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Interview With Paul Krugman; Interview With Mary Trump. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired January 18, 2021 - 14:00 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.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT: There's no time to waste. We have to act, and we have to act now.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Learning the lessons from the last stimulus, Biden's economic rescue plan for America goes in big and fast.
Nobel Prize-winning economy Paul Krugman shatters the deficit hype.
Then: What is next for Trump's own bank balance and his future after he leaves office? I talk to his niece and author Mary Trump, as well as Andrea
Bernstein, co-host of the hit podcast "Trump, Inc."
JEH JOHNSON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: In America, there is a strand that is that is ugly, that is intolerant, that is racist, that
is prone to violence if provoked, if stoked.
AMANPOUR: Our Walter Isaacson talks to former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson about cutting out the violence ahead of the
And, finally, it is Martin Luther King Day.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
A new era of American politics begins this week with Joe Biden's inauguration. And he plans to hit the ground running from day one, getting
control of the COVID pandemic and the economic havoc that it has wrought.
Biden has introduced a $1.9 trillion spending package to speed up the distribution of vaccines and provide immediate financial relief to people.
His plan focuses on bigger stimulus checks, aid to the unemployed and those who are facing eviction, as well as additional help for small businesses,
state and local governments.
Despite the predictable conservative pushback over budget deficits, most major economic institutions say this is unlike any previous crisis.
My first guest says now is the time to be big and bold.
Paul Krugman is a Nobel Prize winning economist and author. He's joining me now from New York.
Welcome back to the program, Paul Krugman.
And I guess I just take it from your -- one of your recent columns, where you say about Biden: "The advice is, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead."
Break that down for us.
PAUL KRUGMAN, COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": OK.
So, the important background is two things. One is that this ain't over, that the pandemic is going to continue to have a crippling effect on the
economy, at least into the summer, and maybe some ways into the fall. We're not going to -- I'm just relying on the epidemiologists here, but we're not
going to be able to resume business as usual until a large percentage of the population is vaccinated, which means that it's going to take a long
During that period, life is going to be very, very hard. Lots of jobs cannot come back until the virus is under control. And on the other side,
money is not a constraint. The U.S. government can borrow at incredibly low interest rates, well below the rate of inflation and even further below the
growth rate of the economy, which is what really matters, so that there really is effectively no budget constraint.
So, this is a time to spend a lot of money on keeping people, keeping governments, keeping businesses whole, until the pandemic is under control.
AMANPOUR: And it looks like the president-elect is inclined to take that advice. We just said that he's unveiled this $1.9 trillion stimulus relief.
I'm not sure exactly how you term it, but, nonetheless, injection. And so many financial institutions are tending to agree with what you're saying.
Just want to play what Biden himself says about the urgency of the moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: And it's not hard to see that we're in the middle of a once-in- several-generations economic crisis with a once-in-several-generations public health crisis.
A crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight, and there's no time to waste. We have to act, and we have to act now. This is what economists are
telling us. More importantly, it's what the values we hold dear in our hearts as Americans are telling us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Paul Krugman, there is your advice. And then, as I said, there's pushback from conservatives, maybe other economists.
Tell me though, in general, where do most economists land on advice for the current calamity?
KRUGMAN: Oh, it's -- there's really not a lot of dissent from the view that something like what Biden is proposing is the right thing to do.
You can always find somebody who is on the other side. Of course, you will find that conservative, basically, people who are operatives who are on the
other side. But the -- there there's been a sea change in economic opinion about deficits.
The truth is that the panic over deficits 10 years ago was much more in the political sphere than the economic sphere. Economists were always much more
relaxed about them than you would have believed if you only listened to the talk shows.
But even from there, now economists have learned a lot. The world has changed. But, also, we have learned that a lot of the concerns that seemed
to be pressing to at least some of my colleagues are not. So, there's really very little argument about the ability to go big.
And the nature of the problem, the severity of it is really clear. It's -- we have learned a lot about the -- about the damage, the long-term damage
that failing to provide short-term support can inflict. So, this is really -- in other words, you need to cushion people. You need to get people
through this in the present, not just to make it easier in the present, but to avoid long-term damage in the future.
You can say it's a little bit like the long-termers on COVID. If we don't do COVID economic relief, we will get long-term economic damage, as well as
long-term health damage.
AMANPOUR: So, you have obviously been remarkably consistent. Last time around, 2008-2009, you criticized the Obama administration for actually
being too cautious.
And, particularly, it appears that the bailout, as it was called then, was targeted towards the banks, towards the big infrastructure. This looks like
it's different, right? This looks like it's not to, like, jump-start massive economic growth immediately. It's more to resuscitate the economy
and help ordinary people.
Can you sort of break down the difference between what Biden is trying to do compared to what the Obama administration bailout was before?
KRUGMAN: Yes, the last time around, we had a financial crisis.
The cause of the crisis was internal. The economy was overstretched. The private sector was overstretched. There was too much borrowing. Housing
prices were unrealistic, and they crashed. And that led to a lot of constraint.
And so the problem with the economy was that there was not enough spending because of this economic breakdown. This time, although spending is down
somewhat, it's down not because people can't spend, but because they don't dare to spend. Who's going to go to -- well, some people will go to
restaurants, but you really shouldn't. And we really want to constrain that.
So, the problem -- but the economic suffering is very real. So, this is very much not about trying to juice up the economy, so much as it is about
making the necessary shutdown, the necessary constraints. I don't know if we're still calling it a lockdown, but whatever. It's about making the
difficult times less difficult, with there being, essentially, again, no real constraints.
The money is available. In fact, the world is awash in savings looking for someplace to go. The bond market is begging the government to borrow some
money and put it to some use. So, it's a very different kind of economic crisis. But the lesson that we should have learned that some of us were
tearing our hair out about in 2009 remains, go big. Don't do it by half- measures.
The risk of doing too little is much greater than the risk of doing too much. And, above all, of course, don't count on being able to get a
political consensus to do stuff later on. We have seen how that movie ends, and it doesn't end well.
So, I mean, the -- Biden came in with a bigger plan than most people had expected. And almost every economist I know was cheering.
AMANPOUR: It's really so interesting for me, as a layperson, to hear you say that the world is awash in money, that the bond people are begging to
be able to use that money to some good.
And I think that's just -- people can understand that, instead of thinking, oh, my goodness, oh, panic, panic, we're going to go into massive debt,
what's that going to mean, et cetera, et cetera.
But you talk about politics. And so I want to ask you to react to this, then, because, last time, you said the politicians were way more negative
than the economists were.
And this time, Pat Toomey, who's a fiscal conservative from Pennsylvania, says, in response to the $1.9 trillion: "In less than one year, Congress
has spent $3.4 trillion on direct COVID relief aid, and nearly doubled the entire federal budget, blasting out another $2 trillion in borrowed or
printed money, when the ink on December's $1.8 trillion bill is barely dry, and much of the money is not yet spent. Would be a colossal waste and
So, you're essentially saying he's incorrect on the merits.
AMANPOUR: But what about the politics, because doesn't a lot of this require Biden to get consensus and approval?
KRUGMAN: Well, that's the interesting thing.
I mean, it's that election run-off in Georgia was enormously important. It gives the Democrats, by the narrowest possible margin, control of the
Senate, and they have a narrow margin in the House. And that allows them to do a lot of stuff there.
We -- the filibuster can be bypassed for a lot of things, which Obama could have done also, but wasn't willing to, because he didn't fully understand
what he was facing politically. But Biden obviously does after, all we have been through.
So, this can be done. I mean, obviously, the most conservative Democrats are needed. If Joe Manchin says no, then things don't happen. So, it's
going to be somewhat tailored. But I think there's a broad acceptance within the Democratic Party of the need to go big here.
And the Republicans are going to do what they're going to do. They are they -- but their -- I say, not only their political position, but their moral
position, is weakened, because they -- after screaming about deficits under Obama, they suddenly stopped caring under Trump.
And it's really hard to turn that -- turn the outrage back on as soon as a new president is installed.
So, people have an in a way taken their measure. And it's not going to stop them from saying the usual things, but it is going to reduce the extent to
which they're taking seriously.
AMANPOUR: So, just remind why the deficits have ballooned under Trump.
KRUGMAN: Oh, well, Trump -- even before the pandemic, the deficits were up.
And basically, partly, it's actually -- a lot of it is the tax cut, the 2017 tax cuts, big handout to corporations, to some extent to high-income
individuals. It was supposed to produce a giant surge in investment, which never happened.
But, also, in fact, the spending constraints -- federal spending was held in a vise grip as long as there was a Democrat in the White House. And as
soon as it was a Republican, Republicans in Congress were willing to loosen that and extend the tap.
So, if you look at the Trump record, the big thing is the tax cut. But then there are also things like all of that extremely generous aid to farmers
who were hurt by Trump's trade war. But -- and there was no consensus that, oh, no, we can't have big government handouts. If it's politically
important people who vote Republican, then we're going to spend lots of money.
So, they're just -- in general, it was a very -- all of that claims that fiscal discipline was crucial went by the wayside as soon as Trump was in
the White House. And it -- now, I'm not complaining about that, right? It actually -- it did no harm, because debt is cheap.
AMANPOUR: Again, it's really important for us to focus on that, because ordinary citizens like myself, we make a difference, I guess, between our
own household expenses and what a government can and should do, which often are not exactly the same.
Perhaps individuals prefer to save, not go into debt, but governments, and as you're laying out quite clearly, can and should in some circumstances.
So, the world is also saying things like this, the head of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, told me that this had to happen. The head of the ECB,
the European Central Bank, and the OECD, all these big institutions are coming to this new -- I guess new orthodoxy.
But, particularly, Georgieva told me how she would like to see the economy at the end of this tunnel. This is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTALINA GEORGIEVA, MANAGING DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND: We also need to think of this crisis as an opportunity, Christiane.
How can we boost the recovery in a way that it is green, it is climate- resilient, in which we are thinking of gender equality, we make sure that women are treated as equal partners? In other words, can we on the other
side have a better, stronger, society at than on this one?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Paul, I want to get your take on that. And I want to put up a little graphic that we have, because she talked about women.
And in the United States, these latest job figures show that, in December, the job losses were a total of 140,000, but the job losses by women,
156,000, whereas jobs gained by men, 16,000.
So, what is your take on what Georgieva said where the spending should go?
KRUGMAN: Well, she's right. There's only so much of that you can do as part of a relief package.
And if you look at what Biden has actually proposed, the main things there, most of it is stuff that is not really about shaping the economy post-
pandemic. Most of it is about getting us through these next seven or eight months, which is, unfortunately, what you have to do.
Now, there are pieces, unemployment benefits, maintaining enhanced unemployment benefits until the pandemic has gone, since a lot of the
people who lost jobs are, in fact, women, that's going to be something that matters.
There's a -- something I didn't expect, which is great, which is a big enhancement of child tax credits, which is a -- it's a family thing. It's a
it's about children that. And that actually will in the long run pay for itself, because it will mean more productive, healthier children, who
become better, productive -- better adults later on.
But the big post-pandemic stuff is going to have to come a little bit later. And we need a massive infrastructure spending. We need a lot of
spending on children, on families, on women. And Biden is not putting that in the first round, which makes sense.
There's only so much you can put together in the first 100 days.
KRUGMAN: But it's -- so, mostly, I'm sorry to say, the Georgieva agenda, which we all -- I think all decent economists agree on, is only -- we only
get a very -- a nibble at that in this package.
But that's OK. There will be more.
AMANPOUR: In this -- yes, as you say, in this package, but that's only phase one, according to Biden and his people. And he's got green and all
sorts of other plans ahead.
But I want to ask you more of a political question now. Maybe it's also an economic question. But what do you see ahead for the Republican Party? And
I don't just mean the Republican Party. I mean particularly those who voted with Trump to the end, voted to overturn the election and the election
results on that January 6, even after the insurrection in the Capitol.
And now we see major financial institutions, major Republican donors, CEOs, corporations are threatening and are pulling the plug on that kind of
undemocratic policy and politics. How do you see that playing out?
KRUGMAN: Well, I mean, God knows, in terms of the future of the republic, I have no special expertise there.
In terms of the economic agenda, in a peculiar way, IT almost helps, because the fact of the matter was that Barack Obama faced a Republican
Party that was totally engaged in scorched-earth opposition, that was not at all willing to do anything to help him help the economy. They just
wanted to sabotage anything that he tried to do.
But it wasn't -- he didn't quite understand that at first. And even once he understood it, a lot of mainstream people, a lot of centrist people didn't
get it. They thought that the Republicans were actually sincere when they talked about deficits and all of that
This time, with the background of the sacking of the Capitol and all of that, I think a lot more people, including, as you say, donors, financial
institutions, see Biden's opposition for what it is. And that may make it - - although it's scary as heck, it may mean that we have a better chance of actually getting good economic policies, because people will understand
what's actually driving the opposition to those policies.
AMANPOUR: Maybe, just maybe there might be a glimmer of a chance for some bipartisan support. We will see.
Paul Krugman, thank you so much, indeed, for joining me tonight.
Now, President Trump is expected to issue a flurry of pardons in the hours before leaving office. He faces a storm of legal and financial issues, as
well the question of what he will do next.
With his personal brand tarnished, as we said, by the violent end to his presidency, what do future business ventures look like for him?
Joining me to discuss what lies ahead are Mary Trump, the president's niece and author of "Too Much and Never Enough," and Andrea Bernstein, author of
"American Oligarchs" and co-host of the hit podcast "Trump, Inc."
Ladies, welcome to the program.
So, kind of building on what we discussed just now with Paul Krugman, where does the lay of the land sort of settle for Trump and for the nation in the
But let me ask you first, Mary, because you have written so much about his character, his demons, some of his mental health issues -- and you are
yourself a clinical psychologist -- I want to ask you how you interpreted and assessed what's happened over this last two weeks, what happened since
the election, and then the crisis on January 6.
MARY TRUMP, AUTHOR, "TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH: HOW MY FAMILY CREATED THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS MAN": A lot of what's happened is the direct result
of Donald's absolute inability to grapple with the fact that he lost the election. And every thing since then has been an attempt to convince other
people that the election was rigged simply because Joe Biden won.
As for last week, that was the culmination of his failed attempts to overturn the election results, because he's becoming increasingly
desperate. He's still desperate. So, this isn't over, unfortunately.
And, as we have seen, he's perfectly willing to incite violence against his own country, because he is incapable, psychologically and emotionally
incapable of admitting that he is indeed a loser.
AMANPOUR: I want to play a little bit of this shocking video. It came from "The New Yorker" by their war correspondent who happened to get inside the
And we're getting just more and more pieces of the puzzle, and verbally what these people were saying, including that Trump had egged them on or he
was their leader.
Let's just say a little bit of this for a minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED RIOTER: You're outnumbered. There's a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) million of us out there.
And we are listening to Trump, your boss.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, as we watch more of these pictures, because they are extraordinary no matter how many times you see them, you can hear the crowd
saying to the police, move out of the way, we're here because of Trump, your boss.
And then they're claiming that there's like a million or four million people outside who are going to storm the place as well.
Mary Trump, before I turn to Andrea, how does a person like Donald Trump create that kind of pathology that actually resulted in violence, and yes,
death? Five people were killed on that bunker.
TRUMP: Well, we're going to be grappling with this for a really long time, which is why Donald needs to be contained and made irrelevant as quickly as
But one thing he's quite skilled at is the politics of grievance, which he's elevated to an art form. And it's tapped in to a feeling a lot of
white Americans who believe they have been left behind are feeling.
Also, Donald revels in violence. He is a physical coward himself, but he's perfectly happy for other people to engage in violence on his own behalf.
And I think that's another thing he's tapped into. People are frustrated. People feel like their rights are being taken away from them, which, of
course, they're not.
And by claiming that something else has been stolen from them, he essentially just lit a match to a piece of dynamite that's been ready to go
off for a really long time, and just stood back and watched it happen.
AMANPOUR: So, Andrea Bernstein, of course, all this is relevant for many, many reasons, including all the democratic and constitutional reasons that
we have been talking about, but also to the Donald Trump brand.
What do you think it looks like for him going ahead? Because we have we have listed all these institutions that have cut ties with him, his banks,
his donors, his -- all sorts of -- even his organization is being shunned, the Trump Organization.
What -- and you have written about the American oligarchs. What does it look like, the future, for his brand now that it's tarnished?
ANDREA BERNSTEIN, "TRUMP, INC.": Well, it is really at a low point right now.
I mean, not only do his bankers and his brokers and people who have really stood by him through a lot, through Charlottesville, through children in
cages, through all kinds of policies and low points and his handling of the coronavirus, all of these sort of big bankers and brokers stood with Donald
But now they are walking away. And the conundrum for Donald Trump is that his customers are not his political base. So, the patrons of his private
golf clubs are not the kind of people who want their photographs taken on their way into playing golf. The people who can afford that, who can afford
his luxury hotels are not the make America great crowd.
And that is a real, real problem for Donald Trump. But one of the things that he has always done throughout his business career is find somebody,
some new person who will go along with his new con, his new scam, and he has just sort of been able to hop from project to project to project, with
each one failing, because he could always find new people to buy in to his new promised vision.
Usually, it's a false vision. But he was able to convince people that it would be a great deal. And they would go along because they thought it
would be exciting and they would make money.
In most cases, customers, associates, lawyers, bankers would lose money, and he would win. And what's different from him now from his previous
crises is that almost everybody knows what happens last week and what has happened in his presidency. So he has a much smaller base of new potential
partners to reach out to at this point in his business.
AMANPOUR: OK, so that's really interesting, because there are many people who believe, like what he said and what some of his supporters have said,
he will create, I don't know, a new news network or some reality television program, or, or, or, whatever it is.
Donald Trump, they say, is a grifter. And he's always got nine lives. And he hasn't -- he hasn't extinguished all those lives yet.
I want to ask both of you whether you think that is an obvious conclusion, we should never count Donald Trump out at this point.
Andrea, from your perspective, and then I'll ask Mary.
BERNSTEIN: Well, from all the time I have spent studying him, I would never entirely count him out. However, from his perspective, the odds are,
in fact, worse.
And there's a story that Donald Trump's original biographer, Wayne Barrett, wrote in his book, which was called "Trump: The Deals and the Downfall." It
was written in 1992.
And Trump's publicist tried to convince him to not say the downfall, because Trump was coming back from at that point being $800 million in
debt. And that was true. He did come back. But he has a much smaller group of people that he can convince that he is not going to cheat them.
And I think that is the big problem for Donald Trump going forward, is, there's not a banker in the world who doesn't know what faces them. There
is not a real estate broker or a lawyer or a potential business partner that doesn't understand the catastrophe that could wait.
Donald Trump has walked away from almost everyone close to him, and they have walked away from him. And that's the problem that he now faces, not
that he can find a way to come back, because he frequently does, but that he faces a much bleaker world, even in the last two weeks.
I mean, he was urged by some of his friends not to do the kind of thing he did, to gracefully concede the election, for the sake of his business. And
he chose not to do that.
AMANPOUR: And he has personally guaranteed, according to the tax reports that you have all seen, that "The New York Times" talked about, $421
million of his company's debt,s, apparently $300 million-plus coming due for four -- within four years. He's got tax disputes with the IRS.
There's potential suits in the state of New York, et cetera.
Mary, what do you think is, A, going through the mind of this person you know, and particularly on financial issues, which is what -- a lot of what
you wrote your book about, but also kind of, do you think he's got his back to the wall? Or do you think he is still Houdini?
TRUMP: Well, I -- he definitely has his back to the wall.
But, as Andrea said, we can't count him out ever. He is increasingly desperate, and will pull out all the stops to try to reinvent himself
again, which is why I think it's less important what Donald does than what the Senate and Congress and -- sorry -- House of Representatives do, what
the banks do, and what state states attorneys generals do, because Donald needs to be sidelined.
He needs to be contained. He needs to be rendered irrelevant. This also extends to his children. And I think his behavior in the last two months,
especially the last two weeks, has increased the urgency of that. They need to make sure he can never run for public office again.
And, basically, Donald needs to be a full-time defendant going forward. He's looking at very serious lawsuits. He, as you mentioned, is looking at
his banks calling in his enormous debts. And he's looking at serious state level charges. That's what should be occupying his time.
AMANPOUR: And not only that. He's looking at a lawsuit that you filed against him, right, in September.
This is part of the brief: "For Donald J. Trump, his sister Maryanne and their late brother, Robert, fraud was not just the family business. It was
a way of life."
Of course, he denies all the accusations and everything you wrote in the book. We have to say that.
But what is the heart of your lawsuit against him?
TRUMP: It's actually pretty simple. And it has nothing to do at all with my grandfather's estate.
It has to do with my dad's estate. After my father died when I was 16, my aunt Maryanne and my two uncles were my fiduciaries and my trustees, and
they were responsible for keeping my inheritance safe. Instead, what they did was, they undervalued the value the value of my partnerships.
So, when we settled our last lawsuit in 2000, they essentially defrauded me out of tens of millions of dollars, which I did not know about until the
extraordinary reporting done by Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner in October 2018.
AMANPOUR: And that was in "The New York Times."
AMANPOUR: So, Andrea, you also wrote that Mary's lawsuit was -- quote -- "a handbook to everything we suspected about her uncle's business, but
didn't actually know for certain."
So, tell me -- expand on that a little bit. And, I mean, I guess we have talked a little bit about what he might do in the future, but how that
informs what you might be looking for in the future.
Well, I mean, I think that Donald Trump's business model has always been to inflate the value of his assets when it is beneficial for him to do so --
for example, when he wants to get a bank loan -- and to deflate the value of those assets when he, for example, doesn't want to pay taxes.
And it is the same kind of thing that Mary Trump experienced, which is that, when he didn't want to share his fortune, he deflated the value of
And I think what we see in Mary Trump's lawsuit and in a number of other lawsuits is that people are coming forward with receipts and specific
accounts, and Donald Trump has always managed to stay one step ahead of the law.
And I should add that one of the reasons and one of the ways that we sort of get to January 6th is because people kept going along with him, people
kept thinking, well, I am getting something out of this. So, therefore, I am not going to stand up and challenge Donald Trump. And that certainly
applies to almost the entirety of the Republican Party until January 6th, people on his staff. That is how he got power, by getting his willing
accomplices and his legal reckonings, both the criminal suits that he faces and the civil lawsuits like Mary Trump's, are really an opportunity to
bring out into the open what we could see the contours of but not necessarily the specifics.
AMANPOUR: OK. One last question to both of you and it is actually about the cult of personality. But first, I wanted to acknowledge that Mary has
called her uncle's way of working the grift. We go all the way back to debates in 2016 campaign when Hillary Clinton called him out as a "con
man." You know, the critics were saying, you know, he's gone through his life as, you know, basically conning institutions as you have all laid out.
I wanted to play what Hillary Clinton said, and then just quickly ask you a question afterwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, THEN-U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is just more evidence that Donald Trump, himself, is a fraud. He is just trying to scam
America the way he scammed all of those people at Trump U. It is important that we recognize what he has done, because that is usually a pretty good
indicator of what he will do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, that is obviously a campaign event. She's talking about the now discredited Trump University that did turn out to be discredited. So, I
wanted to ask you, Mary, and you, Andrea, what about all these people who stormed the capitol? In other words, what about the most fanatic, the most
extreme, the most dedicated of the people who really love him still, where do you think they will go and what do you think is going to happen with
this cult of personality that has been created over the last four years? Mary?
MARY TRUMP: It is an extremely important question, and unfortunately, there are no easy answers or fixes. But it is really important just to say
straight up that a large part of this is racism, white supremacy, and you know, white supremacy infiltrated our military, it's infiltrated our local
police departments because of the Republican objection two years ago. The panel that was meant to deal with domestic terrorist, white domestic
terrorist was dismantled, that needs to be reinstated. We need to contain this virus.
It is so bad for the country. And once we do that, we need to start educating people that the biggest problem that we face is racism in this
country, and without that, Donald wouldn't have happened and what happened on January 6th wouldn't have happened.
AMANPOUR: And in our last minute, Andrea, from you, particularly because most people say, and he says, I met the people who were not getting their
voice heard, who are not getting their needs met.
BERNSTEIN: Yes. And I think that, you know, he has sort of -- it is an authoritarian technique to get people to not believe in the truth and then
get them to follow you. And, you know, sort of one of the tragedies of history is that the children of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, their -- so
that is Donald Trump's grandchildren, their great grandparents were holocaust survivors. And I think it is a really instructive lesson of
history. They have an incredible tale of survival, Jared Kushner's grandparents.
And what happened after World War II is instructive, which is that people didn't become deradicalized overnight, there had to be a long historical
commitment to both a sense of collective and a sense of truth. So, this does not end on January 20th, this is the beginning of the process where
there can be a restoration of a sense of common humanity. We have done it before in history, but it is very, very hard, and I think people should be
prepared for that.
AMANPOUR: Indeed. The work is still ahead. Andrea Bernstein and Mary Trump, thank you both for joining us.
Now, since that insurrection at the capitol nearly two weeks ago, people are still shocked that it could have happened both politically and
operationally. Jeh Johnson is the former secretary of Homeland Security. He blames, of course, security failures, not the mention the Pentagon
dithering over deploying the National Guard for several hours while pro- Trump fanatics took control inside.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Defend your constitution, defend your liberty. Defend your constitution, defend your liberty.
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AMANPOUR: And as Obama's secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson had to oversee Trump's inauguration four years ago. Here he is talking to our
Walter Isaacson about the state of national security this time around.
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Thank you, Christiane. And Jeh Johnson, welcome to the show.
JEH JOHNSON, FORMER U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Thank you, Walter.
ISAACSON: Today, it is Martin Luther King Day and we're trying to process what happened back on January 6th. To what extent do you think it was
unleashing a sentiment that's been hidden in our country and that the current president, the outgoing president help to unleash?
JOHNSON: Walter, you're correct, today is Martin Luther King Day. I'm a graduate of Morehouse College, class of 1969. Dr. King was a graduate of
Morehouse College 1948. Over my right shoulder, you will see a black and white photograph of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, president emeritus of Morehouse
College. He was a mentor to both me and Dr. King. He actually gave the eulogy at Dr. King's funeral in 1968.
Dr. King talked about the single garment of destiny and the inescapable network of mutuality that we find ourselves in. We have to face the harsh
reality that in America there is a strand that is ugly, that is intolerant, that is racist, that is prone to violence if provoke, if stoked and is
vulnerable to fake news, conspiracy theories, appeals to overt racism.
Over the last four years, frankly, this outgoing president has peeled the lid off of that strand of our society. Told them that they are special
people, that he loves them, and encouraged them to come out and display their bigotry and their intolerance in the open. We saw that in
Charlottesville in 2017 and we saw it the other Wednesday on the steps and inside of the U.S. Capitol. The images are unforgettable.
To me, the most horrifying image was of someone parading a confederate flag through the halls of the U.S. Capitol. We fought an entire civil war to
prevent that from happening. Walter, I have ancestors from Virginia who fled slavery as one in particular as a teenager to join a colored infantry
of the Union Army to prevent something like that happening.
And so, this ought to shake Americans to the core to see what happened at the capitol the other day. A lot of us would like to believe it can't
happen here, we're the most sophisticated democracy in the world, but it can happen here if the wrong forces are encouraged and emboldened.
ISAACSON: How guilty do you think that the outgoing president is of intentionally inciting that sentiment in our society?
JOHNSON: I think that is exactly what he did, intentionally exciting and inciting that segment of our society. If he didn't know what he was doing,
he certainly had a depraved indifference to what he was doing.
But, you know, word is, and word is inside of the White House that he was actually excited by what was happening in the U.S. Capitol at time. Those
are the exact wrong instincts to have in a president of the United States. But I believe that he is guilty of inciting a riot. I believe he is guilty
of an impeachable offense and should be convicted for it, in the Senate that is.
ISAACSON: Do you think that that would further divide the nation?
JOHNSON: Well, you know, as you -- you're a historian, you probably know that Alexander Hamilton said at the time of the writing of the constitution
that the impeachment processes stir the passions of the community. It is a difficult thing to have to bring the nation through. But, something like
this, we just cannot let go.
A sitting president inciting a mob to storm the U.S. Capitol, and to interrupt a constitutional proceeding involving the House of
Representatives, and the Senate and his own vice president, that cannot be forgiven, we cannot walk away from it because we're afraid it will be too
contentious, too difficult. I'm afraid we're going to have to face this at some point. The Senate is going to have to have a trial of what happened
ISAACSON: Do you think that Department of Homeland Security failed us in the walk-up to January 6th?
JOHNSON: I believe that those responsible for the security of the U.S. Capitol, those responsible for assessing the threat picture failed us, yes.
And this could have been avoided. We saw what was coming. It was not classified intelligence. It was out in the open. All you had to do was to
watch for it on social media and anticipate what President Trump was going to say on that day. This would not have been hard.
One of the problems I suspect that we had on January 6th where we literally saw an insurrection by -- this is by definition, the very definition of an
insurrection. You had acting secretary of Homeland Security, you had an acting attorney general and you had an acting secretary of defense all
eyeing the exits days away from leaving office, worrying whether or not they're going to get fired and somebody, very clearly, took their eye off
of the ball for this very important event.
ISAACSON: Assess for us the inside threats that may have occurred in this January 6th insurrection. And when we hear that some of the police officers
inside, maybe even members of Congress were aiding and abetting this insurrection.
JOHNSON: Insider threats are always the things we worry about most in any major security event. Let's not forget that before anyone can become a
member of the National Guard or the Capitol Police or especially the Secret Service, there is a great level of vetting, screening, background scrutiny
that goes into selecting those people and training those people. There probably is appropriate now, another additional level of screening before
anyone is specifically selected for the event.
But by and large, the people we have is gun carriers for a major security event like this are people who have already been carefully screened and
ISAACSON: As secretary of Homeland Security, you were able to monitor and watch the rise of these extremist groups and, you know, racist groups that
came up, how do you think it is best that we try to handle those and prevent the rise of groups like that?
JOHNSON: Walter, it's been an evolution. After 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security was created principally for counterterrorism. And the
view then was that terrorism was extraterritorial threat. And if you consolidate into one cabinet level department regulation of all the
different ways one can enter the country, land, sea and air, you have effectively dealt with terrorism.
Over the last 19 1/2 years now since 9/11, we know that the principal terrorist threat is here among us, domestic base, domestic inspired
extremism. The Anti-Defamation League, for example, has tracked this for years now. And so, most acts of terrorism come from within.
I'm afraid that the old model, the DHS model after 9/11 is now badly outdated. So, in my time in office, we spent a lot of time here in the
homeland on what we refer to as CBE, Countering Violent Extremism, meeting with groups in major metropolitan areas. And in my last year in office, I'm
pleased that Congress actually gave us grant money to distribute to organizations dedicated to countering violent extremism here at home
including violent white nationalism.
There's an organization, Chicago-based, at least there was four years ago, called Life After Hate that we wanted to fund. Unfortunately, those efforts
kind of went off the rails over the last four years. I hope that there is a rededication to that. And then, of course, there's always the law
enforcement aspect to this, our FBI, our Homeland Security officials need to rededicate themselves to tracking and interdicting and prosecuting those
who turned violent before they can actually carry out their acts of violence.
ISAACSON: You just said that your old Department of Homeland Security is not constituted, not set up right to counter the domestic extremism that we
are facing. How would you change it?
JOHNSON: Well, look, if I had a magic wand -- you know, time out of office gives one some perspective. If I had a magic wand and I could just
reconstitute our federal government, our executive branch through decree, I'd probably create a Department of Public Safety, which exists in many
other governments around the world in which we have every federal law enforcement agency, including Homeland Security investigations, the FBI,
the ATF, the DEA, the Martial Service, deconflict all of their missions under one cabinet level official, put the Department of Justice off to the
side, those are the lawyers. It will probably never happen, but that is the ideal way to deal with our domestic security, our law enforcement needs in
It would be a huge department. But what we have set up right now is you have many law enforcement agencies as part of the DOJ and many as part of
DHS that often times don't deconflict well. The actual largest collection of the law enforcement agencies in DHS, not DOJ, but they are still the
FBI, the ATF, the DEA, Marshal Service that reside within DOJ. And occasionally, frankly, they compete with one another. And occasionally,
depending upon the leadership, they don't communicate well.
In the current threat environment, I think there needs to be greater efforts at consolidation.
ISAACSON: Do you think that the incoming Secret Service details that will guard President Biden and Vice President Harris have to be changed and have
to be particularly scrutinized as you move over from the details that were guarding President Trump?
JOHNSON: Well, I don't want to get into too much, too many matters of operational security. The presidential details itself is huge. And there is
a detail leader with overall responsibility for protecting the president, the vice president, certain other people in the White House. And there is a
fair amount of turnover that goes into that. It's an extraordinarily demanding job. Someone should not be in it for a very long period of time.
On the other hand, you want somebody who is familiar with the protectee's movements, their moods, the reactions to things so they can anticipate
their behavior and their movements. And so, there is a certain amount of turnover that naturally goes into the Secret Service any time there are a
new round of protectees.
ISAACSON: Your great-grandfather was born in slave in Virginia. And his son became a famous sociologist, his great-grandson became a cabinet
secretary. Tell me how your family history informs the way that you think about this current moment.
JOHNSON: My grandfather was a sociologist, and he had a Ph.D. He wrote a lot about civil rights in the 1940s and 1950s. He was suspected of being a
member of the communist party. My own grandfather testified before the House on American Activities Committee in 1949 in the same room I am told
in a house office building where I testified and oversight hearings for the Department of Homeland Security.
But he was an optimist. He believed in this country. He believed in the code of the nation. He died in 1956 an optimist even before we had civil
rights laws. So, I don't believe he would be surprised that his own grandson would ultimately become responsible for the Homeland Security of
I do think he would be very disappointed, as am I, that 12 years after we elected a black president, which for many of us was a huge step forward
toward a more perfect union, we still live with a very large strand of American society that is racist, intolerant, prone to violence, grievance,
disenfranchised. And once in a while, the lid gets peeled off, and that kind of hatred comes out in the open. We still live with this. We lived
with it in the '40s and '50s, we lived with it in the '60s and it's still here well into the 21st century.
And I'm afraid that we may have -- we may continue to live with it for my lifetime and yours. And it is really up to the mainstream of America to
turn their back on this kind of hatred and condemn it and deplore it.
ISAACSON: This past weekend, you were the guest host of a radio station show, and you got to do a playlist in which you picked some songs of
protest, peace and prayer.
JOHNSON: And prayer. Right.
ISAACSON: And one of them, the final one, which really moved me, it's one of my favorite songs, is sung by somebody from here in New Orleans, it was
Mahalia Jackson's "How I Got Over." And she sang that during Martin Luther King's march on Washington in 1963. Tell me why you pick that.
JOHNSON: Well, you have really done your homework for this interview, Walter. Thank you. That is my other life. I am a huge classic R&B fan, and
there's a small little public radio station here in the Northern New Jersey area, WBGO, 88.3, and yes, I am giving a plug for it.
And every once in a while, I go on the station and I literally select my own music, spin my own records. And so, I thought that it was appropriate
to play songs that reflect prayer, peace and protest. And Mahalia was the voice of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. And you are right, "How I
Got Over" was one of the songs she sang at the march on Washington. There are many accounts that she stole the show that day. And I thought it was a
suitable tribute to Martin Luther King, this is MLK weekend, and I thought it was a gesture at trying to heal our nation right now, at least for the
listeners of that small little station, which can be heard all over the tristate New York area by the way.
ISAACSON: Tell me what she said to Dr. King when he was reading his prepared speech.
JOHNSON: Well, you know, that is interesting. As the story goes, he was reading from a prepared text when he was giving his speech at the march on
Washington, and it is apparent, when you watch the speech, he is reading from a prepared text. And as the story goes, Mahalia who was sitting within
earshot of him said, tell them about the dream, Martin. And he had given a version of "I Have a Dream" at a march in Detroit some months before.
And so, he kind of leaned back, looked up and began to talk about how he had a dream. And, you know, the rest is history, as you know. But as the
story goes, that whole part of the speech was inspired by Mahalia Jackson and prompted by Mahalia Jackson.
ISAACSON: Your angels kept watching over me.
ISAACSON: Secretary Jeh Johnson, thank you so much for joining us.
JOHNSON: Thanks for having me on. This is a great discussion.
AMANPOUR: And that was such a great story about Mahalia Jackson and MLK.
And, of course, finally tonight, it is Martin Luther King Day today. But this year, it is against the backdrop of violent white supremacy, Black
Lives Matter and also though with the chance this week to turn that page on the national conversation.
We want to recall Dr. King's persistence adherence to nonviolent protest despite the violence that was directed at him and his community, and also
his cool, calm, collected and yes, very wise response to the FBI's dogged attempts to destroy him and his movement by making him out be out to be a
communist. Look at what he said in this clip from the New York new documentary, "MLK/FBI."
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DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: I would hope that the FBI would come out and say something that I think is much more significant,
and that is that it is amazing that so few negros have turned to communism in the light of that desperate plight. I think it is one of the amazing
developments of the 20th century, how loyal the negro has remained to America in spite of his long night of depression and discrimination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Fair point. And perhaps also a note to those who today would insist on portraying legitimate constitutional protests and the pursuit of
equality for all as communism or radical socialism. Let's also just reflect on Martin Luther King's incredible dignity and his brilliance as such a
young leader. He was only 34 years old when he delivered the "I Have a Dream" speech and he wasn't even 40 when he was martyred. Such an
inspiration his life was for all the young and of course, the not so young.
That it is for now. You can catch us online, on our podcast and across social media. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.
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