Return to Transcripts main page
Global Vaccine Effort; New Film Examines Guantanamo Bay. Aired 2- 2:40p ET
Aired February 23, 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.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We're now traveling on a one-way road to freedom.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): The U.K.'s vaccine minister and the scientist advising Israel's government on COVID talk about winning the vaccine race
and I.D. passes.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: All my time here, I have been told you are guilty, not for something that I have done, but because of suspicions and associations.
I am innocent.
AMANPOUR: The new film shining a light on Guantanamo Bay. I'm joined by the director, the real detainee and Guantanamo guard behind "
KURT BARDELLA, SENIOR ADVISER, THE LINCOLN PROJECT: The greatest existential threat to American democracy lies from within, and it lies
within the Republican Party.
AMANPOUR: High-ranking-Republican-adviser-turn-Democrat Kurt Bardella tells our Hari Sreenivasan why he switched sides.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
America's leading scientific adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has spoken of the pain he feels at the nation's tragic COVID milestone. With more than half-
a-million deaths registered, Fauci said that the richest nation in the world has done worse than any other nation in the world. He also says he
finds coronavirus denial traumatic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: It does intellectually pain me when I see things like pleading for people to do the kinds of things that work,
the mask-wearing, the physical separation, and the denial.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, the United States so far has given at least one vaccine dose to around 13 percent of its people. That is way behind the winners in
the global race to vaccinate. They are Israel and the U.K.
And they are among those who are leading the pack. There are plenty of lessons to be learned from effectiveness to ethics about potential vaccine
passports in the future.
Joining me now are the U.K.'s vaccine minister, Nadhim Zahawi, and Dr. Ran Balicer. He's chair of the expert panel that advises Israel's COVID-19
Gentlemen, welcome to the program.
We are at an amazing, amazing inflection point.
Let me ask you first, Minister Nadhim Zahawi, since you're in charge of the British rollout, and we have just had the prime minister's four-part plan
for a lifting of lockdown. To what do you attribute the real success of the vaccine program? I understand 18 million have been vaccinated here at least
with one dose. That's -- I think it's about a quarter of the population.
But what do you attribute the success to?
NADHIM ZAHAWI, U.K. VACCINES MINISTER: Good evening, Christiane.
I think it's a combination of very early on making a decision to set up the Vaccines Task Force. And thanks to Patrick Vallance, our chief scientific
adviser to the prime minister, and, of course, Boris Johnson deciding to back that Vaccines Task Force.
It was led by a brilliant lady called Kate Bingham and her team. And they began conversations with the BioNTech even before it had partnered with
Pfizer. And then when they came together, we were, I think, the first country in the world to be engaging with them and taking an option on their
vaccine candidate it was then, because we didn't know whether they would succeed or otherwise.
And then the same thing, we did with Oxford and AstraZeneca. Actually, we went further. There, we backed the team, the scientists at Oxford to shift
their research towards COVID vaccine trials, and then, obviously, brought them together with AstraZeneca and invested in manufacturing capability in
the U.K. in Oxford.
And, of course, the fill and finish, where now everyone, audiences around the world understand that, when you get the vaccine, actually, substance,
it still has to be put into little vials and finished, so it's ready to go to the front-line, G.P.s and nurses and vaccinators to deliver it.
So, that early planning and risk-taking, because we didn't know which vaccines would work, but we audited over 100 different vaccine candidates,
produced the short list of over 20. And then we optioned seven. And we have just added another one with CureVac from Germany, who will manufacture in
the U.K. possibly a vaccine variant.
We will talk about the future of vaccination programs in this conversation.
AMANPOUR: Yes, we will talk about the variants in a second.
But you have also had -- and there's reports about the first real-world evidence done by Scottish researchers of the U.K. vaccination program. And
it looks like it is really, really knocked a hole in infections and in hospitalizations.
ZAHAWI: Very much so.
So, the other part -- and forgive me -- I -- it's a very big deployment infrastructure. So, we have stood up thousands of sites to vaccinate from
hospital hubs, to national vaccination centers, to pharmacies. And, of course, our G.P. networks, general practitioners, the incredible backbone
of the National Health Service family, has delivered all of that vaccination program, and in a brilliant way, an army of volunteers and, of
course, the army itself, the military across the board, the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy and the army coming together, integrated into the
national health effort to deploy.
But you're absolutely right. The early indication, both from the Oxford team around some of their research that the Oxford vaccine reduces
infections -- transmission, I should say, by about two-thirds. That, we're looking further into.
But both Public Health England, and their study called SIREN, which is the first cohort. We did the second cohort, in fact, the health care front
line, and Scotland, with the universities there. The real-world research demonstrates that hospitalization for AstraZeneca are reduced by 94 percent
and for Pfizer almost 90 percent, so very high levels of reduction in hospitalizations in a real-world example from Scotland.
We're very, very optimistic.
So, let me turn to you, Dr. Ran Balicer. You advise the Israel government. And Israel was considered a very early success story. You have actually
vaccinated, if I'm not mistaken, about half of your population.
And I want to ask you as well to attribute, because it's different. You didn't make the vaccines in your country. You didn't -- you have had to buy
them. But, also, you still have 4,000 cases per day, which I'm wondering why that is, and what sort of cases are they given the amazing intensive
vaccinations you have done?
RAN BALICER, CHAIR, ISRAELI COVID-19 NATIONAL EXPERTS PANEL: Yes, thank you, Christiane. That's -- I think that's a very valid point.
By now, Israel has been able to, as you have said, vaccinate over half of its population in total, and to vaccinate over 90 percent of those above
the age of 60. And I do agree that, in the amount of time that has elapsed, that's a good point to be in.
And I would like to attribute this to several factors. I mean, you have already discussed the issue of the vaccine attainment, and the fact we also
had several different advance purchase agreements and hedged our bets with the different potential companies that were able to produce the vaccine.
But I think that the key issue here is really the issue of deployment. And in this case, it was a very well-concerted effort with joining forces with
the Ministry of Health on one hand that was responsible for the deployment from the airplanes to the distribution centers with the big freezers that
were pre-prepared for this really mass vaccination event.
And with the HMOs, the sick funds, the backbone of the Israeli health care system is by four organizations that serve as both payers and providers,
both insurers and providers of care.
And these four large organizations are very strong logistically. They're used to community care outreach, focus on every day that the way that they
do their everyday outreach and proactive care to the population.
And Israel has, as the U.K. universal health care, where every citizen is insured in one of these four organization without paying. So, these
organizations, it was quite intuitive for them to open up very quickly the vaccination clinics, where every single vaccine was used.
So, another thing I'd like to attribute some of the success for was the agility. So, we made sure that no vaccine goes to waste.
And when in a vaccination facility you get to the end of the day, and the indication at the beginning was very simple, only 60 years and older and
health care professionals, but if you get to the end of the day, and there are vials that were left, and they will be destroyed if you don't give them
on time, there would be an open call for everyone through social media and even sometimes going out to the streets, bringing people to make sure that
every dose would find a shoulder to be given to.
And so we had very few, maybe less than 0.1 percent of our vaccinations lost. I'd like to mention two other things that made this thing possible.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's...
BALICER: Yes, Christiane?
AMANPOUR: Yes, let me just ask you. Maybe you can incorporate it into the next answer.
But I want to ask you, because, actually, the number of vaccinations in Israel has gone down from a high of 150,000 vaccinations a day in January
to now somewhere around 60,000. There seems to be hesitancy amongst young people.
Your health minister has said that it is a moral duty for everybody to be vaccinated. What is the issue with hesitancy? And, I mean, I guess you
can't make it compulsory. But what are you trying to do to up the uptake right now?
BALICER: So, I think that at the very beginning, what we did, which worked very well, because it's -- the second half is always tougher than the first
one. And the last quarter will be even tougher, I could imagine.
What we have done, first of all, we had the approach of full transparency. When we came on TV, each one of us, we said things as they are. What we
knew, we said we know. What we didn't know, we say we don't know.
Where we had scientific evidence, we presented it. When we weren't sure, we said we're not sure. And that helped establish a lot of support and trust
by the public.
The second thing we have done was leading by example. So, the prime minister and the president and all of the leading figures in public went to
get a jab on camera, which I did as well on live -- at the very early on, to show them that we practice what we preach.
Finally, a lot of culturally adopted outreach, which we have done to specific communities. And that's where we focus on now, because we have
lower uptake in some of the ultra-orthodox communities, and a little lower uptake among some of the Arab-speaking communities.
And what we have done to try to improve that was, for instance, to go to those communities to work with the community leaders. I, myself, went to a
rabbinical class, spend two-and-a-half-hours in there. They were grilling me about everything that you can imagine, from vaccine safety to efficacy.
They knew every bit in every paper that was published.
And by two-and-a-half-hours later, the chief rabbi that held that meeting said: I'm convinced it's effective, it's safe.
BALICER: And one week later, he gave her a rabbinical verdict. And from that point, it became easy.
AMANPOUR: OK. That's really interesting, because a lot of focus has been on the orthodox community and a lot of a rather large percentage of new
cases are in your orthodox community.
But I want to ask Minister Zahawi and you actually about the next issue on the drawing board, not just lifting lockdown, but passports, green badges,
I.D.s, to allow a much freer and more complete lifting of the economy.
So, I know it's a discussion in Israel.
And I want to ask you, Minister Zahawi, because you felt and you have said publicly that you think it might be discriminatory. Other members of the
government have left the door open to potentially bringing vaccine passports in.
Can you see that happening in the U.K.? And where? Would it be for people traveling to the U.K.? Would it be to go into restaurants? Would it be to
hold a job? Tell me about the thinking now.
ZAHAWI: Yes, absolutely.
But just before I do that, I just want to thank Ran, because I worked with Hackney Council and, of course, my opposition colleagues, Diane Abbott. She
is a Labor member of Parliament. And we went to witness a couple of Sundays ago the Haredi Hasidic community be vaccinated on Saturday night after 8:30
in the evening.
And many of them said to me, because of the very senior rabbis in Israel coming out and declaring that this is the right thing to do, it's worked so
well for us
So, Ran, thank you very much...
ZAHAWI: ... for that support as well.
But, Christiane, you raised a really important point. So, internationally, we already see a move from a number of countries. Greece has been very
public on this that they are looking at a vaccine certificate or a passport, as you refer to it.
And so we are looking to make sure. And our transport secretary, Grant Shapps, wants to take a leadership position in this internationally, so
that we create a system that works for the whole world, in the way you have yellow fever passport if you have to travel to certain parts of the world.
So that is something that we're looking to lean into and engage heavily on. Domestically, I think certification, both for testing, because we see
testing, and rapid testing, as very much part and parcel of reopening the economy, certainly for large gatherings and those sorts of events.
Testing and rapid testing will apply. And you want a certification process that makes it easy, as well as, of course, people be able to get their own
very-easy-to-access vaccination certificate.
But, domestically, there are a number of issues that we need to make sure we address, which is why the prime minister has asked Michael Gove to
conduct a review to look at, what are the implications of certification, both in terms of testing, and of course, for vaccination?
So, we're looking at that as a review to see, what are the boundaries around it? But, internationally, we certainly see many countries moving in
that direction. And we want to make sure that British people are able to access their own vaccination data if they need to be able to demonstrate it
if they're traveling to Greece or anywhere else in the world.
AMANPOUR: OK. Yes, I mean, it's a really important question, and it then flies right into the whole civil liberties and all the rest of it. So I
know it's going to be a very difficult one for governments to grapple with.
But I want to ask you, finally, Dr. Balicer, because some have suggested that the -- we know that the rich countries have bought out billions of
doses, many more than they need for to vaccinations of each member of their population. Poor countries don't have any
I want to ask you. You talked about the rabbinical declaration. But they're also rabbis in Israel who have called on Israel to lead globally and use
its moral and legal obligation to vaccinate all residents of its occupied territories. You know that because it's come out of Israel.
And I want to ask you from a public health perspective. I don't want to get into politics of whose legal obligation it is. But as a public health
perspective, the Palestinians still are not being vaccinated in numbers that you need them to be vaccinated in.
Does Israel have plans to help your neighbors, because they can't help themselves at the moment?
BALICER: So I'm not a political figure. I'm an expert.
And our experts committee, the expert advisory team, has already recommended for such transference of vaccines and help to take place. I
know some of it has already happened. And more is planned. And I do hope and pray that we will see much more of that in the coming future.
It is the right thing to do. It is the right thing epidemiologically. It's the right thing morally. And I think, in terms of public health, diseases
know no borders, and, therefore, we shouldn't as well.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's really great.
Thank you very much for that response.
And thank you for being with us, Dr. Ran Balicer in Israel, and also Minister Nadhim Zahawi here in the U.K. Thank you very much for being with
Now, this award season, we have been profiling a number of new movies that speak to many of the major issues that we're all facing right now. Tonight,
we look at the Guantanamo Bay prison system still open after 19 years. Several former detainees who've been released over these years have written
to President Biden, urging him to shut it down.
They say: "President Bush opened it. President Obama promised to close it, but failed to do so. President Trump promised to keep it open. Now it is
your turn to decide."
And indeed, two weeks later, Biden did order a review and he has pledged to close Guantanamo prison before leaving office.
Mohamedou Ould Salahi one of the signatories. And he is among the most famous of the Guantanamo inmates. He was held and tortured without charge
for 14 years. His book "Guantanamo Diary" is the basis for the new movie "The Mauritanian." It stars the legendary Jodie Foster.
And it's out this week. Here's a little bit of the trailer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JODIE FOSTER, ACTRESS: The U.S. government is holding upwards of 700 prisoners at Guantanamo. Since when did we start locking people up without
a trial in this country?
UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: That's a lot of case files.
FOSTER: The prosecution won't show us the evidence they have against you. It's all redacted.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You got a problem, take it up with the government.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: All my time here, I have been told, you're guilty, not for something that I have done, but because of suspicious and associations.
I am innocent.
FOSTER: He has been interrogated. He has been held against his will for six years without a single charge being laid against him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, the amazing thing is that Mohamedou appears to bear no deep grudge. He believes that to forgive is to be free.
And he's joining me now, along with the film's director, Kevin Macdonald, and also Steve Wood, who was Salahi's American military guard in Guantanamo
Bay, and who is now his friend.
All three of you, welcome to the program. You have an amazing story to tell.
And I just want to start with you, Mohamedou, because you are literally the protagonist.
How do you feel now, after all these years? How have you been able to process it, even including in the years since you have been released?
MOHAMEDOU OULD SALAHI, FORMER GUANTANAMO BAY DETAINEE: First, thank you for having me, Christiane, on your amazing program.
And I would like to say hi to your audience. And I would like to salute Kevin and Steve, who are your guests.
I mean, in one word, I feel amazing. I mean, how many people get to write a bestselling book? And how many people get to have that book translated in
about 30 international languages? And how many people get to have that book adapted into a major motion picture hailed by one of the greatest directors
who ever lived?
And, I mean, it's amazing. It's beyond me. It's just the biggest vindication I could never have imagined. And it's another proof that the
pen can really defeat the sword.
AMANPOUR: It's quite humbling to hear you, actually, because we know what you went through. We have read it in your book. We have seen it in the
film. The torture was really dramatic, the water-boarding, the sexual harassment, assaults, the beatings, the hangings-up, the massively
difficult temperature, freezing, and also, obviously, the sound that you were subjected to.
I wonder whether Kevin and even Steve, I don't know what goes through your mind when you hear somebody like Mohamedou say that he feels vindicated and
he's not bearing grudges.
Kevin, what prompted you to make this film?
KEVIN MACDONALD, DIRECTOR, "THE MAURITANIAN": Well, exactly that, exactly what you have said and talking to Mohamedou.
I read his book. I was enormously impressed by it, because it should be said that Mohamedou is a born writer. He writes beautifully, even if the
subject matter in this case is often so upsetting.
But it was really not the book. It was talking to Mohamedou and hearing how he has processed this, and, as you say, this forgiveness. We hear so much
about forgiveness, but there aren't many people, I think -- maybe Nelson Mandela is obviously the prime example. But there aren't many people who
have been through such horror and who are able to empathize with their guards and with their captors.
And that's what struck me, is that he is able to think, to put himself in somebody else's shoes, even if that person is a guard who's unjustly
holding him or torturing him.
AMANPOUR: I wanted to just ask Steve Wood too, because, obviously, in "The Mauritanian," you do feature but not as large as you and Mohamedou who do
in a Guardian documentary called "My Brother's Keeper," which is also out now, in conjunction with "The Mauritanian."
And you have been reunited. I want to play this little clip, which is Mohamedou waiting for you at the airport in Mauritania when you finally
reunite after all these years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SALAHI: Airports make me very nervous. Whenever I see someone in uniform, I get scared, even though I know I haven't done anything wrong, no one is
going to take me away to kidnap me.
Hey, what's up, big guy? You didn't change much, did you?
STEVE WOOD, FORMER GUANTANAMO BAY GUARD: Neither did you.
SALAHI: Welcome home, brother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Steve, I find it really very touching, because you were his U.S. military guard in Guantanamo Bay for many, many years that he was
imprisoned and shackled and tortured. You had never met, I don't think, somebody -- well, I don't think you had ever met a Muslim.
You didn't know what to expect. You were told that you were going to meet the worst of the worst 9/11 terrorist. What did you find when you actually
started to interact with Mohamedou in Guantanamo Bay?
WOOD: Well, so, in the beginning, I worked in Camp Delta, the general population area, you could call it. And you don't -- you're not supposed to
act friendly with the detainees.
And they're always shackled whenever they're removed from their cells. And when I started working with Mohamedou, it was the opposite. Like, the first
moment I met him, he walked out of the cell, no shackles, with a smile on his face. And he shook my hand and said, what's up, man?
You know, so it's like -- it was shocking. It was definitely -- it was a definitely positive experience, in a way.
AMANPOUR: And what did you both feel, Mohamedou and -- Mohamedou, what did you feel when you -- you could see that you have you hugged him. And
pictures in that documentary show that you have him in your house to stay, and you're giving him the traditional Mauritanian clothing to wear?
How did you manage to be friends with your guard?
SALAHI: In a way, it was me getting back at him. He has imprisoned me and guarded in that very small cell.
And now I found my chance to imprison him in my home, and because, in Mauritania, we have these small tents to protect one from mosquito, but
they look like small cells. And I told him, now I'm the guard, and you are the prisoner.
And it was very nice, because we were really friends in prison. But neither of us could really tell if the other was really honest about it, because
the balance of power is very upset.
Steve had the right to use physical violence, to include death, if he felt threatened against me. And I could never threaten him. I could never lay my
hands on him. So -- but we forget all of that and we start, like, to gossip about other people, including interrogators and the guards.
And when you start gossip with someone, you know they're your friends, because that pretty much all I do in my family, gossiping about other
people. And then, when we met, the balance of power was established. So, we had pretty much the same rights, except I wasn't allowed to travel, because
of the stigma of Guantanamo Bay and pressure from some American officials.
But, aside from that, I was very much on a par with him. And I really loved him a lot. And I love him today. And I will love him, because I consider
him a part of my family. And he's the godfather of my son, Ahmed (ph). And I am the secret godfather of his daughter, Summer (ph).
AMANPOUR: And I think -- Steve, I think you have also converted to Islam yourself.
Let me just ask you, Kevin, about making the film.
We're listening to Mohamedou to speak just so magnanimous -- magnanimously. But, of course, there must be some residual feelings and trauma from what
he went through.
You had Mohamedou on set, right? And you created the set, from the size of the cells to the temperature, to mimic what the real Guantanamo was as much
as possible. What did you notice when Mohamedou was on set with you, visited you on set?
MACDONALD: Well, I should say that we shot most of the film in South Africa. And that's where we built a reconstruction of part of Guantanamo,
very much to Mohamedou's specifications.
I was always bugging him, phoning him up and saying, what color was this war? How long was this bit of cell? When they moved you, what was that
like? So, he was really our source, and Steve also to an extent, about the detail of how the guards moved prisoners and this kind of thing.
So, the reconstruction we had done was very, very close. And when he came to the set with Nancy Hollander, who's Jodie Foster's character, first of
all, I think he was excited. It's fun going to a film set. But he only lasted about half-an-hour.
And he said: "I need to go. I need to go."
And only later on, when I spoke to him, I said: "Are you OK?"
And he said: "Oh, it was just too much for me being there."
And I think it set off bad, bad memories. I think Mohamedou is amazing, the way that he presents such a tranquil and peaceful image to the world. But I
think there's obviously a lot of -- a lot of trauma. And it's going to take him a long time to get over that.
And -- but he does such a great job at not imposing that on other people. And so, when he's feeling upset, he tends to take himself off, go quietly
So, yes. He found it difficult. Then I remember he said to me in typical Mohamedou fashion, he said, anyway, you know, it's really boring on a film
set, isn't it? You just made those actors. They're poor actors. They have to say the same line over and over again, which, of course, if anyone's
been on a filmset they know. That is really the truth. That it's very boring for visitors. But, yes, that was very much him.
AMANPOUR: I'm going to play a clip from the film. You mentioned Nancy Hollander, obviously played by the great Jodie Foster. This is the clip
where she is asking you, Mohamedou, to please tell your story in a way that she can get, you know, the evidence, because you have -- you know, you have
been tortured, you tell her, a lot of what you told the authorities was under pressure of having been tortured and you needed to tell your real
story. So, here she is trying to get you to do that. Let's just play this clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JODIE FOSTER, ACTOR, "THE MAURITANIAN": I'd like you to consider releasing your letters.
TAHAR RAHIM, ACTOR, "THE MAURITANIAN": To a newspaper?
FOSTER: Maybe a book. People need to read your story for themselves. And it'll put pressure on the government to give us a court date.
RAHIM: I'm ready for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So then, the sort of floodgates are opened. You know, the reason you are -- you were in Guantanamo was because they said that you had
received a phone call from your cousin using Osama bin Laden 's phone. Apparently, you say that it was a personal call, your cousin did happen to
work for Osama bin Laden but you had nothing to do with that.
Tell me about what you told the authorities under torture and then what writing your own story for Nancy Hollander allowed to proceed and unfold.
SLAHI: Basically, when Lieutenant Richard Zuley came to me one day and he told me the U.S. government -- actually, he handed me a letter signed by
the Department of Defense stating that my mother would be kidnapped and imprisoned and he insinuated that she would be only in a man's prison, that
she would be raped.
And at that moment, I had nothing to lose and I wanted to confess to everything. Everything that they wanted me to confess to, I was ready to do
and I did not care about the consequences. But the problem, it was not easy, because they kept jumping from one accusation to the other. First,
they told me (INAUDIBLE) plot, the abandoned (INAUDIBLE) plot, they told me that 9/11, they abandoned 9/11. And then they told me that you could have
planned something, you know. And then let's say attacking CN Tower in Toronto. You could have planned that and it failed. I said, yes, OK.
And then I took the pen and I wrote very -- like very much detailed confession about the plan to blow up the CN Tower. It's horrible stuff.
Horrible Stuff. And then First Sergeant Siala (ph) looked at me and he was like praising me for doing this and all. And I was like, you're welcome.
And ironically, that was like very challenging to the U.S. government. And they said that they needed to investigate this. They came to the conclusion
that I didn't do this. It was impossible that I had done this. And the U.S. government knew from records since -- at least since 2005 that I was
completely innocent, but they refused to release me. Because at that point they saw -- I just saw too much and I knew too much about the tactics and
AMANPOUR: Yes. And we have to say that once you did write your story and Nancy Hollander got you acquitted, then the Obama administration didn't
dare release you for whatever reason and kept you in for a further seven years. So, you were in there for 14 years with no charge.
I'd want to end with Steve. I want to ask you about the letter that Mohamedou and his fellow releasees have written to President Biden. You
have said you feel, you know, a tinge of guilt when you've been interviewed before. Do you think it's time to close down Guantanamo Bay from everything
you've seen and heard and your friendship with Mohamedou?
WOOD: 100 percent. It's a black eye for the United States for sure, you know. And it is not what our America is supposed to stand for and it
definitely needs to close, and I hope that it closes soon. And, you know, I think that Mohamedou's story is going to help a lot, you know. Just the way
he is and how forgiving he is. And like, hopefully, you know, (INAUDIBLE) people as possible to see that, and maybe Biden, himself, will see it, you
know. So, it will do some magic.
AMANPOUR: Well, it is great to see you two together, Steve Wood and Mohamedou Ould Slahi. And, Kevin Macdonald, thank you for the film. It's
really, really good and really revealing and really of the moment. Thanks so much.
And also, "My Brother's Keeper," the documentary, is available to watch at "The Guardian" newspaper website now. And Golden Globe nominee, "The
Mauritanian," is in theaters right now.
On Thursday, we're going to focus more on the specific legal case, and that will be with Mohamedou's real-life defense lawyer, the American, Nancy
Hollander, and amazing Jodie Foster. She, as we've said, portrays the lawyer in the film.
Now, The Lincoln Project, the group of Republicans who campaigned against Donald Trump's reelection and for Joe Biden clearly had a successfully
year. But the organization is now fighting for its survival after allegations of sexual misconduct against its co-founder, John Weaver. This
has led to a number of resignations from the group. One of whom is Kurt Bardella. He is the project's former senior adviser. He left the Republican
Party in 2017 and he became a Democrat.
Here he is talking to our Hari Sreenivasan about the civil war within the GOP.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Kurt Bardella, thanks for joining us.
In the very paper that you write a lot of op-eds for, you essayed (ph) that it recently had a (INAUDIBLE), you said 46 percent roughly of Republicans
would go with the former president if Mr. Trump formed a party of his own? Are you surprised?
KURT BARDELLA, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, THE LINCOLN PROJECT: No. I mean, I think that's pretty much a continuation of what we've seen through the last
four years that this party isn't a political party that's rooted in ideology anymore, it's not rooted in things that have been part of the
Republican orthodoxy for the last 20 years, things like national security, national defense, the spending of government dollars, the role of
government people's lives.
Now, under Donald Trump, it's cult personality, where the only ideology that matters, the only litmus test that matters to Republicans is whether
or not you support Donald Trump. It does not matter that almost every way conceivable, Donald Trump has betrayed traditional conservative orthodoxy,
that's gone out the door.
So, of course, now that the only thing that voters are caring about and the thing that Donald Trump is really seizing on is whether or not you are
loyal to him. And as long as that's the case, the Republican Party as we know it is broken. I think that they have reached the point of no return.
When you are willing to put forward insurrection and inflaming the passions of white nationalists wanting to go to the capitol to perpetrate violence,
murder the vice president, assassinating the speaker of the house, when that's still someone that you want to stand by and when you want that to be
the Republican Party, there is no going back.
SREENIVASAN: Just this past weekend we had Steve Scalise struggle to try and say that Joe Biden was the legitimate president, that it was a free and
fair election, that it was not stolen. That's shocking. But at the same time, you realize that he has got a lot of support, other members of
Congress are going to do and say the same thing if asked that question. What do we do about that?
BARDELLA: When the leadership and one of the two political parties in America doesn't want to admit that just fundamental basic concession, part
of the system is broken in a way that may not be able to be prepared. That when one political party is radicalized to the point where they are
actively undermining the electoral process and are propping up leaders who would further that lie, that's an incredibly destabilizing and troubling
I mean, our entire system is predicated on the idea that there are winners and there are losers, and that the losers will acknowledge that and still
put the process ahead of their own personal political ambitions while their own party has shattered that. That is not the case. Everything that has
gone on in our country over the last couple of months since the election in November has been about trying undermine democracy, not counting black
votes, limiting people's participation in our democratic process, it's incredibly undemocratic, and that's part of the reason why the greatest
existential threat to American democracy lies from within and it lies within the Republican Party.
SREENIVASAN: How much of this is a consequence of the kind of the previous Tea Party wave that we saw when the Republicans were kind of blindsided by
not paying attention to what was happening on the ground, not seeing the signals that was clear to, you know, a select few, and then all of a
sudden, here came the votes, and they were shocked?
BARDELLA: You know, the Tea Party -- and this, I think, one of the more understated nuances of how we have gotten to where we have gotten to the
rise of the Trumpism within the Republican Party, and all of this was previewed by what we saw beginning in 2010 with the Tea Party wave that
swept Republicans into power in Congress and taking back Congress.
And really effectively legislatively ending the Obama presidency two years in. And the characters that were a part of the wave that rose to
prominence, people like Mike Pompeo, Mark Meadows, Trey Gowdy, Jason Chaffetz, (INAUDIBLE), Jim Jordan, these are all characters that would come
into play very prominent roles in the Trump presidency in the Republican Party during that time of Trump.
And what we saw then was a very agitate and angry base of Republican Party that was -- their passions were inflamed around the issue almost
exclusively of immigration, of the idea that people of color were coming into the country, invading the country and taking things from white
America, this idea that there are givers and there are takers, and the takers are people of color, people with black and brown skin, that was
fomented during this Tea Party era.
It culminated really with the shocking defeat of then house majority leader, Eric Cantor, in the 2014 midterm by a guy named Dave Brat who
nobody had ever heard of but ran exclusively on the issue of immigration and used platforms like Breitbart and people like Steve Bannon and entities
like Fox News to coalesce this group of people within the Republican Party that felt this way, that felt that mainstream Washington and established
Republicans had left them behind.
For all of the talk that we have right now about there being a civil war in the Republican Party, that civil war really began back in 2010, 2012, 2014
when the base of the party started having direct conflict with the Republican Party leadership and it ended with people like Eric Cantor
losing his job, John Boehner, the speaker, the Republican leader at the time, leaving his post voluntarily because pressure from the right --
AMANPOUR: So, we are going to interrupt this program, go to our colleagues in Washington for the breaking news around Tiger Woods, the golfer, who has
been involved in a serious car accident.