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Trump Pulls Back American Troops from Germany; Trump Accuses Chancellor Merkel of Delinquency on Military Spending; NATO Prepares for the Second Wave of Coronavirus; Kay Bailey Hutchison, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, is Interviewed About U.S. Military and Coronavirus; U.S. Threatens ICC on Investigating War Crimes of U.S. Troops in Afghanistan; Chile Eboe- Osuji, President, International Criminal Court, is Interviewed About ICC and the U.S.; Interview With Wildlife Photographer Amos Nachoum; Interview With Reverend Robert Schenck. Aired 2 -3p ET
Aired June 16, 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)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I said we're going to bring down the soldier count to 25,000 soldiers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: In the midst of protest and pandemic, President Trump pulls back troops that defend American interests. Could America First leave America
vulnerable? I'll ask U.S. NATO ambassador, Kay Bailey Hutchison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We cannot. We will not stand by as our people are threatened by a kangaroo court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The United States punishes the International Criminal Court as it investigates whether the U.S. forces committed war crimes in
And later, an evangelical pastor says, President Trump's church photo op was anything but good and holy. Our Michel Martin speaks with the reverend,
Then, photographer, Amos Nachoum, risks his life to capture images no one else dares to.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour working from home in London.
Under pressure from coronavirus and the black lives matter movement, President Trump is also lashing out at Chancellor Angela Merkel, pulling
nearly 10,000 troops out of Germany and accusing her of delinquency on military spending. In fact, though, Germany has raised its share of the
NATO budget to more than $50 billion, which is up almost 10 percent, or rather, $10 billion since President Trump took office. And these troops
protect American interests and also alliances abroad, as the NATO chief was quick to share with President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: The U.S. presence in Europe is not only about protecting Europe, but is also about projecting U.S. power
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Germany says it wasn't informed of the decision to reduce the troops by a third, troops that have been stationed there since 1945. And
Senate Republicans are also pushing back against the plan, stressing that the troops defend America against threats from Russia and also global
Kay Bailey Hutchison is America's ambassador to NATO. As a Republican senator from Texas, she spent almost 20 years overseeing the United States
military and she's joining me now from Brussels.
Ambassador Hutchinson, welcome to the program.
So, let me start by asking you about what you make of this decision to pull a third of these important NATO forces and what your, you know, fellow NATO
ambassadors are saying to you.
KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: Well, the president did say that he had made that announcement, and I have gotten a lot of questions,
of course, from the ambassadors here. And I think that it's important to see a bigger picture as well, and know that nothing is happening
immediately, but there will be a look by the military, the president has asked the military to give him options, and they will look at where the
troops are best able to be to protect our interests and NATO interests in Europe and also around the world.
So, I think that the administration will be working with Germany to look at the kinds of troops. We don't even know the details of what troops might be
looked at, because there are permanent bases in Germany, there are rotating bases and then there are pass-through troops as well. So, a lot is unclear
and not decided, and I think the military will put all of this together and work with Germany and others to make the right decisions going forward.
AMANPOUR: So, I think I hear you saying that you were taken somewhat by surprise. We do know that this announcement came through the media. We know
that the Germans have said they were never informed officially. And you seem to be saying that I think there's going to be meetings which you'll be
part of tomorrow with other members of the alliance to try to figure this out. Do you know any more than that? Were you surprised by this
HUTCHISON: Well, I hadn't known of that specific announcement before, but certainly I knew that the Joint Chiefs are always looking at where our
bases are, where our troops are, where they are needed, and they're constantly assessing and reassessing.
I think that the military will make some sound decisions, I think they will present those to the president. That will take time, and there will have to
be planning, and a lot depends on what the type of troops are that would be able to be moved or what kinds of decisions would have to be a factor. So,
everything is, of course, being discussed. I don't think it will be part of the defense ministerial tomorrow.
I think there are so many issues that are on the table tomorrow that are very important for our security. There is a major concept for the
deterrence and defense of the whole alliance that is going to be presented to the defense ministers by our supreme allied commander. And there will be
a discussion of Russian missiles and the buildup of Russian missiles that we have been briefed on that is very troubling, and the defense ministers
will hear that as well.
So, there are many topics on the agenda for the next two days, and there will be a virtual defense ministerial that will take up a lot of issues.
AMANPOUR: So, you mentioned Russia. Of course, the people, the country that will be, you know, sort of licking their chops and sort of rubbing
their hands in glee as they already have is Russia at the thought of these important defensive troops the United States is pulling out of. We all know
what Germany means. It's that line of defense between what was the Soviet block and the western bloc. And they're saying this was a very wise
decision by President Trump.
I guess I just, you know, keep wanting to know whether it's a sound strategic move to announce that you're going to pull a third of your NATO
defensive forces against Russian interference, against a resurgent Russia, a revanchist (ph) Russia, a Russia that's being accused of all sorts of
incursions and obviously election interference.
But let me just ask you about this because your fellow senators or your -- you were a senator. 22 Republican members of the Armed Services Committee
have said, we believe that such steps would significantly damage U.S. national security as well as strengthen the position of Russia to our
detriment. Do you share that view of your own Republican congressional, you know, brothers and sisters in the United States?
HUTCHISON: Well, Christiane, I certainly want to see what the plans are before making a decision like that, but this does not in any way indicate
that America is not committed in Europe. We have increased our numbers in Europe in the last few years in this presidency, and I think the European
Defense Initiative, which is an American interest, that is American troops in Europe, has been built up and increased. So, I think that is one factor
that's very important for people to know, that we are in Europe and we're going to be a part of European security that is important for Transatlantic
Also, we are looking at Russia as well as China being much more active in other parts of Europe. We see the Belt and Road Initiative of China that is
going all through Europe, all the major ports, two-thirds of the largest container ports in the world have major Chinese interests and ownership.
We've got up in the north and the Arctic. All of a sudden, we've got Russian submarines up there. We have China talking about a Chinese Belt and
Road Initiative in the Arctic.
So, there are a lot of interests in Europe that are in different places that we have to look at in a big picture. So, I think this is way too early
to analyze too carefully, but I think Germany is an important part of our alliance, they're an important military hub, and I think there are other
places where we're seeing Russian and Chinese activity that we need to assess and determine where the troops -- not we, but the president and our
military, to determine where the troops are needed the most for the protection of all of us.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, I can sort of see you trying to deal with this, which is a bit of a gut punch in terms of traditional NATO alliance and deployment,
and you're talking about maybe they'll be redeployed. We know the polls would like to have them, we've heard that they maybe they'll be redeployed
to face off, you know, against China. But you say that's not particularly settled yet. Of course, the president sounded like he just wanted to bring
them home because he doesn't necessarily want them to be abroad.
Let me ask you, though, you are also in the middle of talks and sort of a plan to prepare NATO and its capabilities for a potential second wave of
coronavirus. Can you talk to me about that, and what plans are there afoot if there was a second wave, and where would NATO be able to help in terms
of whatever, logistics or whatever?
HUTCHISON: Yes. In the defense ministerial tomorrow, the ministers will hear the operational plan that will be, I hope, adopted and endorsed by the
ministers that our supreme allied commander has put forward, to be ready. I mean, we all know we were taken aback in the spring with this pandemic. But
in the fall, we won't be surprised. We are looking at warehousing, we're looking at a trust fund to build supplies, medical supplies and equipment
that might be needed, that we've seen have been needed so far in the treatment of this first phase.
And NATO will begin to look at routes to get equipment wherever it needs to be, to our allies or partners in need, whether it's by train or by highway
or by air. And that plan will be in place if the defense ministers approve it tomorrow, and it will then start stockpiling. I know that there will be
warehouse stockpiling, there will be trust fund of money that will start building right now so that in the fall or next winter, if this comes back
in whatever region that it might, we want to be prepared this time, and NATO will be a major part of that.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you, because you've talked several times about the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the U.S. military and the decisions they will
make along with the president about where to deploy American forces abroad. I want to ask you about the issue of American forces at home.
As you know, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Mark Milley, has said it was a mistake to go on that photo op with the president outside that church.
We've heard from the defense secretary who said that deploying, you know, American active duty forces -- we're not talking about the National Guard,
we're talking about the forces President Trump threatened to put on the streets of America.
I wonder where you stand on that issue, having, you know, spent so much of your professional life as a senator from Texas, a Republican senator,
overseeing the military and working very closely with the military. Would you have backed the idea of putting American forces on the streets inside
the United States under these current circumstances?
HUTCHISON: You know, Christiane, our military, they're great, and they are trained to go to war to protect our freedom. They are not trained for
helping in a domestic situation, and even our founding fathers wanted to assure that our military were for fighting for our people, and it just
isn't in the same training mode.
I think that the National Guard are trained in this way, and they have been very helpful. They are basically part-time. They are activated from time to
time. But that is not uncommon for them to be used. But active duty military, they would have to have a whole different training process, and
it would have to be a different kind of an emergency that really is not at this time, I think, probably -- well, I'm not going to say probably, it
isn't the kind of uprising that our active duty military would be suited for.
And I think we have great National Guard, we have policemen that are trying to do a job, and it's a very tough time right now in our country. And I
just am watching here, as a representative of the American government, the American people, and wanting to show the best of America, and peaceful
demonstrations are the best of America. But the building and the destruction and the small businesses that have been destroyed in these
riots have been very sad.
And so, I think we have the capability to handle it with those who are trained for it, and that's where I think we are -- I think that's what
we're doing now. I think our governors, our mayors and our president and the administration, our vice president are really working so hard, all of
them, to make the right decisions, but these decisions have to be made, and I think sometimes we're too critical of others, whether it's Democrats or
Republicans, they're all trying their best.
Maybe they'll make a few mistakes, but I think we need to step back and say, our elected leaders from the mayors through the president are doing
their best for our people right now, and we need to not criticize and kind of come together and say, we're facing a pandemic, we're facing a racial
injustice that all of us were just heartbroken to see with George Floyd's murder on the screen. It was horrible. But all of us have to come together
and say, this is not America.
America is a great country with peaceful protests and freedom of speech, and we need to represent the best of all of us by coming together to fight
the pandemic and produce racial justice for all of our people to show what we are.
AMANPOUR: Ambassador Hutchinson, thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight.
NATO, of course, fought right alongside the United States in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. Now, President Trump wants to withdraw troops from
that country as well. He's also lashing out at an investigation by the International Criminal Court into whether U.S. forces committed war crimes
there. His administration has announced sanctions against court officials who are leading the inquiry.
Chile Eboe-Osuji is president of the ICC and he calls America's attack on the court troubling and disappointing. And he's joining me now from the
Hague where the court is based.
Welcome to the program.
Can I just ask you, just for you first reaction, and if you can tell me what you, as head of the court, plan to do, if anything, about these
sanctions that are being threatened against members of the ICC.
CHILE EBOE-OSUJI, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT: Thank you very much, Christiane, for having me on your program. It's an honor to be here.
We plan to do our work as a court of law. That is what we have said we will do and that is what we will continue to do. There are 123 countries that
support the court who are members of it and who fund what the court does. And the court is doing precisely what they've given all the mandates to do.
But only 123 countries, even more states or people in state capacity who support what we do.
The Holy Sea, for example. We have its blessing, so to speak. There are members of the human rights community, faith-based groups as well. You
know, recently you might have seen a joint statement coordinated by the Human Rights Watch condemning what happened. You'll see an array of
organizations that are supporting us, from Jewish --
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let me ask you --
EBOE-OSUJI: -- organizations, some Catholic organizations, many people. There's an outpouring of support for us, and we intend to stay the course
and do the cause the justice that we were created to pursue.
AMANPOUR: OK. OK. So, let's try to unpick a little bit of that. And let me first quote your chief prosecutor who said the following in a 2017 report.
The information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that members of U.S. Armed Forces and members of the CIA committed acts of
torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other
locations, principally in the 2003-2004 period.
Can you tell us, please, what precisely this case is and what is the information available that the chief prosecutor says?
EBOE-OSUJI: Now, as a judge in the courts, I cannot comment on the specifics of that until the evidence comes up before us for adjudication.
What I can say, however, is that the court has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute what happened in a member state. And Afghanistan -- in the
territory of a member state, and Afghanistan is a member state to the (INAUDIBLE) statue.
Now, it's important also to emphasize that a court does not have primary jurisdiction in the sense of just jumping in ahead of everybody to do the
case. The court is a court only of last resort. That is when countries who have the primary jurisdiction over issues have not done it, then the
victims of these atrocities or alleged atrocities, when they're looking for justice and haven't found it elsewhere, they've not found it in national
jurisdictions, then as a court of last resort, the ICC remains there for victims so they can have a place of access to justice where access to
justice hasn't closed in other jurisdictions. That is what the court does, and that is what we're here for.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, I think what you're saying is that under normal circumstances, if these allegations were taken to the sovereign state,
i.e., the United States of America about its forces, they would have the first opportunity to investigate, and if necessary, take to trial, et
Now, the United States is not a signatory to the ICC, as you know, of course, and as part of this whole brouhaha. It's already leveled sanctions
and -- rather taken away the opportunity -- the visa for your prosecution to ever visit the United States, and this is what the secretary of state
has said about this case and your court. Just take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: This is a truly breathtaking action by an unaccountable political institution masquerading as a legal body. It
is all the more reckless for this ruling to come just days after the United States signed a historic peace deal in Afghanistan which is the best chance
for peace in a generation. Indeed, the Afghan government itself pleaded with the ICC not to take this course.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, reckless, breathtaking act by an unaccountable organization. Your reaction to Secretary of State Pompeo?
EBOE-OSUJI: Well, I understand that Mr. Pompeo is a lawyer. So am I. It is interesting to make this comment and not take questions about them. I'm
quite happy if he wants to debate this thing before the American public moderated by you or some other members of American journalistic profession.
All I can tell you is this. The ICC is about all about accountability, as I explained earlier. Accountability for victims of genocide, accountability
for victims of crimes against humanity, accountability for victims of war crimes, accountability for victims of crimes of aggression.
The idea of ICC, and I cannot stress this enough, is if these questions of accountability have not been asked and answered in other jurisdictions, in
national jurisdictions or claimed sovereignty of those incidents, over the events, then there has to be a place where, as a last resort, when all
other options fail, there has to be a place where those victims can have questions of justice asked and answered. And that place is the ICC.
That is why the international community created it, because when they established it in 1998, they said they were tired of the stories of
genocide, holocaust, there were (INAUDIBLE) genocide and many other instances or atrocities like that that had been committed in the past with
no permanent place where these questions can be asked and answered. That is why the ICC was created and that is what we are doing.
Now, as I said earlier, again, it is a court of last resort. Others can do it, and I'm sure they are doing it, and that ICC has no jurisdiction. It is
not a matter of opportunity, as you said, of nation states to do it. It's an opportunity, it is a right they have to do it and also an obligation
they have to do justice. It's only when they don't do it that the victims cannot go without justice, and then they come knocking at the ICC,
International Community say, we have to do something, and that's exactly what's going on here.
AMANPOUR: So, tell me as sort of -- I don't know whether you really think you're going to get this case because the U.S. is doing what it said it
would do, and, of course, this is not against a U.S. state and you're investigating Afghans, you're investigating the Taliban, and this is
against individuals you're trying to make, this investigation. So, how do you think that you can get accountability in this case if there is no
EBOE-OSUJI: Well, that's what we're hoping happens, because we know that the United States is a country that is built on the idea of justice and the
rule of law. That is a foundational creed in that republic's foundation.
So, when they broke away from England, one of the cardinal sins was that King George III made judges dependent on his will alone. So, there had to
be a place for justice, and Americans trust the idea of justice. They had not accepted that American citizens who commit violations overseas should
be immune to accountability. Americans have not accepted that at all. And that is why this is all surprising. The simple matter would be for that
showing that the United States has investigated or prosecuted these alleged violations. That will be the end of the whole thing. We don't have
jurisdiction when they do that.
And we hope that they will stop attacking the court and join us, because they have joined the court in other instances, they have supported to try
and do justice in other instances like (INAUDIBLE). The United States supported (INAUDIBLE). They are supporting our efforts in other places.
They also have to support our efforts everywhere.
AMANPOUR: OK. President Eboe-Osuji, thank you so much indeed for joining us. And, of course, Afghanistan is America's longest war.
Now, a key source of support for President Trump comes from the white evangelical community of Christians. Reverend Robert Schenk is a clergyman
from that very group. And after some deep self-reflection, he changed his mind on some of the so-called culture war issues and regrets his often-
divisive rhetoric at the time. He now leads an educational nonprofit which takes inspiration from the anti-Nazi dissident, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who
was executed for plotting against Hitler.
Here he is now talking to our Michel Martin about embracing empathy in these turbulent times.
MICHEL MARTIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Christiane.
Reverend Schenck, thank you so much for speaking with us again.
REV. ROBERT SCHENCK, EVANGELICAL MINISTER: My pleasure.
MARTIN: You had some strong words for President Trump in the wake of his walk across Lafayette Park to -- from the White House to St. John's Church
after the military and various police agencies were used to clear the protests there.
Why is it that this struck you so profoundly?
SCHENCK: Well, a few reasons.
You know my history, as a street-level activist once upon a time on the right, on the ultra-conservative side of the equation. And I know what
street theater is. I know how to use props. I have used them. I regret that.
I had even used a Bible a time or two. And it's meant to send a signal. And I think the president was doing exactly the same thing. He was using the
Bible as a prop to send a signal to a subset of people who are very important to his reelection.
But he did that by seizing control of a church, by using military-grade force, even against the clergy that were present there, evicting
essentially an entire sector of the city for what amounted to a political stunt meant to reinforce the devotion of certain voters.
And I thought that was a sacrilege. I thought it was profane. I agree with the bishop of Washington, the Episcopal bishop, who is the proper steward
of that property, who thought it was an act of religious profanation. And I think it was a very, very serious and egregious violation.
MARTIN: You know, along with Pat Robertson, you're one of the very few white evangelicals to criticize the president for this, at a time when
there's obviously great unhappiness, anxiety and grief in the country.
Why do you think that is?
SCHENCK: I think, first, it points to the moral collapse in my own religious community among my fellows.
There was a Faustian deal made with Donald Trump, which went something like this. Donald Trump promised, I will give you everything you have ever
wanted on your laundry list of political deliverables, if you give me what I want and demand, and that is religious cover.
I need you to say that I'm blessed of God and that everything I have done is good. He defended the photo of -- in front of St. John's Church with the
Bible by saying, a lot of Christians think it's a great photo.
And that's what he needs in the deal. And we made that deal with him. And so there's a moral vacuum. There is an inability to muster the moral
courage to stand up to this.
I was delighted to see what Pat Robertson said. The fact he did speak out was terribly important, though a little late in the game, but he did. But
my other colleagues have not been able to do that for a number of reasons.
One is because they would be assailed by their own constituents now for doing so, but the other is, they would lose access, instant access. They
know that Donald Trump will throw them under the bus, will lock them out of the White House, will insult them and disown them in an instant if they
displease him. They are aware of that.
And so they have to play this game very, very carefully. They're on very thin ice. They want what they still have outstanding on the list, which is
a final appointment to the Supreme Court to give them a rock-solid conservative majority.
They're not going to let anything endanger that, even this kind of supremely offensive behavior.
MARTIN: We keep hearing, particularly from political figures, that, privately, the conversations are different. I don't know how much credence
to give to that, because the fact of the matter is, if you're a public figure, your public utterances are your record.
But I do wonder what kinds of conversations that you have with fellow evangelicals, because quite -- in public, the support is as strong as ever.
I mean, Ralph Reed, who's kind of taken over the mantle of the moral majority, as it were, and sort of the politically most active evangelicals,
particularly white evangelicals, social conservatives, very strongly defending him.
I was just sort of curious about that. The support has been as strong publicly as ever. Are the conversations privately different?
SCHENCK: Well, you know, a year, two years ago, I used to hear my colleagues. They would whisper, you know, I know the guy is way over the
top, I know he's terribly offensive, I know he's way too visceral, he's too impulsive, he doesn't know us, he's not religious.
Look, we know who he is. He's a secularist. He's not a believer. But he's good for us. And who else is going to get this done? And it's going to take
a fighter like him to get it done.
Now I don't hear that much anymore. And that's even more distressing to me, because what it seems to suggest is that a kind of final conversion has
taken place, at least in their thinking, if not in their hearts. And if it is in their hearts, then I fear for them, I mean, in one sense, just in
terms of reclaiming their moral integrity, regaining a sense of ethics and what is right and wrong.
And if that -- if they have lost that ability to discern that, then they are indeed in very grave danger personally, certainly as a community. I
mean, we know what the history of demoralized churches are. They quickly become relics of history, and not good ones.
And then, of course, there's -- I'm still a believer in salvation. I think we have to have a certain standing before God. And if we lose that, we have
lost everything. The Bible even reminds us of that. It says, what does it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but lose his soul? That's the
MARTIN: This is according to the Public Religion Research Institute. In March, nearly 80 percent of white evangelicals said they approved of the
job Mr. Trump was doing. By the end of May, though, this same group found that Mr. Trump's favorability among white evangelicals had fallen to 62
That's according to a recently released poll. Among white Catholics, his approval has fallen very greatly since March.
But we have seen this before. In the fall of the president's -- the fall of 2016, the president's approval with white evangelicals was only 61 percent.
He went on to win 81 percent of them in November.
So, I guess what I'm saying to you is, is that my reading of this, this isn't just a leader issue. This is a followership issue. There's something
about Mr. Trump that seems to be deeply attractive to white evangelicals. What is that?
SCHENCK: Well, leaders on every level, from -- including the president, but certainly among evangelical leaders, tend to reinforce sometimes what
is best in us, but often what is worse than us.
So, leaders have a very important role to play in spiritual formation, forming opinions, practices, behavior, beliefs. And they can do that
through their role modeling.
So, there is a symbiotic relationship. Evangelical leaders are sometimes afraid of their constituents, but their constituents look to see what their
leaders are saying and doing to see which part of themselves they should embrace or that they should seek to change.
And in this case, there is an opportunity for evangelical leaders to face what is really happening in our country, ask the question, what kind of
spiritual family, of religious movement, of identification do we want to have?
And we always win when we go with those who are oppressed and marginalized and see it from their vantage point. That was certainly true of early
evangelicalism, when we championed the poor and we built hospitals and schools and took care of those who were forgotten in society. When we did
those things, we grew as a movement.
Now we are losing millions and millions of especially young people. And, right now, the future of American evangelicalism is bleak.
MARTIN: I do know that the Southern Baptist Convention just had their convention. It is the nation's largest Protestant denomination, and they
show a membership decline. It's the 13th straight year of decline. It's the largest single-year decline in more than a century.
What are you seeing?
SCHENCK: And that's true almost across the board, and especially when you look at underage 45. And the younger, the worse the statistics become.
Young people especially are leaving evangelical churches in droves.
And why? Because they see the hypocrisy. They see an identification with establishment power, with political force and influence. They are tired of
the combat, the social conflict, the wars, many of them ginned up.
Look, I know this stuff personally. I battled with fund-raisers for decades who told me, look, we need to leave your people afraid and angry. The
madder they are, the more fearful they are, the more money they're going to send you. Give us more fear and more anger.
I was actually told that explicitly at a conference room table. We need more fear and more anger.
Well, young people are sick of that.
MARTIN: You have had some significant breaks with others in the evangelical movement over the years now.
I mean, you have broken with them on the issue of expansive gun rights. You have broken with them around the issue of how abortion should be discussed
and thought of, sort of a number of issues.
And I can imagine that, you know, some people would say you're the wrong one. I mean, you're the outlier. You're the one who is getting it wrong.
And, in fact, some people might argue that your point of view is dangerous, that you're imperiling people's souls.
And I have just wondered how you have reconciled yourself to this over the years? What convinces you and affirms you in your view that your path here
is the path that really others should be taking, humbly, I would say?
SCHENCK: Well, it's been anything but easing, including internally. It's been a very difficult journey for me.
But it started by facing myself, and that was a terrifying thing to do, to listen to my own words and to watch their effect on other people, on the
other person. Instead of constantly listening so that I would feel better about myself, I started listening to hear the effect of my words on others.
That was part of that process of change.
But I'm not alone. There is a book out now called "The Spiritual Danger of Donald Trump," in which 30 top-level, some of the best evangelical hearts
and minds in the United States, writing essays, warning of why the Trump culture, not necessarily Donald Trump as an individual human being, but the
political and social culture that Donald Trump represents and fosters, is so dangerous, particularly to Christians.
And I go back to, again, what is our message? What are we trying to proclaim and live out? And if I look at the model of Jesus -- and if
evangelicalism is anything, it's Jesus-centered. We call it in theological- speak being Christocentric, Jesus Christ being at the center of everything we say, do, believe, proclaim, practice, all of it. The centrality is Jesus
He becomes the model. Too many Christians segregate the world. We are segregationists, into the saved and the lost, those who know God, those who
don't, those who are sinners, those who are saved and sanctified.
Well, that's not the way Jesus treated people. He treated every human being with precisely the same love, respect and dignity. And that's the heart of
the Gospel. So, for me, this is all about returning to my original faith, not renouncing my faith.
MARTIN: What's the way forward here?
We're in a moment in which there is just a lot of anger and tension in the streets. It's a big sea change, the fact that you have got some sort of
figures who had previously been extremely dismissive of some of the social movements like Black Lives Matter and so forth. They have been very
dismissive or critical of them.
You're now seeing them say, you know what? I'm thinking about this. I'm seeing something here, and I think you're right, and I was wrong.
That's kind of new. So, what's the way forward here, in your view?
SCHENCK: Well, in fact, we just had a number of evangelical leaders in the -- white evangelical leaders in the Washington, D.C., area walk with the
Black Lives Matter folks in the streets. It was beautiful to see.
And then I just participated in a wonderful, prayerful, Bible-centered celebration at St. John's Church, where President Trump had that photo-op
and held up the Bible. Only, this time, the Bible was actually opened, read, preached, and there were the prayers of thousands of people, and it
was -- people of many faiths came.
What is the way forward? I think, first, for white evangelicals, especially those of a certain age, like me, to maybe preach less, speak fewer words,
listen more deeply and much longer, and put ourselves as much as possible - - we can never do it perfectly -- but, as much as we can, put ourselves into the experience of another person, sit there, prayerfully, reflectfully
for a while, maybe a long while, and feel what they feel.
We see Jesus do that on a number of occasions, even to the point where one of his friends died, he stood at the entryway to the tomb and wept. It's
one of the more profound, but shortest verses in the entire Bible: "Jesus wept." That's all it said.
Maybe this is a time for us to stop talking, like I'm doing now, and instead weep with those, as the Scripture commands us to do, weep with
those who weep.
MARTIN: Reverend Rob Schenck, thank you so much for speaking with us today.
SCHENCK: Thank you.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The Bible and the pope also talk about creation care and climate.
So, finally, the majesty of our natural world. We are going to talk to the award-winning documentary editor and the underwater photographer Amos
Nachoum about his new film called "Picture of His Life." It's a quest to be the first still photographer to capture images while swimming with the
world's largest carnivore, the polar bear.
And Nachoum joins me now, along with Yonatan Nir, who co-directed the film, along with Dani Menkin.
Gentlemen, welcome to the program.
Can I ask, Amos Nachoum, what it was about the polar bear that was your Holy Grail? I mean, you have photographed just about every big undersea and
underwater creature that's going. And you just keep going until you got the polar bear. What was it about that?
AMOS NACHOUM, WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER: Thank you, Christiane.
The opposite of the great white. Spielberg did amazing work, unfortunately, with negative impact on the world.
In the effort, together with Yonatan and Dani to do exactly the opposite, do something positive with an animal that is bigger than a great white, and
create the movie the "Picture of His Life."
AMANPOUR: Your sister said, though, that the polar bear is personal for Amos.
And you did have, I think, a near miss with a polar bear earlier in your career. And even in this film, there is a dramatic moment where your first
encounter as you go up to make this once-in-a-lifetime still image is with a big aggressive male who basically looks down at you and, all of a sudden,
everything goes black.
And Yonatan and the others, the editors, have really left two or three seconds, it seems to me a lifetime of black, and we don't know what's
happening in the film and what happened to you.
And then you know you meet up with these other polar bears, who you finally capture. Just tell me what it was like to experience that.
NACHOUM: It was -- it's hard to explain, because to be dedicated behind the camera or behind the microphone, as you are right now, is full
You don't think -- or I did not think about anything else, but about taking the picture and remain alive and survive. I have a desire to survive and
desire to bring epic moment. The moment when the polar bear came second time after me was remembering of the first time, so I had the chance to
react fast enough to move away from his, actually, hands.
But, eventually, as you see in the movie, that we had a chance to photograph mother and two cubs, and peacefully moving over the head Adam
Ravetch, my filmmaker, and above my head, and totally in peaceful and in harmony, which -- what the movie was all about, to bring people to
understand that it's our responsibility to act peacefully in the environment, and then things are much better off.
AMANPOUR: I love the way you keep using the word peacefully.
Yonatan Nir, can I ask you, it must have been a conscious decision to inject some adrenaline in that first encounter with the polar bear. What
were what were you thinking when you put those images together and kind of made us wonder, what on earth had happened to Amos in his first encounter
in the film?
YONATAN NIR, CO-DIRECTOR, "PICTURE OF HIS LIFE": Well, I think what we really try to do is to give the viewer the same sense that we had when we
were there in the Arctic on the boat waiting to see what will happen.
The bear came closer to Amos and dived towards him. And we didn't know what will happen. And with a couple of seconds of, you know, real fear, me and
Dani Menkin, my co-director, we just stood there on the board with the Inuit guides and hoping for good.
And we tried to kind of give you the same feeling as we watch the film, and there's these seconds of uncertainties in black.
AMANPOUR: And I want to know -- because it was very clear in the film that you only had a few days to get the shot. I think it was five days in place
in the Canadian Arctic there.
And was it stressful towards the end? Because, I mean, it's not a spoiler, but it takes a while for you to actually get the shot, the final shot.
NIR: Yes, for us, it was very, very stressful, because we had a very short time. We had a lot of responsibility to the people that funded us and
And we didn't know what will happen. But, really luckily, we were with a really good team of Adam and Amos and the Inuit people. And they -- and
Amos never lost hope. He never lost hope, even for a single second. He was always hopeful that something will happen eventually.
And it did in the end.
NACHOUM: As you know, Christiane, we are...
AMANPOUR: Yes. Yes, I do know.
NACHOUM: There are sentence in English which always -- always remain in my mind: It is not over. Sorry. Maybe it's not -- maybe it's not correct to
say, but it's not over until the fat lady sing, coming out from the cabaret and the pub in old New Orleans.
So, Mother Nature is such that always give me a present in the end with the effort that I put in. And may I just raise the issue that, as the
photographer, my mission always was to have a message, to have a story to tell, rather than just to take a picture to be beautiful.
It is a set of picture to tell a story, to bring emotion to the picture, not just beautiful one, but the one to show relationship of the animal, and
to be more provocative for the people who view it, because 95 percent of the people will not go to the ocean.
AMANPOUR: That's right.
And to that point, in the film, the great underwater National Geographic explorer Sylvia Earle says: "Amos wants to prove that those large animals
aren't our enemies, that we can live with them in harmony."
And I thought that was really , really amazing.
But, Amos, I also want to ask you, and I want to ask you both, because the sub-story, the subplot of this adventure of yours, this confronting danger,
is your father, your father, who fought in Israel's war of independence, who came back with terrible PTSD, as we learn.
And you bore the brunt of his PTSD. And he was never able, according to your sister, to say: "Amos, I'm proud of you. Amos, I love you."
And there is the most incredible scene in which he basically tells the camera while you're sitting there for his 90th birthday that he thinks you
have taken the wrong direction in life. We want to play this for a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He became a photographer. He doesn't want to get married, have kids, have a home. Everything he achieved
was only for himself.
A man without responsibility is nothing. A man who doesn't give to others is nothing, as if he's done nothing. He made a fool of himself. I wanted
him to be a carpenter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Amos, that is really hard to actually even read again those -- the translation of what your father said.
Did you make peace with him in the end? Do you think that, in the end, he was proud of you? Because he died, of course, while this film was being
NACHOUM: Yes, Dani and Yoni did remarkable work, and able to photograph my father in his deathbed, almost deathbed, and in the hospital, which I did
not know. And I have not been there when the photographic -- when my father expressed his love, appreciation toward me.
However, I must say that the moment he was 90, I was already -- how old was I? The...
NACHOUM: I was about 60.
I already made peace with the fact that Mother Nature, it was bigger than my father. And Mother Nature really gave me the warmth, gave me the
feedback that was I do is right.
I must say also the people of America gave me the right -- give me the confidence that what I do is right and supported me throughout work. And
God bless America for this. That's the reason I came to America.
AMANPOUR: I have about 30 seconds left.
I want to ask you, Yonatan. You are also a former soldier. You also know a lot about PTSD. Very quickly, do you think, in a way, this film was about a
resolution of a personal struggle, as well as this amazing love of nature?
NIR: Yes, I think that the camera is an amazing tool to reframe your life and to tell a different story.
Amos is doing it with his amazing photographs. He took all this pain that he has seen and witnessed and experienced and turned it into beauty. And
that's exactly what we also tried to do in our documentary, to tell an inspiring story about someone who had difficult parts of -- in his life,
but is still trying to create hope and beauty for future generations using his camera.
NIR: So, this is exactly what we tried to do.
AMANPOUR: Amazing. It's a great film.
Yonatan Nir and Amos Nachoum, thank you so much.
And viewers in America can watch "Picture of His Life" from this Friday, June 19, on the film's Web site.
And that is it for us for now. Thank you so much for watching, and goodbye from London.