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Interview With Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella; Interview With Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 19, 2020 - 14:00:00 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.
President Trump dismisses yet another inspector general. I ask Senator Bob Menendez why it matters and what's Congress going to do about it.
And, America first by the grim numbers. The world's highest coronavirus infections and deaths. I ask The New Yorker, Susan Glasser, and Ed Luce of
the Financial Times how a superpower has been humbled at home and abroad.
Then, the Navajo Nation has the highest rate of infection per capita in the United States. I speak to the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SATYA NADELLA: What the world needs the more flexibility. It's not about one dogma going to another dogma. But resilience is fundamentally built on
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, on reimagining the workplace in the coronavirus era.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour working from home in London.
Americans are paying the heaviest price in the coronavirus pandemic with over 1.5 million confirmed cases and over 90,000 deaths, the country has
the largest outbreak in the world. But amid the health and economic devastation, a troubling pattern of dismissals by the White House is
raising questions about abuse of power and the rule of law.
On Friday, State Department inspector general, Steve Linick was fired. He's the fourth government watchdog to be dismissed in just a few weeks.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Linick of "undermining the State Department." It soon emerged that Pompeo has been under investigation by
Linick's office over his use of government personnel for private matters and to fast track an arm sale to Saudi Arabia.
But the secretary of state insists this isn't retaliation. And with the president and his key backers claiming that maximalist constitutional
powers exist, the former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, warns, "the assault on the IG is late stage corruption."
Now, to discuss this extraordinary situation, my first guest is Senator Bob Menendez. He is the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Affairs
Committee and he's co-launching a congressional inquiry into Linick's firing. And he's joining me now from Capitol Hill.
Senator Menendez, welcome to program.
Look, we did say that there are various reasons apparently given for this firing. Allegations about potentially using State Department personnel for
personal use and the idea of fast-tracking, you know, arms to Saudi without your congressional approval. Why do you think this crisis has happened? Why
was Linick fired in your estimation?
SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): Well, Christiane, the reality is, is after being there through two administrations, Inspector General Linick was tough
during the Obama administration, he's been there for three-and-a-half years, nearly the entirety of the Trump administration to let him go now
wreaks to high heaven that obviously what he was investigating was problematic for the secretary of state and he -- the secretary of state
went to the president, the president said he had no longer had confidence, which is not a basis really for letting the inspector general go.
And so, this is an assault -- this is the fourth time we have had an inspector general go from different departments. It seems to always happen
on a Friday night. And this is an assault on the checks and balances that governments have over the agencies of the federal government and that's why
we need to investigate it.
Whether it was the Saudi arms sales, whether it was personal use, whether it is -- there are some reports about, you know, hosting dinners that were
really not within the per view of the secretary of the state at the State Department, whatever it was, the bottom line is, we need to get to the root
cause of why the inspector general was fired.
AMANPOUR: So, you heard, you know, Mike Pompeo said it's not about retaliation. You have called it an illegal act of retaliation. I mean,
that's presumably -- you still say that, right? You think it's a retaliation?
MENENDEZ: Absolutely. I'm convinced it is retaliation. Because, you know, I've read some of the comments that the secretary of state has made in
response to this saying that Inspector General Linick wasn't doing things the way that he would like him to or was obstructing the department's
You know, the bottom line is, the inspector general's supposed to be independent. He's not supposed to do it the way the secretary of a
department wants him to do it. He's supposed to do it independently to understand whether or not that agency is functioning in the best interest
of the American people in a clear, transparent and honest process.
And so, when he says he wasn't doing it the way the State Department would like, well obviously, if he's investigating something that you don't want
to be investigated then ultimately, that's the whole essence of why an inspector general exists.
AMANPOUR: So, in the last six weeks President Trump has fired or dismissed five of these IGs and we have a graphic that's going to list their names
and what departments they came from. Is this unprecedented? Do not these IGs operate, essentially, at the pleasure of the president?
MENENDEZ: Well, under the law they do operate under the pleasure of the president. But normally, first of all, I don't recall a time in my 25 plus
years in Congress that four inspector generals have been let go by any administration, much less probably more than one.
And secondly, the reality is, is that while they serve at the pleasure of the president, there has to be a clearly stated purpose. This generic term,
I have lost faith in such and such inspector general, is not the basis for dismissal. And I'm glad to see that even some of the Republican colleagues
like Senator Grassley, who for a long time has been one of the biggest proponents of inspector generals as a way for honest and open government is
now saying that the term, I have lost faith, is not sufficient to let go of inspector generals.
So, number one, we need to have the hearings. So, I hope Chairman Engel in the House will do so. He has convening powers as well as subpoena powers.
I'm going to pursue through my staff and have called upon the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Risch, to hold hearings.
And also, I'm going to be offering legislation to safeguard the inspector generals so that there just can't be arbitrary and capricious firings by a
AMANPOUR: So, we did a little bit of, you know, checking. President Obama was criticized for stone walling some of the IGs but he only fired one
citing performance. President Reagan tried to remove several but he was dissuaded by the aides at the time.
So, the question really is, what -- for people who don't know, why are the IGs important? And what particular function do they perform in the checks
and balances that are meant to exist in the United States? But we have seen -- I mean, for practical matters, totally eroded under this administration.
Congress is having a hard time. It gets stone walled by the president and now the IGs.
MENENDEZ: Well, the whole purpose of an inspector general, either at the State Department or, for example, we have one pending about, you know,
overseeing the entire multi-trillion dollar CARES package, the stimulus that Congress passed, signed into law, to see how that's executed, is to
guarantee that, in fact, an agency is acting within the per view of the law, that it is administering the functions of the department in pursuit of
the Congressional intent, that is doing so honestly, that it is doing so transparently.
And so, to the average American citizen, the importance is that your tax dollars at work need to be being administered honestly, efficiently, not
for purposes that are outside of the law and certainly not outside of Congressional intent. When an inspector general cannot do that work because
he or she is stonewalled or fired because they were doing their job and uncovering abuses of any particular department, then the ultimate people
who get, you know, abused is the American people and the taxpayers.
And Congress needs inspector generals in order to find out information that sometimes it cannot find out itself, and those leads subsequently to
hearings that create reforms that better government. That's the reason the inspector generals are so important within our checks and balances.
AMANPOUR: So, do you believe -- do you agree with what Walter Shaub, the former ethics official, said that this is late stage corruption, that
firing these removes the last bulwark before authoritarian sets in? I mean, those are dramatic accusations. Do you agree with that?
MENENDEZ: Well, they are dramatic accusations and particularly within this administration. I have never seen a more opaque administration, a less
transparent administration, one in which getting congressional oversight is so difficult. Every administration always pushes back against Congress. I
understand that. I've been around long enough to understand that and been through several administrations, both Democrat and Republican but I have
never seen one like this administration.
Trying to get basic information that as a senior member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee need to make intelligent decisions about global
security issues, global health issues, is impossible to make without the right information, which means the honest information of what's happening.
What is the department doing?
And so, when you don't have an inspector general who can get you that information, when they can't investigate, when you don't get witnesses
before congressional committees because the administration stonewalls, then the American people through their representatives are left in the dark.
AMANPOUR: And very finally, because you talked about global health and, of course, America is in this terrible situation of being the world's --
America first in terms of infections in deaths and it's very, very sad. The president has China in the cross hairs. I realize bipartisan issues with
China exist in the United States. But do you think now is the time to pull the funding or threaten to pull all the funding for the W.H.O. in the
middle of a pandemic?
MENENDEZ: Absolutely not. You know, the W.H.O. like any institution is not a perfect institution. Sometimes it bends over backwards over its member
countries not to infringe upon them but it still provides a critical, critical mission in terms of identifying, you know, diseases in the world
and those that can spread to a pandemic such as COVID-19.
And it is, you know, a public health malfeasance to move away from the W.H.O. versus trying to reform it in any way you think would be necessary.
And that's why I and the Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have offered a global health legislation to strengthen, not to
weaken not only the W.H.O., but to strengthen the participation globally.
You know, it is ironic that, you know, you have the E.U. having an -- agreeing to put up moneys over a vaccine. We don't know whether that
vaccine will be developed in the United States or abroad but we collectively want access to it as soon as it's proven to be efficient
against COVID-19. We need to be at the table. And our absence at the W.H.O., at the Pan-American Health Organization, at European Union
conference is just an abdication not just of global leadership but American interest.
AMANPOUR: Senator Bob Menendez, thanks for joining us tonight from Capitol Hill.
Now, meantime, as we mentioned, the former government ethics chief, Walter Shaub, also had this blunt advice for journalists covering this president
and this administration. He said, cover it like you're a foreign correspondent in a collapsing Republic because you are.
Well, joining me now is The New Yorker staff writer and columnist, Susan Glasser, and also, the U.S. national editor of the Financial Times, Ed
Luce. His latest cover story is called "Inside Trump's Coronavirus Meltdown."
Both of you, thank you very much, indeed, for being with us because there's quite a lot to dig down on.
And I just wondered if you, just as an opening gambit, Susan, because you're an American and you've done a lot of foreign coverage. So, I'll go
to you first. Walter Shaub telling you all now to cover this administration as if it was, you know, a third world, whatever he said about it, you know,
SUSAN GLASSER, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Well, you know, Christiane, thank you so much.
I mean, it really -- I thought for a long time, you know, that this is -- covering Washington right now, and I've been doing this on and off for, you
know, longer than I would like to admit but, you know, almost three decades. And the truth is, is that Washington is the epicenter of global
That was something a senior Japanese diplomat said to Strobe Talbott at the very beginning of the Trump administration and I often think back on those
words when we're trying to frame the stakes for people of what is happening here right now and what the unique kind of dysfunction of America's
domestic politics means internationally. Because really what we're seeing, I think, is the fusion of an approach to American internal politics where
this polarization has now also, I think, become America's foreign policy, you know, of withdrawing from the world of creating a series of zero sum
confrontations that frankly reminds me more in some ways of when I was a correspondent in Putin's Russia than it does to the traditional American
approach to foreign policy.
But right now, as you pointed out, U.S. has never been more absence from the basic institutions and mechanisms of international cooperation. The
only trip that the secretary of state has made in the -- since this pandemic began was a short trip to Israel this week. And I think it does
speak to American isolation in a way that I'm just utterly unfamiliar with. It is just something new.
AMANPOUR: Well, it also has a dramatic impact at home. And, Ed Luce, of course, you are there in the United States. You are a foreign correspondent
for all intents and purposes, American editor of the F.T. there. And you have had a pretty dramatic cover story this weekend titled "Inside Trump's
Coronavirus Meltdown." How is this current, you know, description of this administration actually playing out inside the U.S. and why do you think it
I mean, the obvious question is, why do you think and what did you find out in your reporting that's led, you know, this terrible infection and death
toll and failure to deal with this pandemic?
ED LUCE, U.S. NATIONAL EDITOR, FINANCIAL TIMES: Well, I, you know, came across a lot of people in and outside of the administration or around the
administration who referred to the coronavirus likened it to the 9/11 attacks. And -- but George W. Bush was, of course, warned once explicitly
in his home in Crawford, Texas about that a few weeks before that before the plot came to fruition on 9/11.
By contrast, Donald Trump was warned countless times over many, many weeks about something that was definitely going to happen, a virus was coming
rather than a plot might happen. So, I think this idea that this was like a meteor or a terrorist attack has sort of taken hold in Trump's circles but
it simply doesn't stand up to the record. America's system didn't actually fail.
The president was warned in the intelligence presidential daily briefings. He was warned by federal scientists. He was warned by outside business
friends. He was warned by the secretary of health, Alex Azar. He was warned by many, many people from early January onwards that a certainty was
coming. Quite different to the 9/11 parallel.
And so, he failed to take action on that, and that's an extraordinary thing. The world is not used to America, A, not being able the look after
its, but B, not looking after everybody else, because America generally leads the global response to any natural disaster. And in this instance,
it's kind of a reverse. It it's America not being able to help itself.
AMANPOUR: Well, I want to put to both of you this quote that you have got in terms of you basically quoted somebody as saying that the president is
impervious to reason and that he relies on a very small coterie. So, let's read it. The story that emerged is of a president who ignored increasingly
urgent intelligent warnings from January, which you just said, dismisses anyone who claims to know more than him and trust no one outside a tiny
coterie led by his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner.
You've discovered that in your reporting and people have told you that. Susan, does that jive with how you know on this issue and others that this
particular president operates?
GLASSER: Well, of course it does, Christiane. You know, you go to war with what you've got and, you know, crises don't give an opportunity to, you
know, reorganize everything. You know, Trump is running this crisis in the same way he's run the country for the last three years. It's just that the
stakes are now such that it's actual life and death.
You know, we spent three years saying like, my goodness, you know, there's going to be trouble if there is an actual crisis. Well, now, that the
actual crisis has hit, what you are seeing, I think, is the kind of lack of government basic competence, that organization, that disorganization, the
turning to family and political cronies again and again. Those are the kinds of things to would write about Washington if it were a foreign
capital, and yet it is, you know, the capital of the United States.
The opacity is something that I would really point to as both, you know, Senator Menendez mentioned that. I think it's an important aspect of this,
is the lack of transparency, the lack of regular order and decision making, you know, insistence on centralizing things in the White House with the
coronavirus taskforce which had the effect of overruling especially a critical early stages the large public health infrastructure that exists in
the United States.
You know, remember that outside observers before the coronavirus pandemic hit believed that the United States was the best prepared country in the
world, that great public health infrastructure to withstand exactly this kind of crisis. Instead, what we found is that -- and President Trump
matters, in this case, in a negative case.
And so, right now, though, you know, Ed's piece is a terrific piece of journalism. There are many other pieces that have already documented and
there will be more information that comes out, the missteps and, you know, delay and denial that plagued the White House response to this especially
early on. But what's interesting to me is that politically speaking, Trump seems to be almost acknowledging, I can't win that fight. I'm not going to
fight on the grounds of that. I'm going to try desperately to change the subject. I'm going to go back into denial mode. I'm going to reopen the
U.S. economy even though there is really no evidence, there's nothing that's been done, there's no treatment, there's no vaccine yet that exists.
So how' is the outcome of reopening America in absence of that going to produce any kind of different result? Trump doesn't want to have that
argument with Ed about the damning specifics in that piece.
AMANPOUR: Well, here's the damning specific that Ed points out. We're play a soundbite of President Trump. Because, Ed, you spent a lot of time and
you opened the article talking about how President Trump made that first visit to the CDC in early March and what he said about vaccines and rather
testing and the lot and how it's not panned out. Let's just play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I think importantly, anybody right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They're there. They have
the tests. And the tests are beautiful. Anybody that needs a test gets a test.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, Ed and Susan, clearly that is not true. It hasn't happened. It wasn't true then and it's not true now. And that's one of the
big, big issues that not having the tests failed to allow scientists and politicians to actually evaluate the spread across the U.S.
But what I want to ask you is because, you know, I have been a foreign correspondent. I have worked in dictatorships and authoritarian regimes and
the characteristic is that everybody around the leader is too afraid to contradict the leader or stand up to the leader.
So, Ed, tests haven't happened. You have got the issue when President Trump said, let's, you know, maybe take disinfectant. You've got, you know, all
of these businesses about the malaria drug and the rest of it. And his people who are standing up behind him, Dr. Birx and the others, you have
said don't dare countermand him or even counterfactual something that's scientifically proven. Just describe what you found out in that regard.
LUCE: Well, I had one of the most splendid quotes I've ever had, sadly it was given on background. So, I couldn't name the quotee as it (INAUDIBLE),
which is, it's like bringing fruits to the volcano. Trump being the volcano. That if you're advising Trump and it's something he doesn't want
to hear, then you're pretty soon going to get cut out of the conversation. And as you tell him something he does want to hear.
Now, Deborah Birx seemed to have boiled that down to a fine art. I don't think Dr. Fauci has and that's why Trump has become increasingly
irritability with him. But the net (ph) effect of this is that you've got scientists across the federal government including Rick Bright, who was
heading the vaccine drive but was fired because he didn't want to put money -- he wanted to block money in a company that was pursuing the
hydroxychloroquine thing, this antimalarial drug.
You've got scientists who are chilled from giving good advice or stating good advice to the public directly. The CDC has not had a single briefing
since early March. During the Ebola epidemic in 2013-2014, it had a briefing every single day and that didn't hit America. This is America's
biggest epidemic in a century and scientists are chilled from giving advice. I mean, it has to -- you know, have to -- has to be said.
And I know Susan has -- will have things to say about this too. But the fact that Trump comes out this week and says he is personally taking
hydroxychloroquine after his own scientists at the FDA and elsewhere have said, at the very best it does you no good, at the worst it can kill you,
is an extraordinary test, it's a sort of deliberate anti-science message.
AMANPOUR: Yes. And clearly, that was advice and we heard it, we know, advice publicly of Fox News anchors, from his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. I
mean, you can trace where he gets these bits of information and recommendation from.
But, you know, I think it's important to, again, reiterate that the result of all of this is 1.5 million infections and 90,000 deaths. And sadly, one
of the great diplomats of the United States, the veteran, Bill Burns, of the State Department said, America is first in the world in deaths, first
in the world in infections and we stand out as an emblem of global incompetence. The damage to America's influence and reputation will be very
hard to do. So, that's Bill Burns' take on American first.
Susan, what do you think is going to be -- I mean, let's fast forward now. The election campaign. Because a lot of this, we have read from Ed's
article and others, is to try to position himself for the election. The attack against China. The attempt to get the economy back up and running.
GLASSER: Yes. Christiane, I think that is very important, as you said, to look and try to understand some of President Trump's otherwise inexplicable
moves during the course of this pandemic very explicitly in the context of his re-election campaign.
You know, he saw the pandemic essentially rather than in public health or scientific terms or even in terms of, you know, national security as
essentially almost a personal blow directed at him that disrupted his plans for the 2020 election where he planned to run for re-election on the basis
of his great best in the history of the world, which it, wasn't economy.
And you know, I think that those efforts you talked about, whether it's blame shifting on China or, you know, sort of reopening as quickly as
possible or even the very purposeful, very deliberate effort that we're seeing right now to ensure that Americans are seeing this pandemic and
global health measures through a partisan lens, that's all because of the re-election campaign.
And I think we must be the only -- you know, one of the only major countries in the world where politics is so explicitly shaping people's
response to the virus. And wearing a mask, you know, shouldn't be, you know, a sign of virtue signaling as to which political team you are on, you
know, it is a public health measure. And yet, that, I think, is something that you have seen the president very explicitly personally encourage.
And, you know, Ed is right to flag the president saying that he's personally taking the hydroxychloroquine goes to your point earlier, as
well, that, you know, who around him will stop him from doing things that are even reckless on a personal level? He is -- essentially the White House
physician acknowledge that he was told to do this by the president.
That's not how medicine works, that's not how science works. And, of course, it sent a very potentially dangerous signal to people who, you
know, should not be drinking bleach, should not be, you know, looking to disinfectant to save them from the disease nor apparently, should they be
taking this unproven malaria drug. There are serious health risks involved and it's amazing that you even have to say that.
AMANPOUR: It's an extraordinary situation. Susan Glasser, thank you very much, and Ed Luce. And I just want to end with one of quotes you mentioned,
Ed. I wish we had time to discuss it. But let's just remember, as you highlighted, that both South Korea and the United States had their first
cases on January 20th. We have talked about the numbers in the U.S. In South Korea, 11,000 cases. 263 deaths. I think those numbers perhaps say it
Ed Luce, Susan Glasser, thank you very much indeed.
Now, when you think about doctors without borders or Medecins Sans Frontieres, you probably think of war-torn countries. I have covered them
many times out there. But right now, they are helping with coronavirus in the United States. And few parts need it more than the Navajo Nation, a
community particularly vulnerable to the ravages of this disease.
The native American territory spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
And it has a population of over 173,000. And it provides yet more evidence of the disproportionate wounds that COVID-19 is inflicting on minority
Jonathan Nez is president of the Navajo Nation. And he is joining me now from Pinon, Arizona.
President Nez, welcome to the program.
I want to ask you, because you have been traveling around the nation today and over the last several days, and you're out there trying to figure out
and do more assessments.
Tell me right now how it's going. Are any of the mitigation methods, you know, helping? And what kind of assistance are you getting from the federal
JONATHAN NEZ, PRESIDENT, NAVAJO NATION: Well, thank you for having us on the show, Christiane.
Let me just give you the latest data that was given to me by our epidemiology team. Overall, here on the Navajo Nation, our residents, our
population, 25,682 of our citizens have been tested.
Now, we have 4,071 who have tested positive, and 19,964 have tested negative. So, the statistic that's out there right now shows that, per
capita, the Navajo Nation has gone above New York and New Jersey, yes, but, at the same time, Christiane, here on the Navajo Nation, we have been
testing very, very aggressively.
I know, over the weekend...
NEZ: ... the New York governor said that his total population is a little bit over 7 percent that has been tested.
Here on the Navajo Nation, 15 percent have been tested, here on the Navajo Nation.
AMANPOUR: Well, so tell me, how? How did you get that good fortune to have that many tests? Because we have been talking about how the president has
been promising millions of tests, and they're not up and running yet. How did you get them?
Well, you know, Christiane, sometimes they say be careful of what you ask for. We had a call out for health care professionals. You also mentioned
Doctors Without Borders, University of California-San Francisco, doctors and nurses coming here, also from the University of Arizona.
NEZ: So, we have a lot of...
AMANPOUR: President Nez...
NEZ: ... our friends of the Navajo -- go ahead.
AMANPOUR: Sorry. We've got, as usual, technical issues with this whole new work from home.
Yes, go ahead.
NEZ: Well, let me just say, Christiane, that we asked for test kits, and now many organizations are donating test kits to the Navajo Nation. We have
had test blitz happening here on the Navajo Nation, thousands and hundreds at a time testing happening here on the Navajo Nation.
And that is why we have tested over 15 percent of our total population, more than any state in the United States of America.
NEZ: So, if you test more people, of course you are going to have more positive and negative results.
So I mean, you still have pretty difficult endemic situations to cope with there, particularly in this kind of pandemic.
AMANPOUR: I have to say, I was shocked when I looked at the figures.
Can I just read them? I don't know whether most people will know this. You basically, I mean, of course, have a lack of infrastructure and investment.
You don't have the resources that you need.
But around 30 percent of Navajo people do not have access to reliable clean water. I mean, it's an unbelievable statistic. Roughly 40 percent of your
people lack running water in their homes. About 10 percent live without electricity, and there is little Internet.
I mean that must combine -- I mean, talk about a combination of double and triple whammies, particularly in this situation.
NEZ: Well, we do with what we have, Christiane.
Back to the data, you know, we also are tracking recovery numbers now. We have 928 that have recovered. And we have 142 deaths here on the Navajo
Nation, one way too many. Our condolences go out to the families.
And we have a special relationship with the federal government. And that is due to the treaties that we have entered. In the United States
Constitution, it allows for tribes to enter into an agreement, treaties, with the federal government.
And there's been a lot of promises that were compared to within that treaty. The federal government would provide good health care, quality
education, and also infrastructure.
And I'm hoping that, because of what we're talking about here today, Christiane, that 574 tribes throughout the country will start seeing a
better working relationship with the federal government and the administration.
Don't get me wrong. We have some great congressional people that are there. But there are a lot of other lawmakers up there that do not have any
background or any education in tribal policy or tribal law. And that's what we're trying to do. And that's what you are helping us do, is raise the
awareness for those promises to be delivered.
Forty percent to 50 percent of our citizens -- I'm sorry -- 30 percent to 40 percent of the citizens here on the Navajo Nation do not have running
water. So as you can see, because the federal government is asking everyone to wash your hands with soap and water, not many people here on the Navajo
Nation could do that, because, most of the time, what they're doing is hauling water for drinking and for their livestock.
NEZ: And it leaves a little bit just to -- for personal hygiene.
And what we're wanting to do is use this $600 million that just recently came to the Navajo Nation, like a week ago. Seven weeks ago, eight weeks
ago, Christiane, the CARES Act was approved. And within weeks, monies were distributed to the states and the counties.
And they're working on the public health emergency with those dollars, but we had to wait. Tribes throughout the country had to wait for those
dollars, $8 billion divided into -- if you want to call it, divided into 574 tribes throughout the country.
We had to file a lawsuit to -- against the federal government, Department of Treasury, just so that we can get our share of the CARES Act. And this -
- these dollars are supposed to be intended for all U.S. citizens throughout the country. But the first citizens of this land is again being
pushed aside and ignored.
But I am happy that -- to report that the monies that were allocated to tribes -- and it's only 60 percent of that $8 billion that went out to
tribes -- are in our bank account right now. And we're ready to begin to mobilize and utilize those dollars for the immediate needs and also
planning for the future of coronavirus in our communities, because there's no vaccine.
So, we need to start preparing for not just coronavirus, but for any future bugs that come into the United States and into our nation as well.
AMANPOUR: Well, as you said, the first citizens of your country, Native Americans, and I'm very pleased to say -- or to hear that you have got some
of the money that you need. And we wish you all the best.
Of course, we have been focusing on how COVID has disproportionately affected minorities, such as your nation, such as African-Americans,
And we're glad to have you be able to tell that story today.
Thank you, President Jonathan Nez of the Navajo Nation.
And now, today, the annual Microsoft global conference begins. And like most gatherings at the moment, it will be conducted digitally for the very
first time ever.
Satya Nadella is the company's third CEO. He has drawn praise for transforming Microsoft and for his unique leadership style, which is rooted
empathy, something he says that he learned while growing up in India, and then while raising his own son, who has cerebral palsy.
Walter Isaacson has been speaking and is talking to Nadella about how the tech world is innovating in this new reality.
Here's their conversation.
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Satya Nadella, welcome to the show.
SATYA NADELLA, CEO, MICROSOFT: Thank you so much, Walter.
ISAACSON: How has this coronavirus pandemic affected what Microsoft is thinking of doing in terms of products and services?
NADELLA: You know, first of all, Walter, this is just the most unprecedented situation, crisis that we, as a world, have seen.
And so I would say the first thing that we ever have to do is to ensure that our own employees are safe. And so we took immediate action as we saw
this spread around the world to help our own employees go home and work from home and stay safe.
So, the protocols that we had to implement there were definitely possible because of our products. But the other thing that we have also had to do is
to be the digital first responders to all the first responders out there.
When you think about the health care workers, everything from how they're able to deliver care, how their supply chains are working, Microsoft has
had to lean in, whether it's with the CDC or with Providence Healthcare here and hospitals around the globe, and helping them.
Same thing with education. We are in that phase where we are now talking about the response phase, but there is going to be a recovery phase, and
then there is going to be a reimagined phase.
And there, again, we will have to rethink what technology can do.
ISAACSON: When we get into that reimagined phase, what does that mean in terms of the way we're going to organize our work forces?
NADELLA: To me, the real reimagination, I think, at least from a digital technology perspective, will come when three secular forces are used to
accommodate the flexibility that our society and economy needs.
And I, for one, Walter, take away that what the world needs is more flexibility. It's not about one dogma going to another dogma, but
resilience is fundamentally built on flexibility.
And I think, given software is a malleable resource, the first thing I think we can do is, really, this ability to separate out the control plane
from the usage plane, right? So, when you can have the manufacturing happen remotely -- that is, the control of manufacturing plant -- the physical
plant remains, but the manufacturing control is remote.
Or when you can have an A.I. bot triage a patient's symptoms and then have a talent medicine workflow, before you have to have whether a test get
coming to you or whether you have to go to a hospital, that type of flexibility around remoting.
How do you simulate? Now, here is an another fascinating thing we learned. Simulation is such an important thing. Take even how the immune system
responds to a virus, or how do you really simulate a manufacturing run using, again, simulation software and automation?
ISAACSON: All that makes a whole lot of sense. But I know you pretty well. You have empathy at the core of your being, both from your childhood, your
family and your employees.
Aren't you missing something when you can't be there personally with people?
NADELLA: No, absolutely.
I mean, I'm glad you brought that up, because one of the things that while -- for example, even in Microsoft, if you look at some of the statistics
around, let's say, developer productivity -- after all, we have a lot of software developers.
One statistic we look at all the time is, how is code being written? Is the code of good quality? Are people able to collaborate, in a sense, even to
produce the code and the innovation? Some of those things statistics look great.
But one of the fundamental things that I worry about and I want us to study more deeply before we claim that everything is fine, even in remote work,
is the point you make, which is, what about that human connection? After all, when I look back at my own self, right, whenever I used to walk into a
meeting, in the hallway, I would meet two or three people, talk to them, learn from them, connect, build social capital, talking to the person next
to my meeting, before the meeting, after the meeting.
All that had a real impact on my outlook, how I approach work, what I learned. I feel sometimes now we're taking all that social capital we have
built up and are burning it a bit, while we are staying productive remotely. And that's good, but is it a long-term solution?
I don't know. I think this is one of those places where we need to stay a little humble. To your point, we have to ultimately look at what that --
it's not just about productivity. It's about the well-being of people and our society.
ISAACSON: Is it possible to try to recreate the physical experience of being together and blend it in with doing it remotely, so that our colleges
can reopen with people on the campus, our schools can reopen, even Microsoft headquarters can do it, and yet you somehow use the software to
keep us safer?
In fact, we're thinking through a lot in this back to work or -- back to work place, because, after all, people are working. And so, today, the
question is, what does it mean to go back to your office space? And how do we do it?
We are definitely, at Microsoft, not all going to go back to work at once. And we're not even going to be the first, because we have, I would say, the
privilege of the ability to work remotely. And so before we come back, a lot of the other economy is opened up and they're coming back to work.
We, in fact, are working with the UnitedHealth Group to even come up with some software to help businesses, for example, starting with self-
attestation, right, because the key priority is, how do you keep people safe?
And it starts with people being able to self-report their symptoms and if they or -- they are vulnerable or they're not healthy and or people in
their home or not, are vulnerable, it's best for them to work remotely.
So, I think what we're going to create is a very flexible, hybrid way for people to come back to the workplace.
ISAACSON: That sounds good for people like you, me, people who work at Microsoft, people who can do things remotely and online.
But there's so many workers that are having to go back who have to be there physically, who have to be in the meatpacking plants or make deliveries or
work on the docks behind me to unload the grain, those type of things.
Are you worried that this notion of going to a more digital, remote type work force exacerbates the great divide between people who have to show up
and make products vs. those who can work remotely?
NADELLA: No, it's a great question, observation, and a real issue, because, as I have worked with many of our partners and customers, they
remind me that they are sending millions of employees to work, so that a lot of us we have the privilege to be able to work from home can work from
home, as you rightfully said.
Critical services are happening because people are working, delivering, driving. Grocery chains to hospitals are a great example of that. And, to
me, I think what we have to do, as a society, everything to ensure that we value this.
I think, coming out of this, Walter, that's the other piece that I think we're all going to learn, is, is the value we ascribe to all type of work
right? Or does it have to change?
When you sort of realize that 20 percent of your GDP have to be spent in order to recover from the impact of this pandemic, I think we are all going
to probably go back to the fundamentals and ask ourselves, what could we have done to have avoided this situation?
I think we would have started with, what does it mean for us to really take the work that organizations like CDC or what epidemiologists do, what is
real -- what is what basically monitoring of any pandemic-like situation look like, funding for it?
So I think, to your point, we will have to sort of really think about wage support, as well as real, at a societal level, valuing all of the activity,
not just the activity we thought was the most productive, because I think the most productive activity we sort of ascribe value to is very dependent
on a lot of other activity in our society.
ISAACSON: You have the Build conference coming up.
I was wondering if there's anything emerging from that, new ideas, new ways to do software development conferences.
NADELLA: Yes, I mean, it's pretty exciting.
First of all, I would say one of the things that I am -- if there is a silver lining in all of this, is how the current architectural software,
which is the public cloud software, some of the A.I. breakthroughs, are all -- and even the collaboration software, like Teams, have been so helpful in
this business continuity and response phase.
I shudder to think even if this was 10 years ago what level of economic activity and productivity could we as a society have even maintained? So, I
would say, thanks to all the software developers, that has been fantastic to see.
I think, going forward, what we are in fact going to talk at Build is, what does that remote everything look like, right? For example, if you have
cloud computing power now both in the cloud, as well as at the edge with 5G, where -- low-latency compute, what would the hospital look like? How
could contactless e-commerce happen? What does curbside pickup look like?
So, we can reimagine so much of what one needs going forward in an economy that is adjusting to these new realities of maintaining social distance,
maintaining flexibility and how work happens. I think that's one place where I think software developers have both a tremendous opportunity and a
ISAACSON: What about software services built on your platform in which people can test themselves, they can get a clear pass, so to speak, in
order to go to work, they can be tracked and traced?
What type of things like that do you think will be coming out soon? And will people kind of freak out about the privacy?
NADELLA: First of all, the UHG app that's going to -- is being rolled out on our infrastructure provides some of that service. And...
ISAACSON: That's the UnitedHealth Group, right?
NADELLA: That's correct. The UnitedHealth's application.
And, of course, they're in the health care business. They understand this deeply. They already use this for their own first-line workers in the
health care sector, as well as inpatients. And now they're making it available even to large employers.
And the key principle they have is that it's all going to be done within the context of health care data and health care data regulation.
So, for example, all of the health record information would be protected under the existing laws of health care privacy. And what now businesses can
do is just get that self-attestation, essentially, about the status.
It's just like vaccine reports we may have used in the past, when we are going to school or to other countries. That's the level of sort of, I would
say, demarcation between the two data sets.
One is, how can you use your health record in order for you to be able to then make sure you are safe, and then you're keeping others safe? And
that's the workflow that the UnitedHealthcare Group is going to produce.
ISAACSON: As a kid growing up in India, you loved cricket.
And one of the things you have said you have learned from cricket is the need for teamwork, for collaboration, for just knowing where everybody else
is on the field and playing together.
Are you worried that we're going to lose that in our K-12 education, in our lower schools and middle schools, where most of what people learn, kids
learn there, is how to play together and how to work together? Is there some way we can help save that as we go towards more remote education?
NADELLA: I mean, it's, I think, one of the questions that needs to be sort of really answered by even people who are experts in how learning happens,
For example, when we think about learning, there is the -- how do you have attention? How do you have active engagement? How do you have many of these
things that -- and teamwork? These are all very important for learning to thrive?
So we have to come up with mechanism. But there are some things. Like, take Minecraft. Even prior to this pandemic, Minecraft would become the tool
where kids could come together to collaborate, learn to build together. In fact, it became a fantastic tool for young middle school girls to get
introduced to STEM education, because it was an open world vs. the classic C.S. curriculum.
So, I think we will come up with breakthroughs like that. One of the other tools that has really seen a lot of usage growth in the -- during the
pandemic is a tool called Flipgrid. I don't know if you have seen this. This is a tool.
It's sort of used for submitting short video clips as homework, and people collaborate on that -- those projects.
So I think that we will come up with some tools. But, ultimately, Walter, to your question, there is no substitute to that inspired student and that
inspiring teacher, because no amount of technology can be a substitute for, ultimately, I think what the educational system needs, which is students,
teachers, administrators, parents, and the community coming together, using perhaps new mechanisms, new tools.
But we have to prioritize that this is important.
ISAACSON: One of the key things you have emphasized as a leader is empathy.
Tell me about what you learned from your son, who has cerebral palsy, and dealing with that situation.
NADELLA: I mean, to me, I think the word empathy essentially is what is innate, I think, in all of us as humans. It's the life's experiences that
teach us how to relate, connect, understand where others are coming from.
You -- it's -- in fact, from a business context, I believe that empathy is at the core of design thinking, right? When you say we want to meet unmet
unarticulated needs or customers, it comes because of a deep source of empathy.
But the reality is, you can't go to work and say, let me turn on the empathy button. You have to learn from your own life's experience. And, in
my case, definitely, what I have had to -- I have learned a lot from my own son's experience.
In fact, I have learned a lot watching whether it's my wife and what she did in the formative years to care for him, give him every opportunity, all
the care providers, the speech therapists, the occupational therapists, the degree of empathy they had for my son's situation and how they really
That's influenced me, influenced me as a human being, influenced me as a leader and a manager. And I think that that's sort of what I think we all
bring to work, because each of us learns from our life. Each of us each day know how to relate more to more people and understand them more deeply.
And how do we take that understanding then to have the impact is what at least is what I feel innovation is all about.
ISAACSON: How often do you talk to the co-founder of your company, Bill Gates, who has been deeply involved in this? And what do you all talk
about? What have you learned from him?
NADELLA: Right now, of course, Bill's spending all his time even on the pandemic response. And it's amazing to see what he and his foundation, him
and Melinda, are all doing. And we're very thankful for that work.
And, now, I'm very connected to Bill, both on the health care side -- so I go to him, after all, with his expertise. There's no better person to go to
when we're thinking about back to work or how should we show up as a good global citizen in the world?
So, Bill's well-connected with the company. He doesn't have a formal role, because he decided that it's time for him to spend more time on what he's
doing, which we're all thankful for, around his philanthropy and his foundation. But he will always be connected to Microsoft.
After all, it's the company that he founded and definitely what he stood for in terms of excellence in really having both high ambition and a high
bar for execution. To meet those ambitions is something that will always be inspiring for us.
ISAACSON: Satya Nadella, thank you so much for joining us this evening. Stay well.
NADELLA: Thank you so much, Walter. You too.
AMANPOUR: And, finally tonight, so much of the natural world has benefited and continues to benefit from our human lockdown, like the world's highest
peak, of course, Mount Everest, which is getting a spring clean right now, because a team of Chinese volunteers is busy collecting garbage and
That is because the peak is closed to climbers. That, of course, is because of the pandemic. Everest has been spoiled by decades of commercial hiking,
by climbers who have dumped plastic bottles and abandoned tents and tin cans and the like all over the place.
The volunteers aim to remove 10 metric tons of trash from Everest over 45 days, which is a good thing.
And China also says they will gather data on weather patterns on wind speed and snowfall, helpful, of course, for climbers once they can resume and get
back to conquering this dangerous peak.
And that's it for our program tonight. Thanks for watching, and goodbye from London.