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Interview With Author Michael Lewis; Interview With Bogota, Colombia, Mayor Claudia Lopez Hernandez. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 06, 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): Colombia is rocked by deadly protests. From poverty to police violence, we hear how COVID has unleashed demonstrators
determined to hold their government's feet to the fire.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: Every day, with the daily cases continuing to fall, we are hopeful about these really encouraging trends.
AMANPOUR: Americans start to see light at the end of the tunnel. But did the pandemic has to be so bad?
Bestselling author Michael Lewis explains why he thinks the system failed in his new book, "Premonition."
ROBERT PAPE, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: This is not the usual suspects.
AMANPOUR: Profiling the insurrectionists. Professor Robert Pape tells Michel Martin his study reveals they are not the people one might expect.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Discontent is boiling over in Colombia. At least 24 people are dead after eight days of protests and a brutal crackdown in that Latin American
nation. Now the interior minister has come out to say that the government does not condone violence and that any police officer violating the law
will be held to account.
The demonstrations were sparked by a proposed tax hike that president has now canceled, but protesters are not letting up. Colombians are desperate
for better lives after COVID made an already dire economic situation even worse. This stunning statistic perhaps puts it into perfect perspective.
More than 40 percent of the population now is living in poverty.
With the same underlying forces president across much of the region, concern is growing that the unrest could soon spread.
So, let's go straight to the capital, Bogota, and to Mayor Claudia Lopez Hernandez.
Mayor Lopez, welcome to the program.
Let me just ask you to tell me about the situation in the capital. Is it calmer? Are there still protests? Do you have an issue of violence right
CLAUDIA LOPEZ HERNANDEZ, MAYOR OF BOGOTA, COLOMBIA: Christiane, it's a great pleasure to talk to you. And thank you so much for the opportunity.
There has been eight days of protest in Bogota, two of them extremely violent, unfortunately. The demonstrators have been specific. It's mostly
young people who try to raise their voice and their claims. Unfortunately, in other cities in Colombia, 24 people have been killed, fortunately
enough, none of them in Bogota.
But it does not mean that some riots and violence and also police abuse has been occurring in the capital. What we need at this moment is calm, a
political agreement to hear the voice of the young protesters in the streets. That, unfortunately, has not been invited yet by the president.
AMANPOUR: So tell us, Mayor, what the young people want. And have you ever seen, either as mayor or in your career or in your lifetime, this kind of
protest on the streets in your capital and elsewhere around the country?
LOPEZ HERNANDEZ: Yes, I mean, this is -- social movement in Bogota and in Colombia are extremely powerful. They march. They raise their voice. I have
been part of that social movement.
I was also young 30 years ago, and I was part of the student movement in Colombia. We claimed peace. We claimed inclusion. It is mostly a pacifist
movement, but, unfortunately, there is still some violence and some riots that end in violence.
Last year, in September, we have a very critical situation in Bogota in which, because of George Floyd-type of abuse in Bogota, there were riots,
extremely violent, and police officers indiscriminately shooting people in my city. Ten young members of my city were killed. More than 300 were
So, I denounced this nationally, internationally. I confronted both the police, which is a national police -- we don't have local police in Bogota
-- and the president. We were able, a city, to enforce some agreements to reduce violence, to prevent police abuse and violence in my city.
And, fortunately enough, that been useful for these times. Nobody has been killed in Bogota in eight -- these days of protest. But, unfortunately, 24
people in my country has been killed.
What young people want? They want inclusion. At this moment, they have high levels of poverty, high levels of unemployment. This is an extreme unequal
society. And they want to be heard. They want to be heard at the table with the president, not only with political parties or other social forces, but
young, themselves, they want to be empowered and heard.
And their voice has to be heard at the national level and the national government.
AMANPOUR: So, what do you make of -- I mean, would you say their voice has been heard?
The fact that they have been on the streets, they have said no to the president's proposed tax hike, in part, he said, to fill the economic gap
left by COVID and the economic collapse, would you say their voice has been heard because he has pulled it, he has pulled that tax reform in? And do
you expect them to stay on the streets in this case?
LOPEZ HERNANDEZ: I mean, they were heard, in the sense that the president retired the tax reform that they proposed.
But now there has to be -- they have to be invited to the table to have a social and political agreement on how to build a plan to recover from
poverty and to have economic employment again.
So, to one extent, the president heard the nation and heard the voice of the social protesters, in the sense that they acknowledged, the national
government acknowledged that their proposal of tax reform was not viable. And they take that out from the table.
But now there is there is a political agreement that is required, because we still have poverty. We still have unemployment. We still have a huge
social and economic crisis. So, youth people, social forces, political forces, and the national government, they have to come up with a plan. They
have to agree on a recovery plan. That's required.
And there are some things that make that agreement hard to achieve. First of all, there has been violence against the youth people. You know, they
suffer. They are sort of radical at the moment.
On the other extent, we are year to go to national elections. But there are a lot of political opportunism, people making calculations what would be
better for them at the political campaign, rather than for the nation to recover at this moment.
So, I think we all need to count, we all need to contribute to a national democratic agreement, a kind of New Deal, right, a kind of Marshall Plan.
That's what Colombia and I will say Latin American countries need at this moment.
AMANPOUR: Mayor, I have heard you say that. And it's quite -- it's a big ask.
And, of course, you must be looking north. You must be looking at the United States of America, where President Biden has done that kind of
thing, you know, a New Deal kind of infrastructure and the American Rescue Plan and all the things he's rolling out, putting a huge amount of money to
try to rescue the American people after this pandemic.
But your country doesn't have those resources. It can't do that. So how do you economically propose that the desperate need -- and we said 40 percent
are now living in poverty in your country. What are the roots towards rooting that out, so to speak?
LOPEZ HERNANDEZ: First of all, I think we need to agree that at least 10 percent of the -- the highest top 10 percent of economic people in Colombia
has to contribute more at this moment.
I mean, we have to be able to make this agreement at least. You know, this is not the moment to enforce new taxes and new burdens over middle class or
the popular poor class of our people.
But at least the 10 top percent of the economic well-being of our society, they have to contribute more. Second of all, cities, we have more capacity
to have debt at this moment. Let me tell you, for example. Bogota, we only -- debt, now 3 percent out of the 100 percent of our GDP, the city's GDP.
But the national government owns 65 percent of the national GDP. Of course, the national -- the financial -- excuse me -- conditions that they have are
very different from the ones we have.
So, we need Congress to allow larger cities such as Bogota's to have and contract debt now be able to be able to deal and agree with our city
councils and our citizens a kind of New Deal, a environmental, infrastructure, social plan that can provide employment for those youth
people marching in the streets.
So, there are things that can be done. But the most important, essential social and political condition for that is for political forces to act
seriously, to invite youth to the table, to invite social forces to the table, instead of steering political radicalization that will end up in
AMANPOUR: Well, listen, thank you very much for bringing us up to date, Mayor, Mayor Lopez in Bogota now.
And we are now going to turn to Moises Naim. He's a distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. And he's been listening to
So, let me ask you, Mr. Naim, to put that into context. You just heard what the Mayor said and what's required, that the voice of the people,
particularly the youth, needs to be included and listened to. Your reaction to that?
MOISES NAIM, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: Of course.
Of course, that's necessary. And a lot of what she said, the mayor said, makes a lot of sense and needs to be done. The fiscal -- every country that
has been hit by the pandemic gets a fiscal shock, meaning that it needs to boost public expenditures, and while revenues for the public sector drop,
and, therefore, you have a deficit.
So, in that sense, Colombia is no different. They had a pandemic shock that they need -- they need to bring back their finance in order. The problem is
that they passed a tax reform that was skewed and clearly unsustainable, and, in fact, they have withdrawn it.
One aspect that was very interesting in listening to the mayor of Bogota is that the way she described the situation, she never mentioned political
parties. It's as if the country doesn't have political parties, when, in fact, in this case, they have been absent or very -- they have taken a low
And that is the case throughout Latin America, where political parties have been weakened. And now the streets are the main channel to voice grievances
that is common both in Latin America and around the world, and with the streets. Taking to the streets has replaced the role that political parties
used to play.
AMANPOUR: That is so interesting, because, yes, it was clear that she didn't talk about political parties. And it was, listen to the people,
because the people are out there telling you what they need.
So, how do you put this in context of the wider Latin American content -- continent rather? Because there's a lot of discontent around, particularly
exacerbated under the year of COVID.
NAIM: Absolutely, Christiane.
And Latin America is going through hell. It is a disaster. Latin America has known crisis, political, economic, social crisis. That's nothing new,
except that now it is huge. It is unprecedented political turmoil in -- all around, with very frail governments, in many sense, in many ways, and a
The decline -- the consequences of the pandemic on the economy have -- in Latin America are some worse in the world. And listen to this number. The
number of deaths, of COVID deaths in Latin America is 35 percent.
And this is a region that has 8 percent of the world's population. So, with 8 percent of the world population, Latin America gets 35 percent of total
COVID deaths. So, that gives you a sense of the magnitude of the problem and the frailty of their economies.
So, it's no surprise that people are taking to the streets.
AMANPOUR: So, you also have looked at -- and we're trying to get to the big picture here. You have a theory that there is a debate going on around
the continent, based on the three C's.
Just outline those three C's for me.
Again, first, let's put it in context. We have had these kinds of street unrest throughout the region, and, even surprisingly, in Chile. Chile was
always presented as the star reformer, the best economy in Latin America, the most stable political system.
And we saw, a couple of years ago, huge street protests that destroyed the metro stations. And it was massive. And it's still there. And as a result
of that, the Chileans will soon vote to elect representatives to rewrite the constitution.
And it has been -- and the political order, the political system in Chile has been upended. So, any -- and throughout Latin America, you see these
street revolts and these protests.
And, immediately, every time that it takes place, there is three fears. One is the C of conspiracy. Immediately, people start saying, no, this is a
conspiracy that has Cubans, some Venezuela actively undermining governments that they don't like and that they want to replace them with their allies.
So, that's -- conspiracy is the first C.
The other C is copying. It's copycat. They see the yellow vests in Europe. They see what is happening in Hong Kong in the streets that were now
defeated and silenced by repression, in Catalonia, and around Latin America, people that take to the streets. And then there is a copy, an
And the third C is -- we have conspiracy. We have the copying. And we have...
NAIM: ... spontaneous combustion, meaning that this happens essentially because people are fed up and take to the streets.
AMANPOUR: Yes, so I'm interested that you said -- you pointed further afield, to Hong Kong and elsewhere, the yellow vests in France.
Do you -- I mean, look, for a long time, Latin America was run by military dictatorships. Then they became democratic. And then the economy was
booming, and there was hope, and it was a real sort of several decades of hope.
Now, it seems, according to what we are seeing, to be reversing again. We also see democracy and the free market and others under threat around the
rest of the world. And I am just wondering whether you think that this COVID-enhanced kinds of erosion of democratic values and principles in many
parts of the world is also an issue and on your continent as well, Latin America?
NAIM: Absolutely, Christiane.
I -- one of my main concerns is that, in a few years, the number of democracies in Latin America will be less than what we have today. And that
will be a price paid by -- pandemics do that. History shows that after -- the pandemics alter the social secure and political arrangements and
replace -- and democracies do not -- often do no survive.
So, after pandemics, regions have long protracted periods of dictatorship.
AMANPOUR: Well, it is all playing out in front of our very eyes.
So, thank you so much, Moises Naim, for putting it into context for us. Thanks so much.
So, if that's the situation in Latin America, up north, hope is on the horizon in the United States, as COVID cases there continue to come down,
and vaccinations continue to ramp up.
The pandemic has wrought havoc in America since March of last year, when then President Trump at the time claimed everyone was caught off-guard.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This was something that happened that was, some people would say, an act of God. I don't view
it as an act of God. I would view it as is something that just surprised the whole world.
And if people would have known about it, it could have stopped -- been stopped in place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But some people actually did see it coming.
The acclaimed author Michael Lewis, famous for "Moneyball" and "The Big Short," has turned his eyes to those unsung heroes of the pandemic. And
he's chronicled why exactly their warnings went unheeded.
And it's all in his latest book called "The Premonition."
Michael Lewis is joining me now from Berkeley, California.
Welcome back to the program, Michael Lewis, to talk more about these trends that you keep putting your finger on and telling us all about.
So, the last book was "The Fifth Risk." And we had you on about that. And in that, you outlined how institutions and experts and the thinkers were
being hollowed out relentlessly in the U.S. over the years, and that this could have been foreseen.
Now it is foreseen. Did that book sort of come to play and lead on to "The Premonition," which you have just written?
MICHAEL LEWIS, AUTHOR, "THE PREMONITION": Completely. And it was almost too easy how the two books linked together.
But I didn't -- look, "The Fifth Risk," It just framed the fact of the U.S. government as a risk management enterprise. Forget about the rest of it,
these existential risks that this enterprise, and this enterprise alone, can manage, among them the risk of pandemic disease.
And it was the problem of the corrosion of those tools and then, with Trump the complete neglect of them. The question to me was, it wasn't like, is
something bad going to happen, but when and what it's going to be? And it happened to become a -- been a pandemic. It was really the first, like,
management challenge that Trump really faced.
And it was catastrophic. So, yes, the -- when the pandemic, at the start of the pandemic, I thought, well, this is the thing that happened. And let's
see how it -- let's see how it plays out. Let's see if the things we learned about the federal risk management tools are relevant here.
AMANPOUR: Well, because, in fact, we all have been told that America was the number one most prepared nation for a pandemic, and it would be able to
deal with whatever came its way in this situation.
And yet it didn't, obviously. Can you encapsulate it?
LEWIS: It's incredible.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Yes.
LEWIS: It's incredible, actually, right?
I mean, that -- a collection of hundreds of experts and researchers in June and in 2000, through 2019, set out with money from the Nuclear Threat
Initiative to analyze how countries are going to respond to this and who's most prepared and rank them, and the United States and the United Kingdom
end up one in two in the rankings.
Now, as of my writing, the United States had 4 -- roughly 4 percent of the world's population and a bit more than 20 percent of the deaths. And it
really is -- it really reminded me of like these college football preseason rankings, where people go in and like some -- and the big fancy schools get
overrated and then, when the games are played, it doesn't work out.
And it raises this question. Like, what is preparedness? Like, what is managing this risk? It isn't -- and it isn't simply having the smartest
people and the most microbiology labs and the most material resources. It's -- there is this kind of management aspect to it that the rankings
neglected, and that these two societies really failed that.
AMANPOUR: Yes, because, here in the U.K., obviously, experienced the worst -- the worst of it in terms of Europe, so exactly what you're saying. The
first two practically did the worst.
Can I ask you, though, to go back? And you start by going back to basically 2000. And you look at the situation there at the time, obviously, post --
well, nearly post-9/11, the obsession with terrorism and all the other things that were on the agenda for the Bush administration.
And yet you talk about how, at that time, the start of a kind of pandemic management was initiated. And you talk about some unsung heroes. Walk us
LEWIS: This, to me, was an incredible part of the story. It's like the backstory of the pandemic is more interesting than the pandemic.
So, Bush, George Bush, in 2006 is handed a book -- or maybe was like late 2005 -- handed a book called "The Great Influenza" by John Barry, and he
reads it, and it's about the 1918 pandemic. And he comes back from reading it and asks someone in the White House, what's the pandemic plan? And comes
the answer, we don't have one.
And there's this -- he has 9/11 in the recent rearview mirror, and he's got Katrina on his desk, and he's kind of wondering, what on earth is going to
happen next? And it's a scramble.
And at first, it showed you, like, how fast the U.S. government can move if the president is really motivated, because, in a matter of a couple of
weeks, he's got Congress to appropriate $7 billion to go and create a pandemic plan, a strategy and all the things that follow from the strategy.
And they bring in -- this is what was so fascinating to me -- a kind of -- an unexpected collection of people from various federal agencies, nominated
by their agency because they're kind of creative, different thinkers. Like, we're going to think about this problem for the first time.
We're going to invent pandemic planning. And the character -- the two characters who end up in the middle of it trying to solve this is that --
there are lots of pieces of this, right? It's like vaccine preparedness, and what do you do with animals? And it's endless.
But the question of, what do you do to preserve, to save human life and prevent illness before you have drugs, before you have vaccines and before
you have antivirals? That was the question that preoccupied two doctors, Carter Mecher and Richard Hatchett.
And they were just doctors, I mean, smart doctors, but -- interesting- minded doctors, but doctors. And they grope their way to this idea of the social distancing, to targeted intervention, social interventions, and the
effects the particular interventions have on disease.
And the whole world at that point is skeptical of this. The conventional wisdom out of 1918 was none of that works, that you're actually not going
to slow a virus.
And they persuade -- Carter Mecher especially persuades the U.S. public health infrastructure that this is smart. He embeds it in a plan he writes
with Hatchett in the CDC. And the CDC sells it to the rest of the world.
So, you can draw a line between the work they did back then and the global response to this thing. And the irony -- and what Carter Mecher would say
is the tragedy -- is that the country that sort of created this playbook, the United States, didn't really follow it, not nearly as well as other
LEWIS: He's -- it's -- for him, it's an incredibly emotional thing.
His mother dies of COVID. But -- and it's because these truths he sort of unearthed about how you deal with such a thing didn't get formally, fully
acknowledged by the society in which he created it.
AMANPOUR: And then the question is why right? We have had Richard Hatchett on this program.
AMANPOUR: And I think the whole concept of tracing where social distancing comes from was just fascinating. We did it quite early on in the pandemic.
But then -- and you address this as well, when you talk about the CDC in your book, that it seems that politics got involved, just on every level,
including social distancing and masks and all that, including at the CDC, which you write kind of lost its way and lost its gold standard stamp of
LEWIS: Lost its reputation. It lost its reputation.
But -- and the thing that was so interesting to me about that is, when you -- when you -- I mean, I just told a story, right? I mean, it's for you to
decide what this story means. I told a story through three startling characters, including Carter Mecher. And you can decide what it means.
But if you go to the ground level where disease is battled, the community level, and spend time with a local public health officer -- and Charity
Dean is the name of the character who is my character who's doing this -- you go -- this problem with the CDC predates the pandemic and predates
Trump, that the CDC had become, in her view, by 2000 -- when she takes her job in 2012, more of an academic institution, that whenever she has a
battlefield situation with tuberculosis or hepatitis C or meningitis, where there's going to be controversial public health decisions to make to stop
disease from spreading, they won't help her.
In fact, they obstruct her investigations, to the point where she bans them from. And so she would -- she would have -- if you just sat a public health
-- a local public health officer, a character nobody knew they existed until this happened, down and ask them well before Trump, like, is the CDC
going to rise to the occasion and be the battlefield commander in the event of a pandemic, I think they would have said no.
So, you could see the seeds of the catastrophe in the lived experience of the people who were actually trying to control disease and that we had this
institution called the Centers for Disease Control that really didn't control disease?
And she -- as Charity would say, she would say, it should be called the centers for disease observation and reporting.
LEWIS: It's an excellent academic institution.
And, obviously, under the Biden administration, they're trying to walk back and re-professionalize a lot of these issues that you are correctly
highlighting. And you have seen, as you said, it takes a president with access to money and organization to get things done, you said about Bush.
The same with Biden and the successful vaccine rollout and trying to re- professionalize the CDC.
But pull it back a little bit further, your lens, and it's really also about the American health system, writ large.
One of the reviews of your book said: "The malevolent force in 'The Premonition' is institutional malaise." And "The New York Times" says:
"Lewis describes a health care system whose for-profit operations are so entrenched that hospitals last spring couldn't even avail themselves of a
nonprofit lab that was faster and free because the hospital computers were incapable of coding for a $0 test."
LEWIS: It's amazing, yes.
I do feel like the three characters I'm writing about are essentially describing this system by their struggles inside of it, and that you could
see -- you can see the problems in the system have to do with incentives.
And it is that a lot of the parties are incentivized just by profits. And some of the parties, I mean, academics, are incentivized, like the CDC, by
publication. There were too few resourced devoted to incentivizing people to prevent disease.
And so, you had these mini catastrophes all over the place. One great example is what happened in San Quentin Prison. The third main character in
my book, Joseph DeRisi, who runs something called the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub who spun up this fast -- really fast big COVID testing lab when he
realized the CDC wasn't going to be able to test. Ran around trying to give it away for free. And he went to the San Quentin Prison. He said, you have
a problem here. If the virus gets in there and you don't stamp it out fast, it is going to spread like wildfire because just the physical conditions of
They said kind of uncomfortably, OK, we will do this. They did a round of testing. Everything was OK. And then they said, we can't do this anymore.
And he said, why? And he said, because we have these contracts, paid contracts with big lab testing corporations and we are afraid of angering
them and violating the contract.
And lo and behold, when they turned to the big for-profit companies, the tests take two weeks to process. They're useless. And prisoners are shipped
in to San Quentin who are infected and 20-something people died because they didn't avail themselves to this free service.
And to me, it was -- what was interesting about this was the public health system in the United States had gotten to the point where it is like, yes,
we are starved of resources. That's one form of poverty. But there is another form of poverty, it's your inability to take assistance or help
from someone else because you are so unused to having it. And so, when someone comes along the try to help you, you don't even know what to do
with it. And so, that was an aspect to the story.
AMANPOUR: And also, the idea of -- I mean, the technical term, I guess, loss aversion. The idea that, you know, making perfect the enemy of the
good. And we heard from Michael Ryan, the doctor who is at the World Health Organization in a press conference, he reflected on lessons that he had
learned from Ebola. Let's just play what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL RYAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WHO, HEALTH EMERGENCIES PROGRAMME: If you need to be right before you move, you will never win. Perfection is the
enemy of the good when it comes to emergency management. Speed trumps perfection. And the problem in society we have at the moment is everyone is
afraid of making a mistake. Everyone is afraid the consequence of error. But the greatest error is not to move. The greatest error is to be
paralyzed by the fear of failure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Michael Lewis, that was a year ago, more than a year ago. That was March of 2020, as this was exploding into the -- you know, into
the world's population. And he nailed it on the head there. What's your reaction to that?
LEWIS: I mean, I have chills up and down by spine because it's the reaction of my characters. It's -- the way we have structured our political
life, to punish mercilessly people who are doing -- experts who are doing their best in conditions of uncertainty, which is the inherent condition of
disease management in the very beginning of an outbreak. You're -- it's fog of war. You don't know what you are dealing with. All you have is your best
judgment. Mistakes will be made. But that we punish sins of commission, which are far less costly more than sins of omission, which people sweep
under the rug ends up killing hundreds of thousands of people.
And to me, it's breathtaking the sort of -- it is a public education problem, right? It's -- the citizenry has been primed to turn on someone
whose mistake is evident and can be seen. Even though the process that led them to the mistake is sound and brave. And not primed to see the thing
that should have happened that didn't. And he absolutely nails it. He absolutely nails it. That's it. That's it. And it's sad. It's sad, because
AMANPOUR: Yes. And you said something pretty sad as well. To an interviewer, you said something like, and I'm going to paraphrase, this is
a story about super heroes, but the super heroes lose the war, the super heroes don't win. And I just wondered if there is anything, even since you
wrote the book, and what you're seeing now, things get better in your country in some other countries, is there anything that gives you some hope
AMANPOUR: -- some idea that lessons have been learned?
LEWIS: So, this is -- I wrote this book in a state of exhilaration. I thought the people were so thrilling. And I didn't feel hopeless at all
when I was writing. And I asked myself, you know, it seems like a hopeless situation, why do you feel this way? And I think I feel this way because
it's a bit like to get back to the sports analogy, you've had this unexpectedly horrible season and you're deciding to go in and fix this
team. If you walk into the clubhouse of the locker room, and what you find is a team that has no ability, no talents, you are depressed because
there's nothing you can do.
If you walk in and then you find these people and you realize, my God, the talents of the society are unbelievable, it can just be reorganized.
There's hope right there. There's hope. The resort -- that -- not the material resources, the people are there who can do it. And the characters
in -- the specific characters in my book give me hope because they're creeping towards positions of authority again.
And so, I do think that when people get off their ideological stools and they aren't just yelling at each other about it was Trump's fault or it
wasn't Trump's fault or it was a hoax or it wasn't a hoax, and I think it will get off it. I think that -- and I think narratives help them get off
it. That you end up in a place which is a very American place, which this is a problem, it's a practical problem. This is a risk. We manage risk.
LEWIS: It has been exposed. Let's fix it. I think -- and I think the body of this administration is moving that way and I think they have the
approval of the people to do so.
AMANPOUR: Right. Yes. I mean, you could sort of say it's a love story and a love song to the experts. So, Michael Lewis, thank you so much indeed for
LEWIS: Thanks for having me back.
AMANPOUR: Yes. We dig now again into a study that's happened about the January 6th Capitol insurrection of the nearly 400 American rioters who
were arrested or charged, 93 percent are white and 86 percent a male. That's according to the Chicago Project on security and threats.
Here's Michel Martin speaking to the study's principal investigator, Professor Robert Pape, at the University of Chicago with some surprising
revelations about the attackers and their motives.
MICHEL MARTIN, CNNI CONTRIBUTOR: Professor Robert Pape, thank you so much for joining us.
ROBERT PAPE, DIRECTOR, CHICAGO PROJECT ON SECURITY AND THREATS: Thank you for having me.
MARTIN: Now, you said from the beginning, it's important to understand who's stormed the Capitol on January 6th. And by that, you don't just mean
for the purpose of bringing criminal charges, you've analyzed information about more than 400 people who've been arrested so far. And I'm being sort
of vague about the number because the number changes, you know, every day.
You know, some of the people have been in the news, like the guy with the fur har, you know, the guy putting his feet on the speaker's desk. But you
saw that there are patterns. The first thing -- some things that anybody who was actually watching the thing unfold could see, overwhelmingly white,
overwhelmingly male. But we could also see that they're older
What was the kind of overall sort of profile of the person who got involved?
PAPE: What's so striking in this case is that two-thirds of the over -- now 420, who have been arrested are over the age of 34. We have the
concentration in the early 40s, that is people who are in their 40s and 50s, they have families, they have jobs, they are mature adults. This is a
very different picture than what we've seen before.
Further, when we drill to not just what we can see on TV but with this hard research team at University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats,
we're able to track the occupations. And what we find are 45 percent are CEOs, business owners, doctors, lawyers, accountants, midlevel managers, we
have a State Department official. This is a very different pattern than we're used to seeing before. Only 7 percent are unemployed. That is the
national average at that point.
These are not people that are two to three times more unemployed. These are not people that are at the desperate end of the job rung ladder. And what
that means is that a lot of our usual solutions just simply won't apply. So, we usually think with right-wing extremists, well, let's get them a
job. Well, if somebody is a CEO or business owner that's going to be a problem.
What about trying to help them to adopt other -- significant others in their life? That's a big disengagement strategy in CVE (ph). Well, if they
already have children, already are married, this is -- and they're already are in a good workplace, this is a very -- this is not going to work
MARTIN: And what about the militia attachment piece? That was the other thing. I think a lot of people would have thought that they were part of
these groups that they may have heard or maybe not, don't know a whole lot about. But, you know, the Proud Boys, the people who are, you know, accused
of, you know, desecrating these two historically black churches in D.C. earlier in the year or the Oath Keepers or sort of Three Percenters.
You found that that's not the case. It was actually a tiny minority.
PAPE: It is. It's almost 90 percent of the over 420 arrested for breaking into the Capitol. Now, that we have half of those who broken in. You see,
only 800 broke in. Over -- nearly 90 percent are not affiliated with militias or preexisting gangs like the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers or the
Three Percenters. This is not the usual suspects, these are not the usual ideas of the standard lone wolf, the standard militia group who is doing
the standard far-right violence. This is not the case.
And this is important because if we keep thinking it's the militia groups, when it's not, and we keep thinking it's a lone wolf, when it's not, then,
of course, we're going to be surprised again.
MARTIN: So, what did you find? In fact, there's -- you've been writing this for the last couple of months but it just doesn't fail to shock. You
found that there are -- there's a primary driver that stands out across three separate studies, all with different methodologies. And what is that?
It's one sort of overriding driver.
PAPE: One overriding driver across all of the three studies that we've now conducted is the fear of the great replacement. This is the idea. The great
replacement is the idea that the rights of Hispanics and blacks that is the rights of minorities are outpacing the rights of whites. And this is a
consistent factor in several ways in our studies.
Number one. we looked at the origins of where are the individuals who broke into the Capitol, where they lived. And what we discovered is that over
half lived in counties in the United States that Biden won. These are not coming from the reddest parts of America. These are -- how many, half of
them from the bluest parts of America.
Now, to be clear these are pro Trumps. The poor. So, I want to be absolutely clear about that. But they're coming from Chicago. They're
coming from Houston. They're coming from San Francisco. They're coming from Los Angeles and Beverly Hills within Los Angeles. They're coming from New
Now, this is -- then we started to look more deeply and we discovered that what do the counties -- there are about 250 that have produced these 420
plus insurrectionist, what do they have most in common? What's their biggest risk factor? The biggest risk factor is not whether they're rural.
The more rural, the less likely a county was to send an insurrectionist. It's not percent vote for Trump. The higher the vote for Trump, the less
likely the county was to send an insurrectionist.
The number one risk factor was percent decline of the non-Hispanic white population. The more the decline of the non-Hispanic white population, the
more likely the county was to send an insurrectionist. And this would happen by chance, less than one in 1,000 times. So, this is very important
Second, we follow this up because, you know, once we knew that, we wanted to say, well, gee. What does --- what's the general risk factor here in the
population at large? So, we conducted a nationally representative sample with the National Opinion and Research Council, this is the gold standard
of opinion surveys, not the kind of cheap thing that people sometimes do on the side. And we asked people, 1,000 American adults, we asked them, do you
believe the election was stolen? And do you -- would you willingly participate in a violent protest?
And what we discovered is 4 percent of all American adults, which equates to 10 million people, both believe in the steal and would participate in a
violent protest. We further found that the key risk factor was belief in the great replacement, that is the belief, the fear that the rights of
minorities were outpacing the rights of whites.
MARTIN: Well, is the rights or is it people? Is it rights question or is it just there's too many people here who don't look like me and I don't
PAPE: In our survey, we specifically focused on the word rights. So, we specifically focused on the rights of Hispanics and blacks rising greater
than the rights of whites. It's a clear core belief in the great replacement idea. And so, that's why we're able to tie the studies together
so that because it's not just the general findings that overlap, they overlap very tightly.
MARTIN: What made you think about demographic change, the demographic change in the county as something to look at? What made you think about
PAPE: So, I've been studying and political violence around the world for 30 years. I started doing this when I started studying political violence
in the Balkans, in Bosnia. Remember the Bosnian Civil War? Well, this was a conflict among Muslims, Croatians and Serbs. I also study Iraq, I also
study Afghanistan, where these are Sunni versus Shia or Pashtuns versus Tajiks.
So, it was natural for me to include as one of the risk factors something about demographics. And in our country, the natural equivalence is the
question I just told you about the rights of minorities versus whites, and that idea just comes basically as rooted in my 30 years of experience.
MARTIN: What you're saying here has become one of the key talking points of the right-wing media, is that white people are being replaced. But what
does one do about that, because the fact is they do have a right to say whatever they want however inflammatory and racists it may be? This also
comes at a time when there is no political will among people of color to -- how can I say this, to attenuate their desire for what they see as equal
rights in order to not scare these people. You know, you've got this sort of two competing movements here.
PAPE: So, now that we know more clearly and it's become more transparent not just to people inside the movement but to now, all of us, as a result
of this, we can focus on understanding the fear. You see, it's not just an objective reality that's occurring here, there is fear that is occurring.
And some of that for sure is being manipulated by political leaders, people in the media. I mean, no doubt about that, what you're saying.
But understanding that is a fear allows us then to understand and break that apart, not to see it as a glob or a blob fear, but we can then pull it
apart. After 9/11, many people thought you could never end the threat of suicide terrorism. That -- I was doing a lot of work on the demographics of
suicides terrorists, that led to a lot of policies. And what's the threat of suicide terrorism today? Zilch or near zilch. And I know because I
studied this in my center as well.
So, this has changed, this -- the idea that we can understand more clearly the drivers helps us to understand the vulnerable populations who are
really vulnerable to these fears. And then within that, to understand which parts of that are the convincible part and which parts are not. And this is
how we make progress.
MARTIN: Is it possible that these views are more widespread than it would appear based on the number of people who actually participated in this
specific action as evidenced by the fact that, you know, the former president continues to loom so large over, say, the Republican Party
apparatus in so many places, that adhering to this false notion that the election was stolen has really become kind of a poor belief of the
Republican Party apparatus around the country?
So, is it possible that this belief is more widespread than simply contained and people who took this particular action on a particular day?
PAPE: Yes. So -- and that's one of the advantages of the nationally representative study is because I can tell you numbers. So, we now know
that there are about 4 percent of American adults who fit cleanly into this insurrectionist's movement as of now. But there are millions of others who
are just right next to this group who believe in the fear of the great replacement, they believe the election was stolen, but they say they're not
willing to participate in a violent protest.
And I would simply add as the analyst, now. You see what I study political violence around the world, what we see are what we call -- and I hope this
terminology is OK, we have passive supporters of a violent movement and we have active supporters of a violent movement. The 4 percent are the really
potentially active support. But there are then others that are more passive. And the thing we have to be concerned about as we go forward is
that some of those who are now -- have the same beliefs but are not acting on them in such in the same way could become more active.
This is what's making Jay Johnson, the former secretary of DHS, so concerned. This is what's making people who deal with disengagement from
right-wing groups for years. This what they do for their life, they are really concerned when they see the details of what we found because it
really -- as Jay Johnson said, it's frightening.
MARTIN: So, tell me, you promised you had some hopeful direction for us. So, I think this the time to hear it. You say you think that these -- the
ideas can be intervened upon or that this behavior can be intervened upon. Tell -- so, let's talk about that now. How?
PAPE: So, think about this like COVID. So, when we first knew there was COVID, people kept saying, well, tell me what to do. Tell me what to do.
Tell me what to do. Well, OK, political leaders told you what to do but they didn't have any science, much science, behind that. And notice how,
now, that we have science, we can tell people, here's the science that will help us going forward. Well, that's what we're doing now with these stress
testing. We're doing new research stress testing.
The second thing that's very important is that we are going to assess, we need to assess the potential of the insider threat in the U.S. military.
So, even though we found only a little over a 10 percent of the insurrectionists were members of militia groups, a third of those were --
had former military service. This is a big deal because even though it's a relatively small portion out that layer cake of the storm, it's a
particularly deadly portion, it's a particular portion that is trained to the highest standards of the use of deadly violence in a world, that's our
So, this is something that we need to take very seriously and it's kind of what we can now do is identify a particularly vulnerable population that we
need to understand the scope and drivers much, much more. Compared to COVID, it's like understanding pre-conditions driving susceptibility to the
So, as we go forward, we also need to do more consistent and deeper studies all the way in the run up to the 2022 election season. We shouldn't look at
these as just one-off studies and now we're done, because the 2022 election season is going to be on us very, very quickly and we already see,
politically, it's going to be contentious.
Well, the work I'm focusing on is how much violence should we expect? We know it'll be politically contentious. I'm not going to be in the politics
of the issue. I want to -- we need to focus on the violence part of the issue and we need to be doing that as now routinely, not just wait until
after an event happens and then people say, well, why did that happen? We need to act in advance. And this is one of the great things that we can do,
because we have the tools, we have the -- we know how to make advances in our knowledge and we just need to use science.
MARTIN: Professor Robert Pape, thank you so much for talking with us today and I do hope we'll talk again.
PAPE: Oh, thank you so much for having me. Terrific discussion.
AMANPOUR: And so illuminating. And finally, a peek at tomorrow's show and my conversation with the inspirational, and it must be said, still impish
Selma van de Perre. We talk about her life as a Jewish resistance fighter against the Nazis and how she survived the infamous ravenous concentration
camps for women. And why it's taken her some 75 years to put this incredible life down on paper in her new memoir. Here's also what she told
me about grieving for the family she lost in the camps.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SELMA VAN DE PERRE, WWII RESISTANCE FIGHTER: Well, I haven't reconciled to be set at all. I think of them every day, every night, small things happen.
And when they I slice my bread in the morning for breakfast and I half my slice of bread, I think of my mother when she buttered bread. I can't help
it. It comes into my mind. I try not to because I think -- I say to myself, it doesn't make any difference. You can't make it undone. But I can't help
it. I think of them every day in that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: The memories. And you can see my full interview with Selma van de Perre on tomorrow's program.
Also, we have the wonderful artist, Maya Lin, of the Vietnam War Memorial. She is joining me about her latest public work for New York City.
That's 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.