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U.N.'s Great Tasks is to Prevent Nuclear War; Faceoff Between Republicans and the Woman Accusing Brett Kavanaugh; Climate Change Running Faster Than Us. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired September 19, 2018 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here is what's coming up.
Republicans faceoff with the woman accusing Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh of assault. Will politics, as usual, be a decisive moment for
the #MeToo movement?
Plus, as the president's hope to broker Middle East peace fades, our exclusive interview with the head of the United Nations on that and other
major global challenges.
Then, why maybe we should be a bit more skeptical about embracing billionaires as the change makers for our times. Our Hari Sreenivasan
speaks with Anna Dignidad (ph) about his new book.
Also, today the Afghan-American novelist, Khaled Hosseini, on his illustrated tribute the refugees who risk everything for a better life.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York. North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un says that he will close a key missile test
facility and, once again, he pledged with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in alongside to bring peace to the peninsula.
It is a rare concrete pledge months after President Trump declared the nuclear threat was over. The White House is entering a critical week for
its foreign policy as world leaders begin to descend here on New York for the annual gathering at the United Nations.
It is not only North Korea but the Middle East where President Trump still has not presented his much-touted peace plan. Syria, where the last anti-
Assad stronghold faces a die humanitarian catastrophe and, of course, Iran where Washington is working diligently to undermine the nuclear deal that
President Trump pulled out of.
Putting all the pieces back together for secretary-general of the United Nation, Antonio Guterres. And he joins me now here in our studio.
Welcome to the program.
ANTONIO MANUEL GUTERRES, SECRETARY-GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS: It' a pleasure to be here.
AMANPOUR: You really are in the hot seat and in the spotlight this coming week because, as I said, all these issues fall under your remit. I don't
know whether you can put them together. But do you agree that what happened in Pyongyang between the two Korean presidents is significant? Do
you believe that one of the U.N.'s great tasks is to prevent nuclear war? That what has just come out of the meeting moves the ball forward in that
GUTERRES: I'm very hopeful, I must say. First of all, I see the two Korean presidents really wanting to have a normalization, if that's
(INAUDIBLE) adequate of the ratios between the two Koreas but more than that.
The two Koreas recognizing that denuclearization, a verifiable denuclearization of North Korea and of the Korean peninsula is an essential
element. And then, we enter into the negotiations between the United States and the democratic people's, Republic of Korea, North Korea.
And I have to say that I believe that what was done by President Trump, being ready to talk to the leader of North Korea and being ready to launch
a serious process of discussion was very important. We know that this will be very complex, there are many hiccups. It's not the first time that
negotiations take. But this is a sign of hope --
AMANPOUR: We certainly do. And of course, you know, many people have looked at this, President Trump's policy of leader to leader, man-to-man in
this case, of trying to move these diplomatic issues forward. I mean, are you saying that actually this negotiating style of the president's is
paying dividends is paying off?
GUTERRES: Well, the only thing I can tell you is in my experience when I was in government. We had a terrible problem about water management with
Spain, and the problem was only solved when two prime ministers decided to solve it.
AMANPOUR: Yourself and your Spanish counterpart.
GUTERRES: And I -- there are problems that are so complicated, that are -- in which it's very easy for bureaucracies to get lost in details, that if
there is not a strong push from the leaders it will never happen. And that is the reason of hope.
I see the two leaders really committed to this process. I know the process will be very difficult, but I think it's essential for world peace and for
nonproliferation to prevail.
AMANPOUR: Well, again, that's the most important thing, the idea of stopping at least one nuclear threat. Now, President Kim Jong-un or Leader
Kim Jong-un has said that he is open to allowing international inspectors to come and watch and verify any dismantling.
Does that mean your inspectors, the watchdog, the IAEA, have they raised that had possibility? Are you aware of such an invitation, yours, to go
back in there?
GUTERRES: I think that the worst thing we can have is parallel initiatives on this. There is a central issue which is the negotiation between the
U.S. and North Korea, the democratic people's Republic of Korea. Of course, China is an important partner, in South Korea, the Republic of
Korea is an important partner. Japan is an important partner, the Russian Federation, the (INAUDIBLE).
But the central negotiation is this one. And I think we should be here to support not to try to have parallel initiatives that might complicate it.
AMANPOUR: Yes. But the IAEA inspectors are very important because they're the eyes and ears.
GUTERRES: And so, we are ready to support -- we believe the two parties need to define how the verification of denuclearization it is to be
established, it's a complex issue. And based on what the two parties will agree, we are ready to do our role. What we are not going to do is to
interfere in the negotiation.
AMANPOUR: I just want to know whether you --
GUTERRES: What we can with parallel initiatives that might complicate things.
AMANPOUR: I just want to know because sometimes Kim Jong-un says things that don't bear a lot of, you know, fact and reality. So, have you been
asked to send in any inspectors?
GUTERRES: No, no, no.
AMANPOUR: That would be tangible first step.
GUTERRES: Not at all. At the present moment, no. And our position is very clear. We believe that the center is the negotiation between the two
countries and we are here to do whatever support is required. But we are not going to complicate things.
There is an anecdote in my country in which a group of students were helping an old lady cross the street and everybody asked, but why so many
helping the old lady? Because the old lady didn't want to cross the street.
And here, when we tried to help, we need to be sure that we help constructively and we don't interfere, complicating the life of the two
negotiators that's there in front of them, a very complex process.
AMANPOUR: Well, how about this humanitarian catastrophe that is also in the region, in Southeast Asia and that is the Rohingya refugees, these
people who have been pushed out of their own country, Myanmar, and who are now in Bangladesh along the water.
You have visited them. You went and you talked to people there and got a personal, you know, look at the suffering and all of that. But just this
week, the United Nations has released, yesterday, a fact-finding report calling for generals in Myanmar's military to be tried on charges of
GUTERRES: But this is from our human rights supporters.
GUTERRES: And I have to say that I know the Rohingya story since many years ago. As I (INAUDIBLE) for refugees, I went twice to North
(INAUDIBLE) State before this last crisis. There is no population in the world that actually more discriminated.
AMANPOUR: 600 or 700,000 of them are sitting in makeshift camps.
GUTERRES: But they have no nationality. They have no rights. They cannot move. They were in the villages. They could not move. They could not
marry without permission. They had no effective access to education or health or to jobs. It is a population that really was completely
segregated in the country.
And then, we all know the reports that were given by those that suffered. They were victims of an ethnic cleansing, a massive operation in which we
had all kinds of torture, we had rape, you had people being burned, levels of suffering that are absolutely unimaginable.
Now it is absolutely crucial to establish mechanism of accountability. But more than everything else, it's crucial to put all pressure in Myanmar and
in the army of Myanmar to make sure that conditions are created for these people to be able to go back home. But we are --
AMANPOUR: But what about the genocide charge and the goal for them to be tried on charges of genocide?
GUTERRES: These -- as you know, these are areas that only courts can decide. We believe there are very serious crimes that were committed.
It's up to courts to decide what kind of name -- what kind of crime was committed.
But we are always in favor of mechanisms of accountability and we have always encouraged the work of the ICC and the work of -- and the need for
the secretary council to refer to the ICC the situations that are relevant from this point of view.
AMANPOUR: Aung San Suu Kyi, obviously, and we all know this now, her image as icon for the world of human rights and democracy has been tarnished
progressively each year of this terrible Rohingya crisis. And she is criticized and blamed for not speaking out.
Where do you stand on this? I mean, she could use her voice even if she says that, "I'm not the military leader. I'm not the president." But many
believe she could use her position as a human rights icon.
GUTERRES: It's difficult for me to understand the political system in Myanmar. It's clearly not the full democracy, they're far from it. And it
is clear that the military are in charge.
And I have seen many times -- I have several contacts with Aung San Suu Kyi. And in different moments, We came to an agreement on what should be
done. And it was clear then that she have not the capacity to implement it because the military wouldn't let it happen.
We were all expecting that, at least, she would be able to be more assertive in the relationship with the military. But it's, for me,
difficult to judge someone that I don't know exactly the situation, I don't know the complexity of the situation. I would expect more but I don't want
to be a judge.
AMANPOUR: I mean, it's really sad because she hasn't even stood up for the journalists who are in jail, for reporting this.
GUTERRES: That's a very sad thing.
AMANPOUR: Very, very sad. And people are just trying to figure out --
GUTERRES: The hearts (ph) of journalists and we have been doing our best to convince the authorities that they should be released because we don't
feel that they have done anything wrong. On the contrary, they were showing reality. And these are indeed sad moments.
And, as I said, I don't want to be a judge. I want Myanmar to be a democracy. I was very hopeful when Aung San Suu Kyi was elected and I
don't want to favor the military in the internal political situation but it is true that I would like things to have been different, and I would like a
situation which she will be able to play a much more positive role.
AMANPOUR: Yes, yes. We all hope so. We're all waiting still. Let me move, again, further --
GUTERRES: But we're not moving in the right direction. I think it's important to say that things are not being done sufficiently.
AMANPOUR: There or around the world?
GUTERRES: In Myanmar. We -- for instance, there are still (INAUDIBLE) misplaced people that is terribly -- in terrible situations. For people to
be able to return, a massive investment needs to be made, both in physical reconstruction and in reconciliation of communities and we have not yet
seen it. There has been progress, there has been positive discussions, positive engagement, agreement being signed but not yet action on the
ground as it is needed.
AMANPOUR: So, another area of, you know, this often being under the spotlight and takes up a lot of U.N.'s time and space is the Middle East
situation and the peace process is fading. You can see the increased drama and kind of conflict between both sides. And President Trump, as I said,
has not yet produced the peace proposal.
At the same time, withdrawing tens of millions of dollars of civilian and humanitarian aid only from the Palestinians. Tell me, because you were in
Gaza this time last year, first and foremost, for Americans, what is that aid? I understand it's nongovernmental aid, it's for civilians, it's for
peace building between even Palestinian and Israeli kids. What is the effect of withdrawing aid to U.N. projects and other such projects?
GUTERRES: We have United Nations relief and work stages, which is the agency that provides support to Palestinian refugees.
AMANPOUR: Where the U.S. have called out --
GUTERRES: Education, health, support to poor families, different forms. And that has been, in my opinion, a very important stabilizing factor in
the area. We're talking of millions of people that if they were abandoned could be not only in a terrible situation themselves but could be a factor
of instability, of radicalization and the support (INAUDIBLE) are the forms of behavior that would naturally dramatically complicate the situation.
Now, we are making enormous effort to mobilize the funds necessary to keep the schools open, to keep the hospitals open because imagine that we would
have to close the schools --
AMANPOUR: Yes. But who steps in? If the U.S. pulls out, whose forces steps in?
GUTERRES: I mean, we have had supports from countries from the Gulf, we have had support from many European countries. But we are still not yet
there. But imagine that the schools -- that we have to close the schools. We decided to open the school even if you are not sure that we would be
able to keep them open until the end.
But we thought that if we would not open the schools in the beginning of the school year, it would be a dramatically devastating impact in the
community and a serious security threat in my opinion. Now, imagine in Gaza that we close the schools. What's going to happen? All these
children would be abandoned or (INAUDIBLE) take the schools.
AMANPOUR: So, by pulling --
GUTERRES: So, I do believe --
AMANPOUR: By pulling the money it's not punishing her, it's actually invigorating them.
GUTERRES: I do believe that it is very important to preserve the support to these refugee community and I do believe that is a factor of
stabilization of the region and I do believe that it can help a peace process to take place.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, this peace process is dead in the water right now and the Trump administration has not put its plan forward. I'm going to play
you two bits of interviews with first Jared Kushner who is the president's envoy on the issue and John Bolton who is the president's national security
adviser on these very issues.
Jared Kushner seems to believe punishing the Palestinian civilians actually makes it easier to get peace.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARED KUSHNER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: The United States is prepared to support a peace agreement in every way that we can. We believe that it
is possible for both sides to gain more than they give so that all people can live in peace, safe from danger, free from fear and able to pursue
JOHN BOLTON, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The United States will always stand with our friend and ally Israel, and today reflecting
congressional concern with Palestinian attempts to prompt an ICC investigation of Israel. The Department of State will announce the closure
of the Palestine liberation organization office here in Washington, D.C.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that's it. A joint withdrawal of humanitarian aid and money and political pressure closing all the Palestinian representation to
Washington and elsewhere.
Do you believe, as a former political leader and as the U.N. secretary- general, that this is the way to achieve peace between both sides?
GUTERRES: What I believe is that the only possible solution is a two-state solution.
AMANPOUR: And this advance the case?
GUTERRES: I'm a strong believer that a one-state solution, of course, is theoretically possible if it is the democratic solution, but I don't think
Israel can accept it. And all other situations would be a terrible violation of human rights or to put into question the democratic nature of
the State of Israel.
So, I'm a strong believer in the two-state solution. And for me, what is more important is to bring Israelis and Palestinians together to discuss
Now, there have been many attempts to do it, many have produced the results, many have failed. I'm not here as a commentator of what others
do, we will do everything we can to bring Palestinians and Israelis together to try to reach the only possible solution that, in my opinion,
can preserve the future of these two peoples, which is to live in peace and security together with two states.
AMANPOUR: Well, we'll see how that goes because so far they say it's dead in the water and we're not sure where it's going to go despite your best
GUTERRES: You know, we can never give up. Remember steel war (ph).
GUTERRES: For decades people thought there is no solution for steel war. I was prime minister of Portugal. But we always fought to have the self-
determination of (INAUDIBLE) people.
GUTERRES: And in the end, it happened.
AMANPOUR: OK. So --
GUTERRES: So, let's go on, let's persist in trying to create conditions for one day the two-state solution to happen and Israelis and Palestinians
would be able to live in peace.
AMANPOUR: Let's hope because peace is important. Let me ask you, though, about never giving up hope and leadership and global challenges.
The United States has been, for better or worse, the global leader for the last 70 years. The entire international world order was built by the
United States, peace, prosperity, economic growth and the like, alliances.
This administration seems to have a completely different view of that, sort of up-ending alliances and allies, maybe a little bit more going to
adversaries and bilateral agreements becoming very transactional. How does that shape the course of world peace, alliances, the mechanism that's kept
this world going for a long time?
GUTERRES: Well, I am, I've always been a strong supporter of multilateralism. I am, I've always been a strong supporter of a rules-
based order. And we, in relation to the United States, a very pragmatic position, which is there are things in which we disagree but there are
still many things in which we can cooperate.
And I would like to say that in many of the problems that we face, the U.S. has been very constructive in support of the U.N.'s role. For instance, in
Yemen. Yemen has been supporting all our peace efforts. In Syria, we believe the United States can play a very important role. We are in favor
of the engagement of the United States in the Syrian crisis for a political solution to be possible. In Libya, the United States has been very
supportive of our action. The same with --
AMANPOUR: What about pulling out of Iran nuclear deal?
GUTERRES: We have always said that we understand the concerns that exist about the role of Iran in the region, in many aspects, the situation of
Yemen, the questions about Syria, Iraq, et cetera. But we always said that we believe the (INAUDIBLE) was a positive thing, and it should not have
So, there are areas in which we disagree but it's very important to avoid the disruption in the relations between the U.N. and the U.S. and it is my
firm commitment to consult the damage of areas of disagreement that we have but to seek the possibility to take profitable opportunities for a
AMANPOUR: I mean, obviously, you are a man of hope and you're a diplomat. You have to juggle all these different countries and the U.N. security
GUTERRES: I have only 193 countries to deal with.
AMANPOUR: And five very tendentious and contentious members of the security council.
GUTERRES: So, I have to be a bridge between them --
GUTERRES: -- and not someone trying to push them against each other.
AMANPOUR: So, where is your hope when it comes to the climate? Because that's the other thing that the majority of those 196 countries did
actually sign on to and now President Trump has pulled the U.S. out of it. That's a big issue for you. And you said this week that we may be
approaching the point of no return.
GUTERRES: Yes, I am very worried of climate change. Climate change is running faster than we are. And as we know, the Paris Agreement was very
clear. The objective is to make sure that in the end of the century, the rise of temperature will be below two degrees Celsius and if possible,
close to 1.2.
Now, if we don't actively reduce the level of emissions we are having, very soon, in a few years, we make it irreversible that these targets will not
be reached. Because CO2 we launch to the atmosphere will remain there.
So, I must say my main concern is not about what the U.S. government has done because I see in the U.S. society a huge response from businesses,
from cities, from communities. And very probably, the west will be able to meet targets that were defined in the context of the --
AMANPOUR: I was told by the governor, Jerry Brown, that it's now becoming very, very difficult and they're still lagging behind. The government has
GUTERRES: But in any case, the problem is that the same is happening everywhere, even with countries of governments that have signed the Paris
Agreement has remain committed to it. Climate change is running faster than we are.
We are not meeting the commitments made in Paris. And it's absolutely essential to increase the ambition because all the forecasts that were made
are proven to be, I would say, conservative when we look at the reality.
And the last three years were -- this (INAUDIBLE) years in registers (ph). This year is the fourth. The -- we had 18 quarters (ph) years in the 20
last years and at the same time we see, for the first time, this solid ice --
GUTERRES: -- cap between green lands and the arctic was broken. I mean, we see things moving very quickly and we don't see enough political will to
be able to have the ambition that is necessary to be able to control climate change. Climate (INAUDIBLE) is today. Probably my most important
priority because this is not only about the crisis in one place or another, this is a threat for the survival of our planet.
AMANPOUR: Which no doubt you'll communicate to all the heads of state when you see them at the U.N. this coming week.
GUTERRES: I will. Very strongly.
AMANPOUR: Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, thank you very much for joining us.
GUTERRES: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: And in a moment, I'll speak with the author, Khaled Hosseini, who shot to fame with "The Kite Runner" but is a goodwill ambassador for
the U.N. refugee agency. And he's just written an ode to all of those who risk it all for a better life.
But first, we're going to turn to this next story, President Trump's high- stakes effort to get a second justice confirmed to the Supreme Court. It is now on contentious ground, ever more contentious ground, after the
president said Brett Kavanaugh's accuser must be heard. Republicans in Congress are now playing hardball with her, saying that if she does not
show up to testify on their appointed date, they will go ahead anyway with Kavanaugh's confirmation and the vote.
Kavanaugh denies allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that when they were both teenagers he sexually molested her. Her lawyer says she wants an
FBI investigation to level the playing field before plans for a high-stakes public hearing this coming Monday.
LISA BANKS, CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD'S ATTORNEY: She has been dealing with hate mail, harassment, death threats. So she has been spending her time
trying to figure out how to put her life back together, how to protect herself and her family. The hearing should be as a result of the
investigation. It shouldn't be a substitute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Joining me now from Washington is the Former Federal Prosecutor, Laura Coates.
Laura, you've been following this like so many people have. Tell us where this stands today. How much in jeopardy, do you think, is a hearing that
will actually bring all the relevant issues to the table?
LAURA COATES, FORMER U.S. FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it's very much in jeopardy, it hangs in the balance because you're going to have a divide
between senators on the judiciary committee whose role it is to have an oversight function to figure out if someone who is nominated by the
president of the United States is, in fact, qualified and should be voted on by the entire Senate to get confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice.
They're going to have a split about whether not they have enough information about the allegations have been levied against Brett Kavanaugh
to conclude that very thing. Talking about a very contentious topic, especially we have the #MeToo movement here in the U.S. and across the
globe as well. And the notion that you would not have a full hearing and an investigation launched about allegations is really befuddling to many
people and to the constituents who would actually be voting for the senators who were vulnerable.
More importantly, Christiane, you have the notion that it's very difficult to conduct an investigation that needs to be thorough and comprehensive in
less than a week for 36-year-old allegations which have memory lapses involved and you have an unequivocal denial from somebody who is currently
a very prominent judge in the D.C. circuit court of appeals largely regarded as a stepping stone to our Supreme Court.
AMANPOUR: Laura, it really does get incredibly complicated, all of this, because as you point out some of the pitfalls there, we're reminded of way
back in 1991, the whole Anita Hill hearings, the Clarence Thomas confirmation, where it was later revealed that the judiciary committee did
not bring forward, did not allow the time for others to back up what Anita Hill was alleging.
Now, she has written an op-ed where she said, you know, back then the phrase "they don't just get it" became a rallying call, and that not
getting it isn't an option for our elected representatives right now. The senators must get it right. And she said this on "ABC" this morning.
Let's just listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANITA HILL, ACCUSED CLARENCE THOMAS OF HARASSMENT: We're not talking about whether the conditions are ideal, we're talking about whether the
conditions are actually tenable, whether or not it is going to be anything more than just a sham proceeding so that the senators can say we gave her a
chance to talk and then move on to doing exactly what they were intending to do before she came forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Laura, there are so many things packed in there, but she's talked about a potential sham proceeding. Bob Corker tweeted, "After
learning of the allegation, Chairman Chuck Grassley took immediate action to ensure both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh have the opportunity to be
heard in public or private. Republicans extended a hand in good faith. If we don't hear from both sides on Monday, let's vote." Well, I mean, that's
throwing down the gauntlet. How politically tenable is that in this particular time, the #MeToo era?
COATES: Well, you know, there are so many parallels to be drawn about Anita Hill and one of the lessons about that was the notion that he
said/she said dynamics do not play well in the judiciary committee when you have not only the optics of an all-male force, all-White male at that point
in time who was talking to her in a very denigrating way, talking about erotomania where they thought she was delusional, that someone was in love
with her of a higher social status. All of these sorts of things happening here.
And now, we have this discussion about how magnanimous all of the gestures that are being made by the Republicans on the judiciary committee to say,
"We're bending over backwards to ensure she has a fair hearing," but in reality the sham proceeding she is alluding to is the notion that if you
have the ability to have an objective independent agency, that being the FBI, the arm of our Department of Justice, to be able to conduct inquiries
into a real gap and a problem in somebody's background, why wouldn't you take that opportunity to do so unless there was some other reason that you
wanted to hastily put this person forward.
And the reason behind that and why I think people shouldn't lose sight of this being simply an issue of whether or not they have empathy towards her
or trying to bend over backwards to give her this due process right, to have her case be heard and presented in this fashion is because, in a few
weeks, we have the Supreme Court's next term coming. And October 1st are the first of many oral arguments here.
Which means that the conservative revolution that was expected by Donald Trump, the President of the United States, and those supportive of him,
particularly in the conservative Republican entities, that they were guaranteed by happenstance truly that they'd have two Supreme Court picks.
Now, if Kavanaugh is not confirmed by that October 1st deadline, then you have a position where you may have a split between Liberals and
Conservatives on the bench, which means that the benefits of the doubt that have been extended to the president of the United States in terms of many,
many controversies and things that have been happening would no longer really be the galvanizing force for those who support him if he can't get
And so, while they're talking about we'd like to have you be heard, it seems already a foregone conclusion people like Corker, et cetera, who say,
"We want to hear you to placate the masses in the #MeToo movement, but we have zero intention of ever allowing this to be a full-throttled
investigation into his credentials as a life-time appointed person."
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you about the full-throttled investigation. Because some senators have said, I think it might have been Orrin Hatch
that actually an investigation is not the FBI's role, it's a role for us and for the Congress.
So, lay the table for viewers. What is the FBI's role, its duty in these kinds of issues? Because I understood that most political appointees have
to have FBI background checks.
COATES: Exactly right. Now, the FBI's role is usually twofold, they are the investigative arm of the Department of Justice, they routinely
investigate felony criminal offenses. Assuming that there is not a statute of limitations period here that allows for to you bring any criminal
charges or allegations of this sort against Brett Kavanaugh, then their role is not about investigating a felony federal crime. The role instead
becomes that of the background investigation.
And Brett Kavanaugh has already undergone six of them to date because he has had different positions, either in the George W. Bush administration or
as a D.C. Circuit court judge or other prominent positions.
And so he's had to undergo a background inquiry where the FBI's role is not just casually vet the person and confirm that the resume does not have any
typos or that the professional references checked out. Their role is to figure out what are the skeletons in the closet that would make this person
probably compromised, potentially compromised or prove they're already compromised to make an objective and cogent decision based on the rule of
law and not their own personal whims or their personal debts in some way.
And so the background investigation is always done. It has been done. The controversy here is whether or not the FBI should reopen the already closed
background investigation that they feel they handed over to the president and his administration. And to that, the president has made very clear
that there's no reason to do so. I mean this is somebody who has already passed background checks.
We have a he said/she said scenario. He has unequivocally denied it. Therefore, there is no reason to do so. It's not the purview. But, in
fact, it is if there is, for example, had Kavanaugh's last name, they found out later on that it was spelled with a "C" or that he uses the "C" as
opposed to a "K". Well, they would look into financial records and criminal histories all over again to dot those Is and cross those Ts.
In many ways, being made aware of a controversy or an allegation is but a reason to supplement an already existing background report without having
to get the explicit recommendation of the White House or permission to do so. So when people look at this issue about whether or not the FBI's in
their purview, it is most assuredly in their purview to supplement that which they find to be a problem or a point of interest for the
AMANPOUR: And very briefly, Laura, I know you're a legal analyst, but politically or legally even, did the Democrats drop the ball here? They
knew these allegations from Dr. Ford for many many months now. Did they drop the ball? As the president said, why bring it up at the 11th hour?
COATES: Well, it is a fair criticism. The timeline that was used here to attack the policy of Brett Kavanaugh at the open hearings as opposed to
bringing forth information that she had, Senator Dianne Feinstein, about this issue and giving the opportunity not only for other Democrats on the
judiciary committee to question but Republicans and also due process also is for the benefit of the accused.
He also has not had the opportunity to do so and address this claim. And instead, it is looming ahead of him whether or not he'll have the
opportunity to do so if Dr. Ford, the accuser, actually comes forward to testify at an upcoming hearing. And so in many ways, due process has been
compromised. However, the motivation behind that and the intent, which you have to really judge, and perhaps it was the anonymity of the accuser that
will actually rule the day.
And, by the way, there's only a lot of credibility and credence that can be attached to the testimony now that she has come forward and is no longer an
anonymous person. So perhaps the timeline must shift. But in any event, there's still an opportunity to rectify. There's still an opportunity to
do so and have a hearing. And the only reason, Christiane, this is an 11th hour is because the Republican members of the judiciary committee have
chosen the 12th hour. And that looming deadline of the midterm election that will entail who is in control of the Senate, as well as the Supreme
Court docket beginning is really their actual motivation.
AMANPOUR: It's really an extraordinary situation playing out in real time at this incredible moment of history. Laura Coates, thank you so much.
COATES: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And now, here is a question for you. Is there anything wrong with trying to do good? Author Anand Giridharadas has spent plenty of time
in elite circles. He went to Oxford and to Harvard. He's a fellow of the Aspen Institute where many thought leaders gather to discuss the complex
challenges of our time.
So stepping on the stage to tell his colleagues that their efforts to change the world are actually harming it was a pretty brave move. What's
wrong with philanthropy? And what are his alternatives? Anand Giridharadas spells it out in a new book called "Winners Take All: The
Elite Charade of Changing the World." And our Hari Sreenivasan went there with him.
HARI SREENIVASAN, ANCHOR, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND: Anand Giridharadas, thanks for joining us.
ANAND GIRIDHARADAS, AUTHOR, WINNERS TAKE ALL: Thank you for having me.
SREENIVASAN: Let's first start with this thesis of yours, but let's kind of explain it in something that happened recently. Jeff Bezos, the richest
man in the world, I think he's worth something around $162 billion depending on what the stock is doing today. He says he is going to focus
his philanthropic efforts on two things, homelessness and dealing with low- income kids and education. He's going to put $2 billion up there. What's not to like?
GIRIDHARADAS: Jeff Bezos is joining the ranks of very widespread tendency in our time which is the winners of our age giving. [13:35:00] One hundred
and eighty-four people have signed the giving pledge to give a majority of their assets away. But it's not just billionaires like Bezos, it's every
young person on these elite college campuses who want to change the world and start a social enterprise and join the social enterprise club and go to
Africa and volunteer.
We actually live in a nation where elites, an elite graduate or all the way up to the rich man on earth are very consumed to try to make a difference.
But often when rich people step into social problems and try to make a difference, they do so in ways that are designed to avoid threatening their
own privilege and to actually preserve the systems that keep them on top.
And if you're the richest man in the world who's built one of the most dynamic original innovative companies on earth, it seems to me you can do
more than treat symptoms. You could actually start to ask questions. Like I would imagine he would ask if this was a business problem, why do we have
homelessness in America? Why do we have an education problem for poor kids?
If you start to ask yourself questions like that as a privileged person, as a billionaire, you might start to say, "Well, you know, we have
homelessness in part because if you don't pay people enough, they get evicted." That's one source of homelessness. We also have homelessness
because a lot of companies in America don't pay the full measure of taxes that they ought to pay.
SREENIVASAN: So let's follow this up through Amazon, which he runs, right. What are the steps that Amazon could take or that he could drive Amazon to
take that would get to that root problem that you're talking about instead of the symptom?
GIRIDHARADAS: I think he would have to look within and yes, look at Amazon's practices. But frankly, go broader to look at why is it as a
society that we are able to pay people so little that they can work one, two, three, four jobs and still make it -- have it hard to make ends meet?
That's happening at Amazon but that's happening across our economy. Why don't we have a higher minimum wage?
Well, unions have been bludgeoned over the last generation. The collective bargaining power of workers has been decimated. And thinking about how you
rebuild that, thinking about how you help re-invent the collective bargaining of the future but also push back against those who have tried to
destroy unions, that's the kind of thing that you don't generally see rich people supporting because it would come at the expense of their own
SREENIVASAN: One of the lines is thinking what the givers or winners are saying, listen, we are coming in to try to fill a gap at the public sphere
has failed, that there is -- we have these children that are having disparate outcomes in education because of the schools that they went to,
right. And they're saying I'm not the Department of Education but I still want to help these kids.
GIRIDHARADAS: Rich people have, through their business lobby, through their companies, through their personal campaign contributions, have fought
tooth and nail for 30 or 40 years for a world in which government has less resources because of tax cuts that benefit them. Government regulates less
and, therefore, social problems fester the government no longer does anything about.
And then with those social problems festering, with the government starved to resources to deal with them, guess who comes along and says, "What a
shame the government can't do anything, let me do it."
SREENIVASAN: There's an excerpt from your book I want to read out. It says many millions of Americans on the left and right feel one thing in
common, that the game is rigged against people like them. The system in America and around the world has been organized to siphon the gains from
innovation upward. It's no wonder that the American voting public like other publics around the world has turned more resentful and suspicious in
recent years. Did the president tap into it? Did he understand that this was a frustration?
GIRIDHARADAS: I think he tapped into an intuition that all this elite is claiming that everything was going to be fine for people, didn't match what
was actually going on in people's lives and he saw that and he spoke to it. But then he wasn't just the exposer, he became the exploiter. Instead of
actually going after the causes of those things, who actually moved all those jobs from Youngstown overseas? Who actually was responsible for the
great deindustrialization of the Rust Belt?
Instead of doing that, he turned around that anger and said Muslims, gosh, got to get angry about those Muslims or immigrants. Immigrants are the
ones doing this. Or the way he denigrated women and others. He diverted, I think, a legitimate anger on to completely illegitimate sources and
objects for that anger. And then finally the exposer, the exploiter, the embodiment, he became the embodiment of the very kind of fake billionaire
change agent that he exposed because he came into office talking about fighting for the common man.
And even after everything he'd said in the campaign, he could have come into office and built things for America. [13:40:00] He could have built
bridges, put his name on them. He would have been a very happy guy. But instead, he has used his time in office to enrich himself, promote his own
hotels, and essentially aggrandize the name Trump while pretending to fight for others. And that tendency in our culture did not begin with Donald
SREENIVASAN: You're talking about Winners Take All really in a philanthropic space in that arena. Has it also pervaded into politics?
GIRIDHARADAS: I find it so fascinating all this conversation now about who will be the saviors from Trump for the left. We've talked about Howard
Schultz, billionaire. We've talked about Michael Bloomberg, that's the kind of latest one we're talking about. Whatever you think of those
people, look at yourself. What is it in us that gravitates to these billionaire sugar daddies and sugar mommies when we feel scared for our
I'm trying to point us to a cultural tendency that is not about party and is not about whether Donald Trump is a good guy or a bad guy or any of the
other people I named but that we don't look for MLKs anymore. We don't look for people who can build movements. We don't look for people who can
organize like Cesar Chavez. We look for people who are rich as a measure of character and a measure of their ability to save us. And we need to
stop looking to be saved by rich people. We need to stop waiting for trickle down change.
SREENIVASAN: Somebody's going to come back and say, "I am giving opportunities to people who never had them whether I'm working with girls
and villages and developing parts of the world. Look, I'm not their government. I can't change those things but I can help the situation." Or
maybe if I'm providing malaria nets, there's hard data that shows that quality of life is improving. Health outcomes are improving. What's so
wrong with that?
GIRIDHARADAS: It is better to give those malaria nets than not. It is better to help those girls than not. The marginal act is good. What I'm
concerned with is the system in which you are raping and pillaging economically, paying people as little as you can. Paying as few taxes as
you can. Routing your money through a double Dutch with an IRS sandwich tax maneuver to avoid paying your fair share of taxes.
You do all those things. You then donate to this charity and you get a tax deduction for it by the way. But you're also part of the reason why, let's
say, our foreign aid budget isn't what it could be because you did all those things to avoid the government having money. You are part of why
those kids that you're trying to help in inner city Detroit. You're part of why their lives go the way they do because you refuse to employ their
parents in a steady way and pay them proper benefits.
So what I'm advocating for is people owning the fullness of their contribution to the world, not allowing a single gesture over here to
define them but asking, were you involved with the problems? And how could you get your whole life, your regular life, on the side of justice, not
just your side hustle?
SREENIVASAN: What is your own role in this? You are, whether you like it or not, a thought leader, not in the derogatory sense that you're saying
it, right. So what are you willing to sacrifice? What are you willing to do? What have you identified as your role in this system?
GIRIDHARADAS: I spent a long time thinking about whether to write this book. It's not convenient to criticize the richest and most powerful
people in the world. It's not convenient to go after people whose names are on half the buildings that I enter and exit every day, who have made
philanthropic gifts to the news organizations that I write for. I mean this is not convenient.
I actually deeply believe that societies can make enormous -- can make very bad choices for long periods of time because of something as flimsy as
myths because of a belief that is actually so ethereal that Mark Zuckerberg is what change looks like, because of a belief that a billionaire second
generation tycoon from Queens is a champion for the common man. I really look at this country and think we've all been hoodwinked by a story about
what change looks like. That's simply not true.
SREENIVASAN: And that versus other stories of what changes look like that we do know about, the civil rights movement, the fight for women's rights,
the fight for our voting rights.
GIRIDHARADAS: If you ask yourself, anybody listening to this, ask yourself, what did you do today? And how many of those things would you
not have been able to do 50 or 100 years ago? Many of your viewers may not have been able to work in the job they do. Depending on their identity, a
certain number of years ago, they may not be in this country. Depending on policies, they may not have been able to vote. They may not have been able
to sit at a restaurant counter. [13:45:00] And how did we change all those things? Why were you able to do all those things today that you wouldn't
have been able to do in the past?
Because rich people threw you some scraps? I don't think so. You were able to do those things because people organized, they marched, they
fought, they spoke truth to power, they sacrificed, and they forced powerful people to concede what was dear to them. They forced, frankly,
sacrifice or overrunning power to do what was right and advance the common welfare.
And I think we've lost that whole vocabulary in a blizzard of vocabulary about leverage and scale and synergies and efficiency that is very good at
solving some kinds of problems but doesn't actually comport with what it takes to advance social progress.
SREENIVASAN: So what are the solutions that those individuals and others should take? What are steps that they can take now, either in policy
prescriptions or lobbying and sacrifices that they can make that would be part of this much larger systemic solution that you're asking for?
GIRIDHARADAS: There's a fascinating movement that I write about in the book called "B-Corps," benefit corporations. It's a company that
voluntarily certify themselves as not being evil, not being predatory, not dumping externalities in a society. They pay people well. They respect
the environment. They don't cause social problems. That's great.
I think an interesting idea that's emerging, Elizabeth Warren has a proposal to require every company in America to be a benefit corporation.
That may be too far. I think an interesting half-measure would be to give a corporate tax break to companies that don't dump social problems into our
laps relative to companies that do. That's an idea.
I think we need to really think about civic participation again and that's all the people running for office, typically the record number of women
running. But there's another thing, I think for young people when young people see a problem in the world that they want to do something about,
they have been trained by this kind of business culture of the last generation to think of private business fee fixes.
You see a problem, you think, "I'm going to start a cupcake company that donates to that problem." Or you see a problem, "I'm going to start a
charter school." I think we need to shift our orientation. When you see a social problem, think of what a public, Democratic, universal and
institutional solution to that problem would be. What would solve that problem at the root and for everybody?
I think we should think about things like people who do public service, we absorb their tuition debt as a society. Let people who teach or serve on
city councils or serve on county councils or work as even activists perhaps, let's absorb their tuition. And people who want to go work in
finance, great, good for you, you will pay a little more for your education. And there's a lot of things we can do to reorient this country
to be more public-spirited again.
Every age has its own kind of temper and I think we are -- part of what I'm arguing is that we're living in a world in which we have over-indexed on
private endeavor. We've created amazing things privately. I don't think anybody would say we don't have enough great companies in America. I don't
think anybody would say we haven't innovated enough. We haven't come up with enough great stuff.
The problem is we haven't made all that work for regular people so that we have not just innovation but progress. If progress is defined as most
people getting ahead. And I think that the temper of this time that is coming and the time I would say almost the post-Trump era if we start
looking ahead is it needs to be an age of reform. And I think we're simply overdue for another age of reform in American life.
SREENIVASAN: Anand Giridharadas, thanks for joining us.
GIRIDHARADAS: Thank you so much.
AMANPOUR: Throwing down a really major challenge there. And we just wanted to end on some nonpolitical reflections from a great novelist. We
go back to a single image that forced him to think again about the global refugee crisis. It was this image of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, the young
Syrian boy who was washed up dead on the Turkey shores when his family tried to find refuge in Europe.
The author, Khaled Hosseini. He is the Afghan-born writer of the mega- bestseller "The Kite Runner". His latest work is an ode to refugees. It's beautifully illustrated by Dan Williams. And Khaled is joining me now here
in the studio.
Welcome to this studio. Welcome to this conversation. We started talking to the head of the United Nations among other things about the refugee
crisis. You are a goodwill ambassador to the refugee agency. Let me just ask you, how difficult is it doing your job, lobbying for these
dispossessed at this time in this climate?
KHALED HOSSEINI, NOVELIST: As a goodwill ambassador for UNHCR, I'm concerned as are all people who care about the plight of refugees, the sort
of tidal event of refugees' sentiment we're seeing in parts of the world. I happened to think a lot of it is based on at least among the public a
misconception, misunderstanding of who refugees are, even where they are.
[13:50:00] The common misconception, for example, is that they want to invade western shores and take western jobs. But they live in neighboring
countries and 85 percent of them live in places like Jordan and Lebanon and Iraq and Uganda. They never wanted to leave home. This was not a choice
that was made whimsically. And given the choice, they all would prefer to return home. And so part of my job is to bring human dimension to the ply
of refugees and also address some of this myths.
AMANPOUR: Well, you have brought a human dimension in the form of this really sweet and beautiful book. And it's lovely. It's illustrated
beautifully. You made very very certain not to make it a political diatribe and it's about little Alan Kurdi who is inspired by that. I just
want to read, have you read a couple of pages of a father's musings to his young son.
HOSSEINI: Sure. I look at your profile in the glow of this three-quarter moon, my boy. Your eyelashes like calligraphy, closed in guileless sleep.
I said to you, "Hold my hand. Nothing bad will happen." These are only words a father's tricks. And it slays your father, your faith in him.
Because all I can think is how deep the sea, and how vast, how indifferent. How powerless I am to protect from you it. All I can do is pray.
AMANPOUR: And it's so heart wrenching. It really is. At what point did you think this is what I'm going to do?
HOSSEINI: I've been thinking about the plight of all those thousands of refugees who have lost their lives at sea for a long time. And I wanted to
write a story about that because I want people to understand that these are choices that are not made lightly. Who in their right mind would take the
children and set out in the open sea in a rubber boat? Along with dozens of other people, put their lives in the hands of smugglers who sometimes
openly murderous, whose entire business model thrives on human misery, and then set out at sea in the pitch black with nothing there to protect you
towards an uncertain future.
The choices that drives people into those boats are agonizing, the decision is last resort and the circumstances are often existential as in life and
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean your landmark book was "The Kite Runner". It was about the horrendous conditions in Afghanistan. And you, yourself, were an
immigrant, a refugee into the United States so you know first-hand. And you went, not long ago, to a cemetery in Sicily where many of these poor,
hopeless people end up when their boats get shipwrecked. I just want to play a little bit of what you saw there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FEMALE: This is a textbook case. He has a number so he wasn't identified initially but then somebody must have come back.
HOSSEINI: And they came back and put that picture. Three-years-old, four- years-old maybe. Oh, my God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, I mean, at first he wasn't even named, this little child. What about it just spoke to you about it?
HOSSEINI: I was there with a local imam from a mosque and he told me that he oversaw many of the burials in that cemetery. And he said these people
came looking for a dignified life. We couldn't even give them a dignified burial. There are no tributes in those cemeteries.
And so I hope that this book Sea Prayer is a tribute to all the unknown Alan Kurdis, all the thousands of people, the families who perished that
sea looking for a measure of sanctuary and dignity. Nobody should have to resort to those measures, to find the things that you and I take for
granted, and those who have been forced to deserve responses from us, policies from us based on principles of empathy and compassion and
solidarity with their struggles.
AMANPOUR: And again, you've told so many stories through your novels. Your second big novel was A Thousand Splendid Suns. It was about the
plight of women in your country, in Afghanistan. Given where we are today, the Me Too Movement and women all over the world, is that book sort of
still speaking to women not just in Afghanistan?
HOSSEINI: Yes. I think, strangely, that book is as timely as it was 12 years ago and particularly in Afghanistan which is in the process of a slow
and painful rebuilding process and working towards possibly a negotiation with the insurgents. That book is a reminder that the voices of women must
be included at the negotiations table. They are absolutely, must be a cornerstone of the peacebuilding process in Afghanistan. And without them,
the future in Afghanistan is in trouble.
AMANPOUR: The same for really women everywhere.
AMANPOUR: Khaled Hosseini, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
HOSSEINI: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Who speaks so movingly through his writing.
And before we go tonight, a quick note. Make sure to tune in tomorrow when I'll be speaking with the highly respected presidential historian Doris
Kearns Goodwin. Her latest book on Leadership: In Turbulent Times is really history written for our era taking on leadership from the White
House to Congress to the Supreme Court and, of course, in this Me Too Movement. It couldn't be more relevant.
But for now, that's it for our program. Thanks for watching. And remember, you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at
Amanpour.com and you could follow me on Facebook and Twitter. [13:55:00]