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Democrats Issuing Subpoenas for Unredacted Mueller Report; James Comey, Former FBI Director, is Interviewed About the Mueller Report; Russia, Only Existential Threat to the United States; Aired 1-2p ET
Aired April 2, 2019 - 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Comey's a liar and a leaker. I did you a great favor when I fired this guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Hillaried (ph) and praised. James Comey became one of the most prominent FBI directors in recent memory after his tangles with Trump and
Clinton. In exclusive interview, we get his take on the Mueller report and that question of obstruction of justice.
Plus, why we can't run away from our planet's problems forever. The ultramarathoner who's racing to spread the word that our water is running
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in Washington, where the big question is, when will the full Mueller report be made
The House of Representatives voted unanimously to be able to see it. And this week, Democrats are promising to issue subpoenas for an unredacted
So far, the public has only seen a scant few lines of Mueller's nearly 400- page report in the attorney general's 4-page summary.
Famously, Mueller did not establish any conspiracy with Russia. Though on the obstruction of justice question, Mueller said that he was not
exonerating the president.
At the heart of that case is James Comey, the former F.B.I. director who was fired by the president at the time he was heading an investigation into
Russian interference in the 2016 election. During that election, of course, Comey also became a lightning rod because of his very public and
last-minute comments on Hillary Clinton's e-mails.
Now, all of this is detailed in his book, "A higher Loyalty," and the paperback version comes out next month. So, let us now get some answers
from the man himself. The former FBI director, James Comey, joins me here in Washington.
Welcome to the program.
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: It's great to be with you.
AMANPOUR: So, can I just ask you, because yesterday, which was April Fool's Day, you caused quite a stir saying and tweeting, "I'm in. You
know, somebody in the middle needs to get in." I mean, do you need a stress buster?
COMEY: I think we all need to laugh from time to time, especially today, if you don't laugh, you'll cry. And so, I just was trying to be funny and
prank people on April Fool's Day, big tradition in the States.
AMANPOUR: Did anybody take you seriously?
COMEY: I don't know for sure. A whole lot of reporters called, people trying to reach me to get me to confirm it, blaming their editors like they
were in on it.
AMANPOUR: You are given to quite dramatic interventions right after Mueller dropped his report and we heard the summary from the attorney
general. You did tweet a pretty interesting picture of yourself in the woods and you said so many questions. That was more than a week ago. Do
you feel you've had those questions answered in any more detail in the intervening days?
COMEY: No. Maybe with the exception of my question about will we get full transparency, I think I see more promising signs of that in the recent
letter that the attorney general sent to the Congress.
AMANPOUR: He says that he's going to put it out with some redactions by mid-April. And the thing is, he's also talked about these reductions and
he says that he'll redact secret grand jury testimony, material, the intelligence community identifies as potentially compromising sensitive
sources and methods, material that could affect other ongoing matters, information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and
reputational interests of peripheral third-parties.
Democrats fear that there will be an attempt to redact issues and elements that might damage the president or be uncomfortable for him. From your
perspective, do you have confidence that enough of this will come out to satisfy everybody who wants to see it?
COMEY: I can't say for sure until we it. Those are reasonable concerns for Democrats to have. But Bill Barr, our attorney general, deserves the
benefit of the doubt. Give him a chance to show us what he feels like he can't show us. I have to imagine that the Former Director Mueller wrote
the report with an eye towards it being public someday. So, I can imagine a lot needs to be cut out of it. But let's wait and see. The attorney
general deserves that chance.
AMANPOUR: What is normal reactions in cases like this? I mean, you must have seen a lot of this in your 10 years in all your positions. I mean --
you know, I mean the jokes are that it will all be redacted except for a couple of words. You just said, give him the benefit of the doubt. But
what should one expect beyond what he's just said?
COMEY: Well, you should expect a good faith effort by the Department of Justice to protect the things that are in those categories. You don't want
to reveal classified information, you don't want to damage ongoing investigations, you don't want to smear people who have no real part in the
investigation, but that's all fairly easy to figure out if you know the case as Mueller's people do.
AMANPOUR: And the Democrats promising to subpoena a full unredacted version. Do you think they'll win that and should they, in Congress,
elected officials, be allowed to see it with no redaction?
COMEY: I don't know what would happen in a battle over a subpoena. I do know there's a long tradition of sharing classified sensitive material with
the leaders in Congress, chairs of relevant committees. So, it's possible you will see one version go to most of the House and the public and a more
full version go to selected leaders.
AMANPOUR: You've just said the attorney general deserves the benefit of the doubt. I guess, look, where do you come down on the immediate sort of
Monday morning quarterbacking or analyzing of the little we know of the Mueller report? There's some who said, "Well, you know, he punted, we
don't know what's going on," there are others who say, you know, the attorney general took that summary of his an scored "a touchdown" for the
president. What should we make of the fallout in the few days since the report has been, you know, delivered to the Justice Department?
COMEY: Well, Monday morning quarterbacking, to borrow your term, is a natural thing. There's been a whole lot of it done about decisions I've
made. I think what we have to do is just keep an open mind and wait for the details.
The attorney general has to not only share details with the American people of the case but show us his work, why did you make the decisions you made,
why did you handle it the way that you did. I'm confident he understands that. He has an institutionalist, he loves the Department of Justice. The
only thing he has to lose at this point in his career is his reputation. I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt. And us, uncharacteristically,
showing some patience to give him a chance to show us.
AMANPOUR: I mean, you worked for Robert Mueller. He's a big presence in your life. I think once you may have called him your mentor, his meant him
your mentor. Do -- were you surprised by what we know of what he came down with on the conspiracy and on the obstruction of justice? Let's take the
conspiracy first where he said could not establish any -- they didn't use the word collusion, I don't believe, but conspiracy or crime in that
COMEY: Yes. Again, all I know is from the attorney general's letter that he could not -- the evidence did not establish a conspiracy and he defines
conspiracy as a tacit or express agreement between an American and the Russians.
It doesn't surprise me. I didn't know what the result was going to be, that's the reason we were investigating it when I got fired. I didn't know
where it would end up. I'm confident that if he reached that conclusion, it's reached in good faith. But I'll be very interested, as all of us
will, to see the details of that.
AMANPOUR: You have said, because many, including the president, called this for a long time a witch hunt, a hoax and all the rest of it. To those
of his supporters who might say, "Look, it amounted to a hill of beans what we know so far, this should never have happened." What's your answer to
COMEY: Two things. First, take a look in the mirror and ask what happened to Bob Mueller and the FBI being corrupt and evil and a nest of deep state
traitors that they reached a conclusion that the president's happy with? Just don't move on from that, your president tried to burn down the
Department of Justice and the FBI in that matters. So, take a look in the mirror and ask you what you've learned from that experience.
But second, you should have fired all of us if we didn't investigate what we learned in the summer of 2016, when we got smoke, not fire but smoke,
that Americans might have assisted the Russian effort, we had to investigate that, and no serious person could think otherwise. And it was
done in a serious way and it reached a serious result the now we all ought to get transparency on.
AMANPOUR: So, you were -- I mean, you started, as FBI director, the investigation into the Russian interference in the election. It started as
a counterintelligence investigation, right?
AMANPOUR: Did you think that it would move into the criminal area and I guess even on the counterintelligence? How worried you were you and do you
remain about the threat that Russia continues to pose to democratic institutions, to American elections in the future?
COMEY: It started as a counterintelligence investigation, but every counterintelligence investigation potentially is a criminal element.
Because if you discover someone was working with a foreign adversary to damage the United States, that's an important intelligence finding but it
could also be evidence of a crime, so they run together.
And so, it was important to do, important to look at both from what should we know about what the adversary is doing but also, we're Americans
involved. And remember this, there was a massive effort by the Russians to interfere in this election, to hurt one candidate and to help the other.
The good news about what the attorney general said is that's been verified, there was such a thing, it wasn't a hoax. What we had to figure out
starting in the summer of '16 was, were any Americans part of that, and we had good reason to think that.
So, the counterintelligence investigation had to be done, apparently reached important conclusions. I don't know what they say about the
continuing threat. Look, Russia succeeded in 2016 beyond its wildest dreams in its effort to damage our democracy, especially they'll be back.
Especially given that the president not only hasn't criticize their effort, he's denied it.
I saw some poll that a majority of Republicans don't think the Russians intervened in the election in 2016, that's crazy stuff. But that tells the
Russian, "Russians, you'll get away with it in 2020." So, they will be back.
AMANPOUR: Again, it's almost difficult -- it's actually difficult to have a conversation until we know what's in the whole report. But I want to ask
you this because you heard many, many commentators, you know, former administration officials, basically accusing the president of potentially
being a Russian asset.
Now, that you've seen the little that you've seen, but the very important nut graphs, can people put that to rest and is it a good thing that America
can see that so far, the evidence suggests, according to Robert Mueller, that there wasn't a crime of collusion and conspiracy committed or at least
not enough to establish that?
COMEY: It was two separate pieces to my reaction to that. The first is yes, it's a very good thing that the special counsel appears to have
concluded there isn't insufficient evidence to establish that any Americans were part of this effort. I don't care what party you're in, that should
be good news to you as an American citizen, that's that question.
I don't know what the special counsel's work was with respect to the continuing threat and whether there is some counterintelligence risk
associated with this president or this administration and Russia. As I understood his mandate it was, was there -- what do, you know, about the
Russian interference in 2016 or whether Americans were involved. I don't think he looked at the -- I'm not suggesting there's something there but I
don't think he looked at the question about, is there something about this president's finances or personal affairs or something that creates a
situation where he's reluctant to criticize Russia? I don't think that was his mandate. I don't know the answer to that question.
I ask it just because I've been struck during my time as FBI director and stuck since about the president's reluctance to criticize Russia even in
private. But I don't know that's a question that's going to be answered by Mueller work.
AMANPOUR: You think we might never know?
COMEY: We might never know.
AMANPOUR: Under the obstruction of justice case, which, again, everybody wants to get to the bottom of because in Mueller's own words, repeated by
the Attorney General William Barr, "No, I cannot yet establish -- or I cannot establish a crime but I'm not exonerating the president or the
president is not being exonerated." Would you agree, obviously, that the obstruction of justice questions centers on you yourself and your firing?
COMEY: At least in part. Yes, I think -- again, I don't know because I haven't seen the work, that two of the episodes that involve me, according
to press reports, were the subject of investigation, the request, the direction by the president on Valentine's Day of 2017 that we drop our
investigation of Michael Flynn and second, his firing me and then telling the TV interviewer and I think the Russians themselves in the Oval Office
that he did it because of the Russia investigation. I don't know where he ends up on those things. I didn't know the answer to whether that was
obstruction when I was director. So, I don't know what he's found.
It appears he's found, on some episodes that he investigated, and it could be the ones involving me, that there's substantial evidence that inculpates
the president and there's evidence on the other side and for some reason he didn't call that.
AMANPOUR: And what is your view of the fact that Mueller didn't call that and as some have said, punted it to the attorney general, maybe punted it
to Congress? What is your view? Should he have done given his special counsel title and his remit in the parameters?
COMEY: I don't know and I can't tell from just what the attorney general said. That's one of the pieces of work that we have to see. So, why was
it done that way? These are serious people. And again, as with the attorney general, Bob Mueller's entitled to the benefit of the doubt.
But I can't tell from here because the design of special counsel's is to relieve the political leadership of making those kinds of calls so that
folks don't have doubts about whether it was done in a political way. So, there must be some very good reason why Bob Mueller did it this way. It
could be there was some illegal question that only the attorney general could resolve or it could be he intended the attorney general just to pass
the whole thing to Congress and not decided. I just can't tell.
AMANPOUR: Well, on that issue, Lawyer George Conway, who wrote in "The Washington Post" shortly after it was dropped, "It's hard to escape the
conclusion that Mueller wrote his report to allow the American people and Congress to decide what to make of the facts. And that's what should and
must happen right now."
Do you think that the -- that it will be made public? And we touched on it a little bit before, but to the satisfaction of the political class and the
COMEY: Those are two different things. I think it will be -- you have transparency that satisfies the broad swath of the American public.
Partisans, I think --
AMANPOUR: Do you there will be transparency --
COMEY: I do.
AMANPOUR: -- to satisfy the people?
COMEY: I do. I think Republicans are now against transparency. I think of them giving a right -- and Democrats are for it. They used to be
different about that. Forget them. The American people will get substantial transparency. I'm optimistic about that.
AMANPOUR: So, the issue, apparently, around obstruction of justice is intent and whether there can be, you know, a corrupt intent. And you all
know that William Barr wrote a letter to Congress in which he said, "In cataloging the president's actions, many of which took place in public
view, the report identifies no actions that in our judgment constitute obstructive conduct and had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding
and were done with corrupt intent."
So, the president says he's not guilty of conspiring with the Russians. Mueller hasn't been able to accuse him of that and charge him. It's
possible that there was no corrupt intent therefore.
COMEY: Well, I think a prosecutor would express it this way, there was insufficient evidence of corrupt intent. It's possible, sure. I've
thought that all along. I didn't know. I couldn't see inside his head when he told me to drop the Flynn investigation. Was he doing it out of a
humanitarian gesture towards Flynn, he felt sorry for the guy or was there some darker intention? He wanted to keep this away from him in some
fashion. I just don't know.
AMANPOUR: It is interesting you bring that up because, obviously, a lot of his supporters will say that, I've spoken to people who are on his side and
in his advisory cabinet, if you like, who say that this is a man who was a real estate mogul, who was a reality television star, was not either a
diplomat or politician or versed in the -- you know, the parameters of how one should behave verbally or in any other way.
So, I just wonder whether, again, 2020 hindsight, when he's brought you to suffer at the White House, when he pulled you to him and asked you for
loyalty, when he talked to you about Michael Flynn and go easy, could that have been a kind of inappropriate maybe incompetent way of saying, "Listen,
he's my friend. Do what you have to do but know that, you know, he's a good man and take it easy. He didn't mean to do anything." Do you think
COMEY: Yes, sure. And I approached it as an investigator that way with an open mind. Partisans start with a conclusion and try and find facts.
Investigators start trying to understand the facts and what conclusion that supports.
And so, as I've said, even when he asked me to drop it, I didn't know what his intention was, I knew it could be obstruction of justice. An important
indicator was, he kicked everybody out of the Oval Office, including my own boss so he could talk to me alone.
If this was an appropriate humanitarian gesture, why would you do that. But that doesn't answer the question for me, you'd want to know a lot from
around him, what did he tell his aides, what was in the e-mails, what are the conversations did he have. An investigator starts trying to understand
AMANPOUR: What about the ideas from William Barr again who's written about this whole idea of obstruction of justice and essentially, has said that
you can't be convicted of obstruction of justice unless there's either an underlying crime or the obstruction is "an act that is wrongful in itself"
like threatening a witness, this was obtained by the news media? He's basically saying, because, in this case, there was no established
conspiracy enough to lay charges that therefore they cannot be obstruction. And he's saying that everything he did, whatever he said to you and the
rest of it, it was actually public. Does that --
COMEY: On the second part -- the second part reminds of the old argument that the defense lawyers would make in a bank robbery case, "My client
can't be guilty. What would he be doing in a bank in broad daylight with a gun." I forget that. People do all kinds of things in public that they
The closer question though is this one about can you be held liable for obstruction if there's no underlying crime proved. And this is one of the
things that confuses me, the attorney general's letter is -- doesn't make sense in light of my experience, thousands of people are prosecuted in this
country every year for trying to obstruct an investigation where the underlying thing that was being investigated doesn't end up proven and.
And the reason for that is people of struct to avoid embarrassment, to protect family and friends, to protect businesses, because they're worried
the investigators might find something out.
Martha Stewart went to jail for lying about an investigation. She wasn't convicted of insider trading but bringing those kind of obstruction cases
are really important because you'd create an incentive to obstruct. Imagine if the rule were, you can only be guilty of obstruction if we get
you on the underlying thing. Well, then you better go all in on the obstruction because then you'll walk away completely. That doesn't make
Again, but I don't want to prejudge it because I don't know what his thinking was exactly on that. I'd like to see the work.
AMANPOUR: And again, back to the attorney general and the Department of Justice. What is your opinion of the fact that he has written that letter,
he's known to have thought that before he became -- oh, and other issues about obstruction, before he became attorney general, had very clear and
public views on all of this?
I know you said you have confidence in him and serve others said that. Should he be the one telling the world about what's in this report? I
mean, some people have said that it's -- you know, maybe there's a little conflict of interest. There do you think there is?
COMEY: I don't see it that way. Again, I don't like to jump on people until I see their work and their reasoning, but we're borne (ph) of
personal experience from folks having strong views of me without knowing what I was thinking.
So, I'd like to see his thought process, give him the benefit of doubt and wait for that before we make judgments.
AMANPOUR: You, as I said in our introduction, were incredibly lightning roddy (ph) throughout this whole process. Before you got into, you know,
bad, whatever -- you know, into a tangle with Trump, let's say, into your investigation, there was the whole issue of the Clinton e-mails.
You know, you have said that President Trump is a norm buster and others have said, "Well, actually you should know because you are also a norm
buster," and you decided to bust the norm that you don't go public if you're not ready to make a prosecution and in fact, you did go public just
a very short time before the election 2016 with yet another issue on these e-mails, you said you're going to look at them again.
Do you accept that that was busting a norm and do you think that maybe you shouldn't have done it? I know you've talked about this a lot.
COMEY: No. But it's -- look, I get why people I ask, it involve the collision of two norms. I totally agree with the norm that if we can avoid
it we take no action in the run up to an election that might have an impact on the election. I've lived that my whole career. But I also, believe
strongly in a norm that we are honest and candid with tribunals and we offer testimony. If it turns out it's false, we fix it.
And so, what do you do 11 days before an election when you have a choice between those two norms? Do you break one and speak in a way that might
have an impact on the election or do you conceal that what you told Congress all summer long and that people are relying on, this thing is done
is not true. And by that, I mean, the way I thought of it, essentially to lie to Congress and the American people.
Good reasonable people can see it either way but it wasn't a question of me just deciding to take a flame thrower to norms, it's trying to figure out
in an agonizing situation which is the least terrible option. And even in hindsight, as painful as it is, I think I chose the least terrible option.
I'd rather not have been involved, frankly, but there we were.
AMANPOUR: Clearly, the Democrats don't believe that and Hillary Clinton herself doesn't believe it was the least terrible option. I spoke to her
several months after she lost and this is what she told me about your intervention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT CANDIDATE: It wasn't a perfect campaign. There is no such thing. But I was on the way to winning until
the combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28th and Russian Wiki Leaks raise doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me
but got scared off. And the evidence for that intervening event is, I think, compelling, persuasive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Do you really think that you might be responsible for the election of President Trump? Does that keep you up at night?
COMEY: Sure. And I hope someday somebody proves that what we did was irrelevant. But as I said, when we were making the choice between the two
paths, we accept it --
AMANPOUR: But it kind of was -- sorry, it kind of was relevant because you then came out and said, "It's fine. There's nothing there."
COMEY: Right. Well, it turned out it didn't change our judgment with respect to Secretary Clinton, there was plenty there. But yes, it ended up
not having an impact on our investigative judgment.
But again, I hope we had no impact, I hope it's proven it was irrelevant but all it does is increase the pain, it doesn't change how I think about
the decision. My view -- and again, good people can see this differently, but my view and the view of my team was, we cannot conceal from the
American people that the investigation we told them and fought to tell them is done, is done, is done, is not done and the result could change. We
just couldn't do that.
But look, I get -- I respect her view, I accept the criticism. It doesn't change how I think about though.
AMANPOUR: Are you worried in hindsight that you didn't bust and any norm or you didn't tell the people that you were investigating Russian
interference before the election?
COMEY: No. And --
AMANPOUR: Because that's really dramatic.
COMEY: Sure. But now looking back through the lens of a conclusion from the special counsel that there apparently wasn't a case there, it just, to
my mind, reinforces that we made the prudent decision. We didn't know whether we had anything in the summer of 2016. We weren't investigating
the candidate. We had indications that one of his campaign advisors had spoken to a Russian operative months earlier about the fact that the
Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. That was it. That was important basis to investigate.
But we actually never considered making a disclosure because what we disclose. It was all classified to begin with but we didn't know whether
there was any fire to go along with the smoke. It would have been irresponsible in the extreme.
And so, I just -- I don't think that's of fair criticism of us, important fair discussion about whether the -- we should have said more about the
overarching Russian effort, but that's a separate question.
AMANPOUR: And why didn't you say more about the overarching Russian effort? Because that's a very, very big problem.
COMEY: Yes. President Obama was, in my view, rightly concerned that if the Russians primary goal is to damage our democracy and undermine faith in
our system, if he were to announce that the Russians are coming for this election in the summer of '16, would he accomplish their goal, one. And
two, look, like Donald Trump was going to lose. And so, would he give Donald Trump an excuse to say the election was rigged by Barack Obama
further accomplishing the Russian --
AMANPOUR: OK. In hindsight, the correct decision or the wrong decision? Because you will now say, and we are going to be discussing in our next
segment, that the incoming chairman -- the joint chairman of the -- chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says Russia will be the main
existential threat to the United States for the foreseeable future. Was it a mistake for the president and everybody not to highlight then Russia's
interference? Could be of avoided so much pain and dissolution of our democratic institutions?
COMEY: I don't know that we could have avoided significant portion of the dissolution of pain we've had and I think his decision was a reasonable one
given what he had at the time. And ultimately though, by October, everybody knew what the Russians were doing, both candidates were talking
about it. One candidate was calling upon them to do more and the other was condemning it, people in Congress were talking about it, because we were
briefing Congress the whole time. And so, I think by and large, come October, we all knew that the Russians were messing with us.
AMANPOUR: Going forward, the president had just said that, you know -- I mean, you saw, we put a little bit of what he was saying about you, all
sorts of nasty names, et cetera, and that there will be counter investigations, you know, sort of accounting for this hoax that exonerated
him. You know what I'm saying.
AMANPOUR: To investigate perhaps you, perhaps others. Do you fear that? Do you think that's coming down the pike?
COMEY: I don't fear it personally. I fear it as a citizen, right. Investigative what? Investigate that investigations were conducted? And
what would be the crime you'd be investigating? So, it's a terrible cycle to start. He's already started it with calling for the locking up of his
political opponents, including people like me.
And so, it would just be more of that dangerous step. And I would hope, although he continue to disappoint me, the Republicans would finally stand
up and say, "We don't do that kind of thing." But me personally -- ask me questions. Go ahead. I'd like to answer them in the daylight if I could.
AMANPOUR: I've got one question --
COMEY: Ask me questions.
AMANPOUR: -- because you just said look her up --
AMANPOUR: -- or lock me up. Of course, lock her up was a feature of the 2016 Trump campaign. Do you, in retrospect, wish that people like
yourself, the head of the FBI, I mean, the people in charge of law and order had shut down that language, that it was dangerous potentially, that
it could have created violence, that kind of hate speech? Should that have been allowed?
COMEY: That's not a role for government to play. The beauty of this country is people can say what they want even if it's misleading and its
demagoguery. The people should have shut it down. We're Republicans who understand the rule of law and the values that they claim to stand for,
shame on them, but it wasn't a role for government to play.
AMANPOUR: James Comey, Former FBI Director, thank you very much for joining me today.
COMEY: Great to be with you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
Now, let's get some reaction from Capitol Hill where the incoming chair of the Joint Chiefs, as I've said, has today said that he believes Russia is
the only existential threat to the United States. It comes as a White House whistleblower, tells Congress that the Trump administration gave
security clearances to about two dozen people despite concerns from intelligence staffers. White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, blasted
Democratic probes into those clearances. Listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What I can tell you is I'm not going to get into individual security clearances. But what the Democrats
are doing is playing a very dangerous and a shameful game frankly. They're asking for personal, private and confidential information from individuals
that they know that they have no right to see and they're putting the 3 million people that do have a security clearance at risk. If you put and
exploit one individual, you're putting all 3 million people's personal information at risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So Republican Congressman Will Hurd serves on the House Intelligence Committee and he's a former CIA officer. He's joining me now
from Capitol Hill. Congressman, welcome to the program.
REP. WILL HURD (R), TEXAS: It's good to chat with you.
AMANPOUR: So I don't know how much of what you heard of the former director of the FBI, but I just wanted to ask your reaction to -- to some
of obviously what's -- what's going out in public. What do you believe will actually happen when it comes to you all seeing the Mueller report?
Do you believe that you'll get as much transparency as you want?
HURD: I do believe we'll get as much transparency as we want. I've been calling for transparency in -- in understanding the Mueller report and if
something is allowed to be provided via law, then we should do that. I know there's examples -- a question around grand jury information and
whether that can be shared or not. There's -- there's precedent of having grand jury information shared. This was a 22-month, $25 million
investigation and the American people should be able to see everything they can see, they should know everything they could know.
And one reason I want full transparency is to prevent innuendo and -- and implying that there's something there that may or may not be there and to -
- to stomp that kind of -- that kind of conversation going on in the public, primarily by many of my colleagues. And I agree with the general
that Russia is a -- a existential threat to the United States, but I would add so is China and we can have another conversation about that, Christiane
but -- but Russia -- and we -- we have to remember -- and this something that's getting missed in all these conversations, Republicans and Democrats
agree the Russians tried to manipulate our election -- elections.
The Russians were trying to erode trust in our democratic institutions. Why? Because when we're fighting each other, when the legislative branch
is fighting the executive branch, when the American public is losing trust in federal law enforcement, the intelligence community, that is getting us
tied up and guess who wins? The Russians win. When they -- when they erode trust by us (ph) into NATO, NATO is what's stopping Russia from
reestablishing the territory integrity of the USSR. These -- this is Vladimir Putin's goal and this is his design and they're going to continue
to do this and I wish we could transition our conversations from, you know, what happened 22 months ago to what are we going to be doing in order to
prepare ourselves for what is a prolonged, well-capitalized, covert action campaign by the Russians.
AMANPOUR: So let me move on -- and I don't know whether this is a connection in your mind, but given your security background, your CIA
background, what do you make of -- of the tale that has come to you, the whistle-blower to Congress to say that they're very concerned that this
White House overruled concerns by intelligence staffers and nonetheless handed out some two dozen security clearances. What should we know about
that? What should, if anything, be worried about that?
HURD: Look, I think this is an area that should be reviewed by Congress. One of the hallmarks of our system is civilian oversight of our federal law
enforcement and our intelligence community and, you know, top congressional oversight of -- of the executive branch. That's completely within our role
to do and it should be something that should be reviewed to see if something was done out of the norm. If something was done out of the norm,
why was it and does that create a -- a concern. And that should -- that should be reviewed.
And again, we all know -- and the one thing we should be able to agree on, the Russians are an adversary, they were trying to manipulate our
elections, they tried in '18, they're going to try in 2020, they're trying to manipulate the elections of our friends and allies like in Moldova and
Montenegro. These are things that we should be working with allies in order to combat what is a prolonged and dedicated covert influence
operations by the -- by the Russians.
AMANPOUR: Talking about allies, you have your big ally and partner to the south, Mexico and the president is mulling whether or not to close the
Mexican border because of all the migrant and asylum and other issues. Just give me your sense on security and on the economy. What would be the
fallout if that border was closed and do you think it'll happen?
HURD: So great question and can I start with, Christiane, I was in El Paso, El Paso's in my district. I was there this weekend, there's a lot of
talk about this detention facility under a bridge and we've seen the horrific pictures. I can say without a doubt there is a crisis going on at
the border right now. There are 100,000 people that are trying to come in our country in -- in -- in March alone.
And for context, last year, the entire year was only 400,000 people. The border patrol is overwhelmed. ICE, which is responsible for activities
around immigrants, is overwhelmed. CBP, these are the customs officials that are at the bridge, are overwhelmed, and they're having to help the
other two groups.
The U.S. citizenship services, immigration citizenship and immigration services is overwhelmed. Everybody - and then the, also, civil society.
Some of the philanthropic groups that are helping to deal with this crisis are overwhelmed as well. The long-term solution to this problem is we have
to address the root causes in Central America, primarily the Northern Triangle of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
This is not just an American problem. This is not just a - a - a Mexico problem. This is a problem for the entire Western Hemisphere, and we need
the Western Hemisphere to start thinking about, what is the equivalent of a Marshall Plan to deal with these root causes in the Northern Triangle.
Because trying to solve this problem with 1950s asylum laws in the United States is not going to work. We also need a fully functional immigration
system. So the - the - the immediate solutions, we should be working with - with the government of Mexico on how to prevent transit visas from being
issued to some of these people that are coming here illegally.
The government of Mexico, they - they deport a whole - I think they deport more people to Central America than we do. And this is an ally we should
be working on this problem, closing the border. You can't close the border to American citizens going back and forth. My - my ranchers would be
worried because 80 percent of the beef we sell in Texas goes to Mexico, the impact that our economy has, you know, on goods coming from Mexico.
So every - 28 states in the nation have Mexico as their number one and number two trading partner, but we should be focused on those long-term
solutions and the immediate solutions. We need more - we need more employees; we need more bodies for border patrol, ICE and CBP.
AMANPOUR: Congressman Hurd, I know you've got to go, but thank you so much indeed for joining us.
HURD: My pleasure.
AMANPOUR: And next, we turn to another of our existential crisis, and that is climate and what you need to know about our water. You may not realize
it, but the world's fresh water is disappearing thanks to climate change and growing demand.
Our next guest, Mina Guli, was a corporate lawyer in a former life, but she quit that job, founded the non-profit, Thrist, and took to the road,
running marathons to raise awareness about our dwindling water that we drink.
She managed to slow down for just a moment to speak to our Hari Sreenivasan.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You've worked as a lawyer, a banker, an investor. What made you want to pivot toward water?
MINA GULI, FOUNDER AND CEO, THIRST: Water is the most fundamental thing that our societies and our economies and our communities rely on for life.
If we have no water, we have no way of life. When I discovered how not only important water is for our communities and our economies but how fast
we're running out of usable water.
I couldn't believe that it wasn't higher on the list of topics to talk about. I couldn't understand why it wasn't the number one thing that
newspapers and media outlets were focusing. And so, I set about trying to change that.
SREENIVASAN: What are the longer term impacts to countries and communities when water becomes more scarce?
GULI: So here's the thing about water. We all think that water is going to be someone's problem. If we live in a big city and water comes out of
the tap, we think, "It's not going to affect us." The reality is when it starts to affect supply chains, when it starts to affect lives and
livelihoods it's our problem too, because we have to understand.
Every time we take a piece of food off - out of the fridge or off the shelf, that's water that we're taking that came from somewhere. 78 percent
of jobs, 78 percent of jobs are linked to water. So if you have no water, jobs will be lost and economies will suffer.
And it's not something that's going to happen many years from now; it's something that's happening right now. I've run through these cities. I've
seen it for myself. I've spoken to these people. This is a problem that's real; it's getting worse, and it's - it's happening right now.
SREENIVASAN: So let's connect the dots here. How does the thirst for water connect to running in deserts and along river banks?
GULI: The thing about the water crisis is that it's about supply and demand for water. So experts predict that there'll be a 40 percent greater
demand for water than the supply of water available by 2030. That's 11 years from now.
SREENIVASAN: So we're going to need that much more water than we have?
GULI: Yes, that's right. So even though we - it seems like we're surrounded by water all across our planet. Less than one percent of it is
available to us to use. And the problem with that one percent is not only are we demanding more, but we're also -- we've also got less and less
available to us. Because pollution, groundwater pollution, because climate change is causing changes in weather patterns so rainfall is falling in
places that we can't catch it or that gets polluted in a flood and gets washed out to sea. This supply-demand piece is absolutely key.
So there are lots of people focused on the supply side, figuring out how we can desalinate water more efficiently, figuring out how can clean water,
how we can deliver more clean water to more people, but there's very few people focused on this demand side. And the thing that really interests me
about the water crisis is how each one of us are not only affected by the problem but can become part of the solution.
So I decided that I was going to run, use my feet to run around the world in some of the places most badly affected by the water crisis to make
people who were suffering from water scarcity or lack of clean water or lack of sanitation and hygiene services, to tell their story and to also
meet the solution providers, people who are working to solve the crisis. So I started running. And that's how running and education and Thirst all
kind of came together.
SREENIVASAN: So you're not a runner by nature.
GULI: Oh, no I'm definitely not a runner.
SREENIVASAN: I mean, you kind of are one now because you have to be. I mean, you're -- you've run or you're in the process of running 100
marathons, right? In, what? 100 days?
GULI: Yes. When you say that it makes me sound completely crazy. OK, so --
SREENIVASAN: You can't say you're not a runner and then say, yes, well I am kind of running 100 marathons.
GULI: Yes, but I don't run because I like to run or because I'm good at it or naturally talented because none of those things are true. I learned to
run because it's a way for me to go with my feet to these places and meet people and tell their stories. This is not a story about me, it's a story
SREENIVASAN: You've run in some amazing and exotic places. What are the - - what are the kind of stories that stick in your mind of how this really large abstract problem is a personal crisis for people on a daily basis?
GULI: One of the places I ran in the first half of my marathons was to a place called Beaufort West. It's about four hours drive north of Cape
Town. And in Beaufort West, the people in the community have literally run out of water. They turn on the taps and no water comes out. And they rely
on bottles of water that are delivered to them daily on the back of a truck. And in one of my marathons I joined the people and the women on the
back of this truck and I took water to the local communities.
We had people running after the truck, begging for more water. We drove along the street and instead of turning left, we turned right and a fight
broke out on the street because the people that we didn't deliver water to at that moment were thirsty and they needed water to drink to live. I
thought to myself, this is really dire consequences, but it paints it into a really real light. In South Africa where communities there they've had
(ph) so little water that there are for sale signs littering the streets. I met a guy called Christian (ph) who's a 24-year-old farmer and he showed
me pictures of his farm, lush and green, he showed me pictures of his dam which had nine meters of water in it less than 12 months beforehand.
And half an hour later I ran across that dam. That dam is so -- is dry as a bone. There is not a drop of water in it. And I said to Christian, what
is your hope for the future? Remember, he's 24 years old at a time when dreams and ambitions should be everything to him. And he said all I do
everyday is hope for rain because if it doesn't rain, I have to leave my farm and the farm will be valueless, I will have nothing.
SREENIVASAN: And it's not just developing countries. I mean, we should point out that the United States per capita, we probably consume more water
than the average Chinese or Indian citizen, right?
GULI: Yes. Yes, you do. It's funny because people will say to me sometimes, oh, can you come in and teach the migrant school or a very poor
community and I say yes, but the people that know most about water are those people because a lot of them don't even have access to it, so they
understand the value of every drop. One of the groups of people we really need to change are those that have everything. Because they don't
understand that they have everything but one day they're going to have nothing.
SREENIVASAN: You ran n across the United States as well. What did you learn here?
GULI: When I went to California I met farmers in the Imperial Valley and I heard from them they've gone through this massive period of drought. The
drought has become so bad that there are communities who've been asked to remove 50-year-old trees from orange groves -- not just one or two but 70
percent of their crop -- because the local communities think that they're using too much water. You can see sinkholes opening up in California, you
can see the impact that drought is having on farmers, but also on economies as house prices fall, property prices get devalued, people literally don't
have access to water. It's challenging. On the other side, this is not all doom and gloom, so El Paso which is a city that sits right on the
border has access to the Rio Grande which runs straight through it between Juarez and El Paso.
Every day people in El Paso communicate directly with the guys in Juarez to work out how they're going to share the water coming out of the Rio Grande.
They do it frequently, they do it happily and they do it in a very collaborative way.
And it seemed to me that one of those examples of just we don't think about how water is critical to our lives every day. We also don't realize how it
ignored boundaries, it ignored history, it ignores everything.
Water just is or it isn't.
SREENIVASAN: I'm imagining when you don't have something as basic as water, you get up and move, you leave if you can, right?
GULI: Right, which is what's happening in the displacement of millions and millions of people across the planet who at the moment it's in places like
Sudan and Somalia in the Middle East where we see - and Syria where we see people who have no access to water to grow crops to feed their - to feed
the cattle that they rely on or the sheep or goats.
And when they have no option but to move in order to be able to drink water and give food to their families, they move. And they're - right now there
is displacement of people.
So this is going to get worse, there will be refugee crisis because people have no option but to search for survival.
SREENIVASAN: How did you choose one marathon place over another?
GULI: When I started, I created a little filter system which was it needs to have either a water problem or a water solution. On the water problem
side, I have to tell you there are so many countries and cities and places with water challenges, so Iran (ph) and everywhere from the U.K. and we
told a story about food waste.
Most people don't think about the fact that when you waste food you waste water. I met women and children on the edge of the port in Uzbekistan and
we talked about how the fact that the inland ocean has retreated has caused massive problems for their economy and their society.
Fisherman can no longer fish, but the people who used to make things in this town of Mo'noq can no longer put those things onto a boat to ship it
across to Kazakhstan and get access to markets internationally.
So they suddenly have become much more isolated, which means that they've lost jobs, women came to me begging me to help them to get some money so
they could send their kids to school.
I mean it's just - these things are scary and horrifying and extremely confronting, but it's their stories that I wanted to be able to tell.
SREENIVASAN: Sixty-two marathons in, which I think for most people on the planet would already be an accomplishment, but what happened on marathon 62
or day 62?
GULI: When I got to day number 62, got to the end of the marathon and I couldn't take another step. I couldn't even get into the car, though my
team had to help me get into the car, they had to help me get out of the car, and on day 63 when I got up ready to run a marathon my team said if
you can't walk across the room unaided, we're going to the hospital.
Of course I couldn't, I mean I couldn't even put my foot down on the ground by this stage. So we went to the hospital, we did a scan and discovered
that I had not just a little break, but an absolutely massive break in my leg.
And all I could do was sit there and watch the clock thinking how can I get out there and do my run? And I watched as more and more doctors came and
more and more people came and told me I wasn't going to be able to get out there.
And I thought my whole word was collapsing around me, everything I could see was dark, bleak. I felt that I had let down my team, all the people
who's messages I wanted to tell, the stories that I wanted to push to the world, and most of all I felt that I had let down the cause that I was so
And my team sat down - they're some of the best people in the world, and they sat down and they said Mina, we'll take your runs for you today.
Today we'll go and we'll run your marathon.
And I sat in my wheelchair and I watched as they did just that. The next day they went out and ran again, but this time they were joined by people I
didn't know. The day after, more people joined.
By the time we got to marathon number 65 and 66 and 67, people were joining from all across the world.
SREENIVASAN: So they were just running their own marathons.
GULI: Yes, running their own distance and donating it so that I didn't have to run. By the time we got to day 100, we had thousands of people in
over 160 cities, in over 50 countries and territories on every single continent of this planet, all running and donating their distance to
support one cause, and that's water.
SREENIVASAN: You stared this 100 in New York City at the New York City Marathon.
SREENIVASAN: You finished 100 here in New York as well. And in the 100th one you were being pushed in a wheelchair.
GULI: Yes, I was.
SREENIVASAN: And, I mean, you don't know this. You came and you're sitting here, but you're still using crutches, you're still on the road to
SREENIVASAN: So, what was it like then?
GULI: When I crossed that finishing line it was a mixed bag of emotions to be honest. I felt humbled by the community of people that had come around
me. Humbled, particularly, because I was not able to complete this on my own, that I needed the steam and the power of people, that I've always
said, the power of the people are what puts wind beneath my sails when I'm running, but this gave a whole new meaning to that because it wasn't just
the wind beneath my sails, it was the power behind my wheelchair, it was the community of people that helped me to do things when I was on crutches
and I still am.
But every time, when I think I can't get up, every time I think I can't take another step, I think about the next generation, I think about the
kids. I want to have a planet where kids can grow up and do whatever they want to do, fulfill their dreams, unfettered by water (inaudible). And I
wont' stop until that happens.
SREENIVASAN: All right, good luck getting back on the road. Mina Guli, thanks so much for joining us.
GULI: Thank you.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
AMANPOUR: And there she is, literally racing against time to preserve our planet and our water, of course, for future generations.
Now while I've been speaking with my guests here, Congressman Hurd and James Comey in Washington, in London, the British Prime Minister, Theresa
May, has just wrapped up a marathon meeting with her cabinet, where she's been trying to break the Brexit deadlock.
In a statement, the Prime Minister offered to work with opposition parties and said that she'll request another extension to Article 50, further
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I know there are some that who are so fed up with delay and endless arguments, that they would like to leave with
no deal next week. I've always been clear that could make success of no- deal in the long-term, but leaving with a deal is the best solution.
So, we will need a further extension of Article 50, one that is as short as possible and which ends when we pass a deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, joining now for more on this is Richard Quest in London. Richard, are the odds shortening for a second referendum?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: No, I don't think they are. I think what's going to happen here, well, the Prime Minister said tonight is
that she is going to work with the lead of the opposition, Jeremy Corbin, on a unified approach and if they can't get a unified approach, at least an
agreed range of possibilities that she'll put to Parliament.
Crucially she said, the government would accept whatever Parliament decides. She'd then take it on to Brussels. Three take-aways tonight,
one, it seems no-deal is just about gone. Two, the Prime Ministers redlines on customs unions and whatever seems to have gone.
And three, for the first time the Prime Minister is looking to get this through the -- over the line without her own party, she's going to rely on
Labor MPs. And finally, this is the unified approach that people were talking about at the weekend. It's not a government of national unity, but
unity seems to be the word.
AMANPOUR: But Richard, do we know whether the Labor Leader, Jeremy Corbin, will take up her challenge or her sort of outstretched hand and will the
E.U., importantly, all 27 countries, agree for yet another extension and how long would that be?
QUEST: You have asked the question in the middle between the Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbin, beautifully asked. Well, I can't -- I have no
idea. We haven't heard yet from Labor, Christiane, we don't know. They're working out their position. On the E.U. side I can be a little more
Donald Tusk has already said we need patience. The E.U. is setting themselves up for whatever comes along. But finally, remember, all of this
is only in the second part of the negotiations. Whatever they decide, whatever they agree to is purely political declaration stuff, it doesn't
AMANPOUR: It's extraordinary that it keeps going on and it still looks like a deadlock. Richard Quest, thank you. Thank you very much. And that
is it for now.
Remember you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at Amanpour.com and follow me on Instagram and Twitter. Thanks for watching
and good-bye from Washington.