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The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service; Interview With U.N. Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance Mark Carney; Interview With Russian Ambassador to Ireland Yuriy Filatov. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired May 26, 2021 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO, PRESIDENT OF BELARUS (through translator): As we predicted, ill wishes both outside and inside the country have changed
their methods of attacking the Belarusian state.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Belarus defiant, as the world condemns the arrest of journalist Roman Protasevich. But with Russia sticking by its close
ally, we hear from Moscow's ambassador to Ireland.
MARK CARNEY, U.N. SPECIAL ENVOY ON CLIMATE ACTION AND FINANCE: Our objective is to have in place the information, the tools and the markets so
that the private financial system can take climate change into account with every financial decision.
GOLODRYGA: Ensuring big business thinks green.
I talk to the U.N. special envoy on climate action and finance, Mark Carney, about building a better world for all.
Plus: from JFK to Biden. Pulitzer Prize-winning Carol Leonnig explores the rise and fall of the Secret Service in her new book, "Zero Fail."
REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): We should want to do more, not less, for kids in single-parent households.
California Congresswoman Katie Porter tells Michel Martin about using her own experience as a single mother to shake up the system.
GOLODRYGA: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
"The West has moved from organizing riots to strangling Belarus." Those were the fiery comments from the country's embattled president today.
Alexander Lukashenko accused so-called ill-wishers of crossing red lines to defend arrested journalist Roman Protasevich.
The E.U. has imposed new sanctions and cut aviation links to Belarus. But opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said that the bloc should be
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SVIATLANA TSIKHANOUSKAYA, BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: That's different. The previous E.U. strategy of a wait and see towards the Belarusian regime
doesn't work. The E.U. approach of gradually elevated pressure on Lukashenko's regime hasn't managed to change his behavior and only led to a
growing sense of impunity and massive repressions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Despite the mounting backlash, Lukashenko does have one important ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The two will meet in Sochi this week. And, today, the Kremlin called claims of Russian involvement in the arrest -- quote -- "obsessive Russophobia."
Joining me now from Dublin is Russia's ambassador to Ireland, Yuriy Filatov.
Mr. Ambassador, thank you so much for joining us.
So, let's go back to the question of whether or not the Kremlin and President Putin were aware of this arrest. The Kremlin issued a statement
saying that this is Russophobia, but it's not a direct answer to the question. Did the Kremlin have knowledge of what Lukashenko was going to
YURIY FILATOV, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO IRELAND: Well, good evening.
I think what we're talking about is really a serious situation, serious incident with the passenger airplane. And that, in my view, in our view, it
has to be dealt very carefully, without any rush to judgment, without any haste.
Well, regrettably, at the just-concluded E.U. summit, that is exactly what happened, hastily whipped-up emotion, when what we really need is a
There are, well, lots of serious questions about the whole incident which needs to be answered. And I think the best way to know that is to conduct
really serious, independent, unbiased international investigation.
And I hope that, tomorrow, when the International Civil Aviation Organization council will convene, they would make decisions in that
As far as I understand, the Belarusian authorities will be ready to assist with such investigation. At least, that's what I have heard from the
foreign minister, Mr. Makei. He promised to provide every and all materials pertaining to the incident to the investigation, be absolutely transparent.
And I think that's really a sensible approach.
FILATOV: I don't think that there is no -- there is no point in talking about any kind of Russian connection there, pointing questions, whether
someone knew or not.
Of course, there is no connection whatsoever to the incident from the Russian side. We have -- came to know that with everybody else. And that's
really a serious thing--
So, Mr. Ambassador, you brought up a lot of points, one, that there are still a lot of questions to be asked about this incident and that the
Belarusian government has agreed to cooperate with this investigation.
That sort of flies in the face of the words that we heard from Lukashenko today, who was suggesting that everyone should be grateful that he didn't
bring the plane down as it was flying near a nuclear site.
And, in terms of questions, what's more to try to understand than an E.U.- based and headquartered plane traveling from one E.U. country, one sovereign E.U. country, to another was taken down by a fake bomb threat to
arrest a dissident journalist? That seems to be pretty self-explanatory and maybe why President Biden called it a direct affront to international
And many E.U. leaders are actually calling this a terror act. Why isn't Russia doing the same?
FILATOV: Well, the way you have described it is the answer to your question itself, because you just described it with conclusions made
without any thorough investigation.
You are talking about a bomb threat.
GOLODRYGA: But those were the facts. Those were the facts.
FILATOV: No, no, no, no. Sorry. Sorry.
We do not know yet what kind of a threat that was -- where from did it come? What did really pilot discuss with the air traffic controllers? Why,
for example, the Vilnius or Polish airports or other airports declined to receive the plane?
There are lots of serious questions. My point is very simple. Before coming to conclusions or making verdicts, you have to investigate. You have to get
down to basics, get down to the questions and have an answer.
That's -- it seems like a very reasonable approach.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, I -- yes, but we already have seen the transcript from the air traffic control and the pilots, the pilots suggesting to travel to
inland in Vilnius, where the plane was headed, and that it was actually closer to Vilnius than it was to Minsk.
And the air traffic controller was redirecting him, suggesting that he should be landing in Minsk. We also know that the plane was also
accompanied by a MiG jet, a Soviet MiG jet, as well.
So, that's just why I'm a bit confused about the need for further investigation, when we seem to have a lot of details right in front of us
But let me move on, because we do know that, in addition to Protasevich, who is a Belarusian national, that his girlfriend, Sofia Sapega, was also
arrested. She is a Russian national, and is now being ordered to remain in jail for at least two months.
Does Russia want to see her freed and returned home?
FILATOV: You're quite right. The lady in question, she's Russian citizen.
And our embassy in Minsk, they are working on this issue with the Belarusian authorities, providing every necessary consular assistance,
legal assistance. And we are looking into this matter.
While I am not in a position to give you any kind of detailed account of what is her role in this affair, but I'm pretty sure that her rights will
be strongly respected and defended by our embassy in Minsk.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, because we did see that video of Sofia and obviously Roman admitting that -- confessing to their charges, though you could see the
distress on their faces.
And many who are aware of these tactics by the Belarusian regime say that these are actually coercion videos that are released. So, she does appear
that she may be in danger. I know that must be alarming for you, given that she is a Russian national.
Let me ask you a question about concerns that this raises for precedent that it could set, that if Belarus can bring down an airliner traveling
from another country, many flights travel over Russian airspace as well, particularly over Siberia.
Can you confirm, can you give a sense of relief to many who may be concerned that the same thing, the same tactic could be perpetrated by
Russia and that a plane could be brought down over Russian airspace if there happens to be a passenger who is an opposition leader or an outspoken
activist against the Kremlin?
FILATOV: Well, this is something of even not speculation. It's just plainly, obviously, the wrong kind of question, absolutely groundless to
assume that the Russian Federation would be in defiance of its own obligations under the Chicago Convention of -- on the Civil Aviation.
There is no point to assume that this kind of thing would happen anywhere.
But, speaking of precedents, let me mention just two, not in the Russian airspace, but in the European airspace. Back in 2013, may I remind you, the
official presidential jet with the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, has been forced to land in Vienna, because of the insistence from the United
States, believing that one person wanted in the U.S. was on board.
The authorities from France and all the rest of the countries simply closed airspace for that jet. And Austrians forced it to land. After numerous
hours spent in the Vienna -- at the Vienna Airport, president, may I remind you, president--
FILATOV: -- has been let free, with no apologies whatsoever.
The second one, in 2016, the Belarusian airliner, passenger jet left Kiev Airport, but, in five minutes, it was forced by fighter jets to land back
in Kiev because the Ukrainian security forces had an interest in one of the gentlemen on board of Armenian origin.
FILATOV: They seized him, snatched him from -- from the board of aircraft. And then, only then the aircraft was allowed to--
GOLODRYGA: Right. And, Mr. Ambassador, there--
FILATOV: No apologies whatsoever.
GOLODRYGA: It's just, Mr. Ambassador, I know -- right, but these really aren't apples and apples, because the Bolivian president was actually
traveling on a diplomatic plane that required overflight clearance before landing, which a commercial flight does not.
And the second incident that you were talking about, the passengers were let go, including the one who was held. So, these aren't necessarily apple
But I do want to move on to other topics, since I have you with us. We know that President Biden and President Putin will now be meeting next month,
June 16, in Geneva.
A number of issues that are going to be talked about, including cyberattacks and ransomware attacks that we have seen many times in the
U.S. now, from SolarWinds, to just an oil company just a few weeks ago here in the U.S.
We also have seen this throughout the world and in Ireland. A ransomware attack by a private Russian company, by private Russian hackers took down
the Irish health system. It is still in shambles, still trying to come back to its regular setting for millions of those citizens there who cannot get
the adequate health care that they need.
What is Russia doing to crack down on these ransomware and cyberattacks that seem to be originating in the country, yet not perpetrated to other
Russian companies, just other companies in areas around the world?
FILATOV: Right. It's a rather big issue, but I will try to make it short for you.
First of all, on the meeting between presidents, that should be really an important point, because the bilateral U.S.-Russian relationship has hit
not only one, but probably two or three buttons already.
And we feel that with all the -- these disagreements, different points of view, we have a responsibility to address these problems, these challenges.
And, hopefully, hopefully, we could make just maybe a little bit of progress. That's really an encouraging thing.
And we have to see what will be the result. We certainly are ready for a good dialogue. But we shall see.
As far as the cyber-crime is concerned, yes, in Ireland here, it has been lately the hot topic. They say that the cyberattack against the health
system originated in Russia. Maybe, maybe not. But we have condemned strongly this crime.
It's a despicable crime. Every crime is a bad thing, but one which is oriented towards the health system, well, is something special, sort of. We
GOLODRYGA: Yes, it's caused extensive damage.
FILATOV: We have discussed that incident with the Irish authorities. And we offered every assistance possible in this case. This offer is on the
table, and it's being discussed.
As far as the overall impression or perception that somehow Russia is the origin of all the crimes and root of all evils, I certainly cannot agree
Let me give you just two figures.
GOLODRYGA: And quickly, quickly, just because we're just running out of time, Mr. Ambassador.
(AUDIO GAP) Russia, just taking the last week, it is a target of cyber- crime, on the verge of 1.5 million cyberattacks per day. And that's what we're dealing.
The law enforcement in Russia is really -- really is busy with finding these people, bringing them to justice. And we're very active in terms of
So, we have an inbuilt interest in getting to the bottom of that.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. Yes.
Well, actions obviously speak louder than words. That's just one of the issues that President Biden and President Putin will be discussing. The
other, of course, is the detention and arrest of Alexei Navalny, who even the European Court of Human Rights demands that he be released immediately,
a number of issues on the table.
Mr. Ambassador, we really appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much for the time.
And we turn now to a landmark ruling that could have dramatic implications for the climate. Today, a Dutch court ordered the Shell Oil Company to cut
its greenhouse gas emissions nearly in half.
Shell is now appealing that ruling. But the case comes amid a greater focus on the environment and what could be considered a radical idea: Businesses
do best when they put purpose before profit.
Demand pushing that theory has a background you might not expect. Mark Carney is an economist who ran both the Bank of England and the Bank of
Canada. He has a new book out called "Value(s): Building a Better World for All."
And he joins me now from Ottawa.
Thank you so much for joining us, Mark. We really appreciate it. Congratulations on the book.
Let's start with that bombshell ruling that Shell now must reduce its carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2020 -- by 2030 from 2019 levels. What is
your response and reaction to that?
CARNEY: Well, first, thanks for having me on, Bianna.
And what I'd say about the ruling is that it is part of a general trend, which is that there needs to be a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas
emissions for heavy emitters. And there's none more so than in the fossil fuel industry. The best companies recognize that and they're changing their
business strategies. If they do that, they will be profitable and they will create value for their shareholders and for their communities.
If they don't, they're going to end up with very large stranded assets. So the ruling is in the direction of what companies need to do anyways.
GOLODRYGA: And what message does it send to oil companies?
Because we know that Exxon has been in a battle now with four activist investors who are trying to take four seats on the board of directors,
pushing them to cut emissions by 2050. The same with Chevron. They have been in a decades-long battle, legal battle, with the Ecuadorian Amazon as
Is this a trend that we're going to see more of, specifically in the oil sector and energy sectors?
CARNEY: Bianna, yes, I think it is a trend. It's very much here.
And it partly depends on the response of the companies themselves. We have 130 countries, and counting, that have net zero objectives, United States
part of that fold. We expect more by Glasgow.
And so the question for companies, whether they're in the oil sector or the financial sector is, well, what's your plan for net zero? Are you part of
that solution? Are you investing in order to reduce your emissions? Or are you -- are you still part of the problem?
And that is the key question that's being asked in virtually every sector. It's one of the top three strategic issues. And, of course, in the energy
sector, the oil sector, particularly, it's the top strategic issue.
GOLODRYGA: You have spent decades as an economist and as a banker, as we noted in your introduction, and now you're focused on climate change.
And some might say, wow, that's a divergent path, as far as his focus, but you're saying that everything is connected, that climate change now cannot
be separated from the global economy and the decisions that business leaders and world leaders make going forward.
Can you explain more?
CARNEY: Well, sure.
And, Bianna, just to take us back maybe about five years ago, in the run-up to the Paris accord for climate, I was a central banker. I was in charge of
the overall regulatory system globally, to the extent anyone was, and I was asked by the G20 leaders, what should we do about the risks from climate
And the point that we made was that, if we delay and don't address it, in particular, the financial sector doesn't address -- begin to address
climate change, there will be very large risks, very large losses in the financial sector because we address it too late.
Now, fortunately, what happened out of Paris and subsequent years is more and more in the financial sector started to gather the necessary
information, started to analyze it, adjust their portfolios. Now it's absolutely mainstreaming.
And this creates the opportunity. Again, if you're an oil company that has a plan to transition towards lower carbon and ultimately renewable energy,
you can get capital, because that's the focus of the financial sector.
However, if you're an oil company who's just planning to stay with the current strategy, really, it's a judgment that you're going to run off your
assets over time.
GOLODRYGA: You talk about the three -- and you mentioned just now that three crises, the great crises of our time. You describe the financial
crisis, the pandemic and climate.
For the first two, I think, objectively, we can say that our institutions did not hold up well, at least at the beginning. Obviously, we solved the
crises and we're in the midst of solving and bringing the pandemic to an end, especially in Western developed countries.
But it took a long time and many, many, many deaths getting here. Are you optimistic, or are you negative about how these institutions can address
CARNEY: Yes, I'm -- well, Bianna, bottom line, I'm more optimistic now certainly than I have been at any time that I have been addressing it.
And part of the reason is, I think we are beginning to take the lessons of those crises. We need to have a resilient economy. We take a lesson from
COVID and the importance of sustainability. Now, the challenge and what is happening and to meet that challenge, as I said, is that governments are
saying that we will get to net zero; that's our objective.
They're starting to back that up with real policies. And all of a sudden, the financial sector and, more importantly, the companies in the economy,
whether they're in energy or tech or consumer products, are finding solutions, providing products and services with fewer and fewer greenhouse
In other words, we're turning this huge risk into a major opportunity. And I would argue that it's the biggest commercial opportunity of our time.
GOLODRYGA: And the world now, obviously, as always, is focused on what the United States is doing.
And President Biden just issued an executive order, and mandating that agencies government-wide should now analyze and manage their risk and
economic assessments in terms of climate change.
Here's a quote from Brian Deese, his Economic Council adviser. And he said: "Our modern financial system was built on the assumption that the climate
was stable. It's clear that we no longer live in such a world."
So, just going back to your point about having some sort of stability in these orders, in these executive orders, in these policies, the president
issued an E.O. This isn't something that was an act by Congress, and it's something that quickly can be undone by a next president.
So, on the one hand, I'm sure that you are encouraged by what President Biden is doing. But that could very well be short-term.
CARNEY: Well, first thing, I -- absolutely, I think it's incredibly significant. I'm glad you bring it up, the executive order and the U.S.
catching up really with the rest of the world in just having the minimum, which is the information, so that investors, banks, individuals can make
their own judgments about these risks and invest or lend accordingly.
I mean, that -- information is the lifeblood of financial markets, as you well know. So the U.S. is catching up in this respect. It's very welcome.
Let me underscore something else, that these measures, this type of information is being put in place in the U.K., in the E.U., in Canada,
across the world, ultimately, through accounting and disclosure systems. And so we will be in a position in a few years where this is just
fundamental, basic disclosure, which will help make those judgments that are necessary.
So, I would be very are you surprised whether this information, which in the vernacular of the financial industry, is decision-useful, in other
words, it's material information, that, all of a sudden, any of those jurisdictions, U.S. included, would take that away from investors and ask
them to invest or lend in the dark.
GOLODRYGA: And sticking with the U.S., we're seeing mixed responses.
We now know that there are a dozen, more than a dozen U.S. state treasurers that are threatening to pull out investments from large financial
institutions if they do go ahead and focus on decarbonizing and in their lending and investment portfolios.
So much of this is about job security. And many of these people in states particularly tied to carbon and the energy sector, right, and coal are
worried about whether or not they will have jobs going forward, and what impact they will have on them and their families not five, 10, 15 years
from now, but tomorrow.
I know that President Biden is trying to say that this is an economic agenda, not just going green for the environment. But that's a lot harder
to implement than it is just to advertise.
CARNEY: Well, look, I'm -- absolutely agree with the president. This is a jobs agenda. It's an economic agenda. The impact, for example, of
sustainable or green infrastructure, if you want to use that term, is three to four times as high as conventional bridges and roads-type
The same goes for renewable energy vs. conventional energy. So there are real jobs. Now, part of the question is the distribution of those and the
time horizon over which one phases out or transitions and the other ramps up.
And, of course, the sooner we start, and the more deliberate that transition is, the better it is for everybody. There are enormous, enormous
job opportunities. It's part of the reason why a movement towards a more sustainable economy is at the heart of the economic strategies in Europe,
in the U.K. with their 10-point plan.
The U.K. -- let's just take a step back. The U.K. is looking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 68 percent by 2030. And they view that as one
of the engines of economic growth in that country. The same for Canada.
So, if those other jurisdictions can do it, the U.S., with its innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, absolutely can do it and deliver the kind of
jobs that aren't just here today, and they will be here today, but very much will be there for the future.
GOLODRYGA: Mark, I can't let you leave without keeping you and asking you one more question and using your economic expertise about the issue of
It's a hotbed issue here now. And Republicans are seizing on it and saying this is something that's going to impact America in months and years ahead
because of what they describe as President Obama's (sic) overly generous recovery act programs and stimulus.
Many are saying, on the other side, however, this is just the reaction to the economy being frozen due to the pandemic, and this may be a one- or
two-month blip that we're seeing. What side of this argument are you on right now? Are you concerned about inflation?
CARNEY: Well, I mean, I'm a central banker, by training and experience, so, of course, I always look at inflation, as do the officials at the Fed.
The issue that the Fed is right -- and the responsibility here is squarely with the Fed. That's their job, inflation control. And the way they're
looking at is making sure that this recovery, which is really just beginning -- it's very welcome that it's strong -- but the recovery in the
U.S. has momentum and has staying power, and that they adjust their monetary policy in a timely way that ensures that that recovery proceeds
and, at the same time, prices are under pressure -- or are under control.
Look, I think that there will be an adjustment to the Fed policy. They will make the judgment of when exactly that should be. And that's very welcome,
because that means that the overall economic strategy is successful, that Americans are getting jobs, that it's growing, and that inflation, while it
is up for now, is brought back up to that 2 percent target in the medium term.
GOLODRYGA: Mark Carney, always great to have you on and hear your expertise. We appreciate it.
CARNEY: Thank you, Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: Thank you.
Well, they are the men and women charged with an impossibly difficult task, protecting the president of the United States. Members of the Secret
Service shadow the leader of the free world all over the world, earning the president's respect and confidence.
In January, then president-elect Biden underscored that point in the wake of the Capitol insurrection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have great confidence in the Secret Service. I have great confidence in their ability to make sure that
the inauguration goes off, goes off safely, and goes off without a hitch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: But, over the years, the agency has been plagued by scandals and embarrassing missteps.
"Washington Post" investigative reporter Carol Leonnig tells all in her new book, "Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service."
And she joins me now from Washington.
Carol, thank you so much for coming on. So much buzz about this book, and rightly so.
Let's start with the title itself, "The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service."
Is the Secret Service now in decline?
CAROL LEONNIG, AUHOR, "ZERO FALL: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SECRET SERVICE: It has been in a steady decline, Bianna, since basically a few years after
9/11. It hasn't -- it's been stretched too thin, it's been shortchanged, it has incredibly noble, dedicated public servants who entrusted a lot of
secrets to me because they want to ring the alarm bell. They are worried about a president being killed on their watch and they feel that the chinks
in the armor around the Secret Service need attention desperately, need attention immediately.
GOLODRYGA: And when you compare sort of the two monumental moments with the assassination of JFK and then some 18 years later, the attempted
assassination of President Ronald Reagan, I believe we have video showing Agent Tim McCarthy taking literally a bullet for the president, juxtaposing
that with what happened prior with assassination of JFK, you talk about just the traumatic impact it had on the agency, on agents themselves, and
really forced them to take a look at the future of the agency and make some big reforms.
Can you compare and contrast the two assassinations and the assassination attempt?
LEONNIG: You know, that's absolutely right, Bianna. Assassination of Kennedy was a tragedy and a trauma for all of America and actually, across
the world but it was a gut punch like no other for the Secret Service. And you know, the director at the time, Jim Rowley, he basically rededicated
his entire life to rebuilding that agency, professionalizing the training, so that when there is a shot, there is a hair trigger reflex for every
Instead of looking back over their shoulder as they did with Kennedy in Dealey Plaza, they have instant reaction. And that professionalization and
that intensive training that happened after Kennedy was killed is vindicated when you see the videos of the attempt to kill President Reagan.
The Secret Service showed that it was up to the task and that all of the work and all of that rebuilding was so worth it.
I mean, literally, Tim McCarthy does what every agent had been trained for, to step between a bullet and the president and take it. He instantly does
that upon the first shot from John Hinckley. And Jerry Parr, detail leader for the president, also within a second of hearing gunshots, instead of
looking around to see what that is, immediately has his arm on the shoulder of the president, shoving him into the bottom of the back seat of the
waiting limousine, and it saved President Reagan's life.
GOLODRYGA: And terrifying reminders for Americans and taxpayers why we need a Secret Service, a strong and robust Secret Service, a well-funded
Secret Service. .And yet, that is not the case. You talk about years of heads of Secret Service going to the government saying they need more
money, that they are in fact bankrupt as what happened in 2011. What was the response? Why is this even in question?
LEONNIG: I think it is for two reasons. One, the Secret Service, you know, is secret for a reason. We keep a secret from our enemies how we protect
the president so we can better protect him. But secrecy has also been used by this agency to sort cover up what's missing, to cover up vulnerabilities
and the weaknesses. And I've been told by agents many times that directors have been slightly shy and loathe to admit that they are not fully
Some have asked for hundreds of billions of dollars to upgrade the sort of 1900s technology that protects the president and the White House. Some have
been shy about doing it, afraid to say things aren't perfect and afraid to tell the president he is not as safe as he may think he is.
I mean, just in March, 2017, when President Trump was a president only for a few weeks, a jumper got inside the White House, wandered around for 17
minutes, all because sensors, cameras, alarms, even the officers' radios were on the fritz.
You know, this is supposed to be the most secure 18 acres in the world and America deserves better, but more importantly, Secret Service agents who
promise a zero-fail mission deserve better. They can't deliver with the tools they have and with the enormous mission they now have.
GOLODRYGA: And there was a breach of the White House a few years prior to that in the Obama administration, too. I know you really want to highlight
the heroism and the valor that so many of these Secret Service agents display on a daily basis.
There's also a lot of not so appropriate action and embarrassing action on the part of many of these agents, too. You talk about a number of
incidents, one of them happened in Cartagena with President Obama where agents went out and got drunk and actually brought prostitutes back to
their hotel rooms, an embarrassment of course, but talk about the danger involved in something like that as well.
LEONNIG: Absolutely. I'm so glad, Bianna, that you narrow in on the issue of national security. On one hand, a lot of members of Congress when this
was broken by "The Washington Post" and later by more stories in the "Post," we have more unfortunate details, Congress was really focused on
almost like the moral issue. Like how could these buttoned-down agents have turned a trip, a presidential trip into a boy wild weekend or a bachelor's
trip to Las Vegas? How could that be?
But the national security implications are chilling. Because if you're willing to get hammered in another country while you're supposed to be
getting ready for the president's arrival, if you're willing to bring strange women back to your room whose names you don't know, then you're
allowing them in the room you keep your gun, the room where you keep the security details of where the president will be arriving and when, and
where he will be standing. And that no doubt jeopardizes the president's life.
It is sort of the most secretive details, how you're going to walk the president through the country, and we don't want that falling into the
GOLODRYGA: Right. Especially if they have been drinking, they obviously have weapons with them as well and access to data as far as the trip ahead
of them, even if the president is not with them, they are still working when they are there. It is a fascinating book, Carol.
You get into details about President Biden and his concern with the secret agents that he had been initially assigned and asking to work with those
that he had previously worked with under President Obama, these are heroic people, no doubt. They obviously need the praise but they need support. So,
this is an extremely important book, Carol.
It's always wonderful to have you on. Thank you so much.
LEONNIG: Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: I don't know when you find time to write all these books and the incredible breaking news that you report all the time, but we
appreciate it. Thank you.
LEONNIG: Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: And now, Democratic congresswoman, Katie Porter, well, she had a crazy idea. The U.S. tax code should treat single parents the same way as
married couples. So, what did she do? Well, she proposed a bill to eliminate the single parent penalty. It's a move spurred by her personal
experience. She's a mom of three, and one of the only single parents serving in the House of Representatives. Here she is talking to our Michel
Martin about this and President Biden's infrastructure bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Bianna, thank you. Congresswoman Katie Porter, thank you for joining us once again.
REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Yes. I'm delighted to be here.
MARTIN: I wanted to start by talking about the Infrastructure Bill. This is obviously an important policy position for the Biden administration and
for many Democrats who support it. The administration has already shaved the proposal back somewhat in an effort to get some buy in from Republicans
who so far are pretty unanimous in resisting the approach that the bill takes.
And I just wanted to get your take on that. I mean, is that the right move by the Biden administration to try to get Republican buy in, even though
the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, has said that he is 100 percent focused on stopping this administration?
PORTER: We should be definitely having debate with our colleagues from across the aisle about what they think the best path is to putting the
American economy into strong recovery and making it globally competitive for decades to come. There's something magical about the word
infrastructure, and this bill is about making sure the economy is doing those things, it is strong today and will be strong in the future.
Infrastructures such as bridges and roads are part of that, but those are not the only needs in our economy. We also need to invest in the people who
do the work and in the kinds of industries that we want to see job growth in in the future. It's not just about getting to that job, it's about who
watches your family so you can go there, what you get paid when you get there and the kind of work that you do, whether that good job is going to
be there for you for years to come.
With regard to the Republican negotiation, we should absolutely be listening to them, that is core to our democracy. But what we are seeing so
far from Republicans is simply a, we don't want to. They -- it's -- we're not going to do this, not this amount. Well, what are you willing to do?
What do you think our economy needs? And we're not hearing those kind of substantive counter proposals back.
So, I think the president ultimately is going to have shown an extremely good faith effort to listen to Republicans, that's certainly what I am
trying to do here as representative of my district. But ultimately, my job is to put forth policies that are going to help all of the American people
have the economic growth that they need.
MARTIN: Just talk about relationships that you have with other members in Congress. Did you have a sense of whether there are Republicans who
actually do want to negotiate?
PORTER: Well, historically, a lot of these proposals that President Biden is talking about have had strong bipartisan support, infrastructure,
reducing child poverty, making sure we're investing in good high paying jobs, making sure we're investing in science and technology, to stay
globally competitive. These have been historic areas of bipartisan support.
But one of the things that I've already started to hear, and it's so disappointing, is, well, the House will flip in just a year and a half. The
House might flip in just a year and a half. Will Democrats hold onto their majority? None of that. No matter what side of the aisle you are on is
relevant to the question before all of us, which is how do we help our economy.
Can the economy wait another year and a half, two and a half, three and a half, four and a half years for us invest in infrastructure? Every day we
wait our infrastructure needs get more difficult and more expensive. So, the fiscally responsible thing to do here is to generate the wins, to put
in place the foundational elements that our economy needs. If that gives winds to Democrats or Republicans, that's beside the point. The point is,
does it give wins to American workers?
MARTIN: There are two arguments about what's the way forward for Democrats here. On the one hand, you know, some Democrats say, absolutely. Every
effort should be made to try to get buy in from Republicans on such a sort of a massive investment that will benefit the country overall.
On the other hand, some progressives are getting a little frustrated. They wonder why -- they say, this is kind of their point of view, the Democrats
made such a fetish of bipartisanship when Republicans don't, and that they're losing the opportunity to make a big statement at a time the
country really needs it. And I would like to ask what your opinion is about that.
PORTER: The point of bipartisanship is that we think it might produce better outcomes because it involves listening to different viewpoints. But
you can get there listening to viewpoints within your district. I represent a district of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. I'm not pursuing
bipartisanship for its own sake, I'm pursuing listening and talking to Republican constituents because I represent them, because I learn from
their ideas and perspectives, and because I want to have a chance to think about what they think is best as I move forward to take that vote.
But I definitely think that there cannot be a, we'll do anything to get Republicans on board. That's not the goal of bipartisanship. The goal of
bipartisanship is to produce the best possible ideas and the best possible policy outcomes.
So, we should be listening with an ear to, does this make things better? Does this make a stronger bill? Will this strengthen our economy? And if a
Republican has that idea, we should do it. We should not let partisanship stand in our way, but neither is it a goal that stands on its own.
MARTIN: And do you have some deadline in mind by which time the Democrats should move on and perhaps seek to adopt these measures through budget
reconciliation, which is sort of a fancy way of saying, use the budgetary process, like as Democrats did for an earlier relief package (INAUDIBLE) is
not Republic support? I mean, is there a point in which you say, we have to move to a reconciliation? If so, what do you think it is?
PORTER: It's coming up in the next month or two. We've given -- nobody else has put forth a proposal. The Republicans have put forth a counter
proposal, the White House has come forward again. I think we're moving toward being able to say that we are having that debate both within our
districts, with our constituents, but also in Washington. So, I think we'll start to see more concrete proposals, structure of a possible legislative
package here for the middle or to end of summer.
MARTIN: So, let's talk about tax policy now. I mean, this is obviously a concern of yours and it's also a concern of Republicans. As we've said, the
minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said that repealing the corporate tax cuts which were adopted under the prior administration is the red line for
Republicans in the Senate specifically. Tax policy is relevant here because tax -- changing the taxes is in part how the Biden administration wants to
raise money to pay for some of these investments that the administration wants to make.
So, first of all, I want to hear more about what you say the bias against single mothers or single parents is, and then tell me more about what you
think the direction that the Democrats should head in on this?
PORTER: Yes. So, one of the things that President Biden did with a lot of bipartisan support was pass expanded child tax credit. And so, this is
designed to increase the amount of the child tax credit and have it reach more families.
This recognizes that the cost of raising your child are very difficult for middle class and working families to do both in terms of child care, in
terms of adequate housing, in terms of nutritious food. So, that expanded child tax credit is estimated to cut child poverty in half. And that is an
investment in our future workforce.
But the way it's structured at present is to phase out eligibility at a much lower income level for people who are single parents than people who
are in married households. And the penalty here might be because someone is a single parent, but who is going to pay the price? It's going to be the
kids in those single parent households.
So, no child, in my opinion, should get less help in getting that child care and getting that food and getting housing and getting medical care
simply because of the marital status of their parents. So, I have a bill with my colleague, Ayanna Pressley and Don Beyer, to eliminate this so-
called single parent penalty from that expanded child tax credit so we can make sure that all children who need help get it.
MARTIN: What's the logic of phasing that out at a higher income level for a single parent household What's the logic of that?
PORTER: Well, the way it works now is married couples begin to phase out at $150,000 in the expanded child tax credit. But a single parent, a head
of household begins to phases out at $112,500. And the answer is, there's not well-developed policy behind this. It simply is a historic principle,
kind of an idea behind tax policy of you take what's right for single person, you double it for a married person. And, oh, yes, we'll chop it in
half for someone who is a single parent, who is a head of household.
For some purposes in tax policy, that might make sense, but for purposes of a child tax credit, there is no help for single parents at the grocery
store or at the daycare center or with nannies. It's the same cost. And in fact, every bit of research suggests the opposite, that kids in single
parent families often down the income spectrum are more likely to have generally higher risk of worse outcomes. They have more income instability
and more expense instability. So, we should want to do more, not less, for kids in single parent households.
MARTIN: It does make me wonder. We have previously spoken on this program about the way that tax policy has racial implications that perhaps have not
been considered. They may have start out or have been thought of as racially neutral, but, in fact, they advantage specific kinds of
households, households that tend to be formed by white, you know, heterosexual couples where one person makes a great deal more than the
other. That tax policy advantages those families.
And I wanted to ask is there another way in which we could apply racial equity lens to the current situation? I mean, is there a way in which it
also has racial implications that perhaps have not been considered?
PORTER: Well, absolutely. I mean, two-thirds of single parents are women of color. And a lot of policy is rooted and some of the resistance to
changing this policy is coming from ideas about what is the ideal family.
Who or what kinds of families? How do people constitute themselves? And what every child need is a stable, loving parent. And whether that's in a
two-parent or one-parent households with grandparents, the most important thing is a stable loving parent who is able to meet their needs. And so, we
got to be thinking about our child tax policy that way.
But you're absolutely right. I mean, one of the reasons that these exist in part because some of these questions and concerns and perspectives are not
being raised. And so, you know, for a long time in our country, there have not been some voices saying, I was raised by a single parent, I am a single
parent. In the 160th congress, I was the only single parent of young children serving (ph) out of 535 members.
And when I began to ask ways and means staff, the tax means staff (ph), why do we do it this way. The response was nobody's ever asked that question.
MARTIN: You have made quite a name for yourself just by asking questions, I don't want to say just, because, obviously, that's what I do too. But
you've been asking questions that have just not been asked here before.
For example, recently, you made news again because you were questioning pharmaceutical executives around -- one in particular, about a tremendous
increase in cost for a drug that is very necessary for newborns, as I understand it. And you ask, has this cost increase resulted in any
improvement in efficacy of this drug? Has the cost increase diminished side effects in any way? And the answer was no. And I'm just wondering, why it
is that you thought to ask that and nobody else did?
PORTER: Yes. I mean, I think the goal of the hearings is to try to ask the questions that the American people would want to ask. These witnesses are
not just testifying before us as representatives, they're testifying before the American people. And so, I -- you know, I as a person who tries to go
to the pharmacy, and has to sometimes get prescription drugs for myself and my family, they keep saying that these prices are necessary, but why? What
has changed? What has changed?
Is it getting better? Is it getting more expensive to produce? Are your input cost going up? Are the labor costs going up? Are you spending more to
improve the drug? And the answer turns out to be no. And I think it's just really important sometimes to return to fundamentals and to ask the
questions that I think are really on the minds of the American people as they go about their lives.
You know, the number of times someone says something to me, somebody should do something about this. And I always think to myself. Yes, I'm going to
MARTIN: Well, to that end, you just became chair of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and I understand
that you held your second hearing recently and you invited several CEOs to testify about how their companies use the COVID relief funds, but all three
PORTER: Yes. Absolutely. So, the CEOs of Devon Energy, ExxonMobil and others refused to come to testify before the oversight and investigation
subcommittee. And one of the things that we need to discuss as part of making energy policy is to what degree are fossil fuel companies creating
good jobs and to what extent do they use resources from coronavirus pandemic relief to, in fact, keep people employed and create good jobs.
And the answer is, we don't have the transparency that we need into who got PPP loans, for example, what they were used for, why the main street
lending program gave resources. What did the energy companies, fossil fuel companies, who received these loans do with the money? We do not know
unless we ask that question and unless they appear to give that answer. And that money is all of our money, it's taxpayer investment. What did we get
in return? There may be a very, very good answer to that question but we won't know because the CEOs refused to come answer it.
MARTIN: The people who are concerned about fiscal integrity would equally be interested in that question, wouldn't you?
PORTER: We all should be interested in that question because we all want to make sure that our taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely, and that's
what they were -- we are advocates of increasing or decreasing government spending, we all benefit from rooting out waste (INAUDIBLE) abuse and from
understand where these resources go.
And we hope that we are putting COVID-19 and this pandemic in the rearview mirror, but this will not be the last economic instability or the last
recession that our country faces. So, we need to be learning the lessons from how we spent this money, how businesses use money, who applied, who
got help, what did they do with it, what's the payoff, or we can't be good stewards of taxpayer resources going forward in terms of addressing any
future economic recessions.
MARTIN: So, before you go, Congresswoman, how do you feel? I mean, do you feel like you're making any headway? It just seems as though the noise is
louder than ever. I mean, you -- I think a lot of people were hoping after the sort of the trauma of January 6th, you know, mob attack on the capitol,
people died, it was an extremely traumatic event for the country, not just for the city and not just for the Congress, but for the country.
And yet, it seems that there's disagreement over whether there's going to be a commission to investigate this or not. I mean, if you feel there's any
way in which the body is -- the Congress is actually kind of moving in the same direction on anything?
PORTER: Yes. I actually do think we are moving in the same direction on some things. And I think some of what looks like -- you know, we talked
about debate over infrastructure. Well, on one hand, you could say, well, that debate, is that really going anywhere? Are you going to get to
But the flip side is, we are debating. We are talking about infrastructure. We are trying to figure out what to do, and that is a good thing. We are
talking about some of these things. We are moving bills to the floor. We are starting to have this discussion. And we have a very divided
government. It is very close majorities in both the House and the Senate. So, a lot of -- this is going to be more deliberate. And it's going to
involve more conversation and more trying to get to a place of compromise. But it's not necessarily a bad thing.
But I do feel like we are making progress. And I think a lot of that is due to President Biden and the leadership that he has provided around putting
forward strong plans, his willingness, his steadfast willingness to listen to Republicans, to want to work across the aisle. But ultimately, to being
committed to delivering help to all American people.
And if Republicans want to help with that project, we would love to have them. And if they don't want to help the American people, then that's what
we have to go ahead and do. And I think we've -- I personally benefitted from watching Joe Biden -- President Biden take that attitude and have
those constructive conversations with both the American public and with leaders of both parties.
MARTIN: Congressman Katie Porter, thank you so much for talking with us today.
PORTER: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Well, as lawmakers like Katie Porter try to stretch across the aisle, we reach for the stars. As the sun, earth and the moon aligned to
create the first lunar eclipse in years. If you missed it, don't worry. We've got you covered. In a special treat, it's also a super flower blood
moon, which is quite the title to live up to. Look at that. Named for its deep red hue and appearance in May, a month where flowers bloom in the
Today, the moon reaches its closest point to the earth in 2021, giving us all a chance to admire the lunar landscape. Some nice images to leave you
And that is it for now. Thank you so much for watching and good-bye from New York.