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Biden Administration Is Weighing The Possibility Of Sending Military Advisers And Weapons To Ukraine; "Justice On The Brink" Looks At The Influence Of Three Conservative New Justices; House Democrat Jackie Speier Had Announced That She Won't Seek Re-Election; "Maid," A Memoir That Shows Harsh And Harrowing Reality Of Life Below The Poverty Line. Did Not Air Live.

Aired November 24, 2021 - 13:00   ET



BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone and welcome to Amanpour & Company. Here's what's coming up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): Our main goal is to defend and keep the sovereignty of Ukraine from the direction of the seat.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Ukraine on the edge and on alert. We take you on patrol in some of the world's most contested waters as Ukraine prepares for

a possible Russian invasion.

Plus, Justice on the Brink. The United States Supreme Court under the microscope like never before. Pulitzer Prize Winning Legal Journalist Linda

Greenhouse joins me to talk the big cases and 12 months that transformed the court. Then --

JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA), U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: When I realized I had a chance to live, I promised that if I did survive, I would dedicate my life to

public service.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Congresswoman Jackie Speier on her remarkable life, why she's leaving Congress and bridging the political divide. And finally -


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't have anywhere to sleep tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you're homeless.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had home and then we left it.

GOLODRYGA: The harsh and harrowing reality of life below the poverty line brought to life in the hit TV show, "Maid." I'm joined by series creator

Molly Smith Metzler and actress Anika Noni Rose.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amanpour & Company is made possible by the Anderson Family Fund, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim, III, Candace King Weir, the Cheryl

and Philip Milstein family, the Straus Family Foundation, Jim Attwood and Leslie Williams, Mark J. Blechner, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Koo and

Patricia Yuen committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. Additional support provided by these funders. And by

contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you. Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York City in for Christiane Amanpour who will be back tomorrow. Well, the

eyes of the world are trained on Russia's border with Ukraine right now. Ukraine and its allies, including the U.S. fear that Russia has been

building its true presence on the border for weeks, once again, raising the specter of war.

The Biden administration is even weighing the possibility of sending military advisers and weapons to Ukraine. The Kremlin denies that it has

any intention of invading but Kyiv isn't taking any chances. It's on high alert and upgrading its Navy. Correspondent Fred Pleitgen got a rare look

at that work at a Ukrainian vessels patrolling -- sorry.

Correspondent Fred Pleitgen got a rare look at that work and at Ukrainian vessels patrolling the strategic Azov coastline and he joins me now from


Hey, yes. Yes, I can hear both of you now.

OK. And that's it for our program tonight. Remember, you can follow me and the show on Twitter. Thank you so much for watching Amanpour & Company on

PBS. Join us again tomorrow night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amanpour & Company is made possible by the Anderson Family Fund, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim, III, Candace King Weir, the Cheryl

and Philip Milstein family, the Straus Family Foundation, Jim Attwood and Leslie Williams, Mark J. Blechner, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Koo and

Patricia Yuen committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. Additional support provided by these funders. And by

contributions to your PBS station from viewers like you. Thank you.


GOLODRYGA: Hello everyone and welcome to Amanpour. Here's what's coming up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): Our main goal is to defend and keep the sovereignty of Ukraine from the direction of the seat.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Ukraine on the edge and on alert. We take you on patrol in some of the world's most contested waters as Ukraine prepares for

a possible Russian invasion.

Plus, Justice on the Brink. The United States Supreme Court under the microscope like never before. Pulitzer Prize Winning Legal Journalist Linda

Greenhouse joins me to talk the big cases and 12 months that transformed the court. Then --

JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA), U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: When I realized I had a chance to live, I promised that if I did survive, I would dedicate my life to

public service.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Congresswoman Jackie Speier on her remarkable life, why she's leaving Congress and bridging the political divide. And finally -


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't have anywhere to sleep tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you're homeless.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had home and then we left it.

GOLODRYGA: The harsh and harrowing reality of life below the poverty line brought to life in the hit TV show, "Maid." I'm joined by series creator

Molly Smith Metzler and actress Anika Noni Rose.


GOLODRYGA: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York sitting in for Christiane Amanpour who will be back tomorrow. Well,

the eyes of the world are trained on Russia's border with Ukraine right now. Ukraine and its allies, including the United States fear Russia has

been building its true presence on the border for weeks, once again, raising the specter of war.

The Biden administration is even weighing the possibility of sending military advisers and weapons to Ukraine. The Kremlin denies that it has

any intention of invading but Kyiv isn't taking any chances. It is on high alert and upgrading its Navy.

Correspondent Fred Pleitgen got a rare look at that work and at Ukrainian vessels patrolling the strategic Azov coastline. And he's joining me now

from Kyiv. Fred, great to have you there live on the scene. We know that things are quickly escalating to the extent that Mark Milley, the Chairman

of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the U.S. spoke with his Russian counterpart yesterday, any sense of what came out of that conversation?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, the U.S. has been warning the Russians not to invade. And they certainly

have also been saying that the tensions there needs to need to calm down. And if you listen to the Russian side, it's also been interesting the

messaging that we're getting from them as well. They continuously accused the Ukrainians of allegedly ratcheting up those tensions of conducting

maneuvers, for instance, with NATO countries of doing things in the Black Sea that the Russians obviously don't like. And that is, of course,

something that also fuels those tensions as well.

And of course, the United States has talked to its own allies and told them the situation there is extremely serious. And, you know, when we were down

there, in the area of the Sea of Azov, you could also definitely feel those tensions as well. And the Ukrainian military said, look, they understand

that they are outgunned down there. We were on a patrol with the Ukrainian Navy.

But they also said they're definitely going to stand their ground and they certainly are modernizing their Navy and their Armed Forces down there. And

also building up key infrastructure, which they say is going to be very important, if it does come to the fact that they will need to defend that

area against the possible invasion. Here's what we saw.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): On patrol in some of the most contested waters in the world, Ukraine's Navy took us on an artillery boat in the Sea of Azov,

just as tensions with Russia have reached a boiling point.

The main goal is to defend and keep the sovereignty of Ukraine from the direction of the sea, the captain tells me. Russia has been massing troops

near Ukraine's borders, the U.S. says, warning its allies, a large scale invasion could happen soon.

(on-camera): The Ukrainians believe that if Russia does decide to launch an attack of a Sea of Azov could be one of the main battleground. That's why

the Ukrainians are both modernizing their fleet, but also their infrastructure on land as well.

(voice-over): The Azov coastline holds a strategic value to Russia. It would allow President Vladimir Putin to establish a much sought land

corridor to connect Russia to annex Crimea.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry gave us rare access to the massive construction going on at the Berdyansk naval base. Kyiv has now ordered this building

program to urgently be accelerated with the Russian threat looming large.

(on-camera): In order to complete this project as quick as possible, the Ukrainian military tells us they are now working seven days a week. And

they say, once it's finished, it will offer a formidable deterrent against any Russian aggression.

(voice-over): Upgrade seemed badly needed here with much of Berdyansk's port in utter disrepair. Ukraine says new facilities will allow them to

base more and bigger ships here.


We are ready, this officer says, that is why we are here so that at any time if there's any aggression in the Azov Sea, we can resist it. Ukraine's

President says Russia has positioned close to 100,000 troops near its borders, which the Kremlin denies.

These satellite images appearing to show dozens of military vehicles near Yelnya in southwestern Russia. The Biden administration has warned Moscow

not to attack and is mulling more weapons deliveries to Kyiv. CNN has learned one U.S. defense official says Russia's aim may be to create

confusion or to get concessions.

The Kremlin dismissed talk of a possible invasion as hysteria. But Vladimir Putin also issued a clear warning.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): We need to consider that Western partners worsen the situation by delivering to Kyiv

modern lethal weapons and provocative exercises in the Black scene. And not only there, but also other regions close to our borders.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Ukraine's Armed Forces say they are on constant alert, preparing for an armed confrontation they hope can be avoided.


PLEITGEN: And preparing in many ways, not just there on the CB (ph), you know, the Ukrainians also saying that they conducted some air exercises

yesterday with their Air Force. And also they said yesterday that they were putting in place a draft law that will allow them to call up reserves on

the scale of around 200,000 if this conflict continues to escalate. It's obviously something that they said they don't want to do. They hope they

will not have to do but certainly something where they say they need to be prepared at this point in time, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: And Fred, of course, as you know, this isn't the first time that we've seen Russian troops amass there at the border. We saw the same thing

in the spring, though, this time around it does seem to be sending more alarm bells than previously, as many experts have noted that Ukraine and

Putin's eye is sort of the crown jewel for his regime as a whole. Is there any sense as to what could gained permanent resolution to this conflict if,

in fact, Russia decides not to invade now? Many would worry, why not do it in the future sometime?

PLEITGEN: Yes, and that certainly is one of the big question. I think one of the things that you said is absolutely correct. I mean, we did see

something similar big troop build-up in the early stages of this year in the spring. But it certainly does feel very different this time, especially

if you look at some of the messaging that's coming out of the U.S., where they certainly are almost every day warning about a possible invasion of

warning Russia about a possible invasion. You have those top level talks going on between the Chief of the General Staff and the Chief of Russia's

General Staff, General Gerasimov.

And so you do see that the U.S. is definitely taking this very seriously. I think one of the things that Russia does seem to want in this is wants to

project what its red lines are. You heard it from Vladimir Putin. He's saying he believes that NATO has not, you know, taken the red lines that

Russia has into account in many ways.

So you can see that the Russians clearly want the U.S. to make some sort of concession. Is that, for instance, possibly saying, look, Ukraine is not

going to be a member of NATO in the near future. Does it mean that there's not going to be a future NATO expansion? Is that what the Russians want?

It's unclear at this point in time -- and whether or not there's going to be a permanent resolution to this is obviously also something that is still

very much up in the air.

Right now. However, what we're seeing is that there is a lot of solidarity with the Ukrainians. There's several European countries who have come out

and said they would defend Ukraine. France, for instance, is one of them. Sweden, for instance, is one of them as well. And the U.S. also, of course,

drumming up that support among America's allies to also say right now is a time to be firmly in Ukraine's corner, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Fred Pleitgen on the ground for us in Kyiv at this very tumultuous time. Thank you so much. We appreciate your reporting.

Well, turning now to the U.S. and a decision for the Supreme Court that will determine the future of abortion rights in America. The court will

hear arguments on a Mississippi law that restricts abortion next week. It could be one of the most consequential and polarizing cases in years, a

reminder of the impact the Supreme Court has on American society.

My next guest has been covering the courts for decades. Her latest book, "Justice on the Brink" looks at the influence of three conservative new

justices, and what that means for America's faith in the institution. Linda Greenhouse joins me now. Linda, welcome to the program. Very timely to have

you on. I guess we could have been saying that though for the last year.

You begin this book by covering that the newly sworn in Justice Amy Coney Barrett and the speed with which she was not only nominated but sworn in,

what impact has she brought to the court, thus far, in your opinion? And were you surprised by how swiftly all of that transpired?

LINDA GREENHOUSE, AUTHOR, "JUSTICE ON THE BRINK": Yes, I was. I mean, it's hard to imagine that it's just 14 months ago that Justice Ruth Bader

Ginsburg died.


And by the time, she hadn't even been buried by the time that President Trump nominated Amy Barrett. The election was already in progress, millions

of Americans had actually cast their early ballots. The election happened. Amy Barrett is seated.

And within a few weeks, we see the first evidence of her impact when the court overturned some COVID protective measures in New York limiting the

capacity of people in various indoor places, including houses of worship. Before Amy Barrett came on the court, the court had upheld those kinds of

measures. She's on midnight, a year ago, midnight Thanksgiving Eve, the court flipped, and by a vote of five to four chose religion over Republic

health that was really an amazing turnabout. And we go on from there.

GOLODRYGA: You describe her nomination and the swiftness with which she was sworn in as sort of the the fourth wall being broken in the system here

where there had at least been the illusion that the Supreme Court was above politics, and that it was just focused on the law. And you say that that

now has been shattered the solution with the rapid pace and the politics involved, and you don't necessarily blame her but just the process itself.

Explain that and how consequential that is for the institution.

GREENHOUSE: You know, thanks for picking up on that image. And what I meant by saying that the fourth wall was broken, so, you know, we go to theater

and we know we're watching a play that we know that people on stage are not actually experiencing the life events that they are depicting. Once in a

while an actor may deliberately, quote, break the fourth wall by directly addressing the public. And so with kind of a wink, we all know this is just

a play.

So as you said, the fourth wall for the court has been, there's no politics here. It's just about law. But when something happened as swiftly as the

obsession of the three Trump justices, because don't forget Justice Gorsuch who was nominated by Donald Trump in the spring of 2017, took the seat that

Mitch McConnell had held open for almost a year, and not allowing President Obama to fill it. So it's really the three are all of a piece, in my view.

And all of a sudden, there we are. And it's very hard to maintain that illusion that all we're seeing is law and politics are not anywhere in


GOLODRYGA: Well, especially because you have politicians, including President Trump himself, but Mitch McConnell and others who had alluded to

just this as being the most pertinent issue as to why President Trump or Republican president, in general, needed to be elected in the United

States, because all eyes had been on the Supreme Court and the lasting legacy beyond one or two-term presidency.

GREENHOUSE: Well, that's right. I mean, when Donald Trump was asked, you know, why are you in such a rush to fill this seat against for its seat? He

said, well, you know, it's going to be a close election and I want five justices. I need a full court. And, of course, when the court did not bend

to his will, and didn't overturn the results of the election, which in some fantasy, he thought the court would help him out on that, he was furious.

And basically every public appearance since then he's denounced the Supreme Court, unquote, his justices for not doing what they were put there to do.

GOLODRYGA: It's interesting you bring this up, because you also know that because of the role largely from the Federalist Society who have sort of

vetted and presented a list of justices that they would find appropriate and acceptable for the Supreme Court, that the question as to whether one

would be surprised or not by a judge's decision, a Supreme Court judge's decision is isn't that questionable actually now and is is rather known,

given the Federalist Society's role. Talk more about that. And the predictability.

GREENHOUSE: You know, it really is amazing. When the Federalist Society has vetted not only the three people that Trump put on the Supreme Court, but

more than 200 judges that he's put on all the courts. So I take your question to be, does that mean that we can expect kind of predictability?

Not in all things, right? The Federalist Society has certain criteria. But for instance, Amy Coney Barrett has surprised us a little bit.

So a month or so ago, case came up when the court so called shadow docket, the emergency docket, a group of religious health care workers in Maine

wanted a religious exemption, which the state does not offer to anybody from the vaccine mandate that was about to come in.


And three most conservative justices would have granted that request to put the vaccine mandate on hold. And Amy Barrett was not one of them. And she

said, you know, not this case, not so soon.

So, you know, I think we have to be open and willing to kind of take these people as they choose to present themselves and take a very close look at,

you know, watch what they do, not what they say, not who brought them there. It's really -- what really matters is what comes out of this court.

GOLODRYGA: Well, I can't imagine an issue that people are watching more closely than their decision on abortion rights. And we know that they have

upheld the recent Texas law banning abortion at six weeks, though you say that they made a mistake, in your opinion, by not saying that law. Why?

GREENHOUSE: Oh, they made a huge mistake. I mean, there's no more than two months that the women in Texas can't get abortions. It's a constitutional

right. It's still a constitutional right.

GOLODRYGA: But why didn't they do that, I guess, is my question.

GREENHOUSE: I have to think -- well, it takes five votes to grant a stay, to grant an injunction or any kind of emergency action like that. So we see

from this that there were not five votes. There were four dissents from the refusal to intervene. That was Chief Justice Roberts, and the three more

liberal justices to his left, but they couldn't get Amy Barrett, they couldn't get back, Brett Kavanaugh and, you know, it goes on.

Even though the court as you said at the top will hear the case next Wednesday, the Mississippi case, the state's defense of a law that bans

abortion at 15 weeks, in other words, before the fetus is viable, before fetal viability, which had been the -- has been for almost 50 years, the

firewall that protects the right to abortion. The Texas case presents the same question six weeks.

So typically, when the court has already agreed to decide a case, the Mississippi case, and a new case comes in that presents a question that's

going to be influenced or decided in light of what the court has decided in case number one, it puts case number two on hold and freezes things in

place that would have been -- would have kept the law, the Texas law from going into effect, until they sort out what they actually intend to do

about this question of fetal viability. But the court didn't do that. They were just happy to let abortion gets shut down in the second most populous

state in the country. It's really an amazing situation.

GOLODRYGA: So is there anything that we can read or take away from the conservative justices' decision in upholding the Texas case, as we preview,

the Mississippi case, which is arguably even more impactful longer term in addressing Roe v. Wade. And by the way, we should note that you acknowledge

in the book that once upon a time back in 1973, I mean, the ruling was seven to two, that things weren't as heated and political as they are so

many decades later.

GREENHOUSE: That's very true. And, you know, one thing to observe about the Mississippi case is it was the new court, it was the Trump court last

spring that decided to hear that case. Mississippi appealed the judgment that the law was unconstitutional, broaden their appeal in the summer of

2020 when Ruth Ginsburg was still alive. The court took that case under advisement for months. And then every week, every week, every week, I

chronicle this in the book, until the month of May, this past May, when they finally agreed to hear it.

Now why did they agree to hear it? They hadn't heard such a case, ever. Why not? Because a law like that is so flatly unconstitutional, that no lower

court has ever upheld a law like that, following the dictates of Roe versus Wade. And so the court never had occasion to grant such a case. It only

granted it, we have to assume, because they want to do something to change settled law. And that didn't happen until Amy Barrett came on the Supreme

Court this past term.

GOLODRYGA: You mentioned the shadow docket and, obviously, that's how the Texas ruling came about. And you described that that this is a process that

takes away some of the transparency, that the U.S. public, if interested, has an option to take part in and participate in and have access to. Why do

you think that we have seen more use of the shadow docket particularly in the Trump administration?

GREENHOUSE: Yes, that's started with the Trump -- well, I should back up a bit. The shadow docket or more neutral word for it, I guess, is the

emergency docket. And every court has one to deal with cases that come up that need some kind of emergency intervention. It's usually a procedural

thing as I described, you know, OK, we'll grant a stay, we'll freeze things in place and we'll go ahead and take our time with the underlying question.


What happened during the Trump years is the court actually started making law on the shadow docket. And that accelerated in this past term, the term

that my book is about when especially in the area of religion, they started making evermore religion friendly rulings on the shadow docket and ended up

with really a new law of greatly heightened impact for the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. Choosing religious exercise over, as I said,

public health, that will happen on the shadow docket.

So it's something that really needs our attention. It's gotten Congress's attention. There have been hearings held in Congress about it, but, you

know, the courts kind of its own master and how it handles its work. And this has been a disturbing trend.

GOLODRYGA: Well, another disturbing trend just like Congress is that we're seeing the approval rating of the Supreme Court continue to decline in the

United States. It's dropped, most recently, poll numbers from September at 40 percent. And I'm curious to get your take on whether you think politics

does play a role in this and I'd like for you to respond to a conversation that Christiane Amanpour had with Justice Breyer recently, when she asked

him a question about this. I want you to listen to his response.


STEPHEN BREYER, U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: I think this election process is political, and I think it always has been really. And the person

selected, however, puts on the robes of a judge. And once that happens, the mores of the judicial institution take over, and it is a very different



GOLODRYGA: Do you agree with him? Is it a very different world once that robe comes on?

GREENHOUSE: Well, it is for some people, and for other people who put on that robe, you know, not so much. I mean, I'll mention Justice Samuel

Alito, who's been Justice Breyer's colleague on the court since 2006. He uses his position actually to -- as a stamping ground, to invite cases, to

issue opinions to say, well, not this case but please bring me a better case because here's what I really want to do with it. And that's kind of

treading on dangerous ground.

So I think Justice Breyer, whom I greatly respect, I think his comments are perhaps a little more aspirational than observational. He wishes the best

for the Supreme Court. And, you know, we can just hope the court could find a way to live up to his ideals.

GOLODRYGA: Linda Greenhouse, we'll have to leave it there. Fascinating conversation. And as we said, very time sensitive as well. We'll have you

on soon. Thank you so much.

Well, we move now from the Supreme Court to Congress and one of its most visible members. House Democrat Jackie Speier had announced that she won't

seek re-election after nearly 14 years. During that time, she's brought attention to issues such as abortion rights and sexual assault in the


Back in 1970 she narrowly survived the infamous Jonestown Massacre. She says it was this moment that inspired her life in public service. Here she

is talking to our Michel Martin.

MICHEL MARTIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Bianna. Congresswoman Jackie Speier, thank you so much for joining us.

SPEIER: I'm delighted to be with you.

MARTIN: So I want to start with your recent news. And then, of course, I want to talk more broadly about your remarkable life and career. But you've

made the decision not to run for re-election. Why?

SPEIER: Not an easy decision, actually a very hard decision. And as I said when I announced, I'm coming home to be more than a weekend wife, a weekend

mom and a weekend friend. I've been in public life now 39 years, and I'm 71 years old. And while that is very young, it makes me realize that with the

years I have left, isn't it time to spend it with my family? Isn't it time to be in the community again? And isn't it time to have a little fun?

MARTIN: You live in a predominantly democratic area, so perhaps your seat is is not, you know, in question, I mean, to the degree that anything is a

certainty these days, but are you worried about Democrats holding on to the House?

SPEIER: Well, historically, that has been the case where we have the party in power loses seats in the midterms. So that is a possibility. But we have

a package of bills that will be signed into law that will transform the lives of virtually every American.


And it's going to be our job in the next 12 months to get that word out, to speak to the American people in terms that they understand, at the kitchen

table, talk about the fact that you can get that hearing aid and it's not going to cost you $5,000.

That your insulin isn't going to cost you $1,000 a month, it's only going to be $35. That your kids are going to be able to go to pre-K, and you're

not going to have to scrounge around to get the $8,000 or $10,000 a year to put them in pre-K. And about 50 percent of the kids in this country are not

in pre-K. So that's three and four year olds.

And then for childcare, oh my goodness, 1.7 million women have left the workforce since COVID, for predominantly childcare associated reasons. It's

the lowest participation of women since 1988. So we want to make sure that we can get these women back into the workforce, have their families, have

the resources, they need to be able to have a good quality of life.

MARTIN: You just laid out and sort of all these reasons why you'd think that people in the public would be appreciative and optimistic about the

future. And yet the President, President President Biden's approval ratings are in a very low state, certainly members of Congress in recent years as

an institution, Congress has not been held in high regard, you know, by the public in recent years, that doesn't seem to have sort of changed. I mean,

are Democrats just bad at this? Are they just bad at telling people what they do?

SPEIER: We're bad at telling people what our message is. We always have been. We talk in textbooks, language. Our Republican colleagues talk in

bumper strip language. So we've got to learn, frankly, from our Republican colleagues how to simplify and make our message clear and understandable to


I mean, we have always been the party of the underdog. And yet, there are those who feel like we have abandoned them. And it's really important for

us to speak to them, and have them know that we have their backs.

MARTIN: Well, why is that, though? I mean, you know, as I think many people will remember if they choose to, the former President Donald Trump,

promised an infrastructure bill, he had four years to do it and he didn't. For a period of that time, he had controlled one -- those Republicans, his

party, control one House of the Congress, they didn't do it. You've done it. The Democrats have done it, and yet, only a handful of Republicans

voted for the infrastructure bill, and none of them voted for the second large spending package, the Build Back Better plan, what you're calling the

second draft, and none of them voted for that. So, I mean, why is that?

SPEIER: It's because consensus building and compromise has become a sin in the Republican House, for sure. Anything that is anything that moves the

country forward during this timeframe is seen as helping President Biden and they want to tear him down. We have -- the Congress has lost its

message and mission in terms of trying to elevate the people in the country. It's all about winning elections now. And it's got the potential

of destroying us.

MARTIN: Why did that happen do you think? I mean, obviously, there's certain members of Congress who would just feel like they're just fighting

the good fight for what they believe in and they think that that's, you know, that they're just doing the right thing. But the reality of it is

that Republicans have people who believe in dangerous conspiracy theories.

You have members of Congress who believe that, you know, the election was stolen, despite all evidence, even a sort of a sham audit, which was funded

by their political supporters who couldn't find the thing that they say that they were looking for, and yet that they insist that this is the case.

So what do you think happened there? Why do you think that is?

SPEIER: When truth doesn't matter anymore, then everyone can just embrace their particular ideology. I mean, there are 32 candidates running for

Congress on the Republican ticket, this cycle, that are queuing on supporters. I mean, that should make us all, you know, cringe. So I think

what's happened is social media has actually become the monster that we were afraid it was going to become.

Now I represent a lot of social media companies in my district. I have Facebook and YouTube in my district. So they employ lots of people. They

employ a family member. But I'm very concerned about how the algorithms that had been employed have allowed for misogyny, the idea that you can

overthrow the government. These conspiracy theory theories continue to fester, and it feeds on itself.


MARTIN: That would seem to suggest that these entities would be right for some sort of regulation. Is this a failure of the Congress --

SPEIER: Yes. Absolutely. Yes.

MARTIN: -- leadership not to have done before now?

SPEIER: Absolutely. We are always late to the process, no matter what it is. What are we doing about cryptocurrency? What are we doing about

regulating social media? We are always late to the process.

MARTIN: And (INAUDIBLE) there's a failure of yours since these companies are in your district, and presumably you have been well aware of their

growth and impact over the years? Would you say that this isn't part of failure of yours?

SPEIER: Well, you know, we also operate on a committee system. I don't serve on the committee of jurisdiction. So I have introduced legislation. I

have met with colleagues who serve on that committee, but I don't have a voice on that committee. And since we are really, you know, focused on a

committee system, that's where the work gets done.

Now, the bill I introduced on revenge porn that does, in fact, provide regulation did get into the Violence Against Women's Act, VAWA, and it is

on the Senate side now.

MARTIN: I'm just going to remind people, for people who are not aware of your remarkable story. You were just 28 years old when you were

accompanying then Congressman Leo Ryan to Guyana to investigate reports of an abusive cult we now know, that had kind of established itself there. I

mean, obviously, one of the reasons he wanted to go was that family members of these cult members were deeply worried and we're getting reports that

they were being abused physically and sexually, that they were being starved, that they were basically held captive there.

And you went as part of a delegation, you were ambushed, you were shot five times and left for dead, the congressman himself was killed, you should

have died. This is called the Jonestown sort of mass suicide. But you say it's actually as -- it was a massacre. You said that you made a decision

then and there that if you survived, what you were doing, do you want helping us through that?

SPEIER: So I said the act of contrition, thought I was going to die. And then when I realized I had a chance to live, I promised that if I did

survive, I would dedicate my life to public service, and that I would never take another day for granted. And that I would live every single day as

fully as possible. So that's what I've attempted to do. So, you know, it's certainly has played a significant role in my life.

But, you know, 14 years later, my husband was killed in an automobile accident when I was pregnant with our second child. I can't begin to tell

you how painful that was, and how I just didn't want to live anymore. So, you know, there have been episode after episode and yet, there's always a

silver lining. You know, there's always that sweet rainbow out there. And you've just got to hang in there.

And my book was really about that. "Undaunted" was really a book about -- it was a memoir, but it was also about how you can overcome virtually

everything. And I really wrote it for young women, because I want them to realize I had the same experiences. I mean, I was engaged to be married,

and then two years into the engagement, my fiance breaks it off. It was devastating.

I, you know, get married, we have our child. And then I have two miscarriages, and then we adopt a baby and the birth mother takes the baby

back. I mean, it was just kept happening. But the good things also kept happening.

MARTIN: Well, one of the things that you have been known for is just being extremely real and raw, when you feel -- felt it was necessary. I mean, you

are one of the very few women in public life ever to speak publicly and on the House floor about having an abortion, which you did, when you were

losing a much wanted child at 17 weeks.


SPEIER: That procedure that you just talked about, was a procedure that I endured. I lost a baby. But for you to stand on this floor and to suggest

as you have, that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought, is preposterous.



MARTIN: Obviously, abortion rights, women's reproductive rights have been very important to you throughout your term in office. We face a moment

where -- and recognizing, of course, that there are very different opinions about this. But we also see states moving to enact extremely restrictive

measures. I mean, Texas has already done so, that would make it extremely difficult for women to obtain, you know, abortions under most

circumstances. What are your thoughts about that?

SPEIER: You know, well, I have lots of thoughts about it. What really gets lost in all of these is, what happens with the impregnator? No one talks

about the person responsible for impregnating the woman who is now seeking an abortion. And there's part of me that thinks that if a woman has to

carry a fetus to term, you know, maybe we need to put a $200,000 bond on the impregnator of every woman who has -- who would be forced to carry a

fetus to term.

It is a medical procedure. It is as safe as getting your tooth pulled. It's a medical procedure that's legal in this country. But for decades now,

there have been those on the other side that basically have chipped away at it, and somehow made it to be dastardly. It is something that is determined

by a woman, her family and her physician.

And I find it so remarkable that at time when people don't want to wear masks, it's their body. They don't want to be have any -- have the

government telling them what to do with their body. They're the same people that want to get into every woman's uterus in this country.

MARTIN: As you look back at your years of service, what concerns you most and what's giving you the most sense of hope?

SPEIER: I do think that we have lost sight of the fact that democracies are indeed fragile. And we had an attempted coup on January 6. We have to --

that's the sink into our minds. We almost lost the democracy. We almost became an autocracy overnight. Have they had guns, many of us would have

been annihilated.

I was lying on the floor in the gallery of the House when the gunshot rang out, thinking, I can't believe I survived Guyana and I'm going to lose my

life in this temple of democracy. So it's fragile. We've got to protect it. We've got to protect the vote. We've got to stop allowing the promotion of

this big lie to have any credibility. It hurts all of us. Not one party or the other, it hurts all of us.

If we can't have safe and free elections, then, you know, welcome Putin into the United States. Because that's what we're basically saying. Now --

MARTIN: And it's --


MARTIN: -- your hope?

SPEIER: In terms of hope, we have great talent in the Congress, among the young members who serve. They're passionate, they're concerned, they

recognize the issues that are, you know, important to the American people. And I think we're going to be in good hands.

MARTIN: I asked you a hard question as a person who was almost murdered by a cult, and I said, you know, by all rights, you shouldn't be here. I mean,

you lost so much blood that by the time you actually got medical attention, you heard the doctors say you were within minutes of dying. And it seems it

was just your will to survive, and also the assistance of the people around you who had survived.

There are those who call the Republican Party at least elements of the Republican Party, a cult. And as a person who was almost killed by a cult,

do you think that that's fair?

SPEIER: I think there are certainly elements within the Republican Party who have looked at Donald Trump as a cult leader, a cult of personality.

Jim Jones was, you know, a cult of a religion, I guess, if you could say that. But in both cases, megalomaniacs require total loyalty, demand it,

are convinced that they are right and that the world is out to get them.


They are very anguished and very paranoid. And it is -- it shows in all of their actions. So, when you lose your independence, when you lose your

self-determination, when you lose the ability to make decisions on your own, when mind control is being imposed by this person, then you are a

member of a cult. And I can look at a lot of people on the Republican side right now in Congress who know that what they're being asked to do is

wrong, or that they don't believe in what's being promoted, but they're going along.

So when you go along, just to stay in office? Wow. You've sold your soul.

MARTIN: Congresswoman Jackie Speier, thank you so much for talking with us.

SPEIER: It's wonderful to be with you.

GOLODRYGA: Fascinating conversation. And finally, the hit series that captures the tough truth about poverty and the precariousness of life.

"Maid" tells a story of single mom Alex, who escaped an abusive relationship only to be met with the obstacles and bureaucracy that come

with seeking help in America. Here's a clip from the trailer.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You got a problem background check?



ALEX: I'm starting today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's good news. Ain't it bro girl.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We compost. Bin is labeled "compost." Can you read or should I show you?

ALEX: I can read.

I don't think I can do this.


ALEX: I can't quit. I leave for my daughter.


GOLODRYGA: Earlier this month, we brought you our conversation with Stephanie Land, who wrote the book which inspire the Netflix series and now

we want to dive deeper. Molly Smith Metzler is the creator of "Maid" and Anika Noni Rose plays Regina, one of Alex's house cleaning clients. Welcome

both of you to the show.

I like millions of others. I am a huge fan. I'm not quite through with it. Unfortunately, I only have a couple of episodes left. But Molly, why did

you choose to adapt this book into a series?

MOLLY SMITH METZLER, CREATOR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "MAID": Well, it felt like the perfect time to tell this story that we don't get to hear very

often. You know, when I read Stephanie's memoir, it really shook me up just how hard America made it for her to support her young child on minimum wage

when she left an abusive situation. You know, I'm a mom, it really fired me up and it felt like it's the perfect political moment to talk about this

show. And, you know, I wanted to share the heartbreaking experiences I had reading it with that, you know, the whole wide world.

GOLODRYGA: Why did you choose to create a fictional version of the story when, you know, Stephanie story in and of itself is fascinating and quite

gripping as well?

METZLER: Oh, Stephanie stories beyond gripping, yes. But it's a very solitary journey. She actually doesn't talk to anyone else in the memoir.

It's -- I would say she's the loneliest character in the history of American literature. And so, that doesn't make a TV, you know, somebody

alone on screen all the time.

So part of it is, you know, my job is to create a world where we can live with her and root for her and be excited by her and her relationships have

a lot to do with that. So it was wonderful to create the character Paula, her mother, and of course, Regina, the -- who becomes sort of an unlikely

friend in the show and her father and Sean. These are all deeply fictionalized from the book to make it a richer story.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. And Anika, we have to say that t your character, Regina, wow, what an arc we see her go through. What attracted you to this

character? And from start to finish emotionally for you as an actress, what was this experience like?

ANIKA NONI ROSE, ACTOR, "MAID": First of all, thank you very much for that. What attracted me most was the writing. I thought that the writing was

phenomenal. When I got the script, I thought, OK, well, this is the best script I've read this year, really. And that was exciting.

And then I also really liked that this woman wasn't nice. I think that so often, women spend time trying to be nice and being expected to be nice.

I'm a big proponent of being kind but I think that we are always expected to be nice. And it's a lot of fun to play somebody who's not nice and this

woman neither nice nor kind. But you I've thought, you know, what a challenge to give this woman a full and thorough humanity when we meet her

in such a tough, tough space.


But then we figure out that, you know, life affects everybody. And because she is highly privileged doesn't mean that life has not dealt her some

devastating blows. And we really get to learn who she is. And she's a woman that has a very good and strong heart. It just takes a minute to get to

that inside.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and what you do masterfully, Anika, is you make an unlikable person, somebody who you continue to want to know and get to know

because it's very easy to meet a cruel person, whether it's a book or a film and say, I'm done with them. I don't care about them. And yet you

brought something from the minute I saw you, and I'm not sure it's the same with all of the other viewers that wanted us to know more about you.

But let's begin with that the start of the relationship with Alex. I want to play this clip for our viewers.

ROSE: We'll just have to reschedule.

ALEX: Oh, I can meet him by 4:00 ma'am. I'm fast. I'm good.

ROSE: I really rather you just come back another time and do a shoddy job and throw a bunch of cleaning products around.

ALEX: I understand. I won't disappoint you.

ROSE: We're in NYC this weekend so everything in the fridge can go so my whole house doesn't smell like Kombucha when I get back. Got it?

ALEX: The fridge? I got it.

ROSE: We compost. Bin is labeled "compost." Can you read or should I show you?

ALEX: I can read.


GOLODRYGA: Anika, is it crazy that I wanted to like you even after that scene where you were just so mean and disrespectful to Alex? I mean, I'm

curious from your perspective now, watching that again, what goes through your mind?

ROSE: I don't know if I can say the word that goes to my mind.

GOLODRYGA: It's start with a B?

ROSE: You're watching it and you think what a B, you know? But I think that when you see someone like that, or what I was hoping to put forth is that

there's something else there, you know, that there is -- I'm hoping that you want to know what makes this woman act like that. Why would you just

meet someone and be that nasty? It's sort of stunning.

So I'm really glad that people wanted to see more of her because again, you know, as an actor, it's a very dangerous trap if you're falling into didn't

never mind being a woman and being a person. But as an actor, falling into the trap of wanting your character to be liked, it's not a good thing. And

it doesn't allow you to really portray humanity, and it's in its full space. And so I'm really glad that what was there was enough of an --

something beneath for people to say, let me let me figure out who this B is because this is phenomenal that someone would act like that towards a

person clearly not in a great situation.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. And Molly, it's not just Virginia's character that you bring this depth to. It's all of them. And some of the themes that we see

throughout this series are just the stigmas that are associated with money, with homelessness, with times of desperation, with being in an abusive

situation. Why was this so important for you to highlight consistently throughout the series?

METZLER: Well, I think one of the goals of the show is to ask the audience to look down next time they're in a ferry station, or a train station or a

bus station. And Alex and Maddy are sitting there on the ground. You know, one of our goals with the show is just to encourage the audience to notice

those women next time and to realize that people are more than they seem, they're more to cover of their book.

And with Alex, you know, it looks a certain way the situation she's in, it seems a certain thing, but actually, it's the result of a generational

trauma that she has, that Sean has, even Regina has. You know, we are all a product of where we come from and what we learned emotionally in our spine

about how to feel about ourselves. And so I really wanted to deepen all of these relationships and just show the humanity that nobody's a bad guy even

someone who's such a B in the pilot like Regina is. She's not a bad guy either. We are all many, many shades of the rainbow.

GOLODRYGA: And race and class also played their own role in this series and it's hard not to hit on that especially given the environment that we are

in as a nation. I'm just curious Molly, what why was it important for you to create the character of Regina as a wealthy black woman who, you know,

as we have to acknowledge is a B at the beginning to her white maid?

METZLER: Well, part of is I knew well in advance that Anika was going to play this role and also that Regina is not a B actually, like her arc is

about, you know what a wonderful human she is. But I really wanted made to reflect the world in America right now. So in other words, I think there

are women like Regina, and they are women of color, and they're powerful and successful, and they have their own depth and they have their own



And I just wanted to treat Regina, like a character, like a well-developed character. And then once we found that Anika was playing her, you know, we

just kind of, in the writer's room, we just sort of went to town like, what else can we give her? But, you know, I wanted her to be alive, a fully

dimensional, alive character. And so I think Anika made that for us.

GOLODRYGA: And she clearly did. I want to play sound from Stephanie's interview earlier on the program about just the struggle and the stress

associated with being constantly in pursuit of that extra dollar and working through poverty and homelessness and not having much stability at

all. Let's play that.


STEPHANIE LAND, AUTHOR, "MAID: HARD WORK, LAW PAY": When you're that close all the time, every decision is huge. You know, not even being like your

car not starting or a flat tire, it could mean that you don't pay rent that month. And it's such a precariousness and it's stressful.


GOLODRYGA: How do you make, Molly, how do you make that precariousness so easily adaptable for viewers? Because, you know, again, going back to the

stereotypes and stigmas associated with poverty, one of the questions you'll always hear is, why can't you balance your budget better. And what

you do beautifully throughout the series is you -- she balances her budget in her head in the moment while she's in a grocery store debating on

whether she can buy a sponge or a toy for her daughter?

METZLER: Well, thank you for saying that, because it was so important to me to get inside Alex's head and to experience the stress that Stephanie is

talking about firsthand. And I think we start right in the beginning in the pilot where she -- those numbers are ticking down and she has nowhere to go

and she can't afford gas. And, you know, it was intentional.

I aggressively want the audience to be inside Alex's body with her and feeling just the horror, the actual nightmare it is to run out of money

when you have a young child to take care of. And, you know, I also feel like it shows up in little ways with Regina too that towards the end of

this show, this is great moment where Alex is running out of phone minutes, and she calls Regina and then you could just -- her performance is so

beautiful that you watch her kind of be like minutes, cell phone out of minutes. Like how is that a thing? And so, you know, we really just tried

to fully embrace her point of view, Alex's point of view when it comes to economics.

GOLODRYGA: This sort of character arc of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, Anika, is something you're familiar with given your role as the

Disney Princess, The Princess and the Frog, right, as Tiana and I'm curious whether that ever crossed your mind here. You play a character like Alex, a

waitress working double shifts trying to save money to open a restaurant. In this sort of only made in America success story, that does that make you

re-evaluate how we perceive success associating it only with hard work?

ROSE: Well, that's a double-edged sword, isn't it? Because there are people who have found success solely because of their hard work. There are people

who'd like you to think they found success solely because of their hard work, but their hard work was cashing the check that their dad gave them.

This country really likes to pretend that we are a meritocracy. And, you know, sometimes every now and then people slip through and it is. But very

often depending on where you're from, what you grew up with, what your socioeconomic status is, what your ecological surroundings are, sometimes

people can't make it. And I think that it's really important for people to know that sometimes there are people for whom the deck is stacked against


And it's important when we see people who are willing and able to work and want to strive that we don't discount them because they are poor, thinking

they are unintelligent, unable, unwilling, but that we're able to find a way to give those people a hand. And, you know, I think about it a lot

because the homelessness situation in this country has become so insane. And I lived in San Francisco for a long time. I thought I've never seen

anything like that and it has gotten worse and worse and worse.

And I think that as it becomes worse, people become more numbed to it. And I think that what's really important as we look at people who don't have,

it's really important for us to remember that most people don't want to not have. Most people don't want to be hungry. Most people don't care to be

dirty. Most people don't want to not be able to lay down in a bed and close a door that makes them safe at night.

It's important for us to remember that while we are looking at people who are less fortunate than we are, and I think that that's one thing that this

show definitely focuses in on is that we have to look at each other, we really have to see each other.

And even when you're talking about Tiana, you know, a girl from a small town during a time period where everything was stacked against her

especially being a woman being black, being not from somebody special, she had the love of her family, which is very important. If we are to make it

in this world, we must have people who love and protect and cherish and hold us, support us.

She had a very strong will. And she really worked extraordinarily hard. And even then she still needed some help. And that's OK. But she was willing to

put the work in to do it herself. And I think that sometimes we need to look at people and decide, well, perhaps if given a chance, this person

will be able to fly instead of deciding that the dollar in our pocket is just for us. We don't need to give that person a dollar. What is a dollar

even doing at this point?

GOLODRYGA: Yes. Look --

ROSE: Giving a dollar.

GOLODRYGA: -- I couldn't have said that better. Everyone deserves a chance. And as you said, you know, when you grow now, we lose our humanity. And I

think you explain that thoroughly throughout this series beautifully, I would add too.

Molly, Anika --

ROSE: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: -- thank you so much for joining us. Congratulations on a spectacular show.

And that is it for now. You can always catch us online on our podcast and across social media. Thank you so much for watching. Happy Thanksgiving and

goodbye from New York.