28/04/2017 Newsnight


Trump's first 100 days, Tory election strategy and the Garden Bridge.

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100 days in office, so many accomplishments.


Lowered my golf handicap, my Twitter following increased by 700.


And, finally, we can shooot hibernating bears.


Tomorrow Donald Trump marks 100 days in the White House.


What has he done to justify the hopes - and the fears -


There's not a coherent foreign policy, whether it's Russia, China.


What you can do is you can still get lots of retail sanity, but have some


wholesale madness riding in the back.


But this former CIA director thinks the President knows what he's doing.


Also tonight, are the Tory election strategists


A weak and unstable coalition government.


That choice between confidence and chaos.


Jeremy Corbyn, clearly a security risk.


For the past 17 years I have been working on and dreaming of a bridge


that will cross London in complete silence. A bridge with a garden on


it. The project with serious financial


issues exposed by this programme has "I'm a nationalist and a globalist",


President Trump declared yesterday - reminding us of one thing


above all else. Trump is whatever he decides


to be, based - some say - A chameleon who picks up


the colour beneath him, endlessly adaptable,


in thought and tongue. As he approaches his 100th day


in office, he candidly admits the job was bigger,


harder than he thought. He describes tonight


the potential for a "major, And, it seems now,


no-one is even surprised. Tonight we look back


at the beginning of the Trump presidency -


militarism, the diplomacy, the executive orders


and of course the tweets - and ask if his heart is really


in it for the long haul. First, here's his first 100


days in 100 seconds. Donald Trump has governed


as he campaigned. His relentless focus on ratings


landed him in hot water early on. This was the largest


audience to ever witness This kind of dishonesty in the media


is making it more difficult... He set about his executive


orders with zeal. Then came the travel ban,


blocked by the courts By Valentine's Day, he lost his


National Security Adviser. But his address to Congress


was praised as presidential. His attempts to smear Obama


for spying were unsuccessful. His attempts at humour incurred


the stony Merkel glare. But it was the health bill that


fully exposed his frailty, a President caught between Democrats


who found it too harsh, We came really close today,


but we came up short. Day 77 showed his military muscle,


shots fired on Assad's Syria. What he moved by dying


children, or by the memory He confirmed Neil Gorsuch


on the Supreme Court. A day later, to everyone's surprise,


dropped the Mother Of All And we will be stronger,


and bigger, better... The first 100 days of Trump has been


volatile and spontaneous. Did his legion of fans or his


manifold critics expect any less? As a candidate he opposed


Nafta and Nato - he's As a candidate he swore


to put America first - but turned his military


might on Syria. Trump has pulled in credible people


to the roles of Defence and Secretary of State and National


Security. But no-one knows if he trusts his


own daughter's judgments more. So what does Trump's foreign


policy now look like? And is he following a strategy


or just a voice in his head? Here's our diplomatic


editor Mark Urban. American foreign policy is made in a


looking glass world, shaped by powerful officials, competing


agencies and interest groups. But the President's role is crucial, and


this President, it is clear, puts domestic issues first. We are


getting a lot of things done. I don't think there has ever been


anything like this. He hasn't travelled abroad during his first


100 days, and the prevailing view in Washington is that he has devolved


much of foreign policy-making to his Cabinet. This does not amount to a


coherent view of foreign policy. There is not a coherent foreign


policy, a coherent sense of what our priorities are, our attitude towards


human rights, what that should be. You know, how we should develop


certain alliance relationships, how we should have a long-term strategy


for dealing with opponents, whether it is Russia, China, what have you.


What you can do is you can still get lots of retail sanity, but have some


wholesale madness riding in the back. Under Obama, the military


complained of micromanagement. Trump, by contrast, has signed off


broad powers to the Pentagon. From Syria to Afghanistan, Somalia and


Libya, more Americans are heading in harms way. Rules of engagement are


being relaxed and, if the military wants to drop the mother of all


bombs, so be it. Trump has given them what they wanted. But what he


hasn't given them is policy boundaries. He hasn't given them his


full philosophy, his worldview, his risk calculation about how much risk


he is willing to take in terms of civilian casualties or other things,


so that they can actually operationalise. I think it is really


detrimental to our men and women in uniform who want to know if the


justification for why they are taking risks is going to stay the


same from day-to-day. As for the non-kinetic, or soft power side of


life, the new Secretary of State has had to accept a 39% budget cut and


is only now, after initially being frozen out by the White House,


assuming a bigger role. So, if Trump has discarded some of his wilder


campaign rhetoric, about Nato being obsolete, having a trade war with


China or cosying up to Putin, what is the problem? Particularly if he


has done so as a result of listening to expert members of his Cabinet.


Well, the President's foreign policy critics would say all he knows how


to do is respond to day-to-day stimuli, that he's got no idea of an


overall strategy. Underlying the policy vacuum is the slowness of


appointments by this administration. The State Department has 200 vacant


political posts, from ambassadors to assistant secretaries and policy


division heads. Maybe I could be accused, the last administration


could be accused of being too focused on process. The fact is, put


people like Secretary Mattis, secretary Tillerson, they don't just


come in and make decisions, they have to work through various levels


that people have worked over the issues at levels below them, and


made sure we were doing something that was smart, and made sense with


overall foreign policy objectives. That is largely made by the whole


contingent of political appointees, many of whom are Senate confirmed,


that are largely absent from this administration. Some blame the


absence of political appointees for the recent mishap where a carrier


was sent by the White House to be heading for Korea, when actually it


was far away and getting further. Underlying all of the criticisms is


a view that, with some changes of course by the President himself, it


is he that lack strategy and fosters uncertainty. He will never come to


see the importance of consistency and predictability, stability and


maturity in foreign affairs. He still believes it is a good thing to


be unpredictable, that it is a good thing to be very spontaneous and


very transactional. That's very dangerous. Ultimately, the efficacy


of Trump's delegated approach is likely to be tested in a crisis,


with a host of issues, from Korea to Iran or Syria and resolved, that may


not be long in coming. Joining me now from New York


is Ambassador James Woolsey, former director of the CIA who also


advised President Trump And from DC, Janine Davidson,


who served as Under Secretary of the US Navy under President


Obama. It is very nice to have you both.


Ambassador Woolsey, if I can start with you, do you understand a


foreign policy on what Jon does? I think one may be starting to emerge.


The first 100 days of any administration is not a good time to


expect consistency and coherence. We are doing our American checks and


balance thing. The checks and balances often run away with the


substance. The bright side of that is that President Trump has been


willing to rethink some things that he thought he got wrong. I think he


was focusing too much on the probability of very cordial


elections with Russia, took another look at it and is now starting to


come I think, take a tougher line. He did sort of reverse with China,


having put out some very strong statements about trade, and then


thinking about it a bit, realising, yes, the Chinese are trying to


dominate the South China Sea, and we don't like that. But he is getting


along with China a lot better, I think, than he was. Let me put that


to Janine Davidson, I guess that is right, every President lives on the


job, there is no other way to do it and we should encourage a President


that feels able to change his mind when he sees things differently?


Sure, I genuinely hope that a bus of the Woolsey is correct and what we


are seeing here with these strange reversals is a President who is


learning. I like to think that is the case. It does coincide with his


changeover in the national Security Council, his appointment of


McMaster, which is probably the smartest thing he has done. However,


the array of actions, words, flipping and flop and we have seen,


as you have just described, is troubling. It is too soon to tell if


what Ambassador Woolsey is saying is true, we should see consistency from


here on out. I don't think what we have seen in his temperament so far


leads us to believe we are going to see that consistency. I still worry


that we are going to have a rocky road. Do you take that on board?


That it is about temperament, not about changing your mind on certain


issues, it is about the fact nobody can see where you are going, where


your last action has come from accept as the last thought in your


head? I think one doesn't want to overestimate what I call President


Trump's shtick. A vaudeville turn. What does that mean? His playful


demeanour, as part of attracting experimentation. What he has done,


in small meetings, and I have only been in a couple, he's extremely


reasonable, very straightforward. He asks good questions, he answers


questions well. He's a normal, rational, smart human being. If he


goes from there, as he with one meeting with me, before 10,000,


15,000 people, he gets really bombastic. It is a personality


trait. A lot of people thought it was a terrible thing to be acting


that way during the campaign, and then he won the presidency. But you


can't afford to have that trait, can you? He is now the US President, he


has military men and women wondering if they are going to be asked to


perform uniform and go to war and he is talking about bombing over


chocolate cake and mixing of Iraq and Syria. It can't get more serious


than that, can it? Well, to those that work with him, I think he is


rational and stable. I don't think one ought to exaggerate that


bombastic, what I call shtick. Again, I hope what you are saying is


true, but being the President of the United States is, by definition, a


very theatrical role. You have to be a grown-up about it. What you say


has the consequences. Coming out of the gate like he did and saying so


many of the things he said, Nato is obsolete, now it is no longer


obsolete. Being bombastic like that, like you described, it has our


allies asking questions. Can we trust the President? If he is going


to say something one day and flip on it the next, how can we be trusting


of him? This is very important for national security. It rests on our


alliances and they need to be able to trust us. It is a somewhat


bombastic way to say our allies need to kick in 3% in Nato and not doing


it. He could have been a bit more polite and gracious in the way he


said it, but he said it in a tough manner and it looks like some of


them are starting to step up contributions. I'm afraid people are


going to have to get used to some of his personality style. What about


his policy style? Janine, let's put this wanted union. He has taken more


action, he has gone in where Obama indecisive, into Syria, he played


with Putin in a way people did not expect to do, he has put people on


edge to send a message. It must be quite impressive, the witty manage


the relationships? I think some people are attracted by


the bombastic style. That kind of thing is only going to work once


because people will wonder whether the first thing he says is


trustworthy. It's troubling. It's only the first 100 days and I'd like


to be cautiously optimistic. I will say one thing which is his desire to


delegate so much, down to the operational and tactical level to


the military. I have great respect for the military but they are only


one voice in the national security sphere. Secondly, in order to


delegate down like that you have to be in sync with your senior advisers


on your philosophy. I'm not sure we know what his philosophy is. I think


it's pretty clear we aren't there yet. You don't need a philosophy to


say... He has stood up to Syria as Obama did not. Obama talked about


the red Line and shrugged and handed the problem over to the Russians. I


don't think you can do much worse than that in running American


foreign policy. He is also accused Obama of spying on him which as a


CIA director must have had you pulling your hair out. This is a


very complex subject and we don't have time to deal with it here. Was


he right? I think everybody finally understood what had happened. The


point is that he is, I think, working at developing new ideas and


standing up for what he thinks is right in Syria. And becoming, each


day, a bit more capable. There will be glitches, there will be problems,


there will be accidents, but compared with other presidents and


their first 100 days, I don't think he's far back in the crowd at all. I


think he's up towards the front. Thank you.


It was Lynton Crosby in 2015 who urged the then PM to scrape


Forget, in other words, the peripheral, social issues


and concentrate on the big stuff, the economy, and make


the character assassinations personal and profound.


This time around, it appears, Team May has taken that


The repeated slogan is back, and the attack on Jeremy Corbyn


by Boris has that whiff of the PR guru's direction once again.


So are we back on Groundhog Day, where spontaneity has


# Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye...#


At the last election, some people noticed,


shall we call it, a eerie similarity, between Lynton Crosby's


attack ads on Ed Miliband and those he run against an Australian


In any other line of work, this might be considered charging


Let's see if you can spot the message.


It will be a choice between strong and stable leadership,


in the national interest, with me as your Prime Minister.


The next Prime Minister walking through that door


You can choose an economy that grows...


Or weak and unstable coalition government led by Jeremy Corbyn...


Or you can choose the economic chaos of Ed Miliband...


Vote for a weak and failing Jeremy Corbyn, propped up


Into this mix, it's not uncommon for the odd


We saw that when he fought his own brother.


He's just an Islingtonian herbivore and muddleheaded mugwump.


All designed to get us talking about whether Jeremy Corbyn is a mugwump.


If you are the Prime Minister, though, you never engage


in mudslinging or deviate off the core message.


What I recognise is that what we need in this country


What Sir Lynton Crosby get paid the big bucks to know


is that there are really only two election campaigns you can run.


If you're in opposition, you run "Time For A Change."


In government, you run "Don't Risk A Change."


That'll be ?500,000 and a share of the ad spend, please.


Ayesha Hazarika was Special Adviser to Ed Miliband during the 2015


election campaign, and is now a spin doctor and stand-up comedian.


Rebecca Lowe-Coulson was a parliamentary candidate


for the Conservative Party in 2015, and now contributes


You both remember what it was like on the stump and what it was like to


have Lynton Crosby in charge, then. Talk us through, Rebecca, do you


sense the same strategy is being wheeled out? I think the strong and


stable leadership message and the coalition of chaos message, the


long-term economic plan... We are going to get that 30 times a day.


People are already counting. This is done the political procedure these


days, I think. As a candidate, what did you have? Did you have your list


of things you had to get in on the doorstep? There was definitely an


attempt to get candidates to stay on message. That's something that comes


with Lynton Crosby. I was running in a non-target seat so I had a bit


more freedom over this. Theresa May is somebody to whom messaging is


more important in general. Under David Cameron I think the broad


message was we need to fix the economy. Under Theresa May we've


seen, from her first moments outside Downing Street, one nation


conservatism, and at the party conference we've seen a country that


works for everyone. This isn't someone leaving us open to criticism


is. Under David Cameron we had, we are going to address welfare


spending. There are great reasons to do that but to fix the economy, not


so much. Messaging and centralisation are already key to


Theresa May. Tell us what it was like to be on the receiving end of


that. It wasn't just the repeated slogans you had and the idea of it


being chaos under Ed Miliband but it was very personal attacks.


Absolutely. It was tough because there was this absolute relentless


shelling of the Labour camp with these core messages. We were also


getting squeezed from the SNP because they were saying, you know,


we'll be doing some sort of deal. What's different about this election


to the last election was, and Ed it was more plausible to make that


argument about the coalition because of the way the numbers were looking.


And certainly the personalised attacks, particularly from Michael


Fallon, and it's interesting he's been wheeled out again and we've


seen Boris making highly personalised attacks against Jeremy


Corbyn. That's the Lynton Crosby playbook and it was very effective


at the last general election. How did you counter it? Did you go into


a huddle and say, what is our fightback strategy or did you


pretend it wasn't there? You are always prepared for the slings and


arrows in the heat of an election campaign. Our slogan was a better


plan for a better future, and we had a whole set of policies that we felt


very confident in. But you know that you're not going to go into an


election campaign where you're not going to get attacked. We were


attacking Cameron in terms of, don't let him take us back to the 1980s.


We had a bit of Britain can do better and all that type of thing. I


think the message discipline was quite ferocious from the


Conservatives. The only thing about this time that is slightly


different, we've had a lot of elections since 2015. We have a 2015


election, then the EU referendum. I think people are going to be more


savvy and want to know more than just this mantra. They want to know


what the Conservatives can offer. They do work. We think we can see


the strings or feel the strings but they work, presumably. I think


that's true. I completely agree that to run a fair campaign you have to


be up against somebody that people are frightened of. I imagine these


personal attacks on Jeremy Corbyn in terms of more specific, I don't know


whether its Trident or the IRA comments... I imagine we may see


this later on if the polls are starting to narrow. At the moment


it's the strong and stable leadership and it's also Brexit. The


election campaign is when we normally run along the lines of


leadership and the economy. Brexit has taken the place of that. Is


there a danger of them going to personal? I do think there is a


danger for the Conservatives. Nobody wants this to be a coronation is a


Theresa May. I think people will think, hang on a minute, you can be


nasty about somebody but actually what are your policies. The


Conservatives are steering away from actually saying what they are


wanting to do. Michael Fallon this week was saying, we aren't going to


give too much detail in our manifesto. They need to be quite


wary about that. What does Jeremy Corbyn have to do? Is he somebody


who thinks of how to cope with strategy... I did think he and his


team are sitting there doing lots of tactical planning. I don't think


that's his thing. I think they will basically be doing much more of a


bread and butter Labour Party issues, the NHS, Brexit, housing,


education. I think they are the issues the Labour Party should be


focusing on. And I hate this phrase but I think they have to let Jeremy


Butler Jeremy. He's a very unique person -- let Jeremy be Jeremy. To


some extent, you could see Jeremy Corbyn as being a reasonably


successful leader, on his own terms. He wants to change the narrative.


Does he want to be Prime Minister? I did think he probably does. That's


quite a claim, he wants to be Prime Minister. He wants to be Prime


Minister. He's not really acting in a way... It's all very good that the


Conservatives need to be careful about not looking too arrogant.


There are lots of domestic issues that people are worried about. I


think they will be fighting the kind of campaign which is people already


know the Conservatives are holding the fort, this is the kind of


election campaign with the last time. Theresa May was part of that


last government. The success they had with schools, the economy.


People already know this. And on Brexit as well... Until they have a


coherent policy on Brexit I think it will be hard for them to move up in


the polls. Thank you. If you were watching closely last


year, you may have noticed a series of reports on Newsnight


about the controversy surrounding The plan was to build a new,


flowery, pedestrian It was backed by the likes


of Joanna Lumley, George Osborne But the scheme became


bogged down by delays, we revealed investors were pulling


out and there was Well, today the plans appeared


completely submerged as London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced


he won't spend any more Hannah Barnes did a lot


of the running on this story for us and joins me


now, is this the end? Officially it is not the end but


unofficially it certainly looks that way. What Sadiq Khan has said is


that if the bridge were ever to be built, he won't guarantee those


ongoing maintenance costs. The reason that is seen as the nail in


the that guarantee is part of the planning permission and other


licenses that the bridge needs. Without that, they fall foul of the


planning permission. Of course, it's possible that the team behind the


bridge could find someone else to guarantee those maintenance costs


but it looks pretty unlikely, for a few reasons. Firstly, time isn't on


their side. Planning permission expires at the end of the year. Most


importantly, they haven't found people to fund the building of the


bridge itself. Let alone ongoing maintenance costs. We know there's a


?70 million shortfall. There is already something like ?40 million


but has disappeared, do we know where that has gone? ?37 million has


been spent, that's gone. Where has it gone? ?22 million on


preconstruction, that's it, there's no further detailed breakdown. We


know the engineers have had a million, the designer has had ?2.6


million but really, we don't know where that has gone. If this is the


end of the project, a further ?9 million will have to be paid by the


government in cancellation costs so that takes you up to ?46 million.


There was some talk today the Public Accounts Committee should look at


this, that isn't likely to happen. The chair of that committee called


it a sad tale. Although the Garden Bridge trust are saying they are


confident they can still find the money, it's looking difficult to see


where it's going to come from. Thank you.


Now the papers. The Guardian has the NHS to pay ?9 million to victims of


the rogue surgeon. That's the man who has just been found guilty of


carrying out needless breast operations on patients who were left


traumatised and scarred. Ian Paterson convicted. The Daily


Telegraph has that story, the same cover-up, let the rogue surgeon play


God. This accuses the image is of ignoring concerns with a picture of


one of his victims. Then a line by the former finance minister of


Greece who says Germany admitted that posterity would destroy Greece.


It was forced to sign up to crippling austerity policies, even


though the German finance minister privately admitted he wouldn't have


endorsed the deal. On the front of The Times, we've got the suspect who


has been seized in a raid on an active terror plot.


Until then, have a good bank holiday weekend.


Hello. The bank with a weekend is set to start off promising, with


some sunshine coming through, largely dry and the wind direction


from the south. With some sunshine, some warmth. The temperature is


recovering. Temperatures


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