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As Impeachment Articles Head To The Senate And Democrats Debate, We Get Reaction From Two Key Swing States; A Battle Royale Rages Over Meghan And Harry's Future; French Intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy On Living With Kurdish Forces Fighting ISIS. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired January 15, 2020 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST, AMANPOUR: Hello everyone and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)`
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The President violated his oath of office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice over): As Impeachment Articles head to the Senate and Democrats debate, we get reaction from two key swing states.
Plus, a Battle Royale rages over Meghan and Harry's future. Frank discussion with social commentator, Afua Hirsch and Royal biographer,
Then French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy on living with Kurdish forces fighting ISIS.
AMANPOUR (on camera): Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Impeachment articles are heading to the Senate triggering a trial of President Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced the seven
Impeachment Managers who will argue the case against him.
Meantime, the Democrats campaign to oust him at the polls -- that continues.
And last night six candidates faced off in a debate which is the last time they'll do so before the Iowa caucuses. The crucial first test.
The last four Democrats to capture Iowa, also won the party's presidential nomination. Just to recap, they were Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama, and
then in 2016, Hillary Clinton.
The party, though now is split between two strands roughly described as moderate and progressive. Which faction stands out at this point?
Let's ask Democrats who represent both sides and hail from two key swing states. Former Democratic Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm joins me
from Des Moines, Iowa, and in Tallahassee, Florida, the former Democratic Mayor and Gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum. Welcome both of you to
I guess, let me ask you because we're having this debate, you know, 24 hours after the real debate, and right in the middle of something that
could have an effect on the campaign and that's the impeachment trial.
As we just said, the Articles are going to the Senate. I guess, first Governor Granholm. How do you think this will affect the Democratic
presidential campaign going forward?
JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), FORMER GOVERNOR OF MICHIGAN: The Impeachment Articles ...
GRANHOLM: ... are very important, right, to both of the strands, as you've described of the Democratic Party. I think the overarching issue,
even though the Democratic Party is very broad, has two very distinct sort of polls, everybody agrees that the most important thing is to get rid of
So the Impeachment Articles sort of underscore that. It underscores the importance for the Democrats of taking back the Senate because right now,
as you are aware, the Articles of Impeachment go from a Democratic House to a Republican Senate, it's not likely that the President will be impeached
and thrown out of office.
So the only recourse is November at the polls, and that's what the debate last night was all about. And I continue to tell you Democrats in Michigan,
Democrats in Florida, Democrats in Iowa and across the country think that is the number one issue despite disagreements on policy between moderates
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you, Andrew Gillum, since this is obviously an area in which you both agree, what effect will it have given the urgency of
the election on the fact that three of the candidates that are close to the top are actually sitting senators, and they're going to have to spend time
off the campaign trail in order to, you know, conduct their constitutional duty during this Senate trial?
ANDREW GILLUM (D), FORMER MAYOR OF TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA: Yes, Christiane, you're absolutely right, and all three of those senators, I think,
rightfully recognize that there are some things above the partisan politics of even running for President and that is being able to fulfill their
constitutional duty and obligation and that is to sit as jurors in this very, very important moment in this country.
But there will be some practical impacts here. If you are a senator Amy Klobuchar, for instance. This may be one of those things that takes a bit
of a toll on your campaign.
For the likes of Senator Warren and Senator Sanders who both have, you know pretty large profiles and could stand possibly being physically out of the
For Amy Klobuchar, who I think was really beginning to get her footing in states like Iowa and New Hampshire and gain some levels of popularity
there, I think it will hurt that she won't be able to be on the ground every single day milking as much as she can out of this moment.
And I think possibly creating a bit more of an opening for Pete Buttigieg or Vice President Biden, both who have no official role, obviously in the
impeachment hearing, and therefore can spend more time in many ways uninterrupted by the other principals campaigning and barnstorming the
State of Iowa.
AMANPOUR: Okay, so let's talk about Joe Biden because he is leading the pack in terms of the polls, certainly nationwide, and he is also the focus
of this impeachment crisis, at least his son and the fact that the President is accused of trying to, you know, talk to the Ukrainians about
interfering in the election by trying to dig up dirt on his opponent, Joe Biden, and this is what he said in the debate about that fact.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE Look, I've been the object of his affection now more than anybody else on this stage.
BIDEN: I've taken all the hits he can deliver and I'm getting better in the polls, mine are going up. And by the way, I have overwhelming support
from the African-American community, overwhelming, more than everybody else in this operation, number one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Okay, so two issues there for both of you to talk about. Governor Granholm, do you think that he is the best position given his, as
he says, you know, rough and tumble ability to confront Trump, stand up to Trump. Do you think he is the best position? You know, you're not a
disinterested party. You've worked a little bit for him. You are in Iowa right now.
GRANHOLM: Yes, I haven't endorsed anybody. But I do think that Joe Biden's experience -- international foreign policy experience, a long history of
knowing world leaders is really important to Iowans, especially at this moment when people feel insecure, unsafe, both at home and abroad in light
of President Trump's actions.
So I do think he is in the best position to be able to say, I can hit the ground running on day one.
His comments about his family taking -- him and his family being the object of Trump's affection -- obviously, Trump believes that he is the most
dangerous candidate to him should he proceed to the general election.
Obviously, Putin thinks that Joe Biden is the most dangerous candidate because we now see more evidence coming out that Lev Parnas, one of Rudy
Giuliani's associates not to get into details, but was instructed to ask the President of Ukraine about doing an investigation into the Biden's.
So there is a consensus it seems both at home and with the international players that Joe Biden is probably the most formidable candidate to run
against Donald Trump.
AMANPOUR: I'm not sure whether you agree with that, Andrew Gillum, and I don't know whether you've endorsed anybody, but I think that they would be
more on the progressive side.
So to you, do you think this, in fact, focus on Joe Biden may actually be an unwelcomed focus, this idea of, you know, whatever, even unproven, this
idea of a probe into alleged corruption by the issue of his son and Burisma and all the rest of it.
I mean, could it end up harming him and we haven't seen it really help the Democrats so much in the polls, especially in the swing states.
GILLUM: Yes. No, I have not endorsed a candidate for President. But I also believe that there are more options than just Joe Biden for -- candidates
on the Democratic side who could potentially compete and win this race for President.
I think when you ask the question of electability, no one in 2016 or 2015 would have identified Donald Trump as the most electable Republican running
for President of the United States.
Many will have doubted even a candidate like Barack Obama in 2007 would be the best option for Democrats to take back the White House from George W.
And so, in many ways, what I think people are going to be looking for is authenticity. They want to hear their lived experiences, their lived
stories reflected. They want to hear from a candidate who projects the strength and the power and the vision of a future that is going to make
their lives better off.
Now, obviously, this investigation, this impeachment hearing is going to be a bit of a distraction to the extent that Republicans like Lindsey Graham,
and certainly the President of the United States, and some of their, you know, acolyte cohorts, and the Congress who are going to try to make it a
kangaroo court and distract from the seriousness of what's happening here.
But we should not cheapen this moment. This is a very, very somber and serious moment in the United States, only for the third time in the history
of this country will we be undertaking an impeachment of a sitting President.
GILLUM: A President who leveraged and some might even used a stronger word like bribe a foreign country to investigate a political rival, one of which
he seems to be terrified of facing off against in November.
So these charges are very serious. This is a serious undertaking, and I hope that the members of the Republican leadership in the Senate treat it
with the sobriety that it requires and helps to reestablish faith in the American democratic system that we don't bully foreign countries to do our
political bidding on behalf of a political campaign for the President of the United States. It is un-American, and it's undemocratic.
AMANPOUR: And we will be watching this drama unfold, this sort of legal- political drama in the Senate unfold.
But let's get back to the debate and the politics of this. I want to ask you, because I think this is where you may differ a little bit, and that is
on an issue -- we've talked about foreign policy -- but I was amazed that the Iraq War came back into this.
I mean, that was 17 years ago, and yes, the votes for the Iraq War have been used politically ever since. But look at this back and forth between
Biden and Sanders on their record on the Iraq War of 2003.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: It was a mistaken vote, but I think my record overall, on everything we've done, has been -- I'm prepared to compare it to anybody's
on this stage.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Joe and I listened to what Dick Cheney and George Bush and Rumsfeld had to say, I thought they
were lying. I didn't believe them for a moment. I took to the floor. I did everything I could to prevent that war. Joe saw it differently.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So is this a valid stance, a valid point of principle to stand on even, you know, several cycles after that war, Jennifer Granholm?
GRANHOLM: Yes, I mean, I understand why it's being raised, your whole record is up for grabs when you run for President.
But the fact that somebody acknowledges -- Joe Biden acknowledges that he made a mistake, that he was listening to the words of the President, to
Colin Powell as well, about the need to go to authorize the war. You know, that is sort of a reflection back because what we're experiencing now is
listening to a President who is not going to Congress to seek authorization when bombs out or he eliminates General Soleimani, for example, in Iran.
And so, I think that somebody who acknowledges that they listened to somebody and made a mistake is -- you know, is just as or perhaps even more
compelling, because, you know, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
You might be super attuned to the distortions and the lies coming from the current administration. Not that Bernie Sanders is not. I'm just saying
that everything is up for grabs.
I don't know, though, that here in Iowa today, that a vote from 17 years ago is going to be persuasive to the folks who will be caucusing in 19 days
I do think everything is up for grabs. I do think the importance of these two wings of the party about how active a President will be in a global
So Bernie Sanders does tend to retrench. He doesn't vote for trade wars. He is not for trade agreements. He doesn't obviously want to see any presence
in Afghanistan. He wants to pull our troops back.
You know, Joe Biden has more of a nuanced take on this. He thinks that trade is a way for the United States to be able to get Human Rights
progress in other countries to be able to ensure that we have allies who will march together to ensure progress.
You know, he thinks that a limited presence, maybe some security patrols should be still in place in the Middle East. So there are two worldviews
here, and the question for the Iowans and for New Hampshire, and for everybody else who will be voting is what worldview do they agree with in
the -- that they want our President to take on? The sort of retrenchment or engaging?
And I think that's a really valid and important question for the election.
AMANPOUR: So turning to you, Andrew Gillum then, because according to the poll that came out, 46 percent of those who were watching the debate
thought that Vice President -- former Vice President Biden is way ahead when it comes to foreign policy.
But to the point about what Iowans are looking for, I mean, presumably trade is a big deal in a state like Iowa, and you see that today, President
Trump, even as these Impeachment Articles, even as the debate is going on, is signing Phase 1 of the trade deal with the Chinese and touting his
economic success, his trade success, his standing tough against the Chinese on the behalf of farmers and others in, you know, states like Iowa.
AMANPOUR: How is that going to go down, do you think amongst the caucus goers in Iowa?
GILLUM: Well, first, I know I am one simple individual who would love to understand what's in Phase 1 of this agreement. None of us actually know.
The President has kept the details of this quite close to the cuff.
The other thing this President has been pretty famous for doing is kicking over the can and you know, tearing up all the China in the China shop and
then attempting to get credit for gluing back a piece of the vase that he broke.
So we need to understand actually a little bit more of what is happening in this trade deal. The truth is, is that there are some arguing that we may
not be any better off through this negotiated agreement than we were before the President decided to lambast the Democratic Republic. And so one of the
things that -- the Republic rather of China.
One of the things that I believe we've got to do a better job at as Democrats is reminding our farmers, those in the Midwest of how much they
have suffered under this trade war initiated by this President, how many trillions of dollars in subsidies has come out of the American Treasury
multiples more than what was done by Washington, during the automobile collapse and the collapse of that sector some years ago.
And so, this has not been free. This has not been without pain. It actually has come at great cost. And I think we deserve to know exactly what we're
getting for the pain that was inflicted on so many farmers and families in Middle America.
And Iowa, I hope they will put first and foremost this idea of healthcare, and the fact that while Democrats are working to expand access and
coverage, this administration right now is fighting in the Supreme Court to take away protections against discrimination on preexisting conditions.
And my State of Florida, if you are a pregnant woman, it is a preexisting condition. So we've got to make these points very clear, very plain to the
American people as we enter this election cycle.
The President does one thing or says one thing rather, and then does another. We've got to drive the point home that we're fighting every day
for everyday Americans, and that's why we deserve to be put back in power.
AMANPOUR: So very quickly, Governor Granholm, swing states, yours is one of them, Michigan, we don't want to say who is up and who is down this
early, but how are the candidates faring in the swing states, whether it's the reform candidates or the moderate candidates?
GRANHOLM: Well, it's an interesting question because in Michigan in the last election -- last presidential election -- Bernie Sanders won over
Hillary Clinton in the primary.
In this election, right now, Joe Biden is up. He is certainly up over Donald Trump, but up over the others as well. And so it's going to be very,
And the reason why Bernie Sanders did so well last time was because of this issue that Andrew was just referring to of trade.
I mean, when I was Governor, because of the loss of manufacturing jobs, I used to campaign on NAFTA and CAFTA have given us the shaft up because of
the way these trade agreements had been enforced, which is not at all.
And this is why it's super important for all of these candidates to simply say, we are not afraid of trade, but these trade agreements have to be
enforced and labor and environmentalists have to be at the table.
AMANPOUR: Governor Granholm, Mayor Gillum, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
Now, it is not democratic, but it is about leadership and it's dividing this country, Great Britain. The drama of Prince Harry and Meghan's
retirement as senior Royals is still water cooler talk, but perhaps it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise.
They have long been open about their struggles with being relentless tabloid fodder. Here's what Megan said last October in a now famous
interview with the British channel, ITV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGHAN MERKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip.
QUESTION: It has advantages, I guess.
MERKLE: I tried, but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging. And the biggest thing that I know is that I never thought
that this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So less than two years since their fairytale Royal Wedding, what's gone so wrong? Or will it all turn out to be right for these times?
Afua Hirsch, the author of "BRIT(ish)" and the Queen's biographer, Robert Lacey guide us through a drama worthy of the crown.
AMANPOUR: Afua, Robert, welcome to the program. Afua, I would like to start with you, you've been on this program many times. You've talked about
Royal Family, but also society and "BRIT(ish)" the whole idea of first your book and racism.
I want to know, how much do you think racism has played into this? A disaffection, at least by Megan and her husband, Harry, to the way they've
been treated here.
AFUA HIRSCH, AUTHOR, "BRIT(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging.": I think it's impossible to ignore the context of racism, and not necessarily
in the way the Royal Family has behaved towards Meghan individually, and not necessarily the way in which the British public have behaved towards
But in the treatment of the press, and especially the tabloid press, there has been an undeniable racist undertone from the very beginning, and I feel
that that narrative about her being somehow linked to violent crime, I mean, let's not forget --
AMANPOUR: You mean straight outta Compton?
HIRSCH: She was described as straight outta Compton.
AMANPOUR: So let me put this up because you've got that "Daily Mail" headline in 2016, "Harry's girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang
scarred home of her mother revealed."
HIRSCH: It's almost impossible to imagine a white person who is from Los Angeles, who has no known association to any gang violence being described
in that way for no other reason than the fact of where she grew up. And there are other things --
AMANPOUR: And she didn't grow up in Compton, I hasten to say.
HIRSCH: She didn't grow up in Compton and there was even the suggestion that should the Queen ever wish to visit Meghan Markle's mother, there
might be a hail of bullets descending outside.
I mean, anyone who has grown up with the language of our press knows the way in which they again and again associate people of color with violent
crime and this coded language about gangs and violence is inevitably interlinked with ideas about people with African heritage specifically.
And there were other things. When Meghan Markle ate avocado. She was associated with the mass murder of gangs that's linked to the trafficking
When she created a charity cookbook for the victims of a tragic fire that killed many people in a very multicultural part of London.
AMANPOUR: The Grenfell fire.
HIRSCH: The Grenfell Tower fire, she was accused of having links to Islamic extremists who were apparently connected to a mosque that benefited
from her charity.
And if you look at these narratives in the tabloid press, you can see identical things that other senior Royals have done in their eating habits,
in the way they cradle their baby bump, in the charity work they do, in guest editing publications.
She guest edited "Vogue." She was accused of being racist against white people.
AMANPOUR: Oh for god's sake.
HIRCH: Because she included so many --
AMANPOUR: It was an action -- nobody was an issue about women of color. Hello?
HIRCH: And meanwhile, other Royals who have done other guest editor ships or have done similar things have been praised for their actions.
Now, unfortunately, there's so much ignorance about what racism is in Britain, but I think short of an overtly racist caricature or racial swear
words, people will not accept that race is a factor.
AMANPOUR: And in fact, they're not. There is a huge debate right now. Oh, why is she complaining? We're not racist. I mean, Priti Patel, who is the
Home Secretary has basically said that anybody of any race can get along in this country.
But I want to ask you, Robert, because you've written a lot about the Royal Family. You wrote one of the first big books, "Majesty" about the Royal
Family and the Queen. Does this make you cringe? Do you accept from your perspective, that there is an unpleasant undertone, which even Prince Harry
He used that term, you know, undertones of racism when he first asked the press to lay off his fiancee or his girlfriend at that time.
ROBERT LACEY, ROYAL HISTORIAN: I'm afraid to say I could not agree more with what Afua is saying. When you said in your "New York Times" article,
there is still a deep correlation between privilege and race in this country, it is quite right.
There's examples you chose, say about avocado, the wicked avocados. We've seen in the press how Kate Middleton, William's wife, when she does an
avocado recipe, she's praised for it. So I'm not going to argue about that with you at all.
Where I think I may differ from you, though, is thinking that this is the main issue for her departure. Because I don't think that Meghan would just
leave after 18 months or so if racism was the only thing.
I actually think, I like to think and I think I'm right to think that if this were the only issue, she would stay. She would fight it for a bit, at
And I think the speed with which this has happened, in fact, reflects the things which maybe we're not here to talk about.
AMANPOUR: So what is it? No, we are. What are those?
LACEY: Well, it's the rift between Harry and Will's. There is a profound split in the Royal Family -- well, not in the Royal Family -- between these
I mean, the most recent example of it, before the Summit last Monday at Sandringham.
AMANPOUR: The Queen called.
LACEY: The Queen called a Summit at Sandringham for all the family to sit down with their private secretaries and try and sort this out. She's
shaking their heads together for being -- she is furious about this, the Queen and the way they've screwed it up.
LACEY: She invited the two brothers to lunch for a sort of makeup before the powwow. Harry accepted. William did not.
AMANPOUR: Really? You know that for a fact.
LACEY: It is there. You see him arriving just before two at Sandringham. He -- we can only presume, only wanted to meet in the context of the
private secretary is across the table.
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you, you've just mentioned Kate and William. Do you think there's a little bit of a misogynistic twist here like the
British tabloids are always pitting the women against each other and they have been from the beginning practically pitting Meghan and Kate against
each other. Do you see that?
HIRSCH: You look at their statement, Meghan and Harry's statement about leaving. There was a whole paragraph where they talked about how they work
with different elements of the press in the future, which I took is quite an open snob to the traditional Royal Press Corps.
They said they want to work with a new generation of media, with non- traditional media outlets, and I think that says something about the ways in which the media have intentionally covered.
LACEY: And we saw that yesterday -- we saw that yesterday because Meghan yesterday visited a woman's shelter in Vancouver, on her own terms. Her own
people released it.
She is already saying to -- and taking up your point exactly -- she is already saying to Buckingham Palace, whatever happens, we are on our own
now and we want control of how we interact with the world.
AMANPOUR: Can we just say that prior to her marriage, Meghan was a U.N. women's advocate and she was also a Global Ambassador for World Vision.
So let us talk about this press issue because I think that is the nub of it. They complain about being treated unfairly. And I was quite struck by
what Prince Harry said to Tom Bradby, the ITV reporter who did that famous documentary and had very --
I mean, in retrospect they were telegraphing their unhappiness and where this was leading.
HIRSCH: It was a cry for help.
AMANPOUR: It was a cry for help. It's so interesting to hear you say that, but this is just so poignant about Prince Harry and the tabloids what he
said and how it gives him flashbacks to what happened to his mother. Just listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: I think being part of this family, in this role, in this job every, single time I see a camera, every single time I
hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back.
So in that respect, it's the worst reminder of her life as opposed to the best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LACEY: Can I just jump in there to say that exactly proves the point that I think it is coming from Harry and Meghan supporting him in this. But the
impetus for this move, I mean, and again, but it makes our point because all of the papers are saying it's the wicked Meghan and who is leading him
down. I say it's the other way around.
HIRSCH: I couldn't agree more. It is fascinating to see the media narrative, which was immediately she is dragging an otherwise faithful
contented Royal away from his family and his duty.
There was a racial narrative there. There is this idea that his woman of color has come with her dark magic and cast some kind of spell.
AMANPOUR: All women are accused of affecting and ball busting their husbands.
HIRSCH: And absolutely, there is definitely -- just to come back to your earlier question, an element of misogyny here as well.
I don't think you can separate Meghan, the woman of African heritage from Meghan, the woman with a career, from Megan, the activist and Meghan, the
feminist. These are all things that I think are very threatening to parts of the British press, because it's not what we're used to seeing in our
Now, my personal opinion when this relationship first emerged was it was a very positive thing for the Royal Family because it allowed a new
generation of women especially to now relate somebody at that level of the Royal Family.
I can't relate to the idea of being expected to give up your work as a woman when you get married. Expect to be behind your husband --
AMANPOUR: She gave up being an actress.
HIRSCH: Speak after he has finished speaking, allow him to make all the decisions. It's absurd to think that's a role model for contemporary
But in breaking with that tradition, I think she also triggered some of the fragility that people have about what the Royal Family represents in this
They don't want to see change. We're a country that sometimes struggles with change.
AMANPOUR: But what about the institution and the establishment? Is it quixotic, naive to hope that perhaps this is a way of forging a new modern
alternative route for two people who happen to be in the Royal Family and who seem to want to continue to be faithful to the Queen and their duties
in one way or another?
Can the British establishment handle this once they've got over their shock of this moment?
LACEY: I'm not sure whether the British establishment can, but I think the Royal Family can and I pick up a point of Afua's.
I think that this statement of principle, by the couple, could be tremendously expensive and positive for the Royal Family. I mean, to go
down a completely different path. Here we are after Brexit, we're supposed to be looking out to the world. How wonderful that these two young members
of the family have got it.
LACEY: And they're going to go to Canada. Probably, I think after that, to America. They talk about a period of transition. She has always sworn she
will never live in America, so long as Donald Trump is in charge. So I think that's the reason for her talking about a period transition. It puts
an extra little spin of interest into the result in November.
No, but the important thing is, I think people -- maybe I'm being optimistic -- people will look back on this and say, this is the time the
Royal Family started to wake up. It did address the racism. I mean, I don't want to suggest --
I mean, today, William and Kate are up in Bradford, a multiracial Labour- voting --
AMANPOUR: In the north of England.
LACEY: In the north of England visiting shelters and reaching out just as authentically, as Harry and Meghan do. So we shouldn't see a split in those
HIRSCH: The thing is about the Royal Family, you know, Queen Elizabeth has always made it her role and that's accelerated over the generations to go
into communities and visit ordinary people. She took part in the war efforts, we all know.
But there's always been a difference between the kind of charity work they do and the official duties they perform, and the way they live as a family.
That's why to me, having somebody of mixed race in the Royal Family was significant because we've seen the Queen visit and speak to people of
Prince Charles has helped many black people through the Prince's Trust, but they've never married or lived with or had close friends who come from
those kind of backgrounds.
AMANPOUR: So it's one more step in the modern progressive direction.
HIRSCH: Right and there is a difference. It made -- it created the impression that they're willing to carry out acts of charity that reach
people like us, but they'll never live like us or among us.
AMANPOUR: So now this is a chink in that.
HIRSCH: Well, Harry and Meghan's relationship felt like a positive step towards them representing what life is really like for more British people.
AMANPOUR: Okay, so you're a consultant to "The Crown" as we've said.
LACEY: The TV series.
AMANPOUR: The TV series. And you know the Crown.
LACEY: Not the Crown in Buckingham Palace. I don't think they pay much --
AMANPOUR: The TV series about the Crown in Buckingham Palace. You know, it's faction fiction, whatever. But nonetheless, it's gripped international
audiences, which is another reason why this story is all over the world and is water cooler talk wherever you go.
But I just want to know, I mean, what do you think the Queen really thinks about this?
LACEY: Well, just before we came on, Afua and I were talking about 1962 when she went to Ghana and danced in the arms of the black President,
Nkrumah. That picture went around the world. It scandalized people in South Africa, obviously, but in the 33 states of America that still had racially
That shows this woman is colorblind and I hope we agree on that. All right, well, let's move on.
HIRSCH: I am going to use the phase color blind, but I agree.
LACEY: You don't like --
LACEY: You don't like that phrase.
HIRSCH: I don't think she has personally committed to a project of racism.
LACEY: But when it comes to the, you know, the issues of this break, Harry phoned her. She agreed to see Harry. Then the coaches intervened and said,
not so sure, ma'am. They were worried that he would get around her.
She said, all right, go and talk to your father and your brother. We've got this on very good authority through Tom Bradby, who, who I think among
journalists is the person who is putting their point of view best, apparently confronted with this great challenge in the light -- and crisis
in the life of their younger brother, Harry.
Father and brother William did not say, come and see us. Let's sit down. Let's have a cup of tea or a drink and talk about this. It's a big thing.
They both said, put it down in writing, old chap, and we'll see about it. We know this and then -- and Harry said, well, I don't want to put it down
in writing. When we put things down in writing, it gets leaked.
And sure enough, a few days later, I mean, he put it down in writing as they request and there it was all over "The Sun." So that is why -- "The
Sun" newspaper -- so that was why he and Meghan, perhaps then judiciously went ballistic and responded.
But one of the things about this couple is they're not taking anything lying down. So that decision which, you know, offended a lot of people --
When people say the Queen didn't know. She didn't know about the announcement. She knew all about the plans and to finally answer your
question, we think she was sympathetic to her. She's always been sympathetic to the rebels. She was so sympathetic to her sister, Margaret,
the world pushed them aside.
We actually saw her being sympathetic to Andrew before Christmas --
AMANPOUR: Even after that disastrous interview.
LACEY: Even after that. She went riding with him to show that he was still her son, that she was all back in the days of after the abdication.
She reached out to her uncle, the Duke of Windsor.
AMANPOUR: Henry VIII, yes.
LACEY: Because I think she understands how bloody difficult it is. She understands how hard it is to do your duty. She understands how hard it is
to fit in. And so I think she is perhaps not cheering, but accepting and supportive of what they're wanting to do.
HIRSCH: But also, you know back to that cry for help, Prince Harry is an Ambassador for mental health causes along with Prince William. He has also
spoken very candidly about his own mental health struggles.
And when the in the last year, he began talking about how unhappy he felt at the media scrutiny of his married life and the pressure on them as a
couple, I don't think anyone in this country would thank him if he stuck it out and fell apart.
And I suspect that other members of the senior Royal Family compassionate, as I also believe they are, can also see this from a strategic perspective,
but it's in nobody's interest to push this couple to the point right now.
AMANPOUR: They should say something to the tabloids then, because it's dividing the country right now.
HIRSCH: And that's what's so ironic about this tabloid fury because they would be the first parts of the press to lay into this couple if they did
push it to the brink of falling apart or separating or ending their marriage or whatever consequences would flow from staying in a very unhappy
And they also -- I mean, they essentially hounded them out of the country, and then from thanking them, they're now hounding them for leaving. And you
couldn't make this up.
AMANPOUR: You couldn't make it up. There's so much more to talk about. We'll have you back. That's it for today. Afua Hirsch, Robert Lacey, thank
you so much, indeed.
LACEY: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now, all the way on the other side of the spectrum, the other big story of these past weeks, of course, has been the threat of war
between Iran and the United States.
And our next guest says, leave the Middle East at your peril. The French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy has gone to the front lines of the fight
against ISIS alongside Kurdish fighters, and in two documentaries, "Peshmerga" and "The Battle of Mosul," he paints the story of a people
constantly abandoned by the West, while still always helping fight for our shared values and causes and he tells Hari Sreenivasan, ISIS is regrouping.
HARI SREENIVASAN, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT FOR PBS NEWSHOUR: I know you have a group of films that you're screening and the ones about the Kurds and the
Peshmerga are of interest in this conversation. First, for our audience, remind us who the Peshmerga are.
BERNARD-HENRI LEVY, DIRECTOR, "PESHMERGA": The Peshmerga are the Kurdish fighters from Iraqi-Kurdistan. Those who did fight against ISIS from 2014
to 2018, who took Mosul and who defeated ISIS, those in other words, who were our boots on the ground in Iraq, and in all the area, those are the
Literally it means those who face death. Those are the Peshmerga. Those are those whom I followed for months in order to shoot tend to direct this
SREENIVASAN: Well, why make the film in the first place? Why go beyond the ground with them in a month going from battle to battle?
LEVY: It was at the peak of the triumph of ISIS, July 2015. We were in France. We received some huge terrorist attacks like you did in America,
September 11, fourteen years before. I knew that we were defenseless in a way against these terrorists and that there was a people, the Kurds who
were defending us, and who were doing that with loyalty, professionalism, and the great amount of courage.
So I felt that the least we could do, journalist, the politicians or public individual was to try at least to understand, to try at least to convey
their message. I felt challenged by their courage and by their devotion to the western values.
It is not so frequent today in the Muslim world, people who is hundred percent devoted to equality between genders, rights of women, secularism,
pro-West inclination, protection of the minorities, Christians and Jews, these are the Peshmerga.
SREENIVASAN: Now, there's actually a clip from the film out of Mosul that I want to play that illustrates a little bit of what you're talking about.
And here we see Muslim troops erecting a cross back up. Let's take a look.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
SREENIVASAN: Were you surprised with that scene?
LEVY: I was not so surprised, but I was I was moved to tears -- moved to tears to see these Muslim young boys, they came -- there were a lot of
snipers still around -- taking the responsibility to take this cross and to put it again, I was moved to tears.
And what I must tell you is that four years after, when I learned, when I heard that President Trump decided to withdraw his troops from the area,
which means to abandon -- to abandon these guys, to their destiny, to their destiny, I was moved to tears again, but for another reason not by emotion,
but by sadness.
It was so mean. And these decision to abandon the Kurds, to withdraw our troops, to leave them under the grip of Erdogan and of the Iranians and of
Bashar Al-Assad, this was probably the biggest strategical and moral mistake of United States of America since I'm born.
So when I see these images again, for me, I am heartbroken.
SREENIVASAN: How are they taking that abandonment now? I mean, where do they see themselves in the longer arc? Who do they ally with?
LEVY: In this part of the world and maybe a little more for them, loyalty has a meaning.
SREENIVASAN: Your word is bond.
LEVY: The word is bond. Yes. Your word is sacred. When you when you deal you deal. When you give you a word, you don't take it back. And they took
for granted the word of America.
They took for granted all our rhetoric about fighting shoulder-to-shoulder against ISIS, international coalition and all of that. They took it for
granted. And when they felt that that Trump decided all of a sudden by a tweet -- by a tweet -- to withdraw and to lead them in the mouth of the
lion, they first did not understand.
After that they had to recover. So some of them, they closed of Iraq, accepted the sort of compromise. With Erdogan, others in Syria are in the
process of accepting a sort of compromise with Bashar Al Assad. In the two cases, it is compromise with the devil.
But as a great general of Syrian Kurds recently said, the General Mazloum Kobani Abdi, he said, what do you want Mr. Westerner? We have to choose
between genocide and compromise. After the abandonment -- after the abandonment of the West, I choose that -- genocide or compromise? We choose
And when they see the escalation of the recent days, for example, they have no friendship for the Iranians, for example, but they are afraid because
they know that they are on all sense of the word, on the front line -- on front line -- militarily, strategically.
SREENIVASAN: They could become the proxy war. They could be parties inside Iraq in this fight between Iran and the U.S. as it plays out.
LEVY: My companions, my friends, the Peshmerga, the ones which I know well because of Iraq, which is the Peshmerga. Two years ago, after the defeat of
ISIS, they organized a referendum of all the denomination, and already, they were abandoned by the Americans and by the Europeans.
It was the Battle of Kirkuk and what happened then? Some proxies of Iran, some Shia militias, the Shia militias directed by General Soleimani, who
was by the way, on the battlefield against them, came to them and crushed them and took over a part of their territory with the acceptance of
Okay, now Donald Trump says that's General Soleimani was a monster. But in September and October 2017, he gave to the monster part of the coalition
territory. He withdrew in front of the monster and what I saw with my eyes at this time, Battle of Kirkuk, it was Shia militias with General Soleimani
in the back, and with Abram tanks delivered by America.
LEVY: Because the Abrams tanks of America were delivered to the government of Baghdad; from Baghdad, some of them went in to the hands of the Shia
militias. And these Shia militias used your Abram tanks in order to crush, in order to kill some valiant Kurds who had been for since three years, you
-- and our best allies.
So this war against proxies, those who are paying for it already at a high price are the Kurds, so they know that. They know that they have in front
of them proxies of Erdogan on one side, proxies of Khamenei on the other side.
And that when the difficulty becomes really hot, nobody to help. No American soldier. No European soldier either. No friendship except the
mountains as they say.
SREENIVASAN: I want to play a clip from the film "Peshmerga" as well that just gives an illustration of a little bit of the fighting that was going
on and a little bit of what you witnessed.
[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]
SREENIVASAN: You spent some time with these guys. You had lunch and dinner and slept and ate with these folks. What is it that motivates them to get
up and do this fight every day knowing that there are bands of killers on either side that they don't have even the bulletproof vest, sometimes the
support doesn't come?
LEVY: To defend their families, to defend their land and to defend their principles. The thing I heard most in all this month which I spent with the
Kurds of Iraq is the following. We defend civilization. We are not fighting only for ourselves, but for the rest of the world.
At the end of "Peshmerga," my movie, there is a very, I think, moving scene, it was just before an assault against the recovery of the City of
Sinjar, the Sinjar Mountain, so a very decisive moment. Some of them were going to die in the next hours.
My simple question was, why are you fighting? Two thirds of them said, we are fighting for you.
SREENIVASAN: There are scenes where you are down in the underground bunkers of ISIS that is still line with explosives. And you see that level
of infrastructure here. They have a newspaper that they're reading in these tunnels. They have tins of food. It's fairly organized.
LEVY: Because of the retreat of America -- the withdrawal of your country, because of the nothingness of Europe in this area, because of the dirty
game of Erdogan, DAESH, ISIS is reviving. ISIS is coming back.
And I was in some places it could be very soon in one of your dailies, my story in some places where I got and brought back some evidence that ISIS
is coming back.
These sort of tunnels which you are mentioning, they are dug again or they are reopened if they had not been found by the coalition. So the game is
SREENIVASAN: Was the assassination or murder of Soleimani was necessary? Just?
LEVY: Why is certainly not. Certainly not. There is also an act of the war. War is a terrible thing, but there is an act of the war between --
since Sun Tzu until Clausewitz. There are some rules. You don't escalate to the supreme degree all of a sudden.
LEVY: So wise? Certainly not. He was a terrorist. No doubt. He was the architect of the dirty policy of the new Imperial Iran. No doubt on that,
To send the drone to kill him in a moment where there was probably some diplomatic means to use in order to oblige Iran to withdraw, I think it was
not a good way to do, no.
SREENIVASAN: So right now the Iraqi Parliament has set the wheels in motion. They're saying, hey, we want all foreign troops out. What happens
if they get their way?
LEVY: First of all, it might be what Donald Trump wishes. Donald Trump was elected under the motto and the promise to get out of Middle East. What is
true is that if this happened, if really, America is compelled to leave, and they freely -- this fulfills a secret desire of your administration,
those who will pay are the allies of America in the area, all of them. The Kurds with others -- others. And you know what I mean.
SREENIVASAN: Does Iran fill that vacuum?
LEVY: When you create such a huge vacuum as the one which Donald Trump created since his election, the vacuum is immediately filled by Erdogan in
the old area of influence of the Ottoman Empire, by Putin who is recovering his dreams, and our nightmares who is rebuilding a sort of belt -- Imperial
belt around the Russia.
By Iran, by China, of course, by the most radical Sunni Islam, which is the former Caliphate, of course. It is filled by some revisionist powers who
have the nostalgia of the past greatness, and they are the guys we are just saying.
So for me, if Turkey was a democratic country, if Iran was governed by the ladies and boys who are demonstrating in the street for Human Rights, I
would have no objection of them filling the vacuum.
But the problem is that these countries are governed by terrible guys, enemies of their own people, making war not only against us, but against
their own population. This is the point.
SREENIVASAN: How does Europe see all of this playing out and look, the American President has said they should be doing more, whether it's paying
more into NATO? Or if they care so much about the rest of the world and the regions, let them get more involved. Let them put more boots on the ground.
LEVY: Should Europe do more? Of course. It is the only point on which Trump is right. Even Trump can be right. And it is true that Europe does
not do enough.
And to be frank, Europe does not even exist in military terms. There is no common defense. There is no common force, despite the will of Macron.
President Macron is a real European patriot, but he is very alone.
One example, when Trump announced his decision to retreat from Syria, there was I think, 2,000 troops, American troops. If the 27 countries of Europe
had decided to fill the vacuum, it was not so difficult. Two thousand divided by 27, your big turtle will make the division. I am not so good in
calculation. It was it was doable. We did not.
SREENIVASAN: Why does the United States have a responsibility to that region, right? All of the supporters of the President who put him in power
say, you know, there is no solution to the Middle East. It was maybe wrong for us to go there in the first place. But let's get the hell out. One way
or another, whether they're showing us the door or whether we're leaving of our own accord. What's it to us?
LEVY: You can say that, but then no surprise, if you -- if we see in front of us a Persian Empire revitalized, if we see the former Soviet -- a big
Russia, not Soviet now rebuilds, if we see Israel under fire and under attack by your very strong Hezbollah, okay. It's your choice, it is not
LEVY: And it is not the choice of the America which we -- which most of us love. But this is the problem, we can decide that we have nothing to do
with this area and that America becomes a fortress and you upon the fortress, then we'll build some walls, and that what happens beyond these
walls is not our business. It's a choice.
But my belief is that in terms of morality, and in terms of interest, of self-interest, it will be a disaster to accept this partition of the world,
to accept that half of the world goes back to darkness, and to those revisionist powers, it will be the worst calculation for our society's
economies and vision of the world.
SREENIVASAN: Bernard-Henri Levy, thank you so much.
LEVY: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And finally, firefighters in Australia have launched a covert mission to save the only known home of the prehistoric Wollemi pine tree.
Their exact location within the National Park is a closely held secret so that visitors don't trample on them or expose them to new diseases.
There are only 200 trees left in existence when the bushfires recently broke out, and local authorities say the operation was "an unprecedented
environmental protection mission."
And that's it for now. Thanks for watching. Goodbye from London.