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Investigating Capitol Building Siege; Martin Luther King Jr. and the FBI. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired January 15, 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.
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: We are seeing an extensive amount of concerning online chatter.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): The FBI director sounds the alarm about the potential for armed protests around the U.S. With hate speech percolating
online for years before the U.S. Capitol was ever stormed, we hear from the former FBI agent Ali Soufan and "Washington Post" media columnist Margaret
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This represents the darkest part of the Bureau's history.
AMANPOUR: The FBI's actions from more than 50 years ago come under new scrutiny in a film about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Why did the Bureau
obsessively spy on the civil rights leader? On King's 92nd birthday, we speak to the film's director, Peabody winner Sam Pollard.
MELINDA GATES, CO-FOUNDER, BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: The pandemic has really set women back.
Women bearing the economic brunt of the crisis. Our Walter Isaacson talks with philanthropist and author Melinda Gates on helping the most
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
President-elect Joe Biden says that, come Wednesday, America will start a new chapter. But the country is still reckoning with a homegrown threat in
the days leading up to his inauguration. Washington, D.C., is in lockdown now, as officials warn of the potential for domestic terrorism, the danger
underscored by new details from last week's insurrection on Capitol Hill.
Correspondent Shimon Prokupecz spoke to several police officers about what they were up against that awful day.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In last week's deadly coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol, a pro-Trump mob
swarmed the building, outnumbering and battling police officers fighting to defend it.
MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: It was difficult to offer any resistance when you're only about 30 guys going up against 15,000
PROKUPECZ: D.C. Metro Police Officer Michael Fanone was in the group of officers at the west front entrance of the Capitol as rioters forced their
way in. They eventually pushed them outside into the crowd, where Fanone says he was Tasered several times.
FANONE: I remember, like, guys were stripping me of my gear. And then some guy started getting ahold of my gun, and they were screaming out, "Kill him
with his own gun."
At that point, it was just like self-preservation. How do I survive this situation?
PROKUPECZ: While trapped, the 40-year-old says he thought about using his gun to fight back.
FANONE: That would definitely give them the justification that they were looking for to kill me, if they already didn't have -- made that up in
So, the other option I thought of was try to appeal to somebody's humanity. And I just remember yelling out that I have kids. And it seemed to work.
Some people in the crowd started to encircle me and try to offer me some level of protection.
A lot of people have asked me my thoughts on the individuals in the crowd that that helped me or tried to offer some assistance. And I think kind of
the conclusion I have come to is, like, thank you, but (EXPLETIVE DELETED) for being there.
PROKUPECZ: This horrifying video shows the moment the violent mob storms into a tunnel of the building, trapping and crushing D.C. Metro Police
Officer Daniel Hodges by a door.
DANIEL HODGES, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: There was a guy ripping my mask off, and he was he was able to rip away my baton and beat
me with it. And he was practically foaming at the mouth. So, just these people were true believers in the worst way.
When things were looking bad, obviously, I was calling out for all that was worth, and an officer behind me was able to get give me enough room to pull
me out of there. And they brought me to the rear. So I was able to extricate myself.
PROKUPECZ: Hodges miraculously leaving the attack without any major injuries, saying he was shocked some rioters thought authorities would be
on their side.
HODGES: The cognitive dissonance and the zealotry of these people was unreal. They were waving the thin blue line flag and telling us, "We're not
your enemies," while they were attacking us and killed one of us.
PROKUPECZ: The insurrectionists even using unusual means in their efforts to break into the most secure areas of the U.S. Capitol Building.
CHRISTINA LAURY, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: The individuals were pushing, shoving officers, hitting officers. They were spraying us with
what we were -- are calling bear -- it's essentially bear mace.
PROKUPECZ: With president-elect Joe Biden's inauguration just days away, Washington, D.C., is on high alert. And Hodges says he hopes any pro-Trump
extremists stay out of the city to avoid another situation like last week's insurrection.
HODGES: Stay home. Stop this. But, on the other hand, I kind of hope -- so, I hope they're caught. Let's leave it at that.
AMANPOUR: So, that cognitive dissonance he talked about, and that ecosystem is really because many of these extremist groups have been
organizing online, where hate speech has flourished and social media companies have now struggled to keep up.
So, how do you balance free speech with the demands of national security, and, indeed, protecting a constitutional democracy?
Joining me to discuss are Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent, and Margaret Sullivan, a media columnist for "The Washington Post."
They both join me from New York. And I really want to talk to you both about this, because I don't know what went through your mind listening to
those police officers recount the terrifying ordeals that they went through on that day.
But something in the ecosystem drove them into such a frenzy, and, as one of them gently said, cognitive dissonance between truth and facts, that
this is what happened.
Margaret, I wonder whether you can just describe it from what we have talked about, the online organization.
MARGARET SULLIVAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": So this is a -- what's being called the big lie.
And the big lie is that the election was rigged, and that there was widespread fraud. And this is something that President Trump has been
laying the groundwork for since long before the election. And right-wing media, pro-Trump media has taken up this idea.
And so it has circulated among the public very widely. But, also, there's a whole underworld of online social media and other ways of communicating
that are underneath the surface. So, both, I think, on the surface, you can turn on FOX News, and, underneath the surface, most of us aren't on 4chan,
but it's happening there and in other places like that. And it's very widespread.
So -- and then, of course, it's being echoed by elected -- echoed and magnified by our elected officials, many of whom have propagated this big
lie. And so it's become -- we can see that it's not a case of no harm, no foul with this.
And, yes, of course, there are free speech issues here. But I think that many of them are being presented in bad faith. Oh, it's a cancel culture.
You mustn't exert any effort to restrain this.
And that's just not the case.
AMANPOUR: Well, let's move on to Ali Soufan about this, because you have real life experience in dealing with this kind of extremism, different
kinds, not domestic terrorism, mostly.
And you recently wrote in your newsletter: "If President Trump is allowed to successfully sow discord, having already compromised security by
stalling the transition process and undermining president-elect Biden, he may do more long-term damage to the United States than even adversaries
like al Qaeda and ISIS were able to inflict."
I have to say, that's a shocking conclusion. And I'd like you to explain why you think that.
ALI SOUFAN, FORMER FBI INTERROGATOR: What happened last Wednesday was a strike on the heart of our democracy. It further divided us.
Frankly, Trump reduced the political discourse in America, including the media coverage, to a spectator sport. Real professional journalism, factual
press, moderate voices became dim and boring and deemed increasingly undesirable, not to say that there are a lot of publications, like "The
Washington Post" in "The New York Times" and others, who continued to do a good expose of him. '
But, in general, in the last four years, we have seen the middle disappeared. Unfortunately, many in the media became to exist in two
partisan bubbles that were mostly speaking to each other, but not to the American people, and certainly not to the centrist or the center and the
moderates in the middle.
Christiane, for years now, for four years, we have witnessed a societal descent towards his level, towards his divisive nature. We became more and
more tribal in our everything, even in wearing a mask during a deadly pandemic.
And, unfortunately, yes, we heard about social media, but also media in general often amplified, even normalized the lies and the conspiracy and
the hateful, divisive rhetoric from Trump.
And I agree with Margaret totally. Social media intensified the threat by profiting from algorithm. And their algorithm allowed and even promoted the
absurd. So, we became increasingly tribal.
Tribalism led to division. Division led to hate. Hate led to rage. Rage led to insurrection. I fear (AUDIO GAP) to come.
AMANPOUR: Let me move on, then, to Margaret about this, because it really is a case, as Ali just laid out, what led to everything in steps and then
to what happened last week.
So, Jack Dorsey of Twitter has obviously banned Trump, and the others have taken him down. He's been deplatformed. But here's what Jack Dorsey has
said: "Having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications. I feel a ban is a failure of ours, ultimately, to promote healthy
So, let us talk about the ban. Margaret, from a -- I guess, a free speech, a journalistic point of view, if you ban one, where does it stop? How many
others who engage in the same kind of -- well, similar kind of hate speech and conspiracy theories and lies and whipping up, where do you end?
So, talk to us about the free speech aspect for the moment, Margaret.
Well, Christiane, it's a very troubling question. And the social media companies and others in the media have been very reluctant to crack down on
President Trump, because he is the president. And so, while you might say, well, those tweets are destructive, and it's terrible the way he's
insulting people or whatever sort of havoc he was wreaking on Twitter, which was his favorite outlet, you still wanted to say, well, this is the
president, we must let him speak.
But there does come a point -- and this is the point that Jack Dorsey is speaking about -- in which, essentially, you are -- it's in a way not too
dissimilar to the old idea of crying fire in -- shouting fire in a crowded theater. You're actually causing harm causing something that -- we have
seen the results of it. And it's very, very troubling.
So, while there are free speech issues, and I am a great advocate of the First Amendment and do not want to see this kind of thing overused, I think
something had to happen here. And it was the proper and only answer to what was going on.
But, as you say...
SULLIVAN: .. wide ramifications. And those have to be thought through very carefully and worked out.
And I don't think we should overdo it.
AMANPOUR: Just to get it clear, the First Amendment protects ordinary people from the government, right? It doesn't necessarily protect a
government from misusing whatever, their speech platforms.
It's for people like us who don't have the power that a government does.
SULLIVAN: Well, and it's also for news organizations and media organizations who the government might want to crack down on.
So, that's been a very important aspect of it.
AMANPOUR: Yes, exactly.
SULLIVAN: But, no, you're right. It doesn't -- it isn't intended to protect the president of the United States as he incites violence among his
rabid followers, no.
AMANPOUR: Now, Ali Soufan, I want to ask you, because a lot of people in your business, in the security business, are very concerned that this looks
like a movement that is akin to domestic terrorism, and it has a spiritual and operational leader who happens to be the president of the United
I'm quoting some members in law enforcement and national security. So, in your mind, given that, how does deplatforming reduce the threat? Or does it
further anger the acolytes. Does it -- is it a recruiting tool for the acolytes? How does it work?
SOUFAN: I think they're going to go somewhere else. They're going to try to follow him somewhere else. I'm sure some platform will allow him to use
their technology to spread hate.
But we need to counter this in a strategic way. We need to do it in a unified way as a nation. I mean, the vice president here has a huge role to
play. Everyone who voted for Trump, everyone who voted for the Republican Party, frankly, voted also for Vice President Pence. He was on each and
every one of these ballots.
And he needs to face the wider public and expose the truth and the lies of the president regarding the election and with -- regarding his task for
stop the steal.
Also, on the same time, law enforcement, we need to wake up. We have been warning about this for more than two years about the spread of white
supremacy, not only in the United States, but the international connections that they have, the transnational nature of this threat.
I warned about two years ago in Congress that it is very similar to what the jihadists (AUDIO GAP) be careful about this. We have to counter it
exactly the same way we countered the so-called jihadi threats before. It's happening in our 50 states.
It is serious. It presents a clear and present danger to the security of the United States, but also to the republic. And it is now targeting the
foundations of our republic.
And so many people in Congress need to stand up and start looking into their followers and telling them the truth. I support all these private
sector entities that's firing these people and kicking them out. I think the president is complaining that he was fired from Twitter.
Well, he's a reality TV star that made his business and made his reputation about telling people he's fired. So, now America is telling you, get fired.
Get the hint.
AMANPOUR: And, Margaret, let's take a step back a little bit, because, of course, it's not just social media, as you have written so eloquently and
frequently about. It is, in fact, mainstream media, if you call FOX News mainstream media and that kind of stuff.
And you have called them out over and over again, I mean, whether it was in ginning up support for the Iraq War, or whether it was being the voice of
President Trump, essentially.
You said: "To put it bluntly, the mob that stormed and desecrated the Capitol on Wednesday could not have existed in a country that hadn't been
radicalized by the likes of Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Laura Ingraham."
So, I mean, you're naming names there. And you are pretty sure that this has been a long time coming in plain sight.
SULLIVAN: That's right.
And in the same column which you read a line or two from, I also call out the names of Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch and Suzanne Scott, who is
in charge of FOX News. And these are people who have fomented this kind of outrage that has -- and allowed very misleading and very toxic kind of
information to circulate.
And they have done so under a very misleading banner. As you may recall, when FOX was first on the air, the idea was and the motto or the slogan was
fair and balanced.
Well, that has been misleading from the start. And it's been a very destructive force in our society. And it has radicalized many people, maybe
not to the point where they're going to go to the Capitol and participate in a riot, but certainly in undermining the truth.
And that is a very serious thing in a democracy, because what we need in a democracy is a common set of facts that is generally accepted and that we
all function from, although we may have different opinions about what to do about it.
AMANPOUR: Exactly. And that is so important.
And before we get to potentially some solutions, I want to ask Ali about the cause and effect, because you listen to these people, and you listen to
some of the congresspeople who've had to -- who actually voted to certify, Republicans who voted to certify, obviously, the election, and then voted
to impeach the president this time around.
They are faced with constituents, many of them, who genuinely believe this nonsense that Margaret has been talking about, that genuinely believe the
lies that have been perpetrated on mainstream media and on social media, whether the regular social media or the deep dark Web or whatever. They
really believe it.
And so they went into try to save their democracy. How do you, from a law enforcement perspective, deal with the message and the effect of that
SOUFAN: That's a very good question.
And you have to separate the signal from the noise. Not everyone who went on that day to D.C. wanted to participate in an insurrection, wanted to
destroy our republic. But there are a few organizations and groups and networks who really were there just to do that.
And this is a job now for law enforcement to separate the protected speech from the insurrectionists and from the violent extremists. And,
unfortunately, these members of Congress, to include -- I'm not talking -- he's not a member of Congress, but also the vice president, need to face up
this big -- probably millions of people in America who, exactly like Margaret said, has been brainwashed totally by some of the FOX News
personalities and by the president.
They need to face them and tell them the truth about what happened. Those people looked the other way in Charlottesville in 2017 when the president
said good people on both sides. Those people looked the other way during the Tree of Life Synagogue attack in 2018, when the attackers spoke of an
invading (AUDIO GAP) migrant caravan, the migrant caravan, that the president and FOX News people used to talk about?
They are the same people who also looked the other way and normalized in 2019 El Paso attack at a Walmart, targeted Latinos, also spoke of an
invasion by foreigners in the same terminology as President Trump and the folks on FOX News.
And, finally, they want us to totally normalize the message, his message, the president's message to the Proud Boys to stand back and stand by. Well,
they did. And then they listened to him again when he told them to attack Congress ,to walk up Pennsylvania Avenue to take back their country. And
And some of these Proud Boys, shockingly, were wearing T-shirts with "6MWE," which means six million wasn't enough, referring to the victims of
the Holocaust. This has to stop. These people in Congress need to be held accountable. We are here because of them.
The damage that we're facing, the weakness that we're facing, the nature of the horrible impact on our democracy today and our image overseas, it's not
because of al Qaeda. It's not because of ISIS. It's not because of North Korea, or Saddam Hussein, it's Putin. It's because of them.
We need to hold them accountable, so we can be a better nation, a stronger nation, and our democracy can survive.
AMANPOUR: And, Margaret, of course, this has damaged America's image overseas profoundly. And the reputation of America has been sinking
dramatically over the last four years, and particularly over last week.
Obviously, there's a lot of hope for a new administration to try to reset the situation. But, from your perspective and all the studies you have done
and the commentary and the columns you have written about the press in real time, do you think that anybody's learned a lesson? Do you see a solution
that could -- I mean, do you see any solution out there from the press itself?
For instance, should the president, particularly one who does not deal in facts or truth, simply because he's American president, be given unending
Well, that those are deep and complicated questions, but I will say that, even during the coronavirus briefings, I did write a column that said,
these should not be taken live by the networks because they are full of damaging lies.
And I think we're not -- no one's suggesting, oh, don't tell people what the president said. But we have to provide context in real time. We should
not be providing a platform for damaging lies.
And I so appreciate Ali's passion. He's absolutely right. And this is something that we really have to grapple with in the days and weeks ahead.
Trumpism and all that that implies does not go away on January 20. This is something that we have to be dealing with into the future.
And I'm actually writing a column right now that suggests a few solutions for the mainstream press, what I like to call the reality-based press. So,
I am thinking about it too.
AMANPOUR: Well, good. And we will definitely post that when you publish it.
Margaret Sullivan, Ali Soufan, thank you so much.
Now, as we have heard, the FBI plays a vital role, of course, in protecting the American homeland. So, why, more than 50 years ago, did the FBI abused
its authority to spy on one of the most famous, most important civil rights leaders of all time?
That question is at the heart of a revealing new film looking at the bureau's ugly obsession with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Here is a clip from the "MLK/FBI" film featuring King's close friend and screenwriter Clarence Jones.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty we're free at last!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CLARENCE JONES, FRIEND OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: After Dr. King gave his famous March on Washington speech Wednesday, August 28, 1963, in a memo
dated the 30th of August, no later than that, the second person in the FBI -- it may have been Sullivan -- sends an urgent memo in which he says:
After the March on Washington, it's clear that Martin Luther King Jr. is the most dangerous Negro in America, and we have to use every resource at
our disposal to destroy him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It's shocking to hear all these years later,.
And the man behind this film is Peabody winner and Oscar nominee Sam Pollard. He's directed other acclaimed documentaries, like "Sammy Davis,
Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me." And he's edited several Spike Lee joints, including "Mo' Better Blues" and "Jungle Fever."
And Sam Pollard joins me right now from New York.
Welcome to the program.
It really is an extraordinary film. It's really shocking to trawl back into those FBI archives and see what they did. What was it that -- what was the
impetus for you to do it? Obviously, the actual tapes don't get released, I think, for another seven years.
Why did you want to do this now?
SAM POLLARD, DIRECTOR, "MLK/FBI": Well, in 2017, Christiane, my producer and I Ben Hedin had read a book written by David Garrow, the historian
They looked at Dr. King and how the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover were surveilling him from '63 up until his assassination. And as soon as we
finished reading that book, we said, this is a film.
And we reached out to Garrow. We took an option on this book. And I happen to know David Garrow when he was one of our consultants on "Eyes on the
And we went to Pittsburgh, where he lived, and we took a camera crew along with us. And we spent over four hours with David, having him talk about the
book and why he wrote the book and the information in the book, which was - - which became the frame for telling the story about King and the FBI.
So, tell us then, I mean, sort of unpack this awful story, which pitted the most powerful law enforcement against a civil rights leader. Why did J.
Edgar Hoover -- and it comes across in your film -- hate Martin Luther King so much?
POLLARD: Well, he hated Dr. King because here was a black man who galvanized a group of thousands and thousands of people to come to
Washington. And he gave this phenomenal speech, "I Have a Dream."
And to J. Edgar Hoover, he became the most dangerous Negro in America. And why was that? Because he was saying -- Dr. King and his associates were
saying, African-Americans no longer wanted to be on the margins of American society. They wanted to be part of integrated into American society.
And for J. Edgar Hoover and for many white Americans, that was anathema. All of a sudden, black people want to be integrated? They want to sit in
front of the bus? They want to be able to drink from white water fountains? He didn't understand that.
So, he basically got the approval of Bobby Kennedy to start to wiretap Dr. King, because the first thing he considered, that Dr. King was flirting
with communism because of his relationship with Stanley Levison.
And then, after they started wiretapping King and his associates, they learned that King had a very complicated personal life that involved him
meeting with other women. So, then they turned their -- their lens to that direction, figuring, if they could document King's's sort of very
complicated personal life, they can use that to defrock him, discredit him and destroy his reputation.
AMANPOUR: I mean, and it was intense, because, basically, the FBI sent a letter on with tapes of these indiscretions.
And one of the letters suggested to Coretta King, you know, he should kill himself for the sake of the movement and for the sake of the country.
How successful in real time was the FBI's effort to discredit Dr. King? How successful was their effort to drive a wedge into his marriage and into his
POLLARD: They weren't successful.
I mean, obviously, the press at that time in the '60s didn't grab onto people's personal lives. They didn't use those things against our
professional celebrities. And so it didn't work.
I mean, imagine William Sullivan, one of Dr. -- one of J. Edgar Hoover's confidants, creating this letter, supposed to be a person, a black person,
and basically intimating that King should kill himself.
Then, on top of that, they send a tape that's supposed to be King in the situation with another woman to his wife, Coretta Scott King.
Now, obviously, they were hoping that it would destroy his marriage, it would destroy his sort of tenure in the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference. But it didn't.
But it had to -- from my perspective, it had to wear on Dr. King emotionally and psychologically. I mean, he's dealing constantly with the
movement. He's dealing with the fact that he's being surveilled. Now he's dealing with the fact that the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover go to such lengths
to try to destroy him.
It had to be very intensely oppressive on him.
AMANPOUR: And you can see that. You can definitely see that in your film. And he's dealing, as you said, with everything and being a global figure
while this was going on in the background.
Interesting that the press did not take the bait from the FBI at that time. And I wonder whether you think things would have been completely different
had this all happened today.
POLLARD: I think it would have been 100 percent different.
If this kind of information had come out about King today, they would have taken it like a dog with a bone, you know?
POLLARD: And it's -- but it was also kind of fascinating that even though there's -- the press has sort of dug into people's scandalous lives like
Mr. Trump, it did not seem to stick, it hasn't stuck. All the scandalous information came out about Donald Trump, the audiotapes, you know, before
his -- you know, before the election and for the presidency, none of that has stuck. So, who knows. But I think with Dr. King, it probably would have
AMANPOUR: You know, that is interesting, that comparison. I want to ask you, obviously -- you know, you are a supporter, you were just a child when
he was alive. He is a saint. I mean, he has become a saint for all of the right reasons. Do you worry about putting this out and maybe his reputation
being somewhat, I don't know -- not his whole reputation but people thinking that perhaps some of the shine was off of the prize there or is it
important to you to show him as a man?
POLLARD: It was very important to me as a filmmaker to show him as a man. But, you know, myself and my producer, Ben Hedin, we ask ourself that same
question, will we going to hurt Dr. King's reputation even though we to show him as a human being? My answer to that is, I don't think it will. I
don't think it will take this shine off his reputation. And I think that, you know, he will always be revered as one of the greatest contributors to
helping America become a country that found the right footing.
Now, the challenge is, is that there will be Americans who never thought much of Dr. King and if these tapes come out in 2027, that will just
reaffirm, you know, the sort of hate and distrust of Dr. King and what the movement, his move was all about. Because, yes, as you know, it radically
changed what America is. I mean, I grew up thinking that America was the beacon of light not knowing that it really was a very hypocritical nation.
AMANPOUR: And interestingly, and I hadn't known this either, but the film obviously tells us that back at that time, maybe it is not so surprising,
that the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover were way more popular amongst, ordinary people, than Martin Luther King. You know, FBI, you know, inspired a whole
load of television programs that sort of glorified what they did and all the rest of it.
Talk to me about that as well. I mean, when all of this was happening and certainly when Martin Luther King was accused of being a communist, that
must have also chipped away more at his standing of people as he was trying to launch this civil rights movement for equality.
POLLARD: Well, remember, I mean, in '64 when they took a poll, you know, J. Edgar Hoover was more popular than Dr. King in 1964. I grew up at the
time in 1964 where I thought that the FBI was fantastic. I mean, I loved watching all of these movies with Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne about the
FBI, fighting communism. I used to watch this ABC show with Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. called "The FBI." You know, I thought they were America's
national police that was doing right. They were certainly not the bad guys to do justice in America.
So, you know, it was an America where the propaganda that was developed in the mythology around the FBI that was developed was really done extremely
well. Extremely well. And even a young African-American boy, a teenaged boy thought they were phenomenal, even though I respected Dr. King, you know. I
was saying that somebody in many African-American households back then, we had three images on our walls. We had Martin Luther King, John Fitzgerald
Kennedy and Jesus Christ.
AMANPOUR: All right. Did J. Edgar Hoover really believe that Dr. King was a communist? I mean, did they really believe that communism was sweeping
through the black community? I want to play this little from your film and it is Dr. King talking about this issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: 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 amazing 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 oppression and discrimination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, he told them, Sam Pollard.
POLLARD: Well, you know, think of it this way, J. Edgar Hoover was obsessed with the communist party. You know, he wanted to believe that even
when the communist party was attracting African-Americans that there were no racial problems in America. You know, how absurd is that? You know,
there was no racial problems in America. H was concerned that communism would undermine American democracy. As we know the red scare was, you know,
proliferated all through America in the '50s, you know, he believed in it.
And he believed also very, very seriously and like lots of Americans, from my perspective, lots of white Americans that black people should be happy
where they were. Why are they are trying to push the envelope? You know, why don't they take their time? I mean, this is amazing to realize how we
were considered just marginal in American society and American history.
AMANPOUR: And, obviously, we are talking about in the midst of this unbelievable chaos that is happening in American society, culture and
politics with racism and with this insurrection and with the pandemic, and with just such a confluence of events, and the FBI now, of course, is
focusing on domestic terrorism, and they think that is the biggest threat to the United States.
I want to play a little clip, because you did actually interview the former FBI chief, James Comey, and this is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you read that letter?
JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: Yes, I have. I am sick to my stomach actually. I mean, I didn't throw up but I felt ill reading it, and that is
what I mean when I say that I think this entire episode represents the darkest part of the bureau's history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Of course, that is the letter that we referred to in the opening clip, right, when they said he is the most dangerous person in America.
What do you think, and actually, just also to say, you didn't really show any of the contributors until the very, very end, it is really interesting
how they were all covered with pictures and you didn't show their faces until the very, very end. It is very cool there. I want to know wh y you
did that. But is there anything that you or James Comey thought that the FBI could do to make this right, if there is any such thing to be done?
POLLARD: Well, I have been asked, do I think that the FBI would ever apologize for what they did to Dr. King, and my response is no, they will
never apologize. I just don't think that's going to be a part it given their DNA. And then, also, from my perspective, I know that Mr. Comey says
it was the darkest time in the chapter of the FBI, but I am too cynical to believe that there aren't other dark chapters in the history of the FBI,
AMANPOUR: All right. On that note, Sam Pollard, "MLK/FBI," it is amazing film. And IFC films is releasing in select theaters and on streaming
services today, which is in fact Dr. King's birthday, and he would have been 92 years old.
We turn to the pandemic now, and the huge toll it is taking on women, women's jobs are nearly twice as vulnerable as men's during this crisis.
And of course, while women lose paid jobs, they are taking on more unpaid work in the home, like home schooling of their children and caring for
their family members. And so, the release of the paperback edition of Melinda Gates' book "The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Engages and
Changes the World" is particularly timely. And here she is talking to our Walter Issacson about this issue, and the all-important COVID vaccine.
WALTER ISAACSON, CNNI HOST: Thank you, Christiane. And, Melinda Gates, welcome to the show.
MELINDA GATES, AUTHOR, "THE MOMENT OF LIFT: HOW EMPOWERING WOMEN ENGAGES AND CHANGES THE WORLD": Thanks for having me, Walter.
ISAACSON: Your new book out in paperback, "The Moment of Lift" is about the empowerment of women. And yet, this coronavirus pandemic seems to be
great setback for that. In fact, in the last jobs report, men gained about 16,000 jobs but women lost about 140,000 jobs, why is that and what can we
GATES: Yes, the pandemic has really set women back. And, you know, when I wrote this book in 2019, we thought we were moving forward for women. But
what the pandemic has done in terms of jobs are two things. One is, women in society in the United States quite often hold those low-wage jobs with
people in their homes now not going out to getting services, and as many of the goods as before, and those jobs have been lost, so that is one.
The other is that women are doing an inordinate amount of childcare at home. It is right here in our faces, they're helping kids who aren't in
school, keep their homework up, they're getting the meals on the table, they're doing the laundry, that childcare work and even some of elder care
is making women step back in their careers, because they are saying, I just can't do it all.
ISAACSON: You know, the caregivers, the role that women are playing in that, that is something I think you have urged both in writing and maybe in
the conversations with President-Elect Biden, that we have a czar that oversees how we do care giving.
GATES: Yes, absolutely. I have spoken to President Biden -- President- Elect Biden about that several times, and he sees the importance of this childcare sector and as well the elderly care. I mean, he was a dad who
lost his wife and raised two sons while he was a senator. He understands how hard that is, and he thinks of this childcare as the infrastructure for
our economy. He knows that we can't build back and have a swift recovery unless we can get women back into the labor force, and that means having
things like a good paid family medical leave policy.
ISAACSON: How do you and Bill differ? What do you bring differently in the way you approach the foundation that you co-founded?
GATES: Well, I think that both of us, you know, we have a huge commitment to the foundation. We share the same values in terms of what the foundation
does. Bill has, not surprisingly, one of the gifts is a very technocratic focus, and it is something that benefited him enormously at Microsoft and I
think benefits the work at the foundation. I think I bring a bit more of the listening and human perspective. I think it's -- we both travel in the
field, but I think what I have heard so often from men and women in villages and in very crowded cities about what they need, I can balance the
-- when we have a new tool, say for family planning or a new vaccine, the distribution piece of how do we get people to accept that technology or
what's right for them and how do we think of it from the full family perspective, because I see what it takes to raise children and hear from
women what they need, and honestly, what holds them back from even being able to take up these new tools.
ISAACSON: To what extent has the pandemic set back the goals that you all were doing at the foundation?
GATES: Yes, it has set many of them back enormously. You know, poverty was on the decline around the world. It is now on the rise again. Hunger is on
the rise. Hundreds of millions of children are out of school. Those are going to have long-term and lasting implications on the field of global
health, global development and poverty elimination. And so, we have a lot of work ahead of us as a global health community.
ISAACSON: You and Bill have been focused on polio vaccines. Almost eradicating polio. What have you learned from that that applies to our
vaccinating situation now and why is our vaccine situation rollout had gone so badly in your opinion?
GATES: Well, I think that one of the benefits that I will say of the polio vaccination program is we have learned what it really takes to spread true
information and get people to accept things like polio drops. It has also left an enormous infrastructure across a country say like Nigeria that
benefits then other vaccines when they come in, great laboratories, good scientists, good community acceptance. So, there is lots there, lots of
rails to build on from polio and other vaccine campaigns.
What -- the reason I think we have such a lumpy distribution of vaccines, quite honestly, in the United States or that I know is that the current CDC
was not used in the function that it was set up to be used. It was set up to really give advice to health commissioners in every single district in
the United States. Because they were set aside, we now don't have a federal plan for distributing vaccines.
We have 50 different state plans, and that should not be. You want a mass coordinated effort to make sure that, first our healthcare workers get
vaccines, then our most vulnerable populations, and we just don't have a federal response today, and that is a shame.
ISAACSON: Why is it important that make sure that the whole world gets vaccinated rather than focus on ourselves?
GATES: Yes, if we don't ensure that low- and middle-income countries also have great vaccine, great amounts of vaccine, what's going to happen is
we're going to see this disease continue to bounce around the world, in country after country. So, we might eliminate it for a time in the United
States or in Europe, but as it is bouncing around the world, it will come back inside our borders.
And what it means is more death around the world, and what it also means is a much slower recovery in places like the United States or Europe, because
our supply chains will continue to be messed up. Our travel industry won't go back. Our manufacturing industry won't go back as quickly as it could.
So, it just makes not only ethical sense, but economic sense to make sure low- and middle-income countries also have widespread vaccination.
ISAACSON: One of the vaccines that you pushed with the Gates Foundation was the Oxford AstraZeneca one, and that's now been approved for emergency
authorization in England. Do you think that we should speed it up here so that can get approval?
GATES: I think that the FDA is a fantastic regulatory body and I think that they will roll it out in the United States when they feel they have
all of the right data for our population. And yes, our foundation has been behind about a half dozen vaccine, that's because we need lots of different
tools for around the world, particularly it is going to benefit the low- and middle-income countries when we have vaccines that are single dose and
that don't require the vast cold change that Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine require. Thank God we have those two vaccines, but to distribute it out
everywhere it needs to go in the world, we need some of these vaccines that will be a little bit easier to distribute.
ISAACSON: Some of the pushback against the vaccines is very odd, especially the paranoid wacky conspiracy theories that involve you and your
husband and the Gates Foundation on vaccines. What do you make of those? How did those happen and how can you fight them?
GATES: Well, disinformation is always disturbing. And it is disturbing, because it causes death. And so, what I tell people is talk to your doctor.
I mean, you're going to put a biologic tool in your body. So, of course, there's going to be some hesitancy. That makes sense and this is a new
tool. It is a safe tool.
But when you talk to your doctor, he or she knows what's right for you or for your children. And so, we just have the give people sensible
information. The good news, Walter, is that the vaccine hesitancy is already starting to go down and I think it was high because of the spread
of disinformation, I think it was high because there's a lot of anxiety in society right now, we are all home, we're all worried about this disease.
But I think as you start to see more people getting the vaccines -- we're already hearing, at least in Seattle, people clamoring for vaccines. And I
think it's going to roll out once we get past some of these distribution bumps quite readily, I think people are going to accept the vaccine.
ISAACSON: You and Bill have talked to incoming President Joe Biden a few times and talked to his team a lot. What are you pushing for him to do on
GATES: We are pushing President-Elect Biden to make sure that there is a national federally-led coordinated testing and tracing plan and as well a
nationally-led vaccination plan. And I have to be honest, it doesn't take much pushing, he already knows that is needed, he knows he wants and needs
to empower the CDC fully, and he's got great advisers around him who are already planning to do that.
We've also obviously talked with him about climate change, and its importance on the long-term agenda, and as well this childcare
infrastructure that needs to be rebuilt.
ISAACSON: One thing that you do is you always go on site to see how the foundation is doing, especially in places like Africa and India. And
recently, you've been taking Jen, your oldest daughter, and there's a wonderful tale in the book about blankets and how she wanted to give
blankets as a young kid and then another tale about the headlamp she was wearing and how you realize you can empower girls who had trouble with
their homework. Tell us about those.
GATES: Sure. So, when Jen was about 15, we went and stayed with a family who welcomed us into their home in Rural Tanzania and it was amazing,
several days we spent with them. And I think one of the things that struck my daughter, Jen, and me at the time was how many chores the women had to
do. You know, we cooked over the fire, we chopped firewood, we put the dinner on the table.
But then at 10:00 at night, we were out under the stars doing the dishes. And one of the girls in the family, her twin brother, had made it on to
secondary school. She had not yet passed her exam. She had not passed them the first time and she was studying to pass them the second time. She was
very shy, but she was about also about 15.
As soon as my Jen came out of our hut with the head lamp on, this girl, Grace, went straight to my daughter, Jen, and said, when you leave, can I
have your head lamp, and Jen said, of course you can, and she said, why? And she said, because when we are finished with the dishes at night out
here, I could then go study for my exams. And it just shows you all of this unpaid labor that the girls do. Her brother was doing the studies in the
afternoon when he came home from school. But the difference that a girl has in her life because all of this unpaid labor or the difference if she has a
head lamp so she can study and empower herself, it makes a profound difference.
ISAACSON: You talk about prioritizing women's leadership. How is that been setback by the pandemic and what can we do?
GATES: Well, women, first of all, must have a seat at the table at everywhere that decisions are being made. So, whether that's policymaking
in politics and in our halls of Congress or in our statehouses, whether those are decisions being taken on Wall Street, whether those are decisions
in the tech industry, which is changing all of society, or in media that's telling our stories, when you have women and people of color with the seat
at the table with a full voice and decision-making authority, they make different decisions on behalf of society, because they see society in its
fullness and the richness.
So, just as one example, for women in politics, what do we need to do? Not just to train women in how to enter political office but show them
opportunities, open our networks to them and make sure they are funded. And to be frank, we can do that in all industries. We can create pathways into
things like tech and finance in ways that are pretty blocked for women today.
ISAACSON: Why are there so few women in technology?
GATES: Because at the time I was in college, late 1980s, I'm dating myself here, women were on the rise in computer science. I'm a computer science
major. And then it went precipitously downward and it's because the personal computer was introduced as a game for young boys. And boys became
quite interested in it, the games were shoot them up games, which girls were not interested in it. And the more boys you got into it, the more boys
and men you got into it.
And now, it's become so genderfied that people think, oh, well, women can't be coders. We don't see women as coders. We don't have a class in college
that welcomes the women in. So, that first freshman class in college that's computer science, if a woman hasn't studied computer science in high
school, she doesn't feel welcomed because the boys have been programming for so long. Whereas if you have a class, like many universities are
starting to have, an opening freshman class that are real world problems, women will not only get into it, they will get interested and they'll stay
in computer science.
And so, we need to change that and we need to change the computer industry so that women-led businesses are funded, which they are not today by
venture capitalist, and so, that the computer science industry, their tech industry welcomes women into those coding jobs more readily than they do
ISAACSON: One of the powerful parts in your book is this chapter about the power of letting your heart break. Give me an example of where you and Bill
had your heart broken.
GATES: I think that both of us -- I know both of us being out in low- income countries and seeing the great lengths that a mother/father will go to, to keep their child alive. We have both experienced that. We have both
been in places where HIV was such a stigma that the person, even though medications were available, wouldn't go get them. We both sat and heard
stories of unbelievable violence towards women or towards men who had HIV. Those stories break your heart and I would say they enliven both of us to
keep doing the work that we are trying to do with the foundation, so that people can live a healthy and productive life.
ISAACSON: Melinda Gates, thank you so very much for being with us.
GATES: Thanks for your questions, Walter. I really appreciate it.
AMANPOUR: So many important reminders from Melinda Gates especially on the power of women.
But finally, tonight, the story of a racing pigeon that has captured the world's attention and has come to a happy ending. The Australian government
says that Joe the Pigeon who many believe had flown from Oregon, USA, to Melbourne, Australia is not after all a risk to the country's bird life.
Joe was found on the roof of a local homeowner and he was named after President-Elect Biden.
He was thought to have travelled more than 8,000 miles from continent to continent. Australian authorities though were not taken by Joe at all. With
the acting prime minister, Michael McCormack, suggesting the bird would have to be put down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL MCCORMACK, ACTING AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: If Joe has come in a way that has not met our strict (INAUDIBLE) security measures, then, bad
luck, Joe. Rather fly home or face the consequences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Important matters of state, of course. But in a twist, it turns out that Joe isn't a Yank after all. He was an Aussie all along. And he is
now, yes, free as a bird.
And make sure to join us next week for our coverage around the inauguration around President-Elect Joe Biden. We take a look back at what lies ahead in
the new Biden era.
That is it for now. You can always catch us online, on our podcast and across social media. Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.