Return to Transcripts main page


Capitol Riot Committee Holds First Hearing; What's Happening In Tunisia And Why It Matters; Simone Biles' Withdrawal Reminds Us That She's Human And Still Very Much The GOAT; Interview With U.S. Gymnast & Olympic Gold Medalist, Aly Raisman; Interview With Pastor Russell Moore. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 27, 2021 - 17:00:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello everyone and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here's what's coming up.

SGT. AQUILINO GONELL, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: For the first time, I was more afraid to work at the Capitol in my entire deployment to Iraq.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Under attack by homegrown insurrectionist, police describe that fateful day as hearings into the January 6 Capitol invasion

get underway. Former Republican governor and 9/11 Commission Chair Tom Kean joins me.



AMANPOUR (voice-over): Democracy under attack in Tunisia, once the Arab Spring success story now on the brink, as the President tightens his grip

on power. I asked Amnesty International whether democracy will survive.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are very real issues within the church in almost every denomination or communion or setting right now.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Russell Moore, one of the biggest names in the evangelical movement, tells Michel Martin why he resigned from the Southern

Baptist Convention.

And we get the latest from the Tokyo Olympics as the greatest gymnasts of all time, America Simone Biles withdraws.

Welcome to the program everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Excruciating testimony on Capitol Hill today as four police officers recounted what it was like to fight the Capitol rioters on January 6. It

was the first public hearing into that insurrection. And here is some of their firsthand accounts.


GONELL: The rioters call me traitor, a disgrace and shouted that I, I, an army veteran a police officer should be executing.

OFC. MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLITCE DEPARTMENT: At one point I came face to face with an attacker who repeatedly launched for me and

attempted to remove my firearm. I heard chanting from some in the crowd, get his gun and kill him with his own gun.

OFC. DANIEL HODGES, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: Terrorist push through the line and engaged us in hand to hand combat. Several attempted

to knock me over and steal my baton. One latched on to my face and got his thumb in my right eye attempting to gouge it out.

OFC. HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: No one had ever, ever called me (INAUDIBLE) while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police Officer.


AMANPOUR: It is hard to hear harder to accept. Five people died that day and over 100 officers were injured. But incredibly despite this attack on

the nation and its values, Republicans have gone out of their way to downplay and try to obstruct this inquiry.

Still, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has managed to gather a bipartisan committee, although she blocked two Republican members who would openly

oppose the whole process, one of whom might be an actual material witness to former President Trump's involvement in that insurrection.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans serving on this panel could not hold back his tears when he thanked the officers for their



REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): You know, you talk about the impact of that day that you guys won. You guys (INAUDIBLE). You know, democracies are not

defined by our bad days. We're defined by how we come back from bad days --


AMANPOUR: Reliving what happened that day, what it means for the future.

Joining me now to discuss this is the former Republican governor of New Jersey and the former 9/11 commission chair, Tom Kean.

Governor Kean, welcome to the program. I really think you're the perfect guest because you had a independent bipartisan commission for 9/11. And now

we have this sort of hybrid for January 6. Do you believe after this opening day, that it is something that's going to get to the truth and make

a difference for the future?

TOM KEAN, FMR CHAIRMAN OF 9/11 COMMISSION: It's going to be very helpful, because we're going to find out things we don't know already on this

terrible day. But it's hard, because it is not bipartisan as it should be. Whether or not the American people will therefore accept its findings or

whether people will fight over those findings. We still have to see. But at least we're having some sort of investigation. There's something that

simply has to be investigated if we're going to go on as a future of this democracy.


AMANPOUR: OK, so it's important, I want to drill down on that before getting to the specifics, the very dramatic specifics of what in transpired

today. You know, you say, we'll have to see what the American people accepted. Describe your commission and what briefly, if you could, and what

you think, was the reason for which it was accepted. And in fact, Congress did act on your recommendations.

KEAN: Oh you authorized this by United States Congress, and then by the President. The members are appointed by both parties in both Houses. And I

was Chairman, I was appointed by the President. And, as we -- and then we did, I did something else, which turned out to be very important. When I

was named chairman, I met the vice chairman for the first time Lee Hamilton, who is a very respected member of Congress for years. I said,

Lee, I'm going to do nothing in this commission, without your approval.

Now, in Congress, the chairman is everything. The vice chairman is nothing. So Lee was taken back by that. When the Democrats heard that I was going to

do nothing is chairman without the approval of the vice chairman, the Democrat, things got a lot easier. Because, and we did things together. All

through the process, everything we did was bipartisan, except as bipartisan. And therefore neither side was able to criticize. That was

very, very important.

And unfortunately, this is not set up that way. Republicans don't have any veto power. It's going to be run by the Democrats and hopefully run well by

the Democrats. But it's, it's more difficult to have it accepted. It's wonderful to find the truth, first of all, secondly, more difficult

accepted by the American people, if it is not outwardly bipartisan.

AMANPOUR: So let me ask you, you know, it was very dramatic, the testimony from these four police officers, and the Republican Party has traditionally

stood for Law and Order, and you know, they're constantly paying lip service to the value of the, you know, you know, uniformed military and the

police and this and that. But it appears that this time, you know, they didn't want to necessarily be part of this process. They blocked a lot of


Let me ask you, what you made of, for instance, one of the officers who more than a dozen times described the insurrection is as terrorists.

Another officer who talked about, you know, racial abuse that he had suffered, and talked about how he was, he believed that this wasn't just a

spontaneous insurrection, or whatever, it was something that was planned. First, the use of the word terrorists by one of the officers.

KEAN: Yes, well, it is terrorism. If you attack the United States Capitol, for the first time since I guess, the war of 1812 and do it with your own

citizens, that's terrorism. So I accept that totally. We've got, you know, we've got to hear and find out (INAUDIBLE). Was it a conspiracy?

Did people get ahead of time decide to do it together? Was an attempt to invade the capital is even more to disrupt the process of certifying the

election? Or was it something people get very emotional, thought the election has been taken away from them and all of a sudden responded to the

words of the president away, there was irrational.

I just hearing is gut to tell us the answer to those questions. And if in fact, it was a plan, conspiracy, then we got to find a lot more about it

and make sure that that never ever, ever happens again.

AMANPOUR: Governor so far, the Justice Department has charged hundreds of people. I think today we've heard that there are hundreds more charges that

have been laid down. And one of the officers and his name of course, is Harry Dunn today hinted or said outright, that he got early indications of

this being more planned than spontaneous. Let's just play this, this bit of his testimony.


DUNN: But around 10:56 a.m. I received a text message from a friend forwarding a screenshot of what appeared to be the potential plan of

action, very different from a peaceful demonstration. The screenshot or the caption, January 6, Rally Point, Lincoln Park and said the objective was

the Capitol. It said amongst other things that Trump has given us marching orders and to keep your guns hidden.


AMANPOUR: You know, that's pretty dramatic. How do you react to that firsthand testimony from a Capitol Police officer?


KEAN: Well, it's anomalously dramatic and who funded, I mean, if these people were planned and came together to actually disrupt the United States

Government, who plan the disruption. And was it to stop the certifying of the election? Did they feel somehow that the election could be stopped at

that point? It's crazy to think that anybody thought that but maybe they did. A lot of crazy people involved in this thing.

And, but, you know, this is why we have to have the facts. This is why we've got to not only get the facts, but hopefully we get more and more

people in a bipartisan sense can accept the facts. And so we can move on.

AMANPOUR: So let me play a pretty strong piece of testimony by officer, Officer Fanone, who's spoken quite a lot in public. And he's described, you

know, the process and the fact that they have consistently been vilified by Trump's supporters, by members of Congress who disagree with what happened

on January 6. This was what he said in his opening testimony today.


FANONE: What makes the struggle harder and more painful, is to know so many of my fellow citizens, including so many of the people, I put my life at

risk to defend are downplaying or outright denying what happened. I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them in the people in this room.

But too many are now telling me that hell doesn't exist, or that hell actually wasn't that bad. The indifference shown to my colleagues is



AMANPOUR: Governor, I'm just going to ask you as a Republican, I mean, do you sympathize with him? And what do you feel about your party and those

who have consistently played this thing down and have done what Fanone says is disgraceful?

KEAN: Well, unfortunately, these days in Washington politics seems to invade everything, even the most serious things like this invasion of the

Capitol. And somehow, we got to get each other back on board. This is to the country's best interests, Republicans and Democrats to find out what

happened here, how it happened, who is involved, who if anybody funded, wasn't a conspiracy, wasn't a conspiracy?

Those are essential questions for this democracy, not for Republicans or Democrats, for democracy. And nor to find the answers to those questions.

Everybody should get on board.

Now, unfortunately, it's off to a rocky start, because of the fact it's not bipartisan committee, is a committee in which one party has overwhelming

demands. That's too bad. But we've got a still got to take what we can get out of these hearings, what we can get out of this committee, and hopefully

bring everybody on board provided the committee's run as it should be run. And I hope it will be to get the facts without (INAUDIBLE) Republican

facts, a Democratic facts, facts for the country.

AMANPOUR: The problem is, of course, there isn't both side tourism (ph), both sides are not, you know, on an arch equal in this case. There is an

actual violent insurrection by one group of people against a legitimate constitutional process.

And I just wonder what you think because of what the Republican Party thinks, because 58 percent of the American people support this

congressional investigation, obviously, it, you know, breaks down along party lines. So it's not that, you know, it's not that surprising that most

of those who supported a Democrat.

But one of the things that you had going for you, and I've heard you speak about it, is that you will not empower those who are chairing and managing

the 9/11 Commission were not actual sitting politicians, whereas in this case, they are. And it was the Republican Party who voted against an

independent commission in this case. What are the pitfalls and the perils of not having, you know, outside politicians or officials managing this


KEAN: Well, I had a conversation with the speaker about this early on, and I recommended strongly that they've done that way again, because we had

nobody who was going to run for office again, nobody who was in office, right then, nobody who would add any, any stake in how it came up

politically, even though the presidential election, that point right around the corner. Nobody had a stake in it. Everybody came out of a tradition of

trying to help the democracy.

And I think it's a lot easier to do it. In this case with so much emotion involved, with citizens who are not currently involved in the political

system, but it went up there unfortunately, we're unable to do that for whatever reason.

And so, I think we're stuck with this committee. Hopefully this committee will conduct itself honorably. Hopefully they will take into consideration

what people in both parties on the committee have to say. And hopefully it'll be unanimous report that the American people can accept and move on



AMANPOUR: And finally, Governor, I just want to broaden, broaden it out slightly as a final question. Again, as a former Republican governor, I

wonder what you make of this unbelievable weaponization of facts and the truth, not just in this instance, which is a complete attack on your

democracy, we, which we all around the world, are frankly perturbed by and watching to see how it pans out.

But also in terms of COVID, I mean, you've got, you've got a corruption of the truth that is killing people, and that you have Republican officials

still unable to get themselves together to say, have your vaccines and protect yourself and protect the nation. This goes even beyond the Capitol

in terms of protecting the United States governor, right.

KEAN: Yes. So I think by the way, that's less and less true. And more and more people are coming around and saying everybody ought to have the

vaccine. And it's not only hurting yourself, it's hurting your neighbor and your friends and everyone else if you don't.

So I think that's changing and changing in the right direction. But we're in a point of democracy here. But we're not talking to each other properly.

We're not relying on facts, we don't have relied on new source feel agree with. And all of that is putting this democracy in greater and greater


And so, somehow, we couldn't get back, you're going to get back to the facts. We're going to get back to people we trust and trust to each other,

and working together in a way that we used to work together and it's democracy, so that the country always can (INAUDIBLE) and conscience or

game above everything else. Somehow we got to get back to that.

AMANPOUR: Governor Kean, thank you so much for your wisdom and your perspective today. Thanks a lot. So --

KEAN: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: -- well, we have seen that American democracy has been and perhaps remains in jeopardy. The State Department is also underscoring

exactly how important it finds the fact of democracy abroad.

In Tunisia, after months of quarreling over the dire economic situation and the handling of COVID. The country's president has sacked the government

now, there were celebrations in the street, but others say it's a coup. A curfew is now in place and public gatherings are banned. Ten years ago,

Tunisia was the first to demand democracy in what became the Arab Spring. And so, what has gone wrong?

Correspondent Ben Wedeman charts Tunisia's fragile journey.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ten years ago, it was the first Arab country to topple its aging dictator, Zine al-Abidine

Ben Ali in what became known as the Arab Spring, which brought down autocrats also in Egypt, Yemen and Libya and drew Libya and Syria, each

into a decade of war.

In Tunisia, hopes were high that an era of democracy was finally dominant. And democracy did dawn, messy, chaotic and divisive. What didn't come with

democracy was prosperity. Saddled with debt left behind by the dictatorship, the economy stagnated. Made worse by one of Africa's severest

COVID outbreaks.

Kais Saied, a law professor and political independent came to power in a landslide election two years ago. But since then, he clashed with the Prime

Minister now sacked and with parliament. The Arab Spring began in Tunisia, and perhaps there it will end. Liberty and freedom are wonderful. But you

can't be democracy.


AMANPOUR: Ben Wedeman there.

Joining me now from Tunis to discuss all of this is Amna Guellali. She is the Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty


Amna, welcome to the program. Can I ask you since you're sitting there in Tunis, and probably also mindful of what's happening on your streets, as

well as the reckoning happening in the United States. What -- how significant is the turmoil where you are and the perhaps the risk to

democracy right now?


explained quite well the context in the video that you showed. Tunisia has been undergoing democratic process for 10 years now, since it toppled its

longtime dictator President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. And there were many achievements realized since then, with free and fair elections, a new

democratic constitution and a new system of governance.


However, there was also a lot of disenchantment and discontent with the mismanagement of the country with the lack of jobs, the dire economic

situation, and most recently, the mishandling of the health crisis due to the COVID-19.

And so, popular demands were mounting, to dismantle the parliament and to put a halt to the democratic process. And these demands met also with

Saied, President Saied own criticism of the constitutional process and his vision of a new democratic system that is more direct and based on local

elections. And so, it wasn't that much of a surprise to see that people were cheering at the streets.

Now, what is important to note is that the democratic process in Tunisia, no matter how dysfunctional, ineffective and flow it was, did keep the

country as a role model for democracy in the region, which was plagued by wars and dictatorships. Did prevent also a descent into a civil war, and

created a new system of governance, where there were checks and balances --


GUELLALI: -- where there were also, you know, like, all kinds of guarantees. Now, what Saied did is completely --

AMANPOUR: OK, Amna, let me ask you, I need to ask you a question. Amna?


AMANPOUR: I just need to break in because you've raised some really important points. So yes, that's why we're looking at Tunisia, because

exactly as you described, it was the great hope of your region. And now whatever the President Saied says, and once he has done is consolidated

power under his auspices, instituted a curfew suspended parliament, fired the government.

Do you believe that there is a way out of this towards reestablishing democracy? Or is this going to be a consolidation of power, and let's say

Egypt, when, when General Sisi crackdown, and now has basically presides over one of the most authoritarian regimes in Egypt's history.

GUELLALI: While the Egyptian model is definitely haunting many of the observers in Tunisia, but I think it is too early to make pronouncements on

whether this is putting a hole to the democratic process as such, and in an indefinite way on whether we are we can reestablish democracy.

What President Saied did so far is announced the suspension of the parliament for 30 days, it's a temporary period. But it is unknown whether

he will really stick to that timeframe or whether he will renew the -- and prolonged these exceptional measures.

It is also very unclear whether he will consolidate his power on state institutions and concentrate the powers which is a very high risk in

Tunisia given the past dictatorship and given the counter, the regional also context, or whether he will conduct agreements and discussions with

civil society with political parties to have a roadmap.

What is clear for now is that there is a discrepancy between his discourse, about his willingness to return to the democratic institutions, and to not

to derail democracy, and the lack of transparent, clear roadmap for a way out of this situation, which is tem -- which he says is temporary, but can

linger on, as we say, as we know. So -- and there are --


GUELLALI: -- signs that are worrying, for example, he moved to close -- I mean the police forces move to close down Al Jazeera premises in Tunis,

which is really a backsliding on freedom of expression. There are also all kinds of other signs that are worrying and put the gains and achievements

of the revolution in terms of human rights at risk, because there are no checks and balances, he has --


GUELLALI: -- all the power. And there is no one to stop him basically.

AMANPOUR: Right. And of course, the minute you start cracking down on the free press, it sets a very, very chilling precedent and chain of, of events

in motion. I just want to play for you what a President Saied described what he was doing. He said it last night in response to your main

opposition or the main political party in Tunisia and harder calling it a coup. This is what the President has said.


KAIS SAIED, TUNISIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): Today, I have taken the responsibility. I am taking a historical responsibility. Those who

claim that this manner is related to a coup need to revise your constitutional lessons.



AMANPOUR: So, are you sensing any, any possibility that it could develop into, I don't know, military on the street and military crackdown. As you

know, the United States has expressed concern, they will not call it a coup that they say it has all sorts of legal connotations. What should the U.S.

be doing your partners or Tunisia's partners in the actual world?

GUELLALI: I think, first of all, on the determination of whether it is a coup or not, there are many interpretations, and definitely Saied tried to

ground it into the constitutional and legal, you know, framework. But he overstepped his power, nonetheless, because the Constitution does not grant

him the right to suspend the parliament. And so, I think it is very important to be monitoring the situation.

Right now, it is too early to say whether it will go into a military rule or not, the next days will be really crucial to assess what is the

direction that the President is taking. So, if there are, for example, arbitrary arrests of political figures, purchase of the political elite, if

there are unfair trials or military trials, et cetera, that will be a very important sign that we are on the road to dictatorship. And I believe that

international partners of Tunisia should be much more alarmed than what they have expressed right now in terms of their reaction to the situation.

AMANPOUR: Thank you Amna Guellali. It's really important because as we've said over and again, Tunisia is the bellwether of democracy and, you know,

reform in your part of the world. So, thank you.

GUELLALI: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Turning now to perhaps the biggest upset yet at the 2020 Olympics. The world's greatest gymnasts, the U.S. Simone Biles has pulled

out of the team final in Tokyo. The four-time Olympic gold medalist said that she has to focus on her mental health. Take a listen.


SIMONE BILES, U.S. OLYMPIC GYMNAST: It just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a backseat, work on my mindfulness, and I knew that the

girls would do an absolutely great job and I didn't want to risk the team a medal for kind of my screw ups because they've worked way too hard for



AMANPOUR: Well, the girls, as she said did in fact snag a silver medal. Our next guest knows Simone Biles very well. She is her former teammate, Aly

Raisman, the six-time Olympic medalist and former USA Gymnastics captain. And she is joining me now.

Welcome Aly Raisman to the program.

Let me just first ask you your reaction to what we heard Simone Biles just say about mental health and mindfulness. And the fact that you know, she

wasn't there with the team when they contested the event today.

ALY RAISMAN, U.S. GYMNAST & OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: So Simone actually was there, she performed on ball, and then she stayed there for the rest of the

competition to cheer on her teammates. I'm absolutely devastated for Simone. I feel so bad for her. I feel sick to my stomach.

I just am praying that she's OK. I'm praying that she gets the support and the love that she needs. It's -- I know how much all the girls have worked

so hard for this moment. And I think that they did an incredible job. It's not easy to perform an Olympic team final under such immense pressure. And

I'm so proud of them for winning the silver medal.

AMANPOUR: Have you actually spoken to Simone?

RAISMAN: No, I have not. I have reached out to her, you know, but I can't imagine what Simone is going through. I honestly can't even imagine I know

how much Simone has dreamt of this moment, how hard she's been working. And so it's, I can't imagine and as I said, just sending her all the love and

support. And I hope that she's getting the support that she needs.

AMANPOUR: I hope so too, of course, and so does all the world and all her fans. Let me just play a little bit as you rightly say she did take part in

some of it. She talked about her performance on the vault. And how it sort of cemented her decision. Let's just play this a little bit.


BILES: As try it two and a half. And I ended up doing a one and a half just got a little bit lost in the air, which is really unfortunate, especially

to have a score like that go up there for the team. I feel like I robbed them of a couple of times. And we could have been a little bit higher in

the rankings. But yes, I was trying to two and a half ended up doing one and a half which was definitely not my best work.


AMANPOUR: OK. So, Aly Raisman, it's really interesting to hear somebody who's been called the greatest gymnasts of all times, talk about how she

couldn't actually perform what she was trying to perform.


Tell us how that happens for somebody of that experience, at that level, you know, under that -- I guess, that pressure, but somebody who's trained

and trained for that.

Yes. You know, I also just want to remind people that Simone Biles is human, and every single athlete, no matter how successful they are, every

single athlete has good days and bad days and every athlete has performances they look back, they wish they did better.

But to be honest, getting lost in the air, which is -- you know, as Simone said, she was going for a two and a half twist and ended up doing a one and

a half twist. That's actually very common for some gymnasts and it would happen to me sometimes in my gymnastics career.

It's just unfortunate that it did happened in the team final at the Olympic games. But, you know, it could have been anything. I'm curious, whenever

Simone is ready to share, if she can think about why she got lost. Sometimes there's no reason behind it. Sometimes you just get a little bit

confused in the air. I think gymnastics is one of those sports where, you know, someone like Simone makes it look easy, but it's actually in fact

very difficult.

And so, when you think about what she's actually doing a two and a half twists, sometimes what happens is you're in the air and you kind of lose

track of, have I done a half twist, have I done two twists? It gets a little bit confusing.

So, it is in fact actually very common. It's just -- you know, I think it just shows, unfortunately, that even the best athletes in the world, they

have good days and bad days and I commend her for her bravery and speaking up and doing what's right for her and what she felt was right for the team.

It's not easy. But, you know, even the greatest athletes of all time, they're not perfect and they're human, too.

AMANPOUR: Yes. I want to get more to the human side in a second. But first, I just want to ask you to reflect, again, on the fact that her team did

pull off a silver medal. And as far as I know, they are obviously not as experienced as her. I think a lot of them, if not all, are first time

Olympians. Correct me if I'm wrong. But they actually did, you know, do something amazing. Talk about what it must have been like for them.

RAISMAN: Yes, the rest -- I mean, the whole team did an incredible job, and, you know, I think knowing -- going into the Olympic Games and knowing

you have a teammate like Simone Biles is always an extra confidence booster because you know you can count on Simone's scores. And so, what happens in

the team finals is three girls go up on each event and every single sport counts. And so, there's four girls on the team. So, one girl is not

performing on each event.

And so, you know, for example, Jordan Chiles was not supposed to go up on bars and beam, and I'm not sure if Sunisa was supposed to go on floor. I

don't think she was supposed to go last. So, either way, they have been training for this three of three-count style. And so, every single day in

practice they're all going in the same exact order.

And the girls that were not thinking about actually performing on those events didn't even warm up in the morning, so they had to like mentally

prepare themselves to go up on the events, which is not easy to do especially in an Olympic team final.

So, there's already enough pressure, and then last minute when you're not planning to go on bars or beam or floor and you have to go up, it takes a

lot of mental strength to get yourself ready. Especially when you weren't even able to warmup in the back gym.

So, they did a great job. And I also want to say, Simone, again, was there cheering for them the whole time, which it's got to be so hard for her to

watch them and she did such a great job. So, I'm proud of all of them. And I was also so impressed with their beam. The beam is four inches wide. So,

for them to go up hit in the team final when they know their best athlete is out, I think really speaks to the team and how mentally tough they were.

So, I'm very proud of them.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you whether you have a gut feeling, she has said and I guess the officials have said they'll assess it each day. And she's pulled

off the team event, but I believe there's some individual competition that she could take part in. Do you think she will?

RAISMAN: You know, I don't know and I personally haven't spoken to Simone yet since the competition, so I'm not sure. I think, you know, like

everyone else I'm hoping she's able to, but as Simone says, her mental health should be the priority, and it's the same with all the other


I think it's really important we take a second and really think about how much pressure is on these Olympic athletes and that the mental health of

these athletes should be the priority. And I think we need to start questioning what is there for these athletes this place.

Like, is there someone that's able the help Simone in this moment that is actually in Tokyo? If not, that needs to change for future generations. And

so, I hope so, but I honestly just don't know the answer because I don't know what Simone is thinking, but I think it's really smart to take it day

by day. And I'm hoping she gets a good night's sleep and wakes up tomorrow and feels good.

AMANPOUR: So, on that point that you just made, is, I guess, U.S. gymnastics -- I mean, do you feel that they're in a position to help more?

What could they do? And let's not beat about the bush, you all had a pretty traumatic experience. You know, you talked about, you testified about the

team doctor, Larry Nassar, who abused so many of you all for so long and that you were not protected and your mental and physical health were not



You know, Naomi Osaka has come out in different ways, you know, expressing her mental fragility at this particular time, whether it was pulling out of

Wimbledon, also now defeated in Tokyo. There's more willingness, I think, to talk about this, and as you say, they make brave decisions. But the

trauma is long lasting and what you have had to go through is still there.

RAISMAN: Yes, absolutely. I mean, what we've all been through is so traumatic, and I think it's something that -- you know, I can't speak for

every survivor, obviously, but I just know from -- a lot of them are my friends and I know from chatting with a good amount of them that we're

still dealing with it every single day.

And to be honest, you know, what even went through today and what she's been going through the last few months, all of these Olympic athletes, I

think there's such -- there's also sort of this anxiety and this fear of disappointing people, and it's really overwhelming and it's really, really


I mean, I think being a part of the U.S. Olympic team, you know, we're lucky that we have so many incredible athletes but there is so much

pressure to win that gold medal, and it can be so consuming and kind of take over your life. And it almost -- it feels like it's hard to breathe


So, I think that, you know, USA gymnastics and the United States Olympic Committee really have to take a hard look at the way that they're treating

their athletes. When I was competing, there was really no resources and mental wasn't really a discussion.

I'm not in Tokyo right now as an athlete. So, I'm not sure what they have available now. I hope that there is people there that Simone feels safe

going to that can support her and can get her the help if she wants it. But I definitely think that's something that -- it needs to be more of a

conversation going forward and there has to be programs in place to help athletes and also help athletes that didn't do as well as they wanted to

and feel afraid that they're letting people down. There's got to be someone there that could help support them through these hard times.

AMANPOUR: Aly Raisman, thank you so much indeed for joining us. And as I say good-bye to you, I want to just play the soundbite where Simone Biles

talked about the importance of placing her mental health first.


SIMONE BILES, U.S. OLYMPIC GYMNAST: I say put mental health first, because if you don't, then you're not going to enjoy your sport and you're not

going to succeed as much as you want to. So, it's OK sometimes to even sit out the big competitions to focus on yourself because it shows how strong

of a competitor and person that you really are rather than just battle through it.


AMANPOUR: Indeed. And now, we go to turmoil and leadership in the church.

Theologian Russell Moore is one of the most influential figures in Evangelical Christianity today. But back in May he sent shockwaves through

his community after resigning his leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention. A leaked letter alleging raw racist sentiment was one of many

damning reasons he walked away.

And here is speaking to Michel Martin.


MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Pastor Russell Moore, thank you so much for talking with us.


MARTIN: Obviously, many people are familiar with your work, but for those who are not, I mean, you have been one of the most high-profile Evangelical

leaders in the country for many years now. For some people, you probably are the face of the Evangelical movement. When did it start to go wrong for

you? When did things internally start to change? When did you notice some friction there?

MOORE: Well, I don't think that things went wrong. I think in some ways things went very right and that I came to see new ways to equip Christians

and God doing a new thing. And frankly, within the Southern Baptist Convention, the people in the Southern Baptist Convention were

overwhelmingly, not just supportive, but beyond supportive and loving and affirming. My board was as well.

I think that what I was starting to see was the same thing that virtually - - I mean, almost every pastor I'm talking to right now is seeing, which is a congregation where the vast majority of people really want to love

people, really want to follow Christ, and sometimes there's a very small group within that congregation that doesn't want to. And that creates a

different kind of temperature in the room.

And so, what a pastor has to decide is, do I continue working toward change in this congregation? Which is usually the way to go. Or another way is to

say, maybe I should be doing something different.

MARTIN: So, why'd you resign?


MOORE: Because I started to see God doing something new in term of putting people together from multiple denominations who have the same concern. So,

I was having a conversation every single day with Anglicans and Presbyterians and nondenominational people and others who were saying, it

seems to me that we have where we need to put the gospel first and we need to put the kingdom first and we need each other to do that.

And so, Christianity today, being the way that the Evangelical movement essentially launched in the post-war era, I think we have a very similar

moment right now.

MARTIN: So, you're focusing very much on what you're going toward, not what you're leaving. Perfectly understandable. But I have to say, your

resignation letter landed like a rocket. It was leaked. I don't know who leaked it. I know what we've all read it. You do not deny that it is your

words. It's blistering. It's absolutely blistering.

You say that the presenting issue, you said, is not the former president. You say the presenting issue was the way the denomination suffered a

leadership was dealing with sexual abuse, thing one. But you also say that you and your family face constant threats from white nationalists and white

supremacists, including from within the convention.

Do you want to talk about that?

MOORE: Yes. Well, that wasn't a resignation letter. It was a letter that I had written to my board members. Just they pray with me, and I was helping

them to see some of the things that were going on. Yes. I mean, I think that there are very real issues within the church in almost every

denomination or communion or setting right now when it comes to these issues of racial justice and reconciliation and sexual abuse.

I mean, I'm finding this as recently as just right before this interview talking to a pastor who's combatting this within a congregation, and it can

be exhausting. It can be demoralizing. But it also means that there's an opportunity for the people of God to do what's right.

MARTIN: I hear you. But it's -- it is disturbing. I mean, when did you start to see these things? I mean, has this been kind of a little hum all

along, like sort of like a pilot lighting your furnace that is always there, or was this something that became -- that you became newly aware of

because of the prominence of your position?

MOORE: Well, I think that the issues of racial justice particularly had always been disturbing to me. It's one of the reasons why I went through a

spiritual crisis as a 15-year-old when I was looking at Bible Belt Christianity and seeing a lot of very blatant racism and wondering, how can

these two things go together?

I mean, one cannot read the bible and see the actions of Jesus and seeing the sort of church that Jesus puts together and come to this kind of

conclusion that racism is anything other than morally wrong. And so, that's been a concern for me for all of my life.

I think there are many people who are rattled by some of the things that we're seeing in terms of sexual abuse and the treatment of sexual abuse

survivors and cover-ups taking place, again, not just in one setting and not just even within a church setting, but within multiple settings in the

United States right now.

But the church is called to better. And so, we ought to be the place that is the toughest on sexual abuse and the place that is the most caring for

survivors and victims of sexual abuse. I think that is something we must do better.

I remember having a conversation with a group Evangelical women a couple of years ago, and one of the women there said, it seems to me that when you're

seeing some of these revelations that are taking place with some high- profile scandals, some high-profile coverups, it seems that you're rattled by that, and we want you to know that none of us are surprised by this. And

the entire room full of women were nodding their heads, and that was really a key moment for me in seeing just how deep some of these problems go.

MARTIN: You said earlier that this is a minority of people within the convention, within the denominations, within the universe. And, you know,

it sort of makes sense. I mean, Southern Baptists, at least to the current moment, have been the largest protestant denominations. We're talking

about, you know, millions of people.

On the other hand, the areas in which you constantly faced criticism within your movement have been when you've surfaced these issues, I mean, when you

have publicly called for more diversity in leadership of the convention you were criticized for that.



MARTIN: When you showcased women who have wanted to speak about their experiences with sexual misconduct, you were criticized for that. And in

fact, you say in your letter, that from the very beginning of my service I have been attacked with the most vicious guerrilla tactics on such matters

and have been told to be quiet about this by others. You said that, you know, you heard just the most vicious racist comments like behind the


So, if that's the case, then how can you say -- I mean, forgive me, that it's not somehow defining or pervasive within the movement? You see what

I'm saying? How can both of those things be true?

MOORE: Well, I think both of those things can be true because if you look at what the denomination as a whole would do when they come together in

their annual meetings, they would not be in any way in the direction that you just mentioned. As a matter of fact, you know, I was often surprised at

just how strong the Southern Baptist Convention would end up being in their June meetings in terms of support for racial reconciliation and justice and

standing up for sexual abuse survivors.

That wasn't the problem. The problem was what was happening between meetings. And I've found that that's the case in a number of institutions

right now where sometimes the people who are the most obsessed with the politics, the internal politics, tend to be the least healthy people and

vice versa.

MARTIN: What role do you think race plays in this? I mean, is it possible that race has become more important than the gospel? Is it possible?

MOORE: In some sectors, I think it certainly has. And, you know, this is not new, though. If you look back at the New Testament, you're going to

find so much of it has to do with this very question, whether or not people are going to idolize the flesh and exercise dominion over one another, or

whether or not people are going to be part of one body and one fellowship. This is a repeated issue in the New Testament and it has been a repeated

issue throughout history.

So, if you noticed, even what we tend to think of as the Contemporary Evangelical movement happened in the 1940s and 1950s with the diverging of

those who wanted to be separatist fundamentalists and those who wanted to be gospel focused, gospel centered Evangelical. They were -- in many cases,

they agree on all of the fundamentals of the faith, but they disagreed very much about the ways that culture can shift and can take any religion

captive. I mean, that's really the issue.

MARTIN: But you can't help but notice that white Evangelicals were among the former president's strongest constituencies.


MARTIN: They are among the most hesitant right now to embrace public health measures, to contain the coronavirus. And it's all the more noteworthy

because these are folks who espouse an ethic of being -- of protecting the sanctity of life, and yet, they have proven to be among the most unwilling

to take measures to protect the sanctity of some lives, of vulnerable lives. And why is that? Why is that?

MOORE: I don't know. I think we're in a moment of a kind of crisis of credibility. That's one of the things that I have been speaking to

repeatedly. And frankly, what takes up most of my time and energy right now is talking to young Evangelical Christians who are disillusioned and who

are fighting against cynicism. Usually not yielding to it, but fighting against it, and they have every reason to in many cases.

So, we really have a long project ahead of us, rebuilding Evangelical credibility on the basis of being the people who are what we say we are and

believe what we say we believe. I mean, this is one of the things that's interesting to me is that when I find the sort of disillusionment taking

place among younger Christians, it's usually not for the reasons people assume, that they can't believe what the church teaches. It's instead just

the opposite, they fear that the church doesn't believe what it teaches.

So, we need to be the people who are consistent, who are working to maintain integrity and consistency across the board, and that means letting

our neighbor, when it comes to public health measures and so forth. And what I would say is, what I find often with secular people is that they

assume that the problem here is the pastors, is the pastoral leadership, and I have found that not to be the case.


There are some high-profile sort of pastors who are on television telling people not to be vaccinated or that the blood of Jesus will protect you

from COVID and so forth. That's very rare, though, from what I'm finding on the ground. In most cases pastors are leading kind of heroically in their

communities, not just with their own churches but many of them are facing really significant backlash from -- again, often small groups of people

within congregations but a small group of people can change the entire dynamic. So, that's a challenge and a crisis for us.

MARTIN: Is the former president a symptom, or is he, forgive me, the disease? Was he the symptom or was he cause?

MOORE: I think he was in some ways a symptom and in some ways a driver. And by driver, what I mean is sort of the mode of discourse that now seems

normal to us, including in terms of church life. I don't think he created that, but I do think that the last five years have normalized that.

So, I'll often talk to pastors who will feel as though they're failures because they look at Facebook feeds of their members and they see people

using language and sarcasm and personal attack in ways that aren't consistent with the sermon on the mount attitudes. And they say to

themselves, where did I go wrong? Well, we're living in a cultural ecosystem where things that could have shocking to us just a few years ago

have now become routine and have become normal. I think that that's a big, big part of this.

MARTIN: As we've discussed, the Southern Baptists have been the country's largest protestant denomination, but as you know, the convention saw its

largest single membership drop from 2018 to 2019, it's like the 13th straight year of decline as I understand it. Why do you think that is?

MOORE: I think there are a number of reasons for that. And I think one of the reasons is, you know, somebody who's growing up at a time when I was is

somebody who is really taught that one's denominational identity is one's identity, almost. Secondary to identity in Christ. But certainly, present

there in a way that's not the case now.

So, there will be people who will move from Presbyterian church to Methodist church to Baptist church to Anglican church with relative ease in

a way that never would have happened before.

Then you add to that some of the things that we have been talking about earlier with the sort of crisis of credibility and cynicism and the sort of

despair that is coming towards institutions that sometimes people feel have failed them, and all of that adds up to the moment that we find ourselves

in now.

MARTIN: Do you see your movement as being one that can recapture prominence? I don't know how else to describe it. Because one of the things

you wrote about in one of your earlier books, "Onward", it was engaging the culture without losing the gospel was really about -- if I could put it as

bluntly as possible, accepting the fact that some of the core principles that Evangelicals adhere to are not shared by the broader society. They're

just aren't. It's just not the majority of you.

Some people see the way our politics in unfolding is a way for a minority of people to try to dominate the majority with their views. Do you think

that's fair? And do you think that that's possible?

MOORE: Well, I don't think that Evangelical Christianity should be seeking to dominate anyone. The gospel does not come through coercion. It comes

through persuasion and the power of the holy spirit. I think one of the problems is, that sometimes there's a tendency to try to find a golden age

in the past where Evangelical Christianity was dominant and prominent, and that's not what I think we need to be looking to.

Instead, I think we need to be looking to following Christ, which means having confidence in the gospel such that we don't believe that we need to

seek prominence or to coerce people or to coerce people or to be some sort of a political movement at the table. But instead, be the sort of people

who can bear witness to the grace of Jesus Christ and then to embody that and show that.

MARTIN: What does that look like?


MOORE: Well, I think it looks like churches that hold to their convictions and love one another and are able to deal with kindness toward those who

don't understand them and who don't get them.

And I think you see that in communities all over -- not just all-over North America, but all over the world right now with Christians who genuinely see

the people around them who disagree with them not as people to be attacked or in some sort of war with, but as people to love and to serve, and we can

talk honestly about where we have disagreements, but do so trying to persuade each other, not trying to shut one another down.

MARTIN: Pastor Russell Moore, thank you so much for talking with us today.

MOORE: Thanks for having me.


AMANPOUR: And that's it for now. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.