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American And Chinese Negotiators Head to Shanghai to Try to End Trade War; Trump Gives Farmers $16 Billion Out Of Tariffs; Farmers Want Trade More Than Aid; Peter Navarro, Assistant to the U.S. President, is Interviewed About U.S./China Trade War; Opposition Leader, Alexei Navalny, Goes Back To Jail; 20 Dead in the Attack on Office of President Ghani's Running Mate; Michael Morell Calls U.S Peace Talks with Taliban a "Charade"; Julia Ioffe, Correspondent, GQ Magazine, is Interviewed About Moscow; Husain Haqqani, Former Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S., is Interviewed About Afghanistan. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired July 29, 2019 - 13:00   ET



[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: If I had a 2 percent chance of losing the election, I think China would probably say, "Let's wait. Let's wait.

Maybe Trump will lose and we can deal with another dope."


AMANPOUR: Another round of U.S./China trade talks as Washington hands out billions to help its farmers at the sharp end. What is the game plan? A

rare conversation with the president's trade guru, senior advisor, Peter Navarro.

Plus, police detain more than a thousand protesters in Moscow and in Afghanistan. Is the Taliban smelling blood? Is the U.S. too eager to

withdraw? I speak with top foreign policy experts about the weekend's worrying developments.

And --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who has seen an advertisement that has convinced you that your microphone is listening to your conversations?


AMANPOUR: When big tech knows you better than you know yourself, what does it mean for our democracies? Our Hari Sreenivasan speaks with the

directors of the new documentary "The Great Hack."

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

American and Chinese negotiators head to Shanghai trying to end the yearlong escalating trade war that is biting at both their economies.

President Trump began the standoff last year, slapping tariffs on some Chinese imports in an attempt to force Beijing to end what they call unfair

trade practices. But few expected to end any time soon and the doubter in chief is the president himself now.


TRUMP: I think that China will probably say, "Let's wait. It's 14 or 15 months until the election. Let's see if one of these people that give the

United States away, let's see if one of them could possibly get elected." And I'll tell you what, when I win, like almost immediately, they're all

going to sign deals and they're going to be phenomenal deals for the country. But -- so, I don't know that they're going to -- I don't know if

they're going make a deal. Maybe they will. Maybe they won't. I don't care. Because we're taking it tens of billions of dollars' worth of

tariffs. And the farmers are happy because I gave them $16 billion out of the tariffs.


AMANPOUR: He's referring to a $16 billion federal aid package which was announced on Thursday intended to help those farmers who produce things

like soybeans and pork and who are hurt by Chinese's retaliatory tariffs. The farmers though are not all happy. The president of the American Farm

Bureau Federation said last week, "America's farmers ultimately want trade more than aid." So, what can they expect?

Peter Navarro is a senior advisor to the president focusing on trade policy. And he joins me now from Washington. For kind of a rare


Welcome to the program, Mr. Navarro.


AMANPOUR: So, let's first take what the president himself says that he is already pouring cold water on these talks, which are due to open tomorrow

in Shanghai. Doesn't necessarily think there will be a deal. Do you agree that it's not going happen?

NAVARRO: Here's what I can tell you. We have best United States trade representative in our history, Robert Lighthizer, on a plane with treasury

secretary, Steven Mnuchin, on their way to Shanghai to negotiate for what I think will be at least the 12th meeting on this issue. My strong

preference here is to let these negotiates take place behind closed doors, and if when a deal is reached, there will be full transparency.

The only thing I can tell you, Christiane, is this is not a trade deal in the traditional sense where one country lowers tariffs and the other

country lowers some tariffs. The problem we have with China is structural. China engages in various forms of economic aggression. And let me just

check off the list and see if we agree that is happening.

First of all, it's well known that China hacks our business computers to extract our trade secrets. China engages in what is called force

technology transfer in exchange for market access into China. That's wrong. China steals our intellectual property to the tune of several

hundred billion dollars a year. China dumps products into our markets with steel, aluminum, robotics, autos, whatever it is well below costs that is

outside the balance of international trade.

The state-owned enterprises of China, unlike the capitalist enterprises in much of the rest of the world engage in various unfair subsidized

practices. And China has a history of currency manipulation. Finally [13:05:00] and seriously, China is the major source of fentanyl in the

United States, which is killing over 50,000 Americans a year. So, these are the things that will be discussed behind closed doors. I'm optimistic

that we can continue to move forward on this, but that is all I will say about that.

AMANPOUR: So that's interesting because you do list a long series of disputes you have with China, and many people would agree with you on the

intellectual property and the other such things that you've mentioned.

So, do you believe that there's a possibility for some wins, even if it's not a whole trade deal that is struck?

NAVARRO: Well, let me -- the other thing I'll say is that there -- what President Trump has done in 2.5 years is truly remarkable and that he has

brought together a consensus on the issue that we must deal with the China issue. If you look at polling on this, 8 out of 10 Republicans support the

China tariffs and over half of Americans support the tariffs.

In a rare show of unanimity on Capitol Hill, both Democrats and Republicans, are strongly behind the president. I think it's important --

and I've been to this rodeo before after the meeting in Buenos Aires. It's really important now that there would be little discussion in the press

about this because most it will be inaccurate and that we simply let the negotiators do their job.

AMANPOUR: All right.

NAVARRO: If we are able to do that, then we may have a deal. And if we don't, we'll have tariffs. And as the president said, we're taking in tens

of billions of dollars of tariffs. And in the process, and this is the important thing, those tariffs defend American farmers, ranchers,

manufacturing workers against these structural problems we face with China.


NAVARRO: Let's be optimistic. I think -- I mean, the stock market is very bullish and the economy is very bullish. I think there's a lot of other

things going on in the economic world such as the United States-Mexico- Canada Agreement that are important to --

AMANPOUR: All right.

NAVARRO: -- this administration. And I would be happy to talk about that. But let's move on from China, if we can.

AMANPOUR: Well, no. Let me ask you a couple of things because you've raised a huge number of issues. So, I want to ask you about this. Look,

the president basically said trade wars are good and they're easy to win. But this has been going on for, you know, more than a year now and It's not


And, you know, you heard what the farmers said, they would much rather have trade deals than aid and some of them are bitterly complaining about how

expensive things are becoming and how they're being hurt by retaliatory tariffs. So, I guess, do you think a change of tactic or strategy is


NAVARRO: I think that on the issue of trade, what we have in this country is a world where numerous countries, not just China, Japan, the European

Union, engage in systemically unfair practices. And one of the problems we face, Christiane, is under the rules of the World Trade Organization, it's

perfectly legal if not fair for other countries to charge us much higher tariffs and engage in nontariff barriers.

So, our philosophy in the administration with President Trump taking the lead on this is fair, balanced, reciprocal trade, and this is what defines

the president's mission. And I think that it's important to look and see just how strong the economy is under his leadership and under this move,

basically, to get this trading regime in a better place. And then, we've created over 6 million jobs. We got 7 million people off food stamps. We

see historically low unemployment rates, Blacks, Hispanics, women, the disabled, veterans.

One of the things that I think is particularly interesting is that wages are rising disproportionately for those blue collared manufacturing

workers. And One of my favorite statistics is the fact we've created over 500,000 manufacturing jobs compared to a loss of 200,000 manufacturing jobs



NAVARRO: -- in the Obama/Biden administration.


NAVARRO: So, this is what we're focused on. And my point here is that China is a small part of the bigger economic puzzle and we shouldn't get

fixated and I'm not going to do that in this interview.

AMANPOUR: Right. But, sir, you just talked about the American economy. And you know, I mean, you know, you said don't get fixated but you guys

picked this fight with China and I'm trying to figure out whether you have an end game.


AMANPOUR: No, no. The trade tariffs, right. Just the tariff. You started the tariffs and that is, actually, a [13:10:00] tax which is

hurting both Chinese and Americans, all the economists say that. But I would like to pick you up and ask you the bigger picture, as you want, and

that is about the economy.


AMANPOUR: So, yes, the economy has been doing really well and many in the corporate and, I guess, higher income group have praised the tax cuts and

the corporate sort of, you know, issues that have come forth. But we've seen on Friday the Commerce Department reporting that the economy grew 2.5

percent last year, which is down from the estimate of 3 percent. And people are saying that, "Look, yes, it's bubbling along well but a lot like

Obama's was, you know, sort of good, moderate, steady growth."

So, I'm wondering whether -- you know, whether you're concerned you might have a whole different aim with China, which is more of a defeated as a

strategic rival than just take on these, in your view, legitimate economic issues and trade issues.

NAVARRO: So, let me give you some context here. I was on the campaign with the president and I'm one of the few, Kellyanne Conway calls us, the

unbroken threads. And during the campaign, the president ran on four points of the policy compass. On the economy, it was tax cuts to stimulate

investment, deregulation to lower the cost of business so they could compete globally. It was unleashing our energy sector. And today, we,

incredibly, are the number one oil producer in the world.

And it was bringing about fair trade. And all of those things have allowed us to grow significantly faster than we saw in the Obama/Biden era. They

were at around 2 or 2 percent or below. We hit 3 percent in 2018. We hit 3.1 percent in Q1.

Now, to your question, are we worried about this latest number? I think the biggest problem that we had that is reflected in that data is the

federal reserve, which foolishly began back in March of 2018 to raise interest rates what would be a total of a hundred basis points. And what

higher interest rates do, Christiane, is they depress investment and they depress our exports.

And if you look at the 2.1 percent growth rate that we hit in Q2, it was above expectations. That's good news. But where did we lose it? We lost

a full point because of lower private sector investment, and we also lost two-thirds of a point to lower exports. And on top of that, we lost .4 of

a point to the Boeing 737 Max problem.

So, we could have been north of 4 percent, if the fed hadn't raised interest rates and if Boeing had not had that problem. That's good news

because this week, it's widely expected that the fed will lower interest rates. I hope they lower 50 basis points and a full hundred by at least

June of 2020. If they do that, and if we pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, I can guarantee you we'll fly well past the dow 30,000 and we'll

be over 3 percent growth rate.

AMANPOUR: OK. Let me just --

NAVARRO: This is what's at stake in this economy.

AMANPOUR: Let me just jump in a little bit because I just want to ask --


AMANPOUR: -- you about reports on -- I mean, you're talking about exports and trying to make U.S. exports more attractive and try to boost the

economy, et cetera. So, the reports, as you know, because you were focused of them, over the weekend that you had recommended last Tuesday that the

president weaken the U.S. dollar by about 10 percent in order to make U.S. exports more attractive to foreign buyers. One person in the room,

according to "POLITICO" said that you were, you know, barely begun your presentation and then "before getting slaughtered by the president." Now,

is that true? Did you recommend? Is the president against devaluing the dollar?

NAVARRO: What happens in the Oval stays in the Oval and I'm not going to be talking about what happened in the Oval that day.

AMANPOUR: Right. Then let me ask you this, do you accept -- well, do you think the president wants to devalue the dollar? And do you agree with

most economists who say it's critical that the world's reserve currency, which is the dollar, does not get devalued because that adds a whole

another level of economic burden that being the reserve currency you have so many benefits and if you devalue, you lose those benefits?

NAVARRO: So, this discussion is basically fruit of the poison tree. That discussion in the Oval never should have went public, and I'm really not

going to talk about currency. I do that in private with our trade team [13:15:00] and currency publicly is to province to the president and

treasury secretary.

AMANPOUR: Yes. But I guess I just want to ask your opinion on whether a strong dollar is important, if you want to continue to have the benefits of

being the world's reserve currency.

NAVARRO: I think that the terminology of a strong versus weak dollar is counterproductive to understanding the macro forces that shape the U.S.

economy, the world economy. It's not a question of the strong is a -- weak is a pejorative term in most people's minds. The issues is whether the

dollar is overvalued. And I think it's fair to say that most economists believe that to be true.

An overvalued dollar will lead to fewer exports, more imports, higher trade deficit and slower growth. The question then becomes what do you do about

that, if anything, and that discussion will happen when it involves me behind closed doors.


NAVARRO: Not publicly.

AMANPOUR: So, look, I'm glad we have you here because you are quite a controversial fellow. I mean, you do draw a lot of slings and arrows from

presidential advisors and economists and the media, so and so. So, let me run through a few of them for you and you can respond. So, the "New York

Times" described you as being so far outside the main stream that you endorse few of the key tenants of the economic profession. "The New

Yorker" says that your views on trade and China are so radical that even with your assistance, this writer was unable to find another economist who

fully agrees with them.

Do you -- how do you react to that? Do you stop to consider what such a big section of the economic landscape thinks of you?

NAVARRO: So, can I ask you a question?

AMANPOUR: If you like, but this isn't really you asking me questions. I'm interviewing you.

NAVARRO: Just one question. Do you agree with the premise now that China and its economic model provides a negative effect on the global economy?

Could we at least agree on that?

AMANPOUR: Well, you know what, I'm not an economist. I certainly do understand the problems with intellectual property and all the other issues

that you guys are dealing with.


AMANPOUR: I'm just looking at the facts that are happening right now. And I just want to know, just your reactions and for instance --


AMANPOUR: -- when Gary Cohen, a former colleague, said, you know, that you just make --

NAVARRO: I'll answer your question now. I'll answer your question.

AMANPOUR: -- you know, SH blah, blah up.

NAVARRO: Yes, yes, yes. So, here is the thing, the great Wayne Gretzky, the hockey player, said he always try to skate to where the puck was going

to be. I think right now it's conventional wisdom in Washington that China has basically adopted an economic model, which harms the United States

after they join the WTO, we lost over 70,000 factories over 5 million manufacturing jobs. That's the conventional wisdom today in 2019.

I wrote a book about that in 2006, which basically today reads like any government report on the Chinese economy. So, at the time, I was widely

ridiculed in newspapers like "The Financial Times" and was accused of hyperbole. And today, that book is quaint in terms of describing the


So, do I worry about people who criticize me for not seeing the chess board correctly? No, I don't. I was accurate, for example, like what, on my

macro forecaster by profession before I got into Washington, D.C. I forecast the housing bubble. I forecast the stock market crash in 2007.

And so, no, I don't mind being ahead of the curve. Donald Trump was ahead of the curve on the trade back in the '80s and now, here we are.

AMANPOUR: All right. Well, let's hope we have a resolution to this trade war. I want to ask you to wrap up something that is very, very important.

You know, being a head of the curve and seeing these existential crises. Back in 2007, you were certainly of your time and maybe even ahead of the

curve on global warming. You said it's a significant problem and carbon dioxide emissions are the principle cause of global warming. You also said

economists correctly perennially argue that the most efficient and direct path to American energy independence and clean skies was simply be to tax

oil imports and gasoline as well as carbon. And you actually supported President Obama's adoption of wind energy and carbon taxes to combat

climate change.

I mean, now, you work for a president who thinks the opposite [13:20:00] and is busy rolling back all sorts of regulations and empowering the fossil

fuel industry. I just want to know what you think of that. Does it keep you up at night? Do you still feel the same person on climate that you

were in 2007 or have you changed?

NAVARRO: One of the things, I think, the president did that was absolute correct was getting out of the Paris Climate Accord. And the reason why I

believe that was the correct thing to do is that was basically a free pass to other countries like India and China to pollute. And if we had gone

into that agreement, the American economy would have suffered mightily.

This is not my lane. I'm the government official. I don't work on climate change. I haven't worked on that for a minute since I've been here. My

mission, Christiane, and I take it very seriously, is to create good jobs and good wages for the men and women of America who work with their hands.

And whether it's a shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin or a combat vehicle plant in Lima, Ohio or an F-16 production line in Greenville, these are the

kind of jobs that are reviving this country and helping people who wear blue collars, not white ones, take pride in what they do and be able to

have strong families. And once again --


NAVARRO: -- enjoy the American dream here. And that's what my mission is. So, that's what I focus on every day, seven days a week, 60 hours a week.

And I'm honored and privileged to serve this president.

AMANPOUR: All right. Peter Navarro, thank you so much for joining us today.

And we are turning now to big developments concerning the United States with regard to Russia and Afghanistan. First, Moscow where police have

returned opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, to jail today after he was hospitalized with a mysterious illness. His lawyer said he was "poisoned."

Navalny was detained before the weekend's big protest to demand fair election. A violent police crackdown on Saturday led to the detention of

1,074 people.

And less in the headlines but much more deadly, the war in Afghanistan. More than 20 are dead and at least 50 wounded after this weekend's attack

on the office of President Ghani's running mate in upcoming elections.

At the same time, the former CIA director, Michael Morell, poured cold water all over the U.S. peace talks with the Taliban calling them a


For more now, I'm joined by Julia Ioffe who has long covered Russia and is now correspondent for "GQ" magazine and by Husain Haqqani, the former

Pakistani ambassador to the United States who is immersed in Afghanistan policy.

Welcome both of you to the program.

Can I just turn to you, first, Julia, and ask you about these protests? These are the most significant protests in a long time. Some are saying,

you know, since President Putin's 2012 victory. Where do you think these are headed and how serious is it the Navalny may not have been hurt perhaps

with chemicals according to his own lawyers in prison?

JULIA IOFFE, CORRESPONDENT, GQ MAGAZINE: You know, that's a great question, Christiane. These are certainly the biggest protests in Moscow

we've seen in a while. But Navalny has been good at basically getting people out into the streets. He's done this a few times, including across

all of Russia in March 2017, again, when over a thousand people were detained.

You know, the -- Putin's ratings are at their lowest point since they've been since those big protests in 2011, 2012. Russia's wealth gap is now

the largest in the world. The mood is certainly shifting. People are getting tired of all the corruption. But the question is what happens?

These are still -- this is still a tiny proportion of, not just the Russian population but the Moscow population. They're not out there for economic

reasons but for kind of abstract political principles. They want to be represented on a very small largely and significant body, the Moscow City

Council. They're not even allowed to be on the ballot, let alone, you know, run this city or their country.

AMANPOUR: Isn't that, Julia, the point? I mean, you raised the --


AMANPOUR: -- million-dollar question. If it's such an insignificant in a city council in Moscow, why the massive crack down by the police?

IOFFE: Well, it goes with Putin's zero-tolerance approach to these things. You know, you don't give these people an inch because if they're seen as in

any way legitimate, in any way a real threat to him, then it kind of undermines the whole basis of his power.

At this point, he has been in charge for almost two decades, and the whole -- the -- his popularity such as [13:25:00] it is, rests on the idea there

are no alternatives to him. That there is nobody that can take over for him. Therefore, he has to continue ruling the country. So, he cannot

allow -- he doesn't even say -- Navalny is his, basically, biggest most organized threat. His name isn't even pronounced on TV, you know. These

protests got no coverage on state TV or almost no coverage.

So, a lot of Russians don't know they happened, and that's on purpose.

AMANPOUR: Let me --

IOFFE: It's like a very isolated marginal movement.

AMANPOUR: Husain Haqqani, let me turn to you, because, I mean, in sort of the election lane, so to speak, elections are underway or at least the

campaign in Afghanistan. We had this massive attack on one of the candidates over the weekend. He survived but some 20 people were killed.

At the same time, Husain, the United States is involved in talks with the Taliban, which are not peace talks. Tell me -- there seems to be a

counterintuitive narrative going on, Husain. What do you read in the U.S. aims in Afghanistan now?

HUSAIN HAQQANI, FORMER PAKISTANI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Christiane, it seems that President Trump has decided that he wants to keep his promise to

the American public, that he is going to withdraw from Afghanistan, and the talks are essentially withdrawal talks. The purpose is to try and give the

impression that there was some kind of settlement before America left instead of leaving arbitrarily.

The American negotiating team has not been paying due attention to the Afghan government, which is America's ally and with which America has a

bilateral security agreement. And the Taliban continue to mount attacks making it very clear that they haven't changed. So, all that these talks

are intended for is to be able to provide a fig leaf for withdrawal.

AMANPOUR: And Husain Haqqani, that is similar to what the former CIA director, Michael Morell, has said, calling them a charade, a face-saving

way for the United States to pull out of Afghanistan. So, I mean, that is -- it's pretty intense when the former CIA director says that.

HAQQANI: Well, he's not the only one. The former American ambassador to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ryan Crocker, has said the same thing. There are

several of us who have this opinion. And we base our opinion on history.

Let's be very clear, the Taliban are a totalitarian ideological movement. They have a particular world view. We know how they treated the people of

Afghanistan when they wielded power. They got into power with the support of Pakistan. They still have that support. Even know, the negotiating

process essentially has been facilitated by Pakistan for which the Pakistani prime minister was rewarded with a visit to Washington, D.C. But

the Taliban have just simply not changed.

So, all they are doing is they are negotiating with the Americans so that the Americans can leave without looking like they are cutting and running,

even though they are cunning and running.

AMANPOUR: And briefly, again, before I turn back to Julia. You have said that essentially the Taliban is smelling blood and you actually raise

something that Donald Trump himself wrote in the art in the deal back in 1987. He says, "The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem

desperate to make it. That makes the other guys smell blood and then you're dead." But, I mean, it looks like that's what you're saying the

administration, the president is doing.

HAQQANI: Well, look, Christiane, all of us want peace. And if these were genuine peace talks, we would really all support them. I still think that

a negotiator settlement is needed. The negotiator settlement should essentially be based on the premise that Pakistan will no longer support

the Taliban, that the Taliban will not attack civilians and will give up some of the core elements of their ideology where it does not recognize

contemporary concepts of human rights. That should be the basis of peace.

And then the Afghan government, which exists and which is a reality, should be an integral part of the process rather than just be a marginal actor as

it has been reduced to. Unless all of those conditions are met, these will not be seen as peace talks. The Taliban are already saying in their own

media that, "We have won and we are about to be victorious."

And we must not forget that as recently as May, al-Qaeda counted the Taliban among its allies. So, essentially, these are just false premises

on which America plans to withdraw from Afghanistan instead of a genuine peace deal. And that is why the Taliban sensed that there is desperation

and I am pointing out that you should not negotiate with a sense of desperation hanging over you.

AMANPOUR: And actually, Taliban spokespeople have listed all the conditions you just mentioned as fantasies.

So, let us move over to you, Julia, again, because you also have, if it's not going well for the U.S. there, it's not necessarily going well for the

U.S. in Russia either. What is -- I mean, what can the United States do, if anything [13:30:00] at this point to encourage President Putin into the

democratic space? Is that just - I mean, I see you just shaking your head that it's completely unlikely in the current dynamic.

JULIA IOFFE, CORRESPONDENT, GQ MAGAZINE: Well, you had Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, being asked about these protests and he basically shrugged it

off which is such a departure from precedent on the - U.S. precedent on these things. And honestly, it's not surprising.

We are now headed by a president, Donald Trump, who openly admires men like Vladimir Putin, like Kim Jong-un where he said, you know, when Kim Jong-un

talks his people sit up and listen, and that's what I want. He has asked Vladimir Putin for a device on how to deal with pesky journalists and the

fake news as he called them.

I should add that this weekend, the independent TV station, the - basically one of the only ones left in Russia, Tvrain, had police show up at its

headquarters, at its station, and the editor in chief, who's a friend of mine, was called in for hours and hours of questioning. The whole newsroom

is on edge. More journalists are going to be called in for questioning potentially as - either as witnesses or as participants in a criminal case.

So you know, again, we've - it comes from the very top in the Untied States, and this is - we're led by a president who openly admires

authoritarians and clearly wants to be like one. So I think until this president is out of office we're not going to see any kind of coaxing, as

you said, of Russia or any other kind of authoritarian country into the democratic column.

AMANPOUR: But the very, very real impact of Russia on America's institutions continues, so like Putin or not, the American institutions are

at risk. As Robert Mueller pointed out in his testimony before Congress last week about election interference, I just want to play a little bit of

a sound byte and actually get both of you to weigh in on this important factor.


ROBERT MUELLER, U.S. SPECIAL COUNSEL: First our investigation found that the Russian government interfered in our election in sweeping and

systematic fashion.

They're doing it as we sit here and they expect to do it during the next campaign.


AMANPOUR: So Julia, I mean, yes. I mean, it looks like it's happening. It's underway. It's going to happen. Any light at the end of that tunnel

in terms of U.S. efforts to protect against that?

IOFFE: Well, you also had the Senate report that said that Russia - which we did not know about this before, that Russia probed the election

infrastructure in all 50 states in 2016. And from Russia's point of view if you do it, you succeed, and you don't really get punished, why not keep

doing it if it works?

You had the Senate Republicans like Mitch McConnell block any laws that would strengthen election infrastructure. Donald Trump just basically

pushed out Dan Coats, a very good director of national intelligence and is nominating basically a political operator of a Congressman who has decried

the Mueller investigation and all these election security efforts to be the Director of National Intelligence I think in part because the Russian's

helped him, and as he admitted to George Stephanopoulos from the Oval Office if a foreign country wants to help him win, he will take that help.

Again, this comes from the very top unfortunately in the Untied States, and we gave a president who doesn't seem to - you know, who's willing to win at

all costs even if a foreign adversary helps him. So he is not interested in strengthening our election infrastructure,

So Husain, to go back to what you said, sort of pick up this thread about elections, about winning, President Trump, as you've pointed out, promised

to bring the troops home. And, you know, we've got billions of dollars spent. We've got hundreds of aircraft and thousands of rounds of

ammunition or multiple hundreds of thousands and nobody really to set up the proper Afghan security forces. So why shouldn't the president and the

American people say, "OK, enough already. We've been there since 9/11,"?

HAQQANI: I think the president is right in saying enough already. The question is does that basically mean cutting down costs in Afghanistan for

which the American government should be talking to the Afghan government? Should it be about reducing the expenses of the American forces in


You must remember that everything from chewing gum to guns go from America rather than anything being procured locally. So if those costs can be cut

and a smaller presence can actually do the job, why not?

My point, of course, is that a lot of this has to do with how American domestic politics is played. The president just wants to announce victory

without having victory, and I don't think that that is fair to the American people and it certainly is not fair to the Afghan people who will be left

at the mercy of the Taliban even through their government signed a bilateral security agreement with the United States under which the

Americans were to provide assistance and support in building Afghan forces.


My point, of course, is that a lot of this has to do with how American domestic politics is played. The president just wants to announce victory

without having victory, and I don't think that that is fair to the American people and it certainly is not fair to the Afghan people who will be left

at the mercy of the Taliban even through their government signed a bilateral security agreement with the United States under which the

Americans were to provide assistance and support in building Afghan forces.

Look, let's not get this wrong. The Afghans bought the Talibans long before the Americans showed up in Afghanistan. The Americans came after

9/11. There was a small group of Afghans fighting the Taliban even then and without any support from the outside.

The Afghan people will fight for their country. The question is does the United States want to be seen as the country that came in big and left

without really protecting the gains of the last 17 years?

AMANPOUR: Massively important issues. Husain Haqqani and Julia Ioffe, thank you so much indeed. And as we've discussed, Russia poses a

particular conundrum for the Trump administration given its election meddling. Last week, as we said, the former special counsel said that

Moscow's still at it, ramping up for the election 2020. It's weapon, of course, is the Internet - a sometime lawless space where citizens' data is

increasingly being collected without their knowledge or permission and for often alarming reasons.

The new Netflix film, The Great Hack, takes a hard look at the ethics of big tech data and how it's being used to drive wedges of fear and hate to

win elections and to undermine our democracies. Co-directors, Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, who made Control Room and The Square raise a red flag

with our Hari Sreenivasan.


HARI SREENIVASAN, AMANPOUR HOST: Thanks for joining us. First a quick refresher course. You know, in a way your whole movie does this, but for

people who might not have been paying attention to every news headline about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, what did Cambridge Analytica do?

KARIM AMER, CO-DIRECTOR, "THE GREAT HACK": Cambridge Analytica realized that your phone is now listening in on you, but that that feeling of your

phone listening in on your is evidence that you're lot more predictable and persuadable than you might thing. How? Because you're giving all of these

digital footprint of yourself constantly into the system of surveillance capitalism.

There is a voodoo doll basically of you that is very predictable and it is guessing what you want to do next. And Cambridge Analytica being a

behavior change agency used the most powerful behavior change agency - Facebook - to collect 5,000 data points on every American voter and use

those data points to find the key persuadable audience in swing states and target them with customized advertisement.

SREENIVASAN: All right, let's take a look at a clip of your trailer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of your interactions, your credit card swipes, web searches, locations, likes - they're all collected in real time into a

trillion dollar a year industry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The real game changer was Cambridge Analytica. It worked for the Trump campaign and for the Brexit campaign. They started

using information warfare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cambridge Analytica claimed to have 5,000 data points on every American voter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I started tracking down all these Cambridge Analytica ex-employees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone else that you should be calling to committee is Brittany Kaiser.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brittany Kaiser once a key player inside Cambridge Analytica casting herself as a whistleblower.

BRITTANY KAISER: The reason why Google and Facebook are the most powerful companies in the world is because last year data surpassed oil in value.

Data's the most valuable asset on Earth.


SREENIVASAN: Jehane, what makes us different than how campaigns have worked forever? They've had ways to target people. They've had negative

ads against the opponents. How's this different?

JEHANE NOUJAIM, CO-DIRECTOR, "THE GREAT HACK": Well, in following Brittany, she talked a lot about working in the Obama campaign where this

was kind of - it was very beginnings of using data, and the Obama campaign used data but in a very sort of remedial way at that point in time. This

is different in that because of the technological advances people can be targeted. So people are no longer voting for issues. They are listening

to ads that are targeted based on what the algorithm knows about you.

SREENIVASAN: Let's take a look at a clip of Brittany describing how it worked.


KAISER: Remember those Facebook quizzes that we used to form personality models for all voters in the U.S.? The truth is we didn't target every

American voter equally. The bulk of our resources went into targeting those whose minds we thought we could change. We called them the


They're everywhere in the country, but the persuadable that mattered were the ones in swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and

Florida. Now each of these states were broken down by precinct.


So you can say there are 22,000 persuadable voters in this precinct and if you targeted enough persuadable people in the right precincts, then those

states would turn red instead of blue.


SREENIVASAN: The same firm, Cambridge Analytica was also working on the lead campaign. What were they doing?

AMER: So, through the testimonies of Brittany Kaiser, who is one of the central characters in the film, and when we meet Brittany Kaiser, she's

kind of in Thailand and she has fled from her former life as a key member of this company, Cambridge Analytica, which had worked on both Brexit and

the Trump campaign, as well as many other elections around the world.

She finds evidence in her files that Cambridge Analytica worked on Brexit and she has evidence to prove that she provided that evidence to Parliament

under parliamentary privilege in her testimony.

And she also, in that testimony, explained that the information system -- the information technologies that were used by Cambridge were classified by

the British government as weapons grade information systems that were export controlled. That is -- that is what we're talking about here.

We're not talking about just, oh well, everybody can just send an ad or two. No, we're talking about taking military grade technologies and

applying them on a domestic population without the domestic population having consent during an election cycle.

NOUJAIM: So, it's cyops. It's basically the kinds of tools and weapons grade tools that were used abroad, whether to try to change the minds of

potential kids joining ISIS or change populations, instead those same tools were used on the British population .

AMER: And the American.

NOUJAIM: . and the American population.

SREENIVASAN: Did they cheat? Is this cheating to use these technological tools today, to get your side to win a campaign?

NOUJAIM: Well if you -- when you watch the film, you'll see that that question is asked in Parliament and Christopher Wylie answers that, yes,

this is cheating. And he says that -- well, the next question that's asked of him is, well, did it really work? Did it really cause Brexit? Did it

really -- did it really help the Leave campaign? Did it really affect Trump being elected?

And his answer was, well, when you have doping, you don't say, well, if they guy -- would they guy have come in first place anyway? He cheated.

And so, he should be eliminated.

So, yes, according to the people that we followed, this was cheating.

AMER: Yes, I mean, I think it's about understanding that -- it's about deciding what's for sale. What's happened in the advent of this new

surveillance capitalism system that we live in, which is the term that Shoshana Zuboff, was the thought leader in this space, has coined, is that

we have become the commodity, as David Carroll says in the film. And we, as commodities, we've accept -- we've allowed for all of our recordable

behavior to be bough and sold and commoditized.

Now, what's happened when it goes into an election cycle is that, you have allowed for the commoditization of the Democratic process, because you can

buy and sell nodes of peoples of personalities and behavior and influence it quite effectively. And the problem with all of that is that it's

happening in darkness, there's not transparency. We have no ability to know where the ads -- what ads people saw, where -- who paid for them and

we've had not understanding of that now.

Facebook has the answers, but under the way in which our data is currently regulated in this country, we have no rights to our data, right? Like, we

live in a country where we've allowed for all of our e-mails to be read by technology platforms. We live in a country where minor's data can be


We have to start asking these questions about, how much of ourselves is for sale and what happens to the integrity of the Democratic process when so

much of it becomes commoditized.

SREENIVASAN: The U.K. government said, the Parliament said, their election system is not fit for purpose, what does that mean?

NOUJAIM: It means that the election laws are not able to withstand the technological advances that have led to the tools that have been used by

Cambridge Analyica and other companies to come in the elections.

AMER: I think that what we've -- what we're witnessing is a moment where the balance of power has shifted. And when you look at Facebook, for

example, Facebook has over two billion constituents that it has access to so much of their detailed information, but Facebook is not a Democratic



Facebook doesn't have any responsibility, necessarily, to all of us, the users. And Facebook has not taken any credit or responsibility, more

importantly, for any of the wreckage sites that we're seeing, both in the United States and abroad, whether it's with the Rohyingya crisis, whether

it's with information being used and weaponized in other locations around the world.

SREENIVASAN: What's a wreckage site, when you talk about it that way.

NOUJAIM: It's a term we kind of made up actually.

AMER: Yes.

NOUJAIM: Because when we started making this film, it was invisible. It was how do you make the invisible, visible. This is something that's

happening in your brain and on the computer, but it wasn't the makings of a visual movie.

Well, we started to look for wreckage sites, and by wreckage sites we meant, this is what happened because of what's happening with

microtargeting and we felt like the 2016 was a wreckage site and Brexit was wreckage site.

AMER: And the wreckage -- the purpose of the wreckage site is for to show this vulnerability, which is what a hack is. A hack is the exploitation of

a vulnerability. I think the hack that we found to be interesting was the exploit -- the vulnerability of our own minds and how our, as moral

creatures, increasingly being shaped by these a-moral algorithms, how it would effect ourselves and our societies, and ask -- leave with the

question of who dictates the ethics of these algorithms.

I don't believe that anybody wakes up in Silicone Valley and says, hey, how am I going to wreck democracy today, right? I don't think that's an active

conversation, just like I don't think any oil executive wakes up and says, hey, how am I going to pollute today.

But the reality is, is that we saw in the industrial age where oil was the main commodity, there was externalities and spill-over effects that had a

major -- have had major societal costs. The same time, we are witnessing right now, the externalities that have been caused by this love affair

we've had with technology, where we assume that move fast and break things can always lead to just growth and innovation. And now, we're at the

reckoning point.

SREENIVASAN: There's a lot of people who watch this film and say, Brittany, what's going on with Brittany? Is she more contrite off camera?

Because as someone who knows how campaigns work, how messaging works, it's also possible to see the film and say, you know what, she's playing these

filmmakers, and by extension, us. That this really just part of a slick redemption tour.

At the very end, I kind of see her having regrets, but you guys spend a lot of time with her. What was going through her mind and why she wanted to

speak to you and how that evolution happened, even while you were filming, because you were filming during an active story.

NOUJAIM: We didn't know what to think of here when we met her. Similar, I think, to an audience watching. And our goal was to follow her and see how

this journey unfolded. It's incredible when you meet somebody who has been in the Obama campaign and then wrote the first contract for the Trump


SCEENIVASAN: And pitched Trump.

NOUJAIM: Pitched Trump, worked on Brexit, was -- had certain ties to Julian Assange. Was investigated by Mueller, so in that way we had a human

being, in this invisible story we had this human being that was going to take us into rooms that we would never otherwise get access to.

And so, our job as filmmakers was to follow that journey, and she was -- she allowed to -- there was never a moment when she shut us out or asked us

to turn of the camera. And that was -- that's such a gift as a filmmaker.


NOUJAIM: But, it's a -- she's led a complicated life. And we -- we were excited to jump off the cliff with her, but she's been in complicated

situations and made complicated decisions.

AMER: And I think that it's never been more important than in these times, these polarized times, that we have stories that allow us to see how

redemption is possible.

And what redemption looks like is not -- is -- in our context for this film is about how people from different walks of life get together to tackle a

problem like this. Here we have a film a -- David Carroll, a professor who decides to say, I'm not going to wait for the Mueller Report to figure out

what did or didn't happen.

I'm going to start asking questions and I'm going to ask a very simple quest of, can -- do I have the right to have my own data? Do I have the

right know what you know about me and how I was or wasn't targeted? Right? And goes on this quest where he decides to hold power accountable and ends

up suing Cambridge Analytica.

SREEVISAN: Let's take a look at a clip of a -- the other characters from David Carroll.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was teaching digital media and developing apps, so I knew that the data from our online activity wasn't just evaporating. And

as I dug deeper, I realized these digital traces or ourselves are being into a trillion dollar a year industry.


We are now the commodity, but we were so in love with the gift of this free connectivity that no one bothered to read the terms and conditions.


SREENIVASAN: You know, what you might call surveillance capitalism, Silicon Valley might just say, this is just the cost of innovation. What

is the danger, what is the threat, in that bigger picture, when our data is transacted?

NOUJAIM: Well, it's a bad deal. We've made a bad deal, right? I mean we think that this stuff is free, but yet - and we've never - yes, we've never

paid anything to Facebook or Google, but at the same time, they're the most successful companies that exist today. But it goes back to the question of

what is for sale, and it goes back to the question of consent and what are we consenting to.

We're just clicking (ph) those user agreements, right, without even reading them. We would never do that with a written contract, but we do this, you

know, many times a day in order to make our lives a little bit easier. So in a way, we're all complicit, but in that we are becoming the commodity.

And we have to ask ourselves how much ourselves is - should be for sale.

AMER: I think there's two things that, to me, help understand this conversation. You know, we - one is the word consent, right, which has

never been more debated and redefined than - in today's society than now, right? And currently, the relationship with Silicon Valley, whereby, you

know, you give up all your privacy, as the admission feeds (ph) the connection world, is a non-consensual relationship. It is not a

relationship where the user fully understands what is happening to them. It is an exploitative relationship, and the sooner we understand that the


The engineers of the future would not have the Valley without the open society, and we have to ask them, are they committed to building a world

that allows for ethics and innovation to work hand in hand, or do we just say that, you know, we have to only have technology and forget ethics? The

problem with that, in my opinion, is that as important as technology has been to innovate and expand our capacity, we have always needed ethics to

preserve our humanity.

SREENIVASAN: You're taking a look at this specific use case, because it's been publicized and we know about it. What about all the other companies

that are trafficking in our data? What about the next election and the companies that are probably selling to campaigns right now?

NOUJAIM: Absolutely. 2020 is around the corner, and both sides of the aisle will be using this technology.

AMER: But I think the movie's really about whether we can have a free and fair election ever again, which I think is important. I think why that's

particularly important to us, and maybe why the urgency in the film feels quite sharp, is because we have - we come from Egypt. We've seen that

Democracy is not some god-given right as some people may think in this country.

Democracy is fragile, and democracy can be taken just as easily as it's available. And when it - when the - when the core of the Democratic

process is under assault, it should not be a partisan issue. This should be a rallying cry for people from all sides of the ally, and proof of that

actually is that privacy is not a partisan issue.

Privacy, time and time again, has support from both Republican and Democrat lawmakers. So I think we are in a moment of new awareness where people are

asking more difficult questions, as you - and there's beginning to be an accountability movement.

And I think we as citizens have to now take the opportunity to demand a new social contract, but I think that social contract is not going to be

between us and the government as it used to be. In this era that we live in, it'll be between us, the government and the tech platforms.

SREENIVASAN: Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaim, thanks so much for joining.

NOUJAIM: Thank you so much.

AMER: Thank you so much for having us.

NOUJAIM: Thank you for having us.


[13:55:00] AMANPOUR: An incredible warning and perhaps the idea for data rights, as human rights couldn't come at a more important time. That's it

for us now. Remember, you can listen to our podcast at any time and see us online at, and you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.