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Trump's Triumph; Putin Spokesman on Plan for Syria; Imagine a World
Aired November 11, 2016 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: Trump's triumph. Writer and historian Simon Schama on what his (INAUDIBLE) our world with
the demands of Trump's voters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMON SCHAMA, HISTORIAN: Of course he can't start a full-on trade war with China any more than he can sort of discount Treasury bills suddenly and
suppose there are no consequences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Plus, we'll have President Putin's chief spokesman and aide, Dmitry Peskov, on Russia. My interview, after this.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Today, the 11th of November, is Veterans Day in the United States. And here in Europe, it is Armistice Day, when all the service men and women
lost in battles since World War I are remembered.
The traditional (INAUDIBLE) was (INAUDIBLE) at the 11th hour of the 11th (INAUDIBLE) this 11th month marking that very hour the guns fell silent in
And at Arlington Cemetery in the United States, President Obama used his Veteran's Day speech to urge his nation to come together after this most
divisive of U.S. elections that's seen two nights of protests already across the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The election is over, as we search for ways to come together, to reconnect with one another and with
the principles that are more enduring than transitory politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But how will the rift be healed?
And what will a President Trump be able to deliver?
Since exit polls now show that the voters' biggest desire was for change. That one word, change. I put that question to the eminent historian and
broadcaster, Simon Schama. He joined me (INAUDIBLE)
AMANPOUR: Simon Schama, welcome to the program.
SCHAMA: Hello, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So there are a lot of people doing a lot of post-mortems, people professing to be shocked all over the world.
You, though, in an email to some of your friends, predicted that this was going to be the result on Tuesday. You very much feared from your
perspective that this is what was going to happen.
What made you think that this was going to be the outcome?
SCHAMA: Two things. One, I wasn't hearing the kind of inspirational message from the Clinton campaign I thought that she needed to produce and
that it wasn't enough to simply watch Donald Trump self-destruct. There was a kind of echo chamber syndrome going on, clever people talking to
clever people, number-crunching the figures from place to place and leaving alone that kind of vision thing and thinking that an arid menu of policy
proposals was the same thing as speaking to America.
That is exactly the problem we had with Brexit.
AMANPOUR: Also, I think you plumbed the depth of fear, loathing, hatred, disconnect out there amongst people.
What do you think the lessons of Brexit and of this Trump victory are?
SCHAMA: Well, the real challenge, because actually those on the liberal Democratic side in both places have to find a way to talk to people, who,
whether it's true or not, feel they've famously been left behind by the way the recovery has distributed what's left of prosperity unequally, how to
talk to them in their own kind of six-ale bar kind of way, in a northern pub way in Britain without being patronizing, without being condescending,
and even find a way to talk to them about subjects which make journalists like you and me extremely uneasy, immigration, race and so on.
You don't have to subscribe to their fears. But you do have to absolutely engage with them.
AMANPOUR: You touched on immigration. There is a huge battle of who and what won this war, if you like.
Was it the economy?
Or was it fear of the Other?
Was it race or was it, you know, poverty and dispossession?
What do you think?
SCHAMA: Well, I think -- I think race is a tremendous juicer-up of ferocious kind of political passion, negative political passion. What
Donald Trump did and what, perhaps, Nigel Farage in Brexit did, was to give people the kind --
SCHAMA: -- of right to actually express often very ugly opinions, which they would only do otherwise in private. Look, what's happened, the
central issues, two completely disconnected phenomena, have been troubling the industrial world. One is the uneven distribution of how people got
richer or not rich enough.
Or not rich so much as simply doing OK in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
And the other phenomenon is the unleashed wash, the great tidal flow of immigration. Unscrupulous politicians or politicians who perhaps believe
this, have found it very easy to pin the blame for social and economic hardship on the completely unrelated phenomenon of migration. And when you
put that together, that's a real kind of hornet's nest.
AMANPOUR: And I want to ask you about that because there was obviously clarity about the message. It was framed in very short bullet points and
disseminated on social media in a way that it immediately resonated with people.
But do you think that promise, that nostalgic dream of the past, almost like, let's reopen the coal mines, A, do you think that's deliverable?
And, B, if it is not delivered, then what happen to those very voters?
SCHAMA: A, of course, you're right, it's completely undeliverable. And supposing that Donald Trump takes the right tutorials -- of course, he
can't start a full-on trade war with China, any more than he can sort of discount Treasury bills suddenly and suppose this are no consequences.
And if he did so, the kind of blowback economically would create catastrophic meltdown conditions in the communities of the very people who
voted for him.
So why I thought this (INAUDIBLE) voice queued up the logical consequence of that, which is genuinely sinister, whether you're a Republican or a
Democrat, namely if Donald Trump is actually thought to be betraying -- he's a traitor to the very people who voted for him -- with such commitment
and passion, whatever it was, then we're in real trouble.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you about Donald Trump himself. He is not an ideologue. He is not really a Republican. He's not really a Democrat.
He's a businessman, who many people say is pragmatic in the way he does his deals.
Could there be, at this time, a silver lining, that a pragmatic person could actually, you know, the campaign rhetoric was something, but the
governing will be something else and he'll take the best of both and knit it together, I don't know, with a big infrastructure bill, for instance?
SCHAMA: Well, we don't know, because I think he doesn't know yet. And one thing we know that Donald Trump is drunk on and that's adoration. We saw
it at the rallies. It makes him happier than anything else in the world.
So the issue is that there are two routes to Trumpian happiness. One is delivering actual material prosperity, is actually making the "I alone can
fix it" something more than an absurd slogan or, better still, "making America great again," and doing it with infrastructural investment.
Remember, that degree of infrastructural investment, combined with the tax cuts he's promising, will just absolutely blow the debt out of the water.
And we have to remember that the Tea Party was, if it matters, still anymore, founded on extreme concerns about the scale of the national debt.
So one route, nonetheless, is the tutored, pragmatic, kind of Keynesian, latter-day New Deal Donald Trump. On the other hand, he has to think,
well, if this sounds so completely out of kilter with the Donald Trump who roused people's emotions by saying, well, by shutting off the border,
building the wall and so on, that's why I'm going to make America great again, they're going to be extremely sore at this betrayal.
AMANPOUR: And very briefly, because we now have Brexit, we have Trump and there are many, many elections coming up in Europe. You talked about
cryptofascists, neofascists, obviously a very sort of resurgent white right-wing nationalism is in the air.
What do you think that means for elections coming up in Europe now?
SCHAMA: Oh, I think it's very, very disturbing because, actually if you're Marine Le Pen, if you're Petry Frauke (sic) or someone or Geert Wilders
here in Holland, what lessons are you going to draw from the success of Donald Trump's campaign?
Namely, go extreme. The more extreme you go, the louder you send out extreme messages, the more likely you are to be blessed with victory. And
there we are in deep, deep trouble.
AMANPOUR: On that note, Simon Schama, historian, thank you for joining me from the Netherlands.
SCHAMA: A pleasure, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: And when we come --
AMANPOUR: -- back, my interview with the Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. That's right after this break.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
Now some latest news into CNN's Jim Acosta about the presidential transition: we understand that Vice President-elect Mike Pence is going to
be leading the Trump transition system as it goes forward right now. And the New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, will be the deputy chairman of
Now as angry crowds -- or pockets of them -- in the United States protest President-elect Donald Trump and what they fear could lie ahead, 5,000
miles away, Moscow sees the Trump win as an opportunity.
The Kremlin says it is ready to restore full-fledged relations with the United States after years of being at loggerheads with President Obama and
Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin's spokesman, says that Trump's foreign policy appears phenomenally close to Putin's and even that Trump's victory speech
had striking similarities to speeches by the Russian president.
Many high-ranking U.S. officials are troubled by the seemingly cozy relationship between the president-elect and Putin. Few people, though,
are as close to him as Peskov, who joins me now.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, Dmitry Peskov.
DMITRY PESKOV, PUTIN SPOKESPERSON: Yes, hello, Christiane, hi.
AMANPOUR: Hi. There's a bit of a delay; so let me ask you, because everybody is interested in the new Russia relationship.
When you say that Trump's policy is phenomenally close to President Putin's and that even elements of Trump's speech mirrored some of Putin's speech,
what precisely do you mean?
What are you hoping for?
PESKOV: Well, actually, there, they seem to be very pragmatic, both of them. They point out, as a main objective, to protect national interests;
we've heard Mr. Trump mentioning overwhelming priority of America's national interests.
And the same is being proclaimed by President Putin. He is very consistent in that, saying that Russia and Russia's peoples' prosperity and their
national interests are the main objective and the main priority.
But at the same time, they both expressed a readiness to develop good relationship with other countries in the world, as far as countries are
ready to go. So and this is really, this is a very good, very positive coincidence, in my opinion.
AMANPOUR: Dmitry Peskov, it's absolutely a given that Donald Trump was the Kremlin's favorite candidate to the point that we've even seen a deputy in
the Duma, Mr. Nikonov, who talked --
AMANPOUR: -- to me the other day, basically congratulating members of the Duma, saying, this is your victory, congratulations to you.
Sergei Markov, who is, as you know, a pro-Kremlin analyst, said that he anticipates Donald Trump having much more support for the Kremlin, for the
president, Putin's agenda.
Is that what you are hoping?
PESKOV: Well, I would like to remind you that President Putin did his best in order to stay neutral in this story, despite the fact that personally he
was playing an overwhelming role quite unexpectedly for us in American election campaign.
But nonetheless, he never -- he never pointed out his favorite candidate. And he was very careful, saying that Russia would welcome any choice of
American people and we cannot afford interfering into America's domestic affairs.
You know, again, President Putin is very consistent in that. And he is strictly against someone's interfering in our domestic affairs and he's
very careful in order not to do it in the domestic affairs of countries, including the United States.
AMANPOUR: But let me --
PESKOV: So no country, including -- yes?
AMANPOUR: Well, I just want to follow up, because President Putin did actually say that it was in the public interest and a public service, that
all these Democrat emails were released.
And Sergei Markov, that analyst who I was saying, said maybe we helped a bit with WikiLeaks.
So that's from your own side, giving a nod and a wink to accusations by the American intelligence community that actually Russia, in some form or
fashion, was behind this.
And there is motivation, as you say. You know, President Putin believes that Donald Trump's policies are more aligned with him than Hillary Clinton
and had -- and actually tried to defend Donald Trump against criticism at the United Nations.
PESKOV: Well, no one expects that the relationship will improve in a fortnight between Moscow and Washington. We have a very heavy burden of
disagreement on our shoulders.
But, nonetheless, if our two leaders -- I mean, the current -- Russia's leader, President Putin, and President-elect Trump are wise enough to have
a political will to talk to each other and to try to solve problems, not by confronting each other, not by using, let's say, a language of sanctions or
other illogic things, hurting both sides, then we'll really have a chance to -- at least to talk and to try to solve the problems being constructed.
Then we'll have a whole bet list (ph) because what we have currently is a very lousy relationship, let's say, a minimum possible level of our
relationship, for last decades.
Can I ask you, because you mentioned a few of these issues, you know, Donald Trump has threatened to tear up or renegotiate or get rid of certain
deals that the United States made. One of them is, with Russia's help, which was the Iran nuclear deal.
Do you think it was the worst deal ever, as Donald Trump says, and that it should be torn up or somehow metaphorically cast into the dustbin of
Is that what Russia would like to see?
PESKOV: Well, Russia would like -- would like to be constructive anyway. And Russia is ready to take into account concerns of its partners.
But, of course, we feel ourselves in a right to expect that our partners are also ready to take into account our current concerns.
And we're very strict in fulfilling our international obligations. Russia is extremely careful and is a very responsible international player in that
But at the same time we're, we're insisting all the time that our counterparts are fulfilling their obligations.
PESKOV: It's a very important balance and -- yes?
AMANPOUR: No, no, sorry; I don't mean to interrupt you.
But what about Syria?
Obviously, you've had a great deal of diplomacy but a great deal of acrimony with the United States over Syria. Donald Trump seems to suggest
he's much more aligned with the Russian view of Syria.
So what are you expecting to be the end result in Syria under a new American president?
PESKOV: Well, I would say that Syria is a burning issue. And we cannot afford a pause of a couple of months. So we have a couple of --
PESKOV: -- months ahead and we'll continue to work with an acting administration in Washington. And Putin will continue to work with Mr.
Obama. We cannot afford waiting for a couple of months.
PESKOV: What we have to do now, we have to ensure that -- yes . We have to ensure that promises to deter terrorists from other positions will be
realized into life (ph).
But after that -- after that, of course, what we expect on Syria is a real cooperation, not just exchange of information. This is not sufficient.
And this, unfortunately, thus, we cannot be effective in combating terror there in Syria.
AMANPOUR: So you say you have these two months before the next president takes office.
What is your aircraft carrier doing there?
Many, many people feel that President Putin felt that there was going to be a Hillary Clinton victory, wanted to get in with the aircraft carrier and
deliver a final blow to Eastern Aleppo.
Is that still your plan?
PESKOV: Well, you know, Russian air force is continuing to perform its duties in order to support activities of Syrian army against terrorists.
And this operation is being continued, although in accordance with the order of Russian chief commander, President Putin, they are still holding
And they're not using military jets in order to bomb terrorists targets in Eastern Aleppo. But, in general, operation is going on.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you finally, you have said -- and I just wanted to you confirm to me -- that Russian experts were in contact with some members of
Trump's staff during the campaign. Just describe your contacts with the Trump campaign.
PESKOV: Listen, Russian experts are in permanent contacts with their counterparts, with experts on Russia-U.S. relationships, with specialists
in politology (ph). It's a normal exchange of views. It's a normal exchange of visits.
And then, of course, among those people, there could have been someone interconnected with the election campaign.
But, again, I just want to repeat that we cannot speak about any official context or contacts orchestrated or initiated from Kremlin. We haven't had
any official contacts with them.
AMANPOUR: All right. Lots more to discuss. We hope you'll join us as this transition goes ahead. Dmitry Peskov, thanks very much for joining us
from New York today.
PESKOV: Thank you, it was my pleasure, thank you, goodbye.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And coming up, we imagine a world next without the musical mastery of Leonard Cohen, the Canadian pioneer, whose poetry, much like Bob
Dylan's, changed songwriting. That's next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world without the poignant, heartfelt lyricism of Leonard Cohen, the legendary singer-songwriter, who
died Thursday at the age of 82. His extraordinary poetry transcended any vocal ability with that famously gruff voice, which got even deeper and
gruffer with age.
His most famous song, "Hallelujah," was covered hundreds of times in many different languages.
AMANPOUR: A well-respected writer and poet even before becoming a singer, he was one of Canada's greats.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying that, "no other artist's music felt or sounded like Leonard Cohen's and yet his work resonated across generations.
Canada and the world will miss him."
Creative to the end, Leonard Cohen released his last album, his 14th, just three weeks ago. The critically acclaimed, "You Want It Darker," saw him
grapple with the darkness in the world around us, compounding this message with a lyrical letter to his muse, the famous Marianne, who inspired
another of his legendary ballads.
AMANPOUR: He wrote her a letter this summer as she lay on her deathbed. He was saying goodbye to her.
"Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine."
And of course now, just these few months later, he has gone on, too, in a year that's seen so many of our cultural greats pass away.
AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program tonight. Remember you can always listen to our podcast anytime and see us online at amanpour.com and follow
me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.