Return to Transcripts main page
Barr Testifies Before Congress; Trump Interprets A Ruling That Went Against Him On DACA Into Giving More Power To The President's Role; Mary Trump Confirms She Was Source To "New York Times" Of Donald Trump's Tax Return; Coronavirus Takes Its Toll On Global Economy; Interview With Miami Dade College President Emeritus, Eduardo Padron; Interview With Acumen CEO Jacqueline Novogratz. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired July 28, 2020 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right Erica Hill, thank you so much for that coverage.
Our coverage on CNN continues right now, I will see you here tomorrow. Thanks for watching.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everyone and welcome to Amanpour. Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The attorney general has a unique obligation. He holds in trust the fair and impartial administration of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Congress finally summons Attorney General William Barr and asked whether he's the President's lawyer or the nation's. I'm joined by
Republican Paul Rosenzweig, former homeland security official and the former Democratic Senator Russ Feingold.
Then, how could the world build back better after the coronavirus pandemic? I asked Acumen CEO Jacqueline Novogratz, who spent her life helping
millions escaped poverty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDUARDO PADRON, PRESIDENT OF MIAMI DADE COLLEGE: What the damage has made so real is the consequences of inequality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Eduardo Padron, President Emeritus of Miami Dade College tells our Walter Isaacson America's top universities are failing on social
Welcome to the program everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour working from home in London.
American rule of law is on trial. As a defined Attorney General William Barr testifies before Congress, this appearance has been more than a year
in the making. Democrats and other critics say that Barr has enabled President Trump's use of the Justice Department for his own ends. But today
the Attorney General insists that he is protecting the rule of law. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARR: The attorney general has a unique obligation. He holds in trust the fair and impartial administration of justice. He must ensure that there is
one standard of justice that applies to everyone equally.
And the criminal cases are handled even handedly based on the law and the facts, and with regard -- without regard to political or personal
considerations. And I can tell you that I've handled criminal matters that have come to me for decision in this way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But Barr's intervention on behalf of two Trump allies, both of whom had been found guilty, his role in clearing Lafayette Square of
peaceful protesters after George Floyd's killing, and most recently, his role in sending federal forces to protest cities like Portland, Oregon,
have drawn widespread criticism and fear.
So let's get into today's testimony and why it matters for the future of the nation with the former Democratic Senator Russ Feingold from Wisconsin
and the Republican Paul Rosenzweig, who was Deputy Assistant Secretary for policy in the Department of Homeland Security under President George W.
Bush. He's joining us from his family home in Costa Rica.
Gentlemen, welcome both of you to the program. I know that in the areas where you are watching from you've been looking at these hearings. Can I
ask you Senator Feingold since it's the Democrats who called the attorney general, what you make of what you've seen so far have? Have any points or
any clarity been made?
FORMER SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D-WI): Well, I think it's very clear what's being demonstrated, I like to answer really, as an American rather than as
a Democrat, because the fact is that the Judiciary Act of 1789 created the Office of U.S. Attorney General.
And the first clause in the Justice Department's mission statement is that the attorney general is to enforce the law and defend the interests of the
United States, according to the law, not the president. He's not the president's lawyer. He's not the president's political facilitator.
He's supposed to do what Barr just said in that statement you played, he's supposed to be even handed, but the list you just gave, and what's been
amplified at the hearing today is this done just the opposite. He is simply effectuating the President's wishes in a political and personal way. And
this is a tragic moment in the history of our justice department, which is one of the most important parts of this great democracy.
AMANPOUR: So let me ask you as a Republican Paul Rosenzweig, do you agree with Russ Feingold, or do you think there's a little bit more nuanced in
what William Barr has been saying?
PAUL ROSENZWEIG, FOUNDER, RED BRANCH CONSULTING: Well, I confess that when Attorney General Barr was first appointed, I thought that it was an
appointment that might actually rescue the Department of Justice. He has a long history of service in the department, and I confess to being
I think that in addition to the items you listed out, we could add things like mischaracterizing the Department of Justice inspector general report
or mischaracterizing the Mueller special investigation report or his actions in Lafayette Square, all of which seemed to me to be inconsistent
with the fair and impartial administration of justice.
I think that it is indeed a tragedy. And I think that the evidence is unfortunately, increasingly clear that attorney general Barr sees himself
more as a handmaiden of President Trump's political interest than he does as Attorney for the United States of America.
AMANPOUR: So, let's start sort of, I guess a little bit from the beginning, and why this matters to America and potentially to the rest of the world.
Let's start with the statement that President Trump has said in different ways many times about his authority as President, we're just going to pay
this little back and forth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you say my authority, the president's authority, not mine, because it's not me. This is when
somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total. And that's so it's got to be
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The authority is total?
TRUMP: Total, it's total.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So first of all, As a Republican, Paul Rosenzweig. What do you make of that, this maximalist interpretation of authority and the fact
that, as you and others have said, you know, the Attorney General seems to be enacting that?
ROSENZWEIG: Well, it's an extreme interpretation that almost nobody except the President and perhaps Attorney General Barr agrees with. The courts
have long limited the President's authority.
In cases ranging from U.S. versus Nixon, in which the President was subjected to criminal law, to the skill seizure cases in which President
Truman's attempt to nationalize the steel industry during the Korean War was rejected by the courts. It is absolutely the case that the President
has a unique set of authorities because he is the chief executive of the United States.
But the entire conception of the Framers was one of checks and balances, one in which that authority was constrained, constrained by judicial
review, constrained by legislative oversight and funding and ultimately constrained by the American public. We had a revolution against the British
to get rid of kingly prerogative. And President Trump's assertion of it now is really an attempt to kind of return to pre-revolutionary days in the
times of King George the Third.
AMANPOUR: Senator Feingold, in his prepared statement, our Attorney General Barr basically rejected the notion that he was the President's factotum. He
used that word in his statement. He didn't say it before Congress, but that's what he said.
But he also says that -- you heard what he said, that he's there to practice the law of this -- of the country without fear or favor on an
equal basis. But he also says in a speech last fall, that "In waging a scorched-earth, no holds barred war of resistance against this
It is the left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and undermining the rule of law. How do you answer to that, given that,
basically, the four years of the President's time in office has been marked by persistent pushback from Democrats and others?
FEINGOLD: I believe he gave that talk at Notre Dame. And that is simply not the kind of language that the attorney general, the chief law enforcement
officer of the United States should be using if he's going to actually be even handed.
You know, not only do I agree with Paul, but I admire Paul. He is a conservative, who has served under Republican presidents.
And I also agree with him that I didn't think Barr would be like this. I figured somebody that had served under the first George Bush would actually
try to restore the Justice Department. I thought he was a person who was committed at a minimum to the rule of law. But it turns out that Paul
Rosensweig is the person that represents that.
And we have a situation here where it is the opposite of what happened after the last time. The Justice Department was so tarnish, and that was
under Watergate, under Richard Nixon. John Mitchell, of course ended up on the wrong side of the law in that situation.
And under Gerald Ford he had appoint a new attorney general. And so he picked Edward Levy. So under a Republican president, Edward Levy, had the
courage to stand up for the rule of law and the role of the Justice Department, and is now considered one of the greatest attorney generals of
We needed an Edward levy right now. Instead, we ended up with somebody that is basically functions as a political hack for the President, and is
brought disgrace on the Justice Department.
AMANPOUR: Well, can I just, I mean, that's clearly your view and I see Paul Rosenzweig, sort of agreeing. I'm putting words in your mouth about the
disgrace on the Justice Department.
But I want to ask you, Paul, because from the very beginning, Senator Feingold at the time did not agree with the Department of Homeland Security
provisions. And you thought because you were part of it, and in the policy realm of it, that it actually would turn out to be, you know, to fill a
very important role, but now you've sort of had a bit of a conversion from a conservative legal point of view. Can you can you both describe what
happened that road to Damascus conversion so to speak?
ROSENZWEIG: Well, as you say, back in the immediate aftermath of 911, when Congress was considering the creation of the Department of Homeland
Security, I thought it was a good idea and an appropriate response to the terrorist incidents that had so transformed the world and endangered
Senator Feingold at the time was one of a small number of senators who opposed it. And one of the grounds that he offered was his fear that the
department would become in effect, a national police force at the beck and call of a president to exercise internal police authorities.
And truth be told at the time, I didn't -- I wasn't persuaded by that argument. I thought it was theoretically possible but in the end, so
sufficiently unlikely that we really shouldn't give any credence to it and that it shouldn't stand in the way of the formation of the department. And
of course, in the end, it didn't stand in the way of the formation.
But as you've alluded to, the events that we've seen in the last few weeks, especially in Portland with the mobilization of DHS, law enforcement
authorities to conduct essentially internal police powers in the city of Portland and if the President has his way in other cities as well, really
suggests that there was a great deal of justice in Senator Feingold's criticism at the time, and that those of us who supported the department's
formation at the time and poo-pooed him, if you will, need to offer him a bit of an apology. He was more right than wrong.
FEINGOLD: Well, I appreciate that.
AMANPOUR: Senator Feingold, it's kind of --
FEINGOLD: I was just going to say --
AMANPOUR: Go ahead. It's kind of rare to hear that.
FEINGOLD: There's been a tremendous misunderstanding about the difference between the Republican versus Democrat and the Justice Department issue.
Not only were there courageous Republicans under Gerald Ford, but also even under the Bush administration where I disagreed with the electronic
surveillance and terrorists or the torture use.
Also, John Ashcroft, from the attorney general, from a hospital bed, stood up to the president in the issue of authorizing further electronic
surveillance that was illegal. So, it isn't fair to just say this has been Republicans that have done this.
I've given you a couple examples in this interview of where the Republicans stood up at the right time as well. So, that's what this is about. Somehow,
Bill Barr becomes a person who participates in a fiasco, in Lafayette Park personally, instead of standing up for the rule of law, and realizing that
the Justice Department really has to not just be colorblind, but also has to be blind with regard to partisanship, and that's what we've what we've
AMANPOUR: Senator, do you think that the politicization of the Homeland Security, as you as you just said, and you know, militarizing this response
can be real -- can rule of law be reeled back in again? Can this somehow be reversed in a way that cements what exactly is meant to happen between the
Justice Department, the President and the rest of the nation?
FEINGOLD: I do think it can be fixed. I think we obviously will need a new attorney general. And I'm hoping that will happen one way or another. I
also think legislation that would clarify this.
I mean, usually what happens in these crises, and I can understand why Paul would, at the time, not imagined like something like this happening. I did.
Imagine something like this happening. It's usually the next crisis where a loophole like this is exploited.
So it would be up to the Congress and probably a new president to tighten up that law to make sure it isn't used in place of the military. Because
the military has stood up to the President after Lafayette Park. They said we're not doing this anymore. So he's abusing those Department of Homeland
Security authority, it can be fixed.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you, Paul Rosenzweig, you know, the military did what it did after Lafayette you know, the Lafayette Park debacle. And now
some are looking at the Supreme Court of the United States and asking, have they also recently acted to try to, you know, keep the guardrails, the
constitutional checks and balances in place?
Let me just read obviously, you're all, you know, much better versed in this than me, but many watchers were surprised when the court found against
the Trump administration on cases like upholding gay and transgender, employment rights, the DACA ordered by the President Obama and held that
Trump is not immune from criminal investigation.
How do you read that in this particular environment, Paul Rosenzweig?
ROSENZWEIG: Well, I think your characterization is accurate that the Supreme Court has seen it -- sees itself as the guardrails, if you will, of
democratic norms and the exercise of checks on executive authority. It's not always consistent, and it's an imperfect institution like all American
But I think that the story of the last year or so has been a growing realization amongst some in the court that the excesses of the Trump
administration are more than just legal errors or things about which reasonable people can disagree but more in the nature of genuine
existential threats to a behavioral norms of limiting executive authority, that they are there to police.
It's been a narrow run thing. But I think at this point the court is about -- has ended its last term that will -- under this Trump administration and
of course, there may be another Trump administration after the next election, but laid down a marker this time around. I think that's a good
AMANPOUR: And yet President Trump does what he's famous for, he turns what we may perceive, or you may perceive as a, you know, a setback in the
courts into a victory. This is actually what he said about the Robert's decision on the DACA case.
He felt, as he said to Chris Wallace of Fox News, that this actually empowered him to use executive action. Let's just play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're signing a healthcare plan within two weeks, a full and complete health care plan that the Supreme Court decision on DACA gave me
the right to do. So we're going to solve, we're going to sign an immigration plan, a healthcare plan and various other plans. And nobody
will have done what I'm doing in the next four weeks.
The Supreme Court gave the President of the United States powers that nobody thought the president had by approving -- by doing what they did
their decision on DACA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Senator Feingold, can you untangle that for me, please? How does the President interpret a ruling that went against him on DACA into giving
even more power as he just enumerated in that interview?
FEINGOLD: Well, of course, he just takes what he wants from what he's told. I mean, it is true that the court said that particular version of what he
tried to do doesn't make it, but that doesn't guarantee that he can just do anything else to stop the future of these DACA people, these DACA children
in our country.
I mean, this is a potentially encouraging moment for our country. Even though I strongly agree with the Supreme Court and its rulings on voting
rights and campaign finance and many other issues.
The independent that's been shown recently, I think gives the American people hope that somebody who has such a bizarre view of his own powers can
potentially be controlled. I think the DACA decision was about that as well as the other ones you've listed.
So, I mean, this could end up being one of the great moments over the coming years in the history of the Supreme Court, and of our system of
government, if the court can stand up to a reckless, reckless environment.
AMANPOUR: That's a really interesting perspective. And I want to end by asking you, Paul Rosenzweig about one of the other things that came out and
that has now been confirmed by Mary Trump, as you know, has written a book about her uncle, the President, in which she confirmed that she was the
source to the "New York Times" of something like 19 boxes of Donald Trump's tax returns. And that led to a very thorough investigation by the New York
Times appeal at surprise. And yet, this is what she said about the final outcome.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY TRUMP, AUTHOR, "TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH": It didn't just happen in one day. But eventually I got 19 boxes full of documents, drove them to my
house and handed them over and the rest is history. One of the, if not the most extraordinary piece of journalism I've ever seen in my life.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: Were you surprised at how little political impact those revelations seem to have?
M. TRUMP: I was. You know, a lot of people were rightly effusive and grateful for the brilliant work and the startling revelations that should
But how many times have we seen this play out? And this is one thing that I grapple with trying to understand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Paul Rosenzweig what she's basically saying is this was not even enough to, you know, get some accountability. Not to mention all the other
things before the last election. You know, nothing sticks, so to speak, Teflon Trump, as some have said about him.
In terms of rule of law and moving forward, how do you, you know, fit that little piece into the whole jigsaw puzzle?
ROSENZWEIG: Well, that's a great question. I too, was surprised that the knowledge that the President is likely a tax cheat in his personal and
private life has not carried weight.
But then I've been surprised at the incredible ability of the President to avoid responsibility for his actions for the last three or four years. I
would say that I don't think that that impunity like that is for forever. After the next election, it may very well be the case that others whether
the new Department of Justice under the next president if there's a change in administration, or of the state's attorney in Manhattan, Cyrus Vance,
will be taking a look at these a little more seriously. And it may just be that our response to them has been delayed rather than denied.
AMANPOUR: And we will keep watching.
Paul Rosenzweig, Senator Russ Feingold, thank you very much indeed for joining us this evening.
Meanwhile, as the coronavirus takes its toll on the global economy, America and Europe are touting the need to build back better. The World Bank
predicts that 70 to 100 million people could fall into extreme poverty this year. That means earning less than $1.90 a day.
Take migrant workers, for instance. Last year they sent about $550 billion back to their home countries. More than three times the amount of
development aid they get from wealthy countries.
The World Bank says a catastrophic fall in these remittances could mark the first time the world sees a global increase in poverty in nearly a quarter
My next guest has spent her life trying to solve economic crises at the grassroots level. The CEO of the Acumen Investment Fund, Jacqueline
Novogratz, aims to help some of the world's poorest communities help themselves.
And this year she published her book "Manifesto for a Moral Revolution: Practices to Build a Better World." And she's joining me now from New York.
Jacqueline Novogratz, welcome to the program.
You know, I wonder if you just sort of react to some of those extraordinary figures that the World Bank is predicting, that could affect the least able
in the world this year alone, what's to be done about that?
JACQUELINE NOVOGRATZ, CEO, ACUMEN: Thanks, Christiane. It's an honor to be here.
This is the -- a time for a reckoning for an entire global system in terms of redefining the way we think about who we are to one another and success
in general. For too long, we put money, power, fame at the beginning at the center of all of our systems, and it's time to really take a hard look at
what it means to put our shared humanity, the sustainability of the earth there.
I was just on a panel on Christiane, for the U.N. with a number of African ministers who were talking about the African continent alone and you think
about the fact that by 2050, we will see a doubling of that continents population so that one in four people in the world will be from the African
continent. They are not only getting hit by a pandemic, and by the crater in the economy, but commodities pricing going down. It's important from
Europe, almost as a stop, stoppage in tourism.
And so we've all got to rethink, reimagine, rebuild, systems for the poorest and the most vulnerable, not just for the wealthy.
AMANPOUR: So you'd be talking about reimagining in the context of this bill back better your book is "Manifesto for a Moral Revolution," what exactly
does that mean practically?
NOVOGRATZ: Practically, it means, as I said, starting with redefining success, so that we look at our systems from the perspective of whether the
poor and the vulnerable are protected. It means understanding the power of markets without being controlled by markets.
We bifurcated the world between the private sector which puts profit at the center of everything, and more traditional top down approaches to aid and
charity which too often creates dependencies.
And this is a moment to recognize that we've got to get away from these easy dichotomies, if you will, between one system or another, and use the
right kind of capital. I would actually say invested in the right kind of character, who's willing to understand how low income people make
decisions, what the -- what is needed so that we can actually build financially sustainable systems in which they can prosper.
I've been doing this work for 35 years, and I've actually seen real entrepreneurs create real solutions. You look at electricity, where in
2007, a billion and a half people had no access whatsoever to electricity.
It took young entrepreneurs from the private sector in 2007, who started by recognizing that people were consigned to kerosene, which is what Europe in
the United States used in the 19th century to light their homes, and really bring them a product that they could afford and value. It took a long time.
And so traditional capitalism would not allow this revolution and energy to work.
But with the right kind of capital and those entrepreneurs who were building from the perspective of low income people themselves, are at a
place right now where we've essentially half that number. So you still have 700 million people with no access to electricity, but they've shown that we
can create solutions, Christiane, as long as we are a little bit more nuanced in the way that we approach our -- approach them.
AMANPOUR: So let's just try to, you know, hone in on that because you rightly say that you've worked in all sorts of parts in Africa, in Pakistan
and elsewhere on that grassroots level and in your book you write and of course, it was written before the pandemic where the pandemic has just
exposed the massive inequalities in real sort of focus.
So you write that, you know, you need to, you know, empower the next generation of young people. They should be taking the lead. How do you --
how does it work then? How do -- what does Acumen do to help young people do what you're advocating right now?
NOVOGRATZ: So the center of our model is what we call patient capital, Christiane. So, we raise philanthropy and then we invest long term. So I'm
talking 10 to 15 year equity or debt in entrepreneurs that are trying to solve some of the toughest problems of our time, in electricity and energy,
in agriculture, in education, and importantly in health care in the United States, South Asia, East West Africa and Latin America.
We leave that money for 10 to 15 years. We accompany those entrepreneurs so that we're using our social capital, in other words, our access to
corporations and governments as well so that we can long term build solutions to poverty.
It's very relevant in the in the moment of COVID that we are able to not only invest in entrepreneurs but use our community to pivot very quickly.
In the United States, for instance, where we've got a problem with food deserts, you've got a company called Everytable, which recognize the
entrepreneur Sam Polk recognized that people in urban cities, urban areas who have no access to affordable healthy food would get access if he
created an affordable, nutritious, fast food restaurant.
People in competent in other parts of southern Los Angeles valued it so much that this restaurant quickly grew to eight, first day of lockdown. The
entrepreneur decided their mission, their purpose was to bring healthy food to people and so sent out on social media, a post saying, if you need food,
we will deliver it to you. If you can pay great, if you can't, we'll find a way if you can pay it forward do.
And literally we watched this economic model pivot to one that started to partner with government, private citizens and the private sector. So that
now it's delivered almost a million and a half meals to low income people in ways that have increased jobs for people in Los Angeles. And this is
where I find a great deal of hope, using the tools of markets but not being controlled by them, but starting with solving the problem outside of
ideology, in a very pragmatic way, and insisting on measuring what matters not just what we can count.
AMANPOUR: And, of course, you mentioned the U.S., because it's not just Africa, Southeast Asia, but you have moved to Latin America and the United
Let me just read a little, a little, because you talk about human dignity. And you have just sort of been laying that out as part of the financial and
entrepreneurial model as well.
And one of the passages in your book says: "What if our golden rule was not only do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but also give more
to the world than you take from it? That would change everything. If enough of us pursued that path, the world of inequality, exploitation and
injustice would slowly be replaced by a world of inclusion, fairness, and dignity."
That, I guess, falls into what you call a moral reimagining.
NOVOGRATZ: It's absolutely a moral reimagining.
It's too easy to blame one system or another. And that's what we're seeing all of our leaders, too many of our leaders, doing right now. Rather, if
each of us took that approach -- Acumen is an investing organization.
If we really thought about what we were giving, not just what we were extracting, our ways of investing change. For corporations -- to see the
purpose of the corporation to be solving problems in society. Yes, we're seeing them pay lip service to a stakeholder model.
Building that requires starting with their customers, their employees, the farmers that produce the food we create. We can build those systems. And
the good news is, Acumen has now reached 300 million people across the world.
We know that it's possible. We see that it's possible. And this is a moment where we have no choice but to reimagine and rebuild in ways that serve all
AMANPOUR: You say this is the moment. And a lot of people are sort of talking about the potential for this moment, I mean, the coronavirus
pandemic, even the uprising for racial justice.
Out of awful, awful things that happen in our world, sometimes, you can actually, to coin a phrase, build back better. People point to what
happened between -- with FDR and the New Deal and all of that.
Do you actually think that we're in a moment where sort of a historical shift could take place? In other words, out of this kind of disaster now,
it can actually lead to something that would be, as you say, reimagined and better for more people?
NOVOGRATZ: Christiane, I absolutely think that.
I mean, obviously, we're at a moment of great peril and great possibility. And this is the moment for moral leadership, not the kind of leadership
that shouts from one corner or another their truth, nor that makes decisions based on what's good for them, rather than what's good for
But the good news is, as you said so beautifully, this is a moment of breaking open. We have exposed the wounds of our health systems, our
education systems, our criminal justice systems, our economic systems, certainly our political systems. And we are understanding, as a world, that
they are entangled.
And so I am seeing a whole generation of entrepreneurial individuals, not only in the private sector, but in the civil society, in the public sector,
reimagine how we use the tools of technology and use capital in ways that serve others, not just themselves.
That is the moral revolution. That requires the principles I talk about in the book, where we look at identity as a way of connecting, not dividing,
where we are capable of holding different truths and beliefs in tension without rejecting either, where we do tell stories in a way that recognizes
both the flaws, as well as our potential.
And that is when the hard work starts. And that's the work of all of us right now.
AMANPOUR: So, you came to all of this with a very personal example.
You describe in your book and you have described elsewhere how you first learned a very crucial lesson when it comes to helping others when you were
in college, and you thought you were doing the right thing, you and your roommate.
Can you just give us the short version of the eureka light that went off?
Short version is wanting to do some good. It's Christmastime. And I hear about an opportunity to deliver a whole Christmas in a box to a family in a
low-income part of Charlottesville, actually, where I went to school.
And we drive down all these dirt roads, and finally find what looks like a sharecropper's house. And, suddenly, I'm overcome with shame. I realize
that I know nothing about this family. I don't know who the children are, I don't know what they think about Santa Claus.
And yet here we are, these privileged coeds, just showing up. And out of this moment of shame, I literally said to my roommate, keep your foot on
the gas. I ran and dropped the bag of groceries and toys on the porch, and we sped off.
And I think that was the beginning of what would be a long journey of the awakening of my own moral imagination, that I had done -- in the name of
doing good, I had also shortchanged the people I was there to serve, and I had shortchanged, frankly, myself.
And I think that was the beginning of my journey.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's been an incredible journey. And it continues to be one.
CEO of the Acumen Investment Fund and author of "The Moral Manifesto," thank you so much, indeed.
NOVOGRATZ: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now, our next guest recalls his mother telling him that the passport to the American dream is education.
And he's dedicated his life to that idea. Now Eduardo Padron is president emeritus of Miami Dade College in Florida. With over 165,000 students, it
enrolls more minorities than any other college in the United States.
And for championing inclusivity in education, President Obama awarded Padron the Presidential Medal of Freedom back in 2016.
Here is our Walter Isaacson talking to him now about the devastating impact of coronavirus on college education.
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Christiane.
And, Dr. Eduardo Padron, welcome to the show.
EDUARDO PADRON, PRESIDENT EMERITUS, MIAMI DADE COLLEGE: It's a pleasure to be with you, Walter.
ISAACSON: You have been at Miami Dade College for 50 years now in various capacities, now emeritus.
Tell me, what is Miami Dade going to do this fall?
PADRON: That's a good question. And I wish I could tell you, because, frankly, it all depends on the spread of the virus at that point.
Right now, in Florida, we're going through some very, very difficult times. As you probably know, now Florida has surpassed New York in the number of
COVID cases by about 3,400. So, it's a problem.
Our South Florida hospitals are at over 130 percent capacity, the ICUs are. And even last week, for example, the number of cases varied between 10,000
and 15,000 daily, and the average of over 100 deaths daily.
So it's a serious situation. So, if that continues, I don't see how we can have anything other than remote learning coming -- come September. But the
hope is that it will improve. But it will have to improve significantly.
And follow -- we will have to follow the advice of scientists in terms of what is low enough to avoid the spread of the virus, because that is the
real problem, students going into the classrooms and getting sick, and then coming home and getting the rest of the family sick.
And nobody wants that to happen. The institution's main objective is to protect the safety and the health of our students. So, that's going to be
the number one priority. And right now, the institution is planning for various possibilities, so, in-person learning, online learning, and a
hybrid system of learning, in order to be ready for whatever is possible at that time.
ISAACSON: What transformations is COVID-19 having in the way we're going to do college?
PADRON: Well, this pandemic -- I'm the eternal optimist -- will go away, and we will go back to a more normal life.
But this is going to have significant impact. And I hope it will be, because what the pandemic has made so real is the consequences of
inequality, and the consequences of lack of opportunity for people.
And I think this is a great opportunity in America today to really think very hard about social policies, about how we invest our resources, and how
we make sure that this country will never reach its full potential, will never achieve the kind of peace and the kind of pride that we need to have,
as long as we exclude so many people from the mainstream -- the mainstream economy.
This is -- these are values that are inherent in our Constitution.
And we need to make sure that we bring them alive, and that we all work very hard to be able to make sure that every American is able to achieve
the American dream.
ISAACSON: Well, tell us about your experience, your life path that takes you from Cuba to Miami Dade College.
PADRON: Well, I came to this country with a younger brother, three years younger, sent by our parents to the United States to avoid communism and to
be able to have a better life in the United States.
I was 15 and my brother was 12. And that was very great from our parents, because they didn't know if they were going to be able to see us again,
because it wasn't -- it was very difficult to leave Cuba.
And so I think came to this country, and everything was new to me, the language. Everything was totally new. And my mother said something to me
with tears in her eyes when we departed.
And she said, no matter what happens, even if you go to bed hungry, the one thing you're going to do in America is to go to college, because that's the
only real passport to a better life and to the American dream.
And so I committed to do that, in spite of all the problems and difficulties in finding the money to be able to eat and support and so on.
And I had three, four jobs. I was sleeping at that time about three hours every day only, because I had different part-time jobs and going to school.
And, frankly, when I -- I did one year of high school. And when I finished that, I said, well, I need to follow my mother's advice to go to college.
So, I applied to some of most -- the best colleges in America.
And one by one, I got a rejection letter. And someone told me that there was a school called Bay County Junior College that had just opened. So I
went there. That's today Miami Dade College. And that place changed my life.
That place gave me a self-confidence, a self-esteem, and the support that I needed and the understanding that, yes, I could go to college and be
successful. And the rest -- the rest is history.
And I have to tell you, it's a place -- and I call it the great experiment. It's what I call democracies college. It has been referred to as a dream
factory, because we're serving mostly low-income people, immigrants, members of minorities.
We graduate more minorities than any other college or university in America. So, it's an institution that is what America needs the most today.
It's an institution that really has no pretensions of anything. We have an open door. We accept students where they are. All we ask is for them to
have a high school diploma.
But many of them come and prepare for college. You look at the zip code where they came, and you immediately know that they're going to have --
they're going to need a lot of remediation. But that's what we do best.
We save a lot of lives that way that otherwise would be in the street corners. And to see these students grow and become presidents of the World
Bank that we have today, or presidents of foreign nations, or the top doctors in the city and the top engineers, the heads of the major
accounting firms, that is something that it's America at its best.
And it's something that I think higher education needs to adopt more.
ISAACSON: When you say higher education needs to adopt it more, are you saying that the elite universities and selective colleges are not doing
enough of a good job on social mobility, the way you just described Miami Dade College?
PADRON: Most definitely.
And I will tell you why, Walter. When you think about it, our higher education system, which I'm very proud of in many ways, because I think
it's the best in the world -- everyone in the world wants to come to America to study.
And for most of the last two centuries, it's a system that served us well. It was created to serve the needs of the elite, people of privilege, and
that was OK. It was OK during that time -- maybe not -- OK is not the word, but it was OK.
It was -- we could accept that, because most Americans, even as recent as 40, 50 and 60 years ago, could go into factories and offices with little
education, doing repetitive tasks, manual work, earning a good wage that would allow them to become middle class, buy a home, buy a car or two, and
put their children through school.
Today, that is not possible. Most of those jobs that allow people to do that have been disappearing. And with the advent of the technological
revolution, the knowledge front, the ability of Americans to be able to join the middle class, achieve the American dream is very much tied to the
ability to get a college credential.
So, what I mean by that is, whoever doesn't have a college credential in America today is probably destined to stay in a cycle of poverty for the
rest of their lives. So, colleges and universities have a very important mission.
We are about economic mobility. I'm proud that Miami Dade College, based on the cherished story of Stanford, very well-documented by "The New York
Times," is the number one college or university in the state of Florida in terms of promoting economic mobility, and one among the top four
That is what every college in America should be all about it. Children from the lowest of the poorest populations in America, less than 50 percent of
them ever go to college.
And college access is highly, highly dependent on parental income. And we need to make sure that we make it affordable and we make it accessible.
ISAACSON: So, 100 years ago, when we entered a new economy, we decided to make high school universal and free for everybody. Should we be doing that
now for college? And what do you think of Joe Biden's plan and other plans to try to make higher education universal and accessible?
PADRON: Well, for the last more than five years, I have been advocating for universal access to college.
And it's interesting, because if we know that two-thirds of all the new jobs today in America require a post-secondary credential, right, if we
know that, in order to navigate this economy, you need to have certain skills and certain sophistication and learning that was unnecessary before,
it seems to me that we need to do that.
We need to understand that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. So, it's our responsibility to open the door of opportunity wide open to the
masses that really need this in order to compete.
Today, nations, states, cities compete on talent. And we need to harness that talent. And we need to make sure that colleges and universities assume
that responsibility. Economic mobility is key, and it should be a major mandate of our colleges and universities assume.
So, yes, I am in full support of the Promise that -- College Promise program. I'm chairman of that board right now, which advocates for
providing students free college in America.
I think it's the kind of thing that is really going to elevate our level of competitiveness. And when you think about it, that action after so much
debate in America about 100 years ago of making high school a universal right of every student, in my opinion, and it has been documented, is the
single most important thing in the preponderance, in the preponderance of America in the 20th century.
Education, it's now -- a lot of lip service has been given to education throughout the years. Right now is the moment where we need to recognize
that, at this time, education should be a definite right to every American, a birthright.
ISAACSON: So, you have said that, 100 years ago, we made high school universal. That was the engine that made the United States the number one
ISAACSON: Now, we're no longer number one world economy, because we're not doing education quite as well.
And places, including Tallahassee, the capital of your own state, are cutting funding for colleges like your colleges. What is that going to do
to our economy?
PADRON: Well, this is nothing new, to be totally honest with you.
Between 2000 -- to give you an idea, between 2008 and 2017, which is the figures that I have, states in the United States, collectively, cut
spending to colleges or universities by 16 percent, which is the equivalent of about $9 billion.
My own institution today is receiving less revenue from the state than we were getting in 2008. And that is a real problem. At the same time that
that is happening, universities have increased that tuition by about 31 percent.
And most of that is because the lack of revenues that we're receiving from this, they have to be made up one way or another. So, who's paying the
price for that? Students and families.
And when the price of education become so high, it makes it impossible for students to be able to afford it and families to be able to afford it. And
that's a real tragedy. And it's a travesty. We need to make sure that we stop seeing education as an expense, and begin to see it as an investment.
The return on investment from every dollar you spend on education, it's better than anything else that I can think about. So, I'm concerned
because, between 2010 and 2018, the undergraduate enrollment in the United States fell by 8 percent, about 1.5 million students.
We need to make sure that we have more people going to college, and not less.
ISAACSON: Miami Dade College has been so much better than most other institutions in focusing on learning being a pipeline to a real job, a
How did you do that? And what could we be doing in the future to make sure that education really does lead to jobs?
PADRON: Well, maybe because of my own experience, but I really feel that that is so important, because we want to make sure that students are
prepared to be able to access the new jobs that are being created in this economy.
As you know, the jobs are being created and jobs are disappearing, and new jobs are being created. And the ability for the students to navigate the
new economy, where it wasn't too long ago where people were going to jobs for 30 years and retire on that job and get a good pension.
Today, the fact of the matter is that most Americans change jobs upwards of eight to 10 times in their productive life. You require very different
skills today to be able to sustain those jobs and to be able to navigate the diversity of the economy.
And I really feel that that's part of what we need to do for students. So, we have created partnerships with the major corporations of America,
whether it's Google, or Facebook, or Amazon, AWS, whether it is Tesla, IBM. I could go on and on and on.
We have partnerships with all of these companies, whereby the students benefit because, by working with them, we know what they are looking for in
the students they want to hire, number one. Number two, very often, they provide equipment, provide opportunity for faculty exchange. They provide
even some of the executives and people to teach in our programs.
So, we give the students the best of both worlds. So, our placement rate for our students is in the 90s. It's in the 90s. Why? Because the students
are getting the kind of education that has really prepared them to be able to be productive the first day they start at the job.
And that is something that we feel very proud. We are always watching and studying where the new fields are happening. So, in the last five years
alone, we have created programs in data analytics, in the supply chain and logistics, in engineering robotics, biotechnology.
I could go on and on and on. These are programs where the students, when they graduate, they have no problem finding a job that will pay them a wage
and will allow them to lead decent lives and to be able to support their families.
And that, I think, is what college should be all about.
ISAACSON: Dr. Eduardo Padron, thank you so much for joining us.
PADRON: Thank you, Walter. It's been a pleasure.
AMANPOUR: And sorting out the reopening of colleges and schools remains a very pointed issue.
And, finally, a British photographer is making us look again at America's complicated history with his portrait series "The Descendants."
It's published in this month "Smithsonian" magazine now. For, the past 15 years, Drew Gardner has been tracking down descendants of historical
figures and photographing them in the style of their famous ancestors.
Here is the 19th century great abolitionist Frederick Douglass shown side by side with his direct descendant Kenneth B. Morris Jr., who bears a
striking resemblance and also runs an anti-racism nonprofit.
Another features the celebrated suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her great-great-great-granddaughter Elizabeth Jenkins-Sahlin, who said she
admires how her ancestor was a visionary leader.
And perhaps the most striking is this portrait of Shannon LaNier. He's a news anchor from Houston, Texas, and the six-time great-grandson of the
slave-owning founding father Thomas Jefferson.
During his photo shoot, LaNier said Jefferson preached equality, but didn't practice it, in having had 600 slaves, including children, with his maid
Sally Hemings. LaNier said that he wanted to hold a mirror to America's face.
Now, that's it for now. Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.