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President Trump: This Is The Greatest Witch Hunt In U.S. History; Second Whistleblower Comes Forward For Trump's Impeachment; Leon Panetta, Former U.S. Defense Secretary, Is Interviewed About Trump's Impeachment; Extinction Rebellion Protests For Climate Change; Jack Harries, Extinction Rebellion Activist, And Farhana Yamin, Extinction Rebellion Activist, Are Interviewed About Climate Crisis; The Necessity Of Civil Disobedience; Climate Change Movement; "The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity." Aired 1-2p ET
Aired October 7, 2019 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Republicans have been very unified. This is the greatest witch hunt in the history of our
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But now, a second whistleblower comes forward as the impeachment inquiry intensifies. I speak with the former CIA Director and Defense
Secretary, Leon Panetta, about what is at stake for the country and the world.
Then, Extinction Rebellion hits the street the again. Environmental activists want their protests heard around the world. Leading campaigners,
Jack Harries, and climate lawyer, Farhana Yamin, on why they are risking arrest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NADINE BURKE HARRIS: I see a really important role of surgeon general to sound the alarm on the public health crisis you didn't know existed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: California's Surgeon General, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris explains the lifelong impact of childhood adversity.
confirms his latest client works in the Intelligence Community and h Welcome to the program, everybody. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
President Trump calls it a witch hunt, but with a second whistleblower coming forward now, the impeachment inquiry is gaining steam. The lawyer
representing both whistleblowers as first-hand knowledge regarding the president's controversial call with the president of Ukraine.
Trump is also under fierce criticism for his attempt to bargain with the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, over trade and democracy in Hong Kong. All of
this in pursuit of his own domestic political agenda. Here is the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, what will the Republican Party do now? Many are weighing their own political futures, a few are speaking out against these actions.
This week, key U.S. officials named in this controversy will be testifying before Congress. While Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, desperately tries
to normalize these encounters and entreaties with the presidents with former foreign partners.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Look, nations do this, nations work together and they say, boy, goodness gracious. If you can help me with X,
we'll help you achieve Y. This is what partnerships do. It's win-win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: A key insight at who can help us dissect whether this is in fact just business as usual joins me from California now and he is Leon Panetta,
former CIA director, White House chief of staff, defense secretary and congressman. He has been there and he's done all of that.
So, welcome to the program, Leon Panetta. Thanks for joining us.
LEON PANETTA, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Nice to be with you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Well, listen, first of all you heard Secretary Pompeo saying this is normal. This is win-win. We say, I'll scratch your back if you'll
scratch my back. Give us a reality check. How normal is the president's encounters and entreaties with the Ukrainian president or in fact, the
Chinese president in this regard?
PANETTA: Well, it's not normal at all. And it frankly violates the law because what the president did is not simply deal with the foreign affairs
issues, with the foreign leader. What he did was ask that foreign leader to conduct an investigation of a political opponent here in the United
States. That violates federal law and it violates the president's oath of office. That's a big difference between what other presidents have done in
conversation and what this president has done.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you something, I mean, here's a cabinet secretary. You were a cabinet secretary. Secretary of State Pompeo. Why is he saying
this stuff? And does he know better? And if he doesn't know any better, could he be in danger himself of somehow publicly exceeding to what you are
saying is breaking the law?
PANETTA: Well, I think Mike Pompeo does know better, frankly, but he's trying to do whatever he can to try and defend the president. The problem
is there isn't a defense here. The president doesn't have a good defense. The transcript that was released basically confirms that the president
asked a foreign leader to do him a favor and investigate a political opponent in this country. That's in the transcript.
And no matter what they try to do to somehow divert attention from that fact, it's not working. The reality is, they can attack the
They can attack Democrats, they can attack others in this process, and they can try to say that somehow this is a normal conversation, but the bottom
line is that that transcript is evidence of violation of the law by the president of the United States. And it's for that reason that the
president has to be held accountable.
AMANPOUR: I'm going get to the whistleblowers in a moment because the lawyer confirms that they are in the Intelligence Community. It's been
written up that the first one was a CIA official. And you, obviously, were CIA director by the way. So was Secretary Pompeo, CIA director.
But I want to ask you about the consequence of the president of the United States telling the leader of a dictatorship, China, that he will stay
silent on democratic protests in Hong Kong in return for X, Y and Z, in this regard trade. And then also, in a separate conversation, asking him
to investigate the Bidens. But on the issue of selling Democrats down the river to the leader of China, can you just talk me through that?
PANETTA: You know, it's very difficult to try to rationalize in any way what this president does, because it's not rational. He's basically
striking out. He doesn't have any key advisers that are experienced in the White House. And so, he is basically operating by his own instincts. And
very frankly, he doesn't have either the experience or the knowledge to be able to engage. But he's doing it on his own. And that's obvious here in
the conversation with the Chinese leaders.
To say what he said and trying to trade off opposition to the Hong Kong situation in exchange for the Chinese helping him and going after
Democrats. You know, look, this is the president who is operating without any rules, and it shows. And our country is going to pay a price for this.
We're paying a price in terms of our foreign policy, our national security and very frankly, we're paying a price in terms of our ability to enforce
AMANPOUR: Let me just -- you know, everybody is trying to figure out at what point does the Republican Party say, enough is enough and we have a
constitution to protect and a foreign policy to protect and allies to partner with and democracy movements to support.
So, let me ask you this. Now senator, Mitt Romney, who was, you know, once presidential contender has said -- and this is in regard to China and what
the president said to Xi Jinping, when the only American citizens that President Trump singles out for China's investigation is his political
opponent in the midst of the democratic nomination process, it's strange credulity to suggest that this is anything other than politically
motivated. Basically, in response to President Trump's claim that what he's just trying to do is clean out, you know, a corruption mess and to be
the anti-corruption avenging angel.
PANETTA: Look, president of the United States is one of two things, either he doesn't understand wrong doing, and to a large extent he's basically
said his phone call is perfect, the things he said are perfect. And therefore, went ahead and asked the Chinese to investigate a political
opponent in this country as if blatantly saying it's not really a violation of the law. Either he's doing that or he's trying to basically do these
steps in order to divert attention from the issue that he obviously doesn't have a good defense for.
I think the Republicans have a serious moment here to face their responsibility as elected leaders. It's true for the Democrats and,
frankly, it's true for the Republicans.
Are they going to rise up and assume their responsibility as elected leaders in the oath they make to the constitution to basically proceed when
there is a violation of the law by the president of the United States to implement the processes that will hold that president accountable? Are
they going to do that and do it in a serious and objective and dedicated way?
Or is this simply going to be another chapter in the political gridlock that has really tied up Washington and made it dysfunctional?
That's what's facing them and it's really a choice they're going to have to make. And that choice will determine very frankly what happens to our
democracy and what happens to our constitution.
AMANPOUR: Well, I have mentioned a few people on the Republican side are talking out, notedly. I quoted Mitt Romney. He also said the calls to
Ukraine and China were "appalling." But critics are saying that the Republicans appear to be somewhat paralyzed by the whole impeachment
process and there was town hall meeting in Iowa and the senator there, Joni Ernst, Republican, was questioned by a constituent about all of this. And
this is how it went.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is the line? When are you guys going to say enough and stand up and say, you know what, I'm not backing any of this?
SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): I can say yay, nay, whatever. The president is going to say what the president is going to do. It's up to us as members
of Congress to continue working with our allies, making sure that we remain strong in the face of adversity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Does that satisfy you, that answer? I mean, I'm not quite sure what she was saying, Senator Ernst. What do you think she was saying?
PANETTA: Well, you know, I think she was trying to try to indicate that somehow the Republicans are continuing to work on foreign policy issues.
Colin Powell -- Secretary Colin Powell just within the last few days criticized the Republicans for not coming together and trying to restore
our foreign policy in this country.
We don't have a foreign policy right now. We have a president who tweets. And we're paying a terrible price for that. Paying a price in the Middle
East. We're paying a price with Iran. We're paying a price with North Korea. We're paying a price with Russia, with China. No matter where you
look, our foreign policy is in shambles.
And I think the Republicans, which have a party that traditionally supported strong foreign policy, have a real serious question of conscience
here as to whether or not they try to restore that foreign policy and what the United States stood for in the world or whether they back of, try to
stay on the sidelines and try to just simply engage in political attacks. That's a serious threshold for them.
And frankly, the Democrats have to face the same threshold. They've got to be careful not to just turn this into a political backlash against the
Republicans. They've got to do a serious job here of inquiry, looking at the facts, looking at the evidence and building a case that they can
present, not just to the Congress but the American people.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you that because clearly you know better than I do that the speaker of the house, Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, has done her
level best not to get to this point. She is actually been under a huge amount of pressure from the more progressive members of her party who
wanted to bring impeachment proceedings much, much earlier. And it's almost, they're now saying, that the president is begging for this. He's
kind of leading them with absolutely no choice.
Do you agree with that? Do you think it's correct that the Democrats have brought now this impeachment inquiry then?
PANETTA: I think Speaker Pelosi did her best to try to focus on the issues that are impacting on the country, focus on the 2020 election and not get
wrapped up in the impeachment process. But, unfortunately, when there is clear evidence of a violation by the president, such as we had, I mean,
after all, this is a transcript that was released by the president himself and then backed up by a whistleblower complaint and continues to be
corroborated, by the way, by additional whistleblowers but also, by the evidence we're hearing from our state department representatives in the
All of them make very clear that the president was asking a foreign leader to help him investigate a political opponent. Which, as I said, is a
violation of federal law. When that evidence is there, the speaker and very frankly, the members of Congress have no alternative under our
constitution but to investigate that issue, to conduct an inquiry that could lead to an impeachment process, that's what they are responsible for.
And the speaker and the Democrats and I think, the Republicans, frankly, should to do the same. They ought to join in an effort to find out the
evidence involved here and look at all the facts, to weigh the testimony of the various witnesses that are going to be presented and then come together
as to what we ought to do in order to make sure we hold the president of the United States accountable under our constitution.
AMANPOUR: So, again, let me get back to the whistleblowers. You -- presumably, you were ahead of the CIA but you believe these whistleblowers
and the laws that protect them and enable them in the State Department and in the Intelligence Community and presumable elsewhere, this is a good
PANETTA: Absolutely. The whole point of the whistleblower law was to allow those that are within government who see a possible crime or a fraud
or an abuse to be able to report it and not have to suffer retaliation. That's the whole point of a whistleblower law, is that they ought to be
protected in coming forward to reveal a possible crime.
In this case, the whistleblowers presented, what I think, is a very in- depth complaint, particularly the first whistleblower and the complaint that was presented, it clearly was a careful, well-drafted complaint that
referred to all of the facts here involved in this phone discussion by the president of the United States. That individual was appalled by the fact
that a president would ask a foreign leader to get involved in American politics and that's what, frankly, CIA officers are obligated to do. If
they see a violation of the law, they are obligated to come forward and that's exactly what they did.
Well, Secretary Panetta, it looks like two key officials will be testifying before Congress. One of them apparently is the former U.S. ambassador to
Ukraine, who, as you know, because of the transcript, and the reporting, she was recalled, she was basically fired by President Trump on the advice
of his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani who said she wasn't being helpful to his cause.
Now, I understand she has a duty to have reported this stuff and apparently, did report it, I think, back up the chain. But another person
who will be testifying or at least one of the others named in all of this is Kurt Volker. He is the current U.S. Special Represented for Ukraine.
And when all of this was going on, he said, I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.
So, this goes to the accusation that President Trump was withholding military aid to Ukraine to fight off Russians, Russian who are trying to,
you know, get bits of Eastern Ukraine. And the current ambassador, who is Sharjah Defare (ph), calls the decision by the White House to withhold
military aid to Ukraine a nightmare scenario.
So, let's get back to the foreign policy, you know, problems for the U.S. now. What does Putin get out of this given that for a period of time,
military aid to Ukraine, which was fighting Putin's guys, was being withheld? What -- how does Putin gain from all of this now?
PANETTA: Well, I don't think there's any question that the one individual who is enjoying this most of all is Vladimir Putin. His whole goal is to
destabilize the United States of America. That's been their primary mission for a number of years. And to see what is going on in this
country, going back to the 2016 election, what they try to do, and what is happening today. Only, I think, affirms for Putin the fact that the United
States has been weakened by those efforts.
Look, Putin is the one who planted the idea in President Trump's head and Rudy Giuliani basically picked it up, that it was not Russia that was
involved in the 2016 intelligence attack on our country and on our election institutions, it was the Ukraine. And that phony conspiracy theory, which
has been debunked time and time again, is something that both Rudy Giuliani and President Trump grabbed ahold pursuant to Putin's urging. And they
continued to try to prove that somehow that was the case. And so, they're doing Putin's bidding.
What they're doing is ultimately weakening the Ukraine. The president, in withholding military aid to the Ukraine, to give them the [13:20:00] help
they need in order to confront Russian interference withheld that aid in order to force them to investigate a political opponent in this country.
AMANPOUR: And very -- sorry.
PANETTA: Those are the facts.
AMANPOUR: Sorry. I just wanted to ask you another question because it's about Syria and the president is now saying that they're all going to be
withdrawing the U.S. forces and that, you know, who knows what Turkey might do. Because we know that Turkey wants to remove the Kurdish allies of the
U.S. from that border area.
Trump tweets, "It's time for us to get out of these ridiculous endless wars. Many of them tribal. Bring our soldiers home. We'll fight to where
it's our benefit and only fight to win." What are your thoughts? Obviously, people want to end endless wars. But what are your thoughts
about American allies on the ground who look like now they're being left to the mercy of either Assad on one side or Erdogan on the other side?
PANETTA: I'm afraid this is another example of the president's failed foreign policy. What he's doing is put a knife in the backs of our allies,
the Kurds, who worked with us to fight against ISIS and destroy the caliphate there. And what we're now doing is abandoning them, putting a
knife in their back. And essentially handing Syria over to ISIS, Russia and Iran. It is the worst of all worlds what this president is doing.
And essentially, weakens the United States' position. Not only in the Middle East but weakens our position with regards to our allies. We depend
on allies to work with us. And when you abandon those allies, after they put their lives on the line, in order to help go after ISIS, that is a
message to the world that the United States cannot be trusted.
AMANPOUR: Leon Panetta, thank you so much. These are really, really fraught times.
Now, obviously, another huge issue, the president, as we know, has pulled the United States out of the Paris climate accord. Now, the climate
campaign that's Extinction Rebellion says that it's gone truly global today with protests aimed at disruption in 60 countries. And they have a blunt
message to the governments of the world, they say, this is the moment of truth. You are not doing enough. To everybody else, rebel.
When they first hit the streets last spring, more than a thousand activists were arrested in London alone and scores of them were actually prosecuted.
Building on the dramatic success of the Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg, and her school strikes for the climate, the political tide does seem to be
changing. This year's U.N. General Assembly was devoted to the climate crisis.
But the majority of countries are still failing to meet targets agreed under the Paris accords. Jack Harries of Extinction Rebellion was arrested
in those earlier protests and Farhana Yamin is an environmental lawyer who's worked on major treaties including the Paris accord. And they're
joining me now in the studio.
Welcome to the program.
Jack, you're at it again. Were you on the streets today?
JACK HARRIES, EXTINCTION REBELLION ACTIVIST: I was on the streets today, yes.
AMANPOUR: What do you hope that today will do that maybe it didn't do last April?
HARRIES: I think last April was the beginning of something that is growing exponentially and will probably carry-on for my entire lifetime. And we're
not seeing enough action by our governments and we're going to keep coming out to the streets until our governments react accordingly. We are in the
midst of a climate crisis and we're not seeing it reflected by governments or in policy. And so, we're just going to keep coming out into the streets
until our demands are met.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you both then. I mean, I did say that actually the tide does seem to be turning. People seem to be taking this much more
seriously. Not just in the streets but, you know, in Congress, in the European Parliament, in Parliament here. Do you think, Farhana, who have
worked so long on these accords that things are changing?
FARHANA YAMIN, EXTINCTION REBELLION ACTIVIST: Yes, they are. And I think that's the reason why we want people to keep continuing to come out on the
streets. It is working.
Last -- since April, we have U.K. Parliament pass a motion declaring a climate emergency. We have the net zero target being passed in
legislation. But not enough is being done to actually implement those declarations as it were of intent. And so, we need people to come out and
say month after month what needs to happen because there's not enough progress being made to fulfill even the things that were put in place back
AMANPOUR: So, just so that we have a framework. What exactly are you asking governments to do right now? I mean, what do you on the streets
fight for today?
HARRIES: Extinction Rebellion have three central demands. The first is to act now. So, that's for governments to acknowledge the crisis we're in and
act on it.
AMANPOUR: Of course, they do, though.
HARRIES: They are acting but they're not taking the right measures, the measures they need to. They're not acting enough, right. We're not on
track to -- with the Paris agreement. Experts tell us there's a -- I think (INAUDIBLE) climate change, I'm sure you're aware of it, the world's
leading experts gather together in the IPC. They say, we've got just 12 years to limit temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees if we want to a
habitable future on this planet.
Currently, the temperature is at 1.1 degrees more. So, that's just .4 of a degrees more.
Currently, we're not on track for that at all. We're on track for 2 or 3 degrees of warming. And what that means, if we hit 2 or 3 degrees warming,
it means no one my age has a future, they don't have habitable future on this planet. And if you're a young person, as we've seen Greta Thunberg, I
think that gives you a right to be angry and to demand a habitable future. I think any person my age would agree with that. That's a right, a human
right that we have.
AMANPOUR: So -- yes?
YAMIN: Yes. I think very specifically here in the U.K., governments need to enhance what their actions and policies right now. They are so far
behind. They are legally binding carbon budgets. The U.K. is not meeting its own legally, you know, mandated budget for the next five years and the
five years after that. So, it's no good having a nice goal for 2050 if you're failing with the five-year progress points put in place in our
domestic legislation and also demanded by Paris. So, that's what the protest all over the world are about.
You're aware the U.N. secretary general asked countries and heads of state to come forward with their next Paris commitments which are due next year.
It's already five years -- Paris is already five years old. And not many of the big countries have come forward with commitments. They're all back
sliding, actually, which has not been intent to Paris.
AMANPOUR: Tell me something because I find this very interesting and weirdly or maybe not weirdly, but a lot of the media attention, a lot of
interviews, even today around what you're doing in the streets actually focus on the security and focus on whether you should actually be out there
doing these things to get you arrested.
I mean, I've read out what Extinction Rebellion says, you know, it's about rebelling and some have said it's about disruption, that's the whole point,
arrests are the point. They're not just a by-product.
So, both of you, and maybe it's the same rebellion movement, have actually got yourselves arrested. You glued yourself outside Shell headquarters.
You glued yourself or you did something, right?
HARRIES: Yes, the agreements. Yes. The International Petroleum Corp.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Just can you tell, how do you get the glue off? How do they --
YAMIN: They worked very hard with solvents and sort of a -- you know --
AMANPOUR: The police?
YAMIN: -- cut through and to very gently remove that. So, it is the --
AMANPOUR: This is the police?
YAMIN: The police.
T YAMIN: And they were -- you know, took great care to not injure people. So, I think in this country, you know, we are fortune that we have
policing, which is -- enables protests to take place. There was, in fact, in my case, I'm waiting to hear what charges will be made.
But the reason I broke the law is because companies like Shell have postured and green washed and have still continuing to pursue fossil fuel
investments. And overall, the top five companies, fossil fuel companies, has spent $1 billion since Paris essentially on lobbying and marketing and
giving the impression that they're doing enough and they're not.
Their business model is still weighted toward fossil fuel production. That's 97 percent of their billions and billions of dollars are going
toward expanding fossil fuel production. So, for me, as a lawyer, I felt happy to go away in handcuffs and show that criminal damage is still going
on and in -- by and large, in a very unaccountable way. So, for me, that was the litmus test of how credible, you know, our effort is.
AMANPOUR: You're a lawyer. You're also a co-drafter, preparer of international treaties. You have your status, your stature and your life.
You are a young man who has got yourself arrested. Whose life is in play right now. You have been to court. You're waiting for the verdict, is
HARRIES: I'm waiting for the verdict. I'll be in court on Wednesday to receive the verdict. But even the charges that had been placed against me
have significantly impacted my life. I've lost jobs as a result of it. So -- and it is not glamorous getting arrested. It's the first time I've ever
been arrested. I didn't thought to be arrested. It's not something I ever thought I would do in my life, and it's affected my life seriously.
But I feel as a young person that we are out of options, you know, we have learned about the issue for 30 years. My mom was a climate activist when I
was 14. I've watched people take to the streets over and over again, write letters, write (INAUDIBLE). We are out of options. It's a crisis. And I
felt this was the only thing I could do.
And it's to what I was saying as well, my hands came off the door because I didn't put enough glue on them. I didn't do that because I was terrified.
I was really scared. It was my first time ever sort of stepping across the boundaries of the law. And I think it's important to make the point that
these are really ordinary people sacrificing their liberties in extraordinary times. These aren't professional activists or people who
enjoy causing disturbances.
We may be causing disturbances right now, and if that's the case, we're sorry. But that is to prevent far greater disturbances in the future of
which millions of deaths.
YAMIN: Just, I was there.
AMANPOUR: It's really is touching, that actually, the fact that you were terrified.
YAMIN: Yes. Yes, and I was there actually when he was arrested. I was outside. And let me tell you, Jack, but your actions inspired me actually.
And I feel it's my generation. It's not for our young people to comprise their future. We've already comprised their future. It's for us to stand
up and there are many, many, many older activists who for that reason have come forward. I'm also a mother.
I have children who are Jack's age, 10 and 12. They've been part of those student strikes. They've been out rebelling in their own ways.
And I really really feel that as a parent that's one of the reasons why I'm there. I'm also there as a lawyer, I can understand and navigate the legal
So I feel I would rather take that risk on. I would rather they didn't have to do that, Greta and -- so making very clear --
AMANPOUR: But yes -- and yet it's them who are making people --
AMANPOUR: -- stand up and -- suit up and take notice. And I think what's really -- what were you charged with?
HARRIES: I was charged initially with criminal damage and aggravated trespass. The criminal damage was thrown out in the first day of court.
It was essentially fabricated by the hotel.
And the trespass is for being asked to leave land and not acting on that. However, I was never asked to leave land. I was never given a warning. I
was just simply arrested and that's what's being argued in court. (Inaudible) details but we'll find out on Wednesday whether --
AMANPOUR: What is the worst that could happen to you?
HARRIES: I suppose the worst would be a criminal record. Perhaps a conditional discharge. It could be a temporary criminal record. It could
be a fine. It could be community service.
AMANPOUR: And you, who have been, as you said a lawyer and activist in all of this, I've been told that this is -- there's never been so many
activists who have been arrested and then sent to the court system.
There are many occasions when activists, also different protests have been arrested but never have so many actually been processed through the court.
Why do you think that is happening?
YAMIN: Yes. Court rooms have been set aside. Specifically, there's absolutely no reason to spend taxpayers' money essentially deterring and,
you know, coming down hard line for activism, which politicians say is absolutely justified, you know.
So I feel like it's vindictive and rather heavy handed approach and that's what we're seeing, also, today. and It won't deter people. It won't deter
I hear people like Jack, I see my own children, I see the children in the world asking adults to step up and to act with more braveness and courage.
And I feel our legal systems must be more measured and must be more gracious in terms of allowing lawful protests on initially which affects
AMANPOUR: So then let me read you or play actually one of these quotes. Richard Walton who probably you're aware of. He's the former head of the
Counter Terrorism Command and he's called for different protest laws to be in place saying the current laws are too weak.
And this is what he said about the right of people to protest. Let's just play what he said to the radio today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD WALTON, HEAD, COUNTER TERRORISM COMMAND: There is, of course, a right for people to protest but there are other rights, too. And people
have a right to go about their business in London today without being obstructed, without people not being able to reach hospitals.
You know there is an element of harm that people are underestimating with this, this obstruction if you like of normal living.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: An element of harm, he says, that you're not taking into account. Do you feel a huge amount of pressure from the police? Is this
different kind of policing than in other kinds of protests you think?
YAMIN: Well, it's been completely peaceful on all occasions. And I'm sure that that will continue.
And I think what people have to look at is not just the disruption to everyday life or everyday living in London or capital cities. They have to
look at devastation that is going on in many parts of the world right now.
Right here, you report the wild fires, you report the devastation of the Bahamas, you report the devastation of many of the small islands. And
people need to really take that to heart now.
It's beyond the point at which it's just a small disruption here and there. It's changing the life systems on earth and most of the front line
communities, in many parts of the world, are beyond their coping capacities.
I saw that you were doing a piece on Syria earlier. We all know that actually one of the underlying factors behind the Syrian conflict is the
water drought situation that has made large parts of the country unlivable and which lets 6 million people being internally displaced.
So these kinds of conflicts, these kinds of devastation is what is the background to the disruption that is being taken -- that is taking place
here today and I have to say that the protests have been designed so that there is no harm done that, you know, ambulances can pass. There's
complete safety assured as much as possible.
And to be honest, there are a lot of times when bridges are shut down and the chief doesn't work or that there's a strike at the airport and, you
know, people can't go on holiday and so forth. So I think people have to take this in there.
AMANPOUR: Let me read what Caroline Lucas of the green party who's -- I mean obviously it's the green party. And she's obviously defending one of
you who are facing court and saying that people who are prepared to take part in nonviolent direct action will show more climate leadership than
She said in the future, it won't be those peacefully blockading bridges or blocking roads that history judges badly, it will be those who judge their
eyes and block their ears or rather who shut their eyes and block their ears. The failure to avert the climate catastrophe is the greatest moral
failure of our time.
Do you think the message is getting through, Jack? You're a protester. You're young. You've been doing this, as you said with your mom, since you
were 14 years old.
The message does seem to be getting through. And interestingly I read also about a lot of like retirees and grandparents and people who are going with
their kids to these demonstrations or figuring out how to get into this activism so that they can, as some of them say, look their kids and their
grandkids in the eye and say I did something.
In New York, the Board of Education there on climate protest day allowed 1.5 million children to leave school to protest on that day. Does that
give you encouragement?
HARRIES: Yes, the message is getting through in that sense hopefully. You have to remember that remember extinction rebellion is just 11 months old.
So 11 months ago today I stood outside Downing Street and declared a rebellion against the government.
And I never could have imagined that it would have grown to where it is today. It starts with hundred people outside the House of Parliament and a
few hundred blocked bridges. And we had the rebellion in April where I last spoke to you.
And now we have today which is an international rebellion. What we have to remember is there are people all around the world in New Zealand,
Amsterdam, Spain, Paris taking the nonviolence resistance against their government to demand action.
This is not just in the U.K. This is global and it's growing. Is it hunting fast enough? No. And that's why we're out in the streets.
Does it give me hope? Yes. And I know that I will commit the rest of my life to this issue.
AMANPOUR: And you -- there's such a history of really very important nonviolence resistance. I mean you go back to Gandhi. Go all the way to
the anti-new protest and things like that. Yes, I mean, you feel like you're stepping up?
HARRIES: I feel we stand on the shoulders of giants. And if you look back at a lot of those social movements, at the time they were incredibly
controversial. People were hated. They caused riots in the streets.
But we look back at those people and we consider them to be legends. And I hope that that's what happens in the extinction rebellion. It is causing
people a discomfort and getting in the way on a daily basis today but we'll look back and we'll say thank God that extinction rebellion sounded the
alarm and we acted when we could.
At least are we ought to say that to my children, if indeed I do have kids. Because many people my age are also starting to realize they may never be
able to bring children into the world and that is a really devastating thought.
AMANPOUR: And, actually, it's a really important thought to end on because it just puts into perspective exactly how existential this is and what
everybody is doing, well your generation is doing, with the help of people like yourself.
YAMIN: Well, I hope everyone will join us.
AMANPOUR: I think they are. And I think a lot of people are --
YAMIN: These conferences work.
AMANPOUR: A lot of people are getting the message now and people are not just walking the walk but they're voting, as well. And whether it's in
Europe or in the United States or wherever it is.
HARRIES: And the last thing to say is if you do come down, it's a joyous occasion. It's a celebration of life. And today, we're off to our
friend's wedding in Westminster Bridge.
And so it's absolutely a celebration of life. It isn't violent. It isn't aggressive. It is a celebration of life.
AMANPOUR: Jack Harris, Farhana Yamin, thank you both, indeed, for coming in.
So we just have to mention that Farhana obviously talked to us about her protests outside Shell. The company says it recognizes the significance of
climate change and "a key role for society and for Shell it's to find ways to provide much more energy while limiting the amount of carbon dioxide
I think you talked a little bit about green washing all of this. And we know how much -- how many hundreds of millions are put in by the companies
to put that message across. We hope that they will get into the real green technology. Thank you.
YAMIN: Or keep it in the ground.
AMANPOUR: Or keep it in the ground.
YAMIN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So it is the young, of course, who bear the brunt of the current generation's failure.
Pioneering research on a different level is now finding that adversity or trauma experienced in childhood cannot only show up in the mental health of
adults but it could also be harmful to physical health.
Our next guest has devoted her career to that research. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is a pediatrician.
She's the first and current surgeon general of California. And she has a new book out called "The Deepest Well: Healing The Long-Term Effects of
She sat down with our Michel Martin to talk about it and how significantly one's body can be shaped by all the deepest stresses of childhood.
MICHEL MARTIN, CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, thank you so much for joining us.
NADINE BURKE HARRIS, AUTHOR, THE DEEPEST WELL, HEALING THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF CHILDHOOD ADVERSITY: Thank you for having me.
MARTIN: So I'm going to start with your job. You're the surgeon general of California. You are actually the first hold that position.
So a lot of people think of the surgeon general of the United States as the person who sounded the alarm about smoking, right?
I mean this is back in the day. Like I know maybe your doctor smokes but guess what smoking is bad for you. Do you have a similar kind of focus
that there's something that you really need to sound the alarm about with the public?
HARRIS: A lot of my focus is on adverse childhood experiences and the impacts that early adversity have on later life health. I see a really
important role of surgeon general to sound the alarm on the public health crisis you didn't know existed. And the single greatest unaddressed public
health threat that is facing our nation today is an issue of early adversity.
MARTIN: What makes you say that? I know that this has been a focus of your work for some time now. You know your core discipline is that you're
a pediatrician. So why do you say that this is an urgent public crisis?
HARRIS: So the definition of a public health crisis is something that affects a lot of people and the effects are bad. The research on adverse
childhood experience actually came from this major study that was done by the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser
Permanente in which they asked more than 17,000 adults about 10 categories of childhood experiences, ranging from abuse or neglect to growing up with
a parent who was substance dependent or mentally ill or experiencing domestic violence.
And what they found was that two-thirds of individuals had experienced at least one of these things. And one in eight had experienced four or more
of these things.
Now, if you've experienced four or more adverse childhood experiences, your risk for heart disease, the number one killer in the United States of
America is more than double.
For cancer, it's also more than double. For chronic lung disease, it's triple. For depression, it's four and a half times. For Alzheimer's, it's
You're at risk for 8 out of 10 of the leading causes of death in the United States of America. It's dramatically increased.
That meets the criteria for a public health crisis. It affects a lot of people and the effects are really significant.
MARTIN: What is it that drew that connection for you? I mean, did you have a eureka moment?
HARRIS: I sure did. So my experience was when I finished my residency training at Stanford, I wanted to go and work in a place where I felt I was
And so I opened a clinic in a very low-income under resourced neighborhood of San Francisco. And my goal was to address health disparities, right.
We see unequal outcomes and vulnerable communities and my goal was try to improve those outcomes.
And as I was seeing my patients over and over again, what I saw was that my patients who had experienced significant adversities like having a parent
who was substance dependent or mentally ill or who had experienced abuse, that their health outcomes were significantly worse than my patients who
hadn't experienced that.
And having a background doing training in public health, what we learn is that if you're a doctor and a hundred people drink from a well, and 99
percent of them get sick, you can write that prescription for doze after doze of antibiotics or you can ask that question what the heck is in this
And so that background in public health drew me to dive into the research to understand, wait a minute, why am I seeing -- what is bind this
connection between early adversity and all of these kids I'm seeing with asthma and ADHD and autoimmune disorders, right.
And that's what lead me to this groundbreaking research from the CDC and the field of research.
MARTIN: Some people might hear you say that and think, well, really, what you're talking about is poverty.
HARRIS: No. So this CDC study, this adverse childhood experiences study, it was done in a population that was 70 percent Caucasian, 70 percent
college educated. All of them were privately insured. They were all members of Kaiser, right.
And it's funny because I think that our implicit association with these negative health outcomes and poverty is kind of what I think allowed us for
so long to overlook that there may be a biological link between adversity and poor health outcomes.
MARTIN: Wealthy kids can experience these things and have adverse experiences? Kids without resources. It's not race specific? You're
saying it's not specific to any group. It's everybody?
HARRIS: It's basic human biology. And the thing about this, we have to recognize that just as the invention of the microscope allowed people to
recognize oh, you know what, infection isn't caused by foul airs. It's actually caused by these little critters and we couldn't see them before
because we didn't have a way of seeing them.
Well, now the invention of functional MRIs, genomics, potionomics, metabolimics, allows us now to measure in a way we've never been able to
have. The impact our environments have on our biology.
And so this field of science has really emerged. Largely because of these advances in technology that help us understand, oh, it's this basic
biological response. It's your body's stress response.
And when folks are exposed to high doses of adversity, that actually changes the structure and function of children's developing brains, their
developing immune systems, their hormonal systems and even the way their DNA is read and transcribed. We couldn't measure that before.
MARTIN: Give me an example, if you would, about some of the things that you're talking about here and the way this plays out. I think about one
from your book that stood out for me.
MARTIN: There is a young woman who when you asked her mom who had asthma attacks, and you asked her mom like what are some of the triggers. She
said well, I've noticed that when her dad punches the wall, she has an asthma attack. And just like, wow.
HARRIS: That was one of those moments that sent me looking into literature. Because when I did my residency at Stanford, they trained us
on asthma triggers, right. And they said there's pet dander and pollen and pollution and all of these things.
And I did all of -- I asked about of all the things on the checklist but this was a 10-year-old girl who I had to had to put her on two rounds of
very powerful medications to keep her out of the hospital because her asthma was so bad.
And as I sat down to ask again, OK, what are the asthma triggers that we didn't cover, right, like, you know, I felt like I did everything that I
was trained to do. And I said is there anything else that you can think of or any time that you notice that her asthma tends to act up? And she said
yes, I noticed that her asthma tends to act up when her dad punches a hole in the wall.
And that, for me, was, you know, my scientist brain, my doctor, researcher, scientist brain immediately asked the question, what is the biological
mechanism for that link? And that's what pushed me into the science.
MARTIN: And then how might that play out later in life? Will you say that there are actually -- there's strong evidence to suggest that this plays
out in adulthood?
HARRIS: Yes. So one of the things -- so I mentioned that when we experience something scary or traumatic, it activates our stress response.
And our stress response, which is normal, right.
This is the thing that is supposed to save your life when you're walking in the forest and you see a bear, right. You release a ton of stress hormones
and your heart starts to beat and you're pumping the blood to your muscles so you can either run from that bear or fight that bear. That's our fight
or flight response.
Now, one of the things that is a little bit less obvious is that when we activate that stress response, it also activates our immune response.
Because if that bear gets you, right, you want your immune system to bring inflammation to stabilize the wound so you can live long enough to get
And it also kind of shuts off your executive functioning. The thinking part of your brain. Because if you're about to fight a bear, you really
don't want to be calculating the odds.
So it activates the fear center and turns down the executive functioning. That's perfectly fine if you were in a forest with a bear.
The issue is, one, if we're exposed to that too often, then that stress response can become over reactive. And the second piece is that when
children, in particular, are exposed to high doses of adversity, because their brains and bodies are just developing, it actually changes their
So I call it the stress thermostat. It actually kind of turns up the setting on our stress thermostat so that the way our bodies respond to
stress, right, the way we're wired to respond to stress changes.
And that over active stress response becomes wired in. And the reason that that leads to such significant health problems is that then over a
lifetime, right, we see increased inflammation.
We see increased levels of stress hormones. And those stress hormones can lead to wear and tear on your arteries, right. That leads to the increase
of cardiovascular disease.
And this what we're starting to understand now, right. These changes to the brain, immune system, hormonal system and the way our DNA is read and
transcribed, these are things that are measurable even still in adulthood. Even long after people have left the stressful situation they were in in
childhood because of changes to the way the body is wired.
MARTIN: I find myself thinking now about a situation that is very much in the news. I mean obviously, the gun violence a lot of young people are
experiencing, people can argue about what the cause of that is or not.
But the reality of it is that there are some kids in certain places that are experiencing a lot of gun violence. But there are also kids in other
places that are experiencing something else like being separated from their parents.
And I understand that this is a political issue. I understand that people have all kinds of opinions about it. But as a doctor, when you look at the
situation we see, say, on the border where kids are being taken from their parents and put into these facilities. How do you react to that as a
HARRIS: The situation that we have in terms of separating children from their caregivers is literally a recipe for toxic stress. And this is not a
You know, former first lady Laura Bush wrote a powerful op-ed in "The Washington Post." She referred to the practice as inhumane but she also
cited the evidence that in the Japanese internment camps, the adult -- the individuals who were interned in those camps had double the risk of heart
And this is where I think our government really has to be thoughtful and careful. Because when we enact policies that we know we have the research,
the science, and the evidence that demonstrates puts people's health and lives at risk, right, then there's a certain amount of responsibility and
And so it's one thing to implement immigration policy. And I think that, you know, depending on your perspective, people have different ideas about
that. But it's another thing to be implementing a policy that we know is doing significant biological harm to children.
MARTIN: And, you know, you paint a very sobering picture of what a lot of people are dealing with. But are there things we can do about it? I mean,
people can't change their childhoods but is there something we can do now?
HARRIS: So this is the thing that feels so hopeful and exciting for me. Because now that we understand from the science what the mechanism is,
right, like how the biology works, we actually can use that to target how do we counteract that.
So it's scouring the research and my team and I looked at over 20,000 research articles, what we had find is that there are certain factors that
actually counteract the effect of an overactive stress response and these are sleep, regular exercise, nutrition, mindfulness like meditation, mental
health, seeing a therapist or psychiatrist, and healthy relationships.
All of these things reduce stress hormones, reduce inflammation, and enhance neuroplasticity.
MARTIN: So you're saying to people in a way that your relationships are part of your health profile. The sleep is not optional. You're not being
self-indulgent if you want to improve your diet. What you're saying is that these are all things that really are critical to health.
HARRIS: Not only are they critical to health, but what I'm saying is that it's possible to heal. And that's the hopeful part for me because right
now I feel like right now there's so many people who are walking around with a lingering effects of early adversity and healing is possible. But
it requires all of us to be part of this movement.
MARTIN: And what does it look like?
HARRIS: Well, what it starts with is training for every teacher, every police officer, every judge, every lawyer, every mom, every dad, every
aunty, every uncle to be able to, number one, for example recognize that when a child is or a young person is showing up in school and they may be
showing symptoms of an overactive stress response, right, so they may be having different -- difficulty with impulse control or an angry outbursts
or something along those lines.
Instead of being responded to with more anger, negative, punitive policies and responses, we start to -- we can ask the question of this young person
instead of what is wrong with you, what happened to you, right. We can have the opportunity for educators to recognize their opportunity to be a
nurturing buffer to that young person.
MARTIN: I can imagine teachers, you know, bless them all, listening to this and saying what else do you want me to do, really? I mean like you
want me to teach all these kids and then you want me to get their test scores up and then now I'm supposed to do this, too. And then come on,
come on, lady.
HARRIS: Well, so this is a thing. None of us has to boil the ocean.
When we're looking at what a public health response looks like, with trauma informed care, it's doing like what we're doing in California, which is
doctors screening patients for adverse childhood experiences. Because if there's one thing that the data is unequivocal is that early detection and
early intervention improves outcomes.
MARTIN: Well, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, thank you so much for talking to us.
HARRIS: Thank you. It's been a privilege.
AMANPOUR: And so interesting.
That's it for now. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.