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Film "Risk" Offers Portrait of Wikileaks' Julian Assange; Trump to Visit Paris for Bastille Day Ceremonies; Cows Flying to Qatar. Aired 2- 2:30p
Aired July 12, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, a new twist in the Trump-Russia scandal as Julian Assange claims he tried to get the
president's son to publish his e-mails with WikiLeaks.
An all-access documentary about the whistleblower debuts. And we have a rare interview with film maker, Laura Poitras on the real Assange, and his
role in the U.S. election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA POITRAS, FILMMAKER: I think Julian is kind of doing what Julian does, which is a bit somewhat being a bit of a trickster with the news
cycle, and trying to weigh in on what's happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Plus, President Trump flies out to find a port in a storm. Paris becomes his third foreign trip in two months.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
President Trump is headed to Paris tonight as guest of honor at Bastille Day celebrations there where for the first time American forces will parade
alongside the French down the Champs Elysees.
This as more questions swirl over pre-election links to Russia. The fallout from Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russia lawyer to gather
damaging information on Hillary Clinton, the clearest sign to date that the Trump campaign was eager for help from Moscow.
And WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange twitted that he had tried but failed to get Trump Jr. to publish his e-mail chain via his Web site.
WikiLeaks played a key role in the U.S. election, publishing e-mails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton's campaign manager.
So who is Assange?
He remains holed up inside the Ecuadorian embassy here in London, five years after being granted asylum there. That was 2012. We get now some
very revealing answers in a new documentary about him called "Risk."
He gave incredible access to the director Laura Poitras, which she has come to regret. She and producer Brenda Coughlin join me here to discuss this
case in their first TV interview.
AMANPOUR: Ladies, welcome to the program.
Laura Poitras, Brenda Coughlin, thank you for being here.
Particularly on this day -- Laura -- Julian Assange, the subject of your film, has weighed in the last 24 hours, saying that he had tried to get
Donald Trump Jr. to publish his e-mails with him.
What do you make of that? Is Assange trying to be relevant? What do you make of it?
POITRAS: So I think Julian is kind of doing what Julian does, which is a bit somewhat being a bit of a trickster with the news cycle and trying to
weigh in on what's happening.
AMANPOUR: But do you believe that he was the -- the medium by which Russia leaked all these, you know, these DNC and Hillary and the other -- the
other e-mails during the campaign?
Assange himself says he was not the beneficiary by a state actor.
What do you believe?
POITRAS: Right. So what's in the film, and what's been said, sort of why they believe -- this was a Russian hack and that then the Russian
government used an intermediary or what they call a cut-out to then submit it to WikiLeaks.
And the way that WikiLeaks works, they have an anonymous submission system. So it's possible that they don't know who their source is. And it's
possible that the person who are the people who release it to him didn't identify who they were working for or with. So I think that the question
is, you know, what does Julian know or what does Julian not know about his source.
AMANPOUR: Exactly. And about the Russians. I mean, I guess the question is, Brenda, I can ask you this.
Why do you think, you know, candidate Trump would have said, I love WikiLeaks? You know, as if he thought they were doing, you know, all the
sort of dirty work for him?
BRENDA COUGHLIN, PRODUCER, "RISK": Candidate Trump, I think, in his way, right, loved WikiLeaks when it seemed to be playing to his direction.
And then afterward, obviously, the CIA Director Pompeo, clearly changed his mind and not only said he didn't love WikiLeaks, but in fact, thought he
didn't have the right to publish, a First Amendment right, a press freedom right to publish. So the wind has changed.
AMANPOUR: Laura, you got extraordinary access. And there are so many gee whiz scenes in that film particularly the one that I want to play right
now, which was all about, and it came as WikiLeaks was about to make its name by publishing so-called cablegate, or the State Department cables.
And this is Julian Assange and his assistant associate, Sarah Harrison, trying to reach Hillary Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[14:05:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ACTRESS: Oh, hello. Can I please speak to Hillary Clinton? I'm calling from the office of Julian Assange. It's very
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It was so breathtakingly arrogant that I wonder what you thought when you were filming that.
POITRAS: Yes. I mean, I was so -- the type of work that I do, I do -- I try to film things as they are happening in real-time. So what had
happened -- this was -- this phone call happened after WikiLeaks had done the first round of releases of the State Department cables.
And then they discovered there had been a password that had been published, and that all the cables un-redacted were about to be released on the
So they are trying to figure out what to do. So I actually had just flown there, and I started filming. And they're like, OK, well, let's call
Hillary Clinton. And, yes, it was pretty surprising to sort of be sitting there and filming this sort of encounter between WikiLeaks and the State
But, yes, is it breathtakingly arrogant? Yes, I think that. But I also think again it's other Julian -- as trickster Julian is sort of trying to
like not play by the rules.
AMANPOUR: We know that your film went through a second edit. Between when you first premiered it and when it was released.
What changed? Why did you do that? What did you think needed to be told?
COUGHLIN: We did premier the film at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2016. We were -- and the film was essentially finished. We did plan after Cannes
to go back into the film, because we didn't feel it was completely done. And also at that point, we had received demands for changes being made to
COUGHLIN: By Assange.
AMANPOUR: What sort of changes?
COUGHLIN: He specifically was demanding that scenes where he speaks to the Swedish case, the investigation, allegations of sexual assault and rape,
that those be removed in their entirety from the film.
AMANPOUR: Which you did not do.
COUGHLIN: Absolutely, we did not do it.
AMANPOUR: So there I am now going to put another clip out, which is a very revealing clip about Julian Assange's attitude to the sexual abuse case,
and his talking to a very prominent British lawyer, Baroness Helena Kennedy, who appears to be trying to help him talk about this in a way that
will be acceptable publicly. This is the scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Women are absolutely entitled to bring cases against men who rape. Your position is, I'm not one of them, you know. So you
have to sort of -- find the language that, you know, for you -- that helps you to explain that. Other than sounding as if you're somebody who thinks
that, you know, this is all a mad conspiracy. I don't think that's helpful to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say publicly --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Privately --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels like --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Privately, it's a social democratic party-plus general influence from the government. It's just a thoroughly tawdry, radical,
feminist, political positioning thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, in that scene, it's so revealing. Not just what he said about radical, feminist position, but Baroness Kennedy's face. Just the
whole amazement at the angle he's trying to take.
What -- did anything change for you then, Laura, as you witnessed that scene?
POITRAS: You know, when I make films, I try to film things as they're happening and try to let people sort of speak, and I don't often sort of
But I certainly sympathize with Helena Kennedy in this moment, because I think she's trying to say, listen, let's talk about this, you know, in a
certain way. And he's pushing back.
So I certainly -- you know, felt it was important to include in the film. It was Julian's own words, and we were actually very surprised that he and
his lawyers later were demanding that we take these scenes out, where he's speaking about the case in his own words, which we didn't do, and which
ultimately led to our falling out.
AMANPOUR: Well --
POITRAS: It began to happen -- before Cannes, he was demanding and making pressures to take things out and then continued after to today, where he's
issued cease and desist letters to our distributors.
COUGHLIN: I think the overall tenor, what we see in the film, and what I believe that we really tried to explore are -- is a form of sexism and
misogyny that plays out in a way that I think is actually quite familiar to many of us -- to men and women in workplaces, in universities and other
settings. And that this is familiar to us.
Even the parts of it that are perhaps more shocking. We are not actually completely surprised.
[14:10:00] AMANPOUR: Yes. At one point, you read your production journal, and you said, I thought I could avoid the contradictions of what I was
seeing. I was so wrong. They are the story.
POITRAS: Yes. I mean, that's -- I mean, echoing what Brenda is saying, it's looking at sort of what the organization is doing and its ideals.
A lot of which I have sympathy for. And then having -- yes, feeling differently about the person in this case and some of those attitudes,
particularly in relationship to the -- to the women involved in the Swedish case.
I mean, I actually think -- you know, Julian is a really important historical figure in the sort of shift of journalism and how the Internet
has changed journalism. And so he understood that there would be these large document leaks that we would need to use encryption to protect
sources and those kinds of things. Those are things that I really believe in and identify with. And then there are things that, you know -- that are
in the film that obviously I have, you know, more -- whatever. I find disturbing.
AMANPOUR: The truth is, he comes across as a bit of a paranoid creep in this film. I mean, he just does. And I'm not the only one who says it.
And a very egotistical -- and I don't see a great wider good to society.
I mean, those cablegate e-mails, you know, that's not journalism. That's a dump. The really important contribution, I thought, as a journalist, was
seeing what Bradley and now Chelsea Manning released, which was the video of the shooting of the journalist in Iraq.
POITRAS: OK. I'm going to actually disagree with you on a number of things that you just said.
First of all, I think it's -- so cablegate, it was not e-mails.
AMANPOUR: Yes, correct.
POITRAS: It was looking at U.S. foreign policy globally. And like sort of like moving the curtain behind and see what the government was actually
I think there was enormous significance for people globally. I mean, this was a huge story. And I have made a film about the war in Iraq and what
they published in terms of the war logs both in Iraq and Afghanistan was hugely significant.
I mean, for instance, in Iraq we learned, actually, how many Iraqi civilians had been killed in this war. I mean, this was work that should
have been done by CNN and the "New York Times" and the "Washington Post," and it wasn't happening.
So I really do think that there are -- that the publishing of a lot of their work, I'm going to defend. And I do think it's valid journalism.
I will also criticize it. I will criticize the decision not to redact names in many instances. Or to -- not to sort of filter what is news-
worthy, what is public interest, from what isn't.
Yes, does Julian have a big ego? I think he does.
Does he have a large sort of -- like mission? Is he driven by something? He clearly is. And what he's driven by is trying to get information from
secretive, powerful institutions, and make them -- and let the public know what's happening.
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, you have had the most incredible involvement in this massive story of our time. You've done incredible films on Assange
and Edward Snowden, and we really appreciate you being here.
Thank you so much, Laura Poitras and Brenda Coughlin.
POITRAS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: "Risk" is out already here in the UK and it releases on Showtime in the U.S. on July 22nd.
Now after the break, President Trump is embarking on his third trip abroad, this time to France. After that white-knuckle handshake from President
Emmanuel Macron at their first encounter, can the two now find common ground?
[14:15:15] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
Two leaders with vastly different visions will stand side by side in Paris this week. Donald Trump and the French President, Emmanuel Macron,
together on Bastille Day.
It's a turning point in the French revolution, and they will both celebrate the relationship between America and its oldest ally.
American troops will march alongside the French on the Champs Elysees to mark 100 years since the U.S. entered World War I. But the relationship
has taken some rocky turns. President Trump openly supported Macron's far- right opponent in May's election, and this handy show of force marked their first meeting at NATO.
Macron later said it wasn't innocent. It was a moment of truth. That same trip, Macron took another dig at Trump, when he swerved away from the U.S.
president to greet the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, first.
And then Trump through threw a pie in the French president's face when just days later he withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord.
So what difference will a month make? Can the America-first president find common ground with the globalist French leader?
As editor-in-chief of "Paris Match", Olivier Royant is a long time observe of both Trump and Macron, and he joins me now from Paris.
Welcome to the program.
OLIVER ROYANT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "PARIS MATCH": Good evening, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So that was a long wind-up to say can they find common ground? What do you make of the sort of show of force that both have been
displaying in their last two meetings?
What do you expect from this one this week?
ROYANT: As you say, it's -- the relationship started on a rocky ground. I mean, the strong handshake that they had in Brussels, and then you know the
-- you did mentioned the video by Macron, make our planet great again. I mean, this was like a challenge to Trump.
I think the thing will considerably get better, be humble last weekend with the first lady being there. The talk they were something in the body
language, in the small talks between the two presidents that make them closer.
I think it's -- what's going on, as we take place in Paris tomorrow and the day after tomorrow is that the two leaders, they believe that it's a clever
political calculation on both sides, maybe.
I mean, each of them find interest being on the same stage for Bastille Day. I'm not sure they're going to solve the issue of the Paris agreement.
The trade issue won't be discussed very likely. But what's going to happen is the two presidents will be on the same stage.
What they will do is they will celebrate the sacrifice of 550 Southern American in 1917. And I think both of them they probably understood that
the relationship between France and the United States goes far beyond the simple relationship between these two men. I mean, it goes back to
Lafayette being engage in supporting the American Revolution.
ROYANT: It goes back to in a (INAUDIBLE)
AMANPOUR: Indeed, it does. Yes, and the values of both revolutions are very similar. And I just want to ask you whether you think -- look, a lot
of commentators have said that when President Trump made that big speech in Warsaw, it was actually very important, because he told the polls, he told
Europe that actually Europe would not be abandoned by the United States.
And Warsaw obviously has -- Poland has a lot of problems being a front-line state with Russia. So he did make that statement.
What can he do to reassure -- to further reassure Europe, to reassure President Macron and the French, I don't know, about is Europe good or bad?
You know, he really took a very anti Europe tone during the French election campaign.
ROYANT: I think it will have to go further in the duration of his speech in Poland. I mean, this was one speech, and then the -- what kind of
action will follow.
What you have seen here is the -- since the election in April, Macron has been trying to establish himself as the new commander-in-chief.
He went on a very international move. He went from Brussels to Cecilia and then to Hamburg. And yesterday, he was at the IOC in Lausanne to promote
the Olympic Games in Paris.
So Macron has been trying -- you saw the vacuum between on the one side Putin and on the other side Trump. I mean, being in south -- like the new
kid on the block. And he has been seen the vacuum also of this special relationship between the Great Britain -- the now United Kingdom and
Washington. I mean, this was not expected.
[14:20:00] I mean, Trump was supposed to go to London, and instead of going to London, is going to Paris.
So I think Macron likes to surprise. Macron likes to seduce, and he believe that in discussing with Donald Trump, he can achieve something.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's the key point. I guess what does he think he can achieve.
And I just need to point out, you're absolutely right. He was meant to come -- Donald Trump to Britain this year. But apparently now is not going
to be before the end of this year.
As you know, Donald Trump is not that popular around the world. Only 14 percent of the French have confidence in him to do the right thing. And he
has been very anti-France.
I mean, Bastille Day will mark one year since that terrible terrorism in Nice, the vehicle attack, and obviously the assassination of the priest, as
well. And after that, this is what Trump said, as candidate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: France is no longer France. France is no longer France. They won't like me for saying that. But you
see what happened in Nice. You see what happened yesterday with the priest who was supposed to be a spectacular man. France is no longer France.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So how is he going to get around that with the French people? And the French journalists when they question him in the presser?
ROYANT: I think on the one side, you have a -- France has been leading like an Obama-mania over the last 8 years. Obama was very popular in this
country. On the other side, Trump has not been very popular.
I mean, he's not -- he's like he's been portrayed in the magazine, in the newspaper, on television as a caricature of himself. I mean, they'll have
a lot of jokes going on around Trump and a lot of - a real distrust toward him.
But on the other hand, there was a report today that was released saying that 59 percent of the French people believe that macron was right to
invite trump in Paris for Bastille Day.
Christiane, you have to go back to the relationship between Reagan and Mitterrand, for example. When Reagan was visiting Mitterrand in 1982, he
was in the car with the U.S. ambassador, and he was saying, what is this story of adding communist minister and his French government?
I mean, this was something unbelievable for Ronald Reagan. So we -- this has been before. I mean, I think this -- these two -- these two men must
feel some kind of fascination.
On the one hand -- remember interviewing Donald Trump a long time ago, like 30 years ago when he was an interpreter and a successful businessman in New
York, and I asked him a question. I found it in my files, I asked him a question, it must have been like 1989, I said, Donald, do you think you
could be president one day?
And he said, yes, I think I could do it. So he must be fascinated with this 39-year-old younger politician that managed to be at the outside and
who became president.
And on the other side, I'm sure that Macron is fascinated with the personality of Trump. Because he's absolutely -- he's very difficult to
AMANPOUR: Very, very interesting. Well, two very different characters. We'll see how the chemistry works and whether it translates into some
common ground and common policy, especially on climate.
Olivier Royant, thank you so much indeed.
And remember, as Olivier said, the two presidents are competing to have the Olympic games in either Los Angeles or Paris. We'll see who wins that
The U.S. withdrawal from the climate agreement is a major schism, of course, from global policy on climate and in Antarctica. One of the
biggest icebergs on record has just broken into the ocean. It weighs about 1 trillion tons, and it's twice the size of Luxemburg.
It's called carving. And scientists say it's a natural part of an iceberg's life cycle.
So from carves to cows; from the oceans to the skies. After a break, we imagine a world of flying bovines.
[14:26:12] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, if pigs could fly, as the saying goes. Well, imagine a world where cows can fly.
A herd of 165 of them has flown from Hungary to Qatar. But the airborne dairy cows are not seeking newer or greener pastures. They are going to
work in Qatar, which is feeling the squeeze with the shortage of milk and yogurt as it is the center of a diplomatic and economic boycott by four of
its Arab neighbors.
This pits U.S. allies against one another. And the U.S. secretary of state has come to try and mediate the crisis. But the dairy crisis is a matter
of pride, if not prejudice, as the Qatari foreign minister insisted to me his country is prepared for any outcome.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN AL THANI, QATARI FOREIGN MINISTER: We managed the situation right away to ensure that there is no shortage of supply will be
We have already developed a program after the first classes in 2014 in order to fulfill if there is any gap that might happen because of political
tension. And this has been run very successful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But the first batch of air-lifted cows could just be the beginning for this blockaded gulf state. One Qatari company tells CNN that
it plans to import 4,000 cows to compensate for this blockade.
We hope their milk won't be as sour as relations between the feuding Gulf States. And we can see that Qatar Airways will be experiencing a surge in
cattle class passengers.
That is it for our program tonight. And remember, you can always listen to our podcast any time. See us online at Amanpour.com and follow me on
Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.