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Ukraine on High Alert; United States Supreme Court Under the Microscope; Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) on Why She's Leaving Congress. Did Not Air.

Aired November 24, 2021 - 00:00:00   ET


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

MAN: Our main goal is to defend and keep the sovereignty of Ukraine from the direction of the sea.

GOLODRYGA: 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 big cases and 12 months that transformed the court.

Then ...

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): 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: Congresswoman Jackie Speier on her remarkable life, why she's leaving Congress and bridging the political divide.

And finally ...

ALEX: We don't have anywhere to sleep tonight.

JODY: So you're homeless.

ALEX: I had a 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.

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

Philip Milstein Family, the Strauss Family Foundation, Jim Atwood and Leslie Williams, Mark J. Blechner, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Koo and

Patrcia 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 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 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 advisors and weapons to Ukraine. The Kremlin denies that it has

any intention of invading, but Kiev isn't taking any chances. It's on high alert and upgrading its navy.

Correspondent Fred Pleitgen got a rare look at that work and a Ukrainian vessels patrolling - I'm 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, yup.

Yes, I can hear both of you now.

Okay. 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.

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

Philip Milstein Family, the Strauss Family Foundation, Jim Atwood and Leslie Williams, Mark J. Blechner, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Koo and

Patrcia 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.

MALE: You're watching PBS.



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

MALE: Our main goal is to defend and keep the sovereignty of Ukraine from the direction of the sea.

GOLODRYGA: 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 big cases and 12 months that transformed the court.

Then ...

SPEIER: 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: Congresswoman Jackie Speier on her remarkable life, why she's leaving Congress and bridging the political divide.

And finally ...

ALEX: We don't have anywhere to sleep tonight.

JODY: So you're homeless.

ALEX: I had a 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.

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 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 advisors and weapons to Ukraine. The Kremlin denies that it has

any intention of invading, but Kiev isn't taking any chances. It's 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 joins me now from


Fred, great to have you there live on 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?

FRED 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 when we were down there in the area of the Sea of Azov, you could also definitely feel those tensions as well. The Ukrainian military said, look,

they understand that they are outgunned down there. We were on 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.

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.

"Our 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.

The Ukrainians believe that if Russia does decide to launch an attack that the Sea of Azov could be one of the main battlegrounds. That's why the

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

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. Kiev has now ordered this building

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

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 is finished, it will offer a formidable deterrent against any Russian aggression.

Upgrades seem 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 anytime if there is 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 Kiev.

CNN has learned one U.S. defense official says Russia's aim maybe 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 translator): We need to consider that western partners worsen the situation by delivering to Kiev

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

PLEITGEN: Ukraine's armed forces say they are on constant alert. Preparing for an armed confrontation they hope can be avoided.

And preparing in many ways, not just there on the sea, Bianna. 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 say 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 seen Russian troops amassed there at the border. We saw the

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

Ukraine in Putin's eyes is sort of the crown jewel for his regime as a whole.

Is there any sense as to what could gain 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 buildup 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, 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, Gen. Gerasimov.

And so you do see that the U.S. is definitely taking this very seriously. I think one of the things or - 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 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 that 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 the time to be firmly in Ukraine's corner, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Fred Pleitgen on the ground for us in Kiev 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 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 fate 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 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?



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 five to four chose religion over public 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 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 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: Thanks for picking up on that image. And what I meant by saying that the fourth wall was broken - so we go to theater and we know

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

Once in a while, an actor may deliberately '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 happen as swiftly as the accession 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 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 in the lasting legacy beyond a one or two-term presidency.

GREENHOUSE: Well, that's right. I mean, when Donald Trump was asked, "Why are you in such a rush to fill this seat, the Ginsburg seat?" He said,

"Well, 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 'his justices' for not doing what they were put there to do.

GOLODRYGA: It's interesting you bring this up, because you also note that because of the role largely from the federal 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 isn't that questionable actually now and is rather known given the

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

GREENHOUSE: Well, it really is amazing. I mean, 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. The Federalist Society has certain criteria, but, for instance, Amy Coney Barrett has surprised us a little bit. So a month or so

ago, a case came up on 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 - the most - the 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 not this case, not so soon.

So 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 - 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 staying that law, why?

GREENHOUSE: Oh, they made a huge mistake. I mean, it's now 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 Coney Barrett, they couldn't get Brett Kavanaugh and 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 defensible 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. It 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 get 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. Things weren't as heated and political as they are

so many decades later.

GREENHOUSE: That's very true. And 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, brought in 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 v. 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 it - you described 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 this shadow docket, particularly in the Trump administration?

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

docket. And every court has one to deal with cases that come up that needs some kind of emergency intervention.


It's usually a procedural thing as I describe, okay, we'll grant a steady, 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. Well, especially in the area of religion, they started making ever more 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 all happened on the shadow docket. So it's something that really needs our attention. It's gotten Congress' attention. There have been hearings

held in Congress about it, but the count is kind of its own master in 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 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 the selection 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 world.

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, 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 that 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 we can just hope the court can 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.

We move now from the Supreme Court to Congress in 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 military. Back

in 1978, 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: Thanks, Bianna. Congresswoman Jackie Speier, thank you so much for joining us.

SPEIER: I'm delighted to be with you.

MARTIN: I sort of 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 reelection. 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


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

these days. But are you worried about Democrats holding onto 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 a

thousand dollars 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 eight 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 so that their families have

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

MARTIN: You've 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 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 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 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

everybody. 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, 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 house - Republicans, his party,

controlled 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, which you're calling the

second jobs plan, 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 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 are certain members of Congress who will just feel like they're just fighting

the good fight for what they believe in. And they think 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 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 QAnon supporters. I mean, that should make us all 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 have been employed have allowed for misogyny, the idea that you can overthrow the government, these conspiracy

theories continue to fester and it feeds on itself.

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

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 do you think that'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 is in part of failure of yours?

SPEIER: Well, we all - 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 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 were 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 would do. Do you mind 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 it's certainly has played a significant role in my life. But 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


So there've been episode after episode and yet there's always, there's always a silver lining. 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 is 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 up. It was devastating.

I 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 -

it 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 talk 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, it would make it extremely difficult for women to obtain abortions under most circumstances. What are

your thoughts about that?

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

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

fetus to term, maybe we need to put a $200,000 bond on the impregnator of every woman who has - who would be forced to carry the 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 a time when people don't

want to wear a mask, it's their body. They don't want to be - 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, as you look back on 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 6th, we have to

- that's sink into our minds. We almost lost the democracy. We almost became an autocracy overnight. Had 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 welcome Putin into

the United States, because that's what we're basically saying. Now, in terms of hope ...

MARTIN: (Inaudible) hope, mm-hm ...

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

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

MARTIN: I do have to ask you a hard question, as a person who was almost murdered by a cult - and I said 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 that 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 a culture of a religion, I guess, if you could say that. But in both cases, megalomaniacs, required total loyalty, demanded 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 was 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

escapes 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


YOLANDA: You on parole?


YOLANDA: You got a problem with background check?


YOLANDA: This is a trial.

ALEX: Oh, I'm starting today?

YOLANDA: It's good news, ain't it, broke girl?

REGINA: We compost, the bin is labeled 'compost'. Can you read or should I show you?

ALEX: I can read.

I don't think I can do this.

KIARA: So quit.

ALEX: I can't quit.

I live for my daughter.

GOLODRYGA: Earlier this month, we brought you our conversation with Stephanie Land who wrote the book which inspired 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


I, like millions of others, 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. 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.

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 I wanted to share the

heartbreaking experience that I had reading it with the whole wide world.

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

gripping as well?

METZLER: Oh, Stephanie's story is 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 good TV, somebody alone on screen all

the time.

So part of it is - 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 of Paula, her mother, and, of course, Regina, the - who become 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 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, okay, 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 I thought 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 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 in a book or in 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 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.

REGINA: We'll just have to reschedule.

ALEX: Oh, I can be done by four, ma'am. I'm fast and I'm good.

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

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

REGINA: 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.

REGINA: We compost. The bin is labeled 'compost'. Can you read or should I show you?

ALEX: I can read.

GOLODRYGA: Anika, isn't 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 through my mind.

GOLODRYGA: Does it start with a B?

ROSE: You're watching it and you think, what a B. 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, 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, as an actor, it's a very dangerous trap if you're falling into - 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 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 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 Regina'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. 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 than the cover of their book.

And with Alex, 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. We're all a product of where we come from and what we learn 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 is 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 play 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, why was it important for you to create the character of Regina as a wealthy black woman who, as we have

acknowledged, is a B at the beginning to her white maid?

METZLER: Well, part of it 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 what a wonderful human she is. But I really wanted Maid 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 are powerful and successful and they have their own depth

and they have their own flaws.

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

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

character and so I think Anika made that for us.

GOLODRYGA: She clearly did. I want to play a 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, LOW PAY, AND A MOTHER'S WILL TO SURVIVE": When you're that close all the time, every decision is huge. Not

even being - like your car not starting or a flat tire could mean that you don't pay rent that month. And it's such a precariousness and it's


GOLODRYGA: How do you make, Molly, how do you make that precariousness so easily adaptable for viewers? Because, 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 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 I also I feel like it shows up in little ways with Regina too that towards the end of the show is

this great mom where Alex is running out of phone minutes, and she calls Regina and Anika just - her performance is so beautiful, but you watch her

kind of be like, minutes, cell phone, out of minutes like how is that a thing. And so 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 a

Disney princess in 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, 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 would 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 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 them. 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 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 where 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, 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 okay. 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 would 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? Give

them a dollar.

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

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

ROSE: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Molly, Anika, 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 your - on our podcasts and across social media. Thank you so much for watching. Happy

Thanksgiving and goodbye from New York.