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Trump's Break Week and Russian Hacking Fallout; Kremlin Calls U.S. Hacking Claims a "Witch Hunt"; Georgians Accuse Russia of Advancing Border; Planned Parenthood President Vows to Fight for Funding; Culture Clash
Aired January 9, 2017 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:23] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, from New York, a big week over at Trump Tower for the U.S. president-elect as he gears up for
confirmation hearings for his cabinet picks and his first news conference since July. All that as the Kremlin accuses U.S. intelligence of, quote,
"Being on a witch-hunt."
Joining me live, the former deputy secretary of state and one time ambassador to Russia, William Burns.
Also ahead, Meryl Streep and Donald Trump go head-to-head in the latest round of culture wars.
What will the new U.S. administration mean for women's right facing federal defunding? Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, joins me
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York.
With less than two weeks before he's sworn in and with his top picks for cabinet about to be grilled on Capitol Hill, Donald Trump continues to push
back on the U.S. intelligence community's findings that Russia meddled in its presidential election, even as a declassified report concluded that
President Vladimir Putin himself ordered a hacking campaign aimed at helping Trump.
While Donald Trump acknowledge after meeting with the nation's top intelligence officials, the possibility that Russia could have been behind
the cyberattack, he downplayed it by listing China as another persistent cyber hacker.
The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied that Moscow had any involvement and described the allegations as looking like a "full-scale witch hunt."
With Trump promising a new relationship with Putin, the question that troubles many in the United States as well as America's western allies is
on whose terms especially at a time when Moscow continues to flex its military muscle and inch further and further into its neighbor's space as
CNN's Erin McLaughlin just found out.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For Georgians this is the enduring wounds of the 2008 war. Razor wire fencing scars the landscape. Green
signs offers up an ominous warning. Just beyond is the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
We're only allowed to get this close in the company of Georgian security forces or E.U. monitors. They say it's for our own protection. After all,
the Russians are watching. It's here that we meet him Dato Vanishvili, Georgian. The 82-year-old is the face of this frozen conflict.
DATO VANISHVILI, GEORGIAN RESIDENT (through translator): I am from South Ossetia from Georgia. I am Vanishvili, a Georgian citizen.
MCLAUGHLIN: After he went out one day to an errand he returned to find his home in Russian controlled South Ossetia. The razor wires slicing his land
and permanently separating him from the country he calls home.
When you first saw this fence here how did you feel?
VANISHVILI (through translator): I was angry when they came. They said it was Russian territory, so if you don't want to be from Russia, leave.
Where should I go? Help me, if you can.
VANISHVILI: To locals it's known as the creeping border, although Georgian officials are load to use the term. They call it the line of occupation.
To the Russians, South Ossetia is an independent state and their military is here by invitation.
With each passing year the line steadily moves forward swallowing farmland even entire villages. Independent monitor says each encroachment is a
violation of international law and no one on the Georgian controlled side of the line seems to know exactly where the line is.
AMANPOUR: So Erin's report there just a microcosm of what Russia is up to in its near abroad and indeed abroad.
So joining me now from Washington is the former deputy secretary of state William Burns, who has also served as ambassador to Russia.
Secretary Burns, welcome to the program.
I wonder, whether in light of what Erin has just reported and also the response from Russia, Peskov -- Dmitry Peskov calling the U.S. intelligence
amateurish and on a witch-hunt regarding the hacking conclusions, what do you make of that from your vantage point?
WILLIAMS BURNS, FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: Hi, Christian. First, it's very nice to be with you again.
[14:05:00] I think the evidence that has been presented publicly by all of the American intelligence agencies is compelling about Russian
responsibility for recent cyber hacking in our elections. And I think the broader point is that there are some built-in tensions in U.S.-Russian
relations, which are likely to limit what's possible in relations for some time to come.
I mean, certainly it's a big important relationship. There are going to be elements of cooperation and common ground which we need to try to identify
and build upon as we've done through administrations of both parties in recent years. But the honest answer is there will also going to be large
elements of competition and that the relationship is going to be sometimes adversarial.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you about how to then navigate a future relationship.
You've got on the one hand Donald Trump not fully publicly acknowledging his own intelligence agencies findings. It seems to have been bolstered
across the board and also apparently gotten some good input from a serious ally, the UK's intelligence. That, and you've also got Donald Trump's own
voters are written in the "New York Times" openly skeptical of U.S. intelligence.
Just that as a starting point for a new administration trying to forge a new relationship with an adversarial power, how does -- what kind of
advantage or disadvantage does that put the U.S. at?
BURNS: Well, I think it's a disadvantage to misperceive the challenge that, you know, the behavior of Putin's Russia has posed to the United
States. And I think the cyber hacking and the, you know, involvement in our election, interference in our election is a quiet serious breach. And
it requires the kind of response that the current administration has already laid out.
So it seems to me the starting point is to make clear that, you know, there's going to be no back sliding from that kind of a response. And then
I think a very sober, realistic step-by-step testing of what's possible in the relationship recognizing again that I think there are going to be
limits to how far you can take cooperation at least to the near term.
AMANPOUR: I'm going to get on to the cooperation in a moment. But first and foremost, most people have said those who know Putin well that unless
there is a very serious and concerted push back or reprisals for this kind of interference, then President Putin doesn't take it seriously. I think
you have said that there needed to be stronger sanctions if you like from the Obama administration and certainly the former acting CIA Director Mike
Morell has said that the fairly weak response from the Obama administration serves only to empower Putin.
Can you elaborate on that? What needs to be done to deter President Putin and the Kremlin from further such actions?
BURNS: Well, I think a firm response is exactly what is needed. I think the administration has laid out a number of public steps and sanctions and
it's also made clear that there are things that it's going to undertake that haven't been made public and I think that's appropriate as well.
But beyond the issue of cyber hacking, there are whole range of other areas from Ukraine to Syria to, you know, other big important issues on which
Russia and the United States have found themselves in a considerable degree of tension.
And so I think not only are we going to need to be firm in those areas, but I think one of the first challenges for a new administration especially
given some of the rhetoric during the campaign which came across as being dismissive of our alliance relationships and our partnerships is to
reassure our allies and partners, because in many respects that really is the United States' base of support in foreign policy and that's what sets
us apart from other relatively speaking lonelier powers like Russia and China that don't have the benefits of those alliances or partnerships.
AMANPOUR: Well, one of the criticisms about Donald Trump is that he doesn't understand the benefit of alliances.
Can I just read you what the former deputy sec or the former deputy NATO supreme commander Richard Shirreff of Britain said, "Unless Donald Trump
establishes his leadership of NATO from the outset, this will effectively signal the start of the decoupling process of America from European
security. Putin would have achieved one of his major goals the neutering of NATO."
BURNS: I think that's exactly right. As I said, I think the NATO alliance or close partnership with the European Union are enormously important for
the future of U.S. foreign policy and our national security interests. So I think it's going to be extremely important for the new administration to
make clear right from the start our absolute commitment to Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which commits us to the defense of other NATO members if they
And I think we also have to be mindful of the ways in which Russia has sought to further undermine a European Union that as you well know has more
than its share of challenges already encouraging anti-EU populist, nationalist forces and trying to take advantage of the wave of migration
which is so unsettled European politics which was sparked in part by Russia's own brutality in Syria.
[14:10:00] AMANPOUR: Indeed. The EU even just today said that they had noticed a massive surge, a spike in cyberattacks around Europe and on the
Can I play something for you that foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said to me when I was asking him about U.S. accusations? This is couple of months ago
about the hacking. This is what he said and I think it goes to the heart of where the Russians feel sort of hard done by by the u.s.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, it's flattering or course to get this kind of attention for a "regional power" as President Obama
called us some time ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, that is their rye or not so rye, sort of, I don't know, fear of being not taken seriously, right? I mean they are absolutely want
to be a super power, and they want to be taken seriously.
How dangerous is that for the new administration to grapple with?
BURNS: Well, it can be quite threatening because I think if you look at the motives behind Russia's hacking and, you know, our presidential
election, part of it, I think, had to do with Putin's perception that the United States has been meddling as he sees it in his politics since at
least the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004 and that he wants to demonstrate he can meddle in ours.
Second, I think he wants to try to expose what he argues is the hypocrisy and weaknesses of western political systems.
Third, I think, you know, he wanted to try to weaken Hillary Clinton's, what he thought to be likely presidential term because I think like many
people, he assume that Secretary Clinton was going to win the election, but through the hacking and the information that was put out and the
dissembling that went on that he could take advantage of that.
And he also, I think, wanted to demonstrate that at least with regard to cyber tools that he could play on the same playing field as the United
So for lots of reasons, I think, you know, this is a serious concern not least because in 2017 you have a whole series of important European
elections which could easily be just as vulnerable to a Russian hacking and cyber activity.
AMANPOUR: Can I quickly finally ask you about Iran, because that's another area that Donald Trump has said he wants to focus on, specifically to tear
up the deal that you yourself worked so hard to achieve. You were amongst the first, if not the first to hold secret negotiations on this nuclear
I just want to ask you to comment on the passing of the former Iranian president who was a big voice for the moderates, for the nuclear deal and
for basic rapprochement with the West.
Where do you think this puts Iran and this deal in a Trump administration?
BURNS: Well, I think Mr. Rafsanjani's death comes at a critical moment. I mean, he's one of the original pillars of the Iranian revolution and quite
devoted to the revolution, to the regime, but compared to the current supreme leader, a pragmatist, less ideological.
And I think, you know, his efforts over time to try to reintegrate Iran into the global economy and to at least ease some tensions with the west
and create a space in which the nuclear agreement could be negotiated, you know, it's base on his conviction that that was the best way to serve the
interests of revolutionary Iran and Iran's ambitions in the region.
I think his passing comes at a moment when Iran will have presidential elections at the beginning of the summer and it, you know, removes a little
bit of the political cover that other relative pragmatists within the regime had.
It comes at a moment when Iran is beginning to look ahead towards succession to a new supreme leader, sometime in the next few years. And it
also comes at a moment when as you said, you have a new U.S. administration which has been sharply critical of the nuclear deal. And so it's going to
have, I think, you know, create some new question marks and raise new tensions in Tehran and in relations between the U.S. and Iran.
AMANPOUR: Secretary Burns, thank you very much indeed for joining us from Washington. Thanks so much.
BURNS: My pleasure.
AMANPOUR: Now, health care is a massive story all over the world not least here in the United States where as we speak, Donald Trump and the
Republicans are plot to take down Obamacare. And they are promising a full frontal assault on reproductive care to millions of American women.
The president of Planned Parenthood joins us live next.
[14:16:30] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
Tonight from New York, in just 11 days, Barack Obama will hand over the presidential baton to Donald Trump. And the country, indeed the world is
bracing for major change. One organization in particular is worried about his very existence and that is Planned Parenthood. A non-profit group
dedicated to providing reproductive health services across the United States.
The Republicans in power are threatening to pull federal funding because it provides abortions. Though by law, no government money is used to pay for
them. Its president Cecile Richards tweets that she won't be going down without a fight and she's joining me now from Washington.
AMANPOUR: Cecile Richards, welcome to the program.
CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: You know, we broadcast to an international audience and I think that people around the world would be very, very bemused and alarmed to
know how much of policy in the United States revolves around abortion.
Can you state, you know, state for the record Planned Parenthood does or doesn't provide abortions based on money it gets from the federal
RICHARDS: Well, as you said, Christian, the federal government in the U.S. does not provide funding for abortion services. Hasn't for years. We
think that's wrong, but that's the law. And so what we're talking about now in fact and what Paul Ryan, Speaker Ryan, said the other day, is now
they're going to end access to Planned Parenthood preventive care.
That means birth control, cancer screenings, well- women visits. We provide health care to 2.5 million people every single year and that health
care is now at risk.
AMANPOUR: Cecille, you know, this is so political and it's not really about thinking about people's health. Give me an idea, you've just had the
issues that will be at risk.
How many people -- give me the stats of you're able to achieve with Planned Parenthood.
RICHARDS: Well, it's extraordinary. I mean, we've been around 100 years. We're the primary women's health care provider in the United States of
America. And, frankly, under Obamacare, one of the most popular benefits we fought for was birth control coverage for women. Now 55 million women
get it at no co-pay. That is at risk.
But as a result of the work we've done, we are at a 30 year low for unintended pregnancy in America. And so the crazy thing is, Christian,
about this new effort to end that access to family planning at Planned Parenthood, it is the very thing that is reducing unintended pregnancy and
the need for abortion in the United States.
It's really a problem when politicians put their politics ahead of women's health care in America. And I can tell you this is not what voters voted
for. This is not even what Trump voters voted for. They are shocked to find out that this administration would consider ending access to Planned
AMANPOUR: You say that, and I was actually going ask you because, you know, 52 percent of White American women did vote for Donald Trump versus
43 percent for Hillary Clinton. And, you know, politics as you say is being played with this.
What do you think the result will be? What do you think the effect will be on women around the country, in other words in terms of will they fight
back, what can they do? Is this really going to go through, do you think?
RICHARDS: Well, I absolutely -- women are fighting back. Not only women, but men, as well. And as you know, there is a big march on Washington
coinciding with the inauguration.
What we have seen at Planned Parenthood has been extraordinary. The largest outpouring of support particularly among young women and men.
We've had a 900 percent increase in women trying to get into Planned Parenthood to get an IUD, because they are desperately concerned that they
might lose their access to health care and they know that Planned Parenthood is the place that can provide it.
[14:20:10] So women in this country are absolutely not going without a fight and the majority is with us.
AMANPOUR: Cecile, your mother was the world famous governor of Texas. And you, apparently, according to your bio, became an activist at the early age
of 12 years old.
Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader in Congress, has once said that you could have been president if you had run.
Are you going to be at this march? How important is this march?
RICHARDS: I am going to be at the march. I'm proud to be there. I think that hundreds of thousands of folks will be and all around the country.
But I think, Christian, what we're talking about is more than a march.
I think what's important is that women and men who are concerned about the future of women's rights and women's health in the U.S., that they make
their voices heard in whatever way, whether they march or whether they call their member of Congress, call their senators. These are votes that are
going to be taken very, very soon. And the access to not only the Planned Parenthood services but to women's health care is very much at risk. It's
incredibly important that the grass roots of America that did not vote for this rise up and make sure that people in Washington hear them.
AMANPOUR: And do you think that voice will be heard? I mean, let's face it, I mean, this kind of assault on Planned Parenthood and the services
provided has been going on for years all the way back to the Reagan administration and it even affects funding to other countries, the whole
Mexico City rule and all the rest of it.
How much of an international impact does this politicking with health care have?
RICHARDS: Well, of course, we're concerned that any rights that women lose in the U.S. will have a cascading effect around the globe. And it's
important, Christian, abortion has been legal in the United States for more than 40 years. It is accepted law. It is accepted right. And so it would
be obviously enormous -- it would be devastating to the women of America to overturn Roe vs. Wade or for women to lose access to basic family planning.
I don't think that's where we're going to go, but it's going to take people in this country speaking up and speaking out.
And as you said earlier, this is not a partisan issue. The women who come to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings or for family planning
services, they're of all political parties, they're of every walk of life and it's important that the one in five women in America who have been to
Planned Parenthood make sure they speak up right now in Washington.
AMANPOUR: Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, thanks for joining us and you have a real fight on your hands.
Thanks for being here.
RICHARDS: Good to see you. Thanks.
AMANPOUR: So Hillary Clinton as we know was a big supporter of Planned Parenthood and vice versa. At a rare post-election sighting yesterday, she
attended the final night of "The Color Purple," a play here on Broadway. And she received several standing ovations.
She was with the former President Bill Clinton. And that of course was in striking contrast to what happened to Vice President-elect Mike Pence two
months ago, who was booed by patrons when he went to see the smash hit "Hamilton," while the cast besieged him to protect everyone's civil rights.
Next from stage to the big screen, imagine Hollywood taking on Trump. And Meryl Streep's starring role in the latest flare-up of the culture wars.
[14:25:30] AMANPOUR: Finally tonight, at a time when the president-elect is struggling to get A-list performers for his inauguration, we imagine a
world where the incoming administration seems embroiled in a culture war with Hollywood.
The brightest star in that constellation, Meryl Streep received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contribution to entertainment at last
night's Golden Globes. Without mentioning him by name, she took aim at Trump for his infamous mocking and mimicry of a disabled reporter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Despite the video, Donald Trump denies he was mocking that "New York Times" reporter. And he fired back in what else but a tweet calling
Streep one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood, which clearly is a minority view.
Streep is one of the most celebrated actresses of all-time. Critically adored, she's the winner of three Oscars. She's been nominated a record 19
time. She ended her speech last night with a call to protect the press.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STREEP: We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage.
That's why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only ask the famously well healed Hollywood foreign
press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the committee to protect journalists, because we're going to need them going forward and
they will need us to safe guard the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at Amanpour.com and follow me
on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and good-bye from New York.