18/07/2017 Newsnight


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

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 18/07/2017. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Against the odds and against the experts,


And this week, he passes the six-month mark.


We look back to ask - is he as bad as his critics feared,


Has he settled into the job as a more conventional president,


We'll examine the record so far on domestic and foreign


policy, and look at how the White House has been working.


Also tonight, banks beware - is consumer borrowing


It is an amber warning light for us. Our job is to make sure the lenders


are safe and the main risk to the wider economy comes through the


lenders rather than the borrowers. in the past by stories


of underage sex. Now he's accused of running some


kind of abusive cult. We'll hear from the reporter


making the claims. Some never thought he'd make it this


far, but Donald Trump is still president and this week,


he can say he is six months in. Torrid months, with lots


questioning his competence, his legitimacy and his


conflicts of interest. But he's still standing


and contrary to some How is he doing by the standards


of those who never wanted him? And by the standards


of those who did? From this day forward,


it's going to be only America The Secretary of Homeland Security,


working with myself and my staff, will begin immediate construction


of a border wall. Michael Flynn, General Flynn,


is a wonderful man. I think he's been treated very,


very unfairly by the media. Because he wasn't doing


a good job, very simply. No politician in history,


and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse


or more unfairly. I got elected to serve the forgotten


men and women of our country, To really prosper, we must lower


the tax on business. No-one can look back on the election


campaign and see anything other than a Trump victory


that was remarkable, often a result of sewing anger


and discontent and by setting up His was a victory by the ultimate


populist playbook; but it is one thing to win an election with that


kind of campaign, quite At times, he's seemed more


comfortable in election-type rallies with crowds of adoring supporters


in front of him, than he has His administration is an extreme


experiment in populist policy making, and it has met challenges


such as in the reform Just this afternoon,


the idea of repealing The idea now is to let it fail,


and then return to it. Let's start by thinking


a bit about the conduct Joshua Green is the author


of "Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and the Storming


of the Presidency". I spoke to him


a little earlier from New York. Is it right to say that


there are two Trumps - or at least that the one Trump


is pulled in different directions In the White House he's really


split between two groups, the nationalist camp


led by Steve Bannon, who have very hard right,


aggressive, populist impulses. That is the Donald Trump that ran


and won the presidency. But then on the other hand


there is a Trump who comes out of the world of New York real


estate, is very insecure, has always longed for the approval


of the great power brokers on Wall Street and


American government. Trump has stocked his administration


with many of these people, who generally fall under


the rubric of globalists. So this would include his National


Economic Council chairman Gary Cohn, His Treasury Secretary,


Steven Mnuchin, also The war within the White House


during Donald Trump's first six months has been a pitched battle


between nationalists and globalists. Well, nobody is really


winning is the problem. Trump's legislative agenda has


all but collapsed with the death So while there have been some


victories for Bannon's nationalists, primarily cracking down


on illegal immigration, taking a much harder line


against immigrants generally, there haven't been a lot


of victories for either camp and that's a subject of great


concern to everybody Because when things don't go well,


President Trump reacts very badly. One of the concerns was there


was a sort of fruitcake fringe In fact, Bannon was sometimes


attached to that and in your book you talk about Robert Mercer,


the hedge fund guy who financed Bannon and Breitbart,


who certainly had some wacky people, let's say, who he was


supporting beforehand. Have the "grown-ups"


mostly got a grip in No, I don't think that anybody,


any of Trump's camps of advisers ever have a solid grip on Trump


for very long. The cycle we've seen again


and again, we saw this during the campaign,


we've certainly seen it in the White House,


is that for a time, advisers will be able to contain Trump,


to stop him from tweeting or saying or doing outrageous


things but invariably, Trump


loses his patience and will go off director James Comey,


that plunges his administration


back into chaos. And chaos has been pretty


much the natural state of Trump's White House these


first six months. Are there any forces there who think


chaos is kind of a good It wants to kick things around,


it wants to change everything, Bannon, Steve Bannon


has always been a big believer that chaos is good,


it helps Trump. It was during the campaign


where Trump unleashed The problem is that when you're


in the White House, when you're the president,


chaos doesn't actually What Trump needs to do


and what he has so far been unable to do is organise a congressional


coalition of his own party members Tell us a little about egos


in the White House. It was said that Bannon and Trump


fell out when Bannon made Donald Trump is and always has been


deeply insecure, especially And after he was elected


and Steve Bannon entered the popular imagination as this kind of dark


Rasputin, pulling Trump's strings, Saturday Night Live referring to him


as "President Bannon," kind of a running joke, Trump


himself took great offence at that, The only thing that's brought him


back in is the Russia scandal. The fact that has entangled


so many of Trump's senior advisers. Do you think that by the end of four


years there will be something which we will identify,


be able to call Trumpism that will be the Trump doctrine


or the Trump way? I think Trump would like there to be


but it isn't exactly I think Steve Bannon and Trump


the candidate had a pretty clear idea of what Trumpism would be,


and it would be a different third A populism that was less harsh,


more geared towards working-class ordinary American voters


than the typical Republican The problem is as soon as Trump got


into the White House, he took up the same conservative


agenda of the politicians who he'd just vanquished


in the GOP nomination fight, and he has wound up in a cul-de-sac


where he can't pass the legislation that's not popular and so it's not


clear that Trump knows Joshua Green, thank


you very much indeed. Many of those who voted


for Trump, voted for change. We sent a camera out to Alexandria


in Virginia to see what Trump supporters themselves cite


as his biggest achievement to date - The best thing, I think he's


really trying to like, tighten the borders and focus


on security a little bit more. I'm a Trump guy but I'm not


a Trump behaviour guy. But he's doing what he said


he was going to do and the Republican Congress is not


allowing him to do, But other than that,


he's doing what no-one thought he could do and no-one


expected him to do. We just like all of his stands


in the Middle East, all his opinions and sides


and, you know. We stand by him not


doing the France Accord. Because we don't really


believe in climate change. I don't know, starting work


on the immigration thing and the tax, getting


a new tax law started. I think health-care needs


to change drastically. Of course foreign relations


I think need to improve. And jobs, I'm happy


that the stock market I think that might be one


of the best things he's done Voices from Trump


supporters in Virginia. Well, Anne Applebaum


is a visiting professor at the London School


of Economics Institute of Global Affairs and


a Washington Post columnist. Elisabeth Bumiller writes


on politics for the New York Times. Elisabeth, you're going to be our


domestic affairs policy and -- person. You were something of a


critic, you were not a fan in the election campaign. As he settled


into something more conventional than you expected? No, the trouble


with Trump, as your previous interview alluded, is that he hasn't


settled into anything at all. Almost every statement he makes on foreign


policy can be heard in two ways, he contradicts himself. On Europe, if


you listen to the speech he made in Warsaw ten days ago, you can hear


the different strands of his administration in the speech. There


was a nationalist almost apocalyptic stance, against dark forces, and


something that sounded like an ordinary Republican talking about


Nato. You can choose which of those strands you would like to hear. Does


that implied there is a state of paralysis? It sounds like a child in


a car who can turn on the windscreen wipers and so one but doesn't know


how to make the cargo, it has been said. -- make the car go. But he


hasn't crashed the car. We don't have people to do the foreign


policy, he hasn't selected people to work for him and we don't have any


clear direction. He has withdrawn from a few things, he isn't leading


anywhere. His policy in Syria is no different to Obama's. Europe, he has


said different things at different times and in China he appears to be


directed by President Xi. Elizabeth, domestic policy, there has been this


huge setback for his agenda today on health care reform. What do you


think his supporters will feel about the domestic agenda and how far it's


gone? I think they would say that he hasn't done much of what he promised


to do and that they would blame Congress for it, the Democrats. He


has, he's big domestic policies were immigration, building a wall,


repealing health care, and he has, you know, he has not improved the


economy. On health care it has been a big disappointment to him today


because the Senate bill failed and really there is no way forward. It


failed in large part because there were deep divisions within the


Republican party, a number of moderate Republicans couldn't vote


for it because of the deep cuts in Medicaid in their states. At the


same time, some Conservative Republicans were opposed because it


did not cut Medicaid enough. He's been a victim of the divisions


within his own party as well as the fact that the Democrats oppose him.


But why hasn't he just built a semblance of war, a piece of the


war? It can't take somebody that long to go in and just show them...


Because we have a system where there is Congress and the White House and


the Supreme Court, and Congress appropriates the money for such


things and Congress did not give him the money in the Budget. They gave


him just enough to repair about 70 miles of the wall, which is


repairing a fence on the border. The border is over 2000 miles long. So


he keeps saying he wants the wall. In fact it's going to be very


difficult financially to build it. Right. Is it the situation,


Elizabeth, that populism meets the complexities of government, and is


that the way of characterising this experiment in populist


policy-making? Well, I think that all so what happened is Trump had no


experience in government before. He ran a company and it was a family


business and that kind of situation with the chief executives, he has


discovered, and he said this publicly, is how difficult it is to


get things done, because you have to bring along Congress, you have an


opposition party and you also have courts that go against you. That was


the way our system was set up and he is finding that there are checks and


balances in the American government. OK, one of the Sears was that


somehow this guy with this rather chaotic way of doing things, very


capricious, would undermine institutions, the great institutions


of the world or the United States. Do you see any of that going on? --


one of the fears. Yes. There are some things he hasn't been able to


undermine but we have ethics laws in the United States. This was a very


small story but the head of the office of ethics in the US resigned


this week because he said it was pointless to try to enforce the


rules any more. A lot of these things were norms and rules and


regulations rather than actual laws, but people conform to them and Trump


doesn't and his family doesn't conform to them. But in terms of


leadership, was it...? We could almost say it was angular Merkel


that leads the West, but... He has made various different kinds of


statements about Nato and we have to assume... You know, we can take


which ever one we want to believe. But the idea that the US was the


leader in trade and was the country that believed in more economic


interaction with the world, that doesn't exist any more. The idea


that the US was a convener of other nations and could reach mutual


agreements, that doesn't work any more. So the idea that the United


States was a power in the Pacific, that could fall under question as


well. So a lot of the assumptions made about American power have been


undermined. It has only been six months and he's been very lucky in a


way because there hasn't been a major crisis. Well, North Korea...


Well, that hasn't happened yet and nobody has invaded a country,


nothing for him to respond to, so we haven't seen how an administration


that doesn't have any foreign policy staff will react to a foreign policy


crisis yet. Let's go back to the domestic agenda. This issue of


undermining institutions and integrity and the things that have


built up over hundreds of years in the US - tube eye that there's been


some of that going on or not? Sure, but in many ways I am more positive


and I feel that this is a lesson in how the government is supposed to


work. She's right about the ethics violations but look at what happened


to health care. It did not get through Congress. Look at his two


travel bans. They were struck down by a court and he had to come back.


There was then a new one but the Supreme Court allowed a part of the


travel ban but the courts were reacting the way they were supposed


to. And then I would argue the press as well. Obviously he's been very


tough on the press but I also think this has been a good run for the


press because we have healthy administration accountable and we've


written a lot of stories and exposed a lot of stories. There have been a


lot of investigations and we've been on the Russia story quite a bit, so


I think that's working as well. I'm looking at it in a more positive


way. A different perspective but an interesting one. Thank you both very


much indeed. The Grenfell Tower fire has


naturally got everyone looking very hard at building design,


not least local authorities worried about the stock of renovated


towers on their estates. It's clear we need an audit


of what we've got, with what materials bolted


on the outside. And this is where it


gets interesting working There are three ways to get


a building signed off. The key words are "limited


combustibility". One, you can clad a building


in material that is all of limited combustibility, as that


won't burn badly. Two, you can use elements


of combustible material, but it has to have been fire-tested


to see that in its particular combination, it is of


limited combustibility. And three, if the combination hasn't


been fire-tested then you have to have a desktop study that shows


it is materially the same as stuff So if the material isn't


all resistant to fire then it needs to have been tested one


way or another. But guess what - councils cannot get


the the test results. I'm joined by Lord Porter,


Gary Porter, who is the chairman A very good evening to you. I hope


I've summarised the position adequately. But, look, you want to


know the results of different combinations of materials and how


they have got through fire tests. Yes, we've been arguing since just


after the day of the fire that the whole thing should be tested and not


just the core of the panels, and those tests need to be properly


tested, and we are pleased the Government has agreed they will do


that, or the experts have, at least. Once those tests have been done,


they need to be made public, and more importantly, the result is done


by the private sector, which are subject intellectual property


rights, also need to be done. But they've done those tests before,


haven't they? To be able to say, yes, we can use that combination


because we've tested it. They have been done but we are yet to see the


results. Those companies are under no obligation to share the results


with the wider public. Had you asked them? We have asked them and we've


asked members of the public require that the contractual basis means


that is shared. So the testing companies or the cladding companies?


The BR East says they cannot share the results. They have said they


can't share those results because they are subject intellectual


property. So quite seriously, you want to know which cladding


combinations are safe and stack up in systems, and they simply say, we


cannot tell you. Because the tests they've done belong to the companies


they've done the tests for. So you ask the company, then? That's what


we're doing now. With putting pressure through councils, housing


associations... But do they not just send you the results? Will they? I'm


happy -- I'm acting on the basis of this new story tonight and I expect


companies will be rushing to tell the Government, here, have access to


all our data! But you find it slow and a bit lethargic. Try to find


somebody who has had access to them. There is a worry that the testing


system, rather than as a way of stopping unsafe things, has become a


system for, well, let's see if there's a way we can get this to


pass. Is that your one? My worry is that the public will never have


faith in what is done unless it is done in a transparent way. If we


want people to feel safe in a tower block we have to convince them that


all the information is out of the public domain, and for me as a


council leader and representative of a council, that's what's important.


I'm not looking for somebody to blame. I'm looking for somebody to


reassure the public that it is safe to be in those buildings. Presumably


the Government could instruct the lads, you will tell us what the


results are of the tests you have had done. -- the laboratories. But


they are not part of the Government. Well, emergency law... You would


need to talk to a lawyer! I don't know what would be needed. It is not


just the cladding, it is the installation. We argued from the


start that the installation is almost certainly going to be a


contributory factor in some instances. Not at all, because there


are some Willie could types out there, but there are some that like


fire. -- there are some very good types. It needs to cover the whole


of that system. I used to be a bricklayer and I think all buildings


should be clad in bricks and not any other material, but that is just a


personal interest! Thank you very much.


If you weren't worried about enough things already,


here's another one - consumer credit.


For all the lessons of the financial crash that started ten


years ago this summer, the Western world has


not really found a way to stimulate spending,


activity and growth without letting debt grow.


In the 2000s, it was US sub-prime mortgages that


kicked off the crisis, but it is unmortaged


credit here that is now the immediate concern.


They've supported spending and perhaps given a rather


flattering impression of our economic performance.


Unfortunately, consumer credit has been growing much faster


than consumer incomes, and that can't go on forever.


Our business editor Helen Thomas has been looking at the data.


# Oh, the credit card blues sure will get you down


Loans, leases, leverage - call it what you want,


the UK is amassing more of it, and that raises questions


The Bank of England is keeping an eye on lending to Britain's


What seems to be happening is that lenders are willing to make credit


cheaper and expand the supply of it into new areas, and that's why it's


an amber warning light for us, because our job is to make sure that


lenders are safe and the main risk to the wider economy here actually


come through the lenders rather than the borrowers.


The regulator has told banks to hold more capital,


It will also stress-test potential losses.


This is British households' debt relative to their income.


It rose before the financial crisis, fell sharply, and now it's


That includes mortgages, though, which have been pretty steady.


The problem is consumer lending, here in red.


That rose by about 10% over the last year, much faster


Credit card debt is growing quickly, here in yellow,


but the real eye-catcher, this blue line, car finance,


has been growing at over 15% a year since 2013.


The reason for that is a fundamental change in how we are


Well, we're not really buying them at all.


It's boosted business here, a busy showroom owned by Pendragon,


A whole generation of people has been brought up with a different


mentality, and so if you look at a device like that, you know,


my kids would think it very strange that you would go


What they're looking forward to is the end of the contract


and when they can refresh it with the latest model.


Well, why would it be any different in cars?


Four out of five new cars are now financed with something called


That means a monthly payment for two or four years,


then you upgrade to the latest model or pay a pre-agreed lump


Making a decision to buy a car is now a smaller decision


psychologically because people are committing to make smaller


payments for a shorter term, and whereas historically somebody


would think about spending ?15,000, now they're probably thinking


about making payments of ?240, ?250, and then doing the same thing


again potentially two or three years later but getting a fresh car


But people actually tend to keep paying their car loans.


They need their cars to get to work or to get the kids to school.


A slump in used-car values could mean losses for lenders.


But the Central Bank thinks even a 30% drop would only mean


But cars aren't all we've been shopping for.


With longer and longer interest-free periods,


personal loans have been getting cheaper and cheaper.


Overall, credit has been more easily available as companies


What does this build-up mean for the banking system,


the financial stability, and what about the UK economy?


Would a slowdown in debt-fuelled spending mean hazards ahead?


Jim Ballantyne used credit cards to start a business but his debts


mounted after a serious accident left him unable to work.


He's now tackling that with the help of the money advice service.


I wish I could explain better what I haven't dealt with it sooner.


When I contacted the debt change charity,


they went through a budget for me and told me what I already knew,


which was that it was unsustainable and there was absolutely no way


I could pay these debts, and that I should write to these people,


and gave me a form letter to do so, and yet it's taken me three or four


months actually to get around to doing that.


I think burying your head in the sand is very common.


More consumers are only paying the minimum balances on their credit


cards and the Bank of England last week reported to signs that default


If you look back over the last few years, it's very typical for lottery


If you look back over the last few years, it's very


on consumer debt to be more than ten times those


on mortgage lending, and that's why banks


and their exposure to consumer debt generally are a key driver


of how strong they are, how resilient they are.


As we've seen so many times in the past, lending standards


in this market can go from the seemingly fairly


responsible to pretty reckless fairly quickly,


and that's why after a period of rapid growth, we're taking action


to make sure this market evolves in a sustainable and prudent way.


Is this house of cards already teetering?


Losses on consumer credit mount when unemployment rises.


It still at multi-decade lows for now.


But tighter credit is only one pressure on households.


Real wages are falling, saving rates are at record lows.


Consumer spending, the powerhouse of the economy,


They'll keep sending them cards till you get into so much


Robert Kelly, better known as R Kelly, is undisputed as one


of the most important R singers ever.


He's sold tens of millions of albums, he's been at the top


of the music industry for three decades.


His most pop-y and familiar track, I Believe I Can Fly,


# I believe I can touch the sky... #


He's written for Michael Jackson, collaborated with Jay-Z,


played professional basketball and been a hero to many fans.


# I see me running through that open door.


But his image has been more than a little tainted by persistent


allegations of sexual predation of underage girls.


The weird story of his annulled marriage in the '90s


to the singer Aaliyah - she was 14; the lawsuits


against him by women who say they had underage sex.


In the 2000s, he was charged with videotaping sexual acts


And then yesterday, Buzzfeed's Jim DeRogatis alleged


that he is keeping six women in a kind of abusive cult,


He denies he has abused women, or had underage sex.


Whatever the truth of the allegations, it's perhaps


remarkable that his career has progressed as


I'm joined by Jim DeRogatis and freelance journalist


Jim, let me start with you. Take us through these allegations. One of


the women today said she is fine and isn't being held against her will,


nothing to worry about. Yes, her parents say she is brainwashed, that


is their work, and the victim of a cult, our world, and Buzzfeed's


report, which I worked on for nine months, has two sets of parents and


three women who bravely spoke on the record, two who were involved in


sexual relationships with Kelly and one of whom worked as his personal


assistant and saw this behaviour for a long time. They say that these


women are mentally and physically abused. They are told when they can


eat, went to sleep, when two bays, that they must not before entering


or leaving any room, and to turn and face the wall if any male friends


are present and how to sexually pleasure him in encounters that he


records and their cellphones are taken away, they are separated from


friends and family and given a new cellphone that is only used to


communicate with him or with his permission. Extraordinary situation


you are describing. Take us through the allegations. There is a lot of


history here. Take us through some of the allegations because you have


worked on them in the past as well. I broke the story in 2000 of him


consistently abusing his position of wealth and fame to pursue illegal


sexual Asian ships with -- illegal sexual relationships with underage


girls. In a video prosecutors alleged showed him having sex with


and you're in aiding in the mouth of a 14-year-old girl, it came to me at


Chicago Sun Times and he was indicted for making child


pornography, it took six and a half years to go to trial and he was


acquitted by a jury of his peers. I believe this is classic rape


culture. The victim, the young girl on the tape, her mother and father


never testified. The jury heard from 36 other witnesses, friends,


basketball coach, teachers, who testified that it was the girl and


that was her age, and she was acquitted. There have been numerous


civil law suit filed that said that either Kelly had illegal sexual


relations with them when they were underage or he video taped


encounters without their knowledge. Important to say that he has denied


the allegations. He has paid large cash settlements to the women who


have sued him. You went to his school, Jamie, and you saw the cult


of personality that at least gave a kind of power that he had over


people. I did. I was a freshman at the academy when I first saw R


Kelly. He would come to visit teachers, the music department's


various teachers and we would always see him leaving with a girl. And I


think it was one of the worst kept secrets. We didn't think much of it.


While ready knew that he had a fondness for young girls. I don't


want to presume his guilt here but obviously girls have said that they


had underage sex with him. What reaction is there when people come


forward and say that? Do people blame the girls or the man? There is


a tendency to blame the girls. When I read about this in 2013, we were


taught that it is usually on the young girl to steer clear of the


predator. If she puts herself in the line of danger then it is on her, if


horrible consequences befall. It's so ingrained in us that we don't


really, we don't really interrogate it. So when the story broke in 2000,


you know, a lot of us were reading the Times back then thinking,


finally, someone is bringing this to light because no one ever talks


about it. Some would say that there is a race elements to this, that


society asks fewer questions about the welfare of black girls than


white girls. Is there anything in that or is it pure celebrity


culture, people think that celebrities are celebrities? There


are a lot of things, including the fact that these girls are


African-American. I think there is a Georgetown... There is like, it was


recently found that black girls are seen as older compared to white


girls and are less vulnerable. That, coupled with R Kelly's hometown hero


status sort of made it easier for him may be to take advantage of


these girls. Jim, can I ask, in some ways, I don't want to presume guilt,


I want to be open-minded, but some would say that it is amazing that


someone with so much said about him doesn't have a tiny brand. -- a


tarnished brand. In the UK there is a lot of concern about these issues


right now. And I think there is in the US as well, with someone like


Bill Cosby and you have spoken about Jimmy Savile. I'm mystified about


this. It is hard to walk far in the music amenities in Chicago on the


west and south sides and now in Atlanta and not find young women who


have been damaged by their associations with Kelly, allegedly.


There is a 25 year Trail of lawsuits, the Aaliyah marriage, the


trial for child pawn and the video tape is a horrifying documentary of


a rape, I believe, and now these parents want their daughters home.


Thank you both very much indeed. We will leave you with the work of


National Geographic, capturing a hummingbird drinking in a wind


tunnel, the work of Anand Varma. # Oh my hopeless wonder music Mac


you can't come in # You can't come in


# You don't live here any more # Creepy conjurer...


That evening, some southern areas have seen quite a few thunderstorms


going through this evening and they will continue tonight and into


tomorrow, drifting erratically over northern England, Scotland and some


in Northern


Download Subtitles