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How to Reform U.S. Government?; State of European-U.S. Relations?; Vladimir Putin Having a Change of Heart After Four Years of Trump Administration; Voter Suppression and Voter Intimidation in the U.S.; 2020 Possible Election Interference; Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General, is Interviewed About 2020 Presidential Election; 1 Million People Dead from COVID-19 Around the World; Angela Merkel Announced New Restrictions; Europe Leading their People Through Second Wave of COVID; Norbert Rottgen, Chairman, Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee, and Gerard Araud, Former French Ambassador to the U.S., are Interviewed About COVID- 19. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired September 29, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Every vote in this country is going to be heard and they'll not be stopped.
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: We're going to have to see what happens, you know that. I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The first presidential debate amid fears for the election's integrity. Is Putin having a change of heart after four years of Trump? We
get a report from Moscow. And what about made in the USA voter suppression? Massachusetts attorney general, Maura Healey joins me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a mind-numbing figure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: An agonizing milestone, 1 million COVID deaths around the world. Can European democracies lead their people through a second wave?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETE PETERSON, DEAN, PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY: The president has not been a great example of civility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Digging deeper into making American democracy more resilient with our Michel Martin.
Welcome to the program everyone I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
For four years now Americans and Europeans have been trying to combat Russia's successful interference in the West Democratic elections.
According to the FBI, Russia at this very moment is working to influence the 2020 U.S. election just as it did in 2016. But could President Putin be
having a change of heart after four years of President Trump. Here's CNN's Matthew Chance from Moscow with an exclusive interview with the man known
as the Kremlin's chief propagandist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's been a distinct change in tone on Russian television about President Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a very nice offer from President Putin. Now, I could have said no thank you or I could have said thank you.
CHANCE: This spoof video on its English language channel promoting U.S. election coverage shows Trump as the loser taking up a job as a top Russian
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I said, I'll take it.
CHANCE: It's a humorous jab at Trump's apparent affection for Russia. But the country's actual top state news anchor isn't laughing. In he's first
ever U.S. TV interview, the man dubbed the Kremlin chief's propagandist tells me how hopes of blossoming U.S.-Russian relations on the President
Trump have vanished
DMITRY KISELYOV, RUSSIA 1 ANCHOR: Russia has never had as many sanctions as it has under Trump, not a single state visit to Russia or to the United
CHANCE: Is it your hope that if President Trump wins a second term that things will change, that he might be able to have a more positive
relationship with Moscow?
KISELYOV: Nothing will change, that's America.
CHANCE: But actually, things might change.
BIDEN: -- price to pay. And Putin knows, the reason he doesn't want me as president, he knows me and he knows I'm in.
CHANCE: And Kiselyov's sanction by the E.U. for spreading Kremlin propaganda tells me a hardline Biden presidency could plunge U.S.-Russian
relations into a dangerous spiral
KISELYOV: What will he do? Go to war against us? No way to win for him.
CHANCE: Well, he said that he won't.
KISELYOV: Let me let me repeat. Russia is the only country in the world with a capability to turn America into the radioactive ash.
CHANCE: With its vast nuclear arsenal, that may be terrifyingly true. But on Russia's flagship current affairs show it's how America's already
destroying itself that's dominating coverage, the chaos and death shows the U.S. has lost its moral leadership, Kiselyov says. For the Kremlin accused
by U.S. intelligence of sowing discord that may be a victory of sorts no matter who the next president may be.
If you were forced to choose between a Trump presidency or a Biden presidency which one would you go for? Tell me in English. Tell me, which
one would you go for?
KISELYOV: I wish -- I would like to throw a coin. So, nothing changes. Nothing will change
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Matthew Chance there. So, bluff or bluster from the Kremlin? Who knows. But what we do know is that there is no shortage of election
interference by the U.S. itself. There are renewed fears about America's long history of voter suppression and new concerns about voter
intimidation. And of course, there's President Trump himself refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. Could that even be possible?
A disputed election would likely be decided by the courts but there are a whole host of supporting actors from Congress to the states themselves. And
my first guest tonight, the Massachusetts state attorney general, Maura Healey, has vowed to battle any and all election interference for the good
of all Americans she says and she's joining me now from Boston.
Attorney General, welcome to the program.
I posed a whole lot of questions there because us sitting here, we can't even imagine that in so-called the world's most developed democracy there
may not be an accepted transition, there may be a disputed election. What keeps you up at night right now from your perspective?
MAURA HEALEY, MASSACHUSETTS ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, first of all, it's great to be with you.
Look, we are in unprecedented times and let's just review what the president has recently done to undermine free and safe and secure elections
in this country, I can't believe I'm even saying that, but let's just review the last few weeks. He sabotaged the U.S. Postal Service to slow
down mail-in ballots, he sent robocalls that threatened black voters with turning personal information over to debt collectors and the like, he's
threatened to send law enforcement in the military to the polls. And the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign have been filing
dozens of lawsuits all over the country to try to stop early voting, to stop mail-in voting and do all sorts of things that are about keeping
people from voting.
I'll tell you my job as attorney general and I'm joined by Democratic A.G.'s around this country to do two things. One to protect people's
exercise their vote. They have the right to vote, we just need to make sure that they are not kept from voting. And number two, to make sure that every
vote is counted in this election.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you then, you listed three major issues there, one of them was about the Post Office. You yourself as Massachusetts
attorney general have brought a lawsuit. I mean, you sued to try to resolve an issue. Can you explain what that was and have you been successful?
HEALEY: Well, several weeks ago now it came to light that the postmaster general, who was a friend of Trump's, had been put in charge recently and
had made all sorts of changes that were illegal, that were without permission or authority from the Regulatory Commission that oversees the
Postal Service. And in doing so, it appeared to be an effort to directly interfere with letter carriers and the Postal Service's ability to deliver
Obviously so important in this country because so many Americans are going to be voting by mail-in this election. Many of our states are now doing
mail-in voting exclusively or as an option for the first time. And so, based on that, a number of states joined. We actually filed three different
lawsuits, took him to court and won three separate nationwide injunctions stopping Trump and Postmaster General DeJoy from further undermining the
Postal Service and restoring order to that agency.
So, it's an example, Christiane, of the kind of work that we need to do as A.G.s and how we've been there on the front lines as we have the last few
years to do everything we can to make sure we have a free and secure election.
AMANPOUR: Stacey Abrams, as you know, the unsuccessful candidate for governor of Georgia, nonetheless has made voting rights and fighting
suppression a key mission right now. And she told me that the only way to, you know, combat it is voter turnout. So, I want to know whether you think
voters will be motivated to turnout. I just read some statistics which are amazing regarding voters of color. Nationally black voters' wait on average
45 percent longer to vote than white voters and are more like you to wait more than 30 minutes to cast a ballot.
What do you think that means and do you think that these suppression tactics, the intimidation tactics that you mention threatening to bring
potentially, I don't know, armed or some kind of militia to monitor polls, are you afraid that will have an effect?
HEALEY: Well, you know, I think Stacey Abrams is exactly right. This is about making sure that people are able to go out and vote. We want people
energized to vote. There is so much on the line not just for the future of our country but really the direction of our world with this election. We
know the importance of that and we know how harmful it has been to global democracy to have Donald in power. I mean, whether it's a COVID crisis or
anything else, we live with that reality every day.
I'll tell you a few things. Voter intimidation is real. If you thought you could win an election outright, fairly, you wouldn't have to play games and
you wouldn't have to try to steal it, which is what Donald Trump is doing with these repeated efforts to try to scare voters from the polls,
intimidate them by saying that he's going to allow private parties and to work with law enforcement at the polls.
I mean, just recently, I'll tell you, we had a situation early voting in the Commonwealth of Virginia. There are a number of private citizens that
turned up armed, of course, at polling locations in an effort to intimidate voters. And the Virginia attorney general was clear, it is a crime in this
country to intimidate voters, it is a crime to interfere in an election. And so, a number of us immediately put out guidance as top law enforcement
officers in our states, say, we're not going to tolerate that.
And so, that is real, unfortunately. I mean, it's why you see those robocalls that I mentioned. Imagine robocalls going into the states of
Pennsylvania and Michigan right now that are attempting to scare black voters from voting by targeting information that says, if you request a
mail-in ballot with personal information provided to us, we can turn that over to a debt collector or somebody who is looking for those with open
warrants. All of it nonsense. All of it outrageous.
But again, if you can't win it fairly, you need to try to steal it, and that's what the RNC is doing.
AMANPOUR: Attorney General, Channel 4 is a very highly respected news organization here in the U.K. And last night, it had an exclusive report
saying that had been shared many, many reems of data, one of the biggest leaks in history regarding what apparently was the Trump campaign's tactics
in 2016. And this was a way to try to micro target voters either to come out for them or not to come out for Hillary Clinton. There was one piece in
it that's called deterrence. And I just want to play for you what the anchor of the program, the discussion he had with one of the state senators
in Wisconsin about this phenomenon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's really interesting is that a huge number of these names were marked down for deterrence.
STATE SEN. LENA TAYLOR (D-MILWAUKEE): So, they specifically looked at those individuals and said, we are going to do everything to try to deter
them and create ads that would do that. That is a strategic level that by no means that I know was (INAUDIBLE). That is mindboggling. I'm like
shocked that they had, in 2016, all the way down to, we need to deter that one, somebody has worked this hard to strategically disenfranchise you, to
discourage you. What it should tell people is the power, right, of their vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP).
AMANPOUR: So, President Trump has called this fake news. He says that about a lot of things including the "New York Times'" tax records and many
stories that he doesn't like. But one of the campaign officials from 2016 later publicly, he was a chief data scientist, said that they actually did
hope that people don't show up to vote.
Are you concerned that that 2016 tactic might happen again in 2020 and that it might be successful in 2020?
HEALEY: Well, let me say this. The American people are going to decide this election, not Donald Trump. Now, that's not to say that a lot of work
doesn't need to be done to ensure a free and safe and fair election, it does, and that's why we're battling in court right now. But it is certainly
the case that the same slimy tactics that were used in 2016 are going to be used again.
I can go even further. A lot of that came out of the work of investigations done of Cambridge Analytica. I'm a state attorney general who joined with
others and we have ongoing investigations right now into Cambridge Analytica. It is absolutely the case that those tactics are going to be
deployed again. We've already seen evidence of it.
So, it is really important that we, against the context too, remember the last four years where in many states there were things that made it harder
for people to vote. The institution of voter I.D. laws. Efforts to make it harder for people to vote. The closing of polling places for example.
And so, it's against that context that we need to work even harder to make sure that people have the ability to go exercise their vote, whether it's
early voting in person or by mail or on election day. And we're going to be in court making sure that we're doing everything we can to make that happen
because, yes, we are up against a lot.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, I want to ask you this because a lot of people are very confused. For instance, Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, has
said, and he said it in response to President Trump refusing to, you know, confirm to a reporter, to an interviewer that actually, you know, he would
accept the election result and there'd be a peaceful transition.
So, Mitch McConnell specifically said, you know, after the results of the November 3rd election there will be a peaceful transition January 20th as
always. Now, some are concerned about his specific reference to November 3rd. Are you concerned that there is any way the Republicans or you know
President Trump's people might use November 3rd as the only date that counts in terms of ballot counting, et cetera? What can people expect on
Election Day and the days and weeks afterwards?
HEALEY: Well, I think you've seen a basic vision that it's like this OK. For weeks now, Trump has been trying to sow confusion and undermine
people's belief in mail-in voting, right. And so, I think what we may see come election night as votes are still being counted in the mail-in ballots
in many states can't be opened until that day, it may take some time. We may know a winner that night or it may take days, several days before all
votes are in.
During that time, the concern is that Trump will call the election in his favor even though votes haven't been counted. You know, we're just going to
have to see what happens. I hope that isn't the case. I would hope that every American, regardless of party, because this shouldn't be about
partisanship. If there's something fundamental bedrock to this country and the way it's operated through times of great strife and division and world
wars and the like, it's that we're able to hold free and secure elections.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump has done a lot to undermine that and the RNC is enabled and worked right alongside him. But I believe --
AMANPOUR: But here's the thing --
HEALEY: -- and have more faith in the American people.
AMANPOUR: But these American people or the American institutions, I mean, as you say, this has been a norm busting presidency and things are
challenge that one could never have imagined. I mean, basic checks and balances, basic institutional precedents and things that are written in
law. What is the law and what is the procedure if a president -- if there's a disputed election? We saw what happened in 2000, it went to the Supreme
Court. What do you think could happen? What is the responsibility of the states, Congress, you know, the courts to ensure that an election is held
and all the ballots are counted and then the result is, you know, enforced?
HEALEY: Well, look, by constitution and by law there has to be a new president as of January 20th. I believe personally that there will be a
peaceful transfer of power once the votes are counted. And, you know, we're at a situation now where we may have an entirely new Supreme Court. It's
hard to entirely predict what might happen there. No doubt there's a chance that cases can work their way up to the Supreme Court, including cases that
we're involved in now.
But, you know, I am in the camp of believing that we will have a peaceful transfer of power. I do think that there may be a fight about the vote
count, and that's why it's very important to me to tell voters in that in this country, and I don't care who you're voting for, we want your vote to
count. Soo, vote early, in person where you can, make sure you have a plan to vote, and us in law enforcement and state A.G.'s are going to be there
in the courts making sure that your vote is counted.
AMANPOUR: It's extraordinary. Thank you so much, Attorney General, for joining us from Boston tonight.
Now, here in the U.K., the biggest daily rise in corona virus cases since the pandemic began more than 7,000, and it comes amidst a harrowing
milestone of its own with 1,000,000 people now dead around the globe from COVID-19.
The United States seems to still be in its first wave while Europe grapples with its second. France may have to lockdown again, for instance. And
German chancellor, Angela Merkel, announced new restrictions after crisis talks today, warning of a very difficult for fall and winter ahead.
So, let's get more on this now with Norbert Rottgen. He is standing as a candidate for party leadership to succeed Merkel next year. And Gerard
Araud, he's the former French ambassador to both the United States and the United Nations.
Gentlemen, thank you for joining us.
I mean, as if we were set for now some very difficult times. Norbert Rottgen, the chancellor had to call all her team together to figure out how
to, you know, get through the fall and the winter. And this from a country, your country, you know, got a grip on the COVID outbreak very, very early
on. How worried are you.?
NORBERT ROTTGEN, CHAIRMAN, BUNDESTAG FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: We are worried, of course, because we have always been oriented to reality and to
the facts and we see -- have to face the rise of infections and we know what is going to happen, that autumn and winter is coming, that we will see
flu and fever diseases. So, we have to prepare and we have to try to repeat a good communication, which can people trust in. And it's extremely
important that the level of cooperation and coordination does increase and improve on the federal level. So, this was an important gathering today
with concrete results. I'm quite satisfied about the outcome.
AMANPOUR: OK. Well, you say that, but you just mentioned a word that's very important and that's trust. And I want to put it to both you and
Ambassador Araud, in France, you've got two major cities which are under some kind of a lockdown, X and Marseille in the southern part of your
country. You've got a lot of protests on the street and word that there might be a second lockdown. I want to ask you and Norbert Rottgen, what can
your democratically elected leaders do in the face of rising civilian and citizen opposition to these to these restrictions?
GERARD ARAUD, FORMER FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: No, I think you're perfectly right to ask the question. We see in France and I think we see it
in the U.K., maybe less in Germany, a surge of the virus. The number of fatalities in France went from less than 10, now, we are on 16 a day. And
the number of new cases is doubling every seven days in France. In April, it was every three days. So, we are really in the middle of a worrying
We have taken new decisions of lockdown, partial lock down. For instance, in Paris, the clubs, the sport clubs are closed, the restaurants will be
closed after 10:00 p.m. and so on, and the people are rebelling. In a sense, the young people are saying, sorry, guys, it's not our disease. You
know, the average age of the people who died from the virus in France is 83. So, they said -- and the economy, the economy price is too high. So,
there is a real rebellion. Not only in Marseille, but everywhere. And I saw there were also demonstrations in London.
So, it's quite a challenge for the democratic governments to try, Mr. Rottgen said, to try to get to the trust of the people.
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, it raises very, very uncomfortable questions. Norbert Rottgen, I wonder what the average age of deaths during this
pandemic in Germany has been? Do you know that off the top of your head?
ROTTGEN: No, I don't know the average age. What we see is that those who got infected in recent weeks are younger people, so that the death toll is
not increasing but it's quite low because people who are infected are quite young. This may change in autumn and winter. So, so we have to prepare for
AMANPOUR: Right. So -- and as Ambassador Araud pointed out and we've got all sorts of pictures, there have been demonstrations. There have been
demonstrations over the months in Germany, in France, in the U.K. and in other places, that level of acceptance of national lockdowns or
restrictions is beginning to fade.
Can I ask you an unthinkable question, which I don't even feel comfortable asking? But is there a point when your government say, you know what, we
don't know how to combat this. Every time we suppress it, it works. Every time we try to ease out of it, we get this second wave. That maybe we're
just going to have to let it take its course and that -- and because I'm hearing that a lot from well-educated people who are not conspiracy
theorists and who abided by the lockdowns, the economic prize, the social prize, the cultural prize is just now overwhelming.
Is it possible that you might have to make those decisions? What do you think Ambassador Araud?
ARAUD: I think we have not reached this point. You know, there are -- as you said, there are people groan, moaning, are complaining, and need suffer
(ph) French. Soldiers suffer (ph) French is always a bit more noisy than the rest of the country. So, we have not yet reached this point.
And in a sense, what the French authorities are trying to do is not to reach this point. But I think your question how uncomfortable it is, is
pretty legitimate and we may reach this point. But, fortunately, we are not still there.
AMANPOUR: And Norbert Rottgen, what can do you think about that uncomfortable question? And, of course, the last time around, you had
plenty of ICU beds, you had mass testing, contact tracing, it really worked. Are you betting on that again and do you think Germany may have to
come to some kind of, I don't know, decision as I asked Ambassador Araud?
ROTTGEN: Yes. Our overarching aim, of course, is to avoid a second lockdown. And you are asking if the numbers of infection increased, could
you imagine to lead it to simply go? So, this is the question, what is your -- what is the understanding? How do you understand the lockdown? Do you
see the lockdown, a possible lockdown, as a measure necessary to fight the pandemic or do you see it as a source of damage?
We have taken the decision of -- we took the decision in favor of the lockdown because we saw this is the last resort, we had to go to in order
to fight the pandemic. The virus is the source of all the damages and consequences and not the lockdown. The lockdown was the rational measure
and tool to get a grip on the development of the pandemic.
So, what our overarching goal is, is to avoid a second lockdown and we have to behave in a rational way, we have to identify the goals and have to
explain why we have to take certain measures. We have to increase, perhaps, or preserve the level of discipline, which has remained very, very high in
Germany. Of course, the level of acceptance has decreased little bit, slightly, but there is a level of, I would say, 85 90 percent of acceptance
of what has been done so far.
And if the communication remains honest, clear and rational, I think we will achieve -- the most important goal of this is the discipline, the
general discipline of the people.
AMANPOUR: As I mentioned here in the U.K., today recorded its highest level of cases since the pandemic began and there's a huge -- I mean, it's
real serious problem of people not paying attention to the restrictions and huge arguments over masks and the like.
So, I want to ask you in terms of a broader picture, transatlantic relations, you know, we're in the middle of an election obviously in the
United States and the first debate is tonight. Do you think that anything would have been different had America played its traditional role and along
with its allies, Russia -- Germany, France and the others, I misspoke on Russia, you know, had some kind of global coalition, maybe even Russia,
like with Ebola, a global coalition to fight this pandemic? Do you think it would have been any different? Ambassador Araud, to you first.
ARAUD: Yes, I think, of course. You know, we are always better if we are fighting together a common threat, and there was a common threat, it's a
transnational threat which doesn't respect borders. So, we should have been working together, Americans and Europeans, obviously.
AMANPOUR: And, Norbert Rottgen, I don't know whether you agree, you can tell me, but I wonder whether you are worried, as I've heard many Europeans
are, that, for instance, one of the keystones of the alliance is NATO, and that President Trump has made himself very clear on NATO and there are
those who think that if he's reelected he may just pull the final plug and pull the U.S. out. Is that something that concerns Germany? Is that
something you're actively, you know, worried about?
ROTTGEN: Yes. Yes, I think there are worries in Germany that in case of the reelection of Donald Trump, that we are going not to see more of the
same but that we are going to see an acceleration of what we have seen in the past years because then the president reelected would be unsettled by
the opportunity or necessity to get reelected. And so, the level of unpredictability, the activity of withdrawal or the punishment attitude
towards, and vis-a-vis allies, either you abide to what we wish to do or we punish you or sanction you.
So, I think we would see not only more by an accelerated level of what we have seen.
AMANPOUR: So, I guess the opposite, you know, side of that coin, Ambassador Araud, after all your experience in the United States, do you
actually think that a President Biden, should he actually win, would restore a sort of a level of balance? What does France hope, if it does, to
see if there's a President Biden?
ARAUD: So, I think the first (INAUDIBLE) for Europeans is not to have too many illusions. I think that even if President Biden is elected, we are not
going to go to business as usual the way it was 10 years ago. I think there is a fatigue in the U.S. about the international involvement of the
It's under Obama that the Americans didn't intervene in Ukraine, didn't intervene in Syria, or didn't intervene in Libya.
And the European environment is in flames. So, let's not expect Joe Biden the send the G.I.s to take care of that. So, that's a first lesson.
Something has been changing. And even with Joe Biden, things are not going to go back to the Americans being the policemen of the world. That's the
The second point, of course it would be positive that Joe Biden believes in international cooperation. And, as you said about NATO. I think it's
important also for Europeans to define, I should say, with the Americans, a new transatlantic agenda which goes beyond NATO.
We have a lot of issues, about technologies, about environment, in a sense, facing authoritarian model which is really defused by, represented by
China. So, we have a lot of issues where we can work together, but, at the same time, let's not have any illusion.
The Americans are not going to take care of all the European interests. It will be the Europeans who do it by themselves.
AMANPOUR: Well, that leads me then to the Europeans doing it by themselves on their own continent.
Your President Macron is very clear about what should happen in Belarus, for instance. He said Lukashenko has to go, the ballot box has to be
respected. He's meeting with the opposition leader.
And yet, Norbert Rottgen, the E.U. cannot come up with any way to punish Lukashenko. It looks like you're being held hostage by one state, small
state, Cyprus, that is defying the majority. What's one to expect of upholding democracy, human rights, law and order, the Western way, if the
E.U. can't get its act together on something like this?
ROTTGEN: You're absolutely right.
And I have to be blunt. The behavior of Cyprus is a shame. It's a shame for Cyprus to take hostage of the brave people of Belarus, who's fighting
against a dictator. And they are trying to blackmail the other 26 countries by pursuing their own interest, and by imposing a linkage between their
interests of sanctions against Turkey and the other case.
So this is intolerable and unacceptable. So, if Cyprus remains on this position of blackmailing, we have to draw consequences. Then the other 26
should act as countries and states which, on a bilateral basis, then impose sanctions on Belarus.
And this may be the more general lesson out of this behavior. We have quite as I said, we have really to take more care for our own security concerns.
There will be no other country which is unconditionally prepared to do so.
And so we -- if -- I do not consider it to be realistic that, on the basis of 27 member states, we will come to a unanimously articulated and pursued
foreign policy. So we have to forge a group of willing and able countries to set up a foreign policy agenda and to make it operable, so that we can
really pursue our own interests.
I think this is really essential and existential for the Europeans and the European Union, that we transform our internal, so successful project into
an external project by developing a policy towards our neighborhood and within and vis-a-vis the world.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you, finally, a final slightly cheeky question?
I think it's relevant. I guess all of you have read the voluminous tales from "The New York Times," the scoop about Trump's tax records, and
allegedly him not paying any taxes for a good number of years, and then only a couple of hundred dollars over the last couple of years.
He calls it fake news, of course. We have to say that.
But I wonder what it feels like, as Europeans who have been called deadbeats by President Trump for not paying up NATO dues? What do you think
today is? Is President Trump a deadbeat, talking to -- is it the pot calling the kettle black, Ambassador Araud?
ARAUD: You know, every time I met people voting for Donald Trump in the U.S., they didn't have any illusion about the person.
And I'm not sure that, actually, the voters caring really about whether he paid his taxes or not. They may even feel that actually he's quite a shrewd
guy to pay only $750.
No, they vote for Trump because Trump basically is giving a middle finger to the elites, to us. And so, again, personally, I'm nearly convinced that
it's not a big deal for (AUDIO GAP) nations.
AMANPOUR: OK. It may not be.
I actually meant to you, Norbert Rottgen. How do you feel about being lectured about paying your 2 percent by somebody who's not paying his
ROTTGEN: Yes, we have to pay -- we have to increase our military abilities.
We have to do it out of our own interests, not by being sanctioned or threatened. So this is what we want to do and are determined to do. And the
question of paying taxes by the American president in recent years, if you allow, I would leave that question entirely to the American voters.
And, as Ambassador Araud said, and I really must repeat it, he's giving the middle finger. That's a pretty good political analysis.
AMANPOUR: Gentlemen, thank you so much, indeed.
Now, one of the big questions as we try and navigate these global challenges is, of course, how do you create more resilient democracies?
After three years investigating this, the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship published 31 recommendations to help America, which
they call a nation in crisis. The bipartisan commission is made up of academic, civic and political leaders, including Eric Liu, co-chair of this
commission, and Pete Peterson, who was a member.
Here they are talking to our Michel Martin about how and what changes to implement.
MICHEL MARTIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Christiane.
Eric Liu, Pete Peterson, thank you both so much for joining us.
ERIC LIU, FOUNDER, CITIZEN UNIVERSITY: Great to be with you.
PETE PETERSON, DEAN, PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY: Great to be with you.
MARTIN: One of the reasons we're glad to have both of you is that the two of you are politically diverse.
Eric Liu, you served in the Obama administration. Dean Peterson, you have been a member of certain conservative groups, conservative sort of thought
But President Trump has been calling for patriotic education. And he's also taken some steps to bar federal agencies from actually sharing with their
employees certain kinds of education which has become commonplace in the corporate sphere, so diversity education, sort of, as it were.
As you know, a lot of progressives have really pushed back hard against that idea, Eric. I mean, what they're saying, that this is -- really, the
president isn't calling for education, he's calling for indoctrination, and that this is really the hallmark of an authoritarian regime, which is to
kind of create a kind of a fantasy history that obliterates all of the blemishes of a nation's past.
Is something lacking in the way people are being taught about the history of this country?
LIU: There absolutely is a need for more civic education. And there's a need, but it's not only a matter of quantity.
I mean, absolutely, yes, civics as a class has evaporated from so many of our public schools across the country. But even apart from quantity of
civics is the nature and the quality of that civics.
And so, particularly when you think about something like these arguments about American history, here's the thing. In a country like ours, we are
bound together by nothing but this creed. And so we are meant continually to contest the creed.
We are always going to be arguing, who is us? Who gets to claim the we in we, the people? And you're never going to have a final resolution on that.
There's always going to be a tug of war. And you can think about the recommendations that we made in this report, for instance, for a big
nationwide endeavor, working with humanities councils, public libraries, other grassroots organizations, on an initiative about retelling our
And that doesn't mean a total revisionist story that throws out the founders and says, we were all born in sin and the whole country's
terrible, but nor is it a story that says that the origins of this country were great and blessed, and, therefore, no criticism is allowed because
it'd be unpatriotic.
The idea is synthesis. The idea is to be grown-ups, that you can see the good and the bad and the ugly and face that history, just as we face
MARTIN: And, Dean Peterson, what does this look like?
Because, as you surely know, a number of people have reacted very negatively to the president's suggestion, saying that really what he wants
to do is kind of whitewash history.
On the other hand, conservatives have been saying really for some time that there is a lack of seriousness about educating people on the core
principles and values of this country. You are an educator, so tell me -- make the case for what is needed that wouldn't basically obliterate the
stories of two of the three people in this conversation right now.
PETERSON: So, I would say that civics education, at its best, develops a certain sense of love for the place in which you live.
At the same time, it also provides a grounding in agency and the ways in which you can interact and reform the system. This constitutional system
was formed for reform. The mechanisms for that happening to encompass an increasingly diverse nation were always there at the founding.
I will remind us that it was the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who called the Constitution a promissory note. Now, you only call something a
promissory note if you trust the writers of that promissory note, and you intend to cash it, and you have the agency by which you can actually do
And I believe firmly that, even warts and all, this American history and the way that we teach it needs to also provide a grounding for which, as
the great James Baldwin always said, that this is my history, too. This is my history, too. This is my country too.
So I think it really needs to have both of those components, that there is a sense of affiliation and affection we have for the place in which we
live, but, at the same time, we understand the tools by which we can reform it.
MARTIN: So, Dean Peterson, what does that look like? And the reason I -- and who's going to decide what that looks like? Who sort of advances the
argument that this is what the future should look like that we could all embrace?
PETERSON: Well, from a policy perspective, to your question who gets to decide, it's actually quite local. These are decisions around curriculum
and what we teach in civics education that are made at the state level and local school boards, providing each of us opportunities to engage either
directly in running for local school board, or at least voting for school board members, or certainly at the state level, to make those decisions.
The president certainly can, say, make recommendations such as he wants, but those decisions will actually in the end be made at a far more local
But I would point out -- and I will just describe a couple different things -- that the Howard Zinn description of American history prevalent in
American schools is what a lot of conservatives object to, as one saying that it actually isn't a balanced reading of history.
Now, there is an imbalanced reading of history on the right as well that just sees us going from strength to strength and none of the issues that we
faced regarding slavery or Native Americans or Chinese or the Asians here in California were really -- were -- really need discussing.
They do need discussing. But, again -- and I would say the 1619 Project is another one of those that argues that we were not founded in 1776, although
there appears to be a fair amount of backtracking now by "The New York Times" on this, but it was incorporated into an actual curriculum that
argues that America was founded on slavery, which I think is something, A, I disagree with, B, I don't think is historically accurate, and, C, does
lead to this polarizing view, one that doesn't really inculcate a love and affection for where we live.
MARTIN: So, again, the question then is -- well, Eric, maybe you want to answer this -- so, what does it look like then?
LIU: I think this argument about, for instance, the 1619 Project, I somewhat dissent with my -- and I don't mean this in a way that they say in
a B.S. way in Washington, D.C. -- my good friend Pete Peterson.
Pete Peterson is actually my good friend. But I dissent somewhat from him, because I don't think the authors of that report claimed in any literal
sense that the United States was founded in 1619 on slavery, but what they mean is, more than just a metaphor, that the foundations of what was
possible, that our notions of liberty in the 1770s were made possible, in part, by the fact that some people were quite excluded from liberty.
And that made them more jealously protect liberty and understand tyranny, because people in many of those colonies were practicing tyranny upon
enslaved people. And so it's a complicated story.
And Pete and I can have an argument about what to emphasize and which syllable to accent in the telling of the story. And we can leave it to
others listening to our argument, to people in our classrooms to come to their own judgments and to know their own minds right now.
And I think this is what's crucial in what we're trying to do in this report, our common purpose. It's not love for a country or faith in
democracy that is blind. It is not indoctrination. It is, as I said, grown- up. Grown-up love recognizes flaws. Grownup faith fully embraces doubt.
I'm not sure whether this experiment is going to run another round. But I'm not going to be the one who says, oh, I'm going to walk away from this
thing right now.
And the commissioners came together across party lines and across ideological lines to come up with some of the 31 fairly bold
recommendations that are meant to reinstill a sense of opportunity to participate in argument, in reckoning, in telling that story, in
participation in the shaping of our common destiny.
MARTIN: Yes, so let's go to some of those recommendations.
You have been participating for the last three years in a project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on a project called Reinventing
American Democracy for the 21st Century. You had a very diverse group of people participating in these conversations, people from different
political backgrounds, people from different sort of ages, races, academic disciplines, and so forth.
So why don't each of you take a minute and tell me, what are some of the recommendations that you think are most meaningful?
Dean Peterson, you want to start?
Touching on some of the nuts and bolts, looking first at Congress, we are recommending an increase in the size of Congress. We had some great experts
on the commission that actually looked at the physical structure of Capitol Hill to see what it would stand. And it looks like we could increase it by
50 members, without significant changes needed -- needing to be made to the physical structure of Capitol Hill.
That would at least play a role in diminishing what is now each congressman or woman representing three-quarters-of-a-million people, whereas, at the
founding, it was at a 10th of that number.
Independent redistricting commissions was another big proposal of this. It's something that we practice out here in California, as a way of
depoliticizing the drawing of our electoral or voting districts.
Mentioned before the 18-year terms for Supreme Court justices. So, it really does fan in, as to Eric's point, some of the more civic culture
recommendations that get into areas of civics education. While it is 30 or so recommendations, they really do span the gamut of nuts-and-bolts
reforms, but also more what I would call civic cultural reforms as well.
MARTIN: Talk a bit a bit more, if you would. I don't want to gloss past the recommendation around the Supreme Court, limiting the terms to, what,
PETERSON: That's right.
MARTIN: What beneficial effect do you think that that would have?
PETERSON: Well, as we have seen, we live in a rather randomized system, where one president can recommend zero and others, just depending on the
vagaries of lifespans and a desire on the part of a Supreme Court justice to retire, could recommend three or four.
And so what we're recommending is, if you go to 18, the way the mathematics work is that, over time, and this would be weaved in over time, as each
current Supreme Court justice would come off of the court, you would get to a point where there would be one Supreme Court justice nominated and
confirmed in each two-year congressional term.
And so, again, every president, presidential term, it would be two justices. But it would bring a certain degree of certitude in what voters
would be voting on, they would know that they would be voting for both House and Senate members, as well as presidents, that would have a certain
degree of review and recommendation for new Supreme Court justices.
And, again, it would depoliticize it, in the sense that you would know that, from president to president, there wouldn't be this element of
chance, which, as we're seeing, can dramatically affect the leaning of the court itself.
MARTIN: It's becoming like a gladiator match in a way to sort of determine the seat.
MARTIN: Eric, ahead.
LIU: Pete alluded to the fact that this commission came up with a set of recommendations on more of the civic culture side.
And I want to emphasize a couple of those, because they're really important. Michel, you have asked a bunch of questions about one of those,
which is the narratives that we tell about who we are as Americans.
We recommend, not just in the classroom, but actually in community-based ways. If anybody who's listening to this conversation now thinks, hey, I'd
like to get a conversation going where I live in Tampa or in Athens, Tennessee, or wherever it might be, about these questions. We want to help
you do that.
And the commission is committing, with a group of champion organizations, to over the next six years, between now the 250th birthday of the country,
to implement these recommendations. This is not just a thing to sit on the shelf, right?
So, that's one set that's around, how do we, in a bottom-up way, retell the American story?
But a second one is to have a universal expectation of national service for young people. You talk about our common purpose. How can you have a common
purpose if you don't have a common experience? There are no institutions left where all Americans across different lines of race, class background
are going to come together, not to talk about their differences, but to do something that's working on a third thing that's not me, and it's not you,
And, in the same vein, in this report -- and, again, this is a bold one, and maybe more bold for Pete and some of his friends than for me, but an
expectation of universal voting, the idea that there will be a mandate to vote in the United States, and you don't have to vote for anybody in
particular, but you got to vote, right?
And we recognize that some of these...
MARTIN: Yes, what would that do? What would that do?
LIU: That would change the culture in a way that just boosts, number one, a sense of ownership and responsibility, a sense of -- and the proposal, by
the way, is that not voting under such a rule set on would incur a modest fine. It's not a felony, it's not a jailable offense, but the idea...
MARTIN: It's like a ticket?
LIU: Yes, it's like getting a ticket.
MARTIN: Dean, forgive me. Forgive me.
I so -- I simply just have to ask, because you are a person with a long history of involvement in sort of conservative organizations and a thinker
and an educator.
The president currently serving regularly demeans, in very personal ways, people who disagree with him, and, even as we are speaking now, is saying
that he may not leave office peacefully if he is not reelected.
And I just have to ask, is there not a responsibility on the part of those who share his party and his ideological sympathies to speak about that? Is
PETERSON: Yes, I think there absolutely is.
And I think it's -- but it's for everyone. To think that this is solely the president's job to be steering our appreciation of civility, A, is not an
adequate, I think, view of what's happening in America today across the political spectrum, but it also puts too much on the president for having
to be that demonstration.
I have spoken publicly and will do so right here that the president has not been a great example of civility and the kinds of civic virtue that we
highlight both here in this report and I think are going to be necessary to get us through these weeks and months ahead.
But if we think that the problems related to this election and what's going to come in the months ahead are only coming from the right, that just ain't
seeing the situation right.
MARTIN: And, Eric, what do you say about that? Should, say, people with a more progressive posture win in November and are in a position to sort of
take office, what should their posture be? How should they then proceed, according to your views?
LIU: Well, beyond reading the report, and to directly answer your question, what we have got to do is take responsibility, OK?
I am no fan of this president. To me, this president is -- Pete puts it -- understates it rather dramatically to say he's not been a great example of
civility. He's been one of the greatest single examples of incivility in public life.
But it's not about the president. How this republic heals, how this democracy perseveres is on us. The great civil rights activists Ella Baker
has a line that I always quote, which is, a strong people don't need strong leaders, right?
So, if you want to replace this leader with a -- what you would call a better leader, one who is stronger and more civil and inclusive, great, God
bless, go forth, organize and get people to vote.
But the reality is that it's still up to us to be a strong people. And that means taking responsibility for what's broken around you, for the ways in
which white supremacy and racial injustice persist at the local level, right? This is not just a national issue. This is in prosecutors' offices,
local police departments.
We have seen this painfully in the Louisville situation in the killing Breonna Taylor, right? I think what we have got to recognize right now is
that that responsibility-taking doesn't require you to love this president or even to love our system.
But it does require you to recognize that there is no choice but to show up. There's no such thing as not voting, right? Not voting is voting to
have power over the people who despise you and who you think you despise.
Not showing up is still showing up to hand all your power over. And so we got to find ways to take responsibility.
MARTIN: Eric Liu, Pete Peterson, thank you both so much for talking with us today.
AMANPOUR: And, of course, there are nations around the world where voting is mandatory, and it makes a real difference.
And, finally, imagine a world where you are determined to vote, even if you are out of this world.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is casting her vote all the way from space. Now, you may ask, when you are 200 miles above your nearest polling place, how
do you do it?
Well, she will access her secure electronic ballot uploaded by the NASA Mission Control Center, which is then fed back to the county clerk's
office, all without leaving the International Space Station. She says, if we can do it from space, then I believe folks can do it from the ground
And that is it for now. Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.