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Trump Accuses James Baker for Attempted Coup Against His Presidency; Russia's Assault on Western Democracy Continues; James Baker, Former General Counsel, FBI, is Interviewed About Trump and Russia; Rise of Fringe Parties in Europe; Anne Applebaum, Columnist, The Washington Post, is Interviewed About Fringe Parties Having Links to Russia. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired May 20, 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.
James Baker, the FBI's former lawyer, joins me. In 2016, he helped launch the investigation into Russian attacks on the U.S. election. But Donald
Trump says, he was part of an attempted coup against his presidency.
And in the run-up to Europe's Parliamentary election this week, is Russia behind of rise of fringe parties, sowing discord and distrust? I talk to
the Pulitzer Prize-Winning historian, Anne Applebaum.
Plus, it was a tragic day in "The New York Times" newsroom when media journalist, David Carr, collapsed and died in 2015. Now, his daughter,
Erin Lee Carr, shares her story of love, loss and addiction.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
In the run-up to major elections here in Europe and the United States, it's clear that Russia's assault on Western democracy continues. In a moment,
we'll look at this week's European Parliamentary elections, where the Russia's disinformation campaign echoes the techniques it used in America
But first, we take an inside look back at the FBI's actions then, as the bureau was rocked by the very first evidence of what the Mueller report
ultimately called Russia's sweeping and systemic interference on behalf of Donald Trump.
At that time, James Baker was general counsel of the FBI and a close associate of its then director, James Comey. He says it would have been a
dereliction of duty not to investigation Russia's incursions into the campaign.
Now, Baker though is the target of attacks by President Trump, who is accusing him of trying to overthrow his administration from within. James
baker left the FBI in 2018. He now lectures at the Harvard Law School and is a director of National Intelligence at the R Street Institute which is a
James Baker, welcome to the program.
JAMES BAKER, FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL, FBI: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: Well, so, that's some history you have there, right in the middle of it, sort of being on the cutting edge and then facing the sort of
slings and arrows of the current president.
So, take us back a little bit. Just remind us how you first were alerted. What put your antenna up back in 2016?
BAKER: Well, so there were various levels of what was going on, in terms of we were looking at and had been focused on the Russian Federation for
many, many years. And so, we were always worried about them as a threat actor.
Then in the summer, as everybody knows, there started to be these incidents of disclosures of e-mails and material like that that had been hacked and
then dumped into the public sphere and the thinking was that the Russian Federation was behind this in some way and we were trying to figure out
what was going on.
Then into that mix dropped this information that we obtained from a friendly foreign government about George Papadopoulos, who was working for
the Trump campaign at the time, where it was -- it appeared that the government of the Russian Federation was reaching out to the campaign to
see if they were interested in help in some fashion. So, that's what got us focused in the investigation that we're all talking about today.
AMANPOUR: And just because we ask everybody this and it's an ongoing question, you know, everybody wants to know why, you know, you disclosed or
the FBI disclosed the Hillary e-mails at a very, very late date close to the election, and yet didn't disclose this information that you're
discussing now, the information of looking at what the Russian government might be doing on behalf of her opponent, President Trump.
BAKER: Yes. Nobody seemed satisfied with our answer, but the answer is that the Clinton investigation was at the end, and we were -- and it had
already been disclosed publicly and the Russian investigation was at the beginning and it had not been disclosed publicly. And we didn't really
know what we were dealing with at that time.
Remember, this is the sort of the cutting edge -- we were at the cutting edge at that time of the investigation trying to figure out what was
happening, who was talking to whom, what the Russians were trying to do and how. And so, for that reason, we didn't think it was prudent or
appropriate or professional to start making disclosures to anybody, really outside of a very small group.
AMANPOUR: So, do you kind of regret it now or not? I mean, because, look, again, it's really been a bone of contention ever since that election, with
Hillary Clinton saying that she believes that Comey cost her, to a great extent, the election by revealing those e-mails which ended up being much
ado about nothing according to Director Comey himself. And, you know, President Obama who had wanted to talk about this, but decided not to make
it public, because he thought that it would -- he would be accused of a political end run.
I mean, do you think that it was just all way too [13:05:00] politicized, something this serious in terms of an attack on national security and the
BAKER: Well, what was going on inside the FBI was not politicized. We were not interested in politics. After the Clinton matter, we wanted to
stay as far away from politics as we possibly could. We were all sick of it, frankly. And we didn't -- we don't -- people don't go into the FBI
because you want to work in politics. And so, we wanted to stay as far away from any of that as we possibly could.
Looking back, you know, I don't know what we could have done differently. It was a very uncertain time. We really didn't know what we were dealing
with. We didn't know what the Russians were up to. And so, consistent with our practice and counter-intelligence investigations in that kind of a
setting you keep quiet and you try to sort out before you do anything that might give an advantage to your adversary.
AMANPOUR: So, I guess the obvious question, I know you're no longer there but how much do you know now apart from the generalities? And on a scale
of 1 to 10, how prepared do you think the U.S. democratic institutions, the election, is? How prepared is it to defend against another such attack?
BAKER: Well, that's a tough thing for me to answer in terms of quantifying it. I mean, I think, from people I have talked to and briefings I have
been to or, you know, conferences and things like that, you know, the Department of Homeland Security in the United States is very focuses on
this, other elements of the government are as well, the Intelligence Community, the FBI and so on.
It really does -- because so many parts of the U.S. government have to deal with the situation, it really does require leadership from the White House
and from the president of the United States. And I would encourage the president to really focus on this and make sure that all elements of the
government are energized and focused on dealing what is a real threat, as clearly articulated in the 448-page Mueller report.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, I'm going to get to -- you just mentioned the president, but before I ask you about what he's been saying about you,
let's just play what he actually said publicly over the weekend in an interview, kind of hinting or confirming that, you know, they had taken
steps, he had ordered steps to be taken around the last election. Let's just play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE HILTON, FOX NEWS: It's been reported this year that you personally authorized a cyberattack on Russia around the time of the midterms last
year in order to stop the meddling in the midterm election. Now, that's strong action for -- is that true? Did you authorize that?
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, I'd rather not say that, but you can believe that the whole thing happened, and it happened during my
administration. And the other thing --
HILTON: But why don't you talk about that?
TRUMP: Because they don't like me to talk -- Intelligence says, "Please don't talk," Intelligence. You know, sometimes Intelligence is good and
sometimes you look at Comey and you look at Brennan and you look at Clapper, and I'm supposed to believe that Intelligence? I never believed
HILTON: But --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: You know, I mean, I guess he went there, didn't he, obviously, lambasting those who he believes actively have been working against him,
and he includes you in that as well. So, you got two issues here. Is the president a partner on Intelligence? And the other issue is, it's very
personal for him. So, what is your action to both of those, including the fact that he's accused you of being part of a cadre of inside FBIers trying
to essentially overthrow his administration?
BAKER: Yes. Well, that's just not true. That's preposterous, ridiculous. I don't know what word I can possibly use. The FBI was not engaged in any
type of coup or attempted coup or a conspiracy or treason or anything of that nature.
And had anybody suggested anything remotely like that, I would have stopped it in some way, either way internally. Jim Comey would have never
countenanced such a thing. And if it had proceeded somehow, I would have got to the right authorities to make sure that that didn't happen. That's
So, in terms of, you know, dealing with the threat, the threat is serious, and it does require leadership from the president. And so, you know, in
some ways we can almost, I'm reluctant to say, but put aside 2016 and focus on 2020. Obviously, 2016 is important because we need to know what they
did in order to try to anticipate what they're going to do. But what they're going to do is likely different than what they did in the past,
because they are creative, aggressive, highly motivated actors, and they want to do something in the future that will keep us off-guard, keep us
off-balance. That's what's coming next, is what we haven't thought about yet.
AMANPOUR: So, have you been thinking about what we haven't thought of? I mean, can you imagine, perhaps, some of the things that they might do? And
I mean, they are very much the masters of asymmetrical warfare. They have a whole doctrine, a whole department in the military dedicated to this kind
of challenge to the United States.
What can -- what might they be preparing this time around?
BAKER: So, my -- I guess a couple of things. One is I think they will continue to try to play on the internal differences in the United States
that we have. You know, we have legitimate disagreements within [13:10:00] the United States, and people are passionate about those things and I think
they'll try to play on though and inflame those to some degree or another.
I do worry about the -- I guess you would say, the large attacks or risks that they have with respect to the vote. Apparently, there are -- I'm
sorry, 8,800 jurisdictions in the United States that are responsible for vote counting, collecting the votes and then counting them. And not just -
- you don't just have the systems that actually record the vote, you have all kinds of voter registration systems, systems that tabulate the votes
and so on. It's a complex system. And it just seems to me that that provides a large opportunity for the Russians or others, quite frankly, to
They don't have to attack the whole system. They just need to figure out what precincts in what states they want to go after to potentially tip an
election or to cause trouble in some way or to cause us to doubt the legitimacy of the election. And that last point is probably one of the
things that's most worrisome because if they just cause us to not believe the vote count, then that will cause turmoil in the United States.
AMANPOUR: So, let's just get back to what I played you from President Trump who essentially gave a brought hint that his administration, he had
authorized a counter attack, a cyberattack on Russian entities in this regard. Would that have been a good deterrent?
BAKER: My guess is not, honestly. I mean, I think that's -- it's a step. I wouldn't see it as a comprehensive step. And again, I think, as you
said, the Mueller report talks about the Russian efforts as being sweeping and systematic, right? So, very broad and very deep and very thoughtful.
And so, the response of the United States government needs to be comprehensive, all elements of the U.S. government need to deal with this
in a coordinated way. And that, in my experience, takes leadership and drive from the White House, from the National Security Council, to push the
agencies, to do what it is they need to do, to coordinate with each other and importantly, to coordinate with our foreign partners, intelligence and
law enforcement services around the world that are our allies.
Because the Russians are not just coming after us, they're coming after all of the U.S. and its allies in an effort to undermine, you know, the world
order that the allies established post World War II.
AMANPOUR: So, you were there in your role as top counsel until 2018, that's two years into the administration, about. What can you tell us
about how this administration did deal with allies, as you suggest? I mean, is there a good sharing? Because all we see is sort of, you know, a
lot of discord and disruption sown between the U.S. and its allies. But in this vital field, is there the necessary sharing?
BAKER: Yes. I think it depends what level you're talking about with the government, the United States government. The relationships between the
law enforcement and intelligence agencies, in particular, are very deep and have been going on for a long, long time, the deep end and longs standing.
And so, those are good relationships. I expect those to be very resilient and everybody is committed deeply to the mission of protecting our citizens
around the world. And so, that is quite good, I think.
You know, the rest of the diplomatic activities and the public statements and so on, I think that is of concern, because it -- I think it undermines
confidence in the public, in the publics of our allies, in the United States, how well it's running things, how well it's run internally and
whether it can defend this global order that we've had for 75-plus years or 70 years or so.
AMANPOUR: So, you mentioned a little while ago, the fact that Russia could -- you know, doesn't have to hack the whole system, it can go to vulnerable
states, vulnerable communities. And what we did find out from the Mueller report, from that unredacted released report, the unredacted bits, is that
two counties in Florida were hacked by the Russians.
And early on, today I spoke to Ted Deutch, Representative Ted Deutch -- Ted Deutch of Florida, who, you know, spoke about this. And he actually had
some -- you know, he was cross, he was angry with the FBI for not having briefed these communities about what was going on. Just listen to what he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TED DEUTCH (D-FL): We had a briefings, a classified briefing with the FBI last week, and I urged them to go back and reconsider their decision to
keep this information at a classified level to prevent the American people from knowing all of the details of what happened in the last election.
The reason that's so [13:15:00] important is because we face the same threat going into the next election. It's imperative that we fully
understand what they tried to do, where they were successful and what everyone needs to do to prevent it from happening again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, I mean, he's got a point, right? I mean, apparently, you knew this stuff was happening, and it took several years later for it to be
released, and for the victims to know that that's what happened in their election in 2016.
BAKER: Yes. I can't comment on that exactly, in part because I simply don't remember what we specifically knew about that -- those counties in
Florida. But I do take his point that we need to figure out how to share information appropriately with state and local authorities so that they can
do their jobs.
Look, we have to be careful. We don't want to show all of our cards, especially to our adversaries, the Russians in this case. So, we have to
be cautious about what we disclose about sources and methods that we collect information about but -- or that we use to collect information, but
we do need to make sure we can disclose relevant, timely and accurate information to our partners at the state and local levels so they can
defend themselves. I -- so, I agree in general with his point, both looking backwards what happened in 2016 and then what do we expect in 2020.
AMANPOUR: So, let's just broaden it out again because it tends to get very personal with this president. I mean, he's named you, as I said before,
and he's named all the other Intelligence professionals who he disagrees with.
You have tried to say that you're not going to take it personally. And in fact, you've written and you've spoken about actually not hating and rather
wanting to love in reaction to all of this. And you quoted Martin Luther King from his letter from a Birmingham jail.
So, tell me what you mean and why you felt you needed to put this out into the public realm.
BAKER: Well, I guess -- and the receiving end of the tweets and comments and so on and so forth, I have to confess, I guess I did take it personally
in the sense that it affected my life. It's hard to hear -- it's hard to have your family and friends hear this. Many friends came to my defense
and that was very gratifying. But it was just very hard to hear.
Then I tried to think about, "Well, what do I do in this kind of a circumstance? How do I respond to this?" And other people can figure out
how they want to respond, but the way I responded was I simply am not going to respond in -- you know, with hatred and anger. I'm just not. Because
my goal is to try to figure out, in whatever small way I possibly can, how to unify the United States, how to protect its people and how to
importantly do honor or act in an honorable way with respect to the people who came before me and who exist, you know, today, in terms of other people
who have made even more sacrifices so I can have the freedom and benefits I have.
So, it just seemed to me that responding with rancor or sort of tit for tat, that kind of thing, is just not going to help the country in any way.
So, I've just avoided trying to do it. But it's not easy. On a personal level, it's not. It's a struggle for me, but I -- that's what I'm trying
AMANPOUR: And you did feel moved to quote Matthew, which is in Martin Luther King's letter. The bit reads, "Love your enemies. Bless them that
cursed you. Pray for them that despitefully use you."
BAKER: Yes. I'm not saying that President Trump or his supporters or anybody else are my enemies, but I am saying that, you know, I found Dr.
King's letter, when I read it that has that quote in it from the bible, just to be profoundly moving and almost, you know, the words leaping off
the page, speaking to me as a challenge, not as an answer, but as a challenge, about whether, you know, do I have the capable to respond in
this positive and constructive way? Maybe I'm too weak, maybe I can't do that. But I thought, "Well, I'm going to try. I'm going to do the best I
can with whatever resources I have internally to try to respond in that way." Again, because I think it will help unify country, hopefully bring
us together to some degree, and also, inform the American people about what went on and what didn't go on in 2016.
AMANPOUR: It's really interesting piece of self-reflection. James Bake, thank you so much indeed for joining us on all the ins and outs of this
very complex issue.
We have been talking about Russia's ongoing efforts to interfere in election across the West. But in Europe that is all part of a larger
story, the rise of fringe parties on both the nationalist right and antifascist left. As the democratic center continues to collapse.
This weekend, Europe's far-right parties joined hands for a rally in Milan, Italy hosted by that country's nationalist deputy prime minister, Matteo
Salvini. Geert Wilders, leader of Holland's Party for Freedom, another nationalist party, threw red meat to the crowd, saying [13:20:00] the
political elites in Brussels can't be trusted. Listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEERT WILDERS, DUTCH POLITICIAN: We need to be in charge of our own country again. No more dictates from the E.U. super-state. No more
immigration. [Speaking foreign language].
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that's the refrain we've been hearing for years now. Europe is preparing for a key test of democracy with its Parliamentary elections
later this week. And soon, we'll know just how big a role these fringe parties will play moving ahead.
Anne Applebaum is the Pulitzer Prize-Winning historian and "Washington Post" columnist who writes extensively and insightfully about the rising
populist wave, about Russian interference and President Putin's long game.
Anne Applebaum, welcome back to the program.
ANNE APPLEBAUM, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, are we right to be concerned and do we trick ourselves when we call them fringe parties or are they fringe parties?
APPLEBAUM: So, it depends. From country to country they have different roles. But in some countries, they're in the government. In Italy,
they're part of the ruling coalition. In Austria, they're ruling -- part of the ruling coalition as well. You could argue that the political
parties running in Poland and Hungary are now more or less not so different from the other far-right parties in Europe, although, they have slightly
So, yes, this is a real movement. Many of them began from different origins, different national contexts. But in the last several years, they
have found some common themes and common language. And as you hinted in your introduction, many of them have common links to Russia.
AMANPOUR: So, that also is interesting because they have these common links, as you've been writing about, but they also seem to be struggling
with whether to form alliances and to, you know, all band together, partly because of the -- each other's relations with Russia. So, some don't like
that proximity to Russia.
APPLEBAUM: Some of them don't like one another. There are also some very musing differences. I mean, so there -- you know, these are parties that
have nationalist histories and they bring up old conflicts. And so, the Austrian nationalists try to get together with the Italian nationalists,
and what happens is they start arguing over where the border should be. I mean, these are very old problems.
Russia divides some of them. The Polish right does not want to be affiliated with Russia, but Italian, French, German and all three
(INAUDIBLE) clearly are. And so, that's one of the other divisions. So, they have trouble speaking with one voice, but they have begun to use very
similar techniques, similar political technology.
Interestingly, very often imitating what Russia did in the United States. So, the tactics that we're now all familiar with, you know, fake Facebook
pages and automated Twitter botnets where they repeat messages over and over again and make themselves artificially amplified. We now see far-
right parties in a number of countries doing that themselves, possibly with Russian help in some cases, but also attempting to affect contests in each
So, there -- it's very interesting, you know, the Twitter-bots that will move from one language to the next, you know, so -- a rumor that started in
France after the Notre Dame fire about -- it was really started by Muslims, this is deliberately spread to Italy. And there is an attempt now to
create a kind of all European conversation, kind of all European conspiracy theories.
AMANPOUR: So, how worried should we be? If it's not Russian -- Russia directly, about the copycaters and this ongoing game of websites and social
media accounts, you know, using the Russian playbook, trying to divide people, sowing discord.
APPLEBAUM: So, that's certainly -- there's a Russian plague. I mean, obviously, there was a point in your earlier interview that's worth
repeating, which is that although we tend to pay attention to these things just before elections, the Russians actually have long-term tactics and
So, one is this social media strategy that we can see and we're beginning to understand better. The other is investment in these parties. Money has
been spent. The Russians have supported Marine Le Pen's far-right party in France. We have evidence they have supported the far-right in Germany.
There's e-mail evidence saying that, you know, there are those in Russia who think they have kind of captured MPs inside the German Parliament who
work for them.
Last week, and we had an extraordinary story break in Austria with the leader of the Austrian far-right, who is extremely pro-Russian, having been
taped speaking to somebody he thought was a very wealthy Russian, turns out not to have been. And doing --
AMANPOUR: Was it a trap?
APPLEBAUM: It was a trap. And oddly, we don't know who set the trap yet. But the story appeared in a couple German newspapers.
AMANPOUR: And he's had to resign and there's going to be a snap election?
APPLEBAUM: He has resigned because there will be a snap election, but it - - what was very interesting about it was it indicated his attitudes [13:25:00] towards Russia and towards democracy.
AMANPOUR: So, what were they? I mean, what was he cause offering?
APPLEBAUM: He was caught offering a woman he thought was a very wealthy Russian. He said, "If you help me win power," this is -- this was done
before the last Austrian elections, "I will help you win contracts." In other words, this is how he understood the game was played. "I'll help you
get rich if you buy and affect control over an Austrian newspaper and help elect me." And then he went on to fantasize about how, "We need to really
take control of all the Austrian press, maybe you can help me do that."
And he very specially said, "Just like Viktor Orban has done in Hungary." So, this is a -- there's now kind of playbook, you take over the press
piece by piece with Russian money, and that's what -- well, that was the implication.
And so, you know, these are parties, they're anti-establishment, they're supposed to be anti-corruption, and here was the leader offering corrupt
deals to a woman he thought was a friendly Russian.
AMANPOUR: So, as I asked James Baker of the FBI, is the United States prepared to ward off the same kind of attack? And he said, "Well, perhaps
not really, but anyway, the techniques will morph and change." Do you think Europe is prepared?
APPLEBAUM: So, it really depends from country to country. There are some places where there's been a big discussion of this. There's very little
understanding of how these tactics work on the internet still and I think that's because mostly an older generation of politicians just doesn't seem
them because it affects who are online all the time, and they aren't.
There's beginning to be an understanding of how the funding works and how the political support works. And so, there is a -- we have the Austrian
scandal, there was a recent one in Germany as well and there's a growing sense of what this might mean. But it's almost as if it hasn't quite
reached a threshold where people begin to build alliances specially against that kind of influence.
You know, Europeans want the Cold War to be over. They like the idea that Russia is somehow gone, that it's on the periphery, it doesn't matter
anymore. And the idea of Russia coming back in some new form and becoming part of politics again is something people just don't want to hear, and
they resist hearing it, they'll do anything to the not talk about it and they just don't want to have -- paradoxically, the rise of Trump and his
problems with Russia, has raised awareness in Europe as well. Because suddenly, people say, "Wait. We have this problem from Russia on the one
hand and we now have a problem from the United States on the other, maybe we should be thinking more strategically."
AMANPOUR: It's really fascinating. And you've also been writing about, again, these kind of weird fringe parties. I mean, Austrian Identitarians?
APPLEBAUM: Yes. So, this is a movement that dates back some years, which is a new far-right which seeks to be a kind of acceptable far-right, and
their argument is that, "We're ethnocultural -- and we believe in our ethnocultural identity. We're not against any other races. We just want
them not be here." And so, they --
AMANPOUR: So, I have a little soundbite that I'm going to play from the leader of this group. And then, maybe we can -- you can help me figure it
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN SELLNER, LEADER, AUSTRIAN IDENTITARIAN MOVEMENT: Demography will kill democracy. In the end, demography and the tribalization, the ethnical
fragmentization (ph) of a society will destroy our democracies and that is one of the main messages we need to send out to Europeans everywhere that
they are being replaced and the demography in the end will decide everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, what is he actually saying? And apparently, he had online links to the gunman in the Christchurch massacre.
APPLEBAUM: More than online links, they had an e-mail conversation and that they have may have met. We don't know that yet. But that -- this is
another scandal that broke last week.
AMANPOUR: And what is he -- democracy, demography, what is he actually saying?
APPLEBAUM: So, this is a White supremacists argument that we need to cleanse Europe. It's an argument for ethnic cleansing. They call it re-
migration. There's a more conspiratorial form of it, this will confuse your viewers, so forgive me, but more conspiratorial form of it that says,
"Actually, there's a Jewish plot to bring people from North Africa and Asia into Europe in order to destroy the White race." Don't ask me to explain
how that -- where exactly all of that comes from, but you -- the only reason I wrote about it is because you're now seeing it emerge.
So, the Christchurch killer in -- who you mentioned, referred specifically to this thesis when he -- and hit this crazy manifesto that he published
when he committed that murder. Two of the synagogue murderers in the United States have also made references to this thesis. This is where
they're getting it from.
So, this is an online conspiracy theory that is shares --
AMANPOUR: Very scary.
APPLEBAUM: It's shared by some in Europe and some in the United States. And it somehow manages to appeal, because it -- you know, it kind of -- it
crosses from some legitimate conversation. There are people legitimately worried about immigration and assimilation and has it gone too far in
Europe, and there's a legitimate normal mainstream conversation about that, which this somehow taps into.
And there's a legitimate, normal, mainstream conversation about that which this somehow taps into. And at the same time, there's an insane
conspiratorial and really quite violent murder aspersion of it. You know, people are being told there's an existential crisis. You know, Europe is
dying. If we don't protect it and defend it, we will all disappear. And this has led to a number of acts of violence in Europe and in the United
States as we - most famously in New Zealand.
So it's a very powerful online conspiracy theory and it's promoted by people like the man you just showed. This is Martin Sellner, the leader of
the moment in Austria but also in a number of other European countries.
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, it's very important that you've raised the flag about this person and put it out there so people can know that this exists
and follow these awful lines about him and make up, you know, their own minds hopefully.
APPLEBAUM: But he's very important because he's very influence on the - they're very influential on the far-right parties. And so, one of the
other things that we see is the far-right parties using their language or referring to them. And so, Stache, the Austrian vice leader -
AMANPOUR: Vice Chancellor.
APPLEBAUM: - Vice Chancellor who just resigned, one of the things he did was he would quote Identitarian language, but, you know, President Trump
has used this kind of language, you know, this reference to, you know, to needing to defend civilization against invasions of immigrants because they
talk about an immigrant invasion. So it's not just people come there or people refugees, it's an invasion and they use this war-like language. And
that's now really part of mainstream politics in quite a number of countries.
AMANPOUR: Mainstream politics?
APPLEBAUM: Well, it's the President of the United States, people - member of the Austrian coalition, you know, the leader - Matteo Salvini.
AMANPOUR: Those in power, yes.
APPLEBAUM: People in power use this language, and this is - the origins of it do lie in this weird Internet subculture.
AMANPOUR: So you might think then that these European elections could be sort of the wave continuing to crest, this nationalist, populist,
conspiratorial group that is so hijacked politics over the last couple of years. Do you think that's likely or are there on the other side sort of
an equal and opposite reaction happening?
APPLEBAUM: So I think there is. First of all, there's an equal and opposite reaction happening as people - people who dislike this kind of
politics push back. And also really what's happening in a lot of places is not so much the just the rise of the far-right, but generally the
splintering of establishment parties for both good and bad effect.
So what one of the things I'm sure is going to happen after these European elections is going to be a rise in the support for green parties, the
German greens, the Austrian greens. The greens are going to do well and the British - the sort of strange British European elections. The greens
are part of the - there's this sort of European collation that's been created in Poland and they're not part of that. So that's another thing
that's also happening.
AMANPOUR: But it is remarkable, that actually. I mean, you just went from talking about this really dangerous, odd, conspiratorial, dark state to
something very hopeful.
APPLEBAUM: Hopeful? I mean, as I said, it's going to be - we're going to live through movement win a lot of traditional ways that politics work are
going to change. So the idea that we have a center-left and a center-right and one of them's based in the trade union movement and one of them's based
in churches is gone. That's not going to happen any more. From now - you know, there are different kinds of parties. There are different kinds of
political actors. There will be good things about that. There will be bad things about it. It's a little destabilizing. I expect the result of
these elections to be very fractured and there won't be a single story.
AMANPOUR: Interesting. But is that - but that's good or bad?
APPLEBAUM: Depends on who you ask. Could be good. I mean, the problem for Europe is that Europe has a lot of big existential questions coming.
You know, how - what's the future of the Eurozone, how they're going to deal with changing foreign policy situation, you know, with the new kind of
American president and without a kind of - with stable governments and a kind of majority in the European Parliament it might be difficult to
resolve questions if things are very fractured and people are squabbling. So that's really the main danger.
AMANPOUR: And let's not forget we're sitting in London, U.K. Brexit, and this Brexit deal hasn't happened. So the U.K. has to go kicking and
screaming into these elections that it didn't want to have to contest with no idea what Brexit is going to look like. So as you analyze that, I guess
many people are saying that whoever wins the U.K. and if he seats (ph) member of European Parliament, it could be a referendum or a vote of
confidence for how the Brexit should go.
APPLEBAUM: Yes. Well although the thing that's happening as you know since we're sitting here in London is that what's happening is greater
fragmentation than we've ever seen, and what could happen in the U.K. elections is that neither the Tory party - the conservative party - nor the
Labor party is even first and second.
AMANPOUR: No, no. We think it's Nigel Farage, Mr. Brexit.
APPLEBAUM: And the liberal democrats, so we could have other parties. There are two or three - there are really three main parties that are
expected to do well. So again, you have this fragmentation, very unclear messages being sent by electorates.
AMANPOUR: When you look at who might come out to vote, do you think the so-called moderates or the people who believe in Europe and the project, et
cetera, are they mobilized? Are they going to come out? Or is it, again, the extremes?
APPLEBAUM: It depends on the country. (inaudible) you showed - I think you showed a picture of Poland in one of the - in one of the first
photographs that you showed, and there they've created a European coalition of five different parties and it looks like there will be some mobilization
around that. In Germany I'm told there's some mobilization around European parties. And remember that outside of the U.K. even these far-right
parties are not saying they want to leave Europe, but Brexit has kind of scared everybody.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's actually really interesting because you'd think - because they were threatening Europe. Like Salvini was -
APPLEBAUM: No, none of them.
AMANPOUR: - Marine Le Pen was.
APPLEBAUM: No, they say they want a different Europe, and actually it's even interesting that - so for example, when Salvini talks about a
different Europe, he means a Europe that has - that let's Italy have a bigger budget deficit, so it's all about money. You know, when Le Pen says
she wants a different Europe, she means something more like -
AMANPOUR: No immigration.
APPLEBAUM: - more like what the White Supremacists say. You know, so there are these different - you know, and when Viktor Orban wants a
different Europe it's because he wants a Europe that won't prevent him from destroying his judiciary, which he wants to do. So -
AMANPOUR: And Poland and it's judiciary?
APPLEBAUM: So that's a very similar - so the Polish - the Polish government does not - in fact, is wrapping itself in the European flag and
saying, "we were never against Europe." It's - but they have - they've been in conflict with Europe over their - over their independent judiciary.
So you have these different issues in different places, and there isn't a - what these parties can unify on is some very basic things usually to do
with immigration. But again, when you get to the question what exactly - what kind of Europe do they want, it all fragments. And remember that the
immigration wave has been stopped and it was stopped by Merkel.
AMANPOUR: Indeed, hanging off (ph) the Turks.
APPLEBAUM: So the immigration wave is over. And so, they're going to have trouble continuing that argument unless they can find something else that
will divide people and make them angry.
AMANPOUR: So interesting. We're going to wait to see the results of these elections. Anne Applebaum, thank you so much. We turn now from the clamor
for power in Europe to one of the most talent American media reports of his generation. After David Carr collapsed in the newsroom of The New York
Times in 2015, his daughter, Erin Lee Carr, combed through a lifetime of correspondents in search of comfort and support. What she found is
documented in her memoir "All That You Leave Behind" which explores her father's legacy and her own grief, her addiction, and her sobriety. She
spoke about it all to our Alicia Menendez.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
ALICIA MENENDEZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The sudden death of your father, David Carr, is the catalyst for your new memoir "All That You Leave
Behind". There were hundreds of thousands of people who followed him on Twitter, who read his writing. What was it about him that made him so
indispensible as a journalist?
ERIN LEE CARR, AUTHOR, "ALL THAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND": I think that answer that I keep coming back to is really direct, really honest. He had this
sort of like Don Quixote meets Deadwood. Like he was just this sort of amazing linguist with ideas, and you never could predict what he was going
to say. Like if he were sitting here, it'd be a very different interview. I mean, he just had such a sort of unique, surprising quality.
MENENDEZ: Everyone I know who's read this book has said, "well, I thought I was close to my parents, but now I'm starting to doubt that," because the
relationship you have is so unique, right? I mean, did you know that before you wrote the book?
CARR: I think I did. I think that when you have an origin story like we do, and that is he was addicted to drugs, he got sober. So we literally
changed his life. And so, I think that there was a lot of closeness derived from that. Like he wanted to take care of us because he had
abandoned us at a certain point. And so, I think that I was very appreciative of the closeness, but God damn it how scary it was when he
died. I mean, the hole was so big because he was my parent, he was my mentor, he was like my good friend, my confidant, and like - and then when
he died, it was just like all of those roles were gone. And so, I was left to sort of figured it out. I mean, I guess I felt kind of resentful that
he was all those things.
MENENDEZ: When you were little, your dad used to whisper to you and your twin sister, "everything good started with you," and you write in the book,
"I realize the converse truth that there must have been an everything bad before there was an everything good." You've talked a little bit about the
drugs, the alcohol, but paint a picture for me. What did you learn was his life that predated you?
CARR: You know, he was somebody that was not, oh, I drank some wine after dinner and I may have, you know, forgotten about what to do the next day.
He was a blackout, intense drinker, alcoholic.
He was somebody that got involved with my mom who was a, you know, a prolific drug dealer in Minneapolis and they got together and they went
from dry goods, you know, cocaine to crack.
And that is not the typical story of how your parents meet. And I think that it just sort of really shocked people but I think that one of - one of
the things that's unusual about this is that he got sober.
I think when we were born, he was not sober, he was not able to do it yet, but he sort of saw as we were coming into the world and he had to deposit
us at foster care to get sober, he said this is worth getting sober for. I'm not just messing up my life, I would be messing up theirs.
And so pretty incredible that he was able to kick a habit like that.
MENENDEZ: There's a harrowing story that your dad would tell that you tell in this book about you and your sister being very little being left in
snowsuits in the car so that he could go get high.
And I wonder for you how you look back at that story and comport that person, the dad who did that with the dad who raised you in all those days
CARR: I think that story is - teaches us that addiction explains everything and excuses nothing. That was not the first or the last time he
would put our lives in danger. I think that when alcohol and drugs interacted with my father, he was not able to make parenting decisions.
And so there was a lot of conflict of, you know, my dad helps me with most things but he also has gotten drunk, you know, when I was in high school I
didn't - I didn't know how to reconcile to answer your question.
It felt like there were two different people, but I guess that it made me understand addiction more, but then I would realize I didn't really
MENENDEZ: How did the addiction that he grappled with begin to manifest in your own life for you?
CARR: From the very first time I took a sip of alcohol I wanted more, and that would always be the case with me and alcohol. If I had a glass, I
wanted three. If I wanted three, then I had seven.
And so in my 20s, as a young person, I felt myself completely at odds with my alcoholism. It didn't look like my dad's, I wasn't suffering with crack
addiction, I didn't have to give up babies for adoption - or excuse me, for foster care.
But it was beginning to make choices in my life. Could I go to the meeting in the morning, could I like - could I - could I do all the work that I
needed to for the next day while I was drinking?
No I could not.
MENENDEZ: Yet even through some of that process, you reconcile it to yourself as like I'm just a nice girl who, you know, maybe drinks a little
too much white wine, right. There was - there was difficulty in identifying it as addiction because of the way that -
CARR: Well that's the disease. I mean that's like - that's delusion. I mean no one needs to have 10 drinks. I think that I, you know, maybe
sometimes I would have two and like that's the night I was like well I only had two drinks and I was able to do it.
And so I think that I wrote this book to - in an effort to demystify what alcoholism looks like.
MENENDEZ: There's a passage I'd love for you to read, it's 196.
CARR: As the weeks pass, I couldn't help but text him because we've been so digitally tethered, it felt only normal, albeit a bit morbid. One night
I wrote I'm sorry I didn't act more grateful when you gave me that sweater at Christmas.
The message felt like the panicked act of a kid who had forgotten her algebra assignment. I wanted him to know that I was appreciative and that
I love that he had gotten me a sweater that reminded me of his own.
I sometimes feel like an inferior version of his doppelganger, I have his DNA but am not him. Our text history is short, I deleted a majority of
them to free up space on my phone and I curse myself for it, but I still have his e-mails.
I typed in C-A-R-R-2-N at Gmail.com again and click through page after page of our back and forth. I created a Google document and started copying and
pasting my favorite lines. Find myself thinking about you a lot, wondering what kind of adventures you're living, learning you are doing, tasks you
I'd be working every angle. When I close my eyes I could hear him saying those things out loud. Whenever I would send him a flare e-mail, his
response was always relentlessly positive and made me feel like I was part of a tribe, a team, that someone was taking care of me.
I knew then and now that this was a rare relationship for a child to have with a parent.
MENENDEZ: You've lived a very rarified existence and I mean that in a number of ways. But one of the ways in which I mean that is that you're a
public person in your own right with your own accomplishments.
You're the child of someone who was a public person, and you crystallize that in the book in the day he dies.
What was it like to share that moment with the world?
CARR: At the time it doesn't make sense. I think in all the days that came before it, I was go grateful to be my dad's kid that he got to live
his life full of creative direction. Like he loved what he did for a living, he was so proud of the New York Times.
But the fact that his professional importance took precedent over our family dealing with the aftermath of his death, I mean it made me so mad.
And I think that, you know, when famous people die, I get - I feel angry at our response.
Like, you know, whether it be Anthony Bourdain, every single person putting on Instagram like I loved him. I'm like his family loved him, can we just
give them a second, you know.
And I think that that night I was really - I was really angry at the Twitter chorus, but I think in the days that followed really understanding
how he was loved, and it wasn't just by our small little Minnesotan family, it was really by, you know, his friends, I think that it ultimately was
But I guess that I'm just trying to speak that there was a lot of conflict involved.
MENENDEZ: No, of course there was, I mean how would you describe more generally the experience of being a person who shares a parent with so many
people, especially for you when it's the only parent you really have?
CARR: I think it was weird in the months after his death because his friends would take me out to lunch and they would be like do you - do you
have the David Carr - can I have - you know, like there was this confusion because I'm his kid, I'm his close sort of protege, so they wanted David
Carr and I felt like this total fraud, like this person that hung out with him that, you know, that, you know, that loves him but such a worse version
And so it was really confusing trying to figure out what people wanted from me.
MENENDEZ: What does it take to go from feeling like someone's disappointing doppelganger to becoming one's own person? Are you there?
CARR: I'm there when I'm in your spot, I think when I'm doing my job I very clearly feel like my own person. I think when I'm talking about him
and having these emotional conversations, I feel him. I wonder if I'm saying the right thing.
I think that there - there enters some self doubt of which I don't have a lot otherwise in my life because I've sort of dealt with it, so I think
MENENDEZ: Was (ph) the core tension of the book which is here you are, a person who wants to succeed on merit, who has done a lot of hard work to
make that so. And yet there is the reality that you are own known as someone else's child which in your -
CARR: Someone's child as a 31 year old, yes.
MENENDEZ: -- which in your 30s, yes, is a very strange thing. And yet you write a book that centers yourself, right, like that's the - that is the
challenge which is how do you write a book that centers you as someone's child while then that not becoming the totality of who you are or how other
people see you?
CARR: Yes, I mean I love that you talked about that I have a rarified existence, because this is not a book that looks the other way on that. I
think that when people think about nepotism or connections or being somebody's kid, I mean it is my job to fully embrace it and be transparent
When I talk to students, I talk about my origin story about in media, how that happened. But I also talk about the lessons he taught me as my
mentor, bring a notebook, you know, come prepared, offer to pay for the check, don't be an idiot.
I think so I was - I am grateful to be his kid, but it's almost like I need to say that. If I walk into a room and somebody introduces me as David
Carr's child, that's not going to go well for them. I get to say that.
I think that, you know, I don't want to come across as brusque, but I think that we're all searching for defining ourselves by who we were and who we
are becoming. And I think that it really has been about me declaring that versus other people doing it.
MENENDEZ: There's a part in the book that I love where you're headed to an internship, a job, and he asks you if you've showered that morning and you
say no and he says Erin you are neither pretty enough or smart enough to not shower, which stings even secondhand.
And yet is in the pantheon of things you learn from him. I mean what else do you carry with you to this day that you think like, David Carr, say what
you mean, mean what you say.
CARR: It's really about trusting your gut. He taught me how to pick a story, what has the ability to go viral, now to talk to people, how to get
them to trust you. I mean, it is so embedded within the DNA of what I do on a daily basis.
And so -- but what I love about what he says to me about these things is, it is inherent that you know how to tell a good story. I didn't you that,
it's by you thinking about this and watching and being a part of audience where you figured it out.
He -- he didn't want to take credit for that, but I think that I must have gotten it also from him.
MENENDEZ: In your documentary work, you are drawn to really complicated characters, largely women, lots of gray area in the subject matter that you
explore a lot of your work in true crime. Do you think that there is something in your own background that makes you gravitate towards that type
CARR: The complicated is where the interesting stories lie. And so like, I was raised understanding we are not equal to our best or worst action.
And so, as a true crime filmmaker, I really wanted to think about what is an empathetic way to do this work and to do it well?
And so, with Gypsy Rose Blanchard from "Mommy Dead and Dearest," about the famous Munchausen by proxy case and a new two-part coming out about Michele
Carter, the woman who texted her boyfriend to kill himself, and sadly he did.
MENENDEZ: Your most recent project, HBO's "At the Heart of Gold" takes a look at the sexual abuse scandal that rocked USA Gymnastics. What was the
hardest part of making that film?
CARR: It was a departure for me, but I was fascinated with it because, how did this happen? How on earth does something like this go on for 20 years?
What does it say about our society, about female sexuality, that you can't tell you parent something weird just happened in there?
I knew that it wasn't -- it wasn't specifically like my other work, but when I watched the victim impact statements in that court room in Michigan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYLE STEPHENS, SEXUALL ABUSE SURVIVOR: Larry Nassar's actions had already caused me significant anguish, but I hurt worse as I watched my father
realize what he had put me through.
My father and I did our best to patch up our tattered relationship before we committed suicide in 2016.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARR: And I had been working on it for six months prior to that. I just - - I had never seen something like that. It was so incredible and so brave and this was after I had written the book, so I had like kind of a new
amount of emotional awareness as it relates to people processing.
MENENDEZ: I couldn't help, as I was reading this, but wonder, would David Carr like this book?
CARR: I think, if I'm answering very honestly, I think the depiction of his family after his death would be deeply hard for him to read. I think
that grief has a way of either pulling a family apart at the seams or bringing them together and we -- we did not know how to do it after --
after he died. And so holidays became this incredibly maudlin affair.
And so, you know -- I think that would have been really painful for him. He loves his wife Jill, I write about her as my stepmom. I think he would
probably have edits on that, I know my sisters did.
She's an incredible person and she was dealing with the very sudden death of her partner. So, while this book may have intense moments with her, I
like -- I understand. She just -- she couldn't take care of us because she was taking care of herself.
In terms of things he would love, he would love the picture of us at Southby (ph), like us dancing. I mean, I don't think it's very usual to
like be in a dance party with your dad at Southby(ph), and like there we are having like the most fun. He loves a good redemption story line. I
think it was very unclear if I was going to be successful.
And he always said, like, I know it's going to be, but like I think he was fibbing a little bit. I think he was providing confidence in me when I
didn't have it in myself. And so, I think like my dad, he's an underdog and I'm an underdog and I think he loves that part.
MENENDEZ: Erin, thank you so much.
CARR: Thank you.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
AMANPOUR: And you can watch Erin Lee Carr's documentary, "At the Heart of Gold," on HBO Go and HBO Now. That's it for now. Remember, you can listen
to our podcast at any time and see us online at Amanpour.com. And you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter. Thanks for watching and good bye from