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Interview With Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT); Interview With Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC). Aired 2-3p ET
Aired January 11, 2021 - 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.
REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): Rhetoric has consequences. And people died.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Civil war in the party of Trump. What do Republicans say about holding him accountable and rebuilding the GOP?
Congresswoman Nancy Mace joins me.
Then: From the other side of the aisle, Democrats move on impeachment. Montana Senator Jon Tester speaks to our Walter Isaacson about punishing
this assault on democracy.
Plus: Trump cut off from social media, his political lifeblood. Too little, too late? I ask tech journalist Kara Swisher.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All done, Doctor.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
AMANPOUR: The COVID vaccine gives much needed hope to millions. Dr. Peter Salk's father, Jonas, invented the polio vaccine. And he tells us why, 67
years later, he is just as optimistic about this one.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Donald Trump is truly in the twilight of his presidency. But, as many Democrats and some Republicans see it, a lot can happen in nine days, and
he remains a danger to the country that he is meant to serve. Trump now stares down the barrel of a second impeachment, as House Democrats
introduce a resolution charging this president with inciting an insurrection.
Republicans remained deeply divided over the issue of punishing him and on the best way to see the party emerge from relying just on the Trump base
and a cult of personality.
I'm joined now by Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace of South Carolina. Newly elected, she was in office for just three days when the Capitol was
sacked and attacked. She refused to support her colleagues' efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election. But she doesn't believe
impeachment is the way forward.
Congresswoman Mace is joining me now from Charleston.
And welcome to the program.
I said you had only just been there three days before this terrible event happen.
MACE: A hundred hours. A hundred hours.
AMANPOUR: Yes, even more stark.
How frightening was it for you? And, particularly, I understand that you were confronted by some of these zealots who wanted to persuade you that
this election had to be overturned in Congress.
MACE: Right. And I have been threatened. I have had someone threatened to shoot me on social media because of my beliefs in upholding the
Constitution and my solemn oath to the Constitution.
This past weekend was supposed to be a happy and historic time. I was sworn in South Carolina's first ever Republican woman elected to Congress. I had
my children up there in D.C. with me. I'm a single mom. It was a proud moment for me and my children.
But, by Sunday night, I said: This doesn't feel right. It's uncomfortable. It feels unsafe. The kids, I love you. But you're going home on the first
flight tomorrow morning on Monday.
And thank God that motherly instinct kicked in, because I would have been devastated had my children had to witness what I witnessed on Wednesday.
AMANPOUR: You really paint a really visceral picture there.
AMANPOUR: Tell me a little bit about what people were saying to you, your constituents who had come all the way up from Charleston, South Carolina,
AMANPOUR: ... of course it's all a lie, of course it was rigged, you have got to do something about it.
Well, and I was accosted on the street of D.C. on Tuesday night, the night -- the eve of the rally on Wednesday, as you mentioned earlier, by a
constituent who drove all the way from my district from South Carolina to attend this -- quote, unquote -- "peaceful protest," which ended up being
And what I realized when -- at that moment, one, it was dangerous, but, two, it didn't matter what I said. People were not going to believe the
truth, because they'd been lied to. The president of the United States fleeced the American people.
He said that Congress could overturn the outcome of the Electoral College. And we simply didn't have the constitutional right, authority or power to
do so. He also told the American people that the vice president could single-handedly overthrow the results of the Electoral College, also false.
And thank God -- and I praise Vice President Mike Pence, who put an end to that rumor, to that dishonest statement by the president on Wednesday. But
people have been lied to for two months now.
And it's disturbing. It led to this violence, the rhetoric that has been ratcheted up over the last two weeks. And what I saw on Wednesday, I hope
to never see in my life again.
In fact, that video that we have all seen across the country where that young woman was shot, I had to walk by a crime scene to get into the
chamber to vote on what was -- should have been a ceremonial vote to certify the Electoral College on Wednesday, but it was anything but.
And it's just -- I have never seen anything like it. It was the best and worst week of my life.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Again, you're painting a really colorful and vibrant picture.
AMANPOUR: So, we have seen those pictures. We have seen officers being crushed in doors. We know that five people were killed.
And we know that the president a few hours or an hour earlier was busy at a rally outside the White House essentially inciting them: Walk down the
AMANPOUR: Go to Congress. It will be wild, he said, and just ginning it all up.
So, given that you say it was the best and the worst day of your political life, I wonder how you think he should be held accountable. Clearly, the
Democrats in the House believe that he should be punished, and they have put forth the first article of impeachment.
AMANPOUR: Let me just read what they're -- what they're -- says: "President Trump gravely endanger the security of the United States and its
institutions of government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power and imperiled a
co-equal branch of government."
Is there anything that you disagree with?
MACE: No, there's nothing in that particular statement that I do disagree with.
The one thing that I am concerned with in moving forward is that, with the articles of impeachment, he's not going to be gone before Joe Biden is
sworn in. The very earliest that the U.S. senate could get the articles of impeachment would be on January 19, the day before Joe Biden is sworn in.
And there are even members of the Democratic parties who said they're going to hold on to the articles of impeachment, even when they pass out of the
House and wait until they're taken to the U.S. Senate, whether that's three months, six months from now.
And so I just -- I personally believe that this continues the division that is in our country. It is not going to get him out of office in the next
nine days. There are only nine days left of his presidency. We really ought to encourage the peaceful transition of power.
I think his decision to forego the inauguration is the right decision. I am very concerned about another outbreak of violence and anarchy at the
swearing-in ceremony of at the inauguration of Joe Biden. These are very serious concerns.
And I feel, like if we go down this path, it is political, it is divisive, it's throwing gasoline on the fire. It does not impeach him from office
before he leaves office. And so I think we really need to work on healing our country. And you can't just -- words are one thing, but we actually
have to do something.
And I agree, we do need to hold him accountable. But, also, at the same time, one of my greatest frustrations is that we have to hold other people,
other members of Congress who contributed to the violence on Wednesday.
I mean, we literally, members of Congress literally risked their lives to take a ceremonial vote to certify the Electoral College and the outcome of
the election on Wednesday. It should have never happened that way. But there are multiple people from the top down that need to be held
And it's -- the other thing that we also have to acknowledge here is that Wednesday is not the first day of violence for this year in this country or
the last 12 months. Over the last nine months, we have seen violence across the nation. We had a riot break out in May in my congressional district in
Charleston called the King Street riots.
I condemned the violence then. But both parties need to hold themselves accountable. There is rhetoric in the fringes of the far left and the far
right. The first thing that we need to do is, number one, acknowledge that we have a problem in this country.
MACE: The second thing we need to do, as elected officials, we got to take responsibility for it. We need to acknowledge it. We need to say, hey,
we're part of the problem.
Congresswoman, I don't know whether -- I agree, and I'm going to -- I'm going to play you a bite about being part of the problem as elected
But I don't know whether you're trying to equate Black Lives Matter protests with people who were incited by the president to storm and invade
the Capitol Building.
But I do want to ask you this. You know, because I think you -- well, I know that you have disapproved of it and opposed it. But even after the
attack on Wednesday, 147 Republicans, your party colleagues, voted to overturn the results of a legitimate election in the most powerful and
oldest democracy in the world, eight senators and 137 representatives.
This is what Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, who's now presiding over the impeachment process, said in the aftermath of that fact:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Shame on them. And shame on two-thirds of the Republican Caucus in the House supporting those.
So, these people are enablers of the president's behavior. I remember when Republicans in the Senate went to see Richard Nixon and said, it's over.
That's what has to happen now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, do you think that will happen, I mean, whether it's to the president? Presumably, she's hoping that.
But to the members that you say -- who you say need to be held accountable as well, because they have peddled in lies that have...
AMANPOUR: ... that seem -- we saw it on camera unfold around the world -- to send people into a frenzy.
MACE: If you watch the rallies, if you watch the speeches at the rallies, or if you read the transcripts, it put people in a tailspin. It ratcheted
Members of my party do need to be held accountable. I am expressing my disappointment, my disappointment, my grave disappointment, my anger, my
frustration that we continued along that partisan line on Wednesday after five people died, after there was an invasion and anarchists entered the
Capitol that where you could hear chants of "Hang Pence, hang Pence."
And we continued to go about with objections.
AMANPOUR: And there was a noose.
MACE: Yes. And there was a gallows that was...
AMANPOUR: And there was a noose.
AMANPOUR: With a noose. It was chilling, It was just chilling.
AMANPOUR: So, my question to you is, then, these people who voted to overturn a legitimate election that the courts and the state election
officials and everybody spent weeks and weeks certifying and proving that nothing had been amiss, do you think they should be censured? Do you think
they should be removed from Congress?
I asked you because you're new to Congress.
MACE: I am.
AMANPOUR: You have got your whole and political career in front of you. And this is going to be, I think, a make-or-break moment for people like
yourself and members of the Republican Party.
MACE: It's a defining moment for many people trying to lead our country out of crisis.
We had a constitutional crisis on Wednesday. I am barely a week into the job. And I am looking at all the options that are on the table. Censure
should be on the table, that we have to hold ourselves accountable, we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard.
I am extremely disappointed with some members in my own party over their behavior and over their words. I mean, I risked my life for a vote on
Wednesday that should have been ceremonial. I was a sitting duck, my staff was a sitting duck, as we were on lockdown in our offices. Our offices were
locked, shades were drawn, lights were out, and we were quiet.
All we knew and all we heard were sirens across all of D.C. We knew there were pipe bombs out there. We knew there was a cooler full of Molotov
cocktails. It was one of the most harrowing and scariest experiences I have ever been in my life.
And when I came home Friday, I had to explain to my children that, when mommy goes to work, mommy's going to be safe. My kids were worried. They
were texting every hour. They're old enough to see these images on social media. You shouldn't have to fear going to work, going to an event, that
you might not come home.
And so there has to be a reconciliation and a reckoning with our own party. I truly believe that. And I have expressed that internally. I do believe in
Reagan's 11th commandment. But we have to. We have to.
If we don't hold ourselves accountable, especially for those that -- whose -- who are at fault for starting this, for enabling this to happen, then we
might never earn the trust of the American people back.
And I think it's really important that we acknowledge we have an issue in this country, and we take responsibility for our actions, and, in some
cases, inaction, and also that were part of the solution and not part of the problem.
I'm sick and tired of division. I'm sick and tired of partisanship. And I think most of America is as well. There are millions of people out there
that followed -- followed these lies because they feel like their voices aren't heard, hardworking Americans, smart Americans that feel like they
have no voice.
And that's why the president was so successful in fleecing them and in these lies and in this dishonesty to the American people. There is a vacuum
that needs to be filled. And we need to have an honest conversation and be part of the solution, not the problem.
MACE: And where we go from here, I'm trying to figure it out myself.
AMANPOUR: And so what is the...
MACE: ... and trying to figure out options are.
AMANPOUR: Yes, I can hear you trying to figure it out.
MACE: Yes, I'm grappling with it, as a mom and as a lawmaker.
AMANPOUR: But I want to ask you, because -- last...
AMANPOUR: ... to you, what is -- yes, I can see it, and the idea that their voice isn't being heard, after it's been heard by Trump for four
years, and whipped up into a phony problem, is very frightening.
AMANPOUR: And their voice has been heard. They voted in an election. They just happened to lose.
MACE: Right. Right.
AMANPOUR: But here's the issue.
The issue is the Republican Party. On the day after this -- this appalling sight that shocked the entire world, you had the president call into the
Republican National Committee, the RNC meeting, and receive applause.
So, as you grapple with the future, do you think this is going to continue to be the party of Trump? Will it be a proper opposition party with a
platform, which doesn't have one right now? It's just fealty to the cult of personality of Trump.
And do you think, as some of your colleagues, some of the Republicans, have said, we need to stop this pandering and just catering to the base; we need
to be able to set it up and make it a party, a governing party?
And that's why I have been so -- I have been so vocal. There are many people in this country that are in severe denial about what happened on
Wednesday and the repercussions for years to come.
What happened on Wednesday, the president's actions, the president's words are entirely indefensible. And if we don't reconcile that fact, if we don't
come to grips with that, if we're not honest with ourselves and honest with the people that we represent, it will be years, maybe decades, before
the American people will trust us again.
And that's one of the reasons I have been so vocal. I love my kids. I love my country. They're both worth saving. I didn't grow up in this. I don't
want to raise my children in this. And that's why I'm so passionate about finding ways, finding avenues to come to grips with what has happened, to
be honest with the American people.
Even when we don't like the outcome, even when we don't like the truth, we have to do that to save our country. And I'm willing to work across the
aisle to be able to do that. I'm willing to reconcile and raise my hand and acknowledge that we have a problem in this country.
Both parties have rhetoric in both -- in the fringes of both sides. We have seen violence across the country. I have seen violence in my own district
back in May. I mean, this is something that we have to come to grips with and we have to acknowledge it. We need to take responsibility for it.
And we need to think long and hard, not just now, because we're all still reeling from this emotionally, mentally and physically from what happened
last week, but in the days, weeks and months to come, we need to have a serious and honest conversation about, how do we go from here? How do we
take responsibility for it in a way that is meaningful?
And how do we change our party for the better? Because we had to start over from scratch.
MACE: Every accomplishment that Republicans have had over the last four years was wiped out on Wednesday.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's really an interesting way to put it. As many have said, the legacy will not be tax cuts or the economy.
AMANPOUR: The legacy will be just what you said, what happened on Wednesday, the insurrection, and, as you said, wiped everything out because
MACE: It was a sad day for America. It was a sad day for our party.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's really interesting to talk to you, a new generation.
AMANPOUR: Yes, indeed, and a sad day for America, a sad day for democracy, a sad day for the world.
And we will follow your efforts, as a new generation, young member of the Republican Party in Congress.
Thank you very much, Congresswoman Mace, for being with us.
Now, we cross the aisle with our next guest. Like Congresswoman Mace, Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana was in his office, just a stone's
throw away from the Capitol, when those rioters attacked. He says the siege was -- quote -- "a terrorist act."
Aside from being a third term lawmaker, Tester is the Senate's only working farmer, a job that helps him understand the crucial issues of how Democrats
can appeal to rural America, an issue that he addresses in his book ""Grounded: A Senator's Lessons on Winning Back Rural America."
And here he is talking to our Walter Isaacson about all of this.
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Christiane.
And, Senator Jon Tester, welcome to the show.
SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): It's great to be here. Thank you.
ISAACSON: You have seen the video now of what happened when the mob struck the Capitol. And over and over, we're seeing more gruesome scenes.
How has your thinking about this mob action changed over the past few days?
TESTER: Well, I mean, much more serious than when I first saw it. And I thought it was very, very serious.
But it was absolutely a coup attempt. There is no doubt about that. It was a group of people that wanted to take our duly elected elections and put
them in the rearview mirror and put somebody in the presidency that wasn't duly elected.
So, it was a very serious offense. And the fact that we lost a number of police officers now and other folks that have gotten injured to this
process shows how irresponsible it was and how it just doesn't represent what this country stands for at all.
And I take it as a personal affront to not only who this country is, but who I am. I mean, I love this country. I think this is the greatest country
that's ever been on Earth. And to have a bunch of folks that were incited by the president of the United States come up and try to destroy this
country is just an affront to who I am.
ISAACSON: You just said the president of the United States incited violence and tried to overthrow a duly elected election.
Do you think that's an impeachable offense?
TESTER: I do. I do think it's an impeachable offense.
The question becomes on impeachment, is there really a path to get it done in a timely basis? I don't even know. Certainly not going to happen before
the inauguration. And I don't know if impeachment still something you can do after president has left office.
ISAACSON: So, how should the president be held accountable?
TESTER: Well, look, I think the 25th Amendment is fine. I think there's going to be some opportunities.
By the way, this has to be done in a bipartisan way. And I think there's enough folks on the other side of the aisle that are sick of what's
transpired on Wednesday that they're willing to step up.
But there are some things I think that Congress can do. But, first of all, Walter, I think we need to have a discussion, have a debate on the floor
about what the proper punishment is for this.
But I don't think it can go unpunished. I think it would be a huge mistake.
ISAACSON: You're a Democrat, but you have worked very well with people on the other side of the aisle.
To what extent are you having discussions with your Republican colleagues to find a way forward in which people can be held accountable, including
TESTER: Well, I haven't had those conversations yet, quite frankly, Walter.
I'm hoping to be able to do that in person, when we get back again. I'm sitting in my home in Big Sandy, Montana, now. But the bottom line is, is
that I have read countless things that the folks I have served with have said. There's a lot of folks, both Democrats, Republicans, independents,
that are very, very unhappy with what transpired.
And I think there has to be accountability to actions. And I think I'm hearing that that's what a lot of folks want to see in the Senate. And,
hopefully, we can come together in a bipartisan way and do something that is -- penalty meets the crime and move forward.
ISAACSON: One of the penalties that's possible in the Constitution, if impeachment goes forward, is that President Trump would be barred from
having public office ever again. Do you think that makes sense?
TESTER: I do.
I don't think -- I cannot think of another act that was encouraged by the president of the United States, the sitting president of the United States,
like I saw last Wednesday.
ISAACSON: One possibility being discussed is that the House would pass articles of impeachment this week, and then hold off sending them to the
Senate, first of all, so that Biden's agenda could be pushed through, and, secondly, so that we can have more time to contemplate it.
What's your thought about that process?
TESTER: I think that would be smart. I think it would give the Senate an opportunity to confirm some of these Cabinet nominees. And then we could
think about the impacts of what transpired last Wednesday.
I think that's a smart move.
ISAACSON: If Trump is impeached by the House, but then the Senate doesn't act or convict, doesn't that send a message that what he did was all right?
TESTER: Well, I think it could.
That's why I -- but let me also say this. I think the House needs to do what the House thinks is the right thing to do. But -- and then pass the
papers over to the Senate, and if, in fact, that's what they determine is the right thing to do. And then the Senate can act.
But, hopefully, there's some conversation between Senator McConnell and Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer and Minority Leader McCarthy, because,
honestly, I think this is a huge deal that happened on Wednesday.
And I think to overlook it would not be good. I had been critical of Leader McConnell in the past because of the number of bills that are out there
that should be on the floor. When the session was over with on Wednesday night, or early Thursday morning, I went up to Leader McConnell and I said:
"Thank you. Thank you for what you have done today, because it was the right thing to do on certification of the elections."
And I will tell you that I read body language a lot. And that man was under a lot of stress. You could read it in his eyes. You could see it in
I don't want to do something for political purposes. I will just be honest with you. I don't think this impeachment should be done because it gives
Democrats an advantage or Republicans a disadvantage or vice versa.
It needs to be done because it's the right thing to do, because it's what this country stands for, because we can't allow somebody who gives a speech
that talks about running through the -- going up and fighting and doing the things that happened on Wednesday to allow to stand.
And, hopefully, those conversations are happening within the leadership of the House and Senate, so that we don't get in a situation where it becomes
a partisan, bickering battle that has happened so many times in the past.
ISAACSON: To what extent do you feel that Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are partly accountable for what happened?
TESTER: Those folks along, with the other 11 senators, absolutely enabled this president to do what he did. There is no doubt about that.
They helped him accomplish his goal, which I believe the president's goal was to overrun the legislative branch of government. And that's exactly
ISAACSON: And so do you think that Senators Hawley and Cruz, in particular, as the leaders of that group, should be held accountable in
TESTER: I believe all 13 senators need to be held accountable in some way.
TESTER: Well, I think that's up to the Senate, once again, while we're -- I mean, I think we need to have a discussion about it.
But I think it goes anywhere from censure to expelling.
ISAACSON: And how would you expel senators for doing that? Do you think that's even conceivable?
TESTER: It would take a two-thirds vote of the Senate to do that.
ISAACSON: Your wonderful book "Grounded" begins and ends with you having what you call the intestinal fortitude to stand up to Donald Trump.
And you end up winning because of it. Explain to me that and the lessons for other senators today.
TESTER: Well, I think people appreciate authenticity, and I think they appreciate direct talk, direct talk.
And that's what I have tried to do. That's really who I am. I can't morph myself into something that I'm not, although I will tell you, in the three
elections that I have been involved in for the United States Senate, my opponents have tried to morph me into something that I'm not.
But the truth is, is that I think the people of Montana know me as somebody who tells it like it is, a pretty straight shooter. And that's what I do.
And I think that's what people in agriculture do, too, honestly.
It's one of the interesting conundrums, I guess you would call it, in that I don't know how a millionaire from New York City has such appeal in rural
America, other than the fact that I don't think Democrats do a good job of getting their message out.
I don't think they do a good job of showing up in rural America. And Donald Trump did do that. And I give him credit for that. But the bottom line is,
I think I did it because I was authentic, I told people the way it was. I didn't Milquetoast it.
And I think people respect that.
ISAACSON: You're out right now in your farm in Montana. You told me you're putting away some hay that you have already harvested for the winter.
Tell me why it is that rural America has such trouble with your party, the Democratic Party?
TESTER: I don't think we message very well at all, Walter.
I mean, I always give the example, if you walked into bar in Pep's Bar in Big Sandy, Montana, and said -- get into a political discussion, say, I'm a
Democrat. I say, well, what do you believe in? Well, I believe in public education. I think we should work and make public education as strong as it
can be. It's the foundation of our democracy.
I believe in good infrastructure. I believe in taking care of our veterans. The list goes on. And I think, if you were able to do that, and do it that
cleanly, of course, I think everybody in the bar would be nodding their heads, you know? They would be saying, absolutely, that's a person we want
to put into office.
The problem is, we don't do a good job of talking about what we stand for. And then we get labeled, in the meantime, as being a socialist or wanting
to defend the police, which is hogwash, quite honestly.
And I heard it again this weekend on some of the talk shows in the morning. The truth is, is that the Democratic Party stands for working folks, stands
for good education, good public education. It stands for making sure that our kids and our grandkids have opportunity going forward into the future.
And we got to -- we have to do a better job as Democrats talking about, this is what we believe in, and this is what we have done to accomplish
ISAACSON: You talk about defund the police. You walk into that bar you mentioned in Montana, people say, yes, you stand for all that, but don't
you stand for defunding the police. What do you say to them?
TESTER: No, absolutely do not.
The police, in my opinion, are incredibly important to our society, to keeping law and order. We are a country of laws. And I saw what the police
did that in the Capitol on Wednesday. And those folks are heroes, in my mind. They put up one heck of a fight, were badly outmanned.
And that's the way it is everywhere, whether it's the highway patrolman going down the road picking up somebody that they don't know what they're
going to come across, to the local town policeman that walks into a domestic violence situation. They don't know what they're going to come
To the person who picks up a kid in high school because he's swerving on the road and says, knock it off, that isn't appropriate behavior. Those
folks are so very, very important. Those first responders are so very, very important to our society and moving forward, that -- and, by the way, I
don't serve with anybody in the Senate that wants to defund the police, nobody.
But yet you get tagged with that kind of stuff.
ISAACSON: As you looked at the tapes of what happened in the Capitol, do you feel that it would have been different had it been African-Americans or
black activists coming into the Capitol, and that there is some need for some criminal justice reform, as we look at how police treat different
types of protests?
TESTER: Look, just as what happened with those 13 senators, that there has to be accountability for their actions, I think everybody has to have
accountability for their actions.
And I think that applies also to United States senators, to police officers, to -- to everybody. I mean, actions have consequences.
And so, if folks are acting improperly, if we don't have equal justice served under the law, then the folks have to be held accountable for that,
and that is just the way it needs to be. You know, I said the pledge of allegiance for 12 years when I was going to school, and it is about equal
justice under the law, that's what this country stands for. And so, there has to be accountability.
Whether it is here, changes in our system, I don't think know what the right answer is here. But in the end, I think we need to support our police
and I think we need to hold the folks who aren't acting appropriately accountable. And I think there are (INAUDIBLE), right, and they have very
difficult position, where they have to make decisions in a split second, life and death decisions by the way.
And so, I think that it is really important that we take all of that into consideration when we are talking about accountability. But I will tell you
that there is no doubt with the stuff that I have seen on TV over the last -- over my lifetime, quite frankly, that there are some folks out there
that don't believe in equal justice under the law, and they need to be held accountable.
ISAACSON: You're on the appropriations committee, which should be in the next stimulus and COVID package?
TESTER: Look, Walter, what I hope happens is we get the vaccine distribute and we don't need another one. But I would tell you that that's probably
not going to be the case. I think we need to look at the businesses that have really been hammered by this pandemic, particularity hospitality
industry. And I think we ought to focus any sort of effort on dollars for those businesses who were really been hammered by this pandemic. And then I
think we have to take a look at the families who were out of work, who, quite frankly, haven't been able to get back to work and help those folks
So, the bottom line for me is any package that we pass in the Senate, in Congress, has to be very, very targeted moving forward. And I don't think -
- just to be flat honest with you, I don't think that we have done a good enough job targeting where the money needs to go to help move the economy
around. And if we get to the point in March where there's another package, I hope that folks come together and say, look, this money needs to be
targeted, we need to make sure we're getting the biggest bang for the buck as it's distributed out. And I think then and only then will we stee true
dollars appropriated to Congress working for the American people moving this economy forward in the right direction.
ISAACSON: What do you think of the simple idea of just giving people $2,000 stimulus check?
TESTER: For people that make $75,000 a year I think that is not targeting playing (ph) I would do it. I think we need to focus on folks who are
unemployed because of this or underemployed because of this pandemic and focus some money to them, and I think that's really important.
Look, I don't get the money, my brothers don't need the money, and my neighbors don't need the money. But honestly, they have taken it, they gave
it to them, but the truth is, is that places like agriculture have been impacted by bad trade policies, not by the pandemic. We've seen some
impacted, very (INAUDIBLE). And quite honestly, moving forward, we need to make sure that the money that's appropriated by Congress is starting the
business who have been impacted, and to the people who have been impacted.
ISAACSON: What do you think that President-Elect Biden should focus on in the first 100 days?
TESTER: Well, I think a couple of things. I think he needs to focus on making sure we get past this pandemic and I think it's critically important
if we're going to get the economy turned around. And I hope (INAUDIBLE). I think it's really critically important. We've bee living off my parents, my
grandparent's investments and infrastructure. And so, we're out. And if anything, this pandemic has taught, we're willfully short on broadband.
So, we need to not only deal with broadband, we need to deal with our roads and bridges, our rail transportation system, sewer and water, those kinds
of things. And we need to have meaningful infrastructure bill put out that that works and puts people to work in this country.
There are other things too that I think further on down the line need to be dealt with but it's going to take a lot of work. Let me give you one,
climate change. Climate change is real on the farmer, I have seen it happen, and I have been on the farm since 1978, and the climate has
changed. And sometimes it helps farmers, sometimes it hurts farmers. But in the end, it has instability to our planet and the cost of the American
Treasury hundreds of billions of dollars in disaster loss each and every year.
So, I think it's important that the president, and the folks like me and others, get out and talk to folks about what are reasonable solutions to
what is going on in the planet right now. Right now, people were whatever worried as hell that is going to put them out of work. Well, we can't start
from that as a foundation. We have to go out and we have to visit with folks, we have to figure out what we can do and then move forward to get
our arms around this. Because, quite honestly, it is a huge issue that we'll take out generations after us and that's not why I'm in this
ISAACSON: Senator Jon Tester, thank you so much for joining us.
TESTER: It's a pleasure to be here with you, Walter. Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: Now, continuing the fallout from the attack on the United States capitol, it was, of course, the culmination of years of online
misinformation, lies, conspiracies, extremism and hate cooked up by Trump supporters and the president himself, social media platforms were the
Now, they're taking action by blocking the president which has raised a whole other debate, what's the role of unelected business organizations in
this kind of politics? And the question of free speech, where's the bar for hate speech or incitement? How effective can a ban be? Let's discuss all of
this with tech journalist and host to the "New York Times' Sway" podcast, Kara Swisher, who is joining me now from Washington.
Welcome back to the program, Kara.
KARA SWISHER, HOST, "SWAY" PODCAST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: I just want to ask you first, how come when everybody knew what was being said and what was being, you know, organized in plain sight
online, how come it took, you know, this insurrection, this invasion of the capitol, the death of five people to actually finally get the social media
powerhouses to take down the president's accounts?
SWISHER: Well, that's a good question. A lot of us have been calling for this for a long time because of the growing hatred and misinformation has
really started to become dangerous.
And, of course, you saw it really acutely right after the elections, but this has been going on for a long time. And you and I have talked about it
before. I keep talking about where this thing leads to. I think no one should have been surprised by any of this especially the social media
companies because as I've discussd before many times, engaged -- the way they are getting engagement is through enragement, and they had to have
understand what is happening here.
Now, the fact that they took, you know, almost four years to do this, now, earlier this year they had put labels on these things which are wholly
inadequate to what was happening. This amount of lying that was going from the president of the United States, it was a through line to what has
And so, I think -- I don't know what took so long. I think they have tried really hard to sort of stick with this antiquated version of, hey, it won't
have any impact in the real world, except they had experiences in the rest of world, whether it was Myanmar or India or other places, they've seen
this happen before where --
SWISHER: -- Philippines -- where the digital hatred jumps off of the screen and right into real life.
So, again -- you know, I think did an interview with Mark Zuckerberg two years ago about this, and he said, we're going to look for solutions, we're
going to fix the problem, and they didn't.
AMANPOUR: And, you know, you mentioned Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, they had a very distinguished blue-ribbon panel, former prime ministers, you
know, top ranked people on this sort of commission that was meant to look into all of this stuff. And as you say, they didn't do a good job. And
those labels --
SWISHER: That has not started yet. That's just started. Yes. That's just started. That is their Facebook --
AMANPOUR: OK. Well, we'll see what that does. All right.
SWISHER: We will see. Yes. They are a little slow. They are a little slow.
AMANPOUR: But maybe the moment has passed them, because do you think that Facebook, Twitter, all of this other big, big -- you know, the big five, so
to speak, will make this permanent or are they just still, you know, dithering about how long to have this ban on?
SWISHER: Well, Twitter, this is a permanent ban. He's violated the rule so many times, but this time it's a permanent ban for him, and that's, of
course, his -- that's cutting off his oxygen in a lot of ways because that's his favorite means of communicated and it's the best means for him
because it's instantaneous, it's unfettered, he can say anything he wants and he just loves the reaction, and the reaction is critically important.
So, the amplification and instantness of it is important for Donald Trump So, he's not coming back to Twitter ever.
And a lot of people in QAnon, they're not coming back to Twitter. Everyone who violates the laws, they're not coming back to Twitter ever, they kicked
off Sidney Powell, they kicked off Michael Flynn and people like that.
Facebook has said indefinitely so has -- so as a number of other platforms. Some have kicked them off, some -- it depends, it depends whether it's
Shopify or others, whether they're going to kick the Trum campaign off forever or for a short time.
I do think that they are worried right now in the near term, these next few weeks, the violence that happened and the violence that's possibly to come.
I think they do not want to be in any position to give him any kind of ability to communicate to mass amounts of people.
AMANPOUR: I wonder if you think in your conversations with them or in your analysis and reporting on it, whether you think they bear responsibility,
some anyway, for what happened. Because again, as I said, it was being organized online in plain sight. And one European official has called, you
know, the insurrection, the 9/11 moment of social media, as massive turning point.
AMANPOUR: Do you think it will have that broad depth of, you know, accountability?
SWISHER: I think they have lost all excuses. They always show up at Congress or the European Union with all kinds of excuses. I think they have
lost any kind of ability to excuse themselves for this. I do think they have accountability. I've talked about accountability and lack of
consequence for a long time.
I do -- it's a question of what regulators do next, right, and what happens and how we do this smartly, because you don't want to do this kind of -- a
lot of politicians want to do the Ban 230, this and that. If you can't do anything too quickly, you really do have to understand what needs to be
done, and the focus should be on innovation and creating more and more companies so these companies don't dominate everything, so that we have to
wait. We literally have had to wait until a bunch of billionaires decide enough was enough, no one else.
And so, that's a problem. And now, what they did in this case was correct, Donald Trump violated the rules. And by the way, it all starts with Donald
Trump and the lies and the misinformation. But the fact of the matter is, they handed him the tools to do so and what -- and he has gained them
forever, and why wouldn't he? I hate to say that, but why wouldn't he do this? This is exactly what you would do if you were an autocratic
personality. This -- why not? You know, dictators love the internet and they love these tools.
AMANPOUR: And of course -- yes. And as you mentioned, you know, all these other authoritarian countries and, of course, when there are no barriers,
one goes, you know, a far as one can until one stop. But you said, you know, a bunch of billionaires decided enough is enough. And now, this goes
to the next question I want to ask you about the debate, free speech, hate speech incitement.
So, you know, nobody less than Angela Merkel has raised the issue of the free speech issue. She said, you know, she called Twitter's ban problematic
through her spokesman. She says, free speech can be restricted according to the law and within the framework defined by legislators, not according to
the decision by the management of the social media platforms.
On the other hand, as you have no doubt seen, the former Obama homeland security official, Juliette Kayyem, she's twitted, this talk of free speech
is a straw man. As we have learned, this is a terrorist organization incited by its leader. Just as we urged to platform to monitor all
terrorism and radicalization, this is no different. This is how we must view the Twitter ban, it's counterterrorism.
SWISHER: Yes, I'm with her on this.
AMANPOUR: Weight in on that, Kara, free speech versus -- yes. OK.
SWISHER: Yes, it's a strong -- look, the First Amendment for many of the people who are making this argument haven't read it actually. It says,
Congress shall make no law. It's -- again, it's a number of things but including the freedom -- bridging the freedom to speech. It does not say
Twitter shall make no law. Twitter has lots of laws, Facebook, everything else. It's the government shall make no law. And so, that is big issue.
And so, they can do what they want, and they can cut off who they want, by the way, in terms of -- like the recent cut off of Parler, they don't want
to do business with this service. They shouldn't have to. And what -- it is interesting, the people that are calling loudly for this and, of course,
focusing on their Twitter followers when people died at the capitol, which is the height of heinousness as far as I can see, they are making an
argument to distract you from the fact that he violated the rules of these private companies.
They sound -- I don't mean to be rude because they use this all the time, like socialists. This is what their version of a socialist would do. They -
- these are private companies that do not want to be in the business of terrorism. And I think Juliette is right.
Now, we do have some issues that the market power is so big in these companies that we need more companies but our legislator in this country,
and by the way, in Europe, they have done lots of things and other countries, they have done lots of things. Our leaders, our political
leaders have largely abrogated their responsibility to monitor and figure out this thing is a smart bipartisan way.
And so, as much as I'd like to say, I wish we can figure this out, no one's even tried to figure out what the issues are. But it is not a First
Amendment issue, it is a business that -- it's like a restaurant that doesn't want the crazy person to come in ranting and getting other people
to create all kinds of trouble including violence. This is an incitement to violence that he did and he's been doing for a long time. This is
misinformation and they have every right to crack down on it. They do it for others. And unfortunately for President Trump, guess what, he's the
worst violator and he needed to be kicked off of this platform. And I think that's clear.
AMANPOUR: So, you talked -- you interviewed the CEO of Parler, and if I get time, I'm going to play a little soundbite. But just to say that all of
these other alternatives, Gab, Parler, the others who are much more, you know, rightwing and not so big, very culturally insular, nonetheless, they
are going to get Trump, they're going to get his supporters. How effective will that be? In other words, if Trump is kicked off Twitter and Facebook
and all the other big ones, do you think he's capable of creating a whole other massive competitive social media ecosystem for himself?
SWISHER: No, I don't. I don't. And that's the problem. Look, Parler, I did this interview, and the thing got shutdown, you know, because the guy
committed the worst thing which is telling the truth actually of what they are doing there. And so, he said they didn't have any responsibility and
didn't do any moderation. And unfortunately, he got himself, you know, canceled in a weird way.
One of the things that's a problem for President Trump is you can't really organize like this on Facebook. These other sites are very insular and only
-- and not just small but it's only this -- he's only talking to his base, there are already listening to him. What he likes about Twitter is he gets
the news media, he gets politicians, he gets liberals, he gets conservatives, everybody is there at the party and therefore it causes a
lot of impact.
He doesn't -- this -- there's nothing else. Even if he creates one, we're - - not everybody is going to go rushing over there to be on the Trump, you know, version of Twitter, and that's a problem. But guess what he actually
has, he's got a podium, right, there in the White House that is jacked into every media organization in the world, he can get up and talk there, he has
all kinds of ways to talk to people. So, this idea that he's been silenced, he -- last I looked, people paid attention to everything the president of
the United States says. He just needs to walk out and talk to people.
The reason he doesn't is because he gets pushback. And on Twitter, he doesn't get pushback and that's his problem. Anywhere he gets pushback, he
has a problem and there's nothing in existence right now where he can do that, and that's -- you know, there's like Mussolini had newsreels, you
know, other dictators had all kinds of things, he's got a problem in terms of getting to people in an unfettered way and having it amplified by social
media, and then it amplifies on social media too. It doesn't -- it's not just what he says, it's the reaction of all of us, it's the reaction of all
his followers and the people who don't follow him. And so, that's the problem he's got, and it's a big problem for him
AMANPOUR: Well, I was going to say let's hope it's a problem that actually leads to more safety and security at shoring up of the democratic process
and the truth eco system, which has been such a terrible casualty of all of this.
Kara Swisher, thank you so much. I know you have to rush. Thank. Yes. Thanks for being with us.
And finally, here in the U.K., the chief medical officer warns that we are now at the worst point of the coronavirus pandemic with numbers now higher
than the peak last spring. But vaccines do offer hope.
In the United States, President-Elect Biden has received his second coronavirus injection today. And our next guest, Dr. Peter Salk was just
nine years old when he got his polio vaccine, that was in 1953. And the vaccine was developed by his own father, Jonas Salk. An infectious diseases
expert himself, Peter Salk is joining me now to discuss vaccine rollouts then and now.
Welcome to the program.
It's really wonderful to have you on this incredible issue.
PETER SALK, PRESIDENT, JONAS SALK LEGACY FOUNDATION: Christiane, thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, tell me a little bit, remind us what it was like at the time polio was raging. It took your father some seven years, I believe, to
develop the vaccine and then it was it was given out. How did the rollout go and do you remember yourself getting it?
SALK: Well, I certainly remember my first injection when the vaccine was still in an experimental stage because I hated needles and the miracle that
day was that I didn't feel that injection. So, that has fixed the moment in my mind.
And in terms of the way things --
AMANPOUR: And what do you see -- yes. Sorry. Go ahead.
SALK: No, no please.
AMANPOUR: Go ahead. No, no, no. I wanted you to tell me the story.
SALK: OK. Good. What things were like back then, polio was getting worse and worse. This had been an endemic disease for hundreds and hundreds of
years. And then within improve sanitation, it became an epidemic disease because the virus would spread and children wouldn't be infected very early
with the increased sanitation at a time when they had protection from their mother's antibodies, and then when those antibodies were off and they got
infected later on, then the problem really became explosive.
So, there were huge epidemics, growing each year up until the vaccine came along. People were terrified, there was no way of knowing whether their
child would be affected, how this summer would be, which was the time that the virus would spread the most seriously.
And what happened was the people of this country got behind it, they wanted to see a vaccine, it was not funded by the government, it was funded by the
people, the March of Dimes raised funds dime by dime, dollar by dollar so that when this vaccine that my father and his coworkers at the University
of Pittsburgh had developed, when that was finally found in a 1.8 million child field trial to have been safe, effective and potent with potency
ranging in the 80 to 90 percent range, that was a huge relief. Parents could finally relax, swimming pools could open, movie theaters could open
And within six years of the introduction of that vaccine, the number of cases of polio fell from a peak of about 58,000 cases in 1952, there was a
97 percent reduction by the end of six years. So, there was a palpable relief and this is a milestone to compare against.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's really interesting to hear you put it in this real- life historical perspective. and let me just put up a little graphic that we have of how people felt back in 1954 about vaccines, Americans willing
to take it back in 1954, the polio vaccine, was 54 percent 31 percent were nervous about it. That is compared to today where a December study from
Kaiser Family Foundation found that 29 percent of American healthcare workers don't want the vaccine, which is higher than the overall public.
And in rural America, 50 percent believe that the COVID pandemic is blown out of proportion.
What's the best way to challenge those kinds of thoughts about this and what would you say about the safety of the COVID vaccine right now?
SALK: From what I have seen, the first two vaccines that have been introduced in this country are looking very safe and the effectiveness in
the earlies -- in these studies that were done is highly effective. There are cases where someone can develop an allergic reaction, hives, have
difficulty breathing, that's not frequent, but if you are able to sit for 30 minutes after the injection, you are able to be monitored, and if that
were to happen, be able to be treated to relieve those symptoms.
So, this is something that aside from a sore arm, it looks as though we're able to take effectively and I think this is a really important first step
for us in this process.
AMANPOUR: Can I just read you what the pope said this weekend.
AMANPOUR: Pope Francis just came out with a very strong moral argument for taking the vaccine. He said, I believe that ethically everyone should take
the vaccine. It is not an option, it is an ethical choice because you're gambling with your health, with your life, but you're also gambling with
the lives of others.
In your experience, you're an epidemiologist, you know, you work in this field, what does something like that -- I mean, is that a good thing for
him to say? Do you think that will have a ripple effect? And how do you confront the notion that there has to be at least enough people vaccinated
to offer a vaccine induced herd immunity?
SALK: Yes. I think the way this is likely to happen it will be similar to what happened back in the polio days, there are people who are really
wanting the vaccine and they will step up. There are others who are concerned and are watching. And when they -- as these people see that the
vaccine is being used safely and is being effective and people are being protected against this virus, I think that in and of itself will be an
inducement to stand in line oneself for the sake of one's own protection and the protection of families and friends.
However, there are others who carry doubts about the process, about vaccines. And frankly, I think a lot of that is overblown. Vaccines can
have unexpected effects, that's happened many times in the past. And those have been taken into account and appropriate changes have been made when
necessary. But the notion that vaccines in general are something that we should avoid, I think is really problematic.
Look at what's happened, we do not have polio in this country at this point, period, and that is only because of the vaccines that have been
introduced. I --
AMANPOUR: And it's interesting, our previous conversation was about social media and how that, you know, exploited so many political tensions and
lies, and I think it's done a job on the vaccine as well. But, you know, as we said last year, we know coronavirus to a coal (ph). But good news, as
you say, wild polio was eradicated from Africa.
What kind of -- you know, what how do you feel about that when you think and you remember that it was your father who introduced the vaccine?
SALK: You know, the polio vaccines are a complicated story because there are two vaccines. There's the one that my father and his coworkers
developed, which at this is completely safe when it's manufactured appropriately after an early glitch in 1955, that was taken care of. The
vaccines that's been being used into a great extent in the global effort has been the live vaccine which does have a problem. The weakened viruses
in that vaccine can revert to a dangerous form.
And at the present moment, in the process of this eradication effort, which has reduced polio cases from over 600,000 cases a year, globally, down to
what had been just a few 100 at one point but now, it's expanded more because of two things One is the current coronavirus epidemic and fewer
people being vaccinated.
But also, what we're seeing is that the cases caused by the live vaccine itself are more, many more than the cases caused by the wild polio virus.
There maybe some changes coming, we've got a new -- a new oral vaccine that's being introduces that maybe safer. So, I'm just saying that vaccines
can be complicated, problems can be taken care.
But in this particular circumstance, I think we need to understand that we have the responsibility to vaccinate -- become vaccinated ourselves, take
advantage of this and not be in the position of dying ourselves or causing the death or the disability of loved ones or others in our communities.
AMANPOUR: It's great to have your perspective, Dr. Salk. Thank you so much for joining us.
And that is it for now. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.