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Frank Langella on The Trial of the Chicago 7; Bill Kristol: A Trump Second Term is Dangerous; Judge Amy Barrett's Confirmation Vote in Senate; Election-Related Issues in the Lower Courts in America; Trevor Potter, Campaign Finance and Election Law Expert, is Interviewed About United States Election; "The Trial of the Chicago 7," a New Film in Netflix; Connections Between 1968 U.S. Election and 2020 U.S. Election; Frank Langella, Actor, "The Trial of the Chicago 7," is Interviewed About U.S. Election and the film, "The Trial of the Chicago 7." Aired 3-4p ET
Aired October 26, 2020 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States. And tonight, she will be confirmed by the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Just one week before election day, and Trump gets his third conservative justice on to the Supreme Court. Its first test could be to
decide the 2020 election. Trevor Potter joins me about using the law to defend voters' rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to underscore, again, that we're coming to Chicago peacefully but whether we're given permits or not, we're coming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Alarming parallels between this election season and 1968. The Oscar-nominated actor, Frank Langella, joins us to talk about his new film,
"The Trial of the Chicago 7."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL KRISTOL, CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL ANALYST: He's made clear, he wants people who will do what he says. He does not want people who will follow
the rule of law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: How Trumpism has devoured the Republican Party whole. Prominent conservative and editor-at-large for "The Bulwark," Bill Kristol, speaks to
our Walter Isaacson.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
After today's confirmation vote in the Senate, Judge Amy Barrett becomes President Trump's third appointment to the Supreme Court just in his first
term, and likely to tilt the court to the right, potentially for the next generation. But the court could make some important rulings in the next few
weeks. A record 60 million Americans have already cast their ballots in early voting, and President Trump is holding his rallies amid a COVID
outbreak in the vice president's office now. And the White House is having to troubleshoot the chief of staff's announcement that they are not trying
to control the virus anymore.
Challenger Joe Biden is looking to cement his lead in the polls with an event in his home state of Delaware today, and both sides have amassed
armies of lawyers, ready to fight to the bitter end. There are already hundreds of cases in the lower courts on all sorts of election-related
Trevor Potter is on that frontline. He is the former head of the Federal Election Commission, and right now, he leads the Campaign Legal Center, a
nonpartisan group supporting voter access and challenging the influence of money in politics. And he's joining me now from Marshall, Virginia.
Trevor Potter, welcome to the program.
I almost sort of rolled my eyes when I said, challenging, you know, the influence of big money in the process. We'll talk about that in a second.
But it's extraordinary that already some 350-plus cases on all sorts of procedural issues are in the lower courts. Can you sort of sum up what that
is and how the rulings are going?
TREVOR POTTER, CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND ELECTION LAW EXPERT: Yes, it's been an extraordinary year. We've never had numbers like that. I think part of it
is directly related to COVID, the fact that people are concerned about being able to vote safely in a crowded polling place so they want to be
able to vote absentee from home. The fact that when we had the primaries in the spring, states were often unable to open all their polling places
because their workers were sick. They didn't have enough.
So, that's resulted in a shift to voting by mail. Absentee voting. And that has raised a number of questions, because it's not what most Americans are
used to. Some states vote entirely by mail and have for a while, and they know it is safe and secure, but for others, it's a new mechanism. They're
used to going into their local polling place. And so, instead, they get a ballot in the mail. They have to fill it out, follow instructions. Many
states, they have to sign their name on the back of the exterior envelope so that their identity can be checked against records before their secret
ballot is taken out and eventually counted.
So, that's a little complicated. And these lawsuits have involved questions like, who is entitled to vote absentee? Some states have said, anyone who
needs to. Other states, like Texas, have said, you actually have to be sick. Being afraid of the virus not enough. Trying to stay healthy is not
enough. Texas has made it harder to vote this year for people in the middle of this pandemic. So, that's been an issue.
What happens if there's a question about the signatures? If an untrained polling official thinks the signature doesn't look the same as the one they
have on file that may be old or hastily scratched, what do they do? We have argued, the Campaign Legal Center has, in courts around the country, that
the states have an obligation to ensure that every vote is counted and is legitimate so they need to make sure that the vote they're getting, the
ballot, is, in fact, from the right voter, but then they need to count it. And if that means reaching out to the voter and saying, we have a question
about your signature, did you send in a ballot, can you confirm your identity, then that's what they have to do. Then there have been arguments
about how -- when the ballots have to arrive and have to be --
AMANPOUR: Let me get to that. Let me get to that in a second, Trevor. I need to ask you a couple of questions because the signature thing, we've
heard quite a lot about and we're seeing all sorts of examples of a signature that might have been, you know, made, whatever, a year or so ago
and then the current one and they say, no, that that's not acceptable.
Hasn't there been an issue in New York State, for instance, even in the primaries or whenever it was? Tell me about how and where these signature
issues are coming up, and how many ballots could be discarded because of that?
POTTER: Yes. There have been issues around the country, and the -- I think the right way to frame it is to say, signatures are one of several ways to
ensure the identity of the voter. Some states require signatures. Some states will require a birth date or the last four of a Social Security
number or a home address. Some will require a variety of those.
And so, the problem becomes, what happens if there's a question about the signature? And we have represented plaintiffs around the country who have
had issues. We had a plaintiff in North Dakota who has, unfortunately, M.S., and so, her signature does not look like the one on file. And so,
there, we were saying to the state, you have to contact the voter and let them verify if you have a question about their signature, that it's their
In Pennsylvania, we sued the secretary of state because they had no policy about what to do if there was a question about the signature. And that's an
important case because it ended up with, I think, a significant victory for voters. The secretary of state said there was no provision in Pennsylvania
law requiring that the signature match, if all the other identifying information was on the envelope, i.e., you can't throw it out just because
you have a question about the signature.
And that was challenged in court by the Trump campaign. The secretary went to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and they just ruled that she was
correct, that Pennsylvania law does not require a signature match. It does not allow an election official to throw it out if the only issue is a
question about a signature and the other verification is correct. And so, those are the sorts of issues that we're facing around the country as we
ensure that the, literally, today, 40 million Americans who are voting by mail have their valid ballots counted.
AMANPOUR: Right. So, you know, it's a question also of who is actually voting by mail. We've got these pictures from the first daughter, Ivanka
Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, and they are doing their early absentee voting, so they've got the pictures that they're showing them
doing it. But you remember, of course, and everybody knows, and President Trump has talked a lot about it, and has sought to cast, you know,
disruption over the integrity of this method of electing.
How is that working? Is it -- you know, in other words, who are coming out now to vote mostly by mail? Is his message kind of filtering down to his
POTTER: Yes, I thought the image of the president's daughter and son-in- law voting by mail, apparently from Air Force One and next to the president at his desk, sort of hit the hypocrisy meter over the top, because the
president has been attacking just that, voting by mail.
There are five states that vote entirely by mail and have for some time, and they're a mixture. They're West Coast states, but they're Washington,
Oregon, Utah, very conservative and Republican, Colorado, a battleground state, now Hawaii. And they have had no trouble. There's been no evidence
of massive fraud of the sort the president claims.
I think it is going to be more complicated in the states that are less used to voting by mail, because they run the risk of being overwhelmed simply by
the number of voters who are going to want to vote from home and therefore be safe on election day. And those states won't have the high-speed
counting machines in some cases that the ones who normally vote by mail do. Some of those states, like Pennsylvania, don't even start opening envelopes
and counting until election day. So, we're guaranteed that with a lot of votes by mail, it will take that state quite a while to count the ballots.
But the president's claim that there's some sort of massive fraud out there, I think, has dissuaded some Republicans from voting by mail. The
polls show that Democrats are more likely to vote by mail than Republicans. Although, we are now seeing very heavy early voting, which I think it's
worth noting is different. So, vote by mail, you get the ballot at home. You send it back in or you can deliver it in-person. There are these drop
boxes that voters use to put them in at government office buildings.
But early voting is different. I voted early in my home county just by driving to the Election Office and going in, presenting my I.D., and being
handed a ballot, which I fed directly into the machine, and it said you have voted. Your ballot has been counted. And the numbers look as if 20
million Americans have already voted that way. Those are the long lines you've seen in pictures when they started doing it in places like Atlanta,
AMANPOUR: Right. Well, it appears that the president himself has early voted in Florida, I think, where he's registered. But here's the question.
And it's really important that you keep saying there is no evidence, despite what the president's trying to say, that there's any fraud in this
mail situation. It's really important that voters are reassured that they can actually vote.
But I want to ask you what is -- and their vote will be counted. What is your potential election night nightmare scenario? Because you know, what
we're hearing, obviously, is that because of the different ways of voting, potentially on election night, those who vote in person will have their
votes counted first, like usual, and then all the other votes will be coming in later. So, potentially, one candidate could look like they're
winning on the night, only for it not to be the case when all the votes are counted. Can you -- I mean, do you foresee that kind of situation?
POTTER: I think you're absolutely -- you've described it perfectly. The reality is that some states count their early votes ahead of time, meaning,
they open these ballots or the machines are recording the in-person early votes, and they will have those numbers on election night. Examples of
those states will include Arizona, Florida, North Carolina. They won't have every number down, but they will have the vast majority of the ballots cast
either before the election or on election day to report that night.
So, that will tell us where things are going. If there is a sort of national Biden wave and it looks as if Biden is doing much better than
Clinton did last time, we'll know it in those early states, because their returns are going to be pretty complete. And that makes a big difference,
because obviously, those are states that Trump carried last time. And so, if it looks as if Biden is ahead on election night, then that tells you
this will not be a close election.
On the other hand, if that is neck and neck in all those states, even with most of their ballots cast, and we are now down to the late-arriving
ballots in those states that were cast before the election, but still in the mail, or arguments over provisional ballots for people who didn't have
I.D. but may return after the election with their I.D., if those states are close, then those are the sorts of issues we're facing, then attention will
turn on election night to the industrial states that Trump carried so closely that are very competitive this year that have huge numbers of
absentee ballots that are not counted in advance.
Those are the states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that open their ballots on election day and start the process. And they could have 25
percent or 40 percent of their ballots uncounted when the polls close. And again, the polls show that those are more likely to be Democratic ballots,
so you could see a push by the Trump campaign to prevent the counting of those ballots, saying that they're susceptible to fraud, something that
federal judges have thrown out as an argument across the country, but it doesn't mean that the Trump campaign wouldn't try it again, particularly if
they are ahead in those states on votes cast on election day and all the early votes haven't yet been counted.
AMANPOUR: So, just quickly, I don't know whether you can envision a sort of, you know, an election 2000 kind of repeat on steroids, maybe, but we've
just mentioned, you know, that Amy Barrett, new Supreme Court justice, what might that mean if this goes to the Supreme Court. Do you envision that
kind of scenario, that it goes to the Supreme Court, potentially?
POTTER: So, there are two answers to that. One is, there are cases in the Supreme Court right now. There's a key case out of North Carolina where the
question is, did the state follow the law? Was it permissible for them to say that ballots cast before the election, entirely legitimately, may
arrive up to nine days after the election in the mail if the mail is slow, because it's not the voter's fault the mail is slow, and the state board of
elections said, yes, as long as they're legally cast, they will be counted if they arrive afterwards. The fourth circuit agreed.
That case is in the Supreme Court right now. It looks very much like a case decided by the court last week out of Pennsylvania, and there, the court
split, 4-4. They're waiting for their ninth justice. She may arrive as early as tonight or tomorrow morning. And so, in that key case, and there's
another one coming back out of Pennsylvania, the court may be put in the middle of the election battles, potentially changing the rules, while
people are voting all over this country and only a week before the election. It will be a real test for Judge Barrett if she becomes Justice
Barrett today. Will she recuse herself? Will she participate in these highly controversial cases and become the fifth vote for the Republican
You know, Trump has said he wants her on the court to decide the election. That really puts her on the spot. It's a very awkward place for her to be.
She could recuse herself. In her hearing, she declined to say what she would do. But then --
AMANPOUR: Do you think she should? Do you think she should, Trevor? Do you think she should?
POTTER: I think if she's sensible, she will, because it would be a terrible way to start her justiceship, which presumably is going to last
quite a while, by casting the deciding vote in these very partisan cases when she hasn't participated in the briefing, hasn't been on the court as
these records were being developed. I think it would be a very unhealthy sign for her and the court if she then becomes the swing vote within hours
of arriving in these highly partisan cases.
AMANPOUR: So, let me talk now about the money, because that's something you're very familiar with. You used to be, as I said, head of the Federal
Election Commission. Recently, you tweeted, the failure of the Federal Election Commission to enforce campaign finance laws has resulted in an
explosion of secret spending. There's that. And then you saw Sheldon Whitehouse, the senator from Rhode Island, Democrat, being very upset about
the concept of dark money, particularly when it came to Supreme Court nominations and other areas of politics. This is what he said. Must have a
direct link, given what we've just been talking about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-RI): Something is not right around the court. And dark money has a lot to do with it. Special interests have a lot to do
with it. And who wins when you allow unlimited dark money in politics? A very small group. The ones who have unlimited money to spend and a motive
to spend it in politics. They win, everybody else loses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, it's a really good question, and you are positioned to answer that. And particularly, given the -- you know, the way it's really
come to the fore, given the confluence of the Supreme Court, the election, all these cases, going into this election.
POTTER: Well, Senator Whitehouse has been a hero on this. He's really had a clarion voice pointing out the dangers of this secret money, which has
grown in each of the last several elections, and raises the possibility of foreign interference as well because many of these groups don't disclose
their donors to anybody. There's no way to know who is funding them.
And I think Americans really have grown tired of this battle of attack ads, all of which are from, essentially, anonymous groups, Americans for a
Better Tomorrow. tomorrow was a famous one, but there are a lot of them and we don't know where this money is coming from. Even though the Supreme
Court said in an 8-1 decision, we have a right to know who is paying for these political ads that are attempting to influence us. And therefore, who
the incumbents, once they're elected, are indebted to.
And I think Senator Whitehouse's point is that includes these Supreme Court nomination battles where literally tens of millions is being spent and he
went on to say, and have been through this whole process of selecting judges without us knowing where the money comes from, but having to live
with the result.
AMANPOUR: I wonder how many of the American people understand that, and it is actually really chilling, the way it is -- it works in American politics
and around the court as you just said. I want to ask you, because obviously you're a Republican. You're obviously a Republican against Trump, I think,
but -- or maybe you're not. But there's a huge group of growing Republicans, former officials, who are against Trump.
So, I want to ask you whether you agree with the likes of former New Jersey governor, Christine Todd Whitman, who's essentially said that the
Republican Party is no longer recognizable as the Republican Party. It's been, you know, subsumed to the will of one man, and as a result, has been
given over to the extremists, and if he wins again, particularly convincingly, it could lead to four more years and then who knows how many
more years of very extreme politics and policy. What do you think about that? As a Republican.
POTTER: Well, you're right, I'm historically a Republican. Professionally, I was appointed at the FEC by the First President Bush and I was John
McCain's lawyer for his presidential campaigns. I now head a nonpartisan organization, Campaign Legal Center, so I don't take sides in the election
battle. We just want voters to have the fairest system possible and the safest way to vote this year, so our clients are the general public
regardless of which party they're part of.
But I do think that there is a great concern here for the rule of law, which is a nonpartisan cause. We have seen a lot of activity go on in
Washington under this administration with decisions that ethics laws were broken, that the hatch act was violated by political events at the White
House. We have a president who has not released his tax returns and says the ethics rules don't apply to him, although historically, every other
president in recent history has released their returns.
So, I think those issues are going to be in the forefront if the president is re-elected. There will be more pressure on trying to roll back or ignore
those sorts of laws that I think are important for the American people. And as you pointed out, the Federal Election Commission has not been enforcing
the dark money rules because it doesn't even have a quorum. The president hasn't nominated enough people to fill that commission.
And here we are in the middle of an election with a nonfunctioning Federal Election Commission. That really is a disgrace, and we ought to have a
commission that functions and enforces disclosure.
AMANPOUR: It's madness, really. Trevor Potter, thank you very much indeed.
Now, from courtroom battles to courtroom dramas, with our next guest, the Oscar-nominated actor, Frank Langella, star of Netflix's "The Trial of the
Chicago 7." The film dramatizes the case against seven anti-Vietnam war activists who were charged with conspiracy to incite riots at the 1968
Democratic National Convention in Chicago. And here's a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to underscore again that we're coming to Chicago peacefully, but whether we're given permits or not, we're coming.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to Chicago to protest the Vietnam War.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no place to be right now but in it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We watched for a decade while these rebels without a job tell us how to prosecute a war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they're going to spend their 30s in a federal facility, real-time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People say, you know, Abby, are you concerned about an overreaction from the cops?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy -- you all right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That 1968 street drama looks dramatically familiar, a timely connection to the uprisings for democracy and racial justice on the streets
of America in 2020. As one reviewer wrote, an egotistical president who believes he's above the law, an attorney general wielding the Justice
Department as a partisan force, police wading into crowds of peaceful protesters, systemic racism, a polarized country.
Its cast includes British stars like Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Rylance. Frank Langella plays the presiding judge, Julius Hoffman. And
he's joining me now from New York.
Frank Langella, welcome to the program.
A pretty amazing film, and I just wonder, looking at the, you know, the trailer is all the rest of it, how you make the connection between the, you
know, the sense of what was going on in the country then and now.
FRANK LANGELLA, ACTOR, "THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7": Well, I was 30 in 1968 and the only member of the company who had some adult connection to
it. I didn't pay much attention, but I knew it was happening. And the years that I played Richard Nixon filled me in on that period of time as well.
So, it's quite remarkable to me how relevant this picture is. All of a sudden, it's become -- the actions on the streets of the cities of this
country mirror exactly what Aaron has put into his film. I was very interested in listening to your last guest. I could have gone on listening
to him for a long time and decided that if Ms. Barrett recused herself, I'd make myself available.
AMANPOUR: Well, I was just -- that's good, because you are the judge in this trial, and it's an amazing performance, and the judge, I have to say,
comes across as totally partisan, totally biased. There's no such thing as, you know, justice is blind. He's already made up his mind, and he's a bit
of a buffoon in court.
LANGELLA: Well, he was.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Go ahead.
LANGELLA: He was actually in real life. And someone asked me last night why I didn't give him some redeeming quality, you know, something that
would make you see him in a different way, and my answer to that is, if Aaron had written me a scene at home petting my dog or playing with my
grandchildren, I could have done that. But I don't think you can play a man like this who was so obviously and completely corrupt and so clearly out to
stop these men any way he could without risking being hated. And I think my job is to make sure you hate me in this film.
AMANPOUR: Oh, yes. We do. We do, Frank Langella.
LANGELLA: It's very interesting, Christiane. This morning, I got this from a federal judge, and I want to read it to you. It's very brief. There are
many -- a federal prosecutor. There are many senile judges who rule their courtrooms in a despotic way. It is an awful part of our practice. It was
deeply cathartic for me to see it on the screen. And that's -- I've heard a lot of that from lawyers about how Julius Hoffman and -- was and where are
we witnessing that today. Totally without conscience and without any scruples.
AMANPOUR: Well, and it's -- you see it all throughout and you obviously do a brilliant job of portraying that. Let's play this little clip because
this is about the jurors. There were two jurors that the defense believed were more sympathetic to the Chicago 7. And then, what do you do, you call
in juror number six. Here's the clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LANGELLA: Your parents received this note this morning in their mail. They called the police, as they should have done. I'd like you to take the note
and read it out loud.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My parents?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor --
LANGELLA: Please read the note out loud.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're watching you.
LANGELLA: And you see who signed it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Panthers.
LANGELLA: And you understand that to mean the Black Panthers, don't you? And you understand the defendant, Bobby Seale, is the head of the Black
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judge, you can't --
LANGELLA: He is the chairman of the Black Panther party. Do you still feel that you can render a fair and impartial verdict?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, it really is outrageous. And clearly, afterwards, they, the Black Panthers, claimed that it was the prosecution who had actually,
you know, put those notes around. I don't know exactly how it happened in real life, but you were there putting your thumb, as the judge, on the
Is that what you think -- well, I mean, you do believe, obviously, that Julius Hoffman did that, although, he said he didn't. He said, I did the
right thing. I have no regrets about what I did during that trial.
LANGELLA: Where have we heard that before? And where are we hearing it now? You know, people like Julius Hoffman truly believe they're acting for
the better good of the people. They don't think of themselves as evil in any way. They think it is my job to bring these people to justice, all of
whom, two weeks later, were released, and Julius was called unqualified.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Let me just play because you talk about Bobby Seale. And obviously, he was the eighth defendant, but he
was very upset because he did not have his lawyer. And here is another clip of the interaction between you and he when he disrupts court again, saying,
I'm not going to answer if I don't have my lawyer, and I'm not represented. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LANGELLA: If I understand Mr. Seale, this last month and a half, and I believe I have, he is not represented by counsel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overruled.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am being denied right now.
LANGELLA: Mr. Seale --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My constitutional right for legal representation.
LANGELLA: Will you be quiet. You have lawyers to speak for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he doesn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So the, no he doesn't, is William Kunstler, the famous, famous lawyer, and he's played by the British actor, Mark Rylance. But the
chilling part is how you just denied a black defendant, his rights, or you, sorry, the judge, and then shortly thereafter, Bobby Seale was actually
bound and gagged. It's almost hard to believe unless you see it, and you read it know that it actually happened?
LANGELLA: I'm often asked in talking about this movie, if I think things have changed. And I'm afraid I don't, I'm afraid that this sort of
particularly at the moment, this sort of endemic, that's the word prejudice is everywhere, still. And I don't know what we do about it. I don't know
how we get past it or if we ever do. I think prejudice is natural to people, and they sort of want to hang on to their own little coven, and not
let anybody in. And that scene was very difficult to shoot. Not for me, but for the situation for what happened when I saw (inaudible) brought into the
AMANPOUR: It is actually unbelievable. I have to say watching it. I cannot believe that that happened in an American courtroom. And given of course,
what's going on the streets today is dramatic, very, very dramatic. But I want to ask you also, yeah, because you played Richard Nixon, in
Frost/Nixon. And this is all about the Nixon administration. It is the Attorney General John Mitchell, who makes this come to court. And of
course, William counselor said there is no such -- there's only a criminal trial or a civil trial in the United States, not a political trial. But
this was a political trial, right?
LANGELLA: Yes. A lot of trials are. It certainly isn't the only one. It is interesting that you use the word unbelievable. When you look at what's
happening at the moment in our country. This was, what, 30 years ago. And when I read it, I never thought unbelievable for a moment. I thought this
happened. And it's happening again today. And we are in a great deal of trouble in this country that the waters are very dangerous at the moment.
Very easy for one year, they take your mailboxes and the next year they could be coming for you. And that's a terrifying thing to think about.
AMANPOUR: It is and I say unbelievable, because I was not raised in a democratic country. I was raised in an authoritarian country. And I never
believed that, you know, we'd be seeing this kind of thing in an American courthouse.
But I want to ask you something a little bit lighter to end. You wrote a pretty amazing autobiography memoir called Dropped Names. And you dropped a
lot of names. And you talked about all sorts of risky behavior. And I mean, it was obviously pre-Me Too. But it looks like you were Me Tooed a lot by
men and women as you were rising up the ranks in the acting world, including the great Rita Hayworth?
LANGELLA: Well, actually, it wasn't an autobiography. It was just a memoir. I tried to do an autobiography and got really bored with myself. But
whenever a great personality came my way, in a play or a movie or socially or any other way I found I couldn't stop writing about them. I came in to
this profession in 1960 when the greats were everywhere on stage and in film, and I was lucky enough to have relationships with them on lots of
levels. And they were fascinating, and very flawed, and also extraordinarily tragic. And I became fascinated by how people in their
lives particularly famous people, and particularly beautiful people, like Rita and Elizabeth Taylor and folks like that. It's some -- it became so
exciting to me to write about them and my memories of them. I called it Dropped Names because I'm dropping their names and they've dropped it. So
I'm now on book number two and I just finished Elaine Stritch this morning.
AMANPOUR: Oh, Lord, I don't know finished Elaine Stritch means but I'm looking forward to reading it.
LANGELLA: Well, I go around now, Christiane, I know you're coming to an end. But I go around at dinners and things, which there are a few are, and
I take the pulse of all of the people in the room who are over 70 or over 75 to see whether or not I'm going to be able to put them in my next book.
AMANPOUR: In our last 20 seconds, do you have a favorite role? I mean, if you look back, do you think, wow, I'm really glad I did that one or love
LANGELLA: I wouldn't say I have a favorite one. Usually the last one I play certainly in this case, it was the judge. But I would say in 2016 I played
senile man, the father that played his battle with the movie of Tony Hopkins, who I think will be superb. And that role was remarkable for me
because the inner journey was so terrifying. My brother died of senility and a lot of other things. And the pain of that, witnessing it and others
was very telling to me. Julius was really a walk in the park compared to the emotional life you have to stir in yourself to play somebody like that.
And the fragility of life is on my mind all the time now, all the time.
AMANPOUR: Especially now.
AMANPOUR: Frank Langella, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
Now, many of the divisions, as we said of 1968 can still be felt today in 2020. And our next guest argues that the Republican Party has in fact been
hijacked under President Trump's leadership, leaving it in the hands of party extremists, thus diminishing potential, its relevance.
Bill Kristol is a longtime Republican who served in the administrations of both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He now leads defending democracy
together, a coalition of ever increasing anti-Trump Republicans. Here he is speaking to our Walter Isaacson about how the party could become obsolete,
if its members continue to back this administration at all costs.
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN CHAIR AND CEO: Thanks, Christiane. And Bill Kristol, welcome to the show.
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE BUWARK: Thanks, Walter. Good to be with you.
ISAACSON: Are you surprised more conventional Republicans and conservatives have not been speaking out against the hijacking of the party by Donald
KRISTOL: I mean, it's probably been the most shocking thing in a way of the last four years, you know, could a demagogue win a nomination in a divided
field? Yes, unfortunately, could win the election against this somewhat unpopular candidate at the other party when people want to change? Sure.
But and I was anti-Trump from the beginning. But even I expected that Republican elected officials, conservative elites, businessmen, donors,
intellectual elites, would check Trump that Trump be limited in the damage he could do because there would be all these barriers to him and people
would speak up. But he did things that were truly outrageous and that the total capitulation of the conservative elites and Republican elected
officials to Trump has been astonishing. And even now, you know, a week from the election when he looks very likely to lose. How many people have
really come out against him, a few ex governors and congressmen and senators, very few almost knows people in elective, currently in elected
office, obviously, but the most prestigious, the most famous people who've served, most of them say nothing.
ISAACSON: Giving some examples of who should be speaking out?
KRISTOL: I mean, some people have spoken out somewhat, Jim Mattis, like their defense, in my respect, an awful lot is made clear that he
disapproves of Trump. I implied that he wouldn't vote for him again. But is it really hard to just come out and say he should not have a second term.
H.R. McMaster Service National Security Advisor, John Kelly, who served as Chief of Staff, I'm not asking them to, you know, reveal details of private
conversations with President Trump in the Oval Office. They don't want to do that. I don't want them to do that. That they just need to say, look, I
worked with this person very closely for a year or two years, however long it was. I saw him up close. I think we did some good things if they want to
say that, but he should not have a second term because it would be worse, a second term. They all know be worse. They're gone. The guardrails are gone.
The people would stand up to him internally are gone.
And then what about someone like that former President George W. Bush. He knows Donald Trump shouldn't have a second term in office. He knows the
country we'd better off with Joe Biden, say it.
ISAACSON: But what do you say to the ones who say we got the judges, we have the economic policies we want. We just ignore the tweets. We're much
better off with Donald Trump is president, which argument against that?
KRISTOL: You know, too many -- well, one argument is that his recklessness, his irresponsibility is just like a basic care about governing competently.
We're now paying a huge price for this, obviously, with COVID. And we're paying a price in other areas where it's less obvious in terms of racial
divisiveness and so many other issues. And again, if people want to defend some of the things that were accomplished in the first term, that's OK, but
it doesn't justify secretary, you've got the judges, right? You've got the tax cuts, if you like so much. But now we're going to have a president
reelected without the Jim Madison and the John Kelly's, without the Gary Cohen's, if you like the early economic policy unleashed, unbridled with a
bunch of sycophants working for him, I'm thinking about Trump reelection. I mean, he'd be emboldened. He presumably would still have Republican Senate
that would be even more in his pockets, even less inclined to ever stand up to him than now.
He's made clear. He wants people who will do what he says. He does not want people who will follow the rule of law, let alone preserve kind of
institutional norms and standards in the U.S. government. He's going to get rid of the FBI Director. He's going to get rid -- they get rid of the
attorney general who in my view has gone way too far. And accommodating Trump as opposed to upholding the rule of law.
A second term of Trump really, I think, would be kind of a nightmare for America. Maybe other people just have to think it'll all be fine, you know,
when he hit. But look at the DHS, look at Homeland Security, look at what happened in Portland. Look at the kinds of people who are running that now.
Let's think of the whole federal government, the Defense Department, the Justice Department, being run in that way, as Trump kind of personal
ISAACSON: Former Speaker Paul Ryan, he probably falls in that category of people you think should be speaking out, has told friends not to speak out
against Trump, because once he loses, we don't want people like, you know, Paul Ryan, to have alienated the trumpets in the party, because they're
going to have to rebuild the party, and they can't afford to have the Trump is furious at them for losing the electorate. What do you say to that
KRISTOL: I mean, there may be some truth to that. But good luck rebuilding the party, if you're spending two-thirds of your time looking over your
shoulder at not at Trump and trumpist and the legacy of Trump and, I mean, from my point of view, a new -- a newly rebuilt Republican Party has to be
willing to repudiate at least a fair amount of what Trump did not every policy, but it has to repudiate trumpism.
I'm not really personally interested in a rebuilt Republican Party that's at home where they're at peace with demagoguery and nativism and
xenophobia, and all the rest. And so now, in the real world, it's not people like me, we're going to rebuild the Republican Party in the near
term, we're not going to be acceptable. We were anti-Trump.
So Paul Ryan's right, that it will be people who kind of kept their heads down probably, that didn't pick fights with Trump, and their attitudes
going to be OK, let's put it in the rearview mirror. Let's move on. Let's not talk too much about what some of the things that happened in those four
years. But a, I don't know that work. I think the Trump is going to be very strong. And I don't think they're going to be interested in for a ride in
Republicans. They're going to want people who embody trumpism, maybe a little different way, maybe without some of Trumps quirks. But I think they
will lose that fight in the Republican Party. And again, what's the point of saving the party if you can't denounce family separation policies, if
you can't denounce racism, if you can't denounce conspiracy theories.
ISAACSON: How did the Republican Party get to where it is today?
KRISTOL: Well, it is a huge question. There are a lot of things when one looks back, one sees a lot of elements that were there that sprouted, so to
speak in the last few years. My colleague Charlie Sykes says there was a recessive gene in the in the conservative movement, in the Republican
Party. I suppose there is what in many movements and many parties when you think about its huge country, every party is going to have its disagreeable
aspects and, you know, elements that really, should be fought. And somehow the recessive gene has become the dominant gene.
I think it was recessive. I mean, we were aware that there were -- there was bigotry. There was nativism, that people like he fought against Pat
Buchanan. I mean, literally in 1982. I was in the Bush White House. We campaigned against him and denounced him and I was happy when he left the
party the late 90s. Ron Paul, I thought was an unhinged conspiracy theorists. They're always these elements. I think I thought too much. I was
too confident that we had sort of push them back, kept them under control. We probably tolerated certain aspects of them too much or didn't want to
pick fights within the party, though, again, who's the we, it's not, you know, we don't get to sort of choose who the voters nominate and elect and
So I think I underestimated the power of some of those forces. But I also think a lot of Republicans tried to push back against them. We ended up
getting overwhelmed in 2015, and 2016, is somewhat Fluker situation, maybe with Trump and Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, and just a lot of things fell
into place for Trump.
You know, if he hadn't become president, and do this thought experiment, what if he loses in 2016? I don't know that the party looks anything like
what it looks like today.
ISAACSON: What is a reckoning look like if Trump loses?
KRISTOL: So I'm not sure. I mean, I do think personally, though, there has to be a pretty clear repudiation of certain aspects of Trump and trumpism.
For me, the best hope would be a whole new generation, honestly, of people, as I can imagine young people choosing to run in 2022, 2024 for House, for
the Senate, Governor, and maybe even presidency who worked very much around even in the Trump years, or maybe were at the state local level, maybe they
were in business, maybe they were in the military. And they were sort of not involved either way. And so they don't have to go through a litany of
offenses that Trump committed and criticize everyone for going along with Trump. They don't have to sound like me, like I have for the last four
years. I mean, they can sort of say, look, this was -- there's good things or bad things, I'd like to get into it. Here's my vision for the future. So
I think maybe that's the best hope, a new generation of officeholders.
And I will say I personally talked to an awful lot of people who are Republican ish types, center, right, free markets, strong foreign policy,
thought of running for Congress, perhaps in 2018 but jeez, if Trump's at the top of the ticket, I leave that to support Trump, I don't want to do,
fight against Trump and probably get clobbered the primary and get attacked by Trump and all of his minions who wants that, you know, 2020, they went
through the same process.
There's kind of a backlog in the Republican, you know, pipeline, that I think you could produce some very good candidates in 2022. And going
forward, so I'm sort of hopeful for the next generation but I think the people who've been in the Congress who've gone along with so much, it was
hard for them to suddenly reinvent themselves.
ISAACSON: You've talked about a recessive gene that lingered in the Republican Party, and has now come out and asserted itself, is one of the
traits of that recessive gene racism?
KRISTOL: Yes, or bigotry. And I would say, you know, very much of a dislike for the way America is changing the diversity of the New America. And even
if they don't dislike individual African Americans, or Latinos, or whatever, dislike of accommodation to their interests, their concerns, or
rethinking of aspects of American History, being more honest about things that have happened in the past. That doesn't mean tearing down every
statue, certainly not, a blanket (ph) and Ulysses S. Grant and George Washington and not even every statue graphs of Robert E. Lee. But it does
mean being you're coming to grips with the past, most serious presidents have acknowledged those, of course, but Trump has this kind of, say,
cartoonish version of, of American history and the American past, Make America Great Again.
Let me think about that, in this day and age, and what he says that what he means, I guess is the 50s any normal politician, including Conservatives
and Republicans very much, but even quite conservative concerns would say, I do think that he could say, one could say, look, there are things that
we've lost that want to get back. And there were some admirable things about America that we've frittered away, perhaps in the last 10, 20, 30
years. But of course, this person would say, you know what I say, Make America Great Again, I also acknowledge the gains of the last 30, 40, 50
years. I acknowledge that. I don't want to go back to the race relations of the 1950s, the Jim Crow in the south. I don't want to go back to gays in
the closet. And I don't want to go back to a lot of things of that era that gender relations, obviously.
ISAACSON: To what extent do you feel somewhat responsible for the party going away again?
KRISTOL: You know, I feel some responsibility, I think I made some mistakes of judgment. I think I honestly, I didn't want to do any of the racism the
emergence. I say most of the time I spent the surface (ph) fighting against David Duke in 1990. I've ever been proud to be in the George H.W. White
House, playing a tiny role actually is (inaudible). In organizing efforts to make sure if you didn't win in Louisiana, Duke was a Klansmen and they
are Nazi. And George H.W. Bush came out against Duke though he was the kind of Republican nominee for the governor then and obviously fighting Pat
Buchanan and fighting Ron Paul and all kinds of issues like that, trying to recruit more diverse candidates.
Having said all that, there were issues where I didn't realize that I don't know what the end immigration, the why supported Bush, McCain must end (ph)
immigration, but still, you know, how dangerous what some of the Republican candidates were saying was, what sort of a Fox News I was on to 2012, I
think what I said I would defend, I think I express my point of view, and I think I was mostly, may be wrong lesson things but I wasn't bigoted or
anything like that.
But again, they had -- the change is pretty striking. I mean, I remember when the birther stuff emerged in 2011, 2012. And Trump was pushing it. I
guess it was pushing it a little bit on Fox & Friends. I think he was on maybe once a week there, they're probably watched that, but we all thought
it was ridiculous. And I certainly said on Fox that it was ridiculous. And then I guess I didn't realize in this 2013, 2014, 2015 period, how fast how
much that train was accelerating. And Trump came down that escalator in 2015. And it really tapped into something. I remember when he -- Well, he
attacked John McCain, I said the next day. He said, yeah, we don't respect people who are prisoners who were captured. And then the next day he's
finished. On TV, I remember this on ABC on Sunday, he's finished. He can't be nominated Republican Party. He said this, the race is a Mexican judge. I
thought each of these things would just disqualify him. So I don't want to justify the Republican Party and the conservative, too much there were all
kinds of things that were probably in retrospect, misguided, and little to my tolerance for those forces, and just the policy choices that may have
been wrong. But I do think it really took off after the defeat of Romney in 2012.
ISAACSON: We, biographers often think that one of the clues is to look at a person's parents and look at a person's father and your case, in
particular, your father, Irving Kristol was a loyal Democrat for a very long time, but then became the Godfather, the neoconservative movement, and
moved a lot of people like himself into the Republican Party. To some extent, you seem to be mirroring his career. Have you thought about that?
KRISTOL: Yeah, people have pointed that out. And of course, it's occurred to me. I mean, some people say, how hard -- I'll answer this way, some
people said to me, how hard is it for you to abandon the Republican Party? You came to -- I came to Washington in 1985, to work in the Reagan
administration, the Bush administration. And, you know, I've been on the Republican side, therefore, in Washington here for what, 35 years. But
maybe a little easier, because I had the example of my parents and somebody of their friends started off vaguely they weren't party loyalists, but
vaguely at one party, you might say and ended up in the other. I myself worked for Scoop Jackson as a just volunteer when I was in college, but I
consider myself, a Scoop Jackson democratic. So maybe I've always had a little more just maybe because of my background, you know, have a sense
that the policies matter more than the parties.
And above all, what matters. And this has really come home with me in the last few years. And I think the others as well, on the left and the right.
What matters is defending liberal democracy. What matters is defending free government, free society. And maybe we all took that a little much, too
much for granted as we fought our different ideological fights over the last 20, 30 years. But, you know, it's -- it can't be taken for granted.
There are authoritarians on the left, authoritarians on the right, there's unhealthy movements on the left and on the right. And they need to be in
America right now. A lot of the stronger unhealthy movement is actually on the right, because it's got the president United States.
And so liberal democracy needs to be defended against this kind of demagoguery and hate, you know, the politics of hate, and division, and
politics that challenges basic norms, like the rule of law, that allows the system to go on in a way that gives people a feeling that, you know, if you
don't win today, you'll you might have a chance to prevail tomorrow. But that is not Trump's kind of conservatism.
I think from my point of view, it's been easier also to support the Democrats this year, because Joe Biden is the nominee, who the center did
hold in the Democratic Party, something there's conservatives now are busy denying that that's the case, you know, they're pretending that the nominee
is Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren or AOC or something, after Biden defeated the wall, you know. So it's truly.
There's also a sign it's a kind of unhealthy movement, not accepting good news, which is it looks like the Democratic Party and that there are huge
pressures, but for now, at least, we might get a centrist democratic administration which could restore some stability and some sensible
governance to the country. And that's a good thing.
ISAACSON: Bill Kristol, thank you so much for joining us.
KRISTOL: My pleasure, Walter.
AMANPOUR: Civility, sensible governance, very good things indeed. And finally, we've been discussing the future of democracy in the United States
of America throughout this program. Well, in Latin America, Chile has consigned to the dustbin of history, a throwback to the age of its military
This weekend, an overwhelming majority voted to scrap the old constitution and draft a new one. Over 78% voted yes in a referendum following months of
anti-government protests calling for the end of inequality in housing, education and health care. Thousands took to the streets in the capital
Santiago and other cities to celebrate its passage. And Chile's conservative president praised the peaceful vote.
The new charter will be drafted by an independent body elected by the people next spring, this time with an equal number of women and men. That's
it for now. You can always catch us online on our podcast and across social media. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.