Return to Transcripts main page

CNN'S AMANPOUR

Pew Poll View of U.S. Has Changed Under Trump; Surge in Hijackings Off the Coast of Somalia; A City and a Forest in China. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired June 27, 2017 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:00:14] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, global confidence in the U.S. plummets under Donald Trump, according to a new poll, as parts of

his Muslim travel ban are set to come into effect and as his efforts to replace Obamacare hit yet another snag.

The former top homeland security official Marco Lopez and Robin Wright of "The New Yorker" join the program.

Also ahead, he was held by Somali pirates for nearly three years. CNN's exclusive report with journalist Michael Scott Moore as a new wave of

piracy rises on the high seas.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Five months of the Trump presidency has done

significant damage to American prestige around the world. That is the finding from a major new global survey from the Pew Research.

World confidence in the U.S. president has plummeted since Barack Obama left office from 64 percent to 22 percent. The number of people who say

they have a favorable view of the United States has also plunged from 64 to 49 percent.

In fact, the only two countries where confidence in the U.S. president has increased are Russia and Israel. President Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin

also get low marks, though not as low as Trump, while Angela Merkel gets a much higher grade.

This as the U.S. government scrambles two days before its self-imposed deadline to figure out how to implement parts of the president's travel

ban, which the Supreme Court has now given a green light.

And amid confusing ultimatums from the White House, which believes that the Syrian strong man, Bashar al-Assad, is preparing another chemical attack.

But the evidence for that appears unclear. And just as we come on air, we see yet another hit for the Trump administration.

The continued efforts to replace Obamacare have hit yet another snag in the U.S. Senate and the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, is due to hold

a press conference shortly.

Now, we will have more on the Syria chemical weapons warning, first. But let us first drill down into the tricky part of actually implementing

Trump's travel ban.

Marco Lopez is the former chief-of-staff at the U.S. customs and border protections which has to carry out this ban and he's joining me now, live.

Welcome to the program, Mr. Lopez.

MARCO LOPEZ, FORMER CHIEF-OF-STAFF, U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTIONS: Thank you, Christiane. It's good to be here.

AMANPOUR: Well, we have a whole sort of menu of hits that the Trump administration seems to be taking. Although the president tweeted that he

was very pleased, greatly appreciates, you know, the efforts of the Supreme Court to give him the go ahead for parts of the ban.

But what I want to know from you as a former implementation officer, what exactly does it mean? What is the whole bona fide relationship that people

have to prove before they come into this country? What does that mean?

LOPEZ: Well, this is continued bad policy, bad politics and bad process, Christiane.

What we know is that the process that was undertaken by the administration early on in planning their arrival into the White House, they did not

consult with the executives, the enforcers of this policy, as you suggest, who are actually having to deal with, interview the folks coming into the

airports, once they arrive into the United States. Now, having to define what gets you to be a bona fide presence into the United States, I think

the Supreme Court stipulated that familial, either family, schooling, or a job are three criteria that would allow you to continue to travel without

hindrance.

Unfortunately, because it was poorly planned, that implementation and that rollout, making sure that the 60,000 men and women who are enforcing this

policy throughout the world, because it's not only airports in the U.S., it's also airports as you begin to travel to the U.S., that needs to --

that these officers are the ones that need to figure out who actually meets that criteria.

AMANPOUR: Right.

LOPEZ: So it's really problematic, because, again, it's just another level of uncertainty.

AMANPOUR: Well, of course, all our viewers are the people who are going to be the most affected by this. And so, from you, I just would like to know,

because, you know, some people have suggested this may become chaotic, again. And as you say, uncertainty at the very least is an issue.

[14:05:00] But you were once a young mayor at a border town in Arizona, in Nogales, Arizona. And you have said that you only get one chance to

communicate to people who are being affected, how they're going to be treated.

How confident are you that the officers in charge know what they're doing?

LOPEZ: Well, I do have confidence in the personnel at customs and border protection, because I've been there, I've worked with them, side by side,

and I know that once that clear directions and directives are given, they are good at following through.

Unfortunately, here, look, when I was 22 years old and mayor of the city of Nogales, I knew that you still needed to make sure that you were following

the proper procedures to make sure that everything was legal, was proper, could be appropriately implemented. And those are the types of criteria

that are currently lacking.

So someone in the airport in Dallas, for example, might interpret this policy differently than the airport in San Francisco, and differently than

the airport in New York. So it's very problematic in that regard, that the interagency process did not have the opportunity to go through and make

sure that one, the State Department could properly vet to the individuals, and two, that the enforcement individuals at the airports have the

confidence in knowing that the State Department properly did it.

So what happens now, then, Christiane, is really problematic, because as an officer receives a visitor at the airport, they need to figure out, OK, was

this person interviewed before the ban, after the ban, before the second ban, after the second ban, and now before and after the Supreme Court has

issued their opinion. So it's really problematic and it's that uncertainty that these officers at the line don't need to be dealing with or shouldn't

be dealing with.

AMANPOUR: And that's because -- I mean, could -- in other words, do you think that trying to get their heads around all of this can actually

distract them from identifying people who might be --

LOPEZ: Exactly.

AMANPOUR: .real threats.

LOPEZ: Exactly. I think, look, the officer has a split-second decision when they look at the screen, understand who the person that's about to

walk up to their booth is. And so they have to make the determination, OK, is this a person that we know is a frequent traveler in and out of the U.S.

Have they traveled through one of the six countries? If they have, perhaps I need to ask an additional set of questions. And so they're going through

all of that process, not knowing what it is legally that now they're obligated to do from this new administration. That's what's problematic.

They're spending more time on an individual that might be perfectly fine, has a great job in the U.S., is a very good citizen. And so they can't

distinguish between that person and someone who's coming for the first time that might want to do harm. That might have gone through this bureaucratic

mumbo jumbo, because they weren't -- there was no clarity in the process.

So that's why, I think, the process is very important in this particular case.

AMANPOUR: Well, thank you for that really granular level detail.

Marco Lopez, thanks for joining us.

Now we're going to widen it out with Robin Wright, who is a long-time journalist, whose covered that region for many years. She works now for

"The New Yorker" and she's a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

Robin, thank you for joining us.

You just heard Marco Lopez give it to us from literally the ground level.

What do you think the impact of chaos at the borders, again, like we saw in January. What is that going to do to the U.S. and to its, you know,

prestige around the world?

ROBIN WRIGHT, JOURNALIST, THE NEW YORKER: Well, as you pointed out, the new Pew Research Poll shows the growing unpopularity and distrust of this

administration even among close allies.

And I think this is not going to help the American image. It makes -- as the poll found that people used words -- 60 percent of people used words

like arrogant, intolerant, and dangerous to describe President Trump.

And I think this, you know, serves to widen the gap between cultures, between countries, and it will not kind of heal the great rift of the last

few months.

AMANPOUR: Well, as we're seeing, as you're speaking there, we're seeing some of the diagrams of the figures and the facts from the Pew Research.

But what do you think, by and large, accounts for this shift? It's, obviously, plummeted since the presidency of Barack Obama.

WRIGHT: Well, it's very striking, particularly among our allies in Europe and Asia. You have countries like Spain and Canada, Germany, Mexico, where

the levels have really plummeted the most. These are countries that we are -- that border the United States or that are very close in terms of

charting western foreign policy.

So that's a, you know, a deep concern. I think there is a, this America first policy has alienated some countries. People in countries who fear

that America's interest in protecting western ideas, western security, maybe forfeit in the name of protecting only the United States.

[14:10:12] AMANPOUR: You know, you talk about allies. It's extraordinary how the shift has occurred there. And we see for instance Germany and even

Canada really publicly now saying they may have to, in large part, go it alone. Whether it's on climate, whatever it might be.

What is that going to mean for foreign policy and for, you know, protecting the world order that that has traditionally been part of America's remit?

WRIGHT: I think that's the critical question. And, clearly, there is a big leadership shift happening in the world. The west is increasingly

looking to, for example, Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany as the voice, the conscious of the west, not to Washington.

There is a sense that leaders in Russia and China are seen more favorably to do the right thing. That was the question put in the Pew poll.

Very striking the way that the United States is not put on its pedestal as the one that will protect ideas of freedom and liberty, western values, and

interests.

AMANPOUR: Robin, I want to ask you about some of the other issues that have suddenly sort of come to the fore. We've got this issue of

potentially the White House saying that Syria could be planning another chemical weapon, although we don't know where that evidence is coming from.

It seemed to catch the Pentagon off guard.

We have a completely different situation going on in the heart of Washington, where the administration cannot, again for the second time,

apparently, get its Obamacare repealed and replaced.

And we have a sort of amounting array of issues that this administration is having to deal with. Not to mention the travel ban that we've just been

talking about.

How does that all add up?

WRIGHT: Well, this is a pivotal time for the administration to prove that it can get things done, whether it's on health care or in its foreign

policy agenda.

The Syria notice was very striking, issued very late Monday night by the White House, putting Syrians on notice that if they engage in another Sarin

chemical weapons, nerve agent attack against its own people, that it will, as the administration said, pay a heavy price.

The U.N. ambassador then put both Russians and the Iranians on notice that they will also be held to account if their ally in Damascus proceeds in

using chemical weapons.

Now, the evidence appears to be that Syrians had personnel involved in manufacture of chemical weapons using over the past two weeks at the base,

which the U.S. struck in April.

And so this is, you know, this is a -- that looms large. But domestically, the Trump administration is also facing a crisis in trying to get through

before the recess in Congress, health care vote with Republicans balking at some of the provisions. And so this is a test of the Trump fortitude and

ability to get things done.

AMANPOUR: And, finally, getting back to the allies. I just want to read you something that Ivo Daalder, as you know, former U.S. ambassador to

NATO, said in the "FT," recently, that "Trump believes all foreigners are playing us for suckers. He sees the world as a dark place. How can you

lead alliances when you keep telling your allies that they're ripping you off?"

Does he make a good point?

WRIGHT: Well, you know, there's a long been, among both Republicans and Democrats, a sense that, you know, the world isn't doing all it could or

should in -- whether it's funding NATO or in carrying the burden in confronting the Syrian regime, the Iraqi regime or Saddam Hussein.

So I think Trump -- that -- Trump sentiments do resonate among many Americans. But it also comes at a real cost. That you in a globalizing

world, you cannot act alone without major support from allies, whether it's military, on climate control, or on preventing another economic recession.

And so these are -- this is a -- you know, the Trump administration is charting a starkly different course than the Obama administration.

AMANPOUR: OK. Robin Wright, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And when we come back, we go to one of the countries hit by Trump's travel ban, Somalia. Where piracy takes to the high seas again.

A special report with a lucky survivor. His ordeal, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

Now the head of the United Nations is on a mission to Washington this week to lobby against plans by the Trump administration to slash funding to the

U.N.

This as the U.S. is also looking to cut its own foreign aid and State Department budgets. Among the plan is a huge drop in aid to Africa and a

greater focus on military spending there, but there are fears this could lead to more poverty which in turn enflames extremism.

Already we're seeing the return of Somali pirates, with nine attacks this year.

Our Robyn Kriel talked to one journalist who had been captured by pirates back in 2012. She heard about his harrowing ordeal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBYN KRIEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): During his brutal 2-1/2-year ordeal as a pirate hostage in Somalia, Michael Scott Moore says hope became

one of his biggest fears.

MICHAEL SCOTT MOORE, PIRATE HOSTAGE: The kidnappers here will tell me -- will sell me to al-Shabaab. You miss your family and friends, you know?

You couldn't actually go on hoping that you would be able to see them again, because hope itself was dashed all the time. And so you couldn't go

through that emotional cycle very often.

KRIEL: Today, the American-German journalist is writing a book about his time in captivity. He's a free man, but he has been through hell to get

here.

MOORE: It's brutal. It's a brutal experience. You don't wish that on anybody. They treat hostages like cattle. And they feed you just enough

to keep you alive. And they're not particularly nice.

KRIEL (on-camera): You were beaten?

MOORE: I was beaten, yes. I was beaten several times -- yes, sure.

KRIEL (voice-over): Two names in particular stand out from Moore's 2012 kidnapping. A pirate leader known as Pakali (ph), who Moore believes is

still working to hijack ships, and this man, Mohamed Garfanji.

MOORE: One thing I had to do while I was there was learn to forgive them. Does that mean I'm not angry? No, of course I am.

KRIEL (on-camera): Would you like to see some of these guys prosecuted?

MOORE: Yes, of course. I think it's true that this guy Pakali (ph), who I knew, is actually out catching ships again. I don't see why authorities

can't round him up. He should be in jail. And Garfanji, too. Yes, for sure.

KRIEL: Garfanji in addition to being wanted by authorities for dozens of kidnappings is also part of what U.N. and piracy experts believe to be a

troubling trend.

Pirates and their financiers in Somalia helping terror groups smuggle arms and people.

In the Gulf of Aden, pirate kingpins such as Garfanji and at least one other high-ranking pirate boss are being investigated for providing

material support to al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, the growing ISIS faction in Somalia and al Qaeda in Yemen.

Maritime organizations are warning of another pirate crisis off the coast of East Africa if the international community doesn't respond quickly and

with force.

Robyn Kriel, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: So we turn now to Jeffrey Gettleman, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, and for more than a decade, he was "The New York Times" East

Africa bureau chief.

He has just published a memoir titled "Love, Africa."

Jeffrey, welcome to the program.

You just saw that piece from Robyn Kriel. I mean, we thought this had been addressed. That there was a massive and successful anti-pirate program

that had stopped it.

JEFFREY GETTLEMAN, EAST AFRICA BUREAU CHIEF, THE NEW YORK TIMES: yes, it's coming back because Somalia is in really bad shape, still.

There's a very weak government. There is a famine sweeping across the country. There's Islamism militancy. This is a problem. These countries

are really weak states. They are unravelling constantly to different degrees.

And I don't know I feel -- I feel a little bad, though, watching that segment, because we have this image of Africa as the whole place as you

know, in flames and in turmoil, overrun by war lords, and pirates, and criminals.

That guy, Garfanji, I actually interviewed him years ago when I was doing a story on piracy.

AMANPOUR: Yes.

GETTLEMAN: And so, you know, I think we have to sort of step back a little bit and realize that Sub-Saharan Africa isn't just a trouble zone and a

conflict zone that we should be scared of.

AMANPOUR: Well --

GETTLEMAN: It's a place full of a lot of humanity and warmth and beauty, and I think that's hard to get across often.

AMANPOUR: Which is presumably, you know, why you wrote the book, "Love, Africa."

But because you write about those people, I want to ask you then to weigh in on the Trump administration's policy towards Africa, which right now

looks like it includes massive cutbacks in humanitarian and development aid and a massive realignment to more military involvement there.

So, what do you think about people in south -- sub -- Sub-Saharan Africa? 20 million people facing starvation. You know, that budget of aid is going

to be cut.

Also proposing slashing programs for anti-HIV drugs. You know, a million people could be at risk there. Children could be at risk there.

What is going to happen if the U.S. realigns its foreign aid targets for Africa?

GETTLEMAN: It really couldn't be a worse time to contemplate such sweeping cuts. As you said, there are millions of people that depend on these anti-

retroviral drugs that keep them alive if they've been infected with HIV.

The American government pays, you know, literally billions of dollars across the continent for this stuff. And if it's just cut, you're going to

have, you know, countless people suffer and die.

I see it as like a bigger problem. That there is a lack of empathy, that we feel very disconnected from sub-Saharan Africa. It seems very foreign.

It seems very far away. It seems very irrelevant.

And so that's why we can contemplate at the highest levels of the American government, just, you know sweeping, you know, this aid away, when people

depend on it.

AMANPOUR: I want to ask you, in terms of your book, what you want Americans and the world to know, about the people who you obviously have

gotten to know so well.

But in this context, because it is the context where the United States is scaling back in important ways.

And a former U.S. aid chief said, "It's not an America first policy, it's an America dumb policy. A strong defense department without strong

civilian counterparts is not a strong defense department."

Talking about, you know, the realignment of the U.S. focus in Africa.

GETTLEMAN: Well, it's all interconnected. And that's exactly the point. That if you neglect humanitarian aid, that is going to breed civil unrest

in terrorist groups and create hopelessness.

And if we've learned anything from all of our work studying terrorism, it's not so much poverty that drives terrorism or even deep religious beliefs.

It's the feeling of living without hope and being hopeless. And that drives people to do really extreme things.

So if we deny them hope, if we take away the aid that really helps these places, that's going to increase the sense of desperation. And then you're

going to need more military spending. And it's just -- it's kind of a very short-sighted policy.

But I think to the bigger question of what would I like people who have never been to Africa, never set foot there to know about that region of the

world, it's a beautiful part of the world. It's a world that is, in a way, more open hearted and where people are more closely connected. And there's

more humanity.

And that's why I fell in love with it at an early age and why I wanted to write a book about it. And why I've been working there for "The New York

Times" for a decade.

And it's true. There's conflicts, there's pirates, there's war lords. I've covered a lot of that. But it isn't just that. And I think if we

only sort of look at Africa from the news and from what we see in Hollywood movies, we would get a very wrong impression.

AMANPOUR: Well, you've done a lot to correct that now.

Jeffrey Gettleman, "Love, Africa," thank you very much, indeed. And good luck on your next assignment.

GETTLEMAN: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: When we come back, imagine a city in a sea of green. The Italian-made metropolis springing up in China to battle its massive

pollution crisis. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:26:50] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world where cities and forests are one and the same.

China's cities are famed for the smog that's choking their populations and the country is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world. But

this week, ground was broken on a truly ambitious project, a forest city. Based in Yushou (ph), China.

It will be the first of its kind covered in more than a million plants and trees. It will house 30,000 people. And it will aim to eat up 10,000 tons

of carbon dioxide a year, all the while making 900 tons of oxygen.

It's the brain child of an Italian architect known for his towering vertical forest housing. Geothermal and solar energy will help fuel

hospitals, offices and schools.

Imagine a world where China and India are more committed to combating this climate changing pollution than the USA appears. Another reason for

America's plummeting popularity maybe pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords.

And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at Amanpour.com. Follow me on Facebook and

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END