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Austria's Far-Right Candidate Fails at Polls; Italy's "No" Camp Celebrates Results; Donald Trump Blasts China in New Round of Tweets; Holding Firm at Standing Rock. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired December 5, 2016 - 14:00:00   ET


[14:00:15] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, a mixed bag in Europe's latest elections, the far right populist presidential candidate loses in

Austria, while in Italy, the centrist Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigns after his reforms are rejected.

Our exclusive interview with the five-star movement deputy leader. That, of course, led the "no" vote.

And Former Prime Minister Mario Monti on what this all means for Italy and for the EU.

Also ahead, Trump's Twitter policy ruffling feathers in China. The Obama administration's top Asia official joins us.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

As populism surges in Europe, Austrians bucked the trend this weekend, voting in the Green Party's Alexander Van der Bellen who would run as an

independent over the far right candidate Norbert Hofer.

But in Italy, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi wasn't so lucky. The 41-year-old EU backer has just resigned after his proposed constitutional referendum to

reform and streamline Italian politics suffered a heavy defeat.

The "no" campaign was led by the comedian Beppe Grillo's populist Five Star Movement.

The political landscape across the west is dramatically changing. Just look at this photo from June of last year. U.S. President Barack Obama,

French President Francois Hollande, the former British leader David Cameron and the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. All of these men going, going


Note, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel is not waving. She's staying on to fight for a fourth term next year.

So as the Five Star Movement celebrates, its deputy leader Luigi Di Maio tells me now is the time for new elections in Italy.


AMANPOUR: Mr. Di Maio, welcome to our program.

LUIGI DI MAIO, DEPUTY LEADER, FIVE STAR MOVEMENT (through translator): Thank you.

AMANPOUR: So you won. You got the no that you wanted in this referendum. And Mr. Renzi, the prime minister has resigned. What do you think has to

happen next?

DI MAIO (through translator): Now, this is the time to have elections as soon as possible in Italy. We want political elections as soon as

possible, and do it very, very quickly.

AMANPOUR: Everybody talks about you as a potential Five Star prime ministerial candidate. But can I ask you, already your Five Star

officials, who have been elected, have not had a great run. I was able to interview as her first international interview, the mayor of Rome, Virginia

Raggi. And since then, she has had a huge amount of trouble.

Are you up to being prime minister? Can your party actually govern, or is it a protest party?

DI MAIO (through translator): Why have they had problems in Rome? What has happened? It is the political parties that have been creating

obstacles and creating hurdle that have to be overcome.

Perhaps we didn't expect to find a city like Rome, where things weren't working properly. But this is also valid for the government, who wants to

govern the country.

You are asking will we be able to change Italy. Certainly, we will have a government where our hands will be free, we'll be able to work without

Renzi's government.

There was money from Etruria Bank, but we know very well who used to finance Mr. Renzi, and who he was really governing for.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you, finally, a very important question. And as you know, it is about fake news, which has been a real problem in the last

several elections and in the last several years.

There are accusations against the Five Star Movement, that it is perpetrating and sending around fake news, including stuff that appears in


I know you have denied it, but I want you to specifically address these issues in the newspapers. For instance, one of your sites recently had a

video that had been on Russia today, which allegedly showed people, you said, protesting against Matteo Renzi and the referendum. In fact, it

turns out that they were supporting him and his reform.

And in another one, which Mr. Grillo himself posted recently in a Piazza in Naples suggesting the crowds had come to protest Mr. Renzi, and in fact, it

turned out, it was a picture of a large audience gathered to hear Pope Francis.

There was a problem there, Mr. Di Maio, isn't there?

DI MAIO (through translator): When you use social network, there may be errors, but the accusation to have cyber attacks in our movement, Five

Star Movement, and this fake news online, that is really -- has no foundations. Today, Five Star Movement, we warn people to be careful. And

I have read myself many fake Web sites and news. But it is the old political parties who are doing this.

It is the state TV, private TV, and they often try to do this.

AMANPOUR: Just to finally wrap this up, Mr. Di Maio, are you going to take this seriously in your party and advise even your party leader, Mr. Grillo

to stop re-tweeting or posting fake news sites, in other words, to pay much more attention to this? Because the one I've mentioned was posted by Mr.

Beppe Grillo himself?

DI MAIO (through translator): There is no need to advise Mr. Grillo. We are very aware and careful about the media. We are leader, when it comes

to social media. We are leaders there. We know what we're doing. We know how to manage this and we have strategies. If there have been errors, we

apologize, but absolutely, it is not intended and it's not part of our policy or structure as newspapers have said.

AMANPOUR: Luigi Di Maio, thank you very much indeed for joining us from Rome tonight.


AMANPOUR: Now we're just hearing some news that is crossing on Reuters that the Italian president who met with Matteo Renzi, the prime minister

today, has asked him to delay his resignation at least until the next Italian budget is passed, which we understand should be within the next few

days. That is the headline of the moment. That Matteo Renzi went to offer his resignation, but he has been asked by the president to delay it for a

few days.


AMANPOUR: So what does all this mean?

Mario Monti is a former Italian prime minister and a former EU commissioner. He also voted "no" in the Renzi referendum and he joins us

now from Brussels to explain all of this.

Prime Minister Monti, thank you for joining us.

Can I just first ask you very quickly what is the -- are you surprised by the president apparently asking the prime minister to stay on at least for

another few days to get the budget passed?

MARIO MONTI, FORMER ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER: No, not at all. In my own experience when I handed over my resignation at the end of my period as

prime minister to president of the republic, Napolitano. It was 8th of December of 2012, and we agreed that I would formalize that resignation

only once the budget had been passed by parliament, which took 13 days. So this is perfectly in line with the precedence.

AMANPOUR: OK. Except, of course, in this case, he has suffered a huge defeat at the referendum, but nonetheless, we'll see how that plays out.

What do you make of Mr. Di Maio's, Luigi Di Maio's call for immediate elections, not to wait until when they're scheduled in 2018?

MONTI: I do not agree with this. We will see what the president of the republic decides. But I think to be fair that the international media

grossly misunderstands what happened in Italy yesterday, because this was not a political election.

It is true that Mr. Renzi unwisely had so dramatically personalized it, but it was a referendum on a change in the constitution, for example. I

believe nobody would suspect me of being a populist or of being against the European Union, yet I voted no. And I know so many people who followed a

similar path.

So this is not a victory of populism, and this is not a victory of anti-EU movements.


MONTI: Having said that, we know that in Italy there are populists, quite like in other countries in Europe and elsewhere, but it's not that

yesterday, they scored a major success. It is Mr. Renzi, who --


AMANPOUR: Yes. Sorry, I understand what you're saying. I just want to jump in. If it's not a populist movement and it wasn't a political

referendum, what --

MONTI: Exactly.

AMANPOUR: Yes. So what does it mean then if it's about trying to streamline Italy? Does it mean that Italy is unreformable? I mean, many,

many people believe that, you know, a country that's had 65 governments and 41 prime ministers since the end of World War II needs some kind of

constitutional or some kind of reform.

Why did you vote against it?

MONTI: Because I do not believe having started it in-depth that it would deliver the promised changes. As a matter of fact, my considered view is

that that constitution reform would have brought about more lengthy and more confused legislative processes, and would have brought to the national

forefront members of the political class from the regions and from the municipalities, which as a matter of fact, in the last 15 years or so, have

been those characterized by most incompetent government and most corrupt government, of course, with a few exceptions.

So nothing against a constitutional reform. I was not persuaded at all by this constitutional reform.

AMANPOUR: OK, very briefly. Do you think that if there is an election, whatever it is called, the populist Five Star Movement will win? And if

so, what does that mean for Europe?

MONTI: I do not see that victory as most likely. It would not be good news for Europe. I must say that in the last year or so, even Mr. Renzi,

like other prime ministers in Europe, exercised quite a bit of anti-EU populism in his rhetoric against Brussels, against the European Union. So

it is not that he was determined and stronger EU backer as I said at the beginning, Christiane.

He also exploited a bit increasingly so the EU to try to get more political consensus by bashing it.

AMANPOUR: I think he was also doing a lot of bashing on the refugee crisis, because your country has faced a huge influx and the EU has failed

to come up with any kind of fair distribution.

Mario Monti, I wish we had longer to talk. We'll come back to you another time as these progresses in your country.

Thank you so much, indeed, for joining us.

MONTI: Thank you very much.


AMANPOUR: And back to the very real dangers of very fake news.

A 28-year-old gunman in the United States has been charged with assault after police say that he went into a pizzeria in Washington this weekend

with a gun. They say he was threatening to shoot the staff. Now, why?

Because he had read the totally false online conspiracy theory claiming that Hillary Clinton and her campaign team were running a pedophile ring

from the restaurant, that's according to what the police say. That, of course, was a completely false report. But the gunman did actually fire

his weapon. Luckily, no one was hurt this time.

And coming up, presidential policy or what? Donald Trump tweets angrily at China. Is this the future for relations between the world's two greatest

powers? We ask, after this.


[14:15:45] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

It's the most important bilateral relationship in the world, the one between the United States and China, and it is complicated. Economically,

the countries need each other, but at times feel cheated. They often disagree on foreign policy, on human rights, but they rely on each other in

critical areas, like North Korea and Iran.

With the two largest economies and militaries in the world, navigating the diplomacy is delicate to say the least. But nuance is not the currency of

America's president-elect. Donald Trump unleashed a Twitter tirade against China this weekend just after he broke decades of long-standing American

policy by speaking on the phone to Taiwan's president.

Kurt Campbell is the former assistant secretary of state to East Asian and Pacific Affairs and has spent his entire diplomatic career working on

American policy in Asia. So he is joining me now from Washington to try to break all this down.

Kurt Campbell, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: When you heard about this phone call and saw the readout, what did you think? Deliberate, mistake? What did you think?

CAMPBELL: Well, I would say that my initial thought was that this was in fact a courtesy call. I think probably some of the advisors around the

President-elect Trump thought, well, this would be a signal that could be sent that new administration was going to be tougher and firmer. But I

don't think they anticipated this as being part of the major strategic re- look. They're just not at that stage yet.

And so in many respects, the original impetus behind the call is now sort of the ancient history. It has become such a big deal that it's going to

require much more immediate attention. Now it's interesting, just very quickly, to look at how the Chinese originally responded. They were

prepared to give Trump and his team the benefit of the doubt. They've seen this story line before. And they were going to put the blame on Taiwan for

mischievous actions. But now we're in a different circumstance with the president-elect doubling down.

AMANPOUR: That's what I wanted to explore, because they did do this demarche to the United States. I mean, how do you account for the doubling


CAMPBELL: Well, look, I think, you know, if we've learned anything from Mr. Trump, it's not just his unpredictability, when pushed or challenged,

if anything, he tends to take a firmer position. I think he has done so in this case.

In truth, you talk about the importance of the China relationship. It's extremely important. But we also have a pretty impressive and important

unofficial relationship with Taiwan, which as you indicated, we seek to balance overtime.

I think what is not as widely understood is that this is one of the few areas that can essentially create immediate tensions between Beijing and

Washington that are difficult, particularly for Chinese leaders to deal with.

And so I think right off the bat, there is likely to be substantial tension, not just on the traditional issues of macro economic policy and

trade and the South China Sea, but now, about whether the United States is prepared to challenge some of the fundamental aspects of how we have

managed the official relationship with China and the unofficial one with Taiwan.

AMANPOUR: Well, you talked a moment ago about some of the macro policies. I mean, the specifics of Trump's angry tweets last night were against

Beijing -- currency manipulation, taxing U.S. products, building a military complex in the middle of the South China Sea.

Break each one of those down for us. Was it right for Donald Trump to raise these issues?

CAMPBELL: Well, look, I think the first question is, is this the right manner in which to do it in a tweet. Each of these issues is complex.

It's undeniably the case that the relationship between the United States and China is going to get much more difficult. No matter who the president

was, China is a near pure power with the United States.

[14:20:00] It has its own regional ambitions. They push up against us in a number of circumstances.

I think the area where the president-elect has taken the firmest stand is on issues associated with trade. Dumping currency manipulation, and I

think he has indicated in both his tweets and his public statements that he is going to go after China in this respect.

And I think that's probably the area that China's interlocutors had been most anxious about and are preparing how to respond. President Xi, as

you've seen, has taken a very firm stance that two can play at this game. That China has its own concerns and interests, and they're not going to

just sit by as the United States takes unilateral steps against China. So this is the beginning of a complex interplay.

The problem, though, is that given what's happened in China, Christiane, is that policy in China is made by one person, President Xi Jinping. I think

in the United States, we're increasingly going to go in a situation in which what matters most are the views of one person, President-elect Trump.

And so the only way really to deal with this is a relationship between the two men, which will be fraught and difficult and probably can't come during

the first couple of months of a new administration.

So this period is challenging, given that no one really knows who the key interlocutors are, who speaks for the president-elect.

AMANPOUR: Right. And you just raised something really interesting. That the two individuals are going to have to manage this relationship. Very


Kurt Campbell, thank you very much indeed for joining us.

CAMPBELL: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And when we come back, we have a special report on an issue vital to Native Americans, the Dakota oil pipeline's path through their

sacred land. Imagining a victory for the little guy -- next.


AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a victory for America's indigenous people. In North Dakota, the Sioux tribe had been fighting to protect

their land and the river that runs through it from the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline.

It was set to plough through sacred sites and the Missouri River. And our Sara Sidner has this report on how they've been pushing back with major



SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Drum beats, cheers and tears. The sound of victory for the standing Rock Sioux and thousands of others

gathered to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. This massive humanity living off the grid joined by thousands of military veterans helped exert so much

political and legal pressure as effectively force the pipeline to be re- routed.

ARVOL LOOKING HORSE, KEEPER OF WHITE BUFFALO CALF PIPE: The people will have said that. Now, this is a, either we make it or break it. And I

guess we made it.

[14:25:10] SIDNER: The pipeline was almost to the river when it was halted by the army corps of engineers, so they could take another look at its

path. Sunday, they decided it was a no-go.

For months the Sioux nation had been demanding the project be scrapped, they were convinced the pipeline carrying crude oil underneath the Missouri

River would one day leak, poisoning the drinking water of millions down river.

DALLAS GOLDTOOTH, CAMP TRIBAL HEADSMAN: This is too much of a risk to be drinking water, to the thousands of people at the Standing Rock Sioux

Nation. Too much risk for the sacred sites all along that route in this area and too much risk for us as a planet.

SIDNER: The pipeline's planned route did not go through Indian reservation land, but the tribe argued the water is part of treaty land and therefore

they too must, agree on its path.

(on-camera): So you were offered $5 million and some land by both the landowners and the Dakota Access Pipeline?


SIDNER: And your response to that was?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want the land, we don't want money.

SIDNER (voice-over): Instead they wanted to protect the water.

As the spiritual leader of this camp, Lee Plenty Wolf, has been praying for divine intervention. He says his people foretold of a dangerous force that

would lead to ruin.

(On-camera): What are the prophecies?

LEE PLENTY WOLF, SPIRITUAL LEADER, STANDING ROCK SIOUX TRIBE: Well, ours is the black snake, which is the pipeline, the oil. The blood of

(INAUDIBLE) and they are sucking that all out. It is self-destruction. A fast road to self-destruction.

SIDNER (voice-over): North Dakota's governor says the pipeline was 95 percent complete. The company was waiting on that final permit. It's not

getting it. It seemed to be a blessing to the Standing Rock Sioux.

CHASE IRON EYES, STANDING ROCK SIOUX TRIBESMAN: What we see has never been seen before in the written history of our people. We have never known a

time when non-native American allies from around the country, around the world, have come here in the dead of winter to stand with us, to stand

together to call for a new day.

SIDNER: But then, energy partners responded saying, this is simply a political move by the Obama administration that won't stop the pipeline

from going under the river. They contend the latest decision changes nothing. They have every legal right to continue. And with that, the

celebrations could be short-lived.

EYES: As far as, you know, into the future, there's no guarantee that this is going to stand. If President-elect Trump could override what just

happened today on January 20th and grant that easement, then we're in for a world of hurt. Nothing has changed for us.


AMANPOUR: And all sides waiting to fight another day presumably.

That is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at and follow me on Facebook and

Twitter. Thanks for watching, and goodbye from London.