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The Biden Foreign Policy Agenda?; Alexei Navalny's Life Hanging in the Balance?; Interview With Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired April 20, 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.
LEONID VOLKOV, CHIEF OF STAFF TO ALEXEI NAVALNY: They don't want him to die in prison in Putin's custody, but they definitely want him to suffer.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): After three weeks on hunger strike, global concern grows for the imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. I get
the latest from his chief of staff.
JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: There will be consequences if Mr. Navalny dies.
AMANPOUR: As the Biden administration weighs in, I asked former Special Assistant on Russia Celeste Wallander what those consequences could look
LARRY KRASNER, PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I am a career civil rights lawyer, the only attorney in the history of this city to overturn 800
convictions by corrupt police officers.
AMANPOUR: The Chauvin trial puts the whole U.S. criminal justice system in the spotlight. The pioneering progressive Philadelphia district attorney
Larry Krasner joins us with what it takes to reform.
NICOLE PERLROTH, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think it is time, probably high time, we are way past due, to refocus on our cyber-defense.
AMANPOUR: Hari Sreenivasan talks to cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth about why America is losing the cyber-arms race.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
After three weeks on hunger strike, jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is in solitary confinement in a prison hospital. He's being treated
for what his team calls life-threatening symptoms.
His supporters are calling for protests on Wednesday, the same day that President Putin will give his annual state of the nation speech. The
government is warning people not to take part in any such protests after months of harsh crackdowns on opposition activists.
Navalny has been refusing food since March 31, demanding proper medical care and to be examined by an independent doctor. Both European and
American leaders are warning the Kremlin of consequences if Navalny dies.
Russia's prison service says his current health condition is satisfactory.
Leonid Volkov is Navalny's chief of staff, and he joined me from exile in Lithuania to discuss his condition.
AMANPOUR: Leonid Volkov, welcome to the program.
Let me just start by asking you, what is the latest information you have on Alexei Navalny's health?
VOLKOV: The latest information is that he has been transferred to a prison hospital on Sunday.
Today, his lawyers managed to visit him. He's very weak, but he's still able to walk. He is now in the 21st day of his hunger strike. He felt bad
during the transportation from his colony to the prison hospital. And he felt like very ill. So, he was given some glucose.
But now he's, well, back on the hunger strike. And he's designated to keep on.
AMANPOUR: So, he's being fed on a glucose drip. Is that something with his approval, with his consent?
VOLKOV: As far as I understood from his letter today, from his message today, he was kind of very weak, and they kind of just gave him this
glucose drop counter, just for a few while, just to support him.
I'm not sure if he thought -- if he was strong enough to give consent for this.
AMANPOUR: And what do you really think? What does Navalny's team, you and the others on the outside who are desperate to get -- to get him some help?
Do you really believe that the Kremlin would allow him to die in prison on their watch?
We have heard the Russian ambassador to the U.K. say that will never happen.
VOLKOV: Well, I will put it this way.
On August 20, 2020, Vladimir Putin didn't shoot Alexei Navalny in his forehead with a bullet. He ordered to kill him covertly, so that a doctor
would find out it was a heart attack when the plane would land and Alexei Navalny's dead body would be found.
It didn't work out, but the plan was not to kill him, but to kill him in such ways that Putin is out of suspicion. So I would say that now,
probably, I can -- ironically, could reed to the Russian ambassador to the U.K.
They don't want him to die in prison in put in custody, but they definitely want him to suffer. So they don't have anything against if he would just
like rot in prison and, like, suffer enormously.
And then, well, it's Russian prison medicine. These are ignorant, unqualified people. And anything should happen just by itself. So, where
did the hunger strike start? Because he was feeling bad, and no treatment was suggested, and no diagnosis was given for what's going on.
He developed numbness in his legs and then in his arms, and no one was telling him anything. So, it's kind of -- they're not trying to kill him,
sure. But it looks like they don't have nothing against if he dies, or if he has, like, severe health problems which would, like, prevent him from
function politically in the future.
AMANPOUR: So, can I ask you? Because part of this struggle for -- by him and by his colleagues yourself is to get him to see his own doctors, his
Where are you on that? Has anybody from his own circle been able to visit him at all?
VOLKOV: Given the past poisoning history, it's so essential that trustful -- a trustworthy doctor visits him, because, once again, the neurological
symptoms that he developed three weeks ago, and because he went on the hunger strike, they are not explainable easily.
And every doctor said he needs to undergo a thorough examination to find out where do the symptoms come from. Maybe there was another, like, slow
poison or something else like this.
So, today, once again, he was refused to be examined by his own doctors, by the doctors he trusts. They arrived to the penal colony, to the prison
Vladimir. They waited for five hours. First, they were promised they would be admitted. And then, once again, they haven't been admitted to see him.
AMANPOUR: So, in the meantime, political activity is going on. Tomorrow, Wednesday, President Putin will deliver his annual state of the nation
address to Parliament, and you have called for mass protests.
Is that going to happen? And how do you expect that to be dealt with by the Kremlin?
VOLKOV: We know one thing.
If, well, 1,000 people turn out for the protests, they will be beaten down. If 10,000, someone will be arrested, but there will be no massive
crackdown. If there are 100,000, the police will just stay away, stay back, and watch carefully.
So, our idea was to overcome fear by getting together as much people as possible for these rallies. And that's why we launched the Web site where
people registered. It is a kind of a public pledge: I'm going to attempt, but not -- but only if 500,000 other people also pledged to attend.
Unfortunately, we had to stop this. We had to act very fast when we got 460,000 of those registrations. Still, the hope that the majority of those
460,000 people will turn out tomorrow, which will make it the largest rally in Russia's post-Soviet history.
AMANPOUR: So, that's really interesting. We were just playing some pictures of a previous rally that Navalny had called. And you could see the
police crack down on the people there.
What do you hope to achieve by this rally? Obviously, according to Russian rules and laws and what they say, people out there could be punished. They
could be punished with long jail terms and the rest. What do you want this protest to do, to achieve?
VOLKOV: The only things that we are actually trying to achieve through this protest is to show our supporters they are not a minority anymore.
They are indeed not a minority.
Like, polling shows this. But Kremlin and its propaganda. They're trying hard to isolate people in their apartments, pretending that, like, everyone
around them is pro-Putin.
The most important effect of the street rallies is that people manage to see each other and that people realize that Putin's majority is just a
propaganda story. This will be very important in front of the elections in September. We will have a general election. And we are able to visit the
election, but only if people believe it's possible to win.
AMANPOUR: Of course, Putin's changed the constitution. He can essentially stay in power for a long, long time from now.
But I want to ask you about the international community. The E.U. foreign policy chief has said that the government of Russia, Putin, will be held
responsible if something happens to Navalny. So too has the United States.
This is what the national security adviser said just the this weekend about Navalny's case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SULLIVAN: We have communicated to the Russian government that what happens to Mr. Navalny in their custody is their responsibility and they will be
held accountable by the international community.
In terms of the specific measures that we would undertake, we are looking at a variety of different costs that we would impose. And I'm not going to
telegraph that publicly at this point, but we have communicated that there will be consequences if Mr. Navalny dies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, what do you make of that? Is that a strong enough statement? They're not telling us what consequences, but do you think the U.S. has
communicated firmly enough to Russia, to Putin?
VOLKOV: Well, with all due respect, it's strong, but it's not strong enough.
Something bad is happening to Navalny now.
He's being held in prison unlawfully. He's being tortured. He doesn't belong to prisons. There is a standing verdict of the European Court of
Human Rights that he has to be immediately released. And the European Court of Human Rights is part of Russian legal system. Russia has to comply with
So, Russia is already violating its international regulations, also with regard to chemical weapons. And I don't supporting the wording we would
hold Russia accountable if he dies.
I prefer that Russia be held -- that Putin -- it is not Russia. I prefers that Putin be held accountable -- accountable for what's happening now,
before Navalny dies. I don't want my friend and my colleague to die.
AMANPOUR: Of course not.
Leonid Volkov, thank you so much for joining us.
VOLKOV: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Of course, the Kremlin denies any involvement in Navalny's poisoning.
Now, the U.S. has imposed new sanctions on Moscow and expelled Russian diplomats. The Kremlin also has expelled American diplomats in response.
It's the latest in an attempt to crack down on Russia over election interference, its SolarWinds cyberattack, and it comes amid the buildup of
Russian forces on the border with Ukraine.
Celeste Wallander is the former special assistant to the president for Russia on the National Security Council. And she's joining me now from
Welcome to the program, Celeste Wallander.
So, can I just ask you first to comment on that back and forth about Navalny? What do you think? I mean, like Leonid Volkov said it's just not
quite good enough to threaten consequences if Navalny dies. What else can the U.S. or should the U.S. do about his condition now?
CELESTE WALLANDER, FORMER SPECIAL TO THE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Well, thanks for asking me to join you in this conversation.
I think the threat or the statement that you heard from the national security adviser is explicitly meant to prevent the death of Mr. Navalny.
The U.S. government has signaled this week that it is not only willing to impose very direct sanctions on the Russian economy by restricting American
and, by extension, other international investors in the purchasing of Russian sovereign debt going forward.
But the executive order that was passed is actually much broader and allows for a much more significant set of financial sanctions, including
prohibiting even reselling or holding Russian sovereign debt, which, if that step were taken, would have quite a significant effect on the Russian
economy, on Russian businesses.
And so I think that what the Biden administration has successfully done in the last week is something that people have been lamenting the sanctions
policy for the last couple of years did not do sufficiently, which is not just to punish after the fact, but to show what would happen and show very
significant cost ahead of the fact exactly to shape Russian behavior.
And I think that's what you have seen the combination of the statement from the White House and the past -- the creation of that executive order with
very significant capabilities.
AMANPOUR: How does one balance these sanctions?
I mean, probably, people listening, their eyes may be glazing over. I don't know. But we have been talking about sanctions against Russia for years and
years and years now. And it -- to us, to a layperson, it doesn't seem to have changed their behavior.
In addition, the president has held out the notion of a summit, President Biden, with President Putin. And Putin seems to want to do that in a third
country. Plus, Putin will address the climate summit that the president has called. That's going to be tomorrow.
So, how do you balance these things to cause pain on the one hand and teach a lesson the one hand, but then, it seems, to keep him in the community of
nations and work with him on the other hand?
WALLANDER: So, on the impact of sanctions, I think that I would share the view that the sanctions of the last couple of years have been significantly
They are confusing. They're targeting the wrong targets. They're targeting individuals in Russia that, frankly, the Kremlin doesn't care all that much
But the sanctions that were imposed in 2014 did have a deterrent effect in the summer of 2014, after Russia was escalating the fighting. There were
indications of much more significant escalations to come. And after the tragic shoot-down of MH17, Europe in the United States cooperated in
imposing very significant sanctions not against individuals here and there, but against sectors of the Russian economy.
And we saw a step-back, a pullback in the summer and fall of Russian military operations in Ukraine. So it's hard to prove that deterrent
threats have an effect, because what you're getting is not behavior. That's the nature of deterrence. But I think that well-designed sanctions and
well-designed deterrent instruments of many kinds can have that effect.
It's just hard to see it, because it's more -- it's the dog that doesn't bark as a result.
AMANPOUR: Also, it creates the question -- sorry. Go ahead.
AMANPOUR: Well, no, I was just going to say, it begs the question, what is the U.S.' ultimate goal? Is it to see Russia collapse?
Just this week -- and Putin-ism collapse. Just this week, the former head of MI6 here, John Sawers, basically said that is not the Western goal. You
don't want to see the Balkanization or the complete collapse of a country as big and as important and as brimming with nuclear weapons and other
weapons of mass destruction just collapse.
So, is Russia brittle? What is the state of affairs?
WALLANDER: So, I would agree that I think the goal of U.S. foreign policy, bipartisan goal of U.S. foreign policy, is not to cause the collapse of
And, in fact, U.S. policy for the past 30 years focused on trying to integrate Russia into the international economy, to support democracy, to
support business, to seek out that kind of excellent, successful and prosperous Russia.
The problem is, the Kremlin doesn't want that. And so U.S. policy can't want something that the leadership not only doesn't want, the Putin
leadership, but that it sees as a threat to its own rule inside the country.
So, U.S. strategy, since the return of President Putin in 2012, has had to deal with the reality of a Russian leadership that seeks to break the
international system, the norms of the global liberal order that actually advance and support American interests and European interests and that of
many countries, because they're seen as a threat inside of Russia.
So the goal of U.S. strategy is to protect ourselves from the lashing out and the undermining and the fracturing of an international system and a
domestic system, including our elections, that actually protects us.
AMANPOUR: So, you have been the top Russia expert certainly under the Obama administration in the national security and also at the Pentagon.
You have been in the room when Putin and I guess the president, but certainly President Biden, as vice president, were together. Is this
something do you think that personalities can shape and change? Do you think there's any willingness or desire? I know you have just said that
Russia's aim is to keep challenging the West, and et cetera.
But do you think there's something or anything that might change between these two personalities?
WALLANDER: Well, I think that the Russian leadership is pretty savvy. And they actually do a pretty good job of assessing their environment and what
works and what doesn't work.
And so, first and foremost, what they need to understand is, what they have been doing for the past few years isn't going to work anymore. America is
not going to allow its election system to be interfered with. And that message got through in 2018 and -- 2018, with the measures that the U.S.
government successfully took to protect the elections.
And, also, they need to understand that, while President Biden is willing to talk with the Russian leadership in order to advance American interests,
he's under no illusions what the Russian leadership is about.
So that is, I think, the reason why the White House has offered a summit, because they're very confident that President Biden can deliver that
message that: You can't get around me. You're not fooling me. And we are able to develop a strategy and implement that strategy in cooperation with
our allies, especially in Europe, but also in Asia, to prevent you from succeeding in undermining our interests and harming our citizens.
AMANPOUR: Let me just stick with the personalities for a moment, because everybody thought Putin and Trump would get on and things might change, it
might be different.
But, before that, President Obama seemed to anger Putin, who's been described by other intelligence and other people as quite paranoid, calling
Russia, I think, a medium power or something that. Hillary Clinton, as secretary stay, angered Putin by casting aspersions on the 2012 election.
It just seems that there's been no connection between the leaders of these pretty important countries. And, clearly, the policy also has to come from
WALLANDER: Well, yes, foreign policy doesn't have to be based on friendly relations,but it does have to be based on excellent leadership and capable
And so the fact that maybe President Putin takes offense when other foreign leaders sort of push back and hold him to account is regrettable, but it
doesn't mean that the U.S. president or other leaders shouldn't stand up for their values and their interests.
But there's a way to do that in a way that is professional, confident and successful. And I think what you're seeing is the White House laying the
groundwork for exactly that sort of engagement.
You don't go to a summit with Vladimir Putin from a position of weakness. You go in from a position of strength. And by passing that sanctions -- the
executive order, by making strong statements about the unacceptability of Russian behavior, not just on the Navalny case, but on SolarWinds, on the
election interference, on violating arms control treaties -- talk about irresponsible.
Russia has violated a series of arms control treaties that not only kept the United States safe, but kept Europe safe, since the end of the Cold
War. Going into a summit meeting with that kind of strong position then lets you have a conversation with Putin, who is very practiced himself as a
interlocutor and goes into meetings knowing what he wants to get out of the meetings.
And you're more likely to have a productive meeting with Putin when you go into a meeting with -- on that basis.
AMANPOUR: OK, so you say a position of strength.
Are you surprised by how Putin seems to have immediately challenged this administration with his moves on the Ukrainian border with massing troops,
naval presence in the Black Sea that the U.S. is very concerned about? And, of course, the sanctions were for previous wrongdoings, not for these
WALLANDER: So, I'm a little surprised at the timing, I have to say.
I think that, in military terms, it would have been more advantageous for Russia to wait until the end of the spring period and into the summer. And
there all kinds of reasons that, operationally, that would have been a better time to move.
But I think the bottom-line explanation for that is that, as significant and as worrying as all of these military operations and readiness moves
are, it's really a political game. The reason for making this move is to try to pressure and frighten the Ukrainians and the Europeans into a
renegotiation of the Minsk agreement, which was arrived at in 2015, and which the Kremlin thought would deliver what they wanted, which was a
Ukraine that no longer had a European future, integration into Europe.
And it hasn't quite worked out that way. And so I think what the Kremlin wants is to scare everyone into renegotiating that agreement to getting
more of what they want.
And they also moved now because they're testing -- absolutely, they're testing the new administration, the new Biden administration, early on, and
at a time when Europe is distracted as well, because of internal European political challenges, economic challenges, COVID, and leadership changes,
for example, in countries Germany on the horizon.
So, the broad timing isn't surprising. This specific timing I thought came a little bit early, compared to what I expected to play out. And so,
AMANPOUR: And, meantime...
Meantime, the big -- the really big Holy Grail for U.S. foreign policy is China. What is China making of this particular issue that we have just been
WALLANDER: Well, the Chinese leadership -- Xi-ism and Putin-ism have a lot in common. They both identify American leadership, American global
liberalism as a core existential threat to not just their global status, but their political economic systems at home.
And that's one of the reasons why you see the alignment of Putin's Russia and Xi's China. They both want many of the same things. So they take
advantage of one another. And they rely on one or another, for example, in the U.N. Security Council to block U.N. Security Council resolutions that
the United States or France or the U.K. might advance.
They have different specific interests, though, obviously. And Chinese goals, security goals, military power goals are focused on the Pacific. And
so whether it was Russia exploiting Chinese movements in the Pacific on the military front or the other way around, I think it's neither here nor
I think they are, if not explicitly coordinating, both opportunistically challenging the United States, and not just the United States, the
alliances that the United States leads. They're challenging those, because they share that common interest in trying to cut the United States down a
AMANPOUR: No shortage of challenges.
Celeste Wallander, thank you so much for your really interesting perspective and knowledge and experience. Thank you very much.
And we turn now to Minneapolis, where jury deliberations continue in the trial of Derek Chauvin. President Biden spoke about the case after talking
on the phone with George Floyd's family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're a good family.
And they're calling for peace and tranquility, no matter what that verdict is. I'm praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is -- I think it's
overwhelming, in my view. I wouldn't say that unless the jury was sequestered now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Floyd's killing has finally provoked, of course, a groundswell for police reform.
And my next guest, Larry Krasner, has been trying to bring justice to the criminal justice system in the United States as Philadelphia's district
In 2017, he became the first progressive prosecutor to win that job, sparking a movement in DA offices around the country. And now he's up for
reelection. Krasner is the subject of a riveting new PBS docuseries called "Philly D.A." And his book "For the People" is also out today.
And he is joining me now from Philadelphia.
Larry Krasner, welcome to the program.
Let me just start by asking you about the -- obviously, the George Floyd murder, the case in which Derek Chauvin is on trial for that. In general,
in history in the United States, prosecutors and police have pretty much been on the same side. But it doesn't look that in this case.
What -- do you see a real change in the way it's been going? Or do you think it's just a one-off?
LARRY KRASNER, PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Wonderful to be here.
I think that what we're seeing in this trial does reflect the sea change that the country is going through. We have had the chief of police testify
against one of his own officers, an officer who misstepped time and time again, and was allowed to remain on the force, but nevertheless stayed on
the force way too long.
I think the video is compelling. It is my hope that there will be a conviction in this case. I think that the video is overwhelming. But it is
reflective of something different. Usually, what we have seen in cases where there is police violence, or just simple police corruption at many
levels, is that the fellow officers, the supervisors circle the wagons.
They protect some of the worst officers, rather than doing what they should do, which is to hold them accountable.
AMANPOUR: And we know that -- it's infinitesimal, the amount or the number of police who, A, are held accountable and, B, at all punished. It just
doesn't happen with any kind of regularity.
But we have also seen that this case, as I said, really put the American criminal justice system in the spotlight and sparked around the world and
around the U.S. this call for reform.
In your book, you say: "Criminal justice reform isn't about any individual. It's about every individual. It's a movement dedicated to taking on a
system that has abused all of us directly and indirectly."
What do you mean by that, abused all of us?
KRASNER: Well, the name of the book is "For the People."
And what happens at the beginning of court is that a criminal defense attorney, which I was for 30 years, and a civil rights attorney, gets up
and says, I'm here for my client, Jack Smith. And then the prosecutor stands up and says, my name is such and such, and I'm here for the people,
That's what it's supposed to me. It's supposed to mean that the prosecutor has a unique obligation to seek justice for everyone, people in that
courtroom, including the defendant, but also everyone that is outside of the courtroom. And that is absolutely not what has been happening in the
United States for a very, very long time.
Mostly, what has been happening is some of our worst tendencies, such as our racist tendencies, such as our pro-carceral tendencies, our tendency to
want to lock everybody up forever, our tendency to use the criminal courts for political purposes, have been playing out.
And that is how we have gotten to a point where we really do see this sea change going on. It's not the case that I am the first progressive
prosecutor. There are a number of them, some of them elected before me, Kim Foxx in Chicago, Aramis Ayala in Orlando.
But it is the case that there's a national movement created, in my view, by mass incarceration that has gotten us here. And it's also true that what
has happened with George Floyd, the killing, the case, the video, has become a another very important step.
As I speak to you right now, 10 percent of the United States has elected a progressive prosecutor. And we are winning more and more of our elections
every election cycle.
There's a real simple reason for that. People want profound criminal justice reform. This is arguably the most important civil rights struggle
of our time. It's the constitutions that are not ready for it, political institutions, media sometimes, but certainly institutions like normal
politics, legislatures, the courts that are not ready for it.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let me just quickly pick up on what you said and what the president said, I mean, without saying it, you are hoping -- well,
maybe you did say it, you're hoping there's a conviction in this particular case because of the specific case but also because of the bigger picture.
What do you think a conviction would do in the United States and for your, you know, mission to reform the criminal justice system and what would an I
KRASNER: So, a conviction would just be one more sign that, as a country, we're headed in the right direction where we actually believe that our
police are accountable to us, where we hold them accountable. Another acquittal, I think first of all, would spark enormous unrest all over the
country and I think it would prove sadly one more time how deep our structural problems are.
I'm an optimist though. I have to say, this video is so compelling. And I say that as somebody who tried cases in criminal court for 30, tried a lot
of homicide cases, this is such a compelling video that if the jury is on track, and we all know it's very hard to predict 12 minds, but if they are
on track, I do believe, I'm cautious on this but I'm optimistic that we will have the just verdict here.
AMANPOUR: So, let me just ask you because, you know, you were a prosecutor. When the defense tries to bring up reasonable doubt and tries
to say that, you know, it was other things that caused Floyd's death not, you know, the asphyxiation by the knee, I mean, do you see reasonable doubt
KRASNER: Do I? No. I don't see reasonable doubt at all. I think it's rather obvious where nine plus agonizing minutes what is going on here. I
don't think you get to say, I can kill people when they're not -- because they are not perfect. I'm allowed to do that. But that is in -- in many
ways, that's what's being said here, which is that if he's not perfect they can kill him.
Now, I can tell you from my own career as a civil rights attorney and criminal defense attorney that sometimes police try to do terrible things
to people who are perfect too. You know, I had an experience when I was defending a woman who was just about to get her PhD who was waiting to
receive a very prestigious award next day. She did nothing more than try to speak to and engage with some police in a nonviolent protest situation to
help homeless people. She ended up with a broken finger in a jail cell, locked up so that she actually missed the award ceremony she was going to.
You could not have found a person who checked more boxes in terms of, you know, having done nothing wrong in her life, having been smart and studied
hard, having overcome, being a person who went to a house of worship, you couldn't find somebody better than that, but that did not stop, in that
situation, a number of police officers from brutalizing her and lying about her and trying to convict her. That's a case where I represented her as a
defense attorney and then I represented her as a civil rights attorney, and it tells me everything I need know.
If we are going to have fair justice system, it has to be even handed, and that means police are accountable just like everybody else.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, I want to get to, you know, that aspect of it, the accountability and the reform, in this docuseries which the first episode I
believe airs is on PBS Tonight, and it is quite riveting. And you were a big hope and you have been for the progressives and I just want to play
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRASNER: Pennsylvania is not going to pass a law requiring that cash is not part of bail. That's never happening. But what we can do at the local
level is that the district attorney can make recommendations because D.A.s have a lot of discretion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll have to nitpick. There's some things that are low bail. The public despises, one example, identity theft and that's going to
be will be what everybody is talking about.
KRASNER: Everybody always talks in these terms of like what the public thinks, who doesn't think. I'll take what the public's going to think. If
they see a lotless people in jail for dumb stuff, they're going to think that's good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: OK. So, you end about that issue and I think the film says that Philadelphia is the most incarcerating city in the United States, which is
the most incarcerating country. I think those are labels on that documentary. So, what progress have you made on the no cash bail? And you
also say in that documentary that, you know, it's also a war on the poor. The fact that they're -- you know, they're --
KRASNER: I'm sorry. It is war on the poor. It's been a war on the poor for a very long time. You know, Stevenson (ph) has talked about how this is a
better system for a guilty rich person than it is for a poor person who is innocent, and that's actually the case.
What progress have we made? We made tremendous progress in terms of getting rid of low cash bails that were holding poor people in for offenses that
were not serious. It becomes a much more complicated story though because we do not set the bail, we simply recommend certain kinds of bails. And the
best no cash bail systems are the ones like D.C. where for 30 years, there has been a law that says you cannot use cash at all. New jersey is now
following that. Kentucky, Illinois just passed something like that. Those are the best systems.
And what actually happens in D.C., for example, is about 12 percent of defendants on very serious cases are held in custody until their trial
because they present such a danger on the street. But 88 percent are getting out, and money is never involved. That's the system we need.
Unfortunately, we have the worst of both worlds. We have a system where people and their money are separated and it seems ultimately to be more
about municipal coffers than it is about public safety.
AMANPOUR: So, Larry Krasner, I said you're up for re-election. The pendulum may be swinging back towards law enforcement. Many of them don't
seem to be too happy with you. Some of the democratic institutions have withheld their support. And the Police Union is trying to -- even trying to
get cops to change parties to be able to vote against you, and they say crime is going up. This is what the head of the Police Union just said
about a week or so ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MCNESBY, PRESIDENT, PHILADELPHIA POLICE UNION: The fact is that he has -- he just blows people off. He has no respect for the community, no
respect for victims of crime. And I guess a year or two ago, it was just the (INAUDIBLE), he was out there screening about this. Now, it's in every
part, in every neighborhood, every part of the city. So, people are catching onto this. They realize that it's not safe to be here in
Philadelphia and it's not safe while he's sitting in the seat of the district attorney and we need to make a change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What do you say to that?
KRASNER: I say you're listening to man who twice endorsed Donald Trump in a city that hates Donald Trump. You are listening to man who has said it is
OK for a police officer to wear a visible Nazi tattoo while in uniform. A man who has been having beers with the Proud Boys inside the fraternal
order of police hall, denied he did so and then the Proud Boys put out social that established it. You know, you are listening the man who called
Black Lives Matter and I quote, "a pack of rabid animals."
He is exactly what we are standing against. This is the old, racist brutal guard. He does not, in fact, represent most current and modern police
officers. He's simply is the leader of the Police Union, a union that is controlled by its retired membership.
So, in Philadelphia, which is a very diverse city, what you're actually seeing is a lot more women and people of color who are police officers. But
those are not the people who keep reelecting him. It's the same problem in many different cities. You have a leadership of the FOP that's in 1959 and
they are not only out of touch with the people but they are out of touch with their modern membership.
I would, you know, caution too much about saying that we're in such a difficult situation at Philly that Democratic Party didn't endorse me last
time. They're doing the same this time. They're just not taking a side. And we ended up with more D.A. votes than any D.A. in last 20 years. We are, in
many ways, on track because we remain outsiders to a system that is all about insiders, political machine and so on.
And frankly, I hope I never get too far away if being an outsider. Because I think if I did, I would be losing track of the real power, which is the
AMANPOUR: Thank you so much. And of course, that is the title of your book, "For the People."
Now, Russia's hacking operations, which we were just discussing are only the start of the story. The cyber arms race is a global battle and the
targets aren't just nation states. You and I are vulnerable every time we log onto our e-mail, order a ride share or swipe our credit card.
But New York Times journalist, Nicole Perlroth says, the U.S. is still not doing enough to protect its citizens. She's the author of the book, "This
is How They Tell Me the World Ends." And here she is talking with our Hari Sreenivasan.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Nicole Perlroth, thanks for joining us.
What you do so well in this book is lay out a series of almost marketplaces that people don't know exist that, you know, there are hackers inside and
outside of government that are finding tiny vulnerabilities and pieces of software that we all use, but how that virus or how that piece of code gets
into the hands of someone that can take action to it. I mean, it's sort of a byzantine world of bizarre characters, some of them are incredibly
interesting personalities, but the fact that people are buying and selling this and this is just part of the armaments that countries have now.
NICOLE PERLROTH, AUTHOR, "THIS IS HOW THEY TELL ME THE WORLD ENDS": That's why I wrote the book. It's just because I couldn't wrap my head around the
fact that we, the U.S. taxpayer, pay the U.S. government to keep us safe in terms of national security but also, we assume cyber security. And that in
a lot of cases, they are leaving us more vulnerable to preserve their espionage operations and their battlefield preparations.
So, at the most basic level, I just couldn't wrap my head around the idea that the U.S. government would pay hackers or their intermediaries' good
money, you know, millions of dollars, in some cases, to turn over holes in software like your iPhone IOS software so that they can stock pilot in case
they need to use it to spy on a terrorist or a drug cartel or a child predator.
And that three decades ago, there really wasn't this moral hazard baked in because if we found a hole in Huawei software, well, for most part
Americans weren't using Huawei but China was and North Korea was and Iran and Sudan and Syria, so we had a legitimate case to make that we should
break into that software and use a beachhead to spy on some of our adversaries.
But these days, three decades later and Huawei is obviously a glaring exception and we're lobbying hard to get our allies not to use Huawei's
hardware and software and 5G but, you know, with few exceptions, we're all using the same technology now. So, when the U.S. government finds a flaw in
Microsoft Windows and doesn't tell Microsoft about it so Microsoft can fix it, they're not just leaving Americans safe in name of their counter
intelligence operations, they're also leaving a lot of our critical infrastructure safe because as Marc Andreessen put it, software is eating
So, Microsoft Windows and other software is making its way into our power grid, into our gas pipelines and other energy infrastructure and our
hospitals and water treatment, et cetera. So, the stakes keep going up for these programs and it was just surprising to know that even so it hasn't
really changed the calculus that much about stockpiling vulnerabilities in the software that we all use now.
SREENIVASAN: You know, just recently, it was revealed that a pair of hackers worked with the Department of Justice, people remember the horrible
shooting that happened in San Bernardino. But after that, there was also this kind of ethical quandary that the U.S. government was engaged in in
saying to Apple, hey, we want a way to open this iPhone because we think this person might have had more information on there. We want to be able to
open it. Tim Cook famously said no. If I create a back door for you, I create a back door for everyone. This is bad policy.
And then suddenly, the Department of Justice stopped. They said, no, that's all right. You don't have to. We got our way back in. And now, years later,
we are figuring out how that happened. But it's stunning to think that technically that vulnerability could be found by more than just those two
people, even though -- right, it's that when they poke a hole into something, if the government thinks that they can hold onto it, I mean,
there's a shelf life for these things.
PERLROTH: That's right. And that was a big deal. I had signed on to do this book about best particular market in 2014 and I never knew that a year
later the FBI would just come out and announce that it had paid a hacker more than a million dollars for a way into Apple's devices and had no plans
of telling Apple about it.
And of course, we know because we have all seen so many high-profile cyber- attacks that we're not the only one who would be looking for that capability. You know, China, Russia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates,
Saudis, they all have their own reasons for wanting to keep tabs on iPhone communications. I mean, what more do you want as a spy agency than to track
someone's location or communications or contacts.
And the going rate these days, actually in 2021, for that same hole that FBI purchased from hackers is actually $2.5 million. It's already doubled
from when the FBI paid those hackers back in 2015. And what's interesting to me is that other brokers have popped up in Abu Dhabi that serve
exclusively the Saudis and Emirates and they'll offer $3 million for that same capability. So, we're already getting outbid here in the United
States. And that was a big focus of my research was trying to see just where these capabilities in these markets were drifting. Because for a long
time, you know, the U.S. had the best hackers and talent and capabilities.
But what has happened is as other governments eyes have opened to the potential for these iPhone or Windows vulnerabilities, they have stood up
their own offensive programs but they don't have the talent and hackers that we have here, but there is now a market and they can pay hackers all
over the world to meet their demands for these capabilities and they are actively outbidding the United States in this market now.
SREENIVASAN: You know, I think maybe because of what happened on January 6th and just the general stress people have been under for the past year
about politics. One of the things -- one of the stories that kind of gets buried is the massive hacks that have happened in last few months, the hack
by the Russians. We literally have the administration now putting economic sanctions on 16 different entities and 16 people. And I wonder, is that
going to be enough of a deterrent? I mean, because it seems like the nation states have done their cost benefit analysis and this just part of how
countries exist now.
PERLROTH: I think you're right. You know, nothing we have done to Russia after the 2016 election such as sanctions, such as hacking into their grid
stopped them from pulling off the latest attack that we're calling solar winds, because they used an American company to break into our federal
agencies, it didn't deter them.
But there is a question, and I don't think we'll ever get to the bottom of this unless we're a fly on Vladimir Putin's wall. But, you know, when they
use solar winds to break into these federal agencies and get incredible access to the Department of Energy and our nuclear labs and the Department
of Homeland Security and our Homeland Security secretaries e-mails, you know, they stop short of any kind of paralysis or degradation or
destruction in the way that we have seen them use those attacks in Ukraine, for example. This really does appear to have been a classic espionage.
And it was times around the same time that we were all worried about foreign interference and particularly Russian interference in the 2020
election. So, there is an interesting question here that I don't know if we'll ever be able to answer, which is, did all the attention to the
election and the sanctions and our own hacking of Russia's power grid deter them from doing more in 2020 to help elect then President Trump? Did it
sort of send them in this other direction? And the timing here was very clever.
You know, they just -- they took a direct hit at our federal agencies when those same agencies were focused so acutely on the election and our backend
election state infrastructure.
And so, perhaps it was a deterrence. But, you know, they are in the systems as we speak. If it is the actor that we think it is, a unit of the SVR, we
know them well because they actually hacked the State Department and the White House back in 2014, 2015. And when I interviewed those who were on
the ground that were brought in to clean up from that attack, I'll never forget, they described the process of kicking those hackers out as hand-to-
hand digital combat.
You know, the fact that they had found them in these digital hallways wasn't enough to send them packing. They were really fighting to stay in
those networks. And the fact that those same hackers might have been in our government agency systems for more than nine months before we even
discovered them, you can pretty much guarantee that there is a long list of back doors planted in our federal I.T. systems and that it could be a long
time before we confidently say, we kicked them out.
SREENIVASAN: You also point out how some of our biggest companies have been targets of nation states. Not something that they expected, not
something that they prepare for and we hear about, you know, hacks of half a billion Facebook users' information or a clubhouse being hacked, et
cetera. I wonder how concerned do you think that Americans should be about their own information considering that we're storing it in Amazon's Cloud
and in Google's Cloud and, you know, I'm pressing I accept for lot and lots of things that I'm not reading all the way through?
PERLROTH: Yes. I mean, it is incredibly frustrating to be sitting in Silicon Valley right this moment and hearing things like move fast and
break things and keep shipping and software eats the world without anyone mentioning security.
You know, when I was in Ukraine, they have suffered every kind of cyber- attack from Russia including Russia turning off the lights and decimating their federal government agencies. And they said, you better pay a lot more
attention in the United States to what's happening here because we don't think that we're in the end target. We think we're spring training. And we
would never consider using the machine to conduct our elections. We will be doing our elections on pen and paper, thank you very much.
But, yes. You know, to your point, yes, you know, the data is gone. No matter what you do in terms of trying to protect your house purchase by
putting it through an LLC, you know, you're still giving your address and your name to Amazon. And if someone wants the find out where you live, it's
pretty easy to do that. And even if you're not telling anyone where you're traveling or who you're meeting with, the GPS on your phone that's
collected by data marketers, not even by nation states, it's just enough for anyone who would want to know to know who you are meeting with.
And all of that data has been targeted by hackers, and foreign nation states hackers over the last five, six years. You know, we have seen China
hack the Office of Personnel Management, which had a clearinghouse of data on every one who ever applied for a security clearance in the United
States, but we have also seen them hack Equifax and Marriott and a number of airlines and hospitality companies because they want to know where we
are staying, where we are traveling, if there are Chinese citizens that are potentially travelling and staying at those same places so they can root
out their own Chinese double agents. That kind of thing. And so, all of that is out there. And in a lot of cases, our personal data is not only
sitting on the dark web, it's sitting in nation state warehouses.
So, what can we do? Well, what I do is I just think, what is thing that I have that a nation state or cybercriminal would want? And in my case, it's
probably in my sources. So, I go do ridiculous lengths these days to protect my sources. And it is much harder in the pandemic. You know, I can
use signal the messaging app but I would much rather meet with people in person and when I do that, I'd rather leave my devices behind. I'd rather
get a ride from someone else and not a uber or drive myself because my car has GPS navigation. I think about all of these things.
Now, the average American is not a nation state target. And so, I think it's just important for people to think about what is it that I have that a
nation state or cybercriminal would want. In most cases, it's probably your e-mail, log in credentials, which are the keys to the castle these days and
to really just turn on two-factor authentication and use a different password for your e-mail than you use for anything else and you'll get --
you'll knock off about 85 percent of the threats you could possibly face.
SREENIVASAN: I wonder what keeps you up at night knowing what you know now. I mean, I guess, in a way, are we winning or are we lucky that we're
PERLROTH: Well, I would say we are losing. You know, I think we are, and this is just a stunning conclusion I made in doing the research for this
book, the United States is still the world's top dog in this space. We are still the world's offensive cyber super power. But also, now are one of the
most targeted nation states on earth, if not the most targeted by cyber criminals and other nation states. They reckon that they see incredible
opportunities to, you know, countries like I said that -- like Iran and North Korea that can't match us on the battlefield and in terms of military
spending, see that there are tremendous opportunities for them to deem with cyber-attacks and they have been doing that for quite a long time.
But also, we are the most as a vulnerable. Like I said, you know, in Ukraine they have the sense of urgency. They have been getting beat up and
blacked out by Russia, the world's, you know, savviest cyber predator. But they're not digitized in the way we are here. And we have just been
plugging every last piece of our critical infrastructure and data into the internet without thinking about security. And so, we have created
effectively the world's most lucrative attack surface. And we are seeing people knock on our doors every day.
And so, what I worry about is the fact the U.S. government's policy and approach to this has been more hacking, has been what they call defend
forward. You know, hacker adversaries so we can get an early alert system for what they have planned before these attacks come hit U.S. networks. But
as we just saw with solar winds, we missed it for nine months. It actually wasn't the NSA or Cyber Command that unearthed that attack, it was FireEye,
a private Silicon Valley. And only after it was itself hacked by Russia and then was able to rewind the attack and figure out that the Russians had
come in through solar winds, which was used by all of these federal agencies.
So, I think it is time, probably high time, we are way past due to refocus on our cyber defense.
SREENIVASAN: Title of the book is "This is How They Tell Me the World Ends." Nicole Perlroth, thanks so much for joining us.
PERLROTH: Thank you so much. This was wonderful.
AMANPOUR: And that is it for now. Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.