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Interview With Former Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini; Interview With Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). Aired 2-3p ET
Aired November 9, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
ALBERT BOURLA, CEO, PFIZER: We believe that we are in good situation to have up to 50 million doses this year globally.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): A coronavirus vaccine appears on the horizon just as president-elect Joe Biden rolls out plans to shake up America's pandemic
Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal joins me.
Then: Where's the beef? We ask an election lawyer, Barry Richard, about the odds of President Trump mounting a successful challenge.
URSULA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: I congratulate him and vice president-elect Kamala Harris on their victory.
AMANPOUR: The worldwide view after four years of might makes right under Trump. The E.U.'s former top diplomat Federica Mogherini joins us and "The
New York Times"' Ben Smith on the media fallout.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
It's the news we have all been waiting for. An effective coronavirus vaccine could be well on the way. Maybe as many as 50 million doses could
be made available this year. Pfizer today announcing that early data shows their vaccine is more than 90 percent effective, which is well above
Trials, though, still have to be completed. But the stock market has surged on the news, which happens to come on the very same day president-elect Joe
Biden makes his first policy announcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: The bottom line, I will spare no effort to turn this pandemic around once we're sworn in on January 20, to get our
kids back to school safely, our businesses growing and our economy running at full speed again, and to get an approved vaccine manufactured and
distributed as quickly as possible to as many Americans as possible, free of charge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Biden welcomed the Pfizer news, while also calling for patience until the final test results are in.
Meantime, the president has started a purge of those he deems disloyal. First victim? Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who was fired over Twitter.
Joining me now on all of this is the Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. She has just won her third term in Congress. and health care is
her focus. She was also the first Indian-American woman elected to the House in 2016. And now, of course, an Indian-American woman, Kamala Harris,
will be the next vice president.
Congresswoman Pramila joins me now from Seattle.
Welcome to the program. There's a lot to congratulate you about. There's a lot to ask your reaction.
First, obviously, your reaction, we can imagine, but what do you make of him coming out presidential, while the actual president refuses to cede, to
concede at all this race?
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Well, I wish we could have expected something different from Donald Trump, but this is the ridiculous behavior that we
have seen for four years, to not concede the race, when all major news channels have called this, AP has called it.
The reality is, Joe Biden will be our next president, and there's nothing Donald Trump can do to change that. So, it's unfortunate, because the
country needs to move forward and move forward quickly.
Joe Biden is signaling that he's not going to let Donald Trump not conceding stop him from doing that. And so he's already making it clear
what kind of leadership he will have, particularly as we fight a virus that has gotten so much worse just in two weeks.
The numbers are stunning, in terms of the number of deaths every day, the number of new cases every day. We are on a terrible trajectory heading into
winter. And I think Joe Biden wants to do everything he can to get ahead of it.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you given that the pandemic, the vaccine, everything is top of mind, including during the election, and how the
election was conducted.
Your reaction to the Pfizer news. Let's just play a little bit of the sound bite from the CEO. He was talking to Sanjay Gupta.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOURLA: Ninety percent is a game-changer, 90 percent. Now you're hoping to have a tool in your war against this pandemic that could be significantly
How long this protection will last is something that we don't know right now, but it's part of the objective of the study.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Congresswoman, there are unknowns, as he pointed out, and he also did say that it would be made available free to all Americans.
What are your hopes and your concerns about this moment right now about the vaccine?
JAYAPAL: Well, I -- yes, I mean, I think that this is very, very good news, but I think that we have to make sure that we are continuing to
follow all the protocols for vaccine development and approval.
And I think that, with the task force that Joe Biden announced today, I feel very confident that that will happen, that we will have people back in
the administration who believe in science and who won't be penalized for actually wanting science to work and scientists to have the say on these
So, I think we're still a ways away from actually being able to distribute a vaccine to everybody, but we have been in close touch with Anthony Fauci,
with others within the FDA, and I think the reality is, this is good news, but we still have to go through the entire process.
But, obviously, a vaccine is critically important. How the virus responds as it comes back and what we are dealing with in terms of the immunity, the
length of immunity, the scope of any immunity that a vaccine might give, those are all things that are going to be part and part -- part and parcel
of how we deal with the next year of this virus and doing the research that we need to do.
AMANPOUR: And, of course, the experts are saying there might need to be two doses. So, it's not just one dose.
JAYAPAL: That's right.
AMANPOUR: And, as you say, it might be a yearly vaccine. We're not sure about all of have yet.
But can I ask you also, because, obviously, health care was a major issue, for obvious reasons, during this election. And Obamacare, the Affordable
Care Act is coming up before the Supreme Court again. And I just wondered what you think the outcome of that will be.
JAYAPAL: Well, we really have no idea, but it's obviously a big fear.
Destruction of the Affordable Care Act by the Supreme Court would strip health care away from tens of millions of Americans. And so I don't think
we can underestimate the threat of that. Republicans have done nothing to provide health care to Americans.
Democrats have spent a long time focusing on health care, because, even before the pandemic hit, Christiane, we had 87 million Americans who were
either uninsured or underinsured.
Since the pandemic has hit, at least another 12 million have lost their jobs and been unable to get on any other kind of health care. And so those
numbers are just increasing in the midst of a pandemic. So we -- I was a co-chair of the Biden/Sanders Unity Task Force that helped put forward a
plan for Joe Biden to address health care, understanding that he is not -- he is -- he's focused on the Affordable Care Act.
I, of course, am a champion for Medicare for all. I'm not going to stop pushing for Medicare for all, but we were able to take significant steps
forward in the Biden platform of getting some core pieces of Medicare for all into the Biden platform, so, for example, not tying health care to
It's ridiculous that, if you lose your job, you also lose your health care. Having a public option that truly is public, run by Medicare, and as
expansive as possible, addressing long-term care, very, very strong aggressive action on prescription drugs, even stronger than what we took in
the Democratic House last year, so those are all things we negotiated together.
And we are going to have to fight for them, obviously, but I think that they are a huge step forward.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you this, because you were co-chair of that task force, along with Vivek Murthy, who has become now the head of the new
Biden/Harris task force.
So, those are both of you co-chairs from, I guess, for want of a better word, different wings of the Democratic Party. You know that there's a lot
of talk now, media chatter about progressives vs. the moderates in the Democratic Party.
Are you going to work together? Is there going to be some kind of brouhaha now going forward between progressives and moderates? Or are you all one
party going forward?
JAYAPAL: Well, first of all, Vivek Murthy is an amazing person. He is both a compassionate and talented and expert physician. He listens to science. I
couldn't be happier that he is at the helm of that task force. And I feel relieved for all Americans.
He also has a very deep understanding of race in the context of health care. And so I'm excited to see him there.
I think that, of course, there are always going to be push and pulls within the Democratic Party. But what we have to understand is that we turned out
a remarkable number of new voters, people who were not in the Democratic base before, young people who really didn't think that democracy
necessarily worked for them, black and brown folks who had given up hope even on the Democratic Party and stayed home.
And so that ability to mobilize people was really due to the progressive wing of the party making it clear that there was no progress possible with
Donald Trump in the White House, that we had to get Joe Biden in, and that we then had to work to try to get relief to people.
It's not about what the label is, Christiane. It's about, can we actually get health care to everyone? Can we get $15 minimum wage passed, so that
everyone across the country can earn a decent living? Can we make sure to invest in infrastructure, not only roads and bridges, but our schools, our
Those are things that, if we deliver those in this next -- with a Biden/Harris administration, then we will win in 2022, and we will stop a
Trump presidency -- President Trump-like presidency from happening again.
He is both...
AMANPOUR: That's interesting, because...
JAYAPAL: ... the symptom and the problem.
AMANPOUR: Yes, I actually want to just develop that a little bit, because, obviously, some of the issues you're talking about, they predate the Trump
presidency, right, the minimum wage and health care and all the rest of it.
And there's this whole idea about, on all sides of your party, people are starting to say, Biden needs to be like FDR, in other words, big, bold,
take massive steps, because it's now or never.
Is that a likely thing that we're going to see?
JAYAPAL: Well, it all depends on a couple of things. Do we have control of the Senate? Do Democrats have control of the Senate? That would be a game-
If we don't have control of the Senate, and Republicans keep it, what kind of a Republican Party are we dealing with? Are we dealing with the
obstructionist party of Trump that doesn't deliver for anyone? Or are we dealing with some Republican senators who, either because they have races
in 2022, or they want to run for president in 2024, or they actually care about the people in their district, say, yes, I'm ready to work together on
delivering real change?
And then, third, what does the Democratic Party do? How hard do we push for really bold change? How hard do we take on some of the biggest corporate
interests that stand in the way, not only of Medicare for all, but of a public option, which is something the Democratic Party has come to embrace?
That wasn't the case.
But you look at a $15 minimum wage, some of these things that were called progressive a long time ago, we in Seattle were the first major city in the
country to pass $15 almost a decade ago.
JAYAPAL: I was on that task force. It was called a radical left, progressive, far left idea.
This election, Christiane, aside from the presidential, look at a state like Florida. Florida went for Donald Trump in this election, but Florida
passed a $15 minimum wage with a supermajority of voters.
And so we have to understand that, even on FOX News, 74 percent of voters on a FOX News poll said that they supported government health care. So, I
just think this is a really critical issue to get across to not only Democrats, but also to the media and across our country, that we have to be
about populist policies that deliver relief.
AMANPOUR: All right.
So let me ask you about delivering this victory for the first South Asian American, first Indian-American, Kamala Harris, first black American woman,
Kamala Harris, to rise to this level, the first woman to be a vice president.
There's an incredible picture that's been tweeted around, as I'm sure you have seen it, of all the black and white head shots there of the vice
presidents through the ages. And here's the one woman who's made it.
Apparently, of 11,000 people who've ever served in Congress, less than 100 have been women of color.
Just what is your reaction? Because, as I said, you were the first Indian- American woman to be elected to Congress back in 2016.
JAYAPAL: Well, I was elected on the same night that Kamala Harris was elected to the Senate. I became the first Indian-American woman in the
House. She became the first Indian-American in the Senate, and the second black U.S. senator -- black female U.S. senator.
And so it is truly a joy, I can't take the smile off my face, to see her ascend to the vice presidency. It -- this is important, not only because
she brings a lived experience, being the daughter of immigrants from Trinidad and India.
She is a black woman who understands racism and sexism. You don't have to explain immigration or race or sexism to Kamala Harris. She gets it. And so
it affects the policy she takes up, right?
So she and I have worked together on a lot of policies. We introduced the National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, which would bring 2.5 million
women, primarily women of color, into the civil rights protections that everyone else have -- has.
We also introduced an access to legal counsel bill right after the Muslim ban was passed. So, I know that she takes that lived experience and puts it
But, also, think about what it means for young girls, boys, kids all over the world...
JAYAPAL: ... to see her there and to see their futures differently. Because she is there, they can imagine different things for themselves. And
that is so beautiful.
AMANPOUR: Well, as I say goodbye to you, and thank you for joining us, I am actually going to play that little bit of her speech where she addressed
precisely that issue.
Pramila Jayapal, thank you very much, Congresswoman, for being on tonight.
Let's just listen and hear from Kamala Harris, vice president-elect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT: While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
HARRIS: Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And many world leaders have also commented on the fact that the first female vice president has been elected, president-elect, in any
Now, Joe Biden today spoke words that will be music to the ears of America's allies. He said that he will restore U.S. global leadership to
help fight the pandemic and other major issues.
In her first TV address since the election, German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Biden and Harris, celebrating the end of Trump's America-
first-and-only doctrine. She called on the United States and the E.U. to stand together to master the major challenges of our time, but, so far,
official silence from places like Russia, Brazil, Turkey and China.
Joining me now to discuss all of this is the former E.U. foreign policy chief and also former Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini.
Welcome back to the program.
And, Federica, we have talked many, many times about foreign policy, about U.S.-European relations, and about being a woman in a major position of
elected power. Just your reaction to Biden/Harris, but especially Harris at this moment?
FEDERICA MOGHERINI, FORMER FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF, EUROPEAN UNION: Thank you.
First of all, Christiane, it's great to see you again. Thank you for welcoming me here.
It's a great feeling. It's a feeling of relief to see America back, to see diversity in America back, and to know that, from now on, from January
onwards, if Europe calls, America will pick up the phone.
You might remember the famous Kissinger story, was wondering, what's the telephone number of Europe? We have known in this last four years what is
the telephone number of the White House, but, often, there was no one picking up the phone.
Well, I think that, as of January, we will feel much less lonely than we have felt in this last four years.
AMANPOUR: So interesting you put it like that, lonely.
I certainly have heard -- and you have obviously talked to a lot of your colleagues, your former colleagues in the E.U. -- there is actually elation
at this transition, policy elation. Forget personalities right now, but the actual idea that perhaps America will come back and do its traditional role
of sort of marshaling global leadership, particularly in a situation like this.
How much have you missed that? And what has been the effect of America absent from the field in that way?
MOGHERINI: But, in one sense, on one side, Europe has grown up.
I think we Europeans realized that even, if America is still our best friend and ally, it's remained so because societies are bound together and
the ties are so deep that you cannot really overrule them, even if you have an administration that doesn't look favorable towards the European Union.
But the feeling has been in these four years that we moved from cooperation by default with the Americans, with the United States, to a situation, a
place where Europeans have to look for different partners on different issues and built alliances beyond the normal transatlantic one.
I think that, today, we will have to face a situation where probably we will continue not to agree on every single file, and this is normal. This
is even healthy, I think. This gives us some space also for autonomy in the European Union.
But I think that, on the main point, the Europeans and the Americans will be back together again, which is the support to the cooperative
multilateral approach on the world stage.
AMANPOUR: What do you think is the most important thing that you would hope the new president would do? He's already said that he's going to,
first day in office, write a letter to the U.N. to put America back into the Paris climate accord, that.
Then there's the Iran nuclear deal. There's committing again to NATO. What is the most important thing, do you think, right now?
MOGHERINI: Well, I think the climate change one is probably the most pressing one.
It's -- for us, Europeans, it's very clear it's also a security challenge. I would say -- and you might be surprised for that -- the second place, I
would place the attention to bringing equality into America, into society, to guarantee equal rights to all.
Look back at the health care system, because, if a country like America is weakened in its social fabric, it's the entire world, I think, that is
So, I'm really looking forward to seeing the new administration paying a different kind of attention to American citizens and the American society,
because we cherish the well-being of our friends and partners across the Atlantic. And I know that it has been hard four years for so many
There's been a suffering for us Europeans as well to see that great democracy neglecting and denying so many of its fundamental values. I would
hope to see that back again. And I'm sure that this would be a number one priority for the Biden administration.
And, as you say, then there's the Middle East. There's the Iran nuclear deal. There's, in general terms, I would say the support to the U.N. system
and multilateralism, I would say an approach to international relations.
During the Trump administration, we have seen the zero sum game approach. It was obvious to think that, for me to win, you need to lose. It's not the
European approach. It has never been a European approach. And I hope that, with the new administration, we will see an American administration that
moves back to or moves forward to a cooperative approach, a win-win approach, where you look at the interests of yourself, for sure.
MOGHERINI: That's foreign policy, but also to the general global interests, because...
AMANPOUR: Yes. I get what you're saying about a win-win cooperative arrangement.
But it's interesting you say that, because I was speaking to a senior German official just on the day after the election. He was horrified that
President Trump was saying, stop the count. He said, America taught us about democracy, and now this is happening in America.
But he also said, to your point about a zero sum game, he felt that Europe was being treated almost like an adversary and was being punitively dealt
with by the United States.
This is the Norbert Roettgen, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag. Here's what he said to me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORBERT ROETTGEN, CHAIRMAN, BUNDESTAG FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Just looking through the angle and eyes of German and European interests, we
have experienced the last four years.
We have seen the unpredictability. We have seen that, from the White House, China, equally to Germany, is treated as an economic opponent, an enemy,
more or less as an enemy.
We have seen the withdrawal of troops from Germany as a matter, as an instrument of punishment of Germany for noncompliance with American wishes,
and so on. And we have seen the behavior of tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, the behavior of tonight, he was referring on the second day after the count, when the president said, stop the count.
But I want to ask you, did you in general and the Europeans feel that you were being treated more like adversaries than like allies? And a British
foreign minister, Philip Hammond, told us that he didn't think the world or certainly the alliance could survive another four years of what he
described a hostile U.S. policy of disengagement from the multilateral world order.
MOGHERINI: Well, it's a very -- yes, it's a very correct assessment, I think.
I've spent a large part of my mandate repeating as a mantra that we were disagreeing on some issues, and we were staying friends and allies because
our countries, our societies are tight.
But it has been a very difficult four years. And, yes, the feeling of hostility has been there, in particular towards the European Union, because
it was very clear to me that President Trump didn't particularly appreciate or like multilateral experiments. And being the European Union, for sure,
the most successful one, a union, a political union, a continent-sized union, an economic power and politically integrated union, it was, for him,
I think a point of -- a priority to demonstrate that the European Union was not good.
And, for us, this was obviously something we couldn't -- we couldn't accept, so we couldn't -- we couldn't simply be complacent about.
So there was an ideological root in its opposition to what is the European Union. And this was quite clear to me, for sure, and I think to many of us.
MOGHERINI: And that made us lose some fights, because, towards China, we would have worked together in so many fights, because we had similar
And this was a lost opportunity I think for the American economy, I think.
AMANPOUR: That's an interesting way to put it, because, yes, it actually boomerangs back on them.
But I want to -- you talk about hostility towards Europe. Well, obviously, as you know, of course, the British government has hostility towards Europe
in terms of it being part of the E.U.
Brexit, is you know, eight or so weeks away. There's still no deal. And it looks like the government of Boris Johnson is going to have to do some
pretty hard digging to endear itself to the administration of Joe Biden.
It looks like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, maybe even Prime Minister Michel will probably get first calls, rather than the special relationship
How do you see that relationship changing, and what do you think it might mean for -- to focus Britain's mind to actually negotiate in good faith to
try to get a trade deal with the E.U.?
MOGHERINI: You know, I think the British interest would be -- in any case, regardless of the results of the U.S. elections, the British interests
would be to negotiate in good faith and get to good agreements with the European Union anyway.
And I know that Michel Barnier is currently still negotiating with -- and the teams -- with a lot of dedication and good faith.
And the political context changes, but the merits of the negotiation stays the same. And I think -- I mean, we all wish that this comes to a positive
end, regardless of the political climate.
But it's true. For not only Boris Johnson and some in the U.K., but also for many others inside the European Union, this shift, this change in the
winds in the United States, I think, makes them reflect on the fact that some of the values and the core elements of our societies are probably more
solid than they expect.
AMANPOUR: That's a nice way of saying you're sticking together and you're not going to bend over for -- your principles.
AMANPOUR: Federica Mogherini, thank you for -- thank you so much for joining us.
Now, as we have said, President Trump is still refusing to concede, and he's trying his best to marshal his media support and legal challenges.
Certainly, some of his actual supporters have brought in -- bought into Trump's so far baseless claims of voter fraud. Take a listen to a few in
Pennsylvania, the state that put Biden over the top.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's legal for them to count votes in Pennsylvania two days after the election on November 3?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're wrong. Go. I don't even want to talk to you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have seen too much pieces of different evidence so far that shows that, at this point, I would be OK with a revote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are all the Trump ballots that were mailed in? Why are we finding them laying around in different places?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Of course those mail-in ballots skewed Democrat because the president has spent months tell his supporters like them to vote in person.
Here now with more on all of this is Barry Richard. In 2000, he was lawyer to George W. Bush during his infamous recount battle with Vice President Al
Gore. That one ended up in the Supreme Court. And Barry Richard is joining us from Florida, which was the state in question, wasn't it, the hanging
Barry Richard, Welcome to the program.
Can I just you to --
BARRY RICHARD, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR THE GEORGE W. BUSH CAMPAIGN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you whether you yet have heard any credible evidence or anything that might make you, based on your experience, feel that
President Trump has a legal case that will stand up, and it's one that seems to be quite wide in many different states?
RICHARD: I have heard nothing legitimate whatsoever that would give any meaningful base to the cases he's filed.
AMANPOUR: It also seems, even his own allies kind of not giving us any major information. It just looks like, you know, there's a few questions
here, a few questions there, but it's not like we're coming out and being told with any, you know, credible evidence or facts to back it up.
What do you think the process is? I mean, I know I'm asking you to speculate, but you're very experienced. You've done this before. What do
you think is going on? Why do you think the Trump campaign, President Trump is following this process and this path right now?
RICHARD: He's either getting bad advice or he doesn't care about the advice that he's getting, which would not be surprising given who we're
dealing with. The fact is that in order to have any chance in a court of law, you've got to the walk in with credible evidence of fraud or
irregularities and it has to be evidence that would affect enough ballots so that it would change the election. I have not so far seen either one of
I understand that Trump supporters are very upset, but the fact is that you don't make cases based upon the fact that people are upset. And
fortunately, for all of us courts don't make decisions without credible evidence.
AMANPOUR: So, you heard those supporters. I mean, they just don't believe it. They don't believe, that you know, it's legal in Pennsylvania to count
mail-in ballots even after the days of the election, specific and specified days, and you see that the president's people, maybe the president himself,
believe that they still have a route to overturning this vote and that maybe he can stay in office.
Again, do you think that's serious, or is it, I don't know, a drip, drip, day by day attempt to get used to fact that maybe he's lost?
RICHARD: Well, I don't know what's going to happen with President Trump, but I suspect that what's going to happen with our society in general is
that as it always happens eventually people are going to go back to work and they are going to forgot about this. I know in 2000, I was asked by a
number of reporters whether I thought that either candidate would be able to govern after that battle, and my answer was, on Monday morning when this
is over everybody will go back to work and we're going to have a president.
Now, this may take a little bit longer with President Trump's core supporters, but eventually they will go back to their normal concerns and
their day-to-day lives and we'll go on.
AMANPOUR: So, you know, it did take a long time, it took a couple of months back in 2000. I don't think it was resolved until, you know, the
Supreme Court sometime in early December. Just give us a little bit -- I mean, put it into perspective, what was so, you know, strong in 2000 that
it even got to the Supreme Court versus what I think you're saying and certainly what every other legal expert is saying that we can see, that
there isn't the there there this time?
RICHARD: There are a couple of major differences. In 2000, the issue was defective ballot design and everybody agreed on both sides of the aisle
that the ballots were defective, and many, many votes, many more votes than the 537 votes that was the margin between the candidates, were kicked out
by the machines and they had to be hand counted under the law that Florida had at the time, which fortunately has been changed. That's what took 36
The courtroom process didn't take 36 days. The courts all acted with lightning speed. They received a case and they decided it within a day or
two. This time we don't have any legitimate problems, and the courts are not going to take that long in my opinion. I think this is all going to be
wrapped up within a matter of weeks.
AMANPOUR: So, let me just read you a couple of things. You're right. A lot of courts have thrown out these certain allegations. A judge in
Pennsylvania hearing allegations of dead voters said, you know, it's doubtful of the suit given the lack of evidence presented. The Pennsylvania
AG's office saying the court found no deficiency in how Pennsylvania maintains its voter rolls. Currently no proof provided that any deceased
person has voted in the 2020 election.
I say that because I want to just now play a soundbite by one of President Trump's main supporters, South Carolina senator, Lindsey Graham. Just
listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): The Trump team has canvassed all early voters and absentee mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania and they have found over 100
people I think were dead, but 15 people that we verified to have been dead who voted. But here's what gets me, six people registered after they died
and voted. In Pennsylvania, I guess you're never out of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And then he said that Michigan software flipped votes from Trump to Biden, says that he has evidence from a postal worker in Erie,
Pennsylvania that supervisors were back dating ballots. I mean, what's your reaction to that? And if so, when should had the evidence, you know, be
RICHARD: You know, there are problems in every election. Elections are a messy business, and sometimes you actually have people who commit fraud,
although in our history, that's localized and very unusual. But in order to have a fraud wide enough to affect as many votes as we're dealing with
here, in as broad an area of a country, you would have to have a fraud that's just unimaginable. You'd have to have hundreds of people involved in
committing the fraud.
So, I don't know whether or not Senator Graham or anybody else is going to be able to come up with some real instances of people having voted
improperly or dead people's votes having been cast many, I don't know whether they will or not, but I cannot imagine that there are going to be
enough votes involved that it's going to make a difference in an election in which the margins were 25,000, 35,000. It's just not going to happen.
AMANPOUR: And, of course, as we know and I guess it bears repeating, the Trump campaign are not challenging results in states where he was ahead,
only in the other ones. You know, Senator Graham mentioned that he -- you know, of course, he's head of the Judiciary Committee and he's talking
about taking it to the attorney general, that he's going to show evidence.
As can you imagine many Biden/Harris support remembers concerned. They remember what happened in 2000 and they have heard President Trump over and
over again say that, you know, he's going to say that the election was stolen from him. Do you think there's anything that the attorney general or
the Justice Department and Senator Graham could do? Is there any way, that you know, those scales could be tipped?
RICHARD: Not from anything that I've seen so far. Fortunately, it's not Congress that decides this election. I mean, Congress can decide an
election in certain circumstances, but those circumstances don't exist here. This election was decide by the voters, and I think it's going to be
sustained by the courts and it's going to be over, and I think the best thing that everybody involved could do for the good of our country, not
because I select one candidate over another, but because we need finality and we need peace, the best thing they could do is to accept the results of
this election and move on.
AMANPOUR: You know, you're echoing what your former colleague from the Bush legal team, Ben Ginsberg, said, to 60 Minutes, sir, you need to take a
step back, look at the results. It is a democracy.
But I want to just read because I think it's important to read President George w. Bush's statement on these legal challenges. Well, he
congratulated Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their victory and he says, no matter how you voted, your vote counted. President Trump has the right to
request recounts and pursue legal challenges and any unresolved issues will be properly adjudicated. The American people can have confidence that this
election was fundamentally fair. Its integrity will be upheld and its outcome is clear.
You know, he obviously is saying the same as many of you do. But, I mean, the bigger picture also is, I mean, there are a lot of people who may think
that American democracy is unfair, has been stolen. I mean, Trump supporters who believe him. What do you fear might -- I know you said, on
Monday morning people will get back to work and it will be forgotten. But in the background, do you think there will be a lingering suspicion of the
American way, of the democratic way and process?
RICHARD: Well, I think there will probably be a long lingering suspicion among a certain core group of Trump supporters who are never going to
concede and who will always believe whatever he tells them, which is unfortunately. But I think at its core, the American population believes in
the system that we have, they believe in its integrity and I think most Americans, whether they like the result or not will accept it.
AMANPOUR: Do you think that in this kind of case where the president so far seems to be holding out on conceding, who knows whether he will. Most
people who know him think he won't, do you think that the idea of a concession speech should somehow be formalized? We know it's a tradition,
it's not part of the electoral law or anything like that and not in the constitution. Should there be something like this just in case something
like this happens in the future?
RICHARD: No, I don't think so. I don't think that -- that would place in the hands of the loser the ability to control the result of the election. I
think that it's more a matter of graciousness and good taste and an appreciation of the long historic values of this country it, and we have to
rely -- listen, one of the things I've always thought was most significant and moving in this country was watching the losing candidate for president
ride to the swearing in in the limousine with the winning candidate and then sit on the dais beside him. What a wonderful demonstration that is of
a secure democracy and of the peaceful passage of power. That has happened in every case.
I think it's difficult right now to imagine it's going to happen in this case, but hopefully it will. Hopefully, President Trump eventually will
want to leave a legacy of having respected that tradition.
AMANPOUR: Thank you so much for joining us with that important perspective. Thanks a lot.
Now, the media played a vital role during the Trump presidency, is of course, especially social media. During this election, eyeballs around the
around the world were glued to the vote count. Now, how has Trump changed the press? Ben Smith is media columnist for The New York Times and here he
is speaking to our Walter Isaacson about the future role of traditional media outlets and how the Black Lives Matter movement has impacted
newsrooms as well.
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Thanks, Christiane. And, Ben Smith, welcome to the show.
BEN SMITH, MEDIA COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks for having me on.
ISAACSON: Tell me, after this election, what do you think that the media did right this time that sort of pleased you?
SMITH: You know, I think had the biggest test for the media was right at end here where the -- you know, where we knew that the vote count was going
to be slow because of mail-in ballots, and the media, I thought, did a pretty good job the last couple of months just informing people that they
would have to be patient, that it was going to be something like election week. By the end, more than 60 percent of Americans expected that.
And then they were pretty careful and patient about, you know, officially calling, it because, as you know, the media plays this bizarrely outsized
role in our system where the media's call is the thing that is sort official and that some people go run out in the streets and honk their car
horns. And so, I guess I thought at end they were patient and probably helped give election as much legitimacy as it was going to get.
ISAACSON: What do you think the things that went wrong?
SMITH: You know, it's interesting. I think that the media was very geared up to fight the last war, you know. We always are, and the last war was
Russian misinformation, was very Facebook centric, and I guess I think at times, and particularly towards the end when the "The New York Post"
published sort of a strange and shakily sourced story, but basically an ordinarily weird "The New York Post" story, there was still overreaction to
it and Twitter block links to it and everybody acted like it was WikiLeaks and it really wasn't.
And I think that was, I mean, probably a mistake. Actually, there were -- I'm sure many more ups and downs. But my hard drives get wiped every month.
So, you know, that's long back -- that's as far back as I can remember.
ISAACSON: Near the end of the campaign we saw Trump's tweets being flagged a whole lot and people fact-checking him in real-time. Is that something
that should have been done earlier in the campaign as well?
SMITH: Yes, absolutely. I think it took us all a while to figure out how to deal with a president who says things that aren't true all the time. And
when you call him on them, just blusters through unless you kind of nail him to his seat. And I think what, you know, Axios responded really, really
well was refuse to get off a topic and express kind of a frustration diffusion that was authentic and I thought worked well.
ISAACSON: The Twitter sort of stopping people from reading those things, how awkward was it for Twitter to try to figure out how to pick and choose
among posts that people should read? Is that something Twitter and Facebook for that matter should be doing?
SMITH: I mean, I just think Twitter has no business doing that. It was something that, you know, other newsrooms were dealing with pretty
responsibly. There was, I think, the lesson that a lot of these newsrooms had learned from WikiLeaks was, you know, take your time and figure out
what's actually in here, what's news, report it out, and the that's pretty much what everybody was doing. And "The Post" story was like many "The New
York Post" stories kind of interesting but not necessarily accurate and people were chase it, and that seemed appropriate.
And when Twitter came in and sort of like landed with both feet and said, this is toxic misinformation, we're going to block it, it called pretty
much more attention to the story actually. And also, it's just -- you know, ultimately, I would rather that the editor of "The Wall Street Journal"
makes calls on things like that than some product manager at Twitter.
ISAACSON: Well, the editor "The Wall Street Journal" did make a call not to run that story. You wrote a real good column, both about "The Wall
Street Journal" not running the full Hunter Biden laptop story but also about the decision desk at Fox News and the fact that it wasn't interfered
with by Murdoch.
Tell me, I mean in, terms of reality TV shows, is Rupert Murdoch's succession reality TV drama that we're going through and you've been
covering, tell me about Rupert Murdoch's involvement with Fox and "Wall Street Journal" and "The New York Post."
SMITH: You know, it's interesting. I mean, Murdoch and Fox in particular have been -- you know, made it probably the most important institutions of
the American right there. Fox has been, you know, essentially Trump-TV. Unclear if it's, you know, a state-run TV or TV-run state, but, you know,
its biggest most widely watched program are the sort of the core Trump movement.
And yet, it's also this chaotic organization with nobody really in charge and Murdoch seems to like it that way. And when it came to calling the
election, he kind of let the ordinary machinery of a news organization, which is to say a pretty smart team of people who operate independently of
political pressure inform Fox viewers and inform them very aggressively before anybody else that Trump was likely to lose because he lost Arizona.
You know, Murdoch himself, I think people often imagine him as this kind of figure pulling every string and manipulating politics and this kind of
cinematic way. He didn't actually come to the U.S. for this one. He has a place in the Cotswold, outside London, which is where he was hanging out.
And I think basically did not put his thumb on the scale for Trump.
ISAACSON: Do you think that Lachlan Murdoch was more involved this time?
SMITH: I mean, Lachlan is the CEO of Fox Corp., which owns Fox News, and I'm sure he was involved, but, you know, the truth to Fox since Roger Ailes
died is that nobody is really in charge, each the hosts kind of run their own show and basically ignore their bosses, as does the head of the
decision desk. The news division, I think, is a little more -- operates like a somewhat normal company sometimes, but it's a pretty strange
institution all in all.
ISAACSON: In one of your columns you talk about Trump made old media great again. What do you mean by that?
SMITH: I mean, I think in 2016 when I was working at BuzzFeed, by the way, there was a sense that the "New York Times," "The Washington Post," "CNN"
had kind of lost their power to decide what was the important. You know, if Donald Trump was giving a speech and people wanted to see it, they would
just put it on. At WikiLeaks who's going to dump a bunch of e-mails, the impulse as well, people are going to see it anyway.
And I think, you know, what the research has shown, what we've all learned is that maybe people won't see it anyway and that power of these big
traditional news organizations to set the agenda is larger than we have thought. And the funny thing is Trump, of course, knew that all along. He's
been obsessed with -- you know, when I was at BuzzFeed, I thought, you know, why is he obsessed with these dying legacy brands, the very reaching
and diminishing numbers of people, but I think he kind of understood their ability to set our ability to set the agenda better than a lot of people in
these newsrooms did themselves, and I think he exploited that and exploited their weakness and their sense of their own weakness
ISAACSON: You know, back in 2016 you were at BuzzFeed, now you're at the "New York Times." Back in 2016, all of a sudden that BuzzFeed, The Daily
Beast, The Daily Caller, The Huffington Post, all the new media would be the wave of the future. And yet, in this election, we read the "New York
Times," "The Wall Street Journal," "The Washington Post," and the three networks. Has there been a big shift back to mainstream media?
SMITH: Oh, undoubtedly. And, again, I think Trump drove a lot of that shift. I mean, the sort of when you're covering a beat and the core thing
is to get under the skin of the person you're writing about and have them thinking about you and have their people giving you information. And the
fact that Trump is totally obsessed with these organizations is a huge asset to them in covering him.
I mean, I think, that the -- you know, the tricky thing about this is that, you know, newsprint is still going away. The future is still coming. It's
just in a somewhat different shape, but I don't think -- I think that -- you know, I don't think that the notion that people are going to be, you
know, consuming content from all over the place on mobile devices has changed. But I do think that Trump has -- Trump and I think, you know,
reality, have really kind of restored the centrality of these older news organizations or the surviving ones.
ISAACSON: Well, what about Trump? What do you see would be best for him to be doing now?
SMITH: I think the thing about Trump is that he -- you know, he really, really thrives on attention and I think the challenging thing for him right
now is that it was understandable that he thought he was getting attention because he was Donald Trump but actually he was getting attention because
he was the president of the United States. And you could just already -- you know, that's a thing that shifts fast, and I think there's a question
of how he -- I mean, right now, he's thinking about having these rallies in his, you know, really pointless attempt to contest this, you know, pretty
decisive vote against him.
I think there will be a question of does he wind of thinking the best way of getting attention to inviting Joe Biden to the White House. But I think,
you know, after he leaves, you know, what exactly he does, he's basically a media entrepreneur. I mean, that's his real career. You know, how he --
whether he tries to capitalize on that is going to be a big question.
ISAACSON: Well, if Trump is a media entrepreneur at heart, do you think there's room for a new media empire somewhat based on maybe one American
news or Newsmax or some of these other more fringe organizations if Trump decides to make it his platform?
SMITH: Well, you know, Fox News has always known a big share of their viewers think that they are too liberal. It's always been like a third of
the Fox audience that thinks the network is too liberal and is open to something to the right.
I think the challenge is that -- you know, I mean, television news, it's not a great business. It's not the kind -- it's not a get rich quick
business. I think -- and I don't see really any sign that Trump wants to like operate a business in the hopes of long-term returns. I think he wants
cash flow and wants to get paid. And so, you know, you could -- maybe you could imagine one America news paying him a substantial sum to license the
Trump name, but I think that he's going to be looking for things to generate cash right away when he leaves the White House.
ISAACSON: Do you think the mainstream media, to use a broad term, the traditional media outlets, are basically biased towards the left or were
they biased against Trump, or what biases do you think that they really have?
SMITH: I think Trump put them in a position by attacking them and lying about them specifically where, you know, he was constantly really trying
hard to turn us into the opposition. And I think that there's an argument, you know, do you take the bait, do you avoid taking the bait, are you the
bait. And ultimately, you know, it was not a game you could win. I don't think there was some clever tactical way to avoid that situation, you know,
when Trump lies about you specifically. What are you supposed to do?
ISAACSON: Do you think there's a generational change happening in newsrooms that's causing the newsrooms to be more activist, more woke and
in some ways, less governable by their editors and bosses?
SMITH: I mean, I think there's a change happening in society, not particularly limited to newsrooms, around -- particularly have like
employees view their employers, how workers feel in terms of the place they work having some kind of ethical responsibility thing that sort of spilled
The Black Lives Matter movement over the summer really activated that, particularly, and I think particularly among black reporters for whom there
had been in newsrooms a kind of tacit understanding that, you know, we want diversity but we also expect you to bite your tongue about issues of race,
which is, you know, pretty unfair and kind of untenable.
I think, that, you know, that's -- this is sort of being arbitrated right now and these questions of how outspoken can individual journalists be, do
you trust them more if you know their biases are more to keep their mouth shut. I don't think there's going to be one answer to that. I think
different institutions are going to go in different ways.
ISAACSON: Do you think that the media, at least the traditional media, was this time around still, as it has been in the past, fundamentally out of
touch with what was happening in the country and even how the vote was really going to go?
SMITH: I guess I'm not sure there's a media there and the notion that any individual could be fundamentally in touch with a country of 300 million
people is complicated. You know, people say, well, I was in Georgia and talked to 100 people and had a different impression. I mean, what is that?
That's a small poll. I mean, the polling was again off and it's a huge reminder that -- I mean, I'm not sure so much that people -- we were out of
touch, that we were overconfident about what we knew and what is possible to know.
ISAACSON: The press has lost a lot of credibility, both whether it's on the right which thinks a lot the press is fake news or even among many
people who realize that a lot that's on social media is misinformation or stuff that's being spread around. How does the press regain its
SMITH: You know, I think it the answer is going to be slowly. It's been a real long, slow decline in trust. You know, and, again, it's among
different groups. Different people trust different parts of the media. And I don't imagine things are going to be centralized around a couple of big
outlets. I think people are going to find these organizations they trust and they may be very different in saying different things.
I do think younger people in particular are more and more sophisticated about social media, about what not to trust, about kind of being able to
hold things in their head that they are not sure are true, and that that's pretty much -- that's a healthy shift.
ISAACSON: Ben Smith, thank you so very much for joining us.
SMITH: Thanks for having me, Walter.
AMANPOUR: And no more cries of fake news from the White House, and that is something to rejoice about.
And finally, a reminder of how many parts of the United States spent the weekend celebrating. Masses took to the streets with epic parties like this
one in San Francisco. While others danced and cheered outside Trump Tower in Chicago bidding the Trump presidency a symbolic farewell.
In the meantime, both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ancestral homes honored the winners with festivities of their own, that would be in Ireland and in
India. In many countries, especially America's oldest alliances, as we've heard, there is renewed hope for unity and return to normal and an America
that upholds democracy, moral values and human rights.
And that's it is for now. Thank you for watching. Good-bye from London.