19/05/2017 Newsnight


The stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark, including fresh Trump Russia revelations. Plus Labour's shadow defence secretary, and Rachel Nickell's son speaks.

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President Trump takes off on his first foreign tour,


but there's no chance of leaving his troubles, and his


If there is evidence is mounting that there might have been efforts


to obstruct justice that would be a parallel back to Nixon and wouldn't


look good for the president. Tonight, as fresh revelations


about Russia and the man he sacked as FBI boss -


who he apparently told the Russians was a "nutjob" -


engulf the Trump White House, we ask whether he can


keep his presidency on the road. Jeremy Corybn's right hand man today


made the bold claim that Labour We ask the Shadow Defence Secretary


what that would mean The little boy who witnessed


the horrific murder of his mother Rachel Nickell 25 years ago


tells his story of the trauma he suffered, and the impact


of relentless press intrusion. All of a sudden we saw this man


lunging forward with a black bag over his shoulder, and then


everything happened. In a matter of seconds I was grabbed, thrown to the


floor, my face dragged across the mud. Seconds later my mother


collapsed next to me. And Newsnight's own battle bus


ventures to the parts of the country You don't get much of a buzz around


here. That's why we are here! This evening, Donald Trump left


Washington for this first Eight days away, visiting five


countries, including Often an outing on the global stage


is an opportunity to draw the heat from domestic travails,


but in Trump's case there's no chance of a let-up back at base,


in a week where it has felt that perhaps the tectonic plates shifted


definitively in the ever-developing scandal over Trump's dealings


with the Russians, and his Tonight, two separate stories


which threaten fresh Our diplomatic editor


Mark Urban is here. No sooner has the President's


playing taken off than two new bombshells were dropped by the


Washington Post and the New York Times. The Washington post saying


that the FBI investigation into possible collusion with Russia in


the election period was gathering pace and had a new person of


interest who was a serving member of the White House staff. People are


speculating on Twitter, some of them quite informed reporters, that that


is none other than Jared Kushner the son-in-law of the president. We


don't know that but that is the speculation. The New York Times


story saying they have a minute, a written record, of that meeting with


the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in which President Trump is


quoted as saying that Comey the director of the FBI was a "nut job",


that he was putting him under pressure over Russia and now that is


taken care of. That does feed those who say this is obstruction of


justice in the case they are trying to make. You wonder if Trump knows


that minutes have been taken. You could say there is a buy the


book answer and people understand the processes involved if this is


going to come to a formal, legal charge, if it's going to get


impeachment. With impeachment the house of representatives have to


vote for it and a lot of the calculation has been, until the


mid-term elections in late 2018, that's not even a possibility


because the Republicans control the house of representatives. Would they


really vote for impeachment. But the pace of the these last two weeks is


causing some people to reassess, and ask if real, hard evidence is


produced by the FBI, or the other investigations on the Hill will


support crumble, and will this become more and more like that


defining presidential scandal, Watergate.


All the President's men made bringing down Richard Nixon seem


like the most romantic of adventures. Particularly if you're a


journalist. Now, many in Washington see the parallels, talk breathlessly


of impeachment, as they watch Donald Trump's legal difficulties multiply.


If there is evidence is mounting that there might have been efforts


to obstruct justice, that would be a parallel back to Nixon and would not


look good for the president. The other thing that I would look for


whether the special counsel is going to bring charges. If we know there


are ongoing criminal investigation is coming out of this


counterintelligence investigation also going on, that's not typical.


Usually you don't see a lot of prosecutions coming out of a


counterintelligence investigation. Depending on who is implicated, that


might spell trouble. Earlier this week it emerged the president had


briefed the Russian Foreign Minister with highly sensitive intelligence.


Bennett leaked that the FBI director sacked Pender memo pressuring to


drop investigations and a fire adviser Mike Flynn. Then on


Wednesday night the Justice Department had appointed a special


counsel to investigate Trump's ties to Russia, prompting claims of a


witchhunt. No president of the United States wants a special


counsel appointed. In the case of President Clinton where he had an


independent counsel, but led to Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky. With


Ronald Reagan we had the arms for hostages situation that tarnished


the end of his term. No president wants a special counsel appointed,


the question is was there an underlying crime in Mr Trump's case.


And so the Watergate analogies begin. The special counsel claims of


obstruction of justice, and Trump's political enemies talking in


impeachment. Key to the drama of Watergate was the character of Deep


Throat, reputedly a deputy director at the FBI who guided reporters that


underground assignations towards their quarry, the president. Well,


that's one of the similarities with today's situation, although now you


could say there are differences. There are so many Deep Throats and


so many reporters pursuing Trump, but according to your prejudice you


could say that's a sign of the resistance at work, or of a deep


conservative establishment trying to thwart his programme of radical


change. We've seen the deep state working round-the-clock... The


President's backers paint what's happening as the revenge of a deep


state against a president elected on a platform of radical change. You


have instance after instance where it is not coincidence, it's fact


that people are leaking classified information to try to harm the Trump


administration. You can have a political agenda, just put your name


in front of it and leaked it with your name attached and get arrested


for its. The president, like Nixon, likes to likes to refer to a


witchhunt, but how far is it now from impeachment? The Case against


Trump of collusion or obstruction of justice isn't yet proven, but


ultimately the judgment of his party is critical, and for that you have


to look to Congress and count the votes. Evidence against him doesn't


have to meet the standards to prosecute him in a court. A bit of


fudge room there and it depends on the support he has. The House would


have to have to vote to impeach, the Senate would have to vote to remove


him, and those are really political issues and will depend on the amount


of support that he has. President Nixon chose to resign before it came


to an actual impeachment, but when he knew his party was slipping away.


Trump may not go so easily, but all eyes will now be on the party and


whether support starts to crumble. Joining us from Washington


is journalist James Fallows, who started his career covering


Nixon's fall in Watergate and went on to become chief speech writer


to President Carter. He's now the national


correspondent for The Atlantic. Good evening. First of all let's


deal with the New York Times story that Trump told the Russians that


Komi was, that the removal of pain me ended the pressure on him and he


went on to call him a "nut job" -- the removal of Comey ended the


pressure on him. The suspicion in most cases like this is you find


some subtle clues of obstruction of justice and the president doing


things because they're some three Domino effect that will reduce


pressure on him. According to these reports, Trump is out right in


saying this was the reason he got rid of FBI director Comey. In any


normal political environment this would be serious trouble for a


president. You say in any normal political environment, so you are


not sure? Yes and the commentary you are having was right that there are


legal enquiries under way but fundamentally this is a political


decision. So far a major difference between this episode and Watergate,


apart from the speed with which things are unfolding, is back during


Watergate there were a number of members of the Republican party who


said, wait a minute, what principles are being violated, what about the


constitution. So far there has been some hand-wringing and concern from


members of the Republican party but none of them have actually voted for


investigations, etc. Let's turn to the Washington Post, that someone


close to the president, speculation is that it is Jared Kushner, is now


a significant person of interest in the enquiry into links between


Russia and the Trump campaign. Is this just another small step king of


the fire or is it important? This reminds me of the actual Watergate


in that news unfolded everyday and you didn't know it would lead. There


are two uncertainties, one is what person of interest means, the other


is whether we are talking about Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon,


somebody close to the president and still on his active-duty service. It


could be a week from now we are looking at this as the domino which


moved things, it could be that some other thing will have occupied our


attention. It is potentially interesting. So these stories, both


of them came out as soon as Trump was wheels up leaving for a foreign


trip. It might suggest that the papers are engaged in some kind of


warfare with the president, and it's not so much the deep state but the


media generally is out to get him. What do you think about that? My


guess is that if either of these publications had had the material


ready to go three hours earlier, they would have used it then. You


could say this is the deadline for a daily paper but it is 24 hour news


cycle now. I think it's when they had the facts they went with it as


soon as they could. Does that suggest that even though when he's


away there may be more dripping out in the next couple of weeks? He's


away now for nine days. How embarrassing will this be to him


abroad, or not so? It is traditionally true that


oversees presidents look stronger but it is hard to see how that can


work with Donald Trump, he has not experienced internationally and he


is going to tricky places, Saudi Arabia and Israel and whenever


things get dicey, his impulse has been to lash out through Twitter or


whatever else and maybe he is under tighter discipline when on Air Force


one but there is wi-fi on that! I think that the momentum of these


revelations is likely to continue while he is overseas. Thank you very


much. Throughout the election,


Newsnight is embedding in the Cumbrian constituency


of Barrow-in-Furness, to capture in close-up


how the campaign looks from the perspective


of one key marginal seat. Barrow's Labour majority of 800,


a Ukip vote of 11% in 2015, and a 60% vote for Brexit,


all make it high on John Woodcock, whilst campaigning


under a Labour ticket, is one of the party's most outspoken


critics of its leader, This week, our film-maker


Nick Blakemore spent time We just hear it on the doorstep,


time and again, people saying: "we've always been Labour,


but we're worried about you nationally,


and we don't know what to do". The national election


is going to be decided elsewhere, and it's going to be decided


in favour of another They have called it because they


know they're going to win. And, I mean, James,


what is your sense of going out There's maybe an 80-90% chance that


they're sticking with us, but there's that remaining 10% that


either aren't sure or they are I feel it is not as high


as 80 or 90%, actually. Hello, I'm Simon Fell,


the Conservative candidate. You kind of, just picture


Theresa May of a morning, setting off to go to Parliament


on the A590, she'd never get there. She would never get


there, would she? And something would be done


about it, because it'd And this is what, I think,


is very frustrating for everybody. It's not to you or anybody else,


but we always feel that this part of the country is,


just get everything palmed off, the dirty work, you know,


the construction, just A Tory nodding dog


won't be there for you. A Tory nodding dog won't be


there for you when it matters. My record shows I've


always put you first. Please re-elect me


on the 8th of June. OK, one more time,


and I may just nail it. Are you campaigning


on the manifesto? So, any discussion of Labour's


manifesto is actually slightly artificial,


because it can show But when people understand,


actually, that the Tories are going to win nationally,


they view it in a different light. It's her policies on


education I don't like. I don't like the way she is putting


pressure on the kids, Justine Greening the Education


Secretary, you know, she is a comprehensive girl,


this is the job she's I think now we are going


to see a bit of a shift We had in Cameron the heir to Blair,


and we now have in Theresa May someone who is recognised as a tough


leader, who will buckle down Her brand of Conservativism


is really different. She wants to turn us


into the workers' party, What makes you qualified


to represent Barrow-in-Furness So you don't live


in the constituency? I've actually put a bet


with a punter, who is going to get sacked first, Corbyn


or Woodcock by Corbyn? I think Nigel Farage is the most


honest man I've seen Prior to that, well,


Enoch Powell, arguably. He was not afraid to hold his line,


even though the rest of the world We've got the Secretary of State


with us to discuss issues on the rail station,


but also the A590 and the A595. I've been up looking


at roads all across Cumbria, both up in Copeland and down


here in Barrow, and the number of things that need doing,


including the A590, probably can't spend the next ten years


going through a farmyard. In Barrow, there are a higher


than average proportion of people on disability living allowance,


so living with disabilities, and they feel that under


a Conservative government they have We don't want to do anything


else but support those people with disabilities


who need that support. But it is reasonable that


when people receive a benefit, that they should have been properly


assessed as to whether they are the right people


to receive that benefit. Simon, it's been almost 25


years since there's been Will anybody from the Shadow


Cabinet be coming to your Well, I would be


delighted if they did! One thing that I know is I've had


really good support from Cat Smith, who is a valiant Shadow Cabinet


member for younger people. Right, first of all I'd


like to thank you for attending. It's a pretty miserable


night out there. To my left, far left, I have Andy


from London and John Woodcock. John Woodcock, who is


the Parliamentary candidate Because there are no


members of Parliament, Anyway, sorry, don't


let me interrupt you! This is a community coming together


to show that we want And through all of the national


staff, who is going to be Prime Minister, this


is what politics is about. I would have been happy if this


general election had been called in 2020,


as was planned. But now it's here, I'm sure


that we are going to make the issue of the post office central


to this campaign. I was actually put in Parliament


to do right by my constituents, We can't pretend to be


something we're not, But what's important


is that there are these Labour voices who'll stand up


for their communities. There are five candidates standing


for election in Barrow-in-Furness. Well, Barrow-in-Furness is a key


centre for defence jobs, and we're going now to examine


the Labour Party's position This week their manifesto launch


boosted Labour's poll ratings to the highest so far


in the campaign. But defence - and in particular


their position on Trident - has been an area of real tension


within the party under Nia Griffith is the Shadow Defence


Secretary and she joins me now. Good evening. That is talk about


this confusion over Trident. There was a line in the leaked draft


manifesto, any Prime Minister should be extremely cautious about ordering


the use of weapons of mass destruction, that disappeared from


the official version. It is clear in the draft version and the final


version that we are fully committed to having a Trident nuclear


deterrent and it is not appropriate to go into detail about how and when


you might use that in the manifesto. We have it, that's deterrent is


there to be used. It is there to be used. It is going to be part of a


strategic defence review? Is that a good idea? When we have a review


coming into government, it is about how we would spend money and what we


would do and in what order, what sort of timetable. It is not about


questioning whether we would have a Trident nuclear deterrent because we


settle that last year. Emily Thornberry tonight suggests that it


was possible that it could be scrapped as part of the defence


review. And indeed, Jeremy Corbyn says that it is part of the


strategic defence, we know his own position and it is different from


the Labour Party's. In a sense, Trident is not secure. In all


respect, Emily is not the Shadow Defence Secretary, I am. We had a


long meeting on Thursday to agree the manifesto as nobody raised the


issue of removing Trident from the manifesto. That was agreed last year


as part of our defence review that we had last year and is part of the


national policy... Emily Thornberry said we're going to have a proper


review and there is no point in reviewing Trident if you are


absolutely committed to it? We are. Emily Thornberry is wrong. Indeed.


Last year we looked at this at the national policy forum and it was


decided to keep the nuclear deterrent and that was reaffirmed...


Three weeks from the general election, the Shadow Defence


Secretary says there is no chance will not be with us, it is a firm


commitment. The Shadow foreign secretary says everything is up for


grabs, it is possible it could be scrapped. We don't know your policy?


I am very clear because it has been reaffirmed every year, we made a


commitment in 2007 to renew the Trident deterrent and that is our


position and commitment to our foreign allies and our industrial


workforce and that has been reaffirmed year after year at Labour


Party Conference and again on Thursday, with the manifesto


meeting, it was fully affirmed by the room. This is a very serious


time, not some count of opposition conversation. 18 months from the


election. There is an election in three weeks, Jeremy Corbyn could be


the Prime Minister, we will have a strategic review, Emily Thornberry


says everything is up for grabs and it could be Trident and the Shadow


Defence Secretary does not say that. You were not even at the manifesto


launch. I was at the meeting last Thursday, when we were looking at


the detail of this programme. It was a money not listening? Not one query


was raised about Trident. On The Andrew Marr Show this month, Jeremy


Corbyn was categoric, there will be no first use of nuclear weapons. It


is not a deterrent? It is important to have the deterrent and that you


are prepared to use it. You will do everything else before, you have a


dramatic means and conventional military means, nobody in any


circumstance would want to use that as your first line of attack. Nobody


is suggesting somebody is going to fire a missile was fired the most


incredible thought but what we are seeing is Jeremy Corbyn said there


would be no first use, it might as well be a very expensive white


elephant. Do you believe you have to be prepared ultimately for first use


if you have nuclear weapons? You have to be prepared, that might be


the circumstance you find yourself in in this very uncertain world and


that is why it is essential we keep that nuclear deterrant but nobody


would put that as the first item on the agenda, what we need to do is


make sure that we actually get in quickly to deal with problems so


they do not escalate. Let us turn to Nato. There is a manifesto


commitment, the same Nato that Jeremy Corbyn called a danger to


world peace and world security? We are fully committed to Nato, it is


the cornerstone of our defence policy and even more important by


coming out of the European Union that we reaffirm that policy and


that we are committed to that 2% spending commitment. Let us say that


Nato is called upon, Russia invades Estonia, for example, Britain is


called upon as a member to put military equipment and personnel in


to resolve that situation. Jeremy Corbyn seems to suggest that we


would not necessarily in certain circumstances come to the aid of a


Nato member militarily? We are fully signed up to the Nato treaty, which


says we would put in that... He is wrong? Of course we all go through


the other processes, also in that treaty, of diplomatic means first


but ultimately, you have to back up your defence... If what we're saying


is you say that if you asked militarily to support Estonia, there


will be no question, Jeremy Corbyn does not say that, I will put it to


you, the Tories say the Labour Party is in chaos, three weeks from the


election, there is nothing graver than defence policy, we do not know


if there will be first use of nuclear weapons and if Britain could


come to the end -- aid of another Nato country. We are fully signed up


to all of our Nato commitments and that means that if the threat was of


that nature, we would put in that military force and we support the


enhanced progress that is in Estonia already. Thank you.


It's 25 years since a young mother, Rachell Nickell, was stabbed


repeatedly and killed on Wimbledon Common in London.


What made the murder even more shocking was that it was witnessed


That put him in potential danger from the killer


The combination of the need to protect Alex's identity


and the intense, shocking media intrusion led his father, Andre,


to take him to rural France and then to Spain to start a new life.


Now, Alex Hanscombe has written a book which contains


extraordinarily vivid detail of that day and tells the traumatic


But most of all, Letting Go: A True Story of Murder,


Loss and Survivial is a tribute to his mother, Rachel.


Waving goodbye to my father as he drove off in his


I remember walking hand-in-hand with my mother


And then, as we ventured deeper into the trees, there was a section


All of a sudden, we both sensed that there was something in the air


so we both turned our heads to the right quickly


and all of a sudden we saw this man lunging forward with a black bag


In a matter of seconds, I was grabbed, thrown to the floor,


my face dragged across the mud, and seconds later my mother


And then I saw him disappear as I was getting myself up


from the floor, still, because it all happened so quickly.


And then he just disappeared into the distance,


And I stood over my mother and I said, Mummy, please get up.


So I was thinking, why doesn't she move?


And then I said it again, Mummy, please get up.


And then it hit me right at that moment.


I understood, I made that connection that she was gone


You feel that very physically in your heart.


For me, more than anything that we may have done together,


what she looked like, what she smelt like, any of these


things is the feeling of being loved and of loving in return.


That is something that will always be with me.


And regardless of me losing her under these circumstances


at such a young age, I have always felt so privileged


compared to so many others, who have never had that experience


of being loved and of loving in return.


How did your father explain your mother's death to you?


The fact that I was there, I already understood it all in my mind.


There wasn't much for my father to say.


But even so, when he came to collect me at the hospital,


as he held me in his arms, he said, your mother is gone


But we are going to continue on together.


One of the most intense moments, when you went to the common,


supposedly privately, with your father, and by this stage


Yes, all the reporters that were on the other side of the fence


So they all came jumping over the fence.


My father had to cover my face with a baseball cap.


We had to run off as we were jostled from both sides and the detectives


tried to stop them from coming and when we reached the spot,


he put me on the ground and we left the rose on the spot.


And for several minutes I stood watching my father


Meanwhile, my eyes were dry and I was just standing


Why do you think the press were so desperate to get you?


The archetype of a young child with his mother and him


being there while his mother was attacked and witnessing


all of that, I think there were so many elements that


The press is a business, we like to think the press as some


But the press is a private-run business with their own agenda.


That would serve them as well as selling newspapers.


So then your father, out of the blue, gets a call to say


You and me would think it is hard enough to get away with one serious


crime yet this person got away with over 100 attacks


on over 80 women before he was finally apprehended.


Had they been more efficient before, your mother would not be dead


and I wonder what you feel about the police's behaviour?


What I feel about the police is everyone is going to make mistakes.


That is an accepted fact, that is just nature.


But when you have a system where people aren't obliged to be


accountable to take responsibility for their actions,


that is when you create dark corridors and you attract a certain


person to that position, which is more prone to incompetence,


Because now what we have is the principal of because the police


are well-intentioned, they shouldn't be held accountable.


In the book you have made it clear that you forgive Robert Napper.


Once you have been through a difficult situation,


it makes no sense to keep feeling pain, feeling discomfort every time


So without condoning that person's actions,


that person's behaviour, you forgive that person for yourself


so you can let go of that negative baggage that you accumulate


Do you think she would think you had turned out well?


I know that she knows that I have turned out well.


Alex Hanscombe, thank you very much indeed.


It wouldn't be a general election campaign without a few


Reporters dressed as chickens pursuing party leaders,


distinguished correspondents playing cards and eating curry


We do things rather differently here on Newsnight,


with our blackboards and uplifting graphs.


Tonight, we unveil our latest Reithian feature,


which basically involves sending an old double-decker bus to parts


of the country that never see a real battlebus,


or indeed much of the campaign at all.


What's worse, the unfortunate souls of these under-covered seats,


who are normally spared politics, also had to put up


Go out and bring us back a complete breakdown.


And that's just what we did with a 1966 Routemaster double-decker.


She's already got more than 2 million miles on the clock.


We're rolling this baby into some of the safest or most overlooked


Ones that rarely get a visit from the party leaders


It's a special feature we're calling "Battle Busted".


We're bringing the Newsnight bus to the rolling constituency


It is one of the most rural and isolated parts of the country.


It used to be a safe Liberal stronghold but the Conservatives


have held it since 2010, and they're expected to retain it.


It's the only seat in Wales that Labour has never won.


I'm on a creaking old vehicle that we're using to explore


But enough about the programme, what do you think of my bus?


I was about to tick you off for rocking the old crate around,


but now that it's you, who better to show me around this


These streets can tell a few stories.


When he was a Lib Dem MP here, Lembit Opik lived in the fast lane.


Dating a weather girl and then a pop star.


He was seldom out of the limelight, but perhaps he attracted too many


headlines for the locals, because he lost in 2010.


Tell us a bit about it, for people who have not been lucky


enough to see this lovely green part of the Earth.


It is a huge constituency, about 70 miles by 70 miles.


Very few people here, more sheep than people,


And do you think that your former constituents will be


excited to see our bus with its associations,


I suppose inevitably, with the metropolis down here?


Some constituents will look at it and hope that this means there's


finally a robust service from Llanidloes up to Caersws.


We have a bit of time, we could take a few.


You will need a lot of time and you could probably


But in the majority, they are a wily local population.


They will look at this London bus and just assume


We asked people in the market town of Newtown whether they suffered


Well, we don't see an awful lot, that is very true around here.


Yes, you feel a little bit left out of things.


There isn't much election fever here on the face of it


and we wondered if people felt they missed out?


I'm not sure whether people are feeling they are missing out.


I think people may be feeling that in the middle of Wales,


Do you regret that they don't tend to come and see


I'm interested in politics, I have been watching television


and all that sort of stuff and I never would expect them


It was time to get back on the bus and resume a job very much


I once spent an entire election campaign in a motorway service


But this time, my billet was out in the fresh air of Montgomeryshire.


People here vote as they have done for generations.


These are young farmers learning to judge livestock.


I place the Suffolk ewes in the following order.


Before they are judged, in turn, by their elders.


There is no lack of appreciation for good speech-making here.


As soon as I am 18 I have got the chance to vote and I should


We have got our Newsnight double-decker bus.


If you heard that Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn was coming to town


tomorrow, would you turn out to hear them?


I wouldn't turn out to hear them, maybe get a selfie


Join us again when we bring all the fun of the campaign


to parts of the country that the election doesn't reach.


That's all we have time for, have a good weekend.


The stories behind the day's headlines with Kirsty Wark, including fresh Trump Russia revelations. Plus Labour's shadow defence secretary, and Rachel Nickell's son speaks 25 years after witnessing her murder.

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