tv Amanpour on PBS PBS March 14, 2018 6:00am-6:31am PDT
welcome to "amanpour" on pbs. tonight, a dramatic shake-up as president trump fires secretary of state rex tillerson. the former assistant secretary of state victoria nuland joins us for what this all means. plus, a deadline looms for russia to explain itself over the poisoning of a former spy in the uk. and i'm joined by the former british ambassador to moscow, sir tony brenton. also ahead, on the fifth anniversary of the pope's reign, the first priest who's trying to build bridges between the catholic church and the lgbt community. my conversation with father james martin.
>> announcer: "amanpour" on pbs was made possible by the generous support of rosalynn p. walter. good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. i'm christiane amanpour in london. major changes today for the trump national security team. secretary of state rex tillerson is out, and cia director mike pompeo is taking his place, here's the announcement from president trump this morning. >> i've worked with mike pompeo for quite some time, tremendous energy and intellect. we're always on the same wavelength. the relationship has been very good. that's what i need out of a secretary of state. i wish rex tillerson well. >> as fortillerson, he announced he'll leave the post at midnight, march 31st. in an emotional statement this
afternoon. >> at the end of the day i'm delegating all responsibilities of the office of secretary to secretary of state -- my commission will terminate midnight march 31st. >> this as the white house frantically tries to prepare for a critical summit with north korean president kim jong-un. meanwhile, a new crisis is brewing in england over the poisoning there of a former russian spy. and we'll have more on that story in a moment. but first, to my guest victoria nuland. she helped run the state department under president obama as assistant secretary for european and eur-asian affairs. she was the point person, and she's the ceo of the center for new american security. joining us from california. victoria nuland, welcome. and i guess, first off, are you surprised, and how do you think this change of personnel will shape american foreign policy going forward? >> great to be with you,
christiane. i have to say, i think this diplomatic shake-up is really important for the united states. rex tillerson had failed on virtually every measure one has for a secretary of state. he had no relationship with the president, and therefore no ability to influence his thinking. there's no evidence that he was out there in the world creating coalitions of common action to solve our toughest problems, whether it was syria or north korea, afghanistan or anything else. it was impossible to see what he was doing. and equally importantly, he managed to alienate, or drive off most of the senior talent in his department. so it was important that we have a change. there was real concern out there in the world that america was evaporating on the diplomatic stage. >> well, that is an extremely clear failing grade from you as a former assistant secretary of state. but how do you account for the following? the rest of the world leaders actually looked at rex tillerson
as one of the tillers that kept the ship of state in the trump administration, along with general mattis and mcmaster, at least from tipping over and capsizing. that's one thing. secondly, he really did believe in the iran deal, in diplomacy with north korea. despite the failings you enumerate, do you think those qualities are at risk right now? or will pompeo can't persuade the president. and if he can't work with the president to create solutions that our allies and partners also can get behind, and that are good for america. so to have tillerson out there on an island virtue signaling was not actually helping america play a strong game out there in the world and advancing peace and stability.
obviously what we know about mike pompeo is that the president trumps him, that they've established a good relationship. i would say also that director pompeo has been very clear about some of the things that are important, including the role that russia played in trying to manipulate the u.s. election in 2016, and that they remain a concern and a problem on those issues and others. with regard to the iran deal, what's important now is to have a secretary of state who can go out and talk to the allies and partners who helped us to craft the iran de, and talk about the concerns that the president has about the gaps and the need to extend it, and see if we can come up with a common way forward that allows us to preserve the best of the deal and address the other problems that we have with iran, whether it's on missile proliferation, whether it's on their support of
terrorism, their role in syria. so somebody who was close to the president and can work with him on these issues, but can also speak for him with allies, maybe more effective than rex tillerson was. >> let's go to the russia issue, which you're very, very familiar with. that was your brief when you were assistant secretary. will there not be a clashing immediately, then, between pompeo and the president given what you say, that president -- or that mr. pompeo has acknowledged the interference by the russians, and the president doesn't, doesn't say a bad word or any kind of word of accountability to vladimir putin? >> well, the interesting thing now is that every member of the president's national security cabinet and his national security adviser and director pompeo are concerned about the role russia played and about russia's role going forward. so the question now is whether,
with the kind of trust that pompeo and trump appear to have between them, pompeo can help steer the direction of u.s. approach on this towards looking to the future and get the president to stop equating this issue with his own legitimacy, which is what is preventing a full whole of government u.s. approach to this with our allies. >> let's move on to the north korea negotiations and the frantic preparation that must be going on to prepare for this important summit. i spoke to another state department official who's been on the front lines of negotiations with iran and previously north korea, wendy sherman. to your point, this is what she said about it when it comes to these vital negotiations. >> this is very concerning, and quite frankly all of the posts aren't filled at treasury, or
the pentagon, or energy, or in our intelligence community. all of which will be elements of these -- this negotiation. you have to have a strong interagency system to pull this off. you have to actually have meetings in the situation room to work out all the pieces of the policy. this is an enormous undertaking, literally in the iran negotiation there were hundreds of people in the u.s. government who were engaged, let alone hundreds in everyone else's government who were involved. >> victoria nuland, does that concern you? is there enough time to get that kind of operation up to speed? >> well, again, we had a secretary who didn't seem to be preparing even though he favored talks. now we have a secretary who has -- or we will have a secretary, if mike pompeo is confirmed, who has the president's ear. what's important now is to harness the experience we already have in the career of
foreign service. many american diplomats have worked on past agreements, and know the players very, very well, to create common cause with your own home team. but then to start working on mapping through, as wendy said, the very, very complex issues that will have to be negotiated. but again, you're going to have to have the president's trust if you're going to be effective at helping to shape diplomacy that he now wants to lead. so it's extremely important that we will now have somebody at the state department who can harness our experience, the past american diplomats who've been involved in this to try to help shape this going forward, rather than just ignoring all that talent. >> and just finally, to you, what do you make of president trump saying that gina haspel, the deputy at cia, will take over from mike pompeo,
particularly since she -- everybody knows, was, i believe, directing one of the black sites originally after 9/11 in thailand where there was torture against people like abu -- her name is on the memo that calls for the destruction of some of the taping and the surveillance video of those methods that were employed. even though many in the cia community say she's a good pick for this job. but what about that part of her record? >> well, she's been at the cia for a very long time. she does have the trust of the troops there. i don't know her personally. i'm going to guess that all of the issues that you raise, christiane, will come up in her confirmation hearing, and she'll have a chance to speak about her record as well as where she wants to take the department going forward. >> victoria nuland, thank you so much for joining us on this really important day. thanks a lot. now, as president trump
upends his foreign policy staffing, he's weighing in also on the dramatic poisoning of a former russian spy in england. this is what he said about it. >> teresa may is going to be speaking to me today. it sounds to me like they believe it was russia. i would certainly take that finding as fact. >> so they have now spoken and agreed that russia must give "unambiguous answers" about a military grade nerve agent attack in england, which left the former russian spy sergei skripal and his daughter yulia in critical condition. russia's foreign minister spurned the response. another man who got on the wrong side of russia, nikolai glushkov has been found dead in his home. police do not know the cause of death. there's no connection to the attack the salisbury, a counterterror unit is leading the investigation. sir tony brenton served as
british ambassador to russia when another russian spy was killed, again, in london by radioactive palonium. sir tony, welcome to the program. i guess the first and foremost -- >> thank you. >> what do you make of the death of nikolai glushkov? >> well, the authorities are saying that there's no connection. there are lots of russians living in the uk. and they die from time to time. on the other hand glushkov was linked to berezovsky who was an arch enemy of the russian system. there have to be questions. a bit of background here, there have been quite a lot of deaths of russians who in one way or another are disliked by the regime in the uk over the last decade or so. each of those deaths, of course, has been properly investigated. i was -- the yenko death we know about, and we're dealing with the attack on skripal.
the others, properly investigated, the conclusion was that there was nothing russian-linked to them. there's now pressure, actually, for closer investigation, just in case there are more links that we've missed. i support that pressure, and i rather hope that we'll take a closer look at what's been going on. >> we are going to come back to your assertion that proper investigations were conducted. because there are many who disagree with that. and glushkov himself speaking to the guardian in 2013 said "i don't see anyone left on the list apart from me." now, as you say, this still has to be investigated. but what do you make of president trump seeming to move towards prime minister may's conclusion that russia potentially was involved in the attack on skripal and his daughter? >> that's very good news. just to summarize the situation here, skripal was attacked a week ago with what turned out to be a nerve agent, which is only produced in, and obtainable from russia. so the link was obviously very
close. yesterday in the house of commons teresa may announced that the russians were very likely responsible for this. she set a deadline for the russians to offer answers to the questions we are putting to them about how this all happened. that deadline being midnight tonight uk time. if it turns out that the russians cannot adequately answer the questions that we put to them, and that all the signs in the course of today are that they're not going to, then we will be imposing certain measures on russia, diplomatic sanctions, probably economic sanctions and so on. and we will do what we can, the point being, to demonstrate to the russians that the costs of this sort of behavior are not worth the benefit. so we will do what we can, but -- >> sorry to interrupt you. would you agree that up until now the russians have not felt that the costs are at all punitive, or at all noticeable? and therefore, you know, this kind of activity continues. >> well, the world has shifted.
i was closely involved with this when i was ambassador in russia in 2006. alexander vinyenko was killed in london with a radioactive poison, actually, we had the same conundrum which british authorities face now. we imposed sanctions we thought would be sufficient to deter russians from future such action. those -- i mean, obviously, that judgment, we didn't apply enough, although the political situation has changed dramatically since 2006. we're now revisiting the issue. i'm sure sanctions even tougher than those we imposed then will be imposed now. the aim has to be to demonstrate to the russians the real costs of what they're doing. if i can just finish off the thought that i was offering, it is that we in the uk will do what we can. but what we're dealing with here is an international threat. what happened in salisbury last week could happen in colorado. it could happen anywhere in the west. we have a shared interest in
demonstrating to the russians that there are costs to this sort of behavior. and that means that as we take our action, we will be very much hoping and expecting that our allies will be looking to support us. >> uh-huh. so in that regard, i just want to bolster what you're saying about the severity of this current situation, with this from prime minister may in parliament yesterday. >> should there be no credible response, we will conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the russian state against the united kingdom. >> hear, hear. >> and i will come back to this house and set out the full range of measures that we will take in response. >> it's pretty dramatic when the prime minister of one nation talks about an unlawful use of force against their state by another state. and we will wait toee how those punitive measures that you talk about will be fleshed out and outlined. but in the meantime regarding the other 14 deaths, yvette
cooper who is from the opposition labor party said the government ought to review those 14 deaths. she says they have not been treated as suspicious by the uk police, but they have reportedly been identified by u.s. intelligence sources as potentially connected to the russian state. what do you make of that? >> i dealt very closely with the uk police on the other case. i have total confidence in their professionalism and determination to uncover the truth. the implication of a lot of stories that have gone around about these 14 deaths, there's been some sort of government cover-up. we do not have political control of our police in that way. they investigated thoroughly, and reached conclusions on the basis of circumstances of each death. they may be different from the conclusions they draw pulling all of the deaths together. i support a further investigation, and we'll see what happens. >> it really is a dramatic day.
sir tony brenton, thank you so much for joining us on this part of the picture. thanks a lot for being with us. and now, from britain, we switch gears and we go to the vatican. because five years ago today, this man stepped out onto that famous balcony and emerged as pope francis. the argentinian pope, shunned the paypal apartment, and the big car, and he devoted himself to the poor and margin lyzed of our world. all these years later, has he met the expectations and fulfilled the hopes he raised? here to discuss, is father james martin, no stranger to breaking the mold himself, his call to catholics to accept the lgbt community, he lays it all out in his book "building a bridge."
welcome to the program. >> thank you. >> what a day, five years ago this dramatic event happened in the vatican. and really, the whole world, catholics and non-catholics, were swept up by him, by his person. has he met the important expectations that he raised? >> i think the important ones, yes, which is to turn the church more towards the poor. i think he said in an interview with american magazine he felt the church was too focused on issues like abortion, home sexuality, same sex marriage, which are important, but he wanted to move us towards direct contact with the poor, a pope of mercy and gestures. i think people love him. the proof's in the pudding. >> the proof is in the pudding. and the pudding, according to the polls, say that 58% of american catholics say pope francis represents change for the better. now, that is a 10-point drop from four years ago. what do you attribute that drop
to? where are the areas that he has failed people's hopes, do you think? >> well, i would say the honeymoon is over, basically. at the beginning he was exciting because, as you said, he moved out of the papal apartments, didn't wear the shoes, took the name francis. the opposition is hardening. people realize that a pope was talking about discernment and meeting people where they are, up ends the expectations of a pope focused on rules. people who are traditionalists are more disappointed. >> traditionalists within the catholic church don't like his progressive policies. on the other hand, moderates and progressives and a lot of ordinary men and women think he hasn't gone far enough, for instance on the sexual abuse scandal. cardinal pail is on leave of absence in australia, and may be facing trial on charges of historical sexual offenses.
people were chilly. there was an uproar. she was accused of protecting the pedophile priest. when cardinal lor died, accused of shuffling priests around and no accountability for their misdeeds and their sexual abuse. and the pope goes and says a benediction at his funeral. there are a lot of people, including victims, who don't believe this pope has done the accountability that he needs to in that regard. >> that's true. there are a lot of people that feel that way. i think that's one of the areas that he really needs to improve upon. i think one of the most important areas would be in his papal commission to really hold bishops accountable. you talked about that in latin america. that's the missing link. what do you do with bishops? he's struggling with that. >> why, though? >> i don't know. that's a good question. i'm not sure. some people have had that there's too much for him to deal
with. he's dealing with all sorts of other things. this is a very difficult topic. he's trying to listen to both the bishops and the priests and nestly, the answer is, you may not hear from jesuits so much, but i don't know. >> particularly in this moment, the me too movement, he was one that had the popularity and the belief in the catholic church plummeting for all those years before he came to that role. >> he does meet, we heard, every friday with victimsms. he's not deaf to their cries. he knows who's going on. he was the arch bishop of -- it may be the bureaucracy. it's kind of mysterious. >> one victim told npr radio that i was very hopeful in the beginning when he first came to office. i think the time has gone. i've found myself becoming more and more disillusioned. the words are no use and the promises of no use if we don't see real change. >> i don't think i'd say that. all hope is not gone. he's a dedicated, faithful, loving person.
he wants to do his best. not sure what's taking so long. >> let's turn to your personal situation. you've come almost to blows with traditionalists in the church, you've written this book, "building a bridge" how the catholic church and the lgbt community can enter into a space of respect. what happened? >> it was moved off of church grounds because of protests from what i would call online hate groups. that's not the first time it's happened. this is one in a series of talks that has been cancelled. ironically, the talk was on jesus. >> so to give us a little bit more, you know, context to this, what is it, is it sort of traditionalists ginning up --
protests, do you feel like -- >> very small traditionalist mind-set that really is ginning up the opposition. and there's a lot of hatred and home phobia in the church, and we really need to confront that. >> let's not forget, it's actually across religions. many of the major established, all the abrahamic faiths, anyway, have a real area that don't believe in lgbt rights. >> the country, unfortunately, it's okay to do personal vilification and slander and lies. you see these on these sites. that's what happens. and i have been the victim of that, unfortunately. but more victimized are the lgbt people. >> you refuse to be victimized. you went and had your talk somewhere else. but they did run you off that particulariece of property. what do you think blding a bridge, how do you think this could change this dynamic at this moment? >> i think by listening to lgbt
people. what i'm calling for in the book is for bishops, priests and leaders to listen to them. treat them with respect and sensitivity. the irony is even that is too much for some people. if we listen to some people, who feel margin lyzed. exactly what jesus did, he accompanied them. that should be so terrifying to people was shocking to me. >> i wanted to play a short snippet of what pope francis said about this issue when he was asked how he felt towards the gay community. >> translator: if a person is guy and seeks god, and has good will, who am i to judge him? >> as somebody said, the five words that shook the world and slook the catholic church. she's obviously facing a massive tsunami from the traditionalist wing. >> he is. the five words, who am i to judge, initially related to gay
priests and someone pushed him the next day, and he said, no, it's gay everybody, home phobia has no place in my ministry, he said. a lot of traditionalists think it's their place to judge. jesus tells us, judge not. it's hard for me to understand why people would have such a big problem with just listening to people. >> if they read your book, "building a bridge," thank you so much, indeed, father james martin. on a day of so much upheaval, across so many sectors, that is it for our program tonight. thanks for watching. join us again tomorrow night. >> announcer: "man pure" was made possible by the rosalynn p. >> announcer: "man pure" was made possible by the rosalynn p. walter.