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Bosnia and Herzegovina Tensions; Interview With Enes Kanter; Interview with Former Special Adviser to British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Arminka Helic; Interview with "The Washington Post" Investigative Reporter Aaron Davis; Interview with "The Washington Post" National Political Reporter Amy Gardner. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired December 27, 2021 - 13:00   ET




Here's what's coming up.


ENES KANTER, BOSTON CELTICS: Brutal dictator of China Xi Jinping, I have a message for you and your henchmen.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): An exclusive interview with basketball star Enes Kanter about taking on China and what it means for NBA business there.


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Right now, Bosnia and Herzegovina is facing a critical juncture in its postwar


AMANPOUR: Twenty-five years since the Bosnia war ended, is the Serbian secession project gaining steam? I ask my guests whether the U.S.-brokered

Dayton Accords are at risk of unraveling.


AARON DAVIS, "THE WASHINGTON POST": There were certainly elements within the crowd of people who showed up on January 6 who were talking about very

explicit violent acts that they wanted to conduct weeks ahead of January 6.

AMANPOUR: "Washington Post" reporters Amy Gardner and Aaron Davis speak to Michel Martin about the attack, their detailed investigation into the

Capitol Hill insurrectionists.


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

When sports and politics collide, that is where we begin tonight. The NBA star Enes Kanter has ignited a firestorm by calling China's leader, Xi

Jinping, a brutal dictator. The Boston Celtics player is using social media to get his messages to the masses.

Here's a clip.


KANTER: Anyone and everyone, athletes, doctors, poets, intellectuals, musicians, community leaders, you name it, are currently suffering inside

this camp, where the Chinese government is conducting unimaginable human rights abuses and crimes against humanity.

All of us must spread the word and call on the Chinese government for free the Uyghur people.


AMANPOUR: Beijing denies orchestrating any campaign against the Uyghur people, the Muslim minority there, but the U.S. State Department estimates

that up to two million Uyghurs have in fact been held in detention camps.

Kanter has also been wearing sneakers at his games emblazoned with messages like "Freedom" and "No Beijing 2022." That's in opposition to the upcoming

Summer Olympics there. And the backlash to his campaign has been swift, with China pulling Celtics games off its streaming service.

But the NBA so far has not weighed in at all on their star center's politicking.

This is Kanter's first interview on these latest anti-China remarks. And he's joining me now.

Welcome, Enes Kanter, from Boston.

KANTER: Thank you for inviting me. I appreciate it.

AMANPOUR: So, we have laid out your campaign. We have laid out what you have called Xi Jinping and the sneakers and the other things that you're

wearing and your tweets.

What is it that has inspired you to take not just a political stance on an issue, but a personal stance against the very leader of China.

KANTER: Right.

Someone had to do it. You see there are so many athletes, so many actors, so many singers, there's so many people who has a platform are speaking on

many of the issues out there in the world, but when it comes to China, when it comes to China's Communist Party, they're scared, because they care too

much about money, they care too much about business, and they care -- they care too much about endorsement deals.

To me, the human rights and saving people's lives, it comes first. So that's why I wanted to do this project. And I remember I was holding a

basketball camp this summer, and all the kids were lined up. And one of the parents asked me: You are an amazing human being, and you talk about the

human rights violations that are happening in Turkey all the time, but why haven't you said a word about the Uyghurs? You're a hypocrite.

And that -- it hit me that moment, and I turned around and I told them, listen, I promise you I'm going to get back to you. I'm going to study and

get back to you.

And the more I study, the more I see that all human rights violations happening all over the world. I was studying the Tibet -- Tibetans, what

they're going through. I study Hong Kong, Taiwan and Uyghurs, obviously. And what was happening there was heartbreaking.

I was like, you know what? Everybody's scared to say something. I'm going to be the first one to step up and actually take a stand.


AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, first one, yes, in being so ad hominem to Xi Jinping, but there have been other sports stars, including in the NBA, or

sports personnel who have spoken out against China. We will get to that in a minute.

But, first, I want to read this tweet, which is essentially what you have just been saying to me.

You have said: "Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party, someone has to teach you a lesson. I will never apologize for speaking the truth. You

cannot by me. You cannot scare me. You cannot silence me. Bring it on."

Now I want to say what the Chinese people have told us, the Chinese Embassy here in London. they have said that the campaign against Tibet and the

Uyghurs by yourself, basically, the fact that you accused them of genocide and other such things is a lie.

But what they say is: "When it comes to the human rights situation in a country, it is the people of the country who are in the best position to

make a judgment. Tibet and Xinjiang, related issues are China's internal affairs, which brook no interference from outside forces."

What's your reaction to that? That's China's traditional response, that these are our affairs and, everybody else, stay out of it.

Do you really think you can make a difference?

KANTER: Yes, I can.

First of all, obviously, China uses money to buy silence. And there you see there are so many athletes, so many actors out there scared to say a word.

But, like I said, again, to me, the human rights comes first. And what I have been talking about, it's not like I have watched YouTube clips. No, I

actually am learning from the firsthand. I sit down with so many concentration camp survivors, so many Hong Kongers and Tibetans and


And they were the one who told me from firsthand their story of what was happening there. I sit down with this concentration camp survivor, and she

was telling me about the -- all the horrible act that they were doing in there, how much -- how many times that she has -- raped and tortured

before. And she was telling me about the organ harvesting. And she was telling me about the surveillance cameras.

So, when I hear about these stories, I believe that God gave me this platform to be the voice, voice of all those innocent people out there who

don't have a voice. So, I was like, you know what? I understand this could affect a lot. But I'm just going to be the one, the first one to step up

and bring all the human rights violations that China is doing.

And like I said in my tweet, I don't care about your endorsement deal. I don't care about your money, or I don't care about any kind of businesses

that you're doing. If you are abusing people's right, I'm going to say something.


KANTER: So, to me, it's way more important -- human rights is way more important than your money, your endorsement deals or everything you can

give me. So...

AMANPOUR: So, as you know, I mean, I don't need to tell you, because you know, but let's just remind everybody that the Trump administration and the

State Department labeled what China is doing to the Uyghurs as genocide.

And if I'm not mistaken, that still stands, I think, in the State Department right now. I don't believe that they have retracted that. And

certainly, many governments, including in the U.K. and others, have tried to say to the Chinese, you need to get your act together on the Uyghurs.

But you're right. It's not as blunt as you're putting it. So, you say you do not mind about the money, about the influence, about anything. But what

about the NBA? They must mind, right, because, now, as we know, the Houston Rockets official who talked about Hong Kong a couple of years ago, they

pulled all NBA from Chinese state television.

KANTER: Right.

AMANPOUR: And now Tencent, which is the streaming device, has actually pulled you all from the streaming device. And that is a lot of money. I

think they pay -- let me just try and find this. I think they pay more than a billion dollars to the NBA.

KANTER: Right.

AMANPOUR: So what do you say about that?

KANTER: I will just tell you this. I am for justice and freedom. It doesn't matter who it's for or against.

And I remember -- I have been talking about all the human rights violations and injustices happening in Turkey for 10 years. And I did not get one

phone call. I talk about China one day, every two hours -- I was getting a call, a phone call for every -- once every two hours.

I think too when, two years ago, when...


AMANPOUR: Sorry. Who are you getting phone calls from? Is it from the NBA? Have they said anything? Because they haven't said anything publicly about

you, as far as I can gather.

KANTER: I will tell you a story.

I remember it was the first time -- it was our first game, actually. It was in Madison Square Garden. And I wore "Free Tibet 'shoes and went out there.

I remember two -- right before the game, there was two guys from the NBA came up to me and say, you have to take your shoes off. We are begging you.


And I was like, I'm sorry. What are you talking about? He said, you have to take those shoes off. We have been getting so many calls.

And I was like, is there a rule that I'm breaking by wearing these shoes? They said no. Then I was like, OK, I'm ready to get -- if you're going to -

- look, I'm getting ready for my citizenship test. And I have been studying really hard. And there's 27 amendments, and my First Amendment is the

greatest amendment, the freedom of speech.

And I'm like, I know my rights. You cannot take my right away. You cannot take my rights away from me. And I was like, I don't care if I get fined.

I'm not going to take my shoes off. And they told me, we are not talking about fine. We are talking about getting banned.

I'm like, listen, I don't care if you -- whoever your boss is, go tell him I'm ready to get banned. If I'm breaking any rules, tell me. I will be the

first one to follow the rules. But if I'm not breaking any rules, I will take them off.


KANTER: Obviously, they came and apologized in halftime and they said, sorry.

But I was like, I'm not breaking any rules. So, I'm going to do what I'm doing.


So do you think the NBA, therefore, has come to a different kind of understanding of all of this? Because back when the Houston Rockets

official, Daryl Morey, he tweeted.


AMANPOUR: All he did was tweet in support of pro-freedom and pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. And the NBA didn't back Morey.

KANTER: Right.

AMANPOUR: But, subsequently, in the intervening time, they have said: "The NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees

and team owners say or will not say on these issues. We simply could not operate that way."

So you must be satisfied with their stance.

KANTER: Like, let me just tell you this first. NBA made me do this, because every time when one of the NBA teams or one of the -- or the

commissioner came out and speak, they say, we are encouraging our players to talk about whatever they want to talk about. We are giving the freedom

to our players to talk about all the injustices happening around the world, all the human rights abuses around the world.

So they give me this right. They told me to do this, basically. But the other thing is, obviously, I sit down with people from the NBA, and I even

sit down with Adam Silver and had a conversation. And I told him, Adam, listen, am I breaking any rules? Because if I'm breaking any rules, please

tell me. I will be the first one to follow every NBA rule, because NBA give me what I have. And I don't want to break any kind of rules that you guys

have put on.

He said, no, you're not breaking any rules. Well, I told them, is the NBA against China? Is NBA and Adam Silver and all the organizations, all the

teams and owners, or are they supporting Enes Kanter? He told me, yes, we are supporting you against China.

So that is one. The second thing is, I don't know how much that is true, because if they were -- if they will really supporting me, they would have

put something out there. They would have said -- they would have put like some kind of statement or they would have put some kind of like -- because

I told Adam this too. Our team games, the Boston Celtics games, are banned in China.

And this is unacceptable just because of I talk about the human rights violations that are happening over there. People think I do politics. I

don't do politics. I do human rights. So...

AMANPOUR: OK. All right. All right.

You -- I just want to make sure you're not saying the NBA gave you the green light to say this stuff. You're just saying that their rules are that

freedom of expression is an American right.

KANTER: Exactly.

AMANPOUR: Or are you saying they specifically gave you the green light?

KANTER: Exactly.

AMANPOUR: So, not specifically, but just the general commitment to freedom of speech, right?

KANTER: Right. Yes.


So let me ask you about Nike, because I just spotted another one of your of your shoes as we were talking.


AMANPOUR: And you have obviously taken on -- well, you have taken on Nike. And you have basically said, it's scared to speak up against China. And you

suggest the company is tainted by forced labor, because, on your shoe, it says "Slave Labor." I can see it right now.

But Nike says it does not source products from that region, nor -- it says it's committed to ethical and responsible manufacturing and "We uphold

international labor standards."

We have obviously tried to reach out to them. We haven't heard back.

KANTER: Obviously.

AMANPOUR: Why do you keep criticizing them if they're -- if that's what their public -- their response to that is?

KANTER: I will just say you this.

Nike obviously is the one of the biggest -- the biggest sponsor for NBA. And two years ago, right, when all this Black Lives Matter happened, Nike

was one of the first company out there was standing with Black Lives Matter, Nike in America. Nike stands with stop Asian hate. Nike stands with

LGBTQ community. Nike stands with Latino community.


But when it comes to China, Nike remains silent, because they -- China is the big boss for Nike. And, I mean, obviously, they are not going to be

able to answer because they know what they're doing wrong. They're one of the biggest hypocrite companies in the world.

AMANPOUR: But you're not accusing them. You're not accusing them in this case of profiting from slave labor or using any products from them? Because

they deny it.

KANTER: Well, they -- it's a total lie.

Everyone in the world knows that there are so many slave labor camps in -- over there in China and many other countries that they are -- that Nike is

profiting from. So that was one of the biggest reason that I put on my shoes modern-day slavery and hypocrite Nike, just because of they're

profiting from slave labor camps.

And it's just disgusting to me see all the Nike athletes standing up for -- and they are calling themselves a social justice warrior, and still can

wear these items on their shoe, on their feet, or on their back, where, on these items, there is so much blood and sweat and oppression.

And, to me, if you're a Nike athlete, to me, you're a hypocrite.

AMANPOUR: Well, we're definitely going to have to reach out to them further to put these accusations to them.

KANTER: Please. I would love to hear their response, please.

AMANPOUR: But you started this -- essentially, as you mentioned earlier, you started this activism for human rights in your own country or about

your own country.

You have been very critical of President Erdogan. And you also adhere and support to the anti-Erdogan religious political leader who's based in the

United States. You have been -- you have had your passport revoked. You haven't seen your family in seven years.

Do you think you will be able to see them again? How far are you prepared to take all this, particularly when it affects you personally?

KANTER: You know, good question.

Last time I saw my family was back in 2015. And last time I -- last time I talked to my family, I can't even remember. But, at the same, there are so

much, numerous violations that are happening over there in Turkey, and dictator Erdogan everyone obviously using his poverty to abuse Red Notice

system, Interpol.

So that is one of the biggest reasons that I cannot travel outside of America, because they put my name on Interpol list. And it's just sad that

-- because Turkey is number one jailing journalists in the world. And that shows that there is no freedom of speech over there.

It just -- I was talking about this issue so much. And just because of the NBA platform, it was going -- it was becoming a conversation, they put my

dad in jail for a while. But we put so much pressure from here in America to Turkey, they let him go.


KANTER: But, I mean, all the dictatorships are the same.


KANTER: They are just scared of there being strong voices. So we just have to pray for them.

AMANPOUR: Enes Kanter, thank you very much for joining us and explaining your campaign.

Obviously, we have asked Chinese officials to come and explain their side. And they have declined to do so, other than give us the statements that we

read out.

Enes Kanter, thank you very much, indeed.

Now, we continue, as I said, to invite Chinese officials, but they have not come on.

Now, we turn now to Bosnia, which an internal U.N. report warns is facing the very real prospect of a return to conflict. The war, of course, was

heavily covered, including by myself and CNN, throughout the 1990s, including the Srebrenica massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and

boys by Bosnia's Serbs.

It was the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II. And since the war ended with the U.S.-brokered Dayton Accords in 1995, Bosnia has been

divided into two semiautonomous, mostly ethnic regions that are linked by a three-person presidency.

Now the leader of the Serbian entity, Milorad Dodik, is threatening to pull out of key state-level institutions, trying to put the Balkan nation on the

path towards secession.

So, how should the U.S. and the international community react?

Let's ask Christian Schmidt. He is the international community's high representative there, tasked with upholding the Dayton Accords, and to

Baroness Arminka Helic. She's the former special adviser to the Foreign Office here in Great Britain, and she came to the U.K. as a refugee from

the Bosnia war.

Thank you both for joining us.

I think this has been happening sort of under the radar, bubbling, this -- these bad developments, for quite a while, but we want to put a light on


So, let me first ask you, Christian Schmidt, because you have recently said and written that what the Bosnian Serb entity is doing represents an

existential threat to Bosnia and it could start another attempt towards secession of that entity.


Tell me why you think it's reached that level of concern.


There's a report from Sarajevo. In it, I see there is a real threat that -- of the development of this country gets into dysfunctionality, because

there is such a blockade of any political decisions actually on the state level, that we do see that there is an increasing threat of getting

dissolution, as Mr. Dodik talks about peaceful dissolution. What shall this be?

Dissolution is nothing else than increasing of tensions. And after 26 years that the international community has worked so much to get this (INAUDIBLE)

based state, if you agree, working, and we had a lot of success. I think we should work together very clearly that there is no way out and no way back.

AMANPOUR: OK, well, we will try to figure out solutions in a second.

But let me bring in Bareness Arminka Helic.

You know because you were there and you fled the Bosnia war the terror that is created when the Bosnian Serbs say something like, we want to have our

own autonomous army, because it was that army that was besieging and bombarding Sarajevo and all the other entities. It was that army that

created and conducted the genocide in Srebrenica.

But do you actually believe that Dodik is serious about secession, and that it could actually happen at this time?


I actually believe that this has been going on for quite some time. These are sustained and concentrated efforts to undermine the Bosnian state, to

show it as -- a country that cannot function, has been going on not since yesterday. It's been going on for the last 10 years.

And I think this is the last push that has been left on the table of the secessionists. And they feel particularly emboldened because, on this

occasion, they're not acting on their own. They have a full support of Russia. And there is a coordinated effort to work together. And they have

some support from neighboring Serbia.

And this is the moment. And I believe strongly that if this -- we do not push back against this, that we might see return to some events that we do

not want to see and that we have witnessed some 25 years ago.

AMANPOUR: Well, remind us, because, as I say, you were there. I was there. But remind us what it was like for the Bosnian people, Baroness Helic, and

what you think the international community can and should do now, remembering how long they left it in the '90s before intervening to stop

the war.

HELIC: Well, in the words of those who have much better experience of looking across the decades of different conflicts in Europe, that was the

bloodiest and the worst war that Europe experienced or seen since the Second World War.

And it was bloody, it was relentless. It produced everything, the worst kind of human behavior in terms of ethnic cleansing, the phrase that was

born out of that conflict, genocide, concentration camp, rape camp. You name it, it had it all.

And the only way, in my opinion, to stop this is to deploy a deterrent force on the ground that can repel any adventurism, whether it's called

secession, whether it's called dissolution, whatever you call it. There's only one outcome that we can have out of this adventure. And that is

another conflict. And we should do all in our powers, for the sake of every citizen that lives in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Doesn't matter whether they are Bosniak or Bosnian Serb or Bosnian Croat. Every one of them wants peace more than they want conflict. And it is the

duty of the politicians in Bosnia and those who are trying to help them to preserve peace, to put it back on the track of political dialogue and of

looking forward to satisfying the future generations, not the dreams of the dinosaur politicians.

AMANPOUR: So, over to you then, Christian Schmidt.

You are the international community's political representative there, the highest-level political representative there. Do you believe and is there

any chance that the U.N. or Europe or whoever, NATO, might authorize, as Baroness Helic just said, some kind of force beyond the forces already

there, which is I think only about 600 European troops there to keep the peace?


Do you think that's even at all something that would be thought about?

SCHMIDT: Yes, I'm very aware of the challenges.

But let me say, just coming from an exchange of General Platzer, the commander of the EUFOR mission, which we managed with a lot of work to get

through the United Nations Security Council.

I do not see -- actually, let me say -- this hard work. And I know about what we are talking, as I'm, yes, former deputy minister of defense for

long years in Germany. I know very well the situation as it has been in the '90s and later.

But the challenge I see is to bring all around and the responsible people in Bosnia and Herzegovina to understand that this inflammatory rhetoric,

which Mr. Dodik indeed, Baroness, you're absolutely right, since years, and has not been answered, has to be made very, very clear that this

inflammatory rhetoric, as I said, could inflame at any occasion developments which nobody has under control.

So, I wouldn't say that it's a grand strategy of Mr. Dodik. Probably it's just a miserable tactic, what he's doing, just probably because there are

some announcements that there could be some linkage to corruption cases, that he is planning to get better votes at the elections next year.


SCHMIDT: And I have to make very, very clear that this is not the way and that we are aware, to work and to bring it down.

So, I set my so-called (INAUDIBLE) powers, they are in a drawer, but I know how to open the drawer. And I think it's very important that the

international community sticks together and stands together, including European Union.

AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you, then, because Dodik and his backers at the Security Council, Russia and China, have actually used you and your office,

Mr. Schmidt, as a sort of target practice.

They don't want the high representative from the international community that. And the only way the Security Council was able to pass a resolution

enabling another year of European forces there to keep the peace was to eliminate any response or, rather, any reference to your office, the Office

of the High Representative.

And there's an "F.T." article in which the author says: "This signals to the Bosnian Serb secessionists that the West is losing interest in rigorous

enforcement of the 1995 settlement. Bosnian Serb leaders, ever on the lookout to destroy Dayton, want the High Representative's Office abolished.

So does Russia?"

Are you feeling that pressure? And what would happen if your office was abolished?

SCHMIDT: I feel the pressure.

But I have, unfortunately, or fortunately, to give a message to Moscow and Beijing. The high rep is there, and he's in full power. And this does not

just relate to any oral presentation. My report, the 60th Report of the H.R. to the secretary-general of United Nations, is a very open, should I

say, blunt one.

And, so far, my team says never, ever in the last 20 years such a report has got such a lot of discussion about. So, it's wrong to think that only

in the discussion of the United Nations Security Council things are decided.

I am here. I will stay here. And I have invited tomorrow all the representatives of the Peace Implementation Council steering board to stand

and sit together with me and to develop on the strategy to condemn everything, every attempt just to bring violence back into to Sarajevo.

It would be incredible if the international community would not work. I am very, very committed to peace and to the development here. I think there is

a possibility. But it needs that we all are standing together, should I say, minus one or minus two. But the others, they are.

AMANPOUR: All right.

So, let me turn to you then, Baroness Helic, on this very issue, because, amongst your tweets, you have said, in the U.N. secretary-general's words -

- quote -- "The United Nations appeased and unwittingly abetted the Bosnian Serb military in 1995 as it carried out the worst mass murder in Europe

since World War II."


Are you worried then when you look around at the International Community's response that it may continue to appease, Baroness Helic, or lost that it

just lost the will to stand up for this -- you know, for this -- you know, for the Dayton Accords and what is your biggest fear? Is it Russia? Is it

China? What is your biggest fear of, you know, appeasement round two?

HELIC: My biggest fear is that the lack of unity and that political will to respond to this crisis might produce circumstances within which there

might be an element of miscalculation and in which conflict can start again.

What is my biggest worry this time around, if you want, is that while in 1990s, it was a horrendous war engulfing not only Bosnia but, you know,

Croatia and Slovenia and (INAUDIBLE) on this occasion, we had a very active and maligned influence by Russia, and that is something that we have to

take into account. And Russia is not only using Bosnia in its proxies to destabilize the region, but it's also using it in order to test the

strength of NATO and how far it can go.

I would say that what we need to do, we need to refocus, we need to invest more now so that our investment is shorter in terms of how long we need to

effectively end and act in order not to find ourselves in years to come that we have come too late.


HELIC: You rightly referred to late Secretary Kofi Anna on the genocide in Srebrenica, and I think anyone who needs to remind themselves of what it

was like 25 or 30 years ago needs to read that report and know that we never want to go back to that way of behavior anyway in the Balkans or

elsewhere in world.

AMANPOUR: Indeed. Baroness Arminka Helic -- I've got 30 seconds, Mr. Schmidt, if you want to give me in 20 seconds, otherwise, I'm out of time.

SCHMIDT: That we have just, I think, a good way that (INAUDIBLE) knows that there will be no splitting of the army accepted. Has got it. Let's

wait and see. I'm, in this context, a little bit optimistic that we have achieved the first step.

AMANPOUR: Well, that's an important point to make, that there will be no exception to the separate army or military.

Both of you, thank you very much indeed. High Representative Christian Schmidt, Baroness Arminka Helic, thank you.

Meanwhile, in Glasgow, it's crunch time at the COP26 Climate Summit to limit global warming. The first draft or the final agreement acknowledges

the role of fossil fuels in the climate crisis. That is a first for these annual conferences. But the pressure is on to accelerate implementation of

all the pledges that business and political leaders making.

We talk to some of them as the summit began last week. Here's what Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and the prime minister of the

vulnerable Barbados, Mia Mottley, told me about their commitments.


NICOLA STURGEON, SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER: The commitment to cut emissions to end Scotland's contribution to climate change completely by 2045, to

decarbonize how we travel or heat our homes but also to protect the environment that we live in. Plant more trees, restored our land and

protect our natural habitat. We owe it to generations to come to make sure we protect our planet now.

MIA MOTTLEY, BARBADOS PRIME MINISTER: The change starts with each one of us. And to that extent, Barbados is committing to ensure that by 2030, our

electricity will be powered by renewable energy, our vehicles will be powered by renewable energy sources, and that we will work to make sure

that we can adjust the rest of our economy as far as possible by 2035.


AMANPOUR: And of course, we will stay and continue to follow these developments.

Now, presidents are not kings and the plaintiffs is not president. That was a U.S. judge rejecting the Former President Donald Trump's request to

withhold records about the January 6th insurrection on Capitol Hill. The ruling will give a bipartisan House Committee access to hundreds of pages

of documents from the Trump White House. And that committee issued 10 new subpoenas to Former Trump officials.

"The Washington Post" has conducted its own extensive investigation called the attack, before, during and after. It included more than 75 journalists

and interviews with over 230 people. It was an incredible commitment to pursuing the facts. And here is Michel Martin speaking with "Post"

reporters, Amy Gardner and Aaron Davis about the cascade of warnings we received before January 6th.



MICHEL MARTIN, CNNI CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Aaron Davis, Amy Gardner, thank you both so much for joining us today.



MARTIN: You know, obviously the events of January 6th are of great interest to much of the country. We got basically real-time updates on what

was happening that day. There were a lot of journalists there as well as other people sort of documenting the event. But you obviously felt there

was much more to say.

So, Aaron, maybe I'll go to you first because you wrote the "Before" section. I want to spend a few minutes about, you know, what were the red

flags. I mean, you write, while the public may have been surprised by what happened on January 6th, the makings of the insurrection had been spotted

at every level, from one side of the country to the other. The red flags were everywhere. What were some of those red flags?

DAVIS: We were able to document that it wasn't just random tipsters calling in to the FBI. There was a network of former national security

officials tied in with researchers and academics who had been studying online extremism and they were feeding information directly to prosecutors,

to the FBI to D.C. officials. We found confidential informants that the FBI tied directly into militias have been monitoring them for years. We're also

saying this is different and sending them alerts of what they were seeing.

Social media companies, even Parler, which had gotten a pretty bad reputation for hosting a platform where white supremacists and neo-Nazis

would gather, far-right extremists would talk about their plan, even Parler sent in 50 warnings to the FBI in the days leading up to January 6th and

what they believe were clear examples of criminal behavior.

We know that, in a broader sense, social media companies and Silicon Valley were sending dozens of such reports to what's called the Fusion Center in

California, and that's one of a post- 9/11 kind of construct that was built around the country. So, we can go through the list but there's lots of ways

and the warnings coming in to authorities and we started -- the next question of our reporting was, what did they do with all of these warnings?

MARTIN: There is this argument that, I just got caught up in it. A lot of the people who have been arrested, a number of the people who were detained

or who have been locked up, I just got caught up in it. I mean, it was just a spontaneous thing that happened in the crowd. What you're saying is that

is not true. Certain people always intended to mount some sort of a violent attack. Is that accurate?

DAVIS: There were certainly elements within the crowd of people who showed up on January 6th who were talking about very explicit violent acts they

wanted to conduct weeks ahead of January 6th. And you can almost demarcate the time leading up to January 6th as pre-December 19th and post-December


December 19th is when President Trump tweets, it's almost statistically impossible that I lost this election. There's going to be a massive protest

in D.C. on January 6th. Be there. We'll be wild. And there was a clear and immediate response by President Trump's followers and those on the extreme

far-right who had already been inclined to violence began plotting very specific plans for, here's where we're going to meet, here's what time

we're going to leave to D.C, who is bringing their guns, where are we going to store guns when we get there, should we keep them across the bridge in

Virginia so that they don't get confiscated? Those kinds of discussions were going on beginning basically on the night of December 19th and

December 20.

MARTIN: A lot of sources of intelligence, credible sources of intelligence were telling the FBI this. In fact, one of the people who you write about

who start the series with is the head of the District of Columbia's Homeland Security Office was basically begging the FBI to pay attention to

this and some of the FBI's informants were. So, what did the FBI do with all of that? What happened to all that intelligence?

DAVIS: We were able to get a hold of internal FBI documents that document two tips that came into the FBI. One on December 19th, one on December

20th. And those were, again, talking about this idea but it came with a little bit more specificity. They specifically were talking about, we want

to go to D.C. We want to overrun police. We want to take lawmakers and we want to hold them and put them on public trial for their messing with the

election and Donald Trump's version of events.

And the FBI had that warning, had another one follow-up that night. The FBI took those two warnings, ran those posters through their internal databases

of concerning post and previous messages that they have looked at. Found that there was no evidence of prior criminal or other things that might

immediately trip an investigation, and they closed that case within 42 hours.


The tip came in on a Saturday afternoon. By Monday morning, they said, there's nothing to see here. And I think a lot of law enforcement agencies

in the D.C. area took their cues from the FBI putting the green tag on these internal warnings saying that, this is a closed case, no need for

further investigation.

MARTIN: Why is that? I mean, forgive me. I'll just say it. I mean, I think the FBI has taken a very different position with Muslims. There are stories

about, you know, activists in numerous cities where social justice protests have taken place being questioned. You know, I'm sorry. One can't help but

notice the difference in response and why is that? And what does the FBI have to say about that?

DAVIS: You're exactly right. We went back and forth with the FBI a few times on this. One of their final set of responses to us, they used a term

we haven't heard before in discussing these pro-Trump protesters. They called it, the actions they were seeking, that they were discussing about

January 6th were aspirational. Meaning, that they were aspirational acts that they haven't had enough specifics to actually show that they are going

to carry out.

Now, there -- to your point, there are a lot of Muslims in the country who hear the word aspirational and think very differently about that. There are

people who are serving federal prison terms right now, federal prison terms for being convicted for aspirational plotting and terrorist acts in the

days and years after September 11th.

You know, one thing I was struck by in all of this was that, you know, the FBI, D.C. police, Capitol Police, it wasn't like this was the first time

this ever happened. This -- you know, many pro-Trump protesters came to D.C. twice between when the election happened and November 3rd and then on

January 6th, first on November 14th, where MAGA Rally for President Trump and then again on December 12th. And each of those times, we were able to

documents that the things that they were talking about doing online in the days leading up to those two earlier protests, they came and did as


And before December 12th, they said, we're going bring 700 Proud Boys and we're going to go after antifa. Well, the after-action report from the D.C.

police pegs it at about 750 Proud Boys were in D.C. that night and there were stabbings and arrests and D.C. police officers were assaulted. So, to

say that there was aspirational when you got these two examples of it already happening to a lesser degree but they clearly have been violence by

this group, by elements within this group.

MARTIN: So, Aaron, I'm just going to put the question to you. Is it because these are white men, mainly white men that they do not take it


DAVIS: The bureau pushes back very hard on this idea that we didn't really treated them somehow differently. However, you can only have to look as far

as some of the warnings that -- in how they moved within the FBI. Even the night before January 6th, if you remember, there's this one that comes in

from the Norfolk Field Office and it that says, you know, the MAGA cavalry is going to -- is riding tonight to D.C. and same kind of thing, they're

going to meet, they're going to go after the capital itself, that Congress is the target.

And they bend over backwards in this alert that comes in from the FBI field office in Norfolk saying, this is all the First Amendment protected speech,

we think. There's really nothing we can do here. And that was used over and over again with these -- characterizing these internal warnings past around

about January 6th.

To boil it down, and yes, there clearly was an element within the FBI that could not believe that President Trump's supporters that a lot of middle

age white men would do what they did on January 6th, to physically attack the police, to go in and try to take control of the government.

MARTIN: Amy, what about you -- Aaron, if I could just ask about all of these figures in law enforcement whom you interviewed, how are they sitting

with this now that it's all sort of out there in the public, any response from them?

DAVIS: You know, they still believe, I would say, not uniformly but we still get the sense from the bureau that they did what they could do and

there's not more that they could have done heading into January 6th. And so, I think that's something that they're going to have to wrestle with and

hopefully, Congress can ask with -- you know, with the demand for more answers than I can as a journalist. But I do hope that the bureau, that

Department of Homeland Security, that all the agencies who played a part in this continue to wrestle with that going forward.

MARTIN: So, Amy, you wrote the after section. What are the main takeaways from your reporting?

GARDNER: Sure. I think what (INAUDIBLE) and I tried to do with the reporting that we and, you know, dozens of other reporters at the "Post"

pulled together for this project was to document the degree to which the forces that work behind January 6th were still active around the country.


And so, we identify two or three different sort of pockets of activity and information that we wanted to really dig into and quantify to the best of

our ability. We wanted to find out the degree to which President Trump's disinformation about the election results in 2020 had taken hold of the

Republican Party, and we did that by doing a massive survey of every Republican candidate who's expressed an interest to date, this is as of the

end of the summer when we working on this piece of the story, who had embraced his disinformation in one way or another.

That included anybody running for statewide office. U.S. senator, governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and really importantly, secretary of

state, which in most states in this country, administers elections. And we found 10 Republican candidates or people thinking about running for

secretary of state around the country, which we found fascinating and alarming.

It's become a litmus test, in a way. If you don't declare that something was off in the 2020 election, the former president will not support you.

He's made that very clear. And it's worked because now, Republicans around the country believe they must embrace the lie that Trump really won the

election last year as the cost of entry into the arena of politics right now.

MARTIN: I mean -- is the volume of threats that election officials and state officials are receiving. Can you talk more about that?

GARDNER: That's right. The other big pot that we wanted to sort of fill up and quantify and show readers just how prevalent it was was this idea of

threats to election officials and political leaders who had weighed in on the results of the election. I took a really deep dive into Georgia over

the last 18 months covering the rollout of the elections throughout 2020 and the aftermath as well. And I remember vividly, the day that Gabriel

Sterling, a top official in the secretary of state's office in Georgia, sent me a screen shot of a letter he had just received with the U.S. Postal

Service, written in this very friendly-looking bubbling handwriting that basically said, he and his family had better watch out. He was about to be

married and it was really chilling for him.

And we heard about voice mail messages. We knew Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state in Georgia, had, at one point, had sharp shooters on the

roof of his home. So, we did a really big survey. We called into every state in the union and reached state election officials, local election

officials and did our best to get some sense of how prevalent it was. We found instances in the hundreds of threats written, voice mails, phone

calls, snail mail, as I mentioned, and we also compiled many of those threats in some audio clips that we embedded into the project and they're

bone chilling. They're graphic, profane, crude, and scary. They're terrifying, actually.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You [bleep] my [bleep] election. We're going to try you and we're going to [bleep] convict your piece of [bleep] and we're going to

hang you.


MARTIN: You pointed out that nearly a third of Republican candidates have embraced the lie that the election was stolen.

GARDNER: That's right.

MARTIN: So, that means that two-thirds have not. So, what do they think about all this? I mean, do they think it is acceptable? Do they not see

that they might then be the target of this kind of conduct? What do they think about all this?

GARDNER: There are a number of Republican politicians around the country who have stood up and said, no, the election wasn't stolen. And they have

paid the price. Clint Hickman, the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors until recently, he voted for President Trump, he campaigned

with President Trump last fall in Arizona last fall. But when he refused to say the election results were wrong or riddled, you know, with fraud, he

paid the price. He was actually escorted out of his home on January 6th. Sheriff deputies came to his home when the violence began unfolding on

Capitol Hill and was told, you need to leave here with your family. Pack your bags and they went and stayed with a relative.


And the other thing that you see down at the local level are election clerks, election recorders, voter registrars, the names vary according to

the state, who are saying, to heck with this. I didn't sign up for this. I didn't sign up to go home at night and check my closets to make sure

there's nobody there hiding, which one clerk in Michigan told us about.

And so, it's been traumatic and it's difficult for election officials to figure out how they're going to populate the election staffs going forward,

because if those who wanted to stand up for the truth and for the accuracy of the results are not wanting to fill these jobs, who will? And that's a

scary thought for folks as well.

MARTIN: Well, well, you note in Virginia, for example, recently as speaking the elections were held in Virginia and New Jersey and the

prevailing candidate in Virginia, the gubernatorial Glenn Youngkin, a former private equity investor, clearly not a rue (ph), initiated his

campaign for governor by, you know, raising the big lie. He won. I'm just curious, like, why this event which was so traumatic for some people, that

others are so indifferent to it? What is your sense of it?

GARDNER: Yes. I was very curious to see how it was going to play out last Tuesday night when Glenn Youngkin, as you said, defeated Terry McAuliffe

here in Virginia where I sit right now. And especially because at around 7:00 or 7:30 after the polls closed, we had been led to believe that the

largest community in Virginia, Fairfax County, was going to release its early absentee totals immediately, like before 8:00. And then, a journalist

tweeted, it looks like they're not going to release them before 8:00, stay tuned or something like that.

And the pro-Trump universe erupted and major figures, major supporters of President Trump, people like (INAUDIBLE), you know, lots of folks who just

absolutely run with the lie that the election was stolen, starting tweeting and posting on Telegram and other places, Facebook, that, oh, here we go,

everybody eyes on Fairfax, they're figuring out how many votes they need throw this election for Terry.

And it turns out that Fairfax did post those early and absentee results by 8:00 and the rest of the results came in, most of them, by 10:00, which is

actually early for Fairfax. I can say this with credibility as a long time Virginia politics reporter. And so, then you go back to social media, OK.

What now? Youngkin won. Was it fraud, or wasn't it? And the answer is, oh, no. There was fraud. It's just that our people came out in such numbers

that we overcame the algorithms and we won anyway.

And so, some of the theories that you hear about how the fraud actually happens defy logic and defy rational thinking, and that's one of the

problems that you have right now. And so, people are believing what they're hearing even when it defies logic sometimes.

MARTIN: Amy Gardner, Aaron Davis, thank you both so much for speaking with us about your important reporting.

DAVIS: Thank you.

GARDNER: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And finally, we return to the challenges facing our planet. We've heard from leaders, but on this Call to Earth Day, we're celebrating

the ordinary citizens who are trying to create a more sustainable future. And one of them is scuba diver, Hong Kong native, Harry Chan. Who is on a

mission to rid the ocean of so-called ghost nets as he explains now to Correspondent Kristie Lu Stout.


RISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR (voiceover): In the murky waters of Hong Kong, Harry Chan is hunting a deadly threat that lurks in the deep. It's called

ghost gear. Fishing nets and other equipment from fisheries lost or tossed into the sea.

HARRY CHAN, DIVER: If you look at the ocean out there, OK, there's some net that's drifting into the water. It could be much bigger the size of any

boat there, OK. It's like a killer, silent killer, continue killing.

STOUT (voiceover): Ghost gear is a global problem. More than 640,000 tons of it gets discarded into our oceans each year, according to the U.N., and

old nets are especially deadly.

LAWRENCE MCCOOK, HEAD OF OCEANS CONSERVATION: It's called ghost gear because it basically goes on living and creating problems long after it's

actually useful. So, it's no longer catching fish for people, but sadly, it is still catching fish and very often, wildlife.

STOUT (voiceover): Harry spends much of his retirement trying to solve this problem.

CHAN: Being a diver there's so much we can do to protect the ocean or save the ocean.

STOUT (voiceover): And today, we brought the 68-year-old out to sea how he does it. Removing ghost gear is hazardous work for the marine life that's

trapped and divers who can easily suffer the same fate. Once the net is free, Harry and the team reel it in. It takes a winch to finish the job.

STOUT (on camera): And once out of the ocean, you can appreciate the full scale of this ghost net. It's absolutely massive. A tangled huge mess of

nylon wire, dead oysters and coral.


STOUT (voiceover): Eventually, they'll cut this up into smaller pieces and properly dispose of it. All told, it is a full day's effort, given the

intensity of removing one net. The self-proclaimed ghost net hunter spends most of his time on dry land, raising awareness about the root cause. And

if you ask Harry why he does this, why he is still working so hard in his retirement, he'll tell you quite simply, it's never too late to get


CHAN: Age is only a figure, OK. There's so much we can do, no matter how old you are.

STOUT (voiceover): Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, on the waters of Hong Kong.


AMANPOUR: And we can all do something to help as we've just seen from Harry Chan.

That's it for now. Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.