities. I have been

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called a surrogates in that campaign, and I did not have

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communications with the Russians. Tonight, it became clear that he HAD

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met the Russian ambassador last year and spoken him by phone, he argues

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on previous Senate business, but critics now suggest there has been

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deception. The Democrats are making political mischief out of Trump's

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Russian connection. You can feel them paying them back for what they

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did to Bill and Hillary Clinton. But the house and Senate are controlled

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by Republicans, and it is signs of nervousness among THEM which make

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today's story all the more interesting. During the day, several

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influential Republicans had called on Sessions to recuse himself from

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the matter. Based on what we have read, I think the Attorney General

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should further clarify. In fact I think he's going to need to recuse

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himself. The FBI has multiple lines of inquiry, drawing on intelligence

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from many of America's 16 other agencies. The Senate and House

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intelligence committees also have investigations. And under the

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spotlight, former advisers Mike Flynn and Pohlman effort, Trump's

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lawyer Michael Coen, and even the former business activities of the

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commerce secretary. All of this, fuelled by secret information that's

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been disseminated around Washington by the outgoing administration. So,

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the Obama administration made sure that this secret information was

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broadly spread among many people in the intelligence community, among

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the 17 American intelligence agencies, because they were afraid

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that once in office, Donald Trump and his minions would delete the

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records and the evidence would disappear. It is clear now that

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that, if it was a plan, will not work. It is also clear that Donald

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Trump is absolutely desperate to make sure that no-one investigates

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this. The president who once lent his name to a brand of vodka tonight

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declared total confidence in his Attorney General. Look at the number

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and compact cities of investigation is under way suggests the

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administration could have a lasting Russia hangover.

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Joining me now from Minneapolis is Richard Painter -

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the former chief White House ethics adviser to George W Bush.

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Good evening to you. Jeff Sessions has recused himself - is that

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enough, in your view? Well, it is a step in the right direction. But we

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have a very serious problem here in the United States, and this problem

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has spread to Europe as well. The Russians are actively seeking to

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destabilise our democracies by appealing to far right political

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parties and engaging in espionage. For years they appealed to the

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commonest party and the far left in espionage. We have been fighting

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this battle with the Russians for a very long time. And it's critically

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important to know what happened in 2016, what spying was going on

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inside the United States and who was assisting the Russians, who

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benefited from it, who was negotiating with them, perhaps

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offering them something in return for their swaying an election? This

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is a matter of national-security for the United States, just like what's

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going on in France right now should be a matter of concern to the French

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and other countries that Russia seeks to infiltrate in this way. The

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Attorney General was asked questions by the Judiciary Committee, and he

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did not provide candid answers. And that is very, very disappointing,

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because how are we going to deal with Russian espionage and this type

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of activity of our officials, our senior officials, cannot be honest

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with each other and with the United States Senate? Before we go more

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onto Jeff Sessions, I'm really interested in what you're saying

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about the Russians and how serious you think it is just paint for me,

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what is the worst case, what is for you the thing that would be most

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awful to uncover here that is even faintly possible or plausible? What

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is it that people are really scared off about the Trump campaign? Well,

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we do not know which Americans have been cooperating with the Russians

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in these efforts to subvert our democratic system. We've dealt with

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this in the past. We had Americans, Communists, who assisted the

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Russians in trying to subvert the United States, but they're not going

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never got very far in our political system because communism does not

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have much appeal over here. But when it comes to the far right, these

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strange groups who are also on the rise in Europe, the Russians

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realised they can gain a lot of traction in supporting these types

:10:12.:10:14.

of groups and then trying to interfere in a general election.

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It's a very dangerous thing which is going on, this type of interference.

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We need to know what is happening and who here in the United States is

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assisting it, and we need to make sure that people who were aware of

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it, benefited from it, knowingly, are nowhere near positions of power

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in the United States government. Let's go back to Jeff Sessions. You

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said he wasn't candid, a lot of people would agree that he wasn't

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candid, at the very least - why then would you not say he has to go? He

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is the Attorney General, he was on oath, he has called for other people

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to go when they said things which were not candid on both - why are

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you not saying he has to resign? Well, that was the position I took

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and indeed I published it in the New York Times earlier today. I believe

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he should resign, that he is no longer going to be an effect of

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Attorney General if he cannot be completely candid in discussions of

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such critical importance. This is not a situation where we can talk

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about the meaning of the word and that type of discussion we had after

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Bill Clinton's misleading deposition testimony about his sex life. We are

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not interested in the sex life of our public officials and less they

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are sleeping with Russian spies. We are interested in who is talking

:11:44.:11:46.

with the Russians and about what. A lot of those discussions are

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perfectly fine, so long as people are honest about them. The Attorney

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General said that he was not having contact with the Russians, when he

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was, and that is very, very misleading. He also said he didn't

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talk about the election or the campaign with the Russians, and that

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was the distinction he drew. Do you think it is plausible that anybody

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between August and November could have two conversations, senior

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policymakers, Washington people, with someone, and not talk about the

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American election at some point? Well, I don't know. But I don't

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think it is only of interest whether he was talking about the American

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election. Was he talking about what the Russians were doing inside the

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United States or what the Russians wanted out of the United States and

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might expect from President Trump if he were to be elected? It's

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critically important that American senior officials be honest with each

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other about their communications with the Russians of we're going to

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deal with this problem. This is not a situation where we should be

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passing words and trying to figure out how to interpret the question

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and the answer. Once again, these are not questions about the public

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officials' personal life, this is something going to the heart of our

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national security and an intentional attack on our democratic processes

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by a foreign country. Can I ask you what it says about the Republican

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party, that the House speaker, Orion, said this morning in the US,

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Jeff Sessions doesn't need to recuse himself, he doesn't think there was

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any evidence of a Russian connection to worry about - what does that tell

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you about the state of the party? Are they just running scared of

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Trump because they misjudged his ability to win? Well, I don't know

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what's going on with that. There's a lot of talk all over the place about

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how to respond to this, and I've been back in the Republican party

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for decades, and I served President George W Bush, and I can assure you

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that there are many, many Republicans who are livid about what

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Russia was doing in our country during 2016, spying on Americans. We

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have had Republican senators say that they want to get to the bottom

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of what Russia was doing. So, I think that's the view of the vast

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majority of Americans, Republicans, we're not going to put up with this,

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we're not going to put up with public officials showing any lack of

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candour about their communications with the Russians. We would like to

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have good relations with Russia, but that does not mean interference in

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the American political system or spying on American citizens and

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breaking into their computers and putting their documents up. We are

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not going to allow that. How is all this being

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seen in Russia itself? Igor Sutyagin is a Russia watcher at

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the Royal United Services Institute. He is a nuclear expert,

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who spent more than a decade in Russian prisons accused

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of passing classified information Good to have you here. Tell us what

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you think Russia's game is here. What is going on on the Russia side.

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What are they trying to achieve? They tried to undermine legitimacy

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of the newly elected president, which should be Hillary Clinton.

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They tried to weaken her position to have her having serious row in the

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domestically and weaken her position with Russia. That was their goal,

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instead they got Trump that was an unpleasant surprise. They wanted a

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destabilised Hillary Clinton not Trump. Trump was a spoiler. They

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didn't plan to have him as a partner. That is an interesting cock

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up theory of history. What do you think was going on? What would be

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the kind of hypothesis of what might have gone on between the Russians

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and the Trump campaign what, are we trying to see? Well, I think that

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Russia did try to collect some Kompromat on Trump, it was good to

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have him as a source of Kompromat on other politicians. You think they

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got something on Trump because? Because he was owner of chain of

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hotels and they're the perfect place to carry out intelligence

:16:37.:16:39.

situations. But you need the security of hotel to have blind eye.

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Well you have no evidence of this? No it is just logic. This is your

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speculation? Yes. It is interesting you say they probably didn't mean to

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get Trump, because it doesn't seem to be working for them f you look at

:16:54.:16:59.

what Trump is doing, everyone is saying aren't they being nice to the

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Russians, the only thing they have done is say we are going to spend

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another $60 million on defence, that leaves the Russians standing. The

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remilitarisation of the US and the remilitarisation of NATO. That is

:17:14.:17:16.

not great for the Russians. It is not great, but that is not the worst

:17:17.:17:21.

thing that Trump already done to Russia. The problem is that Trump

:17:22.:17:26.

destroyed the very foundation of the Russian policy to the west. It was

:17:27.:17:30.

the belief and knowledge that the west would act in the very

:17:31.:17:36.

predictable way. So Vladimir Putin can always play these threshold war

:17:37.:17:42.

not crossing red lines and the west plays according to the rules. Trump

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is not going to play according to the rules, because he does not know

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the rules and it is difficult to predicts where Trump's red line lay

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and you can cross it because of miscalculation. So Trump is playing

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a game more like Russians have played with other people and it is

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difficult? Fundamentally it is similar and that is why Trump is

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dangerous forrous. If Trump did lift sanctions, that would be a huge help

:18:12.:18:18.

to the Russians, correct? It might be, the problem is Trump is a

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businessman and does nothing for free. To make some service to Russia

:18:23.:18:27.

with sanctions he wants something with return and Russia does not have

:18:28.:18:31.

much to propose to Trump as the payment. So Trump will do nothing.

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Do you think, do you see likenesses between Trump and Vladimir Putin?

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People say they are both a big showy strong man, nays the same? They have

:18:47.:18:51.

fully similar attitudes, the nature is similar. But that is the danger.

:18:52.:18:59.

If you make it simple, it is two Harlem boys meeting each other and

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they can be friend each other. But it is more probable that fight each

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other. That is their nature. Two alpha males. The Russian saying is

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two bears cannot live in one hole. Thank you very much.

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If you are someone who thinks snap is a game for kids,

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that goes well with a slice of bread and butter and a glass of orange

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squash, you are probably not a user of Snapchat,

:19:27.:19:28.

whose parent company, Snap, had its debut on the New York

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It was quickly worth about $28 billion.

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There is, needless to say, a debate to be had about

:19:35.:19:36.

Perhaps it hinges on whether you think short video is to become

:19:37.:19:40.

the dominant form of communication, rather than boring old text.

:19:41.:19:43.

We'll reflect on that in a minute, but first, here's our technology

:19:44.:19:46.

Sometimes only a very old form of communication will do. Like hanging

:19:47.:19:59.

up a big sign outside the New York stock exchange or ringing an old

:20:00.:20:05.

bell. But Snap's valuation if it is based on anything is based on the

:20:06.:20:09.

idea that we have moved into a new era of communication. You might

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think it is a grand claim for a company that began as a way for

:20:13.:20:16.

people to send sexually explicit messages to each other that would

:20:17.:20:23.

then self destruct, but according to their video... Snap is a camera

:20:24.:20:29.

company, we feel we are at the beginning of what cameras can do.

:20:30.:20:35.

They augment the we talk. They say that keyboards are over and the

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cameras have preplaced -- replaced them. Plenty of investors are buying

:20:43.:20:47.

that idea and Snap's shares. I think that the market is moving more

:20:48.:20:51.

towards images and pictures than text. And we see this in everything.

:20:52.:20:57.

We see this in our business as a move from writing documents to power

:20:58.:21:01.

points. You see it in the dating industry and people used to be

:21:02.:21:07.

online with match and now people have moved to tinder and when you

:21:08.:21:13.

have new technologies like ARVR, where through you know the eye you

:21:14.:21:17.

can actually interact with products, rather than reading a magazine, I

:21:18.:21:23.

think this is definitely the trend. The founders will have been pleased

:21:24.:21:27.

with their day's work, the Snap share price up nearly 50% at one

:21:28.:21:31.

stage. Perhaps another sort of bell should be ringing about the fact

:21:32.:21:36.

that the rise in Snap's daily active users has slowed in recent quarters.

:21:37.:21:43.

I'm sceptical, I see it like a cargo cult, there are investment community

:21:44.:21:48.

that wants to see the great days of dot.com era. It is a messenger boy

:21:49.:21:55.

and carrying bits of messages, we have never put value on that. So it

:21:56.:22:00.

presents itself as a camera company. Although it is not. If we look at

:22:01.:22:03.

old new forms of communication, although they were revolutionary,

:22:04.:22:09.

they were easily copied. Think of typewriters. Think of e-mail.

:22:10.:22:15.

Although Snap from its beach front HQ in California has users, how

:22:16.:22:21.

loyal are they and how easily may they be temped by the next ttd app.

:22:22.:22:28.

I can see it being big like Facebook is big, but Facebook doesn't

:22:29.:22:33.

generate a lot of revenue and destroys over revenue-creating

:22:34.:22:39.

industries. The telephone network carried messages and that is what

:22:40.:22:43.

Facebook does. It is like a distribution network. It is

:22:44.:22:47.

important but not essential F we are living in a bubble era, we may look

:22:48.:22:52.

back and think this was another era where companies were overvalued.

:22:53.:23:01.

Snap has launched its own camera, it is built into a pair of spectacles,

:23:02.:23:08.

the visual image it believes is the future of social media and other

:23:09.:23:17.

text based apps like Twitter have struggled. People are not writing

:23:18.:23:22.

two page text documents. Facebook is a company that is less than ten

:23:23.:23:30.

years old and worth close to $300 billion, because people are spending

:23:31.:23:33.

a lot of time on Facebook and putting up a lot of data. Snapchat

:23:34.:23:39.

is no different, it is just a different demographic. Since Google

:23:40.:23:46.

set the standard, they have been a mixed bunch. Some up hugely and

:23:47.:23:51.

others losing their wings. We don't know whether Snap will crackle or

:23:52.:23:53.

nop long-term. -- or pop long-term. I'm joined now by Mike Butcher,

:23:54.:23:58.

editor-at-Large at Tech Crunch - which looks at all these

:23:59.:24:00.

new technology And from San Fransisco, Sarah Lacy,

:24:01.:24:02.

founder of the tech website Pando. How is going down in Silicon Valley?

:24:03.:24:16.

Well, I think right now we are having an identity crisis with Snap

:24:17.:24:22.

going public and being the fist big public mobile app, because it is not

:24:23.:24:29.

a San Francisco company. It is a moment more LA. It has a curious

:24:30.:24:34.

structure, they're not even shares, you can't vote. No vote. Four

:24:35.:24:39.

billion dollars have been given to staff and they can sell their

:24:40.:24:43.

shares, but still control the company. Did no one think maybe that

:24:44.:24:47.

the investors should go on strike on this one? They may have thought it,

:24:48.:24:53.

but it didn't happen. I mean, there is some bigger trends at play here.

:24:54.:25:00.

One is the idea of the cult of the founder founder, where the founder

:25:01.:25:08.

is a God in the company. You saw it with Elon Musk. And with Mark

:25:09.:25:16.

Zuckerberg taking control of Facebook and now you're seeing it to

:25:17.:25:21.

an extreme level with Snap. As long as people buy the shares, they can

:25:22.:25:26.

get away with it. Snap is operating in a climate where these companies,

:25:27.:25:29.

these private, highly valued companies have been unwilling to go

:25:30.:25:38.

public. Uber doesn't want to. And so Snap went public relatively quickly,

:25:39.:25:44.

set the terms it wanted and I think it was a smart move. In term of what

:25:45.:25:49.

it represents, it is video, it is not text. There is something going

:25:50.:25:56.

on here right? The funny thing is they describe themselves as a camera

:25:57.:26:01.

company, but they're not. They're a media company. They are in a bind.

:26:02.:26:05.

Essentially most of time you using Snapchat to send people messages.

:26:06.:26:14.

Either singly or to many and they can only monetise the many. They're

:26:15.:26:20.

getting media players and using stories to allow people to create

:26:21.:26:24.

media and that is where they will insert advertising. Is the basic

:26:25.:26:29.

thing, people want video and pictures apps and not text. Because

:26:30.:26:36.

Twitter started as a very short message thing, and doesn't seem to

:26:37.:26:39.

be doing as well as Snapchat. Absolutely. Twitter is about text

:26:40.:26:47.

and you can see Instagram, many times bigger than Twitter and

:26:48.:26:51.

Snapchat. Because it is about pictures and pictures speak a

:26:52.:26:55.

thousand words. That is why snap chat is about pictures and video. Do

:26:56.:27:02.

you buy that pictures are the future and text is old stuff. It is more

:27:03.:27:09.

that are pictures, it is videos. Instagram leapfrogged Twitter, but

:27:10.:27:14.

it has not done as well with video. And everyone is pushing, not just

:27:15.:27:18.

that users want to express themselves in video, but Facebook

:27:19.:27:22.

and Snap want TV money and that what is the internet than trying to get

:27:23.:27:27.

its grubby little entrepreneurial hands on for decades and it has

:27:28.:27:32.

never come over. If you read Snap, that is their gamble they will get

:27:33.:27:39.

TV money. It seems interesting is this, that you can look at Twitter

:27:40.:27:46.

and Instagram and the shelf life or the anxiety Guys life of these is

:27:47.:27:56.

three or four years. That doesn't just Fay $30 billion valuation. This

:27:57.:28:04.

is the why they're going to IPO and buying companieses and going for the

:28:05.:28:09.

TV money. But many of these big companies are snapping at their heel

:28:10.:28:17.

and all the big players, especially Facebook is looking at what Snap

:28:18.:28:25.

does and copies them. Other mra platforms can replicate it. I that

:28:26.:28:32.

is the big ask whether they can go as fast. Do you think Do you think

:28:33.:28:42.

today's five-year-olds will be using Snap when they're 30. It seems

:28:43.:28:47.

unlikely. They have the biggest engagement, young people, teens and

:28:48.:28:52.

others use Snapchat about 18 times a day and half an hour a day. It is

:28:53.:28:56.

the new TV for that generation. Thank you both very much.

:28:57.:29:03.

All the views that are fit to print in this spot.

:29:04.:29:07.

Today, the sociologist and cultural commentator Tiffany Jenkins explains

:29:08.:29:09.

why she thinks we should be not be getting het up about Donald Trump.

:29:10.:29:12.

You do not have to be an afficionado of European

:29:13.:31:22.

politics to find the French presidential election riveting.

:31:23.:31:23.

It is a two-stage election, the first vote is on 23rd April,

:31:24.:31:26.

Before we take stock with one of our favourite French

:31:27.:31:32.

political commentators, let's recap the three front runners.

:31:33.:31:34.

Other candidates are available, but not looking likely

:31:35.:31:36.

Now, the first of those three, Francois Fillon.

:31:37.:31:56.

He is embroiled in a row. He said if there was a formal investigation, he

:31:57.:32:03.

would step aside. There is, and he hasn't. In the first round, he is

:32:04.:32:09.

polling at 19%. Next is Marine Le Pen, leader of the far right Front

:32:10.:32:12.

National, these days likening herself to President Trump. She has

:32:13.:32:16.

her own financial problem, accused of misusing EU Parliament funds for

:32:17.:32:21.

French political activity and could be prosecuted for treating a graphic

:32:22.:32:29.

picture of an Isis beheading. And the third is Emmanuel Macron, the

:32:30.:32:34.

centrist candidate pitching himself as the freshfaced. No scandal yet,

:32:35.:32:39.

but then as a fresh face, there is still time. He has dismissed chatter

:32:40.:32:43.

that he's gay, saying that if he was, he would be open about it. He

:32:44.:32:47.

is at 24% in the poles. Joining me from Paris

:32:48.:32:53.

now is the political We have had him on the programme

:32:54.:33:02.

several times, including standing in the freezing cold in Paris. Nice to

:33:03.:33:07.

talk to you again! Can we start with Francois Fillon? He said he would

:33:08.:33:12.

step aside, he hasn't, what is going on? It is a big mess. Yesterday he

:33:13.:33:20.

was standing firm and reaffirming that he would go right to the end.

:33:21.:33:25.

And today his campaign is just falling apart. . All, we heard that

:33:26.:33:29.

this morning, police were searching his private home in Paris. Then he

:33:30.:33:35.

had several desertions in his team, the deputy campaign manager, the

:33:36.:33:42.

Treasurer, 45 MPs asked him to resign his candidacy and leave the

:33:43.:33:45.

place to somebody else, and he refuses. He's gambling everything on

:33:46.:33:51.

a big rally is organising on Sunday in Paris, which is very

:33:52.:33:56.

controversial, because it's going to attack the judicial system. But if

:33:57.:34:00.

that fails, and it is quite likely to fail, it's going to be

:34:01.:34:04.

irresistible for him to step down. Is there time for the party to put a

:34:05.:34:08.

new candidate in, because it is leaving it quite late now? Well,

:34:09.:34:13.

they have another candidate, Alain Juppe, the former Prime Minister,

:34:14.:34:18.

who came second in the primaries. Alain Juppe was for a long time the

:34:19.:34:22.

favourite in the opinion polls. He's quite popular, he's a moderate

:34:23.:34:31.

right-winger. The problem was that Nicholas are cosy was very much

:34:32.:34:34.

against him and refused to consider him standing in the place of

:34:35.:34:39.

Francois Fillon, but the party might not have any other option at the

:34:40.:34:44.

moment. Now, Marine Le Pen we know has got a couple of little issues

:34:45.:34:49.

around her funds and suchlike - am I right in thinking that her

:34:50.:34:52.

supporters would just say, this is just people trying to put her down

:34:53.:34:55.

because that is what the establishment does, and these are

:34:56.:34:58.

not really affecting her? You're completely right. Both candidates

:34:59.:35:04.

are in very different positions. Francois Fillon's voters are

:35:05.:35:14.

conservatives who are shocked by what he is being accused of. Marine

:35:15.:35:18.

Le Pen's voters agree that she was right to take Europe's money and use

:35:19.:35:23.

it for something else. They believe she's right when she says there is a

:35:24.:35:27.

plot to prevent her from reaching power, that the judges are in the

:35:28.:35:30.

hands of the government. So in a way, this is not affecting her at

:35:31.:35:39.

all in her call voting section. It makes it difficult for her to reach

:35:40.:35:43.

other voters, however, people who are not yet convinced by the

:35:44.:35:47.

National Front. She will need to reach 50% in the second run if she

:35:48.:35:52.

wants to win. And these problems are quite handy for her to go beyond her

:35:53.:35:58.

natural supporters. Who is supporting her? I have heard

:35:59.:36:01.

actually she has quite a lot of younger voters, which would be I

:36:02.:36:06.

suppose a bit of a surprise, to some extent? Not really. She has been

:36:07.:36:13.

supported by the losers of globalisation, to use a phrase that

:36:14.:36:18.

has been used during the Trump election in the US. And these would

:36:19.:36:24.

be people particularly in the north of France, former industrialised

:36:25.:36:30.

regions more people who have no job suspects and a lot of young people.

:36:31.:36:33.

There are neighbourhoods in northern France, where unemployment is

:36:34.:36:41.

reaching more than 40%. These are people who are angry and very

:36:42.:36:44.

resentful against what they call the system, and I support her for that.

:36:45.:36:50.

We have not left much time to do Macron, but briefly, he launched his

:36:51.:36:54.

manifesto today, people say the centre-left has had nothing today to

:36:55.:37:00.

say for ten years - what did he have to say, has he got a good message? I

:37:01.:37:06.

think so. I think he's trying to be neither right nor left, which is

:37:07.:37:10.

strange but fits the present state of politics in France. He's a social

:37:11.:37:16.

liberal, which means he wants to liberalise the economy but still

:37:17.:37:20.

bring the social protection the French like and want to continue to

:37:21.:37:24.

enjoy. Thank you very much, we will talk to you soon.

:37:25.:37:28.

Raymond Briggs, creator of Fungus the Bogeyman, the Snowman,

:37:29.:37:31.

and many other much loved stories, was recently honoured

:37:32.:37:33.

with a lifetime achievement award by Book Trust.

:37:34.:37:35.

Now in his 80's, he's finally emerged from a long period of caring

:37:36.:37:38.

for his late partner, and is working on something

:37:39.:37:40.

altogether more adult than his usual fare -

:37:41.:37:42.

it's a darkly comic meditation on age and death.

:37:43.:37:44.

What better way to mark World Book Day than to have our own

:37:45.:37:47.

Stephen Smith meet Raymond Briggs at his cottage in Sussex.

:37:48.:37:52.

# We're floating in the moonlit sky...

:37:53.:38:05.

How do you feel when you're doing Christmas shopping and you

:38:06.:38:10.

hear Aled Jones singing, we're walking in the air?

:38:11.:38:13.

He is a big fan of this programme, so

:38:14.:38:20.

I did an introduction to The Snowman film, and

:38:21.:38:35.

the Americans wanted somebody more important than me to do it.

:38:36.:38:38.

And they somehow got David Bowie to do it.

:38:39.:38:42.

One winter, I made a really big snowman.

:38:43.:38:44.

Wearing these wonderful glittering pink shoes.

:38:45.:39:02.

Never seen pink shoes before on a man.

:39:03.:39:06.

And he says, "I greatly admire your work."

:39:07.:39:09.

I said, "God, wish I could say the same!"

:39:10.:39:12.

Raymond Briggs is finally getting down to

:39:13.:39:30.

the project which may be his swansong and mordant masterpiece.

:39:31.:39:35.

You see, that could be nobody else but you.

:39:36.:39:38.

Time For Lights Out - Poems And Drawings Inspired By

:39:39.:39:43.

He's showing the drafts here for the first time.

:39:44.:39:51.

The little girl said that, "Old men's legs look like celery!"

:39:52.:39:54.

Very observant, I think, absolutely brilliant.

:39:55.:39:59.

Briggs always wanted to be a cartoonist,

:40:00.:40:03.

considered the lowest of the low artistically, or so he reckons.

:40:04.:40:07.

Of course they've got these things called graphic novels.

:40:08.:40:15.

They're getting more and respectable.

:40:16.:40:18.

Mine, this is supposed to be a graphic novel.

:40:19.:40:23.

I don't like the term, really, but it makes it sound

:40:24.:40:27.

Not only that, but Briggs has just won a lifetime achievement award

:40:28.:40:34.

"Nice cold filthy water, good head of scum on

:40:35.:40:46.

The readers of his children's stories like Fungus The

:40:47.:40:55.

Bogeyman seem to appreciate a certain darkness, a little grot, to

:40:56.:40:58.

I don't think about what children want, you get

:40:59.:41:03.

You don't think, oh, children of ten won't want this.

:41:04.:41:12.

You've just got this idea in your head and you can do it how

:41:13.:41:25.

But is Briggs getting soft in his old age?

:41:26.:41:28.

He says he can't watch his own account of his

:41:29.:41:31.

mum and dad and his early years without weeping.

:41:32.:41:33.

Her in black stockings - and just look at his hair.

:41:34.:41:39.

Well, they're art students, dear, he'll

:41:40.:41:40.

grow out of it when he gets a proper job.

:41:41.:41:43.

He'll never get a proper job with hair like that.

:41:44.:41:47.

And yet, Briggs says, he has no regrets that his

:41:48.:41:49.

When they're tiny, they're absolutely wonderful.

:41:50.:41:54.

My wife, Jean, had schizophrenia, so she couldn't have any.

:41:55.:42:02.

So that was that - childless throughout - lovely!

:42:03.:42:14.

Can you explain the shoe collection that we saw

:42:15.:42:17.

Oh, no, that started, I got those, one or two

:42:18.:42:24.

pairs over the years as joke presents for Liz's daughter.

:42:25.:42:29.

Of course, she didn't want them, of course.

:42:30.:42:31.

So I chucked them in the cupboard or something.

:42:32.:42:33.

People think I'm some outrageous perv who totters around

:42:34.:42:42.

Well, why shouldn't you if you want to?

:42:43.:42:46.

But don't let the Imelda Marcos of mid-Sussex fool you -

:42:47.:43:00.

childish hugs are things he will miss.

:43:01.:43:02.

One day, I know I will walk it for the last time.

:43:03.:43:07.

Last time your little boy climbed on to your shoulders.

:43:08.:43:13.

The last time your little girl wrapped her arms around your neck

:43:14.:43:16.

I know there will be a last time I walk this path

:43:17.:43:24.

before the hospital, before the home, before something.

:43:25.:43:29.

And the irony is, you never know at the time

:43:30.:43:31.

What do you think about older people choosing when they have had enough?

:43:32.:43:46.

Well, it depends, it's very dodgy, isn't it, to make

:43:47.:44:01.

sure they're not mentally ill with depression or something.

:44:02.:44:04.

It's your own life, you can do what the hell you

:44:05.:44:09.

like with it, as far as I can see, no business of anybody else.

:44:10.:44:13.

But before we go, King Salman of Saudi Arabia has been paying

:44:14.:44:36.

It's fair to say he likes to travel in style.

:44:37.:44:40.

A reported 500 tonnes of luggage, 150 chefs, limos,

:44:41.:44:42.

a custom-made toilet and, perhaps most important of all,

:44:43.:44:45.

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