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Trump Won't Commit to Accepting Election Results; History Lessons for the Refugee Crisis

Aired October 20, 2016 - 14:00:00   ET


[14:00:15] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, Donald Trump puts American democracy firmly in the firing line refusing to say whether he'll

accept the election results should he lose. Two Republicans dissect the third and final U.S. presidential debate.

Also ahead, filmmaker Ken Burns on his new documentary, "Defying the Nazis." The lesson for war refugees today from the tragic history of World

War II.


KEN BURNS, FILMMAKER: We had essentially a state department that was rife with anti-Semites. We had quotas that permitted small numbers of refugees.

On the eve of the Second World War and during it. That made it impossible for us to be a mitigating factor in relieving a refugee crisis. That's

only slightly greater than the refugee crisis we're having now.


AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York, where tonight Hillary Clinton and Donald

Trump will again be in the same room this time at a charity dinner. But it was last night in Las Vegas at the final presidential debate that the

Republican candidates shocked his own country and much of the world by refusing to confirm the legitimacy of America's Democratic process.


CHRIS WALLACE, DEBATE MODERATOR: I want to ask you here on the stage tonight: Do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely -- sir,

that you will absolutely accept the result of this election?

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I will look at it at the time. I'm not looking at anything now. I'll look at it at the time.

WALLACE: Are you saying you're not prepared now to --


TRUMP: What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I will keep you in suspense.


AMANPOUR: And Trump is sticking to his line, doubling down on his remarks earlier today at a rally in Ohio.


TRUMP: I would like to promise and pledge, to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States, that I will

totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election if I win.


AMANPOUR: Even a critical mass of Republicans are aghast at this unprecedented position.

Bret Stephens, who is the foreign affairs columnist and the deputy editorial page editor at "The Wall Street Journal," the bastion of

conservatism, tweeted, "Trump's answer on accepting the outcome of the vote is the most disgraceful statement by a presidential candidate in 160


And many Republicans are following suit with that kind of denunciation. And so joining me now to discuss are two Republicans: Jan Halper-Hayes, who

is the former vice president of Republicans Overseas, who supports Trump's candidacy and veteran Republican pollster, Neil Newhouse, who does not.

Let me welcome you both. Neil, I said who does not. Because we know that you are a Jeb Bush supporter.

So the question is, who are you going to vote for when you get into that polling booth on Election Day?

NEIL NEWHOUSE, VETERAN REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: That's a hell of a question. That's between me, my wife and probably the voting machine. I'm not going

to be voting for Hillary Clinton. But I haven't yet decided. So that's -- this is, it's very tough for me.

I did the polling for the Mitt Romney campaign. I love Mitt. I kind of wish he had run this year. I like Jeb. I worked for his campaign. But

I'm not, I'm not sold on, on Donald Trump.

AMANPOUR: Well, I said that you don't support, because again you're a Jeb supporter, as you've just said.

What do you make of the impact of what Trump said yesterday about whether he would accept the vote or not?

NEWHOUSE: Christiane, I think it's an irresponsible comment and it reflects the kind of naivete of a novice political candidate, who really

doesn't understand how elections are run in this country.

Elections are run here, locally. Each county, each city run their own elections. This is not like the federal government is going to try to rig

something. These are all state and local campaigns and local elections.

To say, to put out a statement like that, to undercut the validity of the vote count and Election Day, is irresponsible. I'm just -- what that does

for the democracy of this country is it undermines the things that we believed in and way -- the foundation of the country was started on.

I think it's terrible for the system. And he did try to correct that a little bit later on in that speech he gave today. But the feeling is still

left in people's minds. That there's something odd, there's something rigged. And so if election day, after any kind of irregularities, it may

not be a pretty picture.

[14:05:21] AMANPOUR: So let me then move over to Jan Halper-Hayes because this is really significant, not just in America, Jan, but also overseas,

where you've been representing Republicans.

I mean, there are reports all over the world today, saying you know, if you really want a rigged election, come to X, Y and Z country, which I'm not

going to name right now. But the many we know, who really do have a corrupt and rigged process.

How are you able to defend Trump today if you can, on this issue?

JAN HALPER-HAYES, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT, REPUBLICANS OVERSEAS: Well, I have two comments, one, when he answered the question about the Supreme

Court, and he wanted constitutionalists and he valued the constitution. The fact is that he should accept the results of the election, because that

is also part of our constitution.

Secondly, is I think people -- look, the majority of people don't like him and they just judge him. And you are not seeing the fact that he did this

purposefully, and he's occupying the media waves again.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, because obviously the American system of democracy is moral values, human rights, all the things that go with being

America, is what America definitely tries to export around the world. How dangerous and damaging is it for America's global leadership, to have this

kind of comment from a major presidential candidate.

HALPER-HAYES: Well, I think we've got a couple of issues here. First off, Donald Trump is everything, the worst of everything about what's happened

to our culture, with reality TV.

But Hillary is the worst about our corrupt government. And it is a huge dilemma. 45 percent of people polled said that they don't care about


It's a very difficult thing, because do we look at what the country needs? Do we look at the issues that we're losing sight of? The economy, jobs,

national security? Or do we say -- this goes against my values so much, I don't care if he could be a good leader, I can't vote for him?

AMANPOUR: All right. Let me move on to what happens the day after, no matter who wins on November 8th.

Neil, you said you wish Romney was in the game again.


AMANPOUR: Romney has said that it will take somebody of Churchillian stature to put this party back together again. In other words, the

Republican Party. That he doesn't even know whether it can be healed.

What do you think, can it be? Or what will it take to make this a proper opposition again or a united party again?

NEWHOUSE: Look, Christiane, I think you first start with -- you're trying to put the country back together again. You're going to have, if Hillary

Clinton is elected president, you're going to have the most unpopular first-term president in history.

She's going to have a hard time pulling people together inside the country, much less, you know, Republicans on the Hill.

I think, I think our country faces major problems after this election. And if anybody thinks Donald Trump is going to go away somehow, that he's not

going to play a factor in this, I think they're sorely mistaken. But to the issues within the Republican Party, you know, we thought this election

would be between can the tea party win the party, which is kind of Ted Cruz and then against a mainstream candidate like a Marco Rubio or a Chris

Christie or Jeb Bush.

And that now just got blown up over the last eight months. And we kind of kicked the can down the road. But there's going to be a major struggle for

power within our party and for domination. That is going to be played out on the House floor. Because you know, Paul Ryan has to run for speaker of

the House again.

And in, you know, county committees and state parties across the country, this is not easy to solve. This is -- we're going to take -- it's going to

take four years for us to get our act together.

AMANPOUR: So that's for the U.S.

Jan, from your perspective in London, you also saw another issue -- both of the candidates, you know essentially going at each other over who is the

smartest and the strongest, vis-a-vis other leaders, and obviously the issue of Trump and the Putin factor.

What do you hear from around the world? And how concerned are you, with the, the notion that Trump may be getting help from Russia in this election


[14:10:05] HALPER-HAYES: Well, you know, Hillary said 17 different agencies said so. But what strikes me is how could they have figured it

out so quickly when they haven't been able to figure out hacking of other things that quickly? But if, if Putin is messing with our election, I

think it's very, very serious.

AMANPOUR: How do you -- let me just --


NEWHOUSE: Christiane?

AMANPOUR: Yes, carry on. We've got very, very short time. So 15 seconds, Neil.

NEWHOUSE: Well, it's -- most interesting thing is Vladimir Putin is more popular among Republicans than Hillary Clinton and more popular among

Democrats than Donald Trump.


AMANPOUR: Well, that is an interesting statistic. Very quickly then, last word, Jan. With all that you've just said, why and how do you still

support Donald Trump?

HALPER-HAYES: Well, for me, it's the issues. And I will vote a straight Republican ticket. For two and a half years, I've worked on a lawsuit to

repeal the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act that is making life very difficult for 8.7 million overseas Americans.

There's the Supreme Court, there's tax reform. So those are the issues that I care about. I don't like the idea of a 65 percent increase for the

death tax. I don't believe that we should be spending -- I think that we should repatriate the money.

AMANPOUR: All right, Jan Halper-Hayes, Neil Newhouse, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

NEWHOUSE: Christiane, thank you.

HALPER-HAYES: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And while Trump raised his signature border wall as we know during the debate last night, protesters brought it up outside. Building

their own great wall of taco trucks around Trump's Las Vegas hotel in a rally, which actually was organized by the Culinary Workers Union.

Well, when we come back, prolific director Ken Burns gives his take on the debate and he talks about his new film, "Defying the Nazis: The Sharps'

War," that's after this.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

The war in Syria long ignored throughout this presidential campaign got a look-in last night when Donald Trump used his Putin analogy with Assad.


TRUMP: And now she's going to say, oh, he loves Assad. She's -- he's just much tougher and much smarter than her and Obama.

If she did nothing, we'd be in much better shape. And this is what's caused the great migration, where she's taking in tens of thousands of Syrian

refugees, who probably in many cases -- not probably, who are definitely...

WALLACE: Let me --

TRUMP: many cases, ISIS-aligned, and we now have them in our country, and wait until you see -- this is going to be the great Trojan

horse. And wait until you see what happens in the coming years. Lots of luck, Hillary. Thanks a lot for doing a great job.


AMANPOUR: So if you look at the numbers, there are in fact very few and yet even those are the most heavily vetted Syrian war refugees here in

America. And, historically, this country regretfully has a shameful past. Having refused tens of thousands of Jewish refugees from Hitler during the

World War II era.

My next guest is perfectly placed to discuss these issues. As a documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has produced definitive histories of

everything from America's founding, to its civil war, World War II and even national parks.

[14:15:15] His latest "Defying The Nazis" tells the incredible story of Waitstill and Martha Sharp an American couple that abandoned their

comfortable life to ferry children out of Europe in 1939.

I asked him about the lessons for today, and of course, the historic precedent of Trump's relationship with the Democratic process.


AMANPOUR: Ken Burns, welcome back to our program.

BURNS: Thank you for having me.

AMANPOUR: Here we are talking again amidst this very unprecedented election.

What do you make first and foremost of the major Republican candidate refusing to accept the legitimacy of the process even before the vote is


BURNS: It's unprecedented. I don't recognize my country anymore. This is so terrifying. I think this is an existential moment for the United States

of America. I think this is the greatest threat since the Cuban missile crisis and the Second World War for how we're going to be. And what kind

of people we want to be and what kind of constitution we want to adhere to.

We've been unprecedented in the world in that we've had 216 years of the smooth transition of power. And he is implying that no matter what

happens, it's not going to be that way. And that's -- that's just unprecedented.

AMANPOUR: We want to talk obviously about your film, "Defying the Nazis: The Sharps' War," which is about World War II. But I want to ask you about

something that a conservative, a Republican has written in the "L.A. Times," about this myth of rigging, the myth of losing that Donald Trump

has been putting around.

He said it's very dangerous and reprehensible. He's creating his own version of the stabbed in the back myth. Propagated by German rightists

after World War I, who claim that the German army had not really lost that war. It had been betrayed by Jews and Marxists.

Is history sort of repeating itself in this victim hood myth?

BURNS: It is. It's a very effective political tool in the short run. And they are playing -- the Trump campaign is taking a play, their playbook is

out of the national socialist party in Germany.

In every regard, the dog whistles of race and immigration. Hitler said let's make Germany great again. I mean, you have all of the simplistic

messaging without anything to back it up and certainly no qualifications. That makes it so dangerous.

And the fact that he's been able to promote himself so well. Manipulated media so that he's had three-plus billion dollars of free media over the

course of the last year plus is a kind of terrifying thing that there might be something mechanically endemic to all of us that permits this to rise.

And our real work begins on November 9th. The only way you can save the country in the long-term, and not keep this sort of large dissatisfied

group of people who have been manipulated, is to take the air out of their tires. To say -- look, we can get things done here. And just let's settle

down because the democratic way is the only way to do it, as messy and as complicated as it is.

AMANPOUR: You mean democratic with a small D?

BURNS: With a small D. That is compromise. And all of the things that we have not been doing lately. That will take the wind out of the sails of

this terrifying movement, which Trump has, has decided to lead and plans to go beyond it.

Rigging the election is the biggest canard I have ever heard. And we should just -- I can't believe that he would win any state, because of that

statement that he made last night. That he wouldn't -- argue -- that he would let us know later whether he was going to say there is rigging.

AMANPOUR: So that many people have found a defining moment of this late last stretch of the campaign.

Another set of issues, which you highlight in your new film, is the fight over immigrants, refugees, the victimization, the denigration of them. I

want to play a clip from your film, "Defying The Nazis: The Sharps' War" precisely about children, who are trying to escape -- Jewish children --

the clutches of the Nazis.


UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: And I come from France and I saw a lot of misery. There wasn't anything to eat. And there was lots of bombardment and I saw

-- and I saw lots of people killed.


AMANPOUR: Describe for us, remind us the terrible way the United States and the West behaved to Jews trying to escape Hitler before the

concentration camps.

BURNS: We had essentially a State Department that was rife with anti- Semites. We had quotas that permitted small numbers of refugees on the eve of the Second World War and during it, that made it impossible for us to be

a mitigating factor in relieving a refugee crisis, that's only slightly greater than the refugee crisis we're having now.

And what we've added to the mix here is a very public and overt racism that says, look, we don't want these kinds of people. And German immigrants in

the United States should understand that happened to them. Irish immigrants should understand that had happened to them. Chinese and

Japanese immigrants that happened to them at a different time. And now we're sort of saying because there is a Muslim terrorist somewhere, that we

have to completely block the door to all the Muslims.

[14:20:25] That would be like white people having to take responsibility for the actions of Dylan Rooof, who is the young man who assassinated,

murdered the churchgoers in Charleston a year and a half ago. That would be, let's be careful about white people now. That has the same logic.

Let's just put it in another way, because the "Sharps' War" I think is about potentiality. That is to say when you say six million Jews, what do

you mean? It's so opaque, you can't get in there. But if you see on the edges of the holocaust, you know, the representations of the couple hundred

people that the Sharps saved and you see a couple dozen of them and you look at what they became, Professor Merita (ph) of mathematics or Russian

or whatever it is, you realize that each one of those six million was a person, too, filled with potentiality. So let's go back to the current

situation. Steve Jobs' father was a Syrian refugee.

AMANPOUR: I know putting it like that, very personal. Let's not forget that according to the United States themselves, the Department of Homeland

Security, all the sort of screening departments, spend about two years before they allow Syrian refugees into here, vetting.

They are the most vetted of the immigrants into the United States. And very few have been allowed in so far.

But what made you do the "Sharps War?" I mean, there's so much, you know, you know post Nazi art, culture, literature, warnings or just story

telling, what made you want to tell this particular story?

BURNS: My friend, Artemis Joukowsky, the grandson of the Sharps, had been trying to struggle to figure out how to tell his grandparent's story for a

long time.

It is a Unitarian minister and his wife leaving the comforts of their middle class existence in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where the biggest drama

is probably what he is going to say each Sunday during his sermon.

And within a month, they're in Prague, dodging Gestapo agents, laundering money in foreign capitals and saving Jews and other refugees from the

holocaust on the eve of the Second World War. And once the Second World War begins, they go back to Southern France to Vichy, France, and start

getting laureates and distinguished professors and writers out of Southern France, over the Pyrenees Mountains, through Spain, to Portugal and to the

United States including a group of children, that Martha Sharp, the wife did and sort of the pioneering model, if you will, of how you do these

kinds of rescues.

AMANPOUR: And the kinder transport.

BURNS: The kinder transport, where she watches take place so poignantly in Prague on a snowy day, and these parents are trying to keep up a good


I mean, the great poignancy of this, that always strikes me whenever I'm looking at it is someone says in the film, that we think to protect our

kids, we hold them close and that's exactly what I do with my kids.

But there's a time, there was a time when giving them to strangers, insure their safety. And there's something horrible about that. I screen the

film in Los Angeles. And two survivors of the camps came up to me, 90- year-old women and said -- is this going to happen again? And I was so infuriated. She thought that somehow the echoes of the Trump candidacy,

were the echoes that she had heard as a German Jew, or a Polish Jew, whatever she was, and realizing that their world was getting pretty tiny.

And with our two oceans protecting us and the kind of beacon that we've represented to immigrants over time, I was outraged at the idea that this

thought should even enter the mind of women who had survived the greatest holocaust in human history.

AMANPOUR: Thank you very much for joining us.

BURNS: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: A real lesson from history.

And a quick postscript on the perils of populists defying history. In Bosnia this week, the newly-elected Bosnian Serb mayor of Srebrenica

refuses to accept the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys was a genocide. This despite convictions and rulings by the international


After a break, imagine a world tearing down barriers and building up tolerance and kindness? Imagine the Jewish and Muslim hairdressers side by

side, proving that they are indeed a cut above the rest, in London, that's next.


[14:22:00] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, as people and politics move further apart, we imagine a world of coming together on the streets of

London, where two barbers, a Muslim, Hussein Jamali (ph) and his Jewish colleague Andy Sasby (ph) work together.

By day, they are high-end hairdressers, but in their spare time, they've taken to the streets to give a free trim to those in need.

This video shows them celebrating the first week of the Islamic and Jewish new years, which happen to fall on the same week by giving free haircuts to

the homeless and helping to give them back a sense of empowerment. It is something they say they find spiritually and personally enriching.

And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online any time at and follow me on

Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and good-bye from New York.