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Suspects on the Khashoggi Case Have Close Ties to the Crown Prince; Republican Senators Lining Up to Hold Saudi Arabia Accountable; Trump Administration Stands Behind Saudi Arabia; The Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi; The Sentence. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired October 17, 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.
As the evidence mounts tying the disappearance of Saudi Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, to that country's crown prince, will Republican senators stand
firm for a moral American policy? Senator Ben Sasse joins me.
Then, from Ankara, Turkey, a former adviser to the prime minister joins me. And a prominent Saudi dissident, the scholar, Madawi al-Rasheed, here in
London says she now feels threatened by the long arm of the regime.
Plus, imprisoned for 15 years for her boyfriend's crime, Cindy Shank and her brother, the filmmaker, Rudy Valdez, talk to our Hari Srinivasan about
the compulsory sentence that tore their family apart.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Turkish officials have now entered and searched the Saudi consul's home while "The New York Times" is revealing details of a grizzly audio tape
that purport to confirm Jamal Khashoggi's brutal murder.
Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo landed briefly in Turkey today to consult on the Khashoggi case. He met with the Turkish president and foreign
minister, who later describe Pompeo as simply conveying the Saudi's side of the story. They, of course, continue to deny all the allegations. As
Pompeo later made clear when he spoke to reporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are they saying that Mr. Khashoggi is alive or dead?
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I don't want to talk about any of facts. They didn't want to either. And that they want to have the
opportunity to complete this investigation in a throughout way. And I think that's a reasonable thing to do, to give them that opportunity and
then we'll all get to judge, we'll all get to evaluate the work that they do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: This comes as President Trump bemoans the harsh verdict that Saudi Arabia is receiving even as Turkish intelligence sources reveal from
grizzly details of what they describe as Khashoggi's murder inside the consulate in Istanbul. And as "The New York Times" report, suspects in the
case have close ties to the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
Republican senators meanwhile are lining up to hold Saudi Arabia accountable, with Lindsey Graham threatening to "sanction the hell out of
the kingdom." And Marco Rubio telling CNN that the United States will lose its credibility on human right if it fails to act.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse says that Saudis have a lot they need to explain. Sasse is a frequent critic of President Trump who is -- and he
has just published a new book, "Them: Why We Hate Each Other - and How to Heal."
In it, Senator Sasse wrestles with the anger kicked up by America's deeply divided political scene. And he's joining me now from Washington.
Senator, welcome to the program.
BEN SASSE, U.S. SENATOR, REPUBLICAN: Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: So, your book comes at a very opportune time because this tribalism is really sucking up all the oxygen and it also comes at a time
when even some of that sort of tribalism seems to be spilling out into this current case. I want to know first and foremost what you make of President
Trump's response to the Khashoggi case and particularly since last night. He sort of seemed to indicate that here we go again, just like Judge
Kavanaugh, you know, the Saudis are being guilty until proven innocent.
SASSE: I think the president's comments to-date have been a little bit perplexing. I hope that he is listening deeply to the intelligence
community in this country. Obviously, there are a number of things that are still gray for everybody in the world but for the U.S. intel community
as well. But I've been in the SCIF this morning, in the classified environment where we read classified materials.
And I can't touch on any of that. But I -- as I've been saying the last couple of days that I think very similar to the comments you just said it
from Senator Rubio of Florida, the Saudis have a lot of explaining to do. We know that the guy walked into the consulate, the journalist did, and he
didn't leave alive. And there's just a number of things about this story that they're trying to sell now and where they're leaking sort of potential
different cover stories that just don't add up. So, there's a big problem with the way the Saudis are explaining this at present.
AMANPOUR: You say you've been into the SCIF which is where you get classified information. President Trump has just said that he is asking
the Turkish authorities for this audio tape and he added, "If it exists." Do you have any reason to doubt that your NATO allied and their close
intelligence cooperation in general with the United States maybe not telling the truth about a tape?
SASSE: I don't have any shareable current information on that topic. I think we are going to need an international investigation to get to the
bottom of this. The American and the people in the region need to have some understanding of facts that can be shared. So, I hope that that tape
is handed over.
And again, I have lots of confident in the U.S. Intelligence Community. And I think that they're building information that's very useful for the
president to understand and I hope he's listening to all that information, not just the arguments that are coming from Saudi officials.
AMANPOUR: Well, this is what a leading -- one of your leading colleagues, Senator Lindsey Graham, said about this situation, about all that he knows
so far and how it makes him feel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSEY GRAHAM, U.S SENATOR, REPUBLICAN: This guy is a wrecking ball. He had this guy murdered in a consulate in Turkey and to expect (INAUDIBLE).
I feel used and abused. I was on the floor every time defending Saudi Arabia because there's a good ally. There's a difference between a country
and an individual. The MBS figure is to me, (INAUDIBLE), he can never be a world leader on the world stage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, he's obviously referring as he said MBS, the crown prince. Do you feel that way? Because this is fundamental to the U.S.-Saudi
relationship right now. Because certainly, the president's son in law, Jared Kushner, is at a very close relationship with MBS, he sort of brought
the U.S.-Saudi relationship into -- you know, very close at the moment and a lot is riding on it.
SASSE: Right. I don't want to get to particular facts at this moment. But in general, broad brush strokes, I agree with Senator Graham's comments
there, that MBS has some problems here. Policy has to flow from principle and the U.S. government is now going to need to evaluate what policy
implications this has but it flows from an upstream thing, which is we need to have agreement about how we believe -- what we believe human dignity,
what we believe about freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, protest, the way we think about it in the U.S.
And the Saudis need to be able to articulate some long-term north star about they believe about human rights. And right now, they're a number of
things that are being called into question with Saudi leadership in general and with MBS in particular.
AMANPOUR: Senator, you colleague across the aisle, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, seems to think that actually the United States needs to
declare what it believes as its moral leadership and what you're saying Saudis need to. He says, the White House seems to be saying that the Trump
doctrine is that the U.S. will ignore your human rights abuses, assassinations or war crimes as long as you buy things from us. He's got
it totally and complete backwards. Would you agree with that?
SASSE: Yes. I didn't hear the larger context of Senator Murphy's comments. He and wrestle and differ on a lot of domestic policy issues.
But the broad shape of what I hear on that quote, I do agree with. I think there's sometimes about 2 million of the 320 million Americans are
Nebraskans. And so, in our rural ag state, they're sort of a commonsense way to speak about things.
And I think a lot of Nebraskans believe that the alleged tension between realism and idealism in foreign policy is usually overstated. Because in
the long-term, the best thing for the U.S. is to be a nation that leads an alliance and global alliances of peoples that believe in similar things
about human dignity. And we need to articulate those values and countries need to know that those are not changeable principles for us based on
short-term issues about one economic transaction.
The U.S. is not a transactional nation, we're a values-based nation that believes in big and long-term things and we want the Saudis to align with
us about those things overtime. And right now, we need to declare that clearly and they need to do some serious soul searching.
AMANPOUR: So, Senator, maybe members of your own state, the 3 million you say are in Nebraska and 300 million or so around the United States who the
president seems to think benefit directly from his economic relationship with Saudi Arabia.
My question to you is, you must know the facts and the figures, you must know about the arms sales and the real money and American leverage and
power. Do you think that America has greater leverage over Saudi Arabia or is the president seems to indicate that Saudi Arabia has greater leverage
over America in this case?
SASSE: Yes. I think it's always important to see arms sales as means to a larger end, not as the end of themselves. The U.S. is not selling arms
because we're primarily interested in the economic consequences of those transactions. The U.S. uses arms sales as a tool of advancing U.S. and we
believe global interest overtime. But U.S. interest are advance because we partner with people who want to share values and principles for the long-
term, not because one specific transaction.
I think what we have learned over the last, you know, two decades since 9/11, we make an argument that goes back to World War II and before. But
since 9/11, one of the obvious things we have learned is when there's chaos across the world, a lot of that chaos ultimately comes home to (INAUDIBLE).
And so, we would like to see a stable world. And in the Middle East, we have a bunch of sources of instability, Iran chief among them. The way
they so discord among all their near neighbors. But the Saudis as well need to be articulating a long-term view of stability that's based on some
AMANPOUR: And this is why I move onto your book. If the evidence points to where it's pointing right now, lands where it's pointing right now, you
presumably would vote for some kind of sanction, some kind of punishment.
SASSE: I believe there have to be -- basically, everything needs to be on the table. I've reached out to Secretary of State Pompeo, he's in transit
right now and Ambassador Bolton as well at the White House. And so, obviously, we -- in our system, the legislature makes the big long-term
policy decisions. But in the short-term in the national security space, we always rely on the executive branch to come with an initial proposal about
what needs to be done.
But I think the Saudis need to understand, there is a big appetite in Washington to put lots of stuff on the table. This is not a small matter
that will be swept under the rug.
AMANPOUR: And interestingly, because it leads right into the theme of your book. There is a bipartisan appetite for that in this particular case in
Congress. So, let us move to the title of yoru book, because it's all about tribalism and the lack of bipartisanship. It's called "Them: Why We
Hate Each Other - and How to Heal." And it's trying -- you're trying to promote some sort of civility.
It's obviously really, really timely on the heels of several divisive issues and debates in the U.S., the latest of which was the appointment and
the confirmation hearings of Judge Kavanaugh. Describe to me how you internalize that and how deep a rift that has created in the United States
and how you think there could be healing after that.
SASSE: Yes. Thank you. So, let's step up one level from the Supreme Court confirmation fight because then you're going to -- I think you're
right, that that is symptomatic of our larger problem. But the term tribalism, we're using the term as if it's always bad. And really,
political tribalism is a terrible thing, it's an us versus them, where the assumption as people that you don't agree with on every issue you should go
to war with them on every other issue, you can't ever find common ground.
But political tribalism is ramping in the U.S. right now, this bad kind of tribalism precisely because many of the good forms of tribalism are being
undermined by the moment we're at in technological history. There's a tension between ruthlessness and rootedness. Our technology is allowing us
to be more ruthless than we've ever been able to be before.
The economic productivity that will flow from the digital revolution is going to be unparalleled in human history. And yet, at the same time, we
know that social science literature on happiness tells us that rootedness is one of the core reasons people are happy. Do they have a nuclear
family, do they have deep friendships, do they have shared vocation and meaningful work and coworkers, do they have local worshipping communities?
All of these things are textured embodied local stuff because humans have bodies and we're meant to love people where we live.
And right now, that rootedness is being undermined by the ruthlessness potential of our technology. And I think political tribalism is ramping
mainly because it's filling a void in the decline of the good tribes, the local things that usually give people happiness and meaning.
AMANPOUR: So, you know, a part of the solution you say, politics is about the use of power, how it's acquired and who wields it. Obviously, politics
matters but civics matters more. Civic is about who we are as a people, a nation required a framework of shared values, a set of core commitments.
Yes. But it seems to me and I -- everybody around world is looking at an America being torn apart and there's no such thing as shared core values
anymore, or at least right now. And in fact, it's considered, you know, wrong if you don't all band together with your side against the other side.
How do you get over that?
SASSE: Yes. Well said. I think the first thing is we have to properly diagnose it, right. Many people who look at political tribalism in
Washington or on cable TV news in the U.S. assume that all of this is new because of the 2016 election. That's not true. Donald Trump didn't cause
this, Donald Trump can't solve this. Politics didn't cause this, politics can't solve this.
We're a couple of decades into a digital revolution that's probably going to last for another 50 years. So, one of the first things we need to
recognize is, we have massively declining public trust and almost all of our institutions. Not just political and governance, but communal and
associational and neighborly. And that decline of trust is partly because we have things happening like -- we have half as many friendships for
America now as 27 years ago.
In 1990, when I graduated high school, the data shows in social science the average American had 3.2 deep friendships. The average American today has
1.8 friendships. 40 percent of Americans have either no confidants at all or only one.
Well, it turns out if you're lonely, then will you look for things in politics that politics can't fulfill. Politics is never going to comfort
you in your old age. Politics should be a place where we debate, how do we get a cost-effective infrastructure bill to revitalize a whole bunch of
bridges that are collapsing in the U.S.? Well, you can only do that if you have some shared assumptions that the people who might differ with you on
an infrastructure bill are not necessarily evil, they just have different policy priorities.
Right now, what we see happening in the political space is a tripling of the number of people who consider the other political party evil. 14
percent of Americans 25 years ago said the other party was evil, today it's 41 percent. You can't do anything well then. You can't build the
community, you can't have civil society and you can't even do run-of-the- mill politics well.
So, we need to address some of these upstream challenges. And that's why I called it "Them" because this othering, this anti-tribalism that we're
building is tribes that are mainly against things in politics instead of mainly for things that locally.
SASSE: So, half of the buck is about constructive ways you rebuild associational community and neighborly America.
AMANPOUR: Obviously, this, again, couldn't come at a better time. You say it predates President Trump, but everybody believes that President Trump
has exacerbated this situation because things flow downwards from the top. I mean, he is the leader of the United States, the leader of free world and
the example often flows from the top down.
So, I guess people want to know from people like you who are obviously not pundit, you occupy a position of elected power, in a legislative branch
that has constitutional power and authority. And you are a regular sort of disagreer with President Trump, you know, you criticize him a lot, you
know, on trade, on immigration, on the other things.
But the question people ask is, but why don't you take action then if you can and if you think a lot of this stuff is divisive. I mean, you vote
with him 87 percent of the time or more. I mean, honestly, people want to know why people like yourself or Senator Flake or others, Senator Corker,
people who are not running, I don't know about you, but they're not running for reelection. Why not stand up then and use the power that is yours?
SASSE: Yes. Let's distinguish among three different issues. The first is, there are a number of places where Donald Trump has adopted on kind of
run-of-the-mill legislative policy issues, adopted more conservative positions than he held over the course of his adult life, and I'm glad he
did. I'm the second or third more conservative voter in the U.S. Senate. I was a conservative well before Donald Trump was on the stage and I'll be
a conservative after President Trump's term is over. And so, I'm glad that he's a adopted conservative policy positions on a number of issues.
And yet, some of the big ones like why is there so much disruption in your work, it's not primarily because of trade. I think I'm the most free trade
-- pro free trade senator in the U.S. Senate. But most of the disruption in our workforce isn't because of trade and it isn't because of
immigration, it's because of automation.
And so, we need to tell the American people the truth about that. We're going to need to build policies that handle job retraining for 40 and 45
and 50-year-olds who get disrupted out of, not just jobs and firms, but whole industries and skillsets because of new technology.
Most of those kinds of issues are not really right versus left, to their past versus future. And right now, we don't do a lot of future focused
policy in the U.S. Congress. But then, most fundamentally, the stuff we're talking about in them, this collapse of local community, this undermining
of traditional good normal tribes, where people engaged in their neighborhood and their local community, whether it's family or friendship
or worshipping communities, you can't legislate any of those solutions because we're dealing with souls.
This is about persuasion, this is about voluntarism, this is about love, this is about rebuilding and getting to know your neighbor. Statistically,
if you go from 200 to 500 social media friends or 500 to 1,000, you don't get any happier. If you know the person who lives two doors away from you
in your neighborhood, statistically, you're much more likely to be happy.
SASSE: There's no Washington D.C. solution to that. But we do need 320 million Americans to be focused on the right things and that doesn't start
by deciding who are you most angry against in politics.
AMANPOUR: I couldn't agree with you more and I can attest to the neighbor versus the Facebook friends, and many people are coming to understand that.
But I just want to ask you this then, because, you know, we seem to be in a moment where this kind of divisiveness and non-neighborly behavior has been
somehow permitted, sanctioned by the environment, to the point that your own colleagues, who I quoted earlier, Senator Lindsey Graham, said the
following about a major group, an immigrant group, that occupies a place in the United States. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: I'm taking it, and the results are going to be revealed here. This is my Trump moment. This is reality TV.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll found out who you really are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Tarring a whole hundreds of thousands of people who have come to the United States and help power the U.S. economy, that's a bit divisive,
SASSE: Yes. I hadn't heard that comment until you just played that clip. But obviously, this last week, it sort of a little bit awkward to be doing
an interview with you and to be talking about a book this week that's about tribalism, good and bad, against the backdrop of Senator Warren and
President Trump fighting about Native American ancestry and tribalism and DNA tests. I'm against identity politics. I think there are a whole bunch
of ways that people try to divide us that just aren't very interesting or very useful.
And the way we consume media is a huge part of the problem, right. This -- there's nothing about Elizabeth Warren's DNA test that should be a top 30
issue in the country right now. It's not anything that I care about for my kids or your viewer's kids 10 or 25 years from now. And yet, it works
really well as stimulating (ph) short-term television soundbites. And this kind of media circus that's swallowing our politics, it's not good for
anybody. It's like cotton candy, we can -- you want to ultimately eat some protein and Nebraska beef and some vegetables. Cotton candy feels good for
a second but it's the wrong choice.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Maybe the elected leadership be told that too. Senator Sasse, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
SASSE: Thanks for grabbing me.
AMANPOUR: So, as the Senate waits for the facts on the disappearance of Saudi Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, the Trump administration so far, at
least, seems to be standing beside or rather behind Saudi Arabia.
We heard earlier that the Turkish government sees it that way. And Taha Ozhan was an adviser to the former Turkish prime minister. He considered
Khashoggi a friend and he joins me now from Ankara.
Also, Madawi al-Rasheed is visiting professor at the London School of Economics and she is a prominent dissident. She was stripped of her Saudi
citizenship in 2005. And she's joining me right here in the studio.
Welcome to both of you.
Can I first start in Turkey? Because the details of the investigation are being leaked fast and furious.
So, Mr. Ozhan, can you tell me what you know and what you can tell me about all the things that is -- that are being leaked by Saudi intelligence and
security and government officials about this grizzly case, the latest being that kind of horrendous details of the -- severing and dismembering as
reported by "The New York Times" on this audiotape?
TAHA OZHAN, FORMER ADVISER TO TURKISH PRIME MINISTER: Hello. Actually, this entire episode last 10 plus days could be finished at the very first
moment when Saudis -- instead of claiming he left the consulate. We know our humble friend went inside and never came out and we know he is killed
and we know right now, through the media and through the sources, almost every single detail of how it happened.
In fact, there is no journalistic Ws left unknown, all of them are known, some of them are known secrets. The only remaining question is who ordered
this killing actually. And this is a known secret.
From the first day, as I said, I'm -- Saudi, instead of cooperating and collaborating with Turkish authorities they chose to deny what happened
inside and every single detail came out of -- through the media channels. And unfortunately, we learned every details of that (INAUDIBLE) murder and
AMANPOUR: Of course, I misspoke, I said Saudi intelligence, I meant Turkish intelligence leaks obviously. Why do you think your government and
the associated ministry are leaking and not saying anything publicly and officially? What is the strategy behind that?
OZHAN: I mean, as I said, I mean, the first starter is Saudi denial. But to answer specifically your question, the main reason is, attorney general
is right now investigating. And that file should be -- reach some results. And I am expecting in a couple of days, they are reaching results and they
need to clarify how they ended their investigation and we will start seeing accusations and how the file will continue.
At this stage, Turkish responsibility is mainly fits on Jamal Khashoggi never went out. So, the outside of Saudi consulate is under Turkish
responsibility and Turkey was covering that area first on Friday, Mohammed bin Salman said in Bloomberg interview, Turkish authorities can come
inside, as all you follow, that took almost 10 days to get inside.
And after getting inside, yesterday, we started to hearing -- confirmation actually, that they are finding evidence inside the consulate. And today,
the consul's resident was supposed to be searched in early morning but they prevented it again. And at the end of the day, they went inside and the
Turkish and the sources are telling us, are telling, actually, everybody, that they are very confident that they are going to prove he is killed
inside the Saudi consulate.
AMANPOUR: It's really a gruesome story. And let me just turn to you, Professor Madawi al-Rasheed. You are a dissident and you are -- have been
stripped of your Saudi citizenship and here you are in London. Are you afraid now in the wake of what's just happened? Could you ever imagine
that this could have happened to somebody like Jamal Khashoggi who didn't call himself a dissident?
MADAWI AL-RASHEED, VISITING PROFESSOR, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: First of all, I see myself as an academic who write a critical history and
commentary on social issues and political issues. In that respect, this is defined as a dissident in the Saudi context.
I think through my knowledge of Saudi Arabia that the killing of Jamal Khashoggi would not have happened. I did not imagine that the Saudi regime
would actually do this in a consulate. They may cause trouble for dissidents.
And also, there had been historical cases when they actually kidnapped dissidents such as, for example, in 1979 there was a famous Saudi dissident
called Nasser al-Saeed (ph). He was kidnapped from Lebanon. And the person who assisted in that kidnapping was the Saudi ambassador at the
time, Ali Shah (ph).
And now, it is an open secret. The man disappeared and we don't know anything about him. His children are still alive, his wife, they don't
know where he is. But, to go and do a crime like this with the horrific details that we are hearing inside an embassy is unbelievable.
AMANPOUR: So --
AL-RASHEED: Things have gone too far.
AMANPOUR: We have to keep saying that the Saudis deny it and you've heard what President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo have said. They seem to
say, well, you know, President Trump was angry at the so-called guilty until proven innocent, the opposite of what most law cases are about. And
Pompeo seem to convey just the Saudi side of the story.
I just want to quickly ask you, because you're sitting there in Turkey and you're so close to the government. Are -- is Turkey satisfied with the
U.S. involvement in this and the U.S. -- behind the investigation? What is Turkey's view on the U.S., sort of, deportment in all of this?
OZHAN: I mean, I am not official anymore. But what I see is the expectation was more. And actually, there's a fluctuation into
Washington's position. Actually, every two days it is changing. This rogue state elements came out. Today and other statement came out through
the Trump. And this creating here a kind of not exactly seeing what Washington is going to do.
I mean, the scientist foreign ministry to the Riyadh, actually, if you check out the official statements, nothing came out. And everybody stated,
at least two times, that they are going to investigate until the end. That means no cover up will be acceptable by Turkish government.
And just to say it, I mean, the genie is out of the bottle. And after all those leaks, all those information all over the international media, I
don't see any way of covering it up --
AMANPOUR: Well --
OZHAN: -- including this rogue state elements and other things -- yes?
AMANPOUR: Sorry. I don't mean to interrupt you. But we had said that evidence seems to be mounting. "The New York Times" has pictures of
somebody called Maha Abdullah Treb (ph) who is pictured in many of these images -- side of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. And he apparently is a
suspect in the investigation.
So, you know, the question to you, from what you know, Professor al- Rasheed, how does this kind of -- I mean, are you surprised by the reporting of all these names who flew into Turkey on this plane on that day
then flew out and obviously, had to have high-level (INAUDIBLE) permission to get through the airspace from the airport to the consulate and out?
AL-RASHEED: Yes. This is a premeditated murder. It cannot be regarded as anything else. You do not get 15 people to go to the embassy just before
Jamal Khashoggi was going to visit then leave the country. And this is -- those people are employees of the Saudi regime, whether they are in the
police, security forces, forensic evidence, you name it.
They are working within the regime. They are taught a rogue element that happened to be traveling on an airplane, arriving at the consulate,
murdering someone, then leaving the country.
We cannot actually see that there is almost a glimpse of innocence that we can attribute to the Saudi regime. It is involved in this incident and
also it happened on the territory of the Saudi Consulate. So it is very difficult to see that there are rogue elements floating around the regime
in Saudi Arabia, that they could get on a plane and murder someone and come back.
AMANPOUR: And the point here is despite the evidence of a really grisly crime, who was Jamal Khashoggi that he was such a big threat? We all know
who he was. We've known him for decades but was he really that big of a threat? I mean was he really a full-blown dissident who could have so
harmed the regime?
AL-RASHEED: He never described himself as a dissident or an opposition figure. In fact, he was so loyal to the regime. But I think my guess is
that Jamal Khashoggi fell within that period that there is a change of the guard in Saudi Arabia. He was a spokesperson of Prince Faisal. All the
details are now known.
AMANPOUR: He was a former intelligence minister and ambassador to London and --
AL-RASHEED: He was too close to power. He must have known a lot. And the fact that he suddenly appeared in D.C. where the Saudis want to keep that
city from any dissident's voice simply because they know exactly how Congressmen, how people in D.C. will react to any kind of credible voice.
Especially if it is coming from within the system that had been opposition figures all over and the world.
In London, we have several of them but they've never been targeted. Khashoggi chose to write in "The Washington Post". He had a platform to
influence politics in the U.S. where Mohammed bin Salman had spent million to lobby, to spread propaganda, and we see it in the media.
Eighteen months ago, Mohammed bin Salman was the great reformer. He was the young prince who was going to reboot Saudi Arabia, to fight terrorism,
to create moderate in lab (ph). But suddenly the mood changed in D.C. and Jamal Khashoggi was writing critical pieces. And therefore, the Saudi
regime worried about Jamal going too far.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you, Mr. Ozhan. I mean you knew Jamal well. You've written an op-ed. You said that in about two weeks' time, a week
now, you would have been on a panel together. What will happen given that people did look at Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a reformer? And maybe
they still do. What will happen to Turkish-Saudi relations or to Saudi- U.S. relations if it is laid at Saudi's door?
TAHA OZHAN, FORMER ADVISER TO TURKISH PRIME MINISTER: Yes, you're right. I mean I was supposed to go with him two weeks from now. Actually, just
one week from now as of today. He was a humble guy. I should say something about him. And he was not only humble, he was not a threat to
Saudi regime at any extent. He was critical but he worked for that country for years. He has experience working with the Saudi regime and he knew the
And I believe he was not imagining such a thing happen. And do not forget, I mean he has extensive experience of working in embassy in Washington. So
he knew what could be done in embassies and what cannot. Unfortunately, he was even not imagining such a pulp fiction crime done by Mohammed bin
Regarding Turkish-Saudi relationship, I mean this is not on the Jamal Khashoggi' s actual murder. It's already injured Turkish-Saudi relations
in an unimaginable level, but not only Turkish-Saudi to (INAUDIBLE) operations but also rest of the world.
I don't see any room after Saudis are going to have a credible relationship with the rest of the world, except as we heard today that Mr. Trump --
because right now, more or less, all Saudi diplomatic areas in the world could be a crime scene. We don't know that but only proves this. And up
until Khashoggi's hearing, this was an opportunity for U.S. mainly. But [13:35:00] right now, it's a big burden and liability for the rest of the
AMANPOUR: Very quickly, I want to ask you why you think Jamal Khashoggi who knew that he was being warned by the Saudis and he was told to be
silent, why would he have come to the Consulate in Istanbul? He had been in London here. He was in Washington as a resident. Why did he have to
get his papers from Istanbul?
OZHAN: Because he was just getting married in Istanbul and he first visited consul. He asked about those documents and they said they are
going to prepare it. Everything was in line and he wasn't suspicious about it.
And I talked to friends who saw him just a day before and they were saying I mean it was fine with him. Because he had, as I said, experience of
knowing how consulates and embassies work. He himself worked in embassy for years. And I -- they have given him credit. How could he possibly
imagine such a pulp fiction mafia-style crime?
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask Professor Al-Rasheed. Would you have gone into a Saudi Consulate given the kind of criticism that even Jamal Khashoggi
AL-RASHEED: Well, I would never set a foot in the Saudi embassy on two grounds. As a woman, before the incident of Khashoggi, the Saudi women
don't actually go to embassies to demand any documents. They have to send their guardian. So I wouldn't have gone on the ground of being a woman.
On the second ground, as somebody who has no reason to visit the embassy after they withdrew my nationality in 2005, I do not trust the Saudi
embassy to set a foot in it. So basically, Jamal Khashoggi should not have gone to the embassy.
But if he wanted to marry, he needed these documents. And these documents can only be issued in Saudi Arabia, approved by the embassy and presented
to the Turkish authority to marry. But it is unusual. If he was resident in Washington, why didn't he get the documents in Washington?
There had been talks about a certain kind of negotiation going on with the Saudi ambassador in Washington who advised him to go to Turkey. So
basically it is very, very unclear. We will never actually know the real story. We may find out who killed Jamal but we may not find out about the
intrigues, about the bill (INAUDIBLE), this dreadful visit to the Consulates on the second of October.
AMANPOUR: Are you worried that this is becoming sort of a Putin-Skripal kind of mold? Are you concerned about certain leaders around the world who
simply are reaching out to silence or would like to silence those who they disagree with?
AL-RASHEED: And get away with it. The only problem is for Saudi regime who's dependent on the West for its own security, the royal household is
sitting there in Riyadh because of American and British support. And as long these two sources continue to support the Saudi regime and offer it
unconditional support, it's going to get away with murder.
However, I find that with MBS and his rise to power, he has one Trump and lost the rest of the world. And if this continues, he may continue in his
erratic behavior. As long as Washington does not pressurize the Saudi regime to behave like a respectable member of the international community,
we're not going to see a change.
Let's not forget, there are 1,500 people detained in Saudi Arabia since November 2017, according to MBS himself in his interview with Bloomberg.
And therefore, the situation in Saudi Arabia is treacherous. People are living under fear and it is becoming like the kingdom of terror.
AMANPOUR: Dear oh dear. Professor Al-Rasheed, Mr. Ozhan in Turkey, thank you both very very much for joining us tonight.
And we really must keep emphasizing that we continue every day to ask for a response, high-level interviews from both the Saudi and Turkish government.
Both have declined to join us so far.
So now, we turn to a crime in the United States. It's one family story that is highlighting an injustice in America's courts. Cindy Shank was married
with three children when the federal government came to her door in 2008, charged with a crime in connection to her ex-boyfriend who was dealing
drugs. She got mandatory minimum sentencing under the laws which meant she was given 15 years in prison.
Luckily for Cindy, she only served eight but those were eight long years after she was granted clemency by President Obama. Now, over the course of
her imprisonment, her brother Rudy picked up the camera [13:40:00] and started filming. The result is a new documentary, "The Sentence" which had
its premiere on HBO this week.
Filmmaker Rudy Valdez and Cindy herself spoke with our Hari Sreenivasan about what it was like to live through all of this.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CONTRIBUTOR: Rudy Valdez, Cindy Shank, thanks for joining us.
Cindy, let me start with you. For someone who has not watched this documentary, set this up for us. In the late 90's, you were in a
relationship with someone who was dealing drugs and then what happened?
CINDY SHANK, DOCUMENTARY SUBJECT, THE SENTENCE: I was charged with conspiracy. I was also given three separate charges of possession with
intent to distribute cocaine, crack and marijuana. But these were all estimations that somehow turned into actual weight.
SREENIVASAN: This is because the person you were involved with at the time, he was dealing drugs and conspiracy meaning you knew about it?
SREENIVASAN: You didn't have to be doing it but you get his charges anyway?
SHANK: Yes. I mean he was deceased so they had nobody to charge. I was the only one left so they charged me with it. I was initially indicted in
2002 and my case was dismissed. I went ahead and moved on with my life, got married, had kids. And six years later, the federal government came
and indicted me and I was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.
SREENIVASAN: So this is just literally a knock on the door?
SHANK: Absolutely, literally a knock on the door.
SREENIVASAN: Yes. Let's take a look. There's a clip of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY VALDEZ, FILMMAKER, THE SENTENCE: Almost six years after all this happened with Alex, Cindy was finally settling into a life that she always
wanted. And then came a knock in the door.
ADAM SHANK, HUSBAND OF CINDY SHANK: It was just the eerious knock. I mean it woke me up out of a dead sleep. Cindy jumped up and later she told me
she knew. She knew the minute she heard that door knock.
I said who would be knocking on the door at, you know, 6:30, quarter to seven in the morning, something like 7:00. I can't quite remember exactly.
And she didn't say a word.
She got up, grabbed the girls, you know, and went in their room and just was hugging them. And to me, I really wasn't paying attention. I went to
the living room and opened the front door. And they said they had a warrant for her arrest. And when I turned around and saw her, you know,
hugging the kids, I was tossed. I was tossed because she knew already.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SREENIVASAN: Rudy, we hear you as the narrator. You're also the filmmaker in this. And you also become your sister's advocate. What was your sister
indicted for? And how can you be indicted twice for the same thing?
VALDEZ: Yes. So there was a lot of confusion. You know, at the beginning of all of this happening when her ex was murdered, you know. We were led
to believe that the state had dropped it. And then the federal government picked it up and they had dropped it. There was just a lot of -- it wasn't
a very transparent, you know, process.
So we believed that this was behind her. And we encouraged her to, you know, take full advantage of that and get your life back together. So she
did. As you see in the film, she met a wonderful man and married and had two kids. And was actually pregnant with their third one when they came
and knocked on her door for the first time. And, you know, was sentenced to 15 years after that.
So I don't know that she was indicted more than once. I think that it was just they waited to indict her until much later. There were other people
that they were putting away prior to this.
SHANK: That was the first time I'd ever even been in trouble. I've never even had a speeding ticket. So prosecutor actually asked for 89 years for
me. I was given the lowest that the judge could possibly go which was 15 years because of mandatory minimum sentencing.
SREENIVASAN: And you also say in the film, "Missing my daughters growing up, that's what I was sentenced to." That's pretty powerful. How did you
realize that that was a serious cost of this?
SHANK: Well, when I first went away, my daughters were so young. They were 4, 2 and 6-weeks-old. And I was literally being ripped away from
them. That's just exactly what it felt like, my heart was being ripped out of me.
And when I got into the system and I realized what was actually happening to me, I wasn't being rehabilitated. There aren't programs. There aren't
a lot of things. You're just being held. You're just being told you can't go back to your life, you know.
Anything that I did while I was in there, you know, to better myself, that was something that I did a choice, that I made. So the only thing that
kept coming up to me was you're missing everything, you're missing your girls, you're missing everything. And that was everything, my life were my
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHANK: Where's mommy's heart?
CINDY'S DAUGHTERS: In our heart.
SHANK: Where is your heart?
DAUGHTERS: In mommy's heart.
SHANK: I love you. Our hearts are going to be together soon, aren't they?
DAUGHTER: We love you too, mommy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SREENIVASAN: I mean you've kept the last name but this also cost you a marriage. How stressful was that period leading up to the decision to part
SHANK: It was very hard. I was probably after -- well it was after I moved to Florida. I was actually moved. The prison I was at closed and I
got moved to Coleman, Florida which was very far away. So it went [13:45:00] from missing the girls and my then-husband, you know, every six
weeks and kind of having that regular routine to not seeing them at all.
And then I think that compounded just the separation of what was already -- how separated we already were. And I think it was just too much for Adam
and he asked for a divorce and I completely understood. You know, it was hard, the whole family, and hard on him. And I knew, you know, he had a
chance to actually have a life and I wanted that for him and the girls.
It was hard on me. It was very devastating but I had to get through it. And I had to separate myself from that and just close that relationship and
move forward. But I still had my daughters and I had to focus on that.
SREENIVASAN: Rudy, you were not a filmmaker when you started picking up the camera. Well, you were kind of making home videos for her to be able
VALDEZ: Yes. So this started with me just, you know -- at the beginning, again, we are very naive about this entire process and I started to do
research. The day she went away, I was googling what is a mandatory minimum.
Like I was trying to figure out because I literally thought that there was an error, like a clerical error. And I was like, well, we're going to
figure this out. But until she comes home, you know, I don't want to miss her daughters living.
You know, we were going to be able to give her pictures and she was going to be able to talk to them on the phone. But I wanted her to watch them
grow and run and laugh and do all the things that kids do that she was going to miss. And it sort of just organically turned into this
I have flown back to Michigan to film her oldest daughter Autumn's dance recital, something that I know Cindy wanted to go to so badly. I was
filming her getting ready and completely unexpectedly Cindy calls. And I remember the time thinking should I turn off the camera? Like I was -- I
didn't know if this was something I wanted to capture but I kept rolling. And she says that line to Autumn. She says, "Do you know what mom is going
to do when you go to dance? I'm going to lay down in my bed. I'm going to close my eyes and I'm going to think about you."
And that was the moment that I became a filmmaker, that was the moment that this became a film because I realized that I had an opportunity to tell a
story that you don't get to see. A story about the children left behind, a story about the families left behind and the true ramifications of these
You know I thought it was about rehabilitation. I thought it was about preparing people to come back on our streets and be contributing members of
society. Cindy had already proven that she could do that, that she was that. And now all of a sudden, she's separated from her family for 15
years. Her kids now have to grow up their entire childhood without their mother.
And I thought myself who is benefiting from this? And why aren't people completely up in arms about it? Because what I was also figuring out at
that time was that Cindy's case is not unique. There are thousands and thousands of other people with cases just like hers, people who are just as
deserving to get out of Cindy, maybe more. And you must apply that by the amount of children left behind in the communities, it's unbelievable.
SREENIVASAN: This does quite a good job of showing how the entire family is affected by this. We have another clip there I want to play.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CINDY SHANK'S MOTHER: I open these blinds and the moon comes in, the moonlight. And sometimes I can see the moon through the tree branches and
(INAUDIBLE) to my Cindy so I know she looks at the moon every night, speaks about the family and I think about her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SREENIVASAN: This is your family. You're not a fly on the wall watching something clinically. How did you deal with the emotional consequences of
covering your family in this grief or dealing with all the stuff that they had to deal with?
VALDEZ: Yes. It was extremely difficult. I knew what I had from the beginning was intimacy and trust and the ability for my family to let me be
in these rooms and film. Like you're saying, not as a fly on the wall, not as somebody standing on the outside watching a family but --
SREENIVASAN: You're Uncle Rudy.
VALDEZ: Yes. You were watching the lens was always the son, the brother, the uncle. You were the conversation. You were in the conversation. And,
you know, I'll never forget the first time I'm filming my father and he breaks down crying.
You know it was such a learning experience in a lot of ways. I remember something in me is saying put down the camera, turn off the camera, go and
hug him, go and tell him it's going to be OK, do it, be a good son, you know. And something else started fighting in me and it said, "Hold your
shot, Rudy." This is for the greater good.
SREENIVASAN: Cindy, you got out earlier than the end of your sentence. Thanks to a commutation from the president.
SREENIVASAN: But as we find out getting the end of the film, [13:50:00] it's almost a lottery ticket. You were a very select group of 16, 1700
people in the entire term of his presidency that were given this versus the thousands, I want to say somewhere around 30,000 or above. Do you remember
the moment that you got the call that you were given clemency by President Obama?
SHANK: Yes, I remember that very clearly. When I received the call, I didn't know who was calling me. You don't get calls in prison. So when
they tell you, "You have a phone call", it's quite, OK, it could be good, it could be most times it's bad.
So when I actually heard my attorney's voice on the line, I held my breath because I knew this was yes or no. I knew this was that moment and all she
got out was congratulations. And I just screamed and everything came out of me, just those years of pain, just scream that came out. And I
literally fell to my knees and just started thanking her, thanking God. You know, just being so thankful.
SREENIVASAN: How was the readjustment process been like?
SHANK: You know it's got a lot. It's got its ups and downs. We've got a lot of things that I didn't know I would -- you know I didn't know what to
expect. I didn't know what things would kind of give me more trouble or what things I would have to adjust to.
SREENIVASAN: What's been harder?
SHANK: I guess knowing the little intimacy that my daughters -- you know, I know them. They're my daughters and I knew them and we were close. But
just little things that I'm like oh, yes, Ava doesn't like cheese and you know, I forgot. I say joke with Rudy but I literally forgot to feed them
the next day, the first day I came home. You know, I was like, oh, yes. I forgot to feed you.
But they're like, you know, we're just in this whirlwind of being together and hold each other. And all I want to do is hug them and kiss them and
tell them I love them but I did forget to feed them.
SHANK: They did have lunch, maybe not breakfast.
SREENIVASAN: Yes. You know Rudy, there's something that - and I don't know. I'm projecting but when you watch the film, Autumn, the oldest
daughter, as you watch her grow up, it's almost like you can see that there's a weight that she's been carrying. And her eyes, something about
her eyes changed when she was that little girl preparing for the recital and the young woman who's waiting for her mom to come home.
VALDEZ: Yes. Yes, definitely. What I wanted to show in this film was time and what time does to somebody. And to this day, one of the toughest
thing for me to watch in this film is towards the end when Autumn looks up at the camera and she says "Hi. I'm Autumn Shank and I'm 13-years-old"
because you just see the weight of the world on her shoulders, the wear and tear on her as a 13-year-old, what she's had to go through.
And I would always ask myself who is this benefiting? You know, and then I'd get enraged again because who is benefiting are the people who are
profiting off of the prison industrial complex, the people who are profiting off of the backs of disenfranchised communities, mostly brown and
black people. And that enraged so much because it was pointless.
SREENIVASAN: Rudy, you had a bipartisan screening in Washington, D.C. Tell us about that.
VALDEZ: I wanted to make something that transcended politics in a way it would get the hearts and minds, the thing that I wanted you to feel with
this. And because of that, like you said, I think I'm affecting people in a different way because they're not feeling preached. They're allowed to
take this journey with the family and understand where they stand as a person, not as a politician or as somebody who aligns themselves with right
or left or whatever.
Two days after we premiered at Sundance, I was contacted by a Republican Senator from Utah, Senator Mike Lee. And he said, "Thank you for making
this film. I believe in sentence reform. And this is such a great story that is emblematic of why we need true sentence reform."
And he teamed up with Cory Booker, Democrat from New Jersey. And together they brought the film to Capitol Hill in a bipartisan effort to say this is
an example of why we want sentence reform.
SREENIVASAN: This is kind of a whirlwind from a film festival to interviews and all that. What happens when this all dies down? Are you
prepared for what could be difficult repercussions of what your children have to live through?
SHANK: I guess as best as I can prepare myself, I am. I just take things as they happen one day at a time. I try and just, you know, be the best
person I can be, always be honest and live my life that way. And I don't think any repercussions can come from that. You know whatever happens,
happens. I know if I speak my truth, then -- I love my children and do the best that I can and work hard, and everything will be OK.
SREENIVASAN: Cindy Shank, Rudy Valdez, thank you both.
VALDEZ: Thank you so much.
SHANK: Thank you for having us.
AMANPOUR: What a tragic look inside the U.S. justice system. Although inspiring, so much needed bipartisan efforts in the Senate.
That is it for our program.
Tomorrow, we'll continue to follow the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. [13:55:00] And I'll be joined by Tom Friedman, the influential New York
Times Columnist who initially welcomed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as a reformer before warning of his creeping authoritarian street.
That's it. Thanks for watching.
Remember, you can listen to our podcast, see us online and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Goodbye from London.