Return to Transcripts main page
Russia Makes an Act of Aggression Towards Ukraine; Ukraine Declared Martial Law Since Independence in 1991; Russia Attacks Ukrainian Boats; General Motors Announced Slashing Jobs and Close Plants in United Stated and Canada. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired November 27, 2018 - 13:00 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's what's coming up.
Is Ukraine's president preparing for a war? I'll ask him. After Russia escalates a confrontation at sea and seizes sailors and ships.
Plus, general motors slashes jobs and factories. The man who won Pennsylvania for President Trump tells me what it means for blue collar
And, a power couple gets real. Tamia and Grant Hill, singer be a basketball star, on how they keep normality and balance in their ultra-
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
After a high-stakes confrontation with the Russian navy, Ukraine is declaring martial law for the first time since independence in 1991. More
than 20 Ukrainian sailors and three boats remain in Russian hands after they were seized in this dramatic confrontation in the narrow water ways
separating Russia from Crimea, which, of course, was annexed by Moscow in 2014.
Russia says Ukraine's navy illegally entered Russian waters. Ukraine says it was carrying out a routine transit of that waterway. Just today, one of
the sailors appeared on Russian television supposedly confessing to provoking Russian ships.
The strait is a critical bit of territory giving Ukraine a major port access to the vital black sea trading routes. And if we needed any stronger
reminder, it's this, that the four-year war in Ukraine grinds on mostly, of course, out of the spotlight these days.
But why did the Trump administration take so long to respond? Why is the Putin administration taking this drastic step now? And why is Ukraine
taking its drastic counter measure for the first time in decades? Well, let us ask the Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, who is joining me now
Mr. President, welcome to the program.
PETRO POROSHENKO, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Thank you very much indeed, Christiane. Happy to be -- to hear you again.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's good to talk to you particularly to clear up a few things. Because this does seem like a dramatic escalation in your region
and we did say that this is the first time since 1991 that martial law is being declared. You did not declare it when Crimea was annexed in 2014 and
nor did you declare it during the invasion and the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine. Why are you taking this measure now?
POROSHENKO: Thank you very much for this opportunity to inform your viewers. And during the illegal annexation of the Crimea in the year 2014,
I was not president and there was so-called green men without any signs of the Russian army who made an annexation of the Crimea where we had no
And during the year 2014, during an aggressive operation, we have the special law about anti-federalist (ph) operation and we mobilized all the
resources and do our best to protect our country against Russian aggression.
But this is the first time which happening on the 25th of November where Putin is simply not hiding anymore, that that is his order to use the force
and to openly shoot to Ukraine soldiers on the two light military boat and one attack boat.
And this is the -- under international law, this is clear and direct act of the aggression fully meet the criteria from the resolution of the United
POROSHENKO: And this is no explanation because I doubt many CNN viewers understand, this is happening in the Black Sea, in the neutral
international waters. And this is the commander of our naval forces give the order to our naval boats to return back to their (INAUDIBLE) after the
-- there was an attack by the 10 Russian military vessels in the three miles from the Kerch Breach where we were under the instruction of the tour
of the control of Kerch authorities where they wait for three hours for further instruction to stay in line and to go Mariupol on their route --
POROSHENKO: -- way.
AMANPOUR: All right, Mr. President. Well, you pretty much described that you consider this a direct aggression by identified and official Russian
military. So, that's why you're taking this step. The Kerch Bridge is the Kerch Strait --
POROSHENKO: Not only --
POROSHENKO: Not only because the Crimea is a part of the territory illegally annexed. And there is not existing any Russian 12-mile zone. We
cannot violate those who are not existent. But even after this condition, we do not move any tiny reason for the -- open the fire, any tiny reason to
attack our military vessel.
AMANPOUR: All right.
POROSHENKO: This situation, Russian is brutally violated international law and make an act of aggression.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, what on earth is your declaration of martial law, which is going to go into effect tomorrow, governing 10 provinces including
around that area and around the water ways, what exactly does that mean? Are you on a war footing? Is this a preparation for a major outburst of
hostilities or what is the reason and the effect of martial law?
POROSHENKO: The introduction of martial law is clearly defined in our country's constitution and help us to move troops more easily, to mobilize
all the necessary resources, to defend our sovereignty, our territorial integrity and our defense, and simply defend our country.
And based on our intelligence information, including those we receive from our NATO sources, Russian concentrate alongside of our border, the big
amount of troops, we have all the evidence of that. We should be simply ready not to repeat once again the situation year 2014 and to rebuild up a
strong and effective army and we undertake all our efforts to defend and protect our sovereignty.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, from their perspective, the president's spokesman and adviser, Dmitry Peskov, has said that the Ukrainian vessels entered the
territorial waters without responding to any queries from our border guards, in no way responded to offers to make use of pilotage service and
so on and so forth.
POROSHENKO: This is a lie because the Ukrainian vessels contact with the tower control and received the instruction to stay in a designated area
where they stayed more than three hours. That's why we have firm evidence that under the bilateral agreement between Ukraine and Russia about the use
in (INAUDIBLE) using of the Kerch-Yenikale channel. We have absolutely freedom of movement through these channels. We even don't need them. And
we just waiting for the -- our boats are waiting for the navigation services. That's why Russia is usually lie and make misinformation to
cover act of aggression to try to avoid the responsibility. This is not happening again.
AMANPOUR: All right. So, let me ask you what you make of the international reaction. The E.U. and NATO and other European leaders were
swift to condemn this and they've also called for a restraint and for this not to escalate.
The U.S. administration took slightly more time, it was a full 24 hours or so before we really heard from the U.S. administration. And this is what
President Trump said seeming to put the owners on both sides. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: We've let our position be known and we're not happy about it. We do not like what's happening. Either way, we don't
like what's happening and hopefully, it will get straightened out. I know Europe is not -- they are not thrilled. They're working on it too. We're
all working on it together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, are you satisfied with that reaction from your U.S. allies?
POROSHENKO: First of all, we have a very intensive negotiation yesterday and today. I launched my morning with a consultation with the general
secretary of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, and we initiated the commission NATO, Ukraine and have a very strong statement from NATO.
Then it was the negotiation from our Polish -- my Polish colleague, Andrzej Duda, because Poland is represented together with the United States. The
position of power lies on the security council of the United Nations.
And if you hear the words of Nikki Haley, very strong and very reliable and I'm fully satisfied with the presentation of the position of power that
lies on the Security Council of the United Nations.
Then I speak with Chancellor Merkel and I ask her to undertake the urgent steps to release my 24 sailors and two Ukrainian ships which are
imprisoned, illegally imprisoned without any charges in occupied Crimea. And I thank to Chancellor Merkel that they do with this phone conversation
with Putin because Putin are avoiding to speak directly with me.
And the -- in later -- these days I speak with Secretary Pompeo. And during this speech, we have a full support, full assistance including
military assistance to coordination what we necessary to do to protect Ukrainian sovereignty and to territorial integrity.
By the way, President Trump, in his speech, also support Ukrainian territory integrity and been on our side. And the statement of the
Department of State by -- signed by Mr, Pompeo is absolute -- was absolutely clear, demonstrated the position of United States, mentioning
also that Crimean declaration presented by President Trump.
POROSHENKO: And definitely, we need these you know a unity of the world. And the only thing is that they try to blame Ukraine, that the we introduce
the martial law because we tried to avoid the presidential election. I just want to state that the only person who interesting in the --
considered to move the presidential election or to postponed it is Mr. Putin. Because for one hand, we defend our borders and from other hands,
we defend our democracy. And that's why under my initiative yesterday parliament vote the date of the next presidential election, it happened on
the 31th of March year 2019.
And me, as a president, as a commander in chief of the armed forces of Ukraine and as a (INAUDIBLE) Ukraine and constitution will protect not only
our sovereignty but our freedom and democracy.
AMANPOUR: So, just to clarify, you're saying that martial law will end so that your presidential election campaign can go ahead as under the
constitution and also, can you Ukrainians that martial law will not be used to, you know, crush civil liberties or in any other way, you know, reduce
people's ability to operate freely?
POROSHENKO: Definitely. And thank you very much indeed for this question, Christiane. This is -- I make a statement today and they are now in there,
in Ukraine. We can introduce the steps such as mobilization, such as undertake the measures to protect our country, which limits a certain
freedom only if it would be wide ground aggression of Russian Federation against my country.
To make a very quick reaction. And now, we are making the preparation if it's happen. If aggression is not happened because of the steps to be
undertake and because of the international solidarity with Ukraine, no any tiny limits of the freedom of Ukraine and not happen.
AMANPOUR: OK. Mr. President, we are hearing from our colleagues in Kiev and from news reports from your capital that Ukrainian officials are
stopping, on mass, Russians from traveling to Ukraine, at the airport and potentially other borders. Can you explain that to me and is this an order
that you have given and is this part of martial law to prevent Russians from coming to Ukraine at this time?
POROSHENKO: The parliament (ph) decision is not happening yet. But one of the proposal to our chief of general staff and the chief of the border
control that there -- it would be some limits for Russian to enter to Ukraine during this special period, during the period of the martial law.
And if I don't decision, most probably will happen tomorrow and you will know what would be exact condition for some categories of the Russian to
enter to Ukraine.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let me ask you. I mean, that seems to be a pretty drastic step to take, but let me ask you about what -- how do you work this
out going forward? Because, you know, the 2003 treaty between Ukraine and Russia says that that area, in dispute right now or where the confrontation
happened, is shared territorial waters, guarantees freedom of navigation.
But, of course, the background context is that both sides of you have different interpretations on who controls those waters around the Crimean
Peninsula, particularly since the annexation.
So, your foreign minister has been calling for, you know, for some but tensional joint presence, including Ukraine and maybe some of your western
allies in the Black Sea region. What do you propose as a measure going forward to prevent this kind of tension?
POROSHENKO: Look, we have a clear text of the -- our bilateral agreement on the Sea of Azov, Black Sea and the Strait of Kerch, and this is
impossible to make a different interpretation of one single text. And under this one single text, we have absolute freedom of movement through
the Strait of Kerch and for the Sea of Azov without any limits and introducing any limits, including the -- for the military ships, which is
specially mentioned in this bilateral agreement.
It is completely illegal and violate the international law about freedom of navigation. This is crystal clear and this position was clearly support
not only by Ukraine, not only by international community and the global -- many countries but also, for the sea navigation expert lawyers in Russia
POROSHENKO: There is no any evidence that Russia can limits, Russia can stop, can check any Ukrainian vessel in this strait. And another one, they
cannot do anything like that with a foreign vessels who go to the Ukrainian ports.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, let me ask you again about --
POROSHENKO: It's about a dangerous --
AMANPOUR: Was that?
POROSHENKO: Christiane, this a very dangerous president and we need the international reaction. Because tomorrow in the Black Sea, anywhere so
could be attacked by the Russian fleet. This is -- we cannot accept anymore.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, that's what I was going to ask you. Because some are trying to speculate as to why the president Putin would have taken this act
at this time, obviously, you know, there's a G20 meeting coming up, he'll be meeting President Trump and all the other world leaders. Those who know
President Putin well and who study him say that this is very much in his playbook.
You probe, you push, you wait to see how the West or the international community responds and you take your action depending on how they respond.
So, I, again, want to ask you about the international response particularly given what a former advisor to the form of British Prime Minister, Tony
Blair, told me about the preoccupation of America and Britain right now, not looking potentially at what's going on in your region. Just listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, LABOUR PARTY: With less opposition from American because Trump and Putin, there's something a bit
weird going on there. And also, with countries like Britain, one of the big European military powers, actually, too busy on this to focus on
anything else. And government bandwidth is a limited thing and the moment is doing nothing but trying to deliver Brexit that now it seems even the
Brexiteers don't want if it's this one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, again, Mr. President, Britain is preoccupied with Brexit, President Trump has a particular relationship with President Putin. What
do you make of that in terms of the response that you're looking for to this action?
POROSHENKO: Look, it is impossible to explain any steps of President Putin. I cannot explain why Putin illegally annexed Crimea, why Putin make
an aggression against my country, why Putin kill thousands of Ukrainians and the -- make other steps to include in the Abkhazia, Abyssinia (ph),
Transnistria, this is unexplainable and unpredictable.
And with this situation, I am absolutely confident that the only answer to President Putin would be unity, also it should be demonstrated from the G20
meeting. And that Putin has no explanation and has no excuse when he opened fire against Ukrainian vessels who moving in their territorial water
and fulfilling all the rules, all necessary rules and not give any tiny provocation.
With the situation, our coordinated efforts should be undertaken to make (INAUDIBLE) and to make Black Sea significantly more secured. Because
noboby knows where it happened next incident, in the shore of Bulgaria, in the shore of
Georgia, in the shore of Romania or near Turkey.
And this situation, I am absolutely confident that we should be united to protect the global peace and global security, and Ukraine is a reliable
AMANPOUR: All right. President Petro Poroshenko, thank you for joining us from Kiev and we'll continue to monitor this. Thank you for joining us.
And of course, just a note we have asked the Russian government for their reaction and we will continue to do so.
But turning to the United States right now, it is an ever more dangerous and difficult world but for President Trump. Perhaps the scene at home is
not necessarily any rosier. He is indignant after General Motors announced that it will slash jobs and close plants in both the United States and
Canada. Here's what he said about his call with G.M. chief executive, Mary Barra.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We don't like it. I believe they'll be opening up something else. And however, I was very tough. I spoke with her when I heard they were
closing and I said, you know, "This country has done a lot General Motors. You better get back in there soon, that's Ohio, and you better get back in
there soon. So, we have a lot of pressure on them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, this is where the rubber meets the road for the president and his campaign promise to revitalize American industry. The plant
closures come in the important swing states of Ohio, as you just heard, and of course Michigan, which were crucial to Trump's 2016 victory.
What does it mean for the American worker and the American president himself. David Urban was senior adviser for Trump's 2016 campaign and he's
credited with winning Pennsylvania, he is also a member of the Trump 2020 Advisory Board and he's joining me now from Washington.
Mr. Urban, welcome to the program.
DAVID URBAN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, 2016 TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Thanks for having me, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Could I just ask before we get to G.M. and the very important domestic issues what you make of the president's actually quite delayed
response to what's happening in Ukraine. You just heard the president of Ukraine calling for a robust and united Western response to President
Putin's actions just now.
URBAN: Look, obviously, it's an aggressively dangerous part of the world, very difficult to get under control at this point time as this collision
and in subsequent declaration of martial law is very problematic, not just for the United States but for the entire globe.
I think the president wanted to make sure he had time to consult with everybody on his team and make sure he was heading in the right direction.
And I think the United States stands strongly with the rest of Europe and our allies against, you know, an aggressive Russian action here.
AMANPOUR: Well, what would you advise him, if you could, to say to President Putin about this when they meet in a couple of days at the G20?
URBAN: Christiane, look, I think that from the annexation of Crimea on forward, the Russian aggression can't stand unchecked. I think this
administration has been very strong and its response in Crimea and I'd encourage the president to continue to be strong.
AMANPOUR: All right. Well, let us talk to the very vexing issue now which goes right to the heart of the president's campaign and his promise to the
country, and that is this announcement of quite massive closures and cutbacks by G.M. I mean, you know, lots and lots, thousands and thousands
of workers in Ohio and Michigan. Are you worried about the political fallout?
URBAN: Look, I'm worried about the fallout for individual Americans, right, Christiane. This is, obviously, a huge impact to good working folks
across America and all these different factories, not just in Ohio but spread across cross America that contribute, you know, parts to these cars.
What has happened here, what's been announced by G.M. is part of a global slimming by G.M., they spun off, they're very unprofitable European
production system to the pair of Peugeot in 2017 and America cars are doing very poorly, SUVs and trucks continue to do well.
So, lots and lots of vehicles are not being sold, they're being heavily discounted. The CEO of G.M. refuse to contain on that path. And so,
they're shattering the cruise line. They didn't say anything about closing the Lordstown plant altogether, that's the president made remarks about
hoping that they'll be back. There still could be room for that plant to come back, I think that's everyone's hope.
But the fact of the matter is, cars and trucks are being sold and purchased at less and less across not just America but across the world as folks
shift autonomous vehicles and ride sharing, you know, applications for driver's licenses that are way down. And so, this is not just a trend in
America but a global trend.
AMANPOUR: Look, you're absolutely right. But again, it does go to the heart of the president's promise and claims about manufacturing and being
able to bring back this kind of manufacturing to the U.S. I wonder what he thinks because --
URBAN: Yes. Just at one point, Christiane. This president -- this is 2017 -- since being in office has added about 500,000 manufacturing jobs to
the economy. And the economy continues to grow just despite closures like this, there are roughly 7 million unfilled jobs in America right now that,
you know, we're trying to match up skill sets with openings and workers, that you get unemployment is an all-time record lows and economies is
booming here. Unfortunately, not for those workers in Mahoning Valley.
AMANPOUR: OK. You're right, the economy is doing very well. But, again, it goes to the heart of the president's promise, specifically on car plant
saying that they should be opening in Michigan and Ohio and elsewhere. I do want to play for you this little bit of the speech that he made when he
was campaigning in Mississippi yesterday as this runoff was taking place there for the for the Senate candidate. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The previous administration, they said manufacturing's never coming back, it's gone, you need a magic wand. Well, we found the magic wand and
that's actually going to be increasing by a lot in the next short while because you have a lot of companies moving in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, again, it's important to sort of get to the bottom of this because -- I mean, one would have thought that G.M. would have been
pretty grateful for pocketing something like $157 million in the tax Windfall, I believe, because of the president's corporate tax cuts.
On the other hand, all of these tariffs on steel and the rest are also jacking up prices for these manufacturers. As one as one said, it's like,
you know, you take half a dozen with one hand and you, you know, put six in with the other hand.
URBAN: Well, let's just go back to it, right. In 2008, G.M. -- when the auto crisis was looming large, G.M. received a $50 billion, that's a B, $50
billion subsidy by the U.S. government to prop up the company. The U.S. government then sold back those shares to the market with -- at about a $10
billion loss. So, you're talking about the most recent tax cut. But overall, the government is really subsidized G.M., the president's outrages
as well place in terms of, you know, this company's really benefited a great deal from the largest the government really should think about that.
But when you're bucking a global trend, you know, Christiane. it's not just -- on cars it's one thing, but you're talking about the president's
tariffs. What the president is trying to do is level the playing field here, right. So, cars that are being produced overseas and shipped in the
United States aren't competing on the same playing field that G.M. is.
And so, what the president trying to do is level that playing field with tariffs on other nations and on the importation of cars.
AMANPOUR: But isn't that -- actually, the tariff, sort of, they may be helping the steel industry but doesn't it harm the car industry, the
URBAN: So, look, I'd pushed back on that narrative, Christiane. I think - - look, this is a car. I don't know how many people you know that drive a Chevy Cruze. I don't know anybody in America that drives a Chevy Cruze.
AMANPOUR: I don't think anybody in Europe does.
URBAN: Right. Well, so this plant was doomed because it produced a product that nobody wanted, right. That's the -- that's what underlies and
(INAUDIBLE) the product here. If -- when G.M. moves into automated and autonomous vehicles as they move forward in electric vehicles, things that
people are actually purchasing, this plant may start up again.
I mean, it has -- the saving graces here that the CEO of G.M. didn't say they're shattering the plant, they said they're shattering the Cruze line.
There's a distinct difference in -- and I suspect that her language was measured for a reason.
AMANPOUR: Can we move on to the issue of migrants. The president, again, it was a big, big deal particularly in the campaign running up to the
midterms, the idea of sending the troops down to the border, standing firm against what he called an invasion from Central America, the caravan,
And then, of course, over the weekend, we see this -- some three dozen or so of these Central Americans tried to storm the border, come in, and the
U.S. responded with tear gas. I believe that that's not established procedure to use tear gas over an international border. But I wonder what
you make of it, particularly, this is what the president said about it when I asked about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They're not -- as you know, they're not -- they had to use it because they were being rushed by some very tough people and they use tear
gas. And here's the bottom line, nobody is coming into our country unless they come in legally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, you know, basically, they did use tear gas and the kids were affected and so were the others. But what do you -- are you comfortable
with the use of tear gas in the way this is escalating there?
URBAN: No. Look, so obviously, nobody wants to see kids or women and children exposed to tear gas. As you know, Christiane, I know you've been
on the field lots and been in this kind of situations. Tear gas, once this -- once deployed is carried by the wind, you know, a long, long way.
So it's unfortunate that the act of a few, you know, a hundred or so of these folks who decided to not wait in a line, not do orderly but to kind
of charge the Federal Police in Mexico, go around, breach their line, get up to the border, try to bridge that line, throw rocks and other
projectiles across the border, you know, to the U.S. border police, their border police then responded with tear gas back.
Look, I wasn't on the ground. I don't know what type of threat that those folks felt on the ground. I know that the men and women who serve along
the U.S. southern border are some of the best and best-trained folks in the American government. And I take them that they did exactly was called for
the protocol that was called for that time.
But no, it's terrible to have kids and women exposed to tear gas. It's not something that anybody should have to endure. And I would say, you know,
shame on the folks who rushed to the border. They were -- it's my understanding that those folks were there where they were going to try to
go to a checkpoint legally and peacefully and try to do something that would have been pro, you know, pro-immigrant, they ended up making a
commercial for folks here the United States who say, "Build a wall." It just goes to further reinforce the point that those who want to see a wall
built, who want to see tougher border enforcement to take place. I mean that unfortunately is what occurred from those bad actors.
AMANPOUR: So are you -- what -- I mean I said to you on the advisory board for the 2020 campaign, clearly this is a massive issue, clearly it's got to
be resolved, the immigration situation in the United States. Do you have a plan for some kind of bipartisan sensible immigration reform?
URBAN: Well, Christiane, as you know, the president previously had offered a plan which is unprecedented by any Democratic or Republican president,
not for a path to citizenship for some two million plus undocumented workers. I mean it was a plan that was really bold and really aggressive
and which he took a lot of heat from his own party for even offering.
"The Washington Post" at the time, which is no friend of this president as you all know, said you should take the plan. The president, in turn,
wanted some money for border security and building the wall, "The Washington Post" opined it would be a really good deal to trade that --
trade one for the other, wall for that proposal precedent put forth.
I think the president's been very aggressive in trying to get a resolution. I think that there have been many plans. Look, I've been working in this
town for quite some time. Comprehensive Immigration Reform has failed under both Democrat and Republican leadership. I'd love to see the
Democratic House and the Republican Senate get together with this president, put together a plan that addresses illegal immigration, secures
our borders, provides workers for this booming U.S. industrial growth, and solve the issue. It's one that really needs to be addressed.
AMANPOUR: It really does. And the plan you mentioned, before, Democrats, of course, couldn't pass it. And as you now mentioned and referred, they
do control the House. I wonder whether that's really a plan or an opportunity as you just pointed out for some kind of bipartisanship but
whether the Republican Senate would go for it.
URBAN: Yes. It's an election year, you know. That's the tough part, right, Christiane. In Washington, when -- you know, what's good for one
party is not great for the other party and finding common ground is incredibly difficult. You know immigration interestingly doesn't line up
necessarily along Republican or Democratic lines.
It lines up -- you know we have large swaths of great big industries that really need workers. They want workers to come here where unions sometimes
oppose workers coming here because they're afraid of the value inflate wages. So it is not necessarily -- it doesn't cut red and blue like normal
issues, doesn't cut normally north, south, east, west. It's really a very, very complex issue that needs to be dealt with.
AMANPOUR: So as we speak, some 39 Democrats picked up seats. In other words, they have, you know, that under their belt now. Perhaps another one
is going their way. It's apparently the biggest shift, the largest gap between the two parties in the history of the midterm elections. Dems
received over 9 million more votes than the Republicans in the House races around the country. Are you surprised at the scale of the Democratic
victory in these midterms?
URBAN: No, not necessarily, Christiane. Look, I mean, as you know, historically, the president in power does pretty poorly in the midterms.
Pundits, pollsters, politicians all were guessing that that number in this election would be somewhere between, you know, 35 and 45 and it ends up
falling pretty much right in the middle there. At the end of the day, it's going to be right about where people suspected.
What's important I think, you know, what gives Republicans lots of hope and I think rightfully so were these big name, boldface races, [13:35:00] Beto
O'Rourke who now appears to be running for president. And Andrew Gillum and the governor and Georgia all had these really big high profile races.
The Democrats were really banking on coming through and really turning the tide and they all lost those races.
They also -- the Democrats also failed to really hold on or make any real gains in the Senate which, as you all know in the United States is very
important for confirming federal judges and other political appointments that the president puts forth. So the president is right to really kind of
be buoyed, somewhat by the losses in these high profile races, the retention of the Senate, and a pretty good map going into 2020. Look,
there are going to be 20 -- roughly 20 people running for president on the Democratic ticket. It is going to be a rush to the far left to try to get
that base energized like you saw in these midterms.
AMANPOUR: Of course, we know the seven Democratic governors picked up seats in this election. But, you know, I want to get to -- if I have time,
I want to ask you one more question about that but I need to ask you about Paul Manafort. As you know that we've learned last night that the special
prosecutor is ending his cooperation with Manafort because he says Manafort lied to federal investigators even after he signed his plea agreement.
Now, today we learned from "The Guardian Newspaper" that Manafort had a secret meeting with Julian Assange of WikiLeaks inside his hidey hole at
the Ecuadorian embassy here in London, you know, several times, right around the time he joined the Trump administration or rather the campaign.
And as you know, WikiLeaks is the source of the Democratic e-mails, the hacked e-mails. You worked very closely with Manafort. Your analysis of
what all this means and are you beginning to think that with all that smoke, there is some fire?
URBAN: So interestingly, no. You know Paul Manafort was prosecuted and -- for things that had nothing to do with the campaign, right. As you recall,
the federal government, the special prosecutor, in this case, filed a motion in federal court saying, "We are not alleging any type of collusion
or any issue of collusion in the case that we're bringing against Paul Manafort."
That's -- I think that's really important to know that what Paul Manafort was convicted of or, excuse me, what he pled guilty to were things that
happened long, long before he was involved with this campaign, tax evasion, tax fraud, things that would be prosecuted -- should have been prosecuted
years before. So that is something to begin with.
Now, what is being alleged -- nobody knows what those -- what the lies are. Special prosecutor here, in this case, has said that there are lies.
They're going to be presented to a judge for the judge to determine what happened, if they're lies or not lies. And the judge will have to
determine whether he's in violation of their plea agreement, that the meetings -- the alleged meetings with Assange, you know, "The Guardian",
the source from WikiLeaks and Assange says they'll bet a million dollars and I can't remember what else, the meetings never happened is totally
false. They throw a lot of shade on that allegation that the Guardian is anywhere close to being cracked to that allegation.
AMANPOUR: If it was true, if it does turn out to be true, it does bring it very close to Trump's doorstep and the campaign's doorstep.
URBAN: Well, again, you know the allegations in "The Guardian" reporting are meetings in 2013, 2014. I believe a meeting they said in March right
before Manafort began on the campaign. So none of them still allege that he -- look, and again, at this point, they're mere allegations and they're
being refuted. So we'll have to wait and see I think.
AMANPOUR: OK. One more minute I have. And to go back to the maths and the politics for the 2020 counterparts. You just talked about some of the
states and some of the, you know, sort of the -- what's been going on and the -- what we should learn from the midterms. But, you know, President
Trump won those key states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, by very very slim margins, you know. And if this midterm election is any
indication, he might not be able to count on them.
And particularly, I mean here is an incredible fact. He won Michigan by about 11,000 votes. That's fewer people will lose their jobs to G.M.'s
restructuring, 14,000 people might lose their jobs. That's a lot of needles to be threaded there.
URBAN: Listen, I do not dispute that fact one bit, Christiane. I think the economy, again, will be the number one issue going to this election in
2020. And I think this president is well positioned to address those facts. I think the president needs to talk more about his accomplishments
with the economy. I think the president should be touting it.
There is -- despite these plant closures which are horrific and need to be -- you know, we need to try to find new jobs for these people, retrain
them, offer them -- you know, try to get them caught up with the workforce that's actually out there looking for jobs right now, we need to try to
retrain those folks to do that.
The government is actually -- this president, this administration have jobs -- have job training programs and address that. But you're absolutely
correct. Those states are very important. It could be very tough. The only thing I would submit is this president right now is, you know, it's
the president versus a question mark.
AMANPOUR: All right.
URBAN: As soon as you put out your [13:40:00] candidate, you know, whoever that candidate is, they're going to have their own baggage and own set of
issues. They have to deal with socialized medicine, lots of other things that are very popular in those areas and we'll see.
AMANPOUR: You say that but health care was the major midterm --
URBAN: I do but I think --
AMANPOUR: I have to --
URBAN: I still got a chance.
AMANPOUR: OK, good. You have to say that. You won Pennsylvania. You're on the advisory board --
URBAN: The president won Pennsylvania.
URBAN: I just -- I was along for the ride.
AMANPOUR: For him. All right.
URBAN: I was with him. He won.
AMANPOUR: David Urban, thank you so much indeed.
And now, we break away from all of this hard news to talk a little love in basketball and music with our next guests who are the power couple, Tamia
and Grant Hill. She is a six-time Grammy nominated singer. He is an NBA Hall of Famer, playing top class basketball for some 20 years. Together,
they sat down with our Michel Martin to talk politics, African-American art, and how their 20-year marriage has survived the test of time, injury,
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Grant Hill, Tamia Hill, thank you both so much for being with us.
TAMIA HILL R&B SINGER: Thank you for having us.
GRANT HILL, FORMER NBA BASKETBALL PLAYER: Yes. Thanks for having us.
MARTIN: Thank you for coming. Two long careers and both of you in separate fields where often careers are very short, even successful careers
are very short, and a long marriage which is difficult for a lot of people who aren't celebrities. So we're just hoping that we can learn some things
about how to achieve that kind of longevity. I'm looking at all of that and I'm thinking that the theme for me looking at it from the outside is
longevity, longevity professionally, longevity sort of personally. Does it feel that way to you?
HILL: I guess there is a longevity element to it. And I think when you have a goal, you have a vision for what you want, and that's a collective
goal and you're willing to sort of saw wood and work at it every day and adapt and adjust, and then, you know, you kind of lookup for air and you
realize, wow, it's been almost 20 years. And so I think we're fortunate in that regard but, you know, I think we also can combine that with a level of
sort of normalcy in our lives. We enjoy the simple things I think in life, in a relationship, in a family, and our children. Our children's lives
And so we don't sort of live this sort of -- I don't know. I don't feel like we live in this sort of superstar of celebrity fantasy lifestyle. I
mean we certainly are fortunate and we are able to do certain things and live a certain way but I do feel like we have a lot of normalcy and a lot
of balance in our life which is probably --
HILL: We seek balance.
HILL: Yes. No, we seek -- yes.
HILL: The goal is to try to maintain balance.
MARTIN: Tamia, what about you. What do you -- when you look at all that you've accomplished individually and together, like does something stand
out for you as a theme?
HILL: The first thing that stands out is that time flies, that, you know when you start putting numbers on things like a certain song, so gee, 19
years ago, you know, Grant and I being married, almost celebrating 20 years. We have a 16-year-old, an 11-year-old, you just really realize how
MARTIN: You both struggle through health challenges so which I think is something important. I think a lot of people know. I mean you started
having ankle injuries. They were so severe that you missed an entire season in Orlando fighting through that. And in fact, if I remember
correctly, there were doctors telling you that you weren't going to play again.
HILL: Yes. And I mean this, you know, an entire year you miss a good portion of four years. You know, had a really nasty situation, staph
infection. My body was (INAUDIBLE). I almost died. I mean it was a really bad situation and it's also tough years. You know and for me right
sort of at that point professionally where you're supposed to be in your prime years.
And so it was tough mentally, physically, emotionally. That kind of stress and that kind of strain with a young married couple could put a lot of --
you know, could either, you know, bring you together or, you know, bring you up or take you apart. And so I think, you know, we just got close.
MARTIN: Do you agree?
HILL: I agree actually. I think that -- the same for me. You know, I was going along with my career and seeing -- you know, I was having a few
little symptoms and kind of we were talking about it and initially getting the diagnosis of M.S. And then --
MARTIN: For people who don't know, you were diagnosed --
MARTIN: -- with multiple sclerosis years ago.
MARTIN: And actually quite public about it.
HILL: I was, yes. Yes.
MARTIN: Why though? I'm curious about that.
HILL: You know I didn't even think about it. I didn't even think about it. But, you know, it's something that I am super grateful for today
because I get so many people who have never told anyone that they have M.S. and they say it to me. The first person [13:45:00] in 2018, they still
feel sort of a stigma attached with, you know, having some -- you know, having a disease like M.S.
So, you know, but I think for us dealing with something like, you know, medical issues early on, we stood by each other and we had a little one a
little bit after that. And we were in -- we were just in go mode. We were in protective mode. That's how we, you know, we've been dealing with
issues that we've had.
MARTIN: Were you scared?
HILL: Both certainly very scared. We didn't -- I mean I didn't know what was going to happen.
HILL: Once we found out and learned a little bit about it, and then you learn that there are actually people who have it and have normal lives or
deal with it and you surprise a lot of people do have it.
HILL: And so I just thought of like Richard Pryor. I mean I thought just -- that was the only example that I knew of, you know. In a weird kind of
way as an athlete, you're kind of conditioned to think we're always going win because everyone thought I was done. But you always feel like you have
HILL: You felt the same way with your ankle.
HILL: Oh, no question.
HILL: Regardless of what people said, when they were trying to figure out what was going on, he always felt like --
HILL: Oh, no. And I kept saying I'm going to -- I kept saying I'm going to get through this and I'm going to make up for on the back and I'm going
to play until I'm 40. And you know what happened? When I got to 40, my body shut down. I should have said 45.
MARTIN: Was that hard for you, you know, to watch him go through that?
HILL: Yes and no. No, because I knew this is something that he wanted, that he was fighting for, and that he had fought for to get back on the
court, and he did it. He was actually back on the court playing at a high level which was something that no one knew that you know, that would
happen. Yes, that I just saw how hard it was to maintain that level of success on the court, what he put his body through to maintain that level,
you know. That kind of was hard to watch.
MARTIN: You're now working on, about to promote your seventh album on tour.
MARTIN: Now, about to go on tour. Is it hard for you watching her?
HILL: The tour, it can be stressful but she's not going to push herself too far. Like that's just who she is.
HILL: I think controlling my own calendar like deciding that I was going to put out albums on my own label and controlling my own calendar. So
being able to say yes to things and no to things and yes I want to try -- I want to tour but this is how I want to do it. That was huge.
HILL: But with Tamia though, I'll say this, that with M.S., it's not something you visibly see. And, you know, I have scars on my ankle, a
limp, you know. She sees me, you know, physically dealing with whatever I'm dealing with. And so it hurts more how she feels. And so unless she
shares that, then you don't know.
And so sometimes, you know -- I'm ashamed to say this but sometimes you even forget because things seem normal. You know, she's active, she's
engaged she's playing tennis. She's working now. She's just continued on. So knowing all of that and being there sort of watching from, you know,
from the sidelines, you know, it's impressive.
HILL: This is the supportive thing that we're talking about. Like just knowing that you have a partner that supports you and, you know, and sort
of your growth, you know.
MARTIN: I want to talk about politics. We're in a moment in which athletes, as well as artists, are expected to speak about things. They
are expected to talk about the issues of the moment. And Grant, you were not known for being particularly political when you were playing. And I
wonder if there's any part of you that regrets that or how do you feel about that now?
HILL: Well, you know, for me, growing up in D.C., more than the redskins or the bullets or the capitals, I always felt like politics was the main
sport. And the topic of conversation in our house at dinner was always about what was happening, local politics, national politics. And so when
you think of players and athletes and celebrities today versus maybe back in the '90s when, you know, I was more in my heyday, I think they do speak
out more. And I think there are a couple reasons for that. I think, first of all, technology.
HILL: You know now you have more access to information. And so, you know, I lived in Detroit and you only really heard which you -- or only knew what
you heard or read, either in the Detroit News or on T.V. local television. But now, you have the ability to see or read or find out or investigate
things that are happening all over the country.
And I think social media. I think social media also allows that and allows for you to exchange and share and really get a sense of what's happening.
And I think this generation of young athlete and just [13:50:00] generation, period, they've come of age with that.
MARTIN: Well, how do you feel about? I mean you actually have a foot in both worlds. I mean as a former player yourself and now you're a part
MARTIN: -- of the Atlanta Hawks.
HILL: Atlanta Hawks.
MARTIN: So you have a foot on both -- in both worlds. How do you feel about their outspokenness?
HILL: I love it. I love it. I mean and I love that my partners with the Hawks love it and appreciate it as well.
MARTIN: Do you wish you had been more spoken about politics or about issues when you were playing and you had -- you still have a platform but
you had that platform?
HILL: Yes. I mean yes and no. I just -- it was weird like there wasn't a lot -- like it was just a different time. And so the --
HILL: But you have a platform too. Like now with social media, there's a direct line of communication.
HILL: You can talk directly to your audience. You know, obviously there's a lot to put out these days unfortunately but now if something happens,
bam, I can post something on Instagram --
HILL: Your own words.
HILL: -- on Twitter and I can talk directly to an audience. I can talk to, you know, a couple hundred thousand people and express how I feel. We
didn't necessarily have that luxury back in the '90s. I'm proud of today's athletes and those who choose to seek out or stand up and speak out. You
don't necessarily -- you're not obligated to do it. But if you're going to do it, make sure you're informed.
MARTIN: So Tamia, you all came up and were able to develop your relationship in relative privacy. I mean you're both public figures but
you didn't have the glare of social media. Now you're raising two girls. What are you talking to them about? How are you teaching them to navigate
HILL: It's an everyday sort of conversation. You know we kind of -- and social media is sort of evolving as well too, you know. There was Twitter
and now Instagram, and Snapchat. I mean these things are, as a parent to try and keep track of all these new sort of apps and ways that they're
communicating with people.
I mean when I was younger and someone would call, my mom would pretty much know all of my friends because she'd answer on the phone. "Who are you?
How do you know Tamia? What's going on?" I mean now your kids can have conversations with people that you don't know. And so we're just trying to
teach them awareness, you know, self-awareness on social media but also teach them that they are loved at home.
MARTIN: Do they know you're famous?
HILL: Our kids don't know -- they think we're there show for pretty much. (INAUDIBLE) That's very much it. And then they're like, "Yes, I guess she
sings. I don't know. I guess he played basketball but he doesn't know what he's doing right now." Like it's -- our kids are very humbling.
HILL: It's all about them.
HILL: Yes, yes, yes, yes.
MARTIN: You also have an amazing art collection I'm told.
HILL: We've been fortunate to be able to collect and support some amazing artists. And, you know, it's a genre of art. You know, African-American
art has historically been underappreciated like most forms of art if you look, you know, if you look in our sort of history. But yes, I mean I
think, you know, my wife's an artist. I appreciate beauty and artistic expression and we've just been fortunate through the years to be able to
acquire good pieces and museum quality works, share it with the public.
I think the purpose of sharing it was to expose young people, young people of color, but really all people to amazing art by people of color. And so
we had a tour. We went to eight different cities. We had it in very well- established museums. The feedback was extremely positive. We made sure that inner-city kids had a chance to field trip and visit the museum. And
in some cases, first time these kids ever went to a museum.
So hopefully that experience can enrich their lives but also the platform, the celebrity that we bring and that's attached to it will hopefully
introduce people to some amazing art by, you know, African-American artists.
MARTIN: So when people think of the two of you, what do you want them to think about?
HILL: I mean I leave that to you.
HILL: You know, people ask about marriage and how do you do it. And, you know, the other day, we were leaving from an event and we looked at each
other like we're just taking it one day at a time. There's like zero formula. We have no idea what we're doing. We're just doing it together.
Like when you have a baby and you're taking the baby home from the hospital and you're like, OK, so now what? It's like you're just taking it day by
day and you're trying to do your best. And that's kind of how we are, you know, looking at being together.
But also, I think with my career and probably with yours as well, we're just trying to do our best. I'm trying to put my best foot forward. I'm
trying to make sure that whatever I do, I'm doing it with passion and that [13:55:00] I'm proud of the work that I leave behind.
MARTIN: Tamia Hill, Grant Hill, thank you both so much for talking with us.
HILL: Thank you.
HILL: Oh, thank you.
AMANPOUR: Some refreshingly real conversation there from a couple at the top of their game.
That is it for us from now. Thanks for watching. Goodbye from London.