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