President, North Korea and United States discussed on Diane Rehm: On My Mind


Were in jeopardy, and I do know this feels like a perilous time to you. The does feel it feels very different than than you know, the obvious historical parallel Watergate that step back just a bit to the campaign a month before the election, you and Jay Johnson who was then homeland security secretary released a joint statement that talked about Russian interference. What affected you think that statement would have Jane? I particularly felt stormy that. We owed it to the electorate to issue some form of warning based because of what we knew. And there was a lot of debate about whether that was a good thing to do. If if we made some big pronouncement of the president president Bala made a speech about it. Well, with that only serve to amplify magnify what the Russians were doing. And I think the president was understandably concerned about the appearance or the optic of putting his hand on the scale in favor of one candidate into the disfavor of another. So that was we had a lot of debate and discussion about that. But in the end it was agreed that Jane, I would jointly issue a statement that laid out what the Russians were doing because we thought this was we issued this on the seventh of October of twenty sixteen about a month before the election. Unfortunately, that was the same day as the access Hollywood tapes. Audiotapes came out so armee. Our message was completely emasculated and I, I don't think had much much impact. You know, hindsight is twenty twenty with the benefit of hindsight. Is there something you wish you had done then? Well, I think one thing I I personally was is that we had impose sanctions and PNG thirty five Russian intelligence operatives and closed the two dodgers before the election. As it was. We didn't do it till the twenty ninth of December with any even then I consider that just sort of phase one of what I thought other steps that should be taken to. 'cause Russia pain for for doing what they what they did. Kratz stink. President Obama should have done more. Do you think he should have done more? Well, that's the aforementioned debate and and what I think constrained him. And I think that was a valid concern. It. You know, you have to recall the very charged. Partisan environment of of the election. And I think and course candidate Trump was already alleging that the election would be rigged against him. And so he was very mindful of that and as actually try not not to make make it worse. It would benefit at twenty twenty hindsight, which is all perfect. Well, you can you can do. Coulda woulda showed us all day. Long administration did do some things for one thing that President Obama did. Unlike our current president has he directly pretty stiffly confronted Putin about it, and President Trump seems except Putin's word that you know they, they didn't meddle. Over what his own tells acuity said in the middle of the night when you can't sleep, doodoo coulda woulda shoulda on this to be honest. No, I don't. I I sleep a lot better now have since the twentieth of January of last year. That's because that was your last day on the job. Exactly. We looked back. Let's let's look ahead. When you think about the election, the midterm election that's coming up just in November, this just is fall. Do you think there will be Russian interference or thanks. I think they will. I think they will. They will look for ways, you know, so maybe new new techniques, but they will look for ways to interfere and try to influence election just say well, and in twenty twenty genes to do it in in twenty twenty. The next presidential election will they take lessons learned from twenty sixteen and apply them? Absolutely. I think they've already taken lessons learned what they can get away with and what. They can't. And and I think what will happen is that what they do will be harder to detect? What should we do about that? Well, that's a great question. Apart from doing the, I think the common sense things with respect to securing what I would call voting apparatus, voter registration, rolls, tally machines, whatever. All all that the hard part here. And that's another motivation for writing the book was, you know, my little attempt to try to educate the public about the threat posed by the Russians because in the end that's what it's going to take his is a vigilant and alert. Electorate, who were there is a willingness to question where information comes from where ads who is financing ads and the what is the source of of information that they are reading or hearing. Now that's hard to to get that across the people. Regrettably United States very ripe target for the Russians to exploit our divisiveness polarization in this country, and they'll continue to do that. And in fact, even with books like your own news articles that try to explore what what happened in two thousand sixteen. And since then there's a big partisan divide and whether Americans believe it are think it serious Republicans are much more likely to take think the president's rightness is muddle and it's a, it's a witch hunt and Democrats much more likely to say it's a terrible thing that we really need to address. So the very issue of Russian interference has itself become a political issue, and which is regrettable, I'm very much a very, very struck by the evidence that we turned up the evidence which I can't discuss had very high confidence in and was very compelling what they did. So knowing that. It's hard for me to to ignore it want to talk about one other topic, which is North Korea. Now you're clearly pretty critical of President Trump on some things, but on North Korea. What do you think about the steps he's taken toward holding this summit with the North Korean law older downsides to agreeing to meeting with Kim moon, which on the North Korean perspective is a huge concession on the part of the United States at something that leaders communes, father and grandfather sought is a meeting with the president. Whoever was so just the fact that he agreed to that is a big deal for the North Koreans. They crave that recognition they wanna be seen as as equals. That said though, I do think that, you know, we've been stuck on our narrative and the North Koreans have been stuck on there that this could may be shake, shake, shake the trees. I think though the credit, if there is credit, if this meeting actually happens, should much more appropriately go to president moon other public career, South Korea who has orchestrated this. I summit meetings with the the dialogue with moon, which in my view is a good thing. And as so he's managed his accountant, young young and his account in Washington pretty well. And I think is visit. Here was try to jump start the momentum, the diplomatic momentum, but think this administration is getting taste of what all previous administrations have encountered dealing with North Korea. They are prickly. Tive paranoid. And unpredictable. US physician has been that North Korea should not be allowed to have a nuclear weapons capability. Is it now more realistic for the United States to try to make small incremental steps that might go to containment rather than to denial? Well, a couple points here of when I went to North Korea, November fourteen twenty fourteen I was armed with. Coordinated talking points of the administration. The first one of which was you must be nuclearise before we'll talk to you with all I quickly as a non starter in the North Koreans brought up what's become known as the Libyan model. They went to school on Moammar Qaddafi who negotiated away his weapons of mass destruction. And the outcome wasn't so good for him and the North Koreans, they, they see that they, they're pretty Stewart, watch that stuff. So the notion of denuclearizing simply because we say so, I think is is a little is unlikely without a long protracted says negotiation. I could be wrong and get surprise me. We miracles mill hope springs, eternal, but I don't think so north drains made a long and effort which and they sacrifice a lot. The North Korean people sacrifice a lot to achieve what they have now. And I think that's really in my view is what prompted this change in behavior is because the North Koreans achieved whatever it is they think they needed to in the way of nuclear deterrent. And I find it hard to believe that they're just going to give it away because we demand that we that they do so. And by the way, denuclearization could be two way. Street, we need to be careful what we ask for here because the North Koreans, I wonder if the Chinese haven't counseled the North Koreans about this could say that did Nuclear's Asian wise, both ways, meaning the United States doesn't fly anymore. Bombers be wants be to be fifty, two's to the Korean peninsula or an operational proximity to it. Meaning we have, they would want us to agree to restrict our nuclear umbrella, which of course is covered the Republic create. And in fact, the region for decades. So when we say denuclearize the peninsula that has that could have two-way obligation. James Clapper. Thanks for joining US Vice revving me. That's all for this week. We'd love to hear what's on your mind. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. Send us an Email DR podcast at w. a. m. u. dot org or leave us voicemail. The number is two zero two, eight, five, four, eight, five one and go to our website, Diana ring, dot org. Our theme music was composed by cliff Hardin comes to us, courtesy of the capital soundtrack project here at w. AMU the show is produced by Rebecca Kaufman and Alison Brody or engineers. This week are Doug bell and Natalie your of liquor. Thanks for listening. I'm Susan page.

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