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Fareed Zakaria GPS
Nunes Memo Released; Interview with Jordan's King Abdullah II. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired February 04, 2018 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN: This is GPS, the Global Public Square. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria, coming to you live from New York.
We'll begin today's show with the Nunes memo. The words that are further dividing official Washington. What to make of this (ph), I have a great panel to discuss.
Then, royalty, King Abdullah II of Jordan on the move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, his answer to Donald Trump's concern that Islam hates America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: I think Islam hates us.
ABDULLAH II OF JORDAN: For them to feel isolated, that's past the danger (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: And the king's hopes for the future of the Middle East. But first, here's my take. President Trump's state of the union speech mostly ignored the word outside America.
He made a few tough statements on things like the Iran deal and Guantanamo, and described accurately the evil nature of the North Korean regime, but he said very little about his foreign policy.
This masks a more dangerous reality. The Trump administration has, in fact, either accidentally or by design, laid out aggressive markers in three different parts of the world, three red lines, without any serious strategy as to what happens when they are crossed.
The first is with North Korea. Trump and his top officials have asserted that the era of strategic patience with North Korea is over. The president has specifically promised that North Korea would never be able to develop a nuclear weapon that could reach the United States.
Meanwhile, CIA Director Mike Pompeo told CBS News that Pyongyang is a handful of months away from having this capability. So what happens when that red line is crossed in a few months? What would be the American response? Victor Charles (ph), seasoned expert who was expected to be the nominee for ambassador to South Korea, explained to the administration that there really were no limited military options, not even a small strike that would bloody the nose of the North Korean regime.
For this frank analysis, he was promptly dropped from consideration for the ambassadorship. Trump has done something similar with Iran, he has announced that he will withdraw from the nuclear deal if Congress and the European allies don't fix it.
The Europeans have made clear they don't think the pact needs fixing and believe it's working well. So in about three months, we will reach D-day, when Trump has promised to unilaterally withdraw if he can't get a tougher deal.
Now would (ph) Trump to unilaterally abrogate the accord, the Iranians have several options. They could pull out themselves and ramp up their nuclear program, which means Trump would then have to deal with another North Korea, this time in the Middle East, or Iran could sideline the United States, keep adhering to the deal, and do business with the rest of the world.
And they could make mischief in the Middle East. The third arena where the White House has talked and acted tough without any follow on strategy is Pakistan. The administration has publicly branded that country, a terrorist haven, and suspended military aid on those grounds.
This is entirely understandable. The Pakistani military has, in fact, been supporting terrorists and militants who operate in Afghanistan, even against American troops and then those terrorists withdraw to their sanctuaries across the border in Pakistan.
But being right is not the same thing as being smart. Most experts predicted that Pakistan would respond to the American action in two ways, first by pursuing closer relations with China, which would easily replace the aid, second the Pakistani military would ratchet (ph) up the violence in Afghanistan, demonstrating that it has the capacity to destabilize the pro-American government in Kabul, throw the country into chaos, and tie down U.S. forces that are now in their 17th year of war.
And that is precisely what has happened. Thomas Schelling, the Nobel Prize winning scholar of strategy, once remarked that two things are very expensive in international affairs, threats when they fail, and promises when they succeed.
So he (ph) implied be very careful about making either one. President Trump seemed to understand this when his predecessor made a threat towards Syria in 2013, and Trump tweeted "Red line statement was a disaster for President Obama."
Well, Trump has just drawn three red lines of his own, and each of them is likely to be crossed. For more, go to cnn.com/fareed and read my Washington Post column this week, and let's get started. On Friday, President Trump declassified a controversial memo written
by the Republican side of the House Intelligence Committee that ended weeks of calls on the right to release the so-called Nunes memo, but it didn't end the controversy. Democratic California Congressman Ted Lieu characterized the view of many Democrats when he told Wolf Blitzer the memo was worse than a nothingburger.
Meanwhile, the president tweeted this on Saturday morning. This memo totally vindicates quote Trump unquote in probe, but the Russian with hunt goes on and one. This is an American disgrace. Let us talk about the memo and the bigger picture with two powerful legal minds. Preet Bharara was the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York until Donald Trump fired him. He is now a senior legal analyst at CNN.
And Jonathan Turley is a constitutional law professor at George Washington University. Preet, you're an experienced prosecutor. When you read this memo, what was your reaction? How does it read?
PREET BHARARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF N.Y.: Well, you know, there was a lot of hype building up to the memo, so one expected a lot of bombshells in the memo. So it didn't have any of that. And I'll tell you, from a legal standpoint -- not to disparage overly the drafters of the memo, but it reads kind of like a -- a mediocre criminal defense legal motion on a narrow point relating to something in an affidavit that neither we nor the author of the memo has read.
So this is the kind of thing that happens all the time in criminal procedure. You know, prosecutors seek information through search warrants, through affidavits in support of Title III, eavesdropping warrants on people's telephones, and in this context -- in the -- in the FISA context, it's a similar sort of process.
And from time to time, defense lawyers take their shot at trying to say the entire investigation is impugned and the entire investigation should be shut down and -- and arrests arising from it should not have happened and charges should be dismissed because of an argument of a lack of candor with the court.
And I understand the argument and it happens all the time. But with respect to what has happened here, I think what people don't understand is we don't know, really, what the full facts are and how much candor there was. The memo itself describes a situation where it says that the FISA court was not advised of some potential political bias on the part of, you know, someone who wrote the dossier that was perhaps in some part in support of the eavesdropping warrant.
We've now heard other reporting that suggests that in fact there was some candor with the court in that regard. So -- so I don't know. I think it's important to see what the other side says. It's important, ultimately, if it's possible and feasible for it to be declassified, the entire affidavit. But -- but right now, I'm -- I'm -- for what it's worth, it's not a particularly good document.
ZAKARIA: Jonathan Turley, isn't it fair to say, as Preet says, (ph) this is -- the -- the attempt here is to impugn an investigation on the basis of one FISA warrant for one person in which the claim is that not all the background was provided. The FBI says there was much more context, which is -- which is -- which is not provided. I mean, is that -- that's a pretty thin read to dismiss an entire investigation that must involve hundreds of people and -- and much, much more.
JONATHAN TURLEY, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Well, that indeed might be the motivation. I think both sides in this dispute have overplayed their hand. And I think it's disturbing on it's face how the memo was described and what's in the memo. I do not agree that the memo is some nothingburger. You know, the memo does state -- and there hasn't been a disagreement about this -- that a -- a dossier that was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee was used to secure, at least in part, a FISA application.
And that is troubling, particularly when the details of that -- and I haven't heard denials that the full details were not disclosed -- they were not disclosed to the court. That's a problem. We should all be concerned about that. That -- you know, it is possible that President Trump could be right on that point, as are the Republicans. It is also troubling that the FBI and Democratic members, from Ranking Member Pelosi to -- to Schiff to others, said that this memo contained, you know, very sensitive, you know, national security information.
The FBI said there would be grave consequences. And when the memo was released, there was none of that. You know, I've done FISA work for many years, I've done national security cases since Reagan. There's no sources and methods in this. This is a fairly clean memo. In fact, people have said it doesn't really contain much. But what should concern people is that classification laws were used to keep this under seal.
You know the FBI has said that they objected to it being declassified because it was inaccurate by omission. That's not an argument of classification, that's an argument you don't like how the facts are being portrayed.
And those of us who have been critics of FISA and the intelligence communities, see this document as very important in that respect, we have said for years that the FBI has used classification rules to hide embarrassing and compromising information.
I've seen it personally in cases where I've been lead counsel, this is an example of that, and the democrats should be asked to answer for how they described this memo, and more importantly, the FBI should be asked to answer about it.
ZAKARIA: (Inaudible) I just know Jonathan, that the argument your making of course was traditionally made on the left and by several libertarians and is now being used on the right which has generally been very supportive of the FBI's classification system.
Preet, you've got 45 seconds before we go to break, your reaction. BHARARA: Yes, look, do we over classify in this country? Yes. Do people have an interest in making sure that we are very, very careful about what information we reveal? Yes. Should we overstate how important the information was in this memo?
No, but we shouldn't understate it either, and I think people on both sides, career professionals, republican, democrat, liberal, conservative, do have a concern when they're trying to recruit people in the future, that - that a future potential recruit for intelligence purposes has to think to himself or herself, well if I decide to cooperate with the American government as an intel source, at some point in the future, for political reasons, one committee of Congress on a party line (ph) vote can choose to out me.
That has consequences and I think that's important.
ZAKARIA: All right, we are going to get to more, specifically where does this go next? Where does the investigation go, when we come back.
ZAKARIA: And we are back with Preet Bharara and Jonathan Turley. Preet, I want to ask you about something you - you talked about just as we were closing the last segment. The method by which this - this - this whole thing has been handled, which seems to be the larger issue and the larger danger, you worked on the Hill, you worked as a prosecutor, do you think that - that the partisan nature of the way in which this was done, is A, a departure, and B, dangerous?
BHARARA: It's absolutely dangerous, it's absolutely worrisome, if you care about the credibility of what is going to be found out in the future. You know, I - I was a prosecutor for a long time, I mean I also worked on the Hill, as you noted, in the Senate on the Judiciary Committee, and about 11 years ago we conducted an investigation, because I think oversight by the Congress of the executive branch is incredibly important.
Everyone is right when they say that, and we conducted an investigation into the politicization of various things at the justice department, sound familiar? I think - I think it does, and the way we did it, was I was the - one of the lead staffers on the - on the democratic side, and there was a lead staffer on the republican side, and Senator Schumer and Senator Specter, republican and democrat, conducted an investigation on a bipartisan basis.
And pretty much every decision we made about who we would subpoena, who we would interview, the degree to which we would make items public, testimony public, what the order of the witnesses would be, all of that was done in a bipartisan way, and we uncovered a number of things and a number of people, by the way, resigned fairly in disgrace from the justice department over those things that we investigated 11 years ago.
And there's a lot of credibility to the investigation of people on both sides had confidence that it was being done in the best interests of, you know, of justice and democracy and the rule of law, and I don't see that much of that going on today.
ZAKARIA: Jonathan Turney, when you look at this, what I'm wondering is, isn't it fair to say that the partisanship here has been invoked more on one side, which is to say - I mean look at the people we're talking about here who are behind this investigation.
It's Jim Comey, Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein, Andrew McCain, Christopher Wray, that's five conservative republicans, three of them appointed by President Trump. I mean I don't understand quite how this is a great democratic conspiracy when the five central people are conservative republicans.
TURNEY: I don't think there is a great conspiracy by - by these individuals. I think the president has been over the top in his criticism of the FBI. Where I disagree is having all of these members saying that it's horrible that this memo was declassified.
It's really chilling for those of us on the civil liberties side, for years, I'm talking about decades, we have argued that the committee should use the rule 11G to push back on over classification, for years.
Many of us, and I've testified in both the intelligence committees in both classified and unclassified session, I've seen stuff that has been clearly unclassified, that they held on through classification rules to keep the public from seeing.
And so 11G is an important rule, what is surprising is not that it was used here, but this is the first time it was used. Look at the memo, this should not have been classified, it should have been released.
The democratic memo should be released, the transcripts should be released with redactions, it's - what - what bothers me here is I think both sides have been lying to the public.
Surely, someone's lying to us, and we have a right to figure out who, and that's only going to come when we release more material, the transcript, the democratic memo, and we have to hold both sides to account for what they told us, not just about declassification of this memo and it's content, but what was said in this testimony, because someone is lying to us.
ZAKARIA: Preet, again, you've got about a minute, I want to ask you where this goes next, are you worried that you will now see that this memo is - paves the way for the firing of, you know, Rod Rosenstein and a cleansing of the Justice Department.
BHARARA: Yes, I mean that's the concern. It seems like a foundation is being laid. I think a lot of people have said that. You know, Donald Trump says something nice about someone and then they lose favor with him. You know, he loves you on Monday, he hates you on Wednesday, he fires you on Friday. And that seems to be a -- or sometimes he lets you dangle and some people are being held up to dangle at the moment.
And I think it would be a problem around the country if he acts on the -- on the impulse that we know he has. You know, we -- we know that he wanted to fire Bob Mueller some months ago, he fired Jim Comey, he wants to fire some of these people who have served him, I think well because they've been serving the public and their oath to the constitution.
And then the second concern you have is that Devin Nunes has announced that there's going to be a sequel to the memo. And the next one might be about the State Department. And you know, if the next one is as shoddy as this one, I think we have problems.
ZAKARIA: Fascinating conversation about something that is not going to go away. Thank you both, gentlemen. Next on GPS --
BHARARA: Thank you.
TURLEY: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: -- we will dig deeper into the memo and it's effects on the FBI. Asha Rangappa will join me. She is a former FBI special agent who now teaches at Yale University.
ZAKARIA: On Friday morning, during the 6:00AM hour, President Trump tweeted the following. The top leadership and investigators of the FBI and Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans, something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank and file are great people. Remember, the top leadership of the Justice Department and the FBI are mostly people Trump has put in place, at least at the very top.
So what effect do statements like the president's have on federal law enforcement, from leaders to the rank and file of the FBI? Joining me now is Asha Rangappa. She's a former FBI special agent, now a lecturer at Yale's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and a CNN legal and national security analyst. Asha, let me ask you to respond to that tweet.
Is the FBI -- and, you know, let's talk -- let's leave the rank and file out but even at the leadership level, is it anti-Trump in your view?
ASHA RANGAPPA, FORMER SPECIAL AGENT, FBI: In my experience, Fareed, the FBI was in general, a conservative leading organization. And I -- I say in general because to be honest, on a day-to-day level, agents don't talk about politics. They are there to do their investigations and your political views don't apply to that. So I didn't remember having any explicit political conversations.
But to your point that you mentioned earlier, at this point, Fareed, the top leadership at the FBI consists of Trump's own appointees. We have the FBI director, Christopher Wray. We know that he is now appointing his own senior staff, he's appointed his own general counsel, Andrew McCabe has stepped down. So it's hard to understand who he's referring to, given that these are his own people. And I also think that trying to distinguish the rank and file from the
top leadership is disingenuous, because this is one big apparatus that works together and you can't really pick just one person out of that and lay the blame at their feet.
ZAKARIA: Do you think that this is going to have an impact on the FBI and on -- more importantly, national security? The release of the memo, I mean.
RANGAPPA: Unfortunately, I do. And the question is going to be how long that impact will last. So there's obviously going to be, internally, some loss of morale, but I think the FBI is going to persevere and they will still continue doing their investigation. The problem, Fareed, is that the bread and butter of the FBI is going out and talking to people and getting people to give them information. This could include tips, this could include just interviewing them in the course of an investigation.
And to do that, they need the public's trust. Most importantly, the FBI needs to recruit sources. This is for criminal investigations, this is for counter-terrorism investigations and for counter- intelligence investigations. Those sources have to trust that the FBI will maintain their confidentiality, protect their identity, be able to protect them.
And what this memo has done, as Preet Bharara I believe mentioned earlier in your program, is let them know that even when the FBI wants to protect them, they may not be able to if, for political reasons, Congress and even the president wants to have them end up on the front page of the New York Times.
And I also think that the memo impacts the FBI's ability to get intelligence from our allies. Because of course it did disclose that some of the evidence that was used to get the FISA warrant was given to us by our Australian intelligence partners. So all of this has a dramatic impact on national security and the FBI's capabilities in that regard.
ZAKARIA: Now, do you think that this whole controversy, the -- you know, what might happen next, could this shut down Robert Mueller's investigation? That seems to me the -- kind of the big question here.
RANGAPPA: Right. For this to go to a point where it shuts down Robert Mueller's investigation, there has to be several steps. And it's going to depend. If the president chooses to take those steps, at what point Congress, in particular, is going to step in. So if he chooses to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, for example, that would mean that Mueller's supervisor in this investigation could be replaced with someone who is more compliant with President Trump's wishes.
Mueller still has some flexibility but he could get slowrolled in his efforts.
If Trump tries to fire Mueller, which he can do through a variety of ways -- it would be very public -- that would basically put us into a constitutional crisis. There could be another special counsel appointed by somebody else in the Department of Justice, but, of course, you know, it opens up a whole new can of worms.
But the big picture, Fareed, is that this train has left the station. At this point, there are multiple cases open within the FBI. Some of them have entered the justice system, we've seen, with indictments and plea deals, and there may be other grand juries convening right now. There are thousands of documents that are now in electronic files within the FBI's system. Our intelligence partners have picked up evidence, as we know now, about some of this Russian interference.
So the investigation, if there are attempts to quash it, might be quashed for a short time, but eventually the truth will come out. We now know the...
ZAKARIA: I've got to -- I've to got to...
RANGAPPA: ... JFK assassination files 25 years later.
ZAKARIA: I've got to end on that note. But that's fascinating. It's a two-year investigation, hundreds of -- of sources, multiple countries involved. Asha, thank you very much.
Next up, the main event of the show. The king of Jordan, on everything you can imagine.
ZAKARIA: On Wednesday, Abdullah II will mark his 19th anniversary as king of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In that role, he presides over a population of about 10 million people, including several million refugees. But beyond his borders, the king has a crucial role that has become even more so in recent weeks. The king of Jordan is the custodian of the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem. And in December, of course, President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Many wonder how a newly empowered Israel will deal with its Muslim population and holy places. I talked to King Abdullah about Trump's controversial move, about the potential for a nuclear Middle East, and about whether Islam hates America as Donald Trump once said.
ZAKARIA: Thank you so much for doing this, Your Majesty.
ABDULLAH: Good morning, Fareed. Good to see you.
ZAKARIA: President Trump announced that the United States would move its embassy to Jerusalem. How much does that complicate your life?
ABDULLAH: It is a complication for Jordan. And we've had some very good exchanges with the president and with the administration over the past year. And our position was that, look, we understand that this is something that is important to the president. It was a campaign promise. But the subject of Jerusalem has to be part of a comprehensive solution for Israelis and for Palestinians.
The decision was taken, as you all know. It has created a backlash, because it has frustrated the Palestinians, where they feel that there isn't an honest broker. I'd like to reserve judgment, because we're still waiting for the Americans to come out with their plan, but tremendous sympathy to where the Palestinians are feeling.
And Jerusalem is -- is such an emotional subject for everybody. And I think we have to look to the future of what we want for Jerusalem. Is Jerusalem a city that ends up dividing us, which I think would be catastrophic for mankind, or is it a city of hope that brings us together?
It is eternal to Jews, Christians and Muslims. And if you, you know, remember his holiness Pope Francis' message at Christmas, hoping that Jerusalem will be dealt with as part of a negotiated settlement, that the status quo is represented. So it's as important to Muslims as it is to Christians. And all the Christian church leaders in Jerusalem have asked Jordan to plea on their behalf to the United Nations and international communities.
So this is not just a one-off for -- for Jews and Muslims. This is a city that could either create tremendous problems for us in the future, or it is an umbrella that gives us hope on how we propel. And I've said this before, "strategic" is a Greek word. You won't find it in the Hebrew or Arabic dictionary. And I think that's one of the problems that we're facing.
So these decisions are made. What are we thinking of Jerusalem looking like down the road? And it could be a tremendous city that brings us together or it could create aggression and violence that we've never seen before.
ZAKARIA: There was some hope that among, certainly, Palestinians and Arabs, that while President Trump announced this move, the embassy wouldn't actually move. Vice President Pence now says the embassy will move next year. Would you urge delaying that actual move?
ABDULLAH: Well, again, it comes back to how do we look at this? So one part of the offers of peace has been Jerusalem to the Israelis. What is the incentive to the Palestinians?
We are all -- and I'm not saying just people in the Middle East, but our European and Western colleagues, are waiting for the peace proposal to be provided. The hiccup at the moment is, out of tremendous frustration, the Palestinians don't feel that the United States is an honest broker. But at the same time, they're reaching out to the Europeans, and I think, to me, that is a signal that they do want peace. How do we build the confidence and trust between the Palestinian leadership and the American leadership so that we can get Americans, Israelis and Palestinians at the table?
And again, we all know, and the Europeans, I think, are looking at this in a very positive light, that we cannot have a peace process or a peace solution without the role of the United States. So we have the next month or two. How do we bring everybody together? And what is the plan?
None of us -- we have ideas of what the plan is. Some people say it's a tough plan, which we have to be concerned about, but is it a good plan? And if the Palestinians, because the plan is not good, walk away, where do we go from there? And I think that's the problem.
ZAKARIA: And where -- where do we go? Because there are many Palestinians who now say that Bibi Netanyahu's government and many of the policies they have essentially make clear that the two-state solution is dead and that they should maybe start pursuing a one-state solution and simply asking for political rights within Israel.
ABDULLAH: So, going back to the strategic challenges, and this is a question that we have debated with our Israeli colleagues for a while, where do you see your future?
So if it's a one-state solution, is it a one-state solution with equal rights?
As we look at the Arab-Israeli demographics; we look at Palestinians under occupation, what we're basically discussing and have for a while is an apartheid system. Now, can we deal with this apartheid system and make it fair for everybody?
And it's not just the Arab, Israelis and -- and the Palestinians on the occupation. The second-class citizens are also the Muslims and Christians, Israelis, or those in the West Bank. So in my view, with the demographics, with the population changes, that's more challenging from -- from the Israeli perspective than the two-state solution.
ZAKARIA: Do you believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu still believes in a two-state solution? Or did he ever believe in one?
ABDULLAH: What we're seeing today -- we have to reserve judgment. I have my skepticism, but until the Americans show us the other part of the plan -- and I would imagine that the challenge that the Americans have with the Israelis is, if this is to make any sense, just to give something pretty good to the Palestinians, and I think that's the point where we'll see whether the Israelis will accept. But I have a feeling that the two-state solution the way that we envisage, is not the same two-state solution that they're looking at.
ZAKARIA: You're placing a lot of hope in this American plan. Do you have any realistic prospect that it will be ambitious and comprehensive?
ABDULLAH: Well, listen, you know, we've been at this for a while and looking always at the glass half full. I think we have to give the Americans the benefit of the doubt and all work together to make sure that we help the Americans, Israelis and Palestinians come together. However, in the very near future, if it is not a good plan and -- so the discussions a lot of us are having, "what is plan B" -- I don't think we've got a plan B at this stage. Or is that a one-state solution? And how do we do that in a positive way, where Israel is integrated and part of the future of the neighborhood? ZAKARIA: President Trump has said that he has made the last waiver on the Iran sanctions that he will make, which means there's a very distinct possibility that the United States will somehow withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. He says that he wants the Europeans to toughen it up. The Europeans have already said publicly they have no intention of doing so. They think the deal is a good deal and they believe Iran has abided by it. What happens if the United States unilaterally pulls out of the Iran nuclear deal?
ABDULLAH: Well, I think maybe ask the president tomorrow. I think the Jordanian position is, you know, we are fully supportive, and have been since our existence, of a nuclear-free zone for the Middle East, but for everybody. And the potential of nuclear weapons in our region is a pretty scary thing. We understand the American position and that of the Europeans. And I know that the Europeans and the United States are still talking about this issue. And I hope that they come to some sort of common understanding.
ZAKARIA: When we come back, Donald Trump told Anderson Cooper during the campaign that he thinks Islam hates America. I'll ask one of the world's most important Muslim leaders how he responds. Back in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think Islam is at war with the West?
PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP: I think Islam hates us. There's something -- there's something there that is a tremendous hatred there. There's a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: That was Donald Trump before he was president. I wanted to get King Abdullah of Jordan's take on it. The king's official biography says his lineage is traceable all the way back 42 generations, directly to the prophet Mohammed. He is also, of course, the custodian of the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem. The king has met with President Trump many times, so I wanted his view on the matter.
ZAKARIA: During the campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump said something, on CNN, actually. He said, "I think Islam hates us." By "us," I think he meant America. In your conversations with President Trump, have you tried to persuade him that that was not the case?
ABDULLAH: Absolutely, to all Americans. And whether I'm in Washington, in the Congress, or with the administration, I think maybe there's a lack of understanding of Islam. Islam is built on -- on moral virtues that you see in Christianity and Judaism and other religions. You know, it is not a religion of hate. We, as Muslims, believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. We believe in the holy Virgin Mother. We believe in the Bible and the Torah. And I think this is the way that all of us were brought up.
And I've said it before, when we all greet each other as Arabs and Muslims, we say, "As-salamu alaykum," "Peace be unto you." That is probably the most said sentence that anybody says from the minute he gets up in the morning until he goes to sleep at night.
And I think that is the basis of Islam. We have challenges, because there are fringe groups that have created problems. As I've said before, we have a fight inside of Islam. This is a civil war between all of us and those that not only consider us heretics, but consider Christians, Jews and other religions all heretics and should be put to the sword. The problem that we have now and maybe the lack of understanding is that it's us Muslims working side by side with Christians, Jews and other religions to fight the scourge, which is still going to be a long-term problem. This is not going to be something to be resolved. In other words, you know, as I've said, third world war by other means.
So in the United States, the challenge has to be -- I'm not so worried about the United States being affected by terrorists getting in. You know, the secure program on protecting the United States is quite robust. What you don't want -- and not just in the United States -- in my country or in Europe, is to have the Muslim population feeling victimized and isolated. And that creates a breeding ground of contempt, because everybody hates us. I'm more worried that the narrative creates more internal challenges of security if Muslims that -- at the end of the day, we all want a better life. We want a better future for our children and their children. For them to feel isolated, that's the danger. And the rhetoric that moves in that direction is not a good story for any of us.
ZAKARIA: But part of that rhetoric does still emanate out from Donald Trump. Every time there's a terror attack in Europe, he tweets about it. Do you sense in your meetings with him that you have been able to persuade him, or have you -- has this topic come up?
ABDULLAH: We have discussed this. And again, don't forget that, in our global fight against international terrorism, the United States is the most active partner in the world, not just with Jordan, but with Europe, the countries in Africa and the Far East. So they are our allies. And, you know, our relationship with the United States is institutional. I think that, you know, we are all partners in this global challenge.
ZAKARIA: Finally, let me ask you, Your Majesty, when you -- at Davos this year, there's a reasonable amount of optimism around the world. The United States is growing economically; Europe is growing; Japan is growing; China, India, Latin America is -- the Middle East has always been this one area where there isn't that much optimism. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the Middle East? ABDULLAH: Again, I think that the Middle East went through a very
important crossroads several years ago, Arab Spring. This was started by young people who wanted dynamic change in our region -- hijacked, unfortunately, by organized religious organization with an extremist agenda. But it is a crossroads that we're, I think, still getting through.
I've said to my Arab colleagues for many years -- I said, you know, a lot of the Middle East was looking -- always looked down on Africa. And I used to say, "Listen, you know, the Africans are talking to each other. They have proper trade with each other. They have military alliances that are working together. They're combating terrorism together." And as I see today, Africa has moved beyond where we are in the Middle East.
Now, is it that we're still overcoming the Arab Spring? But we need to get our act together and start to talk to each other. And I think, when you look at Africa, where a lot of Arab countries were looking down on, they're showing us an example of how to move in the right direction.
Your Majesty, thank you so much.
ABDULLAH: Always a pleasure.
ZAKARIA: The I.T. team working at the African Union in Addis Ababa made a startling discovery, according to an article published in the French daily Le Monde last week. It brings me to my question. Which country denied a report that it had been systemically spying on the African Union's headquarters? Was it the United States, Russia, China or France? Stay tuned and we'll tell you the correct answer.
My book of the week is "White Working Class" by Joan Williams, a very smart, caustic book that tries to understand the dynamic behind Donald Trump's legions of supporters. The author tries to explain to America's elites why the working class resents them, professionals, who tell them how to live, work, get educated, eat, dress and behave. It's tough love for a group that generally doesn't get much pushback.
The answer to the "GPS" challenge question is C. An investigation published in Le Monde found that African Union I.T. specialists working in the organization's Chinese-built headquarters discovered that a spike in web traffic had been occurring late every night when the building was empty, over a period of five years. The article alleges that the spike corresponded with transfers of data to servers in Shanghai and that hidden microphones were also discovered in the building.
This week, the Chinese ambassador to the African Union called the allegations preposterous and an A.U. spokeswoman also dismissed it.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.