Return to Transcripts main page
Bipartisan Majority in Senate Voted to Advance Bill to End U.S. Military Support for the Saudi-led War in Yemen; CIA Firmly Believe Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, Ordered Khashoggi's Murder; Michael Cohen Plead Guily to Lying to Congress about Dealings with Russia; Pleading Guilty and Lying to Congress; Trekking the Entire Globe. Aired 1- 2p ET
Aired November 29, 2018 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
As another top Trump ally cops a plea deal, I speak with Democratic Congressman, Adam Schiff. He'll soon chair the House Intelligence
Committee on matters from Mueller to Saudi Arabia.
And, Saudi Arabia steadfast congressional supporters put the Kingdom on notice. As the crown prince meets world leaders at the G20, I'll speak to
one of the royal insiders.
Plus, a reporter retraces humanity's journey around the globe, so far six years and counting.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
As the Saudi Crown, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, arrives to hobnob with the G20 leaders in Argentina, a critical ally, Washington, is souring on his
country, at least in Congress, if not the White House.
A huge bipartisan majority in the Senate has voted to advance a bill to end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The CIA says that
the Saudi crown prince was directly responsible for the murder and dismemberment of the Saudi journalist. Jamal Khashoggi. President Trump
has cast doubt on that assessment and senators were furious that CIA director, Gina Haspel did not show up to give them the facts.
Here's Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why wasn't the current CIA director here briefing senators as well?
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I was asked to be here and here I am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But senators were very frustrated. Normally, in your past role CIA director, you would be here briefing these senators on an
issue this sensitive. Why isn't the CIA director herself here today?
POMPEO: I was asked to be here and I'm here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And that is what we call a stonewall. The administration's response prompted a funeral backlash from one of its most ardent
supporters, Senator Lindsey Graham, who normally is also a steadfast supporter of Saudi Arabia but he dramatically changed his vote last minute
to support the bill against the war in Yemen.
Now, Ali Shihabi often speaks to Saudi Arabia's leaders and he also knew Jamal Khashoggi well. He is the executive director of the Arabia
Foundation in Washington D.C. and he's joining me now.
Ali Shihabi, welcome to the program.
ALI SHIHABI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ARABIA FOUNDATION: Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So, listen, I really do have to say that we have been searching and wanting to get the Saudi perspective since the beginning of this
terrible story that started in October. And because you're so close to the family and to Riyadh, we're very happy to have you on to answer some
SHIHABI: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, first and foremost, this has been an ever changing narrative from Saudi Arabia about precisely what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, from
denials to outright expressions that he had left safe and sound, to then saying he had been killed in an altercation, to then saying it was a
strangulation, to then saying it was an overdose of a painkiller or a sedative and to admit that he was dismembered.
How do you account for the impact and the reasons behind all this changing testimony?
SHIHABI: Well, look, the Saudi government has limited experience in crisis management. This was a complete disaster carried out by senior elements of
the government who wanted to please the crown prince thinking that such a thing would please him.
And when it went wrong, there was an internal coverup. And that sort of led the government to make statements that it's regretted very quickly but
you become a prisoner of your statements sometimes and,, you know,, crisis management and coverups are always very delicate and problematic, and this
certainly turned out to be the case.
But I think now, the government has tried to be as transparent as it can and has come out and admitted what has happened and has taken action
against the people that the government believes, after an investigation, are responsible for this.
AMANPOUR: So, admitted after a point and up to a point. And let's just nail down and go through the process of transparency, if you like. I mean,
first and foremost, why is it that we do not know what really happened to Jamal's body, to the remains? If there's a transparent process, why can't
we know where he's turned up, where he is?
SHIHABI: Look, I think that's a good question. I think probably the body was disposed of in some manner and, you know, it was also internally
covered up. And again, governments get caught up in their own coverup and mistakes come and you become a prisoner of your own statements.
But at the end of the day, you know, the government did a rush investigation, fired a lot of top people, including five generals and a man
of cabinet rank, and admitted that this was a horrible thing that should not have been done, should never have been envisaged. And that the crown
prince really did not give this order.
Now, people don't want to believe that in Washington. You know, this story has become political football in domestic American politics and it's taken
up a much larger space than something like this would normally take.
AMANPOUR: Well --
SHIHABI: But that is the sad part of the whole story.
AMANPOUR: Do you know what, I really want to drill down on that because I hear you saying is taken out more oxygen than it would normally take. And
all -- I believe that Prince Mohammed bin Salman was very surprised also, from what we hear, about the reaction. Doesn't just go to the heart of the
matter, that here's this very prominent journalist, he's a journalist, he was never a counter-revolutionary, as you know he sat with you on many
occasions and called himself a patriot and he supported Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reforms.
But it just goes to the heart of the matter that, I guess, Saudi Arabia believes that something like that can happen to somebody like that and be
surprised at the reaction.
SHIHABI: Well, it's not Saudi Arabia, it's certain elements in the leadership, powerful people who don't understand the outside world. And
from a security perspective, over inflated Jamal's threat, if you want. Because really, Jamal was not a threat to the government. He was an
irritant maybe but not a threat. But from their blinkered perspective, they saw him as a threat and they overreacted. And not only did they
overreact, they took on a mission which was outside the channels of institutional channels of Saudi Arabia and they made a mess of it.
So, I mean, I think people sometimes in history forget to give margin to pure incompetence really and there was a tremendous amount of incompetence,
not just in deciding to do something like this but doing it at a consulate and the crown prince would have never -- I mean, I believe that he would
have never approved such a stupid operation in the first place.
AMANPOUR: OK. You might --
SHIHABI: A few things happen, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: You might believe that and I know that it is the party line and even President Trump is saying that, but it appears that the CIA thinks
SHIHABI: Well --
AMANPOUR: It appears that the CIA believes differently and has heard the tapes and has made it's considered an assessment as an intelligence agency
would do. It appears that Congress still has doubts about the coverup and the denials about Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
So, wouldn't it be better for if you did -- if the government denies that it was the crown prince. tell us who it was and how do you know it wasn't
the crown prince? Shouldn't the government tell us that?
SHIHABI: Well, I mean. look two things. First of all, the CIA came out with a leak. There's been no statement from the CIA. It came out through
a leak like Washington leaks like the sea and it said that based there that the CIA had no direct evidence but it was based on their understanding of
how things happen in Saudi Arabia. With all due respect to the CIA, I would think that maybe their understanding of what happens in the inner
sanctums of the Royal Palace are imperfect.
And then you've had, you know, Secretary Mattis and Secretary Pompeo come out yesterday and bluntly say that they have reviewed every document
concerning this, read every transcript and there simply is no smoking gun, there is no evidence that the crown prince did that.
So, in the face of that, it's not just the White House, it's not just the president, but there's a -- the two institutions, the Pentagon and the
State Department, have looked at everything and they've come out and said, "There simply is not a smoking gun."
AMANPOUR: I --
SHIHABI: Nobody wants to believe that.
AMANPOUR: I know that Secretary Pompeo said that, I'm not sure about Secretary Mattis, although he said, "We have to continue our alliance," but
SHIHABI: No, no. I will assure you, I have seen it and Secretary Mattis and you could go back and look at that, he said that --
AMANPOUR: OK. All right.
SHIHABI: -- in a certain amount of detail.
AMANPOUR: All right.
SHIHABI: And very clearly.
AMANPOUR: OK. You talk about leaks and misunderstandings. I mean, let's face it, what actually we found out and eventually the Saudi government and
special prosecutor admitted was all the "leaks" that were desperately accurate that began from the first day from Turkey. So, these were
accurate and they were denied and denied and denied.
So, let's just move beyond that because you talk about no smoking gun. How do you assess then what the U.S. is saying that they heard on the tape in
Arabic the perpetrator, the local sort of ringleader, say, "Tell your boss this is being completed"?
SHIHABI: Again, this is a leak. We've heard that from the Turks. We don't know who the boss of that person is. We -- it's taken out of
context. We do know that the Saudi government fired two senior people who are -- who effectively are responsible for this and a number of other
generals in the intelligence service who participated in the coverup.
Now, I think the Saudi government is at fault because it should have come out and should put everything on the table much more than it does.
Unfortunately, it's not in the DNA of the system and they still haven't appreciated how they need to communicate to the world. But it's been
pretty clear, I mean, there are a number of people under investigation, there are a number of people arrested, a number of senior people fired.
And again that American administration, you know, with the secretary of state and the secretary of defense has come out unequivocally and said that
there is no smoking gun.
You have to give that some weight, Christiane. But in this polarized environment in Washington nobody wants to -- people want to hear what they
want to hear. And the Turks have been playing political football with this also, you know, leaking dribbles out over the last seven weeks, some of
them correct, some of them not correct. You haven't done an audit of everything the Turks have been saying. They've said some things that
turned out to be correct and some things that did not turn out to be correct.
AMANPOUR: Well, most of the big --
SHIHABI: So, it's a very unfortunate tragedy really.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's a terrible tragedy --
SHIHABI: But we have to deal with it.
AMANPOUR: -- and you were a friend of his and you describe accurately that he was not a counter-revolutionary and he was not a threat. Let me just
ask you one more thing. David Ignatius of "The Washington Post" who you also know very well and who is a longtime observer has great contacts in
Washington and in Saudi Arabia.
He wrote a really interesting deep dive into all of this and he also, as part of that, he said that -- MBS, of course, is Mohammed bin Salman is
known, became increasingly anxious and aggressive to those he considered enemies. Starting in the spring of 2017, a team of Saudi intelligence
operatives under the control of the Royal Court began organizing kidnappings of dissidents abroad and at home, this according to U.S. and
Saudi experts and he mentions into harsh interrogation and covert sites.
Let me now play a soundbite from Jamal Khashoggi show after this event of 2017 where you were sitting with him and he expressed his fears.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you "self-explain," explain that to our viewers.
JAMAL KHASHOGGI, SAUDI JOURNALIST: Because I don't want to be arrested. The irony that he has no opposition, Mohammed bin Salman doesn't have an
opposition. He doesn't have to probably burn as Karzai have in Afghanistan. Most of the people -- most of the intellectuals -- most of
the people in jail today are supportive of reform. And if they were out of jail they would be supporting him. There is no need to arrest anybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And there you are, obviously, in that scene because you were both speaking together, that was 2018. You know, so tell us because, you
know, there has been a thought that actually the crown prince didn't like any kind of dissent and did have sort of a -- as I described it, as what
David Ignatius reported.
SHIHABI: Well, two things. First of all, I have a great respect for David Ignatius but his article is full of inaccuracies and I told him that
yesterday and, you know, we can go into that if you like. But beyond that, what people don't understand is that the crown prince and the king have
undertaken in the last two years the most wrenching reform process or change process that the kingdom has gone through in the last 50 years.
Again, people don't want to appreciate the change is very risky and change brings out a lot of resistance. So, is the government correct in being
nervous and is the crown prince correct in being nervous? I believe so because he has -- has to, by definition, alienate so many people as he
pushes through change.
For example, he has put the Wahabi clerical reactionary class back in a box, that has created a lot of opposition. He has to be very careful about
that. You know, the rightwing of the clerical class is very dangerous, we know that in the Middle East, we know what happened to the Shah, we know
what happened to all other leaders.
On top of that, you know, he has pursued -- he has had to control in a way the world family and restructure that, that's made a lot of enemies for him
there. On the Ritz Carlton, which people, you know, denigrated but played a very important purpose in sending a message to elites that the behavior
that had been taken for granted for the last 30 years is no longer acceptable, that also created a lot of enemies.
So, in this period, he has to be tougher than he would have been normally. Having said that, and having said that, there are certain advisors of his
that have been removed since, who played the role in magnifying these threats and their approach was much more harsh than Saudi traditionally
would have done -- would have undertaken, and the crown prince realizes that and these people have been removed.
So, you know, there is a legitimate concern as you go through change but there also is an understanding today by the crown prince that certain
people, in their desire to be loyal, in their desire to serve the system, actually serve it badly.
SHIHABI: And that the system has been a bit too harsh than it should have been.
AMANPOUR: Yes, yes. That is an understatement given what happened to Jamal. Let me ask you this. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is getting
off the plane in Argentina, it's his so-called -- or I can describe it as his coming out party to the Western world leaders since this horrific
Do you really believe, given what you know about international opinion and public relations and, let's just say, western moral imperatives, do you
think that he can still be accepted as the reformer that he wants to be and that Saudi desperately needs given this black mark on, if it's not him
personally, although some people think it is, then on his entourage and his retinue?
You know, he was -- met demonstrations in Tunisia, the king of Morocco refused to see him, President Trump has no plans as far as we know and only
President Putin says he's going to meet him. Does Prince MBS still have the standing he needs to do these reforms?
SHIHABI: Well, if I can correct you. First of all, President Macron of France is also meeting. Belize announced today. And in Tunisia, there
were 200 people demonstrating, Christiane. I mean, you couldn't fit them into an auditorium. So, these things get -- and the issues with Morocco go
to something concerning bilateral relations that have nothing to do with this.
Having said that and with all due respect to Western moral imperatives that seem to be, you know, access to very selectively, ultimately, this tragedy
is the horrible murder and death of one person. It cannot stand in the way of the stability of a country as important as Saudi Arabia or the region.
And ultimately, world leaders understand that.
And yes, you know, a lot of noise is being made and justifiably, Jamal did not deserve to be murdered in the horrible way that he did and people are
going to get punished for that. But ultimately, geopolitical relationships are built on more than that.
AMANPOUR: Well --
SHIHABI: The kingdom -- excuse me, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia plays a critical role in the region in upholding the status quo, in managing the
oil market and has been a very responsible player for decades, and I think world leaders appreciate that.
AMANPOUR: Just one quick question then because the geostrategic fallout of one terrible murder is the U.S. now pulling back potentially from
supporting your war in Yemen. So, it is massive, it's not just one person, it's hundreds of thousands of people in Yemen who are also affected by the
Saudi war. You're losing support in Washington.
SHIHABI: Well, people -- no doubt. Look, the Yemen war has been misunderstood. Nobody has wanted to give a margin for Saudi Arabia's
legitimate security concerns about Iran allied militia taking over Yemen.
You know, I tell Americans that if Mexico had been taken over by a communist militia at the height of the Cold War, America would have gone
berserk. So, the fact that Saudi Arabia has gone to war because it sees itself as at an existential risk from what's happening. Yes, they've made
mistakes in war but, you know, what, Christiane, you look at Rafa, you look at Mosul which the U.S.-led coalition has undertaken, this -- there is no
such thing as a clean war.
Having said that, Saudi Arabia and the coalition have spent tens of billions of dollars trying to help Saudi Arabia hosts over a million
Yemenis, they understand the human impact. And frankly, they understand that they would be the only people caring about Yemen when everybody else
is interest goes elsewhere.
So, they're trying to that extent. But the Houthi militia and Yemen does not want to come to the table. And the only reason the Houthi militia now
will come to the table in Sweden is because they are being pressured militarily on the port in Hodeida and in the North of Yemen.
AMANPOUR: All right.
SHIHABI: Unless they get pressured militarily, there will not be a political solution and Saudi Arabia understands that there has to be a
AMANPOUR: Ali Shihabi, thank you for joining us with the perspective of the Arabia Foundation and Riyadh's perspective.
As we said, President Trump is entering a firestorm at the G20 in Argentina, from Saudi Arabia to Russia to China. But he's also leaving a
firestorm behind Michael Cohen, one of his closest confidants and former personal lawyer pled guilty today to lying to Congress about dealings with
It is a big coup for the special counsel, Robert Mueller. And Cohen's lawyer says his client is continuing to cooperate with the investigation.
Here's what President Trump said about Cohen as he left the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: What he's trying to do -- because he's a weak person and not a very smart person. What he's trying to do is end --
and it's very simple, he's got himself a big prison sentence and he's trying to get a much lesser prison sentence by making up a story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But the special counsel says Cohen has been a truthful witness. One of the most important congressmen come 2019 will be Democrat Adam
Schiff of California who will take over the chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee. I spoke with him about his -- this breaking news
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CA.: Well, if Mr. Cohen misled the Congress about the president's business dealings in Russia deep into the campaign, it also
means that the president misled the country about his business dealings and that the Russians were apparently attempting to gain financial leverage
over the potential president the United States.
This just underscores how important for us to finish the investigation, to determine what financial links the Russians have to the president and the
Trump organization, to determine whether they continue to hold leverage. So, clearly, we have a lot more work to be done. And just as clearly, the
president has misled the country about his financial dealings with the Russians.
AMANPOUR: So, how important is it at this juncture this development?
SCHIFF: I think it's very important. It shows that certainly Mr. Cohen is providing deep cooperation with the special counsel even as Mr. Manafort is
not. We will be very interested at the appropriate time and inviting Mr. Cohen to come back to our committee to share any additional information and
insights to clarify his prior testimony before our committee.
So, there's a lot more that warrants investigation here.
AMANPOUR: The kind of picture you're drawing is of Michael Cohen coming back to Congress and potentially hours if not days of what could be
incredibly damaging testimony, public testimony, about this whole affair.
SCHIFF: Well, what I'm saying is this, if Mr. Cohen is stating now that he misled the Congress about the extent of nature and duration of the Trump
organization's business efforts in Russia, denials the president made about business interests in Russia turned out to be false, then it means that the
financial entanglement is more than we knew in terms of Trump and Russia. It also underscores the imperative of finding out do the Russians continue
to hold some financial leverage over the president.
After all, if the president was willing to mislead the country about efforts to get a Trump Tower deal in Moscow during the presidential
campaign, is he still willing to mislead the country about financial connections that continue to this day?
AMANPOUR: This is now a double whammy. We've heard from the Mueller investigation that they are no longer interested in Paul Manafort and have
ended his plea deal because they say he keeps lying. We now have this are unbelievably fast revelation about Michael Cohen. What you think is at the
root of this? Do you feel that Mueller is trying to accelerate the -- you know, the presentation of his findings?
SCHIFF: Well, it certainly looks like there is a proliferation of activity in the Mueller investigation. As you point out, Manafort caught lying and
exposed to the court you have Corsi backing out of a parent -- to plea deal and now, you have Michael Cohen in court, why is this all happening now
with such rapidity? One concern I have is, is this a result of the appointment of Whitaker or a fear that Whittaker will somehow act to shut
down the investigation. Has that heighten the need to move more swiftly? It's going to be imperative for the Congress to find out if Whitaker is
interfering in any way, shape or form.
But it does concern me that there seems to be now such haste to move forward. I hope it's merely driven by the fact that there was that hiatus
prior to the election of necessity to follow Department Justice policy. But it certainly does seem that there is an added sense of urgency here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Schiff was referring to Matthew Whitaker, Trump's hand-picked acting attorney general who, of course, oversees the Mueller investigation now. I
also spoke with Schiff about his new oversight powers both at home and abroad and I began by asking him what he thought about the president's
approach to Saudi Arabia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: Well, I don't think he's leveled with the American people about the murder Khashoggi. I can't go into what the agencies have briefed us
but I don't think he's been candid about it and I think it's really a terrible precedent to set that an American president should be involved in
any way in an effort to coverup any aspect of the murder of a journalist.
I think it's backfired, frankly, in Congress and we saw that in the Senate yesterday when the senators were not allowed to hear from the CIA director
directly about what our intelligence agencies can tell us. And the result was, I think, even broader support for an effort to cut off U.S. support
for the war in Yemen.
Now, that issue ought to stand in its own right, quite separate and apart from the murder of Khashoggi but I think it is a sign of how the
relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia has so -- been so deeply impacted that the first action we would take, the first really concrete
action would deal with the war in Yemen.
AMANPOUR: It is really interesting. And I do want to just play a soundbite from Senator Lindsey Graham who is a known backer of President
Trump and even he said on Capitol Hill that he could not continue funding the war in Yemen, he could not continue backing the Saudis until they have
a proper answer to the questions on Khashoggi. We're just going to play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSEY GRAHAM, U.S. SENATE REPUBLICAN: About the briefing, I'm glad we had it at my or both secretaries but it was inadequate because the CIA was
not there. So, the question for me is whether or not the CIA supports the conclusion with a high degree of confidence that the crown prince was
complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Do you think that the CIA does support that conclusion?
SCHIFF: I have been briefed by the CIA in a way that the most of the senators have not at this point as a member of the gang of a responsible
for some of us closely held intelligence. I can't go into that briefing however. But I can say that I think part of what has so upset the senators
and I share their frustration is the CIA director and top say officials have not been permitted to brief the full Senate. We are seeking a
briefing in the House as well, thus far without success for our members.
And I think there's a conviction that the reason why the White House doesn't want to put the director in front of the Senate or in front of the
House is it's her job to tell us the straight facts and not to put any kind of glorious (ph) spin on them and that's something, apparently, the White
House doesn't want to take place.
AMANPOUR: What will you do when you take over as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee? What sort of redress will you take? Let's just
say in this regard, what kind of investigations might you or are you disposed to launch into this particular issue of Khashoggi and therefore,
the war in Yemen, et cetera?
SCHIFF: We plan to do a deep dive into issues around Saudi Arabia, which would include what we know about the murder of Khashoggi but it would also
include the Saudi role in the war in Yemen, the Saudi conflict with (INAUDIBLE), what is motivating that, the Saudi relationship with other
partners in the Gulf, the Saudi role and the Middle East peace process, so that we have a full understanding of the relationship of what Saudi Arabia
is doing, how solid or stable the House of Saud may be, because this ought to influence, obviously, U.S. policy.
And as we determine what the appropriate response to this murder ought to be, being fully briefed by our intelligence agencies I think is a key
AMANPOUR: Do you believe -- is it your sense that President Trump's, you know, persistence siding with Saudi Arabia and notably the person of the
crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has got anything to do with private economical financial dealings and would that be a focus of an investigation
SCHIFF: You know, the short answer is we don't know because the president has been unwilling to be transparent in terms of his financial holdings,
still insists on not refusing his -- releasing his tax returns. And so, we are in a very difficult position to evaluate, was the president being
honest when he said that he gets tens of millions of dollars from the Saudis and of course, he likes the Saudis for that reason very much or what
he's saying now when he denies having any kind of financial relationship with the Saudis.
I think it's important that we find out the answer whether that will be the responsibility of our committee or one of the other committees in Congress
will have to be discussed among the leadership. But it is important, I think, that Americans can know and have reasonable confidence that the
president is acting in our national interest and not in his family's financial interest.
AMANPOUR: I'd like to read you two interventions by both the secretary of state and the secretary of defense on Capitol Hill regarding the
relationship with Saudi Arabia. So, first, here is Mike Pompeo, "Is it any coincidence that the people using the Khashoggi murder as a cudgel against
President Trump-Saudi Arabia policy are the same people who supported Barack Obama's rapprochement with Iran, a regime that has killed thousands
worldwide including hundreds of Americans and brutalizes its own people?"
[13:30:00] And then we have James Mattis who says, "We must maintain our twin requirements of holding those responsible for the murder to account,
while recognizing the reality of Saudi Arabia as a necessary strategic partner." Are both those comments complementary or are they antagonistic?
SCHIFF: Well, they are certainly different and I think Secretary Pompeo really undermines his credibility when he makes comments like that. You
see the old partisan emerging in him when he makes comments like that. Certainly the illustration you pointed out earlier of Lindsey Graham, he
was not someone who was particularly fond of the Iranian nuclear deal but nonetheless, has also been very critical of the administration's handling
of this. It doesn't cut neatly along the lines that the secretary tried to suggest. And I think that just means his own argument.
In terms of Secretary Mattis, I think Secretary Mattis is right. We do need to determine what consequences Saudi Arabia has to pay for this
heinous murder. At the same time, we want to continue to have some relationship with the Kingdom. We do have a mutual interest in pushing
Iran back. We have a mutual interest in combating AQAP and ISIS in places like Yemen. We have an interest obviously in working with all the nations
of the region to try to resolve the Mideast peace crisis and problem.
So we do need to have some relationship with Saudi Arabia. It's going to be a different relationship though. And what a sensible approach by the
administration ought to be is to say "OK, this is what we know, to level with the American people, to push back against Saudi Arabia, to call Saudi
Arabia to account for this murder, to call Saudi Arabia to account for the bombing, the increase in the indiscriminative bombing of civilians in Yemen
and calibrate this is what the response ought to be. That -- that's a sound way to make policy but that's -- while we see that in Secretary
Mattis, we do not see that in the secretary of state right now and we certainly don't see that in the president.
AMANPOUR: All right. So in other words, you are very sensibly saying the diplomacy is difficult, it's complex but as we did during the, I don't
know, the Cold War or other issues, the United States can walk and chew gum at the same time. You can have allies or even adversaries and do vital
U.S. business at the same time. I think that's what I'm hearing you say.
SCHIFF: Well, that's absolutely right. And, of course, we have the same situation with any number of nations that often have deplorable human
rights records. And we decide, OK, we're not going to work with those countries except in this narrow compartmented area where we really have a
strong confluence of interest. And we need to work with them in a way that doesn't violate our ethical standards.
So what we would want to have happened right now is we would want the intelligence community to brief Congress, to brief the administration, not
only on what we know of Saudi behavior but also what would the Saudi response be to different sanctions, to different approaches that we might
take so that we can maximize the pushback and the expression of our values. But at the same time, not sacrifice some of the important interest we have
particularly in counterterror and vis-a-vis Iran.
AMANPOUR: Do you advise and would you expect President Trump to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Argentina at the G20?
SCHIFF: I certainly wouldn't recommend it but I have to expect that he will. This is a president who has repeatedly shown an affinity for
autocratic rulers, no matter what their human rights record is. You see that kind of warm embrace he gives people like Vladimir Putin.
So I would be astonished if he didn't but, you know, certainly any kind of meeting like that I think would only further facilitate the normalization
of the crown prince's role. The fact that the U.S. president is willing to overlook any role that he may have played in the murder of Khashoggi, I
think it would be very unwise. But I would not be a bit surprised if that's what the president does nonetheless.
AMANPOUR: Can we move on to -- you mentioned President Putin and we'll talk a little bit about Ukraine in a second. But first, to the Mueller
investigation obviously. There have been developments overnight. There are all sorts of issues that are swirling around the Mueller investigation.
And, of course, there's this issue of the so-called blocked calls, the numbers of a caller and somebody who was called involving Don Junior and,
you know, all of that stuff. What can you tell us about that?
SCHIFF: Well, this is really for me a perfect illustration of the kind of work that the Republican majority was unwilling to do because it
essentially was acting as an arm of the Trump legal defense team. And that as we found out during our investigation that the president's son Don
Junior was in contact with [13:35:00] Emin Agalarov. Emin Agalarov is the son of Aras Agalarov who is an ironically large real estate developer in
Russia, known as the Russian Donald Trump, someone very close to Vladimir Putin.
And there are calls going back and forth between Don Junior and Emin in the run-up to this meeting in Trump Tower where Don Junior is trying to find
out is this Russian offer of help, this offer of dirt which was described as part of the Russian government's effort to help the Trump campaign, is
it real? Is it worth his taking a meeting on this? Is it worth his bringing his brother-in-law into the meeting, the campaign chairman into
the meeting at a time when the nomination is still in doubt? This is June of 2016.
And so there are these calls going back and forth, was trying to find out the details of this. And sandwiched in between those calls is a call from
a blocked number. Now we know that Donald Trump used to block cellphone during the campaign and the obvious question is, was that a conversation
with that? Because one of the things that we learned this week was the president apparently denies to Mueller in the written questions that he
knew about the Trump Tower meeting in advance.
If that call nonetheless was from Donald Trump, that puts that answer very much into question. So we sought to subpoena the phone records and find
out. Now, Republicans were unwilling to take that very obvious investigator step because they didn't want to know. We do want to know and
that's going to be I think an early step that we take when we're in the majority.
AMANPOUR: And just to -- I guess another junior so to speak, Ivanka Trump, adviser to the president, her e-mails, the whole flap about using her own
personal e-mails, et cetera, is that something that you would launch an investigation into?
SCHIFF: I think there are other committees that will be looking at that issue whether Ivanka Trump has violated the Presidential Records Act. You
know, the biggest issue there frankly is just the blatant hypocrisy after, you know, years of lock her up directed at Hillary Clinton and profaned
outraged by Donald Trump about e-mail practices, his own daughter is apparently in breach of the same protocols in terms of using a private
server for public business or private e-mail service for public business. So it's just the hypocrisy that reaches out and grabs you by the neck. And
I think that's really frankly the biggest issue for the Trump administration as far as that goes.
AMANPOUR: And I know it said that you know, American's eyes kind of blaze over the more we talk about the Mueller investigation or even President
Putin who keeps apparently trying to probe and test the will in recently this week of Ukraine but also by extension of the West and of the United
States. But this is what Secretary Mattis has said about Putin regarding the whole confrontation in these specific straits then and we'll talk about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MATTIS, U.S.S DEFENSE SECRETARY: It was obviously a flagrant violation of international law. It was I think a cavalier use force that
injured Ukrainian sailors. It was a contempt, really, for the traditional ways of settling these kinds of concerns if they had any. And when you
think that there is a treaty between the two countries that prohibits exactly what happened, it just shows that Russia cannot be counted on right
now to keep its word.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What kind of message is Putin sending by what he did in Ukraine do you think?
SCHIFF: Well, I think the message that Putin is sending is that he feels he has a free reign to do what he will. I think he is testing the U.S.
president but frankly, that test it took place in Helsinki and the president failed at it spectacularly.
I have to think after the president failed to call out Putin on his intervention in our election, when the president essentially sided with
Putin over his own intelligence agencies, that Putin walked away from Helsinki thinking that this weak U.S. President would never confront him.
As long as any intervention he might make in the U.S. political system helped Trump either by helping the Republicans in the midterms or sowing
dissension that helped Trump's party, that this president would never call him out on it.
And I think similarly in Ukraine, and for whatever reason, Putin is convinced that the president will not stand up to him. Now, one of the
reasons that we are so intent on determining whether there is a financial form of leverage by the Russians over the president is this bewildering
behavior by the president. And we do intend to look into the issue of whether the Russians were laundering money through the Trump organization
because that would be powerful leverage the Russians might have and it might explain why the president is behaving the way he is.
Those credible [13:40:00] allegations need to be looked into. And thus far, they have not been looked into by Congress and I don't know whether
they've been looked into by the Mueller team. We just saw within the last 24 hours Deutsche Bank Office is being searched. We have seen Deutsche
Bank within the last couple years sanctioned in the hundreds of millions by the State of New York for laundering money and Deutsche Bank was apparently
the only bank willing to do business with the Trump Organization.
Why is that? Why is it that the president's son at various times have said that a disproportionate share of their assets come from Russia or they
don't need the help of U.S. banks because they get all the money they need from Russia. This may be a leverage the Russians have. And if it is, we
need to find out about it. And if it's not true, we need to be able to tell the American people that as well.
AMANPOUR: And do you believe that the Russians are a threat to the 2020 election?
SCHIFF: I certainly believe they're a threat to the 2020 election. Now, we're still looking at what the Russians did in our most recent midterms
but my guess is that they viewed the calculus on the midterms differently than the presidential. It's hard to have the same kind of impact when
you've got for example in the House, 60 different races. But when you've only got two candidates ultimately in a presidential race, it's much easier
to have a big impact.
And as I said earlier, I think the Russians are convinced that as long as they intervene on one side and that is on the side of Donald Trump, they
can certainly expect this president to give them cover. And that ought to concern all of us going into 2020.
AMANPOUR: And just finally, you talk about the midterms. Obviously, the Congress flipped. You did remarkably well by flipping I think 39, 40
seats. Nancy Pelosi, Leader of the Minority wants to be speaker. You support her. Will she make it? Will she be the next speaker?
SCHIFF: She will make it and she had quite a convincing vote yesterday in our caucus over 200 votes in support of her, the vast, vast majority of the
members of our caucus. And that has to carry the day when we go to vote on the House floor. We can't have a situation where the will of the vast
majority of our caucus is somehow ignored or a small number of people are given a veto over that.
So she will be successful. And frankly, she's the most capable leader and tactician that we have. Even in the minority, she was able to run circles
around Speaker Ryan and Speaker Boehner. And we need, I think, her talent and bring us together given that we will have the most diverse caucus we've
ever had and one of the largest Democratic caucuses at least in recent times. So we need someone of her capability at the helm.
AMANPOUR: Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you so much for joining us from Washington.
SCHIFF: Thank you
AMANPOUR: Now, it is commonly said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. But what about a feat on foot around the entire
globe? Meet Paul Salopek, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a National Geographic Fellow. He is tracking the route our ancestors took on their
global migration telling important stories along the way such as climate change. Paul spoke to our Hari Sreenivasan from the outskirts of Delhi in
India, 11,000 miles away after setting out.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CONTRIBUTOR: Paul, for viewers who might be unfamiliar with the how or the why, let's talk about that first. Why take this
PAUL SALOPEK, JOURNALIST AND NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC FELLOW: This is at its core a storytelling journey. I've had a long background in foreign
corresponding. I've been a journalist covering the world for more than 20 years for newspapers. And I noticed in my coverage that I was missing big
gaps of the stories that I was encountering across the globe by going too quickly, by flying over them literally in many cases.
So the Out of Eden Walk is an experiment, kind of a global laboratory for slowing myself down so that we can dive deeper into the stories of the
ordinary people who inhabit the major headlines of our day. It's a walked investigation of the world.
SREENIVASAN: How long has this been going on? How many countries? I remember the first time we spoke, you said you're going to be done in about
SALOPEK: That's true. And that was a bit of an optimistic projection. I have been walking since January of 2013 and I originally projected this
long foot journey to last about seven years based on a mathematical calculation of, you know, walking half the time and stopping to report
stories half the time. The concept of the project, the blueprint, the map for it intellectually is to follow the footprints of the first homo sapiens
who migrated out of Africa back in the place to see, back in the Stone Age. You know, about 60 to 100,000 years ago.
SREENIVASAN: What have been the biggest hurdles in [13:45:00] this? A mountain range or don't really care where humans drew lines on a map?
SALOPEK: So I started in Ethiopia in 2013. I've walked up the Rift Valley of Africa. I have crossed over by camel ship to Saudi Arabia, walked
through major deserts in Saudi Arabia, the Hejaz, where the temperature was every day above 100 degrees. I've crossed the Caucasus mountains in the
winter through blizzards. I've crossed the Hindu Kush in the autumn through blizzards. So yes, I think physical obstacles are significant to
me. They're kind of my natural deadline.
SREENIVASAN: You've walked with all kinds of people who are leaving where they were.
SALOPEK: That's true. And today, as you know, there are more than ever. I mean U.N. statistics vary but anything up close to 270 to 300 million
people now work and live outside of the countries where they were born and it's not always associated with violence or wars or suffering. It's people
going to seek opportunities. So in a strange way, we cycle back into kind of a golden age of migration that's a bit of a return to our roots.
SREENIVASAN: There were periods where you were walking alongside refugees from the Syrian War.
SALOPEK: One of the ironies of the Out of Eden Walk is that I bumped into one of the biggest force migrations in modern history, which is migrants,
refugees fleeing mass violence in the war in Syria. In that situation, I was walking through basically countryside in Turkey and started seeing tent
camps everywhere. There were people camped out under orchards. There were people camped out on the outskirts of towns. There are people collected
into the large refugee camps.
I think the numbers at the time, this was in 2014, about 11 million people had been uprooted by the Civil War in Syria. Walking may be a bit more
empathetic because I was literally at a high level with the refugees who were also fleeing on foot from their war-ravaged cities.
SREENIVASAN: How are societies that you've walked through dealing with the costs of climate change?
SALOPEK: Not well. When it comes to climate change, I have walked through several landscapes that have been very significantly impacted by changing
weather that is going to be long term. The first was in Ethiopia where that part of the Rift Valley was experiencing increasingly erratic
rainfall. It's already dry.
I mean imagine a tan desert, the sparse brash, brittle yellow grass has bursts of rainfall during its rainy seasons. There are temporary rivers
that burst to life but then fade away and sink very quickly back into the sand. And the people who live there are adapted to that and have adapted
that cycle for a thousand years.
Now that the rains become more erratic, now that's moving around more and is less predictable, it started conflicts between these pastoral groups
that depend on that grass and depend on that rain for their animals. So sadly, this is one case where changing climate is exacerbating violence
between human beings. And how is the government handling it? By basically encouraging these people to move off the land.
In Central Asia, there were -- there was the heaviest rainfall in living memory. I interviewed 90-year-old people who never had seen the rains that
they did in Kazakhstan and the steps had grown so high with so many new kinds of plants that they didn't have the names of these plants in their
folklore. These are seeds that have been lying there for, you know, once in a century kind of flood events.
SREENIVASAN: Paul, recently you wrote about water scarcity in the region that you just walked through in the Punjab.
SALOPEK: Yes. Water scarcity is a big issue in India. There are more than 1.2 billion people here and the government by its own admission has
found that more than half, 600 million of them, are living in some form of a water crisis. It comes in two forms. It's either water that's
contaminated and is not drinkable, not usable or it's simply a scarcity of water.
And what I saw coming through this landscape, Hari, imagine the Punjab, it's as heavily industrialized in terms of agriculture as the Midwest in
the U.S. It's turned India into a food exporter. They're using so much water that it's like spending your life's blood to keep yourself alive.
And I've interviewed farmers along the way whose water tables has dropped hundreds of feet, not in a generation, in a decade. And when I ask them,
well, what are you going to do when your bore well, your little pump pumping up the water from this precious reserve of antique water that will
never be replaced, what are you going to do when that runs out? And they sort of shrug. They don't know.
SREENIVASAN: You frequently mentioned you're walking partners, you're kind of building this global [13:50:00] family of people who are walking with
you few through all these years.
SALOPEK: I think it's one of the great rewards. Probably I would say the greatest reward of this project so far is having the privilege of walking
with so many sterling people, so many amazing people who have given me their time, have opened up their homes to me, literally their home
countries to me. And they include everybody from churches, photographers to Saudi Bedouins to shepherds in Pakistan. And now I'm walking with Zig
Agarwal who's a man who walks out the rivers of India. He's teaching about river ecology here.
SREENIVASAN: I'm sure one of the questions that people have is about your security situation. What has that been like as you've been walking through
so many different countries?
SALOPEK: Yes, I get that question a lot and it's a valid question because I'm not naive. I was a war correspondent for many years and I've seen just
how badly we can treat each other. But I must say I've been very lucky. So far in almost six years of walking, I think the actual total journey
right now is about 11,000 miles is we treat each other pretty well. There have been a few incidents like in Eastern Turkey where I was ambushed a
couple times in the conflict between the Kurds and the Turks. Those were cases of mistaken identity.
The Religare parties, people who ambushed me, thought I was with the opposition, the enemy. I was shot at in the West Bank by the IDF, the
Israeli army, another case I think of mistaken identity. But I can remember those incidents so clearly because they're so few.
SREENIVASAN: You've also been detained a number of times. You have a separate map just keeping track of that.
SALOPEK: Yes, my police map. I started being stopped by police almost immediately even in the most remote corner of the Rift Valley of Ethiopia,
you know, deserts. They are the far region of north. I was starting to be stopped by police because look, let's face it, you know, we live in a
motorized world increasingly.
So it's unusual to see anybody kind of walking along a road these days except for places like India where people still do it as a form of work and
pilgrimage. And especially if you look like me, right. You know, my skin, you know, the way I look, my clothing, I stand out. So I get stopped
And so I thought why not start geotagging these stops and describing them and putting them into categories of friendly police stops, kind of neutral
police stops, and then kind of hostile police stops. And then pouring them into a map, the digital map as an anecdotal way to kind of show freedom of
movement across the world, right. You can tell something about societies, about the way their security officers treat their citizens or treat
anybody. So that map is up there. I've been stopped close to 90 times so far.
SREENIVASAN: Can you give us a sense of the logistics? Do you just sleep in people's homes? How does it work?
SALOPEK: I sleep wherever the sundown catches me. So if I'm walking through a desert, I camp. And if I'm walking through a rural landscape
such as this in Central India, I either stay with a family or at an ashram, a temple or at a roadside dhaba like a mom and pop shop that sells, you
know, food truckers. They sometimes have tables you can sleep on or rope beds you can sleep on, Vagabond's hotels. And then when I'm in big cities,
of course, I do what everybody else does. I stay in a hotel and I take a shower and wash my clothes.
SREENIVASAN: How have you stayed so healthy? I mean just the different types of food that you're eating, the possible waterborne illnesses, the
SALOPEK: Yes. Well, I've certainly been exposed to the gamut of microorganisms, you know, ranging from kind of near Arctic environment to
tropical ones. But here's the thing, I've been pretty healthy. I got sick twice. In the last six years, I got pneumonia in Palestine and I got an
infection in Lahore in Pakistan that knocked off my feet for about a week. But other than that, I've been pretty healthy.
I think it's two reasons. One is walking keep you pretty healthy, right. It's a little form of exercise, keeps the heart healthy, keeps the mind
happy. So that's one thing. And the other is by moving slowly through these new environments, I think my body has time to adapt.
SREENIVASAN: So what is next? You're in India now. What happens after?
SALOPEK: I'll be pivoting northeast into Myanmar and then crossing the border to China and walking across China and it will take more than a year.
And from there, cross the Alma River into Siberia and then walk as far north in Siberia as I can get before the weather just turns so impossible
to make walking impossible. Take a ship to North America and then walk down the western coast of the New World to the very tip of South America to
Tierra del Fuego. And that's the last corner of the world that scientists or ancestors reached and colonized way back in the Stone Age.
SREENIVASAN: Paul Salopek, thanks so much for joining us.
SALOPEK: It's a pleasure.
AMANPOUR: And we hope that Paul continues to find such lovely fields to relax in for the rest of his journey.
But that is it for now. Thanks for watching. And goodbye from London.