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Leaked Tape Shakes Up Iranian Politics; Interview With John Grisham; Interview With Fmr. State Rep. Charles Booker (D-KY); Interview with Davarian Baldwin on His New Book, "In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities Are Plundering our Cities". Aired 2-3p ET
Aired April 27, 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.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): The leaked tape shaking up politics inside Iran. The foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator criticizes the
untouchable Revolutionary Guard.
MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Accountability is an essential part of building trust with the community, and public safety requires
AMANPOUR: The federal government's long-overdue look into racism and policing amid a torrent of innocent lives lost.
Also ahead, we're joined by one of the bestselling authors of all time, John Grisham, and the slam dunk in his new book, "Sooley."
DAVARIAN BALDWIN, TRINITY COLLEGE: One of the plaintiffs in that case was so disgusted that he called Princeton a hedge fund that conducts classes.
AMANPOUR: How massive university endowments plunder American cities. Hari Sreenivasan talks to writer and professor Davarian Baldwin.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The United States' special Iran envoy is heading back to Europe to work on reviving the Iran nuclear deal. But, in the meantime, the curtain has been
pulled back on just how Iranian foreign policy works. An extraordinary and frank three-hour recording with the foreign minister and chief nuclear
negotiator, Javad Zarif, has been leaked in which he criticizes Iran's Revolutionary Guards for undermining the country's diplomatic efforts.
He even calls out national hero and assassinated General Qasem Soleimani and Russia as well, saying all were trying to sabotage the nuclear deal.
There's fallout in the United States for chief negotiator the former Secretary of State John Kerry, after Zarif asserted that he had told him of
Israeli airstrikes against Iranian positions in Syria. Kerry denies any such conversation ever took place.
Joining me on this is carrying Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst and senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington.
Welcome to the program, Karim Sadjadpour.
Why do you think this was leaked? And why does it matter?
KARIM SADJADPOUR, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: It's tough to say why it was leaked, Christiane. I assume it was enemies of Foreign
Minister Zarif who leaked the tape, because they don't want to see a future for him in Iranian politics. I don't think that he himself leaked it.
Why it matters, it essentially reveals something that you and I have known for a long time, which is that there are essentially two parallel regimes
working in concert in Iran. You have a deep state led by the supreme leader and the Revolutionary Guards.
And these are the forces that build Iran's clandestine nuclear facilities. They cultivate regional militias. They support Hezbollah. They oppose
Israel. They're the forces that crush internal dissent within Iran. They take hostages. In some cases, they conduct assassinations.
And you have another parallel state in Iran, which is led by President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif. And they essentially have very
little power, but they have accountability.
And I think one of the things that Zarif was talking about in this interview is the fact that he is someone who has essentially been
powerless. The power in Iran belongs to the supreme leader and the Revolutionary Guards.
And after eight years of essentially absorbing accountability for all the goes wrong in Iran, I think he was trying to reveal something that we all
knew, which is accountability belongs elsewhere.
AMANPOUR: So, this is what he said, to that end, about Qasem Soleimani, which, as you know better than many of us, was kind of a revered figure in
Iran. And -- but he belongs to that deep state military industrial complex that you were just talking about.
This is the conversation between Zarif and the interviewer, who is the Iranian economist, Saeed Laylaz.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Commander Soleimani and I were not necessarily on the same page in everything, may his soul rest in
But we felt that we were obliged to coordinate with each other, and we did so, but I dare say that I sacrificed my diplomacy more for the military
field, and it was not vice versa.
SAEED LAYLAZ, IRANIAN ECONOMIST (through translator): This is a very important point you mentioned. Can you elaborate further?
ZARIF: No more. That's enough. History will judge.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Karim, as you said, it kind of confirms the nature of the Iranian regime.
But what do you think, practically, it means about -- for instance, let's just take the thing that the United States and Europe is very involved in
right now, wanting to get back to a nuclear arms control agreement, so to speak, with Iran.
SADJADPOUR: You know, Christiane, I don't think this really changes minds in Washington or even Europe, per se, in that I think people in Washington
have long known that Zarif is really a messenger, not someone who makes policy in Iran.
Now, during the Obama years, there was a hope that, if we do the nuclear deal with Iran, it could empower these more moderate forces within your own
like President Rouhani, like Foreign Minister Zarif, and it could transform Iran internally and transform U.S.-Iran relations.
I don't think that the Biden administration has that same kind of hope. They're doing -- they want to revive the nuclear deal with Iran for
American security reasons, not necessarily because they believe it's going to bring about a transformation in Iran or transform U.S.-Iran relations,
and I suspect the Europeans the same.
But as I was listening -- and I listened to the full three-hour interview in Persian, Christiane. And as I was listening to it and this clip that you
just played about Zarif talking about the assassinated General Qasem Soleimani, it struck me the whole time that Zarif was describing his job as
somewhere between like a janitor and a firefighter, and that he was essentially tasked with cleaning up the mess of the Revolutionary Guards
and bringing the country out of crisis.
And he was told at times to tweet things and say things which he knew to be dishonest. And he was in a very difficult position these last eight years,
and I think he now wants to come clean, perhaps, on some of these issues.
AMANPOUR: This was sort of, I guess, labeled as a series of interviews with the outgoing ministers for historical reasons. That's how the
interviewer labeled these.
And, certainly, he had a long conversation with Zarif. Were you surprised, as others have been, in the revelation by Zarif about Russia not
necessarily playing good cop in the Iran nuclear negotiations over the deal, kind of saying that Russia was quite happy to see it sabotaged?
Let me just play this little exit on Russia and Soleimani.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ZARIF (through translator): If we simply review the events that happened during the six months of finalizing the JCPOA, the events included
attacking the Saudi Embassy and seizing two American vessels, and Commander Soleimani's trip to Moscow.
LAYLAZ (through translator): That trip was not under your control?
ZARIF (through translator): No, that trip was called for by Russia, not our will. Russia's will was aiming to destroy the achievement of Iran's
Foreign Ministry on the JCPOA.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Russia is involved, along with China and Europeans, in getting that nuclear deal back together again.
What do you think Russia's game is in this?
SADJADPOUR: Christiane, there is a widespread belief within Iran -- and, frankly, I, to some extent, share this view -- that Russia benefits from an
isolated Iran. Russia doesn't want to see Iran emerge from its 42-year isolation, for a variety of reasons.
Number one is that, right now, after Russia, Iran has -- Iran is very competitive with Russia in terms of its reserves of natural gas, but Iran,
by virtue of the fact that it's isolated, it's under sanctions, it hasn't exploited its vast gas reserves. So it's not really competing with Russia.
Number two is that, as long as Iran is isolated, Iran is very dependent on Russia strategically. So, Russia doesn't want to see a U.S.-Iran
rapprochement, because they know that Iran would be far less interested in cultivating its relationship with Russia as it would the United States.
And, lastly, in some ways, Iran -- Russia likes the fact that Iran is a thorn in the side of the United States. Now, all that said, I haven't seen
the evidence that suggests, as Zarif alluded to, that Russia is actually -- has been actively trying to undermine the nuclear agreement.
I think that Russia, by and large, has supported both the original JCPOA and its revival. But I do agree with Zarif that Russia doesn't benefit from
an Iran which has emerged from isolation or a U.S.-Iran rapprochement.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about a very human pawn in this struggle between Iran and the West. This is particularly between Iran and the U.K.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has yet again been given an extra year of imprisonment. She's not yet back in prison, but then another year of being
banned from leaving the country and being able to see her husband and her daughter who here in the U.K.
And the former U.K. Foreign Secretary James Hunt -- Jeremy Hunt said: "This is so distressing. Iran's cruelty seems to know no bounds. Impossible to
imagine what the family are going through today."
Key question is why the debt issue is still not settled, given the U.K. accepts that it owes this money. And that debt is about tanks and other
military equipment that Iran paid for and has not received.
So, describe how actual -- the Revolutionary Guard and the hard-liners are using individuals to negotiate with.
SADJADPOUR: Christiane, my heart breaks for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. I know her husband, Richard, who has just behaved -- who has been incredible
throughout this incredibly painful ordeal.
And it is true that the Iranian government, they're almost -- it's almost as if they take pleasure in tormenting people, especially people who have
gone back to Iran to visit family, they're dual nationals because of their love of country, their love of family.
One of my dear friends of 20 years, Siamak Namazi, has been a hostage for over five-and-a-half years. And in both cases, both Nazanin's case,
Siamak's case the case of other dual nationals, this is a very tricky problem to resolve, because if you give in to the demands of the Iranian
government -- and it's oftentimes -- I have been told from Siamak's family that the Revolutionary Guards wanted a billion dollars for his release.
And if you're the United States or the U.K. government and you give in to those demands, you are essentially incentivizing the Iranian government to
continue to take hostages.
At the same time, if you don't succumb to those demands, then your dual nationals are -- they are kept as hostages. So there are no easy ways to
resolve this issue. But I do think it will take a collective international effort to make clear to the Iranian government that you're not going to
benefit from hostage-taking.
It's been over 42 years now since the hostage crisis of 1979 that Iran has been using hostage-taking as a tool of statecraft. And I do think it's
going to take multilateral diplomacy to deter that in the future.
AMANPOUR: Very quickly a last question. Obviously, all of this is happening, not just with these negotiations, but with the Iran election
It's the end of the so-called centrist Hassan Rouhani and Javad Zarif. They're -- their terms are up. Who do you think stands to benefit? And what
will that mean for Iran relations with the U.S. and the West?
SADJADPOUR: Christiane, what Zarif was alluding to in this leaked interview is that Iran is essentially transforming into a military regime.
For years, it was a country ruled by clerics. But over the last decade or two, it's been transforming more into a country ruled by the Revolutionary
Guards. And it could well be that an alumnus of the Revolutionary Guards becomes the next Iranian president.
But even if they aren't, the country, the Islamic Republic of Iran is transformed into really more of a military dictatorship than a clerical
dictatorship. And I think it's a regime which is going to continue to prioritize its revolutionary principles ahead of the national and economic
interests of the Iranian people, unfortunately.
AMANPOUR: It's really fascinating to get that glimpse inside. And thank you for your analysis, Karim Sadjadpour.
Next to the U.S. justice system. For the second time in a week, the attorney general, Merrick Garland, has announced a Justice Department
investigation into a local police department, this time launching his probe into Louisville Police Department. That's in Kentucky.
It comes more than a year after Breonna Taylor was shot and killed there. And even with the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George
Floyd in Minneapolis, "Washington Post" data shows that 17 black people have been shot and killed by police just since that trial began.
So, how can the federal government stop this from happening?
Joining me on this is the activist and former Kentucky state Representative Charles Booker.
Welcome to the program.
Just that figure, 17 people, black people, shot and killed just in the time period of the Derek Chauvin trial and since then is just an alarming an
extraordinary and unacceptable fact. So what do you think the attorney general and his investigations can actually do?
FMR. STATE REP. CHARLES BOOKER (D-KY): Well, first of all, you're right. It is an alarming fact. It's distressing.
And it speaks to the systemic challenges that we are facing. And it rises to the point that our federal government has a responsibility to not only
get involved and investigate, but to help chart the path forward on systemic change.
And I join my entire city and our commonwealth in welcoming the attorney general's investigation, because it is clear that there are deep structural
problems, and we can't ignore them, avoid them. We have to take them on, so that we can have real accountability and, ultimately, real justice.
AMANPOUR: It's been -- certainly, the people of your state and your city have been calling for that, of course, since the murder of Breonna Taylor
more than a year ago.
What are the specifics? Because we hear, for instance, I think there have been something like 140 different reforms and other proposals in some 30
states around the nation. What exactly are the most important things? Pick three of the most important things that you think should happen that can
stop this excessive use of force and, I mean, the unaccountability?
BOOKER: Well, first of all, to frame this whole conversation, what we're fighting for and what we expect out of this investigation is a chance for
us to further our path to community safety.
We actually want our family, our loved ones from every corner to be safe in their homes. And that does include, in large measure, immediate reforms to
our justice system in policing. And it lifts up a lot of the elements that are involved in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, addressing
On my way to meet with you, I drove by a minister who was slammed down in the street, punched repeatedly for what would amount to be jaywalking, for
carrying a cross talking about the need for justice.
And also understanding that we have to make sure that our dollars are going towards actual public safety. Now, coming from the West End of Louisville,
the hood, I have seen law enforcement engage our community as if we are enemy combatants.
And having militarized operations does not keep the community safe. So how do we invest in true holistic safety? And the bigger conversation, which is
really what Breonna Taylor forced us all to dig into, is, how do we address poverty? How do we stop criminalizing it? And how do we make sure that all
the agencies of government are accountable to it?
And that's a deeper investment that we have to commit to beyond just saying that there are a few bad apples in law enforcement. This is a systemic
AMANPOUR: Now, just to note, even in this climate, the trial of the former officer who's charged in connection with Breonna Taylor's death -- that's
in your city -- it's been pushed back to February 22.
I don't know. That speaks volumes, in and of itself. Now, the mayor of Louisville has welcomed the A.G.'s investigation. And this is what she
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIKA SHIELDS, LOUISVILLE METRO POLICE CHIEF: The reality of it is, is what the DOJ is doing is, they're bringing more resources, drilling down in
greater detail, and also providing the guidance of what it is the federal government wants to see nationally from law enforcement agencies.
And there has to be clarity and uniformity on that if we're ever, ever going to be in a space where policing is a profession that we can be proud
of in every corner of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, of course, that was the police chief. I will get to the mayor in a second.
But she seems to be wanting some kind of uniformity of regulations. And we know that Maryland, which I think was the first state to enact the
officers' bill of rights, has now overturned that. We know that other jurisdictions are saying, OK, you got to stop just pulling people over for
traffic offenses or for things like lights or registration or seat belts and things, because the overwhelming number of people who are pulled over
are black citizens.
And that leads to these confrontations. Things like that, is that where it starts?
BOOKER: Well, first of all, this is a conversation about structural racism and inequity. And you're right. It does start, in very real terms, about
how this affects communities like mine.
And I have shared here recently that, when I was a teenager, I had an officer pull me over for a rolling stop, walk up to the vehicle and
withdraw a firearm.
I'm thankful to be here today. But the fact of the matter is, this deeper conversation, and the police chief and the mayor are correct to welcome
this investigation. That is affirming, but it's also distressing. The fact that we need an investigation is a concession that our leadership has not
been able to address these systemic challenges, which is also why we need federal leadership.
And in my own right, understanding that, I have launched an exploratory for U.S. Senate to consider a run against someone like Rand Paul, who denies
that racism even exists. So, we do need leadership at the federal level. And this investigation that Attorney General Garland has announced is
timely and it's overdue.
AMANPOUR: So let me just play, in fact, what the mayor of Louisville said about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG FISCHER, MAYOR OF LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY: It is no surprise that the policing is at a real crossroads in America right now. And every mayor is
looking at their police department and saying, how can we make sure that practices are constitutional, there's no discriminatory practices?
In my view, it's just a time for a total top-to-bottom review for all a policing in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So I just want to know whether you think that's genuine, because I have heard from activists, certainly since the trial and the conviction
of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, that police departments all over the country were looking at that and know that, in order to
protect good -- the good police, they have to do something, because this is bad for them as well.
On the other hand, you have got police unions who are very, very powerful, and they are actually strongly pushing back on a number of these reforms.
BOOKER: That's exactly right.
And in terms of whether the words that our local leadership are saying, whether they are genuine or not, there's the first point to note, that
words are important. And what he's acknowledging is very true.
But in the same vein to what you were mentioning with unions and law enforcement and how there's been a push and pull on how we actually
effectuate change, it speaks to the systemic nature of this challenge.
And I see that our local leaders are essentially saying, we can't do this alone, and we need leadership at the federal level that's going to step in
and give us the support we need. And, again, that's why I feel the urgency of telling that story in my own right, as a young black man from those same
And I'm asking everyone that's watching us now, because I know the world is watching -- we're still mourning for Breonna Taylor -- to go to
CharlesBooker.org, and understand what we're trying to build here, and not just lifting up an opportunity to change our political dynamic, but to
actually get these real results that we sorely need.
AMANPOUR: And, again, because so much of this is local, and, as we have established, there is no uniform national federal set of rules or
accountability or practices.
So, I have been reading also that some cities, for instance, where communities try to hold police accountable -- many of them are civilian
oversight boards, if you like -- they get a huge amount of pushback. And we have seen them say that they don't actually have any teeth. There's
literally not a huge amount they can do, other than maybe write a few reports.
BOOKER: Well, one of the biggest challenges is the fact that, when you look at municipal budgets, for instance, here in Louisville, our law
enforcement, their budget is more than every other agency combined.
And so when you have built this institution that is in the vein of public safety, which we all want, we have essentially prevented ourselves from
having hard conversations about how do we actually get to public safety, because when you talk to people in uniform, they will tell you that, in a
moment of health crisis or someone that's unhoused, that needs help, they're not often prepared to address them.
And I have actually shared my own story we're seeing here nationally, where folks are sitting in their cars. It's an air freshener hanging in the
rearview mirror, a minor traffic infraction. And the deeper question for us is, how do we actually make sure that we are addressing our laws and
upholding our laws, but keeping people safe?
And that is, again, why we need to have this conversation at a systemic and structural level, and not ignore that this is bigger than just any one
And we need men and women in uniform to join us in doing this work. And the people of Kentucky are ready.
AMANPOUR: What would you say then to President Biden? He's going to give his national address to a joint session tomorrow night.
His campaign promise was to establish an oversight commission. He hasn't talked about that. He hasn't done it. What do you think he needs to say
about this? He's obviously said a lot about the George Floyd Act. And he's spoken a lot about these crimes that are being committed.
What else should he do now?
BOOKER: Well, I agree with you that President Biden has spoken to the fact that systemic and structural racism exist. He has spoken about his support
for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. That needs to happen.
This is also a chance for us to show bold leadership. Now, if we know that the challenges of effectuating or effecting community and public safety
stem back to deeper structural issues of inequity and poverty, how do we get to the heart of that?
If we know that this disproportionately impacts black communities and poorer communities, how do we make sure that folks are living healthy,
gainful, thriving lives, where they have more resources, they have money in their pocket, they have opportunities to dream in advance, they have the
health care that they need?
We have to dig in and have this deeper conversation beyond just what police do or don't do. And I hope that he leads on that.
AMANPOUR: Well, now is the time. Everybody's watching on this.
Charles Booker, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us.
Now, questions of justice have long been central to my next guest's life and work. Bestselling author John Grisham began as a small-town lawyer,
before he perfected the modern legal thriller. Grisham has sold over 300 million copies of his 46 books; 28 of them have been consecutive number one
His latest book is about the sports arena. "Sooley" follows a Sudanese teenager who leaves the civil war at home to play college basketball in
And John Grisham is joining me now from Charlottesville, Virginia.
Welcome. Welcome to the program.
I wonder if I could get you first to weigh in on the discussion that we have been having, because it's been a central focus of your work and your
life as well. And that is social justice, racial justice. And you have written a lot about the legal system.
What do you make of what's happening in the country now and how it's changed, for instance, the blue line cracking during the Derek Chauvin
trial, police testifying against one of their own for the first time?
JOHN GRISHAM, AUTHOR, "SOOLEY": Well, first of all, thank you, Christiane, for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.
I'm certainly no expert on policing or police procedure. But my wife and I watched the early morning news this morning, just appalled, like everybody
else, with the number of shootings, white policemen shooting unarmed black people and killing them. It's -- the numbers are staggering, 17, as you
said earlier with your other guest.
Again, I don't know -- I don't know how to solve the problem, except just stop shooting and stop killing. Apparently, these policemen are trained
that, if someone is resisting arrest and trying to get away, it's OK to go ahead and kill them. That's what's happening time and time again.
And that is not the way the police should be handling this. Listen, there are a lot of black people and brown people who don't want to be arrested
because they don't trust the court system, the jail system, the penal system, the legal system. They don't trust the system, OK, with good
reason. They have been through it before, or they know somebody who has.
And so there's a great deal of distrust. They don't want to be arrested. And most these people are unarmed, the ones who are being shot, and charged
with small, petty crimes. This is not violent crimes they are charged with. And they're being shot and killed.
The shooting has got to stop at some point. We have many, many problems to fix after that, but, for right now, just stop the killing.
AMANPOUR: You books have tackled a lot of the issues of justice. Obviously ,they have been legal thrillers. They have been made into movies. Everybody
knows about them because they have been so popular.
Do you -- has your -- has it been your experience that writing these stories, whatever they might be, in this realm can also effect not just
awareness, but some social change?
GRISHAM: Well, I'm not sure about change, certainly awareness, because I started writing about wrongful convictions about 15 years ago.
And this is another area of police abuse and prosecutorial misconduct. This is not killing people in the street. This is sending people away to prison
for 20 and 30 years for somebody else's crime.
Almost every wrongful conviction -- and there are tens of thousands of those in this country and tens of thousands of innocent people in prison --
almost every wrongful conviction goes back to bad police -- bad police work and bad conduct by the prosecutors.
And they're immune from prosecution, immune from liability. And so, I have lived through that a lot with my research and books. And, you know, I want
to say yes, that by raising awareness about wrongful convictions and also mass incarceration and also other problems in our judicial system, you
know, I hope raising awareness can somehow lead to change.
I'm not leading that parade. I write first and foremost as an entertainer, a writer of popular fiction. But sometimes I work in the issues, and I
think those are better books. I would like for people to think more about these issues.
AMANPOUR: So, let's turn to "Sooley" because that's your new book and you've taken on the big issue of basketball. Well, actually, also civil war
of migration, of having to leave your home. Tell my why you decided to focus on South Sudan, the civil war there and this character, Samuel
GRISHAM: Well, it goes back to the desire to write a book about college basketball. I've written three other sports books too, about football, one
about baseball and I really enjoyed watching college basketball. We're big fans. And for a number of years, I've thought about the idea of a college
basketball novel. Didn't have the story until about a year ago. And several things happened to bring the story together.
One was another story. A magazine article about a team from South Sudan playing here in the U.S. in the summertime showcase camps. Young players
who dreamed of playing college basketball and then professionally here in the States. And so, the kids were very fantastic athletes and wonderful
players and they play with a really infectious style of exuberance that college coaches really like. So, that was the initial inspiration.
And so, finally about a year ago, when March Madness was cancelled in March of last year, it was a shock to all of us. At that point, we realized that
pandemic is pretty serious if they're going to cancel March Madness and it was -- for sport fans, it was a -- that's the biggest sporting event of the
year for us as sports fans. And so, when it was cancelled, it was a big deal. And that was sort of the impetus to go ahead and get my basketball
fix by writing a novel about basketball.
Again, I picked South Sudan because of the interest I have in the players from there. There have been a lot of great players to come here. It's a
country with a terrible past. A lot of suffering, a lot of death, a lot of wars for the past 50 or 60 years, and it's dangerous place. I couldn't go
there because the state department warned us not to go there and also COVID kept us at home. So, I've never been.
But I was able to find a lot of books about South Sudan. Some books written by the refugees. And even in that context of the novel, I wanted the reader
to be aware of what these refugees are going through, what happens to them. There are over 2 to 3 million now refugees from South Sudan living in other
countries in what's becoming permanent refugee camps. These people are displaced. They cannot go home. They have no home to go home to. And it's a
tragedy. It's a humanitarian crisis. It gets worse every day.
AMANPOUR: You know, it's interesting, the minister of sports there, he really loves the idea of basketball and says that a successful national
team could encourage young men "to put down their guns and start shooting hoops." And as you mentioned, so many famous NBA players, Manute Bol. 7
foot 7 inches, I his name is Luol Deng. He is now the head of the South Sudan National Basketball team. He was also an NBA All-Star.
I wonder whether -- you know, writing this book about this story of Sooley, which -- you know, it looks like he has an overnight miraculous success,
but there's tragedy in the book and the way it ends as well. You know, you're also telling Americans a lot about this part of the world that they
may not have known about. That it's not just about war, they also produce amazing sports people.
GRISHAM: Yes, absolutely. They produce some incredible athletes, you know, track and field stars. But also, Luol Deng, probably the greatest of all
South Sudanese basketball players, NBA All-Star, as you said. Played at Duke for one year and has been very, very successful off the court. But
these guys give back. They give back to their country. They're the bright spots in a very dark history of this country where the people are striving
for some sense of safety and decency and they just want education. They want the wars to stop. They want the rebels to -- you know, the peace
And I think the basketball players -- some of these famous NBA stars are having a huge impact in that country as they are in other countries in
AMANPOUR: I don't know how much of the ending I should give away of this book. But certainly, Sooley has experience tragedy. He's lost members of
his family, others of -- like a mother has ended up in a in a refugee camp. You don't exactly have a happy ending.
GRISHAM: No. I'm not crazy about happy endings. Sometimes they're Ok. It's all fiction. So, I can do what I want to do with the ending. But I prefer
the endings that are complicated. Endings that that are not expected and sometimes endings that are said. That's just the art of storytelling. But
it was actually based on inspired by something that really happened 35 years ago to a great college basketball player who died shortly after the
draft. I'm not giving the ending away. Let's not spoil the ending of the book.
But it's a sad ending, but it's also, you know, a very compelling read and I'm already getting dirty letters from people who don't like the ending.
So, that's part of it.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you a slightly different question? Later in the program, we're going to be talking a little bit about sexism in the current
E.U. Commission president. But I wonder what -- as we talk about accountability. Over the past years, we've learned a lot about misogyny,
you know, in the entertainment industry too. And just this month, there are new disclosures in publishing, authors with known histories of mistreating
women tacitly supported by the industry.
You know, you're a longtime veteran of film, of books. Do you think your business, the entertainment business is doing enough to hold their own
accountable and to reform?
GRISHAM: I really don't know if I can answer that, Christiane. My world is publishing. OK. I don't -- my world is not Hollywood. I don't make movies.
I don't go out there. I don't hang out with people who do. I've had a lot of success with Hollywood because somebody else made the movies and I
stayed out of the filmmaking process. So, I can't really speak to that. I'm no expert.
As far as publishing is concerned, again, I'm detached from that. I don't know many people in publishing. I don't work in New York. I work on a farm
here in Virginia. And so, I'm really out of the loop when it comes to those people, their problems and whether or not the industry is doing enough to
police itself. You know, over the years I have not heard of serious problems in publishing. You're always going to have a few episodes here and
there, I guess. But I'm not aware of that and I probably would not be because I'm not caught up in it.
AMANPOUR: Very, very last question then. Ten seconds to go. Your next book. You write about one a year almost. Will it be back to the -- you
know, the police, the legal thriller or are you going to continue in sports?
GRISHAM: No. No more sports books any time soon. I'm halfway through with the next legal thriller that will come out in October. I start in January,
cheered finisher in late June. The book is called "The Judge's List." It's about a judge who's up to some bad things and our protagonist is going to
track him down.
AMANPOUR: Got it. John Grisham, thank you so much for joining us.
And next, Davarian Baldwin is a historian, a social theorist and professor of American Studies at Trinity College in Connecticut. His new book, "In
the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities Are Plundering our Cities," it is about higher education's sometimes negative impact on black and brown
local residents. Here's Hari Sreenivasan speaking to them about all of this.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Davarian Baldwin, thanks for joining us.
Your book lays out an argument that essentially universities have amassed enormous unchecked amounts of power. You're not just looking at small
schools or big schools or lesser-known schools or Ivys. I mean, you take apart, for example, Yale in New Haven, which are in many ways synonymous.
So, tell me how, for example, does Yale get more out of New Haven than New Haven does out of Yale?
DAVARIAN BALDWIN, AUTHOR, "IN THE SHADOW OF THE IVORY TOWER": Collega and universities are designated as nonprofits as indicated by their 41 C.P.
status in the tax code. Which means that their property is tax exempt.
Now, the money that comes from property taxes is what directly underwrites things in the public good like schools, public secondary schools, trash
removal, snow removal, thing about Texas a month ago, the electrical grid. So, the basic infrastructure of cities comes from property taxes.
So, as Yale became not only one of the biggest landholders in New Haven, the biggest employer in New Haven through this (INAUDIBLE) economy of tech
and science and property holdings, people began to see a direct correlation between the money that Yale was not paying in proper taxes and its grand
expansion and the struggling conditions of the City of New Haven.
SREENIVASAN: Because a city still has to pick up the trash on campus?
BALDWIN: That's right. And the campus still benefits from the infrastructure that the city provides.
SREENIVASAN: So, when you look at this -- look, colleges and universities are going to say, what about all of the benefits that we bring to the
public commons, the public good? So, for example, you look at Princeton and you say, they've got a bunch of patents, they've got amazing discoveries,
they've got lots of things that the campus and the students and faculty have helped discover in lots of different fields. So, isn't that good,
what's good for Princeton? Isn't that good for the township of Princeton?
BALDWIN: Well, for some, but not for others. And the great thing about this project is I was able to conduct over 100 interviews and I focused on
the stories of people who, I say, lived in the shadows of the Ivory Tower. And so, one example of those kind of people are the residents of the
historically black Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood that surrounds the campus of Princeton.
In 2015, it began to realize that their property taxes of the homeowners was going up and they wondered why. What was going on? And so, they began
to do some investigation and realized that because they were standing next to Princeton buildings, they were producing millions in royalties but
remain tax exempt, their taxes were going up and they were reaping no benefits from the discoveries and innovations that were being created on
And so, they filed a lawsuit and won millions of dollars because it became clear that, again, there was a direct correlation between the cost they
were paying, the burden they were taking on and the city infrastructure and the money in property taxes that Princeton was not paying while reaping
benefits from that very exemption, in that financial shelter.
One of the plaintiffs next case was so disgusted that he caught Princeton a hedge fund that conducts classes.
SREENIVASAN: So, I mean, aren't there universities that do contribute beyond taxes? Right. I mean, is there something that universities are doing
besides the tax-exempt status that makes such land ownership problematic for the communities that they're in?
BALDWIN: They're buying the properties. And thereby, they're setting the land values of these properties and not only are property taxes of home
owners are increasing but landlords are retrofitting rental properties to meet the needs of students and faculty at the cost of single working-class
families. At the same time, they are engaging in health care work. They receive a tax exemption. The medical schools and the medical facilities
receive a tax exemption because they're supposed to be providing indigent care. But we're finding out in places like Yale New Haven Hospital and
Johns Hopkins Hospital is that they're not being poked totally transparent about the kinds of image of care they could provide.
So, they're focusing on profitable cancer research and plastic surgery. While the same time, when they do serve these communities, when the
neighborhood residents aren't able to fully pay, they're putting liens on homes and pursuing lawsuits against working-class like around people when
in some cases, the lawsuits or that care they're offering probably could be covered by the indigent care mandates and the costs could be reduced. And
then all of these economic development projects that are coming out of universities are protected by private and quasi private university police
forces better engaging in acts of racial profiling when you have predominantly white universities in black and brown neighborhoods.
And on campuses, you have black and brown students who don't want to get understood as being a local having to wear the armor of university
paraphernalia so they don't get profiled and mistreated. I spent months talking to a young Brandy Parker on the south side of Chicago told me that
as the University of Chicago's jurisdiction extended beyond the campus, almost all over the south side, in his woodland neighborhood, he got
stopped three or four times a week by the University of Chicago Police Department sometimes before the car even stopped, police officers jumped
out with the standard mantra, where the drugs at? Where the guns at? It's a young man who was never had been in the police system endured this.
So, you can say, yes, he didn't get shot, he didn't get beat up, but the trauma and the inconvenience and the feeling of always being under
surveillance in a quasi-university republic with its own economic development and its own police force. Senator Mary Washington in Baltimore
when Johns Hopkins was attempting to create its own private police force, she described it as being like putting a Vatican City in the middle of
Baltimore because of the control that these universities have over these neighborhoods.
SREENIVASAN: We're having this conversation in the wake of what the verdict with George Floyd. And I'm wondering what kinds of measures do you
think could trickle down from what police departments are looking at now and what campus police should be looking at?
BALDWIN: Well, what's important here is to understand is that as, let's be honest, white parents send their children to these schools and these black
and brown neighborhoods they begin to lobby university presidents to do something as their kids begin to live in off campus housing.
So, in cities across the country, university have entered into memorandums of understanding with city governments to give university police either
jurisdiction over areas, targeted areas beyond the main campus or either jurisdiction over the entire city. And so, on top of that, if these are
private university police, they are not subject to Freedom of Information Act policies. So, they can police and not even talk about it. So, these,
again, are private security forces, even when they are public university police, they police in ways that are governed by protecting the university
Now, we all know the biggest crimes on campus are primarily white crimes are sexual violence and substance abuse. They don't police that well and
it's not because of the competence, it's because that's not the focus. Because to make continual announcements about the levels of sexual violence
and substance abuse on campuses, that would undermine the university brain. So, that's not their intent. So, they've turn outwork in a way to protect
the brand, to police and show that even though we are in a poor black and brown neighborhood, your children will be protected through a show of
So, some of the recommendation that we've seen in the broader sense can be applied and actually can come out of university. The university could be a
model for police reform and in some cases, police abolition or defunding.
So, for example, when I spoke to Senator Washington in Baltimore, she pointed out that as we're talking about thinking about ways to shift
services and resources from police, because we know that 80 percent of police stops don't require an armed confrontation, it's primarily social
services, domestic disputes, et cetera, that we need to ship the money they have opted (ph) and funneled into policing budgets towards social services
that have been cut.
So, at a university where you have an institution of higher learning with a public health or medical school, where else could we start than to have at
least a police officer paired with a public health professional or shifting the burden from policing to public health and community safety.
Universities could be a model for defunding or police reform, police abolition activities. And community residents in these campuses have been
calling for it for decades.
SREENIVASAN: Being one of the largest landowners in a town, I'm assuming, comes with some political power, especially if you are going to have a new
real estate development project that hopes to bring new funds, new energy into an area?
BALDWIN: When the Columbia University, a few years ago, was pushing to build its West Harlem campus, over a 16-acre area while student and
community journalist found that the university had put money into state agencies as a way to encourage them to use their imminent domain powers to
identify certain properties in the area as blighted (ph) so the university could gain control. When this was discovered, a lower court judge described
the university's efforts to use imminent domain as mere soccer street.
But because of the leverage and the power of universities in governance, the higher court argued that, well, because the university offers a public
good, because it produces jobs and it can bring, you know, investments to the area that it is legal, that -- you know, because of Kelo v. the City of
New London, it (INAUDIBLE) for a year before Columbia began to expand, it was legal to say that imminent domain could be used not just for public
use, bridges and tunnels and roads, but for a general public good that didn't require public accessibility.
And so, a university could gain access to a whole neighborhood and develop, you know, drugs and technological discoveries even though the guarantee
that once they do that, that it will come into a public market, right? So, what's the public here, right? We're going to pay into what -- even if it's
discovered on university campus with federal money that is free to the university, you could turn to the private market. University can make
millions. Is that a public good? Good question.
SREENIVASAN: What have you noticed during the pandemic? I mean, we've seen the statistics that enrollments are down at universities and colleges
around the country. At the same time, we've seen some big sort of austerity measures being taken by colleges and universities. We've also seen what
qualifies as an essential versus an expendable worker on the labor force in campuses. What are the things that strike you about what's been happening
this past year?
BALDWIN: Yes. So, most people don't even acknowledge that because universities are, in many cases, the largest employer in our cities, and
we're not talking about faculty, we're talking about low wage workers in the cafeteria, maintaining the grounds, support staff, and these are
primary black and brown women. They -- university set the wage ceiling in many cities. So, whatever they pay will determine what other industries
have to pay their cities. That's important to acknowledge.
So, during the pandemic, we -- scholars and activists discover that, for example, Harvard, which made money, made money in their kind of financial
coffers, there in their investments during the pandemic. And also received millions from the CARES Act. They're using the pandemic to claim austerity
measures, which meant cutting jobs in these low wage areas.
And so, they did offer a furlough with wages for those who are directly employed by the university, up to three months. But those who are who are
employed through a sub-contractor, which is becoming a larger trend than most universities are now working on contracts with sub-contractors so that
even if you have a university union, those contracts don't apply to the subcontracted workers, which are becoming the majority.
So, at Harvard, the subcontracted workers didn't cut -- didn't get covered by the furlough agreements. But then when celebrity alarms and the law
school started pushing back on social media, it forced Harvard to include subcontracted workers under the furlough. UChicago, they started to take
their unused cafeteria food or excess food and package it into meals for families of need during the pandemic. And it began to offer smaller loans
to struggling small businesses, all great.
But especially with the food issue. I asked, why isn't this a standard operating procedure? If you can do it with a pandemic, why can't we create
infrastructure where these institutions can take the food they're going to throw away the next day and distributed it to communities of need?
SREENIVASAN: So, you -- in the epilogue, you take us kind of in the opposite direction and show us that there are ways that we can reimagine a
relationship between a university and the community it's in.
BALDWIN: Yes. So, I anchor of this discussion in what I saw at the University in Winnipeg. They built housing that was available to both
university affiliates and residents at a range of financial levels, from premium to a market rate to affordable rate to rate year to income. They
put in arrangements with the student government to open up daycare slots for people that were in need that were living in this housing at a more
Most universities use one of the food and service multinationals like Marryat (ph), Sodexo (ph) or -- you know, et cetera. What they did was they
fired one of those multinationals and hired their own -- created their own, called diversity foods. At diversity foods, 65 percent of the employees
come from marginalized communities, whether that be of color, new Canadian -- what we call immigrants, recently incarcerated, single mothers, people
from LGBTQ communities and they're beginning to process of creating them and turning them into shareholders. So, they would get shares from the
So, my point here is that when people say to me, we have to be practical, you're just offering critique. What can we do? What's your solutions? These
are my solutions. And we don't have to go north of the border to think about the university city relationship any more just an equitable way, we
just need to shift our vision from a profit-oriented university to a people-oriented university. That's all we have to do. And these solutions
are right beneath our feet.
SREENIVASAN: The book is called "In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower." Davarian Baldwin, thanks so much for joining us.
BALDWIN: Thank you so much for your time.
AMANPOUR: And finally, tonight, remember when the E.U.'s first ever female leader was left standing at that meeting with the Turkish president a
couple of weeks ago? Well, she has finally decided to call it out. Saying her only conclusion is that it happened because she's a woman. Turkey which
wants to join the E.U. denies that. But that is what Everyday Sexism looks like.
And that's it for now. Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.