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British Parliament First to Declare Environmental Emergency; U.S. House of Representatives Passed its First Major Legislation on Climate; Gavin Newsom (D-CA), is Interviewed About Climate Change and Climate Activists; American's Longest War Enters its Sixth Round of Peace Talks; John Sopko, U.S. Special Inspector General for the Afghanistan Reconstruction, is Interviewed About the War Between the U.S. and Afghanistan; C. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired May 2, 2019 - 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, LABOUR PARTY: We're talking about nothing less than the irreversible destruction of the environment within our lifetime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The British Parliament becomes the first to declare a climate emergency. Are the young activists on the street having an effect and will
it spread? I asked Gavin Newsom, governor of California, which is long seen as the bellwether state on fighting climate.
Then, round six of the Afghan peace talks between the United States and Taliban. We get a rare look at the situation on the ground with the top
U.S. watchdog, John Sopko.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WYNTON MARSALIS, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER AND COMPOSER, "BOLDEN": It is infectious (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: One of the greatest living jazz musicians, our Walter Isaacson sits down with his hero, Wynton Marsalis.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour from London.
And the Britain is now the first country in the world to declare an environmental and climate emergency. It follows mass demonstrations and
disruptions around London by the activist group Extinction Rebellion, and comes a week after the teenage climate leader, Greta Thunberg, addressed
MPs in the House of Commons to demand new action on climate.
While the emergency declaration needs a clear definition, the symbolism is, of course, unequivocal and it shows how the language of urgency on the
streets is now seeping into the corridors of power. Just today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its first major legislation on climate, a
bill to prevent the U.S. from leaving the Paris Climate Agreement. As the president has pledged to do. It has little chance though of actually
passing in the Senate.
Much of the world's climate policy is defined in the America and then by a single state, California. The size of its population and its economy means
the environmental standards it adopts are felt by companies around the world. Gavin Newsom is the state's new governor, marking his first 100
days and he's joining me from Sacramento.
Governor Newsom, welcome to the program.
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Great to be with you.
AMANPOUR: So, it is such an amazing thing on this day both the U.S. House of Representatives and we have just saw the U.K. Parliament have taken
major, major steps on the issue of climate. And I just wonder what you think about it, the declaration of emergency, and the -- sort of how the
activism is being felt.
NEWSOM: There's an old adage, if you don't like the way the world looks standing up, stand on your head and go local because remarkable things are
happening at the local level, the subnational level, states that are stepping up and stepping in as the United States of America steps away from
the international stage of leadership on the issues of low carbon, green growth.
Activism is ultimately the solve (ph) for the fear and anxiety people have about a world where the hots are getting hotter and the dries are getting
dryer and wets are getting wetter. And California is a demonstrable example of a state that's leading fully function of cap and trade program,
aggressive low carbon strategies, a goal to get to 100 percent renewables by 2045. We're already at 34 percent renewables. It's proof positive I
think of that he movement.
AMANPOUR: So, you -- I mean, you're a self-declared, self-described climate geek and you have been talking a lot about how you want to further
your own state's activism on this issue and the legislation about car emissions and the like. Tell me about your -- what's in the works right
now on these major issues?
NEWSOM: Well, we -- I mean, that 100 percent goal is, I think, a proof point of the commitment of the state that we've been advancing for decades.
We keep raising that goal. We finally raise it to 100 percent and for one reason, we keep exceeding our goals. Some suggest you can't grow your
economy. We just got our new GDP numbers out, 3.5 percent GDP growth in California last year. Far outpacing the rest of the country. We now have
a $3 trillion a year economy as we advanced our low carbon goals. We're decarbonizing our economy. We're creating economic opportunities where in
the past those didn't exist. We are the center of the universe in venture capital, in innovation and entrepreneurial spirit around these efforts and
we're proving at scale.
And as you suggest, California is at scale, 40 million people in this state, we're proving that we can advance these principles and goals. And I
think it is an example of what is right but also, it's a contrasting example with what's wrong with the Trump administration in Washington, D.C.
and why it's so important that we continue to put the leadership squarely in Congress [13:05:00] to continue to pressure the administration.
AMANPOUR: I mean, you are sort of positioning yourself as really taking bold action on all of these big issues that really go contrary to what the
Trump administration is doing, whether it's on climate, whether it's on immigration and other issues.
But let me quickly ask you about the car issue. You want to basically dissuade Californians from driving their cars. How do you think that will
work? How can you do that in a state that is so dependent on its cars and its highways?
NEWSOM: We got to provide alternatives and we have to provide alternative vehicles as well. And that's why we've got an aggressive goal, 5 million
electric vehicles that we want to put out on our streets over the course of the next few years. California has to build out the infrastructure to make
that achievable. We also have to continue to work to support incentives to bring down the cost of alternative fuel vehicles.
But in addition to that, just came out yesterday with an updated plan on high-speed rail project. California is actually moving forward with high-
speed rail. We will continue to try to lead in these alternative measures and alternative means of transportation.
Look, no one is suggesting this is easy, but we see this as an extraordinary opportunity. We see the dividends of these efforts in
cleaner air, healthier population, but also a healthier, more flexible and dynamic economy that is poised to, I think, take advantage of a world
that's waking up to this new reality and is beginning to address their own local issues that will have, obviously, dramatic international impact on
economic trade. And that's where California wants to place ourselves, front and center in that low carbon, green growth trading spectrum. And if
the United States won't do it, we will.
AMANPOUR: Governor, you have just talked about the high-speed rail and, of course, rail is the major alternative to cars and those emissions. But
this high-speed rail has been hit, according to, you know, the "L.A. Times," it's like $44 billion over budget, 13 years behind schedule. Some
have said President Trump wants to, you know, take away the funds that the federal government gives. But you're saying it's staying on track, right?
You're not going to scrap it or it won't be scrapped?
NEWSOM: No, no, it's not. Look, I just got here. It's -- we've had some trouble with it. No one's -- look, you want to be big, you got to be big
in big things. The fact is we see China and what they're doing around the rest of the world, they're being bold, they're being audacious. In the
United States, we're playing small ball in infrastructure.
We have an infrastructure week, seemingly every other month in this country, we had a nice announcement, $2 trillion commitment with Congress
and our president on infrastructure but they didn't identify the one thing we need, which is funding.
So, what we're doing is we're actually trying to figure this out. It's not just an ideal, it's not just a goal, we're in the practical application.
And so, we are investing and we've got $20 billion that we've identified and we're investing in a 173-mile first phase of our high-speed rail
system. It's $100 billion project.
So, you're right, it's exceeded our original estimates going back a few decades ago but we're still committed to it. And this is the nature of
large-scale infrastructure. No one says this is easy. You have to be honest about it. You have to be more transparent about it. But we've got
to lean into the future. And the irony of this future is this high-speed rail technology is over half a century old but America's finally catching
AMANPOUR: Yes, I mean, it is obviously all over Europe and certainly it's been in Japan for a long time. You're right, there's a lot of catch-up on
this issue that America has to do.
But just -- you know, just for the sake of it, you don't consider it -- well, someone said a staggering waste of money. I mean, you still think
this is really important despite this big sort of setback that it's having?
NEWSOM: Yes, it's a staggering waste of money if you don't manage it. And with respect, I think, it was a bit off track and we're trying to get it
back on track. Our updated plan, which coincidentally, we literally put out yesterday, is just more transparent, more honest about what the project
is and what it isn't, where the gaps are. But we're committed to this in the long run.
The most important thing though for these infrastructure projects more broadly, and I imagine this is the case around the rest of the world, is
you got to build partnerships, and that includes the private sector. And that's missing with our efforts here in California and I think efforts
across the United States is getting the private sector's involvement, and that's going to be a critical part of our efforts going forward.
AMANPOUR: Governor, you have just returned from a trip to Central America. And I just wondered how did you figure or not climate change as part of the
reason for you going and as part of the reason for them trying to come to the United States? Where does that fit in?
NEWSOM: Yes. I mean, it's the case around the world as it relates to new migrant flows, as it relates to the issues of immigration and stresses and
challenges that we are seeing from all around the world from a political perspective is people like our own president, Donald Trump, exploit
[13:10:00] those flows.
And for us here in California with the largest border crossing, San Ysidro, in the Western Hemisphere, we're impacted disproportionately in the United
States by these questions. And so, in an effort to understand the underlying issues, the root causes, I did travel to El Salvador. It was
the first time a governor from California went down to the Northern Triangle and understand these routes.
And look, you can never build a high enough wall, a long enough wall to secure the American border until we secure opportunity in the Northern
Triangle. The real wall is economic opportunity in the Northern Triangle and stabilizing the Central American countries, stabilizing them against
the impacts of climate change and internal displacement that ultimately leads to out migration because of the weather patterns and because of the
droughts is part and parcel of a comprehensive strategy.
But unfortunately, we have a president that now has pulled away, pulled the rug out, $450 million of foreign aid to the Norther Triangles has now just
taken that money away, which is only going to exacerbate the migrant flows and create more stress on our border. We are trying to be a contrast to
that, we're trying to highlight an alternative strategy.
And you are correct, it's not just economic, it's not just security but it also plays into this larger issue of climate change and it's a preview of
the challenges many of us are going to face in this world going forward.
AMANPOUR: I mean, how do you react to some of the local criticism you got for going to Central America? I mean, they said -- I mean, one of the
columns said, you know, it's a rookie governor trying to play, you now, his sort of national ambitions out. What would you say to that? Because you
can't actually affect an immigration policy, can you?
NEWSOM: Well, we are impacted by this immigration flow disproportion. We have half the El Salvadorian population in the United States. It's an
interesting fact. I met with the president-elect of El Salvador, he had three major campaign stops in California during his campaign for president
in El Salvador because the Salvadorian population is so large and 22 percent of their GDP is remittances.
So, with respect, 2 1/2 days in El Salvador, not on the state's dime, I thought it was a good use of my time and also it was a good use to the
taxpayer's dime because we are redirecting existing money that we're investing in legal representation in asylum -- for asylum seekers on the
border, redirecting some of that money to more appropriate uses based upon my nuanced understanding of what's happening on the ground in El Salvador.
I wouldn't have understood that if I had not visited. I would encourage many Californian, also national elected officials, including, there I say,
the president of the United States, to actually seek first understand what's going down there before he is understood.
AMANPOUR: Governor, can I just ask you about your relationship with the president of the United States? I mean, you know, you have said that
California needs to be the positive answer to Trump and Trumpism. You need -- and you have said before what happens in California then happens to the
rest of America. You're sort of the bellwether sort of trail blazing state.
You did meet the president a couple of times. You've been to the White House. Obviously, you met him when you were governor-elect during the
terrible fires out there in California. And afterwards, you know, he seemed to have a very good impression of you. And this is what he said
about you in March. Let's just play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: So, they have a great idea, the new governor, nice guy. Yes, a nice guy. When I'm with him face to face,
nice. When he speaks about me, not so nice. But face to face, he loves me. Called me up, he said, "You're a great president and you're doing a
great job." He actually did, two weeks ago, three weeks. He will probably deny it. But check the phone records at the White House. Everybody else
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, what gives? I mean, are there areas where you can actually, you know, have meetings of the mind? Did you tell him he was a great
NEWSOM: I did not. I said it was great that he visited California. So, he conflated things. Look, I want to get along with the president of the
United States. I respect the office and I respected the fact he came out and visited the fire victims of the camp fire in Paradise, California. By
the way, proof positive that climate change is here. This is not something we're going to experience, it's something we are experiencing in a state
And in that spirit, in that stead, we have to cooperate, we have to collaborate on emergency planning, emergency preparedness. I talked to the
president a few days ago about the synagogue shooting down in Southern California as well.
But, look, I also govern the most un-Trump state in the United States of America, 27 percent of my state is foreign born. We're a state of refuge.
And we brought in 112,000 refugees just in the last decade and a half. California is a universal state. We're involved in 47 [13:15:00] lawsuits
against the president of the United States, 24 in the climate space. We will defend our values. We will defend our diverse communities. We will
stand tall. We will also, as you suggest, be a positive alternative to Trump and Trumpism.
We're leading the nation on our health care strategies, leading the nation on alternative strategies on immigration. We are running a $25 billion
operating surplus while the president of the United States is promoting policies that project a $1.2 trillion deficit on average over the next 10
years. We are that positive alternative. And I hope the rest of the country takes a look at what's happening out here in the West here in
AMANPOUR: Governor, can I just ask you just to weigh in on some of the politics going on in Congress right now that affect the country? What do
you make, for instance, of the stonewalling as it has been described, the sort of -- you know, the collision between the executive and legislative
over, for instance, William Barr, the attorney general? He hasn't come to Congress today. Nancy Pelosi was very strong accusing him of really,
really, you know, the ultimate misdeeds. What do you make of that? How is that going to end up, the legislative and executive face-off, standoff?
NEWSOM: No one is more formidable, and I think that's pretty demonstrable over the course of the last few months. People have seen what we've all
I'm a former mayor of San Francisco, Speaker Pelosi coming from that district. I have known her a good portion of my life. She is a fierce
advocate and a fierce opponent, and she uses her words not lightly but thoughtfully. She all, but today, accused William Barr of a crime, of
lying under oath to Congress. She would not have said that unless she believed it.
And I think those words have real power and meaning. And I think the president should be very cautious going up against Speaker Pelosi. And I
think Mr. Barr is in real trouble. He's lost the trust not only of the Democratic Party but I think most be objective-minded Americans. He is no
longer perceived as independent. He is no longer the people's advocate as the chief law enforcement officer. It is clear he is exclusively the
president's advocate. And he is reimagining an attorney general position in a way that is, I think, well, degrading to the institution and I think
he will pay a huge price in terms of his legacy. And if he continues down this path, he'll pay a huge personal price as well.
AMANPOUR: And, Governor, just finally, I'm really interested that you have already come out and endorsed one of the Democratic nominees or trying to
be a nominee for the 2020 election. You've endorsed Senator Kamala Harris of California. She was one of them who put William Barr through his paces
in the Senate yesterday.
Why have you done that? I guess I'm asking because you're one of the rare, you know, major politicians to have actually gotten off the fence and
endorsed anybody yet.
NEWSOM: Well, it's the same reason we move to extend a moratorium on the death penalty and the same reason we started marrying same-sex couples in
2004 because if I believe in something, I'm going to stand for something or someone.
I concluded she is the, I think, most capable of going up one on one against the president of the United States. I've worked with her when she
was district attorney and when she was attorney general, now as U.S. senator. And I don't know what more evidence we need.
You saw it firsthand yesterday in her cross-examination of sorts of William Barr. She's tough. She's smart. She is extraordinarily capable. And I'm
just really proud that she represents this state and I would be even more proud if she represented the United States of America.
AMANPOUR: I mean, obviously, crime and punishment is an issue she's going to have to talk about from her record. But just -- you just mentioned the
death penalty. You've ordered a moratorium. Obviously, there has been a moratorium on death penalty since 2006, it hasn't happened in your state.
But in 2016, people voted actually against that and voted to speed up the death penalty and bring it back.
How do you square what you have done by executive against what appears to be the will of the people?
NEWSOM: No, that's the right question. It's a difficult thing. Look, at the end of the day, I also, pursuant to the will of the people, have the
right to reprieve, I have the right to do what I did, which is in essence, advance a moratorium.
Look, we had, since the voters approved, fast tracking the death penalty. We had an individual who spent close to 26 years exonerated, was released
from death row here in California. By the way, we have the largest death row in the United States of America, 736 people, which by the way is also
the largest in the Western Hemisphere. It's not an abstract issue for me. It's very personal. I have to sign off on the execution of each and every
individual. I can't do that when I know, I know that this is a system that is flawed.
We have heard it from others. I will repeat what has often been said, we have [13:20:00] a system of justice in the United States of America that
treats you much better if you are rich and guilty rather than if you are poor and innocent, wealth and race more often than culpability shape
And in a system where 66 percent of those on death row are people of color, dominantly poor, where I have people that have come in front of the parole
board for release that did crimes that were more heinous than the people on death row, I cannot in good conscience execute those individuals through
mass executions on my watch under my tenure, and that's why I move forward. It's a tough, tough issue but I just think it's barbaric that the United
States of America is the only democracy in the world that still executes its own citizens.
AMANPOUR: Governor Newsom, thank you so much for joining us.
NEWSOM: Honor to be with you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you very much for your time.
And let's turn now to the longest war in American history, Afghanistan. The sixth round of peace talks between the United States and the Taliban
have kicked off this week in Qatar as both sides try to end the stalemate and the war that's now in its 18th year.
A new report by U.S. government watchdogs says the military American is no longer tracking the level of territorial control held by either of Afghan
government or the militants. The move has been criticized by the head of that group. The U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan
reconstruction, John Sopko. And he joins me now from Washington.
Mr. Sopko, welcome to the program.
JOHN SOPKO, U.S. SPECIAL INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR THE AFGHANISTAN RECONSTRUCTION: It's a pleasure to be here again.
AMANPOUR: So, you know, these reports are really quite unique. You know, you have all of this access to all of this information, and it's revealed
publicly so that the American people can see what is happening in their name and with their tax dollars by their government.
So, give me -- explain to me the big issue that you have reported and the, you know, causes you most consternation right now.
SOPKO: Well, I think our concern -- and I'm glad you highlight our reports because we're unique and I think our country is unique about having
inspectors general who are required on a regular basis to report to Congress and to the American people on how their government works. I think
we're unique among many countries on that. Not to say that our government likes what we report all the time but that's part of our job.
And I think our concern in which you alluded to this quarter is that data that we have been regularly reporting as important for the American people
to understand when they judge whether we're winning or losing or whether we're spending our money correctly is no longer being collected. And that
information dealt with district control by the Afghan government and population control.
And you would think those are two important metrics for success. Are the Afghans winning back more of their district? Are they keeping their
districts, their territory? Are their population under their control? And it's not just our attitude and our view, the former U.S. military general
in Afghanistan, General Nicholson, just last year said these were the key measurements of success or failure. And now, all of a sudden, they're
saying it's no longer important (ph).
AMANPOUR: So, why are they saying that, John Sopko? Why are we taking these very, very important measures of success or failure out of the
SOPKO: Well, the reason they gave us officially in writing was it's no longer important. The metrics of success now is whether year discussing
peace. And in our view, this is like going to a super bowl or going to a soccer match and all of a sudden, halfway through the game, they turn off
the scoreboard and say, "Well, don't worry, it doesn't -- it's not really important anymore." I mean, to us this is a key metric of success or
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you about peace. We said that it's -- that they're in the sixth round of these talks between the U.S. envoys and
Taliban. I mean, I don't know whether you can evaluate whether there's any chance for this round -- for this attempt to get peace with the militants
and sign some sort of declaration that ends America's longest war. But what is your view on whether America or someone is still going to have to
stay engaged? Can Afghanistan stand on its own two feet yet, even if a peace deal is signed? [13:25:00]
SOPKO: Well, we are not auditing the peace negotiations, that's not our job. We support peace, a lasting and fair peace in Afghanistan. I think
everybody in the United States and everybody in Afghanistan wants to do that. But we released report last month listing some of the key risks to
our presence in Afghanistan. And for the first time, we talked about risks to peace and how peace itself can provide some risks.
And I think you highlighted one of the key risks we talked about, and that is can the Afghans afford peace? Peace doesn't miraculously eliminate all
of the problems we've identified and other oversight bodies have identified. So, the problem of security, the problem of financially able
to support their government, the problem of reintegrating the Taliban into society, which is going to be expensive. The problem of corruption. The
problem of narcotics. The problem dealing with securing the rights of women.
So, we highlighted a number of these risks, and that -- and particularly, the risk of all reconstruction assistance if the Taliban are allowed to go
back to their evil ways on how they treated women and young girls. That could end it all.
And if you talk to our Congressmen and women, if you talk to parliamentarians in the coalition, this is an important issue. And if the
Taliban is hoping that there will be continued support and there needs to be financial support in Afghanistan. If we leave and we're not supporting
them financially, the Afghan government collapses. But if the Taliban and Afghan government want to ensure that support, then, obviously they're
going to have to protect women's rights.
AMANPOUR: You know what, I think it's really interesting you focus on this because Afghanistan is one of the few, if -- perhaps the only country,
where the rights of women are fundamental to America's metric for success ever since the fall of the Taliban, ever since after 9/11 when the United
States intervened there.
And it's something President Trump has talked about in his orders to try to get, you know, American aid attached to female empowerment and his daughter
is very, very involved in this too, Ivanka Trump. So, let me just please play for you these two soundbites from these two women who are very
concerned that women do not have a seat at the peace table.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I want to say that we are Afghanistan. Afghanistan is not formed of 5 to 600 politicians whose every
action including their beliefs in gender equality and peace talks are ambiguous to us. If peace doesn't bring social justice to all victims of
war in every corner of the country, then it won't be a stable peace.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): If a peace deal is made and even if the Taliban come back, we want them to give us the rights of education
and sports and we request the government to defend our basic rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, basically, those two women have laid it right out. And again, it is a main plank of American policy in Afghanistan. Have you seen
anything to suggest to you that these women's rights, their demands, you know, may be negotiable while doing a peace deal with the Taliban? And of
course, it's not just the Taliban, it's also highly conservative local leaders who may be affiliated with the government and with local government
around the country.
SOPKO: Well, again, I think you're highlighting the issue that we highlighted, and that is for a lasting peace in Afghanistan, you're have to
address this issue. Now, there have been -- and I think you're absolutely correct, this is a key element of our assistance. And we've spent billions
on trying to help women in Afghanistan.
But it's not just us. If you talk to the coalition, if you talk to the Germans, if you talk to the Brits, if you talk to the Italians, the Nordic
countries, it's a key element of their presence in Afghanistan. So, if we don't consider that in the negotiations, if the Afghans don't consider it,
the Afghan government, it's going to be -- it's like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, it is going to be a problem.
Now, again, we're not looking at the negotiations. That's not our job. We have able negotiators on behalf of the U.S. government.
[13:30:00] But obviously, it's an issue that they're concerned about. I think an issue that everyone is concerned about.
AMANPOUR: Can I just talk about the really very high level of civilian casualties still in Afghanistan? And the extraordinary fact that in 2019,
the latest report from the United Nations says that by far the most civilian deaths are caused by U.S. and Afghan government military forces,
not by the Taliban. In other words, it's not the Taliban causing the most casualties right now.
How does this happen? How have you been able to figure that out with your investigations and your ombudsman role?
SOPKO: Well, we have been relying upon data provided by our own military and data provided by the U.N. Those are the two main sources of the
information. We have no capability on our own to get out there and corroborate.
There's a difference between the numbers. Our military is reporting a far lower number, the UNAMA. The U.N. is reporting a very high number. It
causes us concern that you do have this discrepancy in numbers. It also causes us concern that you have such a high number that UNAMA is reporting.
Now, we raised this as a concern some time ago, as the Afghans are being better trained and more aggressive and using air support, close air
support, and other elements that there was going to be an increase in casualties. We particularly highlighted it as a problem because we had a
program which, thank goodness, is now canceled of blowing up using B-52s and using stealth bombers to blow up drug labs.
The concern we had is these labs were so small, about the size of a table, dining room table and so cheap, that the narcotics traffickers would
quickly move those labs into homes, mosques, into clinics, into places to hide them, and you had the problem of casualties.
Now, we don't know if there's a direct correlation but we're glad to see that this program has now ended, the blowing up labs. And they're doing it
the old-fashioned way, which is DEA has always proposed and that is sending in actual teams to blow up the labs or capture people.
AMANPOUR: John Sopko, let me just play you this sound bite from President Trump. It goes to the heart of what we started with, your reports that are
unique in the fact that they are public and people can see them and make assessments. But the president is not keen on this and wants it to end.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We do these reports on our military. Some I.G. goes over there who mostly were appointed by President
Obama but we'll have ours too. And he goes over there and they do a report on every single thing that's happening and they release it to the public.
What kind of stuff is this?
We're fighting wars and they're doing reports and releasing it to the public. Now, the public means the enemy. For these reports to be given
out essentially -- forget about the public, given out to the enemy, is insane.
And I don't want it to happen anymore, Mr. Secretary. You understand that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: He was speaking there to the defense secretary, acting defense secretary. What do you say to that? I mean is it giving the enemy, the
Taliban, additional information? What would happen if these stop being public?
SOPKO: Well, first of all, the information that we put in the reports are not classified. We have a classified annex.
So anything that could harm our troops, harm Afghan troops, help the enemy is classified. It's appropriately classified and we always report it in a
classified annex that only people with clearances can see. So that's the first concern.
The second is, the Inspector General Act has been around since 1978. My temporary organization's been around for far less than that. We are
required by law to publish reports.
And transparency and openness I believe, most IGs believe, many people in Congress who pass the laws believe, is important.
AMANPOUR: All right.
SOPKO: Because if you're going to improve the way the government works, you have to have the facts [13:35:00] and the American people. And let me
just stop for just one second.
I mean the Taliban knows what's going on in Afghanistan. They know which districts they control and which they don't. The Afghan government knows
that. Our military knows that.
The only people who don't know are the people who are paying for it. The long-suffering U.S. taxpayer.
AMANPOUR: All right.
SOPKO: We believe the taxpayer has a right to know how their money is being spent.
AMANPOUR: Well, that was the answer then John Sopko, thank you very much indeed for joining us on this really vital issue.
Now, around the world, a cycle of poverty and exclusion has long denied people their equal opportunities. A new film "Bolden" reimagines the
tragic life of Buddy Bolden, an original inventor of jazz music. He struggled with mental illness and he died in obscurity in a mental asylum
but his music would inspire the likes of Louis Armstrong and so many other artists.
Wynton Marsalis is one of the world's most acclaimed jazz musicians and he's won nine Grammy Awards. He sat down with our Walter Isaacson to
discuss his role as executive producer on this film as well as composing the soundtrack.
WALTER ISAACSON, CONTRIBUTOR: Wynton Marsalis, my hero. Welcome to the show.
WYNTON MARSALIS, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER AND COMPOSER, BOLDEN: Man, it's such a pleasure.
ISAACSON: Good to see you. Good to see you.
MARSALIS: Yes, sir.
ISAACSON: So Buddy Bolden, man, he's finally getting his due. You're doing a movie on him and the theme is he invented jazz. What does that
mean? What ingredients did he put together?
MARSALIS: He's the first person who realized you could take church music, like Afro-American sanctified church music and put it together with the
sounds of the street. So he put two opposites together. He played cornet solo.
ISAACSON: The cornet, you got right there. Yes. Yes.
MARSALIS: So you have one form is more like hollering and shouting with effects maybe like (MUSIC). That's like kind of a style of playing the
blues and blending those.
Another style is very straight and sweet sung -- a song style. It's like (MUSIC). You have another style that is like a ragtime style, which would
He put this kind of ragtime styles, the sounds on street parades, hymns, marches, church music. He put all of these things together.
ISAACSON: We're talking 1890s or so in Central City, New Orleans?
MARSALIS: 1890s uptown.
MARSALIS: So he was an uptown musician, Johnson Park and this kind of places. And he was competing with the downtown musicians.
MARSALIS: Because it's the whole kind of thing of where does the nobility come from?
ISAACSON: And the downtown musicians were a little bit more refined?
MARSALIS: They were more refined and they thought they were on a much higher level than Bolden because Bolden was playing street sounds, rag
sounds, sounded like chicken and cats are making the fix on the instruments.
But whenever they met and combatted each other and Bolden would go and do his thing, improvising, being like you, you're having a conversation, no
one had ever heard anything like that.
ISAACSON: As you say, you found together the sanctified church, the marching traditions, the French Creole traditions, the downtown music.
MARSALIS: He also taught his band members how to interact with him. So he would take the traditional march formation. The clarinet plays up high,
high pitches in many places, figures from all places down low. Bom, bom, counter-melody.
And he explained to them how to interact with the lead part when it's improvised. So everybody started to figure out how they could converse and
play together and that's where people called him King Bolden.
ISAACSON: Now, we have a clip from this amazing movie that you're the executive producer of, of Buddy Bolden doing exactly that, teaching his
band how to do syncopation. They're a little confused at first. Let's watch it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUDDY BOLDEN: Put your bows down. Put them down. Put them down. You don't clap it out. Give me that beat you work with hitting on the floor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This one?
BOLDEN: Yes, that's it. Full. Now, Jonathan. See how that feels. Yes. Yes. That's it. Now, give me tom. Oh, yes. Come on now. Come on. Go.
Yes. Yes, that's right.
Now, Walter, pay attention. You're going for full. Come on, Walter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[13:40:00] ISAACSON: It's infectious. You're playing on.
MARSALIS: Yes, man. It makes you want to play.
ISAACSON: So you decide to do this movie. You're doing it with I think Dan Pritzker, right. Why?
MARSALIS: He was interested in Bolden as a mythic character so I found that very interesting. And he also knew a lot just about the music in the
context of American history and he was also putting it in the context of the Constitution.
ISAACSON: What about in the context of race?
MARSALIS: Well, you can't discuss the United States seriously in any way without always discussing that. Many times we're tired of hearing about
it. And as someone who grew up in the Civil Rights Movement -- trust me, I'm tired of it too.
But in our country, we do everything we can to maintain the wealth disparity, the education disparity, all of our intellectuals, all of our
kind of things are formed around a way of avoiding the obvious, that you can't displace a whole population of people and just leave them ridicule
and then make fun of them, give them the worst deals, exploit them in many ways north and south. It's not just a southern problem.
And then just one day, they're going to be OK. And it's not a fairytale. It won't have a fairytale ending. It's going to take engagement.
ISAACSON: And so how do you think Buddy Bolden addressed it in his music?
MARSALIS: I think just the fact that he can say, I am Buddy Bolden. At that time that was addressing it, the freedom in the music. And Buddy
Bolden wasn't coming with his music to ask for something, he was giving something. And he knew he was giving it.
ISAACSON: One of the things you do in the movie is you use as a framing device Louis Armstrong.
ISAACSON: Louis Armstrong as part of the myth says he grew up in that same neighborhood of New Orleans, very young when Buddy Bolden gets sent to the
MARSALIS: Right, right.
ISAACSON: But Louis Armstrong at least thinks he's heard Buddy Bolden play and he becomes a new interpreter of Buddy Bolden.
MARSALIS: Well, Louis Armstrong did hear Buddy Bolden play through King Oliver. Jo Oliver was Louis Armstrong's mentor. And even at the end of
his life, in the '60s, Louis Armstrong would say whenever I pick my horn up, I look up, I see Jo Oliver.
His whole trumpet style. Louis Armstrong is the great consolidator of all of the styles. So you take the cornet solo style, which we were doing.
Cornets, we do variations on something. Like if there's the cornet, the Carnival of Venice is the famous one. So we go (MUSIC).
You take that theme and play different variations on it. It could be a fancy one like (MUSIC). So on and so forth. Just variations on the theme.
What Louis Armstrong would do is he's going to take that concept of playing, sweet trumpet, variations on the theme, blues. The sound of Buddy
Bolden. The dignity of King Oliver's way of playing. The diminished core quality that Buddy played with.
Freddy Keppard in effects he can make on the trumpet. Bunk Johnson's smoky sound. High trumpet, operating hours that he heard on recordings of people
singing and put all of that in one style. So when people heard him, it was infectious.
So the level and the depth of his playing and the different traditions, he brought together to hold the American cornet tradition. And that's why his
playing was so transcending.
ISAACSON: And then transfers the trumpet.
MARSALIS: OK. So you're on the trumpet and take the cornet, it has this sound, (MUSIC). And when you get to the trumpet, it's a much brasher
And this actually is Louis Armstrong's mouthpiece, which I don't play on, but you're going to see a difference in the sound (MUSIC). So the pop is
starting to play also in the upper register like (MUSIC).
He plays stuff you never heard. A cornet is played with the type of power, a feeling he would play with no sweep.
ISAACSON: Now, tell me the truth, growing up in New Orleans, young musician, black, did you admire Louis Armstrong when you were really
MARSALIS: Man, under no circumstances. Not only did I not admire him. None of us admired him and we didn't really know who he was.
We knew his name. We knew he was a trumpet player because we came up after the Civil Rights Movement. And in my generation, we felt every black
person before 1960, we felt bad for them like they were in slavery.
When you don't actually know the history and the tradition and what people went through, it could have been anything. And we would see movies of him
singing to a horse and that kind of stuff and smiling and cheesing for white folks.
[13:45:00] That wasn't our -- our whole thing was black power, Malcolm X. We don't have to take this kind of stuff and we're not going to take it.
And from a musical standpoint, we're listening to stuff like Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, and this is what we were playing. But I didn't
really listen to a Louis Armstrong record until I came to New York.
ISAACSON: You came up here. You're in Juilliard, right around the corner. And if I remember the story, your father, the great -- who's still great
pianist, Ellis Marsalis, sends you Jubilee I think it says.
MARSALIS: He sent me a cassette tape. He said, "Hey, man. Check this Louis Armstrong." I was listening to it -- just to give you a sense, I was
used to playing like songs like a Freddie Hubbard song, like a solo I would learn would be like Intrepid Fox. So (MUSIC).
So I'm working on that kind of stuff that is really technical, difficult, and fast and it's Freddie and it has got a vibe, like (MUSIC). So on and
Now, I'm listening to this Louis Armstrong which is like (MUSIC). And I'm thinking man, that's some of the corniest stuff I ever heard. So I picked
this Jubilee solo up and he's playing notes like this (MUSIC).
For a long time, I'm saying that's not the Jubilee solo. I don't really remember it. But I said let me just learn this solo, knowing well I could
play that solo.
ISAACSON: And that made you decide, OK, pops is the king?
MARSALIS: It forced the humility on me. I said, you know, I need to learn -- see what pops was doing. Instead of getting secondhand information, I
called my father. I said man, I can't make it through this pop solo. He started laughing. He said, "I know."
Then I began to study pop's music. And I saw quotes of a famous, more modern musicians like Miles Davis saying, "You can't play nothing on the
horn. Pops is not played even modern."
ISAACSON: One of the things about Louis Armstrong though is he really looked down upon the more modern jazz, some of the things happening. And
in some ways, you're a bit like him. You're dismissive and sometimes antagonistic to rap and other forms of new music that you think dishonor
MARSALIS: Yes. Well, pops, it was different because he was coming from a style that he hadn't played and didn't know. So it's hard when you're in
the position of -- you're in your 40s, 43, 44, certainly aging, and all of a sudden there's another whole style of music, just presenting something
totally different socially and technically.
I asked Disney about that too. Man, I thought you and pops didn't get along. He said, oh, man we had a little thing in the beginning of it but
in the end -- whereas with me, I grew up not playing jazz. I grew up playing funk and pop music.
And with me, the social issues were very different because, with a lot of them, the contemporary music was returning to the show. So we're going
back to the 1800s.
ISAACSON: You're talking about rapping?
MARSALIS: Not rapping, the art of it, but the terminology talking about killing brothers and all this. I can't endorse that. I don't think that
has anything to do with me and them or this new, old.
Coming from the Civil Rights Movement, it's not possible to endorse that. And my issues with them are not musical. It's also not of a personal
nature. It's with the whole of our country and it's social, what of a country is entertained by that?
That's always my question, why is that entertaining? We will entertain people playing dances to funk and pop music and the backbeat long before
you heard of rap, black people then. And it was not necessary to degrade ourselves.
ISAACSON: One of the things you led in New Orleans was the idea that we should take down the Confederate monuments, well before Charlottesville,
well before the other things. And I think you talked to Mitchell Andrew, who was then the mayor, and you helped push that. Why did you do that?
MARSALIS: Well, Mitch and I, we just had a middle-aged conversation. It wasn't a big political conversation about the statues or anything.
We were talking about our fathers, our families. And in the course of that conversation, we talked about the statue. I said that's symbolic and we
should take the statue down for the tricentennial.
ISAACSON: Robert E. Lee.
MARSALIS: Yes, Robert E. Lee statue. My great uncle always hated that statue. That's how I knew about it.
Yes. Mitch -- then he said, "Well, let me look and see whose jurisdiction it is." Then he later called me and he said, "You know, I looked into this
and the damn thing is in my jurisdiction." Then we had more of a conversation but the conversation, he wasn't reticent about it. So I don't
want to give the impression I convinced him to do it. I didn't convince him to do it.
ISAACSON: You and I talked about it. And I remember I said to you when you first asked me, you said we got to take down Robert E. Lee, I said man,
I have driven around Lee's circle a thousands of [13:50:00] times in my life, I never think about who's on top of that plant.
And you paused and looked at me like you're looking at me now and you said, "I do." And that helped me see it differently. So how did you start that
MARSALIS: I think for all of us, the most difficult thing for us to realize are the things we don't realize. When you try to communicate with
people across cultures, many times it's not something you studied.
I'll just put an analogy of music. Like I spent time trying to write music for symphonic orchestra musicians that has just like jazz, so I would write
it in choruses. Jazz musicians naturally at the end of a chorus pause and we don't think about it.
But when I write music, the symphonic musicians never pause because that's not their style of music. It would never dawn on me that they wouldn't
pause because that's so deep inside the fundamentals of the thing I know. I don't consider them.
So I think for us to speak to one another across cultures, across gender race, whatever the cross is going to be, we have to look to those things
that are so fundamental, we wouldn't notice them. And it's those things that actually determine much more and the symbolic things, fundamental
things that we hold so deeply, we don't consider them, that it's where the real transformation can take place.
ISAACSON: And you created a soundtrack for this Bolden music. Some of which are songs like Star Dust that Louis Armstrong played or even I think
Basin Street Blues and others that are traditional. Some are new songs that you have written and you tried to do it both in the Bolden style and
the Armstrong style as if it's a conversation between them, right?
MARSALIS: Yes, because all of the styles are just generational in culture and the arts because each subsequent achievement is not necessarily better
than the one before it. We tend to forget what came before it.
All we laud what came before is the only thing that will ever happen. But the notes of Johann Bach are in the notes of Kevington (ph). The notes of
Anton, the trumpet player that played from the concerto in 1780, whatever it was, are in the notes of my trumpet when I play. The notes of Francis
Johnson are in the notes of Louis Armstrong.
And when we take those notes out of our horns, we play less, not more. And those notes are not going to keep us from finding what we're going to find
in the future. They don't keep us from being modern.
ISAACSON: In the movie, you talk about race, Buddy Bolden, handed off to Louis Armstrong. You do an arrangement, and this is what I'm going to ask
you to do right now, of the song of Louis Armstrong that to me most has the emotions of race in it and that's Black and Blue. Tell me about that song
and maybe hit me a few bars.
MARSALIS: Well, that song, Louis Armstrong thought was a protest song. So what did I do to be so black and blue was a song that was considered to be
a song of protest.
But when you get to the bridge, it says I'm white inside but that don't help my case, that's hard for that to be a protest song. So in the early
years, yes, that was considered protest. As we went along, no.
My generation, we didn't consider that. Black and blue, we thought, you know. But it's -- I like the chromaticism of that song. (MUSIC). I
didn't mean to get you. I got you.
ISAACSON: Wynton Marsalis, thank you for being with us.
MARSALIS: Thank you, Walter. Such a pleasure, man. Always great to see you.
AMANPOUR: What a great performer. And today marks 500 years since the death of another great master, Leonardo Da Vinci. And the Queen of England
has even revealed a new sketch of him from her private collection.
So let's quickly tap into more of Walter's expertise because he's one of the definitive biographers of the Renaissance great. Here's me
interviewing him about Leonardo's success.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISAACSON: Florence in the late 1400s had a great moment of tolerance, diversity, respect for everybody. And Leonardo as a really young kid, a
12-year-old, comes from the village of Vinci, which is near Florence.
And he's left-handed. He's illegitimate. He's gay. He's distracted. He's totally unfocused. But flamboyant and stuff and he's accepted totally
I mean Florence under Lorenzo de' Medici had a republic in which you could be coming from the Arab world because [13:55:00] Constantinople fell and
you're bringing the algebra from the Arab world, you're accepted. And so it's a lesson for us today which is sort of loving the diversity of people
around us often helps become -- form a cradle of creativity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: We've spoken back when his book came out and you can see the full interview at amanpour.com.
But that's it for now. Thanks for watching. And goodbye from London.