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The Man Behind The Russia Investigation: Robert Mueller; Britain Celebrates 100 Years Of Votes For Women. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired February 6, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST, AMANPOUR: Tonight, his name is in the media almost every day as he drills into Trump's ties to Russia. But who is
special counsel Robert Mueller. Journalist Garrett Graff because he's written a new book on him and he joins me live.
Also ahead, Britain celebrates 100 years since women got the vote, but the struggle for gender equality is far from over. My conversation on the
challenges facing women in our world today.
Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. The US special counsel's investigation is gathering
pace. And President Donald Trump has even told reporters that he would talk to Robert Mueller under oath.
But his lawyers are now trying to convince him not to, fearful, says "The New York Times", that the freewheeling president might incriminate himself.
So, who is the dogged investigator? And why do they call Mueller Washington's straightest arrow? Garrett Graff is author of "The Threat
Matrix," the FBI at war, a both on Robert Mueller and he joins me now from Washington.
Garrett Graff, welcome to the program.
GARRETT GRAFF, AUTHOR, "THE THREAT MATRIX: INSIDE ROBERT MUELLER'S FBI AND THE WAR ON GLOBAL TERROR": Thanks so much for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, we're going to drill down into Robert Mueller since so much scorn and partisan fury has been poured over him recently.
But, first, I want to know because, today, you have written about the investigation and you are warning that it's not just one investigation, but
it has several strands. Can you describe that for us?
GRAFF: Sure. So, we sort of speak of the Mueller probe as if it's one thing, but it's actually really one - it's really five probes in one.
It's an investigation into prior business deals and money-laundering, which is what has led to the indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.
It's an investigation into the Russian government's information operations on platforms like social media, Facebook. Twitter et cetera.
Third is, it's really an investigation into active cyber intrusions. This is the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta's email as well as the
intrusions into state-level election databases.
The fourth is the actual contacts between Russian officials, Russian nationals and campaign staff. This is what we have seen lead to the guilty
pleas of George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn.
And then, fifth is sort of this big overarching question of whether the president or any of his aides obstructed justice in the firing of FBI
Director Jim Comey and the pressure for Comey when he was FBI director to look past the investigation into Michael Flynn.
AMANPOUR: So, this is much, much wider in scope than perhaps we realize. Obviously, a lot of this is you're following public information and putting
all this together, public reporting.
And you say, a lot of the investigation remains out of sight. And Robert Mueller is becoming increasingly a target of partisan warfare. But you
call him, and many agree, that he has proved to be the straightest arrow in Washington. I'm quoting you. What do you mean by that?
GRAFF: So, he is someone - before the last couple of months, when he has become this lightning rod for the president and his allies, I mean, Bob
Mueller is a lifelong, career, non-partisan public servant.
I mean, he's spent almost 50 years working in the Department of Justice and has been appointed or held top jobs in the last five presidential
administrations. And did much of his time actually in Ronald Reagan's administration, George H.W. Bush's administration where he led the Justice
Department's criminal division.
And then, for George W. Bush, he was both an acting deputy attorney general and then also the longest-serving FBI director since J. Edgar
Hoover himself, the final two years of which he was especially extended by bipartisan piece of congressional legislation that passed the US Senate 100
I mean, this is someone who is seen as completely apolitical in a city where almost everything is mired in politics.
AMANPOUR: And let's just go a little bit further into his past because reading your book and hearing a lot of what people have said about him,
even those who are criticizing him now, he has a sterling reputation even before he became a public servant.
[14:05:04] He volunteered, didn't he, for Vietnam?
GRAFF: Yes. This is sort of one of the great turning points and illustrator points of Bob Mueller's career, is in the mid-1960s, sort of
Vietnam became the cultural hot potato that it did later, he volunteered to go to Vietnam, he volunteered to go to combat, led a Marine Corps platoon
in the jungles of Vietnam where he received a Bronze Star with Valor for his work in one particular combat engagement where he led a team out of his
Marines out behind enemy lines to retrieve a mortally wounded comrade. And then months later was actually shot himself through the leg and received a
I mean, this is someone who came home and then devoted basically most of the next 50 years working for the Department of Justice.
AMANPOUR: And again, almost everybody, to a man and a woman, talks about his sterling integrity and his devotion to the job at hand without fear nor
And, of course, as you describe, when he came into being director of the FBI, it was just before 9/11 and he was tasked with, first of all, shoring
up a department that had failed to find these people and to prevent it, but also to change the mission, right, the parameters of how the FBI tackles
these kinds of crimes.
GRAFF: Absolutely. He started as FBI director on September 4, 2001. And on the morning of September 11 was actually seated in the director's office
receiving his first briefing on Al Qaeda and the investigation into the bombing of the USS Cole, which had happened a year before at that point and
then received word of the unfolding terror attacks.
And sort of his life and the life of the FBI changed dramatically and he led this is very intensive transformation of the FBI from what had been a
traditional domestic law enforcement agency into something that is really an international intelligence agency now, I mean, focused on
counterterrorism, cyber, counterespionage, sort of an immense transformation of the FBI from its early days.
AMANPOUR: So, now, let's turn to President Trump's partisans. Robert Mueller is pulled out of his own private practice. He's brought back into
this public investigatory special counsel role.
And Newt Gingrich has said, way back then, in May 2017 when he was appointed, "Robert Mueller is a superb choice to be special counsel. His
reputation is impeccable for honesty and integrity. The media should now calm down."
And that, of course, is before the Nunes memo, before the piling on of Mueller. But you say and, obviously, Newt Gingrich felt, and others, that
he was going to conduct this investigation by the book. Has he shown anything other than doing that?
GRAFF: No. And in fact, what we have seen is that he has conducted this investigation in precisely the way that you would expect Bob Mueller to be
leading an FBI investigation.
I mean, in many ways, despite the unprecedented public uproar around it, a very simple straightforward FBI investigation. they've been using the
traditional techniques. Sort of, the FBI is deeply experienced in sort of taking down organizations, drug cartels, street gangs, organized crime
families, and so they start out the outside, they start at the bottom and sort of work their way in concentric circles into the center of the
And that's what you saw with George Papadopoulos. That's what you saw with Paul Manafort and sort of with the first charges coming in an unrelated
former business scheme and sort of working their way into where the investigation is now, which is closing in on an interview with President
AMANPOUR: Well, that's the next issue because now "The New York Times" reports that his lawyers do not want him to do that. Or at least many of
his lawyers don't want him to do that.
They're worried about what he might say under oath or what he might say that might come back to haunt him. And to that end, Newt Gingrich again
appeared this weekend on Fox and he said the following.
This is the same Newt Gingrich who praised Robert Mueller when he was appointed. This is what he's now saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think the idea of putting Trump in a room with five or six hardened, very, very clever lawyers, all
of whom are trying to trap him would be a very, very bad idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, I was mistaken. That was actually last month when the president said that he would talk to Mueller under oath.
[14:10:07] So, Gareth, do you think that he will end up and what do you make of "The New York Times" reporting that his lawyers don't want him to
talk under oath?
GRAFF: Well, I mean, I think anyone who has watched the president over the last year or the last two years on the campaign trail would agree that this
is going to be incredibly hard for the president to stay on message and to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
This is an administration and a president that sort of lies about things big and small on an almost daily basis, almost most recently with him
bragging that he had the highest audience, the largest audience ever for a State of the Union just last week when even his own State of the Union last
year was a larger audience.
AMANPOUR: Let me finally ask you about the bigger picture of the Nunes memo and what it says about confronting America's premier sort of law
You know an FBI - a former FBI official quit and he wrote in "The New York Times" that the relentless attacks on the Bureau undermined not just
America's premier law enforcement agency, but also the nation's security.
Do you think this memo, the precedent it sets, but also the attack on Mueller and his investigation is going to derail or corrupt or damage the
GRAFF: I don't know that it's going to necessarily damage the investigation. It has certainly very explicitly been aimed at corrupting
the public impression of the investigations. Sort of very purposely trying to obfuscate and muddy the waters around sort of this FISA warrant
application in October 2016, conflating that wrongly with the Mueller investigation that's unfolding right now.
And I think that that is a huge challenge in this, is that the Republican Party, in general, and the president in particular is doing tremendous
damage to the FBI's reputation.
And it's important that the American people be able to trust its national security apparatus, the FBI and the intelligence community writ large in a
AMANPOUR: We have to leave it there. Garrett Graff, thank you so much indeed.
And now, to a struggle for justice that's lasted more than a century - women's right to vote. Today, Britain celebrates 100 years since some
women received that vote after a tireless struggle by suffragettes like Emmeline Pankhurst who championed women's rights from London all the way to
Led by campaigners like Susan B. Anthony, American women won their right to vote two years later.
Britain celebrates its centennial milestone as women's rights not to be sexually abused or even their rights to equal pay are in the spotlight
today. Women have made giant leaps forward, but there are still many miles to go.
And joining me to discuss are Britain's longest continuously serving female member of Parliament Harriet Harman and Rothna Begum who investigates
women's rights in Africa and the Middle East.
Welcome to the program. How difficult was it for women to get the vote? I mean, did they just have a little struggle or was it really sort of a
HARRIET HARMAN, BRITISH LABOUR MP: I think it was an enormous task. And sometimes, people have been commentating today and talk about when women
were given the right to vote.
No, they fought for the right to vote. And the very proposition made the establishment fight back. And there was imprisonment. There was forced
feeding. And they had to battle for it because it was a very subversive proposition. It was that women should be able to vote on equal terms with
men. And men were not going to share it.
They didn't just say, well, that's a great idea; we'll change everything we've always done. They said no and they resisted and the women fought on.
So, it's a great story of struggle, one we should internalize now as we struggle for more rights.
AMANPOUR: And let's just be absolutely clear. A hundred years ago today, only some women got the right to vote, women who were 30 years old, women
who had property, women who were educated. Did that leave a whole load of women behind, do you think? Women of color, lower-class, working class
HARMAN: Well, I think it was a stepping stone. And ten years later, more women got the vote. So, I think it's bit by bit. And you have to take
whatever gain you can and then make further progress.
AMANPOUR: And who is that on your lapel there?
HARMAN: This is Millicent Fawcett. I know you've been admiring it. And I'm such a fan of yours. I'm going to give it to you. There you are.
AMANPOUR: Well, listen, on this day, I will definitely - it looks to me like it was a Christmas tree ornament. And I will use it on my Christmas
tree this year.
[14:15:09] So, she was one of the first to secure the rights for women to vote. In fact, a statue is going up in Westminster.
When it comes to women around the world, Rothna Begum, and your specialty is in North Africa and the Middle East. Obviously, lagging way behind, not
just the UK, but the rest of the world essentially. How long is it going to take for those women even to approach 100 years ago?
ROTHNA BEGUM, WOMEN'S RIGHTS RESEARCHER, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: It's going to take a while. But, actually, in the last year, we've seen a series of
reforms for women's rights in the region.
We had one after the other and it's been amazing. And part of the reason why that happened is because of female legislators.
So, we saw in the space of a month over the summer, Jordan, Tunisia and Lebanon, who repealed provisions that had allowed rapists to escape
prosecution if they married their victims. And that was helped in part by the female legislators there.
AMANPOUR: What about, when we all sort of take as a sort of baseline, Saudi Arabia? And everybody knows that in Saudi Arabia women have almost
no rights at all. But now comes this new crown prince who's promised a whole load of things, not just the right to drive. Is that serious? When
you at Human Rights Watch do the analysis, is it really going to happen and is it really going to make a difference?
BEGUM: Well, a lot of the reforms we've seen so far have been as a result of women themselves. So, the right to vote and stand for elections was two
years ago and that was before the crown prince was in place. And that happened after 10 years of women fighting for that right. And they still
had a lot of challenges.
But just as an example, for instance, less than two months after 38 women won as counselors, they were not allowed to sit in the same room as men.
So, they had to sit in a separate room and go by a webcam.
Now, yes, we have a crown prince who is seen to be very modern and he's advocating for changes, including for women's rights, but those changes are
still very limited.
So, in April of this year - April 2017, the king decreed that they would banish arbitrary restrictions on male guardianship system. So, he said
that government agencies could no longer require a male guardian consent if there are no rules around this anyway.
So, that means hospitals, for instance, who require male guardian permission for medical procedures, which there is no law for, but they do,
that would now be banned.
AMANPOUR: And let's just be absolutely clear. That means every Saudi women can almost not put a foot in front of the other without a male in her
family giving permission. And sometimes, it's even her son or her nephew.
BEGUM: That's right. So, the male guardianship system right now requires women to have a male guardian who could be their son, their father, their
brother or their uncle. So, from birth to death, they will always be a perpetual minor and they are required to provide male guardian consent to
travel abroad, to obtain a passport, to marry, to undertake education. A whole series of things in their life, they are required to have male
The decree in April of last year meant that arbitrary restrictions could no longer be applied. And the king also asked for a review. Well, he asked
all of this - the list of all this guardian consent requirements to be provided to their office, suggesting that there would be a review of the
guardianship system, but nothing has really changed since then.
AMANPOUR: When you listen to Rothna, and you hear how really medieval it still is in many parts of the world that she looks after for Human Rights
Watch, what was it like when you entered parliament? Was it - they put out the red carpet for you? Was it easy?
HARMAN: Well, not at all. When I first was in parliament, there was only 3 percent of us women and 97 percent men. And most of the men felt
actually that a woman's place was in the home, not in the House of Commons.
And, in fact, we got mugs for ourselves printed with a woman's place is in the house. And to say, we were entitled to be here. But the idea that a
woman who was - a married woman who was pregnant as I was when I arrived in the House of Commons, it's like, no, she should be at home, not speaking up
in the House of Commons.
AMANPOUR: So, it is extraordinary that you talk about being pregnant and you had several children as you continued your work as an MP. Even today,
there is this aura around the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern who's announced that she's pregnant and that her husband will stay home as
the stay-at-home dad. And in the United States, a big fuss made over Sen. Tammy Duckworth, the first to be pregnant on the job so to speak.
It's still an issue all these year later.
HARMAN: It is because we fought to get rid of that part of the marriage vows, which required us to promise to obey our husband. But what we should
have done is put in the marriage vows that our husband should promise to share looking after the children, but we missed a trick there and looking
after older relatives because the unequal division of labor in the home is something that it means that women are still not on an equal footing with
men outside in the world of work or in government or politics.
[14:20:11] AMANPOUR: So, we are right now in an amazing moment. The #MeToo moment about refusing to put up with institutional and systemic
sexual abuse and worse and the gender pay equality moment. We're doing that here in the West. What about women in Africa, in Asia? They don't
even get a look in, do they? Or do they? Do they have financial independence?
BEGUM: There's still a huge way to go for women in the Middle East and North Africa. They really are lagging behind the rest of the world when it
comes to protections on violence against women to (INAUDIBLE 0:46) laws, which means that they are unequal when it comes to marriage, divorce, child
custody and inheritance.
So, you talked, for instance, about obedience. In several countries in the region, women are required to give obedience to their husband. And, in
fact, if they leave their home, they will be sent back to the home because that's what's required.
In Saudi Arabia, for instance, it goes further. Parental disobedience is also a crime. So, you can actually be - a court case will be filed against
you by your parents because you have left them or you are considered to have been disobedient.
AMANPOUR: And, Harriet, all over now, it's not just in politics, but in every workplace, there is - you can feel a sort of agitation to reach this
milestone, equal pay for equal play. Is that just a fantasy? Do you think it will ever actually happen? And what will it take?
HARMAN: Well, I think it will happen because what - it used to be the case that if you suggested that women should be paid equally to men, it was very
frowned on because after all his was the role of the breadwinner. And it was threatening his role as the head of the household for the woman to be
paid the same as him. So, it was positively frowned on.
And then, we more or less won the argument over the decades that, if a woman was doing the same or of equal value work, she should get paid the
same as him.
So, we won the argument, but we didn't win the reality. Now, the light is being shone on it by the legal requirement for employers to publish the gap
between what they pay their women and what they pay their men.
And at this point, women are going to really front them up and say, well, you've said for ages, you don't believe in unequal pay and you think it's
unfair, now you've got to give it.
So, I think that, actually, we are in a very big moment on equal pay as we've been in a big moment on sexual harassment following the Harvey
Weinstein revelations where the Internet has spread all the information from the States to the UK. And women here have risen up and said,
actually, it's been going on for years here and we're not going to put up with it either.
So, the Internet is a great opportunity for misogynists to troll women, but it's also an opportunity for women to work together and to express
AMANPOUR: Is there anything like a #MeToo movement in the Middle East, in Africa right now?
BEGUM: There have been several campaigns actually that are very similar to #MeToo, but at a national level.
So, in Saudi Arabia, after he published a report examining the impact of the male guardianship system amongst women in Saudi Arabia, women
themselves were coming out online on social media with video testimonies explaining how it's impacting their lives, what it meant to them and it was
a massive snowball of a movement that completely took on a life of its own.
And because of that, we're seeing some of the reforms we're seeing today. It's not really just a young prince that comes out of nowhere. It's coming
as a driving force by women and men within Saudi Arabia.
AMANPOUR: You are saying that the Internet is a great way for women to support themselves even though it has also been a terrible way for women to
And that's important, isn't it, because I have heard a lot of women say that sometimes they think it's just not worth the anguish to put themselves
up, whether it's to stand for office or whatever it is because of the relentless abuse that they take, is there a way to blank that out, to
HARMAN: Well, I think it's a particular problem for younger women and for black and minority ethnic women, the temerity of them to speak out seems to
enrage misogynists who think that they should be staying at home.
And I think there's two things that need to happen. Certainly, in politics, within our own parties, any member of our party that's caught
doing that, it should be one strike and you're out.
And I also think that threats which are online which actually threaten violence, they should be regarded as much as a criminal offense as to do it
to somebody's face. And the prime minister actually is looking into whether or not we should change the law on that.
But, actually, the Internet is a great opportunity. Instead of us just talking around our kitchen tables and giving solidarity in our neighborhood
or at the school gates, we can actually work together internationally.
And I'm hoping at the end of this year, we're going to have an international conference of women members of parliament from every country
in the world in the House of Commons and we could all talk about the battles we face.
[14:25:01] And then, afterwards, set up a giant WhatsApp group, which will be full of complaints about men, I'm sure, but will all empower us.
AMANPOUR: So, actually, picking up on that as a final though, it's, obviously - I assume, you are not all campaigning to have women dominating
men. There's got to be some kind of gender parity.
So, are men ready to play their part in equal rights for women? And I'm asking you this in 2018.
HARMAN: Well, I have been really pleasantly surprised and really delighted by - actually, a day I never thought it would come of young men in the
House of Commons, members of parliament, who I call the sons of the women's movement.
I mean, they actually recognize that their wives are working, they feel they should play their part. I mean, they are a new generation. And I
think that brings huge possibilities.
AMANPOUR: And in your part of the world, the world that you investigate, do you think men are realizing a bit more that, actually, it's everybody's
benefit, including their own, if their women are empowered?
BEGUM: Absolutely. I think there are some men who are really empowering women, particularly fathers and brothers.
So, in Saudi Arabia, for instance, that I'm talking a lot about, so they were the ones helping women to drive. So, they were teaching them to drive
long before the ban was - well, still to be lifted - they've been doing that and they've been supportive.
And in other countries as well, we're seeing some men being - some of the women human rights defenders, for instance, are able to do the work because
they have support of families including male relatives, not all, but some of them are able to do that work.
So, we do need them onside and we are getting more and more onside as we go on. There are real benefits, of course, to them in order for women to be
able to drive or to be able to go out to work or to be able to do things in society. And it is a growing realization of this.
That will still be a backlash by men whether now or in 100 years' time and we have to really press against them.
AMANPOUR: Rothna Begum of Human Rights Watch, Harriet Harman, MP, thank you very much indeed for joining us.
And that's it for our program tonight. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.