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President Trump's Secret Peace Talks with Taliban Cancelled; John Bolton and Mike Pence oppose to Hosting Taliban Leaders at Camp David Near 9/11 Anniversary; Afghanistan Wants Peace; Sediq Seddiqi, Afghan Presidential Spokesman, is Interviewed About Taliban Peace Talks; Saad Mohseni, Afghan Businessman, is Interviewed About Taliban Peace Talks; Boris Johnson Suspends Parliament for Five Weeks; Boris Johnson Met with Leo Varadkar to Resolve Irish Border; Camilla Cavendish, Former Director of Policy for David Cameron, is Interviewed About Brexit. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 9, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
After about a year of peace talks, President Trump cancels a secret meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David. What does it mean for America's
longest war in Afghanistan, 18 years since 9/11?
Then here in Britain, suspending Parliament, leaving critical Brexit questions unanswered. My guest is senior aid to the former prime minister,
David Cameron, says Boris Johnson has overplayed his hand.
Also, from Harlem Haberdashery to Gucci partner, hip hop fashion icon, Dapper Dan, speaks with our Hari Sreenivasan.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
When President Trump cancelled secret peace talks with the Taliban at Camp David this week, he exposed deep fault lines within his own administration.
Secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and his chief Afghan negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, say the U.S. was on the brink of an agreement after almost a
year of negotiations.
On the other side, national security advisor, John Bolton, and vice president, Mike Pence, opposed the deal adding that hosting Taliban leaders
at Camp David near the anniversary of 9/11 would be a public relations disaster.
There are about 15,000 U.S. troops still in Afghanistan now, and President Trump was planning to bring almost half of them back after a deal was
signed. This problem has bedevilled Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump. Over 18 years, the war has caused nearly 2,500 lives and thousands of
Afghan and allied casualties.
During this past year of U.S.-Taliban negotiations, one major stakeholder was not included, the Afghan government.
Sediq Seddiqi is spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani and he's joining me now from Kabul.
Mr. Seddiqi, welcome to the program.
Can I start by asking you, first and foremost, was President Ghani invited to the secret summit in Camp David? Were you packing your bags and
planning to go there?
SEDIQ SEDDIQI, AFGHAN PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESMAN: Hello, Christiane, and it's a pleasure to be in your program.
There were communications in the past few days of a possible trip to the United States so that the Afghan president can share and discuss the
people's concern about a possible deal that was on the brink to be signed. So, we had our observations. We had our concerns about that deal. And the
president wanted to travel and share those concerns with a leadership of the United States.
Mr. Seddiqi, from what I kind of interpret you were saying is that President Ghani, if he was going, was not going to approve a deal and sign
a deal, as we understand the White House wanted, but rather to oppose this deal. Am I reading you correctly?
SEDDIQI: Yes. So -- and the last days of the nine rounds of the talks between Mr. Khalilzad and the Taliban in Qatar, when he came to Kabul, so
he briefed the Afghan president and the Afghan president had his own concerns about that deal. So, we asked for more details. We asked for
those questions -- answers for those questions that we had. And at some point, the president, you know, decided to travel to the United States or
to take up this issue with a leadership of the United States.
So, in the past, like, 10 days, there was a communication between Kabul and Washington, D.C., so that we can discuss together this and present what we
think of the concerns that are reflected from the nation, from the people.
AMANPOUR: Okay. So --
SEDDIQI: So that was something was happening but -- yes.
AMANPOUR: So, before I ask you about your concerns, I want to know why you believe this meeting was cancelled. Why did President Trump decide not to
SEDDIQI: Well, we strongly believe there is -- the decision that was taken by President Trump is a general reflection of the concerns not only the
Afghan people have in regards to a flawed deal or a deal that will only give elevation or leverage to a group that is heavily involved in violence.
So, that was our belief and still is our belief [13:05:00]. And also, we believe that that decision is a very strong understanding of the concerns
we share with most of those officials in the United States.
AMANPOUR: OK. Well, let me ask you this then, because the main bullet points of whatever Zalmay Khalilzad has negotiated with the Taliban, we're
putting on the screen right now, but they essentially include commitments by Taliban to counter-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan, a U.S. pullout from
five bases within 135 days of such a deal. U.S. troop reduction from its current 15,000 to about 9,000 or 8,000. And what was not included was a
cease-fire between the Taliban and the Afghan government, a cease-fire for Afghanistan.
Are those the points that you disagree with? Is that -- are those accurate reflection of what the peace deal was about?
SEDDIQI: So, we think that those points there are too many concessions that were supposed to be given to the Taliban if they do not stop violence.
So, there was an immediate reduction of the U.S. forces. Imagine in the 135 days, a big number of U.S. forces will leave. But at the same time,
there's no commitment by the Taliban to reduce violence, to cease violence.
So, what we are asking is for an immediate cease-fire by the Taliban. And the other issue was the direct negotiation with the Afghan government. So,
we've been stressing for the past so many months for the sequence of these conditions have to diverse. It has to be, first of all, that if
negotiation with the Afghan government, the other must be a cease-fire and the third reduction and finally, those other points.
So, there was lack of clarity in terms of the commitments by the Taliban made, especially, you know, assurance they were supposed to give to the
envoy that they will not allow the international terrorist groups to use those areas that they control against the U.S. But look at this, if the
Taliban are so connected and linked to al-Qaeda, to Haqqani network and many other regional terrorist groups, would that assurance come? How do
you verify those assurances and what is the proper mechanism in which we can say that, "OK. So, al-Qaeda and Taliban will not be linked"? Whereas
the number two of al-Qaeda has placed allegiance to the Taliban and he is still standing on that allegiance.
So, there are a lot of things and concerns that we had and have in terms of Taliban's commitment, in terms of Taliban to change and stop violence and
then you will give them too many concessions.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me just put this to you then. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo whose -- or envoy is Zalmay Khalilzad said this yesterday on the
Sunday shows in the United States. Basically, saying that, you know, they could reverse it, if the Taliban doesn't meet its obligations. Just listen
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: If the Taliban don't behave, if they don't deliver on the commitments that they've made to us now for weeks and,
in some cases months, the president of the United States is not going to reduce the pressure, we're not going to reduce our support for the Afghan
Security Forces that have fought so hard there in Afghanistan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Mr. Seddiqi, that is the secretary of state of the United States on behalf of the president assuring Afghanistan and presumably your
government that if the Taliban does not meet its agreements with the U.S., then the president will take action and presumably will withdraw all these
-- you know, the support for the Afghan Security Forces. Was that not enough of a guarantee for you?
SEDDIQI: Well, we have to be very clear in terms of giving the Taliban the messages and also, we have to show them our commitment and our resolve
toward a sustainable peace process. If you assess the past 10 months or nine months, their positions have been elevated to a point that they have
been beating the drum of victory among their fighters across the country.
So, there's a lot of messages that were intercepted by the Afghan Security Forces that they try to recruit more and more for the fight. So, we saw
clear actions by the Taliban that indicated that this group will never enter into a meaningful dialogue or will commit to a meaningful peace
process and they were trying to somehow keep everything out of the seats (ph) and finally will say, "OK. The U.S. forces are out of Afghanistan and
we have been [13:10:00] victorious."
SEDDIQI: But we strongly believe that that position would have not have been given to them unless they were not committing themselves to a
meaningful peace process and end of violence.
AMANPOUR: All right. Well, what is your suggestion, then, as spokesman for the government, to a legitimate question that the United States has.
This has taken 18 years, trillions of dollars, thousands and thousands of lives on all sides, and we're no closer to seeing an end to this. Where
does your responsibility lie? If there's no peace with the aggressors, if there's no deal with the aggressors, where -- how does this end?
And furthermore, Mr. Seddiqi, a new U.N. report says that over the past year, the number of casualties in Afghanistan are being created more by
your security forces and international forces than the Taliban. So, my question is, what is the government doing to end this war and to get the
Taliban to stop its fighting?
SEDDIQI: So, we are committed to end this war. We do have a road map which the people have consensus on that. So, there was a grand council
meeting in Afghanistan. 3,500 people from across the country, they came to Kabul to give the president a road map towards peace.
So, we need international support to take this path forward and, you know, at the same time, we would like to see, also, an importance given and more
attention given to the South Asian strategy of the U.S. administration that will deal with the external elements of our security. The Taliban are
still enjoying massive resources and support and safe haven outside Afghanistan and Pakistan is one element in which the U.S. can put enough
pressure so that they can also play an important and positive role.
AMANPOUR: All right.
SEDDIQI: So, the road map toward peace is clear. We want peace. We want to end this violence and we want meaningful peace in which we can secure
and bring this group, this vile group into a settlement that will be lasting for a long time.
AMANPOUR: All right. Thank you very much.
SEDDIQI: Yes. Our forces --
AMANPOUR: Yes. Thank you so much. I have to turn to my next guest, but I really appreciate you being with us. Sediq Seddiqi, spokesman for the
And now, we turn to Saad Mohseni who has major business interest in Afghanistan. He's CEO of the country's largest media company and being
he's been informally advising the Afghan and U.S. governments in these negotiations.
Saad Mohseni, welcome to the program.
SAAD MOHSENI, AFGHAN BUSINESSMAN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Can I just first ask you the question that all Americans ask and you know very well because you live in America as well as all these other
places and you're advising American senior officials around this issue. They're tired of it. There's so many Americans who have been killed. They
have spent trillions of dollars. It's 18 years. And it's kind of in Afghanistan's interest to keep the troops there by hook or crook. You get
MOHSENI: Absolutely. Yes.
AMANPOUR: I mean, you get it that the president wants to withdraw the troops.
MOHSENI: Yes. I think there's no one in the U.S. now who is insisting on keeping the troops in Afghanistan.
AMANPOUR: Well, there are. There are some people who say they must stay as a counter-terrorism force.
MOHSENI: That's a small counter-terrorist force that helps the Afghan government deal with, you know, the rise of ISIS, the reemergence of al-
Qaeda. But I think that everyone agrees, even in Afghanistan, that a major draw down is inevitable. I think the concern that people have both in
Kabul and also in Washington is in the manner it's conducted.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you, because you have said this deal, which is now off, kind of threw you all under the bus. What do you mean by that?
MOHSENI: I think the concern is that we get pushed under the bus. You know, we agree there are conditions and they're fairly strict conditions.
There's also a timeline. So, people looking at the U.S. elections and President Trump's instincts and where his priorities are. At the end of
the day, the time line gets priority over conditions. And the mechanisms which currently, you know, they have written out and have shared with the
The thing that I think really concerns people, again, both in Washington and in Kabul, is the lack of transparency. Right. So, you know, you have
interagency approach these things. And in this instance, it's Secretary Pompeo, Zalmay Khalilzad and pretty much no one else. They have even
refused to share the document, well, up until recently, with Bolton. I mean, that's extraordinary.
AMANPOUR: The national security adviser.
MOHSENI: The national security adviser.
AMANPOUR: Who we know has been very against it. That's the reporting anyway.
MOHSENI: He's pushed back on it. But same goes for NATO, same goes for the Brits, same goes for the Germans.
AMANPOUR: So, they're all against this pull out?
MOHSENI: No, they're completely in the dark in terms of what's being negotiated. And I think the concern that they have is, we need more
AMANPOUR: And of course, all their troops are on the ground. So, let me ask you because we have seen letters by former U.S. [13:15:00] ambassadors
to Afghanistan, they oppose the process and the complete withdrawal of troops. We've seen military generals and seniors from the United States,
former, also joining this campaign to be very careful of doing a deal with the Taliban.
You have been talking to many of these people, including people very close to President Trump, who President Trump trusts in the American Congress and
military. Why do you think this fell apart at the last moment? Give us the anatomy of what was on the table and why a Camp David meeting fell
MOHSENI: I think it was just probably a combination of things. I think that there were still gaps in terms of what the Americans wanted and what
the Taliban were committed to agree to. And I think that the hope was they would bridge the gap enough for the Taliban to go to Washington and then
President Trump would be able to deliver what he wanted -- you know, what - - has been wanting to delivered for some time, a peace deal in Afghanistan after 40 years, and I think realization that they were not going to bridge
the gap in Washington.
And of course, you know, 16 American troops have been killed since they started talking. So, I don't think it's the killing alone that prompted
the president to push back. But, of course, a lot of people have also warned them that what if the Taliban don't abide by what they agree to,
what if they have a go at Kabul with two months before U.S. elections, what if these other groups reemerge, you know. And this -- during an election
year is going to be very, very controversial.
AMANPOUR: And what about the idea that we've heard so much about, which seem sort of so counterintuitive that you would have the Taliban who, after
all, hosted al-Qaeda who are responsible for the incubation of the planned of 9/11 coming to Camp David, the seat of presidents and prime ministers
and dignitaries, you know, within two days of the 18th anniversary of 9/11?
MOHSENI: Well, I mean, with the benefit of hindsight, it's probably not the wisest of decisions.
AMANPOUR: So, was there a pushback on that? Was that part of what caused this collapse?
MOHSENI: I don't think -- I think -- well, probably in Washington because I think a lot of people like Senator Graham and General Keane and others,
AMANPOUR: Who are quite close to the president, actually, Graham and Keane.
MOHSENI: Well, at least, have access to -- yes. Have -- you know, are able to speak to him and communicate with him. And they must have warned
him that this is absolutely crazy. The meeting with the Taliban in Washington was a lot of people were privy to that information going back 10
days. So, they had the opportunity to probably address this issue.
And I think that the president must have seen the light and realized that there were a lot of risks. I mean, it's not -- you know, the Taliban it's
not North Korea or it's not Iran or it's not -- it's a terrorist organization. And many of these people are still terrorists. So, to
actually see them and meet them before there's a deal and there's a commitment from the Taliban to distance themselves from the other terrorist
organizations, it's obviously very risky.
AMANPOUR: So, you saw what I played for Sediq Seddiqi or Secretary of State Pompeo saying, you know, if they don't behave according that their
commitments, the president will not let up his support of the Afghan Security Forces. And Mike Pompeo has also said, "We've delivered. In the
days since 9/11, we have, you know, got rid of al-Qaeda." Is that the case? Because, I mean, you heard Sediq Seddiqi saying, "Actually, al-Qaeda
still exist in Afghanistan."
MOHSENI: Al-Qaeda has reemerged in Northern Afghanistan. We have groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and other, (INAUDIBLE) and, of course, ISIS. And
Afghanistan is a very difficult mountainous, you know, terrain and all of that. Very difficult country to control. So, without forces on the
ground, whether Afghan or international, these groups will reemerge, no doubt about it.
I think the concern that people have had is these organizations exist today. The Taliban are not able to control them in their own territories
today. How will they be able to commit --
AMANPOUR: You're talking about ISIS?
MOHSENI: ISIS, for example.
AMANPOUR: Because that's emerged --
AMANPOUR: -- as an even greater threat to Afghanistan today than al-Qaeda. Is that correct?
MOHSENI: That's correct. Yes.
AMANPOUR: And I -- and Taliban does not have the wherewithal to confront them?
MOHSENI: A, and maybe they don't have a willingness to confront them. I mean, I think the information I was speaking to General Keane, he was
obviously talking -- talked about this publicly that, for example, the Taliban have informed al-Qaeda to keep a low profile until the Americans
leave. And, you know, the American intelligence agencies are, you know, obviously, privy to this sort of information. So, there's that lack of
trust in terms of what the Taliban are willing to deliver.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you then, because I asked Mr. Seddiqi, I mean, then what is the route out of this? What is the route to getting the U.S.
MOHSENI: I think first and foremost, they have to engage the Afghan government. Right. So, we are going to have elections end of this month,
obviously. We'll have --
AMANPOUR: In Afghanistan.
MOHSENI: Well, it seems inevitable. The hope was that we will have a framework agreement with the Taliban that would then allow for the
elections to get postponed. We're not going to see that now. So, we will hopefully have a new government that the Americans must engage the Afghan
government. We are your partners, so to speak, to -- we would say to the Americans. They should engage the Afghan National Security [13:20:00]
Forces, the Afghan government, and work through them in terms of negotiating this important deal.
And the other thing, which I think a lot people are insisting on is that, if they draw down to 8,600 troops in the first 135 days, to keep them there
until the other conditions have been met. Not to rush into drawing down completely before October of 2020.
AMANPOUR: So, as I said, you are a major businessman there, you have the biggest media company, you have a very daring television station, "Total
Television," which is has really bust all the boundaries of what an Islamic country like the Taliban's Afghanistan would ever even tolerate. You have
women on television, you have soap operas, you have news. I mean, you give people absolute truth, you know, and a lot of culture from all over the
What is at stake? In other words, most people think that kind of nothing has changed in Afghanistan. We're still where we were 18 years ago. What
has been achieved that you are so anxious to keep American troops there to protect?
MOHSENI: Well, there's a new generation of Afghans who are so different to the older generation. So, the B&H in Afghanistan is 18. It's a youngest
country outside of Africa. And today, half the population lives in urban centers. More than two-thirds of the population has a mobile phone. Of
course, half the population is on Facebook or has access to the internet. So, you're dealing with a much younger population.
You know, the Taliban's approval rating has never gone above 11 or 12 percent. You know, so, for us, for a lot of Afghans, the frustrating thing
is that this peace deal is being imposed on us. And I think most Afghans agree that, "Yes, we need to have peace, but it has to be a just peace."
We did a survey two days ago, 25,000 people voted, 75 percent of the individuals surveyed said they support President Trump's decision. Of
course, this type of a survey skewed towards people who have mobile phones and have access to technology. But it's so important --
AMANPOUR: They support which decision?
MOHSENI: They support that talks should be suspended until the Taliban commit seriously.
AMANPOUR: So, what do you think, then, are the most troubling bits of the proposal that perhaps U.S. was going to sign off with the --
MOHSENI: I think first and foremost, lack of transparency, not working with the Afghan government. Who could you determine us to -- how well the
Afghan forces can defend the Afghan territory without consulting with them? I think that's one. The second is not engaging the government. They seem
to be, you know, out of all the actors, they have more legitimacy than anyone else. I think that's very important. Thirdly, conditions are
important but how important is the time line? I think the Americans have to say that, "We will not be as strict as we have indicated in terms of the
time line." And, four, I think putting pressure on the Taliban directly and indirectly to talk to the Afghan side and to commit to agreeing to a
comprehensive peace deal.
AMANPOUR: Saad Mohseni, thank you very much, indeed.
MOHSENI: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, Afghanistan, of course, is a major focus in Congress, which returns to Washington today after its summer break.
But here in Britain, legislators are packing up and heading home tonight as prime minister Boris Johnson is suspending parliament for the next five
weeks in the crucial run up to the October 31st Brexit deadline. They leave knowing they have received so-called royal assent from the queen to
block prime minister Johnson from crashing out of the European Union without a deal.
Johnson met with the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, trying to resolve a major stumbling block which is the Irish border. Varadkar warned him
that a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: There are an abundance of proposals that we have but I just don't think -- if I may say so, I think in tally
reasonable to share them with you today. We will be producing ideas for our friends and partners, not least here in Dublin about how to take this
forward. We have -- and I've indicated the areas in which we think progress needs to be made.
LEO VARADKAR, IRISH PRIME MINISTER: There's no such thing as a clean break or just getting it done. Rather, we'll just move on to a new phase. If
there is no deal, it will cause severe disruption for British and Irish people alike, not so much on the continent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Camilla Cavendish headed the policy team for the former prime minister, David Cameron, who called the Brexit referendum three years
ago. She's now a columnist for "The Financial Times" and she's going to be joining me here to talk about it.
But let me play one more little piece of sound from Leo Varadkar who essentially told Boris Johnson that what he was aiming to do was going to
be a catastrophe. Just listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VARADKAR: Prime Minister, negotiating FTAs with the E.U. and U.S. and securing the ratification [13:25:00] in less than three years I think is
going to be a herculean task for you. But we do want to be your friend and your ally, your Athena in doing so. And I think the manner in which you
leave the European Union will determine whether that's possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, Camilla Cavendish, welcome to the program.
CAMILLA CAVENDISH, FORMER DIRECTOR OF POLICY FOR DAVID CAMERON: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Essentially, that was Leo Varadkar very politely, with a classic throw to Boris Johnson's pension for talking in, you know, Greek, Latin or
everything else, talking about the Greek goddess, Athena, who, let's not remember, was the one who stopped Hercules in his tracks from causing
further catastrophes. What do you make of where we are now given that little bit of confrontation?
CAVENDISH: So, I mean, British politics feels like a roundabout, that it is just whirling around faster and faster. And actually, under Theresa May
it resolved slowly but never got anywhere. And under Boris Johnson, it's spinning out of control but we still haven't actually gotten anywhere. And
the point Leo Varadkar was really making is, actually, it's very hard to unlock the Irish backstop. There's a reason why it's there. And this is
the sort fundamental conundrum of Brexit, at the moment nobody is budging.
And, of course, Boris Johnson has under estimated how many Tories would rebel and leave his own party. And he's also underestimated the opposition
who he thought he could bounce into an election, and they are standing up against him.
AMANPOUR: So, I think it's really interesting this conversation because, first and foremost, you were in Downing Street with the prime minister who,
let's face it, brought us to this problem.
AMANPOUR: To this crisis. Probably never imagined that it would be such a crisis. He thought that he would resolve the polar opposites in the
Conservative Party. But instead, this is really bringing this country to crisis.
CAVENDISH: So, I mean, you can go back through history and find that Europe has been a running sore for a very, very long time. A lot of people
would argue that you didn't need to erase it in this way, you didn't need to try and surface it. I think, actually, within the Conservative Party
after 2010 and then 2015, you had more and more Conservatives MPs who were leavers, who Eurosceptic and the party that were already becoming more
Eurosceptic. So, I think, you know, that was almost inevitable.
What we are seeing, though, is really the end of the Conservative Party as a centrist broad church. It is now a sect which is essentially run by
revolutionaries. They know they have to deal with Nigel Farage who is on the right, who his Brexit party is polling at 12 percent. The
Conservatives -- I mean, under Boris, they're polling well but they can't win an election, I think, unless they make an alliance with the Brexit
Party. That means moving to the right, and that's what they're doing.
AMANPOUR: So, let's just talk about this. You've just called it a sect. I mean, that's pretty dramatic, right. But others, including rebels who
have been purged or who have left have said that it is going to move from being this broad party, broad church party to a narrow nationalist British
AMANPOUR: And --
CAVENDISH: Well, Nationalist English, really.
CAVENDISH: A lot of what we're talking about, I think, does goes back to de-evolution, Tony Blair, the attempt to give more power to the regions.
The Conservative Party, their leader in Scotland, Ruth Davidson, who was very popular. She has resigned. And in doing that, the Conservatives have
probably lost all their seats in Scotland, certainly 10.
And, you know, that is beginning to break things apart. It is English nationalism, really, which never found a voice and felt it didn't have
enough power and that is what we are announcing.
AMANPOUR: So, let's just go through a few issues. Elections. So, Boris Johnson continues to try to find the votes in Parliament for an election.
He's unlikely to get it any time soon.
AMANPOUR: You have just said that -- do you think he could win?
CAVENDISH: I still think he could win, potentially. And this is where I think, you know, we're speaking here sort of close to the Westminster
bubble, if you like. Where a lot of people voted remain and they would like the country to remain. I mean, the truth is that he polls have barely
shifted since June 2016.
AMANPOUR: Barely shifted?
CAVENDISH: Barely shifted at all. So, for all the extra information that we've been given, for all the worries about no deal, at least two-thirds of
people who voted leave are saying, "Yes. You know, I'm fine to leave with no deal." Whether --
AMANPOUR: Do they know what it means?
CAVENDISH: Well, whether they understand, I don't know. Because, of course, no deal simply means you leave then you're back at the negotiating
table with less leverage, potentially. I'm not sure everybody understands that. But it is -- we are getting entrenched. And I think there is a
genuine question now which is more dangerous, the threat to the economy or the threat to democracy?
AMANPOUR: But what is the threat to democracy? Which one is that?
CAVENDISH: Well, the deep anger in the country that the British people voted via a small margin but never the less on a high (INAUDIBLE) --
AMANPOUR: So in other words --
CAVENDISH: -- to leave the European Union.
AMANPOUR: Right. So, what Boris Johnson says, "If you don't let me crash or go out one way or the other, that's an assault on democracy," that --
AMANPOUR: -- you have written and many others have written, that what Boris Johnson is doing is overplaying his hand and that also is an assault
on Democratic institutions, on his party.
CAMILLA CAVENDISH, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE U.K.: Well, you put it brilliantly. I mean, this is the sort of fundamental conundrum, and the
worry is, in the end, do you get something worse? Do you get some kind of demagogue who comes through the middle, because, of course, the Labour
Party is also split.
The Labour Party has also become a sect (ph) run by revolutionaries around Jeremy Corbyn. A large number of his centrist M.P.s (ph) are facing
deselection, just the same way that the Conservative Party -- this is the irony, we wouldn't be in this situation.
It's almost unprecedented to have both main party's in disarray. If the Labour Party was galvanized on more centrist, I think it would have taken a
firmer position on Brexit, we wouldn't be where we are now.
AMANPOUR: David Cameron is about to come out his long-awaited memoir. You were in -- did you advise him against this referendum?
CAVENDISH: I was not present at that time. I, luckily --
AMANPOUR: Lucky you.
CAVENDISH: -- for me in many ways I came in 2015 after the decision had been taken. So, I was there when the renegotiation was happening. And of
course, the problem for David Cameron was he tried to renegotiate with Europe, he didn't get very far.
And the truth was that, I think, there was an opportunity for Theresa May just after that referendum, to have gone back to Brussels -- they didn't
believe that we were going to loose the referendum. Brussels just assumed people would stay in. And at that -- the three months after that they were
Theresa May could have gone back and reopened the questions that David Cameron raised, she could have reopened the question of freedom of
movement, which was hugely important for a lot of people in this country. They felt the scale of immigration was too great. They wanted to take back
control. She never asked those questions, and that was a great lost opportunity.
AMANPOUR: Can I play a little sound byte from Amber Rudd, who is the Minister and M.P., who has now resigned and given up and walked off with
the other rebels.
AMANPOUR: This is what she said on Sunday. Basically she felt that she was, and the others, were not getting an accurate picture of how much Boris
Johnson was saying we're trying to get another deal.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
AMBER RUDD, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WORK AND PENSIONS OF THE U.K.: What I have seen in government is that there is this huge machine preparing for
no-deal, which is fine.
You might expect in the balance between getting a deal and no-deal, 50/50 in terms of work, but it's not that. It's like 80, 90 percent of
government time going into preparing for no-deal and the absence of actually trying to work to get a deal is what has driven 21 of my
colleagues to rebel and I need to join them.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: No, what is the -- I see you nodding to that, what is the advantage of a Prime Minister not putting his whole back into another deal?
And with that question comes the fact that there's royal assent now. Apparently, he can't crash out with no-deal, is that correct?
CAVENDISH: Well, that depends on the E.U. We always forget in this debate that actually this is the E.U.'s gift and already France has suggested it
may veto an extension. I mean, the E.U. are getting pretty fed up with this process, they're asking if you want an extension for three months,
what's the purpose of that? Is it going to change equation? We can't keep extending indefinitely. So, that is in the E.U.'s gift.
But, I think what was really significant about what Amber Rudd said was, her really sincere sense that the government was not preparing in any
serious way for a proper negotiation. And that, of course -- again, Boris Johnson has to keep his right wing (ph) on side, he has to convince them
that he is really serious about crushing out with a no-deal.
But, if there's no real work, I understand his negotiating team is now down to only four people, if there is no real work to tweak the deal, then a lot
of moderate people in the center are starting to say, hang on, this guy isn't really a leader, he's simply leading that sect (ph), he wants to take
And people who thought he was playing a very sophisticated game, trying to keep his right wing (ph) on side, but maybe coming back to tweak the last
deal, and now wondering whether he's just going to leave us adrift and --
AMANPOUR: Just a quick question about his (inaudible), the infamous Dominic Cummings, about whom a television program is being made, starring
none other than Benedict Cumberbatch. Everybody thought he was the great Machiavelli. Has he overreached? Has he overplayed? Has it backfired?
CAVENDISH: Look, I mean, I think advisors advise Prime Ministers. Prime Ministers are the client and Prime Ministers make the decisions.
CAVENDISH: I've knew Dominic Cummings for many years. He's extremely able, he's a very smart guy and he does intimidate. Boris Johnson hired
him. He hired him primarily because he's a very good strategist ands he's a brilliant election strategist, because the -- remember the focus has
always been -- the intention has always been to get an election to break the deadlock by getting a majority, but ultimately it's the guy in charge
you have to blame, it seems to me.
AMANPOUR: That's -- that's -- I'm sure that's true, although we read that when people ask the Prime Minister questions, he says, ask Dom, i.e., the
AMANPOUR: But I guess --
CAVENDISH: The great thing about this Christiane, is you -- we all watch the West Wing, right? Anybody who goes into politics in Britain actually
secretly wants to be in the West Wing. They end up being a character out of what we call, in the thick of it, which was a kind of British version,
which is just full of kind of mediocre people who swear (ph), and that is the terrifying prospect (ph).
AMANPOUR: And very, very cynical and very aggressive actually.
CAVENDISH: Very cynical and very aggressive.
CAVENDISH: And whether that's happening, I fear that's what's happening in Number 10, it feels it's out of control.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's out of control because this seems to have left the Prime Minister with no majority at all. So, he's loosing and hemorrhaging
his -- he's lost his majority in Parliament.
CAVENDISH: He's lost his majority in Parliament, but as I said earlier, if he makes a pact with the Brexit Party, which I think he now has to --
AMANPOUR: He will. He has to.
CAVENDISH: -- he might still potentially win, because remember the other side is split. So, I mean I'm -- I voted to remain. If I wanted to vote
AMANPOUR: But what if the other side makes a pact with all of those who want to stay?
CAVENDISH: Well, they are trying to do that, but it's not -- it's not assured, so there is a possibility that vote will split and it will come
down to tactical voting in individuals seats that will probably split five ways, and that's why now person (ph) can actually tell you what's going
AMANPOUR: OK, I was going to say, can you tell me what you think, in 10 seconds, Britain is going to look like after this process? Where do we end
CAVENDISH: Well, I fear we're going to look very bruised. I think Boris Johnson might get a very small majority, or we will have a hung Parliament
and that is not going to resolve this issue. The logical way to resolve it is a second referendum. Unfortunately, I don't think either Party leader
actually wants one.
AMANPOUR: On that note, Camilla Cavendish, we'll continue watching. Thank you very much, indeed.
And while Britain continues to walk its Brexit tight rope, we hit the runway next, because fashion week is underway in New York City right now,
and we get a master class in style from the iconic designer, Dapper Dan, born and raised in Harlem, his legendary designs are inspired by the
neighborhood he loves. Now, partnered with Gucci, Dapper Dan told our Hari Sreenivasan how he worked his way up from nothing and what gives someone
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, Daniel Day, you've got yourself a partnership with Gucci, a book deal with Random House, a picture
deal with Sony, not bad for a kid who grew up good at dice --
DANIEL DAY, DAPPER DAN, HIGH FASHION DESIGNER: Yes.
SREENIVASAN: -- dealing, hustling on the streets.
SREENIVASAN: How did you find the angle to be someone that stuck out?
DAY: Fortunately for me is that I'm the first generation of the great migration that came from the south. My father, born in 1898, so he arrived
in New York in 1910, right, he's 12-years-old. I didn't even understand that, you know what I'm saying? But only the strongest stayed. So, we've
got the strongest black men coming out of reconstruction from the south.
DAY: So, my father was one of them (ph). So, I'm growing up that kind of an atmosphere. And I've got three older brothers and then two cousins up-
state. So, I got access to all this knowledge, you know, all this energy - -
DAY: -- and so, that's what gave me the strength to be able to make it.
SREENIVASAN: And you were one of the last generations to witness Harlem pre-drug epidemic?
DAY: Yes. I remember a Harlem like 11:00 o'clock Sunday morning you see everybody emptying out of their houses. Everybody going into church. You
left your doors open. It was -- I saw -- I saw Harlem when it was a village. So, you found sections of Harlem everybody here was from South
Carolina, everybody over here was from Virginia.
SREENIVASAN: So they're block-by-block?
DAY: Yes, block-by-block. What this amount to, that kind of village feeling, is when they start building public housing and projects and that
took away from that. But, that's not the Harlem I grew up in.
SREENIVASAN: How did you get to be so good at dice by the time you were --
DAY: That's the first -- gambling was the first thing I learned. And let me tell you why. We had what's called the rent (ph) parties. A rent (ph)
party is like you were in a circle of people, like neighbors -- my father, neighbors and all that, and once everybody get a week that they have a
party and you served chicken, potato salad, collared greens and they had gambling there, right?
So, as a little -- as a young boy I watched my father gamble and that's the first experience I had. And then my Uncle Eddie, they called him Fishman
Eddie, he had ran away when he was young and joined the circus and there was a guy in the circus that taught him all these tricks with cards and
dice, and so, that was the first experience -- that was the first thing I learned about street hustling.
DAY: But I took it even further than that, because when I learned everything there was that I could learn from the older guys, concerning
gambling, then I read all the books by John Carney (ph). John Carney (ph) is the world authority for the United States government on gambling, he
advised the government on casinos and everything.
DAY: He was the master. So, us -- I got the street knowledge and then I went and got all the book knowledge, so that I could learn everything it
took. So, I was undefeatable.
SREENIVASAN: Is there a moment you remember when the gambling turned into drugs?
DAY: I only knew of jazz musicians during the '50s that used drugs, but it wasn't a general thing, you know. And then as the '60s, during the Vietnam
War, then it, you know, it escalated.
It just spread out, and that's when we went through our first epidemic, and I got caught up in that.
DAY: The amazing thing was like me and all four of my brother, we all got caught up into selling drugs. We all got arrested together, but while I
was arrested I began to read a lot and study a lot, and I wanted to know what happened.
So as soon as I got out, I went to the library - county color library (ph). It was just part of the Shomburg Library. I wanted to find out why this
drug thing happened, so I studied the Opium War and what China did, the Boxer Rebellion, and then I became very political, and that was the end of
that for me. I said I would never engage in something that would have that kind of negative effect on my community.
SREENIVASAN: So were you born with a sense of style? Did you absorb it in the Harlem that you grew up in? How did it happen?
DAY: Let me tell you, listening to the older guys, watching them, like we have today what we call influences like - you know, hip hop music created
all these influences, but that's not a new thing. When I was growing up, I used to listen to my brothers now (ph), and they would follow these
Hollywood actors, and it had to be a particular - it had to be the type of tough guy acting who stands up against the system and is the way they
So my brothers and them used to pattern themselves back coming up in the 50s was Humphrey Bogart, George Raft, you know, only ones who played them
tough guy, gangster roles. So everyone wanted to dress - Edward G. Robinson, you know? And then later on the style shifted to the Rat Pack,
Sammy David Jr. -
DAY: -- you know, and that now. And then after that, I started developing a different style all alone by myself.
SREENIVASAN: What defines style to you? When you see someone walking down the street, what makes you say, "That person has style,"?
DAY: Style is not a person. Style is a manifestation, the culture that comes alive in an individual who represents that culture. You know, when
you look at the jazz musician, you know, the way - style might - they might just take a hat and toss it a certain way or use colors a different way,
So that's what it is. It's like first it's the culture, and then out of the culture comes the style. I always tell young designers interpret the
culture because that's going to make a difference, you know?
SREENIVASAN: So how did you get the money to start the store?
DAY: You want to learn? I'm going to give you a new term. In Harlem, there's what we call flat foot hustlers. A flat foot hustler is a person
who can wake up in the morning broke and come home with money.
So let me show you how that works, right? In Harlem - all over Harlem at the time we had what's known as street crap gangs, and it's just - it works
just like Las Vegas. Somebody controls the momentum that takes place in the game, so you put your money up, people just money up (ph).
So I get up in the morning. I get up at 6 o'clock in the morning. I go and I take some dice and I put it out on the street. That makes me - I'm
the casino. I'm the one conducting that. Everybody pays me to participate in that game.
SREENIVASAN: You're the house.
DAY: I'm the house.
SREENIVASAN: And the house always wins.
DAY: And the house always wins. And so, I generated money like that because I refused - completely refused to go back - to be involved in any
drug culture. In addition to that, I wanted to engage in things that wouldn't hurt my community.
So there's - in Harlem, there's another game they call the paper game. The paper game is checks and credit cards and that. And so, I delved into that
for a little while, you know, because I felt like big banks - I felt like John Dillinger, you know? Everybody rooted for him because he wasn't
robbing people. He was robbing banks, you know?
You know, and there's something special when you can take a pen and rob a bank. You know, and so, that's what the paper game was (ph) -
SREENIVASAN: So it's just fraudulent checks, fraudulent credit cards.
SREENIVASAN: Nice games.
DAY: Yes, yes.
SREENIVASAN: That is your seed capital to start -
SREENIVASAN: -- the store.
SREENIVASAN: So you set up shop, and how does it occur to you to take global, European brands and putting your own spin on them? You call them
knock ups, not knock offs. What does that mean?
DAY: A knock up is when you take a brand interpreted to your culture, and to them and to the world eventually it looks better than where it started
from, you know? And so, that's what I did. How did I do it? I did it by this way (ph). One day a guy came into the store. Big gangster, top notch
gangster in Harlem, you know? And he's affiliated with John Gotti brother, Gene Gotti.
He came in the store and he had a pouch - a Louis Vuitton pouch full of $100 bills, you know. Everybody's excited about that pouch because it's
Louis Vuitton, right?
And I say, "It's only $5." I say that's - you know, I'm making - I'm dealing with fabric. I know what that's worth, you know, production-wise.
It's like $5 worth of vinyl, but I say, "What is it?" I say it's the symbols. It's the symbols on that pouch.
So I said those symbols had as much power as the fur coats that I was making and the plage (ph) leather jackets that I'm making. So I said if I
can take them symbols and put them on leather and have more clients looking like luggage, that would have the same effect as if I made them a fur coat.
And so, that made me the idea to going into doing what I'm known for today, logomania.
SREENIVASAN: So how did you get LL Cool J and Eric B. & Rakim and Salt-N- Pepa to start wearing your stuff?
DAY: Well, it was a new genre. They couldn't pay me. Some of them still owe me money to today. Well, so here's the birth of a new fashion ideas
that's coming along, right? Logomania. So when the rappers started to come, they're looking for a new look, right, and this is a new look. So
now these designer bags and stuff like that is popular. There's a new musical genre that's popular.
So Eric B. & Rakim and LL Cool J, the rappers is making a lot of money and they want their own look, so I started giving them their own look, and
that's why they started coming. I started giving them the logomania look, you know, the Gucci, the M.C. of the Fendi (ph), the Louis Vuitton.
SREENIVASAN: So how do you get a look for a person? When you sit down and you start talking to them before you design with them, what are you looking
for? What makes a -
DAY: That's an important question.
SREENIVASAN: -- what makes a jacket an LL Cool J jacket?
DAY: That's an important question because, you know what? In fashion it's hard to stay relevant. And my way to address that is every - I'm a - every
person that came into my store, we design together. I ask them, "How do you want to look? How do you feel? What kind of message you want to
So I'm not designing completely from my mind. I'm translating a cultural aspect of how they represent themselves, so that's what I did with fashion.
When they came in - one of the significant things - and that's important that you mentioned Eric B. & Rakim because when you look at the - one of
the more famous jackets that I made, the gold and black, when Eric B. has his on, he has the Gucci sign on the back. When Rakim has his on, he has
his religious symbol on the back.
So everything I created I used these symbols, but I design them in a way where the customer feels this is the look they want to have.
SREENIVASAN: So you're almost describing to me in a way that fashion is also about power.
DAY: Yes. Yes. Fashion's about power, and that's why I always tapped into that. That's why to start out with I said what my clientele's going to be.
Middle class, people of color are not going to buy from me. This is like, no, we're going to Gucci. We're going to Louis. But the gangsters - my
first clientele - they didn't care about was it - it came from these designer houses or not. If it was cool, they was going to wear it.
So what I did was I tapped into the power, you know? The gangsters, everybody want - they were the stars in the hood, so everybody wanted to
look like them and the rappers wanted to look like them. The strength when I was designing was the popularity of those who had the most money, and
that was the gangsters. So I designed with them in mind and I start with them.
SREENIVASAN: So did it give you pause? Here you are making money in the shop and you're dealing with gangsters. They're making their money -
really they're profiting from someone else's pain, and that's how you're benefiting.
SREENIVASAN: That's how you're keeping your family fed.
DAY: Exactly. Yes, but you can't be in it and not of it, you know? And so, it's - what I realized is I'm a product of those who I'm dealing with,
you know? So I'm wrestling with that, and I'm really - I'm really not happy, but it's with being in the street on that level, but I like what I'm
So eventually what happens is - which is always what - I see it happen with the drug game - it implodes. The drug community starts fighting among
themselves, killing among themselves. They look around. There were so many people selling drugs, so nobody was really making any money. So as a
result of that, they started looking at other people. I'm open 24 hours a day.
SREENIVASAN: Your shop was open 24 hours?
DAY: My shop was open 24 hours a day, 365 days for ten years straight. And so, there's a lot of kidnapping going on and robbery going on and they
attempted to kidnap me.
And I resisted and I got shot. Have a bullet in my neck. And then after that, I recovered from that. Then the brands result to me using
trademarks. Then the brands took notice.
SREENIVASAN: So one of the lawyers who came in to basically help close your shop--
SREENIVASAN: -- she's working for Fendi.
SREENIVASAN: Her name is--
DAY: Yes, (inaudible). Yes, she's a justice under Supreme Court today. A wonderful lady, I have to say that there. I remember the day she
(inaudible) me. She came in the store and I just finished a coat for a popular rapper, Big Daddy Kane.
And it was a (inaudible), like a full length (inaudible) with a tuxedo black glamour color, black (inaudible) leather with black on black Fendi
logos all over it. And she seen that coat, she said this is amazing. This guy really belongs downtown.
But of course she raided me and they took all the Fendi stuff out. Yes, (inaudible). And as a result of that, the raise kept coming like that
there, so I closed down and went underground.
SREENIVASAN: So what happens when you go underground?
DAY: When I went underground, I had already built up a clientele for all the gangsters and hustlers in all the cities in the Unites States.
So what I did was I would make up clothes and go from in New York to Chicago hitting all the black cities and then come back to New York. And
then go from New York to Atlanta hitting all the black cities, and that's how I sustained myself for 20 years underground.
SREENIVASAN: So 20 years fast-forward, Gucci rolls out a piece. Social media goes bananas because it looks so similar to what you designed for am
Olympic athlete 25 years prior to that. And that really helps you restart.
DAY: Yes. It's amazing because Gucci says look, we had every intention to let the public know that this is Dapper Dan's creation. We just took it
for granted, everybody know, there was -- they meant -- and I take them for that to pay homage to me. And it was paying homage, right?
And they just didn't say that in the beginning, but they've just took it for granted that everybody knew. But black Twitter went in on them.
DAY: But they said that's OK. So what Gucci did, they came to me, got in touch with my son. I said are they serious? He said yes. I said no, they
ain't serious. He said no, dad, they want to talk to you. They want to do a deal. I said no, (inaudible). I don't believe it.
I said tell them come to Harlem if they want a deal. And they came to Harlem, right? I said I don't want no collaboration. What do you have for
They said we'll give you a partnership. And we'll open up a (inaudible) in Harlem where you can do everything that you've always done but you just use
SREENIVASAN: And now you're legit.
DAY: Yes. And you know what really got me excited, they said we know and the world knows who you are now, all right? And everybody's paying you
homage but nobody paid you. So we're here to change that. And that's what this deal was about.
SREENIVASAN: So you're working with Gucci, then there's this balaclava incident--
SREENIVASAN: -- where they roll out a turtleneck that basically looks like it's black face.
SREENIVASAN: What goes through your mind as soon as you see that?
DAY: Well, as soon as I seen that, I'm a student of history, especially black history, right? I know that this wasn't intentional. But
intentional or not, if you shoot somebody by accident or you shoot them on purpose and they die, they still dead.
So, I told Gucci, I said -- I had to announce to the public because now my community's up in arms, I'm up in arms. So I said look, I'm a black man
before I'm a brand. Gucci, I want you to come here and explain to the community what happened. I trust that this was an accident.
Marco Bizzarri, CEO of Gucci came to Harlem and we sat down. We said this is what we're going to do. We're going to put money in this community.
We're going to develop designers. Now we have like a vice -- two vice presidents of color working for Gucci.
They came with this whole program and I took that program and I ran with it and I let the community know this is what Gucci is doing. Sand I think
this is phenomenal. This is like we have a global footprint now.
SREENIVASAN: Ironically, 25 years ago you were actually exposing these European brands to consumers that they were never going to reach anyway.
They had no interest in reaching, because they also--
SREENIVASAN: -- didn't think that that consumer had money. And all the sudden they're saying wait, how do we -- how do I reach that?
DAY: Yes. The hip hop artists couldn't even pay me back then. Now you have Jay-Z. He's getting -- he's a billionaire now. Hip hop is really big
now. They're the enforcers for the brand. And so, it's a complete turnaround.
SREENIVASAN: Dapper Dan, thanks so much for joining us.
AMANPOUR: Dapper Dan expanding styles and imaginations. But that's it for now. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at
Amanpour.com. And you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.