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Trump Goes After His Attorney General Again; Whistleblower: Trump Admin "Stifles Science"; Sailing Through a Land of Ice
Aired July 26, 2017 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, experts in the age of Trump, as senior government scientist tells me that he was sidelined for
researching climate change. This as Trump's troubles with Congress continue.
Plus, less money for the same work. A top BBC journalist speaks out about the gender pay gap on the job and in every line of work from journalism to
business to politics and beyond.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
After suffering both victory and a set backs in the latest efforts to repeal Obamacare, Republicans in Congress are starting to feel the pain.
President Trump took to Twitter again to blast any of them not on board.
Like accusing the Alaska senator, Lisa Murkowski, of, quote, "letting the country down" by voting against opening another debate on health care.
The president also continues to lay into his own attorney general and long- time faithful supporter, Jeff Sessions. But are Republican members taking all of this lying down? In a sort of alternative Hippocratic oath
emerging, maneuvering so that the president can do less harm?
The columnist, David Leonhardt, has been following this for the "New York Times" and he joins me now from Washington.
David, welcome to the program. And I'm really interested in your latest column, tackling this very issue.
How would you describe President Trump's ability to push his agenda through Congress right now? Through his own party?
DAVID LEONHARDT, COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Weak. I mean, President Trump looks a lot weaker than almost any president. Any modern president.
And arguably, any president at all in terms of his sway over his own party.
He's yet to pass any major legislation, and maybe they're getting close on health care, but maybe they're not.
Republicans have also sometimes reluctantly, but at least in the Senate, have come along and are playing a major role in this bipartisan
investigation. And so whether you look at Trump's popularity or you look at how often his fellow Republicans are criticizing him or rolling their
eyes at him, look, as a columnist, I am so alarmed by so much of what Trump is doing. I wish Republicans would stand up more to him. But if your
standard is historically how much loyalty is he getting from his own party, the answer is much less than most presidents.
AMANPOUR: So let's just take a few specifics. Because I was sort of struck today, not only by what you've written in your column about rank and
file Republicans standing up, but also the maneuvering.
You see the Republicans are pretty angry about the full-scale attack on one of their own, the former senator, Jeff Sessions.
Let's just play what Donald Trump has said about him just recently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I told you before, I'm very disappointed with the attorney general. But we will see what happens.
Time will tell. Time will tell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, David, we're already hearing some Republicans saying, well, you can do what you want. You can fire him, but don't expect an easy ride
on a renomination, reconfirmation.
LEONHARDT: That's right. I mean, I think another way to think of this is, the real tests are still to come. Because the Republican Party is now
faced with the decision about whether to take health care away from 20 or 30 million Americans, as President Trump wants to do. They also may be
faced with the decision about what to do if Trump fires Jeff Sessions.
Now, let's be clear. The only reason Trump would fire Jeff Sessions is to protect himself, his family and his aides in this Russia investigation. It
would be a real breach of the rule of law.
And so although Republicans have resisted Trump somewhat so far, more than usual, we really could be faced with a situation where they have to really
amp up their resistance, or end up going along with some pretty terrible policy and political decisions from the White House.
AMANPOUR: Well, on that note, let's just talk about some of the maneuvering that we have noticed, like certain number of Republicans are
trying to sort of prevent the White House being able to, you know, roll back sanctions and do such things that perhaps they have said they want to
do, whether it's on Russia or in Iran, North Korea, and the like.
Describe what's going on there. I sort of describe it as some kind of an alternative Hippocratic Oath.
LEONHARDT: Well, I think that's -- the sanctions point is a really important point. And it's a really important piece of this. I mean, you
have, by not quite unanimous, but almost unanimous margins, the United States Congress approving sanctions on Russia. That it's clear that
President Trump really does not want.
[14:05:00] And so that is yet another slap in the face to the White House. It's Congress saying, look, we don't think you're right about this. We
don't even necessarily think you have the best interests of the country in mind. I mean, we're going to do what we want to do.
AMANPOUR: And just finally, you know, many politicians look to, you know, support the leader that won the election, after all.
Are you basically saying that they are not afraid of him any more? Is something going on in the country that they feel kind of may be isolated
from his tirades against them?
LEONHARDT: Well, Christiane, I do not want to suggest this is a binary thing. Trump is still getting a lot of support from Republicans in
Congress. They are still supporting him more than they are not.
What I'm saying is that when you compare it to the past, they are supporting him less than members typically support a president. And part
of the reason is exactly what you just hit on.
Which is despite what Trump brags about on Twitter, he actually fared worse in the vast majority of congressional districts than House members did.
His approval ratings are lower than any United States president has ever had in the history of modern polling. Adversely every point, including the
six-month point that he's now at. His approval is right around 39 or 40 percent.
And so, yes, it is the case that most members of Congress are just not that afraid of the president.
AMANPOUR: It's fascinating.
Thank you for your update and your analysis.
David Leonhardt of the "New York Times."
Thanks for joining us.
LEONHARDT: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So is the Trump administration waging a war on expertise?
From crashing the intelligence communities Russia analysis to specialist at the State Department and scientists dealing with climate change.
Since Donald Trump took office, a disturbing pattern has unfolded at the EPA. Firing half the members of its scientific advisory board.
And in other departments, certain civil servants had been forcibly reassigned like Joel Clement, the former director of the interior
department's office of policy analysis, who was summarily moved to the accounting department after publicly speaking out about the effects of
climate change on Native American communities. And he joins me now from New York.
Mr. Clement, welcome to the program.
JOEL CLEMENT, FORMER DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF POLICY ANALYSIS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Is that why you were -- you were moved? Has it got anything to do with your professional competence, or is it because you just spoke out
publicly on this issue?
CLEMENT: I was reassigned, I believe, in retaliation for the work that I was doing to address the health and safety risks that climate change
presents to the Alaskan native communities on the edge of a melting arctic.
AMANPOUR: And just remind us exactly what you were doing then and what you're doing right now.
CLEMENT: So at the time I was organizing the federal engagement with this issue. It's a very complicated issue, trying to bring these folks who live
on narrowest bits of land, narrowest bits of permafrost that is melting, and no longer protected by the sea ice.
So they're one big storm away from becoming refugees. That's what I was working on. Now I've been reassigned to that accounting office that
collects royalty income from the oil and gas industries.
AMANPOUR: Oh, my goodness. I mean, it's kind of a Wellian (ph) -- royalties from the oil and gas industry.
OK. So why have you decided to go public?
CLEMENT: Well, I'm blowing the whistle on the administration for retaliating against me. This is a matter of health and safety for these
folks in the arctic. Heaven forbid there is loss of life if a storm comes through this fall. So it's a very immediate need and it is a
responsibility of the federal government to engage.
And, honestly, it will be very difficult to solve the problem without direct engagement from Washington, D.C.
AMANPOUR: Let me just please put to you the administration's response. I mean, basically they are saying that, you know, senior executives are the
highest-paid employees in the federal government. They're saying that "Personnel moves among the senior executive service are being conducted to
better serve the taxpayer and the department's operations."
Do you buy that?
CLEMENT: Yes. The -- the senior executive service is meant to be a mobile work force. So when we sign up for that, we know that we could be moved.
It is not, however, set up to be used for retaliation. So these involuntary reassignments are legitimate. They did several dozen of them
at once, which raised a lot of eyebrows. But also mine, of course, is a pretty flagrant change of office.
I go from having an office of 25 analysts, an economist and scientists to being a senior adviser with a job title, but no duties and no staff.
AMANPOUR: So let us drill down on what's going on in the scientific community. And as I said, we're seeing it kind of all over the place. The
idea of dismissing experts and going it alone, so to speak.
[14:10:00] We saw several months ago a massive march in Washington for science.
From your perspective, what's happening? We see people being fired. We see people being reassigned. But what actual practical effect is that
happening, or will it have on the ground?
CLEMENT: Well, we're seeing several effects already, and that's why I raised the plight of the Alaskan natives. Those villages are really one
step away from refugee status. But also what are the implications for the opioid crisis or national security, diplomacy, when you're removing the
subject matter experts and the scientists so systematically in ongoing way from the agencies. It's troubling. And it's troubling to a lot of us that
work in the civil service, and we are committed to the civil service, subject matter experts and scientists really make it tick. So it's
As an American, I'm very concerned, because there are likely to be greater risks to the health and safety of Americans.
AMANPOUR: And I want to ask you, you know, what is the mood inside the department? And just another extraordinary thing happened over the
The department, I believe, was told by the White House to prevent senior experts from meeting with Facebook Chief Mark Zuckerberg when he was
visiting the arctic -- the arctic area, the national park that he wanted to go and check up on some of these issues that you're talking about.
I mean, that sounds pretty extraordinary and somewhat petty.
CLEMENT: Yes. I don't think they're going to win any awards for nuance with these moves. It definitely has created a hostile work environment in
Everyone is looking over their shoulder, regardless of whether there are senior leaders or even lower-level staff. It's very uncomfortable for
people. And what I'm hoping is that it will -- they will find -- look into their rights, find their voices and raise those voices, because we do -- we
need to resist this type of hostile environment.
AMANPOUR: And then I just wondered what you felt in terms of the bigger picture. For instance, the climate change and the accords. President
Trump pulling the U.S. out of it.
From what you're saying and from what you're observing, do you think there's any way the president will reverse that?
And if he doesn't reverse pulling out, will he -- will he take the steps that make, you know, the U.S. stop doing its part?
CLEMENT: It is very difficult for me to speculate on that kind of thing. My focus has been climate change, adaptation, resilience. Because
regardless of what happens and how you feel about causes of climate change, even though we know that's all very real, there are effects right now
happening, and there are vulnerable populations in place that we need to protect. So that's where I generally focus my energy. It's very difficult
to speculate on what's going to happen next at the White House.
AMANPOUR: And just quickly, a chilling effect.
Do others fear speaking out, and do you fear further retaliation from doing this interview, for instance?
CLEMENT: Yes, I don't know what to expect. I'll trust the investigation that the office of special counsel will now conduct. I will say that it's
been absolutely overwhelming and humbling, the response that I've gotten from not just around the country, but from other civil service folks and
many agencies have been reaching out saying, hey, thanks, we feel inspired, empowered. We're glad to have someone out there with a voice right now.
AMANPOUR: Joel clement, thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight.
And when we come back, some more basic facts about the USA. Indeed, the UK and all over the world. That massive gender pay gap in just about every
line of work imaginable.
Next, we talk to a top female BBC radio presenter as the fight back begins in earnest.
[14:15:30] AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
It is one of the most recognizable institutions and brands in the whole world. Yet in 2017, here in the UK, not even the aghast BBC can stump up
when it comes to pay equality between men and women.
The fallout continues from what we learned about last week, which is the huge gender pay gap in the iconic broadcaster. Only a third of its
highest-paid staff are women. And the highest-paid men makes four times as much as the best-paid woman.
BBC radio presenter Jane Garvey is joining the resistance. She wrote an open letter, published in the "Sunday Times" and signed by more than 40 top
female stars. They are demanding action now.
And she joins me live here in the studio.
Jane, welcome to the program.
JANE GARVEY, BBC RADIO PRESENTER: Thank you very much.
Let us not forget that you host "Women's Hour."
Was that part of why you decided to fight back? I mean, that's your platform.
GARVEY: Very much so. "Women's Hour" has been in existence since 1946. It was 70 last year, obviously. And the program has discussed Britain's
gender pay gap since the autumn of 1946. That's why I honestly felt compelled to do something about this.
AMANPOUR: And do you expect to get a response? I mean, you and 40 or so others have crafted this open letter to the head of the corporation.
AMANPOUR: And you're asking for action now, not in 20 --
GARVEY: He said 2020.
AMANPOUR: 2020, when they promised.
GARVEY: But crucially, Britain has had legislation in place since 1970 enshrining equal pay for women and men in law. So why should we wait until
2020 for that to happen? And I simply on my own, although I had spoken out, I am not famous enough.
I'm a radio presenter. I need it. Frankly, I need it to be you. I needed to be a --
AMANPOUR: Well, here you are!
GARVEY: I know, thank you. Yes, exactly. So I had the backing. I have the backing now of women who are truly famous, nationally, across the UK on
television. And that has been really, really significant. And I'm grateful.
AMANPOUR: Judith, some of those women are Clare Balding for instance, maybe our international audience knows her. She's a sports presenter and
very prominent here. She basically asked the BBC not to treat women as discount employees.
AMANPOUR: And has actually even said that when she filled in for "Women's Hour," she found that the presenters there were paid even less than the
less-paid in the rest of the corporation. At "Women's Hour."
GARVEY: Exactly. That was in 2010. And she told me about it. And we had a conversation. I remember where we were when she told me about it. It's
taken seven years for us to get these figures that came out last week in the UK that told us what we had already suspected. That we were getting a
AMANPOUR: Now here's some of the most famous ones. That's Clare Balding, I was talking about. There is Fiona Bruce who fronts the 6:00 p.m. news,
and that's Mishal Husain, who is one of the hosts of the morning, very, very well-viewed.
GARVEY: And we have all been talking to each other all week.
AMANPOUR: Well, listen, I want to show you this clock. This clock was sent to me by actually MTV months ago.
If anybody can see it there, it actually shows a little dial which says 79 percent. That is how much women in the United States are paid for every
man. 79 percent.
AMANPOUR: And they're suggesting that, you know, when 79 percent of your day is up, off you go. Set the alarm and go.
AMANPOUR: So it is a very, very real issue across the board, and not just in journalism.
What do you think can and should practically be done? Is it about higher pay for women? Lower pay for men? As the discussion is going on now, what
are you asking?
GARVEY: I am absolutely desperate to get the message across, globally, that this is not about getting more money for people like me. Women like
me. Who are already well-paid.
What we want is a fair system, a transparent system, in which my teenage daughters, for example, when they enter the workplace, they will know that
however good they are, however bad they are, they'll be paid on the same terms as their male counterparts.
So it may actually be at the BBC that I don't get a pay raise at all. I actually don't deserve one. I admit that.
AMANPOUR: Don't say that. Too many women say that.
GARVEY: OK. A mistake.
AMANPOUR: All right.
GARVEY: What I cannot bare and will not tolerate any longer is that some men seem to be ludicrously overpaid.
AMANPOUR: So I'm going play a little bit of a radio interview that one of the highly paid male presenters on the Radio 4 gave. And he was actually
This is John Humphrys, who was known all over the land, much beloved, and incredibly great broadcaster and interviewer.
Let's listen for a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[14:20:00] JOHN HUMPHRYS, PRESENTER, RADIO 4: I'm not happy with that. I think they all do a brilliant job. But if we're talking about Sarah, for
instance, isn't even on the list, which seems to me to be very strange indeed. She is a superb presenter. So is Mishal, who earns a lot less
And so are the others who are a lot less than me. So I don't think that is right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you do the job for less money?
HUMPHRYS: Yes, of course, I would.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So that's pretty -- that's clear. And he's talking about his two female presenters, Sarah Montague and Mishal Husain, who get much, much
less than he does.
You know, even an actress like Emma Stone and many actresses in Hollywood have said that they don't get paid as much as the male marquis talent.
And Emma Stone has said that she has asked some of her male co-stars to take a lesser pay so that she's not always permanently behind for each
successive negotiation. Some of the men are going to have to do that.
GARVEY: I could learn from Emma Stone, couldn't I?
She's absolutely right. And John sounding very -- maybe we've got him on side. Maybe he will take -- he already says he's taken one pay cut. He
said that on BBC Radio this week. So maybe he'll take another.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you also about the law, because this is also about the law. You mentioned the law in Britain that was enshrined in the '70s.
There is also obviously an issue about women, because we bear the children.
And if you look at laws in Sweden compared to here, you have a much more robust paternity leave, where they have now mandated that men take their
three months, or they lose it. They can't parse it and fob it off to their wives or partners.
Do you think that is something that needs to be tackled here. The paternity, plus then the child care. Britain has one of the highest-
costing child care institutions.
GARVEY: Paternity leave is available to men now. But the truth is, you look at the figures, they're not taking it. And you know why they're not
taking it? Precisely because of the problem we're discussing right now.
I actually don't blame them for not taking it. Because they have seen, and they have had great illustration this week of the hit that women take.
I have to be honest and say that women sometimes do make different decisions.
AMANPOUR: They do.
GARVEY: And sometimes we have different priorities. But I want to know that when women go back to the workplace that they don't have to start
again. They don't have to build up credit. They can refer back to some of their great achievements of the past and start at a different level. In
fact, effectively, start where they left off when they went off on maternity leave. That's what we want.
AMANPOUR: So I started by asking you, you have written this letter to the top, top chief of the BBC, Tony Hall.
Has he responded?
GARVEY: He has.
GARVEY: And we have formed a working group. I have to say, of some pretty formidable women, some of the women you have shown tonight. And we are
going to start a whole series of meetings with Lord Hall, come the autumn. But before that, we are collating stories and experiences from women at all
levels of the BBC in engineering, in support services, in local radio, all over the United Kingdom.
Their stories have flooded in over the last four or five days. And we -- it's been made abundantly clear to me that the BBC has a task on its hands.
It really does.
AMANPOUR: And, of course, it's not the worst offender. There are many, many more institutions with much bigger pay gaps. And good luck to you.
This is a really, really important job that you're doing. And it's an important fight for equality, for justice and for economic health of our
whole communities, frankly.
GARVEY: Well, it's really kind of you. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you, Jane.
And while the pay gap is becoming a topic of some shame here in the UK, there is great pride now in the world of British sport. Because the
British swimmer, Adam Peaty, has laid ways to two world records on his way to gold at the Budapest World Championships. Swimming 50 meters
breaststroke in 25 seconds. An achievement that has patriotic Brits thinking that they found their own Michael Phelps.
After a break, we imagine a Brit in icy waters. The explorer sailing to the North Pole. That shouldn't be possible. But sadly, it could be. Find
out why, next.
[14:26:30] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, you heard our discussion about global warming and science earlier. Well, imagine this story.
In 2003, the British explorer, Pen Haddow, was the first man to walk solo to the North Pole. It took him 850 hours, and the ice was patchy even
14 years later, now imagine a world where Haddow will sail through that ice mass, melted by global warming. So it's a bittersweet return, as Haddow
attempts to become the first man to travel to the North Pole by boat.
The rising temperatures of the polar ice caps has made the impossible possible. And he hopes that the image of his two 50-foot yachts at the
North Pole will galvanize people into action.
He sets off from Alaska on Saturday, on a 5,600 kilometer round-trip to the center of the arctic. He'll be committing science there, too, finding the
latest facts by monitoring the air, sea and ice for pollution. And also checking on the wildlife along the journey, because if the ice does
disappear, the team wants to figure out how to protect creatures which will be left without their natural habitat. And that will take some serious
That's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can listen to our podcast any time. You can see us online at Amanpour.com, and you can follow me on
Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.