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Democrats Continue Building Their Case Against The President With No New Evidence Or Witnesses; As Primary Season Heats Up, Democratic Presidential Long Shot, Tom Steyer Makes His Case For Becoming Commander- In-Chief; The Award-Winning Actor David Strathairn On His New Play About A Courier Who Exposed The Horrors Of The Holocaust. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired January 23, 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: Hello, everyone and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We are ready to present our case. We are ready to call our witnesses. The question is, will you let us?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice over): Democrats continue building their case against the President with no new evidence or witnesses.
Former Federal prosecutor, Anne Milgram breaks down the arguments so far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM STEYER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've always believed that I'm saying something different. If I change my mind, and I don't believe I can
win, I'll get out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice over): As primary season heats up, Democratic presidential long shot, Tom Steyer makes his case for becoming Commander-in-Chief.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID DAVID STRATHAIRN, ACTOR, "REMEMBER THIS: THE LESSONS OF JAN KARSKI, ACTOR, "REMEMBER THIS: THE LESSONS OF JAN KARSKI: This is not humanity.
This is some hell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice over): The award-winning actor David Strathairn on his new play about a courier who exposed the horrors of the Holocaust.
AMANPOUR (on camera): Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York.
The Democrats' case for the impeachment of President Trump is in full swing as House Managers returned to the floor to raise questions of conduct and
With no new witnesses or evidence in play, Democrats are using the President's own words to build their case for both abuse of power and
obstruction of Congress.
But on the other side of the aisle, Republicans say the arguments are repetitive and unconvincing and that anyway, there's definitely no crime
Anne Milgram is a former Federal prosecutor and Attorney General of New Jersey. She has been paying close attention to this process, and she says
there is damning new evidence about President Trump's phone call with the President of Ukraine at the center of this whole affair, which should be
admitted into the Senate and she's joining me now. Anne Milgram, welcome.
ANNE MILGRAM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: Can we just layout just quickly the differences between this kind of so-called trial and an actual criminal trial? What are the
differences because people will say, hang on, how come you can't have evidence and witness and this and that?
MILGRAM: Yes, that's a great question, and I've tried a lot of cases in both Federal and state court, and there's very little that we see happening
in the United States Senate that's similar to a real criminal trial.
In a real criminal case, first of all, there are rules of engagement that are established through rules of criminal procedure, for example. We know
who calls witnesses first, who goes second, and then there's a judge that presides and make sure that the rules are followed.
There's also court cases that lawyers have to follow, but there's a pretty set pattern.
Here in contrast, the parties, and here the majority, the Senate Majority makes the rules of engagement and that is wildly different.
The other really important piece to note is that as a part of that, the judge really is in no way a referee in in the Senate trial, whereas in a
normal criminal case, lawyers would be objecting. They would be calling witnesses, trying to put documents into evidence.
Here, Justice Roberts has very little authority. If you were to make a ruling, and the majority of the senators overruled him, they could change
the game and the rules.
And so we have a completely different type of proceeding where there's no evidence that's coming in independent from the House investigation, where
there's this sort of strange opening argument period for both sides, and then there are written questions, which is more like a civil interrogatory,
we would call it.
It's not -- none of this is the way that we would run a criminal trial in America.
AMANPOUR: And yet it is the process and one of the things we've heard is that senators on pain of punishment while they're in the room, they must
pay attention. They certainly mustn't be talking. They mustn't be using any electronic gear or anything like that.
What we've seen over the last two days since it's been underway, is that a few senators have left the room during the process, and even Senator Rand
Paul was visibly shown doing a crossword. To your mind, is this a concerted strategy?
In other words, is this to show visually what they've said? This is boring. This is the same. We have no new substance to consider. Let's just get on
with it, if you insist.
MILGRAM: You know, I think there's two points to make about that. The first is, I've been watching a lot, and in my view, it is not boring.
What we've seen is different in some fundamental ways from the House hearings. In the House hearings, we saw them call witness after witness,
and so you might have Dr. Hill or Ambassador Gordon Sondland give testimony.
But here what they're doing is they're intercutting all that evidence together and marshaling it to try to prove facts and make points and so it
is, in my view, actually, a lot of it even though we've heard the pieces before, we haven't really heard the presentation put together like this.
MILGRAM: The second thing is, it's so hard to know, because they are running marathon days. And so I've noticed that the cameras are not showing
us the senators sitting there, but there have been reports of some folks sleeping, some folks getting up and leaving the room.
My personal view is that the Chief Justice should be making sure that the senators by and large sit there. Of course, it is one thing to stand up for
10 seconds because your legs are stiff, and you've been sitting for eight hours. It's another thing to leave the room for a few hours, in my view,
and won't can't a jury do that by the way. The jury could not do that.
AMANPOUR: In one case, a Republican senator went out and actually spoke to Fox News, which is apparently breaking the rules.
But I want to ask you this because it's really interesting. You know, a very impassioned Republican Senator John Kennedy has said that he thinks
the Senate is just like you just said, are actually hearing some new stuff that hasn't been heard before. And this is what he told "The Washington
"I think most if not all, senators are hearing the case by the prosecution and the case by the defense for the first time. If you polled the United
States Senate, nine out of 10 senators will tell you that they did not read a transcript of the proceeding in the House. And the 10th senator who says
he has is lying."
I mean, I think that's really interesting coming from a Republican senator. How do you analyze what he just said?
MILGRAM: Yes, I mean, I found it fascinating as well, when I heard that. And there are a couple of points, one is, it was voluminous. There was a
lot of testimony that was taken in the House and the transcripts were lengthy.
And so there were a lot -- there were depositions, a number of those witnesses were subsequently called in the House. So if you were reading the
underlying depositions and then watching or reading the transcripts of the House testimony, there was a lot to get through. So that's -- it's very
possible that folks just didn't do that and that they were waiting for the evidence to be presented.
The second point, I think that is really worth going back to is just, it is different when you pull all the evidence and all the facts together like
this, and so even if they were reading the transcripts, they wouldn't have seen it weaved together.
So you have one individual -- take Dr. Hill, for example, saying she had this conversation with John Bolton and then went to the National Security
It's one thing when you hear her say it, it's another thing where that they're able to play or intercut the testimony of other individuals who
worked at the White House along with other witnesses -- Ambassador Sondland.
So you're hearing all of these facts that relate to the same exact incident simultaneously. It is different.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me just play that because they are you know, using so called as I said, Trump in his own words, if they're not getting more
witnesses, and to your point, bringing other witnesses. They almost got like, you know, producers into cutting a proper sort of witness package if
you like for the Senate version, let's just play.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: Even after the Impeachment Inquiry began, he confirmed his desire on the South Lawn of the White House declaring not only that Ukraine should
investigate Biden, but that China should do the same. Let's see what he said.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If they were honest about it, they'd start a major investigation into the Bidens. A very simple
answer. They should investigate the Bidens, because how does a company that's newly formed and all these companies if you look at it -- and by the
way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, you know, as I said, and as you've just laid out there trying to bring it all in a way that the senators might see it all together
in a different way.
Obviously, the key to this for the Democrats is trying to persuade a finite number, I think, it is four Republican senators to budge on their partisan
positions. Do you think -- I mean, you know, that that's even a possibility. You know, given what John Kennedy said about listening to the
MILGRAM: Yes. I mean, I think you're asking exactly the right question, which is about those four senators, and the first piece of that question
is, will they vote to hear evidence, additional evidence to basically subpoena witnesses like John Bolton, like Michael Duffy at O.M.B., and to
get documents from the State Department and the Department of Defense and the White House? And that is really one of the key questions, which is
there's already a considerable amount of evidence.
But there are people like John Bolton who was in the room who would have very, very relevant evidence and information and that is the first sort of
threshold question is, will they be able to get that additional evidence?
If not, I think it's very hard to see any of the four Republicans coming off of the position, because this has been defined in such partisan terms,
and just to your point a couple of minutes ago about is it possible that a lot of Republican senators didn't actually know a lot of the evidence?
Part of it might be how big it was, but the other piece is that I often will watch different news outlets and depending on what news outlets you
watch, some of this has just not been covered in the same way that it's been covered in other news outlets.
And so it's really -- you know, one of the questions you're sort of asking is will partisanship trump over sort of like listening and following the
facts and the evidence where they take us, and that's what you're supposed to do in a trial, and the jurors have to swear an oath. They have to take
an oath to put their biases and their preconceived notions aside.
MILGRAM: And you and I know that's not going to happen here. So I don't want to be too optimistic that the outcome will be different than what the
senators, the Republican senators have told us. But I still do hold out hope that there's a fundamental fairness question.
If we don't call the witnesses and get the documents, I think Congress is ceding too much power to the President to let the President decide when he
can and cannot be investigated.
Now, in terms of, as you said, documents, witnesses i.e. evidence, I think you've pointed out and you've written about the fact that you feel that is
an important piece of new evidence that was revealed on Tuesday.
It's a direct result of a Freedom of Information request, and it's regarding the call, you know, the between Trump and the Ukrainian President
and afterwards. Can you just tell us what this is about and why it's new and why you think it's important?
MILGRAM: So the Freedom of Information Act request basically got these e- mails, almost 200 e-mails that were mostly coming from the White House going back and forth to the White House Council and the Department of
Defense, where the day before the July 25th call between the President of Ukraine, Zelensky and President Trump, essentially the night before, the
folks in the White House, were setting it up, and setting a process in place to hold the military aid.
And why that's important, and as a former prosecutor, I always look for evidence like this, which is that it's not an accident. There wasn't
something that happened on the call that made the President decide to do this. This was premeditated.
The President went into that call, wanting to know that he had that power, the ability to withhold that aid, essentially as a hammer to get Ukraine to
do his personal bidding.
And so to me, it's very important. It shows why we need documents and why we need witnesses, and it also points out that, you know, sort of really
striking way, a congressional law, the Freedom of Information Act is getting public access to documents that the White House has refused to turn
over to Congress.
AMANPOUR: And just related to that, the refusal to turn over, you know that from Davos, the President said, essentially, and I'm paraphrasing, you
know, it's all going to be fine. We have all the evidence, they don't, or something to that effect, but it was that -- that was the intention. What
does that even mean when he actually says that? Speaks those words?
MILGRAM: Yes, it's hard to know. But there is a sense and I have this sense, again, as somebody who's, you know, been in government and also
worked briefly on the Senate.
I have this real sense of -- one of the things that the President has done here is he has made his own decision. The Constitution says the House is in
charge of whether or not the President gets impeached and the Senate tries that.
The President has made a decision when the matter was in the house not to comply in any way, and there's a letter from the White House Counsel,
basically saying no documents, no witnesses.
We know some witnesses came forward despite that, but really the President has said, I get to decide whether or not something is a matter for
impeachment that you should be investigating.
And so he has shut off the documents and the witnesses in a way that to me, Congress can't accept that. If they accept that, then the President really
is -- it's no longer co-equal branches of government. The President really has authority to decide if whenever, if ever he would be impeached, and
obviously, he's not going to decide that there's ever a correct time to impeach himself.
And so it's really as an institutional question to me so vital that Congress push back on that.
AMANPOUR: You know, that Alan Dershowitz obviously is assisting the President's defense team. He's on the President's team for this, and you
know, he's also talked about witnesses and he has basically suggested that maybe, maybe, Democrats might not want the witnesses that Republicans would
then be able to call. Just take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LEGAL TEAM MEMBER: The first witness I call is the witness about whom the conversation took place. So of course,
you could never have witnesses here without Hunter Biden being a central witness.
If there are going to be witnesses, they have to be witnesses on all sides. And I think the Democrats will rule the day that they sought witnesses
because their witnesses will probably be blocked by executive privilege, or at least by court proceedings involving executive privilege.
But the Republicans witnesses like Hunter Biden, there'd be no basis for blocking their testimony.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MILGRAM: To unpack a lot of what Dershowitz said, I mean, it's virtually all on the surface that it sort of sounds like it might make sense, but all
of it when you really push forward and think about it more, none of it is accurate.
And so first of all, Hunter Biden would never be called in a real trial on something like this. There's a pretty high threshold of relevancy, meaning,
it doesn't really matter what Hunter Biden would tell you about what he was doing in Ukraine.
The President is on trial for abusing his authority, regardless of what Hunter Biden did. Now, obviously, the Republicans and others might want to
hear from him, but there's a pretty high threshold to get him in as a witness.
MILGRAM: The second point is that there really is this sort of false equivalency here are saying, well, if one side gets a witness, the other
side has to get a witness, which strikes me also as wrong, in part because the House Managers bear the burden.
The President has been impeached in the House of Representatives. The House Managers bear the burden of proving that case in the Senate, and so that's
why they have to have latitude within reason to call witnesses that they think can prove that case.
AMANPOUR: Right. But people I think, would be kind of shocked to hear you say that the other side, you know, has way higher threshold and perhaps
doesn't have the right to call their own witnesses.
Remember, as you've told me, this is not a criminal trial, it's a political process.
MILGRAM: Right. So first of all completely, right, because it's a political process, they could call the -- they could make any kind of a
deal. They could call witnesses that we would never see in a trial.
I made that point solely because Dershowitz is making this argument of what would come in at a trial and he is not accurate on that, and I've tried, I
promise you many, many more cases that Mr. Dershowitz. Put that aside, you're completely right.
The other point is, of course, they could call witnesses. As long as they're relevant witnesses, and they have information that relate to the
charges that have been brought against the President or to his defense, 100 percent.
But again, in a normal proceeding, there would have to be some showing that the witnesses had some evidence that would actually help the jurors make
AMANPOUR: Again, to put the other side's point here, you know, obviously, that the argument from the Republicans, from President Trump and
all his, you know, his colleagues and his administration, his supporters is that from day one, when he was elected, the Democrats have just wanted to
overturn the election, overturn the will of the people, and this is just one more -- there was the Russia investigation, and now there's this, and
this is what his own lawyer Jay Sekulow said last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY SEKULOW, TRUMP IMPEACHMENT LEGAL TEAM MEMBER: The truth of the matter is, why are we here? Are we having an impeachment over a phone call? Or has
this been a three-year attempt to take down a President that was duly elected by the American people?
And we're doing this, we have 10 months to go to a General Election. Pretty dangerous for a Republican, mind you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Tell people listening, watching, you know what you think about that?
MILGRAM: Yes, I mean, this is an argument we've heard a number of times. We've heard it from the President. We've heard it from his supporters, and
now we're going to hear it from his lawyer. And I expect when the President's lawyer start talking in the Senate, we will hear this very
frequently, which is, this is about people not liking President Trump.
And in my view, that's not accurate. And it's not accurate for a number of reasons. First, because there have been a number of policy areas with which
people have disagreed very, very strongly, I think a lot about the separation of migrant families and children, but there have been no
impeachment proceedings brought based on things like that.
The second point is that there is a process in the House that the House has to go through to decide whether there's sufficient evidence. It's not just
the President's phone call.
The problem for the President and really that the challenge that I think that House Managers have, and the President's lawyers have is that there's
considerable evidence that the President sought to benefit personally by strong arming Ukraine into withholding this military aid.
You now have a General Accounting Office, which is a nonpartisan, arbiter of congressional action and presidential action, saying it was unlawful for
the President to have withheld that aid.
And so really, at the heart of this is a question of, does the President have unlimited authority to do whatever he wants in the foreign policy
space, including using his power, which is unique to the presidency to get a personal benefit, and that, to me is core to what the United States
Constitution is about and the concerns about the President not being overly powerful, you know having strong powers but not being a king, for example,
about foreign interference in the United States and then about our elections more generally.
So this really strikes at all three of the sort of core concerns that are in the Constitution. And again, part of this is, how do you defend
something where the President is on a phone call, and the choice that the President's lawyers have made is to basically say, yes, he did it. What's
the big deal? It's not a crime. And this is just because some people don't like him.
And so that's their argument for why the President should not be removed.
AMANPOUR: So a quick final question about Chief Justice John Roberts presiding. He's never been -- he's never, you know, presided over -- he has
never been a trial judge. He did take both sides, you know, by the by the scruff of the neck and tell them to behave properly in the greatest
debating forum in the world.
Where do you think his strengths and weaknesses might lie or the challenges for him or the opportunities to actually conduct a really fair and proper
MILGRAM: To be really fair to the Chief Justice on this, I think it's very difficult given the fact that the senators can ultimately overrule him and
so he is in a difficult position and that's why I think you see a lot of him not making rulings. He is trying to sort of run the show in terms of
the logistics in saying whose turn it is to do what, how much time they'll have.
He did remind senators, he sort of talked about I think pettifogging, which is a -- you know, very old -- a word that's not used anymore, but basically
sort of is calling each other names in a very unflattering way.
MILGRAM: He said, you know, he used that as an example of it shouldn't happen here, and he did that when there was particularly tense exchange
between the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone and Jerry Nadler.
But I think it's a tough job, and I think it's yet to be proven whether or not he will actually get engaged on the substance.
AMANPOUR: Anne Milgram, thank you so much for guiding us through this process.
MILGRAM: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So of course, the trial comes at a crucial time as Democrats vie to remove President Trump at the ballot box in November.
With the Iowa caucuses less than two weeks away, four candidate senators are pinned down on jury duty in this trial in Washington.
Bernie Sanders is gaining ground according to the latest polls, and even taking the lead from front runner, Joe Biden.
Billionaire businessman, Tom Steyer is still in the running and while he admits he is a long shot, his money and his organization keep him in the
mix. Steyer made his fortune as a hedge fund manager and he is now a major philanthropist.
He sat down with our Michel Martin to discuss impeachment, his commitment to tackling big issues like the climate crisis, and also campaign spending.
MICHEL MARTIN, JOURNALIST: Tom Steyer, thank you so much for talking with us today.
TOM STEYER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Michel, it is a real pleasure to be here.
MARTIN: One of the reasons that I think some people may know you is your need to impeach advertisements. I mean, you were an early advocate for
impeaching President Trump.
And in fact, this came along before the underlying events that have now led to the impeachment process that the country is now experiencing.
So could you just give us -- I know, you worked on this for a long time. What's your 30-second elevator speech for why you decided that long ago
that President Trump needed to be impeached and you were putting considerable resources behind making that case to the public?
STEYER: Most corrupt President in American history.
MARTIN: But how did you know that?
STEYER: Actually, from his first day -- public information. I knew that he was taking money through his real estate operations from foreign
governments and from people in the United States. I knew that he was trying to cover up his misdeeds, including firing the head of the F.B.I., because
he was investigating the Russian stuff.
He has consistently put himself ahead of the American people. This stuff in Ukraine is just an example. And his cover up of this stuff in Ukraine is
just an example.
He has been corrupt from his first day in office, and I felt as if it's important.
What I really did, Michel, was get eight and a half million Americans to sign the need to impeach petition. And they didn't just sign a petition.
They called their Congress people.
They e-mailed. They texted saying, this is an attack on our system, do the right thing. Hold him accountable. This isn't about politics or
partisanship. This is about being a patriot and standing up for the country.
MARTIN: And of course, you know that his supporters say that people like yourself and the Democrats in Congress are in fact the ones attacking the
system. They say, in fact, this is kind of the core of their defense, that this is an attempt to overturn the will of the people, and what do you say
STEYER: I say the Constitution says that if you commit crimes against the Constitution, and you put yourself ahead of the American people and use
your office to enrich yourself or empower yourself, that's absolutely wrong. And if you obstruct justice, that's exactly wrong. He has done it
from the first day.
And so if the point is that anytime you use impeachment, that's overthrowing the will of the people, actually, it's right in the
Constitution. It's right there.
MARTIN: Do you feel vindicated now that the Congress is actually now in this process?
STEYER: Well, I really think the eight and a half million people deserve an amazing amount of credit. And let me say this, Michel, I don't know if
you know this.
So my dad was a lawyer, and he went to law school before World War Two, and the he was a naval officer in World War II. And then because he'd been a
lawyer, and, frankly, got good grades in law school, they made him the assistant to the chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, so he prosecuted
the Nazi war criminals.
And what he said was, if you see something that's really wrong at the heart of America, make sure you fight it, because the Germans let it go, and it
went to a place that no one could ever have imagined. If you see something really wrong, and that really -- there's something really wrong at 1600
MARTIN: Obviously, there are people who support him. He just really seemed like have this strong emotional attachment to them. What do you think
STEYER: I think a big part of it has to do with something that I'm very sympathetic to, which is he said he was going to drain the swamp. He said,
it's a corrupt place -- Washington is a corrupt place. They don't care about you. They don't. They're not trying to help you. We need to drain the
It turns out and people legit -- I feel this is a government that's broken. I believe corporations have bought this government. I'm saying I fought
those corporations successfully for 10 years.
He was saying I'll do it. It turns out, he's the biggest swamper out of them all. But am I sympathetic to the people who voted for him because they
said the system is broken and he's saying he'll go in and change it on our behalf?
STEYER: Yes, I think they had a legitimate gripe.
MARTIN: Okay, so that leads to you. You worked on impeachment. You also -- you worked on need to impeach, but you also had a number of other projects
you were working on -- redistricting. Before that, as you mentioned that you had a couple of like about 10 years where you were working on issues,
along with your other sort of philanthropy and other projects.
But then after setting up this need to impeach organization, you decide to run yourself, what did you think was missing in the field that you are now
filling? What role you think you play that wasn't currently being met?
STEYER: Well, let me say this, I joined really late in this race in July. Most people had been running for five or six months at that point. I
listened to the first couple of debates and I thought, no one is talking about -- people are talking about the nuances in healthcare, the nuances in
the Green New Deals, the nuances in violence, gun violence, prevention, and on and on.
But no one is talking about what's really going on -- broken government. We have to take back government of by and for the people. I'm talking about,
for instance, term limits.
I believe we need to restructure D.C., so the first question is not what do we want? But how are we going to get it? And the second question is this.
Jay Inslee was out there fighting for climate. But at this point, I'm the only person in the race, who is saying, I will deal with climate as my
number one priority, because I have to.
I've been working on climate and fighting on climate, and, you know, helping prevent the Keystone pipeline, helping stop the last fossil fuel
plant that I think will ever be proposed in California in Oxnard, the Puente Plant, passing clean energy bills in California and outside
I think one of them we got an agreement today from a public service company in Arizona to do 50 percent clean energy by 2030. That took a long time and
a lot of work to do. I've been working on climate, and I felt like, look, somebody has got to make this priority one.
Somebody has got to really deal with this real time because the timeframe in politics and the timeframe that Mother Nature is dictating aren't the
same. This is a crisis. Deal with it like a crisis. Let's see what it takes.
MARTIN: Okay, and one of your fellow candidates, Andrew Yang makes the point that, sure, that's important. But if you are having trouble putting
food on the table, if you are having trouble figuring out how to get your kids educated and get to college, you can't make that a priority.
In essence, that's kind of one of those, you know, it's not esoteric, because I think everybody can look around who is paying attention and see
the real world effects of this. But this isn't something that if you are a person who's really struggling for survival, that you can afford to make a
So what's your argument to this person that you are A, the person that that is the priority that they need to focus on and then B, you are the person
to tackle it other than the fact that you -- forgive me -- have a lot of time on your hands and have had a lot of time to think about it because you
don't have another job right now?
STEYER: Actually, I've been doing this full -- I've been organizing full time for seven years. I mean, I've been working every single day. So it's
not true that I don't have another job.
Actually, I started one of the biggest grassroots organizations the United States Next Gen America, and in 2018, did the biggest youth voter
mobilization in American history.
MARTIN: But how does that fit into your argument that government is broken? Because you tie all these other things to it, but then you say,
okay, but it is climate change that is my number one priority.
You're getting screwed because government is broken, you're not getting the healthcare need because government isn't working. You're not getting the
education you need. You're not getting the wage increases you need because government is broken and we're going to do climate change.
STEYER: And we are not dealing with climate change because government is broken. Why is it that the Congress of the United States has never passed a
legislation dealing with climate change? Because oil and gas companies don't want it?
That in fact, they're insisting that we keep going on this fossil fuel based economy -- to heck with the health and safety of every single
And let me say this, Michel, I do climate change completely differently. I, for the last decade and more, I've started on climate with two points.
Environmental Justice. Who do we start with? We start in the communities where you can't breathe without getting asthma. There are communities in
California where 92 percent of the kids have childhood asthma, and in the communities where you can't drink the water without getting sick.
Those are communities like Flint, Michigan; Newark, New Jersey; San Joaquin Valley of California; Denmark, South Carolina, black and brown communities.
We start with Environmental Justice and the people from those communities as the leaders and partners in this movement.
Second of all, to actually deal with climate, we have to rebuild America, which means we're going to create more than four and a half million direct
jobs to rebuild America on an accelerated basis, good paying union jobs across the country, biggest job program in American history.
So what we're talking about -- the reason I have to make it priority one is there's a time associated with it. Do I care about healthcare? Heck, yes.
I have been traveling around the United States of America full time for seven years and talking to people. I have been looking them in the eye and
I've been hearing what's going on.
As far as I'm concerned, what we're seeing is political violence done by the Republican Party for money to the people of the United States.
MARTIN: But how does that make somebody's life better right now?
MARTIN: Because isn't that -- the focus that you've placed on climate, I mean, how does that make somebody's life better right now, if your argument
to people --
STEYER: If you can breathe and drink the water -- if you can breathe and drink the water, those are good things. If you can get a job, a good paying
union job, rebuilding the electrical grid, rebuilding buildings, setting up new generating facilities, those are good jobs.
MARTIN: I mean, one of the criticisms or sort of the Zeitgeist criticisms of Washington now, the leadership in Washington now is that it is too
white, too male, and too rich. You know, how do you argue to the public, that a person who is among the one percent is the best person to represent
their hopes, their dreams, their goals, their needs?
STEYER: Because actually as an outsider, I've been doing that. If you look around and see, for 10 years, I have been organizing people to take on and
beat corporations. I really have a history of doing it.
I mean, I started by taking on oil companies about clean energy in California, because no one else would do it, because they thought they were
too rich and too powerful to be beaten. And we got 70 percent of the vote.
I've taken on the tobacco companies. They'd won 17 times in a row in California. We got a $2.00 pack cigarette taxed, $3 billion to $4 billion a
year and gave it to MediCal. I've taken on the drug companies. I've taken on utilities that didn't want to clean up their energy generation. I've
been doing this for 10 years successfully.
So if the question is, it's not a question of, what am I saying I'm going to do? I've been doing this. I mean, if the question is, who do you trust?
Well, let's see who's actually done it. I've actually done it.
MARTIN: As of January 13th, you and Mike Bloomberg, also a late arrival to this campaign, the former Mayor of New York City, you've spent a combined
$320 million out of the $409.8 million in the presidential context, and it really goes back to this question that if the economy is rigged for the one
percent, which is something that you hear people complain about on both the political right and the political left.
I mean, how does it serve the interests of the public for the two of you to have had such a dominant role in political spending?
STEYER: Let me say this, I'm not Mike Bloomberg. So comparing me with Mike Bloomberg, I mean, I guess at some level, you want to do it, but I don't
consider myself Mike Bloomberg. I think he has a completely different background from mine. I think he's got a completely different message than
MARTIN: But you're spending between the two of dwarfs all your other competitors combined. And you can see where it conveys a message to the
public that this is an election which is being bought and not won. Can you see why people might feel that way?
STEYER: I'm not saying money doesn't make any difference, Michel, but what I believe is this, what really is going to make a difference is what your
message is. That in fact, the people who are going to do well in this and I don't know if it's going to be Mike or me are people who are going to have
differential message and something to say that people believe, that people believe you're telling the truth. They believe it's important. They believe
it's differential, and they trust you.
MARTIN: OK, tell me about Mike Bloomberg. What do you think of him as a -- I mean, what do you think of Mike Bloomberg?
STEYER: I've said, look, Mike is a super rich guy, as you said. As far as I'm concerned, he has his own history. But if he wants to lead the
Democratic Party, and he's only been a Democrat for a short period of time, then he has to raise the wealth tax.
Look, as far as I'm concerned, if you're not willing to redress this severe income inequality and wealth inequality in this country, then I don't think
you're appropriate to be representative of the Democratic Party, because as far as I'm concerned, you've got to confront the fact that something has
gone very, very wrong in this country.
MARTIN: The fact of the matter is -- you're a numbers guy -- your numbers really haven't moved. I mean, the fact is, you're polling at two percent
nationally in most of the major polls. It's true that in South Carolina, you're starting to, you know, show some momentum, you're still I think,
what? Around 15 percent, would you agree in South Carolina?
STEYER: I think it's a little better than that.
MARTIN: You think it's a little better than that?
MARTIN: Okay. But that's still not a winnable number. Why not support the people -- let me just finish -- why not support the people who have already
demonstrated strength and demonstrated a presence with the Democratic electorate? Why not support them? Why not invest in them?
STEYER: Because I said there two things that I thought were true that got me into the race, which is, as an outsider, I really felt we had to talk
about how are we going to get this change? Not exactly what change do you want? The fact that no one else is putting climate as their number one
priority. And I believe I can beat Trump on the economy.
And I think we're going to have to beat Mr. Trump. We're going to have to beat him on the economy. I believe I'm positioned to do that in a way that
nobody else is.
MARTIN: Okay, but do you have time to make that case? I mean, you really haven't cracked, you know, double digits anywhere except here, South
Carolina, maybe you're making some momentum there. You're certainly investing a lot of money there.
STEYER: In Nevada.
MARTIN: And Nevada. True.
STEYER: There are four early primary states. A poll came out today, called the Morning Consult poll. They do it every single week. They do 2,500
people a week. They had me at an average in the four early primary states of 15 percent, in third place.
STEYER: I've had -- my numbers have gone up virtually every single week since I got in in July as a pretty much unknown person. And actually, my
numbers are moving.
So I understand your point, I've always believed that I'm saying something different. If I change my mind, and I don't believe I can win, I'll get
But I believe I'm saying something different that's really important to be said, and I'm saying it.
MARTIN: One of the issues on the table right now is our ongoing presence in the Middle East, and I just like to ask what your approach would be.
STEYER: Well, let me take a step back and say this. I believe that we've been best served around the world when we're working in coalition with our
traditional allies. I believe in the Middle East, just to go back to President Obama that he did a very good job with regards to Iran and
putting together a coalition of countries to negotiate with Iran and have them give up their nuclear ambitions for 10 years in return for some
economic sanctions being lifted.
When I look at the Middle East, I can see 20 years of failed Middle East Policy with America basically going it alone in a bilateral confrontational
way, moving to military action.
I view that as, it obviously hasn't worked. It's been a failure. In fact, we haven't had a strategic, you know, design in the Middle East, as far as
I can tell. We haven't had a process where we're working towards a strategy, particularly one that we can articulate along with our allies
pushing together to create a safer world.
MARTIN: So what would you do first, should you be elected?
STEYER: In terms of the Middle East?
STEYER: The first thing is I'd go back to our allies and start talking together about the strategy that we're going to use to work, you know, to
get Iran back on track out of this escalating confrontation that Mr. Trump has put us in. That would be the first thing.
I think the second question we have to ask ourselves is, what are we trying to do in the Middle East? We've spent so much time there. We've been
through so many series of wars.
We spent so much -- so many of our service people's lives. We've been involved in the death of so many hundreds of thousands of people from that
region's lives. The question is, what exactly are we trying to accomplish?
MARTIN: Okay, so would you try to resurrect the Iran Nuclear Deal?
MARTIN: Israel and Palestine? What would be your philosophy?
STEYER: My philosophy in Israel is simple. I believe that we are -- we've said we are a strong ally of Israel, and we'll make sure that it has -- its
right to exist continues.
MARTIN: Would you move our embassy back to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem?
STEYER: Let me say this before we get to that, Michel. I'd say this, I believe in a two-state solution. That is the only solution I can see. I
believe that the idea of ending that and all the different ways that this administration has basically gone against the idea of a two-state solution,
In my mind, it makes Israel less safe and makes us less safe.
And In fact, if a big part of what I think protects us around the world, is the idea that we're trying to do the right thing. That we're honest. We
stand up for people. We're for human rights. We're for democracy, and we do the right thing.
Anytime we're perceived otherwise, I think that makes us less safe. I think that we create enemies. I think the idea of being a country whose safety
comes because we have the biggest guns and we're willing to use it. It's not a way to be safe.
MARTIN: Would you move the embassy back to Tel Aviv? The U.S. Embassy to - -
MARTIN: You would.
MARTIN: Well, the decisions seem to have been very popular amongst certain some communities in the United States. What would you say to them?
STEYER: I would say, I understand that that we've said we will make sure that Israel retains its right to exist, and I absolutely will do that. But
I believe that every provocation we have, that we commit, that we perpetuate, where we actually try and where we don't seem to be being fair,
where we're moving away from a two-state solution, where we're basically being perceived as being self-interested, or too closely aligned with Mr.
Netanyahu is a mistake.
That in fact, what protects us, really around the world is if you go around the world and people say, we know the United States stands for what's
right. We know that in their heart, they're trying to do the right thing. That is the protection that we have.
MARTIN: If there was one thing you would say, gets you up in the morning, and out on the campaign trail, what is it?
STEYER: I feel like I'm making my stand. You know, I mean, people -- I understand people can be critical, and I understand that. But as far as I'm
concerned, I'm seeing something deeply wrong and I've been fighting it for 10 years, and this is as elemental as I can get.
MARTIN: You feel like this is something you're called to do? This is why you're here right now.
STEYER: Look, I was talking my daughter -- I was talking to my daughter who has quit her job or she's postponed her job to go door-to-door. She was
saying, you know, well, it's such a privilege to get to meet people. They're very, very honest.
STEYER: She is basically knocking doors, she said every day, someone tells me something they don't tell their best friend or their family, and then
they cry, and then I cry. And I said, you know, the thing is, this process makes you a much better person and it makes you a much more spiritual
person. It's made me much more religious person.
She said, you know, dad, I'm not religious at all. It's making me much more religious, too. This is -- there's something going on here that's much
deeper than the political conversation we're having, and if you see that kind of change in people's life expectancy because of despair in the United
States of America, we know that we need to change and we really deeply do.
MARTIN: Tom Steyer, thank you so much for talking to us.
STEYER: Michel, nice to meet you.
MARTIN: Appreciate it.
AMANPOUR: Such an interesting conversation about just what's at stake.
Now world leaders are at the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem honoring 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. It's a moment to remember not just
the depravity of the Holocaust, but also the heroism of those who resisted.
A play in London, "Remember This" is highlighting just that, with the story of Jan Karski. He was a Polish courier in the resistance, who risked his
life to witness crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis during World War II, and then go on to warn the West's most powerful leaders about it.
Actor David Strathairn plays Karski and he is no stranger to these historical characters. He portrays Secretary of State William H. Seward, in
Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," and he was nominated for an Oscar for portraying the legendary TV journalist, Edward R. Murrow in "Good Night and
Good Luck," and he's joining me now from Washington.
David Strathairn, welcome to the program.
DAVID STRATHAIRN, ACTOR: Thank you very much, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: I can't imagine at a better time, not just because of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, but also because of the world
we live in for you to be playing this one man, playing and portraying this amazing man. Well, what made you take it on?
STRATHAIRN: Well, I'd have to say that he is one of these people whose life was exemplary in so many ways, and particularly in public service, as
a man who has borne witness to some of the most horrific events in history, and he has been for most of his life, the last 40 years of his life, he was
And the goal of the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics that generated this project out of Georgetown University under the auspices of
Derek Goldman, and Cynthia Schneider. Their goal is to put a human face on global politics and that's kind of a generalized statement, but it's -- the
nuts and bolts of it is to put people in a room from widely diverse beliefs, political postures, cultural identities, and have them reckon
with, recognize and have reflected to them these issues that impact millions of lives today.
And that's why Jan Karski is so relevant and that's why we've chosen to, through their School of Foreign Service out of Georgetown, present this
piece because I believe he lays down a gauntlet by his extraordinary life for all of us to move forward bearing witness and telling the truth and --
AMANPOUR: Well, a witness is just so crucial and central to this and we'll get into the unbelievable superhuman courage he showed to bear
witness onto the Warsaw ghetto, and then will -- but I want to just play a sound, a little bit of a clip from the play to just show what's at stake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STRATHAIRN: We walk again in the streets. We do not talk to anybody. We walk for probably one hour. Sometimes he tells me, look at this Jew. A man
standing, not moving. Is he dead? No, Mr. Vitold, he is alive, but remember he is dying. He is dying. Look at him. Tell over there in London and the
United States that you saw. Don't forget.
We walk again, only from time to time, he whispers. Remember this. Remember this. Remember this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And that obviously the title of the play and you've played it and portrayed it several times, and you're traveling around with it soon to
I mean you have an uncanny -- I mean, I know you're an actor but wow, you bear resemblance to the physical Jan Karski.
AMANPOUR: Obviously, your accent. How emotional was it for you? I mean you've taken on a lot of major historical characters. How emotional was it
for you to say those words?
STRATHAIRN: Very emotional. There's a moment in "Shoah," Claude Lanzmann's extraordinary documentary about the tragedy of the Jews in World War II, in
which Karski testifies, and bears witness and then talks, speaks about his experiences.
At the very beginning, he says, now, I go back 35 years and then this thing comes out of him. The 35 years come back to him in a moment in which he
crumbles. He leaves the room and he comes back.
Anytime you give voice to this kind of -- the power of that kind of what he witnessed and have hold on to a long time for, you know, 35 to 40 years,
it's a visceral emotive experience and it's what a public performance can do to people who are sometimes not exposed to this form of expression.
It's the goal of the mission of the Laboratory to put people in a room to feel the emotion at a gut level, to give them an opportunity to walk in the
shoes of the other, the person across the aisle, the person across the border, the person across ideological divide, things which today are
fracturing our world.
To put them in a place where it's a safe place where they can experience this and hopefully have some kind of empathic reaction to it, where there
may come some understanding, confusions, fears, hates, biases may dissolve, and there possibly could be some, you know, real truths shared.
And he is the man -- what he did in his life is exemplary of this.
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, I want to because I think it's really important that we hear from the real Jan Karski and show as you mentioned,
he did give an interview, and this is quite long, but I think it's really important to hear him, so let's just play this about what he saw and what
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAN KARSKI, UNDERGROUND COURIER FOR THE POLISH GOVERNMENT-IN-EXILE: I don't go back in my memory. I couldn't take anymore. But I reported what I
saw. It was not the world. It was not a part of humanity. I was not part of it. I did not belong there. I never saw such things. I never -- nobody
wrote about this kind of reality. I never saw any theater. I never saw any movie. This was not the world.
I was told that these are human beings. They didn't look like human beings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: David, it's really quite profound to actually listen to him and see him speak in such disbelief and he was the one who saw it. And yet,
I say that because when he went back and reported it to Winston Churchill and to President Roosevelt, and to Felix Frankfurter at the Supreme Court,
Felix Frankfurter, Jewish himself, they just didn't believe him. Walk me through that.
STRATHAIRN: Well, he actually didn't have an audience with Churchill. Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden said that the Polish reports had already
reached them about the atrocities and that the matter would do it -- follow its proper course, and that he was told he was not permitted to take
He had a meeting with Roosevelt, as you said, but Roosevelt never asked him anything about the Jewish problem. And Justice Felix Frankfurter actually
confessed to him that he could not conceive of the horrors.
So that in that clip you just showed him, there are two really very important things. He says, I reported what I saw. It was the truth and that
he never saw any theater. He never read anything about this. He was bearing witness to an event in our history that nobody could accept.
STRATHAIRN: So, it's -- yes, it's very significant that his journey of reporting, being in what many ways could be the true messenger of -- as you
are, you know, as many people are and your colleagues are, are messengers of truth and fact, that today truth and facts are bandied about, you know,
for personal gain, to control, to cajole, to confuse.
But he is an example of somebody who, out of his courage and his will and his deep-abiding faith chose to do this. And he is an exemplary man. He has
put down a gauntlet for all of us. Moving forward, yes, we must remember the Holocaust, never forget.
But as a teacher, he dedicated his life to educate the future generations saying that there are new students always. And that he said to his students
that we will have a future because we are speaking truth.
AMANPOUR: So I wonder, you know, he was, as you say, a teacher and he was at Georgetown, probably, you know, a key factor in why this is
happening, you know, in Georgetown or come out of Georgetown, but I wonder what, as a teacher who believe that these truths would be passed down
through the ages, he would think about the terrible resurgence of anti- Semitism around the United States, Europe, other parts of the world today, but particularly the United States and Europe.
And also these terrible poll numbers. I'm sorry, what can you call them but terrible. News statistics show that more than half of Americans don't know
that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Forty five percent according to Pew in February last year, believe around six million Jews
were killed in the Holocaust, 25 percent weren't sure or had no answer.
Just 43 percent believe that Hitler rose to power through democratic means, 25 percent believe he violently overthrew the government, 23 percent not
sure. I mean something so massive in history, and these people who Jan Karski hoped to educate, seem to have come up really short.
STRATHAIRN: Yes, I think it would -- it would at once break his heart and to galvanized his heart again. And it's why he is an example for all of us
now to address these issues. The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics has chosen to use art, the theater, the form of live personal
testimony to address these issues, as I said, hopefully to bring people together so that they can share these in a common safe place.
But yeah, it's extraordinary. History repeats itself and that's why we must reteach history. We much must never forget and see where have we come from?
How far have we come and where can we go?
AMANPOUR: So I want to just finally end with a little clip from your other really great film, which was "Good Night, Good Luck" and you were nominated
for the Oscar playing Edward R. Murrow, you know, who made his name during World War II, who was so lionized with bearing witness telling the truth.
And it's an amazing thought to think that you're playing both these characters or you have done, so let me just play this this little clip from
"Good Night and Good Luck."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STRATHAIRN: Our history will be what we make of it, and if there are any historians about 50 or a hundred years from now and there should be
preserved the kinescopes of one week of all three networks.
They will there find recorded in black and white and in color, evidence of decadence, escapism and insulation from the realities of the world in which
We are currently wealthy fat, comfortable and complacent. We have a built- in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information, our mass media reflect this.
But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us, then
television and those who finance it, those who look at it and those who work at it, I see a totally different picture too late.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, it's so prophetic. Just very briefly just sum up your feeling today.
STRATHAIRN: Well, first I want to thank you very much for taking the time to air this, considering everything that's on your plate. Yes, I just kind
of will maybe close with a couple of things that Karski said that, that the common humanity of people, not the power of governments is the real
protector of human rights and that it kind of puts it in nutshell of how we need to move forward as a world.
STRATHAIRN: We need to take care of each other and yes.
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, yes, those are really profound words. It's really great to have you on. David Strathairn, thank you very much indeed
and the one man play will be taking place in London on Monday.
And finally, I want to mark the passing of another great reporter, Jim Lehrer, the PBS NewsHour anchor, a lion of American journalism has died. He
co-founded and hosted the network's nightly news coverage for more than 30 years. He was 85 years old. Mr. Lehrer moderated a dozen presidential
debates, and somehow he found the time to write more than a score of novels and four plays and three memoirs.
A man of letters who brought credibility and objectivity to our TV screens. He is greatly missed.
That is it for our program tonight. Thank you for watching and goodbye from New York.