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Interview with Hungarian Opposition Candidate Peter Marki-Zay; Interview with "Midnight in Washington" Author and Representative Adam Schiff. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired October 20, 2021 - 13:59:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Survivors united will never be divided!
AMANPOUR (voice-over): MeToo four years after going viral. I speak to the founder, Tarana Burke, about its true origins and where it goes from here.
GINO, IRAQI REFUGEE: They put us in a truck, and then they took us to the other border. They cut it. And they told us to walk.
AMANPOUR: These migrants say Belarus helped ferry them to Europe. The E.U. says it is state-organized human trafficking. We get a report from Eastern
And can this man finally unseat Hungary's authoritarian leader, Viktor Orban? Mayor Peter Marki-Zay tells me how he's trying to do just that by
rallying unlikely allies ahead of the next election.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I think we're unquestionably weaker, that it was a real body blow, probably the worst body blow to our democracy.
AMANPOUR: "Midnight in Washington." Congressman Adam Schiff talks to Michel Martin about his new book, January 6, and how American democracy will
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
It was a movement that swept the world just four years ago this month with the hashtag #MeToo. Women everywhere stood up as survivors and awakened the
public to the rampant problem of sexual abuse and harassment.
Though the term MeToo went viral in 2017, it was actually a decade earlier when activist Tarana Burke first started using it to help survivors,
particularly young women of color, to empower themselves and connect to others.
For Burke, watching MeToo go viral wasn't a cause for celebration at the time. In reality, it stressed her out worrying that it would drift further
and further away from her original intent. Tarana Burke reveals now for the first time how it all began in a new memoir, which is called "Unbound: My
Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement."
And she's joining me now from Los Angeles.
Tarana Burke, welcome back to our program.
So critics are calling this very tough, a tough read, but incredibly empowering. As we said, it went viral four years ago with the Harvey
Weinstein trial. But how do you feel about where it is now and the fact that you had been doing this for the past decade?
TARANA BURKE, METOO MOVEMENT FOUNDER: Well, I think it's changed so much over the last four years. So much has evolved. So many things have happened
in the last four years that I feel like there's been a lot of progress, although there's so much more work to be done.
But we are far -- we're in a much different place that we were in October of 2017, for sure.
AMANPOUR: But tell me about the 10 years earlier, that you were toiling, I guess in relative obscurity, on this very issue.
How did it actually start? What were you doing in those 10 years before, before four years ago, 2017?
BURKE: Well, it was actually more than 10 years, right?
I spent a very long time both in Philadelphia and in Alabama in the South and other parts of the country working with young people doing empowerment
and leadership work. And that evolved into working with young girls who have been survivors of sexual violence.
And it was in relative obscurity, but -- I guess to the mainstream media and the mainstream public, but not in the black community.
And I worked really hard, along with the other people in our organization, to make sure that these girls had safe harbor and had pathways to healing,
but also to start a movement that was about organizing to end sexual violence in our communities, because just the same as we organized around
gun violence or police violence, there was very little conversation even, and definitely very little work being done to actually end the sexual
violence that was happening and so rampantly in our communities.
And so that's what our work looked like largely before MeToo went viral.
AMANPOUR: So, Tarana, I mean, you raise kind of an extremely troubling reality.
And that is, when you are trying to be an activist to lobby on behalf of your community, the black community, girls in your community who were being
abused, it didn't resonate on the level that it did when, let's say, celebrities, Hollywood stars, others who were white women who had been
victimized by people like Harvey Weinstein and others, until that came out.
What does that say about just the whole notion of trying to get justice on this -- on this account?
BURKE: I think it's the same thing we see in every other social justice issue, right?
In America in particular, we have been socialized, we have been programmed to respond to the vulnerability of white women. We have been programmed to
respond to white women in distress. And I think it's the same way around the world. It's not just black women. We have -- indigenous women in
America have the highest rates of sexual violence, and nobody talks about them. Nobody talks about their plight and what's going on with them.
And so this is what we have seen in every facet of the social justice issue is that, when it's black and brown people, the things that are happening in
our communities are not prioritized. So it's no surprise that, when it came to sexual violence, the same thing would happen, particularly when you're
talking about famous, white, rich women.
AMANPOUR: Go back all those years ago when you yourself became a victim of this, and I guess nobody responded. You were 7 years old when you were
abused. And this was one of many times you were abused. You had been raped?
How did your family, how did your community respond to this? Did you tell them? What was your experience?
BURKE: Well, to be clear, nobody responded because I didn't tell.
BURKE: And that's actually a different story than is told often, is that people don't tell because they don't think people will believe them.
I didn't tell. And I think a lot of other little girls and little black girls in particular don't tell because they will be believed, and it may
ruin their family. Or immigrant people, folks may not tell because they will be believed and it will bring law enforcement into their family and
can disrupt their homes.
There are lots of reasons why people of color, for instance, don't disclose that are beyond just not being believed. And so what I try to explore in my
book are the other things that happened in my community. I didn't tell because I didn't want my father or my mother to go and find the person and
cause harm to the person, which would then bring the police into our -- into the situation.
They might be arrested. And my house would be split out because of me. And I thought that I had done something bad.
AMANPOUR: You did describe yourself in the book as feeling like a dirty dishrag.
And you said that you only realize that you were not the only person to be violated like this, you only realized when you read the great Maya
Angelou's book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."
What was that revelation like to you, and do you hope all these years later that your book will help reveal to others who may still think they're the
only ones in their community or the only ones being abused?
BURKE: That revelation was life-changing, right? I just thought that I was holding a secret by myself.
So that is why things like MeToo are important, because it creates community, so that folks who are experienced in sexual violence don't feel
like they are alone. I hope that people are -- if somebody, a young girl reads my book and has that same experience, that would be amazing.
But I hope that the work that we're doing is big enough and loud enough so that they don't have to find community in just my book, but they can find
it through our organization and through the work that we're doing and through the movement that we're building.
AMANPOUR: You know, you say you didn't tell for all the reasons you have just laid out.
Yet when it was your turn to be -- to have to make a decision to help people, you describe a really dramatic scene when you were in Selma,
Alabama, working for one of the lead civil rights architects, Reverend James Bevel, and you realized...
BURKE: No, no. I didn't work for James Bevel. Please don't say that.
AMANPOUR: No. I'm sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. But you encountered him.
And he was, as I say, close to Martin Luther King. That's correct, right?
And in a classroom, where you had discovered that he was a serial molester. And you arrived. And take the story from there. I'm just going to read a
little extract on this.
"I still had no idea the extent of his depravities, but I knew that we had to get those children out, like we were headed north towards freedom."
Tell me -- I mean, it was quite dramatic. You went in there and tried to get all these kids out from under his, I don't even want to say care, but
under his tutelage, under his presence there.
I mean, at the time that moment happened, I didn't even know that he wasn't molester, but he was just really creepy. And he gave us really bad vibes.
And, quite frankly, he was being verbally abusive to the young people. He was -- there were queer children in the room. There were the girls in the
And he was saying the most homophobic and misogynistic and really terrible things to them. And so that alone was abusive. And so myself and two other
people who worked with me, we really felt like we had to get the girls and the kids out of there.
And literally, one by one, we kind of pulled them out and put them on our van and took them down the street to our community center. And he obviously
saw us doing that in the middle of it and knew he couldn't do anything about it, because the children wanted to come with us.
And I'm so glad that we had that moment. I was just talking about one of the people who was a part of that with me. I just spoke to him the other
day. And we were just recounting that moment and how, now looking back, is -- we were not scared in the moment, but just how big of a moment that was
at the time.
AMANPOUR: In 2008, he was convicted of unlawful fornication.
And I want to ask you, though. All this work that you have done all this awareness that has been created, and yet still it goes on so blatantly and
so wantonly and so grotesquely, in public, even, and people don't do what you did. They don't intervene on many, many instances.
A horrendous issue last Wednesday, a woman on a train raped for eight minutes, according to bystanders, or according to those who filmed near
Philadelphia, doing nothing, not even calling 911. And it only stopped when the T.A., Transportation Authority, employee got on the train and called
I mean, how do you -- well, none of this is ever going to end. But that's in public in a sensitized, we would expect, society now.
BURKE: I think that story really knocked the wind out of me. I just can't even imagine that scenario, how it played out.
I can't imagine that nobody would intervene. I mean, I'm from New York, and I have seen people intervene in much, much, much less horrendous incidents.
And I just -- it just says so much about the world we live in. It says so much about social media and our need to -- that people filmed it, but
didn't intervene, it's just -- it's awful.
I don't really have the words. I think -- and I think it's -- but I think it's good that you brought it up, and that we talk about it, because we
have to talk about more than just these trials that have happened and people who've been arrested And People -- governors who have stepped down.
On a very basic community level, we're still dealing with sexual violence every day in our community. Every day, people are still faced with violence
in our community. And that's something that has not been addressed, largely, and this is indicative of that.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you also whether you -- because I heard you discussing this with Oprah recently. You talk about spectrum. And many
people have questioned the -- is it all black and white? Or is there gray? Are there different levels, and you have talked about a spectrum of abuse,
And we have seen in some cases wrongfully accused people who've basically had their lives destroyed, young people, middle-aged people, older people.
And I wonder what you think about that. I wonder if you could explain what you what you think about a spectrum of action and the spectrum of
BURKE: Well, first of all, as a black woman in America, I have seen black men's lives destroyed for decades because of false accusations around
sexual violence, right?
AMANPOUR: Well, in fact, you have a specific, you have a specific encounter with that at a youngest age.
When you were in school, one of your friends was going out with or something with Yusef Salaam one of the Central Park 5 who was wrongfully
And so I have a very keen understanding of how sexual violence has been weaponized against black men and what false accusations can do to the lives
of people who have to endure that.
I think we also -- every time we talk about false accusations, we have to be clear about how -- what the statistics are around that and what they
say, and that it's very, very few instances where they happen, but they do happen. And I think accountability should happen on both ends.
But I think what also happens is that we get mired down in a conversation about false accusations and what should happen more so than we do about the
accountability -- about the accountability for the harm that actually happens.
And so I have said this before, that accountability should happen on a spectrum. That's on all ends. And it doesn't have to involve law
enforcement all the time. It doesn't have to mean people's lives have to be ruined and turned upside down.
But people do have to answer for the harm that they caused. And I think that we're in a very unique position to start thinking about what that can
look like as we move forward. It doesn't always have to be -- we're socialized to just think about law and order, crime and punishment. And
everything doesn't fit into that box.
There aren't enough laws to cover the ways that people can be violated by sexual violence. It's just not possible. And you can't adjudicate healing,
right? You can't adjudicate safety. And so there's not enough policies you can create or laws that you can create that's going to stop sexual
violence, that's going to keep people safe, or that's even going to stop false accusations.
So we have to think about what alternatives look like.
AMANPOUR: Yes, and I think, clearly, that's part of, I guess, the next sort of chapter in this movement now.
And I want to ask you, though, because I want to ask you what the words mean to you. And do they mean what they did when you first started the same
way as they do today? And as part of that, I'd like you to read a little bit that you have chosen from the prologue of your book, "Unbound."
"The courage that trickled out of a young black girl in the Bronx and now from millions of others form the massive ocean that this movement has
become. The essence of MeToo is found deep in the marrow of this lifelong story. There is no here without where I was, stuck and scared and ashamed,
a place I remained until the need to care for someone else's shame saved me too.
"Every now and then, I find myself right back there with that scared little girl, but I can look to the road map this movement helped me chart to lead
me home. I hope you're able to use my story of finding courage to say me too, to help you on your own path."
AMANPOUR: And do you feel that that empowerment is happening?
When you see and when you look and see how it's -- what's happening right now, do you feel that what you are just hoping in that passage is happening
BURKE: I do.
I mean, the feedback from the book and -- that I have been getting from people who have read it, I have gotten e-mails and videos and all kinds of
messages from survivors and people who have read the book who have affirmed that for me. And so that makes me feel good. It makes me feel like that
purpose is being fulfilled.
And I hope that continues to happen.
AMANPOUR: Look, I know it's, I guess, sensitive, because, clearly, you just spoke about how the overwhelming number of false accusations has been
against men in your community.
But I want to ask you what you think of men in your community who have also abused young girls, like R. Kelly, for instance, who went for so long
without being -- without being held accountable.
And Kimberle Crenshaw, who you must know incredibly well, who developed the concept of intersectionality, she said: "What was it about these victims
that allowed superstars to continue to work with R. Kelly, music executives to continue to make deals with him, consumers to continue listening to his
music? It's part of a long history of the way in which black women's sexuality, veracity, vulnerability has been dismissed in our culture, an
opportunity for us to really dig into it, rather than pat ourselves on the back."
I should have played the excerpt from what she said, but I read it instead.
But women in your community also have been historically not believed, and even by the men and the community have been shunted aside.
It's actually the same in every community. And it's not -- there's no special depravity in the black community. But it is -- to be clear, we have
to be able to hold multiple truths at the same time. While it is very true that black men -- that sexual violence has been weaponized against black
men, it's also very true that black women have the second highest rate of sexual violence incidents in the United States.
And that's something that we have to look directly in its eyes. Black women and girls are largely not believed. Black women and girls are largely not
protected when it comes to sexual violence in this country. And that's just a truth. It doesn't mean anything about black men, other than we have to
talk about this, unpack it and figure out solutions for why it's happening.
And so it's something that causes so much controversy whenever it comes up. When the R. Kelly case came, the community and lots of folks in the
community was split and there were lots of arguments about it. The same thing when you bring up Russell Simmons or T.I. or Bill Cosby. Any of these
names cause people to want to debate about it.
But on the other end is always black women who are waiting to have some kind of justice, some kind of anything that says that we care about them,
about us, that people care about us and want to keep us safe and feel protected. And that just doesn't happen often enough.
AMANPOUR: And that's why you're there fighting for them.
Tarana Burke, thank you so much, indeed, founder of MeToo.
And now we turn to Germany, where migrants say they are arriving with some unexpected help from Belarus. The E.U. is considering further action
against the Lukashenko regime for using people as pawns, flying in thousands of migrants and sending them across the border to the E.U. in
retaliation for sanctions.
Fred Pleitgen went to Eastern Germany, and he spoke to some of the newly arrived migrants. And here's his report.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trapped and desperate between Belarus and Poland, refugees begging for passage to Germany.
And while many are stopped, an increasing number are now making it to Germany to this refugee center in the town of Eisenhuttenstadt.
Seventeen-year-old Gino just arrived from Iraq via Belarus with her mother and sister and says Belarusian authorities even drove them to the border.
GINO: They put us in a truck, and then they took us to the other border. They cut it, and they told us to walk.
PLEITGEN (on camera): They cut the border. So there was a wire? And they cut the wire?
GINO: Yes, they cut the wire.
(voice-over): The E.U. accuses strongman Alexander Lukashenko of state- organized human trafficking, luring refugees to Belarus and sending them across the border, a claim Lukashenko denies.
Poland says it has sealed its border with barbed wire and will even build a wall. Refugees are often trapped between the two sides for days, and shoved
back and forth. This woman from Syria tells me the group she was part of slept under trees and ran out of food and water.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Five days later, we drink water from the floor -- on the floor. We don't have anything.
PLEITGEN (on camera): You drank water from puddles?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Yes. Yes.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Few of the refugees stay in Poland. Most try to move on to Germany, the Brandenburg state government says. They also say
they've gone from 200 new arrivals in all of August to almost 200 every day now.
OLAF JANSEN, BRANDENBURG IMMIGRATION AUTHORITY: We increase the capacity here, and we, of course, also sped up all of the administrative procedures,
without compromising security and health checks.
PLEITGEN: Poland says the situation at its border with Belarus remains tense, and the interior minister of the German state with the highest
refugee influx tells me he wants the E.U. to get tougher on Lukashenko.
"It's a question of tough international diplomacy," he says. "We, as Europe cannot allow Belarus to do something like this. From my point of view, we
could also involve Russia. All diplomatic channels need to be used."
But few believe solutions will come quickly. Folks at this refugee shelter say they are already preparing for more arrivals, already clearing
AMANPOUR: Fred Pleitgen reporting there.
And Lukashenko's antipathy towards migrants is something shared by another European strongman, Hungary's Viktor Orban. The prime minister with an
increasingly autocratic bent has been running the country for over a decade now, but is his time soon to be up?
My next guest thinks so. And he wants to be the one to oust his; 49-year- old engineer turned Mayor Peter Marki-Zay pulled off a big victory this weekend to become the surprise opposition candidate.
So, let's ask him about his strategy.
Thank you for joining us from Budapest.
I want to get to your political strategy in a moment, but I want to just have you follow up on that story that we just reported from Belarus. Your
own prime minister, Viktor Orban, has also, as we said, a distinct dislike of migrants, particularly Muslim ones. We're seeing the Afghan debacle
probably translate into a wave of new Afghan refugees and migrants towards Europe.
Do you agree -- he calls them, Orban, invaders. What's your position? Would your approach be different?
PETER MARKI-ZAY, HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION CANDIDATE: Hello, Christiane. And it's a pleasure talking to you.
Of course, my views are very different. But you also have to note that Mr. Orban's stance on the migration is also controversial. So he did actually
allow quite a few refugees even from Afghanistan. And, at the same time, he's also accepting migrants for work visa, for example, 55,000 the last
number from 2019.
So I don't think the big difference would be the practice. The difference is how you treat these people and also how you communicate, because Orban
is using migration for his hate campaigns. It's very strong rhetoric on migration, not necessarily so strong on the practices.
Practices, I mean the numbers. So, yes, we need to treat people humanely wherever they come from, and, also, we should never, ever conduct hate
campaigns against any minorities and the groups -- any groups of people.
AMANPOUR: OK, so just let me one more question on this then, because it's important, and migration is one of the big issues of our time.
As you know, Orban and his ministers -- and I have spoken to his foreign minister a few times -- tout the current system that you're living under
there as illiberal democracy. And beyond that, the foreign minister told me a few years ago that -- he explained or at least he tried to explain, to
answer, when I asked him about Orban calling for a Christian Hungary.
This is what he said to me:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: What are you saying, that anything other than white Christians into your country are not accepted?
PETER SZIJJARTO, HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: No one said that.
AMANPOUR: Excuse me. Your prime minister did say it, a Christian Hungary.
SZIJJARTO: Yes. Yes.
AMANPOUR: You deserve a Christian Hungary.
SZIJJARTO: Yes, because we are -- we have been a Christian country for a millennium. And I don't really understand, why is it bad news that we don't
want to change that? And I don't understand, why is it bad or why is it unacceptable that we would like to stick to our history, to our culture, to
our heritage, to our religion?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, Mr. Marki-Zay, you are also a devout Catholic.
I just wonder whether you agree with that. You talked about how they have to be treated humanely and how the communication about migrants needs to be
humane and respecting human rights. So, how would you be different than what Szijjarto and Orban say about them?
MARKI-ZAY: First of all, according to my views, there is nothing Christian about Orban or Szijjarto.
They also started -- they are the ultimate pragmatists. They started their -- Orban started his political activity in the communist youth movement.
Then he was for a long time a very liberal, a harsher radical liberal. He was also the vice president of the Liberal International.
Then he became somebody I also supported when he was an anti-Putin, pro- Europe, pro-E.U. conservative. Then he also changed after 2009-2010. And now he's strongly against the E.U. and supporting Putin. So I don't think
he's very consistent on ideology.
The one thing that really outrages all Christians is corruption. Corruption is the biggest problem. And there is nothing Christian about corruption.
AMANPOUR: And yet he's been in power using the democratic process for the better part of a decade, if not more.
And you are the -- pretty much the only one who has and is about to mount a significant challenge. And you want a primary this weekend that pretty much
nobody expected you would, but with a strategy that we have seen operate in the latest election in Israel. We saw the election in the Czech Republic
the weekend before, where they deposed the prime minister.
The strategy is about different political parties joining together for the election. Describe what you hope to do, in terms of the defeat a strongman
MARKI-ZAY: First of all, unification of the opposition is a must. But it's a necessary, but not sufficient condition for victory over Orban.
His regime is extremely autocratic. There's no freedom of the press, and he's changing electoral law as he wishes. Even just this week, there were
like three different changes in very important parts of electoral law and how to appoint political appointees to positions like the public
So it's -- his system is very difficult to defeat. But with the unification of the entire opposition from left to right, and with the candidate who is
-- who has an appeal, even to Orban's traditional voter base, electoral base, we have the highest chance of defeating him now in a decade.
AMANPOUR: So why do you think it is now that all of these parties have decided to put their own, I guess, political egos aside and their own
political, I guess, power and aspirations aside to band around you?
What is it that you think has -- is like, we have had enough already?
Well, first of all, it wasn't their decision. It was the decision of voters who participated in extremely high numbers in the primary, in a two-round
primary elections. And, yes, the political parties, six united political parties from left to right, they agreed in the terms beforehand, and then
they had to accept the results.
But I also believe that this is the most efficient way, the best strategy against Orban and against his corrupt and automatic regime.
AMANPOUR: So, clearly, what you're saying, what you're laying out as policies and objectives are very different to Donald Trump and the populist
wave of 2016.
But you do have a Hungarian thinktank leader called Peter Kreko. He has basically said, in some ways Marki-Zay, you, can be compared to Donald
Trump in the fact you're a non-party player who says new and surprising things, who comes out of nowhere and goes against the conventional
political logic. Is that a fair description of you?
MARKI-ZAY: I would, yes. I can accept that, definitely. One thing that's new, of course, is a fresh voice in the politics in Hungary. People are not
-- generally not used to honest voice and a very direct communication style, but in an autocratic regime, their freedom of the press is not
given. You know, you have to put things straight in order to get through communication bubbles.
AMANPOUR: So, obviously, Orban's party denies corruption and all of that. They deny pretty much everything you put to them. But I just wondered
whether you think that -- I mean, six months may be a long time. Do you feel that you will keep this rather fractious coalition, you know, of
opposition parties together heading into the election? Have you had to make promises? Do you -- you know, what's the strategy over the next six months?
MARKI-ZAY: Yes. Well, if these parties are going to win, if they want to win, then they have no better option than keeping this coalition together.
I've also been active in politics for four years now and before I was working in the private sector, of course, with no prior political
engagements. I still have no party affiliation.
But still, what I see is that Fidesz will do everything in his power and he has unlimited resources and a ruthless really limitless power and they are
very keen on keeping that power. So, of course, they will try to find traitors in the opposition. They will try to dissuade people from keeping
this coalition together and they have, like I said, unlimited resources and they are not afraid of using them. So, it's a big challenge and keep the
electoral base's pressure on these opposition parties to keep the coalition together.
AMANPOUR: Fidesz, of course, being Orban's party. The E.U. is pretty much, you know, upset about them. They're sanctioned on them. And it boils down
to democracy, doesn't it? And, you know, we see them and Poland, the ruling party in Poland, you know, really pushing back on LGBTQ rights, on the rule
of law, on all sorts of issues. The independent press as you've just mentioned.
So, I want to ask you about restoring democracy, because it's not only in your part of Europe, it's not only in other parts of the world, but also,
in what we consider, you know, the greatest global experiment with democracy, the United States. You spent a long time there. You lived a long
time there. And I just wonder what you make of what happened on January 6th. Now, what's going on in terms of trying to really investigate and hold
the perpetrators accountable to some of the violence that took place. You know, how difficult is it for you when the United States has a damaged
MARKI-ZAY: Yes, of course. It's a fair comparison, but at the same time, it's also very different. Because even -- you know, no matter how hard
people tried and some people tried, of course, in the last few years to change the rules of democracy in the United States. It is still a working
state of law with the rule of law and freedom of the press. Hungary's very different.
You know, Orban really managed to switch off all the checks and balances in the former constitution. Now, he has a basic low, not even called the
constitution, and this allows him to do anything he wants with the two- thirds majority in the parliament. He can change constitution. He can change electoral low overnight. You know, he pretty much can decide one
thing today and it happens tomorrow if he decides to put the next election date 130 years from now, he can technically do it. So, it's a very
different situation. And I pretty much envy the United States that they have a very stable system and very stable government compared to ours.
AMANPOUR: Yes, indeed. And what you're trying to do in Hungary is being described as the major showdown in your part of the world over the defense
of democracy. And, you know, there are plenty of political analysts and one of them has said that populism is beatable but actually does requires what
you are trying to do, which is gather a whole bunch of political parties, have all the leaders, you know, put their political egos and individual
But I guess I want to ask you on a broader level. Do you think that the 2016 wave of populism and nationalism, do you think it's on the wane? Do
you think this is the time to confront that kind of politics that overtook the world for so long?
MARKI-ZAY: I also must have noticed that there was a change. This change, at least, you know, started in 2019 when in Europe, people expected Orban
to rule Europe and also, with IFD and (INAUDIBLE) and the likes (INAUDIBLE), to take over, at least take a bigger share in Europe in
politics and it didn't happen. Actually, the opposite happened. So, Orban did not have a victory on the international level. And we also saw that in
2019, Orban also lost base in the municipal actions in Hungary.
Look around Hungary now, lately, you know, Czech Republic and elsewhere, and you will see that the tide is changing and hopefully, to our benefit.
This will hopefully also affect Hungary and we are working very hard on this to happen here too.
AMANPOUR: Peter Marki-Zay, thank you so much for joining us.
Now, we just were discussing January 6th and we turn to Washington politics where the investigation into that insurrection is heating up. The House
Committee leading it has voted to hold Steve Bannon, President Trump's former adviser, in criminal contempt for defying a subpoena. He's refused
to appear in court after Former President Trump's lawyers told him not to testify or to provide documents.
Democrat Adam Schiff is a committee member and he's also author of a new book "Midnight in Washington." And here he is speaking with Michel Martin
about why he believed the attack fundamentally weakened the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Congressman Adam Schiff, thank you for joining us.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), Author, "Midnight in Washington": It's great to be with you. Thanks for having me.
MARTIN: I'd like to start with some news from where we are right now. A select committee of the House has been trying to investigate the events of
January 6th. They've issued subpoenas to former staffers and supporters of the former president. To this point, they've been ignored.
And as this point, as we are speaking now, the former president has even filed a lawsuit against the January 6th Committee and National Archives
seeking to block the release of his White House records related to the capitol attack. So, can I just first start by asking you, how do you
respond to that?
SCHIFF: He's going to lose the litigation, first of all. Because the current president, Joe Biden, is not asserting executive privilege. He
recognizes the extraordinary circumstances we're in. This is an investigation into a bloody attack on our democracy, on our capitol. And
so, Trump will lose the litigation, but his whole point is to delay. And we will work to expedite and get a quick court decision rejecting this, I
think, demonstrably meritless, you know, claim on Donald Trump's part.
I think even more promising is the fact that we are holding Steve Bannon in contempt, criminal contempt and we will be referring that to the Justice
Department for prosecution. And that, I think, is the swiftest most powerful remedy for those who refuse to provide information. He has color
book claim for privilege. He wasn't part of the administration, for years, prior to the events we're talking about. And by law, the Justice Department
has a duty to present that to the Grand Jury, and we will expect them to do so.
MARTIN: The current president, Joe Biden, has expressed the view that Steve Bannon should be prosecuted. And as you know, some Republicans have
objected to his commenting on this, saying this indicates that the fix is in, that isn't being fairly adjudicated. What's your response to that?
SCHIFF: Well, the president said, you know, essentially people do not follow the law, that ignore the law should be prosecuted. He didn't make it
-- particular to any one person and the White House has been very clear that the Justice Department will ultimately make these decisions in
specific cases. But I think the president is right that for four years, we had this lawless administration. We had people willy-nilly simply refuse to
respond to lawful subpoenas, and that those days should be over.
I view this as early test case of whether our democracy is recovering. And look, one of the things that I had described in the book is the first time
Steve Bannon came in to testify before Congress during the Russia investigation, then led by Republicans. He was under subpoena when he came
in the second time. The first time was voluntarily. He didn't answer the questions. He was subpoenaed by the Republicans.
The second time, he brought 25 questions. He would only answer the only 25 is when to answer and they were written out for him by the White House, the
subject of our investigation. And he got away with it. And I think that led him to believe he can get away with it now.
But back then, you had attorney generals under the Trump administration who view their job as essentially a criminal defense firm for Donald Trump, and
that is no longer the case.
MARTIN: I can imagine that this is very frustrating to you and other Democrats. Why does it seem to be so difficult to hold people to account to
this kind of conduct?
SCHIFF: Oh, it is really astonishing. You know, I often look at one little vignette of the last four years that's so telling about where we are as a
country. A guy runs for president on a platform of building a wall which he says Mexico is going to pay for. He becomes president, of course, Mexico
doesn't pay for a wall. Wall doesn't get built. His cronies, including Steve Bannon, raise money from Trump's own supporters to build the wall and
then they steal it. And then, Trump pardons him for stealing from his own people. And this is the guy refusing to testify before Congress.
It shows you just what a group of grifters we were dealing with over the last four years. But also shows you the degree to which they think that
they're above the law. And part of the reason why they do, honestly, has to do with the fact that for four years, the people that I served with in
Congress cared more about their position, their party, their power than they did our constitution, than any notions of right and wrong.
Congress had remedies during the last four years. We could have withheld funding from the Trump administration. We could have insisted. We could
have with withhold confirmations. But one party, the Republic Party, wasn't willing to do it. They were will to sacrifice their own constitutional
interests in order to placate this president of their party.
MARTIN: Well, in fact, let's talk about your book now, because your book is, in part, a meditation on how you think we got to this point, your take
in how you got to this point. You know, you obviously have strong words about the former president and, you know, his close, you know, allies,
people who work for him, you know, with him in the White House. But really, I would say your strongest criticism is directed at colleagues in Congress.
Why is it that really you hold them responsible for this?
SCHIFF: I hold them responsible because Donald Trump could not have done any of the things he did without their willing and sometimes enthusiastic
participation and help. And I fully believe that when we have a greater perspective on this part of our history that they will suffer some of the
most severe judgments of history. Because they understood what they were doing was wrong. And, you know, just to use the most recent and terrible
illustration of this, on January 6th, and I described, as you know, in vivid detail what it was like to be on the house floor as they're breaking
in the doors and breaking the windows.
I have to say, well, I was, you know, traumatized by what was going on. I was even more angered in a way at my colleagues. These people that were
attacking the police and climbing the walls of the capitol, they believed the big lie. But the people inside the chamber with me, people I've taken
to calling insurrectionists in suits and ties, they understood it was a big lie and they kept telling it anyway. And even after that attack, even while
there was still blood on the floor, we went back into session, they were still trying to overturn the election. Still pushing the big lie. And to
me, that's unconscionable.
If we can't rely on our elections. If people lose faith in our election's ability to decide, right, you know, which party should govern and who
should represent us, then what's left but violence? And so, you're -- Michel, you're absolutely right. I hold them personally deeply accountable
for this destruction of our democracy.
MARTIN: You know, we often hear from people who spend a lot of time on Capitol Hill that, you know, they know that what they're saying is not
true. I mean, I hear this from reporters all the time, I hear this with my colleagues all the time. How do you know they know it's not true?
SCHIFF: Well, they will tell you they know what they're saying is not true. And I use a vivid anecdote in the story that took place well before
the insurrection. I'm talking to Kevin McCarthy on the plane about who was going to win the 2010 midterms. And I said --
MARTIN: Currently, he is the House minority in the house. He's the leader of the Republican minority in the House,
SCHIFF: Yes. And at the time, he had a different position of leadership in the Republican Party. And we had this conversation on the plane about who
is going to win the midterms that were then six months away. I said, the Democrats would win. He said, the Republicans would win. It was a total
nothing of a conversation.
And we get to Washington. We go our separate ways. And he goes off and he does a press briefing. And he tells the press that Republicans are going to
win the midterms. Everybody knows it. He sat with Adam Schiff on the plane and Adam Schiff admitted Republicans were going to win the midterms. And I
was incredulous. And I went up to him on the House floor and said, Kevin, first of all, if we're having a private conversation, I would have thought
it was a private conversation. But if wasn't, you know, I said the exact opposite of what you told the press. And he looks and says, yes, I know,
Adam. But you know how it goes.
And for many of them, that's exactly how it goes. And they are willing to publicly mislead their constituents in the country if it just helps them
gain power or helps them keep it. During, you know, the height of the Russia investigation. When I'm being, you know, villainized on Fox, I would
have Republicans -- sometimes even seen Republicans walk by me in the capitol and say in a hushed voice say, keep doing what you're doing.
And so, you know, they understand, they recognize, they're smart people. They recognize that Donald Trump lost and he lost handily. But they're
scared to contradict him. And it's more important, evidently, for them to keep their position than to tell the country the truth and that, I don't
understand. Because I can't imagine that's why they ran for Congress. I can't imagine that Steve Scalise, when he decided to run for Congress,
decided that, I want to run for Congress because one day I hope to mislead the country about a presidential election and undermine the fabric of our
democracy. But the story of how people came to do that and continued to do that is, I think, a story that needs to be told.
MARTIN: You really trace the sort of a seeds of what happened on January 6th, really all the way back to the 2016 election when there was an effort
made by Russia to interfere or involve itself in the 2016 election. You make the argument that if accountability had been had then, then perhaps,
perhaps, the subsequent events would not have happened. So, what went wrong there? Tell us.
SCHIFF: Well, I think the country learned what it did about Trump's complicity in what Russia was doing very peace no (ph), very drip by drip
over a two-year period. And during that two-year period, even as the facts were coming out showing that the Russians offered -- directly offered to
president's son to help win the election, dirt on Hillary Clinton and as evidence came out about the president's eagerness to get the help and his
connection with the platform, WikiLeaks, that was the cutout for the Russians to publish this stuff.
Even as we learned that Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, was secretly meeting with agent of Kremlin intelligence and giving them internal polling
data and that same unit of Russian intelligence was running the social media campaign to elect Donald Trump, even as we're learning all these
things, we're learning them in bits and pieces. The public doesn't get to see the whole picture at once. And Donald Trump is using the biggest
microphone in the world to repeat endlessly and over and over, no collusion, no corruption.
And his amplifiers on Fox are saying the same thing. It really obscured, I think, in the public mind what really happened. And that made it very
difficult to hold him accountable. Ultimately, when we had perhaps the best opportunity to explain to the country what we had found, it was that
hearing with Bob Mueller, which was not the same Bob Mueller that he had been. And it is very telling that on the day after that hearing with Bob
Mueller, when Donald Trump felt that he had escaped the jailer for his rushed misconduct, it was the very next day that he was on the phone with
the presidents of Ukraine, this time asking yet another country to help him cheat in yet another election.
And I think you can draw not only a straight line between the failure to hold him accountable for his Russian misconduct to leading to the Ukraine
misconduct, and a direct line between the Senate refusing to hold him accountable for that misconduct and the insurrection.
And now, what I fear is that we will be able to one day draw a line from the Republicans' unwillingness to hold him accountable for the big lie and
the incitement of that insurrection to something even worse in the future. How many times do we need to be told and reminded and demonstrated and
shown the danger of not holding someone like that accountable?
MARTIN: And how do you feel that's going? I guess would be the question. How do you feel about this country's willingness to stand up for the
principles, as you see it, that cause it to be the country that it is? That allows it to be the country it is. How is that going?
SCHIFF: Well, you know, it hasn't gone well for four years. But we are a deeply resilient country. And I believe with every bone of my body, we're
going to get through this. And, you know, part of what I wanted to write about too in this book is about the heroic figures who emerged in this
chapter who were showing us the way. Who demonstrated real courage at the risk of their firing or at the risk of their lives, that ought to inspire
us. And I fully believe that those people and millions of Americans like them are what are going to get us through this, because those that love our
democracy far outnumber those that are willing to tear it down right now. But we need to wake up to this threat.
So many times, the last four years, we have asked ourselves whether something like this could really happen in America, and it has happened in
America. The question has been answered. Yes, it can happen here. It is happening here. You know, among those that are the most powerful voices in
this book interestingly are immigrants. People like Marie Yovanovitch and Fiona Hill and Alexander Vindman and others. But you can meet them in
You ask anyone that's come from a repressive country or country that's lost its democracy and they will tell you, they see all the hallmarks in America
right now of what they went through in their old country. So, the danger is real. How are we doing? Not so well. Are we going to get through this?
Absolutely. And what's going to get us through it? Well, we are going to fight to pass legislation to protect our voting rights and make sure that
we do away with the gerrymandering and these other ways in which a minority of Americans can control the country, but we can't put all of our eggs in
We also -- each one of us, needs to be doing our part to make sure that no one's vote is taken away. And if we do that and we don't try to do
everything, if each individual in their own personal life tries to do one thing in the next year and a half to help save our democracy, then we will
be able to look back on this as the time we went through a really dark chapter but we made it through. And that's the future that I'm working
towards and I'm confident that we will see.
MARTIN: Did January 6th -- the events of January 6th make this country stronger or weaker in your view?
SCHIFF: I think we are unquestionably weaker, that it was a real body blow, probably the worst body blow to our democracy. And this body blow
came from within. This was not some external attack on the country. This body blow was self-inflicted. And, you know, tragically, to add tragedy
upon tragedy, there was a window of opportunity after January 6th in which it might have had the effect of casting and repudiating -- casting aside or
repudiating Donald Trump and Trumpism, and maybe the country could have really moved forward, clearly forward after that turbel attack.
And then, maybe you could have said that at least something positive came out of this because it revealed the disastrous ends to which Donald Trump
brought us. But it didn't have that effect. And people are now making heroes of the attackers. They're bringing a flag from insurrection day to
Republican rallies in Virginia to help elect a Republican governor there. They're celebrating these criminals as political prisoners.
And so, we have not turned a corner. And that corner is yet to come. So, I wish I could tell you that there was something, anything about that day
that marked a new beginning for the country in the sense of seeing the horror to which Donald Trump brought us, but we have not turned the corner.
MARTIN: Congressman Adam Schiff, your latest book is called "Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could," thank you
for talking with us. Clearly, there's a lot to talk about.
SCHIFF: There sure is. Thank you so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And also, clearly, as you heard from our earlier conversation with the Hungarian opposition candidate, what happens to the American
democracy does matter to the rest of the world.
And finally, tonight, if pigs could fly, well, perhaps in this instance, they have. Because in a medical first, surgeons in the United States have
managed to transplant a pig kidney into a human body. In a breakthrough experiment, doctors were able to successfully attach the kidney to a
patient classified as brain dead and there was no immediate rejection.
In the U.S. alone, more than 90,000 people need a new kidney with an average wait time of three to five years. This now paves the way for future
trials. Perhaps a new beacon of hope for so many people in the U.S. and around the world.
And that is it for now. You can always catch us online, on our podcast and across social media. Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.