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Boris Johnson Selected As United Kingdom's New Prime Minister; Michael Fallon, Former British Defense Secretary, Is Interviewed About Boris Johnson; Mairead McGuinness, Vice-President Of The European Parliament, Is Interviewed About Boris Johnson; Public Testimony Of Robert Mueller; Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) Is Interviewed About President Trump; Internal Activism Brewing Turmoil For Big Tech; Google Needs To Be Held Accountable; Google Walkout For Real Change; Claire Stapleton And Meredith Whittaker, Organizers For Google Walkout For Real Change, Are Interviewed About Google; Future Of The Special U.S.-U.K. Relationship. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired July 23, 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, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Do you feel daunted? I don't think you'll ever make (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Boris Johnson becomes the next U.K. prime minister, a divisive populist who looks and sounds a lot like Donald Trump. We get the view
from backers like former British defense minister, Michael Fallon and exhausted European negotiator, Irish MEP and vice president of the European
Parliament, Mairead McGuinness, joins me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: There's no nothing. They're wasting their time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Mueller mania strikes in the United States as the former Special Counsel prepares to publicly testify. I speak with Republican Senator Pat
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEREDITH WHITTAKER, ORGANIZER, GOOGLE WALKOUT FOR REAL CHANGE: Practices of retaliation are one of the -- you know, are the first thing we need to
tackle when we begin to tackle these sort of #MeToo issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The women walking off the Google campus speak out against what they call a culture of retaliation.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London, where today, the United Kingdom got a new prime minister. To know one's
surprise, the favorite Boris Johnson was selected by an inner circle of Conservative Party members.
In his victory speech, he whipped up the crowd with his typical bombast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: I know some wag has already pointed out that deliver, unite and defeat was not the perfect acronym for an election campaign since
unfortunately it spells DUD. But they forgot the final "E" my friends, "E" for energize. And I say to all the doubters, "Dude, we are going to
energize the country. We are going to get Brexit done."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Unusual language and style for a British prime minister. A populist politician who fronted the leave campaign with what the E.U.
referendum with what "The New York Times" describes as a loose relationship with truth or principle.
Johnson won the leadership contest by a margin of more than 40,000 votes, which is a lot considering the selection process was only open to the party
membership, some 160,000 people. That's just 0.2 percent of the whole electorate. And tomorrow, Johnson will enter number 10 Downing Street as
prime minister. Theresa May exits and the country faces not only an uphill struggle with Brexit but serious tensions with Iran.
So, let's get straight to what this change at the top means with Michael Fallon. He's the former U.K. defense secretary. He backed Boris Johnson
during the campaign. And he's joining me now here in our London studio.
Welcome to the program.
MICHAEL FALLON, FORMER BRITISH DEFENSE SECRETARY: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: I first want to ask for everybody, actually, who has been saying Boris Johnson bears a distinct resemblance in look and style to Donald
Trump. And President Trump today gave a speech in Washington where he called Boris Johnson Britain's Trump. Is that what you've bargained for?
You who are a backer want a British Trump?
FALLON: Well, not necessarily a British Trump but to somebody who is already an ally of the president, has a good relationship with him. I
remember the first time I think they met at a NATO summit just after the president had taken office. You know, they made a beeline for each other,
they clearly get on well. When Boris was foreign secretary, they worked well together. That's important to us in Britain, to have somebody who
works well with your president, whoever your elected president is.
AMANPOUR: But people have pointed out that he's very much like Trump in that Trump has played the, you know, divisive card. You've got the racist
tweets, you've got the anti-immigrant sentiment, you've got the populism that has become sort of de facto in politics today.
FALLON: Well, I think with respect we've got to be careful about this. Boris for eight years was mayor of London. One of the most ethnically
diverse cities around and was very much social liberal in our terms, in our terms of the Conservative Party and was an early adopter of some of the
(INAUDIBLE) legislation and so on. So, I don't think he's like your president in that respect.
But yes, he's populist and yes, he's an optimist. And you heard that in his acceptance speech today. He is very much somebody who sees the best of
Britain and thinks we can get through the challenge of Brexit and find a new role for ourselves in the world.
AMANPOUR: I just want to pick you a little bit on this point and then perhaps you can put it to bed. You know, Boris Johnson has used words like
pickaninnies to describe Africans, he's talked about Muslim women in their traditional garb looking like letter boxes. I mean, he's talked about
Barack Obama, when he was president, having a historical ancestral dislike of Britain because he was born to a Kenyan father. Put to rest then these
fears about Boris Johnson and these kinds of things he says.
FALLON: Well, I must be careful how I do that because Boris Johnson, of course, was a journalist. And saying that you, I've got to be careful. He
was a colorful journalist. He's been using for 20- or 30-years colorful language in his journalism.
But that article, for example, on the rights of the women to wear the burqa, he was actually standing up for that right, if you read the article.
He uses colorful phrases. He's apologized all along in this campaign for anybody who might have been offended by his previous journalism. But
that's what he is. He was a journalist. That was his stock and trade.
AMANPOUR: You know, I hate, again, to pick you again because he was a journalist and he got fired for telling some lies about stories and
misquoting people. And people have said, again, this is a very, very important time. As I quoted "The New York Times," his relationship with
the truth and with principle is somewhat sketchy.
And, you know, the big emblazoned figure on the (INAUDIBLE) and the campaign was total nonsense. It wasn't a true figure. It isn't happening.
What he said about Turks wanting to invade Britain was a nonsense. Very inflammatory.
So, I guess I'm asking you this not just to pick at him but to know how he's going to unite a country, how he is going to work with people and
politicians from Europe and the rest to actually, you know, achieve something that this country needs, and that is a proper Brexit deal and a
FALLON: Well, I'm in the going it get back over all the individual phrases that he used when he was a journalist. And during the referendum campaign,
whether we should stay in the European union or not, there were claims and counterclaims made from both sides that probably didn't stand up to
excessive scrutiny, if you like.
But I think the point about Boris Johnson is, he also has solid senior experience in public office. Running the City of London for two
consecutive terms, for eight years, being foreign secretary for two years, alongside the defense secretary. We shaped the coalition with the help of
our allies, including the United States to fight Daesh ISIS terrorism in the Middle East. He stood up to Russia, if you remember the Salisbury
poisonings. This is a man who looked after the British interest when the going got tough.
AMANPOUR: Do you worry, though? I mean, you rightly point out that he was foreign secretary when you were defense secretary. I mean, you've seen all
the articles, you've seen the foreign service officers who talked about the day he resigned a year ago as liberation day in the Foreign and
I mean, they called him unprepared, gaffe prone, unfocussed. Are you concerned about that, given the massive nature, as we've seen over the past
three years, of trying to secure a Brexit? Are you concerned about that? How will he do any different than what prime minister May did?
FALLON: Well, Diplomats, I think, are always concerned about language and words. That's their stock and trade. I think every foreign secretary
we've had and who knows, perhaps some of your secretaries of state have tripped up occasionally with the odd slip of the tongue for which they've
had to apologize because these things sometimes do matter in international diplomacy.
But when it came to the really tough decisions and some of the operations that he had to authorize, some of the steps had to be taken to protect us
from terrorism, I have no doubt at all that Boris Johnson was then and will be a very serious defender of the British interest. No, he's not the same
as Theresa May. Quite clear. She was a very different political animal, if you like, a lot more introverted, very shy, very dutiful but very
different, obviously, to Boris Johnson.
AMANPOUR: So, what magic source would he bring to this mix that suddenly makes Europe say, "Whoa, there's a new prime minister who is saying we're
going to be out deal or no deal. We don't want the back stop. We don't want this deal that Theresa May negotiated painstakingly"? What is he
going to do? What is he going to offer? What is different?
FALLON: The big thing that is different is Boris Johnson is a Brexiteer. He believes in us leaving the European Union. Theresa May didn't. She
voted remain. No, nothing -- no -- (INAUDIBLE) I voted remain. But Boris Johnson is a Brexiteer. He believes in this. He thinks there is a future,
a strong future for Britain outside the European Union.
So, he is bringing ambition and optimism and energy to this task. And he's also will be trading on the fact that parliament does not like the present
deal that was negotiated by Theresa May. Parliament wants a better deal. It's not just Boris Johnson who wants a better deal. Parliament itself
would not accept the inferior deal that Theresa May presented it. So, he's going to go out there and get us a better deal.
AMANPOUR: So, of course, everybody wants to know what will the ingredients of that better deal be and how would he do a better job of getting the
Europeans to agree to a better deal than Theresa May? And to that point, I would like to read from what the former party leader and former foreign
secretary, William Hague, has written in the "The Daily Telegraph."
He said, you know, "You have steadily advocated and improved deal with the E.U. but you've steadily made that pretty much impossible to obtain when
you ruled out changes to the Irish backstop last week and insisted that it must be removed altogether.
You dismayed some of your advisors and delighted others. But the delighted are those who believe that the E.U. will back away completely from the
withdrawal agreement that they spent two years negotiating in favor of something that you like and they call that fantasy."
FALLON: Well, already you've seen today the European leaders welcome the election of Boris Johnson as our leader, saying they're ready to sit down
and work with him. They want to avoid, by the way, no deal. They want to avoid a disorderly exit.
AMANPOUR: But Boris says deal or no deal, do or die.
FALLON: Of course. But he's had to say that to make sure they understand that we're serious about this. But there are neighbors, particularly
Ireland and France and Belgium and Netherlands who would be particularly hurt by no deal. They don't want that either. So, everybody will be
sitting down to see, "OK, can we improve this?" Particularly as Parliament wanted. Better arrangements for Northern Ireland and we don't want to be
trapped in something that looks like the existing Customs Union forever.
So, there are ways in which this language can be improved and that we can get something that will get through parliament. But you can only do that
if you really believe in it. And Boris Johnson does believe in it.
AMANPOUR: Yeah, I mean, I'm impressed by your faith and in his faith and his optimism.
AMANPOUR: But this is a very difficult --
FALLON: I don't need to tell you.
AMANPOUR: -- I don't need to tell you, negotiation that's been going on for the better part of more than two years. We talked about President
Trump and the need to have a strong relationship between the leaders of both countries. Former Labour Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was in the
studio this week. And he was concerned with what appears to be egging on Boris Johnson to take the American view come what may and to, you know,
somewhat make Europe second party. Let's just listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORDON BROWN, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think Boris Johnson is under a huge amount of pressure from his own Brexiteers, those people who
are hardline anti-European. And they would prefer to see an even stronger relationship with the United States even if it's based on effectively
taking instructions from President Trump. So, I think he is under a great deal of pressure in that respect.
But I do feel that he is going have to show that he is also independent, and I think this will be the test of the first few days. For example, you
know, when you become prime minister, you have calls. They go in a row. Who do you call first? Who takes the call first? Is it going to be
President Donald Trump or is it going to be Angela Merkel? Is it going to Emmanuel Macron?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, he was discussing the first days in office. So, what does Boris Johnson have to do to prove he's not going to "take instructions"
from the United States? You know, we know he threw Kim Darroch under the bus because President Trump wasn't happy with what Kim Darroch said, that's
what the foreign office says, that's what Darroch and his people say, that's what the commentary is. It's a touchy situation now.
FALLON: Let's just reel back a bit. He already proved that he doesn't have to take instructions from President Trump because of the stance he
took on Iran, if you remember, when he was foreign secretary and Americans decided they wanted to withdraw from the nuclear agreement. We didn't go
that way. Boris Johnson has defended the European agreement because he believed at the time that actually it was the best way of delaying Iran's
So, there's already a difference of view between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump and there will be other examples of where, as a good friend and a
strong ally, the British prime minister occasionally will disagree with the American president.
AMANPOUR: Do you think he will actively -- as Theresa May advised, actively try to lobby President Trump to get back into the deal or some
version of the deal? Would you support that?
FALLON: Well, I think there's going to be have to be. I think the Americans are already to some form of renegotiation of that particular
agreement. I think John Bolton has already made that clear and you've seen what has been happening on the international waterway since we've lost one
of our tankers that's been captured.
So, in the end, somebody is going to have to renegotiate with Iran to bring some sense into this situation, which is fairly dangerous at the moment.
But the point I'm making to you is it does not follow that Boris Johnson will automatically do what the president wants. He still believes that it
is better to have some form of agreement with Iran over its nuclear program that buys us all a bit of time.
AMANPOUR: So, we introduce you in this segment right now as being amidst a Brexit struggle and bit -- also a crisis, as you just point out in the
Gulf. You're the former defense secretary. What does the new government do to get back the tanker, to resolve this situation, presumably
FALLON: Well, diplomatically, but I think we also have to show you that these were crimes to sell oil to the certain regime, which is what is
alleged is a crime. But to take one of our tankers out of Iranian (ph) water is also crime. These are criminal acts and they can't be accepted.
So, we will have to divorce this from the nuclear program and make it clear to Iran that we'll have to take extra steps now to protect international
waterway with a multinational taskforce, which I hope, by the way, will include the American Navy and American support but will also include ships
from other European neighbors.
AMANPOUR: So, you see it getting more tense? More of a buildup?
FALLON: Well, it's getting more tense. Now, everybody wants to de- escalade it. But that shouldn't excuse what Iran has done and we shouldn't allow, you know, our concerns about the Iran's nuclear program or the
survival of the agreement to any way excuse what Iran has done or the need to protect our oil and gas supplies through that particular strait.
AMANPOUR: The Iranian foreign minister reached out to Boris Johnson saying that Iran was not looking for conflict. Is that something that you would -
FALLON: Well, it's a strange way not to look for conflict by capturing one of our tankers and refusing to hand it back. So, you know, this is, I'm
afraid, a very tense situation at the moment. Obviously, we don't want to escalade it. But equally, we'll have to start properly patrolling this
AMANPOUR: Very interesting times. Thank you very much for weighing in.
AMANPOUR: With this new leadership, the new prime minister. And now, we're going to get the view from Europe. So, while Boris Johnson has
overwhelming support from the pro-Brexit Conservative Party membership, the European Union is going to be a bit harder, perhaps, to win over.
The E.U. and Boris Johnson have a storied and troubled relationship. At a press conference, the incoming E.U. Chief, Ursula von der Leyen, and the
French president, Emmanuel Macron, reached out to the future British prime minister with talk of future challenges.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): I am willing to work closely with him not only on European issues, including the Brexit
negotiations, but also on international issues on which we are tightly coordinated specifically with the British and the Germans, could it be the
Iran situation or any international security issue.
URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT-ELECT: I'm looking forward to have a good working relationship with him. There are many
different and difficult issues to tackle together. We have challenging times ahead of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, what is in store for the future of this relationship? Mairead McGuinness, the vice president of the European Parliament joins us
Ms. McGuinness, thank you very much indeed for joining our program again.
MAIREAD MCGUINNESS, VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Good evening.
AMANPOUR: Good evening. Well, you heard what Boris backer and former defense secretary, Michael Fallon, just said that the E.U. is going to see
an energized optimistic Boris Johnson, can do and hopefully you will all be open to some kind of renegotiation or opening where you weren't to Theresa
MCGUINNESS: Well, I think the first part I'll accept. The second part not so. I think it's welcome that there is a new leader in the United Kingdom
who talks about energy and all of these strong words, which makes the people feel good. I think leaders need to do that. I think when you come
then to the Brussels issues, I think the incoming president of the commission, for a Von der Leyen, is very clear there are challenges ahead
So, today is a day, really, to wish the new leader of the United Kingdom, the prime minister, Boris Johnson, well because he has a lot on his
shoulders. But I think it's over time we'll see what can happen in terms of the relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom and
on the difficult issue of Brexit.
I think it's quite interesting, the language is very sharp and very clear. But on the other hand, sometimes the clearest of language is the most
opaque because this idea of getting Brexit done suggests that once and for all, finito (ph), we can do it on a day and move onwards. But, in fact, we
all know that that is not the case. That with a withdrawal agreement that is acceptable, we can move on to the implementation and we can get to the
With a no deal Brexit, which is do or die scenario, if you like, in that case, there will still be issues to deal with after there is a departure
with no deal. And I hope I'm making sense. So, this is a complicated process. We just have the new leader elected in the United Kingdom, and we
have to wait and see what will happen when, I suppose, there are files read and issues to be dealt with both domestic, which are quite, you know,
serious, international issues like Iran, and clearly, the relationship with the European Union.
But, you know, here at the European Parliament, we've been getting on with our work but people are talking about needing to have a good relationship
with the prime minister, whoever it is. And I think it's -- one of the key points, and I need to stress this, is that regardless of whose name is over
the door and there is a change now from Theresa May to Boris Johnson, the facts and the issues remain the same. The approaches might be different,
but we have to still deal with the --
MCGUINNESS: -- (INAUDIBLE) that the Prime Minister Theresa May in all good faith, she worked with us on those and indeed, she had to turn corners when
she realized that her commitments, for example, to Northern Ireland, to the Good Friday [13:20:00] Agreement could not be dealt with if she kept to her
very lines that she announced at the Tory Party --
AMANPOUR: Right. And I wonder whether you think that --
MCGUINNESS: The deal on the table reflects her concerns.
AMANPOUR: I wonder if you think, and I'm going to play a little bit of Boris Johnson's sort of explanation and reach out to the E.U. and to his
own party, obviously, whether he may have boxed himself in, as well. So, let's play this for a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: We're going to get Brexit done on October 31st, we are going to take advantage of all the opportunities that it will bring in a new spirit
of "can do" and we are once against going to believe in ourselves and what we could achieve. And like slumbering giant, we are going to rise and ping
off the guy ropes of self-doubt and negativity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, some might call that highfalutin rhetoric. How do you read that, ping off the ropes, achieve Brexit, can do? I mean, he did
actually say the other day that if 50 years ago one put people on the moon, then surely one can overcome technical difficulties to monitor the Irish
border. Do you see it that way?
MCGUINNESS: Well, before I address that point, the line that stuck out for me in the clip you played is where Johnson is saying to the British nation,
"We have to believe in ourselves again." What troubles me is, when did Britain and the United Kingdom stop believing in themselves? I mean,
that's quite a staggering statement from the leader of a country and that he believes that overnight he can change that dynamic. I would talk that
the British people who are very proud people and a big nation, have self- belief. I think we all need that as nations and as peoples.
Then to your question about his analogy with space and the Irish border and mixing these things up, you know, perhaps getting to the moon is simpler
than dealing with the complexities of relationships between people that have been strained for decades, where we have built a peace process that is
still delicate but working and where we need as people to continue that process and not put obstacles in its way.
So, I think that the colorful language is great and it makes great headlines. And the one thing I have in common with Boris Johnson is that I
too was a journalist. I think, perhaps, the difference is that when I moved and was elected to politics, I dropped all my journalist friends. I
don't believe I'm a journalist now. I'm a politician. I have the interests of people at heart. I'm not here to make headlines. If I do
that, that's separate from the work I do.
And I think that perhaps the new prime minister with all the huge responsibilities taking on, he wanted this job, I think, more than anything
else. He now has it. And I'm wondering in private and quiet moments if he gets them, will he look in the mirror and say, "My gosh. I've achieved
this, my dream, but I want to make sure it doesn't become a nightmare."
And therefore, we all have to work together on Brexit to make sure that if it's going to happen it does it in a very sensible and coherent way and
that it doesn't damage any of us, either the United Kingdom or the European Union.
MCGUINNESS: And the truth is, it will damage us a little, all of us, but we have to minimize that damage and I hope we can work together and achieve
AMANPOUR: Well, so, let me ask you this, you said we have to work together in sort of a collegiate way to achieve something that is to all of our
benefit. But the former British prime minister, Gordon Brown, told me yesterday that Boris Johnson has "promised U.K. voters that he will not pay
dues to the E.U." That is a real problem for the E.U. If we're breaking that agreement, it looks effectively like a declaration of economic war. I
mean, that's not a friendly collegial thing to say, as he's, you know, about to try to enter negotiations with you.
MCGUINNESS: Well, look, lots of things are said in the heat of battle. And I think those amongst us who hear all these things and write them down
just reflect quietly on them and then deal with where we're at today. If you take that pace of a hard Brexit and pulling away from commitments that
were entered into in good faith, I think that will, if you like, hit back more on the United Kingdom as a nation that is trying to go off on its own
and build relationships perhaps with the U.S. and elsewhere.
And it will need to have a reputation that it respects its agreements. That's very important in global relationships. And the idea of walking
away and not paying the bill, I think, wouldn't look particularly well. And I'm not sure that advisers or indeed the prime minister would like it
to be presented as that.
At the end of the day, the European Union of 28 came together voluntarily, including the United Kingdom. You've made a decision now. The U.K.'s made
a decision to leave. But we have to do it with respect to each other. We also have to respect the rules of the European Union. We are now going to
be a club of 27.
We don't want to change our rules because one is leaving. But we do want to try and have a very good relationship in the future with this country
that would still be close to us physically and otherwise, we hope. But it is not going to be the same as full membership.
So, my worry about the events today is not so much that we have more negotiations but the timelines are very tight. There will be a [13:25:00]
Tory Party conference, I think, on the 29th of September and then, there is to be a D-Day of Brexit again October 31st, and then there is August
So, in terms of getting down to, you know, dealing with each other, understanding each other, going through the details of the withdrawal
agreement, perhaps explaining it more in detail to the prime minister, there isn't a lot of time to do all of that. And I think -- I already met,
you know, sectors today from -- example, from the Equine (ph) industry, from Northern Ireland, from the Republic of Ireland, from -- across Europe
who are deeply concerned about Brexit happening in a very disorderly way, and they're just one sector, there are others that will be, you know,
watching and waiting for all the commentary of today and tomorrow and the next days, trying, if you like, to understand what will happen.
And here is the rub for all of us, three years ago, when the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, no one would have predicted a change of leader, a
lengthy process, U-turns along the way, different red lines, you know, all sorts of things that happened. No one would have predicted that today we
would have a third leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister of the United Kingdom.
MCGUINNESS: And there is not one of us, an me included, who can predict the next steps --
MCGUINNESS: -- even if they are only weeks away.
AMANPOUR: Indeed. These are very tricky times. Thank you for trying to guide us through them. Mairead McGuinness from the European Parliament,
Thank you so much indeed.
Now, Boris Johnson hopes to offset Brexit with an ambitious trade deal with Washington. It is something President Trump, who's long favored Boris
Johnson, has repeatedly hinted at. But easier said than done. And it's hardly the top of the president's agenda right now because there are so
many other things he's dealing with, what, with a racist route, dragging on with four congresswomen of color and the hugely anticipated public
testimony of Robert Mueller before Congress tomorrow.
Joining me for more on all of this is Senator Pat Toomey, Republican from Pennsylvania. He has been one of the few in his party who isn't afraid to
criticize the president. And he's joining us now from Washington.
Senator Toomey, welcome back to the program.
SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA): Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: I can just ask you first since I'm just sort of making a connection between our previous guests and yourself over the issue of
Brexit but, most particularly, the relationship of Britain going forward with the United States and a possible preferential trade deal.
Now, we heard President Trump today praise Boris Johnson, calling him Britain's Trump. He said, "Everybody over in Britain likes me, and that's
great, because, you know, Boris is like me." But I want to know whether you think it's in the president's purview to carve out, you know, this
preferential trade deal the Brexiters and Boris Johnson think they can get.
TOOMEY: So, unfortunately, your question came through very, very garbled. I hope the technicians can clear that up. It's very difficult for me to
understand you. But I think the gist of the question was whether or not it's in President Trump's interest, President Trump's interest, to
negotiate a trade agreement with the U.K. I think it is. I think it would be very, very good for the economies of both countries to have a free trade
And it is something, as you point, that the president alluded to, I'm not aware of a lot of progress being made on that front, but I have encouraged
the administration to pursue exactly that.
AMANPOUR: I was also asking -- Senator, I'm sorry. I hope -- can you hear me better now?
TOOMEY: I'm sorry, I cannot understand a thing you're saying.
AMANPOUR: OK. Well, you know what, Senator, we are going to go to a different segment and we're going try to rearrange this and we're going to
come back to you. I'm sorry for that, but we will come back to you.
For the moment, we turn now to Silicon Valley where internal activism is brewing turmoil for big tech. Allegations of sexual harassment, gender
inequality and racism sparked a global walk out by 20,000 Google employees last year. Two of its leaders were Claire Stapleton and Meredith Whittaker
who worked at the company for over a decade. They said they were sidelined for speaking out. Telling our Alicia Menendez that Google needs to be held
to account. Here is their conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
ALICIA MENENDEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What drew you to Google and then when did you realize that your expectations of what it would be was different
than some of the realities?
CLAIRE STAPLETON, ORGANIZER, GOOGLE WALKOUT FOR REAL CHANGE: Yes. So, I used to work on a weekly event that happens at Google hosted by the
founders, Larry and Sergey, or it used to be. And that is -- it is a cultural hallmark of Google. We talk about what happened during the week,
answer questions from employees, it's this incredibly optimistic -- it's a profound cultural experience for people who come to Google. And I used to
be at the side of stage every week watching this just think, "I am at the best company in the world. This is the most progressive workplace, the
more forward-thinking. We are changing the world."
And that carried through a lot of the different roles that I had. What really changed it for me was in the fall of last year, there was a huge
bombshell story about an executive payout that had been made to a known sexual harasser at Google. It was on the order of $90 million as reported.
And that was incredibly disappointing. But what it sparked was women telling their stories at the company.
MENENDEZ: To each other?
STAPLETON: To each other, yes. Specifically, I was on an anonymous moms list where moms discuss everything that is going on at home and at work.
And people started sharing their stories of different discrimination experiences they'd had, sexual harassment. Talking about their very
profound, very personal reaction to the story that we were reading in the news.
Because it wasn't really about Andy Rubin and the sort of huge multimillion dollar payout. It was about the injustice and unfairness that a lot of
women were experiencing every day.
And it inspired me to say let's register our dissatisfaction with management. They hadn't addressed it in a way that I felt had urgency and
accountability that showed us how this wasn't going to happen again, that showed us how change was going to happen in the organization.
And together, we set out to walk out. And that next week, we did and that was -- I think it was 40 -- was it 20,000 people?
WHITTAKER: Twenty thousand people.
STAPLETON: Twenty-thousand people in 40 offices.
MENENDEZ: What were the stories or the range of stories you were hearing from other women about the conditions they were facing at work?
STAPLETON: Yes. I think it was everything from I reported sexual harassment on my team and my manager protected the guy and I ended up
having to transfer teams. That was incredibly common. It was almost an architect that came out.
I heard a lot about people raising their hand and saying something isn't right with the way -- with our diversity and inclusion practices on the
team or the way people are talking to each other. It doesn't feel safe to me.
I heard a lot about opportunity discrimination, that it's a boys' club, that the best projects are given to the manager's friends, the VP's
friends. The best opportunities which are cherry picked for the favorites.
I heard, generally, that people don't have a lot of faith in fairness and opportunity. I think people in general have an expectation of fairness and
opportunity in the workplace, particularly Google, which again I had a really rosy and positive view of the workplace for a long time.
WHITTAKER: You know, it all gets to sort of abuse of power, right, who has power and who doesn't. And ultimately, if someone in a position that
didn't have power was harassed or racially discriminated against or discriminated against because of their gender identity, et cetera, it was
way, way too often.
They were ostracized. They were sort of seen as the problem and the people who did have structural power were, you know, ultimately, I think, almost
maybe not explicitly encouraged to do it, but if you're not punished for it, if you're sort of -- if you never see any consequences, that is an
implicit endorsement for that kind of behavior and those types of power structures.
And I think this is something we need to get to the heart of, right. Who wins from this type of behavior?
MENENDEZ: You released a joint letter internally to the company speaking out about the culture of retaliation. Claire, you wrote, "My manager
started ignoring me, my work was given to other people, and I was told to go on medical leave even though I'm not sick."
MENENDEZ: What happened?
STAPLETON: So in January, two months after the walk out, I had a conversation with my manager where she laid out what was clearly a
demotion. I would be layered, my team would be split in two, and yes, my - -
MENENDEZ: Did you recognize it as retaliation at the time?
STAPLETON: I didn't. I mean it crossed my mind because she mentioned the walk out. And then she positioned -- she suggested a new project for me,
working on YouTube Kids.
And I asked her why would I want to work on YouTube Kids? And she said, "Oh, I thought you would be interested in that because of the walk out."
I said help me connect the dots. What's the connection there? And she said, "You know, women's issues."
So it was clearly I think top of mind even though it was also just sort of a clumsy communication. What happened in the following few months was I
was just trying to have my questions answered. I was so confused after years on this team highly established, a strong performer, always, you
know, increasing my scope, expanding my role on the team, all of a sudden it was a huge set back.
As I asked these questions, the more isolating and strange the situation got. And in fact, the more that I was able to connect my story to the
story of so many other women who described retaliation when they had spoken up about something that was happening in their workplace.
MENENDEZ: The letter concludes, "If we want to stop discrimination, harassment, and unethical decision making, we need to end retaliation
against the people who speak honestly about these problems. What was it you were trying to achieve?
WHITTAKER: Well, I think we needed to call out one of the primary barriers to ending [13:35:00] racism, misogyny, sexual harassment, and abuse within
Nicole Porter is a legal scholar who wrote an essay in the Stanford Law Review that makes an extremely compelling argument that actually practices
of retaliation are one of the, you know, are the first thing we need to tackle when we begin to tackle these sort of Me Too issues, this sort of
massive, you know, the ongoing issue of persistent sexual harassment and discrimination within workplaces, you know, in tech and well beyond.
And that the fear of speaking up, the -- you know, legitimate fear of speaking up, the personal cost, you know, the cost to your career and your
livelihood that retaliation, you know, that retaliation creates is a huge problem that means that, you know, I think it's no accident that a lot of
the big Me Too stories are stories that are told about incidents that happened years before.
These aren't people coming out and putting themselves at risk within their workplaces. And what we saw, you know, when Claire and I came forward with
our stories, it was a dam broke.
We have hundreds of stories of people contacting us and this happened to me.
MENENDEZ: What were your hearing? What were those stories?
WHITTAKER: Well, you know, all sorts of things but they share some key features. One, you begin to be isolated. You begin to be sort of iced out
You begin to be suddenly people who are warm or friendly turn cold. And so the environment you're in changes suddenly.
You're taken off projects. You are told that you're not doing well.
You know, are you too sensitive, too negative? You know, not performing well. All of these things, you know, it kind of formed a persistent
structural gaslighting where you're told the day before you were doing well, suddenly you bring a problem to the attention of management and you
are the problem.
MENENDEZ: Right. By identifying the problem, you become the problem. How does that then function for someone who is a contract worker?
WHITTAKER: Well, I mean, that is -- that functions -- it's sort of a double layer of vulnerability, right. Because Google now has over -- 50
percent of the workers at Google are contract workers.
These are people who don't have the privileges of full employment. They don't have health insurance. They're often paid, you know, (INAUDIBLE)
wages. They don't get to report directly to Google's HR system.
And the power asymmetry between contract workers and full-time workers is significant. So they are extremely vulnerable to these practices.
This is in issues of sexual harassment and abuse but issues of racial discrimination, issues of other forms of discrimination that happen
persistently to contract workers because if you look at the racial makeup, if you look at the gender make up of Google's workforce, you will see there
are very -- I think Google's workforce is four percent black people. The Google's full-time work force.
And you see in contract workers -- I don't have the numbers off the top of my head. I don't know that they're reported.
But it is far -- you know, you'll see many more women of color. You'll see many more black people in the contract work force than in the full-time
And you see very technically like using this term correctly you see a sort of pattern of structural racism, where those at the bottom are the people
who are most vulnerable are also more likely to be people of color and women and the people with the most privileges are much more likely to be,
you know, men, white men. Often.
MENENDEZ: Claire, tell me about your ultimate departure from the company.
STAPLETON: I think that when we went out with our stories, we knew we risked our jobs because this is how retaliation works.
I think that we knew that we were speaking out for people that felt like they couldn't risk their jobs. Ultimately, I found out that I was pregnant
in the spring and I've been going through such stress and isolation.
I think that the medical leave antidote in my statement and my story really sums up how crazy making -- sharing your retaliation can be. Because
ultimately I was raising a serious retaliation claim to the highest throngs the company. And the only solution that they came back to me with was not
let's figure out a way to make sense of this between you and your manager, find you a new team, transfer you somewhere where you can thrive.
This was you must declare yourself sick and unable to work. And I really sat with that. I really considered that.
Am I crazy? Am I the sick one? Is the fact that I'm speaking out -- am I as problematic and as crazy as they say, right?
So I've been bolstered and encouraged by the network of women and men that have formed around the walk out but ultimately for my health and sanity and
for my family, it made sense for me to leave.
MENENDEZ: Meredith, you're still there which is almost more unbelievable.
WHITTAKER: Yes. I persist I will be there until I can no longer do my job with integrity.
But I will say it's very difficult. I will also say that because my work is sort of focused outside of Google and has been for many years, it's not
an uncommon [13:40:00] arrangement in the tech industry but I cofounded an independent academic research that some call AI now.
And so I do spend a lot of my time, you know, there and talking with people who are outside of Google about serious research questions related to AI
MENENDEZ: But at some point, you were told to abandon that work.
WHITTAKER: I was. That was the sort of form that the retaliation took. And there's a term in labor law called constructive discharge.
And this is when instead of firing you, saying, you know, Meredith, you're out. They just make it impossible for you to stay. So you have to kind of
fire yourself, right.
And this is recognized in labor law because it's not an uncommon practice. But in a sense telling me I have to abandon that work which sort of I have
built my reputation, I have built my career, I formed a research institute with Kay Crawford looking at these issues.
We have long-term grants. We have a staff that is moved from around the world to work with us. Telling me to abandon that and take on what was
effectively kind of a project management and administration job that was looking at very different things like balancing the budgets in a given
department was a form of fairly significant constructive discharge.
MENENDEZ: The things that you're saying about Google are very serious. Back in April, the company said this in response.
"We've prohibit retaliation in the workplace and publicly share our very clear policy. To make sure that no complaint raised goes unheard at
Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns including anonymously and investigate all allegations of retaliation."
The company also said they did an investigation and saw no evidence of retaliation. How do you respond?
STAPLETON: Yes. I mean they said that. I would love to understand that what happened to my role as after not just, you know, four or five years on
this team as a, you know, a high performer and, you know, rising star, but 12 years of a solid track record at the company.
The first time this had ever happened to me where my role had been set back, diminished, where I felt like I could no longer talk to my leadership
without fear of further retaliation happened two months after the walkout.
And that to me seems as clear of day. I don't know -- so many of the stories that came out from the walk out and beyond to the many people that
Meredith and I have connected with over the past few months in starting to share our stories have shown that actually Googlers don't have a lot of
faith in these systems. They don't have a lot of faith in the investigations that get done in the HR people that they seek for help and
the executives that they ask to help step in and figure out situations that don't feel right.
This isn't just about me and Meredith. We knew that we weren't just the only two stories out there.
And in fact, when we went out, we were emboldened by knowing we were speaking on behalf of many others.
MENENDEZ: Why not sue the company?
WHITTAKER: Let's be clear. These claims are extremely difficult to prove.
There's some very, very, very bad case law and sort of labor protections that have been whittled away over the years to make it, you know -- it's
difficult to prove that suddenly I was gas lit, suddenly my workplace was so hostile I got sick coming in every day.
We were hearing reports like this, right. And one of the -- I think one of the trickiest and most difficult things about retaliation is that the
company never admits that it's retaliating.
So that statement was written by I'm sure a very competent lawyer. And that's exactly what you would say if you wanted to, you know, shore
yourself up against any legal liability.
But it's simply not true, right. And it's not true in our experience. It's not true in hundreds of people's experience.
And this gets into this sort of systemic issues with HR. HR is there not to protect workers, right. They aren't your union and I think we do need
some kind of collective workers solidarity that can protect us against these things.
HR is there to prevent the company from being liable for these harms. So the reason you have to watch all those deadening training videos about
sexual harassment compliance that have over 30 years shown that they do nothing to affect this problem.
The reason they have this sort of reporting structure and the reason they're set up the way they are is to protect the company from legal
liability. That's what HR does and they actually don't want to help you bring a case.
MENENDEZ: It's now been months since the walk out. Were there any successes that you can point to?
WHITTAKE: I mean Google ended forced arbitration not just for sexual harassment but across the board. Now, they did that for full-time
employees. It's still unclear how that's going to affect the majority of workers who are contractors.
Google has also put in place, you know, a promise to increase benefits and give things like health insurance, have a minimum wage for contract
workers, which is also contract workers have been organizing since then around, you know, demands for, you know, dignified work and, you know,
Those are the two big kind of bulwarks. And I think one of the other successes that isn't specifically Google meeting the demands is just how
much the organizing has grown.
And now we have a really, you know, a fabric of organizers within the company who are taking this very seriously and sort of beginning to take
ownership for the environment that we work in and beginning to make, you know, clear demands to leadership about what we as workers need.
STAPLETON: I think what is most shocking is that this is the company that sets out to solve the world's biggest problems and we acknowledge that what
we were raising with the walk out is really broad systemic deep issues. However, we've seen no imagination, no ingenuity to tackling these
The woman that they appointed to really respond to what employees are raising left the company a few months later. So clearly this is not quite
being given the resources and urgency, the honesty, the accountability that we're really asking for however lots of wins and we're so pleased to see
how the community is growing.
MENENDEZ: Thank you both so much.
WHITTAKER: Thank you so much.
STAPLETON: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So you heard Meredith Whittaker tell Alicia that she'd stay at Google until she could no longer do her job with integrity. Well, since
that interview, Whittaker has quit saying "It is clear that Google is not a place that I can continue this work."
Let's turn back now to Senator Pat Toomey in Washington who has very kindly and graciously waited for us to fix our technical issues. So Senator,
welcome back again. I'm sorry about all of that but we have important --
TOOMEY: Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: Thank you. Important things to discuss and I'm glad you stuck around. About this trade deal between Brexit, Britain, and the United
States, there is a major issue here that is very close to the U.S. And that is maintaining freedom and the integrity of the peace agreement
between Ireland and Britain and the freedom of that border.
And I spoke to Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House, just a few months ago about this and she laid out how a trade deal with the United States would
be intricately linked with this freedom and the integrity of the Good Friday agreement. Just take a listen, sir.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-NY), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It's very hard to pass the trade agreement in Congress, very, very hard. And at one -- a U.S.-U.K.
trade agreement that would be a reward for weakening the Good Friday Accord is just not a possibility.
But maybe they can accomplish it without doing that. But I just want to make sure they understood that as a consolation for leaving the E.U.,
they're not getting the U.S.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Senator, do you agree with that? That there can be no rewarding of Brexit Britain if Northern Ireland and Ireland and the peace agreement
is put at risk?
TOOMEY: Well, I don't think of it in terms of rewarding England for -- or the U.K. for Brexit. But I do agree that American lawmakers will take a
very, very careful look at the status of that border.
Obviously, we all remember all too painfully how tragic and how difficult that history was and how remarkably successful the Good Friday agreement
has been. So this, of course, is very much on the minds of the Irish and the Brits and it's one of the challenges in negotiating a deal with Brexit.
It would certainly be one of the challenges that we would have. But I wouldn't preclude the possibility that we could work out an acceptable
AMANPOUR: All right. Well, let's turn back now to what is really taking up all the oxygen or at least long term I think in Washington and that is
tomorrow's planned public testimony of the former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Just tell me where you stand on this. Are you glad he's coming to testify?
Do you think there are any questions that are still need to be answered? Where do you stand on this?
TOOMEY: Well, so, first of all, there's a lot more interest in this among the media than there is among my constituents and probably among many
senators. You know, I don't think we're going to learn very much.
Bob Mueller has said that his report speaks for itself. He had to be subpoenaed in order to come.
I think he's probably going to stick pretty closely to his report and our Democratic colleagues are going to try to make a big to do over a
obstruction investigation of an investigation that was not obstructed into a crime for which there is no evidence there was a crime committed.
So I'm not terribly curious about it. We'll see what happens.
AMANPOUR: So I just want to ask you how you reconcile yourself with this from the Mueller report. I mean, we've heard it over and again but it
still bears repeating.
Mueller's report said, "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of
justice, we would so state." Well, they didn't state. Does that not give you some cause for whatever, discomfort?
TOOMEY: No. Not really because they went through the litany of the behaviors that some people find objectionable and [13:55:00] I don't think
they rise to the level of obstruction of justice.
I think it's very clear. Bob Mueller finished his report. He finished his investigation unimpeded.
He had dozens of lawyers, hundreds of witnesses, all the time in the world, a huge budget, and nobody stopped them. He finished.
So his report is what it is. It strikes me pretty clear there was no obstruction of his investigation. And as I say, it's pretty clear there
was no underlying crime committed, as well. So that's why I think this is mostly politically motivated.
AMANPOUR: So regarding the idea -- because I think you do all agree that Russia has played a nefarious role in your democratic process and you've
said the special counsel's findings are a stark reminder that Russia's goal is to undermine the trust of the American people in the democratic process.
Are you confident that this administration is doing all it can to stop that kind of interference of behavior?
TOOMEY: I think, actually, there's been a lot of good progress made on that front. Yes, I totally believe that the Russians would love to disrupt
America's political process, our elections. They want to discredit our model.
That's the real ultimate motivation for Putin, in my view, discredit it and weaken our institutions. If you look at the 2018 elections, I think it's
pretty clear they didn't have much success, if any, and I think we have created a more robust process.
So I do feel good about where we are. I'm sure they'll continue to try to be disruptive but we're aware of that now and better able to defend against
AMANPOUR: So can I ask you as one of the rare sitting senators in the Republican Party who do distance themselves from the president on issues
where it matters to you. You've talked out against the racist tweets, against the women of color in Congress, you've also talked out against
using emergency funds for the border wall.
And you know, this is going to be addressed by the Supreme Court next week. What do you think of the case to stop those funds being used for, you know,
the border wall? Do you support that?
TOOMEY: So I think the president has the funds at his disposal. The funds that he needs to perfectly legal fashion to add to the border wall that he
wants to build.
And by the way, that the border patrol says we need, as you may know, we have several hundred miles of existing physical barriers including walls.
And our border patrol folks say that we need several hundred miles more, not the entire 1900 miles by any means but additional physical barriers
that I think every one of the last at least half dozen or so presidents have added to.
I think the president is right to wish to enhance that physical security. My position on this has always been that you should simply use the funds
that Congress has authorized for that purpose.
And it is enough to accomplish what he had said he wanted to accomplish. That's the way the president ought to do it.
AMANPOUR: So Senator, the latest Gallop poll shows some 90 percent of the Republican Party obviously supports President Trump. In other words,
basically the party has become the party of Trump.
You've got dissenting senators who've either resigned or left politics or doing other such things. Do you ever feel any pressure to tamp down your
criticism on issues?
TOOMEY: I don't. The way I look at it is I was elected separately from President Trump.
He's the president of the United States. I'm a senator from Pennsylvania.
And if I think that the president is advocating a policy that is not good for Pennsylvania or for our country, I think I have a responsibility to
stand up and articulate an opposing point of view.
I've done that on trade very consistently. And I will continue to do that.
I think, you know, the president has put together a coalition. He has a support -- very broad support among Republicans. You're absolutely right
But there's a lot of Republicans that are still asking questions about some of the individual policies. I think people look at the overall economic
thrust and we have the best economy of my adult lifetime.
Literally, the best economy in 50 years. And I think that clearly is attributable to the president working with Republicans in Congress on
rolling back excessive regulation, reforming our tax code.
It's been terrific. And I think a lot of Republicans across Pennsylvania anyway say, hey, the results have been really good.
AMANPOUR: Senator Toomey, thank you so much for joining us tonight. Thanks a lot.
Now, that is it for us. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at amanpour.com. And you can follow me on Instagram and
Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.