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The life and legacy of Nelson Mandela; Can Trump mend the damage done? Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired July 18, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST, AMANPOUR: Coming up, it would have been Nelson Mandela's 100th birthday. Rarely has his loss been felt more
acutely amid the turmoil of today. I look back on his life and his legacy and his message of unity over division.
Joining me, Andrew Mlangeni who was jailed alongside Mandela for more than a quarter of a century; and Peter Hain, the anti-apartheid activist who
became a high-level British cabinet minister.
Plus, can President Trump mend the damage done to American national security at that summit with President Putin? My conversation with the
Republican Congressman Ryan Costello.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Nelson Mandela's centenary provides us with a rush of welcome relief - relief to be able to reflect on a great leader, someone truly powerful and
good, who embodied the ideals that we can all aspire to, forgiveness, dignity and compassion, truth and reconciliation, and so much more.
Even in the face of unbearable sacrifice and unspeakable humiliation, even at his lowest, separated from his family, languishing in prison for nearly
28 years, Mandela always insisted that hope is the most powerful weapon.
So, in the spirit of that hope, we take this opportunity to reflect and maybe even regroup as our democracies come under threat and our political
and social discourse is infected with so much poison.
When South Africa's white minority government finally set Mandela free, he forgave and he united a nation. Speaking the day of his release in 1990,
he spoke the same words that he used upon being sentenced to life in prison on Robben Island in 1964, laying down his vision for blacks and whites
living in a democratic and free society.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NELSON MANDELA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA: It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which
I am prepared to die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And in his first major speech since leaving office, America's first black president, Barack Obama, brought this message to South Africa
and to the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe in Nelson Mandela's vision. I believe in a vision shared by Gandhi and King and
I believe in a vision of equality and justice and freedom and multiracial democracy, built on the premise that all people are created equal and they
are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights.
And I believe that a world governed by such principles is possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, to reflect on that possibility and on Mandela's unique legacy, I spoke to Andrew Mlangeni, the activist who stood trial and was
imprisoned with Mandela on Robben Island. He is now 93 years old.
And also, Peter Hain, author of "Mandela: His Essential Life", a new biography on the political giant.
Gentlemen, welcome to the program. It is a historic day. And I want to ask you first, Andrew, if I might, you are one of only two of those
comrades who were put on trial at Rivonia to survive.
And you were tried alongside Nelson Mandela and then spent a long time in a cell neighboring his. How do you feel today on his 100th birthday?
ANDREW MLANGENI, ANTI-APARTHEID CAMPAIGNER: Well, I'm very happy that the whole world is still celebrating Mandela even if he is no longer there.
I would be much happier if he was still alive and we are celebrating the life of a man who had done many good things for South Africa, for the
people of South Africa to get their freedom, supported, of course, by the international community.
[14:05:10] AMANPOUR: Peter Hain, I want to ask you, you were born in South Africa. Your parents were pretty prominent anti-apartheid activists.
Eventually, you had to flee. You've written this amazing book to celebrate the 100th birthday.
But if Andrew was there on trial by the white institutions, you, a part of the whites family of South Africa, and yet your family was fighting for
justice. How did you feel then and how do you feel today?
PETER HAIN, ANTI-APARTHEID CAMPAIGNER: Well, by then, at the time of the Rivonia trial in 1964, my parents had been banned, were not allowed to
attend the Rivonia trial because a banning order stopped you doing so. They had previously been jailed.
So, I was, although only 14, strongly in support of Nelson Mandela, Andrew and the other comrades on trial there.
But my parents were one of a tiny, tiny minority of the white community who took action in solidarity. Alone amongst their relatives and friends.
And there were others like that, like Joe Slovo and Ruth First and others, but they were in a tiny minority. So, I'm very proud of that.
And in the end, of course, we won.
AMANPOUR: Andrew, I want to read something that you said at the Rivonia trial. In Rivonia, you were convicted alongside Mandela and they accused
you of conspiracy and sabotage. And the judge likened this to high crimes and treason.
And you said, in 2013, in a speech that, "At the time, I thought of life imprisonment and what it meant. Did it mean that I would spend the rest of
my life in prison only to be released as a corpse? Was there a chance that I might be released sooner? Would I maybe end up serving only 15 years?
These were just the thoughts of a young Andrew Mlangeni."
How did you feel when you were convicted and when you knew that you were going to Robben Island to spend who knew how many years there?
MLANGENI: We were very happy to be sentenced even to life imprisonment. We were happy because we escaped the death penalty. The fact that we
escaped the death penalty, we all felt very, very happy indeed.
We said, well, life imprisonment, we can save. We don't know of anybody who has died in prison who had been sentenced to life imprisonment. People
do something like 15 years, 20 years, et cetera, et cetera. We know that ultimately we will come out. As I said, we were very, very excited and
happy that we were not sentenced to death.
AMANPOUR: Let me first play what Nelson Mandela said as he was released back in 1990. I just want to see a little bit of him. He was at Desmond
Tutu's house giving a presser.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANDELA: I must confess I'm unable to describe my emotions. I was completely overwhelmed by the enthusiasm. It's something I did not expect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Peter, I want to ask you. He was always very humble. And he says there that he had no idea that he would be remembered as that and also
the incredible emotions that poured out.
But one of the most remarkable things about Mandela, you say, was his ability to let go of resentment. And in your book, you say, "As he walked
out of prison, he said, yes, I was angry and I was a little afraid. After all, I had not been free in so long. But when I felt that anger well up
inside of me, I realized that if I hated them after I got outside that gate, then they would still have me. I wanted to be free, so I let it go."
That's pretty remarkable.
HAIN: It's a very deep insight, isn't it, and a remarkable one that he came out determined not to show any vengeance, not to show any hatred
because, as he says in that quote, that very revealing quote, that if he did, then he'd still be trapped.
After all, the white minority is a very privileged minority. Perhaps the most privileged in the world in recent times. And it was persuaded to give
up its power and its place in government, its absolute control, by negotiation.
AMANPOUR: Andrew, do you remember that moment when the whole world was watching the release? What emotion did you feel when you saw that?
MLANGENI: Well, I was quite happy, I mean, to see him come out. I mean, I said to myself that the government at last has kept their promise that,
after a few months after our release, he will follow.
[14:10:05] Our release for Mandela was some sort of a feeler.
AMANPOUR: A feeler, your release?
MLANGENI: A feeler.
AMANPOUR: Just a few months before his release?
MLANGENI: To see how the people in the country are going to behave because, originally, they were saying, we fear that if we release Mandela
with you chaps, the country will go up in flames. That's what they were saying. The country will go up in flames.
So, when they released us, we knew that's a feeler to see how people are going to behave.
AMANPOUR: That's amazing.
MLANGENI: But they handled the situation very well.
AMANPOUR: I didn't know that. That's a great story.
But he gave up the anger and he decided to forgive and to move on. Were you angry when you came out? Were you resentful of the injustice of all
those years of being in prison?
MLANGENI: All of us decided on Robben Island already that we cannot, on our own, run the country at that time. We did not have the knowledge of
governing the country.
We were denied all the other things that the white people, white children had learned. We didn't have that.
The whites lived in South Africa together with us and we are saying we have got to work together (INAUDIBLE) country and try to bring peace in the
AMANPOUR: So, there is a wonderful picture of you together. And if I'm not mistaken, is that Cyril Ramaphosa?
MLANGENI: Cyril, yes.
HAIN: Yes, the current president.
AMANPOUR: That's the current president who I spoke to in January about Mandela's legacy. And, of course, because there has been so much
disappointment in the last several years, the corruption, the increasing inequality between the haves and the have-nots, between the blacks and the
I want to play you what Cyril Ramaphosa, today's president, told me about his determination to follow through.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA: Nelson Mandela is really our lodestar. He is the one who led us out of oppression. He is the one who
gave us freedom. And we are going to make sure that we do not soil this freedom that Nelson Mandela gave us.
And I, having worked with Nelson Mandela, want to take Nelson Mandela's dream forward and I'm determined to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that was Cyril Ramaphosa saying he's determined to carry the dream on. It's no secret that the dream has been betrayed.
HAIN: That is sad. And that's largely true except for a process of black economic empowerment, including figures like Cyril Ramaphosa becoming
prominent in business.
But just think about this, Christiane, the economy was controlled by whites entirely. And Andrew made this point very well. If the ANC under Mandela
and Andrew and others had just driven the whites away, there would have been an exodus of capital.
AMANPOUR: And I wonder how you feel, Andrew. You're an elder statesman now and you're a senior citizen and you've been through all of this. It's
said that many young South African blacks felt or feel somewhat betrayed by the white elites still holding the reins of the majority of economic power.
As Peter has said, there were reasons for that. Do you think it will come full circle? Will the young black population be able to get a look in on
the economic ladder?
MLANGENI: The youth of today feel - think that ANC has sold them out. We don't agree with them, of course. They are of the view that we should have
made immediate changes, the first five years, taken over everything, black people owning up everything, which was not possible. Not possible at all.
First of all, the army of South Africa was still under the control of white commanders. They would have immediately organized a coup and overthrew the
And to have gone through the other extremes would have been very, very dangerous for South Africa.
AMANPOUR: So, I would like to play another soundbite from way back then, when Mandela was first released and he gave an interview to CNN. And this
is what he said about his vision and since sticking to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[14:15:00] MANDELA: People may say to spend 27 years of your life, you have wasted your life. But the greatest thing for a politician is whether
the ideas to which you've committed your life are still alive, whether these ideas are likely to triumph in the end. And everything that happened
showed that we had not sacrificed in vain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Again, it's a remarkable thing to hear today. And, particularly, I want to ask you both to put Mandela and his vision and his
nature as a politician in context with the leadership struggles we see today all over the world.
We have really partisan political poison in our bloodstreams today. How do you feel when you listen to this kind of thing, given what's happening in
our own parliaments and congresses and governments around the world, Peter?
HAIN: Well, first of all, just to deal with the impatience of the young, there are 400,000 extra black students at university since the ANC came to
power. So, change hasn't been as quick, as Andrew would've liked, as Mandela would have liked, as I would have liked, but there has been change.
But I think the world is crying out for Nelson Mandela's vision. You compare him with President Trump, with President Putin, with President Xi,
with President Erdogan and the rest of them, they're only in it for themselves.
He was in it for others. Ruling with absolute integrity, social justice, equality, human rights, democracy. I think we could do in the world with
strong leadership. Mandela was very strong, but compassionate leadership for everybody, not just for a select few.
MLANGENI: The whole world, I think, is missing Mandela's leadership.
AMANPOUR: Well, I appreciate that. Andrew Mlangeni, you're about to receive the Freedom of the City of London. Well-deserved.
Congratulations. At 93 years old, after all your struggles. Thank you for being with us.
MLANGENI: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: And, Peter Hain, thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: So, whereas Nelson Mandela led South Africa with a vision of unity, Donald Trump has a different and divisive style. His political
power rests on a base of deeply loyal voters representing about 40 or 45 percent of all Americans.
But after the president's controversial comments alongside Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and after his assertion today that Russia is no longer
targeting the United States' elections, which directly contravenes his Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, will even this issue dampen
the enthusiasm of his most committed supporters, that base.
We had hoped to speak with the Republican Congressman Ryan Costello, but he's currently being delayed by a vote.
So, Ryan Nobles, White House correspondent, is joining me now from Washington to try to delve down into all of this and where it leaves the
White House and the president.
Ryan, welcome to the program.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you for having me, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: So, look, yesterday, it looked like there was some kind of mea culpa, but not quite coming out from the White House. And then, today, the
president says no. I don't think Russia is still targeting the US elections, which is, as we said, DNI Dan Coats said that it was and
everybody else says that they are.
What's the feeling right now where you are?
NOBLES: Well, I think, Christiane, if you go back and really listen to what the president had to say yesterday in that meeting before members of
Congress, he was really dealing with a very specific point that he made in that very lengthy press conference with Vladimir Putin.
And he was, essentially, pushing back on this idea that he trusted Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence committee and that was specifically
designed to stop the bleeding of sorts of Republican lawmakers who are roundly critical of that position by the president.
So, he was hoping to kind of stave that off. But while the White House was on defense for a large part of yesterday, the president himself is
decidedly back on offense. He still wants to convince the American people that that meeting with Vladimir Putin was a good idea, that it was good for
the country, that it was good for security around the world.
And, today, when he's asked directly whether or not he believes Russia is still targeting the United States, he simply said no. And to your point,
that is a direct contradiction from what Dan Coats said just a couple of days ago.
Now, I reached out to the director of national intelligence's office today for a response to that. Now, they generally don't respond to inquiries
like this. But, of course, he did put out that remarkable statement earlier in the week, pushing back on what the president had to say.
I mean, the short answer is, Christiane, there's a lot of uncertainty as to how this all plays out over the next couple of days, whether or not it
leads to action on behalf of members of Congress and whether or not the president will yet again contradict his own statement later today or
[14:20:12] AMANPOUR: And what about the feeling there that there's a lot of White House officials, administration officials who are finding it
harder and harder to go along and get along with this kind of - I don't know what to call it, this kind of rhetoric from the president on matters
of vital national security.
I mean, we hear that they are trying to sort of regroup and trying to sort of plug this damn. Is that's what's going on or are they going along with
all of this?
NOBLES: Well, to that point, Christiane, I actually talked to Mercedes Schlapp today. She's the White House director of strategic communications.
And I asked her that question directly. Did the president clarify his remarks because there were threats by members of his intelligence community
or his administration that they would resign if he didn't clarify his remarks?
And she was emphatic with me that this was the president's decision to clarify his remarks and that no one is going anywhere.
But, of course, behind the scenes, we do have a lot of reporting about administration officials that are growing increasingly uncomfortable with
the way that the president is conducting himself in matters like these, but, Christiane, these rumors have been going on for a long time.
There's a revolving door to a certain extent of White House officials that are in and out for a long period of time. And, of course, on Capitol Hill,
many Republicans privately continue to grouse about the way that the president conducts himself.
But the simple fact of the matter is, and you alluded to this before you came to me, there is still a strong base of support for President Donald
Trump, particularly within the Republican Party.
So, until there's another election and Republicans have some sort of evidence that support is draining from President Trump, they have no reason
to leave his side even despite a controversy like the one he's dealing with right now.
AMANPOUR: So, to that point, obviously, it's all about the midterm elections from everybody's point of view. But what about the base?
Maybe it's too early to take their temperature. But do the American people, at least those who voted for President Trump and support him, do
they care enough about - forget calling it foreign policy - basic American national security and America's democratic process and the idea of their
own president siding the president, a former KGB agent of what used to be the Soviet Union?
NOBLES: Right. I don't there is any doubt that those voters care about national security. In fact, if you look at the polling, many of them would
rank that among their highest priorities.
But I think, Christiane, the way that you need to kind of look at this situation is that they might interpret the situation a bit differently than
experts in foreign policy or geopolitics.
For many Donald Trump supporters, they view the president's words as gospel and the analysis around it is anything but, and in some cases, as fake
The president is very effective at setting the stage for his remarks before they even happen and making sure his supporters know that they shouldn't
trust anything other than what comes out of his mouth.
I mean, if you look at the president's tweet ahead of the Russia summit, he predicted that this was going to happen. He told his supporters that it
didn't matter how successful the summit was going to be that the media here in the United States would be very critical of him and call it a failure.
His supporters take that pill and they view all of the coverage as a result, coming after it, with that in mind.
So, I don't think there are too many people that are ardent supporters of President Trump that are necessarily looking this from a kind of global
perspective. They hear what the president has to say. They voted for him because they trust him.
And so, when he suggests that it's international security interest to have a good relationship with Vladimir Putin, they believe him and they've given
him the responsibility of carrying that out.
AMANPOUR: All right. Well, let me put this to you. I spoke yesterday to Dick Clark, as you know, the former counterterrorism czar. Very, very,
very big on national security. Been there, done that umpteen times for umpteen years for two different administrations - Democratic and
And this is what he said to me that Congress could and should do. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CLARK, FORMER NATIONAL COORDINATOR FOR SECURITY, INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION AND COUNTER-TERRORISM: 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 of the facts and then go through a year-long impeachment process. There are things now that
the Congress can do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Do you think that that's even slightly likely that anything like that would happen, given what you just told me about the base, the
heartland, et cetera.
NOBLES: The answer is it's simply not going to happen, Christiane. There is just no compulsion or motivation by Republican members of the House or
Senate to take that dramatic of a move.
[14:25:06] I mean, even if you look at how the Republican Senate reacted to the president's remarks, there was an outlier group of Republican senators
who have been generally critical of the president on other points like Bob Corker and John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, who all said roundly the
entire Putin summit was a bad idea and handled poorly.
But most of the Republican Senate waited for Mitch McConnell to make a statement, the Senate leader. And when Mitch McConnell came out and
basically only criticized the idea that President Trump was wrong in taking Putin's word over the intelligence community's word, then you saw this
flurry of statements from Republican senators saying likewise. Many didn't even mention the president in their remarks, basically only attacking
So, the idea that they would then have the gumption to take the next step and actually pass a piece of legislation that would essentially give the
president a slap on the wrist, I think, in many ways, is fanciful.
I mean, I think Democrats are going to use this perhaps as a talking point, but I just don't think there' any effort at all by Republicans to take that
big of a move.
AMANPOUR: So, Ryan, the president was it again, sort of doubting the necessity for NATO and certainly casting aspersions in an interview with
Fox on the idea of Article V, which is coming to the defense of any member that is attacked. So, he's been doing that again.
But I want to ask you specifically. We were very concerned when we were reporting from Helsinki that absolutely no one except for the translators
knows what was said in the meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin and that the Russians are reporting that President Putin is busy implementing
and preparing to implement deals that the two agreed to.
Is there any notion, is there any pressure for the translators or whoever to come out and say what was said in that meeting, so that we know what was
said between the two presidents?
NOBLES: Yes, there is. In fact, there are a few members of the Democratic Congress, a few Democratic senators, in particular, that are even maybe
going as far as trying to offer up some sort of legislation that would compel the translator who was in the room to at least speak to the National
Security Council or even maybe go as far as appear at a congressional hearing.
There aren't too many Republicans that agree with that idea as of right now. There is a real concern that this would set a dangerous precedent
that an interpreter's job is not to be in there, to try and take notes essentially in a meeting and issue some sort of an idea as to exactly what
policy positions were taking place.
So, that idea is out there, Christiane, but I would say it is a longshot for something like that to actually happen.
AMANPOUR: All right. Ryan, thank you so much for joining us from the White House. And, of course, dangerous precedent for the interpreters, but
dangerous for the world not to know what these two major leaders said and whatever deals they may have cut between each other.
Anyway, that is it for our program. Thanks for watching. And goodbye from London.