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Trump's Week of Turmoil; Marine Le Pen Talks to CNN; Inside the Rohingya Resistance. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired February 3, 2017 - 14:00:00   ET


[14:00:10] JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, I'm Jonathan Mann. This is "CNN News Now."

The White House has slapped new sanctions on Iran targeting groups associated with the country's ballistic missile program. The sanctions

follow Iran's missile test last weekend. When U.S. President Donald Trump was asked about it moments ago, he told reporters Iran, in his word, is not

behaving. Iran's foreign minister says his country would only use weapons in self-defense.

Europe's leaders are meeting in Malta to debate the future of the European Union and the new U.S. administration is high on the agenda. French

President Francois Hollande calls some of President Trump's statements about Europe unacceptable. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called to press

ahead with its own plans no matter what the U.S. says.

A French soldier shot and wounded a man wielding a machete near The Louvre Museum. Police say the attacker rushed toward a group of soldiers shouting

Allahu Akbar. The Paris prosecutor's office has opened a terrorism investigation. The Louvre is set to reopen on Saturday.

Ukraine's military says four soldiers and a civilian have been killed in 24 hours of intense shelling. Soldiers are batting pro-Russian rebels in

Eastern Ukraine. Residents have to cope with subfreezing temperatures and the fighting.

That's your CNN "News Now." Amanpour is next. You're watching CNN, the world's news leader.


AMANPOUR: Tonight, a week of turmoil and change as capitals around the world take stock of a new world order proposed by President Trump -- the

Muslim ban, putting Iran on notice, angering allies like Mexico and Australia. The former secretary of defense and CIA director Leon Panetta

call for some presidential reflection.


LEON PANETTA, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Because if he is just trying to shoot from the hip on the things he's dealing with, he --

he and the country are in for a great deal of trouble.


AMANPOUR: And my interview with the French Far Right leader Marine Le Pen as she prepares this weekend to unveil the manifesto in a race to become

the country's next president.

Plus, an exclusive from Myanmar, where thousands of Rohingya flee worsening conditions. CNN's Ivan Watson controversial figure leading the resistance.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the special weekend edition of our program, I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Change with a dose of turmoil seemed to be the new normal ticking off the Trump era. As the week brought a flurry of new policy positions at home

and abroad.

On Monday, Donald Trump fired the acting attorney general for refusing to enforce his Muslim nation ban. On Tuesday, America's Homeland Security

Chief John Kelly denied that it was a religious restriction and denied that he had been out of the loop when it was implemented. Wednesday, we saw the

National Security Adviser Mike Flynn put Iran, quote, "on notice" after a ballistic missile test.

By the end of the week, leaks of testy phone calls between President Trump and allies like the prime minister of Australia and the president of

Mexico. In the midst of this mayhem, I spoke to Leon Panetta, who brings a lifetime of experience on these issues from his service in Congress, in the

Oval Office, in the cabinet and at the CIA.


AMANPOUR: Leon Panetta, welcome to the program.

PANETTA: Nice to be with you, Christiane.

AMANPOUR: There is certainly raging storm about whether this is a Muslim ban. And as you know, the president himself has given an exemption for

Christians from all of these countries.

You're a lawyer. You know the constitution. You have been a department head, a cabinet secretary, CIA director, chief-of- staff under President

Clinton. Is this a Muslim ban?

PANETTA: I think any time you ban people from coming into this country, from key Muslim nations, there's no question in my mind that that ban is

based on religion and who they are.

And as far as I'm concerned, that raises serious legal questions regarding our constitution and regarding our federal loss aimed at preventing

discrimination. So I think there's -- there's some real serious legal issues involved with this order.

And that's why I think it would make a lot more sense if the president would simply revoke the order. It's a temporary order. And go and improve

the vetting process, because if he's really interested in trying to protect our country, those are the security steps that need to be taken.

[14:05:20] AMANPOUR: Let me pick up on that in a second. But, first, to your issue of the constitution and what this means. As you know, the

acting attorney general, Ms. Yates, was fired, because she said the DOJ would not be enforcing this executive order.

I want to play you something that the incoming Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, said to Yates at a hearing in Congress more than a year ago on

this kind of very issue.

Listen to this, and then we'll talk about it.


JEFF SESSIONS, INCOMING U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: If the views of the president wants to execute are unlawful, should the attorney general or the

deputy attorney general say no?

SALLY YATES, FORMER ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: Senator, I believe that the attorney general or the deputy attorney general has an obligation to follow

the law in the constitution and to give their independent legal advice to the president.


AMANPOUR: You are a lawyer. Do you think she did the right thing by refusing to enforce it, and from what you know, do you think she actually

personally told the president her legal views in private as she indicated here?

PANETTA: Well, what concerns me is I'm not sure that this order was properly vetted. With the agencies that were responsible for dealing with

it, including the Justice Department, including Homeland Security, although John Kelly may have been made aware of it. He didn't have much time to

really react to the substance of the order. To customs, the customs agencies.

I mean, there is a vetting process that should go on in order to ensure that an order is enforceable and that it's legal. And I also respect very

much, and I think it's very important, the independence of the Justice Department from the White House when it comes to issues involving our

constitution and enforcement of the law.

The attorney general, the deputy attorney general, have to abide by the constitution and by the law. And if they're given a directive, which they

feel violates the constitution, then I think it is their duty, as was stated at that hearing, not to enforce that order.

AMANPOUR: And obviously, it's playing out abroad, as well. This is what Chancellor Merkel has said about this ban, and about the joint fight

against terrorism.

Just have a listen.


ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): The necessary and decisive fight against terrorism does in no way justify a general suspicion

against people of certain beliefs. In this case, people of the Muslim faith.


AMANPOUR: I guess the big question is, what do you think this will do to keeping America safe, to the fight against terrorism? Obviously, Europe

has faced, you know, refugees and others who have actually -- or people who have used the refugee channel to commit terror in Germany, in France, in

Belgium, et cetera.

PANETTA: Christiane, I am -- I'm the son of Italian immigrants. Donald Trump is the grandson of an immigrant from Germany. All of us, certainly

in this country, are children of immigrants in one way or another. That's what this country is all about.

And I think what Chancellor Merkel spoke to are the kind of international values that we have always recognized of human dignity, and an effort to

help one another in order to be able to protect people so that we respect their rights.

What this order has done is undermined that basic principle. But worse, it has fed ISIS, our enemy. And this was supposedly what Donald Trump was

doing this for, was to protect our country.

What it has done is given ISIS the main argument they have used, which is that the western world is at war with Islam. Not at war with extremism,

but at war with Islam.

When we do these kinds of blanket approaches to denying Muslims' entry into this country, it's based on their religion. And so we fed ISIS a major

argument that I think will help them in recruiting and that increases the chances of a potential attack in this country. It doesn't lessen that

possibility. It increases that possibility.

[14:10:00] AMANPOUR: Well, that is a very important warning that you've just put out there. It's very sobering. Can I ask you one last question?

There is a huge controversy over President Trump's political adviser, Steve Bannon, being moved up to a proper participant in the NSC.

Apparently, this is the first time that has happened. You've been, again, principle in these meetings. What effect will that have?

PANETTA: I am very concerned about taking a political adviser and making them a principle in the National Security Council. The purpose of the

National Security Council is to provide the president with experienced information so that he can make decisions on national security issues and

protect this country. That's the purpose of the National Security Council.

It isn't to have a political adviser who is going to make recommendations based on what polls well in terms of politics. That's the worst thing you

could do.

AMANPOUR: How do you think this is going to play out?

PANETTA: I'm concerned whether or not Donald Trump is willing to take the time to carefully think out these kinds of decisions, because if he's just

kind of shooting from the hip on the things he's dealing with, he -- he and the country are in for a great deal of trouble.

AMANPOUR: Leon Panetta, thank you very much indeed.

PANETTA: You're welcome.


AMANPOUR: Meantime, there are echoes of America's divisive presidential race on the French campaign trail in Paris. The Far Right National Front

leader Marine Le Pen's security man handles a journalist out of the building for asking questions about the investigation into an allegedly

fraudulent payments to aides.

Now the news program has been told it will be persona non-grata at a National Front rally this weekend.

It's all reminiscent of Trump rallies notably this one, when the illustrious "Time" photographer Chris Morris was slammed to the floor by

Trump security. In an era where trying to delegitimize the press has become a strategy in powerful quarters, my own interview next with the

National Front leader ahead of formally launching her presidential bid this weekend.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Now after Brexit, all eyes are on the French presidential race, which is in high gear. Marine Le Pen launches her manifesto this weekend and the

National Front candidate holds a narrow lead for the first round in most polls. We traveled to Paris to interview her.

She told me about her intentions for a Frexit unless she gets the EU to make the reforms she demands. And she expressed support for Donald Trump's

Muslim ban. She also wants sanctions lifted on Russia and she takes the Putin line on his invasion of Ukraine and Crimea. I also dug into her

controversial comments on immigration.


AMANPOUR: What about money? You have had to go elsewhere to find money to finance your campaign. You've had loans from a Russian bank, first

Russian-Czech bank and you have spoken very warmly about President Putin.

President Putin, as you know, is considered a big threat to Europe, a big threat to the West. You know that he's been accused by all sorts of

intelligence agencies of interfering and not just the U.S. but in European democratic elections as well.

And you who talked so profoundly about valuing the sovereignty of France surely must have a view on the violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine and

the annexation of Crimea.

I'd like to understand why you're so fond of Mr. Putin and do you believe that you should lobby for the sanctions to be removed from him?

MARINE LE PEN, LEADER, FRANCE'S NATIONAL FRONT (through translator): Well, what if I want to borrow from an American bank, that would be about more


AMANPOUR: No, I'm actually --


[14:15:00] AMANPOUR: I'm now talking about Putin. I'm now talking about Putin. Not just the loan but what you said about him. That you respect

him, that you find him a good and strong leader.

LE PEN (through translator): The Russian nation is a great nation, they made their choice. Whether I like it or not, it doesn't really make any


Should Russia be a model for France? No. Should Russia be an ally for France? Yes. The same thing with the United States.

AMANPOUR: Does it not bother you that a big country broke international law and invaded and annexed a small country? I mean, that's the base of

international law.

LE PEN (through translator): There was a coup detat in Ukraine.

AMANPOUR: That's what you think?

LE PEN (through translator): It's not just what I think, it's the reality. There was a coup detat. There was an agreement among different nations and

the next day this agreement was broken and some people took power.

AMANPOUR: After the invasion and annexation, yes.

LE PEN (through translator): No invasion of Crimea --

AMANPOUR: But they annexed Crimea. It was part of Ukraine and French were part of the deal that guaranteed the independence of Ukraine in 1994. It's

really important because it's the fundamentals of international law.

LE PEN (through translator): Crimea was Russian. It has always been Russian. It's not that long ago it was --

AMANPOUR: So it's fine for you, though?

LE PEN (through translator): By Soviet --

AMANPOUR: But you're OK with it. Are you?

LE PEN (through translator): The people feel Russian. The people decided by a great majority that they wanted to belong to Russia. So we can't be

democratic when it suits us and then reject --

AMANPOUR: So you support lifting the sanctions? I'm trying to ask you that. Or should they be conditional to the implementation of the ceasefire

agreement known as the Minsk Accord?

LE PEN (through translator): These sanctions are completely stupid. They have not solved any problems. They haven't improved the situation at all.

All they've done is created major economic problems for the EU.

There is no -- they are meaningless. Maybe we need to step down when we -- when we have better peace in the world if we could step back. The

president of the United States, the president of Russia can end the cold war, no one else.

AMANPOUR: This past weekend you were in Germany and you met with people like Geert Wilders, people like the head of the AFP, the Austrian Freedom


These people are considered very far-right with very divisive politics, people who respect Mussolini, for instance. People who say they want to

ban the Quran. Is that Marine Le Pen's politics? What were you doing there?

LE PEN (through translator): Everyone around the world who is opposed to immigration is accused of being on the far right because people who are for

immigration try to discredit them by qualifying them with this pejorative adjective.

These movements are not far right movements. They do not meet any of the criteria of the far right. They are opposed to massive immigration, yes,

but that doesn't mean that we or these other parties are far right movements.

AMANPOUR: About five years ago in 2012 and you know because this has been quoted to you many times. You gave an interview in which you said, would

you accept 12 illegal immigrants moving into your flat? You would not. On top of that, they start to remove the wall paper. Some of them would steal

your wallet and brutalize your wife.

It has been -- you said this in an interview. You said this.

LE PEN (through translator): No. This is a joke.

AMANPOUR: This was in --

LE PEN (through translator): What are you talking about? What interview?

AMANPOUR: Are you denying you said that? Should I read it to you? OK.

LE PEN (through translator): Could you repeat it? Perhaps it's a problem in interpreting.


AMANPOUR: I've got written down here. All right. In 2012, you said the following to somebody. Would you accept 12 -- we'll find out.

LE PEN (through translator): You don't know who I said it to.

AMANPOUR: Would you accept 12 illegal immigrants moving into your flat? You would not. On top of that, they start to remove the wall paper and

some of them would steal your wallet and brutalize your wife.

[14:20:00] LE PEN (through translator): No, this is perhaps a problem of translation.

I would like to think that perhaps there is good faith behind it or else it has been completely misconstrued. You know that in our country if you have

a home, you own it and I would try to make a parallel between your personal home. You wouldn't let someone that you didn't invite into your home to

come in and decide what color your wall paper should be, decide what you should eat in the evening or decide what school your children should


And you would find it even more difficult to stand that if in addition this person was --

AMANPOUR: So you admit it. So you did say that. You did say that then?

LE PEN (through translator): But I wasn't talking about illegal immigrants. I was making a comparison between people who arrive in the

country without having been invited and who sometimes commit offences there or crimes and this is a reality.


AMANPOUR: So we double and triple checked, now listen to this part of the interview that Miss Le Pen gave to the Australian broadcaster SPS back in

2012 and you judge for yourselves.

Here, she's asked whether France's reputation for tolerance could suffer if she's successful.




AMANPOUR: In her own words.

Coming up, exclusive reporting from Myanmar as the Rohingya people flee worsening conditions. The armed group taking matters into their own hands.

That's next.


AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, after a week in which we watched as world leaders fall out and play politics over immigration and asylum, we imagine

a world at breaking point.

In Myanmar, hundreds and thousands of minority Muslim population known as Rohingya have fled to escape government repression. But from within, some

Rohingya have started to retaliate violently.

And our Ivan Watson has this exclusive report.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Barefoot, armed with machetes and what they claim are a few stolen rifles,

images filmed and distributed by a new rebel group that claims responsibility for ambushing and killing government forces last October in

the poorest part of one of the poorest countries in the world, Myanmar.

They call themselves Harakah al-Yaqin or Faith Movement. And in this exclusive interview obtained by CNN, its leader claims to be fighting on

behalf of Myanmar's long oppressed Rohingya Muslim minority.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We have been appealing to the world to help us regain our rights. Nothing happened. Therefore now we

have to deal with the government directly. We will continue to attack the oppressor, the government, until our citizenship is reinstated.

[14:25:10] WATSON: For decades, Myanmar's government refused to accept use of even the word Rohingya, denying this community citizenship, claiming

they were all immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.

Authorities confined hundreds and thousands of Rohingya to ghetto camps after deadly ethnic clashes erupted in 2012. Hopeless, thousands tried to

flee on dangerously overcrowded boats. And then last fall, this mysterious new comer Ata Ullah, appeared in YouTube videos vowing to fight back.

When asked for comment, the government spokesperson sent CNN a lengthy written statement saying, quote, "There should not be any justification for

taking up arms against a peaceful legitimate government and the people of the country," adding, "Why carry out armed attacks now when the current

government is doing all within its power to resolve the issues."

Since long persecuted opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi won historic elections in 2015, she launched a government committee and an international

coalition led by former U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan to address the Rohingya problem. But the rebel leader accuses Aung San Suu Kyi of

squandering her good will by showing little public sympathy for the suffering of the Rohingya.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Whatever respect and love we had for her, that's all gone.

WATSON (on-camera): The government prohibits journalists from traveling to the conflict zone in Myanmar's Rakhine state. Experts say this appears to

be the first organized armed Rohingya insurgency Myanmar has seen in generations.

(voice-over): The ensuing government crackdown has sent tens of thousands of Rohingya fleeing, crossing the river to reach Bangladesh where refugees

accuse Myanmar soldiers of committing atrocities which the government denies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The military took away my son. We don't know where he is. He was a student in school.

WATSON: Some refugees tell CNN, they support al-Yaqin's armed rebellion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Our houses were burnt. That's why we came here. We were moving from village to village to save ourselves

from the army. The al-Yaqin group tried to establish our rights in Rakhine states.

WATSON: But others say they are afraid to criticize the militants for fear of reprisals. One thing is certain, this latest violence is making life

even worse for a marginalized community that had almost nothing to begin with.

Ivan Watson, CNN.


AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online and follow me on

Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and good-bye from London.