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House of Representatives Votes on President`s Military Action Against Iran; Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), is Interviewed About Limiting President`s Power; United States Believes Iran Shot Down Ukraine Plane; Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Stepping Back; Dickie Arbiter, Former Press Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II, and Mark Landler, London Bureau Chief, The New York Times, are Interviewed About the Royal Family; Interview With Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib (D-WA). Aired 1-2p ET
Aired January 9, 2020 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here`s what`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): Every time someone writes that Congress needs to take back their authority on war, that`s what we`re here to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Reining in Trump on war. Two Republicans join the Democrats move to limit the president`s power. Will more get on board? We talk to the man
leading the charge, Senator Tim Kaine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re part of royal establishment, it makes you behave accordingly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel I want to live in private alone. Yes, live in private alone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And a stunning royal retreat. Harry and Meghan step back from their roles as senior royals. But what does this mean?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CYRUS HABIB, WASHINGTON LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: There`s no reason to treat Iranian-Americans any different than any other American.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Blind since the age of 8. Iranian-American Cyrus Habib is now Washington State`s lieutenant governor. And he talks to our Hari
Sreenivasan about the latest round of demonizing Iranian-Americans.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I`m Christiane Amanpour in London.
The United States now increasingly believes that Iran shot down the Ukrainian passenger plane that took off from Tehran on Tuesday and all 176
people on board were killed. The working theory is it could have been a mistake amid the hostilities and the military confrontations between Iran
and the United States. And it`s a theory that President Trump today appeared to endorse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: It was flying at a pretty rough neighborhood and somebody could have made a mistake. Some people say it was mechanical.
I personally don`t think that`s even a question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, this happened, as we said, as Iran launched missiles at two American bases in Iraq in revenge for the killing of Qassem Soleimani,
their military commander. Democrats say Trump acted without properly notifying Congress. And today, the House is expected to vote to force the
president to halt any military action against Iran, unless Congress authorizes it.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was scathing when -- about the president`s handling of Soleimani`s killing when she spoke to reporters this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We must avoid war. And the cavalier attitude of this administration, it`s stunning. And the president has said, oh, I
inform you by reading my tweets. No, that`s not the relationship that our founders had in mind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And it`s not just Democrats who want the president to go through Congress first. Two key Republican senators, Rand Paul and Mike Lee, want
to rein in the president`s power as well. But is that enough?
Senator Tim Kaine introduced the Senate`s version of the bill, and he`s a Democrat from Virginia who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee and who
was Hillary Clinton`s running mate back in 2016. And the senator joins me now from Washington.
Senator, welcome back to the program.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Can I first ask you about this tragedy of so many people, civilians being killed in this passenger plane that just was flying around
in the worst possible environment on Tuesday night. You`ve heard what intelligence seems to be concluding now, that this was potentially an
Iranian missile, surface-to-air missile that caused this plane to come down.
Do you know anything more about it? What`s your comment about that?
KAINE: Well, it`s a huge tragedy, Christiane, and I don`t know anything more other than what I am reading. So, I`m not privy to intel. But, you
know, the likelihood to me seems this, that Iran had taken this action by missile against the bases in Iraq. And Iran was expecting incoming from the
United States, and miscalculated and thought this plane might have been a military plane and shot it down. It`s eerily reminiscent.
You remember the USS Vincennes shooting down an Iranian airliner in 1988. When there`s escalated tensions things like this happen and they`re
tragedies and more reason for de-escalating.
AMANPOUR: So, Senator, I mean, it sorts of leads me into what you are doing, as we said. I mean, these are some of the unintended consequences of
war and we`ve seen unprecedented levels of military confrontation between the United States and Iran over this past week.
Tell me, beyond what we just said and sort of brief, what you are trying to do to actually reassert Congress` prerogative in this important endeavor
and that is the declaration of war.
KAINE: Absolutely, Christiane. And what I`m trying to do is what I also tried to do when President Obama was president.
I have consistently argued, under Democratic and now Republican presidents, that Congress has given up the most sober power that we should guard, which
is the power to initiate war.
So, President Trump after he tore up the nuclear deal with Iran, there has just been this series of escalating back and forth acts between Iran and
the United States and proxies and allies. That has led now to Iran and the United States inflicting battlefield casualties on the other.
My argument is, look, let`s listen to what the framers of our Constitution said. The antidote to escalation is deliberation and deliberation by
Congress. They made the declaration of war a legislative power not for the president, and they did it for a really important value. It`s not fair to
order troops into harm`s way, whether they can be killed or injured or see their friends killed or injured unless Congress is willing to have the
debate in the view of the American public and say, this war is in the national interest. That`s what I`m trying to reassert.
So, the bill likely be heard in the Senate next week that I filed and that has bipartisan support would say, we need to stop hostilities against Iran,
unless Congress does a specific declaration of war or authorization, or to defend against imminent attack, which is always the right of the president
to do. But absent those circumstances, we shouldn`t be involved in another war. And I want to have this debate on the floor of the Senate and we`ll
get to have that debate next week.
AMANPOUR: Well, before I ask you specifically about the War Powers Act, I want to ask you about what you just said, absent a ticking time bomb or
imminent attack that the president needs to act immediately in self-defense of the nation.
AMANPOUR: This is what the president has said about seeking authorization for military action. He seems to think that he has this automatic power.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t have and you shouldn`t have to be able because you have to make split-second decisions
sometimes. Sometimes you have to move very, very quickly, John. But in certain cases, I wouldn`t even mind doing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, he says he doesn`t have to, but in certain cases I wouldn`t mind.
But here`s the thing, you used the crucial term, basically, you know, intelligence of an imminent threat. You have just been briefed --
KAINE: Imminent threat, yes.
AMANPOUR: You have just been briefed and some of your fellow Congress people have dismissed the intelligence that led to the killing of Qasem
Soleimani. So, talk to us about that.
KAINE: Well, I`m not going to talk about what I heard in the classified briefing, but let me talk about the issue. Imminent has a real meaning.
Imminent means there are plans and that some decision has been made to carry out the plans.
Every nation has plans. We have war plans against Iran, that`s publicly available.
But the issue isn`t plans, it`s plans and has there been some decision made to carry out the plans. What I heard in the briefing room yesterday led me
to believe that they were far short of sort of an imminent.
And if there`s no -- the president is right, if it is, in fact, imminent, the president has the ability to defend the nation without coming to
Congress to ask for permission. Although, consultation with legislative leadership is what virtually all presidents do. But it does have to be
imminent. And if it`s not imminent, then it`s Congress` job to initiate war not the whim of one person.
This, again, it`s not about President Trump; it`s about a pattern that Democrats and Republicans, under presidencies of both parties have allowed
to persist over some time where Congress has just not taken its responsibility seriously.
I`m angrier at Congress than I am at presidents. I understand that presidents overreach. I`m angry that Congress abdicates the important role
that we play in having this debate. How dare we order people to risk their lives if we`re not willing to stand and be counted and say, this war is in
the national interest?
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, you just mentioned about, you know, your resolution and I`m wondering, as you said, when it`s going to come to the
Senate. But this is what Nancy Pelosi, house speaker, said about the vote that`s going on right there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA): We`re taking this path because it does not require a statement by the -- a signature of the president of the United
States. This is a statement of the Congress of the United States. And I will not have that statement be diminished by whether the president will
veto it or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Some critics are saying the Congress version, the House version, essentially doesn`t have many teeth. Will the Senate version be different?
I mean, do you disagree with that and will the Senate version have actual binding teeth, so to speak?
KAINE: Yes, and let me explain it this way. I don`t critique the House`s bill. They`re doing what they`re doing for a reason.
But my bill is a privileged bill, which means I get a vote on it on the floor and I get a vote within a reasonable period of time and on a simple
majority, not the elevated, you know, 60-vote threshold that`s applied to virtually everything else. If it passes, it goes to the House. I believe it
would pass the House and it would go to the president`s desk.
I want to put this on the president`s desk. Now, he could veto it. And if he did, it would be hard to override the veto. But, Christiane, what we`ve
learned here is when we speak strongly and put a bill like that on the president`s desk, even if he vetoes it, it can have an effect.
We did a similar vote last year to stop the U.S. from participating in the Saudi`s disastrous prosecution of the civil war in Yemen. And we had a
majority vote in both Houses, and it went to the president`s desk and he vetoed it and then we couldn`t override it. But guess what, the
administration stopped refueling the Saudi jets on the way to the bombing runs because of what we did.
The president didn`t like the resolution but behavior was changed because the president saw a majority of both of these bodies representing the
American electorate are telling him, this is not what we want to do. And I believe a resolution that gets to the president`s desk, if we can, is going
to have an effect on behavior and potentially be part of what we need to do here, which is to de-escalate.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you further because we`re talking about this real and present issue right now which is Iran and the United States.
AMANPOUR: And I know you didn`t want to. You don`t want to discuss a classified briefing. But some of your colleagues were not so reticent, some
Republican colleagues, including Senator Mike Lee. This is what he said about the quality and the nature of the briefing you received.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT): Probably the worst briefing I`ve seen, at least, on a military issue in the nine years I`ve served in the United States Senate.
To come in and tell us that we can`t debate and discuss the appropriateness of military intervention against Iran. That`s un-American, it`s
unconstitutional and it`s wrong.
They`re appearing before a coordinate branch of government, a coordinate branch of government responsible for their funding, for their confirmation,
for any approval of any military action they might undertake. And they had to leave after 75 minutes, while they`re in the process of telling us that
we need to be good little boys and girls and run along and not debate this in public. I find that absolutely insane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, it`s pretty direct. I haven`t heard Republican senators be so angry about something like this in a long time. And there`s Senator
Lee standing with Senator Rand Paul. But are they outliers or do you feel that your Republican colleagues are also equally troubled about this?
KAINE: Christian, there were three problems with the briefing. What I can`t disclose is intel. But I can characterize challenges. Three things
that made members mad, Democrats and Republicans.
One, the evidence of an imminent threat was very underwhelming, bluntly. Two, the attitude of the administration about the role of Congress in this
was extremely dismissive. That was the thing that I think made Mike Lee the angriest.
At some point, one of the members said something like, you know, you should be seeking our authority but, if not that, at least consulting with us.
And one of the administration briefers said, well, I`m here consulting with you now.
Coming by days after something with a paltry presentation is not really confrontation. And there was an audible groan in the room at that.
A third issue, which is really important that left me very unsatisfied is the briefers were very cavalier about the effect of all of this on the
U.S./Iraq relationship. We`ve spent so much blood and treasure in Iraq and we`ve worked so closely with them to defeat ISIS.
And now, the Iraqi parliament is voting to kick U.S. troops out. The Iraqi prime minister is in protests on the streets, saying turn the U.S. out.
We`re engaging in military strikes on Iraqi soil over their objection.
Iraq has said to us, we want you to fight ISIS but you are not allowed to turn Iraq into a coliseum where the U.S. and Iran battle out geopolitics
and hurt Iraqis in the process.
And so, with their objection and we waged the strikes anyway, we`ve really hurt the U.S./Iraq relationship. And if U.S. troops have to exit Iraq, it`s
going to embolden Iran and embolden ISIS. The administration was cavalier about that, oh, don`t worry. We`ll be fine with Iraq, they`re always mad
I view that as insulting.
AMANPOUR: I just want to ask you finally because I know you have to run, there are the usual suspects who are saying that if you don`t give the
president this unfettered and free hand, then you`re just appeasing the enemy, et cetera, tying his hands.
On the other hand, the American people seem to be speaking. The poll right -- today, you know, by the "USA Today," about this round of hostilities
shows that 55 percent of the Americans say killing Soleimani makes the U.S. less safe.
57 percent oppose U.S. air strikes on Iran cultural targets. But 53 percent, a majority, support you, support Congress, limiting President
Trump`s ability to order military strikes. Do you believe that is something that will hold sway in Congress as a whole?
KAINE: Yes, I think the American public, the more they see this, the more they are going to want to say, we`re tired of blundering into wars. You
know, what do we get with these wars? Do we get appreciation? Do we get -- do we accomplish anything?
The American public has been -- you know, knows we`ve been in war since 2001 now. The Iraq war was premised on a lie that Iraq had weapons of mass
destruction. That makes people skeptical.
They`ve seen their loved ones deployed again and again and again, and they grapple with -- and for what purpose or what good end was accomplished?
That doesn`t mean that we won`t be vigorous in protecting the United States or protecting on our interests, but I think what the American public wants
us to do is not just blunder into it on the whims of any one person but carefully deliberate before we commit our best and brightest to carry out
So, I think the American public is going to be very much with us on this. And I don`t think President Trump cares about Congress, but he does care
what the American public thinks.
AMANPOUR: And he has said and he campaigned on it, he doesn`t want to get into endless wars. So, we`ll wait to see how these progresses through the
House, through the Senate.
Senator Tim Kaine, thank you for joining us.
KAINE: Absolutely. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, let`s get more now on that passenger plane crash and reaction from Tehran where Fred Pleitgen is standing by and he`s been
getting some reaction from the Civil Aviation Authority.
Fred, what can you tell us?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you`re absolutely right, Christiane. We managed to reach the head of the Iranian
Civil Aviation Authority and we put this information to him that U.S. intel services have been putting out there saying that they now increasingly
believe that the plane may have been shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.
Now, he did not flat-out deny that that may have been the case. However, he did say that he does have his doubts. He said the reason for that is that
the plane took off, it flew for several minutes, I think they said in the end it flew for about five minutes. At some point, there seemed to be a
problem and the plane tried to make its way back to the Imam Khomeini Airport.
He says that if the plane would have -- or in his estimation, if the plane would have been hit by a missile, struck by a missile, it would have
stopped its forward progress immediately and plunged to the ground. He basically said, how can a plane try to make a move and go back to the
airport if it was hit by a missile? So, that`s the head of the Aviation Authority.
We also asked him, what about the black boxes? Because the Iranians have obviously said they`re not going to send these black boxes back to Boeing.
He says that the Iranians generally have the capability to read these black boxes. However, he also says that the black boxes have been damaged.
There`s a team of Ukrainian inspectors here. And he says, tomorrow the Iranian and Ukrainian inspectors are going to try and get read outs from
the black boxes.
However, if that turns out to be a problem, because one of the black boxes is damaged, then they might ask the French and Canadians for help and even
send in those black boxes over there. So, right now, the Iranians are aware of this information that U.S. Intelligence Services have been putting out
there, that they are -- or the head of the Civil Aviation Authority is saying he has doubts about whether or not the plane was indeed struck by a
missile. However, he does not seem to be ruling it out.
Meanwhile, on the ground, crews there are obviously working to sift through the debris, to do their work there. There was apparently one inspector on
the ground who said no missile debris has been found so far. But, of course, we know from the Ukrainian, from the National Security Advisor of
the Ukrainians that one of the theories that they`re working with is that the plane may have been struck by a missile.
They`re talking about a Tor surface-to-air missile system, which the U.S. qualifies as the SA-15, which is a low altitude, short range surface-to-air
missile system used to hit slow flying planes. It is manufactured by Russia. But apparently, is also generally in use by the Iranian aerospace
and air defense forces. Of course, unclear to us whether or not a system like that may have been positioned at the Imam Khomeini Airport or at
around the Imam Khomeini Airport.
So, still, obviously, a lot of questions out there. Ukrainian experts on the ground here and the Iranians are saying that whatever comes of the
information on those black boxes, this is again from the head of the Civil Aviation Authority, whatever information comes out of that will be made
public to the world, as he put it straight to us, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Fred, thank you so much for that reporting from Tehran. Thanks very much indeed.
And of course, this comes after first the Ukrainians and the Iranians said it was a mechanical crisis. And now, as you can see, there`s apparently new
We`re waiting to finally get the results from those black boxes if we can. But, of course, this took place during those hostilities on Tuesday night
between the United States and Iran. The unintended consequences of war as we`ve been discussing with Senator Kaine.
Turning now to what would be and could be a pivotal moment for the British Royal Family right here. Harry and Meghan, otherwise known as Duke and
Duchess Sussex, say that they`re stepping back as senior royals. The Royal Family are said to be "hurt" and the palace says, they are complicated
issues to work through and it takes time.
In the couple`s statement on Wednesday, they say they want to work to become financially independent and will split their time between the U.K.
and North America. More questions than answers about what this next phase could look like both for the couple and the entire Royal Family.
So, let`s explore this unusual situation, unprecedented even with Dickie Arbiter. He`s the former press secretary to the queen. And from "The New
York Times," the London bureau chief, Mark Landler.
Welcome, both of you, back to the program.
DICKIE ARBITER, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: We`ve had you both on for different reasons. And now, we`re talking about this. Dickie Arbiter, could this have been done seriously
honestly without the queen or palace knowing? I mean, now, we`re hearing a little bit, and I`m not sure how much stock you put into it, but reports
that the queen tried to urge Harry not to put this out at this time?
ARBITER: The only person who knew that was -- what was going to be happening was the Prince of Wales. He`d been consulted before Christmas.
And he told Harry to go away and work out the nuts and bolts of what they were planning. It`s no good coming with a plan unless you`ve got the whole
of the operation mapped out. And Harry --
AMANPOUR: This is news, I haven`t heard this before.
ARBITER: Yes. Well, he did speak to the Prince of Wales. I didn`t get this exactly from the horse`s mouth but I got it from his groom.
AMANPOUR: Good. OK. That`s good enough for us tonight, the groom.
ARBITER: But, yes. And Harry was told to go away and work out the logistics. And it`s a logistical nightmare, it`s all question of finance.
It`s how are we going to live in one country and the other one? What are you going to do? How are you going to -- are you going to earn money? Are
you going to be able to earn money? Are you going to make sure that you don`t fall into bed with the wrong people, as so many royals have done in
the past? Look at Andrew.
So -- and the question of security. What about security? Who`s going to pay for this? The Canadians aren`t going to pay for it. The Brits are going to
be expected to fork out for it? They`re already spending a lot of money on it already.
So, he`s got it worked out, but he seem to go ahead as he has done on so many times, overshadowing -- overshadowed William on New Year`s Eve with
William launching an initiative on climate change over a ten-year period, offering prizes every year to groups who could come up with an element of
how we change the climate. But harry overshadowed it by releasing a picture on in Instagram of him cuddling Archie.
You know, they`ve just been doing their own thing without any cause of the consequence.
AMANPOUR: I can see that you disapprove. You are -- you know, you know -- what should I say, a traditionalist. You have spent a lot of time working
for the queen.
ARBITER: No, it`s not so much a traditionalist. But it is something that is totally unprecedented.
ARBITER: The last person was Edward VIII.
ARBITER: He walked away, went off and married Wallis Simpson and never lived happily ever after. And he didn`t work. He was hoping to live on
handouts, which he got. But I don`t know what Harry and Meghan think they are actually going to do.
AMANPOUR: Well, we`ll come back to that because this is a different world, it`s a modern world, they`re both very well-known. She actually has a
career. He has all sorts of charity programs. But I want to dig down deeper into --
ARBITER: He only got the charities because he`s a prince --
AMANPOUR: That`s true. That`s true. But that`s what I want to explore. You know, it`s his halfway house. He will still be a royal, he will still be a
prince of the United Kingdom.
But, you know, you`ve been reporting about this, Mark Landler. I mean, this is not something that just Britain is engaged in right now. The whole Royal
Family is important all over the world. People are really interested in -- particularly, in Harry and Meghan. What are you hearing and what are you
reporting for the American audience?
MARK LANDLER, LONDON BUREAU CHIEF, THE NEW YORK TIMES: We`re going to report much the same thing about the timetable, about when the Prince of
Wales was told about this and the message he gave to his son.
On your question of how resonant this story is, one of my colleagues in the Washington Bureau of the Times sent me a note overnight saying, it`s
interesting as I look at your new job over there that the entire Washington Bureau was buzzing yesterday afternoon moments after President Trump made
this very important announcement about tensions between the U.S. and Iran, about Harry and Meghan.
So, this story really has enormous resonance. You see people like Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey making public statements of support for Meghan.
She`s a globally significant character and figure. She`s also, obviously, a very new element for this family with her mixed racial background.
And so, I think, that from an American perspective, a lot of the focus will be on her and whether she can find a path forward that works for her and
allows her to continue to play what is seen as sort of a very interesting progressive role in this family, whether she can do that within the bounds
of the obligations that her husband and her have both taken on, I think is somewhat of an open question but one that will transfix audiences around
the world, not just in Britain.
AMANPOUR: I`m not sure. I saw you looking very interested at Mark Landler`s, you know, perspective, which is obviously different to yours and
different to much of what we`re hearing coming out of London, and out of Great Britain right now.
But to that point, I`d like to play what Meghan told the interviewer right on the moment of this engagement, that formal engagement interview back in
November of 2017, about her joy at taking on this new role.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: I think in these beginning few months and now, being boots on the ground in the U.K., I`m excited to just really
get to know more about the different communities here, smaller organizations who are working on the same causes that I`ve always been
passionate about under this umbrella. And also, being able to go around to the Commonwealth. I think it`s just the beginning of the --
HENRY CHARLES ALBERT DAVID, DUKE OF SUSSEX: There`s a lot to do. There`s a lot to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Harry is saying there`s a lot to do. Yes, there is. But she seemed to be fully embracing this. I mean, from your perspective, Dickie,
what went wrong? How did she go from being the darling, the couple was the darling, a progressive new couple, interracial, mixed marriage, royal
commoner, so to speak, it was sort of a breath of fresh air, the wedding was just lionized here in Britain? What happened here?
ARBITER: I think what happened is that they did a few wrong things, they did a few silly things, like going to a baby shower in New York. Nothing
wrong with going to a baby shower but there are half a dozen airlines that fly across the Atlantic without going on a private jet.
No good preaching climate change and saving the planet if you`re then going to leave a carbon footprint by traveling on a private jet. And not having
learned that lesson, they did it twice, both of them. They did it to (INAUDIBLE) and the South of France. And they got castigated in the media
because you can`t say one thing and do something else that`s contrary.
But having said that, they then went to Southern Africa and they got the most magnificent press they could ever wish, sort of almost going back to
the time of the wedding when they had wall-to-wall, perfectly -- 100 percent coverage from the time they got engaged right through to beyond the
wedding. So, they got perfect coverage. But what happened when the pen ultimate day, Harry had a go at the British press. And that was wrong
because they were there representing the queen.
They were there representing the U.K., flying the flag, because the U.K. has a lot of money invested in South Africa, in NGOs and in business. And
they ruined the whole of the aspect, the triumphal aspect of that visit. And that`s where things went wrong, and the media attacked them for that.
And I think they were right in doing so.
AMANPOUR: Some would say that he did that because the media had been attacking him and his wife. This is what he said, and it`s kind of
heartbreaking because the whole world knows that Harry was this little boy whose mother was, you know, killed in a terrible car crash, why, you know,
they blame packs of press.
My deepest fear, he said in South Africa, is history repeating itself. I`ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that
they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now, I watched my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces. And
then, Mark, Dickie, they said that they are going to sue, you know, certain reporters and newspapers and things like that.
It`s very complicated, the relationship between the royals and the tabloids. But this is a cry from the heart. How do you read this? I mean,
you`re a member of the press. Obviously, you know, you want to stand up for the right to report anything. But how do you read this?
LANDLER: There is a relationship between the press, particularly the tabloid press of Britain and the Royal Family that`s symbiotic but also
somewhat damaging for the royals, and particularly for Harry and William because of their unique and tragic experience with their mother and the
circumstances of her death.
But there are also some immutable laws about how this relationship operates. And I think that Harry, much of the tension of the last few years
has been Harry`s effort to break out of a relationship, to stop doing business with the press in the way his father does it, in the way other
members of the family do it.
One of the interesting things about this new website that the couple have put up is they`re going to change the rules of engagement with the press.
They`re not going to do business with the rotation of royal correspondents that staff Buckingham Palace. Will they be able to actually get away with
that? Who knows. The coverage of the first day or so of this announcement has been predictably savage with most of the blame falling on the prince
and particularly on Meghan.
And so, I think that sadly for Prince Harry and his wife, as I watch the --
MARK LANDLER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Will they be able to actually get away with that? Who knows?
The coverage of the first day or so of this announcement has been predictably savage, with most of the blame falling on the prince and
particularly on Meghan.
And so I think that, sadly, for Prince Harry and his wife, as I watch this unfold, they will try very hard to break the shackles of a well-established
relationship. I think they will only be somewhat successful.
And they will may a high and continuing price in negative coverage from these same reporters.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Can I ask you, Dickie, because there has been obviously for decades -- and let`s just take the
She`s had fantastic coverage for almost every day of her reign, because she`s a particularly...
DICKIE ARBITER, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO QUEEN ELIZABETH II: But she`s had bad coverage too.
AMANPOUR: She has had some, but she`s had -- she`s considered above the fray.
And her commitment to duty is unparalleled and unquestioned, to the -- almost to the absence of everything else.
But don`t you agree that the British tabloid press is savage? It can destroy after it embraces, and it turns on a dime like that.
ARBITER: It turns on a dime like that. The royals are not the only people that it turns on. They turn on celebrities.
AMANPOUR: But they are particularly in the focus all the time, because they sell tabloids.
ARBITER: Yes. The royals are vulnerable because the royals don`t fight back. And the royals can`t fight back.
AMANPOUR: There you go.
ARBITER: And that is the problem.
But you talk about Diana. Diana was partially savaged by the press. She was pursued by the paparazzi. But Diana courted the media as well. She used to
phone up the media for stories.
And I remember traveling back from the States with Diana once from New York, once from Washington. And as soon as we were up there, she unbuckled
her belt and went to the back of the plane to chat up with the media. You couldn`t actually keep her away from the media.
AMANPOUR: Well, you could say she was trying to chat them up and talk to them as a normal person, rather than have -- she was pursued, and it was
I remember listening to what -- the horrible words that the paps used to shouted her just to get him to turn around and look at them.
This is what Meghan said about -- I think about what she had been told by her friends when she first met Harry. Let`s just listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: I first met my now husband. My friends were really happy because I was so happy.
But my British friends said to me, I`m sure he`s great, but you can`t do it, because the British tabloids will destroy your life.
And I very naively -- oh, I`m American. We don`t have that there.
What are you talking about? That doesn`t make any sense. I`m not in tabloids. I didn`t get it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ARBITER: That`s pretty rich saying, in America, you don`t have tabloids. What is "The National Enquirer"?
AMANPOUR: No, you do. Of course you do have national...
ARBITER: Of course you do.
AMANPOUR: But it`s very different.
LANDLER: I think there`s a real clash here in media culture, because Meghan is not only an American. She`s an American actress who was in
Hollywood, who had a Hollywood agent, who was represented by a Hollywood public relations firm.
Those people are used to a very different way of interacting with the press. It`s generally far more controlled. It`s far more stage-managed. And
I think that part of what she has struggled with is not just the tabloids as an institution, but the fact that they are so radically different from
the media relationship that she was accustomed to in the United States, in Hollywood.
And that clash is playing out in a dramatic way in Harry and Meghan`s struggle.
AMANPOUR: Dickie, can I ask you, do you think this might actually be a template for the future?
It`s kind of known -- and you can tell me, keep me honest -- that Prince Charles would like a more slimmed-down family. He already thinks it`s way
too sprawling and there`s way too many royals sort of getting the royal treatment, so to speak, and the privy purse and all the rest of it.
And in Europe, as we know, there are plenty of monarchies with only the focus on the monarch and maybe the crown prince or princess.
Maybe this is something that should happen. They should be able to go out and try to earn some money and be more independent and, as they say, keep
doing the duties that the queen wants them to do.
ARBITER: As a royal, you can`t do both.
AMANPOUR: But you can in Europe.
ARBITER: You can in Europe, but you can`t do both.
We had that experience with Edward and Sophie Wessex. They tried to do both. Edward tried to be a film producer.
AMANPOUR: That`s the queen`s fourth son and his wife.
ARBITER: That`s right.
Tried to be a TV producer and to be a royal as well. It didn`t work.
AMANPOUR: Maybe he just wasn`t a very good TV producer.
ARBITER: He was a very good day -- they produced some very good television programs, very good documentaries.
AMANPOUR: OK. I stand corrected.
ARBITER: The trouble is that the networks didn`t want it, because they thought here`s this upstart coming into produce programs. We have been
doing it all our lives. And why should he get at the front of the queue?
AMANPOUR: They are stuck, really,whichever way you kind of -- between a rock and a hard place. They really are. They`re demonized or lionized, no
matter what they do.
AMANPOUR: But I do also want to end on the racial issue. Harry was very clear he was very upset with the coverage of his then fiancee.
And since their marriage, he has brought it up. Meghan`s mother is black. She`s biracial, Meghan. And Britain has been criticized heavily for being -
- for some of the racist tone, as Harry says, of the coverage.
Isn`t it time just to get a grip here?
ARBITER: It is time to get a grip here. And these sort of racial overtones are totally unacceptable.
But the biggest problem is social media. And social media sort of overlaps onto mainstream -- mainstream media. And people read something on social
media, on Twitter, or on Instagram, they think, that`s come from the mainstream media. And, unfortunately, it hasn`t.
And there are a lot of sick people out there who are Twittering and Instagramming and saying all sorts of bad things, and it`s reflecting on
the media as an organization.
AMANPOUR: So, final to both of you. What do you think we`re going to see in the next few weeks, months? I mean, you say that he was sent away to
come up with a plan. I mean, I don`t know whether he has come up with a plan.
LANDLER: I was trying by one thing during the queen`s televised Christmas message, which was a very conspicuous picture of her holding the child
Archie, and her talking about the importance of family.
I guess I have a gut instinct that she really values that, that she cares a lot about Harry and Meghan and this grandchild. So I sort of feel, at the
end of the day, there may be a very awkward period here, and some recrimination for how this happened, but they will want to fix it, they
will want to find a path forward.
And I think, in the course of doing that, it may not be an easy process. Harry and Meghan will probably be disappointed by the limitations, and the
family may be forced to go farther than they`re comfortable with. But perhaps they will find a compromise that will, in fact, allow this couple
to chart a new course.
And I still think there`s a possibility for it being an exciting development for the family, albeit one with some rough moments.
ARBITER: There is a great big job for them to do. They were created president and vice president the Queen`s Commonwealth Trust, which they
said they wanted to get involved in.
There`s a big commonwealth, 53 countries. Get out there and do the job.
AMANPOUR: Well, they`re moving to Canada, apparently. That`s their first step then. Canada is a commonwealth. The queen`s the queen of Canada too.
Dickie Arbiter, Mark Landler, thank you so much for being with us.
Returning now to the United States, as tensions with Iran take center stage, Customs and Border Protection have denied reports of Iranian-
Americans being detained and refused entry at the border between Canada and Washington state.
Now, Cyrus Habib is the lieutenant governor of that state. His parents immigrated to the United States from Iran before he was born. And he is the
highest-ranking Iranian-American elected official in the U.S.
He spoke to our Hari Sreenivasan about these claims and his own personal experience of going blind at the age of just 8.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Lieutenant Governor, what did your office hear about what happened with detention at
the U.S.-Canada border over the weekend?
LT. GOV. CYRUS HABIB (D-WA): Yes, I first started getting text messages and e-mails early Sunday morning from Iranian-Americans whom I actually
know personally saying, either this is something that`s happened to my family, or this is something I have been hearing about. Could you look into
And so, at that point, we then -- I notified my staff. We connected our federal delegation and reached out to Iranian-American interest groups, the
civil liberties groups and others. And very quickly we were all able to get on the same page and start collecting more information about what had been
SREENIVASAN: So, what were some of these people who you knew describing happened to them?
HABIB: What we heard is that Iranian-Americans, U.S. citizens, who had been visiting Vancouver for the weekend, which is quite common among
Washingtonians to go cross the border -- in this case, I think a good number of these Iranian-Americans had gone to Vancouver for a pop concert,
that, when they were on their way back to cross back into the United States, they were asked to leave their car.
When they were going through -- driving through the border, they were -- after the kind of routine questioning, they were asked to leave their car,
park their car, and then go into a processing center, where they waited for several hours, without being given any explanation as to why, and then
brought into an office and asked questions by an officer.
The questions included things like, tell us about any times that you have gone to Iran. When was the last time? Who are your parents, uncles,
siblings, cousins? Do they have any tie to the Iranian military, Iranian government?
Lots of questions about, what do you do? Where do you live? All of these kinds of things.
And then, after that questioning, they were asked to wait again for several hours while that information was shared with some other either center or
it`s not clear with whom.
And then, in some cases, they were asked even some follow-up questions. And then, finally they were let go. And so we heard about folks, again, U.S.
citizens, being held at the border, not allowed to come back into their home country, for anywhere from five to, in one case, we heard over 10, 12
SREENIVASAN: Besides the inconvenience, is there something that these border authorities are asking that is beyond the purview, that they should
not be asking when people are coming across the U.S. border?
HABIB: In my view, there`s no reason to treat Iranian-Americans any differently than any other American.
And so, my position is, I can understand if it`s the belief of Homeland Security that we are in a state of heightened security. You know, in my
opinion, that is a direct consequence of the way in which the president has handled our relationship with Iran, whether it`s through withdrawing
through from the joint comprehensive plan of action, the so-called Iran deal, or the escalation with respect to the drone attack that killed
Perhaps -- and I think it`s highly likely that that has placed Americans at greater risk. But if that`s the case, the security measures we need to take
include asking everybody extra questions. So if there`s a security issue, then all of us, when we come back into the country, need to be treated
That`s no excuse for racial profiling. So, it`s very clear there`s racial profiling going on when, A, the people who are being held are Iranian-
Americans and there`s no reports of others. And, plus, the Iranian- Americans could very clearly hear others speaking Farsi. They could recognize that the others were Iranian-American.
And, then, B, the questions that are being asked are very clearly tied to a concern about the tensions with Iran, so questions being asked like, do you
have family members in the Iranian Guard, et cetera?
So all of those are completely inappropriate, in my view. The U.S. passport, you know, is -- in my view is -- it`s like a key to your house.
And so, when you come home at the end of your day, the last thing that you deserve is for a stranger standing in front of your house saying, I know
you got the keys to get in, but just we have got to ask you a few questions about what you`re doing in the neighborhood first.
SREENIVASAN: Look, I can hear in the echo -- in the back of my head, I can hear a supporter of the president saying, listen, so you`re suggesting that
these same questions be asked of every person coming across the border at a time when we just took out a military leader of a specific country, we know
that there are people who are Iranian-American coming back into the country?
If there was a time for reprisal, this would be that moment. Should this not be the moment that CBP be more vigilant?
HABIB: So I`m not denying that this may be a time when CBP should be more vigilant.
But Iranian-Americans are Americans. I was -- the farthest east I was born is Baltimore. So, we are Americans. We either were born in this country or
went through the extensive process, vetting process, and waiting times, and all the different elements to get a visa, get a green card, and then stay
here long enough, take the test and become naturalized U.S. citizens.
So, all of us are Americans. And when we start going down the path of saying, well, who are your parents, who are your grandparents, what`s your
last name, then we are headed down the path that we here on the West Coast know all too well every time we learn about the history of Japanese-
American internment, where there were U.S. citizens who happened to be of Japanese descent being interned in -- essentially in concentration camps.
And so while we`re clearly not there yet, and I don`t want to suggest any kind of comparison in degree, in my mind, this is a very similar tonal move
on the part of Homeland Security to start treating United States citizens like we are different from other Americans.
SREENIVASAN: Over the weekend, Homeland Security put out a statement saying that their enhanced posture at its ports of entry is to safeguard
our national security and protect the American people while simultaneously protecting the civil rights and liberties of everyone.
Do you think they did that?
HABIB: What we have seen is a lot of gaslighting from the Trump administration on this issue, where they have been telling us, we don`t
know what you`re talking about. There`s been no directive to target Iranian-Americans. And then they make these kind of generic statements like
what you`re describing.
But I don`t think there`s any question. If we had a -- if there were a security incident in New York City, and the New York Police Department were
to say, we`re going to just ask all African-Americans to not cross the Brooklyn Bridge until we can just ask them a few questions, we just want to
ask a few questions, and, in the end, you will be fine, you will go on your way, I think we would all know deep in our bones that that was racial
I think we would all know that civil rights and civil liberties are being violated. And so I think it`s important here to recognize that this is not
an immigration issue.
Look, as much as I disagreed -- and Washington state was the first state to sue over the travel ban -- and I disagreed with it and still do think it`s
unconstitutional and immoral, in that case, at least you`re talking about folks who are looking to come into the United States as immigrants or
guests into the country.
But the distinction here is that, when I come from Canada back into the United States, or from England and fly back to the United States, I`m not
immigrating. You know, I`m coming home.
SREENIVASAN: They also put out a statement to a lot of different media agencies saying: "Social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-
Americans and refusing their entry into the U.S. because of their country of origin are false."
HABIB: Yes, it`s totally gaslighting people.
"The New York Times" has reported over 100. We personally -- I have spoken to either family members, and my staff has spoken to family members or
individuals, and about 10 just in my office, about 60 among us here in Washington state across the set of leaders who have been addressing this
So it`s completely false. It`s either intentionally dishonest or using the type of bureaucratic double-speak that`s meant to at least confuse people.
SREENIVASAN: How much of this feels personal to you?
HABIB: It`s very personal.
I will say, I mean, you know, we all feel it personally, as Americans, any time we see injustice in our country. You know, I do believe that injustice
anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
And, certainly, we have seen people of color being -- and immigrants and new Americans being disparaged, being mistreated, asylum seekers being held
under ghastly circumstances at our southern border.
All of those affect us, as Americans.
I will say, in this instance, personally, it feels like kind of particularly powerful and poignant, because the experience of coming back
across the border is something that almost every Washingtonian knows. We very much view British Columbia as a neighbor.
But I will also say, for all of us, since 9/11, Middle Eastern Americans, we always kind of have a sense when we fly back into the country or go
through Immigration and Customs, we always have a little bit of a sense, well, we better be on our best behavior, or what might happen, which is
really unfair in the first place, that, as U.S. citizens, we should feel that kind of sense of nervousness when coming back to our own home country.
So, of course, I -- because I share that identity, I not only feel outrage on behalf of my constituents, but also I can identify -- I can identify
with these individuals in a very special way.
SREENIVASAN: So, here you are, an American of Iranian descent. How do you use your position of influence to change this?
HABIB: Well, the first thing is that, by speaking with you and other media outlets, what I`m doing and what I think we need to do who care about this
is to am amplify these voices and tell their stories, first of all, to put the Trump administration on notice, to say to them, no, actually, when you
do this, when you do this to five people or 50 people or 500 people, we`re going to know.
We`re going to call you out, and we`re going to call you to account to explain to us, why are you racially profiling? Why are you violating folks`
constitutional rights as Americans to have equal protection under the law? So that`s the first thing, is that we need to be amplifying those stories,
making sure that they are heard, and that the government knows that they cannot get away with doing this.
We are all going to be shining the light on what is going on at the border and what is going on at airports.
And then the second reason -- the second thing we`re doing is, we are collecting these stories, we are documenting them thoroughly. We have got
folks that have signed legal declarations, under threat of perjury.
And so we are collecting those so that, you know, we have the option to pursue both -- either at the governmental level through our -- through
state government or the civil liberties organizations, the Iranian American Bar Association, the ACLU, and others, to seek legal redress.
And then, finally, I have been in very close contact with Senator Patty Murray and other members of our delegation, so that they can use their
power in federal government, in Congress, which they already have, to push leaders in Homeland Security to get better answers and get better clarity
to make it clear this is unacceptable for our whole country.
But we feel it more powerfully here in Washington state, because we`re so proud of our border, we`re so proud of our the Peace Arch, and our
connection to British Columbia, so that`s what we`re doing.
But there`s one other thing that as, an Iranian-American, I think it`s important for me to do, which is, on this larger issue of U.S.-Iranian
tensions, I think it`s really important that other Americans, my fellow Americans know and understand, Iranian-Americans are no friends of the
Iranian regime, absolutely want to see reform and liberalization in Iran.
But they know we know the way to do that is through engagement and that, when we escalate, all we do is strengthen the hand of the clerical regime
in Iran. All we do is to cause Iranians who may otherwise be reform-minded to rally around the national flag of Iran, because there is tremendous --
as you know, tremendous national pride, tremendous patriotism in Iran.
So, when there`s a threat, I think we take a big step backward on that front as well. And that leaves the entire region and the entire world in a
SREENIVASAN: I want to invite our audience to understand you a little bit better. You`re wearing sunglasses because you have been blind since the age
HABIB: That`s right.
SREENIVASAN: But, despite that, you have managed to go to Columbia, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, Yale Law School, and be the first Iranian-American
elected to statewide office.
I want to kind of understand, what`s the driving force behind that?
HABIB: Well, I appreciate you telling that to people, so they`re not just wondering, why is this guy wearing sunglasses, especially in notoriously
Yes, I lost my eyesight as a child when I was 8 years old. I lost it to cancer. That was in 1989. So I often joke that all eight years I could see
did take place in the 1980s, so all my visual memories are still from the `80s. So everyone looks like Cyndi Lauper and Boy George.
We -- having had that happen to me, as you can imagine, was not only tough for me to adapt to, but for my parents, who were Iranian-Americans and
lived thousands of miles from the country of their birth. And, you know, to have your child go through cancer, lose his eyesight is so tough on a
But what they knew, which is really the truth about America, is that, at its best, this is a country where, no matter who you are, no matter what
your abilities are, no matter where your ancestors came from, this is a country where you ought to be able to work hard, take risks, and get ahead
and be given opportunity.
And so they did everything they could to teach me that lesson and to give me that boldness to go ahead and fulfill my own potential. And then, as I
got older, I realized that, you know, I had been so fortunate to have parents, including a mom who`s now a judge, she was an attorney when I was
a kid, who taught me my rights and who taught me about my right to be included, that I was so fortunate, and most people aren`t.
And yet there are so many who are excluded for various reasons. And so I decided I wanted to become a lawyer and go into elected office, so that I
could be an advocate for them, because I knew -- I`m -- I was fortunate enough to travel the road from braille to Yale, and that having a 24-hour-
a-day pro bono attorney as a mom was a big part of that. Most people don`t have that privilege.
And so that`s what I have sought to do for others who feel excluded and left out, same way as, you know, when I was in third grade, and I wasn`t
allowed to play on the playground, or later, when I was told, you can`t take advanced placement classes in science because you`re blind, the same
way these are Americans being -- being told, you can`t go home yet, you can`t go home yet.
Why? For no other reason other than, this is your last name.
And so, any time that happens, it takes me back to those earliest experiences of being excluded and treated differently.
SREENIVASAN: All right, Cyrus Habib, lieutenant governor of the state of Washington, thanks so much for joining us.
HABIB: Thank you so much for having me.
AMANPOUR: A remarkable story.
And, finally, Australia`s wildfires continue to blaze, killing at least 27 people and millions of animals. A massive area the size of Costa Rica has
Now some of the world`s biggest tennis stars have banded together to help raise money for the bushfire relief efforts. As questions are raised as to
whether the upcoming Australian Open Championship can go on ahead in this smoky heat, Grand Slam stars winners Serena Williams, Roger Federer, and
Rafael Nadal will play a charity match next week, giving all the proceeds to a relief fund.
And that`s it for now. You can always catch us online on our podcast and across social media.
Thanks for watching, and goodbye from London.