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Portland Protesters Faces Federal Crackdown; Representative John Lewis Dies at 80; Representative James Clyburn (D-SC), is Interviewed About Portland and John Lewis; U.K. Suspends Extradition Treaty with Hong Kong; Interview With Zerlina Maxwell; Unrest in Hong Kong. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 20, 2020 - 14: 00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.

Outcry as Portland protesters face a federal crackdown. Democratic Congressman and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn joins us as he also mourns

the loss of his friend and civil rights giant, John Lewis.

Also, ahead.


NATHAN LAW, HONG KONG PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: I would just say this. The United Kingdom is watching and the whole world is watching.


AMANPOUR: The West moves to sanction to China over the new Hong Kong security measures, we speak to both sides. Nathan Law, the pro-democracy

activist who's now fled to London, plus, lawyer, Alan Hoo, the pro-Beijing Hong Kong politician.

Then --


ZERLINA MAXWELL, CO-HOST, SIRIUSXM'S "SIGNAL BOOST": I want other black women to see politics as a career also.


AMANPOUR: Obama and Hilary Clinton campaign staffer, Zerlina Maxwell, tells our Michel Martin why Democrats must engage with black women.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour working from home in London.

The backlash is well and truly underway against camouflage, federal agents accused of snatching protesters from the streets, shoving them into

unmarked vans, destinations unknown. This is what's been happening in the City of Portland in the United States of America as President Trump

deployed forces to quash Black Lives Matter protests against injustice.

The mayor of Portland and the governor of the state are demanding these federal agents leave the city, and these shocking images from there are in

stark contrast to the bipartisan outpouring of praise and grief for John Lewis. The House held a moment of silence to honor the veteran civil rights

leader and emblem of freedom. The long-time congressman died at age 80 on Friday after a six-month battle with cancer and a lifetime spent battling

and fighting for equality.

Lewis was the youngest to speak at the 1963 march on Washington for jobs and freedom. And in 1965, he had his skull smashed by state troopers when

he joined the march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, to demand equal voting rights.

Joining us now from Washington, D.C. is the Democratic congressman, Jim Clyburn, the House majority whip and a close friend of the late John Lewis.

Congressman Clyburn, welcome back to our program.

You know, I want to start by asking you, perhaps, what you think John Lewis would have made of this almost uncanny repeat of the imagery, federal

agents, you know, essentially grabbing and shoving and detaining peaceful protesters, this time in Portland in 2020?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, first of all, thank you so much for having me.

You know, I can only imagine that John would be beside himself. I remember his reaction to what happened here in Washington, D.C. several weeks ago

when the president ordered marshals or some people on horseback to clear the path for him to go out in front of St. John's Church and hold that

bible up.

John was so incensed by that, he went -- got out of his home that he was -- really should not have been out, and he went early in the morning with the

mayor of Washington to stand at Black Lives Matter Plaza to express his concern about what had just happened.

So, John would be very upset by that. It would be a reminder to him, as it was to so many of us, of what happened on the Edmund Pettus Bridge that

day. We still see the film of troopers beating them with batons, ride -- running over them with horses -- horses and batons. That's exactly what

we're seeing in these two incidents.

So, he would be very, very upset.

AMANPOUR: And, of course, even those famous black and white pictures from back in 1965 in Selma, you know, even when John Lewis tried to rise, he was

beaten again and he had his skull cracked. And he said, you know, he spent his entire life fighting for human rights, for freedom, for voting rights,

for democracy. He said it seems like it was his whole life fighting.

What did he say to you, as sick as he was, when he saw the protests after? Well, firstly, the killing of George Floyd, but the protests that then

encompassed such a wide diversity of American people, even a bigger demographic than back in the 1960s, even when whites did go to the South to

try to help there?

CLYBURN: Well, we were sitting on the floor one day, not long after this whole incident. We saw this breakthrough, Black Lives Matter finally

breaking through. You saw all the support coming forth. And John said to me, it feels different this time.

And we were so concerned a couple days later when all of a sudden we heard this cry of defund the police. We both reminisced about what, burn, baby,

burn, that slogan did for us back in the 1960s.

So, John was very concerned, and we talked about not allowing this movement, this momentum, to be dissipated over sloganary (ph). And that's

why both of us spoke out so strongly against defund the police.

We didn't want to see another headline destroy another movement. Headlines often get in the way of headway, and that's what we wanted to see, headway,

not headlines.

AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you then, do you think you are making enough headway and not generating the kind of headlines that you don't want to


CLYBURN: Well, I think that people now see what John was talking about, and I have noticed that the purpose for all of these activities seem to be

talked about now.

People are rallying around a new Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act. John nearly lost his life back in 1965,

and as a result of those activities on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, we got the Voting Rights Act in August of 1965.

Now, the Supreme Court seven years ago cut the heart out of that act. John spent the last seven years trying to follow the Supreme Court's roadmap to

reauthorize the Voting Rights Act.

And so, I would think that we would do John justice if we were to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020 and restore the efficacy of the

Voting Rights Act of 1965.

AMANPOUR: So, Congressman James Clyburn, how would that work? I think the House has passed its version of it. What next needs to happen to make this

a reality? And do you think it actually will happen?

CLYBURN: I think that what should happen is, Mitch McConnell should put the bill on the floor, should allow it to be amended and named. We sent it

over there as H.R. 4. He ought to send it back to us -- pass it and send it back to us with John Lewis' name on it.

I think he ought to take the opportunity to put some amendments on to fully fund -- it will take about $4 billion for us to fully fund efforts to have

a secure, fair election this coming November.

This pandemic is making it impossible for people to cast their votes in person and stay safe. So, we ought to do it now. Pass this bill.

And that would be a great way to honor John Lewis, for us to have federal elections, say (ph) starting on October the 3rd and culminated on November

3rd, to give us ample time to have social distancing in such a way that everybody will get a chance to cast an unfettered vote.

AMANPOUR: In a word, sir, can I just ask you, what is your bet? Will Mitch McConnell hear you? Have you talked to him yet about it?

CLYBURN: No, I have not talked to Mitch McConnell about it, and I wouldn't bet that he would do this. I'm just saying what he should do.

He has issued a tweet about how great John Lewis was. The fact of the matter is, show us your deeds. Your words are good. Your deeds would be

much better.


So, now, Congressman, I want to ask you about words and deeds. The president of the United States, in response to the peaceful protests that

have been going on in Portland, has said the following, we're trying to help Portland, not hurt it. Their leadership has, for months, lost control

of the anarchists and agitators. They're missing in action. We must protect federal property and our people. These were not merely protesters, these

are the real deal.

So, look, the president seems to describe most of these protests as illegitimate run by thugs, anarchists and agitators. Are you concerned that

that might have a spillover effect when you see what's going on, the attempt to maybe have, you know, armed sort of -- I don't know, some kind

of President Trump-like sort of militia to so called guard voting polling stations on Election Day and all the things you are seeing happening in the

press right now?

CLYBURN: I think this president is trying to find an excuse to suppress voters, trying to find an excuse. All of this is just a trial run for him.

The Lincoln Project, all Republicans, members of the same party that he is a member of, has got a new ad out today saying this is how it all starts.

This is how you begin to lose your democracy, when you allow the president of the United States to ignore the governor of Oregon and the mayor of

Portland, and he decides what should be done in order to keep local order.

We have never had that before. This is the beginning of the end of this democracy if people do not respond in a way that I think would make sense.

We cannot let this guy continue to run roughshod over our Constitution.

AMANPOUR: Well, I'm going to ask you what makes sense in a minute, but first I want to play you -- you mentioned the mayor of Portland. Here's

what he said about the result on the streets of deploying these federal agents.


MAYOR TED WHEELER (D), PORTLAND, OREGON: The president has a complete misunderstanding of cause and effect. What's happening here is, we have

dozens, if not hundreds, of federal troops descending upon our city, and what they're doing is they are sharply escalating the situation.

Their presence here is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism, and it's not helping the situation at all. They're not wanted

here. We haven't asked them here.

In fact, we want them to leave.


AMANPOUR: So, you've just said there's danger if people don't react the right way to what's going on there. The governor and the mayor have just

said, we want them to leave.

What's going to make that happen, Congressman?

CLYBURN: I don't know what will make that happen.

There are a lot of questions being raised about this democracy of ours now. I heard Jon Meacham, a well-renowned and well-respected historian, asking

the question this morning, what -- how do we enforce the Electoral College?

We've got a president who is refusing to say he will peacefully give up the office if he loses the election. That's the way you set up this kind of

totalitarian governments. We cannot allow this government to become a banana republic. And that's what this guy is trying to do.

And that's what the mayor is speaking out against. He didn't ask him to bring in any kind of force. The governor of Oregon did not ask him to do


And we already see the governor of Georgia today is demanding that the mayor of Atlanta shut up and start talking publicly. What the heck is this?

This is crazy stuff.

And that's what these guys are doing. They are running roughshod over the Constitution of the United States. They feel that they have the right to do

to this country what was done to Germany and Italy back in the 1930s.

I've been warning now for about three years that this president does not plan to give up the office. He does not plan to abide by the Constitution

of the United States. He does not plan for there to be a fair, unfettered election taking place on November 3rd.

That is what I'm warning about, and I have not just started that. I think you can look at your own files, and you'll see I said on CNN two years ago

after his State of The Union that this was the case.

Now, people are beginning to see what I felt way back then.

AMANPOUR: I just want to ask you, I mean, it may sound like it's coming out of nowhere, but altogether it just seems as there are troubling things,

as you mentioned. First of all, these reports that we've just talked about. I mean, headlines say President Trump wants to create his own paramilitary

domestic security force, calling them stormtroopers, according to headlines, to use at the voting booth.

That on top of this other report about Boogaloo Bois. Have you ever heard of these Boogaloo Bois, this Boogaloo movement? Apparently, an extremist

movement, heavily armed men, you know, united by the idea they're fighting against government tyranny. Have you heard about them?

CLYBURN: Yes, I have. Yes, I've heard about them.

AMANPOUR: And how worried should we be about it?

CLYBURN: All of us should be extremely worried about that. And I think that's why the United States Senate needs to step up. Mitch McConnell, the

leadership of the Senate, Republican leadership of the Senate need to step up.

They need to go over to the White House, have a sit-down with this president and let him know that they're not going to be his puppets, and

they are not going to undermine what this country has spent all of this time becoming, a beacon for the rest of the world.

This man will have us on the back of history. He will have us repeat stuff that all of us thought was behind us.

AMANPOUR: What about the state of the nation right now? I think Congress has just started a new three-week session, and there is a whole new bill

that needs to be passed. I think they're (ph), you know, passing a new relief package.

How challenging do you think -- of course, what I'm talking about is COVID for all the people who have lost so much in this. What do you expect and

how do you expect that to go?

CLYBURN: Well, as you know, the House passed the Heroes Act. It's about a $3 trillion program. About $1.1 trillion of it dedicated to state and local

governments trying to keep people who are unemployed with unemployment insurance through the first of next year. They're trying to depoliticize

this entire effort. This president would love to have this issue as a political issue going into this election.

So, I think it's very important for the Senate to take that bill we sent to them one month ago, Thursday -- I think Thursday will be exactly one month

that that bill has been sitting over in the Senate, and they need to take it up, they need to pass it, and they need to do what is necessary to

undergird this economy so that we can have a country worth leaving to our children and our grandchildren.

AMANPOUR: And finally, because we've been talking about the legacy of John Lewis, will he get to lie in state at the capitol? Will the conditions

permit that? How do you think the -- you know, the respects are going to be paid to him?

CLYBURN: Well, we're going to do everything we possibly can that we can do safely.

We believe that John is deserving of lying in state here at the capitol. We believe that we have a duty and responsibility to the American people to

keep them safe.

And so, what we're going to do is, as much as we possibly can do for John Lewis and not put the health and welfare of the American people at


So, yes, we're going to do everything we possibly can for him, but we're going to do it in a safe and secure way.

AMANPOUR: Congressman James Clyburn, thank you so much for joining us.

CLYBURN: Thanks for having me.

AMANPOUR: And now, human rights are at the center of a decision by the U.K. to turn on China. Today, suspending its extradition treaty with Hong

Kong and banning the export of any riot control equipment to the territory. Despite the Trump administration's deepening cold war with Beijing, today's

rapid about-face is from one of the world's most China-friendly nations, and it comes because Beijing has imposed a new national security law which

criminalizes most political descent in the territory that once belonged to Britain.

Democracy activists are afraid and our next guest has fled his home. Nathan Law is one of Hong Kong's leading pro-democracy protesters. He's come here

to London and he's joining me now.

Nathan Law, welcome to the program.

First, your reaction to what just happened today with the U.K. announcing suspending extradition and also no longer sending or suspending sales of

that equipment to the region.

NATHAN LAW, HONG KONG PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST: Well, I think the foreign secretary made a decision very promptly. Two weeks ago, I (INAUDIBLE)

urging this country to end the extradition treaty to Hong Kong because under the national (INAUDIBLE) law, Hong Kong does not enjoy rule of law,

and several countries commit to it. And I'm glad that today the foreign secretary announced that policy change. And I think in the longtime future,

there will be more and more authentic (ph) policy from the U.S. government to China and Hong Kong.

AMANPOUR: Let me just ask you, I know you're a very young man. I think you're 27 years old, and, you know, we've just been talking about the great

democracy activist, John Lewis, who put his life on the line for all those years. You guys have done something similar in Hong Kong for several, you

know, seasons now in terms of democracy protests. You've been met by heavily militarized police, there's been a lot of scuffling. How do you put

your battle for freedom and human rights in, I guess, the civil rights and the greater global battle for freedom?


LAW: Yes. I honestly dare not to compare myself to John Lewis because he's been a really -- a figure head of the whole movement and he's legendary

and, well, from his record, he's been arrested for like 40 something times during his whole resistance movement and he's been committed to it and he's

a enlightening figure to a lot of -- our generations about him. So, this is such a, well, honorable figurehead for me.

So, I think it's important that we have someone to learn from, and it's important that that spirit could be a momentum force to a lot of younger

generation's pursuit, that fight for justice.

AMANPOUR: Nathan Law, you know, John Lewis, despite all the provocations and his own, you know, attacks against his own person and the arrests that

you mentioned, he never stopped believing in nonviolent protests. Can you say that you all believe in that as well? Because many were sort of turned

off by some of the violence. What is now your strategy going forward, given this new security law as well?

LAW: Well, I paid tribute to John Lewis -- well, on my Twitter, and I issue statements on that. I'm also a true believer on nonviolent

resistance. But in fact -- well, sometimes when the government refuses to listen to the people, then people, when they resort to the use of violence,

sometimes we have to understand that there is a reason from it, like what Dr. King said, riot is the voice of the unheard. And I think this is

something that we should really ponder and to understand the root of the -- why people resort to violence. Because here is the voice of nonviolent

protesters we heard, and they don't have to risk their lives with years of imprisonment to commit into those violent resistance.

So, I think, yes, indeed, I'm a true believe on nonviolence resistance. But for, I pay a lot of understanding and empathy on those people who result in

different ways.

AMANPOUR: So, let me just get now to the heart of this new security law and its impact on Hong Kong. Now, apparently, it criminalizes "cessation,

subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security." And hundreds have already been arrested under this law.

What exactly does it mean for the people of Hong Kong? How different is it to what already existed?

LAW: Yes, it means that it is the end of freedom of expression. We could see people are arrested just because they are in possession of the stickers

or flags that has the protest slogan on, and they (INAUDIBLE) of statements saying that, oh, if you talk about this slogan, you are violating the

national security law.

It is clearly targeting the freedom of expression of people which none of the other national security law in the other countries, especially in

democratic ones, do it. So, I think this is, well, a serious breach of our freedom and it will create a strong, powerful, arbitrary legal weapon for

the government to prosecute anyone they like.

AMANPOUR: So, the leaders of this movement are very young, you and Joshua Wong. I mean, you're both very, very young men. And you've obviously come

to a decision. One of you are staying there. Joshua, you're coming to the U.K. Can you explain the strategy of you leaving Hong Kong?

LAW: Well, as you may have observed upon my arrival is in the U.K., the -- well, the government's attitude towards our way, now suspending the

extradition treaty with China and shadow foreign secretary has been really strong, commenting on and concerned by the September country election. You

see that change is happening.

For the past nine months we've seen a structural shift in the U.K. toward a more assertive policy when dealing with China, and I think my existence

also sends a very strong message that that situation in Hong Kong, that crisis s rich through a very worrying level. So, it really accelerates that

transformation. And I hope that my existence could really push forward along me the structural shift in the U.K. but also in Europe.


AMANPOUR: I just want to play a soundbite in response to the criticism of this. I want to play a soundbite which is from Carrie Lam who is the chief

executive of Hong Kong.


CARRIE LAM, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF HONG KONG: The law will not affect Hong Kong's renowned judicial independence. It will not affect legitimate rights

and freedoms of individuals which are protected under the basic law and relevant international covenants applied to Hong Kong. They include, among

others, the freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of demonstration and of procession. In short, the legislation will not undermine one

country's two systems, and Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy.


AMANPOUR: So, Nathan Law, she's basically saying it won't make any difference to all the democratic freedoms that you cherish so much. And

yet, Joshua Wong, your colleague has said this will be the end of Hong Kong as we know it. Very briefly, what do you want the U.S., France, the West,

the democratic world to do about this, given how dependent everyone is on China trade and the economy?

LAW: Well, what Carrie Lam said is a blatant lie because the one country, two-system is (INAUDIBLE). When you talk about one country, two systems,

two most important pillars, while freedom and autonomy and, well, that's set above the national security law destroy them both. We don't have like

freedom of expression now, and Hong Kong is being taken over by the secret agency assigned by China. So, China is asserting autocratic direct control

in Hong Kong. So, this is basically the end of one country, two systems.

Regarding the situation, I think the international community should form an alliance, a coherent front that could really hold China accountable, do not

omit their human rights violation, in Xinjiang, in Hongkong, and try every mechanism to make them, well, pay when they commit into this human rights

violation. But like -- and before, the western democracies or the western countries have always been predicting that China will open up by

themselves. But, in fact, while this is proven such a wrong prediction. So, for now, we should act. We should form alliance and to hold China


AMANPOUR: Nathan Law, thank you very much indeed for joining me with your perspective on this.

And now, we're going to have a response from Alan Hoo, who is a barrister, he's also vice chairman of Hong Kong's Pro-Beijing Liberated Party, and

he's actually joining me from Hong Kong.

So, Mr. Hoo, welcome to the program.

You heard what Nathan Law just told me in terms of how Carrie Lam, your chief executive, defended the situation. He says, no way, no how, it's not

going to be like she says. As a matter of fact, as you heard, he called it a lie about what's going to happen to the future of Hong Kong. Can you

guarantee, not just to people like Nathan Law, but to people all over the world who value democracy, that that will continue?

ALAN HOO, VICE CHAIR, HONG KONG LIBERAL PARTY: I believe it will continue. And if you go (INAUDIBLE), I will guaranty that we will work more in Hong

Kong, we will continue to be independent and strong if given the chance. At the moment, Hong Kong did not know a career. It's an open society. It's

(INAUDIBLE). In the last 23 years, after the results of sovereignty, what freedoms have we lost? A lot of international people (INAUDIBLE) everybody

essentially live in Hong Kong was in Hong Kong. There's no loss of freedom. It's a very open society compared to a lot of places.

In Article 4 of the legislation national (INAUDIBLE), it spells out very clear by the National People's Congress that all of the international

imposed in Hong Kong shall be observed. Yet, the whole law is structured for the courts in Hong Kong to apply the common law interpretation.

At the moment, we have no extradition (ph) from Hong Kong. There is one we -- it is a demonization of this law in Hong Kong that is now secure doom

(ph), this is just another mainland city.


But ask the other millions of people in Hong Kong who are living under this law there every day. They're trying to make it work. Every country has

national security legislation. Make it (INAUDIBLE) to international laws.

It's an open society in Hong Kong. All justice extends openly there. What is being argued is, well, Hong Kong has been repressed. Well, how has it

been repressed?

You have mentioned to Nathan, is this a global battle for freedom? Well, he didn't pick up on that. He said, well, it's a fight for justice.

Well, what exactly?


HOO: What are we fighting for in Hong Kong?

AMANPOUR: Well, as you know, they really don't like the extradition law, and they don't want to be, you know, treated as citizens of, as you just

mentioned and other people think, any other Chinese city, Beijing, Shanghai, whatever.

And, also, you just heard, if they are carrying protest signs or if they're demonstrating, they're not -- they say that it could be considered illegal

and that could be dissent.

I mean, that's not what happens in other democracies. What can you say to assuage their fears, particularly -- I can see you shaking your head, but I

need to talk.


AMANPOUR: What can you say? Because even Carrie Lam didn't know the full details of the law until it came into effect on July 1.

HOO: The law really was announced by (INAUDIBLE) back in May. And their decision has been very made clear what these four items of national

security offenses are.

And the law itself doesn't have very much to it in the detail. We've got a lot of people complaining, there's not enough detail, but that's the whole


If you look at these four offenses, if you compare them with, let's say, America, if you look at your criminal code, and you look at your offenses

of national security, there's a lot of similarities. There's subversion. There's sedition, colluding. There's treason.

And they are the same, except that they are only there in terms of narrow, strict principles. And the courts will have to interpret what the burden

is, what amounts to an offense.

People are not being prosecuted under this new law yet. This (INAUDIBLE) begun.


AMANPOUR: But there's...

HOO: Why don't you let it play out?



HOO: ... way it finishes today.

(AUDIO GAP) Hong Kong, the courts will function every day. (INAUDIBLE) of (AUDIO GAP) the British judiciary have come out to support to say that the

Hong Kong judges in the last 23 years are a very, very independent lot.

And you wish that this will continue. And will see as it goes. Why not see it as goes? Why are we so determined to label Hong Kong a city of doom? Why

do we want to take away all the characters that make it different, everybody shutting Hong Kong off, turning down its extradition agreement,

taking away the trade agreement before?

What about the people in Hong Kong? We have a right to be heard. Does the U.S. government listen to people like me, for example?


HOO: (AUDIO GAP) I have been trying to get through to the British consul general here, the United States (INAUDIBLE) to say, why don't you listen to

a broader cross-section of people?

It is not the demon that is being made out in the international narrative. It is clear that Hong Kong has been swallowed up in an anti-China agenda

led by America.

I mean, it really disappoints a lot of people like me, who are educated, to have the prime minister saying today, wow, we're not going to honor the

extradition agreement in Hong Kong anymore, and also that we're going to give three million passports to (INAUDIBLE) holders in Hong Kong.

Really? I'm sure that...



HOO: ... given (AUDIO GAP) that will be no (INAUDIBLE)

Why create this fear? And (AUDIO GAP)...



HOO: ... escaping.

AMANPOUR: Can I just ask you?

Because, you know, it really -- it really is obviously very -- a passionate debate.

I guess the question really is, the basic law suggested, at least from what I have written -- read, rather, that Hong Kong would carry on in sort of

the way it was from 1997 under the under the one nation/two systems until 2047.

Why is it that the Chinese government couldn't wait until 2047 for this kind of move to happen? And you say nothing has happened, but you know, and

you just heard Nathan say, hundreds of people have already been arrested under this law, and nobody quite knows what's going to happen to them.


HOO: Well, let me tell you this.

It's nothing about accelerating 2047. What has China done? China has put in place national security legislation that every country (INAUDIBLE) nation


What it's done, it has nothing to do with the joint declaration. The joint declaration mentions nothing about the national security legislation,

nothing at all.

It is under the basic law that was crafted in 1990 that the central government let Hong Kong exercise jurisdiction over national security cases

and craft the law as well.

And for 23 years, this wasn't done. And, as a result of the riots last year and the protests and the violence (INAUDIBLE) concerning Hong Kong autonomy

that they want Hong Kong to be independent or going back to be a British colony. And, as Nathan says, if the government doesn't listen, we will

resort to violent means.

And this law comes in to put in national security, just like Homeland Security in America does. Why are there double standards? The laws that are

being done -- passed by Beijing is no different in territorial nature from that of America.

And the justice will be dispensed under common law, under a British system. Boy, where is the terror?


HOO: Where are the demons? It's just (AUDIO GAP) allowed to do this.

AMANPOUR: Alan Hoo, I know that's your perspective.

I think some would disagree with you in the U.S. and the U.K. that the law is no different.

But this is to be continued for another day. And we will certainly keep watching to see if what you say transpires, that the people will be fine,

and it won't make a huge amount of legal anti-democratic difference over there.

So, we will watch.

Thank you very much. We will have you back on again.

Now, as the U.S. election creeps ever closer, speculation is mounting over who Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will pick as his running

mate. Our next guest argues that it should be one of the many qualified black women in politics today.

Zerlina Maxwell is co-host of the political radio show "Signal Boost" on SiriusXM. And back in 2016, she was director of progressive media for

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Her new book, "The End of White Politics: How to Heal Our Liberal Divide," argues that the Democrats' failure to focus on communities of color could

be their downfall.

And here she is talking to our Michel Martin.



Zerlina Maxwell, thanks so much for talking to us.

ZERLINA MAXWELL, SIRIUSXM RADIO: Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: You open the book with a scene that I think really captures what the book is about. You were on a panel at something called Politicon. This

was in July of 2018. This is obviously after the 2016 elections, where the outcome wasn't what you would have hoped.

The panel was called "What's Next, Liberals?" And you describe this -- I'm going to set the stage for you. You call them the end of the Bernie Sanders

supporter, white male, millennial and uncompromising, raucous, rowdy and quick to heckle anyone deemed insufficiently progressive.

So, let's set the scene here. You're trying to get your points across about why you think 2016 ended as it did. You give this radical statement.

All of the Democratic candidates will need to do a better job of speaking to and about the issues that black women in particular care about the most

if they want to win the 2020 Democratic nomination, and that's why Bernie didn't win in 2016.

Oh, my goodness. What a shocker.


MARTIN: But then what happened?

MAXWELL: I got booed. I was booed and heckled. And they -- it was very hostile.

And to be clear, I went to Politicon in 2019. The same thing, the same thing happened. I was booed for articulating very similar points.

The mention of Amy Klobuchar's name got boos from those same folks. And so there's a gender piece, but there's also a race piece that I was trying to

highlight, because, for so long, black women have been electing Democrats,. Doug Jones is in the Senate because of black women organizing, specifically

on their own, to keep a child molester, Roy Moore, alleged child molester, out of the United States Senate.


And I think that to the credit of those black women, they didn't need to be told to organize to prevent that reality from happening. They knew that

Doug Jones had a history of prosecuting the murders of the four little girls in Birmingham. And so they -- he had a connection to that community.

And I think that more Democrats should look to that example and the example like Stacey Abrams, folks who really go directly to black women, and

essentially engage with activists and community leaders who are already doing the work.

MARTIN: I take it that was a eureka moment for you at that meeting in July 2018. Why was that a eureka moment for you? What did that crystallize for


MAXWELL: Well, I felt like they were things that were very obvious to me, that were not obvious to those who were around me.

I think that the folks in the room, particularly the white men in the room, they think they're the majority of the base. They think that they are the

most in important part of the base. And I was just trying to demonstrate that that was no longer true. It's not going to be true going forward, as

demographic shift and the coalitions become different.

Now we're in a moment where we have to focus on the specific issues, so that we can build this whole -- rebuild this Obama-esque coalition. And

those folks who are a part of it, but they don't even want me in their tent.

If I'm going to get booed just by pointing out some of the ways in which we can improve our messaging towards communities of color, and you're going to

boo me, I think that you need to do some reflection on why you feel hostility towards a woman of color, a black woman making that point.

MARTIN: You make a big point in the book that all politics is really identity right now. And I don't -- identity politics has taken on kind of a

bad connotation in political circles, at least some political circles.

You say that that's wrong. Why is that wrong?

MAXWELL: Well, first of all, Stacey Abrams, I talked to her recently, and we were just laughing about the fact that, of course, a term that was

coined by black feminist in 1977 would all of a sudden be a bad thing, right, once it becomes more of the part of the mainstream conversation.

As soon as people start being like, oh, maybe that's the thing we should pay attention to, it is demonized by those who understand the efficacy of

leaning into identity-based politics, as the coalitions of people of color and those demographics are shifting.

And so what I think and what I'm trying to say in the book is that Donald Trump has exposed the fact that what we have been doing in America is

essentially white identity politics the whole time. We have particularly been leaning into that in this moment, as the president runs an explicitly

racist campaign, targeting a particular segment of his base that he thinks responds to those kinds of messages.

And they are. And I think that what we need to understand on the progressive side is that we cannot fall into this notion that identity-

based politics is bad, because they understand the demographic shifts. That's why they're suppressing the vote. That's why there are voter I.D.

laws targeting communities.

We need to understand that the math and the demographics are on our side, and that identity-based politics is an authentic way to speak to those


I'm going to quote Stacey Abrams again, just because she's the smartest person this particular issue, I think, in this moment. But she says

identity politics is sort of like the flip side of, I don't see color. It's like, I see you, right?

And I feel like that's a really powerful validation to communities who have been historically marginalized and ignored by the political establishment.

MARTIN: It's interesting you say that President Trump and his whole reason for being in politics is white identity politics, but that's a term you

just don't hear very often.

I mean, we talk -- people talk about identity politics. They are generally talking about people of color, women, to some extent, but, generally,

people of color. Why is that?

MAXWELL: Because we default to whiteness. We don't see whiteness as an identity. And it is an identity. And I think Donald Trump finally exposed

that to a lot of white Americans who didn't have to think about race, who didn't have to think about gender or the intersection of identities, and

how that is impacting people.

I think COVID has made that clear to a lot of people. And you see this racial reckoning happening in all different sectors as a result of people

just thinking things through in a different way. They're noticing more inequities in systems.

And that's important, because that means that, if white Americans can understand the ways in which their whiteness benefits them in ways they

didn't realize, it's those things that they didn't have to think about. They didn't have to think about going for a jog and maybe getting shot

because you were mistaken for a burglar. That's just not an experience that a white person is having.


And that's a privilege, but that doesn't make you a racist. That just means that you have certain privileges. I have certain privileges, I'm able-

bodied. I have a certain level of education. And I'm socioeconomically pretty privileged.

And I would say that that's OK. I mean, I can just identify those things about myself. And that doesn't mean that I'm a bad person or that somebody

that has, like, white privilege is a racist. It just means that you have to have an understanding of how those privileges benefit you.

And then you need to reach back and help other people. And that's fundamentally, I think, my perspective on most things, is try to help.

MARTIN: The core of your argument, the core of your book, is that Democrats need to start speaking intentionally to the concerns, the real

and lived experience, particularly of people of color, but particularly women of color, because that's the new base.

And you say that they're not doing that. But what do you say to people who argue that really it should be policy first, because policy first is how

you bring everybody in? I mean, you could argue that Barack Obama could never get away from his skin, his face, his name and so forth, but that he

spoke policy first. And because he was policy first, he was able to bring in people who, frankly, weren't -- might not have been as comfortable with

a man of color in that position, and that this is a way that women, everybody, people who have traditionally been marginalized, that is how you

bring people in, is policy first?

That is essentially the Bernie Sanders argument. Why is that wrong?

MAXWELL: I look at it a little differently in terms of how you weave the policy and the message, but also consider who the messengers are.

So, for example, I think that Bernie Sanders did an excellent job of changing the debate about income inequality, and the impact of corporations

on our politics, and Wall Street and their abuses. But I feel like he always stopped short of articulating in detail how he was going to get us

to that vision.

And so I think that it's a combination. You have to both message to -- directly to communities, understanding how policies are impacting them

specifically. So, if you're talking about equal pay with a group of black women, you better understand how it impacts them in a different way than it

does white women, and the same as for Latino women.

So, I think you're weaving why you need the policy, and how it's going to be tailored to that community. And then you're talking to them in language

they understand. And maybe that means you're talking to them on a social media platform they actually use.

Maybe it means you're doing I -- do live with D-Nice, which is something that the Biden campaign just did the other day. So I think you have to both

have the message weaved in with the policy.

MARTIN: Well, that brings us to Joe Biden.


MARTIN: I mean, you wrote this book really quickly. I mean, it's pretty timely. And you wrote it over the past year.

But the world has changed an awful lot within a short period of time, and now Joe Biden is -- the former vice president is the presumptive nominee.

I take it you're not a fan. I'm just going to read the book here.


MARTIN: You say: "The inability of Biden, Sanders and other white Democrats to even speak authentically about race and acknowledge white

privilege is an Achilles' heel that needs to be tested."

So, what now?

MAXWELL: Well, I would say that I'm a fan of Vice President Joe Biden, in the sense that I do believe him when he says he wants to be a transitional

figure to sort of a new generation of Democrats, and maybe they look more like the Squad than the traditional establishment.

So I believe that when he says that. So I can't say that I'm not a fan. And I have met the vice president, and he's very nice and genuine and open. And

so I'm a fan of him as a person.

I think that his policy record, though, I do have some issues. And I just want him to fully account for those issues, because, once you do that, then

you can talk about what your vision is for the future. But if you haven't accounted for the consequences of the policies that you did in the past,

then why should we trust you that you're going to be able to do anything good for us in the future, or that we should trust you on the ideas that

you do have to build a different future, if you can't account for that?

I mean, one of the points I make in the book about how some of the candidates who didn't gain traction, one of them was Kamala Harris. And

that was largely due to her inability to fund-raise as much as some of the other candidates, like a Mayor Pete, for example, but also the criticism of

her that she was a cop.

And I was like, Joe Biden wrote the crime bill that Kamala Harris, as a district attorney and later an attorney general, was -- like, those were

the laws that she was implementing.

MARTIN: And that's where his vice presidential pick becomes super important.

So, Zerlina, who?

MAXWELL: I just want to say that it is impressive to see a list of qualified black women and women of color and just women broadly that he has

to choose from.


And that's really an exciting moment. So, I like to sort of pause and say, this is a moment.

But then, also, I think a black woman in particular would bring in a perspective that he needs. He needs that perspective. He needs somebody to

give him some real talk about the impact of the crime bill on communities of color, and how it ripped apart families that are still actually feeling

the consequences of that.

MARTIN: You book is a fun read.

MAXWELL: Thank you.

MARTIN: But -- it was fun. I mean, you obviously love politics, and you kind of love the game and you like the people.

And -- but, in a way, it's really depressing, to be honest, because...

MAXWELL: Well, I don't want to be depress...

MARTIN: Well, no, I mean, I'm just -- the reason I say that is, you're saying -- you describe -- and we only have time to sort of talk about like

a fraction of it here -- but the kind of -- the disrespect, kind of diminishment.

I know the vogue word is microaggressions. In your case, there are actual regressions directed at you and other people working in the space. I mean,

it's not like it's a new thing to have accomplished African-American women in politics, I mean, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan.


MARTIN: I mean, call the roll. You have more, as you point out, Kamala Harris, Carol Moseley Braun.

But the fact that you have to fight so hard to be heard, as you describe in the book, and we're talking about people who are supposed to be on your

side, because your book really is about Democrats more broadly and progressives in particular.

MAXWELL: That's right.

MARTIN: What does that say?

MAXWELL: Well, I mean, what I always try to do is create space, so that other people who are like me can be heard also.

So I never want to be the only one in the room talking. I think what I really wanted to do with the book is to get people to think about this

differently. They really need to do -- like, you just -- we have time, unless you have small kids. We're in quarantine.

We have a moment to sit down and think about some of the ways in which we're doing this wrong, how we're not supporting each other. I mean, the

fact that we have to tell people to wear masks, at this point, I feel like not wearing a mask is almost like a MAGA hat.

It's like, OK, I know how you feel about black and brown people if you don't wear a mask, because you know that we're just proportionately killed

by this virus. And now you're going out and flaunting the fact that you don't think this is real.

Even -- I have five extended family members who have died.

MARTIN: I'm sorry.

MAXWELL: Cousins. Nobody in my immediate family, but I have an immune- compromised mother.

And so it's like terrifying every second, right? And so I think that the reality is so visceral in this moment that it's like -- it's unfortunate

that it's hard. I have to yell sometimes to be heard, or I have to write a book saying, move out the way. This is what I have to say. And I hope

people hear me.

But, at the end of the day, I want other black women to see politics as a career also, because our voices are needed in this space. They're --

Hillary Clinton hired more black women than any presidential, but there could have been double, and it still probably wouldn't have been enough.

And I think we have to be in every room, in every department. We have to be building the Web site. As you know, Mina (ph) is one of the coders who

built the Web site, and Ida is the one who did "I'm With Her" and that logo.

And so both of them are black woman. So, I feel like we have to see politics as a job. And it's a career as well, because there's always a

campaign. I mean, I don't know what's going to happen if Donald Trump wins again -- caveat -- but I do think I want to create space with this book.

And that's why I think it is depressing, definitely, to your point about being drowned out by boos. But I know that my clarity in sort of the vision

that I'm pointing towards, which is just backed up by data, I think some people will see that.

And then, hopefully, I have created a space, so other women of color, particularly other black women, can be -- can be heard also.

MARTIN: Zerlina Maxwell, thanks so much for talking with us today.

MAXWELL: Thank you for having me.


AMANPOUR: And, of course, we are all waiting to see who Joe Biden will choose as his running mate.

And, finally, in the race for the Holy Grail, the first results are in for a coronavirus vaccine, this one developed right here in Britain at

unprecedented speed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. And they bring much needed hope.

The trial involved just over 1,000 patients and showed that their immune systems fought the virus and the vaccine was safe to use. But scientists

caution that more research is needed to establish whether it actually works on a larger sample and over time, this as the anti-vax movement gains

momentum and experts warn that a COVID-19 vaccine will only work if enough people take it, which is a reminder that this -- that in this life-and-

death battle, battle between science and misinformation, trust in public health is everyone's responsibility.


And that is it for now. You can always catch us online, on our podcast, and across social media.

Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.