15/03/2018 Newsnight


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15/03/2018

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


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Russia's most famous dissident

tells me he believes Putin

0:00:050:00:08

himself has lost control

of the Russian state.

0:00:080:00:13

TRANSLATION:

Today,

in my opinion, this inner circle

0:00:130:00:17

within the criminal gang has learned

how to manipulate Putin

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quite effectively.

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And we've seen this

demonstrated a number of times.

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Meanwhile, Russia's defence agency

accuses the government

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here of intellectually impotency

and calls the defence

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minister a vulgar old harpy.

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They were responding to this:

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Russia should go away -

it should shut up.

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Jeremy Corbyn seems to have

been more cautious.

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Was he right to be?

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Or does he risk

isolating his own party?

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Also tonight, seven years to the day

since the Syrian uprising began,

0:00:470:00:50

thousands flee Eastern Ghouta.

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We speak to one who's remained.

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And a post-Joy Luck Club Amy Tan

talks to Stephen Smith.

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I had to find something

as a distraction but also I had

0:00:590:01:03

to find beauty in the world.

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I had to be able to see it.

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Good evening.

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The Russians tend not

to mince their words.

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Having accused the Defence Secretary

of intellectual impotence,

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the Russian Ministry of Defence

described Great Britain

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as "the headquarters for fake

scandal", and called Russia's

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accusers "completely insignificant".

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Presumably including

the Prime Minister herself.

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Russia's Foreign Minister,

Sergei Lavrov, then called her

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accusations crazy, and suggested

the British government

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was probably keen to deflect

attention from its troubles

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over Brexit.

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May's European allies, however,

have rallied to the cause.

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Tonight, we have an exclusive

interview with an oligarch in exodus

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- once Russia's richest man,

and once a convict

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in a Siberian gulag.

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He sees things rather differently

to the government back home.

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First to Mark Urban on the latest

from Salisbury and how

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the West responds now.

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What is your sense of how things are

hotting up diplomatically?

You have

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the war of words you had some of the

quotes from, this remarkable

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statement from the Foreign Minister,

Sergey Lavrov, that it is an attempt

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to deflect from Brexit. You also

have the more formal business that

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has been going on, the contact with

allies, issuing this statement today

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from the UK, France, Germany and the

United States, pretty tough from the

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so-called Quad, it read like it was

drafted from the British. Their

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language, highly likely the Russians

did it, etc, but what we will see

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emerging from this and we will have

further steps from Nato and possibly

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at the European summit next week is

a feeling they have caught the

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Russians between two fires, eye that

you did it or are you allowed

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something you had to be stolen or

used by someone who should not have

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had it. It is a violation of one of

the most important end of Cold War

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treaties, the chemical weapons

Convention, and this is a big moment

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in terms of that wider diplomacy as

well as trying to get to the bottom

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of how the Skripals were poisoned.

What else have we learned about the

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investigation itself?

There was a

meeting tonight with the police and

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health authorities to talk to local

people who were concerned and more

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came out in that. They revealed that

46 people had been to hospital

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complaining of symptoms, all had

been checked but allowed to go home.

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It is only those three, the Skripal

Bubba and Detective Sergeant Bailey

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who are in hospital. I also worked

out, and they must be referring to

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customers in the pub and in the

Zizzi restaurant, is that 131 people

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may have been exposed to the nerve

agent when it was

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agent when it was on the Skripals.

But we don't have much information

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on their condition, they say

critical but stable, but I have been

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told they are in a coma and are on

life support but are there still

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signs of life in those two people?

And do we know anything more about

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where the nerve agent could have

come from?

For some days now we have

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been talking of the importance of

the car and if you trace things

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backwards, they don't, for example,

talk about traces of the nerve agent

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in the home. Some of these theories,

did the door to bring something from

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Moscow, that opened up and

contaminated them, you would have

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expected that in the home. The

police clearly feel the car is

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critical. It was heavily

contaminated from even the tow truck

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that took it away was contaminated.

The feeling is, could somebody had

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got into it between the hours of 1pm

and 1:40pm, this was the police

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appeal a couple of days ago. We

still don't know exactly where it

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was, who could have had access to it

and depending on where it was, can

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they get CCTV coverage that might

show someone getting access to it?

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Thank you very much.

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Last week, Theresa May pointed

the finger at Putin.

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But what if Putin himself

is being controlled?

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It was a theory put to me today

by Russia's most famous dissident.

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Earlier, I sat down

with Michael Khodorkovsky,

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at one time Russia's richest man

as the billionaire owner of Yukos

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oil who spent ten years

in a Siberian gulag under Putin.

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He admitted to me the atmosphere has

dramatically changed now

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for Russians living in London.

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And, in an extraordinary interview,

he alleged that Russia's president

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is now surrounded by criminal gangs

who may now have more

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power than Putin himself.

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I began by asking if he thought

the Russian state was behind

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the poisoning of Sergei Skripal.

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Which do you think it is?

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Just explain to me, do you think the

GRU now has more power potentially

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than Putin?

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So does Putin ultimately control

this gang or not?

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What could the West do now to make

Putin changes actions? Is it

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sanctions? Is it kicking people out,

boycotting the World Cup? Do any of

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those stand a chance of having a

diplomatic impact if, as you say,

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they are dealing with criminals?

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So it is about losing face? So it is

about refusing him access or time on

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the international stage at a G-7 or

G8 or a of leaders?

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Let me ask you bluntly, you have

accused Putin of criminal behaviour,

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do you not fear for your life here?

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It has been said there are more

spies from Russia in London now that

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at the height of the Cold War, do

you believe that?

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What would you call them?

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You have the elections in Russia on

Sunday, what should Russian people

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do when it comes to voting? Do you

think the electorate control the

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outcome?

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What will make Putin feel he is

done?

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This is extraordinary to hear. Your

painting Putin himself as a puppet

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of terminal elements of a gang. --

criminal elements.

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Michael Khodorkovsky, thank you very

much.

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Is the extent of my Russian.

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Did Jeremy Corbyn misread the mood

of his party in the Commons

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yesterday when he refused to point

the finger at Russia?

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Last night, a group of Labour

backbenchers said it unequivocally

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accepts the Russian state's

culpability for the spy poisoning.

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Overnight they were joined

by senior frontbenchers

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who command the defence

and foreign affairs briefs.

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Today, Corbyn clarified,

stressing his condemnation

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of the attack and saying

the evidence pointed towards Russia.

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But he reiterated the need not

to rush ahead of evidence

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in what he refered to as the fevered

atmosphere of Westminster.

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Is he right to go slowly?

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Or is more cross-party solidarity

called for at a time when a foreign

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agent appears to be targeting people

on British soil?

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Here's David Grossman.

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Does Labour have a Russia problem?

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That, at least, is the worry

of a significant number

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of Labour backbenchers.

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That yesterday's Commons

performance from Jeremy Corbyn

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was insufficiently robust,

too willing to criticise

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the British government,

not prepared to lay the blame

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squarely on Russia.

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This is the early day motion then?

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Yeah.

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John Woodcock is a long-term Labour

critic of Mr Corbyn and he's getting

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Labour MPs to sign a Commons motion

to signal support for

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the government response.

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What I think the public can be

reassured on is that the vast

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majority of MPs from all sides

of the house back this approach

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that the government has set out

and we will stand firm together

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against the threat

that Russia poses.

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Why do you think your leader has

a problem being as clear

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as you would like him

to be, it appears?

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I don't know and I'm sure

he will come on to Newsnight

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to tell you why himself,

or maybe his spokesman will.

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There is obviously, around Jeremy,

for many years, been people who have

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had strong links to former

Soviet Russia and

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the current regime.

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It might seem strange that such

admiration of Russia from sections

0:14:150:14:19

of the British left should survive

the fall of communism.

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Not so, says this historian.

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I think you need to see

that their view for many years

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was that because the Soviet Union

was socialist, as they were,

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the Soviets were essentially

their allies against the capitalist

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West, particularly America.

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That was the view that

existed right the way

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through until the fall of communism.

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But that pervading dislike,

hatred even, of the capitalist West,

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of America, of Nato,

has stayed with the British left.

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And as it's stayed with the British

left, they've actually looked

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to some of those nations like Russia

as potential allies.

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So, although the Russian system has

actually has morphed

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into mega capitalism,

or whatever you might

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like to describe it,

in point of fact, they still see

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Russia as a potential ally

against the number one enemy.

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Which is?

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Which is America.

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Which is the capitalist West.

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Which is Nato.

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Good on you, Jeremy.

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You're the only one

who's speaking sense.

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Thanks, mate.

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Thank you.

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Jeremy Corbyn himself

was in Carlisle today.

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He denies he's been

unclear or equivocal

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on the Salisbury attack.

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But he did today use a much

stronger form of words.

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The evidence points towards Russia

on this, therefore,

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the responsibility must be brought

by those that made the weapon,

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those that brought the weapon

into the country and those that

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used the weapon.

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What I was asking was questions,

questions about the identity

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of the weapon, questions

about the reference to the weapons

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Convention, and also the support

of other allies in this.

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Those are the questions

I was asking.

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That's what oppositions

are there for.

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Shadow Cabinet allies of Mr Corbyn

told me that it's absolutely not

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the case that Labour is in any way

blind to the sinister character

0:16:050:16:09

of the Russian government.

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I think it's important that people

take me at my word on this.

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I am no friend of Mr Putin.

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His human rights record,

his autocracy, his kleptocracy.

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But nonetheless, we have learnt

in this country in recent years

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the importance of complying

with international law.

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And do you think Mr Corbyn may have,

in hindsight, have phrased himself

0:16:320:16:35

differently yesterday?

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Do you think that might have helped?

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I think that Jeremy Corbyn is

with me on this, and I am with him.

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Getting professional advice

on how to clean up a mess?

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It's not clear that a single member

of the public queueing for selfies

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with Mr Corbyn today had any

concerns about his stance on Russia.

0:16:550:16:58

Among his MPs back at Westminster,

it is another story and one that may

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yet have consequences.

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That was David Grossman.

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I am now joined by Ayesha Hazarika.

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She is a writer, commentator

and broadcaster who has previously

0:17:140:17:16

been a special advisor to both

Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband.

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Also joining us, Chris Williamson.

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He's a cheerleader for the Corbyn

leadership who won back his

0:17:200:17:23

Derby North seat in 2017

after losing it at the 2015

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general election.

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He said his campaign in Derby North

was "a shining example of how Labour

0:17:270:17:30

can win broad support in marginal

constituencies whilst maintaining

0:17:300:17:33

socialist principles to its core".

0:17:330:17:36

A long introduction but it gives you

a bit of hinterland. I'm going to

0:17:360:17:41

start with you, Chris. Jeremy Corbyn

seems to have firmed up his response

0:17:410:17:44

today. I wonder if you think he

sensed he got the mood wrong in the

0:17:440:17:50

Commons yesterday.

No, the

Conservative backbenchers were

0:17:500:17:55

indulging in bellicose rhetoric that

was unhelpful and Jeremy was clear

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and statesman-like in what he said.

Clearly, it looks like the evidence

0:17:580:18:02

points to Russia and he made that

clear. Before we leap into action we

0:18:020:18:06

need to make sure, it seems to me,

that we do get the facts right. We

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know the kind of crony capitalism in

Russia and the kind of oligarch...

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The difference is he wasn't

unequivocal and his front bench

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were, we heard from Neil Griffiths

and Emily Thornberry who were in

0:18:190:18:23

stark contrast to him, very clear

that they should be aligned with the

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government on this and they had no

hesitation...

Jeremy has been on the

0:18:270:18:32

right side of history for the last

35 years, on the right side of

0:18:320:18:36

history on Libya, Afghanistan and in

relation to Iraq.

Which side of

0:18:360:18:40

history is he on now? Is he on the

Russian side of history?

It's not

0:18:400:18:46

about being nice to Russia, it's

about taking a statesman-like

0:18:460:18:49

approach and making sure we get our

ducks in a row and get our facts

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straight. It looks pretty clear that

this nerve agent came from Russia.

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What isn't clear is whether the

Russian state was involved, or

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indeed some Mafi McCallum Dynavolt.

The Soviet Union comprised a number

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of different countries...

That's

exactly what the Prime Minister was

0:19:060:19:10

saying -- or indeed some

0:19:100:19:19

saying -- or indeed some Mafi --

Mafia faction.

All parties have

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dissidents from time to time but

they are irrelevant and not in

0:19:260:19:29

keeping with the vast majority of

the British public and Labour Party

0:19:290:19:32

members.

His point was the

opposition ask questions and he is

0:19:320:19:37

the opposition and he did it in a

moderate tone.

I think he misjudged

0:19:370:19:40

the tone in the Commons and I think

he has sort of acknowledged that by

0:19:400:19:45

his clarifying article in the

Guardian today which I think is the

0:19:450:19:47

right thing to have done. Because

people were not completely clear

0:19:470:19:53

about what he was saying. And

actually, some very, very senior

0:19:530:19:57

members of the Shadow Cabinet who

are great supporters of Jeremy

0:19:570:20:01

Corbyn, have privately said to me,

they just wished that in that moment

0:20:010:20:05

he had been completely crystal clear

about the condemnation.

What was

0:20:050:20:10

holding him back do you think?

I

don't know. I think possibly, as

0:20:100:20:19

Chris alluded to, he wants to tread

cautiously. Make no mistake, there

0:20:190:20:23

is nothing ignoble about proceeding

with a cool head but nobody is

0:20:230:20:28

suggesting a sort of rushed to war

or anything. But in this

0:20:280:20:33

situation... I don't know if that's

entirely fair. But in this situation

0:20:330:20:38

it's a big moment. You have two

people who have had an attempted

0:20:380:20:41

assassination and a police officer

injured, imagine if the nerve agent

0:20:410:20:45

had gone off in the London Tube.

What did you want from?

It was a

0:20:450:20:51

real moment, he's made fantastic

progress on domestic issues but on

0:20:510:20:54

the international question come on

security which is a concern to a lot

0:20:540:20:57

of people, I wanted him to rise to

the location and send a message he

0:20:570:21:02

took this seriously and it wasn't a

time for party politics, it was a

0:21:020:21:05

time for the national interest.

The

perception David Grossman raised in

0:21:050:21:11

the film was that there was a grip

on the left who had this undying

0:21:110:21:14

affection for all things Russian

that seem not to have moved on from

0:21:140:21:17

Soviet Russia to Putin be oligarch,

the kleptocracy, the modern Russia

0:21:170:21:25

that we know now.

In relation to

judging the mood of the

0:21:250:21:31

parliament...

Just answer that one.

I will come onto that the Jeremy

0:21:310:21:35

judged the mood of the nation,

that's the important thing.

0:21:350:21:38

Parliament gets things wrong and

they got things wrong on Iraq and

0:21:380:21:42

Libya.

And on Syria, you could

argue.

I've debated with him, the

0:21:420:21:49

guy is obsessed and it is utter

nonsense. Jeremy and the left...

You

0:21:490:21:55

think he is obsessed with saying

that the left has an affection for

0:21:550:21:59

Russia? So there is no affection

amongst...

Jeremy, John MacDonald,

0:21:590:22:04

the Labour Party has been calling

for action against the oligarchy,

0:22:040:22:07

the dirty money in this country,

against money-laundering. We called

0:22:070:22:12

for a version of the Magnitsky Act.

If we are serious about dealing with

0:22:120:22:18

this kind of crony capitalism,

dealing with the Mafia state, why is

0:22:180:22:24

it this government voted down

attempts to bring in that

0:22:240:22:27

legislation? Why is it they are in

hock to Russian oligarchs? They are

0:22:270:22:32

accepting millions of pounds from

these characters.

There is a lot in

0:22:320:22:37

that and definitely starving the

cache is an important part of this.

0:22:370:22:41

We have been calling for that for a

long time.

We need to take a step

0:22:410:22:46

back and where I disagree with Chris

is this has come through to people,

0:22:460:22:50

I was speaking to people not in our

political bubble and they are

0:22:500:22:53

worried about this and there are now

potentially 14 other deaths that are

0:22:530:22:56

being investigated as having links

to the Kremlin. This is a very, very

0:22:560:23:02

serious situation. Shami Chakrabarti

is right. We are a party that is

0:23:020:23:07

internationalist in our approach, we

believe in human rights,

0:23:070:23:10

international law and processes and

you can't just have another country

0:23:100:23:13

going around assassinating people on

your soil without any consequences.

0:23:130:23:18

Is that still... This is one area

Jeremy Corbyn has properly stuck to

0:23:180:23:23

his arms and his guts and it's a

very different position to...

I wish

0:23:230:23:31

I had... And in some ways I admire

your moral certainty about Jeremy

0:23:310:23:35

being on the right side of

everything. These conflicts and

0:23:350:23:39

geopolitics is really difficult.

There aren't any glib right and

0:23:390:23:44

wrong easy solutions in all of this

and I think right now you have a

0:23:440:23:48

tiger by the tail and nobody knows

how to handle Putin. He is a thug

0:23:480:23:52

writ large across the world. Look at

Ukraine, him propping up Assad in

0:23:520:23:58

Syria, this isn't a person we want

to be associated with.

And

0:23:580:24:03

Venezuela.

As the opposition we need

to show responsibility and

0:24:030:24:08

solidarity for the national interest

and not just party interest.

That's

0:24:080:24:12

what Jeremy did and it's not just

about going along with the crowd.

I

0:24:120:24:16

think he missed the moment, the

initial moment.

I disagree.

Thank

0:24:160:24:20

you for joining us. Thousands of

civilians have fled the Syrian town

0:24:200:24:28

of Hammouriyeh and its surrounding

areas in the rebel enclave of

0:24:280:24:31

eastern Ghouta.

0:24:310:24:34

The Observatory for Human Rights -

a watchdog based in Britain -

0:24:340:24:36

called it the biggest exodus

of displaced people since the regime

0:24:360:24:38

launched an offensive

on the enclave a month ago.

0:24:380:24:41

Today marks seven years

since the uprising in Syria

0:24:410:24:43

began when activists -

once optimistic of change -

0:24:430:24:45

called for a Day of Rage.

0:24:450:24:46

Seven years that have transformed

and wrecked a country.

0:24:460:24:48

Seven years that have killed more

of its people than may

0:24:480:24:51

ever be fully counted.

0:24:510:24:54

Allahu akbar.

0:25:340:25:35

Allahu akbar.

0:26:080:26:11

Looking at the history of the war in

years.

0:26:560:26:59

Joining me now is Ahmad Khanshour,

a father and activist

0:26:590:27:01

based in Eastern Ghouta.

0:27:010:27:02

Thank you for joining us. You were

one of the original activists who

0:27:020:27:08

decided to take on that March seven

years ago. Cast your mind back and

0:27:080:27:13

tell us what you believe they would

achieve there.

Good evening, Emily.

0:27:130:27:23

Well, that video brought a lot of

memories to me and a lot of emotion.

0:27:230:27:26

In fact, it has been a tough seven

years. It was the toughest but

0:27:260:27:32

despite all the violence we still

have hope. We still keep faith and

0:27:320:27:39

personally I never believed more in

my right as a human being for

0:27:390:27:43

freedom and democracy. I surely

remember seven years ago I couldn't

0:27:430:27:49

do it, by the way on the 15th, I did

it on the 18th because I was away

0:27:490:27:53

from my city. Per day when I hugged

my first friend who was shot by

0:27:530:28:06

Bashar Al-Assad's security services.

That day I was determined that I

0:28:060:28:11

shall

0:28:110:28:16

shall rise up and fight for my

rights.

You and your family were

0:28:160:28:20

caught up after that in the sarin

attack of 2013.

Exactly. It has many

0:28:200:28:30

milestones in our journey towards

where we are right now. I live in

0:28:300:28:35

Eastern Ghouta. I have always loved

Eastern Ghouta, as I love my country

0:28:350:28:41

Syria, as you love your country,

Emily. We were caught in the middle

0:28:410:28:49

of the brutal siege since the

beginning of 2013. We have been

0:28:490:28:55

caught in the sarin attacks, which

killed over 1200 people. 1200

0:28:550:29:02

people, can you believe it, in the

21st-century, were killed because of

0:29:020:29:08

sarin gas in Syria? Me, myself, my

family, were among the people who

0:29:080:29:16

suffered, wounded because of that

attack. Many were lucky that they

0:29:160:29:20

died. Many milestones.

Did you think

that would be the end of the war?

0:29:200:29:28

Did you think that would be the

turning point?

Exactly, exactly. I

0:29:280:29:35

thought the first time I held

somebody who was shot by the Assad

0:29:350:29:39

regime I thought that's it, nobody

will allow this maniac to keep on

0:29:390:29:43

killing innocent people just because

they asked for some freedom. But

0:29:430:29:49

nobody even cared. When the siege

was very tight amongst us we had to

0:29:490:29:57

eat the grass is from the land and

the ground. I thought, that's it.

0:29:570:30:07

Many of the world leaders drew red

lines that if a -- Assad stepped on

0:30:070:30:15

them they would be changed and he

stepped on many of them and stepped

0:30:150:30:18

on many words and nobody did

anything.

Let me just ask you, many

0:30:180:30:26

have left Eastern Ghouta now. You

have chosen to remain. Why?

I will

0:30:260:30:33

remain. Do you remember your first

car, do you remember the first time

0:30:330:30:40

you redecorated your home? Why

should I leave it? Why should I put

0:30:400:30:47

myself in a situation that I have to

be killed under bombardment or leave

0:30:470:30:51

my country and never come back? I've

seen people that have left their

0:30:510:31:00

cities everywhere. They were

unfortunately in displacement and

0:31:000:31:09

many other cities. If I leave now I

know I will never come back. There

0:31:090:31:14

is too much love I have for this

country, for this city.

Ahmad

0:31:140:31:19

Khanshour, thank you for talking to

us.

0:31:190:31:22

No one who witnessed those first

pictures of the Grenfell fire can

0:31:220:31:25

forget watching how quickly those

flames took hold.

0:31:250:31:27

Today, investigators revealed that

fire doors tested from the tower

0:31:270:31:30

could only hold back flames for half

the time they were supposed to.

0:31:300:31:33

Experts took an undamaged door

from the block and discovered it

0:31:330:31:36

could withstand a blaze for merely

15 minutes - not the 30 promised.

0:31:360:31:39

Today the Housing Secretary,

Sajid Javid, confirmed

0:31:390:31:41

the Government would carry out

further tests but said

0:31:410:31:43

there was no evidence that this

was a systemic issue.

0:31:430:31:46

Chris Cook, who led

the investigation for Newsnight

0:31:460:31:47

into the cladding on Grenfell,

is here now to explain more.

0:31:470:31:54

Tell us what you make of the

significance of what they found

0:31:550:31:57

today.

It is a very small binding,

about one door they have taken from

0:31:570:32:05

Grenfell. They are testing other

doors of the same design. When you

0:32:050:32:11

put up a big building, you have to

install component of a certain

0:32:110:32:15

amount of fire resistant but the

problem with this one is that it was

0:32:150:32:19

sold as a 30 minute door and it is

only a 15 minute door and if more of

0:32:190:32:24

the doors that were similarly under

resistant it can explain why the

0:32:240:32:28

fire could move so quickly.

What

broader questions does it raise?

If

0:32:280:32:35

I were selling a new fire door I

would have to get the design mocked

0:32:350:32:39

up, take a prototype to the lab and

get it tested and make sure that

0:32:390:32:44

what I sold in the shops was the

same as the prototype I had tested.

0:32:440:32:49

This rates question about whether

the testing process and the

0:32:490:32:52

certification process of the blood

on the market is up to scratch in

0:32:520:32:55

England. -- of the goods on the

market.

Thank you.

0:32:550:33:01

The Chinese-American writer Amy Tan

has brought The Joy Luck Club

0:33:010:33:04

to millions of readers

around the world.

0:33:040:33:05

Now she's turned her hand

to a memoir, Where The Past Begins,

0:33:050:33:08

which tells the stories of the women

who inspired her fiction, including

0:33:080:33:11

her own mother and grandmother.

0:33:110:33:12

It makes for often

uncomfortable reading -

0:33:120:33:14

forced marriages, abandoned

children, and mental illness,

0:33:140:33:16

as well as her own experience

of sexual assault.

0:33:160:33:18

She spoke to Stephen Smith.

0:33:180:33:24

The stories of my

grandmother keep shifting.

0:33:280:33:31

She became a widow and then she was

forced to become a concubine.

0:33:310:33:39

The man got into the bed,

put a knife to her throat

0:33:390:33:42

and said, "I will kill

you if you do not submit."

0:33:420:33:47

Some say that he put a knife

to his own throat and said,

0:33:470:33:50

"I will kill myself

if you don't marry me."

0:33:500:33:56

She got the best room in that house.

0:33:560:33:58

She was the most powerful.

0:33:580:34:02

And this is rather odd

because she became the fourth

0:34:020:34:04

wife, the oldest wife.

0:34:040:34:11

In her memoir, Amy Tan is telling

the stories of the Chinese women

0:34:140:34:18

who have inspired her bestselling

novels, women like her own

0:34:180:34:20

grandmother and her mother.

0:34:200:34:26

Her first husband was an abusive man

and she tried to leave that marriage

0:34:260:34:30

for a very long time.

0:34:300:34:32

It was 1949 when she

decided to leave.

0:34:320:34:37

China was on the cusp of becoming

a Communist country and literally

0:34:370:34:40

on the last boat leaving Shanghai

to Hong Kong she was

0:34:400:34:43

able to find a ticket.

0:34:430:34:48

She was not able to take her

daughters so these three daughters

0:34:480:34:51

she had by the first marriage

were left behind.

0:34:510:34:59

That harrowing experience

inspired a storyline in one

0:35:000:35:02

of Tan's best-known books,

The Joy Luck Club,

0:35:020:35:04

which was adapted into a film.

0:35:040:35:12

Some people say, oh,

what if your mother had

0:35:120:35:14

been a happy person,

not a depressed person?

0:35:140:35:16

What if my father and

brother hadn't died?

0:35:160:35:21

I wouldn't want to have those

as training ground for becoming

0:35:210:35:24

a writer but I think that trauma

forces a person to question life,

0:35:240:35:27

to look at why these things happen

and continually try to piece

0:35:270:35:30

together a narrative that

explains life to oneself.

0:35:300:35:38

Amy Tan's mother remarried

in the States and had a second

0:35:400:35:44

family, including Amy herself.

0:35:440:35:48

But her mother's past

and her volatile emotions

0:35:480:35:50

were a feature of family life.

0:35:500:35:53

I came home one day and she had

a cleaver and she backed me

0:35:530:35:56

into the bedroom and against a wall.

0:35:560:36:00

And she had a crazy look

in her eye she said,

0:36:000:36:06

"I'm going to kill you and then John

- my little brother -

0:36:060:36:10

and then I'm going to kill myself."

0:36:100:36:13

I said, "Do it, just do it."

0:36:130:36:19

I mean we were all a little crazy.

0:36:190:36:23

And I remember that this

was going to be the end

0:36:230:36:25

of my life and it was so sad.

0:36:250:36:28

And then a voice came out of me that

said I want to live.

0:36:280:36:35

Amy Tan's father was a minister

and she says that as a girl

0:36:350:36:38

she suffered sexual abuse

at the hands of a man

0:36:380:36:40

from his church.

0:36:400:36:43

This man came to my house

to counsel me because I had been

0:36:440:36:48

caught reading Catcher

in the Rye by Salinger.

0:36:480:36:52

We were in my parents' bedroom

and he said that I was causing

0:36:520:36:55

more pain to my father,

who was dying of a brain tumour,

0:36:550:36:58

than the tumour was causing him.

0:36:580:37:02

And I began to cry.

0:37:020:37:07

And after a while he said,

"Don't cry", and he started

0:37:070:37:10

to tickle me and I was breathless

because it was so uncomfortable.

0:37:100:37:16

And he molested me and I came out

of that room a different girl.

0:37:160:37:22

That made me realise that we do have

to talk about these,

0:37:220:37:25

they are so common.

0:37:250:37:29

Every single woman I know

has gone through this.

0:37:290:37:31

Raped at age eight.

0:37:310:37:34

I was molested at age 15.

0:37:340:37:40

And these things are

with you for life.

0:37:400:37:47

When she's not writing,

Tan likes to draw.

0:37:470:37:50

A distraction and a solace,

she says, in times of political

0:37:500:37:52

uncertainty and animosity.

0:37:520:37:59

After the election I had to find

something as a distraction but also

0:37:590:38:02

I had to find beauty in the world.

0:38:020:38:09

I had to be able to see it

and really focus on it.

0:38:090:38:13

I spoke a lot about my fears.

0:38:130:38:15

These people in social media

would say things like,

0:38:150:38:17

if you don't like it,

go back to China.

0:38:170:38:22

You know, what right do you have

to express your opinion?

0:38:220:38:24

I didn't come to this page to hear

what you have to say.

0:38:240:38:28

And I thought, this is really funny,

this is my Facebook page.

0:38:280:38:31

If you don't like it,

you do have the right to leave.

0:38:310:38:39

Amy Tan speaking.

0:38:530:38:54

Well, that's all for this evening.

0:38:540:38:57

But before we go, there's

a case that, when Barack

0:38:570:39:00

and Michelle Obama did it in 2008,

it broke out from being simply

0:39:000:39:03

the greeting of rappers

and basketball players.

0:39:030:39:06

But we think historians will look

back upon today as the pivotal

0:39:060:39:09

moment at which the fist bump

went truly mainstream.

0:39:090:39:11

Good night.

0:39:110:39:14

HIP HOP MUSIC.

0:39:170:39:25