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Boris Johnson Tries to Ease Lockdown Based on Data and Public Health; Stay at Home to Stay Alert; Clusters of Coronavirus in Countries That Reopened; Barack Obama Called Trump's Coronavirus Response a Chaotic Disaster; Supreme Court Hears Biggest Presidential Immunity Case; Global Food Supply Chain in Disarray?; Donald Trump and Deutsche Bank. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 11, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We must stay alert. We must continue to control the virus and save lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Confusion reigns after the British prime minister sets about unlocking lockdown. Should Britons stay alert or stay home? I ask Sir David
King, the country's former chief scientific adviser.
Then, with the Supreme Court hearing the biggest presidential immunity case since Watergate, author and investigative reporter, David Enrich, looks at
what the president doesn't want revealed and why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANDA LITTLE, BLOOMBERG COLUMNIST: We're even beginning to hear, you know, what it feels like this impending famine and a time when, you know,
again, we're just dumping all these really valuable high nutrient, high flavor food resources in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Could a pandemic that started in an animal market disrupt the global food supply? Hari Sreenivasan speaks to environmental journalist,
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour working from home in London where the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, is trying to
ease the lockdown while also mindful that the nation's infection and death rates are the highest in Europe. This is what he told Parliament today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Our challenge now is to find a way forward that preserves our hard-won gains while easing the burden of a lockdown. And I will be candid
with the House, that is supremely difficult balance to strike. There could be no greater mistake than to jeopardize everything we have striven to
achieve by proceeding too far and too fast.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Moving the country from stay-at-home to stay alert has been derided at vague at best confusing and contradictory at worst. The only
really clear departure seems to be that people can leave their houses for outdoor exercise more than just once a day and while encouraging those who
can do so safely to return to work, the government is still saying work from home. Here's opposition leader, Keir Starmer, responding to the prime
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEIR STARMER, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: What the country needs at this time is clarity and reassurance. And at the moment, both are in pretty
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, there is very real danger still out there and that is because in countries like Germany, South Korea and China which have already
taken initial steps to reopen, there are new coronavirus clusters and spikes prompting fears of a second wave of infections.
Prime Minister Johnson says his reopening plans are guided by data and public health. But my next guest is concerned that could damage the public
trust in science. Sir David King is U.K.'s former chief scientific adviser and he's now conducting an alternative panel of experts to provide what he
calls clear and transparent best practices. He's joining me now.
Welcome to the program, Sir David.
I guess let me just start by saying, is it fair to say that right now the advice, the sort of new move from the prime minister, has been vague and
DAVID KING, FORMER U.K. CHIEF SCIENTIFIC ADVISER: Yes, I think the power of good communication is to get your messages out in a way that they can be
fully understood. And I think the general consensus on what the prime minister said last night and what has been said in Parliament today is that
there is a lack of clarity. It seems on the one hand we are being encouraged to go back to work and on the other hand we are being encouraged
to stay at home.
It is true that stay at home has been removed from the slogan the government has been producing and replaced with stay alert. And I think
many of us think that the idea of stay alert is very fuzzy. It is not clear what that means. And so, I think I turned to the document that the
government produced for Parliament today, it's a good 50 pages long, and I've been working my way through it and I expected to find the detail that
was missing in the prime minister's two presentations and I have to say the detail is still missing.
We see pages saying what we will do is announce the day of going back to work and then we will, prior to that, announce how we can go back to work.
So, when we do go back to work the question is going to be, to what extent preventive measures have been put in place in the workplaces with physical
distancing, supportive enable personal protective behaviors. But we haven' seen any of the detail on the --
AMANPOUR: OK. So, if you haven't seen the detail and this is a little bit alarming, the fact that you have actually gone through these 50 pages, and
what we have seen on the streets, though, are people who have taken the prime minister's message to heart. We have seen pictures of full subway
cars, the tube seems to be full on many of the areas where people have been, you know, taking pictures and showing them. And also, you know, we
have heard from people concerned that they say, well, listen, I cannot socially distance but I'm being encouraged to go back to work.
I mean, what do you think is the -- is going to be the result of this, of people going out? And do you think it's premature to lift the stay at home
KING: I do think it's premature. I think we have to proceed with ultra- caution. And what my group tomorrow will be publishing is a 30-page report, and I can tell you that each page is full of detail, and we're putting
forward 18 recommendations to government. And our recommendations are focused on how we move on from today towards the potential end of the
epidemic, but it's setting it out in a form that really says caution has to be used at every step.
Now, the government is also saying that, but so far, the rules are so obscure, it seemed apparent from the prime minister's words yesterday that
people were intended to go back to work today and that's not happening or it shouldn't be happening. It won't happen for quite a period. So, I think
the contusion is the worst possible outcome at this stage.
I think that --
AMANPOUR: In your -- I mean, we have heard -- sorry. It is hard to talk sometimes across these Skypes. But I want to ask you because, I'd just to -
- if you could give me a few specific recommendations because people want to know, should they go back to work, how should they be protected, what is
the right time to go back to work. And also, I think your report is fearful that there could be multiple waves of this infection, that could actually
maybe even hit harder than this first wave.
KING: I think there's several points about this. If we look at what is the most important set of criteria that should be used to get us out of the
epidemic, we would face two things. One, minimize the number of deaths and, two, get us out of this as quickly as possible. Now, those two are not
incompatible because if we move too quickly now, we're back to square one. We're back to where we began towards the end of March with the lockdown and
we're simply extending the time period when we can't get back to work. So, I think being cautious at every stage of the game is critical.
Now, what are we saying? We are saying the government should refocus its ambition to finding every case and tracking and supporting contacts and
ensuring an effective community quarantine policy of 14, not 7 days, isolation for all of those contacts. In other words, we need to get back to
a routine that we gave up very early on in this epidemic which is a routine of testing and tracing. Once we have that in place, we're in a better
position to manage to lift the lockdown.
We need sufficient public health and health system capacities. These have got to be in place to identify, to isolate, to test, treat all cases and to
trace and quarantine cases. All of this has to be put in place, I believe, before we can actually lift lockdown. So, what we need to see -- sorry. I
let you ask your question.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, you've suggested some of these things which are vital and the question is,, why in these big rich democracies does, for instance
the United States, Britain, have such difficulty in getting the number of - - or the ability to contact and trace and isolate, much less the testing, because we know that that's not up to scratch either?
But, you know, David -- or Richard Horton, sorry, who's the editor of "The Lancet" said the government should have used the month of May to get all of
these things that you're talking about up and running before even attempting to lift the lockdown. And he points out to much longer lockdown
periods in places like China, for instance, and in other places.
So, you're saying it's too quick. I'm saying to you then, how long is it going to take to get the contact tracing apps up, to get the testing up so
that you can do it safely?
KING: I think the answer to that depends on the government responding coherently to this problem. We should have, if I can look back to the
question you asked me a moment ago, behaved like Greece did and the European Union. Greece acted extremely quickly. They went into lockdown
very early on before they had any fatalities, not even one. And the result of this is, that in Greece, the total number of deaths is about 150
compared with our 32,000.
So, what we saw was a period when this disease started going rampant around the country. You will remember Cheltenham horse races on the 13th of March,
which meant that people came from all over the country, a quarter of a million, to watch the races and then went back across all different parts
of the country which is the best possible way to spread a virus.
Now, of course, when that happens what you end up with is a very large number of people being infected with the virus and this becomes difficult
to manage in terms of testing and tracing. Now, so, we began too late but we have gone into lockdown. We brought down the deaths now per day. We have
brought down the number of cases. And before we come out of lockdown, yes, I agree with Horton completely, we must see that we have the test and trace
AMANPOUR: Yes. I mean, I guess, it begs the continued question as to why we don't have that and I just wonder whether you have some thoughts as to
how quickly and, you know, constructively one can get that particular vital piece of ability up and running. But I do also want to ask you this
because, are you concerned, for instance, that countries that we have looked at, you've mentioned Greece, but many people focused on South Korea,
people focused on Germany, et cetera, and they have shown certain spikes with the R rate, certainly in Germany, going up a little bit from under one
What are the cautionary tales from there? And are you concerned when you watch other countries that they're in the middle of a full-blown second
wave or these little -- how do you analyze what's happening in those countries?
KING: Right. Everything in a country where you end up with a second wave means that you have to be prepared for a second wave, and one of our
recommendations in some detail is about how to prepare for a second wave. The important thing is with an epidemic of any kind is to get ahead of the
epidemic in every -- at every step you take to anticipate a second wave is good behavior.
Of course, you can hope that it won't happen. But if it does, you immediately put in place the measures that you previously thought through,
and that is really, I think, what is missing in Britain, I suspect in the United States as well, is a coherent policy in which everything is brought
So, for example, PPE, the protective -- personal protection equipment for everyone working in hospitals, in health care centers, et cetera, care at
homes, this was totally inadequate in this country and I just feel were we really sending medical staff, doctors, nurses, care workers, into work
without proper personal protection equipment?
And the same goes for testing and tracing. We didn't use the months of February and March to get ourselves up to scratch, to get ready for the
epidemic that happened in such a large scale. And again, you have to be prepared for a second wave. There's no guarantee as you remove the control
steps that you will prevent a second wave. And so, we have to be sure that we're ready for it.
Now, just in the same way, we need to be sure that we are ready with the medical remedies that might alleviate the number of deaths that we are
having. We need to be working hard on vaccine production. And then, in this area, I would say only in the last few weeks we have got going on focusing
on that, but still where is the vaccine manufacturing capability in Britain? Still, months on we don't have the vaccine manufacturing
capability here and we would rely then on importing. And why would we not be at the bottom of the list for people to export to us if we're not
manufacturing our own? So, I think in every case, it needs thinking right through.
And what is interesting, my science advisory group is only 12 -- 14 people. I include myself. 14 people. We met were two and a half hours last Monday
and we've been working ever since then on the report that we are putting into the public domain and into government tomorrow morning. The report is
intended as advice to government. But as always, when I was chief scientific adviser, the advice goes into the public domain as well.
And what we are really demonstrating here is what I think should have been done all along, transparency in the science advice. We even opened
ourselves up to a public viewing of that meeting last Monday, and I think that was a good idea. The purpose of that was actually to show the public
how scientists from different disciplines can meet together and decide on a policy and a series of recommendation. It's a very challenging process
because there's bound to be disagreements and that is really what the scientific peer review system looks like
So, as we move forward --
AMANPOUR: So, question.
AMANPOUR: Yes. I have to ask you a question about this. Why is government getting it wrong in -- as far as you're concerned, because that's what
you're describing, and what is the interface between science and politics? Because it is science but it is also politics. Science advises but the
elected leaders, I guess, decide. Where do you stand on that?
KING: When I was chief scientific adviser, I was emphasized the fact I was an adviser. And I did let Prime Minister Blair know and Prime Minister
Brown that whatever advice I put into them and the cabinet I would also put into the public domain, and the reason is very simple, because I persuaded
him that this was OK on the basis that it would manage to keep the trust of the public on the one hand, which is key, and the trust of the prime
minister and the cabinet on the other.
It's a difficult road to go down. But the point I always emphasized was, this is the advice that I put in. And policymakers have to use their
acumen, their ability, their strategic thinking to decide how to act. But I have to say, there were very few occasions where the advice wasn't
followed. And of course, if you are putting your advice into the public domain this becomes known.
You may know that the prime minister's removal of stay at home and replacing it with stay alert is one of the key messages apparently was not
even discussed with his chief scientific adviser and chief medical officer, and I do find that really difficult.
One of the problems is that when governments make decisions and say they're following the science advice, it's a science -- science isn't capable of
being independently put into the public domain, how do we know that that is actually what is happening?
AMANPOUR: OK. That's a very worrying thing that you just said, because an entire shift of direction, you're saying, was done without talking to the
top scientific advisers, people who are -- you know, chief scientific advisers like you were.
KING: I found that a bit astonishing. It's been reported in a newspaper today. And it comes from a Whitehall source but the source isn't named. I
think that what -- let me just take you back. Here in Britain, in the late 1900s, approaching 2000, we had the BSE crisis in livestock in the U.K. and
-- particularly in cattle.
AMANPOUR: Foot and mouth.
KING: And that was -- no. I'm talking about BSE. So, this was --
AMANPOUR: Oh, sorry, yes. Go ahead. Yes. Go ahead. We have got 30 seconds left, Sir David.
KING: All right. So, very quickly, that crisis had an investigation afterwards and a minister had gone on television feeding his daughter a
hamburger made of British beef and saying, perfectly safe you and consumption. And at the same time, the scientists were saying, apparently,
in his own ministry is saying, CJB is a brain disease that is emerging, we think, from people eating British beef. In other words, BSE can be
transferred into human beings as CJB.
And so, the confusion of the report, the (INAUDIBLE) Commission report was that scientists must give their advice both to ministers and the public so
that when a minister says, we're simply following science advice, the public knows whether or not that is the case. So, in other words, this was
a severe criticism of what happened at that time.
AMANPOUR: Well, we'll see -- we'll wait to see your published recommendations tomorrow. And in the meantime, Sir David King, thank you
very much indeed for joining us tonight.
Now, in other news, the former U.S. president, Barack Obama, has caused some wave this is weekend when rare comments of his were leaked. In a call
with supporters, he apparently called President Trump's coronavirus response a chaotic disaster. He also says, he's worried of the rule of law
in the United States after the Justice Department suddenly dropped perjury charges against Trump ally and former national security adviser, Michael
Meantime, the Supreme Court tomorrow takes on the biggest presidential immunity cases since Watergate. They will decide whether President Trump
can block congressional and criminal inquiries into his financial practices. As business investigation editor at "The New York Times," David
Enrich is a leading expert on President Trump's deeply tangled financial history.
In his new book "Dark Towers," Enrich exposes the secrets and scandals of the Deutsche Bank, which is the German bank, that for many years was Donald
Trump's go-to lender. It is now a party in one of the Supreme Court cases. And David Enrich is joining me now.
Welcome to the program.
Can I first ask you, David, what -- we know why any Supreme Court matter is very important, but sum up why you think this is so important in the
context of where we are now. What will it, in broad brush strokes, determine?
DAVID ENRICH, AUTHOR, "DARK TOWERS": Well, this basically determines, in broad strokes, whether Donald Trump's financial secrets will remain secret
as he seeks re-election later this year. This is the president for his entire time in office and even before when he was campaigning has been a
steadfast opponent of having to release almost any information about his personal and business finances, and that is broken with decades of
precedent where people have released their tax returns.
And so Deutsche Bank and Trump's accounting from both -- are sitting on quite a lot of his very detailed personal financial information. Congress
sought that. And Trump and his family have sued to block anyone from actually disclosing this information.
So, this is -- the stakes are very high for President Trump. They're also very high in from a constitutional standpoint in the U.S. because this is -
- the Trump argument is basically that Congress does not have a legitimate legal role to conduct a very aggressive investigation of the president.
AMANPOUR: I mean, exactly. I mean, that precedent was established during Watergate, that the president is not above scrutiny or immune from
investigation. Just quickly tell us, because obviously, the president and allies and his attorney general have said that, yes, he is immune. He can
essentially do anything while he is president, and that is immune while he is president. Nothing can be investigated, certainly, in terms of
criminality even with allegations of such until afterwards.
This seems to bring in an even bigger sort of radius of that sort of claimed immunity because it seems to be that they're claiming that even
third parties like Deutsche Bank or this and that can't be talked about, can't be -- you know, can't be challenged. Is that right?
ENRICH: Yes. That's right. And it's a very generous and broad interpretation, I think, of the presidential immunity and presidential
power. And they are, in essence, saying, it's not Donald Trump who has been subpoenaed here, it's Deutsche Bank, it's Capital One, it is his accounting
firms subpoenaed. And the notion that Congress as part of its oversight responsibilities and also part of its legislative responsibilities cannot
seek -- go to a private party and asked for detailed information about them is a pretty aggressive interpretation.
And the argument of the Congress is making is that this is core to the role under the U.S. constitution as providing checks and balances on the
executive branch of government. And the argument, I think, that the Trump administration has going for here is that these subpoenas are very broadly
written and they are -- they do -- there's reason for them, for Congress to be investigating. But the way the subpoenas are written, it does smack a
little bit of an open-ended fishing expedition.
AMANPOUR: So, what do you then -- before I get into where your expertise really is here and the specific Deutsche Bank case, what do you predict for
these hearings, these cases by the Supreme Court? Where do you think they're going to land?
ENRICH: Well, I'm bad at making predictions. I'm almost always wrong. So, with that caveat, and a number of federal courts, in fact, every federal
court that has ruled on these cases as they've made their way to the Supreme Court, has ruled against the president and his family. And so, I
think you have to assume that the court will basically, by default, stick with that precedent.
On the other hand, this is a court controlled by conservatives including two members who are appointed by President Trump. And so, I think there are
-- people will be watching this very closely to see how the court balances precedent and kind of established legal theory versus the kind of
ideological issue and political imperative that this is a Republican president.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, in all of your investigation and through the book that you have written, what have you come to know that Deutsche Bank knows?
Obviously, everybody wants to know about President Trump's tax returns. He broke with precedent. He didn't release them like all the other presidents
have and all the other campaigners have. They want to know if he's a multi- billionaire as he claims. What is the extent of his wealth? What about his business contacts? What about -- you know, all these things. What does
Deutsche Bank know?
ENRICH: Well, Deutsche Bank knows -- I'm tempted to say everything but it's probably a bit slight exaggeration, but they know a hell of a lot. And
this is -- Deutsche Bank, for the past two decades, has been basically the only mainstream financial institution willing to do business consistently
with Trump and his companies, and you know, they have lent well over $2 billion in total, some $300 million of which is still outstanding. And so,
over the years they have collected reams and reams of detailed information about the president and his company and his family finances.
And so, any information that is out there about where Trump is making his money, who his foreign business partners are, the practices to be using to
collect money, where he's been sending money, all that stuff that is in Deutsche Bank's electronic vaults and is being sought by congressional
investigators. But there is, in fact, a lot more than that that's being sought by Congress and I think that could be very revealing if it becomes
Congress is seeking not only Trump's records but also Deutsche Bank's own internal records about its employees' correspondence regarding the Trump
relationship, any concerns that employees might have had about potentially suspicious activities in the Trump accounts. And so, there is a good chance
that if there was shady stuff going on in Trump's finances and in Trump's companies since, basically the late 1990s, there's a good chance that there
are clues about that, if not outright evidence of that, in Deutsche Bank's files.
And so, the stakes here, it's really hard to overstate the stakes for Trump who has spent, you know, the past five years or so fighting very vigorously
to keep all of this stuff secret, and this represents a real threat to his efforts to keep it under wraps.
AMANPOUR: So, going to those internal records, Deutsche Bank sources for your book and I think in subsequent conversations had told you that they
did possess portions of Donald Trump's tax returns for several years. Now, they say they don't currently have those returns. What do you make of that?
ENRICH: It boggles my mind. I mean, there -- I have talked to a number of people inside the bank who either currently or previously worked there who
literally have seen portions of the tax returns and, you know, that it's been a couple years since they have seen them but saw them, they were in
the bank's possession. And Deutsche Bank last year, in one of these federal court hearings about this litigation, said that, no, they don't actually
currently have the tax returns.
And so, you know, I went back to the sources on this and they said, yes, they were certain they had them. It is possible they returned them to
Trump, it's possible they destroyed them. And my guess -- I haven't gotten a clear answer is the reality. And my best guess is that at some point in
the fairly recent past, Deutsche Bank, maybe at Trump's request, returned the tax information to him.
So, the banks -- I take it at face value that the bank does not currently possess Donald Trump's personal tax returns. But it is entirely possible --
in fact, I think it's likely that they do have a lot of other tax returns related to the Trump companies, possibly to his family members as well.
AMANPOUR: So, let's get to the heart of the Deutsche Bank-Donald Trump relationship.
So, we understand that it was a relationship that began somewhere in the late `90s. Donald Trump was a very, you know, well-known celebrity,
developer, his name stamped on all sorts of buildings all over, certainly on the East Coast and in New York City.
And Deutsche Bank kind of it was, I'll scratch your bank, you scratch mine. Trump was having difficulty getting loans after bankruptcies and default.
Deutsche Bank wanted to make inroads into the United States and have bigger, bigger clients.
It was a little German bank before. And you write the following in "Dark Towers": Deutsche had been the only mainstream bank consistently willing to
do business with Trump. The bank doled out well over $2 billion in loans to Trump and his companies. Deutsche had become the key force allowing Trump
to bounce back from multiple bankruptcies, to recast himself as a successful businessman and to become a viable candidate for president."
So, you described Trump back in 1998 as a casino magnate known for showbiz hijacks and on-and-off dealings with organized crime figures and that Wall
Street mostly wouldn't go near him.
So, just describe this incredibly close and mutually beneficial relationship.
ENRICH: Well, as you said, it started in the late 1990s, when Trump was desperate for banks to lend him money, because he had defaulted on his
loans and stiffed his banks. And Deutsche Bank was trying to make a big, splashy entrance on Wall Street.
And so it needed to find clients who were basically not already adequately served by the mainstream financial world. So, Trump fit that description to
a tee because he was such a default risk. And he was eager to do business with Deutsche Bank because it was willing to look past his many financial
And the relationship got under way in the late 1990s. Very soon, hundreds of millions of dollars of loans were going from Deutsche Bank to Trump, at
a time when no other bank would touch him. And it went very well for a couple of years, until Trump, true to form, started defaulting on his loans
And Deutsche Bank got burned once by Trump. And, you know, the normal practice inside a big, well-established bank, when you get -- when a client
defaults on you, is, you wash your hands of that client. And Deutsche Bank was such a troubled, dysfunctional organization, that while the one
division that had been burned by Trump decided it would no longer work with him, that message was not properly shared with the rest of the bank.
And so the rest of the bank continued throwing money at him. And the pattern kept repeating itself. He defaulted on numerous loans, Trump, on
numerous occasions. And even as executives kind of tore out their hair in frustration about how Trump was ripping them off and really embarrassing
them in public, the bank kept coming back to him within a year, throwing more and more money at him.
And so Trump went -- thanks to Deutsche Bank, he went from being this washed-up, not-very-successful casino developer in Atlantic City to being
one of the premier or certainly highest-profile real estate developers on the East Coast and, frankly, internationally.
And that was at a time when Deutsche Bank was really the only bank willing to make large loans to him. And so I think there's a strong argument to be
made here that, you know, Deutsche Bank is not what got Trump elected as president, but, without Deutsche Bank, it would have been very hard for
Trump to make the argument to voters that he was a savvy businessman, that he had navigated all sorts of crises and had managed to come back from near
failures over and over again.
And, you know, that was true. And it was true in large part because Deutsche Bank, over and over again, was there to cushion the -- cushion his
falls and help him bounce right back.
AMANPOUR: And you would think that Donald Trump, he wasn't president then, would be really grateful that here was a bank that would keep lending to
him, despite all the -- but not at all.
You write about how, in 2008, Trump actually decided to sue Deutsche Bank, instead of paying back -- or he rather defaulted on loans that they had
given to him, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Tell me that story.
ENRICH: This is one of my favorite stories. And I have been covering business for a long time now, and I have never come across anything like
So, in 2005, Deutsche Bank made a loan of more than $500 million to Trump to build a big sky-rise -- a big high-rise, a skyscraper, in downtown
Chicago. And that went along fine for a couple of years. And then, 2008, the financial crisis comes.
The loan is due. Trump gets Deutsche Bank to agree for a six-month extension the loan. And so it's November 2008. The loan is finally do this
time, and Trump just does not want to repay it. And it wasn't that he couldn't. And he was quoted at the time in the media boasting about how
much cash he had on hand. So he could have repaid the loan, but he didn't want to.
And so he asked his lawyers to go scour the fine print of the loan contracts with the bank to find him an escape hatch. And the lawyers found
inside the contracts there is what's called a force majeure provision, which is act of God.
And so it says that in, a crazy, unanticipatable circumstance, like a natural disaster, for example, the loan -- portions of the loan are void.
And it just so happened that right around that time the former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan had described the financial crisis as a
And his lawyers looked at each other and said, well, what is a tsunami if not a natural disaster? And so they presented this idea to Trump that they
would use the financial crisis as this contract-voiding act of God.
Trump loved it. And so they not only stopped paying back the loan, but also sued Deutsche Bank, claiming that the financial crisis invalidated the
contract and then, just as a nice cherry on top, blamed Deutsche Bank for causing that financial crisis and for engaging in predatory lending
practices against him, Donald Trump, by seeking to collect the loan.
And they sought $3 billion in damages from him, which is, again, I have been covering this stuff for going on two decades now. And this is a act of
financial hutzpah that I have never seen before and probably never will see again.
AMANPOUR: And, obviously, Deutsche Bank, no angels themselves. You talk about how they pushed envelopes to get where they did. And they have been
the target of all sorts of internal investigations and the like.
But just quickly, do you think there is now bad blood between Trump and his family and Deutsche Bank? And could that, I don't know, play any role in
these Supreme Court cases?
ENRICH: No, I think it's actually the opposite. In fact, I think that there's a certain degree of mutually-assured destruction here, which is
that the Trump administration wields enormous power over Deutsche Bank.
It regulates them. It has criminal investigations into them. And Deutsche Bank similarly wields enormous power over Donald Trump, because if all this
information they have finds its way into the public domain, that is potentially very damaging to Trump.
So I think these -- both sides are kind of locked in each other's embrace, whether they like it or not. And this -- so the Supreme Court case could be
finally the thing that pries them apart from each other and gets all this information into the public view.
AMANPOUR: Really, really interesting, and with massive dramatic implications, of course, not just in personal finances, but the idea of
checks and balances, accountability, the degree of any president to claim immunity.
Thank you so much, David Enrich. It's really interesting stuff.
And now, when it comes to where the coronavirus started, there are all sorts of conspiracy theories and accusations out there. But the evidence so
far points to a food market in Wuhan, China.
And the story has now come full circle, with the spread of COVID-19 sending shockwaves through the whole food industry, from restaurants closing their
doors to crops rotting in fields.
Our next guest says the global supply chains are in disarray.
Amanda Little is author of "The Fate of Food: What We'll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World," from the field to the plate. She joins our Hari
Sreenivasan to talk all about it.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Amanda, you're an author. You're a professor. You have been writing about food for a long
I want to start with a tweet that I saw from Jose Andres a while back. This was a few weeks ago. And it was so stark on -- he said, how are both of
these things happening at the same time? One was an image of a mountain of potatoes that was essentially rotting because it couldn't get to people who
needed it, and then the other picture was of a line 10,000-cars-long for food in Texas.
How -- what's happening with our supply chain? How are both of these true?
AMANDA LITTLE, AUTHOR, "THE FATE OF FOOD: WHAT WE'LL EAT IN A BIGGER, HOTTER, SMARTER WORLD": It's extraordinary, right, that, at this moment,
we have a huge oversupply of vegetables, milk, meat, to the point where we're plowing under fresh produce, we're dumping milk, we're euthanizing
And yet there's so much need. There's so much threat of hunger. And I think we're even beginning to hear what feels like this impending famine, at a
time when, again, we're just dumping all these really valuable, high- nutrient, high-flavor food resources in this country.
What we're beginning to see is what has been true for decades, which is that our food supply is incredibly complex. The way that it's managed is
incredibly archaic. And, ideally, this kind of exposure of these realities will help us reform in a really important and long overdue way.
We have 15 agencies that deal with food safety alone, right, the FDA, the CDC, the Department of labor, the USDA, the EPA. All these agencies in some
one way or another, and others, are part of what -- maintaining food security and a reliable food supply.
So, what happens when you have to get all of the players in these agencies communicating, coordinating, trying to figure out how to partner with the
private sector to get those rotting potatoes to where they can be consumed, that is not working.
It's very complex. It needs to be -- we need innovation and creative solution at this moment. And it's both traumatic, but also potentially very
generative of solutions.
SREENIVASAN: What you're talking about is reforming a food management system that's from a different era. I mean, you have called it archaic
before. How would you fix that?
LITTLE: It is important to remember that the existing -- the reason that this is so segmented and sort of diffuse and decentralized, the reason that
we don't have a single authority for food safety is in part because this management system evolved piecemeal 40, 50 years ago and more.
So it's very outdated. It's very out of step with not only just the realities of how food is produced in 2020, but also with the realities of
what happens when you have a massive disruption like a pandemic.
Interestingly, President Trump has put a lot of emphasis on the importance of having nimble agencies, nimble government, the ability to respond
creatively, cut out your bureaucrat red tape, but we aren't -- we're not seeing any of that right now coming from the Oval Office and from the ag
secretary, for example.
The COVID response plan that they have in place is sort of, let's get back to the way things were and try to kind of restore status quo. What we need
to do is think about why what was normal was dysfunctional, and how to reform and adapt, yes, how to bring efficiencies, move beyond a lot of that
sort of bureaucratic segmentation and dysfunction, and really build resilience and sustainability into food systems.
It's not happening yet. Again, it's, let's run back to status quo. And what we're coming to see, as you pointed out, is that there's so many problems
with status quo, with food waste, that we have been wasting 33 to 40 percent of the food produced in the United States and globally for decades,
and without much of a solution there.
Food safety, nutrition and the quality of our foods, market prices, and crop subsidies, a lot of that is now coming into stark relief. How do we
manage all these different issues more effectively with better sort of coordination among all the different agencies that are managing these
SREENIVASAN: One of your recent columns from Bloomberg was about why the meatpacking industry and these plants have become clusters for the
coronavirus 19, really getting into the group of workers that's working there.
Explain that for somebody who might not have read it.
LITTLE: At the moment, there are 10,800 or more, actually, COVID-positive cases in meat production facilities.
There are about 800 meat processing facilities in the country. Only a portion of those are the very high-scale, large-scale production
facilities. But in those huge facilities that process, in some cases, 20,000 hogs a day, for example, you have shoulder-to-shoulder line work.
It's -- they're wet conditions. They're exactly the kind of conditions in which COVID-19 or any other communicable disease can be transferred among
So, we have seen that happen. A lot of the towns and cities that house large meat processing facilities have become COVID hot spots. I reported a
Smithfield pork processing facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. And among the 3,700 employees, about a quarter of them, about 1,000 employees,
And it became, of course, a huge public health problem within the company, but also a problem for the hog producers who were supplying the plant,
again, 20,000 hogs coming into this plant every day.
The plant shuts down for two weeks, and suddenly all of those hog producers have nowhere to put their hogs. There are about 550 independent hog farmers
who supply the plant. So, the hog farmers are euthanizing their animals or coming up on real crisis and disruption in their own supply.
The workers, most of the minimum-wage workers, most of them immigrants, are being exposed to a potentially life-threatening disease. And the company is
trying to figure out how to keep its revenues online.
And, by the way, this is again, an example of a scenario where there are existing problems and existing challenges that have been around long before
COVID. Meat workers or employees in these processing plants face 17 times the injury rate of employees in other industries, right?
These are fast-paced -- it's fast-paced work. And so if you're sick or you're burdened or you're under emotional stress, it's much harder to do
SREENIVASAN: Now, what's the role of the employer here when it comes to, as you point out, a work force that's very diverse, that might -- for whom
English might not be a first language, how they're given the information on what their choices are, if they have any, what kinds of precautions they
need to be taking?
I mean, the CDC looked into this a little bit as well, and they said that sometimes bosses are incentivizing people to show up every day. And then
you get a bonus at the end of the month if you don't have any absences.
Well, that just creates the absolute wrong incentive if you have somebody who's sick who shouldn't be there.
LITTLE: It's so troubling, honestly.
In the case of the Smithfield Sioux Falls plant, exactly that was going on. So, there are 40 languages spoken at this plant and 100 dialects spoken at
this plant. The workers in the plant had been getting all kinds of information from their families all around the world that there were
serious COVID threats percolating globally across Asia and Europe in particular and across the African continent.
They had been going to their union leaders, who had then been going to company management and saying, this is a real problem. We want to be
prepared for it. And they have been asking for proper PPE. They have been asking for testing. They have been asking for social distancing and breaks
for weeks before the plant was actually taken offline.
And, in fact, the company had offered a bonus of $500 per employee if they didn't call in sick during the month of April. So, yes, the incentive had
been on, if you're sick, show up anyway. That had been the message.
At the same time, there have been statements by company representatives and by the governor of South Dakota, Governor Noem, that had said, we think
that the disease may be spreading among these workers, not because of conditions at the plant, but because of their living conditions in their
home and because the -- they live in large communities.
The implication is that these are unsanitary living conditions. So much of this has been locked away, right? I eat my breakfast sausage or my bacon,
and I'm not thinking about the conditions of the workers. I'm not thinking about, am I paying the true cost for this meat?
I'm not thinking about, should we have the volume of affordable meat that we have in our lives? Should we be paying more for that? Should we be
considering alternative proteins?
A lot of those questions for consumers are becoming very real. And, again, what are the conditions for the workers who produce this food that we have
kind of come to take for granted?
That's very important for us all to be dealing with right now.
SREENIVASAN: The meat industry, for its part, says, hey, listen, if these shutdowns continue, you are going to see shortages on grocery store
shelves, and we have been deemed essential by the government.
So, is there that likelihood that not only are we going to see a price spike, but a supply shortage now?
LITTLE: Let's be clear that U.S. consumers are not going to be forced to go vegan anytime soon. Right?
Some of the messages we have been getting from executives at the major meat produce -- companies has been, right, this is a food crisis, we're going to
see meat vanishing off of shelves.
The threats to protein production are real. But meat companies have some reserves of product in cold storage that can temporarily fulfill consumer
demand while the plants remain offline.
If these production facilities have recurrence after recurrence of the disease, and waves and waves of shutdowns, that is the real food crisis.
SREENIVASAN: Are those reforms that you would like to see, are they happening anywhere now? Are there proposals on the table where they could
LITTLE: Representative Rosa DeLauro has introduced us plan, an action plan for food security and food safety.
And that is the sort of broadest and most comprehensive plan that I have seen so far emerge. She's looking at worker safety and ways in which we can
not only support the CDC recommendations for safe work environments, but also enforce them.
So, that plan, the DeLauro Plan, action plan, I think, is hopeful. It's going to be difficult to get the kind of bipartisan support that she needs
for it, so it's not going to happen in the next five, 10 days, which is when a lot of important decisions need to be made.
But it is a great start for talking about kind of this broader, holistic, sort of comprehensive look at, how do we build more nimble and sustainable
food supply chains? And she's got backing from chef Jose Andres. She's got backing from former Agriculture Secretaries Glickman and Vilsack.
And I think there's a lot of interest. A lot of the ag states, a lot of the states that depend heavily on agricultural revenue see what's happening to
their producers, and they want safety and resilience.
SREENIVASAN: Do you think that the way that we farm today makes us more susceptible to the spread of diseases like this or viruses like this? Does
that increase the likelihood that this will continue to be worse, especially in places like meatpacking plants?
LITTLE: In the United States, we import more than half of our fruits, I think about 40 percent of our vegetables, even though we're a huge producer
of food ourselves, right?
So that creates vulnerability, and whether it's disruption in the supply itself because of climate pressures, for example, or whether it's the
distribution systems themselves are taken out by a storm or by a global pandemic. How deeply interwoven our food systems are and how vulnerable we
are to disruptions elsewhere is becoming very clear.
And I want to be clear that it's very important to acknowledge that there are advantages to large-scale food production. I am not saying that we
should eliminate industrial farming and that we should all go back to small and mid-sized farms, because it's a lot more affordable.
We need not just a sustainable food supply. We need an equitable food supply and an affordable, achievable food supply.
And so some very large-scale food production is important, because it's cheaper, essentially. But thinking about how we can really invest resources
into efficient, local and regional food webs is becoming more and more urgent and necessary.
SREENIVASAN: Amanda Little of Vanderbilt University and the author of "Fate of Food," thanks so much for joining us.
LITTLE: Thank you so much.
AMANPOUR: And since this interview, Smithfield Foods have announced that it will resume operations in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The company says they will comply with CDC guidance and provide workers with PPE, temperature checks and physical barriers to allow social
And, finally, with nearly a billion students out of school around the world right now, many, of course, are missing out on big milestones, including
This weekend, former President Barack Obama is giving a virtual commencement address to 74 historically black colleges and universities in
the United States.
Meantime, an American photographer, Matt Mendelsohn, captures the uncertainty many students are facing in a new series of stunning portraits
from one school in Arlington, Virginia, a tennis player, a swimmer, a lacrosse player, a rower, just to name a few, high schoolers sad to see
their senior years disrupted by lockdown, but still hopeful for a bright future.
His series is called "Not Forgotten: The Yorktown Seniors of 2020."
And that is it for now. Thanks for watching, and goodbye from London.