Return to Transcripts main page
President Trump Faces Criticism of Siding With Russia; ; Many People Are Working Long Hours at "BS Jobs". Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired July 17, 2018 - 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: Coming up, anger and outcry, President Trump flies into a barrage of criticism at home, from even his closest
allies because of siding with Russia over charges that Moscow had the 2016 elections.
Richard Clarke joins me from New York. He has served Democratic and Republican presidents in top national security positions and he's long been
raising the alarm about Russia.
Plus, are you stuck in a good job, yet wondering what's the point. Well, you're not alone says and author and anthropologist David Graeber. And
he's here to explain the meaning behind meaningless jobs.
Welcome to the program everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. After a year and a half of Donald Trump's leadership we all know the script. The
president says something outrageous, his opponents howl, his supporters unite behind him. But when Donald Trump stood side-by-side with Vladamir
Putin in Helsinki and backed him over his own intelligence agencies, that seemed to be a bridge too far.
Yes, some supporters stuck to the playbook. He is has shown Hannity on Fox praising the president immediately after the press conference in Helsinki
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, AMERICAN COMMENTATOR: You were very strong at the end of that press conference. You said, where are the servers? What about what
Peter Strzok said? Where are the 33,000 e-mails?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But elsewhere on the cheerleading Fox News, not everyone towed the line. Host Neil Cavuto called the president's performance disgusting.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS COMMENTATOR: Our U.S. President, on foreign soil, talking to our biggest enemy or adversary or competitor, I don't know how
we define him these days, is essentially letting the guy get away with this and not even, you know, offering a mild criticism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Here's President Trump's own director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. He said quote, "We've been clear in our assessments of Russia
meddling in the 2016 election and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security."
And several Republicans in Congress criticized President Trump, including Adam Kinzinger, and Air Force veteran and also Will Hurd, a former CIA
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM KINZINGER, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: I think Trump, President Trump was wrong yesterday, in a major way, and I think it was a very embarrassing
WILL HURD, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Having the U.S. President side with Putin over a U.S. Intelligence, I mean, it's just unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: At the heart of all this controversy is President Trump's refusal to acknowledge that Russia attacked the 2016 presidential election.
No one knows more about the dangers of cyber warfare than my guest tonight, Richard Clarke.
He was counter terrorism czar under President's Clinton and Bush and he's written numerous books on terror and cyber threat.
Richard Clarke, welcome to the program. Thanks for joining me from New York.
RICHARD CLARKE, FORMER COUNTER-TERRORISM CZAR: Good to back with you Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So, just take us to where you were, as you must have been watching along with the whole world, that press conference in Helsinki
along side Vladamir Putin. And it was an American journalist, two in fact, who put direct questions to the President and to Putin over this highly
CLARKE: Well, what was remarkable about it was, he knows that what he was saying isn't true and he knows we know what he was saying wasn't true.
This is not just him talking about tax policy or healthcare.
It's him talking about the fact that America was attacked. It's fundamental democracy, it's institutions were attacked and he is now,
again, part of a cover up of that fact and is a cover up that can't succeed, because we all know the facts, most of them, Bob Mueller clearly
knows more and he's letting us know what he knows in bits as these indictments come out.
But the Congress knows. The Republicans in the Congress know and that's why we got the reaction we did, yesterday and today, from the Republicans
condemning him for, in essence, covering up or attempting to cover up a Russian attack on our democracy.
AMANPOUR: You know, we have all -- people have all tried to try to figure out why it is that the President simply doesn't accept what you've just
said everybody knows and that he knows. Why do you think it is? I mean, not just from a pop psychology point view, but can you imagine any factual
reason or physiological reason why he wouldn't?
[14:05:00] CLARKE: Well, if I were to be conned and bent over backwards and try to justify it in his mind, it's because he doesn't want his
election to be discredited in any way, but there's much more than that. He's clearly acting in a way that he thinks Putin wants him to act, and
that raises very interesting questions.
Is it just because he wants good relations with Russia? I don't think so. You know, I have been very reluctant to come to the conclusion that he's a
controlled asset, but that's the term that we use in the intelligence community when we have someone in another government who for whatever
reason does what we want them to do because we're bribing them, because we have something on them. He is acting like a controlled asset.
AMANPOUR: Gosh, Richard Clarke, honestly I'm getting shortage of breath as I hear you say that because it is so profoundly worrying and scary and it
starts to put a very clear point on what this president is doing, and I wonder whether you think that this could be a tipping point or even if you
think that the Republicans have criticized him have done it strongly enough and enough of them, or do you think this is still sort of whataboutism (ph)
and will fade once the day or the week fades?
CLARKE: Well, we had press releases and tweets from leading Republicans yesterday, but no action. And there are actions that the Congress can
take. Now, the Congress, the Senate in particular, could pass a motion of censure. That's been rarely done, but it is something available to them.
We don't have to wait for Bob Mueller to come out with all the facts and then go through a year-long impeachment process. There are things now that
the Congress can do. They can limit his authority, they can censure him for his actions. Either House can do it, both houses can do it. This is a
time of testing, and history will look back on what the Republican leaders did now. So far, they're not doing much.
AMANPOUR: Do you go as far as some Republicans have done and even the columnist Tom Freedman in describing what happened as a treasonous act. In
fact, it was the former, I believe, CIA Director John Brennan who called it beyond crimes and misdemeanors and into the realm of treason and so did
columnist Tom Freedman?
CLARKE: Well, from (ph) the former CIA Director who's a career CIA officer of over 30 years service and has served many presidents in both parties as
I have done, too, says the word "treason", that doesn't come lightly. It's one thing for a newspaper columnist to say it, but when someone who has
been CIA Director says it, you have to think about it.
And I thought about that. I looked up the definition of the word "treason" after I heard him say that. And it is giving aid and comfort to the enemy,
and I think that's what the president has done. He has given aid and comfort to Russia, which is our enemy even thought he won't admit that
Russia is our enemy.
You know, the remarkable thing is he won't admit Russia is our enemy, but the day before that meeting he called the European Union a foe. He's
willing to call the E.U. a foe, but he won't admit that Russia is our enemy.
AMANPOUR: In fact, extraordinarily in the press conference, the president again called Vladimir Putin and Russia a competitor. He didn't call him a
foe. He called him a competitor, but then he added, "I mean that as a compliment." And I want -
CLARKE: But -
AMANPOUR: - yes, sorry. Go ahead.
CLARKE: No, exactly. That's the point. He views them as a potential business partner and he ignores the fact that they have invaded countries,
that they've shot down airlines, and that they have attacked our democratic institutions.
AMANPOUR: And Richard Clarke, while here there's a lot of, you know, gnashing of teeth and wailing and beating of breast over this, in Moscow
there are champagne corks popping to coin a phrase. There are state television bragging about what's just happened. There is the Foreign
Minister himself, Sergey Lavrov, a really smart geopolitical strategist, a veteran of these wars and the hybrid wars whose called the press conference
magnificent and greater than super.
The Helsinki Newspaper has called it, you know, Trump zero, Putin one. Beyond those obvious sort of reactions from those quarters, is what
happened dangerous for the United States? Beyond just words in a press conference, is there a danger or not?
[14:10:00] CLARKE: Well, there's a great danger, and I think the Russians are on the wise to be gloating over this because the reaction in the United
States is building and the reaction in the United States will come and it will make relations between the United States and Russia far worse then
they have been since the Cold War.
The president said he thought relations were bad, worse than they ever were until his meeting. He forgets the Cold War if he ever remembered it at
all. Things have been very bad between us and they're going to end up very bad between us if we go down this road.
Dan Coates, the Director of National Intelligence, who you mentioned, not only said something about Russian meddling in our elections. The other day
he said, "the lights are blinking red. It's like pre-9/11. The Russians are doing things like cyber attacks on our power grid, inserting things
into our power grid for future use." That's a situation that we've never had and this is reminiscent of the Cold War.
AMANPOUR: Well, look, you know, you talk about the lights blinking red like pre-9/11. You were saying the same thing actually pre-9/11. You were
saying that the lights were blinking red and the institutions, the White House, they didn't believe you. They didn't listen to you, and then we got
what we did. And one can say that America has still not recovered from 9/11. I mean, you know, how red are they blinking? How bad is it? What
will happen if they hack into the power grid or what else could they do?
CLARKE: So Dan Coates, the Director of National Intelligence, who said the lights are blinking red like pre-9/11 if a former Republican Senator as you
know. He's a presidential appointee by this president and he is saying publically the lights are blinking red because of Russian activity, but he
meant two things.
One, attacks on our infrastructure, putting things in getting ready to do something, number one, and number two, they're ongoing - ongoing attempts
to effect our election system. We're having an election in this country of a House and the Senate in a little over two months, and apparently
according to U.S. intelligence, the Russians are beginning to do things as they did two years ago to effect the votes.
We have to act to stop that. And if the president won't, the Congress and the governors of the States have to act now.
AMANPOUR: Well, we'll wait to see if they do take your warnings, but I want to put to you the president has been defending himself, the White
House has been putting out talking points, and here's what everybody's saying.
Prescient Trump isn't going to let an excessive focus on the past get in the way of building a brighter future between the world's two largest
nuclear powers, and, of course, they've also blamed the press and the hysteria of the press, et cetera, et cetera. Is there anything to be said
for what the White House is trying to say, what the president is saying? I want to get beyond this. None of this happened on my watch. I want to get
beyond this and have a good relationship with Russia precisely to reign in their malign efforts.
CLARKE: This is not just about what happened two years ago. It's about what's happening now - the continuing efforts to influence American
politics and the American election system, they're continuing efforts to put cyber weapons onto our infrastructure, their violation of treaties that
we have with them on nuclear arms such as the INF Treaty on nuclear weapons in Europe.
This isn't about the past. It's about present Russian activity. They continue to occupy part of Ukraine, a country that the United States
guaranteed security to when they gave up nuclear weapons after the end of the Cold War. It's not about the past. It's about now.
AMANPOUR: Richard Clarke, you are once again the Cassandra. You are really raising the alarm bells along with some of your colleagues. Really
appreciate you being here tonight. Thank you so much, indeed.
CLARKE: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So, we have just heard the real pitfalls of the current situation, and, you know, we're going to change track. You think being
president is hard? Well, you are right, it is. But for most occupants of this high office, the job does come with a huge sense of purpose, mission,
In our own different and humbler ways, we all see jobs that deliver a sense of real meaning. After all, we all do spend the majority of our lives at
work, but so many have no such luck even while earning a decent salary.
In his new book "BS jobs" - and we can't read the entire word out - David Graeber, author, anthropologist and professor at the London School of
Economics argues that too many of us are working ever longer hours at jobs that are, well, BS. Jobs that exist simply in order to exist and actually
damage the employee's sense of self worth.
I sat down with Graeber to go through his theory and to try to figure out a plan B.
David Graeber, welcome to the program.
DAVID GRAEBER, ANTHROPOLOGIST: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Can you briefly outline your collection of B.S. jobs?
GRAEBER: Yes, this is something I got when I asked people to write me in and talk about their most pointless occupations. And I got a -- several
hundred. So, I sorted them into five different categories and some of this I came up with by discussing it with various people following up.
And those are flunkies, gurus, box tickers, duct tapers and task masters. And the short version would be, flunkies are people who are just there to
make someone else look good or feel good about themselves.
Gurus are there, those are people who are engaged in some sort of aggressive activity that is only necessary if your competitor is doing it.
So, a lot of telemarketers, P.R. people, corporate lawyers. A lot of those people feel, well my job is useful for the company but this entire industry
All right, you go from there to duct tapers. Duct tapers are there to fix a problem that shouldn't exist if the company was organized properly, we
all know about that. Box tickers are there to allow a company to say they're doing something they're not really doing. Compliance often does
this. And task master is basically either make up B.S. for other people to do or supervise people who don't need supervision.
AMANPOUR: I want to know whether you think your job as an educator, an anthropologist, is one of your B.S. jobs?
GRAEBER: Well, I think that there's nothing less B.S. than teaching people things. And my students seem to feel that way. I think most of us feel
that teaching is the very start(ph) of a real job. You get to see -- I once saw an ad in the subway in New York that said, no one every called
someone up 20 years later to thank them for being such a good financial claims advisor.
AMANPOUR: But they did thank their high school teach, their kindergarten .
GRAEBER: Exactly. Yes.
AMANPOUR: Well, I happen to agree with you. I think that is one of the highest callings. So, I want to know how, as you were teaching, did you
come across this phenomena. Did you go out searching for it?
AMANPOUR: Did people, students come to you?
GRAEBER: No. It's largely because I find myself in a kind of alien (inaudible). I don't really come from a professional, managerial
background. So suddenly, I'm amidst all these people and they're trying to make small talk at parties and you say, oh, well I'm an anthropologist,
what do you do?
And often they're very apologetic and they try to avoid the -- well, nothing really, you know. And it's only after a few drinks you find out
they meant it. Literally, they literally do nothing.
AMANPOUR: So interestingly, I mean obviously the -- some of the polls back you up. According to a YouGov poll, from here, 37 percent of Britain's
believe their work makes no meaningful contribution and a report by "The Harvard Business Review" indicates that half of American professionals,
that's half of American professionals believe their jobs have no significance.
Okay, so that is very needalistic(ph) almost. I mean it's very remarkable right?
GRAEBER: Remarkable, yes.
AMANPOUR: How does a society propel itself when such huge proportions believe that they're actually engaged in nothing meaningful?
GRAEBER: It's really interesting and the thing that's fascinated me is why isn't this considered a big social problem? Why aren't we talking about
his? And if that's the way people feel about their jobs and they're -- I get the inclusion there's some kind of taboo that we feel that we should be
working and it's better to work even if you're doing nothing than not to work at all.
Everybody's looking over their shoulders and like wondering if there's somebody getting away with something and not working. And as a result,
jobs are the solution to all problems.
You can't say we're working too much. Everybody's always saying we're working too little, we need to work harder. There's some people slacking
off, that's terrible. So, we've driven ourselves into this situation where we're essentially making up meaningless jobs just to keep ourselves busy.
AMANPOUR: And you have said, in the past, you said that one of the other things is that this phenomenon is happening at a time when we see so much
corporate pressure to get lean and mean, to increase the profit margins and to slash and burn, slash and burn.
GRAEBER: Exactly. Yes, it's a .
AMANPOUR: Yes, go ahead.
GRAEBER: Well, exactly what fascinates me is that there's this rhetoric of lean of mean, but that only applies to people that actually are productive.
I mean if you're there making something, moving something, driving something, fixing something, sure they'll downsize you, they'll speed you
up, they'll taylorize you, they'll make you life incredibly difficult. But if you're the guy who's just sitting around being the assistant to the
assistant to that guy who's giving the orders, they won't get rid of you even if you're doing nothing.
AMANPOUR: But you see, that's fundamentally backwards then, because they're actually cutting out the meaningful jobs.
GRAEBER: Exactly, yes.
AMANPOUR: Why is that though? It makes no sense. Why -- why -- what does your research show? Why is that?
GRAEBER: Well, I think part of it does have to do with economic policy. A lot of it, I think, it's really a result of trickle down. I mean, money
does trickle down, because you just redistribute money upwards by giving tax cuts to billionaires and saying you are job creators, go and create
Well no, if you give money to poor people, they'll go and buy food. If you give money to middle class people, they might buy a car or a swimming pool.
But either way, employers have to hire people to make that stuff.
If you give money directly to the rich people, well no, there is nobody to buy this stuff, so what are they going to do? The easiest thing, if
they're under pressure to hire people because they're supposed to be job creators, is just hire a bunch of flunkies to sit around and make them feel
good about themselves.
AMANPOUR: It's really fascinating now (ph), because right now we also know that there's this real clash between, you know, the -- the divide, the
economic divide, the eternally, you know, privileged and the increasingly underprivileged.
We also know that young people are emerging from college, if they're lucky enough to have gone, and to have taken heavy, heavy loans, be in terrible
debt. How does that effect them in terms of the choice of jobs?
GRAEBER: Well it doesn't -- it means they don't have a lot of choices. And one of the fascinating things that my research revealed is there is an
almost inverse relationship between the degree to which your work obviously helps other people, directly benefits others and how much you're likely to
So a lot of young people find themselves in this terrible quandary, their debt is so high that if they want to do something that's actually good for
other people, they, you know, they can forget about ever having a family.
They can forget about ever having their own house. So -- so you have this sort of devil's choice between taking a meaningless, pointless job that
might even make the world a worse place but still have -- being able to have the kind of lifestyle your parents could expect, or doing some good in
the world and -- and -- and suffering horribly.
AMANPOUR: And then get paid peanuts.
AMANPOUR: You've written also that there is an almost perfect inverse relation between how much your work directly benefits others and
remunerations. So we've talked a little bit about that, but you've just said the result is a toxic political culture of resentment.
Do you think that, to an extent, has fueled the last few years of this rise of toxic populism?
GRAEBER: I absolutely do, and I think it's something that we're not looking at. I think that there is a tendency on the part of people in the
sort of professional managerial classes where often they are doing (inaudible) they often feel their work is totally pointless to resent
people who actually do something either with their hands or make something or teach people or take care of people.
I mean, why else would it be that after the 2008 crash, that people actually had to take pay cuts, they took a hit economically. Weren't
actually the bankers, in almost every case, one (ph) in America was autoworkers, in -- in this country, it was teachers, nurses, ambulance
drivers, people who were actually helping others.
And -- and there seemed to be almost a resentment in people who get to do something where they can at least feel good about themselves. And at the
same time, people --
AMANPOUR: And that society needs, it's not just about feeling good about yourself.
GRAEBER: Yes, so they can feel good about themselves because they know they're doing something society needs.
AMANPOUR: Do you have a solution -- I mean you've obviously given a lot of thought to this. What -- what is your solution, how can B.S. jobs be -- be
factored out and to get more meaningful jobs that actually help society and -- and help people?
GRAEBER: Yes, and -- and make it so that people who are doing meaningful jobs get compensated appropriately, I mean, because they're actually doing
something useful. I think that we need to -- we think the entire system -- I think the first thing we need to do is figure -- change our -- our -- our
basic sense of value.
What is it about work that actually makes it valuable and meaningful? At the moment, I'm really coming around to a position in support of basic
income. Let's just divorce livelihood from work entirely, because after all, if 40 percent of people already feel that their work is totally
pointless, even if you let people do whatever they wanted and half of them decided they wanted to become poets or musicians and a lot of those weren't
very good, so what?
I mean, how are they going to come up with a worse division of labor than we already have. And even if they're doing something useless, at least
it'll be something they like.
AMANPOUR: But basic income, apparently Finland tried it with very little success.
GRAEBER: It -- it was tried halfway in Finland. It was more like an elaborate unemployment scheme. It was tried in India and in Namibia with
very great success, actually worked quite well.
And there have been -- there have been programs that work well. The problem is doing it on a large scale. They haven't been able to do that
kind of experiment. So when they have done it in richer countries, it hasn't really been basic income, because it didn't effect everyone.
The only places that have something like basic income are places like Alaska. (Inaudible).
GRAEBER: They just give everybody money to live in Alaska.
AMANPOUR: Never -- no, I didn't know that. What do you mean?
GRAEBER: Alaska, they have a -- they have a sovereign fund and it distributes money to everybody who lives there. It's like a subsidy for
living in a cold place.
AMANPOUR: And it works pretty (ph) efficiently?
GRAEBER: Yes, it works fine.
AMANPOUR: You cite George Orwell's argument that governments make up jobs to take people off the street. Again, why is that a bad thing? It's
better for them to be employed, right?
GRAEBER: Well it's better for people to have something to do, but it would -- I mean I have nothing against a job guarantee. But I believe a job
guarantee would only make sense if it's on top of basic income.
If you want -- if you can't figure out something for yourself to do, now if you have basic income, it's your choice, I could go to the government
because I want something -- because I can't think of something to do for myself or I want to take of my aging grandparents, and therefore, you know,
I don't really need somebody to tell me -- employ me to do that.
I can do that myself. I think a lot of people would have no problem at all thinking of something to do that would be useful for society if they simply
got enough money to live on. Other people, you know, might not.
So there's no harm in having a program provide that.
AMANPOUR: You make a distinction between B.S. jobs and plain S jobs.
AMANPOUR: What is the distinction?
GRAEBER: Well, I mean, you know, when we talk about the S jobs, we're talking about bad jobs. We're talking about jobs where they don't treat
you with dignity and respect or they don't pay you very much, no benefits, hours are terrible, flexible, whatever it might be that makes it miserable.
But those jobs are often useful, those jobs are often -- you know, if you're a cleaner, at least you know that things really do have to be clean,
you know, you know exactly how bad it'll be if they're not cleaned.
AMANPOUR: David Graeber, author of the book that we cannot name on the air. Thank you so much.
GRAEBER: It's been my pleasure.
AMANPOUR: And that is it for our program. Remember, you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at amanpour.com and you can follow me on
Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.