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A Look at What's Going on with the White House; Interview with Chris Ruddy. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired December 5, 2017 - 00:00:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, whip lash in the White House as the Trump Administration not just political wins and legal setbacks.

Friend of the President and CEO Newsmax Media, Chris Ruddy joins the program. And as the risk of war with North Korea raised, America's ally

South Korea is in the firing line.

I asked their Foreign Minister and the former CIA Direct, Michael Hayden whether there is an exit ramp. Plus, the incredible story of these South

Korean medics rushing to save the life of a North Korean defector. A soldier shot in this daring escape.



AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London bringing you the global perspective during

these turbulent times. America watched note that President Donald Trump is having a good week at home, nothing two key wins for his political agenda.

A massive republican tax bill which is sprinting through congress and the Supreme Court has just allowed Trump to enforce his travel ban on six

muslin countries. While legal challenges are still being pursued in low accords but it is also a catastrophic week. Since Michael Flynn, the

former National Security Advisor pled guilty to lying to the FBI.

News that he is now cooperating with the Russia investigation has jangled nerves and the President's legal team. So, yes another week of whip last

in the White House while huge crisis need attention overseas, over here. How does the President or his administration compartmentalize.

Chris Ruddy is CEO of Newsmax, the conservative media news company. And as a close friend of the President Donald Trump, he has the insider's view and

he joins me right now from Florida. Chris Ruddy, welcome back to our program and I guess we ask you your analyst in chief, what is going on

inside the White House. How as I asked, does the president compartmentalize all these different competing agendas?

CHRISTOHER RUDDY, CEO OF NEWSMAX MEDIA: Did I hear that correctly? You called me the analyst in chief or psycho analyst in chief?

AMANPOUR: I said analyst.

RUDDY: I think the President's done - I just saw him over a week ago, I'm going to see him at the White House later this week. I think he's

remarkably calm and in the middle for a number of storms, handling the passage of the tax bill which was not easy. This has been a very difficult

challenging year for him because, remember he is not a political; he has no background in politics so to speak.

He comes into office, he's faced a lot of challenges, personnel, policy, media and I think we've seeing this political thing with the tax bill is

going to be a water shed for him and I think it's not only going to help him politically and grow his poll numbers. It's going to drive the U.S.

and global economy, I think for the new five or ten years with the amount of stimulus it's going to create.

AMANPOUR: So, that's the good news for him and his party. What about some of these real challenges and the legal investigation, the Mueller

investigation? Obviously we've talked about Mike Flynn pleading guilty and cooperation now with the authorities -

RUDDY: Right -

AMANPOUR: We know that another forgiven policy advisor did. And we also know today that Paul Manaford was also in jeopardy there, has been caught

potentially violating his bail by potentially planning a (of ed) with someone connected toward this Russia stuff. So, you having the -

RUDDY: Well -

AMANPOUR: -- power suggested that Mueller, the invest special council should not be fired. Do you still believe that? Do you have any reason to

believe that the President may be thinking of firing him?

RUDDY: I don't believe so. I do think at that time, when I said it, I was accurate that there was a consideration back in June but - look, I think

Bob Mueller's an American hero. Remember, he takes over the FBI right around 911 and there was not one single major terrorist attack on American

soil thanks to him and the FBI over 10 years.

So, I have a lot of respect for him but I do think at the end of the day, he is a prosecutor and prosecutors like to prosecute. And he's butted some

very heavy weight attorneys, I think they scue very much closely tied to the Democratic Party. Seven of the top 16 prosecutors were donors to both

Hillary and or Obama's campaign. And I think there's a lot of evidence that they've been moving beyond the original juristic ion was looking at


We speak to the President bout this, he thinks there's nothing to it, that it's going to - that this investigation, in terms of his involvement will

be wrapped up pretty soon and I hope he's right about that. But if you look at what Mueller's doing he's going well beyond what the jurisdiction

is. Today there was a report he's looking at the President's bank records at Deutsche Bank.

What does that have to do with Russian coalition? What's does Paul Manafort have to do with his indictment or Gates? Even Flynn's indictment

has nothing really to do with what the jurisdiction of that investigation was. Was their coalition between the Trump campaign and the Russians? All

of this is just peripheral stuff.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: So Chris Ruddy I fully understand that's your perspective and the perspective from the White House, but I do want to

pick up on this issue of the Deutsche Bank because that is the latest news that a story by Reuters out of Frankfurt says that it has received a

subpoena from Mueller on the accounts. And these are accounts apparently that has - it is - it is the bank that is consistently lend money to Trump.

So, does that look like.

RUDDY: Look, they're going back.

AMANPOUR: they're closing in on that aspect of it?

RUDDY: Again, you know if you go back to the Reagan years there were 26 indictments and some convictions of officials in the Reagan Administration.

Never affected the President, never affected really ultimately his popularity. I think the President's issue here is the tweeting and

commenting on these cases. He should let the prosecutor look at them whenever they go over their bounds pointed out.

Show that this is political, it's not just me you know Alan Dershowitz a very prominent liberal in The United States talks about this as criminal

politics, that they're using this and he condemns when the Democrats when the Republicans use it against the Democrats. You know people complaining

about investigating or probing Hillary Clinton. And I think we should keep a lot of this out of politics if there is something that involves politics

bring it in, but I think the President is not involved in any of this, and I don't - I think when I hear Deutsche Bank is bring a subpoena it just

brings home the fact that it doesn't involve anything involving the Russians in a collusion matter.

AMANPOUR: Chris Ruddy, the view from the Presidents friend. Thank you so much for joining us tonight. So let us.

RUDDY: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: turn to the major foreign policy challenges looming like fears about a military confrontation with North Korea. Or Trump's plan to

deliver on one of his campaign promises, reports that he may break U.S. precedent and declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Just the thought of

it has sparked furious backlash from Turkey, which causes a red line. The French President Emmanuel Macron called President Trump to say it's a bad

idea, and those are just U.S. allies. While the State Department has issued warnings to American Embassies all over the world to prepare for

violent unrest in response to any such announcement.

So I asked a man who's dealt intimately with these issues, for former CIA and NSA Director Mike Hayden and I started with just how risky changing

U.S. policy on Jerusalem could be.

MIKE HAYDEN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CIA, NSA: I think there's a reason - a good reason that previous President's have avoided taking that step. Now

Christiane the details matter, so we'll see what it is the President actually says. Number one will he direct that we move our Embassy? That

will be very dramatic, and then secondly does he use the language that an undivided Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. If that takes place I can

see why we sent these warnings out to American Embassies and Consulates because that's going to create a very negative reaction in the Arab world.

AMANPOUR: And let's clear that is because the status of Jerusalem for both sides is meant to the left until there is a final peace settlement.

HAYDEN: Precisely, precisely.

AMANPOUR: Exactly, what additional effect do you think will this victory for President Trump, this landmark victory from the Supreme Court where

they allow his travel ban to stand at least while the whole investigation continues. Give that that's directly about Muslim countries, do you think

that might have a - a negative impact on the Jerusalem issue?

HAYDEN: We've probably already absorbed the negative impact of the travel ban. We've seen some worse versions of the ban put out there by the Trump

Administration. I just thought it was a bad idea, an un-necessary step on our part. It would alienate people that we really have no business


AMANPOUR: Answer Americans maybe living in the heartland or all over the country say, but hang on a second. We voted for this President to stop

terrorism, to keep out the bad guys. Why doesn't his travel ban do that?

HAYDEN: Well, I get it, elections matter. And an awful lot of Americans supported what - what the President did. I'm just telling you and your

viewers as an intelligence professional, it doesn't make us more safe. It buys into the narrative of our enemies, that there is some kind of undying

enmity between Islam and the West, rather than what it truly is, a war within civilization, a war within Islam. And when we act the way we did,

certainly with the original travel ban, we live their narrative, we live their story, we give legitimate to their arguments and therefore, a lot of

folks, like me, this was a bad idea. Not only unnecessary, Christiane, but actually made us more unsafe.

AMANPOUR: I want to move onto the Korean Peninsula. Let me start by playing you a little bit of a sound bite from Senator Lindsey Graham about

what he thinks, is the danger for Americans in South Korea.


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: I'm going to urge the Pentagon not to send anymore dependants to South Korea. South Korea should be an unaccompanied tour.

It's crazy to send spouses and children to South Korea given the provocation of North Korea. So, I want them to stop sending dependants and

I think it's now to start moving American dependants out of South Korea.


AMANPOUR: All we, as General McMaster said over the weekend, getting closer to war with North Korea.

HAYDEN: Christiane, I've served twice in Korea. Both times with my family so I understand Senator Graham is talking about. I was actually there

under Marshall Law way back in the early 1980s. So, I have an understanding of the danger on the Peninsula.

I have to tell you, if we stop the flow of military dependants to the Republic of Korea or if we begin to withdrawal our families from Korea that

would be an unmistakable sign that we believed war was, in some way or another, emanate because the act itself would actually make war more rather

than less likely on the Korean Peninsula.

AMANPOUR: And as we speak, a Senior U.N. Official, Jeffrey Feldman, (on) the Secretary there, who used to be a Senior State Official for the United

States, he's an American Official, is going to North Korea. It is the first time in years, what can he hope to get from them? They don't even

want to sit at the table right now.

HAYDEN: I'm convinced and frankly, I think that the American Intelligence community is convinced that North Koreans are on this unalterable

trajectory. To have strategic reach and an indigenize CBM with an indignant weapon, capable of reaching United States. And they are not

going to sit down and talk to us until they've reached that point.

And here's the dilemma, Christriane, I just told you what the bottom line is for the North Koreans. The public statement of the Trump Administration

is, we cannot accept that circumstance. Boy, that's a real formula for some troubled times ahead.

AMANPOUR: So, that begs the question, do you agree? I mean I would say, Yeah. You cannot accept that kind of threat. Any American president

couldn't accept that kind of threat but, on the other hand, why not? Let me play you Jeffrey Lewis, an American expert on nuclear terrors, has said

to me about this issue.


JEFFREY LEWIS: What's going to have to happen is we are going to have to learn to live with this. Just as we learned to live with China having

nuclear weapons that can target the United States and the Soviet Union before that. That's a very unusual thing. You know, we haven't gone

through this in decades and so it's a very jolting and bracing thing. Particularly, in Washington, DC for people to come to grips with.


HAYDEN: So Christriane, North Korea is not the Soviet Union. North Korea is not China. North Korea is not even Iran. All right, so I understand

how difficult this will be for any American president to digest and I understand why the Trump Administration is trying to avoid that reality but

let me give you what, I think, is a truth, a very, very sad truth, the truth none the less. It is my judgment that it would be more dangerous to

prevent North Korea from getting to that state than it would be for us to try to cope with the North Korea in that state.

AMANPOUR: Wow. That really gives us something to think about. General Michael Hayden, thank you so much for joining us.

HAYDEN: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And, in a moment, I'll dig deeper into this very vexing crisis with South Korea's Foreign Minister but first, an incredible human story.

For years, we've heard about North Koreans defecting but rarely do we actually see it happen. This footage shows the death defying escape of a

young North Korean soldier across the DMZ.

He was shot several times before being dragged to safety by South Korean soldiers. And, he was brought to the hospital where medical teams worked

for days to save his life. We got exclusive access to the video of what unfolded in the operating room, with permission of the soldier, as you will

see in this heroine report from our report in Newton. And we do warn you, that some of it is hard to watch.


UNIDENTIFIED CNN CORRESPONDENT: You are watching the U.S. Blackhawk chopper touchdown as a South Korean trauma team gears up to save the life

of Oh Chong Song. This is an exclusive look at the harrowing efforts to save a North Korean defector shot five times as he escaped over the DMZ,

already bleeding out he is turning blue and having trouble breathing.

DR. LEE COOK-JONG: Mr. Oh was here, right here as where.

NEWTON: He is now in the protective care of trauma surgeon, Dr. Lee Cook- Jong. He takes us through his crucial medical mission, minute by precious minute.

NEWTON: And at this point he had already lost more than half his blood.

LEE: Much more, much more because yes ma'am. His vital signs were so unstable, he was dying of low blood pressure; he was dying of shock.

NEWTON: I'm watching all the transfusions of blood; one, two, three.

LEE: Yes that's right.

NEWTON: Utterly composed and deliberate, Dr. Lee shows us a 30-minute epic effort to keep Mr. Oh breathing. Something he can see on any given day in

Dr. Lee's state-of-the art trauma bay. It's the key to Mr. Oh's miraculous survival.

LEE: As you can see here, we have been doing this kind of job every single day.

NEWTON: Mr. Oh stabilizes; he's ready for the next battle of grueling five-hour surgery. Dr. Lee is methodical dealing with bullet holes and an

intestinal system dangerously riddled with open wounds. The American- trained trauma specialist is ready for that, but not this. Parasites, worms squirm out of Mr. Oh's body, a sign of severe malnutrition.

LEE: After the operation, he was transferred here. This is --

NEWTON: For Mr. Oh the nightmare isn't over. Dr. Lee says he was terrified when he woke afraid he was still in North Korea.

LEE: He actually asked me is it really South Korea or something, so I actually answered him back hey; have a look at that flag.

NEWTON: And he knew immediately he was safe.

LEE: Yes ma'am.

NEWTON: The North Korean defector remains somewhere in this hospital under heavy security. Dr. Lee is very protective right now; he won't even let

the South Korean government speak to him fearing it will compromise his recovery. You obviously have a fondest for him, you like him.

LEE: Yes ma'am, yes ma'am, oh yes I'm really proud of him because he fled from North Korea to -- seeking for liberty and much more freedom.

NEWTON: From his daring escape, to the airlift, to the trauma and surgeries, Mr. Oh's survival is stunning by any measure. He's still got a

long road to recovery, at least now he's walking, talking and free, his luck landing him in a place that seems ready and waiting to give him a

whole new life. Paula Newton CNN Ajou University Trauma Center South Korea.


AMANPOUR: An incredible story about unshakable human bonds, especially amid the rising tension of North Korea's remarkable nuclear advances. In a

rare meeting with a senior official in Pyongyang, he tells us the U.S. needs to back off.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The U.S. is talking about a military option and even practicing military moves. They're pressuring us

on all fronts with sanctions. If you think this will lead to diplomacy, you're deeply mistaken.


AMANPOUR: Now resolving the matter peacefully is critical for the region, especially for North Korea's next-door neighbor, South Korea, which is a

major U.S. ally. With Kim Jong-un saying that Donald Trump is quote begging for war. From Seoul, the foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha tells me

things are very tense, but her country is relying on the United States.

KANG: We are absolutely confident about the U.S. commitment to the alliance and this is based upon a overwhelming military superiority so we

are confident.

AMANPOUR: Many people have questioned the war of words that's going on between Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang and President Trump in Washington; the

tweets, the insults back and forth. What do you make of that? Is that the way to deal with this kind of potential crisis?

KANG: We don't go by the daily comments, we go by the longer term patterns and the longer term pattern, the commitment is that the United States and

the Republic of Korea stand very much together on three core principles in dealing with the North Korean threat, which is that the North Korean

nuclear program will never be accepted, that North Korea will never be accepted as a nuclear power, that we will find a peaceful resolution to

this and that this will all based upon a solid, ROK/U.S. alliance.

AMANPOUR: Foreign Minister, I feel a very, very difficult situation is about to arise because you say and the United States says that a nuclear

North Korea will never be accepted, but there are other experts and allies who say, well they are a nuclear country right now and I don't know how you

think you're going denuclearize at the moment.

Will you take North Korea as a responsible nuclear power? Do you see any diplomacy leading in that direction?

KANG: Well, the non-acceptance of North Korea as a nuclear power is not just our position and the U.S. position. It's a position of the whole

global community. I stated several times in the U.N. Security Counsel resolutions.

Now they have declared, after the latest missile launch, at the completion of their program. But as I said, there is no concrete evidence that they

have mastered the technology that is required to be able to put a nuclear device on a long-range missile.

AMANPOUR: I just wonder whether everybody's burring their head in the sand a little bit like ostriches. But, you will admit that they're making

gallivanting progress?

KANG: Yes, they have and at a pace that's far faster than many of us have expected. But, they have not reached the final, final completion stage

yet. The global community has to up the pressure and implement the sanctions in a concertize way so that it does make a difference for the

North Korean regime, that it does force a change of course for the North Korean regime.

AMANPOUR: You know there's a lot of talk in Washington that potentially Rex Tillerson may not be long for Secretary of State and that potentially

the current CIA Director, Mike Pompeo may replace him.

Well in July, Mike Pompeo Tweeted quote, "The North Korean people, I'm sure, are lovely people and would love to see him go." That being Kim Jong

Un. Can you say, like many have said, that regime change is on or off the table?

KANG: Well our policy has been very clear on this. We do not seek a hostile posture toward North Korea. We do not seek regime change, we do

not seek artificial hurried reunification. We do not seek to march across the DMZ. What we seek is peace and for us to have that peace we must

obtain denuclearization of North Korea.

AMANPOUR: There are a lot of mixed messages in the public domain. Don't you have rehearsals for the assassination of Kim Jong Un?

KANG: Having contingency plans and having military options is one thing, how do you put all together in support of a diplomatic solution is another.

AMANPOUR: Do you every worry about blundering into the worst possible outcome, which is war?

KANG: Well, I think that is precisely why we really need to show that we do have the defense cluster, that we have a robust military preparedness

just in case anything happens and we need to send a clear message to North Korea. Their dream of becoming and being acknowledged as a nuclear power

is just a misguided notion that will -- that the international community will never accept.

AMANPOUR: And from your perspective, sitting in Seoul, not that far away from the DMZ, the demilitarized zone, just tell us, what's at stake for


KANG: If anything happens the consequences will be catastrophic, which is why those of us living here with this neighbor are very much committed to

finding a peaceful resolution to this so that war does not break out again on this Korean Peninsula.

We have a country that is the model of democracy in a striving market economy, so that the idea that could be wiped out by another war is just

unimaginable and I think for the international community to let that happen would be unconscionable.

AMAPOUR: Can I ask you just one last question about a completely different topic but it's relevant to you and me? I wonder whether you look around

and you see this current sort of reckoning that's going on in the West with these accusations of sexual abuse and misconduct and lots of men being

fired. I wonder whether you see this as an opportunity for the playing field to be leveled, not just in the West but in your region and elsewhere.

KANG: Well, I think these -- if I may call it, traumatic events, it's painful for those involved but the silver lining is that it has

consequences. It does remind people that these things continue, that they are unacceptable and so they -- so with one step move back I think there's

two step moving forward. And I see in Korea as well. Violence against women of all forms is still very much an issue.

That's relevant to gender equality in my country. I had a ministry where I am at the top but two tiers below me are largely men, although at the entry

level we have 67 percent women coming in. So the idea of gender equality and the societies being freed of sexual violence and harassment is, is a

goal that we all have to work towards but we need to find a way then to use this moment to move things forward.

AMANPOUR: Foreign Minister Kang, thank you so much for joining us from Seoul.

KANG KYUNG-WHA Thank you very much Christiane. It's been a pleasure.

AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, as the world finds it's self in a real crisis of leadership. We imagine someone, a rear person that the whole

world looked up to, Nelson Mandela. Today marks four years since he dies at the age of 95. A freedom fighter and peace maker who refused to adopt

identity politics and was president for all South Africans, even the minority that had for decades oppressed the majority.

The years since his death have not been kind to South Africa, with corruption and rising economic disparity. So tonight, we remember a

towering figure who defined the promise of democracy and justice. A great and moral leader who was also just a man. That's it for our program

tonight. And remember, you can always listen to our pod cast, see us on line at, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for

watching and good bye from London.