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How Do America's Super Rich Avoid Paying Taxes?; Vladimir Putin Tightens Grip; Interview With National Security Council Senior Director For Europe Amanda Sloat. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired June 11, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And building back greener and building fairer.
GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Fairer, greener, more prosperous, that pledge from the leaders of the world's richest countries, as they gather for the G7
summit. But how do they meet those aims?
I will ask the U.S. administration special assistant to the president Amanda Sloat.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way when the Russian government engages in
GOLODRYGA: Despite warnings from Biden, Putin tightens his iron fist. As organizations linked to Alexei Navalny are outlawed, I will look at what
this all means for the opposition movement.
JESSE EISINGER, PROPUBLICA: This is about routine and perfectly legal tax avoidance strategies.
GOLODRYGA: How America's super rich avoid income tax. Journalist Jesse Eisinger, who broke the story, joins Hari Sreenivasan.
And finally: the great return to the office. Or is it? We discuss if and how remote working will be part of a post-pandemic world.
GOLODRYGA: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour. Christiane is on medical leave
and will return very soon.
Economic and political heft on England's southwest coast. The G7 summit is finally under way in the picturesque, sandy Carbis Bay. And it's fair to
say these leaders have a lot to discuss. The group represents about half of the world's GDP. High on the agenda, they say, building a fairer world.
Well, never has that been more important as they look to end this pandemic, the pandemic that still rages in many of the world's poorest countries. The
U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan are collectively pledging one billion doses of vaccines to those countries that so
desperately need them.
Also on the docket, climate change, reining in China, and preparing for future pandemics. Central to all of this is the United States and President
Joe Biden, who will be heading to Geneva for a one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week.
I'm joined now by Amanda Sloat, special assistant to the president. She is traveling with the president all week.
Amanda, welcome to the program. Thank you so much for joining us.
AMANDA SLOAT, SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR EUROPE, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: So, welcome news, I would imagine, for those other world leaders, for the president, to send messages like, America is back and they
share their mission to rebuild democracy, especially in the face of rising autocracy in the world.
But, as you know, actions speak louder than words. And when you look at some of the actions we have yet to see from this administration, including
the lifting of the steel and aluminum sanctions put in place by President Trump, and missing still are key ambassadors to the E.U., to NATO to many
European countries, why is that?
SLOAT: Well, first of all, thank you for having me here. It's great to be in Carbis Bay, and we're really excited to have the first G7 meeting in
over two years. It's a great opportunity for the president to meet with his fellow leaders in person and really to start rallying the world's
democracies from a position of strength.
I think, to your question, we are now four or five months into the administration. The president has been very focused on commitments at home,
in terms of addressing the pandemic, in terms of addressing a lot of the economic recovery. And that's put us in a position of strength to be able
to come here to work with our partners to address a lot of these global challenges.
On the trade issues you cited, we started a very robust conversation over the last couple of months with our E.U. partners, and the administration
has been working very hard to try and begin filling key slots within the administration.
GOLODRYGA: As you mentioned, one priority, and a top priority, is tackling coronavirus, and sending vaccines to those countries that so desperately
The G7 is committed to sending one billion doses, half of that commitment coming from the United States alone. But I was stunned when I looked at
these figures. I mean, in Cornwall alone, more people have been vaccinated than in the 22 poorest African countries combined.
Is there a sense that the U.S. and other G7 countries are late to this in sending these vaccines, where we have seen Russia and particularly China
send them much sooner?
SLOAT: Well, certainly, the one thing that we have realized during this pandemic is that pandemics don't represent borders.
And we in the United States are not going to be fully safe from the pandemic until we are able to vaccinate everybody around the world. The
president campaigned on a desire to ramp up the vaccination effort in the United States. We are now in a significantly stronger position than we were
when he took office in January.
And it really is because of those domestic investments that the president made that we're now in a position to be able to share the 500 million
vaccines that the president announced yesterday, and also to rally partners here at the G7 and, frankly, other international partners, to stand up in
and do more as well.
The president's announcement and our vaccine is going to be targeting 92 of those countries. And it's something that we feel well-positioned to do and
welcome additional contributions from other countries as well.
GOLODRYGA: We should say, though, more than 600 million doses have been distributed by China around the world, particularly to Latin America as
well, in that time.
I'm curious, is there a sense or a commitment to continue investigating the origins of COVID, in particular whether or not it did in fact come from a
lab leak, as opposed to naturally from an animal to human?
SLOAT: This is something I think that the administration is continuing to look at, in partnership with our other allies, continued conversations with
the World Health Organization, to understand the origins of the pandemic.
And at the same time, we need to be continuing to work with our international partners to ensure that we have the global health security
mechanisms in place to ensure that we have the resilience to be able to deal with future pandemics.
GOLODRYGA: It's interesting.
If you look back to President Trump's first visit to the G7 meeting, that is when Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said famously that we are on
our own in terms of Europe and having to lead their own fate going forward, following the America first policy from President Trump.
Obviously, Donald -- President Biden delivering a different message, but many years have gone by now. And while he's focused on uniting democracies
vs. rising autocracies -- authorities -- authoritarian leaders -- excuse me -- in particular, China, other European countries don't necessarily see it
that way, Germany and others.
What is your take on that and what needs to be done to help persuade them that that is, in fact the case?
SLOAT: I think we are going to see a strong message of unity coming out of the G7 this weekend. After this, the president has to Brussels, where he's
going to be meeting with our NATO allies. It'll be the first time that there's a full summit since 2018. We're expecting a strong communique to be
coming out of that.
The president will then be meeting with the E.U. leadership. And you mentioned Chancellor Merkel. We announced earlier today that the president
has invited her to come to Washington in July. So, really, now that we are able to get out a little bit during the pandemic, to engage with leaders,
the president is very keen to be interacting with them in person, and really to be rallying the world's democracies to try and start addressing
some of these common challenges that we face.
There certainly is a recognition that, when you look at everything from China to climate to COVID, we are stronger and more effective when we are
working in close partnership with our allies and with our multilateral partners. And that certainly is a message that the president is carrying
into Carbis Bay and will be taking with him to Brussels next week as well.
GOLODRYGA: And I would imagine taking with him to his meeting with Vladimir Putin as well next week in Geneva.
One of the issues, many, that's going to be on their plate is what to do with neighboring Belarus, in particular after the downing of that airliner
to take a dissident journalist off the plane. Lukashenko's authoritarianism has only risen over the past few years and his aggressive manner of
treating those who are opposed to his government and his regime.
I spoke with opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya earlier, last week, and asked her, her thoughts on what President Biden should say to Vladimir
Putin on this issue in particular. Listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SVETLANA TIKHANOVSKAYA, BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: I think that Mr. Biden has to pass full, clear messages to the Kremlin, that the situation
in Belarus is not able geopolitics. It's our fight against regime inside the country.
The second message is that to get out of this political and humanitarian crisis, we have to help new friends, their elections, this year. And the
third message is that Russia has to stop support regime -- Lukashenko, because supporting the regime of Kremlin is supporting violence and torture
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: So, is President Biden in agreement there with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, and is he prepared to deliver these messages/
SLOAT: So, I think President Biden is going to be engaging with President Putin on a wide range of issues.
Some of them are going to be in areas where we want to try and find agreement in terms of strategic stability talks. Another one is going to be
where there's areas of disagreement.
On the specific issue of Belarus, President Biden has released a statement himself on this, expressing his horror at the situation that happened with
the plane, his intention to deliver a very strong response. Some of those steps have already come out, in terms of measures that the State
Department, that the Federal Aviation Administration and others have issued.
And we are continuing to remain in close consultation with the E.U. and our other allies on sanctions in response to this. So, we certainly continue to
remain very disturbed by this situation with the plane. We're continuing to support what the opposition is calling for, for free and fair elections
under OSCE auspices.
And the president has made very clear that there are going to be consequences.
GOLODRYGA: I mean, I'm asking, in terms of what the president can actually say to Vladimir Putin that will have an impact, there's no doubt that he
will say the right things.
But in terms of how Vladimir Putin will walk away from this, you just look at what's transpired since this meeting was announced, we have had two
cyberattacks, two massive cyberattacks originating from Russia. Just this week, a Russian court has deemed any opposition figures extremists, in
particular, Alexei Navalny's, and made them illegal.
And the provocations keep happening from Russia. And it doesn't seem that sanctions or anything else, even isolation from memberships, like the G7 or
G8, as it was, are deterring him. Are you concerned at all that a meeting like this will only embolden Vladimir Putin?
SLOAT: We certainly don't see this meeting as a reward.
President Biden, President Putin know each other. They go back many years, including engagements when the president was vice president. And we think
it's important to have a conversation. In the president's conversation with him previously, he made clear that he was prepared to engage and cooperate
in areas, such as strategic stability, where there was a shared interest.
He is very interested in putting predictability back into the relationship. And, at the same time, as we have seen with a number of the responses that
the administration has taken over the last couple of months, there is a very different approach from what we saw in the last administration.
And the president has made clear that he is not going to accept some of these actions and behaviors that we have seen from Russia over the last
number of months and years. And that certainly is going to be on the agenda when the presidents meet.
GOLODRYGA: I guess the question is whether Vladimir Putin is ready to put predictability and stability back into that relationship as well.
Amanda Sloat, thank you so much. We appreciate your time.
SLOAT: Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: Well, now Russia, which we were just discussing, has all been effectively banned Alexei Navalny's opposition movement this week, just
days before that Biden-Putin summit.
A Moscow court designated two organizations linked to the Kremlin critic as extremist groups, forcing them to shut down. They say they will appeal that
decision. Of course, Navalny is currently in prison for violating parole in an old embezzlement case that the European Court of Human Rights considers
to be politically motivated.
Vladimir Ashurkov is the executive director of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation. And he is joining me now.
Vladimir, welcome to the show.
First and foremost, let me get your reaction to that court ruling. I would imagine it's not surprising. Nonetheless, it's devastating for your
VLADIMIR ASHURKOV, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ANTI-CORRUPTION FOUNDATION: It wasn't unexpected.
It's a result of the increasing trend of oppression that has been happening over the last year, which included the poisoning of Navalny, his unlawful
incarceration when he returned to Russia, brutal police actions during mass protests, and now total elimination, designation of our organization, which
always advocated legal actions and legal opposition, as extremist.
GOLODRYGA: You just heard my conversation with Amanda, and saying that this is not a reward, this summit, for Vladimir Putin from this -- the
Biden administration's perspective, but it's just laying some groundworks, and the U.S. at least proposing some stability in areas where the two can
What is your take on that? It seems that Vladimir Putin has only become more aggressive, with more provocations. He said last week that any
subjects regarding what happens internally within Russia are off the table. Is this summit worth happening now?
ASHURKOV: The United States and Russia are two major nuclear powers. And I think I would feel safer in the world when they talk to each other and the
leaders of these countries talk to each other.
So, they have a broad agenda of issues to discuss, obviously, security issues and the terrorist activities and arms control. So, I -- some people
say that this summit is a present to Vladimir Putin. I don't subscribe to this opinion.
GOLODRYGA: And yet it's hard not to be alarmed by the actions of the Kremlin just in the past few months, especially since Navalny's return to
They have cracked down hard on any dissidents, on any protests, on any opposition political figures, and embraced, really, Lukashenko after
bringing that plane down, that passenger plane, and detaining Roman Protasevich, Vladimir Putin even answering, perhaps, we will see, I'm not
going to tell you, if Russia was in a similar situation, would he do the same thing?
Are you concerned that Russia is in fact moving more and more under Vladimir Putin into a dictatorship and authoritarian state?
ASHURKOV: It's true.
And I think that President Biden needs to understand what's at stake. I'm sure he does. One of the atrocities that have been linked to Russia's
actions, including 14,000 dead in the Eastern Ukraine as a result of Russian meddling, assassinations in Russia, outside of Russia over the last
few years, what if this is just a precursor for more?
What if we are now in a situation similar to Hitler's Germany in the mid- '30s of the last century? I think that would be the right approach. I don't have the recipes of how to implement it into a specific position. But I
think this is the right approach.
GOLODRYGA: Well, clearly, you note in an op-ed that you wrote recently that the approaches from the previous administration -- this is now
President Putin's fifth U.S. president that he is facing right now -- they haven't been working, or they haven't deterred Vladimir Putin.
And let me quote something from a piece that you wrote in "The London Times."
You said: "Western countries should increase the price tag of being associated with Putin's corrupt regime. Individual sanctions are a
powerful, but politicized instrument. However, you don't need formal sanctions to deny visas to all members of the Russian government, regional
governors, members of the security apparatus, their immediate families and business cronies. Quite simply, stop letting them in, and do the same to
their corrupt money, which should be expelled from the international financial system."
Everything that you're hearing from the Biden administration and their approach to corruption and their approach to Russia, does that give you any
hope that these are some of the policies that we will start to see bear out?
ASHURKOV: It's an uphill struggle. It certainly would be a change from the position of previous U.S. administrations if the U.S. will take a less
tolerant stance towards corruption, in particular, Russian corruption, the flows of dirty money coming out of Russia.
But I'm hopeful that now is the time to change. And, as Putin is getting more and more assertive in Russia and internationally, I think this is the
right course of action.
GOLODRYGA: Well, there's no doubt that Putin is getting more and more assertive. One need not only look at Navalny, right, and the attempted
poisoning there and other dissidents and the murders, what have you.
But, just recently, this week, another news organization, Bellingcat, through their investigation, found that a popular famous poet in Russia was
also followed by the same FSB group and poisoned by the same FSB agents that poisoned Navalny.
And I guess the message is, it could happen to anybody who speaks out against or critically against this government. What message should that
send to people around the world?
ASHURKOV: Indeed, this is the latest in the string of assassinations that have been happening.
The earliest probably that made the headlines globally was the assassination of Mr. Litvinenko in London in 2007. So it's not new that
Russian security services use poisoning as their instrument of policy. That's the situation that we have to deal with.
GOLODRYGA: So, what happens next for your organization?
I know that you have stopped taking donations from supporters, out of fear of their own safety. What happens to Navalny's team and to people like
yourself and to those who support your cause?
ASHURKOV: The repression that we have -- that our organization is feeling now is unprecedented. But it didn't start yesterday. We have been operating
under pressure throughout the existence of our team. And we always regrouped. We always evolved.
And that's what we plan to do now. The people in Russia are less and less content with how the country is governed. And they -- this disillusionment
with Putin will translate into civil and political action. It doesn't matter whether some organization, including ours, are labeled extremist or
not. It's just a natural mechanism of history.
GOLODRYGA: Are these latest provocations from Vladimir Putin and the crackdowns a sign, in your opinion, of his growing strength or his growing
paranoia? Is there weakness at the top of the Kremlin, in fact?
ASHURKOV: They don't seem rational.
The -- Putin's regime has amassed tremendous financial resources. They control all legislative power, the law enforcement. It seems like the
nascent civil and political opposition in Russia does not present any threat.
But since they respond in such a brutal and unproportional manner, I think they know something that maybe the wide population doesn't. They're not
very confident, and they see that their seemingly stable position is really threatened by the challenges from inside Russia, from the Western powers.
So that's the situation.
GOLODRYGA: Yes, and that is something that Yevgenia Albats, who is a very prominent Russian journalist, picked up on as well this week.
She described Russia now under Putin as a corporate state, where all the key figures and resources and decision-making is done by the FSB, by the
security agencies there.
Do you get that sense as well? And can you speak more about this idea that perhaps there's something unstable at the top that the rest of the world is
not yet aware of?
ASHURKOV: Well, broadly, that's right.
The security services call the shots in terms of the court system, the law enforcement, economic activities. And Putin is part and parcel of this
system. He is a descendant from the Russian analogy of FSB. So, it's true.
And we only -- we don't know whether we reached the low point or we still have a long road of descent into repression and to totalitarity to go.
GOLODRYGA: Dmitry Peskov, who is the spokesperson for the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin, spoke with CNN's Matthew Chance earlier today about this
upcoming meeting and the relations, the poor relations, as he described them, between the two countries and two leaders.
I want you to listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN PRESS SECRETARY: The main reason for even the poor state of relationship between our two countries, and a critical level of
his relationship, that demands -- that demands a summit between our two countries, because this is the only way to -- this is the only way to
arrange an evaluation of the situation in our relationship, to prevent further -- further degradation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: So, that sounds rational, right? I mean, the poor relations need to be worked on to prevent further degradation.
But there's nothing rational coming out in regards to Russia and the Kremlin's latest actions. What do you make of that?
ASHURKOV: In the context of the upcoming summit, I think it's good that the leaders are talking, but I don't have the -- any big expectation for
I think the scope for any agreement, for any bargain is really quite limited.
GOLODRYGA: I want to play some sound from you from Daria Navalny, who is Navalny's daughter. And she accepted the award for the 2021 Moral Courage
Award for her father at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy earlier this week.
I want to play some sound for you of what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARIA NAVALNY, DAUGHTER OF ALEXEI NAVALNY: I'm not going to lie, but as fun as it is to give the speech, it's sad that I'm accepting this award
today. You really should be looking at my father instead.
But he's in a Russian prison right now, simply because of what he says he, does and believes in, and because he didn't die when the Russian government
wanted him to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: How is Alexei Navalny doing? And what does the future hold for his movement, your movement and specifically leadership, with him being
behind bars almost indefinitely, one would assume, at this point?
ASHURKOV: He has come off a hunger strike, which lasted about three weeks. As a result of the hunger strike, his medical treatment in the prison has
His spirits are quite high. He, in his traditional manner, sends out messages that are both ironic and encouraging for his supporters and show
that he hasn't lost his nerve.
In terms of future, again, the history, I think, has only one way to go. Russia belongs to the European civilization, more generally to Western
civilization, in terms of history, culture. And it's only a matter of time when change will come in Russia, and it will resume its way on the path to
being a normal civilized country.
GOLODRYGA: Vladimir, I have to say it is reassuring to hear those words from you, those uplifting words. And, as you mentioned, Alexei Navalny, his
Instagram posts, all of his messages continue to reiterate that same assurances, and in reminding his supporters to be strong and be brave, and
with a little bit of humor as well, very unique to him.
Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
ASHURKOV: Thank you for having me.
GOLODRYGA: Now, they are some of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world, Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett, Elon Musk, just
to name a few.
Well, Pulitzer Prize-winning ProPublica reporter Jesse Eisinger has delved into their never-before-seen tax returns. They reveal that, when it comes
to income tax, these business moguls only pay a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars. Their fortunes grow every
Here's our own -- here's our Hari Sreenivasan speaking to him about how they managed to legally work the system.
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, thanks.
Jesse Eisinger from ProPublica, thanks for joining us.
There's that old cliche, there's only two things certain in life, death and taxes. But your report, what it finds is, if you're really, really wealthy,
taxes, not so much. How did you find this information?
EISINGER: We have obtained, ProPublica has obtained over 15 years of information, tax information, tax returns and information from the
schedules that go into the returns about things like stock trading and gambling winnings and partnerships, for thousands of the wealthiest
This is really just the 1 percent of the 1 percent. We're not commenting on how we obtained the material. We're trying to protect the source or
sources. But we are explaining that we verified it extensively, and are being very careful stewards of the information.
SREENIVASAN: So, when you look at this, you -- this is the first of your series of reports -- but you see a glaring pattern here.
Most of us anecdotally think, well, the rich probably have better accountants, et cetera. But what you're showing is a structural flaw in the
EISINGER: Yes, exactly.
This isn't about evading taxes exotically and illicitly. This is about routine and perfectly legal tax avoidance strategies. And you don't need a
fancy accountant for this. What we show is the system and the system's essential unfairness, which is that average Americans are stuck in the tax
system. We have no choice in the matter.
We work to live. We have to work. We get salaries and taxes get extracted from our paychecks. The wealthy, the ultra wealthy especially, are
completely outside of the system entirely. They don't have to take income. When they do take income--
GORANI: Welcome, everybody, to our special coverage of the G7 meeting in Cornwall.
What you're seeing here is an image coming to us from the Eden Project in Cornwall, which is a biosphere. This is where a dinner is taking place in
just a few minutes hosted by the U.K. prime minister, Boris Johnson, for G7 leaders.
Just minutes ago, saw Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla. We also saw Prince William. We saw an arrival starting at 6:00 p.m. local time of the
G7 leaders, including the prime minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga. We saw Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada. Angela Merkel and her husband
as well, making their way in.
Currently though, we are between arrivals. We're expecting the U.S. president, Joe Biden. We caught a glimpse of Boris Johnson, the U.K. prime
minister, who is hosting this dinner, of course, with his wife Carrie.
Our chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, is joining me for special coverage.
So, Clarissa, we have the menu for this evening.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, do we?
GORANI: Yes, we do.
WARD: Tell me what's on there.
GORANI: So, we have spiced melon gazpacho with coconut, turbot on the bone, gouda, Cornish Yarg and Helford blue cheeses, strawberry pavlova.
This is all being cooked by Chef Emily Scott. And we have the royal family in attendance, as I just mentioned.
So, talk us through a little a typical sort of G7 gathering. This is an opportunity for them to meet face to face.
WARD: This is an opportunity, a much-needed opportunity, for them to actually sit face to face and have conversations in person. And even just
observing them earlier during the family photo, the body language, seeing people be able to interact with each other, be able to joke with each
other, occasionally put their arm around one another, that human component has been so lost in this era of zoom diplomacy, And there, we are seeing,
of course, her majesty, the queen.
GORANI: Yes. Her majesty, the queen, with Prince Charles and Camilla, followed by Prince William and his wife, Kate. And this is an opportunity
for the queen to meet Joe Biden. They will be -- and there's Boris Johnson, the U.K. prime minister and his wife, Carrie Symonds.
Let's listen in a little bit.
So, this is Boris Johnson really putting on a very lavish, fancy dinner for the G7 leaders.
WARD: Absolutely. I mean, he is very much aware that this is his opportunity to cast himself as a great statesman, as, you know, the Winston
Churchill to President Joe Biden's Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And of course, you know, no accident that they're meeting here at the Eden
Project, the royal family, particularly Prince Charles and particularly Prince William, very passionate about the environment. And this is, of
course, as well, one of the major themes of this entire summit, tackling climate crisis and addressing that important and very challenging issue.
GORANI: So, again, we are seeing the -- her majesty, the queen, make her entrance into one of the biosphere domes of the Eden Project. Just a little
bit earlier, we saw the Japanese prime minister, who is the first to arrive, exactly on time according to schedule at 6:00 p.m. local time.
The queen will have met 13 presidents since Harry Truman, except, fun fact, LBJ.
WARD: Isn't that extraordinary?
WARD: I mean, it gives you a sense of the history, the breadth of experience. 13 sitting U.S. presidents, one of them Truman. I believe she
was actually --
GORANI: A princess.
WARD: -- a princess at the time. And she has, of course, met as well President Biden but that was back in 1982 when he was a senator. And he
later he wrote about it and said his mother that told him jokingly, do not -- I hope you didn't bow to the queen.
GORANI: Well, LBJ, people were curious why the queen hadn't met LBJ. Her husband, Prince Philip, made the trip to the U.S. to attend memorial for
John F. Kennedy who was assassinated, of course, on November 1963. The queen at the time was pregnant. So, she didn't make the trip for that
reason. And LBJ never visited, when he was in office, the United Kingdom. So, there was never opportunity for the two to meet while he was a sitting
We saw Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel as well, the E.U. Council president. The E.U. is a presence just as the question of the Northern
GORANI: And Brexit is topic of discussion or has been a topic of discussion between the U.S. president and Boris Johnson.
WARD: And it's so interesting to see the difference as well in the body language compared to when President Trump was at the G7. There was this
tension and he constantly looked grumpy and people were uncomfortable and there was a sense that you didn't have any idea when things could
potentially go wrong or when there would be an awkward moment or a skewed remark. This time, you really have a sense that these are people who are
comfortable in each other's presence, there's an air of jocularity even that they're sort of relaxed.
Even under President Obama, I would say, by the way. He was not a big fan of these sort of very formal summits. But for a president like Joe Biden
who has been working in foreign affairs for so many decades, this is really where he excels, is in those personal relationships, sitting down, having
those conversations. Being very forceful about what his agenda and views are on the topic, but being able to do that with that air of diplomacy and
congeniality, which honestly is so important for these types of events.
GORANI: Just few words on the actual location. You mention that this is important to Prince Charles. The Eden Project is sort of -- is constituted
of a series of domes that has plants and all sorts of species. And fun fact, it was used as film location in 2002 for the James Bond film, "Die
WARD: You're full of fun facts.
GORANI: You know that's -- I'm here to --
WARD: That is -- I have no idea.
GORANI: Well, there you go. Well, you can understand why, it is an interesting location. And there's a rainforest, by the way, sort of the
replica of a real-life rainforest in one of the domes. We haven't seen the U.S. president so far.
WARD: We have not. And, I mean, obviously, this is the arrival that everybody is anticipating because the summit has been so much about
President Joe Biden and the impact that his arrival has had really in terms of changing the whole tone and mood of what U.S. global leadership is
really about. And frankly, underscoring the idea that global leadership from the U.S. is back. That's very much been the message of this summit, I
think. America is back. Democracies are back. The question will be, can they deliver substantive things that will back up that?
GORANI: You know, they have a global pandemic, which is a perfect opportunity to say, we as leaders of the richest countries in the world are
here to come up with a solution to distribute our excess vaccine doses because we are the rich countries and poorer countries need us. So, we'll
see if this is something not just that they promised but that they deliver.
WARD: Well, they deliver. And 1 billion COVID vaccines is the promise. That is a huge amount. I mean, it's a relative drop in the bucket when you
think of the enormous amount of need across the world. But still, it is a substantial commitment.
The question that some are asking is, why should this be a G7 effort? Why shouldn't China be involved and India be involved and Russia be involved
when we are talking about mass vaccination of the entire world? And I think that the G7 is very keen to show that this is an existential moment where
leading world democracies can take a major leadership role and sort of provide a direction and a new focus.
GORANI: Bring in our royal correspondent, Max Foster.
Max, talk to us about the royal family presence at this dinner, because we know that the U.S. president, Joe Biden, will be meeting the queen at
Windsor this Sunday for tea. So, this is -- they'll have two opportunities to meet in the next few days.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: It sound like an odd thing to say, but America isn't a commonwealth country. She doesn't need to prioritize
Can you hear me, Hala?
GORANI: Yes, go ahead, Max.
FOSTER: OK. I think we just got a bit of a delay. I think what you saw there with those five senior royals coming in is a very unusual situation
actually. This is the top ranks of royalty being deployed effectively on the charm offensive.
They call it soft power. It's a diplomatic charm offensive to really woo those G7 leaders. The queen doesn't travel that far usually these days from
Windsor. So, this was big effort on her behalf. She was asked by ministers to go there. And it's a very important meeting. And she won't get a chance
to meet many of those leaders coming up. But she doesn't travel abroad herself.
Prince Charles there as well. You were talking about climate being a key issue here. He is very much looking ahead to the COP meetings also here in
the United Kingdom later on in the year. I just received next, it's actually from a speech he's going to be making to the G7 a bit later on
this evening. He's going to say the fight against this terrible pandemic provides a crystal-clear example of the scale and the sheer speed at which
the global community can tackle the crises when we combine political with business ingenuity and public mobilizations.
We're doing it for the pandemic. We must also do it for the planet. He is very keen to do something to use this year in some way to tackle this
climate change crisis as he sees it. And tonight, he's actually managed to organize a side meeting, trying to get the public, the private sector
involved in the climate change challenge. And it's going to be interesting to see those five royals mingling with the G7 leaders. It does work. People
want to meet the queen in particular.
So, this is a signal, really, from the British government that they're taking this meeting extremely seriously.
GORANI: And it's interesting because Prince Philip died just a few weeks ago, and the queen, as you mentioned, is making the trip to Cornwall for
this event. I mean, what is that -- what kind of message is that sending to G7 leaders gathered here today?
FOSTER: Well, you know, the queen is the longest serving head of state in the world. And she is not a political head of state. So, she's not as
divisive as other political leaders.
GOLODRYGA: Oh, Max, just -- sorry to jump in. Here is the U.S. president, Joe Biden, and first lady, Jill Biden, making their entrance.
And there's a shot of the Eden Project and the interconnecting domes.
Max, I'm just going to let you finish your thought there on the importance of the royal family's presence this evening. As we just told our viewers,
the U.S. president has just arrived for this dinner.
FOSTER: So, normally the U.S. president takes prime position in the family photo, for example. But on this occasion, it will be the queen as longest
serving head of state. Also, a nonpolitical figure. So, she's less divisive.
And it's interesting, if you look back on her history going back to the 1950s, at the beginning of her reign, she's seen there with so many senior
figures around the world. She's in the history books. And you find that, actually, heads of states and prime ministers want that photo with her. And
she's the one figure that everyone could be reverential about.
So, you always see this interesting body language where, you know, leaders which are normally at logger heads will be working -- are coming together
around the queen. So, that's always a big moment. And how many more of these photos will we have of the queen when world leaders won't necessarily
be gathering in the U.K. in this way for several years to come.
So, I think, you know, it's a big moment for President Biden. He's a -- you know, he's been on the world stage for years, of course, but not as
president. So, this is his chance to have that photo with her. He can have it on his mantel piece. He'll get another when he goes to Windsor on
Sunday. This is the fun part, I guess, of international diplomacy.
GORANI: All right, Max Foster, our royal correspondent, stand by. We'll be getting back to you very soon. Our chief international correspondent,
Clarissa Ward, is with me as well.
So, we saw the leaders of Japan, the U.K., Germany, France, the E.U., Canada. Justin Trudeau was on his own. His spouse was not with him. We
noticed Italy, Mario Draghi came as well, of course, accompanied by his spouse. And we mentioned the menu. Menu. Heavy on fish, of course, and
local ingredients. We are in Cornwall, Cornish cheese, strawberry pavlova. But English strawberry pavlova. So, it does sound delicious. But tomorrow,
dinner is on the beach. So, it will be a much more relaxed affair.
WARD: Exactly. And I think it's important to remember, you know, these events, these summits, they can be incredibly exhausting, draining, long
days. Tough diplomacy. Incredibly formal. Every single thing you say has to be somewhat measured. And so, it's important to offset some of that
formality also with moments of relaxation, moments of candor. A meal on the beach. Some good food.
GORANI: But it will be interesting to see the meal on the beach. Because I wonder in terms of just attire, will shoes be coming off?
WARD: Will shorts be worn?
GORANI: We don't know. We'll going to have to wait and see. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back. We're expecting a family photo. It
will involve her majesty, the queen. So, it won't be the typical traditional G7 family photo this evening. We'll bring you that and more
after break. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Well, we have seen leader arrival. Just in the last half-hour, the prime minister of Japan all the way to the U.S. president, Joe Biden. There
are seven world leaders and there are also the leaders of the European Union and other organizations joining the presidents and the prime
ministers gathered in the Eden Project, which is a biosphere here in Cornwall.
Clarissa Ward, our chief international correspondent, is with me.
I wonder at these dinners, I know it is a more relaxed affair than these, you know, bilateral meetings that can be very stiff and rigid with talking
points. What -- can anything get achieved on evenings like today or is it just a meet and greet opportunity?
WARD: I think probably it's more of a meet and greet opportunity. But at the same time, there's no question, when you look back at sort of, you
know, big diplomatic summits over the years, there are -- you know, later on you find out situations where people during a candid moment or a walk,
they do come to consensus about something, or they do have an exchange of ideas or a brainstorming session that can lead to something substantive.
In this case, I think, you know, what Max Foster was saying before is very true that, you know, it is still a huge honor to meet with the queen and
spend time with her, particularly as she gets older, particularly as you mentioned, recently following the death of Prince Philip, I think it's a
big deal that she's here.
WARD: And really, this is the U.K. putting out the red carpet for President Joe Biden and making it clear how important that special
GORANI: And two things as well. This comes after four years of Donald trump. Donald Trump who disparaged, who disrespected these organizations
and many of America's allies. And it's coming after a year and a half of basically working from home where world leaders communicated solely via
Zoom and, you know, video link.
WARD: And if you think of all that's lost on Zoom, without that human touch, without being able to see someone's very small, imperceptible facial
movement or body gesture or having that moment of connection, body language is a huge part of how we communicate and it is a big part how world leaders
communicate, too. So, having that face to face is essential.
And you mentioned Donald Trump thing.
WARD: And, you know, as much as we don't want to just endlessly talk about President Trump, it is impossible to overemphasize just how much damage
those four years did in terms of really shifting people's opinions about America, about the role of bodies like the G7. We saw a Pew Research poll
that was put out either yesterday or the day before, I believe, and, you know, the difference is enormous. People view America differently across
the world now because there's a new president.
WARD: Rightly or wrongly. Because I should say, that just because President Biden says the right things and makes the right gestures, it
doesn't mean that there's anything tangible in terms of deliverables at the end of it.
GORANI: Exactly. The policies don't necessarily change. But certainly, the tone and the approach, incredibly different. We talk a lot about what the
U.S. wants to project, what message it wants to send. But the G7 leaders, I mean, in European and western capitals, there is still a lot of worry and
concern that this could be the blip, not Donald Trump, that Joe Biden might be the blip.
GORANI: That the next election will bring the next Donald Trump into power. Because, internally and domestically in the United States, you still
have very strong forces aligned with Donald Trump who might well, you know, in the midterms, do very well and perhaps even the presidential election.
WARD: Of course. And you even saw Former President Trump putting out a statement yesterday, making disparaging comments about President Biden
ahead of the Putin summit. And, you know, the shadow of Donald Trump does still loom large. And we have seen the way the political system operates in
the U.S. It is unpredictable. It can be capricious.
And so, there is understandably always going to be now anxiety that the U.S. is not necessarily fully reliable in terms of the long-term
commitment. And more broadly speaking, I think there's real questions about what is the role of the G7 today? When this started in the 1970s, the G7
constituted 80 percent of global GDP. Now, it is 40 percent of global GDP.
They want to be seen as the ones to sort of take care of the COVID problem, give out a billion vaccines. How can you talk seriously about vaccinating
the entire world without including Russia in that conversation, without including China in that conversation, without including India in that
conversation? We live in a multipolar and changed world. And so, the challenge for these G7 leaders is to make it clear that they can still be
relevant as an organization.
GORANI: Donald Trump said the G7 was obsolete, he wasn't necessarily wrong in that sense.
WARD: It was -- and, you know, and I think that this is something important to consider as we go forward. You know, President Trump said a
lot of things that were really unpopular and really unproductive in many ways. But whenever you have someone who is that disruptive, it is always
worth as well having -- you know, starting conversations.
WARD: And so, perhaps changes did need to happen in some ways to the way that the G7 operates. Perhaps there does need to be a rethinking of what
the purpose is. And these can be positive changes if they're had in a sort of productive setting, rather than disparaging comments.
GORANI: Right. And Max Foster is still with us, our royal correspondent. And Clarissa was saying, it is still very much a huge honor, even if you're
the leader of a G7 country to have your picture taken with her majesty, the queen, particularly as Clarissa mentioned, as she is getting older.
FOSTER: Yes. She's about Britain, isn't she? (INAUDIBLE) of another 15 countries. But she's this global figure on the global stage. So, I think
that's how many of these G7 leaders look at her, actually, not just a U.K. figure.
You were talking about how remarkable it is that she's down there at this time so shortly after Philip's death. But you'll -- you would have noticed
how she got straight into engagements in the week following the funeral. This is someone who is never going to stop working.
I think part of -- you know, having the five of them down there is not just a sign of the importance of this meeting but it's also part of the
transition process. Any of these big moments where you see the queen at the big events, you'll also see Charles and Camilla. And that's so that when,
you know, Charles does eventually step onto the throne, it won't feel as much of a shock.
But also, Prince William, a more popular figure. So, we're seeing Charles and William being brought onto the stage together as well, you know,
looking ahead to the moment when Charles takes over as king. Perhaps Charles isn't as (INAUDIBLE) as William, but the message really is, they
come as a package. So, everything is going to be all right.
But, you know, this is a really big event for Prince Charles in particular because climate is on the agenda. And we saw earlier how -- you know, the
duchess of Cambridge is also able to promote one of her key causes, which is early learning, after a visit to school with Jill Biden.
And great little moment today. Actually, when one of the reporters asked Jill Biden if she asked the duchess of Cambridge how to treat the queen
when she meets her, and Jill Biden said, well, you're not in the room. We're talking about education today. That's a very Jill Biden moment, I
GORANI: How quickly do these events -- how quickly are they put together? The request would have come from the prime minister's office for the queen
FOSTER: Yes. So, whichever government department was setting this up. I mean, the Cabinet Office and the Foreign Officer are deeply involved and,
of course, at Downing Street. So, they were given direction about the core request really here, which would be having the queen primarily. But as many
senior royals as possible and then you have these side events, the school and also, Prince Charles' climate moment later on as well, that is
something that the palace would have put into the mix as well.
They do take a very long time to organize. But I have to say, behind the scenes, there's been some chaos as well because so many different
organizations and bodies were involved in all of this. We didn't quite know what was happening at one point, but it all comes together as it does in
these moments. And I think bringing the queen into it does sort of relax everyone to some extent. I know it's a tense moment of having her there as
well. But all the politics leaves the situation. It becomes more of a mutual moment.
So, she's always someone that, I think, all politicians like to have in that moment as well. Takes attention off them.
GORANI: How did she travel to Cornwall? Briefly, I am told. We have to go to break after this. Because it took everyone else about seven hours to get
FOSTER: Well, you know, the information around the travel has been so tight and the time has been soi tight. We haven't really been able to talk
about anything until they've happened. We haven't been told how she traveled down there. But she certainly didn't travel by train. If you
travel by train, Hala, down there that takes a while. I am sure it was a helicopter. That was the most secure way at her age.
You know, the transport down to Cornwall, people outside the country don't quite realize, it feels quite a long way away when you're traveling in the
GORANI: All right. Thanks very much, Max Foster and Clarissa Ward. We're going to take a quick break. We'll have a lot more from Cornwall after
this. Stay with us.